I just read your editorial in the March issue of Government Technology on Culver City, Calif.'s concerns about people using its Wi-Fi system to illegally trade copyrighted materials and porn [The Cost of Free Wi-Fi]. You thought the city's concerns frivolous and that government should be prepared to let people use their network any way they wish.

Yes, you are alone.

I am, like you, far from an expert in these legal issues. It seems to me, however, based on recent stories in the computer press, that government is held to a different standard in its operations than we hold ourselves.

You are no doubt familiar with the case of a school district back East that was held liable for damages to the parents of a boy who downloaded porn on the school's computer. The court did not blame the parents who did not teach their kid not to do certain things. The court blamed the school district for not having blocking software on the computer, never mind that the blocking software also interfered with the ability of the students to do Internet research.

You are also no doubt familiar with the plight of a teacher back East facing criminal charges for accidentally stumbling on a porn site during a class, and her frantic efforts to close the site only led to the opening of more. [Editor's note: The teacher was granted a re-trial in early June due to "erroneous" testimony from a computer expert witness presented by state prosecutors, according to news reports.]


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