John connects to his neighbours open wireless network to browse the internet. John uses this network to illegally download pirated music and software. Answer the following questions in your first response:
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Questions and answers
1) Who is responsible for repaying damages in this situation (pirated content), why?
The responsibility of repayment of damage in this case lies in the hands of the neighbour. This is because in this situation, there is a direct implication that the neighbour is the core user of the network. It is a requirement for everyone who accesses the internet to ensure that his own safety and privacy is maintained in order to fight cyber-crimes. Downloading of pirated content is an infringement of copyright rules. The network user responsible for pirated contents is liable to pay for damages caused to the owners of the rights; however, the law requires that the service provider be notified of any violation of copyright rules that takes place.
2) Does John's neighbour bear any of the responsibility? If so, what? If not, why? Does the fact that he did not secure his wireless network make him culpable?
Johns neighbour bears the greatest responsibility of ensuring security of personal networks. In order to minimise cases of cyber security and identity theft an administrator has to protect his network by approving users before sharing information, use of complex passwords or being on the guard when using the internet. Otherwise the owner is fully liable for anything that takes place through his network (Kizza, 2005). Although, attempts to have unauthorised access to personal a network is strictly prohibited, failure of an administrator to secure his personal network makes him culpable for online crimes and hence liable.
3) If I leave my house and leave the door unlocked, is it my fault if I get robbed? How is this similar to the scenario above?
Burglary is the most common type of security challenge in many homes. An analysis shows that 90% of these domestic crimes that involve burglary are preventable. The risk of becoming a victim of burglary can be reduced by ensuring that we take simple steps to make our homes safer and a bit difficult and less enticing for would-be burglars. The simplest of all measures is to ensure that doors and windows are locked as required; this reduces the chances of a burglar finding an easy way to enter your house (Weisburd & McEwen, 1998). Remember, anyone can become a criminal depending on the opportunities available.
Therefore, ensuring doors and windows are locked, is the simplest way to divert the minds of a would-be burglar. Similarly, using the networking scenario, a John might have been tempted to download the pirated materials through the neighbour’s network, not because he was a cyber-criminal, but just because the opportunity presented itself. Remember, personal security begins with you, not the third party and thus everyone is responsible for his failure.
4) If I own a pool and leave the ladder down, and someone climbs up, falls in, and drowns, who's responsible? Was your answer different than question three? Why? How is this similar to the scenario above?
The law requires that every person owes the other person a duty of care. An omission to do something which a reasonable person, guided by these considerations which regulates the conduct of human affairs, would do is known as a tort of negligence. Therefore, a breach of the legal duty of care by leaving a ladder down the pool and leading to another person’s death by drowning makes you legally responsible for that death. This breach is satisfied by the fact that the damage so caused was due to the owner’s negligence of indicating a path that led to death.
Similarly, in the network case, when the neighbour leaves his personal network unprotected, he neglects his duty to protect other online users against accessing malicious programs in the internet through his network. In case of a damage that may take place though the network to others people, such as the neighbouring children accessing adult materials, the network owner can be held solely responsible for the tort of negligence.
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