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Man jailed over angry blog post

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posted on Jan, 8 2018 @ 09:53 PM
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I saw this short article from Techdirt's Free Speech section on the full-spectrum-dominance article post page, and I thought you all might find it interesting and perhaps discussion worthy.

From the article:

Over the past month or so we've written a few times about security research Justin Shafer. As you may recall, he first came to our attention, when the Justice Department decided to subpoena the identities of five Twitter users because Shafer had tweeted a smiley emoji at them. No, really. I'm not exaggerating. That's literally what happened. Shafer saw some Twitter users discussing a case totally unrelated to his own, tweeted an emoji, and the DOJ is demanding the identity of those he tweeted the emoji at.

That then got us more interested in what the hell happened to Shafer -- where it appears that the DOJ had a weird vendetta against him. His house was raided three separate times -- mainly because he had helped expose security problems with some software. The company complained that Shafer had violated the CFAA, and thus his house got raided and all of his family's electronics were seized. Of course, he wasn't charged with anything because there was nothing to charge him with. Then there was a second raid. Same result. No charges. Shafer was apparently getting fed up with FBI agent Nathan Hopp (he initially misheard the name as "Hawk"). Eventually, after finding out about another case that Hopp was involved in, he did some online digging of public, online records to find out more about Hopp. Then he did something unwise, and which I would not recommend, but which it's hard to see how it could be illegal. And that is that he contacted Hopp's wife, after finding her Facebook page -- and asked her to have Nathan return the stuff that had been seized.

And, yes, this is a dumb thing to do, no matter how angry or frustrated you might be. But... is it criminal? Well, the DOJ claimed it was, leading to a third raiding and Shafer being arrested for "cyber stalking." And then things got even crazier, because after being released on bail, Shafer was quickly dragged back to jail and had been locked up since April, because he blogged about the case. The conditions of his release said that he couldn't use social media to contact Hopp or his family. The DOJ claimed -- and a magistrate judge amazingly agreed -- that the blog post (1) was social media (2) was "indirect contact" and (3) broke the conditions of his release. And thus, he was in jail. Last month, his lawyers appealed that decision, claiming it was a First Amendment violation.

www.techdirt.com...

Foolish perhaps, on the part of Mr. Shafer, to contact Mr. Hoff's wife, but not necessarily illegal. Gets arrested, gets out on bail and blogs about the trouble he's in, and gets thrown back in jail for eight months.

We could be seeing the heavy handedness of the authorities protecting their own here. It seems you see a fair amount of that kind of stuff going on on the social media, people ranting angrily in general and saying all kinds of mean and nasty things. I find it hard to believe that people are usually jailed over these kinds of things, and that this case is just more of the same.

On the other hand, malicious online activity is a real thing. Perhaps Mr. Shafer had been completely inappropriate in his online interactions with Mrs. Hopp. Perhaps he called for online community action of some sort. Perhaps others saw Shafer's blog post and took it upon themselves to hassle Mr. Hopp, causing him to freak out a little fed style. That sort of thing could have been well meaning, misguided, or even a veiled attack on Mr. Shafer via the authorities by some third party. The article isn't specific on these points.

Anyhow, I would think that with cyber stalking that there would have been some warn off requirement where they would have to say please don't contact me or leave me alone or something like that, thus establishing that further attempts at contact would be unwanted. Am I right about this? Is this implied under law due to the fact that she was an LEO family member, or one involved in his case?

Anyhow, it made me think a little. What do you think?

www.full-spectrum-dominance.com...




posted on Jan, 8 2018 @ 09:58 PM
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a reply to: TheBadCabbie

When the shIt is up to your eyes, don't open your mouth.

Seriously though, I would imagine after this man's family is torn apart, he is a raging alcoholic and everyone including his dog disowns him, he may win a court case and some bucks. Obvious abuse of the crushing power that the govt has and yields.



posted on Jan, 8 2018 @ 10:12 PM
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Contacting your investigation officer’s wife sounds like a very creepy, and possibly mentally ill, reaction to the situation.

Everything else mentioned is a bit one sided and lacking to give a reasonable answer.


But yeah, creep alert!
edit on 8-1-2018 by Hazardous1408 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2018 @ 10:16 PM
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When they put you out on OR or bail you agree to their terms they set before you.

Breaking those terms such as using an electronic device when you have been told not to is fair game to get your butt thrown back in jail. You’re in direct violation of your release conditions.

Cyber stalking IS a crime. We don’t know what was said to his wife but it was obviously enough evidence.

Don’t feel pity for him he dug his own hole.



posted on Jan, 8 2018 @ 10:39 PM
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On what basis did the company file complaint to the DOJ that he violated the computer fraud & abuse act, or did they simple just claim it without evidence and somehow manage to get search warrant etc that led to the seizure of every electronic he owned apparently?

speaking anonymously online is NOT a crime per fed us laws and i hear personal accounts of sheriffs, etc storming homes with or without warrants and seizing everything of value for profit - it is a widespread phenomenon in this increasingly police state.

indeed when the victim tries to get their car, motorcycle, iphone, laptop, etc back from the officials that 'seized' them, they are given the run around by dept clerk and end up searching online for who next to try to call to get their property back.



posted on Jan, 8 2018 @ 10:46 PM
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originally posted by: Planette
On what basis did the company file complaint to the DOJ that he violated the computer fraud & abuse act, or did they simple just claim it without evidence and somehow manage to get search warrant etc that led to the seizure of every electronic he owned apparently?

speaking anonymously online is NOT a crime per fed us laws and i hear personal accounts of sheriffs, etc storming homes with or without warrants and seizing everything of value for profit - it is a widespread phenomenon in this increasingly police state.

indeed when the victim tries to get their car, motorcycle, iphone, laptop, etc back from the officials that 'seized' them, they are given the run around by dept clerk and end up searching online for who next to try to call to get their property back.



The crime was that he stalked someone. That’s why he got put into jail...

But about the CFAA ,exposing flaws in protected computers is a violation of the CFAA. They even could say he wasn’t supposed to have access to the protected computers and he would be in violation.
edit on 8-1-2018 by TheLotLizard because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2018 @ 11:47 PM
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originally posted by: TheLotLizard


The crime was that he stalked someone. That’s why he got put into jail...

But about the CFAA ,exposing flaws in protected computers is a violation of the CFAA. They even could say he wasn’t supposed to have access to the protected computers and he would be in violation.


The title and OP say he was jailed for an angry post. Your explanation says he was jailed for stalking someone.

Wonder why, really though..



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