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Ask Jennifer Granick About Computer Crime Defense

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the now-that-you've-heard-from-mitnick dept.

Crime 114

Attorney Jennifer Granick has defended many high profile hackers, including researcher Christopher Soghoian, creator of a fake boarding pass generator (2006); Michael Lynn versus Cisco/ISS (2005); Jerome Heckenkamp; and Luke Smith and Nelson Pavlosky in Online Policy Group v. Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions), a copyright misuse case related to electronic voting. Granick also won an exemption from the U.S. Copyright Office in 2006 allowing phone unlocking despite the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which set the stage for renewal of the exemption and for the jailbreaking exemption in 2009. At Stanford, Granick worked with Lawrence Lessig on constitutional copyright cases and taught six years worth of law students about computers, technology and civil liberties. While Civil Liberties Director at the EFF, Granick started the Coders' Rights Project and participated in litigation against ATT and the federal government for violation of surveillance regulations. Now an attorney at ZwillGen PLLC, Granick assists individuals and companies creating new products and services. And now, she's graciously agreed to answer your questions. Please, as usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but confine each question to a separate post.

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114 comments

She's a chick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37456620)

Is she hot?

Re:She's a chick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457094)

yes she most definitely is.

Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles? (4, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | about 2 years ago | (#37456650)

Should the exemption granted for jailbreaking cell phones apply to game consoles like the Xbox 360 and PS3 as well?

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (2)

rveldpau (1765928) | about 2 years ago | (#37456710)

That's a good question. I believe that once you've bought the hardware, it should be yours and you can do what you want with it. You may void warranties, but there should not benaything stopping people from sharing information about jailbreaking a system, nor should it be illegal to do so. It should remain illegal to copy and sell games, but I'm a developer, who would like to play with some nice hardware.

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37456950)

I'm a developer, who would like to play with some nice hardware.

Devil's advocate: That's what a PC is for. Even midrange graphics cards for the PC are stronger than the Radeon 9000-class Hollywood GPU in the Wii, the Radeon X1900-class Xenos GPU in the Xbox 360, and the GeForce 7800-class RSX GPU in the PS3. It's even rumored that the Wii U is just an Xbox 480. What does a console give you that a living-room PC with a comparable GPU does not, other than the assurance that your users won't try to run your game on a PC with an Intel GMA (Graphics My [Behind]), fail, and complain?

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#37457030)

So? The console hardware is usually cheaper if you want the bundle.

They sell it at a loss? Cry me a river, how is that my problem?

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37457172)

The console hardware is usually cheaper if you want the bundle.

Cheaper, but not by much. There are three current major high-definition video game platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Without any family members who own a PS3, I'm not qualified to comment on that platform, so I'll comment on what I know. Windows: An Acer Aspire X1 with a quad-core AMD CPU, NVIDIA graphics, 1 GB RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive costs $400 at Walmart. Xbox 360: An Xbox 360 costs $540: $300 for the console with only a quarter TB drive and $240 for four years of Xbox Live Gold service, without which Netflix and other online apps won't work even if they have separate subscriptions. That's not including the $400 for four years for the official jailbreak called "App Hub membership".

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#37458680)

oh no, sir. They sell it at a loss in your perception - in reality they start selling it at a profit, and then all the games are sold at a profit. The result is you get crap hardware over time, and the costs for consoles have skyrocketed.

$200 consoles 10 years ago -> $300-600 today. Blech.

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (1)

lgarner (694957) | about 2 years ago | (#37457488)

Probably true, but that's a devil's advocate for a different conversation. This isn't about whether one platform is better, or even whether it's a complete waste of time to jailbreak a console; it's about whether you should be *allowed* to do so. I'll probably never bother (don't have one now anyway), but there's no reason it shouldn't be permitted by law.

How they'll try to preempt the discussion (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37457706)

The makers of the major video game consoles don't even want there to be a public discussion "about whether you should be *allowed* to do so". They might try to preempt such discussion by arguing that there is already an open alternative to video game consoles, namely gaming PCs. The existence of such an open platform thus lessens "the impact that the prohibition on the circumvention of technological measures applied to copyrighted works has" under 17 USC 1201(a)(1)(C) [copyright.gov] and takes away the pressing need to jailbreak consoles.

Furthermore, they might argue under 1201(a)(1)(E) that the authority of the Librarian of Congress to make exemptions extends only to 1201(a)(1), and thus only Congress, not the Librarian of Congress, has the authority to grant exemptions involving circumvention devices under 1201(a)(2) and 1201(b). And Congress is already thoroughly bought by the entertainment industry, which controls the media through which candidates are promoted [pineight.com].

It's a consistent platform (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#37458868)

You write for it, and anybody else with that platform can use it. No worries about differing performance or hardware within a defined range (you can say needs Kinect or Move, and then you know exactly what extra hardware they have).

But that matters not. It's your stuff, you do with it as you will, no need to justify it to anyone. It's not about needs, it's about wants, and wants are all that are required when it comes to freedom.

Same with free speech. Why do you think you should be able to say that? None of your damn business. Why do you want to own a gun? None of your damn business. Why won't you let the police search your house without a warrant? None of your damn business.

Jailbreak for anybody else with that platform (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37459576)

You write for it, and anybody else with that platform can use it.

Good luck distributing it to "anybody else with that platform" when the next patch will disable the jailbreak on which it relies to start running. So you'd need to make an exception not only for developers but also for users.

Specific factors (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37462250)

Unfortunately, "none of your damn business" and "wants are all that are required" aren't very effective when the Librarian of Congress has specific factors that he or she must apply (17 USC 1201(a)(1)(C) [copyright.gov]). Case in point: Would the following be very persuasive to legislators or regulators? "Why do I want to pirate games on BitTorrent? None of your damn business." "Why do I want to assault someone? None of your damn business." People in power, when they're not busy being persuaded by promises of money and airtime from the entertainment industry [pineight.com], tend to be persuaded by specific reasons why a proposed change to law is good for their constituents. For example, the First Amendment:

Same with free speech. Why do you think you should be able to say that? None of your damn business.

The historic argument for free speech is that regulation of political speech has led to abusive governance.

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 2 years ago | (#37460694)

Devil's advocate: That's what a PC is for.

Response: If I wanted to modify a PC, I'd modify a PC, but I'm not - I'm trying to [run custom software on, improve hardware wise, etc] [insert console name here], so the point is moot.

Describe the goal, not the step (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37462130)

I agree with you that the consoles should be unlockable. I'm playing devil's advocate in order to help build an airtight argument for such. Toward that direction, we have to first get out of the way the questions that console makers are likely to ask: What's the goal for which running custom software on a console is the step [catb.org], and how does the PC not meet that goal?
  • If the goal is to run custom video game software, the PC supports that.
  • If the goal is to run custom video game software designed for use with a gamepad, any PC made since 1999 supports USB gamepads.
  • If the goal is to run custom video game software that uses the Kinect sensor, any PC with Windows 7 supports that.
  • If the goal is to run custom game software designed for multiple players and have them share the screen like in old-school Bomberman series or Street Fighter series, the PC supports that too. For one thing, HDTVs have VGA and HDMI inputs compatible with PCs, and for another, newer 1080p monitors for desktop PCs tend to be 21" to 23", or about as big as the TV that you may have used with your N64.

Re:Should jailbreaking exemption apply to consoles (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37456874)

Yes, it should. If it has voice chat, it's technically a phone.

The 'wargames' defense (2)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 2 years ago | (#37456668)

Couldn't your clients break in to the court computers after the trial and change the verdict to "not guilty"?

Cost? (5, Interesting)

mveloso (325617) | about 2 years ago | (#37456684)

How much does it cost to defend against these sorts of lawsuits?

Re:Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37459198)

The variables are staggering.

How ambitious is the prosecutor?
How technologically knowledgeable is the judge?
Is there existing case law?
Who are the alleged victims.
What are the real and perceived financial losses?
Is it terrorism related?
Is it an election year?
Is the ACLU or EFF willing to get involved?

10 years ago... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37456738)

10 years ago, what would've you said would be the most pressing issue regarding personal electronics/personal data use?

Re:10 years ago... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37456936)

10 years from now, what do you think will be the most pressing issue regarding personal electronics/personal data use?

Re:10 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457588)

Any and ALL of my personal information should be MINE and I should be able to charge anyone who uses an iota of my information for any reason.
Any number in my data or any letter or any email address that occurs in my data. SPAMMERS et al need to pay for any use of any information
that MAY be part of MY information. Telemarketers and SPAMMERS need to go out of business forever. They all need to die, as well as any
person working for any reason that thinks 'mining' my data is a valuable thing. It should be as easy as turning them in to a collection agency.
Politicians need to be at the top of the list.

Questions from an MMO Fan (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#37456742)

So I used to play an online game with some friends called Star Wars Galaxies (SWG). Which is now seemingly forever dead [sony.com]. And so the fans decided to work on building their own servers [swgemu.com] with the given clients. You seem to know a lot about reverse engineering so my question -- when applied more broadly -- is simply this: how come I shelled out $50 for a piece of software back in the day, now that software can no longer be used and that's completely legal? I realize I probably agreed to a ToS that forfeited my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but I thought consumer protection groups were supposed to prevent this exact sort of thing from happening. Last part of this question is simply do you ever foresee SWG becoming public domain? Of course, it's mired in Lucas' copyrights as well as Sony's but at some point in the distant future, all that copyrighted stuff (including server code and artwork) is supposed to be public domain, right? What then? Is that even going to happen? Is Sony legally required to hang on to that server source code so that I can finally once again play SWG while watching Matlock in the nursing home? Why are consumer rights non-existent when it comes to software? Will the Library of Congress open up all that source? Source control history included? I know I'll probably be dead but I'm curious.

Re:Questions from an MMO Fan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37456890)

One question per post! Is that too much data for you to interpret?

Re:Questions from an MMO Fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457420)

Don't be a jackass.

Re:Questions from an MMO Fan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457642)

Seriously, don't submit this question to Jennifer. It's a rambling mess of thoughts and non-coherent ramblings. The same basic question is likely found somewhere in another person's question. Moderators, mod down. -1 Incoherent

Re:Questions from an MMO Fan (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#37456966)

That's why the Copyright Term Extension Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act were passed during the same week in October 1998: to prevent exactly that sort of situation from happening.

Re:Questions from an MMO Fan (1)

Almandine (1594857) | about 2 years ago | (#37457746)

You paid for the physical box/manuals, physical CD/DVD, and probably a period of server access time (I assume that the $50 gives you at least 1 month of play time on their server.) That $50 doesn't mean that you would have ability to play the game forever. It's why I dislike MMOs that have both an initial cost (the box) and a subscription cost. I don't think SWG will ever become public domain. Like most of the great single player games that are no longer published, even if the company disappears, they will not release it to the public.

Re:Questions from an MMO Fan (1)

MimeticLie (1866406) | about 2 years ago | (#37460260)

Two points: First, the $50 fee you paid never gave you the right to play the game, it was your monthly fee that did that. If this comes as a shock to you, why are you playing MMO games? MMOs aren't about software as a product in the same way that other games are, they're software as a service. You're essentially asking that a company be legally obligated to run a set of servers indefinitely. I hope you realize how crazy that is.

Second, even though the source code will eventually enter the public domain, SOE has no obligation to actually distribute that code. So at that point you could copy the binary with impunity, but good luck getting your hands on the source.

What's the next 'big case'? (2)

netwarerip (2221204) | about 2 years ago | (#37456788)

Where do you see this all leading to? Will there be rulings in the near future that will blow more holes in the DMCA, and if so will that potentially lead to a more or less strict revision by the government?

Hope? (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#37456806)

After seeing the heartless machinations of our political and legal system up close, are you still hopeful that an individual can get a fair shake in our system? How rampant is prosecutorial abuse, such as that suffered by Kevin Mitnick (e.g. the NORAD whistle)? Is the complete lack of accountability for incompetent, corrupt, and malicious prosecutors and judges as serious of a problem as it appears from the outside?

What is your advice to someone who has absolutely no faith whatsoever in the legal system?

My attorney told me THIS, years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457744)

"There's no justice, or law... only MONEY"

The more I have lived this life, the more that's shown itself to be the ABSOLUTE TRUTH... Essentially, if you have none of "The Holy Dollar", you have no power, no justice, nothing - not in the system as it's currently structured!

APK

P.S.=> Basically, it's ALWAYS been this way, so... just get used to it I suppose - the people leading us today, ESPECIALLY today, are the "antithesis" of the "Knights of the Round Table" ala King Arthur: If there EVER was a more "opposite" bunch, it's those leading the world society today imo...

Only thing is, in my nearly 1/2 century on this planet? Well, I've NEVER, EVER seen it this BLATANTLY corrupt either!

(Especially from those "@ the top" - there's NO LOYALTY, no flags they owe allegiance to (tribalism I suppose), nothing but TOTAL SELF-INTEREST + looking to get more & more money since money = POWER/CLOUT in society... that's what I've determined imo & based on observation & experience @ least)...

... apk

Re:My attorney told me THIS, years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37458260)

The Knights of the Round Table were all men who were able to afford the very best in weapons, armor, and training. They were the monied elite at the time; while their attitudes may have been mostly benign, the fact that they could go around having philosophical discussions while the poor lived short brutish lives filled with backbreaking work shows that the system itself was still quite intact.

It was more about their PHILOSOPHIES (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37458472)

Their philosophy, afaik? Was largely based on:

1.) Honor

2.) Decency

3.) Altruism

That was my point using "The Knights of the Round Table" as exemplary leaders!

It's sort of like Charlie Sheen (portraying Bud Fox) had said to his father (real father, Martin Sheen) in the elevator in the legendary film "WALLSTREET":

"I can't be a pillar of society and do great things, unless I make it big"

That 'ethos' seems to have gotten lost on many of today's "power-elite" (except PERHAPS for Bill Gates, but then again, he gets "write-offs" for charitable donations & tax shields via foundations too).

Personally, IF I had that kind of "power"? I'd consider it my "civic duty" to help unfuck things out there today... they seriously NEED it!

APK

P.S.=> I don't think that the "power-elite" leadership out there today understands a VERY SIMPLE FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPT - They have the power to change things for the BETTER, or FOR THE WORSE (& the latter seems to be the road they're heading us down, unfortunately). I can only HOPE they understand & know more than I do, or anyone else, & that there IS a "good end" to their games of today is all...

... apk

Re:Hope? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457980)

This is proven theory :) Still happens today, do we really believe our govt officials are "clean" ?? The administrators in some of these places are dirty. ("I'll get rid of anything you want, its just a record" Computers dont lie do they? lol
  - TaloÑ (www.n0ths.me)

Re:Hope? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37461658)

Become a lawyer. Individual lawyers have a huge amount of discretion, including federal prosecutors, and as a skeptic, you could make a difference. The legal system is complicated, and sometimes it's arbitrary and unfair--often most so to the weakest members of society--but the discretion of individual lawyers in their application of the law can make a huge difference.

A few questions (3, Interesting)

pasv (755179) | about 2 years ago | (#37456818)

Do you feel as though law is finally catching up with technology when it comes to computer security or are we pretty far off still? Do you think that current law does a bad job of protecting security researchers and if so why? Which laws make their life living hell and what is the best way to avoid confrontation with the feds?

Jurisdition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37456858)

How can someone be charged with a crime (Eg: Unauthorised use of a computer use/hacking) in a jurisdiction/country they've never been too and then get extradited to said country? How can one commit a crime in a jurisdiction without ever being present in that jurisdiction?

Re:Jurisdition (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#37457106)

If I stand on the other side of the border of a country which I never actually have gone into and shoot at people in the other country, should I be subject to the other country's jursidiction?

Re:Jurisdition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37458564)

The question is, where did the crime actually take place? Where the bullet struck or where the trigger was pulled?

Rampant Piracy (2)

savanik (1090193) | about 2 years ago | (#37456862)

Given the vast disconnect between society's common opinion on data piracy and the large fines and penalties being pursued in the legal system by copyright holders, do you think the 'unlocking' argument could lead towards more leniency in civil cases involving copyright violations, or will that be confined to purely criminal violations?

Re:Rampant Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457262)

In that vein, (vain, vane?) Do you see parallels between the current situation vis-a-vis copyrighted culture and the situation that developed with the booksellers in 18th century England?

(history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_copyright_law#Early_British_copyright_law [wikipedia.org] )

The Statute of Anne (England 1710) limited the original copyright term to 30 years. This was enacted so that the author could profit from his works, but it prevented a situation wherein society's culture was 'owned' by the booksellers in perpetuity, which did not serve the public good.

Copyright law today does not seem to serve public good or the authors. It serves corporate interests (as does most law).

Q: Do you think that the time is approaching for another legal run at the booksellers? Or has society lost the rights to it's own culture forever?

-- Tsingi

Jury Trials (5, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | about 2 years ago | (#37456868)

Is is possible to get a fair Jury trial for these highly technical cases? It seems like the prosecution would generally aim to eject any jurors remotely technical, and the general public is highly susceptible to sensationalization because of how technology and hacking is portrayed in the media.

Re:Jury Trials (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#37457078)

Is it possible to get a fair trial AT ALL, Jury or single judge, given that NEITHER has a hint of a clue regarding the technology?

Very good one, much larger issue (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#37458986)

I would say the entire voire dire process in the US needs to be changed.

Dismiss a juror only for direct cause. Do you know the defendant and/or his close relatives/associates? Do you have any direct stake in the outcome? Have you already given an opinion on innocence or guilt? Everyone else is the luck of the draw, as it should be, a jury of your peers, not a jury of a few very carefully selected people.

Long ago a relative of mine had a DUI a few years before he was called to sit on a jury for a DUI. He voted guilty (he tells me the defendant obviously was), and the guy went to jail. These days the prosecution would kick him out on the possibility he might have sympathy for the defendant.

Re:Very good one, much larger issue (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#37459164)

you know the "the defendant obviously was guilty" part actually kinda makes me wonder if your relative had ever heard of jury nullification and why it's significant. Plenty of people focus so much on the facts that they forget about their rights as a jury, of course the opposite can happen too.

Maybe I said that wrong (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#37459336)

To him, the prosecution had easily overcome the burden of proof in that case, so he voted guilty.

He had no desire to use jury nullification. He admits he screwed up with his own DUI and had no objection to the law.

Phone Unlocking Vs Game Hacking (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#37456884)

Your history of protecting the right to unlock phones seems mildly at odds with something from your firm's site [zwillgen.com]:

Bringing suit or taking creative non-traditional enforcement actions against hackers, cheats, in-game spammers, RMT sellers, and others who disrupt the game experience;

I like the creative non-traditional enforcement route but I have to question why would you bring suit against this group of users? You might not agree but the way I see it is that I paid for my phone, I'll now do what I want with it. What do you care if I'm running different software on it? Similarly, I paid for this game and what do you care that I'm selling items for real money on the side? Or writing a bot to farm gold? It seems like users that derive an alternative means to enjoy something they buy outside of the intended usage get targeted and locked out when it happens. They're both cat and mouse games between user and corporation, why is one a legal right to do whatever you want with something you paid for and the other is prosecuted by your firm?

Re:Phone Unlocking Vs Game Hacking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457394)

You're right to modify technology you hold ends where a service you subscribe to starts. Yes, you can modify your phone to run whatever program you want. If you install a program that automatically sends out text messages, that's ok. If you use that program to send out heaps of sms spam, you are violating the terms of your service contract. Same things for games. You want to install a bot to play a game on your own computer, that's fine. You want to connect a bot to someone else's server, you are violating your contract for that service.

There isn't any degree of inconsistency between the two positions.

Re:Phone Unlocking Vs Game Hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37458120)

How in the hell are RMT sellers falling under your logic?

Re:Phone Unlocking Vs Game Hacking (1)

shish (588640) | about 2 years ago | (#37458282)

Installing third party software on your phone affects you in a positive way, and doesn't make much difference to anyone else; cheating in an online game affects other people, giving you more than you paid for at the expense of others who get less.

Finding Vulnerabilities and posting 0day PoC's (1)

mcbain942 (806450) | about 2 years ago | (#37456952)

If i find a vulnerability in an application and post an application and or source code(Proof of Concept and all), (providing i only produced the intrusion on my local lan) is this , or do you see this becoming illegal?

Cell Phone Data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37456974)

I like other people, consume a lot of data on my cell phone. I also own an android phone that is capable of working as a hot spot. So if I view the data on my laptop instead of my cellphone, I get charged a tethering fee. My question is: Does being charged a data tethering fee from my cell phone equal double billing for the same service? If I am using the unlimited data plan on my smartphone through verizon, and I choose to view it on my laptop instead of my cell phone why do I get charged for tethering. I am using the same data connection, the same plan, just viewing on a different screen. And Verizon does not offer this service it comes natively built into the phone.

Raison d'etre (1)

barv (1382797) | about 2 years ago | (#37457040)

Isnt the reason for copyright to grant secure profits to reward the innovator? Since the time to market and the market size has increased substantially, should not the life of copyrights and patents be reduced?

Not in the United States (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#37459078)

The government grants copyrights through the power of the Copyright Clause of the Constitution. That clause explicitly states the reason,

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"

Then "secure ... exclusive Right" is only a means to this end, not an end in itself. Not profit, that's not guaranteed, only the exclusivity to increase the chance of profit in order to provide an incentive to create more works.

We'll never have real copyright reform until all of Congress and most of the public remember this very important distinction.

Re:Raison d'etre (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 2 years ago | (#37460772)

No, copyright had nothing to do DIRECTLY with profiting, it was an incentive to create because for a limited time you had exclusive control to do whatever you wanted with it pretty much. how that morphed into profit, vs control [and using that control to try to profit] is something I still am trying to understand.

Interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457042)

Do you feel that sometime in the future slashdot posters will be able to follow simple instructions such as...

"confine each question to a separate post"

...or is that just wishful thinking?

Re:Interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457232)

Do you feel that sometime in the future slashdot posters will be able to follow simple instructions such as...

"confine each question to a separate post"

...or is that just wishful thinking?

Bravo my good man, bravo!

EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#37457080)

From your firm's site on games [zwillgen.com]:

Advising clients on EULAs, Terms of Use, and related contract issues;

What do you tell your clients (who apparently include Blizzard Entertainment, Square Enix, Disney and Zynga) when that "thing" I agree to before playing their game is unreadable and painfully lengthy? Are you providing them more legalese or are you saying, "Look, no gamer is going to 1) sit down and read all of this and 2) have the background to comprehend some of these terms." Because right now, in the software world, those EULAs are a complete joke. Is your firm making any positive headway on shoring up that gap between the understandings of both company lawyer and end user? If so, how?

Re:EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457222)

Honestly, they're not just a joke in software, they're also ridiculous in other aspects:
- Banking
- cell phone contracts

any kind of privacy statement.
We're going to have to find some way that this stuff can be simplified...

Re:EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (5, Interesting)

dmomo (256005) | about 2 years ago | (#37457294)

And: Is an EULA a contract? How can an EULA be enforced if the person agreeing (in the US) is under the age of 18? The parent didn't agree, someone who is not legally eligible to enter into a contract has.

Re:EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457464)

My Comment:

No one reads EULA's, and none of them are reasonable. You have to be a lawyer to understand them, and most would not.

I try to judge how harmful a relationship could be to me under the assumption that the EULA likely gives the company (them) all the rights and the client (me) none, and go from there.

Halfway through reading the Sony online agreement I removed the network cable from my PS3 and haven't replaced it since.

--
Tsingi

Re:EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (1)

dmomo (256005) | about 2 years ago | (#37457640)

I do the same whenever I pop in a blueray disc. I have no reason to let those discs access the Internet. There's an option to "confirm access" first, but it's too easy for it to get reverted, and it asks every time.

Re:EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463168)

No one reads EULA's, and none of them are reasonable. You have to be a lawyer to understand them, and most would not.

This exact same argument could be made to argue why no apartment lease agreement should ever be upheld in court. Apartment contracts involve far more money than any software EULA outside a few that involve parties who are already represented by attorneys (i.e., site licenses for large companies, etc.). Lessees rarely are represented by an attorney when finding an apartment to rent. "No one reads their apartment contract."

It's a bogus argument to say "this is too hard for me to read, so let me sign it, reap the benefit, and then, when I don't like it anymore, let me breach it with impunity." There are better arguments, but almost all of them are arguments against shrink-wrap licenses, not EULAs in general. The big gripe on places like Slashdot, EFF, Boing Boing, etc. is against contracts of adhesion—basically shrink-wrap licenses).

Also, PS, the GPL is a EULA, so they're not all bad.

Now mod me down, Slashdot hivemind!

Re:EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (1)

thenendo (523849) | about 2 years ago | (#37458712)

Regarding minors and contracts, wikipedia is your friend. In most states, minors certainly can enter into contracts, but have a special privilege to disaffirm/void the contract at any time, in which case they must disaffirm the entire contract and return any consideration. In the case of an EULA, this is probably not much different from anybody's right to stop using the software if they don't like the EULA. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Capacity_(law) [wikimedia.org]

Re:EULAs, Terms of Use and the Like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37459024)

Why are the EULAs not readable from the box before you buy it? It is a lot of trouble to find that you can't possibly abide by unconscienable one-sided agreements attempting to staple your hands to your arse that people can't even read until they get it home and open the box and start an install. It does start a hostile relationship upon the purchase of these seemingly ungrateful perveyors of their hard/software. Reading EULAs always leaves an unsavoiry taste in my mouth and clenches my gut instincts.

Some EULA's are written as jokes (1)

Guidii (686867) | about 2 years ago | (#37457426)

Like the HavenTree "Bloodthirsty License Agreement"

This is where the bloodthirsty license agreement is supposed to go, explaining that Interactive Easyflow is a copyrighted package licensed for use by a single person, and sternly warning you not to pirate copies of it and explaining, in detail, the gory consequences if you do.

We know that you are an honest person, and are not going to go around pirating copies of Interactive Easyflow; this is just as well with us since we worked hard to perfect it and selling copies of it is our only method of making anything out of all the hard work.

If, on the other hand, you are one of those few people who do go around pirating copies of software you probably aren't going to pay much attention to a license agreement, bloodthirsty or not. Just keep your doors locked and look out for the HavenTree attack shark.

Disclaimer: I used to work there, back in the day. Great place, with the right attitude. (And, yes, there actually was an attack shark.)

Basic Info for Criminal Defenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457118)

What basic information about computer crimes (statutes, pertinent cases, relevant technical details) do you think criminal defense lawyers and public defenders should refer to, if they find themselves in the position of defending someone accused of a hacktivism-related crime (ddos or other disruptive tactic)? Are there existing sources that compile relevant practical information, and do you recommend any?

jailbreaking mac os x from apple hardware (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#37457230)

Now that may fit under some laws and may even full under phone unlocking.

Now what psystar did was selling full systems with mac os x loaded on them but if you where to do it on your own will you be ok?

What if I want to load a office full of pc with mac os x and I buy a OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive at $70 each for each system will I be ok?

What should be next? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457278)

I'd think the interesting cases are the borderline ones, as those are the ones that are most likely to shape the law rather than be shaped by it. Assuming that, what area of computer law do you see being so vague and ill-defined that it's actually essential that case law be produced for it?

Never asked of a slashdot guest before... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457388)

Got any naked pictures of yourself?

Are ToS Legal? (3, Interesting)

giantism_strikes (1887188) | about 2 years ago | (#37457406)

Company vs. enthusiast (hacker) arguments often seem to go back to the Terms of Service that are associated with the company’s product (Sony vs. geohot). Are these Terms of Service legal contracts between the company and the user? The ones that I have read never state that you must be a legal adult to agree to the Terms of Service. I remember clicking “I Agree” on hundreds of installations before I was over the age of 18. My guess is that these contracts would not be legally binding since I was not a legal adult. It seems like I would get around the Terms of Service by having my 2 year old daughter click the “I Agree” button, or maybe I would just be illegally using their product.

Re:Are ToS Legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37458110)

One of the strangest things I see geeks doing when it comes to ToS or clickwrap agreements is that they treat them all the same. Some random evil company's clickwrap agreement gets tossed out on some technicality, and everyone on the Internet assumes that this sets precedent for all software/service agreements everywhere.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that have to go to court with each company individually to determine which ones are and are not legally binding. They all say different things.

Re:Are ToS Legal? (1)

giantism_strikes (1887188) | about 2 years ago | (#37458558)

Thank you for clearly responding to the content of my post instead of just the comment subject... The point of the comment is how can a ToS be legally binding if the person agreeing to it is still a minor. They cannot legally sign a contract without their legal guardian's signature also on the contract. So can a minor legally agree to a ToS?

Re:Are ToS Legal? (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#37461098)

There will be different rules for different states; generally, no, a minor can't agree to a contract, though there are exceptions for necessities. If the minor intentionally misleads the other party by concealing their age they might be liable for the contract as well. So a minor could disclaim contractual obligations, though they're not allowed to keep the software/goods/whatever when they disclaim the contract (though interesting bit of law is that if the item has been destroyed they can just return the destroyed item). The other poster's idea about using his two-year old wouldn't work though, for obvious reasons.

Login banners? (4, Interesting)

wiedzmin (1269816) | about 2 years ago | (#37457596)

Hi Jennifer. To what extent can lack of a login "banner" (disclaimer defining usage guidelines, monitoring and prohibiting unauthorized access, etc) can be used as defense by someone who has unlawfully gained access to that system? I have heard of past cases where system "welcome" statements have been interpreted as an invitation to use a system, but does this apply inversely to lack of system "unwelcome" statement? Thanks.

SteamWorks on PC game DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37457672)

Just about every PC game out now or in development is using SteamWorks [wikipedia.org]. Square Enix's products are some of those that do.

SteamWorks makes a game DVD into a Steam game so it's no different than buying it online with no DVD. Because of this, the buyer isn't allowed to trade, lend or resell the DVD under the TOS [steampowered.com]. If they are found doing this the account and the DVD key may be terminated. Unlike MMOs this is being applied to single-player games that don't use the internet at all. This may be unprecedented.

Several questions arise from this:

1) Is there any legal precedent for or against this practice? Does the Right of First Sale apply? (As this is a physical medium rather than digital-only, as it has been confirmed to apply to digital data on a disc (UMG v. Augusto) regardless of the copyright holder trying to restrict the sale.) Even though it's a maxim that "software is licensed not sold" what is the relevant actual law that says this?

2) If the EULA that enforces this is in fact legally binding (which has not been established with any regularity as there have been decisions for and against) does this mean that these discs should not legally be allowed to be sold to minor persons who can't sign contracts? (This is to be contrasted with online purchases where the buyer is presenting evidence of being age of majority by their method of payment.)

3) Is there any legal precedent for this arbitrary restriction of the sale of a used good other than Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus 1908 (which ruled against the copyright holder?)

cable box rent lawsuit / buying a canada / owned b (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#37457682)

There have been a few law suits over being forced to rent them but there is a other board line legal part with people who clam that all the boxes on e-bay and other places are stolen even when you have owned boxes from Canada, Boxes from smaller cable systems. There was this small college that to get tv on the dorm cable system you needed to buy a cable box. Also real board line part is the big cable systems list a unturned cable box price now if you pay that price you should now be the owner of the box right? Now under FCC law they should trun any box with a cable card but they don't want to trun on Cable boxes that you own that are the same ones they rent but they use cable cards so under law they are braking it.

Also a few cable systems rent moxi boxes and you get VOD but with a owned moxi box you don't get VOD.

Service Electric let's you buy cable cards and pay no outlet or mirroring fees.

I want your legal view on this.

Class-action lawsuit waiver? (5, Interesting)

wiedzmin (1269816) | about 2 years ago | (#37457694)

Hi Jennifer, what are your thoughts on the recent Sony PSN Terms of Service revision including a class-action lawsuit waiver? Is this legal? Sure the consumer can decide not to buy their product, but what about those who already paid for their PlayStations? Furthermore - what if every other company follows suit and consumers are no longer able to seek retribution for identity theft, data loss or even physical harm caused by any product (sure they can individually sue, but who has the money to hire a lawyer to take on Sony's legal team)? This sounds like a very bad practice to go undisputed. Thanks.

Re:Class-action lawsuit waiver? (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37463180)

Hi Jennifer, what are your thoughts on the recent Sony PSN Terms of Service revision including a class-action lawsuit waiver? Is this legal?

I believe this type of thing was recently upheld in court (class action waiver). I'm not Jennifer, but I thought I'd share.

Personally, I think they should be illegalized as very much against public policy.

The Human Body at the Terminal (2)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 years ago | (#37457698)

What are the more interesting ways you have seen prosecutors prove that the person sitting at the defendant's chair was the person committing the cybercrime at the keyboard.

Question: Pragmatic Legal Protection--but how? (3, Interesting)

Da_Biz (267075) | about 2 years ago | (#37457848)

My question for Jennifer:
I've observed in work and professional life (my job is 50% nerd whisperer, 50% energy policy and political matters) that while laws that protect "the little guy" are practically worthless unless one is willing to shell out several hundred dollars for a lawyer--and perhaps even $10K+ for a litigator.

It's also scary and disheartening to hear an experienced and successful friend say that he selected a US Government-owned patent for technology his startup is implementing--if only because he hopes the Feds will come to his defense if he's sued for patent infringement.

Could you please suggest some political and/or legislative outcomes that we need to pursue to try to make access to law more egalitarian from technology and innovation standpoints?

Information reflects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37458320)

Excellent post relevant i [k2arcondicionado.com.br]nformation reflects good level of clarificati [k2direcaoh...ica.com.br]on.

SteamWorks on PC game DVDs (2)

MrKevvy (85565) | about 2 years ago | (#37458324)

(My apologies... posted anonymously.)

Just about every PC game out now or in development is using SteamWorks [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]. Square Enix's products are some of those that do.

SteamWorks makes a game DVD into a Steam game so it's no different than buying it online with no DVD. Because of this, the buyer isn't allowed to trade, lend or resell the DVD under the TOS [steampowered.com] [steampowered.com]. If they are found doing this the account and the DVD key may be terminated. Unlike MMOs this is being applied to single-player games that don't use the internet at all. This may be unprecedented.

Several questions arise from this. We're only supposed to ask one so I guess just pick the one you like best!

1) Is there any legal precedent for or against this practice? ie Does the Right of First Sale apply? (As this is a physical medium rather than digital-only, as it has been confirmed to apply to digital data on a disc (UMG v. Augusto) regardless of the copyright holder trying to restrict the sale.) If not, even though it's a maxim that "software is licensed not sold" what is the relevant actual law that says this?

2) If the EULA that enforces this is in fact legally binding (which has not been established with any regularity as there have been decisions for and against) does this mean that these discs should not legally be allowed to be sold to minor persons who can't sign contracts? (This is to be contrasted with online purchases where the buyer is presenting evidence of being age of majority by their method of payment. Someone else also asked this before I was done typing mine.)

Deniability of OTR (2)

leto (8058) | about 2 years ago | (#37458364)

Many people use an IM add-on called Off-the-Record. On top of encryption, it also provides deniability by not proving any digital signatures for the other party to present to a court, and the procol ensures everyone can make false messages in the past. How strong do you this technical protection would be from a legal perspective if one of the two parties has a logfile with all messages?

Can the courts restrict my network access (1)

pseudorand (603231) | about 2 years ago | (#37459180)

I remember hearing stories courts ordering people convicted of computer crimes to not touch a computer for 10+ years (sorry, I'm too lazy to find one right now). Are these stories true? Can courts really order someone not to own or use a computer or not to use the Internet?

If so, is the fact that this probably makes the person ineligible for a huge number of jobs (all jobs in their field for many) and is essentially taking away his livelihood taken into account?

What constitutional arguments have been made in defense of such things? Did any succeed, and at what level in the courts?

What about families? Can a judge can't impose such a penalty on an entire household just because a single member of that household has been convicted? If not, what, if any, mechanisms has law enforcement taken to enforce such a ban on a single member of a household?

Cost of justice (4, Insightful)

alexo (9335) | about 2 years ago | (#37459382)

Do you agree that, for many people who are wrongly accused, it is cheaper to settle or plea than to fight and win?

And if you do, how will you suggest to fix the system?

Old case of secret service abuse question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37459648)

In 1987 a combined task force of the secret service, the fbi, and police from several jurisdictions raided my home and accused me of being the cause of the stock market crash of '87. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_(1987) ).

I was interrogated at gun point, my home computer lab cataloged sloppily and packed into boxes, and a copy of the search warrant was left behind to show for all the drama. I never received any follow up, and some years later I went to the police who's jurisdiction the warrant was issued in, and was told simply that my equipment had been used for 'training purposes'. I wrote the judge who signed the warrant and received a month delayed response indicating only that I had to contact the police who'd executed the warrant (no mention of the secret service or fbi). I have never received my property back, no follow up, no charges being filed, no indication of any active investigation, nothing. They came and took my stuff on the strength of this warrant and today all I have to show for it is shattered youth and this yellowing piece of paper.

WHERE and HOW do I address this with the government?

Dear Single Female lawyer (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#37460216)

I don't have any questions, I just wanted to make a Futurama reference.

Dear Pedantic,
Yes, I know she is married to Brad Stone. Which part of 'just wanted to make a Futurama reference' do you not get?

Law School (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37460902)

What is your take on the current state of Law School, and more specifically how do you feel about not T14 Law Schools?

Responding to your Emails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37461034)

Being a busy person as I'm sure you are how many emails do you get that you just ignore?

Non-Tech Background Law Student (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37461066)

As a Law Student with a non-tech background what is the best way to get involved with Cyber Law?

Changes to Patent Law (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37462606)

I know this is a different area of the law, but what are the ramifications of the upcoming changes to US patent law, specifically the "first to file" provision. I am associated with a possible start up, and I have become concerned that as soon as we reveal anything, patent troll companies will scoop up our ideas and turn them against us. I know that provisional patents are supposed to protect me, but I also know that those with deep pockets often prevail because of litigation cost. As a start up, big legal fees could cripple the effort. My current feeling is that this change is another mechanism for entrenched special interests to squash competition and innovation.
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