[Foundation-l] 09-f9-...

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Mon May 7 17:13:13 UTC 2007

On 5/7/07, Ed Sanders <ejsanders at gmail.com> wrote:
> What about a 20k hex number that represents a child porn JPEG?
> Publishing that number would be highly illegal. "Complete nonsense"
> indeed...
> Ed.
> Yann Forget wrote:
> > Illegal number? Do you have any legal argument? There is none on this
> > page. At least quite a lot of people have understood that the rethoric
> > from the majors is completely baseless.
> >
> > Publishing a number is spamming? Publising a number would be illegal?
> > This is a complete nonsense.
> >
> > Wake up guys!
> >
> > Yann
> >
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It depends. If you were publishing the image, formatted and set up as
an image file, that would be illegal. If, instead, you were simply
publishing a text file containing the numeric value making up that
image, why should it be?

That's exactly why this whole thing is pretty slippery. Computers
transmit and manipulate vast quantities of numerical values. There's
no way to remove that capability from a computer and still have it
work. Any given numeric value could represent any number of things,
just as in the real world. What is "100"? My age? The number of
pennies it takes to make up one dollar? The third octet of my IP in
decimal form? The ASCII code for the letter "d"?

The answer to all of the above could certainly be "yes". Numeric
values are -just numbers-. A credit card number, in and of itself, is
just a number. Misusing that number, by for example making an
unauthorized purchase on the card, is an action, and is and should be
illegal. Knowing something is not a crime. Acting on it might be.

Freedom is the right to know that 2+2=4. From this all else follows.

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