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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.
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.
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.