Judge Presiding Over Online Terrorism Case Confused By The Term 'Web Site'

from the probably-not-the-ideal-judge dept

Government officials not understanding technology is nothing new, and unfortunately it often results in bad laws and bad legal rulings. Usually, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the people in question don't recognize their own ignorance. So it's refreshing to see that a judge in Britain presiding over a case involving terror planning over the internet has admitted the he doesn't understand terms like "web site". Following this admission, the prosecuting attorney took a moment to try explaining the concept to the judge, but the quick explanation didn't do much for the judge's understanding, which is not surprising. Seriously, it's good that the judge has admitted his ignorance, but you'd think that the logical thing to do would be to recuse himself from the case, if that's possible. Instead he's staying on, and he's asked the prosecutor to keep the forthcoming questioning of a computer expert simple. You have to wonder, though, what the point is in questioning an expert if his testimony has to be kept simple enough for this judge to understand.

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  1. identicon
    Bob Hutchison, 17 May 2007 @ 10:59am

    So, what is the definition of 'web site' anyway?

    Everyone should know the definition of website, right?

    My dictionary says: "a location connected to the Internet that maintains one or more pages on the World Wide Web."

    What's a location? What's a page? What's the difference between the internet and the world wide web?

    What's the difference between a webserver and a website? Can a single server serve more than one website? Can a single website be served by more than one webserver?

    Can you distinguish between two locations? how? Does a website have one, or more than one domain name? IP addresses? locations?

    Can you distinguish between two pages? How? If two pages have different CSS, say, so they look different, are they different?

    Can a single page belong to two websites?

    Can a website be a subset of another.

    If a page points to another website, how do you know? What if the other location has two domains pointing at it and both domains appear in some page as links?

    What if a website is changed? Does that make a new website?

    I can go on.

    I think a definition of a web page is possible, I don't know about website.

    Now, what if these questions are relevant to the court case? What does the judge do? Admit he doesn't know what a website is? or pretend?

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