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Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case

by Jouke (Curate)
on Dec 24, 2001 at 17:55 UTC ( #134160=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case

Although I really symphathize with you merlyn and I wish you got better news, I am also someone who downvotes offtopic postings, and I am sure this hardly has anything to do with Perl

No personality downvoting, no anonymous downvoting...

Jouke Visser, Perl 'Adept'
Using Perl to help the disabled: pVoice and pStory
  • Comment on Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case

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Re: Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by merlyn (Sage) on Dec 24, 2001 at 20:50 UTC
    It has quite a bit to do with Perl, and the Perl community, actually.

    My involvement with the case has sucked a lot of spare time and money from me that could have been contributed to the community.

    It's why the second camel was delayed.

    It's why I haven't released any other books.

    It's why I didn't contribute more to the Perl Institute, or even the current Damian and crew funding.

    And many of the Perl community are also sys admins, and this case has a strong chilling effect on sys admin activities around the world.

    I'd say it affects the Perl community directly.

    If it didn't, I wouldn't have posted it.

    And just so there's no anonymous downvoting, I'm voting you down for not using your head to see the relevance.

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

      It's why I didn't contribute more to the Perl Institute, or even the current Damian and crew funding.
      Whatever his other felonies, we certainly can't convict Randal on this count! Last year he individually donated over $5,000 -- 10% of my entire salary funding. In fact, his was the third largest single donation overall.

      Failing to contribute? Not guilty, your Honor!

      ;-)

      Merlyn,

      I expected no less than to be downvoted for my node...and it happened of course. However I still feel that if you posted a node explaining what happened and how we could learn from it, I would have no problem at all with it, in fact, I'd be happy to see it.

      What you did however was telling us something quite unrelated to Perl, being the court decision. People would learn from your story if you explained the whole thing, which I think is no longer nessecary because I think the whole Perl world knows about it already

      Again, I do symphathize with you and I think the State of Oregon is being rediculous, but like I said on the CB yesterday: if anyone else, an unfamous monk, would have posted this, it would most definately be reaped because the content of the node is not related to Perl.

      But that's my final word about it. I expect you will respond to this one, and if I feel the urge to respond again, I'll /msg you.

      May your court-troubles soon be over!

      Jouke Visser, Perl 'Adept'
      Using Perl to help the disabled: pVoice and pStory
        which I think is no longer nessecary because I think the whole Perl world knows about it already
        One glance even at the messages posted here tells you that this is not true. Even with all the desk-pounding and pavement-pounding I've done on the story, I still find people who are amazingly unaware of my story.

        And you fail to draw the distinction I made yesterday. This is important to the Perl community because it is me. There's no point in bringing up what would happen if an "unfamous monk" posted a story similar to this.

        -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

      You'd better downvote me too, because I agree that your courtroom drama is not relevant to the Monastery. Your being "world famous in Poland"(1) isn't reason enough to make your major life events points for public discussion.

      When Larry starts posting his stock portfolio, we'll talk. Until then, the Monastery is about Perl, not about people who happen to be known to each other by means of Perl.

      (1) "To Be Or Not To Be"; I've only seen the Mel Brooks version, so I don't know if the Henny Youngman version originated that line.

          -- Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

        Until then, the Monastery is about Perl, not about people who happen to be known to each other by means of Perl.
        Have you seen the current poll? Or the previous?
        Have you followed chatterbox conversations?

        I'm with this monastery for about a week now, and I like it. I like it mainly because it isn't just about Perl. It's about people too. Perl people.
        The posts you read, the reputation your posts get and the lines in the chatterbox are the results of people doing things. It'd be rather boring over here if everything was about Perl. ($this->boring(1) if $this->topic() =~ /^[pP]erl$/; - well, people use words, not code.)

        I agree not anyone should post their major life event points. But merlyn means a lot to Perl and the Perl community. I think he didn't post the meditation to entertain us, or to make us feel sorry for him, or to gain XP. I think he posted it to _inform_ those who want to know what's happening. And according to that node's reputation, I'd say many monks DO care.

        2;0 juerd@ouranos:~$ perl -e'undef christmas' Segmentation fault 2;139 juerd@ouranos:~$

Re: Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by dthacker (Deacon) on Dec 24, 2001 at 22:35 UTC
    As a sysadmin who uses perl, I must respectfully disagree. I find the fact that computer crimes laws could be used against me for doing my job extremely disturbing. I find the legal system's lack of comprehension of the issues in this case even more disturbing.

    Professional practices are regularly discussed in this space. Some of the nodes discussing them are among the highest rated in the monastery. IMO, this post tells me more about the place where my practices come up against the U.S. legal system. It's unfortunate it didn't meet your criteria, it certainly met mine.

    Dave

      As a sysadmin who uses perl, I must respectfully disagree. I find the fact that computer crimes laws could be used against me for doing my job extremely disturbing.

      Have you actually read any of the documents surrounding this case? Computer crime laws were not used against Randal for doing his job. That is simply plain false and I am disappointed that Randal isn't doing a better job trying to clear up that misconception. In no way was running crack on password files part of his job description at Intel at the time. Installing programs to subvert Intel's security policies regarding machine access was also clearly outside the realm of any of his stated duties, and was an activity which he admitted to having been repeatedy told by superiors to cease.

      If you wish to persist in your belief that Randal was busted for doing his job, that's your affair. Please do not continue to spread such unsupported allegations here. Please do show us how computer crime laws were used against Randal for doing his job! There is a great deal of stuff floating around claiming that Randal was blindsided by laws that made his job-related activities illegal. The activities he engaged in that led to the charges and convictions against him were simply not part of his job. I'd feel much more sympathy for the man if he would more publicly assert the fact that he did break the law, that he was operating well outside of his then current job description when he did so, and that he had been warned on more than one occassion by superiors to doing some of things he was eventually charged for.

      Yes I think there were certain miscarriages of justice involved. They just aren't the miscarriages you and many others seem more than willing to believe.

        He Who Must Not Be Named wrote:

        Have you actually read any of the documents surrounding this case?

        Well, here we have the pot and kettle all over again. Have you paid attention to the controversy at hand? Now, I'll be the first to admit that what Randal did could be seen in a dubious light. The question, though, is about the law. Let me repeat that: the question is about the law.

        The question is about the law.

        Sorry if I seem carried away, but so many people seem to miss this point. The law has nothing to do with right or wrong (though they often overlap); it has everything to do with legal or illegal and the question in this case is exactly what is illegal. Here are Randal's felony convictions:

        1. Mr. Schwartz unlawfully, knowingly and without authorization altered a computer and computer network consisting of Intel computers Mink and Brillig.
        2. Mr. Schwartz unlawfully, and knowingly access and use a computer and computer network for the purpose of committing theft of the Intel SSD's password file.
        3. Mr. Schwartz unlawfully, knowingly access and use a computer and computer system for the purpose of committing theft of the Intel SSD individual user's passwords.

        Those convictions are a load of horse pucky. See the word "computer" up there, repeated so many times? Randal was convicted of a computer crime. What's a computer crime? At the time of his trial, Oregon law was pretty ridiculous. Here are some excertps:

        "Computer" means, but is not limited to, an electronic device which performs logical, arithmetic or memory functions by the manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical signals or impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, software or communication facilities which are connected or related to such a device in a system or network.

        By the definition of Oregon state law, my coffee pot is a computer. Here's what "access" means (remember, that's what got Randal in trouble):

        To "access" means to instruct, communicate with, store data in, retrieve data from or otherwise make use of any resources of a computer, computer system or computer network.

        Now for the coup de grace:

        Any person who knowingly and without authorization uses, accesses or attempts to access any computer, computer system, computer network, or any computer software, program, documentation or data contained in such computer, computer system or computer network, commits computer crime.

        You should read the entire law. It's pretty stupid. It's written by well-intentioned people who don't have a clue what they're doing. Under the law, let's say that I an ex-girlfriend who tells me never to call her again. I find that she left some clothes at my apartment, so I leave a message on her answering machine to that effect.

        Since her answering machine is a computer (164.377.1.b) and I since I have knowlingly altered the contents of its memory (164.377.3), I am guilty of a Class C felony (164.377.5) (and perhaps a Class A misdemeanor (164.377.5) for leaving a message (164.377.4)).

        That's a friggin' joke. The law is stupid. The lawmakers are ignorant. For the court to refuse to hear such a patently aburd case is a threat to all who work around computers. I suppose that technically, I might be guilty of crimes for using the Internet if someone posts a notice on their site that you're not allowed to surf their without authorization.

        Of course, that was back in 1993 when lawmakers were still coming to grips with things. The 1995 revision to that law is no better (and it's what we currently have to put up with).

        I don't care whether or not you think Randal did anything wrong. The law is an abomination and that is what this is about. If a law is this rotten, it needs to be thrown out. That anyone could think this is acceptable is puzzling to me.

        Cheers,
        Ovid

        Join the Perlmonks Setiathome Group or just click on the the link and check out our stats.

        .

Re: Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by jepri (Parson) on Dec 24, 2001 at 22:20 UTC
    As I mentioned in the chatterbox... it's a lesson to others in the community who might not realise that the neat things they are doing with computers can be treated as seriously as mugging little old ladies. In fact, the penalties can be much higher.

    As such, they story is relevant to most people here (regardless of your geographical local). We should be telling people about this very vocally - the same way we have many posts about using CGI or dot-star. Stories like merlyn's and Mitnick's should be required knowledge for any wanna-be coder.

    If this sounds overdone, try sending Kevin Mitnick an email and get his opinion on the issue. Oh wait... you can't. We should be taking this as seriously as the rest of the world does, and they take it very seriously.

    ____________________
    Jeremy
    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

      Merlyns's case I think is a bit different than Mitnick. Mitnick stole and had in his possession credit card numbers. Perhaps you'd like everyone to have that info but I wouldn't.
        I was keeping away from expressing my opinions on the cases. The point I was trying to make was how much trouble we can get ourselves into with just a few keystrokes.

        When I think crime I think things like assault, armed robbery, murder. Very physical things. They clearly deprive people of something - your money or your life, in the case of robbery and murder.

        In our business however, it seems that it is possible to be fined literally thousands of dollars for an act that does no damage, causes no downtime, hurts noone. I'm referring to things like copying a password file here.

        The idea that a court can come up with some ludicrously high figure for possesion of a copied document( or a password ) file scares me. I'm secretly praying for the day a judge turns around and says "a million for a lousy 10kb file? You're kidding. Divide that by a million".

        It's not going to happen, I suspect. But I honestly feel that the punishment no longer fits the crime. Banning a computer enthusiast from ever using a computer is cruel. I can't even think of the right words for some of the other judgements that have gone by in the last decade. Not to mention the fact that it now seems to be impossible to do anything without breaking a law somewhere.

        On a completely unrelated note: most schools thesedays offer basic computer training. Why don't they offer basic law training as well?

        ____________________
        Jeremy
        I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

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