Computer underground Digest Wed Feb 23, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 18 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J

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Computer underground Digest Wed Feb 23, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 18 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe (Coming back to archives any day) Acting Archivist: Stanton McCandlish Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Whacker Editor: Tonya Harding CONTENTS, #6.18 (Feb 23, 1994) File 1--CuD Policy on Copyright Media Pieces File 2--Canadian BBS licensing, Errors in the CRTC/FCC comparison File 3CPSR Petition Drive (Reminder) File 4--2nd International Virus Writing Contest File 5--Altered White House docs summary Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. To subscribe, send a one-line message: SUB CUDIGEST your name Send it to LISTSERV@UIUCVMD.BITNET or LISTSERV@VMD.CSO.UIUC.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 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 RIPCO BBS (312) 528-5020 (and via Ripco on internet); and on Rune Stone BBS (IIRGWHQ) (203) 832-8441. 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: ( in /pub/text/CuD. EUROPE: in pub/doc/cud. (Finland) in pub/cud (United Kingdom) UNITED STATES: ( in /pub/eff/cud ( in /pub/CuD ( in /pub/Publications/CuD ( in mirror2/cud KOREA: ftp: 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, 21 Feb 1994 21:19:57 CST From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 1--CuD Policy on Copyright Media Pieces In a recent CuD, we inadvertantly reprinted an article from a net news service. We believed that it was permissable for reprint, but the post instead was intended only for our own information. Although we have (yet) received no complaints from the news service, we nonetheless regret the misunderstanding surrounding the nature of the post. For those unfamiliar with CuD's policy regarding reprints of news articles, it can be found in the FAQ (available from the ftp archives), it's rather simple: 1) Some articles are obviously personal and not intended to be published. Others aren't. If you aren't sure, be sure to include some indicator, such as "FYI ONLY," "not for publication," or some other note that alerts us that it's private. 2) We STRONGLY ENCOURAGE readers to send us news items from the media. We prefer that permission be obtained by the poster. We simply cannot check on such things. We don't have the time or resources. If permission has not been obtained, then edit the article and quote within "fair use" guidelines and sum the rest. If the article is exceptionally interesting, send it over with a note at the top indicating that permission was not obtained. If it's appropriate for running, we'll edit and summarize. The growing time constraints of running CuD mean that we increasingly depend on readers to ferret out articles and edit them down. The format should be about 70 characters per line, hex 05s removed, and a blank line between paragraphs. We do our best to be good net citizens and not tread on the copyright protections of others. At best such violations are discourteous, at worst illegal. So, edit articles in advance if you're able, and if not, let us know that status of the permission. ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 21 Feb 1994 09:21:23 -0500 From: bigsteve@DORSAI.DORSAI.ORG(Steve Coletti) Subject: File 2--Canadian BBS licensing, Errors in the CRTC/FCC comparison In his response to Lord Qorthon, (CuD 6.15/6.17), John Stephenson made some comparisons, albeit that Qorthon did first, between the CRTC and the FCC and their respective policies. By comparing rumored CRTC regulation of BBS's to the CRTC's mandate over broadcasting, Qorthon made the common mistake of most uninformed people. > > Consider the example of radio in the 40's and 50's. Before the > >CRTC was formed, anyone could broadcast radio signals legally from their > >home on any bandwidth. Fearing obscenity and extreme access to > >information, the CRTC was formed to sell licenses to broadcasters. > >Without such a license, you could be prosecuted for broadcasting. What is unfortunate is that while the "standards" for broadcasting may attempt to regulate morality, the division of the regulatory body that issues those rules is a separate entity from the one that regulates the wire/fiber based telecommunications industry. Each set their own rules and penalties. While it may be illegal to "broadcast" something indecent, there is nothing stopping you from being a foul mouth over a private telephone conversation, analog or data, in either country's regulations. Stephenson's attempt to correct only complicated matters due to some factual errors. > When I see this kind of history thrown out as "reality", it bothers me a > great deal. Government regulation of broadcasting existed from nearly the > beginning of the sector in Canada. The CBC and CRTC were formed not to stop > "obscenity and extreme access to information" but American commercial radio > control of Canadian airwaves. It was not the case that "anyone could > broadcast radio signals legally from their home on any bandwidth (sic)" - > even in the 1920s, the Fisheries Dept. was giving put licences. Not entirely true, the CBC was there long before the CRTC, it was modeled after the BBC. Up until the late 1960's, Canada allowed foreign ownership of it's broadcast stations via Canadian subsidiary companies, something the US did not allow, and still doesn't. If Canada had wanted to stop American ownership, Ottawa could have passed legislation earlier. If anything, the US was fed up with Americans who it deemed unfit to hold broadcast licenses that were going to Mexican border stations and buying large blocks of airtime to transmit their "snake oil" ads. The FCC was also after RKO General, Inc., due to foreign anti-trust violations of it's parent company, then known as General Tire. RKO General owned Canadian border station CKLW in Windsor, Ont. which was heard throughout the Northeastern US. BTW, it took 20 years, but the FCC got RKO and Gencorp out of the broadcasting business. It's more likely that Canada stopped foreign ownership and insisted on mostly Canadian content due to pressure from the US, (or fear of getting the same kind of pressure Mexico was getting), and not the other way around. As for the licensing, that too is in error. As radio's first application was to communicate to ships at sea, it is likely that Fisheries did issue Canada's first radio licenses, as the Department of Commerce did in the US in those early days. However, borrowing the idea again from England, Canadian radio licenses were subsequently issued by the Canadian post office up until the CRTC was formed. > > If licensing comes into affect, we will LOSE this access. Not only > >will the pirate boards be hunted down and exterminated, but all > >currently LEGAL PUBLIC DOMAIN BBS's will also be made illegal unless > >they can afford a license. [stuff deleted] > > We don't yet know what the proposed licensing fee will be, but it > >could anywhere in the area of $300-$5,000. This could also depend on > >the size of the BBS. > > Licence fee for a non-profit radio station is $25 dollars a year. > Commercial stations pay a very small percent of their profit as the fee. > I'm not in favour of licensing, but $25? In the US, all DJs (commercial or > non-commercial, it doesn't matter) need an FCC licence to be on the air. > Now that is restrictive. Two more assumption that are wrong. Qorthon assumes that BBS's licenses will be parallel to commercial broadcast fees, while Stephenson says it's more like public radio license fees. Again I must state, the COMMON CARRIER division and the PRIVATE RADIO division are separate departments. Each one will determine it's own fees. For the most part, Canadian licenses are much cheaper than in the US, but the "restrictive" policy of requiring everyone in US radio to have a license is a crock. Only those persons who have to monitor or control the transmitter needs some sort of certification. You no longer need a license to read the meters or turn the transmitter off in an emergency, or on if the Chief Engineer tells you to. This is done by a permit. You fill out the form, the C.E. signs it, you mail it to the FCC with a processing fee, ($5.00?), and you are a flunky. You can bet most of your famous on air personalities and not allowed near a transmitter and therefore don't need a license or operator permit. > > Before I go into my plan of action, I want to tell you that if > >licensing comes into effect, if will be basically impossible to beat the > >system. All pirate radio stations in North America have been crushed by > >the government in a matter of months. Imagine how easy it will be to > >crush pirate bulletin board systems (and by that I simply mean BBS's > >without a license) with traceable phone numbers. Oh, don't make me gag with that Pirate Radio comparison schlock! As a former pirate I'll tell you that the stations that get busted do it too often, too long at any one stint, run too much power, or act like idiots on the air and ask for it. I know pirates who have been on the air for years without any problem, and others who over did it that got creamed in a few weeks. There was a pirate who lasted 5 days on the air, he made the mistake of setting up a few blocks from the FCC's local field office. I even know a former pirate who also was once a hacker, he's now working for a real radio station and is setting up their computer system in addition to his management duties. > It's hard for me to argue that folks running pirate boards shouldn't get > busted. While I don't agree with many aspects of our wonderful econimic > system, I don't think the way to reform it is through establishing pirate > bulliten boards. The software business is tough enough. I'm in total agreement with that, however this was in reply to Qorthon's statement that all unlicensed BBS's would be considered pirates. IMHO, I don't want to see any regulation of BBS's, but if it were to come about, it should be done in two ways. Commercial tech support BBS's and information providers would pay some sort of fee, they are using the BBS to make money. However private, hobby and non profit operations should be allowed to exist with a no, or minimal fee structure. I would hope that because of the waver of a fee, a reciprocity of free, or strictly voluntary payment, service would be required, at least for the basic service. Restrictions based on costs would be placed on the SYSOP's ability to charge for value added services. I would like to see the majority of any commercial fees be used to fund some sort of "Information Superhighway" provider that would exclusively serve the "little guy" and keep his costs down. Also some sort of national database of copyrighted software would be nice so System Administrators and SYSOP's can keep their BBS's clean. While I would not like to see it, some form of reporting that a user uploaded copyrighted material might also get put through by the lawmakers, (can you say George Orwell?), and that is something we should make sure doesn't come up. Ok, I wont be naive and say that all the collected fees are going to be channeled back in, after all how much of road, bridge and tunnel tolls are diverted to mass transit, some help to equalize access is going to be needed once the telco's and cableco's take control of the Internet's successor. Instead of having anxiety attacks the next time a BBS's regulation fee is proposed or rumored, we should all begin to think that it will be inevitable and how we would like the money to be spent. Before the commercial users try to legislate the local BBS out of business, just like the cell phone industry made it illegal for radio scanners to tune in the cellular band, we might want to beat them to the punch and have some sort of self perpetuating small BBS support system in place they can't stop. Maybe regulation is a good thing, if we can do it right. ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 20 Feb 1994 13:51:32 EST From: David Sobel Subject: File 3CPSR Petition Drive (Reminder) ((MODERATORS' NOTE: For those who missed the anti-CLIPPER petition in CuD and elsewhere, we reprint it here. The momentum is growing in opposition to Clipper. If you have already sent in a petition, DO NOT send in a second one, but if you haven't, here's your chance to lend your "voice" to the fray.)) Electronic Petition to Oppose Clipper *Please Distribute Widely* On January 24, many of the nation's leading experts in cryptography and computer security wrote President Clinton and asked him to withdraw the Clipper proposal. The public response to the letter has been extremely favorable, including coverage in the New York Times and numerous computer and security trade magazines. Many people have expressed interest in adding their names to the letter. In response to these requests, CPSR is organizing an Internet petition drive to oppose the Clipper proposal. We will deliver the signed petition to the White House, complete with the names of all the people who oppose Clipper. To sign on to the letter, send a message to: with the message "I oppose Clipper" (no quotes) You will receive a return message confirming your vote. Please distribute this announcement so that others may also express their opposition to the Clipper proposal. CPSR is a membership-based public interest organization. For membership information, please email For more information about Clipper, please consult the CPSR Internet Library - FTP/WAIS/Gopher CPSR.ORG /cpsr/privacy/crypto/clipper ===================================================================== The President The White House Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President: We are writing to you regarding the "Clipper" escrowed encryption proposal now under consideration by the White House. We wish to express our concern about this plan and similar technical standards that may be proposed for the nation's communications infrastructure. The current proposal was developed in secret by federal agencies primarily concerned about electronic surveillance, not privacy protection. Critical aspects of the plan remain classified and thus beyond public review. The private sector and the public have expressed nearly unanimous opposition to Clipper. In the formal request for comments conducted by the Department of Commerce last year, less than a handful of respondents supported the plan. Several hundred opposed it. If the plan goes forward, commercial firms that hope to develop new products will face extensive government obstacles. Cryptographers who wish to develop new privacy enhancing technologies will be discouraged. Citizens who anticipate that the progress of technology will enhance personal privacy will find their expectations unfulfilled. Some have proposed that Clipper be adopted on a voluntary basis and suggest that other technical approaches will remain viable. The government, however, exerts enormous influence in the marketplace, and the likelihood that competing standards would survive is small. Few in the user community believe that the proposal would be truly voluntary. The Clipper proposal should not be adopted. We believe that if this proposal and the associated standards go forward, even on a voluntary basis, privacy protection will be diminished, innovation will be slowed, government accountability will be lessened, and the openness necessary to ensure the successful development of the nation's communications infrastructure will be threatened. We respectfully ask the White House to withdraw the Clipper proposal. ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 18 Feb 94 18:55 EST From: "AMERICAN EAGLE PUBLICATION INC." <0005847161@MCIMAIL.COM> Subject: File 4--2nd International Virus Writing Contest ************************************************************* Announcing The Second International Virus Writing Contest Sponsored by American Eagle Publications, Inc. P.O. Box 41401 Tucson, AZ 85717 USA and The Crypt Infosystems BBS +1 (818) 683-0854 *** The Goal *** The purpose of this contest is to write a fully functional computer virus that entertains people with political satire. Viruses will be judged on the basis of originality, creativity, functionality, and political incorrectness. *** Eligibility *** Anyone who can write a computer virus is eligible. *** Contest Dates *** The contest is underway from January 1, 1994 until June 30, 1994. Your submissions must be received by June 30 to qualify. The winner of the contest will be announced at the DEFCON conference in Las Vegas, July 22-24, 1994. If you can be present, an official award will be bestowed on you at that time. ************************************************************* Details ************************************************************* The philosopher Friedrik Nietzsche once said that if you want to kill something, you must laugh at it--and laugh at it deeply. So there should be little wonder that political satire is as old as politics itself. Is there something going on in the political arena that you abhor, that makes you sick, that is just plain wrong? Well, here's your chance to make a mockery of it. I've always had this idea that if someone wrote a sufficiently witty virus that really addressed the issues the way the people (not the press, not the politicians) saw them, it might just get passed around by people voluntarily. Let's find out. Write a virus that is itself a political satire. I don't mean a virus that simply displays a message. I mean a living entity whose every move--whose every action--is politically motivated. If you need more than one virus to make your point--perhaps two viruses working together, or something like that, that is fine. ----------------------------------------------------------- Let me give you a simple example: The Political Correctness Virus This virus is a spoof on the "political correctness" movement--which is just a form of self-imposed censorship-- that is sweeping american intellectual circles, particularly colleges and universities. This virus is a memory resident boot sector virus which maintains a list of politically incorrect words on your computer system. It also hooks the keyboard interrupt and monitors every keystroke you make. If you type a politically incorrect word into the computer, the PCV springs into action. Politically incorrect words are ranked at three different offense levels. When the PCV encounters such a word, it determines what offense level that word is, and acts accordingly. The least offensive words merely register a beep. More offensive words cause a beep to sound for 10 seconds. The most offensive words cause a siren to sound for two minutes, locking the system for that duration. If you turn the computer off before the two minutes are up, the virus will stop the boot process for five minutes, with sirens, when you turn it back on. If you allow the siren to complete, then you can proceed. The virus has two different word lists, both stored in an encrypted and compressed format. The list is selected at random when the system is infected, after which it cannot be changed. The first list is the "proper" list of political correctness no-no's. For example, a word like "sodomite" is among the worst possible offenses. The second list is an inverted list of no-no's. This list trys to force you to use "sodomite" by flagging words like "gay" and "homosexual" as no-no's. If you allow the PCV to live in your system for three months without getting a single flag, you are given the supreme honor of viewing the word list assigned to you and adding a word to it. If you get more than 3000 flags in a lifetime, the virus will force you to enter a politically correct word before allowing you to start the computer, since you are obviously unwilling to submit to its censorship. The virus also uses powerful means to prevent disinfection, so that, once you get it, you can't get rid of it without a major effort. ------------------------------------------------------------ Now, I know you can get a lot more creative than this--so do it! Design your virus carefully, so that everything it does has meaning. Then send it in. Here are the criteria we'll use: 1. Originality: Your virus must be an original work. Do not send us anything that is not 100% yours. Your message should be original too. Do not just ape what everybody else is saying, especially the media. Also, a refined wit is much to be preferred over vulgarity. Vulgarity is a substitute for original wit. Foul language, porn, etc., are out. Destructive features should be incorporated only if they are VERY appropriate (perhaps if you are commenting on real live genocide in your country, or something like that). In general, though, destructive features will hurt you, not help you. The one exception is modifying anti-virus programs. That is considered to be CONstructive activity. 2. Creativity: Make us laugh, make us cry. Amaze us with how bits and bytes can say something about politics and issues. Think of it like this: displaying a message on the screen is like reading a text file. What we want is the equivalent of a multi-media extrvaganza. Use all the system's resources to tell your message. Don't be afraid to write a virus that has some wierd mode of infecting programs that tells a story, or to write one that sends faxes to the White House, or sends an automatic request for reams of free information to some government agency. 3. Functionality: The virus has to work. If it only works on some machines, or under some versions of DOS, or what-not, then that will count against you. The better it is at infecting systems and moving around, the better off you will be. So, for example, if you write a file-infector, make sure it can jump directories, and--if you're up to it--migrate across a network. 4. Political incorrectness: Since computer viruses are politically incorrect, their message should be too. If you send us a pro-establishment virus, then you will not win this contest. A word to the wise: think twice about what's correct and what's not. Many positions are only superficially incorrect, though they are really quite fasionable among the establishment. Look at it this way: if you could get a well- written letter expressing your view published in a big city newspaper, then it's not sufficiently incorrect. There are a LOT of ideas that are unofficially censored by society-- especially the media and academia. They tend to make themselves out to be the rebels, but they are really the establishment. If you can't think of anything creatively incorrect and sufficiently obnoxious then you shouldn't be writing viruses in the first place. ************************************************************* How to Submit an Entry You may mail your entry to American Eagle Publications at the above address, or you may e-mail it to Alternatively, you can submit it by dialing the Crypt Infosystems BBS and uploading it there. To get on to the system quickly, efficiently and anonymously, log on as VIRUS, using the password CONTEST. An entry consists of: 1. A complete copy of your virus, both source and executable files. 2. If the political satire isn't perfectly obvious, send a verbal description of how the virus works and why it does what it does. This is especially important if you are not an American and you are commenting on something that has not received worldwide attention. I don't care if you're Bulgarian and you're commenting on something we've never heard of--just make sure you explain it, or we won't understand and you'll lose. 3. If you want to be recognized for your work, include your name (real or handle), and a way we can get in contact with you. By submitting an entry, you grant American Eagle Publications, Inc. the right to publish your virus in any form. You agree not to make your virus public prior to July 25, 1994. If you do, you are automatically disqualified from the contest. For the sake of privacy, you may encrypt your entry and send it in with the following PGP key (which we highly recommend if you have PGP): -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- Version: 2.1 mQCNAi09jVgAAAEEAN3M9LFQXeBprkZuKo5NtuMC+82qNd3/8saHLO6iuGe/eUai 8Vx7yqqpyLjZDGbAS7bvobrcY3IyFeu8PXG4T8sd+g81P0AY0PHUqxxPG3COvBfP oRd+79wB66YCTjKSwd3KVaC7WG/CyXDIX5W6KwCaGL/SFXqRChWdf2BGDUCRAAUR tApDT05URVNUXzk0 =Z20c -----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- Good luck! **************************************************************** P R I Z E S In addition to instant worldwide fame and recognition, you'll get: 1. A cash prize of $100 US. 2. A year's subscription to Computer Virus Developments Quarterly. 3. Your virus will be published in Computer Virus Developments Quarterly, and other fine journals. 4. A handsome engraved plaque recognizing your contribution to the betterment of mankind. 5. A free secret surprise that we cannot tell you about right now, valued at $100. Two runner-ups will receive the secret surprise. ***************************************************************** !! GO FOR IT !! ***************************************************************** ------------------------------ Date: 19 Feb 1994 21:19:49 -0800 From: (Char Roberts) Subject: File 5--Altered White House docs summary The following has to do with the accuracy and reliability of what we receive on-line. This is a summary of the controversy over "Altered White House documents" which I first posted to the Internet newsgroup on Feb. 5. The Associated Press got involved, and the AP story was picked up by ClariNet, Prodigy, CompuServe, Fidonet, and other on-line services, as well as the Rush Limbaugh radio program and newspapers. After that public exposure, we received a "we goofed" letter from the White House. I'm snipping and pasting the gist of this story below. Most of it appeared on the USENET newsgroup under "Altered White House documents," but it went everywhere and I never did track it all. The on-line community has been quite supportive of the need to protect the reliability of government documents offered electronically. Background: Prof. Elizabeth McCaughey wrote an article criticizing President Clinton's health care plan which was published in the New Republic in January. The White House issued a rebuttal on January 31 which became a news story due to its strong language, which included phrases such as "blatant lie." On Feb 5, 1994 I used anonymous ftp to get a copy of this rebuttal from cd pub/political-science/whitehouse-papers/1994/Feb get 1994-01-31-Analysis-of-the-New-Republic-Article-on-Health- Care-Reform ============================== From: (Char Roberts) Newsgroups: Subject--Altered White House documents Date: 5 Feb 1994 09:38:23 -0800 I assume everyone knows about the ftp site I just discovered that the Clinton rebuttal to Elizabeth McCaughey's critique of his health care plan has been altered on - with no mention in the current version that it has been changed. According to Associated Press writer Tom Raum, the original White House rebuttal to McCaughey's New Republic magazine article used the word "lie" four times. The copy of the White House rebuttal I just downloaded (Feb 5, morning, pacific time) does not contain the word lie nor does it contain any indication that it is a "revised" version. ....Clinton admitted to the use of "lie" but it has since been removed from the version available for anonymous ftp at Makes you wonder just how ... accurate the rest of the information there might be... ============================== This elicited a response from Bill Casti who defended the WH and accused me of "knee jerk" reactions etc. Flames deleted, but my response to Casti was significant to development of the story, since it prompted him to forward the whole thing to Jock Gill at the White House: ============================== Clipped from Char Roberts responds to Bill Casti ( >I assume that neither of you know the difference between a >speech-as-written and a speech-as-delivered. Oops, Bill, you didn't read the entire thread. It never was a speech, only a written rebuttal by the White House to an article written in the New Republic by Elizabeth McCaughey. Please re examine the thread. I added on Feb 8 that it was neither a position paper nor a public speech; it was a written rebuttal to Ms. McCaughey's article, presented by Dee Dee Myers as "documentation." To quote press secretary Myers' statement of January 31: "The following documentation is in response to Elizabeth McCaughey's article... This documentation clarifies the facts surrounding the President's approach to health care reform." The "documentation" I found at on the morning of Feb. 5 does not match the reported "document" described in the AP article which appeared in my newspaper on Feb. 4. .... The document at simply doesn't match the original described by AP reporter Tom Raum... It certainly is clear from the AP newspaper article that the word "lie" was used by the White House in its written rebuttal to Elizabeth McCaughey's article. But the word lie was NOT in the version at, nor was that version identified as having been revised. It's just hanging out there for the convenience and edification of the on-line community as if it were the real thing... ============================== More from Date: Wed, 9 Feb 1994 22:08:36 -0500 (EST) From: Bill Casti I have forwarded (intact) Char Roberts' commentary to my contacts at the Office of Media Affairs at the White House, who are responsible for the documents that are placed in the directories at UNC which are, in turn, mirrored by the I have sent Mr/Ms Roberts private email confirming this and assuring that either they will contact him/her directly or I will pass along their response. I have agreed that files that are changed from the original "text- as-written" should, in the future, be identified as "revised" files, so as to avoid all the other erroneous conclusions that might well be drawn from even such an "appearance of impropriety", whether or not any impropriety has ever, in fact, occurred. Regards. Bill Casti ============================== I then received this note from Jock Gill: ============================== Date: Thu, 10 Feb 1994 11:08:48 -0500 (EST) From: Jock Gill Subject--Documents at To: You should know that we do not edit or alter documents posted to It would appear that the reporter in question may have obtained an unpublished, earlier draft with a different vocabulary. Again, we do not alter documents. Regards, Jock Gill ============================== I wrote back: ============================== >From croberts Thu Feb 10 16:02:06 1994 Subject--Documents at Date: Thu, 10 Feb 1994 16:02:06 -0800 (PST) To: Jock Gill Regarding your letter to me of February 10, 1994, in which you stated: [repeat of above letter] This was an unsatisfactory answer to my concerns about the difference between the Associated Press version of the White House rebuttal to Elizabeth McCaughey's article on health care and the on-line version I found at Therefore, my husband called AP reporter Tom Raum and asked him where he received his version. He stated that he and other reporters received it directly from the White House. Mr. Raum faxed us his copy. It contains the word "lie" several times. The version at does not contain the word "lie" at all. Mr. Raum has since obtained his own copy of the on-line version and has confirmed to us that it differs from what he was given by the White House. We also called Ms. McCaughey's office at the Manhattan Institute of Public Policy and confirmed that the rebuttal they actually received from the White House used the word "lie." Mr. Raum clearly did not obtain an "unpublished, earlier draft with a different vocabulary." He obtained his version directly from the White House. Therefore, the fact that the on-line version is different from the version sent to Ms. McCaughey and given to reporters indicates that the White House *does* edit or alter documents posted to The issue here is not over the particulars of the Clinton rebuttal to Ms. McCaughey - it is over the integrity of on-line information provided for public consumption by the White House. We have been champions of this administration's apparent eagerness to participate in the electronic "information super highway." It is disappointing and the implications are frightening to discover that there has been a "sanitized" version presented to the on-line public. This is a mis-use of the electronic media, which should not be tolerated by a free society. This response will be posted to all of the newsgroups I know of which have been following this topic and to all of the people who have e-mailed me their deep concerns about this issue. Char Roberts -- and Justin Roberts ============================== The REASON Clinton's rebuttal became a story in the first place was due to the strong language, accusing Dr. McCaughey of lies. To have removed all references to the word "lie" from the on-line version struck us as a major disservice to the electronic community. This prompted my husband to track down the AP reporter whose story we had read. The reporter did not like the implication that his sources were not credible, particularly since he had worked off a press release handed to him by the White House! He broke the story to the wire service and it was distributed on Prodigy and CompuServe among others. After that, we received one last communication from the White House, to which I referred in what I thought would be my last post to That generated the following request: ============================== Sat, 12 Feb 1994 20:22:15 Re: Altered White House documents Bill Casti at The Gnomes of Zurich (shhh!) re: Altered White House Documents Char Roberts ( wrote: : I have received a second note from Jock Gill : admitting that they erred in not putting the original version on- : line or noting that it had been revised. Char: Since you posted Jock's first note in its entirety, how 'bout doing the same with the second? I'd like to know EXACTLY what he wrote, as I'm sure others would, too. Seems only fair. ============================== I did post it, but not until I'd had a chance to write back to Mr. Gill and tell him I was posting our final correspondence. ============================== Sun, 13 Feb 1994 07:42:21 Re: Altered White House documents This should be 30-30-30 for this story. We've finally had a chance to respond to the letter we received from Jock Gill after the story about on-line discrepancies broke on the AP wires. Here follows a copy of that correspondence: Dear Mr. Gill, We appreciate your candid response to our concerns about the integrity of White House documents on-line. Health care has yet to be mentioned in the volumes of e-mail and phone calls we have received in response to the AP article about our discovery of altered documents at What seemed to alarm the on-line community was the issue of trustworthiness of documents offered to us by the government. I think this episode has indicated how intent the on-line community is on protecting the validity of its resources. As you well know, there seems to be increasing feeling among the American public that it can't trust government information. To have received a response blaming the reporter for using an "unpublished, earlier draft" didn't fit with facts already widely reported in the media, and seemed to be yet another disappointing example of the typical government response - don't admit anything, cover up everything! An honest "we goofed" is refreshing and we appreciate your second response; we wish it had been your *first* response. However, if this President has, as you say, "relied on this kind of on-line distribution to get his side of the message out" then it is even more important that the on-line message should match the original message! I'll try to post this to the places I know of which have been following the controversy, but frankly it grew so big that I no longer even know where it went. The information super highway is an amazing resource and the Internet seems to have a life of its own! --Char and Justin Roberts >Date: Fri, 11 Feb 1994 19:43:45 -0500 (EST) >From: Jock Gill >Subject--Thank you for your note >To: > Thank you for your note concerning the item we posted on-line in the >response to the New Republic article. Let's start with the >bottom line: After publishing over 1,800 documents, we made a >mistake. We did not publish the original that was sent to >members of the press, nor did we mark as *edited* the altered >version that was sent on-line. We have done better in the >past; we will do better in the future. > There are two points about this controversy that should not >be overlooked. First, the President is deeply committed to >reforming the health care system, guaranteeing private >insurance that can never be taken away, and reducing costs >for the family and the country. His plan has been subjected >to unfair attacks, such as that published by the New >Republic, and so we are fighting back on his behalf. That is >why this document was published in the first place. > Second, as you said in your note to me, this >President is committed to reconnecting our people to the >government -- he is committed to new technologies and new >ways of communicating, and therefore relied on this kind of >on-line distribution to get his side of the message out. > I leave you only with the idea that he is fighting for >the right causes for the right reasons, and that I hope you >will not confuse human error with the strength of his beliefs >or the goodness of his intentions. > Sincerely, > Jock Gill ============================== I leave you with the idea that I hope the on-line community will, in the future, continue to be watchful and protective of its resources... --Char ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #6.18 ************************************


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