Computer underground Digest Tue Jan 26, 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 07 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J
Computer underground Digest Tue Jan 26, 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 07
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, #5.07 (Jan 26, 1993)
File 1--Mark Carter Clears his Name...
File 2--Reply to St.Catharine's "Porn" stories (RE: CuD 5.02)
File 3--Legal Strategy on 2600 Nov. '92 Mall Harassment
File 4--Re: "Explosive Data for Bombs" (CuD #5.05)
File 5--Response to Prosecutor Citarella's Notes (CuD 5.06)
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Date: Fri, 22 Jan 93 00:57:30 -0500
From: carterm@SPARTAN.AC.BROCKU.CA(Mark Carter)
Subject: File 1--Mark Carter Clears his Name...
Response to "Response to Mark Carter in CuD #5.02 and #5.03",
which appeared in CuD #5.05.
In response to Kenneth Werneburg, Derek Borgford, and Rick
Vanderzwaag, I would like to congratulate them on a fine article.
However, I would like to correct a few wrong assumptions they made
about my personal opinions.
Clearing my name, as it were...
Quick synopsis of what my opinions really are:
1. I do not have a pre-occupation with Fidonet.
2. I do not rank non-Fidonet boards below others. Nor do I have a
negative prejudice towards boards not affiliated with Fidonet.
3. I'm no expert on Interzone, just based my comments on what few
experiences I've had there.
4. I did not forward the Standard articles with the intention of
shedding new light on the issue. Rather, as I understood it, Cud
readers are interested in reading about how the media deals with
computer issues. Thus, I sent the articles, with brief
introductions to clear up some of the obvious errors and point out
the bias of the article. There was no intention to submit an
article of "substance". If there were, I would have written my
own, instead of forwarding the Standard's articles.
I feel it necessary to point out that in an otherwise excellent
article, the negative criticism against me stemmed from a small
paragraph of my introduction to the Standard article which appeared in
Cud 5.03(Cud 5.02 had nothing objectionable), and from certain
expectations(with no foundation) that I would be writing an
enlightened accompaniment to the articles I forwarded.
In relation to #1 and #2, above, I would like to note that rather than
a prejudicial "pre-occupation" with Fidonet that "clouds my
judgement", I simply regard it as a valuable feature on any BBS.
International Echomail and Netmail can only be a bonus, in my opinion.
For users interested primarily in on-line games or files, connection
to a network is not necessary. The same can be said for users who are
content to speak with frequent callers to a specific board. As for
Interzone not having those terrible restrictions applied to
echomail(polite language and common courtesy are encouraged; gosh,
what a constraint!), any sysop can set up a message area on their
board which is not connected to a mail network.
Overall, I daresay my remarks were blown out of proportion.
As for my stating that Interzone was "hardly a good example of local
boards" this was not at all based on popularity. I might comment on
how I feel certain other features should have been noted, but I would
be opening myself up to criticism again(which I have undoubtedly
already done). Nonetheless, I'll state that message areas(BBS
specific or Fidonet, doesn't matter either way to me, despite what my
detractors would have you believe) and other file offerings than .GIFS
should have been noted. Perhaps my comments on Interzone were
"uninformed", but in any case, I remain blissfully so. Those
"uninformed" comments were taken far too seriously.
As far as popularity goes, the "second most popular board in the
region" figure is hardly verifiable. 600 callers per week is also not
a very good indication of popularity, for obvious reasons. There are
hundreds of boards in the Niagara region. Many are popular. Several
have multiple lines.
Since they mark letters to the editor as badges of honour, I'll note
that I also wrote a letter to the editor, which was published. I
haven't received any criticism about it yet(presumably because the
three guys this response is to haven't seen it); to the contrary,
several people have commented that it was an excellent submission.
I leave you with this quote from the article which I respond to:
"We fail to understand Mark Carter's implicated hierarchal delineation
regarding the relative worth of BBSes in the Niagara region".
Clearly, this exemplifies what I have maintained, that my brief words
of introduction to a forwarded article were blown out of proportion,
and misinterpreted by those who feel I have a pathological desire to
merely imply what I would write plainly if I intended something to be
Regardless, rather than dismiss my critics' article, I will praise it.
Once they got through slamming my character, they added some of the
"substance" which they for some reason expected of myself. Indeed,
had I attempted to provide "substance" it would have clouded the
articles, which I felt Cud readers would be more interested in.
Overall, though, Ken, Derek and Rick wrote a good article.
BTW, I apologize if anyone took offense at anything I said, in any
article (this is a standing apology...). Interzone is a great local
board, is popular, has lots of files, games, etc. The reason I meant
that it wasn't a good example of a local board was because it doesn't
really follow the standard of other boards in the region.
Undoubtedly, this adds to it's popularity. L8r.
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1993 20:56:49 -0500
From: mckenzie@CHEZROB.PINETREE.ORG(Rob McKenzie)
Subject: File 2--Reply to St.Catharine's "Porn" stories (RE: CuD 5.02)
In the edition of CUD dated Sun Jan 10, 1992 Volume 5 : Issue 02,
there was this article in the "CU IN THE NEWS" section regarding 3
newspaper articles from a St. Catharine Ontario news paper. Here is
the letter that a friend and I have sent off to the Editor-in-Chief.
PO Box 70053
January 25, 1993
The St. Catharine Standard
17 Queen St.
St. Catharine, On
ATTENTION: Paul Forsyth and Andrew Lundy
I am writing in response to articles you wrote in _The Standard_
on July 25, 1992.
I received the text of your articles from an electronic
newsletter called the Computer Underground Digest. I must say after
reading them, I am not surprised at what you have discovered. What
shocks me, however, is that you seem to convey that this "electronic
porn" is the norm in the on-line community. In my experience, it
would seem that fewer than 20% of the systems would have "hard
hard-core porn" on-line, and perhaps fewer than 20% of that group have
GIF (pronounce JIFF) files that contain bestiality or scenes of rape
and violence toward women."
I do not deny that these atrocities exist, because they do; and I
think the general public should be made aware of them. The Bulletin
Board Systems (BBSes) that carry GIFs that contain scenes of
bestiality, rape, and violence toward women should be boycotted and
black-listed till they clean up their systems. I do not condone the
distribution of such material in any way, and such material should be
banned by law.
I would like to share my views on your articles. Your original
text will be enclosed in a set of "<< >> " characters, with my
comments following your quoted text.
KIDS CAN SEE HARD-CORE PORN AT TOUCH OF A BUTTON
by Paul Forsyth and Andrew Lundy (Standard Staff)
<< 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 checks. >>
I have run my BBS for a little over 2 years now, and I have
concluded that the best way to verify a user is to call on the
telephone. You can normally spot kids who are filling out applications
for access to the system by the answers they give to various
questions. The biggest one I catch users on is when I ask for the
birth date, then later on in the application ask for the age of the
applicant. If two different ages are entered, I have my answer.
Having mail-in applications that must be downloaded from the BBS,
printed, and then mailed via regular mail (Canada Post) is another
good way to rid your system of kids who only want pornography. I've
not seen a kid yet who can find the patience to fill out and mail an
application and wait for validation.
<< 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. >>
May I ask how many systems you connected with and obtained this
material from? What percentage of the total number of BBSes in the
St. Catharines area does that represent?
I believe that federal and provincial law prohibit the sale of
and distribution of pornographic materials to people under the age of
<< 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 force. >>
I think if the material on a system is in contravention of the
Criminal Code, then the system operator (sysop) of that BBS should be
charged; but as for not being able to nail down the origin of these
files, this has little bearing on the issue. Look at the number of
video stores that have been busted in the past year for the
contravention of Canadian pornography laws. Very few -- if any -- of
those videos, I suspect, actually originated in Canada, yet the store
owners were charged and the tapes were confiscated. Why, then, could
the police not charge a sysop for the distribution of the GIFs?
<< 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 hope articles such as yours will help to enlighten not only the
women's groups, but also the police and the lawmakers, in the hope
that they will help to clean up the on-line community (also known as
CyberSpace, a buzzword for the 90s). I, for one, do not like to see
CyberSpace tainted by articles such as yours which appear to be only
showing the downside of the few systems that are not, shall I say par
with the laws.
<< Fearful parents can forget about complaining to Bell Canada.
The phone company has been told by the Canadian Radio-Television and
Telecommunications Commission that censorship won't be tolerated. >>
I have to tip my hat to the C.R.T.C. for its decision with
respect to censorship. I feel that the people of Canada are subjected
to enough of that already. Bell should be applauded for its decision
not to contest the decision of the C.R.T.C.
<< 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." >>
I don't think BBSes should have to be licensed or even registered
in any way, but I do think there should be a hot-line set up for
people to call to report a BBS that carries illegal, pornographic
material A committee could be set up to investigate these reports, and
if they are confirmed then the sysop could have action taken against
him/her. Punishing the many for the errors of the few is not the way
<< "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." >>
Computers are a grey area in the law for only one reason: the
lawmakers do not, cannot or will not understand computers. You can't
pass a law on something you know nothing about.
SEEING COMPUTER FILES EASY
by Paul Forsyth and Andrew Lundy (Standard Staff)
<< 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. >>
This is the norm for the on-line community! In fact the woman
I will be marrying this spring lives in the US, and I met her via
the computer. We spent hours every day typing to each other in
real-time before we met in person. This is one direction computers
<< 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. >>
Oh my! You have touched on a very soft spot now, and not just
in me, but in anyone who has been around the on-line community for
more than 8 or 9 years: that old buzzword of "hacker". I wish
people who write about "hackers" would first learn the meaning of
the word, then use the search and replace function of their word
processors to replace it with something that is suitable for their
Your connotation of the word "hacker" is a person who has
nothing better to do with his/her time, or a person who commits
acts that are morally questionable. Hmmmm, I must rebut this
definition. My definition of a hacker is one who is proficient
with computers, one who wants to use computers for the purpose of
learning and excelling in a field. Webster's says:
hack'er n. a talented amateur user of computers.
Now, the word "amateur" is questionable by my definition, but
nevertheless the above definition is how we computer enthusiasts
like to think of ourselves. The people you refer to in your
article are disobedient children or misguided adults. These people
are not, and probably never will be, considered hackers by other
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."
Hehehe, that's probably all you could print in a publicly
consumed newspaper, but we get the idea.
<< 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. >>
I'm glad these reporters brought this situation to the
attention of the officials. If the GIFs contain bestiality, scenes
of rape and/or violence, they should be banned. Alas, as I said
above, we are stuck with lawmakers from an older generation who
don't understand computers and cannot pass laws on something they
<< "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." >>
You are correct in this statement. I think the wonderful
world of computers and the concept of telecommunications is being
polluted by a few bad apples.
I would like to see articles similar to yours in all the major
papers in Canada, but you can't just talk of the bad. It's more
important to talk of the good that computers and CyberSpace, as we
call it, can be to the world. Pornography is only 1/1000th of what
is out there for people to experience, but by the same token,
people need to be made aware of it. However, for the benefit of
the on-line community and the positive reputation it has created
for itself, please point out the bad in a way that doesn't distort
Technical Advisor of pinetree.org
Sysop of: Chez Rob's Int'l Mail Exchange
Data: +1 613 230 5307
Domain Coordinator of pinetree.org
Sysop of: Gorden's Basement BBS
Data: +1 613 526 5168
Date: Wed, 20 JAN 93 17:09:54 GMT
Subject: File 3--Legal Strategy on 2600 Nov. '92 Mall Harassment
To the Editors of Computer Underground Digest:
Attached, please find an article which relates to the November 1992
incident at the Washington 2600 meeting. I hope that you find it
ROBERT A. CAROLINA
15 York Terrace East, Flat 1B
London NW1 4PT
Tel: +44 71 935 2553
SCENES OF PASSIVE RESISTANCE AT A SHOPPING MALL
Robert A. Carolina, Esq.
Sometimes lawyer, full-time student,
and former rent-a-cop
Copyright 1993 by Robert A. Carolina. All rights reserved. License
is granted to distribute this document in its entirety for any purpose
which is both non-commercial and non-profit, provided that this notice
The incident at the November 1992 Washington 2600 meeting, where
attendees encountered mall guards allegedly spurred on by the Secret
Service, has been the cause of quite a bit of discussion and argument.
I thought it might be helpful to put together a small information kit
and rent-a-cop survival package. The strategy outlined below is
liable to be controversial since it advocates non-action, but I
encourage you to consider it. You may be able to fight city hall and
win, but fighting with people in uniforms (even on a verbal level) is
almost always a disaster.
First, recognize that guards, cops, and other "uniforms" get really
nervous around organized groups. The more inexperienced the uniform,
the more nervous they get. Second, when a uniformed person starts a
confrontation with anyone, he or she is trained to assert control over
the situation as quickly as possible. Any perceived challenge to his
authority, including "mouthing off", will produce a harmonic
disturbance at least double in intensity to the perceived
non-acquiescence. Another way to say this is that uniforms are
programmed to give worse than they get - it is considered proper
When you combine nervous uniforms (like under-trained mall
rent-a-cops) together with volatile personalities (like hackers
sporting anti-social nick-names) the result is usually a rapidly
escalating level of disharmony. (At the far extreme, disharmony like
this can produce four cops beating the hell out of Rodney King because
he "just wouldn't lie still on the ground". The point is not to
criticize Mr. King, but to make sure that you don't end up in the
hospital. Money awarded by a court is a poor substitute for missing
Third, recognize that a mall IS private property and the mall
operators can throw you out for little or no reason. Fourth, mall
cops are not government agents, and as such, their conduct is (mostly)
not governed by the Constitution. So what does this all mean?
Basically, Ghandi was right. The ticket to dealing with obstreperous
uniformed mall cops is polite, passive resistance. The key here is
POLITE. At all times, assure the mall cop that you will obey all
lawful instructions. Do not give the uniforms any reason whatsoever
to escalate the scene.
NOTE: This is not the time to start an argument about freedom of
speech. That argument belongs in thirty letters to the mall
management and local media delivered the day after. This is also not
the time to demonstrate your newly-acquired handcuffs to your friends.
Remember that you don't want to give the cops any reason at all to
escalate the scene.
If you are confronted by a group of threatening looking mall cops and
they hassle you, ask if you are being ejected from the mall. If yes,
then wish the officers a nice day and head for the nearest exit. If
no, then wish the officers a nice day and head for the nearest exit.
(Do you see a pattern emerging? Remember, you do not generally have a
"right" to stay in a mall. Thus, your best defense from ignorant mall
cops is to get the hell off of their turf.)
If the mall cop tries to detain you, ask if you are under arrest. If
the answer is "no" (as it will be 98% of the time), then politely ask
to leave and SLOWLY start to walk for the nearest exit. If you are
physically blocked from leaving (no scuffles please), OR if they have
the guts to claim that you are under arrest, then YOU ask for the
police on the grounds that you wish to file a criminal complaint for
wrongful imprisonment. The strategy here is to escalate by demanding
the presence of lawful authority. Most rent-a-cops are thrown off
their stride when a "bad guy" asks for the police. More importantly,
if the real cops actually do show up, you are once again fully
protected by the Constitution. For this reason, real cops tend to be
a little more cautious in these encounters and can often defuse
problems like this.
If the mall cop asks to search your bag, take a tip from Nancy Reagan
and Just Say "No". Half-measures like pulling out the contents
yourself don't accomplish very much. If you want bonus points, advise
the mall cops that you "will submit to a VALID request for search
issued by a police officer" and ask them to call the cops. If the
mall cops look like they might get physical, tell them that anything
silly on their part will draw a complaint of criminal assault, and
will force your father, the lawyer, to sue everyone in sight. The
more calmly you can say this, the more impact it will have.
By the way, if the real cops DO show up, this does not mean that you
have to roll over and play dead. If they ask "may I look in your
bag", again just say no. But if they state "Let me see the bag",
first make it clear that you protest the action, and then let them
take it from you. The trick here is to make sure that you have not
"consented" to the search -- however, you must give in to a claim of
authority from a police officer. (And no, you do not get to argue the
Fourth Amendment search and seizure issue right there on the spot.
Your lawyer will do that later at your criminal trial when he argues
that the widget in your possession was improperly seized and should
not be allowed into evidence.)
One way the real cops might try to stay out of the situation is by
refusing to search your bag. A really smart cop might say to the
guard, "I will not make the search, but I won't stop you if you
search." Stand your ground at this point. Tell the real cop that you
REFUSE to allow the search unless the real cop orders the search to
take place. Even if that happens, make clear that you object to the
Finally, if despite your best efforts (or because of your best
efforts) you are actually arrested by the real cops, DON'T PANIC.
More importantly, SHUT UP AND REMAIN SILENT! And in this instance,
"silent" means absolute quiet. Since the cops are probably engaged in
some baseless exercise, this is not the time to exclaim, "I guess you
want to know about that widget I stole last week." (Yes, that really
has happened more than once.) The only words you should utter after
being arrested are "I want to speak with a lawyer."
OK, I hear you asking, what about Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of
Speech? Isn't that guaranteed in the Constitution? Well, yes it is
but there is a trick. The Bill of Rights protects you from action by
the Government. Since the mall owners and guards are not the
government, their actions are not normally subject to Constitutional
constraints. That, by the way, is why the Krishnas get to bother you
in airports (owned by government authorities) and they do not get to
bother you in the grocery store (owned by private persons). And do
not forget that even the government gets to set reasonable limits on
Speech and Assembly (like requiring parade permits before 100 people
meet in the middle of a street).
The most disturbing thing about the Washington 2600 incident, is the
alleged use of private individuals (mall rent-a-cops) to secretly
further the goals of government agents. If it can be proved that
government agents ordered this action, then Constitutional protections
will apply. A side benefit of the strategy outlined above is that it
forces the mall cops to bring the government (and thus Constitutional
protection) clearly into the picture. The strategy may also be
helpful, with a little modification, if you are dealing with real cops
in the first instance. The important thing is to make clear that you
OBJECT to a search. Everything else is basically sit & smile.
Disclaimer: The above strategy is based on general principles of US
Constitutional law and my observations when I worked as a rent-a-cop
about a hundred years ago. Use the strategy AT YOUR OWN RISK. This
document is free, and worth every penny. If you want a real legal
opinion, go out and pay for one.
ROBERT A. CAROLINA
Member, Illinois State Bar Association
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 93 12:07:46 EST
From: morgan@ENGR.UKY.EDU(Wes Morgan)
Subject: File 4--Re: "Explosive Data for Bombs" (CuD #5.05)
>Subject--Explosive Data for Homemade Bombs
>Hartford Courant (Connecticut Newspaper)
> KEYBOARDING EXPLOSIVE DATA FOR HOMEMADE BOMBS
> Bomb Recipes Just a Keystroke Away
> By Tracy Gordon Fox, Courant Staff Writer
I find it interesting that this article appears in the same CuD issue
as a reasoned paper by a prosecutor. It's illustrative of the public
'technophobia' when faced with computing. Until the public can be
informed (as a whole), law enforcement will continue to act upon
situation such as these, with nothing but public ignorance to blame.
>Teenagers learning how to manufacture bombs through home or school
>computers have contributed to the nearly 50% increase in the number of
>homemade explosives discovered last year by state police, authorities
>In addition to the misguided computer hackers,
I wonder if a university professor would be "misguided" if his research
included demolitions and explosives.........more hyperbole/hysteria
from the media, I guess.....Hey, wait a minute! My specialty during
my military service was demolitions; hey guys, I'm "misguided"!
>Making bombs is not a new phenomenon, but the computer age has brought
>the recipes for the explosives to the fingertips of anyone with a
>little computer knowledge and a modem.
Ha! I can call the UK library and have
the US Army Field Manual "Military Explosives" on my desk within 48
hours. I can drive less than one mile to an Army Surplus store that
sells copies of the Army's "Improvised Munitions Handbook". I can
pick up a copy of "Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials" from
the Lexington Public Library and extract enough information to make
bombs. Heck, the industry's standard laboratory safety guide says
"don't mix X and Y; they'll explode".
If I want to tell someone else, I can always drive to their house or
call them on the telephone. Why don't we hear a hue and cry about
these sources of information?
>University of Connecticut police say they do not know if computers
>were the source for a series of soda-bottle bombs that exploded
>outside a dormitory last February.
They don't know, but it was worth mentioning anyway? Why does the
press bother to report these facts? More hysteria......
>Police have dubbed these explosives "MacGyver bombs" because they were
>apparently made popular in the television detective show, "MacGyver."
>Two-liter soda bottles are stuffed with volatile chemicals that cause
>pressure to build until the plastic bursts. The bombs explode either
>from internal pressure or on impact.
So, broadcast television is also a distribution channel
for these *nefarious* devices! Let's write a hysterical article about
"Remote Controls Lead to Explosions"!
>"There were a number of students involved in making the soda bottle
>bombs. They knew what ingredients to mix," said Capt. Fred Silliman.
>"They were throwing them out the dorm windows and they made a very
>large boom, a loud explosion."
Most high school chemistry students could do this independently;
almost any university chemistry student should be able to do this in
about 5 minutes.
>Typically, they are loners, who are socially dysfunctional, excel in
>mathematics and science, and are "over motivated in one area," he
Uh huh.....I'm getting rather tired of seeing the "socially
dysfunctional" label applied to each and every person interested in
>"This shows the ability kids have," Goodrow said. Goodrow said he was
>at first amazed when teenage suspects showed him the information they
>could get by hooking on to computer bulletin boards.
Had they taken him to the local library, would he have been amazed?
If not, why should online resources be a source of amazement?
I hope that the "legal eagles" particpating in CuD will take note of
this article; we all have a long educational road ahead of us, if we
want to eliminate/control ignorance such as this.
Subject: File 5--Response to Prosecutor Citarella's Notes (CuD 5.06)
Date: Mon Jan 25 22:08:52 1993
In CuD 5.05, Ken Citarella wrote:
>In my personal experience, prosecutorial discretion has worked
>just as well in computer crimes as it has regarding other criminal
>behavior. Some complaints result in a prosecution; some are
>investigated and no charges filed; some are not even entertained.
Perhaps Mr. Citarella should check out the activities of Bill Cook,
former Assistant United States Attorney (ASUA) in Chicago as regards
computer related cases involving Neidorf, Andrews, Rose, Riggs,
Darden, Grant, and Zinn as well as the Atlanta based ASUA who
prosecuted Riggs, Darden and Grant. In particular, I urge Mr.
Citarella to read the prosecutor's presentencing memorandum in the
Atlanta cases, considering that the information presented to the judge
as pertinent fact was known to be wrought from lies. And there's Bill
Cook's use of discretionary powers in the Steve Jackson Games case,
presently in civil litigation. The fact that neither of the two
prosecutors is working for the government any longer is viewed by some
as the system correcting itself. That's not much consolation to the
people who were persecuted by these two ASUAs. Neidorf had legal
expenses in excess of $ 100,000 and lost a semester of university
time. Riggs, Darden, and Grant, youngsters in every context, served
time in prison. Zinn, aged 16 at the time of his "crimes" was of age
by the time he went to trial and served time in an adult prison for
rubbing AT&T's nose in it.
Further, I feel certain that the ACLU files are rife with cases where
prosecutorial discretion in "other criminal" cases is less than
exemplary. For example, my copy of "Proving Federal Crimes" uses
hundreds of case examples in the chapter titled "Prosecutorial
Misconduct and Vindictiveness." Not a small problem, obviously. Human
passions flare in the face of injustice, and flared passions don't
leave sentient discretionary skills intact in those involved. Also
note that in the past two years, much play has been given on primetime
television to prosecutorial misconduct. This means that the media woke
up to the concept as a social problem worthy of play.
And finally I cite the Rule of Law as standing in opposition to Mr.
Citarella's contentions. It is mandate, in our justice system, that
all the rules be established beforehand. It is important that all
persons can determine, ahead of time, what coercive measures will be
taken by the state in response to actions which are in violation of
the written laws of the land When left simply to prosecutorial
discretion, this extremely important principle is thwarted and
replaced by personal power. To be bound by rules created by a man is
the first definition of slavery.
While I believe Mr. Citarella's intentions to be good, and suppose he
wishes to improve the responsiveness and costs associated with the
criminal justice system, I urge him to read the history of another
well meaning individual named Zapata.
Benevolent dictatorships aren't all they're cracked up to be. In the
end, when the Constitution and the laws are filtered through the
discretion of a prosecutor's personal judgement, one begins more and
more to live in a state where collective prosecutorial religion
reigns. After all, the state's primary business is the shaping of
behavior. Prosecutorial discretion is a form of tyranny which has
slowly been coming of age in this country.
End of Computer Underground Digest #5.07
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank