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Cyber Crime Update – Violating Website Terms of Usage May Land Violators in Federal Court

We’ve all gotten used to typing out the funky words that appear in funky script (e.g., THARN NASES, or some-such nonsense).  It’s designed to keep people from using computer programs to execute mass actions, like ticket purchases or posts to blogs.  Some ticketing agents in New Jersey are being prosecuted for having a computer program do that very thing.  That’s right: PROSECUTED.  Not, sued. PROSECUTED.  On behalf of all of us, the citizens of the Republic.

Threat Level, an on-line section of Wired Magazine that tackles tech and security issues leads its post this way:

“Prosecutors in a New Jersey ticket scalping case are pushing the envelope on the federal computer hacking law, setting a precedent that could make it a felony to violate a website’s terms of service and fool a CAPTCHA, according to electronic civil rights groups intervening in the case.”

Read More http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/ticketmaster/#ixzz0tTRYwCuT
As with many white collar prosecutions, the line between criminal and civil misconduct become blurred.  In this case, critics fear that a website proprietor could define criminal conduct merely by defining terms in its terms of service.

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