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Clinton creates group to "address unlawful conduct" on Net 409

Ungrounded Lightning Rod writes "President Clinton has issued an exectutive order creating a "Working Group" to "address unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet". The text of the Executive Order is online.. " The text of it looks disturbing-perhaps a legally-qualified person can offer some thoughts, but a trying to change the Internet by fiat doesn't seem the most effective-click below for more details.

Chaired by the Attorney General and including the other law-enforcement and "child"-related cabinet secretaries (Treasury, Commerce, Education) and department heads or agency directors (OMB, FBI, ATF, DEA, FTC, FDA), it is mandated to investigate how current federal law can be used to investigate and prosecute Internet users, propose new laws, regulations, and technology development to assist investigations, and study existing and potential technological tools for mandatory internet censorship.

They are to issue a report early December - a very fast track

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Clinton creates group to "address unlawful conduct" on Net.

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  • Gambling, Non-Regulated&Offshore E-Banks, Trailer-Park-Wife Pics and more.

    The Idea that a 16 year old can;
    - See what some 16 year old does not have on.
    - Order 20 Cases of Scotch from factory floor in scotland.
    - Have new Saturn to be sent to Girl.
    - Meet her with booze at Net-reserved hotel.
    - Paid for by offshore gambling from holdings in Anon-E-bank.

    And when the GirlZ start doing their thing...
    The Hard-Liners will excede the recommended volume for their Soft-Liners.
  • What are you gonna do with that paunchy meatsack you're festering in, if you go to live in the "Internet State?" We certainly don't want you leaving it behind.
  • Actually... It would not be SUCH a bad idea to get a few thousands of people to come to Washington and camp out somewhere on the Mall (either by the Capitol or by White house), set up a nice little network and engage in acts of civil disobidience and protest right in front of the legislators.

    As long as we are nameless, faceless email addresses, we will be ignored. We need to be there and to tell them what they want - and we need to be there en masse because in Washington SIZE MATTERS!

  • The President gives an order asking his cabinent to give him recommendations within the next 4 months of what, if any, new legislation is needed to prevent petty crime on the internet, just like there are current laws against crime via phone or mail, so that he might consider if any new laws need to be sent to Congress.

    You call that news?

    Do you have a clue?
  • AFAIK:
    It's not in the constitution. It was in an order declaring a state of emergency during WWII. Somehow it's never been repealed. Only a president can do so... He would just need to proclaim that the state of emergency was over, but none of them ever have.
  • Once again, Slashdot has reacted in its typical reactionary manner.

    For good reason. The internet is in it's infancy still -- hell, it's not even out of the womb. We're all just scared as heck that someone will come in and abort the fetus.

  • And who's the scapegoat? Any idea why objections are appearing?
  • This isn't legislation. It's a study of existing legislation, isn't it? No laws are being made by this working group. Reading through it, I can see how laws may be eventually made, but nothing directly stated by this working group will be made into a law.

    Reading = good;

  • Mr. Clinton heads the Executive Branch, just as it is written in the constitution. His responsiblities include issuing executive orders. No law has been created by this executive order. You should have done your homework when you took civics.
  • but implied very strongly:

    (3) The potential for new or existing tools and capabilities to educate and empower parents, teachers, and others to prevent or to minimize the risks from unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet.

    It says "minimize the risks" but does not specifically state who is at risk, but strongly implies children from the statement "..parents, teachers, and others..."

    I'm not sure what the relevance is, but why not just say "risks to our children/citizens" or something? Sounds like an incomplete sentence without it. Seems kind of odd the way that is worded.

  • There's really no difference between the democrats and republicans. Did anybody look at the party statements in the last election booklet? Those two parties had the exect same statements almost to the word. That says it all...

    Anybody who actually is tired of the way things are going should vote for an independant party. I don't care which one, but any independant party will be better than the Demopublicans, at least they have some sort of principles that they stand behind.

    The Demopublican party line: "Show me the money"
  • > They're not talking about making new laws, passing new legislation, etc...

    I don't think you read it very well:

    (2) The extent to which new technology tools, capabilities, or legal authorities may be required for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet;

    He's talking about creating whole new law enforcement agencies here. Plus:

    (1) The extent to which existing Federal laws provide a sufficient basis for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet, such as the illegal sale of guns, explosives, controlled substances, and prescription drugs, as well as fraud and child pornography.

    This reads to me, "The extent to which we need to write new laws, that our new law enforcement agencies can enforce."

    Maybe I'm a cynic, maybe I'm just right. :(


  • ...whats wrong with a person legally owning guns or explosives ? ..

    Because these same people that you want to own guns and explosives are also the one's that make pro-wrestling one of the most watched programs on TV and keep buying Budweiser by the truckload.

    The combination of that and explosives frightens the bejeezes out of me.

  • yep, but as long as the economy is perceived as "strong" it's dictatorship with a smile. When it turns south, blame immigrants or the poor.

    But as long as people are happy with longer chains and bigger cages, they'll get them.

  • Oh, whoops. I guess if it weren't for the fact that the United States government of late DOES NOT have an excellent track record of protecting individual rights and freedoms, maybe we'd all be a little less triggerhappy about this sort of thing.

    Regardless of whether this means they're TAKING action, the point is they're LOOKING for actions to take - and given the conclusions they've drawn so far, and the actions they've taken so far (regardless of party, btw), I think we're all justified in being maybe a little worried that this will not turn out for the best.

    Besides. Is anyone on that panel a USENET regular, or a Slashdot regular, or in any other capacity one who is on the Net as often as any of us? They are almost certainly going to base LAW on what they find on the Net between now and December. Want to lay odds on what they'll find - and what they'll be looking for?
  • If I wanted to set reasonable limits on the internet (without trying to scare the privacy people I would):
    • Remind law enforcers that it's the creation that matters, the internet is just the transport medium.
    • Amend the law so web sites/news postings/email/other electronic forms are admissable as evidence and create a legal preservation method (printouts are the best we have so far, but not good enough).
    • Try and encourage other countries to pursue similar legislation.
    • Establish protocols for co-prosecution of law-breakers across multiple boundaries (especially international) where similar legislation exists.
    Breaking the law is still illegal if it happens to involve the internet. Freedom of speech retains whatever status it had elsewhere: those who control the medium control the content (you can't use bad language in letters to newspapers, as the editors choose to censor them: it's their freedom of speech.)

    You should bear in mind that I'm not a US Citizen, or even in the US. These comments are written without reference or even care about local standards: it's goal is simply to extend those standards to new mediums..

  • Yeah! More programs! Let's use that budget surplus on some more government programs. Taxpayers don't care. We can just raise taxes if we run out. Let's get rid of all those terrible problems by putting some red tape over 'em.

    Oh, but hey, if any religious organizations--we call 'em wackos around here-- try to promote values and order, let's shut 'em up. With lawsuits. They're being intolerant. Those wackos violate the first amendment--we can't have that, now.

    And the Internet? Pshaw, Al Gore INVENTED the Internet, we can take care of any problems there...Rest assured, America, you're in Big Brother's hands!
    Is it just me, or is legislation looking more and more ridiculous each day?
  • I'm no fan of the R's or D's either, but Nader's got his own agendas as well.

    I'd vote Republican, but they're big business suck-ups.
    I'd vote Democrat, but they're responsibility-shirking regulation-happy Santa Clauses.
    I'd vote Libertarian, but they're anarchists.
    I'd vote Reform Party, but all they care about is election reform (duh!).
    I wouldn't even consider voting US Taxpayer's Party. They scare the bejeezus out of me.
    I'd vote Independent, but there's nobody worth voting for.

    Doesn't leave much. :(
  • ``we need more federal laws! And we need mandatory blocking programs everywhere to [say it with me, everyone] Protect The Children!''

    That's Washington for yah! Does anyone else want to vomit like I do when they have to listen to these clowns in D.C. get behind the nearest podium full of microphones to announce how whatever it was that they've done whether it be passing some ridiculous statute or spending bill or signing another executive order was to protect the children?

    This is about as repulsive as the anti-gun, anti-nuke, anti-internet-porn, anti-whatever whackos who have to drag their kids along with them to the marches and protests and have them waering or carrying signs. It sure doesn't produce any sympathy for their cause with me. Instead it just tells me that they're desperate and te way to garner support for their ``cause'' is getting the press to film those sweet, little big-eyed kids who are against nuclear weapons, oil spills, etc., gauls me no end.

    Talk about your child exploitation...

  • Who lit a fire under their arses...I wonder.
  • I thought this is a democracy

    Wrong, it's Republic, but thanks for playing. And, yes, the exeutive office has way too much power.

  • It could (as in, probability theory allows for the outcome) be a good thing. Want to buy a bridge? Why be put off by what you have heard about prior bridge salesmen? It's a really good deal!
  • You are a slave. Do you think for a moment that you can ever really say or do what you want? You can't dream without fear of punishment, even if it is your own hypodermic guilt making you look to religion, drugs or suicide as an escape. Modern expression in TV, movies and music is without any stimulants. It is numb and safe, easy to sell, easy to digest and easy to forget. It's not really even suitable for kindergartners or the mentally handicapped. We are treated like soulless sub-animal house pets until we are old enough to drive or buy cigarettes. When we become consumers they pretend to give us an opinion. We are constantly shoveled milky mounds of unchallenging, moronic impotence disguised as entertainment, but really only designed to lower our standards and make us passive and content on being dumbed down. Why do we watch the things they give us on MTV or Jenny Jones or the 11 0clock news? We have been conditioned to have low expectations and our standards have become less than primitive. The illiterate apes that beat your ass in highschool for being a "fag" now sell you tuneless testosterone anthems of misogyny and pretend to be outsiders to a world that they were born to wear their ADIDASS-FILGERING uniforms in.

    And we buy it up, helplessly.

    Even Christ wouldn't kill himself for this pitiful
    America that hides under "christian values," and
    exonerates criminals when they remind the
    newsman that they too, beLIEve in god.

    The networks, record companies and movie studios
    are all afraid of what we have the power to become.

    Unlike them we have nothing to lose, and that's what makes us pure.

    It is time for their world to be destroyed. It is time for a new age, the Age of Horus. It is time for a new standard, a new canvas, and a new artist. We must forget this wasted generation and amputate it before the mind rots away with it. Paint it, record it, write it down before they kill you with their slow poisonous stupidity. Make yourself heard.

    This Internet is your middle finger to the universe, don't let them break it.

    Fuck their world.
    Let's make our own.

    The third and final Beast
    Marilyn Manson

    This IS the people's internet. I see commercialism as just as threatening as government regulation. I'm not downplaying what the gov't is trying to do, I see both of them as horrible threats to the internet as we know it. I wonder how long it'll be until the internet is reduced to an online shopping mall with /.'ers forced into forming the underground internet intelligencia. I also wonder how long it'll be until all content is monitored, filtered, and and approved by the governments of the world. Remember, this administration works incrementally, this is only one in a long list of steps towards gaining complete control over what you hear and what you see. Either it will be a forum for political parties to float out new ideas on how to steal your privacy, rights, liberties and freedoms, or it will become worse than television with commercials popping up in browser windows selling viagra, propecia, or compaq computers (all are for the hairless soft...take that as you will). Either way, it will cease to be our internet, it will become a tool for others to make money, gain political power, or both...but no longer will it be a sanctuary for free thinking and new ideas.

  • by ~spot ( 5023 )
    How strange it is that at one moment, the good president is willing to declare "cyberwar" against Milosevic... then at another, he creates a task force to look into "illegalities" on the internet. Just my 2 cents. "without evil, there is no good."
  • "and prosecution
    of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet, such
    as the illegal sale of guns, explosives, controlled substances,
    and prescription drugs, as well as fraud and child pornography".

    Sounds good to me, you infavor of this stuff?
  • This really points out a big weakness in the government. All these committee members are non-technical people. Why isn't someone like an Esther Dyson on this committee? While I realize this working group is supposed to examine unlawful conduct on the Internet I have no doubt that all these law enforcement agencies need help from real computer people to understand what's going on. Without that guidance I have little hope that their recommendations will be all that useful.
  • Been around for years I doubt that sparked anything
  • Isnt it nice, if clinton did take total control you dont need much more military force than your neighborhood police dept. and national guard if things get problematic. I'm sure they'll jail the intellectuals first namely gun owners, followed shortly by hacker/geek/linux ppl who have the good sense to know something is awry. As far as the general populace is concerned, they probably wont know anythings changed being totally wrapped up in their jobs and television.
  • It may have something to do with the millenium approaching, an opportune time to takeover completely with a few strategically planned disasters.
  • How can they reasonably expect any kind of national legislation to work? I mean, say that USA outlaws nudity on the net; here in Sweden it's perfectly legal, and it's as easy to point your browser to a Swedish site as it is to an american one... The same goes with most information, whether it be nudity, violence, religios or political information or various forms of rumor-mongering.

    The only things that really can be outlawed on the net are those few things that governments all over the world can agree on, like child pornography. And even then, there is still the matter of actually finding and prosecuting perpetrators. The ability to locate servers, their owners and the owner of the data on them all over the world makes current extradiction and jurisdictional problems look easy.

  • Who hasn't seen this coming? The American public takes a very passive role in these things.

    Take the high school shootings, for instance. Dolts clamor about saying, "We've got to do something to stop this from happening." Do what? Shooting people, kids having guns, bomb making, etc are all illegal already. Very few people I've talked to, or seen interviewed on TV had anything useful to suggest. The only constructive idea was to ban guns altogether. Then you're stuck with asking, will a criminal or someone set on killing people abide by a no-guns-allowed law? Sure it won't work, but at least they are thinking enough to come up with an idea.

    I live near Peoria, Illinois. Recall a few weeks ago that weirdo (Matt Smith, Mike Smith, something like that; his real name was Benjamin but he though that sounded too Jewish so changed it) went shooting Asians, Jews, etc in Illinois and Indiana. It turns out that that he was rejected from buying a gun lawfully because of a background check. So, he visits an unauthorized gun dealer and is able to go on his shooting spree. Now I look at this as the laws working perfectly. There will always be an illegal means to get material that is banished. It isn't too difficult to see what would happen if guns were outlawed. You just wouldn't be able to purchase them at a store.

    And this brings us to Matt Hale's little church of wackos that this Mr. Smith subscribed to. Matt hasn't been on the evening news in quite a while here, since he left Bradley University. So, to get his message out he turned to the Internet. (Aha, more proof the Internet is evil!) And, in this country's mood of non-involvement, they turn to legislatures to solve this problem. One woman on television said something like, "How can they have this sort of material available for anyone to see?"

    I don't have any kids yet, but I've done a lot of watching of family/friends. When parents are involved in a kid's life, teaching them what is right/wrong, what is/isn't appropriate material, etc the kids are able to handle themselves well when confronted with it. But that's asking a lot when careers and possessions are more revered than children.

    So, for those lazy-asses out there, we need laws that make them feel warm and fuzzy when they drop their kids off at the library and go off to have their nails done. These people don't know how to turn on a monitor, let alone how millions of computers all over the world interconnect to be able to spread a wealth of information across the globe in a fraction of a second. We understand that it isn't technically feasible to ban porn (or whatever) in the US when you can just point the browser to Sweden. I'd wager these sort of people think you have to fly to Sweden to see Sweden's internet. :) But these people don't have any useful suggestions to curb violence, racism, porn, etc. They just "want something done to stop it."
  • I second this sentiment.

    The "really bad stuff" that the law enforcers are going to pay attention to are the crimes that are already being enforced in other venues.

    The Pornography Industry (who still represent a staggering percentage of the online 'revenue stream') can easily be reigned in through domestic action. If it goes offshore, just make it impossible for revenues to be collected from American customers. If it isn't 'for-profit' stuff, it's probably covered under 'free speech' law anyway. I've so seldom caught sight of a 'non-profit' pornography industry, that I won't be surprised if one never emerges.

    There's this thing called a "temporary autonomous zone". I.e.: that party where everybody cut loose and activities that would be questionable in the light of day become acceptable. It's the camping trip away from buildings and roads and police squad cars where casual illicit substance use just happens. It's any time people gather and no force of authority intrudes.

    Here's a clue for you all: It's temporary. It never lasts, because Fester the molester always somehow manages to figure out where the party is and people stop having fun because of the tricks he plays.

    Deal with it.
  • executions are more expensive due to the legal process and the number of appeals.

    "It is true that lengthier sentences can add to the costs of imprisonment. But as a replacement for the death penalty, even a sentence of life without parole would not add significantly to the prison population, and would, in fact, be cheaper than the prolonged litigation associated with a death sentence." html []

  • > all controlled and prescription drugs should be legal.

    Almost. This isn't often thought through, but there is one class of chemicals that *must* be protected and restricted. Antibiotics.

    Take a look at Mexico, and penicillin. It's available over the counter, last time I checked -- too bad it's now more or less worthless. Overuse [and misuse] has engendered new and exciting strains of, say, tuberculosis, and they cheerfully ignore penicillin. This is bad. This is VERY bad; there's only so many antibiotics to choose from...

    I definitely favor the libertarian viewpoint, but some things MUST be locked down and controlled.
  • I'm sure they'll jail the intellectuals first namely gun owners

    Oh, so gun owners are 'intellectuals'? I'm sure that some gun owners are intellectuals, but when I think of intellectuals, I think of Harper's magazine, not Guns and Ammo.
    Clinton's executive orders are not designed to institute martial law (sorry!)
    You know, I always thought that Clinton's fault was that he had nerve to get involved with a bad real estate deal and have some sexual dalliances.
    That is so un-American, we need to get back to those covert government slush funds that finance right-wing death squads in Central America, get the government back into to the cocaine business, and fix a few elections while we're at it, a la Ronald Reagan

    And people say Clinton is bad. How quickly we forget...

  • What's so bad about this? Like every other executive order Clinton has imposed on us (and there are plenty, all of which limit our freedom) this one law was passed without the consend of congress. Make no mistake, we now have a dictatorship.
    When you can find where in the constitution it says the president can make laws like this, come back and we'll talk.

  • Did you fail seventh grade civics class? The primary responsibility of the president is to execute the laws. This means enforcing them. All he is doing is setting up a task force in his cabinet to discuss how law enforcement should deal with the Internet. Do you think that the Internet should be a law-free zone? Do you think that the laws which your elected representatives have enacted should not be enforced just because they are being broken on the Internet instead of in meatspace? If you disagree with laws you should try to get them changed. In the meantime. it's up to the president to enforce our laws. I'm sick of the rabid anti-government/ultra libertarian sentiment of Slashdot. I think all of you guys who think that laws shouldn't be enforced should get on a time machine to the wild west when laws weren't enforced. People got robbed, raped, and shot indiscriminately. That is what the state of nature is all about. I prefer civilization.
  • The typical cycle of a Slashdot article related to politics:

    1. Person who submits story fails to read the article they found thoroughly.

    2. Person who decides that it should go up on Slashdot (CmdrTaco, Hemos, whoever), fails to research (or sometimes not even read) the original article.

    3. Article gets posted on Slashdot, and immediately provokes a knee-jerk reaction from people on either the right or the left wing (or both in some cases), because they fail to read the original story as well.

    4. Foaming-at-the-mouth Slashdot readers argue in the comments, e-mail everybody and their mothers, and generally look bad.

    I've seen bad thinks posted about Slashdot readers in the Linux kernel mailing lists, BSD websites, IRC, and on news sites.

    The sad thing is, it's all true.

    I refuse to take part in it anymore. I've been guilty of being a knee-jerker in the past. No more.

  • Of course it's PR. This group couldn't agree on what to have for breakfast, let alone anything meaningful.

    It'll look real nice for the 2000 elections, and then quietly dissappear.
  • You should at least let them do something wrong before you begin to criticize. In short, this order simply sends a bunch of people to go figure out this Internet thing they've been hearing so much about as it relates to illegal activities.

    Plenty of illegal activities related to the Internet fall under national control. They don't have a single proposed action listed there, merely an imperative to figure out what can be done about net-related crime.

    If we want them to realize they can't do anything about most of it, we have to wait for them to start looking for an answer before we try to give them one. It is, sadly, the way government works. I see this as a positive step, since it avoids further creation of laws without even thinking first (for a few minutes) and is better than just sticking their heads in the ground until a political backlash forces more ridiculous laws to be passed. CDA, anyone?

  • more bullshit from a group of politicians who have no concept of reality.

    2) The extent to which new technology tools, capabilities,
    or legal authorities may be required for effective investigation
    and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use
    of the Internet; and

    oh and do they actually know how to use these "new technology tools".

    maybe we can send them to Computer Learning Center -- in three months they'll be able to catch anyone involved in illegal activities on the internet.

    So now we have an official order of Conduct on the Internet. The president is now an offical Internet sysop -- next he'll be reading our email.
  • Could you try substituting "less bad" for "good". I find it more sorrowful than ironic, but with the substitution probably true.
  • You don't think a life in prison is more expensive than an execution? Pa-leez no more appeals no more food and more room for the scumbag that just raped some old lady and got out in 2 years cause there wasn't room, less frivilous lawsuits by inmates awaiting execution who have nothing better to do. Yep you kill innocents every now and then and you jail innocents now and then...our system may not be the best but it isn't the worst either. To get a life sentance you have to be a pretty shitty fellow and you deserve to die...and that means right now ...not when your 91 and cost us a heap of cash in feeding your worthless ass ( I mean that Editorially)
  • Ohhh yahhh! Wont be bad ar all, what with Janet Reno chairing, the FBI and the DEA in the group. We know where they stand on these issues. When will America realize that it doesnt control the Internet anymore? Not that the other governments are any better, but they will likely rip us to shreds while trying to "impose order".
  • I don't know what the youngest age of consent is, but it doesn't really matter. The point is that the U.S. lumps everyone under 18 together, and any law dealing with child porn will affect sites with pictures of people who are, in their country, of legal age.

    This is an example of why we need a stronger UN which could start to make laws dealing with the world as a whole. That's the only way you could ever even try to police the interenet, otherwise you just move your server to South America. But if there was a universal law, there would be no need for extradition. Maybe they decide to classify 'child porn' as pictures of kids under 16. Then, (if you can track down the person posting the site) they get tried in their own country under the world law.

    Of course, the reason this won't work is that the US doesn't listen to or support the UN, (acronym envy?) so they would pretty much undermine anything that was decided. Look at the landmine fiasco. Every nation in the world agreed to the ban, but the US says "we'll agree to it, unless there's a war".

    Using Microsoft software is like having unprotect sex.

  • > I STILL don't understand the hoopla of "The Internet Menace".

    From what I gather around here (Austria, Europe), law enforcement have a big problem enforcing current laws if the internet gets involved. They have procedures how to tap a local phone, how to search a car or a building, but with the internet, those procedures fail fast, because it is so easy to get outside of their juridiction.

    Ever wondered, why so many warez and other sites on the border of legality are in some .ru, .sk and other exotic national domains? If any american court tries to serve a subpoena, they are immediately dealing with international law, extradition and mutual law enforcement assistance treaties (which may or may not exist) and a simple request ends up being months of work. To top the whole thing off, most of the time they get nothing.

    The next stumbling block is the usability of the evidence gathered on the net. How is the police going to prove the data comes from the suspect? Most of the time they end up confiscating some disks and use what they find there.

    And for those, and many more reason, police departments around the world hate the internet and try to push laws to regulate it to death. And because they don't really understand the concept of a truely distributed net or the volumes involved, the laws are either ridiculously repressive (cf China, Iran) or stupid. Often both.

    > Kiddie porn is illegal no matter how you trade it.

    In most of the places around the world it is, but the definition of 'kiddy' and of 'porn' both vary a lot. And even the concept of 'trade' isn't that clearly defined across countries.
  • No, this group will make recommendations. They will likely take these recommendations and write bad draft legislation, but last time I checked, we still have three branches of government: executive, judicial, and legislative. Its still got to get through congress before its a law.

    (disclaimer, I am not a constitutional scholar, please correct me if I've misstated something. I know the president has power to make Executive Orders, but I read this one and didn't see this as anything other than the formation of a blue-ribbon panel to form recommendations).
  • I'm not "in favor" of any of it, but I think that most guns, mostexplosives and all controlled and prescription drugs should be legal.

    Fraud and child porn are bad, but I'm not sure the federal government needs to be any more involved.
  • The idea that "he can't win, so i won't vote for him" is what makes third party candidates win so rarely. If everyone just voted for who they wanted, we might be much better off. Of course, it is quite understandable why people don't do this (and i won't bother elaborating on why, i'm sure you all understand already). My brilliant idea is this, on the ballot have two questions:

    1) Who are you voting for?
    2) Who do you want to win?

    Only the first answer will be counted as a vote and will determine who wins, but the second will also be added up and made public along with the first. Then, if it turns out a third party cadidate would have won, people will know this for sure and change their real votes (question 1) in the next election.
    You could argue that this is just an elaborate way of taking a survey, but there is a definite difference. Here, you get a response from every voter and only the voters. Surveys usually have small sample sizes and are badly conducted (you have no idea how many of the people in the survey actually bother to go vote on election day, for example).
    After a while the need for the two questions would disappear and the second could be removed because people would have learned to vote for who they wanted to win and not "the lesser of two evils."
  • Uh, OK. I read it again.

    It looks like the original poster was completely accurate. No mention of encryption or nudity or pornography except for child porn. Maybe you should read the EO again.
  • What about that one some investigative justices found lurking in the penumbra emanating from some other rights?

    Oh, I forgot... That right to privacy wouldn't apply here -- it was single purpose. ;)
  • Sorry, but do I smell trolling? Sniff sniff
    yup trolling. I aint a Lie-nuts rabbit maroon but methinks though art trolling for some flambe.
    Nice try, now go away before the real rabid
    Linux morons find you.
  • People should be able to do anything they want as long as it doesnt hurt other people OR THEMSELVES.

    While I agree with this, mostly, I can't agree with the rest of what you said. I mean, you say that the goverment is fine the way that it is, but you also say that we should be able to do what we want as long as we don't harm anyone??

    What about, say drugs? Who would be harmed if someone grew some weed in his back yard, didn't sell any and used it all himself? I believe that there's no victim there and thus should be legal like most other "victimless crimes. You might say that this person's "stupidity" might harm him but don't forget that the government, or at least certain elements within it are also trying to make it illegal to discuss or link to information regarding drug use and/or manufacture.

    It seems to me that the U.S. goverment doesn't necessarily want you to be stupid, merely uniformed.


  • Somebody else already pointed it out, but it's worth repeating: They only have four months to get this done!

    Look, this is a bunch of people who couldn't decide on, frame, and write the order for Perrier vs. Evian and get it out to the caterers in four months. Whatever will be in the report has already been written. The Committee, as such, is strictly a Supreme Soviet.

    Does anybody have any idea how it might be possible to submarine in and find out what's in the report? Then we'd have something to talk about.



  • The only way this could change is perhaps in third world countries with wires stretching from house to house bringing in net access or perhaps a slow wireless internet for at least email that bounces from house to house, sure it would be insecure but you could use strong encryption on it. Another route would be by lasers aimed at trasceivers in two houses (like lucent is experimenting with) to link them together which would also create community awareness. This could possibly be done with cd-r lasers. I challenge anyone to build one. You could transfer files over it with something like fidonet uses and the same for news. In urban areas net access over telephone lines or cable is wayyy too centralized and easy to pull the plug on. The HAM enthusiasts have the upper hand on is in this one.
  • CiXeL... For trying to incite panic and defaming your national government, the Federal U.S. Internet Tribunal revokes all net priveleges for a term not less than 4 years and not more than 20.

    Seriously........ It IS possible. I know I will have copies of all my bills and most of my funds out of the bank. Got a stocked pantry already ready already. I just know that if something like that were to happen I would fight it. Wouludn't you??

  • The US government may be well aware that they do not make laws for the rest of the world but they do have a lot of economic muscle (not to mention a whole shitload of death planes) that they regularly bring to bare on foreign powers. In Australia we (as in our government) willingly take up any cause the US mentions and pass stupid laws.. yesterday our government started talking about "ristricting Internet domain licenses".. obviously having no clue what the hell a domain is. Wonder where they got those ideas from?
  • You don't think your ISP could be required to either issue or check for an internet license? Give me a break. Consider how many ways you can get into the net, and then consider how many lakes and streams there are near you. Then think about the availability of places to fish in comparison to how many places you can dial up to the net without a username or password

  • You know what I always found amusing? How little schools actually teach about the electoral college. It's always people elect the president. Not people elect the members of the electoral college who are free to vote anyway they wish on the president. Go figure.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday August 09, 1999 @01:03PM (#1756143)
    Threemoons wrote:
    > This Order's true target will no doubt rear its disgusting head in the
    > next few weeks or so.

    Amen. That's the part that frightens me.

    The first part is pretty good. There's nothing wrong with investigating the "...extent to which existing Federal laws provide a sufficient basis for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet". If something is illegal in the Real World, it's probably illegal on the 'net.

    The second bit is neutral - in and of itself. "The extent to which new tec hnology tools, capabilities, or legal authorities may be required for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet" simply means "hey, if someone's doing something naughty, how much new technology do we need to find them?"

    So what's the agenda?
    It's structured like most good propaganda documents - start with something everyone will agree with, stick in something that may have "unintended consequences" (to give you room to manoeuver), and then bury the real agenda deep down in the document, covered with noise. I've often felt that reading Fedspeak is more like an exercise in steganography. (The irony of this is left as an exercise for the reader.)

    The obvious answer to (1) is "For the most part, existing federal laws probably do. Let's figure out if we've left any loopholes that need to be plugged."

    The obvious answer to (2) is "Not many could be developed and implemented without draconian legislation (e.g. banning crypto) or an enormous erosion of civil liberties (e.g. mandating key escrow and/or automatic wiretap technologies built into all communications gear). The crypto genie has been out of the bottle for decades; if you want to enforce the law, you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Sucks to be you, but even policing in a democracy ain't supposed to be trivial, and even if we wanted to make it easy for you, it's too late; you'll have to rely on HUMINT, not SIGINT.

    Any /.'er on this Working Group would be done with it at that point. "Mr. President, set up e-mail hotlines like the one at and staff 'em with people who can nail the abusers, and sponsor training for local police departments so they have a rudimentary degree of technical clue when it comes to people using the 'net for criminal activity."

    Of course, we're not on the Working Group. Buried at the tail end of the document is a list of names. Hmm... an interesting list indeed.

    And so, buried in the noise we find the real signal...
    Instead, we've got the Attorney-General and the directors of the FBI, ATF, and DEA here, none of whom have been terribly interested in the Internet as "an important medium both domestically and internationally for commerce and free speech", and all of whom likely consider things like auto-wiretapping technologies, key escrow, and the elimination of strong crypto as precisely the things that are "...required for effective investigation and prosecution of unlawful conduct..."

    Perhaps there's hope in the EO's (3)(b) paragraph, which specifies "technology-neutral laws and regulations", but I wouldn't count on it.

    Finally, note that the committee isn't limited to the people on the list; it includes under Sec. 3. (11), "Other Federal officials deemed appropriate by the Chair of the Working Group". Seeing as how the Chair of the Working Group is none other than Ms. Reno herself, I wouldn't place any bets on anything but token representation from technology companies and/or privacy advocates on the Working Group.

    > Can you say False Consensus Building

    And if you're still having trouble with saying "False Consensus Building", try saying "Stack The Deck" first.

  • Exactly how do you "stand up" to an executive order?

    I would love to have my views heard about spending my very very hard earned tax money on this sort of bs, but who do I tell? How do I tell them?
  • Oral sex! Oral sex!
  • At election time the fundies will be treatening
    not to support Bush unless he make clear plans
    about curbing the evil stuff that is on TV and
    on the internet, like sex. You know, all those
    things those people likes but are sinful when
    not done by a preacher.

    If the fundies stay home Bush is screwed and he
    knows that. He may get some of the Hispanic vote
    but this may not be enough to counter the lack
    of fundies votes.

    He would then attack Gore as bein pro internet
    thus an evil person. The fundies would vote
    as many times as possible to guarantee his
    election. Coming out now appearing to do something
    about the evil internet both Gore and Clinton
    look like the good guy to the average fundy.
    Since it doesn't do much, most normal people
    won't give a rat's ass.

    You see! it's a win win situation for the
    president and vice president. If you ever
    want to go in politic just look at the pros
    in action.

  • Yeah, *that* would be *much* less expensive!
  • [ Posted anonymously for fear of government harassment ]

    Don't underestimate governments. If they want to know who you are, they will.

  • If you think the members of the cabinet don't have a clue, you can't flame the EO for ordering them to get a clue.
  • Once again, Slashdot has reacted in its typical reactionary manner.

    Quote of the day. To react in a reactionary manner. Is there any other way?

    But seriously, Roger is correct about this. It is simply a task force to study the law. Why they don't just apply current laws to the us portions of the internet (if that's technically possible) is completely beyond me. What I'm afraid of is the possibility that new laws will be created as a result. That can be bad. The result would likely be like new patents : "to transmit video and audio via the the Internet" That is not what we need.
  • Umm- Life in prison adds 1 to the prison population for the duration of the life in question. One extra person in jail often means one more criminal on the streets. Jail population probles are not abstract issues.

    Also, while many executions are appealed multiple times, some are not.
  • > There are other arguments, of course, and the US has an awful lot of laws...

    And it looks like it will have a lot of awful laws.
  • The proposals that have been recently attributed to this government have not filled me with trust and glee.

    No group of tradesmen ever gather together except to conspire against those not of their trade.
    (This is a misquote from a forgotten source, but I believe it to be [generally] true).
  • This again. I have an idea, let's find a way to circumvent Congress (since all they are interested in is dress stains), make the Supreme Court powerless (since they are just a bunch of old white guys) and give total control to the President that we elect because the media tell us he is a great man, and glosses over all his little "problems" with the law.
    Oh, wait. We already have that, it's called Executive Orders, and they have been around for years. Never heard of them, that's because the media was too busy worrying about importent stuff like Monica while the President was enjoying his dictator-like power.

    But don't worry folks, we live in a Democracy (well, repubilic, but most people don't know the difference) and we still have the power right? I mean, we can makea difference with out vote right? I can fly if I flap my arms really fast right?

  • In Canada they're phasing in laws to regulate boat use, within 10 years you'll need a license to have a rowboat. I can see that they will demand licenses to use the internet within that timeframe, which you'll have to pay a fee each year to keep and is revocable at will.

    Welcome to the Brave New World, never thought I'd live to see it.
  • This doesn't actually involve killing anybody. They can put that together in hours.

    Therefore, it cannot be done in the time (putatively) allowed, because we are dealing with dyed-in-the-wool bureaucrats here. These are people who need a couple of days, and a regulation change, to find their asses -- which is why so many of them have *that* expression most of the time.

    I have no idea what's in the report -- but the report already exists, and the Committee is there to rubberstamp it. After a decent interval of course.

  • It is the executive branch of the government that executes laws. Executive = execute. Think about it. Obviously the president should not be able pass laws without congress approving. No, you might not of failed civics class. You simply went through our government paid school system and are the obvious non-thinking outcome. I pitty you.


    I'm sick of the rabid anti-government/ultra libertarian sentiment of Slashdot.

    I'm sick of the rabid anti-freedom/ultra communist sentiment of Slashdot.
  • I agree that the reaction to the EO has been a bit strong, but there are still many valid reasons why we should be concerned!

    1) The average American person [not /.ers of course] is ruled by (at best) news shows, that are owned by 'other' interests. I have yet to see a single prime-time news program that regularly presents the whole story. The people who report know nothing very little of the story and are overly eager to simply report something, even if its nothing (i.e. the recent Kennedy crash). In addition, the press loves to be selectively interested and to readily place blame. Technology is one of their favorite scapegoats, too.

    2) The average American citizen does not vote(like only 35%)! And therefore knows little of the issues. In addition, the majority parents that do vote are concerned with little matters and want to be able to rely on the internet as a babysitter, much like TV.

    3) Corporations in general can easily manipulate voters via media and contributions. And if voters can be manipulated, so can the government. So therefore, our elected officials are more concerned about corporation's interests than their own voters. Some industries that are of current concern are the software and recording because of some of the money they have to blow and legislation that they are trying to pass.

    4) A lot of pressures are being placed on the government to regulate the Internet.
    -- Military
    -- Music Industry
    -- News Media (Quick to Judge)
    -- Movie Industry
    -- Uninformed / Misinformed Parents
    -- General public who has been scared by the news media.

    I think there should be a call for a select few knowledgeable netizens to form an organization to keep the net a free, open, and international community. They could be called upon by governments when these matters arose. They could also be in charge of setting standards free of industry pressure.

    Well, that's only part of my .02c, but I've run out of time!

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

    Section 1-1. IMPLEMENTATION.

    1-101. As over 200,000 marchers swarm the streets of Washington, D.C., the legistators are regularly heard to complain that computer geeks don't bathe and thems feets are stinky. Reportedly they also don't blend in well with their representatives.

    1-102. Creation of an Interagency Working Group on Nerd Internment.

    a.Within 3 months of the date of this order, the Administrator of the Nerd Internment Agency ("Administrator") shall convene an interagency Federal Working Group on Nerds with Bad Hygiene and quarantine all offending parties.

  • He is doing it by EXECUTIVE ORDER! He is ruling like a king! In the US! Executive orders are only for time of war. He has passed more executive orders then all other presidents combined. No one can stop him. This is utter facism.

    Nice to see some of this come to slashdot though.
  • Despite the popular opinion on /. not all laws are bad.

    Show me one really good law enacted since Congress ratified the amendment to repeal Prohibition. Seriously. Maybe the Freedom of Information Act. Other than that, what? The problem is that Congress spends way too little time repealing laws. And the abidication of lawmaking to regulators has left us with an uncontrolled soource of new laws.

  • You're right Pedo pics themselves hurt no one, except that someone was hurt in the making. If you're a a person that thinks that "just looking" at pedo pics is ok, tell me how you would feel if it was you, or worse your child that was in that pic? Just the thought of someone touching one of my kids sends me in to a rage. I'd kill the f--k, quicker then you can blink! Drugs are fine, if you can keep yourself off the raod, street, sidewalk, etc. Someplace that you can't be hurt or hust someone else, and agree that when you little brain is gone you won't talk any taxpayer dollars to "help" you mend. In fact just because it's next to impossible to control drugs or anything else that is harmful, doesn't mean you don't try. In fact look at what 13 colonies had to fight against, hmm seems to me the odds were not stacked in the favor of them.

    So what was that again about not hurting people? Start to think a little bit, _before_ you spout off about stupid shit.
  • Fact is that the constitution does apply today. It was purposely written to be general enough to apply despite new technology, social climate, or boobs such as yourself calling it outdated.
    And as for your comment about guns....

    The general population was granted the right to bear arms in order to keep our government in check. If you can't understand freedom and peace through strength and vigilance, then as a favor to the rest of humanity I ask that you don't breed.
  • Listen to you guys...

    Communists? Democrats? Are you NUTS??
    How old are you? Democrats are not communists, Clinton is no communist, I know this, because I belong to the Socialist Party, and he's not our candidate.
    Someone made a great point, do you think someone like Bob or Liddy Dole grok what the internet is all about? Do you honestly think that George W. Bush is going to make this situation any better?
    George W. cares about one thing: money. Don't fool yourself...

  • Whoops! Congress passes amendments. (With a supermajority??) States ratify them.
  • Just supportin you.
  • Just supportin you!
  • Erotic pictures of 14 year olds is just as illegal in Norway (where I live) as it is in the USA, but the Norwegian government doesn't use as much money on preventing 15 year-old boys seeing pictures of nude adult females.

    -- Jahlen
  • "Oh, whoops. I guess if it weren't for the fact that the United States government of late DOES NOT have an excellent track record of protecting individual rights and freedoms, maybe we'd all be a little less triggerhappy about this sort of thing."

    I certainly agree that, given the federal government's track record, along with statements made be various members of government that indicate a complete lack of understanding about the technology used on/with the Internet, we should be concerned.

    The reason I made the above post was that (at least at the time), the majority of comments were posted by people who did not even know what this is about. People were calling this legislation, asking how this can be enforced, claiming that this isn't valid because the U.S. is not the only nation that uses the Internet, etc; rather than voicing valid concerns (of which there are many).
  • That all activity use
    This should read That all illegal activity use
  • Esther Dyson? Pray tell, what qualifications does Dyson have for anything? One look at the fiasco that is ICANN should tell you to keep Dyson well away from anything important.
  • by Taipan ( 46953 ) on Monday August 09, 1999 @11:47AM (#1756245)
    This EO has more implications than just studying internet "usage" and proposing new laws. It actually gives this group the power to implement policy and legislation over the internet without agreement from other legislative bodies. The text of the EO just requires that the working group get input from other bodies. They can ignore the input as long as they document the reasons why. Last time I read the Constitution, only Congress had the power to enact legislation like that. Where is the Congressional outcry??????

    For a good analysis of the EO, look at WorldNetDaily: xcbtl_clinton_co.shtml

  • by roger_ford ( 65174 ) <raf@mit . e du> on Monday August 09, 1999 @11:52AM (#1756283)
    Once again, Slashdot has reacted in its typical reactionary manner. This order is NOT a, abuse by Bill Clinton. It's nto even a significant event, really. Here's why. All this order does is establish a group to study whether or not there could be effective laws to help prevent some of the illegality that already exists on the internet, and whether or not these laws exist. (See the examples cited in the order: fraud [travel scams, prescription drug scams, fake ecomerce sites, etc], child pornography, drug trafficking, etc.) Most of the time, these laws already exist; if they do not, any new laws would still have to go through the existing lawmaking process - the house, the senate, a signature by the president, and, if there's a possibility of a constitutional violation, the court system. This group has NO lawmaking powers on its own. No one is talking about banning nudity or encryption or anything like that. Besides, the federal courts have been very reluctant to uphold any anti-liberty net laws so far; it's unlikely they would suddenly start approving them. The US government sponsors hundreds of such commissions every year; this is nothing new. And likely, nothing will ever come out of it. Don't worry. The sky is not falling. Roger Ford
  • Usually, I'm resolutely apolitical on slashdot. I'm bored today, though.

    Does anyone doubt that the result of this will be a recommendation for special laws that pertain to the internet? There is so much popular media that portrays the internet as dark and evil (your cat-5 is cursed!). Many see it as a home for pedophiles, hate groups, and little else.

    Kiddie porn is illegal no matter how you trade it. Hate crimes are crimes regardless of whether or not the perpetrators have a home page. What is the purpose of creating more laws when we are doing an inadequate job of enforcing the existing ones?

    Is it more likely that the recommended laws will actually amount to provisions that make it easier for the government to "monitor" internet activity? Is it likely that those provisions will make the internet less useful for law-abiding citizens?

    I have a BS in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice. I worked (briefly) for my local Sheriff's Department. I STILL don't understand the hoopla of "The Internet Menace". Maybe it's because I understand the internet a little better than the average voter. Maybe I'm just naive.

    Or maybe it's because "The Dark Internet" is a far more effective scare tactic than an actual menace.
  • Not only will this committee's findings not be all that useful, but the result of them will probably be a lingering annoyance among people who use and work with the internet on a day to day basis. The way that the internet is governed needs to be handled differently from the traditional methods of the US government, and here's why:

    Present government processes were designed at a time when information traveled at the speed of a horseback messanger.

    The present administration forgets that all people are to be assumed innocent under the US constituion until they are proven guilty. This means that it is unconstitutional for the government to plan for the ability to monitor all people using a communications medium. IE backdoors in encryption schemes, and tap hardware that is in place to monitor any individual when they feel the need to "turn it on." (It should be a major PITA for the FBI to do a wiretap)

    Internet users have been given a taste of real freedom. (Not the fake kind that we have here in the US) Changes in that freedom will lead to a great deal of resistance. Revolt is BAD (TM)

    The US government has a decent basis of existing laws, however the current trend is to make more laws rather then enforce the ones that they already have. Another disturbing trend is towards making laws that protect people from themselves. Instead of making all sorts of crazy new specialized laws, why don't they just inforce the laws they have and stick to doing what the federal government was originally intended for: Regulating interstate trade, defending it's citizens, and maintaing national parks and services.

  • You (and Joseph Farah) are being needlessly paranoid. There is nothing in the Executive Order that establishes any new laws, organizations (other than the "working group") or powers. It's certainly true that the members of the working group, being high-level officials, may be able to implement new policies under already-granted executive power. But Mr. Farah's alarmism should be treated as the pure speculation that it is.
  • Actually, no. Europe has it's own set of pipes, independent from the transatlantic connection.

    The British get a direct feed into the European net, which is just as well, as the transatlantic link is a sham. (One occasion, it even shut down for 2 weeks, for a "routine" router upgrade. Ha!)

    About the only connection the Europe-wide network has with the US is the pipe Echelon uses.

  • You sure about that? I read an article recently that he's presided over something like 50 Texas executions since he's been governor there.

    I don't think either of the two candidates will do any better than the other.

    America is heading to shit and no one cares and it sucks.
  • by Threemoons ( 70070 ) on Monday August 09, 1999 @12:17PM (#1756390)
    Hey all. Just got done reading the order, after putting on my big silly Lawyer's Hat (and taking the Red one off for a minute). Here's my 2c...

    1) Folks, this isn't really all that revolutionary. Yes, it shows rampant stupidity and a desparate need on Clinton's part to kowtow towards the right. However, none of the listed governmental bodies are being given one iota more power than they already really have. The fact that no mention is made that LIMITS THE POWER OF THE CM'TE to US LAWS shows that this thing is probably being done as a sort of political pre-emptive strike--a real hack job. This Order's true target will no doubt rear its disgusting head in the next few weeks or so.

    2) This can also be seen as a potential strike against crypto, especially strong crypto--look at all those allusions to "just how well can law enforcement deal with this stuff...." Great straw man.

    3) The fact that the Budget Cmte. gets to review any recommendations BEFORE they are officially presented to the Prez and Veep also shows that they just want an excuse to write more bad laws, not make real policies. It's a lot easier to tell everyone that they can't do x y or z (like use crypto, have open access at libraries, etc) then to bother to train, recruit, and outfit top-notch people to help get after the real crooks.

    4) He's pulled in just about every freaking major association and commission in the GubMint. Can you say False Consensus Building?

    In short, the whole thing is just a made-to-order straw man for law enforcement and the Porn Police, IMHO.

    If anything, this should not be something that's limited to Federal committees. Write your Congressmen and Senators and DEMAND that the users of new technologies get a voice in the proceedings.

    Foreign Slashdotters: Protest, protest, protest and make sure that YOUR governments remind the US that they ain't the only game in town. Use crypto. Help foster use of encryption standards that work between the US and the rest of the planet.

    Hope this sheds some light w/o generating too much heat.

  • It seems to me that the summary of the Executive Order posted above the discussion is somewhat misleading.

    The summary: is mandated to investigate how current federal law can be used to investigate and prosecute Internet users, propose new laws, regulations, and technology development to assist investigations, and study existing and potential technological tools for mandatory internet censorship.

    The (most relevant) actual text from the Executive Order:

    (3) The potential for new or existing tools and capabilities to educate and empower parents, teachers, and others to prevent or to minimize the risks from unlawful conduct that involves the use of the Internet.

    How exactly is there any provision for mandatory censorship?

    As others readers have pointed out, let us get the facts straight before posting an article. Slashdot (or at least the person submitting the summary) just looks stupid otherwise.

    Secondly, this is just the United States. While the American government may not realize it yet, they do not create legislation for the rest of the world. If any material is banned (remember, this executive order is not calling for that) just look it up in Canada, Sweden, Turkey, whereever.

    Relax! PS: Apologies for submitting this comment twice (once as an AC). My mistake.
  • Expect lots of overseas accounts. Our president is now creating crime on the internet. Just like the war on drugs, now we will have a war on information and expression of extreme thoughts written into text. It will be here soon...
  • Not only are executions more expensive, but there is always the risk that you are executing someone that isn't guilty.

    So, then, why don't we just throw them in jail with no possibility of parole?
  • All of the activities described are already illegal -- they just want more power to control the net.

    The Internet is turning into the great equalizer and the traditional media and established political parties don't like it. Unfortunately for us, they still have the power and no qualms about using it. And, almost as if to prove that last point, they picked Janet Reno to chair the committee. This is scary.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes