by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 7th 2007 3:30pm
The press has been buzzing about the fact that a Seattle man was arrested for identity theft earlier this week -- with most of the focus being on the fact that he used P2P file sharing software to find personal info about people which he then used in his identity theft scam to get credit cards under his victims' names, order products and then sell them online at half-price. Clearly, if he's found guilty of doing this, the guy was involved in a pretty massive fraud and deserves to go to jail. However, the P2P angle is an odd one, as one of the charges is "accessing a protected computer without authorization." The thing is, it wasn't without authorization. It was just that the individuals incorrectly configured their own file sharing software to expose private details. Just as some politicians want to blame P2P software for gov't employees misconfiguring it, it seems wrong to blame this guy for accessing documents that people stupidly made available. It sounds like the guy probably did plenty of other things that will get him locked up for a long time -- but unauthorized access isn't necessarily them.
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