Computer underground Digest Sun Jan 10, 1992 Volume 5 : Issue 02 ISSN 1002-022X Editors: J
Computer underground Digest Sun Jan 10, 1992 Volume 5 : Issue 02
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Copy Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Junior
CONTENTS, #5.02 (Jan 10, 1992)
File 1--DoJ Has NOT "Authorized" Keystroke Monitoring
File 2--Re: Dorm Room Raid (CuD #4.67)
File 3--Reports on Ames Raid Available
File 4--Hysteria from Forbes via NPR
File 5--OECD Security Guidelines
File 6--CU IN THE NEWS
File 7--"Any one Who Owns a Scanner is a Hacker, or..."
File 8--FYI: 3rd Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference
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Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1992 02:35:52 EDT
From: Dorothy Denning
Subject: DoJ Has NOT "Authorized" Keystroke Monitoring
Dave Banisar posted a message a while back with the headline "DOJ
Authorizes Keystroke Monitoring." The following article by Dennis
Steinauer of NIST clarifies just what exactly the DOJ really said.
from PRIVACY Forum Digest, Vol. 01:Issue 28
Date--Fri, 11 Dec 92 16:14:09 EST
Fromfirstname.lastname@example.org (Dennis D. Steinauer)
Subject--DoJ Has NOT "Authorized" Keystroke Monitoring
The Subject line on the recent reposting by David Banisar of the 7 Dec
92 advisory from CERT/CC is highly misleading and inappropriate. As
with some newspapers, it is important that people read more than just
The Department of Justice hasn't "authorized" anything. Rather, they
are advising system administrators that certain activities, namely the
monitoring or recording of user-to-computer session transmissions
(hence "keystroke monitoring") MAY be found illegal in certain
circumstances and that notice should be given to users.
The CERT advisory was extracted from a letter to the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from DoJ. Justice asked
NIST in its role of providing computer security guidance to Government
to circulate the letter and provide appropriate guidance. We have
made the letter available, without comment, through several government
and other channels (including CERT, I4, etc.).
The letter is intended to advise system administrators of an ambiguity
in U.S. law that makes it unclear whether session monitoring, often
conducted by system administrators who suspect unauthorized activity,
is basically the same as an unauthorized telephone wiretap. I repeat,
the law is *unclear* -- and the fact that one can argue either way on
the issue does not clarify the law as currently written. DoJ advises,
therefore, that if system adminstrators are conducting session
monitoring or anticipate the need for such monitoring, they should
ensure that all system users be notified that such monitoring may be
The DoJ advice, therefore, is not "authorizing" anything -- even
implicitly. They have simply observed the types of activities that
diligent system managers often undertake (a la Cliff Stoll in "The
Cuckoo's Egg") in an attempt to protect their systems from
unauthorized users, and they have rendered some prudent legal advice.
Clearly, there are lots of issues here -- technical and otherwise --
that will need to be discussed and sorted out. Indeed, changes in
agency/organizational policies and even the law are probably needed.
However, none of this changes the fact that system administrators need
now to be aware of the potential impact of their activities, and the
DoJ advice attempts to do this.
We (NIST) are developing additional guidance for system administrators
to assist them in implementing the DoJ recommendations. I expect that
others will be doing likewise. We also hope to encourage discussion
of the related technical and other issues. In the meantime, system
adminstrators are well advised to read the basic DoJ advice and
examine their systems and agency policies to determine if, where, and
how notices should be provided to users. We welcome comments and
suggestions, particularly regarding approaches that various
organizations take in dealing with this issue.
Dennis D. Steinauer
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899 USA
(301) 948-0279 Facsimile
NIST Security BBS: 301-948-5717 (cs-bbs.nist.gov)
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 92 12:32:09 CST
From: rio!canary!chris@UUNET.UU.NET(Chris Johnson)
Subject: Re: Dorm Room Raid (CuD #4.67)
In a recent issue of CuD, an article described a raid on a dorm room
to confiscate computer equipment which allegedly contained copies of
copyrighted software. The claim was made that the software was
obtained via Internet.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with my brother over the
Christmas holiday. He was recently a student at a university which
has Internet access (I do not, or I'd verify the following). He
mentioned that the White Sands Missile Range (an obvious DoD
installation) had one of the largest collections of ftp accessible
computer files. He said they had everything imaginable.
Now, it's true I haven't looked myself, nor did I specifically ask him
at the time if they had copies of copyrighted images, data or programs
as the conversation was about other topics. But I have seen other ftp
sites "libraries", and there's next to no doubt in my mind the White
Sands site must have megabytes of copyrighted materials.
Perhaps someone out there would like to take a look and see just how
legal they are.
Of course, the federal government seems more interested in busting
college students and other individuals than say, cleaning up its own
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1992 13:47:06 EDT
From: David Sobel
Subject: Reports on Ames Raid Available
Last month I posted a NASA statement concerning the unannounced
"security review" conducted at the Ames Research Center this past
summer. The CPSR Washington Office recently obtained electronic
copies of two NASA reports on the incident, which are now available
through the listserver. To obtain these files, send the following
message to :
using the following filenames and filetypes:
Filename Filetype Lines Description
++++++++ ++++++++ +++++ +++++++++++
AMES-MR REPORT 861 MANAGEMENT REVIEW OF THE AMES RESEARCH
CENTER - August, 1992
AMES-MR ASSESSMT 565 ASSESSMENT PANEL REPORT ON THE NASA AMES
MANAGEMENT REVIEW - November 6, 1992
CPSR Washington Office
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 92 09:08 EST
From: "Michael E. Marotta"
Subject: Hysteria from Forbes via NPR
GRID News. December 22, 1992.
ISSN 1054-9315. vol 3 nu 9.
"Morning Edition and Hackers" by Michael E. Marotta
On December 21, NPR's "Morning Edition" repeated the highlights of a
cover story in FORBES Magazine about so-called "hackers." These
computer criminals siphon money from the EFT networks and they steal
telephone time. The NPR piece would have been silly except that it
feeds the hysteria directed against people who love to work with
computers. Stories like these validate the witch hunts carried out by
the Secret Service and FBI against hackers.
Instead of HACKERS, substitute AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS. Automobile drivers
aid organized crime. The mafia learns to drive cars. Sometimes
people rent cars to crime lords. And when there aren't enough cars,
the underworld steals them. But isn't this silly? We are talking
about DRIVING A CAR...
Yes, some CRIMINALS can use a computer. Singing about Pretty Boy
Floyd, Woody Guthrie said, "some men will rob you with a six gun, some
with a fountain pen." That was the 1930s. This is the 1990s. There
is a word for people who canNOT program a computer: the word is
Perhaps these crooks are doing the electronic equivalent of making
incorrect change and pocketing the difference. As the clericals of
the multinationals, these workers have the best opportunity to siphon
money. The Federal Reserve clearing house alone runs a TRILLION
dollars EACH DAY. NPR and Forbes worried about "a quarter of a
million" dollars. The ratio of 250,000 to one trillion is like an
urchin coming upon two men pushing a skid down the street with $4
million in loose bundles and plucking ONE DOLLAR for herself.
There is a wider issue, however. EFT is supposed to be protected by
the Data Encryption Algorithm created by IBM for the Department of
Commerce. People who steal EFT money may be hacking the DEA. Back in
1984, a paperback novel, The Big Byte, told about just such an event.
The entire banking system was shut down by a group of religious
terrorists who cracked the DES. Only a small fraction of our money is
in cash. Without checking and plastic, the economy would slam shut in
a few hours.
Fear of these possibilities drives the law enforcement community to
dog hackers. However, the cops have a poor track record at
technology. Fifty years ago, the Feds harassed J. Robert
Oppenheimer because he was a communist. The plans for the atom bomb
were stolen by Klaus Fuchs, a Briton working at Los Alamos. In
retaliation, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg of New York were executed.
Today the Feds harass "hackers" while the crooks like Senator Lloyd
Bentsen line up on the Clinton gravy train and con men like Newt
Gingrich get rich by complaining about not being there themselves.
On December 19, CNN Headline News announced that new rules now require
banks to have $2 in capital for every $100 in loans. The new
regulations will limit bank failures to "only 23" in 1993.
You don't need a computer to put two and two together.
(GRID News is FREQable from 1:159/450, the Beam Rider BBS)
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1992 14:19:51 EDT
From: Marc Rotenberg
Subject: OECD Security Guidelines
OECD SECURITY GUIDELINES
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) has adopted international Guidelines for the Security of
Information Systems. The Guidelines are intended to raise awareness
of the risks in the use of information systems and to establish a
policy framework to address public concerns.
A copy of the press release and an excerpt from the Guidelines
follows. For additional information or for a copy of the guidelines,
contact Ms. Deborah Hurley, OECD, 2, rue Andre-Pascal, 75775 Paris
Cedex 16, 33-1-45-24-93-71 (fax) 33-1-45-24-93-32 (fax).
Marc Rotenberg, Director
CPSR Washington office and Member,
OECD Expert Group on Information System Security
"OECD ADOPTS GUIDELINES FOR THE SECURITY OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS
"The 24 OECD Member countries on 26th November 1992 adopted
Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems, culminating almost
two years' work by an OECD expert group composed of governmental
delegates, scholars in the fields of law, mathematics and computer
science, and representatives of the private sector, including computer
and communication goods and services providers and users.
"The term information systems includes computers,
communication facilities, computer and communication networks and the
information that they process. These systems play an increasingly
significant and pervasive role in a multitude of activities, including
national economies, international trade, government and business
operation, health care, energy, transport, communications and
"Security of information systems means the protection of the
availability, integrity, and confidentiality of information systems.
It is an international issue because information systems frequently
cross national boundaries.
"While growing use of information systems has generated many
benefits, it has also shown up a widening gap between the need to
protect systems and the degree of protection currently in place.
Society has become very dependent on technologies that are not yet
sufficiently dependable. All individuals and organizations have a
need for proper information system operations (e.g. in hospitals, air
traffic control and nuclear power plants).
"Users must have confidence that information systems will be
available and operate as expected without unanticipated failures or
problems. Otherwise, the systems and their underlying technologies
may not be used to their full potential and further growth and
innovation may be prohibited.
"The Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems will
provide the required foundation on which to construct a framework for
security of information systems. They are addressed to the public and
private sectors and apply to all information systems. The framework
will include policies, laws, codes of conduct, technical measures,
management and user practices, ad public education and awareness
activities at both national and international levels.
"Several OECD Member countries have been forerunners in the
field of security of information systems. Certain laws and
organizational and technical rules are already in place. Most other
countries are much farther behind in their efforts. The Guidelines
will play a normative role and assist governments and the private
sector in meeting the challenges of these worldwide systems. The
Guidelines bring guidance and a real value-added to work in this
area, from a national and international perspective."
"1. Accountability Principle
The responsibilities and accountability of owners, providers
and users of information systems and other parties concerned with the
security of information systems should be explicit.
"2. Awareness Principle
"In order to foster confidence in information systems, owners,
providers and users of information systems and other parties should
readily be able, consistent with maintaining security, to gain
appropriate knowledge of and be informed about the existence and
general extent of measures, practices and procedures for the security
of information systems.
"3. Ethics Principle
"Information systems and the security of information systems
should be provided and used in such a manner that the rights and
legitimate interests of others are respected.
"4. Multidisciplinary Principle
"Measures practices and procedures for the security of
information systems should take into account of and address all
relevant consideration and viewpoints, including technical,
administrative, organizational, operational, commercial, educational
"5. Proportionality Principle
"Security levels, costs, measures, practices and procedures
should be appropriate and proportionate to the value of and degree of
reliance on the information systems and to the severity, probability
and extent of potential harm, as the requirements for security vary
depending upon the particular information systems.
"6. Integration Principle
"Measures, practices and procedures for the security of
information systems should be co-ordinated and integrated with each
other and with other measures, practices and procedures of the
organization so as to create a coherent system of security.
"7. Timeliness Principle
"Public and private parties, at both national and
international levels, should act in a timely co-ordinated manner to
prevent and to respond to breaches of information systems."
"8. Reassessment Principle
"The security information systems should be reassessed
periodically, as information systems and the requirements for their
security vary over time.
"9. Democracy Principle
"The security of information systems should be compatible with
the legitimate use and flow of data ad information in a democratic
[Source: OECD Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems
Date: 16 Dec 92 22:41:38 EST
From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: CU IN THE NEWS
The US Government has filed espionage charges against Kevin Poulsen,
age 28, for entering Pacific Bell's computers and allegedly obtaining
'high-level' military secrets. Observers say the charge is overblown
since damage to 'national security' has not been established and no
secrets were passed to any foreign power. (As reported in Information
Week, Dec 14, 1992. pg 10)
The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an industry coalition against
software piracy, has filed 37 lawsuits against firms in 10 European
countries, Thirteen of the lawsuits are against BBS' in Germany. The
BSA says this is only a preview of how aggressive it will be in 1993.
(Information Week, Dec 14, 1992. pg 8)
The September Inc. magazine Fax Poll shows some interesting numbers
regarding business ethics, and a peek at software piracy as well. The
results indicate that ethical business practices vary by the age of
the businessman and the size and age of the firm. Over half the
respondents said they would obey ethical rules, but felt free to
bend them to their own advantage when possible. In response to
another question, a quarter of the respondents felt the pirating
computer software was an acceptable business practice, just a fraction
more than those who wouldn't hesitate to violate the privacy rights
of a job applicant.
The non-scientific poll are conducted monthly. Readers fill out a
one-page 'survey' and fax or mail it to Inc. for tabulation. See
the December 1992 issue for the details on the September poll on
business ethics. (page 16)
The results include:
Q. Which of the following statements most closely approximates your
view of ethics in business?
52% - I play by the rules, but I'll bend them to my
company's advantage whenever I can.
46% - I tell the whole truth, all the time.
2% - All's fair in love and business, as long as you
don't get caught.
When cross-tabulated with the age of the respondent, Inc. reports
that 34% of respondents under 35 years old tell the whole truth,
compared with 54% of those over 45 years old. When it comes to
bending the rules, 62% of under 35s do so, but only 40% of those
over 45 indicated that answer.
Q. Which of the following would you consider to be an acceptable
43% - Paying suppliers net 60 days but expecting net 30
on your accounts receivable.
37% - Pretending your company has divisions to make it look
bigger to clients and suppliers.
35% - Stealing clients from your current employer when you
break off on your own.
25% - Pirating software.
23% - Getting around privacy rights in job interviews.
17% - Using a copier machine on a 30-day trial basis without
intending to purchase it.
(other responses not included in CuD summary)
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 92 23:46:31 -0500
From: carterm@SPARTAN.AC.BROCKU.CA(Mark Carter)
Subject: "Any one Who Owns a Scanner is a Hacker, or..."
Canadian Paper Blames BBSes for Porn
((MODERATORS' NOTE: For those not familiar with Canadian geography, we
asked a Canadian correspondent to provide some background for the
following story. S/he wrote: "St. Catharines is a city of about
125,000 people in southern Ontario, Canada. It is about 1.5 (only 110
kilometers, but traffic slows ya down) hours from Toronto, and about
30 minutes from Niagara Falls. The Standard is "St. Catharines' only
local newspaper, with an (unofficially, but optimistically) estimated
circulation of about 80,000 subscribers."
Although these stories date back to July, the illustrate that Canadian
media, like their U.S. counterparts, are prone to exaggerate a "hacker
The following newspaper stories were featured on the front page of the
St. Catharines Standard on July 25, 1992, and continued on the third
page. They were aimed at a specific "slant" of local bulletin boards,
that of pornographic Gifs, and consequently ended up portraying local
BBS's as sinister distributors of hard-core pornography that
"frightens" both parents and legislators, two groups who it is
constantly pointed out do not understand even the most rudimentary
basics of operating a computer. Yet these same people are encouraged
to form legislation governing bulletin boards.
These articles continually emphasized the "frighteningly" rampant
availability of pornography through BBSs to young users. However, the
young user angle exposes one of the article's greatest fallacies,
which is the assumption that there are hordes of nine-year-olds
downloading megabytes upon megabytes of extremely hard-core
pornographic files. This is simply not the case.
I personally know of no user of local boards under the age of 12, and
think that such an occurance would be rare at best, since below 12,
most kids simply don't know how to use their computers, or think of
them along the same lines as dedicated game machines such as Nintendo
and Sega. In fact, only a small minority of teenagers will possess
the computer know-how to join the online community, and these
teenagers are not the little children the Standard is so frightened
Further, the Standard totally ignores the fact that only a small
number of boards carry the hard-core material that they found, and
those that carry gifs have the gifs as a small minority compared to
the rest of the files they carry. Not to mention that in their
portrayal of boards as sinister syndicates, the Standard ignores the
existence of the Fidonet message network(in which nearly all local
boards take part), which parents would no doubt like their teenagers
to take part in. The Standard also ignores the availability of files
which are not pornographic, let alone Gifs.
It should be noted that all three articles were written by the same
authors, presenting the same views. Neither of the authors is known
in the local online community. Though five months old, these articles
are relevant in relation to the recent Munroe Falls case, where a
sysop was arrested for having pornographic material on his board.
Below are verbatim transcripts of the three articles. The front page
article comes first, and is followed by the two others that were on
the third page.
KIDS CAN SEE HARD-CORE PORN AT TOUCH OF A BUTTON
by Paul Forsyth and Andrew Lundy (Standard Staff)
Computer wise kids in Canada may be getting an education their parents
never dreamed of.
At this moment, children are firing up their computers and using
telephones to patch into a vast network of files available for free.
What's at their fingertips would shock even hardened purveyors of
Computer sex has arrived. Throughout Niagara dozens of public access
bulletin boards are thriving. Across Canada there are thousands more.
Anyone with a modem and phone line can connect with the boards and
access files for their own use. Many of the boards, operated by
hobbyists through their home computers, offer explicit photographs and
stories ranging from topless women to bondage and bestiality.
Most of it is easily accessible to kids who are as comfortable with
computers as their parents are uneasy. The phenomenon has lawmakers,
police and even Ma Bell feeling helpless.
Tony Brandon, who runs Towne Crier-- of of St. Catharines' oldest
bulletin boards dating back to 1984-- now bans porn on his system. He
decided to restrict what users could send to his board when soft-core
images of the mid-1980's became increasingly graphic.
He said the number of adult files are "escalating in all the weird
areas ... Some of them are pretty hard, heavy-duty stuff." After he
banned the porn, the average age of his board users jumped several
years, from 12-14 to 19-20. Brandon sees that as proof the main
consumers are young teens.
Some boards try to screen users accessing adult files, but Brandon
found kids simply lied about their ages. Many system operators offer
instant access to their programs with few age or identification
On a recent weekday, for example, two Standard reporters easily
accessed a spate of adult files on local boards-- images ranging from
soft-core centrefolds to hard-core images pushing the legal limits of
obscenity. Police say it is difficult to lay charges because most of
the files--other than bestiality, child porn or dehumanizing, violent
or degrading material --- are legal under the Criminal Code. And
federal law does not restrict kids' access to porn of any kind.
St. Catharines has no bylaw covering availability of pornography, said
city clerk Tom Derreck. Even if it did, local bylaws wouldn't apply
to bulletin boards because telecommunications is a federal
Police are hesitant to charge the thousands of board operators across
the country, despite the fact many carry material clearly obscene
under the Criminal Code. That is because it is difficult to nail down
where the files-- many originating in the U.S.-- come from, said
Inspector Ray Johns, in charge of the vice unit of the Winnipeg police
The rapid advancement of computer technology has caught police,
lawmakers and anti-porn organizations off guard. Some women's groups
which have taken hard-line stands against pornography are not even
aware bulletin board porn exists.
"I wouldn't even understand how this thing operates," St. Catharines,
anti-porn crusader Diane Eby said of the bulletin boards. Project P,
a joint Ontario Provincial Police/Metro Toronto Police unit which
investigates pornography and hate literature, says there is nothing
the unit can do about computer porn available to kids.
"There's thousands of them, they're all over the place,"
Detective-Sergeant Bob Matthews, head of the unit, said of the
bulletin boards. "You can almost find anything you're looking for."
That's what frightens St. Catharines resident Mark Jefferies, who was
shocked recently to find a colour photo, depicting two women engaged
in bestiality, on a local bulletin board his 15-year-old son connects
with. "That's going too far," said Jeffries. "That's where it's got
to be stopped. Nine-year-old boys will see that. It sickens me."
Fearful parents can forget about complaining to Bell Canada. The
phone company has been told by the Canadian Radio-Television and
Telecommunications Commision that censorship won't be tolerated.
A recent attempt by Bell to axe its 976 service-- after heat from
parents over phone sex services-- was shot down by the CRTC. "We're
the medium, not the message," said Bell spokeswoman Ruth Foster.
"We're not supposed to influence that communication at all or control
it in any way."
Meantime, kids are using computers in ways their parents never
imagined. For example, one St. Catharines board run by a high school
student has photos of naked women among those of Goofy, Mickey Mouse
and Roger Rabbit.
The student, who operates Hogan's Alley, a three-year-old bulletin
board, is trying to clear all the adult files from his computer after
complaints from female users. But the teen, who didn't want his name
used, can't keep pace with users who keep sending pornographic files.
Hugh Mitchell, a St. Catharines physician who runs another board, is
fed up with the trend to porn files. "There is a big demand(for
porn)," he said. "Unfortunately, too much. I just went on my board
last night and I couldn't believe what was going on."
Problems like that prompt Towne Crier's Brandon to say legislation
requiring boards to be licensed might be necessary to stem kids'
access to porn. But Matthews of Project P said local computer owners
could simply phone Texas or Australia or anywhere else in the world
and download porn. "It can come from any place," he said. "This is
getting to be a problem throughout North America and the world."
It's the global nature of telecommunications which is causing
headaches for Canadian universities wrestling with pornography on
their computer systems. The University of Manitoba recently yanked
offensive files from a computer network it is connected to after word
got out about stories and photographs that included child pornography
and women hanging from chains.
Johns, of the Winnipeg police, said the stories were "how-to" manuals
involving incest and torture for sexual gratification. Other
universities across the country, including Brock University, still
carry the files.
"There's a whole lot of legal questions because of the computer. It's
a grey area," said Johns, who is waiting for clarification on the
issue in the courts. Don Adams, director of computing and information
services at Brock, said universities are in a quandary about what to
do with offensive files. "You can't really censor the damn network,
but on the other hand you don't want to carry all this junk, either."
Anti-porn activist and feminist Emilie Fowler, with the Social Justice
Committee of Niagara Falls, fears young males have unlimited access to
hard-core porn in Niagara. "This is out there, and most people are
really not aware of it. Parents go merrily off to work and their
young sons are accessing it. What kinds of opinion are they going to
form about women?"
She had few kind words for those creating the adult computer files.
"It's a chilling thought that some of these guys would do this for a
hobby. Sit around and think of rape scenes for a hobby? That really
Jefferies, the concerned father who bought a home computer nearly
seven years ago, said his son has assured him he doesn't view the porn
on local bulletin boards. Bt he admits that, when he was that age, he
probably would have through sheer curiosity. An adult can see
whatever they want, as long as it's not hurting anyone. It's the kids
I'm worried about."
Matthews and Forster at Bell say they've received virtually no
complaints about porn on bulletin boards. Matthews figures that is
because parents simply don't know it is out there. Kids are
"certainly not going to complain."
SEEING COMPUTER FILES EASY
by Paul Forsyth and Andrew Lundy (Standard Staff)
Phone lines aren't just for chatty humans any more. The computer
revolution that transformed the world in the '80s has also changed Ma
Bell. Today telephones buzz with digital chatter, gibberish to the
human ear but the heart and soul of computer lingo.
At this moment, probably hundreds of phone lines in St. Catharines are
hooked to modems-- small electronic devices that are translators for
computers. THey make it possible to transmit not only text, as fax
machines do, but also programs like word processing, spreadsheets,
games and high-quality graphics.
For less than $100, computer owners can buy a modem and unlock the
door to a little-known sub-culture of public access bulletin boards
that has been growing throughout North America for more than a decade.
By running a program which displays text and graphics from other
computers on the screen, users can become members of bulletin boards
anywhere in the world. The boards are electronic meeting places where
users can talk to other computer enthusiasts, play games and exchange
messages or files. They are usually set up on home computers by
hobbyists who spend hours a day maintaining the boards, updating files
and enforcing whatever rules they have established-- like no swearing,
or racist jokes.
Practically every board-- there are dozens in Niagara alone-- has an
area for graphics files, often labelled GIFs. The photos find their
way into computers by anonymous hackers using scanners, an electronic
device similar to a photocopier. But instead of paper, what's
produced is an on-screen image that's often as vivid as the real
thing. Accessing these files is as easy as typing a few instructions:
telling the board what file you want, the way you want to transmit
it-- called downloading-- then simply hitting the return key.
Once files are transferred, they can be viewed on-screen or printed
out. They can be sent to other computer just as easily as they were
That's how photo files that violate Canadian obscenity laws have ended
up in the Garden City. Passed on from user to user via anonymous
phone lines, they've wound their way from the original hacker, through
many other bulletin boards, to computer screens of curious children
IMAGES SHOCK JUSTICE ASSISTANT
by Paul Forsyth and Andrew Lundy (Standard Staff)
Rob Nicholson's face grew grim as the computer image flashed on the
screen. Two words escaped from his mouth: "My God."
The Niagara Falls MP and assistant to federal Justice Minister Kim
Campbell was getting a crash course on computer pornography and its
availability to children in Niagara. It scared him.
"This is news to me," he admitted in his riding office, as a photo of
bestiality appeared. "I have to believe this is news to most
Two reporters dropped by yesterday to show him a cross-section of
hundreds of porn files easily available on local computer bulletin
boards-- files even board operators admit are big draws for
computer-literate young teens.
Nicholson promised to make Campbell aware of the issue, but admitted
the wheels of legislative change move slowly. As an example, as
recently as two years ago a person would be charged if caught setting
fire to someone's garden. But burning a car wasn't considered arson,
because cars had not been invented when the Criminal Code was written.
Nicholson pointed out that the combination of pornography-- a thorny
political issue-- and rapidly changing computer technology makes
drafting effective legislation a daunting task.
"I don't know what the ... solution is to this. It bothers me that we
don't have a magic bullet. This wonderful new technology is being
perverted. It scares me as a parent."
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1993 17:34:58 -0500
From: Gerard Van der Leun
Subject: FYI: 3rd Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference
The Third Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy
9-12 March 1993
San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel, Burlingame, CA
The CFP'93 will assemble experts, advocates and interested people from
a broad spectrum of disciplines and backgrounds in a balanced public
forum to address the impact of computer and telecommunications
technologies on freedom and privacy in society.
Participants will include people from the fields of computer science,
law, business, research, information, library science, health, public
policy, government, law enforcement, public advocacy and many others.
Some of the topics in the wide-ranging CFP'93 program will include:
ELECTRONIC DEMOCRACY - looking at how computers and networks are
changing democratic institutions and processes.
ELECTRONIC VOTING - addressing the security, reliability, practicality
and legality of automated vote tallying systems and their increasing
CENSORSHIP AND FREE SPEECH ON THE NET - discussing the problems of
maintaining freedom of electronic speech across communities and
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST ON THE NET - probing the problems and potential
of new forms of artistic expression enabled by computers and networks.
DIGITAL TELEPHONY AND CRYPTOGRAPHY - debating the ability of
technology to protect the privacy of personal communications versus
the needs of law enforcement and government agencies to tap in.
HEALTH RECORDS AND CONFIDENTIALITY - examining the threats to the
privacy of medical records as health care reform moves towards
THE MANY FACES OF PRIVACY - evaluating the benefits and costs of the
use of personal information by business and government.
THE DIGITAL INDIVIDUAL - exploring the increasing capabilities of
technology to track and profile us.
GENDER ISSUES IN COMPUTING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS - reviewing the
issues surrounding gender and online interaction.
THE HAND THAT WIELDS THE GAVEL - a moot court dealing with legal
liability, responsibility, security and ethics of computer and network
THE POWER, POLITICS AND PROMISE OF INTERNETWORKING - covering the
development of networking infrastructures, domestically and worldwide.
INTERNATIONAL DATA FLOW - analyzing the issues in the flow of
information over the global matrix of computer networks and attempts
to regulate it.
The conference will also offer a number of in-depth tutorials on
* Information use in the private sector * Constitutional law and civil
liberties * Investigating telecom fraud * Practical data inferencing *
Privacy in the public and private workplace * Legal issues for sysops *
Access to government information * Navigating the Internet
INFORMATION For more information on the CFP'93 program and advance
registration call, write or email to:
CFP'93 INFORMATION 2210 SIXTH STREET BERKELEY, CA 94710 (510) 845-1350
A complete electronic version of the conference brochure with more
detailed descriptions of the sessions, tutorials, and registration
information is also available via anonymous ftp from sail.stanford.edu in
the file: pub/les/cfp-93
End of Computer Underground Digest #5.02
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank