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Crime Government Software The Courts

Are Programmers Responsible For the Actions of Their Clients? 222

Posted by timothy
from the ok-now-let's-talk-tortkey dept.
Bobfrankly1 writes "Robert Stuart and his company Extensions Software are being charged by New York authorities, claiming he is promoting gambling in New York because of the actions of his clients. They are charging him after he rejected a plea agreement that would have him plead guilty to lesser charges, adding backdoors to his software, and using said backdoors to gather details on his clients and their customers." Another article on the case at Salon.
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Are Programmers Responsible For the Actions of Their Clients?

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  • Real reactionary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DarthBling (1733038) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:41PM (#42469073)
    This particular excerpt just helps to show how out of control things have gotten:

    The case began in February 2011, when Stuart says he and his wife got the Kim Dotcom treatment after about 30 local Arizona law enforcement agents wearing SWAT gear and camouflage dress — some of them with bushes attached to their shoulders to blend into the woods around his house — descended on his home and threatened to send him and his wife to prison for 35 years if he didn’t cooperate.

    The search warrant used in the raid said Stuart and his wife were engaged in money laundering, operating an illegal enterprise and engaging in the promotion of gambling. Stuart has tried to obtain a copy of the affidavit used to get the search warrant, but it’s currently sealed.


    Why yes of course, 30 Arizona SWAT agents to take down a husband and wife accused of online crimes in New York. Sounds about right. At the very least, SWAT got the right address and didn't shoot anybody's dog.
  • Wrong headline (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:45PM (#42469129)

    The real issue here is: Should software makers backdoor their programs for cops?

    Stuart showed Wired a plea agreement [wired.com] signed by former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney James Meadows, which stated that he would plead guilty to second- and fourth-degree money laundering charges and assist the DA's investigations by, among other things, "aiding in the design of software used to obtain records, usernames, passwords, and other information stored on websites using" his company's software.

    Illegal. Any evidence acquired by that software would not be usable in court.

  • That's kinda cool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:49PM (#42469183)

    It does mean the CIA is responsible for torture committed by 3rd-parties it transferred prisoners to, doesn't it ?

  • by tolkienfan (892463) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @07:03PM (#42469365) Journal

    Seriously? Who does it hurt?

  • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Thursday January 03, 2013 @11:12PM (#42471567)

    The ballot box comes first and we're still on that stage.

    I'm not sure that's the wisest course. If a bully slaps you, do you slap him back? No, you hit him with a baseball bat! Didn't you guys learn anything from the Cold War?!? You don't negotiate with bullies, FFS!

    Too bad your govt. has turned into a bully. Whattya gonna do about it, huh?

  • Re:No. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Friday January 04, 2013 @12:45AM (#42472303) Homepage

    No -- cheating would be telling everyone the odds are even when they are not. Anyone who plays at a casino game is totally aware that the house has an edge. Those people aren't being cheated -- they're gambling. Now it would be different if the casino advertised something along the lines of "players have a 5% edge over the house" but the truth was the opposite. Casinos don't do that though so nobody is being deceived (and if one did, then yes, they'd be cheaters and liars).

    I get that you don't like that setup, but your personal feelings don't change the character of the act of gambling when the odds don't favor you. It's still gambling, just not the smartest type. Secondly, how would the house stay in business and pay staff if the games were completely even? Statistically speaking, that business would be a bad bet, and under your thinking, it would be the customers that were cheaters and liars because the customers would have a much higher expectation of profit than the casino that had to pay staff, electricity, maintenance and capital costs -- and yet would only break even on bets over time. Plainly that's a recipe for losing money, so a totally 50/50 game in that sense would be totally unfair.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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