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Publicly Shaming Laptop Thieves Catches Bystanders in the Crossfire 372

nonprofiteer writes "Embarrassing thieves by exposing them using laptop recovery software makes for fun tech stories, but what about a case of a person being literally exposed after cops and a software company got their hands on naked photos she exchanged with her long-distance boyfriend, not realizing the machine was stolen? (She bought it for $60 so she should have known, but still). The case is going to trial in Ohio in September. The plaintiffs argue that the software company had the right to get the computer's location in order to recover it, but that it should not have intercepted the nude photos and shared those with the cops. Seems like a legitimate complaint and the plaintiffs are especially sympathetic in not realizing the device was stolen."
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Publicly Shaming Laptop Thieves Catches Bystanders in the Crossfire

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @04:42PM (#37257824)

    Regardless of what she did with the laptop, it was definitely stolen. So, because of this, knowingly possessing stolen goods is a crime almost anywhere.

    She is either completely clueless, or just whining because she got busted when she failed to wipe the laptop before using it.

  • Re:Evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mr1911 ( 1942298 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @05:08PM (#37258132)
    This isn't wiretapping. This is like a criminal complaining that your security camera footage of them breaking into your house is somehow a violation of their rights.

    Actually, this specific case is like someone believing they bought your house for $600 and then complaining your security camera caught them having sex in the pool.

    And while we're here...

    That's not true, while the 4th amendment only prevents the government from doing it, every state in the union has its own wiretap law on the books which bars this sort of covert surveillance.

    The 4th Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, preserves the rights of citizens by limiting the power of the federal government. There is nothing in the 4th Amendment that says I cannot take steps to monitor my property to ensure it's return if/when stolen.

  • Re:Evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @06:13PM (#37258866) Homepage Journal

    She did not expect the authorities and 3rd party people she didn't authorize to see them.

    Of course you people have no grasp of reality, practicality, or that other people besides yourself matters, so I don't actually expect you to see a grey area.

    And your feeble conclusion regarding copyright of the pictures is, quite frankly, mind numbing stupid.

  • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @07:39PM (#37259674)

    She did not expect the authorities and 3rd party people she didn't authorize to see them. Of course you people have no grasp of reality,

    Several years ago, many people started using these new-fangled things called "cell phones". For reasons I will never understand, people who were talking into a small box with an antenna on the top of it didn't grasp the concept of "radio", and that if their little box with an antenna on the top of it could receive and reproduce sounds from a distance there might be other little boxes that could receive and reproduce the same sounds. They did not expect anyone but the person whose phone number they had dialled into the little box to actually hear what they were saying.

    This was back in the days when people still had other little boxes with antennas on the top that would reproduce sounds (and marvel of marvels, even pictures!) from a distance. It's not like "radio" should be a foreign concept to anyone. And yet, to these people, it was.

    What was the solution to the problem of people thinking that nobody else could hear them talking on a radio? Was it to ENCRYPT the radio signal so nobody could understand what was being said? Oh, no. The only solution was to make listening to their signals illegal, and to make it illegal for other radios to be able to receive those signals.

    So today, when it is almost trivial to build wideband receivers to add functionality to radios, we have laws that force manufacturers to cut large sections out of the available coverage, even after the functions of those frequencies are changing.

    What is the moral of that story? Stupid people have stupid expectations, and the stupid laws that result from bending reality to their stupid expectations are, well, stupid. Now, I will admit that giving these stupid people the legal expectation that their secret conversations were secret did improve the quality of listening that the rest of us pragmatists who already owned radios heard. When people think they cannot be overheard, they will say the darndest things.

    But please, rant about "reality" a bit more.

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