Feeds

Man sues MS after FBI uncovers smut surfing habits

Respect my privacy, sobs bomb-making suspect

New hybrid storage solutions

A US man awaiting trial on firearms offences is suing Microsoft after FBI technicians found self-made sex videos and evidence that he frequented porn sites on his PC.

Michael Alan Crooker, currently on remand in a Connecticut jail on charges of selling illegally modified firearms and possessing bomb-making equipment, is inflamed that security settings on his PC failed to prevent Federal agents from finding out about his smut-surfing habits. He's suing Microsoft in Massachusetts Superior Court for privacy violations that he claims caused him "great embarrassment" in a lawsuit that seeks $200,000 in damages in compensatory and punitive damages.

Crooker bought his Compaq Presario PC, which came preloaded with Windows XP and several security utilities, at a Massachusetts branch of US retailer Circuit City in 2002. Circuit City assured Crooker that the security technology bundled with the PC would protect his privacy.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents seized the PC when they raided his home in June 2004 over allegations stemming from the alleged sale of an air rifle equipped with a silencer.

Unable to examine the PC itself, BATF agents sent it to the FBI's Cryptologic and Electronic Analysis unit, where technicians were able to take an image of the PC for forensic analysis despite protection supposedly afforded by Compaq's DriveLock security software. This analysis found video files of Crooker and his girlfriend making out along with evidence that he frequented pornographic Web sites, medical records and correspondence between Crooker and his attorneys. They also found Internet history files that showed Crooker's fondness for pornographic Web sites.

Crooker said he set Internet Explorer to delete his internet history file every five days and is upset computer forensics investigators were able to obtain data on his porn-surfing habits. "Any day beyond those parameters is supposed to be permanently deleted and is not supposed to be recoverable," Crooker said in the lawsuit, Information Week reports. He's also aggrieved that Compaq's DriveLock security software was capable of being circumvented by the FBI.

The plaintiff, filing from behind bars, cuts an unsympathetic figure and his charge against Microsoft is clearly preposterous since Microsoft makes no claims that internet history tracks are erased by Internet Explorer. Simple deletion does not put files beyond forensic recovery, as any tech-savvy Reg reader will know.

There again we're talking about the US, where everybody is entitled to their day in court and perhaps Crooker may yet win out in his legal bid. In the court papers, Crooker said he's reached settlements with Hewlett-Packard, which owns Compaq, and Circuit City. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.