One More Terrorist

| November 16, 2001

One More Terrorist, Annalee Newitz,
Are you a terrorist, too? It seems that in the rush to pass the anti-terrorist USA Act, legislators left it so vague that just about any hacker qualifies. In her article for the Bay Area arts and entertainment service, Annalee Newitz points out that vague definitions have the potential to leave everyone from Robin Hood hackers to file-sharing kids open to prosecution. Examples of 'terrorism' include changing content on an Internet site, knowingly or unknowingly harboring terrorists, and computer crimes (such as breaking copyright on a video game and distributing it through a file-sharing system) that cause $5,000 or more in damages. What's more, the USA Act allows the federal government to use Carnivore, an electronic surveillance system, to read e-mail and track Web site visits without any oversight. All they need is a hunch that a terrorist is using your Internet service provider to allow them to intercept mail from every single person using your ISP's servers. In the midst of this new onslaught of population monitoring and privacy infringement, Newitz argues, 'It's time for the geeks to take matters into their own hands, and fight back the only way they know how: by being smarter.'
--Lindsey Dickinson
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