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The Media

Forbes Reporter Refuses To Testify Against Crackers 173

The first paragraph of the Media Notes column in today's Washington Post says, "Reporter Adam Penenburg is quitting Forbes magazine to protect Slut Puppy and Master Pimp." This pair is accused of having defaced the New York Times Web site. Penenburg wrote about them, and now Federal prosecutors want him to testify against them or at least affirm the truth of what he wrote, which Penenburg feels could open him up to further questions. It's a murky situation. What would you do if you were in it? What do you think Slashdot should do if faced with that kind of choice?
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Forbes Reporter Refuses to Testify Againt Crackers

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  • Well, sort of. Giving up your job isn't exactly good. But it's good to see that he's prepared to stand by his convictions.

    It does of course raise the question of confidentiality of journalistic sources - at what point does a journo HAVE to reveal his sources?

    IANAL, so I'm not going to even guess.
    --
  • While the law does not provide any "confidentiality" between a reporter and a witness, many reporters act as if it does. I've had a little journalism training, and the basic idea is a journalist has a moral obligation to protect his or her sources, even if that means jail time for "contempt of court."

    I think it's his moral obligation to protect the hackers unless he believes them to be a danger. Many reporters have spent time in prison for practicing this kind of integrity.


    Matthew Miller, [50megs.com]
  • Jeez I wonder if the Crackers even care that he quit his hob to protect them.
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @03:07AM (#928657)
    (read before moderating) I think Slashdot would testify. Why? Because I think they've already caved to Microsoft.

    That's a big accusation, where did I get it from? Well, if you'll recall we never heard anything more about the Slashdot vs MS thing. Surely MS would have responded by now. But even more damning is this: About a week ago I was reading at -1. There's some troll at that level who keeps cut 'n' pasting various texts (porn stories, howto's, etc). In one story I found he had posted an entire MSDN "Q article". When I refreshed the page, that post was GONE.

    So Slashdot is removing (MS only?) copyrighted materials. Fine, that's their right, after all reproduction of copyrighted material is against the law. My point is not that they shouldn't have done it (although I don't like it). My point is that Slashdot HAS bowed to "the man" before and would therefore probably do it again.

    And, either way, I think we'd ALL appreciate an update on the MS story....
    --
  • by Dungeon Dweller ( 134014 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @03:08AM (#928658)
    If they trusted him not to testify against them, then he should not testify against them, it's that simple. He entered into a deal, and it would be morally wrong to testify against them. He couldn't be trusted by anybody to be tipped off if tipping him off meant jail time.

    Besides, this will get him an even bigger media position. The media loves people who are in media, and this will shoot him right into it.




    We're all different.
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @03:08AM (#928659)
    There's this little thing called 'protecting your source'. It's a long-standing journalistic tradition and, I believe, respected right that reporters are not required to snitch on their sources, for very obvious reasons. While exceptions are occasionally made, I'm sure, this is not one of those times where one should -- this is a web page defacement, not a murder or a rape or a kidnapping.

    Congratulations to the reported for having the integrity to protect his source. The media may be a festering pile of scabs, but there are a few respectable and honorable persons left in the business.

    I'd be curious to see Slashdot interview him.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • ...all he's being asked to do is affirm that the article is truthful, not identify who his sources are.

    Does anyone know if the two crackers are on trial? The article doesnt say. Of course, I dont know what kind of treatment they would expect, after talking to a reporter.

    "See, we're famous. OOPS, they caught us, wonder how?"

  • I don't see that that's relevant, there is a very important principle at stake here. You don't jeopardise principles like this just because in this case they are "just scr1pt k1dd1e hax0rz"
  • I remember a case from a while back where a reporter was actually jailed for obstruction of justice because he was protecting a confidential source. While this story is now making headlines and generating positive publicity for Penenburg, he is able to be principled. Let's see what happens when he is threatened with jail time, though.

    I find it odd that Roblimo would ask whether Slashdot should go to the same length to protect sources (presumably ACs) who indulge in criminal behavior. Slashdot is now part of a public corporation and some would argue that it would be unethical for it to jeopardize the interests of its shareholders in order to protect its members/customers. Note that Forbes cannot condone Penenburg's actions for the same reason. When the interests of shareholders and customers collide, one must tread lightly.
  • by krystal_blade ( 188089 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @03:15AM (#928663)
    This is traditional journalistic integrity at it's best. The willingness for a reporter to lay it on the line as opposed to being used as an "agent" of the system. There have been several other journalists who refused to give up, reveal, or testify against their sources, and a few of them even went to jail over it.

    This, my friends, is the best journalism we can ask for. America's Bill of Rights claims the right of the freedom of the press, and I firmly beleive this extends to protecting ANY source, regardless of any crimes or grimes they may have committed. Whether it's a high profile web site defacement, attempting to force a small web writer to reveal the source of a major crack, or protecting the source of a serial killer interview, the right to protect a source should not be violated. The failure of Justice to see this would spell the end for true to life, hardcore reporting. Who wants to speak out when their reporter could be forced to snitch on him/her?

    I laud that reporters ideals. People like that are the ones who truly deserve medals and laurels in todays world.

    Since I beleive Slashdot has a decent amount of journalistic integrity, I sincerely hope they give those on the shadier side of life the protection they deserve. And post their responses, so we can comment on them, and send neat little ascii character "F$-K YOU" signs to the bastards. (Maybe we can even re-route all the first post messages to THEIR website? HMM...)

    krystal_blade

  • I have to feel that the writer's actions are to be respected, and admired for his professionalism. In a world of sensationalism and shoddy news, I find something like excelent. One of the cardnal rules are to not reveal your sources. cheers! -- Ignore any spelling errors if they occure. I haven't slept in a long long time.
  • As a former journalist, I used to wonder if this would ever happen to me. Never did, but I did have laws on my side. Tennessee as what's known as a Shield Law, which protects journalists from having to testify. The basis goes like this- if reporters turn in everyone who talks to them- no one will talk to them, and the public goes uninformed. So shield them from talking to police/authorities. All of this started in the early 70s with investigative reporting about drugs in Louisville Kentucky, and a reported who refused to reveal his source.

    Tennessee's shield law has never been successfully challanged, and a reported has never been drug in to court and forced to reveal his/her sources. I don't know if there is a law like that in this case. Probably not, as most of the laws protection would evaporate if you quit the news organization.

    The reporter should not testify. There's more at stake than corporate ire. A newswriter with integrety is admired in this day and age. It's pretty rare. The paper may not like it, but the reporter is doing the right thing. It always costs to do the right thing, but a new job shouldn't be too far off. Like they say, a good writer can always find work.

  • If there's one thing that I can't stand, it's people who live in their own idealistic little worlds and think that protest actions and their lofty goals make a damn bit of difference in this world.

    I've got news for them: if they're not rich or running the government, they can take their principles and shove 'em for all the good it's going to do anyone. These kiddies are going to get busted no matter what happens (just ask Kevin Mitnick), and the only person who's going to gain anything by this is the lucky bastard who gets his job.

    If Slashdot were in the same situation? Hell, it wouldn't just be acceptable for them to comply, it would be inexcusable for them not to. I've lived in China for several years now, and I think I've seen enough to say that I can really see the benefits of taking a stronger stand towards the criminal element than we do here in the States. The destructive ("hacker") proportion of the Chinese computer-using population is far lower than in the States, not even mentioning the drug-dealing and drug-using populations, and the violent criminals, and all the rest.

    If you have this choice, you have one simple decision to make: your lofty goals which won't win anyone anything except another five minutes to cause mayhem and destroy others' lives and livelihoods, or the simple duty of building society, which carries its own rewards.

    And this Forbes idiot chose wrong.
  • Thats all he's being asked to do at the moment. Once they get him to testify, he will be asked a lot more questions.

    Not being all that familiar with court proceedings, I'm not sure if I'm right here, but I think only the defendent has the right to remain silent and a witness can only refuse to answer if he might be incriminated.
  • by InitZero ( 14837 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @03:16AM (#928668) Homepage

    I've worked at a number of major market newspapers and the policy has been the same at all of them.

    We won't do anything without a subpoena. We will fight all subpoenas even if the request is harmless just to be consistent.

    Once in court, we will only testify to things we put in print. We will not, under any circumstances, turn over reporter's notes or unpublished photographs. Folks I know have gone to jail for contempt.

    Journalists protecting sources have repeatedly been protected by the court system and that is how it should be. If subjects knew that everything they said could be turned over to the police, no one would talk to reporters. Thus, the courts have found that in order to have a free press, it is necessary for journalists to have the same sort of confidentiality protection that doctors and priests have.

    At a time when journalists are taking hits for their ethics, I'm glad to see Penenburg putting his job on the line for the Right Thing.

    InitZero

  • Two notes:

    1. If you read the FAQs, it says that it is possible for some posts to score as low as -2, making them impossible to read. I don't remember exactly, but I think it requires your User Preferences to have certain settings. Is this the case?

    2. I'm not sure we all want an update on the MS thing, but we're at least an overwhelming majority. Editors, what happened?

  • In Sweden, it is illegal for a reporter to give away an anonymous source, even to the police. (A reporter was recently convicted for this very crime)

    It is also illegal for government employees to attempt to find out who an anonymous source is.

    This is *very* good laws, as people are more likely to go to the press when they have less reason to fear they will get in trouble for it. Which leads to more bad guys having their dirty business being exposed.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Those are some very serious allegations. Have you pehaps asked CmdrTaco or Roblimo about the "missing" article?

    You may well find it was placed down at -2 (Or even -5) to protect Slashdot. That means the post was actually never removed, and is still in the database. Try going back to the article in question, manually setting your threshold to -5, and look again. If it really isn't there, fine, next step is to email CmdrTaco and ask. If the post in question is there, then you have nothing to complain about, nothing has been deleted, no one has "bowed" to anyone (-2 and -5 moderations have been about almost as long as -1 moderation, and gets used on posts that can get Slashdot into trouble. No, not just M$ stuff either).
  • Surely the New York Times should understand his position...

    This is kind of like 3DFX opensourcing their drivers, while still suing people for related breach of copywright on the drivers. Why do companies think that political schizophrenia is acceptable to their cherished 'market'.

    "There can be no justice where law is absolute." - Plato
  • Easiest way to browse at -2 is to goto the URL for the article (In your brosser), find the bit that says &threshold=-1 and change it &threshold=-2, then hit enter (Or reload), and you may find some -2 posts in the thread. Chances are, you won't though :)

  • Is there something like a press association that could pay for his legal counsel ?

    That would be seem to be the way to remove any possibility of his employer having a vested interest.

    I assume that he claims to be a 'press professional', and therefore would claim to uphold standards of ethics and rights that an association would put forward. This is what happens with other professions, such as engineering.

    The association would be in the best position to represent him, and part of their existance would be to ensure the standards and ethics of its members.

    If he is being asked to testify about the validity of his information -- i.e. that he did not invent the story, then there's a slight problem - this would be like an engineering consultant being asked to testify that he followed known standards and approachs in a design issue. In this case, the court has every right to question his working _practices_, but not to question his working _material_ (there's an important different there - the concern with the process of his work, not with its product).

    The court should have no place in questioning his sources, and he should stand firm on that, and his assocation should back him. But if he did not follow accepted codes of practice - that's a different matter.

    Basically: it doesn't matter what you say, you should be allowed to say it - but, that doesn't give you the right to lie and misrepresent.

  • "The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say."

    It's not going to get you guys in any trouble if you did testify, and it's certainly not like someone *has* to post with their login...

    But I guess then it'd be a personal decision type thing.
  • The tradition of journalists protecting their source has, in the past, protected people who have done far worse than a minor act of vadalism. On occasion those in power have attempted to brand journalistic sources as treasonous, but they have been protected. Often people go to the press at personal or professional risk to themselves or their families, fear of being revealed could stop them and so mean that crimes perpetrated by those who happen to be in power go unreported. That is not the way for a free state to exist.

    Part of the job of the press (unfortunately one on which if often falls down) is to keep the government honest.

  • Interesting.... Has this resulted in any "bad"
    reporters writing fake stories based on
    non-existent "sources".

    Are there laws prosecuting reporters who write
    such stories?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This post [slashdot.org] is stil lthere, and thats one that MS complained about directly.
  • I say way to go. If more human beings showed the conviction that he possesses for this situation, we'd all be better off. It's rare anymore that you see anyone stand up for what they believe in, let alone a lowly journalist. Looks like we could all learn a lesson from this.
  • I hope the Crackers are busted. Maybe the journo hopes they're busted too. The important thing to protect is that the journalist takes no part in busting them.

    Sentient readers can probably see why, but you appear not to. It's not a "Slashdot are geeks, Crackers are geeks, Slashdot supports Crackers" false syllogism, and it's nothing to do with condoning the actions of Crackers or these two in particular. Simply, if journos can't use anonymous sources, pretty soon journalism will simply become the recycling of press releases.

  • A reporter does not and should not reveal annonymous sources. Yeah, that's an easy thing to say, but there's other considerations. Sure, this guy could just go into court and say, "Yes, what I wrote is true." When asked to identify the people he is talking about, he could simply refuse on the grounds that he would be revealing a source. One problem arrises. A big problem. These two crackers broke the law. Once that's an issue, all bets are off. Journalistic integrity doesn't extend to protecting people who've broken the law, and by refusing to name these two crackers, I would think Mr. Journalism here is opening himself up to a charge of contempt. Of course, I'm not a lawyer.

    ----------
    Anyone else think it's funny how a comment with a zero score looks like this :0
  • Perhaps you're right. But I doubt it.

    How can you actually sit there and claim that China has the right idea when it comes to society? When it is illegal to speak against the government, you can damn well be sure that Chinese "journalists" will roll every time the police say so. When all you spew forth is government propoganda drek and have no opinion of your own, you don't deserve to be called a journalist.

    Our basic freedom here is that we are allowed to have a bloody opinion. We can say that our government is a piece of shit, and right or not we won't be killed for it.

    When the Chinese "officials" raid your home after you do something that big brother doesn't like, we'll see if you are singing the same tune, or if you actually want someone in your corner sticking up for their "lofty goals", eh?

  • They are fools if they trusted him. Anyone that puts their lives(AKA freedom) on the line just so that someone else can make some money deserves whatever they get. You can bet that they did not get a cut of the paycheck that he got for the story.

  • The important thing to protect is that the journalist takes no part in busting them.

    And why the hell not?

    Sentient readers can probably see why, but you appear not to.

    Oh, gee, thanks, let's start the discourse off on a reasonable level here.

    it's nothing to do with condoning the actions of Crackers or these two in particular.

    Well, let's see: hackers want attention. Journalists give them attention. Hackers don't want to get busted. Journalists don't get them busted.

    Hm. In your world, it sure seems to me like journalists are condoning their actions. It's goddamned symbiosis if you ask me.

    Simply, if journos can't use anonymous sources, pretty soon journalism will simply become the recycling of press releases.

    Oh, what, and it's not already? Journalism is already a goes-to-the-highest-bidder event, and it makes me ill that it has to sacrifice an orderly society and law and order to the mere appearance that it still has any objectivity left. These people are shutting down real businesses and costing people real money all because they don't want to admit that they're just as dirty as the people they're protecting.
  • I`m from the u.k. though, so i may not know what i`m talking about re. usa law.
    but would have *have* to say anything to anyone?
  • "If there's one thing that I can't stand, it's people who live in their own idealistic little worlds and think that protest actions and their lofty goals make a damn bit of difference in this world. "

    I cant stand when you buy a sandwich with tomato in , but you only get the end bits, not the lovely juicy parts from nearer the middle.

    A.

  • What would you rather? That noone question your (ie: slashdot's integrity)? That would be a rather weak iron fist, wouldn't it? FascDot may have been shooting without aiming, but at least his/her questions got to the answer. But maybe we should only seek the truth when we know the right questions to ask...
  • >That's a big accusation, where did I get it from? Well, if you'll recall we never heard anything more about the Slashdot vs MS thing

    What do you want them to post?
    The legal stratagy so Microsofts legal team can read it?
  • I was not very clear here...

    • go here: http://linux.3dfx.com/faq/glide_q&a.htm
    • And read under the title:
      "What is the status of your lawsuit with Creative/individuals over their Glide wrappers since you are now making it Open Source?"


    Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick? You tell me.
  • by Jim Tyre ( 100017 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @03:43AM (#928690) Homepage
    Most states have so-called Shield Laws, which provide (limited) protection against revealing sources and/or unpublished information (things said to the reporter but not published in the article. For example, California's Shield law says:

    (b) A publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed upon a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, or by a press association or wire service, or any person who has been so connected or employed, shall not be adjudged in contempt by a judicial, legislative, or administrative body, or any other body having the power to issue subpoenas, for refusing to disclose the source of any information procured while so connected or employed for publication in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication, or for refusing to disclose any unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing of information for communication to the public. Nor shall a radio or television news reporter or other person connected with or employed by a radio or television station, or any person who has been so connected or employed, be so adjudged in contempt for refusing to disclose the source of any information procured while so connected or employed for news or news commentary purposes on radio or television, or for refusing to disclose any unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing of information for communication to the public. As used in this subdivision, "unpublished information" includes information not disseminated to the public by the person from whom disclosure is sought, whether or not related information has been disseminated and includes, but is not limited to, all notes, outtakes, photographs, tapes or other data of whatever sort not itself disseminated to the public through a medium of communication, whether or not published information based upon or related to such material has been disseminated.

    The first thing to do, then, is to check the appropriate state Shield Laws to see what protection they may apply. (As an aside, I am aware of no cases applying the protections of a shield law to an Internet reporter, but none denying it either, the issue has not yet arisen in the courts.) Even if the law does not provide protection, is is a fairly long and well-established tradition among journalists to protect their sources. Part of this is a moral obligation, part is the practical consideration that if a reporter burns one source, word will get out, and that reporter will find it increasingly difficult to work with other sources who want confidentiality.

    If the law does not provide protection, it is a tough choice for the reporter or publisher to make; but the reality is that the percentage of incidents when a reporter or publisher actually is jailed or otherwise punished is quite small, though more than -0-.

  • at what point does a journo HAVE to reveal his sources?

    If I remember correctly, there has been a push in several states to get so-called "shield laws" passed so that reporters wouldn't have to reveal their sources. However, last I checked, most of those measured either failed or were struck down.

    As far as the question of "What should /. do?" I'd say that has to be decided on an individual basis. But if you promised anonymity to your source, then you'd better give it, otherwise none will talk to you again. Part of "journalistic integrity" means standing up for what you say, regardless of who you say it to.

    --------------------

  • You can set your threshold to whatever you want by hacking the users.pl page and changing the values in the drop-down threshold list. I've got mine set to -5... But no, you can't get there without that hack, so it is effectively deleting them.

    -- spiralx

    ---
    Jon E. Erikson

  • If you haven't noticed, Slashdot's FAQ has reached version 2. The -2 or 6 is actually a bug [slashdot.org]
  • How can you actually sit there and claim that China has the right idea when it comes to society?

    Easily.

    When it is illegal to speak against the government, you can damn well be sure that Chinese "journalists" will roll every time the police say so.

    You know what the difference between the US government and the Chinese government is? The Chinese government is straight up about it. The press pretends to be objective about the little things, but anything important? The press will be there, pro-America, because that's what the people want to hear. Anything else and the paper doesn't sell. That simple.

    When all you spew forth is government propoganda drek and have no opinion of your own, you don't deserve to be called a journalist.

    Have you read the New York Times editorial page recently? Those works of fiction make the editorials in the China Daily seem like goddamn encyclopedia entries.

    Our basic freedom here is that we are allowed to have a bloody opinion. We can say that our government is a piece of shit, and right or not we won't be killed for it.

    Unless you happen be of the wrong race, or in the wrong place, or say it at the wrong time, or with the wrong people. Same as anywhere.

    When the Chinese "officials" raid your home after you do something that big brother doesn't like, we'll see if you are singing the same tune, or if you actually want someone in your corner sticking up for their "lofty goals", eh?

    You know why I'm not worried about this? I'm not an idiot, and I'm not going to do anything stupid. That easy. Only the stupid and the foolish get busted. Anyone intelligent and clever will be doing the busting himself soon enough.

    It's a fucking meritocracy compared to the US where everything depends on how much you've got in your bank account.
  • According to the article, he isn't being asked to reveal names or sources, he's being asked to verify the veracity of his story.

    It may be noble, but it certainly leaves him open to accusations of making up his stories and sources, doesn't it?

  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @03:53AM (#928696)
    It's not as simple as you portray.

    It's very easy to make a logical case for strong, even totalitarian government. In theory it can deliver many things that are often considered worthwhile goals, like efficient organization, reduced crime, and long-range planning.

    Unfortunately, other worthwhile goals like individual freedom and diversity are sacrificed when you go down that road, and more often than not it's a road that you cannot easily leave.

    That's why you're misguided in supporting the status quo in its headlong rush towards total population control. Those easy wins against crime which you so appreciate do not come free, and in due course, you will regret choosing to cut down those messy rain forests to make way for efficient modern living and industrialization, to make an analogy.

    Individual lofty goals may seen incongruous and ineffective against power politics, but they're the only things that stand between our current relative freedoms and the state-corporate totalitarianism that's just over the next hill. I'm just glad that there are still people around with the personal integrity to continue the fight for lofty intangibles like freedom of the press, despite the odds against.
  • Posts can be Mod -1 to mod 5 there is no Mod -5.
    You can get mod -2 IF you set your user prefrences to automaticly mod down short posts. So short Mod -1 posts become Mod -2... thats the ONLY way that can happen and I'm not sure that feature exists anymore.

    So all posts are readable unless you chouse otherwise.

    As for hitting refresh....
    That don't work to well on Slashdot :)
  • Do you think Slut Puppy and Master Pimp had to register with the nytimes before defacing it?

    The New York Times on the Web is free of charge for hackers worldwide.......
  • From the FAQ:

    I found a comment Rated -2 or 6!

    This is a bug, not a feature. :-)

    This isn't the Slashdot Big Brother wreaking havocl; rather, it's bug ridden code wreaking havoc! There's a bug in the Slashcode somewhere that causes this to happen. We're working on it, and hopefully, we'll have it squashed soon. (Actually, it hasn't happened in a while, so it may have been fixed.)

    If you see one of these comments, don't freak out. Let us know about it. We'll push the comment back into range, and try to figure out what caused it.


    In other words, anything below -1 is a bug. Since "below -1" is not supported, posts at that level are effectively deleted.

    As for asking CmdrTaco: I've given up trying to communicate directly with His Holiness. 3 years ago he responded to comments. 2 years ago he responded to emails. Now: nothing.
    --
  • Adam Penenburg has a long standing track record of good journalism. Check out this Slashdot [slashdot.org] article from last year as an example of the types of stories he writes. Adam is the type of reporter who sees through the hype that has engulfed mass media in recent years.

    I congratulate Adam on taking such a tough stand. I agree with his sentements completely, who's to trust the government to limit their questioning to the validity of his article? At least this way he can avoid violating a subpoena and ending up in jail when they inevitably break their agreement and ask more indepth questions.
  • In Sweden, as far as I know, journalists are bound to silence by law. They may not reveal their sources if the sources have requested to be anonymous.
    That is to make sure that the truth can be told without the sources having to worry that their identity is revealed.

    I.e. A person working for the government can go to a journalist and tell about how bad the situation at work is, without having to worry about the government knowing who it was that complained. And not risking complications.
  • "Forbes's attorney says he's made an arrangement with prosecutors in which Penenberg would be asked only to attest that his article is accurate..."

    If he is not willing to stand by what he already wrote he should quit journalism.

    There have been cases of journalists getting involved enough in the hacking community to think of them in terms like co-conspirator. I'm not saying this is the case, but, if it isn't why not stand by what he already wrote?

    As is.

  • Even though I have my reservations regarding the press (I have been misrepresented and ridiculed in a Belgian IT mag, presumably because I had made some unpleasant statements about what I think is their prime sponsor, Microsoft), it is good to see some decent reporters are still out there. The press must be able to function and present all sides of the facts, without fear of repression. The little freedom of press we have remaining (see the dictatorsship of the large press agencies) must be fiercely protected, in the hope that one day the courageous individuals that keep it up will make honest journalism it the rule, rather than the exception, once again. As far as I'm concerned, the protection of sources should be a fundamental right.
  • No, it wasn't the result of moderation, it was the result of Rob's "bitchslap" script. At one point both "DumbMarketingGuy" and "The Glorious Meept!!" posted with a -2 default on all of their posts, thus eliminating them from general visibility. And occasionally I saw odd posts at -2 as well. IIRC there was one at -5 linked to on sid=moderation.

    However since the MS Kerboros story where Rob and co. were going on about how they never censored posts all of these -2 defaulters now default at -1 instead. It could be coincidence, but I doubt it.

    ---
    Jon E. Erikson

  • But what about the *cracker's* morals? (I think this is what the original poster meant.) They could come forward and reveal themselves so that the reporter doesn't have to lose his job / go to jail. It's not like they are accused of murder or spying or something.

    But then I guess crackers and morals don't exactly go together. (But crackers and cheese do. Mmmm.....)

    - Isaac =)
  • It's not as simple as you portray.

    Nothing's ever simple.

    It's very easy to make a logical case for strong, even totalitarian government. In theory it can deliver many things that are often considered worthwhile goals, like efficient organization, reduced crime, and long-range planning.

    Hell, if nothing else, it sets us apart from the animals.

    Unfortunately, other worthwhile goals like individual freedom and diversity are sacrificed when you go down that road, and more often than not it's a road that you cannot easily leave.

    Oh, what, like these exist in the US right now? Don't steal my trademark! Don't speak about me in an offensive manner! Don't stand up! Don't stick out! Or I'll sue! I'll prosecute!

    The US is fucking anarchy, with no benefit going to the swift or the strong or the smart. It goes to those who can be the most pathetic wrecks in front of an audience. This differs from China in two ways: here, we at least have a goverment that has to pretend to care about the people at the very least, and we don't let people going around doing stupid things that are going fuck the country up.

    The cunning and the brave can still win here.

    hose easy wins against crime which you so appreciate do not come free, and in due course, you will regret choosing to cut down those messy rain forests to make way for efficient modern living and industrialization, to make an analogy.

    I see nothing wrong with preserving the rain forests as long as you do something and don't just whine about it. And if you get rich or get laid as a benefit, more power to you.

    ut they're the only things that stand between our current relative freedoms and the state-corporate totalitarianism that's just over the next hill.

    Oh, please. You're never free. You're always held back by the corporations, or your peers, or the government. Nature abhors a vacuum, and power vacuums are filled damn quick. The only trick is to make sure that your side is the one that fills it. That's all there is to it.

    I'm just glad that there are still people around with the personal integrity to continue the fight for lofty intangibles like freedom of the press, despite the odds against.

    If they want to forfeit their power, that's fine with me. But they don't get to complain when it's too late.
  • I`m from the u.k. though, so i may not know what i`m talking about re. usa law. but would have *have* to say anything to anyone?


    The 5th amendment only prevents a person from being forced to testify against himself (or a spouse). You can be legally compelled to testify against someone else, or face the charge of contempt of court.

  • While the law does not provide any "confidentiality" between a reporter and a witness

    Doesn't the law allow a journalist to protect his source?

    I remember watching on Law & Order an issue like this arose where a biker who wrote stories on a BBS claimed to be a journalist to avoid having to testify in a murder case. While L&O is not a consummate source of legal information I would think it reasonably accurate.

    Can anyone clarify the rights of a journalist?"

  • In the case of Andover it is in the intrest of shareholders to LAY OFF...
    Andover isn't Forbes...
    Slashdot and other websites must remain indupendent if Andover is to continue....

    If Andover pressured CmdrTaco to turn tell the corts who posted a message CmdrTaco (and staff) would most likely quit.. Why? Becouse at that point it's not CmdrTacos Slashdot...

    People like you fear this allready... if it were ever proven true Slashdot would die and CmdrTaco wouldn't want to be part of it.

    But thats not where the story ends...

    Scoop of FreshMeat wouldn't stick around eather.
    He also operates under the idea that HE runs FreshMeat not Andover and if that were to change he'd walk.

    This gose for vertually all the websites Andover aquired...

    There are far to many compeating websites that wouldn't give up sources. Quite a few would make a big deal if Slashdot had.

    I think Slashdot should stand on princaple and Andover stockholders would stand behind it.
    If Andover didn't stand behind it.... there would be no Andover...

    It is as simple as that
  • No offence taken :)

    What do you think of this though? There are loads of companies doing this kind of thing...

    Legally speaking 3DFX have a perfectly defensable position in that their copywright was breached before they open sourced. But it does seem a bit stupid to continue...
    That's lawyers for you...:)
  • Well in the UK I know some newpapers go to great lengths to protect their sources. I have a friend who works for the Guardian newspaper. The police got into a habit of asking for all photos of demonstrations/riots. So now they develope the film, digitally encode the stuff and burn all the footage onto a CD. Then courieer it immediatly to Amsterdam! and destroy the film. When there the pictures can be browsed remotely by journalists and photographic quality images sent back if requied.

    This was when the police ask for footage they have non but what was in the paper.. Sorry guys ;-)

  • Once in court, we will only testify to things we put in print. We will not, under any circumstances, turn over reporter's notes or unpublished photographs. Folks I know have gone to jail for contempt.

    The article says that Penenberg quit because he failed to testify the way the newspaper wanted him to. Forbes worked out a deal where all Penenburg would have had to say was that his article was accurate.

    I'm not sure it is such martyrdom to lose your job to avoid saying, under oath, that what you've already printed is the truth.

  • (As an aside, I am aware of no cases applying the protections of a shield law to an Internet reporter, but none denying it either, the issue has not yet arisen in the courts.)

    What is with the notion that an "internet reporter" is any different than a meatspace reporter?

    The so-called "internet reporters" are physical people, not some sentient piece of software. As physical poeple, this makes them physical reporters, therefor the law should apply equally, qed. Or are we now assigning different laws to people of different professions, or who use different tools for the same profession?

    Must we subscribe to the same flawed logic that allows a company (whome we won't mention *cough* Amazaon *cough*) to patent obvious activities, simply because they are being conducted on the net instead of in meatspace?

    We do not need special laws for the internet, nor do we need special court cases and trials. Existing law is more than sufficient, perhaps even too much. We certainly do not need to keep adding feces to the pile.
  • Being a close friend with a long time journalist I think Mr. Penenburg is doing the proper thing,.. mostly. I don't think he should reveal his sources or go down any path that may eventually lead in him revealing his sources. However, I think he should at least confirm that his story was an accurate account, if in fact it was. Isn't journalism supposed to be about telling the truth? What would the problem be if he just confirmed the accuracy in his story? If that would indeed result in the opening for further questions couldn't he refuse to answer those questions? Would the "underworld of computer hackers" feel betrayed if he just confirmed that he was telling an accurate account in his article? I also have to say it take guts to quit your job based on beliefs like these. Especially know how long it takes some journalist to get work. I think Mr. Penenburg is doing a very noble thing.
  • I've lived in China for several years now, and I think I've seen enough to say that I can really see the benefits of taking a stronger stand towards the criminal element than we do here in the States. The destructive ("hacker") proportion of the Chinese computer-using population is far lower than in the States, not even mentioning the drug-dealing and drug-using populations, and the violent criminals, and all the rest.

    "all the rest" includes religious movements which are "enemies of the state", or students that peacefully demonstrate for democracy and their inalienable rights as human beings, or anyone that dares to think for themselves and say what they really think. We don't want any of those people running around in our country, do we? It's patently ridiculous to hold China up as any sort of example of the right way to govern. Of course, I can't really fault you for saying what you do, since we both know what would happen to you if you didn't hew to the party line...

    If you have this choice, you have one simple decision to make: your lofty goals which won't win anyone anything except another five minutes to cause mayhem and destroy others' lives and livelihoods, or the simple duty of building society, which carries its own rewards.

    Wow, just like in the Cultural Revolution, huh? I bet that will be a "great leap forward" indeed! I hate to tell you, but those "lofty goals" as envisioned by the founding fathers have built a great society, and continue to do so.

  • > I find it odd that Roblimo would ask whether
    > Slashdot should go to the same length to protect
    > sources

    > Slashdot is now part of a public corporation
    > and some would argue that it would be unethical
    > for it to jeopardize the interests of its
    > shareholders

    Well first of all.. slashdot is a web page, a part of an organization, not a journalist. When publishing stories the individuals who write the stories act as journalists.

    It is the journalists themselves who generally follow such a "code of ethics" as not divulging sources. As in this case...the journalist is leaving his job rather than giving up his source.

    As for being a public corp. Is it ethical to "jepordize the interests of shareholders" if NOT doing so requires an unethical act? I tend to think that this idea of "The interests of the shareholders" usurping all other metrics of morality is absurd.

    Whether or not it is ethical or unethical for a journalist to protect his sources is certainly open to debate (this journalist obviously has strong convictions about the issue). However, 'the interests of shareholders' has nothing to do with it. Its a completely tangental issue.

    I would argue that doing something unethical to protect the interests of shareholders is just as unethical as if there were no shareholders.
    -Steve
  • The reporter got paid well no doupt.
    But the crackers most likely just wanted to tell the story.
    Crackers often have a message and deface websites with it.
    "What message is that?" you ask? Dammed if I know.. Crackers are uniquely unable to communicate.
    Back on BBSes crackers would post what they are thinking. Why they crack.
    Yet having read such posts I make no clame to understand,

    Occasionally a cracker finds a reporter who is willing to lissen.
    The reporter wants a story and the craker wants his story told.

    So far the reporter ends up with an agenda so the story ends up being "Evil hacker.. bad bad" instead of what the cracker accually said.

    The crackers got what the wanted out of the reporter. Part of that was for the reporter to not reveale who they are.
  • It's not like they are accused of murder or spying or something.

    No, they are accused of something far worse: being smarter than corporate AmeriCa and the government, and rubbing their collective nose in it.

    Remember meatnik? He did more time than many rapists and murderers, and while he cracked a lot of systems and was privy to a lot of confidential information, he never actually stole a single penny. In addition, contrary to official Corporate Myth,[1] he never even caused any damage -- he simply revealed security flaws (which needed to be fixed regardless) in an inappropriate manner in order to feed his own information fetish.

    I suspect that these crackers could expect the same level of justice, i.e. none to speak of.

    [1]In the typical fashion of our times, lawyers and accountants are cooking up numbers claiming absurd damages because now they have to fix their broken security, as if leaving a safe unlocked and open, on a busy public street (or even an open private driveway) would be acceptable practice under any circumstance. "If the messanger is an annoying punk, shoot him" seems to be our credo these days.
  • Note that a court of law can still order the journalist to reveal his source. With regards to the fake stories, depending on the story, it could be fraud or libel. And if a newspaper or TV show becomes known for fake stories, I hope that the consumers will stop trusting it as a news source.

    References (Swedish laws in Swedish)
    libel (förtal):
    Tryckfrihe tsförordning (1949:105) [riksdagen.se]
    Brottsbalk (1962:700) [riksdagen.se]
    Yttrandefr ihetsgrundlag (1991:1469) [riksdagen.se]

    Protection of sources:
    Tryckfrihetsförordning (1949:105) Ch.3 3 [riksdagen.se]

    Has it ever occurred to you that God might be a committee?
  • You write: The US is fucking anarchy, with no benefit going to the swift or the strong or the smart.

    The US is not an anarchy nor anything remotely approaching it. The US is an inefficient corporate totalitarianism, and it's only its inefficiency that gives its citizens a reasonable amount of freedom. Unfortunately that inefficiency is rapidly disappearing because it gives corporatism headaches and so laws are being adjusted to streamline corporate controls. That's the road towards a Big Brother if there ever was one (albeit corporate), and freedom of the press is one of the few barriers in its way.

    If only the US was an anarchy. Then you'd see "benefit going to the swift or the strong or the smart", as you put it, assuming that you were talking about individuals. Instead, the benefit is currently going to the power organizations, which is the exact opposite of anarchy. Learn and think about terms before repeating state political rhetoric.
  • by Jim Tyre ( 100017 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @04:34AM (#928721) Homepage
    What is with the notion that an "internet reporter" is any different than a meatspace reporter?

    The so-called "internet reporters" are physical people, not some sentient piece of software. As physical poeple, this makes them physical reporters, therefor the law should apply equally, qed. Or are we now assigning different laws to people of different professions, or who use different tools for the same profession?

    Good question.

    I'm not saying the law *should* be different for Internet reporters, I don't think that it should be. What I am saying - with experience, I am a lawyer who has represented a number of journalists in this type of matter - is that the courts and legislatures are both wary and chary about expanding the scope of shield laws to anything not specifically covered. So if the shield law in a specific state, whether a statute or a judicially developed doctrine, does not already cover the Internet media, it will take some convincing to get it to apply.

    Sooner or later, the laws will catch up, but as in most things, the law here lags behind what most of us recognize as the current reality.

  • Lie with dogs. Get fleas. If you are going to use criminals to make money, you need to accept the fact the criminals may get you in trouble.

    Journalists routinely "out" their sources (see Ken Starr's mouthpiece). They shouldn't be able to hide behind them as well.
  • > I'd be curious to see Slashdot interview him.

    Definately! Hell, I can already see it now:

    Question (Score:5, Funny)
    So tell us, did they do it?
  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @04:42AM (#928724)
    I've got news for them: if they're not rich or running the government, they can take their principles and shove 'em for all the good it's going to do anyone.

    How do you know that this principle is not doing good? Without this guy's report, will anyone on the street ever understand the mind and motivations of the crackers/script kiddies? Without this info, governments are free to spread FUD like:

    • Hackers are everywhere and are out to kill computers.
    • Script Kiddies are all powerful. Fear them. Let the government handle it - we'll go after them and disable them.
    • They are ignenious and they hate/envy your MS Office. They will deliberately pick holes in your MS computer. It's their fault, and not MS for making insecure OSes.
    Go substitute Hacker for Witch and you will get the Salem witch trials all over again.

    The reporters are doing a good service by spreading information, and sticking up for them. That he is willing to sacrifice his job and livelihood lends credence to his integrity, and should not be disparaged.

    You sir are sitting in your castle writing crap. Where is your credibility?

  • Shield laws are nice, but I don't believe that they would provide any protection from Federal prosecuters.

    Whether or not there is a long-standing tradition, it is *not* Federally recognized that reporters have any right or obligation to protect sources. Thus, you realistically cannot make any promises about disclosure to your sources beyond "I'll try" (you are susceptible to search, seizure, wiretapping, etc., etc. etc., after all).

    The way I read this, the lesson to be learned is that in a sensitive situation, perhaps it would be better to give away a bit less information in the interview to avoid this sort of legal attention. Or perhaps move to Sealand. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2000 @04:45AM (#928726)
    article that adam penenberg (sp?) is being asked to verify is here: [forbes.com]
  • As a Journalism graduate who ended up writing code, I have seen the lack of trust given the writing community by the coding community from both sides. I feel much of the criticism is warranted.
    On the journo side of things, a journalist is taught that he can NEVER reveal sources. Besides in Forbes case, apparently, quiting a job on ethical grounds is seen as a rite of passage for newspapermen and magazine writers. It is a badge of honor.
    Adam Penenburg is doing the right thing. He is doing what is slowly disappearing in the journalism community: He is ignoring the fear of unemployment (remember- coders have a much easier time finding jobs than writers) and standing up for his sources. He should be applauded for keeping true to his ethics.
  • Anything else is just "you invited a journalist to your hideout - what did you expect!"

    That's pure and utter rubbish... Journalism is ALL ABOUT getting those hard to get stories... Remember when 60 minutes did the bit on Yassir Arafat? BEFORE HE WAS A GOOD GUY? Governments had been looking for this schmoe for years, to no avail, and because of JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY, they got the interview. What would society's opinion have been had 60 min showed up with a horde of delta force troopers at their back? Outrage, more than likely... Besides that, 60 min would have lost every ounce of credibility they had EVER earned. Think they would have cracked tobacco? Oh hell no... They probably would have went under.

    Journalistic integrity extends beyond the borders of "hey, if you don't tell me anything, I won't give it." That works if you happen to work in World Weekley News, doing articles about a cross dressing Saddamm Hussein. If you want to move up on the scale, you've got to earn the trust to do face to face interviews. Even if it is with particularly nasty bastards. You earn that by not giving up sources, regardless of what crime they may have committed. And just because it may be under investigation, or considered a criminal act, remember that societies morality changes on a whim. Criminal today could very well be "Striking a blow for freedom" tomorrow. So, Reporters are right, and should be protected when they refuse to reveal truthfulness or sources. Especially when doing so hurts his/her reputation.

    krystal_blade

  • The Slashdot Crew wouldn't Remove posts that were obviously the cause of major contraversty ?sp? Because everyone would go apeshit if that post was removed. However posts that no one knows about can be moderated at will. And very few poeple would notice. Sneaky huh.
  • Oh, what, and it's not already? Journalism is already a goes-to-the-highest-bidder event, and it makes me ill that it has to sacrifice an orderly society and law and order to the mere appearance that it still has any objectivity left. These people are shutting down real businesses and costing people real money all because they don't want to admit that they're just as dirty as the people they're protecting.

    You can't seem to tell the difference between the ideal and the implementation. Even if all of your accusations are true, these have no bearing journalism as an ideal. First of all, journalists are not one whole entity. Journalists are individuals - maybe most have sold out, but some have not. It does no good for your arguments to tar them with the same brush.

    And if this are as bad as you say, It is your duty to remind journalists of their non-adherence to their ideal. Tearing the ideal down just seems to me that you don't understand the balance of power in the American institutions.

    It is one thing to criticise American institutions for not living up to their ideals, it is quite another to criticize it for not implementing your ideal, American or not that you happen to be. Let the Americans decide what they want. If you hate it so much, you are free to leave - I've never heard of the US government clamp down on its citizens leaving emigrating - I have, on the other heard of lots of people who cannot leave their own country, and have to do it illegally.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    Journalists with integrity aren't quite as rare yet as honest lawyers or honest politicians. I tend to be pretty cynical about the journalistic profession but you really have to be pretty dedicated to put up with the crap that they do -- the job is even more of a shit job than teaching is. While there are a lot out there who are uninformed or go for for the sensational stories, there are just as many who at least try to get it right.
  • Usually shield laws are state laws I believe. Do we have a federal law on shielding? Do we have international law on shielding? I think that is how they are "different". As with everything internet, *which* laws do we use, and *where* do laws apply?
  • by JohnnyCannuk ( 19863 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @05:38AM (#928754)
    Well, read it or not, this reporter, or you or I cannot be compelled to testify to the truth of anything. As a former Journalism student, I am quite aware that, in Canada at least, there is a presumption that the news is true. It is only false when it is proved false. This is just like the presumption of innocence - I don't have to do or say anything on my own behalf, since it is up to my accusors to prove my guilt.

    What is the point? If this story is true, getting the report to testify that it is true will be redundant and not prove anything. If it is false, he will testify that it is true to save his job and possibly his bottom line(you can have your arse sued off for knowingly reporting false news - ask that Washington Post Reporter who won the Pulitzer prize for a story about a drug addicted 9 year old that she just made up).

    The only reason they want him in to testify about anything is to try to get him to reveal his sources. In that case, he is doing absolutely the right thing.

    If this guy has to reveal who "Slut Puppy" et al are then Woodward and Berstien would have to reveal who Deep Throat is...

  • This seems to me to be a breach of his duties to his reader . . .

    "Is what you wrote true?"
    "I won't say."

    I fail to see any legitimate interest of anyone being protected by this.
  • You are supposed to report it, legally. Not doing so makes you accomplice.

    Of course, I wouldn't talk either, as for this 'defacement' these kids would be treated like hardened criminals, when really it's a harmless prank.

  • Probably Not, I get the impression that many of the crackers are selfish bastards who couldn't give a damn about anyone but themselves.

    But that does not mean that you should give up your ethics. The point of ethics is that you should stick to them even when it is hard/ inconvient etc.

    One of my favorite news people (Daniel Shoer on NPR) quit CBS due to an ethics question some years ago.

    The Cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

  • You ask: If I'm against "Them", I would much rather have a government that has to pretend to care about me than a corporation that has no such obligations or conceits. If I'm with "Them", I'd choose a government as well -- they're far less fickle. What's there to prefer about corporations?

    For as long as there is a separate state and judicial presence, corporations can't apply coercion at the point of a gun. That makes them weaker in practice despite being all-pervasive in theory. In contrast, the state has no such limits, and that means that the day you discover you are not PC mainstream, you will have no refuge. In contrast, in the diverse "mess" that is the US, that very mess provides a measure of support.

    It seems to me that the point you're making is something like: "If you're swift/strong/smart then you can work to your best advantage by riding on top of totalitarian political systems, making them work for you by being influential, belonging to the power structure, or simply being in their good books." Well sure, and the same applies in the US system, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do, neither personally nor for society at large. In the long run, when your mainstream position is no longer palatable to you, you'll regret supporting a regime where diversity is dissuaded.
  • Actualy it does extend to protecting people who break the law. And I know a lot of reporters who have been cited by courts for just that. Usualy its someone who leaked a classified report vs a murder or something. But it most certenly does extend to that.


    The Cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

  • This isn't even a matter of /. testifying, it's a matter of Andover bending over... (poor pun). Andover has a vested interest in keeping their shareholders happy little clams. If ratting out some crackers, hackers, freakers or even script kiddies, then I believe (at least) that they'd do it in a New York minute. I know this will probably be treated as a trolling message, but I think the point is valid...
  • (lets try this again, as obviously I can't use the preview button).

    This isn't even a matter of /. testifying, it's a matter of Andover bending over... (poor pun).

    Andover has a vested interest in keeping their shareholders happy little clams. If ratting out some crackers, hackers, freakers or even script kiddies does this, then I believe (at least) that they'd do it in a New York minute.

    I know this will probably be treated as a trolling message, but I think the point is valid...
  • In the U.S. he hasn't any choice: since the days of the "Red Scare", saying anything at all removed your right to refuse to answer other questions.

    This specifically included appeals to the fifth amendment, or any other from of negotiated immunity.

    --dave

  • "About a week ago I was reading at -1. There's some troll at that level who keeps cut 'n' pasting various texts (porn stories, howto's, etc). In one story I found he had posted an entire MSDN 'Q article'. When I refreshed the page, that post was GONE.

    Horseshit. You're either lying or mistaken. I'm betting the latter (because, to be fair, it isn't always obvious how the moderation system works together with nesting/threading).

    Slashdot is not removing such comments.

    You're spreading unsubstantiated rumors and that sucks. Stop it.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • Back in '95 the University of Minnesota school paper was ordered to give up unpublished incriminating photos of an assult on campus. The editor in chief believed that the press should not become an extension of law enforcement and should be trusted by the public. The editor faced contempt of court charges, but in the end the courts sideded with her. See the full story [mndaily.com]
  • What if they asked for an affidavit? Would that suffice? I really do have a hard time with a press that says, essentially, "This is true enough for public consumption, but not true enough to stand up in court."

    But on the other hand....Obviously no reporter ever wants to give up their sources. And in this case, simply testifying or affirming the veracity of an article's claims could be an equivalent act. If the government has already discovered the identities of Slut Puppy and Master Pimp, then by saying that SP and MP are indeed the perpetrators of the alleged crime, Penenberg would effectively be giving them up.

    It's an interesting dilemma. To quote Ashleigh Brilliant, "I don't have any solution but I certainly admire the problem."

    --

  • by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Monday July 17, 2000 @07:27AM (#928788) Homepage Journal
    You know, a lot of folks down here in the Data Belt have lots of annoying "What Would Slashdot Do?" paraphernalia--bumper stickers, buttons, tee shirts, that sort of thing. The real hardcores usually abbreviate it to "WW/.D?" which I think looks like a fragment of a uuencoded porno .GIF, but they use it both as a cultural identity thing and as a way of evangelizing. People walk up to them--they hope--and say, "Dude, what's a www dot slash dot d stand for?" and then they have a conversation about how Slashdot is their way of salvation.

    It's pretty annoying because it's a melding of an interesting message with a trendy and insidious marketing technique. I started getting fed up with it the other day at the grocery store. A Volvo with a "WW/.D?" sticker cut was blocking the entrance to the parking lot for like three minutes while I blocked traffic behind me and they kept honking at me! There were a couple of perky, clean-cut teens out front at a table whose banner read "WW/.D?" in Helvitica 1280. They had on "WW/.D?" tee shirts and "WW/.D?" buttons and a huge stack of CD-ROMs and pamphlets. A guy with "WW/.D?" stitched into his bookbag stepped on my foot squashing the toe I broke in the parking lot kicking in the driver's door of the car in the handicapped spot with a "WW/.D?" sticker on it but no handicapped tag. I screamed an obscenity at him and he just said "Woah, Dude! At a time like this you should be asking, "What Would Slashdot Do?" then looked at me expectantly. I stalked off and calmed myself by mentally calculating how rapidly his blood CO2 saturation would rise while I strangled him.

    The checkout line was insanely long and just crawled and when I got to the front I found out that the scanner was covered in crud and the cashier couldn't figure out how to clean it off with the Windex and paper towels that were right next to him and kept running the can over it, then looking at the can, running the can over it, then looking at the can, about a dozen times until it scanned, and Ghod help you if somebody bought elephant garlic or butter lettuce because evidently today is the first day he's ever seen food in its natural state. When he finally got started on my stuff he rang up my poblanos as red bell peppers and when I naively corrected his mistake he spent five minutes trying to figure out how to void the line before finally calling a manager over to Insert the Magic Key and I saw that he had on a metal bracelet that had "WW/.D?" stamped into it so I screamed "You know what Slashdot would do? Slashdot would order its food from WebVan so it wouldn't have to put up with morons like you anymore!" He kind of stared at me blankly, then asked me how to spell "poblano" so I said "B-E-L-L" just to get the hell out of there and when I got home I needed a warm bath and a really stiff drink.

    So that's what Slashdot would do.

    --

  • The article says that Penenberg quit because he failed to testify the way the newspaper wanted him to. Forbes worked out a deal where all Penenburg would have had to say was that his article was accurate.

    It sounded like Penenberg didn't want to be called as a witness in a grand jury indictment setup, because the prosecutor has a great deal more latitude about what they can do in the indictment hearing than what they can do in an actual trial (they could basically violate any "deal" they made with Penenberg about only asking about certain things, w/o fear of repercussion - and then legally punish Penenberg if he didn't cooperate.

  • Most seriously, the government; They made a mockery of "due process". I do agree that Kevin must be pretty retarded for not stopping after getting caught, canned, and released so much, but, if the government wanted to lock his ass up for a few years, least they could've done is come up with a way to do it without violating the Bill of Rights

    I would be interested in reading how Kevins's rights were violated. Contrary to the cracker-public opinion, Kevin didn't just sit in jail for a number of years awaiting his trial... he plead guilty to the cell phone fraud stuff and was serving that sentence.. somthing like 3-4 years if memory serves me. I also read quite a bit about how bad Kevin's laywer was... so he might have played a part in the whole mess. The governmet was interested in locking him up for crimes committed and nothing else as far as I can tell.
  • "He who trades Freedom for security gets neither freedom nor security"
    --Benjamin Franklin

    it's people who live in their own idealistic little worlds and think that protest actions and their lofty goals make a damn bit of difference in this world.
    I'm sure Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Nader,Rosa Parks, etc would disagree with you. None of those people were members of the govt. Only Jefferson was reasonably wealthy, They all had "little protest actions" and lofty ideals and they all changed the world. Maybe you need to read some history books that havent been censored by the Chinese government.

    The destructive ("hacker") proportion of the Chinese computer-using population is far lower than in the States, not even mentioning the drug-dealing and drug-using populations, and the violent criminals, and all the rest.

    Yup, all the Violent criminals have government jobs running the gulags. Heres a good way to reduce crime, in america and otherwise, summary execution. You commit a crime, you get shot on the spot, no questions asked, no muss, no fuss, no court date, crime would plummet to zero, its evolution in action, we can evolve the criminal element out of society.

    Noone ever said freedom came without a price, and one of the prices we pay here is that we have a higher crime rate. i would much rather live here, with the slight risk i run of being victimized, than live in china where i would live in constant fear of being victimized for speaking my mind. By the way, what would happen to you if you posted the opposite opinion, that the Chinese government was unethical and improper?

  • Here is a link to Confidential Sources & Information [rcfp.org], "A practical guide to the reporter's privilege in the fifty states and D.C."

    It's important to note that even in states with 'shield laws' judges have been known to flaunt the law and have reporters stew in jail.

  • It's nice and easy to say they will bend over because they are a corporation and have shareholders.

    You apparently don't know that many many newspapers, incorporated newspapers in fact, have refused to bend over. Reporters have gone to jail and the newspapers have paid the legal fees to get them out. All while having shareholders to answer to.

    Here's another way to think of it. Slashdot's value to Andover would plummet if all ACs knew that Andover owuld not shield them. Indeed, it is not impossible that shareholders would sue for not defending their sources.

    --
  • I'm probably responding to a troll, but what the hell. It's heartwarming to see that you appreciate the things that law and order has done for China. In the short period the Communist Chinese government has been around, they have managed to intentionally kill at least 65 million of their own citizens in the name of law and order and social harmony.

    Their government is so unpleasant that it has the distinction of being the number one most murderous and evil regime in history. To say that we here in the states should take a lesson from them on how to behave is a slap in the face to the families of their innumerable victims.
  • I've seen nothing in the tech industry to suggest that they would do otherwise.

    I see the newspaper industry as very separate from the techie industry and having a MUCH firmer backbone.

    When was the last time you heard of a tech company doing anything like refusing to divulge information of it's members, employees, or contacts?
  • What has any of this pessimistic metaphysics of yours to do with the specific case we're discussing, where the reporter is probably going to get away with stiff-arming the police because there's a well-known precedent where reporters, priests too, enjoy the right to keep their interview subjects anonymous? As far as him being booted by Forbes, what else would you expect of Forbes, editorial nobility?

    Nothing new. In spite of the trendy internet tie-in (gaaad how we usians adore novelties, we've fabricated a whole terror filled mythology about a leaky damn computer network) there's nothing new or novel about this, any more than whenever the first guy knocks off a Pick-Kwik with an atomic laser cannon, a crime is merely another crime.

    This has been a first rate troll, too. A massy, philosophical one. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

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