SPUG: Chip Salzenberg Defense Fund

Bill Campbell bill at celestial.com
Thu Aug 4 11:14:51 PDT 2005

On Thu, Aug 04, 2005, Ken Meyer wrote:
>Thanks, Bill.  I sort of got the drift of that, but the question remains in
>my mind: what are these "dubious practices".  Scraping what?  Can it be
>downloading pages?  Highly unlikely to be a problem, as that is what the web
>is about and magnitude of the process, while perhaps questionable, doesn't
>appear to me to be illegal.  Burrowing into the web server to retrieve
>information that is on the server but not displayed?  Well, kind of the
>inverse of spyware, but spyware is endemic, albeit loathsome, and as far as
>I can tell, not really illegal at this point.  It's still not clear whether
>Chip has not been excessively sanctimonious about this practice, whatever it
>is, not to mention naive about corporate prerogatives.

I read the PDF of the letter that Chip wrote which claimed that the company
was doing things like ignoring the ROBOTS.TXT files (and documentation in
the code the company write referenced the appropriate documents about
ROBOTS.TXT so they can't claim ignorance), ignored complaints from
webmasters about their activities -- including the Washington State
Government sites, took steps to circumvent attempts to block their scraping
including use of open proxies, etc.  In the letter, Chip said that he had
met with the corporate management, explaining the legal and ethical issues.

INTERNET:   bill at Celestial.COM  Bill Campbell; Celestial Software LLC
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URL: http://www.celestial.com/

``My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results
from too much government.'' --Thomas Jefferson.

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