Entries with tag legal issues.

UK Government Amending Law, Wants Life Sentence for Malicious Hackers

The UK government wants to amend its current laws to let judges give a life sentence to computer hackers whose misdeeds result in loss of life or threaten national security. The 1990 Computer Misuse Act now gives hackers a maximum sentence of ten years. In the newly introduced Serious Crime Bill, cyberattacks resulting in loss of life, serious illness or injury, or serious damage to national security carry a life sentence while those resulting in serious economic or environmental damage carry a 14-year sentence. “Malicious hackers who risk triggering deadly civil unrest by cutting off food distribution, telephone networks, or energy supplies by sabotaging computer networks could be sentenced to life in prison,” according to the Telegraph. (SlashDot)(iTnews.com.au)(Telegraph)

Lawsuit Contends that LinkedIn Hacks Users’ E-Mail Accounts

A class action suit filed by four LinkedIn users asserts that the social-networking site accesses its members’ e-mail accounts and gathers information from them without explicit permission. The suit contends that LinkedIn hacked the users’ external e-mail accounts and downloaded the addresses of their contacts “for monetary gain” by promoting its services repeatedly to the users’ nonmember contacts. At issue is whether the social networking site acted without clearly notifying the user or obtaining consent. Users have complained to LinkedIn about its “harvesting” of email addresses and repeated spamming of those addresses, notes the complaint. The lawsuit, filed in a San Jose, California, federal court, is asking for damages and an order prohibiting LinkedIn from continuing its “wrongful and unlawful acts.” LinkedIn, in a brief blog post, called the accusations false and says it never sends messages or invitations to join LinkedIn without user permission. (PCWorld)(The New York Times)(LinkedIn Blog)

Apple Objects to Proposed Punishments in e-Book Case

Apple attorney Orin Snyder says the US Department of Justice’s revised proposed punishment for colluding with publishers to set electronic book prices is “a 12-page broadside masquerading as a brief” that provides competing e-book vendor Amazon with a significant advantage. Apple is appealing last month’s verdict that found the company guilty of working with five major publishers to set e-book prices. The initial reforms sought by the US government included a 10-year injunction on Apple prohibiting it from negotiating contracts with the publishers, the company letting other e-book retailers link to their online stores from iOS apps, and the appointment of an external antitrust monitor. Apple objected to the proposed reforms, stating that they were vague, overreaching, and unwarranted. It also said the proposed punishment “introduces needless regulation and complexity to an evolving marketplace.” The judge in the case ordered government and Apple officials to meet and discuss remedies. (GigaOm)(CNET)

US Court Rules Circumventing IP Blocks Violates Federal Law

A new federal ruling holds that disguising an IP address or using a proxy server to visit Web sites from which someone has been blocked violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The ruling was issued by US District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer for the Northern District of California and stems from a lawsuit between Craigslist and 3Taps, a data harvesting firm. 3Taps was scraping apartment rental information from Craigslist postings for the PadMapper apartment listing application. PadMapper, which displays listings from various sources on a Google Map, was served with a cease-and-desist letter in July 2012 for violating Craigslist’s terms of service and took the listings down. 3Taps had its IP addresses blocked as a result, but discovered a workaround that allowed it to continue its data scraping activities. Craigslist filed a copyright claim against 3Taps and PadMapper; 3Taps countersued, claiming that Craigslist seeks to create a monopoly in the market by eliminating its competition. The law was originally passed in 1984 by Congress  to fight hackers, but has since been interpreted by the government as extending to violations of terms of service agreements or computer use policies. 3Taps still could face civil damages for unauthorized access to Craigslist. (WIRED)(CNET)(Craigslist v. 3taps @ The Volokh Conspiracy blog)

Wikileaker Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, responsible for the largest leak of classified documents in United States history, was sentenced by a military judge to 35 years in prison Wednesday. The 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst gave the WikiLeaks website more than 700,000 documents in early 2010, including US Embassy cables. The leaked information endangered lives and interfered with the government’s diplomatic efforts, prosecutors said. The maximum sentence possible was 90 years. Prosecutors had asked that he be given 60 years, while the defense sought a 25-year sentence. He will be given credit for time served, which is about three-and-a-half years. The judge also reduced his rank, gave him a dishonorable discharge, and ruled that he would forfeit all pay. Last month, Manning was acquitted on a charge of aiding the enemy, which carried a possible life sentence. He was found guilty on five counts of violating the Espionage Act and five counts of theft. Once his case has been reviewed, it will automatically be sent to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, according to reports. The continuing process through the military legal system is expected to be a lengthy one. Manning is eligible for parole in roughly nine years. (WIRED)(National Public Radio)

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