A Japanese district court has, for the first time, sentenced a man to prison in a remote crypto mining case. The case follows the arrests of Coinhive users by the police in 10 prefectures. However, this case is different from previously discussed cases of mining cryptocurrencies using website visitors’ computers.
Jail Sentence in Remote Mining Case
On Monday, Japanese media reported that a man has received a one year prison sentence for using a remote mining tool to mine cryptocurrency using other people’s computers without their consent.
According to Nikkei, the Sendai District Court ruled on July 2, sentencing an unemployed 24-year old of the city of Amagasaki in Hyogo prefecture to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended for three years.
The Kahoku Shimpo publication elaborated:
The Sendai District Court ruled on an imprisonment sentence of 1 year, [with the] sentence suspended for 3 years…The judgment on mining abuse was the first in the whole country.
This news follows multiple other reports of the Japanese police cracking down on the use of remote mining tools where website visitors were not informed that their computers were being used to mine cryptocurrencies. Recently, the police in 10 prefectures nabbed 16 people and arrested three.
There is More to the Story
The articles by Nikkei and Kahoku do not mention the name of the remote mining tool used, or whether Coinhive was used specifically.
A source familiar with the matter explained to news.Bitcoin.com that this case involves the use of Coinhive in an online game cheat tool, instead of one installed on a website.
According to the judgment, he embedded a mining program into a tool that advances online games advantageously, in January – February, without justifiable grounds, released it on his blog, downloaded it to another person’s computer, and started mining.
Famous security researcher Dr. Takagi Hiromitsu commented on the news, confirming that “This case was not [about] Coinhive on the web but a cheat tool of an online game.”
Different Legal Status
Lawyer Takashi Hirano believes that there is a legal difference between the two uses of Coinhive.
He represents Moro-san whom news.Bitcoin.com recently reported on. Moro-san was recently fined about $909 for installing Coinhive on his website and mined cryptocurrency without his website users’ consent.
I think that there are major differences in the legal configuration between using Coinhive on one’s website and embedding Coinhive in one’s cheat tool.
Furthermore, cheating programs for games are often illegal in Japan because they violate Japan’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law, according to Yomiuri Shimbun. Violators can be picked up by the police and charged with a crime.
What do you think of the court’s judgment? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Editor’s Note: Some statements have been translated from Japanese. Translation help by “VHGad3WzZolyYx”.
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