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Newsletter 7-1-97

 

letters/FACTNews #7 - July 1, 1997

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In this issue:

(1) NET-LINKED COMPUTERS CRACK U.S ENCRYPTION STANDARD
(2) WHOA OFFERS NEWSLETTER TO FIGHT ONLINE HARASSMENT
(3) JUDGE RULES CYBERSPACE FIGHT IS FEDERAL, NOT STATE ISSUE
(4) NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS LAUNCH NEW INTERNET SITE
(5) MEDICAL RECORDS AND NEED-FOR-ENCRYPTION LESSON #1342
(6) US BILL ON COPYRIGHT TREATIES EXPECTED SOON
(7) ON THE INTERNET, NO ONE KNOWS SPAM COMES IN CANS
(8) CONTENTS OF EPIC ALERT 4.09
(9) CONTENTS OF EPIC ALERT 4.10
(10) CONTENTS OF UK CYBER-RIGHTS/CYBER-LIBERTIES NEWSLETTER
(11) CONTENTS OF FIRST AMENDMENT LEGAL WATCH LETTER

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(1) INTERNET-LINKED COMPUTERS BREAK ENCRYPTION STANDARD

LOVELAND, COLORADO (June 18, 1997). The absurdity of the US government-endorsed Data Encryption Standard (DES) was shown when tens of thousands of computers, all across the U.S. and Canada, linked together via the Internet in an unprecedented cooperative supercomputing effort to decrypt a message encoded with the government-endorsed DES.

Responding to a challenge, including a prize of $10,000, offered by RSA Data Security, Inc, the DESCHALL effort successfully decoded RSADSI's secret message.

According to Rocke Verser, a contract programmer and consultant who developed the specialized software in his spare time, "Tens of thousands of computers worked cooperatively on the challenge in what is believed to be one of the largest supercomputing efforts ever undertaken outside of government."

Using a technique called "brute-force", computers participating in the challenge simply began trying every possible decryption key. There are over 72 quadrillion keys (72,057,594,037,927,936). At the time the winning key was reported to RSADSI, the DESCHALL effort had searched almost 25% of the total. At its peak over the recent weekend, the DESCHALL effort was testing 7 billion keys per second.

Information about the DESCHALL effort is available from the official DESCHALL Web site at: < http://www.frii.com/~rcv/deschall.htm>

(2) WHOA OFFERS NEWSLETTER TO FIGHT ONLINE HARASSMENT

WHOA: Women Halting Online Abuse, located at http://whoa.femail.com, is offering a weekly newsletter called "A CyberSafe Room of Our Own" which will provide updates on the subject of online harassment and abuse as well as information about the organization itself.

To subscribe, send email to whoa-list-request@dandyweb.com with the message in the subject line "subscribe" without the quotes.

(3) JUDGE RULES CYBERSPACE FIGHT IS FEDERAL, NOT STATE ISSUE

U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska on June 20 enjoined New York State from enforcing its new law that restricts "indecent" material online, saying cyberspace needs uniform treatment nationally rather than laws that may differ from state to state. The preliminary injunction against the state resulted from a lawsuit filed against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union and a number of library, publishing and Internet groups.

The case is separate from a pending U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Communications Decency Act, which is similar in intent to the New York state law. A ruling by the high court on the federal law is expected within the next week or two. See: Dow Jones & Company, Inc. >From SPJ Press Notes, with permission, at http://spj.org/notes.htm

(4) NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS LAUNCH NEW INTERNET SITE

New Century Network, a consortium of nine large newspaper publishers, launched a Web site June 30 called NewsWorks ( http://www.newsworks.com ) that links together about 150 newspapers. Readers click on story outlines and are taken to the affiliate newspapers' own Web sites to read the full stories. New Century partners include: Advance Publications Inc., Cox Newspapers Inc., Gannett Co., The Hearst Corp., Knight-Ridder Inc., The New York Times Co., Times-Mirror Inc., Tribune Co. and The Washington Post Co.The Associated Press, while not a partner, is a supplier to NewsWorks. Of the nine partners, two flagship newspapers have not contributed to the site, which focuses on local content: The New York Times and Gannett's USA Today.

See: The Associated Press >From SPJ Press Notes of July 1, 1997, with permission.

(5) MEDICAL RECORDS AND NEED-FOR-ENCRYPTION LESSON #1342

Yet another argument for strong encryption needs were made when psychiatric medical records turned up on a used computer.

A computer purchased by a registered nurse turned out to have a large set of psychiatric records and other confidential information. The purchaser is now embroiled in a serious dispute with the hospital that the information comes from. However the computer got out of the hospital, this story shows the value of encrypting sensitive information.

For the nurse's story, see: http://www.sodre.net/powrage/00rayo0/psych/warning0.htm

(6) US BILL ON COPYRIGHT TREATIES EXPECTED SOON

Commerce Secretary William Daley said July 2 the administration expects to send legislation to Congress soon that would implement two international treaties that update copyright laws to the digital age. The treaties agreed to by the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in December have to be ratified by the Senate, and implementing legislation has to be passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

See: Reuters From: SPJ Press Notes, with permission. See http://spj.org/notes.htm See also NBNews Journal at http://nbnews.com for July 8

(7) ON THE INTERNET, NO ONE KNOWS THAT SPAM COMES IN CANS

To Internet users, "spamming" means wholesale distribution of junk e-mail, but to the Hormel Foods Corporation, Spam is a scrumptious and nutritious pressed meat that they sell in a can. So Hormel has demanded that junk e-mail distributor Cyber Promotions Inc. stop using the name Spam and also stop using a picture of a can of Span on its Internet site. "We want them to recognize that Spam has been a widely known Hormel Foods trademark for 60 years and they are not authorized to use that trademark for their commercial use." (USA Today 3 Jun 97)

>From Edupage with permission. Edupage is at http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/pubHomeFrame.html and available in several languages.

(8) CONTENTS OF EPIC ALERT 4.09

Published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, it is found at http://www.epic.org/

  1. EPIC Files Suit For Crypto Czar Records
  2. McCain/Kerrey Introduce Crypto Restrictions Bill
  3. Computer Security Act Revisions Proposed in House
  4. First Amendment Pledge Campaign Launched On Eve of CDA Decision
  5. Georgia Tech Releases New Online Privacy Survey
  6. Torricelli Introduces New Spam Bill
  7. GILC to Meet at INET in Malaysia
  8. Upcoming Conferences and Events

(9) CONTENTS OF EPIC ALERT 4.10

Published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, it is found at http://www.epic.org/

  1. Post-CDA: The "Filtering" Debate Begins
  2. ALA Opposes Use of "Filtering" Software in Libraries
  3. Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Crypto Hearing
  4. European Union Rejects Key Escrow Encryption
  5. White House Releases "Framework for Global Electronic Commerce"
  6. New Bills Introduced in Congress
  7. EPIC Bookstore / EPIC Crypto Sourcebook
  8. Upcoming Conferences and Events

(10) CONTENTS OF CYBER-RIGHTS & CYBER-LIBERTIES NEWSLETTER

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) July Newsletter is available in three formats (doc, rtf, txt) for downloading from: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/law/pgs/yaman/newslett.htm

In this issue:

  1. First Report on UK Encryption Policy
  2. UK Jet Report on the Internet
  3. Nottinghamshire County Council Strikes in Australia
  4. The decision of the US Supreme Court in Reno v ACLU
  5. New York and Georgia Internet related laws are unconstitutional
  6. Ireland calls for submissions on the illegal and harmful content on the Internet
  7. Global Protests over German crypto initiatives
  8. Germany's Commissioner Karlheinz Moewes in action again

(11) CONTENTS OF FIRST AMENDMENT LEGAL WATCH LETTER

Published by the Legal Department of the First Amendment Center at Vanderfilt University, the contents of Vol II, No. 27 are:

IN THE SUPREME COURT 1. High Court Rejects Landlady^Rs RFRA-Based Appeal

IN THE FEDERAL COURTS 2. Rejected: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell 3. Anti-Solicitation Law Violates First Amendment 4. Governor: First Amendment Doesn't Apply to States

IN THE STATE COURTS 5. Award- Winning German Film Ruled Obscene by Oklahoma Judge 6. Wisconsin Sues Groups for Violating Campaign-Disclosure Rules 7. Shabazz Case Open to Media

HIGHLIGHTS 8. Administration Now Endorses Minimal Internet Regulation 9. President Will Convene Anti-Smut Summit 10. Revised TV Code May Cause Creative Guilds to Sue

Legal Watch is available at Web site (http://www.fac.org) in HTML format and Adobe Acrobat format for printing.

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