Rosenblum on Banning Parties

by Henry on January 14, 2009

I mentioned last week that I’m reading Nancy Rosenblum’s _On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship_ (Powells, Amazon). The final chapter, “Banning Parties,” has a valuable discussion of the normative implications of party bans, which speaks extensively to the Israeli example.

First, _contra_ arguments such as those contained in this typically disingenuous “post”:http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/01/13/the-end-of-israeli-democracy.aspx by Jamie Kirchik, it draws a clear distinction between banning hate parties (which Rosenblum argues is, within certain limits, a reasonable form of democratic self-defence) and banning parties that are threats to national identity (which Rosenblum argues is not a form of democratic self-defense). Rosenblum speaks to the rationale for Israel’s ban on the Kach party, which called for the forced ‘transfer’ of Arab ‘cockroaches’ from Israel, and sought to ban Arab-Jewish intermarriage. [click to continue…]

Are sockpuppeteers computer criminals?

by John Quiggin on January 14, 2009

The Lori Drew case, in which a US woman set up a Myspace account under the name “Josh Evans” to torment a teenage girl who had fallen out with Drew’s daughter, and drove her victim to suicide, has some legal implications of interest to bloggers. Drew was ultimately sentenced to jail, not for her cruel prank and its fatal consequences, but for “unauthorized access to a computer system” by virtue of the false name under which the account was created. On the face of it, the same offence is committed (at least under US law) every time a commenter on a blog or noticeboard uses a sockpuppet to evade bans or blocks, or to post under multiple identities in violation of contractual terms.

UpdateFollowing up on some comments, I was startled to discover that, in some US jurisdictions, obtaining consent to sex through fraud regarding identity (a man pretending to be his brother in the case at hand) is a full defence against a charge of rape, and even more startled to read this post and comments at TalkLeft largely endorsing the court’s finding in this case. This isn’t the case in Australia and, though IANAL, I’m pretty sure it never has been either here of in the UK. (Update ends)

[click to continue…]