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FBI Arrests Hacker Who Hacked No One


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FBI Arrests Hacker Who Hacked No One


He built a piece of software. That tool was pirated and abused by hackers. Now the feds want him to pay for the computer crooks’ crimes.


Food for thought for all of us :



Depending on whose view prevails, Huddleston could face prison time and lose his home, in a case that raises a novel question: when is a programmer criminally responsible for the actions of his users? “Everybody seems to acknowledge that this software product had a legitimate purpose,” says Travis Morrissey, a lawyer in Hot Springs who represented Huddleston at his bail hearing. “It’s like saying that if someone buys a handgun and uses it to rob a liquor store, that the handgun manufacturer is complicit.”



Some experts say the answer to that question could have far reaching implications for developers, particularly those working on new technologies that criminals might adopt in unforeseeable ways. The chill would be felt most profoundly by independent coders without ready access to legal support, but eventually even large corporations like Facebook or Google could face new uncertainty. Can a social networking site face charges when members stalk or threaten an ex? If ISIS starts using an encrypted messaging app, should the developer start looking for a good bail bondsman? “Even if prosecutors don’t plan to use their discretion against big companies, it can have a chilling effect,” says Cornell law professor James Grimmelmann. “Because you never know for sure.”


Edited by Techlord
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