Computer underground Digest Mon June 29, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 28 Editors: Jim Thomas and

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Computer underground Digest Mon June 29, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 28 Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Associate Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Jr. Newest Authormeister: B. Kehoe Ex-Arcmeister: Bob Kusumoto Downundermeister: Dan Carosone CONTENTS, #4.28 (June 29, 1992) File 1--Proposal: A Market Mechanism for Information Age Goods File 2--EFF on GEnie's RoundTable Back issues of CuD can be found in the Usenet 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 ( and 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 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: Sat, 20 Jun 92 12:39:51 0 From: infoage! (Brad Cox, Ph.D.) Subject: File 1--Proposal: A Market Mechanism for Information Age Goods The enclosed article, which was written as a column for an object-oriented programming magazine, proposes an initiative that has great potential for both good and for harm. I believe that superdistribution, as discussed in this paper, should be relevant to EFF's interests, even though it looks at privacy from a viewpoint contrary to the one that EFF generally endorses. ++++++++++++++ "WHAT IF THERE *IS* A SILVER BULLET...AND THE COMPETITION GETS IT FIRST?" (Invited Column; Journal of Object-oriented Programming; June 1992) Few programmers could develop a compiler, word processor or spreadsheet to compete in today's crowded software market The cost and complexity of modern-day applications far exceed the financial and intellectual capacity of even the rarest of individuals. Even large-granularity sub-components like window systems, persistent object databases and communication facilities can be larger than most individuals could handle. But nearly any of us could provide smaller (so-called 'reusable') software components that others could assemble into larger objects; components as small as Stacks and Queues. So why don't we? Why do we drudge away our lives in companies with the financial, technical, and marketing muscle to build the huge objects we call applications? Why don't we start software companies, like Intel, to invent, build, test, document, and market small-granularity objects for other companies to buy? Think of the reduction in auto emission pollution if more of us stayed home to build small-granularity components for sale! Think of not having to get along with the boss! Object-oriented programming technologies have brought us tantalizingly close to making this dream technically, if not economically, feasible. Subroutines have long been able to encapsulate functionality into modules that others can use without needing to look inside, just as with Intel's silicon components. Object-oriented programming languages have extended our ability to encapsulate functionality within Software-ICs<1> that can support higher-level objects than subroutines ever could<2>. Such languages have already made the use of pre-fabricated data structure and graphical user interface classes a viable alternative to fabricating cut-to-fit components for each application. All this is technically feasible already, even though the software industrial revolution has hardly begun<3>. Yet these technical advances have not really changed the way we organize to build software. They've just providing better tools for building software just as we've done in the past. The pre-fabricated small components of today are not bought and sold as assets in their own right, but are bundled (given away) inside something much larger than any individual could build. Sometimes they are bundled to inflate the value (and price!) of some cheap commodity item, as in Apple's ROM software that turns a $50 CPU chip into a $5000 Macintosh computer. Sometimes they play the same role with respect to software objects, as in the libraries that come with object-oriented compilers. There is no way of marketing the small active objects that we call reusable software components, at least not today. The same is true of the passive objects we call data. For example, nearly 50% of the bulk waste in our landfills is newspapers and magazines. Nearly half of our bulk waste problem could be eliminated if we could break the habit of fondling the macerated remains of some forest critter's home as we drink our morning coffee. But this is far more than a bad habit from the viewpoint of newspaper publishers. If they distributed news electronically, how would they charge for their labor? Paper-based information distribution makes certain kinds of information unavailable even when the information is easily obtainable. For example, I hate price-comparison shopping and would gladly pay for high-quality information as to where to buy groceries and gasoline cheaply within driving distance of my home. This information is avidly collected by various silver-haired ladies in my community, but solely for their own use. There is no incentive for them to electronically distribute their expertise to customers like myself. What if entrepreneurs could market electronic information objects for other people to buy? Couldn't geographically specialized but broadly relevant objects like my gasoline price example be the 'killer apps' that the hardware vendors are so desperately seeking? Think of what it could it mean to today's saturated market if everyone who buys gasoline and groceries bought a computer simply to benefit from Aunt Nellie's coupon-clipping acumen? Information Age Economics These questions outline the fundamental obstacle of the manufacturing age to information age transition. The human race is adept at selling tangible goods such as Twinkies, automobiles, and newspapers. But we've never developed a commercially robust way of buying and selling easily copied intangible goods like electronic data and software. Of course, there are more obstacles to building a robust market in electronic objects than I could ever mention here. Many of them are technological deficiencies that could easily be corrected, such as the lack of suitably diverse encapsulation and binding mechanisms in today's object-oriented programming languages, insufficient telecommunications bandwidth and reliability, and the dearth of capable browsers, repositories and software classification schemes. My second book, Object Technologies; A Revolutionary Approach, considers these technical obstacles in detail to show how each one could be overcome if suitable economic incentives were in place. The biggest obstacle is that electronic objects can be copied so easily that there is no way to collect revenue the way Intel does, by collecting a fee each time another copy of a silicon object is needed. More than any other reason, this is why nobody would ever quit their day job to build small-granularity software components for a living. A striking vestige of manufacturing age thinking is the still-dominant practice of charging for information age goods like software by the copy. Since electronic goods can be copied easily by every consumer, the producers must inhibit copying with such abominations as shrinkwrap license agreements and copy protection dongles. Since these are not reliable and are increasingly rejected by software consumers, SPA (Software Publishers Association) and BSA (Business Software Alliance) have even started using handcuffs and jail sentences as copy protection technologies that actually do work even for information age products like software. The lack of robust information age incentives explains why so many corporate reuse library initiatives have collapsed under a hail of user complaints. "Poorly documented. Poorly tested. Too hard to find what I need. Does not address my specific requirements." Except for the often rumored "Not invented here" syndrome, the problem is only occasionally a demand side problem. The big problems are on the supply side. There are no robust incentives to encourage producers to provide minutely specialized, tested, documented and (dare I hope?) guaranteed components that quality-conscious engineers might pay good money to buy. As long as these "repositories" are waste disposal dumps where we throw poorly tested and undocumented trash for garbage pickers to "reuse", quality-conscious engineers will rightly insist, "Not in my backyard!" Paying for software by the copy (or "reusing" it for free) is so widespread today that it may seem like the only option. But think of it in object-oriented terms. Where is it written that we should pay for an object's instance variables (data) according to usage (in the form of network access charges) yet pay for methods (software) by the copy? Shouldn't we also consider incentive structures that could motivate people to buy and sell electronic objects in which the historical distinction between program and data are altogether hidden from view? Superdistribution Lets consider a different approach that might work for any form of computer-based information. It is based on the following observation. Software objects differ from tangible objects in being fundamentally unable to monitor their copying but trivially able to monitor their use. For example, it is easy to make software count how many times it has been invoked, but hard to make it count how many times it has been copied. So why not build an information age market economy around this difference between manufacturing age and information age goods? If revenue collection were based on monitoring the use of software inside a computer, vendors could dispense with copy protection altogether. They could distribute electronic objects for free in expectation of a usage-based revenue stream. Legal precedents for this approach already exist. The distinction between copyright (the right to copy or distribute) and useright (the right to 'perform', or to use a copy once obtained) are both provided by existing copyright laws. They were stringently tested in court a century ago as the music publishers were sorting out the implications of the emerging music broadcasting industry. When we buy a record, we acquire ownership of a physical copy (copyright), but only a limited useright; just the right to use the music for personal enjoyment. Conversely, large television and radio companies get the very same records for free, but pay substantial fees for the useright to play the music on the air. The fees are administered by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcasting Musicians Institute) by monitoring how often each record is broadcast to how large a listening audience. A Japanese industry-wide consortium, JEIDA (Japanese Electronics Industrial Development Association) is developing an analogous approach that analogizes each computer to a station that broadcasts to an audience of one<4>. Called superdistribution, its premise is that copy protection is exactly the wrong idea for software. Instead, superdistribution allows software to be freely distributed and freely acquired via whatever distribution mechanism you please. You are specifically encouraged to download superdistribution software from networks, give copies to your friends, or send it as junk mail to people you've never met. Spray my software from airplanes if you want. Please! This generosity is possible because this software is 'meterware'. It has strings attached that effectively make revenue collection completely independent of software distribution. The software contains embedded instructions that make it useless except on machines that are equipped for this new kind of revenue collection. The computers that can run superdistribution software are otherwise quite ordinary. In particular, they will run ordinary pay-by-copy software just fine. They just have additional capabilities that only superdistribution software uses. In JEIDA's current prototype, these services are provided by a silicon chip that plugs into a Macintosh coprocessor slot. Electronic objects (not just applications, but active and/or passive objects of every granularity) that are intended for superdistribution invoke this hardware to ensure that the revenue collection hardware is present, that prior usage reports have been uploaded, and that prior usage fees have been paid. The hardware is not complicated (the main complexities are tamper-proofing, not base functionality). It merely provides several instructions that must be present before superdistribution software can run. The instructions count how many times they have been invoked by the software, storing these usage counts temporarily in a tamper-proof persistent RAM. Periodically (say monthly) this usage information is uploaded to an administrative organization for billing, using public key encryption technology to discourage tampering and to protect the secrecy of this information. The end-user gets a monthly bill for their usage of each top-level component. Their payments are credited to each component's owner in proportion to the component's usage. These accounts are then debited according to each application's usage of any sub-components. These are credited to the sub-component owners, again in proportion to usage. In other words, the end-user's payments are recursively distributed through the producer-consumer hierarchy. The distribution is governed by usage metering information collected from each end-user's machine, plus usage pricing data that is provided to the administrative organization by each component vendor. Since communication is infrequent and involves only a small amount of metering information, the communication channel could be as simple as a modem that autodials a hardwired 800 number each month. Many other solutions are viable, such as flash cards or even floppy disks to be mailed back and forth each month in the mails. A Revolutionary Approach Whereas software's ease of replication is a liability today, superdistribution makes it an asset. Whereas software vendors must spend heavily to overcome software's invisibility, superdistribution thrusts software out into the world to serve as its own advertisement. Whereas the personal computer revolution isolates individuals inside a standalone personal computer, superdistribution establishes a cooperative/competitive community around an information age market economy. Of course, there are many obstacles to this ever happening for real. A big one is the information privacy issues raised by usage monitors in every computer from video games to workstations to mainframes. Although we are accustomed to usage monitoring for electricity, telephone, gas, water and electronic data services, information privacy is an explosive political issue. Superdistribution could easily be legislated into oblivion out of the fear that the usage information would be used for other than billing purposes. A second obstacle is the problem of adding usage monitoring hardware to a critical number of computers. This is where today's computing establishment could be gravely exposed to those less inclined to maintain the status quo. It is significant that superdistribution was not developed by the American computer establishment, who presently controls 70% of the world software market. It was developed by JEIDA, an industry-wide consortium of Japanese computer manufacturers. The Japanese are clearly capable of building world-class computers. Suppose that they were to simply build superdistribution capabilities into every one of them, not as an extra-price option but as a ubiquitous capability of every computer they build? Review the benefits I've discussed in this column and then ask: Whose computers would you buy? Whose computers would Aunt Nellie and her friends buy? What if superdistribution really is a Silver Bullet for the information age issues I've raised in this column? And what if the competition builds it first? [Footnotes] <1> ) Software-IC is a registered trademark of The Stepstone Corporation. <2> Brad J. Cox; Object-oriented Programming; An Evolutionary Approach; Addison Wesley; 1986. <3> Brad J. Cox; Object Technologies; A Revolutionary Approach; Addison Wesley; late 1992. Also see Planning the Software Industrial Revolution; IEEE Software; November 1990, and There is a Silver Bullet; Byte magazine; October 1990. <4> Ryoichi Mori and Masaji Kawahara; Superdistribution: An Overview and the Current Status; ISEC 89-44; and Superdistribution: The Concept and the Architecture; The Transactions of the IEICE Vol. E 73 No 7 July 1990. Also seeWhat lies ahead; Byte 1989 January; pp 346-348 and On Superdistribution; Byte 1990; September; p 346. * * * * * Brad Cox, Ph.D. (203) 868-9182 voice / -0780 fax Information Age Consulting Best: infoage! ------------------------------ Date: 21 Jun 92 19:49:14 EDT From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM> Subject: File 2--EFF on GEnie's RoundTable ______________________________________________________ | | | The Public Forum * NonProfit Connection RoundTable |______ |______________________________________________________| | | Sysops' GE Mail: PF$ RTC Sunday 9pm EDT: MOVE 545;2 |______ |___________________________________________________________| | | News, Current Events, Government, Societal Issues, Nonprofits | |________________________________________________________________| __________________________________________________________________ | Rights & responsibilities, government, politics, minority civil |_ | rights, volunteerism, nonprofit management, the media, the | | | environment, international issues, gay/lesbian/bisexual issues, | | | women & men, parenting, youth organizations and more! | | |__________________________________________________________________| | |__________________________________________________________________| ________ PF$ PF*NPC Sysops _____________ | |_ | Weekly RTC: |_ | The | | SHERMAN Tom Sherman | 9pm Eastern | | | PF*NPC | | SCOTT Scott Reed | on Sundays! | | | Staff: | | CHERNOFF Paul Chernoff | Type M545;2 | | |________| | GRAFFITI Ric Helton |_____________| | |________| SHERRY Sherry |_____________| Real-time Conference: Free Speech Online with Jerry Berman (May 31, 1992) ==================================================================== (C) 1992 by GEnie (R) and Public Forum*NonProfit Connection This file may be distributed only in its entirety and with this notice intact. Who gets to control the content of electronic communication and the telephone system through which it travels? Is the First Amendment well-served by current public policy and legislation? On May 31, at 9 pm ET, Jerry Berman, formerly chief legislative counsel for the ACLU, joined us in RealTime Conference to talk about electronic free speech. Founder of the ACLU Privacy and Technology Project, Jerry currently directs the Washington, DC, office of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Don't miss lively discussion of Science, Technology and Society in bulletin board category 7, and check out the files on technology and society in our library. See Cat 7/Topic 1 for details. -=-=-=-=- An electronic meeting place for friends, family and national "town meetings," GEnie is an international online computer network for information, education and entertainment. For under $5.00/month, GEnie offers over 50 special interest bulletin boards and unlimited electronic mail at no extra charge during evenings, weekends and holidays. GEnie is offered by GE Information Services, a division of General Electric Company. In the Public Forum*NonProfit Connection, thousands of people every day discuss politics and a wide range of social and nonprofit issues. A neutral arena for all points of view, the PF*NPC is presented by Public Interest Media, a nonprofit organization devoted to empowering people through the socially productive use of information and communication technology. For more information about GEnie or the Public Forum, call 1-800-638-9636 or send electronic mail to To sign up for GEnie service, call (with modem in HALF DUPLEX) 800-638-8369. Upon connection, type HHH. At the U#= prompt, type XTX88367,GENIE . The system will prompt you for information. __________________________________________________________ -=(( The Public Forum * NonProfit Connection RoundTable ))=- -==((( GEnie Page 545 - Keywords PF or NPC )))==- -=((__________________________________________________________))=- <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> Welcome to the last in this month's series of realtime conferences on Technology and Society! These RTCs raise important issues for the future. You'll find these issues discussed in our bulletin board, especially in Category 7, and in many excellent files in the Public Forum library. Before we get started, a word about the process: So that everyone gets a turn at the beginning, only our guests and people asking questions will be able to talk. When you have a question, type /RAI to raise your hand. I'll call on you in order. Please type your question, but DON'T hit to send it. When you're called on, THEN hit to send your question quickly. It's good to use three periods if you have more to say and to put GA for "go ahead" at the end of a final phrase. And now it's our pleasure to introduce tonight's special guests: Jerry Berman was chief legislative counsel for the ACLU and founded its Privacy and Technology Project. He now directs the Washington D.C. office of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is joined here tonight by his EFF colleague Sheri Steele. They're here to talk with you about general issues of free speech online. For example: Who gets to control the content of electronic communication and the telephone system through which it travels? Is the First Amendment well-served by current public policy and legislation? I also want to announce that EFF and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility are both getting GEnie accounts so that they can participate in discussions like this in the BB and provide information in our file library Welcome, Jerry and Shari! Would you like to make any introductory remarks? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Good to be here! Shari and I are at EFF Washington Office on Capitol Hill in D.C. so we're inside the beltway, trying to protect civil liberties for cyberspace. Does anyone have any questions? <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> Please type /RAI if you have a question and I'll call on you. Jerry, maybe you'd like to add a few words about the EFF server? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> EFF is a new advocacy organization that is trying to achieve the democratic potential of new technology. We opened our Washington Office in January of this year (EFF started a year before)... We are working on a range of civil liberties issues. For example, opposing the FBI's efforts to control digital telephone technology to make wiretapping easier. We are trying to get Congress, the FCC and the states to make this telephone network digital to make all of this democracy we are engaged in easier and less savage. <[Randy] R.DYKHUIS> Does the EFF work with e-mail systems inside companies or does it focus exclusively on "public" networks like GEnie? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> We consider GENIE a "private" network even though it is open to the "public." On the other hand, the telephone network is a public regulated network. Do you get the distinction? <[Randy] R.DYKHUIS> Yes, I understand. <[gene] G.STOVER> In our current Information Revolution, like in the Industrial Revolution, rights and other legal issues are being juggled and rearranged. A lot of freedoms and privileges are at stake. Are you optimistic about the outcome? Will future generations thank us for the world we are creating? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> A big issue in the electronic age is insuring that the public network carries all speech and does not censor. Like telephone calls. It is not clear that this is the current regime... I am optimistic if we can join together to make sure rights are guaranteed and extended in cyberspace or the electronic age. <[Ric] GRAFFITI> Thanks for coming tonight! We archive all of the EFFector online issues here in the public forum library, and I have read a lot about Operation Sun Devil. Where does that stand, now? What is the EFF doing? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> We have brought a civil suit against the government and the case is in currently in the discovery phase in Texas. It'll take time, but we hope to establish new privacy rights for bulletin board users. <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> Jerry, you might say a few words to describe Sun Devil for those who don't know about it. <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Lots of people know that the Secret service and FBI conducted a sweeping and overbroad search looking for suspected computer hackers. We need to focus, even tonight, on other pressing issues that confront us. For example, Are we going to continue to let the government control encryption so that we can never have real privacy either against law enforcement agencies or against others who want to violate ojur communication privacy. <[Ric] GRAFFITI> One of the most disturbing aspects of Sun Devil was the confiscation of private property - computers and related equipment and supplies - without charges being brought OR the return of the stuff. They can easily silence us, apparently, by taking away our modems and terminals. What can be done? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> We have to establish new investigative law enforcement warrant requirements for computer crime investigations where First amendment rights may be involved. There are precedents... The FBI must use special procedures to conduct undercover operations when it may be targeted against a newspaper or university or political group to protect against interfering with free speech... Congress almost passed legislation after Watergate to limit in statute how the FBI investigates political groups. Guidelines do exist, even though the bill did not pass... We have to do the same for BBS type investigations. <[Branch] H.HAINES3> What would probably be your biggest concern regarding current electronic freedom, or the biggest threat you are aware of? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> We need to insure that this telephone network that GEnie is on MUST carry all speech, and not be able to discriminate on the basis of content. Telephone companies are not carrying certain political "900" number accounts because they think they don't have to carry all services just like telephone calls. This could come to serve as a precedent for not carrying a controversial BBS service. These rules need to be worked out in law now before the Jesse Helms' of the world get into this technology when it is easier and see what's going on... <[Branch] H.HAINES3> I hear a lot of reports that *P* (Tom PF knows this term I'm sure) is very restrictive about what can be said by its users. Would that be part of the problem you describe? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Good question. Prodigy is a private service. It is not big enough to be regulated like a public institution. So they can discriminate and make editorial decisions not to carry speech. We think this is a misguided policy and have told Prodigy so publically and privately. However, we want Prodigy to have rights. We think the best answer is to make the telephone network better so there can be many Prodigy's and similar services and make it easier for everyone to use a GEnie or some other provider that has a more open policy. We need to make the telephone network digital now. We can do this well before we get to fiber optics and other 21st century technologies. But it will require political action. It is EFF's highest priority now. <[gene] G.STOVER> Are BBS operators currently held responsible for the information on their BBSes? Should they be held responsible? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> It depends. There is very little case law. But if a BBS has a forum like this one open to all, it should not be liable if, for example, I libel one of you or commit a crime on line... But today, we are not sure what responsibilities BBSs have. Some case law suggests that it is limited and that a BBS is like a newsstand, and newsstand operators don't have to know everything in every mag or book on the stand. <[gene] G.STOVER> So if someone posts something illegal on a BBS and is prosecuted, is the sysop prosecuted, too? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> It could be charged. The operator would argue that it is not reasonable under the circumstances to say it knew of or should have known the crime was being committed. This will be a factual issue. The legal issue is to get the Courts or the Congress to give BBS operators a lot of freedom to err or not to censor. Like a newspaper is not liable to public figures for defamation unless it acts recklessly in disregard of the truth. <[Charlie] VASSILOPOULO> How large is the movement in Washington to legislate morality in general and specifically in electronic media, and who spearheads that movement? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Today, all sides--but especially the right--want to legislate one kind of morality or another. Our job is to make sure it is not inconsistent with the constitution when electronic technology is involved. We have had Congress several years ago try to outlaw certain gay BBS systems because of possible child pornography. Such bills will come up again when this technology is more widely used. You can be sure that the morality gang in Congress will try to regulate adult, political BBSs when they are really in a majority of American homes. And as you know, this is not far off. We need to establish the rules now before we have Congress looking at very controversial siutuations with no rules in mind, or a precedent. <[Darla] KUBY> Won't there be sort of a 'conflict of interest' with you having a free account on GEnie? I mean, would Compuserve give you a free account? Or Prodigy? <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> Let me step in here. EFF is not getting a free account; they're paying just like everyone else except that we're giving them free access to the Public Forum because they are helping with the discussion and library files. <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Darla, we are paying. <[Darla] KUBY> Would you accept the same from Compuserve or Prodigy? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Of course, we would love to pay them also. We are on Compuserve and we have a Prodigy account. What, by the way, is the conflict if we had a free account--which we don't? <[Connie] C.RIFENBURG> A question recently came up on one of the boards concerning reposting of a deleted post. The original poster had deleted a post. It was captured by another person in a buffer and reposted to the BBS. People said it was against copyright laws...? Who "owns" the BB post once posted? <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> Connie, I'm afraid you're asking a question that has partly to do with GEnie rules. But Jerry can certainly answer the general question <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Again, it depends. I dont think it is covered by copyright law unless the posting was from, say, a book or magazine and wasmnore than fair use. <[Connie] C.RIFENBURG> Then copyright is only book or magazine? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> No. But when I send this message I do not expect to be covered by copyright even though I may say something very original. I could I guess put a THIS IS COPYRIGHTED here. But it would be difficult to enforce... Copyright does apply to more than books or magazines, however, like film, etc. <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> Jerry, I think your comment conflicts with those of another RTC guest, Gerry Elman, Esq. But that's why we have courts, I guess :) <[Ric] GRAFFITI> It may be too fine a distinction, but all online systems are actually store & forward messaging systems (voice mail & pager systems, too), instead of direct communications channels like the phone lines. That seems to make the BBS or online service a publisher, by re-broadcasting (or narrowcasting, to one person) the messages as if it had originated the message, even though system operators had nothing to do with the content. That seems to be where confusion over liability for defamation and criminal conduct occurs. Any comment? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Yes. Analogies break down but the store and forward does not always mean the ability to edit or know of the contents in such a way as to be liable. For example, under current law, a service that offers E-mail to its users violates the law if it reads a stored message (email) before it is forwarded or while it is stored. In fact the FBI has to get a warrant from a court to get such a message. This is one of the issues in Steve Jackson case. Did they have a warrant for all the emial in Jackson's system? <[Ric] GRAFFITI> They got it, didn't they? :) Seriously, then, online and BBS systems are not liable for the contents of email? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> That is correct. Thus, one could shield a BBS from liability by encouraging anything controversial be carried as email between those who wanted to send and receive the messages. <[gene] G.STOVER> Do you think the proposed(?) partial deregulation to allow the telcos to produce TV is a good idea? Could this produce abuses like those with the old railroad tycoons? Comments? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Good question. The issue is whether a carrier (like the telcos) can also publish content and not discriminate against other information providers. There is good reason to worry, but did you know that while the telcos can't do cable TV yet over their lines, they NOW can do information services and compete with others? <[gene] G.STOVER> Where could I find more info on this? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Send Shari Steele E-Mail at ( <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> And you'll see the EFF GEnie address pretty soon! <[T.C.] WIDMO> What is the danger of public BBS messages being gathered by gov't, to suppress individual political action? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Not much right now. Since the Watergate scandals and Hoover revelations, government has not been collecting gobs of info from political groups. They used to gather everything using informants and wiretaps, etc.... also attend public meetings. Today, if a police officer joined this conference, we would have a hard time arguing that he or she could not. Does any one disagree? <[T.C.] WIDMO> Could they pressure co's with gov't contracts to forward to them anything questionable? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Sure they could. They could ask BBS services to give them transcripts of public forums like this and it would break no law. (Perhaps a contract between BBS and subscriber but NO LAW.) I just came in on this a short time ago so I may have missed this, but does an online service such as GEnie or Prodigy have a right to censor public messages on the BB's? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> The answer is Yes. For example, if GEnie did not want a DAVID DUKE conference it could turn Duke down. Or it could end the conference. GEnie is a private publisher and its BBS conferences are like letters to the editor in some respects. GEnie is not the government. We want GEnie to have the right to editorialize so that we all have similar rights to choose how we speek. We need a diversity of BBSs to cover political diversity. Does anyone disagree? <[Ric] GRAFFITI> I imagine you run into the misperception about public vs. private data networks often. However, moving on...... Could you comment on the FBI's "demand" to be let in and given free access to the plaintext of the digital phone network? Why did they publish editorials and go on TV with this request to massively re-engineer modern phone & data equipment? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Good question. The FBI is worried that fiber optic networks, services like Call-Forwarding, etc. will make it difficult for them to conduct lawful warrants. This is a real concern, but we do not believe the solution is to allow them backdoors to all networks or easy access to encryption keys. There are narrower solutions. They went on TV and radio because they are engaged in political persuasion to get the law changed in their favor. We are doing the same from the other side. CPSR, EFF, ACLU and industry are opposing this proposal. <[Ric] GRAFFITI> Is the day of the phone bug, wire tap and easy access to private communications coming to a close? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> No. Some of the technology is better for privacy but software changes can give law enforcement access to more info than ever. <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> Jerry, what would you suggest that people, who are concerned about free speech online, do to insure that corporate or government interests won't impose limitations? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> Citizens on the electronic frontier need to organize to protect their rights. Keeping informed--like here on GEnie--is a good step. Joining organizations like CPSR, EFF, and ACLU (I try to be catholic) also will help. We are trying to put together at EFF an advocacy organization that can make our voices heard on these issues. We are amping up our membership effort. We now already have 4 full professionals here in DC working on legal and policy issues involving technology, free speech, privacy, access to information, improving the telephone network, creating a BBS rights and responsibilities book, etc... <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> You said something about these issues being settled in the courts or in Congress. Which would you prefer? Is working through EFF, CPSR, ACLU etc the best way to influence the outcome? <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> I do not think we can solve large technology issues in the courts. It took the courts 40 years to figure out that wiretapping violated privacy. Bad cases, like national security threats, tend to make bad law... and this is not a liberal Supreme Court, is it? We need broader technology policy and that requires working out new relationships between converging technologies, like computers, telephones, cable, mass media... Congress and state legislatures are the appropriate forums. And we can have an influence and not let the courts do the elitist solution routine. <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> A perfect closing answer! Thanks to Jerry Berman and Shari Steele for joining us tonight, and thanks to the EFF for joining GEnie to improve our discussion of these crucial issues for the future. I also want to thank all the participants who asked great questions tonight and to encourage all those reading this transcript to join us! -----# Participants #----- <[Connie] C.RIFENBURG> <[gene] G.STOVER> <[Ric] GRAFFITI> <[Branch] H.HAINES3> <[Darla] KUBY> <[JERRY BERMAN] PRESS20> <[Randy] R.DYKHUIS> <[Tom PF*NPC] SHERMAN> <[Charlie] VASSILOPOULO> <[T.C.] WIDMO> | | This listing was generated by LRTC Version 1.00 | (C)opyright by Hartmut W. Malzahn, 1991. All rights reserved. | ______________________________________________________ | | | The Public Forum * NonProfit Connection RoundTable |______ |______________________________________________________| | | Sysops' GE Mail: PF$ RTC Sunday 9pm EDT: MOVE 545;2 |______ |___________________________________________________________| | | News, Current Events, Government, Societal Issues, Nonprofits | |________________________________________________________________| ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #4.28 ************************************


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