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Wikileaks Competitor Liveleak.com Sees Founder Rene Muijrers Charged with Violating U.S. Computer Fraud Act

LiveLeak, based in London, was a British video-sharing service launched on October 31, 2006 with a mission to openly display genuine film of politics, war, and many other global events, as well as to inspire and nurture a culture of citizen journalism.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (CFAA) is a cybersecurity statute established in the United States in 1986 as an addition to existing computer fraud legislation included in the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The legislation makes it illegal to access a computer without authorisation or in excess of authorization.

Liveleak.com Founder Rene Muijrers a citizen of Belgium and the Netherlands is scheduled to go to court in U.S. Federal Court to fight claims he violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030 while operating www.liveleak.com/ , a well-known citizen journalism website that is now closed. Case 2:21-cv-20054 filed in November by a U.S financial firm against defendants Rene Muijrers, Icon sprl the Belgium corporation that owned Liveleak.com, and its U.S. hosting partner Techie Hosting, Inc. will be determined by a Judge in the Federal District Court of New Jersey. The complaint describes Liveleak.com as “a free video hosting website launched in 2006” which “features videos of breaking news contributed by citizen journalists.”

The U.S. firm alleges Muijrers violated the law when on May 5, 2021, he “intentionally, recklessly and without authorization” took data and the property of Liveleak.com users which was then “recklessly transferred to Itemfix.com.” which the complaint alleges was a new competing site to Liveleak.com that Muijrers secretly developed while being paid a full-time salary for managing Liveleak.com. The complaint further alleges that not only did Muijrers’ actions violate Liveleak.com’s terms and conditions and privacy policy but that he “continues to misuse and alter Liveleak.com user data” in order to promote Defendant Muijrers’ new website Itemfix.com. The U.S. company bringing the lawsuit claims tens of millions of liveleak.com users have been harmed because of Muijrers actions. Muijrers is also being accused of “hijacking Plaintiff’s website to promote Itemfix.com”  using false pretenses which the complaint alleges violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 which  prohibits any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or the knowing, concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise. A decision in the Federal case is expected to be rendered sometime in 2022.


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