I'm a moderator at the Raspberry Pi exchange and just had a question flagged for something involving "illegal behaviour":

RPi4 wifi and captive portal failure

I've closed it as off-topic, but not because of the illegality, which is something I'd like some clarity on.

As is mentioned in previous discussions of this kind of thing here, what's illegal one place is not necessarily illegal somewhere else and it probably isn't a useful category WRT what we permit discussion of. Hijacking someone's internet connection, though, is a potential violation of privacy and used to be prohibited by our Terms of Service:


However, when I went to check the current TOS to justify closing or deleting the question for that reason, that language is gone. Further, to be fair:

  • The purpose of the hijacking is not to violate anyone's privacy.
  • The question is actually not asking how to do this, it is simply context for a mundane problem.

I think very clear rules are important here as discussing security and how it can be violated is well within various exchange's perview. This isn't that, but a blanket ban which covers that question could easily cover other things. Are there such rules somewhere, or is it left as discretionary?

[I'm about to head out and won't be able to respond to comments here until later today or tomorrow.]

  • 2
    Similar question on SoftwareRecs.meta.SE; as for the ToS and privacy it's for the "privacy of user's information here" and not to protect the privacy of someone (everyone) everywhere. This comment is simply provided to list a cross-site duplicate, not to support the question. It's Important to Note: That 19% of the countries have no privacy laws to violate.
    – Rob
    Dec 30, 2020 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


The phrase from the old ToS ("infringes [...] the privacy [...] of another") that you are looking for is covered in the current ToS in the Acceptable Use Policy:

Identity Theft and Privacy. Users that misleadingly appropriate the identity of another person are not permitted. Users may not post other people's personally identifying or confidential information, including but not limited to credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, and driver's and other license numbers. You may not post information such as other people's passwords, usernames, phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses unless already publicly accessible on the Web.

Thus the privacy violations that were not allowed is publishing content that directly violates the privacy of others, but discussing technology that might be used outside the SE network to violate the privacy of people is not and was not prohibited by the ToS.

  • I did find that bit. It's less equivocal, as I read the original -- "Content that (a) infringes, violates or otherwise interferes with ... [any] right of another or the privacy [thereof]" as potentially meaning "content that could be used to interfere/violate", which is a misreading but of course that's what I was looking to find in the context of the question in the question here. So I think that pretty much clears it up: Discussing phishing techniques, eg., is potentially okay but actually using SE for it is not.
    – goldilocks
    Dec 31, 2020 at 15:25
  • 3
    If it discussing technology that could be used to violate privacy was against the TOS, then the Security Stack Exchange would not exist. Jan 1, 2021 at 22:59

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