Sunday, August 2, 2009

Disclaimer for bloggers out there!

Below is a notice I used many years ago when I was running a BBS. (Bulletin Board Service). This particular law is still in effect, and in today's world, has never been more important than it is today! (Note: Applies to US only)

I urge you, the reader and blog writer, independant news reporter, to research and verify if this law protects you. Perhaps it will also protect those who signed up at who waivered their rights to ownership of their home PC.


The owners and users of this system are exercising First Amendment

Some material on this system is in preparation for public
dissemination and is "work product material" protected under The First
Amendment Privacy Protection Act of 1980 (USC 42, Section 2000aa).
Note that this is a civil statute. Violation of this statute by law
enforcement agents is very likely to result in a civil suit as
provided under Section 2000aa-6. Each and every person who has such
"work product material" stored on this system is entitled to recover
at least minimum damages of $1000 *plus all legal expenses.* Agents
in some states may not be protected from *personal* civil liability if
they violate this statute.

In addition, there is email, i.e., "stored electronic communications"
as defined by the Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) which
has been in storage less than 180 days on this system. Such stored
electronic communications are protected by the ECPA from seizure or
"preventing authorized access" without warrants specific to each
person's email. Seizing the computer where this BBS resides would
prevent such authorize access. There are civil actions which may be
taken against law enforcement agents under provisions of the Act. You
can find them in USC 18, Section 2704. On this system you can expect
up to 200 people to have stored email. Each of them is entitled to
collect a minimum of $1000 *plus all legal expenses* for violations of
Section 2700 and 2703.

While the agency you work for *might* pay your legal fees and
judgments against you, why take chances? If you feel the need to go
after email, or take actions which would deny email access to our
users (such as seizing our hardware), get appropriate warrants.

In addition, it is a violation of the Arizona Revised Statutes, to
gain access to this (or any) Computer Bulletin Board System, by
supplying false information to the Sysop, and you can be criminally
charged with wire fraud.

It is the policy of the sysop of this system to cooperate with law
enforcement agents--though we will not be involved in entrapments.
It is our utmost concern to protect the rights and privacies of all
of the Members of this BBS.

Please bring it to my attention if you discover illegal activities on
this board.
(end notice)