Computer underground Digest Thu Feb 1, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 10 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji

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Computer underground Digest Thu Feb 1, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 10 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: 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. -Declan --- WASHINGTON -DJ- [...] 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 single American.'' 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 X-Original-To: From: (El Tiburon) Subject: File 2--AR article-Straight Jacketing the Internet NEWS ANALYSIS: TELECOM REFORM + by Craig A. Johnson American Reporter Correspondent Washington, D.C. 1/22/96 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 regulatory rathole. 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 the provisions. 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 will look. A senior counsel on the Senate Justice Committee told the American 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 bill, 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 possible. 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 mean. 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 (whose 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 prohibited communications..." 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 measures." This part of the bill is a honey-trap for litigators. Placing the 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 the cross-fire. Other measures tucked away in the telecom bill's turgid prose seem 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 capriciousness. The draft bill states that "each telecommunications carrier has 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 basis..." 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 to 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 such access. 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, online 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 future. In even plainer English, they mean that carriers can play with Net 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 is 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 small 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 enactment," "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 services." 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 beleaguered 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 coffers. However, in the most unkind cut of all, the bill managers in this 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 definition 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." -30- * * * The American Reporter Copyright 1996 Joe Shea, The American Reporter and Craig A. Johnson All Rights Reserved The American Reporter is published daily at 1812 Ivar Ave., No. 5, Hollywood, CA 90028 Tel. (213)467-0616, by members of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Internet discussion list. It has no affiliation with the SPJ. Articles may be submitted by email to Subscriptions: Reader: $10.00 per month ($100 per year) and $.01 per word to republish stories, or Professional: $125.00 per week for the re-use of all American Reporter stories. We are reporter-owned. URL: Archives: ------------------------------ 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 government. Denning continues: "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. Denning continues "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 escrowed encryption Again the tenuous link between private crypto and social collapse! "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. Denning continues "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 online. 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 year. 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 Users Democrat 25% 29% Independent 43% 40% Republican 32% 31% 100% 100% 1992 Presidential Vote (among voters) Candidate Online Not Online Users Bush 37% 38% Clinton 44% 45% Perot 18% 17% 100% 100% 1994 House Vote (among voters) Party Online Not Online Users Democrat 43% 44% Republican 55% 54% Other 2% 2% 100% 100% Percent Who Voted in 1994 Age Online Users Not Online 18-29 32% 15% 30-49 58% 46% 50-64 80% 58% 65+ * 61% 100% 100% * 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 study. 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 ( 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 choices. 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 speech. 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 the press. 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 opposing speech. 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) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. 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Readers are encouraged to submit reasoned articles relating to computer culture and communication. Articles are preferred to short responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely necessary. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Digest contributors assume all responsibility for ensuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #8.10 ************************************


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