Computer underground Digest Sun May 10, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 21 Editors: Jim Thomas and G
Computer underground Digest Sun May 10, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 21
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Associate Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Jr.
Arcmeisters: Brendan Kehoe and Bob Kusumoto
CONTENTS, #4.21 (May 10, 1992)
File 1--Police PR meets style v. substance
File 2--BloomBecker's 5 points for crime policy
File 3--The Forgotten Victims of the "Bill Cook" Raids
File 4--A Forgotten Victim of the 1990 Raids
File 5--Pay Craig's Legal Fees For 29 Cents?
File 6--Online Debate Article
File 7--Two Cornell Students Indicted in Virus Case
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 in the PF*NPC RT libraries, on
the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210, and by anonymous ftp from
ftp.eff.org (22.214.171.124), 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
firstname.lastname@example.org. European distributor: ComNet
in Luxembourg BBS (++352) 466893.
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
computer culture and communication. Articles are preferred to short
responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely
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: Sat, 2 May 1992 18:18 CDT
Subject: File 1-- Police PR meets style v. substance
A late response, but regarding the discussion of the Fresno police
press release (discussed in Cu Digest, #4.18):
I don't have a scientific sample, but I've looked at information from
a variety of police/law enforcement agencies for several years as
a journalist. I have only known one PIO who has had journalism
training before entering law enforcement, and her time on the PIO
desk was limited. Many of the releases I saw over the years included
misspellings, grammatical and other errors. (So, too, did many of
the police reports I have looked at over the years.) I have seen
similar releases about LSD being circulated on stickers with cartoon
characters, and about 'unsavory strangers' lurking in communities.
The sensationalism of the writing concerned me far more than the
minor details of spelling or apparent lack of letterhead. I have
a computer, I have a modem, I have children and I have an acquaintance
who claims to run an x-rated bbs. I also manage to keep these elements
of my life separated. But, if we acknowledge that the computer literacy
of various members of our society ranges from none to much, and that
many of us, likely, fall somewhere in between, I'm afraid hype of
the kind this press release generates will not do much in ensuring
that the potential benefits of personal electronic media will accrue
to all of us. It seems fear tactics generate fear, not understanding.
Sensationalism is not produced by 'the media' alone.
I think your response, which included reports of conversations
you apparently had with Fresno police personnel, put the actual
event in better perspective.
I'm not suggesting that every police department needs to hire a
public relations specialist (though friends in PR probably would),
but each of us who writes for public consumption would do well to
consider how we get attention for an issue we believe is important.
(The other recent post about preparing material for posting had
some good advice.)
In other words: If you want to be believed, keep it simple. Keep
Date: Mon, 4 May 1992 8:50:01 GMT
From: NEELY_MP@DARWIN.NTU.EDU.AU(Mark P. Neely, Northern Territory
Subject: File 2--BloomBecker's 5 points for crime policy
In response to: CuD 4.14 BloomBecker's Legal Guidelines at CV&SC Conference
BloomBecker's 5 points for a nationwide set of legal guidelines for
computer crime are fundamentally flawed!
> 1. The creation of a $200 crime law deductible. Damages incurred below
> that figure would not be the subject of criminal action.
"Damages" would presumably include the $$$ spent in wages for someone
to inspect the system for maliciously inserted code. It would not be
hard at all to run up a wages bill in excess of $200 in doing so.
Ergo, _all_ computer intrusions would be the subject of criminal
One alternative is to set a realistically higher damages threshold for
criminal proceedings, and allow the "victim" to seek a civil remedy
against the alleged intruder.
> 2. The creation of a civil course of action for inadequate computer
This sounds, at first sight, quite fair. For instance, here in Darwin
Australia, I can be given a ticket for failing to lock my car doors!
This measure was introduced in an effort to raise public awareness of
escalating car thefts, and to promote public responsibility for
prevention (which is always better than any cure :)
But it is difficult to see how such a measure can be justly applied to
computer security. My primary problem is the phrase "inadequate
computer security". Locking my car door takes a bit of forethought
and a second or two upon my exiting the vehicle. "Locking" a computer
system would require considerable administration time and money.
I would also assume that the "inadequacy" of the security is to be
measured in light of the data/system to be protected? Is the civil
penalty to be applied to government and quasi-government systems?
Are personal computer operators/ BBS SysOps to be made subject to such
> 3. The making of reckless computing a felony. "Reckless computing" is
> classified as anything which could potentially cause damage.
Weird... Ctrl-C'ing at the right time could "potentially cause damage"
by crashing the host machine. Causing a conflict of 2 TSR's at your
end (thereby causing your machine to lock up) necessitating a reboot
(and hence dropping the connection) could "potentially cause damage"
to the host system.
Sorry..."reckless" as opposed to "intentional" conduct should NOT be
the subject of criminal actions unless there is good grounds for doing
Recklessness in, for example, the area of driving a motor vehicle may
justifiably be the subject of legal sanctions - but only because of
the danger to life that it causes. I don't think there is an analogous
justification in the area of computer misuse!
> 4. The making a careless computing a misdemeanor.
How do you distinguish "careless" and "reckless"? Does not "careless"
computing have "the potential to cause damage"?
> 5. The enactment of greater protection against unreasonable search and
Now that is something I would support.
Date: Sun, 3 May 92 23:45 CDT
Subject: File 3--The Forgotten Victims of the "Bill Cook" Raids
A little over two years ago, there was much in Texas that caught the
interest of law enforcement personnel concentrating on computer crime.
Two investigations in other parts of the country focused attention on
individuals in the Austin and Dallas areas, the most well-known of
whom is Steve Jackson, the owner of an Austin-based game publishing
In July of 1989, Secret Service agents were examining electronic mail
records of a privately-owned computer system in Illinois owned by Rich
Andrews. Those records, which contained the computer equivalent of a
list of all mail sent through a particular post office, showed that a
copy of a newsletter called "Phrack" had been sent to Loyd
Blankenship, the managing editor at Steve Jackson Games, Loyd
Blankenship, in late February of 1989. It had also been sent to
thousands of others, but none of them were working on a book that, the
Secret Service agents felt, romanticized computer crime.
The editor of the Phrack newsletter, a pre-law student at the
University of Missouri/Columbia by the name of Craig Neidorf, made the
activities of the telephone underground the focus of his publication.
He gave space to individuals fascinated with the telephones in their
lives, and with the technology that connected them. As phone company
technology grew to depend upon computers, so did those who read the
Bell Labs technical journals as if they were the sports page. The
pages of Phrack came to include technical discussions of computer
Mr. Neidorf, thought the Illinois Secret Service and the Illinois U.S.
Attorney-General's office, was up to no good. There was no difference
in their minds between writing about the computer underground and
participating in it. In the last days of January, 1990, Secret
Service agent Timothy Foley conducted a formal interview with Mr.
Neidorf in his college frat house. According to an affidavit sworn to
by Agent Foley, the two discussed the author of an article in Phrack
that contained a modified version of an element from an AT&T computer
operating system. The article was penned (under a pseudonym) by
Leonard Rose, Jr., a computer consultant who lived in Maryland at the
time, the affidavit said.
Mr. Rose was not unknown to computer professionals and enthusiasts in
Texas and around the country. His electronic mail and telephone
records were enough to shift the Secret Service's interest to Texas.
What follows is an informal chronology of the events between January
of 1990 and today. It is incomplete, partly out of consideration for
the wishes and privacy of some of the people with whom I spoke, and
partly because of the troubled calm that people have felt after the
departure of the current masters of Operation SunDevil.
1/90: Bell Communications Research security manager Henry M.
Kluepfel dials into Loyd Blankenship's home BBS, the Phoenix
Project, under his real name. By mid-February, he has seen
and read an issue of Phrack on the system, copied a list of
the system's users who might have read the newsletter, and
called the Secret Service. According to Agent Foley's
affidavits, what Kluepfel saw there was a threat to the
business of Kluepfel's employer and other telephone
2/90: Search warrants are given for the residences of Bob Izenberg
(2/20), Loyd Blankenship (2/28) and Chris Goggans (2/28),
and at the office of Steve Jackson Games (2/28). The SJG
warrant is unsigned; the other warrants are signed by U.S.
Magistrate Stephen H. Capelle on the day that they're
served. Although the warrant specifies that only computer
equipment and media may be seized as evidence, Secret
Service interest goes farther afield. Several videotapes of
public access programs are seized from one residence. Three
hours after the raid at another, Secret Service agents have
called Austin computer store owner Rick Wallingford at home,
to verify that he sold a pinball machine to one of the
warrant subjects. Prior to executing the warrants, Secret
Service agents have gone to security personnel at the
University of Texas to discuss the individuals, and to
obtain driver's license information and physical
descriptions. A subpoena is served at the University to
obtain access to Chris Goggans' computer records. Public
access computers attctc/killer (run by AT&T) and
elephant/puzzle (run by Izenberg) cease operation. The
former, which Secret Service agents claimed to have run "to
monitor the hacker community" was closed by AT&T order. The
latter was closed when the machine was seized under warrant.
The Steve Jackson Games "Illuminati" BBS goes down when it
is seized as evidence.
3/90: Semi-public access computer rpp386, in service since
September of 1987, drops most user accounts and connections
to other computers. Said its owner, John Haugh, "The
investigation with SunDevil was starting to get too close.
I knew Bill Kennedy, Bob Izenberg and Charlie Boykin. It
seemed reasonable that my system would come under
investigation." It didn't, and Mr. Haugh said that he has
never been contacted by any law enforcement officials with
regards to these matters.
4/90: Newsweek article "The Hacker Dragnet" by John Schwartz
discusses the Steve Jackson Games raid, among other issues.
6/90: Steve Jackson is told by the Secret Service that his seized
property can be picked up. Some of it is damaged, and one
hard disk, some hardware and assorted papers are not
9/90: Houston Chronicle article "War on Computer Crime Waged With
Search, Seizure" by Joe Abernathy discusses Steve Jackson
Games and Operation SunDevil. Agent Foley, on the phone in
Chicago, refuses return of property seized from Izenberg
1/91: Bill Kennedy gets a phone call from the Secret Service about
his knowledge of Len Rose. He is told that he's not under
investigation, and the Baltimore, Maryland Federal
prosecutor confirms this.
4/91: Byte magazine columnist Jerry Pournelle gives his
hall-of-shame "Onion of the Year" award to Agent Foley,
saying, "Mr. Foley's actions in Austin, Texas, regarding
Steve Jackson Games not only exceeded his authority, but
weren't even half competently done."
5/91: Steve Jackson Games and the Electronic Frontiers Foundation
file a civil suit against the Secret Service agents,
Bellcore technical personnel and others for damages.
9/91: U.S. Magistrate Capelle grants Izenberg's motion to unseal
the affidavit in support of search warrant filed by Agent
Foley on behalf of the Secret Service.
Now: The Steve Jackson Games suit presumably continues. The
Secret Service claims, in court documents, that all
investigations which have not resulted in indictments are
still in progress.
LOYD BLANKENSHIP: (aka The Mentor): Handed unsigned search warrant in
Austin, TX on 3/1/90, pursuant to which the feds seized $10K of
computer equipment. To this date, none of the equipment has been
returned, and no charges or indictments have been made. Still works
for Steve Jackson Games (who is in the middle of suing the government
thanks to the EFF!). Now runs a usenet node out of his house
CHRIS GOGGANS: Former employee of Steve Jackson Games. Unavailable
JOHN HAUGH: Computer consultant in Austin, TX. Owner/operator of
rpp386 semi-public computer system. On computer
criminals: "These are the people that are making it
hard for us...Forcing the government to be
investigating people in the first place."
BOB IZENBERG: Former operator of public access Unix site "elephant".
Handed search warrant in Austin, TX on 2/20/90. U.S.
inventory of seized property: minimum $34,000, give or take
a $900 hammer. Court motion to unseal affidavit for search
warrant granted early 9/91. No charges or indictments.
Property not returned, pursuant to "ongoing investigation."
Runs public access usenet site "dogface" at home.
BILL KENNEDY: Computer consultant in Pipe Creek, TX. Contacted by
Secret Service agents over the phone at a friend's home. (It is a
subject for speculation how it was known that he was at this
particular friend's house. Monitoring of phone activity at Kennedy's
home might have given this information.) During the half hour
conversation, he was told that he was not under investigation, and was
asked about his association with other individuals under scrutiny. A
copy of a note which stated that he was not under investigation was
faxed to him. Subsequent phone conversation with the Baltimore
Federal prosecutor confirmed this. After Len Rose pled guilty,
Kennedy was told that he would be flown to Baltimore to testify, but
never was called upon to do so. He called the Baltimore Federal
prosecutor back at this point and was told that they "were through
with him." Of the investigation,
and of former Chicago prosecutor William Cook, Kennedy said, "They may
not have had enough live sacrifices to suit them... Cook was on a
witch hunt: If they didn't have anything, they'd make some."
As mentioned earlier, there are names and events left unmentioned at
individual request. It is difficult to convey the frustration, anger
at various individuals, and desire to put it all behind that the named
and un-named individuals with whom I spoke have expressed. As one
said, "The emotional toll was pretty steep." But, hey, aren't we all
safer? Wasn't it all worth it?
Date: Sat, 2 May, 1992 21:19:04 CDT
Subject: File 4--A Forgotten Victim of the 1990 Raids
One victim of the January, 1990 raids, has preferred to remain out of
the public eye and has successfully kept a low profile. We'll call
him "Joe." Joe ran Jolnet, a Unix public access BBS in Lockport,
Illinois, about 30 miles southwest of Chicago across the river from
Joliet. Joe reportedly discovered files on his system containing E911
information purloined from BellSouth's computers by Legion of Doom
member Robert Riggs (who used the handle "Robert Johnson"). Joe
reported their existence to whom he believed to be the proper telecom
authorities, which included providing access to Jolnet for Bellcore's
Henry Kluepfel. They took no immediate action. Joe cooperated with
the authorities, but ultimately had his equipment confiscated anyway.
The files Riggs obtained were related to BellSouth's E911 system, and
from Jolnet he sent parts of them to others. Since 1988, the Secret
Service had been investigating "computer intrusions," particularly a
few Legion of Doom members. The arrest and indictment of Riggs led
them to Craig Neidorf, who published a portion of the edited E911
maintenance files in Phrack 24 under the sig of "The Eavesdropper." In
January 18, 1990, The Secret Service and security personnel from
Southwestern Bell and Bellcore found the Phrack file and a password
cracking program called login.c among Craig Neidorf's posessions. They
traced the login.c program back to Len Rose, and on February 1, 1990,
they searched his premises in Maryland, where they found unauthorized
Unix sourcecode in his possession. Not realizing how ballistic the
Secret Service and AT&T would go over possession of unlicensed
software, and threatened with major felony charges of transporting
stolen property across state lines (18 USC 2314) and wire fraud (18
USC 1030(a)(6), Len indicated that he sent a copy of the program to
The next day (February 2), Secret Service Special Agent Barbara Golden
obtained a warrant to search Joe's house under 18 USC 2314 and 18 USC
1030(a)(6). They would look for disks, documents, and anything else
that seemed computer-related. Secret Service agents and various
security officials wasted little time in trooping out to Joe's brown
ranch house with the yellow trim. On February 3, they struck. Marty
Flynn of AT&T Corporate Information Security valued the software Joe
was suspected to have (which included UNIX SVR 3.1 and 3.2, and
Starland 3.0 Network Software) at over $250,000. Flynn checked AT&T
records and informed the agents that Joe held only a limited $100
"Tool Chest" agreement. Joe's previous cooperation with Kluepfel for
over a year was forgotten. Joe was raided and he lost much of his
equipment, even though he was never indicted.
Joe's fall from grace--from cooperative citizen to victim--was another
in the list of disrupted lives caused by the Secret Service and
others. Those who were indicted paid a heavy price, but the
victimization of those who are unindicted must not be forgotten.
Joe, at last report, was employed, relatively happy, and just wanted
to be left alone. He still did not have his equipment returned, and
was not trying to get it.
Craig Neidorf has graduated from the University of Missouri and plans
to go to law school.
Len Rose is completing the last few weeks of a one-year sentence in a
community release center in Chicago.
Robert Riggs was released from prison in 1991 and periodically appears
Henry Kluepfel, former Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Cook, and
Secret Service Special Agents Timothy Foley and Barbara Golden are
defendants in a civil sought brought against them for reckless
behavior in the subsequent raid on Steve Jackson Games.
Date: Fri, 8 May 1992 15:27:50 -0500
Subject: File 5--Pay Craig's Legal Fees For 29 Cents?
Craig Neidorf's legal fees, incurred from his defense against felony
charges in the "PHRACK" case, remain high. He is paying them off
bit-by-bit, but the process is slow.
For new readers, Craig was indicted by the U.S. Government on charges
of wire fraud and theft as the result of publishing what federal
prosecutor William J. Cook erroneously believed to be proprietary
information. Because of the efforts of John Nagle, Sheldon Zenner
(Craig's attorney) was able to show that the information published in
Phrack was available in public documents for about $12.95 (see Bob
Izenberg's post, above). The prosecution dropped the case even before
it finished presenting it. Craig's "victory" exacted an emotional and
financial toll. His legal expenses were in excess of $100,000 even
after generous help from supporters.
Craig's case represented a landmark in the relationship of cyperspace
and the law. It marked the beginning of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation and Cud; it created an awareness of the need to fight for
the same Constitutional protections in the electronic frontier as
exist in more conventional realms; it stimulated involvement of a
number of socially conscious persons from a broad spectrum of
professions (e.g., Mitch Kapor, Dorothy Denning, Jim Warren, John
Perry Barlow, Marc Rotenberg); it challenged (and reduced) what some
saw as the abuse of power by law enforcement agents and prosecutors in
pursuing "computer crime"; and it led to open public debates about
over both the freedoms and the responsibilities of the new electronic
Craig was initially tempted to accept a plea-bargain. In some ways,
this would have been more beneficial: He would have lower legal fees
and it would not have been as disruptive to his life. He chose to
fight on principle, and we have all benefited from his choice.
We can *ALL* help Craig for only a few minutes and a 29 cent stamp.
Craig as been nominated for a Playboy Foundation award worth $5,000
toward his legal fees. The award is for those who have contributed to
protecting First Amendment rights, and Craig's contributions to
stimulating public awareness of and action on such rights in
cyberspace is undeniably significant. Here's the blurb for the award:
PLAYBOY FOUNDATION OPENS NOMINATIONS FOR 1992 HUGH M.
HEFNER FIRST AMENDMENT AWARDS
"Established in 1979 by the Playboy Foundation to celebrate the
25th Anniversary of Playboy Magazine, the awards program is
designed to educate the public about First Amendment issues and
to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to
enhance and protect First Amendment rights of Americans."
Readers are encouraged to send a letter in support of Craig Neidorf's
Jill Chukerman or Kris Farley
680 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
NOTE: THE DEADLINE FOR LETTERS IS MAY 22 !! The winners will be
announced in September. Below is a rough draft of our own letter:
+++ cut here +++
9 May, 1992
Jill Chukerman or Kris Farley
680 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
I am writing in support of Craig Neidorf's nomination for the Playboy
Foundation's "Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award." Craig's
contributions to enhance Constitutional protections of the First
Amendment have been unique and substantial. At extreme personal cost,
he chose to fight for a Constitutional principle he believed in, which
ultimately led to an awareness by others of the need to protect the
rights of electronic media.
While in highschool, Craig founded an electronic newsletter called
PHRACK that was available to the public by means of a computer and a
telephone modem. PHRACK published a variety of articles and news
blurbs, authored by others, on computer culture. In 1989 (Craig was
now a senior at the University of Missouri), PHRACK published a
document that BellSouth (a regional Bell telephone company) asserted
was "proprietary," and its publication, it argued, indicated theft and
wire fraud. In early 1990, the U.S. Secret Service acted on these
allegations. Craig was tried in July, 1990. The defense demonstrated
that the material published in PHRACK was available to the general
public for about $12.95, and the prosecution dropped the case.
Although he "won," the victory disrupted his academic performance
and resulted in over $100,000 in defense fees.
Craig could have accepted the advice of his friends, who argued that
it would be both cheaper and less traumatic to accept a plea bargain
than to fight his case in federal court. However, Craig recognized
that there were a number of principles involved. He was especially
concerned that a large corporation, aided by seemingly over-zealous
law enforcement personnel, could produce a "chilling effect" on the
rights to expression by intimidating and punishing those who published
material it did not like. Craig chose to fight.
Craig's choice had substantial consequences. His case generated
considerable interest among users of electronic media, and it seemed
to many that Craig was being victimized unjustly for publishing in
electronic form the type of material that would have been accepted in
a more conventional paper format. In fighting for the principle of
freedom of speech, Craig stimulated others to organize and participate
in protecting and enhancing Constitutional liberties in the electronic
frontier. Craig is a courageous pioneer who put principle before
personal expediency. If not for his willingness to resist encroachment
on First Amendment freedoms, there would not be the current interest
in organizing to protect them in the electronic media.
Craig intends to enter law school and pursue his interest in civil
liberties. His actions exemplify the spirit of the Award making him a
most-deserving candidate, hope that you share the views of myself and
others that he would be a worthy recipient.
If I can provide any further information, do not hesitate to contact
Professor, Sociology/Criminal Justice
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Date: Wed, 6 May 92 15:50:12 CDT
From: Joe.Abernathy@HOUSTON.CHRON.COM(Joe Abernathy)
Subject: File 6--Online Debate Article
This article appeared in the Washington report of the Sunday, May 3,
Houston Chronicle. Please send feedback and further developments to
Joe.Abernathy@houston.chron.com (800) 735-3820
Hungry candidates might share a byte
Computer-based electronic communities emerge as political constituency
By JOE ABERNATHY
Copyright 1992, Houston Chronicle
A leading figure in computer communications is issuing a challenge
this weekend for the major presidential candi dates to participate in
the first national online political debate.
And a spokesman for at least one presidential hopeful - Democratic
front-runner Bill Clinton - said the candidate likely would accept the
A spokeswoman for President Bush's campaign said no decisions will be
made about any debates until after the primary season. Bush is
expected to clinch the GOP nomination in state conventions this
weekend in Maine and Wyoming.
"But depending upon how it's organized, as we get closer to the
general election, it may be something we will consider,'' said Darcy
Campbell, the Bush spokeswoman.
The debate would be a milestone in a year marked by firsts for a
nascent electronic democracy movement.
Empowered by the ability to quickly reach an audience estimated at 8
million to 15 million people, at little cost, organizers of this new
political community envision the debate as a way to bring the major
presidential candidates and media into potential personal contact with
every citizen who owns a computer and a modem - the device that lets
computers communicate via phone lines.
Online activist Jim Warren's proposal for the debate is being
distributed to the campaigns of Clinton, Bush and the other most
prominent candidate - prospective independent H. Ross Perot, as well
as to Democrat Jerry Brown, Republican Patrick Buchanan and
Libertarian Andre Marrou.
It calls for a panel of three reporters from major media outlets to
communicate online with each candidate over the course of a week in a
moderated newsgroup - an electronic roundtable set up for the purpose.
A parallel, unmoderated newsgroup would allow direct discussion of the
issues by everyone online, while the journalists on the panel would be
required to accept proposed questions from the online audience. Jeff
Eller, campaign spokesman for Clinton, the governor of Arkansas, said
Clinton likely would participate.
"I don't think that would be a problem at all,'' he said, adding that
the campaign already has placed position papers and other information
online. "Anything that brings more people into the system is a great
The Perot campaign did not respond to an interview request.
The debate proposal is the latest development in a series of events
drawing attention to the emergence of computer-based electronic
communities as a political constituency.
Notably, a proposal by Perot to organize electronic town meetings has
set fire to an online grass roots movement to put him on the ballot as
an independent. Democratic candidate Jerry Brown already has gone
online for direct electronic give-and-take with potential supporters.
In California and Alabama, a number of major candidates have signed
agreements to enact legislation to protect civil liberties such as
free speech and privacy regardless of whether they are exercised on
paper, on computer networks, or in media yet to be envisioned.
"This is the first time that 8 to 15 million people have been online
out of all of history, and that suddenly provides a critical mass for
political action,'' said Warren. "That provides an interesting
"Secondly, the candidates who have any awareness of modern technology
realize that this is an essentially free opportunity to reach millions
of voters, in a manner unrestricted by cost or sound bite editing or
Warren is a member of the board of directors of the software firm
Autodesk; a columnist for MicroTimes; the founder of the Infoworld
newspaper; founding host of the PBS series Computer Chronicles; and
organizer of the First Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy, a
seminal event in giving shape to the online political community.
"National online interaction between citizens and their
representatives by far will provide the most efficient and effective
means of having legitimate representation and active citizen
participation in the governmental process,'' he said, adding that this
gives rise to a number of interesting considerations.
"A large percentage of the people who are online are well educated,
affluent citizens who are often leaders within their communities. I
think there are too many people online for government to successfully
suppress what is developing, this communication mechanism that is
developing so rapidly.
"One of its major advantages for legitimate candidates is that
communications have to be long on information and short on useless
emotional content ... which undoubtedly horrifies some politicians.''
Soaring sales of personal computers are likely to strengthen the new
online electorate. Analysts say that 7 million personal computers were
sold last year, bringing the number of home users to 20 million - plus
60 million in business.
As many as 15 million people are linked on the global Internet
computer network, with the number growing. The commercial service
Prodigy now claims 1.5 million users, while CompuServe claims to reach
980,000, and GEnie around 600,000.
Users of smaller scale community bulletin board systems represent a
potentially even larger group, although it's hard to say where one
begins and the next ends. Boardwatch magazine, which loosely monitors
the field, estimates that there are several tens of thousands of such
BBSs around the country. Each of them allows from a handful to several
hundred personal computer users to call in and trade messages,
computer software, and other information.
Current issues often are hot topics, the most recent example being the
Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles, which is prominent in online
conversation just as it is dominating national news.
In Washington, the chairman of the House Administrative Committee
recently said that all House members will have, by next year, full
interactive access to users of the Internet computer network, which is
quickly eclipsing the academic and military worlds that gave birth to
While the new online electorate is likely to bring change, it is not
supplanting traditional methods. Instead, computer-based conferencing
is adding a new dimension to the traditional process by which a grass
roots candidate is drafted.
Perot, who has not yet himself been spotted online, has become a
beneficiary, as services such as the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link
(WELL) in San Francisco, the commercial Prodigy information service,
and a "Perot for President'' bulletin board communicate strategy and
rally potential supporters.
As the best known computer link of writers, thinkers and activists,
the WELL has become the online focus of the intellectual issues raised
by the Perot movement.
But the Prodigy service, with its broader presence among non-experts,
has become the battle front, as Perot support ers frantically trade
information on efforts to get his name placed on the ballots of all 50
One typical message recently posted to a Prodigy confer ence promoted
a Perot rally in Houston.
In Colorado, meanwhile, the new "Online for H. Ross Perot'' bulletin
board may offer a measure of the breadth of support.
"I want to send you $5,'' wrote Marjorie Darling, who is described as
"about 80'' and got involved through Senior Net, an activity organized
by Dave Hughes, an online activist who runs the Perot board.
"We hear the third candidate has only been a spoiler' and can never,
or has never made it running for president,'' wrote Darling. "But none
of those has been 'Ross Perot, Business Man.'
"You can make it!''
Date: 10 May 92 20:49:04 EDT
From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: File 7--Two Cornell Students Indicted in Virus Case
TWO AT CORNELL INDICTED IN VIRUS CASE
Two Cornell University students now have been indicted for felonies in
connection with the computer virus case that came to light last
February at the Ithaca, N.Y., university.
David Blumenthal and Mark Pilgrim are accused of embedding a virus in
three Apple Macintosh computer games that were sent from Cornell's
computer center to an archive at Stanford University. Authorities say
from there, the games were duplicated and wound up in computers across
the U.S., Japan and Great Britain.
Blumenthal, 20, and Pilgrim, 19, who, in convicted, face a maximum
four years in prison, were arrested in February on misdemeanor
charges, which were increased to felonies because the virus is
believed to have caused more than $1,000 in damage, said county
District Attorney George Dentes.
Reprinted from A NETWORKER'S JOURNAL May 8, 1992
End of Computer Underground Digest #4.21
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank