Reporting Little Blue Men

Howard Goldstein hgoldste at
Tue Jan 27 00:08:01 UTC 1998

Dean Anderson writes:
 > 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.

I'm not sure I'm understanding what you're getting at here with
respect to a loosening.  Is the discrepancy between the common usage
meaning of the word "intercept" and the printed definition a source of

Definition sections work something like header file #defines.  One may
replace all instances of the word "intercept" with "googleplex" and
arrive at the same result.

 > >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
 > >transmission.
 > 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 don't disagree with the last sentence, provided the claim of
wrongdoing is based in something other than these statutes...

 > >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.  

I can't imagine someone making it through the second year conlaw
classes and not butt heads with wiretap act two or three or more
times, but I concede the possiblity.

 > It appears the spammers aren't very good at
 > getting good lawyers so far, considering how they phrased their cases so
 > far. 

I thought counsel for the detestable firm with "C" in its name put
forth an interesting defense (company town).  The failure to prevail
probably speaks more to the lack of merit in his client's position
than it does the competence of the representation.

 > But the civil damages aren't much, either.

More information about the NANOG mailing list