On Aug 21, 2013 8:56 AM, "Peter Gervai" <grin...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I am possibly failing to see the point of this part of the discussion.
> On Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 7:14 AM, FT2 <ft2.w...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >    - *If the IP is "sufficiently clearly connected"  to the individual
> >    behind the Alice account*,
> It is not and possibly almost never will.
> However I fail to see how people hanging around quite a long time mix
> up a banned user with a technical measure to _enforce_ a ban (namely,
> blocks). Everyone seem to talk about blocks while meaning to talk
> about bans.
> IP based blocks almost never personally targeted since people do not
> have IP addresses: machines do. We (and everyone else) use IP based
> access control to mechanically enforce things on people not following
> the "rules" (eg stay away when instructed to). It is much more like
> putting metal bars on a window looking onto a street with troubled
> neighbourhood.
> We reasonably expect ourselves to use IP bans to minimise collateral
> damage but it's guaranteed to be there; people may change IP address
> to evade the blocks (and therefore violate the bans); IP addresses may
> be reassigned to the innocent and obviosuly there are vast armies of
> NAT gateways, multiuser servers, proxies, TOR exit nodes and whatnot.
> The cases where we can 100% assure that one IP or range equals to a
> given person are practically nonexistant.
> Because of that I fail to see any possible validity of "legally
> binding action against a person based on an IP address".
> Peter

This kind of discussion does not need to go in to how theoretically IP
addresses can be tied to individuals. We tell users to stop doing what they
are doing, analogous to the cease and desist in this case. Obviously a
warning to stop is not a cease and desist, but the court in this case
didn't appeal to the legal weight if a cease and desist, but used it as a
clear indication to tell the other party his actions are not allowed by the
site. To that end the two messages to stop are identical.

The block then is also identical. The account and/or underlying IP is
blocked. That is the technical impediment. The action that is now a federal
offense, it seems, is to defy the warning, by circumventing the block by
changing IP and/or account to do what you were told not to do on the

This alligns perfectly with the blocking policy and definition of block
evasion on at least the English Wikipedia, and probably other projects too.
It is completely different from the discussed change of browser to make use
of features not accessible to those browsers, and comparing that situation
only obfuscated the issue.

There is still the issue of evidence that the possible suspect is indeed
the person to whom the warning was sent. That however is a question of
proofing that a person broke the law, which might be far harder to answer
in the case of an individual editing Wikipedia on a residential IP
allocation than it is in the linked case. The central issue though, that it
seems block evasion is a federal offense, is not affected by the difficulty
in proving evidence for it. It is the question whether the evasion is a
crime that bothers me.


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