Computer underground Digest Wed May 17, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 39 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J
Computer underground Digest Wed May 17, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 39
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow Master: Stanton McCandlish
Field Agent Extraordinaire: David Smith
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Goddess of Judyism Editor: J. Tenuta
CONTENTS, #7.39 (Wed, May 17, 1995)
File 1--Gov't Appeal in 2600 Case
File 2--Making Bombs
File 4--(fwd) "Blacklisted! 411" - a direct ripoff of 2600 Magazine (fwd)
File 5--Response to teleright critics
File 6--(review) "Alive 0, Alive 1", Suzana Stojakovic-Celustka, 1994
File 7--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 19 Apr, 1995)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE.
Date: 17 May 1995 15:54:26 -0400
From: "David Sobel"
Subject: File 1--Gov't Appeal in 2600 Case
The U.S. Secret Service has filed an appellate brief seeking to
overturn a lower court decision ordering the release of information on
a controversial "hacker" investigation. At issue are documents
detailing the Secret Service's role in the so-called "Pentagon City
In November 1992, a group of young people affiliated with the computer
magazine "2600" were confronted by mall security personnel, local
police officers and several unidentified individuals. The group
members were ordered to identify themselves and to submit to searches
of their personal property. Their names were recorded and some of
their property was confiscated. However, no charges were ever brought
against any of the individuals. Although the Secret Service has never
formally acknowledged its role in the incident, it eventually conceded
that it did possess relevant information.
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) filed suit in
federal court in early 1993 seeking the release of Secret Service
records under the Freedom of Information Act. In July 1994, U.S.
District Judge Louis Oberdorfer ordered the Secret Service to release
the vast majority of documents it maintains on the incident. The
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is litigating the appeal
that is now pending.
The Secret Service has maintained that the disputed records were
collected during the course of an investigation of telephone toll
fraud. In its recently-filed brief, the agency asserts that
"obviously, a meeting of individuals 'affiliated with 2600 Magazine'
would be of interest to such an investigation since those individuals
have, by their conduct, evidenced an interest in the technical
intricacies of the telephone system." The government also reveals for
the first time that the underlying investigation was closed on March
14 of this year.
The Pentagon City incident has been described as an example of
over-zealous law enforcement activities directed against so-called
computer "hackers." The case raises significant issues of free speech
and assembly, privacy and government accountability. EPIC is seeking
support to assist with its defense of the lower court decision
ordering disclosure. Tax-deductible contributions (payable to EPIC)
can be sent to FOIA Project, EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.,
Suite 301, Washington, DC 20003.
Date: Wed, 17 May 95 07:59:41 MST
From: Dan Lester
Subject: File 2-- Making Bombs
Those who worry about bomb making should worry about an outfit
called Loompanics, in Port Townsend, WA, before they worry about the nets.
These folks (Box 1197, 98368, catalog $5.00, mail order only) sell books on
a wide variety of interesting topics. Every time I lecture to classes
(library science, journalism, political science, philosophy, education, etc.)
on censorship I don't just take "dirty books". I also take the loompanics
catalog and let them browse the titles in it to decide what, if anything,
should be kept from kids, adults, etc.
Here are some titles from the latest Loompanics Catalog:
How to get tax amnesty, a guide to the forgiveness of IRS debt.
The complete book of international smuggling.
The organization of illegal makets.
Sneak it through: smuggling made easier.
How to build a bugproof room.
Telling lies: clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage.
Reborn in the USA: personal privacy through a new identity.
Counterfeit ID made easy.
How to get anything on anybody.
Techniques of the professional pickpocket.
Escape from controlled custody.
How to steal food from the supermarket.
Techniques of safecracking.
Deal the first deadly blow: an encyclopedia of unarmed and hand to hand combat.
Screw the bitch: divorce tactics for men.
Gunrunning for fun and profit.
How to make disposable silencers. (also volume 2)
Ragnar's homemade detonators.
Ragnar's guide to home and recreational use of high explosives.
Kitchen improvised plastic explosives.
Kitchen improvised fertilizer explosives. "Among the everyday materials used
in the manufacture are such things as fertilizer, fuel oil, diesel fuel,
....etc....etc....." "Because of the nature of this material, we must
emphasize that this book is sold for informational purposes only."
Mercenary operations manual.
Coup d'etat: a practical handbook. "Remember: Coup d'etat is more common
and more successful than free elections."
The poisoner's handbook.
21 techniques of silent killing.
How to date young women, for men over 35. (what every older geek needs? o-) )
Getting started in the illicit drug business.
That should be enough to give you the flavor of this catalog of almost
300 pages, several books per page. Some of the other books cover living
off the land, surviving in the wilds, building shelter from natural
materials, and related topics.
Should the catalog and the books in it be legal? Of course they should.
All of them. Every blasted one, regardless of how disgusting, offensive,
evil, or nasty you or I might think they are.
One of the local TV stations did a feature last week on "bombmaking info
on the internet". I called and informed them that it was a "so what?"
topic since all the stuff was in print and freely available anyway. They
said they didn't care...the internet was what was hot and of interest right
now. Yeah, no surprise.....
Dan Lester Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Network Information Coordinator WWW: http://cyclops.idbsu.edu/
Boise State University Library
Boise, Idaho 83725 How can one fool make another wise?
208-385-1235 Kansas, "No One Together," 1979
Date: Thu, 11 May 95 10:11:36 EDT
From: Jerry Leichter
Subject: File 3--Mendacity
It's said that all organizations come to resemble their opponents. Sad to
say, this has happened - with a vengence - with the organizations that
nominally started out to protect Internet users. (I'm deliberately avoiding
naming particular organizations because all have good and bad sides.) Now
that they've entered the political realm, truth and careful analysis have
tended to disappear. All that matters is public appeal. Numbers are not
there for explanation; they are there to serve propaganda needs. Even when
I agree with the aims of the groups and people involved, the ever-growing
intellectual dishonesty of their means disgusts me.
A case in point is Marc Rotenberg's recent CuD article quoting "Dave Banisar
['s recent efforts] ... going through the wiretap reports for 1994." I have no
idea whether the interpretations below are due to Banisar or Rotenberg.
Rotenberg's intent in quoting them was clear, however.
Rotenberg and others have quoted fairly low numbers of total wiretaps in the
past to show that wiretaps are not very important to law enforcement, so
cannot justify various measures proposed by the FBI that the FBI claims are
necessary to keep them possible. So now we have:
-- wiretapping reached an all-time high in 1994, 1,154 taps authorized
for federal and state combined up from 976 in 1993.
In context (we'll see more below), it's clear that the intent of this quote
(and of using language like "all-time high") is to produce a feeling of a
growing threat to civil liberties. Of course, one could equally argue that
1,154 taps in a country of 300,000,000 or so, that pursued millions of
criminal investigations in 1994, is so insignificant that it could be tossed
out without any noticeable effect. I suppose others *will* make that
argument, simply ignoring the increase.
The numbers are wonderful. If they are small, they aren't important and it's
no great loss if they are eliminated. If they are large, civil liberties are
threatened, so they should be cut down. If they are increasing (decreasing)
... well, you can fill in the arguments.
-- 75% of all taps were authorized for narcotics investigations, 8%
for gambling, and 8% for racketeering
-- Not a single tap was authorized for investigations involving
"arson, explosives, or weapons" in 1994. In fact, such an order
hasn't been approved since the late 1980s. Keep that in mind when
people say wiretapping is necessary to prevent tragedies like Oklahoma
I guess whoever wrote this hasn't been listening to the radio, watching
television, or reading the newspapers. Guess what: The investigative agen-
cies of the government are under severe criticism for *ignoring* the threat
posed by right-wing extremists. Not only haven't they wire-tapped these
people; they basically haven't investigated them at all. One could equally
well argue that "the FBI tells us FBI agents are necessary to prevent
tragedies like Oklahoma City, but a look at the record indicates that they
haven't been used in relevant investigations in 1994, so clearly they are
wrong." (Oh, yes "preventing tragedies like Oklahoma City" is one of those
little phrases all the best spin-doctors are using. Tugs so nicely at the
heart strings. Can justify anything at all. Let's give it a try: "If money
were available to provide better pre-school education, people like Timothy
McVay would be better adjusted, better educated, and have better jobs. That
would get at the root causes, the frustrations with modern life, and would be
a big step toward preventing tragedies like Oklahoma City." OK, class, your
assignment: Justify government funding of laptop computers for all citizens.
Extra credit assignment: Justify better traffic control systems. Hint: TV
cameras to monitor traffic.)
By the way, the FBI more or less stopped investigating nominally-political
groups in the mid- to late-1980's after changes in procedures made it very
difficult. Under current rules, the FBI needs pre-existing evidence of
criminal acts to "infiltrate" - i.e., send someone to a meeting without first
identifying him as from the FBI - such a group. These rules were imposed in
reaction to the perception of abuses, particularly in the infiltration of
various political organizations concerned with Nicaragua. There is debate
now as to whether the rules have gone too far and made investigation too
difficult. Perhaps not, but *as the FBI has chosen to interpret them*, these
rules have shut down investigation of "political" groups - which certainly
includes shutting down wiretapping of such groups.
-- Only 17% of all conversations intercepted were deemed
"incriminating" by prosecutors. That figure is at an all-time low (in
the early '70s it was closer to 50%), and it means that the FBI is
gathering far more information through electronic surveillance
unrelated to a criminal investigation than ever before.
-- Also, the duration of the taps is way up, now around 40 days on
average. Twenty years ago, it was closer to 18.
So, if we put these together, it seems that the FBI is tapping phones that
are being used for multiple purposes, rather than "criminal business lines"
so to speak. So? We know from earlier figures that narcotics investigations
made up the bulk of wiretaps. It seems logical that narcotics trafficers need
to make relatively few "business-related" calls. Suppose twenty years ago a
much larger percentage of taps were in gambling investigations. Many of those
taps would be of bookie's phone lines, which are used for hours on end just
for taking bets. Could this be the cause of the change? We can't say,
because we aren't given any comparative numbers. Again, the numbers aren't
being quoted here for information; they are being quoted to make a point.
The FBI's claim that new technologies are frustrating wiretap is
completely without support.
The FBI has claimed that new technologies are just beginning to frustrate
wiretapping, but that they will be an increasing problem in the future. The
deployment of many of these technologies is limited even today. Yes, the
FBI has at times been guilty of overstating the current problems. They too
have been more interested in propaganda value than truth. I don't approve of
mendacity on their part any more than I approve of it on the part of others -
but lying doesn't justify more lying.
Any objective look at the technologies that are beginning to be introduced
into the telephone system make it clear that the FBI is correct. As a simple
example, a traditional analogue telephone line can be tapped anywhere along
its length with simple, inexpensive equipment. An ISDN voice line cannot be
tapped without great difficulty and expense anywhere except within the
telephone company central office, or within the premises where the phone is
located. (This is inherent in the nature of the coding on the line, which
is the combination of signals going both ways. The two endpoints each know
their own signal and can subtract it off to figure out the other guy's
signal; but in the middle, you know neither signal and so can get neither.
The only way to "tap" the line is to physically cut it and break it into two
separate lines, with you sitting in the middle, playing the role of telephone
to the central office and central office to the telephone. Possible but not
cheap or easy compared to a pair of clips and an amplifier. This is a fairly
*simple* technology to deal with!)
That new technologies will, in the near future, make tapping more difficult
and expensive is clear fact. How important that fact is - how important the
ability to wiretap is - can be argued. What we as a society choose to do
about it is a political question. We've been conflating fact with political
choices for too many years. We want to spend more and tax less - fine, come
up with some "facts" to prove that (a) if the government taxes less, it will
bring in more money; (b) deficits don't matter anyway. We want to provide
Social Security for everyone - fine, cite the "fact" that it's an insurance
system while implementing a pay-as-you-go system. We want cleaner air, so
cite the "fact" that electic cars are "zero-pollution"; ignore such incon-
veniences as emissions from the power plants, or the lead emitted into the
environment in the process of making the batteries for those cars. (See a
recent New York Times article.)
If the remedy for bad speech is better speech, the remedy for propaganda
masquerading as facts is real facts, not more propaganda.
But if the $500,000,000 to make the
network wiretap ready is appropriated, the current trends will be
amplified: more surveillance, longer duration, less well targeted -->
less privacy for all Americans.
Pure hyperbole, speculation upon speculation all heaped on top of numbers way
too flimsy to bear any such weight.
Date: Fri, 12 May 1995 22:04:43 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Smith
Subject: File 4--(fwd) "Blacklisted! 411" - a direct ripoff of 2600 Magazine (fw
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Recently a number of people have contacted 2600 concerning another
hacker magazine called "Blacklisted! 411". Having more hacker
publications has always been something we've tried to encourage.
Zines like Cybertek, 40Hex, Hack Tic, and Private Line have been
helped or inspired by 2600 over the years, not to mention numerous
other zines that we have trade arrangements with. The current zine
scene is healthy and prospering. So we were happy to see that there
was another hacker rag in the works.
Then we got our first look at "Blacklisted! 411". To say it's similar
in appearance to 2600 would be an incredible understatement. Anyone
looking at the two publications will notice a very disturbing amount
of unattributed duplication which, we regret to say, goes far over
the line to the category of blatant ripoff.
This is not about style similarity. True, their zine is the same size
as ours. They use the exact same font style and size, their text
boxes are the same, the staff box looks almost identical (except, of
course, for the staff). Not too original, but so what. The real
problem comes from the fact that this publication has taken numerous
pieces of 2600 and published them as their own without any credit
given and without ever asking permission. We've nearly always granted
permission for zines to reprint selected articles of ours, as long as
the author and 2600 are credited. Our primary goal, after all, is to
get the word out. But this goes way beyond any conceivable 'sharing
of information' between two publications.
The two feature articles in the current issue of "Blacklisted! 411"
were both printed years ago in 2600. One of the articles (on 5ESS
switches) was also printed in Phrack a few years back. No mention
of this fact is made, no credit to the authors is given. Both articles
appear to have been written by the staff of "Blacklisted! 411".
We've heard reports that most of the other articles were also lifted
from other publications or the net, again without accreditation and
leaving the impression that "Blacklisted! 411" is the originator.
"Blacklisted! 411" has a section very similar to the 2600 Marketplace.
They call theirs the Marketplace. Our wording for our marketplace
advertising is: "Marketplace ads are free to subscribers! Send your
ad to: . Ads may be edited or not printed at our discretion."
Their wording reads: "Marketplace Ads are FREE to subscribers! Send
your ad to: . Ads may be edited or not printed at our
discretion." Not only that, but these people have actually gone so
far as to reproduce our subscribers' ads without their permission,
no doubt as part of a plan to obtain more advertising by appearing
to have many customers. They did such a poor job covering this up
that one of "their" ads has a line reading "All 2600 subscribers
gain complete access". Throughout its pages, "Blacklisted 411"
reproduces our house ads *word for word* as if they were their own.
Perhaps the most disturbing examples of this magazine's ill intent
lie in the replies to their letters. Not surprisingly, some of their
readers think they're somehow affiliated with 2600 and address them
as such. In one reply, the editor says, "I wonder why everyone keeps
addressing us as 2600? Are we THAT much alike? haha."
So now we're faced with the unpleasant prospect of what to do about
this. To do or say nothing would be a disservice to our magazine,
our readers, and all that we've accomplished over the last 11 years.
At the same time, we have no desire to emulate the corporate giants
who try to intimidate us into not publishing what we publish, even
though a number of people are advising us to take some sort of legal
The truth is, we haven't decided yet on a course of action. Suggestions
would be welcomed. Our only goals are to get these people to stop printing
material from our magazine without permission or credit, to stop copying
our in-house and subscriber advertisements, and to stop representing
themselves fraudulently to the hacker community.
Editor, 2600 Magazine
Date: Sat, 13 May 1995 13:40:30 -0500 (CDT)
From: Wade Riddick
Subject: File 5--Response to teleright critics
Reply to Teleright Criticism
(c) 1995 By Wade Riddick
Circulate freely unaltered
I have made an effort to respond to most of my private critics and
I believe the exchange has been mutually beneficial. Because of space
constraints and other factors, I apparently failed to fully address
certain areas which others found important to my argument so I will try
to share the fruits of these exchanges with CUD readers and also address
public comments made by David Gersic in CUD 7.37.
Let me first thank everyone for their constructive criticism.
The first major issue pertains to cryptography and piracy. As
many have noted, no system of cryptography is full-proof. In Mr.
Gersic's words, I've "missed the basic method of software piracy; remove
the protection." While at least one of my respondents believes that
secure hardware encryption devices are possible, I do not share this
faith in technology. That is why I dedicated several paragraphs in my
original essay to discussing the possibilities of piracy.
Where there's a key, there's always a way to pick the lock. In
the case of cryptography, there is always the danger that individuals
with the proper keys (or technical knowledge) will undermine the system.
This is a social-economic problem having to do with the way technology
is used. But I do not wish to use cryptography to eliminate piracy and
I implied as much in my reasoning. I just want to change the economic
incentive structures to make piracy less prevalent.
My aim is not to do away with fraud but to discourage it. It has
been pointed out that licensing programmers will not put a stop to
fraud. Well, licensing lawyers does not prevent them from abusing their
powers of attorney. The potential for disbarment (not to mention jail)
does, however, severely curtail these abuses. Plenty of people also run
around counterfeiting currency, but I see no reason to legalize this
activity for the general public. In Mr. Gersic's phrase, "information
[is] neither 'good' nor 'bad.'" We may not be able to restrict
information, but I think we can and must prosecute its misuse.
When it comes to piracy, I can think of two separate sets of
problems. The first problem comes from individuals decrypting and re-
telerighting documents as their own in order to make money. If
publications are issued from a public utility, that utility can ask for
decrypted copies of the document and always check for pirated copies.
In any event, a teleright document always contains its source and a
company scanning the market for pirated copies could quite easily trace
a pirated document back to its source, assuming network nodes can't be
faked. There is the possibility that con-artists could set up and
strike down node sites quite quickly to pick up a fast buck, but given
the amount of time it would take to build a client base relative to the
amount of time it would take to be detected I do not think this would
usually be economically feasible.
The second method of piracy is harder to detect and involves the
possession/transmission of decrypted documents. Someone stealing
information on their home computer wouldn't cost companies much unless
they started passing it around. As long as the skills for doing such
things are fairly restricted, the loss from private abuse is not likely
to be great enough to worry companies.
On the other hand, corporations will probably have the necessary
talent base and economic incentives to buy a copy, decrypt it and pass
it around the company. This sort of thing may be detectable by using
intelligent software agents and packet sniffers on public right-of-ways
to scan for copyrighted materials that has been decrypted. There is an
optimization problem as far as deciding how much data to scan for and
how high to set pirating fines. This sort of thing tends to be easier
to detect the larger the organization is.
I think, though, there is a better social solution. We can make
individuals and corporations with the skills to pirate materials part of
the legitimate distribution system. We can give them a re-publication
franchise and a legal share of the gains made from their distribution
efforts, cutting both the distribution and enforcement costs for normal
publishers. This was essentially the solution accepted in the Chinese
trade dispute over CDs several months ago.
Sadly, this will not work for those individuals who pirate
information for ideological and not economic reasons. One must make an
effort to trace the decrypted documents back to their source and
prosecute the original decryptor/distributor. Of course, the only real
way society can deal with harmful beliefs is to insure that it does not
produce individuals holding them.
When it comes to piracy, as it does with any other form of
criminal behavior, the question is not how to prevent something but how
to discourage it from happening and reduce losses associated with it.
The best example of this type of reasoning is found in Madison's
The second criticism leveled at telerights has to do with privacy.
Many people balk at the idea of using a copyright protection system that
links users and publishers so closely.
People often give up a small amount of privacy for even more
convenience. This happened with checks and credit cards. Cash is
anonymous but people regularly use these easier forms of transactions,
despite the fact that they have the buyer's name attached to them and
pass through numerous institutions. From the privacy standpoint you
would expect individuals to want to keep their most expensive purchases
private and not care about smaller items, but we see exactly the
opposite sort of behavior in the market. There are even laws that force
companies to report large cash transactions ($10,000+).
If this is of concern, though, it would be possible to use public
libraries and private corporations as firewalls. The library would
double encrypt the works it lent out with a time-expiring key and the
library, not the borrower, would show up to the publisher as the user.
One benefit to using a public utility is that it can act as just such a
firewall; indeed, in many ways, libraries are already model utilities.
One of my respondents indicated you could also use zero-knowledge proofs
as one way to guarantee anonymity in the transaction.
There are even ways telerights can strengthen individual privacy.
A user could, for instance, teleright personal information about
themselves to control who has access to it and to have knowledge about
who's using it. There is also nothing to prevent the fragmentation of
keys or the adoption of a public key system so that with credit records,
let's say, you have to get the key from my site and the bank's in order
to check my credit record. Technically I'm supposed to know about
everyone who looks at my credit record, but in practice we rarely have
time to request such information and the agencies that maintain the data
don't ever go to the trouble to notify us on their own.
Any agency collecting private information about us could be forced
by law - depending on the type of information - to use a public key to
encrypt that information and give us (and a government repository) the
key necessary to decrypt it (or rather, we would give them the public
key for encryption). It would be impossible to view such telerighted
documents without first informing the individual concerned. The
government would act as a disinterested third party that would verify to
the company that the keys were valid.
A third misconception is that telerights mandate a certain form of
contract in the market, namely per-use billing for material. Mr. Gersic
writes that "each time I want to refer to a diagram in this
document I have to insert a quarter in the coin slot in the side of
my monitor." Telerights, by strengthening private property rights,
makes a variety of contracts possible. I would hope that companies
continue to sell permanent rights to documents. I'm not trying to push
a particular contract on the industry, just lower the general
transaction cost for intellectual property.
I think a telerights system, just like many digital technologies,
causes us to rethink the mission of public libraries. Libraries not
only create a barrier of anonymity between readers and publishers, they
also serve as an archive for valuable information that may not be used
for years to come. Under telerights, libraries get specifically
encrypted copies to loan out. It is the publisher's duty to store the
decrypted copies. I think telerighted libraries turn into archives for
decrypted information, information that publishers no longer have an
economic incentive to maintain.
In this sense telerights might squeeze more money out of large
publishing houses because it would force them to be more creative and
more productive. Why buy a reprint of Machiavelli when you can get your
own copy for free at the school library?
I will now address the rest of Mr. Gersic's criticisms. I would
normally not address some of these points, since they are minor, but
they were made in a public forum.
Mr. Gersic states that "At best, the current copyright code does
not map well onto the computer information it is being applied to" but
he himself offers no alternative method for rewarding producers of
information, nor does he offer any revisions to the copyright code.
This conceptual gap is most apparent when he links copyright law to the
print media: "the print media are attempting to maintain their monopoly
on information distribution." Copyrights apply to a number of
electronic media as well.
He does make a legitimate point that people will attempt to scan
back in information for electronic distribution, in his words,
"bootlegging movies... [with] a cam-corder." He also mentions "lousy"
bootlegged copies of rock concerts and indicates these items tend to do
well in the market. I would say that they only do well when better
copies are unavailable. In both instances, they do not compete well at
all with the genuine item. When the producers release the movie on
videotape, I'll bet the bootleg market dries up unless the price for the
legitimate item is exorbitantly high. Given that electronic
distribution and teleright protection will lower transaction costs, I do
not normally think this will be a problem.
This also pertains to another point I made about non-linear media.
There aren't any physical hard copies that can be scanned back in.
Hypertext links and other non-linear structures can't be printed because
they aren't of use on paper.
The only real threat is to traditional linear media like books
that can be perfectly scanned. Ignoring the re-publication and piracy
issue which I've already covered, it's unclear why someone would scan a
book back in for individual use if the license was inexpensive enough.
Special care does have to be taken when it comes to fair use quotation,
since that material may circulate around electronically.
Mr. Gersic has also either failed to correctly read my essay or
deliberately distorted it by taking portions out of context. If I can
quote myself, I said in my opening paragraphs that,
"Some have proposed drastically curtailing electronic technology in
order to protect future publishers. They want to put all forms of
computer copying under the copyright code... They want to ban the
electronic resale or renting of copyrighted material fearing that the
piracy which has plagued software will plague movies and books when they
Mr. Gersic, though, only quotes the last sentence and asks the question,
"Who are 'they'?", implying some sort of attempt on my part to be
conspiratorial. "They" refers to the "some" people mentioned in the
opening sentence of the paragraph - conveniently not quoted.
Mr. Gersic does make valid points that a teleright system assumes,
to use Mr. Gersic's words, "that I'll have a network connection wherever
I might want to use this document... If I carry my laptop out under a
tree to sit in the sunshine, I'm screwed and have to go back inside
where the ethernet is."
I happen to agree that this assumes a personal, high-bandwidth
network connection. That's why I made the point in my original essay.
"[E]ven though the technology exists, the infrastructure needed to make
a system like telerights work is not yet in place." Mr. Gersic has
conveniently omitted this quotation in his criticism.
Regardless, I don't see why telerights could not operate over the
airwaves, since the bandwidth that's needed to transmit the keys is much
lower than that needed to transmit the entire document. And I don't
think it's much of a burden to make someone get up from under a tree to
go inside and purchase a copy of the movie. The life of digital
convenience is a hard one.
Mr. Gersic also assumes that "I have to pay for [network links] on
a per-call basis." No one is forced to pay for local phone service on a
per-call basis. I think this reasoning assumes network exchanges will
periodically shut down and start up at fixed and knowable intervals. I
see the networked future (in twenty years, say) as being something more
or less continuous. I also think, given a high volume of network
traffic and a flat rate for local use, that resending keys will be
Also, I believe I pointed out that the document stays decrypted in
RAM once that link is made. Mr. Gersic seems to think that "if that
document has a link to another document, there's another phone call to
validate the new document, and possibly a third one to get back to my
original document." No, it stays around - unless you lack the 4
terabytes needed to run Windows 2019, in which case the operating system
can just cache the key.
Although I have already covered the issue of privacy, I wish to
reiterate that I do, in fact, share Mr. Gersic's desire to protect
individual privacy. I do not think that the FBI (or the NSC, in
particular) should run around making unwarranted checks on what
everyone's doing. As one reader has pointed out, it is impossible to
look at a library's records without a warrant. It ought to be the same
I do think these agencies should have warranted access to these
records. If the FBI can convince a judge that there's reasonable cause
Tim McVeigh bombed a federal building, then they should have the ability
to search through all his records. There is no such thing as an
absolute right to privacy.
If individuals fail to produce cryptological keys when faced with
a court order, they should be jailed for contempt just like a witness
who refuses to testify. We don't make exceptions for witnesses in
trails and we shouldn't make exceptions for inanimate lumps of bits.
I do also agree with Mr. Gersic that international export poses a
problem for telerights, though not on the cryptological dimension he
points out. Obviously the American government will have to get past its
problems with strong cryptography, but there are more important points
with international copyright law. Telerights would automate and enforce
a number of laws that some countries have up until now only paid lip
This brings me to my final point. Mr. Gersic sums up an number of
common opinions found on the internet when he examines my degree program
(political science) and states
"I'm just another net.admin/programmer out here in the world.
Maybe I don't know any better, but I worry when the government
(or, in this case, somebody majoring in government) wants to help me."
Well, I feel sorry that Mr. Gersic is unable to take individuals who
profess to have an interest in the common good of society at their word.
If I didn't feel that this attitude was dangerously prevalent, I would
let this comment pass.
I don't, in fact, feel that Mr. Gersic has been malicious in any
of his criticisms - after all, he did call my proposal "well-meaning" -
but he has been careless. The same National Science Foundation which
has funded my analysis of politics also helped fund his beloved
I think the attitude - and I'm not accusing anyone in particular
of having it, just pointing out its prevalence - that I've gotten mine
now you get yours is quite harmful to society. All too often the
government seems to be invisible when it's helping us. When it's
helping others it looks, to use PJ O'Rourke's phrase, as if public
restrooms are the pinnacle of public works projects.
The real solution to government problems is not to become detached
from the public discourse, but rather to join it. I don't think Mr.
Gersic realizes that in responding to my essay he has made an important
contribution to public political discourse. Why we see such activities
as somehow being 'non-political' is beyond me.
In any event, I have received a number of similar responses
indicating a distrust in government. As a political refugee from
Louisiana living in Texas (not much of an improvement), all I can say is
that the solution to 'corruption' isn't to do away with warranted
searches or to dismantle the 'government.' The solution is to go to the
polls and carefully select your elected representatives.
Trust me. The potential for abusing any kind of private
information is far greater when it's in private hands. By and large,
the people working in government are more diligent and honest than those
in private industry (I would include Mr. Gersic in the former group
since his net address indicates he works for a university).
Few go into government service to get rich, though they may go
there to make their friends rich. There is a corruption problem in
politics and I've experienced it first-hand in a way that most of my
readers have not. The solution isn't to get rid of government, but
rather to get involved. I've seen the private sector at work too and I
think we fail to realize that private market economics is all too often
the prime cause of government corruption. If anything, we should be
distrustful of the market. We don't always have a vote in it. We do
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 14:18:23 EST
From: "Rob Slade, Social Convener to the Net"
Subject: File 6--(review) "Alive 0, Alive 1", Suzana Stojakovic-Celustka, 1994
"Alive 0, Alive 1", Suzana Stojakovic-Celustka, 1994
%A Suzana Stojakovic-Celustka email@example.com
%B Alive Ejournal
%D March 1994, July 1994
%E Suzana Stojakovic-Celustka firstname.lastname@example.org
%P Alive 0, 25K Alive 1, 100K
%T Alive 0, Alive 1
Suzana Celustka is part of the international virus research community. She
became active in research while attending university in Prague, but
comes originally from Croatia and is currently resident in Zagreb. In
1993 she attempted to spur development of a proper definition of a
viral program (which still eludes researchers and writers) by
promoting a virus definition contest. (She did put a bit of life into
the proceedings by calling for definitions not only in text and
mathematical forms, but also jokes and poetry.)
The lack of success in this area will be familiar to workers in the
field of artificial life, who have had similar difficulties in
delineating life. As it happens, this is another area of Ms.
Celustka's interests, and in 1994 she started "Alive" magazine,
distributed electronically, in order to examine the relation between
computer viral programs and artificial life.
Two editions of the magazine have been published so far, with a third
now in process. (The move back to Croatia and a period of ill health
contributed to the delay.) "Alive 0" is stated to be the zeroth, or
beta, edition, and explains the background of the project. It also
contains the results of the first contest the definition of a computer
virus in the technical categories. There are also articles on the
"lifelike" characteristics of code for LAN token regeneration and on
Cohen's theorem of the "undecidability" of viral detection.
In "Alive 1", Ms. Celustka contributes two articles herself, one on
the nature and limitations of language (in regard to the problem of
technical definition), and another on the "Great Debate" about the
benefits versus dangers of viral programs.
In addition to the feature and invited articles, each edition includes
an interview with at least one (and usually more) researcher prominent
in the field. The participants in "The Great Debate", for example,
were Fred Cohen (cf BKSHRTVR.RVW and BKITSALV.RVW), Mark Ludwig (cf
BKLUDWIG.RVW) and Vesselin Bontchev. The questions asked are incisive
Alive is available in a number of ways. Subscriptions requests should
to email@example.com. Back issues are available from
gopher://saturn.felk.cvut.cz, and gopher://ursus.bke.hu. Send your
contributions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alive represents very real explorations in both virus and artificial
life research. The opinions and thought presented are sometimes
radical departures from mainstream discussion. With careful
moderation and editing, however, there is no chance of the "high
noise/low signal" traffic one usually sees in many more well known
fora. Alive is highly recommended for any interested in viral or
artificial life studies.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1995 MLALIVE.RVW 950508
Postscriptum: As this review was being written, anti-personnel rounds
were falling on Zagreb. Although the situation seems to have eased,
momentarily, Croatia still does not seem to be a preferred situation
for raising a family. Although Ms. Celustka does not know I am adding
this message, I have reason to believe that she would appreciate any
assistance with employment or immigration which those in safer parts
of the world could give her.
Vancouver ROBERTS@decus.ca | "The only thing necessary
Institute for Robert_Slade@sfu.ca | for the triumph of evil
Research into Rob_Slade@mindlink.bc.ca | is for good men to do
User email@example.com | nothing."
Security Canada V7K 2G6 | - Edmund Burke
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1995 22:51:01 CDT
From: CuD Moderators
Subject: File 7--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 19 Apr, 1995)
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