Unbelievably clueless over-reaction
And that's an understatement. What was called for was no reaction at all. Declan McCullagh's Politech list pointed me to this Boing Boing entry:
Jailed for using a nonstandard browser
A Londonder made a tsnuami[sic]-relief donation using lynx — a text-based browser used by the blind, Unix-users and others — on Sun's Solaris operating system. The site-operator decided that this "unusual" event in the system log indicated a hack-attempt, and the police broke down the donor's door and arrested him. From a mailing list:
For donating to a Tsunami appeal using Lynx on Solaris 10. BT [British Telecom] who run the donation management system misread an access log and saw hmm thats [sic] a non standard browser not identifying it's type and it's doing strange things. Trace that IP. Arrest that hacker.
Armed police, a van, a police cell and national news later the police have gone in SWAT styley [sic] and arrested someone having their lunch.
Out on bail till next week and preparing to make a lot of very bad PR for BT and the Police....
So just goes to show if you use anything other than Firefox or IE and you rely on someone else to interogate [sic] access logs or IDS logs you too could be sitting in a paper suit in a cell :(
Justice (Civil Liberties, so-called Intellectual Property, Privacy & Secrecy); Politics & Government (International, National, State, Local); Humor (Irony & the Funny or Unusual); Science & Technology (Astronomy, Computers, the Internet, e-Voting, Crypto, Physics & Space); Communication (Books, Film, Media, Music & the English Language); Economics (Corporatism & Consumerism); and Items of Purely Personal Note (including Genealogy, Photography, Religion & Spirituality).