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ACLU appeals Mattel ruling

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is appealing a court order blocking distribution of the now-famous cphack utility programme that allows owners of Mattel's Cyber Patrol Web filtering software to override its controls and to learn which Web sites are blacklisted. US District Court Judge Edward Harrington issued a strangely-worded ruling on 28 March in Boston prohibiting all Web sites from posting the cphack software. The ACLU is appealing on behalf of three US Webmasters who mirrored the original decoding program on their sites. "The legal issue here is whether a Boston court has jurisdiction over the entire Internet, and our answer to that is a resounding no," ACLU staff attorney Chris Hansen said via a prepared statement. "The larger issue is whether Cyber Patrol and other software companies are going to tell the American public exactly what their software blocks." The ACLU has also asked Harrington to stay his order to mirror sites while the appeal goes forward. Hansen said the ACLU took action after its clients began receiving notices from Cyber Patrol's attorneys ordering them to abide by Harrington's 28 March ruling. The three ACLU clients, Lindsay Haisley, Bennett Haselton and Waldo Jaquith, have temporarily removed their mirrored copies of cphack. If Harrington should reject the ACLU's request for a stay, the organisation will go over his head to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. ® Related Coverage Cyber Patrol ban list published on the Web Bizarre Language in Mattel Ruling Mattel sues hackers, wins injunction Mattel buys copyrights to Cyber Patrol crack

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