Computer underground Digest Sun Jul 16, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 60 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J

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Computer underground Digest Sun Jul 16, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 60 ISSN 1004-042X 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 Ian Dickinson CONTENTS, #7.60 (Sun, Jul 16, 1995) File 1--Re CuD #7.55 and Dangers of Computer Intrusions File 2--Copyrights and Obscenity File 3--Re: File 6--File 1--Against Intellectual Property File 4--Senator Grassley's Buthering of "CMU Study" Stats File 5--NEWS: Hacker Disrupts Internet Link (fwd) File 6--Voice of America on CDA (fwd) File 7--'The Hackers Book of Poetry' (fwd) File 8--AA BBS appeal for help (fwd) File 9--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: Mon, 03 Jul 1995 08:22:44 -0500 From: spaf@CS.PURDUE.EDU(Gene Spafford) Subject: Re CuD #7.55 and Dangers of Computer Intrusions In the article quoting from Flatland #12, there are some statements on which I would like to comment: > > Only Joe McCarthy knows how Robert Hager came up with a figure > of 98 percent for undetected break-ins, and then pretended it was > worth repeating. Hager continued with his voice-over and began > talking about hackers breaking into one nameless hospital's records > and reversing the results of a dozen pap smears. Patients who may > have had ovarian cancer, Hager claimed, were told instead that they > were okay. No, others know where it came from too, because we follow the literature on such things. In fact, these results have been widely published in various media, including Computerworld and InfoSecurity News. The same experiment has been done by different groups within DoD, including the Air Force Information Warfare group, and the Defence Information Systems Agency (DISA). The DISA report was the one that got the publicity, as I recall. The numbers I have from the article were that attempts to break in, using captured "hacker" toolkits, were made against 8932 DoD systems. 7860 of those were successfully penetrated. Of those, 390 penetrations were detected, but only 19 were reported to the proper authorities. So, 95% of successful break-ins were undetected, but 99.8% went unreported. The hospital story is old news too, and not the worst of ones reported. I don't keep an extensive clipping file of these things, but others do, and some research in the library would reveal many such stories -- including several involving worse damage. And those are the ones reported. I've heard NDA and confidential briefings that are much more troubling. (And I hate that they are being kept confidential -- if we publicized these things a little more, it might help wake people up some; see my comments further on.) There are some real problems in the area of computer security. > So Big Brother has a problem. But it's not so much a problem > of national security, except perhaps in the broad sense of economic > vulnerability. Defense and intelligence systems that are classified > are not connected to the Internet. When the Pentagon complains to > NBC about national security, what they really mean is that they > might have to forego the convenience of Internet contacts with > their contractors, and use other means instead. This evidences either ignorance or disregard for reality. First of all, there are a lot of sensitive but unclassified systems on the network involving government. Although disclosure of any arbitrary bit of information may not be a problem, disclosure of large chunks of it might be (inference), But that isn't the main problem -- anyone getting in to the systems and crashing them or altering the information could really wreak havoc. Imagine if the payroll systems for the Army were disrupted so that all the enlisted men didn't get paid for a month. Or if the logistics supply computers were taken down and data corrupted just prior to a major operation? But national security is much more than simply military systems. The well-being of the citizens depends on many other organizations operating smoothly. If, for instance, the NY Stock Exchange were to be shut down, or the Chicago futures trading market were to be corrupted so there was no confidence in the records, the result might well be another stock market crash. You can bet that would have implications for national security and our well-being. One time-worn technique for destabilizing a country is to counterfeit its currency. If you can flood the world with good quality counterfeit, you either cause enough doubt to get people to stop accepting it, and/or you can cause massive inflation in the country involved. If you can get in to the networks and redirect the currency, or generate "fake" money in transactions, you can have much the same effect. only faster, and in larger quantities. Or what if techno-terrorists (or simply young hackers & phreakers who don't really know what they're doing ... or don't care) were to crash the computers coordinating the electric power grids over the northeast, or take down long-distance service for a couple of days? These are highly disruptive, and done at the wrong time could threaten far more than the inconvenienced customers. There are lots more possibilities if you only think about them. Many have been documented, and quite a few have been discussed in places like the Risks Digest over the years. Many of us have been worried about and speaking out against the computerization of so much of our infrastructure without adequate safeguards. The worry now is that by networking these systems into the Internet, we have a high-speed conduit for malfeasors. National security can be eroded from within as well as from without. This is all separate from the other comments made in the article. I think it is more than a tad paranoid to attribute so much motive and coordination to the government, and it presumes a far more cordial and cooperative relationship among TLAs (three-letter agencies) than really exists....unless you believe in the Illuminati and the Tri-Lateral Commission and the secret UN forces in the black helicopters. :-) However, there is a thread of rightous concern in the story that we should note. For years, people have ignored the sensible cautions of experts on computer security. Now, everyone's in a mad rush to hook up to a global network, often without any other motive than the fact that lots of other people are doing it too. The result is massive exposure to risks that are poorly understood. Because they're not taking the precautions themselves, the government is making noises about imposing standards from without, because they have been paying more attention to the security concerns (but still not paying enough attention of the right kinds). I am really bothered by the Clipper initiative, and the Digital Telephony bill, and the Exon Amendment, and the Time magazine "cyberporn" misrepresentation, and all the other acts along these lines. I am scared by reports that the director of the FBI claims that private encryption may be outlawed and there is no Constitutional right to privacy (although, in one technical sense, he is correct - there is no *explicit* such right). Although deeply troubled by these developments, I am not surprised. I've seen it coming, as have others in the field. The vendors are helping it along by providing shoddy software with little in the way of security; the users are helping it along by continuing to buy that crap without demanding better; the media is helping it along by focusing on the issues of porn and kiddie runaways instead of the underlying problems; the computer literate are helping it along by focusing on rights and ignoring responsibilities and dangers; and the underground is accelerating the push by distributing more and more powerful break-in tools so they fall in the hands of the careless (and often venal). I don't think there is any organized conspiracy involved in government. I think it is more the case that they see a lot of the dark side of the whole issue, and they are very worried. They also don't see enough public concern, nor do they see enough action in the marketplace. They are trying to act, often in the only way they can. That doesn't mean the rest of us should take it, nor that we should like it if they succeed. However, as a public, we've done a damned poor job of addressing the problems on our own. We should all be worried about government getting carried away. But we should be as worried (or more) about the people who are rushing to put our stores, hospitals, media and banks on-line. And we should be outraged at the lack of quality control and lack of safety involved with the software we are sold. ------------------------------ From: Dave++ Ljung Subject: File 2--Copyrights and Obscenity Date: Thu, 6 Jul 95 11:39:51 MDT Intellectual Property --------------------- Keith, thanks for an excellent article! You saved me the trouble of typing all this up myself, I don't think I could have done it as well :) Regarding the reply by Brian Martin: * You seem to ignore the many problems that are brought up by the removal of intellectual property - many of which Keith brought up in his article. Your response always seems to be that their are other possibilities, but then you always give us examples that would point towards a Socialist economic system, citing such possibilities as: contributions from viewers for specific directors (who pays for the first movie?) guaranteed annual income (presumably from the gov't? regardless of talent?) payments based on number of library copies (this is a measure of talent? what about non mainstream books such as The Anarchist's Cookbook, not likely to be found in a library? also, once again, this is presumably paid by the gov't?) relying on journalism (so then they would simply donate their books written during their spare time? What would a musical performer rely on for income?) * You also point out that many performers like pirate tapes of their *concerts* This is an example of a performer choosing not to pursue copyright violation, which is fine. However I am sure these performers would feel very different if a company made copies of their own CDs and started to sell those. * I appreciate your point about the assumed value of Jurassic Park. However, Keith's arguments apply to any movie, regardless of cost. The main point being that creating a movie will always be more expensive than copying it - hence there is no way to recover such costs without resorting to Socialist type means. I see no answers for a Capitalist society. If you wish to discuss Capitalism vs. Socialism, that's fine - I won't assume the superiority of Capitalism. But if you are asking us to change our economic system to a more Socialist system, then I think you need to write a much larger paper (of which the issue of intellectual property could certainly be one of your arguments). ------------------------------------------------------ Obscenity In Cyberspace ----------------------- Only one point I wanted to make here. (explicit language used below) > This decision was in many was unsatisfactory because the court avoided > the sticky issue of defining obscenity... It seems to me that this people are missing the point. I don't think this is an issue of 'obscenity.' I personally have no problem with obscene material being available, certainly not on a BBS that requires 'membership.' You can create any scene you want between consenting adults, such as nailing one's genitalia to a table (ouch! ;). However, when you start to bring animals and children into pornographic material, I believe you are entering into the realm of rape, not obscenity. (I realize that whether or not children were in any of the gifs was only implied in the article, but it seems quite clear that bestiality was involved). So if they were prosecuting because of a hairless pussy nailed to a table, I would agree with the point of the article. But if they were prosecuting because of pictures of 'big horse cock in her twat' then I don't think this is a case I would want to use as a first amendment vehicle. ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 18:17:36 -0400 From: vapspcx@PRISM.GATECH.EDU(S. Keith Graham) Subject: File 3--Re: File 6--File 1--Against Intellectual Property (This was written as a summary of a point by point critique of the original post. It was intended to be posted earlier, but bounced.) ============================================================== While I did appreciate the research and writing in the original article, it did contain one major flaw: It did not distinguish between "ideas" and "information products." Some examples of "ideas" vs. "information products", include "Word Processor" vs "MS-Word 6.0", "a dictionary" vs. "the OED", and "a dinosaur movie" vs. "Jurrasic Park". A finished, polished information product (including arguably the author's article) contains a great deal more work than simply thinking of an "idea". And copyright only extends to that specific "information product" (or work) and not to the underlying idea. (After all, I am still allowed to write an article against intellectual property, even though other articles have been written in the past.) For example, the discussion of the "marketplace of ideas" fails to distinguish that such a "marketplace" is truthfully of "ideas", and not "works". Once one believes in a given "truth", that person will buy works that support it. But the "marketplace" is a competition between "truths", long before specific works are regularly purchased. But the primary point remains, a finished "work" has a very large amount of effort (and typically money) invested in its creation. Without a financial incentive to "clean up" a computer program; most software authors wouldn't make the effort needed to add features that they (or their company) would not regularly use. Even in the case of personal computers, I could easily forsee IBM producing a proprietary computer archietecture and publishing software that will only run on their hardware. They will prevent copying not by law, but by fact. Further, if distribution of a piece of software would reduce a companies' competitive advantage; without financial incentives for that distribution; it is unlikely that they would provide free copies to the world. This results in duplication of creative effort at their competition. This does provide employment for us programmers; but perhaps the world would be better off if the original company sold copies of the software, and we were off working on a new project in an unrelated field. In the entertainment area, "intellectual property" competes with physical toys and other means of entertainment. Hollywood movies and novels by famous authors are both "commodities", that compete with each other, as well as sporting events, toys, games, amusement parks and other real property. Especially in the case of movies, the multi-million dollar investment in a "big budget" film would not occur (and you wouldn't get the neat special effects) in a low budget film created for "art's sake". And frankly, many of the "big budget" films have little redeeming artistic value. However, without some kind of intellectual property protection, this form of entertainment would cease to exist. You can make arguements that this isn't a "good" use of limited resources, but it is generally accepted in the U.S. that the market should choose what products to produce, not the government. (And such movies produce a higher profit rate than lower budget films, many of which receive government subsidies. This implies that the market does want to see the big name stars, flashy special effects, etc.) So for the entertainment market, as well as the productivity market (including software, large scale bibliographys, and other research projects), customers are not actually paying for "information", but the ongoing man-years of work in creating and revising the work. Without some kind of protection for their "current edition", there would be income to finance the "next release". And generally, in the entertainment and productivity markets, competition lowers the costs to at least managable levels. Discussions of individual authors supporting themselves through journalism or the largess of a community might be appropriate for the rather narrow specialization of the creative community that publishes fiction. However, sweeping changes to copyright law affect Nintendo, Microsoft, MGM, as well as Stephen King, Neal Stephenson, and even myself as a publisher on the 'net. This isn't to say that there aren't problems with the current system. The patent system is being abused, at least from many outsider's perspective. Copyrights now extend for an absurd period of time by modern standards, and proposals exist to extend them further. Copyright laws have not been adjusted for digital and Xerographic realities. But I do believe that informed attacks against the excesses of the current system are much better justified (and much more likely to be successful) than calls for a "new kinder world" based on government paid, salaried "information workers." (The thought of Sen. Exon writing the rules for "allowable content while producing government sponsored information products" sends chills down my spine.) Keith Graham ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 23:47:24 -0500 From: jthomas2@SUN.SOCI.NIU.EDU(Jim Thomas) Subject: File 4--Senator Grassley's Buthering of "CMU Study" Stats ((MODERATORS' NOTE: Why does it matter whether the CMU study is accurate or why Time's irresponsible story on "cyberporn" requires response? The answer is simple: When flawed studies and irresponsible shape public debate on complex issues with reckless demagoguery, the potential exists to shape Constitutional protections of freedom of expression for decades. Senator Grassely's comments suggest that he is more interested in scoring political points than in serving truth)). CYBERPORN (Senate - June 26, 1995) Sen. GRASSLEY Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, there is an article from Time magazine and an article from the Spectator magazine that I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record at the end of my remarks. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. (See exhibit 1.) Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, this morning I want to speak on a topic that has received a lot of attention around here lately. My topic is cyberporn, and that is, computerized pornography . I have introduced S. 892, entitled the Protection of Children from Computer Pornography Act of 1995. This legislation is narrowly drawn. It is meant to help protect children from sexual predators and exposure to graphic pornography . Mr. President, Georgetown University Law School has released a remarkable study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. This study raises important questions about the availability and the nature of cyberporn. It is this article I ask to have printed in the Record. Later on, on this subject, some time during the middle of July, I will be conducting hearings before the full Judiciary Committee to fully and completely explore these issues. In the meantime, I want to refer to the Carnegie Mellon study, and I want to emphasize that this is Carnegie Mellon University. This is not a study done by some religious organization analyzing pornography that might be on computer networks. The university surveyed 900,000 computer images. Of these 900,000 images, 83.5 percent of all computerized photographs available on the Internet are pornographic . Mr. President, I want to repeat that: 83.5 percent of the 900,000 images reviewed--these are all on the ((MODERTORS' NOTE: Grassley's error would be comical if not for the serious implications. A few errors in the above paragraph: 1) The study did not examine 900,000+ images, it examined *descriptive listings* of images; 2) It did not examine 900,000+ descriptions; it examined less than 300,000; 3) The 83 pct figure to which Senator Grassley refers is not from these images, but from a "top 40" Usenet arbitron rating; 4) The 83.5 percent figure (contrary to what the CMU study and Time Magazine indicated) are not from all computerized Internet pictures, but from a subset of Usenet groups dealing with images; 5) There is substantial evidence to suggest that the 83.5 pct figure is simply wrong)). Internet--are pornographic , according to the Carnegie Mellon study. Now, of course, that does not mean that all of these images are illegal under the Constitution. But with so many graphic images available on computer networks, I believe Congress must act and do so in a constitutional manner to help parents who are under assault in this day and age. There is a flood of vile pornography , and we must act to stem this growing tide, because, in the words of Judge Robert Bork, it incites perverted minds. I refer to Judge Bork from the Spectator article that I have permission to insert in the Record. My bill, again, is S. 892, and provides just this sort of constitutional, narrowly focused assistance in protecting children, while also protecting the rights of consenting adults to transmit and receive protected pornographic material--protected, that is, under the first amendment. Also, according to the Carnegie Mellon University study, cyberporn is really big business. Some computer networks which specialize in computer pornography take in excess of $1 million per year. Later this week, I am going to introduce the Antielectronic Racketeering Act of 1995 which will target organized crime which has begun to use the awesome powers of computers to engage in criminal activity. As we all know from past debates in this body, organized crime is heavily involved in trafficking illegal pornography . The Antielectronic Racketeering Act will put a dent into that. In closing, Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to give this study by Carnegie Mellon University serious consideration, and I urge my colleagues to support S. 892. I yield the floor. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 6 Jul 1995 21:50:07 -0500 (CDT) From: David Smith Subject: File 5--NEWS: Hacker Disrupts Internet Link (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- (EXCERPTS) Hacker Disrupts Internet Link July 4, 1995 SEATTLE (AP) -- An Internet provider with about 3,000 subscribers shut down after a computer hacker defeated security measures on the system. The electronic intruder entered the system through an Internet link in North Dakota, but his actual location is unknown. [...] The service was struck last Thursday and Friday by the hacker, who erased the personal files of Eskimo North administrator Robert Dinse. He also deleted accounting data and gained access to a list of passwords used by Eskimo North subscribers, Dinse said. "This is extremely sophisticated, and it means major grief for us," Dinse said. He said the hacker telephoned him to taunt him after the attack. ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 12 Jul 1995 01:33:18 -0500 (CDT) From: David Smith Subject: File 6--Voice of America on CDA (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- (Seth D. Schoen) Date--12 Jul 1995 04:19:37 GMT Here's what the Voice of America ( had to say recently about Sen. Exon's efforts. I really like the "there is something called newsgroups where people talk about sex and interest groups" :-) [begin quote] DATE=7/5/95 TYPE=COMPUTER SERIES 95-383 NUMBER=3-22486 TITLE=KEEPING KIDS SAFE BYLINE=DAN NOBLE TELEPHONE=619-1014 DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=KLEINFELDT CONTENT= (INSERTS AVAILABLE FROM AUDIO SERVICES) INTRO: DURING THE COURSE OF CHILDHOOD, CHILDREN LEARN A NUMBER OF THINGS, INCLUDING HOW TO CROSS STREETS, AVOID STRANGERS, AND REACH THE SAFETY OF HOME. BUT, COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY IS ADDING A NEW DIMENSION, ONE THAT PARENTS ARE ONLY NOW BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND. DAN NOBLE HAS DETAILS. TEXT: THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON HIGH-TECH ELECTRONIC NETWORKS. BUT, APPARENTLY, THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF DANGER. A RECENT ISSUE OF NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE NOTES THAT "MOST DISTURBING OF ALL ARE THE TALES OF SEXUAL PREDATORS USING THE INTERNET AND COMMERCIAL ONLINE SERVICES TO SPIRIT CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEIR KEYBOARDS." NEWSWEEK IS REFERRING TO THE RECENT CASE OF A 13-YEAR OLD KENTUCKY GIRL WHO WENT TO LOS ANGELES "AFTER SUPPOSEDLY BEING LURED BY A GROWN-UP CYBERPAL." AND, IN RECENT DAYS, AN AMENDMENT TO A COMMUNICATIONS BILL, WAS PASSED BY THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THE BILL SEEKS TO REGULATE SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MESSAGES AND MATERIAL SENT VIA COMPUTER. ROBIN RASKIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF FAMILY PC MAGAZINE, SAYS, TO PUT THE PROBLEM IN PERSPECTIVE, "THE ADULT CONTENT ON THE INTERNET, RELATIVE TO THE VASTNESS OF THE (COMPUTER NETWORK) IS A VERY SMALL PORTION." TAPE: CUT ONE -- ROBIN RASKIN (0:08) "REMEMBER, THIS INTERNET IS JUST UNDER CONSTRUCTION. IT STARTED IN AN ADULT WORLD: IN ACADEMIA AND IN THE GOVERNMENT. SO, THE STUFF FOR KIDS IS KIND OF BEING BUILT NOW." TEXT: BUT, SAYS ROBIN RASKIN, ONE OF THE PROBLEMS SEEMS TO BE THAT ELECTRONIC MATERIAL IS GETTING EASIER FOR EVERYONE TO FIND -- ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN. TAPE: CUT TWO -- ROBIN RASKIN (0:09) "THE FUNNY THING IS THAT THE SAME SEARCH TECHNIQUES THAT THEY ARE LEARNING IN SCHOOLS TO DO RESEARCH IN SCHOOL ARE THE SAME SEARCH TECHNIQUES THAT YOU'D USE TO FIND ADULT CONTENT." TEXT: ACCORDING TO THE EDITOR OF FAMILY PC, PARENTS CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT STOPPING OBJECTIONABLE ELECTRONIC TOPICS FROM ENTERING THEIR HOMES. TAPE: CUT THREE -- ROBIN RASKIN (0:19) "THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS HAPPENING NOW. IF A PARENT FEELS THAT THEY ABSOLUTELY NEED TO CONTROL THIS INFORMATION THERE ARE PRODUCTS LIKE SURFWATCH. SURFWATCH COMES WITH ADDRESSES -- PLACES WHERE CHILDREN SHOULD NOT GO. THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED NEWSGROUPS WHERE PEOPLE TALK ABOUT SEX AND INTEREST GROUPS. THOSE PLACES ARE DENIED ACCESS TO CHILDREN." TEXT: ALSO, A NUMBER OF COMPANIES ARE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO RATE THE VARIOUS SITES ON THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY -- SIMILAR TO THE RATING SYSTEM USED FOR FILMS AND HOME VIDEOS. EVEN WITH ALL THE ELECTRONIC SAFEGUARDS, ROBIN RASKIN POINTS OUT THAT PARENTS MUST BE VIGILANT. TAPE: CUT FOUR -- ROBIN RASKIN (0:09) "YOU NEED TO BE THERE FOR THEM. THE SAME WAY YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT THEY DID IN SCHOOL TODAY. YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE TALKING TOO ON THE PHONE. YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT MOVIES THEY'VE SEEN. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHERE THEY ARE HANGING OUT ON THE INTERNET." TEXT: THE U-S CONGRESS MAY ULTIMATELY PASS LEGISLATION TO REGULATE WHAT GOES ON COMPUTER NETWORKS. LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS MAY DEAL DIRECTLY WITH THE PROBLEM OF HIGH-TECH PORNOGRAPHY. BUT ROBIN RASKIN, AND OTHER EXPERTS, SAY THAT IT IS A PARENT'S RESPONSIBILITY TO MONITOR THE ACTIVITIES OF THEIR CHILDREN -- BOTH IN CYBERSPACE AND IN THE REAL WORLD. (ACTUALITIES FROM ABC, ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM NEWSWEEK AND USA TODAY) 05-Jul-95 4:32 PM EDT (2032 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America [end quote] ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 12 Jul 1995 01:40:38 -0500 (CDT) From: David Smith Subject: File 7--'The Hackers Book of Poetry' (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- (Tom C Oswald) Date--Mon, 10 Jul 1995 20:23:12 GMT i am compiling 'The Hackers Book of Poetry' and i need some works... so if you want to summit anything... i don't care what.. poems, flames, papers, letters, etc... just send them over to: or please *don't* post them here.. because then other people could take credit for your work.... and don't forget to include you name so that i can give you credit.. thanks ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 5 Jul 1995 21:11:21 -0500 (CDT) From: David Smith Subject: File 8--AA BBS appeal for help (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- ALL MEMBERS PLEASE READ AND DISTRIBUTE FREELY!! Dear Friends, A thank you is in order to all that have offered my family and I support and direct assistance with the current legal issues we've been faced with. Despite great efforts on your part and ours, I'm forced to dictate this letter to you from within a federal prison versus the comforts of my home and family offer in far away California. Although I'm currently the only person in prison for distributing "obcene" material accros state lines electronically, currently proposed legislation threatens to incarcerate you by different means by way of an old tool called censorship. I'm a textbook example of the governments attempt at on-line regulations. My feelings on this issue will be obvious to anyone that's remotely knowledgeable with my case. Rather than waste your valuable time engaging in mindless anti government rhetoric I prefer to get right down to the issues at hand. In short, I'm requesting your assistance in helping my wife Carleen remain free on bond pending the outcome of the appeal process we both are currently engaged in. The scheduled time for her to begin serving her sentence was delayed by the Tennessee judge until July 12th. This delay was given to allow my wife time to make the necessary arrangements for our children during our departure from society. Any marriage that has lasted the 21 years that ours has, is bound to have its ups and downs. However, I believe what has happened to my family re-writes the book on what couples can expect out of family life. Carleen and I have two children from our marriage together, both boys. One son is 14 and the other is 17 years old. My eldest son recently graduated from high school this year. Since I was unable to attend the ceremonies, he chose to do the same against our advise. My son now faces the next transition which will be college and adulthood though not necessarily in that order. Adulthood will have to take place first if he is to be without a father and mother. Of course these and more issues apply to my fourteen year old as well. Most of these issues we do not have the space to even address properly. As any responsible parent knows, times in a kids life such as these are tremendously important developements that contribute toward the overall shaping of their future. My wife and I have up until now, sucessfully attempted to raise our two sons with the best education, values, and hopes that can be offered. Both boys have so far avoided every imaginable pitfall that faces kids growing up in this generation. I can truely say that my two sons are as perfect as any parent can ask for. My greatest hope is that at the very least my wife be allowed to be there to help them get through these most important changes in their lives. Needless to say it hurts me deeply to be unable to be there for my family. However, the hurt turns into constant anxiety for me when I consider the prospect of both parents becoming elimenated from my son's lives. Considering the powerful arguments my wife and I are presenting in our appeal, I do not feel that the request for my wife to remain home with our children during this process is unreasonable. Do you? Considering the national if not global issues surrounding the outcome of this case I think it would be a fair assumption to say that this case is far from over. That's the difference. The outcome ultimately decided, perhaps by the U.S. Supreme Court, directly affects millions of online users. However, if this case is ultimately heard by the supreme court, my wife and I will have completed our respective sentences. A favorable decision at that stage will be a mere token jesture, for my familys life will be irreverseably changed with the risk of becoming tragic. As I write you this, my wife is awaiting word regarding a motion filed by our attorneys for continuance of bond. If our appeals are exhausted without favorable changes to our cases, my wife and I have little problem serving a sentence that represents the best interests for the American public. I would however be very distasteful to have a favorable decision by the higher courts at the expense of my broken family. No victory means that much to me. In addition to leaving e-mail on Internet, America On-line, Compuserv, and other bulletin boards, I ask that you send letters to our attorney in Tennessee, James Causey. His address is 100 North Main, suite 2400, Memphis, Tennessee, 38103. His fax number is 901-525-1540. Just a small note is all that it takes to make a difference. No matter who you are or where you live on this earth, your thoughts are important and it can make things happen. Thank you all for listening, Robert and Carleen Thomas. ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1995 22:51:01 CDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 9--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 19 Apr, 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@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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