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Posts from the ‘Crime’ Category

DEA Sued for Creating Fake Facebook Account Using Woman’s Photos

How would you like to stumble upon a Facebook page that you did not create, and that also displayed your name and your personal photographs?  Better yet, how would you feel if that same page was created and being used by a government agency to catch criminals?

That is exactly what happened to a Sondra Arquiett in 2010 when an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) took it upon himself to create a fake Facebook account with the hopes of establishing contact with criminal drug dealers.  DEA agent Timothy Sinnigen admitted to creating the account and appropriating Arquiett’s likeness, according to the federal lawsuit that Arquiett filed against the DEA and agent Sinnigen in the Northern District of New York.  Arquiett had previously been arrested for drug charges in 2010, and during that time some of her personal items were seized.  One of those items was her cell phone, which contained personal and private photographs.  Sinnigen used the photographs on the fake Facebook page in order to create the impression that it had been created and was being managed by Arquiett.

The photographs, some of which contain images of Arquiett’s young son and niece, were taken and used without permission or authorization.  The complaint alleges that Arquiett was “deprived of her Constitutional rights, including her right of privacy afforded to her under the First Amendment”.  This clearly raises some concerns about privacy, and to what extent the government can use your personal information.  The Justice Department will investigate this practice and the issues it creates.

The case had been set for trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, however it appears now that it may head to mediation.
By Taylor Hume

Piracy, ISPs, and six strikes: not two outs, or even one…

In a voluntary self-policing effort most likely intended to help safeguard their Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) Section 230 immunity from suit, several Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) have created a “Copyright Alert System” (“CAS”) to allow content owners the opportunity to report piracy, through which “strikes” can be issued to Internet service users as a warning for piracy.  This YouTube user who I can’t identify as an authority, has a few generally accurate, and fairly informative videos about the CAS regime.  It’s not clear whether this user is a representative of the ISPs or not.  Comcast also has a pretty good set of faqs on the CAS.

Essentially, the CAS allows content owners to identify infringing IP addresses after verifying that infringement is taking place by P2P (“peer to peer”) file sharing.  The ISP then sends a warning to the Internet service user who had that IP address at the relevant time.  After multiple warnings the Internet service user may be required to view a video about piracy, and after several warnings that user’s service may be “throttled,” or slowed down to make piracy more difficult or time-consuming.  The CAS includes an arbitration process for challenging warnings (Russell’s teapot: How do you prove you weren’t pirating?), but no circumstance under which an Internet service user’s account is to be terminated.

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Aaron Swartz’ Case Highlights Imperfect Legal System

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a powerful weapon in a prosecutor’s arsenal.  Though imperfect in some ways, it provides a way for citizens and the Government to seek redress for wrongs that previously had no crime attached to them.  Much has been made of the Department of Justice’s prosecution of Mr. Swartz in the wake of his death.

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Gun Violence Takes Center Stage: Sued Regarding Wrongful Death of Jitka Vesel

Just prior to the deadly school massacre in Newtown, CT last week, the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois against Armslist, LLC, the owner of, on December 12, 2012.  Attorneys for The Brady Center assert that played a large part in the death of Jitka Vesel, as the gun used to kill her was purchased through the website by her stalker.  According to the Brady Center, the sale of the gun was illegal and the seller pleaded guilty to felony sale of a firearm to an out of state customer.  The Brady Center also mentioned that the website did nothing to stop the sale of firearms to consumers in different states, because it allowed users to view classified listings in all fifty states.

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Breaking: John McAfee Arrested

The AP is reporting that John McAfee has been arrested by Guatemalan police for entering the country illegally.  More details…

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John McAfee Seeking Asylum in Guatemala

On his blog, John McAfee announced that he is seeking asylum in Guatemala.  Mr. McAfee will be holding a press conference this afternoon when he will take questions.  Mr. McAfee’s latest string of posts on his blog gives more information about his whereabouts over the last few days, contains a messages to the family of Gregory Faull (who was murdered), and details what Ms. McAfee’s planned next steps.  Finally, Mr. McAfee posts a pictures and information about two of his friends he says are wrongfully being held by Belize authoritiesRead more

Breaking: John McAfee May Have Been Captured (Or Maybe Not)

John McAfee’s blog continues to be an interesting read.  Just last night, his blog reported that he may have been capture near the border with Mexico and Belize.  Now, Belize police deny these reports (or at least the police station closest to his home). More details…

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John McAfee Accuses Former Employee of Plot to Kill Him

If nothing else, John McAfee’s blog is an interesting read.  As readers of this blog may remember, Mr. McAfee is suspected by Belizian authorities of murdering his neighbor.  Since that time, Mr. MacAfee has fled, but has blogged the entire time – describing his whereabouts (after the fact).  He has also used his blog to discuss life inside Belize and take shots at some of his critics.  More importantly, Mr. McAfee has used the blog to provide evidence that a former employee was plotting to kill him and then plant explosives at his home.

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Cyber Security Breach Exposes Millions in South Carolina

The words “shocking” and “unprecedented” come to mind – even from a cyber security attorney.  South Carolina’s Department of Revenue suffered a massive cyber security breach that exposed 3.8 million tax returns.  The data retrieved from those tax returns included full social security numbers and bank account information.  When reading about how easy it was for the hacker to gain access to this information, it is as disturbing as it is shocking that South Carolina was so careless in protecting its citizen’s information.  Now millions of South Carolina taxpayers could see their personal information sold to worldwide criminal syndicates, have their credit histories ruined, and suffer a headache that could last a lifetime.  For that pain, South Carolina is offering one free year of credit monitoring (at a cost of $12 million to the state government) and released an information sheet.

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Federal Appeals Court Says Taking Source Code Not a Federal Crime

On Wednesday, in another big setback for companies fighting computer-related fraud, the 2nd U.S. Circuit  Court of Appeals in New York threw out the conviction of a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. computer programmer. After a December 2010 conviction for stealing a secret high-frequency trading computer code from Goldman Sachs,  Sergey Aleynikov served 11 months of an eight-year prison term. In the decision released Wednesday, the 2nd Circuit Court cited that the taking of source code was not a crime under a 1996 law that makes it illegal to steal trade secrets as the code did not qualify as stolen goods. In the decision, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote for the unanimous three judge panel: “We decline to stretch or update statutory words of plain and ordinary meaning in order to better accommodate the digital age.” Read more

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