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Security Your Rights Online News

Reporters Threatened, Labeled Hackers For Finding Security Hole 120

colinneagle writes "Scripps News reporters discovered 170,000 records online of customers of Lifeline, a government program offering affordable phone service for low-income citizens, that contained everything needed for identity theft . Last year, the FCC 'tightened' the rules for the program by requiring Lifeline phone carriers to document applicants' eligibility, which led to collecting more sensitive information from citizens. A Scripps News investigative team claims it 'Googled' the phone companies TerraCom Inc. and YourTel America Inc. to discover all of the files. A Scripps reporter asked for an on-camera interview with the COO of TerraCom and YourTel after explaining the files were freely available online. That did not happen, but shortly thereafter the customer records disappeared from the internet. Then, the blame-the-messenger hacker accusations and mudslinging began. Although the Scripps reporters videotaped the process showing how they found the documents, attorney Jonathon Lee for both telecoms threatened the 'Scripps Hackers' with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)."
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Reporters Threatened, Labeled Hackers For Finding Security Hole

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @06:34PM (#43777123)

    What an asshole.

    Funny how being a progressive somehow seems to translate into laughing at the suffering and misery of hundreds of thousands of people who don't think exactly the same as you. It's almost like you're worse than the people you're snickering about.

  • by flimflammer ( 956759 ) on Monday May 20, 2013 @07:15PM (#43777355)

    I want to agree with you here, but what the story simply calls "mudslinging" does give me room for pause. According to their legal representation, this access has happened over the period of several weeks, and they systematically downloaded all the records it could in this period of time while attempting to get into even more nooks and crannies of the servers.

    Why would they be sitting on this, continuously prodding the site for over a month while downloading all the records if they were simply practicing responsible disclosure with nothing more than journalistic intent?

    You would think accessing even one or a couple of these sensitive files would have been enough to judge that this content is facing the public and should be reported, rather than downloading all they could over the span of a month (and maybe even longer since these access records seemed to be pruned after 30 days).

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb