Computer underground Digest Thu Feb 1, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 10 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji
Computer underground Digest Thu Feb 1, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 10
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, #8.10 (Thu, Feb 1, 1996)
File 1--DJ: Senate Passes Telecom Bill, Vote 91-5
File 2--AR article-Straight Jacketing the Internet
File 3--Commentary on Denning Crypto article
File 4--Net is Mainstream and Votes!
File 5--Re: So Many Errors to Be Answered! (in re 8.05 - 1A)
File 6--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: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 18:49:41 -0500 (EST)
From: "Declan B. McCullagh"
Subject: File 1--DJ: Senate Passes Telecom Bill, Vote 91-5
"Deregulatory," oh yes indeed.
The Senate approved the bill 91-5.
''It's procompetitive; it's deregulatory,'' said Senate Commerce
Committee Chairman Larry Pressler, R-S.D. ''It will affect every
The House cleared the measure in a 414-16 vote just a few minutes
before Senators began casting their votes.
The votes clear the way for White House approval of the
legislation. President Clinton is expected to sign it into law.
Voting against the measure in the Senate were Paul Simon, D-Ill.;
John McCain, R-Ariz.; Russell Feingold, D-Wis.; Paul Wellstone,
D-Minn., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 11:37:27 -0700
From: email@example.com (El Tiburon)
Subject: File 2--AR article-Straight Jacketing the Internet
NEWS ANALYSIS: TELECOM REFORM
by Craig A. Johnson
American Reporter Correspondent
CONGRESS STRAIGHT-JACKETS THE NET
by Craig A. Johnson
American Reporter Correspondent
WASHINGTON -- Chief House and Senate telecom conference
negotiators are set to squeeze the Internet into yet another a
Conference leaders are attempting to attach further
"de-regulatory" restrictions to the conference committee's draft
telecom bill that will remove guarantees for access and
interconnection, and permit telecom companies to price Net services in
ways which seem defensible only to the special interests which crafted
Fresh from the "indecency" defeat, Net lobbyists and public
interest groups barely caught their breath before a new "red tide" of
restraints appeared in the draft conference bill language.
Though Netheads in Washington, such as D.C. Internet Society
Chair Ross Stapleton-Gray, reassure us that the Internet will remain
"pretty much the way it is now," and that neighborhood Internet
service providers (ISPs) will generally be able to offer access at
continuing competitive rates, insiders who have studied the language
of the bill have grave concerns about how the Internet of the future
A senior counsel on the Senate Justice Committee told the
Reporter last week that new draft changes will put back into the bill
the original Cox-Wyden language (AR, No. 65) that would have
prohibited the FCC from "economically regulating" the Internet.
"Nobody really knows what this means," the source said.
In a style now familiar to reporters covering the telecom
House Commerce Committee Chairman Tom Bliley (R-VA) prefers critical
conference decisions to be made in the dark corners of Capitol offices
and meeting rooms as far away from open committee meetings as
A "signature sheet" is presently being substituted for open
discussion and debate. This assures that so-called "technical"
changes and at least one "substantive" change to the draft telecom
bill, according to Senate Commerce Committee staffers, can proceed
without conferees understanding too much about what the changes really
The proposed language prohibiting the FCC from economically
regulating the Internet is doubly ironic in that it was not part of
the Cox-Wyden measure, which overwhelmingly passed the House on a vote
of 420-4, and an FCC role for "describing" measures to regulate
Internet "content" is positively sanctioned in the draft language.
Title V of the bill, "Broadcast Obscenity and Violence,"
classifies the Internet as equivalent to a broadcast facility and
regurgitates the now familiar criminalization of speech measure
inserted into the bill by the Christian Coalition's poster boy, House
Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL).
Hyde, always eager to please fundamentalists, rammed his
amendment through the House conference caucus on a razor-thin vote (AR
No. 174) of 17 to 16, with members saying later that they did not
understand the implications of what they voted for. This change in
the House language brought it into line with the Exon "indecency"
clause in the Senate bill.
Part of this regulatory cowpie is thrown into the FCC's lap
budget of course is chopped by the Congressional-deficit boys). The
bill states: "The Commission may describe measures which are
reasonable, effective, and appropriate to restrict access to
But, while permitting the FCC to "describe" such measures, the
bill expressly states that the agency has "no enforcement authority
over the failure [on the part of providers or users] to utilize such
This part of the bill is a honey-trap for litigators. Placing
FCC solely in an advisory role literally ensures that all of the
interpretation, implementation, and enforcement will be undertaken by
the courts and the Department of Justice. Of course, numerous
individual and organizational users and providers will get caught in
Other measures tucked away in the telecom bill's turgid prose
to have escaped the scrutiny of many self-styled Internet defenders,
protectors, and aficionados. Interconnection and equal access have
barely passed the lips of Net mavens in connection with the telecom
bills, yet these provisions in the draft bill could leave Net
providers out in the cold without protection from gusts of corporate
The draft bill states that "each telecommunications carrier
the duty to interconnect directly or indirectly with the facilities
and equipment of other telecommunications carriers" as well as the the
duty to provide "to any other telecom carrier" interconnection and
"nondiscriminatory access to network elements on an unbundled
What are "network elements," and why is "interconnection"
important? The House telecom bill, H.R. 1555, clearly spelled these
out, prior to its re-write by the conference committee.
In the language of H.R. 1555, "a local exchange carrier" had
offer to those providing "a telecommunications service or an
information service, reasonable and nondiscriminatory access on an
unbundled basis ... to databases, signalling systems, poles, ducts,
conduits, and rights-of-way ... or other facilities, functions, or
information ... integral to the efficient transmission, routing, or
other provision... that is sufficient to ensure the full
interoperability of the equipment and facilities..." of those seeking
But, the conferees, under pressure from the Regional Bell
Operating Companies (RBOCs) removed guarantees of access and
interconnection to providers of "information services," which include
Internet service providers.
In plain English, these changes in the bill mean that ISPs,
service providers, and any other interactive "information service"
providers dependent upon telecom networks must worship at the altar of
the Bell companies in order to attain "interconnection" and "equal
access," two vital functions of communications which this bill was
supposed to guarantee and enshrine for the information-centered
In even plainer English, they mean that carriers can play with
providers like tigers playing with their prey. As providers of the
critical conduits to Internet backbones, local exchange carriers under
the provisions of the bill can essentially charge information services
what ever the market will bear, thus potentially maiming or killing
off small- to medium-sized ISPs.
The carriers can also promote sweetheart deals with corporate
monoliths such as Microsoft, TCI, AT&T, MCI, and Time Warner for
access at discounted rates, as determined by volume or a similar
measure. They can underprice, overprice, or offer no prices, since
information service providers are stripped of all guarantees as the
draft law is currently written.
These are rather extreme visions. The reality is that
discretionary pricing may well take place, but the Internet backbone's
national service providers (NSPs) are working with the Commercial
Internet Exchange (CIX), the Internet Society and others to ensure
that draconian results do not obtain.
Corporate strategy is rapidly developing which will allow
traditional providers control over Internet access and provision.
Diversity will hang on a while longer but the wind is clearly blowing
in the direction of conglomeration and concentration -- in no small
part because telcos in the U.S. are rapidly grasping the fact that
long-term marginal costs for local calls are moving toward zero.
Pricing is increasingly geared toward toward the content that
accessed, rather than transport costs. Carriers are restructuring in
order to dominate the markets for content provision.
The threat to small- to medium-sized ISPs as well as other
businesses providing information services is real. The conference
committee draft already anticipates the problem. The title of its
Kafkaesque Section 257, "Market Entry Barriers Proceeding," calls for
remedial action by the FCC for anti-competitive conditions which the
bill may actively foster.
It stipulates that "within 15 months after the date of
"the FCC shall complete a proceeding for the purpose of identifying
and eliminating ... market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other
small businesses in the provision and ownership of telecommunications
services and information services, or in the provision of parts or
services to providers of telecommunications services and information
The FCC is supposed to complete this proceeding using criteria
which will favor "diversity of media voices, vigorous economic
competition, technological advancement, and promotion of the public
interest, convenience, and necessity." The next FCC review would not
come for three years, thus placing an enormous burden on the agency to
get it right in its first rulemaking proceeding. In the fast-moving
communications world, a three-year lag time can be equivalent to
setting policy in stone.
Apparently, for the conference leadership, having the
FCC take on additional burdens is more palatable than taking the
Congressional responsibility of rectifying the problem in law, and
thus risk flying in the face of powerful interests filling campaign
However, in the most unkind cut of all, the bill managers in
Kafka-like castle on the Hill intend to strip the FCC of economic
regulatory authority over the Internet, thus rendering the above
provision moot. The FCC will have no power to redress market entry
barriers such as distorted conditions for interconnection and access,
or skewed pricing, if the rider on the "signature sheet" currently
circulating makes its way into the bill.
This outcome, depending on its specific language, could well
impact Internet access to schools, hospitals, and libraries. The bill
requires telecommunications carriers to provide "any of its services
that are within the definition of universal service" to schools and
libraries at reduced rates.
But, if the above qualification goes into effect, the
of "universal service" could not include the Internet because it could
not be "economically" regulated by the FCC as a "universal service."
Net pricing for schools, hospitals, and libraries may therefore be up
for grabs in a free-for-all commercial environment.
In a bill which is a patchwork of compromises between industry
giants, this Congress insists on behaving recklessly and destructively
with regard to the Internet and its constituency. And, many of the
conferees, as the old saw goes, appear to not "have the sense to pound
sand in a rathole."
* * *
The American Reporter
Copyright 1996 Joe Shea, The American Reporter
and Craig A. Johnson
All Rights Reserved
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Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 09:53:03 -0500 (EST)
From: Jay Holovacs
Subject: File 3--Commentary on Denning Crypto article
Response to "The Future of Cryptography" by Dorothy Denning
In a recent article (available at
Dorothy Denning spells out her reasons for support of government
escrowed encryption keys. There are several significant logical
fallacies in those arguments which I would like to address here.
The first problem is that Denning opens with a more or less
"straw man" argument by referring to the Crypto Anarchy position
of Tim May, followed by the statement "I do not want to live in
an anarchistic society -- if such could be called a society at
all -- and I doubt many would." The implicit assumption here is
that advocacy of strong truly private communication is
equivalent to endorsement of May's anarchist position
(throughout the remainder of this article, reference to private
cryptography should be interpreted to mean strong cryptography
without escrowed key access). This is hardly the case. The
advocacy of the availability of private crypto is simply the
position that citizens should be able to take reasonable steps
to protect their privacy without handing information to the
"This is the claim that I want to address here. I do not accept
crypto anarchy as the inevitable outcome. A new paradigm of
cryptography, key escrow, is emerging and gaining acceptance in
industry. Key escrow is a technology that offers tools that
would assure no individual absolute privacy or untraceable
anonymity in all transactions. I argue that this feature of the
technology is what will allow individuals to choose a civil
society over an anarchistic one.
After saying that she does not accept crypto anarchy as the
inevitable outcome of private crypto, Denning proceeds to argue
as if it is, and assumes that the only way to avoid anarchy is
to put limits on communication privacy. This vast leap of faith
assumes that because citizen A can communicate privately with
citizen B, or even that criminal A can communicate privately
with criminal B, society and social order will collapse. Not too
likely. There are very few threatening crimes that can be
accomplished through communication alone and even those have
real world effects which can be observed.
"Less recognized are cryptography's limitations. Encryption is
often oversold as the solution to all security problems or to
threats that it does not address"
correctly pointing out that crypto is not a cure all for
security problems, yet fails to make the same connection
regarding its potential involvement in criminal behavior, i.e.
it is no magic bullet to criminals either.
"The drawbacks of cryptography are frequently overlooked as well.
The widespread availability of unbreakable encryption coupled
with anonymous services could lead to a situation where
practically all communications are immune from lawful
interception (wiretaps) and documents from lawful search and
seizure, and where all electronic transactions are beyond the
reach of any government regulation or oversight. The
consequences of this to public safety and social and economic
stability could be devastating. With the government essentially
locked out, computers and telecommunications systems would
become safe havens for criminal activity.
There is a serious discrepancy here. If crypto does not provide
security from random hackers, how does it make computers and
telecommunication systems "safe havens for criminal activity?"
This "chicken little" position ignores the fact that the vast
majority of criminal investigation and apprehension involves
physical world gumshoe work.
". . . The benefits of strong cryptography can be realized
without following the crypto anarchy path to social disorder.
One promising alternative is key escrow encryption, also called
Again the tenuous link between private crypto and social
"Encryption also threatens national security by interfering with
foreign intelligence operations. The United States, along with
many other countries, imposes export controls on encryption
technology to lessen this threat.
Encryption developments possibly do interfere somewhat with some
aspects of foreign intelligence gathering. That, however, is
water under the bridge. I doubt it will be possible to convince
other nations not to use strong crypto, and no amount of
legislation or US crypto standards is going to change that. Of
course, by the same token, our own government communications are
more secure from foreign interception, it works both ways.
Throughout her article, Denning constantly refers to "lawful
intervention" as if that were the only concern citizens had
regarding their communication privacy. Time after time FOIA
(Freedom of Information Act) documents have shown extensive
government surveillance of private citizens (from Martin Luther
King, Leonard Bernstein and other famous individuals to less
known business people, journalists and political activists). The
government has never been a totally benign force.
The situation becomes even more critical for international
communications. First, the US government has never even
pretended that international communications are private, the
fact that a US citizen is on one end of the line does not deter
the government from the position that the communication is fair
game. Consider for example communication among networks of human
rights activists. There are quite a few places where transfer of
information regarding political prisoners can be deadly.
Communication of encrypted messages through anonymous remailers
can be a critical link in getting this information out. And the
danger is not entirely in the foreign end of the line.
Particularly with some of the Central American governments,
there has been considerable cooperation between the US
government and the military regimes in question regarding
identification of activists ("troublemakers"). PGP has been a
blessing for political activists inside and outside the US.
"I found numerous cases where investigative agencies had
encountered encrypted communications and computer files. These
cases involved child pornography, customs violations, drugs,
espionage, embezzlement, murder, obstruction of justice, tax
protesters, and terrorism.
Crypto had nothing to do with the of the actual crimes above.
One cannot murder someone with cryptography. At the very most,
cryptography can be used as a means of hiding peripheral
evidence, that's all. You can't hide the real evidence of a
crime with crypto. You can't hide drugs, a murder weapon or a
body in crypto. Even relatively abstract crimes like
embezzlement or tax evasion still have real world end
points--money is missing. This is where the actual crime is, not
that some aspects of the trail are encrypted.
Child pornography has become a frequent rallying cry in
objections to private crypto. What seems to be overlooked in the
current frenzy is that the real crime involved is the sexual
violation of children involved in producing some of this
material, not whether 1 copy or 10,000 copies were distributed.
Unfortunately, the obsession has become tracking down whoever
has the pictures that were produced (really a peripheral issue)
rather than the real crime itself. The fact that some person may
posses illicit pictures that the police can't find (either
because they are encrypted or because they are well hidden
physically) has very little to do with the children being abused.
Consider for comparison, people who produce this material rarely
use commercial photo labs, for obvious reasons. Home photo
processing equipment, Polaroid cameras or video cameras make
this product possible. Yet we do not hear impassioned pleas to
ban or license these items. These essential items are accepted
because they have widespread beneficial uses. Private crypto is
no different in this regard.
Denning then proceeds to discuss escrowed encryption, but mixes
two entirely unrelated concepts:
"AccessData Corp., a company in Orem, Utah which specializes in
providing software and services to help law enforcement agencies
and companies recover data that has been locked out through
encryption, reports receiving about a dozen and a half calls a
day from companies with inaccessible data. About one-half dozen
of these calls result from disgruntled employees who left under
extreme situations and refused to cooperate in any transitional
stage by leaving necessary keys (typically in the form of
passwords). Another half dozen result from employees who died or
left on good terms, but simply forgot to leave their keys. The
third half dozen result from loss of keys by current employees.
. . .
"The government has not been alone in its pursuit of key escrow
technology. Some type of key escrow is a feature or option of
several commercial products including Fisher Watchdog®,
Nortel's Entrust, PC Security Stoplock KE, RSA Secure[TM], and
TECSEC Veil[TM]. Escrowing is done within the user's
organization and serves primarily to protect against data loss.
The issue here is a company'a escrowing of keys to its own data.
No one (including Tim May as I interpret his writing) is
objecting to this. The business owns the information, the
business can and should take measures to assure that it is
properly accessible. This is at all nothing at all like
government mandated key escrow, a corporate escrow process can
occur without any government involvement whatever. The problem
arises when personal communication (which is the property of the
individual) is required to be compromised by someone else.
"International interest in key escrow will also contribute to its
success. There is growing recognition on the part of governments
and businesses worldwide of the potential of key escrow to meet
the needs of both users and law enforcement. In addition to
providing confidentiality and emergency backup decryption,
escrowed encryption is seen as a way of overcoming export
restrictions, common to many countries, which have limited the
international availability of strong encryption in order to
protect national security interests.
This is not realistic. To meet current US export restrictions, a
product would have to be escrowed so as to be readable to US
authorities. How many foreign governments or corporations would
be happy with that? By contrast, if the US agreed to share the
escrowed keys (there has never been any indication of this), how
many companies or individuals would be comfortable knowing that
a wide range of governments with a wide range of standards had
access to the communications (yes, Virginia, some of our
"allies" have terrible human rights records).
"The IBAG principles acknowledge the right of businesses and
individuals to protect their information and the right of
law-abiding governments to intercept and lawfully seize
information when there is no practical alternative. Businesses
and individuals would lodge keys with trusted parties who would
be liable for any loss or damage resulting from compromise or
misuse of those keys. The trusted parties could be independently
accredited entities or accredited entities within a company. The
keys would be available to businesses and individuals on proof
of ownership and to governments and law enforcement agencies
under due process of law and for a limited time frame. The
process of obtaining and using keys would be auditable.
Governments would be responsible for ensuring that international
agreements would allow access to keys held outside national
jurisdiction. The principles call for industry to develop open
voluntary, consensus, international standards and for
governments, businesses, and individuals to work together to
define the requirements for those standards. The standards would
allow choices about algorithm, mode of operation, key length,
and implementation in hardware or software. Products conforming
to the standards would not be subject to restrictions on import
or use and would be generally exportable.
Sounds good. Doesn't work. An excellent example is Project
Shamrock, which involved the coercion by NSA of large private
communications companies (ITT, RCA and others) to surrender
copies of cable traffic from the 50's until it was exposed in
the 70's is . Private agencies are in no position to strongly
resist government pressure, especially with assurance that it is
in the national interest and that their cooperation will be kept
strictly private. This occurred in the relatively open US. How
confident are you that it does not happen even more so in many
other countries? Maybe PGP isn't such a bad idea after all.
"If government-proof encryption begins to seriously undermine the
ability of law enforcement agencies to carry out their missions
and fight organized crime and terrorism, then legislative
controls over encryption technology may be desirable.
Desirable to whom? There is almost nothing that can't be
justified by law enforcement expediency. Would it be O.K. to
suggest, for example, that all conversations I have with my
spouse, my friends or business associates be done in publicly
accessible places so that police with "lawful orders" could
listen in if necessary? Why should the fact that we are
communicating electronically alter that right in the slightest?
At this point a historical perspective is in order. This whole
issue is a 20th century product. In earlier times, without
recording devices, long range listening or night vision scopes,
it was quite easy to have conversations which were private,
period. The development of the telephone opened a new era in
person to person communication. As an accident of technology, it
was possible to listen in on phone conversations. There was no
constitutional right of the government to do such listening,
it's just that it became physically possible. After a bit of
thrashing around in the courts, it became obvious that there was
a great danger in allowing unlimited snooping by law
enforcement, so legal limits were placed on circumstances where
such listening could be done.
What is occurring now, however, is a reversal of that rationale.
The new technologies of digital telephony inherently make
"tapping" much more difficult and personal computers (through
cryptography) make it possible for individuals to take active
steps to maintain a level of privacy in communication. The
response in law enforcement is as if some inherent right is
being "taken away" from government. It was never a right of
government, simply a convenient accident of technology, a
technology that is fast becoming obsolete.
Technology is a two edged sword. Computer networks have greatly
enabled enhancements in legitimate law enforcement. They have
also provided some enabling of personal communication privacy
(along with a great loss of many other types of privacy).
Citizen communication privacy will not bring down society any
more than the Bill of Rights did 200 years ago.
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 14:47:50 -0600
From: Donna Hoffman
Subject: File 4--Net is Mainstream and Votes!
Cyberspace to Congress: The Net is Mainstream -- and it Votes!
By Professor Donna L. Hoffman
You would think from the way that Congress is rushing to censor
"indecency" on the Internet that cyberspace is a virtual den of
iniquity and pornographic debasement. In the interests of
promoting a bit more sanity in the halls of Congress, allow me to
offer a few facts about the real nature of the "cyberporn" threat
and about the character of the fast-growing community of Americans
First, let's be clear that what we're really talking about here --
pornography -- actually constitutes an infinitesimally-small
percentage of all online information. Indeed, Marty Rimm's ill
fated study of pornography on the "information superhighway"
revealed that less than 1/2 of 1% of all images on the Internet
were likely to consist of porn.
But never mind that somewhat inconvenient fact. Congress in its
infinitely-debatable wisdom, has chosen to "save" America's
children not by finally fixing our broken school systems -- that,
after all, would be hard and complex work -- but by attempting
instead to shield families from "indecency" (a sure vote-getter).
But guess what? It turns out that the majority of online users are *not*
lonely sex-deprived (or depraved) single males but families! That's right,
42% of those on the Web are married and another 9% report living with
a partner, while only 41% are single. And 35% of Web-using
households contain children.
What's more, according to the latest GVU/Hermes survey of Web
users, 29 percent of Web users globally are female (the percentage
of female users rises to 33% in the United States), 40% are 36
years old or over, almost a third of the respondents make less
than $30,000 a year, and nearly half make less than $50,000 a
Indeed, the best research available indicates that cyberspace is
increasingly going mainstream. Aside from the strong family
orientation of Internet users -- and the increasing prevalence of
women -- ever more middle-class and working-class people are
joining the ranks of the "wired." Occupationally, more students,
more people in sales and service work, more retired people, and
more people in a more diverse variety of occupations (e.g. day
laborers, crafts people, homemakers and others) are online
everyday, as are people reporting smaller annual household incomes
(especially under than $30,000).
As for the political persuasion of Internet users, the facts are
rather startling. Despite the image of cyberspace as some stomping
ground of the liberal elite, the fact of the matter is that there
are significantly more Republicans and Independents online than
Democrats. And while online users are nearly indistinguishable
from people not online in terms of political party affiliation and
who they voted for in the 1992 Presidential election and 1994
House elections, online users are *much more likely to vote* than
people not online. Consider the following statistics from the
Times Mirror 1995 Technology in the American Household study:
Party Identification and Voting Behavior
Party Online Not Online
Democrat 25% 29%
Independent 43% 40%
Republican 32% 31%
1992 Presidential Vote (among voters)
Candidate Online Not Online
Bush 37% 38%
Clinton 44% 45%
Perot 18% 17%
1994 House Vote (among voters)
Party Online Not Online
Democrat 43% 44%
Republican 55% 54%
Other 2% 2%
Percent Who Voted in 1994
Age Online Users Not Online
18-29 32% 15%
30-49 58% 46%
50-64 80% 58%
65+ * 61%
* too few cases to estimate reliably
Source: Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press (now the
Pew Research Center) "Technology in the American Household" 1995
Oh yes, and one other little tidbit for Congress to consider: the
majority of online users *oppose* current efforts to censor
content on the Internet.
Given these figures, one has to wonder if the Republican Congress
is shooting itself in the foot -- alienating precisely the
constituency whose support it will need to win the White House in
1996 -- by voting for a censorship bill that will, according to
virtually all constitutional scholars, in any event probably be
overturned by the courts.
Congress take heed: the citizens of cyberspace represent a
politically diverse and demographically varied voting population.
Attempt to censor them only at your peril.
Donna L. Hoffman is an Associate Professor of Management at
Vanderbilt University and co-directs Project 2000
(www2000.ogsm.vanderbilt.edu) at the Owen School.
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 21:17 EDT
From: E. ALLEN SMITH
Subject: File 5--Re: So Many Errors to Be Answered! (in re 8.05 - 1A)
Since Mr. Townson and others do not appear to understand the idea of
allowing speech with which one disagrees, I will explain. In providing
a space for communication, one may make, at its core, two different
The first such choice is to allow all speech that is within the stated
purpose of the space in question. For instance, a moderator to a
newsgroup or mailing list may restrict postings to ones meeting the
purpose for which the group or list was established. A university
computer science department may restrict the newsgroups it carries to
comp.* and news.* groups, since these are the groups within its
purpose. A for-profit ISP may restrict the groups to which WWW space
is given to those who pay, since the purpose of the ISP is to make
money. In such a case, the individual or organization is neither
ethically nor (properly) legally responsible for the speech in
question. The proper legal description of an individual or
organization who has made such a choice is a "common carrier."
The second such choice is to allow only speech with which one agrees.
Such a choice has been made by online services such as AOL, Prodigy,
and CompuServe in not carrying material they deem indecent or obscene.
Such a decision is also made by an ISP who refuses to provide space to
a group with which that ISP disagrees. By so doing, that individual
has chosen to take on responsibility for the speech the person allows,
since the person can then make the choice not to carry it. In the
Prodigy case, it was correctly found that the individual or
organization bears legal as well as ethical responsibility for such
Either choice is valid; except for a governmental body, it is the
right of a provider to make that choice. Another way to phrase this
right is that freedom of the press is freedom for the person who owns
However, one may condemn someone for making a given choice, although
it is their right to make that choice - a right that one would fight
to protect. I, and others, condemn the Neo-Nazis for making the choice
to spew their hateful propaganda. I, and others, also condemn the
choice of any ISP who decides to limit web space for such groups. I,
and others, also condemn the choice of the Wiesenthal Center to call
for such limits. I, and others, would equally condemn the choice of
any ISP who decided to limit web space for those against such groups.
I, and others, condemn the latter because we believe that the best
response to wrongful speech is more speech, not cutting off that
wrongful speech. Mr. Townson has claimed that the Neo-Nazi propaganda
will go unanswered; this claim is false. Such organizations as the
American Jewish Committee exist, among other purposes, to make
Furthermore, I am in support of the principle of capitalism that it
allows for transactions without irrelevant social considerations. This
principle protects both Neo-Nazis and other groups condemned by the
majority, such as homosexuals. Mr. Townson has criticized ISPs for
providing space for a profit. Does he oppose property and other rights
because a police officer is paid to protect them? Does he censure that
police officer for protecting rights out of self-interest? Does he
oppose efforts to heal the sick because a paid doctor is carrying them
out? Does he censure that doctor for doing what is good out of
self-interest? While not having a self-interested motive for doing
what is good is praiseworthy, doing so for the sake of self-interest
is no cause for condemnation. Doing evil, whether for the sake of
self-interest or not, is cause for condemnation. And any ISP who
censors is doing evil.
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 1995 22:51:01 CDT
From: CuD Moderators
Subject: File 6--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 16 Dec, 1995)
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