: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Real Life FBI Intrudes on Second Life Gambling

Linden Labs, the parent company of the Second Life virtual world announced a ban on gambling following an FBI investigation.

While Linden Lab does not offer an online gambling service, Linden Lab and Second Life Residents must comply with state and federal laws applicable to regulated online gambling, even when both operators and players of the games reside outside of the US.

Virtual reality is raising some interesting jurisdictional issues. See also, Do We Need a Virtual Gaming Commission?, Talking About Forced Sex of Avatars = Crime?, Where Real Money Meets Virtual Reality, The Jury Is Still Out.

Internet Not as Anonymous as I Thought discovers Whole Foods CEO

In an interesting twist on the “Internet’s not as anonymous as you think” theme, it was recently disclosed that John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, was in the habit of posting snarky comments about his company and competitors on Yahoo Forums under the pseudonym “Rahodeb”.

This would generally be a bad idea for any company owner, but when you’re the CEO of a publicly traded company subject to SEC regulations, when those comments include not only predictions about the performance of your company, but also predictions about the impending demise of your competitor and the incompetence of its CEO, a company that you subsequently purchase, drawing the interest of antitrust regulators because they think you might have a monopoly in wheat grass and slushy natural ginseng-laced peanut butter – well, let’s just say your lack of discretion is earning compound interest.

The ruse was unmasked when the alias was published in an court document filed by the FTC.

WSJ: Whole Foods Is Hot, Wild Oats a Dud — So Said ‘Rahodeb’, NY Times: Whole Foods Executive Used Alias

Update on AutoAdmit Law Student Forum Defamation Suit

I posted previously on this here. NPR has an interview with some of the parties involved in Women File Suit to Defend Online Reputation. exposes identities of witnesses cooperating with the government

Justice Dept. and the Courts grapple with issues of Public Access and Protection of Witnesses & Informants in this NY Times article, Web Sites Listing Informants Concern Justice Dept.

Frank O. Bowman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at the University of Missouri, disputed that. “It’s reprehensible and very dangerous,” Professor Bowman said of the site. “People are going to die as a result of this.”

Defendants who choose to go to trial will, of course, eventually learn the identities of the witnesses who testify against them. But the site also discloses the identities of people engaged in undercover operations and those whose information is merely used to build a case. The widespread dissemination of informants’ identities, moreover, may subject them to retribution from friends and associates of the defendant.

Still, Professor Bowman, an authority on federal sentencing law, said he would hate to see the routine sealing of plea agreements. “It certainly is terribly important for the public ultimately to know who’s flipped,” he said.

Professor Bowman added that he was studying the deals prosecutors made in the aftermath of the collapse of Enron, the energy company. “To do that effectively,” he said, “I really need to know who flipped and the nature of their plea agreements.”

Computer Crime in the Headlines

I’m a getting a bit more nervous now sitting here on this public wifi in the coffee shop…

Wired: Linkin Park’s Mysterious Cyberstalker

…he started to examine the messages in Talinda’s out-box that had been sent without her knowledge. The activity on the account ran all hours of the day.

Dimitrelos pulled up the header of each email, which shows the Internet protocol address it was sent from. As he eyeballed several messages, one IP address kept popping up. Dimitrelos ran a program to trace the address. When the results flashed on the screen, his eyes widened. “Sandia?” he said. “This can’t be right.”

Sandia National Laboratories is one of the Department of Energy’s three nuclear weapons research facilities. Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it was created in 1949 by J. Robert Oppenheimer, former head of the nearby Los Alamos lab, as a center for developing the technology that goes into nuclear bombs. The lab is run by the Sandia Corporation, which is owned by defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

NY Times: Online Invitation to ‘Help Yourself’ Surprises the Stuff’s Owner

“House being demolished,” read the posting on March 24. “Come and take whatever you want, nothing is off limits. Items outside and garage will be open for access into house. Please help yourself to anything on property at 1202 East 64th Street. Tacoma.”

Within a week, the unoccupied house at that address in Tacoma, Wash., had been picked clean. Living room window? Gone. Water heater? Gone. Kitchen sink? Naturally.

DaniWeb: Battle of the botnets

For the average user spam has always been an annoyance. For the average spammer it has always been about making money. For the criminal gangs that have muscled in on this lucrative industry during the last few years it is now about territory and control. Control, that is, of the botnets behind the malware distribution networks that they rent out to the spamming middle men to enable them to ply their trade in relative safety from the crippled arm of the law.

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