Sunday, 28 December 2008

Hacking and the amazon forest

hacking is profitable, very profitable; greed again... "Hackers help loggers illegally strip trees from the Amazon " (17 December 2008)

Censorship again

In other words, China blocks access to the NY Times, not a surprise: "La Chine bloque le site du New York Times" (JDN, 22 December 2008)

"Vietnam Continues Online Censorship; Outlaws 'Subversive' Blogs; Puts Liability On ISPs" (TechDirt, 24 December 2008)

"Australian Filtering Boss: Turning Off Blog And Comments" (TechDirt, 24 December 2008) and Australia delaying filtering due to technical and organisational problems "Australian Net Censorship Plan Delayed Temporarily" (TechDirt, 29 December 2008)

Harassment online - being a jerk and beyond

As already notices in an earlier post, there is nothing to forbid online harassment to fall within the current legal definition of definition. Harassment traditionally involves repeated behaviours or course of conduct in terms of speech or physical actions which causes distress, the victim feeling harassed. Whether one uses a fake identity or not is no obstacle to acknowledge liability as long as the mens rea is there.
That mechanisms to report abuse also exist is the least that can be done...

"What's The Goal Of Anti-Cyberbullying Moves?" (TechDirt, 19 December 2008)

"Missouri Prosecutors Going Overboard In Bringing Cyberbullying Cases" (TechDirt, 22 December 2008) and on the legislation previously passed, "Missouri Makes Online Harassment A Felony" (TechDirt, 2 July 2008)

"Reporting Bullies Online: Helpful Or Not?" (TechDirt, 15 October 2008)

For an example which escaladated to criminal damage and fear of violence, see the chinese online version of mobbing... "Man Wins Lawsuit Against Online Vigilante Mob In China" (TechDirt, 22 December 2008)

But for misuse of legislation... "How Is It Cyberbullying When Students Are Exposing Teacher Abuses?" (TechDirt, 31 December 2008)

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Causation, child abuse, video and liability

It is interesting because criminal law has not been set up for those types of cases on a massive scale. I don't see how the prosecution can stand on its feet because it is very indirect liability - chain of causation is frail

"Man Who Re-Uploaded Viral Baby Swinging Video Charged With Child Abuse?" (12 December 2008, TechDirt)

China firewall: official recognition

At last, a bit of transparency in recognising everything is filtered from the BBC website to opponents' related websites or reports...

"La Chine reconnaît officiellement la censure du Web" (Journal du Net, 16 Decembre 2008)

Hacking and illegal competition

Hacking seems to have been used to enter the intranet forum of the SNCF, the French rail company, by its competitor Deutsche Ban. The context is that French railway is still not open to competition, and not so until January 2010, despite Germany and Italy having opened their networks.
"L'intranet de la SNCF piraté par son concurrent allemand" (Journal du net, 16 December 2008)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


It is interesting because the threshold for criminalisation is always difficult to determine. Before as now, criminal law remains a symbol and because of that symbolic value, it tends to be used as a benchmark or signal, whereas its effectiveness can be doubted.

"Chill Out On The Texting While Walking Bans, Says Professor" (December 15th, 2008)

Read also in the same line the work on Overcriminalisation: the limits of criminal law, from D. Husak.

On the other hand, it could be argued that resorting to criminal law cannot be measured simply by effectiveness and that its symbolic results can be more important than its actual use by prosecution and courts.

Copyrights infringement and duty to react from ISPs/social networking

A bit of French law here: a French comic who used to specialised in hidden cameras type of sketches in the high street (his nickname literally means Thebottom), sued and sues several companies/ISPs for holding pirated videos of his work. According to the article below, he has not been that succesful and often had to pay for expenses more than he ever gained when his complaint was accepted.
The interesting feature is the take down notice feature. Social networking like Dailymotion (videos like YouTube) was condemned to pay damages for not having removed contents before three months have ellapsed since given notice.
Lafesse lost another case, but on procedural grounds rather on the issue of whether MySpace is responsible as content provider or host.

"La cour d'appel annule la condamnation de MySpace par Jean-Yves Lafesse" (3 November 2008)

Net neutrality

Have The Big Internet Companies Turned Their Back On Net Neutrality? (TechDirt, 15 December 2008)

Friday, 12 December 2008

Police e-crime unit calls for industry aid (11 December 2008)

aiding terrorist and google earth

Aiding and abetting terrorism! poor Google! this is silly because google earth in itself is not made to create crime. It's not like bomb making and use of firearms type of documentation that circulates so easily on the web.

"Indian Court Wants To Ban Google Earth In The Wake Of Mumbai Attacks" (10 December 2008)

Anonimity - right not to...

A business is asking for anonimity to be lifted about two posting. I find this troublesome. Unless there is an actionable tort or criminal suit, there is no need to ask for anonimity to be lifted. Otherwise it is private censorship

"Yet Another State Court Explores Right To Anonymity In Online Posting" (10 December 2008)

Cyberbullying, discipline and crime

Cyberbullying is already an offence as long as it fits within the definition of harassment. So no need of any new offence. And like all crimes, it can give rise to disciplinary sanctions. And like all disciplinary sanctions, a lot of interpretation is given to the disciplinary institutions. Nothing new, everything under scrutiny by judicial review. It is especially with the ECHR artilce 6.

"Student Sues School For Suspending Her Over Facebook Group" (10 December 2008) I wonder to which extent the article confuses legal issues and factual issues (whether there was bullying or not)

Internet filtering and ISPs roles

Internet filtering is certainly one of the main tools available to control the internet. Nonetheless, the conditions in which it is done are crucial to ensure the balance between liberties and social needs. The Great firewall of China obviously does not create that balance; but France Germany and many other European countries have done so when filtering or banning racist websites, notably those denying the holocaust.

"Internet Filtering Appearing On Various Wishlists For Obama" (11 December 2008)

"Australian ISPs Refuse To Censor The Internet" (10 December 2008)

In comparison, I found the private filtering (by non ISPs; by private companies such as a shop or a newspapers) much more troubling and scary. "Online Video Sites Harming Themselves With Geographic Restrictions" (8 December 2008)

The help of the ISPs and other internet censors is crucial, so yes they should be responsible, but maybe in different terms, by analogy to public institutions' liability?

"Should Internet Censors Be Responsible For Breaking Stuff?" (10 December 2008)

USA presidency - new developments ahead?

Given the interesting way Obama ran its campaign, - the first to use the full potential of cyberspace to fund with only 5 to 10 dollars donation the core of his campaign expenses-, it is not surprising there is a lot of expectation.
A call for a new White House office to tackle cybersecurity, i.e. accessing and stealing vital information about the US. The fact that both Obama and McCain's e-mail accounts were hacked during the campaign does not help dispelling the threat. For the report by the CSIS

for the ZDnet article "Obama urged to appoint cybersecurity chief " (10 December 2008) and CCRN "Panel urges Obama to consider hacker-response plan" (7 December 2008)

But the cybersecurity threat should not shade away the cybereconomy threat "Forget The Economy, Security Vendor Says Cybercrime Is The Real Threat" (11 December 2008) although I am not sure it deserves the hype it is given

Friday, 5 December 2008

Underground economy - the 'benefits' of fraud

self-explanatory: "Symantec takes cybercrime snapshot with 'Underground Economy' report " (24 November 2008)

ISPs role: caught in fire?

A recent ruling from the European Court of Human Rights against Finland highlighted the crucial role ISPs can play in investigations and protection of the person. K.U. v. FINLAND (2 December 2008),
"The European Court of Human Rights has today notified in writing its Chamber judgment1 in the case of K.U. v. Finland (application no. 2872/02).
The Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the Finnish authorities’ failure to protect a child’s right to respect for private life following an advertisement of a sexual nature being posted about him on an Internet dating site." (statewatch)

And yes, ISPs are policemen. Not such a bad thing as long as the courts are involved and criminal procedure respected, which is not always the case.
"Danish High Court Says ISPs Must Be Internet Policemen; Have To Block The Pirate Bay" (26 November 2008)

Offence of possessing extreme porn - UK

The concept of possession for child pornography troubled the courts in the recent years. The main question is to which extent deleting images makes one still in possession of those images? The courts were warry to create a legal test that would lead to convicting the "innocent" person receiving unwelcomed porn by e-mail.
The issues have been partially adressed with the new offences of extreme porn (rather than modification of child porn) in s. 63 to 67 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Contrary to what everybody says, there is no defence if one deletes the materials. One has to prove that one did not solicit to receive the materials and that is much harder to do than it appears at first sight. The official guidelines are clear as long as one does not read only para. 21, but also read para. 19 and 20. The test is in line with the French courts' approach

" says extreme porn isn't illegal if you delete it..." (The register - 28 November 2008)

"UK Says You Can't Have Some Kinds Of Porn, But It Determines What Kinds" (Tech Dirt - 2 December 2008)

with the official guidelines available at the Ministry of Justice website

Investigations - the use of internet for detective work

Renewed ways of collaborating witht the public in solving crimes:

"Small Business Owners Track Down Dumb Criminals Online" (3 December 2008) - with one warning: criminal procedure does apply to investigations if they lead to criminal prosecutions. Thus, companies engaging in that type of activities should be warry of falling fool of the law

"Canadian Cops Seek To Solve Murder Cases With Online Tips" (1 December 2008)

and for a European approach "EU fights cybercrime with 'remote search' strategy" (28 November 2008)