DC court blooper 2 – MS verdict emailed two hours early

Isn't technology wonderful?

The early escape of the Microsoft verdict was more widespread and serious than first appeared. Initially it seemed that the court's techies had just made the documents available on the site, without flagging them, one hour and 40 minutes before they should have been available; however, it is now clear that it began sending out the decision via email well in advance of the official 4.30pm release.

If it were solely a matter of the site blooper, then the error might be put down to dumbness and naiivety. But to start cranking out email distribution at any time before 4.30pm speaks of a level of negligence that must surely draw the attention of the SEC. If a web site changes, but the change is not immediately visible, then any consequence is dependent on the web bush telegraph slowly widening the knowledge base.

But if you get a collection of PDFs from dcd.uscourts.gov in your inbox, you're going to notice immediately. This email service was available to anyone who cared to sign up for it at the DC Court site prior to the verdict, and it's not clear how many people actually did sign up. The Register has been contacted by readers who say they received the decision via email up to 90 minutes ahead of the release, which would indicate that the mail-out started at around the same time the documents first appeared on the site.

Kurt Foss of PlanetPDF has published some data that shows a send time of 15.15pm, but also indicates a document creation time of 2.10pm on 1st November. Presuming Judge CKK did not only finish beavering away at ten past two on Friday, it seems reasonable to speculate that this was the time the documents went into the maw of the court's email distribution system, and may therefore have been the time the first of the run was sent. ®

Disconsolate note: Not only did The Register blow it by hanging around the court site waiting for the verdict instead of goofing off and reading Slashdot, but we also ruled out signing up for the email service on the grounds it was bound to arrive three days late, and would probably get us onto innumerable spam lists offering no-win no-fee ambulance-chasing compensation lawyers. Frankly, our judgment calls seem to be going down the toilet.

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