W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > January 2015

Re: US court-case resolved against "Right to link"

From: <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:10:59 +0300
To: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <179191422011459@webcorp02f.yandex-team.ru>
Before commenting on the case, it is worth having a link to the *actual judgement*. Reporting of sentences in contentious cases is unfortunately liable to leave out important details.

23.01.2015, 13:54, "Harry Halpin" <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>:
> In particular, with Barrett Brown was given 5 years for linking to a
> dump of archive, where unbeknownst to Barrett, credit card information
> was in the archive.
>  Although one may or may not agree with Barrett's rather idiosyncratic
> statements and motivations, nonetheless it seems important that the
> right to link not be overturned by politically-motivated court-cases.

What *was* the motive? More or less all court cases are politically motivated, some of them for reasons people generally like, such as the goal to protect the right to personal safety, and some less likely to win universal acclaim. Courts in liberal democracies are also in the business of providing fair treatment to people regardless of whether those people actually "deserve" it or not.

There are many aspects of a "right to link". People in human rights often say "your right to swing your fists around ends at my nose" - but in fact it ends somewhere in the murky area before it gets there, typically (legal systems vary greatly and both explicitly provide and effectively permit all kinds of exceptions) about the point where "a reasonable person would be afraid you're going to hit them".

All of which is to say, the sort of careful analysis that the TAG does for technical issues is necessary when responding to questions of law, too - although there are lots of differences in the details, the approaches used, and the methods for acting on the results…

> http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/22/barrett-brown-trial-warns-dangerous-precedent-hacking-sentencing
> Worse, this does not bode well not only for the right to link, but for
> anyone using big data (where the data may contain information that is
> unknown to you, which is usually the case in big data!), and so may
> have a chilling effect on releasing open data and linking data in
> general.
> While it's probably too late for the technical community to comment on
> this case, we should comment on this in order to prevent future
> prosecutions over linking.

Perhaps. But we should make sure we are clear about what we are commenting on.


Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
chaals@yandex-team.ru - - - Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Friday, 23 January 2015 11:11:29 UTC

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