Did you know that making a vague reference to “hacking” on the internet gives the federal government the authority to raid your home? An Idaho court ruled this week to invade the home of Corey Thuen, confiscate his computer, and duplicate its data for investigative purposes, all on the grounds that he loosely referred to himself as a hacker on his website.
The incident stems from a legal battle Thuen is currently embroiled in, however, the lawsuit is about allegations of intellectual property theft between himself and a former employer. The suit claims that Thuen stole code that could potentially present a threat to national security. However, the counter argument claims that the capabilities of the code in question are available in a number of other commercial applications, and cannot be considered a threat. Regardless, the court green-lighted the home invasion based only on the hacking reference on Thuen’s website. Prior to the raid, he had no idea it would take place.
“We like hacking things and we don’t want to stop.” These are the exact words that convinced the US District Court to go to these extremes. It’s not clear whether or not they sought help from experienced individuals that are more familiar with current technological nomenclature, but it certainly doesn’t seem likely.
Whether you’re into customizing the firmware of DSLRs, or finding creative new uses for shower caddies, you may want to think twice about bandying around the word hack in the future. Anecdotally, this incident is also terrible news for the hackneyed people of this nation ;)