Moral equivalence

Do you think that people who inadvertently allowed their memos to be stolen by failing to make sure that what’s supposed to be a password-protected site was in fact password-protected ought to be just as embarrassed as the people who stole the memos?

Neither do I.

When a senior member of the staff of the Senate Majority Leader explains that pawing through what are supposed to be private minority-party computer files isn’t technically illegal because “no one has a property right in government information,” the only reasonable question to ask is “Where’s the outrage?”

Of course it would be extra-special delicious if it turned out that what the Republicans thought was merely somewhat dishonorable snooping fell happened to satisfy all the elements of one of the recently created cybercrime felonies.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com