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 developer, Corey Thuen, developed security software to protect industrial equipment against electronic attack. Thuen had hoped to open source some of his work, but his former employer, Batelle Corporation, claimed that Thuen's program Visdom, infringed on work he had done for Batelle's Sophia project.
What elevates the case from a run-of-the-mill intellectual property dispute is that Battelle persuaded the court to allow it to seize Thuen's computer to copy its files. The district court ruled that the programmer has the skills, as a "hacker", to release the contested code publicly, and destroy any evidence, if he knew a seizure was imminent: "The court has struggled over the issue of allowing the copying of the hard drive. This is a serious invasion of privacy and is certainly not a standard remedy... The tipping point for the court comes from evidence that the defendants – in their own words – are hackers. By labeling themselves this way, they have essentially announced that they have the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal their role in that act. And concealment likely involves the destruction of evidence on the hard drive of Thuen’s computer. For these reasons, the court finds this is one of the very rare cases that justifies seizure and copying of the hard drive." The plaintiff also obtained a temporary restraining order against Thuen and Southfork Security without a prior notice primarily because, again, the Southfork website declared “we like hacking things and we don’t want to stop"./auote?