Sharing Your Password May Be A Felony

from the doesn't-look-good dept

Last week we wrote about a court ruling that said downloading a database was not a DMCA violation, though it could be considered a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violation. Mark Rasch, over at Security Focus, takes a deeper look at that claim, and determines that if it's true, it could mean that sharing any online passwords you have could be considered a felony - depending on how "damages" are defined. This is a big problem that is showing up in a variety of court cases and studies involving intellectual property: just how do you determine "damages". This can be seen in the reports from the music, movie and software industry when they claim billions in losses for "pirated" materials - when most people who ended up with such copies would never have paid in the first place. When it comes to something like a database or an online information source, how can someone accurate claim "damages" by letting someone else access that information? What if one person accessed the info and told someone else about it? Are the damages the same? Rasch's point is that this is an issue that is going to come up again, and until a reasonable standard is set, it's only going to cause a lot of trouble (and a lot of useless lawsuits).
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  • identicon
    Bastard Sammy, 2 Mar 2004 @ 8:28am

    No Subject Given

    I've always assumed I own my information. And as such, passwords would (in my mind anyway) be my property.

    Even if it's in someone elses database.

    But if sharing of this protected information can cause "damages" to the owner of the database, then I ask... who owns my passwords?

    And if I am the sole owner of my passwords, to flip this topic on it's head, can a company like yahoo be held criminally liable for de-activating my account for lack of activity? It is after all my account, which is attatched to my password.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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