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The Courts Crime

Call Yourself a Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights 488

An anonymous reader writes "As described on the DigitalBond blog, a security researcher was subjected to a court ordered search in which a lack of pre-notification was premised on his self description as a 'hacker.' From the court order, 'The tipping point for the Court comes from evidence that the defendants – in their own words – are hackers. By labeling themselves this way, they have essentially announced that they have the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal their role in that act.'"
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Call Yourself a Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights

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  • Meh, too alarmist (Score:2, Informative)

    by magamiako1 ( 1026318 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:06PM (#45202677)
    The post here is entirely too alarmist. Essentially, the guy stole his employer's software because he had a philosophical difference with how the company should be handling the source code and went to offer it himself.

    In short, this isn't a "violation of the 4th amendment" so much as it is an excuse to try and get access to the guy's hard drive and recover stolen assets.

    And yes, I do believe he stole the code.
  • Wrong definition (Score:4, Informative)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:06PM (#45202685)
    Since when does hacker mean someone who must "have the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal their role in that act." Anyone who owns a raspberry pi or jailbreaks their phone can be called a hacker according to these people, and that does not imply the above!
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:15PM (#45202815)
    The full court decision is here []. (pdf)
  • by databeast ( 19718 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:17PM (#45202843) Homepage

    please tell me this is some attempt at sarcasm, and you aren't actually that ignorant?

    Many states (such as the one I reside in) specifically ban the registration of firearms in their state constitution.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:31PM (#45203047) Homepage
    Not even that in most states. There are no requirements to register a firearm if the seller isn't a FFL holder in my state.
  • by RenderSeven ( 938535 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:32PM (#45203049)

    Someone find out where this judge is; let's put his name here

    B. Lynn Winmill
    Chief Judge
    United States District Court

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:36PM (#45203109) Homepage Journal
    I've never lived in a state where I have to register any of my firearms (handguns or rifles).
  • Re:Not American (Score:4, Informative)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:42PM (#45203225) Homepage Journal
    In fact, you should be shitting bricks [] right now. If US have no problem spying foreing presidents communications or even deviating official presidential planes, you think it will care a lot about the diplomatics implications of sending a drone to you or your approximate neighbourhood?
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:42PM (#45203231) Journal
    Not even that.

    The USA - By which I mean federal regulations, not individual states - Has absolutely no registration requirement for any small arms (non select-fire and less than or equal to .50 caliber).

    It also has no mandatory waiting period, no mandatory background check (that restriction applies to a particular class of dealers, not to buyers), no ammunition capacity limits... And, the law by default allows both concealed and open carry.

    Seven states (most of them pretty obvious) have registration requirements for all guns. Another seven have registration requirements for just pistols. All but two have requirements for concealed carry, but that applies to the person, not the guns. A whopping 33 states, however, allow relatively uninhibited open carry, with another 10 allowing licensed open carry. So realistically, in most of the US, you don't need to carry concealed, you can literally walk around with a rifle slung across your back and a holster on your hip.
  • by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:58PM (#45203501)

    Bullshit. Read the damn article.

    The guy is being sued by his former employer, who claims he took their code and plans to offer it as open source (copyright infringement). The plaintiff contends that there is crucial evidence on the defendants computer. The court ordered (as is usual in such cases) that an image be made of the defendants computer in order to preserve any evidence that is there. The computer is to be returned to the defendant as soon as the image is made, in the same condition as before the computer was taken. Nobody can look at the image until further court orders allow it.

    So where does 'being a hacker' enter the picture? The plaintiff asked the court for a temporary restraining order without notification to the defendant. The courts rules state that a temporary restraining order can only be granted if there are specific facts that show irreperable harm will occur before the opposing party can present his position in court. In this case, the plaintiff is claiming that the defendant will have the ability to destroy the evidence before the plaintiff can present their case. The court used the 'we are hackers' statement as evidence that the defendant probably had the means and knowledge to destroy the evidence. Thus, the restraining order was granted.

    It is not a criminal case. No 4th amendment rights were violated.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:58PM (#45203505) Journal
    The constitution specifically says congress has the right to regulate. It's IN the fucking amendment.

    This argument will, of course, go nowhere because we both have a preferred interpretation of the 2nd amendment, but I at least have both grammar and history on my side. But the "fucking amendment"only refers to a "well regulated militia", not "a well-regulated firearm". More importantly, you have chosen the wrong definition of "regulated" to make that phrase better fit your worldview. Hint: Think "oil", not "laws".
  • by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:52PM (#45204457)

    You might have a point if that were the only basis for the decision. The basis of the restraining order was to prevent irreparable harm based on likelihood to succeed with a claim, and that case was well made.

    Here's the judge's info, it's right at the bottom of the court order where someone who read it would expect to find it, next to his signature. I doubt it will have the effect you wanted, because this is a decent decision.

    B. Lynn Winmill
    Chief Judge
    United States District Court

    The only real counterargument would be to point to [] which has the open source version, and was registered July of this year. Surely they could just look at the code and see if there was infringement? No, the evidence on the hard drive will be captured and stored pending further developments in the trial. The Court was preserving evidence which would most likely show that any copying was more than incidental.

    This was the unquestionably correct decision, and the slashdot headline and summary are woefully oversimplifying in order to cash in on outrage. I hope you have disabled advertising, because Dice should be embarrassed that shit like this end up on the front page, and should certainly not profit from page views.

    Direct quotes from the decision follow. Note: this guy worked at the company he is accused of copying from, so access to the original Sophia code is not in question, only whether it was used as a reference.

    As for infringement, if there is no evidence of direct copying, âoeproof of infringement involves fact-based showings that the defendant had âaccessâ(TM) to the plaintiff's work and that the two works are âsubstantially similar.â(TM)â Funky Films, Inc. v.Time Warner Entmâ(TM)t Co., 462 F.3d 1072, 1076 (9th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted).

    Here, Battelle has put forward adequate circumstantial evidence to permit an inference that defendants copied Sophia. Battelle says Thuen created Visdom in a time period that is impossible without copying; he described Visdom in nearly identical language as was used to describe Sophia; he used the same demonstration videos toshowscase Visdomâ(TM)s functionality as he did to showcase Sophia; he has admitted to copying parts of Sophia; and he has adopted a nearly identical name. Based on this record, the Court concludes that Battelle is likely to prevail on its copyright infringement claim.

    ...Additionally, the facts show that Thuen previously defied Battelleâ(TM)s instructions to refrain from widely releasing video demonstrations of Sophia on the internet.

    ...To support this assertion, defendants cite Battelle employee Michael Colson, who testifies as follows: I have 23 years of experience as an investigator for government and private entities and have worked many times on matters where employees have â" without authorization â" taken data from employers for their own purposes. In my experience it is very common for such individuals to simply delete the data when they are confronted with aninvestigation, rather than admit wrongdoing. This is particularly so inregards to those with technical skills to wipe the data in a way which does [not] leave digital footprints. My investigation has revealed that Thuen has (or had) an unauthorized copy of executable Sophia code on his home computer and, from my experience, there is a high risk that he might wipe his computers destroying evidence if he had advance warning.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.