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Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 88

Morris actually intended this stunt as a harmless experiment; he had no intention of shutting down the Internet. He saw that there was a "back door" in the Internet email system and wanted to see how far he could go with it. He found out -- and paid for it with a federal conviction for "computer fraud."

Morris made a big mistake. There's no excuse for repeating it.


Various types of networks can make it more or less easy to get into another person's personal files. On Macintosh networks, it's possible to publish your entire hard disk as a server, making all your files accessible to anyone on the network.

Even if you should happen by a machine that -- essentially -- has its front door wide open, don't snoop. You're not in the habit of walking up to people's houses and trying their front doors, are you? (I hope not!)

If, because of your position or your superior knowledge, you have the power to snoop in other people's mail or files, it's even more important that you don't do it. It can be very tempting. But their mail is really none of your business. Netiquette forbids the abuse of power (see "Rule 9: Don't abuse your power" on page 44).

Keep in mind that Netiquette alone does not protect the privacy of your email. See "Email Privacy -- A Grand Illusion?" on page 125.


Sometimes, annoyed discussion group readers will try to take vengeance on a particularly obnoxious flamer by flooding his mailbox. This is called mailbombing, and it's a bad idea. Yes, it annoys the miscreant. But it also eats up hard disk space and wastes system administrator time for other users of that person's server. Don't do it.

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