Meta sues ex infra VP for allegedly stealing top-secret datacenter blueprints

Exec accused of using own work PC to swipe confidential AI and staffing docs for stealth cloud startup

An ex-Meta veep has been sued by his former bosses for "brazenly disloyal and dishonest conduct" – and by that, they mean he allegedly stole confidential documents to help him build and recruit colleagues for an AI cloud startup. 

Over the course of his 12-year employment at the Facebook giant, Dipinder Singh Khurana – also known as T.S. Khurana – rose to the rank of vice-president of infrastructure. He left the mega-corp in June 2023 to take a position as senior veep of supply-chain operations at a startup still in stealth mode and not named in the lawsuit against him.

After telling Meta bosses he planned to leave, Khurana allegedly used his remaining time at the corporation to steal "a trove of proprietary, highly sensitive, confidential, and non-public documents about Meta's business and employees," Meta claimed in a complaint filed in a northern California state court.

Those documents included sensitive internal details of Meta's "data centers, suppliers, vendors, and artificial-intelligence programs," the biz alleged at the end of last month. It went on to claim:

Among other information taken, Khurana took copies of Meta’s contracts with certain key suppliers and vendors, which included Meta’s pricing information and terms. The Meta information that Khurana took also included documents and files concerning Meta’s organizational redesign of its supply-chain group, capacity planning documents, and documents regarding Meta’s business operations, metrics and sourcing-related expenses.

The information that Khurana took also included documents regarding Meta employees, their levels, performance information, potential promotion information, and detailed compensation data for employees in Meta’s Infrastructure organization.

"Khurana was handsomely compensated," Meta continued in its complaint. "But ... that was not enough." Despite that fat pay package and VP title, Khurana may have failed to consider the level of monitoring or logging that goes on inside Meta's networks, if the lawsuit's allegations are correct.

"Khurana not only uploaded Meta's documents to his personal Google Drive and Dropbox accounts, but he uploaded numerous of these documents into folders bearing the name of his new employer," Meta alleged. According to the Instagram titan, the veep transferred files from Meta systems to those external cloud accounts.

As alleged above, among the documents Khurana apparently took to share with his startup were supplier and vendor contracts, planning documents, payroll and recruiting files, compensation and performance data, business operations documents, and information relating to Meta's supply chain operations and employees. 

One of the key documents cited in the complaint is an internal "Top Talent" spreadsheet that Meta said it had reason to believe was transferred from its systems to Khurana's work computer at his new company, an outfit described by Meta as "seeking to provide AI cloud computing services at scale, including by designing and constructing data centers." 

Shortly after leaving, Meta alleges, several of Khurana's Meta-mates were contacted by the exec and his upstart to discuss positions at this new company. 

"At least eight employees that are listed in the 'Top Talent' spreadsheet left Meta to join Khurana's new employer between June and November 2023," Meta charges in the complaint. 

"Meta is informed and believes that at least some of these departures likely resulted from Khurana's disclosure and/or use of non-public information," the Facebook parent added. Additional Meta-mates were also contacted about jobs with Khurana's new employer, but it's not clear whether they accepted, we're told.

Meta has leveled five charges against Khurana: Breach of contract, breach of the duty of loyalty, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, and breaking California's computer crime laws. The Facebook goliath is asking that Khurana be forced to pay damages and disgorge any money or benefits he obtained as a result of his alleged stealing of company secrets. Meta's allegations have yet to be answered in court by Khurana or his lawyers.

"Meta takes this kind of egregious misconduct seriously. We will continue working to protect confidential business and employee information," a Meta spokesperson told The Register. We reached out to Khurana as well, and haven't heard back yet. ®

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