Computer underground Digest Wed Jan 16, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 05 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: J

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Computer underground Digest Wed Jan 16, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 05 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, #8.05 (Wed, Jan 16, 1996) File 1--Cryptography and Privacy File 2--Justice Dept. press release: no PGP prosecution (fwd) File 3--FLASH: Phil Zimmermann case dropped! File 4-- CompuServe poetry File 5--Compuserve: "Shooting the Cyber-Messenger" File 6--Letter to Wiesenthal Cente in re "hate speech" ban File 7--News Release >> Child Safe Ratings on the Internet (fwd) File 8--AP/NYT: Jewish Groups Call for Internet Censorship File 9--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 16 Dec, 1995) CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 15:00:46 -0600 From: Zachariah P. Babayco Subject: File 1--Cryptography and Privacy ((MODERATORS' NOTE: Mr. Babayco's was accidentally deleted from the forward. We apologize for the error. Although Phil Zimmerman no longer faces charges (see below), the following article provides a helpful background for those who've forgotten the central issues in cryptology controversy)). This work is Copyright (C) Zachariah P. Babayco 1995. Cryptography and Privacy During the past few years, the debate concerning electronic privacy has intensified greatly. As more and more information is being transmitted over electronic channels such as the Internet, the chances of interception become greater and greater. The main defense against this is the use of computer encryption products, which scramble the contents of a document so that only certain people can read it. A popular encryption program is Pretty Good Privacy, or P.G.P. Phillip Zimmermann, the creator of P.G.P., is currently under investigation by the government for exporting the program. Zimmermann gave his program away because he believes that people have the right to encryption, but government officials take the position that encryption is all right, but only if the they can read the private information if they need to. As computers are used more and more, electronic privacy will become extremely important. Cryptography is the science of creating codes that enable you and another person to communicate privately. It uses special mathematical formulas, called keys, that enable two or more people to communicate privately. The science of cryptography dates back to the time of Julius Caesar, who used a simple substitution method (letting the letter A equal C, B equal to D, and so on) to send messages to his generals in the field (Schwartau, 149). A more recent example of the use of cryptography is in World War Two, where both the Allied and the Axis forces employed codes to keep their secrets safe from the other side. There are numerous types of encryption methods, ranging from the simple substitution mentioned above, to complex mathematical formulas which would take supercomputers years to decode, but only two that concern this debate. The first widely used encryption system was the Data Encryption Standard, or DES. DES was created in the late 1970's, due to a growing concern over the security of electronic fund transfers and the confidentiality of government files (Encyclopedia Britannica). However, it is now showing its age and vulnerability. DES is a single key encryption system, where a single code key is used to encrypt a message. This means that whoever has a copy of the key can decrypt the message, so the legitimate users must take care not to let the key fall into the wrong hands. The only safe way to exchange a key between two people is to use a secure channel, such as a secure phone line, but as Phillip Zimmermann states, "If you have a secure channel for exchanging keys, then why do you need cryptography in the first place" (P.G.P. User's Guide)? DES is also vulnerable to advances in technology, as Winn Schwartau states in his book Information Warfare: Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway: (the following is an indented quote) In fact, the battle may be over now, because DES is breakable. At the March 1993 Data Security Conference, Dr. Martin Hellman presented a theoretical approach to cracking DES . . . .On August 20, 1993, Michael Wiener of Bell-Northern Research in Canada published a paper "showing how to build an exhaustive DES key search machine for $1 million that can find a key in 3.5 hours on average." (152) (the quote ends here) The second type, public key cryptography systems such as P.G.P., work differently than DES. With P.G.P., a person has two keys: a public key and a private key. The private key is kept on the person's home computer, while the public key can be given to whomever the person pleases. To send a private message to a friend with P.G.P., for example, the sender would encrypt the message with his friend's public key. The message is now unreadable except to his friend because only she has the corresponding private key (P.G.P. User's Guide). P.G.P. is a relatively new computer program, designed to provide privacy for its users. It works on the same principle that public key systems use, but has many more features. For example, a user can select the amount of security that P.G.P. provides - a small key is faster, but less secure; a large key provides the best security, but is slower. A user can also sign a message with his own secret key, making it impossible for someone to change the message. P.G.P. has had a short but eventful history. On April 16, 1993, Phillip Zimmermann, the creator of P.G.P., was preparing to release the initial version of P.G.P. when the government announced its own cryptographic product, the Clipper Chip. The Clipper Chip is also based on the public key system, but unlike P.G.P., it requires a copy of each secret key to be held in escrow, for use by law enforcement agents if they could demonstrate a need for it. Zimmermann completed P.G.P. and released it, hoping that it would be seen as a better alternative to Clipper. Within a short time however, somebody uploaded a copy of the program to the Internet, where it spread across the country, and around the world. Not too long after that, Zimmermann was visited by federal agents who informed him that he was now under investigation for "illegal export of munitions." (Holmes 56a). As of November 1995, Zimmermann is waiting for a decision. If he is indicted, he would have to serve a mandatory four to five year prison sen tence, and be fined $1 million. To the federal investigators, P.G.P. is seen as a violation of United States export law. The law, which was passed during the Cold War in the early 1950's, classified strong encryption products as munitions, like a bomb or an air-to-air missile, and placed heavy restrictions on their export. The law is still in place 40 years later, even though the Soviet Union is no longer a threat to our national security. When somebody made P.G.P. available on the Internet, the program was seen as a violation of this law (Holmes 56a). Federal officials are also concerned about P.G.P. because of its strength. While designing the program, Zimmermann decided to use an encryption algorithm called IDEA. Cryptographers have repeatedly tested the IDEA algorithm for years, and have found it, for the present, unbreakable (P.G.P. User's Guide). Law enforcement officials are concerned that if powerful cryptography is made widely available, criminals will take advantage of it. FBI assistant director James Kallstrom states that "We're in the business of criminal information . . . if we're closed off from that information, it will alter the balance between us and the criminals." (Levy 55). When the Clinton administration announced the Clipper Chip, one of their main points was that since encryption could be used by criminals, people and businesses should use Clipper because law enforcement agents would be able to listen in on the conversations if they suspected a crime was being committed. However, due to manufacturing problems with the chips themselves, lack of interest in the marketplace, and protest from over 40,000 Internet users (Levy 56), the proposal was withdrawn. The Clipper Chip is not the only governmental proposition concerning privacy. In 1991, several years before the Clipper proposal, the Senate Judiciary Committee considered attaching the following onto Bill 266, an anti-crime bill: (the following is an indented quote) It is in the sense of Congress that providers of electronic communications services and manufacturers of electronic communications service equipment shall ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain-text contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law. (Schwartau 153-154). (the quote ends here) The Committee had apparently anticipated the arrival of the Clipper Chip, and attempted to make sure that future products would be able to use it immediately. Before the modified bill could me made into law though, the addition was removed because of protest by several civil liberty groups. Government officials also cite recent arrests that, in their eyes, justify the need for restrictions on strong cryptography. In September 1995, several people were arrested on America OnLine, an Internet provider. The people had been under investigation for several years and were suspected to be exchanging pornographic files through the service. When they were arrested and had their belongings searched, FBI agents found encrypted files on their computers. In a speech before the International Cryptography Institute on September 21, 1995, FBI Director Louis Freeh stated that ". . . We've seen this problem . . . the obstacle of encrypted records standing in the way of our lawful grand jury access procedures . . . ". Freeh also states that he is not suggesting that the government regulate cryptography, but simply be able to serve search warrants and court orders as they always have: "If we are foreclosed from these areas . . . the safety of this country will be impaired" (Freeh 9/21/95) At the other end of the spectrum are the pro-privacy and civil liberty groups. Some of these groups argue against governmental restrictions on cryptography by citing the First Amendment, the right to free speech, or the Fourth Amendment, the right to privacy. One organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, takes a legal approach to the issue. The EFF's goal is ". . . to ensure that the principles embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are protected as new communications technologies emerge." (EFF World Wide Web Homepage) The EFF investigates civil rights cases involving computers, and argues against the cryptography issues and restrictions. The EFF was one of the main protestors that caused the Clipper Chip proposal to fail. Recently, the EFF has set up a defense fund for Phillip Zimmermann, and will soon be taking the federal government to court to argue against the export laws. For the present, the debate over encryption and privacy is going favorably for the activist's side. The Clipper proposal has been withdrawn, and the government is not planning to introduce another product anytime soon. However, Phillip Zimmermann could still go to jail, and the FBI is pushing for the ability to tap one out of every 100 telephone lines in every major American city. This debate is not over yet. Works Cited Andrews, Edmund L. "U.S. Plans to Push Giving F.B.I. Access in Computer Codes." New York Times (Late New York Edition) 5 February 1994: 1+. Arthur, Charles. "Identity Crisis on the Internet." New Scientist 11 March 1995: 14-15. "Cryptology." Encyclopedia Britannica. 1987 ed. "EFF to Defend Crypto Rights Legally." Electronic Frontier Foundation Home Page. October 1995: http://www.eff.org/ Freeh, Louis. "Speech Before The International Cryptography Institute." Federal Bureau of Investigation World Wide Web Site. 21 September 1995: http://www.fbi.gov/crypto.htm Grossman, Wendy. "Internet Encryption Ban Violates Free Speech." New Scientist 15 April 1995: 22. Holmes, Stanley. "A Question of Privacy." Rocky Mountain News 10 June 1995: 56a. Levy, Steven. "The Encryption Wars: Is Privacy Good or Bad?". Newsweek 24 April 1995: 55-6. Lewis, Peter H. "Software Author Focus of U.S. Inquiry." The New York Times (Late New York Edition) 10 April 1995: D6. ---, "Between a Hacker And a Hard Place." The New York Times (Late New York Edition) 10 April 1995: D1. "Privacy, Business, and the Internet." The New York Times (Late New York Edition 23 April 1995: 16. Quittner, Joshua. "Unmasked on the Net." Time 6 March 1995: 72-73. Schwartau, Winn. Information Warfare: Chaos on the Information Superhighway. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1994. Sussman, Vic S. "Lost in Kafka Territory." U.S. News & World Report 3 April 1995: 32-3. Wayner, Peter. "Picking the Crypto Locks." Byte Oct. 1995: 77-80. Zimmermann, Phillip. PGP User's Guide. MIT: MIT Press, 1994. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 22:56:57 -0600 (CST) From: David Smith Subject: File 2--Justice Dept. press release: no PGP prosecution (fwd) San Jose Office (408) 535-5061 280 South First Street, Suite 371 San Jose, California 95113 FAX: (408) 535-5066 PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 11, 1995 Michael J. Yamaguchi, United States Attorney for the Norther District of California, announced today that his office has declined prosectution of any individuals in connection with the posting to USENET in June 1991 of the encryption program known as "Pretty Good Privacy." The investigation has been closed. No further comment will be made by the U.S. Attorney's office on the reasons for declination. Assistant U.S. Attorney William P. Keane of the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Jose at (408) 535-5053 oversaw the government's investigation of the case. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 14:36:09 -0800 (PST) From: Declan McCullagh Subject: File 3--FLASH: Phil Zimmermann case dropped! This is FABULOUS news! Please distribute widely! -Declan // declan@eff.org // My opinions are not in any way those of the EFF // Subject--Zimmermann case is dropped. Date--Mon, 8 Jan 1996 03:35:46 -0700 (MST) From--Philip Zimmermann -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- My lead defense lawyer, Phil Dubois, received a fax this morning from the Assistant US Attorney in Northern District of California, William Keane. The letter informed us that I "will not be prosecuted in connection with the posting to USENET in June 1991 of the encryption program Pretty Good Privacy. The investigation is closed." This brings to a close a criminal investigation that has spanned the last three years. I'd like to thank all the people who helped us in this case, especially all the donors to my legal defense fund. Apparently, the money was well-spent. And I'd like to thank my very capable defense team: Phil Dubois, Ken Bass, Eben Moglen, Curt Karnow, Tom Nolan, and Bob Corn-Revere. Most of the time they spent on the case was pro-bono. I'd also like to thank Joe Burton, counsel for the co-defendant. There are many others I can thank, but I don't have the presence of mind to list them all here at this moment. The medium of email cannot express how I feel about this turn of events. -Philip Zimmermann 11 Jan 96 -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2 iQCVAwUBMPDy4WV5hLjHqWbdAQEqYwQAm+o313Cm2ebAsMiPIwmd1WwnkPXEaYe9 pGR5ja8BKSZQi4TAEQOQwQJaghI8QqZFdcctVYLm569I1/8ah0qyJ+4fOfUiAMda Sa2nvJR7pnr6EXrUFe1QoSauCASP/QRYcKgB5vaaOOuxyXnQfdK39AqaKy8lPYbw MfUiYaMREu4= =9CJW -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- ------------------------------ From: "David Gersic" Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 23:27:22 CDT Subject: File 4-- CompuServe poetry THOUGHTS THE THOUGHT POLICE ARE COMING THEY'RE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY IT SEEMS THAT CONGRESS DOESN'T LIKE WHAT I HAD TO SAY THEY READ MY MAIL AND SCANNED MY FILES AND WATCHED WHERE I HAD BEEN THEY CRAWLED THE WEB AND PEERED WITHIN THEY SAID MY SPEECH WAS SIN IT ALL BEGAN WITH A SIMPLE REQUEST "DO YOU LIKE SEX AS MUCH AS I?' BIG BROTHER SMILED HIS KNOWING SMILE AND HE BEGAN TO SPY THEY KNEW MY EVERY THOUGHT THEY KNEW MY EVERY DESIRE IT SEEMS MY CRIME FROM THEIR POINT OF VIEW WAS SENDING IT OVER THE WIRE YOU CANNOT FIGHT A MONSTER THAT IS MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU SO EVEN IF YOU WANT TO DON'T ASK SOMEONE TO SCREW THE THOUGHT POLICE ARE COMING THEY'RE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY THE THOUGHT POLICE ARE COMING THEY DIDN'T LIKE WHAT I HAD TO SAY ====================================================================== David Gersic a02dag1@noc.niu.edu Do not believe in miracles; rely on them. ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 14 Jan 1996 15:20:50 -0500 (EST) From: "Declan B. McCullagh" Subject: File 5--Compuserve: "Shooting the Cyber-Messenger" This article has some interesting information on how Compuserve went far beyond what was legally necessary. A German official says: He said the prosecutor, Manfred Wick, acting on his own volition is investigating pornography on the Net and during his investigation discussed the situation with CIS's management, whose offices are in Munich, but issued no threats, orders or warnings. -Declan ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- >From http://www.d-comm.com/ SHOOTING THE CYBER-MESSENGER Has the Internet really become so much a reality that it is where World War III will be fought? And has the world become so small that the main combatants will be the cybernauts of the US and the government of Germany? Well, if Rambo-types in the US have their way, that is exactly what may be happening and it all began as a Christmas Eve surprise. The first many of us heard of it was that night in the following message in alt.censorship from Phil Reed: "Effective this weekend (apparently Friday night), CompuServe (CIS) has apparently begun blocking access ... to 'indecent' newsgroups, including the alt.sex.* hierarchy, alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.*, and other groups such as alt.politics.homosexuality. The timing is obvious; by doing it late on Friday before a long holiday weekend, they hope to slow the uprise of outrage." As we were to learn within the next few day, CIS banned some 200 newsgroups. Outrage against the company was immediate. A campaign to cancel accounts with the American company was begun. Theory had it, that CIS had caved in to the proposed Net censorship called for in the "Communications Decency Act" the US Congress looks ready to enact soon. However, a day or two later a press release from CIS appeared. It claimed, "The access to certain newsgroups was blocked by order of the German Government. They issued an ultimatum to block the newsgroups on THEIR list or get out of Germany." Within hours anti-German hatred was sprouting from all over the US as the Rambos came out from under their rocks. And within days (during which we learnt that the German authority referred to in CIS's statement was the Munich prosecutor), at least one such bigot was shouting, "This affair with the German (or Bavarian, as has been noted) government and CompuServe's immediate bowing to pressure cannot be tolerated. Protests should be lodged to *every* German-oriented newsgroup and web page you can find. If this goes unchallenged, we have lost the first battle in the coming war. Time now to pick up your guns and start fighting." While another shouted, "We will be leading an organised attack to take the city of Munich electronically next week -- mail-bombing by Americans is perfectly legal, and will be coordinated by the Viet-Nam veterans. If you have any good mail-bombs or viruses, drop me a note, and I will give you the anon address for the retired general who is doing this. It is all perfectly legal, and we are getting help from the Canadian and Australians. The AMERICAN REVOLUTION is NOW HERE! American ISPs against the Munich City Government! This is WAR! To protect the FatherLand and FREEDOM OF SPEECH!" Thomas Wulfing, a spokesman at the German Embassy, London, told d.Comm, "There have been no comments on the situation from the German national or the Bavarian governments. My latest information is that it was the Munich prosecutor who authorised this action. It's good that we clarify this thing. As far as I know the prosecutor has taken up that issue. He wants a way of banning the free access to pornography on the Internet and within that plan has informed CIS. And CIS as far as I know has agreed because it has no interest whatsoever in promoting pornography." He said the prosecutor, Manfred Wick, acting on his own volition is investigating pornography on the Net and during his investigation discussed the situation with CIS's management, whose offices are in Munich, but issued no threats, orders or warnings. Asked why Wick would be investigating porn on the Net considering Germany's more relaxed attitude towards sexually explicit material, Wulfing noted, "The limit in Germany is the age and of course the promotion of violence of child pornography. These types of things are strictly prohibited. The Age of Consent for sexual activities is 16, but to distribute that in print or film or whatever, it is 18." Asked about the threat of e-mail bombs and virus attacks from net nuts in the States, Wulfing told us, "I wasn't aware of these threats from the US. So I don't think the Munich or German authorities have taken action so far. Of course, if that story is going to be verified the German government takes it very seriously. Indeed it sounds very scary." So what's the real story? Just how did CIS, one of the world's largest Internet service providers come to ban 200 newsgroups? Detlef Borchers, a reporter in Germany, says according to a 22 November 1995 press release from the Munich Police Department, "the police were at the CompuServe office and they found material for further investigations. This is more than just Usegroups. It could be considerably more; some sources are claiming that a CompuServe employee was posting child porn." According to Borchers, CIS issued a statement the next day, 23 November. He says, "The relevant passage is the first: 'CompuServe and the police discussed and found a solution'. No legal action threat is mentioned in this statement. The solution was 'cleaning' the Newsgroups. Unfortunately, this worked only on one of the seven newsgroups servers CompuServe has -- the one which is serving the CIM-Software." Borchers adds that in the interim, "the German CompuServe management resigned. The new manager is supposed to be Mitch Wolfsson, now European Manager of MSN, who is not too eager to comment." So who's to be believed? The Munich and German authorities who claim to have only informed CIS that it was investigating kiddieporn on the Net, or CIS? It's difficult to know yet, but one does have to wonder. If CIS was told Mr Wick was investigating child pornography, why did it ban such newsgroups as alt.binaries.erotic.senior-citizens, alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.pregnant, alt.recovery.addiction.sexual and alt.recovery.sexual-addiction (both therapy groups), alt.sex.fetish.wrestling, alt.sex.reptiles, alt.sexy.bald.captains (about Star Trek's Capt Pecard), among many others which appear unlikely to deal in kiddieporn? The implications of CompuServe's capitulation go far beyond the boundaries of Germany's jurisdiction. The Internet is an ever changing medium with new sites and newsgroups appearing all the time. A service provider cannot guarantee that it has successfully denied access to all illegal sites. It may have identified all of these sites an hour ago, and successfully banned access to them, but since then, several may have moved locations while ten new sites may have been placed on the Web. The problem is worse still: what exactly must the service providers restrict access to? What about pornographic sites that should not be accessed by minors -- already highlighted by the German authorities as an important issue.? There is no way of knowing whether the user of the service is fifty or five years of age. The nett result: ban all access to pornographic material. If this approach were to be taken by the service providers, what would be the reaction of magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse, both of which have Web sites? The publishing houses would probably attempt to get a court order forcing service providers to allow access to their sites (except in a few notable countries where the magazines are still considered illegal). For the service provider, the whole process of providing access is becoming far too complex. The service provider is simply the messenger, not the provider of content, and as such there is no reason why the messenger should be shot. ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 12 Jan 96 22:15:33 PST From: jblumen@interramp.com Subject: File 6--Letter to Wiesenthal Cente in re "hate speech" ban This is the text of a letter I sent to the Wiesenthal center in response to their letter to Internet service providers, asking them to ban hate speech. I believe that the Center's letter to 2,000 Internet service providers (ISP's), as reported in yesterday's New York Times, represents an unfortunate choice by the Center to engage in activities harmful to free speech in this country. I am a Jewish businessman and attorney, resident in New York City. Since January 1995, I have used my leisure time to create and operate a Web site called The Ethical Spectacle (http://www.spectacle.org) which covers the intersection (or collision) of ethics, law and politics in our society. In June 1995, I published "An Auschwitz Alphabet" (http://www.spectacle.org/695/ausch.html) as a special issue of the Spectacle. It is a collection of resources and essays pertaining to Auschwitz, including quotations from Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, Hannah Arendt and Tadeusz Borowski, photographs, a portion of the Passover service, and my own essay, "What I Learned From Auschwitz." In the months since then, I have received mail from several hundred people in the US, Sweden, England, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, thanking me for the "Alphabet", reminiscing about family members who were victims of the Holocaust, and generally proving the potency of the Internet as a force for education and freedom. I am not in agreement with your request to ISP's to censor hate speech on their systems. Any censorship of speech ultimately boomerangs to injure good speech, and one of the tenets of what I call the "free speech rulebook" is that no-one--not the government, not Netcom, not the Wiesenthal Center--is godlike enough to decide for other people what speech may be heard. A few years ago, the Canadian Supreme Court accepted Professor Catharine MacKinnon's arguments that pornography not merely encourages, but IS, the oppression of women. I believe MacKinnon is correct in principle (as I very much believe the Wiesenthal Center is correct in principle) but look at the application: Canadian Customs now enforces the law selectively to ban gay speech and the angry feminist writings of MacKinnon colleague Andrea Dworkin, while the pornography business continues on as before. I understand that the First Amendment only protects speech against government action. Rabbi Hier's speeches, and his testimony to the Senate on the bomb recipe bill, contain at least pro forma recognition that the First Amendment protects hate speech. But by calling on ISP's to band together to ban hate, you are asking them to constitute themselves a private government. The First Amendment no longer means anything when private action ensures that disfavored views cannot gain access to the means of communication. I make a distinction for access providers such as Compuserve, Prodigy, and America Online. They are the electronic equivalent of bookstores, as the Cubby v. Compuserve case established, and have a right to decide what "books" to carry. But ISP's such as Netcom and Interramp provide nothing more than a wire to the Internet. The inevitable direction the law must take, if we value free speech in this country, is to treat these ISP's as common carriers. Contrary to your request that they "edit" the speech they carry, it is imperative that they have no right whatever to do so. The development of telegraphy in this country provides a significant precedent. Western Union abused its monopoly by refusing to carry cables from reporters to their newspapers, seeing them as competition for its own wire service business. The Congress responded by declaring Western Union a common carrier, forbidding it from determining which speech can be carried over the wire. If ISP's respond to your letter and get in the habit of shutting off hate speech, history and human nature dictates that this authority will later be used to ban speech about feminism, abortion, radical politics or whatever else is the "bete noir" of the moment. An ISP which has the right to refuse to carry the Institute for Historical Review can exercise that right just as easily to refuse the Wiesenthal Center access to the Internet. To paraphrase Count Talleyrand, your request to ISP's was not only morally wrong, but also a mistake. Hate speech on the Internet, though vile and distressing, is fragmented and in plain sight, where it can be monitored and answered. Numerous Internet sites, like yours, the Nizkor Project and the Ethical Spectacle, exist to answer hate speech. If ISP's comply with your request, one of two things will happen. Either hate speech will go completely underground, becoming more mysterious, attractive and powerful to its audience because forbidden. Or, what is even more likely, hate groups will simply band together to create their own ISP, providing all their foul ideas from one easily accessible menu. You will then be in the position of having to fall back to a call for government censorship. Free speech is the cornerstone of liberty. The only security lies in John Milton's stand, taken in The Aeropagitica, his essay to Parliament about the licensing of printing presses and books: "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." ----------------------------- Jonathan Blumen The Ethical Spectacle http://www.spectacle.org ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 22:41:08 -0600 (CST) From: Avi Bass Subject: File 7--News Release >> Child Safe Ratings on the Internet (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date--Thu, 11 Jan 1996 20:41:41 -0400 From--ted resnick Subject--News Release >> Child Safe Ratings on the Internet THE MCKINLEY GROUP SAYS GREEN LIGHT MEANS GO New Green Light Icon to Appear on all Web Sites Not Containing Material Apparently Intended for Mature Audiences SAUSALITO, CA (January 9, 1996) - In response to the increasing concern over the accessibility of Internet sites containing offensive or inappropriate content for the broader audience, The McKinley Group announced today that it has positioned a Green Light icon to appear next to descriptions of all the reviewed Web sites in its Magellan Internet Directory that were free of adult-only material at the time of review. Magellan is the first Internet Directory to offer this "safe sites" screening feature. "The Green Light category is a valuable extension of the unique rating and evaluation system that has been developed by the McKinley Group," said Sandra Treacy, director of San Francisco School Volunteers. "Given the unregulated nature of Internet content, this feature will prove to be a widely used indicator for parents, teachers, children and the average user." In addition to the Green Light designation, Magellan gives users a thorough review of individual Internet sites and rates them using a unique system. Rated sites are awarded one to four stars for overall quality, based on depth, organization, and 'net appeal' (is it innovative, funny, hip, cool or thought-provoking). Please bookmark The Magellan for future reference. You can also find a more in-depth account of our Green Light Sites at http://www.mckinley.com/mckinley-txt/246.html#greenlight Have a good one! Ted Resnick ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 07:33:47 -0800 (PST) From: Declan McCullagh Subject: File 8--AP/NYT: Jewish Groups Call for Internet Censorship Now that the cravens at Compuserve have acquiesced to one censorship attempt, more will be forthcoming. Not a slippery slope as much as a domino effect. I'm amused that Mr. Giles from Compuserve has had a sudden change of heart. -Declan ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jan 9 -- BOSTON (AP) -- White supremacist groups that once spread their racist messages at rallies and in leaflets are now going high-tech on the Internet -- a trend a leading Jewish human rights group wants to stop. The Simon Weisenthal Center on Tuesday began sending hundreds of letters to Internet access providers asking them to refuse to carry messages that ``promote racism, anti-Semitism, mayhem and violence.''... The Internet allows users to ``show the whole world what's wrong about what the hate speakers are saying,'' said Mike Godwin, staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group dealing with computer communications. ``The correct place to try and put pressure is on the people who create the content, not the person who provides access to it,'' said CompuServe spokesman William Giles. The roughly 250 hate groups in the United States, whose previous methods reached a limited audience, now ``have a magnificent marketing technology dumped in their laps,'' said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Weisenthal center, based in Los Angeles. ``They are able to dress up their message in a way that looks ... presentable.''... Prodigy spokesman Brian Ek said the service does employ systems operators who monitor content on its proprietary bulletin boards and can remove any messages with ``blatant expressions of bigotry, racism or hate.'' --------------------------------------------------------------------- Forwarded from IP: UNITED STATES 3 Wednesday, Jan. 10, 1996 Jewish Group Seeks Internet Restraints Citing "the rapidly expanding presence of organized hate groups on the Internet,'' a leading Jewish human rights group Tuesday began sending letters to hundreds of Internet access providers and universities asking them to refuse to carry messages that "promote racism, anti-Semitism, may-hem and violence.'' The letter from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a 425,000-member organization based in Los Angeles, is the latest in a growing effort by legislators and private interest groups to censor offensive material on the global data network, which now connects millions of computer users worldwide. "Internet providers have a First Amendment right and a moral obligation not to provide these groups with a platform for their destructive propa-ganda, '' Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center's associate dean, wrote in the letter that was sent to Internet service providers. Rabbi Cooper said the group's target was not the many discussion forums where individuals debate such topics as whether the Holocaust actually oc-curred, but rather the Internet's World Wide Web. Dozens of groups, from white supremacists to anarchists, have pub-lished documents on the Web about their points of view. Some are revi-sionist histories questioning whether there was a Holocaust and some are racist tracts denigrating blacks, Jews, homosexuals and other minorities. By PETER H. LEWIS ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 16 Dec 1995 22:51:01 CDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 9--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 16 Dec, 1995) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. 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