[TriLUG] Greensboro News&Record on Hollywood Howard Coble
11 Aug 2002 01:34:02 -0400
On Sat, 2002-08-10 at 23:59, Dave Cowan wrote:
> Thanks Wade...I just sent off my letter. Last time I checked, there was
> this thing called the Fourth Amendment...or am I missing something???
Unfortunately, the 4th amendment only protects us against unlawful
search and seizure by the government. This is a pretty sticky point of
law, sadly. Search and seizure by a private organization is fairly
often permissible, provided that the organization can legally prove that
it is or has been providing services or products to an individual at a
loss, or that the individual has been stealing products or services.
Car reposession and house foreclosure come to mind. However, the
"hacking" being proposed here is actually more like a DoS attack, and
targets a service other than that which is being stolen or misused.
Additionally, many DoS attacks will adversely affect individuals other
than the target, especially, for example, in the case of cable ISP
subscribers. (Go figure that I of all people would talk about that,
eh?) Ping floods, for example, will cause bandwidth for an entire CMTS
to be saturated, rather than just the connection of the offending
subscriber. Is it fair or legal to deny service to individuals besides
the offender? Is it legal to fine the neighbors of a drug dealer
because the dealer sold drugs in that neighborhood?
Also, even if the "hacking" were actually to gain access into the
subscriber's computer and somehow disable it or erase the files which
the subscriber is alleged to be sharing illegally, is it a legal action
under current precedent? Without researching some case histories, I
can't say, but I would surmise that disabling the computer is not
legal. Especially if it is permament. What if the computer belongs to
the offender's employer? Should the employer be forced to absorb the
cost of a disabled computer because the employee violated the law (and
yes, folks, as outdated as our copyright laws are, they are laws, and
sharing copyrighted MP3s, software, and videos over the Internet is
illegal), as well as the company's policy which expressly prohibits such
activity as copyright violation (for argument's sake)?
I'm no lawyer, but I have enough background in the matter to find some
of these points worth some investigation.