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EFFector Online 4.3 12/23/1992 [email protected]
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-424
IN THIS ISSUE:
THE NEW, STREAMLINED BILL O' RIGHTS by John Perry Barlow
CRACKER BREAKS INTO ATHENA @ MIT: The Security Alert
EFF'S LEGISLATIVE WATCH by Shari Steele
The New, Streamlined
BILL O' RIGHTS
(As amended by the recent federal & state decisions)
Congress shall encourage the practice of Judeo-Christian religion by
its own public exercise thereof and shall make no laws abridging the
freedom of responsible speech, unless such speech contains material
which is copyrighted, sexually arousing, or deeply offensive to
non-Europeans, non-males, differently-abled or alternatively
preferenced persons; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, unless such assembly is taking place on corporate or
military property or within an electronic environment, or to make
petitions to the Government for a redress of grievances, unless those
grievances relate to national security.
A well-regulated Militia having become irrelevant to the security of
the State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms against one
another shall nevertheless remain uninfringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house,
without the consent of the owner, unless that house is thought to
have been used for the distribution of illegal substances.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers. and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, may
be suspended to protect public welfare, and no Warrants need be
issued, but upon the unsupported suspicion of law enforcement
officials, any place or conveyance shall be subject to immediate
search and such places or conveyances and any property within
them may be permanently confiscated without further judicial proceeding.
Any person may be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise
infamous crime involving illicit substances, terrorism, or child pornography,
or upon any suspicion whatever; and may be subject for the same
offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, once by the
State courts and again by the Federal Judiciary; and may be
compelled by various means, including interrogation or the forced submission of
breath samples, bodily fluids, or encryption keys, to be a witness
against himself, refusal to do so constituting an admission of guilt;
and may be deprived of life, liberty, or property without further
legal delay; and any property thereby forfeited shall be dedicated
to the discretionary use of law enforcement agents.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a
speedy and private plea bargaining session before pleading guilty.
He is entitled to the Assistance of underpaid and incompetent
Counsel to negotiate his sentence, except where such sentence falls under
federal mandatory sentencing requirements.
In Suits at common law, where the contesting parties have nearly
unlimited resources to spend on legal fees, the right of trial by
jury shall be preserved.
Sufficient bail may be required to ensure that dangerous criminals
will remain in custody, where cruel punishments are usually
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be
construed to deny or disparage others which may be asserted by the
Government as required to preserve public order, family values, or
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
shall be reserved to the United States Departments of Justice and
Treasury, except that the States shall have the right to ban
Derived by J. P .Barlow
New York, New York
December 21, 1992
Our Farflung Correspondents
>From: Roland H. Pesch
To: [email protected]
Subject: 20 years of progress in Scotts Valley, CA
A front-page story (headlined "High tech, high crimes") in today's
Santa Cruz Sentinel features a fascinating quote from the Chief of
Police of Scotts Valley:
"It's all new", says Scotts Valley Police Chief Steve Walpole.
"Twenty years ago, who would have thought you could arrest
someone for what's in his head?"
MIT Discovers Athena Security Breech
Recently, the MIT Information Systems staff discovered that one of
the Institute's Athena dialup servers had been compromised through an
unauthorized modification of the machine's system software.
If you have used the Athena dialup service during the last
two months to telnet to other machines, read on. Your
accounts on other machines may have been compromised.
Specifically, each time the telnet command was executed on this
Athena dialup machine the userid, password, and name of the system to
which the Athena user was connecting were evidently captured by an
unauthorized user. This individual is now in a position to use the
captured information to gain access to other systems. Our official
system logs indicate that during the time the modified version of the
telnet program was in place, over 4000 individuals used this particular
dialup server. Those individuals who executed the telnet command from
this machine within the past two months may have had their accounts on
other machines compromised.
Check your username
To determine whether you are among the 4000 individuals most at
risk, you can use a command called checkmyid located in the Athena info
locker. From your Athena account, at the athena% prompt, type:
Change your password
We recommend that all Athena users change their passwords frequently -
once a semester is recommended. If checkmyid verifies that you are
one of the 4000 people who used this specific dialup server during the
last two months, we STRONGLY recommend that you change your
passwords immediately on ALL systems, including Athena, to which you may
have telneted. You must assume that all accounts you may have reached
using telnet are compromised.
Your new Athena password should be at least 6 characters long, and can
contain any combination of UPPER- and lower-case letters, numbers,
or other symbols that appear on the computer keyboard. For further
information on choosing a secure password, see Athena's On-Line
In addition please inform the system manager of any machines -
including Athena workstations in faculty offices - to which you may
have connected, since it is possible that the intruder may have used your
account to compromise those machines as well.
The individual who compromised our system used a pattern of attack
identical to one used by an individual operating from outside the
MIT community to attack a number of systems across the country during
the past year. In all likelihood, if you are among those whose accounts
were compromised, you will probably not find any damage to your
This individual's mode of operation is believed to be limited to
breaking into accounts for the sole purpose of discovering any
userids and passwords stored there to enable him to break into additional
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this causes our user
community. We have taken immediate steps to eliminate this
particular security threat and we are reviewing and modifying our operational
procedures to limit our vulnerability to this and other types of
attacks in the future.
If you have any questions or comments, please send electronic mail
to or contact your Athena cluster manager.
BBS Legislative Watch
Legislation from Last Congress that May Affect
Your Online Communications
by Shari Steele (EFF attorney)
For those of us communicating electronically, it is often hard to see
how involvement in the bureaucracy of Washington, D.C., could have
any positive impact on our lives online. But laws that can have great
effect on our online rights are constantly introduced and modified in
the United States Congress and local legislatures, and last year was
no exception. While the 102nd Congress is now history, here is a sample
of the legislation introduced over the past year that will likely affect
those of us building communities on the electronic frontier.
Threats to Privacy
FBI's Wiretapping Proposal Thwarted
In a move that worried privacy experts, software manufacturers and
telephone companies, the FBI proposed legislation to amend the
Communications Act of 1934 to make it easier for the Bureau to
perform electronic wiretapping. The proposed legislation, entitled "Digital
Telephony," would have required communications service providers
and hardware manufacturers to make their systems "tappable" by
providing "back doors" through which law enforcement officers could intercept
communications. Furthermore, this capability would have to be
provided undetectably, while the communication was in progress, exclusive of
any communications between other parties, regardless of the mobility of
the target of the FBI's investigation, and without degradation of service.
The security risks are obvious; if law enforcement officers can "tap"
into a conversation, so can others with harmful intent. The privacy
implications are also frightening. Today, all sorts of information
about who we are and what we do, such as medical records, credit reports
and employment data, are held on electronic databases. If these
databases have government-mandated "tappability," this private
information could potentially be accessed by anyone tapping in. To add
insult to injury, the FBI proposal suggests that the cost of providing
this wiretapping "service" to the Bureau would have to be bourne by
the service provider itself, which ultimately means you and I will be
paying higher user fees.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation organized a broad coalition of
public interest and industry groups, from Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility (CPSR) and the ACLU to AT&T and Sun MicroSystems,
to oppose the legislation. A white paper produced by EFF and ratified
by the coalition, entitled, "An Analysis of the FBI Digital Telephony
Proposal," was widely distributed throughout the Congress. Senator
Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Representative Don Edwards (D-
California), chairs of two key committees, referred to the EFF paper as they
delayed introduction of the FBI's proposal. As Leahy stated before the
Senate, "Our goal is to assist law enforcement," but "without jeopardizing
privacy rights or frustrating the development of new communications
technologies." The Justice Department lobbied hard in the final days
to get Congress to take up the bill before Congress adjourned, but the
bill never even found a Congressional sponsor (and was therefore never
officially introduced). The FBI will almost certainly reintroduce
"Digital Telephony" when the 103rd Congress convenes in January.
Cellular Scanners Prohibited
The wrong solution won out as Congress attempted to protect the
privacy of users of cellular telephones. Congress chose to ban scanners as it
amended the Communications Act of 1934 with the FCC Authorization Act of
1991. The Authorization Act, among other things, prohibits the U.S.
manufacture and importation of scanning receivers capable of:
receiving cellular transmissions, being easily altered to receive cellular
transmissions, or being equipped with decoders to convert digital
cellular transmissions to analog voice audio. While privacy
protection is always important, EFF opposed the bill, arguing that technical
solutions, such as encryption, are the only way to protect private
communications carried over the airwaves.
Unable to stop the scanner ban, EFF worked with Representative
Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Senator Ernest Hollings (D-South
Carolina) to add an amendment to the legislation requiring the FCC to study
the impact of this law on privacy. Sometime in 1993, the FCC must also
conduct a public inquiry and issue a report on alternative means for
protecting cellular telephone conversations with a focus on
Threats to Free Speech
Federal Agency to Study Hate Crimes on BBSs
Recognizing that electronic media have been used more and more
often to spread messages of hate and bigotry, Congress mandated the
National Telecommunications and Information Adminstration (NTIA) to
conduct a study on "the role of telecommunications in crimes of hate and
violent acts against ethnic, religious, and racial minorities." Computer
bulletin boards are specifically mentioned as one of the targeted
media to be studied under the Telecommunications Authorization Act of
1992. Representative Markey, while supporting the Act in the House,
cautioned NTIA to be sensitive to privacy concerns while conducting the study.
A report on the results of the study will be presented to the Senate
before the end of June, 1993.
Congress Regulates Video Transmissions
Much has been written about the passage of the Cable Television
Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, more commonly known as
the "Cable Act." While specifically designed to regulate rates, establish
customer service requirements and prevent unfair competition for
cable television providers, the Cable Act may have broader implications for
those of us communicating online. The communications networks of
the future will include video and data transmission, as well as the voice
transmission we are now used to using over the telephone lines. The
Cable Act is Congress's first attempt to regulate the wire/cable
transmissions that will make up our networks of the future. EFF is
currently studying the implications of this legislation, specifically as
it applies to free speech over the network.
Threats to the Public's Right to Government Information
Fees Charged for Use of Government BBS
In a poorly thought-out move designed to raise federal revenues,
Congress passed a law permitting the Federal Maritime Commission
to charge user fees on its Automated Tariff Filing and Information
System (AFTI). The law requires shippers, freight forwarders, ocean carriers
and third-party information vendors to pay 46 cents for every
minute they are connected to the government-sponsored electronic database.
EFF joined with many other groups, including library groups, the
Information Industry Association and The Journal of Commerce, in
opposing this legislation. EFF and the others fear that this precedent
of allowing the government to charge citizens more than the
government's cost for information could be applied to many other federal
databases and impinge on the public's access to government data in electronic
Federal Employees Denied Copyrights for Government Software
EFF joined with several other organizations to successfully stop the
Technology Transfer Improvements Act in a Senate committee after
it had passed in the House of Representatives. This Act would have allowed
the federal government to claim copyright in certain computer software
created by federal employees working with non-federal parties.
Because so much government information is stored only in computerized
formats, EFF and the others, including the Software Publishers Association,
American Library Association, and Information Industry Association,
were concerned that this legislation would impinge on a citizen's right to
obtain and use government information that he or she has the right
to obtain and use.
Reproducing Copyrighted Software Now a Felony
Under the strong lobby of the Software Publishers Association, Congress
decided to stiffen penalties for individuals making illegal
reproductions of copyrighted software. The amended law makes
reproducing copyrighted software a felony if certain conditions are
met. According to the statute, any person who makes 1) at least ten copies
2) of one or more copyrighted works 3) that have a retail value of more
than $2500, can be imprisoned for up to five years and/or fined
$250,000. In order for the infringement to be a criminal violation,
however, the copies must be made "willfully and for purposes of
commerical advantage or private financial gain." While the term
"willfully" is not defined in the statute, previous criminal court cases
on copyright law have held that the person making the copies must
have known that his or her behavior was illegal. Software backups are not
illegal (in fact, they are usually encouraged by software providers),
and therefore do not fall under the scope of this statute.
Like most of us, EFF is concerned about the ramifications of this
legislation. While the statute itself provides safeguards that seem to
place heavy restrictions on how the law is applied, we are wary that
improper application of the law could result in extreme penalties for
software users. We will be monitoring cases brought under this
statute and intervening if we see civil liberties violations taking place.
Network Access for All
Commercial Users Given Internet Access
Congress gave the National Science Foundation (NSF), the agency
overseeing the Internet, the authority to relax some of its access rules
governing certain types of information travelling over the network,
including commercial information. The Internet has been an educational
and research-oriented network since the 1980s. Over the past few
years, however, the Internet has become increasingly open to non-
educational and commercial uses. The National Science Foundation Act was
amended to encourage an increase in network uses that will ultimately support
research and education activities.
While the amendment was still being considered by the House Science
Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Richard Boucher (D- Virginia),
EFF's President, Mitch Kapor, argued for more flexible rules to spur
diversity and innovation on the Internet. Relying in part on Kapor's
contentions, Representative Boucher sponsored the amendment as it
passed in the full House of Representatives; Senator Albert Gore (D-
Tennessee) championed it in the Senate. EFF lobbied to convince potential
congressional and industry opponents that the legislation would
facilitate, not impede, wider access to the Internet.
EFF's Open Platform Proposal Introduced
This past Fall, Mitch Kapor testified before the House Subcommittee
on Telecommunications and Finance about the perceived dangers of
regional Bell telephone company entry into the information services market.
To combat the fear that the Bells would engage in anticompetitive
behavior, EFF proposed an information network for the near future that would
be affordable, equitable, and easily-accessible (EFF's Open Platform
Proposal). Kapor suggested that ISDN could make such a network
possible sooner rather than later and at little expense.
Legislation was circulated near the end of Congress which included
the Open Platform Proposal. The proposed legislation, entitled the
"Telecommunications Competition and Services Act of 1992," was
sponsored by House Telecommunications and Finance Subcommitee Chair
Markey and would give government support to anyone moving forward to
provide digital telecommunications now over existing copper wires. This,
in turn, would pave the way for a broadband network requiring
telecommunications infrastructure modernization in the future. This
piece of legislation laid the groundwork for a major debate in the
next Congress, especially since President-elect Clinton and Vice-President-
elect Gore have committed themselves to an infrastructure of
As you can see, Congress has been very busy creating legislation that
may affect your lives online. Next month, we will make some
predictions of areas where the 103rd Congress is likely to concentrate
Shari Steele is a Staff Attorney with the Washington office of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Steele can be reached at
THE SECOND ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL EFF PIONEER AWARDS:
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
Deadline: December 31,1992
In every field of human endeavor,there are those dedicated to
expanding knowledge,freedom,efficiency and utility. Along the electronic
frontier, this is especially true. To recognize this,the Electronic Frontier
Foundation has established the Pioneer Awards for deserving
individuals and organizations.
The Pioneer Awards are international and nominations are open to
In March of 1992, the first EFF Pioneer Awards were given in Washington
D.C. The winners were: Douglas C. Engelbart of Fremont, California;
Robert Kahn of Reston, Virginia; Jim Warren of Woodside, California;
Tom Jennings of San Francisco, California; and Andrzej Smereczynski of
The Second Annual Pioneer Awards will be given in San Francisco,
California at the 3rd Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy
in March of 1993.
All valid nominations will be reviewed by a panel of impartial judges
chosen for their knowledge of computer-based communications and
the technical, legal, and social issues involved in networking.
There are no specific categories for the Pioneer Awards, but the
following guidelines apply:
1) The nominees must have made a substantial contribution to the
health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based
2) The contribution may be technical, social, economic or cultural.
3) Nominations may be of individuals, systems, or organizations in
the private or public sectors.
4) Nominations are open to all, and you may nominate more than one
recipient. You may nominate yourself or your organization.
5) All nominations, to be valid, must contain your reasons, however
brief, on why you are nominating the individual or organization,
along with a means of contacting the nominee, and your own contact
number. No anonymous nominations will be allowed.
6) Every person or organization, with the single exception of EFF
staff members, are eligible for Pioneer Awards.
7) Persons or representatives of organizations receiving a Pioneer
Award will be invited to attend the ceremony at the Foundation's
You may nominate as many as you wish, but please use one form per
nomination. You may return the forms to us via email to
You may mail them to us at:
Pioneer Awards, EFF,
155 Second Street
Cambridge MA 02141.
You may FAX them to us at:
+1 617 864 0866
Just tell us the name of the nominee, the phone number or email address
at which the nominee can be reached, and, most important, why you
feel the nominee deserves the award. You may attach supporting
documentation. Please include your own name, address, and phone
We're looking for the Pioneers of the Electronic Frontier that have
made and are making a difference. Thanks for helping us find them,
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
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