From: mnemo...@eff.org (Mike Godwin)
Subject: EFF News 1.03
Date: 7 Mar 91 22:59:59 GMT
Organization: The Electronic Frontier Foundation
*** EFF News #1.03 (March 7, 1991) ***
*** The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Inc. ***
*** Welcome ***
Editors: Mitch Kapor (mka...@eff.org)
Mike Godwin (mnemo...@eff.org)
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*** EFF News #1.03: EFF update ***
*** By Mitch Kapor ***
Compiled by Mitch Kapor
1/15/91 - 2/28/91
*** CASE UPDATES, by Mike Godwin***
EFF's support and Mitch's independent funding of Len's defense
have led to good results. Our efforts have limited the extent to which
Len is being made an example of, and the extent to which he can be
used as justification for increased law-enforcement activity in this area.
Had we not intervened in Len's support, it seems likely not only that
he would have faced far harsher penalties after a plea bargain or trial,
but also that bad law would have been made by his federal and state
Acid, Optik, and Scorpion
"Acid Phreak" and "The Scorpion" received preindictment
letters from federal prosecutors in New York, while "Phiber Optik" was
indicted by a state grand jury. Phiber's case has been resolved; he pled
guilty to a misdemeanor count, and at this writing his sentence is
expected to be limited to community service when he is sentenced on
EFF has chosen not to become involved in these cases at this
early stage, primarily because it is unclear whether the cases will raise
important Constitutional or civil-liberties issues, but we are tracking
Washington v. Riley
Although we initially favored involvement in this case, EFF's
legal committee later decided that prudent management of our
financial and legal resources dictated that we withhold our formal
involvement here. This case raises important issues, but control of our
costs and management of our time has forced us to make some hard
decisions about investing in new cases, and in this light we determined
that this case would not represent the best investment of our limited
We have remained in touch with Riley's attorney, however, and
we have offered to act informally as a legal and technical resource for
her to the extent it does not detract from our work on other projects;
she has accepted our offer.
Other important legal matters are currently receiving
considerable attention. Because these are of a sensitive nature, we will
not be able to disclose details until some time in the future. Please bear
*** LEGAL CASE MANAGEMENT, by Mitch Kapor ***
On February 6, Harvey Silverglate, Sharon Beckman, Tom
Viles, and Gia Baresi (all of Silverglate and Good), Mike Godwin, and I
all had dinner together at Harvey's house. We reached a number of
important conclusions about improving the effectiveness and reducing
the cost of the legal programs of the foundation.
S&G want are willing to allocate additional people to the EFF
account in order to have some extra capacity to handle peak loads.
Tom Viles will be working with us. He's very ACLU-knowledgeable.
He is serving on a national ACLU committee which has just
recommended that the ACLU take a position on national info
S&G sees EFF as being its ongoing client, as opposed to their
usual mode of operation which is to represent an individual or
organization for a particular case. In essence, S&G is becoming the
EFF's outside litigation counsel. With both parties located in Boston, it
will make coordination more convenient and less expensive. They
have also agreed to work at a very large discount from their usual
client fee schedule.
We discussed streamlining the legal review process. Everyone
felt that it's wasteful and inefficient to have several lawyers looking
into each possible new case and to have conference calls for making
decisions. Mike and Sharon are going to prepare a joint plan on how
we will manage the legal process efficiently. Now that there are fewer
parties involved and that all of the lawyers are in town, it should be
*** LEGAL AND POLICY PROJECTS, by Mitch Kapor ***
We are engaged in an internal discussion about the limits of
sysop liability. We hope to build a consensus on what the law should
be in this area in order to provide a philosophical framework for
whatever action we choose to take in current and future BBS seizure
Massachusetts Computer Crime Bill
We are once again working with the Mass. Computer Software
Council in an effort to pass a progressive computer crime bill which
protects civil liberties as well as security interests. Two different bills
have been filed: one is our bill, while the other has serious problems of
overbreadth. Sharon, Mike, and I are all working on this. Sharon has
prepared testimony which will be used in public hearings nest week.
There will be a series of briefings for legislators and other other parties
Guidelines for Computer Search and Seizure
Previously Terry Gross and Nick Poser of Rabinowitz, Boudin
had developed a series of guidelines for the conduct of computer-based
searches for an ABA sub-committee working on this issue.
Subsequently, Mike Godwin revised those for a paper and presentation
to be given at the Computer Virus conference upcoming shortly. At
the recent CPSR Policy Roundtable, it became apparent that we needed
to take more of top-down approach in order to gain adoption and
implementation of these guidelines by federal and state law
We are now in the process of structuring an important project,
to be led by Mike, which will target the FBI and other key agencies for a
series of events to formally develop and present our finding and
recommendations. Jerry Berman of the ACLU has offered to assist us
in navigating our way through the bureaucratic maze in Washington.
Computer Bulletin Boards, Computer Networks, and the Law
In addition to the computer crime bill work and development of
search guidelines, the third major legal project is to develop a position
on the legal issues surrounding computer bulletin boards. There has
already been a great deal of discussion about this issue on the net on
the Well's EFF conference. There have been a small number of law
papers published on the subject as well. Nothing to date though has
offered a comprehensive proposal as to how to place BBSes and
network carriers in the same legal framework as print publications,
common carriers, and broadcasters.
This project, which will involve a collective effort of all EFF
principals, and which is being driven by Mike, will seek to identify both
the fundamental common aspects and differentiating attributes of
digital computer media as compared with their predecessors. This will
be done in order to propose basic approaches to issues of government
censorship, rights and restrictions of private network carriers and
system operators to control content ("private" censorship) and
liabilities of system operators and users for activities and
communication using network facilities.
This is an ambitious undertaking, which will commence with a
formal issues development process, the deliverable of which will
initially take some written form such as a published paper or position
statement. We will attempt to incorporate input from many groups in
this process in order to develop a consensus.
As a starting point, I offer the notion that a computer bulletin
board ought to be treated as a legal hybrid. For certain purposes, e.g.,
the right of the publisher to be free from government censorship of
content, it should be treated as though it were a print publication. But
a BBS operator should have less liability for the content of the board
than the publisher of a magazine. In many cases it is simply
impossible, given the volume of posting, for a sysop to review new
postings in advance. The principled way to defend such a hybrid
approach would be to show that the elements of the legal treatment
desired are related to the particular attributes of the system itself and
reflect, in each case, a desirable public policy goal.
The ACLU is beginning to take an interest in this area. We will
work cooperatively with them.
There are other worthwhile projects competing for attention as
well. In an informal feedback session to the EFF held at the CPSR
Roundtable, there was a great deal of interest in a project to educate
users of computers networks about their rights and responsibilities.
There is also interest in understanding successful techniques in the
self-management of "virtual communities" which lessens the necessity
for external sanctions. My current judgment is that our "policy
research" plate is already full and that undertaking these or other
subjects will have to be deferred.
CPSR FOIA Requests
Mike Godwin attended a meeting in Washington between
representatives of the Secret Service and David Sobel and Marc
Rotenberg of CPSR. This meeting, initiated by the Secret Service, took
place for the purpose of helping the agency define the scope of CPSR's
two FOIA requests concerning, respectively, Sundevil and non-
Sundevil computer-crime investigations by the Secret Service. Mike
took part in the discussion, and is supporting CPSR's FOIA effort by
seeking privacy releases from individuals who may be named in the
files CPSR is seeking.
The first issue of the EFFector print newsletter is at the printer.
Gerard van der Leun contributed much time and energy to seeing this
through. I think we will all be very pleased with its maiden voyage.
EFFector is aimed at an audience not already assumed to be intimately
familiar with issues on the electronic frontier.
The newsletter will be distributed to people on our mailing list
who have sent us postal addresses, every Well subscriber, and all
participants at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference. We
are printing about 10,000 copies.
The production values are very professional without looking
too slick or glitzy. (Gerard was able to persuade a graphic designer to
develop the format and design the first issue for virtually nothing). I
think it communicates our basic concerns and positions quite well.
There is a piece by Barlow on the origins of the EFF. I have my "Why
Defend Hackers" article. There are features on "20 Things You Can Do
to Advance the Electronic Frontier" culled from postings on the Well,
a Washington update by Marc Rotenberg, and many other worthwhile
We are aiming for a four times yearly publication frequency.
Beginning with issue two we will work out a subscription /
membership plan and arrangement.
Mike published issue 1.02 of EFF News which contained excerpts
from a dialog on the Well about searches and seizures, reader
responses to our article on Prodigy, and an announcement of the CFP
EFF Host System
The system is now fully connected to the Internet. Mike and I
are using some better tools for managing mail and news which are
having a major payoff (for me at least).
Director of Communications Job
A job description for this position was circulated on the net and
to people whom I thought were likely to know good candidates. So far
I have received about 25 inquiries, which exceeded my expectations. I
expect to follow up on this matter intensively this week. At the same
time, Gerard van der Leun and I are discussing ways he can be
substantively involved in the EFF's publication and public education
activities. Gerard has drafted a detailed plan of attack (strategy and
tactics) for the director of communications.
Comp.org.eff.talk has reached critical mass as a Usenet
newsgroup, with discussions proceeding autonomously. Mike has been
following the newsgroup, occasionally contributing to the discussions
and answering questions, but allowing the group to take its own
The Telecom Forum on Compuserve has opened with an EFF
section. Documents for the data library have been ported from the EFF
Host. Scott and Marilyn Loftesness are the hosts. EFF Well
participants with Compuserve accounts have been alerted and
encouraged to drop in.
John and I will be appearing on a live Genie conference on
Sunday May 12th at 9 P.M. Tom Sherman organized this.
Gerard van der Leun has been developing a strategic plan for an
EFF publications department. I share here some of his thoughts.
Purposes of EFF electronic and print publications:
- to spread the word about the EFF
- to alert the membership and the media to activities of the EFF
- to increase active and supporting membership
- to persuade and enlighten those who do not currently support
- to argue persuasively for the positions of the EFF
- to cover costs of all publications thru donations or sales of
In addition to the print and online projects you are familiar
with, he suggests we use brochures and pamphlets to create an impact.
"Crime and Puzzlement" could be transformed into an informative
short item which would provoke reflection of the part of many people.
It and other items would be published ad hoc and used as part of
membership packages and as handouts at key conferences and
Gerard's work will give whoever fills the Director of
Communications role a big jump start.
CPSR Policy Roundtable
The event was a great success. We encountered the FBI face-to-
face in the person of Al Bayse. This prompted us to work toward
developing some concrete material on how the FBI and other law
enforcement agencies could conduct computer-based investigations
and searches more effectively and in a way which is fully respectful of
"Freedom and Responsibility on Computer Networks"
The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB)
approved my proposal to hold a strategic forum in the area of freedom
and responsibility on computer networks. The proposal now must be
approved by the higher-ups at the National Research Council, but this
is more or less a formality. The forum will consist of an invitational
workshop and a public forum on these issues. There will be some sort
of report or publications produced at the end of the process which will
bear the imprimatur of the National Academy of Science, whose
findings carry a lot of weight in Washington. I expect to serve on the
steering committee of this project.
We were contacted by the IRS for routine followup information
on our application. We responded promptly. It is usual that once
applications reach this stage of active consideration they move through
the pipeline quickly. I am cautiously optimistic that we will have our
tax-deductible status granted in March or April.
Membership and Fundraising
Once we receive our tax-deductible status, we will be in a better
position to conduct an active fund-raising program. It is a high priority
for the Board to set a strategic direction for the long-term financial
support of EFF once the seed funding runs out in mid-1992. We have
to consider a wide range of alternatives which include individual and
corporate donations, a membership campaign, and other creative
ARTICLES AND APPEARANCES
I will be writing a 3500 word article with the pseudo-title "Civil
Liberties in Cyberspace" for the September issue of Scientific American.
This is to be a single topic issue devoted entirely to computers and
computer networks. I intend to provide an overview of the civil
liberties issues we are confronting on the electronic frontier.
American Bar Association
The ABA held their mid-year meeting in Seattle on February
10th. I appeared on a panel concerned with the future of the Bill of
Rights and spoke to civil liberties issues on computer networks. The
turn-out at this event was modest, as was the impact, and I would not
On February 15th I spoke about the EFF to the PSITech user
group. PSI is a commercial TCP/IP internetworking company.
Attendees included system managers from NYU, Columbia, and other
NYC area universities and research institutions.
National Council of Churches of Christ
During the same trip in which Mike attended CPSR's meeting
with the Secret Service, he also spoke at a New York meeting of the
National Council of Churches of Christ, at their invitation. The
audience, which was composed of members of several technically
oriented subcommittees of this ecumenical organization, and they
listened with interest as Mike discussed the social and civil-liberties
implications of computer-based communications. The NCCC already
sponsors a network called "ECUNET," so there was interest in how this
network might serve as the basis for an online virtual community.
Whole Earth Review
Mike Godwin has written both a review of Tom Forester's
computer ethics book and a short article on EFF and electronic
communities for an upcoming issue of Whole Earth Review.
Wednesday, January 30th. I spoke to Dennis Allison's class. The
speech was broadcast over the Stanford campus and industry affiliate
Esther Dyson Personal Computer Forum
Tuscon, March 12. John Barlow will be speaking to the
luminaries of the PC industry about the EFF. Mitch will be attending.
Computer Freedom and Privacy Conference
Upcoming March 25-29 in San Fransisco. Mitch, Mike, John,
Harvey Silverglate, and Sharon Beckman are all planning on
attending. The EFF will be sponsoring Craig Neidorf, Steve Jackson,
and Optik (partial support).
American Society for Industrial Security
Washington, D.C. April 17th. Speech by Mitch.
On 3/29 John and I will be speaking at Xerox PARC.
Boston Computer Society
I will be speaking to the Telecommunications user group about
the EFF on Monday April 22nd.
Asilomar Microcomputer Conference
On April 24-26, I will be attending and speaking about the EFF.
John is also attending. Asilomar is an invitational event sponsored by
the IEEE which is a small, informal, interactive forum for people
involved in the design and applications of microcomputers.
Federal High-Tech Crime Investigation Committee
At the invitation of Gail Thackeray, I will be appearing in
Tuscon at a meeting of this committee in June. The committee
consists of about 35 law enforcement professionals from various
From John Barlow:
'April Fool's Day: (appropriately) I will be banquet speaker at the
Multimedia Roundtable in Los Angeles. I will talk about "thickening
Cyberspace", the process by which we introduce a greater sense of
presence to the digital domain and will take up a number of the issues
relating to EFF. I'm also part of an Intellectual Property panel the
'April 16: I will orate over more digestion at the Annual
Conference on High Speed Computing in Salashan, Oregon. Title of the
speech is "Civilizing Cyberspace." The themes will be as familiar as the
phrase, but may be news to some of these boys.
'April 20: I will be speaking at the 2nd Conference on Cyberspace
in Santa Cruz on the usual stuff.
'May 7: I will give the keynote at the Department of Energy's
Computer Security Group Annual meeting in Concord, California.
'June 4: Same deal for the Pacific Military Computer Conference
'And so on and so forth.
'Somewhere in there I hope to get a book finished too.'
<End of EFF Update file>
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EFF News will present news, information, and discussion about the world
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Views of individual authors represent their own opinions, not
necessarily those of the EFF.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>END OF EFF NEWS 1.03<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Mike Godwin, (617) 864-0665 | "You gotta put down the ducky
mnemo...@eff.org | if you wanna play the saxophone."
Electronic Frontier |