Computer underground Digest Wed Dec 15 1994 Volume 5 : Issue 94 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji

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Computer underground Digest Wed Dec 15 1994 Volume 5 : Issue 94 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Copy Editor: Craig Shergold, III CONTENTS, #5.94 (Dec 15 1994) File 1--EFF Policy on Cryptography and Privacy / 8 Dec '93 File 2--CPSR Clipper Letter to Clinton File 3--EFF Statement on Markey Infrastructure Bill File 4--Child Porn Bust in North Carolina File 5--Complaints prompt Patent Office hearings on SOFTWARE PATENTS File 6--Edited ASIS '94 Mid Year Meeting Announcement Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically from tk0jut2@mvs.cso.niu.edu. The editors may be contacted by voice (815-753-0303), fax (815-753-6302) or U.S. mail at: Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115. Issues of CuD can also be found in the Usenet comp.society.cu-digest news group; on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of LAWSIG, and DL1 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; RIPCO BBS (312) 528-5020 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; In ITALY: Bits against the Empire BBS: +39-461-980493 ANONYMOUS FTP SITES: AUSTRALIA: ftp.ee.mu.oz.au (128.250.77.2) in /pub/text/CuD. EUROPE: ftp.funet.fi in pub/doc/cud. (Finland) UNITED STATES: aql.gatech.edu (128.61.10.53) in /pub/eff/cud etext.archive.umich.edu (141.211.164.18) in /pub/CuD/cud ftp.eff.org (192.88.144.4) in /pub/cud halcyon.com( 202.135.191.2) in /pub/mirror/cud ftp.warwick.ac.uk in pub/cud (United Kingdom) KOREA: ftp: cair.kaist.ac.kr in /doc/eff/cud 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: Mon, 13 Dec 93 12:13:24 -0800 From: ygoland@HURRICANE.SEAS.UCLA.EDU Subject: File 1--EFF Policy on Cryptography and Privacy / 8 Dec '93 EFF ANNOUNCES ITS OFFICIAL POLICY ON CRYPTOGRAPHY AND PRIVACY Strongly opposes original Clipper/Skipjack plan, reiterates the need to lift restrictions on encryption December 8, 1993 The Electronic Frontier Foundation is pleased to announce its formal policy on encryption. This is particularly timely, because yesterday the New York Times announced that the Digital Privacy and Security Working Group had proposed to trade support for the administration's proposed Clipper Chip for a lifting of the long-standing export embargo on robust domestic encryption. This was a misunderstanding of what the DPSWG offered the administration in this proposal, leading to the belief that both the DPSWG (a coalition of over 50 computer, communications, and privacy organizations and associations) and it's principal coordinating organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have offered to ease their opposition to Clipper. We see it as a pragmatic effort to get the government to wiggle on these issues: one step in the right direction, with many more to follow. This step is that we insist that use of Clipper and key escrow must be completely voluntary. It's not voluntary if users of the Skipjack algorithm are forced to use key escrow. It's not voluntary if users who do choose escrow are forced to use the government's choice of escrow agents. It's not voluntary if manufacturers such as AT&T are pressured into withdrawing competing products. It's not voluntary when competing products can't be sold in a worldwide market. It's not voluntary if the public can't see the algorithm they are "volunteering" to use. It's not voluntary if the government will require anyone to use Skipjack or escrow, even when communicating with the government. The Working Group chose to state this in a diplomatic fashion by applauding "repeated statements by Administration officials that there is no intent to make the clipper chip mandatory". They were diplomatic for two reasons. First, they believe the Administration has gotten this message. Clipper was announced in April and was supposed to be available in the Summer. It is December, the escrow system is still uncertain, and the Administration is still drafting a report which was due in July. If they still don't get it, the coalition has a 100 page white paper documenting the case against clipper and the case for lifting export controls, which they will release in response to any Administration position favoring Clipper. The second reason is that the coalition was trying to use the introduction of the Rep. Cantwell's bill eliminating many export controls on crypto to try, one more time, to urge the Administration to make voluntariness meaningful by unilaterally lifting export controls. Even if the Working Group and the Administration can't agree on Clipper, EFF and the Working Group needed to continue pressing the export issue. But NSA is digging in, and a legislative fight looks more likely. If diplomacy fails, EFF must fight for our rights. Thus, we are going to need all the allies we can find, from IBM, Apple, Lotus, and Sun, to cryptographers, cypherpunks, and folks on the net. EFF wants the public and the Administration to know (as we have frequently stated to them face to face) that the Electronic Frontier Foundation would fight to the end any attempt by the Administration to do any more than let companies use Clipper if they want and to let people buy it if they want -- and only in a market which has other strong encryption schemes available because export controls have been lifted. Under truly voluntary conditions, the EFF would be proud to say, "We have expressed ... tentative acceptance of the Clipper Chip's encryption scheme ... only if it is available as a voluntary alternative to widely-available, commercially-accepted encryption programs and products." We would applaud the Government for employing NSA's substantial expertise to devise improved encryption schemes -- like DES and Skipjack -- and deploying them to improve our society's privacy and security. We hope that the Clinton Administration can agree to take this single step. Here is the whole journey we'd like to begin. If you share our path, we need your help and support -- please join EFF. Send the end of this document for details. Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy on Cryptography & Privacy (Approved November 11, 1993) Digital technology is rapidly rendering our commercial activities and communications -- indeed, much of our personal lives -- open to scrutiny by strangers. Our medical records, political opinions, personal financial transactions, and intimate affairs now pass over digital networks where governments, employers, insurance companies, business competitors, and others who might turn our private lives against us can examine them with increasing ease and detail. The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that Americans must be allowed access to the cryptographic tools necessary to protect their own privacy. We will work toward making the following principles the official policies of the U. S. Government: 1. Private access to cryptography must be unhindered: * There must be no laws restricting domestic use of cryptography. * There must be no restrictions on the export of products, services, or information because they contain cryptographic algorithms. 2. Cryptography policy and technical standards must be set in open, public forums: * All participants in the policy debate on these issues, particularly law enforcement and national security agencies, must submit their arguments to public scrutiny. * Any civilian encryption standard must be published and exposed to rigorous public challenge. 3. Encryption must become a part of the information infrastructure to provide security, to protect privacy, and to provide each individual control over his or her own identity. * Each user must be free to choose whether or not to use key escrow, and who should have copies of their keys, if anyone. * Government at all levels should explore cryptography's potential to replace identity-based or dossier-based systems, such as driver's licenses, credit cards, checks, and passports with less invasive technology. 4. New technologies must not erode constitutional protections, particularly the right to speak, publish, and assemble, and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures . * There must be no broadening of governmental access to private communications and records, through wiretap law or otherwise, unless there is a public consensus that the risks to safety outweigh the risks to liberty and that our safety will actually be increased by the broadened access. *** The Electronic Frontier Foundation recognizes that the combination of digital communications and encryption technology does indeed threaten some of law enforcement's current investigative techniques. We also recognize that encryption will prevent many of the online crimes that will likely occur without it. We further believe that these technologies will create new investigative tools for law enforcement, even as they obsolete old ones. Entering this new environment, private industry, law enforcement, and private citizens must work together to balance the requirements of both liberty and security. But technology halts for no one, not even the law. *** For Electronic Frontier Foundation membership info, send email to membership@eff.org. For basic EFF details, send email to info@eff.org. Other queries should be sent to ask@eff.org. -- Stanton McCandlish mech@eff.org 1:109/1103 EFF Online Activist & SysOp ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1993 11:21:50 EST From: David Sobel Subject: File 2--CPSR Clipper Letter to Clinton Clipper Letter to Clinton On December 6, the Digital Privacy and Security Working Group, a "coalition of over 50 communications and computer companies and associations, and consumer and privacy advocates" coordinated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sent a letter to President Clinton concerning cryptography policy. The letter states, "In our discussions with Administration officials, we have expressed the Coalition's tentative acceptance of the Clipper Chip's encryption scheme (as announced on April 16, 1993), but only if it is available as a voluntary alternative to widely-available, commercially-accepted, encryption programs and products." The Washington Office of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) has sent the following letter to the President. We believe that the position stated in this letter continues to represent the views of the vast majority of network users, as reflected in the overwhelmingly critical comments submitted to the National Institute of Standards and Technology in response to its recent solicitation of public comments on the Clipper proposal. ================================================================== December 8, 1993 The President The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, We are writing to you regarding the Clipper cryptography proposal now under consideration by the White House and a letter you may have received about the proposal from a group called the "Digital Privacy and Security Working Group." This group wrote to you recently and expressed their "tentative acceptance" of the Clipper Chip encryption scheme. We disagree with their views. This group has made a grave mistake and does not speak for the many users of computer networks and developers of network services who have vigorously opposed this proposal. We are very much concerned about the Clipper proposal. At its core is the dubious premise that the government should have the authority to design communications networks that facilitate wire surveillance. The plan was developed in secret by the National Security Agency over the objection of U.S. firms, professional associations and public interest organizations. Key details about the proposal remain classified. This proposal must not be endorsed. The development of open, unclassified standards is critical for the future of the nation's communications infrastructure. Progress and innovation depend on the free exchange of scientific and technical information. It is essential to the integrity of the scientific process that standards are openly created and available for public review. There is also a great need to ensure that future networks are designed with the highest levels of privacy and security possible. As our country becomes ever more dependent on the high-speed network, the need for secure systems will only increase. The Clipper proposal purposefully cripples the security of the network and reduces the privacy protection that users could otherwise obtain. There is another still more serious problem with the Clipper proposal. An agency with the authority to conduct wiretaps must not be allowed to impose technical standards to facilitate wire surveillance. The threat to Constitutional democracy is clear. A system of checks and balances is essential to ensure that the powerful investigative tools of government are properly controlled. We have followed the development of this proposal with great concern. We have testified before Congressional committees. We have appeared before agency panels, provided reports on wire surveillance, and debated the former FBI Director on national television. We have also sponsored conferences with full participation from across the federal government. We believe that the best policies will result from an open and unrestricted exchange of views. It is our assessment that you must not permit adoption of the Clipper technical standard, even on a voluntary basis. At a time when the country should be moving toward open standards designed for commercial networks, the Clipper proposal asks future users of the nation's information infrastructure to accept a standard intended for the Cold War era. It is a backward-looking plan that serves neither the interests of the American people nor American business. The adoption of the Clipper proposal would also ratify an unlawful process that has undermined the authority of Congress and weakened the mechanisms of government accountability. The proper authority for the development of this standard never rested with the NSA. Under the Computer Security Act of 1987, it was a civilian agency that was to develop appropriate standards for the nation's commercial networks. Through a series of secret executive orders, the NSA usurped the authority of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, substituted its own proposal for those of NIST, and effectively derailed this important policy process. When the computer user community had the opportunity to voice its position on this proposal, it rejected the plan overwhelmingly. The notice and comment process conducted by the Department of Commerce earlier this year resulted in nearly uniform opposition to the Clipper proposal. It would be hard to find a technical standard more disliked by the potential user community. While we support the relaxation of export controls on cryptography, we are not willing to concede to the NSA the right to develop secret standards. It is only because the National Security Agency also exerts influence on export control policy that the Digital Privacy coalition is prepared to endorse the Clipper standard in exchange for new opportunities to market products. It may be a good deal for the coalition members, but it is a terrible outcome for the rest of the country. We very much appreciate your efforts on behalf of open government, and your work with the Vice President and the Secretary of Commerce to develop the nation's information infrastructure. We believe that these efforts are sending our country in the right direction, helping to develop advanced technologies appropriate for a democratic nation and to preserve open and accountable government. But the Clipper proposal was not a creation of your administration. It is a relic from a period that is now moving rapidly into the history books, a time when secret agencies made secret decisions and when backroom deals with powerful, private interests sustained these arrangements. It is time to end this cynical form of policy making. We ask you to reject the deal put forward by the Digital Privacy and Security Working Group. The Clipper proposal should not go forward. We would be pleased to meet with members of your administration to discuss this matter further. Sincerely yours, Marc Rotenberg, Director David Sobel, Legal Counsel Dave Banisar, Policy Analyst CPSR Washington office cc: The Vice President Secretary Ron Brown, Department of Commerce Anthony Lake, National Security Council Computer System Security and Privacy Advisory Board ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1993 11:19:32 EST From: Electronic Frontier Foundation Subject: File 3--EFF Statement on Markey Infrastructure Bill ((Reprinted from EFFector On-Line, #6.07 - 10 December, '93)) EFF Position Statement on and Summary of Bill HR-3636 National Communications Competition and Information Infrastructure Act of 1993 Introduced by Reps. Markey, Fields and Boucher On Monday, November 22, 1993, House Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Minority Chairman Jack Fields (R-Tex.), and other cosponsors introduced the "National Communications Competition and Information Infrastructure Act of 1993." The legislation, which incorporates EFF's Open Platform philosophy, is built on four concepts: open platform services, the entry of telephone companies into video cable service, universal service, and competition in the local telephone market. Of all pending telecommunications legislation, Markey's bill is the only one with a vision of an open, accessible network which supports a true diversity of information sources. The legislation proposes a major restructuring of the Communications Act of 1934 in order to account for changes in technology, market structure, and people's increasingly advanced information access needs. EFF recommends strong support for the bill. For the bill to realize its goals however, the following key changes are necessary: * Require Open Platform Services to be tariffed at reasonable, affordable rates; * Strengthen non-discriminatory video dialtone access rules and eliminate current five year sunset provision; * Add information infrastructure access to the definition of universal service, and ensure public interest participation in redefinition of universal service obligations; * Ensure that all telecommunication providers pay a fair share of universal service costs. These are EFF's primary concerns about the bill. We hope to broaden our position and understanding of the bill based on the views of other interested groups. This is a summary of the main points of the legislation along with EFF positions and comments. OPEN PLATFORM Open platform service is designed to give residential subscribers access to voice, data, and video digital telephone service on a switched, end-to-end basis. With Open Platform service widely available, individuals and organizations would have ready access to a variety of important applications on the information highway, including distance learning, telemedicine, telecommuting, the Internet, and many more. The bill directs the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the policy changes needed to provide open platform service at affordable rates, but fails to require telecommunications carriers to tariff the service. ACTION NEEDED: The Open Platform concept should be enthusiastically supported, but the bill as written fails to ensure that Open Platform service will be widely available at affordable rates. Those who care about affordable, equitable access to new information media should demand that local telephone companies be required to tariff Open Platform services within a specific timeframe. ENTRY OF TELEPHONE COMPANIES INTO VIDEO PROGRAMMING The bill promotes the entry of telephone companies into video cable service and seeks to benefit consumers by spurring competition in the cable television industry. The bill would rescind the ban on telephone company ownership and delivery of video programming that was enacted in the Cable Act of 1984. Telephone companies would be allowed to provide video programming, through a separate subsidiary, to subscribers in its telephone service area. Telephone companies would be required to provide video services through a "video platform," that would be open, in part, to all video programming providers. The bill adopts a set of regulations originally proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called "Video Dialtone." Under video dialtone rules, telephone companies would be required to allow other content providers to offer video programming to subscribers using the same video platform as used by the telephone company, on a non-discriminatory basis. Other providers would be allowed to use up to 75 percent of the video platform capacity. To encourage telephone companies to actually invest in new information infrastructure, they would be prohibited from buying existing cable systems within their telephone service territory, with only tightly drawn exceptions. However, the video dialtone requirement would end in five years, after which telephone companies would have no requirement at all to provide non-discriminatory access to their video platform. ACTION NEEDED: Video dialtone is a useful starting point for structuring non-discriminatory video access, but its provisions must be strengthened. First, there should be no fixed expiration date for the video dialtone requirements. An open platform for video information is critical to the free flow of information in society. These requirements should be relaxed only when it is clear than there are sufficient alternatives throughout the country for distribution of video and multimedia information Alternatives would include widely available, affordable Open Platform service capable of carrying full-motion, video programming. Second, stronger safeguards against anti-competitive behavior are necessary. Finally, more explicit provisions assuring access for third party video servers are needed to ensure the all programmers can use video dialtone to disseminate their video programs. Video dialtone rules fail to consider how to guarantee third party access to interactive functions of a video dialtone platform. Interactive technology is so new and untested that it has hard to legislate about it at this point. The FCC should, however, be instructed to study this issue as new interactive capabilities become available. UNIVERSAL SERVICE One of the goals of the bill is to "preserve universal telecommunications at affordable rates." To achieve this goal, the bill would establish a joint Federal-State Board (made up of FCC members and state regulators) to devise a framework for ensuring continued universal service. The Board would be required to define the nature and extent of the services encompassed within a telephone company's universal service obligation. The Board also would be charged with promoting access to advanced telecommunications technology. The FCC is required to prescribe standards necessary to ensure that advances in network capabilities and services deployed by common carriers are designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden is posed by such requirements. Additionally, within one year of enactment, the bill requires the FCC to initiate an inquiry to examine the effects of competition in the provision of both telephone exchange access and telephone exchange service furnished by rural carriers. ACTION NEEDED: Include an explicit requirement that advanced digital access services be included in the universal service definition as soon as is practical. Create a mechanism for public interest participation in the process of defining the components of universal service in the information age. VIDEO PLATFORM AND FRANCHISE REQUIREMENTS Any telephone company that establishes a video platform would be required to meet 1992 Cable Act standards concerning customer privacy rights, consumer protection, and customer service. Telephone companies would be required to meet the same standards as cable companies for diversity in commercial programming, to assure that the broadest possible information sources are made available to the public. Like cable companies, telephone companies would be required to comply with public, educational, and governmental (PEG) access rules. Telephone companies also would be required to meet standards concerning re-transmission consent for cable systems. Some Cable Act requirements concerning cable companies would expressly not be applicable to telephone companies. These include: general franchise requirements; franchise fees; regulation of rates; regulation of services, facilities, and equipment; consumer electronics equipment compatibility; modification of franchise obligations; renewal proposals; conditions of sale; unauthorized reception of cable service; equal employment; limitation on franchising authority liability; and coordination of federal, state, and local authority. Instead of Cable Act compliance, the legislation provides that a video programming affiliate of any telephone company that establishes a video platform would be subject to the payment of fees imposed by a local franchising authority. The rate at which these fees would be imposed cannot exceed the rate at which franchise fees are imposed on any operator transmitting video programming in the same service area. LOCAL COMPETITION In order to promote competition in local telecommunications service, the bill requires that local telephone companies open their networks to competitors who wish to interconnect with the public switched telephone network. These interconnect rules will enable any other network operator to offer basic telephone service as well as advanced data services in direct competition with the local phone company. The FCC would be required to establish rules for compensating local telephone companies for providing interconnection and equal access. ACTION NEEDED: Local competition can be a benefit to consumers and spur the development of innovative new services, as long as all interconnecting networks pay their fair share of the cost of using the public telephone network. All who interconnect should be required to support the cost of basic universal service. For More Information Contact: Daniel J. Weitzner, Senior Staff Counsel 202-347-5400 djw@eff.org Copies of the legislation and this summary are available on EFF's Internet FTP site: ftp.eff.org, in the directory pub/eff/legislation/hr3636 and hr3636.summary. More information on EFF's Open Platform initiative can be found in pub/eff/papers/o*, particularly the file op2.0. ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1993 13:57:12 EST From: Bill Seward Subject: File 4--Child Porn Bust in North Carolina The following item is from the Dec. 12, 1993 Greensboro (NC) News & Record. [Start] "Police charge man with pornography" (Associated Press) A Salisbury [NC] man was charged Friday with operating a computer bulletin board known as "Munchkin-Land," which povided access to nude photographs of young girls, federal authorities said. Charges were filed in federal court in Greensboro against Terry James Closner, 37. Closner has agreed to forfeit 58 computer disks and more than $9,000 in computer equipment seized in September from his home, a federal agent said. If convicted, Closner faces up to 10 years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000 that depend partly on whether he profited from child pornography. Closner was charged in a bill of information alleging that he traded in minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct of masterbation, sexual intercourse and lascivious exhibition," the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal reported. A two-year international investigation into the computerized-pronography trade in the United States led to 31 searches in 15 states and U.S. cities. [End] I assume that this must have been one of the 31 searches, although it is not explicitly stated as such. ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1993 19:04:44 -0800 From: Jim Warren Subject: File 5--Complaints prompt Patent Office hearings on SOFTWARE PATENTS Complaints prompt Patent Office hearings on SOFTWARE PATENTS Just got these [incomplete] details from Jon Erickson, Editor-in-Chief of my old "home," Dr. Dobb's Journal [please repost freely]: The Patent and Trademark Office will be issuing (or, perhaps, has just issued) a, "Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Software-Related Inventions," with at least some of the comments apparently to be presented at two 2-day public hearings: Jan 26-27, San Jose Convention Center, San Jose CA Feb 11-12, Crystal Forum, Crystal City Convention Center, Arlington VA Jon first heard of this as an incidental comment by Patent Commissioner Bruce Lehman (an ex-D.C. patent attorney) at the joint BRIE-DoC conference held in the San Francisco Bay Area in October. BRIE is the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, in which Clinton Economist Laura Tyson was active. Reportedly, all sorts of DoC undersecretaries were in attendance, as was DoC Ron Brown. And, reportedly, they and Undersecretary Lehman received a heated earfull of vehement complaints about the software-patent mess. It was at that time that Lehman made an incidental comment that they were planning hearings on this, early in '94. As of three weeks ago, they still hadn't firmed up dates - so this is apparently "hot off the wire." (Jon will be addressing it in the Feb'94 DDJ, the earliest issue in which he could insert details, once he got 'em.) Seems to me that of us who prefer freedom of logic, rather than corporate monopoly of rationality (sez I, provocatively :-) should get geared up to saturate that RFC and those hearings with pro-freedom testimony and specific proposals. I got these details after business hours in D.C., so don't yet know how to file a comment or request to be heard. When I know more, you'll know more. [I'm *wildly* backlogged on my email - perhaps 2,000 messages behind. So, if you need to communicate with me about this, better call (415-851-7075). But, I *will* send new details as I get 'em.] Totally off the top of my head, I suspect testimony and comments should - in total - cover the following, as possible: * Clearly support software copyright protections, as separate from opposing software patents. * Detail horror stories of rank stupidity in some current software patents. * Detail the financial waste, staff waste, product delays, innovation deterance, etc. * Detail the *harm* to U.S. business and commerce of permitting the patenting of logical instruction-sequences - giving specific costs where possible. * Detail the historical harm, abuse and disregard accorded ill-funded individuals and small companies when they patented technology desired by dorporate giants (e.g., TV inventor Filo Farnsworth, who never got a penny; xerography inventor Carlson who was old and gray before he finally won compensation from the corporate monoliths, etc.). We need to address and dispell the delusion that patents protect the small inventor. * Illustrate the chilling effect on technologists' creativity and innovation if/when they must check each line of code the create against all possible software patents - once they are public. * Address the difficulty -verging on impossibility -of separating "properly-protectable," "significant" software "invention" from improperly-protected incremental software innovation. * Outline the dangers to U.S. competitiveness as foreign corporations - less preoccupied with the near-term quarterly bottom-line - rigorously research software-applications areas (e.g., fuzzy logic), and patent every comma and semicolon of trivia. * Outline dangers to national security and proper governmental processes from some software patents (e.g., tax-funded creation of public-key crypto, West Publishing's copyright of federal case-law citation numbers, etc.). * Someone(s) better research the NAFTA and GATT agreements and see what hidden gotchas we have - or are about to - lock ourselves into re software processes. E.g., there has been mention that both the GATT and NAFTA functionally mandate software patents; also, there are rumors that the GATT (at least at one time) prohibited reverse engineering! I.e., is this RFC too late? * Assuming that we will continue to be screwed by software patents in some form, propose concrete limitations on what can be patented. * Assuming ditto, propose a concrete structure for the software-patent process - one that will at least deter or catch some of the more idiotic patents that have been granted. * Assuming ditto, urge normalising U.S. patents - software and otherware - with those of the rest of the world, expecially regarding issues of first-to-use versus first-to-file and disclosure-upon-filing versus disclosure-upon-patent. (How the hell can programmers determine whether they're violating an already-used potentially-patentable procedure, when it's often not disclosed until several years after its holy first use?!!) * Assuming ditto, propose a *very* short protection period for software patents - given the very short development period, speed to market and brief useful life of a given software product. * Asumming ditto, propose a comprehensive public PTO library of prior art, with penalties against the PTO and PTO staff for issuing software patents when there is prior art in that library. (The Draconian approach. :-) * And then there are the trivial matters of Constitutional Principles and software-industry history: The Constitution authorizes patents, "To promote the progress of science and useful arts." Software patents do the opposite. Computing and software innovation has grown vigorously and generated unending millionaires and corporate successes *without* the protection of software patents. There are endless examples of developments that would not have happened at all, or would have occured decades later, if earlier software developments had been patented - b-trees, shell-sort, relational DBMS, GUIs, object-oriented programming, n-way tape merges, packet nets, etc. More flames later. THIS IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP! NOW! ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 11:45:45 PST From: Susan Evoy Subject: File 6--Edited ASIS '94 Mid Year Meeting Announcement ----- Forwarded message begins here ----- From--American Society for Information Science Subject--ASIS '94 Mid-Year Meeting 1994 Mid-Year Meeting, American Society for Information Science Navigating the Networks May 22 - 25, 1994 Red Lion Hotel, Columbia River Portland, Oregon With amazing speed electronic networking systems have grown up around us; once simple roads leading directly to our destination have become a complex of interchanges and intersections, whether seen or not. Networking has experienced a phenomenal rate of growth (11,000 networks currently); the need for road maps, directional signs and directories is painfully clear and the implementation of wireless communications has barely begun. What will the interfaces be in the future? Will there be "smart highways" guiding drivers speed, direction, etc. and determining the best routing? Will knowbotsc become the search vehicle of choice? Who, if anyone, will be the electronic traffic cops and can we rely on either the legislatures or the courts to determine our future? Will there be toll roads? Can the electronic highways as we now know them (public networks) support both individual users (passenger cars) and commercial users (the tractor trailers of the digital highways)? What changes will take place in publishing, both scholarly and commercial? While online communicating via networks was once predominantly academic/research, the corporate world is the fastest growing sector (over 500,000 users) of national and international network users. Commercial How will legitimate U.S. and corporate security concerns and individual privacy fears be ameliorated in the new high speed data highway system? Will commercial traffic fundamentally alter the education/research sense of community that has grown up with Internet? Will "sneaker nets," LANs and WANs, be replaced by wireless networks, groupware and collaborative computer- supported work. What changes will result in how we work and what we do? Will decisions inexorably become more democratic but slower as has been predicted? Will the horns and shouts of inner city traffic be a metaphor for the "white noise" of computer lists and discussion groups? What tools exist for filtering out "noise" and what impact will that have on our work? Invitation The 1994 ASIS Mid-Year Meeting, "Navigating the Networks" has as its focus the human side of networks, the psychology and sociology of using networks. What has been and will be the impact of networking technology on the individual and on organizations, their structure and goals? ASIS 1994 Mid-Year Meeting 8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 501 Silver Spring, MD 20910 rhill@cni.org ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #5.94 ************************************

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