A famed hacker, Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, was sentenced to 41 months in prison yesterday. A jury convicted Auernheimer of conspiracy and identity theft back in November stemming from his role in a scheme to snag the personal email addresses of over 114,000 iPad users, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Diane Sawyer, and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.
Auernheimer argued that he acted as an uninvited “gray hat” hacker, grabbing the email addresses of customers for the sole purpose of exposing the flaws in AT&T’s security.
The sentence, at the upper end of the Guidelines range, is a far cry from the non-custodial slap on the wrist Auernheimer’s attorneys sought. There are two broad categories of response to the sentence. First, that Auernheimer is a completely terrible human being, but that his being a dick does not justify the harsh sentence. Second, that Auernheimer did not commit a real crime because he never intended to steal anyone’s identity and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is a bad law.
To these arguments, I reply “yes it does,” and “who cares?”
* A former general counsel has settled a case with the SEC alleging a slew of backdated options. It was suspicious when all the options were backdated to October 30, 1929. [ABA Journal; The Recorder]
* “If Microsoft Shuts Down Google Maps In Germany, How Does That Benefit The Public?” Um, it makes it harder for them to find Poland! Duh. [TechDirt]
* Senator Ted Cruz is having a rough go of it in the Senate. He’s already been publicly ripped by fellow Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Then he raised the ire of Senator Diane Feinstein, who has exactly zero patience for his crap. [Jezebel]
* Based on the description, HLN is licking its chops. [Craigslist]
* Supreme Court bobbleheads! I’m particularly impressed by Justice Brandeis riding the railroad. [Justices For Sale]
* To get yourself wound up for March Madness, here’s a fictional lawyer bracket from Constitutional Daily. Jack McCoy didn’t even make the field so this won’t be a repeat of the Above the Law winner. [Constitutional Daily]
Last week, I went to the preliminary hearing for Chris Bucchere, a software developer charged with felony vehicular manslaughter. On a workday morning in March 2012, Bucchere struck and killed a 71-year-old pedestrian, Sutchi Hui, in a busy, crowded intersection. Bucchere’s case has gotten a lot of attention in San Francisco, both because this is a case of manslaughter by bike rather than by car, and because Bucchere garnered criticism for writing about the incident on an online biking forum afterward, particularly because he ended the post by lamenting the “heroic” death of his helmet.
As in many urban environments, there is strife between the different classes of commuters in his city. Bucchere epitomized for many the reckless biker who takes liberties with the laws of the road — annoying drivers — and does not take seriously the damage that can be done on two wheels to those on two legs — annoying pedestrians, and in this case, mortally injuring one. The case interested me because press reports indicated that data from Bucchere’s Strava account — an app that bikers can use to track their rides — had been used to show how fast he had been going and to prove he had ignored stop signs.
District Attorney George Gascón told me the Strava data was part of the reason the city had decided to bring such severe charges against Bucchere. “It implies he was trying to compete with himself,” Gascón said. Bucchere’s online comments also played a role. “His helmet was more important than a human being.”
The Strava data did not wind up being instrumental in the hearing at all, though; instead 30 seconds of surveillance video took center stage.
Yesterday, Judge Thomas Lipps handed down a guilty verdict in the Steubenville rape case. For those living entirely under a rock, the Steubenville rape case involved two teen football players in Ohio, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, who carried an overly intoxicated 16-year-old girl from party to party, sexually assaulting her along the way.
The case garnered national attention after multiple pictures and videos of the events — some callously indifferent and others actively supportive of the rape — surfaced on the Internet, and the slow initial response of law enforcement triggered accusations that the local sheriff, Fred Abdalla, attempted to cover up the assault to protect the Steubenville football team.
Others have more eloquently explored the implications of this case for attitudes about sexual violence and social media generally. But the events in Steubenville speak to a cultural shift that will lord over criminal law for the next generation: the compulsive desire of jackhole criminals to document everything makes them really easy to catch.
Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.
Like any good debacle, this whole Sim City SNAFU breeds all manner of hostility. The reviews have begun to reflect the incredible amount of frustration at EA’s mis-forecast of their launch-date readiness. Even retailers are poking the bear, so to speak, by offering reminders that past iterations of Sim City don’t have the same problems and are still super fun to play. The calls for boycotts have been getting louder. But let’s be careful not to slip into the land of the silly.
And by silly, I mean launching into a diatribe about how awfully the launch was handled by EA and then concluding that all gamers obviously need a wordily constructed Bill Of Rights…
Facebook has an important role in modern society, specifically sharing baby/cat pictures and facilitating high school reunion planning. Oh, and disappointing amateur investors.
Now, in at least one case, the government will use Facebook to serve defendants.
The decision reflects the growing faith in the reliability of electronic messaging, taking jurisprudence further down the path started when courts began recognizing email service. On the other hand, Facebook’s messaging kind of blows. I constantly find messages in my inbox days after they were sent.
I assume service is effected by uploading a picture of the filing and tagging it “You”….
* We have a new pope. Pope Francis I has no involvement with the sexual abuse scandals surrounding the Church, but has had other legal troubles in his past. [Los Angeles Times]
* UNLV Law Dean Nancy Rapoport schools other deans on drafting press releases about the U.S. News rankings. [Nancy Rapoport's Blogspot]
* Lend your support to this new project to create Oyez-style audio/video archives of state Supreme Court proceedings. This will be really helpful, but I’m holding out for audio/video of Wade McCree’s courtroom. [Knight News Challenge]
* If you’re mad that your name comes up when people Google “erectile dysfunction,” filing a public lawsuit over that fact isn’t the answer. [IT-Lex]
* Charter schools are lame because the crazy people running them teach whatever they want, like this one that teaches students that hippies were dirty. Well, okay, that’s not actually untrue, but the system’s textbooks have other faults, like explaining how the KKK was just misunderstood, y’all. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]
* Man loses his memory after car crash-induced head trauma, decides to become a lawyer. I’ve always said would-be lawyers should have their heads examined. [BBC News via Legal Cheek]
While most of you are busily reading about the latest effort from U.S. News to calculate with the incalculable, applying its formula to tease out razor-thin distinctions between law schools, you’re missing the demise of the once lauded Internet prediction site, InTrade. What were the odds?
Over the weekend, the Irish-based website shuttered itself completely, noting in a statement to customers that there may be “financial irregularities.” Uh-oh.
All this comes at the worst possible time for InTrade customers, who were looking to cash in on that sweet, sweet Conclave action…
‘I’m excited because I can see my lawyer hasn’t slept in three days!’
Let the micromanagement begin! Clients always complained about bills, but over the last several years, clients elevated their complaints to outright micromanagement, objecting to “block billing” and refusing to pay for internal team meetings, even on massive projects.
I’ve said before that this billing regime saps lawyers of valuable efficiency. Not that lawyers are perfect, but constantly stopping to parse out billing for every individual task creates a bigger waste.
Now clients have a new technological tool to intrude upon the workday….
Next week in Strasbourg, probably on Tuesday, the European Parliament will be voting on a Report on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU. To promote gender equality and eliminating gender stereotypes are of course very laudable goals, so my guess would be that unless something happens, the report will be approved by the parliament, possibly by a very large majority.
That would be a good thing, were it not for the following detail….
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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