Excellent comment(s) on the Ritz affair

First, swing over to Ed Falk's site to read a really good comment from a Slashdot reader.

Then, check out this most excellent response to trolling criticism on my CircleID post. Written by Brian McNett, it examines the blurred intersections and transitions between vigilantes and professionals. Excerpt:

During the period of David’s anti-spam activity, which ended around 2001 with a tragic accident which nearly took his life and has left him permanently disabled, I myself volunteered my time, resources and expertise to track down and identify spammers. It is only because I was more circumspect in my public postings to USENET, that I myself did not draw the attention of the plaintiff in this case. It is only because I was available for employment, and not in a medically induced coma, that I was able to become a professional, and now do my investigation in an official capacity.

Mr. Ritz performed the alleged criminal acts during a time when Mr. Iverson, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Schwartzman, and myself would also have been considered criminals had we fallen under the gaze of the plaintiff. Thus, Mr. Thorson, you are, knowingly or otherwise, continually impunging the defendant and acting as an apologist for the plaintiff among a group of professional who, were it not for a twist of fate, would also include David Ritz. Many of the “crimes” (isn’t this a civil case?) Mr. Ritz is accused of, are things all of us have done at one time or another as a routine part of both our efforts as volunteers, and our jobs as professionals. Mr. Iverson’s reputation as a professional was largely established based on his ability to, as the ruling puts it “disguise himself as a mailserver”. Mr. Schwarztman, has carried what the court calls “vigilantism” to the point of being Canada’s foremost expert on spam. Mr. Chandler has taken his legal, advocacy, and forensic skills (developed in the late 1990’s in what the court judges to be “criminal activity") to a position at one of Mr. Iverson’s employer’s direct competitors. Mr. Iverson and Mr. Chandler work for companies whose business is sending commercial email. Their needs and the needs of their customers are frequently at odds with the likes of Mr. Schwartzman, Mr. Smith and myself. Nonetheless, we are all here, firmly in opposition to the decision of your beloved North Dakotan legal system.

Very well written. Brian McNett is my hero.
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