Re: cr> can Malaysia discredit Tennessee?


Sender: Robert Cannon <•••@••.•••>

At 05:46 PM 3/14/96 -0800, you wrote:
>Sender: "David E. Anderson" <•••@••.•••>
>If cyber-rights' home page disparages Malaysia and somone in Malaysia reads
>it, who is liable?  If Malaysia prosecuted, would the US government defend us?

The United States government would not defend us.  This is a Jurisdiction
question;  does Malaysia have jurisdiction over a United States citizen who
has never left the United States but whose conduct has an effect in Malaysia.

        Within the United States, the state of Maryland can have
jurisdiction over a citizen of the State of Alaska where the Alaskan has
never had can physical contact with Maryland but the Alaskans conduct
(including on the Net) is felt in Maryland.  This is called long arm
jurisdiction.  Assuming you can serve the Alaskan with process, you can haul
him into a Maryland court and make him defend himself.  This is what
happened in Thomas v. United States (Amateur Action).

        Malaysia is different.  We are now crossing international borders.
There is a raging legal debate concerning whether any international law
exists or whether it is all power and politics.  In this fact pattern, it
will come down to extradition treaties.  Do we have an extradition treaty
with Malaysia which requires the extradition of an individual for a crime
committed in Malaysia?  

        Add a twist to the problem.  Assume that we do have such a treaty.
But assume the crime is a act which is constitutionally protected in our
country.  For example, criticizing the government.  Assume that it is
illegal to criticize the Malaysian government and assume that I (a citizen
of Virginia, United States) just did so?  Would the United States extradite me?

        More questions than answers.  It will depend on the facts of each
situation.  Germany has declared that it intends to take full advantage of
its extradition treaties for Internet crimes.  We must remember that simply
because what we do is legal in our country, it does not mean that it is
legal in another country.  Be careful and, I hate to say it, get good legal
advice. This is unknown territory.

|                 Robert Cannon, Esq.                |
|   Internet and Interactive Telecommunications Law  |
|    •••@••.•••   703-527-6631 (home office)    |
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