Merit Network
Can't find what you're looking for? Search the Mail Archives.
  About Merit   Services   Network   Resources & Support   Network Research   News   Events   Home

Discussion Communities: Merit Network Email List Archives

North American Network Operators Group

Date Prev | Date Next | Date Index | Thread Index | Author Index | Historical

Re: RBL Update (Re: Lets go vixie!! rbl)

  • From: Dean Robb
  • Date: Wed Jun 17 14:44:36 1998

At 19:48 6/16/98 -0400, you wrote:

>At 6:23 PM -0400 6/16/98, Dean Robb wrote:

>>STRONGLY recommend readers view the actual code and it's legislative
>>history at the above URL.  18 USC 2511 introduced to US Code in Public Law
>>90-351, June 19, 1968.  "Electronic Communications" added to section 2511
>>by Public Law 100-690, Nov. 18, 1988.  Assertion that 18 USC 2511 "was
>>specifically meant to apply to email" is initially written
>>only oral and wire communications were covered.
>But unfortunately the relevant hearings aren't online.
>The amendment with "electronic" language was specifically added to make
>these statutes apply to email. That was the purpose of the amendment.

Correct. 20 YEARS AFTER section 2511 was introduced into the law.  However,
you said "The legislative history of 18 USC 2511 indicates it was
specifically meant to apply to email.  I wish I knew that last year."  That
was wrong, the '88 amendment was written to apply to email, not the
original section as you asserted.  

Your entire argument is still a bogus strawman because this bit of law
applies to the interception of a communication for illegal purposes.
Specific language that destroys your argument:

1.  "[1] (B) obtains or is for the purpose of obtaining information
relating to the operations of any business or other commercial
establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign
commerce; or..." 

2.  "[1](d) intentionally uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any
wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know
that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral,
or electronic communication in violation of this subsection; or..."

3. "18 USC 2510. Definitions. As used in this chapter - ...(4)
''intercept'' means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of any
wire, electronic, or oral communication through the use of any electronic,
mechanical, or other device."

So, on three key criteria, your argument is toast.  Blocking mail cannot
obtain information relating to the operations of a business (except
possibly the fact that the business uses email...a public fact and not
actionable); blocking mail does not use the contents of an email as the
contents not read; and finally, blocking does not constitute an intercept
as defined by the law.

Now.  What specific language do YOU have that attempts  to prove your point?

>The debate is over.
>[you pretty much can't be more wrong on 2511: the amendment and its
>hearings completely resolves our debate.]

The hearings that only you seem to have access to?  Your right, the debate
IS over.  You're wrong.  Please keep in mind, too, that hearings on the
language of a bill are pretty irrelevant except as sparingly used by the
Supreme Court to determine the intent of a bill if it's challenged.  What
the law SAYS is what matters, not what someone says in a hearing over the

>I guess its an emotional topic for many, but this is the current law.
>Maybe you can still get the law changed regarding spam.

Can't imagine anyone getting emotional about limits on wiretapping.
I think the laws limiting wiretapping to are pretty good...why would I want
them changed?

>But everyone should read it and apply it.  And think about whether they are
>a party to the communication before they do something bad to it.

I assure you, I'll apply it.  The next time I think I need a wiretap, I'll
go before a Court and get permission.  If I ever feel the need to tape a
conversation, I'll get permission from one of the parties first. 

You need to think about consulting a lawyer before spouting US Code like
you actually have a clue.   Perhaps reading the law without a pre-concieved
notion as to what it says would serve you well in the future.

>>MSN just has to change from "You have to take it up with the company you
>want to
>send mail to", to "you have to take it up with the company you want to send
>mail, and if they didn't block it, you should contact the FBI"

Whereupon the FBI will laugh at them quite loudly.

The facts speak for themselves.  Unless you can quote specific language in
the 18 USC that supports your contention that preventing delivery of email
is illegal (remembering that blocking does not fit the definition of
"interception" in the law), you have no case. Feel free to call the nearest
US Attorney to verify these facts...but don't tape the conversation without
your permission.

What do spammers and nails have in common?  They're both intended for

Dean Robb
On-site computer services
(757) 495-EASY [3279]

Discussion Communities

About Merit | Services | Network | Resources & Support | Network Research
News | Events | Contact | Site Map | Merit Network Home

Merit Network, Inc.