I have been following all the FTB/Thunderf00t drama that has been unfolding in the past few weeks and much of it reminds me of kids having a fight in a sandbox.
The latest sand-flinging fight is now over Thunderf00t having had access to FTBs private e-mails on their back-channel. Many are saying things like he 'hacked' in, that he has private information from those e-mails that he 'stole', and that he is doc-dropping. These seem to be the main points that the bloggers on FTB are regurgitating to their readers, so I want to address them here.
There are many other things being said on the blogs by the FTB group that are patently ridiculous, false, and irrational, but to address all that would take me hours, and I just do not have that kind of time to waste on that ridiculousness. Which is why I only want to discuss the main points that actually matter. Discussing anything else will distract from the real issues at hand, which are:
- Did Thunderf00t hack into the FTB listserv?
- Is an e-mail disclaimer legally binding?
- Did Thunderf00t 'steal' information?
- Is Thunderf00t doc-dropping?
- Is anyone at FTB at great risk because of what has happened?
- Is what Thunderf00t did illegal?
- Was it ethical of Thunderf00t to do this?
1.Did Thunderf00t hack into the FTB listserv?
No. According to Ed Brayton of FTB, he did not. He was able to log back onto the mailing list because he was never removed from the list. Ed Brayton thought he had deleted him off the list, but he actually had not. The software they were using for the mailing list had a security loophole which allowed Thunderf00t to log back on without any difficulty. Did he hack in? NO! He simply logged back on.
Ed Brayton did not double check when he presumed to have removed Thunderf00t from the mailing list. Is his oversight, or lack of technical savvy a reason to accuse Thunderf00t of hacking into the listserv? No. The blame lies with Ed Brayton for not securing the listserv properly, or for double checking to ensure that Thunderf00t was unable to regain access.
If you are going to say you have a secure mailing list, you may want to test it to ensure that what you say is correct, and not ASSUME that this is the case. The breach of security, and blame, lies with Ed Brayton, not Thunderf00t.
2.Is an e-mail disclaimer legally binding?
No. Go Google it.
3.Did Thunderf00t 'steal' information?
4.Is Thunderf00t doc-dropping?
No. First, the definition of doc-dropping seems to be unclear to those at FTB, so let me explain what doc-dropping really is.
To obtain and disclose personal information about someone.
Any releasing (to the public) of someones home address, phone number, social security number, or other personal information to that effect.
Nothing Thunderf00t has disclosed on his blog includes any of the above information. He may have forwarded or quoted e-mails, but he has not doc-dropped. To accuse him of such is a falsehood. There is no proof of him having doc-dropped.
5.Is anyone at FTB at great risk because of what has happened?
No. Thunderf00t already had access to FTBsprivate e-mails when he was a blogger at FTB. He already was privy to personal information when he was there. So why is it such an issue now that he is no longer a blogger at FTB? He still knows all the personal details of the people at FTB that he was privy to while he was part of FTB. Was he supposed to have had a mind-wipe upon being kicked off FTB? Was there less of a risk when Thunderf00t was an FTB blogger, but more of a risk now that he is not? The logic does not follow, and this argument is basically ridiculous.
6.Is what Thunderf00t did illegal?
No. If it were, he would already be in jail.
7.Was it ethical of Thunderf00t to do this?
This seems to be a question that many people in the community are conflicted over. Many are saying that is was unethical of Thunderf00t to have done this. But is that because it truly was unethical, or because it is uncomfortable for us to examine?
When discussing the 'ethics' of this situation we must first define what we mean by ethics in relation to this issue. Ethics, in this instance refers to an individual moral sense / personal ethics.
As it is personal ethics we are discussing, we cannot then say that what Thunderf00t did was unethical. It depends what Thunderf00t sees as his personal ethic. We can't dictate what that is based on our own personal ethics. You can say that it goes against what you would consider ethical, but you cannot assume that others may share that same view.
So was it unethical? That would depend on what Thunderf00t's personal ethics are. We can only say weather it is or not based on our own individual sense of personal ethics, and that does not make it ethical or unethical in an absolute sense.
These are the main points people should be discussing and examining. Everything else is the equivalent of kids having a tantrum in a sandbox. A nice distraction technique, but one that logical and intelligent people should not fall for. Stick to the issues, and don't get distracted by the tantrums.