NTK Bits, 1999-01-29
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 99 13:10:26 -0800
Subject: NTK Bits, 1999-01-29
Excerpted-from: NTK now, 1999-01-29
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"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."
- SCOTT MCNEALY, email@example.com, +01 650 960-1300
(to wife, in bathroom of personal residence, 1999-01-26 09:32:04)
>> HARD NEWS <<
with armed crews
The NATIONAL CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE helpfully pitched into
the no-really-very-soon-now cursed E-COMMERCE crypto legislation.
Director General John Abbott said that a number of serious criminal
cases had been hampered by the perps' use of encryption. To back
this up, three vague case studies were presented. You know, even
we lunatic extremists here at NTK do accept this argument - that
law enforcement needs assistance in crypto cases. We become even
more convinced they need help when we see the NCIS picking three
tales where the proposed new law would be *no* use at all. All
three were nasty individuals (terrorists, child pornsters,
murderers, PGP users) encrypting data on their permanent hard
drives, an area where the new law has very little purchase at all.
So, two questions for the NCIS: how would a voluntary system stop
this (or do you want to make it illegal to use any encryption, even
on home computers, without key escrow?). Secondly, why is it that
none of the cases address what everyone in business is worried
about - the deliberate weakening of encrypted communication over
the Internet? Getting into secret files, sure: desirable, but
impossible to enforce. Crippling of government-supported commercial
and personal transactions on the Net to allow transparent tapping
of anyone's communications? Possible, but is that what you really
want? Yeah? Then argue the case.
- no names, no pack drill
- memo to NCIS: scarier examples here
It's good to see that the new brooms at the TIMES INTER//FACE
section haven't damaged its reputation for clear, honest, factual
reporting. While we usually keep our coverage of their work to
Antinews, we thought this week's excelled itself so admirably that
we'd give you a full run down. Inside: The supplement welcomes the
arrival of the new Star Wars prequels, featuring "Luke Skywalker
and friends". Evil virus writers are planning to tie-in their work
with the Y2K bug (what?). A "new online guide to virtually every
movie" is premiered: it's 1990's very own http://www.imdb.com/.
And finally, an impartial piece on Open Source Software, which says
"there are alarming parallels between a fanatic organisation and
the way the Open Source movement can behave. Journalists have been
known to receive death threats for daring to question the
movement's ideology". Nigel Powell, journalist, writes that Eric
Raymond himself "flew into a rage" when Nigel suggested that open
source culture embodied the communist ideal. Well, he seemed very
calm a few minutes later when he discussed "some clueless hack"
with us. And we believe the words were "oh, fuck off". Maybe you're
not asking daring enough questions? All this *and* Dr Keyboard -
check the floor of your nearest train carriage for that free copy
- Lotus launch $100 million marketing campaign? Hold the front page!
And finally... shopping around for local Internet access took on
a new dimension on Wednesday, when UUNET opened its Manchester
Point-of-Presence to incoming calls *and* incoming cars. An
out-of-control vehicle embedded itself into in the wall of the
Manchester Telecity building, and ended up parked in the UUNet
suite of machines. While the machines did not suffer any downtime,
Telecity operations did manage to inform the UUNet technical staff
with a brief e-mail. "There is a car in your pop. All fine."
- okay, so it's a slow news week. You wanted the Lotus story, maybe?
>> SMALL PRINT <<
Need to Know is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that
happened last week or might happen next week. You can read it
on Friday afternoon or print it out then take it home if you have
nothing better to do. It is compiled by NTK from stuff they get sent.
It is registered at the Post Office as "rather tiresome" [Edge Magazine]
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(K) 1999 Special Projects. Non-business copying is fine,
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© 1999 Peter Langston