First, the decision today continues a trend of government prosecutions that use familiarity with digital tools and knowledge of computers as a scare tactic and a basis for obtaining grossly disproportionate and unfair punishments, strategies enabled by broad, vague laws like the CFAA and the Espionage Act. Let's call this the “hacker madness” strategy. Using it, the prosecution portrays actions taken by someone using a computer as more dangerous or scary than they actually are by highlighting the digital tools used to a nontechnical or even technophobic judge.
In the Manning case, the prosecution used Manning’s use of a standard, over 15-year-old Unix program called Wget to collect information, as if it were a dark and nefarious technique. Of course, anyone who has ever called up this utility on a Unix machine, which at this point is likely millions of ordinary Americans, knows that this program is no more scary or spectacular (and far less powerful) than a simple Google search. Yet the court apparently didn’t know this and seemed swayed by it.
We’ve seen this trick before. In a case EFF handled in 2009, Boston College police used the fact that our client worked on a Linux operating system with “a black screen with white font” as part of a basis for a search warrant. Luckily the Massachusetts Supreme Court tossed out the warrant after EFF got involved, but who knows what would have happened had we not been there. And happily, Oracle got a big surprise when it tried a similar trick in Oracle v. Google and discovered that the Judge was a programmer and sharply called them on it.
Bwahaha! Linux as a terrorist traitor's tool, how many backdoors are in M$ Windoze and McJob's Big Mac?
Last edited by Nightmare; 07-30-2013 at 04:50 PM.
If TRUMP 2016 loses then I will shrug off my WHITE MAN'S BURDEN and leave the world to the Dindus and Done Nuffins. Read and understand Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged as a prescription for the future. TRUMP 2016