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Jail Time for Dangerous Links

what's your take?

3:57 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There's a CNN article [cnn.com] about jail time for one man who created an anarchist site with links to bomb-making sites. Does anyone know any more about this?

Why go after this guy in particular? CNN implies it's a combination of his site advocated use of physical force as a means of change AND he had links to info that could be dangerous.

Does this mean the US government couldn't go after the actual bomb-instruction sites themselves (because they're out of US jurisdiction)?

The last paragraph implies he took a plea bargain because of the current terrorism culture/enforcement. But do those new laws (or "enhancements"- weird term) mean any site that advocates use of physical force is to be shut down?

Also, was his site pretty famous? popular? well-ranked on Google? I was pretty certain a few years ago one could find bomb-making sites via Google if one searched enough. I definitely don't advocate terrorism. But I always get concerned when data or access to data starts getting more and more limited. And why wouldn't the government's next step be to ask Google to remove or restrict info for such dangerous sites?

5:13 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Not a very sympathetic topic in this day and age. Nevertheless, like you I'm leery of the gov't stifling speech. Based of the relatively light sentence and the government's willingness to forego the heavy duty sentencing scheme, I bet this is legal gray area such that neither side was sure it would win.


6:46 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I remember about a year ago a guy who had a site explaining in great detail how to build a nuke. The funny part about it is that it was all true and very informitive. There was some biting scarcasim spread through the whole of the instructions. Like "you will need some depleated uranium, which you can pick up at the local hardware store with your photo id." I got a good laugh out of that one.
7:02 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thx both. I guess I'm also curious as to how far this can extend. In particular, I'm interested in the penalization of links... and the following scenarios:

I have a site that links to another site that sells marijuana plants.

I have a site that links to ELF (earth liberation front), even though my site is highly critical of ELF philosophy and practices.

I have a site that links to sites that advocate or claim to participate in human cloning.

And God forbid, but if the Bush admin manages to pass something that makes gay marriages unconstitutional, and I have a site that contains links to sites that are pro-same-sex-marriage...

[Disclaimer: in reality, I have no such sites but these don't seem so unlikely in the real world. And I may have glanced through the Anarchist's Cookbook as a kid, but that didn't result in any desire on my part to build bombs or cause harm to others because of our divergence in belief.]

9:38 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, standing on a streetcorner passing out literature about bomb-making and marijuana growing is liable to catch the attention of the local law enforcement groups also, even if you can truthfully say, "But I didn't write the books, I'm just handing them out."

Can they bust you for it? I doubt it... but if you do anything they can bust you for, you'd better believe they'll be there when you do. ;)

It's nothing new... but perhaps quite a bit riskier in the current climate.

12:19 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Im not an us citizen, but i know the topic for many years ago in another poltical climate i know, in europe was up, whether libraries could have books on the topic, and offcourse they could, how can you prevent people from getting that kind off knowledge in a free sociaty was the response.
Today IMHO its even more so, people can get the information if they want, there are a guy in NZ or Australia with a site about how to build your own missile.
But its easy to go for a single individuel and make an example, so the public can see that the goverment is doing something, and this i think aply not only to the us but most countries and cultures that in times like this you uses scrapgoats to instead off explaining that wee are living in vulnuable sociates.
Soory this got almost political can it pass here in foo?
5:28 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think the internet has/is/and will really shake up the leagal workings of not only the US, but other countries as well.

9/11 didn't help matters much and the music industry seems hell bent on forcing the laws to suit a more "open" (less private) society on the basis that they are losing money.

I think it will be very interesting to see when or even if there is a breaking point in the US in regards to freedom, especially on the net. The Patriot Acts do leave a huge amount of wiggle room in matters like this. It hasn't been abused yet, according to popular public opinion, but I wonder if there will ever come a time when that wiggle room will be widely exploited for political purposes. I don't think US history has seen any other path than that dark one when it comes to laws that protect security at the cost of privacy and rights. But perhaps, due in part to the net and teh ability to recieve information from all fronts and sides, we have grown beyond that and we do not have to worry.