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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NASDAQ penetration spoils? The SEC should know!

Comments to my postings on cyber criminal penetration the NASDAQ Director's Desk system and subsequent dramatic increase in my posts on the Cyber Privateer Code as well as my Legal Justification for Cyber Privateering demand that I revisit this topic ever so briefly. One reader with "over three decades as a top-notch engineer" doesn't believe that (a) cyber privateers could actually find the real bad guys; and, in a separate reply, (b) disputes the validity of a latency attack because it "has the same problems that caused so many day traders to lose their shirts." I responded to his "point a" by giving the links above. As for latency attack viability, I refer you to my post on the likelihood that China and Russia are already doing this.

Regarding the NASDAQ Director's Desk penetration, I think the real benefit to a hostile government would be to obtain inside information with which they could place bets in advance of public M&A activity disclosures. I became quite familiar with the dynamics of M&A disclosure technology when I worked with IntraLinks to create a market for their secure virtual deal rooms. The following billboard ran outside the Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, CA:
It invited Larry Ellison to go to the IntraLinks Web site and learn how their secure virtual deal room could accelerate the M&A process. Interestingly, the billboard company refused to let me run my original headline "KILL BILL" because they said it somehow put out a "hit" on Bill Gates. That's okay. The semiotic of copying the movie poster look-and-feel did its job, and we had thousands of Web hits from all over the world. Notice that beneath the headline, "Craig" is already crossed out, since Oracle had acquired PeopleSoft and booted their CEO Craig Conway. Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com is still in play (and one of my Cyber Privateer Fantasy League team members). And Larry Ellison is currently beating SAP like the proverbial gong, with Henning Kagermann long gong…er…I mean long gone. I also created a Wall Street Journal ad for IntraLinks that showed their virtual monopoly of virtual deal room technology:

I just assumed the NASDAQ Director's Desk offered some class-A document security, since insider training is such a serious threat to the integrity of public markets (see today's WSJ). Given the SEC's ability to trace major trading activity prior to public disclosure, it should be a fairly simple matter to determine whether or not foreign governments and/or their agents have made use of the NASDAQ penetration data to "make a killing."

So I extend this challenge to ace WSJ reporter Devlin Barrett, who broke the original story: Did anybody use their confidential knowledge of NASDAQ Director's Desk documents to gain an unfair advantage in our public markets? Forget asking the Justice Department. Forget asking NASDAQ. Just ask your contacts within the bowels of the SEC. They routinely collect this kind of data. Hey, there could be a Pulitzer in it for you. Or a Russian hit squad looking to put your head on a stick?

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?