[nSLUG] Found: Lost laptop

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Fri Jan 9 12:54:50 AST 2009


On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 12:33 PM, George N. White III <gnwiii at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hacking a laptop is probably breaking laws, no matter how
> well-intentioned.   It might (or might NOT!) be OK for an employee
> of a taxi company to conduct a minimally intrusive search for
> information needed to return lost property (like opening luggage
> to look for such information), because that level of intrusion is
> expected from a transportation service.  There is a contract between
> the taxi company and the rider, but that would not extend to
> 3rd parties unless employed by the taxi company.  Given that,
> it might (or NOT!) be legal give the Colin a linux boot CD and show
> him how to use it on a neutral laptop, then let him do the work
> in a secure location.  It is worth noting that the same technique
> would apply for a laptop running Windows.
>

Giving it to the police is one option. I don't know if they have
anyone Linux savvy on staff that can do more than simply
checking the model and serial number in a stolen items
database.

The act of booting it from a live CDROM is about
the same as opening up some left baggage to see if there
are any clues about the ownership.  If you failed to learn
anything from the CDROM boot up, it would leave no record
that this had been done.

Technically, opening up someone's door and shouting "Hello,
is anyone home" is probably illegal too, but we might do it
if we are supposed to meet someone at that address and there
is no answer.  Likewise, if you found some car lights on,
and found the door was unlocked, you might open it
and turn off the lights for the owner.

I think the enforcement of law takes into account the
intentions of the action in many cases.

--Donald
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