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The Courts Government Security News

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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  • WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday May 11, 2009 @05:57PM (#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"*.

  • FTA... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darundal (891860) on Monday May 11, 2009 @05:58PM (#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.
  • Re:Stupid Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by auLucifer (1371577) on Monday May 11, 2009 @05:59PM (#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:Just fire him (Score:4, Informative)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:05PM (#27915025) Homepage Journal

    No company. He was working for the state, the "Shelby City Wastewater Treatment Plant".

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

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:14PM (#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]

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:15PM (#27915161) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by PAjamian (679137) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:27PM (#27915345)

    dominatrix != prostitute as usually there is no actual sex involved, hence prostitution laws do not apply.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:28PM (#27915347)
    The problem wasn't that he was fired, it was that he was charged with a hacking felony for something that wasn't related to hacking.
  • Re:Stupid Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by ktappe (747125) on Monday May 11, 2009 @06:34PM (#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.

  • Re:Stupid Law (Score:3, Informative)

    by fm6 (162816) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:01PM (#27915699) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:18PM (#27915857)
    Did anyone actually read the ruling? Of course not. It's also too much to expect the person who wrote the article to properly summarize it. "{14} "i. The trial court erred by overruling defendant-appellant's motion for a directed verdict of acquittal as to the charge of unauthorized access of a computer, as there was insufficient evidence to establish the elements of a violation of ohio revised code section 2913.04(b). ""
  • by maxfresh (1435479) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:29PM (#27916447)
    I read the ruling, and I think that you're mistaken, and that the article actually has it right. The paragraph (14) that you are quoting is merely the defendant's claim of trial court error, or "Appelant's first assignment of error" which forms the basis for his appeal from the verdict. It is not the ruling of the appeals court. The court ruled against him on that point, as you can see in their decision at paragraphs 48-54:

    Richland County, Case No. 08 CA 16 12
    {48} In Appellant's first assignment of error, he argues that the trial court erred in overruling his motion for acquittal on the charge of unauthorized access of a computer. We disagree.

    {49} Appellant was charged and convicted of unauthorized use of computer or telecommunication property, in violation of R.C. 2913.04, which provides, in relevant part:

    {50} "(A) No person shall knowingly use or operate the property of another without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent.

    {51} "(B) 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, computer system, computer network, cable service, cable system, telecommunications device, telecommunications service, or information service without the consent of, or beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of, the owner of the computer, computer system, computer network, cable service, cable system, telecommunications device, telecommunications service, or information service or other person authorized to give consent."

    {52} 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.

    {53} Having found that the State presented evidence Appellant used his computer to upload nude pictures of himself onto adult dating sites and to access certain pornographic websites to support the charge of solicitation, in addition to using his computer to engage in the criminal act of solicitation, we find such conduct was "beyond the scope of the express or implied consent and the charge of "unauthorized use of a computer" was based upon sufficient evidence.

    {54} Accordingly, Appellant's first assignment of error is overruled
  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:43PM (#27916565)

    I think also, it's probably a matter of a supervisor just being an Authority figure (an Authoritarian figure; i.e. using and abusing his Authority just because he thinks he can). Sorta like some security guards and police officers can be overly enthusiastic in telling people what they can't do. I think the wrong person got punished here.

    I remember writing up an assignment in a "business" class once where I recommended that a hypothetical character in the assigned problem be given counseling and a second chance. The teacher asked if she could share this assignment with the class and it received a standing ovation after she finished reading my paper. Other similar experiences like this happened to me (and not anybody else in the school that I am aware of) in other business classes with other teachers. In the real world I end up being put on the shortlist for layoffs and, in at least one situation, somebody noticed suggestions in the suggestion box sitting unanswered and unread for many months. I guess that's why they refer to school as "the ivory tower". I've even had one (workplace) supervisor say that I have poor English skills. (I've been ranked as having a near perfect IQ in the communications section on IQ tests... and I've had many, from schools, companies and the military). Go figure. I'll take my Mod points when I can get them -:)

  • News with less crap (Score:3, Informative)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @01:44AM (#27918553) Journal

    Sheesh, where do you get your news - no sports!?

    Try the Economist magazine: no sports section, no horoscope, no celebrity gossip columns, no tips on cooking or motorbike maintenance. It's almost like reading just the news and informed comment on the news.

  • Re:What the fuck? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ShadowBlasko (597519) <shadowblasko@nOspam.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @06:30AM (#27919929) Homepage
    Well, our 2nd most publicized "Sexting" case finished yesterday here in Cincinnati.
    In a stunning case of "The guy must be the bad influence" the girl who took the pics was given probation and ordered to write a paper, her friend who sent the pics was not charged, and the guy who RECEIVED the pics was put under house arrest.
    All minors, and yes... you read that right.

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090511/NEWS0107/305110014/Mason+teens+sentenced+for++sexting+ [cincinnati.com] Here is the link.

    (Sorry for the lack of HTML, stuck at work)

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