Computer underground Digest Wed Nov 25, 1998 Volume 10 : Issue 56
Computer underground Digest Wed 25 Nov, 1998 Volume 10 : Issue 56
Editor: Jim Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
News Editor: Gordon Meyer (email@example.com)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow Master: Stanton McCandlish
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Field Agent Extraordinaire: David Smith
Cu Digest Homepage: http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest
CONTENTS, #10.56 (Wed, 25 Nov, 1998)
File 1--Fwd: FC: For Judge Reed, nixing CDA II was a difficult decision
File 2--Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Net Censorship Law
File 3--Censorware Project Welcomes Loudoun Library Decision
File 4--Reno Urges Crackdown On Cybercrime In The Americas
File 5--1998 Technology Journalism Awards Application
File 6--Does the Computer Eliminate Boring Work? (Netfuture, #77)
File 7--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 25 Apr, 1998)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
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Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:28:49 -0500
From: Declan McCullagh
Subject: File 2--Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Net Censorship Law
Volume 5.17 November 19, 1998
Published by the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
The Challenge to Internet Censorship (Round 2)
Federal Court Blocks Enforcement of Net Censorship Law
PHILADELPHIA - In the first constitutional test of a new Internet
censorship law, a federal judge today issued a temporary restraining
order (TRO) against enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act
(COPA). The ruling came in a legal challenge to the statute filed by
EPIC, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier
Foundation on behalf of a broad coalition of Web publishers and users.
COPA, enacted in the final days of the 105th Congress as part of the
Omnibus Appropriations Act, imposes criminal penalties against any
"commercial" website that makes material that is "harmful to minors"
available to anyone under 17 years of age. Unless enjoined, the
statute would have gone into effect at 12:01 a.m. on November 20.
At the end of an all-day court hearing, U.S. District Judge Lowell A.
Reed, Jr. enjoined Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice
Department from "enforcing or prosecuting" any conduct under COPA for
at least ten days, until the issues in the lawsuit can be further
litigated. Over the objections of the government, Judge Reed extended
the coverage of the TRO to anyone posting material on the World Wide
Web, not just the named plaintiffs. The TRO also precludes retroactive
enforcement of COPA, should the law eventually be upheld, for material
posted while the restraining order is in effect.
In support of its case, the coalition presented the testimony of two
plaintiffs -- Norman Laurila, founder of A Different Light Bookstores,
and David Talbot, CEO of Salon Magazine. Both described the negative
impact COPA would have on their ability to make controversial material
available at their websites. They stressed the importance of anonymity
on the Internet and told the court that age verification requirements
(which would protect sites from prosecution under the law) would --
even if practical -- substantially diminish the number of visitors to
Before announcing his decision, Judge Reed noted that the case
involves a "clash" between First Amendment rights and the nation's
responsibility to protect children. Although he stressed that today's
ruling was not a "final order on the merits," the judge expressly found
that the plaintiffs appear likely to prevail in their constitutional
challenge. He also noted that the TRO does not prevent enforcement of
existing laws dealing with obscenity or child pornography.
The court ruling is the latest setback for Internet censorship
proponents. In June 1996, the same federal court in Philadelphia
struck down the Communications Decency Act (CDA), a decision
unanimously upheld last year by the U.S. Supreme Court. In enacting
COPA, Congressional supporters claimed that the new law corrected the
constitutional defects of the CDA. Several federal courts have also
found state laws seeking to regulate online content unconstitutional.
Excerpts from the plaintiffs' brief in support of a TRO are set forth
below. The full text of the brief is available at:
 Plaintiffs' Preliminary Statement
This case challenges provisions of the Child Online Protection Act
("COPA"), which is Congress' second attempt to impose severe criminal
sanctions on the display of constitutionally protected, non-obscene
materials on the Internet. The first attempt, the Communications
Decency Act ("CDA"), was soundly rejected by all nine justices of the
Supreme Court in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU I").
Recognizing that the Internet had become a powerful "new marketplace of
ideas" and "vast democratic fora" that was "dramatically expanding" in
the absence of government regulation, the Court imposed the highest
level of constitutional scrutiny on content-based infringements of
Internet speech. . . .
[P]laintiffs seek to have the COPA declared unconstitutional both on
its face and as applied to them, and to enjoin defendant from enforcing
it. . . . [T]he COPA's constitutional flaws are ultimately identical
to the flaws that led the Supreme Court to strike down the CDA. Though
the COPA, like the CDA, purports to restrict the availability of
materials to minors, the effect of the law is to restrict adults from
communicating and receiving expression that is clearly protected by the
Plaintiffs represent a broad range of individuals and entities who use
the World Wide Web (the "Web") to provide free information on a variety
of subjects, including sexually oriented issues that they fear could be
construed as "harmful to minors." They range from long-established
booksellers and large media companies to newer online magazines, and
they provide general interest news as well as special interest content
such as fine art, safer sex materials, and gay and lesbian resources.
Because the COPA provides no way for speakers to prevent their
communications from reaching minors without also denying adults access
to them, the COPA directly threatens plaintiffs, their members, and
millions of other speakers with severe criminal and civil sanctions for
communicating protected expression on the Web. The COPA also violates
the rights of millions of Web users to access and read constitutionally
 Inability of Speakers to Prevent Speech from Reaching Minors
The COPA applies to all communications on the Web that are "available
to any minor." Because all content on the Web is "available to" both
adults and minors, the COPA on its face applies to communications
between adults. Given the technology of the Web, there are no
reasonable means for speakers to make their speech "available" only to
adults. From the perspective of speakers, the information that they
make available on the public spaces of the Web must be made available
either to all users of the Web, including users who may be minors, or
not at all.
The COPA attempts to provide affirmative defenses to criminal
liability, none of which are available to plaintiffs and other
providers of free content on the Web. [COPA] provides an affirmative
defense if the defendant restricts access by "requiring use of a credit
card, debit account, adult access code, or adult personal
identification number." This defense is effectively unavailable to
providers of free content because financial institutions charge to
verify a credit card. The cost of credit card verification imposes
insurmountable economic burdens on speakers and other content providers
who want to provide their speech for free. . . .
Because none of the defenses are available, plaintiffs and other
speakers have no way to comply with the COPA and are left with two
equally untenable alternatives: (i) risk prosecution and civil
penalties under the COPA, or (ii) attempt to engage in self-censorship
and thereby deny adults and older minors access to constitutionally
 The Impact of COPA on Internet Users
Even if age or credit card verification were feasible, such a
requirement would fundamentally alter the nature and values of the new
computer communication medium, which is characterized by spontaneous,
instantaneous, albeit often unpredictable, communication by hundreds of
thousands of individual speakers around the globe, and which provides
an affordable and often seamless means of accessing an enormous and
diverse body of information, ideas and viewpoints.
The COPA would thus prevent or deter hundreds of thousands of readers
from accessing protected speech even if it were feasible for speakers
to set up a system to verify age. Any age verification requirement
would inevitably prevent readers who lack the necessary identification
from accessing speech that would otherwise be available to them. Many
adults do not have a credit card. Age verification would have an
especially detrimental effect on foreign users, who are less likely
than U.S.-based adults to have a credit card or other identification.
In addition, many users will not want to provide personal information
to obtain speech for free. Users may not want to disclose information
as valuable as a credit card number unless they are actually making a
purchase. In addition, the COPA's registration requirements would
prevent users from accessing information anonymously, and would thus
deter many users from accessing sensitive or controversial speech
covered by the COPA. Requiring adults to identify themselves before
they can access speech defined as "harmful to minors" will also
stigmatize that speech and thus deter access to protected speech.
Finally, when faced with the choice between reading material that does
not require any identification and providing a credit card or
identification to access speech covered the COPA, many users will
simply not bother to obtain or provide the necessary identification,
and will instead decline to access the covered speech at all.
 COPA's Defects Are Identical to Those of the CDA
The COPA's ultimate constitutional flaws are identical to the flaws
that led a three-judge court in this district to strike down the
Communications Decency Act (the "CDA"), and the Supreme Court to affirm
the district court's decision, in ACLU I. . . . While there are slight
differences between the two laws, these differences are insignificant
when compared to the fundamental and fatal constitutional defect of
both laws: "In order to deny minors access to potentially harmful
speech" -- the COPA, like the CDA -- "effectively suppresses a large
amount of speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and
to address to one another." In passing both the CDA and the COPA,
Congress made it a crime for adults to communicate and receive
expression that is clearly protected by the Constitution.
Both acts are criminal statutes, which pose a very strong risk that
they "may well cause speakers to remain silent rather than communicate
even arguably unlawful words, ideas, and images." Both apply to
material that is clearly constitutionally protected for adults. Both
effectively ban protected speech to adults because the defenses in both
laws "d[o] not include any effective method for a sender to prevent
minors from obtaining access to its communications on the Internet
without also denying access to adults." In addition, because both laws
rely on "community standards," both allow "any communication available
to a nation-wide audience [to] be judged by the standards of the
community most likely to be offended by the message."
 COPA Won't Advance the Government's Stated Interest
If the government's interest is in preventing minors from accessing
"pornographic" images (which, although difficult to define, is far from
coextensive with the much broader category of material explicitly
covered by the COPA), such speech is already illegal under existing law
if it is either obscene or child pornographic. The vast majority of
the remaining category of "pornography" is not provided for free, but
rather is only provided after a fee is paid; thus, its purveyors are
protected under the COPA because they already require a credit card.
The COPA also excludes from coverage any "pornography" that is
communicated by noncommercial entities. Finally, many minors have
credit cards, and so the COPA will not prevent them "from posing as
adults" to gain access to "harmful" material.
In addition, because of the nature of the online medium, the COPA will
be ineffective at ridding online networks of "harmful" material. The
Internet is a global medium, and material posted on a computer overseas
is just as available as information posted next door. Thus, the COPA
will not prevent minors from gaining access to the large percentage of
material that originates abroad.
In sum, the only "pornography" that the COPA could possibly prevent
minors from accessing is material that: 1) is not already illegal under
obscenity and child pornography laws; 2) does not require payment; 3)
is not communicated by amateurs with no profit motive; and 4) is not
provided by content providers overseas. Thus, the government cannot
meet its burden of establishing a "compelling interest" because the
COPA clearly fails to alleviate the alleged "harms in a direct and
material way," and leaves "appreciable damage to [the] supposedly vital
 Plaintiffs in ACLU v. Reno II
American Civil Liberties Union
A Different Light Bookstore
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
Addazi, Inc. d/b/a Condomania
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Free Speech Media, LLC
Internet Content Coalition
Philadelphia Gay News
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Back issues are available at:
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 01:58:05 GMT
Subject: File 3--Censorware Project Welcomes Loudoun Library Decision
CENSORWARE PROJECT PRAISES LOUDOUN LIBRARY DECISION, RELEASES X-STOP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK November 23, 1998--The Censorware Project
(http://censorware.org), an activist group opposing the use of
blocking software in public libraries, welcomed federal judge
Leonie Brinkema's decision that the use of such software by the
Loudoun County, Va. library is unconstitutional.
"We knew that the extremely broad blacklisting practiced by
censorware products would not stand up to the high standards of
the First Amendment," said James Tyre, a Pasadena, Ca. attorney
who is a founding member of the group. "All of these products,
including X-Stop Librarian II, the one used in the Loudoun
libraries, block numerous innocent and socially valuable sites."
One year ago, members of the Censorware Project, in the action
which led to the group's formation, disclosed that X-Stop blocked
a Quaker web page and the American Association of University
Women, among many others.
The group also announced the release of "Deja Voodoo: The 'X-Stop
Files' Revisited," its report on innocent sites currently or
recently blacklisted by X-Stop. In the report, the group reveals
that it has been assisting the Loudoun plaintiffs in identifying
bad blocks since before the case was filed. "When we issued our
original report in October 1997," Tyre said, "we put a public
spotlight on Log On Data, the manufacturers of the X-Stop
censorware. Then the lawsuit was filed in Loudoun County, relying
on our information. A year of litigation and of press attention,
and what's happened? For every bad block Log On has removed, it
has added another one---sites including Redbook Magazine
(http://homearts.com/rb/toc/00rblmc1.htm), virtually all the user
sites at an online community called Xoom.com
(http://members.xoom.com), and a scholarly page called 'Sex
Culture in Ancient China.' (http://www.beijingnow.com/chun/)
These products cannot be perfected, because they rely on too few
human beings trying to review too much of the Internet.
Inevitably the work is done carelessly, and innocent sites are
blocked. Censorware has no place in public libraries."
The group's report is on its web pages at
From: "Jim Galasyn"
Subject: File 4--Reno Urges Crackdown On Cybercrime In The Americas
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 09:51:54 -0800
Reno Urges Crackdown On Cybercrime In The Americas
November 26, 1998 1:21 AM EST
By Joelle Diderich
BRASILIA (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said Wednesday the
Americas should unite in a crackdown on cybercrime, warning that the use
of new technologies posed an increasing threat to the hemisphere.
``Today a man can sit in his kitchen in New York City and steal from a
bank in Chile,'' Reno told the 10th Inter-American Congress of Public
Prosecution, which brought together attorneys general from North,
Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Law enforcement authorities have so far failed to keep up with the
explosion of computer networks and the Internet, and ''already
technological advances have empowered criminals to move their illicit
wealth from bank to bank and country to country in the blink of an
eye,'' Reno said.
Justice officials should build on agreements signed at the Summit of the
Americas in Chile last April to form a united front against crimes in
cyberspace, Reno said.
``Let us work together to come to agreement on a common statute or legal
regime to address the issue of cybercrime,'' she said, without
elaborating on the proposal. ``We must and we can make sure that we
control the technology.''
Intellectual property rights are another area in which authorities are
lagging, allowing trade in fake copies of CDs, video games, computer
software and videos to flourish, she noted.
Many countries in Latin America, under pressure from the United States
and other powerful trading partners, have recently started to bring
their copyright piracy laws up to date, although cyberspace remains a
gray area for most.
Paraguay earlier this month signed a bilateral accord with the United
States to strengthen its copyright laws, seeking to shed its reputation
as a haven for counterfeiters supplying pirated goods to the rest of the
Brazil and Argentina updated their laws this year to make computer
piracy a crime.
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 13:34:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: File 5--1998 Technology Journalism Awards Application
Please consider entering the Technology Journalism Awards. The details are
1998 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN TECHNOLOGY JOURNALISM
The Awards for Excellence in Technology Journalism are presented each year by
the Public Relations Society of America's Technology Section and are intended
to recognize journalists in business/general and technical/trade journalism who
have published articles that -- are valuable to their readers,-- show clarity
in the communication, and -- are significant in innovation and newsworthiness.
For 1998, each of the two winners (one per category) will receive a cash prize
of $1000 and two crystal awards; one for the journalist and one for the
An award will be presented to an individual for technology journalism in a
general or business publication or news outlet, designed for a general or
business audience. An award also will be presented to an individual for
technology trade journalism in a trade, technical, industrial or professional
publication serving a technology industry.
Entries will be judged by a panel consisting of at least five editors,
representing the type of journalism practiced in each category.
LAST YEAR'S WINNERS
The winners of the 1997 Awards for Excellence in Technology Journalism were
Robin Gareiss, associate news editor for Data Communications Magazine, and
Janet Rae-Dupree, general-assignment technology reporter for the San Jose
Ms. Gareiss won top prize in the professional/technical category with her
article, "Is the Internet in Trouble?," published in the September 21, 1997
issue of her magazine.
Ms. Rae-Dupree won the top prize in the general/business category of the
competition with her story, "Sound Medicine," published in the April 29, 1997
issue of her paper.
The awards competition is open to regularly employed members of the staffs of
the respective publications and news outlets, and free-lance writers. In
determining eligibility, nominee's names must appear in the masthead of their
respective publication or carried as the byline, or be listed in the credits as
producer of the segment. If the submitted editorial material does not have an
identifiable byline or if the journalist is not a regular staff member with an
editorial title or function, the application and entry must be accompanied by a
letter from the news outlet's editor or executive producer verifying the
entrant as author or producer.
Submissions must be an article/segment published or produced from January 1,
1998 thru December 31, 1998. Entrants must submit 5 photocopies of the article
along with the application. Entries are limited to 1 article per journalist/per
category. On-line articles may be submitted provided they are accompanied by a
hard copy of the text only. Radio and T.V. segments must be submitted in audio
cassette tape or VHS version (5 copies). Columns may be submitted, however 3 to
5 examples must be submitted to be judged as one entry. Single columns will not
be accepted. If a series of two to five parts is submitted, such series may be
submitted as a single entry. No books or entire issues of publications may be
One prize is awarded in each category to an individual journalist and their
respective publication/news outlet.
Deadline for receipt of application and entry is January 15, 1999. Judging will
take place in January and February 1999.
Presentations will take place at a special awards ceremony on March 10, 1999 in
Nominee's (Journalist) Name:
Send to: Public Relations Society of America
Technology Section Journalism Awards
Attn: Jennifer Berman
33 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 212-995-2230, Fax: 212-995-0757, Email: email@example.com
The Technology Section of PRSA greatly appreciates the support of our award
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 16:14:56 -0400
From: Stephen Talbott
Subject: File 6--Does the Computer Eliminate Boring Work? (Netfuture, #77)
Source: NETFUTURE - Technology and Human Responsibility
Issue #77 Copyright 1998 Bridge Communications October 6, 1998
Editor: Stephen L. Talbott (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On the Web: http://www.oreilly.com/~stevet/netfuture/
You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
Does the Computer Eliminate Boring Work?
Back in the 1960s, Studs Terkel wrote his classic book,
*Working*, based on interviews with hundreds of Chicagoans. The
picture he sketched was not pretty. But in their Second Annual
Big Issue (Dec., 1997) the editors of *Forbes ASAP* assured us
that things are different today:
Reading Terkel's *Working* now is like scanning an ancient
text. If there is one common emotion that emerges from the
Babel of voices in Terkel's book, it is boredom. Boredom is
the leitmotiv of the Industrial Age. Almost everyone, from
the spot-welder to the CEO, is deeply bored in Terkel's world.
His people dream of a job that is meaningful, challenging, and
so fulfilling that they would never want to leave it.
They got their wish. Today, in the information age, the world
of work is now so intellectually challenging, meaningful, and
compelling that we are never bored.
On the other hand, if our evident need for distraction is any
measure, we may be just about the most bored people ever to walk
the earth. Are data-entry workers never bored? Or the customer
service employees whose official mission in life is to explain to
anonymous callers how to plug in their new printers? Or the
growing legions of programmers responsible for maintaining old
code? And what about the armies of conscripts pressed into
mind-numbing duty against the Year 2000 bug?
As the *Forbes ASAP* editors see it, our salvation comes from the
chip and the Net. Okay. Look at the financial service vocations
that have so dramatically re-shaped themselves around the chip
and the Net. How easy would it be for the employee of a typical
investment firm to place his investments based on meaning and
conviction -- on a sense of personal responsibility for what his
funds do to the world -- as opposed to the dictates of
number-crunching algorithms? Admittedly, making money for its
own sake can be a pleasurable distraction, assuming you don't
think too much about the nations or villages whose economy you
could just as easily be destroying as helping. But this empty
mathematical exercise hardly counts as an advance in the
meaningfulness of work.
Then there's the farmer, enclosed in the cab of his huge tractor,
traversing thousands of acres while a computer tuned in to a
Global Positioning Satellite allocates varying doses of
fertilizer to each small sector of the farm's grid. The most
likely result is that a concern for abstract "total inputs and
outputs" replaces meaningful contact with the land. The farmer
no longer feels directly responsible for the processes of life,
death, and resurrection going on in the soil. He no longer
experiences himself as intimately woven together with them. And,
in any case, these processes are most likely being rendered
sterile by his current fertilization practices. Does he really
find this kind of work more meaningful?
You pick a vocation, and I'll give you another example. The fact
is that the computer is an engine of abstraction, removing us --
so far as we give it free rein -- from direct engagement with the
sources of meaning in the world. Certainly we *can* reach across
the barriers of abstraction: the investor can seek out real
value behind the mathematical value, and the farmer can take the
time and trouble to know his land intimately and care for it in a
deeply satisfying manner. But it requires an effort that runs
across the grain of all those efficiently operating chips
celebrated in *Forbes ASAP*.
If the editors of that publication are convinced we've entered a
new era of meaningful work, it's because, as they put it,
command and control are dead. The chip and the Net have
But this misses the whole point. The issue is not centralization
(with its need for command and control) versus decentralization
(with its distributed intelligence). No, the real question has
to do with the overall balance between computation and the
non-computational. That is, it has to do with the balance
between syntax and meaning -- between frozen forms of
intelligence on the one hand, and our own fluid expressive
potentials on the other. It hardly matters whether the patterns
of frozen intelligence are centralized or not. As every spider
knows, you can immobilize your prey with a delicate web just as
well as with a stinger.
This is an important issue, having a great deal to do with our
seemingly inevitable drive toward ever greater standardization.
I'll have more to say about it in the future.
ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
NETFUTURE is a newsletter and forwarding service dealing with technology
and human responsibility. It is hosted by the UDT Core Programme of the
International Federation of Library Associations. Postings occur roughly
every couple of weeks. The editor is Steve Talbott, author of *The Future
Does Not Compute: Transcending the Machines in Our Midst*.
You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes. You may
also redistribute individual articles in their entirety, provided the
NETFUTURE url and this paragraph are attached.
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Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1998 22:51:01 CST
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