Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Create Account now to join.
  • Login:

Welcome to the Online Debate Network.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.

Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    If this isn't illegal, it should be.

    Kevin Roose at Fusion.net has posted a portion of a document sent to him (along with many other documents) by an anonymous source, showing payroll information on thousands of Sony employees. This after Sony experienced a major hack last week. http://fusion.net/story/30789/hacked...-and-race-gap/

    The document Roose published online shows employee names, salaries, hire dates, and titles. Roose chose not to include home addresses, but easily could have. The next person to publish that or a similar document may choose to include address, date of birth, social security, or whatever data may be included.

    Publishing stolen documents should be illegal. If it already is, then Fusion.net and Roose should be prosecuted, along with others who do the same. And this isn't just about Fusion and Sony documents. Imagine you are a business owner and your own private company computers get hacked. Should it be legal for the hackers or third party recipients to post all of your company and employee information on the internet for any and all to see? Or your doctor's computer gets hacked, and all your medical records end up on the internet. We have laws against receiving, possession and sale of stolen property. Similar laws should be in place for documents stolen from computers.

    Some may argue that publishing stolen documents is and should be protected free speech when exercised by the press. Anyone arguing that position needs to support it with not just court cases, but logic and reasoning that supports "the public's right to know" and the right of the press to provide the information.
    Last edited by evensaul; December 2nd, 2014 at 09:39 AM.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  2. Likes theophilus liked this post
  3. #2
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Hypothetical:

    What if someone hacked into the IRS database and stole emails that showed the IRS targeted conservative groups? Or, more generally, what if a hacker stole documents from a group that proved certain people were engaged in illegal activities (say, a child porn ring)?

  4. Thanks Squatch347 thanked for this post
    Likes MindTrap028 liked this post
  5. #3
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Hypothetical:

    What if someone hacked into the IRS database and stole emails that showed the IRS targeted conservative groups? Or, more generally, what if a hacker stole documents from a group that proved certain people were engaged in illegal activities (say, a child porn ring)?
    We have a Freedom of Information Act process whereby citizens and the Press may obtain unclassified government documents. We have law enforcement that could be informed of illegal activities. That is what they are there for. Allowing the publishing of stolen documents encourages the illegal hacking of computer systems, public and private.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  6. #4
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    We have a Freedom of Information Act process whereby citizens and the Press may obtain unclassified government documents. We have law enforcement that could be informed of illegal activities. That is what they are there for. Allowing the publishing of stolen documents encourages the illegal hacking of computer systems, public and private.
    Right, but that's not quite what I'm asking.

    Putting aside for a moment that there are good reasons to be suspicious of IRS activity (and I agree that there are good reasons to be suspicious), if we suppose for a moment that some random hacker infiltrated the IRS database and published stolen documents that showed the IRS targeted conservative groups, should that person be prosecuted for publishing stolen documents?

  7. #5
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Right, but that's not quite what I'm asking.

    Putting aside for a moment that there are good reasons to be suspicious of IRS activity (and I agree that there are good reasons to be suspicious), if we suppose for a moment that some random hacker infiltrated the IRS database and published stolen documents that showed the IRS targeted conservative groups, should that person be prosecuted for publishing stolen documents?
    My op was focused on documents stolen from businesses and individuals. (I could say "If you want to start your own op about documents hacked from government computers, go ahead, but don't hijack this thread...", as some like to do with me when I inject politics into a thread that didn't have it, but I won't.) I think the same kind of laws should probably apply to government files. If a case is going to be made in this thread for publishing stolen government documents, it won't be made by me. Feel free to proceed for or against, if you like.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  8. #6
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    My op was focused on documents stolen from businesses and individuals. (I could say "If you want to start your own op about documents hacked from government computers, go ahead, but don't hijack this thread...", as some like to do with me when I inject politics into a thread that didn't have it, but I won't.) If a case is going to be made in this thread for publishing stolen government documents, it won't be made by me. Feel free to proceed, if you like.
    Well, I don't mean to try to hijack anything.

    You gave a great example with Sony, and then said "Publishing stolen documents should be illegal." I took that to mean exactly that: You steal and publish a document - ANY document - you're breaking the law. But now I'm getting the sense from the way you carefully commented on government documents that you might be ok with certain types of documents being stolen under certain circumstances. Is that the case? If so, what sort can be stolen and why is that ok?

  9. #7
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, I don't mean to try to hijack anything.

    You gave a great example with Sony, and then said "Publishing stolen documents should be illegal." I took that to mean exactly that: You steal and publish a document - ANY document - you're breaking the law. But now I'm getting the sense from the way you carefully commented on government documents that you might be ok with certain types of documents being stolen under certain circumstances. Is that the case? If so, what sort can be stolen and why is that ok?

    Dio, I said the following: "I think the same kind of laws should probably apply to government files." That means I believe publishing stolen government documents should be illegal. The use of "probably" means I might be persuaded otherwise. Do you want to try persuading me? Or is this just an attempt to bait me into a contradiction? If the latter, then I don't feel compelled to respond further.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  10. #8
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Dio, I said the following: "I think the same kind of laws should probably apply to government files." That means I believe publishing stolen government documents should be illegal. The use of "probably" means I might be persuaded otherwise. Do you want to try persuading me? Are is this just an attempt to bait me into a contradiction? If the latter, then I don't feel compelled to respond further.
    Well, if you'll look at the portion I quoted, that bit isn't there. So it must have gotten changed in-between the time I quoted it and the time you added that bit.

    As far as the baiting piece, I'm not interested in combative debating; I'm sick of that s#!t. I'm just having a discussion. I agree that 1) stealing things is not ok 2) throwing personal information out to the world is not ok. I agree that, in many cases, people who do that sort of thing SHOULD be punished (as a sideways example, I think someone who knowingly falsely accuses someone of a crime, say rape, should be punished as well). So all I'm doing is taking your claim "Publishing stolen documents should be illegal" and testing the limits of that. That's all.

  11. #9
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, if you'll look at the portion I quoted, that bit isn't there. So it must have gotten changed in-between the time I quoted it and the time you added that bit.
    Okay, fair enough. I have a habit of posting too quickly, and editing after posting, which I've never been able to break.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    So all I'm doing to taking your claim "Publishing stolen documents should be illegal" and testing the limits of that. That's all.
    Again, okay.

    I understand that some people believe publishing stolen government documents is acceptable and sometimes necessary. I am not one of those people, but I'm open to hearing the arguments again if someone wants to make them, even though that is a bit off my intended op.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  12. #10
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I understand that some people believe publishing stolen government documents is acceptable and sometimes necessary. I am not one of those people, but I'm open to hearing the arguments again if someone wants to make them, even though that is a bit off my intended op.
    I think some of the difficulty might come down to the classic conundrum of choosing what's legal to do, and what's moral to do. For example, if some hacker broke into a child porn database and published the names of the people abusing children, if there was some law that said carte blanc "Publishing stolen documents should be illegal, then that hacker could be prosecuted for doing that. But at the same time I would find it outrageous if the hacker were punished because they contributed to stopping a wicked thing. But on the other hand, if some hacker stole and published a person's private home address and private medical history, I'd very much want to see the hacker punished for it.

    So I guess I'm asking the questions to see where a good place in the sand for the rule "Publishing stolen documents should be illegal" might be.

  13. #11
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Posts
    7,068
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    But for the first amendment to the US constitution it probably would be illegal.

    If information is deemed to be of public value and if said information doesn't break some other law such as libel, copyright or trademark, and does not pose a threat to the general public, then the freedom of speech and the press pretty much gives them immunity provided they didn't directly break any law obtaining the information.

    There is a balancing act here. Sometimes a free press would need to deal in illegally obtained information to bring wrongdoing or other concerns to the public and that is widely considered an essential element to democracy and self rule.

    Not to say there is a good reason to be publishing peoples salaries. Its not clear to me that this is a matter of public concern unless Sony is getting some kind of great deal from the government or committing some crime in paying people. But I'm not familiar with the details of this specific case.

    In general though I do think freedom of the press has to trump other concerns on occasion, much like I support gun ownership despite reservations about gun violence. There is a core principle at work that in theory is there to uphold personal liberty and a free peoples.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  14. Likes Dionysus liked this post
  15. #12
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    6,137
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    My op was focused on documents stolen from businesses and individuals. (I could say "If you want to start your own op about documents hacked from government computers, go ahead, but don't hijack this thread...", as some like to do with me when I inject politics into a thread that didn't have it, but I won't.) I think the same kind of laws should probably apply to government files. If a case is going to be made in this thread for publishing stolen government documents, it won't be made by me. Feel free to proceed for or against, if you like.
    Aww come on now. I didn't mean to get your feathers in a ruffle. You're still cool with me. There is a difference between injecting the IRS in a non-partisan manner and specifically calling out a specific political group.


    Public v Private. Private goods being used in the public domain for news or news-ish purposes. I believe if there is a compelling reason to publish stolen information that meets a legitimate need of the public to know, then such publishing should be protected by the first amendment. With that being said, I think the burden of proof should be much higher when justifying the publishing of private information vs. publishing public information. So, let's take the two examples given and then provide a third for juxtaposition.

    1. The example in the OP. Information from Sony is stolen and published. The public has no compelling need to know the names, salaries and other information of Sony Corp. Publishing this information should be illegal.
    2. The IRS example. Information stolen from the IRS, but that demonstrates some IRS corrupt or illegal activity would be information that is of great interest to the general public and there is a very compelling reason the public needs to know this information. Sharing this stolen information should be protected (or not illegal).
    3. Let modify the example from the OP to create a make-believe hypothetical (unless by some coincidence it is not make-believe at all). Sony is dumping chemicals used in the manufacture of its PS4 into the Potomac. I don't know how. Sheesh! The information proving this has been stolen by hackers and published by a third party. In this case, the public has a compelling need to know this information and, therefore, publishing this information should not be illegal.

    Now, who decides what information the public needs to know. Obviously, that is a decision that should reside in the courts, themselves. This is why we have courts and a legal system. I should also point out that the standards of what is newsworthy should be much higher when dealing with public entities. As a further example let's pick on Sony one more time (unless I find some reason later on).

    Let's suppose Sony is marking up its game systems by 100% even though they have been claiming that they sell them for a loss. Someone gains access to some company internal emails detailing this. A third party publishes the information claiming the public has a right to know. Here, I'd argue, that while the public would LIKE to know that information, this is not compelling enough to the public's interests that such information should be available through illegal means. The public is not directly harmed by Sony's actions. Sony has made a marketing decision based on what may be a fraudulent claim yet the claim really does not harm the public other than, perhaps, convincing some people they are getting the console at a bargain.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  16. #13
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Posts
    7,068
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Let's suppose Sony is marking up its game systems by 100% even though they have been claiming that they sell them for a loss. Someone gains access to some company internal emails detailing this. A third party publishes the information claiming the public has a right to know. Here, I'd argue, that while the public would LIKE to know that information, this is not compelling enough to the public's interests that such information should be available through illegal means. The public is not directly harmed by Sony's actions. Sony has made a marketing decision based on what may be a fraudulent claim yet the claim really does not harm the public other than, perhaps, convincing some people they are getting the console at a bargain.
    I'm not sure this is a very realistic example. I agree that this specific case probably doesn't constitue a public need to know, but I also don't know that it would be very likely and so doesn't make a great test case.

    Better might be something like a food company that claims its food is dolphin safe, but documents reveal that in fact dolphin's are killed due to the food processing. They may well not be breaking any law, and it is debatable whether or not the public really has a vested interest in dolphin safety.

    For me, I still think it would be legitimate to expose that the company is lying in this manner. The press isn't there only to report on the government but also on society at large and even on individuals. Its always a balancing act but in this case I think the value of the public knowledge and the sanctity of freedom of press trumps the companies privacy. Still, it is not always easy to decide.

    Another closer to your case might be if a company has mislead investors in some way and documents are found that catch that. We often feel that since this is breaking the law, its clear that such information needs to be made public no matter how it was obtained. But even were that not the case I think in principle since the public are investors in this company or could easily be, that exposing the companies financial weakness is in the public interest even though it is a private company (in the vs government sense not private/public in corporate sense).
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  17. #14
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    6,137
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I'm not sure this is a very realistic example. I agree that this specific case probably doesn't constitue a public need to know, but I also don't know that it would be very likely and so doesn't make a great test case.

    Better might be something like a food company that claims its food is dolphin safe, but documents reveal that in fact dolphin's are killed due to the food processing. They may well not be breaking any law, and it is debatable whether or not the public really has a vested interest in dolphin safety.

    For me, I still think it would be legitimate to expose that the company is lying in this manner. The press isn't there only to report on the government but also on society at large and even on individuals. Its always a balancing act but in this case I think the value of the public knowledge and the sanctity of freedom of press trumps the companies privacy. Still, it is not always easy to decide.

    Another closer to your case might be if a company has mislead investors in some way and documents are found that catch that. We often feel that since this is breaking the law, its clear that such information needs to be made public no matter how it was obtained. But even were that not the case I think in principle since the public are investors in this company or could easily be, that exposing the companies financial weakness is in the public interest even though it is a private company (in the vs government sense not private/public in corporate sense).
    Tough critic. Sorry my test case wasn't realistic enough for you... lol. In your two hypotheticals, both would be cases for the courts to decide. I am not advocating a black and white policy here. I am in agreement that there is a lot of gray area and that the actual line is not crystal clear. I offered a test case which attempted to demonstrate a gray area example which I believed the courts should side in favor of privacy over the public's need to know. I think in both of your examples you could make the exact opposite argument. They both demonstrate areas where the public may have a compelling reason to know. In one case, an endangered animal is being killed. In the other case, individuals are being defraud. I am not even sure you disagree with my general view here.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  18. #15
    Registered User

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    610
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    If hacking reveals evidence that someone is violating the law the information should be turned over to law enforcement agencies rather than being made public.
    The brutal, soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use.
    Leonard Ravenhill

    Blog

  19. Thanks Dionysus thanked for this post
  20. #16
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by theophilus View Post
    If hacking reveals evidence that someone is violating the law the information should be turned over to law enforcement agencies rather than being made public.
    What if hacking reveals evidence that law enforcement agencies are violating the law?

  21. #17
    Registered User

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    610
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    What if hacking reveals evidence that law enforcement agencies are violating the law?
    The information should be given to the legislators so they can correct the problem. If this fails and there is no other alternative the information should be made public. Making the information public should be a last resort to be used only if there is no other way to correct the problem.
    The brutal, soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use.
    Leonard Ravenhill

    Blog

  22. Likes Dionysus liked this post
  23. #18
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Quote Originally Posted by theophilus View Post
    The information should be given to the legislators so they can correct the problem. If this fails and there is no other alternative the information should be made public. Making the information public should be a last resort to be used only if there is no other way to correct the problem.
    I think this is the crux of the issue; I think it can sometimes be very hard to know exactly when "there is no other alternative". For example, if a person feels that they live under an inherently immoral regime, then pretty much any and every thing they find that incriminates that regime is something that person might feel should be made public.

  24. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    I don't think publishing hacked documents should be illegal. I do think publishing information that one knows or should have known was stolen should be illegal especially if it was sent to you for publishing. I don't think information such as "employee names, salaries, hire dates, and titles" or "addresses" could be proven to be stolen as those are facts and are probably posted on most of the employees linkedin resume. As for the movies that were released as to part of the hacking (according to some websites), that should be illegal (as well as social security numbers). As for publishing information that is critical of a company, this should be covered by whistle blower laws which tend to reward whistle-blowers.

  25. #20
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Location, Location
    Posts
    9,450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Publishing Hacked Documents Should Be Illegal

    Here's a pretty interesting twist on stolen information:

    http://www.cracked.com/article_19162...irates_p2.html

    "Cross Days is an "erotic visual novel" (porn game) released last year in Japan, but you already knew that. Imagine a cross-dressing anime version of Heavy Rain, with more boning, if you will. This clearly isn't the sort of PC game you would recommend to someone at the office, or set your Facebook profile to post "achievements" of -- which is really unfortunate for those who tried to pirate it.

    What They Did:

    As usual, it only took a few days since Cross Days was released for it to be cracked and posted to torrent sites and such. However, some of those pirated copies included a little surprise: a hidden trojan virus passing itself as the game installer that would ask players to fill out a survey full of personal information (like real name and phone number) ... and then post it online for everyone to read.

    But most pirates would be likely to lie on that survey, right? Sure, and that's why the virus also took a screenshot of the player's desktop and uploaded it to the same website. If they were hoping to catch the pirates doing something embarrassing, they succeeded: One guy was caught reading plant-related erotica.

    The exposed pirates could always ask for their information to be taken down ... as long as they publicly admitted to illegally downloading a Japanese porn game. The makers probably intended the "illegally downloaded" part to be the most shameful, but we're guessing that's not what the mothers of the pirates took issue with.

    The site that hosted the surveys has since been taken down, although some of the compromising desktop screenshots still remain (we'd look for more examples but honestly, we're afraid to).

    Most sources seem to imply that the developers themselves uploaded the trojan. Is that even legal? In this case, it actually is: The nature of the virus was mentioned and explained in the installer's Terms of Service agreement -- thus proving that even the companies know nobody reads those things."

  26. Thanks MindTrap028, evensaul thanked for this post
 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Illegal Everything!
    By Broodstar87 in forum Shootin' the Breeze / Off-Topic
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: March 9th, 2012, 01:06 PM
  2. Illegal Everything!
    By Broodstar87 in forum Social Issues
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: March 6th, 2012, 11:51 PM
  3. An illegal War???
    By Ibelsd in forum Philosophical Debates
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: November 2nd, 2006, 01:47 PM
  4. ODN has been hacked!
    By Apokalupsis in forum Announcements
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: March 25th, 2005, 09:02 AM
  5. 1984: Converting Past Documents
    By sjjs in forum Book Club Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: April 21st, 2004, 08:32 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •