Computer underground Digest Sun Oct 18, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 52 Editors: Jim Thomas and G

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

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 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 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 (, and -- 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, 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 *exactly* this: mail 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 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 From-- 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 Affair" (Report). 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 counsel statute. - ------------------------------ 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 enjoy programming? 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 same thing. 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 size?" 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) Introduction "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 tools themselves. 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 workers." "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 was ours. 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 audience. 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 its programs. 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, doing. Beyond CHI'92 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 exclusive. 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 in a corner. 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 efforts. - 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 involved. 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 CHI'92 attendee. 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. Conclusions "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 CHI'92 attendee. "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 CHI'92 attendee. 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 take action. To learn more about Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, or to get involved in the preparation of the full Social Action Guide, contact References Shneiderman, B. "Socially Responsible Computing I: A Call to Action Following the L.A. Riots" SIGCHI Bulletin, July, 1992, 24(3), pages 14-15. - ------------------------------ Date: 16 Oct 92 23:59:59 GMT From: jbcondat@ATTMAIL.COM 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 now." 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 of Doom." 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 permission: 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