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PCs Posted No Trespass

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the you're-not-welcome-here dept.

Security 277

FreeLinux writes "USA Today has a story about a federal court ruling stating that Spyware can constitute illegal trespass. From the article: 'A federal trial court in Chicago has ruled recently that the ancient legal doctrine of trespass to chattels (meaning trespass to personal property) applies to the interference caused to home computers by spyware. Information technology has advanced at warp speed with the law struggling to keep up, and this is an example of a court needing to use historical legal theories to grapple with new and previously unforeseen contexts in Cyberspace.'"

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HOLY COW SHIT (1)

Dragoonkain (704719) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794268)

ITS ABOUT FUCKING TIME

Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's likeReason: Don't use so many caps. It's like

Re:HOLY COW SHIT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794460)

I know this is fucking off topic as shit but, I must say, you know you have nerd status when you are in the parking lot of the movies in Manchester, NH waiting on Serenity to start and whiling away the last 30 minutes until showtime surfing Slashdot on your EVDO enabled laptop. Okay, back to the regularly scheduled wankfest.

YEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794269)

About time!

Even though I doubt it will stop completly, hopefully it will be trimmed down a little bit.

Re:YEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794289)

I'm happy. Next time I get a piece of spyware, the company it phones home to is going down (and don't think that I can't trace it through a zombie, either).

Re:YEA (5, Funny)

muszek (882567) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794383)

What is spyware? Is it this kind of software that I need Wine to run?

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794455)

They should put in the law that it must clearly be printed in the EULA at the top of the EULA in bold font each letter half an inch large that it may install scipts the will send all your information to a cock sucking company that wants to send you 3 million pop ups and annoy the hell out of you.

Good one (0, Offtopic)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794503)

Made me chuckle. :)

Still have to get around to the slightly scary prospect of partitioning this baby up so I can put Linux on it. I've been long overdue to playing around with it.

Re:YEA (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794510)

Is it this kind of software that I need Wine to run?

No, just scripting web browsers like Firefox, Opera, and IE.....Linux based spyware may not be as crappy as Windows based spyware, but that's just due to the stability of the underlying operating system.

first irony (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794277)

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Good, I'm gettin' mah gun (5, Funny)

millisa (151093) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794278)

Had thet dang sahn posted out yahnuh fer years now. I do b'lieve it states clearly ah am hav'n theh ra'ht t' shoot 'em.

Re:Good, I'm gettin' mah gun (3, Funny)

Loc_Dawg (862613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794378)

...it's funny but also true. If people would ARM themselves with knowledge and caution, there would less trespassing to begin with.

Re:Good, I'm gettin' mah gun (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794406)

> ...it's funny but also true. If people would ARM themselves with knowledge and caution, there would less trespassing to begin with.

In other words, people break into your box at their own RISC?

Posted: Private Lan. No hunting. No Phishing. (4, Funny)

millisa (151093) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794454)

No SNMP Trapping.
Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Re:Posted: Private Lan. No hunting. No Phishing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794506)

That's true now. The threat of legal action is way more deterring than any threat of physical violence.

Re:Good, I'm gettin' mah gun (3, Funny)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794516)

> ...it's funny but also true. If people would ARM themselves with knowledge and caution, there would less trespassing to begin with.

In other words, people break into your box at their own RISC?

Like we haven't hear that joke 80386 times before...

Re:Good, I'm gettin' mah gun (3, Funny)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794381)

"My HD is my castle," or
"~/, sweet ~/"

Re:Good, I'm gettin' mah gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794398)

why joo mess up yer gud spelln wit all dem hicky marks? blieve is blieve, not b'lieve. Same fer dem others.

well, not really (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794279)

Spyware is not really trespassing. The problem is that Spyware wants to trespass, but it really isn't

just my 2 cents

Re:well, not really (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794338)

Some of it isn't. You can avoid a lot of spyware if you simply read and don't agree to the terms on the EULA.

Re:well, not really (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794403)

I had spyware installed via a buffer overlfow from a codec that installed a rootkit. Not all use EULAs since spywware makers just buy a mailbox in Bulgaria and they are magically no longer an American company that can play by American rules. There are tons of loopholes to avoid EULAs alltogether.

Re:well, not really (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794435)

I think that License Agreements should come in 2 parts regarding 3rd party software (aka spyware dll's).

Like:

"WARNING! By installing this software you'll also install our internet monitoring technology. This may slow down your machine and cause ads to pop up in the least expected moment. Do you want to continue?"

Not gonna change a goddamned thing. (5, Insightful)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794283)

There will still be spyware, even if it's ruled that you can't 'trespass' on peoples' PCs without their knowledge. All that will change is that they will bury some legalistic bullshit which translates roughly to 'by installing MySuperScreensaverz.com on your computer, you give us permission to pwn your box and fling shitloads of pop-ups at you' five pages deep into the EULAs for all spyware-containing software.

I strongly suspect that this has, in fact, already happened in many (most?) cases.

Re:Not gonna change a goddamned thing. (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794308)

Read any EULAS lately? Realpayer at least used to have these clauses (I haven't used it in many years, so I wouldn't know if they're still there).

Re:Not gonna change a goddamned thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794408)

And this is why I am fighting EULAs. I want them banned altogether.

Because someone will ask, the GPL will be unaffected because it is not an END USER license.

Re:Not gonna change a goddamned thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794549)

More precisely: The GPL is a license (=a permission) and not a (so-called) license agreement (=a contract).

Re:Not gonna change a goddamned thing. (2, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794475)

Even worse, the Internet is international. A law deeming the installation of spyware illegal in the US has no effect on a company based in Tobego.

It might (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794522)

It might make spyware warn you, and remove itself when asked. That's all I ask of spyware, the same thing I ask of guests in my house. You have to ask my permission if you want in, and you have to leave the minute I tell you to get out, and not come back unless reinvited.

The problem I have with spyware is that so much of it is so slimey. It'll install itself and then put all sorts of trickey checks in to ensure it's not unloaded. It'll have a reinstaller in the services, and in the startup group, and in the "run" section, and add itself to the "run once" section each time it runs, and latch on to explorer and so on. Thus when you try to remove it, even with the help of spyware tools, it's often very difficult to get rid of. Also, spyware often opens backdoors to allow other spyware in. In the beginning you have one peice, then through no further interaction you have 10.

This is what needs to be illegal. The software needs to make it clear what it does, and it needs to uninstall, and stay uninstalled, upon request. If we can start prosecuting the sleeze that make programs that don't obey those simple rules, I'll be real happy. If you want to load up spyware on your system voluntairly, that's your business. I just get pissed when I get a service call to remove it, and it fights tooth and nail, or when a person installed one thing they wanted, and it invited 10 of it's friends they didn't.

The Feds Have Taken The First Step (4, Insightful)

geomon (78680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794285)

When prosecuting a case of trespass, the owner must often demarcate their property with signs indicating that it is private property and trespass is not allowed. This isn't true for all jurisdictions, but the feds generally treat their networks and individual machines in such a manner. All of the ones I've worked on are required to post a warning that they are government property and that unauthorized access is considered criminal trespass.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794344)

When prosecuting a case of trespass, the owner must often demarcate their property with signs indicating that it is private property and trespass is not allowed.

Eh, this doesn't sound right to me. I don't have to put signs on my house that says it's illegal for someone to enter it without my permission.

On the other hand, I might believe your point in cases of rural land where there are no clear boundaries. In that case, it might be legal to cross someone's farmland, unless they specifically forbid.

I think a PC is closer to a house than an unmarked piece of land.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (2, Insightful)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794424)

That is where you would need a sign to prove trespass, open land is just that. However Farmland is a bad example. A farm is a place of activity.

Now Merry and Pippin, If your caught trapsing around in Farmer Maggots fields he's like to get a little upset. Maybe even overreact.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794466)

Eh, this doesn't sound right to me. I don't have to put signs on my house that says it's illegal for someone to enter it without my permission.

Good point and thank-you. I have put a yellow sticky on my computer designating it private property.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794357)

Trespass requires no intent or notice. It is a myth that notice is required, you will find no caselaw that this is true. Many police beleive this to be true, often not accepting complaints without such a posting. The difference is in the amount of damages, in that to knowingly trespass means punative damages are permitted.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794444)

Looks as though you may be mistaken [mwai.org] :

Although under most laws it is not technically true that someone has to trespass a second time before they can be prosecuted, it is true that most laws require some type of prior notice.

Posting is required in some jurisdictions.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794377)

> When prosecuting a case of trespass, the owner must often demarcate their property with signs indicating that it is private property and trespass is not allowed.

$ telnet 127.0.0.1 25
Trying 127.0.0.1...
Connected to 127.0.0.1.
Escape character is '^]'
220 127.0.0.1 ESMTP Sendmail 8.13.37/8.00.8.135
214 Don't even think about attempting to relay spam through here, n00b. Tresspassers will be pwn3d.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (2, Insightful)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794402)

Not quite, the simple fact of a door that is closed is all you need. Even if it's wide open it's still properly demarcated. Signage is not a requirement, merely courtesty. The Fourth Amendment - Search and Seizure is all about what is and isn't legit. Having a firewall on your system is enough of an indication your not a open house.

Quite the reverse, a house or clearly property must have some sort of indication that welcomes visitors. Otherwise it is assumed not open. Thats why businesses have OPEN signs. If you don't see a such a sign then they are not open to the public.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794433)

All of the ones I've worked on are required to post a warning that they are government property and that unauthorized access is considered criminal trespass.

At a site where I once worked we had to change our login message from "Welcome to $machine" to "Unauthorized access prohibited" because "welcome" was considered a statement that unauthorized access was permitted.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794513)

At a site where I once worked we had to change our login message from "Welcome to $machine" to "Unauthorized access prohibited" because "welcome" was considered a statement that unauthorized access was permitted.

I think some of the early Slackware distros used to have this as a default login. I haven't seen that for a long time.

Amazing how networks went from communal workspaces to protected territories.

"No trespassing" signs are not a requirement (5, Insightful)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794488)

...if it was it would be pretty ridiculous.

If I accidentally forget to lock the door of my residence when I have to leave to run a quick errand, and I return to unexpectedly find a stranger rummaging through my refrigerator it is criminal trespass. Said stranger need not enter by force or cause damage to be convicted of a crime, and I don't have to put a "no trespassing" sign on my front door to make it a crime. It is obviously a private domicile and "no trespassing" is implied.

Spyware is the electronic equivalent of the above. Providing explicit notification should only be required when a given property could easily be mistaken for public property--and the same applies to computers. Spyware vendors should expect that it is a certainty that their distribution methods will target computers that are "private property" and that they must clearly and explicitly ask permission to interfere with that property.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794536)

I'm currently on probation for criminal trespass on property that had no "No Trespassing" signs of any sort. The DA alleged, that because of the shoddy nature of the property, it was aparent that the property was not open to the public or some similar rubbish. Granted I plead guilty for reasons that are too complicated to get in to, and was not convicted, but don't think they will hesitate to prosecute for the lack of such signs.

Re:The Feds Have Taken The First Step (2, Interesting)

utlemming (654269) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794573)

Although it does make things interesting. Imagine if you will if someone marks all their ports with a notice stating that trespasser acknowledge that they might invite a hostile counter-attack, i.e. you attack the system that it is phoning-home to. Also, could you mark all your ports that you might "shoot" trespassers? Further, does a sticky note on the screen constitute notice against trespass? That would be interesting. By applying the common law ideal of trespass, now it will be interesting if all the common law ideas of self-defense apply to. Just because the person is not physically present on your computer, does that mean that you can launch a counter-attack which "kills" or "impairs" his intellectual property, or his ability to use that which has been licensed to him?

Trespass!? How about Break and Enter? (5, Insightful)

DigitalJeremy (907237) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794286)

Seriously though, it's refreshing to learn the courts are looking at it, and at least TRYING to make spyware fit into the legal system somewhere.

If I've ever said "there oughta be a law", here is where it most certainly applies.

Makes Sense to Me (5, Interesting)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794287)

But how much spyware is installed by the user unknowingly, via misleading dialog boxes or other methods in which the user is fooled into installing it? I somehow doubt that would fall under the trespassing rule, due to being allowed in, no matter how sleazy the entry. I can understand those that are installed without the consent of the user through security holes, but those are a minority of the cases. The overwhelming majority gets in through the user inadvertantly allowing it in.

Re:Makes Sense to Me (5, Informative)

Fiver- (169605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794319)

From TFA:

"One of the defendants supposedly has an end user license agreement pursuant to which computer users are to be informed that spyware will be installed. However, the plaintiff alleged that that defendant has three means by which to avoid showing this agreement to computer users."

Re:Makes Sense to Me (4, Insightful)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794326)

But how much spyware is installed by the user unknowingly, via misleading dialog boxes or other methods in which the user is fooled into installing it?

Exactly, where will this end. If spyware is trespass how about all the advertisements or demo software that is routinely installed with commercial applications.

From TFA the defendants caused spyware to be downloaded onto his computer.

It would be interesting to know how exactly the defendants 'caused spyware to be downloaded'. Looks to me like the plaintiff was visiting sites that had spyware attached to them, he shouldn't have visited these sites if he didn't want spyware installed. That's what I do. It's like he had a party and his guests brought some friends. Now he wants to charge his guest's friends with tresspassing. Would make more sense to be careful who you invited to start with.

How about (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794367)

Defendant knowingly pays commissions on software installed by visiting misleading sites and sites that exploit security vulnerabilities. Thereby the defendants caused spyware to be downloaded...

Re:Makes Sense to Me (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794387)

It's like he had a party and his guests brought some friends. Now he wants to charge his guest's friends with tresspassing.

One could ask the interlopers to leave. If they don't, then they are trespassing. And in any case, it wouldn't be legal for them to take your checkbook and ID with them.

Re:Makes Sense to Me (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794429)

it wouldn't be legal for them to take your checkbook and ID with them.

Aahh, but wouldn't this be theft and not trespass?

Re:Makes Sense to Me (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794594)

One could ask the interlopers to leave. If they don't, then they are trespassing.

And the equivalent of asking the interloper to leave is Start > (Settings >) Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs, correct? In that case, is it now considered trespassing not to make a working uninstaller for a program for Windows? If so, what standard of mens rea (knowledge, recklessness, negligence, or strict liability) should be used, in order to attack the makers of spyware without unduly affecting makers of "legit" software?

Re:Makes Sense to Me (3, Insightful)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794443)

Looks to me like the plaintiff was visiting sites that had spyware attached to them, he shouldn't have visited these sites

That reminds me of a help desk tech I was in a Y-jack with one day, telling a customer not to use a firewall because of the problems they cause. I muted him and asked, "Ok, so what if they run a program that is actually a trojan?" His response, "Well they shouldn't do that."

Great non-answer. How's the guy supposed to know which sites are safe and which aren't?

Friends go home (1)

lilmouse (310335) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794450)

There's nothing wrong with his friends showing up, especially since you can always show them the door.

If his friends start sleeping on your couch, or you invite him to stay the night and they kick back on the floor too, then you've got a good reason to call 911. Or get out your shotgun, if you're that kind.

--LWM

Re:Makes Sense to Me (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794570)

It would be interesting to know how exactly the defendants 'caused spyware to be downloaded'. Looks to me like the plaintiff was visiting sites that had spyware attached to them, he shouldn't have visited these sites if he didn't want spyware installed.

How was the plaintiff to know they were going to download spyware before he went there? It's not like the link says, "Click here to visit a site that installs spyware." I've visited a few, seemingly innocent sites and had them try to download viruses. In all cases, I realized what was happening when the site hung while my AV software went to work. Clicking on Stop did nothing until the AV was done and I'd dealt with the warning. Trying to be helpfull, I've emailed a few webmasters about this, only to have the mail bounce because there's no webmaster address for those sites. There are a few sites blocked in my hosts file, simply because I don't want to deal with the viruses. However, until I went there, I had no way of knowing about them, and neither did the plaintiff.

Misleading software (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794348)

But how much spyware is installed by the user unknowingly . . .

Isn't it still some sort of crime to impersonate the cable guy (or whoever) and gain entrance to a house? That would be analagous to the kind of trespass we're talking about. The 'consent' is obtained by deceit.

I guess spyware is like vampires... (1)

ebyrob (165903) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794586)

Once you invite it in you're, fscked. (or soon will be)

frist Posted: k33p 0uT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794288)

...rooters will be shot!

They have seen the light! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794293)

I say nominate that judge to the supreme court

So uh, Is Microsoft guilty of aiding and abetting? (0)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794294)

LOL I'm so funny. Hehe, I should have use a $ sign for the ^%$^$$^$[NO CARRIER}

Re:So uh, Is Microsoft guilty of aiding and abetti (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794311)

How did you manage to hit submit after you got disconnected? I don't get it. :-(

interpreting the law (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794296)



I guess this is one approach. Personally I think there needs to be a whole new slew of laws written specifically for cyber space. Ok great so we have determined the law was broken. It's usually the extradition part that's sorta hard concidering these firms need just move to bermuda. I think it would be interesting if a new section be formed under the judicial branch that dictates whether internet sites break US law and firewall there as slike china I'm serious there has to be a point where this is filtered.

Re:interpreting the law (2, Insightful)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794365)

I'm serious there has to be a point where this is filtered.

I wish you weren't. If you want to live in a communist dictatorship please move to China - don't make the U.S. one. Living in the 'land of the free' comes with some responsibilities. If you want the content filtered, filter it where the Internet comes in to your house, don't infringe on other's rights to download and view whatever they want to. Problem with a 'whole new slew of laws' is that the only way to enforce them results on infringments on individuals rights.

We would all be better off if people would start taking responsibility for their actions. I absolutely detest spyware and what it does to people's computers, but it is the individual's responsibility to take steps to ensure they don't infect their machines.

Re:interpreting the law (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794533)

What you said. Thanks.

Re:interpreting the law (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794369)

It's usually the extradition part that's sorta hard concidering these firms need just move to bermuda.

Then we level the playing field by increasing the duties on products they produce. They leave do dodge a legal penalty, they pay extra to bring their stuff back in for sale - make the import penalty equal to the legal damages. (I personally feel we should be doing this to corporations that set up tax shelters in places like Antigua, but that's just me).

Of course, I know it'll never happen, but it's a thought.

Re:interpreting the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794415)

How would you tax data transfers though?

No dammit! (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794565)

The last thing we need are millions of little laws governing every damn thing! We've already gone way too far in that direction. The law is supposed to be something everyone obeys. Well a prerequisite of that would be it has to be something everyone understands. You can't obey that which you don't understand. Also our laws are supposed to be somewhat rooted in common sense. When you get down to it, most of our most important laws are just formal codifications of basic kindergarden manners: Don't take stuff that isn't yours, don't hurt other people, don't lie, etc.

Real and virtual property are basically the same when it comes to access rights, and what most people would find acceptable. If something is open to the public and inviting, like a store front or a public website on port 80, clearly it's an invitation to all to come on in. You only have to stay out if the owner explicitly forbids you access. If something is locked up, like a private residence or a passworded SSH server, it's clearly a message that you need to obtain permission first to come in, otherwise stay out. Likewise, regardless of permission, you aren't allowed to destroy anything.

Basic property law really can be very well applied to virtual property, in such a way that I think everyone would understand it and most resonable people would agree it's a good set of rules. We don't need a whole new set of complecated laws for it.

Trespassing? (1)

Neurotoxic666 (679255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794299)

So it's trespassing? Let the Windows and gates jokes begin...

But if I had a shirt saying I was an AC... (1)

punkass (70637) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794425)

...then I wouldn't be anonymous, would I?

Prison time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794302)


but who is guilty, the people who create the malware or the people that finance them [benedelman.org] ?

im looking forward to seeing a few more executives in jail, they seem to think if you wear a suit and have a PLC/INC you can do what you want without recourse

"installing through security holes" (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794414)

On that site you posted, I see under the column Controversial product characteristics / my research / references entries sucj as this: "installing through security holes".

Isn't that a virus or a break-in that's already illegal?

P.S. Thank you for posting that site. Now I can make sure that my "Adblock" ad-in for Firefox will block those companies.

This was bound to happen (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794303)

I've always considered most forms of hacking, including spyware, to fall under trespassing or breaking and entering.

Can we also apply this to SPAM? (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794309)

SPAM is as much of a intrusion as spyware,
it regularly invades my inbox property.

Can I get a judgment/settlement from the company advertised?

Re:Can we also apply this to SPAM? (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794332)

No, but you CAN apply the CAN-SPAM [ftc.gov] act, which is aptly named.

Re:Can we also apply this to SPAM? (2, Interesting)

krray (605395) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794528)

I certainly don't see WHY I can't apply this to my INBOX.
Ironically I have _always_ felt spam to be trespass.
It is MY inbox. On my domain. On my server. In my house.
Through a connection that I pay for. On equipment
I've paid for. To a domain I've paid for.

God help the first spammer I MEET. Anywhere. Anytime.

Of course the same applies to telemarketing, which the
law certainly disagrees with me on that matter. Very sad
state of affairs all this technology has brought to us...

So I guess that what we need now.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794317)

.... Is a law giving us the right to shoot spyware writers on sight.

Re:So I guess that what we need now.... (1)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794499)

. Is a law giving us the right to shoot spyware writers on sight.

I'd settle for making him wear a scarlet 'S' on his clothes.

Then I'd know whose kneecaps to break.

King Tut's Abacus (3, Insightful)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794328)

Obviously, if someone would install broken beads on my abacus without my permission, I would be rather miffed and would have no difficulty getting relief in court. The same thing applies to PCs. However, it simply isn't worth going to court for any damages under $20,000.

The basis of the law is still the same (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794340)

The details are just that, details. If I find a spyware on my box, I shoot it. IF the Maker of that program has the balls to complain they can bite me. Many of the programs on my windows box never get more then once call home, I merely DNS their target sites to 127.0.0.1. If they try by IP I have ways to block that too.

However a PC/Server whatever is still property and there is no law anywhere that says I have to let other people's software run on it for their benefit. A Trespass is a still Tresspassing even if you are not actually there in person.

However (1)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794350)

Using historical legal theories to set things in perspective is all fine and dandy, but this ruling will have little or no impact on the spread of spyware. Any local or national law will easily be circumvented by the companies in question (and there is no such thing as global law). Spyware will be fought by secure systems, not by legal rulings (although moral support from the legal system is certainly welcome).

Sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794445)

SIG: TAKE OFF EVERY 'CAPTAIN'!!

Ha ha ha ha I like it

temojen

(Posted AC to avoid the Offtopic mod)

Re:However (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794479)

It may not have much effect on spyware, but it may serve as useful precedent when suing a record label over DRM. The DRM used by Sony installs a driver without the user's express permission, and is very difficult to uninstall. This sounds like it might also count as trespass. Class action lawsuit anyone?

Let me be the first (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794351)

...to welcome our legislating overlords.

Seriously it's about time we made spyware illegal domesticly, and worry about foriegn installs later. We could also make it illegal to benefit from spyware in any provable way so a domestic company can't simly hire a foriegn spyware company to do the dirty work here at home. It's a crime to look through someone's window with the intent to invade their privacy, and spyware is a heck of a lot more intimate in some cases, it only stands to reason that those people developing it should be held accountable. I mean why are we starting to accuse P2P designers of enabling piracy, yet it's just hunky dory to design a program to gather information as long as it doesn't spread from computer to computer without a hidden legal agreement?

Re:Let me be the first (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794411)

I mean why are we starting to accuse P2P designers of enabling piracy, yet it's just hunky dory to design a program to gather information as long as it doesn't spread from computer to computer without a hidden legal agreement?

OTOH, why is the slashdot community constantly defending freedom when it comes to P2P networks, but the first on the bandwagon to condemn spyware. Should we support laws that interfere with the natural evolution of the Internet just because we disagree with the applications that are being distributed? Let's work to keep the Internet as unregulated as possible and find alternative solutions to problems like spyware and viruses.

Re:Let me be the first (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794511)

The reason /. community condemns spyware is because it is hidden, you do not have the choice about running it, as it is hidden away in an EULA that no-one reads, and installs the code that performs the spying without informing the end user.

Sure, you could read all the very small print, but the point is that if the spyware companies were to make it explicit that the malware app was to be installed (I think like Bearshare used to - 'we install ad programs to fund this app so you can use it for free - for no ads, buy the Pro version') then the community would have no problem. After all, in that instance, you knew what you were getting into, so it is your decision.

With spyware, its deliberately made difficult for you to make this (informed) choice, and we think that is wrong. The Law doesn't come into it, except in discussions on how to stop this.

Re:Let me be the first (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794545)

"why is the slashdot community constantly defending freedom when it comes to P2P networks, but the first on the bandwagon to condemn spyware."

Because spyware be definition spies, while Peer2Peer shares. Spyware also resists being removed in many cases, either through poor programming or in a deliberate attempt to evade removal such as Hotbar, CoolWebSearch, or 180Solutions.

If it talks like a virus, and walks like a virus, it's a virus. P2P doesn't act like a virus [in most cases], it's more like a web browser than anything bad like spyware. The key is that the computer user knows they are using it. With spyware they don't want their computer to be used and broken by it because they didn't even put it there on purpose.

in case you don't rtfa (5, Informative)

ecklesweb (713901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794352)

the court didn't rule the case in the plaintiff's favor. The court just denied a motion to dismiss the complaint. I'd say that there's still a way to go before any precedent is set.

oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794354)

In SOVIET Microsoft... the PC's OWN YOU!!!!

I can see the headlines (1)

thib_gc (730259) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794372)

"Bonzo Buddy Indicted on Trespassing Charges"

"Gator Bites the Dust"

"FCC Sues Comet Cursor"

etc.

Gator is now part of Microsoft. (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794457)

Not a windows slam. Merely fact.

The court did not make a ruling... YET (5, Insightful)

Shadowhawk (30195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794384)

RTFA! All it says is that the court denied a motion to dismiss the charge of trespass to chattel by the defendants. The whole thing still has to go to trial. While this is a hopeful sign, the judge may later decide against the idea.

Go after Sony (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794396)

What about Sony's bullshit DRM that installs a driver without warning? I hope they get the crap smacked out of them.

Next Up: Zoning, Public Right of Way (1, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794405)

If PCs are like private real estate, then we could be opening a pandora's box of real estate, zoning, and property law issues. If a PC is like a piece of land with built structures, then there is both the issue of trespass and civic responsibility. Zoning laws might limit how much bandwidth a person take from a shared network infrastructure. Subnets might create their own PC-owners associations (fashioned on Home-Owners Associations) that restrict activity to avoid inconveniencing others in the virtual neighborhood (good and bad).

This may not be all bad. Perhaps some zombie PCs could be condemned under such an interpretation. Or, for example, if people create municipal mesh networks, then anyone joining the network may be required to provide public access to their part of the network for routing purposes (no leaching).

My point is that real estate/private property is heavily regulated and that entrenching the PC = private property analogy in case law could have some interesting legal consequences.

Re:Next Up: Zoning, Public Right of Way (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794595)

This issue, however, has nothing to do with real estate. In the law, there are two types of property, where I mean property in the sense of "things you own." There's real property, aka real estate or land. And there's chattel, which is everything else.

The summary specifically talks about chattel, not real property.

REALLY dangerous precedent here (2, Insightful)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794407)

and this is an example of a court needing to use historical legal theories to grapple with new and previously unforeseen contexts in Cyberspace

No, this is an example of a really dangerous precedent.

What if, for example, I was to send you an email contained a corrupted file that crashed your system?
Is that tresspass too?
How the fuck do we know?

Part of the reason for having laws, it to have it clearly spelled out, what we can and cannot do within the bounds of the law.
Rulings like this are really dangerous because they throw the established legal meaning and inperpretations to the wind.

Computer crime laws exist and they are there for a reason. If they are not strong enough, that is a job for the legislature, not the judiciary.

Sure it's important to catch these jackasses, but it's not so important that we should forget why we have written laws in the first place. A person should be able to know very clearly what they can and cannot do.

Rulings like this are very dangerous, as the judge if effectively just making shit up and ruling by analogy.
Can they start charging people who call on the phone too? We don't know.
With judgment like this, you could be declared a criminal at any moment.
No matter what you do, with enough bad analogies and hyperbole, it could be compared with something illegal. Is that really what you want?

Re:REALLY dangerous precedent here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794519)

With enough boldface, maybe you'll get modded up?

Yes I want courts that adapt to modern technology. I want judges that use common sense. Case law is very important to fill in the gaps left by legislators. And judges and courts are somewhat less influenced by special interests.

What if, for example, I was to send you an email contained a corrupted file that crashed your system?

What if I invited a friend over to watch a football game and he knocked over a lamp and broke it. Sure I could be a dick and take him to court and maybe even accuse him of trespass. And end up on Jerry Springer. Or we could work it out like friends.

There's nothing new and dangerous about applying trespass laws to computers. It's no better or worse than non-computer issues people have always dealt with.

Activist Judges. (0, Troll)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794418)

99% of spyware is installed by the user on purpose. They try and download some free software and don't notice it in the agreement, or knowing install it.

That is not trespassing. Not to mention the constitution is suppose to interpret the INTENTION of the law. There was no intent against spyware.

A better method of eliminating spyware would be to boycott any company that uses the data or ads with the software.

Historic Legal Theories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794447)

I think that its not that the courts so much need to use historic legal theories, but they have a tendency to look at past rulings to find a precendent that they can follow. Courts seem inclined to use past rulings, rather than make up new laws. It's seems like an effort for consistency in rulings. Just some rookie, 1L thoughts. Either way, this ruling is at least something in the right direction.

But illegal immigrants aren't trespassing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794449)

... at least, according to one judge [washtimes.com] .

Nice Review of the Cases (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794456)

Here's a nice review [berkeley.edu] of the application of this legal doctrine to cyperspace disputes. It includes bulk email and so on.

All EULA software can share the blame (1, Interesting)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794482)

I think all software which includes an EULA can share in the blame. The EULAs offer little to no benefit to the legitimate companies which use them. They offer no benefit to the users of the software. But they offer legal cover for the spyware / adware folks. By training all the users of commercial software that click through EULA's are just a normal and expected thing, it helps ensure that it's easy for the slime to slide through nasty stuff in them.

It's one of the things that makes me appreciate free software. So much commercial software is total crap, yet you have to jump through all these hoops to use it. Like it's such a fricken privledge. Buy the software. Click through some obnoxious 'license'. Fill out the 'registration' form. Wait for it to phone home. If you are really lucky, install a "license server" just to prove you aren't a crook. And in the end, struggle with some bloated and buggy piece of crap. With proprietary file formats to ensure that you don't really control your own data. Commercial software houses don't treat their customers like customers. They treat them like serfs.

Be careful supporting judgements such as these. (1)

NathanBFH (558218) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794517)

"...and this is an example of a court needing to use historical legal theories to grapple with new and previously unforeseen contexts in Cyberspace."

While you may agree with this judgement, using traditional ideas of property and applying them to cyberspace is not always a perfect match and can lead to some pretty awkward judgements. Obviously, the nature of digital property is very different from that of tangible property (tangible in this case literally meaning 'touchable'). As the summary author states, laws are still trying to catch up with this fact, but as we wait for that to happen we have to be careful not to apply the ideas of tangible property too liberally in the context of digital property.

Southern States (1)

panic911 (224370) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794544)

Can't you shoot people for trespassing after dark in some southern states?
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