(LJ) If one metaphor poorly expresses the function of a virtual transaction, how might a lawyer protect the client interest in a courtroom setting? Metaphors are powerful and potentially misleading if one does not understand the underlying process. One could imagine a scenario where the plaintiff or prosecutor gets to pitch the first metaphor and gets the court comparing the situation based on that metaphor, and then the defense, who will also need a metaphor to explain the virtual transactions, will be at a disadvantage. Perhaps metaphors are too dangerous for adversary proceedings where the realities of the situation are far too abstract because of the technical nature of the interactions?
(PYS) Microsoft actively maintains a software
package called Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor
(COFEE), a set of utilities designed to help law enforcement
gather forensic data from suspects’ computers. Hackers
responded by releasing DECAF, a program designed to interfere
with the operation of COFEE on a given machine. This is an
example of the technological “arms race” between private
citizens and the government. Should tools like DECAF, designed
specifically to thwart law enforcement, be illegal? Why or why
• The party launching the attack?
• The party who wrote the code that enabled the attack?
• The hosting site containing the files loaded onto the zombie machines?
• The owners of the zombies? Do the owners of the
zombies have a cause of action against the other parties? What
are their damages (assuming that the zombie only runs the DDoS
code when the CPU is idle, and there is no per-minute charge for
Internet connection)? Should it matter whether they also allow
their machine to be a zombie for benign purposes (e.g., SETI
(LJ) While it seems likely the
crimes will continue either way, perhaps the more benevolent
versions of the activities can be distinguished to help people
understand the limitations and ethical challenges presented by
virtual activity? How might we develop legal rules that
distinguish CPU thieves from would-be SETI efforts? How
might we protect slashdotters from the DDOS stigma and
(DF) Suppose someone posts negative "information" about a company after selling the stock short. Under what circumstances does this count as illegal stock manipulation? Does the information have to be false? Consider a recent mini-flap in the world of electric cars.
(KW) Crimes such as
drug trafficking rely on the anonymity of cash to complete their
transactions, and crimes muggings and burglaries are motivated
by cash. If the world eventually moves to a cashless
society (perhaps primarily ecash), will it curb these types of
crimes, or are they adaptable making it harder for law
enforcement to track and make arrests?
(KW) The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act provides criminal and civil penalties against persons who wrongfully access computers. However, in order to successfully bring a civil claim, a loss of at least $5000 must be met, but the loss must be a cost (e.g. the cost to conduct computer forensics) and not stolen intellectual property. Should there be a way to quantify items such as PII (personally identifiable information) so that a victim may add it to their total loss, or is the current law a fair assessment of compensation?
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