Reporting Little Blue Men

Dean Anderson dean at
Mon Jan 26 14:44:09 UTC 1998

At 11:42 PM -0500 1/23/98, Howard Goldstein wrote:
>In order for there to be a prohibited interception, one must have
>acquired the substance of another's communications, i.e., the
>"contents."  s2511(1)

This is a good point. I'm not sure I buy it, but it at least is a
reasonable point.  It seems to me that the change of definition was to
loosen the meaning of intercept so that one doesn't have to actually block
to be in violation, rather than to require reading of the contents for
there to be a violation, as you interpret.

>The wiretap act is intended to protect proprietary rights in message
>content from another's wrongful taking.  There's no indication
>anywhere of intent to gaurantee a level of service for content's

I don't think anyone would expect you to guarantee a level of service. But
it is not unreasonable to expect that you are not arbitrarilly and
capriciously discrimminating against people who reasonably expect you to
pass their packets.  This goes far beyond spamming.  Consider what might
happen if it actually is permissible for people to arbitrarilly blackhole
another person or company, at a whim.  Suppose Microsoft decides to take
out Netscape during a dispute. Etc.  Such behavior is already illegal,
given my interpretation.  I am looking forward to having people send me
those letters, so we can test this.

>I find it somewhat reassuring that those desperate spammers who have
>litigated related matters haven't attempted recovery through the civil
>remedy provided by s2520.  Don't you agree that they would have tried
>if the theory had even a tiny bit of merit?

You have to know about it.  It appears the spammers aren't very good at
getting good lawyers so far, considering how they phrased their cases so
far. But the civil damages aren't much, either.


           Plain Aviation, Inc                  dean at

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