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[Discuss-gnuradio] own a smart card programmer go to jail?

From: Stephen Nichols
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] own a smart card programmer go to jail?
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 20:05:25 -0600

Wonder how long it will be before something like this is
directed at programmable radios ?


* EFF Defends Right to Own Smart Card Technology

Files Amicus Brief On Behalf of Public in DirecTV Appeal

San Francisco - Defending the right to own and experiment with 
general-purpose technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 
today filed a friend-of-the court brief in an Eleventh Circuit 
appeals case that will determine whether satellite giant DirecTV 
can sue "smart card" technology owner Mike Treworgy for simply 
possessing hardware that enables him to program electronic 
smart cards.

Smart cards are computer devices that have a multitude of legitimate 
purposes, which can also be used illegally to intercept satellite
signals.  DirecTV believes that mere purchase of smart card 
programming hardware should constitute proof that the hardware is 
being used illegally.

"Computer researchers, network administrators, engineers and others
are using smart card technology in ways that are perfectly legal, 
yet DirecTV would have the courts adopt a theory of guilt-by-purchase,"
said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz.  "This is not only grossly
unjust, it also threatens to scare legitimate innovators away from
an extremely promising branch of technology."

In the lower court ruling, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Steele
agreed to dismiss DirecTV's possession claim in its lawsuit against
Mr. Treworgy, finding that the company does not have the authority
to decide who can legally own the technology.  DirecTV appealed,
making this case the first such dispute in the country to reach the
appellate court level.

"DirecTV is threatening innocent researchers, hobbyists and others who 
have never intercepted a single minute of DirecTV's transmissions,"
added Schultz.  "This cannot be what the law intends, and we hope the
Eleventh Circuit will send a strong message to that effect."

DirecTV has sent over 150,000 letters demanding settlements of $3,500 
and up from individuals who purchased smart card technology.  The 
company has followed this up with over 15,000 lawsuits claiming that 
mere possession of these devices is unlawful.  As a result, those 
caught in DirecTV's dragnet have been forced to choose between 
paying for a lawyer and paying for a settlement.

In response to the lawsuits, EFF has partnered with Stanford's Center 
for Internet and Society to establish DirecTVdefense.org, a website 
aimed at helping innocent people defend their right to own and use 
smart card technology.

For the full media release:

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