A group of MIT students have recently received a ‘most innovative’ award from a hackathon competition for their bitcoin mining program Tidbit. However, the bitcoin hackers have found themselves to soon be confronting a New Jersey judge.
Soon after the hacking competition in December 2013, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued 19-year-old Jeremy Rubin a subpoena. The Tidbit developer was told to hand over anything Tidbit related, including IP addresses of all Tidbit bitcoin miners.
The document requested that “all documents and correspondence concerning all breaches of security and/or unauthorized access to computers” be turned in.
Bitcoin Hackers Fight Back
Neither Tidbit or Rubin have been accused of a specific criminal charge, but the subpoena sounds similar to that of New Jersey’s Computer Fraud Act.
The students say that Tidbit is an alternative for sites to show advertisements on their page. By utilizing Tidbit, websites can allow viewers to assist them in the mining for bitcoins, rather watching an ad. This is revolutionary to internet users who can’t stand being forced to watch a random 30 second video.
The state of New Jersey believes that Tidbit violates consumer rights, as posed in the written requisitions sent to Rubin.
Most of the Tidbit information does not exist, since Tidbit claims no one has yet to mine bitcoin with their technology. In turn, nothing can be handed over to New Jersey officials.
Tidbit is 98% complete in terms of going green, but not yet ready for public use. This adds to why New Jersey officials won’t be receiving much information about the Tidbit team. The team is shocked that they were told to handover data that they didn’t even have. Rubin told VentureBeat:
“We were served right before finals. I think what was hardest is that I, and perhaps most MIT students, just want to build, make, and tinker towards a better future.”
Rubin took to the Electronic Frontier Foundation technology law firm to assist him and his team with their newly found legal trouble.
The nonprofit firm helped Rubin file a complaint against the subpoena, and the team is now taking their case to court. They say that the subpoena is ‘unconstitutional’.
Tidbit was developed by Rubin and 3 other MIT students during the Node Knockout 2013 programming competition. It took the team 48 hours to complete development between November 11th and 13th.
Tidbit’s coding allows foreign CPU’s to mine for bitcoins. In exchange, opted-in users would no longer have to feel bombarded with over advertising. Developer of Tidbit Oliver Song says:
“We’re hoping that Tidbit can completely replace ad revenue.”
Though the new technology is impressive, in its current state, Tidbit costs users more money than it earns the websites. Running Tidbit for a full day only generates 1 cent. The electricity used to earn the cent will definitely cause a setback.
Song and his team are working on integrating with WebGL, which will in turn make mining for bitcoins easier.
Stay tuned to Coinreport.net for more bitcoin news.
Click for Tidbit Developers Photo.