close this bookVolume 4: No. 07
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View the documentCommunication and privacy
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View the documentSoftware development
View the documentPDAs
View the documentAgent technology
View the documentComputists' news

If you can retrieve your voice mail remotely, so can other people. One company has been charged in federal court with tapping a competitor's voice mail to get sales leads. [WSJ, 9/28/93. EDUPAGE.]

The IRS has asked LANL to work on AI for detecting electronic fraud. [WSJ, 2/11/94.] Two-day turnaround is hampering IRS investigation of electronic returns. $53M in false returns were detected last year, but only $24M was stopped before payment. [SJM, 2/11/94.]

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has awarded contracts for equipment to spot keywords in millions of phone, fax, radio signals and other transmissions. [CTV National News, 01/31/94. EDUPAGE.]

"The intelligence community is coming back with an answer in two days which is classified, while the electronic librarian is coming back in forty-five minutes, on the same day, with an answer [from Internet sources] which is unclassified." -- M. Holderness, New Scientist, 12/20/93, pp. 22-23. [Alastair Smith (, PACS-L, 12/7/93.]

A network petition against the Clipper encryption standard has gained over 10,000 "digital signatures." It's sad that there is so little trust of the US government, judiciary, and law enforcement. They've done pretty well by me, although safeguards are certainly needed. Clipper turns public channels into private ones suitable for commerce, such as transmission of credit card numbers. Communications would be more secure than at present, and anyone can implement public-key systems in addition to Clipper. The only significant objection I have seen is that US manufacturers would lose market share overseas if our pointless export restrictions are maintained or the world chooses not to adopt compatible technology. I'm not saying that I support Clipper -- fully secure encryption would suit me just as well -- but I don't think the sky is falling. I fear network-literate criminals and casual snoops more than I fear court-approved federal surveillance. Unencrypted cellular phones and copper wires are inadequate for electronic commerce and personal privacy; Clinton and Gore are trying to help. [KIL, 1/16/94.]

Washington State is considering a bill (SBR 6174) to require licensing for commercial use of virtual reality technology for "entertainment or purposes other then bona fide education, training, research, and development." Senator Phil Talmadge is worried that VR will be a training ground for social violence and murder. For the bill's status, call (206) 786-7550. Opposition is led by Senator Sheldon, (206) 786-7644, (206) 786-1999 Fax. [Daniel Pezely (, 2/9/94. Robert Jacobson.] (Political speeches in virtual space might require government approval, which wouldn't make it past the Supreme Court.)

"Doesn't it make you just a *little* bit nervous that the majority of the people who are going to be 'regulating' this 'highway' don't drive!?" -- P.R. "Fleet" Teachout (, CARR-L, 1/23/94.