Computer underground Digest Wed May 19 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 37
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Copy Editor: Etaoin Shrdlu, Senrio
CONTENTS, #5.37 (May 19 1993)
File 1--CPSR Brief in 2600 FOIA Case
File 2--Response to Russell Brand (Re CuD 5.36)
File 3--"Clipper" Chip Redux
File 4--UPDATE #4-AB1624: Legislative Info Online
File 5--AB1624-Legislation Online - Making SURE it's "right"
File 6--CU In The News--Singapore Piracy / Ethics Conf.
Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are
available at no cost electronically from email@example.com. The
editors may be contacted by voice (815-753-6430), fax (815-753-6302)
or U.S. mail at: Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL
Issues of CuD can also be found in the Usenet comp.society.cu-digest
news group; on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of
LAWSIG, and DL0 and DL12 of TELECOM; on GEnie in the PF*NPC RT
libraries and in the VIRUS/SECURITY library; from America Online in
the PC Telecom forum under "computing newsletters;"
On Delphi in the General Discussion database of the Internet SIG;
on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210; and on: Rune Stone BBS (IIRG
WHQ) 203-832-8441 NUP:Conspiracy
CuD is also available via Fidonet File Request from 1:11/70; unlisted
nodes and points welcome.
EUROPE: from the ComNet in Luxembourg BBS (++352) 466893;
ANONYMOUS FTP SITES:
UNITED STATES: ftp.eff.org (22.214.171.124) in /pub/cud
uglymouse.css.itd.umich.edu (126.96.36.199) in /pub/CuD/cud
halcyon.com( 188.8.131.52) in /pub/mirror/cud
AUSTRALIA: ftp.ee.mu.oz.au (184.108.40.206) in /pub/text/CuD.
EUROPE: nic.funet.fi in pub/doc/cud. (Finland)
ftp.warwick.ac.uk in pub/cud (United Kingdom)
Back issues also may be obtained through mailserver at:
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. Authors hold a presumptive copyright, 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: Tue, 18 May 1993 14:01:53 -0500
Subject: File 1--CPSR Brief in 2600 FOIA Case
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) today
filed its brief in federal district court in Washington, DC,
challenging the Secret Service's withholding of information
relating to the break-up of a meeting of individuals affiliated
with 2600 Magazine last fall. The brief is re-printed below. All
footnotes and certain citations have been omitted.
For information concerning CPSR's litigation activities, contact:
David Sobel, CPSR Legal Counsel
For information concerning CPSR generally, contact:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS FOR )
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, )
v. ) C.A. No. 93-0231-LFO
UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE )
PLAINTIFF'S MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND IN
SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiff initiated this action on February 4, 1993,
challenging defendant Secret Service's failure to release certain
agency records requested under the Freedom of Information Act
("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552. Specifically, plaintiff seeks
disclosure of Secret Service records concerning "the breakup of a
meeting of individuals affiliated with '2600 Magazine' at the
Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia on November 6, 1992."
The Secret Service filed its motion for summary judgment on April
19, 1993. Plaintiff opposes the agency's motion and cross-moves
for summary judgment.
On November 6, 1992, a group of young people gathered in the
food court at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia, to
socialize and discuss their common hobby -- computer technology.
Most of the attendees were readers of "2600 Magazine," a quarterly
journal devoted to computer and telecommunications issues. The
gathering was a regular, monthly event promoted by the magazine.
See "Hackers Allege Harassment at Mall," Washington Post, November
Shortly after the group had gathered, "they were surrounded
by a few mall security guards and at least one agent from the
Secret Service." Officers of the Arlington County Police
were also present. The security guards demanded that the group
members produce identification and compiled a list of names. The
personal belongings of several attendees were confiscated and the
group was evicted from the mall.
Several days later, plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the
Secret Service seeking agency records concerning the incident.
The agency produced several newspaper articles describing the
incident, but withheld two records which, according to the agency,
"were provided to the Secret Service by a confidential source, and
each consists solely of information identifying individuals."
Defendant asserts that these two documents -- apparently lists of
names compiled by the mall security guards -- are exempt from
disclosure under FOIA Exemptions 7(A), 7(C) and 7(D). Plaintiff
disputes the applicability of these exemptions to the withheld
I. The Withheld Information was not Compiled
for a Valid Law Enforcement Purpose
Under the facts of this case, defendant has failed to meet
its burden of establishing the threshold requirement of Exemption
7 -- that the information was compiled for valid law enforcement
purposes. Without elaboration, defendant merely asserts that
"[t]he two records being withheld ... are located in investigative
files maintained by the Secret Service that pertain to and are
compiled in connection with a criminal investigation being
conducted pursuant to the Secret Service's statutory authority to
investigate allegations of fraud." Def. Mem. at 3. This
assertion falls far short of the showing an agency must make in
order to invoke the protection of Exemption 7.
In Pratt v. Webster, 673 F.2d 408 (D.C. Cir. 1982), the D.C.
Circuit established a two-part test for determining whether the
Exemption 7 threshold has been met.
First, the agency's investigatory activities that give
rise to the documents sought must be related to the
enforcement of federal laws or to the maintenance of
national security. To satisfy this requirement of a
"nexus," the agency should be able to identify a
particular individual or a particular incident as the
object of its investigation and the connection between
that individual or incident and a possible security risk
or violation of federal law. The possible violation or
security risk is necessary to establish that the agency
acted within its principal function of law enforcement,
rather than merely engaging in a general monitoring of
private individuals' activities. ...
Second, the nexus between the investigation and one
of the agency's law enforcement duties must be based on
information sufficient to support at least "a colorable
claim" of its rationality. ... Of course, the agency's
basis for the claimed connection between the object of
the investigation and the asserted law enforcement duty
cannot be pretextual or wholly unbelievable.
673 F.2d at 420-421 (emphasis, citations and footnote omitted).
Since the passage of the 1986 FOIA amendments, the court of
appeals has slightly restated the Pratt test so that the agency
must demonstrate a nexus "between [its] activity" (rather than its
investigation) "and its law enforcement duties." Keys v.
Department of Justice, 830 F.2d 337, 340 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
As the court of appeals noted, the reason for requiring the
showing of a "nexus" is to ensure that the agency was not "merely
engaging in a general monitoring of private individuals'
activities." Other courts have also recognized that "[i]f an
agency 'was merely monitoring the subject for purposes unrelated
to enforcement of federal law,' a threshold showing has not been
made." Rosenfeld v. Department of Justice, 761 F. Supp. 1440,
1444 (N.D. Cal. 1991). See also King v. Department of Justice, 830
F. 2d 210, 230 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (court not required "to sanction
agency claims that are pretextual or otherwise strain credulity");
Shaw v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 749 F.2d 58, 63 (D.C.
Cir. 1984) ("mere existence of a plausible criminal investigatory
reason to investigate would not protect the files of an inquiry
explicitly conducted ... for purposes of harassment").
In this case, the agency has not even attempted to make the
requisite showing. It has not "identified] a particular
individual or a particular incident as the object of its
investigation and the connection between that individual or
incident and a possible ... violation of federal law," as Pratt
requires. Rather, the circumstances strongly suggest that the
Secret Service was "merely engaging in a general monitoring of
private individuals' activities" (Pratt), or conducting an inquiry
"for purposes of harassment" (Shaw).
If, as the agency's representations suggest, the Secret
Service obtained a listing of individuals lawfully assembled at a
shopping mall in order to identify computer "hackers," without
benefit of probable cause or even articulable facts justifying
such an "investigation," Exemption 7 cannot protect the collected
information from disclosure. Indeed, as the Second Circuit has
noted, "unauthorized or illegal investigative tactics may not be
shielded from the public by use of FOIA exemptions." Kuzma v.
Internal Revenue Service, 775 F.2d 66, 69 (2d Cir. 1985), citing
Weissman v. Central Intelligence Agency, 565 F.2d 692, 696 (D.C.
Cir. 1977) (other citation omitted). The agency has offered no
evidence that would rebut the inference that it is improperly
collecting the names of individuals engaged in constitutionally
The Secret Service has not met its burden of establishing the
"law enforcement purposes" threshold. Nor has it demonstrated
that any of the requisite harms would flow from disclosure, so as
to meet the specific provisions of Exemptions 7(A), 7(C) or 7(D).
II. Disclosure Would not Interfere
with a Pending Law Enforcement Proceeding
In support of its 7(A) claim, defendant again asserts,
without elaboration, that the disputed records were obtained "in
the course of a criminal investigation that is being conducted
pursuant to the Secret Service's authority to investigate access
device and computer fraud." Defendant further asserts that
disclosure of the information "could reasonably be expected to
interfere" with that investigation. As plaintiff has shown, the
existence of a qualifying "investigation" has not been
established. Nor, as we discuss below, could the disclosure of
the withheld information be reasonably expected to interfere with
defendant's vague inquiry.
Given the unique nature of FOIA litigation, plaintiff (and
the court, absent ex parte submissions) must draw logical
conclusions based upon defendant's representations. Here,
defendant represents that 1) the records relate to the incident at
Pentagon City Mall; 2) the records were obtained from a
"confidential" source; and 3) the records consist "solely of
information identifying individuals." Given that a list of names
was compiled by mall security guards and that a record consisting
"solely of information identifying individuals" is -- by
definition -- a list of names, plaintiff and the court logically
can assume that the compilation of names is being withheld.
The individuals who were required to identify themselves, and
whose names were subsequently recorded, obviously know that they
were present at the mall and that their names were taken. Under
these circumstances, it is patently absurd for the agency to
[t]he premature release of the identities of the
individual(s) at issue could easily result in
interference to the Secret Service's investigation by
alerting these individual(s) that they are under
investigation and thus allowing the individual(s) to
alter their behavior and/or evidence.
In Campbell v. Department of Health and Human Services, 682
F.2d 256, 259 (D.C. Cir. 1982), the D.C. Circuit reached the
obvious conclusion that Exemption 7(A) does not apply to
information that was provided by the subject of an investigation
-- it applies only to information "not in the possession of known
or potential defendants." See also Grasso v. Internal Revenue
Service, 785 F.2d 70, 77 (3d Cir. 1986) (where plaintiff sought
disclosure of his own statement to agency, "[t]he concerns to
which Exemption 7(A) is addressed are patently inapplicable").
Under the facts of this case, defendant's meager assertion of
"interference" defies logic and cannot be sustained.
III. The Privacy Protection of Exemption
7(C) is Inapplicable in this Case
Defendant next seeks to shield the information from
disclosure on the ground that it is seeking to protect the privacy
of the individuals named in the records. Applying the balancing
test of Exemption 7(C), the agency asserts that there is a
substantial privacy interest involved and "no public benefit in
the release of the names."
As for privacy interests, defendant claims that the
disclosure of an individual's name in a "law enforcement file ...
carries stigmatizing connotations." As noted, there is
substantial question as to whether the withheld material qualifies
as a "law enforcement" record. Indeed, the individuals themselves
believe that their names were recorded for purposes of harassment,
not law enforcement, and they cooperated with the news media to
expose what they believe to be improper conduct on the part of the
As is set forth in the attached affidavit of counsel, a
number of the young people who were detained at the mall have
sought plaintiff's assistance in securing the release of relevant
Secret Service records. By letter dated November 20, 1992,
plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the agency seeking
information concerning eight individuals, and provided privacy
releases executed by those individuals. The agency claimed that
it possessed no information relating to those individuals.
Plaintiff believes it is likely that some, if not all, of those
individuals are identified in the material defendant is
withholding. Given that plaintiff provided privacy releases to
the agency, the invocation of Exemption 7(C) to withhold those
names is indefensible.
The newspaper articles attached to defendant's motion belie
the claim that there is no public interest in the disclosure of
the requested information. The front page of the Washington Post
reported the allegation that the Secret Service orchestrated the
incident at Pentagon City Mall in order to monitor and harass the
young people who gathered there. The individuals themselves have
attempted to publicize the incident and gain the release of
relevant agency records. The balance between privacy interests
and public interest clearly weighs in favor of disclosure.
IV. The "Confidential Source" Protection of
Exemption 7(D) is not Available in this Case
Finally, defendants invoke Exemption 7(D), emphasizing that
the statutory definition of "confidential source" includes "any
private institution." Again, the circumstances of this case
render the exemption claim absurd -- the shopping mall was clearly
the source of the information maintained by the agency and it has
not attempted to conceal its cooperation with the Secret Service.
Shortly after the incident, the mall's security director,
Allan Johnson, was interviewed by Communications Daily. According
to an article that appeared in that publication, Johnson
acknowledged that the mall's security staff was working under the
direction of the Secret Service. "The Secret Service ...
ramrodded this whole thing," according to Johnson. "Secret
Service Undercover Hacker Investigation Goes Awry," Communications
Daily, November 10, 1992, at 2. This admission belies defendants'
suggestion that "[s]ources who provide ... information during the
course of a criminal investigation do so under the assumption that
their identities and cooperation will remain confidential ...."
As defendants concede, promises of confidentiality will be
implied, but only "in the absence of evidence to the contrary."
In this case, the evidence suggests that the source of the
information has sought to deflect responsibility for the incident
by asserting that it was, indeed, acting at the request of the
Secret Service. The agency appears to be more concerned with
protecting itself than with protecting the identity of a source
that is in no way "confidential." Exemption 7(D) can not be used
for that purpose.
Defendants' motion for summary judgment should be denied;
plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment should be granted.
Date: Sat, 15 May 93 20:20:07 EDT
From: Jerry Leichter
Subject: File 2--Response to Russell Brand (Re CuD 5.36)
[Well, maybe more than a line. It grew as I edited. -- Jerry]
Russell Brand responds to my recent article on the open vetting of crypto-
In CU Digest 5.34, Jerry Leichter attacked Mike
Godwin's position on the open design principle.
While Leichter is correct that in certain environments, an `open
design' is fact neither partical nor appropriate. CLIPPER is doesn't
present an instance of this....
thus completely missing the point of what I wrote.
I think I made it plain that I was *not* attacking Mike Godwin's
position as such. Mr. Godwin is not, and does not claim to be, an
expert on cryptography, its history, or its application. He's an
expert on law, and that was what the bulk of his article dealt with.
What I *did* attack was the often-repeated contention, which Mr.
Godwin has simply presented yet another example of, that the Clipper
initiative represents something fundamentally new IN THAT IT PROPOSES
THE USE OF A SECRET CRYPTOGRAPHIC ALGORITHM. It is certainly true
that there ARE several aspects of the initiative that ARE
fundamentally new (and hence certainly deserving of debate even if
only for that reason), but this is absolutely not one of them. In
fact, what IS new and quite "unproven" in the real world is the notion
of a cryptographic algorithm that IS public.
Mr. Brand continues with the argument that "an open design is
important ... so that you don't have to worry what advantage someone
can get by stealing it." This is just what it seems: An argument,
even a reasonable one. It is NOT an indication that there is anything
"abnormal" about a cryptographic algorithm whose details are not
public. As an argument, it can be responded to. I submit, for
example, that all the evidence available - and there's a fair amount -
is that the only advantage one gains from the ability to steal the
design is the ability to create one's own Clipper-compatible chips and
thus evade key escrow.
A claim that something violates "normal procedure" is an attempt to
remove it from the domain of debate. Bureaucrats LOVE to claim that
something is "just normal procedure" and as such presumably not open
to question or modification. Several claims I've seen made about
cryptography in general, and Clipper in particular, are of this
general nature. The "open design as a normal procedure" claim is, in
an academic context in which openness and publication are so central,
a particularly compelling one. Unfortunately, it's a claim with
little or no basis in law, history, engineering, or much of anything
outside of academia.
The whole area of cryptography has grown a paranoid mythology around
it. Just yesterday, All Things Considered ran an interview with a
"computer expert" - he's published a book on Windows programming, thus
making him fully qualified to talk about cryptography - who repeated
some old and hoary chestnuts, which are KNOWN to be false (or, at
best, for which there is absolutely no evidence). For example, he
repeated the claim that there is a trap door in DES, and he seems to
believe that what is escrowed is a MASTER key for all Clipper chips:
Given the two escrowed halves, you can read any Clipper conversation.
The interviewer seemed disturbed by this, as well she might be
(especially when the "expert" claimed that hackers would soon be able
to determine the master key on their on), and made all the right "oh
my goodness" noises. What she didn't bother to do was talk to someone
who knew something about the issue.
It's impossible to have a reasoned debate about cryptographic issues
when one side refuses to say much of anything, and the other lives in
a paranoid fantasy world. I think is was Edmund Burke who said that
the first moral imperative is to make sense.
Date: Mon, 17 May 93 11:54:45 EDT
From: soneill@NETAXS.COM(Steve O'Neill)
Subject: File 3--"Clipper" Chip Redux
My first reaction when I read about the Clipper chip proposed by the
Feds was how confused the folks who use Intergraph's RISC chip of the
same name were going to be. Same goes for the people using Clipper to
compile their dBase programs. But, I digress...
I have a couple of basic objections to the way the government is going
about this whole business of creating a standard for digital telephone
encryption. First of all, unless you've been away on Mars these past
25 or so years, you've got to be aware that the Federal Government is
not the most trustworthy organization around. Do the names Hoover,
Liddy, Mitchell, North, Poindexter, Watergate, Iran-Contra and BCCI
ring a bell? My point is simply this: no judicial process known to
man is going to keep somebody working for the Feds from listening in
on your conversations if this key escrow business becomes reality.
It's immaterial whether the keys are held in 2, 10, or 50 different
agencies. The people keeping them are just that:people. They can be
bribed, their self-interest can be appealed to, they can be talked
into turning over the keys because it's an urgent matter of "national
security". For that matter, if some of the people working for an
intelligence agency want the keys, I'm sure they'd have no trouble
stealing the damned things!
"All true", you say, "but if you use some other crypto system and the
Feds REALLY want to find out what you're saying, they'll just sick the
NSA on you-at that point, it won't make any difference what system
you're using, they'll eventually crack it". I say: maybe yes and
maybe no. If the NSA is going to be drawn into busting into your
encrypted conversations, it's probably going to want a real good
reason to do so. If the need to find out what you're saying has
reached that stage, then most likely whole departments are alarmed
about what you may be up to. At that point, it seems to me that
you'll have bigger problems than simply the paranoia of one or two
government employees. Even the NSA doesn't have unlimited resources.
I'm pretty sure the management of the agency doesn't like diverting
its personnel, computers, and eavesdropping equipment from what it
considers its primary cryptanalytic mission without good cause and
plenty of official authorization. Remember, at the outset of such a
project, the people involved can have no way of knowing how long it
will take and how many resources it will consume. If cracking your
system becomes a big enough pain in the ass, NSA may tell the
requestors to just go and bug your house! Therefore, barring the
existence of rogue cryptanalysts in the NSA, it doesn't seem
reasonable to me to worry about having your totally proprietary and
cryptographically secure digital phone system broken into on a whim.
This is the main reason I don't want the government to have any EASY
means of listening in on my encrypted conversations.
Second, the problem I have with the proposed scheme is that it
probably won't protect us from the really bad guys. I believe that
if, for example, the Mob, Mafia, Cosa Nostra, whatever name you want
to give to organized crime, wants to make its telephone conversations
private, it possesses the resources and the smarts to do so,
regardless of what becomes the "standard method" of commercial
encryption. Today, it's no trick to find a programmable, semi-custom
chip of almost any kind you'd like. They're not expensive, and there
are any number of engineers floating around who can design with them,
particularly of the unemployed military kind. It doesn't take much
imagination to envision the kind of scenario in which one or more of
these people is hired by a "contract" engineering firm fronting for
the Mob. His/her/their task is to develop an encryption chip set for
an "unnamed" manufacturer who wants to get into the commercial phone
encryption business. Or so they are told. Time to market is
critical, they're told, so use off-the-shelf programmable arrays and a
commonly available microprocessor. A cryptology expert is also hired,
and he supplies the alogrithms, mostly ones he's worked on that his
former employer, whomever that was, wasn't interested in. And in 6
months, the Organization has a chip set that can give NSA nightmares
for a year. Or, even simpler, engineers from the same unemployment
pool are hired directly, the same way accountants and lawyers are
hired, given their marching orders, and they're off. The pay would be
good and, as long as you don't ask too many questions, the working
conditions would be fine. Far fetched? Maybe: but if so, then what
are all those unemployed nuclear experts from the former Soviet Union
doing in places like Iraq? Which brings me to my point: even if the
Mob doesn't have an interest in such a chip set, I have no doubt at
all that various foreign governments do. I also have no doubt that
many of them already have such sets. You and I, on the other hand,
will be stuck with the "leaky" Clipper chip, which our friends at the
Fed are so thoughtfully providing for us.
Finally, many of you are probably wondering why using the Clipper chip
should be a problem to you. After all, you're not a criminal, nor are
you an agent of a foreign government. You simply want a way to keep
your competition away from your trade secrets. The answer lies in the
kind of hay the various law-enforcement and intelligence agencies can
make with ANY private information they collect about you. If you
become a member of a group that someone or some group of someone's in
the Fed comes to view with alarm, give a "provocative" speech, or
publicly express an opinion that a bureaucrat views as possibly
threatening to something he values, you could find yourself the target
of surveillance. And remember, your politcal activity of today, which
is quite acceptable now, can come back to haunt you(ask any activist
from the '30's about what a wonderful time he had in the '50's). Such
surveillance will probably not ever result in any kind of criminal
indictment. Instead, you may find it difficult to get certain kinds
of jobs; your credit rating might suddenly go sour, for reasons you
can't fathom; you might discover that your neighbors harbor what seem
to be unspoken suspicions about you. All of this, and more, has
happened over the past 40 years to all sorts of people, without the
help of a supposedly "secure" encryption method that can, in reality,
be broken into whenever someone in the government feels like it. If I
use encryption, it's to ensure my privacy: I damn' well don't want to
be wondering if some government functionary is listening in because he
has paranoid delusions about what I may be up to.
Before you write all of this off as simply the ravings of someone who
is, to say the least, overly suspicious of the Feds, consider this: in
the late 70's, the government introduced the Data Encryption Standard,
or DES. At the time of its introduction, the rumor was bruted about
that the NSA had a hand in weakening the security of the algorithm for
reasons of ease of decrypting. This rumor was never confirmed or
denied by NSA. IBM who developed it, and NBS, the agency that
sponsored it, said no such thing had happened. Unfortunately, the
developers had been "helped" by the NSA, in particular, by being
provided with some of the constants used in various parts of the
algorithm, and may simply have not been in a position to really know.
Over the past 15 years, a lot of data has been passed around using the
DES, some of it commercial, much of it government. In all that time,
no user of DES has ever had any idea whether any part of that data
flow has been decrypted surreptitiously by the NSA. If it has, NSA
ain't talking, so we, out here in the real world, don't know what they
know about us, or, more accurately, what they THINK they know about
us. And, all of this uncertainty surrounding an encryption process
that has NEVER been acknowledged to have any trap doors. Now, the
Feds propose to create a system that they have specifically said can
give other, perhaps less scrupulous, agencies easy access to our
communications(data, as well as voice, remember). Uh-uh, no thanks.
If I need crytographic privacy, I'll look elsewhere, thank you.
Date: Tue, 18 May 1993 20:03:19 -0700
From: Jim Warren
Subject: File 4--UPDATE #4-AB1624: Legislative Info Online
[For newcomers: Assembly Bill 1624 would mandate that most current,
already-computerized, public California legislative information be
available, online. *IF* sufficient public pressure continues, it
*appears* like it may pass.
Send your e-addr to receive updates and panic calls-for-action. :-)
AB1624 HEARING RE-SCHEDULED. AGAIN! NOW IT'S MAY 20th
The Assembly Rules Committee first heard this bill April 19th. Then
we thought the next hearing would be May 3rd. Then May 6th. On May
5th, we were told it'd be May 13th at 7:30 a.m. Upon arriving the
afternoon of May 12th to stay overnight, I was told it would be May
It's now in the printed schedule -- which means it will probably happen.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS NOW AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW The amendments to AB1624
that will be proposed when the Rules Committee considers it on 5/20
became public at 3:46 p.m. on 5/18. (I first saw them shortly
thereafter.) Key issues:
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS MANDATE FREE ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION -- EXCEPT
... Part of the amendments state, "No fee or other charge shall be
imposed as a condition to this public access except as provided in
And that subdivision states, "(d) No individual or entity obtaining
access to information under the system established [by AB1624] shall
republish or otherwise duplicate that information for a fee or any
other consideration except with the authorization of the Legislative
Counsel and the approval of the Joint Rules Committee pursuant to a
written agreement between the individual or entity and the Legislative
Counsel that may provide for payment of a fee or charge for this
purpose." And, "Any amounts received by the Legislative Counsel [go
to help support] the Legislative Counsel Bureau."
Note: The Legislative Counsel runs the $25-million Legislative
Information System. Thus, such fees would help to reduce its tax-paid
It was obvious in the first committee hearing of AB1624, and has
been repeatedly reiterated since then, that many of the legislators
want companies that profit from distributing these public records to
functionally pay royalties. The word I hear is that the is the only
way AB1624 has a chance of passage -- not withstanding that the data
is public information.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS MAKE NO MENTION OF INTERNET ACCESS, BUT IT APPEARS
LIKELY The bill still states only that the information, "shall be
made available to the public by means of access by way of computer
modem," without specifying through what systems. I was pushing for
requiring that the data be made available by direct connection to
the largest public networks (i.e., the Internet), however the bill
makes no such requirement.
On the other hand, I discovered that the Legislative Data Center has
just installed a T-1 (1.544Mbits/sec) Internet connection with a Cisco
router, and it *seems* likely that they will make the files available
via that large data-pipe.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS ADD CALIFORNIA CODES [STATUTES] AND CONSTITUTION
As requested by bill-author Debra Bowen, the proposed amendment
would add California's codes and Constitution to the information to
be available, online. Currently these are available on magtape for
$200,044+. A major addition, if adopted.
Part of the amendments state that, "The Legislative Counsel shall,
with the advice of the Joint Rules Committee, make all of the
[information] available to the public in electronic form."
All in all, it *looks* like it will truly make the Legislature's
public records publicly available across the nets, without cost -- at
least to those who don't charge a fee to "republish or otherwise
Date: Wed, 19 May 1993 07:25:18 -0700
From: Jim Warren
Subject: File 5--AB1624-Legislation Online - Making SURE it's "right"
AB1624 remains undefined or ambiguous on two points. Faxes and phone
calls are needed *NOW* to clarify these points, before the May 20th
hearing. Please send [at least] this language (an instance where it's
okay for all of us to send exactly the same messages):
Assembly Bill 1624 is excellent, but needs two clarifications due to
technical issues of how shared computers and computer networks
1. Subdivision (c) of the proposed amendments to AB1624 states that
the legislative information, "shall be made available to the public by
means of access by way of computer modem."
The least expensive, most efficient and most accessible means of
modem access is by way of the public computer networks. Therefore,
please clarify AB1624 be appending this phrase to the above amendment
language: "and by way of the [nonprofit, nonproprietary] public
computer networks that are connected to the Legislative Data Center
that is operated by the Legislative Counsel."
2. Subdivision (d) of the proposed amendments to AB1624 requires
approvals, a written agreement and probably charges for individuals
and entities that "republish or otherwise duplicate [legislative]
information for a fee or any other consideration ..."
Ignoring the issue of whether or not fees should be required of
for-profit users of public information, the AB1624 language is
ambiguous on an important operational issue:
Many operations - including those of schools, universities,
libraries, nonprofit organizations, community associations,
public-access systems, home-based bulletin board systems (BBSs), etc.
-- require an account or nominal fee for using their services or
computers, but do not charge for using specific files or information.
Please clarify that AB1624 applies only to those that charge for using
legislative files, rather than those that charge for using their
entire facility, by appending the following sentence to the end of
"However, this subdivision shall not apply to those individuals or entities
that charge a fee or other consideration for use of their overall facilities
or computer systems but do not account for nor charge for access to or use of
specific files of information."
Now is the time to *push*! Please keep it to one page. Please fax it
BY MAY 20TH to at least (without the brackets :-): fax number:
Assembly Member Debra Bowen [D], AB1624 Author ...................916-327-2201
The Honorable John Burton [D], Chair, Assembly Rules Committee....916-324-4899
The Honorable Richard Polanco [D], AB1624 Co-Author [on Rules]....916-324-4657
The Honorable Ross Johnson [R], AB1624 Co-Auth.[Rules Vice-Chair].916-324-6870
Senator Art Torres [D], AB1624 Principal Co-Author................916-444-0581
and - especially if you are in their district - also to:
Assembly Member Deirdre "Dede" Alpert [D].........................916-445-4001
Assembly Member Trice Harvey [R]..................................916-324-4696
Assembly Member Barbara Lee [D]......916-327-1941
Assembly Member Richard L. Mountjoy [R].....................voice/916-445-7234
Assembly Member Willard H. Murray, Jr. [D]........................916-447-3079
Assembly Member Patrick Nolan [R].................................916-322-4398
Assembly Member Rusty Areias [D], AB1624 Co-Author................916-327-7105
Assembly Member Julie Bornstein [D], AB1624 Co-Author.............916-323-5190
Assembly Member Jan Goldsmith [R, male], AB1624 Co-Author...voice/916-445-2484
Assembly Member Phillip Isenberg [D], AB1624 Co-Author......voice/916-445-1611
Assembly Member Betty Karnette [D], AB1624 Co-Author..............916-324-6861
Assembly Member Richard Katz [D], AB1624 Co-Author..........voice/916-445-1616
Senator Tom Hayden [D], AB1624 Co-Author..........................916-324-4823
Senator Lucy L. Killea [I], AB1624 Co-Author......................916-327-2188
Senator Becky Morgan [R], AB1624 Co-Author..................voice/916-445-6747
Senator Herschel Rosenthal [D], AB1624 Co-Author............voice/916-445-7928
Date: 18 May 93 20:27:06 EDT
From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: File 6--CU In The News--Singapore Piracy / Ethics Conf.
Lotus and Novell have filed criminal charges against a man and wife in
Singapore after they were found guilty in a civil suit for copyright and
trademark violations. The companies obtained a court order to freeze
nearly one million dollars in assets belonging to the pair, who had sold
thousands of illegal software copies in Southeast Asia. (Information Week.
May 10, 1993. pg. 8)
Computer Ethics Institute Conference
Information Week reports that Congressman Edward Markey (D - Mass.) made
the following remarks at the above conference. "Just because personal
information can be collected electronically, can be gleaned off the network
as people call 800 number or click channels on he television, or can be
cross-referenced into sophisticated lists and put on line for sale to
others, does not mean that it has been technologically predetermined that
privacy and social mores should be bent to that capability. (...) The
Constitution is a 200-year-old parchment, simply because we digitize the
words should not suggest their meanings change." Later, Markey commented
that "Real harm can be done in the virtual world." Refer to "Ethics and
Cyberculture" , Information Week, May 10, 1993 pg. 60 for more information
on the conference and Markey's speech.
End of Computer Underground Digest #5.37