Journalists discovered that two companies had posted the personal data of 170,000 customers online. The leak, which exposed the victims to identity theft and fraud, was reportedly so bad that social security numbers, passport scans, financial data and home addresses were indexed by search engines. Rather than merely address the problem, however, TerraCom and YourTel threatened the reporters, referring to them as “hackers” and accusing them of “numerous violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.”
David Giles, Scripps’ deputy general counsel, responded to the accusation that the reporters “hacked” the information by calling on the companies to stop the “name calling and the legal posturing” and instead address the “apparent careless security practices” raised by the story. “Regardless of the flowery moniker you have used to characterize the bureau's newsgathering activities, the bureau's reporters have not violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or any other law or regulation,” Giles wrote in a letter sent to TerraCom and YourTel’s lawyers earlier this month.
It's interesting how readily many of us pattern-recognize this as a classic "hacker tragedy," whereby clueless stupids kill the messenger who was trying to help them. But it seems simpler than that, to me: is this not simply a case of criminals breaking data protection laws in pursuit of their own convenience, then threatening the people who caught them?
See, for example, this part of the legal nastygram they sent to the journos:
"Because the Scripps Hackers have put the Companies in the position of having to incur the costs of potentially complying with more than 20 state data breach notification laws, the Companies are likely to look to Scripps to reimburse them for those costs."
Translation: "If only we hadn't been found out, we wouldn't have to comply with the law. You'll pay for this!" *shakes fist*
Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it both a crime and a civil offense to tamper with software locks that control access to copyrighted works — more commonly known as “Digital Rights Management” or DRM. As the number of products with software in them has exploded, the manufacturers of these products […]
A group of Wyoming legislators in the state’s House and Senate — all representing coal country and all avowed climate deniers — have introduced a bill that would ban Wyoming power companies from using solar or wind power by 2019, and requires non-renewable power to account for 95% of the state’s power by 2018.
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg (who insists that privacy is dead) bought 100 acres of land around his vacation home in Hawaii to ensure that no one could get close enough to spy on him.
Whether I’m trying to relieve some stress at work or entertain myself on the metro, Space Putty is there. You can bring this magical goo home and try it for yourself for just $9.99Like Silly Putty of yesteryear, this viscoelastic substance can be molded into different shapes and stretched around in your hands. Use it […]
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]