Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Illegal number (wikipedia.org)
6 points by vinnyglennon on Jan 11, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

This "Illegal number" argument needs to die. Child porn, revenge porn, trade secrets, state secrets, identities of undercover operatives, etc can all be represented as number. Are you arguing (some of) those things shouldn't be illegal to disseminate because of "Illegal numbers"?

This is akin to someone arguing that laws against assault are making "Illegal Force Vectors", and laws against threatening speech are making "Illegal air molecule vibrations".

> Child porn, revenge porn, trade secrets, state secrets, identities of undercover operatives, etc

I think we should probably move away from pure possession of information being illegal, in substantial part because it's comparatively easy to plant. But regardless it doesn't have much to do with "illegal numbers".

Wow. I thought this was going to be some silly alternate meaning of "illegal" within software, like a famous invalid memory address or something. Nope, it's actually a number that's against the law.

This is a thing every young idealistic programmer discovers. And then he thinks he has found a big, evil injustice.

Until he matures and realizes the "illegal number argument" is structurally the same as the "I didn't murder her, I was just moving through the room with my knife extended" argument.

You are equivocating murder with sharing a small piece of data, I can't even take this as a good-faith argument.

This comment breaks the site guidelines, which ask: "Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."

If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules when posting here, we'd be grateful.

The comparison works because it's an argument against reductionism, not an argument for or against "sharing a small piece of data" which is very similar to insider trading, or child pornography (after all, it's just a sequence of one's and zeros right?).

The point here is that saying "it's ok, it's data" isn't itself a good argument because it relies on reductionism or consideration of the effects of sharing the information. You could say you don't care about the effects, but it is invalid to deny their existence.

For the record, I'm anti-copyright and anti-patents.

For the purpose of analogy, the comment aligns "moving through the room with my knife extended" with sharing a small piece of data; "murder" with whatever the deliberate import was of sharing that small piece of data. In no case is it saying any pair of things are the same thing or equally bad (except the two patterns of reasoning).

I am not, and the fact that you accuse me of that proves your malignant intentions.

And maybe learn what "to equivocate" means.

Would you please not break the site guidelines, regardless of whether someone else did? Let alone escalating the malice.


Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact