Billboard hacker faces 12 years in jail for broadcasting porn

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Indonesian police have arrested a man for allegedly streaming porn on a billboard viewable to passing motorists in the south of Jakarta, the BBC reports.

The AP has named the man as Samudera Al Hakam Ralial, a 24-year-old IT analyst, and reports that he has confessed.

According to Jakarta Police Chief Muhammad Iriawan, the suspect claims that the porn broadcast was accidental.

The billboard displayed footage from a Japanese porn film for 5 minutes on Friday before power was eventually cut off.

However, that was long enough for an untold number of motorists to capture video clips on their mobile phones, and the porn rapidly spread on social media from there.

Outside of Indonesia, there are, of course, plenty of cases where jokesters have messed with road signs.

They’re typically portable road signs: the kind that usually display messages to inform drivers that an exit’s closed, or that there’s construction work ahead, rather than spreading updates about things like…

We could add “porn on billboards” to the list of defaced public signage, but it’s a discordant mix. Unlike the cases above, the Indonesia case isn’t amusing, given the high-stakes penalties Indonesia could impose.

Even in the US, which has a more relaxed approach to porn, messing with these signs is a serious crime: it’s a third-degree felony punishable with prison time.

Iriawan told news outlets that Ralial could face up to 6 years in jail for the crime.

Online porn is blocked in the Muslim-majority country of Indonesia, and the penalties for breaking its anti-porn laws can be harsh.

Passed in 2008, Indonesia’s Anti-Pornography Law bans manufacture, production, reproduction, copying, distribution, broadcasting, importing, exporting, offering, reselling, renting or providing pornography, which is defined to include nude images.

Iriawan has said that the perpetrator could be charged under either that law, which carries a prison sentence of up to 12 years, or under the Electronic Transaction Law, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 6 years and a fine of 1 billion rupiah ($77,000).

Indonesia has in the past banned Tumblr for distributing porn, as well as Imgur, Reddit, and video-sharing website Vimeo.

The country has also ordered social networking sites to remove any emojis representing same-sex couples.

The IT analyst was arrested in his office. He allegedly pulled off the stunt after having spied login details displayed on the billboard.

In other words, the highway equivalent of scribbling a password onto a sticky note affixed to a monitor.

He snapped a photo with his phone, then logged in from his office.

That adds up to two security blunders: displaying a password where anybody and everybody could see it, and taking advantage of that fact by using those credentials.

It’s like we always say: just because you leave your window open doesn’t justify a burglar breaking in.

The same goes here too: just because you find a password doesn’t make it OK to use it. It’s still trespassing, and the law doesn’t take kindly to it.