Guy Convicted Of Hacking For Uploading Naked Picture Of Himself

from the that-doesn't-seem-right... dept

The ruling against Lori Drew was quite problematic, because it twisted a computer hacking law to convict a woman who had done something else, which was distasteful, but not illegal (at the time). It looks like others are doing the same thing... and succeeding. An appeals court has upheld a hacking conviction against a man whose "hacking" seems to have consisted of uploading a naked photo of himself to the website Adult Friendfinder from his work computer. How is that "unauthorized use" of a computer under the statute in question? Well, the court says that it's unauthorized use because he was using the computer to solicit prostitution -- and that's a crime, therefore, it's unauthorized. By this rather troubling reasoning, just about anyone who commits a crime on a computer can now also get hit with this law against hacking, because their use, by definition, would be "unauthorized." About the only good thing in the decision is that the court tossed out the lower court's ruling that the guy had "stolen" money from his employer by using the computer for non-work purposes.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    lulz, May 7th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    Unless the company implemented some sort of contermeasure like a content filter to block that website, this is just another example of ignorant legislators and an ignorant judiciary system implementing laws they don't understand.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    better start building prisons,

    were coming

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    I wonder how long it will take the record labels to start trying to press hacking charges against file sharers.

     

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  4.  
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    Chris, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:09am

    Not solicitation

    solicit sex [no money] != solicit prostitution [for money]

     

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  5.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 7th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Re: Not solicitation

    Yeah, that was my first thought. If nothing is exchanged other than bodily fluids, how can it be prostitution?

    On the other hand, if it does count as soliciting prostitution, why was the guy charged with hacking rather than prostitution? Are they now going to go after everybody using that site in Ohio with the same charge?

     

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  6.  
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    chris (profile), May 7th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    hacking laws will always be twisted

    even when there were no hacking laws. ask kevin mitnick, or ed cummings, or just about anyone who got busted for hacking in the 80's or 90's.

     

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  7.  
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    D.RAGE, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    Well, the court says that it's unauthorized use because he was using the computer to solicit prostitution -- and that's a crime, therefore, it's unauthorized.
    The last time I checked Adult Friendfinder helped you find the horney men and women in an area that just want to have sex, and not charge for it. Hence it wouldn't be soliciting prostitution, because there was never a thought of a money transaction between any party.

     

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  8.  
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    Rob, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Wait -- isn't this something that is perfectly legal for him to do at home? He should certainly get fired, but I can't see why the law would need to get involved in something like this -- it simply does not make any sense...

     

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  9.  
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    greg, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    my thoughts exactly. the guy's an idiot for posting something like that work. he should be fired, but the charges are a bit much

     

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  10.  
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    Clear your cache (profile), May 7th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    using the computer to solicit prostitution

    The prostitution charge most likely came from the email found as outlined in the brief "Detective Dollison located 703 pornographic photos and several sexually explicit e-mails in which appellant was soliciting services from a dominatrix named Madam Patrice". I would wonder however if he used company email or another provider (i.e. Gmail) to send those messages. If he use an external email system then you could say that the access of gmail in and of itself was not a violation of the authorized use, since if it was everyone that used an external mail client at work would be open to the same prosecution.

     

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  11.  
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    Steve R. (profile), May 7th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Endless Permutations

    With the way our legal system is going it appears that it is OK for a Corporation to "hack" a customer's computer. If its OK for a Corporation to "hack" your computer than it should be OK for an individual to "hack" the Corporate computer.

     

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  12.  
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    Tgeigs, May 7th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Hacking?

    First of all, Zero Cool would be extremely upset. Secondly, Adult Friend Finder? You mean people actually USE that site? I thought that was just a malware delivery vehicle...

     

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  13.  
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    angelica, May 7th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Re: Hacking?

    That site gives you cooties.

     

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  14.  
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    Tgeigs, May 7th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Hacking?

    Amongst other things.

     

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  15.  
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    BTR1701, May 7th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Authorization

    > By this rather troubling reasoning, just
    > about anyone who commits a crime on a computer
    > can now also get hit with this law against
    > hacking, because their use, by definition,
    > would be "unauthorized."

    The only way this works is if you're using someone else's computer. In this case the guy was using his work computer so his use was unauthorized. If he'd used his own computer at home, the charge wouldn't apply since he can authorize use of his own property for any reason at all, even illegal reasons. The use may be illegal but it would still be authorized.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    hahaha zero cool much love!

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Buy a girl a drink that considered same as "solicit prostitution"?

     

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  18.  
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    Tgeigs, May 7th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    Re:

    How about buying her a ring? Or is that just stupidity?

     

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  19.  
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    Kevin, May 7th, 2009 @ 10:26am

    Re: using the computer to solicit prostitution

    The prostitution charge most likely came from the email found as outlined in the brief "Detective Dollison located 703 pornographic photos and several sexually explicit e-mails in which appellant was soliciting services from a dominatrix named Madam Patrice"

    Soliciting services from a dominatrix is not the same as soliciting prostitution. Prostitutes have sex with their clients. Dominatrixes (Dominatrices? Dominatrii?) do not. They dominate them instead.

     

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  20.  
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    outerlimitz, May 7th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re:

    That's considered Prison.

     

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  21.  
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    MiamiMark, May 7th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    Re: Authorization

    I agree the problem is using a work computer... since it was a gov't computer he clearly was beyond the "implied consent" that would allow most people to check their Yahoo accounts (or even access Techdirt) on the clock. Very disturbing that the big crime (soliciting prostitution) cost him 60 days, while the hacking and office theft (of time) cost him 15 months.

    As to people's comments about the solicitation, here is an excerpt of what he said, "Obviously I would be with you for at least an hour, but I would prefer to be with you for at (sic) 2 hrs, contingent on your discount. Is it possible to spend the last half hour or so being your lover? Whatever is possible, please let me know." After the mistress said no sex he then went on to say, "Ok, no sex . . . but I do get to climax though, right? Rick.”

    The court then found based on this: When you take all these terms and place them in the context of the emails along with Appellant’s other online activities, such as the posting of nude photos of himself for the purpose of “online dating” and use of his computer to access pornographic websites, this Court finds jurors could reasonably conclude that Appellant was soliciting sex.

    I had a number of cases like this in the military where this sort of thing was clearly a crime... this is stretching things in the civilian world though, and my biggest concerns are that 1. most people wouldn't know this was a crime, 2. using the computer for a crime got him more of a sentence than the crime itself did, and 3. this case does open up the door to turning a lot of non-criminal activity into criminal activity... if he had only looked at porn... he still would have been guilty of the unauthorized use charge....

    Not sure that the court or legislature is wrong though... why should employees think as a matter of course that they can look at porn at work when they know that the employer does not approve (here he knew what he was doing was not allowed). When stuff like this gets out, as it sometimes does, the employer then ends up taking a huge PR hit (as the Army has on a number of occasions), worse an employer could get dragged into a criminal action based on the actions of an employee (for example looking at child porn on work computer). So maybe the answer is not to change the substance of the law but to change people's awareness of the law and their use of computers(still need to lower the sentence though.. a felony conviction is ridiculous for this).

     

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  22.  
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    sniperdoc (profile), May 7th, 2009 @ 11:51am

    Re: Endless Permutations

    Ummm... it's not HIS computer at work. It's a COMPANY computer and they can do what they like with it. The fact that he used it for ANY personal business shows his disregard for company policy or ethics.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Wiseacre, May 7th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    None of those carry anywhere near the guarantee of mission success to qualify as prostitution. Hence the existence of actual prostitution.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Poster, May 7th, 2009 @ 1:48pm

    That is a horrible ruling made by horrible people.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re: Endless Permutations

    And because he disregards company policy, he's a hacker who deserves full criminal prosecution.

     

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  26.  
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    VRP, May 8th, 2009 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Authorization

    "When you take all these terms and place them in the context of the emails along with Appellant’s other online activities, such as the posting of nude photos of himself for the purpose of 'online dating' and use of his computer to access pornographic websites, this Court finds jurors could reasonably conclude that Appellant was soliciting sex."

    Defendant was lucky because the Lord of the appellate Court could have carried on with something like:

    "If we Lords consider the appellant's off-line activities, we also note his clothes are always clean and pressed, and attends church weekly, which surely means that he's a cold-blooded killer who single handedly killed off the entire UK population, so we sentence him to 99,000 years."

    VRP

     

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  27.  
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    Jimmy Ribbitt, May 12th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    Proxy Servers

    By vacating the "theft" conviction, the appeals court has said that non-work activities on a work computer does not break the law. This also means that I can run my public proxy server, to let people access my online radio station from work, without fear of violating US laws.

    That will be good for us in online radio. This would have an effect on us.

    In short, the appelate court has effectively legalised internet radio at work, without realising it, regardless of what the boss says.

    I wondered why I was suddenly seeing more listening coming from offices, now I know why. Kudos to the apellate court for throwing out the "theft" charge.

     

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  28.  
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    moonbeam55, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Not the meaning of "hacking"

    Sounds like the the people in law enforcement need to go back to school. First off they are confusing the meaning of the word "hacking" to begin with. A guy selling his body doesn't sound like a hacker. Nor did he need to hack to get in. Second there was NOTHING wrong with him putting his photo on AFF. Nothing! Instead what he did wrong was use a work computer for non-work. That's one separate issue, and up to the employer whether or not they should fire him for being on another web site. People often access their non work accounts from work, including email etc. But then there's the part about selling sex etc. That is a separate offense and nothing to do with work. Also nothing to do with hacking. I wish there was someone powerful enough to fire the judge and idiots in that court system for their stupidity. Finally breaking a law to enforce a law means there are PROBLEMS in the court.

     

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