netiquette & zone transfers

Barry Margolin barmar at
Mon Mar 27 22:29:16 UTC 2000

In article <8bolel$1gl7$1 at>,
Jeremy Nelson <jfn at> wrote:
>Barry Margolin  <barmar at> wrote:
>>Why does there have to be?  You don't have to have a "no trespassing" sign
>>on your lawn to prohibit trespassers.
>*referee whistle*  Your analogy just broke down.  In many parts of the USA,
>you most certainly *do* have to have a "no tresspassing" sign to prohibit 
>tresspassers, since in many/most states by definition it is not possible 
>to be guilty of tresspassing unless you disregard a "no tresspassing" sign [1]
>posted in a place where it would be seen by would-be "tresspassers".
>Thank goodness the real world isn't yet like the computer world, a kind 
>of hyper-paranoid quasi-police state where every possible act we do is 
>illegal unless we can produce written notorized documentation that we had
>prior permission to do it.  The right to roam thankfully still exists, 
>though it is under attack.

I have repeatedly said it is *not* illegal.  The Subject line says it:
we're talking about netiquette, not legality.  In that respect, I think my
analogy is valid; whether it's illegal or not in your particular
jurisdiction, it is wrong to violate someone's private property.

When I was a kid I used to take shortcuts through other people's property
when walking to school.  I have no idea whether it was illegal in NY, but I
always looked first to see if there was anyone there, because I knew they
wouldn't appreciate it if I were caught.  They probably wouldn't call the
cops, but they might call my parents; for a child, that's probably worse.

If you want to be a good netizen, you don't do things that your network
neighbors wouldn't appreciate.  These rules don't have to be written down
in a law book; sometimes common sense can be applied.  If your activity
looks similar to that of crackers, the affected sites are likely to assume
that's what you are.  Although US governments supposedly have an "innocent
until proven guilty" philosophy, private individuals and corporations are
not under any similar restrictions.  So don't be surprised if someone
figuratively shoots first and asks questions later.

Barry Margolin, barmar at
GTE Internetworking, Powered by BBN, Burlington, MA
Please DON'T copy followups to me -- I'll assume it wasn't posted to the group.

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