Microsoft sued over 'embarrassment'

A New England man has sued Microsoft over the "great embarrassment" he claims to have suffered after an unrelated incident placed the contents of his computer in the hands of the FBI--medical records, family photographs, sexually-explicit video, salacious Web browser history and all.

According to an InformationWeek report, Michael Alan Crooker, who is currently behind bars in Connecticut in connection with alleged gun crimes, sued the Windows maker in Massachusetts Superior Court last week. He is requesting $200,000 in damages.

Crooker claimed Microsoft's security features should have prevented the federal agents from being able to view his files, including a video of him having sex with his wife, and his Internet Explorer browser history, which included numerous pornographic Web sites, InformationWeek reported.

The FBI got ahold of Crooker's computer after Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents seized the PC during a 2004 raid on his home tied to a gun sale investigation. They handed the machine to the FBI because they couldn't penetrate its security features, the InformationWeek story said.

According to court documents cited by the story, Crooker said he has already reached settlements with Hewlett-Packard, which made the Compaq computer that was seized, and Circuit City, which sold him the machine at a Massachusetts store two years earlier.

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    Anne Broache
    covers Capitol Hill goings-on and technology policy from Washington, D.C.
     

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