TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Telecom-Priv/Computer Privacy Digest (Was Re: Started Using VOIP?)

Telecom-Priv/Computer Privacy Digest (Was Re: Started Using VOIP?)

Dennis G. Rears (
Wed, 29 Jun 2005 23:17:57 -0400

<> wrote
in message

> TELECOM Digest Editor <> wrote in message
> It's only been a couple of weeks since I last posted as opposed to a
> decade for my previous post. Thanks for remembering me. It is
> through this digest that I got my interest stoked in telephony.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: And I notice it did not take you
> another decade to write to me again, and for that I thank you! But
> you never did tell me if you were still in the Milwaukee area, nor
> whatever happened to your newsgroup/Digest. PAT]

Warning: This is more history than telecom related. Historical
accuracy may be clouded ...

I forget the dates but it was around 1988-1990. I started the
telecom-priv digest to offload the discussion in TELECOM Digest about
caller-id and blocking. A lot people back then did not know that 800
numbers returned ANI (Now we have 800/888/877/866) and had no idea
that ANI (Automated Number Identification) existed. They thought
that if they blocked caller-id it would also block the 800 service.

My idea at the time was to separate the privacy issues of telecom from
the technical issues. At that time I was a subscriber to the TELECOM
and RISKS digest. Just as the TELECOM digest was an offshoot of an
old USENET group (help me out on this one Pat), I had always wanted to
start my own maillist so I volunteered to set up telecom-priv which at
that time was email only. Also by doing this I had telephone access
to Pat which he rarely gave to any TELECOM Digest subscriber. I
barely knew the difference between tip and ring at the time.

Just to set the stage for where the internet was at that time
(1988???) . At that there was no web, DNS had just replaced the
hosts.txt file for network resolution. The major tcp/ip protocols
were smtp, ftp, telnet, rcmds and nntp. Gopher and WAIS were just
coming on line at this time. Nothing was encrypted; everything was
sent in the clear. Sun had just released the SUN4 architecture. The
"ARPANet" had only a few years ago been separated into the internet
and MILnet.

Prior to this to be on the ARPANet you needed to be a military,
university, or commercial entity dedicated to R&D. UUCP and BITnet
were still major players. There were Bitnet and UUCP email gateways
where you could transverse networks but only for email; no other UDP
or TCP traffic. Most people only had terminals connected to an
internet connected machine. Only scientists and engineers had
directly connected internet nodes. And only a few....

Pat graciously gave me his UNIX shell scripts to send out a digest and
I monkeyed around with my mail system which was not sendmail but MMDF,
a mail system developed at the University of Delaware and University
college of London (UCL) with major enhancements by Mike Muuss et
friends at the Ballistic Research Lab (BRL) at Aberdeen, MD.

Everything was BSD UNIX, SUNOS was just coming out After a couple of
years I decided to morph the telecom-priv to the computer-privacy
digest. At that time I finally had USENET access and software to
create email->USENET traffic. Since it was a moderated group all
submissions would be by email so I did not need a USENET->email
gateway. I did the RFD and call for votes and had the newsgroup
comp.privacy.society and comp-privacy maillist created.

I believe this was done circa 1992. My goal was to have a forum to
discuss how technical advances affected privacy not about privacy in
general. I invested a lot of my time to this forum but was not happy
in the direction it was taking. I remember a candidate for some CA
office complaining that I was censoring him because I denied his post.
I had always wanted the forum to be about how technology affected
privacy not privacy itself. I was also busy at my job (An Army
civilian Computer Engineer) and as an Army Reserve Officer. After
five years of moderation duties I asked for volunteers to take on the
job of moderation.

Len Levine, a professor at the University of Wisconsin took over. My
only request (not requirement) was that I would be offered the
moderator position when he was done. He offered it to me a few years
ago but I couldn't do it. I am now cursed/blessed with the black box
known as Windows which is even more worthless than VMS for scripting.
Pat, I think it is because of Len that you thought I was in Milwaukee.
I have never been in that area. The closest I have been is Rock
Island, IL. I have been at ORD at least 30 times but never to
Chicago. I have been in Morris County, NJ since 1983. My other claim
to fame is I created the page on the web (1991) about running. It was
called the running page. You can look at it now at (Now a historical site).

One thing that is amazing to me is we did what we did out for the love
of it. Now everything is about money. You asked and I gave you a
long answer. If you liked this long winded post I will do another on
my mobile phone experience in Australia in 2002 (hint.. a 20 minute
call from Melbourne to NJ was 1/4 the cost of a 5 minute call from
Perth to Sydney).


(note to Pat. Please correct for errors....)

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Your recollection is quite accurate. I
had assumed _you_ were in Milwaukee because Len Levine is/was around
there. I do not know how I got confused on that. And yes, we did all
our stuff on the net in those days out of love and personal interest
in our topics. Someone once said 1994 was the final year of the net
as we knew and loved it. I do know that year as when all the strangers
started moving into our e-village. Yes, tell us about your mobile
phone experience, and thanks once again for the old memories. PAT]

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