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Adult Website Use At Work Leads To Hacker Conviction 361

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the questions-of-reach dept.
safesorry notes that several sources are talking about a recent tale of woe about Richard Wolf, a lonely guy looking for love in all the wrong places. Wolf used his work computer to visit the Adult Friend Finder website and upload personal nudes to prospective "friends." Now he's been convicted under a "hacker" law targeted at employees who steal data or access information they shouldn't. "Richard Wolf acknowledged that his behavior was inappropriate when he used his work computer to upload nude photos of himself to an adult web site and view other photos on porn sites, but he didn't think he should be convicted of hacking for doing so."
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Adult Website Use At Work Leads To Hacker Conviction

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  • It's a typo (Score:5, Funny)

    by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:50PM (#27914805) Homepage Journal

    Should be a 'W' not an 'H'

  • What the fuck? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:51PM (#27914817)

    This is ridiculous.

    • Re:What the fuck? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by enderjsv (1128541) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:57PM (#27914899)

      Seriously. Abusing laws to prosecute people under ridiculous circumstances only serves to undermine those laws and weaken their effectiveness in dealing with the real crimes those laws were enacted to prevent.

      Whatever happened to those two girls charged with distribution of child porn for taking pictures of themselves and sending them to their boyfriends? This reminds me of that.

      • Re:What the fuck? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yahoo . c om> on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:00PM (#27914949) Homepage

        We don't live in a world where news organizations do follow-up.

        There's the sound bite. The 2 minute outrage. Then everyone forgets about it.

        Delivering the news is only profitable while the news is still new. Follow-up is just too boring to be profitable apparently.

        • Re:What the fuck? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:12PM (#27915113)

          Delivering the news is only profitable while the news is still new. Follow-up is just too boring to be profitable apparently.

          Then I hereby declare the formation of the 'Olds', which will only do pieces following up on old 'News'.

        • Re:What the fuck? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:32PM (#27915979)
          This is particularly true for anyone that finds themselves in the media spotlight for months and is hyped as being guilty. Even if mountains of evidence ends up being used to exonerate them the damage has already been done. The media isn't going to bother to spend months clearing their name. They get a 15 second update, "John Doe was innocent." Most people never even hear it. I feel the same way about the tiny section dedicated to corrections in printed publications.
          • Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @01:27AM (#27918191) Journal
            In the netherlands there was an attack by someone on the queen during a national holiday. He did it by driving a his suzuki swift into a crowd killing several people. AND HIMSELF. His death was well reported in the media.

            Yet some people are sending hate mail to a person whose picture was linked to the attacker by a newspaper and othe rpeople with similar names are receiving threaths. HELLO! The guy is DEATH! The moment your hate target answers the phone, and he answers, shouldn't that be a major clue that you got the wrong guy?

            No matter what you do, even if you forced newspapers to follow-up or print the complete truth for once, you could never eradicate the idiots.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I'm with you on this one. It would be nice to have better media. But we have the media that the masses want. Its what we choose to read and believe thats the problem. The general public don't buy or read things that are not sufficiently sensationalized. But heres the real catch. It doesn't matter how "concerned" or alarmed they are, about the only action you get out of these people is a few strong words about "issues" at the pub.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Chrisq (894406)

              The guy is DEATH! The moment your hate target answers the phone, and he answers, shouldn't that be a major clue that you got the wrong guy?

              Or even dead

              Anyway I have reliabe information that he is alive and well and currently playing poker with Princess Di and Elvis in a small town somewhere just East of Norwich in England.

        • Re:What the fuck? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by davidphogan74 (623610) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:56PM (#27916183) Homepage
          I think you meant the Two Minutes Hate [wikipedia.org].
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Your post is off-topic. The story is a followup. You might want to RTFA next time.

          An Ohio appellate court has upheld the felony hacking conviction of a man who was found guilty of unauthorized access for misusing his computer at work.

          This is on appeal. Not much more followup you can do than that.

      • Re:What the fuck? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:14PM (#27915153)

        Whatever happened to those two girls charged with distribution of child porn for taking pictures of themselves and sending them to their boyfriends? This reminds me of that.

        Nothing, yet.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124026115528336397.html [wsj.com]

    • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:15PM (#27915169)

      The case began when Larry Wise, the Superintendent of the Shelby City Wastewater Treatment Plant, where Wolf was employed, was deleting old files from a work computer and found a nude photograph of Wolf.

      and

      Initially he was suspended while police investigated the case, but was promoted after he returned to work. He lost his job, however, when he was convicted of the charges.

      The important question would be why his employer even phoned the police in the first place. This is one of those bizarre situations where it is obvious that the person was persecuted for a lifestyle choice and not for what he did or didn't do at work. As stated in the article, he would not have been prosecuted if he would have looked at horticultural Web sites [and uploaded pictures of flowers].

      • by SleepingWaterBear (1152169) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:05PM (#27916257)

        As stated in the article, he would not have been prosecuted if he would have looked at horticultural Web sites [and uploaded pictures of flowers].

        Mod parent up! The hacking charge isn't the important thing here, this is! The law is being used in an an unbalanced fashion to persecute someone not because of the crime he committed, but because he doesn't conform to the social norms of the leaders of his community. This is disturbingly close to burning people at the stake because they don't share your beliefs, and should not be tolerated.

        This man's life is going to be in chaos for years dealing with the results of this. The question to ask is, is that a fair punishment for someone who uploaded flower pictures from work?

        • by Tuoqui (1091447) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @03:59AM (#27918907) Journal

          1) He had legit access to the network. (as an Employee at the time)
          2) He went to a website that probably ends up on everyone's spam ads. (God damn I'm thankful for Adblock Plus)
          3) He stupidly posted a naked picture of himself. (Epically dumb move to do from the office)

          Sorry but no hacking here, just a good load of stupidity. Quite possibly against company internet access policy and what not likely resulting in him being fired from his job but under no circumstance should the guy have been thrown in jail.

      • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday May 11, 2009 @10:54PM (#27917157)

        As stated in the article, he would not have been prosecuted if he would have looked at horticultural Web sites [and uploaded pictures of flowers].

        Unless he worked for Monsanto.

  • Stupid Law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bellegante (1519683) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:53PM (#27914841)
    The idea that if someone does something you don't like, they have to be punished, even if you can't find a law that exactly names the thing you didn't like as a crime, is moronic.

    This is ten steps worse than I thought from the summary, though. The court decided that any use the company decided was felony 'hacking', at the companies discretion through the application of its internal policy, without requiring the company to actually install blocks against the usage!

    Let's let businesses come up with new felonies on the fly! Woo!
    • Re:Stupid Law (Score:5, Informative)

      by auLucifer (1371577) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:59PM (#27914939)
      I think it get's even worse then that

      FTFA: David Carto, the attorney who handled Wolf's appeal, told Threat Level that Wolf was prosecuted because authorities disapproved of the material he viewed online.
      "The reason he was prosecuted was clearly because of the content of what he was looking at," he said. "If somebody else had been on an internet site studying horticulture, I don't think he would have been prosecuted. It was not obscene. It was just something that was not approved of by certain elements of the city government and by the court in which he was tried. The prosecutor and the judge both treated this basically as a sex offense."

      So I read this that the judge and prosecution couldn't find an adequate sex offense charge, apart from consulting a dominatrix which is a misdemeanor, so they hit him with the best they could which happened to be the poorly worded anti-hacking law.

    • Re:Stupid Law (Score:5, Insightful)

      by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yahoo . c om> on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:03PM (#27914987) Homepage

      Extrapolate that policy to it's finality. A company can decide at any time to change their policy and any use they don't agree with, pornographic or not, becomes a felony.

      Watch out /.ers, it's a felony to browese at work now.

      • Re:Stupid Law (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bellegante (1519683) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:11PM (#27915097)
        Yes. Am I right in saying that if you commit a felony at work, and are terminated as a result, they don't have to pony up unemployment?

        Scenario: You want to fire an employee, and you really hate him to boot. Solution! Find a website he visits, change the policy, and send out a long rambling copy of the full policy that no one reads anyway, wait a month, get him jailed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fm6 (162816)

          If you're terminated "for cause", no unemployment. Don't matter if your misdeeds are felonious on just not compliant with the employee handbook.

          Incidentally, there have been many accusations that employers deliberately accuse employees of small infractions that would normally be no big deal, just so they can RIF them more cheaply.

    • Re:Stupid Law (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BaronHethorSamedi (970820) <thebaronsamedi@gmail.com> on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:11PM (#27915107)
      While I agree that this sort of law has the potential for abuse, I think the summary in this case overstates the matter.

      Quoted from the appellate court's opinion [wired.com]:

      Upon review, we find that the crux of the state's "unauthorized use" case was based on the proposition that Appellant was acting outside the scope of his authorization to use the computer by engaging in criminal conduct, i.e. soliciting prostitution.

      This wasn't so much about this guy sending naked pictures of himself as it was about him using his work computer to set up a rendez-vous with a dominatrix. The court determined that this was pretty obviously outside the boundaries of what you might reasonably expect to be able to do with your work computer.

      That said, it's troubling that a misdemeanor (solicitation) can get double-whammied into a felony because it's done on company time, and that that's apparently at the company's discretion. And the potential for abuse is there. It doesn't look like the guy advanced constitutional vagueness arguments (probably because this isn't a great case for that). Eventually someone will be fired for surfing /. at work. Then we'll have an interesting case. :)

      • While yes, the company was perfectly in their rights to fire him for publishing pornographic material, he was authorized to use the computer, he was authorized to access the internet, and he was authorized to send data. If I hop on my neighbor's wifi, no matter how they secure it (or leave it open) it may be a felony, depending on the state you are in. In Florida, its a class II felony. However, if your neighbor lets you on, you are authorized to do anything, including trade in CP, although if caught, your
    • Re:Stupid Law (Score:5, Informative)

      by ktappe (747125) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:34PM (#27915423)

      The idea that if someone does something you don't like, they have to be punished, even if you can't find a law that exactly names the thing you didn't like as a crime, is moronic.

      I'll take that a step further: It's evil. Using the law as a bludgeon and a personal retribution device instead of as a scalpel to rid society of true cancers is simply evil.

    • I couldn't tell from the article whether the guy represented himself, just said, "Yes, I did it," or had a total boob for a lawyer in trial court. The bottom line is that the facts regarding lack of an acceptable use policy should have been presented at trial. Regardless of what he did, if the city hadn't established a policy that personal use of a city computer was forbidden and other people had gotten away with similar actions (e.g., uploading pictures to say FaceBook), his actions were not illegal or i

  • If you do--at least if you're at work--you're committing a felony!

    Oops, too late.

  • Just fire him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brkello (642429) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:55PM (#27914869)
    I think losing your job would be punishment enough in this case.
    • by erroneus (253617)

      What company caused all this to come about? I'm sure that having this company made public as one that "might inadvertently result in your becoming a convicted felon meaning that you lose the right to vote and bear arms" might be useful information to people who might otherwise seek employment there.

      (And that has always been a sticking point for me... does the second amendment include an exception for convicted felons? How can any imposed restriction on a convicted felon's right to bear arms be constitutio

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      I think losing your job would be punishment enough in this case.

      Absolutely. What he did would not have been illegal from home. You can stand in front of a mirror and make your junk move in circles all day long. Do it on your front porch and you get busted for public indecency.

      If he's surfing porn from his cube, he can be fired. If he's sexually assaults a coworker, that's worth firing and prosecuting.

      It's like drinking. Drinking at home is legal. Getting so hammered I black out and lose days is legal so long as I do it on my own time. Showing up to work hung-over can ge

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:56PM (#27914887) Homepage Journal

    Every geek worth his geek-badge has bypassed the company web-filter. According to this law, that's hacking. That whole "theft of services from office" part was overturned but only because they couldn't show his work had actually suffered from his actions.. whereas if all you do at work is post on Slashdot and your work suffers, you could be charged with a crime.

    So yeah, basically, if you have an employer who is a big enough dick, most of us are criminals.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Every geek worth his geek-badge has bypassed the company web-filter.

      I've never been filtered, and given a choice I would go work somewhere else. Any human worth their salt wouldn't put up with being treated like a dipshit.

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        Umm.. corporates justify filtering by saying "if we don't do this we could be sued". They justify *everything* like that. And yeah, maybe you can stay working in little shops where they just don't give a shit.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          And yeah, maybe you can stay working in little shops where they just don't give a shit.

          Right, because Tivoli and Cisco are so fucking tiny that they just didn't give a shit, that must be it.

          In stead of excuses, make plans to move on to work for an employer who respects you.

  • WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:57PM (#27914905) Homepage Journal

    I agree with the guy that the was inappropriate behaviour, but get accused of hacking? Clearly the jury has no clue of technology and that the defense failed to make a credible point. I am just trying to imagine the prosecution's argument:

    "Sir, it is our belief that uploading an image from a computer he had access necessitated that he hack into a computer (that he had suitable access to), and upload to a password protected system (which he has legitimate access to), is a dangerous offense and could possibly result in the collapse of the economy"*.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      No.. you just didn't RTFA. The jury was presented with the law and most likely told what all juries are told "don't think for yourself, just blindly apply the law as written". The law specifically says that if you're using a computer for activity that you haven't been authorized to use it for then you're committing a felony. The thing that really should get him off is that they never published an acceptable use policy.

      • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:20PM (#27915229)

        Remember- jury nullification is a right our founding fathers supported.

        The appropriate answer to questions about jury nullification belief is "No" (because they really shouldn't be asking you that question in the first place and answering "Yes" would remove your right of nullifcation.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by anagama (611277)
          Jury nullification may be real, but it isn't a defense one can use and the odds of it happening in any particular case are probably so close to zero that one shouldn't ever expect it to save the day. This is America after all, populated largely by hordes of people who will gladly trade liberty for temporary safety from anything, including geeks looking to get laid.
  • FTA... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darundal (891860) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:58PM (#27914917) Journal
    He added that the city had never actually disseminated a policy regarding internet usage to tell workers what was inappropriate.

    "They had crafted one but they hadn't published it," he said. "So there was in effect no policy and no protections on the computer -- no password protection or filtering of any kind -- so basically anybody could access anything on the internet through the city's computer."

    And the statue he was convicted under:

    "No person, in any manner and by any means, including, but not limited to, computer hacking, shall knowingly gain access to, attempt to gain access to, or cause access to be gained to any computer, . . . without the consent of, or beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of, the owner of the computer, . . . or other person authorized to give consent."

    Righto.
    • by ktappe (747125)

      He added that the city had never actually disseminated a policy regarding internet usage...
      And the statue he was convicted under:
      "No person...without the consent of, or beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of, the owner of the computer..."

      There are only two conclusions that can be drawn from this:

      • The judge did not read/know the law,
        or
      • The judge is 100% aware that he handed the defendant's lawyer an appeal on a silver platter
  • if there ever was a definition of dumbass in the dictionary this guy is it!
    • I hear lots and lots of anecdotal stories about people using their work PCs to surf porn. I know somebody who lost his job because of it. Then you hear of cases where an employee -- and I mean big-level management, now, not just some schmuck -- turns a laptop in to IT because "it has viruses" and the IT staffers find that the hard drive is completely full of porn. Of course the exec protests: it must have been his kids getting into his computer. But sure enough, firewall logs show that it was probably all h

      • by creimer (824291)
        At my last job, the excuse was "foreign currency converter" websites (what the foreign currency was converted into was never mentioned).
      • Where I work, they'll just copy the porn for themselves and then wipe the drive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nethead (1563)

        No, it's because the wife and kids are at home. Mr Bigshot likely isn't the big-shot at home.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FudRucker (866063)
      before someone mods me down let me elaborite:

      when working for other people you dont go surfing porn, what if other people happen to see it and are offended? even children of other employees, true enough he should not be convicted of hacking but he should be fired! there are some things you just dont do at work and surfing pr0n is one of them, besides some of those adult websites are malicious and will try to tempt people in to installing malicious things such as malware, trojans and viruses, and chances
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by FooRat (182725)

      It's slightly dumb, but it's only as spectacularly dumb as you suggest if you honestly think he could've reasonably expected to be charged with a crime like this as a result. I think it's obvious that no reasonable person would expect that, and most people aren't aware of such laws either. It's only easy for you to see that because of the context you're reading it in, where you happen to know the harshness of the consequences.

      What this law says is that if your company has a policy somewhere in its fine prin

      • by FudRucker (866063)
        FooRat, you make a good point, i can not disagree with you, this law needs to be wiped off the books, too easily abused...
  • The article never discusses whether he took actions to circumvent existing filtering or firewalls. If he did, they yes he is guilty of the crime.
    • The article never discusses whether he took actions to circumvent existing filtering or firewalls. If he did, they yes he is guilty of the crime.

      "So there was in effect no policy and no protections on the computer -- no password protection or filtering of any kind -- so basically anybody could access anything on the internet through the city's computer." From TFA.

    • by jd (1658)

      To an extent, perhaps, but the jury seems to have been provided not with evidence of firewall bypassing but rather with material the jury was likely to find offensive.

      So, personally, although I have little sympathy for the guy, I believe the jury was emotionally manipulated to provide a guaranteed answer (a jury version of the leading question) rather than being provided with the facts of the case and the laws by which those facts should be examined.

      The techniques you hear of in legal cases are not much dif

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:25PM (#27915313)
    This is a classic example of an overly-broadly-worded law that is now being used to prosecute people to whom the law was never intended to apply.

    WHENEVER your Congresscritters -- or eve City Council -- want to pass a law that is too broadly worded, oppose it. I did once, and was told "It will never be enforced that way." My reply was, "If it is not intended to be enforced that way, why was it written that way?"

    When you give the government power to do something, eventually it will... even if that was not your intent. So make sure the intent is clear, and just do not give them powers that you do not intend them to use.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:26PM (#27915333) Homepage Journal

    Isn't any different, and i don't see any jail time associated with that sort of act.

  • by hurfy (735314) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:30PM (#27915379)

    I am still stuck at step one...

    They found a nude picture of an employee on a work computer and...call the cops?

    The cops and DA must be awfully friendly with the treatment plant bosses, i can't imagine calling that in from work here and getting any kind of coherent response from the cops. Especially as they didn't care about the employee that stole nearly $10,000 in merchandise because they couldn't 'prove' it. (apparently any one is likely to have a stack of adult diapers, foam bed pads, 20,000 latex gloves, etc in their garage just like their employer...)

  • by atarione (601740) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:32PM (#27915389)

    or is work the last place I want to have a boner

    "can you stand and give your presentation"

    ummm... no.....

  • If there are no published policies, demand that hard drives from the bosses and other people in the office to show that such conduct is not unusual.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:37PM (#27915453)

    Coworkers thought I was coughing up a lung. Damn cold.

  • They meant to charge him with "whacking".

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:42PM (#27915507) Homepage Journal

    I worked at a company of about 40 men and 2 women. One of the women was the owner's wife, the other was the receptionist.

    The receptionist was a "geek girl" and hung out on some overclocker forums, and so did a bunch of the guys. This girl decides it would be fun to post naked pictures of herself on this forum. The guys totally fell for the bait and started inviting guys who were not on this forum to come over to their computer and have a look. This went on for a few days and eventually my supervisor happened to get invited to take a peek.

    No-one really considered that my supervisor was a part owner in the company. I mean, they knew, but they never really thought that he would be more interested in protecting his stake in the company than being "one of the boys". He was shocked that these idiots were passing around naked pictures of a fellow employee (they weren't but hey, close enough) so he went straight to the boss. The forum was blocked.

    Everyone who had looked at the pictures was suspended for a week without pay. One of them complained about this, saying that they didn't put the pictures on the site, that this girl did, and why wasn't she being suspended? He was told to drop it, wouldn't, so he was fired.

    Later, they had a quiet word with the girl and recommended she not come back after xmas.. and she agreed.

    Thankfully the courts were not involved.

    Sexual harassment laws make hostile workplaces.

  • n SC we are very liberal and accepting of diversity. Our local county administrator used his work computer for some naughty activities and was issued a "verbal warning".

    The councilman who outed him by putting spyware on his system is in deep doo-doo.

    http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009905050317 [greenvilleonline.com]

  • and poorly worded. You can be charged as a hacker just by surfing the wrong web site.

    I remember when my managers couldn't tell the difference between MSN and MSDN, and they even paid for a subscription to MSDN for us developers to use. I went on MSDN looking up for bug fixes, service packs, and anything else to help with my development and debugging duties. I was told that my use of the Internet was against usage policies (it wasn't it was work related and computer development related materials from Microso

  • "Authorization" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:00PM (#27915681) Homepage Journal

    DMCA uses the same trick. Circumvention (a thing you're never allowed to do) is defined as bypassing blah blah blah "without authorization."

    Which sort of almost makes sense, except that the body that makes this law, isn't the party that grants/denies authorization, nor sets up a regulatory agency to do so. It's a third party, a private party. Who decides if you may or may not bypass a technological measure that limits access? Who decides when you can upload a nude picture of yourself? Not the government, not the people's elected representatives; they haven't prohibited or allowed either activity. Someone else decides.

    BTW, the decision of granting/denying authorization need not ever even be communicated. It's bad enough that reading the legislation and case law won't tell you whether an act is illegal; the party who decides whether it's illegal or not, need not even tell you. In this particular case (uploading nudie pics to a hookup site), it seems .. well .. obvious that the user wasn't authorized to use the computer for that (though I guess sometimes "obvious" is in the eye of the beholder), but the end of TFA talks about how the policy was drafted but not distributed -- yet it was still enough for a conviction.

    You might think that the safe thing to do, is always assume you don't have authorization to do something, unless you know that you do. Surely that makes sense, right? Nope. Look at any of your DVDs. Does a single one of them say you're allowed to bypass the protection? Every DVD player, even the DVDCCA-licensed ones, bypasses the protection. What you don't know, is whether that's circumvention or not -- whether your act of bypassing the protection was authorized or not. Millions of people have played DVDs. These things are for sale in mainstream brick'n'mortar stores. And if push comes to shove, no one who has ever used one, can prove they didn't break the law. All the copyright holder has to say, is "That wasn't authorized" and the case is open and shut.

    Back to computer abuse acts: are you authorized to load example.com's page on someone else's computer? You probably don't know, and common sense might not help you.

    When will you find out? When you ask what crime you've just been charged with. By then, it's too late. They came after this guy for uploading nudie pics. Piss them off, and they can get you for loading example.com's web page.

    Congress has effectively ceded political power (!!) by letting these third parties, not Congress themselves and not the courts, decide whether a criminal act has occurred.

    And we call this "law." Wow.

  • wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moxley (895517) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:48PM (#27916625)

    You know, reading this stuff just really pisses me off.

    It's just like that Lori Drew case, This case seems to be yet another attempt at turning corporate policies into defacto laws - it's an element of encroaching corporatism (aka fascism); except I don't think this guy is a real piece of shit; where Lori Drew certainly seems to be, but I still think she never should have been charged - certainly violating a website's TOS is NOT a crime.

    I think people need to really fight against these cases and precedents because the selective abuse of vaguely written overly broad laws like this for political purposes is starting to get out of control ...And there is a small part of me that thinks somebody needs to show the "Shelby Ohio Wastewaste Treatment Plant" what hacking really is; so that they fucking KNOW they've been hacked and will never make the mistake of confusing someone doing what a fairly large percentage of employees do all over the world with HACKING again......

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:01AM (#27921305)

    Of which there are none.

    Odds are his employer blocks those kind of sites.

    Yes simply visiting them would be inappropriate, but not hacking.

    However, if you were unable to visit them due to your network security infrastructure, and to do so circumvented your network security then yes, that is hacking.

    Likely it was something simple like setting up a proxy at home, and doing it that way. Who knows perhaps he using something a bit more exotic. In this way he would compromise the security of his employers shared network for his own personal use.

    There are a lot of websites that get blocked like facebook (thank god not slashdot!), and I have thought about doing this myself. Then again I am not stupid enough to actually do it. I will re-evaluate my decision when and if they decide to block slashdot (which won't happen anyway, as likely the network IT folks like access as well).

    Anyway the guy is an idiot to be looking at this sort of thing at work...

  • by ffflala (793437) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:40AM (#27921935)

    The trial court's decision was upheld by the OH intermediate court of appeals. This case screams for an appeal up to the OH Supreme Court. The statute as applied here seems to fit right into the void-for-vagueness doctrine, which the US Supreme Court described as follows:

    "Vague laws offend several important values. First, because we assume that man is free to steer between lawful and unlawful conduct, we insist that laws give the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly. Vague laws may trap the innocent by not providing fair warnings. Second, if arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is to be prevented, laws must provide explicit standards for those who apply them. A vague law impermissibly delegates basic policy matters to policemen, judges, and juries for resolution on an ad hoc and subjective basis, with the attendant dangers of arbitrary and discriminatory applications." Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, 108 -09 (1972), quoted in Village of Hoffman Estates v. The Flipside, 455 U.S. 489, 498 (1982).

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment14/15.html#f8 [findlaw.com]

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