Computer underground Digest Sun Dec 10, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 95 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J

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Computer underground Digest Sun Dec 10, 1995 Volume 7 : Issue 95 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 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. Thank you. Bruce Fancher - - - - - - - - - ======================================================================== 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 ________________________________________________________________________ CONTENTS 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 same. 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 me. 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 about Congress. FOR UPDATED INFORMATION (including rain info): http://www.hotwired.com/staff/digaman/ 4. Mail a note to protest@vtw.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 senator_mccain@mccain.senate.gov 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 wendell_ford@ford.senate.gov 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 conrad_burns@burns.senate.gov 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 senator@hollings.senate.gov R SD Pressler, Larry 1-202-224-5842 1-202-224-1259 larry_pressler@pressler.senate.gov R WA Gorton, Slade 1-202-224-3441 1-202-224-9393 senator_gorton@gorton.senate.gov D WV Rockefeller, John D. 1-202-224-6472 n.a. senator@rockefeller.senate.gov Dist ST Name, Address, and Party Phone Fax ==== == ======================== ============== ============== 6 GA Gingrich, Newt (R) 1-202-225-4501 1-202-225-4656 2428 RHOB georgia6@hr.house.gov 14 MI Conyers Jr., John (D) 1-202-225-5126 1-202-225-0072 2426 RHOB jconyers@hr.house.gov 1 CO Schroeder, Patricia (D) 1-202-225-4431 1-202-225-5842 2307 RHOB 18 TX Jackson-Lee, Sheila (D) 1-202-225-3816 1-202-225-3317 1520 LHOB 6 TN Gordon, Bart (D) 1-202-225-4231 1-202-225-6887 2201 RHOB 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 (Hyperion, $24.95) 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 motives were." 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 honor? 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 possible. 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 conference circuit. 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 mistakes." In which case, one has to wonder how he ever managed to crack the computer system maintained by such a world-famous "security expert." * * * _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 corporation Cygnus. 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 line." 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 software." 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. Dear Terry, 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 deregulation. >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 opposite. >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 - >liberty. 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 greed. Thanks for you comments, Richard ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 04 Dec 1995 11:04:14 -0500 From: Howard Gobioff Subject: File 4--Re: Cu Digest, #7.93 >From--Dave++ Ljung >Subject--File 7--Re--Cyberangels > > >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 -=> >material, 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 -=> >month. 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 find offensive? 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 sighted. -=> > 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 of -=> >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) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. CuD is available as a Usenet newsgroup: comp.society.cu-digest Or, to subscribe, send a one-line message: SUB CUDIGEST your name Send it to LISTSERV@VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU DO NOT SEND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THE MODERATORS. 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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