Before you read any further, go read and take note of this petition. You may want to sign it (I did), but context will help in reading this blog post. In case you’ve been studying really, really hard for the Bar Exam, or were suffering from a surprise case of “dead” over the last week, you inevitably heard that the process of “unlocking” cell phones, previously legal, is now illegal because of government fiat. For those who may not have understood or thought to ask, “unlocking” is not the same as “jailbreaking.” In a nutshell, jailbreaking involves making it possible for a device to run code either from sources the manufacturer did not intend the device to be able to use or to run code the manufacturer did not intend it to be able to run (though most people talk about Apple IOS devices, Sony, for example, will note that other devices can also be “jailbroken”). Unlocking, however, involves making it possible for a device intended for use on one wireless network to be used on a different network – wireless devices sold by a particular wireless company are generally, but not always, sold programmed so that they can only use that company’s network.
Regular readers of Internetbizlaw and the Centre Knowledge blog know that I am pro technology consumer, and very cynical about the “graying” of property rights. I am not going to spend a lot of time in this post discussing the “right and wrong” of legalizing unlocking, or not, but everyone should understand a few facts:
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.
Did you know that October was “National Cyber Security Awareness Month”? Neither did I or anybody else, and I do this for a living. The fact of the matter is that issues with cyber security are omnipresent, and growing in both number and severity. Foreign nations, which will go unnamed here (but didn’t in recent presidential debates), continue to hack government computer systems, even as “activist groups” hack companies, and employees are accused of undermining their employers’ computer systems.
Late last week, Verizon released their annual Data Breach Investigations Report. With collaboration from the U.S. Secret Service, the Dutch High Tech Crime Unit, the Irish Reporting and Information Security Service, the Australian Federal Police, and the Police Central e-Crime Unit of the London Metropolitan Police, the 2012 report releases some staggering numbers: “hacktivists” (hacker activists, including the group Anonymous) were responsible for 58% percent of all thieved data in 2011. Verizon has been tracking hacktivist activity since 2004 and said that 2011’s breaches exceeded the total from all other years combined. Read more
Nearly every week we learn of new cyber security breaches brought by unknown nations and infamous groups such as Anonymous. It is not inconceivable that our next war will solely be fought on the “cyber” front and contractors of all shapes and sizes will be on the front lines. Even now, each and every contractor is affected by the looming cyber security threat. For instance, some contract holders now have to develop and file an IT Security Plan within 30 days of contract award. Moreover, many states have reporting requirements when there is a breach that releases personal information.
By now, most have us have heard about the massive MegaUpload raid in New Zealand brought on by a team of US and international law enforcement that resulted in the arrest of its founder (Kim Dotcom) and high-level employees (but not rapper/”CEO” Swizz Beatz), the shuttering of its website, and the forfeiture of assets belonging to the arrestees including luxury cars and mega televisions. The arrest of Mr. Dotcom was finally able to occur after New Zealand police cut him out of a safe room in his mansion.
Because MegaUpload.com was one of the most trafficked websites in the world, the shock waves have been reverberating around the Internet over the last few days.
Throttling customer’s internet usage can be a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
In a decision last week, Federal Judge Laura Swain refused to dismiss claims against Time Warner Cable that throttling users’ internet service (who were heavy users) violated the CFAA.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this story, so let’s just jump into it both feet first.
- School district’s laptop is stolen from the library.
- Student at school obtains laptop (but denies stealing it).
- Student sells laptop to unsuspecting widowed substitute teacher.
- Teacher uses laptop to carry out explicit video chats with a long distance boyfriend.
Now this is where the story gets interesting…
Looking back at the blog, we have covered a wide range of subjects over the last few days. Here are some highlights worth looking at that you may have missed:
Hope everyone has a good Thursday. More to come soon.