Declan McCullough is discussing a recent lawsuit where a guy brought his computer to Circuit City to have a new DVD drive installed. The technician who did the installation then wanted to test it out the software that came with it by playing a video. The tech found a video file on the hard drive and played it... only to discover that the video was child pornography. He called the police and the guy was arrested. The question before the court was whether or not the technician had a legal right to open a file on the hard drive
. While the lower court said no, an appeals court has said that it was acceptable, because the guy had given access to the computer and the technician wasn't randomly searching, but was performing a test in a "commercially accepted manner." Of course, that seems a little odd too. If the job was to install a DVD player -- shouldn't the test have involved a DVD rather than a local file? However, it's hard to argue against the ruling too strongly. The guy did know what was on his computer and handed it to others, knowing they'd have access to the machine.