Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cyberwar of Ammendments

One of the most famous journalists in the United States, Bob Woodward, once said, following a book on conspiracies that put into question the Watergate investigation, "as a believer in the First Amendment, I believe they have more than a right to air their views". It is considered that the First Amendment is the pass for almost everything, and that is why it is inviolable: it is forbidden to legislate in any manner that would alter the freedom of expression.

In fact, the publisher Larry Flynt is behind the somehow sarcastic comment that you do not need the First Amendment if you do not intend to offend anyone, which is like saying that if you do, be next to the parapet of the First Amendment. That is precisely what has made Twitter, raising the tone above the conformity of other techs with the United States Government. The largest microblogging network sues its country Administration not to limit its transparency with users. Take the information you want, but let me tell users about your requests for information. And yes, it has brought out the First Amendment. That is like saying: "Don't try to fool me".
Where is the limit? It's an old legal debate that we will not resolve here, but we can note that the discussion in the United States is in full force. In fact, there is a stir about a scientific paper from a doctoral student at McGill University, Molly Sauter, that somehow justifies the DDoS attacks as a legitimate form of political activism. And that has created a brawl between some security experts, due to the support to this point of view, given by Bruce Schneier to this point of view, and the response of Larry Seltzer from Zero Day (zdnet).

From Amendment to Amendment, another more than complex legal issue, but fun from the procedural point of view, it is the trial agaings online drug market Silk Road. The judge handling the case has denied the defense lawyers request for suspension of proceedings. The lawyers said that the FBI would have skipped the Fourth Amendment, which protects privacy, by accessing its client Ross Ulbricht's server in Iceland. And the judge has prepared a real "catch-22" which is roughly this one: Ulbricht has not sufficiently attested his ownership of the server, so what kind of privacy interests he must defend... but if he does, he will be blaming himself. What to choose in such a case?

Speaking of privacy, the most serious case in the last hours is on ephemeral social network Snapchat. It's a new scandal affecting hundreds of thousands of users. whose compromising pictures had been leaked and published on the 4Chan forum. The social network was immediately stating that all images come from a third party app, what is strictly prohibited in the terms of use; but that does not stop voices criticizing Snapchat beacuse of its lack of seriousness when it comes to restricting access to such apps, able to bypass privacy barriers of the network.

Needed to get in trouble? It's your business. Better not to do it, and use the network freedom with the best purposes. Maybe not anything goes; certainly not anything goes. You will find us freely, here and on our social networks. We expect you there to go on talking :-)

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