Feeds

Couple can sue service that monitored their net sex

Laptop tracking firm may have violated wiretap law

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A federal judge is allowing a lawsuit to proceed against a laptop-tracking service that surreptitiously intercepted explicit images from a public school teacher during an investigation of a stolen computer.

Susan Clements-Jeffrey filed the suit against Absolute Software after one of its employees captured steamy chats and naked images of her and her out-of-state boyfriend, according to an article from Wired.com and other reports. The investigation, which intercepted images of the woman naked and her legs spread, commenced after a used computer she bought for $60 from one of her students had Absolute's LoJack for Laptops installed on it – and the laptop turned out to be stolen property.

Clements-Jeffrey claims she first learned the laptop was stolen when police brandishing copies of the steamy images arrested her for possession of stolen property. The charges were dropped shortly after.

She sued Absolute, its employee, the city of Springfield, Ohio, and two of its police officers for violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which prohibits the secret interception and disclosure of contents from wire, oral, or electronic communications.

The defendants asked the judge hearing the case for a summary judgement finding that she had no reasonable expectation of privacy because the computer she was using was stolen. The price of the laptop and a serial number that had been scratched off should have tipped her off that the machine had been misappropriated, they argued in a motion that asked the suit be resolved in their favor.

US District Judge Walter Rice of the southern district of Ohio declined. He said there were grounds to believe the defendants had gone too far and that the matter would be better decided by a jury.

“It is one thing to cause a stolen computer to report its IP address or its geographical location in an effort to track it down,” Rice wrote. “It is something entirely different to violate federal wiretapping laws by intercepting the electronic communications of the person using the stolen laptop.”

It's too early to know how the case will turn out, but it's likely Clements-Jeffrey and her boyfriend have radically altered their expectations of privacy when it comes to internet communications. More from the Internet Cases blog and Forbes here and here.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.