Nevada Nevada statute provides for an absolute privilege. Nevada Revised Statutes Sec. Before the legislature or any committee thereof.
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Before any department, agency or commission of the state. Before any local governing body or committee thereof, or any officer of a local government. Cases Diaz v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, Nev. The statute confers upon journalists an absolute privilege from disclosure of their sources and information in any proceeding. New Hampshire New Hampshire has no shield law, but does recognize a qualified privilege in civil and criminal cases. The court has only addressed confidential sources so it is unclear whether non-confidential sources are covered by the privilege.
Siel, N. We do not believe that, in a criminal case, this State constitutional privilege must cease to exist. New Jersey New Jersey statute provides for an absolute privilege in civil cases. In criminal cases the privilege is qualified, as there are statutory provisions whereby a criminal defendant may overcome the privilege.
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New Jersey Statutes Sec. The source, author, means, agency or person from or through whom any information was procured, obtained, supplied, furnished, gathered, transmitted, compiled, edited, disseminated, or delivered; and. Any news or information obtained in the course of pursuing his professional activities whether or not it is disseminated.
Cases Maressa v. New Jersey Monthly, 89 N. The court created the privilege rule after deciding in Ammerman v. Hubbard Broadcasting that the Legislature had no power to establish a privilege by statute. The rule does not specify whether the privilege applies to civil and criminal cases but does specify that it applies to confidential information. Cases Ammerman v. Hubbard Broadcasting, 89 N. Anaya v. McBride, supra, that under our Constitution the Legislature lacks power to prescribe by statute rules of evidence and procedure, this constitutional power is vested exclusively in this court, and statutes purporting to regulate practice and procedure in the courts cannot be binding, we are able to reach no conclusion other than that the privilege purportedly created by Sec.
General rule of privilege. A person engaged or employed by news media for the purpose of gathering, procuring, transmitting, compiling, editing or disseminating news for the general public or on whose behalf news is so gathered, procured, transmitted, compiled, edited or disseminated has a privilege to refuse to disclose:. Cases No reported cases since rule became effective. New York New York statute provides an absolute privilege for confidential information and a qualified privilege for non-confidential information.
The privilege applies in both civil and criminal cases. New York Consolidated Law Sec. Special provisions relating to persons employed by, or connected with, news media. Cases Beach v. Shanley, 62 N. It does not distinguish between criminal and civil matters, nor does it except situations where the reporter observes a criminal act. North Carolina North Carolina recognizes a qualified privilege in civil and criminal cases and pertains to confidential as well as non-confidential information.
North Carolina General Statutes Sec. Persons, companies, or other entities engaged in gathering or dissemination of news. Cases No reported cases since law became effective in North Dakota North Dakota recognizes a qualified privilege in civil and criminal cases and pertains to confidential as well as non-confidential information. North Dakota Century Code Sec. Cases Grand Forks Herald v. District Court, N. Ohio Ohio statute provides for a qualified privilege in civil and criminal cases. The privilege extends to confidential as well as non-confidential information. Ohio Revised Code Sec.
Geis, 2 Ohio App. However, before a trial court rules that certain evidence is protected by R. Oklahoma Statutes Sec. No journalist shall be required to disclose in a state proceeding either:. Any unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing of information for any medium of communication to the public; unless the court finds that the party seeking the information or identity has established by clear and convincing evidence that such information or identity is relevant to a significant issue in the action and could not with due diligence be obtained by alternate means.
Cases Taylor v. Miskovsky, OK Ok. Oregon Oregon statute provides for an absolute privilege except in those cases specified by statute Oregon Revised Statutes The provisions of this subsection, however, shall not apply where probable cause exists to believe that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. Pelham, Ore.
AFP opens door to prosecuting journalists after raids, denies government interference
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania statute provides a qualified privilege in civil and criminal cases and applies to confidential as well as non-confidential information. Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Sec. Cases Commonwealth v. Bowden, Pa. The reporters also aver that the Taylor decision has been incorporated into the Shield Law itself, as the General Assembly twice re-enacted the Shield Law following Taylor …. Thus, applying Taylor, the reporters contend that the absolute privilege provided by the Shield Law protected their unpublished materials from disclosure.
We disagree. Rhode Island Rhode Island statute provides for a qualified privilege in civil and criminal cases. However, it applies only to confidential sources. General Laws of Rhode Island Sec. Cases Capuano v. Outlet Co. South Carolina Code Sec.
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Qualified privilege against disclosure for news media; waiver. Smith In re Decker , S. South Dakota South Dakota has no shield law, but does recognize a qualified privilege for confidential information. Cases Hopewell v. Midcontinent Broadcasting Corp. Disclosure is more appropriate if the news person is a party not merely a witness , particularly in libel cases.
The information must go to the heart of the lawsuit. The plaintiff must exhaust all alternative methods of getting the information. In matters of great public importance where the risk of harm is substantial, the court should protect confidential informants who fear exposure and retaliation if they reveal criminal and unethical conduct to the public even if the plaintiff has no other way to obtain the information. The plaintiff must make a prima facie showing that the statement is false.
Tennessee Tennessee statute provides a qualified privilege in civil and criminal cases and applies to confidential as well as non-confidential information. Tennessee Code Annotated Such application shall be made to the judge of the court having jurisdiction over the hearing, action or other proceeding in which the information sought is pending. Cases Austin v. Memphis Pub. Texas On May 13, , Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed H. The purpose of this subchapter is to increase the free flow of information and preserve a free and active press and, at the same time, protect the right of the public to effective law enforcement and the fair administration of justice.
Rule provides for a near absolute privilege for confidential sources. Utah Rules of Evidence. Article V, Privileges. Rule Cyber vigilantism, perceived as the variation of vigilantism taking place in the Internet and through information systems, is often associated with mass retaliation and collective efforts Smallridge, Wagner, and Crowl Smallridge, J.
Cyber vigilantes act in response to a perceived and repercussive criminal act and, although often geographically dispersed, are united by connectivity and the opportunities of digital communication. In these cases, the use of force is seldom a product of physical harm but mostly a form of harm that can be executed digitally or inflicted upon the digital identity and reputation of the alleged assailant. Moreover, groups of vigilantes online have frequently convened under umbrella organizations and, although individual efforts remain common, unofficial justice has gained new nuances in the Internet era.
Cyber vigilantism takes varying forms: hacktivism, scam baiting, crowdsourcing, and citizen-led intervention Smallridge, Wagner, and Crowl Smallridge, J. As Dizon Dizon, Michael.
watch Breaking and Remarking the Law. Tilburg : Tilburg University. Initiatives launched by groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec against governmental agencies and corporations are examples of how hacktivists express their social and political dissatisfaction with the actions of their targets Dizon Dizon, Michael. Scambaiters turn fraudulent campaigns around to prey on online scammers, in a form of cyber-vengeance Rosenbaum Rosenbaum, Ron.
Accessed August 31, Crowdsourcing vigilantism is enabled by citizens amassing efforts towards a shared objective Smallridge, Wagner, and Crowl Smallridge, J. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, run out of town. View all notes. In this study, however, we are concerned with cyber vigilantism that is moved by the objective of restoring cybersecurity and trust in digital environments.
This sub-group, here referred to as cybersecurity vigilantes, can be defined as active citizens who, voluntarily and without the sanction of the State, launch attacks against cyber threats and cybercriminals with the goal of reestablishing justice and cybersecurity. In sum, cybersecurity vigilantism is a social movement composed by individuals or collective groups who respond via technical means to a perceived and repercussive criminal act against the security of the Internet and information systems.
At this point, it is important to highlight that the form of vigilantism discussed here is different from the one characterized by Trottier as digital vigilantism Trottier, Daniel. By Trottier Trottier, Daniel.
The offending acts range from mild breaches of social protocol bad parking; not removing dog feces to terrorist acts and participation in riots. These offensive acts are typically not meant to generate large-scale recognition. Therefore, the targets of DV are initially unaware of the conflict in which they have been enrolled. From a legal standpoint, cybersecurity vigilantism poses a series of questions regarding legitimacy and legality of bottom-down contributions to criminal justice. A tenet of the criminal justice system is the State monopoly of the use of violence.
By this tenet, only the State, in the form of its institutions and official bodies, is permitted to lawfully deploy force — to the extent that is justifiable for the purpose of ensuring respect for the rule of law. Exceptionally, individuals will not be punished for using force if this classifies as a measure of public or private defense. For instance, individuals are authorized to counteract with reasonable force if such use of force is necessary, proportional, and well-timed for stopping or preventing a crime against themselves self-defense or another defense of other. Aside from these narrow circumstances, the use of force by individuals is punishable and the actors who engage in such use are criminally liable for any criminal offences ensuing from it.
Defense of other and self-defense are closely linked concepts and share similar elements. The idea of defense of other could be understood as a variety of self-defense which is transferred to another actor who has the conditions and opportunities to act in a moment where the victim may not or will fail to respond to the aggression. Consequently, in order to escape criminal liability under the auspices of defense of other, the general theory of defense of other requires the actions of the agent be preceded by the genuine belief that the rights of another are at risk or in imminent danger.
In addition, the response of the agent must be timely, proportional, and necessary to prevent or halt the criminal act. Every excess on the use of force escapes the shield of defense of other and brings back the shadow of criminal liability. The question that arises is whether cybersecurity vigilantism could be covered under the umbrella of defense of other. Because defense of other excludes the criminal punishment of the activities launched by one or more citizens in the protection of another individual or group of individuals , it is possible to consider if the elements of cybersecurity vigilantism could actually translate into an action that is covered by this private defense — or at least analyze which requirements would have to be present in order to justify the activities of cybersecurity vigilantism as a non-criminal act.
The spread of Mirai, the first large-scale IoT botnet publicized, spawned a turmoil in the cybersecurity community. Although IoT devices had long been reported as a ticking bomb: the level of security embodied in the technology was questionable and a spur of threats against IoT was envisioned. In , Mirai emerged as a powerful, remote network affecting cameras and routers, causing massive disruptions worldwide. The insufficient security standards deployed in the development of these mass IoT devices were captured by botherders and used to perpetrate potent DDoS attacks.
View all notes and the telecommunications infrastructure of Liberia Leyden Leyden, John. Several developments made these outages possible, including the leaking of the Mirai source code, what allowed other cybercriminals to create powerful and resilient versions of the original botnet. In April , an interesting development was spotted. Security researchers at Radware identified a PDoS permanent denial of service attack aimed at corrupting the storage of specific IoT devices and therefore incapacitating their functioning permanently Radware Radware.
Four versions of BrickerBot were released in the wild BricketBot. Described as a gray hat Radware Radware. By the vigilante Millman Millman, Rene. But the response from regulators was yet to come and the widely known vulnerabilities were still running large by the time BrickerBot surfaced. The events that follow are a de facto technical remedy to the issue of product unsafety: the unleash of BrickerBot disabled the use of poorly secured IoT devices prone to botnet infections, permanently. In sum, new cyberattacks were prevented by the spread of what would legally constitute another cybercrime offence, with the difference that the latter was motivated to protect citizens and public interest.
Such forms of interference are normally a privilege of the State, whose delegated authorities can use force to protect society from danger. From a result-oriented angle, however, the actions of BrickerBot are not much different from what regulators enforce in product liability situations.
When a product placed on the market fails to comply with the safety and security standards part of the state-of-the-art, a recall is often issued with the purpose of removing the unsafe devices from the market and making them unavailable to customers until the defect is patched. However, there is a large gap between the activities of actors such as Janit0r and companies promoting a recall, as the second are grounded on legislative instruments that justify the removal of unsafe products from the market and legitimately authorized by the law to do so.
But I will continue to analyze the event from a criminal law, though from a private defense perspective. From what has been reported on the media, the actions of Janit0r could fulfill the requirements specified for the use of defense of other. The actions are based on the presumption that a grave attack is imminent and poses a serious risk — Mirai and its varieties were at large and growing, preying the exact vulnerabilities present in the devices targeted by Janit0r and BrickerBot.
The release of BrickerBot is timely in that it was disseminated opportunely to prevent new infections to take place and avoid new DDoS attacks from being launched. However, the assessment of the element of imminence is based on the accounts reported on the media Krebs b Krebs, Brian. But the element of imminence cannot be sufficiently proven by factual inferences alone, since the assessment of the imminence of the attack is both factual and subjective. Therefore, for the element of imminence to be sufficiently present, the author of BrickerBot should be expected to substantiate the reasons why, from her perspective, the attack was imminent and therefore justified the launch of the malware.
The elements of necessity and proportionality of this case are obscure and failure to abide to these elements would thwart an excuse based on defense of other.
The main problem behind BrickerBot is its permanent character, in that it simply made targeted IoT devices unusable. Was irreversibly disabling the unsafe devices absolutely necessary for preventing the spread of Mirai? That is a question that only security experts would be capable to firmly answer. In using force, less aggravating and interfering means are always preferable as an alternative to disproportionately strong interventions.
From a non-technical lens, the dissemination of a patch could have been equally effective in shutting down the vulnerability and therefore preventing Mirai-like infections without permanently disrupting the targeted devices. To that extent, there seems to be an excess in the use of force by Janit0r that would escape the shield of defense of other and subject the agent to liability in relation to the excess. Furthermore, the actions of Janit0r show elements of a cybercrime offence, more specifically of illegal interference with information systems Art.
Ransomware is a popular means of monetizing cybercrime, as this form of malware demands a monetary payment from the user of the victimized device. Ransomware usually locks in valuable content stored in a device and prevents its access by the user in exchange for a ransom. WannaCry ransomware was identified in May , following its spread over Windows operating systems and an upheaval in the British health care systems, where 16 hospitals had their systems compromised. The malware upsurge took many by surprise as contamination was achieved without user interaction and easily carried out through interconnected networks, what explains its paralyzing effects over the British National Health System.
The lock-in was achieved through encryption and the encryption key offered for a ransom of USD in bitcoins Symantec Security Response Symantec Security Response. Shortly after the news spread about WannaCry infections hitting the UK health care system, Marcus Hutchins, known under the alias of MalwareTech, found a built-in kill switch that allowed one to shut down WannaCry from within.
The malware expert employed by an LA-based security firm analyzed a sample of the ransomware and identified it was connecting back to an unregistered domain. Hutchins then decided to buy the domain to test the reaction of the malware, what in turn activated the kill switch and disabled its intended global spread. The fact that the registration killed the malware was a surprise to the cybersecurity expert, who only realized the profound impact of the action afterward Khomami and Solon Khomami, Nadia , and Olivia Solon.
According to Hutchins, the purchase of the domain had been made to facilitate the study of the botnet afterward, which is a common practice at the company where he worked and would give them further insight into the functioning of the malware Khomami and Solon Khomami, Nadia , and Olivia Solon. Even if unknowingly, the actions of Hutchins were fundamental in hampering the dissemination of WannaCry and gave the authorities and businesses the necessary edge to alert users and minimize the impact of the infections. The case of WannaCry is distinctively interesting because the actions of the vigilante were not necessarily intended at halting the attack but, as described by Hutchins himself, to allow him and his colleagues to later investigate the operations of the malware.
It is difficult to place this particular event under the umbrella of defense of other, since the causality link is not certain. In the case of WannaCry, the reaction of the vigilante is proportional, necessary, and timely, though not moved by the purpose of halting or preventing the infliction of damage to another. Although these reaction could be construed as an accidental use of defense of other, the accidental nature of the intervention preempts the use of the exception, since the actions grounded on defense of other must be preceded by the genuine belief that the interference is aimed at preventing harm to another who is believed to be at risk or in imminent danger.
Because the interference was non-intentional, the disruption of WannaCry cannot be classified as a legitimate use of defense of other. Even though exculpation on the grounds of defense of other would not hold, it is possible to claim that, in responding to the malware, Hutchins did not use force — and therefore did not violate the legal system in that regard. The actions undertaken by Hutchins were arguably within the limits of the legal framework and did not overstep regulatory boundaries, as a prima facie analysis of the events suggests.
However, the action of registering the domain and activating the kill switch could still be interpreted as a digital act of violence against the perpetrator of the attack. By interfering with the operation of the malware and diverting its communications, Hutchins could have made use of what in digital environments is a violent behavior. Yet, in doing so, Hutchins did not infringe any specific legislation, in that his response to the malware was as simple as registering the domain hardcoded in Wannacry and therefore could not be regarded as a form of illegal interference.
The analysis run by Hutchins does not seem to indicate further offences could have been committed, since the agent examined a sample which was publicly available and could be easily acquired by any user operating an unpatched Windows OS. Inquiring whether the specific techniques deployed by Hutchins to find the kill switch would be classified with a hacking offence, however, seems innocuous.
Hacking is the product of an unauthorized and unlawful interference; once in possession of the malware sample acquired via the Internet, the Hutchins had subsumed the property rights over the malware and had thus freedom to study the code. Considering the above, the actions of Hutchins should not be interpreted as a form of defense of other.
Loopholes and inconsistent interpretations
Furthermore, although the interference itself might not be regarded as a criminal offence, it does not necessarily lead to the interpretation that the interference is by no means an act of digital violence. Australian prison cells have been home to their fair share of journalists, too. Read more: Protecting the journalists' privilege: reporters go to court. Four state and territory governments quickly followed suit with their own shield laws. South Australia is now the latest. But there is an exception: inquisitorial bodies such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption ICAC and the South Australia Ombudsman have the power to decide if a journalist should be compelled to reveal a source without an application being made.
Despite all the lofty sentiments, shield laws have a significant hole. The new SA law has a similar provision to the Commonwealth law and other state laws that came before it: a court can order a journalist to disclose the identity of an informant if the public interest outweighs any likely adverse consequences for the source.
Indeed, if you thought the parliament had finally got the balance right and made the requirements of the law fair to investigative journalists, a quick look at the eight-year history of the Helena Liu v The Age litigation would cause you to think again. That order was then reversed on appeal. This simply illustrates that interpretations of the legislative requirements may differ from case to case and judge to judge.
Read more: Five reasons terror laws wreck media freedom and democracy. For example, the Victorian shield laws did protect a journalist from The Age who successfully argued that his source would be under threat from the mafia if he was forced to name him.
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