Computer underground Digest Sun Oct 18, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 52 Editors: Jim Thomas and G
Computer underground Digest Sun Oct 18, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 52
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Copy Editor: Etaion Jhrdleau, Sr.
CONTENTS, #4.52 (Oct 18, 1992)
File 1--Fixed Problems With The AOTD Mailserver
File 2--More on Inslaw -- Justice Dept response
File 3--The Essence of Programming
File 4-- CPSR Social Action Report
File 5--Making the News and Bookstands (Reprint)
File 6--Legion Of Doom Connection With 911 Attacks Denied
Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are
available at no cost from email@example.com. The editors may be
contacted by voice (815-753-6430), fax (815-753-6302) or U.S. mail at:
Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115.
Issues of CuD can also be found in the Usenet comp.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; from America Online in the PC Telecom forum under
"computing newsletters;" on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210; and by
anonymous ftp from ftp.eff.org (220.127.116.11), ftp.ee.mu.oz.au
and red.css.itd.umich.edu -- the texts are in /cud.
Back issues also may be obtained from the mail server at
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 for non-profit 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: Fri, 16 Oct 1992 18:13:55 EDT
From: Chris Cappuccio
Subject: File 1--Fixed Problems With The AOTD Mailserver
Ok, well after I got my computer connected with UUCP (I'm still not a
registered system but soon I expect to register with the local UUCP
stuff and also get a domain name in mi.org), I tried to subscribe to
the AOTD list with my account on my machine (aotnet) but I couldn't.
It turned out, because we put some more security from people using the
mailing list, that Mike also accidentaly changed the list name. Well
this is fixed now. To subscribe to Art of Technology Digest, do
mail firstname.lastname@example.org Leave the "Subject" line blank Put this
in the text of your message: SUBSCRIBE AOTD
and you will be put on the mailing list. You should wait 1-24 hours
for a response. I am not using my computer as the mailserver because I
only have a 2400 baud (or bps, whatever you like) modem and no
mailserver software. Oh, one more thing, you can get back issues of
AoT-D from wuarchive.wustl.edu under directory: /pub/aot/. Enjoy!
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1992 22:58:43 -0700
From: James I. Davis
Subject: File 2--More on Inslaw -- Justice Dept response
Subject-- U.S. Justice Department Statement on Inslaw Affair
To-- Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L
Here is a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Justice Department Releases Statement
To: National Desk
Contact: U.S. Department of Justice, Public Affairs, 202-514-2007
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 -- The Department of Justice released today
the following statement:
Attorney General William P. Barr today told the House Committee on
the Judiciary that he will not seek the appointment of an Independent
Counsel as requested in a Sept. 10 letter from a majority of the
committee's Democratic members. His reasons for this decision were
set forth in a letter to the Committee. Under the Independent Counsel
statute, only the committee can make these materials public, and the
attorney general has asked that it do so.
The Sept. 10 letter requested the appointment of an independent
counsel to investigate allegations contained in a report adopted by
the committee's Democratic majority members entitled, "The Inslaw
The independent counsel statute was designed to apply to certain
exceptional cases. Accordingly, the statute's specialized procedures
are triggered in two specifically defined circumstances -- one
mandatory and one discretionary.
The mandatory provision, 28 U.S.C. 591 (a), requires the attorney
general to apply the procedures of the statute if and when he receives
specific and credible information sufficient to warrant a criminal
investigation of a "covered person." Covered persons' are a small
group of the most senior officials in the Executive Branch who are
specifically listed in the statute.
The discretionary provision of the statute, 28 U.S.C. 591 (c),
authorizes, but does not require, the Attorney General to proceed
under the statute if: (1) he receives specific and credible
information sufficient to warrant a criminal investigation of someone
other than a "covered person"; and (2) he determines that an
investigation or prosecution of that person by the Attorney General or
other officer of the Department "may result in a personal, financial
or political conflict of interest."
The department has concluded that the report contains no specific
information that any "covered person" has committed a crime.
Regarding "non-covered" persons, long before the committee
completed its report, Attorney General Barr appointed retired U.S.
District Judge Nicholas J. Bua as special counsel to investigate all
matters related to INSLAW. Judge Bua has had an outstanding judicial
career which has spanned almost thirty years. He has served on the
county, circuit and appellate courts in Illinois, and in 1977,
President Carter appointed him to the U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Judge Bua has full authority to conduct a thorough and complete
investigation of all INSLAW allegations -- including the power to
issue subpoenas and to convene grand juries. He is conducting his
investigation in a fair and impartial manner. The attorney general's
instructions included from the outset of this investigation for Judge
Bua to notify him of any information implicating the independent
counsel statute. Judge Bua found no evidence to support invoking the
mandatory or discretionary provisions of the independent counsel
statute before the report was issued, or since reviewing the report.
After an exhaustive review of the allegations, in accordance with
the requirements of the statute, the Attorney General will not seek
the appointment of an Independent Counsel at this time. The
department invites the committee, Congress, or any other source, to
provide any new information that warrants invoking the independent
Date: 13 Oct 92 01:15:59
From: The Dark Adept
Subject: File 3--The Essence of Programming
The Essence of Programming
by The Dark Adept
What exactly is a computer program? Why do people wish to copyright
it? Why do people wish to patent its effects? Why do programmers
A lot of these questions cannot be answered in a straightforward
manner. Most people would give you a different answer for each, but
there is an indirect answer: the essence of programming.
In a recent CuD issue a question was raised about Cyberspace being a
culture. I am no sociologist, but it is apparent to me that every
culture has some form of artistic expression. Cyberspace is no
different. Beneath every piece of E-mail, beneath every USENET post,
beneath every word typed into a word processor is an underlying piece
of art hidden from the user's eyes: the computer program.
"A computer program is art? Is this guy nuts?" Well, yes and no in
that order ;) Art has many different definitions, but a few things
are apparent about true art. True art is an extension of the artist.
It is his view of the world around him. It contributes to his world,
not only aesthetically, but by influencing people. This is true
whether the art form is music, sculpture, photography, dance, etc.
True art is also created. It fulfills the artist's need to create.
It is no less his creation and part of him than his own child.
The source code for a computer program is art pure and simple.
Whether it is written by one programmer or many. Each programmer
takes his view of the world the art will exist in (the core memory of
the computer and the other programs around it), and shapes the program
according to that view. No two programmers program exactly alike just
as no two authors will use the same exact sentence to describe the
And the computer program will influence people. Aesthetic value may
come from either video games, fractal generators, or even a hot new
GUI (graphical user interface -- like MS-Windows(tm)). But it does
more than this. It changes how people work, how people think. The
typist of the 1920's most certainly would look upon his work much
differently than the word processing secretary of the 1990's would
look upon his. No longer is the concern restricted to "should I
single- or double-space," but also to "what font should I use? What
Furthermore a computer program is interactive art. Once the program
is written and executed, people interact with it. Other machines
interact with it. Other programs interact with it. In fact, it is
not only interactive art, but *living* art. It reaches its fullest
not when looked at and appreciated, but put to use and appreciated.
It is not created to sit in the corner and be enjoyed, but also to be
interacted with and brought to life.
And just as the literary world had artists whose influence upon
society was negative instead of positive, their works are also art.
Hitler, Manson, Machiavelli, etc. all wrote great works whose
influence tore apart society and crippled it. However, even though
their work caused evil, it is nonetheless a form of art. _Mein Kampf_
caused more deaths in this world than almost any other publication.
For one piece of printed text to have this great of an effect on
society, the soul of the writer must be within those words. In another
vein, think of the Bible. Wars have been fought over it, miracles
have happened because of it, people have laughed and cried over it.
The reason is that the soul of the reader is stirred by the authors'
souls who are in the work itself. In any case, even thought _Mein
Kampf_ caused much evil, no one can deny that it was a powerful work
full of Hitler's soul, and deserves study and thought.
The negative art of the programming world would most certainly be
viruses and worms. Whether the author follows from Hitler and is bent
on the destruction of all unlike him, or is more of a scientist trying
to create life that is autonomous from the creator and it gets out of
hand like Dr. Frankenstein's, they are still great works. The
miniscule amount of "words" in a virus program can cause a greater
effect on people than the millions of "words" used to create DOS.
There is an elegant evil to them like there is to Machiavelli's _The
Prince_ which deserves study and thought.
To ban viruses, to ban worms is to ban the free expression and the
free thought of the artist. Yes, they should be stopped, but so
should the genocide proscribed in _Mein Kampf_. However, neither the
writing of _Mein Kampf_ nor the writing of viruses should be
disallowed and neither should their reading be restricted since if
nothing else both serve as a warning of what could happen if a
brilliant madman bent on killing and destruction is given an
opportunity to fulfill those psychotic fantasies.
For those programmers out there who have dabbled in Object Oriented
Programming (OOP), this relationship between art and programming
should be even clearer. In OOP, each part of the program is an actor
("who struts and frets" -- thanks, Bill) whose dialogue with the other
actors (objects) creates the play. Each object has his own
personality and capabilities, and, sadly enough, tragic flaws as well.
Now as for copyrighting and patenting and other such topics, I give
you this to think about. Who is the truer author of a great work:
Jackie Collins or Edgar Allen Poe? Why would each copyright? One
would copyright to protect their income, the other to protect their
child borne of their artistic expression. Computer programs should be
allowed protection in various forms, but to protect the inspiration
and expression within and not the dollar value generated by them. To
do so cheapens them and turns them into nothing more than trash
romance novels. Both may serve their purpose and be useful, but only
one is a great work -- the intent of the author comes from his soul as
well as his work, and only those of the purest origins will be great
while the others may only be useful.
Like many artists, the programmer pours his blood and sweat, his heart
and soul into his work. It is his child, a creation from his brow and
hand, and he loves it as such.
The essence of programming is the essence of the artist within the
programmer. To cheapen it by calling it a "product" is like calling
the "Mona Lisa" a product. Sure a price value can be placed on the
Mona Lisa, but the value stems from the affect that Leo's paint has
upon the observer, and not a sum cost of materials and labor so that a
profit of an acceptable margin is met and maintained.
Those who aren't programmers may not understand what I am talking
about, and there are programmers out there who may not understand what
I am talking about. However a select few may understand what I am
saying, and they are the true programmers and the true artists of
Cyberspace. Within them is the essence of the programmer and within
their source code is the essence of programming: their souls.
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1992 13:40:01 EDT
From: Jeff Johnson
Subject: File 4-- CPSR Social Action Report
TOWARDS A GUIDE TO SOCIAL ACTION FOR COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS
By Jeff Johnson, Chair, and Evelyn Pine, Managing Director,
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR)
"Being a typical nerd programmer, it's always been comforting
to believe that somehow whatever I was working on in the
darkness of my cubicle would eventually benefit the world. ...
I focused on what was interesting to me, assuming that it
would also be important to the world. But the events in L.A.
have forced me to think that maybe it doesn't work that way;
and to confront the question: what can I, as a professional
in the HCI field, do to help change what's going on in the
world?" -- a CHI'92 attendee.
The Rodney King video, trial, verdict, and subsequent riots jolted
Americans in many ways besides showing us acts of violence committed
by police and citizens. It also made the inequities of American
society painfully clear, and provided a clear response to Langston
Hughes' question: "What happens to a dream deferred?" Answer: it
explodes. This caused many people to rethink how they are conducting
their lives, and how we are conducting our neighborhoods, our cities,
our states, and our nation.
Computer professionals have a relatively comfortable position in this
society. For the most part, we are well-paid, and our jobs are more
secure than most. As a result, we live in nicer neighborhoods, send
our kids to better schools, eat healthier food, use better tools, and
have access to better health care. Because of this, some of us feel a
responsibility to help those in our society who aren't so well-off,
and some of us don't.
However, computer professionals are not just another well-paid segment
of society. We, more than people in most other lines of work, create
world-changing technology, technology that profoundly affects how
people live, work, and die. We can create technology that, e.g., can
be used to improve neighborhoods, education, food production and
distribution, tools, and health care. We can also create technology
that can be used to keep the poor out of our neighborhoods and
schools, produce and sell junk food and worthless tools, and limit
access to health care, as well as keep the lid on discontent and even
kill people more efficiently.
Computer technology can help reduce inequity and it can also help
exacerbate it. The public learned of the King beating because of
technology in the hands of citizens. Today anyone with a PC, an
ink-jet printer, and a copier can produce documents that political
activists of just thirty years ago, cranking out smelly typewritten
ditto copies, never imagined. Citizens of China and Thailand used
fax, video, and electronic mail to document government repression of
democratic movements. Computer technology is a crucial ingredient of
all of the above, in their design and manufacture as well as in the
Unfortunately, the effect of introducing computer technology has more
often been to increase the stratification of society. Let's face it:
computer systems often lead to loss of jobs. Furthermore, as the
infrastructure upon which society is based becomes more dependent upon
computer technology, those without technical skills are left behind.
The end of the Cold War and the recession, combined with the
introduction of computer technology, have served to exacerbate
joblessness and hopelessness for those who have been rendered
superfluous and don't have the education to become "knowledge
"How many of the projects that are funded will have a net result of
reducing jobs -- particularly jobs for less-educated people? ... I
find many in the computer industry have defensive rationalizations
for the fact that their own labor will result in the loss of jobs
to society. ... The up and coming area of software that I myself
work in -- workflow -- will automate people out of work. ... How
do we deal with this?" -- A CHI'92 attendee.
This special relationship between computer technology and society
gives those who develop it -- us -- responsibilities beyond any that
arise merely from our comfortable economic status. To quote from the
statement of purpose of Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility (CPSR): "Decisions regarding the development and use
of computers ... have far-reaching consequences and reflect basic
values and priorities. We believe that computer technology should
make life more enjoyable, productive, and secure."
The King riots jolted us, causing many of us to reflect on whether we
are living up to our responsibilities as citizens and as computer
professionals. The contrast between the world we inhabit, of which
the CHI'92 conference is a part, and the one that exploded into
violence and flames the week before the conference, caused some of us
to feel a certain alienation from our work, as the opening quotation
of this article illustrates. Are we part of the solution, or part of
the problem? Also, as the effects of the riots rapidly spread to
surrounding neighborhoods, other cities, and even the presidential
campaign, it became obvious that the two "worlds" aren't really
separate. That burning society we saw on TV wasn't someone else's, it
What Can I Do? -- The CPSR/CHI'92 "Social Issues" Session
In the midst of the worst period of rioting, as many of us were
preparing to head to Monterey, the site of CHI'92, Prof. Chris Borgman
of U.C.L.A. sent an e-mail message to several of her acquaintances
across the country, describing what was going on in L.A. and how she
and her friends there felt about it (see Shneiderman, 1992). Prof.
Ben Shneiderman was especially touched by the message. He contacted
the CHI'92 Co-Chairs, Jim Miller and Scooter Morris, and expressed his
desire that the conference should not run its course without
acknowledging the riots and the events that led up to them. Even
though the riots were not directly CHI- or computer-related, he felt
that ignoring them constituted burying our heads in the sand, and
would be morally wrong. Jim and Scooter agreed that something should
be done, but of course by that point the conference schedule was set.
They suggested a special session, during the lunch break just after
the official opening plenary session on Tuesday. Jim also suggested
that CPSR Chair Jeff Johnson be invited to help plan the session.
On Monday evening, Ben and Jeff met to plan the session. What quickly
emerged was a desire not only to acknowledge the distressing external
events and give people a chance to vent their spleens, but also to
help give people the wherewithal to act. To Ben and Jeff, it seemed
that many of their colleagues were angry, upset, worried, or
frightened about what was going on, but didn't know what to do about
it, or even how to find out. They decided that the session should be
an opportunity for people to share ideas on how computer
professionals, their employers, and their professional societies can
help address social problems of the sort that led to the riots. Jeff
proposed that to facilitate the capture and sharing of ideas, session
attendees be asked to submit ideas on paper as well as presenting them
verbally. CPSR volunteered to collect and compile the responses and
issue a report back to the attendees. Later that night, he created a
form for action-ideas, labeled "Constructive Responses to Events in
L.A. and Elsewhere," and made about 60 copies to cover the expected
The next morning, at the opening plenary session, Jim Miller announced
the special session. This was the first that the approximately 2500
attendees at CHI had heard of it.
At the announced time, despite the late notice and the conflict with
lunch, approximately 300 people showed up. Student volunteers quickly
went to make more copies of the "Constructive Responses..." form. Ben
Shneiderman expressed his delight at the number of people who had come
and opened the session, describing his feelings about the riots,
reading Chris Borgman's e-mail message, and giving the intent of the
session. Prof. Borgman then spoke, elaborating on her message and
giving her ideas about what people might do. She was followed by Jeff
Johnson, who talked about growing up in South Central L.A., what it is
like for his relatives who live there now, and about CPSR and some of
Members of the audience were then invited to the microphone to share
their ideas about what can be done to resolve social inequities. At
first, people were hesitant to speak, but within fifteen minutes or so
there were more people waiting to speak than there was time for. Some
people described volunteer work they do, some named organizations they
support, some talked about what companies do or should do, and some
talked about what various government bodies should be, but aren't,
One hundred and ten members of the audience wrote suggestions on the
forms and turned them in. After the conference, CPSR began the
process of compiling the responses and producing the promised report.
We found volunteers to put the responses on-line. We created an
e-mail distribution list consisting of respondents who had provided
e-mail addresses. We took a quick pass through the data, to see if it
contained ideas worth publishing and sharing. It did.
On the basis of our initial look at the responses, the report began to
take shape in our minds. We didn't think it would suffice to simply
list all of the ideas that the session attendees had written. A quick
query sent to the e-mail list confirmed this: session participants
didn't want the raw data or even lightly-digested data; they wanted a
well-digested, well-organized guide to social action, a resource
booklet that goes beyond what people put on their response forms. Not
everyone has been a volunteer or activist, and even those of us who
have can benefit from a complete guidebook on how to make a positive
contribution to society.
Producing such a comprehensive report presented CPSR with a challenge,
for it would require a significant amount of work. For instance, many
respondents mentioned organizations, but it was up to us to provide
contact addresses. We also found some suggestions to be out-of-date,
e.g., organizations that have changed policies. The research
necessary to produce such a report in the months following CHI'92
exceeds what CPSR's small staff and volunteer-base can deliver. To
produce the full report would require funding to allow us to pay for
some of the labor. We made some initial efforts to get funding, so
far without success. Nonetheless, we were committed to producing a
timely report for the CHI'92 session attendees. With encouragement
from Ben Shneiderman, the two of us decided to write a brief version
of the report for SIGCHI Bulletin. Hopefully, this brief initial
report will help attract funding for a full report.
This report is therefore intended to be the first deliverable of a
possible new CPSR project that would, if funded, provide computer
professionals with information and guidance on how to become "part of
the solution" to pressing social problems. Depending upon funding,
subsequent deliverables may include:
- a moderated e-mail discussion list on social involvement, - an
e-mail archive/server for information on social involvement, - the
aforementioned booklet: "A Guide to Social Action" for computer
professionals, suitable for companies to distribute to employees,
containing an overview of the ways to get involved, a categorized
list of ideas, a directory of organizations, some success examples,
with a sprinkling of interesting quotes from attendees of the CHI'92
special session. - a clearinghouse service to help computer
professionals and companies down the road toward social involvement.
In this initial report, we chose to focus on a few of the
most-commonly-suggested ideas, rather than present a shallow overview
of all of them. A more complete list will have to wait until the
booklet. We begin with some comments on what we have learned from
this exercise, then summarize a few of the suggestions, and conclude.
What have we learned from this?
"Tell me how I can help." -- a CHI'92 attendee.
Despite the stereotype of the apolitical, work-obsessed nerd, computer
professionals do care about what goes on in the world. Many are
already involved in volunteer projects, political action, and
critically examining the impact of their work. More importantly, many
more are looking for ways to get involved. The King riots really
shook up a lot of people.
The respondents see potential in themselves, their companies, and
their professional associations, but are concerned that social issues
often get lost in the shuffle of busy people and companies.
CHI conference attendees may not be representative of computer
professionals in general. Their professional focus on the interaction
between people and machines may make them more likely to be concerned
about social issues. However, CPSR members nationwide -- who are not
predominantly CHI members -- have been proving for over a decade that
a computer career and interest in social issues are not mutually
There is no shortage of good ideas about how to get involved. The
hundred and ten respondents in the CPSR-CHI special session have
provided a first glimpse, but our feeling is that many more good ideas
remain to be suggested.
Many individuals, organizations, and companies are already doing
things that we can learn from. We needn't design from scratch.
Summary of Responses
"Education is the single most effective and powerful way to change
the situation in a permanent way." -- a CHI'92 attendee.
Our respondents overwhelmingly saw education as fundamental. They
believe that individuals, companies, professional societies, and
various levels of government could be doing much more to support
education than they now are. For example:
- Individuals can tutor disadvantaged kids, teach computer courses
or run computer labs in schools, and speak in schools about their
company and their work.
- Companies can adopt a school, donate equipment and software, and
establish programs in which students visit the workplace to learn what
computer professionals do and what skills they need.
- Professional societies can provide scholarships for high school
kids, encourage individuals and companies to develop education
applications of computer technology, and advocate greater public
funding of education.
Many respondents suggested that individuals and companies donate new
and used computer equipment to schools, community centers, and
non-profit organizations. However, some pointed out that giving
antiquated, unreliable, or inappropriate equipment is almost worse
than unhelpful, in that it can drain valuable time and energy from the
important work that these organizations do. Accordingly, many
non-profits will not accept equipment for which they can no longer
find software, documentation, and maintenance support. To help insure
that donated equipment is effectively used, computer professionals can
donate time and expertise. Otherwise, donated equipment may just sit
Not surprisingly, volunteerism is strongly advocated by our
respondents. Some of their suggestions are:
- Individuals can volunteer in computer labs, get involved with a
organizations that link volunteers with non-profit groups (e.g.,
CompuMentor), or even teach reading in an urban library. A frequent
comment was that literacy is more important than computer literacy.
- Companies can encourage volunteerism by helping match willing
employees with worthy organizations, by allowing employees to share
their skills on company time, and by honoring employees' volunteer
- Professional societies can encourage volunteerism among
professionals by developing mentor programs in which members work with
urban youth, and by developing computer curricula that professionals
can take into volunteer teaching situations.
"I read to primary students one-half hour per week. I get more out
of that time than the kids, but their focus on me tells me they are
getting a lot out of my time also." -- a CHI'92 attendee.
Several respondents who are involved in volunteer work noted that
volunteering has value far beyond that of the actual work that
volunteers do. It helps build much-needed understanding and trust
between ethnic and socioeconomic groups. It also is beneficial to the
volunteers themselves: they gain teaching experience, social skills,
and a broader perspective on the society in which they live, and often
have fun while doing it.
Computer professionals have learned that access to on-line
communication and information services is a powerful tool for their
own education, communication, and activism. We found that many of
them believe that on-line access would be just as empowering for the
public at large. Middle-class Americans are already beginning to get
on-line, but individuals, companies, and professional societies can
make an extra effort to assure that the poor are not cut out of the
loop. Individuals, companies, and professional societies can help put
communities on-line, as has been done in Berkeley (Community Memory
Project) and Santa Monica (Public Education Network). Such networks
can facilitate communication and discussion not only with other
citizens of a local community, but, depending on how they are
connected to larger networks, with information service providers and
even elected representatives.
"Companies can actively recruit blacks and other minorities. I
have been at CHI for 2 1/2 days and have seen only two blacks with
CHI name tags." -- a CHI'92 attendee.
More of a commitment to affirmative action in hiring and promotion is
seen as a major way in which companies can help overcome social
inequities. This means making an extra effort to find qualified
minorities and women to fill jobs, and, when candidates are equally
qualified (i.e., the difference in their estimated ability to perform
the job is less than the margin of error of the assessment process),
giving the benefit of the doubt to minorities and women. Some
respondents suggested, for example, that companies hold outreach
activities in poor communities to find potential employees.
The respondents recommended awards as a way to encourage computer
companies, academic research projects, and individuals to get
Each year, CPSR recognizes a computer scientist who, in addition to
making important contributions to the field, has demonstrated an
ongoing commitment to working for social change. (ACM activist and
IBM researcher Barbara Simons is CPSR's 1992 Norbert Wiener Award
winner.) Many respondents suggested that SIGCHI or ACM offer an award
for companies that demonstrate a similar commitment through community
projects, encouraging employee volunteerism, or other good works.
The CHI conference itself emerged as an important potential focus of
social action work. Respondents recommended that CHI organizers seek
ways to have a positive impact upon the host community. Local
students -- high-school and college -- could be given tours of
exhibits or scholarships to attend the conference. Equipment used at
the conference could be donated to local schools and organizations.
Respondents also suggested paper and poster sessions devoted to
applying technology to social problems or to understanding social
issues related to computer technology.
"What's underneath are not wounds, but faults -- lines of fracture,
of discontinuity, in society, which periodically relieve their
stress in these violent ways. What can we do about that?" -- a
Although our respondents provided a wealth of ideas for how we, as
computer professionals and concerned citizens, can offer our time and
skills for the betterment of society, a number of them acknowledged
that charity, volunteering, and technology alone cannot solve
political and social problems. Closing the gap between rich and poor,
educated and illiterate, empowered and disenfranchised will require
changes in basic priorities at the local, state, national, and
international levels. Accordingly, many respondents recommended
attempting to influence the political process, either individually,
through professional associations, or through organizations like CPSR.
"Thanks for the noontime meeting on Tuesday! It was motivating to
see such a strong response." -- a CHI'92 attendee.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for organizing this forum and
bringing some heart and spirit into this cold, albeit exciting,
environment. Onwards and upwards, I'm with you all the way!" -- a
"What a wonderful experience to find a humanistic island at a
professional conference!" -- a CHI'92 attendee.
The unexpectedly large response to the noontime session at CHI'92 was
extremely gratifying. Also gratifying is the degree of concern that
members of the CHI community have about social inequities and the
seriousness with which they addressed themselves to overcoming them.
Hopefully, with this report as inspiration, many computer
professionals will begin to take action.
"I'll go back and start asking questions in my company." -- a
The foregoing has only scratched the surface of the ideas that emerged
from the CHI'92 social issues session. As described above, CPSR hopes
to expand this report into a widely-circulated Social Action Guide,
and eventually provide on-line services to help computer professionals
To learn more about Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility,
or to get involved in the preparation of the full Social Action Guide,
Shneiderman, B. "Socially Responsible Computing I: A Call to Action
Following the L.A. Riots" SIGCHI Bulletin, July, 1992, 24(3), pages
Date: 16 Oct 92 23:59:59 GMT
Subject: File 5--Making the News and Bookstands (Reprint)
MAKING THE NEWS AND BOOKSTANDS
(From "Intelligence Newsletter", No. 202 (Oct. 8, 1992), Page 5,
by O. Schimdt)
The computer virus "threat" is back in the news with a new study by
IBM specialist Jeffrey O. Kephart and on the bookstands with a French
do-it-yourself build-your-own manual on viruses. According to Kephart
of IBM's High Integrity Computing Laboratory, most previous theories
on the "social structure of computer use and networks were faulty":
not every machine could make contact with every other machine in one,
two or three "steps". Most individual computers are not connected to
others systems but only to their nearest neighbors. Therefore, most
infections take place not through networks, but through the physical
exchange of disks. Moreover, many of the 1,500 known viruses are not
good replicators and many are not destructive. Even the remaining
good replicators are "almost all defeated by normal anti-virus
programs." To advance knowledge such as this concerning viruses, Chaos
Computer Club France (CCCF) has decided to publish the French
trans-lation of "The Black Book of Computer Virus" by Mark Ludwig
"which was censored in the U.S." (French title, "C'est decide! J'ecris
mon virus," Editions Eyrolles). [...] The book contains "computer
codes for writing your own virus," but according to CCCF any such
virus can be defeated by normal anti-virus programs. Moreover, there
is no French law forbidding the publication of virus computer codes.
The book is intended for "responsible adults" and bears the warning
"Forbidden for readers not 18 years old".
Jean-Bernard CONDAT (General Secretary)------Chaos Computer Club France [CCCF]
B.P. 8005, 69351 Lyon Cedex 08// France //43 rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen
Phone: +33 1 40101775, Fax.: +33 1 40101764, Hacker's BBS (8x): +33 1 40102223
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1992 23:33:18 CDT
From: John F. McMullen
Subject: File 6--Legion Of Doom Connection With 911 Attacks Denied
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, U.S.A., 1992 OCT 16(NB) -- Members of the
well publicized group of computer hackers, The Legion of Doom, have
denied any connection with the recent alleged tampering with US and
Canadian 911 emergency systems. They have also told Newsbytes that the
Legion OT Doom (LOD) group has been defunct for a number of years.
The recent publicized quote by an arrested 23 year old New Jersey
man, identified only as Maverick, that he was a member of the Legion
of Doom and that the group's intent was "to attempt to penetrate the
911 computer systems and inflect them with viruses to cause havoc" has
infuriated many of the original group.
"Lex Luthor", one of the founders of LOD, told Newsbytes "As far as I
am concerned the LOD has been dead for a couple of years never to be
revived. Maverick was never in LOD. There have been 2 lists of
members (one in phrack and another in the lod tj) and those lists are
the final word on membership. There has been no revival of lod by me
nor other ex- members. We obviously cannot prevent copy-cats from
saying they are in lod. When there was an LOD, our goals were to
explore and leave systems as we found them. The goals were to expose
security flaws so they could be fixed before REAL criminals and
vandals such as this Maverick character could do damage. If this
Maverick character did indeed disrupt E911 service he should be not
only be charged with computer trespassing but also attempted murder.
911 is serious business."
Lex continued "I am obviously not affiliated with any type of illegal
activities whatever especially those concerning computer systems.
However, I do try to keep up with what's going on and have 2 articles
on computer security being prepared to be published. I won't say where
or what name I am using because if the editors know an ex-hacker is
trying to help society and help secure computer systems they probably
would not accept the article."
Captain James Bourque of the Chesterfield County, Virginia police and
the person who had quoted Maverick to the press, told Newsbytes that
Lex's comments were probably correct. He said "I don't think that
there is a connection with the original group. I think that this group
sort of took on the Legion of Doom Name and the causes that they think
the Legion of Doom might have been involved in."
Bourque also said "This group tried to publicize their activities by
calling the local ABC station here as well as ABC in New York. It was
not unusual for four or five of these individuals to set up a
telephone conference and then to try to bring down our local 911
system here by monopolizing the system -- it never worked but they
continued to try."
Bourgue told Newsbytes that the continuing investigation is being
carried out by local law enforcement agencies and that an investigator
from his organization was in Newark reviewing the evidence against
Maverick. He said "It's possible that the Secret Service will become
involved after the presidential election is over. They are very busy
Mike Godwin , in-house counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
(EFF), an organization that has been involved in a number of cases
involving admitted LOD members, commented to Newsbytes "I don't
believe for a minute that this has anything to do with the real Legion
Phiber Optic, another ex-LOD member, told Newsbytes that he was
disturbed that the media accepted the designation of Maverick as LOD,
saying "If he said that he was a Martian, would they have put in the
paper that he was a Martian?"
Phiber had previously posted a comment on the Whole Earth 'Lectronic
Link (WELL) on the LOD announcement and it is reprinted with his
1) Kids prank 911.
2) Kids get caught for being jackasses.
3) One kid just happens to have a computer.
4) Now it's suddenly a 'hacker crime'.
5) Kid foolishly decides he's in the 'Legion of Doom' when he's
questioned,because he probably always wanted to be (his heroes!).
6) Media pukes on itself. ("This is a HEADLINE!!!")
There. Can we all grow up and move along now?
Emmanuel Goldstein, publisher of 2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly,
also took issued with the designation of those arrested in New Jersey
and Canada as "hackers", telling Newsbytes "No where have I seen any
indication that these people were inside of a telephone company
computer. They were allegedly making vocal calls to the 911 services
and trying to disrupt them. You certainly don't have to be a genius to
do that. Let's not demean hackers by associating them with the kind of
behavior that is alleged."
End of Computer Underground Digest #4.52
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank