Computer underground Digest Wed Mar 1, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 17 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji

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Computer underground Digest Wed Mar 1, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 17 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Semi-retiring Shadow Archivist: Stanton McCandlish Correspondent Extra-ordinaire: David Smith Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Monster Editor: Loch Nesshrdlu CONTENTS, #7.16 (Wed, Mar 1, 1995) File 1--TWO-BBSCON Duesseldorf , Germany 8-11 February 1995 File 2--EFF SUES TO OVERTURN CRYPTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS File 3--ACLU cyber-liberties alert: Axe the Exon Bill! File 4--Tired of S.314 Hysteria File 5--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 26 Feb, 1995) CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 02:50:57 GMT From: John Malathronas Subject: File 1--TWO-BBSCON Duesseldorf , Germany 8-11 February 1995 Copyright John Malathronas, sysop of SCROLL BBS - The London Community Board. The first BBS conference in Europe, TWO BBSCON (TWO standing for Trans World On-line) was the brainchild of Gerald Maier and Joerg Steinhaeuser who came upon the idea 15 months ago in ONE BBSCON, a regular feature in the US attracting delegates of the region of 4000 per year. Along with help and sponsorship by Galacticomm Inc, whose product, the Major BBS is one of the big three BBS programs (along with TBBS and Wildcat), the event finally took off in a rainy Duesseldorf on 8-11 February 1995. Although the event was publicised mainly on Boardwatch, a magazine with very limited subscription-only circulation in Europe and on Internet Usegroups, around 400 people attended the conference with about 300 attending the last night gala dinner. In Germany, the event was publicised in PC-Online - this and the fact that it was organised in Germany, accounted for the fact that about 60% of the attendees was German with another 20% American.. The exhibitors were also purely US and Germany-based. However, delegates came from Eastern Europe (Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Russia),Spain and Portugal, France, the UK, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Holland, Ireland, Austria, Germany and the US. It was easy to distinguish the Europeans from the Americans: the Americans wore suits and ties during the day because they were either the speakers or were giving business presentations; the Europeans were the ones who wore suits and ties in the gala dinner, where the Americans came with open shirts or even jeans. Let's hear it for the cultural differences. So what of the conference itself : John Dvorak, contributor to PC Magazine , Boardwatch , San Francisco Chronicle and author of 18 computer books was the conference keynote speaker. His theme was the apparent paradox of fragmentation versus consolidation that he sees prevalent in our society. On one hand, the Soviet Union disintegrates down to the insurrection of Chechenya within Russia itself and on the other the EU expands in what appears to the US increasingly as a single market unit. In the Americas, Quebec and Mexican separatists coexist with the new North American single market of Canada, Mexico and the US. Drawing a parallel, he said that the giant on-line service providers (Compuserve, America On-line, Delphi and Prodigy) coexist simultaneously with 60000 *known* bulletin boards in the US. With Microsoft and IBM entering the market now, there is likely to be a huge shake-up at the top - and who's to say what happens at the bottom ? The issue, he said for the apparent paradox of trends is loss of information control by government. Information is now free: even the Chinese can not control the faxes into China or the mullahs of Iran the images beamed on their rooftops by satellites. Information is also unaffected by natural disasters as the LA and Kobe earthquakes showed or by uprisings as the Russian 1991 coup also showed. His thesis is that this freedom is a very dangerous development and that governments will try to regulate it. The governments will try to regulate such flow by highlighting the negative aspects , namely the free flow of lies and dis-information. This is why we must also accept such negative aspects to keep regulatory bodies out.We must also accept porno BBSs, Hacker BBSs, Terrorist BBSs etc. - in the same way that other technological inventions such as typography, telephony and TV having entered the mainstream, were used reflecting the society they were in. In short, the Dvorak thesis explains the fragmentation aspect of society as the pressure exerted by the individual to escape big government, and the trend in consolidation as the governmental response to this. The second keynote speaker was Ms Josee van den Berg from the IDC Network Expertise Centre Europe in Amsterdam who put the European market in perspective. The TELECOM business in Europe is worth 160bn US$, the Computer Business 140bn US$ , the Publishing 100bn US$ and Catalogue Shopping 50bn US$. All these industries are going to be affected by Online Services. (I personally noticed catalogue shopping by CD-ROM available through Dusseldorf newsagents. The cost of the CD-ROM: 5DM same as a catalogue book.) In 1993 there were 12 million PCs (estimated) in the 17 EU and EFTA countries , This should double by 1998 to 25 million. The vast majority of those are Intel based 286s running DOS. It is likely that the 386 will be bypassed altogether in favour of 486s or Pentium PCs as the prices come down. In terms of availability of ISDN lines, France leads Europe with 100% of its area available for ISDN. The UK has 95% availability (100% end of 1995) and Germany 70% (because of the former East Germany) hoping to reach 100% end of 1995. Italy and Spain aim for 70% coverage by end of 1995. Note that 100% availability does not mean that everyone has ISDN - only that everyone CAN have should they decide to have it installed. The percentage of home computers in households is estimated as France 21% (mainly because of Minitel installations), Germany 14%, Sweden 12%, Denmark 10% and UK 9%. This was an eye opener for the UK-based delegates who thought that the UK is a European leader in home computing. The average across the EU is 10% so the UK is about average in percentage of home computers. In the US, the figure is 34%. If we accept that the US shows the way we are looking for a tripling of the home computer and online market in the next 3-4 years. The third keynote speaker on Thursday was Esther Dyson, president of EDventure Holdings, publisher of Release 1.0 and founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a sort of Civil Liberties Society for the net. She shocked and stunned the audience with predictions that soon all software would be free, and intellectual copyright will be abolished because shareware does not pay and the way to make money is via support, training and consultancy. Since, a lot of people in the audience were programmers waiting to receive the Ziff-Davis European shareware awards (awarded by PC Magazine on the gala night), there was some heated discussions afterwards. Should then programmers provide even more incomprehensible documentation ? Should they design-in bugs ? Esther Dyson gave away copies of her copyrighted newsletter in the end. The first day's afternoon was spent in Workshops. I went Nick Anis's discussion on the Convergence of the BBS, Internet and Online Information services, because Nick Anis is a wonderfully funny speaker. He spoke about Phase II of the BBS market in the US when all is connected to the Internet. He gave first a BBS history : from the first Ward Christiansen BBS in Chicago in 1978 who produced a solenoid specially to turn his floppy drive on when the phone rang to answer his BBS, to 1985 when there were hundreds of BBSs in the US with only 2% used for profit, to 1992 when there were thousands, 85% with more than one line and 10% offering Internet access. It is also estimated that this increase in activity is taking place when only about 5% of the PCs in the US have a modem . Next I saw a demo of Microsoft Network (MSN), which comes integrated with Windows 95 (in full demo throughout the conference) by Robert Mitchnik, a former sysop, now working for Microsoft. Microsoft Network will be a kind of McDonalds of the airwaves. It will be franchised locally to sysops who will be able to run their forums under the Microsoft umbrella. If someone wants to run a BBS for Belgian rock fans - they can apply to Microsoft who was recruiting sysops (400 have already been recruited) in the conference. Microsoft were in pains to deny that they were competing with Internet providers or online megaboards such as Compuserve - they were there to 'expand the market' and to 'provide opportunities for sysops'. Their business model of franchising the network along with their technical solution : click from within Windows seamlessly dialling local Microsoft numbers may actually work given the installed base of Windows 3.1. UUNet is providing full Internet Access to MSN and Microsoft have taken a minority equity position in the company. It will run in 23 languages in 20 countries and by March 500 Forum sysops will have been trained in Microsoft's HQ in Redmond, USA. After Microsoft came IBM who pushed O/S Warp. The presentation was made by Jonathan Fleet from IBM UK whose presentation was slick : he started with a list of problems and then presented the solution to all these problems which is Warp OS/2. He hit Microsoft where it hurts by casually observing that such a system is available NOW, with 175 points-of presence for IBM already there and working, to be increased to 400 by the end of 95. Warp is an impressive system for those who have seen it and the pricing of IBM is very competitive. One does not even have to run OS/2 to be on IBM's network - one must first buy the product to register and then switch to Windows, say. All this and for the company who, err. BUILT the Internet in the 60's and 70's for the US Department of Defense as Jonathan reminded us. Certainly his talk was better received than Microsoft's whose sheer size and monopoly power seems to generate hostility - like it once did for IBM. On for the second day which produced the best session with three excellent speakers one after the other. First came Dr. Paul Weissenberg European Commissioner with a brief for IT, certainly the first time BBSs and sysops came into contact with someone from the European Commission. He explained that the Commissioners try now to bring the Commission to the people and make them understand how they work and are helping Europe. As an example he cited the Pan European TGV project. There are designs on the table for a fast train from Lisbon to Warsaw - beyond the EU. There are proposals on teleworking and on a scheme to allow medical online services to isolated areas of the EU, Scotland for instance, where the first consultation with the doctor will be via videoconferencing technology. He also appeared to agree with members of the audience who wanted to take state telecomms to task; it was very difficult to allow 'liberalisation' or 'privatisation' of key state industries in some countries because they were part of a national identity. Airlines (Air France, Lufthansa) and state telecom companies fell under this category. What the Commission was striving towards was removal of state subsidies - something which national governments were better at concealing in their budgets year-by-year. During question time the animosity of the delegates against state telecom companies was much in evidence. Ten years of a private BT has made UK residents forget what it was like in the late seventies; it seems that the UK fares better in the big telecomms industry's attitude towards the people it serves than in other countries. The Portuguese Telecom was singled out for criticism for abusing its monopoly and allegedly supplying free modems for computer users to join its own online service with money obtained from the EU. The questions were so many, Dr Weissenberg had to move to another room to continue answering them; still, delegates were commenting on the fact that the Commission seems to be building a train TGV network while the US were creating an information superhighway: one project looks back to the 19th century while the other looks to the 21st. I must say, if I wanted to travel from Lisbon to Warsaw, I would take the plane. Jack Rickard, editor of Boardwatch magazine, picked up the theme of BBSs vs. the world with an upbeat message. A BBS is not technology, not a phone line, but a place, he postulated. It's like a restaurant - there are inherent problems in scaleability. Firstly - how many of us will want to eat in a 20,000 seater ? Secondly, how will the owners be able to find so many trained chefs *at once* ? MSN, IBM, Compuserve - all can coexist alongside a local BBS. A local specialised BBS will serve as an editor filtering out the noise from the information overload and providing a place for a user to relax, chat and meet like-minded people, a sense of 'belonging'. This is why Compuserve is successful: it is like a common interface to many small villages , its forums. This is also why MSN may be successful - it is using the franchise business model. None of these larger services, however, will spell the deatch of the local specialised BBS. Finally Dennis Hayes, the president of the modem manufacturers who provided us with the de facto standard modem commands, gave an insight into the future in probably the best speech of the conference. Firstly he polled the audience. How many were using or supporting 2400 baud ? Very few did. Most were working on 9600+ with a high number of ISDN connections. The number of hands up on the ISDN front was 5 times as high as in the US - this is because AT&T was broken up before a standard and a cabling provision was set. ISDN line laying is something that state telecom companies *do* do well. In the US states such as Tennessee forced the telephone company by legislation to lay cables. Others such as high tech California have some parts of even San Francisco uncovered - and there are no plans for when ISDN will be offered if at all. It seems ISDN availability is one area where Europe is doing better than the US. Dennis Hayes also spoke of the limitations inherent in modem speeds via telephone lines. 28.8KB/s will probably be the practical limit. The new standard being worked on, V34bis, will not go further than 34KB/s - compare that with a virtual doubling of the comms speed every 18 months since 1981 when the Hayes AT command set was published. Voice and data simultaneous transmission in also something to hit our desktops, although this again is an answer to some unasked question, like multimedia. There are now two standards for 28.8K modems. The DSBS standard (to which Hayes belongs) allows 8.8K for voice and 20K for data; the AT&T standard splits 28.8K in two allowing bandwidth of 14.4 each for voice and 14.4 for data. The only application thought about for this is telecommuting applications when the employee can talk on the phone while simultaneously sending data. BBSs can also benefit - one line can always be used as a personal phone, even though it is connected to the BBS. Finally, he reminded us that there is a new player in the field of Telecomms, Computers, TV-Electronics and Multimedia : the Power companies who are laying down fibre optic cable for power transmission and realising that it can also be used for digital communications. The emergence of a competitor to BT and Mercury in the UK, owned by a power company is a pointer to that. Certainly the future will be interesting. I spent the rest of the conference attending various specialised workshops. The presentations of Tim Stryker from Galacticomm (Major BBS) and Phil Becker from eSoft were (probably on purpose) at the same time so I went to see Phil Becker as I am a TBBS sysop. Certainly TWO BBSCON showed the parting ways of the two big players in the BBS arena. TBBS is producing the IPAD - a hardware platform to be connected to your modems and computer to give you Internet access management in hardware. MBBS on the other hand have tried to develop a better BBS interface - they have produced a sexy client-server interface in Visual Basic which is a marvel to behold. The problem with the TBBS approach is that it is not there yet - since it is hardware, it requires certification by the FCC, BT, and every phone company in each country. It will also cost $6000-$7000 per unit in the US. The problem with Galacticomm's approach is, surprise surprise, that is not yet there but also that it is proprietary. This great VB interface can only be used for MBBS. Would the users switch terminal programs if they wanted to call another BBS ? Galacticomm seem to have abandoned their belief in BBS RIP graphics and gone wholeheartedly into the client server bandwagon. TBBS 2.3 on the other hand comes with RIP built-in, beacuse it has become a graphics standard for BBSs. Certainly MBBS had a much higher profile during the conference. There were four terminals using MBBS software connected to EU-Net and the World Wide Web for users to browse. They were the sponsors of the gala dinner. Tim Stryker was a founder member of TWO BBSCON. TBBS and eSoft on the other hand, shared a stand with Boardwatch and kept quiet. Galacticomm's client server VB approach seems to be in direct competition with Durand Communications' GENESYS and Mindwire products. These are VB-based client server database applications working with Microsoft Access and BBS technology to produce online search and retrieval of picture databases. Two applications that have been implemented include a database of Supermodels and one for Real estate agents in Santa Barbara, California, where details and pictures of models and houses are kept on line and queried respectively. This should be in direct conflict with Galacticomm, although the solutions seem more bespoke- business oriented than what MBBS has to offer. What excited the delegates was a new compression technique Durand used, called ART which is 50% better than JPEG, does not utilise fractal techniques and provides thumbnail images of the order of 1K per image. The main event was the gala dinner, where veal was eaten in abundance - since it is called Kalbfleisch, most Brits ate it without feeling guilty - and deals and friendships forged. Modem manufacturers with sysop deals were in demand - US Robotics had a deal available but not for UK-based sysops unlike Hayes or Supra. Then there were the Ziff-Davis European shareware awards where separate awards were given to German, UK and French shareware authors in games, utilities and 'other' sections. Demonstrations of the awards were given in real time over a big screen, surprisingly with no glitches. The overall winner from all three sections was Denis Bertin from Logiciels Graphiques Vincent, a DTP Corel-like program but with fantastic capabilities and great ease of use. (French entries, by the way, were the most impressive of all). Other events in the gala dinner included a quiz show by Nick Anis where sysops were asked questions and won prizes. The audience prize for best answer went to a sysop from Spain who, having been asked how many bits there are in a byte answered : 'Depends on the phone company'. So, in conclusion : was TWO BBSCON a success ? Certainly the organisers think so, since they will be offering a second exhibition in May '96 in Munich. Certainly a good time was had by all, including myself, who picked up advice for running my board (SCROLL - the London-based board) not least from the very helpful Scots from ALMAC BBS which is a cross between Compuserve and Demon - at very competitive prices. Let's hope they will expand south of the border. The only regret was the under-representation from the UK, but advertising and marketing may have played its role. Still, there are very few boards I know of in the UK, compared with Germany, where they are approaching 3000, or even Holland. This is an area we still have to catch up on. John Malathronas can be reached at ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 23:16:46 -0500 (EST) From: Stanton McCandlish Subject: File 2--EFF SUES TO OVERTURN CRYPTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS EFF SUES TO OVERTURN CRYPTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS First Amendment Protects Information about Privacy Technologies February 21, 1995 San Mateo, California In a move aimed at expanding the growth and spread of privacy and security technologies, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is sponsoring a federal lawsuit filed today seeking to bar the government from restricting publication of cryptographic documents and software. EFF argues that the export-control laws, both on their face and as applied to users of cryptographic materials, are unconstitutional. Cryptography, defined as "the science and study of secret writing," concerns the ways in which communications and data can be encoded to prevent disclosure of their contents through eavesdropping or message interception. Although the science of cryptography is very old, the desktop-computer revolution has made it possible for cryptographic techniques to become widely used and accessible to nonexperts. EFF believes that cryptography is central to the preservation of privacy and security in an increasingly computerized and networked world. Many of the privacy and security violations alleged in the Kevin Mitnick case, such as the theft of credit card numbers, the reading of other peoples' electronic mail, and the hijacking of other peoples' computer accounts, could have been prevented by widespread deployment of this technology. The U.S. government has opposed such deployment, fearing that its citizens will be private and secure from the government as well as from other vandals. The plaintiff in the suit is a graduate student in Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley named Dan Bernstein. Bernstein developed an encryption equation, or algorithm, and wishes to publish the algorithm, a mathematical paper that describes and explains the algorithm, and a computer program that runs the algorithm. Bernstein also wishes to discuss these items at mathematical conferences and other open, public meetings. The problem is that the government currently treats cryptographic software as if it were a physical weapon and highly regulates its dissemination. Any individual or company who wants to export such software -- or to publish on the Internet any "technical data" such as papers describing encryption software or algorithms -- must first obtain a license from the State Department. Under the terms of this license, each recipient of the licensed software or information must be tracked and reported to the government. Penalties can be pretty stiff -- ten years in jail, a million dollar criminal fine, plus civil fines. This legal scheme effectively prevents individuals from engaging in otherwise legal communications about encryption. The lawsuit challenges the export-control scheme as an ``impermissible prior restraint on speech, in violation of the First Amendment.'' Software and its associated documentation, the plaintiff contends, are published, not manufactured; they are Constitutionally protected works of human-to-human communication, like a movie, a book, or a telephone conversation. These communications cannot be suppressed by the government except under very narrow conditions -- conditions that are not met by the vague and overbroad export-control laws. In denying people the right to publish such information freely, these laws, regulations, and procedures unconstitutionally abridge the right to speak, to publish, to associate with others, and to engage in academic inquiry and study. They also have the effect of restricting the availability of a means for individuals to protect their privacy, which is also a Constitutionally protected interest. More specifically, the current export control process: * allows bureaucrats to restrict publication without ever going to court; * provides too few procedural safeguards for First Amendment rights; * requires publishers to register with the government, creating in effect a "licensed press"; * disallows general publication by requiring recipients to be individually identified; * is sufficiently vague that ordinary people cannot know what conduct is allowed and what conduct is prohibited; * is overbroad because it prohibits conduct that is clearly protected (such as speaking to foreigners within the United States); * is applied overbroadly, by prohibiting export of software that contains no cryptography, on the theory that cryptography could be added to it later; * egregiously violates the First Amendment by prohibiting private speech on cryptography because the government wishes its own opinions on cryptography to guide the public instead; and * exceeds the authority granted by Congress in the export control laws in many ways, as well as exceeding the authority granted by the Constitution. If this suit is successful in its challenge of the export-control laws, it will clear the way for cryptographic software to be treated like any other kind of software. This will allow companies such as Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and Sun to build high-quality security and privacy protection into their operating systems. It will also allow computer and network users, including those who use the Internet, much more freedom to build and exchange their own solutions to these problems, such as the freely available PGP encryption program. And it will enable the next generation of Internet protocols to come with built-in cryptographic security and privacy, replacing a sagging part of today's Internet infrastructure. Lead attorney on the case is Cindy Cohn, of McGlashan and Sarrail in San Mateo, CA, who is offering her services pro-bono. Major assistance has been provided by Shari Steele, EFF staff; John Gilmore, EFF Board; and Lee Tien, counsel to John Gilmore. EFF is organizing and supporting the case and paying the expenses. Civil Action No. C95-0582-MHP was filed today in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California. EFF anticipates that the case will take several years to win. If the past is any guide, the government will use every trick and every procedural delaying tactic available to avoid having a court look at the real issues. Nevertheless, EFF remains firmly committed to this long term project. We are confident that, once a court examines the issues on the merits, the government will be shown to be violating the Constitution, and that its attempts to restrict both freedom of speech and privacy will be shown to have no place in an open society. Full text of the lawsuit and other paperwork filed in the case is available from the EFF's online archives. The exhibits which contain cryptographic information are not available online, because making them publicly available on the Internet could be considered an illegal export until the law is struck down. We are still uploading some of the documents, including the main complaint, so please try again later if what you want isn't there yet. See:, /pub/EFF/Policy/Crypto/ITAR_export/Bernstein_case/, 1/EFF/Policy/Crypto/ITAR_export/Bernstein_case Press contact: Shari Steele, EFF:, +1 202 861 7700. For further reading, we suggest: The Government's Classification of Private Ideas: Hearings Before a Subcomm. of the House Comm. on Government Operations, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. (1980) John Harmon, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, Memorandum to Dr. Frank Press, Science Advisor to the President, Re: Constitutionality Under the First Amendment of ITAR Restrictions on Public Cryptography (May 11, 1978). [Included in the above Hearings; also online as ITAR_export/ITAR_FOIA/itar_hr_govop_hearing.transcript]. Alexander, Preserving High-Tech Secrets: National Security Controls on University Research and Teaching, 15 Law & Policy in Int'l Business 173 (1983) Cheh, Government Control of Private Ideas-Striking a Balance Between Scientific Freedom and National Security, 23 Jurimetrics J. 1 (1982) Funk, National Security Controls on the Dissemination of Privately Generated Scientific Information, 30 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 405 (1982) Pierce, Public Cryptography, Arms Export Controls, and the First Amendment: A Need for Legislation, 17 Cornell Int'l L. J. 197 (1984) Rindskopf and Brown, Jr., Scientific and Technological Information and the Exigencies of Our Period, 26 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 909 (1985) Ramirez, The Balance of Interests Between National Security Controls and First Amendment Interests in Academic Freedom, 13 J. Coll. & U. Law 179 (1986) Shinn, The First Amendment and the Export Laws: Free Speech on Scientific and Technical Matters, 58 Geo. W. L. Rev. 368 (1990) Neuborne and Shapiro, The Nylon Curtain: America's National Border and the Free Flow of Ideas, 26 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 719 (1985) Greenstein, National Security Controls on Scientific Information, 23 Jurimetrics J. 50 (1982) Sullivan and Bader, The Application of Export Control Laws to Scientific Research at Universities, 9 J. Coll. & U. Law 451 (1982) Wilson, National Security Control of Technological Information, 25 Jurimetrics J. 109 (1985) Kahn, The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing. New York: Macmillan (1967) [Great background on cryptography and its history.] Relyea, Silencing Science: national security controls and scientific communication, Congressional Research Service. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corp. (1994) John Gilmore, Crypto Export Control Archives, online at EFF Crypto Export Control Archives, online at, /pub/EFF/Policy/Crypto/ITAR_export/, 1/EFF/Policy/Crypto/ITAR_export -- Stanton McCandlish

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Online Services Mgr. ------------------------------ From: ACLU Information Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 10:48:53 -0500 Subject: File 3--ACLU cyber-liberties alert: Axe the Exon Bill! **ACLU CYBER-LIBERTIES ALERT** FIGHT ONLINE CENSORSHIP! AXE THE EXON BILL! The American Civil Liberties Union urges you to contact the members of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and your own Senators to ask them to oppose the efforts to turn online communications into the most heavily censored form of American media. In a clumsy effort to purge sexual expression from the Internet and other online networks, the self-described "Communications Decency Act of 1995" (S.314, introduced by Senator Exon on 2/2/95) would make ALL telecommunications service providers liable for every message, file, or other content carried on their networks. Senator Exon is planning to attach the bill to Senator Pressler's new telecommunications legislation, which is targeted for action in early March. The Exon proposal would severely restrict the flow of online information by requiring service providers to act as private censors of e-mail messages, public forums, mailing lists, and archives to avoid criminal liability. The ACLU believes that online users should be the only censors of the content of the information they receive. **The Exon proposal broadens existing law by subjecting service providers, as well as the individuals who actually send messages, to criminal liability for any "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent" message transmitted over their networks.** If enacted into law, this vague and overly broad legislation could have the following draconian effects: * The Exon proposal would prohibit communications with sexual cont ent through private e-mail between consenting adults, and would inhibit people from making comments that might or might not be prohibited. * Under the Exon proposal, service providers would pay up to $100, 000 or spend up to 2 years in jail for prohibited content produced by subscribers on other networks, over which they had no control. * The Exon proposal would expand current restrictions on telephone access by minors to dial-a-porn services to include online access to indecent material, requiring service providers to purge "indecent" material from public bulletin boards and discussion groups to avoid accidental viewing by a minor. In effect, online providers would be forced to offer to adults only that content that is "suitable for minors." S. 314 is nearly identical to an amendment Senator Exon successfully attached to last year's Senate version of the telecommunications law overhaul. Last year's bill died for unrelated reasons, but the Senate Commerce Committee is determined to pass new telecommunications legislation this year that could easily include the Exon proposal. The ACLU opposes the restrictions on speech imposed by this legislation because they violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free expression. Forcing carriers to pre-screen content violates the Constitution and threatens the free and robust expression that is the promise of the Net. The Constitution requires that any abridgement of speech use the least restrictive means available -- the language of the Exon proposal is clearly the most restrictive because it sweeps broadly against a wide array of protected material involving sexual expression. Stop the information superhighway from becoming the most censored segment of communications media! ACT NOW: Urge members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation: *To oppose the Exon proposal, or any Senate or House variation. *To drop the Exon proposal BEFORE it goes to the Senate floor. *To hold full hearings on the Exon proposal and to review it thoroughly before it goes to the Senate floor. *To reject any effort to attach the Exon proposal to the Senate telecommunications legislation. THE EXON PROPOSAL COULD BE LAW WITHIN WEEKS IF WE DON'T ACT TODAY. Send your letter by e-mail, fax, or snail mail to: Senator Larry Pressler, S.D. Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation SR-254 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-6125 (202) 224-5842 (phone) (202) 224-1630 (fax) e-mail: To maximize the impact of your letter, you should also write to the members of the Senate Commerce Committee and to your own Senators. A sample letter is attached. Majority Members of the Senate Commerce Committee Senator Bob Packwood, Ore. SR-259 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-3702 (202) 224-5244 (phone) (202) 228-3576 (fax) Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska SH-522 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-0201 (202) 224-3004 (phone) (202) 224-1044 (fax) Senator John McCain, Ariz. SR-111 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-0303 (202) 224-2235 (phone) (202) 228-2862 (fax) Senator Conrad Burns, Mont. SD-183 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-2603 (202) 224-2644 (phone) (202) 224-8594 (fax) Senator Slade Gorton, Wash. SH-730 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-4701 (202) 224-3441 (phone) (202) 224-9393 (fax) e-mail: Senator Trent Lott, Miss. SR-487 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-2403 (202) 224-6253 (phone) (202) 224-2262 (fax) Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Tex. SH-703 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-4303 (202) 224-5922 (phone) (202) 224-0776 (fax) e-mail: Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Maine SR-174 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-1903 (202) 224-5344 (phone) (202) 224-6853 (fax) Senator John Ashcroft, Mo. SH-705 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-2504 (202) 224-6154 (phone) (202) 224-7615 (fax) Minority Members of the Senate Commerce Committee Senator Ernest F. Hollings, S.C. SR-125 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-4002 (202) 224-6121 (phone) (202) 224-4293 (fax) Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii SH-772 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-1102 (202) 224-3934 (phone) (202) 224-6747 (fax) Senator Wendell H. Ford, Ky. SR-173A Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-1701 (202) 224-4343 (phone) (202) 224-0046 (fax) e-mail: Senator J. James Exon, Neb. SH-528 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-2702 (202) 224-4224 (phone) (202) 224-5213 (fax) Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, W. Va. SH-109 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-4802 (202) 224-6472 (phone) (202) 224-1689 (fax) Senator John F. Kerry, Mass. SR-421 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-2102 (202) 224-2742 (phone) (202) 224-8525 (fax) Senator John B. Breaux, La SH-516 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-1803 (202) 224-4623 (phone) (202) 224-2435 (fax) Senator Richard H. Bryan, Nev. SR-364 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-2804 (202) 224-6244 (phone) (202) 224-1867 (fax) Senator Byron L. Dorgan, N.D. SH-713 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-3405 (202) 224-2551 (phone) (202) 224-1193 (fax) You can also write or fax your own Senator at: The Honorable ______________________ U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510 Senate directories including fax numbers may be found at: gopher:// gopher:// Additional information about the ACLU's position on this issue and others affecting civil liberties online and elsewhere may be found at: gopher:\\ OR request our FAQ at -----------------------------------------------cut here---------------------------------------------------------- SAMPLE LETTER Dear Senator _______: I am writing to urge you to oppose the restrictions on speech that would be imposed by the legislation introduced by Senator Exon, known as the Communications Decency Act of 1995, S.314, introduced on 2/2/95. The Exon proposal would severely restrict the flow of online information by requiring service providers to act as private censors of e-mail messages, public forums, mailing lists, and archives to avoid criminal liability. I believe that online users should be the only censors of the content of the messages they receive. I urge you to: *Oppose the Exon proposal, or any Senate or House variation. *Drop the Exon proposal BEFORE it goes to the Senate floor. *Hold full hearings on the Exon proposal and review it thoroughly before it goes to the Senate floor. *Reject any effort to attach the Exon proposal to the Senate telecommunications legislation. Sincerely, [name] -- ACLU Free Reading Room | American Civil Liberties Union gopher:// | 132 W. 43rd Street, NY, NY 10036| "Eternal vigilance is the | price of liberty" ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 01 Mar 1995 15:08:19 -0600 From: /G=Brad/S=Hicks/OU1=0205465@MHS-MC.ATTMAIL.COM Subject: File 4--Tired of S.314 Hysteria Am I the only person tired of being spammed about S.314, or just the first one to complain about it? Do I have to read seven to ten copies of this in every newsgroup, even areas as obscure as All this, on top of the maybe twenty or thirty copies I've gotten as e-mail? Can there possibly be anyone on the planet with an e-mail address who =doesn't= know about S.314? Now, that being said, I finally read one of the marked up copies of the current law, showing the changes that S.314 would make. And having read them, I am convinced that every single analysis I have read is either mistaken, exaggerated, or an outright lie. It's right there in the text. The section that everybody is scared of, the one that makes telecommunications vendors responsible for any obscenity or threats that swim in their bitstreams, is prefaced with "Whosoever KNOWINGLY ...." (Emphasis added.) That's right. They left in the word "knowingly." Which means that if somebody uses your BBS, or your email service, or your anonymous remailer to send someone an invitation to be the star in a pornographic snuff film, and you don't know about it, you're not in violation of the Exon bill. The easily alarmed might worry that some court will say that you =could= have known, and therefore =should= have known. But that's not up to prosecutors, that's up to juries. When witnesses testify as to how many kilobytes or megabytes flow through your system per night, no jury is going to say that you should have read it all. If you present evidence that you couldn't have known, because those bits were all encrypted and people didn't tell you what was in them, nobody's going to rule that you =could= have known, let alone =should= have. So. What do the people who oppose S.314 =and who understand it= REALLY want? The only reason I see to oppose S.314 is if you =want= BBS sysops and telephone sex vendors to be immune to obscenity and harrassment laws. If you want it to be legal for people to use email, or web pages, or improvised FidoNets or whatever to send around JPGs of perverts raping 6 year olds, or detailed descriptions of rape/murder/torture fantasies with people's real names for the victims, or GIFs of people having sex involving excrement, carving knives, and/or animals ... well, then say so! Because if that's what you want, then I agree with you 100%. As the late great Justice Hugo Black said, "I am a plain and simple man. I believe that when the Constitution says, 'no laws,' it MEANS 'no laws.'" Of course, there's no way that the American people will permit this. However, that's not, in my opinion, a moral reason to lie about the contents of a proposed law, and stir up a net.lynch.mob. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 26 Feb 1995 22:51:01 CDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 5--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 26 Feb, 1995) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. CuD is available as a Usenet newsgroup: Or, 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, USA. 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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. ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #7.17 ************************************


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