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Thread: New Legal Defense For File Sharers

  1. #1
    legalgirl983
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    SAN FRANCISCO, California (Reuters) -- Prosecutors looking to throw the book at accused computer hackers have come across a legal defense expected to become even more widespread in an era of hijacked PCs and laptops that threatens to blur the lines of personal responsibility: the computer did it.

    In one case that was being watched as a bellwether by computer security experts, Aaron Caffrey, 19, was acquitted earlier this month in the United Kingdom on charges of hacking into the computer system of the Houston Pilots, an independent contractor for the Port of Houston, in September 2001.

    Caffrey had been charged with breaking into the system and crippling the server that provides scheduling information for all ships entering the world's sixth-largest port.

    Although authorities traced the hack back to Caffrey's computer, he said that someone must have remotely planted a program, called a "trojan," onto his computer that did the hacking and that could have been programmed to self-destruct.

    In two other cases, British men were accused of downloading child pornography but their attorneys successfully argued that trojan programs found on their computers were to blame.

    In all three cases, no one has suggested that the verdicts were anything other than correct.

    Some legal and security experts say the trojan defense is a valid one because computer hijacking occurs all the time and savvy hackers can easily cover their tracks.

    "I've seen cases where there is a similar defense and it could work or not work based on corroborating evidence" such as how technical the defendant is, said Jennifer Stisa Granick, clinical director of the Sanford Law Center for Internet and Society.

    It is relatively easy to trace a hack back to a particular computer, but proving that a specific person committed the crime is much more difficult, she and others said.

    Someone other than the computer owner could use the machine, either by gaining physical access or remotely installing trojan software that was slipped onto the computer via an e-mail sent to the computer owner or downloaded from a malicious Web site, they said.

    "On the one hand, this is 100 percent correct that you can not make that jump from computer to keyboard to person," said Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Counterpane Internet Security based in Cupertino, California. "On the other hand, this defense could [be used] to acquit everybody.

    "It makes prosecuting the guilty harder, but that's a good thing," he added.

    Mark Rasch, former head of the U.S. Department of Justice computer crime unit, agreed.

    "The more difficult problem is people could actually go to jail for something they didn't do" as a result of trojan programs, said Rasch, chief security counsel for computer security provider Solutionary. "If I want to do something illegal I want to do it on someone else's machine."

    But Dave Morrell, a computer consultant for the Houston Pilots who worked with the FBI after the attack, said the defense also opened the door to hackers.

    "It sets a precedent now in the judicial system where a hacker can just claim somebody took over his computer, the program vanished and he's free and clear," he said

    Michael Allison, chief executive of computer forensics firm Internet Crimes Group in Princeton, New Jersey, said experts should have been able to prove if there had been a trojan on the computer in question.

    The defense is likely to become more widespread especially given the increasing use of "spyware" programs that can be used by hackers to steal passwords and essentially eavesdrop on a computer user, experts said.

    "The emergence of spyware will only enhance these claims," said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa Law School in Canada. "We're going to have to sort through the level of responsibility a person has for operating their own computer."

    The trojan defense has not yet been put to the test in the United States.

    -CNN.COM


    (MAYBE THIS WILL HELP? SPREAD THE WORD&#33

  2. File Sharing   -   #2

  3. File Sharing   -   #3
    this has been proposed before...

    as for your name, do you actually have any legal background?
    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>BLAH</span>

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Wayne Rooney - A thug and a thief</span>

  4. File Sharing   -   #4
    Double Agent
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    3,603
    guess not

    i am wondering if you are a girl as well...

    guess not

  5. File Sharing   -   #5
    Wise Kvcd Maker/PIMP
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Age
    33
    Posts
    4,051
    This person is apart of the RIAA.

  6. File Sharing   -   #6
    Lick My Lovepump
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Age
    15
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    2,698
    Originally posted by Gre1@1 November 2003 - 17:46
    This person is apart of the RIAA.
    Someone get her IP so we can block her&#33;

  7. File Sharing   -   #7
    Originally posted by Mad Cat@1 November 2003 - 18:57
    Someone get her IP so we can block her&#33;
    it&#39;s not illegal to post on a filesharing forum...nothing can be done about this...
    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>BLAH</span>

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Wayne Rooney - A thug and a thief</span>

  8. File Sharing   -   #8
    Poster
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    Jun 2003
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    Originally posted by 3rd gen noob@1 November 2003 - 19:02

    it&#39;s not illegal to post on a filesharing forum...nothing can be done about this...

    Let it go - everyone is so paranoid

  9. File Sharing   -   #9
    Originally posted by cosmic doobie+1 November 2003 - 19:10--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (cosmic doobie @ 1 November 2003 - 19:10)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-3rd gen noob@1 November 2003 - 19:02

    it&#39;s not illegal to post on a filesharing forum...nothing can be done about this...

    Let it go - everyone is so paranoid [/b][/quote]
    exactly...
    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>BLAH</span>

    <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Wayne Rooney - A thug and a thief</span>

  10. File Sharing   -   #10
    Poster
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    1,233
    This would NOT be the work of RIAA.

    This sort of misinformation would give users the impression they can &#39;get away with it&#39; (&#39;it&#39; being download of music MP3s.)
    ...and this is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what RIAA wants to sow here&#33;

    RIAA wants all the fear, uncertainty, doubt, (=FUD) and discord so we DON&#39;T organize AGAINST THEM like we should.

    However, this well-meaning poster also doesn&#39;t know enough about the situation to really tell others to do what they&#39;re recommending.

    There ARE Kazaa-specific viruses on the FastTrack network -- at least one of them turns SHARING ON if it was disabled, to help encourage the spread of its virus files. BUT, these are not to my knowledge "MP3 viruses". I have SEEN a VBS virus that was renamed to an MP3 file, got it off the fasttrack network even (I think I was running Morpheus at the time) -- but it was NOT a &#39;Kazaa virus&#39; that is specifically designed to encourage the spread of itself on this network, it was just incidentally spread that way. It DID however seem to have the ability to destroy/rename/hide other MP3s and/or &#39;infect&#39; them -- thus potentially destroying an entire MP3 collection on a hard drive. (...but not a CD, obviously -- it PAYS to backup&#33

    RIAA doesn&#39;t just want to NULLIFY our efforts and make us harmless -- they want to EXTORT large sums of money (to US&#33 out of as many of us as possible, SILENCE us -- to prevent the word getting out about how DIRTY they really are, and lastly JAIL us because that&#39;s where they feel we ALL belong&#33;

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