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Thursday, March 16, 2006

American lunacy

I know there's a lot of nice people in America. Unfortunately, we don't get to hear about many of them. They seemed to be outnumbered by the American idiots.

Ex-employee faces suit over file deletion - A man was sued by the company he used to work for, because he deleted documents during the course of his employment, and when the company was unable to get those specific documents back upon request, they had him charged under anti-hacking laws for 'destruction of data' and took him to court. Now, it seems completely obvious they were just trying to frack him over, just because they could. Who takes someone to court for deleting documents during the course of their work? Unbelievable. It gets worse though. The judges found him guilty under the anti-hacking laws, and disregarded his defence that the deleting of documents was valid during the course of his work. It was the judge's beliefs that the company had the right to ownership of all material - including deleted material - and if the man couldn't provide it to them, then he was committing a crime.

This has now set a precedent that deleting documents from your work computer could very well be illegal, and turn you into a hacker who destroys data.

Almost every day I hear something idiotic that an American - or group of Americans - do. Now it's obvious that American lawmakers are idiots too.

Posted on 3/16/2006 09:10:00 AM Backlinks

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Anonymous Atul said...

Nice blog that I stumbled upon. And thanks for recognizing that there are a lot of nice progressive, liberal Americans who don't agree with our government AT ALL! We have to do what we can to change the direction we are going.

As for lawsuits. It affects so much of what we do in the business world. At our corporations, we have to be very cautious even about the words we use, and we have to protect people from their own stupidity.

I have a similar blog which you might enjoy.


Take care,

3/16/2006 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

hi Atul, nice of you to 'join us', and thanks for your comments.

I can understand the fear and caution that permeates so much of what Americans do. Anything they do could end up causing someone offence, and end up in court. Or dead.

I just think it's a shame that so many Americans have the mentality of 'how can I frack this person over?'

Yes, I do understand that there's far more nice and and reasonable Americans than their opposite, but damn! I wish they'd start standing up for themselves and for what's right.

3/16/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Moghal said...

You tell them, Alan!

Nice people of America stand up and be counted... gun down the bad guys, sue them for staining your good name....

oh... damn.

M :)

3/16/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Emelie said...

The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

3/17/2006 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger Chancelucky said...

I looked over the original opinion and I think it looks much saner once you understand the context and the legal intricacies. I'd also mention that Posner is generally thought to be a conservative judge.

1) this was an appeal from a dismissal of the plaintiff company's suit.

2) this meant that the trial court judge had ruled that "deletion" could never be the basis for prosecuting someone for "hacking".

3) the guy was stealing a customer list from his then current employer (that was the accusation at least) he deleted the list from his company laptop while still employed there.
the former employer that he then used the list to start his own business. He thus took the company's "data" and made it unfindable.

4) the appellate court (Posner's court) simply held that yes indeed deleting files could arguably be a form of "hacking" as prohibited by the federal law.

He was not convicted nor did he lose the underlying case.
the court simply said this is a "triable" issue in this case.

5) The US media often seizes on lawsuits and "sensationalizes" so that people will take notice. The Mcdonald's coffee cup suit for instance is a good example. When you look at the facts, it turns out that the verdict was pretty reasonable.

I'm not personally upset that deleting files can be seen as a violation of hacking law. They are not talking about the casual deletion of random files at all. They are saying that deletion can be a form of information sabotage if you can show the harm, the significance, and likely, the intent of the person doing the deleting. I'm actually pretty comfortable with that conclusion.

3/17/2006 12:27:00 PM  

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