Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Will This Land Me In Jail?

from the fear-the-DMCA dept

Declan McCullough's latest column, while a bit on the fear-mongering side of things, talks about how he could be thrown in jail for violating the DMCA after someone sent him (what he believes to be) passwords to some word documents that are freely downloadable online about airport security procedures. The documents are available online, but cannot be opened without the password. Using the password, though, could be a violation for "circumventing a technological measure" to block access. He would also get in trouble just for publishing the password, and open up his employer, CNET to possible charges as well. Once again, this is an example of how, instead of explaining why stronger security would be better, we've somehow created laws that say weaker security is okay - and anyone who might point out that the security is weak probably should go to jail. In effect, the DMCA outlaws whistleblowing on security. This goes well with Time Magazine's decision today to name three whistleblowers as people of the year. If the DMCA applied to corporate governance instead of technology, these whistleblowers might be on trial, instead of on the cover of Time.

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