The State of New Jersey finally reached a settlement with Tidbit, a company founded by an MIT student Jeremy Rubin. In 2013 Rubin (who now works for the MIT Media Lab) created a program that allowed website owners to use the computers of the website visitors to mine bitcoins. Now Rubin agreed “to stop accessing computers without owners consent”.

The State of New Jersey and Jeremy Rubin’s company Tidbit finally reached to a form of an agreement, reports Fox News. The company made a legal-binding promise that the program “Tidbit” will not access computers without their owners consent. “The settlement also includes a $25,000 penalty that will be vacated within two years if the company follows the settlement terms,” reports Fox News. .

The lengthy hearing of the Jerry Rubin’s case began two years ago. In 2013 during the Node Knockout Hackathon, an MIT Electrical Engineering student Jerry Rubin created a program named “Titbit”. It allowed website owners to replace traditional banner advertisements with a special code that turned website visitor’ computers into bitcoin miners. Rubin presented the program to the Hackathon jury – and received a high score for innovation.

The new program attracted attention of the state regulator. The New Jersey Attorney’s office found Rubin’s invention problematic and began an investigation. The main issue was the users’ consent: Tidbit did not ask the owners of the computers whether they would rather mine bitcoins instead of traditional ad watching. 

“In December 2013, the New Jersey Attorney General's office issued a sweeping subpoena to Rubin and Tidbit, seeking Tidbit's source code, documents and narrative responses about how Tidbit worked, which websites it was installed on and the Bitcoin accounts and wallet addresses associated with Tidbit.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation decided to defend Jerry Rubin. Attorney Frank Colorado tried to argue that the state of New Jersey (where Tidbit was invented) does not have any judicial power over the program and its inventor (Rubin is from Massachusetts). In late 2014, judge Garry Furnati supported the Attorney General reasoning and declared that New Jersey had authority over the mining program. After this decision Jerry Rubin and the State of New Jersey started long negotiations that finished with the agreement announced today.