The dreaded “access denied” error message. It makes you want to cry, doesn’t it? Not […]
~ Update includes email sent to all KPMG employees and further details on communication within PwC.
Confirming some chatter in last Friday’s post on the banishment of WikiLeaks at Deloitte, notification at Grant Thornton was sent out late on Friday.
So not even after a long, hard day doing Stephen Chipman’s lowed to read catty messages between diplomats or war logs on your personal computer. What’s next? Firmwide emails instructing lonely accountants not to visit Fleshbot (NSFW)?
Personal time aside, judging by the conversation on the Deloitte post, it appears that KPMG has also communicated ‘no peeky at wiki’ but we haven’t seen the official communiqué. And since all the major firms have contracts with the Feds, we decided to call around to see find out the scoop. So far, a source at PwC did inform us that the WikiLeaks website is accessible but no official policy on accessing the site has been communicated to the firm at large.
[UPDATE: We have learned that PwC’s Washington Federal Practice did receive communication prohibiting access, downloading, etc. etc. to WikiLeaks, however, as we’ve updated above, a firm-wide communication was not sent.]
Messages with E&Y and KPMG were not immediately returned. If there has been official lines have been drawn in the cyber-sand, kindly email us with any communication.
UPDATE: The message from KPMG, courtesy of the sagacious Judge Sven Erik Holmes:
Date:December 10, 2010
To:All KPMG Personnel
From: Sven Erik Holmes, Vice Chair, Legal and Compliance
Subject:Government Notice Regarding Web site Access
PLEASE DO NOT DELETE THIS E-MAIL WITHOUT READING
In response to the recent well-publicized release of government documents on the WikiLeaks Web site, the federal government has begun notifying its contractors regarding restrictions on accessing classified documents included in that release. As a provider of services to several federal agencies, KPMG is a federal government contractor and has begun receiving such notices from its federal agency clients. This e-mail contains important instructions regarding access to such classified information, which are applicable to all firm personnel.
KPMG personnel should not access information marked or labeled as classified (including material publicly available on the WikiLeaks Web site or other Web sites) using government or KPMG computers or other devices that access the Web (such as PDAs or Smartphones) as doing so risks placing material that is still classified on non-classified systems. This restriction does not limit employee or contractor access to nonclassified, publicly available news reports (and other nonclassified material) that in turn reference classified material, as opposed to the underlying classified material itself (whether or not in the public domain).
The government’s notices remind us that federal contractors are obligated to protect classified information pursuant to all applicable federal laws, and to use government information systems, whether classified or unclassified, appropriately. Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents (whether in print, on a blog, or on a Web site) do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents. To the contrary, classified information, whether or not already posted on public Web sites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority.
If you believe that you may have downloaded classified information to a government or KPMG computer or other device that accesses the Web (such as a PDA or Smartphone), please contact [a KPMG lawyer who will ask you a ton of questions and probably scold you] in OGC at [lawyer’sname]@kpmg.com.
KPMG personnel are also reminded that firm policy requires personnel to maintain the confidentiality of any information that they obtain from a client in connection with a client engagement. It is important that the confidentiality of any such information be maintained.