Where Do We Go From Here?
Thursday, March 28, 1991Paul Bernstein
Peter G. Neumann
Donn B. Parker
Jim Warren, Chair
Copyright (c) 1991 IEEE. Reprinted, with permission, from The First Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy, held March 26-28, 1991, in Burlingame, California. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the IEEE copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a fee and specific permission.
Published in 1991 by IEEE Computer Society Press, order number 2565. Library of Congress number 91-75772. Order hard copies from IEEE Computer Society Press, Customer Service Center, 10662 Los Vaqueros Circle, PO Box 3014, Los Alamitos, CA 90720-1264.
WARREN: Before we begin this final session, some comments: I don't know whether you realize it or not but this conference was created from scratch, from nothing - with no precedent and essentially no more than, I think, two of the Program Committee Members knowing each other prior to the first meeting of the Program Committee in late September. This entire conference was created from whole cloth by a very small cadre of people, and it's very much worth your knowing who's involved in this. ...
First, I would like to give very special plaudit to Bruce Koball as our Operations Coordinator, as well as a very active member of the Program Committee. ...
Also: This conference simply could not have been created in the amount of time that we did it, had we not been making pervasive use of electronic mail. I went in through the WELL; most of our contacts were through the WELL, the Whole Earth Lectronic Link, in Sausalito. All but one of our Program Committee members were on-line, and the one remaining Program Committee member had to limp along with mere obsolete fax material that arrived sooner or later. Old-fashioned electronics, you know. ... And, Autodesk, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Apple made very significant financial contributions that essentially allowed us to bootstrap this.
There's another type of contribution that we got, and it was right out of the clear blue. John Gilmore, ... said, "I think students shouldn't be barricaded from attending this conference simply because they can't afford it. Therefore, I'm providing ten completely paid registration scholarships for students, and you choose them." And it was done, it was a done deed.
There is another minor little group that I suppose I should mention. ... And, since I am a åW' and was always at the end of the line, I'm going to start from Z and go to A. It's the Program Committee, Glenn Tenney, Marc Rotenberg, Don Ingraham, Mark Graham, Elliot Fabric, Les Earnest, Peter Denning and Dorothy Denning and Bruce Koball. ... That Program Committee met almost weekly for close to four months. And, I think we had 80 on-line progress reports.
GLENN TENNEY: Jim, you've had your chance to say things. [Now, it's the Program Committee's turn.] ... Normally organizing a conference is a thankless task. So we have here our thanks. [presents card and silver engraved stein] ...
WARREN: [reading the engraving] From the Program Committee: Thank you, Jim Warren, Conference Chair, The First Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy.
TENNEY: As I said, it's normally a thankless job but now when you drink your Diet 7-Ups you'll have someplace to put them. We hope you will take this as a sign of our appreciation for what you've done. And thank you very much from all of us. [lengthy applause]
WARREN: Thank you!
Whew. I'm fried, and I'm jazzed. Oh, and one more thing:
As of about three hours ago we finally created a Second Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy. Lance Hoffman, heh, I got finished twisting his leg [which was in a cast] then I worked on his arms, and Lance Hoffman has agreed to chair the Second Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy. [applause]
We expect that it will be somewhere in Washington, D.C. We know that at least Peter Denning and Dorothy Denning, who are moving back there, will be on the Program Committee. ... They will provide continuity in that effort.
What we do know is that the second conference will rigorously continue the balance and the diversity that this first conference tried to establish. In that context, Lance has urged that you send written suggestions for how the second conference can be made better than this one. And I also request that you send written statements [of] ... how you felt about this conference ... .
They're going to [be needed to help] raise funds to underwrite that second conference. (This was bootstrapped on zero cash, except for the contributions from the three contributing groups and the massive amount of support that The WELL has provided - non-financial, but on- line support.) ...
[Later details: The Second Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy will be held March 18,20, 1992, at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, Washington DC. For more information, contact Lance Hoffman, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, George Washington University, Washington DC 20052; 202-994-4955. -JW]
THE CLOSING SESSION: COMMITMENT TO ACTION (FIRST GROUP)
Now for the finale.
It's easy to tell everybody else what they should do. It's easy to tell other groups how they should behave. It's much harder to tell your own group how it should improve. And it's particularly difficult to get people to commit themselves to seeking to lead that improvement.
We have rounded up, as I said at the luncheon, "some of the usual suspects" - ... people who are willing to put themselves on the line; to say to their own groups, "Here's what I think we should do." And secondly to say, "Here's what I'm willing personally to do."
We have heard three or four days of the issues, of the problems, of the concerns, of a variety of alternative proposals for solutions. [Now, we will hear what] many of the leaders and policy impacters in this diverse body are willing to commit to and willing to recommend to their own groups.
I'm going to start with Donn Parker. ... And, each one of you might identify who you see as your constituency.
PARKER: Thank you, Jim. Where do we go from here? First of all I'd like to quote the words of Stewart Brand when he said that we're in the Golden Age in information technology. This Golden Age is between the warning and disaster. I feel very fortunate that I was born when I was because I was able to start a career at the beginnings, very beginnings of this technology, and I may be fortunate enough to die before the whole thing gets blown to hell. In any case, while I'm here....
WARREN: He's starting on an up-beat note. [laughter]
PARKER: In any case, I would certainly like to be able to participate - to prolong its success and the roll that it's on. My constituency is the large- scale corporate business world. It is an international business world. It consists currently of a service that we offer from SRI to 55 giant international corporations in providing them with an array of services having to do with information security.
This is not a sales pitch; it's just to try to describe my constituency. Among these companies we have most of the major computer manufacturers, from Apple to Siemens to IBM to ICL [to] Fujitsu, and so on. And major banks, the pharmaceuticals, chemical industries, insurance industries, the very large international oil companies, and so on.
I would also plan here to use a little convention [that] makes it easier to talk about this. I'm going to use some initials to refer to civil libertarian activists in relationship to my constituency. So I will refer to to them as, the first thing I wrote down was SLA. I thought no, [laughter] that didn't quite sound right. So I'll talk about CLA and I mean the civil libertarian activists.
OK, CLA has critically addressed the criminal-justice community extremely well, and I think the criminal-justice community has responded, and done a very good job in its interaction with the CLA. The CLA I think has critically addressed ... a very small part of the commercial or business world - and I am referring to Equifax, and TRW, CreditData and so on - only a small part of it. So what I think should be done and would be most useful is for the CLA to turn its attention to the business and commercial world that is not represented here, as Don Ingraham pointed out.
The victims and potential victims of losses associated with the use of information technology are missing. And I think that's the next constituency that the CLA should address itself to.
There are ... four important areas where I think the subjects are that should be addressed.
One has to do with the economically viable, equitable and secure sharing of cyberspace between the single individual at one end of the extreme and the giant global corporation at the other end of the extreme. They're all going to have to share this cyberspace and how do we do that?
The second point I think we need to address is a problem that I see over and over again in the business community. That is the negilence, the endangerment and the recklessness with which this technology of computer and communications technology is used. I think ... the business community will be the first to admit that there are some very horrible examples, as well as some very good examples, and that is an important area that is leading to negligence. We have to identify this degree of obligation necessary. It's the whole problem of the responsibility of building fences around a swimming pool, to put it in the simplest terms. I think that we have to consider that as an important issue in our business systems.
Third, a pro-active effort, or an urging of a pro-active effort, on the part of the business community in clarifying their approach and solutions to civil-rights problems. This includes the whole array of things, e-mail, monitoring in the workplace, of trade-secret protection - the problems with the dangers and the advantages, and the civil rights aspects of outsourcing, and of contract people working in parallel with employees and so forth.
And finally the fourth area that I think needs attention by the CLA, working with the business community in a conference like this, is the elimination of the parochial view. I see just too much of "we/they" - we in the U.S. and they in other parts of the world. Cyberspace is just simply far too global and international now. In some way we have to eliminate totally this concept of national borders if we are going to ... deal with cyberspace in a rational way. [applause]
So, with those four things in mind - I may even get away without a hiss here if I sit down very quickly - my biggest problem is going to be how to entice my constituency to come here. I am writing a report about this conference, my impressions and what I learned here, that will be distributed to 55 companies worldwide. And part of that report will be to encourage them to participate at the next conference in Washington.
WARREN: Great!. ... OK. Paul Bernstein [is next]. Paul, as you may know is a trial lawyer, heads up LawMUG [BBS], and is a columnist for one of the trial- lawyer magazines.
BERNSTEIN: Thank you, Jim. [One of] my constituenc[ies] is ... the Electronic Bar Association, which is on Tymnet or Dialcom. I refer to American Bar's ABAnet as the NBC of our world. We're the CNN. At the same time, I'm very active with the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, who generally are held in disrepute by large corporations and government because we're the people who work on contingencies and are personal-injury attorneys. Also, we are very active, those that are [defense attorneys], ... in the criminal-defense area.
However, I think that will serve to advantage, as I hope I will point out. I'd like to tell two very, very brief tales to make the two points that I really want to make.
In 1984 - Dave Hughes referred to this in his comments earlier today - [there was] the Tom Tcimpidis case, and I think it pays to retell that story because I see a problem brewing for us in the many days of discussion that we've had.
Tom Tcimpidis did have on his bulletin board stolen Pacific Telephone credit-card numbers, which he swore he did not know were there. The police authorities came in and took his computer and all his disks, as we've heard is the case on many occasions. [Thereafter], one evening, he showed up in the CompuServe [on-line] lawyers' special- interest group and told his tale of woe, adding a footnote: "I don't have any money for legal fees."
Now for most lawyers that would be the end of the discussion. He'd be welcome to leave the legal-interest group and go over to some poverty program. However, one lawyer on the special-interest group, a lawyer in Los Angeles named Chuck Linnear(?) said, "Look, I'll help. All you've got to do is pay the out-of-pocket costs. But come on, boys and girls, there are some very serious privacy rights here. There are some very serious constitutional issues" - this was 1984; not 1991 - "and if this technology is going to survive and do well, then we had better direct our attention to it."
Well, a bunch of us leaped into the fray. I think Mr. Rose's partner, Jonathan Wallace in New York, was one of them. I was in Chicago. A lawyer in Florida jumped in, and a couple of others. We all decided to help Chuck and we did. We divided up the legal research; we divided up discussions and arguments about the statute and the law.
We did this, by the way, in a public forum [on-line]. We couldn't conceive that anybody in any governmental agency at that time would have the sophistication or knowledge about what the hell we were doing, or, if they did, how the hell to do it and see what we were doing. The bottom line was that we forged a motion to dismiss the case, and before that motion could be heard the state's attorney decided to dismiss the case against Tom Tcimpidis with prejudice, which means the case could never be brought again.
Now, I think that case is significant. It was seven years ago, so some of you may have been in grammar school when that happened. The story bears retelling in any event. But there is something that's gone on here as a constant theme that concerns me. If every time a Craig Neidorf - God forbid it happens to him again, but somebody like Craig or Steve Jackson - gets in a jam and there isn't some way for us frontiersmen, us people who are accustomed to circling the wagons and helping each other, if these folks have to go - and I know Katten Muchen [& Zavis] in Chicago, and they're a great firm, and I respect them, but I'll betcha somebody had to drop about 25 grand and face $300-an-hour rates in order to get in the front door - how many of us on our own could support that kind of a legal bill?
So part of what I am going to do as I move forward with presentations to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America in July and writing my own newsletter, which appears on NewsNet and elsewhere, is to urge the legal community to volunteer time and get involved with this group and others in an effort to help those that are going to need help. Without some pro bono work by lawyers across the country, who are plaintiff-oriented and or criminal-defense oriented, [people] are not going to be able to survive governmental onslaughts [and] are going to have to cop a plea through plea bargaining. And we're all going to see a tremendous undermining of our rights. That's one thing I pledge to do. [applause]
But there's a second point, and this is the last point I want to make. Again, I'll tell a very, very short story because it helps make the point.
I ran the legal special-interest group on The Source for a number of years. At one time our discussions were hitting a low ebb and I wanted to stoke things up.
And I know how to do that. I mean, if you pick up your newspaper, anytime a columnist has absolutely nothing to say they pull out [a] bash-the-lawyer article. A bash-the-lawyers article always gets the public to jump up and yell and scream, "Kill the lawyers," and, "Let's do away with them; they're totally unnecessary and they're blights on society." So I started a conference called, "Kill the Lawyers." [laughter]
I have to tell you that we went to the top of the meter in participation on The Source. Everybody heard about it and came to vent, and it was an interesting thing to see in about six months the history of this conference. It started out that everybody was venting. Everybody had 18 lawyer jokes to tell, or 22 personal stories of one kind or another. ... It was in the days when I was trying to see how on-line services could be used for the marketing of legal services, and I said, "OK, what would you think if lawyers on-line who you never met were able to offer you legal services at a fraction of the cost that you were accustomed to paying, or make it affordable where otherwise currently it's unaffordable?"
And everybody without exception rose to the defense of their lawyer. Everybody said, "Wait a second, my wife is my lawyer," or, "I went to school with my lawyer," or, "My father's ...."
Everybody without exception had a lawyer that they would fight to the death for, in terms of their integrity, their ability, their fairness, even at the point of going without certain essential legal services, because of a sense of loyalty and faithfulness. And the conference died out. In six months it went from the top of the list to nothing. Because what we had concluded was that, whereas everybody likes to hate lawyers and wants to vent and yell and scream, nevertheless everybody in that group agreed on one thing: They loved their lawyer and that lawyer did a wonderful job for them.
What's significant about that in the context of what we're doing? I must tell you that this has been a terrific experience for me. It's been an honor for me to be involved. It's been a pleasure to talk with as many of you as I have, and to participate with what I will call all of these truly heavy hitters, involved from every discipline.
But - I've seen this happen with bodies as august as the American Bar Association, ... and [it's] one of the reasons I formed the Electronic Bar Association: You go to these tremendous meetings and you talk and you get your adrenalin running, and your heart is beating, the blood is flowing, and you're all excited, and what happens for the next year? Not a God damn thing. Nothing happens. Nothing!
So part of the secret to everything we're talking about, and what must be done - and we have to put politics aside and figure out how the heck to do this - is we must find a way that all of us can and will participate starting Monday morning in an on-line world. And another [thing] I commit myself to do is - along with other lawyers here or anybody else that wants to get involved - to help participate in, provide information for and to help moderate and stir the pot and be very active in a series of [on-line] conferences where all of the topics we've isolated in these several days, and the more that we are going to bring up, can all be discussed by all of us on a daily basis. And, boy, this time next year in Washington, D.C., you're going to see ten times the excitement, ten times the involvement and I predict ten times the progress. Thank you very much. [applause]
WARREN: Next in pseudo-random order is Craig Schiffries, who is a Legislative Fellow to the Subcommittee on Technology and the Law in the Senate.
SCHIFFRIES: That is correct. I work for Senator Leahy on the Subcommittee on Technology and Law. This subcommittee was founded in 1987 to address many of the issues that are before this forum. It was founded to study new technologies and their impact on civil liberties. It was founded to ensure that American laws keep pace with new technologies. It was founded to make sure that our fundamental liberties are preserved while we promote innovative technologies.
Yesterday, I outlined some of the legislative initiatives that Senator Leahy is working on at the moment. He has involved government information in his FOIA bill [Freedom of Information Act]. [These initiatives also] involve terminal legislation in the Computer Abuse Amendments Act. They involve First Amendment and privacy issues and a study is underway to possibly revise the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. He's also very actively involved in intellectual-property issues. Currently we are working on the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act extension. He's also very involved in antitrust issues which are relevant to the computer industry.
In most of these areas Senator Leahy begins with the premise that the First Amendment and personal privacy must be the starting point in approaching these issues. But we must rely on you in crafting this legislation. As one of the panelists in the last panel noted, in many cases, the staffs of Congress and the members of Congress don't have the necessary expertise to work in these areas. Senator Leahy has been very active in making sure that people with a broad range of expertise and knowledge are brought into the process in a very consultative way.
We must search to make sure that the legislation is not overreaching and over-broad. Yesterday I mentioned an example in which legislation that was proposed would have outlawed every piece of software that's sold in the United States today. The legislation that we're proposing in this session is based upon this consultative process. There is a great deal of other legislation that's also being proposed in Congress, and it's important to keep a watchful eye for exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act, which pop up in - it seems like - dozens of bills. There's an oversight activity that's constant and ongoing.
My personal role in this was to take a year off from my research career in nuclear chemistry to come and work on the Hill on some of these issues - to come to these conferences and to bring back some of the thoughts that were expressed at this meeting, and bring them back to Senator Leahy's subcommittee, and to see if we can interact with you people and help create sound laws for the future of the electronic frontier. Thank you. [applause]
WARREN: Before I call on Mary Culnan, our next speaker, who will be essentially addressing the privacy constituency, I need to tell you why we do not have a counterbalancing representative from the information industry.
We screwed up. When we started putting together this conference we felt that - in the light of what was going on last Fall and the heat of discussion primarily ... in computer circles [about Sun Devil and civil liberties issues] - that, in order to maintain the balance and diversity that we all wanted to have in the conference ... we really would have to work very hard to make sure that there was a robust representation by law enforcement, and that it wasn't overloaded with raging computer-liberty zealots. ... So we put a very heavy effort into making sure that law enforcement was well represented here, and they have been.
But we didn't think to ... put much effort into getting the information industry adequately involved in this. ... I think that the two people from Equifax who did show up, and who took the flack - and it was considerable flack - really deserve significant applause for hanging in there.
Unfortunately, they didn't know about this final session. They didn't know that we were going to pick people on the fly through the conference for this final session. And when I asked each of them to participate, they said, "I'm sorry, I've got a flight scheduled out. I would be happy to participate if I had just known about it." It's my fault, not theirs, that they're not here.
My first thought was simply not to have a representative in this final wrap-up of the privacy perspective. But in discussing it with Lance Hoffman he was persuasive in saying that, "We should have that represented." It is an unbalanced representation, and I apologize for that. Nonetheless, Mary Culnan, from Georgetown, who was deathly ill when she was supposed to make her presentation earlier during the conference has recovered. [applause]
CULNAN: Before I start I have one brief announcement: My colleague, Jeff Smith, also at Georgetown, has asked if anyone is interested in sharing teaching materials on the subjects of this conference to please give him your e-mail address, or whatever address you use on the net.
I'd like to say a little bit about myself in terms of the constituency I represent here, which is perhaps a little odd. I teach in a business school and I've been working in the private sector since the late '60s, but I'm also a privacy advocate. So perhaps the Equifax people and the others ... - they wouldn't be happy to have me up here - [but they] might not be ... totally unhappy, because I have been talking with them and I'm trying to understand their perspective.
The constituency I represent perhaps can best be expressed by a story, that is how I became interested in becoming a privacy advocate. I, like many other people, order things out of catalogs. I always assumed that catalogs would sell their lists to somebody else, and this didn't particularly bother me because you got more catalogs that way and that was fine - until I started getting catalogs for baby things. I don't have a baby. I'm not married. I don't live in a neighborhood where the demographics suggest that this would be a really good opportunity to target people for baby products.
But I had ordered a baby gift from a catalog for a friend. And it [came] out that, in fact, the company does sell lists of people who purchase baby gifts. So it wasn't just selling the fact that I got their catalog. They were looking at what I purchased, and I found this offensive. This is what made me become interested in doing work on privacy.
So I would describe my constituency as people who have the same kind of feeling, [who] would like to exert better control over the personal information that is collected and used by large companies, but don't really want to drop out of the economy to maintain their privacy.
To respond to the industry concerns, I think there does need to be a balancing. The Equifax and TRW and the other people argue that, in fact, we do derive a lot of benefits, from being [able] to get credit easily, being able to shop and use direct marketing. That is true. But on the other hand that does not give them the right - and they realize this - to not respect people's concerns about how this information is used. The Code of Fair Information Practices does, in fact, need to be applied. Hopefully, we will work out some kind of a balancing act so that everyone's interests are balanced.
If it goes too far to the side of the privacy interests, this entire industry will go under, and there is no reason to really do that. With that aside I think we need to have more of a dialogue. I, too, would second Donn Parker's comment that there need to be a lot more industry people here. I hope next year we will do this, and get these people here because they can hang around with people, get to know us; talk. I think that's really, really important because we get to know each other and ... the best way to make progress on this is to begin the discussions.
The bottom line on privacy for the companies, all these economic arguments aside, is this: Privacy, I've come to believe, is really an ethical issue. If you're socially responsible you're not going to pollute the environment. You're not going to sell products that hurt people. You're not going to cheat your customers. And privacy deserves the same place on the corporate agenda. I think until companies realize that it is an ethical issue - it's just important to do this - that all the laws in the world are not going to really make a difference. Because we see time and time again that end-runs are made. Because there is just not that respect for the individual.
What can we do about this? What am I trying to do? First thing, it's hard for me to get a sense of how many people really care about this as much as I do and as some of my friends in Washington and elsewhere. If nobody cares, then the status quo is fine, probably. The people of us that are concerned can try and get our names off of mailing lists and complain. But if most of the people are happy with the way things are, why do we need to do something? If you do care, people need to speak out. We can do a lot with grass-roots activism, with organizing.
The first thing to do is, when someone asks you for information about yourself that isn't relevant to the transaction that you're engaging in and that you don't want to give them, ask why they need it and don't give it to them. Everyone needs to speak up. This is tough to do. People are shy about doing this, but it's a small step. But it's very important to do this.
The second thing is to talk privacy with people. Talk. I talk privacy with my students. I incorporate it into my classes. We talk about the Code of Fair Information Practices - this is described in a number of the papers .... Let people know what's fair, what's right, what's expected and look at this. Talk to your friends and talk about it on the net. I don't see much on the net. I'm one of these people that cannot navigate through some of its savage interfaces very well. But in the things I do see, I don't see a lot of discussion on privacy. And when someone starts a discussion on privacy it doesn't get picked up the way some of the other topics do.
The net is an enormously powerful way to organize. If you see something going on that you don't like, the Lotus Marketplace being a great example, tell people. People should get involved and write letters, send e-mail if you can. Do this and whatever. Write an op-ed. Write a letter to the editor. Get involved. Stir up public consciousness. A lot of people just aren't aware of what the situation is. If enough people get concerned things will change.
And, finally, if you don't like the way your name is being used or sold or exchanged, opt-out. Write to the Direct Marketing Association. Write to the Equifax Preferences Service. Call up American Express, the 800 number, and say you don't want them to sell your name. In the back of most catalogs you have the opportunity to do this. It's a little bit of a hassle but, if more people do this, it sends a message that fewer and fewer people really want to be on mailing lists. And that message isn't getting out.
The second thing is to get involved in the legislative process. I don't think legislation is always the answer to everything, but a good legislative hearing and a good strong bill really gets the discussion going and it brings a lot of people to the table who otherwise may not be interested in participating.
My particular interests this spring are the amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that are pending before the House of Representatives in Washington. If you care about this kind of thing, if your credit report has problems, if you don't know what your credit report looks like, you should write for a copy and see. Write to your member of Congress and tell them that you would like improvements, that you would like changes, that you've had problems. If they don't hear from people they are unlikely to do anything. If they hear from you they will, in fact, get moving on this kind of thing.
You can talk about the privacy issues. If you don't know what the bill is doing you can write to your congressional representative and they will send you a copy of the bills. There are four of them pending, and other people at the conference have talked about these.
Next year, try to get the industry people to come back and try to keep talking with them. It's really an issue of balancing. That's an important issue and I hope that it will stay on the table and that we will actually see some progress by next year. Thank you. [applause]
WARREN: The next victim here is Rob Veeder, who is with the Office of Management and Budget. Rob? We like to keep you on edge here.
VEEDER: You got it, you got it. Thank you. It is interesting to try to think about your constituencies. In my case, it's a real shifting mix of people and institutions. In some cases it's other agencies. In some cases it's people or businesses that have been harmed by agencies. In some cases it's friends in the Congress, on the staff, or ... congresspersons, depending upon what the objective is.
This is what I think my office is about: We're in business to promote the efficient and effective use of information and information- technology resources, to help agencies manage their programs better. After we do that, we're going to clean up the environment and then we're going to fix the space station. [laughter]
This puts us essentially in a balancing position. We function more or less as power brokers in a lot of cases. And what we're about, in a very abstract level, is trying to move the government and governmental programs and all of the information that we manage into the ... 21st Century, into an electronic milieu at any rate. As we do that we need to build new systems and to improve existing systems, like the tax-system modernization effort that's underway now; the effort to revitalize the Social Security Administration's databases - important programs for delivering the kinds of services and benefits that the American public has come to rely on.
We need to do so, however, ... in a way that balances competing interests. There are interests that are competing for access to this information, use of the information and so forth. We need to make sure that our systems are secure, but not so secure that they become user-hostile or inaccessible. We need to preserve personal privacy.
We have, someone said, 3 billion individually identifiable records in our systems. We need to make sure that that gets taken care of in the ... procedural and legal context of the Privacy Act, but not in a way that reduces legitimate public access and accountability.
We also need to provide for access to government information in a fair and equal, equitable way. I think that's an evolving concept. I think that as we build and design systems that provide for public access, and as users connect electronically to the data that we have, that will evolve into a regularized process. We're not there yet. But we're... looking at that issue, and with help we'll get there.
This is something that we haven't talked about, and I was kind of hoping it would emerge from some of the discussions, especially the personal privacy discussions. My perspective obviously is a governmental perspective. The issue I think is this, and let me cite a couple of examples that you probably know about.
At one point, the Selective Service System attempted to buy Farrells Ice Cream birthday list. Do you remember that? You go in on your birthday; you get a free sundae, and guess what? When you turn 21, or 18, or whatever, I guess it's 18, the Selective Service then uses the list to determine whether you've registered for the draft or not by doing a cross check. They didn't get the list. ... [applause] Thank you, thank you. That wasn't me. They didn't get the list.
Another example: the IRS attempted to buy mailing lists on which to do profiling to detect under-filers. My sister does not make a lot of money, but she does subscribe to an enormous number of catalogs, and if one were to try to correlate the ritzy catalogs that she gets with her income and make judgments about whether she's underfiling or not, they would be sadly mistaken. In any case, [there are] those kinds of accesses.
As we build better, bigger easier-to-access databases containing all kinds of information, I think we need to establish some bright guidelines that guide agencies in what's permissible to acquire and to blend and what isn't. That's a job for me to a certain extent, and also for you to vocalize concerns. As all the other panelists have said, become involved in the process. Make your concerns known to Congress. Make them known to the agencies when this surfaces.
My job probably is to find out what's happening and try to make that as visible as possible. In any case my action-agenda is pretty much what I talked about in the last session. I think I've had too much air time already, but it is to revise [OMB Circular] A-130 and to try to bring that forward, especially developing a dissemination policy that has meaning.
I intend to start working on an Electronic Privacy Act. The Privacy Act was written in an era of paper records. The ... legal structure of the act does not work very well for an [electronic] environment. We are maintaining more records about individuals in an automated mode and sharing and matching and all the rest of that stuff, and making decisions. We need to move that act forward. I think that's a good goal for the next year or so, and you can help in that process.
We also will continue to do Computer Security Act reviews of agency practices. And we'll continue to budget and plan and help agencies plan to acquire technology and acquire information in a reasonable, lawful, productive way.
The one wonderful thing about conferences like this, and the pledge that I will make, is to continue this kind of interaction, because it's so valuable to me in my office to get different perspectives - the outside- of-Washington perspective that we don't get often enough. So thank you very much, Jim, for doing this. This is an absolutely splendid opportunity for me. And thank you all. [applause]
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS BY HOFFMAN & NEUMANN
WARREN: And thank you so much. There is life beyond the Beltway. Let's see. I've asked Peter Neumann and Lance Hoffman to fill in the gaps, or to encourage the participants to fill in the gaps - to ask them probing questions where probes are needed. Both Lance and Peter are accustomed to doing this kind of thing in moderating a number of panels, and Peter in moderating the RISKS Forum. So have at it. Let's give it about ten minutes or so.
HOFFMAN: OK, I gather that one of charges here is to hold the panelist's feet to the fire just a bit. Being friendly about it, which is I think our key thing. I think we have to have cooperation here and not too much confrontation, although we all love confrontation every now and then.
One of the themes I've heard from a number of the panelists was inviting their constituencies and us - the big, global us - to become involved. Rob mentioned this in the talk he gave. It's very hard to effectively become involved if a lot of federal material, like the Federal Register and other similar documents, are not available on-line, as they can be, and I'd like to know what you or anybody else can do to solve this.
Before you attempt to answer that, I want to point out that what I'd like: I as a citizen, [would like to] use some of that material. Take it; massage it; bounce it over to other people and then get it back. Think about it, and then use some of it, laying the message, part of the legislation, in a letter to my congressman or senator. (Whom, by the the way, I cannot send an electronic message to. I don't know why. Seems to me it would be perfectly reasonable to do, but I don't know how to do it.)
And this gets into something for Craig. If you are to be somewhat provocative, if you're truly intending to work with people in helping craft the legislation, it sure is very difficult right now. A lot of the material, complete with schedules, mark-up dates and so forth, is not generally available on-line. It was a lot easier for me to send electronically, in essence send a fax, to my bank when they did me wrong .... I had a dispute with my bank, and I took in essence my electronic checkbook, the appropriate part of it, from Quicken, laid the material into my letter to the bank, wrote the letter to the bank on-line, dialed up CompuServe (in my case) and faxed it to the bank. The result of that was, three weeks later the bank trashed the offensive system. ...
Why can't I do that as easily with any of the branches of government?
VEEDER: I have absolutely no idea. Sounds like a serious personal problem to me. No, that's a good question. Obviously, for us to come out to San Francisco every time to interact with you all is inefficient. We need to find better ways and to provide some kind of electronic access. "Legislate" is a ... program that does in fact provide access to mark-ups and drafts and legislation in an interactive, ongoing mode. But it costs money. It costs about $15,000 a year to $20,000 a year, and who can afford that?
Repository libraries, right? I understand that the GPO [Government Printing Office] is thinking about doing a Federal Register on-line. That may be a source. But the Federal Register is not a very accessible document and federal writers obviously don't write very well - I mean they write bureaucratese, and it's massaged by lawyers. Then nobody really can understand it. I'm sorry. But ... we have been wrestling with this problem, at least in the Privacy Act area, because there is a specific notice requirement. We're trying to put people on notice that their records are going to be contained in a system that is going to be operated by the federal government, by a federal agency. They ought to be aware of that because of the legal liabilities and so forth, and it's in the Federal Register. Thanks a lot.
Do we advertise in newspapers? Probably not. That's probably fairly inefficient as well. So I guess ... I would come to some kind of electronic solution, but I don't know what that is yet. I would be happy to be instructed in that process if other people have ideas. This is not a problem that I have the ability to solve by myself.
SCHIFFRIES: As you noted, ... the Congressional Record is available on- line. There are in fact several sources. As far as I know they are all expensive. It's a start. It's going somewhere. In regard to writing to personal offices of members of Congress, it's something I encourage everybody to do.
I didn't appreciate how much importance members give to constituent mail until I began to work on the Hill, and it is truly important to them.
Not many offices as far as I know accept e-mail yet. I would predict that will happen in the near future, at least in some offices. I do however want to point out that during the Persian Gulf War, Senator Leahy's office set up e-mail to the Persian Gulf, I understand. So I think that there's progress in this area. ... More members are becoming technologically literate, and it's a goal that I think this organization can help achieve.
WARREN: Peter, do you have a question?
NEUMANN: I've got a few things. There're several threads running through this, and I think it's worth just taking a moment to highlight them.
Each one of our speakers has spoken to a specific constituency, and I think my first piece of questioning or advice to, "How do we integrate the different constituencies?" The problem is that everybody looks at their own constituency. For example, Donn has 55 of the biggest corporations. I could ask, "What's he doing for the small corporations?" And the answer is probably that he's dominated by the need to have clients who can afford to pay and the little guys probably can't pay.
WARREN: Now, now. No feuding at SRI. [laughter]
NEUMANN: No, no. I work with him part time; I think he's doing a fantastic job. But there is a question in that constituency. For example, one of his clients is a computer vendor who doesn't believe there's a security problem. This does color the discussion sometimes.
But, the question is, "How do you integrate the different constituencies?"
Well the answer may be to start pair-wise, or in threes or in fours, and build up. We've got to start finding ways of avoiding this narrowing and getting into much broader interdisciplinary efforts. So one of my questions for these guys who have spoken for their own constituency is, "How do they integrate their constituencies with others?"
One obvious way is more use of e-mail, but again, what we do there is continue to get inbreeding - where we're dealing with our own kind rather than everybody else. So the question of outreach becomes vital.
WARREN: OK. Why don't we ask each of those who wish to reply, "How are you going to conduct outreach and encourage your constituents to conduct outreach?"
NEUMANN: And interdisciplinarianism?
PARKER: One thing I didn't get a chance to mention is that we hold three three-day meetings each year - once on the West Coast, once on the East Coast and once in Europe. At these meetings, we have outside speakers. In fact, among the people who have been here, Dorothy Denning has been a speaker, Sheldon Zenner has been a speaker, Peter Neumann, Don Ingraham and Mitch Kapor have all been speakers at our forum meetings, and we will continue. In fact, I got a great list of potential speakers from this conference to address these people in this business world.
VEEDER: Could I suggest that it may not be as important to integrate. In fact, having seen the librarians and the Information Industry Association in the same room, I'm not sure it's possible to integrate certain constituencies. But maybe it's not important to integrate, so much as to give people an opportunity to flail away and hammer away at whatever the issue is. If that's what you mean by integrating - is it? - or do you mean homogenizing constituencies?
NEUMANN: I certainly don't mean homogenizing. For example, I've talked to lawyer communities and medical communities. The idea is to recognize that the legal folks ... - and the government folks and the computer-science folks and everybody else who's represented here, and a lot who aren't represented here - are all interconnected in many ways.
There are trade-offs going on around all over the place, and it's extremely difficult to pin down all of those things. If you start to optimize in one direction, for your own constituency, you're probably doing it to the disadvantage of everybody else.
There's an altruism that's needed. You've got to recognize the needs of the other communities.
BERNSTEIN: May I add a personal story? I used to run my lawyer's bulletin board out of my home, and had a regular contributor who added many valuable notes to our very deep discussions.
One day I happened to notice that this chap was on-line. I jumped into chat-mode, and we started to talk on-line. I typed in a question, "What type of law do you practice?"
Now, this was very good typist, who instantly answered all my questions - up till then. He hesitated, and typed back, "I'm not a lawyer."
I typed, "That's OK. What business or occupation are you in?" He types back, "I'm a student." "How old are you?" I type in. He types in, "13." [laughter, applause]
That's not the end of the story. I was angry internally, but then I said, "Well, I've got to do the right thing. I've got to act like an adult, and this person has been contributing very valuable information to our conferences, and I didn't want to scare the poor young man. So I said,"Tell me, how did you learn to do all of these things: telecommunications." I mean, we adults can't do it. Here's a 13-year-old that's doing it, who types back, "From my brother." "How old is your brother?"
So, I think the answer to the question is that if we can get enough people into our on-line community, the interaction will take care of itself.
WARREN: I'll take the chair's opportunity to pose my own question. Although it's the information-industry's question in a global framework, I'll put it in a very provincial framework. ... This is going to be a question to Mary Culnan, so I'm going to put you on the spot here.
For the last three months, we have built a database for the registrants for this conference. People have provided their names and addresses and other information, fax, phone numbers, etc., for the purpose of registering for this conference. I didn't ask them for affirmative permission to notify them about the tapes that we will market and promote and want to sell. I didn't ask them for affirmative permission to tell them about a new conference that I don't know that they're interested in hearing about. I didn't ask them for permission to tell them about or promote or solicit their membership or their donations to the sponsoring organization, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.
Should I do what the American Library Association does with valuable information once its original purpose is completed, namely borrowing a book? Should I destroy that database?"
CULNAN: No, but I wouldn't sell it, either. I think the Code of Fair Information Practices says that information collected for one purpose shouldn't be used for another purpose without the person's consent, and in fact you could construe that to be purposes related to the conference and assume that people that showed up for this conference would probably like to hear about the next conference.
But to use this to market - for example, some of the companies that are represented in the room to get the mailing list to market their own thing - that might be pushing it unless you ... notified people that this was going to happen and said, "Let us know." I would say, give people fair notice and let them say, "No thank you." That would be fine rather than do the affirmative consent. Others would disagree with me. But I don't think you have to burn the list. We want to get the people back next year and I would say that's pretty much the same thing. That's not a problem.
THE CLOSING SESSION: COMMITMENT TO ACTION (SECOND GROUP)
WARREN: In fairness, don't worry. The list will not be marketed, but you will be be notified of the availability of the audiotapes and the videotapes and the conference proceedings and the second conference. I think we've run out of time on this first group, so I'd like to thank you very much for actually having the guts to make commitments in public. [applause]
Let's go to our final trinity, which happens to be a quadruplet: Mitch Kapor - and incidentally, world, the phrasing is KAY-poor; not Kah-POR - Don Ingraham, Eric Lieberman, and Dave Hughes. Mitch, you're first up.
KAPOR: Thank you. This has been great. This is even better than running a big software company, I have to tell you, [for me] personally.
Who is the EFF's constituency? Well, we spend a lot of time trying to figure this out. As near as we can tell, it existed before we came into existence as an organization, and it'll probably continue to exist after we go out of business, which we have no intention of doing.
I remember that Larry Tribe quoted Borges with his taxonomy of animals, and I think "in our constituency" includes people who actually live on the electronic frontier, netheads, misfits, outcasts, rugged individualists, weirdos, cyberpunks, nerds, weenies, the terminally technical, explorers, adventurers, libertarians, liberals and other endangered political species, hackers, intellectuals, etc. etc. Anybody who says they are - they are. And everybody else, sooner or later. That's our constituency. [applause]
I have six quick points about commitments. And I'm going to preface this I think by surprising you a little bit. I hope.
I love freedom. I love privacy. I'm pretty darn ambivalent about computers, because some days I hate 'em and I want to pick my computer up and throw it out the window. It's a big problem. I was explaining this to somebody, and when you go into the on-line world it's a lot worse. It is, to quote John Perry Barlow, a "world of savage user interfaces."
If the EFF is going to fulfill its larger mission, which is to help in the civilization of cyberspace, we have to do something about [those interfaces], because until we make computers and computer networks readily accessible to the average individual, as accessible as it is today to that strange list of groups that I read you earlier, we will not have civilized cyberspace. So to that end - I'll take this occasion simply to mention by way of introduction two new initiatives that the EFF is going to get involved with. Then I'm going to mention some continuations of activities that you already know us to be familiar with. And I do mean just "introduce."
First, the issue of the national information infrastructure. The creation of a , the successor to the universal analog-voice telephone system, is something which is being actively discussed and debated in Washington [and] in universities. Senator Gore has a bill. It's a big deal.
There is a new element to that policy discussion which we wish to raise and participate in, which is, "What are going to be the social policies in regard to that national public network? Who's going to own it? Who's going to control it? How is there going to be access to it? Who can get in? How is it going to work commercially? Is there really going to be diversity on it? Or is it going to be tightly and narrowly controlled?"
All of those issues need to be raised, as much as all of the technical issues about gigabyte networks. And it is absolutely necessary that in addition to the participation of the technologists in the computer and telecommunications industry, that computer and computer-network users have a voice in the policies that are going to create this infrastructure, which we all desperately need. [applause]
The second is a more personal initiative, [the fact] that it is virtually impossible for a non-expert to learn to master the net without extraordinarily arduous effort. It's not documented. It barely works. And some people like it that way.
So I've undertaken a project, which is to write something called The Big Dummys Guide to The Net. [applause] I've been taking notes on this for the last year and a half as I have asked literally thousands of questions of people. I'm going to continue that process with a lot of help from people on the net, to create something that is part Whole Earth Catalog and part How to Fix Your Volkswagen If Youre a Complete Idiot - that book that was certainly formative in my youth. [laughter]
People have a hard time believing that the founder of Lotus struggles to use computers. But anybody who has actually sat in a room and seen me turn red and get mad at the machine knows otherwise. There are some other things that have formed the bulk of [our] activities that I want to assure you we are going to continue to do.
The first is that we will continue to be engaged in legal work to support and defend individuals where there are substantive constitutional issues involving civil liberties, up to and including the filing of affirmative lawsuits to clearly establish the illegality of searches and First Amendment incursions in particular cases. I expect that you will be hearing from us fairly soon on that.
Second, we will build on our relationships, our growing relationships with other constituencies, to try to work together to avoid having to go to court. To that end, for instance, Mike Godwin, our staff counsel, and Mike Gibbons - the two Mikes - of the EFF and the FBI, with a little help from Cliff Stoll, have formed a small cabal to begin to discuss the particulars of how we can develop search-and-seizure guidelines that are fully respectful of civil liberties. Search-and-seizure for computers that will enable law enforcement to get the job done. That's a lot of blocking and tackling. That's one example of, I would expect, about a half-dozen projects that we expect to be fully engaged in.
A third thing will be that we will continue to fight misperceptions about cyberspace and its inhabitants wherever they might arise. We will continue to try to raise public awareness.
And, finally, at a board meeting on the Sunday preceding this this event, we decided that it was about time for the EFF to actually have members. Until now, we really haven't had a formal membership structure. We're not talking about a direct-mail campaign here to fill your mailboxes - postal or electronic - with junk mail. But, you know, organizations in the industry that I come from need to have T-shirts and caps and other things. [laughter]
AUDIENCE MEMBER: T-shirts first!
KAPOR: That's right. So ... you'll be hearing as soon as we get our notice from the IRS that your contributions will be tax-deductible. ... [We're] not going out and asking for your help, but creating a forum in which those who want to come forward and get more involved have the opportunity to do so and have the opportunity to help out. Thank you very much for everything and we'll certainly see you next year, and on the net. [applause]
NEUMANN: Should we give him our mailing list?
WARREN: The answer is, "Sorry, it's private." Let's see, next is Don Ingraham.
INGRAHAM: The ordinary thing at this point of course is to acknowledge the honor of having been allowed to address this conference and participate here. But that would be a lie. I came here with some 20 years of experience in this business, both as a prosecutor of other kinds of crimes and specializing in computer crimes.
As you can tell by the papers and discussion, I was fully confident of the fact that I knew the problem, that if you just listened to me there would be no further problems.
[But], I am leaving here after three arduous days with the first draft of a proposal in my typewriter to amend our search-and-seizure laws. [applause] [And, I'm leaving here] with a series of contacts that I'll be using in investigations, and a significant load of guilt for not having done this before. So thanks a hell of a lot. [laughter]
What is the constituency? I don't have a constituency. I'm a political appointee of an elected official who serves the California Legislature. We are an autonomous county. We always have been, even when the Indians were being colonized in other counties. Alameda County is where the Spanish used to have to send the troops to fight them, and the Indians usually won .... We're a tumultuous county.
To the extent we can, however, I am going to be using what I have learned here (obviously filtered through my consciousness; I have not been brainwashed - I think ) [laughter] to start working within the High- Technology Criminal Investigators Association, within the California District Attorneys Association, within that network of prosecutors, most of whom you have met here, to come up with standard common approaches to minimize the kind of devastation that has been wrought in the past. It was wrought - believe me, in sincere pursuit of people who had violated someone else's rights - but incidentally and (I think now) avoidably trespassed on other people's rights. That's not a fair balance. It's something we are going to have to address.
We're going to be addressing it with your help. I'm going to be going after you to talk to a great many people I've met here, [laughter] because if I get into a jam I'm going to be calling on Jim asking, "Do you know this person? Can we rely upon them or do we have to just hit them with a warrant?"
I'm going to be calling on other people I've met here, too. That's a real factor we have to follow. Now, that's what I'm going to be doing, and I'll get into more details later on. Let me ... make very clear that we cannot do that without your cooperation. We are too few. We are outnumbered. As I pointed out before, we have murderers, rapists, child abusers vying for our attention. So you're going to have to do something else.
Talking to Jonathan Budd, ... there's a problem with the perception [expressed] earlier ... by another speaker, [of whom] I think very highly. But the idea was that somehow computer trespass gets involved in the area of "victimless crimes" - ... a piece of ... nostalgia [from] 20 years ago, when you wore flowers in your hair and went to Haight-Ashbury. If anybody thinks that [drug use is] a victimless crime, I can arrange a tour of certain wards of our hospital where crack babies are in pain and their great-grandmothers are looking after them. There was nothing victimless about drugs. There is nothing victimless about ... trashing other people's [computer] systems.
But if I say that, it doesn't get across. If you say that, in your groups, if you step on people who commit the kind of trashing [that is going on, then it can make a difference]. If you read the Harpers Magazine article, [it mentions that] at one point John Barlow's credit card was [publicly] posted. And Barlow did a beautiful job in there, if you read the transcript, of burning him a new sphincter. And that is exactly what was required. Because the leaders of this industry have got to take the position, which John Barlow has done, of saying, "Get off the board, you snot- nosed little terrorist. You don't belong here anymore. You're not acting the way we act in this society."
You can do that, and there's not a cop in the world that can stand up and do that. If you do that, I think we can get further.
What action are we taking? Well, obviously we've got to increase law-enforcement appreciation of the existing laws. I was surprised how little I knew about the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, but that's what I've been reading during the breaks, and we're going to be putting out manuals and training on that area.
There's a lot of privacy laws [from] other places that we're going to be aware of. We've got to get some laws specific to this problem; not only laws that define more narrowly the authority of officers under a search warrant. [But also ones] that would require the absolute minimum intrusion necessary to achieve the sanctioned goal, [and] that permit them to take necessary steps to return the knowledge of the company (as in Steve Jackson's case) back to him, winnowing that from things that may be suspect.
We may be turning to you for some technology. I already talked to Mitch about that. Could we design programs that could go into a site and [find files containing words] that come within a certain range of the key words we're looking for, but not disturb the other files?
There are very real problems, under the Sixth Amendment confrontation right of the defendant [right to confront the accusor and evidence], if we take less than the original. We may have to address those, and get admonitions like guilty pleas.
There are significant jurisdictional problems. ... [Here's a] problem I have as a state-level prosecutor. If I'm on the state line and somebody opens fire on me, I can shoot back, but I can't cross the state line to search him. That seems to be a little bit anomalous, and maybe we can work out some protocols with federal agencies to go to that level.
We have to develop these kind of protocols. I think we should best develop them on a state level. I'm not suggesting you do not participate yourself in the national debate over laws, but don't close your eyes to the benefits of federalis The benefit of federalism is that the states get to experiment independently with the best way to do it. We have in California, for example - before they ever got into it in the federal area - Penal Code 630, etc., which deals with individual privacy, the right against being intruded against. But there are problems with that.
Let me give you an example of the kind of thing, as a prosecutor, I deal with. Section 632 absolutely prohibits the recording of any private conversation by a person who is doing so without the consent of both parties. Sound like a good idea? It is a good idea, and one of the sanctions is the tape cannot be used for any purpose in court as evidence except to prove the crime was committed. Also seems like a good idea, doesn't it?
Over here is Santa Clara County. They just finished a case involving a man named Otto. Otto had been living with, and was the lover of, a woman who for some reason or another married an older man, and apparently kept up the relationship. He, the older man, became suspicious, and set up a voice-activating tape recorder right next to his phone. She did get on the phone; she did make arrangements to have him murdered.
He played the tapes to various friends, to neighbors and to his daughter, who was a nurse - lives away from home - played the tape of the conversation where the evidence of the murder plot comes rolling over the phone. He turned out to be murdered ... - not Otto, now he's the lover, he's the guy on the other end of the phone. This man was murdered in his home three days after the conversations were taped.
Were those tapes admissible in evidence on his murder? Well the judge reached way out and let them in. [This] is not hypothetical; [it's] a real case in California. ... What he said was, "Well, the [privacy] debate in Congress" - which had nothing to do with the debate in the California Legislature - "said [privacy law] ... wouldn't stop a father from listening in on his daughter; it wouldn't stop a family from controlling the family structure. Therefore we'll create an exception, which the [state] statute does not create."
We deal with real problems, real murderers, and these laws have to somehow be written to accommodate that need as well as the needs of privacy. There is a balance, and that is the strength of the adversary system. Both sides get represented.
The only other law we need, of which I'm absolutely sure, is one that I have a strong personal interest in: to declare Dave Hughes a national monument. [laughter and applause] I was originally going to suggest that he be declared a protected species but I don't have to do that. I've been here. I have met the students who are here. I've met the other people here. And it is not a dying species; it's a newly flourishing species. And for that, and for everything else here, I am extremely grateful.
So what am I going to do? I am going to use the contacts I have found here. I'm going to finish these acts. I'm going to finish the protocols. And I'm going to try, with this new-found faith, as much as possible, to avoid the inevitable nickname of "Dances With Hackers." Thank you. [laughter and applause]
WARREN: As a prerogative of the chair, we're not going to have any questions at the tail end, because, with Don plus Eric Lieberman, plus Dave Hughes, anything else is going to be anticlimactic. Eric Lieberman, you're next.
LIEBERMAN: I'll actually be brief. As you know I am a private lawyer in New York. I am a civil liberties lawyer. I do constitutional litigation. I am general counsel to the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee in New York. And I've done and expect to continue to do some work with ... Mitch's organization, EFF.
What can a civil-liberties organization and a civil-liberties lawyer in this situation [do]? The first thing you can do is to litigate these issues in court when they arise, either in a defensive posture or to bring affirmative litigation, and Mitch has already discussed some of the possibilities of that with respect to EFF. There may be opportunities with respect to the other civil-liberties organizations with which I am associated.
The other thing that civil-liberties organizations can do is to engage in education and discussions and writing articles and participating in forums and panels such as this, which actually do have a very significant effect, I think. ... We've seen in the dialogue here, particularly with some of the law-enforcement people, that there is beginning to be an understanding on some of these issues. There is also perhaps a lack of understanding on others. But many lawyers, many judges, many law- enforcement people, many other people in the community really don't understand what the issues are here; how the values of the First Amendment and the other protections of the Bill of Rights are at stake. Through these kinds of educational processes, progress can be made.
Finally, what can be done, as one of the other panelists suggested a few minutes ago, is that there needs to be an effort among lawyers to be available to represent people when these cases come up. Through these civil liberties organizations with which I'm involved, efforts will be made to reach out and to create a network of people who are available. And basically I think that's what can be done. [applause]
WARREN: And last but not least, retired colonel David Hughes.
HUGHES: Well, I had most of what I had to say this morning.
What's my constituency? Electronic Everyman. And I'm too old to get into this sexist stuff about Everyperson, and so on. But Everyman, you know what I mean.
My commitment? I'll redouble the efforts, because I set out long ago on a modest goal of connecting up all 5.5-billion brains on this planet with each other. We may be wrong [with the idea] that, if we communicate we will solve our problems, but on the other hand we haven't attempted it. Until we have full communications between each other, not only layers within the U.S. but across worlds, we don't know whether that's enough to actually solve these problems. Until we connect up everybody, and even if we may have the Tower of Babel, the consensus of the reasonable majority will not emerge.
Information, we have in our political process. [With] the franchise and the vote we have essentially solved the exercise of political power. The debate in the middle is what has either atrophied or is so specialized or so split off in this over-developed society of ours that until we restore that debate - which conferences like this attempt to restore, bringing [people] together - then we're not going to be able to come up with the solutions.
In the Tcimpidis Case, I called InfoWorld and asked the question of the reporter, "Had any sysop bothered to call the chief executive officer of Pacific Bell and ask, åWhat is your problem? It is our problem. We have common problem'. And offered to assist as fellow sysops?" They were stunned at the question.
Because in a sense I hear Don's ... problems. If I can hear his questions, his problems, not only is it sympathizing with him but in the system we have I can help him solve it - within my power and jurisdiction. But if I don't even know his perspective or problem, because he is communicating through the great fog of the press. That filtered dark screen, ... however accurate, is on another agenda - it's called news. And that which is significant may not be that which is important. [laughter]
The problem is that we have to communicate, so I have to echo all those ... threads running [throughout the conference] - everybody's got to communicate.
Getting on-line is only one part of it. There are multiple communications. This is a communications medium. It is only a beginning; it is certainly no end. And the people use face-to-face. They use fax. They use voice. They use audiotape. They use videotape. They use voice-mail. We've got to use all of those.
In fact if this conference is a beginning and not an end, for we all go home enthusiastic, everybody's got to be in some way connected up with everybody else to continue the dialogue. But we have to do it more efficiently and economically than simply meeting face-to-face.
I did a few simple calculations - I tell this to people all the time - we have spoken at a 120 words a minute for roughly 25 conference hours, because that's the speed of the speaking voice, roughly. And at 7,200 words per hour spoken, that comes to 180,000 words [that] were spoken in this room at formal conferences. That comes out to be about 300 pages, and at 2K a page that is 600,000 bytes, and that is only one half of one side of a floppy disk, 1.2 meg in an IBM PC - don't know what it is in Mac language.
[Here's] one thing you can do. And I really commend something that has not apparently been announced yet. The full transcripts of these sessions will be put on disk and on-line. And I suggest to you for one-half of one floppy disk - 35 cents at most discount houses - you can not only take it down but deliver it to your local district attorney, lawyers or others, newspapers, to be laser-printed.
Another thing that is not seen: I have been on so many conferences on-line, I am amazed at the quality when the discussion goes back to laser print and is put in a document, a transcript. Because the eye can move over that, not at 120 words a minute, but can move much faster. So the efficiency of moving information goes up. And those who live in print basically can deal with it and then they begin to understand what we're at. So then you've got to drag them on-line.
Something that has not been mentioned is publicity. Now I don't know why I am able to draw the world press to Rogers Bar. But just by being in Roger's Bar with a modular jack, doing a little saloon journalism and taking off the [political] power, I've had everybody from Stern Magazine and the MacNeil-Lehrer Show and last week for five days it was WGBH-Boston doing a two-year thing.
The point is, for some reason, this is news. Don't underestimate the fact that there is a fascination by the public and the press - who want to understand, who really want to believe. It is not hard to get the press into the on-line, where then it comes out in print and other media, spreading the word, and then raising the tastes and raising the expectations, so that they get on-line to find out where the real action is, which is different than going into their medium, but they come to your medium.
OK, sure, we got ugly interfaces. But nobody said the frontier was gonna be easy. [laughter] Pioneers never made any money, and they are little heralded. But, by God, even in John Perry Barlow's state the trappers arrived, married the natives, had a rendezvous, pioneered the trails, followed by the gold-seekers, who didn't find any gold but settled the land.
And I appreciate especially, Mitch, ... the marvelous American capability to actually create an easy interface. It happened when women would not drive cars until you could turn the key to the right and not crank. And so I understand that. But don't be held back by the Godawful [e-mail] addressings in the Internet from mucking your way through, because the goal is important, and it may even be good for your soul, because too much is too easy.
Ending up here, I have to think in metaphorical terms, so I'll end with, a modem [as] metaphor for connection, and the only message I've got is to get on-line in all the ways between conferences, not just at conferences.
Go into the information age, so it becomes a continual moveable feast, not just confined to the United States. And I will divert for one little thing that might be interesting. You all heard of Senator Simpson of his state of Wyoming, and you know Cheney, and you know a guy named Baker. Well, there's a couple people in the state of Wyoming that know these people. So I actually drafted a letter to hand to Simpson to give to Baker. Now I don't know that it's been done, so don't report that it has. I don't even know if he's got it. What I said was, I said, "Hey, Jim, there's some people in our state that have got an idea, and we can get the Japanese and the Germans to pay for this when they don't want to buy the bonds:
"Buy a dude ranch in Wyoming, call it the Freedom Ranch, and invite, from around the world, young, aspiring people who want to be in democracy - from Eastern Europe, Iraq, those who are struggling in the rest of the world to come to terms not only with democracy but, as my travelling all over the world finds out, they're looking to us on how to use these technologies. Even when they, the Japanese, know better than we do how to make 'em, they come and have me tell 'em how to use it."
And I think we also [have the] ability to not only bring them here [but] teach 'em telecomm .... I learned last week that Havel [Vaslau Havel, President of Czechoslovakia] has been talking to OTA by electronic mail. So it's not just a U.S. problem. It is not just laws here, because you're going to be dealing with international law, international crime, international access, international copyright, international rights of privacy.
And if the United States is right now at this position of being the most admired nation in the world, it has a chance to do what it did 216 years ago and be a symbol in the information and electronic age that is just as vital as it was of the beginning of the Industrial Age.
So I'll finish with this. I have to put it in metaphors. I sing this at the top of my lungs when I drive across your state, [John Barlow, to] teach Indians how to do NAPLPS graphics [North American Presentation-Level Protocol Syntax, to exchange images] and put it on-line for the Sioux. It's terrible being a lyricist, you'd hate these tunes that nobody could sing. But what I sing is,
I got a little cabin in the Rockies, a pickup truck, my boots and a
- The calves are new, the bills are due and my kids have left me.
- But I'm all right, all the night, with this phone.
- For you never are alone, when you hear that modem tone.
- Keep loggin' on. Keep loggin' on. You never are alone when you hear that modem tone.
- Keep loggin' on. Keep loggin' on. [loud applause]
- The calves are new, the bills are due and my kids have left me.
We came here as diverse groups, looking at "enemies." And we've found that it's really difficult to retain the demons horns on the "enemies" we have met, some of whom have become friends, many of whom have become acquaintances. Let's continue that contact that has begun here.
Secondly let us continue to be active. It does no good to hear about the problems and hear about the solutions, unless we participate in implementing those solutions. As we watch legislation, as we see what the Legislature [and] what the Congress is doing, we must be involved. They will listen, if they only have something to hear.
We must all stand together, or surely we will all fall apart. Thank you for coming. [applause]
The conference is over. However, the fun is beginning.
For a starter, thanks to Bob Bickford and Dave Hughes, The WELL-dwellers and netsurfers and all those strange folks in the networld - and anybody who cares to join them - are going to be meeting down in the lobby and I think there's a large dinner area reserved for whoever wants to join them. It's an open meeting, just like this one was. ... [There'll be more.] As we know more, you'll know more.
[Note: See opening remarks of this session for dates and contact information regarding the Second Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy.] .
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Created before October 2004