Stephanie da Silva writes, in response to what I think is a very valid
comment by meo @
>>The point is that until they have *abused* the information, they have
>>done nothing wrong. They can even *use* the information without *abusing*
>A number of people seem to be forgetting that abuse was done during the
>information gathering. I seem to recall various site admin-types getting
>distressed because large loads were being put on their listservers from
>multiple "who" commands done on lists with large numbers of subscribers.
But I think we are dealing with different issues here. Overloading a
system is one thing, collecting information is another. They may be
connected, but overloading someone's system is just as serious whether
it is done for legitimate reasons (ping or anonymous ftp) as for
nefarious ones, and the legitimacy of the reason is a separate question.
A couple of days ago I posed the question of what the implications would
be of my sending a single "who" command to a list to look for addresses
of scientific colleagues. About half the responses were negative, but I
never found any that had any legitimate concerns to support them. Most
were of the form, "I don't like it" or "I didn't subscribe so that you
could learn my email address", but I fail to see why subscribing to a
mailing list should necessarily guarantee any more privacy than having
your name in the telephone book or on a list of homeowners (unless the
list is set up that way).
So I agree with meo @
com that gathering the information is not
in itself bad, although of course there can be associated offenses like
overloading the system by excessive demands, or abusing the information
by subsequent spamming. What concerns me far more is the attitude
expressed by many list owners that people who don't respect their
personal philosophies of list management are intrinsically evil.
Bill Silvert, Habitat Ecology Section, Bedford Institute of Oceanography,
P. O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CANADA B2Y 4A2, Tel. (902)426-1577