A US district court has ruled that anyone calling themselves a “hacker” loses their Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and property seizures.
The court in Idaho decided that a software developer’s computer could be seized without him being notified primarily because his website stated: “We like hacking things and don’t want to stop.”
The ruling came down in a case brought by Battelle Energy Alliance against ex-employee Corey Thuen and his company Southfork Security.
Thuen, while working for Battelle, helped develop an application today known as Sophia, which fires off alerts if it detects industrial control equipment coming under electronic attack. Battelle – which was tasked with beefing up the computer security of US electricity plants, energy sources and other critical sites – wanted to license this technology, but Thuen hoped to open source the code, according to the plaintiffs.