June 17, 2005
If "Viewing is possession" then pop-ups are "Breaking and entering"

A slashdot thread refers the story of a child pornography case where the debate is over whether you've had child pornography in your possession if you have viewed a webpage with child pornography. This brings to the fore the discussion over metaphors for the web that Doc Searls was talking about at Reboot a week ago. Whether a conclusion that viewing stuff on the web is possession means that the web is a medium or a place is another matter though: possession would indicate place, but since that place would seem to be "our place" maybe a ruling that viewing is possession actually indicates web as conduit instead. Interesting stuff.
At a more practical level this raises the question of whether or not we are legally entitled to control what is shown to us in the webbrowser. Is a company responsible for the content of pop-ups we are shown on the web? If we are ultimately responsible for what gets shown wouldn't the natural conclusion be that it should be illegal to show us anything we have not explicitly agreed to view?
It would seem that a pop-up becomes some kind of "breaking and entering" albeit with the strange objective of putting things into our homes, not taking them out.

Posted by Claus at June 17, 2005 01:37 PM | TrackBack (0)
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