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French Power Company Fined For Hacking Greenpeace 196

Posted by samzenpus
from the rubber-boat-envy dept.
judgecorp writes "Electricite de France (EDF) which uses nuclear reactors to generate the majority of France's electricity, has been found guilty of hacking into Greenpeace computers in 2006. EDF has been fined fined €1.5 million and ordered to pay Greenpeace a further half a million euros, for what the judge described as an act of 'industrial scale espionage.'"
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French Power Company Fined For Hacking Greenpeace

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  • Um, OK. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Millennium (2451) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:29AM (#38048528) Homepage

    As long as this rule applies both ways -i.e. if Greenpeace were to hack into the computers if some other company, they would be fined a more or less equal amount- then I can't say I see any problem with it.

    • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cream wobbly (1102689) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:38AM (#38048632)

      If by "equal" you mean "of equal impact", then yes, they probably would be fined €15 and be ordered to pay a further €5 to the victim.

      • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Millennium (2451) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:39AM (#38048648) Homepage

        What you describe is an unfair system: different parties play by different rules based on a factor of no relevance to the matter at hand.

        In a fair system, everyone plays by the same rules, and that's the type of system I'm talking about here.

        • Re:Um, OK. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DinDaddy (1168147) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:50AM (#38048774)

          How is the degree to which the penalty discourages the behavior not relevant?

          Your claim of its irrelevance is wrong.

          • by Millennium (2451)

            How is your assumption that several million dollars won't make a corporation blink relevant, or even for that matter anything but absurd? Contrary to your crassly class-envious beliefs, even a corporation will blink at a penalty like that.

        • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by trum4n (982031) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:53AM (#38048818)
          But it's not fair to fine a citizen the same as a corporation. You could empty my bank accounts, and the corp wouldn't even notice that amount of money. So you can ruin a persons life, or fine a company effectively nothing, with the same dollar value. Fine me 10,000$, you better fine Exxon 25+ billion.
          • Re:fine a Citizen (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:48PM (#38050058) Journal

            Aren't the citizens getting fined more than Corps?

            So "Industrial Espionage" is only worth a penalty of a million or two but Anonymous hackers are Terrorists for Life?

            Remember that Corporations are People? How did Corps manage to NOT get on the Terrorist Lists?!

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I think you're missing the point: corporations are people *when it suits them*

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            How's that different than a speeding ticket? Ever notice that the speeders on the interstate are almost always driving late model luxury cars? That $150 fine is way too high for me to afford, but for someone who spends $500 on a necktie that $150 fine is of less economic consequence than my buying a beer at a tavern.

            I agree that it isn't moral, but the laws are written by the rich, so don't expect much morality.

        • by bentcd (690786)

          "Either would get fined 1M" isn't obviously any more fair than "either would get fined into bankruptcy (alternatively some percentage thereof which is probably more to the point here)".

          Variations over "fined into bankruptcy" are essentially just the financial equivalents to either death sentence or life imprisonment, depending on how you look at it.

          • by dwpro (520418)

            Variations over "fined into bankruptcy" are essentially just the financial equivalents to either death sentence or life imprisonment, depending on how you look at it.

            I don't think so. Many companies get a second life when they reanimate: IE: Blackwater->Xe. I'd liken it more to, well, bankruptcy.

        • by s73v3r (963317)

          No, his system is far more fair. Fining this company 2 million Euros has a far different impact than if, say, an average household was fined 2 million Euros. One is going to be able to absorb the costs. The other one has absolutely no chance of doing so.

      • I just spent 20 frustrating minutes at the Greenpeace web site and couldn't find their budget.

        Finally I just googled "Greenpeace budget" and was surprised to not find it declared anywhere by them. I'm not saying they keep it secret, but man, it sure isn't easy to find.

        I did find some site called "activistcash.com" ,which sounded pro-activist, but had this odd phrase:

        "its Amsterdamits Amsterdam-based activist moguls pull the strings on what is estimated to be a $360 million global empire."

        The "radio free eu

    • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:38AM (#38048634) Journal
      So far from my observation if a private individual hacks, the private individual risks going to prison.

      Whereas if a corporation does it there's no prison time involved for any of the people involved.

      I think prison time would discourage both private individuals and individuals acting on behalf of corporations.
      • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:43AM (#38048682)

        if corporations 'are people' then they should GO TO JAIL like people when caught breaking the law.

        it would be fun as hell to design what it means to be a corp 'in prison'. wouldn't it be fun?? imagine how we could stick it, back, to all the fucked up corps who have gotton away with bloody murder (or nearly so) over the years.

        the thing is, justice is owned by the state and the state is now owned by corps. don't expect ANY justice toward corps. not until after some revolution (...) comes, anyway.

        • The best analogy that I can think of for a corporate prison is placing the company under extremely tight restrictions on financial contracts

          I.e. not allowed to make any new contracts or service existing contacts.

          What is prison if not an artificial limit on the social interactions of the prisoner with the rest of society.

          The trouble with that of course is that the actions of a few higher executive officers would most adversely affect the rank and file employee and would likely be a death sentence for an
          • by s73v3r (963317)

            I would think they'd have to be able to service existing contracts, otherwise there would be absolutely no reason for them to exist. I do like the extremely tight controls on what they can charge, and what they can do with their profit. For one, VPs and other C level officers cannot leave the company. Second, their pay is slashed, and they get no bonuses or options as long as the company is in jail. The company cannot issue any more stock. Any profit they make, half of it is taken away. They are also not al

          • by sjames (1099)

            The closest analogy would be that the corporation is forcibly converted to be a non-profit for the period of a natural person's sentence plus a percentage (since an ex-con will require years after serving a sentence to be anything like solvent again). Meanwhile, executive salaries get set to the highest non-management position's salary with no bonuses of any kind. Golden parachutes are null and void (since the executives certainly could and should have prevented the criminal behavior).

            Once paroled, the comp

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          if corporations 'are people' then they should GO TO JAIL like people when caught breaking the law.

          I think the GP was pointing out that they don't. It was a reference to XCP, the trojan that Sony surreptuously installed on PCs that played their BMG CDs. I was a victim, my computer was completely trashed. I think Sony's CEO should have spent more time than Kevin Mitnik, since they hacked far more computers than Mitnik did. But nobody spent a day in the pokey, not even a singlt lowly Sony employee.

      • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Informative)

        by data2 (1382587) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:43AM (#38048688)

        To be fair, this incident resulted in several people getting prison time.

        • and yet the corporation continued to do business, they paid a fine and didn't do any time.

          Therein lies the problem with corporate citizen-hood. Can you tell the corporation to stop doing business for 3 years while they are in prison?
          • by Tim C (15259)
            Yes, in much the same way that when an individual is imprisoned you don't send their friends and family down too. Shutting down the corporation hurts all its employees and their families, as well as the guilty parties.
            • Perhaps because the family and friends didn't play a part in the crime? The 'corporation' here was fined, not individuals. Hence the 'corporation' itself was punished...how do you imprison a corporation? Obviously you can't. So perhaps...we shouldn't be so willfully giving them the 'rights' of personhood without the correlated punishments...
            • by s73v3r (963317)

              It would be possible to liquidate most of the company's assets, and use that to pay the employees for up to a year while they find other employment. And such an action would start at the bottom, not the top. Those making the least amount in the company would be the first to get paid.

            • by makapuf (412290)

              Except that iirc this is a mostly state owned company. Recursivity prison ?

        • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Informative)

          by kiwimate (458274) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:00PM (#38049546) Journal

          I usually feel obliged to defend France (I think they get a raw deal, especially from Americans who can't see past the last 80 years of history and forget how the French contributed during the American revolution), but in this particular context I'm cynical. I grew up in New Zealand, and was living in Auckland the night the Rainbow Warrior [wikipedia.org] was bombed. The two official French secret agents were sentenced to 10 years, served two, and most of that was in a tropical resort. They've since received medals and accolades from the government, both been promoted, written books...basically made out like heroes from this.

          I won't claim to speak for all my fellow kiwis, but this is about the only incident that I hold a grudge over and think was never handled fairly.

          • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Swanktastic (109747) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:35PM (#38049940)

            I know this is Slashdot, but the French contributing to the success of the American Revolution was 100% done out of self-interest. The Bourbons loved democracy in the same way Americans loved radical Islam when we gave Afghanistan freedom fighters Stingers to shoot down Russian helicopters. And it came back and bit them in the tail in a much more dramatic and bloody way.

            • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by oobayly (1056050) on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:44PM (#38050744)

              Likewise, the US had no interest in becoming involved in WWII until Pearl Harbour (or at least until Hitler declared war on the USA four days later) - over 2 years since the start of the war in Europe. Don't get me wrong, I can see why, after the loss of 110,000 soldiers in WWI.

              It's common for some Americans to go on about how we'd all be speaking German if it wasn't for them, so I think it's only fair for them to be reminded that it's quite possible they'd still be speaking the Queen's English and drinking warm beer if it weren't for the French.

              Like Britain petitioning the USA to enter WWII, Benjamin Franklin actively petitioned for support in France in 1776 - the only difference was that the French covertly entered the American War of Independence before formally recognising the USA two years later - causing Britain to declare war on France.

              • Like Britain petitioning the USA to enter WWII, Benjamin Franklin actively petitioned for support in France in 1776 - the only difference was that the French covertly entered the American War of Independence before formally recognising the USA two years later - causing Britain to declare war on France.

                Then there's not really any difference then. We had entered the war long before Pearl Harbor. We already were drafting men into the army. We were trading destroyers to Britain for bases. We had established the

          • by T.E.D. (34228)

            ...and was living in Auckland the night the Rainbow Warrior [wikipedia.org] was bombed. The two official French secret agents were sentenced...

            That was the first thing I thought of too. What exactly does France have against Greenpeace anyway? Its almost as if they want to beat up on somebody, but don't feel compentent enough to pick on anyone but the one scrawny little kid off in the corner eating paste.

        • Dude,

          Some exec got jailed.

      • Re:Um, OK. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Smallpond (221300) on Monday November 14, 2011 @12:12PM (#38049018) Homepage Journal

        So far from my observation if a private individual hacks, the private individual risks going to prison.

        Whereas if a corporation does it there's no prison time involved for any of the people involved.

        I think prison time would discourage both private individuals and individuals acting on behalf of corporations.

        Under US law, corporations shield the owners from financial loss, not criminal behavior. A person commits a crime and goes to jail regardless of whether they acted on behalf of a corporation. The executives at Enron were all charged with fraud, for example. This case is under French law, tho.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Under U.S. practice, unless the crime is truly infamous, the corporation pays an insignificant fine and the matter is declared settled.

          Nobody at Sony went to jail for their little rootkit debacle in spite of infecting DoD computers.

    • Let us know when Greenpeace is convicted of something like this.
  • by itchythebear (2198688) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:30AM (#38048540)

    I didn't read the article yet, but 1.5 million euros seems like kind of a slap on the wrist for a power company. They'll prob make that much profit just from people using their computers to read this slashdot story (ok, that's kind of a hyperbole, but you get the idea). If this was "industrial scale espionage" like the summary said, you'd think there would be more than just a "small" fine for punishment.

    • Re:Kinda low (Score:5, Informative)

      by itchythebear (2198688) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:33AM (#38048572)
      Whoops, I jumped the gun

      FTFA:

      The judge sentenced Pierre-Paul François, who was EDF’s deputy head of nuclear production security in 2006 to three years imprisonment, with 30 months suspended. Meanwhile his boss, Pascal Durieux, who was EDF’s head of nuclear production security in 2006, was also sentenced to three years imprisonment, two years suspended, and a 10,000 euros (£8,500) fine for apparently commissioning the spying operation.

      and

      As a result of this, the French judge issued a guilty verdict in the case of Thierry Lorho, the head of Kargus Consultants. The former member of France’s secret services was sentenced to three years in jail, with two suspended and a €4,000 (£3,450) fine. EDF was also ordered to pay €50,000 (£42,800) to Jadot.

    • The involved executives also got a suspended sentence of 3 years' worth of jail time.
      • Yeah, anytime I start a comment out with "I didn't read the article yet, but..." I should probably realize I'm about to spout out some nonsense. /facepalm

      • Of course giving someone a suspended sentance of jail time is very different from actually giving them jail time.

  • And yet... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:31AM (#38048548)

    If the situation were reversed... Greenpeace would be declared terrorists and alot of people would be tossed in jail for a long long time.

    Once again the lesson is.. If you wanna be a criminal. Start a company first.

    • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:45AM (#38048720)

      quite OT but slightly humorous: if you are an adult and pay to have sex with an adult, that's a crime.

      EXCEPT when you are a corporation and are filming it. then its 100% perfectly legal.

      corps have more rights than people. they actually do.

      • Well actually it's only officially legal in California I think. The laws in other states are quite fuzzy and enforcement is even fuzzier.

        • by Pope (17780)

          Damn, I thought everyone had gone to HD by now. (Memories of watching scrambled Playboy channel shows in the 80s...)

      • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Swanktastic (109747) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:43PM (#38050004)

        http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2845/why-arent-porn-actors-charged-with-prostitution [straightdope.com]

        The key quote FTA:
        But in 1988 his conviction was overturned by the California Supreme Court, which cited precedent establishing that "for [an act] to constitute 'prostitution,' the genitals, buttocks, or female breast, of either the prostitute or the customer must come in contact with some part of the body of the other for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the customer or of the prostitute" [emphasis added]. The court found that the "payment of acting fees was the only payment involved in the instant case. . . . There is no evidence that [Freeman] paid the acting fees for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, his own or the actors'." Thus, no prostitution.

    • RTFA please, two people got jail for this. Contrary to Greenpeace that can get away with causing real damage like chaining themselves to shit.

  • Why 70-30 in favor of the government? Was the government harmed more than the defendant?

  • I thought the French could literally get away with murder as far as Greenpeace were concerned.

    A bit off topic, but an entirely new and very cool method of fingerprint detection using lasers was developed which led to the arrest of the French agents that planted the bomb on a Greenpeace ship some years ago. It's a pity they didn't get to serve their prison sentence.
    • The Rainbow Warrior was attacked in a way that was supposed to have no civilian casualties. What the French could have quite legally have done is waited for the Rainbow Warrior and the yachts it was bringing to illegally enter French territorial waters to disrupt legitimate weapons testing is have their navy open fire on them.

      That's not murder. Murder assumes the attack had no legitimate right to attack. If Greenpeace had disrupted the French military's operations, they would have been quite legally justifi

      • by dbIII (701233)

        The Rainbow Warrior was attacked in a way that was supposed to have no civilian casualties.

        A very large quantity of explosives? There's no point trying to pretend that it's OK to use deadly force if you don't actually mean to kill anyone. I assume you are in the USA. Consider what would happen if a foreign power tried the same thing in the USA today. I know it happened in Reagan's time with Orlando Letelier getting blown up in Washington D.C. but what would happen now?
        It appears we are straying a little

        • by kiwimate (458274) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:05PM (#38049620) Journal

          Consider what would happen if a foreign power tried the same thing in the USA today.

          ...in Baltimore Harbor. The Rainbow Warrior wasn't blown up at sea; this occurred in harbor in the largest city in the country, with a lot of other completely unrelated ships and their personnel in the vicinity.

        • by H0p313ss (811249)

          I know it happened in Reagan's time with Orlando Letelier getting blown up in Washington D.C.

          I had never heard of this, which surprised me. So I looked it up, turns out it was 1976 so you're off by a decade and two presidents, Ford was president in 1976.

          The reason I had not heard of this was that I was 7 years old in 1976 and not aware of much outside of cartoons.

  • The French are one of the world leaders in the field of industrial espionage. This should not be a surprise.

  • Because Greenpeace is well known for their entirely benevolent and respectful code of conduct that does not resort to any dirty tricks.
  • Industrial sabotage? Turnabout is fair play. That's what Greenpeace has been doing to multiple industries for decades.

  • by Jiro (131519) on Monday November 14, 2011 @12:42PM (#38049360)

    Because, of course, Greenpeace's activities are fully legal.

    Think of EDF's hacking as civil disobedience aimed at Greenpeace. They're violating the law in a nonviolent (but potentially harmful) way to fight someone that they don't like. Greenpeace is also in the business of violating the law in a nonviolent (but potentially harmful) way to fight someone that they don't like. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday November 14, 2011 @01:08PM (#38049644) Homepage Journal

      Really?
      Okay I am no fan of Geenpeace at all. I do not think their tactics and often their goals are correct.
      However...
      EDF is a heavily regulated utility company that is responsible for the running of nuclear facilites. They should without a doubt be held to an extremely high standard when it comes to following laws and regulations.
      Greenpeace is a bunch of hippies that think they are doing good. Just as their is no room for Police officers and the military to be allowed to commit institutional acts of civil disobedience there can be no room for EDF to do the same.
      Plus I am sure that Greenpeace members have spent the night in jail in the past and will again.

    • 1)
      The EDF is a heavily government tied organization! They are an essential service and a monopoly power PLUS their hands in government gives them more influence than most elected individuals.
      If EDF is functionally a form of government then it is nowhere near what is thought of as civil disobedience because its a gov backed corp.

      2)
      Civil disobedience is a subtle definition; its not literally breaking some laws:
      That wasn't robbery, I was doing "civil disobedience" that wasn't trespassing it was "civil disobedi

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