Bad law in North Dakota

This is very bad news for North Dakota-based anti-spammers — a guy called David Ritz is being sued there by alleged porn spammer Jerry Reynolds, for performing DNS lookups, a DNS zone transfer and a Whois lookup. It appears the judge has found Ritz guilty.

This is astonishingly bad lawmaking by the judge. These are entirely innocuous tools, part of every network administrator’s toolkit for debugging and examining internet traffic legitimately. There’s nothing remotely criminal or malicious in their use, and the judge has allowed himself to be misled.

North Dakota Judge Gets it Wrong:

‘Ritz’s behavior in conducting a zone transfer was unauthorized within the meaning of the North Dakota Computer Crime Law. A zone transfer is simply asking a DNS server for all the particular public info it provides about a given domain. This is a common task performed by system administrators for many purposes. The judge is saying that DNS zone transfers are now illegal in North Dakota.’

More details from Ed Falk

David’s legal defense fund

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3 Comments

  1. Kevin
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 18:55 | Permalink

    If you read the actual findings, the obvious lack of understanding of the ‘technology’ involved is rather awe-inspiring (not to mention the prolific typos, and at least one completely false ‘fact’). However, it should be pointed out that this was a civil trial and doesn’t set any precedent (fortunately) (and a minor point, the judge is a ‘she’, not a ‘he’ ;p)

  2. Posted January 20, 2008 at 17:30 | Permalink

    Hey Justin, Good related discussion @ http://techdirt.com/articles/20080118/003803.shtml

  3. Posted January 21, 2008 at 12:39 | Permalink

    Good discussion, Kevin has some valid points here.