Computer underground Digest Wed Nov 18, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 59 Editors: Jim Thomas and G

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Computer underground Digest Wed Nov 18, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 59 Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Copy Eater: Etaion Shrdlu, Junior CONTENTS, #4.59 (Nov 18, 1992) File 1--FTP Sites / COMP Hierarchy File 2--Another First-hand account of 2600 Disturbance File 3--Re: viruses and "finding your calling" File 4--Re: Viruses--Facts and Myths File 5--NYT article on technology policy File 6--Va. Hearing on SSNs File 7--Am I a Techno-Junkie? File 8--Any Technophiliacs Here Besides Me? 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; in Europe from the ComNet in Luxembourg BBS (++352) 466893; and using anonymous FTP on the Internet from ( in /pub/cud, ( in /cud, ( in /pub/mirror/cud, and ( in /pub/text/CuD. European readers can access the ftp site at: pub/doc/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: Wed, 17 Nov 92 18:11:52 CST From: moderators Subject: File 1--FTP Sites / COMP Hierarchy Brendan Kehoe has added several shadow ftp sites where back-issues of CuD and other documents are available. Thanks and kudos to Dan Carosone, Paul Southworth, Ralph Sims, and Jyrki Kuoppala for their efforts in maintaining them. READERS ARE **URGED** TO USE THE SHADOW SITES RATHER THAN the site, and to use them during off-hours. This reduces the strain on a single site and makes us all good net citizens. We also receive periodic complaints that, since the switch from *TO*, some readers can no longer obtain CuD. If this is a problem on your system, check with your local sysad rather than us--we obviously have no control over individual systems. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 17:40:39 -0500 From: guru Subject: File 2--Another First-hand account of 2600 Disturbance There has been much conjecture over what actually during the 2600 meeting in November. Ten days later, I have not yet seen a good account of what actually happened. I've seen many opinions and contradictory statements, however. I was there, and I'd like to clear up a lot of misconceptions and give a more authoritative statement on what actually happened. It is accurate to say that none of the statements I've read from the participants are inaccurate, they are merely incomplete. Al Johnson's statements on the other hand are contradictory lies. Besides his obvious contradictions such as whether or not the Secret Service was involved (see the Brock Meek's transcript). Al Johnson also stated that they merely confiscated a few things left on the table which no one claimed. This is far from true, they confiscated considerably more than just what was left on the table (including the confiscation of Milk Dud boxes left on the table). The stuff that was left on the table was left there because they intimidated us into denying that they belonged to us. I wish to rectify this situation by giving a thorough accurate account of what actually happened. I will not give any names not previously mentioned in other articles, it has done nothing but get people in trouble. Two people have lost their jobs (and I don't mean the security guards), and one will likely lose their job (despite an excellent performance record). I arrived at about 5:05 pm with another person (who has not yet been named, and shall remain so). When we got there, we introduced ourselves and began having small private conversations. On the table there were some Xeroxed AT&T schematics and a bag of Milk Duds (they sure went fast), a Mondo 2000, and a nice laser printed copy of the PumpCon raid. No one was discussing anything illegal, at least that I heard. During the time before the incident occurred many of us went and got fast food from the local grease joints. We took turns pointing out guys in suits who were staring at us. One guy, who had a camera, would then proceed to photograph him, and he'd turn nervously away. We even once joked about it once to KL, who nervously turned and covered his head with his trenchcoat. Around 5:30 "Knight Lightning" (KL) addressed the entire meeting. By this time, there were probably about 15, or 20 of us there. He passed out Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility membership pamphlets, a 8 page newsletter called "Privacy Journal," and of course the infamous ("ISPNews --Security Violators will get their access kicked") buttons he had just received from ISPNews. KL began lecturing us on how CPSR were just as nice people as the guys from EFF. At around 6:00pm I began to notice some rent-a-cops congregating on the balconies. Naively, I ignored them, figuring we weren't doing anything illegal why should they bother us, and I gave it no second though until they surrounded us. KL said "I think we may have some trouble here," and proceeded to vanish only to be seen again after the whole incident. This is when the incident began. Someone (I never found out his alias) came down the elevator, and whipped out his Whisper 2000 and started passing it around. The guards then quickly ran down the elevator and surrounded us, demanding to know who owned the "stungun." (which is not illegal in VA) Apparently they believed this small pocket amplifier was a stungun. The back of the amplifier was removed, possibly making it look more like a weapon. After several people commented, "What stungun? Oh, you mean the Whisper 2000. It's a pocket amplifier, you know its the thing you see on TV. It's nothing more than an amplifier." The person who had it at the time gave it to the guard ("C. Thomas"). Thomas examined the device carefully, and eventually convinced it wasn't a stungun, he returned it. After Thomas was done with the Whisper 2000, he started asking about "The Mad Hatter"'s handcuffs. After teasing "The Mad Hatter" about the inferior quality of his handcuffs, he demanded to know how he got them, and why he had them. Thomas refused to accept the answer that was most logical. "The Mad Hatter" responded that they are easy to get at stores, and he had them because he felt like it. Thomas grabbed the handcuffs and kept them. At this point a new guard (presumably Johnson) entered the scene. The man looked a little stocky probably of middle age and Western Asian descent, with slightly graying hair. He was wearing merely a suit, and looked like he was in charge of everything. Many of the guards were not wearing name tags, one was obviously undercover complete with an ear piece. Johnson then clearly stated we were computer hackers, and that he understood that we met here each month. Johnson, saw the box owned by "MetalHead" sitting next to me. He told "MetalHead" to open it. Having nothing to hide, he did. It contained a fairly new looking keyboard. The immediate response by Johnson was that he was obviously a juvenile delinquent and had shoplifted it from Radio Shack. He explained that he had made prior arrangements with someone else to sell it at the meet. Johnson, calmly asked if he had a vendor's permit. When, he responded, he was unaware that he needed one, Johnson went on a tirade about how "Don't even think of selling that in MY mall without a vendor's permit!" The guards grabbed it. The tension was beginning to run high. Someone asked a guard what his name was, and he responded that "[he] didn't have a name! [his] name is unimportant..." We began demanding ID, and they refused to show it to us. Instead, they turned around and demanded ID from us. Some people refused. Those who did, were brought to the Arlington police officers (who had come sometime during the incident) and were informed that they could be held for up to ten hours for failing to produce ID. In fact some of the guards threatened that "we would be very sorry when the police got here, if we didn't give ID." This convinced people to change their minds. I offered a library card (my only form of ID), they were uninterested, as they apparently wanted photographic ID and/or SS#. "Loki" produced four forms of ID. Johnson couldn't stand this, he kept demanding ID from him, and "Loki" kept asking him which he wanted. Finally, Johnson just looked over all of them. Johnson announced that our parents would be called. The legal adults protested bitterly, and their parents were not called. They contacted other guards over the radio discussing the contents of the IDs (if in fact these were Secret Service agents, as suspected, this would be a violation of the Privacy Acts). "Hackrat" began writing down the few names he could get off their uniforms (and not to many at that). When the guards became aware of this, they grabbed the pencil and paper, and tore it up. Our camera man decided to photograph the guards. The guards responded by grabbing the camera, and forcibly removing the film (and probably ruining it). The guards claimed they had every right to be doing what they were doing, and the cops supported them. The cops said they "were working for an outside party" (presumably the Secret Service, which is illegal because of the Privacy Acts). "Loki" was asked what was in his back pack, as was every one else. "Loki" showed Johnson some of what was in it, and then put it down. Johnson decided this was insufficient and he started going through the pack grabbing whatever he felt like. "Loki" nor anyone else granted permission for them to go through their equipment. The guards decided to eject us from the mall at this point (despite requests to use the bathroom). The guards had taken the keyboard, a wiretap, a reel to reel tape, a full set of VMS manuals, "Loki"'s backpack (including his homework), a lineman's phone, and all the paperwork. They said we could get our stuff back, yet they refused to write receipts (which meant we couldn't). We spent a long time down in the metro deciding what to do. After we rejoined a number of people who were coming in during the "raid," we decided to go upstairs and use the phone. We went up the elevator, and we called the Washington Post. They responded that they were uninterested and refused to produce any reporters on the scene. The guards at this point came out to the area, at which point one of us photographed them. This seemed to agitate them further. At no time were the guards actually calm, at least one was upset at all times. An incident with "Gentry" ensued when "Gentry" accidentally touched him, and the guard ("C. Thomas") got terribly agitated. They then threatened to ticket all of our cars. The cars were legally parked, on the street, they therefore had no right to ticket them. Right before I left the area, I noticed on last incident. A guard came out of the mall in a car (which looked like a Jeep Cherokee), and then quickly accelerated to 60mph (the street is like a 30 mph street) without using sirens or headlights. At this point the group split up, and the meeting (at least for me) was over. ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 9 Nov 92 08:39:58 EST From: morgan@ENGR.UKY.EDU(Wes Morgan) Subject: File 3--Re: viruses and "finding your calling" >From: Guido Sanchez >Subject--File 1--Response to the Virus Discussion > >Yes, virus authors are in it now more >for making fun and avenging themselves of the anti-viral authors, who >in turn do the same in their programs. Etc, Etc, Etc. Apparently, neither side cares about 'collateral damage'; i.e. the hundreds/thousands of third parties who are 'bitten' by virus attacks. >So here's what I do. On my 'underground e-leet Vx' BBS, I make all >viruses and other files free on the first call. >Hopefully, besides using viruses as a commodity, the >fledgling sysop will look at a few of the pro-viral utilities and some >of the source code. "pro-viral"? Gee, I was just thinking that Political Correctness had not yet reached the digital world. I guess I'm mistaken, eh? Can't you just say "yes, I write programs that destroy/impede the work of other users?" >We force nothing into the minds and computers of others, >it's all part of curiosity and voluntary. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Let me get this straight: - You (and others) write viruses - You release those viruses into the digital environment - You then claim "we force nothing". The notion that you "force nothing" is akin to saying "we distribute weapons, but we aren't *forcing* you to install metal detectors in your schools." As an argument, it holds no water. I can tell you one thing which you force upon others. Those of us who manage computer systems and networks for a living are *forced* to spend extensive man-hours disinfecting our systems/networks and attempting to devise means by which we can prevent reinfection. Of course, we can't find/patch every loophole (that's the definition of security; you can never catch everything), so the work becomes a constant; periodic scans of ALL susceptible hardware/software, constant efforts to improve security, and a constant stream of angry/disgusted users. >We help people to find their >calling leader here..> in whatever field of modem-dom they like. What about those people who want to be mere users? What about those folks who don't really care about either your 'having fun....and avenging.." OR the folks who write disinfectors/cleaners? Apparently, you don't care one whit about them (except, perhaps, as a vector for your product). >May you all find your calling In the real world , your efforts actually *silence* the cal-ling(s) that users might hear. Our PC LANs serve 2300 people, many of whom are taking their first steps into the digital world; in fact, I'd guess that over 60% of my users never make significant use of PCs before coming to this university. If, during their first serious use of a PC, they are victimized by your viruses, they often lose *all* desire to do *anything* further with a PC. You're actually killing your own cause. I'm getting rather tired of virus authors who claim that they're on some "noble quest for knowledge". If this were truly the case, we'd never see a virus loosed upon the digital environment; the worthy seeker of knowledge would test it on their own hardware, find it successful, add the information to their journals, and have no reason to loose it upon the rest of us. If such people actually exist , they have my wholehearted support. The people who distribute viruses for the heck of it are positioned at the bottom of the digital food chain. ------------------------------ Date: 13 NOV 92 21:26 From: Subject: File 4--Re: Viruses--Facts and Myths It has been stated that a virus only needs "normal" write access to files in order to infect. I'd like to point out that this is not true on all computer systems. Most systems do not treat machine code as anything special, and these systems are vulnerable to any program with write capability. But some systems (such as Unisys A Series) include the compilers in the Trusted Computing Base, and do not permit ordinary users or programs to create executable files. On these systems, a virus would have to have the highest possible privileges in order to infect a program; with that level of privilege, *anything* can be done. I should point out that this was not done with viruses in mind. The restrictions came about because of the architecture of the systems: objects of various kinds are implemented in hardware, and the hardware is aware of what operations are permitted on which objects to a certain extent. The compilers are responsible for only emitting dangerous operators, which override normal object access rules, in well-defined situations. To allow users to emit such code would destabilize the system. Of course, this only works because the architecture was designed to implement high-level languages, and languages are available with extentions that provide sufficient power as to eliminate any need to write in assembly. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1992 08:52:13 -0500 From: "(Gary Chapman)" Subject: File 5--NYT article on technology policy The lead story, and a long one, in today's (11/10) Science Times section of The New York Times is headlined "Clinton To Promote High Technology, With Gore In Charge." The article is by regular Times science/tech writer William Broad. A caption to the large illustration says "President-elect Clinton proposes to redirect $76 billion or so in annual Federal research spending so it spurs industrial innovation. Areas likely to get stimulus include robotics, batteries, computer chips, 'smart' roads, biotechnology, machine tools, magnetic levitation trains, fiberoptic communications, computer networks, digital imaging, data storage, software, sensors, computer-aided manufacturing, advanced composite materials, and artificial intelligence." The article says that Clinton's civilian initiative will "spend money twice as fast as the Pentagon's Star Wars anti-missile program, one of the biggest research efforts of all time." It also says the aim of the Clinton program is "a new wave of research discoveries and applications that will flood the economy with innovative goods and services, lifting the general level of prosperity and strengthening American industry for the international trade wars of the 1990s and beyond." To underscore what I've been saying about the adoption of Cold War models of thinking in this new "civilian" research program, Kent Hughes, president of the Council on Competitiveness, says, "This is a watershed. We're now going to develop an economic strategy much in the way we developed a national security strategy to fight the Cold War." The article describes plans for business-government partnerships, and says that Gore will be charged with coordinating this entire effort, as well as to "create a forum for systematic private sector input into U.S. government deliberations about technology policy and competitiveness." (Those words are Clinton's.) The Clinton administration plans to shift "at the very least" $7.6 billion per year, or about 10% of all Federal R&D, from the military to civilian programs. They applaud efforts like SEMATECH and plan to extend the SEMATECH model to other high technology sectors. The article notes that a key player in the development of these plans is Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. Bingaman says that pork-barrel politics will be avoided by insisting on cost-sharing with private partners. Bingaman says, "We'll sit down and say, 'What do you think is important?' and require them to spend their own money too." This is a long article, so I've skipped a lot of major points in this brief summary. It serves to emphasize the importance of the things we've been saying about trends in technology policy. ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1992 09:29:42 EDT From: Dave Banisar Subject: File 6--Va. Hearing on SSNs An ad hoc committee of the Virginia General Assembly met November 10 and agreed to draft legislation that will remove the SSN off the face of the Va. drivers license and from voting records. The Special Joint Subcommittee Studying State and Commercial use of Social Security Numbers for Transaction Identification met for 3 hours and heard witnesses from government, industry and public interest groups. It appears that the draft will require the DMV and the Election Board to continue to collect the information, but will no longer make it publicly available. It was also agreed that the committee would look into greater enforcement of Va. privacy laws, including the feasibility of setting up a data commissioner. All of the legislators in attendance agreed that using the SSN on the face of the driver's license caused problems for both fraud and privacy. The DMV representative admitted that it would cost a minimum amount of money to modify their new computer system, which they have not completed installing yet, to use another numbering system. She estimated that this would take 3-7 years using the renewal process to change all the licenses. She estimated a cost of $8 million for an immediate change due to mailing costs. Bob Stratton of Intercon Systems explained the inherent flaws in using the SSN as an identifier and offered alternatives such as the SOUNDEX system used by Maryland and New York as a better alternative for licenses. A representative of the Va. State Police admitted that they do not use the SSN to identify persons in their records because it was "inherently inaccurate" and described cases of criminals with up to 50 different SSNs. Dave Banisar of CPSR Washington Office explained how the SSN facilitates computer matching and offered options for the board to consider to improve protection of personal privacy. Mikki Barry of Intercon Systems described how any attorney in Virginia has access to the DMV database to examine all records via a computer network. ------------------------------ Date: Tues 17 Nov 92 12:18:34 EST From: Subject: File 7--Am I a Techno-Junkie? Dear Cu-Digest people: I'm your worst nightmare come to life: a housewife who's on internet among all you techno-literati. I can't help myself. The soft key strokes, the gentle motion of the cursor flowing across my screen, the firm penetration of captured logs entering my hard-drive---I'm hooked. Problem is, I hang out in usenet all day, on IRC all night, and the rest of the time is spent polishing the screen, vacuuming the vents, and dusting my disks. The dishes pile up in the sink, the kids cook their own meals, my husband has moved out, and the cat has run off. I've gone through denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance, but my life is still a mess. Life has no meaning when I log-off, and I suffer headaches until I boot back up. What should I do? Can you help? Sincerely, Internet (I post therefore I am) Housewife ((MODERATORS' NOTE: Dear Hooked--perhaps the following file will help)) ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1992 22:20:20 +0100 From: Dennis Wier Subject: File 8--Any Technophiliacs Here Besides Me? An Introduction to Technophiliacs Anonymous (By Dennis R. Wier ) The same Truth has many forms. Technophiliacs Anonymous is a fellowship of persons and institutions who desire to stop their addiction to technology. Technophiliacs Anonymous is supported entirely through contributions of its membership and is free to all those who need it. To counter the destructive consequences of addiction to technology we draw on these resources: 1. We use our personal willingness to stop our addictive behavior on a daily basis. 2. We use the support of the fellowship of Technophiliacs Anonymous to increase our capacity to stop our addiction. 3. We practice the principles of Technophiliacs Anonymous to recognize and properly respond to addictive behavior. 4. We develop our perceptions and awareness of the correct use of technology by the regular practice of meditation. 5. We support the efforts of those who expose the hidden side effects of any technological activity. Technophiliacs Anonymous is not affiliated with any other organization, movement or cause, either religious or secular. What is a Technophiliac? The word technophiliac is a newly coined word and it means "having a pathological love of technology." We use this new word to imply that the love is a dysfunction of some kind. We are all technophiliacs in the sense that we as a society are dependent on the wide-spread use of technology --such as electricity, cars, telephone, TV, computers and many other forms. We need to seriously ask ourselves if this dependence helps or hurts our human relationships. We need to constantly examine this dependence to see if the hidden-side effects of technological dependence are destructive to our families, society or environment. Are You A Technophiliac? Has the use of technology improved or worsened your financial condition, health, relationships with friends and family, relationships with your mate or lover, relationship with your self? How many hours a day do you watch television, work on a computer, operate technical equipment, talk on the telephone, tinker with your car? Add those hours up. Is your total use of technology an indication of your addictive relationship to technology? Now honestly look at your human relationships with the planet, your environment your family and your inner self: do you know what phase the Moon is in right now? do you know which way the seasonal clouds are moving and their shapes? can you comfortably walk alone in the woods at night without a flashlight? do you know the type of earth around your house? do you tell your children stories, or do you let them watch TV so they leave you alone? are you aware of environmental stress through your personal sensitivity to the behavior of local animals and plants? Do you choose to spend time on your computer or watching TV or talking on the telephone or tinkering with your car or with other technology rather than being with your mate or children? Long-term focused awareness on technology or on technological matters to the exclusion of natural or human relationships indicates a life profoundly out of balance. The cumulative effect of many lives out of balance creates a world-wide disaster with profound effects on the environment, social and group interactions, institutional and political behavior, human and family values and ethics, interpersonal relationships, and physical and psychological health, with immense costs in all areas. What is Technophiliacs Anonymous? Technophiliacs Anonymous is a multi-faceted fellowship based on a desire to know the hidden side-effects of technology, to popularize the awareness of the hidden side-effects of technology on our social, psychological, economic and spiritual beings, and to counter the destructive consequences of technological addiction. With established meetings in many cities in the United States and abroad, this self-help fellowship is open to anyone, and any institution, who suffers from a compulsive need to use technology, and those desperately attached to a specific technology such as the telephone, the computer, the television, the automobile, etc. Technological addiction also includes a pathological interest in destructive, coercive and invasive technologies. What all members have in common is the realization that the compulsive attachment to technology has become increasingly destructive to all areas of their lives -- family, career, environment, society and political institutions. Technophiliacs Anonymous welcomes the participation of anyone directly involved in technology or directly affected by technology --either beneficially or otherwise, or in the government, or in the spiritual areas corned with the subtle effects of technology. We especially welcome the participation of human potential workers and facilitators. We seek to understand, and to make known to all, how technology, generally and specifically, affects our spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, economic, political and social lives, and to cure, whenever possible, the deleterious effects of technology; and to learn, by sharing information, the correct ways to manage our lives for the continued benefits of life-supporting technology without subjecting ourselves to the hidden malevolent side-effects. Technophiliacs Anonymous was first begun in June, 1988 in Berkeley by Dennis R. Wier, who realized that technological dependency was affecting life in the same ways as chemical, alcohol and love addictions, but not only were the deleterious effects felt in personal lives, but also in ecological, political and spiritual realms. Thus, what may be said of a personal addiction to a technology also may be said in a global way as well, that is, one side effect of our addiction to automobiles causes air pollution, one side effect of our addiction to telephones causes separation between people, one side effect of our addiction to television causes loss of awareness through induction of trance, one side effect of our addiction to computers causes loss of judgement and cognitive abilities. There are other, more hidden and more sinister side effects of technological addiction. Co-Dependency If a technophiliac is addicted to technology there are those around him or her who are co-dependent. Co-dependents may not be addicted to technology but they derive important benefits from the addiction. Manufacturers of alcoholic beverages are co-dependent to alcoholics in different ways than a person in a close personal relationship with an alcoholic is co-dependent, but both are co-dependent in that their common behavior supports the continued addiction of the alcoholic. A technophiliac has the same problem. Manufacturers of the newest computers are co-dependent with the technophiliac. And, if the technophiliac is highly paid, those persons dependent financially on the technophiliac psychologically support his dependence even though it may be personally destructive to the technophiliac. One of the differences between AA, SLAA and Technophiliacs Anonymous is that many institutions --government, educational and business --support and encourage technological addiction because they are not aware of the hidden side-effect of technological addiction. It is possible to make a change in awareness. A change in awareness will help bring about an important social change. Some years ago, cigarette smoking was socially acceptable and tolerated if not encouraged by many social institutions. Smoking was generally tolerated as a common and nearly harmless bad habit. Now, with greater social awareness of the dangers of cigarette smoking, society is now attempting to reduce cigarette addiction by prohibiting smoking in public places and requiring manufacturers to place health warning messages on tobacco products. It may seem that technological addiction is a trivial and unimportant matter compared to the more obvious and important issue of cigarette smoking; yet, technological addiction has greater consequences for us all the longer we ignore it. Technophiliacs are not the only victims of their addiction, but their creations often are at the root of important and world-wide dangers and all of us become victims. Beneficial social changes came about because of increased social awareness of the dangers of the hidden side-effects of tobacco addiction, and the same social awareness now extends to alcohol and drug addiction. The same social awareness is now beginning to be felt in environmental and ecological areas, because of PCB contaminations, acid rain, toxic waste treatment procedures, atmospheric pollution and other technological hidden side effects now making themselves known. It may become obvious that there is an increasing awareness of the hidden side effects to technological things we think are simple, are not. It is the position of Technophiliacs Anonymous that society needs to become aware of its dangerous addiction to technology and to begin to cope with its co-dependent issues, as well as the underlying and important hidden side effects. Because technological addiction is so pervasive and is encouraged by co-dependent governmental, educational, business and institutional entities, the members of Technophiliacs Anonymous include not only those who recognize their compulsive need for technology, and those with a desperate attachment to one specific form of technology, but also those leaders and visionaries who may conceive of the possibilities of a right relationship to technology. Why Technology Can Be Addicting The use of technology for the purpose of lessening pain or augmenting pleasure, by a person, institution, government or business who has lost control over the rate, frequency or duration of its use, and whose corporate or individual psychological, economic, social and spiritual life has become progressively unmanageable as a result is addicted to that technology. Technological addiction extends from teenagers addicted to television, to yuppie programmers making piles of money, to a military establishment addicted to acquiring newer, faster and more exotic destructive forces, to a government intent on knowing and controlling everything possible, to real estate agents with a perverted sense of "highest and best use." Technophiliacs Anonymous believe that an addiction exists not just because we need or use technology more than others, but because of the motive. A technophiliac uses technology to lessen the pain that comes from problems in other areas of life. Governmental and business institutions use technology to regulate and control life, a behavior which is typical of co-dependents. As we collectively or individually seek someone or something to 'take us away from all this,' we are really seeking to avoid reality altogether. We come to use a technology as a substitution for other satisfactions, to comfort ourselves for real or imagined needs, or to avoid or try to make unnecessary attending to a life that seems to give us too much pain. Even the humble electric light, used to provide illumination at night to read, has become a substitution for other satisfactions such as observing the night, and it comforts us in driving away the mysterious darkness, and helps us avoid our own thoughts, those same thoughts we need to think in order to keep our life in balance. Even the electric light has the side effect of keeping our life out of balance in very subtle ways. The cumulative effect of millions of lives out of balance causes disastrous effects over the entire planet. More technology is not the answer. In our addiction to technology it seems as though the power lies elsewhere, and that our lives are being destroyed by forces and tensions that cannot be denied and by problems that cannot be escaped. For the technophiliac, closeness to others has become increasingly rare and difficult. It is easier for the technophiliac to have a relationship with his car, television or computer than with his mate, his children, or his neighbors. Within an institution, it may be easier for an institutional technophiliac to buy more computers, hire more consultants, process more data faster, make heavier reports, create ever more sophisticated military hardware, than to have a real and meaningful relationship with its clients, citizens or employees. What can you do if you admit, however reluctantly, that technological addiction might be the problem, instead of lack of 'enough' or the 'right kind' of technology? The Road to Recovery The road to recovery starts with an awareness of the existence of the problem. To get aware that technological addiction is the problem, try this experiment: turn off all your electricity for five days. Most technological devices depend on electricity in order to work. If the changes you go through during the five days are not painful, but "business as usual," then you are not addicted to technology. However, if the changes are painful, frightening, or perhaps so difficult that you cannot finish the five days, then you are a technophiliac. The beginning is simple, but not easy. The admission of powerlessness has to be coupled with a readiness to break the addictive pattern -- to stay away from all technology for long periods of time. This withdrawal from the addictive use of technology generally brings symptoms just as physical and as painful as the withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. On our own the tension would be too much, the temptation to indulge just one more time would be unbearable, and the belief that there could be another way to live would weaken. First we find a sense of wholeness and dignity within ourselves. Even while working with technology we need to keep balanced and at some distance from it. To find wholeness within ourselves we first must know that part of us which is human and then to explore the intimate and mysterious relationship we have with the planet. Meetings For information on meetings in your area, please write to us and we will send you a local meeting schedule or give you information on organizing a local chapter. Evolving A Proper Relationship The hard questions cannot be ignored. The most difficult questions are ultimately the most important because they represent those aspects of life which we tend to ignore or deny. In place of facing these difficult questions which are different questions for each one of us, we create substitute problems, such as technical problems, as symbols for our own internal processes. There is the mistaken belief that by solving these technical problems somehow the more difficult questions will also be solved. Technology can be known in many ways which will enhance our relationship with ourselves and with the universe. The proper relationship with technology is a distant and cautious one. Without spiritual protection in place, dealing with any technology ultimately is damaging to us. Any other relationship ultimately damages our spiritual, social, environmental and psychological life. Developing spiritual protection is a life-long continuous practice which is helped by meditation in all of its forms. The support of others in a community devoted to personal awareness and growth lays the foundation for right social action and planetary unity. How you can help If you want to help in a real way to popularize these concepts, please discuss these ideas with your friends and the media, send pertinent newspaper clippings, cartoons to us and write us for any information. Help us start a chapter in your area. We will appear on TV and talk on the radio about these concepts. Write for helpful details, but ultimately the power, benefits and responsibility is yours. +++ Comments on the above are welcome by e-mail. Yes, I am ALWAYS on my computer! Dennis ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #4.59 ************************************


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