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Posts from the ‘Anonymous’ Category

The U.S. (and the World) is Losing the Fight Against Hackers

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

MegaUpload’s Mega-Consequences

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 was one of the most trafficked websites in the world, the shock waves have been reverberating around the Internet over the last few days.

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Things you may have missed: interesting recent legal developments

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.

Five for Friday: What calamity will hit next?

Hurricanes look spectacular from above.

Hurricanes look spectacular from above.

Busy day for the blog today.  We’ve already had the most views ever today and we still have 6 hours to go.  First a little on Irene and then on to the Five for Friday.  The first part has some information even the natural disaster free west coasters can use.

What calamity will come our way next?  I am so glad I recently purchased a home in an old now new earthquake zone and close to the water in a hurricane-prone area.  That being said, here are some useful links for affected East Coasters to get themselves through the next few days:’s page highlights some useful mobile apps in times like these.  Speaking of Apps, FEMA just launched its Droid App just in time.  A search did not reveal an App for iOS though.  Have no fear, iOS Apps are here.

The Washington Post has a good resource on all the Hurricane information.  The AP, has a nice blurb on how best to stay connected.  And, of course, if you want up to date weather information: go to the source.

Why is social media and the legal implications of what we do on it so important?  Because 50% of adults use it.  Without further adieu, here is another solid Five for Friday:

First, part of the now-infamous law that was to take affect Sunday that would have prevented private online chats between teachers and students has been put on hold by a Missouri state court judge.  Details are here and here.  Gov. Nixon, who signed the bill, now wants it repealed.

Second, reports on a new trend that may be ending right after it began: elevator tweets.  The first was a twitter account dedicated to Conde Naste.  A copycat one started from Goldman Sachs.  Not surprisingly, Twitter refused to freeze the Goldman Sachs account.  Instead, Goldman Sachs has launched an internal witch hunt investigation, according to the New York Post’s Page Six (though GS denies this).

There is a good lesson to be learned by this: (1) have a plan to protect proprietary information; (2) instruct employees about when or where you should discuss proprietary information (hint: not in an elevator with strangers); and (3) require employees to sign a written policy and train them about the consequences of revealing proprietary information.  I, of course, can help you with that.

Third, look for a story and analysis on a new case next week (or tomorrow if I batten down the hatches quick enough).  The maker of the Angry Birds games has sued a toy manufacturer for making “Angry Birds” stuffed animals.  In the meantime, read about copyrights here.

Fourth, recent law grad Justin Silverman has the most comprehensive analysis on the legality of BART’s actions here and here.  I have no examined it yet, but I will when I have a few minutes over the weekend and offer my comments next week.  Since that time, BART has been the target of Anonymous and protests.  Some of BART’s “exposure” has been of their own doing.

Speaking of hacking, a hacker exposed (via the e-mail and passwords of 66,000 people (including US government employees).  It seems like the government and contractors are always one-step behind in prevention.

Fifth, here are a few tidbits worth further reading:

I will also try to blog about the Protect IP Act next week in all its controversy.

Stay safe and have a good weekend.  Please feel free to offer your insights in the comments.

Quick Hit: The Latest on the BART Fiasco

As I recommended in a previous blog post, BART will draft a written policy regulating when cell phone communications can be cut off.  The ACLU and other outsiders will be consulted.  We’ll examine this and give our thoughts when the time comes.  Needless to say, the bar for cutting off services must be high.  Exactly where that bar is will be interesting to see.

Also, Anonymous has hit again releasing nude photos of the BART spokesman who admittedly made the decision to cut off cellular service.  Here’s a lesson for everyone.  Don’t have nude pictures of yourself anywhere – especially on the web.

Five for Friday: To Like or Not to Like….That is the Question!

Well, we all made it through another week – even if it was just barely.  I had a pretty busy week, traveling to Dallas for depositions, and giving a presentation today for the ABA on the geolocation tracking controversy.  You can order the CD-ROM by going here.  My co-presenters were excellent and offered insight on addition emerging issues.  Alternatively, I would be happy to e-mail you a copy of my portion of the presentation.  Just drop me a line.

Ready for our weekly Five for Friday?  I know I am!

First, in case you did not know it already, Germany has very strict privacy laws.  How strict you ask?  So strict that Facebook’s “Like” button violates it.  It appears the decision to essentially unlike the like button stemmed from two factors because the IP address of the person “liking” something is tracked by Facebook: (i) how long Facebook kept the data for (they claim two years and Facebook concedes 90 days); and (ii) the fact that the data went through servers in the United States.  It sounds like Facebook needs to spend some PR dollars – especially after a top German government official admitted to an affair with a 16-year old he met on Facebook (which is actually legal in Germany).

Second, Google+, which was the flavor of the day just last week has faced a number of stories that people are abandoning the new social media platform.  Here is a good example.  It’s hot.  It’s not.  It’s hot again.  We’ll see.

Third, I would be remiss if I did not mention HP’s unceremonious killing of webOS just yesterday.  (Disclaimer: technically, HP killed all of the hardware associated with the OS and HP claims they will continue to develop webOS.  I doubt it.)  The internet and twitterverse was all buzz with this news.  I wonder if the webOS team is blaming the HP hardware folks for this.  I know I would.

Fourth, the BART protests continue.  I recommend following OpBART on Twitter for the latest.  The owner of that Twitter account claims no responsibility for the recent hacks on BART-related websites.  We’ll have more on this as it develops next week.  And speaking of Anonymous, check this out.  Hot off the press and a must-read.

Fifth, Sue Scheff who co-authored a book detailing her head-online fight with internet defamers has some good tips to detect if your Facebook account has been hacked.  She is a great follow on Twitter.  Facebook hacking happens way more often than you think.  Beware.

As the weekend rolls on, remember: you’re legit!

There is a lot of good information out there.  I will bring as much as I can when I can.  I will address jurisdictional issues (can you sue in X court?) next week (don’t worry – it is much more fun than it sounds!)

BART’s Troubles Continue On….

Last week, I blogged about Anonymous’ hack into the myBART website in response to BART shutting off cell phone service to avert a possible protest.

The controversy lives on as BART continues to endure protests and inquiries.  For starters, the FCC has launched an investigation.  I am by no mean a communications law expert, but I do not see anything that would indicate any statutes or regulations were broken.  In fact, even FCC experts seem to be unsure.

That aside, there could be a First Amendment issue.  In fact, this seems ripe for the ACLU, Public Citizen, or the Electronic Frontier Foundation to jump in to.  The answer, however, is not that easy.  Of course, we all have a right to free speech, as clearly stated in the First Amendment.  That right is not unlimited and the government has a right to limit speech based on certain considerations.  The question is whether the limitation in this instance was reasonable under the circumstances.  I could go on for a long while about the long line of First Amendment cases and the standards governments must adhere to, but I know everyone does not want to get in trouble for falling asleep at their desks.

Aside from the legal questions, are the moral ones.  The act by BART seems akin to the actions of totalitarian governments in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America and not of an agency in San Francisco (of all places).  The continued protests and awareness are necessary to alert other governmental agencies that the public at large will not sit idly by in the face of heavy-handed tactics.

UPDATE: I think it’s important to add that, if they do not already, BART should have a compliance/action policy for turning off cell service in the future that is made public.  The reality is they may want to undertake this action again in the future.  Having a policy that is debated and settled upon with input from the public could help them heal people’s wounds.

Now some may say that there should be no policy because they should be prohibited from turning of cell service under any circumstances.  That, however, ignores possible (though unlikely) scenarios.  For instance, what if BART had credible information that there was a cell phone triggered incendiary device at a station?  I think all would agree that is a permissible ground for turning off cell service.

SECOND UPDATE: I should add that news that BART police officer’s private information was revealed in another hack is unfortunate.

Anonymous Hackers Target BART – Private Information Revealed

Underground hacking group Anonymous continues to dole out their brand of internet justice.

Last week, BART requested that cell phone providers turn off cell phone service at one particular station in San Francisco’s public transportation system due to an anticipated protest popping up in the area.  The cell phone providers apparently complied.

Needless to say, bloggers and San Franciscans were unhappy at this heavy handed move and now Anonymous has jumped into the fray.

Tonight, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Anonymous hacked into the website and revealed the names and passwords of more than 2,000 users.  A BART spokesperson stated that the website is unrelated to the operation of BART itself and is operated by a private company.  The website was also “defaced” and adorned with Anonymous’ tell tale logo.

As of this post, the myBART site is still down.  When one visits the web address, only this message appears: “This site is currently under renovation.”

The lesson is to be careful who on the web has your private information.  Also, as these types of attacks become more prevalent, it is important for companies to have a written policy should an attack occur that complies with state and federal law.

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