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EFFector - Volume 1, Issue 11 - The EFF to Open a Forum On Compuserve


EFFector - Volume 1, Issue 11 - The EFF to Open a Forum On Compuserve

########## |   Volume I      September 20, 1991       Number 11  |
########## |                                                     |
###        |                   EFFECTOR ONLINE                   |
#######    |                                    |
#######    |                                                     |
###        |                                                     |
########## |           The Electronic Newsletter of              |
########## |        The Electronic Frontier Foundation           |
           |       155 Second Street, Cambridge MA 02141         |
########## |       Phone:(617)864-0665 FAX:(617)864-0866         |
########## |                                                     |
###        |                        Staff:                       |
#######    |            Gerard Van der Leun (        |
#######    |             Mike Godwin (          |
###        |             Mitchell Kapor (         |
###        |                   Managing Editors:                 |
###        |Chris Davis (, Helen Rose (|
           |              West Coast Editor: David Gans          |
########## |       Reproduction of Effector Online via all       |
########## |            electronic media is encouraged.          |
###        |      To reproduce signed articles individually      |
#######    |    please contact the authors for their express     |
#######    |                     permission.                     |
###        |                                                     |
###        |                                                     |
###        |                                                     |
effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired change.



The Electronic Frontier Foundation has concluded an agreement with
Compuserve, one of the largest private computer networks, to open a
forum devoted to EFF civil liberties issues, networking technologies,
and online cultures. The forum, The Electronic Frontier, is expected to
be up and running by mid-October.

For some time now, our various materials and documents have been
available as a section of the Telecom Forum on CIS, thanks to the work
and dedication of Scott Loftesness. By taking this step and opening our
own forum, we hope to increase the visibility of the EFF on Compuserve
and expand the amount of material we can offer to this large group of
networkers who may or may not have access to the Internet.

We'll be reporting on this development in more detail as work on the
forum goes forward.


This month's SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN ("Communications, Computers, and
Networks") must surely represent the most complete collection of
articles and commentary on all aspects of networking to date. As such we
feel strongly that it should be made available to as many people as
possible.  Because of this, we have purchased a large number of copies
of this issue that we will be using for various purposes over the coming
year. The first use will be to deliver a free copy of to all our
members. We are expecting the magazines to be delivered to us at the end
of next week and they will go out to our members soon after. We realize
that many of our members may already have a copy of their own, but if so
we trust that they will use this extra copy to educate and enlighten
someone else to the issues and potential of networking.


                             by Mitchell Kapor


National Research and Education Network

EFF is a member of the coalition, which includes library and education
groups, as well as industry, working for passage of the NREN bill. We
have been working with both the House and the Senate, sending letters of
support, and meeting with key staff members. The bill has now passed the
House and Senate, H.R. 656 and S. 272, both called the "High Performance
Computing Act of 1991." We expect that Gore will use an NREN version of
my Open Roads paper (coauthored with Jerry Berman) to emphasize that the
NREN should serve open network, platform functions. The bill will be
signed into law if a compromise between the House and Senate versions
can be reached. We are optimistic that this will happen.

Communications Infrastructure and Information Services 

We have met with Markey staff and Hollings staff, on the Senate side, to
work on a rewrite of the Communications Act of 1934. This revision would
establish open networks, safeguards, common carrier and privacy rules
for the future national public network. We will also work on Conrad
Burns's legislation, S. 1200, a fiber network planning and
implementation process. This legislative arena is where the most
significant decisions will be made over the next few years. It will
emerge as the place where the actual development of the network will
take place, as well as where the playing field will be leveled for all
information providers.

900 Numbers and Common Carrier Enhanced Services 

Congress is considering legislation to regulate 900 number services in
order to eliminate consumer fraud. We welcome the legislation but,
together with other public interest groups and the ACLU, are urging
Congress to consider ways to insure that long distance and local
telephone companies carry all services -- including political and
charitable messages -- without discriminating on the basis of content.
Recently companies, to avoid hurting their image, have been denying
billing and sometimes carriage to charitable and political 900 numbers
put up by groups like Handgun Control and People for the American Way.
They argue that such enhanced services are not covered by their common
carrier obligations. The pending legislation is known as H.R. 2330
(Markey) and S. 1579 (Inouye).

Encryption and Privacy

We continue to work with information industry and public interest groups
to create appropriate policies supporting communications privacy. We
participated in the Leahy task force on ECPA and recommended creating
incentives to encrypt cellular phones. We also worked to remove a
provision in the Senate Crime bill that would require manufacturers and
providers to give law enforcement a "back door" to all encrypted voice
and data messages. 

Now both the House and Senate, in the FCC Reauthorization Bill, HR 1674,
are trying to criminalize the manufacture of scanners which pick up
cellular radio frequencies. We have met with House and Senate staff to
indicate that this is a futile effort, and to require FCC to open inquiry
into encryption options. Both the House and Senate are receptive to this.
We are drafting such a provision. While it is not clear we can defeat the
manufacturing provision, we can move the debate to consider encryption

Amendments to the Computer Fraud and Abuse statute are on the line
again.  We support amendments to limit damage to systems to cases of
intentional or reckless damage. We continue to expand our contacts on
the Hill, which now include Rep. Schumer of NY, a key member of the
Judiciary committee.

Massachusetts Computer Crime Bill

This bill, which would establish a commission to recommend a comprehensive 
approach to computer crime legislation, is on the governor's desk awaiting 
signature. If passed, EFF would be represented on the commission and would 
supply most of the research.

Federal Copyright of Government Developed Computer Software 

The EFF is joining the ACLU, library organizations, and IIA in opposing
legislation that would allow the government to copyright software
developed in cooperation with the private sector under cooperative
research arrangements. 

Government software copyright could allow the government to control the
price and dissemination of public electronic information contrary to the
public's right to know. The legislation at issue is S. 1581 (Rockefeller)
and H.R. 191 (Morella). We are meeting with staff on this in the near future.

Royalty Fees for Government Information

We are also opposing a scheme in H.R. 534 which would allow a federal
agency to charge royalties for accessing a government electronic data
base of public information. The government should not "profit" at the
expense of the public's right to know---information must be accessible to
the public in whatever format and at cost. We have joined in a group
letter and will meet with relevant staff soon.


As we go along, we find that EFF is filling a major policy and advocacy
vacuum in Washington. The ACLU handles information technology civil
liberties issues from a civil liberties perspective. CPSR appears
heavily focused on privacy issues and an issue spotting role. EFF can
represent civil liberties and public interest in infrastructure as well
as bring the unique perspectives of both the computer industry and the
"net constituency". We work with both the ACLU and CPSR, but in ways
which give us our own voice.

Communications Policy Forum

We have become a co-sponsor of the Communications Policy Forum (CPF), in
conjunction with ACLU and the Consumer Federation of America. The purpose
of this forum is to permit consumer organizations to shape communications
goals, and explore policy options with hill, administration, each other,
and the telecommunications industry. 

The Forum held a meeting on NREN in June with consumer, library and
educational groups and key hill staff. Out of this came the Kapor/Berman
Open Road Paper, participation in the Gore bill, and a soon to be
published resource book on NREN.

In July the Forum held a consultation on electronic mail to explore
movements towards interconnection between commercial systems, Internet,
et al. We chaired the meeting with ACLU and the Electronic Mail
Association. A primer on E-Mail will soon be published and some of the
discussion will frame necessary "functionalities" such as directories we
may propose for the national public network.This fall, the CPF will
sponsor meetings on 900 numbers and on the implications of Judge Green's
MFJ opinion.

CPF is a base for initiating a "safeguards study" to explore options for
insuring that the communications infrastructure is open, free, and
accessible. We plan to use the study, which we will work on with outside
experts such as Lee Selwyn and Eli Noam, etc. to educate us as to
policies and safeguards we need to press for in any congressional
rewrite of the Communications Act of 1934.

EFF/ ACLU Joint Policy Efforts

In addition to the CPF, we are working with the ACLU on related matters
dealing with computers and the First amendment. We are jointly
supporting research on common carrier law---and expect to publish a
paper by Hank Perrit on common carrier and tort liability concepts in
the electronic age.

Mr. Neidorf Goes To Washington

Finally, we're pleased to announce that Craig Neidorf has been appointed
as the EFF's Washington intern. Neidorf's duties will include working
with the ACLU and CPSR for the EFF on a daily basis. He will also track
and attend important policy hearings on the hill as well as reporting on
different legislative initiatives to the EFF.


                            THE EFF AT WORLDCON 
                               by Mike Godwin

At the invitation of one of the organizers of Chicon V (the World
Science Fiction Convention in Chicago), I spent Labor Day Weekend in
Chicago speaking on a number of panels that addressed EFF issues. This
is a brief report of the panels and the responses they engendered.

Thursday night was my first panel, cryptically titled "The Ambivalent
Hacker." Chaired by Jim Thomas, co-editor of the Computer Underground
Digest, the panel also included CUD co-editor Gordon Meyer, Cliff Stoll,
and me. The discussion tended to focus on defining what a hacker is
today, with an emphasis on how the definition has changed over the last
few years. Definitions of hacker ranged from the midnight computer
intruder to "anyone who tries to explore the limits of new technologies
and ideas." All of the panelists expressed concern that the motives of
most hackers not be lumped together with those of criminals, and that
the impulse to hack be directed properly rather than suppressed.

On Friday I attended two panels. The first was "Defining Infocrime:
Cracking, Security, and Enforcement." Although this panel was a bit too
big to handle properly, we did manage to survey most of the kinds of
"infocrime" we are seeing now and can expect to see more of in the
future. These ranged from traditional computer intrusion and
trade-secret theft to the misappropriation of copyrighted material.
Hugo-award-winning artist Michael Whelan addressed the latter issue in
his account of how some of his more famous artwork had been scanned and
then posted on a commercial information service with his name removed.
ACLU attorney Siobhan Murphy and I discussed the merits and flaws of the
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and science-fiction writer Allan Steele
declared his intention to quit using his modem altogether in order to
keep his system secure.

The second panel that evening was called "Cyberpunk Under Siege? The
Steve Jackson Games Affair and the Secret Service," and Steve Jackson
and I were the only panelists. Steve did most of the talking, recounting
the now-famous story of how the Secret Service came and nearly shut down
his business with a broad search and seizure, while I answered questions
about the relevant Constitutional and statutory provisions. This panel
was extremely well-attended--most attendees had heard about the case,
which has even been mentioned in a science-fiction novel (FALLEN ANGELS,
by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn). Interest was so
great that we extended the panel for another 30 minutes beyond its
originally scheduled hour. I was very encouraged by the depth of
interest in the case among science-fiction fans, and by their generally
firm grasp of the legal and Constitutional issues in the case.

My last panel of the weekend was "The Scrambled Democracy: Computers,
Government, Privacy, and Civil Liberties." This panel also went overtime
as we discussed how developments in information technology may affect
the rights and prerogatives we now take for granted. The talk was
wide-ranging, and included discussions of anonymous cash transactions,
computer-records searches, credit-reporting agencies, and computer-crime
prosecutions. The tone was generally cautionary: most panelists wanted
to warn about the possible negative impacts new technology may have,
while everyone acknowledged that it also had some potential for
enhancing democracy too.

Of the panels and events I didn't participate in, I particularly enjoyed
two in which Cliff Stoll played a major role. The panel "See You on the
Net: Computer Communities Today and Tomorrow" focused on how virtual
communities seem to arise on the networks, defying the normal
limitations of geography. Cliff mentioned the hazards of becoming
well-known while on the Internet--he has received 15,000 pieces of email
since publication of his book THE CUCKOO'S EGG (and has tried to answer
every one of them!). Cliff also did a two-hour presentation on "Stalking
the Wily Hacker and Other Midnight Adventures," about his efforts to
track down a hacker who turned out to be attempting to sell American
secrets to the KGB. Done in Cliff's inimitable hyperkinetic style, the
presentation was notable for (among other things) Cliff's strong
emphasis on the need for people not to take his story as a justification
for cutting back on the rights of computer users.

Overall, I was pleased both with the quality of the panels and events
and with the quality of the attendees, who were generally knowledgeable
about both the technical and the social issues. I thought we all did a
credible job of presenting electronic frontier issues to a community
that is particularly interested in the shape of things to come.



EFF member and supporter Jeff Kellem has organized a BOF session for the
EFF at the upcoming USENIX Large Installation Systems Administration
Conference. The conference will be held in San Diego from September 30
to October 3, at the Hilton Beach Resort. The EFF BOF(Birds of a Feather
Session) session is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 PM.

The EFF will also be holding a BOF at Interop '91 in San Jose on Tuesday,
October 8. It will take place from 5:30-7:00 P.M. in the San Jose Civic 
Auditorium. Please come. 



The national convention of The Society of Professional Journalists, an
organization of roughly 18,000 members in the United States, Canada and
Japan, is meeting Oct. 17-19 in Cleveland. As part of that convention, a
seminar will be conducted on writing about computers and computer

Since over the years, cyberspace travelers have bemoaned the accuracy of
articles relating to computers, computer networks and even telephones,
we ask that you email or snail mail examples of articles that you have
found solid and others that you have found less so. Please include a
note of explanation.

The panel then will try to compile the examples, and the comments and
produce a handout for discussion. Sometime in the week after the
convention, we will post the results of the session. The names of the
panelists will be disclosed at that time since it is possible that some
of the articles that may be submitted may have been written by a panelist.

Mail paper examples to me at the address below. Where possible, the
examples should include a copy of the article, the name of the
publication and _specific_ comments. If the article is dismissed simply
as "nonsense," state that it is because paragraph 5 has failed to
adequately explain a concept, and that it would have been better to have
said it this way or that.

So, if you go into fits when you see the word "hacker" in print, please
mail by Sept. 30.

Thank you for your cooperation.

John E. Mollwitz,
Chair, Committee on New Information Technologies
The Society of Professional Journalists
c/o The Milwaukee Journal
P.O. Box 661
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0661

Electronic Mail--
CompuServe: 72240,131
GEnie: J.Mollwitz
Prodigy: CKFB43A



In order to continue the work already begun and to expand our efforts
and activities into other realms of the electronic frontier, we need the
financial support of individuals and organizations.

If you support our goals and our work, you can show that support by
becoming a member now. Members receive our quarterly newsletter,
EFFECTOR, our bi-weekly electronic newsletter, EFFector Online (if you
have an electronic address that can be reached through the Net), and
special releases and other notices on our activities.  But because we
believe that support should be freely given, you can receive these
things even if you do not elect to become a member.

Your membership/donation is fully tax deductible.

Our memberships are $20.00 per year for students, $40.00 per year for
regular members.  You may, of course, donate more if you wish.

Our privacy policy: The Electronic Frontier Foundation will never, under
any circumstances, sell any part of its membership list.  We will, from
time to time, share this list with other non-profit organizations whose
work we determine to be in line with our goals.  But with us, member
privacy is the default. This means that you must actively grant us
permission to share your name with other groups. If you do not grant
explicit permission, we assume that you do not wish your membership
disclosed to any group for any reason.

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