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Is somebody looking at jurisdiction? All of the cases and laws we discuss (I think) deal with U.S. companies and citizens. What are the implications for prosecuting trespassers from other countries? This International Review of Criminal Policy discusses the need for global action in dealing with computer crime.

-- Anonymous, October 24, 1998


Well, I'm not opposed to covering this, but I would tend to say that this is something we shouldn't explore too much. We're exploring what trespass is, legally and technically, but jurisdiction of this falls under the next group's presentation, no? I mean, once we've determined what actions constitute trespass under US or Massachusetts law, it's probably out of our hands to consider which state's law applies and how...

-- Anonymous, October 24, 1998

Perhaps this is something you would like to address? I'll check out that page but Michelle (the legal brain behind this operation) is out of town for the weekend so I can't promise much. My legal education can be found in "L.A. Law" and "A Few Good Men." :)

-- Anonymous, October 24, 1998

Jurisdiction is a problem even when all of the parties are from the U.S. International issues just add more complication to an issue which is already a mess. Somewhere in our voluminous readings there was mention of a case where a San Francisco bulletin board operator was convicted of distributing obsence images by a Tennessee court. Although the images were not obsence according to San Francisco standards, the images did offend community standards in Tennessee. The district court ruled, I think, that the bulletin board operator put the images in the stream of commerce so the images were subject to the laws of the communities that were reached.

So maybe it's a good idea for us (Lauren and I) to discuss this as part of "The Future of Trespass and Property." Would contract law allow a bulletin board operator to escape conviction? In the case above, no because contract law can't be used to circumvent criminal law. Does this problem suggest that there should be a system-level boundary which restricts access to certain images?

-- Anonymous, October 24, 1998

I think if we mention the jurisdiction issue, it would be nice if we could point out how the jurisdictional implications of cyberspace both help and hinder prosecution of cyber criminals.

It helps prosecution in cases like the California / Tennessee pornography case, where the gimmicks used to establish jurisdiction approach the silliness of the gimmicks once used to serve notice of process on out-of-state defendants (e.g. getting on the same flight as the defendant, waiting until the airplane is flying over Arizona airspace, then serving process on him for violating an Arizona law; or kidnapping the criminal, taking him to the appropriate state, and arresting him there).

On the other hand, it hinders prosecution where there are no reciprocality laws or treaties and where there simply is no law to apply, or where nations have sovereign pride interests in refusing to cooperate with each other.

- Michelle.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 1998

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