need help with computer science ethics mock trial

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Project X, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. Project X

    Project X New Member

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    need help with computer science mock trial
    we are doing a mock trial and i need to get some main points to my argument of the question found below. i would like to see what your input is.

    Question:
    ****(I am the defendent for this case)

    Should Barney be held liable for providing material support to a terrorist organization?

    Background:

    Freenet is a Peer-to-Peer networking architecture designed to facilitate anonymous and uncensorable publishing and retrieval of digital information [Clark et. all]. Users contribute disk space and bandwitdh to the system, and the collected pool of resources is used to store and retrieve files. [What is Freenet].

    The Freenet system uses encryption and digital signatures to allow users to anonymously upload files, which will then be distributed and mirrored across the participating nodes in an unpredictable manner. The scattering of files makes it extremely difficult to remove information once it has been posted to Freenet. [Clark et. all]. As all communications are encrypted, participating nodes have no knowledge of the content, or the final destination of any request [What is Freenet]. Freenet was created to promote and protect free speech in potentially hostile environments [The Philosophy Behind Freenet].

    For more information visit the Freenet Web-site.

    Scenario:

    Professor John Frink, having read about the open-source Freenet effort, pitched in and helped design and implement version 1.0 of the software. He told his friend, Barney Gumble, about the software; Barney decided to offer his computer as a node, in the interest of helping promote a forum for free speech on the Internet. Barney discussed his decision to join with his friends, Lenny and Carl. Lenny, a cryptographer familiar with the system, warned Barney that although the project had noble goals, it could also be used by criminals and terrorists for sinister purposes. Barney acknowledged Lenny's concerns, but replied that he believed that free speech was more important than any potential misuse of the system. In defense of his plan to join, Barney related a use Professor Frink had told him: "Cookie Kwan uses Freenet to receive uncensored news from her relatives, who are trapped in North Korea".

    Hank Scorpio, an underground terrorist leader, realized that Freenet would be the perfect medium to distribute the information, and instructions, needed to enact his plan to overthrow the government. He published detailed instructions for the creation of high-impact explosives, as well as a list of targets to be destroyed: the Springfield Nuclear Power-plant and the Springfield Elementary School.

    On opening day of the school year, Robert Terwilliger entered Springfield Elementary, and detonated a high-impact explosive. Terwilliger was killed instantly. The building's subsequent collapse left no survivors.

    Springfield parents who lost children in the blast included: Ned Flanders, who lost both of his sons, Rod and Todd; Kurt and Luellen vanHouten, who lost their only child, Milhouse; Clancy and Sarah Wiggum, who lost their only child, Ralph; and Peter and Sue Muntz, who lost their son, Nelson.


    During the ensuing investigation, Police Chief Wiggum (father of deceased child Ralph Wigum) determined that Terwilliger had been a cell of Scorpio's terrorist organization and had been using Freenet to communicate with other members of the organization. Wiggum seized Barney's computer, the only active Freenet node in town, and employed Lenny to examine the data-store. Lenny found copies of Scorpio's instructions and target list; he also found evidence that Barney's node had been used to retrieve those files, by an unknown number of users. Chief Wiggum eventually determined that, other than the freenet data-store, Barney had no connection to the terrorist organization.


    When news of the police findings reached the Flanders, vanHouten, and Muntz households, they filed class-action lawsuits against both Professor Frink and Barney Gumble, claiming they had both contributed to the wrongful deaths of their children.

    Opposing links:


    'Cubby v. CompuServ Inc' ruling
     
  2. Project X

    Project X New Member

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    the mock trial is coming up and i need to come up with some questions when i get barney gumble and lenny on the stand...what questions do you guys suggest i ask?

    thanks
     
  3. Astro

    Astro Code Monkey

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    Its past 1am and I'm toast and not a lawyer, so let me see if I'm on the same page - you're defending Barney, Lenny, and P2P?
     
  4. Zourn

    Zourn 16-bit Ninja OT Supporter

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    From what i can tell he's defending barney and freenet, but barney and lenny(the one who found the freenet info on the comp, most likely computer savvy, probably Police Force Computer Analyst) are the ones on the stand.

    Get evidence that posts could only be made or read anonymously, and that posting was freely open to the community, as was reading. Also, that the info was encrypted, so that even the operating node had no clue what was going through it. It would be best to get Lenny to admit to most of this as possible as he is against the case; evidence in your favor is best heard from your enemy's mouths.

    Check on the correctness of this first, but also that he had received the post as he receives all post, in large batches.
     
  5. CyberBullets

    CyberBullets I reach to the sky, and call out your name. If I c

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    ummm can u try the wookie defence?
     
  6. crotchfruit

    crotchfruit Guest

    you should also anticipate what the prosecution will use. think about this:

    in other words, barney will have to testify that he was 100% aware that criminals would be able to use his computer to plot their schemes - and that he freely chose to allow this operation of his computer. even with the most noble of intentions, there's no getting around the fact that barney knew this evil planning was a possible side effect.

    i think your only possible defense will have to be:
    1) it is impossible to have free communication without allowing evil elements free communication as well.
    2) free communication for everyone is extremely important for the well being of society
    3) there must be other means to stop the evil elements from operating besides restricting their free communication

    the conclusion being that it is important to provide free communication to everyone, good and evil, and that you need to crack down on the evil via other means (i.e. metal detectors at the schools.) therefore barney was not neglegent, in fact he was doing his duty to society. it was the school's fault for not having the proper security =P

    your job is to figure out which questions to ask barney that will fit with this defense.
     
  7. drewski_amk

    drewski_amk Guest

    try something along the lines that you can't prove which freenet node the terrorist instructions were coming from. if you can't prove that barney even had a part in this, then there is no case against him. btw, is this a criminal case or a civil case?
     

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