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Skeptic Tank!

_/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ I n f o r m a t i o n, C o m m u n i c a t i o n, S u p p l y ------------- E l e c t r o Z i n e ------------------------------ ******************************************************************************** Established in 1993 by Deva Winblood Information Communication Supply 3/20/95 Vol.2: Issue 5-1 Email To: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU S T A F F : Email: ICS Positions: ============== ============ ============== Steven Peterson STU000012255 Managing Editor, Writer Russel Hutchinson c/o org_zine Writer, Subscriptions David Trosty STU000037486 Writer, Poetry Editor George Sibley FAC_SIBLEY Editing, Faculty Supervisor Others TBA All addresses @WSC.COLORADO.EDU _________________________________________ /=========================================\ | "Art helps us accept the human condition; | | technology changes it." | \ - D.B. Smith / \***************************************/ _____________________________________________________________________________ / \ | ICS is an Electrozine distributed by students of Western State | | College in Gunnison, Colorado. We are here to gather information about | | topics that are important to all of us as human beings. If you would like | | to send in a submission, please type it into an ASCII format and email it | | to us. We operate on the assumption that if you mail us something you | | want it to be published. We will do our best to make sure it is | | distributed and will always inform you when or if it is used. | \_____________________________________________________________________________/ REDISTRIBUTION: If any part of this issue is copied or used elsewhere you must give credit to the author and indicate that the information came from ICS Electrozine ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of ICS. Contributors to ICS assume all responsibilities for ensuring that articles/submissions are not violating copyright laws and protections. |\__________________________________________________/| | \ / | | \ T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S / | | / \ | | /________________________________________________\ | |/ \| | Included in the table of contents are some | | generic symbols to help you in making a decision | | as to whether an article or story may express | | ideas or use language that may be offensive. | | S = Sexual Content AL = Adult Language | | V = Violence O = Opinions | |____________________________________________________| |------------------------------------------------------------------| | 1) First Word -=- By Steven Peterson: The return of St. Mike. | | 2) WorldNet Tour Guide -=- By Staff: Veronica Gopher Searches-- | | A beginner's guide to usage and commands, with addresses. | | 3) Thoughts of the KNYGHT -=- By Jason Manczur: Poem. | | 4) Dirt -=- By David Trosty: Short story. An Odd little tale | | which explores the seamier aspects of a lawyer's life in | | the city. Not for the overly sensitive [AL, S]. | |------------------------------------------------------------------| |------------------------------------------------------------------| | 5) Pebble -=- By David Trosty: Poetry. | | 6) Cleansing the Channels: Censorship in CyberSpace -=- | | By Steven Peterson: Commentary on the "Communications | | Decency Act of 1995." [O] | | 7) Flam, Baby, Flam -=- By David Trosty: Jazz/Scat/Poetry. | | 8) ACCEPT->>> DELETE FORM1040 *.*;*.* -=- By Steven Peterson: | | Part one of a short story; action-adventure. [AL] | | 9) Last Word -=- Earthy Day Thoughts from the Editor. | |------------------------------------------------------------------| ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ *-----------------* | First Word \ | By Steven Peterson \ *----------------------* He's Back ... The King of Kinesthetic Calculus, The Sultan Of Swish, Michael Jordan. And despite the hype, the glorification, and the media over-kill, I'm stoked. I haven't really watched an NBA game since he "retired", and I've missed watching him perform his tongue-waving antics. Not the game itself, you understand, but the raw display of kinesthetic genius Jordan brings with him to every game. I have many fond memories, not of watching the games, but of the inspiration I felt after the games. During the first season the Bulls made it to the playoffs (91), I was working in a ski factory, using my mind and body to manipulate metal and machinery, shaping tips and basically in motion at all times. Watching Jordan at night always seemed to inspire me to greater efficiency the next day; he was a supreme example of mind united with body, performing the intricate internal calculus required to win NBA championships. Howard Gardner, a psychologist and writer of note, claims that there are seven basic areas of intelligence: bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intra- personal, linguistic, logical-mathematic, musical and spatial. Open displays of any of these intelligences, honed to perfection, never fails to inspire me. Without the almost religious level of worship the networks people desire, I believe we should cherish and respect all of these varied human talents. Even when the gods have a bad day ... Jordan wasn't terribly impressive his first day back: 7 for 28 from the field, 19 points, and a handful of steals, rebounds and assists. A little rusty--most of his shots were just a bit off--but still, a few flashes of grace, of genius in motion. It's good to have him back ... Anyway, enjoy the rest of the 'Zine. Think I'll go dribble for a while. -Ed. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- _________________________________________________ / W o r l d N e t \ \____________ Tour Guide ____________/ \_______________________/ | *VERONICA* | | -- GOPHER -- | \ *SEARCHES* / \---------------/ WorldNet Tour Guide is a feature which appears in ICS from time to time. The Guide consists of articles designed to help you in using the WorldNet to the fullest potential. These articles will range from tutorials on aspects of the 'Net (programs) to reviews of places and stuff we find out on the WorldNet (content). Why? Because together we know more than any one of us can know. If you would like to write a file or document to appear in this section, please do so. Send your final copy (in ASCII format) to: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU ------- This time around, we're going to explore VERONICA, a "very easy rodent- oriented net-wide index of computerized archives"; it's also one of the better ways of searching GopherSpace for information on a specific topic. The concept behind this gopher indexing and retrieval system is pretty basic: you enter a set of query word and/or commands at a prompt, and the program scans a list of the directories of 5,000+ gopher sites for menu items which match what you have entered. The results are presented as a normal gopher menu; choose and download as you would with any other gopher menu. Although veronica does NOT do full-text searches, it does also allow you to define your search in order to: a) bring back specific types of files, or b) just point you to the right directory. Currently, most of the VERONICA servers are searching a database which contains over 10 million items-- using the right keywords and commands is essential for efficient, productive use of this search engine. ------ Where to Log In: generally speaking, to the nearest gopher site which offers a VERONICA option on the menu (radiate your web...). Regardless of where you are, here are a couple of sites which DO offer this option: gopher.oss.net 70 --choose #2, InfoPro Resources/, then scroll to last page of the menu, number 49. gopher veronica.scs.unr.edu 70 --choose #12, "Search ... using Veronica" from the root directory. When you choose Veronica, you may be presented with a host of pre-defined search options. Most sites offer two pre-defined search types: > Search GopherSpace by keywords in Titles> Search Gopher DIRECTORIES ONLY for keywords in Titles> Simplified Veronica: Find Gopher MENUS only> Simplified Veronica: Find Gopher FILES> Search on the word "internet". This will return a menu list of (at most) 200 records that have the word internet in the title field. Just type- internet > Search on the word "internet", but specify 500 items instead of the default. Just type- internet -m500 or -m500 internet > Search for the words "electronic" and "magazine". This returns a menu list of (at most) 200 records that have _BOTH_ "electronic" and "magazine". Just type- electronic and magazine > Search for the keywords "electronic" or "magazine", specifying directories only. This will return a menu list of resources that have _EITHER_ electronic or magazine, and which are GOPHER DIRECTORY entries. Just type- electronic or magazine -t1 or -t1 magazine or electronic Examples for wild cards/word stemming: > The metacharacter "*" matches anything at the TRAILING END of a search word. Just type- electro* (will search for all titles with the word electronic, electrozine, ...) electro* or mag* (will search for all titles with the word electronic, electrozine, ..., _OR_ magazines, magic, magnets, ...) Examples for the operator "NOT": > To use the operator "NOT" in a query: Just type- electronic not magazine (will search for all titles with the word electronic _BUT NOT_ the word magazine) electronic magazine not ics (will search for electronic magazine titles with the words electronic _AND_ magazine _BUT NOT_ ics. Remember, there is an implied _AND_ between any two search words) SourceFile: HOW TO COMPOSE VERONICA QUERIES - June 23, 1994: Steven Foster. gopher://veronica.scs.unr.edu:70/00/veronica/how-to-query-veronica =+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+ -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Thoughts of the KNYGHT How can I eat the fish of anonymity And drink the wine of fame? Why does my life-line end, Then begin again? Who reads the walls In the women's restroom? When can a lemming Create a sonic boom? What do the undead see When they look at me? Where do books Go to be free? KNYGHT From: Jason Manczur SMTP%"MANCZURJI@mscd.edu" 16-MAR-1995 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> /--------\ | Dirt | >>>> By David Trosty \--------/ [Adult Language, Sexual Content] When I step into the shadows, my bangs get pasted like papier-mache to my forehead. Pelted by cold rain and the pale glow of the streetlights, I light up a damp cigarette. As I walk down the trash- strewn alley, the click of my heels reverberates down the brick lined corridor; the echoes are toying with my ears, mixed in with a gentle plinking of raindrops on the old, tin trashcans. The reflections of the streetlights break into a million fragments when I splash through the shallow puddles. I can smell my leather trenchcoat as the rain percolates through it, releasing its essence. My wingtips squeak with wetness with each assertive step that I take. The city is strangely deserted tonight. When I turn out onto the street my senses are bombarded by the flow of traffic and the sounds of people talking amongst themselves. The lights of the bars and restaurants are surrounded by peculiar glowing halos, like I'm in some kind of shabbily produced movie. The rain picks up and I head into a bar: not the one that I was looking for, but because of the weather, I have little choice. It is dark. Too dark to make out faces at first, but soon I can see the people, the snarling troubled people. Wolfen-men looking for vulnerable women to prey upon, and twisted women looking to be taken advantage of. An especially drunk woman comes up to greet me. "Hey there, want a drink?" Boy is she wasted. "Umm, sure. Scotch, on the rocks." I sit down. My arms stick to the bar from the tack of spilled beer. "Here you go, handsome. You look rich. What are you, a doctor or something?" "No, a lawyer." "I like that. What do you like?" I nervously take a gulp of my drink, as she runs her fingers gently down my chest. "I like to have a few drinks after work." "Oh, is that all. Don't you like women?" "Of course I do." "What do you think about sex with strangers?" The odd woman purred. I chew on my ice. "Look lady, all I'm trying to do is catch a little buzz after work, so why don't you hit on someone else?" "Because I like you, I think you're sexy. Your indifference turns me on." This woman leans closer to me, trying to whisper in my ear. Her fetid breath reeks of booze and cigarettes. "You can fuck me if you want. You can fuck me hard. You can beat me too. I like it rough like that. You can treat me any way that you want, rich lawyer." "What!? Lady you need some help." "The only help I need is between your legs." Without warning her hand is in my lap. I can feel her fingers searching for my belt buckle." "Get off me, crazy bitch!" I push her aside onto her ass, and I grab my coat. "You goddamm prick! Of all the guys in this bar I pick you to screw, you ungrateful bastard!" I rush into the rain, pushing and shoving my way through the crowds of faceless people. Blindfolded, pathetic people groping in the dark, struggling to find any distraction they can, no matter how self-destructive and twisted it is. I've lived in L.A. for six months and I've yet to meet a single person with their head screwed on straight. This sure ain't the midwest ... The rain, the dirty acidic rain bleeds out of my hair and into my eyes. My eyes burn, and I like it. It makes me realize that everything in this city is contaminated: the air, the street, the buildings, and the people. If I stay here, I know that soon I will be contaminated as well. I jog across the street dodging traffic, oblivious to the puddles of filthy water, trying to hail a cab. Something is choking me. It's my tie. I throw it off, and into a pile of trash. A cab soon stops for the rich- looking lawyer from the midwest. "Hey, mister, where to?" "First, 501 Hemlock Street, I'll only take a minute, than the airport." "O.K., mac." The cab is warm and dry. It's like a sanctuary, keeping the filthy and decrepit city away from me. "What'cha doin', goin' away on business?" "No, I'm going back home, to Kansas." "Oh yeah, my cousin ..." The cabbie is talking, but I don't hear a thing that he's saying. I'm thinking about home and how nice it's going to be to move back into my parent's house and be taken care of. I do miss mommie so very much. I hope that my room is still the same, waiting for me ... ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Information Communication Supply 4/19/95 Vol.2: Issue 5-2 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Pebble Round, smooth, tiny. Staring at me blankly. Beady eyes worn by the soles of the shoes that walk upon them. When I feel important I gaze down at my feet and realize that the pebbles I stand on are holding me up. - David Trosty, 1995. <+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+><+> Cleansing the Channels: Censorship in Cyberspace By Steven Peterson With the advent of every new communications medium, a culture must resolve a familiar set of problems related to the flow of information in the "agora," or public marketplace: Who will enforce community standards for content? How will we hold individuals accountable for their statements and claims? How do we balance the right to free expression with the right to universal access? In the case of the Internet, a worldwide medium of computer-mediated communication (or CMC), many people in our culture have expressed concern about the growing amount of socially unacceptable material available in the electronic agora of cyberspace: televised reports of children down- loading sexually explicit, fraudulent, and harmful data (such as detailed plans for the home-manufacture of bombs) has prompted parents, police, and other guardians of taste, morality, and public safety to begin an attempt to impose various control mechanisms on this new medium of communication. The problem of enforcing community standards for content, or "data control" in this case, invariably arises when people who relate to themselves, Aothers, or the world inauthentically employ any device or mechanism for public expression. In the world of CMC, technology creates a "virtual stage" where users can take advantage of the medium in order to assume created personas; in many cases, the sexually explicit, fraudulent, and/or harmful data posted on the Internet is generated by individuals who are engaged in extended fantasies or systematic delusions from which they imaginatively express perverse, or inauthentic relationships between: the libido and the conscious self, the self and other users, and between the self and the world in the case of List- Servs, bulletin board systems (BBSs), and discussion groups. The problem, "harmful" or obscene data, affects people in our society by threatening the viability of this new medium in terms of universal access-- the educative potential of free, instant access to information will be lost to our children if we cannot allow them to "surf the Net" out of moral concern. Unlike television, radio, and other print mediums there is presently little, if any, government control over the content of data flowing in "packets" across the network: reactionary opinions on the subject feature plans to impose fines and penalties for posting "obscene, lewd, or indecent" messages and graphic files on the 'Net; meanwhile, libertarian groups are staunchly opposing all plans to restrict or censor the vast domain of the Internet. The fact that every individual user has the "means of production" on his or her desktop introduces a different aspect to the age-old debate over control of a public communications medium: any attempt to centrally control content would require monitoring over 20 million users (or "producers") on a daily basis--in essence, the technology has outstripped our capacity to enforce any "standards" using conventional, existing mechanisms. Adding to the confusion is the nebulous nature of cyberspace; there are no real spatial or temporal boundaries as we know them in this international conduit for data exchange. Given the potential for free, rapid exchange between *all* users (no matter their geographical position), the chance of arriving at any specific, shared "global community standard" is remote; and even if it were possible, there is no real way to enforce any set of standards or practices across the actual boundaries of self-governing nations. Despite these difficulties, groups of individuals in America are instigating efforts to impose various mechanisms of control. Specifically, Senator Exon (D-Neb) and Senator Gorton (R-Wash.) recently introduced a bill known as the "Communications Decency Act of 1995"; if passed into law, this act would require the federal government to monitor Email, BBSs, and all other forms of digital data sent via modem over PC networks for "obscene, lewd, etc., comments and proposals." Individual users who are caught sending or posting "obscene" material by the government would be fined (up to $100,000) and/or sentenced to serve up to two years in jail. In fact, the large companies which run large BBSs (e.g. CompuServe and Prodigy) have already lobbied to have themselves exempted from prosecution under the Act; therefore, the bill will be aimed exclusively at the individual user, and the U.S. taxpayer will foot the bill for the small army of censors required to monitor the overwhelming flood of data exchanged on a daily basis via computer networks. This Act, which is pending approval by the U.S. Senate, would offer the advantage of placing some form of control over content, effectively "sanitizing" the 'Net and theoretically making cyberspace safe for our children's tender minds. This Act, if passed into law, would also present serious disadvantages: it would abrogate our Constitutional rights to free speech, and seriously compromise our alleged freedom from unreasonable search and seizure-that is, if it could even be enforced given the scale of the Internet (the latest estimates posit 30 million+ users worldwide). The congressional effort to resolve this problem has resulted in various groups committed to free-expression offering alternative perspectives and what are perhaps more realistic approaches to solving the problem of "obscene" data. Groups such as the "Voter's Telecommunication Watch" and the "Electronic Frontier Foundation" have posted the full text of the Act, along with analyses and response from "experts" in the CMC community in order to facilitate an informed debate on the issue. Generally speaking, these libertarian groups are more interested in revealing the complex nature of the problem than in offering a substitute plan for surveillance and enforcement. Most of them point out that the only real control parents can have over what material is available to their child- ren is that which they impose on their own; ultimately, this Act faces the same fate of all efforts to legislate morality--it is doomed to fail. The libertarian position on this problem essentially advocates no action on the part of our government to forestall the descent of the medium to the lowest common denominator of human behavior and experience. To its advantage, this plan of non-action would preserve our Constitutional rights and would foster the rapid growth of the medium (using the unassailable logic that any attempt to monitor the systems would result in a toxic amount of entropy entering the processes of CMC--the 'Net would seize as government officials attempt to monitor millions of data-packets). To its disadvantage, the libertarian plan would leave what is arguably the largest medium for communication ever known to man wide open to the depredations of the perverse and inauthentic among us. The clear, clean access to information offered by the medium that these organizations prize and are attempting to protect could well be threatened by an unending stream of psycho-social and sexual effluvium which could easily clog the channels opened by CMC--in which case, the libertarian objections to censorship could backfire. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a local BBS system operator, Clayton Dukes, who has found a different solution to the problem of access while maintaining an "Adult BBS" in Florida: he required all users to enter the information on their Driver's license, which he would check against DMV records before he would allow anyone access to his board. Although the plan was hardly foolproof, Dukes found it a viable method for allaying the fears of his local community (his plan may have also kept him from being prosecuted under city and county statutes). Dukes' plan offers the advantage of lifting any restrictions on content at the expense of universal access--in the case of a small BBS, the cost is acceptable. The primary disadvantages of his plan are that it places too much responsibility on the system operator (who must bear the burden of checking everybody's info without the benefit of actually seeing the photo or the person), and ultimately, it can be compromised by any kid with a computer, time on his hands, and access to his father's wallet. Personally, I can't support the congressional plan--it tries to use obsolete methods to impose a non-rational amount of control over self- expression on a scale never before attempted. Imagine the cost of our FCC, which monitors radio and television broad-casting, if it were suddenly held responsible for policing ten or fifteen million new "stations" and you begin to grasp the enormity of the situation, and the potential cost to taxpayers for what would most likely be a task worthy of Sisyphus. On the other hand, some measures need to be taken to insure the relative clarity and consistency of information on a given site--a policy of non-action may prove equally destructive to the medium. Obviously, there is no simple, pat solution to the dilemma, so I won't venture one; however, I do have a tentative suggestion: invoke the weight of peer-pressure to require some form of public-key encryption for all "adult" sites on the 'Net (i.e. use PGP, a widely available freeware program, to scramble images and files on BBSs--a variation on Dukes' technique which would provide a partial solution). This idea would serve to limit the total amount of objectionable material freely available without infringing too heavily of freedom of expression or requiring the government to invest time and money attempting the impossible. The ideal solution, however, may be in every household: parents can easily control access to the net by password-protecting their machines and monitoring their children's activities to the extent which is necessary. All modern PCs can easily be configured to require passwords for any operation, or you can simply "lock out" the modem software (see your manual or just ask your local computer "guru" how-to)--it's free, and better yet, it places the issue where it belongs: in the home. In my humble way, I will become engaged in the solutions I've described. At an individual level, I often serve as "guru" for friends and acquaintances; therefore, I can teach people how to regain control of their computers from precocious children. At a cultural level, I intend to offer this essay to members of Congress, the White House, and the general public via email in hopes that it will encourage further dialogue and thought on this important issue. Our new "agora" is at stake ... and I, for one, am *not* willing to cede control of it to half-baked zealots OR degenerate sleaze-mongers. Together, we can arrive at a solution, and together we must, or we face losing control of the technology and finding ourselves in its service, rabidly reading each other's email in the Ministry of Truth and reporting to Big Brother. (c) Copyright 1995 by Steven Peterson -------------------------------------------------- For Additional Reading: * gopher panix.com 70 --cd Voter's Telecom/Exon * ftp ftp.eff.org --cd eff/Legislation: many files, variously listed under h.r.1004, s.b.314 and s.b.652. --cd pub/CuD: Computer Underground Digest (7.13) * Congressional Weekly --most recent issues. Note: the "Comm. Decency Act" was recently subsumed under Senate Bill 652; see Commerce Committee. * PC, Wired, MacWorld, Internet World, Reason, and other mainstream magazines: see Feb - current 1995 issues for commentary and industrial, legal and "expert" perspectives. [-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-] Flam, Baby, Flam Hey now brother do you know what I mean, I tell you flam, baby, flam is on the scene. Can you hear it now, cutting through the night? That flam-bam-baby beat is out of sight. Flam comes from the city where jazz was born, and blows through the country, a flam-bam ke-zam storm. Hey bop, don't stop the be-bop-- yeah! Can you feel it, it's in you, let me show you where. Hap-dat, cool cat, that's it baby-- right there. --David Trosty, 1995. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ACCESS->>> DELETE FORM1040 *.*;*.* By Steven Peterson Special Treasury Agent Tom Rider glanced back at his partner in the dim dormitory hallway, braced himself, and gave the metal door a heavy, awkward kick ... "FREEZE!" he bellowed, rushing in through the doorway. Rider and Agent Crenshaw, his partner, leveled their drawn weapons at two half-dressed college students sitting on their beds, stunned expressions on their faces. Rider glanced around and noted the contents of the room: dirty laundry piled in the corners, posters of Michael Jordan on the walls, mountain bikes tucked away behind the bathroom door, empty beer bottles strewn to one side of the crowded room, and a prize stack of old pizza boxes on the desk-- no machines, no disks, no manuals--something felt wrong ... "Got him, Crenshaw?" Rider asked as he reached for his 'cuffs and cautiously moved toward the youth sitting near the window. "Yeah ... I got him." "Relax, boys, and this can go easy." The stunned boys offered no resistance as Rider and Crenshaw hand- cuffed them, then sat them down on one of the beds. Rider pulled out his ID, flashed it, and put it away. "My name is Special Agent Rider, my partner here is Crenshaw--we're with the Treasury Department ... now, which one of you is Brian Fuchs?" "That would be me, sir," an unsteady response from the larger of the two boys. A subtle note of fearsweat began to pierce the dormroom funk. "Tell me, Brian, when was the last time you logged on to your account on the school computer?" Rider leaned in toward the boy, pressing whatever advantage he could gain from intimidation. "Uh, I tried to figure out my email a couple weeks ago, if that's what you mean." Crenshaw snorted in response, turning around and looking out the window; Rider looked down and continued his interrogation. "What do you use to write your papers, Brian?" "A Macintosh--they're easier." "Have you ever taken a computer class?" The edge had left his voice. "Uh, no." To the other boy, "how about you?" "You kiddin' ... I'm a Rec major, I ask *him* for help. Why?" Rider ignored his question and shifted his gaze. "Brian, have you ever heard of `NiteHack' or `TRSNET'?" "Uh, no." "Wait here for a minute, boys, we'll be right back." Rider and Crenshaw ducked back out to the hallway, leaving the door partially open. "Christ," Crenshaw began, "NiteHack's been kiting access-- neither one of them kids knows enough to log-goddam-out, let alone crack a digital switch or write code. This is a waste of time; he could be anywhere. Let's go find that lab assistant." * * * They only knew him by his handle, "NiteHack". A lone crackpot, a brilliant crackpot--somehow, he had managed to reprogram the switches outside of Ogden to route all data-traffic over TRSNET through his own switchboard. Once he had the passwords, he launched his little sub-routine. Before anyone had even suspected anything was wrong, NiteHack had encrypted terabytes of "secure data" and had left the Internal Revenue Service scrambling to explain how all their files, and millions of other financial files around the world, had been turned to electronic gibberish. Mechanically, it shouldn't have been possible; it was the human factor. Sloppy housekeeping, slips of paper with the crucial data floating around: it was bound to happen. When the Service launched the "Electronic Return Verification" datasearches, people began to resent it. The new search- engines crawl through billions of files accessible over TRSNET, returning with a composite portrait all neatly laid out in legally admissible form: loopholes and trapdoors through the revised codes were rendered non-existent. Or irrelevant, unless you wanted to play with the piranha on the black market. Rider had been assigned to the case a little late in the game; the whiz kids in Utah thought they could crack the code, or at least perform enough backup to restore functions before incoming files would be threatened. Sure, the system *could* be backed up from scratch, and Rider's search wouldn't matter, if the Service had the luxury of calling "time-out" for about, say, five years (according to the whizkids, anyway). After tracking Nitehack's brief "ransom note" down a merry trail of anonymous remailers, Rider and Crenshaw find themselves in a grungy college computer lab, questioning the work-study student who serves as monitor ... "Have you noticed anyone unusual hanging around the lab?" "Well, sir, I try not to look too closely--people are pretty self- conscious in here as it is, tryin' to write their papers and all." "How about somebody switching terminals, you know, bouncing around?" "Well, once an hour I do a head count ... but unless somebody comes up and asks me for help, I don't really notice. Hmm, there's a lot of modem traffic lately, have you checked into that?" "Yes," Rider replied, "but we're looking for someone who most likely shoulder-surfed some passwords; or, he might have kited accounts that weren't logged out. Think, now ... anybody?" "Sorry, sir ... but I'll keep my eyes open." "Yeah, thanks, just tell your boss, he has our number." Crenshaw emerged from the storage closet and joined Rider on his way out of the lab; the indifferent students returned to their typing, and the lab monitor went back to her pointing and clicking. Numbers numbers numbers. NiteHack was using them; and in his ransom note, he seemed to have one in mind: $184,642. It was his bounty, his price for the encryption key. The figure was absurd--it had to be the sum total of a lifetime's taxes. But who's, that was the question. Ironically, the only way to get a match on the dollar figure required the use of the very files Nitehack had hashed; he had them where he wanted them, and it was a miracle that the media hadn't caught wind. Rider's cell-phone rang as he climbed in his car... "Rider." "Agent Rider, progress report." "Yessir. We're pretty sure the perp is not a student--the labs here are wide open; he must be using stolen accounts, fake IDs on the BBSs, mirrors, anonymous remailers, you name it--it's a mess. We've questioned the lab monitors and sys_ops: nothing." "We figured on that. Keep searching ... we're pretty sure he's in the area. The shrinks say he's probably 28-56, works a day job, a loner-- the usual complement of anti-social tendencies." "Gee, thanks, boss. Anything else?" "Get him, Rider ... even if we pay him off, there's no guarantee that he'll cough up that key." Rider folded up his phone and looked at Crenshaw: "Well, they've ruled out left-handed nuns with astigmatism down at the home office--otherwise, we're right back where we started from." Rider's phone beeped again; he pulled it out and listened: "Incoming data transfer, prepare for download," the message repeated itself waiting for the return signal. Rider gave Crenshaw a nod toward the laptop on the seat and booted it up; Crenshaw pulled out an adaptor from the glove compartment and connected it. After a moment, they both craned to read the message on the small, greenish screen: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tune In Next Time (ICS 2-6) For The Thrilling Conclusion .... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ +-----------+ | Last Word \ +---------------+ 500,000 sheets of paper, 1.5 million lines of code, and one lone, daring reader in Egypt. I plan to use all the three figures next Saturday when the staff of ICS mans a table at the local Earth Day celebration. Our theme (or excuse for shameless self-promotion) will focus on "Paperless Publication and the Future of our Forests"; hence the figures. Over the course of the last two years, we estimate that it would have required at least a half-million sheets of paper to send all of our subscribers actual hard-copies of our 'Zine. Wow. That's a lotta trees. The 1.5 million lines of code refers to the latest version of Word- Perfect for Windows--that's three times what is required to run the Space Shuttle while it's in flight. Wow. That's a lotta machine Power. Our lone, daring subscriber in Egypt (not a place well known for its intellectual freedom of late) has become almost larger than life in my mind since I received the terse subscription request a few months ago. I don't know his or her name, or anything about this reader; yet ... the medium, the means, and the motion of electrons across cyberspace has forged this loose (but conscious) tie between me and my unknown brother or sister. Beyond all differences of faith, philosophy, and "life-styles" we are inevitably here, *on this planet*, and (alone but) together, we just may find a way to live with the Earth, instead of just living on it. Live Well. -Ed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICS would like to hear from you. We accept flames, comments, submissions, editorials, corrections, and just about anything else you wish to send us. We will use things sent to us when we think they would be appropriate for the issue coming out. So, if you send us something that you DO NOT want us to use in the electrozine, please put the words NOT FOR PUBLICATION in the subject-line of the mail you send. You can protect your material by sending a copy to yourself through the snail-mail and leaving the envelope unopened. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BACK ISSUES: Back Issues of ICS can be FTPed from ETEXT.ARCHIVE.UMICH.EDU They are in the directory /pub/Zines/ICS. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICSICSICSICSICSIC/ I C S \ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSIC ICSICSICSICSICS/ ElectroZine \ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICS \ / An Electronic Magazine from \ / Western State College \ / Gunnison, Colorado. \ / ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU \/ '*' ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICS Staff Public PGP Key: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- Version: 2.6 mQCNAy9qAzEAAAEEAKd5TPTvxMsDL8UWEYADiukOzUxpfDh0SUwxs3lTnjmDyrMm MlybKR6PxsgPmpsSWG3F5F/zg6SYkTYgjJHwERHjcan+/4Cyp+Ex+NT1KFSvvIqX nJppuSrRu4pHYUIegACztqJGOKo2B6aD3VOe0KLP8MVLCLQjB96WdfBHQiotAAUR tB9JQ1MgPG9yZ196aW5lQHdzYy5jb2xvcmFkby5lZHU+ =8osG -----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----

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