Fiend

Police took my Laptop away

92 posts in this topic

I'm not getting a fucking lawyer! I am not arrested or actually charged with anything... yet.

This is going too far!

Dude, don't go in there with that note.

1. Most cops aren't going to know what you wrote anyways. They're cops, not IT Security experts.

2. Depending on the mindframe of how they feel, they can skim it for the word "Illegal" and arrest you for it. You might as well put the cuffs on yourself.

3. My advice to get the laptop back, go in there. Act meek and beaten. Talk to the duty sarge (or whomever) and act real sorry-like that you got the cops involved. Say you didn't know any better (this is a victimless crime after all) and polish his ass by kissing it till you get your laptop back (keep in mind that you don't want to incriminate yourself in your talking however otherwise they'll take away your birthday).

4. If you're leaving for college tomorrow, make sure they know it. That they can look out the window and see a car packed full of crap and that you're on a time schedule. Shit, they don't know what your studying, tell them criminal law specializing in computer crimes. That will make them think.

5. But do not act threatening. Don't say you're gonna sue them. Don't say "Fuck the system". Don't threaten their mom if they can't find the laptop. Just be firm but subdued. They are in control whether you admit it or not. You want something from them, go through the hoops save anything that will get you arrested (a new laptop is cheaper than a lawyer bill). Just like if a cop comes up to me needing tech help at the local compusa, I make him sweat, baffle him, then give him a straight answer without bullshit.

Keep it real

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Tell them you just powered on your laptop and it automatically connected (don't mention you were wardriving). Simply tell them that you were going to check if you had a document on the PC for work

That would be good except they would catching him lying because:

Soon, a police car pulls up with their blinding lights and asks me what I was doing. I told them I was scanning for WiFi.

He already told them what he was doing. Changing the story would be really bad.

the "All hackers are bad, they break into peoples shit" remark could let you claim profiling as well

You're the only person to have said this and I think that's a very good idea. Anyone else know if it would work?

Edited by MoD
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the "All hackers are bad, they break into peoples shit" remark could let you claim profiling as well

You're the only person to have said this and I think that's a very good idea. Anyone else know if it would work?

I don't want to take an offensive approach just yet.

I'm not going to give them a note... I am going to say that what I wrote down. I am just going to talk to one of the officers and tell them that.

I think this will work.

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Holy tardhat batman! ... midnight car-warsurfing wearing a l33t-hax0r-joo shirt, wtf?

Ride around Texas with a turban and a scudmissle strapped to a camel why don't you?

How things should have gone down:

officer pigums: "son what are you doing there" -> 'checking what time it was, i'll be moving along, officer..'

officer pigums: "can i see what is on your laptop" -> 'sorry but not without a warrant, officer'

*if you haven't already: close the lid, lock your useraccount and put your laptop beside you.. winkey+L, set this up in either OS*

officer pigums: "can i search your car?" -> ' not without a warrant or probable cause, sir' (open liqour, kilo of coke, blood, bong or joints laying around, 8 yr old tied up in the back seat) [if you find a cop asking for permission to do something, it's because it is something you have a right to.. a right that he wants you to void]

followed with either:

a) 'give me all your shit..'->'as you wish, if this is how you want to do it, i'll be needing the following from you as well..' (where you get his badgenumber, his car number and his last name), a claim ticket for your shit back, and the chance to complain to his bosses boss about harassment and illegal police tactics

or far more likely:

B) *barbrady voice* 'move it along, nothing to see here'

Anyways..

You admitted to commiting illegal activities [bad move!] (which are most probably not infact illegal; but giving somebody a bag of oregano and telling them it is weed will still end with you being charged).

Approaching the home-owner and network-owner is an unnecessary gamble, you much better off approaching a public defender or other legal counsel for free consultation.

Aside from that, find any legal precidence preferably in-state, to forward to your legal counsel, specifically regarding unencrypted wireless network access:

breaking wep/wpa(w./radius/tacacs+/thirdparty.vpn or proxy) <- (possibly) illegal, however trivial the protection

'automatically' joining an open wireless 802.11 a/bg/n <- (undecidedly) not-illegal

The floodgates are largely still open on the legality of accessing unencrypted wireless networks.

Likely a rot13-equivelant or a proxy that says 'click ok to logon' is a valid medium of 'protection' under the draconian dmca+homelandsecurity party that seems to be going on south of canada.

descrambling sattv = illegal, intercepting open sattv = legal

descrambling digicable = illegal, watching untapped analog = legal; removing the tap from your cable = probably illegal, definetly against any TOS

-------

Notice all the 'probably', 'likely' and other quantifiers of uncertainty.. this is where legal counsel segregates the shades of gray into 'black and white' for a nontechnically inclined police force, and judge if it comes down to that. At the very least though it's unlikely that your laptop will be sent to the FBI as they have better things to do with their time, the piracy concern is a non-issue, and as long as there is no animal / kiddie or other sick materials (inwhich case you deserve it) you are (or could be if you seek counsel) in the clear; having wasted large amounts of time and hopefully learned that the bacon-in-blue doesn't apreciate boys playing haxor. If you are concerned about it, you can always change all your account logins to any site you have visited or any programs that you use, like aim for example.

You do have the right to expediate the legal process, which has already been stated, and is something I would do in your situation.

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you can always contact the eff... lol

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You much better off approaching a public defender or other legal counsel for free consultation.

Aside from that, find any legal precidence preferably in-state, to forward to your legal counsel, specifically

In most cases, if youre a poor college student you can get a public defender for 0 dollars. You can even get the matter settled the same day you walk into court.

That second part is essential if you want to get it settled when you walk in there, make sure you mention the whole college student thing to the pub defender, he'll want all the ammo he can get.

Notice all the 'probably', 'likely' and other quantifiers of uncertainty.. this is where legal counsel segregates the shades of gray into 'black and white' for a nontechnically inclined police force, and judge if it comes down to that. At the very least though it's unlikely that your laptop will be sent to the FBI as they have better things to do with their time, the piracy concern is a non-issue, and as long as there is no animal / kiddie or other sick materials (inwhich case you deserve it) you are (or could be if you seek counsel) in the clear; having wasted large amounts of time and hopefully learned that the bacon-in-blue doesn't apreciate boys playing haxor. If you are concerned about it, you can always change all your account logins to any site you have visited or any programs that you use, like aim for example.

You do have the right to expediate the legal process, which has already been stated, and is something I would do in your situation.

Get it pushed forward to tomorrow if you can. Walk into the police station and get the arraignment scheduled asap. Its your right, one of those amendment thingies. Get the public defender, bring relevant documents. Etc etc, pretty much youre in the clear as long as you push it forward.

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You, sir, are an idiot. Just get a fucking lawyer and quit bitching!

You need a lawyer; you're obviously incapable of handling this yourself.

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You, sir, are an idiot. Just get a fucking lawyer and quit bitching!

You need a lawyer; you're obviously incapable of handling this yourself.

Nicely said Minion, nicely said indeed

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get a lawyer! get a lawyer! you have rights. don't fold to the police.

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I wouldn't call it folding. <_<

I helped with what advice I have, so you know my stance here. Truth is though, if you have a lawyer, you may get off on a technicality. No more no less.

That is, unless you don't wipe history and the cops have read this thread that shows you had prior knowledge of the possible illegality of your actions. There is a reason most people under investigation don't wait until after they are arrested to get a lawyer. Man, I even tried to defend you a little, until you began to prove you are stubborn beyond a doubt. Do yourself a _huge_ favor and listen to people like myself and jfalcon that have been down the road of being investigated, and get a fucking lawyer or at least don't incriminate yourself further. Get 2 extra jobs if you don't have money. A lost laptop vs. lawyer fees is a fair trade, but not an illegal access to a network charge vs. lawyer fees.

Good luck man. :voteyes:

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Why can't you go to the access point owner's place, and apologize, and offer them some sort of compensation for using their network? Put a terms clause in writing that states the payment is the compensation for using their wireless network and that they are not able to hold anything against you after payment. You should get a lawyer to write that.

Just make sure you get everything in writing, and strictly writing. Do not allow yourself to make any exceptions to that!

That SHOULD get rid of the AP issue. Then again, I'm not a lawyer so take all my advice with a grain of salt. (In other words, use at your own risk.)

You really need to get a lawyer.

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Take a hacksaw, cut a penny in half, and mail it to him.. that should be compensation enough. ;)

Really though, what attracts the police to someone using a laptop in the car in the first place? That's what the things are for, and this day and age

If we reported to them every blue light we saw and cried hacker, I figure they'd be pretty irritated and tell us to stop wasting their time unless we sensed a threat.

"It's portable. That's why I take it with me". "well what are you doing on it?"

If my piece of crap laptop was light enough to be portable without all the parts falling off I'd use it to do random things as they came to mind if I was stuck waiting in a parking lot or on my way back from class or whatever.

if that was me I'd be pretty irritated. I find it intrusive if even someone I care about innocently badgers me about what mundane garbage I'm working on in my own office or home, let alone the threat of a guilty-til-proven innocent approach just for the mere presence of a computer. Before laptops, did they question people with notebooks to make sure there were no ransom letters being written or malicious blueprints in the works, or step-by-step Bond-villain descriptions of a brilliant evil scheme? :mumble:

Why can't you go to the access point owner's place, and apologize, and offer them some sort of compensation for using their network? Put a terms clause in writing that states the payment is the compensation for using their wireless network and that they are not able to hold anything against you after payment. You should get a lawyer to write that.
Edited by greyflow
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Excuse me but I asked this earlier and it wasn't answered.

Were you given any form of citation and or "receipt"/ticket/document that said they took something out of your car?

If you were not the officer technically stole your laptop. Why you are not getting a public defendant regardless to their skill is ridiculous. Explaining what you were doing to the police will only make your situation worse.

Have you been summoned yet? If you have not go to the police situation with ID and some other proof that the laptop is yours and demand that it is returned to you and was not rightfully confiscated, than considering taking them to court, for violating your personal property.

You should also consider contacting AOL and asking if they can give you a sign on/sign off log with IP addresses, if they keep that information and you can get it, you'll have a huge case against that police department.

Personally I think you are being very ignorant and naive about this whole situation.

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Man, that was "universally stupid." I can't believe you actually admitted to doing what you were doing. Also, it's VERY unwise to be wearing any computer shirts when doing anything remotely illegal with computers in public. That's like Jay and Silent Bob wearing "WE LOVE WEED" tshirts on the side of a corner store. Just a dead giveaway.

Well, thankfully I had someone who really knew what the hell they were doing(Hairball) when it came to police, so I would never have this problem. But don't you have any common sense? I mean, cops are NOT there to help you.

Sounds like you really fucked this one up bro. This could end up costing you a few grand for something that you could have gotten rid of by easily saying "Just checking the time, officer." Oh well, I guess some people have to learn the hard way. If the other cops are like the cop that pulled you over, then I'd guess that you'll never see your laptop again. Sadly, but truly, cops are corrupt.

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About 1 hour ago... I was out Wardriving. < snip >

Soon, a police car pulls up with their blinding lights and asks me what I was doing.

That's sad to here. I hope it turn out Ok for you...

I am curious to know if you were driving/moving at the time they pulled up or you were parked ?

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why is everyone flaming him? yeah he did a stupid thing, but all of us have before, right? Drinking tickets, drug possesion, scanning the wrong web server, DUI... He just happened to be wardriving. Im positive everyone has got caught doing something they shouldnt have been doing. He isnt on here to get flamed. He is on here to learn and get help. Its a tight position to be in.

Alk3

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Look at it from the point of view of the cop, or whoever may have actually paid for the internet connection there. They look outside, they see someone with a laptop and an obviously-named T-shirt. Of course they would get paranoid and call the cops, and the cops (should they know nothing about computers) would get paranoid and take the laptop away before you have the chance to change all the sound effects in their cop car to all-your-base quotes. :omfg:

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The one single thing people are not taking into account here is the fact it would not be the _user_ filing a theft of services charge. It would be the ISP. The police have probably contacted the ISP and requsted that they file a complaint due to accumulated evidence. They then say yea or nay, then if they say nay, the DA decides if the state should pick the charges back up. Basically, you have a couple hurdles in your path. Hope you got that lawyer ... Keep us posted.

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I've got a few comments on this debacle, both about your issue and in general. Firstly, I'm not going to bash you for getting into trouble. The fact that you at one point said "The only thing I was doing illegal was..." says you at least intend to be honest. This also means your mouth will get you into WAY too much trouble without proper legal representation. No matter how smart you are, just think about this. The police, prosecutors, and defense lawyers have many YEARS of experince doing their jobs and using the legal system. How do you expect to "hack the legal system" without greater knowledge of it than the people you are up against? I'm not saying that without proper study you would be incapable of it, but you are rushing into something completely unprepared and will have grave consequenses if you stumble. You don't get to try your exploit out a 2nd time if it locks up your public record, you loose and that's that.

Also, remember that standing up for your rights means sitting in jail to defend them. If you refuse to talk to the police then they can probably find a reason to put you in a cell until they are forced to release you for lack of reasons. Lots of people on websites talk about how this or that which was done by the police was unconstitutional and you "don't have to allow it". There may be truth in statements such as this, but again it's only half of the information. I urge you to seek advice from a real lawyer. Also, don't let someone blow smoke up your ass about the best case senario. Ask what the worst case senario is if they don't bring it up (I would have second thoughts about a lawyer if they didn't bring up "WCS" anyway).

Lastly, how badly do you want to be a martyr? Are you really sure you want to publicly declare yourself a hacker to police and in the courtroom and then try to defend the title? Yes, it's a romantic notion to defend the title of "hacker" for all of hacker-kind in the court room, but remember this: to be a martyer you have to die, figuratively anyway. If you did actually tell the police that you are a hacker, well this decision is a little moot I guess. I just find that the older I get the less I care about titles. If it's really important to you that people know you are a hacker, that's fine. But I find it's better to just let them come to that conclusion on their own rather than give it to them on a platter.

Sell off some stuff, borrow money from family, whatever it takes to at least get a couple hours of time from a real lawyer. Also, something smells fishy about them connecting to your AIM account, I'm thinking improper search or something (Yes kids, this is why you don't cache your passwords - guess I'm a little guilty of this too). But then again I'm no lawyer and have no experince with law so take my comments with a grain of salt.

Edited by dosman
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rant rant rant.. bash bash bash.. flame flame flame..

so whats up? whats the current situation with getting your stuff back before school?

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Guess what!

I got my laptop back today!!! The detective called me and told me that I could come by and pick it up. And once I got it I looked at the Event logs... turned out they never booted up Windows! The last login was the day I got it taken away.

... but this doesn't explain why it said someone else logged on my screen name when I was on AIM...

Ah, oh well... I'm just glad I got my laptop back (the day before I go off to college too).

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*claps cheers celebrates* so did you get charged with anything or everything is groovy and u can go to college and not pay for a lawyler?

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back up everything and format... now...

or am i justr paranoid

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Yes, I suggest you backup anything you need that isn't incriminating and use Dban to wipe your hard drive. Do this asap. It's good to have this routine down and have a dban disk at hand all times in case the feds come knocking at your door.

Edited by dominatus
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I have to disagree with all the people saying "You're a goober for handling it like you did." While maybe he could've if he'd known his rights, the fact of the matter is that the person who handled this the worst was the police officer because he's the one who broke the law.

It is not illegal to use a laptop, and it is not illegal to use Firefox. Thus, opening your browser, as a perfectly legal thing to do, is not "intent to commit crime" any more than putting the keys in the ignition is speeding. The fact that Windows automatically connected to an unsecured network is either completely irrelevant or Microsoft's problem.

But yes. Listen to all o fus who are telling you to call the police chief, explain exactly what happened. Especially point out that you were not charged with anything and that you'd like your gear back immediately, and be sure to say that you don't want them touching it or searching it or anything (but you only need to say that once). If the officer you speak to says they aren't going to comply, ask for the charges filed against you and for a lawyer.

The bottom line: ask them directly for your stuff back, specifically say that you don't want them touching it, and if they don't comply, GET A LAWYER ASAP.

Should be a pretty easy case for you to win. :)

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