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My porn is for my eyes only!

ie7.jpgMichael Crooker was arrested in 2004 for illegally selling an air rifle with a silencer. During the arrest, the ATF snatched his computer, but found themselves confounded when couldn’t access Crooker’s files. So they turned the computer over to the FBI, and the FBI’s crack team of hackers managed to get into Crooker’s goods. And they found some stuff that Crooker now wishes had remained hidden:

Among the files, [the FBI agents] 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.

So Crooker was a bit tweaked by all this. But he decided not to sue the ATF or the FBI for accessing files that fell outside the scope of their investigation and any warrant they may have had (a lawsuit which he would likely lose anyway, aside from getting a ruling that the Feds can’t use any information contained in the correspondence with his attorneys, as that would be covered by attorney-client privilege - a ruling which he can get in his criminal trial anyway, if he needs it). Instead, he’s suing Microsoft. Crooker claims that he’s “suffered great embarrassment” as a result of all this this, and wants $200K in damages.

See, back in 2002, Crooker purchased an Compaq computer from a Circuit City story. He claims that this computer, and the Microsoft software, was advertised as having all types of great security features, and he believes that should have kept the FBI snoops out. But since it didn’t, he wants money. According to his lawsuit, he’s already settled claims with Hewlett-Packard (which now owns Compaq) and Circuit City.

Unless Microsoft chooses to settle this out, I don’t see Crooker getting any cash out of the case. I mean, Microsoft doesn’t really advertise its software security as “FBI Proof,” and the gist of Crooker’s claim is a stretch, at best:

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.

While general Joe User may think that simply deleting a file means it is permanently deleted, folks with a little know-how know that this simply isn’t true, and that you can recover deleted files for quite some time. If he was really concerned about covering his porn tracks, he probably should’ve spent a little less time on the porn sites and a little more time on the sites that explain how you can truly secure your data.