cr> EPIC: Hacker info release; FTC urged on privacy


Richard Moore

Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996
From: "Marc Rotenberg" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Multiple recipients of list •••@••.•••"
Subject: EPIC Alert 3.01


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    Volume 3.01                                  January 11, 1995

                             Published by the
               Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
                             Washington, D.C.

         The EPIC Alert is moving to a new list! To subscribe,
        email: •••@••.•••, with the Subject: Subscribe


[2] EPIC Wins Appeal: "Hacker" Raid Info to be Released

In a case litigated by EPIC staff, the federal appeals court in
Washington, DC, has ordered the U.S. Secret Service to release
information concerning a controversial "hacker" investigation.  The
January 2 ruling partially rejected the agency's three-year attempt to
withhold documents concerning the 1992 "Pentagon City Mall Raid."  In
November of that year, a group of young people affiliated with the
computer magazine "2600" were confronted by mall security personnel,
local police officers and several unidentified individuals in the
Virginia shopping mall.  The group members were ordered to identify
themselves and to submit to searches of their personal property.
Their names were recorded and some of their property was confiscated.

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) filed suit in
federal court in early 1993 seeking the release of relevant Secret
Service records under the Freedom of Information Act.  The litigation
of the case has been handled by the Electronic Privacy Information
Center (EPIC).  In July 1994, U.S. District Judge Louis Oberdorfer
ordered the Secret Service to release the vast majority of documents
it maintains on the incident.  The government appealed that decision
to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,
which partially affirmed the lower court decision in the recent

The appeals court rejected the agency's attempt to invoke a blanket
claim of "source confidentiality" for all information involving
investigations of computer crime, noting that "the Service offered no
evidence that a fear of retaliation by hackers is sufficiently
widespread to justify an inference that sources of information
relating to computer crimes expect their identities and the
information they provide to be kept confidential."  The court did,
however, uphold the agency's claim that information identifying
particular individuals should be withheld from disclosure.

Additional information, including the text of the appellate decision,
is available at:


[4] EPIC Urges FTC to Pursue Strong Privacy Safeguards

EPIC has urged the Federal Trade Commission to take an aggressive stand
in support of on-line privacy. In a letter addressed to FTC Commissioner
Christine Varney, EPIC ask the FTC " to investigate the misuse of
personal information by the direct marketing industry and to begin a
serious and substantive inquiry into the development of appropriate
privacy safeguards for consumers in the information age."

EPIC has asked the FTC to investigate four issues:

"1. How is personal information collected and sold within the industry?
What is the extent of data aggregation on particular individuals? Do
current collection and trade practices violate federal or state law?

"2. Has the Mail Preference Service actually protected the privacy
interests of consumers? Are there better and simpler methods for
consumers to control personal data?

"3. What are the implications of the sale of direct marketing lists to
federal and state investigative agencies? Does this practice violate
privacy rights of American citizens? Should it be regulated or

"4. Could new technologies for anonymous and pseudo-anonymous payment
schemes coupled with enforceable legal rights ensure the development of
on-line commerce that promotes business opportunity and protects
personal privacy? What steps should be taken to pursue these new

A copy of the EPIC letter is available at:

The FTC on-line discussion of privacy issues is at:



 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 Materials may be reposted in their entirety for non-commercial use.