Judge Alex Kozinski's porn stash

Moe Zilla sez,

Judge Alex Kozinski is a friend of free speech. Now bloggers have discovered his secret online porn stash — and forgiven him for it. Yes, there's naked women painted like cows, a man fellating himself, and two women hiking their skirts under a "Bush for President" sign…

But the L.A. Times' "neutral" editorial language made it all sound much more sinister than it really is. Looking at the photos, they're clearly standard-issue viral emails. (Apparently his music directory even included two Weird Al Yankovic mp3s and Monty Python's "Lumberjack Song.")

The judge says he didn't know the directory was world-readable, and that many of the images belonged to his college-age son.

The internet has not only changed politics, media, and freedom speech — it also made it easier for the judge to get caught in an embarrassing situation. But I also wonder if all the MySpace/Digg/Fark users in the world will give the judge a knowing wink, and we can all finally stop being hypocrites?


(Thanks, Moe!)

Update: Some thoughtful commentary on this from Lessig:

Here are the facts as I've been able to tell: For at least a month, a disgruntled litigant, angry at Judge Kozinski (and the Ninth Circuit) has been talking to the media to try to smear Kozinski. Kozinski had sent a link to a file (unrelated to the stuff being reported about) that was stored on a file server maintained by Kozinski's son, Yale. From that link (and a mistake in how the server was configured), it was possible to determine the directory structure for the server. From that directory structure, it was possible to see likely interesting places to peer. The disgruntled sort did that, and shopped some of what he found to the news sources that are now spreading it…

His son set up a server to make it easy for friends and family to share stuff — family pictures, documents he wanted to share, videos, etc. Nothing alleged to have been on this server violates any law. (There's some ridiculous claim about "bestiality." But the video is not bestiality. It lives today on YouTube — a funny (to some) short of a man defecating in a field, and then being chased by a donkey. If there was malicious intent in this video, it was the donkey's. And in any case, nothing sexual is shown in that video at all.) No one can know who uploaded what, or for whom. The site was not "on the web" in the sense of a site open and inviting anyone to come in. It had a robots.txt file to indicate its contents were not to be indexed. That someone got in is testimony to the fact that security — everywhere — is imperfect. But this was a private file server, like a private room, hacked by a litigant with a vendetta. Decent people — and publications — should say shame on the person violating the privacy here, and not feed the violation by forcing a judge to defend his humor to a nosy world.

When it comes to government invasions of our privacy, we are (and rightly) a privacy obsessed people. We need to extend some of that obsession to the increasingly common violations by private people against other private people. There is nothing for Chief Judge Kozinski to defend because he has violated no law, and we live in a free society (or so he thought when he immigrated from Romania). A free society should feed the right to be left alone, including the right not to have to defend publicly private choices and taste, by learning not to feed the privacy trolls.