Der Weltanschauung Magazine (The WorldView) Origination HOUSTON, TEXAS USA
Der Weltanschauung Magazine (The WorldView) Origination: HOUSTON, TEXAS USA
% Editor: The Desert Fox D E R %
% Co-Editor: Rev. Scott Free %
% W E L T A N S C H A U U N G %
November 9, 1991 Volume 1, Issue 9
Material Written By Computer And Telecommunications Hobbyists World Wide
Promoting the publication of Features, Editorials, and Anything Else....
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"WELCOME TO THE MACHINE" -Pink Floyd
"Let us arise, let us arise against the oppressors of humanity; all kings,
emperors, presidents of republics, priests of all religions are the true
enemies of the people; let us destroy along with them all juridical, political,
civil and religious institutions."
-Manifesto of anarchists in the Romagna, 1878
The World View Staff: InterNet Address:
The Desert Fox [Editor] / firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Scott Free [CoEditor] / email@example.com
Bryan O' Blivion / firstname.lastname@example.org
Modok Tarleton / email@example.com
The Sorcerer (REV) / firstname.lastname@example.org
Brain On A Stick / email@example.com
Cyndre The Grey / firstname.lastname@example.org
Houston, Texas...Honesty Is Our Only Excuse
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU ARE GETTING THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME, PLEASE SEND MAIL
TO email@example.com WITH FEEDBACK STATING WHETHER OR NOT YOU WISH TO
CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THIS PUBLICATION... Thanks!
FOR BACK ISSUES, CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) The Perils Of Liberty...................................Gipson Arnold
2) CPSR Conference Video Tapes.............................The Desert Fox
3) Castration Of The Innocent..............................The Adversary
4) On The Subject Of Computer Vandalism....................Cyndre The Grey
5) HO HO Con...............................................NIA/Phrack
6) Recent Updates (Important Information!).................Bryan O' Blivion
7) Computers & The Second Amendment: An Opening Volley.....Jacque Shellacque
8) Editor's Notes..........................................The Desert Fox
9) A Call To Arms..........................................Cyndre The Grey
THE PERILS OF LIBERTY
By Gipson Arnold, Atheist Network Interim Director
A Commentary Reprinted With Permission From The Atheist Network Journal
Socrates introduced humankind to a new era of human thought by daring to
ask questions. If we try to engage in even the simplest mental activity
without asking questions in a systematic way, we see why modern thought is
so often said to have begun with Socrates. The materialist Greek and Roman
philosophies that grew from Socratic thinking were snuffed out by
Christianity when the Roman Empire became 'Holy', but the seeds of ideas sown
by the Greek and Roman philosophers encouraged a growth away from religious
control during the Renaissance. One of the most enduring trends of Western
culture has been the mercurial movement away from religious authority.
Philosophers and social observers often compare the development of a
secular culture with the growth experiences of a human individual. Like the
progression from birth to infancy through childhood into adolescence and on
to adulthood, the transition from spiritually based authority to a more
rational system can be long and difficult. Like a growing child, a culture
'coming of age' might doubt its ability to cope with responsibilities and
problems that beset a free society. History provides countless examples of
populace fearful of a lack of rigid control over the lives of individuals.
If a large segment of society becomes concerned that things are 'getting out
of hand,' the prospect of tyranny multiplies. In times of crisis (epidemic,
famine, war, economic depression, or social unrest), a secular culture may
lose its confidence in reason and seek refuge in the 'easy answers' and
'security' of religion. The staggering loss of life during the bubonic plague
in the 14th century drove Europeans hysterically toward the Roman Catholic
Church. In the early 1900's, scientific theories threatened many American
Protestants, sparking the first mass fundamentalist movement. Runaway
inflation, political agitation, labor activism, and hedonism rocked post-
World War I Germany. Hitler's brownshirt troops answered the German public's
clamor for order, the Nazis rose to power with the cooperation of business
and the Christian churches. In Leni Riefensthal's chilling documentary film
Triumph of the Will, hundreds of thousands of Germans cheered wildly as
Herman Goering announced the suspension of civil liberties and the
subjugation of the justice system to National Socialist ideology.
Only a few days ago, a reactionary core of bureaucrats attempted a
coup in the USSR to reinstate pre-glasnost totalitarian rule. Soviet
citizens in every republic stood up to the eight-man jaunta in a triumph of
human valor; in three short days, initiatives toward liberalization and
independence were back on track. Though the Soviet Union is beleaguered by
ethnic strife, food shortages, political uncertainty, and sweeping social
change, her diverse peoples asserted their preference for a precarious
democracy over the relative safety of dictatorship. Everyone within reach of
a newspaper, radio, or television can look to the Soviet people's repudiation
of the coup with justifiable pride and optimism.
In the face of the stirring Soviet example, Americans seem to be
taking their freedoms for granted. A handful of citizens have marshalled
a campaign of pressure to restrict our hard-won liberties. Self-appointed
arbiters of morality want to narrow the range of what Americans may watch on
television, listen to on radio, and view at art museums. Christian
fundamentalists groups work to impose prayer and other religious points of
view on pluralistic, secular public schools. Right-wing evangelicals want to
enforce laws limiting the rights and opportunities of gays, lesbians, and
unmarried persons living together. Others respond to today's flurry of crime
and drug abuse by suggesting martial law for the United States. While news
commentators smugly refer to the shaky beginnings of self-determination in
the Soviet Union, they ignore the menace to our Constitutional rights at
Life is not easy under the best of circumstances. The maintenance of
freedom is a delicate balancing act-keeping one person's rights from
intruding on the rights of another. The temptation to impose one arbitrary
standard of morality on every member of our pluralistic population will
always be with us; it must be resisted. There are unsavory trends in the
United States toward narrowing of artistic and political expression,
intolerance of alternative lifestyles, and abandoning commitments to equal
opportunity. These trends underscore an increasing desire for authoritarian
control, and religious institutions are helping fuel this desire. Citizens
need to encourage cultural maturity so we may deal with the difficulties of
freedom effectively and fairly.
Public Service Announcement #1 (FYI)
The videotapes from the CPSR Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy
(March, 1991, San Francisco) are now available for purchase. Pass the word to
other interested people, libraries, etc.
The full set of 15 videotapes provides gavel-to-gavel coverage of the
1. The Constitution in the Information Age
2. Trends in computers and Networks
(P.Denning, Quarterman, Neumann, Hellman, Chaum, Farber)
3. International Perspectives and Impacts
(Veeder, Riley, Flaherty, Plesser)
4. Personal Information and Privacy - I
(Goldman, Baker, Westin, Rotenberg)
5. Personal Information and Privacy - II
(Davies, Hendricks, Mandel, Ware, L.Hoffman)
6. Network Environments of the Future
7. Law Enforcement Practices and Problems
(Snyder, Delaney, Boll, Ingraham, Tenney)
Enforcement and Civil Liberties
(Zenner, Rosenblatt, Kapor, Gibbons, Figallo, Beckman,
9. Legislation and Regulation
(Schiffries, Julian, Berman, Bernstein, Maxwell, McLellan,
10. Computer-Based Surveillance of Individuals
(Krug, Nussbaum, Marx, Flaherty, Nycum)
11. Security Capabilities, Privacy and Integrity
12. Electronic Speech, Press and Assembly
(Rose, Rickard, Perry, McMulle
n, Lieberman, Hughes)
13. Access to Government Information
(Hammitt, Mawdsley, Burnham, Veeder)
14. Ethics and Education
(D.Denning, Parker, Hollinger, Gilmore, Budd, Bowman, Winograd)
15. Where Do We Go From Here?
(Bernstein, Culnan, Hughes, Ingraham, Kapor, Lieberman,
Parker, Schiffries, Veeder, Warren)
For a brochure detailing the contents of all 15 videotapes, call, write, or
Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Video Library Project
Topanga, CA 90290
The individual session tapes are $55 each plus $4 shipping and handling. The
full set of 15 tapes is $480 plus $15 shipping and handling. (Calif. residents
add sales tax.)
Castration Of The Innocent In The Interest Of Public Welfare
And Other Tales O' Wonderment
By The Adversary
The latest trend in the mo
dem community today is in the efforts towards
unity and legal security in the "Real" or outside world. Personally I'm
not so sure I like the side effects its causing and how it will effect
the shape of our "Silicon Society" to come. Even now with the low cost
availability of PC's and peripherals the local boards have become
overcrowded and the overall quality of modeming has decreased. Maybe
I've become a little to burnt out, or been around to long to be objective.
But the upward trend in ou
r so called hobby, is in my opinion less than
positive. A few years ago when boards and users were fewer, the modem held
a certain dark romance as well as a oneness with the small circle of users
that frequented the local scenes. The influx of younger Sysops and Users
today, has given rise to discrimination and general disregard for modem
ethics. There has always been a certain amount of prejudice against those
with less than up to date equipment, but its gotten worse of late. Now
with the c
ries of "Public Acceptance" and "Computer Rights" I feel a sense
of impending doom upon us. I don't like the Hardcore Police Actions that
the Telecommunications Community has been subjected to, and there is a
need for better legislation. But sometimes progress in one direction
has dire results on the whole. The modem has been a Virtual Frontier of
sorts, but much like the western frontier of America, with justice also
comes complacency and order. As the legal system catches up with us,
tunately corporate America will as well, with its death grip of
commercialization. I doubt that the Spirit and Arrogance that has brought
the modem community this far, will still remain twenty years from now. And
if I am correct the modem will become the tame docile pet of Mr and Mrs
Joe Average of the Twenty First Century. So as we all band together to
fight the good fight for our legal rights and public understanding,
remember to be cautious and aware of every misstep. For all Frontiers must
eventually end, let us not be to quick to end this one...
On the Subject of Computer Vandalism
By Cyndre the Grey
Looking around our modem community I hear talk about
viruses and plans to implement them on computer systems run
by "geeks" and other sysops who have angered them in one way
or another. I understand that some people have a problem
with power trips but this is a little out of
hand. A BBS
that I was very fond of went down the other day because of
some munchkin on a power trip uploading a virus to the
system. As you may have guessed, that is what prompted this
The system that was taken down was The Dickinson Nightlight.
This is a very popular BBS in the Houston area that supported over
700 users. Someone uploaded a virus to the BBS that completely
destroyed the software and hardware. The computer was un-bootable.
It proceeded to munch on several direc
tories on the drive. It was
even beyond the 'boot off of a floppy' stage. This BBS was operated
by one of the greatest guys in the BBS community and was used by many
great people. It was also the main distribution site for this very
publication. I would like to congratulate the geek who successfully
destroyed a terrific outlet for our freedom of speech, files, and some
very interesting message areas where hundreds of people spoke their peace.
It is now a federal offense to upload a virus. Luckily f
or the schmuck who
did it, the harddrives had to be formatted in order to recover them.
It is people like this that give the cyberpunk community a bad name.
Our community is advancing beyond everyone's wildest dreams. Yet, someone
has to take matters into their own hands and do something of this magnitude.
I would personally like to see this individual in prison for his immaturity.
If the facts ever do surface, that is exactly where this person will be.
People don't seem to real
ize that when this happens, it not
only effects the sysop, but also the users who frequent the
BBS and download files. Today the FCC is trying to
"regulate" the use of BBSs. If we lose that battle, there
probably won't be very many left. In the mean time, we are
battling each other and running around in circles. If
we continue on this course, they will have no need for
regulating us, we will have already killed ourselves off.
Now is the worse time to be playing VIRUS GAMES! We are all
t to see that.
If you are one of these power tripped users and are
thinking about "downing" a system, just remember that there
are also many users that are inconvenienced in the process,
and with every infected upload, you just help the FCC and
NOBODY else. In short, just who's side are YOU on??
Cyndre The Grey
(I know who's side I'm on.)
- Please send any and all comments to: email@example.com
NIA & Phrack Magazine, & dFx International Digest Are Proud To Present:
The Second Annual
X M A S C O N
Who: All Hackers, Journalists, Security Personnel, Federal Agents, Lawyers,
Authors and Other Interested Parties.
Where: Houston Airport Hilton Inn
500 North Belt East
Houston, Texas 77060
Tel: (713) 931-0101
Fax: (713) 931-3523
When: Friday December 27 through Sunday December 29, 1991
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read it right... Xmascon has returned! This
will undoubtedly be the telecom event of the year. Unlike certain conferences
in the past, Xmascon 91 has a devoted and dedicated staff who are putting in
an unmentionable ammount of time to ensure a large, vast and organized
collection of some of
the most diversified people in the telecommunications
world. The event will be open to the public so that anyone may attend and
learn more about the different aspects of computer security.
The Houston Airport Hilton Inn is located about 6 miles from Intercontinental
Airport. The Xmascon group room rates are $49.00 plus tax (15%) per night,
your choice of either single or double. There are also 7 suit
es available, the
prices of which vary from $140 to $250. You can call the hotel to find out
the differences and availability of the suites, and you will also NEED to
tell them you are with the Xmascon Conference to receive the reduced room
rate, otherwise, you will be paying $69.00. There is no charge for children,
regardless of age, when they occupy the same room as their parents. Specially
designed rooms for the handicapped are available. The hotel provides free
transportation to and from the ai
rport, as well as neighboring Greenspoint Mall,
every 30 minutes on the hour, and on call, if needed. There are 2 restaurants in
the hotel. The Wicker Works is open until 11:00 pm, and The
Forty Love is open 24 Hours. There will also be breakfast, lunch and dinner
buffets each day. There is a piano bar, The Cycle Club, as well as a sports
bar, Chaps, which features numerous table games, large screen tv, and a disco
with a DJ. Within the hotel compound, there are 3 pools, 2 of which are
indoors, a j
acuzzi, a miniature golf course, and a fully equipped health club
which features universal weights, a whirlpool and sauna. A car rental agency
is located in the hotel lobby, and you can arrange to pick your car up at
either the airport or the hotel. Xmascon attendees are entitled to a
discounted rate. Contact the hotel for more information.
Xmascon will last 3 days, with the main conference being held on Saturday,
December 28, in the Osage meeting room, starting at 12:00 p.m. and continuing
roughout the evening. This year, we have our own complete wing of the
hotel, which is housed around a 3,000 square foot atrium ballroom. The wing
is completely separated from the rest of the hotel, so we are strongly
encouraging people to make their reservations as far in advance as possible
to ensure themselves a room within our area.
We are hoping to have a number of people speak on a varied assortment of
topics. If you would like to speak, please contact us as soon as possible and
let us know
who you are, who you represent (if anyone), the topic you wish to
speak on, a rough estimate of how long you will need, and whether or not you
will be needing any audio-visual aids.
There will be a display case inside the meeting room which will hold items of
telecom interest. Specific items that will be available, or that we hope to
have, include the first issues of 2600, Tap, Mondo 2000, and other magazines,
non-computer related magazines that feature articles of interest, a wide
array of boxes
, the Quaker Oats 2600 mhz whistle, The Metal AE, etc. We will
also have a VCR and monitor set up, so if you have any interesting videos
(such as the Unsolved Mysteries show featuring Kevin Poulsen), or if you have
anything you think people would enjoy having the chance to see, please let us
know ahead of time, and tell us if you will need any help getting it to the
conference. If all else fails, just bring it to the con and give it to us
when you arrive.
Media support has been very strong so far
. Publications that have agreed to
print pre-conference announcements and stories include Computer World, Info
World, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Austin Chronicle, Houston
Chronicle, Independent Journal, Mondo 2000, CuD, Informatik, a leading
Japanese computer magazine, NME, Regeneration (Germany), and a few other
European based magazines. PBS stations WHNY, WNET, and KQED, as well as the
stations that carry their syndicated shows, will be mentioning the conference
also. If you are a j
ournalist and would like to do a story on Xmascon 91, or
know someone who would, contact us with any questions you may have, or feel
free to use and reprint any information in this file.
If anyone requires any additional information, needs to ask any questions,
wants to RSVP, or would like to be added to the mailing list to receive the
Xmascon updates, you may write to either myself (Drunkfux), Judge Dredd, or
Lord Macduff via Internet at:
via US Mail at:
Hard Data Corporation
P.O. Box 60695
We will hopefully have an 800 mailbox before the next update is sent out. If
someone cares to donate a decent one, that will stay up throughout the end of
the year, please let us know. We should also b
e listing a few systems as an
alternative form of reaching us.
Xmascon 91 will be a priceless learning experience for professionals, and
gives journalists a chance to gather information and ideas direct from the
source. It is also one of the very few times when all the members of the
computer underground can come together for a realistic purpose. We urge
people not to miss out on an event of this caliber, which doesn't happen very
often. If you've ever wanted to meet some of the most famous peo
ple from the
hacking community, this may be your one and only chance. Don't wait to read
about it in all the magazines, and then wish you had attended, make your
plans to be there now! Be a part of our largest and greatest conference ever.
Remember, to make your reservations, call (713) 931-0101 and tell them you're
By Bryan O'Blivion
The pace o
f events in our cyberuniverse is picking up, dear readers,
and it should come as no surprise to learn that the Lone Star State is getting
quite well known as a place where cyberevents and orgs happen instead of just
being talked about.
The World View's own CYBERLUNCH held Oct. 12 in Houston, was a
success, with representatives from the nationally famous ComSec Data Security
attending as well as NIA magazine. Numerous local sysops and enthusiasts
appeared, and the whole meeting turned into
a general party afterwards.
There is apparently a great amount of interest from local cyberfolk in
moving up from Houston's vigorous local board scene to the wide horizons of
the Usenet news feeds and the InterNet's uucp email services. Currently, local
access to these feeds is handled by three brave and groundbreaking local
NixPub (public access UNIX) systems: NuChat, Taronga Park, and Sugarland Unix.
These good people allow their users to send email worldwide and to access the
feeds in a manner which will later be recognized as truly
For now, however, these systems are fragile and are easily overtaxed by
the requirements of new and would-be users. PLEASE, if you want an account on
these systems, do your unix homework to the point where you can use the shell,
the tass and vnews newsreaders, and the elm mailer by yourself --- the sysops
just do not have time or inclination to give each new user a custom tutorial -
- nor should they. Remember also, that
any abuse of access privileges or of
the sysops' time and patience is a great disservice to the cybercommunity as a
whole. These good people have devoted years of their time and thousands worth
of hardware to make InterNet access a reality for ordinary users like us, and
they need our support rather than a lot of hassle.
There is a plan to make the Korova MilkBar [(713) 492-2783] a training
ground where docs and unix user's classes can be had for those who are willing
to put in the time and
study necessary to use Nixpub capabilities properly.
Logon the Korova and leave email to sysop Squid if you're interested. Tomorrow
belongs to --- US!
Synchronistic with the Cyberlunch on Oct. 12, Austin EFF chapter, the
FIRST local chapter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation anywhere, had a
strong presence at the ArmadilloCon SF convention in Austin. Steve Jackson and
Bruce Sterling and other volunteers spread the good word that the Bill of
Rights also applies to folks like us, who th
ink, speak, publish, and associate
cybernetically. Response was very encouraging, but we have a long way to go
toward educating the public about what we are all about, and what governmental
abuses have occurred.
One IBM employee approached the EFF booth, and was sympathetic to the
cause, but was actually afraid to put her name down on the mailing list. Looks
like Russia is now a real intellectually liberal place compared to the good
ol' USA, dominated as we are by Republicans, Rehnquist, and
stealing books and mail.... One good point: looks like the Immense Blue
Mountain may not be in much of a position to intimidate anybody in the 'puter
field anymore, due to the condition of its $$$ balance sheets. Tough luck
guys, but your era is OVER! Their I Build Monstrosity megamillionmainframes
just aren't very attractive these days to 90's people with some serious data
to crunch. And we can throw Compaq and their artificially inflated
compuprices in the same trash barrel... just
ask Rod Canion. Popular computing
is here at last.
Speaking of repression, the Government has filed a Motion to Dismiss
the legal case Steve Jackson filed against the SS criminals, rogue government
attorney, and lying telco informant who seized his unpublished work, BBS, and
users' email. Seems they are claiming now, in sworn affidavits, that: 1. They
didn't know Steve's company was a publisher of books (great investigative
work, fellows) and 2. Honest, really, please believe us, they did
anybody's email on the BBS even though they combed Steve's hard disk byte by
byte with Norton Editor looking for whatever they might be able to use against
him, his employees, or his users.
The government is still claiming that they had the right to steal
Steve's property and seize private email as part of the "ongoing"
investigation into the allegedly stolen 911 document published in Phrack. Too
bad the whole world (except, apparently, for them) knows by now that the 911
nt was freely and publicly available from telco for just a couple of
dollars. Craig Neidorf blew their whole case away on this exact point during
his prosecution (at a personal cost of $100,000.00), but apparently the Gov't
hopes that we rubes here in Texas will buy this bullshit theory and overlook
the fact that their theory has been definitively defeated in court already.
See you in court, tough guys.
NEXT ISSUE: Grease up your keyboards, friends, the XmasCon will be held here
in Houston Dec. 2
7-29. Sponsored by Phrack, LOD, and NIA! A reunion of old
friends not to be missed....
Computers and the Second Amendment: An Opening Volley
By Blacque Jacques Shellacque
A friend and I were talking the other night about needing to defend
oneself against one's own government. He was talking about guns; I was
talking about encryption. We were talking about the same thing. I read a lot
in which the argument s for restricting computing are strikingly
similar to those for gun control. Am I the only one who sees the parallels?
It's certainly forced me to take another look at the gun issue.
The last few years have given us all an appreciation for the
Constitution, or what's left of it. Most of the action in the personal
computer user community is centered around the First Amendment, particularly
the rights to free expression and peaceable assembly. We've also had our
bbed in official disregard for the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth
Amendments. All of this has been (and is still being) discussed elsewhere.
Tonight's topic is the Second Amendment, the people's right to keep and bear
arms (a well regulated militia being essential to the security of a free
state), in relation to personal computers and private networks.
Until recently, I didn't give much thought to the gun issue, since I
don't own a gun and probably won't be getting one anytime soon. Unless I
ve to Arizona, I can't pack heat everywhere I go, so I probably won't
have a shooting iron handy when I really need it to shoo away a mugger if I
run into one. The best way for me to win such an encounter is to prevent it
from ever taking place. According to Sun Tzu, a battle is won or lost
before it is ever fought. I don't hide out in the suburbs, but I don't
stroll down Main at midnight with my wallet hanging around my neck, either.
Weapons are better than nakedness, but wits are better than
existence of priests and businessmen proves it. So much for that.
Freedom of computing, it now turns out, has a lot in common with the
citizen's right to own a gun. Both rights are being attacked in a similar
Proponents of restrictions love to wave a bogeyman in our faces to get
us to blindly go along with their hastily cooked-up bills. George Hennard
helped a bill restricting "assault" weapons get more attention than it
deserved. Likewise, Sen. Joe Biden touts S
enate Bill 266 as protection from
crazed hackers who might trigger World War III or, worse, steal corporate
secrets and sell them to the Japanese. And let's not forget the drug
kingpins who might keep their communications secret from the Law. As a law-
abiding citizen, you've got nothing to hide so this doesn't affect you
S.B. 266 essentially mandates a government backdoor into any encryption
scheme marketed for public use. Secrecy becomes the exclusive domain of the
its partners, such as corporations doing work of vital
military or economic importance. The rest of us have to endure possible
casual surveillance or be proscribed for daring to keep secrets from Uncle
Not just no, but No, Goddammit! Privacy is scarce enough as it is.
Every day my file gets passed around the federal and corporate nets like a
cheerleader at a frat party. Cheap, widespread encryption is one of the few
physical methods available for enforcing privacy, just as in the privat
ownership of guns kept the government honest in the past. Encryption is a
window blind pulled down in the face of the hotel dick.
"A well-regulated militia necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Historically, citizen ownership of guns has been useful for repelling
invaders, enforcing Manifest Destiny, and keeping central government from
getting too many ideas about control. There have been some problems in t
pastDThe Whiskey Rebellion, Shays' Rebellion, and Quantrill's Raiders spring
to mindDbut no one has seriously considered disposing of the Second
Amendment. The last real invasion was in 1815 and we've killed off most of
the Indians, so what does that leave?
Guns in the house are no match for a government determined to do you
ill (though they may slow down a death squad). That's probably why
Republicans can lust for control over everyone else yet fight gun control.
Even the Tuff-On-Crime
bill making it's way through the pipeline has no real
provision for gun control (it may, however, okay warrantless searches made
in "good faith" and further weaken habeas corpus). Republicans know as well
as anyone else that guns are small potatoes when someone else has all the
money and information.
Rights, even those guaranteed by the Constitution, are really
guaranteed only to the extent that they are hard for a government to
violate. Early Americans were either well-armed or westward bo
needed in citizens opening a new frontier. However, the 1900 census found
America with no more frontiers; there was no more West to go to. The
previous census, in 1890, was the first automated census, using punched
Hollerith cards to perform a ten-year job in six weeks. For the first time ,
the government could use machines to track its citizens' movements. Control
began where the frontier ended. Modern American history has been a running
battle between individual rights and governme
Cheap, widely available data encryption is one of two new developments
that are tipping the scales in the citizen's favor. Explosive growth of
computer network use (the number of Internet users grew by 90% last year) is
the other, enabling small groups to get the political jump on big ones by
getting vital information over the wire quickly to just about anyone who
needs it. Data encryption enforces privacy by keeping your e-mail from
prying eyes. It represents the first physical
means of keeping the Fed's
nose out of your private business.
It's too bad encryption is not widely used outside of businesses.
Because so few people use encryption, agencies such as the NSA have an easy
job of spying on American citizens. I'm not giving away any secrets, but
here is how I would do it. Though it's theoretically possible to parse
every phone conversation and data transmission, doing so is a waste of
resources. Profiling and other tools tell an agency which 10% of the
population is the real threat (90% of the threat comes from 10% of the
population). Encryption used by other than corporations and government
agencies is considered suspect and bears cracking by agency supercomputers.
Fortunately for the NSA, unofficial secure traffic is not very large.
However, this could change if, say , companies marketed secure
communications as an alternative to the postal system (Feds can't open your
e-mail, but you can't fax drugs eitherDlife is full of tradeoffs), or
Americans started using encryption as a matter of course just because it's
s imply none of the government's damned business what a private citizen
does if he or she is not the subject of an actual criminal investigation
(instead of a fishing expedition). Either or both of these developments
would severely tax the government's ability to casually spy on its own
people. It might even force the Feds to wonder if it's really worth it.
A problem with encryption is that there are v
ery few good schemes out
there. The DES algorithm is best known, but it was created by the NSA. No
comment. The RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adelman) algorithm is superior to DES, but
MIT owns it and licenses cost money (DES is free). There is supposed to be a
freeware package based on or comparable to RSA, but it could also be NSA
suckerware. It's easy to get paranoid about this. A bigger problem with
encryption is that most Americans don't value privacy enough to make the
extra effort to secure their co
The government may or may not be systematically running small networks
and bbs's out of business by busting them right and left. That's open to
debate. The No Such Agency is almost certainly tapping their lines,
though. In the short term, it would be stupid not to. That is its job. In
the long run, though, this speeds the collapse of the Republic by
dangerously concentrating power.
Power tends to accumulate. The more power one group has, the more it
can get. Even
tually, one group gets too much of it and spends most of its
time securing it at the expense of others, whether it needs to or not
(eventually it needs to). The firs t impulse of one of the other groups is
to usurp the power from the first group, all with the highest of motives, of
course. This leads to exactly the same problems. The only way to prevent an
endless succession of power grabs is to disperse power as widely as
possible, among people interested in limiting it for everyone. This is where
checks and balances come in. "All power to the people (soviets)" is a
disastrous substitute, as (thankfully) other people learned in 1798 and
1917. All of this is explained at length and more clearly in On Power: Its
Nature and the History of its Growth, by Bertrand de Jouvenel (Viking Press,
New York, 1949). The book is long out of print, but it's well worth your
while to check it out and photocopy it somewhere. Other good references
include Democracy in America (1835) and The Old Regime and the
Revolution (1856), both written by Alexis de Tocqueville. You can find those
at a used bookstore.
Theory aside, it can be shown that a people completely dependent on
their government for security lose their ability to come to that
government's aid in times of external danger. At that time, the people
further drain those resources by requiring protection from themselves. The
less capable a people become, the more fearful they get, eventually voting
in a police state. Hitler was elect
Computer users face similar dangers. Additionally, economics play a
large role. A person with a computer is a nearly self-sufficient engine of
wealth. Economic competition is constant. Denial of personal rights to
privacy of information removes the individual's ability to protect an idea
before bringing it to the market. Computer users are thus unable to create.
All they can do is consume or, at best, labor for someone else.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners, both key agents of pr
ogress , are
effectively locked out. A nation of employees economically dependent on
bosses is an economic nonstarter. Freedom of computer use and the right to
privacy are thus essential to the economic security of a free state.
The kind of power bestowed by guns, personal computers and absolute
data privacy implies a need for a personal sense of responsibility. Both
viruses and encryption programs are far easier to make and distribute than
plastic Glock-11 automatic pistols. Some sort of r
egulation is required.
This is where the "well-regulated militia" part of the Second Amendment
comes in and this is the most difficult part of the issue.
My definition of a "well-regulated militia" falls somewhere between
the NRA and the National Guard. If there were an NRA for computer network
users I'd probably be in it. I think the stakes are higher with computers
than they are with guns. I want to see more people with computers and
modems, to ensure the widest possible dispersal of
computing power. For
this to work, all users should be made aware of the power and
responsibility of owning a computer ("Only a madman would give a loaded
revolver to an idiot"DFredric Brown). If there are kids in the house, they
must be taught to respect guns and computers as early as possible. In a
well-defended, well-connected house, one can live without fear. Only then
can a citizen look past the distracting horrorshows put on by the
politicians and pundits to hide the real issues. Who
will see to it that
responsibilities accompany rights? Part of the answer, believe it or not
comes from the government. Laws already exist to cover most serious crimes
committed with a computer.
Where the law is insufficient, professional/lobbying groups such as the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility, and the Association for Computing Machinery are helping to
draw up new laws to deal with new kinds of crimes. It's early in the game,
the above organizations seem to be working for fairness.
For the control addicts in government, this may not be enough. Tough.
Computer user organizations are working hard to approach government the way
we all were taught to do it in high school civics, and they seem to be
making it work. Can the EFF, CPSR, or the ACM control hackers? Of course
not. That's what the law is for (demographics suggest that the rapid growth
of network use will not be accompanied by an equally rapid rise in hackin
incidents. The hacking scene is maturing with the rest of the population.
Most hacker heroes are born-again capitalists who might make even better
role models as long as they don't forget where they came from).
Computer user groups educate while seeking to disperse power, which the
NRA also does to some extent. The EFF especially tries to reach out to
potential allies by demystifying computer technology for nonusers and even
the cops. Let's face itDthe nervous man with the gun is not goin
g to go
away, so we might as well try to calm him down a little.
Finally, computer network users have their talents to use as
negotiating chips. A government that refuses to respect their rights will
lose their economic cooperation. The network-based economy makes an Atlas
Shrugged-style withdrawal very feasible. The government will have its
illusion of control while computer users work ordinary jobs while
moonlighting in the Netherlands and piling up ones and zeroes (Swiss francs)
i, all in the comfort of one's suburban home. The result will be an
Italian-style economyDlackluster on the surface and lively underground.
Germany lost the A-bomb by chasing out a half-dozen geniuses in the
Thirties. If America wants to be a player in the global economic contest, it
needs to treat its citizens with respect.
Greetings! First of all, I would like to tha
nk all the people who have
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Send those in ASAP.
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, passed away last month. He was
a true pioneer. He passed away in California after a short illness. He will
A Call To Arms
By Cynder The Grey
As I sit here in my "Chair of Power" and view the
changes of the world and the dawning of th
e new cyber-world,
an interesting thought runs through my mind. We are more
significant than we believe. We are not a bunch of people on
computers talking to one another. It is much more than that.
We are the beginning of a new world, a new universe.
The universe is not a physical one like the one we are used
to. No, it is a VIRTUAL universe. That's what makes it so
interesting. It can change in a moments notice with a couple
buttons being pressed.
I don't believe that I am th
e first to bring this up and
recognize the significance of this era. I have seen many
books illustrating this idea but I think it goes beyond
fiction. The government obviously realizes this fact because
they are already trying to regulate us.
I have no doubt that we will be the ones remembered
throughout history - the CyberSpace Explorers. They will
probably teach this era of history in the schools that our
children will attend. What they will say about us is
entirely up to us. Will w
e make a stand on government
regulating of OUR frontier or will we let this revolution be
suppressed. I believe that we really have something worth
In order to have an ongoing revolution, people must
be kept up to date on the events happening around the world.
This is a call to everyone reading this.
The World View Magazine is in need of more writers
around the world. We know that everyone is a "closet"
journalist and we need to call on those abilities to expand
zons and continue our growth.
Help keep the revolution going by writing your articles,
reports, and commentaries and sending them to the Editor.
Your help will be greatly appreciated and help aid many
people around the world.
Cyndre the Grey
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank