Government shutdown or not, the United States Department of Justice is hard at work. While the majority of the government is placed on furlough, the DOJ has brought charges against 13 members of “Anonymous” for their attack against various websites like banks and government agencies. It seems they aren’t so Anonymous anymore!
The DOJ alleges the group of hackers are responsible for ‘Operation Payback,’ an effort to combat the shutdown of peer-to-peer torrent hosting site the ‘Pirate Bay,’ giving users a place to download copyrighted material.
Cyber-Crime: The Shutdown Complication
While it’s true that prosecutors aren’t affected by the furloughs, the staff they rely on are. Only “essential personnel” are unaffected by the furloughs, and these employees hired as part of the support team are not considered essential.
The fact the government isn’t fully operational right now gives you an idea as to just how serious the Justice Department considers cyber-crime. But is this where the administration’s efforts should be directed? Aren’t there bigger fish to fry?
Cyber-Crime: Stay The Course
Some organizations (like the EFF) are pointing fingers at the current Obama administration. One issue that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has with the administration’s ‘Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)’ is that it is very vague in terms of what is punishable and what is not when it comes to “authorized use” and “permissions.”
Because of this, people are being prosecuted for things that don’t even represent crimes involving hacking like in the case of ‘US v. Drew.’
Cyber-Crime: The Case of Lori Drew
This is a case involving a mother (Lori Drew) attempting to protect her daughter, the victim of the rumor mill. Drew created a fake MySpace account in order to catch the girl that started rumors set against Drew’s daughter. Drew bullied the culprit (Megan Meier) to such an extend that Meier took her own life.
Drew was acquitted after being found guilty of breaking MySpace’s ‘ToS Agreement.’ The judge on the case determined that the law was so vague, each and every Internet user could be considered in violation of the CFFA if there wasn’t some way of educating the public on appropriate Internet behavior.
With all of the issues facing the United States at this time, in the middle of a government shutdown, how do the American people feel about the administration’s focus on dealing with cyber-crime? Polls are pointing to a general disappointment with the Obama administration, and many are upset over the current cyber-crime cases being judged by the government.
In all fairness, aren’t there bigger issues to be dealt with at this time than cyber-bullies? Leave that to local law enforcement to deal with. That’s my thoughts on the matter – I welcome yours.