That’s what Mark Rasch, former head of the Department of Justice’s computer crimes unit called it. In his column “Your space, MySpace, everybody’s space” that appeared in The Register and SecurityFocus.com, Rasch writes, “This is not the first time that law enforcement agents have used public perception of a crisis to try to convince private entities to waive privacy policies and pony up information to the government without legal process.” He adds: “MySpace didn’t ‘completely refuse to cooperate,’ it just asked the AGs to comply with the law – or more accurately not force MySpace to break the law.” The law he’s referring to is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which limits ISPs and online communications providers’ ability to disclose member information. The attorneys general, Rasch writes, “found the privacy laws as applied inconvenient, so they attacked the service provider. Indeed, they insinuated that not only was MySpace [i]permitted[/i] to turn over subscriber or other data to the cops, but that it was legally obligated to do so, just because the cops wanted it. They never explained how the information would prevent a crime, or empower parents, or more importantly why drafting a subpoena was an excessive burden. Indeed, it apparently wasn’t, as the AGs eventually got them.” Harsh, but thoroughly reported, and I’m linking to it because I feel accurate information – not fear campaigns – is what really empowers parents.
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