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Unauthorized use of a computer's best analog in real world terms is trespassing. Despite the fact that a web server is publicly connected to the Internet, technically, it is private property. Someone owns that server and the software and data on it. They should have a Terms of Use for the site which indicates what is allowed usage of their server. If you ...


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In the case of Heartbleed, one should remember that a company/sysadmin has taken the pro-active steps to protect data. They have used OpenSSL to secure a web portal. The fact that there was a bug in it that went undiscovered was not the fault of the company. They have attempted to protect data. Any court/jury, using common sense, would find for the company, ...


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The fundamental question here is authorization, not access. If you break into your neighbor's house, clearly you are in violation of the law. But if he lets you in, then you are not. So what if you have a key? If he gave you the key along with permission to enter (to feed his dog while he's away), then you have authorization to enter. No trespass there. ...


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The dividing line is not a line. It is fuzzy and decided not purely by logic but by persuasion. Persuasion of a jury by a prosecutor. What is legal vs illegal is not decided by those of us who work with tech. It is first decided by a few experts and then blessed by the government as a law and then interpreted by judges lawyers and a few 'lucky' people on ...


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And the name of the offence suggests, for "unauthorized use of a computer" it is significant whether permission was given. It is presumed that permission is given for example to visit a website using a browser. You needn't have it in writing. It is not presumed that permission is given to use an unintentional feature such as the heartbleed flaw. So yes, it ...


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First, this question has to be answered in a country-specific context, because each country has its own laws and regulation regarding computer crimes, intrusions, data manipulation etc. One important thing to consider also is that the persons who will judge those cases are not technical aware people. They usually have no clear idea of what a database is, ...


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From a purely technical viewpoint one could say that any data which can be accessed in some way is public, because technology doesn't make a difference between features and bugs. But laws are rarely that technical. Legislation about what's illegal hacking and what isn't vary a lot around the world. I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know, many legislations ...


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What I'm confused about is where is the line between illegal hacking and just using information which is publicly visible? The question is whether this information is considered public, even if it's publicly visible. In this particular case it's 100% clear that this is not the case. Even when a server admin leaves this bug unpatched, it doesn't mean ...


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With Information Security, analogies to physical-world security are often made. For instance, A building is secured with a door that's locked, around that, a fence with a gate and security guard, and so on. Breaching a building's security layer(s) would be a criminal offense in most (all?) legislations. I'd bet that's mostly called breaking and entering. I ...


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In most jurisdictions, breaching through computer systems is illegal, and often is a penal offence. Voluntarily planting backdoors normally qualifies as breaching. The interesting question is how prosecution will start; depending on the local legal system, some State entity might be able to begin the proceedings; in others, a formal complaint from one of the ...


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The police in most (if not all) countries obeys to various investigation laws and clear legal frameworks that determine what they are authorized to do, how, when, etc. Usually to wiretap a communication, a police officer has to obtain the approval of a judiciary authority (e.g. an independant judge). There might be exceptions to those rules in case of ...


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In the UK the police can force you to reveal encryption keys. There have been a handful of cases of people jailed purely for refusing to reveal their key. I think the UK is somewhat unusual in this regard, but you would have to check your local laws. Of course, if revealing your key implicated you in something serious (like mass murder) you would do best to ...


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1.They can't guarantee it's what it's said to be if they can't retain the original binary data that makes up the evidence of the accusation. In such a case, they could never charge anyone without proof, and if they can't decrypt it, they can't prove anything. Assuming that any confiscated or eavesdropped data is encrypted in a secure way, there is ...


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I'll leave legality to someone else. In terms of how they do it, here's a rough overview: Any connection, encrypted or not, is visible to your ISPs routers as a TCP session (generalization, I know there are other protocols). The routers know, regardless of whether or not encryption is present, how long each session has been connected for, and how much ...



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