IBM has accused a Louisiana-based pension fund of creating a “wild conspiracy theory.”
IBM's response to the announcement of a lawsuit filed by the $2.5 billion Louisiana Sheriffs' Pension & Relief Fund, Baton Rouge, said the plaintiff is confusing the National Security Agency's surveillance program with legislation designed to help companies prevent cyber attacks.
According to a news release from Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, the pension fund's attorneys, IBM misrepresented its association with the National Security Agency's program, known as “Prism,” which led to the Chinese government halting doing business with IBM, which in turn led to a decline in sales and IBM's stock price. The pension fund filed suit because of the drop in the stock price.
IBM in its own news release, countering the law firm's news release, said the pension fund is trying to connect the company's support for a legislation known as CISPA, which “would help protect companies from cyber attacks by encouraging the sharing of technical cyber threat information, such as malware code,” with the NSA's program. IBM says in its news release that it does not have any connection to Prism.
The pension fund is seeking to make the lawsuit a class action. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in New York, has a deadline of Feb. 10 for a motion for appointment as lead plaintiff.
IBM spokesman Doug Shelton did not return phone calls by press time, and Avi Josefson, partner at Bernstein Litowitz, declined further comment.