March 21st, 2006

Keep Walking

Are You Liable If Someone Does Something Illegal On Your WiFi?

For years, whenever the press has written one of their fear-mongering stories about open WiFi, they almost always include some tidbit about how if someone uses your network to do something illegal, you can be arrested for it. It's one of the popular open WiFi horror stories -- but is it true? Well, of course, you can be arrested, but it's unlikely that there would be any legal grounds for the arrest. The latest debate on this issue comes from a tech writer at the Houston Chronicle who is taking Tim Lee to task for an op-ed piece Tim wrote in the New York Times about open WiFi. The Chronicle writer says Tim is missing the real security issue, about how the RIAA can go after you if someone downloads music on your open WiFi. While it is true that they can go after you, there are valid legal defenses for this -- as has been discussed for years. If you are legally sharing your WiFi, then you are a service provider, and under current laws you are not liable for what others do with the service. That's what it says in the Communications Decency Act, and it clearly applies here. In fact, we've even heard stories of people purposely leaving their WiFi open for this very reason -- as it gives them a legal defense should the industry ever come after them. Of course, it's worth noting two things. First, the entertainment industry likes to pretend this defense doesn't exist, even though it's pretty clear in the law -- and they could convince some judges to ignore it. Second, none of this takes into account whether or not your service provider allows you to share your connection via WiFi -- as most do not. However, that doesn't take away from the defense that you aren't responsible for what others do with your connection. You may be investigated for it -- but the use of your network does not automatically make you guilty, and there's a very reasonable defense against it.

from: TechDirt

Meanwhile on the anti-RIC/pro-CIRC warfront...

"Doctor" Tom Stevens, Dallywn Merck, Jeff Grizlo and Chris Reilly (who are all self admitted to be pro-baby-cutting / pro-RIC) have conceded defeat (to me?) and have deleted their pro-RIC Yahoo groups. We're all waiting for the "other" shoe to drop, as you know that following the LP election in Queens, we'll hear from Mr. Stevens once again! Plus, his accusations of me "harassing" him (at least offline, in the real world) are unfounded. Funny thing is, there were a LOT of people involved with this pro-choice campaign, yet -- I take all the blame/get all the credit. See the letter that Stevens posted all over the circumcision discussion groups this morning at 1am:


Just as I would not subject my family to
real threats posed by the Russian Mob
or the Italian Mafia, the personal attacks
on myself, Dallwyn and Jeff Grizlo, plus
the promised further attacks by yourself
and others, have led to the joint decision
to end all advocacy for the pro-circumcision
and pro-RIC movement.

Perhaps you did not call Jeff's grandmother
but someone did. It is criminal harassment
in my view and you seem determined to continue
your campaign against us personally as opposed
to advocating for the issue.

Therefore, effective immediately, ALL Yahoo
Groups owned or moderated by Jeff, Dallwyn
or myself on this issue will be deleted.
With the exception of my appearance on
Hardfire dealing with the general issue
of infant advocacy, I will no longer be
involved with this issue.

Our two "Libertarian" Yahoo Group polls
showed 80% and 90% respectively in favor
of the parental choice position and 100%
of the State Committee members of the
LPNY support parental choice.

Your daily harassment of Dallwyn, Jeff
and myself is too much for us to take.
It is not worth the aggravation.

We are out! And I would ask you to stop
your attacks on the three of us. You will
not hear from us again on any board at
any time.

I hope you feel you have won some sort
of victory through your tactics. I
personally couldn't live with myself
if I did what you have done.

I wish you well,

Dr. Tom Stevens
Dallywn Merck
Jeff Grizlo
Chris Reilly

Oh, by the way, the "two libertarian groups" he speaks of are CENSORED by himself, not allowing people that disagree with him in. He actively posted messages in pro-circ message groups to get people to join his two groups and vote in favour of RIC -- I have a NEW poll in the open group LPNY_Manhattan here -- let's see what a proper cross-section will reply with!

Blay, from the LPNY had this to add...

From: "Tarnoff, Blay \(IED\)" <lists@...>
Date: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:44 am
Subject: RE: [lpny_manhattan] Re: You Win!

Stevens wrote this, not Dallwyn ("ALL Yahoo Groups owned or moderated by
Jeff, Dallwyn or myself . . . .")

It made me sick to see him play the sympathy card. It's the last one he
uses when cornered. Call me paranoid (yes, I am too), but I think this
is a tactic to get re-elected in Queens.

By the way, my friend said she'd go to the Queens Convention but she was
not really comfortable voting against Stevens without knowing what's so
bad about him. I was unable to articulate that to her satisfaction in a
sentence or two. And, she thinks it is somewhat underhanded of me to
artifically pack the election with people who really shouldn't be voting
in it. She's got a point.


With stories like this, the baby-cutters have no defense...

circumcision was the choice we made for our newborn son in december 2001

Message From: Babycenter Bulletin Board
Subject: Circumcision Debate Board
Posted on Date: 05/ 9/02
Posted by : Pending approval from author (6/20/2002)

"I do not know if you all remember me. My name is Patricia and my son Michael suffered a very severe complication from his circumcision where the head of his penis was partially severed by a negligent doctor.

Since then, much has happened. Everything was going well at one point and it looked like Michael was going to make a good recovery. He'd had his last reconstructive surgery and finally had the catheter removed to see if he would be able to urinate through his urethra. It went very well.

Two weeks ago, Michael developed a fever. He was crying day and night and Tylenol was not bringing it down. The following night, he started having febrile seizures. We rushed him to the emergency room where it was found that he had a major infection and his temperature was 104.7.

Antibiotics were not combating the infection, and his major organs started to shut down within hours. My litte boy never regained consciousness, and we removed him from life support 2 days later, so that we could still donate his organs.

Michael would have been 5 months old yesterday.

I can't stop crying as I write this, because I can't stop running through my head that this could have been avoided! My son would be alive right now...if I hadn't made that decision.

One could argue that something else could have taken him. Be it a car accident or whatever, but this decision was in my control. My son was perfect. Why did I have to put him through this?

These doctors have a vested interest in keeping circumcision alive. Not because it's for the best interests of the children but because it benefits them financially.

I have lurked here for the last few days because I was not sure that I wanted to bring everyone down with my son's tragedy. But after seeing the activity that has taken place here, where everyone is talking about how it's their choice, none of you are even thinking that these babies are the ones who are going to suffer.

They don't have to suffer the way my son did, but they will suffer through the pain and indignity of this surgery.

I want my story to help others. I refuse to allow Michael's death be in vain. You may be lucky enough to never be in my shoes, but I never in a million lifetimes expected this to happen to me either.

So please hold your babies tight. Do not allow this senseless act continue. I don't know if there are enough things in this world that I would give up to have my son back in my arms. To know that I could have prevented this with just saying the word NO is more maddening than you will ever know.

I just want you all to pray for my family and for our tough road ahead. The doctors who did this are going to pay big for what they allowed to happen to my son. No family and no child should have to suffer the way Michael did. My sweet baby boy.

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Keep Walking

Stopping RIC in Massachusetts - Phase II


In your "Newborn Professional Payment Policy", you state that "Circumcisions performed in the hospital during the inpatient stay do not require a referral and are authorized by the mother’s or newborn’s preregistration."


All eighteen national and international medical organizations that have studied and spoken on this issue say at minimum that circumcising healthy minors is medically unnecessary and not recommended. It is therefore an unjustified waste of money. In addition, one in two hundred boys are actually harmed in one way or another by "routine" infant circumcision -- I was one of them.

Please reconsider funding this practice.

I would appreciate a reply.

Charles A Antonelli

Also, target your elected officials to stop Medicaid from paying for RIC!!

Massachusetts Medicaid: Circumcising Taxpayers

Stop Massachusetts Medicaid funding of medically unnecessary, elective circumcising.

Top 12 Reasons to End this Medicaid Tax Waste, Fraud and Abuse

There are many valid reasons to, any one of which is sufficient to end this totally misguided funding now.

1) CIRCUMCISING IS UNNECESSARY. All eighteen national and international medical organizations that have studied and spoken on this issue say at minimum that circumcising healthy minors is medically unnecessary and not recommended. It is therefore an unjustified waste of taxpayer money. We don’t have enough money now to fund many essential medical services for the poor. Wasting Medicaid taxes on unnecessary medicine harms both the poor, who need necessary medicine, and all taxpayers. This double mistake is unacceptable. We must not waste hard-earned public tax dollars funding medically unnecessary, not recommended, ill-informed private parental choices.

AND, Massachusetts law already prohibits funding of all unnecessary medicine: DMA regulation 450.204 Medical Necessity, states, "The Division will not pay a provider for services that are not medically necessary." Massachusetts Medicaid paying for unnecessary, elective circumcisions is ALREADY ILLEGAL. Obey the law.

2) CIRCUMCISING IS UNPROVEN. Since 1870 US medical doctors have given us a list of over 200 diseases they claimed circumcising would prevent, cure, or both. Not one has ever been proved. Many circumcised adults feel compelled to circumcise their own and even other people's children. The problem is in the circumcising adult, not the child victim. We mutilate them trying to "prove" that mutilating us was right. It wasn’t. There is no valid scientific evidence that genital mutilation ever did anybody any good, except the people paid to do it. We do it because we want to. Parents who want to circumcise their boys anyway would still be able to (but do it to girls and go to jail [this is equal protection of the law?]), they’ll just have to fund it themselves instead of circumcising taxpayers’ wallets.

3) CIRCUMCISING IS EXPENSIVE. Massachusetts Medicaid spends at least hundreds of thousands of dollars annually unnecessarily and very unwisely circumcising minors. Nationally Medicaid spent over 36 million dollars in 1999 in direct payments to circumcisers. It's probably twice that now, in 2006. The country as a whole spends over $650,000,000 annually, not counting the botched jobs, and that’s just the beginning of the dollar costs, and those are just the beginning of the true human costs. To see those, look around. It's not a pretty sight these days.

4) CIRCUMCISING WASTES SCARCE MEDICAID RESOURCES. . I am 100% certain that Massachusetts' Governor and every member of the Massachusetts Legislature easily can find far more urgent, real, unfulfilled medical needs of the poor on which to spend this money, and I am equally certain that it is your clear responsibility to the poor and to the poor abused taxpayers of Massachusetts to do so, this session. Fulfill it.

5) CIRCUMCISING HURTS. "Babies can’t feel it?" The scientists who study it tell us that infants respond to circumcision - with blood stress hormones (cortisol), CO2 levels, heart rates, etc. - the same way adults respond to extreme torture. Medicaid has no mandate to spend tax dollars unnecessarily torturing defenseless babies. Stop it.

6) CIRCUMCISING HARMS. Far from helping Massachusetts’ poor, circumcising harms all its physical and fiscal victims. It harms our whole society. Science has documented many serious losses and damages suffered by people circumcised. See Genital mutilation causes a broad range of proven physical and emotional harms, from the rare to the universal. Many are listed here: None of them are necessary. All of them are very easy to prevent: Just say no to funding circumcising.

7) CIRCUMCISING KILLS. Many boys and girls - the sex of the child is COMPLETELY irrelevant - are killed every year by circumcising - totally unnecessarily - in America and a few other barbaric countries around the world.

8) CIRCUMCISING IS FINANCIALLY RISKY, TOO. Massachusetts Medicaid doesn’t have enough money as it is. In addition to the obvious risks to the baby - anything penis and life-threatening is risky - the last thing taxpayers need is $100,000,000 lawsuits by irate parents when they find out their baby's penis was destroyed or he was killed outright by illegal Medicaid funding of a medically-not-recommended, sexually discriminatory, unnecessary, elective, cultural male genital mutilation. Why in the world do we even have to discuss this? Have we no brains at all?

9) CIRCUMCISING IS ILLEGAL AND VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS. It violates the most fundamental human rights; the inalienable rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion, bodily integrity, security of person. It violates the legal right to keep one’s own body safe from unjustified harm by others. It is no one’s right to violate anyone’s inalienable human rights or legal rights. Genital mutilation takes away by force and sexual violence vitally important sexual body parts and human choices. It amputates free will, an even more fundamental loss than erogenous sexual tissue since free will is what differentiates humans from animals. Medicaid has absolutely no business funding nontherapeutic, elective circumcising of minors. Please educate yourselves on this rationally simple - this should be the easiest Medicaid cut you ever make; enjoy it! - but emotionally sometimes very difficult subject. Protect Massachusetts' minors and treasury from those ignorant adults who want to perpetuate/perpetrate this medically unnecessary, unproven, unjustified, not-medically-recommended amputation from unconsenting minors of normal, healthy, living, highly sensitive, beneficial, sexually functional erogenous tissue. Such people tax us all to subsidize private mistakes with public dollars. This is wrong. Old habits aren’t always right. We’ve been raping each other for far longer than we’ve been circumcising each other, but the antiquity of these sex crimes doesn't make them right.

10) CIRCUMCISING IS UNETHICAL. Chopping up other people's bodies without their permission - what parts are damaged is irrelevant - is unethical in the extreme. Dr. Margaret Somerville, founder of McGill University's Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law, calls circucmising "criminal assault", which, in addition to being illegal, is unethical. Read the entire chapter from her book, The Ethical Canary: Science, Society and the Human Spirit, entitled Altering Baby Boys' Bodies - The Ethics of Infant Male Circumcision, available on the web at

11) CIRCUMCISING IS STUPID. Join Massachusetts with Nobel Laureates, including Francis Crick (Physiology and Medicine, 1962), George Wald (Physiology and Medicine, 1967), Betty Williams (Peace, 1977), and other leading thinkers at working to end genital mutilation of children worldwide. Everyone knows Crick for his DNA discoveries. Wald, a Jewish Harvard biology professor, discovered vitamin A and how it works with light to form the molecular basis of vision. See his essay, "Circumcision", in his box 103 in the Harvard Archives.

12) CIRCUMCISING IS ENDING. Join Massachusetts with 12 other states intelligent enough to spend their taxes in smarter ways. If FLORIDA legislators (state #12, July 1, 2003), who now call their decision a "no-brainer", are smart enough to stop this insane funding, certainly MASSACHUSETTS legislators are! MAKE IT EFFECTIVE ASAP!

Cut Budgets, Not Babies!
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