A Las Vegas District Court judge is currently weighing a big question that you may have opinions on: is exploiting a bug on a casino’s video poker machine illegal or not?
John Kane had been the final player at machine 50102, and he’d opted for Triple Play Triple Double Bonus Poker, winning three hands at once at the maximum $US10 denomination. His last game was still on the screen: three aces, four aces, three aces again. At payout odds of 820-to-1 he’d scored an $US8,200 bonanza… [H]e was exploiting a previously-unknown firmware bug present in the Game King and nine other IGT machines — one that had been hidden for seven years.
But the bug only required playing the machine — not fiddling with software or hardware in any way — so it’s unclear if it counts as illegal or otherwise. The problem is that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is a little vague when it comes to what counts as hacking and what counts as computer misuse — and that’s what the judge is wrestling with. A ruling that declares the incident legal could have an interesting impact on how the CFAA is used in the future, but what do you think? [WIRED via Daring Fireball]