Re: degree programs, liability for msgs sent

Subject: Re: degree programs, liability for msgs sent
From: "Kelly K. Hoffman" <hoffman -at- LOGICRAFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1993 11:08:35 -0500

I realize that this has very little to do with tech writing, but I felt it
necessary to follow up on this.

Laura Praderio <uupsi5!CLIFF.WHOI.EDU!lpraderi> writes:

>Just to note, even if Paul didn't send the message he is responsible for
>information sent over the net in his name. That is, I believe, he can be held
>accountable for this other person's action on his system. He's libel for
>leaving his system open for other people to get on.

It is *pitifully* easy to send fraudulent e-mail. It is possible that
someone could send mail in Paul's name without being anywhere near his
system. What if the system isn't "his" at all? Is the system owner

>E.g., if you have a loaded
>gun in your house and someone steals it and uses it to kill someone else,
>you're still criminally negligent.

What if the thief used a gun that wasn't yours, but the thief made it
*look* like yours? Or what if the stolen gun weren't loaded, but the thief
supplied his own bullets? Or if the gun were stolen from a houseguest, not
the homeowner? would the homeowner be responsible? (Yes, this is silly...

The stolen gun analogy is not particularly helpful in this case.

Would Paul be similarly liable for a letter to the editor of a newspaper,
sent in his name and address, but sent by someone else? (This is, after
all, why newspapers require that you include your name and address -- so
they can verify that *you* actually sent the letter.)

>This is how it was explained to me by our network engineer who is embroiled in
>intruder and ethics questions daily.

Your network engineer should be aware of how easy it is to spoof e-mail,
even without access to the "sending" system.

>So keep your systems safe and never walk
>away from your e-mail program without logging out; for that matter FTP or
>telnet sessions either.

Good advice for everyone.

-- Kelly
(E-PostMaster in a former life)
Kelly K. Hoffman Logicraft "Reading the manual
Technical Writer 22 Cotton Road is admitting
hoffman -at- logicraft -dot- com Nashua, NH 03063 defeat."

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