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Durango Unchained
February 21, 2013 2:52 PM   Subscribe


 
This is insane and the kicker about grabbing everthing but the dev box makes it even more so.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 3:08 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is insane and the kicker about grabbing everthing but the dev box makes it even more so.

The guy had it hidden at a friend's place--it's not like they just didn't bother to pick it up. I'm not really sure why we're supposed to think that this is so odd or so outrageous. He admits in the article that he's been actively committing corporate espionage. Obviously he thinks he's a "good guy" so he doesn't think it fair that the companies involved aren't happy about it--but that's a pretty naive and childish view (not to say a self-serving view) of having pretty self-evidently broken the law.

It seems to me that the FPP gets the chain of causality here backwards. An active habit of corporate espionage lead to a prank over the next Xbox which, in turn (and pretty predictably) lead to the "raid on SuperDaE." It doesn't sound, if we can trust the guy's own account of what he was doing with the information that he gleaned (which is a big if), as if he deserves to have the book thrown at him. But that's a matter for the courts. It's not at all surprising, however, that the cops were able to persuade a judge that they had a compelling case to investigate his activities.
posted by yoink at 3:17 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Omg you only have to be a JP to sign off on search warrants? I am SO THERE.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:25 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not really sure why we're supposed to think that this is so odd or so outrageous.

Most of the outrage, I think, stems from the law not distinguishing between for-profit crime and "for the lulz". The result is mostly-harmless nerds like this guy, Gary McKinnon, and Aaron Swartz getting attacked by the full force of the legal system. I mean, I don't find SuperDAE to be a very sympathetic character, but it's absurd that the FBI is trying to find extra-legal means of extradition because he tried to sell an XBox development kit on eBay.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:25 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, I don't find SuperDAE to be a very sympathetic character, but it's absurd that the FBI is trying to find extra-legal means of extradition because he tried to sell an XBox development kit on eBay

But A) that's taking absolutely on faith SuperDAE's own explanation of what's going on here and B) even by his account there's nothing "extralegal" going on. He admits he's broken the law and that they'll probably find evidence of that fact, and that it will probably evidence of a crime covered by the extradition treaty.

And, sure, he's doing it "for the lulz" (or, again, so he says; I don't quite see why people are so quick to just take it on faith that that is all he's done here), but there isn't, actually, a "for the lulz" loophole in most laws. It is certainly more serious if I break into a strangers house to steal stuff from them than if I break into it to rearrange all their furniture, but I've still broken the law in either case.
posted by yoink at 3:33 PM on February 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


Listing something for sale is not a very logical action for someone attempting a crime for not-profit.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:51 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think what is annoying me is

a) The potential punishment is wildly disproportionate to the crime
b) The resources we taxpayers devote to toadying up to massive corporations is stupid
c) The "shoot the messenger" aspect: if you can't be bothered to spend the money/whatever to secure your corporate secrets, why should the government be expected to underwrite the consequences?

But mainly the massive imbalance between the crime and the time. There is almost no way a normal individual can represent themselves against a corporation these days, the corporations have bought and paid for the government that does their bidding.

Do I admire what this guy does? Not really. Do I think he's going to be law-fucked like it's going out of style despite the unimportance of his transgressions, in the big scheme of things? You bet.
posted by maxwelton at 3:53 PM on February 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


maxwelton, don't you think it might be fairer to at least wait until A) some sort of charge has been brought and B) we have some idea of what the evidence in the case shows before deciding if a terrible miscarriage of justice has occurred? At this point we seem to be being asked to hop aboard the outrage train simply because the cops have the temerity to investigate.
posted by yoink at 4:00 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, that dude really has to stop confessing to things.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:05 PM on February 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


“The FBI agent told me they’re trying to seek a loophole to extradite me. They can’t extradite me straight up but they’re looking for those loopholes to do it,” Henry says.

Dammit, FBI!
posted by vidur at 4:09 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


B) even by his account there's nothing "extralegal" going on.

By his account, an FBI agent told him they were looking for "loopholes" to extradite him, which might reasonably be construed to be extralegal in light of the Kim Dotcom fiasco.

I'm not defending SuperDAE. He appears to be, at best, an idiot. But our government has earned this skepticism through its conduct in similar cases.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:11 PM on February 21, 2013


The article tries really hard to paint SuperDAE as a victim, and even their own commenters aren't having it.
posted by fatbird at 4:18 PM on February 21, 2013


First lesson for any defendant. Don't say ANYTHING to ANYONE but your defense attorney.

Second lesson: the warrant allowed them to investigate a specific crime, so explaining your history of h(cr)acking in an online post is stupid. The other evidence obtained is not relevant to the investigation, probably. That he admits wrongdoing up front is moronic.
posted by Chuffy at 4:23 PM on February 21, 2013


a) The potential punishment is wildly disproportionate to the crime

When the odds of getting caught for a crime are low, the punishments have to be spectacularly disproportionate for the deterrence effect to work. Hence million-dollar fines for uploading a dozen songs, 50+-year sentences for people like Swartz, and so on.

K.W. Jeter summarised the logical endpoint of this and intellectual-property law in the novel Noir.
posted by acb at 4:29 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


At this point we seem to be being asked to hop aboard the outrage train simply because the cops have the temerity to investigate.

I'll hop aboard the outrage train because I know that there is no what whatsoever that if he physically broke into your house and mine and stole my computer, and yours, and everything else not nailed down, that he would ever be faced with 9 cops including an FBI at his door in another country on the other side of the planet. No chance at all.

Justice may be miscarrying or it may not be. It's true that I don't know that yet. But I know that justice is not equal.
posted by tyllwin at 4:32 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll hop aboard the outrage train because I know that there is no what whatsoever that if he physically broke into your house and mine and stole my computer, and yours, and everything else not nailed down, that he would ever be faced with 9 cops including an FBI at his door in another country on the other side of the planet. No chance at all.

Well, there's little to no chance of FBI involvement, no--but then that's kinda self-evident, isn't it? But eight cops sent to execute a warrant for someone who has been serially emptying houses of their entire movable contents? Hell yes, any day of the week.
posted by yoink at 4:59 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


When the odds of getting caught for a crime are low, the punishments have to be spectacularly disproportionate for the deterrence effect to work. Hence million-dollar fines for uploading a dozen songs, 50+-year sentences for people like Swartz, and so on.

No, if the odds are low enough, the deterrence effect doesn't work - regardless of the punishment. No significant amount of people are being deterred from illegal downloading.
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:08 PM on February 21, 2013


Given the near-fatal desire for attention SuperDaE has demonstrated, I doubt there was any FBI involvement, and I doubt his door was broken down. If the WA police hadn't confirmed the warrant, I'd doubt the story altogether. My guess is that SuperDaE is trying to drum up outrage ("omg FBI, Valve and Blizzard are after me too, I'm just like Kimble") to generate support to help pay his legal bills.
posted by kithrater at 5:15 PM on February 21, 2013


[...] know that there is no what whatsoever that if he physically broke into your house and mine and stole my computer, and yours, and everything else not nailed down, that he would ever be faced with 9 cops including an FBI at his door in another country on the other side of the planet.

If he made a habit of doing so, which he admits to, and his doing so crossed state jurisdictions, which he also admits to, and he was super-obvious about it and quite easy to find, which he apparently was, I would think that there's actually a pretty decent chance of that.
posted by mhoye at 5:33 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Henry is reasonably cagey about where the unit at the centre of this storm lies, but soon tells me that it is in fact safe with his friend Justin May, also known as SuperMTW.

After such a raid that included everything but the object of inquiry, if I had an enemy, I'd be telling the media all about how I've safely stored it with them instead.
posted by pwnguin at 5:54 PM on February 21, 2013


Dan Henry now sits alone in his Perth home wondering what will happen next but you won’t believe the story that led to this point

I can confirm that this part of the article is accurate.
posted by aubilenon at 6:10 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hence million-dollar fines for uploading a dozen songs...

Those fines aren't meant to be punitive. The RIAA claims those amounts as damages with a straight face.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:17 PM on February 21, 2013


“Microsoft could have had Durango back if they were nice about it.”

Why would they have to be nice about getting "pranked"? I get that from this kid's perspective he's a big fan of the xbox - but expecting a massive corporation to have a sense of humor about any of this is wildly unrealistic. I would argue it was actually rather nice of MS to send an actual human to the kid's house - I would expect them to just be kicking down doors.
posted by zenon at 6:22 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's lucky we didn't drone his ass.
posted by vonstadler at 6:27 PM on February 21, 2013


No need to reach for the drones; the Australian government's good at following orders.
posted by acb at 6:49 PM on February 21, 2013


When the odds of getting caught for a crime are low, the punishments have to be spectacularly disproportionate for the deterrence effect to work. Hence million-dollar fines for uploading a dozen songs, 50+-year sentences for people like Swartz, and so on.

That don't make it right.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:00 PM on February 21, 2013


acb: "When the odds of getting caught for a crime are low, the punishments have to be spectacularly disproportionate for the deterrence effect to work. Hence million-dollar fines for uploading a dozen songs, 50+-year sentences for people like Swartz, and so on.

K.W. Jeter summarised the logical endpoint of this and intellectual-property law in the novel Noir.
"

I don't understand this. A jaywalking fine is around $25 in Denver. That doesn't seem disproportionate, even though the odds of getting caught are relatively high.
posted by boo_radley at 7:06 PM on February 21, 2013


I mean "low".
posted by boo_radley at 7:12 PM on February 21, 2013


“On my one computer alone, there are things that date back to years ago that can incriminate me in other cases,” Henry says, defeatedly.

So let me get this straight. He gets himself a Durango dev kit by illicit means, catches heat from the cops for it, tells the cops to fuck off, and then leaves data from past transgressions just laying around his house? Then admits as much to Gizmodo? This guy really sucks at paranoia.
posted by neckro23 at 7:24 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


So let me get this straight. He gets himself a Durango dev kit by illicit means, catches heat from the cops for it, tells the cops to fuck off, and then leaves data from past transgressions just laying around his house? Then admits as much to Gizmodo? This guy really sucks at paranoia.

This is why the Australian government needs to sponsor more mentorships and skills training. A few weeks with Julian Assange in an undisclosed location would have provided him the tools he needed to succeed in today's modern, fast-paced hacking-based economy.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:52 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have zero sympathy for this moron. This part really cinches it:
“They weren’t happy with what I gave them, though. They wanted lots of information about the system I had, right down to how I get the information that I leak out. I said that we could have fixed it all together. I was prepared to fly back with them to Redmond to assist in their investigation. Basically they just wanted information so I could do their job for them,” he said. “‘Fuck you’, I said to them, ‘I’m not doing your job for you’”
Imagine that, they wanted all the information about how he illegally acquired their property. And he tells them to "fuck off" because he's "not doing [their] job for [them]". As if they weren't doing their job by showing up and asking him the how he illegally acquired their property.

And he would have helped them, he says, if they would fly him out to Redmond? How does that even make sense? It sounds like he was hoping for either notoriety or a job offer, completely oblivious to the fact that he was basically offering to put himself into a position where it would have been really easy to arrest him.

And now he flat-out claims/admits to breaking into Valve, Blizzard, Epic Games and Sony. This guy really doesn't have any clue about the situations he's talking about, and it seems like he's just in love with his own notoriety. Either he's (a) absolutely moronic or (b) exaggerating the entire situation (I'm starting to lean towards the latter explanation with a substantial dash of the former). Next he's going to be openly worrying how they will discover that he wrote Stuxnet and basically is Anonymous. Did anyone else actually see this raid go down?

The only reason to pity him is for his stupidity and/or pathetic ego, not for undue persecution by jackbooted corporate thugs. Could the author of the article be any more credulous?
posted by Edgewise at 9:18 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


And he would have helped them, he says, if they would fly him out to Redmond? How does that even make sense?

Most of the sense I was able to make of his story came from realizing that, long after he'd irreparably fucked up his life, and had a chance to talk to a reporter on a borrowed iPad, he was making shit up to rationalize his actions and strike a daring h4xx0r pose. On reflection, I don't believe he hacked into Valve. Besides the idiocy of telling a reporter that he did so, and that the evidence is on the computers that were seized, it's a bit tough to believe he'd be stupid enough to get caught like this but smart to pull off a sexy bit of corporate espionage.
posted by fatbird at 9:23 PM on February 21, 2013


I'll hop aboard the outrage train because I know that there is no what whatsoever that if he physically broke into your house and mine and stole my computer, and yours, and everything else not nailed down, that he would ever be faced with 9 cops including an FBI at his door in another country on the other side of the planet. No chance at all.
crimes against businesses are worse than crimes against people because businesses are bigger
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:27 PM on February 21, 2013


It's outrageous if only because it's the fucking yanks getting to stick their fat fingers into other countries' justice systems.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:32 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


A few more details in a story in The Age.

Further points for the fuckwit narrative: "he concedes the backlash did not come as a shock after a friend of his was raided in New Jersey two months ago in relation to the same investigation"

I read some of the comments on The Verge and there's a few people claiming to know him and 'give him a break, he's only 16'. I didn't believe that to start with (what's a 16 year old doing with 'hard drives from over a decade ago'?) but The Age mentions that it was 'one of his Perth residences', and he claims that he has no access to his bank accounts and no money for food, so there's clearly no parents in the picture. The photo in The Age, which is the same one as The Verge, is credited as 'photo supplied by Dylan' so he may well have picked one from 20 years ago to make himself look a little more sympathetic.
posted by jacalata at 12:42 AM on February 22, 2013


@martinwisse

can we put aside the international overreach in the service of private companies for a second and just admit that his personal character is lacking

i mean, i can't, but
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:34 AM on February 22, 2013


And he would have helped them, he says, if they would fly him out to Redmond? How does that even make sense? It sounds like he was hoping for either notoriety or a job offer, completely oblivious to the fact that he was basically offering to put himself into a position where it would have been really easy to arrest him.

Offering hackers a job has a long and storied history in the computer industry -- keep your friends close and your aggravations closer. When I was in college our site admins had half-a-dozen local miscreants on the payroll in various roles, under the principle of Make This Partly His Nest And Maybe He Won't Shit In It Any More. Some adapted, some didn't. Maybe he had a job offer in mind and maybe he didn't, but the whole saga screams out one thing: Treat Me Like I'm A Big Deal. Well, they DID. Just not in the way he'd hoped.

As for the specifics, a hacker who's a wizard with computers but hopeless at social engineering? Microsoft treating putting confidential hardware on eBay on a different level than writing KiLrOy WaS hErE on some internal message board? Authorities responding to computer-related crime with disproportionate scorched-earth seizure of anything with an AC adapter? I'm looking for the part that's surprising.
posted by delfin at 5:07 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Listing something for sale is not a very logical action for someone attempting a crime for not-profit.

To be fair, a list price of $420 for what he knew was a next-generation XBox Dev Kit doesn't indicate much of a profit motive.
posted by cardboard at 6:17 AM on February 22, 2013


If I swipe your Rolex and sell it, I'm making a profit whether I get $420 or $4200 for it.

The sale price also won't change your opinion about losing it in the first place.
posted by delfin at 6:37 AM on February 22, 2013


Offering hackers a job has a long and storied history in the computer industry -- keep your friends close and your aggravations closer.

If you look at this specific situation, I think you'd have to concede that MS would be moronic to try to co-opt such a moron. Did the miscreants in your campus lab tell the administration to "fuck off," and then brag about it to the press? The hackers-turned-security guys in industry often serve jail time or go through some rehabilitative process before they are considered trustworthy enough to administer the systems that they used to break into. Maybe this guy heard of situations like you describe and thought he could get in on the action, but if he put himself in MS's shoes for a second, he would have to realize what a ludicrous notion that would be.
posted by Edgewise at 7:23 AM on February 22, 2013


To be fair, a list price of $420 for what he knew was a next-generation XBox Dev Kit doesn't indicate much of a profit motive.

That's not a list price, it's the most recent bid at the time the screenshot was taken. He is auctioning it off to the highest bidder--who knows how high the price would, ultimately, have gone.
posted by yoink at 7:27 AM on February 22, 2013


"If he had thought about it, he would have to realize" is an awfully common theme in this thread.
posted by delfin at 8:05 AM on February 22, 2013


Microsoft distances self from FBI raid on Xbox Durago leaker's house

"Microsoft did not initiate this FBI investigation with this individual, as has been asserted in some of the articles in the media," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement issued to Kotaku.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:05 PM on February 25, 2013


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