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Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

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Ketchup

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Post Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:17 pm

Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

Boston - A Boston College computer science student has asked a Massachusetts court to quash an invalid search warrant for his dorm room that resulted in campus police illegally seizing several computers, an iPod, a cell phone, and other technology.

...

Some of the supposedly suspicious activities listed in support of the search warrant application include: the student being seen with "unknown laptop computers," which he "says" he was fixing for other students; the student uses multiple names to log on to his computer; and the student uses two different operating systems, including one that is not the "regular B.C. operating system" but instead has "a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on."


http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/04/13

Black screen with a white prompt?  Typing commands?  Surely this is sorcery!
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don

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Post Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:29 pm

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

And all those weirdos using Macs surely can't do any harm, because they're obviously artsy fartsy types, right?

Would this be "Technology" Profiling? Too bad even their profile is incorrect.

Ponderous head scratch.

Don
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venom77

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Post Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:42 pm

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

Was probably some campus officer that had seen the movie 'Hackers' and thought this guy was going to take over the world with his crazy "prompt commands" .. :P
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timmedin

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Post Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:42 pm

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

When I first saw this I laughed. This guy sounds pretty tech savvy. He doesn't even know what OS is the "regular B.C. operating system."
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hayabusa

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Post Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:11 pm

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

I won't go into full details, but this is eerily familiar (in the extent to what was taken, etc) to something that happened to a colleague of mine.  He was found innocent, but even to this day, nothing was filed as to his 'innocence,' because they said that while they could prove no wrongdoing, they also couldn't prove that the alleged activities didn't occur, either.  The equipment and data were returned, 78 days later, after he nearly lost his job over not having said data / equipment,) and his neighbors still don't look at him quite the same, after having seen his stuff removed.  The police entered the home while he and his spouse were away, and only his 4 children (oldest babysitting) were home.  Then upon return home, his wife was inappropriately questioned, her personal effects were strewn across the closet floor, after search, etc...  Really damaging activity by the 'good guys.'

In his case, it all stemmed from his credit card number having been stolen, and used to open a 'kiddie'-pic site.  Because the officers found his entire work lab upon entering his premises (he worked from home,) he MUST have been into illegal activity...  Yeah, ok...

Needless to say, there were full alibies and known whereabouts (without computers present) where he AND his family had been, when said site was posted.  And it only took him a day to point the police to the perpetrator (he immediately made phone calls, got ISP records, credit info, etc, and gave them the offending IP, etc.)  Total shame...

I can't say whether this BC kid is innocent or not, and judging by the warrants and info, they seem to think they have a case, stating he illegally accessed networks, etc.  So I guess we'll have to wait to see how it comes out.

Too much power in the hands of those without a clue, however...  ungh!
Last edited by hayabusa on Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
~ hayabusa ~ 

"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'


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Kev

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Post Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:09 pm

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

Horrible story.  Its amazing to me that I have lived this long without a similar problem.  If you get labeled a hacker you're screwed. 
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former33t

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Post Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:06 pm

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

Holy carp!  This is just scary.  I read the affidavit and while I'm no legal expert, I am scared.

I don't know if any of you looked past the initial EFF article, but look at the sworn witness statements that were used to support the warrant at the bottom of this link:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/bo ... suspicious

First, being a suspect in a previous investigation isn't probable cause for a warrant.  Second, the only "hard" evidence of hacking is the brand new laptop that is crashing and no "experts" can figure out why.  If an "expert" does some actual forensics and finds that it has been hacked, and there's evidence that Caliente is responsible then the warrant sounds a little more reasonable.  None of that is there however and they don't need a warrant to look at that computer.

At this point I'd be afraid to work on someone else's computer in this jurisdiction.  If they aren't happy with your work (i.e. it crashes) they simply call you a hacker and you're done.

BTW, I wonder if this would even have been investigated if it were not over an email about someone being gay...
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Data_Raid

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Post Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:42 am

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

Ridiculous to be labled.  ::)
Reminds me of the first time I bought Linux, it was a bundle set from InfoMagic  back in '98, I asked one of the sales staff if they had it in stock and was asked if I was planning to "hack some banks" with Linux. As the saying goes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing  ;)
All men by nature desire knowledge.

Aristotle
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don

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Post Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:50 am

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

Amazing. That's some wild logic by the sales staff. Right or wrong, perception is reality. So even though they were wrong, they were still stocking and selling a product that they thought was used to hack banks. What does that say about them?

People baffle me sometimes.

Don
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former33t

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Post Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:04 pm

Re: Use Linux? That's enough for the cops to seize your stuff.

Don you're right on that.  They believe the product is dangerous/malicious but continue to sell it with the "we're only selling it, we're not responsible for what you do with it."  Of course someone has to take personal responsibility but it has to start somewhere....
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