A great article over at Security Focus looking at DirecTV's attempts to go after satellite cable pirates that is getting innocent techies in trouble. DirecTV has been very aggressive in shutting down various companies that sold equipment needed to build pirate DirecTV smart cards - and in doing so, took possession of their customer lists. They've sent threatening letters to many of those customers, even if they had no proof that the customer ever used the technology to steal DirecTV. There are legitimate uses for smartcard programmers, but DirecTV doesn't care. They say that these sites were clearly designed to be used by those who wanted to pirate signals, and thus, you must be guilty if you ordered from them. Even in cases where people seem to have legitimate reasons for using the devices, DirecTV tells them to pay a $3,500 "settlement" fee - which they point out will be cheaper than going to court. In one case where some of the accused people are fighting back, the judge sided with DirecTV and awarded attorney's fees to the decision - meaning that these folks who claim they bought the devices (under $100) for legitimate purposes (like building a secure PC), have to (a) pay $3,500 to DirecTV and (b) a portion of the legal fees for the lawsuit. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
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