As usual, when it's the U.S. turn, they play by different rules
November 8, 2001 9:10 AM   Subscribe

As usual, when it's the U.S. turn, they play by different rules How come Russian and Scandinavian hackers can be charged under U.S. law for activities done in their home countries, yet when an American company gets a very reasonable request (IP tracking that it is done for web banners anyway) from a judge overseas, the U.S. grabs the free speech / local law argument.
posted by magullo (23 comments total)
I'm assuming the Russian and Scandinavian hackers of whom you speak were hacking systems belonging to American companies and/or the American government. Hence, they are committing a crime against Americans.

Yahoo!, an American company, is allowing auctions of Nazi memorabilia on its American auction site(s). France is attempting to impose French law onto American companies and American sites, for no other reason than the fact that they are accessible to French citizens.

I don't see how this is a confusing issue.
posted by Danelope at 9:23 AM on November 8, 2001

It's a corrupted variant of the age old adage, he who has the might makes the rules. Double standards are par for the course with America in international politics, and one of the many reasons why so many people in the world hate us. We are pious, arrogant, fickle, and decadent. This ticks off both extremes of any spectrum, from idealists to fundamentalists. Power corrupts.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:28 AM on November 8, 2001

Wasn't Skylarov arrested for posting/selling a program on a website in Russia that didn't violate his local laws, but did violate the DMCA?

If Yahoo isn't subject to French laws regulating web content, why should Skylarov be subject to ours?
posted by Swifty at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2001

Danelope - No, I'm talking about extraditing a 15-year old from Sweden because he posted De-CSS (an open-source DVD player for Linux) in his father's website. This is a DMCA violation. I'm talking about a Russian hacker who wrote (but never distributed) an alternative (and superior) reader for Adobe's e-books and gets busted under the same law while attending a conference in Vegas. The DMCA is an American law that gets applied globally, simply because it is supported by a powerful industry.
posted by magullo at 9:42 AM on November 8, 2001

Non-techie weighing in:

From the article, it appears that the French were upset that Yahoo wasn't policing French people for violating French law. Why is this Yahoo's problem?
posted by Skot at 9:43 AM on November 8, 2001

because Yahoo France is a French company, isn't it?
posted by o2b at 10:16 AM on November 8, 2001

o2b: Yahoo France already complies with the order. The French judge in the case is trying to say that the USA Website of Yahoo must also comply.
posted by Swifty at 10:41 AM on November 8, 2001

Magullo: Sklyarov got nailed because he set foot on US soil, where he was subject to US laws. I would expect that France will do the same thing, if a Yahoo exec were to set foot in France. For ages the US gov't tried to arrest major DeBeers execs, but couldn't, because they couldn't be caught inside the US (some did visit secretly, but escaped via Chicago airports, known for lax immigration).

Countries can choose to not play along with external legal requests. If they *do* decide to play along (eg: if Russia had arrested Sklyarov themselves) then that's their perogative. It's not like the US gov't sent in commando teams to nab Russian programmers.

Example: other countries routinely refuse to extradite criminals to the US if they think the US will execute them. Example: France refused to extradite Ira Einhorn until the prosecutors promised not to give him the death penalty.

Another example: Vietnam & China used to routinely arrest China or Vietnam-born immigrants to the US, when they visited the "homeland". Occasionally they even arrested naturalized US citizens, for failing to fulfill their responsibility to mandatory military service because they had lived in the US their entire lives. The US, for their part, didn't extradite these "criminals" but did warn them that they might be arrested upon arrival in their "homeland" that they'd never set foot in before...
posted by aramaic at 10:57 AM on November 8, 2001

We're Number One! We rule!
posted by Postroad at 11:15 AM on November 8, 2001

Well, we are, and we do.
posted by nicwolff at 11:21 AM on November 8, 2001

Next time you wonder why people from other countries are so pissed off with the U.S., you might want to look back at this page.
posted by websavvy at 11:27 AM on November 8, 2001

i'll bet france wouldn't behave as we do if they had as much influence in the world.
posted by moz at 11:31 AM on November 8, 2001

i'll bet your statement is wrong, moz.

wow, wasn't that fun.

BTW, ask the Algerians about your point, moz.
posted by NortonDC at 11:37 AM on November 8, 2001

I'll bet france wouldn't behave as we do...

Uhh, have you actually paid any attention to French geopolitics? Ever?

Let's see: giant screaming fracas with Canada over illegal fishing (almost came to armed confrontation). Blowing up the Rainbow Warrior. Nuke testing in the South Pacific. Grenada-style invasions of ex-colonial territories. etc. etc.

And that's just recent history. I won't even get into the whole Indochina thing.

Sorry to disappoint, but the US ain't the only bad guy. Don't even get me started on fricking Belgium.
posted by aramaic at 11:37 AM on November 8, 2001

i really should stop saying sarcastic things on metafilter, but it's so much fun to.
posted by moz at 11:39 AM on November 8, 2001

Go ahead, aramaic. I never trusted those shifty Belgians anyway. I'm still sore over van Damme.


if he's Belgian.
posted by NortonDC at 11:40 AM on November 8, 2001

As far as Belgium goes, one word: Congo.
posted by aramaic at 11:46 AM on November 8, 2001

*does the happy americadance for no particular reason at all*
posted by po at 11:52 AM on November 8, 2001

Everyone is guilty. If you want to be the best, you've got to succeed without stepping on all the little people who got you there.
posted by cell divide at 12:01 PM on November 8, 2001

You can send in crack commando troops to get criminals when your laws have been broken - look at Afghanistan for example.

I thought the funny/odd/I don't know what to call it thing in the Skylarov thing was that Adobe backed down from putting the case through, but the feds insisted..

They need to sort out punishment for things like DCMA violation too - compare it (ie the punitive measures in place) to something like rape and it seems a wee bit odd..
posted by Mossy at 2:47 PM on November 8, 2001

Yo, Spain was the one that got in the fishing conflict with Canada.

You're spot on right about Belgium though.
posted by syscom at 5:24 PM on November 8, 2001

Mossy-The feds *had* to insist. Otherwise it would look like Adobe was basically running them, which the government would not like.
posted by stoneegg21 at 8:18 PM on November 8, 2001

Nope: France got pissy with Canada too -- remember St. Pierre & Miquelon?
posted by aramaic at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2001

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