virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 17 Apr 02 09:18
Wow, is it Wednesday already? This is the kind of party I like to host: other people show up and help themselves. I'm online now, finally. We're in the first session of the main program of CFP: a keynote address by James Bamford, author of *The Puzzle Palace* and, just recently, *Body of Secrets*, both about the NSA (National Security Agency). He's filling us in on how the NSA works (70,000 pieces of mail through the facility per day, for example), its history, and how it has to operate differently today than in the information environments of decades ago. They guy's *the* expert.
Amazon.com sales ranking: 1,304,455 (wendyg) Wed 17 Apr 02 09:23
I was annoyed to discover I didn't have Ken Olthoff's email address on me so I could send him mail annoyingly asking where he was (he's stuck in DC this week). A meeting between Olthoff asnd Bamford would have been fun. wg
Amazon.com sales ranking: 1,304,455 (wendyg) Wed 17 Apr 02 09:29
bamford is telling us that he found out in his research for the new book that the nsa hires employees short-term from eg cisco so tey can reverse engineer products and try to figure out how to get into the internet. bamford found this out becdause requested a lot of conference videotapes and stff under foia, and left them playing as he worked...only to discover one hadn't b een erased after its previous use and had recorded a private conversation w/i the NSA talking about it. hahaha. He also says he thinks in general NSA is now complying with the law, though it still needs to be overseen closely. wg
Mike Godwin (mnemonic) Wed 17 Apr 02 09:30
I'm sitting in the same Bamford speech that bumbaugh is -- as always, this guy is very good, although I'm hoping somebody will ask him about the controversy surrounding his account in BODY OF SECRETS about the U.S.S. Liberty incident. I missed doctorow yesterday, but I hope he can be lured back to the conference after his visit to the broadcast-protection-cabal meeting.
Amazon.com sales ranking: 1,304,455 (wendyg) Wed 17 Apr 02 09:34
Mike, you ask him! wonderful display of cyberculture books from STacy's outside. Real pisser to see that neither of my books is among them. wg
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 17 Apr 02 09:58
Now we're hearing about national ID -- first speaker, Jay Maxwell from AAMVA is telling how drivers licences are abused, and how DMVs already cooperated before 9/11 and since.
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 17 Apr 02 10:01
He's talking about the needd for a unique identifier on the cards and on an identifier for the driver, presumably biometeric if only photographic or fingerprint.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 17 Apr 02 10:05
For those who don't know, some background on the USS Liberty: "In 1967, the Israeli military attacked and destroyed the USS Liberty, a spy ship that had eavesdropped on an Israeli massacre of surrendered Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai. The ship's intercepts were destroyed, but the NSA also had spy planes eavesdropping. The details, including President Johnson's coverup to save the Jewish vote in the next election, were in a box in the back of the NSA Museum. They were in a public place, but no one had bothered to look at them before." http://www.salon.com/books/review/2001/04/25/nsa/print.html (Review of _Body of Secrets_ by Bruce Schneier) Salon also has an account of the Liberty (and Bamford's research) at http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2001/04/25/liberty/index.html Web site re. the Liberty: http://www.logogo.net/00liberty.htm
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 17 Apr 02 10:06
Interesting that biometric ID is so often proposed. I worked on a project involving biometrics once, and it's hardly foolproof technology.
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 17 Apr 02 10:55
Stepping back to yesterday's events, briefly, here are some thoughts, neither altogether random nor very well organized, on the Workshop on Fair Use By Design, April 16, 2002, in advance of CFP. One good thought from a speaker: Ann Bartow (U South Carolina Law) talked about differences between what an institution's rules might say and how the institution clearly expects people to behave. Very often, institutional rules are so risk-averse that noone complies with them. "Don't we deserve a copyright law that we can undertand and comply with?" she asked. "When we look for a fair use doctrine," she said later, "we should look at the ways people actually behave." There was a good deal of discussion about the ambiguity of fair use rules as against the precision normally needed in rules that we can put on a chip. Some argued that the ambiguity is a good thing and gives users more latitude. But it also means that users can't be sure whether something is fair use or not. Quoth Fred von Lohmann (EFF), "The ambiguity in fair use rules is a feature, not a bug." He also pointed at an important issue in trying to embed fair use rules in technology: the courts evlove fair use rules over time (he cited the Sony Betamax case, as an example), but if the technology precludes taping, copying, or whatever, no court ever gets to address the issue, and we risk locking fair use in at a particular level, with no prospect of evolution by the courts. Most infuriating: technologists in the workshop who appear to have no understanding what fair use is. The one that really set me off was Barb Fox (Senior Architect for Crypto and DROM, Microsoft WebTV), who asserted that the ability of a Digital Rights Management system to classify users would be an important part of a solution to seeing to fair use by design. This would mean, she said, that the technology could authenticate a user as, say, a law professor, and grant sort of "law professor" privileges over content. But whether a use is fair is not even a partial function of who employs the user! I'm a professor, and when I give my students photocopied excerpts of a copyrighted work, for educational purpose, in a way that doesn't adversely affect the market for the copyrighted work, and so on, there's good reason to think that my use is fair use. This is so not because of ME, but because of the USE. If I bootleg a new Microsoft operating system, sell the CDs to my students, enlist them all as distributors for me, and so on, there's good reason to think that my use violates copyright law. "Hey, I'm a professor" is no kind of a defense. Severine Dussolier (U Namur (Belgium)) gave a helpful introduction to differences between the Fair Use doctrine in the United States, and the situation in Europe -- both the European Directive on the matter and the state of the law in various individual European nations. ONe interesting takeaway thought: there's tremendous diversity among the European nations in granting exceptions to copyright, such that, for example, some but not all permit use for parody. Trading fair use rights/exception for licensing or contract appeals to some in the content industry, but seems to me a bad deal for consumers of content, for reasons like those that Fred articulated about evolving fair use as new technologies come along. The workshop was well organized and made some headway, even though the session aiming for closure seemed to break down a bit. (Maybe <wendyg> can fill us in a little on how things came out.) People had done their homework. This whole process is supposed to continue behind the scenes and then break out onto the Web late spring or early summer. (I think that's what Cindy Cohn of EFF told me.) An outline of the day's events, and links to PDF versions of many of the participants' working papers, are available at the CFP2002 site: http://www.cfp2002.org/program/fairuse.shtml My thinking was transformed some by the workshop. Before the workshop, it seemed to me that the fundamental problems that were supposed to be addressed really require political solutions, rather than technical ones. As a technical matter (and this realization is by no means unique to me), the intellectual property interests have the fundamental problem that general purpose computers, controlled by users/readers/viewers/consumers of content, can be bent to those users' will. If my PC is going to play a DVD of, say, *Hackers*, *somewhere in there* at *some point in time* the bits that represent the movie *Hackers* have to be kicking around. So, if I can communicate with smart people who have written a program to capture those bits, I can install the program, capture the bits, and do what I want with them. So, intellectual property interests have cleverly turned to the political system to criminalize or otherwise ban such things, and we probably need to work the politcal arena to protect our rights to control our own PCs and so on. That's what I thought was the biggest stumbling block to progress before the workshop. As we neared the end of the workshop, I began to see that there was a kind of social problem that cuts deeper still than the political problem I had worried about before. As we moved to war up, Jennifer Granick led the discussion, asking, "What does a copyright holder want?" Now, it seems to me that that depends on the copyright holder. Individual authors are a mixed and somewhat complicated bag: they may seek prestige, the sheer joy of self-expression, or filthy lucre. A publisher, on the other hand, wants mainly money. How do publishers get money? Many ways: sales of widgets with copies of the content, subscription, licensing of characters, translation rights, performance rights, copying, whatever. A given Digital Rights Management scheme, it seems to me, is likely to be better suited to protecting some of these than others, and, hence, likely to have the effect of standardizing the business model for publishing. Given standardization around a given DRM scheme, publishers (including individual authors) cannot choose which means to pursue to get what they want. Moreover, publishers (the ones motivated by money) are forced to settle for one, or some limited number, or revenue streams and must potentially forego all others. Think about what detailed features different publishers would care about. A commercial broadcaster would prefer that viewers not easily be able to skip 30 seconds forward in a program. A music seller or pay-tv-network operator either doesn't care or might oppose such a limitation. Music sellers would prefer to sell multiple units to consumers--cassette, CD, another for the car, one more for the portable digital player. Book publishers and commercial broadcasters don't so much care about that since they aren't selling units (except insofar as it impacts syndication, sales of series on DVD later, or other secondary rights). So, at the end of the day, I found myself thinking that this social "problem"--the diversity of business models for publishers and their likely unwillingness to give up any potential stream of revenue--was an equally serious stumbling block to user-friendly progress on fair use by design.
Amazon.com sales ranking: 1,304,455 (wendyg) Wed 17 Apr 02 11:49
this is why I proposed that in fact there should be three wish lists, not too, with one being for creators, who want very different things than rightsholders (and they are only rarely rightsholders these days, if they're working at all in the commercial world)., Someone asked what would be on their list that wasn't on the other two, and I said, to build a community around their work that they can communi cate with -- also, of course, to make a living from their work (which rightsholders don't really care that much about, since they often see individual artists as interchangeable.) wg
Paul (biscuit) Wed 17 Apr 02 12:08
Excellent proposal, wendy. Thanks for the great summary, Bruce! Keep it coming as you are able.
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 17 Apr 02 14:11
We're at a momentary pause between lunch and the (first? I forget how many are scheduled) afternoon session. Check that: Diane Ditzler (US Postal Service) is introducing the session on the USA Patriot Act. Our luncheon speaker was Timothy Muris, the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. In the main, he gave a pretty standard "rubber chicken circuit" talk. He reviewed various initiatives and accomplishments of the Commission since he assumed the chair last year. Worth noting: the FTC is working with some in Congress on legislation on identity theft, Social Security Numbers, and SPAM. He talked about the proposed National "Do Not Call" registry. There's supposed to be a means to report SPAM you recieve at uce.ftc.gov.
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 17 Apr 02 14:13
Make that ( firstname.lastname@example.org )( email@example.com ) to report SPAM
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 17 Apr 02 14:22
Hey, I was about to post that! I gathered by his comments that he considers spam about 99% synonymous with fraud. Meaning he doesn't want to get tough on "legit" opt-in commercial mail, much as that is abused, or confusing, too. He didn't want to make a rule about having to alert people if a company is to unilaterally change a site's policies, for example, as in the recent yahoo debacle.
Bruce R Koball (bkoball) Wed 17 Apr 02 14:32
logging in from the conference floor... Proxim is providing 802.11a/b connectivity for the conference, including loaner pcmcia cards for the technologically backwards peasants (like me) who have yet to embrace the wonders of wireless... I admit, it's kinda cool! I wonder if I can trade sends with someone else on the conf. floor. re: Muris... while I was gratified to hear the FTC is pursuing its plan for a Do Not Call registry for telemarketers, but I thought his presentation, overall, was nothing new and certainly nothing agressive... while he took some shots at the easy targets of telemarketers and spammers, most of his descriptions of FTC achievements so far were of the model where industry self-polices and when it "makes mistakes" FTC steps in with corrective action... the thing that bothered me was the underlying assumption of lack of malice and greed as motivations... no surprise, I guess, for this administration...
Amazon.com sales ranking: 1,304,455 (wendyg) Wed 17 Apr 02 14:49
Yes, you can trade sends w/ someone else onthe conference floor. I though the FTC speech while canned was OK. I think it's reasonable to target the things they're targeting. It isn't the FTC's job, is it|?, to tackle security? Was entertained by the Yes,Minister like meltdown when I asked how much of the big drop he cited in the use of third-party cookies had to do with the death of online ad vertising generally. He corrected me that it wasn't a death, but a decline, and then segued into a sort of frenzy of unrelated stock phrases. wg
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 17 Apr 02 14:54
<mnemonic> is at the audience mic now, in the USA Patriot Act session, challenging the assertion that there was adequate consultation with the privacy community in preparing the legislation.
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 17 Apr 02 15:14
Quite a bit of focus in this session on the fall of the wall of separation between domestic and foreign (for Americans) in terms of rights and agency policies after 9/11. Interesting image. Including questions such as whether that wall already fell when internet email emerged in the US as arguable "international" by its very nature.
Bruce R Koball (bkoball) Wed 17 Apr 02 15:18
yup... and he's getting very exercised about it... in fact, I think someone is going for the firehose... give 'em hell, <mnemonic>! reply was that, au contraire, they did have public review and six weeks is really not unusual to pass such legislation... ha! six weeks to eviscerate civil rights... what an achievement...
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 17 Apr 02 15:20
Another interesting comment -- someone please help me with who said it -- is that the text of the Act was a moving target and the law didn't exist for the purpose of review ot comment until the afternoon it was passed. Hmmm!
Bruce R Koball (bkoball) Wed 17 Apr 02 15:20
slippage... <mnemonic> did get off a number of good points before they turned the hose on him...
Bruce R Koball (bkoball) Wed 17 Apr 02 15:21
more <gail>ian slippage... I believe that the "moving target" comment was made by Jerry Berman, of CDT...
"Et toi" is French, and so you're a crack muffin. (madman) Wed 17 Apr 02 15:23
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 17 Apr 02 15:24
I think he has his spee... uh, question, in writing. I womder if he'd post it.
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