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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 2, Issue 10 - Around the Virtual Town


EFFector - Volume 2, Issue 10 - Around the Virtual Town

########## ########## ########## |               QUESTION TECHNOLOGY:|
########## ########## ########## |          Information Age Fallacies|
####       ####       ####       |                                   |
########   ########   ########   |          OLD SCAMS IN NEW BOTTLES:|
########   ########   ########   |                 Computer Crime Now|
####       ####       ####       |                                   |
########## ####       ####       |          ANS & CIX to Interconnect|
########## ####       ####       |                                   |
EFFector Online             June 9, 1992                   Issue 2.10|
         A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation         |
                           ISSN 1062-9424                            |     

               ANS CO+RE and CIX Agree to Interconnect

Elmsford, NY . . . ANS CO+RE Systems, Inc., (ANS) and the Commercial
Internet Exchange (CIX) have announced that they will interconnect for
a provisional period in order to increase connectivity among their
clients and members.  During this period they will continue to work
together on technical issues and equitable arrangements that could
lead to a permanent interconnection.

ANS operates a high-speed, nationwide data network (ANSnet) supporting
research, education and business.  The ANSnet interconnects with 17
other networks that carry commercial data, as well as data related to
research and education.  The CIX is an association of seven networks
that carry commercial traffic.  By signing an agreement with ANS and
by joining the CIX, midlevel networks will be able to exchange
commercial traffic with other CIX members via the ANS network.  ANS is
not becoming a member of the CIX at this time.

During the provisional period of interconnectivity, the CIX and ANS
will co-sponsor a workshop, which will include other commercial
networking service providers, to develop a framework conducive to the
rapid expansion of the Commercial Internet.  Among the issues to be
addressed in the workshop sessions are the potential methods for
permanently interconnecting network service providers and for managing
all related issues associated with interconnection.  Both ANS and the
CIX have agreed to forego any cross payments during the provisional

In commenting on the agreement, ANS President and CEO Al Weis stated,
"The CIX and ANS have taken a step forward in addressing some of the
challenges that face our industry.  Providing a means for CIX members
and ANS clients to exchange commercial traffic has been an important
issue to the networking community.  Today's announcement is the result
of negotiations that include input from many members of this
community, especially the New England Academic and Research Network
(NEARnet), whose ideas were instrumental in bringing about the final
agreement.  I am hopeful that our efforts will help broaden
interconnectivity and begin to establish a framework for the evolution
of the Commercial Internet."

Mitch Kapor, Chairman of the CIX, said, "In taking this significant
step, we enable greater freedom from content restrictions on the
Internet.  This agreement stands as an example that the private sector
can achieve the important goal of strengthening the openness of our
nation's information and communications infrastructure on a
cooperative basis, without the necessity of government regulation."

June 8, 1992                                    Susan Eldred (ANS)

                                              Mitchell Kapor (CIX)


                    Around the Virtual Town
                     Notes by

With the advent of June weather in Cambridge its time to see what has
been happening in the EFF office and out on the Net in the past few

Mitchell Kapor has been trying, with some success, to cut back on his
hectic schedule of meetings for and speeches about EFF and its
activities to groups around the country. But as this domestic schedule
begins to lessen, he is preparing for an extended trip to Japan at the
middle of this month. In Japan, Kapor will meet with key people in
telecom. He just finished an online stint at EFFSIG, the new EFF Forum
on CompuServe, fielding CIS users questions and comments.

The Washington office continues to take on more and more projects. A
large part of the effort of Berman and Company is the development of the
EFF Open Platform proposal for making digital voice, data, and video
communications possible on public switched telephone, cable and other
networks using technologies like ISDN as a transition to fiber optics.

Another item at the top of Washington's agenda is continued coalition
building among industry and public-interest groups to oppose the FBI's
digital telephony proposal; a proposal with could slow down the
development of advanced communications technology as well as threaten
the privacy of groups and individuals.

EFF has also testified against HR191, legislation which would allow the
government to copyright software developed by the government and which
could impede public access to government information. 

With the able assistance of Shari Steele, Daniel Weitzner, Andrew Blau
and Craig Neidorf, the Washington office is also keeping up with filings
and motions and general tracking of issues such as business rate charges
for home BBS services, 900 number legislation, video dialtone, common
carriage, and first amendment questions.  In their spare time, the
Washington office discuss current electoral politics, and win bets on
primary outcomes from Cambridge staff members.

John Barlow, as if he didn't have enough to do in Cyberspace, has just
been made a member of the Board of Directors of the Whole Earth
'Lectronic Link (The WELL) at a crucial moment in that system's

EFF/Publications recently finished the first issue of our members
newsletter, "" and are working on the second for later this
month.  This publication is mailed to the "formal" members of EFF to
keep them apprised of what the various people here are doing. We will be
publishing this short newsletter monthly, so if you are an EFF member,
look for it in a non-virtual mailbox near you soon.

We have also just produced an update of the  EFF General Information
brochure, as well as new pamphlets such as CRIME & PUZZLEMENT by John
Barlow, and BUILDING THE OPEN ROAD by Mitchell Kapor and Jerry Berman.
All of these are free for the asking by writing to us here in Cambridge.

Adam Gaffin, the writer of The EFF Guide to the Net has been bombarding
us with chunks of copy for weeks now. It looks like we have that rarest
of all book projects, one that is ahead of schedule. We still have a
long way to go however. Look for this in the late Fall at the earliest.
Print is slow you know.

Also in pre-production is the next issue of EFFECTOR, our main printed
journal designed to present longer articles. EFFECTOR 3 will be in
magazine format and will feature such writers as Howard Rheingold, John
Barlow, Mike Godwin and others. The topics will range from "Innkeeping
in Cyberspace" to a "History of Women on the Internet" as well as an
interview with Cliff Figallo, departing manager of the WELL.  It will
also be illustrated (sorry, no color as yet). In keeping with EFF
policy, this will be available as a PostScript file via ftp. So look for
it around the end of July. 

Chris Davis and Helen Rose keep expanding and improving our Internet
node,, in so many ways that it is impossible to track them. 
Recent improvements are the expansion of our WAIS archive (Yes,
Virginia, EFF is a WAIS site), and overseeing the installation of a new
56kbps line to the Washington Office to enhance communication. They are
also continually tweaking the Sun SPARC stations in order to handle
EFF's ever increasing ftp load smoothly and transparently.  In addition,
they keep up with a mail load that would sink the U.S. Post Office and
handle IRC! If you are going to USENIX next week, the dynamic duo will
be there representing the EFF at the BOF and in the halls. Look for
them. They'll be wearing EFF t-shirts and probably looking for a place
to jack their Powerbooks into the Net in order to login and read mail.

Mike Godwin, Staff Counsel, is currently hiding out for the first part
of the day studying for the Massachusetts Bar.  During his remaining 30
minutes of consciousness, he is also managing to be among the top 25 
posters to USENET, *and* carry on discussions on CompuServe and the
WELL at the same time.  Mike is already a member of the bars of Texas
and Washington, D.C. Last month, he made a trip to New York and spoke to
the NYACC on civil-liberties and the new technologies (see below).

Rita Rouvalis?  Rita has taken a vacation break from all this and is
currently spelunking in various caves near St. Louis.  She still logs
in and checks her mail twice a day from down there. No, we don't know



>>>There's no modem tax being proposed.  It's a myth.
                   -- Cliff Stoll (

>>But isn't there supposed to be an FCC-imposed tax on postings mentioning
>>Craig Shergold?
                   -- Mike Godwin (

>No, it's on the cookies you buy at Neiman-Marcus.  Be sure to ask for
>the recipe.
                   -- Ed McCreary (mccreary@sword.eng)

Prodigy tried to replace one of my spreadsheet files with the cookie
recipe, but the virus in my laser printer stopped it.
                   -- James Davies (


      A Discussion Before the New York Amateur Computer Club

On May 15, Mike Godwin, staff counsel of the EFF, and Donald Delaney,
Senior Investigator New York State Police, discussed the advent of
organized crime in cutting-edge computer crime. The discussion, moderated
by Newsbytes, John McMullen, took place before a meeting of the New York
Amateur Computer Club.

To open the discussion, McMullen reflected that at a previous appearance
before the NYACC in 1991, Delaney had called for:

1. An effort by law enforcement to increase public awareness of computer   
2. Increasing education of law enforcement officers in the technological
aspects of the new media.
3. The establishment of a New York State Computer Crime Lab.

McMullen noted that, in the main, all of these items on Delaney's 1991
agenda had been fulfilled. McMullen went on to remark that PBX & Cellular
Phone Fraud, mounting privacy concerns, and the wiretapping and encryption
controversies had largely replaced the previous year's concerns.

In response, Delaney agreed with McMullen's general assessment and noted
that "carding" of  goods -- the buying of equipment with stolen credit
cards or credit card numbers -- had become much more prevalent as well.
More significant, Delaney said, was the explosion in "call-sell"
operations. These crimes, where international calls are placed for a
"fee," and which use a private company's PBX exchange illegally to do so,
have become the most widespread and lucrative form of computer crime
today--so lucrative and relatively risk-free, he noted, that many drug-
pushers are moving into the business.  This impression was bolstered by
the fact that one of Delaney's 1991 phone-fraud arrestees had recently
been found murdered. Delaney believes that he may have been killed for
trying to operate a call-sell operation in an area of New York City felt
to be under the control of an Colombian mob-run phone-fraud operation.

Delaney predicted that PBX fraud will continue to grow and to vex
companies for as long as companies using PBX systems fail to understand
the security problems and to correct them.

Mike Godwin, in his portion of the discussion, drew attention to the fact
that, without greater recognition of the uniqueness of BBS and
conferencing systems, legislators seeking to reduce PBX-related crime and
other telecommunications fraud may make decisions affecting BBS systems
through misunderstandings. Godwin made a distinction between telephone
conversations which are one-to-one (except for conference calls, which are
often ineffective and inefficient), newspaper and broadcast media which
are one-to-many, and BBS systems which are many-to-many. "We are
concerned," he said, " that law enforcement will respond to the challenges
of this new technology in inappropriate ways. For example, the FBI and
Justice Department in the recent 'Digital Telephony' Initiative have
requested that phone companies be *required* to provide law enforcement
with a method of wire-tapping, arguing that technological developments
that make present methods less effective."

"Such a procedure would, in effect, make the phone companies part of the
surveillance system. We don't think that is their job. The EFF believes
that it is up to law enforcement to develop their own crime-fighting
tools. When the telephone was first developed it made it more difficult to
catch crooks. They no longer had to go to known criminal hangouts to
conspire to commit crimes; they could do it by telephone. The government
responded to this problem by resorting to wiretapping." It is appropriate
for law enforcement to bear the burden of coming up with new ways to
investigate crimes if technology threatens to make old ways obsolete,
Godwin said. Godwin cited the recent conviction of John Gotti as a case in
which law enforcement had innovated in response to Gotti's refusal to use
his wiretapped phones for important conversations. In that case, he said,
law-enforcement agents bugged the lampposts along the street where Gotti
walked as he consulted with his subordinates.

Godwin also spoke briefly concerning the on-going debate over encryption.
"The government," he said, "through various agencies such as NSA, keeps
attempting to restrict citizens from cloaking their computer files or
messages in seemingly unbreakable encryption. The EFF believes that people
have rights to privacy and, should they wish to protect it by encrypting
computer messages, have a perfect right to do so."

The last speaker of the evening was Bruce Fancher, owner of MindBox, a
commercial BBS in New York. His remarks told of his early experience as a
"hacker". Fancher asked the audience to understand that these individuals,
even if discovered inside a computer system, were not computer terrorists
with malign intentions, but explorers.

Following these presentations there was a question-and-answer period. In
response to one question, Delaney suggested that a method of resolving the
debate over who should hold the keys to encrypted messages was to allow a
third party -- such as an insurance company or a bank -- to maintain the
keys for those using encryption. An official seeking to read an encrypted
message would have to get a court order to obtain the key and read the
documents in question.

Godwin disagreed with this saying that such a third party and its system
would become a high-profile target for "crackers". It was not, he said, in
the best interest of the country to add yet another level of complexity
and bureaucracy to the problem.


                   Fifty Ways to Hose Your Code
                   ----- ---- -- ---- ---- ----
                                              Kind of by Paul Simon

The problem's all inside your code she said to me;
Recursion is easy if you take it logically.
I'm here to help you if you're struggling to learn C,
There must be fifty ways to hose your code.

She said it's really not my habit to #include,
And I hope my files won't be lost or misconstrued;
But I'll recompile at the risk of getting screwed,
There must be fifty ways to hose your code.

Just blow up the stack Jack,
Make a bad call Paul,
Just hit the wrong key Lee,
And set your pointers free.

Just mess up the bus Gus,
You don't need to recurse much,
You just listen to me.

She said it grieves me to see you compile again.
I wish there were some hardware that wasn't such a pain.
I said I appreciate that and could you please explain,
About the fifty ways.

She said why don't we both just work on it tonight,
And I'm sure in the morning it'll be working just right.
Then she hosed me and I realized she probably was right,
There must be fifty ways to hose your code.

Just lose the address Les,
Clear the wrong Int Clint,
Traverse the wrong tree Lee,
And set your list free.

Just mess up the bus Gus,
You don't need to recurse much,
You just program in C.

      --by Miles Deforest ( and Al Pena


                          Gary T. Marx
                     Department of Sociology
              Massachusetts Institute of Technology
                    Cambridge, Massachusetts

     New information technologies are breaking the boundaries
of time and space, and are bringing with them far-reaching changes in
the way information is gathered, accessed, and disseminated.  While
holding much promise, it is also important to be aware of the background
assumptions that often accompany the advocacy and introduction of new
technologies.  In particular, it is critical to examine the broader
cultural climate, the rationales for action, and the empirical and value
assumptions surrounding the introduction and widespread adoption of a

     Academic analysts try to offer theories, concepts,
methods, and data, and also, hopefully, wisdom.  A part of the wisdom
arises in being able to identify and question the web of tacit
assumptions that underlie action.  As an ethnographer, I watch and
listen.  When it comes to technology, I sometimes hear things that seem
empirically, logically, or normatively wrong, much as a musician knows
that certain notes are off key: "Turn the technology loose and let the
benefits flow"..."Do away with the human interface"..."When you choose
to make a phone call, you are consenting to have your telephone number
released"..."Only the computer sees it"..."Those of us who are involved
in consumer marketing are the best agents for protecting the consumer's
privacy"..."That's never happened"..."The public interest is whatever
the public is interested in watching"..."There is no law against
this"..."The technology is neutral."

     There are a number of assumptions underlying assertions
like these. If we are to use emergent technology to best serve human
needs in a democratic society, it is important we be on guard against
what can be called "tarnished silver-bullet techno-fallacies".
Following are a number of these information-age leaps in logic of which
we must be aware, and against which we must guard.

     1. The fallacy of assuming that only the guilty have to
fear the development of intrusive technology (or, if you've done nothing
wrong, you have nothing to hide).

     2. The fallacy of the free lunch or "painless dentistry"
in which it is assumed that information technology offers cost-free

     3. The legalistic fallacy of assuming that the only
criterion that ought to guide the use of technology is whether or not
the law permits it.

     4. The fallacy of assuming that pragmatism and/or
efficiency should automatically overrule other values such as fairness,
equity, external costs imposed on third parties, and symbolic meaning.

     5. The fallacy of lowest common denominator morality, in
assuming that if the competition or others push moral limits, you are
justified in doing the same.

     6. The fallacy of assuming that personal information on
customers, clients, and cases possessed by an organization is a kind of
property, to be bought and sold just like office furniture or raw

     7. The fallacy of assuming that because our privacy
expectations are historically determined and relative, they must
necessarily become weaker as technology becomes more powerful.

     8. The fallacy of technical neutrality.  (George
Orwell's response to the assertion that technology was neutral--"so is
the jungle"--is applicable here).

     9. The fallacy of implied consent and free choice (For
example, some phone company officials claim that if you choose to make a
call you have consented to have your phone number released.  You thus
are encouraged to protect your privacy by not using the phone.  But
that's like saying if you breathe polluted air or drink contaminated
water, you consent to these).

     10. The fallacy of believing that because it is possible
to successfully skate on thin ice it is acceptable to do so.  We should
not have to wait for a disaster to occur before concluding that some
uses of information technology are simply too risky to be adopted.

     11. The fallacy of assuming that the means will never
determine the end.  There is a danger of starting with the technology
and asking what can it be used for, rather than starting with goals and
asking how can they best be achieved.

     12. The fallacy of perfect containment (or, technology
will always remain the solution rather than become the problem).

     13. The fallacy of assuming that if a critic questions
the means, he or she must also be against the ends.

     With respect to information gathering technology, we are
now in the twilight that Justice William O. Douglas wrote about when he
argued that the protection of our basic values is not self-executing,
and that "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly
unchanged.  And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of
change in the air--however slight--lest we become unwitting victims of
the darkness."  One could as well argue that we are in a sunrise zone
and that we must be aware of change in the air in order to insure that
we all profit from the sunshine.  But for this to happen, the technology
must be bounded by increased public awareness, responsible corporate and
government behavior, and new laws and policies framed to ensure
individual freedoms and protect individual rights.
                  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

     This essay is based in part on the author's article
"Technology and Privacy" that appeared in The World and I, September,
1990 issue, pp. 523-541.  Other recent publications by the author
touching these and related themes include "The Case of the Omniscient
Organization", Harvard Business Review, 90(March/April, 1990): 12-30;
Undercover: Police Surveillance in America, Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1988; and "Monitoring on the Job" (with S. Sherizen),
Technology Review, 89(November/December, 1986): 62-72.



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with the new black and red EFF logo tastefully displayed on front, and
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                 Serving Cyberspace since 1990

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They come in sizes XL and child's S only. Send your $10 check or
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If you support our goals and our work, you can show that support by
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