If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Yahoo)   JSTOR itself believed that Aaron Swartz had "the right" to download from the site, and was not doing anything illegal   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 162
    More: Followup, Aaron Swartz, Computer Crime, JSTOR, force of law, internet freedom, MIT  
•       •       •

4390 clicks; posted to Geek » on 14 Jan 2013 at 9:50 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



162 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-01-14 07:30:04 AM  
You forgot "... said his own lawyer". Oh yes, and the article says that he paid JSTOR compensation.
 
2013-01-14 08:53:01 AM  
Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-14 09:19:20 AM  
As I recall the downloading was enough to affect JSTOR's service, so the "information I want to be free wants to be free" argument doesn't carry the day.

Peters said Swartz "obviously was not committing fraud" because "it was public research that should be freely available

That's not what fraud means in federal criminal law. "Wire fraud" and "mail fraud" are extraordinarily broad crimes. They have been used to prosecute cheating on tests, for example, provided the answers were passed on by phone or to another state.
 
2013-01-14 09:42:10 AM  

xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.


Illegal, like using a public network to access data you have permission to access.

ZAZ: They have been used to prosecute cheating on tests, for example, provided the answers were passed on by phone or to another state.


And in this case, it's being used to download data you have permission to download via a network you're allowed to use.
 
2013-01-14 09:56:58 AM  
As someone else in another thread said..."all the stuff he copied was available for free elsewhere"

Well maybe he should have copied it from those places and kept out of trouble.
 
2013-01-14 09:57:03 AM  

orbister: You forgot "... said his own lawyer".


Done in one.

Oh yes, and the article says that he paid JSTOR compensation.

Not to mention that he also turned his drives over to them.

I mean, seriously:
Elliot Peters, Swartz's attorney, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the case "was horribly overblown" because JSTOR itself believed that Swartz had "the right" to download from the site... JSTOR, one alleged victim, agreed with Peters that those terms were excessive, Peters said. JSTOR came over to Swartz's side after "he gave the stuff back to JSTOR, paid them to compensate for any inconveniences and apologized," Peters said.

If JSTOR thought he had 'the right' to download that stuff, then why did they insist that it be returned and he pay damages?
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-14 09:59:39 AM  
t3knomanser

JSTOR TOS:
In addition to agreeing to any Content-Specific Terms and Conditions of Use, you agree that you will not: ... undertake any activity such as computer programs that automatically download or export Content, commonly known as web robots, spiders, crawlers, wanderers or accelerators that may interfere with, disrupt or otherwise burden the JSTOR server(s) or any third-party server(s) being used or accessed in connection with JSTOR
Whether or not his access was otherwise authorized (which I doubt) it was not authorized.
 
2013-01-14 10:04:24 AM  

xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.


Except when that illegal thing is actually just an overreach of your legal rights and when your victims don't actually have that much of a problem with anything you did. And they don't usually try to get you 50 years in jail for taking down a network for a couple hours.
 
2013-01-14 10:07:00 AM  

Giltric: As someone else in another thread said..."all the stuff he copied was available for free elsewhere"

Well maybe he should have copied it from those places and kept out of trouble.



Indeed. The crimes prosecuted here were not for infringement but for wire fraud and unauthorized access. Its more akin to breaking and entering than stealing. And if you did break into someone's home just so you could take photos of the furniture, I really wouldn't argue "Hey, that these chairs exist elsewhere, so it should have been legal" as it 1) is irrelevant to the breaking and entering and 2) is kinda dumb.
 
2013-01-14 10:07:58 AM  
i'm sure there's someone alot more tech and/or legal saavy than me who can talk more knowledgeably about the specs of this case, but my reading of this yahoo article (and some other articles ) about this stuff leaves me on the fence.

On the one i hand, i do believe, in general, knowledge should be free. this is the idealist side of me. research funded by federal dollars? everything is open, no subscription, no institutional affliation required. need to learn how to wire your house? safe, practical, usable information should be at your fingertips. whether you burn your house down or not is on you.

On the other hand, the realist side of me, which is old and cynical, knows all to well there is no such thing as a free lunch. maybe this kid was trying to move the needle some, fighting the powers that be, but if it comes down to it and you're trying to take food from someone else's bowl, i don't think you should be surprised when they bite. not all dogs, so to speak, share the same values.

\two cents
 
2013-01-14 10:08:18 AM  

ZAZ: Whether or not his access was otherwise authorized (which I doubt) it was not authorized.


He had an account through Harvard, and MIT runs an open network for the public. He was definitely authorized.

The wording of the TOS isn't open and shut- he will "not undertake any activity... that may interfere with... JSTOR servers." It doesn't prohibit the use of automatic downloaders, as written. It uses them as an example of software that may disrupt service.

And it's difficult to jump from a TOS violation to this level of prosecution. 99% of the time, violating the TOS is simply grounds for termination of service.
 
2013-01-14 10:08:31 AM  

dehehn: xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.

Except when that illegal thing is actually just an overreach of your legal rights


See above - it's pretty clear that, contrary to what Swartz' lawyer says, JSTOR didn't actually think he had a right to do what he did, or they wouldn't have insisted on an apology, monetary restitution, and possession of all of his downloads. They may not have thought that criminal penalties were reasonable, but they didn't think he was acting within - or even close to - his legal rights.

and when your victims don't actually have that much of a problem with anything you did.

Domestic abuse victims frequently "don't actually have that much of a problem" with what the perpetrator did, but the state is still allowed to prosecute them for their crimes.

And they don't usually try to get you 50 years in jail for taking down a network for a couple hours.

Let's be realistic - that's the maximum possible for the various charges, if every sentence was applied consecutively rather than concurrently. More likely, he'd be facing a year or two total for the trespassing and wire fraud charges.
 
2013-01-14 10:08:59 AM  

Giltric: As someone else in another thread said..."all the stuff he copied was available for free elsewhere"

Well maybe he should have copied it from those places and kept out of trouble.


Where was the first thread about this? I can't seem to find it.
 
2013-01-14 10:10:28 AM  

dehehn: xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.

Except when that illegal thing is actually just an overreach of your legal rights and when your victims don't actually have that much of a problem with anything you did. And they don't usually try to get you 50 years in jail for taking down a network for a couple hours.


Well, when my internet goes down for "a couple of hours" I really do want to stick someone in prison for 50 years.
 
2013-01-14 10:11:04 AM  
Could be worse.
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-14 10:11:32 AM  
Its more akin to breaking and entering than stealing.

It was probably literally breaking and entering, i.e. felony burglary.
 
2013-01-14 10:12:33 AM  
I wonder if his family will pursue a wrongful death suit.
 
2013-01-14 10:12:55 AM  
I don't get the jstor thing, you can pretty much go to any library and access Jstor from there
 
2013-01-14 10:15:03 AM  

soia: I don't get the jstor thing, you can pretty much go to any library and access Jstor from there


Which is essentially what he was doing, but he was archiving the contents so that they could be reposted elsewhere. These documents were not protected by copyright.
 
2013-01-14 10:15:21 AM  

t3knomanser: ZAZ: Whether or not his access was otherwise authorized (which I doubt) it was not authorized.

He had an account through Harvard, and MIT runs an open network for the public. He was definitely authorized.


... to access MIT's wireless network, yes.
However, once he was blocked from accessing that network, he was no longer authorized. His MAC spoofing was an intentional attempt to circumvent that block, so he couldn't claim that he thought he was authorized at that point.

... and of course, hooking up his machine in a network closet really isn't justifiable, and when you're covering your face to avoid being seen on camera, it's tough to argue that you thought you were authorized:
i.dailymail.co.uk

The wording of the TOS isn't open and shut- he will "not undertake any activity... that may interfere with... JSTOR servers." It doesn't prohibit the use of automatic downloaders, as written. It uses them as an example of software that may disrupt service.

... or may burden service. And an automatic downloader burdens service, by definition. We can discuss how much it burdens service (e.g. does it have bandwidth limits or a timer that slows request rate, etc.), but the TOS is clear - you can't use any automatic downloader that may burden the service. Note that it even says "may", not "does", so the arguments about how much are actually irrelevant.

And it's difficult to jump from a TOS violation to this level of prosecution. 99% of the time, violating the TOS is simply grounds for termination of service.

Yeah, but when you then start spoofing addresses and trespassing to get around their attempts to block you, you fall into that 1%.
 
Esn
2013-01-14 10:16:05 AM  

xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.


Hahah. That's funny. I don't remember any bankers ever being prosecuted.

I love how Farkers are so quick to jump to the government's defense on this, too. Over 30 years for breaking & entering (without actually stealing anything) - yeah, that totally makes sense. What scumbags you people are.
 
2013-01-14 10:17:25 AM  

t3knomanser: These documents were not protected by copyright.


Uh, yeah, they were. Unless they're explicitly made public domain (i.e. by expiration of copyright term or other statutory means, or an express release by the copyright owner), all documents are protected by copyright.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-01-14 10:19:52 AM  
According to previous stories, he did interfere with JSTOR service by downloading too many files.
 
Esn
2013-01-14 10:19:56 AM  
Also, this is the first thread I've seen about this on Fark - don't think it's ever been mentioned in the liter section before.

So for those people wondering what all this is about:

Good Washington Post article

Lawrence Lessig's eulogy
 
2013-01-14 10:21:10 AM  

Esn: Hahah. That's funny. I don't remember any bankers ever being prosecuted.


Fun fact - much of what the bankers did that torched the world economy was not illegal.

/Meaning of course we have a legislation problem, rather than a judicial one.
 
2013-01-14 10:21:28 AM  

Theaetetus: dehehn: xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.

Except when that illegal thing is actually just an overreach of your legal rights

See above - it's pretty clear that, contrary to what Swartz' lawyer says, JSTOR didn't actually think he had a right to do what he did, or they wouldn't have insisted on an apology, monetary restitution, and possession of all of his downloads. They may not have thought that criminal penalties were reasonable, but they didn't think he was acting within - or even close to - his legal rights.

and when your victims don't actually have that much of a problem with anything you did.

Domestic abuse victims frequently "don't actually have that much of a problem" with what the perpetrator did, but the state is still allowed to prosecute them for their crimes.

And they don't usually try to get you 50 years in jail for taking down a network for a couple hours.

Let's be realistic - that's the maximum possible for the various charges, if every sentence was applied consecutively rather than concurrently. More likely, he'd be facing a year or two total for the trespassing and wire fraud charges.


Did you really just compare a TOS violation to beating your spouse? Really?
 
2013-01-14 10:24:45 AM  
I have to be honest...I don't care about this. I see it has the tech nerds up in arms, and seems to really drive page clicks for Fark so I expect to see about 200 more threads about this.

But really, I don't see what the big deal is, whether he was guilty of a crime or not, he offed himself so it is pretty much moot at this point.
 
2013-01-14 10:25:01 AM  

Kinek: Did you really just compare a TOS violation to beating your spouse? Really?


Nope, I noted that criminal prosecutions are pursued by the state and do not necessarily need to the cooperation or approval of the victim. Do you disagree with this statement?
 
2013-01-14 10:26:07 AM  

Kinek: Did you really just compare a TOS violation to beating your spouse? Really?


Ah and this rears it's head. Where someone uses an analogy that is apt for what is being discussed, and someone else, not recognizing how analogies work, gets in a huff because the two things being compared are not the same!

Look, lawyers are taught to analogize. It is literally what the practice of law is. Thus sometimes, when it is appropriate, you can compare child rape and illegal downloads: for example if we are discussing the fact that both topics inspire knee jerk positions that have as much to do with emotional valence as they do law and order.

Humans and dogs both lactate and both form long term bonds. I have not just called you or any other person a dog. Can we please let this old "argument" tactic die already?
 
2013-01-14 10:27:13 AM  

Theaetetus: However, once he was blocked from accessing that network, he was no longer authorized. His MAC spoofing was an intentional attempt to circumvent that block, so he couldn't claim that he thought he was authorized at that point.


It's an open question as to whether or not MIT has the power to do that, thanks to its charter with the city. Similarly, it's an open question as to whether or not he could technically be trespassing. MIT's power to limit access to its facilities is very restricted. There was a crappy Robin Williams movie based on this premise. No, wait, Joe Pesci. It was Joe Pesci. But with a beard. It was like Good Will Hunting but with homelessness.

Was he being a bad citizen in regards to his access of these public resources? Certainly. But that's not against the law.

Theaetetus: all documents are protected by copyright.


You are pedantically correct, but the documents in question were public records. The last I checked, they were legal codes and court documents. Since governments don't have the funds or interest in making these documents easily accessible, gatekeepers like JSTOR organize and provide access to those documents for a fee. They do not own those documents.
 
2013-01-14 10:27:16 AM  

Theaetetus: need to the cooperation

                            ^have
 
2013-01-14 10:30:17 AM  
Had I been in charge of overseeing the case, considering Swartz's motive and what he actually did, I would have recommended he receive community service in the form of setting up a really big open-source alternative to JSTOR suitable for use by impoverished public school districts. It should take about 1200-1500 hours and the end result should be something the offended parties, MIT and JSTOR, are able to get back something like a reasonable value of the material taken with via charitable tax deductions for licensing it free to broke schools. Swartz would've been awesome at that, the punishment would've fit the crime and the end result would've been the world's being a better place.

Some nonviolent crimes are really best handled with a rehabilitative and publically beneficial sentence. Someone shoplifts, make them sweep the whole parking lot clean and bring the store's employees coffee for a week. It saves the company the value of the item taken and the criminal makes amends in a way that teaches them and benefits the victims. Someone tries to download eleventy bazillion articles for the purpose of making knowledge more widely available, make that person help with a knowledge database for the poor and deserving so the victims can get the value back via charity. It's so difficult to put a meaningful price on information, it seems to me that this "omg! hackers and pirates must die!!!11!" RIAA-style bullshiat is hurting the world more than the criminals possibly could.

It's like how our library gives some people the choice of either paying late-book fines in cashy money or reading aloud to at-risk children until the fines are satisfied. So long as life gets better, why bother to be a hard-ass about a crime that doesn't cause any particular harm?
 
2013-01-14 10:30:27 AM  

t3knomanser: Theaetetus: However, once he was blocked from accessing that network, he was no longer authorized. His MAC spoofing was an intentional attempt to circumvent that block, so he couldn't claim that he thought he was authorized at that point.

It's an open question as to whether or not MIT has the power to do that, thanks to its charter with the city. Similarly, it's an open question as to whether or not he could technically be trespassing. MIT's power to limit access to its facilities is very restricted.


I believe they're allowed to take steps to prevent harmful intrusion.

Theaetetus: all documents are protected by copyright.

You are pedantically correct,


That's the best kind of correct.

but the documents in question were public records. The last I checked, they were legal codes and court documents. Since governments don't have the funds or interest in making these documents easily accessible, gatekeepers like JSTOR organize and provide access to those documents for a fee. They do not own those documents.

I believe you may be confusing the JSTOR intrusion with his 2009 PACER intrusion. PACER is the system that publishes federal court documents. JSTOR is academic journals, and their authors have copyright protection.
 
2013-01-14 10:30:31 AM  

Teiritzamna: Kinek: Did you really just compare a TOS violation to beating your spouse? Really?

Ah and this rears it's head. Where someone uses an analogy that is apt for what is being discussed, and someone else, not recognizing how analogies work, gets in a huff because the two things being compared are not the same!

Look, lawyers are taught to analogize. It is literally what the practice of law is. Thus sometimes, when it is appropriate, you can compare child rape and illegal downloads: for example if we are discussing the fact that both topics inspire knee jerk positions that have as much to do with emotional valence as they do law and order.

Humans and dogs both lactate and both form long term bonds. I have not just called you or any other person a dog. Can we please let this old "argument" tactic die already?


Except that such comparisons can be used to frame a 'crime' in a way that seems more dispalatable to a general audience.

Which one of you was the one who told me that we have different words for different crimes? That I should just go on down to the convenience store and rape me a packet of cigarettes? Comparing TOS violations to domestic abuse, a highly inflammatory subject suggest that the two are in some way equivalent. I think that suggests more your frame of mind, than anything in reality. Tell me, which is worse; Violating copyright or Violating a woman?
 
2013-01-14 10:30:44 AM  

xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.


Exactly! This is why the people responsible for the 2008 economic crisis, the subprime mortgage lendings, banks funding terrorist organizations and authorizing waterboarding are all awaiting trials and facing 50 years in jail. The United States is a nation of laws and we won't tolerate people who break them.
 
2013-01-14 10:32:26 AM  

Theaetetus: t3knomanser: Theaetetus: However, once he was blocked from accessing that network, he was no longer authorized. His MAC spoofing was an intentional attempt to circumvent that block, so he couldn't claim that he thought he was authorized at that point.

It's an open question as to whether or not MIT has the power to do that, thanks to its charter with the city. Similarly, it's an open question as to whether or not he could technically be trespassing. MIT's power to limit access to its facilities is very restricted.

I believe they're allowed to take steps to prevent harmful intrusion.

Theaetetus: all documents are protected by copyright.

You are pedantically correct,

That's the best kind of correct.

but the documents in question were public records. The last I checked, they were legal codes and court documents. Since governments don't have the funds or interest in making these documents easily accessible, gatekeepers like JSTOR organize and provide access to those documents for a fee. They do not own those documents.

I believe you may be confusing the JSTOR intrusion with his 2009 PACER intrusion. PACER is the system that publishes federal court documents. JSTOR is academic journals, and their authors have copyright protection.


NIH and NSF funded research is often required to be publically accessible as a condition of its funding. In practice, this is not always the case, and there is often delays. But in essence, they should be publically accessible.
 
Esn
2013-01-14 10:32:31 AM  

Teiritzamna: Esn: Hahah. That's funny. I don't remember any bankers ever being prosecuted.

Fun fact - much of what the bankers did that torched the world economy was not illegal.

/Meaning of course we have a legislation problem, rather than a judicial one.


Oh yes, sure. The real reason is that the bankers were "too big to fail", just like the banks. Nobody even made an honest attempt.  With this legal system we have now, you can find dirt on just about anyone if you try. Everyone's broken some law or other, amount of resources determine whether you can pursue it or not. At the very least something should have been started to put some fear into those people, but nothing ever was.
 
2013-01-14 10:32:52 AM  

ZAZ: According to previous stories, he did interfere with JSTOR service by downloading too many files.


He did. But again, it's definitely highly unusual for someone to get a federal indictment for violating someone's TOS. Imagine if Fark started pressing charges instead of handing out bans.

The question here isn't, "Did this guy do things he shouldn't have?" Obviously he did. Were these things crimes? Possibly, but it does fall into a grey area (and his actions were specifically structured to place it into a gray area). Considering he and the alleged victim reached an understanding without needing Federal charges being filed, and the unlikelyhood of any kind of recidivism along these lines, it's a perfect example of where prosecutorial discretion comes into play.
 
2013-01-14 10:34:35 AM  

Kinek: Except that such comparisons can be used to frame a 'crime' in a way that seems more dispalatable to a general audience.


If you're blaming me for your reading too much in my analogy, then I think your ire is misplaced.

Which one of you was the one who told me that we have different words for different crimes? That I should just go on down to the convenience store and rape me a packet of cigarettes? Comparing TOS violations to domestic abuse, a highly inflammatory subject suggest that the two are in some way equivalent. I think that suggests more your frame of mind, than anything in reality. Tell me, which is worse; Violating copyright or Violating a woman?

Again, I think you read far too much into this. Perhaps you'd like to answer the question above - are you disagreeing with the underlying point regarding the state's ability to prosecute crimes, even over the protests of the victim?
 
2013-01-14 10:35:38 AM  

Kinek: Which one of you was the one who told me that we have different words for different crimes? That I should just go on down to the convenience store and rape me a packet of cigarettes? Comparing TOS violations to domestic abuse, a highly inflammatory subject suggest that the two are in some way equivalent. I think that suggests more your frame of mind, than anything in reality. Tell me, which is worse; Violating copyright or Violating a woman?


The trick is that you are getting mad at Theae for doing something that his job actively requires - its like you getting mad at a doctor for discussing humans as if they were biologically interconnected systems.

I mean i suppose we could take it your way, and from ever after we could only discuss laws by only considering them within the context of themselves. Ok. He was prosecuted because it was arguable that under the elements of the crimes discussed, the evidence suggested to a prosecutor that charges could be brought.

Tada!
 
2013-01-14 10:35:59 AM  

Kinek: NIH and NSF funded research is often required to be publically accessible as a condition of its funding. In practice, this is not always the case, and there is often delays. But in essence, they should be publically accessible.


Regardless, he wasn't accused of copyright violation. It's a moot point.

Theaetetus: I believe they're allowed to take steps to prevent harmful intrusion.


Which, again, this falls into a gray area. Yes, he was monopolizing resources and disrupting service for others. But does that rise to a threshold where they can revoke his access to what is, essentially, a public space?
 
2013-01-14 10:36:19 AM  

xynix: Doing illegal stuff usually gets you prosecuted.


I've done illegal things many times before in my life... from jaywalking to smoking cannabis to ripping CDs I didn't pay for to driving with a little buzz on. I have never been prosecuted in my life.
 
2013-01-14 10:36:55 AM  

t3knomanser: ZAZ: According to previous stories, he did interfere with JSTOR service by downloading too many files.

He did. But again, it's definitely highly unusual for someone to get a federal indictment for violating someone's TOS. Imagine if Fark started pressing charges instead of handing out bans.

The question here isn't, "Did this guy do things he shouldn't have?" Obviously he did. Were these things crimes? Possibly, but it does fall into a grey area (and his actions were specifically structured to place it into a gray area). Considering he and the alleged victim reached an understanding without needing Federal charges being filed, and the unlikelyhood of any kind of recidivism along these lines, it's a perfect example of where prosecutorial discretion comes into play.


Agreed. This, along with the nebulous nature of the crime of Computer fraud, which seems to be the catch-all term for 'You did something that we don't like with a computer. Whether that's DDOS the Dow, or break the TOS on Imgur it's all the same'. It really is one of those laws thats been twisted to be a prosecuters Swiss army knife, rather than to indicate any damage or egregiousness.

Coming soon: Patent for crime. Patent for Crime ON A COMPUTER.
 
2013-01-14 10:37:54 AM  

js34603: I have to be honest...I don't care about this. I see it has the tech nerds up in arms, and seems to really drive page clicks for Fark so I expect to see about 200 more threads about this.

But really, I don't see what the big deal is, whether he was guilty of a crime or not, he offed himself so it is pretty much moot at this point.


It's kind of a big deal.

It really shows how crazy prosecutor leway has become. Compare the Swartz case with David Gregory. In the Swartz case, JSTOR said he violated the TOS. The prosecutor decided that it was, in fact, a felony "hacking" offense because it involved him accessing the network from a different location.

Now David Gregory waves a "high capacity" magazine on national TV which is illegal to possess in DC, where he was at the time. However, the prosecutor there decided that no crime occurred, so he walks. Never mind the same office charges others with the same offense every year.

Too many laws are written in vague terms that it's not too difficult for a prosecutor to have several possible charges for seemingly innocent actions. One researcher claims that the "average" citizen violates 3 state and federal statutes every day - often without knowing.
 
2013-01-14 10:39:25 AM  

Kinek: Coming soon: Patent for crime. Patent for Crime ON A COMPUTER.


alas, illegal acts are unpatentable subject matter.

Also some fairly big novelty/obviousness problems.
 
2013-01-14 10:40:23 AM  

t3knomanser: Theaetetus: I believe they're allowed to take steps to prevent harmful intrusion.

Which, again, this falls into a gray area. Yes, he was monopolizing resources and disrupting service for others. But does that rise to a threshold where they can revoke his access to what is, essentially, a public space?


I'd compare it to a public disturbing the peace-type charge. You can be ejected from a public space for interfering with others' rightful use of that public space.

Additionally, regardless of whether they were right or wrong to revoke his access initially, the proper response if he disagreed would be to communicate with them, not spoof his address or tap into a network closet.
 
2013-01-14 10:43:08 AM  
Wait, when the fark did we get back to the idiotic notion that violating TOS = a criminal offense? I could swear that idea had previously received a thorough bludgeoning.
 
2013-01-14 10:43:32 AM  

Theaetetus: Kinek: Except that such comparisons can be used to frame a 'crime' in a way that seems more dispalatable to a general audience.

If you're blaming me for your reading too much in my analogy, then I think your ire is misplaced.

Which one of you was the one who told me that we have different words for different crimes? That I should just go on down to the convenience store and rape me a packet of cigarettes? Comparing TOS violations to domestic abuse, a highly inflammatory subject suggest that the two are in some way equivalent. I think that suggests more your frame of mind, than anything in reality. Tell me, which is worse; Violating copyright or Violating a woman?

Again, I think you read far too much into this. Perhaps you'd like to answer the question above - are you disagreeing with the underlying point regarding the state's ability to prosecute crimes, even over the protests of the victim?


I just note that your worldview places TOS violations within easy analogy distance of beating your spouse. It's telling of the sanctity of particular aspects of the law to you. And if the state does not demonstrate a compelling interest in prosecuting, no, I don't think they should be able to take out a vendetta over the PACER fark-up on a guy for what was essentially a private disagreement. The problem here is that Computer fraud is defined so nebulously that violation of TOS (which nobody reads, and which may not be enforceable anyways) is equated with hacking the State department. Hell, looking at fark is technically Computer Fraud, under the right circumstances. This has more to do with a vendetta, and ill-defined laws than anything else.
 
Esn
2013-01-14 10:43:36 AM  

js34603: I have to be honest...I don't care about this. I see it has the tech nerds up in arms, and seems to really drive page clicks for Fark so I expect to see about 200 more threads about this.

But really, I don't see what the big deal is, whether he was guilty of a crime or not, he offed himself so it is pretty much moot at this point.


I will tell you why it's a big deal.

It's a big deal because the United States has reached the point where it treats its dissidents like the Soviet Union used to. You have this underclass of brilliant idealists and average folks who are trying to open up society in the way that Soviet citizens used to do by spreading samizdat literature, by-passing the state's intellectual controls, and you have the government using its heavy hand to relentlessly spy on them, prosecute them, drive them to ostracization, ruin, exile and suicide. This is part of a bigger pattern, and this particular case is a microcosm of the bigger picture. It is making people take notice.  It is blatantly obvious that this idealistic young person, in trying to better humanity, attracted the disproportionate wrath of the government.
 
2013-01-14 10:44:01 AM  

t3knomanser: Considering he and the alleged victim reached an understanding without needing Federal charges being filed, and the unlikelyhood of any kind of recidivism along these lines, it's a perfect example of where prosecutorial discretion comes into play.


I'd disagree about the recidivism - he did it previously with the PACER library, and has defended his actions as morally justifiable. I'd say that he'd be highly likely to do it again, in fact.
That said, I agree that it's really not that terrible, and community service would be a better move. Jail would be unlikely to have any positive results in his case.

Kinek: Agreed. This, along with the nebulous nature of the crime of Computer fraud, which seems to be the catch-all term for 'You did something that we don't like with a computer. Whether that's DDOS the Dow, or break the TOS on Imgur it's all the same'. It really is one of those laws thats been twisted to be a prosecuters Swiss army knife, rather than to indicate any damage or egregiousness.


There's nothing nebulous about it. Just because you haven't bothered to read the statute doesn't mean it's nebulous or a catch-all.
 
Displayed 50 of 162 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report