Computer underground Digest Sun Mar 29, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue .15 Editors: Jim Thomas and
Computer underground Digest Sun Mar 29, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue .15
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Associate Editor: Etaion Shrdlu
Arcmeisters: Brian Kehoe and Bob Kusumoto
CONTENTS, #4.15 (Mar 29, 1992)
File 1--Reader Reply--Don't "Say YES! to Business Rates." (CuD 4.11)
File 2--Information wanted on Censorship in Cyberspace
File 3--Reader Reply Cybernetic Candidate (CuD #4.14)
File 4--"Sun Devil" becomes new SJG Game
File 5--Electronic FOIA/April 2 hearing
File 6--Penn. Supreme Ct. Bars Call
File 7--Pedophilia, Computers and Children
File 8--CFP-2: Sterling Speaks For "The Unspeakable" (NEWSBYTES reprint)
File 9--CFP-2 Features Role-Playing FBI Scenario (NEWSBYTES reprint)
File 10--Electronic CivLib - model candidate's statement & ideas
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Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1992 11:19:17 EST
From: "Charles Purwin, Systems, firstname.lastname@example.org"@UNKNOWN.DOMAIN
Subject: File 1--Reader Reply--Don't "Say YES! to Business Rates." (CuD 4.11)
I have to object to Michael E. Marotta's article in CUD #4.11, where
he seems to take the stand that BBS's operators should pay business
His two views are both limited in scope and understanding of the issue
at hand. Some of the items he speaks about in his "Home Data Center"
are not really the informational tools he alludes them to actually be.
Camcorders nor copiers are informational tools, they can be viewed as
tools for capture and duplication of information but are not in
themselves informational tools. TV's are at best a nominal
information distributer, the tripe heavily outweighs the 6 o'clock
news. Books, magazines and newspapers definitely are decent ways to
get across information, but tend to be found densely in a home than a
TV. Again in the same paragraph he states that "EVERY BBS USER IS A
SYSOP." Now I don't know if Mr. Marotta has ever seen or used a BBS,
but that statement leads me to believe that he has not. I associate
with BBS operators and I see first hand the work and time they put in
to keep a BBS running. If every user was a sysop then we would truely
either have a few excellent bbs's or many that are simply run to the
verge of anarchy. No average user, excluding obviously other sysops,
can be alluded to being a sysop that is impossible. It is true that
data travels from home to home, but what is voice? Last time I looked
it is data also.
In his following statements on "The Home Treasury", Mr. Marotta feels
that "anyone can build a car; most people choose not to." PLEASE! I
know many people that would not have a clue on how to put two pieces
of wood together, never mind a car. That type of senseless comparison
is not endearing to anyone. I think most people know that your
checkbook is your general ledger that is usually a common thing. I
don't see what a dishwasher or adding machine have to do with your
phone rate! There is no comparision here. The basis for a phone rate
should lie more so in the fact it being either commercial/private
/public/non-profit and not if you have a dishwasher.
Well most businesses can afford a commercial phone number. But they
are in the market to make money, where as a BBS IS NOT. Now I know
there are exceptions to the rule, BUT 90% do not ask for money up
front as a requirement, as a business would do. They just ask that
you help them if you can, a donation or whatever you want to call it.
I can't make heads or tails of the last paragraph, I guess my english
is just not refined enough. In closing, BBS operators do not deserve
to be charged commercial rates, because in fact they are not a
business in the classical sense. Now I see no reason that the telco
could not come to an agreement on a rate that would reflect the usage
a line would be getting because of BBS usage.
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 92 13:16 EST
From: "Michael E. Marotta"
Subject: File 2--Information wanted on Censorship in Cyberspace
I have been hired to write an article about the control of information
in cyberspace. We all know that Fidonet moderators and sysops devote
their OWN resources for us to use. There is no question about the
"right" of the sysop or moderator to delete messages and users. The
practice of censorship is nonetheless newsworthy.
If YOU have experienced censorship on Fidonet or Usenet, or Prodigy or
CompuServe, or another BBS or network, I am interested in learning
about your story. If you can supply downloads of actual encounters,
so much the better.
If you have ever been censored, send me physical world mail about the
Michael E. Marotta
5751 Richwood #34
Lansing, Mich. 48911
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 92 14:34:54 EST
From: Stephen Dennett
Subject: File 3--Reader Reply--Cybernetic Candidate (CuD #4.14)
> A few weeks ago I asked Congressman Tom Lantos' staff how he voted
> last year. Their initial response was to hand me the glossy
> advertising brochure that our tax dollars paid for. When pressed to
> find out how he voted, or didn't vote, I was ushered into their
> library, shown to the Congressional Record, and told to look it up
> myself day by day.
The PRODIGY service has a database with the voting records of all
current candidates available online (done with the League of Women
voters or some such group). You might want to contact them about
getting listed (they list candidates with no records also).
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 92 11:00:38 -0600
From: sjackson@TIC.COM(Steve Jackson)
Subject: File 4--"Sun Devil" becomes new SJG Game
In 1990, the Secret Service raided Steve Jackson Games when a "hacker
hunt" went out of control. Loss of our computers and unfinished game
manuscripts almost put this company out of business.
It's been two years. We're back on our feet. And ever since the raid,
fans have been asking "When are you going to make a game out of it?"
Okay. We give up. Here it is.
In HACKER, players compete to invade the most computer systems. The
more systems you crack, the more you learn, and the easier the next
target is. You can find back doors and secret phone lines, and even
crash the systems your rivals are using. But be careful. There's a
Secret Service Raid with your name on it if you make too many enemies.
Designed by Steve Jackson, the game was based on the award-winning
ILLUMINATI. To win at HACKER requires guile and diplomacy. You must
trade favors with your fellow hackers - and get more than you give
away. But jealous rivals will try to bust you. Three busts and you're
out of the game. More than one player can win, but shared victories
are not easy!
HACKER is for 3-6 players. Playing time is under an hour for the short
game and about 2 hours for the regular game. Components include a rule
book, 110 cards, marker chips, 6 console units, system upgrades, Bust
markers and Net Ninja marker, two dice and a ziplock bag.
Hacker begins shipping March 30, and has a suggested retail price of
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1992 13:06:33 CST
Sender: Activists Mailing List
From: James P Love
Subject: File 5-- Electronic FOIA/April 2 hearing
On April 2, 1992 the Senate Subcommittee on Technology and the Law
will hold a public hearing on S. 1940, Senator Leahy's "Electronic
Freedom of Information Improvement Act of 1991." This important
legislation addresses the issue of the availability of electronic
records under the Freedom of Information Act.
A number of persons have asked how Senator Leahy's Electronic FOIA
bill (S. 1940) relates to Representative Owens' Improvement of
Information Access Act (IIA Act, HR 3459), which also amends the
Freedom of Information Act. The _short_ answer is that S. 1940 would
strengthen the public's rights to receive electronic records that are
subject to a FOIA request, while the Owens bill would enhance access
by improving the scope and performance of agency information products
and services. The principal opposition to the Leahy bill comes from
federal agencies who do not like FOIA responsiblities, while the
principal opposition to the Owens bill comes from commercial data
vendors who don't want new government information products and
services. We plan to provide a more detailed discussion of the two
bills in a few days.
Senator Leahy wants to use the April 2, 1992 hearing to develop a
record of the problems the public has in receiving electronic records
from agencies. We are preparing a statement which will address
several issues, including, among other things:
- the Federal Reserve Bank's use of NTIS to sell the
electronic copy of its bank call reports for $500 a tape,
rather than releasing the information under a FOIA request
for the cost of copying the information,
- the SEC/Mead contract that will prevent the electronic copy
of EDGAR database from being available under FOIA, and
- the Department of Justice/WESTLAW contract which prevents
the public from obtaining large portions of the JURIS
database under FOIA.
We would be very interested in learning about _ANY_ problems people
have had receiving electronic records under FOIA.
For more information about S. 1940 or the April 2, 1992 hearing,
contact Cathy Russell, Counsel to the Subcomittee, at 202-224-3406, or
write to her at 815 Senate Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510.
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1992 15:49:09 EDT
From: Dave Banisar
Subject: File 6--Penn. Supreme Ct. Bars Call
Penn. Supreme Ct. Bars Caller Id
From: March 23, 1992 Comm. Daily
PA. SUPREME COURT THROWS OUT UNBLOCKED CALLER ID
Pa. state Supreme Court last week upheld lower court rulings that
unblocked Caller ID service would violate state wiretap laws, but
left open significant question whether any form of blocking would
satisfy legal requirements. March 18 decision by Judge Nicholas
Papadakos for 7-member court said service violated state law "because
it is being used for unlimited purposes without the 'consent' of each
of the users of the telephone service." PUC had approved service in
1989 without blocking, and was challenged in court by then-Consumer
Advocate David Barasch. Bell of Pa. had argued that Caller ID was
legal trap-and-trace device operated by telephone company, but Barasch
and others had said that 2 traps were being used -- one by telephone
company, which may be exempt from law, and one by customer's Caller
ID device. Court ruled state wiretapping law requires that "consent
to any form of interception must be obtained from all parties."
Ruling didn't reach questions whether Caller ID was constitutional,
or what forms of blocking would suffice to meet state requirements. In
oral argument, telephone company changed its policy and said it would
offer per-call blocking. Bell of Pa. spokesman Saul Kohler said that
ruling "clears the way for Caller ID to be offered" with per-call
blocking, and that company was pleased service wasn't found to be
unconstitutional. There's no timetable for proposing service, he said.
But Irwin Popowski, who succeeded Barasch as Consumer Advocate, said
it's open question whether per-call blocking is adequate. Popowski
wouldn't say what blocking standard his office would support, but
noted that trend of regulatory decisions around country lately has
been to include per-line blocking in mix of services. There's "real
question" whether per-line blocking should be offered, he said.
PUC Vice Chmn. Joseph Rhodes, who wrote 1978 privacy law while in
legislature, said it's possible that any new Bell proposal could lead
to another 3 years of litigation. He called decision "triumph for
privacy," and said Bell statement claiming victory was "an absurd
attempt to distort what the Supreme Court decided." Rhodes called on
Bell to confer with Caller ID opponents to try to find solution, and
for company to put more emphasis on Call Trace.
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1992 15:44:51 EST
Subject: File 7--Pedophilia, Computers and Children
NEWS RELEASE Immediate 3/18/92
PEDOPHILIA, COMPUTERS AND CHILDREN
If you have children in your home and a home computer complete with a
telephone modum, you [sic] child is in potential danger of coming in
contact with deviate and dangerous criminals.
Using the computer modum [sic], these unsavory individuals can
communicate directly with your child without your knowledge. Just as
importantly, you should be concerned if your child has a friendship
with other youth who have access to this equipment in an unsupervised
Using a computer and a modum your child can readily access community
"bulletin boards" and receive sexually explicit and graphic material
from total strangers who can converse with your children, individuals
you quite probably wouldn't even talk with.
The concern becomes more poignant when stated otherwise; would you let
a child molester, murderer, convicted criminal into your home to meet
alone with your child?
According to Fresno Police Detective Frank Clark "your child can be in
real danger from pedophiles, rapists, satanic cultists and other
criminals knows to be actively engaged in computer conversation.
Unwittingly, naive children with a natural curiosity can be victimized;
emerging healthy sexual feelings of a child can be subverted into a
twisted unnatural fetish affecting youth during a vulnerable time in
It is anticipated that parents, when armed with knowledge this
activity exists and awareness that encounters with such deviate
individuals results in emotional and psychological damage to their
child, will take appropriate measures to eliminate the possibility of
strangers interacting with their children via a computer.
A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, March 19, 1992
at Fresno Police Department, Headquarters. The conference, presided
over by Detective Frank Clark, will be held in the Library located on
the second floor.
For Further Information: P.I.O. Ron Hults (209) 498-4568
Date: Tue, Mar 24, '92 22:15:21 PST
From: John F. McMullen
Subject: File 8-- CFP-2: Sterling Speaks For "The Unspeakable" (NEWSBYTES)
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 MAR 25(NB) -- Bruce Sterling, the
prime luncheon speaker at the 2nd Annual Conference On Computers
Freedom & Privacy (CFP-2), fulfilled his program billing as "Speaking
for the Unspeakable" by taking on three separate persona and
delivering what might have been their messages.
Sterling, best known as a science fiction writer, spoke for three
characters, a "a malicious hacker", a Latin American police official
and a Hong Kong businessman, who were, in his words, "too venal,
violent, treacherous, power-mad, suspicious, or mean-spirited to
receive (or accept) an invitation to attend."
Sterling began his speech by introducing himself and then saying "When
the CFP committee asked me if I might recommend someone to speak here
at CFP-2, I had an immediate candidate. I thought it would be great if
we could all hear from a guy who's been known as Sergei. Sergei was
the KGB agent runner for the Chaos Computer Club group who broke into
Cliff Stoll's computer in the famous Cuckoo's Egg case. Now Sergei is
described as a stocky bearded Russian espionage professional in his
mid-40's. He's married, has kids and his hobby is fishing, in more
senses than one, apparently. Sergei used to operate out of East
Berlin, and, as far as I personally know, Sergei's operation was the
world's first and only actual no-kidding, real-life case of
international computer espionage, So I figured -- why not send Yelsin
a fax and offer Sergei some hard currency; things are pretty lean over
at KGB First Directorate these days. CFP could have flown this guy in
from Moscow on a travel scholarship and I'm sure that a speech from
Sergei would be far more interesting than anything I'm likely to offer
here. My proposal wasn't taken up and instead I was asked to speak
here myself. Too bad! "This struck me as rather a bad precedent for
CFP which has struggled hard to maintain a broad universality of
taste. Whereas you're apparently willing to tolerate science fiction
writers but already certain members of the computer community, KGB
agents, are being quietly placed beyond the pale. But you know, ladies
and gentlemen, just because you ignore someone, doesn't mean that
person ceases to exist -- and you've not converted someone's beliefs
merely because you won't listen. But instead of Comrade Sergei, here I
am -- and I am a science fiction writer and, because of that, I
rejoice in a complete lack of any kind of creditability!
"Today I hope to make the best of that anomalous position. Like other
kinds of court jesters, science fiction writers are sometimes allowed
to speak certain kinds of unspeakable truth, if only an apparent
parody or metaphor. So today, ladies and gentlemen, I will exercise my
inalienable civil rights as a science fiction writer to speak up on
behalf of the excluded and the incredible. In fact, I plan to abuse my
talents as a writer of fiction to actually recreate some of these
excluded, incredible unspeakable people for you and to have them
address you today. I want these people, three of them, to each briefly
address this group just as if they were legitimately invited here and
just as if they could truly speak their mind right here in public
without being arrested."
Sterling then went on to assure the crowd that he was not speaking his
personal conviction, only those of his characters, and warned the
group that some of the material might be offensive. He then launched
into the delivery of his characters' speeches -- speeches which had
the hacker talking about real damage - "the derailing of trains"; the
Latin police official, a friend and admirer of Noriega, discussing the
proper way of dealing with hackers; and the businessman explaining
way, in the age of high speed copiers, laser printers and diskette
copying devices, the US copyright laws are irrelevant.
Often intercepted by laughter and applause, Sterling received a
standing ovation at the conclusion of the speech. Computer Press
Association newsletter editor Barbara McMullen was overhead telling
Sterling that he had replaced "Alan Kay as her favorite luncheon
speaker." while conference chair Lance Hoffman, who had received an
advance copy of the speech a few weeks before, described the speech as
"incredible and tremendous".
Sterling, relaxing after the talk with a glass of Jack Daniels, told
Newsbytes that the speech had been fun but a strain, adding "Next time
they'll really have to get Sergei. I'm going back to fiction."
Sterling's non-fiction work on computer crime, "The Hacker Crackdown"
is due out from Bantam in the fall and an audio tape of the CFP-2
speech is available from Audio Archives. He is the author of "Islands
In The Net" and is the co-author, with William Gibson, of the
presently best-selling "The Difference Engine".
John F. McMullen/Press Contact: Audio Archives, 818 957-0874/19920325)
Date: Tue, Mar 24, '92 22:15:34 PST
From: John F. McMullen
Subject: File 9--CFP-2 Features Role-Playing FBI Scenario (NEWSBYTES REPRINT)
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 MAR 25(NB) -- As part of the
"Birds-of-a-Feather" (BOF) sessions featured at the 2nd Conference on
Computers, Freedom & Privacy (CFP-2), FBI agent J. Michael Gibbons,
acting as a live gamemaster, orchestrated the play-acting of an
investigation by federal agents into allegations of computer intrusion
and criminal activity. The scenario, set up by Gibbons to show the
difficulties faced by investigators in balancing the conducting of an
investigation with a protection of the rights of the individual under
investigation, was acted out with non-law enforcement officials cast
in the role of investigators; New York State Police Senior
Investigator Donald Delaney as "Doctor Doom", the suspected ringleader
of the computer criminals; Newsbytes New York Bureau Chief John
McMullen as a magistrate responsible for considering the
investigators' request for a search warrant; and author Bruce Sterling
as a neighbor and possible cohort of Doctor Doom.
Gibbons, in His role of Gamemaster, regularly intercepted the action
to involve the audience in a discussion of what the appropriate next
step in the scenario would be -- "Do you visit the suspect or get a
search warrant or visit his school or employer to obtain more
information?; Do you take books in the search and seizure?, printers?,
monitors?, etc." During the discussion with the audience, points of
law were clarified by Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation
in-house counsel, and Alameda County Assistant District Attorney
The role-playing session immediately followed a BOF panel, "Hackers:
Why Don't They Understand" which attempted to present a hacker view of
on-line ethics. The panel, moderated by McMullen, was composed of
Steve Levy, MacWorld columnist and author of "Hackers"; Dorothy
Denning, Chair of Computer Science at Georgetown University; Glenn
Tenney, California Congressional Candidate and chair of the annual
"Hacker's Conference"; Craig Neidorf, defendant in a controversial
case involving the electronic publishing of a stolen document;
"Dispater", the publisher of the electronic publication "Phrack";
Emmanuel Goldstein, editor and publisher of "2600: The Hacker
Quarterly", and hacker "Phiber Optik".
During the panel discussion, Levy, Denning and Tenney discussed the
roots of the activities that we now refer to as hacking, Goldstein and
Dispater described what they understood as hacking and asked for an
end to what they see as overreaction by the law enforcement community,
Neidorf discussed the case which, although dropped by the government,
has left him over $50,000 in debt; and Phiber Optik described the
details of two searches and seizures of his computer equipment and his
1991 arrest by Delaney.
In Neidorf's talk, he called attention to the methods used in valuing
the stolen document that he published as $78,000. He said that it came
out after the trial that the $78,000 included the full value of the
laser printer on which it was printed, the cost of the word processing
system used in its production and the cost of the workstation on which
it was entered. Neidorf's claims were substantiated by EFF counsel
Godwin, whose filing of a motion in the Steve Jackson cases caused the
release of papers including the one referred to by Neidorf. Godwin
also pointed out that it was the disclosure by interested party John
Nagle that the document, valued at $78,000, was obtainable in a book
priced at under $20.00 that led to the dropping of the charges by the
US Attorney's office.
SRI security consultant Donn Parker, one of the many in the audience
to participate, admonished Phiber and other hackers to use their
demonstrated talents constructively and to complete an education that
will prepare them for employment in the computer industry. Another
audience member, Charles Conn, described his feeling of exhilaration
when, as a 12-year old, he "hacked" into a computer at a local
Kentucky Fried Chicken. Conn said "It was wonderful. It was like a
drug. I just wanted to explore more and more."
Parker later told Newsbytes that he thought that it was a mistake to
put hackers such as Phiber Optic and those like Craig Neidorf who
glorify hackers on a panel. Parker said "Putting them on a panel
glorifies them to other hackers and makes the problem worse."
The Birds-of-a-Feather sessions were designed to provide an
opportunity for discussions of topics that were not a part of the
formal CFP-2 program.
(Barbara E. McMullen/Press Contact: Dianne Martin, The George
Washington University, 202-994-8238/19920325)
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 92 18:05:58 -0800
From: Jim Warren
Subject: File 10--Electronic CivLib - model candidate's statement & ideas
This concerns practical efforts to assure that traditional
constitutional rights and protections remain clearly guaranteed, even
in the context of modern technology -- in the "Information Age" and
across the "Electronic Frontier."
For this 1992 election-year, the following offers possible models
for do-it-yourself citizen-based political action. Please "copy, post
and circulate" this 3-part document wherever and to whomever you wish.
Please feel free to modify Parts 2 and 3 however you wish -- over your
own signature. After all, freedom always *has* been a do-it-yourself
This introduction is PART-1 of three parts.
PART-2 provides a model cover-letter & facts you might use:
1. First, it *briefly* mentions the electronic civil liberties issues.
2. Its next part is intended to get the attention of a candidate and/or
their campaign staff by illustrating cheap, effective net communications.
3. The next part illustrates that a great number of people (candidate-
translation: "voters") are involved.
4. *Very important*: It outlines our ability to communicate with masses
of people/voters -- at little or no cost.
5. Equally important -- it requests *specific commitment to act* from a
6. It offers a matching commitment to publicize their position.
PART-3 is a model candidate's statement committing to specific action.
Note: All successful politicians have mastered the art of
*sounding* like they are supportive of the hundreds or thousands of
causes and pleas that are urged upon them. Good-sounding,
vaguely-supportive statements are worth virtually nothing. Anything
less than their issuing a public position statement committing to
explicit action must be considered as meaningless.
Election season is the one time when we have our best chance at
efficient and effective citizen action. All it takes is time and effort.
(And, I walk it like I talk it -- I have forwarded customized versions of
the cover-letter and model-statement to several state and federal candidates
-- all of whom are seeking re-election or election to higher office.)
I would be happy to help others working on these issues, time permitting.
The more people who send this cover letter and model statement to
candidates -- and phone campaign headquarters and ask questions at
candidates' forums; the more sensitized they will become to this
constituency and these fundamental issues of a free society.
Speak and write, now; speak and write, often.
"The price of freedom ..."
--Jim Warren, Electronic Civil Liberties Initiative,
345 Swett Road, Woodside CA 94062; fax/415-851-2814
[ For identification purposes only: organizer/chair of First Conference on
Computers, Freedom & Privacy (1991), first-year recipient of Electronic
Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award (1992), MicroTimes contributing editor &
columnist, Autodesk Board of Directors member, founding of InfoWorld,
founding editor of Dr. Dobb's Journal, past chair of ACM, SIGMICRO and
SIGPLAN chapters, etc., blah blah blah. ]
=============== PART-2, MODEL COVER-LETTER TO CANDIDATE(S) ================
A growing percentage of the 12-16 million people who are "online" --
using networked computers -- are expressing increasing concern about
protecting traditional civil liberties and personal privacy in the
"Information Age." (People are "coming online" at a rate much faster than
the explosive growth of personal computing since they began in the mid-'70s.)
As we use networked computers for electronic-mail, teleconferencing
and information exchange, they are reporting rapidly-increasing threats to
electronic "speech," "press," "assembly," personal security and privacy.
For instance: In 1990, a single notice sent out across computer
nets prompted 30,000 complaints about Lotus Corporation's plans to
sell personal data on 20-million consumers. Lotus quickly withdrew
their "Marketplace" product before sales ever began.
Or: In Spring, 1991, a single message sent into the computer nets
prompted thousands of complaints to Senators Biden and DeConcini. It
concerned legislation they had introduced, reportedly requested by the
FBI via Senator Thurmond, that would have crippled secure voice and
data communications for U.S. citizens and business. The Senators
withdrew the proposal with three weeks of the net-circulated note.
How many voters are involved?
Almost all users are adults. Most are well-educated. Most have
upscale incomes. Most have significant discretion for spending and
Recent published research indicates there are about 14.2-million
people sharing 1.3-million "host" computers on the "Internet." This
includes about 960,000 people using more than 12,000 home/personal
computers as shared BBSs -- networked electronic "bulletin board
systems." These offer free or almost-free teleconferencing and
electronic-mail. [Matrix News, Feb., 1992, 1120 S. Capitol-of-Texas
Hwy., Bldg. 2-300, Austin, TX 78746.]
(In addition, there are also the commercial systems such as
CompuServe, Prodigy, GEnie and MCImail -- but they have only several
million users and are very costly in comparison to the much larger
Internet computer matrix.) Mass-discussions of freedom and privacy
concerns are escalating.
Almost-instant mass-circulated online "newspapers" and "news-groups"
plus numerous popular teleconferences increasingly carry reports of
electronic civil-liberties and privacy concerns. Credit-data abuses,
covert employer surveillance, corporate espionage, seizure of
electronic publications, searches of entire electronic post offices,
and government opposition to secure communications are greatly
escalating these concerns.
These issues are rapidly penetrating the public press and
television. Example: The First Conference on Computers, Freedom and
Privacy (1991), prompted well in excess of 80 pages of press,
including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal
Time Magazine, Business Week, Scientific American, Germany's Der
Spiegel, etc.. [For copies, contact CFP#1 chair, Jim Warren, 345
Swett Road, Woodside CA 94062; 415-851-7075.]
Functionally-free, almost-instantaneous mass communication is
It is trivial for anyone to "broadcast" comments or information
across the nets to thousands of people, almost immediately and for
free or perhaps costing $15-$20/month. Over a million people read
news-groups in USENET, which is just one of thousands of electronic
And, system-owners and system-operators -- those often most-deeply
concerned about these civil liberties, privacy and content-liability issues
-- can have every user of their system receive whatever message they choose,
perhaps only once, or perhaps every time each person logs-in. Without cost.
Various of these "sysops" are agreeing to inform every one of their users --
often numbering in the thousands -- about candidates who commit to act to
protect civil liberties and privacy against new, technology-based threats.
We ask for your commitment.
A number of people who are well-known across this huge network are
asking candidates to commit to specific action, to make clear that
constitutional protections unquestionably apply across this new
"electronic frontier." We ask that you issue a formal position
statement, committing to act on these matters. (We recognize that an
informal statement of general principles is of minimal value without
specifics or commitment to action.)
We ask that you commit to protecting Constitutional freedoms,
regardless of technology. Enclosed is a "model" that you might use as
a starting point. (It illustrates some of the issues that many people
feel are most important.)
Commitment is reciprocal. If you commit to act, we will promptly
broadcast it far and wide across this massive, high-speed network.
And, if your opponent(s) avoid explicit commitment -- by specific
refusal or simply by inaction -- we will publicize that with equal
Additionally, some of us are prepared to assist committed
candidates to publicize/discuss all of their positions and issues (not
just these online issues) via this free, fast, pervasive mass-medium.
And finally, candidates who address these issues first can
generate notice in the public press and television -- especially re
protecting freedom of speech, press, assembly and personal privacy.
Numerous reporters have covered these issues, to say nothing of the
300-400 computer trade periodicals. Some of us have lists of lay and
trade reporters interested in these issues and would be happy to
assist in publicizing your commitment.
I appreciate your attention to these comments and requests, and look
forward to your timely reply.
=================== PART-3, MODEL CANDIDATE'S STATEMENT ====================
Guaranteeing Constitutional Freedoms into the 21st Century
Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe, one of the nation's
leading Constitutional scholars, views technological threats to our
traditional constitutional freedoms and protections as so serious that --
for the first time in his career -- he has proposed a Constitutional
"This Constitution's protections for the freedoms of speech, press,
petition and assembly, and its protections against unreasonable searches and
seizures and the deprivation of life, liberty or property without due
process of law, should be construed as fully applicable without regard to
the technological method or medium through which information content is
generated, stored, altered, transmitted or controlled."
-- First Conf. on Computers, Freedom & Privacy, 3/27/91, Burlingame CA
In the absence of such a constitutional clarification, legislation
and regulation are the only alternatives to assure that citizens are
protected from technological threats against their constitutional
rights and freedoms.
Candidate's Commitment to Action
Preface: It has been over two centuries since our Constitution and Bill
of Rights were adopted. The great technological changes in the interim --
especially in computing, telecommunications and electronics -- now pose a
clear and present danger to the rights and protections guaranteed in those
great documents. Therefore:
Commitment: In the first legislative session after I am
[re]elected, I will author or co-author legislation reflecting the
following specifics, and I will actively support and testify in favor
of any similar legislation as may be introduced by others. Further, I
will actively seek to include in such legislation, explicit personal
civil and/or criminal penalties against any agent, employee or
official of the government who violates any of these statutes. And
finally, I will keep all citizens who express interest in legislative
progress on these matters fully and timely informed.
The protections guaranteed in the Constitution and its Amendments
shall be fully applicable regardless of the current technology of the
time. This particularly includes, but is not limited to:
Speech: Freedom of speech shall be equally protected, whether by
voice or in written form as in the 18th Century, or by electronic
transmission or computer communication as in the 20th Century and
Press: Freedom of the press shall be equally protected, whether
its information is distributed by print as in the 18th Century, or by
networked computers or other electronic forms, as in the 20th Century
and thereafter. Liability for content: Just as a printer is not
liable for content of leaflets printed for a customer, so also shall
the owner or operator of a computer or electronic or
telecommunications facility be held harmless for the content of
information distributed by users of that facility, except as
the owner or operator may, by contract, control information content.
Those who author statements and those who have contractual authority
to control content shall be the parties singularly responsible for
Assembly: Freedom of assembly shall be equally protected, whether
by face-to-face meeting as in the 18th Century, or by computer-based
electronic-conference or other teleconference as in the 20th Century
and thereafter. The right to hold confidential meetings shall be
equally protected, whether they be by personal meeting in private
chambers, or by computer-assisted or electronic-based means.
Self-defense: The right of the people to keep and use computers
and communications connections shall not be abridged by the
Search & seizure: The right of the people to be secure in their
papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall
be fully applicable to their electronic mail, computerized information
and personal computer systems.
Warrants: No warrants for search or seizure shall issue for
computerized information, but upon probable cause, supported by oath
or affirmation, and particularly describing the computer system to be
searched and the specific information to be seized.
Secure information vaults: Just as search and seizure of letters in a
post-office, and papers in a bank-vault lock-box, and surveillance of
telephone conversations by wire-tap, each require a separate warrant
for each postal address, lock-box and telephone line, so also shall a
separate warrant be required for each electronic-mail address and/or
computer files of each suspect, when stored in a computer facility or
archive shared by others. And further, computer files stored in a
shared facility or archive by or for a citizen who is neither named in
a warrant nor associated with a suspect so-named, may not be used
against that un-named citizen, if seized or discovered during legal
search of or for files of a suspect.
Self-incrimination: No person shall be compelled in any civil or
criminal case to be a witness against himself or herself, nor be
compelled to provide information retained only in their mind, nor
otherwise be compelled to assist the translation or decoding of
information that he or she believes may be self-incriminating.
Property: Private property shall not be taken for public use
without just compensation, nor shall such property be used nor sold by
any government agency for less than fair market value, in which case
all such proceeds shall promptly derive singularly to its last owner
prior to government seizure.
Speedy release: Anyone not accused of a crime shall enjoy the
right to a speedy release and return of all of their property, as may
be seized under any warrant, particularly including their computerized
information. The government shall be fully liable for any damage
befalling property or information they have seized.
[signed] _______________________ ______________ [date] _________________
_________________________ [please print or type]
_________________________ title / current office / office sought
_________________________ campaign-office voice-phone number
_________________________ campaign-office fax number
_________________________ campaign-office electronic-mail address
[ Additional copies of this model candidate's position commitment are
available from: Jim Warren, Electronic Civil Liberties Initiative,
345 Swett Road, Woodside CA 94062; (415)851-7075, fax/(415)851-2814;
electronic-mail/ email@example.com -or-
firstname.lastname@example.org . 3/26/92
For identification purposes, only, Warren was the Chair of the First
Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy held in March, 1991, is a
Contributing Editor for MicroTimes and is a member of the Board of Directors
of Autodesk, one of the nation's half-dozen largest software companies.]
End of Computer Underground Digest #4.15
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank