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United States

Senator Hollings and the SSSCA 339

An Anonymous Coward writes: "You probably suspected some sort of "follow the money" thing was behind Sen. Fritz Hollings' support of SSSCA, the draft bill that would make using 'any interactive digital device that does not include and utilize certified security technologies' illegal in the U.S. This proposed law could effectively outlaw Linux and most Open Source software, depending on how judges interpret it. A NewsForge story details where Sen. Hollings' money comes from. Guess what? His biggest contributors are entertainment industry companies, their lawyers, and their lobbyists. The story also says Hollings and his staff refused to comment on the bill, and staffers the reporter talked to refused to even give their names." Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of VA Linux.
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Senator Hollings and the SSSCA

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  • How much money has M$ put in
  • I have to admit I have never heard about this SSSCA thing before.

    It sounds like a "Only in America" story - what do you americans think, does something like this have a realistic change of going through? And if something like that goes through, is there any reason to stay in that country any more.
    • I have to admit I have never heard about this SSSCA thing before.

      you must have missed this story on slashdot [slashdot.org] then.

      -sam
    • It sounds like a "Only in America" story - what do you americans think, does something like this have a realistic change of going through? And if something like that goes through, is there any reason to stay in that country any more.

      A lot of people said that about the DMCA, and a lot of those people are still living in America.

      This isn't like boycotting a certain piece of software because you don't like the EULA (as discussed earlier today in the frontpage story)- moving to a different country is a bit more difficult.

      I could imagine something like this passing - afterall, this is a nation that wants to fight terrorists with counter-terrorism!
  • why is it that everytime a news source, such as slashdot, reports negativly on a politician, that if the political views of the politician coincide with that of the news source, that they fail to mention the politicians political party???

    example: the next time you hear about a politician involved in a scandal on CNN, listen very closely. if they're a republican, believe you me, CNN will repeat that fact over and over. if it's a dem, well, they'll do exactly what /. did here, and "fail" to mention the party affiliation.
    • The Newsforge article specifically mentions that Hollings is a Democrat.

      In fact, the headline identifies him as "Senator Fritz Hollings (D-Disney)", pretty much alleging that he represents the interests of Big Media and not the people of his state (South Carolina).
      • Does he actually represent the interest of the american public, not just his district.


        Don't you notice that it is strange that representatives for an area accept donations from large corporations far removed from their district.

    • It seems to me that most american polititians that get in the news are part of the demipublican party. Anyone else notice that?

      (i'm serious! think about it for a sec before you mod me down...)
    • why is it that everytime a news source, such as slashdot, reports negativly on a politician, that if the political views of the politician coincide with that of the news source, that they fail to mention the politicians political party???


      Because as a rule, both Democrats and Republicans are equally stupid when it comes to technology. So really, what's the point in them telling us what we already know? "The Democrats are pushing for a general ban on n-type transistors in the hopes of making buttered bread land on the dry side? No real surprise there, the Republicans are trying to get rid of the p-types for the same reason."

      Actually, I agree with you. I'd like to know which party in general and which chumps in particular are pissing away the Bill of Rights in the name of ineffective measures. And for the love of god, get rid of the voice votes!
  • The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act will do nothing but put a feather in the cap of a large, monopolizing software giant who is already in trouble with anti-trust concerns. If this bill is passed, we (computer users) will be forced to use the very operating system that is at the center of all the anti-trust proceedings mentioned above. It is *another story* of "the left hand not paying attention to what the right hand is doing." Typical of bureaucracy. . .

    -sting3r

  • yeah, no shit. they'd probably be DDOSed and email bombed off the net.

    -c
  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @05:53PM (#2332249) Homepage Journal
    Let his identity be stolen, he might change his tune about personal privacy.

    -
    Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it. - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
  • by melquiades ( 314628 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @05:53PM (#2332250) Homepage
    We can't let the same thing that happened with the DMCA happen with this law: the geeks of the world need to, just for a moment, crawl out of their holes and write to the folks in congress. Yes, we're not a megacorporation unto ourselves -- but we do have money, and we vote.

    With the DMCA, most senators didn't even realize that anybody was even opposed to this law. That can't happen again.

    You can find your representatives [congress.org] online.

    _________________________
    Should the US fight terrorism with terrorism?
    againstrevenge.org [againstrevenge.org]
    • Make sure you also send the URL or full text of the newsforge article - including author, to your representative.

      And, maybe write the editors of other more 'mainstream' media, like ZDnet, the NY Times, etc.
    • With the DMCA, most senators didn't even realize that anybody was even opposed to this law. That can't happen again.


      They knew exactly what they were getting into and purposely chose a voice vote so we can't pick on those who said Aye.
    • I am all for writing your representative, but we should all telephone our senators and tell their staffers personally why we oppose the law in temrs of its impact to each of our businesses.

      Personally, title 2 of the SSSCA has some real potential, but title 1 is pretty bad (title 2 strengthens the government infrastructure for securing data by promoting education, scholarships, etc.) I would vocalize this aspect to my representative as well. Title 2 is what we should be doing anyway (increasing the number of trained security personnel) but section 1 will be enormously counterproductive... Especially when paired with the DMCA.
  • First of all, Linux/FreeBSD/GPL software is so prevelant in todays society that this bill will be entirely inneffective. The amount of money spent to enforce it will seriously compromise its legitimacy.

    secondly, if this bill *does* pass, technology that is affected will not only go over the border to Europe and Canada, but law enforcement officials in the USA will have to deal with it much the same way as Canadian officials deal with marijuana. No prosecution for possession. The cost to prosecute will be enormous. They will try to make examples of ppl trying to distribute it, but since most distribution will be done outside of the US, the bill will be as impotent as a 3 Mile Island employee........

    Just a few rambling thoughts.....
    • Yeah, and the Federal Government couldn't possibly make your life hell with all those drug laws, either...
    • But it is something to worry about: once again, corrupt politicos are selling out on the people they are supposed to represent.

      It's time to demand reforms to the political contribution system. The public interest has quite clearly become secondary to the almighty buck. Hell, it's probably already too late to get things changed... we've been bought and sold down the river.
    • I wouldn't worry except for two little things. The US now has a terrified populace all too willing to trade freedom for security, and a new cabinet-level Homeland Security Czar.
    • ...if this bill *does* pass, technology that is affected will not only go over the border to Europe and Canada, but law enforcement officials in the USA will have to deal with it...

      You must not have been reading the news for the last week. If you had been, you would have realized that the DoJ is asking congress to enact laws that will make national borders meaningless in US courtrooms.

      thanks to memepool for this link [eff.org] to EFF's page:
      ---NO-FLAME WARNING-- I KNOW THIS HASN'T BEEN PASSED YET-- THIS IS JUST A VISION OF WHERE THINGS ARE HEADED---
      SECTION 408. EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION.


      Section 1029 of Title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end a new paragraph (g) as follows:

      "(g) Any person who, outside the jurisdiction of the United States, engages in any act that, if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States, would constitute an offense under subsections (a) or (b) of this section, shall be subject to the fines, penalties, imprisonment and forfeiture enumerated in this title if-


      (1) the offense involves an access device issued, owned, managed, or controlled by a financial institution, account issuer, credit card system member, or other entity within the jurisdiction of the United States; and


      (2) the person transports, delivers, conveys, transfers to or through, or otherwise stores, secretes, or holds within the jurisdiction of the United States, any article used to assist in the commission o the offense or the proceeds of such offense or property derived therefrom.".


      The way I read this, it doesn't matter where you are. If you're using hardware ("access device") running any kind of software including the BIOS, that has anything to do with a company in the US, they can try to nail you. I can see it now:

      D.A. : While you were in Canada, did you have a computer connected to the internet?

      defendant: Yes.

      D.A. : and were you using government-approved Windows software on that computer?

      defendant: er, no....

      D.A. : Your honor, the defendant was using an access device running non-approved software to send emails to US Civilians. Clearly this is an act of international Terrorism.

      Jury : FRY HIM! FRY HIM!
    • "Linux/FreeBSD/GPL software is so prevelant in todays society that this bill will be entirely inneffective"

      Good point, but all these copies would be illegal. There is nothing morally/ethically wrong having it on a computer but if the bill passes then you could be charged. Regardless if its expensive to catch all of them, if they prosecute just one, that would be wrong.

      Hell, I can see you being denied and ISP account if it detects an illegal OS trying to hook up to it. ISP need to follow the law.

      Not having a program/feature on a computer should never be illegal. Thats what is wrong about this.

      "technology that is affected will not only go over the border to Europe and Canada, "

      In Canada and Europe there are already copies of the DMCA being considered for bills/future laws. I'm sure that the companies behind this bill realize that it only covers US and will push for it in Canada and Europe.
  • I'm just waiting to see an ebay auction for legislation.

    "Do you want a competitor's product made illegal? Special tax breaks for your industry? Bid now! Sorry, we dont take Visa or Paypal, only political contributions"

  • to the NSA's version of Linux, or to SecureBSD, if some judge somewhere, ever interpreted this thing to read that OSS is non-compliant? IANAL, and I don't know any.

    Thoughts/Comments?
  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 )
    If you attempt to pronounce SSSCA, it sounds sort of like "sucker" -- I guess that's what the sponsors of the bill take us Americans for!
  • If you're interested in getting to the root cause by helping to support Campaign Finance Reform, check out http://www.commoncause.org/ [commoncause.org]

    -glenn

    • Campaign Finance IS NOT THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM.

      Making campaign finance limits will only prevent third parties from having any chance of getting elected. This has been proven again and again.

      The only thing to do to prevent problems like this is to hold our federal government to its Constitutional limits. There is only ONE political party that believes in a limited federal system, and that is the Libertarian party.

      Remember: If we have new campaign finance laws, the two party system will reign supreme, and incumbents will pass the baton on to the person they like the best. No good for us, real good for those in office.

      Every campaign finance law that has taken effect to limit donations has increased donations because back doors are always placed in the legislation.

      • Without some sort of reforms, the Libertarians will too succumb to the PACs' influence- many have a price, some just higher than others.

      • The only thing to do to prevent problems like this is to hold our federal government to its Constitutional limits. There is only ONE political party that believes in a limited federal system, and that is the Libertarian party.

        So? I like an expanded federal government. Keeps the states honest.
  • This is so far reaching, considering that foreign companies would have to manufacture "approved" devices. If actually enforced, it would affect nearly everything, including cars. Who exactly would be in charge of "approving" these devices? There are many more questions than solutions.

    Do they even REALIZE how many digital devices there are out there? It goes wayyyyy beyond CD and DVD players. It even applies to FUTURE products!

    Surely this cannot become a reality.

    Michael

    Creator of Micro$oft's new logo [cafepress.com] as well as other stuff at Pounding Sand [poundingsand.com]

  • Let's not jump to conclusions. The poster is comitting the logical intent fallacy, because we can never truely know the intent of the senator. Humans often act contrary to how their enviornment around them would make you believe they would.

    Additionally, we should have a little more faith in our system. I have no problem with the congressman presenting this bill, because I have good faith that one of two things will happen: 1) a majority of other congressmen(and women) will see this type of legislation as being a violation of indiviudal liberties and vote aginst it, or 2) this would get struct down by the Supreme Court.

    Now, it is possible that out system will fail. And I'm ready to move to a little island somewhere in the Bahamas. But let's not freak out yet. What we can do is:
    1) Public protests in large numbers - the media loves to cover stuff like that
    2) Mail, not email - most congressmen don't have time to read the millions of emails/spam they recieve. A letter seeems like you put more effort into your comment anyway.
    3) Run for office. Elections are right around the door. There are plenty of geeky people in the US who have enough knowledge of political science and related fields to make a run for it. Competent legislaturers are a must.
    4) Move to Canada. We'll c how good the US economy does after the whole tech sector moves out.

    F-bacher
    • Hmm---Whats up Ghoser

      Some problems I forsee. Well, really, one major problem.

      Assuming, that we, encompasses the entire slashdot community (which it doesn't), plus the entire linux community, and a fair number of communication studies people, librarians, and most other digital libertarians, I would say thay we has about as much political force as an. . .

      Ant.

      Seriously, the DMCA passed with flying colors, and parts of it have been upheld (at least with complete technical neophytes like Judge Kaplan). And whose to say that the Supreme Court would be any better? Its not the democrats fault, its not the republicans...Its both.

      And it really sucks.

      Even #4 is unlikely to occur. Content controls will not hurt business at large (thought they will hurt small and upcoming businesses). The economy will easily maintain its current levels for a long time. This would not be the beginning of a collapse; It is the next step in a long line of steps toward stasis.

      I have a problem with the congressman presenting the bill, because it is idiotic. Anyone who believes in controls like these does not understand them, and should have absolutely no right to legislate over them.

      I know kindergardeners who I would rather trust with legal authority over the U.S. tech sector.

      I don't believe that our system will fail. Why do I say that? Because our system, as it is now, supports legislation such as this. Failure would be a failure to pass legislation such as this.

      And saying this is a logical intent fallacy is a mere quibble. We can never truely know the intent of the senator in the same way we can never truely know anything. But there is plenty of evidence which suggests the sun will come up tomorrow, the speed of light will remain c, and Senator Fritz is a rotten, paid-for-and-bought-lock-stock-and-barrel congressperson.
      • Hey WhiteWholf, long time no see. Yes, the odds look bleak, and I find it hard to tell a Congressman a good reason why all "digital devices" (whatever those are) should not have federally approved safegaurds against illegal intellectual property right violations.

        The one I can think of refers to free speech. I have a right to say whatever I want, regardless if it is obscene or fight provoking. BUT, ther are consequences for those actions. I can go to jail, be fined, ect. Here, the gov't is actively preventing me from performing a crime. This would be the equivalent of the gov't implanting chips in my throat that some how stopped my vocal cords from issuing swear words in an obscene manner.

        Actually, it's not the equivalent, but my argument would work better if it was. The government can make it illegel for you to make counterfeiting machines, and will actively try to stop you from making counterfeit dollars. Also, the gov't tries to stop people from killing each other.

        So what we've got is a mess. It's not idiotic; it makes perfect sense to a lot of Americans. Why shouldn't devices that can copy copyrighted materials have safegaurds against illegal copying? Because by the same argument, we should have no sharp edges because they could be used for something they generally shouldn't (like killing people). And heaven forbid they take away our cars because car accidents account for somany deaths every year.

        But if we sit around for a year and do nothing, I'm sure our gov't will deal with all of these issues for us.

        F-bacher
  • by kjj ( 32549 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @06:00PM (#2332290)
    In addition to my office in Washington, D.C., I have three offices in South Carolina: Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. The addresses and phone numbers for these offices are below. South Carolina residents may call, toll free, 1-800-922-8503.

    If you would like to send me an e-mail, please enclose a postal address to ensure a prompt response.

    Washington, D.C.
    125 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510
    (202)224-6121
    Web Mail

    Charleston, S.C.
    112 Custom House
    200 East Bay Street
    Charleston, SC 29401
    (843) 727-4525
    Lowcountry Assistant: Joe Maupin

    Columbia, S.C.
    1835 Assembly Street
    Suite 1551
    Columbia, SC 29201
    (803) 765-5731
    State Director: Trip King

    Greenville, S.C.
    126 Federal Building
    Greenville, SC 29603
    (864) 233-5366
    Upstate Assistant: John Funderburk
  • by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @06:02PM (#2332306) Journal
    How can it not? Especially when the government uses many of the technologies it hopes to alienate and regulate. Before long, there will be so much crappy legislation in place that it will be impossible to move an inch without breaking some law or another. But, that will not stop people from moving. We'll definitely find that law enforcement will be spending so much effort trying to enforce dozens of laws with millions of Americans.

    This is why that the best ways we can respond are A) write a litter to your representatives, telling them to NOT pass this foolishness, and if that fails, B) everyone do everything they can to break these laws to the highest extent. What better way to stop a machine than to throw objects into its gears? In this situation where such important fundamental freedoms are in jeopardy, our only choices may be to throw ourselves in between the cogs.

    How long before courts are so utterly bogged down with millions of open software and encryption users (individuals and businsess alike) that they are using up all their time? Eventually, practicallity will get in the way of these old fruits. The scale of this is analagous to making blue jeans illegal. Sure, the gov. could make it a crime to wear certain pants, but what's going to happen when every court room in the nation has a mile-long line of people waiting to be arraigned (on top of the line that's already there no less!)
    • Sure, the gov. could make it a crime to wear certain pants, but what's going to happen when every court room in the nation has a mile-long line of people waiting to be arraigned

      No, what happens is that laws like that are used for selective enforcement. It's a way for the cops to KNOW they've got you on something.

      -jon

    • Unfortunately, execution of the laws will NOT be uniform and just.

      there will be so much crappy legislation in place that it will be impossible to move an inch without breaking some law or another.

      It's nice to see that you do, in fact, understand the point in all of this. Remember, when there are enough laws that everyone is a criminal, then those in power get to jail whomsoever they please. Law enforcement becomes arbitrary and capricious. And that is just how some powers want it. It'll be, "Heh, I'm a policeman and I suspect you of terrorism (defined as: sleeping with my wife), I'm throwing you in jail for chewing gum. See what a great guy I am for 'protecting the public'!"

      The court room will not fill, because only those on the 'sherif's' hit list will find themselves there. As long as you toe the line and pay hommage to the correct authority, you'll be alright.

  • Before we all get too worried about losing our beloved Linux and other OSS, just remember that OSS has a lot of money behind it too now (IBM, Sun, etc.)
    • I don't find this very comforting. Right now IBM and Sun are behind Linux because it is the lesser of three evils, at least as I understand it.

      Evil #1 maintaining and supporting an ancient proprietary UNIX distribution that small companies can't afford and big companies would replace if they could.

      Evil #2 go crawling back to Microsoft to apologize and sign on as an official NT solution provider, adding your valuable bits to the great big gogglymuck of code that will run on everything from toasters to the NSA supercomputers.

      Evil #3 toss everything out there and hope for a repeat of the early 80s when opening the BIOS and hardware caused the creation of a huge goods and services market.

      Right now IBM is investing heavily into Linux because it's the best option. If Linux gains a majority marketshare, then IBM as an early adoptor will be in a comfy position. Having a smaller piece is okay if the pie is enormous.

      BUT

      If SSSCA passes and the cost of compliance with Linux/OpenSource becomes prohibitive, it's no longer the best option. In which case IBM will either SSSCA patch AIX and move on with that, or decide to port DB2 and everything else to 2000 Datacenter and push that.

      IBM/Sun are happy to be fair weather friends to Linux but I SERIOUSLY doubt they are willing to throw money at Congressmen on its behalf.

      - JoeShmoe
  • Note that pushing for even more drastic laws is certainly, in part, a tactic to draw pressure away from the DMCA. Let's not fall into this trap.

    Secondly, the general public cannot be made to care about this unless we strip the question down to its (nontechnical) essentials.

    Let's do ourselves a favor. Forget all our beloved jargon, concentrate on something like simply email -- which people know about, care for and roughly understand --, and publically ask Senator Hollings elementary questions like this:

    1) Any viewable item on a computer exists as a file, that is, a sequence of 0's and 1's stored in memory.

    2) e-mail is a popular device which allows jack@university.edu to send a copy of any file to jill@provider.net, completely independent of whether the copy is "legitimate" or not.

    Are you opposed to email? If not, then exactly how do you intend to prevent "illegitimate" uses of it, without invading everyone's privacy?

  • by Robber Baron ( 112304 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @06:21PM (#2332416) Homepage
    The teamsters controlled the movement of goods across the continent. We need to take control of the movement of the information. If we have to, we should all be willing to stop working and suspend all support. "Oh you want e-mail? Well we have this little problem. We don't like your proposed legislation. What, your database is offline and you can't fill your orders? This is the name of the representative you need to speak to..." You get the picture. I know it wouldn't be easy, there will be "scabs" willing to undermine our position and they would have to be dealt with. But is freedom to do whatever you want with your information without the Government interfering worth fighting for?
  • I've been working on this letter a bit. Unfortunately, I don't think it's quite good enough to send yet. I'm hoping for some feedback. It's not as "coherant" as I'd like. I'm having a hard time pinning down what's REALLY wrong with the SSSCA, in a manner that non-Linux users can understand. Can anyone help?

    --------------

    Dear Senator/Representative:

    It has come to my attention that Rep. Fritz Hollings is introducing a bill titled the The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA). This bill will make it illegal to possess any computer device that allows unrestricted copying of digital data.

    I have previously written to you about the Digital Millenium Copywright Act, which is a similar law that I believe is unconstitutional. The DMCA makes it legal for corporations to develop technology that can limit or remove my fair use rights under copywright law, but makes it illegal for me to use other technology to restore these rights.

    The SSSCA takes this unfair practice even further. The SSSCA makes it illegal to own a computer that does not have "security controls". If I purchase a computer, all of the hardware and software in that computer must comply with whatever access controls the media industry has created. Undoubtably, the restrictions that these access controls impose will not be open for debate by the American public. The corporations will have total control.

    The problem with the SSSCA is that it effectively makes Linux and all other Open Source software (software for which the source code is available for free) illegal. There is no point in implementing these security controls in Open Source software, because anyone could easily remove them (that's the benefit of having the source code - you can modify the program as much as you want). Did you know that more than half the Internet runs on Open Source software? What is the government going to do - shut down the Internet because suddenly it's 50% illegal?

    I would like to direct your attention to an online news article about Rep. Hollings and the SSSCA. If you can, please pull up your web browser and visit

    http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=01/09/20/2 047211

    On this page, you can read how a reporter attempted to get some basic questions about the SSSCA answered from Rep. Hollings, but was instead met with extreme resistance. Not only that, but investigations into the financial supporters of Rep. Hollings show that five of the top twenty soft-money donations come from media companies. These are the same companies that promoted the DMCA and would like nothing more than to completely eliminate the concept of fair use from copyright law.

    These draconian laws are getting out of hand. To me, they are proof positive that our so-called elected officials have really been purchased by giant corporations. I am opposed to any law that restricts my constitutional rights. I am opposed to extending the duration of patents and copyrights (such as the Sonny Bono copyright extension law that was passed just for Disney). Your track record in such matters has been unacceptable to me, and I will be voting against you in the next election if that doesn't change. Issues such as the budget, Social Security, the military, taxation, and abortion mean little to me. As an engineer, I feel that my rights are being slowly erased by politicians who don't understand technology.

    • It's 'copyright', not 'copywright'.
    • Version 2 (Score:5, Informative)

      by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @08:51PM (#2332983)
      Ok, thanks for all the feedback. I've incorporated all of it, and made a few other changes. Again, anyone is free to copy this letter, provided you make some changes so that at least it appears to be somewhat original. I'm still open to comments and suggestions.

      ----------

      It has come to my attention that Rep. Fritz Hollings is introducing a bill titled the The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA). This bill will make it illegal to possess any computer device that allows unrestricted copying of digital data.

      I have previously written to you about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a similar law which I believe to be unconstitutional. The DMCA makes it legal for corporations to develop technology that can limit or remove my fair-use rights under copyright law, but makes it illegal for me to use other technology to restore these rights.

      The SSSCA takes this unconstitutional practice even further. The SSSCA makes it illegal to own a computer that does not have "security controls". If I purchase a computer, all of the hardware and software in that computer must comply with whatever access controls the media industry has created. Undoubtedly, the restrictions that these access controls impose will not be open for debate by the American public. The corporations will have total control.

      The SSSCA effectively criminalizes the development and use of a type of software known as "Open Source." Briefly, programs classified as Open Source are written in such a way as to allow users to examine and, if they wish, modify the inner workings of the programs to suit their purposes. Security controls such as these could not be implemented in Open Source software because any programmer could easily remove them . You may be surprised to learn that a significant portion of the entire Internet runs on Open Source software.

      Like the DMCA, the SSSCA does not guarantee that I will be able to exercise all of my fair-use rights with this new "approved" technology. Fair-use is about intent. I can duplicate any copyrighted work I want, provided my intent falls under the guidelines of fair-use. However, it is impossible for any technology to determine what my intent is.

      The DMCA and the SSSCA are unnecessary, because the original copyright laws are sufficient for the digital age. They allow individuals to make personal copies of copyrighted works that they've legally obtained, but disallow mass distribution of those works. Unfortunately, the media companies are not interested in targeting only those people who violate copyright law. Instead, it's much easier for them to buy legislation that strips honest consumers of their rights.

      I would like to direct your attention to an online news article about Rep. Hollings and the SSSCA. If you can, please pull up your web browser and visit

      http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=01/09/20/2 047211

      On this page, you can read how a reporter attempted to get some basic questions about the SSSCA answered from Rep. Hollings, but was instead met with resistance. Not only that, but investigations into the financial supporters of Rep. Hollings show that five of the top twenty soft-money donations come from media companies. These are the same companies that promoted the DMCA and would like nothing more than to completely eliminate the concept of fair-use from copyright law.

      Draconian laws such as the DMCA and the SSSCA are getting out of hand. They prove to me that many of our so-called elected officials really answer only to commercial interests. I am opposed to any law that restricts my constitutional rights, and the SSSCA is definitely one of these laws. As an engineer, I feel that my rights are being slowly erased by politicians who don't understand technology. I am confident that you will take the right side on this issue. Don't let commercial media interests defile the constitution.

  • Is demo some large unit of currency or something?
    • Is demo some large unit of currency or something?

      Yes. It's the paid-for hearts and minds of millions who believe what various leaders and media tell them to believe. Sure, there's some free thinkers out there, but they're not the majority. Heck, they're the new oppressable minority: unpopular (they prefer to speak the truth instead of what people want to hear), damaging our right to profit, and so forth. No way can they be allowed to have a say in the law.
    • Is demo some large unit of currency or something?

      C'mon, you know what a demo is! Like a tech sales pitch -- somebody shows you a pretty user interface, and makes all kinds of promises about how the system is going to work. But somehow the production version never quite lives up to the promises.

      Democracy indeed!

  • Sec. 101: Prohibition of Worm Sedition

    (a) In General -- It is unlawful to be the victim of an electronic mail worm that encrypts your communications.

    (b) Exception -- Subsection (a) does not apply to people with enough money for a legal staff or with blood relatives who are attorneys. Ignorance of worm infestation does not provide exemption from this statute.

    Room 101: Penalty

    (a) In General -- Any male who violates Section 101 shall be subjected to no less than a 20 percent chance of being raped by an HIV and/or Hepatitis C infected gang, with males under the age of 25 being subject to no less than a 40 percent chance of such punishment.

  • supreme court here I come.. if I can't use Linux then I'll sue the feds....
    • ...and just after the Supreme Court rules in your favor, the legislators will pop out a nearly-identical law - equally unconstitutional, but it's gotta wind its way through the courts before it'll stop being enforced. And when that one's overruled, pop out another one. The courts have to rule on each individual law before any precedent can limit its scope. (Analogy: if some Southern state, where anti-black prejudice still rages, were to pass a "niggers can be shot on sight" law, how many would die before the courts could so much as issue an order? No one would be legally liable for the resulting death toll, since neither merely passing a law, nor acting in accordance with the currently-in-effect laws, are illegal...)

      I wonder if Congress could be sued for such serial violation of duty? Probably not.
      • How many people were prosecuted for violations of the Communications Decency Act? What happened there (and what would happen if SSSCA were passed by Congress) was that the ACLU and others filed for a temporary restraining order enjoining the attorney general from enforcing the law until a determination could be made regarding its constitutionality.

        Are there people rotting in jail for violations of the (unconstitutional portions of the) CDA? No. Likewise, there wouldn't be legally shot people as a result of your Southern "shot on sight" hypothetical law.

        None of this should be taken as an endorsement in any way of SSSCA. But please, let's try to retain some common sense...

        Oh -- I know you're asking whether Congress could be sued for dereliction of duty as a rhetorical question, but the answer is "no". The Constitution provides that the sole remedy really is to elect replacements. The Senate and the House are the judges of the qualifications of their members. They could presumably vote to remove members who shirk their duties (or engage in criminal acts, etc.) But Congress as a whole passes laws that are unconstitutional all the time. The courts can strike down the laws, but would decline to sanction Congress directly (ie, contempt of court, court-ordered removal from office). They would most likely declare that a "political question" outside their jurisdiction.

        Bottom line: Write your Congressmen and vote.

  • Senator Hollings official bio [senate.gov] says, " Hollings uses his seniority, experience and know-how to fight for South Carolina. The state now receives $1.16 from the federal government for every $1 it sends to Washington."

    ... Hollings embraces Inglis' charges that he's a pork-barreler [msn.com]: "He calls it pork. This is government." He has spent 32 years wangling roads and airports and sewers for South Carolina, and he doesn't mind reminding voters about it. Inglis' spokesman derisively calls this Hollings' "I got you ... I got you ... I got you ... I got you ... I got you ..." speech.

    Hollings introduced a bill to tax the Internet: 1999: New 5 percent Web sales tax proposed. [zdnet.com]


    The CIA trained Osama bin Laden: What Should be the Response to Violence? [hevanet.com]
  • The way I see it we have a couple of options (taking cues from the blacked out homepages across the Internet that helped draw attention to and fight the Communications Decency Act):
    1. Put a new intro page on every site that runs on or was created withany Open source or free software(or supports those that do)

      Maybe it should say something about the SSCA and how future accesses to this site may be illegal (or the site will need to be taken down) because running a particular operating system is against the law. This same Operating System that has been faithfully delivering this site to you for a long time. If you agree that this is wrong then follow the link to enter and take a moment to fill out the form on the next page. It will be emailed to the Senators/Congressmen/Media Outlets of your choice (use checkboxes and send then into the site when they click the submit button). If you think this is OK and we should be taken down for not complying, click the Leave link and you will be randomly sent to a supporter of this evil legislation (please note how bland the resulting Internet will be).

    2. Put up a page that says that this site will go dark, using only pages of protest, until this proposed legislation is shot down. The sooner it fails, the sooner we can run our sites without fear and you can be returned to your original content.


    There are probably others, but I think some sort of BlackOut is in order. It worked before. Maybe we could use netcraft to get statistics on how many sites that would mean if every OSS site was brought down and perhaps we can highlight some particularly good examples like /. (of course) but also famous sites that run OSS that Joe Sixpack would know about. Think about how many people would be pissed if they knew that this would put the crapper on Google.com and Yahoo.com.

    Just a thought.

    • It worked before.

      It did? The CDA passed Congress and was signed by President Clinton and worked its way through the court system before it was (partially [cnn.com]) struck down on First Amendment grounds. Which part of that was due to site blackouts?

      Not saying it's a bad idea, but the historical evidence that it'd do any good is less than overwhelming.

      • It did? The CDA passed Congress and was signed by President Clinton and worked its way through the court system before it was (partially [cnn.com]) struck down on First Amendment grounds. Which part of that was due to site blackouts?

        If you don't believe that the public protest over the passing of the CDA had anything to do with the Court's decisions, I'm surprised. If I remember correctly... the blackouts didn't happend until after the CDA was approved. Correct me if I am wrong (honestly). If that was the case, then we can't guage what effect that such actions would have before such legislation was passed.

        Just a thought. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.



  • ..So, Slashdot wants you to think the SSSCA would make "any interactive digital device that does not include and utilize certified security technologies" illegal in the U.S.

    Looks like i'm going to have to buy a new alarm clock.

    It's this sort of flame that causes 500-response posts.

    Cheers,
  • I keep thinking, who wants to listen to the shit pumped out by the big media companies anyway? My own little protest is this, I don't buy any recording on the cd format, only vinyl (I know it's a preference, but it is a material good w/ collectable value, a cd is just a cd), I don't go to movies cos they all suck pretty much.. support indie directors and indie music artists, leave the sony/atlantic/etc releases to the the wee ones and the mindless masses. The DMCA/RIAA are fighting a losing battle simply because the people they represent produce shit and even Joe Public is starting to wise up.. I hope.
  • (cross posted to newsforge)

    I am a Libertarian. This is the #1 reason to vote Libertarian and ONLY Libertarian in each and every election -- our primary concern is making the Federal government as Constitutional as powerful.

    What does this mean? It means we won't set limits on campaign finances or soft money donations. Hell, none of us even care where the money comes from, because we know its used for no good.

    I know that sounds contradictory, if you let people donate as much as they want, they'll always get what they want, right?

    Wrong. Our goal is to limit Congress' power entirely, taking them out of the corporate subsidizing that they've illegally done for so long.

    Once Congress is limited to only making laws that are Constitutional, no corporation will WANT to give them money because, guess what?, that money will not do them anything.

    Congress won't have the power to pass stupid laws.

    Free enterprise and trade will reign supreme.

    No matter what the Democrats or Republicans offer the tech crowd, NEITHER side can promise to stay out entirely. Neither side is a free speech advocate. Many libertarians even want copyright to be as it was in the Constitutions - 7+7 years, and then public domain.

    Power to the people, the only way.

    Sincerely,

    dada

    Your Friendly Lake County, IL Libertarian

    http://dng.nu/dada [dng.nu]

    • The federal government has been operating in an illegal manner for quite some time. Congress has a host of unconstitutional powers that would sicken those who wrote the Consitution.


      It saddens me that when people asked me who I was voting for last year, they responded with "Who's Harry Browne!!!?" and "The WHAT Party!!?" The media whores have done a really good job in lying to the American public that only a Republican or a Democrat have a chance for the White House (or any other elected office).


      • It saddens me that when people asked me who I was voting for last year, they responded with "Who's Harry Browne!!!?" and "The WHAT Party!!?" The media whores have done a really good job in lying to the American public that only a Republican or a Democrat have a chance for the White House (or any other elected office).

        What are you talking about? There are elected independents in Congress, and Ross Perot got a significant chunk of voters in 92. There seems to be the view that the reason the Libertarian party does so dismally is because people aren't familiar with them. I'm quite familiar with what they believe; I just reject it totally as being laughingly simplistic, and their candidates as being hopelessly unfit to hold major office.
    • Let me get this straight...

      You will get rid of all limits on campaign financing (that will be EASY, believe me)...

      ...and then Congress will only make laws that are constitutional, so no corporation will want to give money?

      And this is 'power to the people'. Uh... okay...

      *backs away calmly, not making any sudden moves* ;)

    • Once Congress is limited to only making laws that are Constitutional, no corporation will WANT to give them money because, guess what?, that money will not do them anything.

      Congress won't have the power to pass stupid laws.

      Free enterprise and trade will reign supreme

      If Free enterprise and trade reign supreme, they won't have to buy legislation, they'll implicitly control the legislatures AND the judiciary and executive.
  • 'any interactive digital device that does not include and utilize certified security technologies' illegal in the U.S.

    Just think of the massive boom that this would cause in the economy as everyone who owns any digital device will need to throw it out and buy a new one. This would cure the current economic climate and the NASDAQ would hit 8,000 within a week.

    Of course, you'd be pretty screwed after about six months as anyone with a brain in his head would have flown the country.
    • Just think of the massive boom that this would cause in the economy as everyone who owns any digital device will need to throw it out and buy a new one. This would cure the current economic climate and the NASDAQ would hit 8,000 within a week.

      No it wouldn't because this would do more damage to the New York Stock Exchange than the events of the 9th September 2001.
      Pass this law and you might just as well disconnect the US from the Internet too.
  • by Maul ( 83993 )
    Most of Congress is bought and paid for. No secret there.


    I bet that when this bill is voted on it will also be mentioned that it could also be a great tool against terrorists.


    When will they pass the bill that says, "You are guilty of a fedaral crime, punishable by a $2,000,000 fine and 25 years in prison, if the RIAA/MPAA or other contributors to Congressional funds do not make at least $5,000 from you per year." I can imagine Dianne
    Feinstein (D-CA^H^HMPAA) saying, "Obviouisly, anyone who isn't willing to fork over cash to the entertainment industry is a communist or a terrorist sympathiser," in her press releases.

  • I sent this to both of my sentors in my district and my one representative, I thought it might give other people an idea about what to write. I tried not to make it too harsh, nor too soft - while also not putting a lot of technilogcial mumbo jumbo in it:

    /////////////////
    Senator Bond,

    Being one of your constituents (I live in Sometown, MO) - I felt it my duty to inform you that we are not happy about the new Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA) that is currently in draft form and is being spearheaded by Senator Fritz Hollings from South Carolina.

    I know that in the wake of last week's tragedy - a more secure computing model sounds like a good idea. But let me assure you that this bill is not the way to go about implementing it. This bill has the potential to ruin computing as we know it. It will squash innovation and many freedoms.

    You can check this address for one of the many news stories about this bill:
    http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=01/09/20 /2 047211

    Please do not endorse this bill - as someone who is in your voting district I will be watching very carefully to see who is supporting this bill, and let me assure you that my next vote will be influenced by what I see.

    Sincerely,
    My Name
    ///////////////

    You can e-mail the senators and reps straight off of this site [congress.org].

    I suggest that all of you do - they can't ignore all of us!

    Fried

  • ...now all they need to get rid of is that "democracy" part.

    I find it continually amusing that we were the ones who decided corporations should be considered people, and now the corporations are deciding that we are not people. Deliciously circular.

    -Kasreyn
  • by ghack ( 454608 ) on Friday September 21, 2001 @10:58PM (#2333287)
    Someone who is so influenced by big money can only be a scum. Such a bill would be unconstitutional - and would never pass...but he is a scum even for suggesting it. Mad props to all the politicians who are trying to remove the influence of big business...McCain, Feingold, etc(and, ugh, Nader). Remember the New Hampshire state motto: ``Live free or die!'' If the bill passes(probability 1:1e99), millions would have to be jailed and fined. FUCK HIM! This bill is an abomination-and it goes against everything this country is supposed to stand for. Every researcher, etc, who uses non-certified OSS would have to leave the country or not be able to upgrade their kernel version. Entire commercial OSes would have to be re-written. FUCK HIM! Call your representatives and tell them to vote no on this bill--or you will not re-elect them. I wanted Dubya to win(lesser of two evils) but if he signs this into law...our country has been crippled. FUCK those authoritarians who want to regulate every aspect of our lives.

    Excuse my swearing. I am just really ticked off.
  • A friend of mine, Ben Tilly, has made the following annotated anlysis [iwethey.org] of the SSSCA, working on notes of mine. The original analyses were done before the recent announcement that Microsoft plans to "open" the .NET / Passport. It would seem that this drive for standards status plays straight into the company's long-term goals.

    We believe that the SSSCA is Microsoft's game plan. This is how they intend to achieve World (or at least US) Domination. If others read and agree with our analysis, then I think our natural allies are companies like Sun, IBM, AOL, and Sony. They just need to have the true implications explained in clear terms to them to realize what is going on.

    The analysis is long (it's an annotation of the full text of the draft bill). Some key points:

    The SSSCA, as drafted:

    • Hits all software: Linux, StarOffice, vim, Perl, cat, ... It outlaws Linux as we know it.
    • Hits all hardware with any digital component. Computers. Calculators. Watches. Digital thermometers.
    • It has to be incorporated in every component.
    • It kills interoperability.
    • It fits .NET and no other current system.
    • Antitrust protections are exempted: This law would specifically exempt the parties involved in a standard that covers all software on all hardware. With its most likely beneficiary being a convicted monopolist.
    • Strict schedule leaves little time for development and implementation: this is aimed at an existing standard, not one to be developed.

    The SSSCA could not be better designed to take the Microsoft monopoly into the new millenium if it were written by Bill Gates. And we can't rule out that it was written by Bill Gates. The SSSCA is completely incompatible with Unix. It makes continued development on all software competing with the standard illegal.


  • .. and especially my business. I have 2 years of infrastructure and software built into OSS. RedHat would be sunk and illegal if they where not 'certified'.

    Basically I don't believe that such a thing -could- be pulled off. It would be a political disaster for whoever tried.

    I am sure that the recording industry and MS/Apple and probably Sun would love nothing more than this. *sigh*

    Maybe OSS will be the 'Gun Control' debate of the 21'st century.

  • Here is how I explained this bill to a non-tech friend:

    It's like putting a cop inside each car, because one day, somebody intentionally killed someone by running him over.

How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

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