[Wikimedia-l] PRISM

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Sat Jun 15 19:43:12 UTC 2013

On Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 1:56 PM, Fred Bauder <fredbaud at fairpoint.net> wrote:

> > The fact of the matter is that there would be a much bigger uproar if the
> > NSA were caught doing what Aaron Swartz did, on American soil against an
> > innocent American company.  If NSA were caught breaking into wiring
> > closets
> > and hacking into computer networks, the 4th Amendment violation would be
> > way more obvious and incontrovertible.
> >
> Within the United States the FBI, has the authority, in appropriate
> cases, with a warrant, to engage in such activity.

That they can do it with a warrant is why I said an *innocent* American
company.  I'm quite aware of the existence of sneak-and-peak warrants.  If
these are being issued to hack into the networks of Google and Yahoo and
all, without any evidence that Google and Yahoo and all were breaking the
law, then I think evidence of this would cause a huge uproar, and that the
practice would be found to be in violation of the 4th Amendment.

> If there was a valid
> finding by a Federal District Court judge that the was a valid reason it
> would not be a 4th amendment violation.

By definition, if the warrant is valid, then the 4th Amendment is not
violated, because a warrant which violates the 4th Amendment is not a valid

But that's nothing more than hand waving.  A warrant allowing the
government to break into an MIT wiring closet and from there hack into the
JSTOR network (spoofing IP and MAC addresses in order to get around
blocks), without any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of MIT or JSTOR,
would not be valid.

Maybe by "valid" you meant procedurally valid, and not substantively valid?
 If so, you're just wrong.

For those not familiar with the case against Aaron Swartz, who might be
under the mistaken impression that all he did was download a bunch of
public domain resources, Orin Kerr has a good summary at
http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/14/aaron-swartz-charges/ where he concludes
"the charges against Swartz were based on a fair reading of the law".

There is more than one source,
> not just what happens to be on the front page this week. Additionally, we
> are not bound by the canon of generally accepted knowledge in our
> discussions. That is our rule for encyclopedia articles, not our rules
> for thinking.

I'm not sure whose rules for thinking you're talking about.  Personally I
have a rule against believing things without evidence.  In some cases
that's more lenient than Wikipedia's sourcing rules (original research is
great), and in some cases it's more strict (I don't believe everything I
read in the mainstream news).

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