informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Jan 09 2013, 6:10 AM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Techdirt Print

Developer Of Bookmaking Software Gets Full Kim Dotcom Treatment For 'Promoting Gambling'

by Mike Masnick

The government's war on online gambling is really ridiculous in a variety of ways. Initially, it was driven by a weird mix of moralist groups, backed by offline casinos who didn't want the competition -- all leading to a bill that effectively (through convoluted means) banned online gambling as a part of a law to protect our ports. The casinos are now regretting their initial support for this law, because they want to get into the online gambling world themselves. But the law is in place, and US (both federal and state) law enforcement has supported it and related laws with ridiculous fervor; arresting execs of off-shore gambling sites and even execs of financial institutions that provide payment systems for online gambling sites. As with the over-aggressive enforcement of copyright law, the Justice Department has also seized many websites, sometimes even seizing the wrong websites.

However, this latest story shows just how ridiculous some of these efforts are, and just how far they can go in creating chilling effects. It's the story of the arrest and criminal charges against Robert Stuart, his wife and his brother-in-law for the work they did for their company, Extension Software. The company provides infrastructure to companies that do sports bookmaking, but they were careful to only license the software to companies in countries where such things are legal.

For their troubles they got "the full Kim Dotcom treatment" according to a writeup in Wired:
The case began in February 2011, when Stuart says he and his wife got the Kim Dotcom treatment after about 30 local Arizona law enforcement agents wearing SWAT gear and camouflage dress — some of them with bushes attached to their shoulders to blend into the woods around his house — descended on his home and threatened to send him and his wife to prison for 35 years if he didn’t cooperate.

The search warrant used in the raid said Stuart and his wife were engaged in money laundering, operating an illegal enterprise and engaging in the promotion of gambling. Stuart has tried to obtain a copy of the affidavit used to get the search warrant, but it’s currently sealed.
Yup. They sent in a SWAT team to deal with... a software developer. Because some companies who use his software might possibly have used it to allow gambling in New York (the state that's behind the charges against him). And the warrant itself is sealed, so he doesn't even know why. Then the story gets even worse. In typical law enforcement fashion, they pressured him into doing a plea deal, in which he would have been forced to install backdoor code into his software, and then hack into his own customers to retrieve information on their users any time law enforcement wanted it. He initially agreed to the plea bargain based on bad advice from what he calls "rent-a-lawyers" he found on the internet. However, before it could go before a judge, he wisely backed out.

The NY's DA has defended this effort claiming that it was all perfectly aboveboard and legal to send a SWAT team to threaten a software developer into hacking into his own customers' data for the sake of law enforcement:
Although Daniel R. Alonso, chief assistant in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, was reluctant to discuss the terms of the confidential plea agreement or how his office planned to implement them, he insisted there was nothing unlawful about what was proposed.

“The provision you have questioned is perfectly consistent with the obligations of all law enforcement officials to follow state and federal law to secure evidence of criminal conduct,” Alonso said in an e-mail statement. “The staff of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office involved in this case, both prosecutors and investigators, have behaved ethically and consistent with their obligation to seek justice in every case.”
Eighteen months went by... and then last fall he was criminally indicted -- though all of the original charges used in his initial threat had disappeared (because they were bogus) and all the NY DA could come up with was a single charge of "promoting gambling in the first degree." Yes, because he supplies software in places where it's completely legal.

If you think secondary liability issues are important (and I do!), this case should be a major concern. The guy here just developed some useful software and sold it where it was legal to do so. That should not lead to a SWAT team descending on your house, or facing criminal charges and possible jail time. Blame the users of the software if they broke the law, but nothing that these guys did involved "promoting gambling" in areas where it was illegal. It was about providing legal infrastructure (not promotional) software. The whole thing is a shame, and shows how law enforcement's aggressiveness in trying to show themselves as being "tough on crime" can have serious implications.

Stuart notes that he's lost a bunch of his customers since the indictment, which may destroy his business entirely. And this can only lead to greater concern for other software developers as well. If they license software for completely legal purposes, but the software is then used in commission of a crime, are they suddenly (1) going to be threatened at gunpoint to hack into their customers' accounts and (2) then charged on trumped up charges as well?

Robert Stuart Plea Agreement (PDF)

StuartIndictment BillofParticulars (PDF)





Latest Big Brother/Orwellian
- Bill Aimed At Shutting Off NSA's Water Starts Moving Forward Again
- Baltimore Prosecutors Withdraw Evidence Rather Than Talk About Police Department's Stingray Usage
- Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
- 2nd Grader's Homework Teaches 'The Government GIVES Us Our Rights'
- Feds Put Fake Cell Towers On Planes, Spied On Tons Of Innocent Americans
- Terrorists Used False DMCA Claims To Get Personal Data of Anti-Islamic Youtuber
- Court Says By Agreeing To AOL's Terms Of Service, You've 'Consented' To Search By Law Enforcement
- To Nobody's Surprise, Australian "Terrorism" Law May Be Used for Copyright Enforcement









No Comments Posted Add Comment


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

This is What a High School Football Game Looks Like In a Police State - 11/21No Charges For Cop Filmed Breaking Man's Face For Failure To ID, "Shoulder Thrust" Made Cop Fear For His Safety - 11/21Very Large Cop Waylays High School Girl, Chaos Ensues After Students Become Angry at the Deputy - 11/21Man Imprisoned For Decades On False Child Molestation Charge Freed After Claim Recanted - 11/21Washington Cop Attempts to Incite Photographer by Invading Personal Space - 11/21Casino Can Steal NJ Man's Home Through Eminent Domain For No Specific Reason, Judge Rules - 11/20Texas Cop Indicted For Stealing Cash Out Of People's Wallets After Asking For ID - 11/20Deputy Tries Using Civil Asset Forfeiture On DVD From Convenience Store, Loses Job - 11/20

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top