Wednesday, 16 June 2010


French Senator Proposes Outlawing Anonymous Blogging (TechDirt, 02 June 2010)

Twitter Fighting Pennsylvania Subpoena Seeking Names of 2 Tweeters from the NY Times as cited on 20 May 2010 on the Business and HR Watch website

some would obviously benefit from anonymity for illegal purposes...!

If You're Trying To Sell Insider Info, Perhaps Don't Randomly Email Dozens Of Investors (TechDirt, 28 May 2010)

Offensive behaviours - distortions

Careful WithThat Fake Social Networking Profile; If You 'Personate' Someone, You Can Go To Jail(TechDirt, 02 June 2010) - the article is critical of the offence: it should not be criminal to impersonate somebody on Facebook in California. I tend to disagree. Using the name of somebody can be criminal whatever the motives. French law considers that the simple use of a name is an offence, although a minor one. But the conjunction of using another's name with fraud notably is in most jurisdictions a crime; why not for a fake webpage if this webpage has not been intended as a work of fiction but as the description of someone's life and thoughts? Of course, torts may be a better tool to deal with such issues, but criminal law cannot be excluded per se.

On the other hand, criminal law cannot be misused just because the behaviour is wrong and does not fit other crimes than hacking for example. Mom Who Used Son's Facebook Account Found Guilty Of Online Harassment (TechDirt, 28 May 2010). what she did was hardly constitutive of harassment: she accessed his account, changed the password and used the Facebook account...

same for banning sentences or pre-trial measures, a "Guy Who Encouraged People To Commit Suicide Online Banned From The Internet" (TechDirt, 27 may 2010), but this is far too broad a measure

Search and Seizures - interception of communication: US

For the US, but to which extent it applies elsewhere?

offensive and harmful content: reaction or education?

We may well be in a transition period where people are not fully understanding that what on the net is not necessarily reliable, accurate and representative of the truth. Therefore it may be more an educational issue than a legal issue and to modify the law or use it and distort it appears quite silly.

File sharing and piracy

three articles recently, two showing the opposite approaches that can be adopted by courts and one the absurdity of trying to get rid of the file sharing via the ISPs

ISP Tries To Charge Users To Block File Sharing... Ends Up Installing Malware That Exposes Private Info (TechDirt 14 June 2010)

Dutch Court Says Just Publishing Links To A Movie Is Illegal And Must Be Blocked (TechDirt, 04 Jun 2010)

compared to

Yet Another Spanish Court Finds File Sharing Site Legal; Compares File Sharing To Book Lending (TechDirt, 08 June 2010) - the source in English language is Torrent Freak which has a link in Spanish to the interview given by the Lawyer Carlos Sanchez Almeida to (04 June 2010) - research in Spanish gives access to the text of the judgment available on what seems to be the website of Almeida's law firm. The Google translation is not bad at all and confirms the translation made. It also reveals more clearly than my now poor understanding of Spanish could grasp. The Judges have referred to various cases, acknowledging that the law is not settled on this issue. Yet, for them

"since ancient times has been the loan or sale of books, movies, music and more. The difference now is primarily on the medium used was previously the paper or analog and now everything is digital format which allows an exchange much faster and higher quality and also a global reach through the Internet. And this exchange takes place in the network through file-sharing systems "P2P (or peer network) where there are no fixed clients and servers have a global reach as any Internet user can connect to your computer and share files that are divided, in turn, a large number of parties.

To use file sharing programs (Emule, etc.) Running the link or link to the document that is on the website so that the user's computer connects to a computer but not many who have various stages of This same document being shared among many users at once without anyone perceived why any financial reward."

In most English newspapers/blogs, the first part is quoted. Yet I find the second paragraph equally interesting: it is saying that file sharing is not about holding the copyrights of the book and making money on it. It is just like a village market place providing the platform for users to exchange.

Wi-fi issues: access and use

When travelling, if one does not have a smartphone or blackberry, it becomes really annoying not to be able to use wi-fi knowing that lots of networks are available. the silliness of it all appeared when I was in Gare du Nord Paris, compared to St Pancras - London. You would have guessed I was a Eurostar traveller. At St Pancras, free wi-fi; in 45 minutes, I checked my e-mails, sent a couple of documents I could not have done so if I had a smartphone. At Gare du Nord, well, no free wi-fi if you do not have a Eurostar business status; the provider SFR was asking a minimum of 2 euros, I recall, for about 30 minutes. Well, I know it is not that expensive, but it is such a hassle (you have to register, type your card number...; a good 15 mins wasted to just access). Result: I did not pay. and I am sure I am not the only to have done so.

of course, one could argue that to call, one has to pay, whether in a phone box, from a landline or a mobile. Why not for wi-fi? well Finland contemplates opening the network to all, getting rid of its offence to use open wi-fi. Of course, open wi-fi means less security. But then, why not charged for higher security? I would actually have paid for added security if I had to send sensitive data or connect to sensitive data website. but for ordinary websites, such as what is the weather back home or train time data, frankly I felt put off.

In contrast, Google's collection of private data is inadmissible. yet, whether it was intended to or an accident, an involuntary consequence not foreseen, is something else. I can't imagine the firm having done it on purpose, at least after until they were (made) aware of it if they continued despite knowledge.
What i am surprised is that the data collected was not destroyed immediately. Governments have no right to look at the data.

Google WiFi Data Caught In Legal Limbo (TechDirt, 27 May 2010)

Wider European Scrutiny of Google on Privacy from NYTimes as reported in Business and HR Watch, 21 May 2010

Obviously, the argument is based on the assumption that privacy is important. Some argue it is not; but I fully disagree. Our ancestors fought, sometimes to death, for a bit of privacy and not just privacy from government's spying. Privacy is essential and it is not because people don't go into mass protest about it that the issue/the right does not matter