Last week's Salon article about re-code.com's satire site offering printable barcodes at whatever price you wanted, combined with Wal-Mart's threatening of the site received plenty of attention. Various blogs and newswires all picked up on the story, and now re-code.com has shut itself down. The 26-year-old art student who runs the site has realized that he might be in over his head, as hundreds of high-priced corporate lawyers swarm around him. I still wonder what is actually illegal about the site? Clearly, using such a barcode to change a price is illegal. However, that site is not illegal. Anyone could go out and make their own barcodes, if they wanted to. There's nothing illegal about making barcodes. Using them to set your own prices, however, is a different story. This is, once again, a strategy of "security by obscurity". Wal-Mart's thinking appears to be "if we hide the information on our security weaknesses, then we can pretend they don't exist".
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