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PA Seizes Newspaper's Computers 314

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the wouldn't-want-to-be-the-judge-who-gets-this-gem dept.
twitter writes "Computer equipment from the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal was seized for alleged improper data access and disclosure. From the article: 'If the reporters used the Web site without authorization, officials say, they may have committed a crime.' Journalist are understandably upset that confidential information, that has nothing to do with the investigation, will be found and used for retribution."
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PA Seizes Newspaper's Computers

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  • Logs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:27AM (#14922987) Homepage
    Couldn't they prove their case with their own, damn webserver logs?

    This seems to me like impounding your car to take it apart to prove that you drove 7Mls over the speed limit.

    Or in other words: Harrassement!

    • Re:Logs? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by G)-(ostly (960826) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:49AM (#14923035) Journal
      You don't need to follow basic computer security principles involved in "proving" behaviors if you have enough guns at your disposal.
    • Re:Logs? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thedletterman (926787) <thedletterman@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:25AM (#14923121) Homepage
      So a bank notices an employee key card is missing, and it was used to open the front door and the vault door. they even find a hundred thousand dollars missing from the bank, and a review of the security cameras reveals the offender. Should they bother to get a warrant to search their house, or is that just harrassment?
      • All analogies are bad and that was a Really bad analogy.
      • Re:Logs? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Henry V .009 (518000)
        Your analogy was pretty good. Most slashdotters have this technique that lets them shut off their brains when an opposing viewpoint comes along, hence the criticism.

        Just like you'd search the bank thief's house despite overwhelming evidence that it was her, you generally want to search a computer crime suspect's computers.
    • Re:Logs? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:28AM (#14923126)
      That's why I just bought an external NAS drive with encryption. If it lost power, it locks and can't be unlocked until the encryption key is re-entered. They may be able to delete my data, but they can't access it. As an additonal security, the little drive is hung remotely off the lan. Finding it to take it could be a challange.

      Check out the Simple Tech SimpleShare NAS. Drop it in the janitor closet someplace locked.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:29AM (#14922993)
    That seems to be the slogan. After all, without them, some not really legal actions taken by governments could be more easily covered up.

    So if you can give them the impression that even when a newspaper grants you anonymity, the feds will somehow find out who you are. Sure, you can still execute your freedom of speech.

    But will you dare to when it pretty much means your career is over because it's this easy for the government to grab any kind of information they want? So take your share of the cake and shut up. It's better for you.
    • How is this even relevant? The newspapers were discolsing secret details of crime investigations.. you know, those little details they use to confirm confessions that are sensitive to leads in the investigations? This newspaper, desperate to give more details than the others, compromised the police departments ability to investigate crimes. I'm scratching my head wondering how this should be glorified, and how whistleblowing applies?
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:30AM (#14922998)
    If a newspaper company commits a crime, infiltrating password-protected government computers in this case, should it be allowed to continue because of the First Amendment guarantee of Freedom of the Press?

    According to the 4th Amendment, the right to be secure in our belongings is still subject to the will of a judge to issue a warrant. The warrant was issued in this case, and the judge has taken personal responsibility to act as escrow for the information that reaches the prosecutors.

    I don't know what else can really be guaranteed the newspaper, except that they will have their day in court. Their protests about informant confidentiality is a red herring, designed to take our attention away from the possibility that they were involved in illegal activities.
    • by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:37AM (#14923010)
      I'm not going to argue with you on the main points because I agree with you on them BUT one thing has come along with digital media that really calls for other protections for defendants to be put into place. For one, since computers do store massive amounts of data, and many stories are theoretically being worked on with this computer, shouldn't the defense have some sort of representative available while said computer is being accessed to make sure that only relevant data is accessed OR to take note of data that was accessed as to make sure that their computers are being properly confiscated and this isn't just a setup for a SLAP suit?
      • From TFA:
        Feudale ruled Feb. 23 that the state could seize the computers but view only Internet data relevant to the case. The judge also ordered the agent who withdraws the data to show them to him first - before passing them to prosecutors - to ensure that the journalists' other confidential files are not compromised.

        Personally I think the entire process ought to be handled by a third-party on behalf of the court, and not by the state which is a party at interest. How could anyone be sure that only t

    • I agree that the protests about all the data they don't want the government to find is a red herring. In reporting this story, it's pretty clear they're trying to shape public opinion of the big, bad, invasive government vs the good-natured press. What is really the story is that law enforcement (the REAL good guys, in case you didn't know) busted a reporter so desperate for information, that they violated the security of the municipality, and who knows what other laws they broke. The freedom of the press,
    • by MathFox (686808) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:02AM (#14923230)
      How many computers does the newspaper have left after the four computers are taken... Freedom of the press isn't worth a thing when all your ink is taken away "for investigation".

      I agree that journalists should be punishable for crimes they commit, but "criminal investigation" is commonly used as an excuse for government intimidation. (Not often in the USA, but read the reports from Reporters without borders [rsf.org].) Is this happening here, the secrecy around all this makes me worry!

  • by kafka47 (801886) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:38AM (#14923011) Homepage

    First off, if the coroner had indeed provided the system's password, wasn't he the one contravening security policy (if not the law)?

    Their justification for the computer seizure doesn't explain it at all. If they were concerned about a possible breach (even one obtained through some fraud or password sharing), they'd be able to ascertain the truth more reliably and certainly via access logs from the host systems, or even the intervening logs from the newspaper's ISP. Period.

    Searching through the hard drives would be a last ditch effort for a legitimate investigation, since the cache could have been modified or deleted (thus requiring a forensic examination of the suspect systems).

    The investigators are either stupid or lying about their true motivations. I can smell a lawsuit of significant proportion.

    /K

    • by funkman (13736) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:43AM (#14923023)
      The website had disclaimers on it (either during the login process or once you are signed in) that states unauthorized access is prohibited and that the web site is for official use only.

      So a journalist (or anyone) using the site with someone's else's login credentials violates the terms of service of the site.

      There is no way to plead ignorance for those who improperly accessed the site.
      • But should not the coroner still be culpable of something? An official should not be spreading a password around like that, and unless proof of the paper (or someone else) hacking his password is found, there is only on explanation for how they got it.
    • Just because you have been given a key to a building by an employee does not mean you are not guilty of trespass if you go ahead and use it. Same deal here.

      Seizure may be going too far though - all depends on the specifics of the case.

      --

      (I never read facts - they spoil my arguments)

    • First off, if the coroner had indeed provided the system's password, wasn't he the one contravening security policy (if not the law)?


      By this logic, if your roommate lends me the key to your storage locker, and I use the key to break in and take your stuff, you're asserting that I've done nothing wrong.

      • By this logic, if your roommate lends me the key...

        Another hokey analogy. If the Coroner did pass on his password as alleged, he's given access to HIS OWN information, though his employers obviously would not like him to have. Analogy? Okay: You're 16 and your 16-year-old girlfriend lets you get to second base. Her father finds out and calls the cops on you -- you say she authorised access; the father says she had no right to.

    • Prosecutors need the HD caches, etc. to discover and prove the identity of the perpetrators. Sure, the victim machine logs will show the IP of the attacker, but how do they turn that into a person to arrest?

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:38AM (#14923012) Homepage
    in the Constitution. Freedom of the press means simply what it says, freedom of the (printing) press. It's an extension to freedom of speech. What good is a guarantee that you won't be imprisoned for speaking if you have to get a license from Congress to circulate your opinion?

    The freedom of the press was also the freedom to publish books in our founders' times. There was no journalism as it has come to be known today. The "newspapers" back then were so bad they make the National Enquirer look respectable.

    And sure, a free media doing reporting is necessary for a strong democratic system. Too bad we don't have one thanks to reporters' willingness to schmooze with politicians of both parties and obsession with certain political viewpoints over real reporting. Instead of hard-hitting information on Bush or Clinton, what do we get? "Rich white girl kidnapped, film at 11!"

    Besides, what they did was a crime and they knew it. Who in their right mind would have accessed a private police network to publish public reports? Gee, you'd think as a reporter that maybe the coroner is setting you up there and you might want to contact the police to get him nailed and not you.
    • Besides, what they did was a crime and they knew it. Who in their right mind would have accessed a private police network to publish public reports? Gee, you'd think as a reporter that maybe the coroner is setting you up there and you might want to contact the police to get him nailed and not you.

      Not only that but anybody who talks to a reporter should know that there is no guarantee that the reporter will not be forced to tell law inforcement their source. When reporters write something down it shou

  • /. headline is wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by MaggieL (10193) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:41AM (#14923019)
    Contrary to the /. headline, Philadelphia did not sieze the four hard drives.

    Philadelphia is a city.

    Pennsylvania is a commonwealth.

    Surprisingly enough, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office works for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not the City of Philadelphia. I know it's confusing; after all: they both start with the same letter.
    • Yes. It's an staggeringly idiotic headline. People do sometimes metonymically refer to governments by their location, such as "Washington did this," or "Whitehall did that." But the capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg, not Philadelphia.
    • Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one to notice.
    • Besides, the Intelligencer Journal is a Lancaster newspaper. -NOT- Philadelphia.

      While Lancaster isn't that far (90 minute drive on a good day) it's not a Philadelphia subburb.

    • Of Course (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GnarlyNome (660878)
      Contrary to the /. headline, Philadelphia did not sieze the four hard drives.

      Philadelphia is a city.

      Pennsylvania is a commonwealth.

      Surprisingly enough, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office works for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not the City of Philadelphia. I know it's confusing; after all: they both start with the same letter.

      but then so does Pontiac Plymoth and Ptomaine
  • by 99luftballon (838486) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:45AM (#14923026)
    The paper doesn't seem to be denying accessing the site, merely if it had been given permission. The only possible reason for this would be to check who accessed the site using the login and when, something which the government's own server logs should reveal.
  • Is that the AG said that since the Newspaper did not show proof that confidential information exists, the Newspaper has no claim not to have the drives examined. (Say for confidential information about weak security at the police IT department.)

    In similar news, I understand that Congress is going to pass a law making it a crime to disclose illegal spying by the government.
    • "Congress is going to pass a law making it a crime to disclose illegal spying by the government."

      Not exactly, they're going to make it a crime to knowingly circulate classified information (such as information about the spying program, which is not necessarily illegal). The idea is that the press should be held accountable for the security breaches they facilitate/encourage.

      The claim that the program is illegal is based on the notion that congress did not have enough information about it, and did not grant
      • Not Exactly, the point is that if the "Postulated Illegal Program" is classified, then the bill under consideration will remove whistleblower protection for revealing it.

        Not that the bill is in reference to (ahem) *any* particular episode of illegality, but that it would make it illegal to tell about anything illegal.

        In such a scenario, MyDepartment of (In)Security could have a project to import drugs from X, to the US, in order to finance MyTerrorist (Freedom Fighter, etc...). Said Drug may have health ef
        • The only purpose of the law is to allow outside parties to be prosecuted when they knowingly disclose classified information, but outside parties are never whistle-blowers (since they do not have access to the secret information) and they do not always disclose classified information out of a feeling of moral duty. Whistle-blower protections will be the same as before.
  • ....what's that?
  • by RagingFuryBlack (956453) <NjRef511@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @07:49AM (#14923038) Homepage
    It looks like the state is trying to investigate leaks from inside its offices. Last time I checked, wasn't there some sort of confidentiality/privlage attached when you're an "Unnamed Source" for a paper? Wouldn't this be violating a few people's Constitituinal rights?
    • by sgant (178166) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:13AM (#14923095) Homepage Journal
      Um...no. When talking to a reporter you're not protected in any way. It's not like talking to a lawyer or a doctor...or even a clergyman for that matter. Reporters are threatened all the time with contempt-of-court unless they give up their sources. When was the last time a lawyer was threatened with contempt unless he spilled everything his client told him about a crime? It's privileged. That's protected. Talking to some yahoo who thinks he's the next Woodward & Bernstein from the Washington Post isn't privledged.

      Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so I could be totally wrong about all this. Take my advice when I say: "Don't take my advice".
  • encryption for FSs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:07AM (#14923075) Journal
    I wonder how many reporters are using encryption on their Filesystems these days? If they are not, now is the time to start. A bit of a hassle, but maybe less hassle than spending 3 years in prison.
    • I wonder how many reporters are using encryption on their Filesystems these days? If they are not, now is the time to start.

      For me, I use a NAS with encryption built in. It's transparant to the end user. The drives won't mount until the encryption key is entered in the NAS web based interface. You can't get to the web based interface unless you log in first. Shutting it down to seize it locks it. Encryption is done in hardware. Removing the drive for analysis will reveal a reiser filesystem which is e
      • A link for Simple Share NAS would be great, though I'm going to google it as soon as I finish writing this. Also, how strong is the encryption and have there been any administrative issues, flakiness, etc.?

        Thanks for the info, btw.
        • Re:More info, please (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Technician (215283)
          A link for Simple Share NAS would be great, though I'm going to google it as soon as I finish writing this. Also, how strong is the encryption and have there been any administrative issues, flakiness, etc.?


          The only flakieness I know about is one I did and had to send it in to be recovered. Use share passwords if you are using an encrypted drive. Do not do like I did and make some shares, provide passwords, then create users with user privilages, and then create an encrypted pool. It loops the software an
    • I wouldn't use the word reporters but more of the word criminals. Should be:

      I wonder how many criminals are using encryption on their Filesystems these days? If they are not, now is the time to start. A bit of a hassle, but maybe less hassle than spending 3 years in prison.

      As using someone elses password to get to information that you aren't allowed access to is a criminal act, and that is what will get you the three years in prison. Possible concern over source privacy, etc for reporters won't get you i
    • by jesup (8690) *
      That's fine - until they subpoena the reporter to provide the decryption key, with contempt of court as a whip. 5th amendment doesn't apply if they're investigating someone else's crime. Admittedly, this does put the reporter in the position to block it - potentially at considerable personal cost. And this assumes the encryption/security was done "right" and the password is nowhere to be found on the disk (like in the page file, "suspend" area, etc...)
  • by Morgaine (4316) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:08AM (#14923082)
    One of the lessons in this story is that any organization involved in investigative reporting needs to keep its data systems under heavy cryptographic lock and key. Quite separate from any possible legal wrongdoing on the part of one or more of their reporters, all their other stories and investigations are now severely comprimised by the seizure, as others have pointed out. Their whole business could be at risk because of the ease with which computer equipment can be taken away.

    This inevitably brings to mind today's story about Amazon's new storage service. If Lancaster Intelligencer Journal had stored their encrypted records and work files on such a storage service, would Amazon (or Google etc) have got raided and their computers taken away?

    Obviously not (I think), but where does the boundary between yes and no actually lie? What if LIJ stored their encrypted data at some small 3rd party outfit?

    This whole area is likely to become a tangled quagmire, as well as sadly a legal goldmine.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:40AM (#14923161) Journal
      "One of the lessons in this story is that any organization involved in investigative reporting needs to keep its data systems under heavy cryptographic lock and key."

      Pointless, since it is illegal to not provide the key when asked by law enforcement who've gotten a warrant for it.

      If you are concerned about your data being seized, you're better off having it on a portable storage device that you can either toss or give to someone else for safekeeping if you think the hammer's going to drop on your investigation.

      Third parties would have to give up your files if they are prsented with a warrant for them. The key would be to use an offshore storage company, and do all your online activity through an offshore proxy. I'm sure they'll have tons of fun trying to serve a warrant then.
    • In the example of Amazon or Google, your files aren't even just one harddrive somewhere, and they are mixed with the data of lots of other people. The data could even concievably be in motion.

      If one of those large entities were served with a warrent, how would they prove that that data belonged to you?

      So the thing to do, is to encrypt your data with multi-key encryption, so that if The Man askes, you give him the key that decrypts to last week's (published) article, while you keep the key to the real
  • Philadelphia does not control the Pennsylvania Attorney General and has no authority over Lancaster county - you know, where the Amish live?

    Jeez.

    Next up, "Rudy Guiliani orders torture of Al-Queda suspect at Gitmo"
  • by mwm158 (526284) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:24AM (#14923118)
    Hack into their website.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:24AM (#14923119)
    Whatever happened to 1st Amendment rights? Should people be afraid of what they write?

    They need to contact http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/ [firstamendmentcenter.org]
    • by Shihar (153932)
      I fail to see how this is a first amendment issue. Nowhere in the first amendment does it say nor even imply that newspapers are immune from following the law.

      The issue is this; if they had simply gotten classified information from the coroner in question, they would be a-okay. The coroner is in trouble, but they would be fine. The problem comes in when they try and access the data themselves by logging on AS the coroner. That IS a hacking attempt which is a violation of the law.

      Moral of the story? If
  • I dont get it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TenLow (812875) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:30AM (#14923130)
    They're punishing reporters for reporting? If they were given access when they shouldnt have had it, wouldnt it be the fault of the person who gave them access, not them for accessing it?

    All I know is this'll sure make a good news story. Oh; wait, nevermind.

    • It's not a question of whose "fault" it was. These aren't kids in a playground. Both providing access and using that access may be crimes. And no, they aren't technically punishing anyone; they're still investigating.
    • If I'm trying to break into an apartment, and I convince the unscrupulous complex manager to give me a key to get in, the fact that he has violated a trust and abused his authority does not mean that I am guiltless.
  • Well, yes... and no (Score:2, Interesting)

    by irc.limerick (961321)
    What doesn't seem to be passing most people's minds is the fact that this is a criminal investigation, not a civil one. As such, its target will be individuals, not the newspaper itself. If the newspaper is anything normal in this day and age, they lawyered up at first notice, and certainly didn't reveal the individuals within the newspaper who were responsible for the illegal access. As for server logs, they don't prove much. How, for instance, will the logs at the server level produce any compelling e
    • How, for instance, will the logs at the server level produce any compelling evidence as to who was physically using the workstations involved?

      Circumstantial evidence is sufficient to obtain a criminal conviction in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth's argument here will be that the circumstantial evidence here is that:
      (1)The restricted access website Z was accessed by computer X
      (2)Computer X was seized from person Y
      (3)Computer X was issued to and used by person Y
      (4)Details accessed through Computer X appeared i
  • It really isn't hard to keep your sensitive data safe from the first order of inspection.

    One can bleat that the jack boots are calling but don't start whining because your data protection measures are unsound.

    With sloppiness like that, what damage a laptop in the hands of a mole.

  • TrueCrypt (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530)
    Pretty sad when newspapers in this country have to start worrying about encrypting their source data. Welcome to Republican Amerika, formerly known as the land of the free.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @08:55AM (#14923211) Homepage
    I think the biggest lesson here is that ALL your files that are important or private MUST be encrypted on your computer. Because the federalies will come looking through them sooner or later. Using a encryption system that gives you plausable deniability like True Crypt is a better choice as you can lead them astray. you can give them a fake password that lets them into the encrypted file but only gives up worthless information keeping the secure documents hidden.

    Finally, with today's fervor over terrorism it's best for you to not write anything down, record nothing and deny, deny, deny.
    • "Finally, with today's fervor over terrorism it's best for you to not write anything down, record nothing and deny, deny, deny."

      If you don't use the information you have, then the anti-terrorist fascists win.

      Not writing anything down and not recording anything mean that you are effectively silent to everyone that you don't have personal physical contact with. Thanks for volunteering to have your voice taken away, you are a good little dissenting citizen.
    • "I think the biggest lesson here is that ALL your files that are important or private MUST be encrypted on your computer."

      I think the bigger lesson here is to not go poking through private networks. Only the owner of the network (or its authorized proxies) can give permission to 3rd parties to access that network. Even if the Coroner had given the newspaper his password, the Coroner is not authorized to grant network access to 3rd parties.

      The freedom of the press only exists to the extent that the press i
    • by blackest_k (761565) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:35AM (#14923343) Homepage Journal
      I wonder is it practical to use the spare space on a block for data?

      perhaps with a 32k cluster size a dummy file might use 3k leaving 29k free for encrypted data if you had the program to access and decript the free space on a usb key say you could have potentially a very secure system especially if the key could be overwritten if the wrong password was entered.
      the hd would look clean the key might even just monitor a key sequence without even offering a prompt.

      or perhaps the key might be a jpg that would need to be copied to a specific location on the harddrive. probably needs to be automatically erased once access has been granted

      just a thought :)

      there must be ways and means
  • To freedom of the press.
  • by 00Dan (903094) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @09:40AM (#14923365)
    I keep reading people write "Freedom of the press" like that trumps any illegal activity. Am I missing something here? A couple reporters gets the username/password of the local coroner (with or without his knowledge is in debate right now) and proceed to access a restricted web site. How is this not illegal?

    Is a reporter allowed to run red lights? Can they break into the mayors office to rummage thru his files? How is this any different???

    /and on the subject of server logs... This is slashdot, I thought you guys knew better. Even if you track the IP back to the newspaper, all that says is someone connected to that IP accesssed the system, not which system behind the firewall it was (and do they have free wireless in their lobby?)
    • It's called "probable cause" to believe that an entity (the paper) was involved in the crime. The state can not know whether the newspaper's computers were also used illegally as the state is claiming the coroner's password was. I can easily guess that some hacker that got the password might also hack some news corp's site that had weak security. Why? Cuz anyone would know that the state will (or should) use extra care when kicking in the doors of the press.

      Something else you're missing is called "Innoce
  • Website (Score:3, Informative)

    by mach-5 (73873) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:02AM (#14923446) Homepage
    Our sleepy little town made slashdot...wow!

    Here's the paper's website. Nothing is mentioned about it there.

    http://lancasteronline.com/index.php [lancasteronline.com]
  • When did Philadelphia take over the rest of Pennsylvania and rename it?

    The state of Philadelphia should sieze the hard drives of the Slashdot Editors for lousy journalism.
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@@@optonline...net> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:04AM (#14923462) Journal

    On the one hand:

    "This is horrifying, an editor's worst nightmare," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington. "For the government to actually physically have those hard drives from a newsroom is amazing. I'm just flabbergasted to hear of this."

    We have the potential for confidential sources and other non-related data to be exposed to the light of day. On the other hand:

    The grand jury is investigating whether the Lancaster County coroner gave reporters for the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal his password to a restricted law enforcement Web site. The site contained nonpublic details of local crimes. The newspaper allegedly used some of those details in articles.

    If the reporters used the Web site without authorization, officials say, they may have committed a crime.

    We have reporters, eager to scoop the competition to drive up circulation by exposing little know details of crimes, committing a crime themselves in cahoots with the coroner, who must have been getting something out of the deal.

    Either way you cut it, it's a legal quagmire and a constitutional nightmare.

  • The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal is based in lancaster which is an hour west of Philadelphia. The Philly Jounal is just reporting the issue.

    Besides that all of the news papers our here are just conservative media outlets so it's fun to watch them "eat there own".. bowing down under corporate pressure to be eatin alive by others and finally chewed up and spit out by a hungry DA working for another. gotta love it.
  • by EdMcMan (70171) <moo.slashdot2.z.edmcman@xoxy.net> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:36AM (#14923658) Homepage Journal
    I thought this was interesting, since the Intelligencer Journal's HQ is about 2 miles from my house. Anyway, it sounds more like the reporter's computers were stolen, rather than Intelligencer Journal's.

    State agents raided Kirchner's home outside Lancaster last month and took computers, he said. He said he had had no other contact with authorities since.

    I can see the issue of having confidential secrets being found by the government, but at the same time being in the press does not absolve you from having evidence collected on you. The best thing the government can do is find a 3rd party to do the evidence collection (that is trusted by both sides).
  • by guacamolefoo (577448) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @10:45AM (#14923733) Homepage Journal
    The following link is from the Lancaster papers' website. It has greater detail on the case and more information about what Judge Feudale actually authorized, which was a relatively limited search and in camera review of the findings prior to allowing them to be turned over to the Commonwealth.

    http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/21327 [lancasteronline.com]

    In addition, the Lancaster papers' attorney failed to secure any witness or provide any testimony that could demonstrate that the computer forensics work could be done in the newspapers' offices as opposed to taking the drives to the AG's forensics lab. You have to at least put up a fight to win. I think that the attorney for the paper knows bupkis about technology and he was completely unprepared to fight the subpoena on that basis. It's an example of having the wrong lawyer and being outgunned by people who specialize in this sort of criminal prosecution.

    I suspect also, having read the bio of the attorney (George C. Werner) on his firm's (Barley Snyder) website (http://www.barley.com/attorney/bios/bio.cfm?attor neyID=24 [barley.com]) that he knows bupkis about criminal law. Barley Snyder attorneys are usually pretty sharp folks, but they are not who I would select for this sort of case, either for the newspaper company or the journalists in the underlying criminal case.

    GF.

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