Richard A Steenbergen ras at
Wed Jun 24 22:15:50 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 10:57:27PM +0100, Rod Beck wrote:
> Hi Richard, 
> It is a more complicated issue than that. 
> There is a long established legal tradition that telecommunication
> transport is not liable for the content it transmits. It's called
> common carrier. If someone makes an obscene phone call, the phone
> company cannot be held liable. Yes, if the client subsequently
> complains and asks for that number to be blocked and the phone company
> does nothing, that's different. 
> But the general principle is that anyone who transmits bits is not
> liable for content. 
> Unfortunately in my personal view that principle never got established
> in the Layer 3 world. 

This has nothing to do with telecommunications or any kind of carrier or
business relationship. This is intentionally leaving your computer open
so that anyone on the Internet can come along and appear to be coming
from your IP, where they will promptly set off doing bad stuff that will
get traced back to you rather than them. Think of it like intentionally
leaving your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition and a note
authorizing people to borrow it and take it for a spin, and then
expecting not to get into any kind of trouble when they rack up speeding
tickets and/or use it to run someone over.

Besides, the kind of consequencies I'm talking about are "having your
internet account shut off for abuse"... But if you do happen to be one
of those unlucky people who gets sued for downloading illegal content I
don't think "but your honor I was running tor" is the defense you're
looking for. :)

Richard A Steenbergen <ras at>
GPG Key ID: 0xF8B12CBC (7535 7F59 8204 ED1F CC1C 53AF 4C41 5ECA F8B1 2CBC)

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