Mainstream Press Waking Up To DOJ's Massive Overreaction To Minor Computer Hacks

from the omg-it's-a-computer! dept

We’ve talked plenty about the government abusing the CFAA to pretend that some minor hacks were some giant criminal conspiracy, but now even the mainstream press is starting to recognize that an overactive Justice Department seems so freaked out by computers that it feels the need to use the CFAA over and over again against minor hacks. We’ve covered the various cases mentioned in the article in the past, but it’s good to see a paper such as the Washington Post call the administration out for its silly overreactions. It’s as if they see a computer and assume that something bad must be happening. At no point, when it comes to these cases, does the DOJ seem to step back and look at the actual seriousness of any of these cases.

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Comments on “Mainstream Press Waking Up To DOJ's Massive Overreaction To Minor Computer Hacks”

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42 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

DOJ’s Massive Overreaction is probably based upon a fear of the unknown … because they do not understand computers or how they work. Seems our self righteous leaders are just a bunch of xenophobic imbeciles, why are they put in positions where flippant decisions have immense repercussions?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: How?

12 people unable to figure out how to get off a jury.
12 people selected for not being computer literate.
12 people with AOL addresses they are still paying for.
12 people told a harrowing tale about how hackers could destroy the world by typing on a keyboard.
12 people who think a prosecutor wouldn’t bring forward a case without very clear compelling evidence.
12 people who already decided the Government said he was bad, so we have to stop this terrorist.
12 people who have yet to face the wheels of justice grinding them up because they are “Good People” ™ and even if the law is over broad they only ever use it against “Bad People” ™ so its ok.

horse with no mane says:

Re: Re: Re:2 How?

Anyone who believes a jury of ones “peers” (that’s laughable right there) is qualified to sit in judgment over another person has clearly never participated in one. Talk about a facepalm worthy experience that is. Pray you never find yourself subject to the whim of a group of people whom are barely qualified to pick their own noses, little alone sit on a jury. As the saying often goes: We know it’s not perfect, but it’s the best we can do.

Hint: Most of them are distracted, would rather be at home or work and want to get out of there as soon as possible and/or believe their own biased views trump any facts presented. Trust me, there are plenty of good reasons why the ability to appeal is an essential part of how the judicial system works lol.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 How?

the reason a “jury of one’s peers” is used is a holdover from England, when, before such a right was brought in, the aristocracy would frequently sit in judgement over peasants. This led to cases where cases were unfairly ruled in favor of the aristocracy, so a jury of your peers eliminates the advantage of class. ( plus, in those days the “hue and cry” system was used for law enforcement- someone did the equivalent of yelling out “stop thief” and everybody was required to chase down the alleged perpetrator. Therefore, in those days, the jury would normally be far more interested in the case)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: How?

None of “mick the nick’s” cultists are old enough to be on a jury.

12 people who don’t believe stealing account information from 120,000 people is ‘minor’!!, and using that information for gain or fame.

only a moron would consider this ‘minor’, and I guess the Jury agrees.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: How?

to be fair, if there are 12 people who already believe the defendant is guilty on the jury, the defending attorney hasn’t been doing his job properly. A potential juror already having made up his mind is a basic case of challenge for cause. (indeed, it’s what challenges for cause are for.

DCX2 says:

Juicy tidbit in the WaPo article...

?You have to ask the question, what would he have done next?? said a Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is under appeal. ?Where would we be if we let this guy go and the next thing he did was take down a network??

In essence, this official admitted that the government is prosecuting him now for crimes that he has not yet committed.

Anonymous Coward says:

The government has all these secrets it needs to protect. Anyone that files FOI requests finds out fairly soon, that National Security is a major hitter with why people can’t know about things.

Our most transparent administration in US history is busy trying to jail whistle blowers for letting the cat out of the bag on things that make them look bad.

Since all the secrets seem to be on computers now-a-days, a computer must be a bad thing, since that’s seems to be the source of all leaks.

At the rate it’s going, soon owning a computer will be tantamount to an open confession of awesome computer hacking skills and the automatic guilty sentence.

Grant says:

the purpose of laws like this should be to protect the interest of citizens. I am no more protected now that some hacker is in jail than I was before. the same vulnerabilities exist whether or not they prosecute so called “hackers”. If you want to protect networks from attack then work on making those networks more secure, don’t throw the people who are harmlessly exposing the security flaws in jail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yes, but the captains of industry want to charge premium prices for crap products without providing any real value or support. In order to accomplish this, they need the taxpayers to fund law enforcement in a keystone cops effort to hide their vulnerabilities from exposure. It sort of boils down to – if you see something, don’t say anything.

Anonymous Coward says:

Minor Hacks ????

was convicted and sentenced last month to more than three years in prison for obtaining about 120,000 e-mail addresses of iPad users from AT&T?s Web site ? including New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein and other prominent figures ? and giving them to the Web site Gawker.

120,000 email address, obtained illegally is a ‘minor hack’ !!!

and giving those to another web site for publication is ok too I guess ??

why don’t you just present the FACTS Mick the nick ?? and let people decide for themselves.

you downplay everything to disagree with and spin everything that you support.

No wonder you don’t call yourself a Journalist, you simply would not make a Journalists asshole.

tracker1 (profile) says:

Re: Minor Hacks ????

Yes.. 1 email address or a thousand is a lot less than say the banking industry has been fined for several times, with nobody serving jail time.

It’s an email address… someone knowing your email is a lot different than say a print publication putting out the physical addresses targeting a segment of the population… Oh yeah.. no fines, no imprisonment there…

There is a scale to a crime… What is the harm done in people knowing an email address?

Zakida Paul (profile) says:

Re: Minor Hacks ????

“why don’t you just present the FACTS Mick the nick ??”

“No wonder you don’t call yourself a Journalist, you simply would not make a Journalists asshole.”

This also illustrates why you are an utter moron.

“you downplay everything to disagree with and spin everything that you support. “

Pot, meet kettle.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Minor Hacks ????

Isn’t the fault with AT&T?

It’s simplifying the situation massively of course but essentially they didn’t put a working lock on their door. They’re either negligent, incompetent or both.

Oh yeah and like the other poster mentioned, e-mail addresses only, what’s the quantifiable damage?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Minor Hacks ????

My guess, darryl probably thinks that the PSN hack had nothing to do with Sony’s lack of security, and that Sony shouldn’t have apologised either.

Clearly working as a solar panel engineer is a cover; he obviously makes his money as a “fruit and flowers” supplier for the ARIA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Minor Hacks ????

It is a case where the threat level is completely disproportionate to the crime! 114.000 emails is a lot, but their use is very low level without password which they didn’t obtain. That fact should be the primary determining factor in evaluating thread level! While Veew is an obnoxious bastard, it doesn’t make it right to convict him of more than he deserves. 41 months is a very tough penalty. Call EFF and ask them about this case. It is a pretty widespread belief that the CFAA is completely disproportionate to the crime and especiall in this case, the conviction is on conspiracy, which should make the crime even less significant!

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Minor Hacks ????

It was a harvest of readily available information.

The fact that this bloke received a sentence of three years for, effectively, blowing the whistle is not only a travesty of justice but an indictment on the rule of law itself.

If anything AT&T should be held accountable for “making available”.

This law and justice thing is rapidly turning into a fucking joke. Rapidly.

Greggore says:

How can a Lawyer become of Judge for IT cases

Really modern Judges and Lawyers only know law and that’s it. A large portion of the General public knows more about Computers than members of the Judicial system. If you don’t fully understand it, how can anyone take your judgement or case seriously? Add when the Judicial process finally makes a ruling on a case, often the technology is long gone, migrated away or evolved into something else…which of course the public knows more about than they will ever know.

Carmen Ortiz should have been prosecuted for what she did to Swartz…and the jury is still out on that one…. the ruling will just be a decade too late.

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