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April 12, 2014

weev iPad hacking conviction overturned

weev iPad hacking conviction overturned – Wikinews, the free news source

weev iPad hacking conviction overturned

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

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File photo of Auernheimer, 2010.
Image: weev.

Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned the conviction of Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, who had been sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison after exploiting a bug in AT&T‘s website, allowing him access to confidential data about their iPad customers.

The hacker and self-described “troll” was convicted of conspiracy to unlawfully access AT&T’s servers and identity theft by federal jury in November 2012 by a New Jersey court under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Co-defendant Daniel Spitler plead guilty.

Spitler discovered AT&T had inadvertently made data publicly available through their website, and wrote a script allowing him to obtain the email addresses of approximately 120,000 customers, including that of then-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Auernheimer passed this information to Gawker, who published a redacted version.

The three judges on the Philadelphia-based court, in a unanimous decision, ruled the New Jersey courtroom was an inappropriate venue for the initial trial. Michael Chagares, circuit judge, wrote “the improper venue here—far from where he performed any of his allegedly criminal acts—denied Auernheimer’s substantial right to be tried in the place where his alleged crime was committed”. The court said the issue represented a basic constitutional right and not a mere technicality.

Prosecutors argued that approximately 4,500 of the affected users lived in New Jersey and the state was therefore a valid place for the trial, but the court noted neither the servers accessed, nor the Gawker reporter, nor the defendants, were based in that state. Auernheimer’s attorney, Tor Ekeland, said that the government was “trying to find courts that are favourable to them”.



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October 2, 2009

Plaintiffs and Amazon propose settlement to Kindle deletion lawsuit

Plaintiffs and Amazon propose settlement to Kindle deletion lawsuit

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Friday, October 2, 2009

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Amazon Kindle in a 2008 file photo

Parties to a lawsuit against Amazon.com agreed September 25 to a proposed settlement resolving claims that Amazon unlawfully deleted content from users’ Kindle reading devices. Justin Gawronski, a Michigan high school senior, and Antoine Bruguier, a California engineer, had sued on July 30, after Amazon deleted George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four from their Kindles. Gawronski also said his digital notes lost value because they were no longer associated with the relevant text. The plaintiffs argued that Amazon had breached its terms of service and violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Washington Consumer Protection Act. Amazon had first claimed it was forced to delete the books when it learned it did not have the right to sell them. However, it apologized on July 23 and on September 7 offered affected customers either US$30 or a copy of the deleted book.

The proposed settlement includes a commitment that Amazon will only delete e-books remotely under four circumstances: the user consents, the user fails to pay or gets a refund, the government mandates it, or the deletion is necessary to “protect” the consumer, device, or network. Amazon would also pay KamberEdelson, the plaintiffs’ firm, US$150,000 in legal fees, with the proviso that it go to charity. Michael Aschenbrener, an attorney at KamberEdelson, described the agreement as a “great settlement” that “provides protection for Kindle users and provides confidence to them that the books, newspapers and magazines they purchase will not be subject to remote deletion by Amazon. It sends a message to digital media purveyors of all kinds that sellers really need to respect users’ rights to that content.” Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener refused to comment.

The agreement is still subject to court approval.



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September 5, 2009

Amazon dips into memory hole to retrieve Orwellian works

Amazon dips into memory hole to retrieve Orwellian works

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cover of first edition of 1984

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American-based online retailer Amazon.com has backtracked from its July decision and actions to remotely delete George Orwell’s classic dystopian novels, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, from customers’ Kindle e-book readers.

Late Thursday, Amazon emailed owners of Kindle readers who had previously lost copies of these novels, offering a new copy of the deleted books, or a gift certificate or check for US$30. In the email, the company’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos apologised again, and described the earlier actions as “stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles.”

Initially, the two works of Orwell were made available to Kindle owners by a third-party company which did not have the rights to distribute them. When Amazon was alerted to this by the actual rights holder, the company removed the books from their online store then, far more controversially, remotely deleted the books from their customers’ devices before issuing refunds.

In the aftermath of significant press coverage of Amazon’s actions to remove content, legal action was started against them in Washington alleging violations of the company’s published terms of service, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Washington’s consumer protection legislation. A Michigan student named as a plaintiff in the case explained that the deletion of his copy of 1984 had rendered his annotations and notes worthless.

First published in 1949, the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four will not enter the public domain in the United States until 2044.



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August 1, 2009

Michigan student and California engineer sue Amazon for remote deletion of \’Nineteen Eighty-Four\’

Michigan student and California engineer sue Amazon for remote deletion of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

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Justin Gawronski and Antoine Bruguier sued Amazon.com on Thursday for remotely deleting their digital copies of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four from their Kindle devices. The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, argues in part that Amazon violated its terms of service, as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Washington Consumer Protection Act.

Gawronski, a Michigan high school senior, originally purchased both his Kindle and an e-book of the novel for his Advanced Placement English summer reading. He made regular annotations using the Kindle’s facility, noting “If […] something […] catches my eye as I am reading, I just place a note there”. After reading online that Amazon was deleting some copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four, he switched his Kindle on, and watched the copy he had purchased vanish. He later found that the notes he had written were effectively useless, stating, “all my notes refer back to nothing”. He said he would probably have to re-read the entire book.

Bruguier, a Silicon Valley engineer, also had his copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four remotely deleted. According to the complaint, Amazon sent him an email saying they were “writing to confirm that we have processed your refund.” In response, Bruguier wrote that “I would like to keep the title 1984. I like this book.” Amazon refused to allow him to do so, and said they would not provide any “additional insight or action”. Eventually, Amazon wrote a new email justifying the deletion by claiming they had lacked the right to sell him the book. Bruguier noted in response that he was “annoyed by [Amazon’s] deceit” and that he “thought that once purchased, the books were [his].” His emails also quoted the portion of Amazon’s terms of service cited in the suit.

Both clients are represented by KamberEdelson, and the lawsuit seeks class action status. Several classes are delineated, representing relevant sub-groupings of Kindle owners.



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