Dec 112011

Other items of interest from this past week:

Dec 082011

From the Detroit Free Press, Leon Walker is facing a five-year felony charge after accessing now-ex-wife Clara Walker’s Gmail account to see whether she was having an affair.  A 1979 Michigan law prohibits accessing a computer system without consent.

Walker and his attorneys, Leon Weiss and Matthew Klakulak, said the law was never intended for domestic matters, but was designed to prevent identity theft and the theft of trade secrets.

Earlier this year, the attorneys asked the appellate court to throw out the charges. On Tuesday, three appellate judges peppered Klakulak with questions, asking why Walker’s actions weren’t unlawful hacking.

Klakulak said the law was “ambiguous” and wasn’t intended for “ridiculously innocuous conduct” like peeping at a family member’s Gmail account.

But judge Pat Donofrio said Walker’s actions appear to fall squarely under the law the way it was written.

“Your client is being charged with securing intellectual property — her e-mail, accessing her intellectual property,” he said.

Klakulak also argued legislators never intended the law to be used for snooping spouses and that if it’s used as such, it could criminalize activities such as parents monitoring their children’s online activities.

Dec 062011

Mashable has an excellent summary of CarrierIQ, including what it is and why there is an uproar about it.  The even more summarized version is that CarrierIQ, software made by a company by the same name, runs in the background of many smart phones and tablets tracking performance and relaying that information to the wireless carrier.  The initial controversy flared up when a researcher, Trevor Eckhart, noticed CarrierIQ and what it was doing and wrote a paper questioning whether what it was doing was acceptable, and then the company threatened him with a lawsuit to keep him quiet.  Thanks to the intervention of the EFF, that situation resolved.  But we are still left with the basic questions of is what CarrierIQ doing in any way ok, legally or otherwise.   Continue reading »