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Technology | TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS

2 Agree Never to Hack Cyber Patrol Filtering Program

March 28, 2000|Greg Miller

Settling a copyright infringement suit filed against them by Microsystems Inc., two computer hackers have agreed to stop circulating a program that enables children to bypass a popular Internet software filtering program made by the Massachusetts company. The settlement resolved a suit that had attracted interest from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups that argued the program was a form of expression that deserved 1st Amendment protection.

Under terms of the settlement, Matthew Skala and Eddy Jansson, citizens of Canada and Sweden, respectively, agreed never to hack the popular Cyber Patrol program. They also agreed to submit to criminal penalties, including possible jail time or fines, if they violate the terms of the settlement.

Despite the settlement, a U.S. district judge in Boston signaled during a hearing Monday that he plans to impose an injunction barring the distribution of the underground program, called "cphack." The judge indicated that he would make that ruling within a few days, after considering arguments about whether the injunction should also extend to so-called mirror Web sites that post copies of cphack.

Cphack enables children to uncover their parents' passwords for Cyber Patrol, thereby thwarting a program used to restrict children's access to Web sites containing sexually explicit or otherwise "objectionable" material.

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