Computer underground Digest Wed Feb 15, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 13 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J
Computer underground Digest Wed Feb 15, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 13
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
Copy Ediotr: Ettie-Ann Shrdlu
CONTENTS, #7.13 (Wed, Feb 15, 1995)
File 1--FBI Press Release in re Kevin Mitnick
File 2--Kevin Mitnick Apprehended (NYT Excerpt) (fwd)
File 3--Senate Bill 314 - "Communications Decent Act of 1995"
File 4--Re: Senate Bill 314: Electronic Monitoring (fwd)
File 5--Cu Digest Header Information (unchanged since 25 Nov 1994)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE.
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 1995 22:36:02 -0600
From: jthomas2@SUN.SOCI.NIU.EDU(Jim Thomas)
Subject: File 1--FBI Press Release in re Kevin Mitnick
FBI PRESS RELEASE (Feb 15, 1995)
At 1:30 a.m., today, February 15, 1995, agents of the FBI
arrested KEVIN MITNICK, a well-known computer hacker and federal
fugitive. The arrest occurred after an intensive two-weak electronic
manhunt led law enforcement agents to MITNICK's apartment in Raleigh,
MITNICK, 31, was convicted by Federal authorities in 1988 in
Los Angeles for stealing computer programs and breaking into
He received a one-year sentence in that case, and a Federal warrant
was issued following MITNICK's violation of probation.
In this latest incident, MITNICK is alleged to have
electronically attacked numerous corporate and communications carriers
located in California, Colorado, and North Carolina where he caused
significant damage and stole proprietary information. One of the
attacked sites was the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and
Tsutomu Shimomura, a system administrator at SDSC, provided
significant assistance to law enforcement personnel during the
investigation. MITNICK is also under investigation by state law
enforcement authorities in Seattle for separate activities there.
As is typical in such interstate computer cases, may FBI
offices and United States Attorneys' Offices have carefully
coordinated their efforts. These offices include the FBI's Nation al
Computer Crime Squad at the Washington Metropolitan Field Office, as
well as FBI and United States Attorneys' Offices in the Eastern
District of North Carolina (Raleigh), the Central District of North
Carolina (Greensboro), the Southern District of California (San
Diego), the Central District of California (Los Angeles), the Northern
District of California (San Francisco), and the District of Colorado.
Legal and technical assistance is also being provided by the
Criminal Division's Computer Crime Unit in Washington, D. C.
On February 15, 1995, a complaint was filed in U. S. District
Court, Raleigh, N. C., charging KEVIN MITNICK with violation of 18 U.
S. Code, Section 1029 (Fraud and Related Activity in Connection With
Access Devices) in violation Title 18, Section 1038 (Fraud and Related
Activities in Connection with Computers).
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 1995 22:33:50 -0600
From: jthomas2@SUN.SOCI.NIU.EDU(Jim Thomas)
Subject: File 2--Kevin Mitnick Apprehended (NYT Excerpt) (fwd)
HOW A COMPUTER SLEUTH TRACED A DIGITAL TRAIL
(c) Copyright the News & Observer Publishing Co.
New York Times, Feb 16
RALEIGH, N.C. (8.59 p.m.) -- It takes a computer hacker to catch one.
And if, as federal authorities contend, 31-year-old computer outlaw
Kevin D. Mitnick is the person behind a recent spree of break-ins to
dozens of corporate, university and personal computers on the global
Internet, his biggest mistake was raising the interest and ire of
Shimomura, who is 30, is a computational physicist with a reputation
as a brilliant cyber-sleuth in the tightly knit community of
programmers and engineers who defend the country's computer
And it was Shimomura who raised the alarm in the Internet world
after someone used sophisticated hacking techniques on Christmas
Day to remotely break into the computers he keeps in his beach
cottage near San Diego and steal thousands of his data files.
Almost from the moment Shimomura discovered the intrusion, he made it
his business to use his own considerable hacking skills to aid the
FBI's inquiry into the crime spree.
He set up stealth monitoring posts, and each night over the last few
weeks, Shimomura used software of his own devising to track the
intruder, who was prowling around the Internet. The activity usually
began around mid-afternoon, Eastern time, broke off in the early
evening, then resumed shortly after midnight and continued through
Shimomura's monitoring efforts enabled investigators to watch as the
intruder commandeered telephone company switching centers, stole
computer files from Motorola, Apple Computer and other companies, and
copied 20,000 credit-card account numbers from a commercial computer
network used by some of the computer world's wealthiest and
technically savviest people.
And it was Shimomura who concluded last Saturday that the intruder
was probably Mitnick, whose whereabouts had been unknown since
November 1992, and that he was operating from a cellular telephone
network in Raleigh, N.C.
((Story describes 48 hour stake-out))
A COMPUTER SLEUTH BECOMES A VICTIM
On Christmas Day, Tsutomu Shimomura was in San Francisco, preparing to
make the four-hour drive to the Sierra Nevadas, where he spends most
of each winter as a volunteer on the cross-country ski patrol near
((Story describes Christmas computer intrusion and taunting))
By masquerading as a familiar computer, an attacker can gain access to
protected computer resources and seize control of an otherwise
well-defended system. In this case, the attack had been started from a
commandeered computer at Loyola University of Chicago.
Though the vandal was deft enough to gain control of Shimomura's
computers, he, she or they had made a clumsy error. One of Shimomura's
machines routinely mailed a copy of several record-keeping files to a
safe computer elsewhere on the network -- a fact that the intruder did
That led to an automatic warning to employees of the San Diego
Supercomputer Center that an attack was under way. This allowed the
center's staff to throw the burglar off the system, and it later
allowed Shimomura to reconstruct the attack.
((The story describes Shmoura's respected credentials in
WATCHING AN ATTACK FROM A BACK ROOM
The first significant break in the case came on Jan. 28, after Bruce
Koball, a computer programmer in Berkeley, Calif., read a newspaper
account detailing the attack on Shimomura's computer.
The day before, Koball had received a puzzling message from the
managers of a commercial on-line service called the Well, in
Sausalito. Koball is an organizer for a public-policy group called
Computers, Freedom and Privacy, and the Well officials told him that
the group's directory of network files was taking up millions of bytes
of storage space, far more than the group was authorized to use.
((The story indicates that Koball found that odd, notified Well
officials, and the Well officials eventually called Shimoura, who
recruited to colleagues, Andrew Gross and Julia Menapace, to help
((The story adds that the Well personnel set up a monitoring
Though the identity of the attacker or attackers was unknown, within
days a profile emerged that seemed increasingly to fit a well-known
computer outlaw: Kevin D. Mitnick, who had been convicted in 1989 of
stealing software from Digital Equipment Corp.
Among the programs found at the Well and at stashes elsewhere on the
Internet was the software that controls the operations of cellular
telephones made by Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Novatel, Oki, Qualcomm and
other manufacturers. That would be consistent with the kind of
information of interest to Mitnick, who had first made his reputation
by hacking into telephone networks.
((The story notes that the intruder obtained Motorola security
But one brazen act helped investigators. Shimomura's team, aided by
Mark Seiden, an expert in computer fire walls, discovered that someone
had obtained a copy of the credit-card numbers for 20,000 members of
Netcom Communications Inc., a service based in San Jose that provides
((According to the story, the monitoring team shifted operations
to San Jose and Netcom to obtain a better vantage point))
Late last week, FBI surveillance agents in Los Angeles were almost
certain that the intruder was operating somewhere in Colorado. Yet
calls were also coming into the system from Minneapolis and Raleigh.
The big break came late last Saturday night in San Jose, as Shimomura
and Gross, red-eyed from a 36-hour monitoring session, were eating
pizza. Subpoenas issued by Kent Walker, the U.S. assistant attorney
general in San Francisco, had begun to yield results from telephone
company calling records.
And now came data from Walker showing that telephone calls had been
placed to Netcom's dial-in phone bank in Raleigh through a cellular
The calls were moving through a local switching office operated by GTE
Corp. But GTE's records showed that the calls had looped through a
nearby cellular phone switch operated by Sprint.
Because of someone's clever manipulation of the network software, the
GTE switch thought that the call had come from the Sprint switch, and
the Sprint switch thought that the call had come from GTE. Neither
company had a record identifying the cellular phone.
When Shimomura called the number in Raleigh, he could hear it looping
around endlessly with a "clunk, clunk" sound. He called a Sprint
technician in Raleigh and spent five hours comparing Sprint's calling
records with the Netcom log-ins. It was nearly dawn in San Jose when
they determined that the cellular phone calls were being placed from
near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
((Shimora, according to the story, rode around Raleigh with a Sprint
technician, honed in on the caller by measuring signal-strength))
At that point, it was time for law-enforcement officials to take over.
At 10 p.m. Monday, an FBI surveillance team arrived from Quantico, Va.
In order to obtain a search warrant it was necessary to determine a
precise apartment address. And although Shimomura had found the
apartment complex, pinning down the apartment was difficult because
the cellular signals were creating a radio echo from an adjacent
building. The FBI team set off with its own gear, driven by the Sprint
technician, who this time was using his family van.
On Tuesday evening, the agents had an address -- Apartment 202 -- and
at 8:30 p.m. a federal judge in Raleigh issued the warrant from his
home. At 2 a.m. Wednesday, while a cold rain fell in Raleigh, FBI
agents knocked on the door of Apartment 202.
said he was on the phone with his lawyer. But when an agent took the
receiver, the line went dead.
((The story concludes by describing that it took Mitnick more
than five minutes to open the door, and when he did, Mitnick claimed
that he was on the phone with his lawyer)).
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 23:49:02 -0600
From: jim thomas
Subject: File 3--Senate Bill 314 - "Communications Decent Act of 1995"
(Obtained from gopher.eff.org)
Senate Bill: S 314
S 314 IS
To protect the public from the misuse of the telecommunications
network and telecommunications devices and facilities.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 1 (legislative day, January 30), 1995
Mr. Exon (for himself and Mr. Gorton) introduced the following
bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on
Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To protect the public from the misuse of the telecommunications
network and telecommunications devices and facilities.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Communications Decency Act of 1995'.
SEC. 2. OBSCENE OR HARASSING USE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES
UNDER THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934.
(a) Offenses: Section 223 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47
U.S.C. 223) is amended--
(1) in subsection (a)(1)--
(A) by striking out `telephone' in the matter above
subparagraph (A) and inserting `telecommunications device';
(B) by striking out `makes any comment, request,
suggestion, or proposal' in subparagraph (A) and inserting
`makes, transmits, or otherwise makes available any
comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other
(C) by striking out subparagraph (B) and inserting the
`(B) makes a telephone call or utilizes a
telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or
communications ensues, without disclosing his identity and
with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person
at the called number or who receives the communication;' and
(D) by striking out subparagraph (D) and inserting the
`(D) makes repeated telephone calls or repeatedly
initiates communication with a telecommunications device,
during which conversation or communication ensues, solely
to harass any person at the called number or who receives
the communication; or';
(2) in subsection (a)(2), by striking `telephone facility'
and inserting `telecommunications facility';
(3) in subsection (b)(1)--
(A) in subparagraph (A)--
(i) by striking `telephone' and inserting
`telecommunications device'; and
(ii) inserting `or initiated the communication' and
`placed the call', and
(B) in subparagraph (B), by striking `telephone facility'
and inserting `telecommunications facility'; and
(4) in subsection (b)(2)--
(A) in subparagraph (A)--
(i) by striking `by means of telephone, makes' and
inserting `by means of telephone or telecommunications
device, makes, knowingly transmits, or knowingly makes
(ii) by inserting `or initiated the communication'
after `placed the call'; and
(B) in subparagraph (B), by striking `telephone facility'
and inserting in lieu thereof `telecommunications facility'.
(b) Penalties: Section 223 of such Act (47 U.S.C. 223) is amended--
(1) by striking out `$50,000' each place it appears and
inserting `$100,000'; and
(2) by striking `six months' each place it appears and
inserting `2 years'.
(c) Prohibition on Provision of Access: Subsection (c)(1) of such
section (47 U.S.C. 223(c)) is amended by striking `telephone' and
inserting `telecommunications device.'
(d) Conforming Amendment: The section heading for such section is
amended to read as follows:
`obscene or harassing utilization of telecommunications devices and
facilities in the district of columbia or in interstate or foreign
SEC. 3. OBSCENE PROGRAMMING ON CABLE TELEVISION.
Section 639 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 559) is
amended by striking `$10,000' and inserting `$100,000'.
SEC. 4. BROADCASTING OBSCENE LANGUAGE ON RADIO.
Section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by
striking out `$10,000' and inserting `$100,000'.
SEC. 5. INTERCEPTION AND DISCLOSURE OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS.
Section 2511 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
(1) in paragraph (1)--
(A) by striking `wire, oral, or electronic communication'
each place it appears and inserting `wire, oral,
electronic, or digital communication', and
(B) in the matter designated as `(b)', by striking `oral
communication' in the matter above clause (i) and inserting
(2) in paragraph (2)(a), by striking `wire or electronic
communication service' each place it appears (other than in the
second sentence) and inserting `wire, electronic, or digital
SEC. 6. ADDITIONAL PROHIBITION ON BILLING FOR TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE
Section 228(c)(6) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C.
228(c)(6)) is amended--
(1) by striking `or' at the end of subparagraph (C);
(2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (D) and
inserting a semicolon and `or'; and
(3) by adding at the end thereof the following:
`(E) the calling party being assessed, by virtue of being
asked to connect or otherwise transfer to a pay-per-call
service, a charge for the call.'.
SEC. 7. SCRAMBLING OF CABLE CHANNELS FOR NONSUBSCRIBERS.
Part IV of title VI of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C.
551 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
`SEC. 640. SCRAMBLING OF CABLE CHANNELS FOR NONSUBSCRIBERS.
`(a) Requirement: In providing video programming unsuitable for
children to any subscriber through a cable system, a cable operator
shall fully scramble or otherwise fully block the video and audio
portion of each channel carrying such programming so that one not a
subscriber does not receive it.
`(b) Definition: As used in this section, the term `scramble'
means to rearrange the content of the signal of the programming so
that the programming cannot be received by persons unauthorized to
receive the programming.'.
SEC. 8. CABLE OPERATOR REFUSAL TO CARRY CERTAIN PROGRAMS.
(a) Public, Educational, and Governmental Channels: Section
611(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 531(e)) is
amended by inserting before the period the following: `, except a
cable operator may refuse to transmit any public access program or
portion of a public access program which contains obscenity,
indecency, or nudity'.
(b) Cable Channels for Commercial Use: Section 612(c)(2) of the
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 532(c)(2)) is amended by
striking `an operator' and inserting `a cable operator may refuse
to transmit any leased access program or portion of a leased access
program which contains obscenity, indecency, or nudity.
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 95 13:48:14 EST
From: "W. K. (Bill) Gorman" <34AEJ7D@CMUVM.CSV.CMICH.EDU>
Subject: File 4--Re: Senate Bill 314: Electronic Monitoring (fwd)
>Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 04:56:36 -0500
>From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Crocker)
>--Re: Senate Bill 314: Electronic Monitoring (fwd)
>The following is the best comment I have seen so far on S314. Enjoy.
>Article #32884 (32938 is last):
>From: aa387@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Jim Kutz)
>--Re: --> How about a Net Petition for this? (was Re: Senate Bill 314)
>Reply-To: aa387@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Jim Kutz)
>Date: Thu Feb 9 23:38:42 1995
>In a previous article, email@example.com (Jon Noring) says:
>> Would there be any value to starting a net.petition drive on this matter,
>> ala Clipper? Because I'm petitioned-out, I would not lead such a drive,
>> but I am willing to act as e-mail signature tallyer since I got the system
>> down pretty pat
>I think it would be more effective if people printed out a petition,
>got signatures with addresses on the hardcopy, and mailed it to their
>Senators and reps ( since a Senate bill can be blocked by the House ).
>I say that because most Congressional offices check whether or not
>a signature belongs to a real voter with a real address in *their*
>district. An *original* letter counts more than a carbon-copy
>Also, since many Senators are network-illiterate, it might
>be well to remind them of the massive chilling effect that this
>legislation would have on legitimate First Amendment speech,
>and how many millions of voters that would tick off, and just
>how committed the academic community and the technical community
>are to academic freedom, and how loudly and publically they'll
>scream for the heads of Congressmen who infringe on their First
>It might also be well to point out that such legislation would
>impose tremendous financial burdens on every large-scale online
>service provider. Instead of a system having one employee per
>several hundred users, it would be necessary to have one (paid)
>censor per several dozen users, which would shut down the vast
>majority of affordable information services and BBSs, or cause
>rates to go up *very* sharply. Hell hath no fury like a
>computer game enthusiast shut off from freeware and shareware.
>There are studies to support the fragility of the Net with respect
>to rate increases. For example, a few years ago the House
>Telecommunications Subcommittee refused to allow the phone
>companies to impose a $2.50 - $5.00 / hr. "access fee" for phone
>lines used by value-added networks, because studies by the U.S. Commerce
>Dept. showed that such a rate increase would have crippled
>affordable student access ( including medical student access )
>to information services and information networks ( the two
>being largely synonymous, since most information providers
>also carry message traffic for users ).
>The Commerce Dept. also pointed out that anything which 'chills' the
>information industry in the U.S. also places the U.S. at a competitive
>disadvantage relative to other countries (such as France)
>which have more advanced telecommunications systems ( e.g.
>Minitals ) and extremely favorable networking climates.
>So imagine what the impact would be if every network had
>to police *every* message. Think about the cost of hiring
>those censors coming out of *your* pocket to pay increased
>network fees - which by the way is an unfunded mandate
>imposing heavy burdens on private industry.
>It should also be pointed out that there's no way to
>keep the U.S. Internet 'squeaky clean' as long as it's
>connected to the global Internet, unless the U.S. wishes
>to impose an 'information iron curtain' on every U.S.
>university. That kind of thinking in the Soviet Union
>is what hobbled academic advancement and scientific
>advancement for many decades, making the Soviets look
>like provincial hicks. It was also one of the main
>factors which brought *down* the Soviet Union, because
>scientists and academics who normally *avoid* politics
>began opposing the Central Committee. There's an *enormous*
>bandwidth of information passing between universities and
>their students, with no practical way to police it all.
>Before Congress underestimates what the denizens of Internet
>can do to defend themselves via networking, Congress would do
>well to ponder just how quickly scientists and academics on
>Internet drove the mighty Intel to its knees over defective
>The same thing could happen to Newt Gingrich. Suppose for
>example that one day in the not-too-distant future, Newt is
>impressing the yokels with the Vast Internet-Awareness of his
>leadership, and suddenly 4,000 blue-ribbon Internet experts
>( including the authors of books about Internet ) deenounce
>Newt and company as totally ignorant of the realities of Internet.
>Suppose that every major information service in this country,
>and tens of thousands of Usenet sites in this country, and
>hundreds of thousands of BBSs in this country, suddenly start
>warning over 10 million users that they may soon have to pay
>double or triple the cost of a subscription, because the moralists
>in Congress wants to force net owners to be net police.
>Admittedly, there are serious problems on the Net, such as
>pedophile activity. However I think that can be dealt with in
>much the same way as the postal inspectors deal with it, by
>drawing out the perpetrators and nailing them with stings.
>Local police departments have been doing the same thing (as
>in "Operation Longarm"). There's no need for draconian
>measures that would affect legitimate networking.
>I don't think the Net should run scared. Don't forget that
>every one of you has a printer capable of cranking out a *lot*
>of flyers, which you can staple to every tree, and pass out
>to every user group, and drop off in every student union in
>America. All you need are the words to print, and there are
>thousands of skilled writers out there who'll be as angry about
>this as you are.
>Don't just inform computer users. What about those four or
>five friends of yours who haven't gotten around to getting
>a modem, or haven't gotten around to exploring Internet.
>Suppose they find out they might *not* be able to explore
>the Internet, because their local public access network
>may have to shut down due to Congressional intimidation.
>Suppose you share your fears that your school-age students
>and their school-age students may not *have* affordable
>online access to compete. Suppose the public becomes
>*fearful* that the Internet may become as elite as it
>was not too many years ago, when the 'information insiders'
>were government contractors who had a slab of Congressional
>pork at taxpayer expense for the price of a campaign contribution.
>I've watched public access develop over the past 15 years. I've
>watched the Free-nets develop, with over 50,000 users in
>Cleveland alone. I watched during the early days of the
>Free-net movement, when elitists said it was *irresponsible*
>to allow the public access to online free speech. I laughed
>when I saw millions of people on CompuServe, and Genie, and
>America Online, because I realized that there was no going back,
>because those millions of people would never settle for less
>than full network access. I walked through a Waldenbooks
>store today, and saw that for the first time ever in history,
>the hottest selling items were books about Internet, mostly for
>the novice user willing to pay $25 or more for directions.
>I know how those people think. I've helped a few hundred
>users get online and form special interest groups over the
>past decade. I've seen how quickly they take to the Net
>like a fish to water. I've seen how quickly they come to
>value being able to post freely without waiting two days
>for a censor to review every word. I've served as a
>sigop, and I've seen firsthand just how responsibly the
>public uses their First Amendment rights online.
>At issue are the rights of *everyone* to freedom of speech,
>press, and assembly, rights which every one of you now takes
>for granted - even though many of you may have an almost
>buried fear that freedom is too good to last, because a
>meddlesome government will louse it up.
>A bookstore owner isn't legally accountable for the content of
>every book in the store, because the courts held that such
>liability would chill not only freedom of the press, but also
>would chill the right of the people to access information.
>Similarly, a newscaster isn't liable if a live mike picks
>up foul language when covering a town meeting. So why should
>a newsgroup be held liable? If you get an assembly permit
>and hold a meeting in the park, and an onlooker drops an
>'obscene' magazine on the ground, are the organizers culpable?
>Of course not!
>So why should an *online* repository of information be any
>different? Well it shouldn't, because the right to *freely*
>exchange information and ideas is a *Constitutional* right,
>the very First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
>However eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. If we're
>not vigilant, Congress may establish a 'two tiered' Bill of
>Rights, in which computer users have fewer rights than the
>printing-press owners who feed you politically slanted news
>from the partisan spin doctors.
>I remember the scary times back in the mid 1980s, when
>the Reagan Administration tried to impose burdensome national
>security regulations on public networks to limit access to
>"sensitive but unclassified" data. The scheme was simple -
>if you spoke your mind online, or accessed a fact online,
>that was "data" - not free speech, because who are peons
>to have free speech.
>In the mid 80's, the government argued that computer
>communications shouldn't be counted as free speech, because
>they weren't human voices. They argued that communications shouldn't
>be private, because machines have no privacy. Finally we *did*
>get the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. That made
>possible *cheap* email, because the Electronic Privacy Act
>*exempted* email carriers from liability for content, just
>like the U.S. Post Office, or FedEx. Now, apparently,
>Congress can't leave well enough alone.
>I remember back when there weren't any Free-nets or low-cost
>national networks - just fat cat overpriced services eager
>to dominate the market by making sweetheart deals with the
>phone companies for 'gateway' services which would have
>soaked all that the traffic would bear, if the courts hadn't
>balked at the idea. True public access didn't *matter* to
>those people, because all they were interested in was
>Now the 'conservative' Congress is interested in something
>else. They're interrested in currying favor with moralists
>by slaying the ee-vil dragon of im-mo-ra-li-ty on Internet
>and on the BBSs. Obviously they don't give a hoot about *your*
>interests. You're an acceptible casualty. You got left out
>of the partisan wheeling and dealing in the smoke-filled room.
>Think about the abuse potential of this law. Think about a
>politician being able to intimidate the owners of a 'politically
>incorrect' network because somebody unbeknownst to them is
>smuggling erotica - or planting erotica or whatever. Bear in
>mind that it's not uncommon for a big-city BBS can have over
>200 million words of files (over a gigabyte). Who can
>police all that.
>If you want representation in Congress, you're going to have
>to get voters thinking your way, using all your powers of
>networking and persuasion.
>You're also going to have to make a hard choice. You're going
>to have to put *your* interests ahead of the non-issues that
>the Party uses to herd the voters.
>Can you do that? Yes you can, for one reason. The terrain
>is in your favor. Internet is not Politically Correct.
>BBSs are not Politically Correct, for several reasons.
>There's a *very* strong academic presence on Internet,
>and academics value the free exchange of ideas above
>almost anything else. There's also the *reality* of
>the free exchange of ideas among *non*-academic users.
>These are people who *discuss* political issues - they don't
>just passively sit in front of the Toob lapping up simplistic
>propaganda about what they 'should' think.
>Also, the online community has a *very* long memory. Once
>articles and petitions start flying, they keep circulating,
>often for years. The Net is a big place, and there are *lots*
>of data sites where copies of a petition or persuasive article
>can be lodged, to turn up again years later in time for elections.
>Use the 'long memory' of the Net. Watch C-Span II, and when a
>butt-kissing 'party discipline' Congressman twists the issues or
>plays dumb, WRITE IT DOWN. Put that statement on the nets.
>Make sure EVERY online voter who values free speech gets to see
>every word said AGAINST free speech.
>If one of these bozos is from your own Senatorial district,
>find out who *else* he/she is selling out. Call for the
>formation of 'grapevines' to pass around information -
>and when you find out where the bodies are buried, PUT THAT
>ON THE NET, and ask everybody to call every talk show they
>can find and ask "what about this", and "what about that",
>until Senator Bozo can't even fart sideways or sell a vote
>without getting himself and his backers nailed to the wall.
>Organize boycotts against key Congressional districts if you
>have to. Make clear to the voters of that district that if
>they elect a 'hatchet man' to do a number on our rights, then
>we the people can and will boycott their tomatoes, or widgets,
>or whatever else they make, because when it comes to our
>Constitutional rights, we're as determined as the Minutemen
>of 1776 to defend our liberties.
>Is that too hardnosed? Maybe. It's also Constitutionally
>protected speech, as long as you stick to facts. Partisans
>do that sort of thing all the time. Mo-ra-lists lie like rugs
>and urge you to vote for people who take food out of the mouths
>of helpless infants. If that's the way the Game is played to
>push a *partisan* agenda, then it's equally legit to protect
>If Congress doesn't want to face that type of opposition, then
>maybe they should reword their proposed legislation without the
>vague language intended to intimidate First Amendment freedoms.
>Maybe they should treat the Nets with the same respect as they treat
>bookstore owners, and newspapers, and public libraries - because the
>First Amendment of the Bill of Rights applies equally to
>every citizen and entity. If Congress can't respect the Bill
>of Rights, then Congress *should* be opposed tooth and nail.
>If a Congressman even *once* opposes the Bill of Rights, then
>that Congressman should be RELENTLESSLY targeted for defeat
>by any networkers inclined to do so - to make *sure* that that
>Congressmen is never given a second chance to infringe our
>Congressional backers and campaign contributers may need to
>be shown that the First Amendment is the 'third rail' of
>politics - touch it, and their candidate is dead politically,
>down the tubes along with whatever investment his/her backers
>There's one important fact to remember about bullying moralists:
>they attack the weak. They may need to be *shown* that we the
>people can make those attacks costly, until every Congressman
>who dares to attack the Internet fears for his/her political career.
>Then you'll have fewer Congressmen sucking up to moralists.
>I don't believe for an instant that most Congressmen have any
>commitment whatsoever to morality. If they did, they wouldn't
>be slashing aid to dependent children, including several million
>infants. I think those Congressman are sucking up to moralists
>for a *practical* reason - they want the support of preachers
>who can sway voters from the pulpit.
>Well think about it. We've got an *enormous* pulpit here on
>the Net. We can reach millions of people, possibly *more*
>people than are swayed by preachers, because network regulation
>hits networkers where they live. What's more, we can reach
>millions of *networkers*, people who *know* how to communicate.
>Another useful attribute of the Net is its heterogeneity.
>People on the Net are exposed to so many viewpoints that they
>can't be 'herded' by Congress. When Congress bullies some other
>industry, Congress can force that industry to the bargaining
>table - "go along with this or we regulate". That won't work
>on the Net. Once Congress stirs up a hornet's nest on the Net,
>people will do whatever they feel they must to oppose those
>Congressmen - and they'll keep doing it regardless of what
>'secret deals' are proposed.
>The usual Congressional tactic of striking terror into the heart
>of an industry will still work - but with one important difference.
>Opponents of opressive *online* regulation don't have to rent
>auditoriums and lick envelopes and get tax-exempt status to organize
>opposition. They've already *got* super-powered networking access
>right on their desks, without even getting off their duffs or
>rummaging for a stamp.
>So be sure to grab copies of the best writings on these topics.
>Pass them around. When people in your community come to you
>to get some printout for their kids' school project, give them
>some printout about rights too - and carefully explain that if
>burdensome regulation goes through, freebies might become very
>hard to get, because costs may go up.
>I don't say that costs *will* go up because I'm not absolutely
>sure. I believe costs will go up unless the legislation fails.
>Whatever you believe, whatever you fear, *communicate* that to
>others, and don't be intimidated - because you are after all a
>resident of the Nets, and your opinion is worth something.
>Thanks very much for reading, and have a pleasant crusade :)
> - Jim Kutz
> Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
> "Knowing what thou knowest not
> Is, in a sense
> - Piet Hein
Date: 14 Feb 95 13:11:18 EST
From: Lance Rose <72230.2044@COMPUSERVE.COM>
As widely reported, the "Exon amendment" has been reintroduced in
this year's Congress. It would expressly extend existing FCC phone
sex regulation to online services of all sorts, and add a new
provision that apparently would make it illegal for an online system
or BBS to connect to the Internet, or at least any part of the
Internet that contains stuff that might be coonsidered obscene.
The Exon Amendment has been widely denounced by online veterans,
while at the same time gaining a lot of support from parents of kids
who go online. I agree that at least part of it -- making illegal any
giving of access to obscene materials -- has got to go. However, we
need to recognize the political reality that when the moralists and
family value types, represented in this case by Senator Exon, slam
their fists down against online pornography, then online pornography
has to give some ground.
But let's leave this mainstream discussion aside for a moment. How
many of us are pausing, for even a second, to appreciate the
stabilizing effects of a law like the Exon Amendment? With certain
adjustments, it can set up a nice safe harbor, giving onliners
nationwide far clearer guidance on how to stay within legal bounds.
With a few changes, the Exon Amendment can be a big winner, instead
of the latest chapter in the oppression of the online world. With the
general subject of regulating sexual content of online systems on the
table, let's use the opportunity to get online systems the help and
protections they've needed for years.
Here are the changes that would make the Exon amendment come up a
1. Get rid of the proposed change to the existing voice phone
harassment provision, Section 223(a), which would make it illegal to
"make available" obscene, etc. messages to others. This would make
all Internet-connected systems liable. Voice phone harassment should
remain voice phone harassment, and there's no good reason for skewing
the law this way.
2. Have this national law preempt *all* state laws on obscenity and
indecency over phone lines, period. This would be a BIG bonus.
Geographic localities couldn't set up "obscenity speed traps" for
unwary out-of-state BBS'.
3. Similarly, have the law prescribe that all prosecutions MUST be
held in the county where the defendant is located. No more
prosecutions where half the battle is won simply forcing defendants to
defend in out of state courts. It would also help restore some sense
that the local community's values will control, though not formally or
strictly in this case.
4. The law should also specify the "community" whose standards will
be used for obscenity prosecutions under the law, in a step by step
procedure. First, the court should determine if there is a relevant
online community whose standards can be used. Feeding into such a
determination might be, for instance, whether an identifiable
community defines its borders adequately with age verification
procedures. If there is no such viable community, then the court must
look to the local geographic community where the defendant based his
or her operations. If there is no such base of operations, only then
will the "offended" community's values be used for obscenity purposes.
5. If the defendant is prosecuted in his or her role as operator of
an online system or service claimed to be illegal, then the prosecutor
must show that the service is "generally and obviously illegal" to
impose liability on the sysop based simply on system contents.
Otherwise, the sysop can only be prosecuted for messages or materials
to the extent to which he or she was actually familiar with them, and
which he or she knew or should have known were illegal or likely to be
With these changes, the Exon Amendment could be converted into a nice
statute setting out clear standards for a reasonable, national law of
cyberspace indecency and obscenity.
Anybody up for pushing for this approach? It's a heck of a lot more
realistic than thinking we can win a war about online sex against the
moralists. Confusin' 'em with reasonableness might work.
- Lance Rose
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1994 22:51:01 CDT
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