Ride the subway for free

August 20, 2008 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Law in the News | Leave a comment
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From the WSJ Law Blog: “Last week, we posted on a situation involving a group of MIT students who were enjoined from giving a talk at a hackers conference, called Defcon. In the talk, the students planned to expose security flaws in the automated fare system used by the subway system in Boston, and describe how to get free rides.

To be honest, given the initial ruling, we never would have dreamed that the students would win the next fight against the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority over whether a five-month injunction should be granted against the students. But how wrong we were! (Good thing we’re just bloggers, not judges, eh?) Today, Boston federal judge George O’Toole shot down the MBTA’s motion for the five-month injunction, ruling that a federal antihacking law doesn’t prohibit the public disclosure of computer-security flaws. Judge O’Toole dissolved the injunction and ruled the agency was not likely to win its case.

The ruling means the MIT students are now free to discuss more details of their research, which could allow an unscrupulous person to take free trips. Much of the students’ research was already revealed in a class presentation and was actually published at the Defcon conference earlier this month.”


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