Captcha case goes to trial

A landmark case which could make it against the law in the US to get around Captcha security software is now headed to trial.

According to Wired,  a  federal judge in New Jersey has decided there is enough evidence to  start a case against a ring of defendants who used various means to bypass Captcha security systems.

Prosecutors claim that Kenneth Lowson and Kristofer Kirsch operated Wiseguy Tickets and Seats of San Francisco. They were indicted, along with employees Faisal Nahdi and Joel Stevenson.

The guts of the case is that the ring used various technology methods to automatically purchase thousands of tickets from online vendors and resell them at inflated prices.

The defendants are charged with wire fraud and with violating the anti-hacking Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. They managed to grab more than one million tickets for concerts and sporting events and made $25 million in profits between 2002 and 2009.

The prosecution claims that bypassing Captcha constituted unauthorised access of ticket seller servers.

However, lawyers for the defendants had filed a motion to dismiss the charges on grounds that the government was trying to turn what should be a breach-of-contract civil matter into a criminal case.

They say it is not about stealing, but is an attempt to regulate the legal secondary market for event ticket sales.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also asked for the case to be thrown out.

The government claims that it was just a traditional fraud as the men lied about who they were and their business model. They lied when they impersonated thousands of individual ticket buyers. And they lied when they established thousands of false email addresses and domain names.”

US District Judge Katharine Hayden sided with prosecutors and declined to dismiss the charges. The case is now set for trial on March 1.