Is It Even Possible To Ban Someone From Using A Computer?

from the more-difficult-than-you-might-think dept

A few years back, after hearing about a few similar rulings, we wondered if it was reasonable (or even feasible) to ban someone from using computers or the internet if they were found guilty of committing crime online. It seemed pretty excessive, especially considering how integrated computers and the internet have become with every day life. Last summer, a judge came to the same conclusion overturning a ban while noting how excessive that is as punishment. Apparently, however, not all judges quite understand this. A woman accused of fraud in a tax preparation scam has been banned from using computers while she waits for trial. That seems excessively broad (especially for someone who hasn't been found guilty yet). And how do they define "computer" in this situation? Can she use a mobile phone? What about an ATM machine? Self-checkout computer? This seems like one of those things that sounds good to a judge who hasn't actually thought through the ramifications of such a broad ban in today's world.


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  1.  
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    Ima Fish, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    "Is It Even Possible To Ban Someone From Using A Computer?"

    Yes. Solitary confinement. Complete appendage dismemberment. Etc.

    In the real world?

    No fricken way.

     

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  2.  
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    Freedom, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    Wow!

    A quick look up on the definition of a 'computer' and this is what came up:

    An electronic, digital device that stores and processes information.

    So that pretty much means she's sc*ewed! Hell, with that definition if pushed you could argue that almost anything electric that stores state information couldn't be used.

    I often wonder in these cases what's the point. Can she by proxy have someone else use a computer for her. If so, isn't that dangerous.

    What amazes me is that we have a significant number of successful business owners as clients that don't use a computer at all and frankly wouldn't see a problem with this. Then again, they have enough money to pay someone else to deal with everyone else that does have to use them.

    Freedom

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Not for this

    I could see a ban for severe hacking charges. Like hacking into the PCs that control nuclear weapons. But I don't understand why they would ban her from using a computer for accusations of tax fraud. That douse sound a little extreme.

     

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    Amaress, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:18am

    Re: Not for this

    I agree. What is she going to do? Write a blog about how mean the IRS is?

     

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    Xanius, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:19am

    Re: Wow!

    By that definition she's not even allowed to use a car as 98% of the ones still on the road today have a computer in them for fuel,mileage,air/fuel mixture,shifting for automatics, the list goes on.
    Her scale is off limits as well if it's not the kind with a simple pressure plate that turns a wheel.

     

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  6.  
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    Fushta, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:20am

    Sheesh

    -Can't drive any car that was build after 1975 (guessing)
    -Can't use a digital watch, clock, a stove w/digital read-out, microwave, radio, electronic keyboard

    You get my point. The terms of the "banishment" should be limited to Internet access. That means no access from home, cell phone, library, etc.

     

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  7.  
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    chris (profile), Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:37am

    they did it to mitnick

    as part of his probation, and he just hired someone to read and reply to his email for him.

    then, when he went on lecture tours talking about security they tried to stop him from doing that too. i guess when they banned him from "using" computers, they meant "thinking about" computers.

    honestly, it would be more humane to just kill the person.

     

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  8.  
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    Jake, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 8:57am

    This sort of idiotic ban is so common that it's barely even news here in Britain; curfews that prevent people from buying food, bans for 'offenders' too ravaged by mental illness or substance misuse to even understand them, bans that are impossible to enforce... I sometimes wonder if the all-consuming need to please the tabloids overwrote this administration's common sense of just filled a void that was already there.

     

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  9.  
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    comboman, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:05am

    out of touch judges

    This seems like one of those things that sounds good to a judge who hasn't actually thought through the ramifications of such a broad ban in today's world.

    No, this seems like on of those things that sounds good to a 70-year-old judge who can't get his VCR to stop flashing 12:00 AM. There is a serious generation gap between the people who make and interpret law and the rest of us.

     

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  10.  
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    Joe, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    Lets hope she has an older version car

    Cause if she has a "newer" car most likely a computer is involved in that as well. Pretty much she can't use anything produced since 1996. (i'm guessing here)

     

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  11.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:16am

    I certainly she doesn't have...

    ...a computerized pacemaker.

     

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  12.  
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    Steve, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:17am

    The judiciary is woefully uninformed technologically

    A elderly district court judge here in the south ordered the seizure of "all records in whatever form including all computers in possession of the defendants" in a civil IP case. Would that mean his TV, radio, car, watch, calculators, PlayStation, iPod, telephone, R/C airplane, kids toys, fever thermometer, camera, oven, dishwasher, dryer, microwave, pacemaker, Makita drill battery charger .... the list goes on and on.

    In industry we demand specificity --- in the justice system it is abhorred.

     

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    Chix0rak (profile), Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:29am

    Wow..

    Can a judge mandate that she lose her job? I can't think of a single person I know who could do their job without at least some computer use.

    Why not simply just put her in jail if she's such a risk? That pretty much ensures she won't be using a computer..

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 9:50am

    You guys are all...

    IDIOTS. Read the article. It says they are waiting for her to go to trail, so during that time she is banned from using computers. And if she can get out of jail on the 1 million dollar bail then there might be a problem, but she is probably going to jail for life if she is convicted of all the crimes she is charged with.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 10:01am

    Re: You guys are all...

    what?

    She's being charged on fraud, id theft, and forgery counts...life in prison...what country do you live in?

    If convicted, she'll be free within 5 years.

     

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  16.  
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    Computer Consultant Secrets, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 10:40am

    The many advances in technology have certainly both expanded the realm of possibilities and also blurred lines of the law in many cases, particularly when it comes to copyright issues with not only creative works (music files being the biggest of them all) but also software packages, etc. In the last 10 years, musicians and artists have worked to revise copyright law so it can better represent the possibilities for infringement that have been brought about by mp3's and file sharing, and many software companies are also starting to follow suit, at least in the form of penalizing those that use pirated copies. While technology has also given us the ability to very closely monitor everyone using the Internet and even in many cases watch everything anyone is doing at any given time, it's still impossible to imagine that a total ban on computers for a person could be enforced properly, if only because we haven't fully "defined" everything yet when it comes to the technological realm. It seems like it's probably going to take a long time before we revise all the rules of copyright and the law to keep up with the latest advances.

     

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  17.  
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    me, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 11:41am

    This topic

    Why do such crappy topics end up on my Google home page!!

     

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  18.  
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    SCGrant327, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Sheesh

    Don't forget about the lowly, simple calculator...

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2008 @ 6:29pm

    I guess she doesn't get any phone calls while she is in prison, that would be using a computer, remotely.

     

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  20.  
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    The Jung, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 9:24am

    Pet Peeve

     

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  21.  
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    The Jung, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    Pet Peeve

    ATM or Automatic Teller Machine, not ATM machine. Redundancy is only really good for emergency backups and the like.

    Also, forgive me for the blank post. That's what I get for hitting enter too soon.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Re: Pet Peeve

    It's good to know that someone is looking out for grammatical errors these days. I am so sick and tired of the lackadaisical attitude people have in regard to our language. Bravo to you Mr. English Teacher.

     

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  23.  
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    Adrian Hall, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 11:58am

    Yes

    It's called the death penalty.As if dieing didn't suck enough.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Yes

    Huh ?

     

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  25.  
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    dualboot, Apr 12th, 2008 @ 8:39pm

    Collect unemployment? Oops!

    I have yet to work at any job in the past 20 years that didn't require me to use a computer. So, is she supposed to get fired just because she has been accused and not even convicted? Even if she is convicted, do judges just want her to be a drain on the tax payers in this country? She'll have to file for unemployment. Oh no! Maybe she won't be able to collect... don't they make you type a form on the computer to file? Hmm... better just live on the street and starve to death, then if this judge is right. And how would they know... are they going to embed finger-print recognition on every computer? You can use the library computers for free, and the IP address is not tied to you...

    Where's Swift when you need another "Modest Proposal?"

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2008 @ 8:23pm

    Breathing

    You know, I'd just bet that she was also breathing when she supposedly committed her crimes. Accordingly, the judge should order her to hold her breath until she's cleared at trial.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2009 @ 5:49pm

    I know someone that was banned from the internet for deleting her friends on facebook in a custody case. That is all there is to it, even if it seems like there should be more. Judges have way too much power nowadays

     

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  28.  
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    Bryan See (profile), Aug 26th, 2013 @ 1:04pm

    Possibility of computer banning - through ransomware

    After reading an article on Encyclopedia Dramatica, it is said that I discovered a quite elaborate conspiracy in place to stifle my contributions (by fabricating and distorting my history) and force my suicide via an increase in my medication in order to "become well." As on AboveTopSecret.com, Wikipedia is a lost cause, and it is bound to get me, through my arch enemy BatteryIncluded, the administrators and arbitrators alike. This is why most of my appeals to Wikipedia's BASC denied many times without any further reason. I think banning someone from using a computer or the Internet is probably going to be used in this conspiracy against me on behalf of BatteryIncluded. It may be achieved through some kind of ransomware in which payment is not needed (as being used in many police ransom viruses), but rather, it directs the user to be well in order to unlock it for anyone to use a computer. For example, after the individual is banned from using a computer, a kitten is given to him with a lovely suicide threat by BatteryIncluded.

    By the way, current ransomware bans computer users for alleged violations of laws unless a payment is made as a supposed "fine." They use official logos such as FBI or other authority to scare people into doing so. In addition, they could use logos of antivirus software to improve credibility of the virus. As usual, the virus locks down a computer and bans the person behind it, but it doesn't usually destroy any data stored onto it. Besides, major computer-related offenses such as hacking and downloading illegal material merit a computer ban, whether is temporary or indefinite.

     

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