[RC5] Service Pause Option

Scott D. Ross scott at jetropolis.com
Thu Mar 21 18:33:28 EST 2002


Maybe no one will disagree with the statement that entering a private
residence without permission is often be trespassing (it is not so in
every case), but I will dispute the claim that it is analogous to the
case in question.

DeKalb Technical College is a public institution, not private property.

Dave was hired by the college to configure the computers he configured.

Whether Dave had permission to load the client (or any other software
he saw fit) was disputed. Dave said he did. The State of Georgia said
he didn't.

In other words, it wasn't a house, it was a public building. Dave did
not break in, he was given the keys, and was being paid to be there.
Exactly what Dave had permission to do while he was in there was the
major point of contention. (I know Dave wasn't the system administrator,
and I have the feeling that his role was informal and/or involved some
type of verbal agreement - at least that would help explain some of the
ambiguity of the situation.)

Some people tend get all goofy about CPU cycles being a resource that
is just being wasted. But that doesn't give anyone the right to run
unauthorized software on someone else's system. That is not, however,
what this case was about.

Dave isn't a CPU anarchist. He's just a well-intentioned person who had
a disagreement with his employer about his empowerment in the workplace.

The college had every right to fire him if they felt he exceeded his
terms of employment. He has every right sue them if he thinks he was
wrongfully terminated. But *cough* I'll go out on a limb myself and doubt
that any rational person (much less twelve of them) would agree with the
State of Georgia that he committed eight felonies and deserved to pay
$800,000, and spend 120 years in jail (or fifteen if allowed to serve the
separate counts concurrently). But I'm glad the state blinked.

If nothing else has been accomplished, at least Dave is now the poster
CLIENTS ON ANY SYSTEM YOU DO NOT OWN. Don't even install one on your
92-year-old great aunt Margaret's Mac Classic. If the box fills up with
dust bunnies and causes the processor to overheat and the hard drive to
fail, and she loses her FileMaker Pro inventory of Beanie Babies, some
ambulance chaser is going to talk her into suing you. And you're going
to lose.

At 01:17 PM 03/21/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>On Thu, 21 Mar 2002, Bruce Wilson wrote:
> > Compare this to the physical analogy of a house.  If someone enters
> > your house without your permission, they can be prosecuted for
> > trespassing, even if they didn't touch anything while they were there.
>Right on!  I doubt any rational person is in disagreement with this.  But
>when people start comparing unauthorized dnetc's to theft, and prosecuting
>on that basis, people get rather bent out of shape -- and rightfully so.

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