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[Freedombox-discuss] legal problem w/ Twitter (et al.)

TL;DR: I agree that a service provider might cut off a FreedomBox user, 
claiming a terms of service violation. I don't think it would lead to 
legal trouble necessarily, but it might be very bad press for the 
service provider.

On 3/19/11 4:59 PM, Thomas Lord wrote:
>  I think we have an annoying problem, perhaps someone can correct me
>  if I'm wrong:

I agree this could be a problem, though specifically one of service 

>  There has been talk in various contexts about having FreedomBox (FB)
>  interact with things like Twitter (Twit) and FaceBook (FacB). ...
>  I think this might be legally unachievable.

If a service provider decides that a FreedomBox owner is doing something 
with their APIs that violates the terms of service, they're well within 
their rights to cut off service.

This is where I fail at being a lawyer, but I think that's as far as it 
goes. I suppose if a company's legal counsel really wanted to be a jerk 
and make a point, they could try drumming up some form of "hacking" 
charges against someone.

>  The process of requesting and being granted an application key comes
>  with legal encumbrances. There are two general kinds of encumbrance
>  that matter:

I don't think these are legal encumbrances, as such. It might more 
easily turn into something with legal consequences if someone then 
continues to try using the service after being banned. (ie. accused of 
hacking, *then* comes legal trouble)

>  We need a legal expert to look into the matter further but it appears
>  to me to be effectively impossible to write free software programs
>  which interoperate as desired with the Twit API.

Yeah, need legal expertise to review. I'm just making guesses here, 

>  (2) The mere fact that critical APIs are protected by such
>  keys means that services like FacB and Twit have absolute authority
>  over what client applications may and may not do.

Absolutely true. And, one of the reasons why we're here.

Of course, if a FreedomBox was cut off from accessing a service like 
Twitter or Facebook, it could be turned into a nice headline supporting 
the FreedomBox cause. (Assuming I'm right about the legal stuff, because 
it would really suck if someone went to jail for using Twitter, good 
headline or not.)

l.m.orchard at pobox.com
{web,mad,computer} scientist

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