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An Aspen Way employee came into the Byrd’s house, alleging delinquency, and, at his door, showed Brian a webcam photo of himself playing poker. electronic privacy legislation, would seem to apply naturally to the RAT-enabled capture of webcam photographs, keystrokes, and screenshots, a district court judge in their case adopted a pre-trial finding that the photographs were not "intercepted" for the purposes of the statute.
A victim’s suffering is often not financial but emotional.School districts have used RATs to spy on students in their bedrooms; rent-to-own computer stores have secretly watched their customers.Online, at places like Hack Forums.net, individuals, often men, trade and sell access to strangers' computers, often women, gained via RAT.On a constitutional and procedural level, we should require that law enforcement hacking include automatic transparency, ban government webcam hacking, and be exacting in applying the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirements.Together, with political will and popular support behind them, change in these areas would empower the public to better respond to ratters—whether individuals or government agents—and improve the privacy of millions.* * *Electronic privacy law in the United States is guided by the overlap of the Federal Trade Commission, state law, criminal procedure, executive order, and federal statute.A leading case illustrating the problems with the “in-flight” ECPA approach is , still-pending federal litigation over RAT spying conducted by rent-to-own computer stores franchised by Aaron’s, Inc.
At issue are privacy harms suffered by Colorado residents Crystal and Brian Byrd at the hands of a RAT called PC Rental Agent.The litigation is still underway, but for now, the court's unwillingness to treat webcam snooping as protected under ECPA is a troubling but easily correctable deficiency in the law.Courts, or the legislature, should abandon or retool the "in-flight" metaphor and understand snatched webcam photos as interceptions for the purposes of the statute.(A related suit alleging RAT-enabled interception of privileged and confidential attorney work product is unfolding in Georgia.)* * *Another law integral to electronic privacy is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and, like ECPA, RATs were not considered when it was written.The CFAA was initially passed, as the story goes, in 1983 when Ronald Reagan saw the hacking film Of particular importance here is Section 1030(g), the act’s private right of action.There are counter-intuitive interpretations of aging electronic privacy statute passed before webcams were invented and a federal hacking law that offers a private individual the right to sue but imposes requirements on this right that exclude most victims of ratters. law and policy, though, can meaningfully improve the status quo and ensure that the public is protected.