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    I won’t get into the personal details (which I’ve already yammered about for thousands of words elsewhere) but 2015 was the year in which I utterly lost my faith in technology as a force for good. I observed and experienced some small defeats of good by evil, but there were big ones too. Remember how excited we were when Twitter supposedly enabled the “Arab Spring”? Funny how no one hauls out that trophy, these days.

    It seems, at this point, that technology clearly is not a moral force. It’s just another armament, although it’s mostly used to create, promote, or destroy reputations and patterns of interaction (e.g. corporate relationships). Most people have no idea if their employers are reading their emails or watching their web browsing.

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      Relevant. Spoof your MAC address to avoid tracking for privacy reasons, commit “crime”, spoofed MAC address used to show intent.

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        I am suspicious of that interpretation. Aaron didn’t spoof his MAC until after it was blocked. It’s one thing to pick a random MAC. It’s another to change your MAC whenever an access control attempts to block your current one.

        It’s the same logic that would conclude skiing is a felony because a bank robber was arrested while wearing a ski mask.

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          Sorry, my original comment didn’t really show my intent, ironically.

          I agree. How it’s done can show intent, etc. But, I do question the notion that paranoia won’t come back to bite you in the ass like this. There are stories of Tor developers and other cryptographers being harassed like crazy. There are ideas that using GPG to encrypt email gets you on watch lists. The string of characters “2600” was on some FBI terrorist word watch list at one point – presumably because people who read 2600 magazine might be “bad” – I dunno.

          The paranoia game might make you more “safe”, but when you are accused of something and paranoid at the same time, can you prove that you didn’t do these things to hide your guilt? The burden is on you, despite the fact that the law says otherwise. Paranoid people do things that “normal” people don’t usually do, and that’s suspicious to a jury.

          There’s an alleged child pornographer that won’t decrypt the contents of his hard drive, and is sitting in jail. If guilty, this might be well deserved, mind you (and he probably is guilty given the other apparent evidence). But, even if he’s exonerated, and honest to goodness not a child pornographer, his reputation has been destroyed, and picking up the pieces of his life, well, that’s not going to be easy.

          Aaron didn’t spoof his MAC until after it was blocked.

          Is this actually documented somewhere, or just speculation? My MAC address changes every reboot. Did he just reboot?

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            To expand, I agree that actions taken for privacy and security are treated differently. Encrypted communications between known parties are not viewed with nearly the same suspicion as communications between unknown anonymous parties.

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              If I recall from the sussman report, the mac/ip used didn’t change until after it was blocked. But Maybe they didn’t notice some of the scraping.