The email above is evidence of the DCI having broken into the Community News Corporation production system and having taken documents to use to promote the business of the DCI. The attachment contained all the pages of the new Town & Country Trading Post, which had yet to be distributed to the public.
18 U.S. Code § 2701 - Unlawful access to stored communications
(a) Offense.-Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section whoever-
(1) intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided; or
(2) intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility; and thereby obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system shall be punished as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Punishment.-The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) of this section is-
(1) if the offense is committed for purposes of commercial advantage, malicious destruction or damage, or private commercial gain, or in furtherance of any criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or any State-
(A) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both, in the case of a first offense under this subparagraph; and
(B) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, for any subsequent offense under this subparagraph
By Larry Dobson
It was with sadness and frustration that we learned February 28th that someone from our neighboring publication, the Dodge County Independent (DCI) had broken into our production system, had stolen documents from our files and had used the property they had stolen to benefit the DCI.
We introduced our new publication, The Town & Country Trading Post, with a sample issue last month which was printed on February 8 and delivered to every postal patron in our market area on February 9.
We were surprised when we got a call from one of our customers, before the publication was delivered, with a query about how the DCI had learned about their ad and letting us know they were going to run the same ad in the DCI. We were baffled as to how the DCI knew what was in our publication before it was even out the printer's door, that is the Post Bulletin's door.
We contacted the Post Bulletin and were told they do not allow anyone to see or take their customer's products from their printing department.
We remained baffled as to how the DCI had gotten our property until one of the employees who had gotten the email (displayed on the right) forwarded this email to us. The employee knew that a crime had been committed and let us know so that we could report it and see that it does not happen again.
I contacted the Dodge County Sheriff's Office and met with Sgt. Jeff Espinosa and Investigator Bob Morris, who took my report and said they would contact DCI publisher Rick Bussler and get back to me.
When Espinosa got back to me, he said Bussler told him that when he uploaded files to the Post Bulletin "...it wasn't secure...they are just sitting on the site waiting for the Post Bulletin to print the items."
It is a federal crime to intentionally access or intentionally exceed an authorization to access electronic communications, with a first offense punishment of a fine or up to five years imprisonment and subsequent offense of up to ten years.
There is no requirement for the Post Bulletin or for Community News Corporation to take any extraordinary steps to prevent people from being able to commit a crime.
It is up to individuals to obey the law and to not commit crimes. Nevertheless, the Post Bulletin has taken steps now to provide greater security for their customers.
When I emailed Bussler regarding this issue of his having broken into our files and accessing and taking our portable document files (pdfs), his response was "As for the FTP issue, I was not aware of it until you had the sheriff's office bring it to my attention. The issue has been dealt with internally and should not ever happen again. In speaking to the Post Bulletin, they accepted full responsibility for the mishap saying "it's our fault" as its FTP site was not secure. The site has since been secured and new passwords assigned. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact Jeff Lansing at the Post Bulletin.
"I also understand you're trying to portray the FTP issue as something that it definitely is not. The accusations you've made through Tara Lindquist emailing me are slanderous and libelous. As the Post Bulletin has shared with me and most likely yourself, there is no factual basis to your accusations. This is also a form of harassment, and I will not tolerate that."
Bussler seems not to understand that it isn't up to the Post Bulletin to make it impossible for him to commit a crime, it is up to him to not commit one.
Tara Lindquist, our reporter, was only attempting to give Bussler an opportunity to tell his side of this dark tale.