Computer underground Digest Sat July 11, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 30 Editors: Jim Thomas and

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Computer underground Digest Sat July 11, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 30 Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Copy Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Jr. Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Archivist in spirit: Bob Kusumoto Shadow-Archivist: Dan Carosone CONTENTS, #4.30 (July 11, 1992) File 1--MOD Busts in New York File 2--New York Computer Crime Indictments File 3--MOD Bust (Press Release, US Atty, S. District of NY) File 4--EFF responds to MOD Indictments... File 5--LoD t-shirts File 6--AT&T's fight against toll fraud continues File 7--Boston BBS Shutdowns File 8--OMB A130 REVISION 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; from American Online in the PC Telecom forum under "computing newsletters;" 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: 10 Jul 92 18:33:32 EDT From: Moderators Subject: File 1--MOD Busts in New York Federal Agents indicted five members of MOD, a group of computer crackers, last week on 11 counts that included conspiracy, wire fraud, unauthorized access to computers, unauthorized possession of access devices, and interception of electronic communications. Julio Fernandez (Outlaw), John Lee (Corrupt), Mark Abene (Phiber Optik), Elias Ladopoulos (Acid Phreak), and Paul Stira (Scorpion) were indicted under various provisions of Title 18, including 18 USC S. 1029(a)(3); 18 USC S. 371; 18 USC S. 2511(1)(a) and 2); and 18 USC S. 1343. The charges allege that the defendants broke into telephone switching computers of several Bell systems, engaged in "phreaking," and computer tampering. Phiber Optik, perhaps the best-known of the group, Scorpion, and Acid Phreak were raided by federal agents in January, 1990. Felony charges against Phiber Optik were dropped in January, 1991, when he pled guilty to misdemeanor offenses. The bulk of the allegations listed in last week's indictment occured in November, 1991. Members of MOD received national attention in 1990 as the result of an article on "hackers" in the Village Voice (Dibbell, Julian. 1990. "On Line and Out of Bounds," Voice, 35(July 24): 27-32.) Phiber Optik, an occasional active participant in The Well's "Hacker's conference," demonstrated his abilities to other members by obtaining credit and and similar private information, and by defending "hacking" and computer intrusion (see Harper's Forum. 1990. "Is Computer Hacking a Crime? A Debate from the Electronic Underground." Harper's, 280(March): 45-57). Among some "hackers," MOD was considered the "bad boys" of the computer underground because of alleged disruptiveness and harassment that was perceived to be their trademark. According to some, MOD had a reputation for arrogance and for vindictive retaliation against those who "crossed" them that ran counter to the "hacker ethic." A few, however, saw MOD as skilled teenagers whose apparent eccentricities should be tolerated because of their skill. Prosecution of malicious behavior is appropriate, but as the articles below suggest, much of the evidence against the group derives from wiretap information. As the NEWSBYTES article suggests, the case may be raised as an example of the importance of passing proposed legislation to expand the wire-tapping capability of law enforcement agents. One need not support alleged destructive behavior to be suspicious of law enforcement methods and attempts to expand intrusive powers that have been demonstrably abused in the past. ------------------------------ Date: 10 Jul 92 21:14:29 EDT From: Subject: File 2--New York Computer Crime Indictments NEW YORK, N.Y., U.S.A., 1992 JULY 9 (NB) -- Otto G. Obermaier, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has announced the indictment of five "computer hackers" on charges of computer tampering, computer fraud, wire fraud, illegal wire tapping and conspiracy. The announcement was made at a press conference at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, July 8th at the Federal Court hose in Manhattan Named in the indictment were Julio Fernandez, 18, known as the "Outlaw"; John Lee, 21, a/k/a "Corrupt"; Mark Abene, 20, a/k/a "Phiber Optik"; Elias Ladopoulos, 22, a/k/a "Acid Phreak"; and "Paul Stira, 22, a/k/a "Scorpion". In addition to alleged specific illegal acts involving computers, the five individuals were also charged with conspiracy. According to the indictment, the five were members of a group known as MOD (standing for either "Masters of Disaster" or "Masters of Deception") and the goal of the conspiracy was "that the members of MOD would gain access to and control of computer systems in order to enhance their image and prestige among other computer hackers; to harass and intimidate rival hackers and people they did not like; to obtain telephone, credit, information, and other services without paying for them; and to obtain. passwords, account numbers and other things of value which they could sell to others." The indictment defines computer hacker as "someone who uses a computer or a telephone to obtain unauthorized access to other computers." Obermaier stated that this investigation was "the first investigative use of court-authorized wiretaps to obtain conversations and data transmissions of computer hackers." He said that this procedure was essential to the investigation and that "It demonstrates, I think, the federal government's ability to deal with criminal conduct as it moves into new technological areas." He added that the interception of data was possible only because the material was in analog form and added "Most of the new technology is in digital form and there is a pending statute in the Congress which seeks the support of telecommunications companies to allow the federal government, under court authorization, to intercept digital transmission. Many of you may have read the newspaper about the laser transmission which go through fiber optics as ernment needs the help of Congress and, indeed, the telecommunications companies to able to intercept digital While all of those indicted were charged with some type of unlawful access to one or more of computer systems belonging to the following: Southwestern Bell, BT North America, New York Telephone, ITT, Information America, TRW, Trans Union, Pacific Bell, the University of Washington, New York University, U.S. West, Learning Link, Tymnet and Martin Marietta Electronics Information and Missile Group, Fernandez and Lee were also charged with selling illegally obtained credit information to a person that later re-sold the information to private detectives. Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Fishbein announced that Morton Rosenfeld has been indicted and pled guilty to purchasing credit information and access codes from persons named "Julio" and "John". Fishbein said that Rosenfeld, at the time of his arrest on December 6, 1991, has approximately 176 TRW credit reports in his possession. Rosenfeld, 21, pled guilty on June 24, 1992 and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 9th. He faces a maximum of five years imprisonment and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss incurred. Fishbein also announced the outcome of a "separate but related court action, Alfredo De La Fe, 18, pled guilty on June 19, 1992 to the use and sale of telephone numbers and codes for Private Branch Exchanges (PBX's). De La Fe said that he had sold PBX numbers belonging to Bugle Boy Industries to a co-conspirator who used the numbers in a call-selling operation. He also said that he and a person that he knew as "Corrupt" had made illegal long difference conference calls. De La Fe faces the same maximum penalty as Rosenfeld and is scheduled for sentencing on August 31st. Among the charges against the five charged as conspirators is the allegation that Fernandez, Lee, Abene and "others whom they aided and abetted" performed various computer activities "that caused losses to Southwestern Bell of approximately $370,000. When asked by Newsbytes how the losses were calculated, Fishbein said that there was no breakdown beyond that stated in the indictment -- "expenses to locate and replace computer programs and other information that had been modified or otherwise corrupted, expenses to determine the source of the unauthorized intrusions, and expenses for new computers and security devices that were necessary to prevent continued unauthorized access by the defendants and others whom they aided and abetted." In answer to a Newsbytes question concerning the appropriateness of making an intruder into a computer system totally responsible for the cost of adding security features "which possibly should have been there to begin with", Obermaier said "That theory would make the burglar the safety expert since one can't have people going around fooling around with other people's relatively private information and then claiming that I'm doing it for their good." Paul Tough of Harper's Magazine followed up on the same topic by saying "In the Craig Neidorf case a regional telephone company claimed that a document was worth over $100,000. When it was found to be worth only $12, the case was thrown out. In view of that, are you concerned that they (Southwestern Bell) may have overreported? In response, Obermaier "No, we are not concerned. It's a matter of proof and, if the accused stand trial and have a similar experience to as happened the case you cite, not in this district, then the results predictably will be the same." Fishbein said that the conspiracy change carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment while each of the other counts (there are 10 additional counts) carries a maximum of five years imprisonment and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss incurred. A single exception is a count charging Fernandez with possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices. That count carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. In response to a statement by Alex Michelini of the New York Daily News that "What you've outlined, basically, except for the sales of credit information, this sounds like a big prank, most of it", Obermaier said "Really, Well, I suppose, if you can characterize that as a prank but it's really a federal crime allowing people without authorization to rummage through the data of other people to which they do not have access and, as I point out to you again, the burglar cannot be your safety expert. He may be inside and laugh at you when you come home and say that your lock is not particularly good but I think you, if you were affected by that contact, would be somewhat miffed" Obermaier also said that "The message that ought to be delivered with this indictment is that such conduct will not be tolerated, irrespective of tensible purpose." Obermaier also said that "The message that ought to be delivered with this indictment is that such conduct will not be tolerated, irrespective of the ag of the particular accused or their ostensible purpose." Others participating in the news conference were Raymond Shaddick, United States Secret Service assistant director - Office of Investigations; William Y. Doran, FBI special agent in charge, New York criminal division; Scott Charney, United States Dept. of Justice chief of computer crime unit. All stressed the cooperation that had gone on between the various law enforcement agencies during the investigation. Charney told Newsbytes that, in spite of the fact that the search warrants executed on Stira and Ladopoulos preceded those executed on Lee and Fernandez by almost two years and that the last specific allegation against Stira proceeds the first against Lee by 16 months and the first against Fernandez by 21 months, there is evidence that links them together in the conspiracy. Charney also told Newsbytes that the counts against Abene were not related to a misdemeanor conviction in early 1991 for which he served community service. Those indicted have been asked to present themselves at New York Service Services headquarters at 9:00 AM on July 8th for fingerprinting. Arraignment for the indicted is scheduled for Thursday, July 16th. Abene told Newsbytes that while he couldn't comment on anything related to the indictment until he obtained legal counsel, "I've been participating i conferences with law enforcement personnel and guest lecturing to college classes for the last year and a half. In every case, I have said how those responsible for information about us have the responsibility to protect that data. I have also tried to explain the great difference between a true hacker and a person who uses computers for criminal profit. I hope that I have increased understanding with these efforts." (Barbara E. McMullen & John F. McMullen/Press Contacts:Federico E. Virella, Jr., United States Attorney's Office, 212 791-1955; Betty Conkling, United States Secret Service, 212 466-4400; Joseph Valiquette, Jr, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 212 335-2715/19920709) ------------------------------ Date: 09 Jul 92 21:14:29 EDT From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM> Subject: File 3--MOD Bust (Press Release, US Atty, S. District of NY) From-- J.MCNEELY6 Jack C. Mcneely To-- GRMEYER Gordon R. Meyer Sub: MOD Bust Group of "Computer Hackers" Indicted; First Use of Wiretaps in Such a Case To: National Desk Contact: Federico E. Virella Jr., 212-791-1955, or Stephen Fishbein, 212-791-1978, of the Office of the U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York; or Betty Conkling of the U.S. Secret Service, 212-466-4400; or Joseph Valiquette Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 212-335-2715 NEW YORK, July 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A group of five "computer hackers" has been indicted on charges of computer tampering, computer fraud, wire fraud, illegal wiretapping, and conspiracy, by a federal grand jury in Manhattan, resulting from the first investigative use of court-authorized wiretaps to obtain conversations and data transmissions of computer hackers. A computer hacker is someone who uses a computer or a telephone to obtain unauthorized access to other computers. The indictment, which was filed today, alleges that Julio Fernandez, a/k/a "Outlaw," John Lee, a/k/a "Corrupt," Mark Abene, a/k/a "Phiber Optik," Elias Ladopoulos, a/k/a "Acid Phreak," and Paul Stira, a/k/a "Scorpion," infiltrated a wide variety of computer systems, including systems operated by telephone companies, credit reporting services, and educational institutions. According to Otto G. Obermaier, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James E. Heavey, special agent in charge, New York Field Division, United States Secret Service, William Y. Doran, special agent in charge, Criminal Division, New York Field Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Scott Charney, chief of the Computer Crime Unit of the Department of Justice, the indictment charges that the defendants were part of a closely knit group of computer hackers self-styled "MOD," an acronym used variously for "Masters of Disaster" and "Masters of Deception" among other things. The indictment alleges that the defendants broke into computers "to enhance their image and prestige among other computer hackers; to harass and intimidate rival hackers and other people they did not like; to obtain telephone, credit, information and other services without paying for them; and to obtain passwords, account numbers and other things of value which they could sell to others." The defendants are also alleged to have used unauthorized passwords and billing codes to make long distance telephone calls and to be able to communicate with other computers for free. Some of the computers that the defendants allegedly broke into were telephone switching computers operated by Southwestern Bell, New York Telephone, Pacific Bell, U.S. West and Martin Marietta Electronics Information and Missile Group. According to the indictment, such switching computers each control telephone service for tens of thousands of telephone lines. In some instances, the defendants allegedly tampered with the computers by adding and altering calling features. In some cases, the defendants allegedly call forwarded local numbers to long distance numbers and thereby obtained long distance services for the price of a local call. Southwestern Bell is alleged to have incurred losses of approximately $ 370,000 in 1991 as a result of computer tampering by defendants Fernandez, Lee, and Abene. The indictment also alleges that the defendants gained access to computers operated by BT North America, a company that operates the Tymnet data transfer ne twork. The defendants were allegedly able to use their access to Tymnet computers to intercept data communications while being transmitted through the network, including computer passwords of Tymnet employees. On one occasion, Fernandez and Lee allegedly intercepted data communications on a network operated by the Bank of America. The charges also allege that the defendants gained access to credit and information services including TRW, Trans Union and Information America. The defendants allegedly were able to obtain personal information on people including credit reports, telephone numbers, addresses, neighbor listings and social security numbers by virtue of their access to these services. On one occasion Lee and another member of the group are alleged to have discussed obtaining information from another hacker that would allow them to alter credit reports on TRW. As quoted in the indictment, Lee said that the information he wanted would permit them "to destroy people's lives... or make them look like saints." The indictment further charges that in November 1991, Fernandez and Lee sold information to Morton Rosenfeld concerning how to access credit services. The indictment further alleges that Fernandez later provided Rosenfeld's associates with a TRW account number and password that Rosenfeld and his associates used to obtain approximately 176 TRW credit reports on various individuals. (In a separate but related court action, Rosenfeld pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use and traffic in account numbers of TRW. See below). According to Stephen Fishbein, the assistant United States attorney in charge of the prosecution, the indictment also alleges that members of MOD wiped out almost all of the information contained within the Learning Link computer operated by the Educational Broadcasting Corp. (WNET Channel 13) in New York City. The Learning Link computer provided educational and instructional information to hundreds of schools and teachers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Specifically, the indictment charges that on Nov. 28, 1989, the information on the Learning Link was destroyed and a message was left on the computer that said: "Happy Thanksgiving you turkeys, from all of us at MOD" and which was signed with the aliases "Acid Phreak," "Phiber Optik," and "Scorpion." During an NBC News broadcast on Nov. 14, 1990, two computer hackers identified only by the aliases "Acid Phreak" and "Phiber Optik" took responsibility for sending the "Happy Thanksgiving" message. Obermaier stated that the charges filed today resulted from a joint investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "This is the first federal investigation ever to use court-authorized wiretaps to obtain conversations and data transmissions of computer hackers," said Obermaier. He praised both the Secret Service and the FBI for their extensive efforts in this case. Obermaier also thanked the Department of Justice Computer Crime Unit for their important assistance in the investigation. Additionally, Obermaier thanked the companies and institutions whose computer systems were affected by the defendants' activities, all of whom cooperated fully in the investigation. Fernandez, age 18, resides at 3448 Steenwick Ave., Bronx, New York. Lee (also known as John Farrington), age 21, resides at 64A Kosciusco St. Brooklyn, New York. Abene, age 20, resides at 94-42 Alstyne Ave., Queens, New York. Elias Ladopoulos, age 22, resides at 85-21 159th St., Queens, New York. Paul Stira, age 22 , resides at 114-90 227th St., Queens, New York. The defendants' arraignment has been scheduled for July 16, at 10 a.m. in Manhattan federal court. The charges contained in the indictment are accusations only and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Fishbein stated that if convicted, each of the defendants may be sentenced to a maximum of five years imprisonment on the conspiracy count. Each of the additional counts also carries a maximum of five years imprisonment, except for the count charging Fernandez with possession of access devices, which carries a maximum of ten years imprisonment. Additionally, each of the counts carries a maximum fine of the greater of $ 250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss incurred. ++++++++++++ In separate but related court actions, it was announced that Rosenfeld and Alfredo De La Fe have each pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal District Court to conspiracy to use and to traffic in unauthorized access devices in connection with activities that also involved members of MOD. Rosenfeld pled guilty on June 24 before Shirley Wohl Kram, United States District Judge. At his guilty plea, Rosenfeld admitted that he purchased account numbers and passwords for TRW and other credit reporting services from computer hackers and then used the information to obtain credit reports, credit card numbers, social security numbers and other personal information which he sold to private investigators. Rosenfeld added in his guilty plea that on or about Nov. 25, 1991, he purchased information from persons named "Julio" and "John" concerning how to obtain unauthorized access to credit services. Rosenfeld stated that he and his associates later obtained additional information from "Julio" which they used to pull numerous credit reports. According to the information to which Rosenfeld pleaded guilty, he had approximately 176 TRW credit reports at his residence on Dec. 6, 1991. De La Fe pled guilty on June 19 before Kenneth Conboy, United States District Judge. At his guilty plea, De La Fe stated that he used and sold telephone numbers and codes for Private Branch Exchanges ("PBXs"). According to the information to which De La Fe pleaded guilty, a PBX is a privately operated computerized telephone system that routes calls, handles billing, and in some cases permits persons calling into the PBX to obtain outdial services by entering a code. De La Fe admitted that he sold PBX numbers belonging to Bugle Boy Industries and others to a co-conspirator who used the numbers in a call sell operation, in which the co-conspirator charged others to make long distance telephone calls using the PBX numbers. De La Fe further admitted that he and his associates used the PBX numbers to obtain free long distance services for themselves. De La Fe said that one of the people with whom he frequently made free long distance conference calls was a person named John Farrington, who he also knew as "Corrupt." Rosenfeld, age 21, resides at 2161 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. Alfredo De La Fe, age 18, resides at 17 West 90th St., N.Y. Rosenfeld and De La Fe each face maximum sentences of five years, imprisonment and maximum fines of the greater of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss incurred. Both defendants have been released pending sentence on $20,000 appearance bonds. Rosenfeld's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9, before Shirley Wohl Kram. De La Fe's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 31, before Conboy. /U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/ ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1992 17:26:52 -0500 From: Craig Neidorf Subject: File 4--EFF responds to MOD Indictments... +=========+=================================================+===========+ | F.Y.I. |Newsnote from the Electronic Frontier Foundation |July 9,1992| +=========+=================================================+===========+ FEDERAL HACKING INDICTMENTS ISSUED AGAINST FIVE IN NEW YORK CITY Yesterday, Federal officials indicted five people in New York City for computer crime. The indictments name Mark Abene (Phiber Optik), Julio Fernandez (Outlaw), John Lee (Corrupt), Elias Ladopoulos (Acid Phreak), and Paul Stria (Scorpion). The indictments charge that the accused used their computers to access credit bureaus, other computer systems, and make free long-distance calls. Prosecutors revealed they relied on court-approved wiretaps to obtain much of the evidence for their multiple-count indictment for wire fraud, illegal wiretapping and conspiracy. Each count is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Manhattan Federal Court on July 16. If found guilty on all counts the defendants could face a maximum term of 50 years in prison and fines of $2.5 million. Otto Obermaier, U.S. Attorney, discounted suggestions that the acts alleged in the indictment were only "pranks" and asserted that they represented "the crime of the future." He also stated that one purpose of the indictment was to send a message that "this kind of conduct will not be tolerated." Mark Abene, known to the computer community as Phiber Optik, denied any wrongdoing. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's staff counsel in Cambridge, Mike Godwin is carefully reviewing the indictments. Mitchell Kapor, EFF President, stated today that: "EFF's position on unauthorized access to computer systems is, and has always been, that it is wrong." "Nevertheless," Kapor continued, "we have on previous occasions discovered that allegations contained in Federal indictments can also be wrong, and that civil liberties can be easily infringed in the information age. Because of this, we will be examining this case closely to establish the facts." +=====+===================================================+=============+ | EFF |155 Second Street, Cambridge MA 02141 (617)864-0665| | ------------------------------ Date: 25 Jun 92 17:38:55 EDT From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM> Subject: File 5--LoD t-shirts ++++ Original post follows ++++ Date-- Wed, 24 Jun 92 19--35--36 -0500 From-- (Aston Martin) Net Denizens: With all the amazing hullabaloo going on in several newsgroups and throughout the electronic community as a whole, I have decided to go ahead and make one more, FINAL, print run on the LOD t-shirts. Please, if anyone is interested, have your mail sent by the end of July, so everyone who wants one can get one this time. I thought that in the 6 print orders I made previously "Everyone" who wanted one got one, but from the requests I have received apparently not. I was amazed at the orders that came in from locations such as Hong Kong, England, Netherlands and Australia. The list of luminaries who came out of the woodwork with an interest in such item was equally as impressive, security types at LLNL, government employees, hackers from the golden days, and even a certain regular contributor to a few "not for normal distribution" mail lists. This run is for those of you who got left out. Again, I urge that you respond before July 31, as that is when it the opportunity ends forever. Blatant promotion follows: "LEGION OF DOOM--INTERNET WORLD TOUR" T-SHIRTS! Now you too can own an official Legion of Doom T-shirt. This is the same shirt that sold-out rapidly at the "Cyberview" hackers conference in St. Louis. Join the other proud owners such as Lotus founder Mitch Kapor and award-winning author Bruce Sterling by adding this collector's item to your wardrobe. This professionally made, 100 percent cotton shirt is printed on both front and back. The front displays "Legion of Doom Internet World Tour" as well as a sword and telephone intersecting the planet earth, skull-and-crossbones style. The back displays the words "Hacking for Jesus" as well as a substantial list of "tour-stops" (internet sites) and a quote from Aleister Crowley. This T-shirt is sold only as a novelty item, and is in no way attempting to glorify computer crime. Shirts are only $15.00, postage included! Overseas add an additional $5.00. Send check or money-order (No CODs, cash or credit cards--even if it's really your card) made payable to Chris Goggans to: Chris Goggans 5620 Glenmont #P-17 Houston, TX 77081 ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1992 16:57:47 -0400 From: Brendan Kehoe Subject: File 6--AT&T's fight against toll fraud continues AT&T is giving businesses a new way to fight telephone fraud and abuse. The long-distance carrier is offering a calling card that allows corporate customers to preselect specific phone numbers, area codes, or countries that can be called by the card's user. Non-designated calling areas cannot be accessed. The card, which allows managers to designate up to 50 possible calling combinations, will be available for free this year. Beginning next year, AT&T will charge a service fee for the card. Information Week, June 29, 1992. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 30 Jun 92 21:22:00 PDT From: Mark Coats Subject: File 7--Boston BBS Shutdowns Has anyone heard about several BBSs being shutdown in the Boston area? I recently talked to Bob Chatelle, who told me that three boards, all gay oriented, have ceased operation recently. The first was well known, the Eagle's Nest, and was seized in conjunction with a raid on a rowdy party. The second, the Boston Connection, ceased operation and Bob has no info on it. The last, Doug's Den, was embroiled in a sale of the BBS itself, when it is rumoured to have been seized by the feds on child pornography charges. If you know anyone tracking Cyberbusts and/or suspicious BBS shutdowns please forward this to them. Bob is not on the net but can be reached at 617-497-7193 or at: Bob Chatelle 296 Western Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139 Thanks, ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1992 18:19:13 EDT From: James P Love Subject: File 8--OMB A130 REVISION Taxpayer Assets Project Information Policy Note June 23, 1992 THE APRIL 29, 1992 PROPOSED REVISION TO OMB CIRCULAR A-130. SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION - Important policy advisory for all federal agencies concerning the management of federal information resources. - Proposed Revision is an improvement over the existing A-130, but needs considerable work. Your comments are needed. - Public comments due by August 27, 1992 - Comments can be filed at any time before the deadline by email. Send to (Internet): INTRODUCTION On April 29, 1992 OMB published a notice in the Federal Register asking for public comments on proposed revisions of its OMB Circular A-130. This important circular is a policy advisory from OMB to all federal agencies concerning the management of government information resources. Since it was first issued in 1985 A-130 has been a controversial document. In its earlier versions A-130 was used to eliminate or raise prices on many free publications, and to promote the privatization of the dissemination of government information. The April 29, 1992 draft is a major improvement from the 1985 circular or any of the previous attempts to revise it. There are also a number of problems with A-130. GOOD NEWS The best new features of the Circular are its decreased emphasis on privatization, the much more generous mandate to use computer technologies to disseminate government information (its ok for a government agency to "add value"), and OMB's very good statement on pricing of government information (no more than the cost of dissemination). BAD NEWS DEPOSITORY LIBRARIES OMB contends that federal agencies do not have to give electronic information products and services to the federal depository library program. There are 1,400 federal depository libraries, including most major research libraries. They provide free access to thousands of federal publications. By law all federal agencies are required to provide copies of paper productions to this program, which was organized in the middle of the 19th century. OMB's proposal, which may not be legal, is a major change of philosophy, and it should be criticized strongly. We don't need a technological sunset of this important program which provides universal access to federal information resources. WHAT'S MISSING FROM THE CIRCULAR CONFLICTS OF INTEREST A surprisingly large number of agencies have contracts with private firms to carry out data processing or information dissemination tasks, when the contractor is also a potential competing outlet for the information. The conflicts of interest, both real and potential, are huge, and of great importance. Consider the following examples: SEC's Insider trading data. The SEC hires InvestNet to data punch its insider trading reports. InvestNet provides a copy of its work to the National Archives, missing the field of the shareholder's address. This makes the government's copy of the data worthless for many users. InvestNet then the public sells access to the complete data for very high fees. SEC's EDGAR system. The SEC hires Mead Data Central to disseminate the electronic records for EDGAR. Meanwhile, Mead wants to sell the public access to those same records. The result is one of the most restrictive systems for public access that one could imagine. LANDSAT. GM and GE are given a monopoly on the sale of LANDSAT data. Forget GM's conflict of interest in making data on air pollution and climate available to environmental groups. GM, through its Hughes subsidiary, wants to force people to buy its value added services, "enhancing" the LANDSAT data, before its disseminated. JURIS. The Department of Justice hires Westlaw to key punch federal court decisions. Westlaw, of course, is one of two commercial sources (with Mead Data Central) of legal information online. West provides the government with its headnotes, which West copyrights. West then can exercise a copyright over the entire database, which otherwise consists of the LAW itself. West has used this to prevent the public from having access to the JURIS online system and from preventing potential competitors from obtaining the records under FOIA. There are dozens of other cases of conflicts of interest. OMB should address this issue in A-130. PUBLIC NOTICE OMB is still acting as though the only reason for public notice is if there is a major decision on the creation or termination of an information product or service. We believe the public should have regular opportunities to comment on agency policies and practices. For example, since JURIS has never been available to the public, there hasn't been any public notice. Or, the SEC's public notice of EDGAR was years and years ago, before anyone knew what it was really going to do. What if the public wants something new that doesn't exist, or wants to criticize an agency choice of standards? Some of the most important issues concern the types of incremental adjustments that agencies need to make. We support the extensive public comment provisions that are described in Representative Owens' Improvement of Information Access Act (IIA Act, HR 3459). Let's do it right in A-130, and pay more attention to data users problems. NTIS Ever since Congress required NTIS to operate without taxpayer funds (funded entirely on user fees), it has used electronic products and services to subsidize its money losing paper products. Agencies now sell electronic products through NTIS, splitting fees. The records are no longer available through FOIA, and A-130's policy on pricing (no more than dissemination costs) is completely undermined. NTIS charges huge prices for its data in electronic formats. (As much as $1,000 or more for a single real of magnetic tape). This loophole is causing immense problems, and should be addressed in A-130. STANDARDS If the three most important things about information in a networked environment are standards, standards, and standards, then A-130 should talk more about standards. And when you talk about standards, you have to talk about *regular* public comment. Users have to be involved. Again, we support the Owens bill (HR 3459) approach on this. CONCLUSION Omb Circular A-130 is a pivotal federal document, and it will be important to file your comments by the August 27, 1992 deadline. OMB is making this very easy by allowing comments to be filed by email any time before the deadline, at For more information, contact OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Information Policy Branch internet: Office of Information and voice: 202/395-3785 Regulatory Affairs OMB Room 3235 New Executive Office Building Washington, DC 20503 ============================================================ James Love voice: 609/683-0534 Director, Taxpayer fax: 202/234-5176 Assets Project internet: P.O. Box 19367


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