White House retreats on Clipper, EPIC Alert 1.04 (
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Date: Mon, 25 Jul 94 01:48 CDT
Subject: Cu Digest, #6.67
Computer underground Digest Sun July 24, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 67
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Retiring Shadow Archivist: Stanton McCandlish
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Copper Ionizer: Ephram Shrustleau
CONTENTS, #6.67 (Sun, July 24, 1994)
File 1--White House retreats on Clipper
File 2--EPIC Alert 1.04 (Gore on Clipper)
File 3--HR 3937 now a dead end; House Rules Comm results
File 4--Sen. Leahy on Clipper
File 5--Summary of Amateur Action BBS Trial (Days 1-3)
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Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 14:03:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: Stanton McCandlish <mech@EFF.ORG>
Subject: File 1--White House retreats on Clipper
Yesterday, the Clinton Administration announced that it is taking several
large, quick steps back in its efforts to push EES or Clipper
encryption technology. Vice-President Gore stated in a letter to
Rep. Maria Cantwell, whose encryption export legislation is today being
debated on the House floor, that EES is being limited to voice
The EES (Escrowed Encryption Standard using the Skipjack algorithm, and
including the Clipper and Capstone microchips) is a Federal Information
Processing Standard (FIPS) designed by the National Security Agency, and
approved, despite a stunningly high percentage anti-EES public comments on
the proposal) by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Since
the very day of the announcement of Clipper in 1993, public outcry against
the key "escrow" system has been strong, unwavering and growing rapidly.
What's changed? The most immediate alteration in the White House's
previously hardline path is an expressed willingness to abandon the EES
for computer applications (the Capstone chip and Tessera card), and push
for its deployment only in telephone technology (Clipper). The most
immediate effect this will have is a reduction in the threat to the
encryption software market that Skipjack/EES plans posed.
Additionally, Gore's letter indicates that deployment for even the telephone
application of Clipper has been put off for months of studies, perhaps
partly in response to a draft bill from Sens. Patrick Leahy and Ernest
Hollings that would block appropriation for EES development until many
detailed conditions had been met.
And according to observers such as Brock Meeks (Cyberwire Dispatch) and
Mark Voorhees (Voorhees Reports/Information Law Alert), even Clipper is
headed for a fall, due to a variety of factors including failure in
attempts to get other countries to adopt the scheme, at least one state
bill banning use of EES for medical records, loss of NSA credibility after
a flaw in the "escrowed" key system was discovered by Dr. Matt Blaze of
Bell Labs, a patent infringement lawsuit threat (dealt with by buying off
the claimant), condemnation of the scheme by a former Canadian Defense
Minister, world wide opposition to Clipper and the presumptions behind it,
skeptical back-to-back House and Senate hearings on the details of the
Administration's plan, and pointed questions from lawmakers regarding
monopolism and accountability.
One of the most signigicant concessions in the letter is that upcoming
encryption standards will be "voluntary," unclassified, and exportable,
according to Gore, who also says there will be no moves to tighten export
Though Gore hints at private, rather than governmental, key "escrow," the
Administration does still maintain that key "escrow" is an important part of
its future cryptography policy.
EFF would like to extend thanks to all who've participated in our online
campaigns to sink Clipper. This retreat on the part of the Executive
Branch is due not just to discussions with Congresspersons, or letters
from industry leaders, but in large measure to the overwhelming response from
users of computer-mediated communication - members of virtual communities
who stand a lot to gain or lose by the outcome of the interrelated
cryptography debates. Your participation and activism has played a key
role, if not the key role, in the outcome thus far, and will be vitally
important to the end game!
Below is the public letter sent from VP Gore to Rep. Cantwell.
July 20, 1994
The Honorable Maria Cantwell
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C., 20515
Dear Representative Cantwell:
I write to express my sincere appreciation for your efforts to move
the national debate forward on the issue of information security and export
controls. I share your strong conviction for the need to develop a
comprehensive policy regarding encryption, incorporating an export policy
that does not disadvantage American software companies in world markets
while preserving our law enforcement and national security goals.
As you know, the Administration disagrees with you on the extent to
which existing controls are harming U.S. industry in the short run and the
extent to which their immediate relaxation would affect national security.
For that reason we have supported a five-month Presidential study. In
conducting this study, I want to assure you that the Administration will
use the best available resources of the federal government. This will
include the active participation of the National Economic Council and the
Department of Commerce. In addition, consistent with the Senate-passed
language, the first study will be completed within 150 days of passage of
the Export Administration Act reauthorization bill, with the second study
to be completed within one year after the completion of the first. I want
to personally assure you that we will reassess our existing export controls
based on the results of these studies. Moreover, all programs with
encryption that can be exported today will continue to be exportable.
On the other hand, we agree that we need to take action this year
to assure that over time American companies are able to include information
security features in their programs in order to maintain their admirable
international competitiveness. We can achieve this by entering into an new
phase of cooperation among government, industry representatives and privacy
advocates with a goal of trying to develop a key escrow encryption system
that will provide strong encryption, be acceptable to computer users
worldwide, and address our national needs as well.
Key escrow encryption offers a very effective way to accomplish our
national goals, That is why the Administration adopted key escrow
encryption in the "Clipper Chip" to provide very secure encryption for
telephone communications while preserving the ability for law enforcement
and national security. But the Clipper Chip is an approved federal
standard for telephone communications and not for computer networks and
video networks. For that reason, we are working with industry to
investigate other technologies for those applications.
The Administration understands the concerns that industry has
regarding the Clipper Chip. We welcome the opportunity to work with
industry to design a more versatile, less expensive system. Such a key
escrow system would be implementable in software, firmware, hardware, or
any combination thereof, would not rely upon a classified algorithm, would
be voluntary, and would be exportable. While there are many severe
challenges to developing such a system, we are committed to a diligent
effort with industry and academia to create such a system. We welcome your
offer to assist us in furthering this effort.
We also want to assure users of key escrow encryption products that
they will not be subject to unauthorized electronic surveillance. As we
have done with the Clipper Chip, future key escrow systems must contain
safeguards to provide for key disclosure only under legal authorization and
should have audit procedures to ensure the integrity of the system. Escrow
holders should be strictly liable for releasing keys without legal
We also recognize that a new key escrow encryption system must
permit the use of private-sector key escrow agents as one option. It is
also possible that as key escrow encryption technology spreads, companies
may established layered escrowing services for their own products. Having
a number of escrow agents would give individuals and businesses more
choices and flexibility in meeting their needs for secure communications.
I assure you the President and I are acutely aware of the need to
balance economic an privacy needs with law enforcement and national
security. This is not an easy task, but I think that our approach offers
the best opportunity to strike an appropriate balance. I am looking
forward to working with you and others who share our interest in developing
a comprehensive national policy on encryption. I am convinced that our
cooperative endeavors will open new creative solutions to this critical
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 14:34:24 +0000
From: Dave Banisar <banisar@EPIC.ORG>
Subject: File 2--EPIC Alert 1.04 (Gore on Clipper)
A letter from Vice President Al Gore to Representative Maria
Cantwell (D-WA) sent this week during Congressional debate on the
Export Administration Act has raised important questions about the
current state of the Clipper proposal. Some have hailed the statement
as a major reversal. Others say the letter seals a bad deal.
Below we have included the letter from the Vice President, a
statement from EPIC, and recommendations for further action.
 EPIC Statement on Gore Letter to Cantwell
News reports that the Clinton Administration has reversed
itself on encryption policy are not supported by the letter from Vice
President Gore to Maria Cantwell regarding export control policy. In
fact, the letter reiterates the White House's commitment to the NSA's
key escrow proposal and calls on the private sector to develop
products that will facilitate electronic surveillance.
The letter from the Vice President calls on the government and
the industry to develop jointly systems for key escrow cryptography.
Key escrow is the central feature of the Clipper chip and the NSA's
recommended method for electronic surveillance of digital
The letter also reaffirms the Administration's support for
Clipper Chip as the federal standard for voice networks. There is no
indication that the White House will withdraw this proposal.
Statements that Clipper is "dead" are absurd.
The letter offers no changes in export control policy. It
recommends instead that the status quo be maintained and that more
studies be conducted. (The White House already completed such a
study earlier this year. The results were never disclosed to the
public, despite EPIC's request for release of the findings under the
Freedom of Information Act.)
This is a significant setback for groups expecting that export
control laws would be revised this year.
The White House expresses a willingness to allow unclassified
algorithms and to hold key escrow agents liable for misuse. These are
the only provisions of the Gore letter favorable to the user
community. But neither provision would even be necessary if the White
House did not attempt to regulate cryptography in the first place.
The Administration's willingness to accept private sector
alternatives to Clipper for data networks essentially ratifies an
agreement to develop "wiretap ready" technologies for data networks.
We believe the letter from the Vice President is essentially
a blueprint for electronic surveillance of digital networks. The
government will set out the requirements for surveillance systems such
as key escrow, and the industry will build complying systems.
The plan dovetails neatly with the FBI's Digital Telephony
proposal, which will establish legal penalties for companies and users
that design systems that cannot be wiretapped.
We do not believe this is in the interests of users of the
information highway. Key escrow necessarily weakens the security and
privacy of electronic communications. It makes networks vulnerable to
tampering and confidential messages subject to compromise. It is the
approach urged by organizations that specialize in electronic
eavesdropping. No group of Internet users has ever called for key
If this proposal goes forward, electronic surveillance will
almost certainly increase, network security will be weakened, and
people who design strong cryptography without key escrow could become
criminals. This is not a victory for freedom or privacy.
We support unclassified standards and relaxation of export
controls. We cannot support the premise that the government and
industry should design key escrow systems. We also do not believe
that Clipper is an appropriate standard for federal voice
We are asking the Vice President to reconsider his position
and urging network users to make known their concerns about the
Electronic Privacy Information Center
July 21, 1994
 Letter from Gore to Cantwell
THE VICE PRESIDENT WASHINGTON
July 20, 1994
The Honorable Maria Cantwell House of Representatives Washington, DC
"I write today to express my sincere appreciation of your
efforts to move the national debate forward on the issue of
information security and export controls. I share your strong
conviction for the need to develop a comprehensive policy regarding
encryption, incorporating an export policy that does not disadvantage
American software companies in world markets while preserving our law
enforcement and national security goals.
"As you know, the Administration disagrees with you on the
extent to which existing controls are harming U.S. industry in the
short run and the extent to which their immediate relaxation would
affect national security. For that reason we have supported a
five-month Presidential study. In conducting this study, I want to
assure you that the Administration will use the best available
resources of the federal government. This will include the active
participation of the National Economic Council and the Department of
Commerce. In addition, consistent with the Senate-passed language,
the first study will be completed within 150 days of passage of the
Export Administration Act reauthorization bill, with the second study
to be completed within one year after the completion of the first. I
want to personally assure you that we will reassess our existing
export controls based on the results of these studies. Moreover, all
programs with encryption that can be exported today will continue to
"On the other hand, we agree that we need to take action this
year to ensure that over time American companies are able to include
information security features in their program in order to maintain
their international competitiveness. We can achieve this by entering
into a new phase of cooperation among government, industry
representatives and privacy advocates with a goal of trying to develop
a key escrow encryption system that will provide strong encryption, be
acceptable to computer users worldwide, and address our national
security needs as well.
"Key escrow encryption offers a very effective way to
accomplish our mutual goals. That is why the Administration adopted
the key escrow encryption standard in the "Clipper Chip" to provide
very secure encryption for telephone communications while preserving
the ability for law enforcement and national security. But the
Clipper Chip is an approved federal standard for telephone
communication and not for computer networks and video networks. For
that reason, we are working with industry to investigate other
technologies for these applications.
"The administration understands the concerns that industry has
regarding the Clipper Chip. We welcome the opportunity to work with
industry to design a more versatile, less expensive system Such a key
escrow scheme would be implementable in software, firmware or
hardware, or any combination thereof, would not rely on a classified
algorithm, would be voluntary, and would be exportable. While there
are many severe challenges to developing such a system, we are
committed to a diligent effort with industry and academics to achieve
such a system. We welcome your offer to assist us in furthering this
"We also want to assure users of key escrow encryption
products that they will not be subject to unauthorized electronic
surveillance. As we have done with the Clipper Chip, future key
escrow schemes must contain safeguards to provide for key disclosure
only under legal authorization and should have audit procedures to
ensure the integrity of the system. Escrow holders should be strictly
liable for releasing keys without legal authorization.
"We also recognize that a new key escrow encryption system
must permit the use of private-sector key escrow agents as one option.
It is also possible that as key escrow encryption technology spreads,
companies may establish layered escrowing services for their own
products. Having a number of escrow agents would give individuals and
businesses more choice and flexibility in meeting their needs for
"I assure you the President and I are acutely aware of the
need to balance economic and privacy needs with law enforcement and
national security. This is not an easy task, I think that our
approach offers the best opportunity to strike an appropriate balance.
I am looking forward to working with you and others who share our
interest in developing a comprehensive national policy on encryption.
I am convinced that our cooperative endeavors will open new creative
solutions to this critical problems."
 What You Can Do (Email the VP)
The Clipper debate has reached a critical juncture. The White House
and industry are about to seal a deal to make key escrow the standard
for encrypted communications. If you believe that individuals should
have the right to make full use of new technologies to protect
privacy, now is the time for your voice to be heard (and your email to
EMAIL the Vice President at email@example.com
- Thank him for the Administration's willingness to reconsider its
views on Clipper
- Express support for the decision to support unclassified algorithms
and liability for key escrow agents
- But urge him not to require key escrow as a standard for encryption
- Emphasize that key escrow is the soul of Clipper, the method for
conducting electronic surveillance of digital communications
- Call for extensive testing and studies before any key escrow system
You should also:
- Urge him to withdraw Clipper as a standard for voice communications
- Urge him to support relaxation of export controls
- Ask for the public release of the earlier White House study on
- Ask for the public release of White House documents reviewing the
weaknesses of the key escrow proposal
The Vice President has clearly shown a willingness to listen
to the concerns of the user community on this issue. Your letter
could make a difference.
 Upcoming Privacy Related Conferences and Events
DEF CON ][ ("underground" computer culture) "Load up your laptop
Muffy, we're heading to Vegas!" The Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. July
22-24. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hackers on Planet Earth: The First US Hacker Congress. Hotel
Pennsylvania, New York City, NY. August 13-14. Sponsored by 2600
Magazine. Contact: email@example.com.
Technologies of Surveillance; Technologies of Privacy. The Hague, The
Netherlands. September 5. Sponsored by Privacy International and EPIC.
Contact: Simon Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org).
16th International Conference on Data Protection. The Hague,
Netherlands. September 6-8. Contact: B. Crouwers 31 70 3190190
(tel), 31-70-3940460 (fax).
CPSR Annual Meeting. University of California, San Diego. October 8-9.
Contact: Phil Agre <email@example.com>
Symposium: An Arts and Humanities Policy for the National Information
Infrastructure. Boston, Mass. October 14-16. Sponsored by the Center
for Art Research in Boston. Contact: Jay Jaroslav
Third Biannual Conference on Participatory Design, Chapel Hill, North
Carolina. October 27-28. Sponsored by CPSR. Contact:
Ethics in the Computer Age Conference. Gatlinburg, Tennessee. November
11-13. Sponsored by ACM. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Send calendar submissions to Alert@epic.org)
To subscribe to the EPIC Alert, send the message:
SUBSCRIBE CPSR-ANNOUNCE Firstname Lastname
to email@example.com. You may also receive the Alert by reading the
USENET newsgroup comp.org.cpsr.announce
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest
research center in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 to
focus public attention on emerging privacy issues relating to the
National Information Infrastructure, such as the Clipper Chip, the
Digital Telephony proposal, medical record privacy, and the sale of
consumer data. EPIC is sponsored by the Fund for Constitutional
Government and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. EPIC
publishes the EPIC Alert and EPIC Reports, pursues Freedom of
Information Act litigation, and conducts policy research on emerging
privacy issues. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write
EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20003. +1
202 544 9240 (tel), +1 202 547 5482 (fax).
The Fund for Constitutional Government is a non-profit organization
established in 1974 to protect civil liberties and constitutional
rights. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility is a national
membership organization of people concerned about the impact of
technology on society. For information contact: email@example.com
------------------------ END EPIC Alert 1.04 ------------------------
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 1994 00:22:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Shabbir J. Safdar" <shabbir@PANIX.COM>
Subject: File 3--HR 3937 now a dead end; House Rules Comm results
[updated July 21, 1994 shabbir]
Table of contents:
Result of House Rules committee vote
Status of the bill
1994 Voters Guide
Voters Telecomm Watch keeps scorecards on legislators' positions on
legislation that affects telecommunications and civil liberties.
If you have updates to a legislator's positions, from either:
-reply letters from the legislator,
-stated positions from their office,
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be added to this list.
General questions: email@example.com
Mailing List Requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Contact: email@example.com
Gopher URL: gopher://gopher.panix.com:70/11/vtw
WWW URL:We're working on it. :-)
RESULT OF THE HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE VOTE ON HR 3937
Based on information gathered by volunteers, we've been able to
piece together some of the positions of the House Rules Committee
as to how they voted for/against opening up HR 3937 to amendments on
the House floor. [This is now somewhat moot, as is explained in the
Extensive kudos go to
Joe Thomas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
email@example.com (Gordon Jacobson)
who both did extensive work to help find this information.
Here are the results we were able to obtain:
[The committee voted 5-4 to open the bill]
HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Dist ST Name, Address, and Party Phone
==== == ======================== ==============
9 MA Moakley, John Joseph (D) 1-202-225-8273
3 SC Derrick, Butler (D) 1-202-225-5301
24 CA Beilenson, Anthony (D) 1-202-225-5911
24 TX Frost, Martin (D) 1-202-225-3605
10 MI Bonior, David E. (D) 1-202-225-2106
3 OH Hall, Tony P. (D) 1-202-225-6465
5 MO Wheat, Alan (D) 1-202-225-4535
6 TN Gordon, Bart (R) 1-202-225-4231
28 NY Slaughter, Louise M. (D) 1-202-225-3615
22 NY Solomon, Gerald B. (R) 1-202-225-5614
1 TN Quillen, James H. (R) 1-202-225-6356
Told a constituent he would vote for "open".
28 CA Dreier, David (R) 1-202-225-2305
14 FL Goss, Porter J. (R) 1-202-225-2536
It is probably not worth the trouble to ask the remaining legislators
how they voted unless you happen to chat with their staff often.
STATUS OF THE BILL (updated 7/21/94)
If you read the appropriate newsgroups (or any major newspaper) you've
seen the news about the Gore/Cantwell compromise. Since everyone
has reprinted it already, we'll not reprint it again, though we'll
happily send you a copy should you have missed it.
The upshot of this is that Rep. Maria Cantwell will not be offering
her amendment and therefore HR 3937 is a dead end this year for
liberalizing cryptography exports. Since VTW is an organization dedicated
to working on legislation, and there is no longer a piece of relevant
legislation, we will be concentrating on other projects. The "cantwell"
section of our archive will be reworked, and the records of legislators
that voted will be kept there for future reference. [NOTE: these
voting records will also be rolled into our 1994 Voters Guide]
Here is the final schedule/chronology of the bill
Jul 21, 94 Rep. Cantwell and Vice Pres. Al Gore compromise on seven
principles, retreating on the Clipper chip; Rep. Cantwell
chooses not continue to press the legislation or the amendment
(see relevant articles in today's NY Times and Washington Post)
Jul 20, 94 HR3937 comes to House floor; a "good" amendement will be offered
Jul 11, 94 House Rules Committee marks HR3937 "open"; allowing amendments
Jun 30, 94 [*** vote postponed, perhaps till the week of 7/11/94]
House Rules Comm. decides whether to allow amendments
on the bill when it reaches the House floor
Jun 14, 94 Gutted by the House Select Committee on Intelligence
May 20, 94 Referred to the House Select Committee on Intelligence
May 18, 94 Passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 18
attached to HR 3937, the General Export Administration Act
Dec 6, 93 Referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, Trade and
Nov 22, 93 Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
1994 VOTERS GUIDE
Voters Telecomm Watch believes that you should be informed about your
legislators' positions on key issues. We will be developing a survey
to give to current legislators and their challengers that will gauge
their positions on key issues involving telecommunications and civil
liberties. These results will be made publicly available on the net
for you to use in casting your vote in November.
We'll be depending on you to help get legislative candidates to fill
out and return their surveys. Please watch this space for the
announcement of survey availability in the coming weeks.
If you wish to participate in the development of the survey, feel free
to join the working list by mailing a note to that effect to
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 1994 17:15:55 EST
From: David Sobel <dsobel@WASHOFC.EPIC.ORG>
Subject: File 4--Sen. Leahy on Clipper
Sen. Leahy on Clipper
U.S. SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY
STATEMENT OF PATRICK LEAHY ON
VICE PRESIDENT GORE'S CLIPPER CHIP LETTER
July 21, 1994
I have read the July 20th letter from the Vice President about the
Administration's current thinking on Clipper Chip and, to my mind, it
represents no change in policy. In fact, when this letter was sent, I
would be surprised if the Administration even thought it was news.
The letter makes clear to me that the Administration continues to
embrace key escrow encryption technology, and stands behind Clipper Chip
as a federal standard for telephone communications. The official
standard makes clear that this standard applies to any communications
over telephone lines. Those communications include not only voice, but
also low-speed computer data and facsimile messages. The Administration
is working on encryption technologies for higher-speed transmissions,
such as for computer networks and video networks.
The Vice President says that they want to work with industry to
design a key escrow system that could be implemented not just in
hardware, but also in software, that would be voluntary, exportable and
not rely upon a classified encoding formula. The Administration said all
this last February when the federal standard was approved. Yet, when
Administration witnesses were questioned about the progress they had made
in this effort at my Judiciary subcommittee hearing in early May, I
learned they had held only a few meetings.
Last week, the Appropriations Committee accepted strong Report
language I suggested on Clipper Chip. The Attorney General is directed
to report to Congress within four months on ten areas of concern about
I agree with the Vice President that balancing economic and privacy
needs with law enforcement and national security is not always an easy
task. But we can do better than Clipper Chip.
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 94 15:31:03 PDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (H Keith Henson)
Subject: File 5--Summary of Amateur Action BBS Trial (Days 1-3)
((MODERATORS NOTE: The Amateur Action BBS trial has started, and
Keith Henson reports on the proceedings from the first three days))
AA BBS Trial--days 1 and 2.
Robert and Carleen along with their attorney had the typical problems
of defending yourself a long way from home. The airline made them
check their legal files, and then promptly lost them, plus all their
luggage. So first day was a mess, showing up before the judge in
traveling clothes--who ordered Richard Williams (their attorney) go
out and buy a suit over lunchtime. (Robert actually went out and
bought a suit for Richard. The luggage and files finally showed
up--after enough time for them all to have been run through a copier.)
All of day 1 and the first hour today was used up picking a jury.
Richard did the best he could-- considering where the trial is being
held. There was only one person who had ever been on a bbs, and the
prosecution bumped that one. There are only 2 out of 14 who have know
anything about computers, however, 9 of the 12 are men . . . . and he
did get most of the thumpers out of the mix.
I got tossed out after the opening statements because I am to be a
witness to Dirmeyer's statements. I might have been of more use
inside picking up the prosecutors abysmal ignorance than as a witness.
Ah well, perhaps I can stir up folks out here to the injustice.
Dan Newsom, small frame, gray hair opened up with a 1950's lecture on
obscenity, here a prong there a prong, what a way to spend your life!
He tried to explain GIFs, got to talking about faxes, then went off
into a really sorry description of chat mode.
He made an issue of the contents of AA BBS being wide open to the
public (not true, it being membership) and made a big issue out of
David Dirmeyer finding menu items which mentioned "teen" (And, so
what? 18-19 is legal, and nudist material of any age is legal.) He
went into the prosecution's argument that Robert had asked for the
government's kiddy porn to be shipped to him, so it could be put on
the BBS as GIFs. (Right, as if the AA Sysop would put up GIFs with
titles and subject matter like "Little Girls Like to Fuck Too! He
won't even let members upload GIFs.) Like Humpty Dumpty, the
government's term for child porn is now "action mags," and *you* are
expected to know this.
Much of the rest of the day was spent on a computer class, with
pictures of mainframes, monitors, keyboards and mice, plus diagrams
and maps. Massive boredom was setting in . . . I have been peeking
through the glass into the court room, and about 3:30 they did get to
the first of the "porn" tapes. The poor jury! I am now glad they
threw me out. Multiple hours of watching shit and piss closeups--and
no popcorn! Out of the hundreds of tapes AA had, you would think
David Dirmeyer could have picked out something with a little wider
appeal. Each to their own fetish I suppose. Richard was watching
Dirmeyer and mentioned to me that Dirmeyer (who must have seen this
one a dozen times by now) was staring at the monitor--just transfixed.
>From half a dozen peeks at it, I must say the technical quality was
pretty good--you could almost smell it. :-) Audio was in German.
(Far be it from me to judge other people's harmless (if disgusting)
fetishes, but if the jury decided to lynch the prosecutor for
subjecting *them* to other people's fetish material I would be happy
to knot the rope. The variety in what people get off on out there at
5-6 sigma is amazing, and definitely not for everyone.)
5:20 improvement--the last half hour of the tape is of a woman
masturbating--after 10 minutes, it switches to regular hetro sex.
Strangely spliced. Jury is not any too happy at the prosecution for
running past 5pm.
The big unanswered question to me is *what* is the government (or this
part of it) trying to accomplish? If they want to keep this kind of
material out of the Bible Belt, there has to be more effective
approaches than going after AA BBS in California. If they want to
keep it off computers, good luck.
PS--one dismissed prospective juror was a minister who said his son
had been diagnosed as a "pornography addict." Can someone comment if
there is such a classification in the diagnostic index?
AA BBS Trial--day 3.
More videos today. David Dirmeyer is still staring at them and
occasionally adjusting his clothes. Dan Newsom sits a good distance
away from him with a grim look on his face. The jury overloaded, and
some of them dozed off. The case is not turning into a media circus.
One of the local TV stations has been there, and one stringer for AP.
Courthouse workers wonder by, stare in for a few minutes and wonder on
shaking their heads as to why Memphis has to deal with Californians.
I spent the day researching--partly looking into the different
"community" standards argument. In my view, a person such as Dirmeyer
who has bought the kind of hardware you need to download GIFs, has
read what AA BBS has to offer, sends them money or a credit card, and
goes to the trouble of downloading porn GIFs is no more a member of a
"bible belt" community than someone who has moved to San Francisco.
In fact, the physic distance one travels in just login on to the
Internet is at least that far!
It has slowly dawned on me that this trial is just a small wave on top
of a major cultural clash which is going on today. It is the
community standards of puritanical/ fundamentalist groups (serious
Catholics--the few that are left, various Baptist related groups,
Mormons, etc.) against the community standards which dominate the net.
There is an excellent article in Time this week about the spread of
net culture and its values as more people are absorbed into the net.
In spite of the net being "everywhere" (I log on through a local
telenet number in Memphis) there is a concentration of net people on
the coasts and concentration of the others through the center of the
Among the major cultural differences--I would estimate well over half
the people who read usenet news or get serious amounts of email are
aware of "jury nullification." The login cookie for the machine I use
"If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed
power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the
law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence ... and the
courts must abide by that decision."
- US v Moylan, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969, 417 F.2d at 1006
Similar quotes are in many .sig lines. Except among libertarians,
knowledge of the power of juries outside of the computer field is
My other research took me to an adult video store. No question, they
are tamer than the wildest you can get in San Francisco. But I did
note that among perhaps a thousand they had all the standard ones,
_Debby does Dallas_, _Behind the Green Door_ and, within 6 blocks of
the courthouse where the famous ruling came down, _Deep Throat_.
The case is clearly going to run over the week the judge wanted. The
prosecution has more videos to show, I think the animal ones are next.
In fact, the judge has to be away Friday. They had Dirmeyer on the
stand today and are still on trying to make out that Robert ordered
kiddy porn. I believe the argument now is that he did not *respond*
to an email message about "action mags." I will get copies of the
actual text, and will post the entire transcript.
Since there is no chance I will be called this week, I am going back
to San Jose to take care of business (Xanadu) till they have a better
idea of when I will be needed.
I will call Memphis on a daily basis and post trial news as I can.
PS. I asked why the NAFTA argument failed. The court ruled on good
logic that the entire agreement is a sham on the American public and a
fraud on Canada and Mexico--because it has absolutely no authority to
be enforced. That surprised the heck out of me, and it seems that the
AA BBS postings have had an unexpected effect as far away as the GATT
negotiations. Someone there is reported to have noticed the NAFTA
postings, and as a result, the US will be admitted to GATT only if the
agreement passes as a Treaty!
PPS. The judge also ruled on the speedy trial. It seems that the
airline losing their luggage and making them a few hours late allowed
her to rule against them on speedy trial, even though the trial was 33
days over the limit! Well, my mom always said to be prompt!
End of Computer Underground Digest #6.67