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Clips October 27, 2003

Clips October 27, 2003


Hollywood takes anti-piracy message to school
Internet ID fraud complaints more than triple
Survey: Porn found often on work computers
Court to Rule on Cyber Cafe Regulations
Illinois Says Import Drugs Could Save State Millions
ICANN to face 'wildcards' issue
Judge orders spammers to pay $2 million fine
With Cable TV at M.I.T., Who Needs Napster?
Song-Sharing Web Site in South Korea Fined
E-authentication architecture due in December
Online catalog will hold all federal forms
New police cars equipped with voice recognition
Three R's: Reading, Writing, RFID 
Feds to Fight Digital TV Piracy 
Black Box Voting Blues    

USA Today
Hollywood takes anti-piracy message to school
By Ron Harris, Associated Press
October 23, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO  As part of its campaign to thwart online music and movie piracy, Hollywood is now reaching into school classrooms with a program that denounces file-sharing and offers prizes for students and teachers who spread the word about Internet theft.

The Motion Picture Association of America paid $100,000 to deliver its anti-piracy message to 900,000 students nationwide in grades 5-9 over the next two years, according to Junior Achievement Inc., which is implementing the program using volunteer teachers from the business sector.

Civil libertarians object that the movie industry is presenting a tainted version of a complex legal issue  while the country's largest teachers' lobby is concerned about the incentives the program offers.

"What's the Diff?: A Guide to Digital Citizenship" launched last week with a lesson plan that aims to keep kids away from Internet services like Kazaa that let users trade digital songs and film clips: "If you haven't paid for it, you've stolen it."

"We think it's a critical group to be having this conversation with," said MPAA spokesman Rich Taylor, suggesting online piracy may not have yet peaked. "If we sit idly by and we don't have a conversation with the general public of all ages, we could one day look back at October of 2003 as the good old days of piracy."

The effort doesn't stop in the classroom. Beginning Friday, public service announcements are being released to approximately 5,000 theaters nationwide, profiling people in the movie industry and arguing that digital piracy threatens their livelihoods.

Indeed, Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA, told Penn State University faculty and students this week that his industry is in "a state of crisis" over digital theft.

But some copyright law experts aren't pleased that the MPAA is the only sponsor for such classroom discussions. They worry that the lesson plans don't address "fair use" constitutional protections for digital copying for personal or educational use.

"This is really sounding like Soviet-style education. First they're indoctrinating the students and then having students indoctrinate their peers," said Wendy Seltzer, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The takeaway message has got to be more nuanced. Copyright is a complicated subject."

Melinda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the National Education Association, says it's unsettling when corporate presence in the classroom is tethered to sponsored incentive programs.

In this case, Junior Achievement is offering students DVD players, DVD movies, theater tickets and all-expenses-paid trips to Hollywood for winning essays about the illegalities of file-sharing. Teachers, too, can win prizes for effectively communicating the approved message in class.

"What it speaks to is kind of a new era in commercialism emerging in classrooms where the attempts to connect with students are becoming more and more sophisticated. Schools that are often strapped for cash are more tempted to partner with these organizations," Anderson said.

"Coming from school, these companies are getting a tacit endorsement for their product," Anderson said. "That's not a school's role  to be the purveyors."

The program got a rocky start during its first presentation, to some relatively cyber-savvy teens at Raoul Wallenberg High School in San Francisco.

Andrew Irgens-Moller, 14, buried his head into a backpack on his desk and rolled his eyes as the guest teacher warned of computer viruses and hackers that could take control of a user's desktop via file-sharing programs. He objected that antivirus software could scan downloaded files and only sophisticated hackers could pull off the remote desktop computer takeover.

Then the teacher cut him off.

Bret Balonick, a tax accountant on loan from PricewaterhouseCoopers to teach the anti-piracy class, was arguing that some downloaders have been affected by malicious activity. Besides, he said, it's illegal to upload and download unauthorized content online.

"If it's illegal in America, host it in Uzbekistan," snapped the 14-year-old.

Balonick then had the freshmen role-play as singers, actors, producers, computer users. But even the "producers" quietly acknowledged that they too share song files over the Internet.

"It's not illegal if you decide to give it away," said Wilson Cen, 13, regarding burning copies of music CDs for his friends. "They don't want you selling them. It's a gift, you're not selling it."

Brenda Chen said she uses Kazaa at home: "I just want certain tracks from the CD, not the whole CD. It's a waste of money."

David Chernow, Junior Achievement's chief executive, said in a telephone interview that the explosion of peer-to-peer activity among young people is a ripe topic for public school classrooms.

"We're really trying to teach young people to be responsible and to obey laws that they may not understand," Chernow said. "Just because it's easy doesn't make it right."
USA Today
Internet ID fraud complaints more than triple
By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY
October 23, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO  Putting personal information online has hazards.

Complaints of Internet-related identity theft more than tripled to 2,352 last year from the year before, says the Federal Trade Commission. While that's a fraction of the 168,000 nationwide reports of ID theft, the growth is alarming as more consumers shop online.

"Online fraud is becoming as big an issue for ... eBay and AOL as security is for Microsoft," says Jay Foley of the Identity Theft Resource Center. Among common scams:

?ID theft. At least a dozen eBay customers say they were ripped off this month by identity thieves posing as legitimate sellers.

Steve Lundin, 44, thought he made a good deal when he purchased a digital camera for $1,000 last week. The seller had nearly 200 positive comments on eBay's merchant ratings system, and Lundin had bought dozens of items on eBay since 1999.

But the person to whom Lundin sent money overseas had stolen the ID of the real seller, a retiree in Missouri who has sold items on eBay for years. Lundin, a Chicago marketing executive, is considering legal action against eBay.

Susie Savard, 25, a manager for Amazon.com in Lexington, Ky., was burned by the same scheme last week. She also sent a $1,000 cash order to a bogus seller in London, but never received a camera. "It's creepy; you're not sure who you're dealing with," she says.

In e-mail to customers, eBay said some listings this month were victims of an "account takeover," in which the password was guessed or discovered. The listings were closed. EBay says the theft did not spring from a system flaw.

EBay also says Lundin and Savard bypassed the formal bidding process and cut deals on their own  a violation of eBay policy that absolves the company of responsibility. EBay says it is helping both file paperwork with law-enforcement officials. "I admit I erred," Lundin says. "But eBay is built on trust."

EBay, the largest auction site with $5.8 billion in merchandise sales in the last quarter, maintains only 0.01% of its items result in confirmed fraud. But that's still about 66,800 cases. There were 668 million items listed on eBay in 2002, and the number of unconfirmed cases would be higher.

?Phisher scams. Customers of eBay, Best Buy and EarthLink are among recent targets of phisher scams  e-mail with links to bogus Web sites that fish for personal data such as credit card numbers from consumers.

Many times, consumers are warned their accounts will be closed unless they fork over their user name and password. The thief then poses as the victim to buy or sell goods.

In one of the biggest such cases, thieves posing as BestBuy.com representatives tricked customers into handing over credit card and Social Security numbers by sending an e-mail dubbed "Fraud Alert." Phisher complaints are rising  360 this year vs. 228 during 2002, the Identity Theft Resource Center says.

Fueling online fraud is a rise in crimes committed from Internet cafes abroad, where perpetrators are hard to trace, says the FBI's Dan Larkin.

In most cases, eBay covers buyers or sellers for up to $200 if an item is not delivered or is in bad condition. There is a $25 processing fee. This month, eBay raised the limit to $500 for some listings. Most eBay transactions are for less than $200, the company says.Also, eBay recently began posting safety tips at
USA Today
Survey: Porn found often on work computers
By Justin Bachman, Associated Press
October 23, 2003

Many of us apparently forget that our office computer belongs to the boss  along with all the Internet material you may load onto it.

Two-thirds of human resources professionals said in a survey they've discovered pornography on employee computers. Nearly half of those, 43%, said they had found such material more than once.

The poll points to a common employer dilemma: the need to balance employee privacy with electronic monitoring of computer content, according to Alexandra Gross, legal editor for Business & Legal Reports, a publisher based in Old Saybrook, Conn.

"One of the most important things employers can do to protect themselves from privacy suits is to reduce employees' expectations of privacy in the first place," she said. "The best way to do that is to articulate a clear policy on electronic monitoring and computer use."

Companies also must be very clear that e-mail and Internet access are the employer's property  and recreational Web browsing should be left at home.

The online poll was conducted by the two sites earlier this month. It drew responses from 474 people.
Los Angeles Times
Court to Rule on Cyber Cafe Regulations
Garden Grove hopes the rules it imposed to stem a rash of crime are allowed. Owners say the restrictions have killed their business.
By Mai Tran
October 24, 2003

An appeals court will determine within 90 days whether to uphold a Superior Court decision to prevent Garden Grove from imposing strict regulations on cyber cafes, which city officials have said attract gangs and violence.

A three-member panel of the state 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana heard arguments Thursday from the city, which says it needs the regulations to curb crime, and business owners, who sued because they say they were unfairly targeted.

The city tried to tighten rules after a rash of attacks at or near the city's 30 or so cyber cafes, which provide computer access to the Internet and video games. Police said during the peak of the violence that about 30% of their calls were from cyber cafes.

The first fatality occurred Dec. 30, 2001, when Phong Ly, 20, was stabbed to death with a screwdriver while waiting outside the now-defunct PC Café on Garden Grove Boulevard. The killing prompted city officials to pass an ordinance requiring cyber cafes to log all customers, limit business hours, videotape their premises and store the tapes for 72 hours in case the police needed them.

The owners sued the city and a Superior Court judge ruled in their favor, calling the rules "seriously and fatally flawed," prompting city officials to appeal. The judge left intact the city's authority to set business hours and curfews for minors.

Ron Talmo, an attorney for the business owners, argued Thursday that the city infringes on 1st Amendment rights by enforcing the regulations.

"Cyber cafes are being targeted," he said. "The city has to have specific guidelines [that are applied to all businesses]. There's not justification for them to come down on cyber cafes."

Lois Bobak, an attorney for the city, said the city is "regulating business regulations, not 1st Amendment activities."

Since the rules covering curfew and business hours have been in effect, more than half of the cyber cafes have shut down and violence has dropped nearly that much, police said. Owners said they were forced out of business by the rules and publicity.
Washington Post
Illinois Says Import Drugs Could Save State Millions
Governor Steps Up Pressure On White House, Congress
By Ceci Connolly
Monday, October 27, 2003; Page A03

The governor of Illinois, intensifying his battle with Bush administration regulators over rising drug bills, will release an analysis today showing that his state could save $91 million a year by buying prescription medications from Canada.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) hopes the figures will put added pressure on the administration and on Congress to loosen regulations that prohibit importing medicine from other countries. He is among several state and local leaders whose budgets must accommodate soaring pharmaceutical costs.

Although the Food and Drug Administration has never prosecuted individuals who illegally bring lower-cost medications into the United States, the agency is fighting a growing rebellion that has stretched far beyond busloads of senior citizens to powerful local, state and national leaders.

A bipartisan group of senators on Capitol Hill is pushing for enactment of free-standing drug import legislation because they remain doubtful about the prospects for a more comprehensive Medicare prescription drug bill.

"We're in a situation now where seniors are really desperate to have affordable prescription drugs," said Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine). If Congress does not legalize drug importation, she said, "it is missing an opportunity to allow the American people to have access to lower cost prescription drugs."

The legislation mirrors a House bill approved in July on a 243 to 186 vote. It would allow imports of FDA-approved drugs from FDA-inspected plants in Canada and 25 major industrialized nations.

At a hearing in Boston tomorrow, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is expected to tout his plan for steering thousands of residents to Canadian drug suppliers that receive the state's "stamp of approval." Pawlenty, like Blagojevich and a handful of other governors, is considering waiving drug co-payments for state employees who shop at an authorized Canadian pharmacy.

"If you accept the premise we're at a crisis point and on a trajectory that is unsustainable, somebody has to lead change," Pawlenty said in an interview. "These proposals are not perfect and not the long-term solution, but they do offer the potential for near-term relief and it puts pressure on federal officials to consider change."

By year's end, Pawlenty said he intends to create an Internet site modeled after those sponsored by the Minnesota Senior Federation and the United Health Alliance. Their sites lists Canadian firms that meet criteria for safety, reliability and credibility.

FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan warned that circumventing the federal regulatory process is a dangerous reaction to understandable frustrations.

"Much as they would like to, state and local governments and private groups cannot provide reliable safety assurances when they purchase drugs from foreign sources," he said in a recent speech.

McClellan acknowledged there is little risk in walking into a licensed Canadian pharmacy and filling a prescription. But he said it is risky to shop online from unknown Web sites that purport to be legitimate.

"This is not the time to be opening up new avenues for those willing and able to harm patients for their own gain," he said. A recent FDA "blitz" identified more than 1,100 drugs illegally shipped into the United States. The violations ranged from improper labels and faulty packaging to counterfeits and one medication that was pulled from U.S. shelves.

With his agency already stretched thin trying to monitor U.S. sales, McClellan said the FDA does not have the resources to undertake new responsibilities overseeing pharmaceutical imports.

"We're against large new gaps in the nation's ability to protect its citizens from potentially unsafe drugs, at a time when the threats to the safety of our drug supply are greater than ever," he said.

Proponents of opening foreign drug markets say the FDA is exaggerating safety concerns and has been slow to require anti-counterfeit packaging that could reduce fears about imported medications. The lure for American consumers are costs that can be as much as 75 percent less than in the United States because the Canadian and European governments set the prices.

They also point out that many of the most common treatments are made in one of the 900 foreign plants FDA inspects. Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medicine, is made in Ireland. Nexium, the purple indigestion pill, is manufactured in Sweden. Prevacid, another ulcer medication, comes from Japan.

Snowe's constituents have bought medicine in Canada for years. She said the FDA has ignored congressional votes urging legal importation.

"I just cannot believe the FDA and our government cannot find the means to certify the safety of prescription medications coming across our border," she said in an interview. "Where there's a will, there's a way."

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) has accused the Bush administration of siding with the pharmaceutical industry over consumers.

"This issue of safety is a straw man. When the United States government in October 2000 needed a vaccine for anthrax and didn't have it, where did it turn? Canada," he said. "If it's good enough for the U.S. government, why isn't it good enough for the rest of us?"

Despite efforts by the FDA and the industry to focus on safety concerns, the drug importation debate has largely been about cost.

A report by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that legalizing importation of drugs from Canada and Europe could cut drug spending $40 billion over the next decade, including $4.5 billion in savings for the federal government.

In Springfield, Mass., where the mayor has become a national figure for his open revolt against the FDA, 1,600 city employees and retirees have received 2,600 prescriptions from Canada since July. That has translated into $400,000 in savings for a community that laid off police officers and firefighters in its latest budget paring.

The Illinois analysis found that if the state's 230,000 employees and retirees bought routine medications from a Canadian pharmacy, the state would save $56.5 million and consumers would save $34.2 million. Currently, Illinois spends $340 million on prescriptions.

There are indications that the Bush administration is sensitive to the political currents, particularly for state and local officials. After a meeting with Massachusetts leaders, William K. Hubbard, the FDA's senior associate commissioner, said the agency has no intention of suing a city or state that helps citizens buy medicine from Canada.
Australian IT
ICANN to face 'wildcards' issue
Kate Mackenzie
OCTOBER 27, 2003 
THE internet's technical policy body, ICANN, begins its latest meeting in Tunisia with yet another headache - this time, VeriSign's domain name "wildcards".

VeriSign, which has a contract with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to provide the definitive database for .com and .net names, introduced a "wildcard" feature in September.
The feature meant that any internet user who tried to visit an invalid web address ending in .com or .net was re-directed to a search website hosted by VeriSign.

While VeriSign insisted the feature was popular with end users, it caused havoc for network administrators and vendors of anti-spam and other security products which carry out checks to see if a domain name is valid.

ICANN forced VeriSign to suspend the wildcard function earlier this month, but last week VeriSign reportedly said it would re-introduce the feature, giving 30 to 60 days' notice.

ICANN meets in Tunis for four days, starting later today, and wildcards are on the agenda along with its long-time mainstays such as new top-level domains (such as .biz) and internet security and stability, which has been a topic of concern since the September 11 attacks in the US.
Mercury News
Judge orders spammers to pay $2 million fine
By Elise Ackerman
Mercury News

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge Friday ordered two Los Angeles-area spammers to pay $2 million, the largest judgment to date won by government prosecutors against senders of unsolicited e-mail.

Prosecutors said that by demonstrating state spam laws will be enforced with hefty penalties, they hope to stem increasingly objectionable e-mails promoting everything from pornography to casinos that are swamping inboxes around the country. In addition to the fine, Judge William F. Martin imposed various business restrictions on the defendants.

``We think other spammers will think twice about what they are doing,'' said Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

The defendants never appeared in court and it's not clear if the judgment can be collected.

During the past five years, 36 states have passed anti-spam laws, but prosecutors have brought only a handful of lawsuits. Internet service providers and frustrated spam recipients have been more active in pursuing spammers in the courts using a patchwork of laws prohibiting everything from consumer fraud to trespass.

The U.S. Senate's unanimous approval of an anti-spam law Wednesday reignited a nationwide debate about the most effective way to fight spam.

PW Marketing drew the attention of government regulators in 2002, when it began bombarding California e-mail users with unsolicited e-mails advertising a $39 how-to-spam book and other tools. The e-mails appeared to violate a 1998 California law that required a toll-free number recipients could use to stop the flow of electronic advertising, a valid return address and the label ``ADV:'' in the subject line.

As a starting point, state investigators used the address of a mail drop listed on some of the e-mails and eventually linked PW Marketing to Paul Willis and Claudia Griffin. The attorney general filed a civil suit in September 2002 under the terms of the 1998 law.

Because the charges against them were civil, the two owners, who are also the subject of a Federal Trade Commission suit, are in no danger of being arrested.

The California legislature has since passed a tougher anti-spam law, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. But the new law, which allows individuals to sue advertisers who hire spammers, as well as the spammers themselves, could be superseded by more lenient federal legislation. Advocates say giving individuals the right to sue provides a financial incentive to go after spammers.

The bill the Senate unanimously approved, much like California's original law, requires electronic marketers to use valid electronic and physical addresses and to clearly label messages as advertisements.

The Senate bill also directs the FTC to come up with a plan for a do-not-spam registry, similar to the do-not-call registry for telemarketers.

But some anti-spam advocates are worried that the federal approach won't work. Ray Everett-Church, chief privacy officer of ePrivacy Group, an anti-spam company based in Philadelphia, said the participation of individual e-mail recipients is crucial to enforcing anti-spam law because they could provide a boost to limited governmental resources. ``If we are all working together, we will hopefully convince spammers to leave California alone,'' he said.

Laura Atkins, president of SpamCon, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting the usefulness of e-mail, said the direct marketing industry had experimented with a voluntary do-not-spam list in the past. ``The pilot project showed that no one will use it, not even the legitimate e-mailers.''

A do-not-spam registry would be most effective if it allowed entire domains, such as AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail, to register their users as a block. But that would also increase the likelihood that the registry would be challenged by direct marketers in court, Atkins said.

The registry ``won't solve the underlying problem,'' Atkins said. ``We need a mix of social solutions, technical solutions and legislative solutions.''
New York Times
October 27, 2003
With Cable TV at M.I.T., Who Needs Napster?

Two students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a system for sharing music within their campus community that they say can avoid the copyright battles that have pitted the music industry against many customers.

The students, Keith Winstein and Josh Mandel, drew the idea for their campus-wide network from a blend of libraries and from radio. Their effort, the Libraries Access to Music Project, which is backed by M.I.T. and financed by research money from the Microsoft Corporation, will provide music from some 3,500 CD's through a novel source: the university's cable television network.

The students say the system, which they plan to officially announce today, falls within the time-honored licensing and royalty system under which the music industry allows broadcasters and others to play recordings for a public audience. Major music industry groups are reserving comment, while some legal experts say the M.I.T. system mainly demonstrates how unwieldy copyright laws have become. A novel approach to serving up music on demand from one of the nation's leading technical institutions is only fitting, admirers of the project say. The music industry's woes started on college campuses, where fast Internet connections and a population of music lovers with time on their hands sparked a file-sharing revolution.

"It's kind of brilliant," said Mike Godwin, the senior technology counsel at Public Knowledge, a policy group in Washington that focuses on intellectual property issues. If the legal theories hold up, he said, "they've sidestepped the stonewall that the music companies have tried to put up between campus users and music sharing."

Hal Abelson, a professor of computer science and engineering at M.I.T., called the system an imaginative approach that reflected the problem-solving sensibility of engineering at the university. "Everybody has gotten so wedged into entrenched positions that listening to music has to have something to do with file sharing," he said. The students' project shows "it doesn't have to be that way at all."

Mr. Winstein, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, described the result as "a new kind of library." He said he hoped it would be a legal alternative to file trading that infringes copyrights. "We certainly hope," he said, "that by having access to all this music immediately, on demand, any time you want, students would be less likely to break the law.'"

While listening to music through a television might seem odd, it is crucial to the M.I.T. plan. The quirk in the law that makes the system legal, Mr. Winstein said, has much to do with the difference between digital and analog technology. The advent of the digital age, with the possibility of perfect copies spread around the world with the click of a mouse, has spurred the entertainment industry to push for stronger restrictions on the distribution of digital works, and to be reluctant to license their recording catalogues to permit the distribution of music over the Internet.

So the M.I.T. system, using the analog campus cable system, simply bypasses the Internet and digital distribution, and takes advantage of the relatively less-restrictive licensing that the industry makes available to radio stations and others for the analog transmission.

The university, like many educational institutions, already has blanket licenses for the seemingly old-fashioned analog transmission of music from the organizations that represent the performance rights, including the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers or Ascap, the Broadcast Music Inc. or B.M.I., and Sesac, formerly the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers.

If that back-to-the-future solution seems overly complicated, blame copyright law and not M.I.T., said Jonathan Zittrain, who teaches Internet law at Harvard and is a director of the university's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The most significant thing about the M.I.T. plan, he said, is just how complicated it has to be to fit within the odd boundaries of copyright law.

"It's almost an act of performance art," Mr. Zittrain said. Mr. Winstein, he said, has "arrayed the gerbils under the hood so it appears to meet the statutory requirement" - and has shown how badly the system of copyright needs sensible revamping.

Representatives of the recording industry, including the Recording Industry Association of America, Ascap and B.M.I., either declined to comment or did not return calls seeking comment.

Although the M.I.T. music could still be recorded by students and shared on the Internet, Professor Abelson said that the situation would be no different from recording songs from conventional FM broadcasts. The system provides music quality that listeners say is not quite as good as a CD on a home stereo but is better than FM radio.

M.I.T. students, faculty and staff can choose from 16 channels of music and can schedule 80-minute blocks of time to control a channel. The high-tech D.J. can select, rewind or fast-forward the songs via an Internet-based control panel. Mr. Winstein and Mr. Mandel created the collection of CD's after polling students.

Mr. Winstein said that the equipment cost about $10,000, and the music, which was bought through a company that provides music on hard drives for the radio industry, for about $25,000. Mr. Winstein said they were making the software available to other colleges.

Students have been using a test version for months, and Mr. Winstein said the system was still evolving. The prototype, for example, shows the name of the person who is programming whatever 80-minute block of music is playing. Mr. Winstein said he once received an e-mail message from a fellow student complimenting him on his choice of music (Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 8) and telling him "I'd like to get to know you better." She signed the note, "Sex depraved freshman."

Mr. Winstein, who has a girlfriend, politely declined the offer, and said he realized that he might need to add a feature that would let users control the system anonymously.
Associated Press
Song-Sharing Web Site in South Korea Fined
Fri Oct 24, 1:39 PM ET

SEOUL, South Korea - The operators of a Korean-language Web site that allows users to share songs free of charge were convicted Friday of aiding and condoning copyright violations.


The District Civil Court in Suwon, south of Seoul, imposed a fine of 19.6 million won ($17,000) on Yang Jung-hwan and his brother, Il-hwan, who created the file-sharing Web site Soribada  "Sea of Sound" in Korean  in 2000.

Soribada provided software and a computer server to aid illegal song-sharing among its users, and thus violated copyright owners' "rights to reproduce and transmit" songs, said judge Kim Sun-hye, who presided over a civil suit.

The brothers face a separate criminal lawsuit. If they are convicted there of the same charges, they could face up to five years in jail.

The Yangs offered no immediate comment on Friday. They earlier denied any wrongdoing.

Soribada enables users to search each other's computers for music files and download them.

Such exchanges are popular in South Korea (news - web sites), where 70 percent of homes have high-speed broadband Internet access that allows users to download a song in less than half a minute.

Local music labels filed suits in 2001. They say they have lost millions of dollars in album sales because of Soribada, which has an estimated 4.5 million users.

The Yangs say their Web site only provides private channels of communication and that they cannot control or monitor users' activities and should not be held responsible.

A Seoul criminal court threw out the case against the duo in May, saying prosecutors failed to state how the brothers violated copyright laws.

Prosecutors later revived their case with more evidence, and the criminal lawsuit continues.
Federal Computer Week
EPA blasts e-rulemaking audit
BY Sara Michael
Oct. 24, 2003

Environmental Protection Agency officials questioned the timing for an audit of an e-rulemaking initiative that had been running for only a few weeks at the time of the review.

The General Accounting Office released a report this week on Regulations.gov, an EPA-managed initiative which allows agencies to electronically publish regulations and seek public comment. The Regulations.gov site, the report said, received few public comments, made navigation difficult and did not provide electronic access to supporting materials.

GAO officials conducted the audit between February and April 2003, just after Regulations.gov was launched in the last week of January.

"It's unfortunate that the timing was when it was," said the EPA's chief information officer Kim Nelson. "We didn't have time to really roll it out. When you roll out a computer system you can roll them out in phases. So it's a little odd that the timing was when it was."

The first phase was an interim system that only handled comments from regulations coming from the EPA headquarters, Nelson said. Subsequent phases would incorporate field offices.

"[The GAO] shows a number of filings or notices or regs were not available for elect comment submissions," Nelson said. "All the ones they found were in the regions, and they hadn't been a part of the rollout of the early phase of the system."

Many of the enhancements recommended by GAO had already been identified by EPA officials for later Regulations.gov installments, she said. The most effective audits are conducted one or two years -- not two weeks -- into a system's operation, Nelson said.

"It does a disservice of the overall goal here," Nelson said of the audit. "To question now the validity of that system only serves to undermine the progress we are making. It would be certainly doing a disservice to the citizen if the project were slowed down because someone wants to question the decisions made."

Some outside observers have wondered why the EPA was selected as the managing partner for the initiative when the agency's own E-Docket system had flaws. But an independent analysis last year of the EPA and about a half dozen other agencies showed the EPA's project was the closest to meeting Regulations.gov's requirements, Nelson said.
Federal Computer Week
E-authentication architecture due in December
BY Diane Frank
Oct. 23, 2003 

Look for draft architecture by mid-December to replace the original concept of a gateway to secure agencies' electronic transactions, the person overseeing the administration's E-Authentication initiative said this week.

Officials recently convened a technology advisory council to look at the state of the authentication industry, from passwords to public-key infrastructure. That council's new architecture working group will meet for the first time next week, said Steve Timchak, director of the E-Authentication initiative at the General Services Administration this week.

"We need to begin to look at an authentication architecture rather than a central gateway," Timchak said, speaking at the Federal Information Assurance Conference in College Park, Md.

A prototype gateway is already in use at the Social Security Administration, but officials found that they had to develop custom code for every agency application that needed to use the gateway -- and that was just not feasible, Timchak said.

The General Accounting Office last week issued a report criticizing delays in the deployment of the gateway and the GSA-led team's plans for buying the solution. Following up on the report, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, issued a letter to GSA Administrator Stephen Perry outlining his concerns that E-Authentication delays could ripple through e-government work at all federal agencies.

Moving to the draft architecture should make it much easier for agencies to develop their own authentication measures for initiatives and services, Timchak said.

"I think this is an important step," he said. "It provides a standard application programming interface that agencies can map to -- the E-Authentication Gateway did not afford us that opportunity...We think that we are at the point where there is sufficient interoperability in a number of products that we can run with it."

Officials with the E-Authentication program are working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop an authentication interoperability lab that can test products and publish a list of those that will work together, Timchak said.

And commercial and government experts will form an Electronic Authentication Council to develop identity management rules for areas such as trust standards for credential issuers and third-party credentials. The council's first meeting will be Dec. 10, Timchak said.
Government Computer News

Spectrum auctions could fund educational IT

By Joab Jackson
GCN Staff

Up to $5.4 billion in proceeds from the Federal Communications Commission?s future sales of electromagnetic spectrum could go into digital outreach under a bill sponsored by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.).

The Learning Federation of Washington, an educational technology R&D consortium, said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) will cosponsor Dodd?s Digital Opportunity Investment Trust bill, which calls for funding technologies that can place educational materials online.

Dodd last year introduced a similar bill, S 2603, with Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.). That bill never got out of committee.

This year?s legislation will be based on a report that Congress commissioned in February. The report, Creating the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust: A Proposal to Transform Learning and Training for the 21st Century, was prepared by the Learning Federation and the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit policy advisory organization.

The report recommended funding digital outreach with 30 percent of the proceeds from future spectrum auctions to wireless and broadcast companies. The Learning Federation estimated total proceeds at about $18 billion.

The report recommended that the trust be managed by a nine-member board that would disburse grants to public institutions, companies and individuals. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration would provide financial oversight.

The fund could form the foundation of educational technologies in much the same way the National Science Foundation spurs new research in science, said Larry Grossman, a former president of the news division of NBC and a contributor to the report.
Government Computer News
Online catalog will hold all federal forms
By Matt McLaughlin

A key component of the Business Gateway project, the eForms Catalog, will compile all public federal forms into an online collection, according to officials working on the project.

The General Services Administration, which is working with the Small Business Administration on the project, one of the 25 Quicksilver e-government initiatives, has awarded a $1.8 million, two-year contract to Sytel Inc. of Bethesda, Md., to develop the catalog.

GSA is working on the eForms Catalog, while the SBA, the lead on the project, develops the portal architecture.

The first step will be to list every government form for businesses and citizensabout 7,100 in alland consolidate them, said Keith Thurston, the assistant deputy associate administrator in GSA?s Office of E-Government and Technology.

?Hopefully, we?ll never have to deal with 7,100 forms,? Thurston said. ?Over time, we hope to reduce the number.?

The development work will have three phases:

In Phase 1, Sytel will develop the basic portal and catalog over the next four to six months, and agencies will populate it with forms.
Next, developers will build an engine for users to file forms electronically.
In the third phase, project officials will add other services to the portal.

The catalog will have a wizard interface that helps users determine which forms to file. The wizard will prompt users to answer a series of questions and then show them the appropriate forms. The technology is similar to that of the Benefits.gov Web site, another Quicksilver project, which determines government programs for which a user is eligible by asking questions, Thurston said.

Users also will be able to search for forms grouped by category or by agency.

Project officials said they hope the catalog will help agencies meet the requirements of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act.

Most agencies failed to meet this month?s deadline for GPEA compliance, but Thurston said the eForms Catalog will give them a ?technology boost. One of the reasons why this was developed was because it helps agencies comply with GPEA,? he said.
Government Computer News

OMB backs off plans for central authentication gateway

By Jason Miller
GCN Staff

The administration is scrapping plans for its online E-Authentication gateway, which had been touted as a cornerstone of e-government.

?E-Authentication is moving in a new technical direction that is not centered around the development of a gateway," said Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget?s administrator for e-government and IT.

The decision follows the release of a scathing General Accounting Office report on the project and inquiries from lawmakers.

Evans would not elaborate on the new plans for E-Authentication.

Meanwhile, the General Services Administration, the project?s leader, has come under fire from lawmakers, who want explanations about why the Quicksilver project is not moving forward.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) recently asked GSA whether the project would be completed by March, as planned, and if a delay in the gateway?s fielding would have a domino effect on the other 24 Quicksilver e-government initiatives.

In a letter to GSA administrator Stephen Perry earlier this month, the chairman of the House Government Reform Committee requested a briefing on GSA?s efforts to address E-Authentication?s problems, which were detailed in the GAO report done for Davis.

?According to GAO, essential activities, such as developing authentication profiles for the other 24 initiatives, have not been completed,? Davis said. ?GSA also eliminated a step in the acquisition process to award a new contract for the operational systems. This action could mean the GSA will miss an opportunity to explore other potential solutions for designing the gateway.?

GAO reported that GSA has reached few of its policy, procurement and technology objectives for E-Authentication, which OMB has touted as the central cog for e-government.

?The modest progress achieved to date calls into question the likelihood that the project can successfully field an operational gateway, even within the revised schedule,? noted the report, Electronic Government: Planned E-Authentication Gateway Faces Formidable Development Challenges. (see:

GSA expected to finish the gateway last month, but OMB extended the deadline to March. That deadline now might be irrelevant given the changes planned for federal authentication.

GSA declined to comment on the letter from Davis.

Davis said his chief concerns stem from GAO?s finding that GSA?s project schedule is unrealistic.

The auditors said GSA must:

Establish policies for consistency and interoperability among different authentication systems and develop technical standards

Finish defining user authentication requirements for the 24 other e-government projects. GSA said 12 have been completed

Deal with funding, security and privacy problems.

GAO does not believe the development work has been mishandled, but the agency should take the time necessary, said John de Ferrari, an assistant director in GAO?s Office of Information Management Issues. Developing policy and achieving interoperability are GSA?s main hurdles, he said.
USA Today
New police cars equipped with voice recognition
By David Tirrell-Wysocki, The Associated Press
Posted 10/27/2003 10:00 AM

DURHAM, N.H.  A police officer sees a bank robbery suspect speed by and says "pursuit." Automatically, the cruiser's blue lights, siren, flashing headlights and video camera turn on. The car also sends a message to dispatch giving the location and saying the officer is chasing someone.
This voice-recognition system is not a prototype  it's on patrol in New Hampshire today, and if the robbery scenario were to occur, officers could keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road instead of fiddling with switches, buttons, dials and microphones as they weave through traffic.

It's called Project 54, after the 1960s police television comedy "Car 54, Where Are You?," and its global positioning system even answers the show title's question.

University of New Hampshire engineers started developing the system in 1999 after they witnessed the number of tasks officers perform behind the wheel.

"To pull you over for doing one thing, they have to do 12 different things," engineer Brett Vinciguerra said. "They have to turn the lights on, turn the siren on, figure out where they are, pick up the radio, turn on the video camera, radio in that they are pulling someone over."

After two years of testing, state police have about 75 smart cruisers on patrol, with several more added weekly. UNH and several surrounding communities also use the smarter cars.

A system with similar goals is being developed by Visteon Corp. of Dearborn, Mich. Called TACNET, a prototype is being tested by North Carolina State Police and in Maryland, Michigan and California. It should be on routine patrol this fall, said sales manager Jeff Pauley.

Users of Project 54 say it has transformed radio communications for them. Instead of tapping a button to change channels, an officer now presses a button on the steering wheel  a reprogrammed cruise control switch  and tunes the radio to any community or troop station by calling out its name.

The system uses a variety of standard voice-recognition programs, though officers can still operate equipment by hand.

"Finding your channel out of 256 while you are trying to maneuver around traffic and through traffic can be a little stressful," says New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Mark Liebl, who has driven a smart cruiser for two years as Project 54's main guinea pig.

UNH professor William Lenharth, the lead engineer, remembers the first time he sat in Liebl's cruiser. The front seat was jammed with equipment, and Liebl constantly reached away from the wheel.

"He said, 'I just feel around for things,'" Lenharth said. "I'm thinking, 'This is really pretty bad.'"

Vincent Stile, president of the Association of Police Communications Officials, kicked Project 54's tires at a recent convention and says he'd recommend it widely.

"It's not a novelty," said Stile, head of radio operations for the Suffolk County Police Department on Long Island, N.Y. "It should be put into play."

The system was born out of a New Hampshire tragedy in 1997, when a gunman killed two troopers, a part-time judge and a newspaper editor in the remote town of Colebrook. As local, state, county and federal officers from Vermont and New Hampshire tracked the killer, many couldn't talk to each other by radio.

In response, agencies converted to digital systems to transmit voice and data. Adding computers was a logical next step, but with so much equipment already in cruisers, they had to consolidate. The program was helped by $15 million in federal grants.

An increasing number of police agencies around the country have access to FBI and other databases through wireless digital communications. Project 54 enhances that feature by allowing officers to interact by voice rather than typing queries into a computer.

Liebl said getting driver or criminal records now is a cinch.

Previously, he radioed dispatch, waited his turn behind other calls, gave a driver's license number or name and birthdate, waited for the dispatcher to run the check, then either tried to remember the information as the dispatcher read it back or stopped to jot it down.

Now, he hits the talk button, announces he wants a license check and calls the license number into a microphone mounted near the visor. Within eight seconds, the information is retrieved from the cruiser computer, which verbally relays it and displays it on a screen mounted to his right, below the dashboard.

Liebl said the process makes it easier, and safer, to keep an eye on a suspect.

The heart of the UNH system is a small computer in a console between the front seats, with several cigarette-pack-sized control boxes in the trunk that let the computer communicate with the cruiser equipment.

Most of the hardware can be bought off the shelf at electronics and other stores for about $4,000, Lenharth said.

Lenharth plans to license the software to police agencies for a couple hundred dollars and hopes a police-equipment maker will step in to mass-produce the controllers.

So far, it appears Project 54's only major alternative is Visteon's TACNET system, which uses a slightly different format.

TACNET is built around two computers in the trunk, with a screen mounted in the dash. Unlike Car 54, it can project information such as license checks on the inside of the windshield so an officer can read it and still keep an eye on a stopped driver.

But TACNET's equipment takes up valuable trunk space, making it unacceptable for police agencies needing that real estate for spare tires and other equipment.

Visteon plans to market its complete TACNET system for less than $10,000 per cruiser, Pauley said. He said Visteon may also seek to work with UNH.

Project 54's team of six faculty members and 14 graduate students continues to work on enhancements.

Within a year, Vinciguerra said, officers will be able to send messages or turn on cruiser equipment with a handheld device while outside their cars. That would, for instance, allow a wounded officer who might be unable to use a two-way radio to broadcast an automatic emergency message.

Such a device might have saved a life in the 1997 New Hampshire incident that prompted Project 54, as one mortally wounded trooper sought shelter in a field when another drove up and was killed before he knew what was happening.
Wired News
Three R's: Reading, Writing, RFID 
By Julia Scheeres
02:00 AM Oct. 24, 2003 PT

Gary Stillman, the director of a small K-8 charter school in Buffalo, New York, is an RFID believer.

While privacy advocates fret that the embedded microchips will be used to track people surreptitiously, Stillman said he believes that RFID tags will make his inner city school safer and more efficient.

Stillman has gone whole-hog for radio-frequency technology, which his year-old Enterprise Charter School started using last month to record the time of day students arrive in the morning. In the next months, he plans to use RFID to track library loans, disciplinary records, cafeteria purchases and visits to the nurse's office. Eventually he'd like to expand the system to track students' punctuality (or lack thereof) for every class and to verify the time they get on and off school buses.

"That way, we could confirm that Johnny Jones got off at Oak and Hurtle at 3:22," Stillman said. "All this relates to safety and keeping track of kids.... Eventually it will become a monitoring tool for us."

Radio-frequency identification tags -- which have been hailed as the next-generation bar code -- consist of a microchip outfitted with a tiny antenna that broadcasts an ID number to a reader unit. The reader searches a database for the number and finds the related file, which contains the tagged item's description, or in the case of Enterprise Charter, the student's information.

Unlike bar codes, which must be manually scanned, RFID-tagged items can be read when they are in proximity to a reader unit, essentially scanning themselves. The school uses passive RFID tags that are activated when radio waves from the reader reach the chip's antenna. (Active RFID tags incorporate a battery that constantly broadcasts the chip's ID number and are much more expensive.)

The technology has raised a ruckus in recent months, as companies such as Wal-Mart move from bar codes to RFID to track merchandise and libraries place the chips in books to streamline loans. Privacy advocates worry that the technology will be used to track people without their knowledge.

But for Stillman, whose public school is located in a gritty Buffalo neighborhood, RFID is about accounting for the whereabouts of his charges and streamlining functions.

"Before, everything was done manually -- each teacher would take attendance and send it down to the office," he said. "Now it's automatic, and it saves us a lot of time."

The charter school's 422 students wear small plastic cards around their necks that have their photograph, name and grade printed on them, and include an embedded RFID chip. As the children enter the school, they approach a kiosk where a reader activates the chip's signal and displays their photograph. The students touch their picture, and the time of their entry into the building is recorded in a database. A school staffer oversees the check-in process.

The school spent $25,000 on the ID system. The $3 ID tags students wear around their necks at all times incorporate the same Texas Instruments smart labels used in the wristbands worn by inmates at the Pima County jail in Texas. Similar wristbands are used to track wounded U.S. soldiers and POWs in Iraq and by the Magic Waters theme park in Illinois for cashless purchases.

But the Buffalo school is believed to be the first facility to use the technology to identify and track children.

Stillman was tipped off to RFID by the vice principal's husband, who works at a Buffalo Web design studio that is partnered with Intuitek, the company that designed the school's system.

Stillman originally wanted the RFID tags sewn directly into the students' uniforms, but teachers feared that the kids might simply swap uniforms to dupe the system, so he decided to have students wear the picture tags around their necks instead.

Privacy experts expressed dismay at the idea of using RFID tags on children.

"I think the Buffalo experiment is getting children ready for the brave new world, where people are watched 24/7 in the name of security," said Richard Smith, an Internet privacy and security consultant. "My main concern is that once we start carrying around RFID-tagged items on our person such as access cards, cell phones, loyalty cards, clothing, etc., we can be tracked without our knowledge or permission by a network of RFID readers attached to the Internet."

Lee Tien, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation -- who has vehemently opposed a San Francisco Public Library Commission plan to use the chips to track its inventory -- was also critical of the program.

"In general, all person-location-tracking technologies raise privacy issues, from hiding beepers on people's cars or in people's clothing to video surveillance," Tien said. "Insecure location-tracking technologies raise the further question of who is tracking, as well as who has access to any tracking records kept by the system."

Intuitek President David M. Straitiff said his company built privacy protections into the school's RFID system, including limiting the reading range of the kiosks to less than 20 inches and making students touch the kiosk screen instead of passively being scanned by it. He pooh-poohed the notion that the system would be abused.

"(It's) the same as swiping a mag-strip card for access control, or presenting a photo ID badge to a security guard, both of which are commonplace occurrences," Straitiff said.

Additionally, Stillman said that the RFID-linked databases would require separate passwords to access students' disciplinary, attendance, health, library and cafeteria records.

"It's as private as anything else can be when your information is stored on a server," he said.
Wired News
Feds to Fight Digital TV Piracy
By Reuters 
11:21 AM Oct. 22, 2003 PT

The Federal Communications Commission will likely adopt rules that will allow programmers to attach a code to digital broadcasts that will in most cases bar consumers from sending copies of popular shows around the world, said the officials, who declined further identification.

The approval, expected as early as next week, would be another step along the long road to the higher-quality, crisper digital signals, which have been slowed because of worries about piracy, high-priced equipment and limited available programming.

An agency spokeswoman declined to comment on when the five commissioners would vote on the issue.

Consumer advocates have warned that consumers will have to buy new DVD players if they want to play programs that have been recorded on machines that recognize the digital flag. But agency officials stressed that always happens when new technology hits the market.

"It will simply prevent consumers from illegal piracy, from mass distribution over the Internet, which is the problem with the music file-sharing," Kenneth Ferree, head of the FCC's media bureau, said.

Consumers will still be able to make unlimited copies of their favorite shows and watch them in various rooms of their homes, but they will not be able to send them over unsecured networks until protections are established.

"Why should anyone in the world buy if it's on the Internet?" said Andrew Setos, president of engineering at News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group.

Initially, the FCC is aiming for a relatively open process for approving equipment that will read encrypted shows, officials said, and the agency will likely retain some oversight along the way to help ensure a fair review of new technologies.

Programmers had wanted a role in approving television equipment to ensure that security features were robust enough. But some technology companies, such as Microsoft had worried they would be shut out from developing new ways to deliver protected digital content.

IBM has been developing technology so that someday consumers will be able transmit shows over secured networks, such as between their homes and offices.

Television set makers hope to begin installing the necessary equipment for the broadcast flag in new sets to go on sale next year.

"As a solution for addressing the single narrow problem of Internet redistribution, this is a pretty good solution," said Dave Arland, a spokesman for Thomson, which manufactures RCA television sets.

But consumer advocates warn that it would make obsolete 50 million DVD players already in Americans' homes.

"If a consumer records a program on a new Broadcast Flag-equipped machine and then tries to take that program and play it on Grandma's older DVD player, it's just not going to work," said Chris Murray, legislative counsel for Consumers Union.
Black Box Voting Blues    
Electronic ballot technology makes things easy. But some computer-security experts warn of the possibility of stolen elections 
Time Magazine Article

Nov. 3 issue   After the traumas of butterfly ballots and hanging chad, election officials are embracing a brave new ballot: sleek, touch-screen terminals known as direct recording electronic voting systems (DRE). States are starting to replace their Rube Goldbergesque technology with digital devices like the Diebold Accu-Vote voting terminal. Georgia uses Diebolds exclusively, and other states have spent millions on such machines, funded in part by the 2002 federal Help America Vote Act. Many more terminals are on the way.

       UNFORTUNATELY, THE machines have ?a fatal disadvantage,? says Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, who?s sponsoring legislation on the issue. ?They?re unverifiable. When a voter votes, he or she has no way of knowing whether the vote is recorded.? After you punch the buttons to choose your candidates, you may get a final screen that reflects your choicesbut there?s no way to tell that those choices are the ones that ultimately get reported in the final tally. You simply have to trust that the software inside the machine is doing its job.
        It gets scarier. The best minds in the computer-security world contend that the voting terminals can?t be trusted. Listen, for example, to Avi Rubin, a computer-security expert and professor at Johns Hopkins University who was slipped a copy of Diebold?s source code earlier this year. After he and his students examined it, he concluded that the protections against fraud and tampering were strictly amateur hour. ?Anyone in my basic security classes would have done better,? he says. The cryptography was weak and poorly implemented, and the smart-card system that supposedly increased security actually created new vulnerabilities. Rubin?s paper concluded that the Diebold system was ?far below even the most minimal security standards.? Naturally, Diebold disagrees with Rubin. ?We?re very confident of accuracy and security in our system,? says director of Diebold Election Systems Mark Radke.
        After Rubin?s paper appeared, Maryland officialswho were about to drop $57 million on Diebold devicescommissioned an outside firm to look at the problem. The resulting report confirmed many of Rubin?s findings and found that the machines did not meet the state?s security standards. However, the study also said that in practice some problems were mitigated, and others could be fixed, an attitude Rubin considers overly optimistic. ?You?d have to start with a fresh design to make the devices secure,? he says.
       In the past few months, the computer- security community has been increasingly vocal on the problems of DRE terminals. ?I think the risk [of a stolen election] is extremely high,? says David Dill, a Stanford computer scientist. The devices are certified, scientists say, but the process focuses more on making sure that the machines don?t break down than on testing computer code for Trojan horses and susceptibility to tampering. While there?s no evidence that the political establishment actually wants vulnerable machines, the Internet is buzz-ing with conspiracy theories centering on these ?black box? voting devices. (The biggest buzz focuses on the 2002 Georgia gubernatorial election, won by a Republican underdog whose win confounded pollsters.) Suspicions run even higher when people learn that some of those in charge of voting technology are themselves partisan. Walden O?Dell, the CEO of Diebold, is a major fund-raiser for the Bush re-election campaign who recently wrote to contributors that he was ?committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president next year.? (He later clarified that he wasn?t talking about rigging the machines. Whew.)
        To remedy the problem, technologists and allies are rallying around a scheme called verifiable voting. This supplements electronic voting systems with a print-out that affirms the voter?s choices. The printout goes immediately into a secure lockbox. If there?s a need for a recount, the paper ballots are tallied. It?s not a perfect system, but it could keep the machines honest. If Representative Holt?s proposed Voter Confidence Act is passed, verification will be the law of the land by the 2004 election, but prospects are dim, as the committee chairman, Bob Ney of Ohio, is against it.
       Critics of verifiable voting do have a point when they note that the printouts are susceptible to some of the same kinds of tricks once played with paper ballots. But there?s a promise of more elegant solutions for electronic voting that are private, verifiable and virtually tamperproof. Mathematician David Chaum has been working on an ingenious scheme based on encrypted receipts. But whatever we wind up using, it?s time for politicians to start listening to the geeks. They start from the premise that democracy deserves no less than the best election technology possible, so that the vote of every citizen will count. Can anyone possibly argue with that?