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"Burglar Leaves His Facebook Page on Victim's Computer,"

reports The Journal (Martinsburg, W. Va.). Thanks to GeekPress for the pointer.

subpatre (mail):
"The only answer," mused Garvey as he typed the warrant for Vincent Booker's house, "is that crime makes you stupid." —Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon

Oh, that seems true way too often. But it's still hilarious.
9.23.2009 1:27am
Ursus Maritimus:
Did the victim violate the burglar's expectation of privacy when he searched through his facebook page for the burglars real name instead of immediately logging out when he realized that somebody elses personal identifying information was visible?
9.23.2009 1:38am
Dave N (mail):
About as dumb as the guy who stole a book of checks and forged the signature after making them out to himself.
9.23.2009 1:40am
SC Public Defender:

Dave N
About as dumb as the guy who stole a book of checks and forged the signature after making them out to himself.



They do that all the time.
9.23.2009 1:55am
Mac (mail):
Since he is still alive, he doesn't qualify for the Darwin awards. Otherwise, he would be a contender.
9.23.2009 3:30am
Guy:
Ursus Maritimus,

Well, she's a private citizen, the information was left on her own computer, there would be no reasonable expectation of privacy on someone else's computer, as soon as she realized identifying information was on the computer she would have had probable cause anyway, and West Virginia isn't under the Ninth Circuit.

So probably not.
9.23.2009 3:47am
Fub:
Guy wrote at 9.23.2009 3:47am:
Well, she's a private citizen, the information was left on her own computer, there would be no reasonable expectation of privacy on someone else's computer, as soon as she realized identifying information was on the computer she would have had probable cause anyway, and West Virginia isn't under the Ninth Circuit.
But she did access a protected computer, the facebook server, and very likely in violation of its TOS. Service providers generally frown upon accessing another's account without permission. Someone inadvertently leaving their front door open is not giving permission to wander around inside their house opening cabinets.

So, if she did access his facebook account with intent to inflict emotional distress on the poor inattentive burglar, she's getting into felony territory. There can be no question that her intent was not kind or affectionate. So a grand jury could indict.

If she was eating a ham sandwich at the time, they could probably get a conspiracy indictment too.
9.23.2009 4:28am
Ariel:
Cf. the Wii gamers, below.
9.23.2009 7:07am
ShelbyC:

But she did access a protected computer, the facebook server, and very likely in violation of its TOS. Service providers generally frown upon accessing another's account without permission.


She didn't access it, the burglar did, and left the information on her computer.
9.23.2009 10:47am
byomtov (mail):
This reminds me of a story about a mugger who got his victim's football tickets, among other things. The moron actually went to the game, where he was quickly arrested.

Could be apocryphal, but funny anyway.
9.23.2009 11:35am
DennisN (mail):
ShelbyC:

She didn't access [A protected computer], the burglar did, and left the information on her computer.


Not so. The burglar left the door open to his information on the protected Facebook server. Her computer didn't have that information stored anywhere on it. At least no argument has been offered that it had been stored on her PC.
9.23.2009 12:09pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

But she did access a protected computer, the facebook server, and very likely in violation of its TOS. Service providers generally frown upon accessing another's account without permission.


We don't know that. To access requires some basic action at a minimum. If the web page was left open, she didn't access the server but only her computer.

The CFAA protects computer systems, not the information of them. Interestingly I wonder if eavesdropping on email traffic going through one's router (but not a MITM or similar attack) would be covered.....
9.23.2009 12:26pm
Fub:
einhverfr wrote at 9.23.2009 12:26pm:
We don't know that. To access requires some basic action at a minimum. If the web page was left open, she didn't access the server but only her computer.
If she so much as "refreshed" the page, she accessed the facebook server. One data packet sent from her client machine to the server, constitutes an access of the server.

If her client machine's browser was running some kind of "autorefresh" code, as some annoying websites inflict upon browsers these days, then there is a reasonable argument that she accessed the server by failing to shut down her computer immediately upon discovering it displaying data from the server.

Except, of course, that all theories of the burglary victim's criminal liability are unreasonable. But as the Lori Drew prosecution demonstrated, DOJ enthusiastically presses unreasonable theories of criminal liability, and courts take them seriously. There is apparently no longer such a thing as the giggle test for government's theories of criminal liability.
9.23.2009 1:29pm
gasman (mail):
I've got to wonder if the discussion above is tongue in cheek or really serious.
The analogy to a browser left open (by an uninvited guest using a computer in an unauthorized manner, on a data line that was not his...) to a physical front door left open is nonsense. One is free to open your domicile's door without that constituting a contract for every tomdickandharry to take it as an offer of entry to use your stuff. She is always free to use her own computer, and his leaving the window open, or cookies still residing, IS an invitation; as his actions would reasonably be assumed to start a police investigation, he has essentially gone public with the physical evidence he left behind.

This is just another dumb criminal story. Let's enjoy it.
Here's another story about a damn fool that should warm the heart too.
9.23.2009 3:29pm
Dan Simon (mail) (www):
Aw, to heck with the legal questions--I want to know more about this guy's Facebook page. Who are his friends? What pictures has he shared with them? What Sex and the City character is he? Did he update his status while ransacking the house? After being arrested? While in jail?
9.23.2009 4:12pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
There ought to be some kind of reward for this sort of stupidity, as an incentive for other criminals to provide us incidental entertainment.
9.23.2009 5:10pm
ChrisTS (mail):
"is that crime makes you stupid."

I thought it was 'stupid people make crime.'
9.23.2009 8:38pm
ChrisTS (mail):
(link)gasman:

Ouch. But that story lacks the moral advantage of laughing at a criminal. This man, Mr. Looney, was just ... well, a bad advertisement for amateur training in gun use.
9.23.2009 8:41pm

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