You Have No Rights – Because you are Breaking the Law Right Now

For those who missed it, which I suspect is most people, there is a fantastic Op-Ed in the New York Times by Peter Ludlow of Northwestern University.

Titled Hacktivists as Gadflies it is a scary look at how much legal power the US government has over people who use the web (e.g. pretty much anyone) since almost all of us are, via one way or another probably violating law as interpreted by US prosecutors.

Here’s a juicy line:

“The law, as interpreted by the prosecutors, makes it a felony to use a computer system for “unintended” applications, or even violate a terms-of-service agreement. That would theoretically make a felon out of anyone who lied about their age or weight on Match.com.”

And its scary conclusion:

“In a world in which nearly everyone is technically a felon, we rely on the good judgment of prosecutors to decide who should be targets and how hard the law should come down on them. We have thus entered a legal reality not so different from that faced by Socrates when the Thirty Tyrants ruled Athens, and it is a dangerous one.”

Basically, there is a real risk that everyone is in legal limbo. All it takes is the government to decide they want to attack you, since they already have the means. Scary, scary stuff.

2 thoughts on “You Have No Rights – Because you are Breaking the Law Right Now

  1. delafield44

    This all reminds me of the book: “Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent,” by Harvey Silverglate. In one particularly interesting post, Silverglate explains that the Feds not only can charge you with something, but they often take away all your assets so you can’t even defend yourself: http://www.forbes.com/sites/harveysilverglate/2013/01/03/black-whitey-how-the-feds-disable-criminal-defense/

    It all reminds me of the Megaupload and Kim Dotcom case: these tactics (seizing property) are being used in criminal copyright cases now.

    Reply

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