Computer underground Digest Sun, Dec 1, 1991 Volume 3 : Issue 43 Moderators: Jim Thomas an

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Computer underground Digest Sun, Dec 1, 1991 Volume 3 : Issue 43 Moderators: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) CONTENTS, #3.43 ( Dec 8, 1991) File 1--Moderators' Corner File 2--You can help build the National Public Network. Here's how. File 3--#3.41--Bill Cook's opening statement in the Neidorf trial File 4-- Two Juveniles arrested in BBS Extortion case File 5--Law Enforcement and Rights File 6--Townson's reply to Neidorf (in Cu Digest, #3.42) File 7--"High-Tech Watergate" (Inslaw reprint by E. Richardson) File 8--Software Piracy File 9--Hacker Convicted File 10--"Teens Tapped Computers of U.S. Military" File 11--Canada: Police Seize BBS, Software Piracy Charges Expected 11/25/91 File 12--Here's something you might find of interest File 13--24 Year Old Cracks NASA Issues of CuD can be found in the Usenet alt.society.cu-digest news group, on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of LAWSIG, and DL0 and DL12 of TELECOM, on Genie, on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210, and by anonymous ftp from ftp.cs.widener.edu (147.31.254.132), chsun1.spc.uchicago.edu, and ftp.ee.mu.oz.au. To use the U. of Chicago email server, send mail with the subject "help" (without the quotes) to archive-server@chsun1.spc.uchicago.edu. COMPUTER UNDERGROUND DIGEST is an open forum dedicated to sharing information among computerists and to the presentation and debate of diverse views. CuD material may be reprinted as long as the source is cited. Some authors do copyright their material, and they should be contacted for reprint permission. It is assumed that non-personal mail to the moderators may be reprinted unless otherwise specified. Readers are encouraged to submit reasoned articles relating to the Computer Underground. Articles are preferred to short responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely necessary. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Digest contributors assume all responsibility for ensuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 30 Nov 91 9:39:58 EST From: Moderators Subject: Moderators' Corner In CuD 3.41 (the Bill Cook opening statement), the Moderators' Corner file was garbled on some systems. In that file, we indicated that Bill Cook is now in private practice in Chicago. We will reprint his new address when we print Sheldon Zenner's opening statement in a few weeks. We are often asked why we re-publish occasional material from the nets or other old news. About one-quarter of CuD readers do not have access to usenet and obtain it from BBSs or other non-net sources. For them, this is the only source to some of the net debates. In addition, some readers keep files of news stories for research or reference, so if an old story comes across that we think would be useful as a resource, we will occasionally reproduce it to enable researchers to track down additional information more easily. We apologize for those who find this mundane, but our goal is to make information available to a wide audience, so not all files will be of equal interest to all readers. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1991 21:24:58 -0500 From: van@EFF.ORG(Gerard Van der Leun) Subject: You can help build the National Public Network. Here's how. THE NATIONAL PUBLIC NETWORK BEGINS NOW. YOU CAN HELP BUILD IT. Telecommunications in the United States is at a crossroads. With the Regional Bell Operating Companies now free to provide content, the shape of the information networking is about to be irrevocably altered. But will that network be the open, accessible, affordable network that the American public needs? You can help decide this question. The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently presented a plan to Congress calling for the immediate deployment of a national network based on existing ISDN technology, accessible to anyone with a telephone connection, and priced like local voice service. We believe deployment of such a platform will spur the development of innovative new information services, and maximize freedom, competitiveness, and civil liberties throughout the nation. The EFF is testifying before Congress and the FCC; making presentations to public utility commisions from Massachusetts to California; and meeting with representatives from telephone companies, publishers, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders in the telecommunications policy debate. The EFF believes that participants on the Internet, as pioneers on the electronic frontier, need to have their voices heard at this critical moment. To automatically receive a description of the platform and details, send mail to archive-server@eff.org, with the following line: send documents open-platform-overview or send mail to eff@eff.org. ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 17 Nov 1991 05:22:52 +0200 From: Jyrki Kuoppala Subject: #3.41--Bill Cook's opening statement in the Neidorf trial In article <1991Nov17.003502.16748@chinacat.unicom.com> you write: > JURORS: Good morning. > > MR. COOK: My name is Bill Cook. I'm an Assistant United States >Attorney. I am going to be substantially aided in this prosecution >by Colleen Coughlin, who is an Assistant United States Attorney, and >Dave Glockner, who is also an Assistant United States Attorney. We >will be having Special Agent Tim Foley of the United States Secret >Service working with us. He is sitting at the trial table with us. Wow! This is really fascinating - Bill Cook appears to have a very good imagination and talent to present things. Sad that's there doesn't seem to be a desire to represent things objectively or truthfully. This concept of thinking of information as something which can be stolen and even as something which is something not for 'all to have' as Don Ingraham (sp?) said about Craig Neidorf is really a fascinating idea. It's a bit like saying that he owns the sunshine and others have no right to sunshine unless he says so. Another thing I find fascinating is the absurdness of the accusations - it's really weird to find out that such ridiculousness and total contempt for the civil liberties of individuals can be presented at a court of law. Guilt by association to a group which is painted by stereotypes and imagination - accusing someone of printing a magazine - accusing someone of publishing technical information - accusing someone of sharing information with others. If these acts can be considered to be fraud, then you in the USA are in worse than trouble. I hope it's just argument by vigorous handwaving. Also, the description of the E911 system shows that 1984 is here. Very scary stuff. In Finland I heard that they use caller id at hospitals and the police uses it - someone said that all telephone exchanges have good hooks for telephone surveillance and detailed recording of all calls going thru the exchanges. It's easy to imagine what can be done with the information when combined with all the various of other source governments have. The Helsinki area has a high-tech radio cab system - and it keeps detailed logs of where cabs were called, at what time, where people travelled etc. and I hear they are checked by the police. Thanks for the excellent work you're doing by publishing CuD. If you need a place for archives, I think nic.funet.fi could provide space - I think I once ftp'd a lot from some archives (including the Phrack archives with the E911 'document') but it could perhaps be useful to have a prime archive also routinely updated here. Makes it more difficult for oppressive governments to come after people when the information is published internationally. ------------------------------ Date: 24 NOV 91 23:53:02 CST From: ROBERT ERVIN JONES Subject: Two Juveniles arrested in BBS Extortion case TWO JUVENILES ARRESTED IN BBS EXTORTION CASE (April 26) Two 15-year-olds have been arrested by California authorities on charges they made death threats and tried to extort money from at least three computer bulletin board operators. As reported in Online Today yesterday, Encino, Calif., BBS sysop John Sands went to police after receiving demands for money and threats on his life in messages left on his board in March and the first part of this month. Police now say that the two suspects -- both reportedly sophomores at Seaside High School near Monterey, Calif. -- also are accused of making similar computerized threats on a Fort Ord-based Army staff sergeant and his teen-age son, and on another student at a private high school in the Pebble Beach, Calif., area. The juveniles were arrested at their homes in Marina by investigators who seized computer equipment allegedly used to transmit the threats, according to United Press International reporter Michael D. Harris. Authorities say the teen-agers, who allegedly demanded payments ranging from $50 to $350 from at least the three BBS sysops identified, were turned over to their parents while authorities decide how and where they should be prosecuted. The case came to light yesterday after reports surfaced that legal complaints had been filed by Sands, who is the chief electronics engineer for Capitol records. Sands, 43, said the visitors to his private BBS demanded $350 from him and threatened violence if he didn't pay. The computer message instructed Sands to leave the money at a drop site in San Jose. During the investigation, Los Angeles police prepared a phony drop but never carried it out because they subsequently received tips that led them to the youths, said police Lt. Fred Reno. Following the arrests, Sands told Harris, "It was a little scary because even though I suspected they were juveniles, I felt they were probably capable of carrying out their threats. I%m sorry to see any young person get in trouble, but I'm relieved that they were arrested." Meanwhile, according to Judy Smagula Farah of the Associated Press, the youths and Sands once belonged to the same computer club and used a code that have them access to Sands' bulletin board. Reno said that if the suspects decide to plead guilty to the likely charges of accessing a computer system to extort money, their sentencing will occur in Monterey County. If they decide to fight the charges, the case -- the first of its kind in Los Angeles County -- will be prosecuted in Southern California. Supplied by Frosty ---* GCMS - MechWarriors ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 6 Dec 91 16:07:40 EST From: lparks@RND.STERN.NYU.EDU(Lee S. Parks) Subject: Law Enforcement and Rights It is important in a free society that the pursuit of legitimate law enforcement activities does not trample the rights of individual citizens. There is a long history of various branches of our government overstepping the bounds of valid inquiry and turning their investigations into witch-hunts. Several examples come quickly to mind, including the covert surveillance by Army intelligence (among others) of Vietnam protest groups, attempts by the FBI to gain copies of the membership list of the NAACP and other civil rights organizations, and McCarthy era hunt for communists in entertainment, schools and government service. Has our society and our government learned nothing from these regretable incidents? Consider the Secret Service investigations of alleged illegal computer hacking. Several of the activities which the Secret Service has been alleged to conduct appear to fall outside the bounds of proper investigatory procedure. I do not think that anyone contends that reading a public digest on the internet is wrong; however, attempting to determine who are the contributors to the digest or who subscribes to the digest are actions which impinge upon our freedom of association. Similarly, covert surveillance of ostensibly legal assemblies is not permitted in the absence of specified cause. We live today in an environment of fear of computer hackers endangering innocent lives or harming important computational resources through illegal "hacking" activities. Some of the present concerns, such as the danger posed by computer viruses, may be well grounded, but panic and over reaction arising from ignorance and misunderstanding is harmful both to resolving the real problems and to maintaining our civil rights. As history has repeatedly shown, it is most important for us to guard against infringement of our rights by government in difficult times. The actions of the CPSR and the EFF in helping to assure that our civil rights are protected should be applauded and supported. In response to certain recent messages which suggest that agencies of the government have the same rights as private groups or individuals, let me add a final note. While an activity may be public or a document freely circulated to any individual or group, the participation by government in such an activity, especially on a covert basis, is fundamentally different than participation by individuals or private groups. Our courts have recognized such distinctions in the past. We must not lose cite of the fact that government has enforcement powers not available to individuals or private groups. It is these powers which can exert a chilling effect on the exercise of our rights in a unique fashion. It is impossible to maintain free and open debate about government policy if that same government by threat and innuendo frightens people from the legitimate expression of their rights. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 3 Dec 91 15:38:55 est From: wex@PWS.MA30.BULL.COM Subject: Townson's reply to Neidorf (in Cu Digest, #3.42) Patrick Townson shows his usual servile naivete when it comes to the government. You'd think this guy had never heard of Red Squads or of the harassment of Central-America activists, unionists, etc. He either misses (or deliberately ignores) the implication that the Secret Service does not read TELECOM digest because of its love for debate about cellular phones but rather because it is monitoring the activities and speech of individuals. Back in the past, when we had a Bill of Rights, the courts used to consistently rule that federal agents could not simply attend "open" meetings in their official capacity because this created an atmosphere of intimidation which interfered with others' First Amendment rights of free speech and free association. Especially forbidden were recording activities like taping and photographing license plates. Townson is wrong when he asserts that visual observation and photographing by government agents are equivalent -- the courts have held otherwise. If we still had any civil rights, one might assume that recording TELECOM or CU Digests would fall under the same prohibition. Townson's assertion about the government "owning" the Internet is both specious and false. The government "owns" the interstate highway system --it still has to respect peoples' rights on the highways. Townson's toadying attitude only makes me happier I don't read TELECOM. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 31 Oct 91 8:21:44 EST From: Anonymous Subject: "High-Tech Watergate" (Inslaw reprint by E. Richardson) A High-Tech Watergate By Elliot L. Richardson (Source: New-York Times, Oct. 21, 1991, p. A-15) Elliot L. Richardson, a Washington lawyer, was Attorney General in the Nixon Administration. Washington--As a former Federal prosecutor, Massachusetts attorney general and U.S. Attorney General, I don't have to be told that the appointment of a special prosecutor is justified only in exceptional circumstances. Why, then, do I believe it should be done in the case of Inslaw Inc., a small Washington-based software company? Let me explain. Inslaw's principal asset is a highly efficient computer program that keeps track of large numbers of legal cases. In 1982, the company contracted with the Justice Department to install this system, called Promis, in U.S. Attorneys' offices. A year later, however, the department began to raise sham disputes about Inslaw's costs and performance and then started to withhold payments. The company was forced into bankruptcy after it had installed the system in 19 U.S. Attorneys' offices. Meanwhile, the Justice Department copied the software and put it in other offices. As one of Inslaw's lawyers, I advised its owners, William and Nancy Hamilton, to sue the department in Federal bankruptcy court. In September 1987, the judge, George Bason, found that the Justice Department used "trickery, fraud and deceit" to take Inslaw's property. He awarded Inslaw more than $7 million in damages for the stolen copies of Promis. Soon thereafter, a panel headed by a former department official recommended that Judge Bason not be reappointed. He was replaced by a Justice Department lawyer involved in the Inslaw case. An intermediate court later affirmed Judge Bason's opinion. Though the U.S. Court of Appeals set that ruling aside in May of this year on the ground that bankruptcy courts have no power to try a case like Inslaw's, it did not disturb the conclusion that "the Government acted willfully and fraudulently to obtain property that it was not entitled to under the contract." Inslaw, which reorganized under Chapter 11, has asked the Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals decision. After the first court's judgment, a number of present and former Justice Department employees gave the Hamiltons new information. Until then, the Hamiltons thought their problems were the result of a vendetta by a department official, C. Madison Brewer, whom Mr. Hamilton had dismissed from Inslaw several years before. How else to explain why a simple contract dispute turned into a vicious campaign to ruin a small company and take its prize possession? The new claims alleged that Earl Brian, California health secretary under Gov. Ronald Reagan and a friend of Attorney General Edwin Meese 3d, was linked to a scheme to take Inslaw's stolen software and use it to gain the inside track on a $250 million contract to automate Justice Department litigation divisions. (In Mr. Meese's confirmation fight, it was revealed that Ursula Meese, his wife, had borrowed money to buy stock in Biotech Capital Corporation, of which Dr. Brian was the controlling shareholder. Biotech controlled Hadron Inc., a computer company that aggressively tried to buy Inslaw.) Evidence to support the more serious accusations came from 30 people, including Justice Department sources. I long ago gave the names of most of the 30 to Mr. Meese's successor as Attorney General, Dick Thornburgh. But the department contacted only one of them, a New York judge. Meanwhile, the department has resisted Congressional investigations. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations staff reported that its inquiry into Inslaw's charges had been "hampered by the department's lack of cooperation" and that it had found employees "who desired to speak to the subcommittee, but who chose not to out of fear for their jobs." The department also hindered the interrogation of employees and resisted requests for documents by the House Judiciary Committee and its chairman, Representative Jack Brooks. Under subpoena, Mr. Thornburgh produced many files but the department said that a volume containing key documents was missing. In letters to Mr. Thornburgh in 1988 and 1989, I argued for the appointment of an independent counsel. When it became obvious that Mr. Thornburgh did not intend to reply or act, Inslaw went to court to order him to act. A year ago, the U.S. District Court ruled, incorrectly I think, that a prosecutor's decision not to investigate, no matter how indefensible, cannot be corrected by any court. In May 1988, Ronald LeGrand, chief investigator for the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the Hamiltons, and confirmed to their lawyers, that he had a trusted Justice Department source who, as Mr. LeGrand quoted him, said that the Inslaw case was "a lot dirtier for the Department of Justice than Watergate had been, both in its breadth and its depth." Mr. LeGrand now says he and his friend were only discussing rumors. Then, in 1990, the Hamiltons received a phone call from Michael Riconosciuto, an out-of-fiction character believed by many knowledgeable sources to have C.I.A. connections. Mr. Riconosciuto claimed that the Justice Department stole the Promis software as part of a payoff to Dr. Brian for helping to get some Iranian leaders to collude in the so-called October surprise, the alleged plot by the Reagan campaign in 1980 to conspire with Iranian agents to hold up release of the American Embassy hostages until after the election. Mr. Riconosciuto is now in jail in Tacoma, Wash., awaiting trial on drug charges, which he claims are trumped up. Since that first Riconosciuto phone call, he and other informants from the world of covert operations have talked to the Hamiltons, the Judiciary Committee staff, several reporters and Inslaw's lawyers, including me. These informants, in addition to confirming and supplementing Mr. Riconosciuto's statements, claim that scores of foreign governments now have Promis. Dr. Brian, these informants say, was given the chance to sell the software as a reward for his services in the October surprise. Dr. Brian denies all of this. The reported sales allegedly had two aims. One was to generate revenue for covert operations not authorized by Congress. The second was to supply foreign intelligence agencies with a software system that would make it easier for U.S. eavesdroppers to read intercepted signals. These informants are not what a lawyer might consider ideal witnesses, but the picture that emerges from the individual statements is remarkably detailed and consistent, all the more so because these people are not close associates of one another. It seems unlikely that so complex a story could have been made up, memorized all at once and closely coordinated. It is plausible, moreover, that preventing revelations about the theft and secret sale of Inslaw's property to foreign intelligence agencies was the reason for Mr. Thornburgh's otherwise inexplicable reluctance to order a thorough investigation. Although prepared not to believe a lot they told him, Danny Casolaro, a freelance journalist, got many leads from the same informants. The circumstances of his death in August in a Martinsburg, W.Va., hotel room increase the importance of finding out how much of what they have said to him and others is true. Mr. Casolaro told friends that he had evidence linking Inslaw, the Iran-contra affair and the October surprise, and was going to West Virginia to meet a source to receive the final piece of proof. He was found dead with his wrists and arms slashed 12 times. The Martinsburg police ruled it a suicide, and allowed his body to be embalmed before his family was notified of his death. His briefcase was missing. I believe he was murdered, but even if that is no more than a possibility, it is a possibility with such sinister implications as to demand a serious effort to discover the truth. This is not the first occasion I have had to think about the need for an independent investigator. I had been a member of the Nixon Administration from the beginning when I was nominated as Attorney General in 1973. Public confidence in the integrity of the Watergate investigation could best be insured, I thought, by entrusting it to someone who had no such prior connection to the White House. In the Inslaw case the charges against the Justice Department make the same course even more imperative. When the Watergate special prosecutor began his inquiry, indications of the President's involvement were not as strong as those that now point to a widespread conspiracy implicating lesser Government officials in the theft of Inslaw's technology. The newly designated Attorney General, William P. Barr, has assured me that he will address my concerns regarding the Inslaw case. That is a welcome departure. But the question of whether the department should appoint a special prosecutor is not one it alone should decide. Views >from others in the executive branch, as well as from Congress and the public, should also be heard. ------------------------------ Date: 17 Nov 91 10:19:30 EST From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM> Subject: Software Piracy We recently received these brief summaries of stories that appeared in the 11/11/91 issue of the Wall Street Journal. The contributor did not provide additional information. It is unclear from the summary if 'software makers' (presumably the ASP) are going after CU-type software pirates who trade software, or 'bootleggers' that sell counterfeit or home-made copies. After reading the full text of the article it seems that the reporter is unaware of the the distinction as both types of activity are alluded to without explanation. It is disappointing that errors such as this continue to be made. Nobody benefits when issues such as there are clouded by misuse of terms and descriptions. As for the second article, about one year ago we ran a similar story that the Army was developing such viruses in-house. Perhaps they have now turned to outside sources? +++++++++++++++++++++++ Software makers, cracking down on piracy, are secretly prowling electronic bulletin boards in search of purloined products. Electronic bulletin boards, which can be reached by computer over the phone, offer a way for people with common interests to share ideas. But, in rare cases, bulletin board operators offer illegal copies of popular computer programs for sale. Callers can buy the programs for a fraction of the normal price. The Army is looking for a few good computer viruses. Computer viruses, rogue programs that "infect" a network and render machines inoperative, are most often dispatched by pranksters with a flair for programming who consider it a sport to gum up a computer system. With computers playing a growing role in battle, the Army wants to know whether viruses can attack war-fighting hardware. ------------------------------ Date: 27 Nov 91 12:45:25 GMT From: NIEBUHR@BNLCL6.BNL.GOV (Dave Niebuhr, BNL CCD, 516-282-3093) Subject: Hacker Convicted (Reprinted from X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 11, Issue 973, Message 6 of 12) I read an article in today's {Newsday} about a person convicted of computer crime. The entire article is: "Hacker Pleads Guilty" "A 24-year-old Denver hacker who admitted breaking into a sensitive NASA computer system pleaded guilty to a felony count of altering information. In exchange for the plea Monday, federal prosecutors dropped six similar counts against Richard G. Wittman Jr., who faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Authorities said the government will seek a much lighter penalty when Wittman is sentenced Jan. 13. Both sides have agreed on repayment of $1,100 in collect calls he placed to the computer system, but they differ on whether Wittman should be held responsible for the cost of new software. Wittman told U.S. District Judge Sherman Finesilver that it took him about two hours on a personal computer in his apartment to tap into the space agency's restricted files. It took NASA investigators nearly 300 hours to track Wittman and an additional 100 hours to rewrite the software to prevent a recurrence, prosecutors said." Well, I guess computer crime pays. Wittman will spend no more than $1,100; the government paid hourly salaries of the investigators and programmers working on the problem. A very, very conservative estimate of the final cost would be over $20,000 when one stops to consider that the word "investigators" was used which implies more than one person. They gave away the store. I could probably say more but I'm too disgusted. ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 6 Dec 91 12:01:37 CST From: Anonymous Subject: "Teens Tapped Computers of U.S. Military" "Teens Tapped Computers of U.S. Military" From: _Chicago Tribune_, November 21, 1991: p. 3. WASHINGTON--Four years after the federal government adopted a computer security law, a group of Dutch teenagers was able to tap sensitive information in Defense Department computers, a congressional committee was told Wednesday. Federal auditors said the interlopers entered some computer systems without even using passwords. Among the data available at the 34 defense installations they penetrated were personnel performance reports, weapons development information, and descriptions of the movements of equipment and personnel. At least one of the systems cracked by the teenagers, who operated between April 1990 and May 1991, directly supported Operation Desert Storm. Jack L. Brock. director of government information for the General Accounting Office, declined to give specifics about that system, but said operations against Iraq were in no way compromised. "It is not clear that these hackers had the level of sophistication needed to use what they obtained," Brock told a subcommittee of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. Nevertheless, he said, "this type of information could be very useful to a foreign intelligence operation." A Defense Department spokeswoman said security procedures are being reviewed, but noted that the hackers only gained access to unclassified information. The hackers' activities were first disclosed by Dutch television in February, when camera crews filmed an unnamed individual tapping what he said was U.S. military missile test information. But little was known at the time about the extent of the intrusions or the methods used. Brock's testimony provided the first details, sketchy though they were. Law-enforcement officials are seeking to prosecute the Dutch teenagers, but officials declined to comment Wednesday on the progress of their efforts. Brock and congressional critics sought to use the case of the Dutch hackers to illustrate their contention that federal agencies have failed to follow the federal Computer Security Act of 1987. A GAO review last year indicated that only one of 23 federal agencies reviewed had instituted the security measures and training the act requires. The Dutch hackers used a variety of methods to crack Defense Department computers--all of them simple. In some cased, they copied files containing coded passwords, then scoured those files for the names of users who had no passwords. Brock said the Defense Department failed to detect the intruders because it does not tightly manages its computer systems. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1991 16:55:40 GMT From: brack@uoftcse.CSe.utoledo.EDU (Steven S. Brack) Subject: Canada: Police Seize BBS, Software Piracy Charges Expected 11/25/91 (Reposted from Article 1209 of info.academic-freedom) [Reposted from alt.bbs] : From: scottp@skyfox.usask.ca () : From: newsbytes@clarinet.com : Date: 26-NOV-1991 02:12:56 : Canada: Police Seize BBS, Software Piracy Charges Expected 11/25/91 : : : MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, 1991 NOV 25 (NB) -- The Federal : Investigations Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has : seized components of a bulletin board system (BBS), known as 90 : North, from a home in the West Island area of Montreal. Charges of : commercial distribution of pirated software may be laid this week. : : The RCMP seized 10 personal computers, seven modems, and : software, worth about C$25,000 altogether. A statement released : through the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST), a : group of major software vendors, said a four-month investigation : had found that the BBS was charging its subscribers C$49 per year : for access to an assortment of software that included copies of : commercial programs and beta-test versions of unreleased : packages. : : The software available on the BBS included WordPerfect 5.0, DOS : 5.0, Windows 3.0, Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows, Borland C++ 2.0, : Borland's Quattro Pro 3.0 spreadsheet package, dBase IV 1.1, the : Santa Cruz Operation's SCO Xenix for DOS, Novell Netware 3.11, : and Clipper 5.0, the CAAST statement said. : : Alan Reynolds, a spokesman for CAAST, said the name of the BBS : system operator has not been released and formal charges had not : been laid at Newsbytes' deadline. However, he said, charges are : expected to be laid within days. : : Under the Canadian Copyright Act, anyone convicted of distributing : pirated commercial software can face imprisonment for up to five : years, a fine of as much as C$1 million, or both. : : The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft is an alliance of the : Canadian arms of major software vendors Ashton-Tate (now owned : by Borland International), Lotus Development, Microsoft, Novell, and : Quarterdeck Office Systems. : : (Grant Buckler/19911125/Press Contact: Allan Reynolds, CAAST, 416- : 598-8988) My question/comment about this concerns the legality of confiscating the computer along with the software. Namely, if the charge is distributing copyrighted materials, then why was the entire system taken? The computer itself, once unplugged, is not terribly capable of providing evidence. An idea occured to me that the perpetrator of this act, the sysop, could more easily communicate his plight to others if he had a computer, and, by taking it away, the RCMP has made it more difficult for him to clear himself of the charges against him. Although I don't agree with many of the antipornography laws, I do feel that the general principle of taking the incriminating material, rather than taking _everything_ is the more legal way to proceed. ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 1 Dec 91 16:06:13 CST From: wires@PRO-MOPAR.CS.WIDENER.EDU(wires wildhack) Subject: Here's something you might find of interest CompuServe not responsible party for allegedly offensive messages [by Lisa Picarille, InfoWorld] A court ruling that held CompuServe could not be held responsible for an allegedly libelous statement posted on its bulletin board service is being hailed as a precedent-setting case involving free speech in the electronic information age. In Cubby vs. CompuServe, a New York federal judge ruled that CompuServe was not legally responsible for information disseminated over its network. The ruling comes at a time when other on-line service providers, such as Prodigy, are also being accused of acting as conduits for potentially libelous statements. "The winners are the public and the people who use computer networks," said Bruce Sanford, a lawyer specializing in First Amendment issues for the Washington firm of Baker & Hostetler. "It says that the computer networks do not exercise editorial control over their products and, therefore, don't have a liability for defamation." Others agree. "I think the decision correctly reinforces the idea that CompuServe shouldn't be obligated for everything on their systems," said Mike Godwin, staff council for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, group that is concerned with the civil liberties of computer users over a network. "This is a very important first in trying to understand a brand-new medium," said Robert Charles, a New York lawyer who has been following this issue for several years. Cubby vs. CompuServe, being heard in the U.S. District Court in New York, is not over, however. Although CompuServe has been eliminated as a defendant and deemed not liable for any damages, an independently contracted systems operator for CompuServe remains under fire. Don Fitzpatrick, who runs CompuServe's forum for journalists -- called Rumorville -- remains accused of allegedly posting defamatory remarks about Skuttlebutt, a rival forum. Judge Peter K. Leisure of the U.S. District Court compared the responsibility of CompuServe to that of the owner of a bookstore, saying that the owner couldn't possibly be responsible for the editorial content of every book he sold. CompuServe described the ruling as a major victory for freedom of speech on a network. "We see this case as an endorsement of our operating philosophy," said David Kishler, a spokesman for CompuServe. According to Kishler, the systems operators actually control the content of the forums, not CompuServe. "If the case had been decided differently, it might have had a chilling effect on our relationships with information providers." The results of the CompuServe case are expected to have little effect on Prodigy, which has a practice of screening public messages posted by its users. Prodigy is accused of allowing anti-Semitic messages to go out over the network, but not allowing responses to be posted. After a Prodigy member filed a complaint with the Anti-Defamation League, Prodigy maintained it did not screen messages and, therefore, was not responsible for the anti-Semitic comments. Prodigy later said it did, in fact, screen messages and that is why no response was allowed. "I'm disappointed in Prodigy's decision not to become a free expression forum," Godwin said. "Prodigy should let both the original offensive message and the response appear. The best cure for offensive speech is more speech." ------------------------------ Date: 03 Dec 91 18:08:48 EST From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM> Subject: 24 Year Old Cracks NASA A 24 year-old Denver man, Richard G. Wittman Jr., has admitted breaking into a NASA computer system. In a plea bargain, Wittman plead guilty to a single count of altering information - a password - inside a federal computer. According to reports, it took NASA investigators nearly 300 hours to track down Wittman and an additional 100 hours to rewrite the software to prevent a recurrence of his feat. Wittman not only broke into 118 systems within the NASA network, he also acquired "super user" status, allowing him to review the files and electronic mail of other users. -- Canadian Police Seize BBS The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has seized parts of a BBS known as "90 North" from a house in Montreal. The RCMP seized 10 pc's, seven modems and assorted copyrighted software. The BBS was charging its mem- bers C$49 per year for access. Under the Canadian Copyright Act, anyone convicted of distributing pirated commercial software can face imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of as much as C$1 million, or both. ============ Reprinted with permission from STReport No.7.4.47 November 29, 1991 ------------------------------ ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #3.43 ************************************

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