Computer underground Digest Wed Aug 3, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 70 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji

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Computer underground Digest Wed Aug 3, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 70 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Retiring Shadow Archivist: Stanton McCandlish Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Copper Ionizer: Ephram Shrustleau CONTENTS, #6.70 (Wed, Aug 3, 1994) File 1--"Porn" and Security at Lawrence Livermore Labs (LAT Rprnt) File 2--Re--"Porn" and Security at Lawrence Livermore Labs File 3--ACTION: Outlaw "Electronic Redlining" on NII. (fwd) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. 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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: Thu, 28 Jul 94 18:22:39 PDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 1--"Porn" and Security at Lawrence Livermore Labs (LAT Rprnt) Computer at Nuclear Lab Used for Access to Porn By ADAM S. BAUMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER Los Angeles Times Tuesday July 12, 1994 Home Edition Part A Page 1 Column 5 Metro Desk Dramatically illustrating the security problems posed by the rapid growth of the Internet computer network, one of the nation's three nuclear weapons labs confirmed Monday that computer hackers were using its computers to store and distribute hard-core pornography. Embarrassed officials at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which conducts a great deal of classified research and has highly sophisticated security procedures, said the incident was among the most serious breaches of computer security at the lab in Livermore, Calif. The computer, which was shut down after a Times reporter investigating Internet hacking alerted lab officials, contained more than 1,000 pornographic images. It was believed to be the largest illicit cache of hard-core pornography ever found on a computer network. Computer hackers once were primarily mischief-makers aiming to prove their computer prowess, and they devoted their efforts to disrupting computer systems at large organizations or stealing technical information. But today, a new breed of hackers has developed methods for seizing partial control of Internet-linked computers and using them to store and distribute pornography, stolen computer software and other electronic information--often for profit. The Internet, a "network of networks" originally designed to connect computers at universities and government research labs, has grown dramatically in size and technical sophistication in recent years. It is now used by many businesses and individual computer users, and is often viewed as the prototype for the information superhighway of the future. But the Internet has an underside, where so-called "pirates" with code names such as "Mr. Smut," "Acidflux" and "The Cowboy" traffic in illegal or illegally obtained electronic information. The structure of the Internet means that such pirates can carry out their crimes from almost anywhere in the world, and that tracing them is nearly impossible. The FBI late last week confirmed that it was investigating software piracy on the Internet. A Times reporter discovered a number of sites at prestigious institutions that were being used to distribute stolen software, including one in the office of the UC Berkeley chancellor and another at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Pirate sites, which carry exotic monikers such as "3 Days Till Death," "Impact of Chaos" and "Field of Dreams," can generally be found only by highly sophisticated computer users who are well-schooled in the intricacies of the Internet. The pirates use a new and relatively obscure method for transferring information, known as the "file service protocol," and they often change the location of their sites every few weeks to avoid detection. In April, MIT student David LaMaccia was arrested on felony conspiracy and wire fraud charges for allegedly using the protocols to distribute more than $1 million worth of commercial software. The protocol allows files to be sent to large numbers of computer users easily with minimal disruption of other computer functions. Pirates also have their own "chat" lines, a series of channels within a service called the Internet Relay Chat. An elaborate pecking order determines who will be allowed to take part in these conversations--newcomers can often wangle their way in if they have a particularly hot piece of software to offer. Garden-variety copyrighted software is known as "warez" on these channels, while especially good software is called "kewl," and brand-new software that has not even reached stores is called "zero-day software." At the Lawrence Berkeley pirate site, the offerings last week included Power Japanese, which retails for $395, as well as IBM DOS 6.3 and a game called Alien Legacy, which is not yet available in stores. Sandy Merola, deputy director of information and computing at the Berkeley lab, said the pirate site was shut down last week after The Times investigation revealed its existence. Merola said the Department of Energy, which oversees lab operations, as well as the FBI, had been notified of the incident. At Lawrence Livermore, officials said Monday they believe that at least one lab employee was involved in the pornography ring, along with an undetermined number of outside collaborators. Chuck Cole, deputy associate director of computing at the lab, said that nearly 2,000 megabytes of unauthorized graphic images have been found in a Livermore computer. He confirmed that they were pornographic. The employee has been placed on "investigatory leave" and his or her security badge confiscated while an investigation is under way, the lab said. It was unclear whether the pornographic images were being sold or how many people had gained access to them. The pictures were sufficiently graphic that they could be considered obscene by courts in some jurisdictions, in which case transmitting them over the Internet might be illegal. The massive amount of storage capacity used in the Livermore scheme shows how Internet hacking could be quite profitable. Seizing partial control of large and sophisticated computer systems at universities or government laboratories can save unscrupulous entrepreneurs large sums of money. There were indications that the person operating the pornography database had become aware of possible scrutiny. On June 27, a message left in a file labeled READ ME!!! said: "It appears that news about this site has escaped. In the past two weeks, I have had 27 unauthorized hosts attempt to access my server. This does not give me a warm-fuzzy feeling. I would hate to have to shut this down, but I may have no choice." One computer expert, who requested anonymity, said there might be more to the incident than meets the eye. The expert suggested that the hard-core pornography may be a cover for an ultra-sophisticated espionage program, in which a "sniffer" program combs through other Livermore computers, encodes the passwords and accounts it finds, and then hides them within the pornographic images, perhaps to be downloaded by foreign agents. But Cole said there was no possibility of a computer intruder gaining access to classified data at Livermore Labs. "We use an air gap security method in which no electronic connection of any kind is maintained between the classified computer world and the unclassified computer world." Cliff Stoll, a former computer systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley who chronicled his experiences with a computer hacker in the book "The Cuckoos Egg," said there would be easier ways to conduct espionage over the Internet than to use pornographic pictures as an encoding method. Still, the computer penetrations at Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley "show very poor management on the part of the national labs," Stoll said. The problem of pirate sites extends far beyond U.S. government laboratories and universities: Many popular sites discovered by The Times are located in Mexico, France, Britain and other countries. One system operator of a pirate site in Istanbul, Turkey, openly bragged on-line that his country has no laws preventing the distribution of copyrighted software; thus, he claimed, he was breaking no laws by doing so. The Software Publishers Assn., a trade association representing major software manufacturers, has made software piracy on the Internet a major priority. Peter Beruk, the association's litigation manager, said: "We are currently tracking over 1,600 pirate sites on the Internet in a joint investigation with the FBI. It is a very serious and costly problem. "In the case of David LaMaccia, we estimate over a million dollars of software was downloaded from his site in a two-week period. We will start going after the universities next. . . . The Internet, in our view, is now getting a very bad name." Hal Hendershot, manager of the fraud and computer crime abuse initiative of the FBI, though declining to give any details, acknowledged that the bureau was cooperating with the association in regard to Internet piracy. As the popularity of the Internet surges, the problem of net piracy will increase, Hendershot said. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 28 Jul 94 18:22:55 PDT From: Mike Farren Subject: File 2--Re--"Porn" and Security at Lawrence Livermore Labs ((MODERATORS NOTE: On The Well, Mike Farren posted the following response to Adam Bauman's article)). > Dramatically illustrating the security problems posed by the rapid >growth of the Internet computer network, one of the nation's three >nuclear weapons labs confirmed Monday that computer hackers were using >its computers to store and distribute hard-core pornography. Security problems? This is hyperbole of the worst sort - there were no security problems of any kind posed by this activity, beyond the problems of managing large sites. There certainly were no break-ins, no illicit access, nothing like that. > The computer, which was shut down after a Times reporter investigating >Internet hacking alerted lab officials, contained more than 1,000 >pornographic images. It was believed to be the largest illicit cache of >hard-core pornography ever found on a computer network. 1,000 images? Small potatoes. There are sites which have orders of magnitude more than that available. There are commonly hundreds of pornographic images available at any given time on any system which carries the Usenet alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.* groups. > Computer hackers once were primarily mischief-makers aiming to prove >their computer prowess, and they devoted their efforts to disrupting >computer systems at large organizations or stealing technical >information. Oh, please, not this old wheeze again. Read Stephen Levy's HACKERS if you want a realistic appraisal. In any event, misuse of the term or not, the actual number of "hackers" who are interested in destructive or malicious activity per se is, and always has been, extremely small. >But today, a new breed of hackers has developed methods for >seizing partial control of Internet-linked computers and using them to >store and distribute pornography, stolen computer software and other >electronic information--often for profit. Bushwah. This capability is there for everyone who uses the Net. All it takes is two things: to be on a net site which allows outside access (nearly 100% of them, barring the large commercial services), and to have some storage thereon. It's not "seizing partial control" of anything. It's using capabilities which are explicit in the fact of net access. It's control which is explicitly granted, not illicitly seized. > But the Internet has an underside, where so-called "pirates" with code >names such as "Mr. Smut," "Acidflux" and "The Cowboy" traffic in illegal >or illegally obtained electronic information. The structure of the >Internet means that such pirates can carry out their crimes from almost >anywhere in the world, and that tracing them is nearly impossible. Again, bushwah. Tracing capability is built into the system, should you really need to do it. And the existence of pirates is nothing new - you don't even bother to mention the fact that private pirate BBS systems have existed for decades. That some such exist on the Internet is no surprise - and neither is it an earthshaking problem, per se. > Pirate sites, which carry exotic monikers such as "3 Days Till Death," >"Impact of Chaos" and "Field of Dreams," can generally be found only by >highly sophisticated computer users who are well-schooled in the >intricacies of the Internet. This deserves better than "bushwah" - I'll say, right out, that it's bullshit. You need no more sophistication than any 12-year-old can gain within a few days of obtaining an account - that, plus a lead to a site, which is very easy to obtain. There is no intricacy involved in typing the line "ftp pirate.software.com". > The pirates use a new and relatively obscure >method for transferring information, known as the "file service >protocol," and they often change the location of their sites every few >weeks to avoid detection. Relatively obscure? fsp, as a variant of ftp, is extremely well known, and well used, I assure you. It's one of the standard ways of doing file transfers between Internet sites, hardly something thought up by Evil Pirates for their own Nefarious Purposes. I use fsp all the time, for example, and ftp (which is the same thing, with a different interface) even more. >Chuck Cole, deputy >associate director of computing at the lab, said that nearly 2,000 >megabytes of unauthorized graphic images have been found in a Livermore >computer. I point out that, at current market rates, this amounts to a cost of approximately $1200 for the disk drive, and represents an amount of storage which many home computer owners have already exceeded. I have a friend, for example, whose computer system at home contains nearly ten times as much storage. 2 gigabytes seems large, and it is large, but compared to the total storage capability available on LLL systems, it's about like the floppy disk on a typical PC. >It was unclear whether the pornographic images were being sold or >how many people had gained access to them. If they were available via fsp, they *could not* have been sold - fsp does not come with MasterCharge interfaces built in. Typically, sites such as this are explicitly for free access - if people want to pay money for such things, there are many publically accessible BBS systems with far more than "1,000 images" or "2,000 Megabytes" of porn imagery available. The briefest persual of any local computer-related magazine provides any number of alternatives, should one be willing to pay. >The pictures were sufficiently >graphic that they could be considered obscene by courts in some >jurisdictions, in which case transmitting them over the Internet might be >illegal. Might be. But you'll have a hard time proving it, I think, and an even harder time coming up with a justification for doing so, let alone one which will hold for the entire Internet, much of which is international. > The massive amount of storage capacity used in the Livermore scheme >shows how Internet hacking could be quite profitable. No, what it actually shows is that system managers should properly pay more attention to the resources that are being used. The storage space in question was not stolen, it was merely used. > There were indications that the person operating the pornography >database had become aware of possible scrutiny. On June 27, a message >left in a file labeled READ ME!!! said: "It appears that news about this >site has escaped. In the past two weeks, I have had 27 unauthorized hosts >attempt to access my server. This does not give me a warm-fuzzy feeling. >I would hate to have to shut this down, but I may have no choice." This is a very standard thing. Here's the scenario, as it most often works its way out: somebody has what he feels to be an interesting collection of erotic images. Creating a site for them and letting it be public knowledge is self-defeating, as the traffic to such sites more often than not is so heavy that it causes ordinary operations to that site, such as email, to become badly delayed or even impossible. The site, therefore, is created secretly - not in the sense of "hidden from authority", necessarily, but more in the sense of "let's try to keep access to reasonable levels by limiting the number of people who know about us." Sooner or later, the name of the site "leaks" - and traffic starts to increase. In order to avoid potential problems, be they interference with ordinary operations, or a possible bad reaction on the part of the site management, the site is shut down - and messages like the one you quote are quite often the prelude to a shutdown. Many sites do consider things like pornographic images to be undesirable on their face - but many do not. Most of the sites which aren't tied to businesses, academia, or government, I believe, are far more concerned with the effects on traffic than they are with the "problem" of pornography per se. > One computer expert, who requested anonymity, said there might be more >to the incident than meets the eye. The expert suggested that the >hard-core pornography may be a cover for an ultra-sophisticated espionage >program, in which a "sniffer" program combs through other Livermore >computers, encodes the passwords and accounts it finds, and then hides >them within the pornographic images, perhaps to be downloaded by foreign >agents. This is simply ridiculous on its face. Why would anyone tie their espionage activity to something which is otherwise frowned upon, when they could just as easily do so in a manner which would never cause a stir? > Still, the computer penetrations at Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley >"show very poor management on the part of the national labs," Stoll said. This is the salient point. The person who set up this site may, or may not, have been guilty of anything illegal (with regard to the porn, anyhow - the pirated software is a different issue). The LLL management, however, is certainly guilty of a lack of oversight. But that's as far as it goes, a lack of oversight. And I recommend, before the hammer of condemnation gains too much momentum, a bit of talk with people who have to manage sites as large, and with as many users, as LLL. Like any other large-scale operation, there simply isn't the opportunity to examine every corner of the system all the time. The best you can do is to try your best, and deal with problems as they arise. >One system >operator of a pirate site in Istanbul, Turkey, openly bragged on-line >that his country has no laws preventing the distribution of copyrighted >software; thus, he claimed, he was breaking no laws by doing so. What's worse is that he was perfectly correct. The pertinent example here is Italy, which for years had the same loose attitude towards software copyright - to the point where many companies would not sell software in Italy at all. My point is only that trying to attach this issue to Internet, per se, is missing the larger point entirely, and represents a grave distortion of the actual picture, of which the Internet is only a small part. > The Software Publishers Assn., a trade association representing major >software manufacturers, has made software piracy on the Internet a major >priority. Peter Beruk, the association's litigation manager, said: "We >are currently tracking over 1,600 pirate sites on the Internet in a joint >investigation with the FBI. It is a very serious and costly problem. Will this have the same impact as their tracking of private pirate BBS systems, which have been around for decades now? That impact, for what it's worth, is fairly close to zero. Again, the point is that the Internet is only a part of the picture. There are many other points to be made about the actual nature of software piracy and its actual impact on the software industry, but that's another (although closely related) rant. Suffice it to say that the SPA has a vested interest in making the problem seem as costly and widespread as it possibly can. > "In the case of David LaMaccia, we estimate over a million dollars of >software was downloaded from his site in a two-week period. We will start >going after the universities next. . . . The Internet, in our view, is >now getting a very bad name." If you're using retail prices like $395 for Power Japanese, you can get up to a million bucks real fast. This reminds me very much of the newspaper reports of cocaine busts "worth $42 million dollars on the street", and is using exactly the same distortions. And as far as the SPA's ability to determine what's getting a bad name, well, I point out that their position is hardly unbiased. Nor, for that matter, has it ever been particularly well-informed. In summary, this was about as highly distorted and inaccurate a view of the Internet as I've ever seen in a newspaper. You might as well have written an article which claimed that because Hayward, California, has one adult bookstore, that it's proof that that city is a "haven for pornographers", or that because one car theft ring operated out of Eugene, Oregon, that the entire Northwest was teeming with car thieves, and nobody's Ford Escort was safe. In other words - it's bullshit. If you narrow your focus enough, you can prove any point you care to make about 'most *anything*, the Internet being no exception. That's a long, long way from finding the truth, though. ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 23 Jul 1994 20:41:35 -0500 (CDT) From: Charles Stanford Subject: File 3--ACTION: Outlaw "Electronic Redlining" on NII. (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date--Sat, 23 Jul 1994 23:18:08 GMT From--Center for Media Education ACTION ALERT From People For the American Way (DC) SENATE TO ACT ON INFO-HIGHWAY BILL--ACTIVISTS NEEDED TO PREVENT DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES BY TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANTS. The Issue - The "Baby Bells'" plans to begin construction of the "information superhighway" have already displayed stark patterns of by-passing minority, low income and rural communities. This practice, known as "redlining," is a serious problem in the deployment of advanced telecommunications services. - A diverse coalition (listed below) of public interest organizations has proposed that an Anti-Redlining amendment be introduced as part of S. 1822, the NII (info highway) bill now pending in the Senate. - The amendment prohibits telecommunications carriers from deploying new systems in a way that discriminates on the basis of race, color, national origin, income or residence in a rural area. - Without this amendment, the much-heralded advent of the "information superhighway" may serve to aggravate differences in opportunities that already exist along lines such as race, income and geographical location. For example, "telemedicine" can provide increased access to health care information -- such as pre-natal nutrition or poison control procedures -- to rural and low-income areas. However, for these technologies to benefit everybody, it is vital that minority, low-income and rural communities are not the last to reap the benefits of the information superhighway. - This amendment guarantees that minority, low-income, and rural Americans won't be the last ones connected. Without it, these communities will lag far behind the rest of our country in access to advanced telecommunications services. LEGISLATIVE TIMING Senator Hollings (D-SC), Chairman of the Commerce Committee, and Senator Danforth (R-MO), Ranking Minority Member of the Commerce Committee are busily working on amendments to S. 1822, a major telecommunications reform bill. Next week, the full Committee is expected to consider these amendments. Therefore, an Anti-Redlinig provision must be added now. ACTION REQUEST - Please call Senator Hollings at the Commerce Committee and Senator Danforth (Ranking Minority Member) immediately!! Ask them to guarantee that an Anti-Redlining provision will be included in the Chairman's Mark. Phone calls on this issue by the public will have a profound effect on the outcome of this amendment--so please call! Senator Hollings 202-224-5115 Senator Danforth 202-224-6154 - Please try to find the time to make a few calls and ask the other Senators on the Commerce Committee to guarantee non-discriminatory deployment of the information superhighway by supporting an Anti-Redlining Amendment. The Senators on the Commerce Committee are: Inouye (D-HA) 202-224-3934 Exon (D-NB) 202-224-4224 Ford (D-KY) 202-224-4343 Rockefeller (D-WV) 202-224-6472 Kerry (D-MA) 202-224-2742 Breaux (D-LA) 202-224-4623 Bryan (D-NV) 202-224-6244 Robb (D-VA) 202-224-4024 Dorgan (D-ND) 202-224-2551 Matthews (D-TN) 202-224-4944 Packwood (R-OR) 202-224-5244 Pressler (R-SD) 202-224-5842 Stevens (R-AK) 202-224-3004 McCain (R-AZ) 202-224-2235 Burns (R-MT) 202-224-2644 Gorton (R-WA) 202-224-3441 Lott (R-Miss.) 202-224-6253 Hutchison (R-TX) 202-224-5922 - Calling these Senators *works*!! ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: (1) Letter written to Commerce Committee Members by Anti-Redlining Coalition (2) Public Interest Organizations that support this measure (3) Elements of the Anti-Redlining amendment (4) FAQ on 'electronic redlining' (5) Text of proposed amendment Letter written to Commerce Senate Commerce Committee Members: Senator Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Senator: We write on behalf of a diverse coalition of civic organizations to urge you to adopt, as part of S. 1822, strong anti-redlining protections for the deployment and provision of advanced telecommunications services. The organizations in our coalition represent civil rights, consumer, educational, local government, religious, and other constituencies concerned that all Americans share in the benefits of the "information superhighway." Discrimination in deployment of advanced telecommunications services poses a threat to equal opportunity over the next several decades. Already, an increasing amount of critical information and services are available "on-line." And, as the National Information Infrastructure (NII) develops, it will play an increasingly important role in economic development, education, access to health care, informing the public about employment opportunities, and participation in the political process, to name only a few. For example, advanced telecommunications services may be the principal means through which businesses reach and sell to potential customers, and the only major source of classified advertisements for employment opportunities. However, if minority, low income and rural areas are given access to advanced telecommunications services well after the rest of our country, the much-heralded advent of the "information superhighway" may serve to aggravate differences in opportunities that already exist along discriminatory lines such as race, income and geographical location. Indeed, allegations that plans for the deployment of video dialtone services constitute "electronic redlining" have recently appeared on the front pages of newspapers across the country. As Vice-President Gore warned, America cannot afford to permit the NII to divide our society among "information haves and have nots." The Communications Act of 1994, S. 1822, must include specific anti-redlining provisions that assure that minority, low income, and rural areas will not be the last to enjoy the important economic and civic benefits of advanced telecommunications services. It is insufficient for Congress to tackle this very serious problem by simply including general admonitions that discrimination in the deployment and provision of telecommunications services should be avoided. Instead, specific anti-redlining requirements should be added to S.1822 before the bill is reported out of Committee. Although there has been considerable public debate concerning S. 1822 and the NII, anti-redlining has not yet received the attention it deserves. We suggest that the Senate examine the risk of discriminatory deployment of advanced telecommunication services with additional hearings on the problems posed by electronic redlining. Hearings would allow representatives from civil rights, educational, community, government, health care, religious, and other civic organizations as well as potential individual users of future technologies the opportunity to discuss the problem of discriminatory deployment and offer possible solutions. The Senate must mandate that the NII promotes equal opportunities in the use of current and future developments in information technologies. As S. 1822 moves through the Senate, the interests of racial minorities, low income and rural Americans must not be left behind. We urge you to support an anti-redlining amendment that has specific provisions to guarantee equal deployment of advanced telecommunications services. Sincerely, American Association of Retired Persons Appalachian Consortium of Enterprise Networks Alliance for Communications Democracy Alliance for Community Media American Association of Museums American Library Association ASPIRA Association of Art Museum Directors Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers Association of Research Libraries Association of Systematics Collections Big Sky Telegraph Center for Media Education Center for the Study of Responsive Law Chittendon Community Television (Burlington, VT) Citizens for Media Literacy Consumer Federation of America Consumers Union Council of Jewish Federations Deep Dish Television Network Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund Government Accountability Project Independent Sector Institute for Public Representation Media Access Project Media Alliance Museum Computer Network Minority Media Ownership and Employment Council NAACP National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture National Asian American Telecommunications Association National Association of College Broadcasters National Association of People with AIDS National Black Caucus of State Legislators National Black Programming Consortium National Campaign for Freedom of Expression National Council of LaRaza National Education Association National Federation of Community Broadcasters National Humanities Alliance National Latino Communications Center National Minority Public Broadcasting Consortia National Puerto Rican Coalition National School Boards Association National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium New York Foundation for the Arts OMB Watch Pacific Islanders in Communications People For the American Way Action Fund Public Citizen's Congress Watch Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc. Taxpayer Assets Project The Rural Coalition AFGE Local 3354 (Missouri); Alabama Council on Human Relations; American Indian Movement (Minnesota); Appalachian Community Board (Tennessee); Arkansas Land & Farm; Association for Community Based Education (DC); Boggs Rural Life Center, Inc. (Georgia); California Action Network; California Rural Legal Assistance Fund; Center for Community Change (DC); Center for Democratic Renewal (Georgia); Christian Children's Fund, Inc. (Virginia); Citizen Alert (Nevada); Commission on Religion in Appalachia (Tennessee); Community Enterprise Development Corporation of Alaska; Community Transportation Association of America (DC); Cornucopia Network of New Jersey, Inc.; Frente Democratic Compensino (Mexico); General Board of Church and Society (DC); Gulf Coast Tenants Organization (Louisiana); Heartwood (Indiana); Highlander Research and Education Center (Tennessee); H.O.M.E., Inc. (Maine); Housing Assistance Council (DC); Institute for Alternative Agriculture(Maryland); Institute for Local Self-Reliance (DC); Institute for Southern Studies ; (North Carolina); Intertribal Agriculture Council(Montana); Junior Achievement, Inc. (Colorado); La Mujer Obrera (Texas); Land Loss Prevention Project ; (North Carolina); Bert and Mary Meyer Foundation(Florida); Missouri Rural Crisis Center; National Catholic Rural Life Conference(Iowa); Native Action (Montana); North American Farm Alliance (Ohio); Northern Neck Rural Development Coalition (Virginia); Northwest Housing Association (Vermont); Oyati Zani (Healthy People) ; (South Dakota); Pennsylvania Farmers Union; Prairiefire Rural Action, Inc. (Iowa); Rural Advancement Fund ; (North Carolina); Rural Alliance for Military Accountability (Nevada); Rural Development Leadership Network(New York); Rural Community Assistance Program(Virginia); Rural Life Office (Kentucky); Rural Southern Voice for Peace ; (North Carolina); Rural Virginia, Inc.; Save Our Cumberland Mountains (Tennessee); Save Sierra Blanca (Texas); School of Human Services, Springfield College (Vermont); Sin Fronteras Organizing Project(Texas); Solidarity Committee of the Capital District (New York); Stueben Churchpeople Against Poverty (New York); University of Arizona, Rural Health Office; Vermonters Organized for Clean Up (Vermont); Virginia Water Project, Inc. Office of Communications, United Church of Christ United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society United States Catholic Conference FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (1) What is electronic redlining? In violation of Fair Housing and Fair Lending laws, many banks have refued to lend money to people who live in minority or low-income areas. Red lines would be drawn on a map indicating neighborhoods which would be excluded. Electronic redlining occurs when a telecommunications carrier -- such as a telephone or cable television company -- refuses to provide service, or provides lower quality service to minority, low-income or rural areas. (2) Is electronic redlining really happening? Yes. On May 23, 1994, a coalition of civil rights, public interest, and consumer groups filed petitions with the Federal Communications Commission showing that several Regional Bell Operating Companies plan to deploy video dial tone services in a manner that excludes minority and low-income areas. For example, Bell Atlantic's initial plans for video dialtone service in the Washington, DC area would have served Montgomery County and Northern Virginia, both suburbs, but excluded the District of Columbia which has much higher concentrations of minority and low-income residents. (3) Don't the telecommunications carriers promise that everyone is going to be connected? Some companies have responded that they will eventually get around to providing these new services to everyone. But hooking up everyone eventually could mean that disadvantaged areas lag a generation behind advantaged areas. Some offer only a vague commitment to deploy service in a non-discriminatory way; others have announced more concrete but limited plans after facing heavy criticism and the threat of congressional action. The anti-redlining amendment would require companies to provide deployment plans that indicate exactly which communities they intend to serve. Telecommunications carriers would not be permitted to build advanced networks in wealthy suburbs first, followed eventually by build-outs in minority, low-income and rural areas. (4) Doesn't this mean minority, low-income and rural areas would have to be hooked up first? The anti-redlining amendment does not require that any areas be provided with advanced telecommunications services first. Instead, it simply mandates that service be deployed in a non-discriminatory manner in keeping with a core principle of the 1934 Communications Act. That is, a telecommunications company may not deploy new services in a discriminatory manner. communities. For example, suppose Bell Atlantic chooses to deploy "video dial-tone" to 100,000 homes in a city with a substantial minority of black or hispanic residents. The anti-redlining amendment would require that a substantial minority of homes served be those of minority residents. The amendment would make it illegal for a telecommunications carrier to deploy a new service to wealthy, predominantly white, suburbs first, only to hook up minority communities later. (5) Would this amendment hurt industry? The RBOCs' own MFJ-Task force has done a study showing that minority households at all income levels spend significantly more on telecommunications services than non-minority households. For instance, minority households spend more on premium cable services -- probably due to fewer alternatives for entertainment. Industry's perception that minority markets are not profitable seems largely based on out-moded stereotypes of the very sort that civil rights laws commonly address. TEXT OF PROPOSED ANTI-REDLINING AMENDMENT (1) It shall be unlawful for any telecommunications carrier to refuse to provide access to telecommunications services with either the purpose or effect of discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, income, or residence in a rural area. A telecommunications carrier shall offer service to representative percentages of members of classes protected by this subsection as compared to the percentages of protected class members in the relevant local area. (2) SUBMISSION OF PLAN FOR PROVISION OF SERVICE. As a condition of receiving or renewing a license, franchise, permit or other authorization to provide telecommunications service, each telecommunications carrier shall submit, to the responsible regulatory authorities, a plan demonstrating compliance with subsection (1). The plan shall include all relevant tract-level census data in a standard form to be prescribed by the Commission. (3) ENFORCEMENT BY THE COMMISSION. Within one year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Commission shall complete a rulemaking procedure for the purpose of prescribing regulations that set forth the requirements for compliance with subsection (1), public comment, complaint, enforcement procedures under this section, and procedures for annual certification of compliance with subsection (1). =========== People For the American Way is 300,000-member nonpartisan constitutional liberties public interest organization. People For the American Way, 2000 M Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20036 =========== Anthony E. Wright cme@access.digex.net Coordinator, Future of Media Project Center for Media Education ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #6.70 ************************************

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