Court Okays Counter-Hack

Wired.com | Friday, April 06, 2007

This article highlights an appeals court decision that could potentially set a dangerous precedent.

A federal appeals court just shot down an attempt by confessed superhacker Jerome Heckenkamp to overturn his computer crime convictions, which were an end result of information provided by a university sysadmin who broke into Heckenkamp’s computer to gather evidence.

The warrantless cyber-search was justified by the “special needs” exception to the Fourth Amendment, because “the administrator reasonably believed the computer had been used to gain unauthorized access to confidential records on a university computer,” the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday…

…According to the decision, UWisc cracked Heckenkamp’s computer in order to confirm that he was the hacker they were looking for. Heckenkamp turned out to be guilty, so Schroeder’s tough talk has some surface appeal. But what if Heckenkamp had been innocent?

Good Question

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