Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Amero, Then Fiola, Then...

You'd think after the mess created by the prosecution of the Julie Amero case in CT, State Prosecutors (and employers) in nearby North Eastern states (i.e. MA), might have become a little more informed as to the myriad ways in which "bad content" can find its way onto a computer - other than via the hand of the computer user.

Apparently not. Anthony Fiola, a 53-year -old MA resident (and a former accident investigator with the Department of Industrial Accidents - tell me *that* isn't irony), is the latest guy to be told to clean out his desk and frog-marched from his former employer's offices a la Amero after a search of his laptop revealed porn on the computer.

And because this story is now out there, you know it didn't stop there. After a forensic investigation by the State, Fiola was charged with downloading "unauthorized content" onto a laptop he was given by his former organization's IT department and sent up for trial - a series of events that led to Fiola losing his paycheck, his insurance, and his employment benefits.

Although most friends deserted Fiola, his wife did not. Fired up, she hired a lawyer and the lawyer hired an independent expert. And as a result, Fiola became the second person to be saved from jail time for an act he most probably did not have anything to do with.

Memo to MA state computer crime detectives and consultants: Guys, the kind of spyware that causes this stuff is rife, and well-documented (check out Alex Eckelberry's site over at Sunbelt Software for some great analysis and commentary on the Julie Amero case, or Authentium's very own Robert Sandilands for more technical analysis).

In any case, maybe it's time that state forensic experts also started relying a little less on one piece of fairly well-discredited forensic analysis software. You all know the application I'm talking about.

Anyway, for those wishing to get mad at the world (and at over-eager state prosecutors) all over again, PC World has a very well-researched article on the Fiola story here that I couldn't hope to embellish or improve. It's told by Fiola in his own words, and its pretty candid, and pretty darn sad.

If this guy's a liar, I'll eat this blog.

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