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Posting Publicly Available URL Claimed a "Hack"

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the genius-iq-not-required dept.

The Internet 555

Urban Strata writes "Popular mobile phone community HowardForums.com is being hit with take-down notices from MobiTV. At issue is the fact that a HowardForums community member uncovered a publicly accessible URL for MobiTV's television stream. This URL is not encrypted or authenticated in any way, and yet MobiTV sent site owner Howard Chui a cease-and-desist letter for hosting a forum with the public URL, claiming that doing so is equivalent to hacking their service."

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555 comments

No just URL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676574)

Except it isn't just the URL they are complaining about.

Well, what did you expect? (1, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676580)

Is it a hack? Not really

Does it allow people to watch TV that they didn't pay for? Yes

Does it prevent Verizon and MobiTV from receiving revenue that they should from the streams? Yes

Is it wrong? Yes

Does MobiTV and Verizon have the right to send a cease and desist letter? Sure

See folks, whether its a hack or not doesn't change the fact that its just wrong. There are too many people freeloading nowadays. The Internet makes it so much easier to freeload. And its becoming a disease. When MobiTV fixes their stuff, I'm sure a bunch of people in these forums will yell and scream about it, but few of them will actually starting paying for the service that they started to enjoy. I do agree though that MobiTV should be ashamed of themselves for leaving their service wide open.

Freeloading (5, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676724)

"There are too many people freeloading nowadays. The internet makes it so much easier to freeload"

Jee, I wonder if you'd apply the same concept to OTA radio and Local TV with regards to magnetic recording media back in the 80s and 90s.

The fact of the matter is that they're claiming it is a hack, when it's their own stupidity and ignorance that allowed this to happen. Calling this a hack is just an attempt upon the person's character. People will begin to think the person that stumbled across this is a hacker, then they'll get that reputation, which in turn tarnishes the reputation of the non-hacker. It's character assassination and MobiTV should be nailed to the fucking wall while someone calls for their waaaaaahmbulance.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (4, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676730)

Is it wrong? Yes

No. There is nothing wrong with visiting a publicly available URL. No exceptions.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (3, Insightful)

dwlovell (815091) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676892)

Is it wrong to walk into a public building? No

Is it wrong to walk into a gym where you dont have a membership and start exercising just because they dont bother to check ID's at the door? Yes

This is the same thing. It is not wrong to visit a URL. It is wrong to use a pay-service that you are not paying for.

Lets try to get this into your head: You are not entitled to everything you have "access" to. If you continue to live with this mentality, DRM will be shoved at you for every kind of content imaginable.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676954)

Knowing nothing about the service, if someone emailed me a public url, how would I possibly know that I was "stealing"?? I mean certainly if you were selling a service, you wouldn't be dumb enough to just make it available without some sort of protection, right?

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676980)

Let's try to get THIS into your head: If you don't want people to access your goods or services, you must make an attempt to limit said access. You example is specious, show me a gym that requires membership that doesn't check IDs.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676990)

More like: Is it wrong to walk into a library without a library card?

Re:Well, what did you expect? (2, Insightful)

kisrael (134664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677098)

Oy, metaphor straining!

Is it more like walking into a library w/o a card and browsing the stacks and reading in the library, or like talking a book home?

You can't use your metaphor without answering which, and the answer explaining which is the more correct metaphor is probably more work that arguing the case itself.

That said this "everything that's not nailed down is ok for me to walk off with" mentality probably IS keeping the DRM race ratcheted up.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (5, Insightful)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677056)

How am I to know that membership is required if they do not ID? If I walk into a Gym and no one IDs me, I think "hey, cool. public gym. didn't know they still existed". If I stumble across a link to a TV stream, I think "hey, cool. free video. I wish they had stripped the ads." I feel it is unreasonable to expect the end user to determine if he or she should be paying for a service. If the service is pay only, it should have some method of access control. A lack of access control implies free (as in beer).

Re:Well, what did you expect? (2, Informative)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676896)

yup, but if they can convince some judge who doesn't understand the issue that it is a hack, it is.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (5, Interesting)

kevinatilusa (620125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676906)

No. There is nothing wrong with visiting a publicly available URL. No exceptions.
Various child pornography laws probably wish to differ with the above statement.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (4, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677008)

There is nothing wrong with visiting a publicly available URL. No exceptions.
I guess you never stumbled upon a goatse or tubgirl publicly available link, then :P

Re:Well, what did you expect? (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677024)

What about a publicly available URL for child porn? What about a URL to make donations to a terrorist organization? What about a URL where, every time you go there, it sets off an automated script that pulls the trigger on a shotgun and shoots an adorable kitten in the face?

Visiting a public URL in itself is never wrong. What you do there may or may not be. We aren't talking about just 'visiting a public URL.' We are talking about taking a service you don't pay for.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677160)

We aren't talking about just 'visiting a public URL.' We are talking about taking a service you don't pay for.

You're talking about leaving a cardboard box full of merchandise in a public park with a signs saying "take one, leave a dollar" and a cease and desist to a person who posts a sign saying "hey there's stuff in the park".

In short, we're talking about incredible stupidity [uncyclopedia.org].

Re:Well, what did you expect? (2, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677146)

Is it wrong? Yes
No. There is nothing wrong with visiting a publicly available URL. No exceptions.

The URL was not intended to be public and everyone involved knows this. It's like you're saying it's not wrong to burgle someone's house and steal things you don't own because they failed to lock their doors.

what about google? (5, Interesting)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676734)

As always, that kind of position is missing the fact that google is technically doing the same thing.

It's not that far fetch: imagine you are googling for your favorite show, and find some url with a video stream; and it's form a respectable "nbc.com" or the like website. How do you guess it's supposed to be a paying service?
Want a real life example? The other day I was looking for some bash command help, and the third google result was from http://www.experts-exchange.com./ [www.experts-exchange.com] If you access it directly, it hides the answers and asks you to pay. But from google, you get to the answers directly because of some glitch.

What I'm saying is you can't blame the user (or here, the website) if they never went through a dsiclaimer page that made them realise: "well, if I click this link, I will have done something illegal". Free equivalent services exist.

Re:what about google? (2, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676902)

Ya, I hate Experts-Exchange and I can't understand why people pay for their stupid service but I love the google glitch. I get all kinds of great answers that way. I just wish these people would post these questions on a public forum in the first place.

Re:what about google? (2, Insightful)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677052)

Well, the fact is, "experts" get some kind of reward for posting there (I don't think they get money, but it happens on some other sites).

I would not go as far as saying that their buisness model is flawed; rather, I'm saying that you can in good faith come across that site without paying (as I did the first time).
Some sites serve obviously illegal content, other offer something which is to good to be legal (full recent games download, etc), but when it's just a video strem of a TV show, or an answer about some bash command question, you can't just blame the user saying he should have "guessed" it was illegal.

And the same applies to the "dumb" bots of google.

Re: Do it up like Julius Baer and Wikileaks! (3, Funny)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677158)

A recipe for misdirection:

* 1 link to "private" content
* 1 cup TinyURL(c) brand address shortening
* 2 lbs. unauthorized access
* 1 content owner
* An army of lawyers

Preheat oven to "Litigation". Route link through address shortening. Mix with unauthorized access, and let rise until content owner exclaims "IT IS TEH HAXORZ!1". Apply army of lawyers liberally to TinyURL for providing access to content. Place in preheated oven and bake until lawsuit reaches a golden brown. Cool before serving.

(Note: Recipe not tested.)

Re:Well, what did you expect? (4, Insightful)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676750)

Is it against the law to print the address of a person and that person doesn't lock his garage? No

What makes you think this is any different? Immoral != Illegal.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (5, Insightful)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676852)

likewise: Illegal != wrong.

The OP merely said that it was wrong, he did not say that it was illegal. Wrong is clearly a statement of whether something violates ones morals (in this context).

Just sayin...

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22677082)

It is definitely illegal to publish a persons house address and indicate that the garage is not secure. This would be aiding and abetting a criminal act. You could go to jail. Try it.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676760)

If a company leaves a box of goods outside their storefront overnight and I take it am I stealing? Yes, I am, but the insurance company will not pay them for the stolen goods. If they left it on the curb near the trash though I would have a good argument, and may even win my court case.

What I am trying to say is, if you used the URL and KNEW you should not use it you are morally stealing. If it was posted a s a here is a way to view some cool videos you may not be morally stealing.

In the short run it is the COMPANIES fault. They should have their system LOCKED down, security by Obfuscation is not security. It they did not do the minimal to protect their data, they are actually libel.

If I keep your Social, credit card info in a place that is not secure, encrypted and I get hacked, I am responsible and can be sued by you. If they do not want the average yahoo from watching their content they should protect it, and not assume no one will find the url. I could probably find it in google, will they send google a cease and desist?

This comment worth 5 dollars. (3, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676764)

Hey, you should have paid 5 dollars to view this comment. Please cease and desist, because you are stealing my revenue.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (0)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676768)

I concur, just because the door to my house is unlocked, that doesn't mean anyone is legally allowed to enter. IANAL, but this could be a similar precedent.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (4, Interesting)

boristdog (133725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676894)

I concur, just because the door to my house is unlocked, that doesn't mean anyone is legally allowed to enter. IANAL, but this could be a similar precedent.

WRONG! YAdefinitelyNAL!

Entering a house or other property without permission is trespass. Visiting a website is not trespass.

If this were a precedent, people could start suing you just for surfing the web. Visit my website without paying? That's a default judgement for $2500.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677062)

If you own 10 other properties, and you ARE free to enter those at any time, and you post signs saying, how does someone know your 11th property you aren't free to legally enter, if there's no sign at that particular property, and your other signs say "open to all?"

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677090)

That analogy doesn't work. There is no law saying I cannot visit a URL and read its contents. There is, however, laws against trespassing. This would be more akin to a newspaper guy putting newspapers he sells on a counter, then complaining when someone starts reading the front page off the counter without buying it. Its not illegal, but it isn't necessarily right. Now, there are laws against bypassing/breaking encryption schemes. That was set up solely for situations like this, and its really their own stupidity that they didn't take advantage of it (this is the same reason why we can't rip our own DVDs).

Re:Well, what did you expect? (4, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677096)

Your house is private property, which is why people are not allowed to enter. It has nothing to do with whether the door is locked or not.

This situation is similar to putting up a big sign in your yard that is visible from public property, and then complaining about people who look at it. If you want it to be private, then don't make it visible from public property. Same thing with a URL. If you want the content to be private, then don't make the link publicly accessible. If you do make it public, you can't complain when people look.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22677108)

URLs are more like stores then houses. Are you allowed to walk into unlocked stores?

Re:Well, what did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22677144)

Except, you would not reasonably expect people to be trodding through your house anyway. It's not a public space, as websites are. Instead, it'd be more like throwing a party, and leaving the door to your bedroom wide open. If I happen to stumble into the hallway and see your bed... and there is a beautiful blonde around... then yes, it's going to get sexed up.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677166)

It's more like someone posting your home address on a web forum, and then some guys come and look at your house from the street.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676778)

This is the equivilant of the Times sticking thier paper in the 'free newspaper' stand in the underground then complaining when I tell my friends where they can get free copies of the Times. Everything you said is correct except they do not have the right to send the cease and desist. The standards of the internet are such that any publically available URL is something I can just pick up and view. If you want to stop me viewing something you need to put in some means to tell me I shouldn't be looking at it.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676888)

No this is more like handing someone your own personal business card with your home address on it, while discussing the fact that your keys are broken and you don't lock your own doors.

If they URL is unencrypted and easy to get at then it's public. think of the use this link to view this image buttons.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676786)

Right or wrong is beside the point. Legal or illegal is the question.

And what I would expect is that the provider in question invest a little in an actual authentication setup.
Really, it's the internet! Trying to prevent access by raw secrecy is so moronic it is astounding.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (2, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676788)

You're going to encounter a lot of resistance trying to convince people that freeloading in this fashion is "wrong". After all, everything else on the web that's publicly accessible is considered to be 'free'; if they've made this publicly accessible without even a username/password or SIM verification or whatnot, then they've made it equivalent to any other webpage out there.

Also, they're not -prevented- from receiving revenue. Those people who have subscribed and paid are still (unless they take the time to unsubscribe) subscribed and paying. They may not be receiving as much revenue per unit of usage, sure, but nothing has been done to -prevent- them from making money.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676810)

when people started walking into my house and taking my suff, i started locking my door. learn how to stop making excuses and secure your shit.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

khendron (225184) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676834)

You forgot a question:


Is sending a cease and desist letter going to help at all? Not one bit


This "hack" is out there. All they are doing is attempting to close the barn doors after the horses are all gone, and apparently making the "secret" URL even more public.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676868)

Does MobiTV and Verizon have the right to send a cease and desist letter? Sure

Do they have the right to send a letter asking them to stop? Sure. But this cease and desist letter [207.210.82.134] goes far beyond that, it claims that they are infringing copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets and it claims so under penalty of perjury. Furthermore, they state they have also sent such claims to the ISP, a third-party. I think that is unsupportable and illegal, and I don't believe they have the right to do that. It's libellous and if they take it any further, it's barratry.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676910)

Does MobiTV and Verizon have the right to send a cease and desist letter? Sure


No. The DMCA makes circumventing access control illegal, but there was no access control in place. No passwords, no keys, no login, no warnings, nothing that could possibly be construed as access control. I would certainly agree that it is wrong to freeload off of MobiTV's stupidity, but this isn't covered by the DMCA.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

peipas (809350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676922)

Is it wrong? Yes
I have a hard time applying morals to a situation like this. Besides, will there be more, less, or the same number of subscribers after they shut this URL down? If we're going to turn on moral evaluation, is it "wrong" for Verizon to charge 15 cents to send a text message? It certainly violates my values.

Additionally, there is no should receive revenue. If they want to receive revenue they can fix their shit instead of sending takedown notices. It sounds like they just don't want to have to revamp their architecture.

Finally, and pardon my tangent, in my opinion this disease is a symptom of a lack of respect for current realities such as unlimited copyrights. I share this sentiment. Am I depriving a corporation from revenue if I download a song from the 60s? Should that corporation still be receiving revenue for work that was done decades ago? I suppose it depends on your outlook.

Here are the links: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676960)

MSNBC rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1-CDMA.sdp
FOX News rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/8-CDMA.sdp
Discovery rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/3-CDMA.sdp
TLC rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/4-CDMA.sdp
Animal Planet rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/63-CDMA.sdp
NBC Comedy rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1500-CDMA.sdp
ESPN Mobile TV rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/4103-CDMA.sdp
NBC Sports Mobile rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1513-CDMA.sdp
Lipstick Jungle rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1508-CDMA.sdp
Maxx Look rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/48-CDMA.sdp
Toon World TV rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/28-CDMA.sdp
Access Hollywood rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1515-CDMA.sdp
Love Laffs rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/4104-CDMA.sdp
Bloomberg rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/52-CDMA.sdp
Tim Gunns Guide to Style rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1519-CDMA.sdp
The Mic Hip Hop rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/910-CDMA.sdp
V40 Hot Hits rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/911-CDMA.sdp
Totally 80s 90s rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/96-CDMA.sdp
Double Z Country rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/72-CDMA.sdp
RandB Jamz rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/425-CDMA.sdp
Ritmo Caliente rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/97-CDMA.sdp
Chaos Extreme rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/913-CDMA.sdp
Shift Alternative rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/912-CDMA.sdp
USA Mobile rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1503-CDMA.sdp
Bravo To Go rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1502-CDMA.sdp
SCI FI Pulse Mobile rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1501-CDMA.sdp
Oxygen rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/58-CDMA.sdp
Discovery Mobile rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/53-CDMA.sdp
A and E Mobile rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/17-CDMA.sdp
The History Channel Mobile rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/19-CDMA.sdp
NBC News Mobile rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/2-CDMA.sdp
Fashion TV rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/22-CDMA.sdp
Comedy Time rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/21-CDMA.sdp
MAXX SPORTS rtsp://live.mobitv.com/50-CDMA.sdp
IGN rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/59-CDMA.sdp
Bombones rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/74-CDMA.sdp
CNET rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/23-CDMA.sdp
CSPAN rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/30-CDMA.sdp
CSPAN2 rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/31-CDMA.sdp
Soulja Boy Tell Em TV rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/4100-CDMA.sdp
Ataku rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/83-CDMA.sdp
D40 Digital Camera rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/1346-CDMA.sdp
Bank of America rtsp://live.mobitv.com:554/4101-CDMA.sdp

Re:Well, what did you expect? (4, Insightful)

natoochtoniket (763630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677046)

Is it a hack? No. It's an url.

Does it allow people to watch TV that they didn't pay for? Yes. The TV is offered for free. People who accept the offer can watch it for free.

Does it prevent Verizon and MobiTV from receiving revenue that they should from the streams? No. Verizon and MobiTV could just withdraw the free offer, and implement a different access-controlled method for the same video.

Is it wrong? No. Someone offers free goods. You accept the offer. You have not done anything wrong.

Does MobiTV and Verizon have the right to send a cease and desist letter? Yes. Anyone can write a letter. It means nothing.

Were MobiTV and Verizon stupid to offer this data online for free? Maybe -- It could have been done intentionally. Lots of people put video online, for free.

Were MobiTV and Verizon stupid to continue offering this data online for free, after they decided that they didn't want to? Yes.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677066)

What other stuff do they have that's accessible, on this site that was obviously programmed by dumbasses? Like credit card sumbers, Tax ID's?

Nothing! I would be shocked and appalled if it were so!

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677070)

See folks, whether its a hack or not doesn't change the fact that its just wrong.

No, what's wrong is the cease and desist. If your URL is publically accessable then it's up to you to secure it. It is NOT up to me to not access it and it's not up to me to not publically disclose it. If you don't want me at your URL then you should get it the hell off the internet.

If your technical skills are so poor that you can't secure it, then perhaps you're in the wrong line of work.

Re:Well, what did you expect? (1)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677076)

It looks like you are making logical jumps that don't seem to fit.

Does it allow people to watch TV that they didn't pay for? Yes
I don't pay for use of google or youtube either. I just plug the URL in my browser and away I go. This is the nature of unauthenticated web resources.

Does it prevent Verizon and MobiTV from receiving revenue that they should from the streams? Yes
There are 2 problems with this claim:
1) this assumes that every one who uses the service without paying would still want it bad enough to pay for it if it weren't available freely.
2) if a resource is publicly available but the authentication costs money, then I would argue the revenue comes from people wanting to be authenticated not have access to the resource

Is it wrong? Yes
WTF how the hell did you make this jump. This is the equivalent of taking some private content and posting it on a billboard along the highway. If I do that I cannot have an expectation that my content will be viewed without getting revenue for it.

Cease! Desist! Grow Up! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677130)

In brief, security through obscurity is very bad security, but it's still security, and breaking somebody's security is illegal.

My first thought about the C&D letter is that it's stupidly counterproductive, because even if the recipient complies, the publicity will actually make more people aware of the URL than would otherwise. But then I realized that if management didn't send out the C&D letter, they'd catch grief from their stakeholders for "lack of fiduciary responsibility" or whatever. They could even get sued themselves. C&D letters are just one of those legal rituals big companies have to do, no matter how silly the context. Remember the New Zork Times?

What is stupid is thinking that nobody would find out about this URL.

Lawyer fees (5, Funny)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676612)

I wonder how much their lawyer bills each time he has to send out a C&D for posting a link to qtv.mobitv.com/sprintTVlive.mcd.

Re:Lawyer fees (1, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676676)

Probably less when they have to send one out for the link to qtv.mobitv.com/sprintTVlive.mcd that you posted.

Quantity discount and all.

Re:Lawyer fees (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676692)

If they don't even have the sense to do some basic authentication, then they deserve whatever they get. It's not as though authentication schemes are even that difficult...if it's on a phone-by-phone basis, then SIM authentication would seem to be a fairly easy and effective method of authentication.

Sekrit Government Haxx0ring (5, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676624)

Lookit me! I'm hacking the pentagon! [osd.mil] And the CIA! [cia.gov] And the FBI! [fbi.gov]

Hold on, one moment--someone's knocking.

Re:Sekrit Government Haxx0ring (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676682)

I would say I'll visit you in prison, but I'm not allowed to travel to Cuba.

On the bright side, I hear the conditions there aren't so bad. Rumor has it that they'll give you all the water you can drink, even if you're not thirsty!

Re:Sekrit Government Haxx0ring (2, Funny)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676898)

Yeah, but the waitstaff really sucks. They're not getting a tip, that's for sure....

(And not to whine, but I think someone may need a sense of humor.)

Wow... (1, Insightful)

neowolf (173735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676648)

I thought companies realized that "Security by Obscurity" doesn't work many years ago. What a bunch of idiots.

Re:Wow... (1)

trogdor8667 (817114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676916)

That explains a lot. My company is all about "security through obscurity," and they also seem to be stuck about ten years in the past...

Shame shame (1, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676668)

if I leave my car doors unlocked, keys in the ignition, and a big sign saying "take me for a joyride" I can complain if someone does, infact, take my car, but the police will laugh at me in all likelihood when I report it.

Re:Shame shame (0, Flamebait)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676782)

What would Slashdot be without silly car analogies?

If you did all that, your insurance might refuse to pay out on your claim, but in all likelihood the police would still investigate and, if they caught the thief, prosecute the crime. They might call you an idiot, and may even laugh after you leave the station, but they'll still treat it as a real crime, because it is one.

Re:Shame shame (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677012)

How is that a crime? The car owner willfully and knowingly allowed someone to drive their car. Am I a thief if my fiance gives me the keys to her car and says,"Go get the groceries" and I comply?

Re:Shame shame (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677050)

In most places, it is illegal to leave a running car unattended, but it is not illegal to borrow something with permission. A sign saying "take one" is an invitation to take one item that doesn't belong to you. They have them at supermaket checkouts. If you are told you can take something, you may take it and it isn't illegal. In the example, the car was running, open, and with a sign indicating that the person should take a free joyride. If the sign can be reasonably assumed to be placed there by the owner (which would be reasonable, since in the example it was placed there by him) then it is perfectly legal to take the car. The only one that broke any laws was the owner, leaving the car running and unattended.

Re:Shame shame (5, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676920)

Let's go with something that fits the bill a little better. On a hot summer day you run a long garden hose out from your yard on the sidewalk turn it on and leave it running. Then you run an ad in the paper telling people that if they mail you five bucks they can use your hose to get a drink. But one day you notice a neighbor has been telling friends about your hose and they start coming by and getting a drink without mailing in the money.
 
You've put your resource out in a public place with no restrictions - and they should be accountable?

Re:Shame shame (1)

cheesethegreat (132893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677104)

if I leave my car doors unlocked, keys in the ignition, and a big sign saying "take me for a joyride" I can complain if someone does, infact, take my car, but the police will laugh at me in all likelihood when I report it.

(Note, this post is based on UK law)

Actually, you can't complain. Consent, reasonable belief in consent, or reasonable belief in obtaining consent are all defences to charges of theft or criminal damage. A sign saying "take me for a joyride" could certainly give rise to a reasonable belief in consent. Ergo, no crime. Also, you would have no claim in tort as consent operates as a defense there too.

The argument that could be advanced if MobiTV tried to claim theft against someone who visited the URL is that presenting an unencrypted link on the WWW indicates the consent of the posting party for people to access that link. The question is whether that is an irrebuttable assumption. I suspect that it is not, as it is standard practice for sites to include Terms and Conditions which seek to constrain the ways in which users access unencrypted sites, and courts would likely be reluctant to rule that one cannot limit access except via encryption.

IANAL (but I am a law student)

Posted AC to avoid karma whoring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676684)

Well, I found this in the Sprint forums and here we go:

qtv.mobitv.com/sprintTVlive.mcd

1. Copy and paste that link into the address bar.

2. Don't run it but save it to your computer.

3. Find it on your computer and OPEN it up. Select to open it with Internet Explorer or the browser of your choice.

4. There will be a whole bunch of links. Choose the channel you want to watch...

5. Get your LG Voyager and start up the browser.

6. Type one of the links into your Voyager and press OK!

There you go, live TV...

* * *

Heres the list for people too lazy to download the file

This is a shorter less messy version of the file

Bikinis, lingerie, and less. Beach, Bedroom, Hot tub. MAXX Look ??? All Girls. All the time

Re:Posted AC to avoid karma whoring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676818)

Okay, ignore the bit after the stars as apparently the "Plain Old Text" formatting option attempts to parse the XML...

Other things MobiTV is doing. (2, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676694)

  • Standing outside the HowardForums main offices and throwing rocks.
  • Sticking out their tongues and saying "Nya, nya, nya".
  • Calling their mother and complaining.

Seriously, this is probably something to draw attention to a service that few people knew about. Any publicity is good publicity, after all.

Bad Analogies (1)

prestonmichaelh (773400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676710)

And let the bad analogies begin!

You know, this is kind of like leaving the keys to your car....

Re:Bad Analogies (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676994)

And let the bad analogies begin! You know, this is kind of like leaving the keys to your car....
Your analogy is flawed. It doesn't involve a ca .... oh never mind.

It's just good business (4, Interesting)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676770)

I wonder if they decided it simply wasn't worth the development effort to put their content behind encryption? Maybe they thought litigation against improper access would be cheaper, or at least simpler. With the RIAA's successes in court over the lsat few years, there is some precedent for that idea.

Yes, I know, secure connections are not rocket science. But it's business; the path perceived most profitable is the path chosen.

This is totally wrong (1, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676790)

It's MobiTV's fault for leaving their service wide open, just like it's London Zoo's fault for letting people be able to see the giraffes from Regents Park.

What London Zoo should do is force people who walk through Regents Park to stare at the ground* so that they can't see the giraffes and thus have to pay to go and see them.

*Yes I know, 95% of London already stare at the ground whilst walking along the road.

And this, kids, is why .... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676832)

security through obscurity does NOT work.

Can we not get them fined for being publicly stupid as a bag of hammers?

No offense meant to those hammers who are reading this post, or who may have a hammer waiting for them at home.

Re:And this, kids, is why .... (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676956)

Can we not get them fined for being publicly stupid as a bag of hammers?
We don't need to. They're wearing a big sign around their necks saying "WE'RE STOOPID" now.

And don't insult the hammers please.

pwned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676838)

pwned.

if it were me, developers would be getting fired right about now.

Just because they're stupid doesn't make themWrong (1)

Shteven (1137821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676876)

This strikes me as basically being the same as a lot of user-uploaded photo sites. You can designate an album as private, and then people can't browse through it picture by picture. But if you send a direct link to the picture, it will be displayed.

The user expects these photos to be private. If you ran a intelligent dictionary attack against them (If photo "a1" exists, guessing "a2" isn't too hard) they'd probably be quite upset. I'd consider this to be immoral, certainly.

Poor security doesn't make it right. Now, if I was them, I'd concern myself much more with simply -fixing- the problem, but that rarely seems to happen. They have a professional, commercial site, they should be able to fix this quickly. So quickly that there wouldn't be a point to going after this guy, because it would be closed in 1-2 weeks. If it takes any longer than that, the site was poorly done in the first place.

Security through obscurity (4, Insightful)

Trivial_Zeros (1058508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676882)

This is a classic example of a site trying to be "secure" through obscurity. The correct response would not be issuing a take down notice, thus publicizing the issue. An intelligent response would be to move the service to a secure site that required credentials.

What exactly is MobiTV trying to claim is their IP? The URL? I didn't think such short addresses were copyrightable. I don't think they realize how the internet works. If I type in a URL in a browser, I'm sending a request for data back. It's up to mobitv what to return. If they don't want us to have access to the data, don't return it. Simple.

This FP for GNNA?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22676890)

dying. See? KIt's

Another parallel (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676924)

This situation reminds me a bit of the story a few weeks back, when the government was getting miffed at amateur satellite spotters for looking upward. The differences of course, being that the government couldn't make the satellites completely undetectable, even if they tried, and they did try...as opposed to MobiTV, who has the gall to bleat about "hacking" after being stupid enough to post a publically available URL.

Watchable in VLC (1)

bassgoonist (876907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676942)

If anyone is interested you can watch these in VLC. Just open a network stream, select RTSP and paste in one of the URLS. Low quality, but interesting to think you could watch that on a phone.

Time to change your sig (5, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22676976)

So I guess this means /.ers will now change their sig from 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 to qtv.mobitv.com/sprintTVlive.mcd....

Quick Fixes (1)

prajjwal (965508) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677028)

It is a good strategic move in the long run for the company: if they are able to make the forum remove the post, then it would be a precedent for future cases like that. However, it sounds, in a way, just an excuse to cover up for very sloppy behaviour. In the time you take to ask someone to remove a link, why not do something about the link that is already available: I can see that it is still there!

Same thing happened in Bragg v. Linden Labs (2, Informative)

Petey_Alchemist (711672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677084)

...when a Second Life user bought land before it went to auction using a non-linked but publicly accessible URL and he was banned and his assets seized.

http://secondlife.typepad.com/ [typepad.com]

Some interesting background reading. They settled, but the "hack" question was never answered by the court .

Clueless lawyers (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677116)

"The url "qtv.mobitv.com/sprintTVlive.mcd" is not publicly available, nor is it posted anywhere on our website for viewers to access. The only way to access the links is through this url, and the only way to obtain this url is through hacking/debugging."
Great, that made my day. :-) Any time I use Ctrl+U in Konqueror, I'm hacking and/or debugging. I'm so scared!

Guess They Never... (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677122)

What? I guess the site devs never heard of the obscure concept known in some circles as "cookies"?

URL is an address no copyright Promotional Effort? (1)

FromTheAir (938543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677132)

A URL is an address I don't think an address can be copyrighted.

Also the burden is on the host to restrict access to anything via standard protocols that they connect to the internet.

Here again the ego achieves the oppostite of it's intentions bringing attention, unless..

It is an ingenious plot by MobiTV to bring attention to their service, they have succeeded .. Hmmm

Works on my Treo, and Quicktime (1)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677150)

If you download the mcmd file and look at it in a text editor it's just an XML playlist file. The rtsp:// streams play fine with Quicktime on Windows/Mac, having a few problems with mplayer on linux.

The more interesting thing is if you go to the URL in a Treo browser, it launches the SprintTV application and lets you stream all of them to your phone. Hell of a lot better than $5/month/channel.

http://qtv.mobitv.com/sprintTVlive.mcd [mobitv.com]

DMCA notice to Canada? (5, Interesting)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22677172)

Did anyone ready the PDF of the letter they sent [207.210.82.134] to Howard . . . in Canada . . . citing the DMCA (a US law?) I don't know where HoFo's servers are, or if Canada has a DMCA-like law yet, but that seems pretty silly and maybe Howard should prep a backup server not in the US just in case. Then write the idiots at MobiTV a funny reply like the guys at the pirate bay [thepiratebay.org] do.

Silly MobiTV -- you can't copyright an URL!
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