Feeds

Man sues MS after FBI uncovers smut surfing habits

Respect my privacy, sobs bomb-making suspect

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.