Monthly Archives: January 2007

Who is really responsible?

filed a lawsuit against the MySpace social networking website. According to this article from The Register: “Myspace didn’t act quickly enough to protect users who are minors from adult predators. The plaintiffs say their daughters were solicited and abused by adults using the site.” [rant mode on]
At what point did parents stop being responsible for the care of their children, and children stop being responsible for their own actions? When did MySpace (or Facebook, or Yahoo, or any other website) take over that role in the raising of a child? I’ve talked with parents, and I’m going to be one in a few months. Parents must take an active role in their child’s development, including monitoring what they do on the computer, or who their friends are. This includes knowing the parents of their friends and how those parents raise their own children.
[rant mode off] In the Houston case, I seem to recall that the mother had blocked internet access on their home computer, or they didn’t have a computer. So, the daughter used her cell phone’s browser to go to MySpace, or a computer at a friend’s house. This goes back to being involved, both with the child and the parents of the child’s friends. MySpace cannot be responsible because someone using their free, unmonitored service lied about their age or lured an irresponsible teenager into a compromised situation. Consider MySpace and the other sites as “common carriers”: just like the phone company is not responsible for someone using the telephone to plan a robbery, or Cingular would not responsible for someone using a cell phone to trigger a bomb, MySpace and other social networking sites cannot be victimized by someone who is willing to lie to get somewhere. If MySpace implements the new rules they are discussing, it’s simply going to generate hundreds of additional profiles; more people who will lie that they are either over age or under age to meet the people they are targeting. Short of turning into a pay service, and alienating their current major userbase (most of whom probably don’t have credit cards or paypal accounts), I don’t see any changes that will substantially alter the current situation. I really hope that the courts decide to throw out this case, with prejudice, and make those filing the lawsuit pay their own legal fees. Along with a stern lecture about parenting. Maybe that will make people think twice in this “I don’t like you I’m going to sue” society.]]>

lessons in system configuration

I started setting up the box last week with custom-compiled versions of Postfix, Dovecot IMAP server and several other packages. Now I’m starting to configure things to closely match the existing mail server, including Samba. This makes some administrative tasks a bit easier, like updating some web pages (this basically only hosts SquirrelMail and PostfixAdmin). There’s not much web service to do, but Samba makes it easier to move logfiles to the Windows box and copy new files over without having to run FTP or wget all the time. The problems started after I copied the smb.conf file (Samba config) from the existing server to the new box. I tweaked it, fixed some server-specific settings, and set it off. First, it wouldn’t even see itself as an SMB server. found and fixed that. Then, it appeared to be fighting with my WINS server (another Linux box) to be the master browser. Fixed that setting too. Finally was able to resolve itself by name and local IP. Now to get it to see the rest of the network (and the rest of the network to see it, as well). OK…started through the diagnostics document from Samba. Step 1…good. Step 2…good. Step 3…er…step 3….errors. Troubleshooting was going nowhere. 45 minutes later, had a thought…firewall? Iptables was running, since this box faces both the internet and my local lan on different NICs. turned off iptables and gee…it works! Start tweaking around with firewall rules. Seems the syntax has changed slightly between the Fedora Core 1 and Fedora Core 4 versions, so the rules from the old box don’t quite work on the new one. Found the system-config-firewall-tui utility, and set up custom rules for the right ports, and restarted both iptables then samba. Gee wiz, it works now! I can see it from the other computers, and it finds the rest of the network too! Well, that was a good waste of several hours that I’ll never get back. I guess the next step is to set up Postfix, policyd, amavisd and the new MailZu web interface for amavis. Oh, and pray that Dovecot 1.0 final will make it out in the next two weeks before I’m ready to bring the new monster live….