Friday, January 11, 2008

Privacy + computers = complexity

I learn from Michael Geist that a federal court in California has ruled that a company collecting peer to peer data to track down people using P2P networks, allegedly illicitly, for music sharing, did not commit trespass to chattels. The case is Atlantic Recording Corp. v. Serrano.

Contrast that with the story of the methodist minister who was found to have child pornography on his work computer but considered to have a fourth amendment right to avoid having the computer seized and searched through inappropriate procedures without a warrant:

"A Florida appeals court has affirmed an order barring the state from using alleged child pornography taken without a warrant from an office computer as evidence against a Methodist pastor.

The Florida 1st District Court of Appeal found that Pastor Eric Young had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his office and workplace computer because they were reserved for his exclusive use and that the police officers who seized the evidence did not have valid consent to take it."

Or the Bush administration's mass warrantless wiretapping, which a worried Democrat controlled Congress is effectively considering rubber stamping, lest they be painted as 'soft on terror'...

And you see some of the anomalies of the regulation of modern communications technologies in the good old US of A. Is sharing music on the Net worse than collecting child pornography and does the war on terror mean there should be no checks or balances on government in the US, the UK or anywhere else? Answers on a postcard to your local parliamentary representative please.

No comments: