'Embarrassed' Gun Suspect Sues Microsoft After FBI Finds Sex Videos On His PC - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Information Management
News
3/2/2007
03:04 PM
50%
50%

'Embarrassed' Gun Suspect Sues Microsoft After FBI Finds Sex Videos On His PC

Despite efforts to keep the data private, FBI lab agents were able to access the files by making a mirror image of the hard drive.

A man awaiting trial for alleged gun crimes is suing Microsoft for privacy violations after FBI agents seized his home computer during a raid and found files containing sexually explicit videos of him and his girlfriend and evidence that he frequented pornographic Web sites.

Michael Alan Crooker, currently in jail in Connecticut, says security features advertised by Microsoft and its business partners should have kept federal agents from accessing the files on his PC. In court papers filed this week in Massachusetts Superior Court, Crooker says he "suffered great embarrassment" as a result of Microsoft's failure to keep the FBI's prying eyes off his computer.

He is suing the software maker for $200,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Crooker purchased a Compaq Presario PC loaded with Windows XP, Internet Explorer, and several security utilities in 2002 at a Circuit City in Holyoke, Mass. Crooker, in court papers, says he "felt secure in Circuit City's claims of impenetrability and security."

Things took a turn, however, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided Crooker's home in June 2004 as part of an investigation into the sale of an air rifle equipped with a silencer and seized his computer. Unable to crack the PC's security features, the agents sent it to the FBI's Cryptologic and Electronic Analysis unit, court records say.

At the FBI lab, agents were able to access Crooker's files by making a mirror image of the hard drive. Among the files, they found a video showing Crooker and his girlfriend having sex, his medical records, family photographs, and correspondence between Crooker and his attorneys. They also found Internet history files that showed Crooker's fondness for pornographic Web sites.

Crooker says he had set Internet Explorer to delete his Internet history every five days. "Any day beyond those parameters is supposed to be permanently deleted and is not supposed to be recoverable," Crooker says in the lawsuit. He also claims Compaq's DriveLock security system should have prevented the FBI from accessing his hard drive.

In the court papers, Crooker says he already has reached settlements with Hewlett-Packard, which owns the Compaq brand, and Circuit City.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll