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TK1ST

Did I commit computer crime?

7 posts in this topic

Suppose there's a company X that run a sweepstakes that give a chance to win $50 gift card, when a user texts the number they will receive a link to check if they win. Suppose the link is www.abc.com/12345, if I change the number in the link I could be given another chance to win the gift card. Would that be a computer crime because I tamper with their system (changing the link)?

Furthermore, suppose that www.abc.com/99999_1 is the winning vouncher, if I change it to www.abc.com/12345_99999_2 I could win another one (legit coupon). Also, the maximum number of winners is 10 per day and I win them all. Are there any felony/crime committed?

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If you are not an employee or other person who is authorized to change the software or  winning numbers then you would be commiting a crime.  Why would you think otherwise?

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That "authorized" word is the key of defining computer crime. I notice that when I do research about it too. I don't think up front information that does not have any kind of protection is "unauthorized" material. It did not even require a credential to view all those vouchers. If people enter uber.com/free100 to their browser and get free $100 voucher for Uber rides, I don't think they have committed any crimes...This case meant the IT department should get fired for not "deauthorizing" the public from viewing the codes.

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So, if I leave the cash drawer open at work, I should be fired (agreed), but you should not be arrested for stealing the money (disagreed).

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That would be illegal because I am not allowed to take your money in the first place. The sweeptakes let 10 people win per day. So here's the correct example:

You leave free foods for homeless people and put up a sign "Each people please take only 1 item". A guy comes, takes 1 item, circle around 1 minute later and does it again until it's empty...did he commit any crime because of his greed? Please don't debate with ethicality because it's obviously unethical. I am talking specifically about the legality of the action, not the ethicality of it. If possible, some case law references would be great.

For example: 

https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2516342/coupons-inc-v-stottlemire/?.

https://www.wired.com/2008/11/a-california-on/

Even though this case involved DMCA, it has many same elements with the case I asked.

If you're unfamiliar with any cases/laws involving this, please don't guess a response for important legal matters (not just in this post). Please don't guess the laws.

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First, that is a federal district court interlocutory ruling, dealing with a motion to dismiss.  It is NOT a bind legal precedent.  Second, it's a civil action which doesn't address the issue you raised, which is basically theft by computer.  Your *example* is not comparable.  You hacked a system for benefit and that's a crime. 

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You sure you know the definition of "hacking"? I am not trying to be offensive but I have to ask that question. Computer hacking is quite an accusation/compliment.

https://definitions.uslegal.com/c/computer-hacking/ 

Which one this case may fall in? 

"knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access"? protected? If a random person with lowest security clearance to a system can see an info that shouldn't be there without any login credentials. Whose fault is that? I wish someone could just throw me some related cases to read because that's the main thing I'm looking for. I am taking "Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional" class and I'm using my past experience several years ago to build this case for my group and we would split the roles of plaintiff and defendant. And obviously you know which side I am.

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