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Re: Does VeriSign's SiteFinder service violate the ECPA?
From: N407ER <n407er () myrealbox com>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 10:43:20 -0400

Richard M. Smith wrote:
Hi,

Here's a question for the lawyers.  In certain situations, does the
VeriSign SiteFinder service violate the Electronic Communications
Privacy Act (AKA, ECPA)?

Here's the actual text of the ECPA:
        
   http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/pIch119.html

With my packet sniffer, I noticed that the VeriSign SiteFinder Web
server happily accepts POST form data which is intended for another Web
server.  This situation will occur if the domain name is misspelled in
the action URL of a form.

Without SiteFinder in the picture, the HTTP POST operation is never done
since the DNS lookup fails.

By this logic, all webservers which unintentionally accept traffic without somehow verifying that a typo did not take place violate the ECPA. Thats ridiculous. Do you really want a precedent where, if someone accidentally POSTs bank information to your site instead of the URL they meant to type, you are somehow liable? If I accidentally call you instead of my friend and tell you all sorts of juicy gossip, is it really your fault?

I'm bothered by the VeriSign thing, too. But you've been posting a lot of stuff about how it breaks certain services, breaks certain mail clients, and may be illegal. What it does to mail clients and services is annoying, though easily fixed. But you should hardly wish for it to be deemed illegal. That's not the sort of precedent I want to worry about.

Ta for now.


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