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Thread: How computer hacking laws make you a criminal

  1. #31
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wooglin View Post
    The legal system disagrees with you. What your intent is matters very much, whether you were successful or not. It's very relevant.

    Anyway, I found a really good write up of the whole affair by a law professor who specializes in computer crime law, and it also debates the appropriate penalty

    The Volokh Conspiracy The Criminal Charges Against Aaron Swartz (Part 1: The Law)

    The Volokh Conspiracy The Criminal Charges Against Aaron Swartz (Part 2: Prosecutorial Discretion)
    Good links, thank you, the professor approves of the penalty, I personally disagree with it, I understand that the law currently permits this. They allowed Swartz to keep trying to download the data for quite some time, building up the charges. Why didn't they arrest him as soon as they had identified him as the hacker?


    My conclusion, at least based on what we know so far, is that the legal charges against Swartz were pretty much legit. Three of them are pretty strong; one is plausible but we would need to know more facts to be sure. Of course, there may have been reasons not to charge Swartz even though he had violated these statutes or to offer him a lenient plea. I’ll take on those questions in my next post. But to the extent we’re focused on just what the law is, I think that what Swartz was alleged to have done fits pretty well with the charges that were brought.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  2. #32
    Contributor chanjyj's Avatar
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    I personally find the American legal system flawed to the core - and some sentences seemed based on judge's mood.

    I've been recently watching the documentary "Lockup" and people are facing ridiculous amount of jail time that is disproportionate to their sentence. Granted I don't know exactly what they did, but it still seems ridiculous. There are other things, but I'd end up writing an academic essay if I go into detail.

  3. #33
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    I would admit that there are times that I like to do computer hacking, I want to access certain information though I cannot do it, not that I am afraid but I still lack of knowledge, though I still give importance of privacy.

  4. #34
    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    You have no idea what kind of a Pandora's box you are opening. The damage a hacker can do, even without malignant intent, is immeasurable.
    Removing a single turd from the cesspool doesn't make any difference.

  5. #35
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    I am a spamming idiot. Please pay no attention to me, thanks
    Last edited by TopHatter; 22 Oct 13, at 03:35.

  6. #36
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    For heaven’s sake, those were just digital copies of online journals. And it simply isn’t reason enough to harshly pursue someone, who goes into a depression and then hangs himself. It's a shame that a prodigy who developed the RSS standard had to end life this way. US lost one of the many brilliant guys it needs.

    Some of his memorable quotes:

    It’s always easy to make yourself look good by finding people even worse than you. Yes, we agree, you’re not the worst person in the world. That’s not the question. The question is whether you can get better — and to do that you need to look at the people who are even better than you.

    It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative.

    Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

    Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.


    All quotes @ Aaron Swartz


    R.I.P. I hope heaven is tax-free, wi-fi enabled and torrent friendly!

    Quote Originally Posted by jeahnnunez View Post
    I would admit that there are times that I like to do computer hacking, I want to access certain information though I cannot do it, not that I am afraid but I still lack of knowledge, though I still give importance of privacy.
    So there are times when you want to access certain information through hack, however you lack the knowledge to do so, and then also feel guilty of intruding.

    Just ask her out.

  7. #37
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    Dude, it's an advert post.....
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

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  8. #38
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    My response was to a spammer?

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    My response was to a spammer?
    It happens
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    For heaven’s sake, those were just digital copies of online journals. And it simply isn’t reason enough to harshly pursue someone, who goes into a depression and then hangs himself. It's a shame that a prodigy who developed the RSS standard had to end life this way. US lost one of the many brilliant guys it needs.

    Some of his memorable quotes:

    It’s always easy to make yourself look good by finding people even worse than you. Yes, we agree, you’re not the worst person in the world. That’s not the question. The question is whether you can get better — and to do that you need to look at the people who are even better than you.

    It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative.

    Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

    Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.


    All quotes @ Aaron Swartz
    ........
    Let's ask the question from another angle: how much, how far does one expect someone to work for free?

    Let's look at that realistically and ethically.

    Realistically, what is my motivation for doing any kind of research? In my particular case, because I am curious, because I like supplying answers to other people, and, perhaps, because it gives me a "feel good" feeling on a job for which I am paid for other duties.

    But what if I was paid as a researcher directly, say more or less independently, and not for a think tank? Do I want to give it away free because knowledge should be free? Do I not want to be paid for my efforts?

    Even if we say, "Well, you got paid when you sold your report to the Journal of Compression Lift Studies, so you ought to be satisfied with that!", what does it mean to me in the future if my Journal goes out of business because people don't pay them for the articles they publish?

    Okay, ethically. Let's say Dr. Zin does research, publishes a paper on an alloy that reduces the size of ELF antennas by a factor of 50. The alloy itself is not economically feasible but then let's say graduate student Kanaga uses that paper as the basis of his research (an alternate proposal in the discussion), produces an economical alloy, gets his degree, is picked up by industry.

    If knowledge is to be free, does Kanaga go off and donate his salary to charity? Is it right that Dr. Zin gets nothing other than acknowledgement for his work while Kanaga has the patent even though it was Zin's preliminary work that pointed the way?

    Now, I am not saying that Dr. Zin should get something more other than what he already received for publishing his research. What I am saying is that under this concept of knowledge should be free, NO ONE SHOULD MAKE ANY MONEY OFF OF ANYONE'S WORK.....and if they do, then they are ethically, for this approach, in violation.

    Reminds me of the vendor video:


  11. #41
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    You seem to confusing two separate fields. The first field is that of theoretical studies, and the other is of applied studies.

    In a nutshell: I can do any research I want, based on whatever other research I can get my hands on, through whatever means.

    As a student, I have access to JSTOR, ProQuest, LexisNexis and more. The goal of granting me access to those databases is so that I can base my research on previously done research, and this in order to enhance and expand humanity's general knowledge base. Sure, the chance that anyone will ever read any paper I ever wrote is slim to none, especially since I haven't published anything, but one of my lecturers can read one of the papers I wrote, and write a paper based on an idea I had in my paper, which will eventually be published.

    In a field such as mine, Communications and American Studies, most, if not all of the research done is theoretical research, with little to no applications in the physical world. I mean, sure, I wrote a paper comparing the Governess in Turn of the Screw to Cold War leaders and to baseball players, and someone could then use that to better understand Mutually Assured Destruction and how Cold War leaders behaved, which in turn will lead to a greater study on political leaders, which will eventually be read by some kid and that will inspire him to run for the presidency, but it's a stretch.

    Now let's look at the other field, applied studies. These are the folks that put in man hours and lab hours, based on theoretical research done by others, but in order to work towards a physical manifestation of said research, which will eventually have a physical application in the real world.

    To use your example: Dr. Zin wrote the original paper and did the original research. Dr. Zin then had two options: He could have kept it to himself, worked on it and come up with a physical application, or sell it for whatever amount of money and add it to the general database of human knowledge. For whatever reason, either ideological (research for research's sake) or mental (not smart enough to come up with an economic alloy), he decides to publish his research.

    Along comes Kanaga. He reads the research Zin published, and either because his motivation is different (financial as opposed to ideological) or he's just smarter than Zin, succeeding in coming up with an alloy where Zin can't, Kanaga is able to reap the benefits of the research.

    In the end, there is no real way to charge money for knowledge, or else we'd still need to be paying someone for proving that 1+1=2, and I'd like to fine whatever sadistic bastard put letters into algebra instead of just numbers, but we can't really, can we? In the end, if Zin hadn't made his discoveries, someone else would have, eventually. After all, Zin had to have based his research on research made before, no? There's no reason someone else couldn't have done the same research and reached the same conclusions Zin did.

    Zin was given the choice, as the person that did the research: Hold on to it now, and hope to make money off of it in the future, or sell it to a journal, and make money now. Zin chose to make money now, and has relinquished his claim on any monetary benefits that might result from his research.

    Put it differently: Would you expect Pfizer, Merck, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble or Teva or any of the other dozens of pharmaceutical companies in the US to immediately donate their research to the public? Pharmaceuticals are given a patent for however many years, giving the ones who did the research the sole right to choose what to do with that research. Than can follow Dr. Jonas Salk's path, and give it away to help eradicate the world of polio, or they can choose to market it and sell it on their own. Like Dr. Zin, the choice is theirs. When the patent expires, the knowledge is then shared with the rest of the world, and others can take advantage of that knowledge.
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  12. #42
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    My research has been, I think, all practical. The kind of thing where you have to you have to get permits that says you won't do anti Nuremberg type things. See how we might do things better, see how we might better understand our testing, our experimenting. See how we might investigate better.

    But whether applied or theoretical, there's the basic point about publishing one's research in that where one publishes it, those people expect to make some kind of money. If someone says, "No, I don't have to pay because knowledge should be free!" and those publishers go out of business because people are not paying for their efforts to spread the knowledge, where does that leave the researchers who did the study, the future researcher, the world on a whole?

    Realistically or ethically, the world that expects everything to be free is probably going to crash...........................................

    ...........................just look at what ACA is expected to do to medical research.

  13. #43
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    What you are forgetting is that at some point down the line, everyone gets paid. The researcher is paid by the university to do his research, and by the journal which buys his paper. The journal is paid by subscribers and by databases who want to read the paper. Databases are paid by the universities who want their students to have access to the database and by individual researchers. The universities are paid by the students who as part of their tuition are granted access to the databases.

    In the end, the only people not getting paid are the students, who must pay to use the databases and to be given access to the databases and the knowledge contained therein.

    I don't see how you can claim either that no one should make any money off of anyone else's work, or that knowledge is somehow free. At every single point down the line, someone is paying someone else in order to use previous research.
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    What you are forgetting is that at some point down the line, everyone gets paid. The researcher is paid by the university to do his research, and by the journal which buys his paper. The journal is paid by subscribers and by databases who want to read the paper. Databases are paid by the universities who want their students to have access to the database and by individual researchers. The universities are paid by the students who as part of their tuition are granted access to the databases.

    In the end, the only people not getting paid are the students, who must pay to use the databases and to be given access to the databases and the knowledge contained therein.

    I don't see how you can claim either that no one should make any money off of anyone else's work, or that knowledge is somehow free. At every single point down the line, someone is paying someone else in order to use previous research.
    I think you are misreading me.

    I am not making that claim that knowledge should be free.

    I am pointing out the folly in the quote that I referred to, I am saying that believing or saying that knowledge should be free is no justification to steal.

    Got to run.

  15. #45
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    I don't think knowledge should be free, but I also don't see much wrong with what he did. If you read earlier in the thread, there are many instances in real life that are equivalent to what he did, and which aren't punishable, especially to the degree that they wanted to punish him
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

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