Computer underground Digest Sun Dec 10, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 95 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J
Computer underground Digest Sun Dec 10, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 95
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
Cu Digest Homepage: http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest
CONTENTS, #7.95 (Sun, Dec 10, 1995)
File 1--Internet Protest Day on December 12th
File 2--Review of Takedown
File 3--re: Magna Carta Response
File 4--Re: Cu Digest, #7.93
File 5--Re: Net Censorship (CuD 7.92)
File 6--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 5 Nov, 1995)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE.
Date: Fri, 8 Dec 1995 19:35:00 -0500
From: bruce@PHANTOM.COM(Bruce Fancher)
Subject: File 1--Internet Protest Day on December 12th
Fellow Internet users,
Efforts currently underway in Congress to pass legislation which would
regulate the content of the Internet, including measures which are a clear
violation of our right to free speech, threaten the freedom and security
of every user of the Internet. At the request of Voters
Telecommunications Watch, we are distributing the following call to action
to all members of the MindVox community. We strongly urge all of you to
participate in the Internet Protest Day next week.
- - - - - - - - -
CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE NET CENSORSHIP LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS
On Tuesday December 12, 1995, Join With Hundreds of Thousands
Of Your Fellow Internet Users In
A NATIONAL INTERNET DAY OF PROTEST
PLEASE WIDELY REDISTRIBUTE THIS DOCUMENT WITH THIS BANNER INTACT
REDISTRIBUTE ONLY UNTIL December 20, 1995
Internet Day of Protest: Tuesday December 12, 1995
What You Can Do Now
List of Participating Organizations
INTERNET DAY OF PROTEST: TUESDAY DECEMBER 12, 1995
Outrageous proposals to censor the Internet demand that the Internet
Community take swift and immediate action. We must stand up and let
Congress know that we will not tolerate their attempts to destroy this
medium! Please join hundreds of thousands of your fellow citizens in a
national day of protest on Tuesday December 12, 1995.
As you know, on Wednesday December 6, 1995, the House Conference
Committee on Telecommunications Reform voted to impose far reaching and
unconstitutional "indecency" restrictions on the Internet and other
interactive media, including large commercial online services (such as
America Online, Compuserve, and Prodigy) and smaller Internet Service
Providers such as Panix, the Well, Echo, and Mindvox.
These restrictions threaten the very existence of the Internet and
interactive media as a means of free expression, education, and
commerce. If enacted, the Internet as we know it will never be the
Libraries will not be able to put any books online that might
offend a child somewhere. No "Catcher in the Rye" or "Ulysses" on the net.
Internet Service Providers could face criminal penalties for allowing
children to subscribe to their Internet Services, forcing many small
companies to simply refuse to sell their services to anyone under 18. Worst
of all, everything you say and publish on the net will have to be "dumbed
down" to that which is acceptable to a child.
As Internet users, we simply must not allow this assault against the
Internet and our most basic freedoms go unchallenged.
On Tuesday December 12, the organizations below are urging you to
join us in a NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST. The goal is to flood key members of
the House and Senate with phone calls, faxes and email with the message
that the Internet community WILL NOT TOLERATE Congressional attempts to
destroy the Internet, limit our freedoms and trample on our rights.
Below are the phone, fax, and email address of several key members of
Congress on this issue and instructions on what you can do to join the
Day of Protest to save the Net.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
1. Throughout the day Tuesday December 12, please contact as many
members of Congress on the list below as you can. If you are only
able to make one call, contact House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Finally,
if the Senator or Representative from your state is on the list
below, be sure to contact him or her also.
2. Urge each Member of Congress to "stop the madness". Tell them that
they are about to pass legislation that will destroy the Internet as
an educational and commercial medium. If you are at a loss for
words, try the following sample communique:
Sample phone call:
Both the House and Senate bills designed to protect children
from objectionable material on the Internet will actually
destroy the Internet as an medium for education, commerce, and
political discourse. There are other, less restrictive ways to
address this issue.
I urge you to oppose both measures being proposed in the
conference committee. This is an important election issue to
Sample letter (fax or email):
The Senate conferees are considering ways to protect children
from inappropriate material on the Internet. A vote for either
the House or Senate proposals will result in the destruction of
the Internet as a viable medium for free expression, education,
commerce. Libraries will not be able to put their entire book
collections online. Everyday people like me will risk massive
fines and prison sentences for public discussions someone s
somewhere might consider "indecent".
There are other, less restrictive ways to protect children from
objectionable material online. This is an important election
issue to me.
3. If you're in San Francisco, or near enough to get there, go to
the Rally Against Censorship from Ground Zero of the Digital Revolution:
WHEN: Monday, December 11, 1995 12:00 - 1:00 PM
WHERE: South Park (between 2nd and 3rd, Bryant and Brannon) San Francisco.
SPEAKERS: To be announced
BRING: Attention-grabbing posters, signs, and banners that demonstrate
your committment to free speech and expression, and your feelings
FOR UPDATED INFORMATION (including rain info):
4. Mail a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you did your part.
Although you will not receive a reply due to the number of
anticipated responses, we'll be counting up the number of people that
participated in the day of protest.
P ST Name and Address Phone Fax
= == ======================== ============== ==============
R AK Stevens, Ted 1-202-224-3004 1-202-224-1044
R AZ McCain, John 1-202-224-2235 1-602-952-8702
D HI Inouye, Daniel K. 1-202-224-3934 1-202-224-6747
R KS Dole, Robert 1-202-224-6521 1-202-228-1245
D KY Ford, Wendell H. 1-202-224-4343 1-202-224-0046
R MS Lott, Trent 1-202-224-6253 1-202-224-2262
R MT Burns, Conrad R. 1-202-224-2644 1-202-224-8594
D NE Exon, J. J. 1-202-224-4224 1-202-224-5213
D SC Hollings, Ernest F. 1-202-224-6121 1-202-224-4293
R SD Pressler, Larry 1-202-224-5842 1-202-224-1259
R WA Gorton, Slade 1-202-224-3441 1-202-224-9393
D WV Rockefeller, John D. 1-202-224-6472 n.a.
Dist ST Name, Address, and Party Phone Fax
==== == ======================== ============== ==============
6 GA Gingrich, Newt (R) 1-202-225-4501 1-202-225-4656
2428 RHOB email@example.com
14 MI Conyers Jr., John (D) 1-202-225-5126 1-202-225-0072
2426 RHOB firstname.lastname@example.org
1 CO Schroeder, Patricia (D) 1-202-225-4431 1-202-225-5842
18 TX Jackson-Lee, Sheila (D) 1-202-225-3816 1-202-225-3317
6 TN Gordon, Bart (D) 1-202-225-4231 1-202-225-6887
4. Forward this alert to all of your wired friends.
LIST OF PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS
In order to use the net more effectively, several organizations have
joined forces on a single Congressional net campaign to stop the
Communications Decency Act.
American Civil Liberties Union * American Communication Association *
American Council for the Arts * Arts & Technology Society * Association
of Alternative Newsweeklies * biancaTroll productions * Boston
Coalition for Freedom of Expression * Californians Against Censorship
Together * Center For Democracy And Technology * Centre for Democratic
Communications * Center for Public Representation * Citizen's Voice -
New Zealand * Cloud 9 Internet *Computer Communicators Association *
Computel Network Services * Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility * Cross Connection * Cyber-Rights Campaign * CyberQueer
Lounge * Dorsai Embassy * Dutch Digital Citizens' Movement * ECHO
Communications Group, Inc. * Electronic Frontier Canada * Electronic
Frontier Foundation * Electronic Frontier Foundation - Austin *
Electronic Frontiers Australia * Electronic Frontiers Houston *
Electronic Frontiers New Hampshire * Electronic Privacy Information
Center * Feminists For Free Expression * First Amendment Teach-In *
Florida Coalition Against Censorship * FranceCom, Inc. Web Advertising
Services * Friendly Anti-Censorship Taskforce for Students * Hands
Off! The Net * Inland Book Company * Inner Circle Technologies, Inc. *
Inst. for Global Communications * Internet On-Ramp, Inc. * Internet
Users Consortium * Joint Artists' and Music Promotions Political Action
Committee * The Libertarian Party * Marijuana Policy Project *
Metropolitan Data Networks Ltd. * MindVox * MN Grassroots Party *
National Bicycle Greenway * National Campaign for Freedom of Expression
* National Coalition Against Censorship * National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force * National Public Telecomputing Network * National Writers Union
* Oregon Coast RISC * Panix Public Access Internet * People for the
American Way * Republican Liberty Caucus * Rock Out Censorship *
Society for Electronic Access * The Thing International BBS Network *
The WELL * Voters Telecommunications Watch
(Note: All 'Electronic Frontier' organizations are independent entities,
not EFF chapters or divisions.)
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 1995 00:39:42 -0500 (EST)
From: Charles Platt
Subject: File 2--Review of Takedown
The Mad-Scientist Myth Figure
A circumlocuitous review of_Takedown_ by Tsutomu Shimomura and John Markoff
by Charles Platt
Hardly anyone had heard of Kevin Mitnick before Katie
Hafner and John Markoff wrote about him in _Cyberpunk._
Hafner now acknowledges that she was the one who gathered the
data for that book, and its descriptions of Mitnick were
mostly hers. In retrospect, she admits she characterized him
unfairly. "It might have been a mistake to call him a
darkside hacker," she told me during a telephone interview
earlier this year. "Still, that's how you learn."
Having benefited from her learning experience, she now
seems sympathetic--almost motherly--toward the man she
maligned. "I really think he is not darkside in the sense of
being an electronic terrorist," she says. "He's not out to
cripple the world. He isn't, he isn't! Saddam Hussein, or
Hitler, they were out to cripple the world. There are
malicious characters out there, but Kevin is not one of them.
... He has been turned into this bankable commodity. Leave
the guy alone! He's had a really tragic life."
How did her initial misconception come about? She says
plaintively: "It was hard for me--since I hadn't spoken to
him personally till after I wrote the book--to know what his
Perhaps it seems strange that a journalist should defend
herself by pleading ignorance of the subject that she chose
to write about. Still, we should give Katie Hafner credit
where it is due: she now seems genuinely repentant.
The same can hardly be said for her ex-husband and ex-
collaborator John Markoff, who must have made well over half
a millions dollars by now, portraying Kevin Mitnick as an
arch-enemy of techno-society. If Markoff regrets the
"darkside hacker" label, he hasn't said much about it.
* * *
Unlike many hackers, Kevin Mitnick never looked for
publicity. He felt he should be paid for giving interviews,
and when Hafner and Markoff refused to come up with any
money, he refused to talk to them. He became famous--or
infamous--while doing his best to remain obscure.
The key event that catalyzed this strange ascent to
notoriety occurred on July 4th, 1994, when a story by John
Markoff appeared on the front page of _The New York Times._
Headlined "Cyberspace's Most Wanted: Hacker Eludes F.B.I.
Pursuit," the text described Mitnick as "one of the nation's
most wanted computer criminals" and was accompanied with a
suitably menacing mug shot. The story was liberally spiced
with tidbits recycled from _Cyberpunk,_ but if you looked
more closely, there wasn't any actual news. Mitnick had
violated parole a year or so previously, had disappeared at
that time, and hadn't been seen since. That was all.
Why was this on the front page of a highly respected
newspaper? Maybe because of the scary implications: that a
weirdo who could paralyze vast computer networks was on the
loose, and law enforcement had been too stupid to catch him.
In reality, though, Mitnick has never been accused of
willfully damaging any hardware or data, and has never been
charged with making money from his hacking activities. Other
computer criminals have been far more ambitious. In October,
1994, for instance, Ivey James Lay, a switch engineer for MCI
in Charlotte, North Carolina, was charged with stealing more
than 100,000 telephone calling-card numbers and disposing of
them through a network of dealers in Los Angeles, Chicago,
Spain, and Germany (according to the Secret Service).
Allegedly the numbers were used to make $50 million in calls-
-the largest theft of telephone service ever blamed on one
person. Yet the story was summarized briefly in only a few
newspapers. _Time_ magazine didn't even bother to mention it.
Lay certainly didn't get _his_ picture on the front page of
the _New York Times._ So why was Mitnick singled out for this
In _Cyberpunk,_ he was described as an omnipotent,
obsessive-compulsive, egotistical, vindictive sociopath who
used his computer to take revenge on the world that had
spurned him. He later claimed (in _2600_ magazine) that this
was "twenty percent fabricated and libelous." Maybe so, but
the image of a petulant fat boy punishing his enemies via a
computer keyboard was so memorable, it quickly displaced
reality. He became the modern-day equivalent of a mad
scientist, directly comparable with Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll,
Wells's Dr. Moreau, or Verne's Captain Nemo. About 100 years
ago, these brooding, solitary antiheroes roused a mixture of
fright and fascination in readers who were scared by the
emergent powers of science. Today, readers are just as
nervous about the emergent powers of networked computers, and
the myth of Mitnick provides the same kind of titillation.
So far as I can discover, the FBI didn't classify
Mitnick as one of America's most wanted; it was John Markoff
who chose to apply that label. Markoff went far beyond the
traditional function of a journalist who merely reports news;
he helped to create a character, and the character himself
became the news.
Unfortunately for Mitnick, this made him the target of a
hacker witch hunt. A few years ago, here in CuD, Jim Thomas
and Gordon Meyer published a short paper on this subject
titled "(Witch)Hunting for the Computer Underground," in
which they wrote that a witch hunt is "a form of
scapegoating, in which public troubles are traced to and
blamed on others. Although sometimes the others are guilty of
some anti-social act, the response exceeds the harm of the
act, and the targets are pursued not only for what they may
have done, but also for the stigmatizing signs they bear."
As I understnd it, this means that if someone looks like
a hacker and smells like a hacker, the facts of his crime are
secondary. He may have stolen a couple million from Citibank,
or he may have merely trespassed into someone else's
computer. It makes no difference; if he bears the hacker
stigmata, he gets nailed.
Which is precisely what happened to Mitnick.
* * *
He was finally caught in February, 1995, after a pursuit
in which Markoff himself provided information to the FBI.
This information probably wasn't worth much; Markoff told the
feds that Mitnick could probably be found stuffing himself
with junk food at the nearest Fatburger, whereas in fact
Mitnick was working out regularly, had slimmed down to normal
weight, and had become a vegetarian.
Still, Markoff's unusually active participation in the
case caused some cynics to suggest that he had followed a
premeditated campaign, first exaggerating the Mitnick threat
to make it more newsworthy, then helping to catch the hacker
so he could write about it and make a bundle.
Regardless of whether this was true, Markoff certainly
showed no hesitation about cashing in. He wrote another
front-page article for _The New York Times,_ then a long
follow-up in the sunday edition--and then, of course, there
was the much-publicized $750,000 deal for a new book to be
written in collaboration with Tsutomu Shimomura, the
"security expert" who had played a key role in catching
Mitnick after Mitnick broke into Shimomura's computers at the
end of 1994.
John Markoff's precise motives remain a mystery. We can,
however, learn something by examining his writing. In his
_Times_ article describing Mitnick's capture, he stated that
the hacker had been on a "long crime spree" during which he
had managed to "vandalize government, corporate and
university computer systems."
These are interesting phrases. "Crime spree" suggests a
wild cross-country caper involving robberies and maybe even a
shoot-out. In reality, Mitnick seems to have spent most of
his time hiding in an apartment, typing on a keyboard. The
word "vandalize" implies that he wantonly wrecked some
property; in reality, Mitnick caused no intentional damage to
anyone or anything.
I don't believe that these words were carelessly chosen.
Markoff is a skillful writer. He addresses the reader with a
tone of measured authority--yet at crucial points he lapses
into the kind of innuendo normally reserved for tabloid
journalism. This, I think, is the secret of his great
success. His literate style, reinforced by the reputation of
the _The New York Times,_ encourages readers to suspend their
skepticism. The isolated nuggets of innuendo thus slip past
unrecognized and are absorbed as if they are facts. This is
an almost perfect way to circulate a false meme--such as the
belief that Kevin Mitnick really _is_ one of America's most
wanted computer criminals.
The technique would be forgivable if Markoff buttressed
his viewpoint with some objective sources. Objectivity,
however, is not his strong suit. In his report of Mitnick's
capture, he quoted a couple of sysadmins whose computers had
been targeted by Mitnick in the past; naturally enough, they
shared Markoff's critical viewpoint. He also quoted Assistant
U.S. Attorney Kent Walker as saying that Mitnick "had access
to corporate trade secrets worth millions of dollars. He was
a very big threat." But this claim was never supported, and
since Walker had helped run the investigation, he had an
obvious interest in making the arrest seem as important as
When it came down to it, Markoff's journalism was long
on opinion and short on facts. This was a formula that worked
well for him in newspaper reports; but how would he be able
sustain it throughout an entire new book?
* * *
I have a fantasy. In my fantasy, John Markoff bursts
into a room where Tsutomu Shimomura sits as solemn as a zen
master, peering impassively at a computer screen while he
types a Perl script. "Tsutomu, I have good news and bad
news!" Markoff exclaims. "The good news is, we sold the book
rights for three-quarters of a million. The bad news is, I
haven't got a clue what Mitnick was doing for the past two
years. What the hell are we going to write about?"
Shimomura doesn't even bother to look up. He gives a
barely perceptible shrug and says, "Me, of course."
I'm sure it didn't happen that way, but the end product
makes it look as if it did. _Takedown_ isn't about Kevin
Mitnick, because there was no way for Markoff to write such a
book. Instead, it's an autobiographical account from
Shimomura's point of view, describing in relentless detail
the way in which Mitnick intruded into Shimomura's computers
and the steps that Shimomura took to catch him.
The book has one strong point: unlike Markoff's other
work, it is rigorously factual. It may even be the most
technically accurate popular book ever written on the subject
of computers. Shimomura evidently took his collaborative role
seriously, and he made his mark on this project.
Of course, it's always nice to see someone get his facts
right--but there is such a thing as _too many facts._ Do we
really need to know the color of the cables in Shimomura's
LAN? Do we need to know the _names_ he gave the computers in
his bedroom (and why)? For that matter, do we really need to
know that the bread sticks were stale in an Italian
restaurant where he searched for healthy vegetarian food but
was forced to eat a cheese sandwich?
This book is a quagmire of trivia--but that's a
secondary issue compared with its major problem, which is
that it's written from the viewpoint of someone who is
insufferably pompous and remarkably dull.
Shimomura has a bad habit of flattering himself while
demeaning the people he deals with. He was bored at Caltech;
there was nothing exciting enough to be worthy of his time.
He worked for the NSA but found the people "essentially
inept." He had no respect, either, for critics who felt he
shouldn't have sold his skills to that government agency;
those critics didn't know what they were talking about.
There's more--much more. Shimomura is scathing toward
his assistant, a hapless graduate student whose errors are
spelled out repeatedly in humiliating detail. He is disgusted
by technical incompetence of staff at The Well. He scorns the
abilities of other security experts, and is maddened by the
slowness of the police. He even displays derision toward John
Markoff at one point. And of course he has total contempt for
Kevin Mitnick, whom he labels an "anklebiter."
Mitnick grew up in a lower-class single-parent household
and taught himself almost everything he knew about computers.
At various times, Mitnick has made seemingly sincere attempts
to find himself legitimate work in the computer field--until
his reputation catches up with him. By comparison, Shimomura
had many advantages that Mitnick lacked. His parents were
scientists; they sent him to the best schools. Ultimately he
found himself a secure niche in academia, and he enjoys a
comfortable lifestyle staying in the homes of Silicon Valley
millionaires, going away on skiing vacations, and doing the
Shouldn't these advantages make it possible for
Shimomura to be a little magnanimous toward his adversary?
Alas, no. He constantly sneers and jeers at Mitnick. He
claims that the hacker was "really more of a con man or a
grifter than a hacker in the true sense of the word" and
"didn't seem to be as brilliant a hacker as his legend
claimed. ... he wasn't that clever and he was prone to
In which case, one has to wonder how he ever managed to
crack the computer system maintained by such a world-famous
* * *
_Takedown_ throws together a bizarre catalog of personal
detail in an effort to make Shimomura seem less like a
pompous disciplinarian and more like a regular guy. We learn
that he used to wear roller blades at the San Diego
supercomputer center, so he could move more speedily between
his terminal and the printer. As a student he once destroyed
his school's PA system by feeding house current into it. And
then there was the time he crashed an ancient 14-inch IBM
disk drive by telling it to seek past its final cylinder.
These anecdotes from the life of a hardcore computer
nerd are presented as if they're genuinely funny. Indeed,
they're the high point of human interest. The low point comes
when Shimomura goes into the most embarrassingly intimate
details of his love life.
Presumably because Markoff felt that some romantic
interest would help to sell the story, this book contains
revelations of a type normally reserved for Hollywood
celebrities or British royalty. While he was pursuing
Mitnick, Shimomura was also pursuing "Julia," the long-term
girlfriend of John Gilmore, one of the first employees at Sun
Microsystems in 1982 who subsequently co-founded the software
Without a hint of shame, Shimomura describes himself
visiting Gilmore's home while Gilmore was out of town,
staying as a guest, stripping naked, and soaking in the hot
tub with Julia. He chronicles a whole series of seduction
attempts, always sneaking away before Gilmore returns. And
even though he is clearly trying to destroy someone else's
long-term relationship, he maintains a plaintive, wounded
tone, as if he expects us to share his pain. Clearly he feels
that Julia should automatically prefer his company, and when
she hesitates, this must mean there's something wrong with
her. "I started to wonder," he says, "whether there was
something self-destructive in her unwillingness to end her
relationship with him."
Kevin Mitnick begins to seem likable by comparison. At
least he shows some irreverence, taunting Shimomura and
trying to puncture his pomposity. At one point, Mitnick
bundles up all the data he copied from Shimomura's computer
and saves it onto the system at Netcom where he knows that
Shimomura will find it. He names the file "japboy." At
another point, in a private online communication (intercepted
by Shimomura without any lawful authorization) Mitnick
suggests to a hacker friend: "someone :-) needs to get to
nytimes.com and create a story about japboy that he is a
convicted child molester and get it printed with markoff's by
Does Shimomura have any trouble maintaining his dignity
in the face of these pranks? No trouble at all. He writes:
"This was getting personal. ... none of us could believe how
childish and inane it all sounded."
Wounded dignity, in fact, seems the number-one reason
why Shimomura put the rest of his life on hold, gave up a
skiing vacation, interrupted his campaign to steal Gilmore's
girlfriend, and started working 20-hour days to track down
Kevin Mitnick. Clearly he was furious at Mitnick's invasion
of his privacy. His tone of moral outrage reaches its
crescendo when he sees Mitnick in court: "Having spent
several weeks on this man's trail, seeing the damage he had
caused, coming to learn that he was not only single-minded in
his invasion of other people's privacy and his pursuit of
their intellectual property, but also petty and vindictive, I
knew one thing for certain about Kevin Mitnick: He was in no
way the hero of a movie about some mistreated computer hacker
whose only crime was curiosity. There was nothing heroic
about reading other people's mail and stealing their
Well, maybe so, but unlike Shimomura, Mitnick never
claimed to be heroic. Nor did he cause any intentional
"damage." Nor did he "attack," "pilfer," and "vandalize"
computer systems, even though these words are used repeatedly
throughout the book--in the same pejorative style that John
Markoff previously perfected in _The New York Times._
* * *
All the charges except one have been dropped against
Kevin Mitnick. He may even be out of jail in time for the
Markoff/Shimomura book tour. In other words, the man
described in advance publicity for _Takedown_ as a threat to
global civilization will be free to go about his business--
because, in the end, he wasn't much of a threat at all.
Will this create an embarrassing schism between
_Takedown_ and reality? Probably not. Reality has been at
odds with the Mitnick myth for quite a while, but the myth is
stronger than ever.
During 1995, Mitnick's long-time friend "Roscoe" tried
to sell his own book, telling the true Kevin Mitnick story.
For one reason or another there were no takers. Here, then,
was the final irony: book editors were not just willing to
accept factual distortions, they actively prefered them.
For most practical purposes, Kevin Mitnick no longer
exists. He has been displaced by his own media image as a
modern-day mad scientist. He is permanently imprinted with
the hacker stigmata.
And there's not a damned thing he can do about it.
Portions of this article will appear, in a different
form, in a book titled FEAR AND FREEDOM ON THE INTERNET, to
be published in 1996 by HarperCollins.
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 11:31:09 GMT
From: rkmoore@INTERNET-EIREANN.IE(Richard K. Moore)
Subject: File 3--re: Magna Carta Response
>Terry McIntyre wrote:
>Richard Moore...purports that the PPF's "Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age"
>is less about individual freedom than about freedom of corporations.
I think "demonstrated" is more correct than "purports", unless you've found
a fault in the analysis.
>The report surely has its flaws, but the cure is not to axe the concept
>of freedom altogether
So who axed the concept of freedom? I'm very much for individual freedom,
my objection is to the Magna Carta's devious manipulation of language,
which intentionally confuses individual freedom with corporate
>nor to hand government the role of developing
>the new fronteir.
While a government-managed infrastructure might well provide the lowest
cost and most level playing field for cyberspace -- continuing the success
of the ARPA-created Internet -- such an approach is politically unrealistic
in the current privatization frenzy. The relevant question today is not
whether government should develop the infrastructure, but what rules of the
road should be laid down. "No rules" does not give freedom to all
uniformly, but overwhelmingly favors the biggest players with the deepest
pockets, and makes monopolistic practices inevitable.
>We already know that governments are no lovers of
>freedom of expression. ...here in the United
>States, Senator Exon and Ralph Reed have moved swiftly to prevent the
>spectre of free speech from hampering their political aims.
So? If government pursues censorship, we have mechanisms to fight that
process: lobby, elect new Congresspeople, etc. If AOL or Southwestern Bell
impose censorship, and there are no rules governing their decisions, we
have no recourse. Besides, Exon-style legislation would apply regardless
of who owns or develops cyberspace.
>...The internet is growing at a rate of 100%
>per year; hundreds of providers are competing to give inexpensive
>access to homes everywhere. All of this has happened in one of the
>least regulated industries in the world.
This point is raised explicitly in the Cyber Baron article: the current
regulatory regime is working quite well to foster "dynamic competition" --
the aim of the Magna Carta manifesto is to _reduce_ competition and
encourage monopolies, even though its devious language tries to claim the
>Rather than forge new
>chains, ...let us tell Ralph Reed and all of his cohorts that they may
>speak on the same terms as everyone else - freely, to those who
>wish to listen.
No disagreement here.
>The PPF and Newt surely have their failings, but not everything they
>say is false. Where they speak for freedom, I would not decry them,
>but urge that they be less stingy with a commodity which (alone among
>those offered by governments) breaks no bones and picks no pockets -
You've fallen into the trap of accepting PFF's doublespeak, that
"individual freedom" and "deregulation" (ie, corporate lawlessness) are the
same thing. "Liberty", when applied to corporations can indeed break bones
and pick pockets -- big time. Ask the victims of Bhopal (sp?), or the
natives of Chiapas, or the Indians of the Amazon Valley, about how death
and impoverishment can be the direct result of unrestrained corporate
Thanks for you comments,
Date: Mon, 04 Dec 1995 11:04:14 -0500
From: Howard Gobioff
Subject: File 4--Re: Cu Digest, #7.93
>One of the items I pointed out to Gabriel was that I didn't see how his
>list of 'crimes to be monitored' would include child pornography but not
>bestiality, but he pointed out that this was an oversight.
I just wanted to point out that while "child pornography" is illegal
that bestiality is not. Under federal obscenity law, child pornography
is obscene and therefore illegal. However, bestiality is not immediately
deemed obscene and must be subject to the Miller test. Due to this
distinction, I am doubtful that the Cyberangel, despite good intentions,
should be seeking out bestiality on the network. They are not the courts
and it is not their decision if something is obscene or illegal.
The interpetation of something being "child pornography" is also a non
trivial assessment with current technology. We can generate sexually
explicit images involving minors by applying digital image editing
tools. A child need not be used in a sexually explicit manner to
generate the images. Is such an image "kiddie porn"? While clearly
it caters to the same tastes, it is not clear that it should be
considered illegal. As has been mentioned before, a Canadian court
found that such an image was "child pornography" but, to my knowledge,
no U.S. court has handled a similar case. If this is to be a legally
recognized distinction, not inevtiably but definitely possible when
you consider some of the motivations of child porn laws, it will make
it difficult for the Cyberangels to disinguish being crimes and legal
actions. While the Cyberangels may be well meaning net citizens, they
should not presume to be the judges of the rest of us...
From: "David Gersic"
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 01:31:00 CDT
Subject: File 5--Re: Net Censorship (CuD 7.92)
-=> >>I am no wowser, adult material does not faze me, but when I >see detailled
-=> >instructions on how to rape a four year old,
Revolting or not, unless something has changed recently, this would
still be covered by the concept of "free speach".
-=> >together with photographs of
-=> >the actual event,
Is it just me, or do only the people that want more censorship seem
to find this stuff so readily? I've yet to run across a host on the
internet, in many years of poking around, that featured "how to rape
a four year old", kiddie porn, or bomb making recepies. Maybe I'm
just not trying hard enough...?
-=> >Censorship is not the >answer. History shows this has
-=> >never worked.
Well, there's something we can agree on, though I don't see the
"CyberAngle" bunch doing much to work against censorship.
-=> > Let us try to at least shield our children from this sort of
There's something else to agree on. You shield *your* children from
it, and let me worry about mine.
-=> >We have reported a number of Child Pornographers (50) to Sysadmins this
Ahem. Here's an interesting thought. Though the author doesn't say,
which country's laws is he planning on evaluating this charge by? I
don't know what the laws of other countries around the world may be,
but it's not inconceivable that in Lower Slobovia that there might
not be a law against taking pictures of naked children. The SysAdmin
of www.lower.slobovia.com may not have any reason to care if there
are pictures of naked children on his machine. And that's just the
tip of the iceberg. Anybody know what the American Indian treaties
might contain that could be relevant? Even in states where gambling
isn't legal, the Indians have begun setting up casinos on tribal
lands. Could something similar happen with things that the CA people
I think that the person trying to start up this CA program has his
heart in the right place, but he sounds terribly naive and short
-=> > This was done only after we received from them graphic images
-=> >(unsolicited) of child pornography. We forwarded the email, including the
-=> >attached files, to respective ISPs with the question "Is this a violation
-=> >your TOS?
Violation of a TOS? That's the least of your worries, actually. By
recieving (I'll have to take his word for it for the moment) real
child pornography, unsolicited or not, he's in for a world of
trouble. Anybody have Inspector Dirtmeyer's address (the one from the
AA BBS case a few months ago...)? Sounds like he'd like to talk to
Gabriel about a few minor violations of the law that could get him
sent to prison for more than a few years. By sending the self-
described child pornography to the SysAdmins, he's become a
*distributor* of child pornography. Hope the Angles have a good law
firm picked out...
-=> >Do you really want to listen to Gabriel month after month? ;)
Not really, no.
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 22:51:01 CDT
From: CuD Moderators
Subject: File 6--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 5 Nov, 1995)
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