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Only rapists are allowed privacy now

The hacker who exposed the rot in the Steubenville rape case has been arrested by the FBI and faces serious jail time.

At first, he thought the FBI agent at the door was with FedEx. "As I open the door to greet the driver, approximately 12 FBI SWAT team agents jumped out of the truck, screaming for me to "Get the fuck down!" with M-16 assault rifles and full riot gear, armed, safety off, pointed directly at my head," http://www.projectknightsec.com/Lostutter wrote today on his blog. "I was handcuffed and detained outside while they cleared my house."

He believes that the FBI investigation was motivated by local officials in Steubenville. "They want to make an example of me, saying, ‘You don’t fucking come after us. Don’t question us."

If convicted of hacking-related crimes, Lostutter could face up to 10 years behind bars—far more than the one- and two-year sentences doled out to the Steubenville rapists. Defending himself could end up costing a fortune—he’s soliciting donations here. Still, he thinks getting involved was worth it. "I’d do it again," he says.

Rape a girl, get a sympathetic press and a light jail sentence in the juvenile system. Expose the rape of a girl, get a decade of prison time. Anyone else find this a little bit out of balance?

To compound the hypocrisy, Lostutter is being criminalized for cracking open supposedly private data. At the same time, it has been announced that the Obama administration has authorized the NSA to snoop on private email, chats, file storage—everything we put on the net. If the data has already been compromised to hell and gone by our own government, how can our government make a case against Lostutter? Can we expect a SWAT team to nab Barack Obama now?

Comments

  1. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    All the rage. I seriously cannot. CANNOT. Just…fuck everything about this.

  2. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    He’d read about the Steubenville rape in the New York Times, but didn’t get involved until receiving a message on Twitter from Michelle McKee, a friend of an Ohio blogger who’d written about the case. McKee gave Lostutter the players’ tweets and Instagram photos, which he then decided to publicize because, as he put it, “I was always raised to stick up for people who are getting bullied.”

    Wait…so what did he hack? He just made information that was given to him public. ???

  3. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Anyone else find this a little bit out of balance?

    Hell yes! Waaa-aay out of balance like Jupiter in one side of the sales and a pea in the other. Awful.

  4. DrVanNostrand says

    @3:
    Our system goes out of its way to root out potential nullifiers like me. While there is pretty solid precedent to prevent the prosecution of nullifiers, there have been cases of nullifiers being removed during deliberation (questionable, but I don’t think definitively illegal), and jurors are routinely told that they do not have the right to nullify. As a result, nullification is pretty rare.

  5. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    We need to start setting things on fire. I don’t know what, exactly, just yet. Or how we’ll know when to stop. The fire will probably be a more intelligent selector of what and who needs to go than we could ever be. Maybe it won’t ever stop. That actually doesn’t sound like such a bad thing right now.

  6. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @4. Typo fix : scales not “sales” : Wa-aay out of balance like Jupiter in one side of the scales and a pea in the other.

    Disgusting news this and unfathomably really from any decent sorta viewpoint.

  7. =8)-DX says

    Wait…so what did he hack? He just made information that was given to him public. ???

    *tweeeeeeeeeet!
    He was a whistleblower. Everyone should know by now that blowing whistles is illegal in the US.

  8. says

    Jonathan:
    The news in the OP is rage worthy yes.
    It is certainly worth writing blog posts about or contacting your state representative.
    Facebook or tweet it.
    Crawl into a ball and cry that this guy faces worse prison time than rapists.

    But here?
    Please find some way to express yourself without using such violent rhetoric.

  9. says

    Jesus fucking wept. Vomited and wept.

    How can this happen? What in the hell has gone so wrong with us, with the U.S.?

    Do the right thing, go to prison! Don’t worry, we’ll give you a trial first, all the while trying to break you over a plea deal, then you’ll go to prison! Learn your lesson, don’t you dare go helping some drunk slut, ya hear?

    I might go vomit and weep.

  10. laurentweppe says

    Please find some way to express yourself without using such violent rhetoric.

    The thing is, it’s baffling that the authorities do not seem to realize that this type of behavior -giving tiny sentence for rapists then threatening to gove huuuge sentence to the person who stopped them- creates incentives toward vendettas.

  11. shouldbeworking says

    He committed a much more serious offence than rape. He embarrassed officials, some of whom were elected. Thereby endangering political careers.

  12. wolja says

    Is it time to use the Fascist State word yet?

    Thank the great atheist I’m an Aussie. Oh wait …

  13. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Haven’t we had charges dropped in cases of this sort of persecution by petitioning and getting news focus on it before?

    I’d start one myself but I’m not sure I trust myself to write it. :/

  14. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Has th US always had this shoot the messenger culture ?

    It’s weird in a bad way to think you guys might soon need Amnesty International petitions…

  15. The Mellow Monkey says

    He’d read about the Steubenville rape in the New York Times, but didn’t get involved until receiving a message on Twitter from Michelle McKee, a friend of an Ohio blogger who’d written about the case. McKee gave Lostutter the players’ tweets and Instagram photos, which he then decided to publicize because, as he put it, “I was always raised to stick up for people who are getting bullied.”

    Murder an escort for not having sex with you, go free.

    Rape a teenage girl on camera, get two years in juvenile detention.

    Draw attention to publicly available information, go to prison for ten years for hacking.

    JUSTICE

  16. says

    Grow the fuck up, Tony — it was nothing more than a simple expression of perfectly appropriate feelings of frustration. “Setting fires” is also a pretty vague phrase that is very often used in a non-literal way. You should know that, if you read anything on a regular basis.

    And besides, if a government — whose basic purpose is to provide fair and peaceful resolutions of disputes — fails to do its job properly (or, as in this case, even plausibly), then less-peaceful avenues of redress will inevitably become a fair topic of discussion.

  17. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    We need to gun for the person who ordered this’ s job

  18. says

    As long as they’re grilling FBI officials in Congress, maybe they could add a few questions about this obvious abuse of FBI power.

  19. David Marjanović says

    “Setting fires” is also a pretty vague phrase that is very often used in a non-literal way. You should know that, if you read anything on a regular basis.

    I read Pharyngula, among others, on a daily basis, and I’ve never encountered this phrase before.

  20. Ogvorbis: ArkRanger of Doom! says

    If there is any justice in the US, jury nullification will exonerate him.

    I admire your faith in the US justice system. I think your faith is misplaced, but I admire it.

    Everyone should know by now that blowing whistles is illegal in the US.

    Not illegal, just almost impossible to prove. If he claims whistle-blower protection, he will be blown out of the water because he is not employed by a company that also employs the rapists; the prosecution will dig until they find a link, however tenuous, that shows that he and the rapists know each other and that this was retaliation for X; and other various reasons why whistle-blower protection is invalid. For federal employees, only about 5% or whistle-blowers are actually protected and that is higher (I think) than private employers.

    Jesus fucking wept. Vomited and wept.

    How can this happen? What in the hell has gone so wrong with us, with the U.S.?

    Hugs to you, Caine. I read this and I feel sick. I feel panicked.

    I remember telling another scout leader what was happening. I remember being yelled at because I was trying to ruin his life, trying to get him in trouble, and the one that I told wanted to know why I had it in for my rapist. Different details, same damned shit again and again and again.

  21. davidjanes says

    It is crap like this that Article 2, Section 2 was designed to fix. The guy did break the law, but the power of pardon cannot be overridden. Obama can fix this in about five minutes, and that is probably the best point to apply pressure.

  22. Scr... Archivist says

    Read the article. The FBI is barking up the wrong tree.

    “According to the FBI’s search warrant, agents were seeking evidence related to the hacking of RollRedRoll.com.” The FBI probably thinks Lostutter broke into the site because “He now admits to being the man behind the mask in a video posted by another hacker on the team’s fan page, RollRedRoll.com, where he threatened action against the players unless they apologized to the girl.”

    However, someone else broke into the fansite (because its owner left the key under the welcome mat), posted the video, and has publicly taken credit for it. Will a jury believe BatCat about his role?
    http://www.heraldstaronline.com/page/content.detail/id/582917/Man-who-took-control-of-fan-website-talks.html?nav=5010

    It was not a hack that involved cracking deep into code but relied on a combination of good luck and poor security measures. “I was able to get into his Comcast account by answering his ‘forgot your password’ (security) question correctly. His (the site owner’s security) answer was ‘Big Red,’ Noah said. “I then just used that to get into the web hosting (account).”

    I am not a lawyer, but I bet that taking advantage of bad security habits is nevertheless illegal. However, just being in a video is not a crime. Not yet anyway.

  23. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    The guy did break the law

    By calling attention to publicly posted information? Read, stupid.

  24. The Mellow Monkey says

    The guy did break the law, but the power of pardon cannot be overridden.

    He has not admitted to breaking the law–someone else took credit for that–and he hasn’t been proven guilty in court. All he has admitted was taking publicly available information and drawing attention to it.

    So saying he broke the law is somewhat premature, unless you know something the rest of us don’t.

  25. says

    A secondary concern to Lostutter facing the possibility of a harsher sentence for exposing the rapists than the rapists received: why did the FBI consider his to be a high-risk warrant justifying calling out SWAT?

  26. Artor says

    Whatever happened to a detective knocking on the door with a couple uniforms behind him, politely introducing himself and saying, “We’d like to ask you a few questions downtown.” Nowadays we get militarized SWAT teams putting guns in your face, yelling, “Get on the fucking floor NOW!1!!”

  27. Robert B. says

    On top of everything else, the SWAT team could have had no conceivable purpose except to intimidate the victim (“suspect”) and the public. By no account was Lostutter armed with anything but a keyboard.

    Presumably the US still approximates a free country, and some jury verdict, judge ruling, or executive pardon will correct this. (At the very least, if it is proven he broke the law after all, telling people about rape should carry a lighter punishment than rape.) But government that makes a habit of actions like this and doesn’t fix them is called tyranny, and if the US proves to be a tyranny then some of us will indeed be lighting at least a metaphorical fire.

  28. Amphiox says

    The guy did break the law, but the power of pardon cannot be overridden. Obama can fix this in about five minutes, and that is probably the best point to apply pressure.

    I do not think a president can pardon someone who is only accused of a crime, and not convicted.

  29. says

    Artor: Nowadays we get militarized SWAT teams putting guns in your face, yelling, “Get on the fucking floor NOW!1!!”

    There are times when that is necessary – when serving the warrant is considered to pose a high risk to the safety of the officers or to bystanders (although even then, the cops I know would prefer to not have guns pointed at everyone and would leave SWAT out of sight as much as possible). But based on the information I have seen, this is not one of those times.

  30. methuseus says

    @David Marjanović

    The term “setting fires” seems to be (to me) a pretty American statement meaning something similar to “causing trouble”. Lostutter, the man we are talking about in this particular case, was setting his own fires to help influence the government to investigate the Steubenville rape. I’ve heard the term practically since I was in diapers, and it was quite common during the 60’s and 70’s as another term for civil disobedience, and not necessarily setting real fires.

  31. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    This is so wrong. I’m angry and sickened by this outrage.

    Caine, Ogvorbis, and one else triggered by this – *virtual hugs and chocolate*

  32. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    I’m not comfortable with the “setting fires” thing. I don’t like it literally or as a metaphor. Want to organize? Want to be heard? Great. But advocating arson? Not cool. I don’t think anybody needs to “grow up” because they think that’s unproductive.

  33. Brandon says

    I agree completely about the disproportionality here. One comment struck me as a bit odd though:

    If the data has already been compromised to hell and gone by our own government, how can our government make a case against Lostutter?

    Isn’t a government agency doing something quite a bit different than a private citizen just deciding to do the same thing? This logic would imply (to me) that we can’t charge people with kidnapping since the government puts people in jails.

  34. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    AMphiox

    Didn’t FOrd do that for Nixon?

  35. stevem says

    re @28 et others:

    regardless of whether Lostutter committed a crime or not {we are not lawyers}, the outrage here is over the sentence he faces; being much worse than that faced by the actual rapists. “Justice” in any real sense has “flown out the window”. Maybe due to classifying crimes into different “categories”, then only considering the sentencing order of crimes within that category. Never compare crimes from different categories, too many, too confusing, too much work, not enough time, need to get re-elected. bah-humbug.

  36. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Brandon:

    I haven’t read near enough, but as I understand it, part of what the government argues when it is arguing for the ability to, say, read all of our e-mails without a warrant, is that such data is not private. “Private” here is a stand-in for a number of potential legal relationships to such data. But the point that critics make is that if the government prosecutes someone for reading e-mail and/or text data, there must be an explicit government endorsement of the fact that this data is non-public, that it is privately possessed and/or owned.

    This may not be true in certain circumstances because cyber law in the US outlaws **methods** of access and not just the access itself. The government may legally argue that it was perfectly legitimate to access and publicize the data so long as one doesn’t do it in a specifically prohibited way.

    However, that creates outrage from folks in the electorate and so the gov doesn’t publicly argue that your data is not yours. I don’t follow the appropriate cases to know if they make their public argument in court – that the data is private – but if they do, then it doesn’t matter **how** the data is accessed. It is still covered by the 4th amendment.

    People are outraged because they either know or perceive the government to be asserting things that put its own behavior unquestionably outside constitutional bounds, and they are asserting those things in order to put a whistleblower in prison.

    So you’re in the position of asking,
    1) does the government believe this argument and knowingly, corruptly, violate the constitutional rights of its citizens on a massive scale?
    OR
    2) does the government not believe this argument and knowingly, corruptly, violate the constitutional rights of individuals such as the man in this case, to punish people who hate rape and say so publicly using (according to this theory) public data?

    Now, again, the legal landscape is far less clear than this, but the reduction here isn’t ad absurdum. There are good reasons to think the situation does reduce to this. I leave it to people familiar with US cyber law to say whether those reasons are not merely good but sufficient given any counterarguments.

    Finally, even if the legal landscape is more complicated and does permit the government a **logical** way out of the contradiction, there is a very good argument that the US gov is specifically constructing these outs to permit this apparently contradictory behavior because it doesn’t want to endorse the constitutional rights that set boundaries on constitutional power but **do** want to endorse the punishment of people who threaten power. Then we have casuistry on the part of the government in creating a needlessly complex and slippery landscape that purposely permits wholesale reading of data citizens regard as private AND punishment of individuals who express outrage using data that people with power do not wish exposed.

    This casuistry is [or would be, if you believe such is not proven to exist] evidence of the government’s corruption and bad faith.

    Thus, for a great many people arguing in good faith, the problem is very different from the statement you make.

    The correct analogy is more like:

    “The government cannot imprison people without due process, since imprisoning without following the proper legal procedures and proving a criminal violation of law is kidnapping when anyone else does it.”

    The extension used by many is then this: “And if the government is engaged in widespread kidnapping, that’s bad enough, but then it arrests someone for detaining a bank robber until cops show up? That’s blowing the lid off any possible argument the government has that its own kidnapping is somehow excusable by virtue of some good motive that it is publicly proffering.”

    The government **can** read our e-mails. The 4th amendment says that they need a warrant. We as a society **could** hold that all electronic data is impossible to privately possess, but the arrest of this man blows the lid off that proffered excuse. The unfortunate conclusion [of the argument you protest] is the government is, in some way, corrupt and acting in bad faith.

  37. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @amphiox, 36

    It is absolutely within precedent for a US president to pardon persons for crimes of which they have not yet been convicted.

  38. John Horstman says

    The feds going after a whistle-blower? Color me shocked. We’ve been living in a police state for decades, but things got a lot worse, especially for White people, after 2001 (sentencing disparity, for example, has long been a problem for Black and Brown Americans – crack vs. cocaine mandatory sentencing requirements are the classic example). Where the concerns of an authoritarian state intersect institutional misogyny (lots of rape cases work this way, for example with gag orders for victims that deny them the right to talk about their own lived experiences carrying heavier penalties than were meted out to their attackers), it’s even more glaring. The feds should be investigating the fact that the police failed to follow through with an investigation until hackers liberated information relevant to the case, protecting rapists instead of rape victims, but instead they’re primarily concerned with maintaining their security state infrastructure, to which a hacker is a much bigger threat than a rapist.

    Please enjoy this complementary PSA from N.W.A. (NSFW)

  39. ltft says

    Hopefully, he’ll be cleared- someone else has taken credit for the real (but minor) crime the FBI is accusing him of.

    Beyond that, yes, the idea of 10 years in jail for this versus 1 or 2 years in juvi for rape is absurd… but it isn’t a fair comparison. A 17 year old accused of rape may face life in prison but end up with (much) less. A 26 year old facing a ten year prison term for hacking may end up, if convicted, with a fine and probation. Comparing the maximum possible to what has already come to pass can be instructive, but that you’re comparing the maximum of a large and vague category of crimes shouldn’t be forgotten. I could win ten Nobel prizes (though of course I won’t), but you can’t compare that to the one Shinya Yamanaka already got.

    But yes, if this guy gets serious prison time, or even if the correct guy gets time that’s royally screwed up.

  40. Francisco Bacopa says

    The Ford/Nixon case is plenty of precedent that a president can preempt prosecution. I don’t agree with that, but we should apply pressure along these lines. Governors in some states have some ability to pardon, but since the case spans state borders and is a federal case anyway, I doubt there’s that much hope here.

    I don’t know much about federal courts and grand juries, but I do know that federal judges are sometimes pretty cool. The Federal Court of the Eastern District of Texas threw out the cases of the six Occupiers arrested on federal charges on #D12 Houston. However, a federal grand jury still indicted them and the case went back to federal court in a case that drags on to this day.

    I am enraged that someone who exposed a rape might be sentenced to harsher punishment than the rapists. And shouldn’t this guy be a hero? Didn’t Occupy Stubenville and KnightSec serve the ends of justice? We should give them a medal for their public service.

  41. David Marjanović says

    I’ve heard the term practically since I was in diapers, and it was quite common during the 60′s and 70′s as another term for civil disobedience, and not necessarily setting real fires.

    Ah, so it’s from the time when my parents were younger than I am now, and hasn’t been used much since? That makes sense.

    (Makes me quite sarcastic about the “grow up” part.)

    And shouldn’t this guy be a hero? Didn’t Occupy Stubenville and KnightSec serve the ends of justice? We should give them a medal for their public service.

    QFT!