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Author Topic: Legal implications of coopting organizational computer systems.  (Read 662 times)
Fingler29
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December 03, 2011, 10:50:39 AM
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In this case I am talking about the usual example of an IT guy who oversees a grouop of computers or servers, used for whatever purpose (academic, corporate, etc)....

this person installs the BTC client and runs it virtually or physically on the machines under his control.

perhaps he chooses to only run the mining software during zero traffic hours, or constantly at a low priority.



besides specifics in the contracts that these people sign with their employer, are there any regional or national laws that make this sort of use illegal?


I mean... its ot like an IT guy needs to check with the management every single time he backs up the business' hard drives using a proprietary piece of software.

and since BTCs are not genuinely recognized as currency (yet) there is no conflict of interest (eg; the hypothetical IT guy is not generatig "true" income through the use of other people's hardware)


I wonder because this seems to be the ideal setting for BTC mining, because such corporate or academic computer systems are built with the correct variables in mind:

electricity usage
cost per performance increment
usage loads are pretty predictable (nothing used between say 6:00PM and 8:00 AM)


I realize that plenty of graduate students in CS, physics, chemistry, engineering, etc. must be coopting their group's cluster, or whichever cluster they have access to....


but I am more thinking of the IT guy responsible for a school's computer lab.



I remember readig an article along these lines and the guy was saying he was managing to make a pretty good output just from low level, off-peak usage of these cheap ass desk tops.


my only concern is if this is suuuper illegal
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Stephen Gornick
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December 03, 2011, 11:33:02 AM
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Related: http://motherboard.vice.com/2011/5/27/how-to-get-rich-on-bitcoin-by-a-system-administrator-who-s-secretly-growing-them-on-his-school-s-computers

Unless those machines have GPUs you need thousands of boxes to get enough revenue to even fill the fridge with beer.

And yes, it would likely be regarded as theft unless permission in advance was granted.

jake262144
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December 03, 2011, 11:39:54 AM
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Let's start with a couple of facts:
(A) The hardware and software an IT person runs for their employer is their employer's property.
(B) Touching a machine you have no business touching (installing programs, accessing/copying/modifying data) IS illegal.
Can you answer your question based on (A) and (B) ?


Did you ask permission to install the bitcoin mining software? If you didn't and are found out not only will you lose your job, you might be sued for damages as well.

Even if you did ask and were granted permission, you're still on the hook if you misrepresented or failed to mention the ramifications of running the mining software.
These would have to include at the very least:
 - significant increase in power consumption, possibly to the point where it degrades the system's availability in the event of a power outage. The overloaded UPS might fall flat on its face...
 - significant heat generation, further increasing power consumption by making air conditioning to run more aggressively.
 - significant component load, influencing the system's MTBF time and longevity.
 - the necessity for the aforementioned system to be internet-connected and actively sending/receiving data while mining bitcoins.


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and since BTCs are not genuinely recognized as currency (yet) there is no conflict of interest (eg; the hypothetical IT guy is not generatig "true" income through the use of other people's hardware)

Don't kid yourself, there is. What you are doing is, using your employer's resources you generate additional income for yourself,  no matter whether you receive it as cash, bitcoins, scamcoins, crapcoins, or KFC coupon codes for that matter.


To reiterate all I just said, ARE YOU MAD or so desperate?!?
Bitcoin miners belong nowhere near your employer's machines.
You will lose your job and possibly get sued.

Moderators :: I request this thread be moved to legal.
worldinacoin
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December 03, 2011, 04:30:49 PM
 #4

Yeap you are kidding yourself by saying that others co-opt their organisations' machines.  This is unethical at the very least.
dark_st3alth
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December 03, 2011, 04:48:36 PM
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There was a news story related to this where an Australian guy was fired for the exact same thing.

If you owned the hardware, it would be a whole different story. As stated above, you must have permission to do so, and once you do, get a copy of it.

Now, I'm speaking from a western IT stand point, with a backing in security and a little bit of IT law. Legalities may be different else where.

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worldinacoin
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December 04, 2011, 09:07:20 AM
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There was a news story related to this where an Australian guy was fired for the exact same thing.

If you owned the hardware, it would be a whole different story. As stated above, you must have permission to do so, and once you do, get a copy of it.

Now, I'm speaking from a western IT stand point, with a backing in security and a little bit of IT law. Legalities may be different else where.

That guy sure deserves to be fired!
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December 04, 2011, 05:22:46 PM
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It's enormously stupid to do something easily noticeable and traceable like mining on other people's property.
Even if it's legal, you'll get fired... and all for just a few thousand bucks at most.

(BFL)^2 < 0
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