1997-06-16 - Re: Homer on Terrorism

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: Tom Weinstein <tomw@netscape.com>
Message Hash: a35e8551b4241a219d65534d6962c905193af4074827320d161f82c31989b40f
Message ID: <v03102804afca53b9a795@[]>
Reply To: <v03020931afc8ee48fc8f@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-06-16 02:49:02 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 10:49:02 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 10:49:02 +0800
To: Tom Weinstein <tomw@netscape.com>
Subject: Re: Homer on Terrorism
In-Reply-To: <v03020931afc8ee48fc8f@[]>
Message-ID: <v03102804afca53b9a795@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Fair enough. I'm prepared, on the basis of Tom's comments, to accept that
the Danish bug-finders were "blackmailers," albeit of the weakest,
noncriminal sort. (Nobody is suggesting criminal prosecution, extradition,
etc., are they?) But I think the "terrorist" appelation is a bit strong.

At 6:56 PM -0700 6/15/97, Tom Weinstein wrote:

>It's blackmail.  IANAL, but I believe that blackmail consists of a
>demand, and a threat to harm if the demand is not met.

(However, a "threat to harm" is ambiguous. Many business deals involve
mentions of consequences...at what point does this become "blackmail,"
especially the criminal sense of blackmail?)

>If he had said:
>  "I'm going to go to the press on this date.  You can buy the
>   information from me before that for X amount of money."
>That would be an ordinary business transaction.  Instead, what he said
>was something like:
>  "Pay me lots of money or I will go to the press in such a way as to
>   damage you the most."
>That is blackmail.  It's clear that the money is to prevent the damage,
>not just for the information.

Perhaps so, but things remain ambiguous. More skilled negotiators might be
more circumspect about the "damage" side, only hinting at it. I don't know
if the Danes were clumsy at conveying their intentions. Maybe English was
not their forte.

>"Terrorism" probably doesn't apply, since his aim was not political.
>(Or doesn't terrorism have to be political?) I think blackmail is a
>more appropriate term.

Like I said, but I still think a less inflammatory description than
"terrorist," or even "blackmailer" is better.

There's probably something between "cheerful Berkeley grad students
grateful to get a free t-shirt" and "blackmailer."

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
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