Clueless Lawyer Sues Tor Project Because Revenge Porn Site Made Use Of Tor

from the meanest-lawyer-in-texas? dept

Jason Lee Van Dyke is a lawyer in Texas whose own website describes himself as the "meanest lawyer in Texas" (technically it says "meanest lawyers" but the "attorneys" tab on his website only lists him.) Either way, his site promises "a highly practical 'no bullshit' approach to the practice of law." It also notes that the Van Dyke law firm is "unafraid of using novel arguments and tactics if we think that our clients may benefit from them." Novel arguments and tactics can be a good thing... but it kinda goes the other way when you're making a clearly bogus argument, ignoring basic existing safe harbor laws, potentially dragging all sorts of totally unrelated parties into court, while seeking a broad injunction that clearly violates the First Amendment. And that, it seems, is exactly what Jason Lee Van Dyke has done in filing a lawsuit against the Tor Project and Pinkmeth.com.

It should be noted, first of all, that Pinkmeth is yet another revenge porn site. We've written a bunch about revenge porn over the last few years, and hopefully most of us can agree that the folks who run these sites are horrible people, encouraging others to upload naked photos of unwitting folks, while often running a related extortion-like scam to get people to pay up to have their photos removed. We've been happy to see some of the folks who run these sites arrested -- when it appears there are legitimate charges against them -- but have been fearful about how others are trying to stretch the law to go after them.

Jason Van Dyke didn't just stretch the law, he seems to have decided to jump on a bulldozer and plow it right through the law with a legal filing so bad it makes you wonder how Van Dyke ever passed the bar. As nice as it would be to get Pinkmeth to shut down, abusing the law is no way to do it. Let's start with the most problematic aspects of the lawsuit, though, and that's lumping Tor into the lawsuit with Pinkmeth. First, it appears that a year and a half ago, Van Dyke was somehow able to get a judge to order the Pinkmeth.com domain put on hold by VeriSign. In response, the folks behind Pinkmeth set up the site as a Tor Hidden Service, like many other such hidden services (like the Silk Road).

Van Dyke, who does not seem to understand how Tor functions, or to have ever come across Section 230 of the CDA, is trying to claim that the Tor project is liable as part of a "conspiracy" with Pinkmeth:
Pinkmeth and TOR conspired to and had a meeting of the minds regarding the commission certain torts against Plaintiff more adequately described in paragraphs 5.1 - 5.15 above, as well as certain felony offense described in paragraph 4.8 and 4.9 above. The specific object to be accomplished by the conspiracy was the publication pornographic images of Plaintiff (and other women) on the Pinkmeth website in such a manner so as to prevent its operators and users from being held civilly and criminally accountable for this unlawful behavior.
Of course, Tor is just a tool, and claiming there was any "meeting of the minds," let alone any possible liability here, is ridiculous. In fact, many of the direct claims against Pinkmeth itself are likely protected under Section 230 as well, but we'll get to that. After the internet started trying to explain to Van Dyke how Tor worked, he first shrugged that he could dismiss the Tor Project later if he wants, and then issued a hilarious press release in which he tries to both back up his attack on the Tor Project and prime himself to back down against them at the same time. It has to be read to be believed. Here are some choice quotes:
The TOR Project Inc., ("TOR") is a slightly different story. They were named as a conspirator in the lawsuit based upon our belief that they were hosting PinkMeth or providing it with services that have allowed its operators to continue to escape justice.
First off, Tor doesn't host anything. I mean, a 5 second Google search should teach you that. I don't care if you're the meanest lawyer in Texas, you should be able to do a basic Google search. Second, "providing it with services that have allowed its operators to continue to escape justice" is a fascinating legal standard. Once again, Van Dyke would be well served to look up Section 230, or hell, just about anything concerning how basic liability works.
This was not an unprecedented action by our office.
Yes, actually, it was.
Claims brought against hosting companies such as GoDaddy have survived dismissal in similar lawsuits.
First, Tor isn't a hosting company, so you got that wrong. Second, while he's sorta kinda correct that a similar lawsuit against GoDaddy survived past the dismissal stage, he conveniently leaves out that that decision was decisively overturned once a real court looked at it and pointed out that the lower court somehow totally ignored Section 230, meaning the lawsuit against GoDaddy was dismissed, contrary to what Van Dyke implies.
Just today it was reported that a TOR exit node operator in Austria was convicted of abetting the spread of child pornography.
First off, that wasn't today, it was last week and we wrote about it here, with the point being that it was a ridiculous ruling that almost everyone finds problematic. Second, a tor exit node is not run by the Tor project, so the comparison is meaningless. Third, it's Austria, not the US, where any such claim would get laughed out of court just as fast as Van Dyke's lawsuit here will be.
It is our position that, if TOR provided goods or services of any nature to PinkMeth, that they are liable to Ms. Conklin. A review of the TOR website further confirmed by belief that, although it may have been originally designed for legitimate uses, is now used almost solely to aid and abet criminal conduct.
Yeah, I'll just leave that one there for people to laugh at. He then goes on to blame Pinkmeth for making him file against Tor, because Pinkmeth mentions that they're a Tor hidden service. Then the backtrack begins:
Since the filing of our lawsuit and service of legal process on PinkMeth, evidence has emerged that TOR may not have provided any goods or services to PinkMeth. We are still working to determine what degree of control, if any, TOR has over those who use TOR hidden services and to what extent they may be able to provide us information regarding those responsible for publishing PinkMeth. Naturally, if TOR has played no role in PinkMeth's re-emergence, has not provided PinkMeth with goods or services of any kind, and is unable even to assist in identifying those responsible for publishing PinkMeth, they will be dismissed from our lawsuit.
Uh, think you could have done that research before filing a lawsuit, sparky? Anyway, Van Dyke is not done with Tor yet. He's pretty sure that even if they didn't break the law here, it's a bad thing and should be outlawed:
This is not so [sic] say that we endorse the types of service that TOR is providing. We believe condemn [sic] them in the strongest possible terms and strongly disagree with their assertion that there is any "right" for the publishers of online content to remain anonymous.
For a guy who describes himself as "the most right wing lawyer in Texas" you'd think he'd be at least marginally familiar with the First Amendment, and things like the Supreme Court's decision in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, which pretty clearly states:
Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
At the very least, you'd think he'd be familiar with things like the Federalist Papers and the importance of anonymous speech in the history of our democracy. But, no. Apparently not. He goes on to suggest that the legislature should ban Tor. Good luck with that.

Oh, and while most of the focus is on his lawsuit against the Tor Project, the other parts of his lawsuit against Pinkmeth seem fairly problematic as well. Nearly all of the claims are likely precluded by Section 230, because Van Dyke seems to pin the blame for what a user of Pinkmeth did on Pinkmeth itself. That's not how the law works, no matter how "mean" you might be. I'd be happy if there were a way to legally take Pinkmeth down, but this isn't it. Next, he makes a bizarre mention of how there isn't a fair use defense here, despite never actually making a copyright claim in the lawsuit:
Pinkmeth cannot claim "fair use" of any of the images they have misappropriated on its website because the illegal publication of child pornography and adult pornography (in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2257) can never be lawful. In the specific case of the Plaintiff, she owns all the copyrights to the images stolen by Defendant. She has never given Defendant, or any other person, permission to access or distribute her photographs.
Given that, you'd think there would actually be a copyright claim somewhere in the filing. But there isn't. And I won't even bother getting into the question of why he's jumping back and forth between copyright law and child porn and a law about keeping records in porn production. Fair use has nothing to do with any of that. And, while it may be true that the Plaintiff holds the copyright on it, given Van Dyke's other problems understanding the law, it seems like there should be a bit more evidence to support that.

Then, the lawsuit goes even further, demanding "an all-encompassing order" which would impact a huge number of non-parties to the lawsuit, demanding a massive amount of prior restraint, all because of photos of one person. In particular, he demands that:
(a) All top level domain name providers and companies, including Verisign Inc. and ICAAN, cause "pinkmeth.com" and other websites containing the "pinkmeth" verbage to be obliterated or otherwise rendered permanently inaccessible;
(b) All domain name registrars and hosting companies, including TOR, be enjoined and restricted from providing, or continuing to provide, any Internet-related services to the Pinkmeth;
(c) All search engines companies (e.g. Google and Yahoo) be enjoined from (i) including any pornographic photographs of Plaintiff in their search engine results; and (ii) including Pinkmeth in their search engine results;
(d) All social media websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) be enjoined from permitting Defendant to utilize their services.
He further requests that, without any hearing, the court issue a temporary restraining order granting all of the above. I recognize that he doesn't understand Tor, doesn't understand the internet, doesn't seem to know about Section 230 and is a bit weak in his understanding of the First Amendment, but really, does he not understand the nature of prior restraint? The idea that this entity should be wiped off the face of the internet entirely, prior to any sort of hearing, flies in the face of basically all First Amendment law.

You can be the meanest lawyer in Texas, but it might help to have some clue about the law and the technology you're suing. Unfortunately, Jason Lee Van Dyke seems to fail at most of that.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 1:32pm

    'Meanest' indeed

    While he's researching what the law actually says, he might want to look into the other definitions of 'mean', as a few of them seem to fit him quite well given his... novel approach to law and lawsuits.

    mean
    adjective, meaner, meanest

    1.offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating; nasty; malicious: a mean remark; He gets mean when he doesn't get his way.

    2.small-minded or ignoble: mean motives. Synonyms: contemptible, despicable.

    3.penurious, stingy, or miserly: a person who is mean about money. Synonyms: niggardly, close, tight, parsimonious, illiberal, ungenerous, selfish.

    4.inferior in grade, quality, or character: no mean reward.

    5.low in status, rank, or dignity: mean servitors. Synonyms: common, humble; undignified, plebeian.

    Source:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meanest?r=75&src=ref&ch=dic

     

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  2.  
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    gnudist, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 1:38pm

    no bullshit approach to law?

    I'm going to sue this guy for false advertising as that's quite a fuckload of bullshit

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    He doesn't care what the court does to him, it's about billing and impressing the client with all those legal doohickeys he throws around. Ride 'em pardner!

     

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  4.  
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    Jay M. Wolman (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    Kyle Bristow

    One additional bit:
    Pinkmeth lists Kyle Bristow, Esq. as the attorney to whom removal requests should be directed.
    Bristow is a friend of Van Dyke and works with him in this type of matter: http://american3rdposition.com/?p=9094
    Pinkmeth obviously used Bristow's name and address for humor. Yet, when reading the complaint, Van Dyke states that Pinkmeth's office is Bristow's. He has to know this is false. Service of process will not be good and it borders on a fraud upon the court.
    Not good. Ends do not justify means.

     

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  5.  
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    Paul Renault (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    He forgot to sue Intel and AMD...

    ...especially if any of the computers in the chain were using CPUs with built-in AES instruction sets.

    They've got way more money than tor.org does, no?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Communications Decency Act

    47 U.S.C § 230(f) Definitions
    As used in this section:
    ...

    (2) Interactive computer service

    The term "interactive computer service" means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.

    Is the defendant, Tor Project, an "interactive computer service" under the § 230(f)(2) definition?

     

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:04pm

    The copyright angle has proven to work so well with getting prior restraint against and taking down allegedly copyright-infringing websites (or at least seizing domains) without any sort of adversarial process whatsoever... this kind of trying to lump extra charges against his opponent must be what he means says "using novel arguments and tactics."

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:16pm

    I hope Tor Project is able to recover all their legal expenses from the Plaintiff.

     

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  9.  
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    anonymous, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:23pm

    actually

    Does anyone else see his modifying his message as being semi-responsible? True, he could and should have done more research. But TOR is hardly the most obvious tech for people to grasp, lawyers are famously non-technical, and compared to his earlier statements, his later ones are much improved. He's a bit confused on copyright, CDA, and 230, but it seems like he's actually reading and researching as opposed to doubling down. I'm interested to see where he'll go with this. He has no case, against TOR at least, but he seems to be getting a clue.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:30pm

    Re: actually

    Does anyone else see his modifying his message as being semi-responsible?

    No.

    He should have done his homework before filing a complaint. That would have been the professional thing to do.

     

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  11.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Communications Decency Act

    Is the defendant, Tor Project, an "interactive computer service" under the § 230(f)(2) definition?


    FWIW, courts have interpreted that definition very broadly. Further, even if the Tor Project doesn't directly fit under that definition, courts have further interpreted the general intent of CDA 230, about placing liability on the actual party doing the action, to be applicable in these situations...

     

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  12.  
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    Karl (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Communications Decency Act

    Is the defendant, Tor Project, an "interactive computer service"

    ..."or system." Tor would probably qualify on that account.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Conspiracy to Publish

    In paragraph 6.2 of the complaint, plaintiff alleges:
    The specific object to be accomplished by the conspiracy was the publication...

    Iow, plaintiff alleges a conspiracy to publish.

    Compare that with 47 U.S.C. § (c)(1):
    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

    Is the Texas law of civil conspiracy preempted by the CDA, insofar as it purports to treat a co-conspirator to publish as a publisher or speaker?

     

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  14.  
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    Stuart (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Emailed him.

    Was almost nice about it.
    Received an email back.
    "Go fuck yourself, twerp.

    Jason L. Van Dyke
    Attorney at Law, Receiver
    200 Chisholm Place, #250
    Plano, TX 75075
    P – (469) 964-5346
    F – (972) 421-1830"

    lols

     

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  15.  
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    steell (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Communications Decency Act

    "Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy."

    https://www.torproject.org/about/overview.html.en

    And you can learn what TOR is while you're there.

     

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  16.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Communications Decency Act

    This clause in the definition of "interactive computer service" should apply to Tor: "including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet."

    Meanwhile, as Mike notes, §230 is interpreted very broadly, and judicial trends are going the route that pretty much any argument that frustrates the purpose of §230 (i.e., not hold the tool responsible for its users) is not going to fly.

     

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  17.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 3:18pm

    Re: He forgot to sue Intel and AMD...

    He forgot to sue BIOS too. I've heard that company is the first step for any PC use...

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 3:33pm

    DMCA [was Re: ]

    The copyright angle...

    A Texas state court is the wrong place to bring a copyright infringement claim. Title 17 is federal law.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 4:33pm

    CDA § 230 and proxy servers

    There is a recent case from Indiana Miller v. FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION upholding immunity under § 230 in a proxy like scenario.

    Anonymous comments were posted through a proxy server, but the trace wend cold and the court held that providing access to the internet was covered by § 230.

    The only way the plaintiff can get around § 230 imunity is by pleading that the service provider contributed to the illegality, which may explain the claims of conspiracy to publish, but fortunately courts are rather quick to plug that loophole.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 4:44pm

    Re: CDA § 230 and proxy servers

    There is a recent case from Indiana...

    This case? Miller v Federal Express (Ind. Ct. App. 2014).

    Thanks.

     

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  21.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re: Communications Decency Act

    Yet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was created with the intention of purposely hiding someone's identity so that they can do things they otherwise would not feel empowered to do.

    The sort of harm caused in this case is perhaps foreseeable, an inevitable outcome of offering such a "service". it could also be argued that many of the people interested in using something like TOR are doing so because they desire to hide bad acts. In that situation, it is possible to argue that TOR created the circumstance under which the harm happened.

    Yes, there are many ways to attack this argument in a court of law. But just like the Aereo case, you only need a judge to consider the situation as a whole to rule against them.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 5:18pm

    Proxy servers also help Indian dissidents

    When we are on the subject concerning proxy servers, have you seen this story from India (google on the exact titles):

    "Proxy servers drive probe to dead end"
    "NIA probe shows IM men tech savvy;"
    "Derogatory FB post sent through proxy servers"
    "Newslaundry – Not By Proxy"
    "Those behind inflammatory Facebook posts identified"'

    The takeaway from the story is that (1) India can't enforce its totalitarian hate speech law; (2) The Indian police, government and talking heads can't figure out why some dissidents elect to post through foreign proxy servers; (4) when the Indian press euphemisticly mentions that suspects have divulged information during 'interrogations' it probably means that the poor 'cybercriminals' got tortured until they confessed.

    India's human rights record is so bad that European nations can't extradite even the worst terrorists because they will probably be tortured by the Indian security services.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was created with t

    "You have to stretch the
    law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was created with the intention of purposely hiding someone's identity so that they can do things they
    otherwise would not feel empowered to do."

    No we haven't. When the statutory text is unambiguous and all the terms of art are defined, an interactive computer service is so provided that it is within the definition of the CDA.

    Whether or not it facilitates anonymity by failing or neglecting to retain records enabling identification of its users is irrelevant.

    The first case under the CDA reaching the federal appellate level was Zeran v. America Online concerning online defamation in anonymous postings on AOL which were both anonymous and impossible to trace.


    "The sort of harm caused in this case is perhaps foreseeable, an inevitable outcome of offering such a
    "service". it could also be argued that many of the
    people interested in using something like TOR are doing so because they desire to hide bad acts. In that situation, it is possible to argue that TOR created
    the circumstance under which the harm happened."

    You are wrong; and courts have shut down this
    and similar theories most recent in the Sixth Circuit case Jones v. Dirty World.

    In order to fall outside the immunity created by § 230, the service provider must contribute to the illegality of the message.
    Later ratification or enabling the users to do bad things isn't enough.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Communications Decency Act

    https://www.torproject.org/about/overview.html.en

    The "Tor Project: Overview" page which is included as Exhibit A to the complaint (and which you have kindly linked to), is a description of the Tor network, though, isn't it?
    Overview
    Tor is a network...

    I was careless above, when I failed to carefully distinguish between an "interactive computer service" and a "provider ... of an interactive computer service". My mistake. But we shouldn't perpetuate that mistake. Rather, it's important to carefully distinguish the "Tor network" from "defendant, The TOR Project Inc. ('TOR'), a Massachusetts non-profit corporation."

    The Tor Project Inc. develops and provides software to access the Internet through the Tor network.

     

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  25.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was created wi

    In order to fall outside the immunity created by § 230, the service provider must contribute to the illegality of the message.

    If the message exists only because of the source being intentionally hidden, then TOR did in some manner contribute to it's illegality. It can be shown that TOR's major reason to exist it to facilitate hiding, which in turn encourages and contributes to the existence of the message.

    Put another way: Would they have done it without TOR? Probably not.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was

    When the statutory text is unambiguous...


    § 230(f)(2) says " 'interactive computer service' means any ... access software provider".

    But § 230(c)(1) refers to "provider ... of an interactive computer service".

    Substituting (f)(2) into (c)(1), don't we get "provider ... of an access software provider"?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency Act

    The question one has to ask themselves is what kind of duck does Tor look like?

     

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  28.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which

    TOR is not an interactive service provider. TOR alone (without any internet connection would be useless, just try loading it up on a machine with no internet connection.

    The use of TOR isn't to post on their website or use them as a message board either. They don't provide access in and of itself, they provide means and opportunity to hide, disguise, or obfuscate your IP address, shifting that appearance to those silly enough to run TOR exit portals.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service&

    TOR is ...

    When you're referring to "TOR" (in all caps), are you referring to--
    Defendant, The TOR Project Inc. ("TOR"), a Massachusetts non-profit corporation.

    That is, are you using "TOR" (in all caps), in the same way as that term is used in paragraph 2.4 of the complaint embedded above?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 7:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was create

    Would the robbers have held up the bank without the guns? Would they have gotten away without the getaway vehicle?

    Clearly we must sue the manufacturers.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 7:58pm

    He's having a temper tantrum on Facebook

    The lawyer in question is being heckled on Facebook, and he's claiming that he will be filing suit against anybody that leaves him a negative review.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Van-Dyke-Law-Firm-PLLC/277847348981847?sk=reviews

    So yeah, there's that.

     

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  32.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 8:07pm

    Re: He's having a temper tantrum on Facebook

    Impressive, I had no idea Carreon had a twin.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency Act

    Well, let's see. Whatever is a user of TOR. He supports a select group of individuals who have said that using TOR or being interested in it qualifies you as a terrorist.

    That's a might guilty-looking duck right there...

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 8:46pm

    Thanks Ms. Conklin

    Thanks to your lawsuit I now know I can visit pinkmeth and view your nudie photos.

     

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  35.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 9:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was cr

    TOR isn't the car, it's the driver. it's like "getaway cars'r'us", knowingly offering a service which helps people to commit crimes.

    Nice try, but that argument just doesn't fly.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which was create

    Put another way: Would they have done it without TOR? Probably not.


    They were doing it before without TOR, so yes they would.

     

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  37.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service&

    What does it matter? Why bring up the point?

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a

    Free

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 9:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a

    freedom of speech granted by anonymity being abused is not a valid reason to oppose such anonymity. Dumbass

     

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  40.  
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    techflaws (profile), Jul 9th, 2014 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which wa

    Same as you BS, and that wasn't even a nice try.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 9:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "

    Why bring up the point?

    What you said was:
    • [Defendant, The TOR Project Inc. ("TOR"), a Massachusetts non-profit corporation] alone (without any internet connection would be useless, just try loading it up on a machine with no internet connection.
    I usually don't try to load Masschusetts non-profit corporations up on a machine, whether or not those machines are internet-connected.
    • The use of [defendant, The TOR Project Inc. ("TOR"), a Massachusetts non-profit corporation] isn't to post on their website or use them as a message board either.
    You know, the TOR Project does actually have a blog and website.
    • They don't provide access in and of itself, they provide means and opportunity to hide, disguise, or obfuscate your IP address, shifting that appearance to those silly enough to run [defendant, The TOR Project Inc. ("TOR"), a Massachusetts non-profit corporation] exit portals.
    This assertion almost parses. But not quite.

    Now why did you bother to say that stuff? It's pretty senseless.

     

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  42.  
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    Daft, Jul 9th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "

    Why does anyone bother replying to a DC or Virginia address ? Cuz it's fun.

     

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  43.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 12:43am

    "She has never given Defendant, or any other person, permission to access or distribute her photographs."

    I read enough crap legal paperwork already, do they attempt to claim that they were stolen or are they just going to keep rolling with perjury?
    Because EVERYONE who takes a naked picture never ever ever sends them to someone else. o_O

    While I would have sympathy for someone targeted by revenge porn, hiring this idiot has killed any hope of anyone taking her seriously. She is out for a payday and nothing else.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 12:45am

    Directory servers

    If I am correct, the Tor software bootstraps to a central directory server set up by The Tor Project.

    The directory server caches hidden service descriptors and could maybe block a particular xxx.onion address.



    So even though the Tor developers themselves are likely in the clear for offering the software, what about the narrow argument that The Project may be responsible on account that it has the ability to block out hidden service descriptors but fails to do so?

    CDA § 230 should provide sufficient immunity for that part of the Tor Project offering the bootstrap directory server, but that immunity does explicitly not cover intellectual property claims.

     

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  45.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 12:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which wa

    Oh dear, still on this crappy argument are you? What's the matter, did you get tired of lying your ass off in the other threads you didn't return to yesterday?

     

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  46.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 1:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a &q

    Except, see, I didn't say that stuff. You modified it to show that.

    But hey, if you want to play the game, consider two concepts:

    DVD ripping software: They don't have to rip the DVD to be illegal.

    Making false ID cards: You don't have to use the card to be guilty of a crime.

    TOR (the non-profit corporation / attempted legal shield) created software that it knew would be used for illegal purposes, and in fact has few if any normal day to day uses. It's entire intent is to confuse, hide, obscure, and otherwise your online identity, thus aiding in fraudulent activities.

    So TOR [defendant, The TOR Project Inc. ("TOR"), a Massachusetts non-profit corporation] putting out such software is on par with putting out DVD ripping software - you know what it's for, and thus are part of a conspiracy to use it to those ends.

    Want to try to tackle false ID cards and documents?

     

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  47.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" whic

    I don't tend to follow you around like a puppy, so I have no idea what you are talking about. When you want to talk about something, provide a link or something so I don't have to try to read your mind from half a planet away. It's a pretty small target.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 1:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which wa

    Right, because the Tor Project "conspired" with Pinkmeth...

    Since the filing of our lawsuit and service of legal process on PinkMeth, evidence has emerged that TOR may not have provided any goods or services to PinkMeth. We are still working to determine what degree of control, if any, TOR has over those who use TOR hidden services and to what extent they may be able to provide us information regarding those responsible for publishing PinkMeth. Naturally, if TOR has played no role in PinkMeth's re-emergence, has not provided PinkMeth with goods or services of any kind, and is unable even to assist in identifying those responsible for publishing PinkMeth, they will be dismissed from our lawsuit.
    Uh, think you could have done that research before filing a lawsuit, sparky?

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 1:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus

    "DVD ripping software: They don't have to rip the DVD to be illegal."

    "Making false ID cards: You don't have to use the card to be guilty of a crime."

    Both situations are covered by an express prohibition, but there is no general law against 'fraud' or 'circumvention' or selling tools or services enabling obfuscation or lies.


    The government can't consistent with the First Amendment forbid anonymity or lies in all contexts.


    Contrary to your baseless claim, the Supreme Court has held that (1) You have a First Amendment right to anonymity and (2) You have a First Amendment right to lie about your social status.





    "TOR (the non-profit corporation / attempted legal shield) created software that it knew would be used for illegal purposes, and in fact has few if any
    normal day to day uses. It's entire intent is to confuse, hide, obscure, and otherwise your online identity, thus aiding in fraudulent activities."

    And fraudulent activities are in fact not illegal in all or even most contexts.

    I have a constitutional right to lie about my age, sex and marital status in a lot of social settings.

    So care to try again.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 3:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a &a

    TOR (the non-profit corporation / attempted legal shield) created software that it knew would be used for illegal purposes

    Paragraph 3.2 of the complaint:
    TOR "was originally designed, implemented, and deployed as a third-generation onion routing project of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It was originally developed with the U.S. Navy in mind, for the primary purpose of protecting government communications."

    You should just call the USNRL a bunch of bloody pirates, while you're at it.

     

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  51.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 3:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service"

    So, you don't bother keeping up with replies in the thread you comment on? Strange, you do seem to argue with people regularly in the same thread. Until they prove you wrong, prove something as a lie or call you out for repeated another debunked fallacy, then you mysterious disappear until another thread to try and repeat the same lie... Funny, that.

    Anyway, head over to the other thread you responded to me on today, where I'm asking you to prove your lie about blanket worldwide rights being something Netflix can buy. Looking forward to your citation to back your position, because I have plenty that show they don't exist.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 3:36am

    "First off, Tor doesn't host anything. I mean, a 5 second Google search should teach you that."

    - Hell no. That research would mark him as an extremist!

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 4:40am

    Re: Emailed him.

    That's really not very friendly considering all the free legal advice he's getting around here. Disappointingly ungrateful.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 4:56am

    TOR should sue Van Dyke

    "Pinkmeth and TOR conspired to and had a meeting of the minds..." is that a libelous statement, for the purpose of tarnishing TOR by lumping the two together without any proof of this meeting?

     

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  55.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 5:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus

    YOu need to learn to click "reply" under the post you want to answer. Hard to keep tracking you down in theaded view.

    Contrary to your baseless claim, the Supreme Court has held that (1) You have a First Amendment right to anonymity and (2) You have a First Amendment right to lie about your social status.

    Yup, yet they have not specifically said that you can use fraudulent means in order to do so. In other words, you can be anonymous, but you cannot misrepresent yourself as someone else. TOR (the software) allows you to do exactly that, stripping away information relating to your actual connection point and replacing it with someone else's.

    Please show me the courts ruling otherwise.

    And fraudulent activities are in fact not illegal in all or even most contexts.

    Fraud is often related to the underlying act, such as using a fake ID to get into a bar or to enter the US illegally. The creation of the false ID / documents or falsely presenting someone as someone they are in themselves criminal acts.

    I have a constitutional right to lie about my age, sex and marital status in a lot of social settings.

    Yup, but the internet is not just a social setting. It is also a contractual situation in many cases. Services are obtained by entering into a contract, lying or making false statements in order to obtain such services would be fraud. Most people will never be prosecuted for it, but there ya go.

    There are already cases being launched against TOR exit operators. Those will be interesting to see play out.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 7:40am

    Maybe the lawyer is not as clueless as imagined.

    Maybe the real objective is to bankrupt the non-profit organization depriving it of funds. If that is the case then it matters little if the funds are spent on lawyers or on a judgement.

     

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  57.  
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    Whatever (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "servi

    trange, you do seem to argue with people regularly in the same thread. Until they prove you wrong, prove something as a lie or call you out for repeated another debunked fallacy, then you mysterious disappear until another thread to try and repeat the same lie... Funny, that.

    You honestly need to give it a break. Trolling me endlessly might be your source of amusement, but please. I tend not to follow stories that fall off of the first page or so of Techdirt. Blame the staff here for posting too many things, discussions tend to end on things as soon as they drop off of page 1. So if you come back in after that point and toss stuff in, you will always think you chased me away only because I didn't bother to keep looking at your inane responses.

    For what it's worth, I went over there and answered you. Please stop saying I am lying when you have absolute nothing to back yourself up with. I don't know why you have a chip on your shoulder about things, but go take it out on the punching bag in your local gym instead of on here. You aren't adding much to the discussion, you just seem intent on starting an argument I am not intending to get into with you.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency Act

    The Tor Project just develops and distributes free software. Individuals take that software install it on servers and clients that work together to create the Tor network. Suing Tor for this would be like suing the Apache Foundation because someone installed a server and used it to host illicit content. Tor doesn't provide a service. The people who use their software in order to create the network do.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Peter, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 8:21am

    Anyone check the document further down?

    Page 11, Section 7.2:
    Plaintiff is a criminal justice major at the University of North Texas.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 9:10am

    And he just dropped Tor from the suit....

     

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  61.  
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    Tim A, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 1:39pm

    Wow, and this guy practices law...

    Apparently stupid is the new mean.

     

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  62.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "service" which wa

    First, Tor has substantial legal uses, so it's not like "getaway cars r' us" but more like a taxicab that doesn't keep records.

    Also, Tor is substantially a peer to peer operation. The Tor "organization" is more akin to the manufacturer of the taxi, not the driver or the taxi company. The Tor organization doesn't provide services, they provide software.

     

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  63.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a &a

    Also, the state department distributes it to and encourages the use of it by activists in repressive regimes to allow a relatively safe way to communicate.

     

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  64.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Directory servers

    The Tor project does run a directory server -- but they aren't the only one. It's entirely possible to (and many people do) run Tor without using any server run by the Tor project.

     

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  65.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus

    "TOR (the software) allows you to do exactly that, stripping away information relating to your actual connection point and replacing it with someone else's."

    Which isn't even in the same ballpark as fraudulently representing yourself as someone else. A connection point is not an individual identifier. It's a connection point.

     

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  66.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 10:15pm

    And this is why the NSA and similar agencies like them book-smart but obedient

    ... by activists in repressive regimes to allow a relatively safe way to communicate.

    Combine that with the NSA automatically classifying anyone interested and/or using TOR as 'extremists', and you have to wonder just how they spin that to themselves so they aren't obviously the bad guys.

    'So TOR is designed as a way for people to anonymously communicate, allowing them to get around repressive government blocks and/or safely criticize governments that would otherwise crack down on people speaking out... yet my bosses in the agency say that anyone that uses TOR is an extremist and deserves extra scrutiny because of it... You know, I don't think I like where this line of thinking is going, so it's probably for the best that they discourage critical thinking.'

     

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  67.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 10th, 2014 @ 10:43pm

    Re:

    well practice does make perfect... he seems to need quite a bit more.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2014 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a &a

    DVD ripping involves breaking encryption, which is illegal.

    Falsifying IDs is illegal, whether you use it or not.

    Anonymity is NOT illegal.

    Your argument is invalid.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2014 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Communications Decency ActYet in simple terms, TOR is neither an interactive computer service or a message board, and thus not subject to any law related. You have to stretch the law very far to get it to cover a "s

    Keep lying that you don't have a side, mate. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can tell you're bullshitting as usual.

     

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  70.  
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    robert, Jul 12th, 2014 @ 1:49pm

    the author

    is the person who wrote this a attorney,studied in law,or a judge..if not then you cant really say who is wrong and who is right..stick to your paygrade...

     

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


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