In light of the recent public hacks on public systems, is there any culpability for the owner of a compromised system? Two examples:

  1. The owner is a large public company that leaks sensitive information through a malicious hack (for arguments sake, assume it came from the outside).
  2. Your personal computer unknowingly participates in a DOS attack through a botnet.

Both of these carry legal penalties if they were committed knowingly. To make this question concrete and not subjective, "is there legal precedent in the US, either for or against, concerning the culpability for the owner of a hacked computer?".

closed as off-topic by Xander, schroeder, RoraΖ, TildalWave, gowenfawr Jan 28 '15 at 20:54

  • This question does not appear to be about Information security within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 6
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is requesting legal advice, which not only may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but also from case to case, and so should be obtained from a qualified legal practitioner in the appropriate jurisdiction rather than from the Internet where the well-meaning and logical opinions you receive on the matter may leave you more ill-advised than if you hadn't asked at all. – Xander Jan 28 '15 at 19:19
  • The question is also pretty broad. There are numerous responsibilities: to prevent damage, to limit damage, to disclose damage. There are also overlapping legal, regulatory, and civil responsibilities depending on the jurisdiction. – schroeder Jan 28 '15 at 19:35
  • @Xander I am not seeking legal advice, I was wondering if there was legal precedent concerning this particular issue of information security. It can be made clear in any answer that this is simply a factual response to a question concerning events that have either happened or not. I would be happy with a reference and an excerpt from the ruling with the caveat that the interpretation is left to the reader. – Hooked Jan 28 '15 at 19:36
  • I believe it's still off-topic, as it's legal rather than technical. If you're looking for a precedent, it might be on-topic on History. – S.L. Barth Jan 28 '15 at 19:51
  • @S.L.Barth understood, and as an outsider to this Stack Exchange I would completely understand the motivation behind a close (and respect the decision!). It is unfortunate though, that there isn't a good forum for this kind of question, it is related to information security, but to make the question non-subjective I had to restrict it to a legal question. – Hooked Jan 28 '15 at 20:02