Tag Archives: Hacktivists

New Internet Law In South Korea Puts Parents In Control Of Online Gaming

south korean online gaming law
Tons of South Koran teenagers probably had a pretty bad week. Their parents were given legislative control to limit the number of hours they’re allowed to game each day.

Cue the Kvetching of Game-Loving South Korean Kids!

While we struggle to codify cyberbullying laws, South Korean officials have been considering a different type of Internet law that allows moms and dads to set online gaming limits for their kids.

Why does the south Koran government feel the need to protect their youth from the evils of over-gaming? Well, if you believe the government minister in charge, it’s because Internet gaming is the equivalent to a gate-way drug; a scourge so damaging parents need legislative assistance to take control of the situation.

South Korea’s Online Gaming Problem

The South Korean government looks at online gaming like the RIAA looks at piracy – a threat that must be eradicated. And if you believe the agitprop, South Korean officials may be right. Minister of Gender Equality & Family, Younghee Choi, explained that “[o]nline games are the same as drugs. Parents can’t deal with the problem, so the government must take responsibility.”

Is Minister Choi exaggerating like the RIAA or is her concern based in facts? As you’d expect, most adults agree with Choi, but the students – while acknowledging their generation’s love for gaming – are skeptical about the efficacy of this new online gaming bill.

Shop owner, Kim Yeonsu, told a harrowing tale of how he once had to rush a patron to the hospital after they passed out from over-gaming in his Internet café. Bosung Hwang, a student, explained that “Korean students study a lot and have a lot of stress. They have to [sic] so many exams…so they try to ease that stress by playing video games.” (Does that mean university campus medics in South Korea are better equipped at handling acute carpal tunnel syndrome rather than alcohol poisoning?)

What Are The Rules Of The New South Korean Online Gaming Law?

The goal of the law is simple: curb the gaming of South Korea’s youth. To further this objective, the government mandated online gaming companies to provide a way for parents to communicate with their platform and set limits for their children’s allowable game-play time.

How Do South Korean Officials Plan to Enforce The New Gaming Law?

You may be wondering, “how in Kim Il-sung’s nemesis does South Korea monitor the amount of time each kid spends online?” The answer is a little shocking. Despite being a constitutional republic, complete with a check-and-balance three-branch system of government, every South Korean citizen does, indeed, have an “Internet user I.D.” they must use to access most websites. Yes, you understood that correctly. For all intent and purpose, using the Internet in South Korea requires a government issued I.D. number.  As a result, developing personalized controls is easier (it also makes it a whole lot easier for officials to monitor their citizens…but that’s another topic for another day.)

Not the First Online Gaming Legislation in South Korea

The new parental control law is not the first gaming statute enacted by South Korean officials. A few months ago, they passed the Shutdown Law, which is popularly known as the “Cinderella Law” – but instead of a pumpkin and rag dress, South Korean kids risk a police record if found gaming after midnight.

As you’d imagine, the under 18-set in South Korea is scoffing, “Do you really think teenagers will not play…[we]’ll just [find and] use our parents ID.”

One last thought: Korean students are considered the most technologically savvy in the world and consistently rank #1 in international educational studies for problem solving. In other words, expect crack-codes to hit the Internet in 3…2…done!

LulzSec Members Admit Hacking, Plead Guilty & Not-Guilty

Ryan Cleary, 20, and Jake Davis, 19, were charged with launching DDoS cyber-attacks on government agencies and private companies in Britain and the U.S. between February and September 2011. The pair pleaded guilty to some of the hacking charges, but not all.

Jake Davis, of Lerwick, Shetland, and Ryan Cleary, of Wickford, Essex, admitted to hacking the CIA, the UK Serious Crime Agency, the Arizona Police Department, PBS, SONY and a slew of other websites. But there’s a twist: Cleary and Davis pleaded not guilty to other charges, like actually uploading the purloined data onto the LulzSec website.

The duo pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy for executing an “unauthorized act or acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, the operation of a computer or computers.” At the same time, they pleaded not guilty to “encouraging or assisting an offense,” which is in violation of section 45 of the 2007 Serious Crime Act, and “encouraging or assisting offenses,” which is contrary to section 46 of the same act. Additionally, Cleary confessed to four separate charges, including hacking U.S. Air Force computers, which were stationed at the Pentagon.

The U.S. government recently increased punishments for hacking due to the high-profile nature of the target, so Clearly will most likely be handed a harsh sentence; in essence he’ll likely be used as an “example” of what happens to hackers.

According to reports, Cleary and Davis allegedly operated under the LulzSec banner. Along with help from members of Anonymous and Internet Feds, the two hackers are responsible for DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against various websites. The list of sites they attacked is extensive. Here are some of the DDoS targets the duo is believed to have illegally accessed:

  • 20th Century Fox
  • Arizona State Police
  • Bethesda
  • Eve Online
  • HBGary
  • HBGary Federal
  • Infragard
  • NHS
  • News International
  • Sony
  • Nintendo
  • PBS Inc
  • Westboro Baptist Church
  • … and more

Future of LulzSec and Hacking Outlaws

The public debate as to whether or not hackers are effective activists rages on. As such, groups like Anonymous, Internet Feds and LulzSec will continue to garner considerable attention – because many of their actions exposed questionable activity, of public interest, to the citizenry (e.g., mega-corps playing fast-and-loose with customers’ data, government footbullets, alien-based religions). As a result, many private citizens see them as vigilante heroes, whereas the government and big business would love to lock them all away forever.

How will the trial of Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis affect Anonymous and LulzSec? This remains to be seen, but if you’re interested in hacking law, this is surely a case to keep your eye on.

Law enforcement agencies and private corporations around the world will continue to use every legal means necessary to stop attacks on their computer networks and websites. So, the e-tango between big business/the government and rogue hacktivists will continue.

If you are a hacker in need of legal representation, contact us today to begin the conversation.

Gary McKinnon: Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome as a Legal Defense for Hacking and Breaching Security?

legal defense for hacking
Is autism the best new way to knock-down hacking charges?
Could Asperger’s and Autism become a legal defense for hacking in the Information Age?

In an unauthorized biography, Julian Assange was credited with coining the term “Hacker’s Disease,” meaning symptoms and difficulties in life that are people with Autism and other behavioral differences must face predispose them to hacking. And today, even a cursory survey of hacking-related cases around the world reveals that the “autism defense” is emerging as an oft-used argument.

Gary McKinnon’s Autism Defense Against Hacking Charges

Gary McKinnon is an alleged Scottish hacker who the authorities say broke into US military and NASA computers. McKinnon cited Asperger’s Syndrome to avoid extradition, claiming he was overcome with an urge to “know the truth” about what was out there. And this urge, he claims, is what caused him to break laws and breach federal security systems. To those unfamiliar with Asperger’s Syndrome, this defense may sound as ridiculous as the “Twinkie defense,” but any parent whose child has Asperger’s is probably shaking their head in agreement, as they probably understand how compulsion can envelop someone with the syndrome.

Duncan Campbell at The Guardian recently wrote:

A final decision on whether computer hacker, GaryMcKinnon, is to be extradited to the United States is now imminent. Behind the scenes, a battle is apparently under way between politicians and officials over what the outcome should be. There may be much else to occupy the government at the moment, but it is vital that this matter of principle is not sidelined.

U.S. authorities indicated they’d be content with whatever decision the British government makes.

While having Asperger’s has not been a home run defense strategy, it has, so far, helped to stop McKinnon’s extradition. If McKinnon does escape extradition, it may spark a new trend in which one’s place on the autism spectrum is a factor.

Autism and Asperger’s as a Legal Defense for Hacking?

While the Gary McKinnon case is still unfolding, there are others who may use a similar defense.  According to the UK-based DailyMail, Jake Davis, an 18-year-old teenager from the Shetland Islands, suffers from a form of autism. Davis is thought to be the hactivist known as Topiary.

Additionally, former Anonymous member and LulzSec affiliate, Ryan Cleary, who was arrested in June of this year, also suffers from Asperger’s and agoraphobia – a fear of public spaces. Whether or not these extenuating circumstances will work as a solid defense for any of these men – or anyone else – remains to be seen, but it’s got the peanut gallery buzzing.

In order to see if Autism or even Asperger’s Syndrome will be a good defense for you personally, you should contact an experienced Internet Law Attorney who can answer any questions you have about charges you’re facing. There is a chance you may be able to use autism as a defense for hacking, but there is no way to know for sure until you talk to a hacker lawyer.

Comparing DMCA and SOPA

Copyright Law Summary
Comparing DMCA and SOPA: What's the same and what is different?

SOPA is the big online copyright legal story of the year thus far. Which got me thinking about the good ‘ole Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — the current work-horse of Internet intellectual property law.

In this article we’ll briefly review each bill. So grab a cold one and settle in as we de-construct the various intellectual property laws currently in the news and try to make sense of it all in plain English.

Comparing DMCA and SOPA: What the Heck is DMCA, Anyway?

DMCA, for those of you who don’t obsessively follow the law, is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thanks to anti-circumvention statues in the bill, the DMCA is the US copyright law that makes it illegal for you or I to manufacture devices or services meant to access or reproduce copyrighted material.

It’s also the law that outlines the legal steps one should take if they feel their copyrights are being infringed upon.

Comparing DMCA and SOPA: Enter SOPA, Y’all

On October 26, 2011, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced as a US bill by Texas (R) Rep. Lamar S. Smith. The bill’s purported original intention was to round up and remove rogue websites from the Internet’s virtual “phone book.” If a site was targeted as “rogue,” the act, as it was written, would make it legal to quickly remove the site from the domain name system — and poof, gone! Now you see ‘er, now you don’t.

Lamar’s plan also included, if necessary, the issuance of court orders to keep payment facilities and advertisers from doing business with the likes of Google, Wikipedia, Facebook. Under SOPA, they would be forced to remove any links to offending websites that allowed any copyright infringing. If they continued to link to those websites that harbored the infringing material, they’d be in danger of being closed down and prosecuted, too.

Comparing DMCA and SOPA: One Bad Apple Don’t Spoil the Whole Bunch!

If one bad apple infringes upon copyrighted material and posts it on a website, the DMCA currently allows “safe harbor” protection to Internet sites from any liability based on the actions of that one bad apple. With that in mind, opponents to SOPA claim the proposed bill threatens innovation and free speech. The enforcement of the laws would block access to entire Internet domains because of one posting on a blog or webpage.

Even libraries have expressed concern that they could be exposed to prosecution. The specters of First Amendment violations and censorship suddenly arise.

You Say You Want a Revolution: Anti-SOPA Day

On January 18, 2012, Reddit, Wikipedia and 7,000 of their closest website friends either closed their doors or otherwise illustrated their protest of the SOPA. They did so with protest banners on their websites in an effort to raise public awareness.

On January 19, self-proclaimed members of Anonymous (a “hacktivist” group) imposed their wills and skills on several pro-SOPA websites like RIAA, CBS.com and more. They shut those bad boys down or slowed them up a bit with denial of service attacks in retaliation for the D.o.J. (Dept. o’ Justice) shutting down Megaupload on that same day.

SOPA: The Post Script

To clarify, rectify and mollify, an aide to Rep. Lamar Smith insisted that an individual posting a video on YouTube of their adorable child adorably singing a copyrighted song would not be considered a felon. Suspiciously, however, the aide did not address the issue of singing parrots, a burning question on the minds of many.

In December, 2011, both bills were tabled indefinitely. It would appear that intellectual property rustlers and renegade rogue websites will have their way with us for now. The DMCA, the prevailing law of the land, will have to stand on its own as the sole guardian to our intellectual property. If history has taught us one thing, however, it is that eternal vigilance is our duty. While it certainly is our God-given right to be naive, it only makes us look bad. Keep your eyes to the skies, the rogues are out there.

Hackers Plan SOPA-Free Satellite Internet

Internet satellite
Would a government-free, satellite Internet put an end to obtrusive online regulations and statutes?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: technology innovators are often light years ahead of lawmakers – and members of the CHAOS Communication Conference think they have a way to thwart H.R. 3261, aka, SOPA. Their plan? Set up an alternative Internet, free from undue government censorship.

Why A Government-Free Satellite Internet?

Say what? Okay, let’s bring you up to speed.  Since the Internet’s inception, we’ve all gotten used to being able to freely post our thoughts and feelings about myriad subjects.  Sometimes, these expressions can take an artistic form, which often translates into some reproduction of art, music or favorite movie clip.

The music- and movie-industry backed legislation — introduced as House Bill 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act — is supposedly designed “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.”  But, when you apply the pending law to common Internet activity, it means the “Pulp Fiction” clip on your Facebook wall could result in your account being closed.

“No Worries,” Says CHAOS, “We’ll Just Make Our Own SOPA-Free Internet!”

But if you think “hacktivists” are going to take SOPA sitting down, think again.

CHAOS collective is talking over plans to create their own Webspace by launching a fleet of low level satellites.  However, there are some technical issues with this solution.  First, the satellites would not be geostationary.  This means access would be sporadic, and users could end up waiting 90 minutes for their access point to orbit.  Second, satellite-Internet users would need a $130 base receiver to access this new network – a financial limitation for many. Finally, to get this plan off the ground, they, well, they have to get these satellites off the ground — which is no small feat.  The current plan is to build a private space program with launch capabilities.

Good luck guys and gals!


While we may not see a satellite, gov-free Internet for quite some time, what’s going on in Washington should be of paramount importance to any web entrepreneur.  There is a blurring line between free speech and what constitutes the theft of intellectual property.  First Amendment rights have expanded to protect “seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used”.   As you start your web-based business, be sure you know just where your intellectual property begins, and ends, by working with an online intellectual property attorney.

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