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BBB III TTT SSS BBB Y Y TTT EEE SSS B B I T S B B Y Y T E S ONLINE EDITION BBB I T SSS AND BBB YYY T EEE SSS VOL 1, NUMBER 7 B B I T S B B Y T E S 8/23/93 BBB III T SSS BBB Y T EEE SSS FOCUS ON PRIVACY ====================================================================== We live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another. Henry David Thoreau ====================================================================== Privacy and Free Speech on the Digital Frontier It is a characteristic of our evolving civilization that we are developing an increasing respect for the individuality and privacy of every human being in addition to a recognition of proprietary rights in real estate and other material possessions. Therefore, it follows logically that we will also evolve a body of law to protect information about ourselves as well as information concerning our corporate enterprises and public institutions. (SOURCE: Information Technologies and Social Transformations. Bruce R. Guile, Editor [National Academy Press, 1985. $14.95]) ====================================================================== How Safe Is Your Information: Some Cautionary Tales The arrival of personal digital assistants such as Apple Computer, Inc.'s Newton MessagePad and EO, Inc.'s Personal Communicator, coupled with skyrocketing sales of cellular phones, packet radio modems, sky pagers and wireless electronic mail devices, has created new points of vulnerability for electronic data interchange, experts said. "None of us would ever leave a confidential memo lying on a restaurant table, but then we turn around and don't think twice about transmitting data electronically without a safeguard," said Bob Geisler, a senior consultant at CCT, Inc., a consultancy in Minneapolis. Because all methods of wireless data transfer are accomplished by devices that are essentially radio transmitters, anyone with the right receiver can tune into your voice or data transmission. "Ask Princess Diana how problematic it can be if someone is tapping into your phone conversation," Geisler said. (James Daly, "Whither Wireless Security," Computerworld, 8/16/93, p. 1) * * * Late last month, a resident of St. Albert, a town in the Canadian province of Alberta, purchased a used PC hard-disk drive from Multitech Electronics, an Edmonton computer store. After installing the drive, the customer searched it for any files that might have been left there by the previous owner. It turned out there was quite a bit of information left on the drive, much to the dismay of the province's land titles offices. The disk drive contained the personnel records of every employee, including their salaries, attendance records, performance evaluations, and home addresses and phone numbers. Also on the disk were confidential memos about plans to take the land title department private. A local newspaper, The Edmonton Journal, published the story last week, along with the text of some of the embarrassing documents, and opened up a can of worms as enraged representatives of a government-workers union called the situation a breach of the public trust. A full investigation of the incident is underway. Here in the good old USA, a similar situation occurred to Super-Patriot Oliver North as some of his 'deleted' email came back to haunt him. Moral: Understand the technology you are working with and use proper precautions to safeguard your privacy. With a DOS machine, for instance, merely DELeting files from your hard drive does not actually erase them from the drive, it just marks the space where the file resides as being available for use by the system. So until some other program uses that space, the information is still physically on the drive. That's why the DOS UNDELETE command works. Any number of "disk wiping" utilities exist. (SOURCE: John P. McPartin, "Loose Disks Sink Ships," Information Week 8/9/93, p. 60) * * * In a related story, A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the government must preserve millions of electronic messages and memoranda under the same standards used for paper communications. The decision was hailed by historians and journalists. You can bet elected officials everywhere will be learning how to wipe their files carefully. Hint: a big magnet will do a pretty good job.(SOURCE: E-D-U-P-A-G-E 8/17/93) ====================================================================== Membership Has Its Privileges Last week Visa International introduced an executive information service that will let banks analyze their cardholders' buying patterns more effectively in order to target promotions to receptive customers. The VisaVue service will gives member banks software to analyze customer data, calculating for example how the purchasing patterns of certain age groups compare with national norms. Member banks, who will license the service from Visa, will receive monthly updates from Visa's customer database. (SOURCE: Information Week, 8/16/93, p. 16) * * * FREE CREDIT REPORT: SECOND THOUGHTS. It was pointed out to me be that the free credit report from TRW (B&Bv1#5) may not be so "free" after all, that even if you make the call you will be required to provide (by mail) proof of address, SSN, and (get this) your addresses for the past five years! Seems to me like a sneaky way of getting even more data on you. ====================================================================== Excerpts From Computer Privacy Digest 7/28-30/93 On 7/28/93, Kevin Calmes wrote: I thought the thing about private e-mail was a bit of a stretch. After all it is the employer's computer and it is the employers right to know what is there. Simply, don't put your private information in the company's computer. (REPLY 1) I would probably agree with that in principle, but I think there are laws or things that sound like laws that talk about a "reasonable expectation of privacy". I know first hand that a LOT of non-techie people who use corporate e-mail have no idea that someone other than the intended recipient can read their mail, and they are understand- ably rattled when they find out otherwise. -David Hoffman (REPLY 2) In the United States, *Federal Law* sets certain standards for any computer system that handles mail that is transferred intersystem, and it's called the Electronic Communications Protection Act, the same law that makes it illegal to monitor cellular phones. If your system is on the Internet or is otherwise connected to an outside network, certain rules are automatic and mandatory unless the system manager explicitly denies them. Failure to deny makes them automatic and mandatory. These provisions are: 1) Private Mail may not be intercepted, monitored or read by third parties. 2) In the absence of a subpoena, warrant or other process, the information in private E-Mail cannot be used in a court proceeding. 3) Violating these provisions is a federal crime punishable by fines and imprisonment, and the victim(s) can also sue civilly for up to $10,000 or provable damages. Let me ask you: your employer owns the telephone on your desk; should he have the right to record your telephone calls? He's paying for the call, shouldn't he be able to monitor anything transmitted? - Paul Robinson (REPLY 3) I agree with your basic premise that all company resources belong to the company, may only be used as sanctioned by the company, and may be monitored, accessed, and controlled as deemed appropriate by the company. However I find it difficult to apply a common standard to seemingly similar situations. If we assume, for sake of argument, that it's acceptable for my employer to monitor and access my "private" e-mail, then: o Is it also acceptable for my employer to do monitor my telephone calls as well? It is, after all, their telephone, and they put it on my desk for business use. Does this then give them the right to monitor my calls, with or without my knowledge? o How about voice mail? Isn't voice mail the moral equivalent of e-mail that just uses an alternate storage and I/O format? Should different rules apply to voice mail and e-mail? o Let go the limit: when the mail robot stops by and I drop a bill payment in the "Outbound" box, does my company have the right to open it? (Please, debate the ethics, not the legalities; I'm not sure when the mail in this box formally becomes U.S. Mail with which it would be illegal to tamper.) o How does the previous example change if the "Outbound" box is, by policy, for business related mail only, but I ignore policy and use it for personal use? Have I relinquished any rights? I'm not as interested in who has what rights as I am in how anyone can justify applying *different* policies for these various scenarios. It seems to me we need a single, consistent policy that covers all these bases. - Todd Jonz ====================================================================== "Bozo" Filters A microbiologist from Rootstown, Ohio, has stirred up a storm of controversy with a program that automatically wipes out anonymous messages on Internet, the nation's largest on-line network. He was offended by an anonymous user who posted a joke about the last words of the space shuttle Challenger's crew. Several colleges have also blocked electronic discussions on some subjects. Many online veterans complain that such actions threaten freedom of expression. (William M. Bulkeley, "Censorship Fights Heat Up On Academic Networks," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, p. B1.) This article failed to mention that the type of program mentioned, known to many on the net as a "bozo filter," is actually somewhat common and quite useful to net workers. If you subscribe to a lot of mailing lists, you will eventually want to use one. In addition to filtering out anonymous users, bozo filters can also filter out specific users who (in your humble opinion) have nothing useful to say about the subject at hand, and are wasting your time by forcing you to download and then delete their postings. Some mailing lists have many "threads," or topics of conversation going on, and bozo filters allow you to exclude topics you have no interest in. It's all very primitive at this point, but I anticipate that in the future, bozo filters will evolve into sophisticated programs that will scan incoming messages by subject and author and other user-definable criteria for relevance and sort them into meaningful queues for further processing by human operators. ====================================================================== High-Tech Harassment USA Today reports that sexual harassment is making inroads in cyberspace as female users increasingly report instances of lewd messages, suggestive graphics or even electronic stalking over computer networks. Most reported incidents have been at universities. (Ah, those crazy college kids - our hope for the future of America) Last year school officials at the University of Oregon posted signs warning against sexual harassment via e-mail after female students received nude pictures pulled off an Internet erotica news group. Some females deliberately choose gender neutral names online, and some find they are treated differently if it is known they are women. On the flip side of the coin, some men log on as women and proceed to come on to any and all males, who of course being manly men, respond to the objects of their imagined desires. All parties involved come out looking like bigger fools than they already are. Everyone, take a cold shower! (SOURCE: USA Today 8/6/93 p. B2, EDUPAGE 8/10/93) ====================================================================== High-Tech Censorship Here's are some interesting self-censorship concepts that *should* satisfy the people who want more control over the sex and violence on TV without depriving those of us who can tell the difference between TV and real life our cheap, vicarious thrills: +A patented digital technology offered by VideoFreedom Systems in San Diego lets you do your own censoring. The idea is that producers of digitally transmitted media can blur objectionable scenes and sounds, the way news programs on TV distort the faces and voices of anonymous sources. TV viewers (or movie theater operators) can then use the device to "de-blur" to their taste.(SOURCE: Information Week, 8/16/93) +The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee introduced legislation requiring new TV sets to be equipped with a violence detection chip, or "V chip." According to subcommittee chairman Senator Edward Markey, installing the chip will not add more than $1 to $5 to the cost of a TV set. The article I saw did not explain how the chip works. (SOURCE: E-D-U-P-A-G-E 8/12/93) ====================================================================== If privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy. - Cypherpunk Saying ====================================================================== Meet the Cypherpunks Data encryption standards may be the ultimate battleground for privacy rights in on-line America. Twenty years ago, nobody outside the National Security Agency knew much about cryptography, the study of codes, but the PC and the network have changed all that. Citing national security concerns, the NSA wants to limit the right to use cryptography. Concerned citizens, as well as a loose-knit group known as Cypherpunks, are fighting the government and making encryption technology generally available. (SOURCE: Steven Levy, "Crypto Rebels," Wired 1.2, May/June 1993, p. 54) Another good source of information about the cypherpunks and their agenda is the article "Cypherpunks, E-Money and the Technologies of Disconnection" by Kevin Kelly in the Whole Earth Review, #79 (Summer 1993). The Whole Earth Review is the single greatest magazine on earth. See At The Newsstand section below for access info. ====================================================================== PRIVACY RESOURCES: The Computer Privacy Digest is a forum for discussion on the effect of technology on privacy. The digest is moderated and gatewayed into the USENET newsgroup comp.society.privacy (Moderated). Submissions should be sent to and administrative requests to Back issues are available via anonymous ftp on []. The Privacy Journal is an independent monthly journal on privacy in a computer age. It will keep you well-informed of threats to your privacy posed by computer data banks, government investigations, electronic surveillance and other new technologies. They will send you a sample issue on request. (Privacy Journal, PO BOX 28577, Providence, RI 02908. or call 401/274-7861) ====================================================================== In Conclusion.... Such are the confounding issues of free speech in this brave new world of electronic publishing. As readers, we take for granted the fact that the information in responsible publications has been double- checked by responsible editors. Unfortunately, there's no such luxury where electronic bulletin boards or public E-mail systems are concerned. As use of these electronic forums explodes during the next several years, we could be looking at a legal nightmare. . . . As a user, it pains me to think that every piece of flame mail or offhand E-mail shot could be subject to the same legal scrutiny as something written in a newspaper column. But as a journalist, I don't think it can be any other way. The number of public bulletin boards has jumped more than tenfold in the last five years and now numbers more than 44,000. Prodigy claims to have 1.75 million users and more than 80,000 messages daily. Thus, the potential audience for a defamatory statement on Prodigy is the same as for the same statement in the Sunday New York Times. (Source: Paul Gillin, "Flame Out," Computerworld, 4/12/93, p. 32.) * * * This is the end of our special focus on privacy and freedom of speech in a digital universe, but by no means the end of our coverage of these and related issues. We have not mentioned, for example, the idea of computerized medical records as championed by health care reformers. While potentially a life saving and cost cutting measure, there is *enormous* possibility for misuse of such information. What do *you* think of entrusting such sensitive information to an outside party? Look for coverage of this issue in an upcoming B&B. ====================================================================== NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: +HIGH RESOLUTION FLAT SCREEN DISPLAY FROM XEROX. Scientists at Xerox Corp's Palo Alto Research Center announced the development of color and black-and-white flat-panel displays with resolutions of 16 million pixels. The displays are reportedly the highest pixel-count active matrix LCDs ever developed. The 13-inch B+W screen has a resolution of 3,072 by 2,048 pixels, 20 times the pixel count of a 13-inch B+W Video Graphics Array (VGA) displays. The color screen offers 1,536 by 1,024 pixel resolution. The article did not mention when this technology will be commercially available. (SOURCE: Computerworld 6/28/93, p. 28) +MORPHING COMES TO THE DESKTOP. In another demonstration of just how fast things are moving, here is access information for four different morphing packages for desktop computers. A year or two ago, morphing was *the* hot application in Hollywood. Michael Jackson used it to incredible effect in his videos (Michael turns into leopard, people blend into each other), and it was used for a lot of the fx in Terminator II. Morphing takes one image, and smoothly transforms it into another. Back in those days, you had to have a Silicon Graphics workstation or better to even think about doing it, now you can do it in the privacy of your own home. The packages are: - MorphWizard, a Windows-based package from ImageWare Software, can use images created in TGA, TIFF, GIF, PCX, BMP, CMP, JPEG, RLE, and other file formats. It also produces video or animation files of the morphing process in AVI, FLI or FLC format for viewing either within MorphWizard or in third-party applications. MorphWizard requires a 386SX IBM-compatible PC or higher with at least 4 MB of memory, running Windows 3.1 or later in enhanced mode. A 256-color VGA display or better is also required. The package lists for $139.00, but is available for $89.00 on an introductory basis. (CONTACT: ImageWare Software 619/457-8600) - PhotoMorph, from North Coast Software, is another Windows package. It includes is a runtime version of Video for Windows so you can distribute your animations. Several transitional effects are also possible. The list price is only $149.95. Sorry, I don't have any contact info for this one. - Rmorph, from Fascinations Software Co., is shareware, and should be available from your local BBS. It works just fine and is not a Windows program. Contact the author, Richard Goedeken through Compuserve [70304,1065], or call his support BBS, The Digital Phantom, at 319/396-4492 and leave a message to the Sysop or Richard Goedeken. The registration fee is only $20. This is an excellent way to get your feet wet with this technology. There is a Windows shareware Morphing program, but I have not seen it yet. - For the Mac, there is Morph, from Gryphon Software. This outputs a finished 'film' in a variety of formats, including quicktime. Retail Price is $149. Sorry, no contact info was provided. (SOURCES: Newsbytes 7/26/93, Randy's Rumor Rag 8/93, and Black Ice, Issue #1 [see At The Newsstand section below]) ====================================================================== AT THE NEWSSTAND CD-ROM Today. A new magazine covering CD-ROM technologies on IBM and Mac platforms for general audiences. Lots of reviews in the premiere issue. Black Ice (Issue 1). This one may be a bit harder to find, so I will provide access info below. Black Ice is a new "cyberpunk" zine from England, along the lines of MONDO 2000, but much better editorially. Topics covered include virtual reality, future TV, smart drugs, computer technology, multimedia, video games, alternative science and street tech (uses of technology out of context). Issue one has an interview with the guys that produced MTV's BUZZ, a short-lived cyber-esque news show(?), an article on Japanese junk food that must be read to be believed, and an interview with the people behind the Virtuality VR gaming system which can be found at malls across the US. (Black Ice Subscription Dept., PO Box 1069, Brighton BN2 4YT, England) The Whole Earth Review, just celebrating its 25th anniversary, is the single greatest magazine on earth. Covering a variety of subject matter with great panache is their forte. If I could only buy one magazine, this would be the one. It has introduced me to more useful books, tools and ideas than any other single source. The latest issue (#79, Summer 1993) has info and articles and reviews on cypherpunks, fuzzy logic, fractals, trees and man, living in small spaces, a beginner's guide to the world economy, electric screwdrivers, wood finishing, handheld sewing machines, mind/body medicine, AND MORE!!!!! You'll never know what to expect from this magazine. At better newsstands, or call 800/938-6657. ====================================================================== A Giant Leap... Sideways? For $99, Signature Software of Portland, Oregon will scan your handwriting into a MacIntosh and convert it into your own personalized Postscript font. This should be ideal for doctors and pharmacists who want to move into the digital age but still maintain that aura of complete unintelligibility when printing out prescriptions or directions for taking medication. (CONTACT: Signature Software: 508/386-3221) (SOURCE: Black Ice, Issue #1, January 1993) ====================================================================== ### ADMINISTRIVIA ### I'm running a little long this issue so I'll keep it brief. REQUEST FOR CONTRIBUTIONS. Send me interesting information. ACCESS. B&B is available for downloading on America Online in their telecom files area, and in Compuserve's telecom forum library. Delphi access is forthcoming. INTERNET ANONYMOUS FTP SITES: in /sys/gopher/pub/journals INTERNET GOPHER ACCESS. - in the Discussions and Listserv archives/ Teknoids directory - in the Electronic Journals directory If you decide to receive B&B Elsewhere, PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO UNSUBSCRIBE! THANKS! Thanks for all the letters of support and encouragement. If I wasn't such a humble guy, my head might swell just a little... I can also take a little criticism without crying; feedback of any kind is encouraged. See you next week! ====================================================================== BITS AND BYTES ONLINE, is a weekly electronic newsletter with too much on its mind. Email Subscriptions are available at no cost from or Put "SUBSCRIBE in the subject header and your email address in the body of the message. If you work for "the rail" send a similar message to my internal emailbox. To unsubscribe, send a message with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject header and your email address in the body. =============================================== Jay Machado = (Copyleft 1993 Jay Machado) *UNALTERED* = 1529 Dogwood Drive = electronic distribution of this file for = Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 = non-profit purposes is encouraged. The = ph (eve) 609/795-0998 = editor is solely responsible for the = ====================== = contents of Bits and Bytes Online, and he = I have no problems = likes it that way. The opinions expressed = with DOS either - I = herein do not necessarily represent = use UNIX. -anonymous = anyone's actual opinion. = =============== end of Bits and Bytes Online V1, #7.==================


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