Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




More Confusion On The Criminality Of Writing Software

from the if-they-don't-like-you,-you're-in-trouble dept

In August we wrote about the odd story of a guy who created a keylogging software being indicted, but the news reports were unclear what he was indicted for. They simply seemed to assume that writing a keylogger program was illegal -- but there are legitimate keylogger programs out there, and various legal precedents suggesting that the creator of the software shouldn't be held liable for how people use it. This has started to change ever-so-slightly with the Supreme Court's decision in Grokster that set up an "inducement" standard -- but the timing would hardly make sense for using that standard. Mark Rasch apparently was wondering the same thing and has dug a little deeper into what was so illegal about creating this software, and basically found that there's almost no consistency at all in how the government views this type of situation. Basically, if they don't like what you're doing, they find a way to twist the laws to favor their position. However, in other situations (such as their own investigations and with political allies, such as gunmakers), their reasoning changes completely. Who needs consistency when there's politics?

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  • identicon
    jszpila, 3 Oct 2005 @ 2:34pm

    No Subject Given

    it was only just recently that the firearms industry was granted amnesty from being sued for how stupid people abused their products, if i'm correct.

    but anyway, locking someone up for writing a key logger is a stupid idea; flat out, people/companies shouldn't be held responsible for how people use/abuse their products. There are simply too many variales to take into account and would require some monolithich big-brother like beuracracy to monitor proplery. You can't sue Ford if someone driving one of their trucks hits you - and last time I check, keyloggers weren't fatal. Annoying, but not fatal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      KnyghtMare, 3 Oct 2005 @ 3:17pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      This is different. He did advertise the product as an illegal product, it was manufactured to break the law. He even went so far as to produce the means of installing it via email.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Olav, 3 Oct 2005 @ 3:10pm

    So true

    Oh man that is so true about who needs consitancy when there is politics

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pundit, 3 Oct 2005 @ 6:17pm

    welcome to America

    > Basically, if they don't like what you're doing,< br>> they find a way to twist the laws to favor their
    > position.

    That's pretty much true of our entire DA/prosecutor system. There just isn't enough oversight by "the people" into what DAs are doing. I hate to add more beauracrats to the mix, but many roles in the executive branch would be better off as committees of 3 or more people. Yes, that's right, committees. So long as you have an odd # of people, you can get a majority opinion. So long as you have more than one person making the call, you can have balance and more "in the know" whistleblowers.

    What's better yet is when DAs not only decide to single you out, but they load so much on you that they basically force you to cop a plea, or go broke and risk a jury sending you away for 3 times as long.

    This country and each state needs a new constitution which reflects the pace of our times and technology.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous of Course, 4 Oct 2005 @ 10:50am

      Re: welcome to America

      I think more than three people were involved with the Inslaw case. The privileged class, lawyers and politicians, do whatever they want and the rest be damned (unless there is money to be had or a celebrity involved.) The majority are as crooked as a dog's leg, stupid, greedy and possessing a self-advancing cunning which serves them as well as it disserves the public.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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