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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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  • 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: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: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: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: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:wow! just wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:20PM (#27915243)
    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 are he was running an POS OS that has been famous for being vulnerable to just such attacks for well over a decade, i wont name names but this OS comes out of Redmond Washington...
  • 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.

  • by Tokolosh (1256448) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:48PM (#27915565)

    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]

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:24PM (#27915921) Homepage
    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.
  • 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:Stupid Law (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:57PM (#27916191) Journal
    I love this:
    "unauthorized access to a computer, a felony; theft of services in office (essentially for depriving the city of his paid services while he conducted the unauthorized activities on a city computer on city time), which is also a felony;"

    So basically he got 15 months for goofing off at work. Think I know quite a few city officials that should be serving life sentences.

    Oh but that's not the best part:
    "On the misdemeanor solicitation charge, he was sentenced to 60 days"

    He only got 2 months for ordering a prostitute ;)

    I think Ohio is trying to become the next Florida.
  • Re:Stupid Law (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:08PM (#27916279) Journal
    "while the State presented evidence Appellant spent approximately 100 hours over a five month-period utilizing internet websites that were not related to his job"

    So he spent less than 1 hour of a 8 hour day surfing porn (5 work days in a week x 4.34 weeks in a month [google.com] x 5 months = 108.5). That's not hard to do....

    Here's the WTF part:
    "He said his client was a good worker and had even been promoted after his supervisors found the pictures. 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."

    sounds like a huge fishing expedition, who'd he piss off in gov't? Was the mayor's daughter the dominatrix?
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday May 11, 2009 @10:06PM (#27916775)

    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.

    This is not just the government that does this, it applies to *everything*.

    In 1998 I worked for an ISP startup. The contract from our fibre provider had words to the effect of "you will not re-sell the service". I told the management that *everything* we were planning was a violation. He went back to the telco rep who told him "oh, don't worry, that's just if you're planning on selling fibre to others, that sort of thing. We'd never attempt to use that clause to stop you from providing dialup or DSL." I responded that even though the intent was one thing, the effect was something else, but was overruled.

    Three years later when it came time to renew the contract, the new telco rep told us "oh - we had no idea you would be selling dialup and DSL.. you're clearly in violation of the contract! If you're gonna re-sell the service, we'll have to renegotiate the contract, our prices start at 10X your current amount."

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday May 11, 2009 @10:42PM (#27917055) Homepage Journal

    Really? A girl puts naked pictures of herself on the internet. She has no problem with her co-workers looking at them. Said co-workers only show the pictures to people who are similarly minded. The fear of litigation causes the girl to lose her job and the co-workers get reprimanded, one of them gets fired too. How can you not come to the conclusion that the law did more harm than good?

  • by PAjamian (679137) on Monday May 11, 2009 @11:01PM (#27917231)

    Actually my wife and I are lifestylers. A bullwhip is just one of the many toys in our collection.

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

    by AGMW (594303) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @07:57AM (#27920085) Homepage
    Hence the phrase:
    Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb

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