########## ########## ########## | THE GREAT WORK:|
########## ########## ########## | By John Perry Barlow|
#### #### #### | |
######## ######## ######## | HACKER MANIA CONTINUES!|
######## ######## ######## | Excerpts from the Geraldo Circus|
#### #### #### | |
########## #### #### | DID MORRIS "GET WHAT HE DESERVED?"|
########## #### #### | A Letter to InfoWeek|
EFFector Online November 27,1992 Volume 2, Number 2|
THE GREAT WORK by John Perry Barlow
GETTING WHAT HE DESERVED? by Mike Godwin
MCI FRIENDS & FAMILY by Craig Neidorf
GERALDO! HACKER! MANIA! CONTINUES!
The Great Work
For the January, 1992 Electronic Frontier column
in Communications of the ACM
by John Perry Barlow
Earlier in this century, the French philosopher and anthropologist
Teilhard de Chardin wrote that evolution was an ascent toward what
nto unity, creating the collective organism of Mind. When I first
encountered the Net, I had forgotten my college dash through
Teilhard's Phenomenon of Man. It took me a while to remember where
Whether or not it represents Teilhard's vision, it seems clear we
are about some Great Work here...the physical wiring of collective
other mind in full-duplex broadband is one which, for a hippie
mystic like me, has clear theological implications, despite the
ronic fact that most of the builders are bit wranglers and
this assembled neurology, silicon, and optical fiber Think?
Teilhard was a Roman Catholic priest who never tried to forge a
SLIP connection, so his answers to that question were more
conventionally Christian than mine, but it doesn't really matter.
We'll build it and then we'll find out.
And however obscure our reasons, we do seem determined to build it.
Since 1970, when the Arpanet was established, it has become, as
a month, a curve which plotted on a linear trajectory would put
every single human being online in a few decades.
Or, more likely, not. Indeed, what we seem to be making at the
moment is something which will unite only the corporate, military,
and academic worlds, excluding the ghettos, hick towns, and suburbs
and the Know Nots, who will count for little but the labor and
consumption necessary to support it.
theological issues aside, its most profound consequence should be
the global liberation of everyone's speech. A truly open and
accessible Net will become an environment of expression which no
When Mitch Kapor and I first founded the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, we were eager to assure that the rights established by
the First Amendment would be guaranteed in Cyberspace. But it
First Amendment is a local ordinance.
While we haven't abandoned a constitutional strategy in assuring
free digital commerce, we have also come to recognize that, as
Mitch put it, "Architecture is politics." In other words, if the
Net is ubiquitous, affordable, easy to access, tunnelled with
encrypted passageways, and based on multiple competitive channels,
no local tyranny will be very effective against it.
A clear demonstration of this principle was visible during the
truth. Faxes and e-mail messages kept the opposition more current
anarchy of the Net.
Well, I could have myself a swell time here soliloquizing about
through electronics, but all great journeys proceed by tedious
ncrements. Though the undertaking is grand, it is the nuts and
bolts...the regulatory and commercial politics, the setting of
are so complex and boring as to erode the most resolute enthusiasm,
but if they don't get done, It doesn't.
So we need to be thinking about what small steps must be undertaken
today. Even while thinking globally, we must begin, as the bumper
opportunities, and preferred courses of action within the
boundaries of the United States.
To a large extent, America is the Old Country of Cyberspace. The
first large interconnected networks were developed here as was much
of the supporting technology. Leaving aside the estimable French
Minitel system, Cyberspace is, in is present condition, highly
American in culture and language. Though fortunately this is
ncreasingly less the case, much of the infrastructure of the Net
electronic future will be founded.
order of business is the creation of what we call the National
ubiquitous digital web, accessible to every American in practical,
economic, and functional terms. This network would convey, in
addition to traditional telephone service, e-mail, software, faxes,
n time, High Definition Television as well as other media as yet
ncluding the existing telephone, cable, publishing, broadcast, and
appropriately open to free enterprise, we can expect the emergence
of both new companies and new kinds of companies. Properly
computer business look like a precursor to the Real Thing.
As a first step, we are proposing that Congress and state agencies
establish regulatory mechanisms and incentives that will:
Establish an open platform for information services by speedy
nation-wide deployment of "Personal ISDN".
Ensure competition in local exchange services in order to
Promote free expression by reaffirming principles of common
Foster innovations that make networks and information services
easier to use.
Protect personal privacy.
That's a tall bill, most of which I will have to take up in
For the last two years, the Internet community has generally
Education Network as the next major component of the Great Work.
This has been regrettable. NREN, as presently envisioned, would do
little to enable the settlement of ordinary folks in Cyberspace.
Rather it would make plusher accommodations for the "mountain men"
Actually, NREN has been and may continue to be useful as a "policy
testbed." By giving Congress a reason to study such legal connundra
as unregulated common carriage and the intermingling of public and
as of this writing, it has become a political football. If the
House version (H656) of the High Performance Computing Act passes
Administration will surely veto it, and we'll be back to Square
Meanwhile, ISDN, a technology available today, has languished.
copper phone line can provide two full-duplex 64 kbs digital
channels. These can be used independently, concurrently, and
complex than that. Garden variety ISDN contains three channels. The
third is a 16 kbs "signal" channel, used for dialing and other
anyway or will install soon. Even at the currently languid
While those who live their lives at the end of a T1 connection may
consider 64 kbs to be a glacial transfer rate, the vast majority of
too slow and too user-hostile to create "critical mass" in the
We also believe that ISDN, whatever its limitations, is rapid
enough to jump start the greatest free market the world has ever
known. Widespread deployment of ISDN, combined with recent
Adobe's John Warnock calls the "ascii jail", delivering to the home
time multimedia. Much of the information which is now
nappropriately wedged into physical objects...whether books,
advent of the PC had on computing.
We admit that over the long term only fiber has sufficient
bandwidth for the future we imagine. But denying "civilian" access
to Cyberspace until the realization of a megabillion buck end-to-
end fiber network leaves us like the mainframe users in the 60's
the original PC.
Just as consumers were oblivious to the advantages of FAX
technology until affordable equipment arrived, we believe there is
a great sleeping demand for both ISDN and the tools which will
exploit it. And then there's the matter of affording the full fiber
national network. Until the use of digital services has become as
common as, say, the use of VCR's, Joe Sixpack's willingness to help
Given that most personal modem users are unaware that ISDN even
exists while the old elite of Internet grossly underestimates its
able to claim lack of consumer demand in their reluctance to make
t available. A cynic might also point to its convenience as a
like "Allow us to be information providers or we starve this
technology," has been one of their longest levers.
This issue should now be moot. Judge Greene ruled in July that the
telcos could start selling information. They got what they wanted.
Now we must make them honor their side of the bargain.
Unfortunately it still seems they will only let us use their
end, they have managed to convince several state Public Utility
Commissions that they should be allowed to charge tariffs for ISDN
costs. In Illinois, for example, customers are paying 10 to 12
cents a minute for an ISDN connection. This, despite evidence that
the actual telco cost of a digitally switched phone connection,
computer business, 1200% is not an ethical gross margin. And yet
the telcos claim that more appropriate pricing would require
Unfortunately, the computer industry has been either oblivious to
the opportunities which ISDN presents or reluctant to enter the
s understandable. National telecommunications policy has long been
an in-house project of AT&T. It is brain-glazingly prolix by design
and is generally regarded as a game you can't win unless you're on
the home team. The AT&T breakup changed all that, but the industry
Assurance of Local Competition
vastly more complex place. Who provides what services to whom, and
under what conditions, is an open question in most local venues.
Even with a scorecard you can't tell the players since many of them
Legislation is presently before the Edward Markey's (D-MA)
Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance (a subset of the
House Energy and Commerce Committee) which would regulate the entry
of the Regional Bells into the information business. The committee
s correctly concerned that the RBOC's will use their
nfrastructure advantage to freeze out information providers. In
other words, rather as Microsoft uses DOS and Windows.
Somewhat hysterical over this prospect, the Newspaper Publishers
Association and the cable television companies have seen to the
ntroduction of a House Bill 3515 by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) which
for the next decade. The bill would bar existing telephone service
Of course neither approach would serve the public interest. The
telcos have had so little experience with competition that we can't
expect them to welcome it. And while eventually there will be local
We need a bill which would require the telcos to make ISDN open and
affordable to all information providers, conditioning their entry
nto the information business to the willing delivery of such
The computer industry has an opportunity to break the gridlock
between the telcos and the publishers. By representing consumer
nterests, which are, in this case, equivalent to our own, we can
missing in the debate has been technical expertise which serves
neither of the existing contenders.
Finally, the Public Utilities Commissions seem unaware of the
earth would a housewife want with a 64 kbs data line? This is
another area in which both consumers and computer companies need to
be heard from.
What You Can Do
Obviously, the first task upon entering a major public campaign is
nforming oneself and others. In this, many Communications readers
as RISKS digest, Telecom Digest, and the EFFectors regularly
monitoring those newsgroups. I'm tempted to tell you to join the
EFF and support our Washington lobbying efforts, but I probably
abuse this podium with our message too much as it is.
Once you're up to speed on these admittedly labyrinthine issues,
there are three levers you can start leaning against.
First, Congress will be actively studying these matters for the
than those self-servingly extended by the telcos and the
"Please let me and my staff know what policies you and
others in the computer industry believe would best
s open and innovation is rewarded. I also want to
learn what lessons from the computer industry over the
on structuring the information and communication
networks of the future."
Second, it is likely that the Public Utility Commission in your
Finally, you can endeavor to make your own company aware of the
opportunities which ISDN deployment will provide it as well as the
computer business employs your toils, ISDN will eventually provide
a new market for its products.
Though these matters are still on the back pages of public
awareness, we are at the threshold of one of the great passages in
the history of both computing and telecommunications. This is the
eve of the electronic frontier's first land rush, a critical moment
for The Great Work.
Friday, November 15, 1991
GETTING WHAT HE DESERVED?
An Open Letter to Information Week
by Mike Godwin
Manhasset, N.Y. 11030
Week ("Morris Got What He Deserved") is, sadly, only the latest example
of the kind of irrational and uninformed discourse that too often colors
might have written a very different column.
The following are only a few of Dorn's major factual errors: He
Morris did not know what he was doing--his mistake was being slovenly."
Yet even the most casual reading of the case, and of most of the news
coverage of the case, makes eminently clear that the sophists Dorn
also writes that "Any effort to break into a system by an unauthorized
things, should per se be illegal." This is also the position of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, which Dorn nevertheless criticizes for
being "out of step with the industry." Yet the issue of whether
unauthorized computer access should be illegal also was never an issue
n the Morris case.
Dorn writes that "Those defending Morris squirm when trying to explain
they existed. But none of the people or organizations Dorn quotes has
ever claimed that his actions were harmless. This too was never an issue
n the Morris case.
Dorn makes much of the fact that Morris received only "a trivial fine
and community service." But the focus both in the trial and in its appeal
construed to make such a distinction.
Dorn writes that "To say that those who intrude and do no lasting damage
are harmless is to pervert what Congress and those who drafted the
legislation sought to do: penalize hackers." Indeed, this would be a
(EFF), and caterwauling from the Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility--all out of step with the industry. They seem so
frightened that the law may reach them that they elected to defend
Morris's indefensible actions." Dorn's distortions here verge on libel,
that the law will apply to us. Instead, we are concerned, as all
citizens should be, that the law make appropriate distinctions between
ntentional and unintentional harms in the computer arena, just as it
A more glaring factual error occurs one paragraph later, when he writes
that "The Supreme Court says intruders can be convicted under the law
because by definition an intrusion shows an intent to do harm. That
takes care of Morris." The Supreme Court has never said any such thing--after
all, the Court declined to hear the case. Even the lower courts in the
Morris case made no such claim.
What is far more "sickening" than even Dorn's imaginary versions of our
concerns about the Morris case is his irresponsibility in making
unsubstantiated charges that even a cursory familiarity with the facts
could have prevented. In the course of his article, Dorn manages to get
one thing right--he writes that "The law is not perfect--it needs
clarification and reworking." This has been our position all along, and
t is the basis for our support of Morris's appeal. It is also public
knowledge--Dorn could have found out our position if he had bothered to
MCI FRIENDS & FAMILY:
From Problem To Solution
by Craig Neidorf
An alarming situation was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago.
A friend called me up and said, "Hey did you know I can get your MCI
Friends & Family calling list?" I asked him what he was talking about
and he explained by use of a demonstration. He proceeded to three-way us to
the 800-FRIENDS (800-374-3637) We were greeted by an automatic
electronic messaging system:
"Welcome to MCI Friends & Family Circle Update line!"
"Please enter your telephone number beginning with your area code."
"One moment please while we access your account."
"To verify your MCI account, Please enter your 5-digit zip code."
"Congratulations and thank you for being one of our valued friends and
"Your calling circle consists of 5 members."
"If you would like to inquire about a specific member or nominee to your
circle press one (1)."
"To hear the status of each person in your calling circle press two
(He choose 2)
"The following people are active members of your calling circle. You
"Your friend at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"The person at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"Your sister at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"Your mother at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"Your friend at (XXX)YYY-ZZZZ"
"Your home number is active on your circle so that you will save 20%
"To inquire about a specific circle member press one(1)."
"To speak to an MCI operator press zero (0)."
We played with this for a few minutes and then hung up. I could not
believe what he had found or the potential for invasion of privacy
against MCI customers that this FRIENDS program created.
My friend told me that the FRIENDS line also carried status about other
case, he had found that the FRIENDS automated service even identified a
number that belonged to another friend's mother in Spain.
How did you access this information on people? Just by entering their
telephone number and zip code. After that, their calling list is an open
little assistance. She took down my name and number and told me she would pass
this information on to Alan Postell, a manager at MCI who could help me.
nterested in learning about and correcting the situation. He took down
lots of information about my concerns and said he was sending a full
Circle program. My advice was to use a unique identifier like part of
the billing identification number found only on the bill the customer
news circulated across RISKS and Telecom Digest and finally it attracted
the attention of Emmanuel Goldstein (the editor of 2600 Magazine,
WBAI in New York called "Off The Hook." He proceeded to demonstrate
MCI's problem very graphically by putting the MCI Friends number on the air
and calling it up. This incident brought even more attention on the issue
and along with hundreds of other calls, finally forced MCI to realize that
changes were necessary.
On November 6, 1991, MCI changed its policy. You can still call 1-800-
FRIENDS and enter your telephone number, but now instead of your zip
code, the system asks you for the last three digits of your billing
dentification number. Mr. Postell called me on November 8th to inform
me about these changes and thank me since it was my idea that they decided
to implement. Additionally, he claimed that very soon, customers will
also be able to enter the telephone numbers of people they believe are
on the list and then the computer service will respond by telling them if
this is the case.
little argument. I would still prefer something longer than 3 digits of
the billing identification number, but I can live with it.
HACKER MANIA CONTINUES!
How It Wasn't Told Over the Tube
Hackers. A mish-mosh of disinformation, lurid film clips, and
unrestrained ignorance, the show demonstrated once again how much work
s left for all of us to do in educating the media and the general public
to the realities, rather than the fantasies, that are engendered through
For those who might have missed the "report", here's a transcript of key
Excerpts from: _Now_It_Can_Be_Told_: "Mad Hackers' Key Party"
Hosted by Geraldo Rivera (Sept. 30, 1991)
Geraldo: I'm Geraldo Rivera. And now, It can be told.
Emmanuel Goldstein, Krista Bradford, Cliff Stoll, Phiber Optik, Winn Schwartau,
and other bit players. Focus of discussion is on hacking as "terrorism"
and generous film and news clips of terrorism and war scenes interwoven
amongst discussion of dangers of hackers to national security. We pick
up the dialogue when Don Ingraham (Alameda County (Calif.) prosecutor and
Craig Neidorf (former editor of PHRACK) join in>
Geraldo: Joining us now via satellite from Oakland, CA is the Assistant
District Attorney Don Ingraham ... for Alameda County and he has been
Geraldo: Don, how do you respond to the feeling common among so many
the flaws in our security systems?
Don: Right, and just like the people who rape a coed on campus are
exposing the flaws in our nation's higher education security. It's
absolute nonsense. They are doing nothing more than showing off to each
other, and satisfying their own appetite to know something that is not
theirs to know.
Geraldo: Don, you stand by, Craig as well. And when we come back we'll
the Mad Hacker Craig Neidorf.
Geraldo: We're back with Craig Neidorf, a former University of Missouri
that he has put together this very impressive scrapbook.
lightning bolt hitting what looks to be a crown [Knight Lightning]
...And on the right it looks like a graphic saying "Knight Lightning" and below
that is a black circle with a white lightning bolt, and next to that is
a triangle that looks very similar to the triangle with an eye that
appeared on the cover of _GURPS_Cyberpunk_ [which said in it, the book
that was seized by the Secret Service! see page 4...- but the one on KL
Geraldo: Knight Lightning I guess that was your code?
KL: It was my editor handle.
Geraldo: That's your handle. OK. And from Oakland, CA we are talking
might say, to put people like Craig behind bars. Don, do you think
Craig's lucky that he's not behind bars right now?
Don: Yes, I think he's extraordinarily lucky. He was part of a
conspiracy, in my opinion, to take property that wasn't his and share it
compromised by, unfortunately, released by another Bellcore subsidiary.
But was certainly not through any doing of HIS that he is a free man.
Geraldo: So you think that his activities stink, then.
Don: Absolutely. No Question about it.
Geraldo: Craig, you wanna respond? Are you doing something for the
KL: Well I was merely publishing a newsletter. I didn't go out and find
this document. Rather it was sent to me. In many ways it could be
compared to Daniel Ellsberg sending the Pentagon Papers to the New York
Geraldo: Do you figure it that way Don? Is he like Daniel Ellsberg?
Don: No, Ellsberg went to court to deal with it. Daniel Ellsberg's
nterest. The E911 codes, which is the citizen's link to the police
the central service to the community.......
Geraldo: You broke into the 911 system? He broke into the 911 system!
KL: No, that's not correct. I never entered any 911 telephone system.
Don: I didn't say he entered into it. What I said was that he and Riggs
conspired together to take a code that they knew was necessary to 911
and to take it apart to see how it worked. They never had the owner's
Geraldo: Alright, lemme ask you this....
KL: The court found that there was no conspiracy here.
Geraldo: You were acquitted. You were vindicated at least from criminal
nside the White House computer.
KL: Yes they have.
Geraldo: And they've been inside the Pentagon computer.
Geraldo: And if Saddam Hussein hired some hackers whether they're from
Holland or any other place, he could've gotten into these computers,
KL: Presumably, he could've.
Geraldo: And gotten some valuable information.
KL: It's definitely possible.
Geraldo: And you still think hackers are performing a public service?
KL: That's not what I said. I think that those kind of activities are
that are not performing malicious acts, while they should be punished
Geraldo: You're response to that Don?
Don: I don't think they're being punished very much at all. We're having
trouble even taking away their gear. I don't know one of them has done
out that even Mitnick who is a real electronic Hannibal Lecter ... did not
Geraldo: An electronic Hannibal Lecter. OK, stand by, we'll
be back with more of this debate in a moment...
Geraldo: Back with Craig Neidorf and prosecutor Don Ingraham. Craig, do
you think hackers are voyeurs or are they potentially terrorists?
KL: I think they resemble voyeurs more than terrorists. They are often
times looking at places where they don't belong, but most hackers do not
ntend to cause any damage.
Geraldo: Do you buy that Don?
Don: If they stopped at voyeurism they would be basically sociopathic,
but not doing near the harm they do now. But they don't stop at looking,
that's the point. They take things out and share them with others, and
they are not being accountable and being responsible as to whom they are
Geraldo: Can they find out my credit rating? I know that's not a
national security issue, but I'm concerned about it.
Don: Piece of cake.
Geraldo: No problem.
Geraldo: Go ahead. Assuming I have a credit rating...hahahah....
Don: Assume that the credit is not carried by someone who is using
Geraldo: But you think Craig it's not problem.
KL: I think it's no problem.
Geraldo: Give me quickly the worst case scenario. Say Abu Nidal had you
KL: I'm sorry?
Geraldo: Abu Nidal, notorious .....
KL: As far as your credit rating?
Geraldo: No, not as far as my credit rating.. The world, national
KL: Well, hackers have gotten into computer systems owned by the
anything that was ever classified. But even some unclassified
nformation could be used to the detriment of our country.
Geraldo: Like the counter-terrorist strategy on January 15th, the day of
the deadline expired in the Persian Gulf.
KL: Perhaps if Saddam Hussein had somehow known for sure that we were
Geraldo: Don, worst case scenario, 30 seconds?
Don: They wipe out our communications system. Rather easily done. Nobody
talks to anyone else, nothing moves, patients don't get their medicine.
We're on our knees.
Geraldo: What do you think of Craig, quickly, and people like him?
Don: What do I think of Craig? I have a lot of respect for Craig, I
think he's probably going to be an outstanding lawyer someday. But he is
contributing to a disease, and a lack of understanding ethically, that
s causing a lot of trouble.
Geraldo: One word answer. As the computer proliferate won't hackers also
Knight Lightning: I think we're seeing a new breed of hacker. And some
of them will be malicious.
Geraldo: Some of them will be malicious. Yes, well, that's it...for now.
NEW CORPORATE/ORGANIZATION MEMBERSHIP AVAILABLE AT EFF
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organization can, if it wishes designate up to five individuals as
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organization or the designated members.
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