New Texas Law – Tx HB 2268

In summer 2013, Governor Rick Perry signed into law0 Texas House Bill 2268

This has been hailed as a boon to consumer privacy, as it requires that law enforcement obtain a warrant if they are requesting, for example, a persons actual email content or IP address information.

More importantly for people like me, who have been the victim of cyberstalking, this law also gives companies like Twitter, Google / Gmail, AOL, etc, NO MORE THAN 15 DAYS TO COMPLY WITH THE WARRANT. If the magistrate signing the warrant chooses, he or she may pare down that time to three days if they feel the urgency is required. The law also requires that a warrant signed by any judge in the state of Texas be honored by any company that does business in the state of Texas. Proof of doing business in the state may consist of that little check box you click, swearing that you’ve read the Terms Of Service for the company. (I know you haven’t read any of them – just read one. Like Facebook’s. Scary stuff)

That’s pretty important, because Google and the others (I’m picking on them because they are the biggest thorn in my butt) have a tendency to claim that they only will honor warrants obtained in the same county as their base of operations. Fun game of hide and seek when a company’s HQ is in Denver and they are incorporated in Delaware – or outside the USA.

The caveat here is that the warrant must be “properly worded”. That might suck, depending on the literacy and competence level of your investigating agency.

I have heard, probably a dozen times, that we were waiting on _________ to comply with a warrant and it just takes time, gosh darn it.

Well, it takes 15 days now in Texas. Make sure that your own Keystone cops know the law, and know that YOU know the law.

Did Your Spouse Pay These Guys To Hack Your Email Password?

http://m.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/01/fbi-charge-five-us-citizens-hacking-6000-email-accounts

Lest we forget, it doesn’t take Spy vs Spy techniques or elaborate techno surveillance to get all up into your business. Brute force, lucky guesses and a list of the most common passwords just might do the trick. And thats assuming you don’t allow your browser to “remember” you and save your login info!

Even if your beloved can’t guess your password – and it’s still illegal to access your private, password protected accounts – he probably DOES know the answers to your security questions. Your mom’s maiden name, your first pet, your favorite teacher’s name or what your first car was, are far from top secret information.

My suggestion for answering security questions is to pick someone else, your dad, best friend, high school boyfriend, or (what I, briefly, used) your spouse’s information. THEIR moms maiden name, first car, date of birth, etc. You’ll still know all of the answers, but no one else will be able to guess, because they aren’t “your” answers.

Inaction, In Action

Creepy ex spouse? Check! Scads of neatly organized, legally obtained proof that aforementioned ex has outgrown their skeevy skivvies and is ready for a new monochrome orange wardrobe? Well let’s get a move on! You’ve got a lot of walls to beat your head against!

Two disclaimers: first, I live in Texas and while I’ve been on hold with some of the finest organizations anywhere, I can only tell you what ultimately got me results or…well, didn’t. Second, I am neither a lawyer or a cop, and your mileage may vary.

Ok…so you are pretty darn sure that your ex is pretending he’s the NSA and batman all rolled into one. Don’t try to undo anything – no removing the tracking device in your car, or spyware on your computer, or the nanny cam in your air vent. Locating the stuff is fine, but no touchy. You don’t want to smudge HIS prints, and broken bits of surveillance spy gear don’t prove much. Call the police if you’re in city limits, the sheriff if you live in the sticks like me. While you are waiting for an officer to arrive, get your id out, and neatly write out your full legal name, address, phone numbers; Add the names and DOB for anyone who lives with you. Also write down as much of the same info as you have for your ex. (I finally just typed all of that out and printed a stack to keep in The Binder. You may as well start one. You’re going to be collecting lots of paper.)

Remain calm, and when talking to the officer stick to the facts – not a good time to break out your elaborate theories – but stick to your metaphorical guns as well. Your main goal in this encounter is to file a report. Make sure you have a case, incident or report number before the officer leaves. It will usually be given to you written on a business card along with the officer’s badge number and name. (Go ahead and tape it to The Binder. Not kidding. ) In a few days you can get a copy of the official report – which you are also going to add to that 3 ring binder that will become your life. Ask how much a certified copy of the report is, and if you will need to bring exact change or a money order.

Getting this incident on the record is important. Making a report to the police SHOULD help with the ticking Statute Of Limitations clock. In some states, you only have 2 years from the time you became aware of the spyware, to do “something” about it.

This calm, reasonable interaction with the officer is also important because he can try to take this either of two routes: we prefer the I’m-going-to-investigate-this-as-a-potentially-serious-crime option. But what an awful lot of cops would really like to do is shake their had sadly and say “aw shucks! This sounds like A Civil Matter”. This is a much less stressful choice for them. Less paperwork. They probably won’t have to talk to you about this matter again.

Politely but firmly insist if necessary, on that report. In The Binder I also keep copies of the state and federal laws, to gently drive home the fact that this is criminal. Puh-leez. My ex and I haven’t been civil in years!

To be continued….(and I’ll get to work with posting an area here with some printable copies of the documents I’ve needed so far)

Evidence

It seems like I had a silver platter of evidence for law enforcement to sink their teeth into:

  • Hubby gave me the original eblaster program disc, with his handwritten login info, the email address and password to the gmail account where Spectorsoft sent his reports and custoner service information.
  • He sent pages of my email that he had accessed from computers other than mine, from his lawyer to my lawyer in a packet of documents during the discovery portion of our divorce.
  • He confessed to the installation of eblaster on my computer under oath while on the stand in our divorce trial.
  • He provided proof of purchase for Spy Bubble (a cell phone monitoring product) in a bank statement also produced in discovery.
  • Spectorsoft complied promptly with a subpoena for information regarding his purchase, access and use of eblaster.
  • I kept the compromised laptop in the pristinely tampered with condition it was in, packing it away to be used as evidence – not even turning it back on til it was given to the police.

…and yet it took a year, once all of the evidence was handed over,  to get the “investigation” to arrest level.  All I could think of, was holy hell, what if anyone had actually had to go out and FIND evidence??

Next up:  It’s not my job.

Dr Steven Curley trial postponed

A search of the Harris County District Courts website revealed that the trial for former MD Anderson doctor accused of installing E-Blaster on his wife’s computer during their divorce, has been delayed.

Instead of going to trial today (01/22/2014) his criminal case is set to go before Judge Maria Jackson of the 339th District Court in Harris County on 02/26/2014.