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Education

Judge Says Boston Student's Laptop Was Seized Illegally 190

You may remember a case we discussed this April in which a Boston College student's computers and other electronics were seized after he allegedly sent an email outing another student as gay. The search warrant made sure to note the student's ever-so-suspicious use of "two different operating systems," one of which was "a black screen with a white font which he uses prompt commands on." Now, the EFF reports that a Massachusetts judge has thrown out the search warrant and declared the search and seizure illegal. Quoting: "In her order Thursday, Justice Margot Botsford rejected the Commonwealth's theory that sending a hoax email might be unlawful under a Massachusetts computer crime statute barring the 'unauthorized access' to a computer, concluding that there could be no violation of what was only a 'hypothetical internet use policy.' Thursday's decision now stands as the highest state court opinion to reject the dangerous theory that terms of service violations constitute computer 'hacking' crimes. Justice Botsford further found that details offered by police as corroboration of other alleged offenses were insufficient and did not establish probable cause for the search." The court order (PDF) is available for viewing, and the EFF has broken down the significant arguments against the Commonwealth's claims.

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