1994-04-20 - Re: Remailer Musings

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From: juola@bruno.cs.colorado.edu
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 61d52754efef24f2abd18839e147f8ec6dd94c432b6ed4e67aae20bb601a6e12
Message ID: <199404201559.JAA08006@bruno.cs.colorado.edu>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-04-20 15:59:25 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 20 Apr 94 08:59:25 PDT

Raw message

From: juola@bruno.cs.colorado.edu
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 94 08:59:25 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Remailer Musings
Message-ID: <199404201559.JAA08006@bruno.cs.colorado.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

  Does anyone have a cite to support the notion that common carriers are
  obligated to assist in the identification of users of their services? 

I got it at the January '94 USENIX tutorial on Internet and the Law.
Given that it's still being taught, it should be no problem for anyone
with interest to confirm that.  

  I received annoying phone calls for a period of time, and the local phone
  company (US West) said they'd only get involved once I had an "incident 
  number" (or some such) from the police department, and that information
  gathered would only be released to the police. I suppose if I actually
  filed a civil suit against the harassing party (even as a John Doe?) I
  could then use the discovery process to compel them to release their
  relevant records - but that's not really the scenario that Brad and
  'kitten' seem to imagine.

Um, speaking for myself and not Brad, that's exactly the situation where
this sort of thing would be problematic.  Copyright infringement is a
criminal offence as well as a civil tort.  So if Brad (or the newswire)
wanted to push it, they could try to haul the remailer operator into
court.  And if he claimed to be a "common carrier," he's supposed to help.
If he's unable (read, unwilling by design) to help, then it's possible
that a judge could find that he's not a common carrier and therefore liable.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer myself.  And the law, in its infinite majesty,
can do strange things.  I personally believe that remailer operators
should be considered to be common carriers, but that's a very tricky
proposition to justify in a court.

	- kitten