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TELECOM Digest     Sun, 24 Apr 2005 19:17:00 EDT    Volume 24 : Issue 181

Inside This Issue:                             Editor: Patrick A. Townson

    Peer-To-Peer Users Share More Than Stolen Songs (Lisa Minter)
    CMU Says Hacker Broke Into Computers (Monty Solomon)
    Law May Help Freeze ID Theft/2003 Law Gives Californians Help (Solomon)
    Politics in Telecom (
    Verizon/MCI (Steven Lichter)
    Re: How We Made Our Own Carnivore (John McHarry)
    Re: How We Made Our Own Carnivore (Dean)
    Re: Lingo (Primus Telecommunications) Horror Story (R. T. Wurth)
    Re: It Happened Again (Walter Dnes)
    Re: Last Laugh! One Way to Get 911's Attention (Tony P.)

Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the
Internet.  All contents here are copyrighted by Patrick Townson and
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viruses, porn, spam, and miscellaneous junk are definitely unwelcome.

We must fight spam for the same reason we fight crime: not because we
are naive enough to believe that we will ever stamp it out, but because
we do not want the kind of world that results when no one stands
against crime.   Geoffrey Welsh


See the bottom of this issue for subscription and archive details
and the name of our lawyer; other stuff of interest.  


Date: 24 Apr 2005 14:13:41 -0700
From: Lisa Minter <>
Subject: Peer-To-Peer Users Share More Than Stolen Songs

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - College kids looking for free music may have
popularized Internet file-trading software, but the technology is now
used by everyone from penny-pinching phone callers to polar explorers.

Even the recording industry is changing its tune as labels that for
years have waged a legal war against "peer-to-peer" companies are now
allowing authorized technology.

"I never thought you'd hear this from me, but the record industry has,
mostly, been fairly cooperative," said Wayne Rosso, who is launching
an authorized service called Mashboxx while
the US Supreme Court considers the entertainment industry's copyright
suit against Grokster, his old peer-to-peer company.

Peer-to-peer, or P2P, software allows users to connect directly to
each others' computers, bypassing the powerful servers that underpin
much of the Internet. Web pages, spreadsheets, PowerPoint
presentations and other material usually stored on servers can thus be
made public directly from a user's hard drive.

That makes online communication much simpler, said Steve Crocker, who
helped develop an early version of the Internet as a graduate student
in the 1960s.

"When you think about the amount of hardware and bandwidth and storage
that we all have available on the most common of machines and then you
think about how hard it is to actually work together, there's a huge
disparity," said Crocker, whose Shinkuro software allows people in different locations to work
on the same document. Encrypted communication keeps snoops and hackers
at bay.

High-school teachers in Washington have turned to Shinkuro to develop
lesson plans, and researchers on a polar icebreaker have used it to
send back photos of unusual ice formations, Crocker said.

Two online standards-setting bodies, the Internet Engineering Task
Force and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers,
have developed agendas and other material with Shinkuro, he said.

Skype Technologies' peer-to-peer Internet phone service
( ) allows users anywhere in the globe to talk to
one another for free.

A service called "Freenet Web" ( )
helps people communicate in countries like China, where online content
is rigorously censored. Users donate portions of their hard drive to
host Web pages and other files, and the software keeps their
identities private.


On March 29, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard the recording
industry's case against Grokster, Rosso sat in a nearby hotel room
searching the Internet for free music.

Scouring several P2P networks at once, he quickly found and downloaded
a copy of the Beatles' "Drive My Car." But the version that came out
of his laptop's tiny speakers included a voice-over urging him to buy
an authorized copy. One click and 99 cents later, a voiceover-free
version of the song filled the room.

Rosso's Mashboxx software is one of several
P2P platforms that actually promise to pay record labels when their
songs are copied.

Mashboxx relies on a technology called Snocap (  )
that can identify songs by their digital "fingerprints" and allow
copyright owners to control them as they wish. A record label could
decide to make a low-fidelity version of the song available for free,
for instance, or let the song play three times before requiring a

A test version of Mashboxx should be out by May, Rosso

Another industry-authorized P2P platform called Peer Impact,
currently in an invitation-only test mode, adds an extra incentive:
Users get credit toward more music purchases when others copy their

That approach has been used for a year now by a company
called Weed ( ), whose format has proven 
popular with independent artists.

Users don't need special software to download Weed songs. A band can
sell its Weed-encoded songs through its own Web site, but it also
makes money when fans copy songs from one another.

"It's completely decentralized," Weed President John Beezer said. "We
want people who are interested to find music quickly."

Beezer said Weed has been most successful so far with cult artists
like Sananda Maitreya ( ), formerly
known as Terence Trent D'Arby.

Agreements with major labels are in the works, Beezer said.
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily, and discuss these items 24/7 in our conference room


Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 01:09:26 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: CMU Says Hacker Broke Into Computers

More than 5,000 alerted to possible identity thefts
By Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A hacker who tapped into business school computers at Carnegie Mellon
University may have compromised sensitive personal data belonging to
5,000 to 6,000 graduate students, staff, alumni and others, officials
said yesterday.

The breach confirmed by officials in the Tepper School of Business is
the latest in a recent string of campus computer break-ins nationally
and the second since early March affecting Tepper.

There is no evidence that any data, including Social Security and
credit card numbers, have been misused, officials said. But they have
begun sending e-mails and letters alerting those affected.

They include graduate students and graduate degree alumni from 1997 to
2004, master's of business administration applicants from September
2002 through May 2004, doctoral applicants from 2003 to this year, and
participants in a conference that was being arranged by the school's


Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 12:18:11 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Law May Help Freeze ID Theft / 2003 Law Helps Californians

Law May Help Freeze ID Theft
A 2003 statute allows Californians to block access to their credit 
reports. Few knew about it until the ChoicePoint scandal.

By David Colker and Rong-Gong Lin II
Times Staff Writers

California residents have the ultimate weapon against identity theft --
but few know it.

That may be changing, however, as a rash of security breaches putting
personal information at risk has heightened public concern about

The weapon is a little-known California law -- the only one of its
kind in effect -- allowing residents to freeze access to their credit
reports. Such a step effectively prevents identity thieves from
opening unauthorized credit accounts in the names of their victims.

Inquiries about the law, which took effect in 2003, have risen
dramatically in the last few months, state officials said. And it has
generated attention across the country as well: This year, 22 states
considered legislation that allows consumers to freeze their credit


Subject: Politics in Telecom
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 20:48:42 GMT
Organization: Road Runner High Speed Online,8816,1053595,00.html

Any Kerry Supporters On The Line?
The Bush Administration Punishes Some Democrat Backers



The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a
year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry but
important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum


At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the
meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House
because they supported John Kerry's 2004 campaign.


Only after the start of Bush's second term did a political litmus test
emerge, industry sources say.

The White House admits as much: "We wanted people who would represent
the Administration positively, and -- call us nutty -- it seemed like
those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November
would have some difficulty doing that," says White House spokesman
Trent Duffy. Those barred from the trip include employees of Qualcomm
and Nokia, two of the largest telecom firms operating in the U.S., as
well as Ibiquity, a digital-radio-technology company in Columbia, Md.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Well, politics is what did me in a few
years ago, as many of you may recall. The Digest was getting, albiet a
very small, allowance monthly from International Telecommunications
Union in Geneva, CH. That is, until I started objecting to the way
that ICANN, Vint Cerf and MCI were administering the 'new internet'
(the post 1994 reforms than ICANN instituted.) Bingo, ITU cut me off
with no further adieu. Of course we did not have (either) Bush in
those days, we had Clinton and Gore (the man who 'invented' -- or was
it 'discovered' -- the internet) but still, one does not speak against
ICANN and the powers that be unless you are independently wealthy or
otherwise live happily on gruel and peanut butter. You'll be sorry if
you do (speak out) as many can tell you.   PAT] 


From: Steven Lichter <>
Subject: Verizon/MCI
Organization: SBC
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 21:11:10 GMT

Anyone think Verizon will give up now?

I sure hope so.  My stock has been in the dumps since GTE merged with
Hell Atlantic.


From: John McHarry <>
Subject: Re: How We Made Our Own Carnivore
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2005 23:36:37 GMT
Organization: EarthLink Inc. --

On Sat, 23 Apr 2005 13:21:18 -0500, Lisa Minter wrote:

> If you like what they have to say, then you can build your own 
> sniffer with this program. Just download the version which goes
> with your operating system:


> We tried it here on Patrick's computer network and it is sitting here
> right now sniffing at his weather station stuff and some email on
> another computer.

It is fine to run a sniffer on your own lan, but larger systems, like
university lans, usually consider a promiscuous ethernet port, which
is key to sniffing, as network abuse. You are likely to get kicked
off, or worse.

For diagnostic sniffing, using Linux, I am partial to Ethereal, which
is mostly a graphic front end to tcpdump. It can be set to trace
specific protocols, which gives it very similar capabilities, although
not as user friendly.


From: Dean <>
Subject: Re: How We Made Our Own Carnivore
Date: 23 Apr 2005 17:06:58 -0700

But Lisa, isn't this rather irresponsible? I mean how can you be sure
this software is only sniffing your own machines (perfectly alright I
guess) and not spying on you (i.e. sending info about you on to
whomever) or spamming other netusers? I assume you don't know the
people behind this software. Don't you think it's better to avoid
installing "mystery" software on any machine, particularly one
connected to the Internet?


Lisa Minter wrote:

> I assume you all know about the FBI and their 'Carnivore' program
> which spies on people by sniffing their computer packets and uses
> this ill-gotten information to get guys in trouble. Some fellows in
> New York City developed their own Carnivore thing based on information
> taken from FBI files. Don't ask me how they got into the FBI files.


> If you like what they have to say, then you can build your own
> sniffer with this program. Just download the version which goes
> with your operating system:


> We tried it here on Patrick's computer network and it is sitting here
> right now sniffing at his weather station stuff and some email on
> another computer. Of course, I presume you could also use this
> Carnivore to spy on people and their credit card numbers or things
> like that on the net, but why would you want to do something wrong
> like steal credit card numbers and passwords?

> If you administer a computer network at your school or company, I
> don't see any reason why you couldn't use this in the routine course
> of your duties at work, etc.  Just use this tool in an ethical and
> honest way, as all guys do when they use their computers; the way the
> government does its business.  Patrick said it should make a good
> worthwhile project for readers this weekend.

> Lisa M.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The people at the Radical Software
Group and can be trusted not to load unwanted junk on
one's computer, and things you might happen to see on other computers
come to you in 'read only' mode. That is, nothing which passes through
the ether that you happen to view can 'jump out' and attach itself to
you. So they are reasonably safe to deal with. Lisa did warn us
against abusing credit card numbers and passwords which happen to pass
through the ether, and the law provides serious penalties against
making personal gain of ill-gotten knowledge which does not belong to
us, just like on ham radio when you are tuning the dial and overhear a
conversation not intended for yourself. You cannot do it!  If you
have any questions about what is, and is not honest on the internet
these days, see our illustrated manual, Honesty and the Internet at and anyway, a _real_man_
always knows how to adjust his computer to avoid stepping in a pile
of dung as he makes his way though the barnyard which used to be the
commons traveling down the non-highway.  PAT]


Subject: Re: Lingo (Primus Telecommunications) Horror Story
From: R. T. Wurth <>
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2005 22:51:10 GMT
Organization: AT&T Worldnet

[posted and mailed]

Ed <> wrote in

> Here's my VOIP phone story:

> I signed up for Lingo on August 13, 2004.  They've never sent me
> equipment and they've never let me quit.

[... details snipped.  ]

> In total, Primus Telecommunications has charged my card a total of 4
> times successfully.  In addition, it has made other unsuccessful
> attempts as well.

> Each time the charge on my card has been reversed by MBNA. So far,
> Primus Telecommunications has received zero dollars from me and has in
> turn given me zero telephone service.

> Today, I received a letter saying I've got 10 days to pay Primus
> Telecommunications 61.99 or they turn me over to a collection agency.


> What would you do if you were in my situation?

> Ed

Know your rights with respect to collection agencies.  Just say "No," 
and they have to leave you alone.  See the Fair Collection Practices
Act summary at the US Gov't's Consumer Info Center:  


 Rich Wurth / / Rumson, NJ  USA


From: News Subsystem <>
Subject: Re: It Happened Again
Date: 24 Apr 2005 22:39:00 GMT

TELECOM Digest Editor wrote:

>> You might want to think about investing in a good anti-spam appliance.
>> Of course for that to be feasible, you must host your own email (run
>> your own mail server) which I am not sure you do.

>  [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Alas, I do not. The mail server is
>  purely part of the MIT system, besides which, I am not sure I am
>  smart enough to run a mail server. PAT]

There are a couple of services which allow you to administer your
SMTP-stage filters, without having to administer the MTA.  It's not
for everybody.

   - you're basically using a separate ISP for inbound email, so you'll
     have to pay for it.  For someone with your level of incoming traffic,
     that might be a lot.
   - you do have to take responsibility for your own filtering decisions
     and blocking choices.  It does help to understand CIDRs, whois, and
     DNSbls, etc.  My provider has a "user-friendly menu", but to get the
     maximum benefit it helps to dive into the config file with vim
   - you'll probably have to ssh to the provider.
   - you either need to use your provider's email account, or else
     arrange to have them accept email for your domain, and also you
     have to point your MX at their MTA (once they've agreed to accept
     email for your domain)
   - and fer-cryin-out-loud, turn off any secondary MX records.  The
     spammers will pound on them.

Years ago, I was gung-ho on procmail.  Spam evolved, and email went
from almost 100% sendmail to a gazillion different MTAs, with their
own weird header conventions, which made things rather difficult for
my procmail filter.  My procmail filter's false-positive rate went up,
as did its false-negative rate.  I got an account at a provider as
described above, and my incoming spam rate (the part that got through)
went way down.  Out of 780 blocked delivery attempts last month, the
biggest catches were ...

Badly forged HELO = 119
No hostname = 377
Dynamic IP by rDNS regex = 143
Country by rDNS = 58

Walter Dnes; my email address is *ALMOST* like
Delete the "z" to get my real address.  If that gets blocked, follow
the instructions at the end of the 550 message.


From: Tony P. <>
Subject: Re: Last Laugh! One Way to Get 911's Attention
Organization: ATCC
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2005 23:12:59 -0400

In article <>, 

> The Correct Way To Call The Police

> George Phillips of New York City was going up to bed when his wife
> told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed which she
> could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go
> turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing
> things.

> He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and he
> said no. The dispatcher then switched him into a recorded message
> saying that that all patrol officers were busy, and that he should
> simply leave a message for them, then lock his door and an officer
> would be along to take a report when available.

> George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police
> again.

> "Hello I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people
> in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now cause I've
> just shot them all dead". Then he muttered "that will teach them to
> come on my property ... " as he hung up the telephone.

> Within five minutes five police cars, an Armed Response unit, a SWAT
> team and two ambulances showed up at the Phillips residence.  Of
> course, the police caught the burglars red handed.

> One of the Policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd
> shot them!"

> George said, "I thought your recorded message said there was nobody
> available to help me right now!"

Brilliant. Every 911 call should be treated the same way. 

And to think, our current police chief here in Providence is formerly
of the NYPD. Lovely.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: And to think _our_ police chief here in
Independence grew up in the house directly across the street from me
where his parents lived for fifty years until his father died the same
year as mine (1991) and his mother was enrolled in the old people's
home (last year) where my mother is, after his mother suffered a
stroke and a broken hip.) Lee has been chief for a dozen years and was
a city employee for twenty years before that. He has the house up for
sale now, but earlier today I saw him out in the back yard mowing the
grass like he does most Sundays in the spring/summer.

I think this has been a busy weekend for the officers: overheard on
the scanner radio yesterday afternoon, the dispatcher sent officers to
Garden Walk Apartments on North 10th Street, our public assistance
housing project. Later one of the officers was heard saying on the
radio, "second time I have been there today. I told 'him' if I have to
come back any more, someone is going to get locked up." Their problems,
it seems, at the 'projects' always involve Demon Rum and/or Crystal Meth,
or both.  PAT]


TELECOM Digest is an electronic journal devoted mostly but not
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