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FBI Conducts Raids Over Half-Life 2 Source Theft 957

TheXerox writes "According to a recent weblog post, a San Francisco native had his house raided by the FBI last week, and 'lost upwards of 9 machines, and lots of misc equipment besides' in a seizure related to the theft of the Half-Life 2 source code from Valve Software." The scanned-in search warrant posted on the site indicates the FBI were looking for "...any IP addresses related to any of the Valve internal or external networks... Valve passwords and/or usernames... any and all items... related to Valve Software, Half-Life, Half-Life 2", and the Hungry Programmers page mentions that "...several Hungries were raided on January 14th by the FBI and Secret Service, and their computers seized."
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FBI Conducts Raids Over Half-Life 2 Source Theft

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  • slow already (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:39PM (#8022930)
    full mirror inc. warrent here []
  • Secret Service (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pvt_medic ( 715692 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:40PM (#8022943)
    Why is the secret service involved? Arent they only concerned with protecvting the president and fake currency?
  • it would ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jkcity ( 577735 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:41PM (#8022953) Homepage
    It would really piss me off to lose my machines if I never did anything, I wonder how long it would be before you got them back and what kind of condition they would be in.
    • Re:it would ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nat5an ( 558057 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:46PM (#8023000) Homepage
      People always seem to think that if the feds take your computers they'll trash them and wipe them and then give them back to you. Though I don't have any personal experience, if you think about forensic techniques and chain-of-evidence type stuff, most likely they'll copy your drives and not even touch your original equipment (this is the standard technique anyways). Really the question is if you ever get your machines back. They might wipe them out, but that would probably seriously screw up their case if there was any evidence on them.
      • Seizure seizures (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:10PM (#8023254) Homepage Journal
        Really the question is if you ever get your machines back.
        Judging from every story I've ever read, the Feds always hang onto "evidence" machines for years upon years. Which is effectively the same as confiscating them. Good reason to have offsite backups -- unless they take those too.

        In other threads, people have suggested that the Feds didn't understand how IP addresses work, and raided the wrong network. I suppose that's possible, but I think it unlikely, especially since they must know about the crack being traced to a user in Europe. It's more likely that they know or suspect that the HP guys have copies of the stolen source, and the raid is just a way to "send a message" to others who might consider downloading it.

        Technically, computers get seized so the cops can gather evidence, which is supposed to lead to some kind of punishment if all the due process requirements are met. But as often as not, the seizure itself is the only punishment metted out, and is obviously meant as such. Which is pretty scary, when you consider your total lack of recourse when you are punished in this manner.

      • Re:it would ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Casualposter ( 572489 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:20PM (#8023366) Journal
        A friend of mine caught a person stealling his VCR out of a college dorm. The VCR was taken and held for evidence for nearly two years. It was totally trashed when he got it back. This was in the early days of the VCR when a good machine when for many hundreds of dollars.

        It's not just if you get your machine back; it also could be broken beyond all recovery. Oh yeah, the cops claimed that the damage all occurred during the crime, even though we are pretty sure that was not the case.

    • Re:it would ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:51PM (#8023069) Homepage
      Steve Jackson Games had this happen back in the know, before the invention of Half-Life and Everquest, and hence before computers were interesting. They were raided by the SS (for a totally bogus reason) and had their computers siezed. Came really, really close to shutting down the company for good because of this. Years later, when the computers were obsolete, and after the SS had been criticized by a federal judge for being abusive, SJG got its 286 computers returned. Hooray for justice!
    • Re:it would ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sch1sm ( 669998 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:52PM (#8023076)
      Took me 18 months, and I was innocent. Got my equipment back and it was covered in grime and obviously had not been taken care of, had masking tape and residue all over it.
    • Re:it would ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:14PM (#8023294)
      True story, I swear it...

      In 1997 I cracked a machine in a nearby school district. Not for any particular purpose, but because it was running SunOS. Of course, being lazy and actually somewhat bad at covering my tracks, I got caught about a month later. I just wasn't cut out to be a badass hacker, I guess.

      Anyway, the police came to my school and "arrested" me (although I think it was all a setup, because I was never read my rights, and I was never handcuffs -- I think it was a scare tactic, and I was never officially "arrested"). They allowed me to drive my own car back to my house, so they could collect evidence.

      They played "good cop, bad cop" with me. But the good cop really was good. He seemed impressed with my skill level, and he actually smiled and talked with me in a conversational tone, like he was interested in how I'd pulled it off. He promised to try and convince his boss to let me off easy. They took my machine into evidence, and I didn't see it for 7 months.

      Later that year, after serving my community service, I got a call from the evidence room saying my computer was ready to be picked up. I drove over as fast as possible, fearing the drive had been wiped and all my source code lost. Imagine my surprise when I picked up the machine and it had a Post-It note on it saying "I took the liberty to upgrade your computer. A real hacker needs a 33-MHz, not a 20."

      I raced home and popped the case. Sure enough, the detective had installed a 33 MHz 486, and also an additional 4 meg of RAM. I was blown away.

      To this day, I am thankful for the detective making the effort to prevent me from going to jail for what I did. I learned my "lesson" the moment the reality dawned on me that I had police officers searching my mother's house. I haven't hacked since, and I hold that detective in the highest regard for seeing that I was just a stupid kid who didn't mean any harm.

      I count myself truly lucky to have been arrested by such a man :-)

    • Hah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:16PM (#8023322)

      You almost never get the shit back. Half the reason for only having $300 used eBay computers at your house/apt/dorm. You don't want them stealing your $3500 Alienware rig or the setup you just built with $1000 of parts from Pricewatch, or your shiny new Apple G5 or G4 TiBook.

      I've been popped before. All because I had a fake CNN web page made, a few months before the 'CNN fake news generator' got popular. It wasn't even hosted on my home systems!

      The FBI was waiting for me one day when I walked outside my apartment to go to work. They marched me right back upstairs. They asked me a few questions and took the following:

      White box AMD 800mhz that I built from spare parts. Old Powermac 8600. Old Pentium II-233MHz.

      They did not, however, take my mice/keyboard/monitors, they did take the Mac stuff though.

      They also did not take every floppy disk and CDROM I had in the house. You always used to hear news stories with headlines like "OVer 5,000 disks siezed in piracy raid" in the early years of home computers.

      As the agent was leaving, my roomates newer Compaq laptop caught his eye, but I told him that machine wasn't mine and he didn't question me.

      They have you sign a bunch of crap, and they write down serial numbers, give you copies of everything...This was about 3 years ago too.

      I called the FBI offices, sometimes once a month. They would never return my calls, and always were telling me things were transfered to another office, etc. Originally I was told that they would be done with my stuff in 6-8 weeks.

      After a while, I figured no news was good news, and didn't want to even deal with them any more over $500 worth of computers.

      Ironically, I had to help the FBI/Customs on a case they were working on, someone in our office was looking at kiddie porn from a work computer. Figure they'd be looking out for me but that's the government for you.

      Now, on the other hand, your police departments are a little better. My friend had his computer missing for nearly 6 months, and when he got it back it was covered in identifcation stickers but it was pretty much the way it was when they took it.

      Posting as AC, of course.
    • Re:it would ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <charleshixsn@ea r t h l i n> on Monday January 19, 2004 @05:11PM (#8024632)
      If reports of past activities by other "law enforcement" agencies are anything to go on...don't hold your breath. Instead start saving for new equipment. If they ever do bother to return it, it's likely to be many years from now. (And that's assuming that they can't find, or appear to find, anything that could plausibly be interpreted as illegal on it.)

      I suspect that if you are lucky, they'll just forget about it, and some "office of the law" will give it to his kid. If you aren't lucky, they may come back for all of your property and cash. (I might, with some plausibility, be asserted to be involved in something that might be related to gangsterism under some argument. So we must remove anything that you could use to practice your profession, hire a lawyer, or otherwise do something besides live on welfare.)

      I know an MD who's been fighting the DEA for over five years now. It's looking like he may eventually win, since they have essentially no evidence. (I hear his side.) But he's already served time in jail, had all his medical records and computer equipment confiscated. Had his license lifted. Etc. The charge? He prescribed a few more pain killers to cancer patients than the feds decided the patients needed. (The other charges got dropped after the first hearing, when the prosecutor refused to defend the charges.)

      So. He hasn't been found guilty of anything, but his professional live has been destroyed. His license has been lifted. All his possessions have been confiscated. He's served time in jail (without being found guilty!) Etc.

      So. Well, trust them to nicely hand back your computer if you want. But consider yourself lucky if they just forget you. And DON'T expect THEM to consider themselves bound by any laws. Laws are for others.

  • Article text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:41PM (#8022955)
    January 15, 2004
    The whole surreal story

    So at 6:30am on January 14th, I woke up to the doorbell buzzing. Not a short lived buzz. Someone had their thumb pressing the button and holding it there. "Fucking drunkard" I thought, and rolled over, intent on ignoring it. It then started a rythmic *buzz* *buzz* *buzz* *buzz*, over and over again. After about 5 minutes battling to get back to sleep, I gave up and got up. Put my pants on, grabbed my sweatshirt, and stumbled off toward the door.

    As I walked down the steps I heard them talking to the nextdoor neighbor, asking him where the landlord lived. I reach the door just as the neighbor's door closes. I compose myself to deal with whatever is behind the door, and open it.

    Immediately there's a flashlight in my eyes. "Are you Chris Toshok?" "Uh, yes" "Mr. Toshok, we're with the FBI. We have a warrant to search the premises." I looked down out of the glare of the flashlight and saw the FBI badge of the long haired blonde woman standing in front of me. I also saw two people behind her, bodies turned sideways so as to present less of a target. Guns drawn? It was too hard to tell really with the glare of the flashlight, but I'm assuming yes.

    I mumbled something about turning on the light so I could see the warrant (pages 1 2 3 4 5)they'd thrust into my hands and turned and groped on the wall for the switch. They all tensed. The light came on, and I looked over the warrant for a second.

    "Please come out here Mr. Toshok," and a hand on my arm pulling me onto the porch. Once I was out on the porch several agents started up the stairs. I said that my roommate was still asleep in bed. They asked his name, I said "Peter". They continued up the steps, yelling his name. "Peter, this is the FBI." "PETER" "PETER, are you awake? this is the FBI"

    I didn't watch it happen but apparently Peter awoke, naked, to a doorway full of FBI agents with guns out, yelling at him to get up. He asked if he could get some clothes on. They said yes. He asked if they could turn on the light so he could see. So Peter got to get dressed under the watchful gaze of government employees. Must have been fun.

    They took Peter to the back of the house, and took me back upstairs to the front of the house, and proceeded to start going through everything in my room and the office.

    I was questioned by the FBI agent in charge and a Secret Service agent at length about the Hungry Programmers, people I used to live with, whether particular people had the capacity/knowledge to do what they were investigating, etc. During the questioning she says "Now we're going to take all your computers." She sees the look on my face and says "Yeah, this is going to be hard for you." I said "uh, when will I get them back?" She said it depends, that they'd try to have them all back as soon as possible, but it depends on if they find anything suspicious on them. If they found contraband (kiddie porn, talk of drugs, or stuff they were actually looking for), that particular computer would never be coming home.

    After the questioning I basically sat in the front room on a folded futon mattress, with at least one agent with me at all times. Sometimes two. At one point I said I really needed to brush my teeth and the SS agent assigned to me at the time walked with me back to the bathroom and stood behind me watching me in the mirror as I brushed my teeth. On my way back down the hall I looked into my room and saw 3 FBI agents rifling through my belongings. One looking at the condoms and stickers in my nightstand, one going through my underwear/sock drawer, and one looking through my books.

    After a lot more sitting in silence in that room, interspersed with tidbits of conversation (an fbi agent asking me about the guitars, talking about the piano lessons in his youth, and how he was kicked in the chest by a horse.) I must say, the SS agents were a lot nicer than the FBI agents. One in particular was pretty cool - we joked a lot about just how absurd the whole thing was
    • by Doktor Memory ( 237313 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:52PM (#8023728) Journal
      Okay, points for keeping his composure I guess, but no points whatsoever for intelligence. He seriously just wandered off to take a walk while they were going through his apartment?!

      Folks? If this ever happens to you? CALL YOUR LAWYER. Not the next day, not the day after, but the instant you can convince them to let you get your hands on a phone. If you don't have a lawyer, call a friend that you trust to find you a lawyer.

      It's all well and good that the raiders in this case were relatively polite and friendly, but once the legal system takes notice of you in this way, Mister Policeman is no longer your friend. They have a job to do, and that job is to put your ass in jail. If being nice to you helps them to do this, they'll be nice. If scaring you senseless helps them to do this, they'll do that too. But the fact remains: they are not paid to catch someone who they know for a fact is guilty; they are being paid to catch someone they can convince a District Attorney is guilty, and those are two very, very different things.

      If you are ever in this situation, the only words that come out of your mouth when speaking to the feds should be "I'd like to call my attorney." His job is to keep you out of jail.
      • by DavidBrown ( 177261 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @04:28PM (#8024127) Journal
        Just so you know, they don't have to let you see your lawyer or speak to your lawyer during the search. The only rule about seeing a lawyer is during a custodial interrogation (ie, you're under arrest). If you then ask for a lawyer, then anything you tell the cops after that is inadmissible as direct evidence against you. Those statements, however, would be admissible in court as rebuttal evidence to contradict your own testimony in court later.

        But sure, calling your lawyer at that point in time is a pretty good idea. But how many people have criminal defense lawyers on call, anyway? Besides former Enron executives?

  • WOw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by M3wThr33 ( 310489 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:43PM (#8022967) Homepage
    Just when I thought they would let it die down, due to it being a bit more personal and involved, it seems like they went in to full gear.

    But I'm still a bit doubtful that ANY network admin wouldn't notice 11GB of traffic to an outside location on the network.
  • by ayersrj ( 701333 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:43PM (#8022971)
    how else are they supposed to train their agents with the latest technology if it continues to be held past the release date!
  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:43PM (#8022978)
    The warrant says they're looking for "internal IP addresses" associated with the machines at Valve. Uh.... what the hell? If it's a private network, the chances of those IPs being the same as the IPs on some other private network are approximately... 100%.

    This is like saying, "The murder victim's last name was Smith, and this guy has a reference to a Mr. Smith in his Rolodex. He must be guilty."

    Sure, what the fuck ever. This is trivially defensible in court.

  • upwards? (Score:4, Funny)

    by BitchAss ( 146906 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:44PM (#8022982) Homepage
    lost upwards of 9 machines

    Um - how many machines did he lose? 1? 5? 8.5?
  • FYI... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bytal ( 594494 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:47PM (#8023011) Homepage
    FYI, Chris Toshok (toshok []), the person who wrote up this experience is also one of the head programmers on Ximian's Evolution mail client [].
  • by robson ( 60067 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:48PM (#8023034)
    ...the raid on the Hungry Programmers was the result of a miscommunication between Valve and the FBI -- Valve had actually traced the breakin back to an ip address in Hungary.

    (collective groan)
    Thanks, thank you, I'll be here all week.
  • by ghettoboy22 ( 723339 ) * <> on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:50PM (#8023058) Homepage
    Boy.... I better delete that off my caching DNS server quick.

    *ding dong*

    Oh no!!! TOOO LATE!!!!!

    Seriously, that's about the dumbest warrent condition ever IMHO.
  • Wording and tense.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:50PM (#8023060)
    look at how the summary was phrased "San Fransisco native had his house raided by the FBI and lost...."

    Rather than "FBI agents, acting under a warrant issued due to probable cause having been ascertained, ..."

    welcome to slashdot.

  • HL2 code theft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:51PM (#8023068) Journal
    If Valve tries to make the claim in court that HL2 was postponed until April because of the source code theft, that will become fraud on their part. Until now it was just harmless marketing lies. The delay had little if anything to do with the code theft -- that was only a convenient excuse.

    Someday I would like to see a game company create a game in an open way. They should have all their engine code out in the open so anybody could follow the progress and even contribute if they felt like it. They would not need to make up stuff about release dates because the public could easily find out the status of completion themselves. And if their source code gets stolen by other companies, they can just go all SCO on their asses. On the other hand, they can also make clear that if a hobbiest uses the engine code that they own the copyright. Smart game companies do that last part already.

    All it will take is one brave company to revolutionize the industry. Happens all the time.

    • Re:HL2 code theft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iii_rjm ( 551978 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:03PM (#8023202)
      And why would I, as a developer, be the least bit interested in some wannabe adding to my codebase. If you are any good and I want your help I will offer you a job. Further, What business is it of anybody in what progress I am or am not making in producing a product that I want to sell. If you can't wait what do I care. If I lose a sale because I am taking to long it's nobodys business or problem but my own.
    • Re:HL2 code theft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dalroth ( 85450 ) * on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:34PM (#8023534) Homepage Journal
      If Valve tries to make the claim in court that HL2 was postponed until April because of the source code theft, that will become fraud on their part. Until now it was just harmless marketing lies. The delay had little if anything to do with the code theft -- that was only a convenient excuse

      How do you know it didn't affect and delay the product? Do you work for Valve? Where's your proof?

      I can tell you, at my company, if there was a break-in that got all our code, we'd be up shit creek. There would be a complete overhaul of all our processes, interviews with all the personel, new security training, new procedures, a complete audit, and worst of all talented and hard working people would get fired. All of this would take time, affect everybody, and slow every project down.

      I find it hard to belive that Valve didn't go through something similar internally. If you're going to make drastic claims like this, at least provide some proof or reasoning behind your logic.

    • by Matt2k ( 688738 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:37PM (#8023567)
      > If Valve tries to make the claim in court that HL2 was postponed until April because of the source code theft, that will become fraud on their part.

      Wrong. Charging Valve with fraud would require that they were somehow illegaly profiting from delaying the release date. Since the product isn't for sale, pray tell how this can be considered fraud under any aspect of law!

      Golly I completely forgot about the 1987 Digital Entertainment act that required game makers to hold to tentative release dates! Bastards!

      >Until now it was just harmless marketing lies.

      What's this? Oh no! A company that markets their product! Where is the justice!

      > Someday I would like to see a game company create a game in an open way. They should have all their engine code out in the open so anybody could follow the progress and even contribute if they felt like it.

      And some day I would like to see all commercial ventures opened up under the watchful eye of a high council of elves, leprechauns, and magical wood faries! Using their arcane magics for the betterment of mankind, we will transform the world into an utopian paridise, where every jack-ninny can voice their opinion equally, even in private commercial and private forums! Lo, in this brave new future disease will be cured, everyone will earn $50K USD annual salary because knowledge is intrinsically designed to be free and open to everyone!

      Viva la revolution!
  • System working.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:52PM (#8023074)
    The FBI came with a blonde woman agent carrying the warrent and trying to be as nice as they can to a suspect. Let's face it, that's what this guy, and his entire group, appears to be right now.

    You don't need to be proven guilty by any standard to become a suspect. To get a warrant, they do need to present something to a judge, but what that something is usually remains sealed. That's how the system works, there was a due process for taking his property.

    So, the good news for him is so far that the FBI's just fishing on his machines right now. If they find what they're looking for, or anything else very illegal to have, then they'll be back with the cuffs.
    • by Alric ( 58756 ) <slashdot@tenhund[ ] ['fel' in gap]> on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:15PM (#8023309) Homepage Journal
      Your post touched on a very important topic: If they find what they're looking for, or anything else very illegal to have, then they'll be back with the cuffs.

      What is the legal scope of their search?

      For example, let's pretend this Toshok fellow is completely innocent, and the FBI search of his computers establishes zero link to their original investigation. However, on one computer they find thousands of dollars of unlicensed software and thousands of pirated MP3s and divx vids. Can they confiscate his computer for such an unrelated offense? Can they charge him with a crime? What if during the search of his apartment they found some drugs and an unregistered weapon?

      Exactly where is the line?
    • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:19PM (#8023350) Homepage
      Is it really working?

      Is it reasonable to sieze everything (including things not on the list, if his story's true...) in sight on a mere suspicion? Sounds like unreasonable search and siezure to me. Considering that the Hungry programmers aren't the ones that were off and bragging about it, I have a very big suspicion that we're seeing another Steve Jackson Games debacle playing before our eyes. While I'm going to give the Feds some benefit of doubt- it's not a lot, as they're not all lilly-white pure followers of what the law states, including the Constitution and they've been guilty of some rather heinous acts themselves in the relatively recent past.
  • I think... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Caseyscrib ( 728790 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:52PM (#8023082)
    Maybe its just Sierra in FBI jackets. []

    The evil has spread.

  • Ouch. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <slebrun AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:58PM (#8023143) Journal

    Poor bastard got Steve Jacksoned. []

  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:58PM (#8023146)
    any IP addresses related to any of the Valve internal or external networks... Valve passwords and/or usernames... any and all items... related to Valve Software, Half-Life, Half-Life 2
    They were looking for IP addresses? What does that mean? I can find any IP address I want from any machine connected to the internet.

    I can just imagine some clueless FBI agent rifling through the poor guy's Rolodex and demanding that he tell them where his IP addresses are. "Sir, where do you keep your IP addresses sir?! This isn't a joke, son! You think this is funny?! Keep it up punk! You can laugh at the judge when we tell him that you wouldn't tell us where your IP addresses were!"
  • by Code-Ex ( 655722 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:59PM (#8023157)
    Will Half-Life have a special "FBI Raid" level when it is released? =)
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Monday January 19, 2004 @02:59PM (#8023163) Homepage Journal
    How many times has Slashdot been approached by law enforcement agencies to obtain access to records or postings?

  • Poor guy is screwed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xankar ( 710025 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:00PM (#8023169) Journal
    In the future, if he's ever unemployed, that warrant will be a big ugly red mark that will deter employers from hiring him.

    I knew someone whose ex-wife accused him of abuse because she hated him. He never came close to being convicted, but he hasn't been able to get a job since.

    You don't have to be convicted to be branded a criminal.
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:00PM (#8023174) Journal
    If you are found innocent...

    a) What countermeasures/damages can you persue

    b) If your computers are for business use, can you sue for lost revenue?

    c) If they find something illegal (who doesn't have a "hack for program x" or keygen etc), but it is found that they came after you mistakenly, are your computers still lost?

    d) You got no card, how can you call to find out about your stuff?

    e) 9 computers, decent chance one is a server. How about if the server was hacked (cmon, if they hack valve wouldn't they redirect through dummy servers)
    • Aren't you supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in San Francisco?
    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:16PM (#8023334)

      > If they find something illegal (who doesn't have a "hack for program x" or keygen etc),

      Don't the rules limit them to using what was specified on the warrant? Otherwise it's too easy to use a warrant for something trivial as the justification for a fishing expedition.

      Of couse, in these days of the all-important War on Blacks^wDrugs and War on Arabs^wTerror, the rules don't seem to matter very much.

      > but it is found that they came after you mistakenly, are your computers still lost?

      AFAICT, you might as well kiss your stuff goodbye even if you're innocent. Remember the outcome of the clueless cop's crusade against Steve Jackson Games?

  • Fact or Fiction? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by faust13 ( 535994 ) <> on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:02PM (#8023188) Homepage
    When did a weblog become fact? I understand they had scanned documents, but I just get very nervous about allowing blogs to become sources of fact.
    • Who knows... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:24PM (#8023418) Homepage
      You're sure as hell not going to see something like this get presented by news outlets. Not sensational and it's just some geeks getting busted for hacking, afterall... Never mind that while due process might have been done, it may still be an unreasonable search and siezure of his property by virtue of the fact that they had little real worth to go on and used PATRIOT or something similar to rush a warrant through the courts. Since I don't know the whole story, I'm not going to venture a guess either way- but to ask me to think of it as fiction just because it's a blog is a bit much as well.
  • by ghettoboy22 ( 723339 ) * <> on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:02PM (#8023197) Homepage
    With multiple companies hoping IPv6 enabled home appliances will be in the "home of the future", will search warrents looking for Internet devices mean the feds will be seizing everything from your fridge, toaster, and can opener?

    The debate over that ought to be interesting.
  • A bit torn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by muzzynat ( 631911 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:04PM (#8023207)
    Wow, I have to say, that would be the absolute worst morning of my life if it was me, the kind of stress that could give a guy an ulcer. He seems to be handling things pretty well though which is good. Nobody wants the FBI and Secret Service Raiding their home, no matter what.

    However that said, and my condolences to his lost PCs, if he is resposible for stealing the HL2 code, he kinda did deserve it, because I for one am a little pissed about the delay, and if he's guilty I guess karma(and not the /. kind) is biting him in the ass. I don't really care if Valve was using Outlook, If i hang a bed sheet over my door, and you walk in and take my stuff, you're still breaking and entering, even if the bedsheet wasn't the most secure door I could have used.
  • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:06PM (#8023228) Homepage Journal
    If Toshok is so concerned about what's being taken from his apartment, and he hasn't done anything wrong, then why does he leave during the search and go to a friends place to "spread the word"? Something doesn't add up there.

    If I hadn't done anything wrong, I'd stick around to see what's being confiscated. It seems like this guy's first priority was to sound an alarm...
    • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:24PM (#8023422)
      If I hadn't done anything wrong, I'd stick around to see what's being confiscated.

      No point in doing that. They give you a receipt for anything they take, and they can't use and item as evidence in court without first proving that they gave you a receipt for that item. So everything they touched is going to be clearly itemized.

      It seems like this guy's first priority was to sound an alarm...

      Makes sense to me.

      "Hey guys. I thought I'd let you know, there's a bunch of cops searching my apartment right now, so if I end up missing by the end of the day, you'll know what happened. In that case, could you please call a lawyer for me?"

      It's the kind of thing friends tell each other, don't you think?

    • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:28PM (#8023470) Homepage
      If I hadn't done anything wrong, I'd stick around to see what's being confiscated. It seems like this guy's first priority was to sound an alarm...

      If I was being raided and hadn't done anything wrong, I'd want to get the word out to friends, since whatever mistakenly pointed them toward me is likely to also point toward friends.

      Since these raids tend to take everything, including stuff that is obviously not useful as evidence (what kind of evidence are they going to find in power cables, or in pressed music CDs?), I'd want to give my friends a chance to get that kind of stuff out of the house.

      Give me 10 minutes warning that the FBI is coming, and I can have a recent backup safely offsite, so when they are gone, and I get a new computer, I can be back up and running fast. Note that this in no way would hurt their investigation. I could also grab things like my external DVD writer, DSL modem, sound card, and stuff like that, so that would be less to replace.

  • by danidude ( 672839 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:07PM (#8023237) Homepage
    root@loot:~# cd stolen_stuff/
    root@loot:~/stolen_stuff# ls
    windowssrc.tar.gz half_life2.tar.gz eletronic_votinghck.tar.gz
    root@loot:~/stolen_stu ff# scp half_life2.tar.gz's password:
    half_life2.tar.gz 100% 00:00
    root@loot:~/stolen_stuff# rm -f half_life2.tar.gz
    root@loot:~/stolen_stuff# ^D
  • by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:09PM (#8023247)
    I want to know why they seized his xbox controllers? How the fuck is that evidense?
  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:09PM (#8023250) Homepage Journal

    As Khan would say, "Let them meet static!".

  • by xorbe ( 249648 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:10PM (#8023257)
    "Hi, Valve? Yeah, this is Chris Toshok. Yeah, I got no computers to play your next game on, you know? Not your problem you say? Just a sec... I'm adding a couple new obfuscated filters to Evolution..."
  • XP CD Key (Score:5, Funny)

    by MirgNave ( 710935 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:11PM (#8023263)
    Anyone notice they took down his XP CD-KEY for his Dell laptop? That key is toast now!
  • Comments (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost&syberghost,com> on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:31PM (#8023503) Homepage
    The comments are the amazing part to me. You'd think people savvy enough to have read this story would be bright enough to understand why they absolutely HAVE to take the computers, not sit there dicking around trying to pull hard drives out.
  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @03:57PM (#8023780) Journal
    reading these posts, there are two questions that have REALLY obvious answers. I'll give them anyway, since they seem to be stumping so many people.

    cds: its just policy. One can make a burned cd look pressed if they really want to. Instead of wasting time inspecting each cd, just take them all. Fairly simple.

    why he told friends: Some may be students, who have their school work on their systems, but won't see those systems for years if they get taken. Some may be have files of business importance - perhaps they were writing a program for a company, perhaps they have an extensive cvs repository sitting on a server. Perhaps its just business contacts, or hell - email archives.

    There are a LOT of things that will screw up your life for months, if not years, if you suddenly lose it. Keep in mind that while you may make backups, those backups will be taken as well. Offsite backups even will be, if they know about them (which more and more lately, they will know).

    Think about what would happen if all of your computers, backups, media, and etc all disappeared in an instant. If you're 100% innocent, it will still take a couple of years to get things back. In our tech-dependent world, that's a long time to be in hell for no reason.
  • valve customer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moojin ( 124799 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @04:59PM (#8024491)
    from the search warrant, it looks as though just about anybody who has bought a valve product (valve software or manuals) or even just surfed over to their website (ip address in web browser history) or contacted anybody at their office via email (product support) would qualify for a visit from the secret service / fbi.

    a law must be enacted where computers can not be held for a certain period of time (5 business days) unless charges are brought up against the owner. the 5 days would give the confiscator enough time to copy the hard drives on the machines. if not, why should the citizen be responsible for the time it takes the secret service / fbi to analyze the contents of a hard drive. this kind of reminds me of the ibm sco case.

  • by waltc ( 546961 ) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:41PM (#8026234)
    I was amused to see numerous "move to Canada" suggestions, as well as "America is a police state" warnings provided to this person in comments relating to this person's allegations as printed on the person's web site. Evidently I was misinformed when told that Canada, and, indeed, every civilized nation on earth, has prisons full of convicts who got there as a result of being arrested by the police, including some who were convicted in trials by the weight of evidence seized with search warrants.

    I'm in debt to those authentically brainy people who've set me straight about Canada, reminding me that Canada has no laws, no prisons, no convicts, no courts or trials, no police, and of such thing as search warrants. And I guess the same is true of other European nations whose citizens reacted with shock and horror at this person's account, because like Canada, those nations, too, have no laws to break, no courts to convict, and of course no police forces to serve search warrants, not to mention no judges to sign such a warrant even if such a thing was possible in those countries. Yes, thanks to all of the "big brains" out there who have enlightened me in my ignorance. Naturally, if you hail from a country with no laws and no police and no search warrants, such a tale would have to inspire nothing short of dread and terror and a certain specter of a "police state."

    And, too, I have to bow to the indisputable logic of those who insist that Valve has no moral right whatever to be incensed that its servers were broken into and its source code stolen--rather, as these people most brilliantly postulate for my poor benefit, Valve would be better served by throwing a party for the hackers, congratulating them an a job well done, and even, possibly, mailing them a big fat check for the service these unselfish, altruistic hackers have done them. How foolish of me to think it natural to want to involve the police when one's personal property is stolen--how foolish, indeed. Double foolish, really, but what can one expect from a poor underling such as I who has been raised in a country with laws, prisons, crimes, and search warrants? Since other countries, like Canada, have no need for such primitive mechanisms, it's no wonder I thought of this issue as I originally did. Woe is me.

    But, to tell you the absolute truth, until I see some independent corroboration of the events alleged to have taken place, I must wonder if...

    (a) Such alleged events ever occurred

    (b) Such events occurred for the purpose this person has alleged

    Even though I am not all that bright, really, as you can tell from my misapprehensions as to other countries having laws and prisons and search warrants, it nevertheless seems to me that...

    (1) It is a simple thing to manufacture, or change, such "search warrants," using commonly available programs such as Photoshop

    (2) It would be a simple thing to simply add "Valve" to a search warrant issued for another purpose, such as some kind of credit card fraud involving the use of computers

    It occurs to me that this person might have had data belonging to other people on his machines prior to seizure, and that the "Valve" story is simply that--a story contrived, with the aid of Photoshop or something like it, to explain to his friends why their data, if not some of their computers, have been seized by the authorities.

    Gosh, sometimes it's just so hard to think, and my head hurts...:) But it also occurs to me that possibly, just possibly, it might not always be a good idea to believe everything one sees printed on the Internet. Yea, right--what could I possibly know?...:)

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.