14 September 2003

The Difference Between ABC and Adrian Lamo:

(1) It looks as if ABC might get away with purposely breaking the law and exposing security flaws:
"When the media are involved, I would urge that significant caution must be used by the federal government to ensure that legitimate reporting is not chilled," [Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R- Iowa wrote in a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge]. "While embarrassed government bureaucrats may not think so, the country benefits from government mismanagement being exposed."

(2) Adrian Lamo's prosecution appears to be going forward for the same sort of activity. I am curious as to what the $25,000 damages are. Could it, perchance, be the amount of money NYTimes had to pay to fix a problem it was at fault for having to begin with? Seems probable. I've also put some thought into the $300,000 claim for LexisNexis use. My Westlaw account costs me a set fee each month; the package which LexisNexis offered me also had a set monthly cost. As long as I stay within my package I - and two others - can spend every minute of the month online getting information. Bigger firms and companies have even more expansive packages which are paid for at a monthly rate. I find it hard to believe that NYTimes does not have one of these packages. If it does pay a monthly rate no matter the amount of usage the claim that Lamo used $300,000 in services fails.

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