<-- The Filter --> January 1999

January 4, 1999
No. 1.8  .  The Filter  .  01.04.99

Your regular dose of public interest Internet news and commentary from
the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School


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> Critical Mess: A California man is fighting a court order barring him from sending thousands of email messages disparaging Intel Corp. directly to Intel employees at work. The man, fired from Intel after a bitter worker's compensation battle, went bankrupt and is being represented pro bono by a local attorney. Both claim that the court order is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. Intel argues that the mailings are "spam," essentially steal potential productive labor hours from the company, and use company equipment (such as mail servers) without permission. A hearing is scheduled for January 11 in California Superior Court.


> Death by Hacking: Two hackers were sentenced to death in Shanghai for hacking into a Chinese bank's computers and stealing about $85,000. The men, twin brothers, rigged the bank's computers to allow them to make withdrawals against phony deposits. The court said it wanted to establish a precedent for taking a "tough stance" on high-tech crime.


> No More Teacher's Dirty Looks: A federal judge ruled that a Missouri high school student's free-speech rights were violated when he was suspended for posting criticism of the school on his personal web page. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of the student, who is now protected by a court injunction barring the school district from punishment for the incident and any further restriction of his ability to post material on the World Wide Web.


> Stung by Y2K If the Social Security system can manage Y2K compliancy in time, there's no excuse for anyone else not to. At least, that's what the medical offices that recently filed a class-action lawsuit against IBM think. Big Blue sold the plaintiffs a medical record tracking software package that will cease functioning when the calendar turns to January 1, 2000. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a patch and an apology.


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This week we asked a panel of Internet thinkers to answer the following question:

* What, in your opinion, was the single most profound event or decision in 1998 which will fundamentally change the landscape of Internet law and policy in the next millennium?

For a sampling of the answers, follow the link below:


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      * F.A.C.E.ing Intel

The site produced by Ken Hamidi, the former Intel employee who has been barred from sending email critical of Intel to current employees of the company (see In The News above).

      * Hack This

The New Hacker's Dictionary can help demystify the sometimes arcane chicanery of hacking—the sport of the independent, anti-establishment and populist hacker movement.

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"I was describing this Y2K problem to Hillary, and she got so technophobic that I gave her a little digital alarm clock for Christmas and she gave it back to me ... and she said 'Why don't you just go get me one that winds up that I can change in my hand?'"
—President Bill Clinton


"A company need not give up intellectual property in order to conform to antitrust law."
—Chuck Malloy, Intel spokesman, in response to the upcoming Federal Trade Commission hearings about alleged anticompetitive practices.


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Comments? Questions? Opinions? Submissions?
Send a letter to the editor at filter-editor@cyber.harvard.edu

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The Berkman Center is studying possible individual and organizational membership structures for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"), the new nonprofit corporation formed to take responsibility for allocation of IP address space, assignment of protocol parameters, and management of the domain name and root server systems.

How can a legitimate and fairly represented community be brought together to decide matters affecting the entire Internet? Can the Net itself be harnessed to create fair and effective methods of representation? How can the interests of future Internet users be accounted for today?

We want to hear from you. Learn more about the project and how you can get involved here:


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In its continued effort to foster civic engagement and education on the Internet, the Berkman Center is collaborating with the Films for Justice Institute at Seattle University School of Law to launch the "Lessons from Woburn" project. The goal is at once to open a public dialogue on the moral and political issues raised by the book and movie versions of "A Civil Action," and to use both the book and movie as tools to teach multiple levels of law to many people—from those who want to know what a civil action is to law students who need to know how to file one. A Berkman Center mini-conference to kick off the project is scheduled for January 30, 1999.


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Last updated

January 16, 2008