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Judge Says Boston Student's Laptop Was Seized Illegally

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the score-one-for-the-good-guys dept.

Education 190

You may remember a case we discussed this April in which a Boston College student's computers and other electronics were seized after he allegedly sent an email outing another student as gay. The search warrant made sure to note the student's ever-so-suspicious use of "two different operating systems," one of which was "a black screen with a white font which he uses prompt commands on." Now, the EFF reports that a Massachusetts judge has thrown out the search warrant and declared the search and seizure illegal. Quoting: "In her order Thursday, Justice Margot Botsford rejected the Commonwealth's theory that sending a hoax email might be unlawful under a Massachusetts computer crime statute barring the 'unauthorized access' to a computer, concluding that there could be no violation of what was only a 'hypothetical internet use policy.' Thursday's decision now stands as the highest state court opinion to reject the dangerous theory that terms of service violations constitute computer 'hacking' crimes. Justice Botsford further found that details offered by police as corroboration of other alleged offenses were insufficient and did not establish probable cause for the search." The court order (PDF) is available for viewing, and the EFF has broken down the significant arguments against the Commonwealth's claims.

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190 comments

Allow me to be among the first to say (-1, Redundant)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074191)

"Well duh."

So Linux isn't suspicious (5, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074229)

And it's not only used by rebels wanting to dodge the law? Bah, I'm going back to Windows.

Re:So Linux isn't suspicious (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074299)

I can just imagine the investigation:

"your honour, we had to shoot him! He was using the Command Prompt! He could have... given commands! Only a hacker would know how to do such mysteries!"

Re:So Linux isn't suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074355)

Just wait until they see my cp [source] and [destination]

Re:So Linux isn't suspicious (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074535)

Just wait until they see my cp

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has logged a record of this chat along with the IP addresses of the participants due to potential violations of U.S. law. Reference no. 8429l271. Your IP address has been entered into our suspect database and may be sent to Child Protective Services. Please wait while memory ref. code 90637895 is entered into the database.

Re:So Linux isn't suspicious (1)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075693)

He threatened to ctrl-alt-del us!

FInally someone has a clue (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074235)

Now when does he get his equipment back? What happens when they hand him a box of busted parts and walk away? (Like Steve Jackson Games)

It is great that we have this victory for our rights. But how do we keep the police from doing it over and over again? The out of control police need oversight to make sure they don't do this again!

Re:FInally someone has a clue (-1, Troll)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074377)

The out of control police need oversight to make sure they don't do this again!

born yesterday, where you?

seriously - get real. this isn't disney - this is real life. the cops fuck with you and usually get away with it.

sorry to break it to you. this is real life and, well, its rough out there. there are more bad guys 'in power' than good ones, these days (the system attracts power-hungry individuals to jobs that have power. duh!)

Re:FInally someone has a clue (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074889)

Oh, well if it's the way it is then I guess we can stop caring. It's OK everyone, he said it's the way it is. Or, how about we make it the way it should be?

Re:FInally someone has a clue (2, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074923)

What is the point of your post? GP says 'the police need oversight because they screw people' and then you come in and say 'the police doesn't need oversight because they screw people and get away with it'.

How does that even make sense?

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075287)

He's saying "that's life" rather than "that's a good thing". Or maybe he is just trolling...

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1, Insightful)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074445)

Rights? I think they are more like privileges. They revoked his privilege when they seized his laptop out of sheer ignorance, and restored it after admitting they were wrong, nothing new here ;)

It's like George Carlin once said, rights aren't rights if they can be taken away from you at any time they wish.

Now I wonder what would've happened if he resisted the seizure and told them he's keeping his laptop and explained he didn't do anything wrong.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074683)

Now I wonder what would've happened if he resisted the seizure and told them he's keeping his laptop and explained he didn't do anything wrong.

They would have taken it anyway and arrested him for obstruction of justice. That charge would not have been thrown out, regardless of whether or not the court order was later found to be illegal.

You don't get to pick and choose which court orders you respect, you have to challenge them in a proper forum.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (2, Informative)

Nitage (1010087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075241)

Wrong. The judge didn't revoke the search warrant - she ruled that it had never been legal in the first place.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074715)

nothing new here

See, how you simply accepted their reality as true?
That's the power of their delusional confidence, and your belief that, if everybody says it, it must be true.
Same thing as with the guys who get women. They don't look better, or are richer. They simply are more confident in their reality.

I, for one do not follow that made-up shit.

2 + 2 = 5 :P

Re:FInally someone has a clue (2, Funny)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075795)

There are five lights.

I wanted to laugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074915)

It would be so nice if your statements had no issue... but this kid bought the laptop which was taken from him. A laptop is a machine, much the same as a car or telephone, and could even be compared to a simple folder of handwritten notes.

Since when did property bought and OWNED by an individual become a "priveledge" as the police treated it in this case? I know the judge has somewhat corrected the issue so far, but what gave those officer's supervisor the idea he could confiscate the kids right to his property (2nd ammendment I believe) based on simple hearsay? I mean shit, hearsay isn't even allowed in the mass murdering terrorist military tribunals anymore...

We treat our own worse than our enemy now?! WTF!?

Re:I wanted to laugh... (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075477)

Since when did property bought and OWNED by an individual become a "priveledge" as the police treated it in this case?

Moderation: "-1 Sarcasm detector broken"

Re:I wanted to laugh... (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075805)

Don't worry; it's not like it was a real useful invention.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075139)

They had a warrant, they would take them by force and arrest him as well.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (3, Funny)

nbauman (624611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075939)

It's like George Carlin once said, rights aren't rights if they can be taken away from you at any time they wish.

No, rights are something you fight for. It's a line in the sand. You let people know that if they try to take away your rights you'll fight for them.

Take away my rights and I'll fuck you, motherfucker.

And I'll bring my boys to fuck you. Tough dudes from Slashdot.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074499)

He can more than likely proceeded civil claims against against the constabulary there. The thing is its up to him to do that and it may prove costly. If he wins he can probably stick the police department with reasonable court costs as well but he will never get his time back.

The moral of the story here folks is that are justice system is an adversarial one at all levels. You should never never cooperate unless you feel it is in YOUR near term; best interest to do so. Its never a good idea to help law enforcement simply out of some concept of civic responsibility you will only find yourself on the wrong end of it for your trouble. They have long forgotten (systemically not always individually there are plenty of good cops out there) their job is to serve and protect the people. They now mostly exist to serve government and its all controlling pervasive aims.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074757)

Or perhaps the moral of the story is that if you behave like a dick you can get into trouble. Seriously, this guy was a dick and he ended up having a huge inconvenience. Sure the police action was inappropriate, but it's not like he was acting in good faith from the start.

I'd be surprised if he ends up with any windfall over this, if by some chance he does successfully sue, I'm sure he will himself be sued by the person that he outed.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (5, Interesting)

peektwice (726616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075047)

Simply being a dick doesn't warrant getting the cops all over you. You may think so, but you'd be what I like to call "wrong". I will now wait for the search warrant, since I was a dick.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075057)

from a quick read of the TFAs it seems that there was a grudge-holding roommate (maybe the one he outed?) who did his best to grossly exaggerate the "hacker" aspect to the police. Ah the joys of petty arguments.. Why couldn't they just punch each other a couple of times? or get new roommates?

Re:FInally someone has a clue (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075169)

Didn't you read it? They didn't just fight cuz his room mate is a fag, and fags hit like girls.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (2, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075213)

either way the person should have just sued for slander/liable/defamation.... the cops should have known the matter was not theirs to deal with.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

bagorange (1531625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075243)

good point. but they were dealing with a "hacker", or that was their excuse for a power trip. In fact I bet there was a power trip aspect, and maybe a little of "nipping things in the bud"? "The police let a hacker keep his equipment after a previous incident and now 2 years later he broke into the CIA...." makes a good story. Mostly power trip, I suspect.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075329)

Me:(calls 911) Officer, my TV is broken!
Dispatcher:Not my problem
Me:Some hacker did it!
Disp.:OMG! (picks up radio) Calling all cars!

Time passes

Officer:So a hacker did this?
Me:Yeah, look at that static! That's totally unnatural for this TV, it's magic!
Off.:OMG! Who could have done this!
Me:My next-door-neighbor (the same neighbor who acts like a dick all the time)
Off.:(goes next door) You're under arrest!
??:Profit!

Re:FInally someone has a clue (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075259)

They weren't roommates, they were "married" because in Massachusetts it's OK for two cock-holders or two bush-lickers to be "married". It's just the same as straight people - the bitch wanted revenge and she got it

Wait'll homo "marriage" gets to your state. You'll fukin' love it.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28076015)

Or perhaps the moral of the story is that if you behave like a dick you can get into trouble. Seriously, this guy was a dick and he ended up having a huge inconvenience. Sure the police action was inappropriate, but it's not like he was acting in good faith from the start.

This comment reinforces my opinion of you, which is that I think that you're an asshole. However, that doesn't mean that I believe you should be harassed by the police, get cancer or die in a fire. One of the biggest problems we have is that the self-righteous think that they have the right to treat others as they wish, and that it's OK to do so if the person is a "dick" (or, not of my race, religion, gender and so forth).

That doesn't mean that you have to allow the assholes of the world step on you, but it does mean that they can be assholes and still be permitted to live.

It's called tolerance - try cultivating some.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (2, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075855)

DarkOx,

The moral of the story here folks is that are justice system is an adversarial one at all levels.

Its never a good idea to help law enforcement simply out of some concept of civic responsibility you will only find yourself on the wrong end of it for your trouble.

I hope you never have to report a crime (like a stolen car) because I would expect you to NEVER call the police even should you need them.

You should never never cooperate unless you feel it is in YOUR near term; best interest to do so.

Yeah, that's the rub, isn't it. You giveth, and you taketh away. Never, unless it is convenient to. What kind of absolute is that?

Re:FInally someone has a clue (4, Funny)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074601)

Finally, we can safely return to our nightly rituals of eating Cheetos, drinking Jolt and sending out emails from Xmail accusing people of being gay.

TITCR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074815)

Credited

Re:FInally someone has a clue (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074673)

As far as I am aware very few people actually ever get seized equipment back (or if they do, it's not in working order), even when nothing infringing was found on it, or the seizure was deemed illegal, etc.

Sadly there are no checks and balances in the system. If the police had to issue the equipment back in original working order, proof that all analyses had been eradicated, provide compensation for the lost time and presumably the replacement computer the student had to buy and publish an apology in the wide-spread media, then maybe they would stop and think before acting, or at least have a more measured response.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

ancient_kings (1000970) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075231)

At the very least. Police that illegally seize equipment should be arrested. They are walking perps. They should be held to a much MUCH higher standard since they are trained officers.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075239)

Ah, but that would seriously fuck up their ability to sieze property and later auction it off as proceeds of crime. The county I live in relies heavily on the proceeds of police auctions to fund the sheriff's department. They haven't quite gotten to the point of zero tolerance siezures, but they're getting there.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075387)

How about a Strategic Lawsuit Against Government Participation next time they get out of hand? Having to field a lawsuit every time they seize something illegally might make the county more careful...

Re:FInally someone has a clue (0, Troll)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075373)

Sadly there are no checks and balances in the system.

Of course there are! IANAL. Just sue the city/county/whatever for the value of your stuff. If they won't reimburse you/you can't sue them/whatever, whine to the newspapers until they do (otherwise they (the politicians) risk not getting reelected, though that works best if they're not democrats since ~all media outlets other than Fox are in bed with the dems).

Re:FInally someone has a clue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075743)

...though that works best if they're not democrats since ~all media outlets other than Fox are in bed with the dems).

Seriously? Partisan politics shit in a story that has nothing to do with them? Get a clue, man.

The notion of the media's liberal bias that conservatives whine about is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The media has one bias: sensationalism. Headlines/stories/etc are chosen/wrote to grab attention and to inflate their impact on people's lives to make it seem like a person just has to read it or they'll be missing out on something vital.

In summary, please stop injecting this nonsense into discussions as it makes you sound like a mouthpiece.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075887)

The lost time thing won't fly, period. People aren't even compensated for time spent in a jail cell! Forget about compensation for lost computer time, or anything remotely similar for automobiles, apartments, homes, tools and equipment.

But, yes, the automobile, apartment, tools, equipment, AND COMPUTERS should be returned in working order. If not, the state SHOULD BE LIABLE.

Most definitely.

Re:FInally someone has a clue (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#28076429)

Well, with seized electronic equipment, you should certainly get it back, and in the condition it was seized in. Now of course, you likely won't get it back until after it's no longer needed as evidence. (A business may be able to demonstrate that the loss of the equipment significantly impacts their ability to do business, and have a judge order the originals returned after duplicates are made.) If it's an illicit-data case, your equipment will be returned scrubbed of all data. (See n.b. above re: businesses.) If you're convicted, you generally don't get your stuff back.

If you don't get your equipment back and in working order, you have good grounds to sue the police. At least among the computer forensic analysts I know, this is certainly a concern. A number of procedures -- like jailbreaking an iPhone to get its data -- are potentially destructive to the equipment and are avoided because the device may need to be returned to its owner.

Now that I have the courts behind me (5, Funny)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074279)

Slashdot is gay.

Re:Now that I have the courts behind me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075727)

Slashdot is gay.

No, Anonymous Coward is gay

Is he gonna get compensated? (5, Insightful)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074301)

Or can the police kick down your door, seize whatever they want and when the court deems their actions as illegal they just say "Oops, our bad."?

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074333)

yes.

because, until you're proven innocent in a court of law, you're just a goddamn dirty crook who doesn't deserve to have anything because obviously everything you have is an ill-gotten gain.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (4, Insightful)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074385)

Compensation for what? In the modern Western world, quaint notions of property rights and due process have been deprecated in favor of civil forfeiture, eminent domain for transfer to other private parties, stare decisis, and political connections.

You can't really own property anymore so much as lease it from the government for a yearly fee. (If you disagree with this viewpoint, try not paying your property taxes: then you'll find out who the real owner is.) Therefore, since the government owns all your stuff anyway, they have no need to compensate you for damages, since the government only damaged their own stuff.

</snark>

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (4, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074533)

On the other hand, in most 'developed' nations, those same taxes pay for people to protect you and your property. (If you disagree with this viewpoint, try living in a lawless state: then you'll find out why we used to live in castles, or their modern equivalent, gated communities).

You're absolutely right though in your main point - the systematic erosion of civil liberties by these same 'developed' nations is very worrying, and must be resisted otherwise we'll end up with the worst of both worlds. Who was it who said something like "eternal vigilence is the price of democracy"? Churchill?

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074989)

So why do people move to gated communities guarded by PRIVATE security as soon as they get some real money? Why do they send their kids to PRIVATE schools? Seems like they prefer services offered by private companies to the tax funded government provided goodness.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (2, Informative)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075421)

--
The earth's orbit is an ellipse, with the sun at one of the two focal points. WHAT IS AT THE OTHER FOCAL POINT?

In response to your sig:
The other focal point orbits the sun in a circular orbit very slowly AFAICT.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075049)

On the other hand, in most 'developed' nations, those same taxes pay for people to protect you and your property. (If you disagree with this viewpoint, try living in a lawless state: then you'll find out why we used to live in castles, or their modern equivalent, gated communities).

What your OP is talking about is basically allodial title vs. limited allodial title or fee simple which is what most US practically has.

Of course, you swing to the extreme to counter about "if we had no taxes" which is no counterargument at all since he didn't argue for 0 taxes anywhere. I can have a $500,000 car in my $100,000 home, yet in most states that car will not cost me 1 penny more in non-excise taxes after I purchase it because I own it outright. Yet, if that situation is reversed and I have 500k home and a 100k car, I would get charged up the rear in taxes.

Would you argue I should pay more taxes on that car or if I kept 500k in the bank, that I should pay property taxes on either? Would you come out swining that taxes are good for us as an argument that I should start paying taxes on either of those things?

Your logic is incomplete and flawed.

In Germany, property taxes are low. I'm talking about paying maybe $75 on a house per year. Germany is not a low tax country, school revenue come from their high sales tax AFAIK which is okay but not ideal. However, I do know property/school taxes is a very screwed up thing a lot of times. Especially when I see the elderly lose houses they lived in for 40 years because they have no more income and can't afford it anymore.

I prefer all taxes to be excise, personally, and I support this:
http://www.apttax.com/ [apttax.com]

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

zenyu (248067) | more than 5 years ago | (#28076073)

There are plenty of places in the US with low property taxes. I'm in NYC and my property taxes for the year on my near million dollar home practically non-existent. The main difference between NYC and the places with high property taxes is that we have a local income tax and a local sales tax which pay for the schools. Unlike property taxes, the city needs to ask permission from the state to implement these taxes so we bribe, err "influence", the upstate legislators with a few billion dollars a year in pork for their communities.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075353)

Jefferson

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074665)

And you may mean this in a sarcastic way, but by even allowing this p.o.v. to exist, you actively support putting it in people's brains, that this even can be seen as normal (even if you don't).
Please stop that. We do *not* live in such a world. In is *not* that way.

It only is that way, if you join that new made-up reality!
People *have* to believe crap, and that some "authority figure" is right, for something like that to even exist.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075069)

Compensation for what? In the modern Western world, quaint notions of property rights and due process have been deprecated in favor of civil forfeiture, eminent domain for transfer to other private parties, stare decisis, and political connections.

You're right, things were better and fairer in the past where the king owned everything and allowed other people to manage things for him, the Barons; who had a legal ownership of everything on their land up to and including the Serfs living on it.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075181)

No, they weren't far better because it is essentially the same system we have today. Sure, you pretend that the king doesn't own everything up to and including your life because you can't see him, but what do you think the entire government is when you put it together? Nothing but a goddamn king who can seize your 'private' property at a moments whim and send you to die in a war you don't believe in against your will in order to protect his sovereignty.

We need to move FORWARD to a time where people own themselves and as such are responsible for themselves.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (2, Insightful)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075517)

...and send you to die in a war you don't believe in against your will...

*looks around*

We USians haven't had a conscript army since Vietnam. Perhaps you were talking about another country?

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (2, Interesting)

ancient_kings (1000970) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075253)

Totally untrue in other countries. Most countries do not have realestate taxes. I have friends whos relatives in Greece have owned their little humble house for hundreds of years and haven't paid a dime in all those years. Geeez, even in CHINA, (a "commie" country) there is NO REALESTATE TAXES for a family who owns one house. Once you purchase a house, you own it and nobody can take it away. Don't pay your real-estate/property/IRS taxes in the US and your house is gone, so who is the real "commie" country now? Maybe Obama can change this?

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075377)

And try building something on "your" property without first seeking permission like a good little child in grade 1.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

RunsWithMatches (1352655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075551)

Yes, yes, there are a lot of rules we must follow, but it's for your own good... Or it's for the children. Either way... Government knows best. Right?

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

Curien (267780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075667)

Try building something on your property that doesn't in any way affect your neighbors' property. Go on, I'm waiting.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (4, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074397)

Or can the police kick down your door, seize whatever they want and when the court deems their actions as illegal they just say "Oops, our bad."?

The thing I find curious, is that the press and the more hysterical government representatives (in most western countries) are so keen and quick to blame violence on TV and in computer games as being the cause of violence in society. We know that this isn't the case of course.

However, no-one seems to be quite so quick to suggest that shows like "24" have a negative influence over Police and Security Services behavior.

It seems that black ops, and seize it now -- find a crime and apologize later, is a more common occurrence then ever before -- again, in several countries.

Does TV influence cop behavior? Probably not any more than TV violence affects society -- but how come it never gets mentioned? I know why, of course, but it's interesting to raise the point I think.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074689)

Simple: Because we are not that ruthless and unethical, to be able to make up such crap, and believe in it strongly enough, for whole groups (like the news media) no fall for it.

And that is why evil will always triumph. Not because good is to stupid. But because it follows some ethics, and does not have that delusional confidence.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074863)

I know I'm goofy this way, but I've always liked to think that it only happens just as much as it always did, or even less often.

It seems like the difference is much greater access to information. It wasn't that long ago that this sort of situation would have happened and you NEVER would have known. It just wouldn't have been big enough news to take up space in some newspaper halfway across the country.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (3, Insightful)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075031)

However, no-one seems to be quite so quick to suggest that shows like "24" have a negative influence over Police and Security Services behavior.

That's an excellent point. Has anyone tallied how often Jack Bauer ("the hero") demonstrates that it's ok to use torture, and even murder (shoot and kill a prisoner right in the CTU boardroom) if it's for his cause?

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (5, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075393)

Speaking of 24, I love how the one person who tried to express concern for the Bill of Rights (this is around 02:00-05:00 in the bioweapon crisis) was portrayed as a villain who only wants to slow the police down and kill thousands of innocent people.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28076071)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-military-tells-jack-bauer-cut-out-the-torture-scenes--or-else-436143.html [independent.co.uk]

"The United States Military Academy at West Point yesterday confirmed that Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently travelled to California to meet producers of the show, broadcast on the Fox channel. He told them that promoting illegal behaviour in the series - apparently hugely popular among the US military - was having a damaging effect on young troops.

According to the New Yorker magazine, Gen Finnegan, who teaches a course on the laws of war, said of the producers: "I'd like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires... The kids see it and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about 24'?"

Every 20 something guy with a uniform and a gun from Campus Cop to 1LT now thinks they are Jack Bauer. Yes, this is a problem.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074441)

Yup, that is how it works.

Or stop you on the street and if their drug dog acts suspicious, they can tear y our car apart there on the street, complete with cutting your seats and ripping the dash out of your car. "oops, no drugs, have a nice day" and drive off with you standing beside your now 'totaled' car.

Of course you can sue to be compensated after the fact, but good luck winning.

Re:Is he gonna get compensated? (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074769)

Of course, they had a warrant to do so. In most parts of the country having a warrant is sufficient to shield from liability. The check to the police action is in the process of getting the warrant. If the warrant turns out to be bunk, the police aren't going to get into trouble unless they provided false evidence.

Misinterpreting evidence is not sufficient in most cases.

Lock him up! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074311)

He and Reiser can collaborate on MurderFS. Then they can be each others' bitches. Geek power! Geek power! Geek power!!!

if this is what happens when you use 2 OS's (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074335)

the what would happen to this person(http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showthread.php?t=147959) who installed 145??

Re:if this is what happens when you use 2 OS's (2, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074417)

Guantanamo Bay or the co supermax.

Re:if this is what happens when you use 2 OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074469)

"Your Honor, there were too many operating systems on that box for us to reliably find the one he used for his evil crimes, but we're confident it's in there somewhere."

Re:if this is what happens when you use 2 OS's (2, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074765)

Both. Inside each other. on the moon. Nuked from earth. And then shot into the sun.

Boat Worship (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074343)

Goat Worship [youtube.com] is a rogue hacker's delight?

My Bad... (2, Interesting)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074411)

I hope the judge that issued the search warrant AND the police that executed it are severely punished... Oh what AM I saying..This is now the USSA and law enforcement does whatever it wants.. This judge with a "Constitutional" brain on her shoulders will be taken out for "re-education..."
What WAS I thinking.....

Retaliation (4, Informative)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074421)

IANAL.

The first think I would do in this guy's situation is to sue the city under the premise that since the search warrant was illegal, all activities flowing from the warrant were performed outside of the city's normal police powers. Since the activities were carried out without any authorized police powers, they were also carried out without the normal protections granted police during the lawful execution of their duties.

Potential charges would be:

1) Breaking and entering.
2) Trespassing.
3) Illegal search and seizure.
4) Theft of personal property.
5) Possession of stolen property.
6) Vandalism.
7) Unlawful entry.
8) False arrest.
9) False imprisonment (note that this doesn't require actually being jailed).
10) Dereliction of duty.

The next two would also be levied against whatever organization the city hired to peruse through my files:

11) Unauthorized access to a computing device.
12) Circumvention of a copy-protection mechanism (my user and root passwords).

I'm sure I could come up with more if I did some research.

Re:Retaliation (5, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074467)

12) Circumvention of a copy-protection mechanism (my user and root passwords).

Report those police officers to the RIAA. Hilarity ensues.

Re:Retaliation (5, Insightful)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074643)

no law degree here, either, but I assume a civil suit would be laughed out of court. The police officers acted in good faith because a judge signed their warrant, and, presumably, the judge the signed the warrant in a good faith belief that a) the details provided by the police were truthful, and b) the details provided by the police were sufficient to justify a warrant

The fact that a higher court struck it down is proof of "the system works" and there is no case unless you can prove maliciousness on behalf of the judge (alone or in collusion with the police). Maliciousness *solely* on the part of the police would never fly since the judge signed off on the warrant.

Re:Retaliation (2, Insightful)

Professional Slacker (761130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075687)

Hold on that seems way too circular to be Kosher.
The police are acted in good faith, because they assumed the judge would act in good faith, at the same time the judge was acting in good faith because he assumed the police were acting in good faith? How do you ever get a mis-deed out of that set of conditions?

Somebody screwed up, an innocent man had his stuff seized for no good reason (being a linux user of all things). I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that there should be no repercussions for those involved. The police weren't competent to handle the matter and the judge wasn't competent to issue the warrant. Someone needs to be held accountable for the damaged they caused, "I didn't mean to hurt anyone" is a weak excuse for a common man, but no way in hell should that fly for those that are supposed to be trained in law enforcement.

Re:Retaliation (1)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075947)

The police are acted in good faith, because they assumed the judge would act in good faith

No. The police acted in good faith, period even if the judge then signed the warrant negligently or maliciously. The judge's decision to sign (or not) the warrant is then based on the facts, as asserted in the warrant application. If the judge felt is was insufficient cause and/or the police were acting maliciously, he would have denied the warrant.

The argument, at face value, is that the police and the judge acted in separate instances of good faith. On that assumption, the police could not have been acting in bad faith because the judge would have shot them down. That leaves the possibilities of the police acting in good faith but the judge acting maliciously because he *should* have known to shoot down the warrant application *or* the police and judge acting in bad faith separately or in concert. There is no suggestion so far that any party acted in bad faith.

As to your assertion that the logic is circular: well maybe, if that's where due process ended. Instead, a higher court squashed the warrant, and therefore anything discovered as a result of the search. When similar situations happened often enough that the lower courts judges (and, by trickle down effect, the police) should be *expected* to know that their warrants will be overturned, *then* you have your opening for a civil lawsuit based on negligent/malicious prosecution.

If /. is any accurate representation of the current state of legal affairs, one would argue that case law is trending in favour of the shoddy warrants, if only due to the technical ignorance of the courts.

Forging new law and/or correcting bad applications/interpretations of existing laws is ugly, messy business, but it's the best system we've got, since not everything can go straight to the Supreme Court.

caugh... bahhahaa (was:Retaliation) (4, Interesting)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074657)

Potential charges would be...

Right. You expect the prosecutor to smite itself and its minions? Dream on.

Re:Retaliation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074907)

But those are criminal charges, no? How do you get the city to charge itself for all of these?

Seems more likely they'd be able to sue over civil charges.

Re:Retaliation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075489)

4.5) Armed robbery.

Need Massachusetts tags (5, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074667)

There is so much stupidity going on in our state, including spending and tax increases in the midst of the worst recession since the great depression, knee-jerk reactions to viral advertising campaigns using lite-brites (which did NOT cause an overreaction in much larger, more vulnerable cities), and so forth. Therefore, I propose the following tags for stories involving stupidity here in Massachusetts (even in the event where a sudden outbreak of common sense occurs, because it was masshattery which got us there in the first place):

taxachusetts
massholes
masshattery

I hope you welcome and endorse this proposal. I, for one, am ashamed of what is going on here in my state and even as a business owner I am hoping that the sales tax and income tax and fuel tax increases in the midst of this recession break this state financially just to prove to the lawmakers that one cannot tax one's way back to prosperity.

What we need right now is deep spending and tax cuts, and that INCLUDES firing the moron police officers who resulted in this moronic case.

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (1)

Lunatrik (1136121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075011)

Yes, deep spending and tax cuts is precisely what our state needs - after all, who needs welfare programs (only the irresponsible, right?), decent schools (only those with.. irresponsible parents unable to put their kids into private school, right?), *better trained* police forces, firemen, public transportation (some of the best I've used in the country, despite the various flaws with the MBTA), extensive crews to salt / deice during the winter, road and pothole repair folks to avoid soil creep issues, ..... ect?

Also, I hate to break it to you, but in November us citizens voted overwhelmingly *AGAINST* [boston.com] a tax decrease. Sure, we have corruption, waste and other such problems, but the corruption found in our government is *nothing*, and I mean *nothing*, compared to the waste we have seen on Wallstreet. If I'm going to throw my money somewhere, I'd much rather it be to an institution designated to provide services to me rather than the capital-hungry fellows on Wallstreet that got us into this mess.

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075185)

The tax they increased was a sales tax, a regressive tax. (Meaning those with the least ability to pay are affected the most.) Plus, last I checked, Massachusetts was a rather small state and fairly close to New Hampshire, with no sales tax, and Connecticut and Vermont, with lower sales taxes.

So, to help with a reduced overall consumer spending, Massachusetts decided to force business into neighboring states because it's cheaper there. Brilliant!

Also, I hate to break it to you, but in November us citizens voted overwhelmingly *AGAINST* [boston.com] a tax decrease.

Thanks to a giant disinformation campaign - including statements from the governor that repealing the income tax would change Massachusetts into Darfur. You also forget to mention that before that, the ballot measure nearly passed in 2004 - which is why there was a giant disinformation campaign in 2008)

extensive crews to salt / deice during the winter, road and pothole repair folks to avoid soil creep issues, ..... ect?

I find that statement hilarious because New Hampshire has no personal income tax - and yet their roads are kept in far better condition and their snow removal is far superior to Massachusetts. Why do you need high taxes for that, again?

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (1)

paazin (719486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075399)

[...]
I find that statement hilarious because New Hampshire has no personal income tax - and yet their roads are kept in far better condition and their snow removal is far superior to Massachusetts. Why do you need high taxes for that, again?

Clearly you don't own property in New Hampshire, otherwise you'd realize where those tax dollars came from. ;)

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075577)

The promise was if we kept the income tax, tolls, sales taxes, fuel taxes, property taxes, and so forth would not increase. They are ALL going up. We are going to have the highest fuel tax in the nation.

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075249)

taxachusetts
massholes
masshattery

masspanic

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075593)

That is an excellent one as well.

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075561)

Stupidity happens everywhere my dear, not just in Massachusetts.

Though we can't do much to increase our intelligence, we definitely can change our attitude and treat each other with respect. Perhaps by doing so, cases like this won't even happen to begin with.

Re:Need Massachusetts tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28076441)

Yeah, it's just that stupidity happens at a far greater density in Massachusetts than it does anywhere else in the nation. I honestly can't think of a single intelligent thing that state has done, ever.

Let's see, in Massachusetts:

- Truth isn't a defense for libel
- Lite Brites are bombs
- John Kerry and Mitt Romney
- Raise taxes to deal with a bad economy
- Force people to buy insurance (both health and vehicle), then wonder why prices aren't competitive in either market
- Launch point of 9/11
- Marriage isn't between a man and woman
- Patriots cheating scandal
- Red Sox steroid scandal
- Non-compete agreements are enforceable across state lines
- Sales tax can be collected on purchases made out of state
- "Blue laws" still on the books

I could go on. Safe to say, nothing useful has come out of Massachusetts since - well, ever. Sadly, Puritan beliefs HAVE come out of Massachusetts and continue to infect our nation to this day.

"prompt commands" (3, Funny)

moxley (895517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074699)

Command: "give my laptop back, you fascist fucks."

Prompt Command: "give my laptop back RIGHT FUCKING NOW you fascist fucks!"

Re:"prompt commands" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074813)

sudo give me my laptop back ; get fucked

Please stop whining, Timmy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075067)

The "meanie" police aren't going to get you.
"But, Mommy Slashdot..."
The "meanie" police aren't going to get you. Go to bed.

I smell a lawsuit coming (1)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075171)

And justifiably so. This entire thing is a joke. This guys lawyers are going to have a field day suing the overzealous assholes involved in this clearly illegal search and seizure and I'd go after the government lawyers that should have known better than to try and defend their actions as well.

Doesn't mean the perp isn't a moron (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075237)

If he did what he has been accused of.
And an uncivil b@st@rd.
For the record.

Let's not lose that point amidst
the discussion of the incompetence of
the police in the case.

It had a battery behind it, and wires. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075451)

And two operating systems! Clearly the work of a terrorist!

two injustices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28075787)

Though I detest the injustice that happened to the Boston student whose computer materials were seized, I equally detest the injustice that happened to the other student who was outed (his real sexual orientation is immaterial).

One student may ultimately get back his equipment, with the help of the justice system. But will the other ever get back his dignity?

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