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

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Mon May 7 18:58:49 UTC 2007

On 5/7/07, Ed Sanders <ejsanders at gmail.com> wrote:
> Todd Allen wrote:
> > 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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> >> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >>
> >
> > 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?
> Don't be ridiculous. Of course it would be illegal, and anyone found
> with such a file on their computer would certainly be put in jail,
> regardless of whether you changed the file extension, the encoding, or
> even tried to encrypt it.
> >
> > 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"?
> Making the comparison is "100" is very naive. 100 is a very small
> number, and one you could chance upon in a number of circumstances. The
> probability of accidentally or coincidentally reproducing a 32 hex digit
> number is completely negligible, even over a dataset as large as the
> internet. There are about as many 32 byte  strings (64 hex digits) as
> there are atoms in the universe.
> > 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
> Again a credit card number is long enough that it couldn't be "just a
> number". I don't think anyone arrested for stealing credit card
> databases has gotten off by claiming the were just collecting
> interesting numbers.
> > 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.
> But distributing the numbers is also a crime, regardless of whether you
> used them or not.
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If you're correct there, then...wow, things are worse than I imagined.
What if you did have a collection of 2000 credit card numbers, and
never made an unlawful purchase on a single one? Who's been harmed?
Likelihood of replication doesn't change the basic premise. That's
getting into the realm of outlawing information and concepts rather
than actions and deeds, and that's not a very good road to start
walking down.

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

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