Talk:18 USC § 1030

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Misuse?

On the front page, we're saying that this statute can be used to prosecute anyone who vandalizes Conservapedia.

This is ... not entirely true. Certainly someone who broke into the servers and replaced the MediaWiki engine with a vulgar site (just an over-the-top example) would run afoul of this law if interpreted broadly enough (though the fact that it's neither a government nor financial system casts some doubt on that), but the "without authorization" provisos of this statute pretty much exclude the activities of any registered user to the site. Such vandalism certainly might not be what we had in mind, but is at best a lapse in judgment and at worst an abuse of granted privileges. It's NOT unauthorized access, however. Threatening someone with a law that doesn't actually apply doesn't really improve Conservapedia's reputation any, I would imagine, so I'd suggest striking that section of the MainPage blurb, unless someone can produce a lawyer (I'm not one) who can explain how this law would apply. -Harmil 13:52, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Andrew Schlafly is a lawyer. JamesK 14:01, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
The only section of this statute that could possibly apply to Conservipedia is (a)(5) as it is the only section that doesn't deal with intent to defraud or to access protected data and that section only covers protected computers which are defined by the statute at (e)(2) as being Government computers (which this is not), computers of a financial institution (which this is not) or "is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce of communication of the United States" (Which this probably is not).
Absent some case reading this statute very differently than the plain meaning of the statute, I'd have to agree that this could not be used to go after vandals who hurt this site and the empty threat on the main page should be taken down (it makes the site look bad). --Reginod 15:16, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

In 18 USC §1030, I fail to see anything that indicates vandalism of a wiki as an offense covered by it. This would be listed in section (a) of the law. Furthermore, all of the mention is about defrauding and exceeding access that has been granted. The open nature of the wiki grants the access and I don't see any indication of someone attempting to defraud or extort or trafficing in passwords or being a total of more than $5000 damage. It seems silly to try to threaten people with this when it does not apply. This is not to say that vandalism is not bad, but the cited law offers no federal protection. --Mtur 19:03, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

Good luck trying that argument with a judge presented with clear vandalism. In Shurgard Storage Ctrs. v Safeguard Self Storage, Inc. (2000, WD Wash) 119 F Supp 2d 1121, for example, one side tried to argue that "fraud" meant something narrower than wrong of someone else in property rights by a scheme. Guess what? The court rejected the defense. No surprise there.
I bet there will be some new prosecutions based on vandalism of this new technology of Wiki, and it's not going to be pretty. On this issue, Wikipedia and Conservapedia will stand side by side.--Aschlafly 19:15, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
Assuming that you reading of fraud is correct ("meant wronging of person in property rights by dishonest methods or schemes"), The sections that apply to defrauding are #4 and #6. #4 goes to state " knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization ... and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period;" As the value of the vandalism is not conceivably more than $5,000 this fails. #6 is about trafficking in passwords "knowingly and with intent to defraud traffics (as defined in section 1029) in any password or similar information through which a computer may be accessed without authorization". In most of the definitions the "without authorization" bit comes up - participation in the wiki is authorizing the person to make edits. --Mtur 19:24, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm with Mtur on this one. Accessing a protected computer means in or using someone elses logon info (same sorta thing). And the important part of the statute is obtaining anything of value, simply by editting information, which this website was created for, does not cause anyone to lose money. As I mentioned in my post on the talk p USC § 1470 I'd consult a criminal lawyer before making sweeping threats of legal action. Jrssr5 11:10, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
I'd repeat here what I said above, this site is not, by the definition of this section of the US code, a "protected computer"--unless this site is a financial institution or if vandalizing it would harm interstate commerce, this site is not protected by this section of the code. And if that is correct, then neither #4 nor #6 apply to Conservapedia.--Reginod 13:42, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

This is laughable - you guys actually think anyone will take you seriously about those vandalism charges...but I guess you take yourself so seriously you started another version of wikipedia that is doomed to fail / be run by right wing loonies anyway.

While you are right in saying that some will vandalize pages regardless of any threats of prosecutions, you are wrong in saying no one will take these threats seriously. If we follow through with our new rule, I am positive that vandalism and obscenity will decrease significantly. Obviously, you underestimate this site. --<<-David R->> 12:37, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

So Conservapedia's policy is to scare people into behaving with false information? Isn't that immoral? Isn't that what liberals do? Are we to descend into sin? --ReaganLives 11:46, 18 March 2007 (EDT)

Obviously, you overestimate this site. Not only is it incredibly easy to hide your IP address or even use a public computer, but I think that you would actually get laughed out of court if you attempted to take someone on for posting anything on this website. The internet has been around for a decent ammount of time now and I'm pretty sure that very few people have gotten busted for "vandalizing" websites. You probably wouldn't even have standing in court. (Since you probably don't know what standing is you should go look it up on Wikipedia...since you guys seem to be missing the page). If you did they could defeat you on whether or not what they did was vandalism under any of those legal definitions.--GodAsMyWitness 12:41, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

I'm kinda with GodAsMyWitness here. Wikipedia has been around for how many years? And how many court cases have we seen on this basis so far? There must be at least several thousand cases so far, assuming that things work exactly like Andy says. My assumption is that, if Wikipedia hasn't managed to eliminate the vandal problem, Conservapedia won't magically eliminate it, either. --Sid 3050 12:52, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
This will decrease vandalism astronomically. Wikipedia hasn't had success because they don't prosecute vandals. Geo. 01:00, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
If this decreases vandalism at all, it's because people are too ignorant to know an empty threat when they see it. In fact ignorance willful or not seems to be the cornerstone of much of the content here. In any case, Wikipedia doesn't prosecute vandals because a) they legally can't and b) if they legally could they couldn't afford to and c) if they could afford to they wouldn't squander their money like that. Enjoy the slow death of marginalization of your worldview. I know I will. Cheney4Lyfe 15:38, 15 March 2007 (EDT)


someone should write "jk" at the end of this article

No DA will charge it

Sorry, prosecutorial discretion :-( --AmesG 01:05, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Case Law

Has anyone found some yet? Jrssr5 20:57, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

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