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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: handles1.txt

The Joy of Handles




The Joy of Handles
Mahatma Kane Jeeves
101/138.8
David Lescohier
101/138.0
                          THE JOY OF HANDLES
                          ------------------
                                  or:
             EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ME
                      (but have no right to ask)
                      --------------------------
                             *  *  *  *  *
     We should never so entirely avoid danger as to appear
     irresolute and cowardly.  But, at the same time, we should
     avoid unnecessarily exposing ourselves to danger, than
     which nothing can be more foolish.  [Cicero]


                             *  *  *  *  *



     Do you trust me?

     If you participate in computer conferencing, and you use
     your real name, then you'd better.

     "Why?", you ask.  "What can you do with my name?"  To start
     with, given that and your origin line, I can probably look
     you up in your local phone book, and find out where you
     live.  Even if you are unlisted, there are ways to locate
     you based on your name.  If you own any property, or pay any
     utility bills, your address is a matter of public record.
     Do you have children in the public schools?  It would be
     easy to find out.  But that's just the beginning.

     Former Chairman of the U.S. Privacy Protection Commission
     David F. Linowes, in his book "Privacy in America" (1989),
     writes of New York private investigator Irwin Blye:


         "Challenged to prove his contention that, given a little
         time and his usual fee, he could learn all about an
         individual without even speaking with him, Blye was
         presented with a subject -- a New Jersey
         newspaperman....  The result was a five-page, single-
         spaced, typed report which documented, though not always
         accurately, a wide sweep of the journalist's past, and
         was detailed to the point of disclosing his father's
         income before his retirement."

     Who am I?  If I don't post, you might not even know I exist.
     I could be on your local Police Department, or an agent
     working with the IRS, or some federal law-enforcement
     agency.  I could be a member of some fanatical hate group,
     or criminal organization.  I might even be a former Nixon
     White-House staffer!

     I could be that pyromaniacal teenager you flamed last
     weekend, for posting a step-by-step description of how he
     made plastic explosive in his high-school chem lab.  He
     seemed kind of mad.

     But you're an upstanding citizen; you have nothing to hide.
     So why not use your name on the nets?  Trust me.  There's
     nothing to worry about.

     Is there?



                             *  *  *  *  *



                       WHAT'S ALL THIS BROUHAHA?
                       -------------------------


           Stupidity is evil waiting to happen.  [Clay Bond]


     Not long ago in Fidonet's BCSNET echo (the Boston Computer
     Society's national conference), the following was posted by
     the conference moderator to a user calling himself "Captain
     Kirk":

           "May we ask dear Captain Kirk that it would be very
           polite if you could use your real name in an echomail
           conference? This particular message area is shared
           with BBS's all across the country and everyone else is
           using their real name. It is only common courtesy to
           do so in an echomail conference."

     One of us (mkj) responded with a post questioning that
     policy.  Soon the conference had erupted into a heated
     debate!  Although mkj had worried that the subject might be
     dismissed as trivial, it apparently touched a nerve.  It
     brought forth debate over issues and perceptions central to
     computer communications in general, and it revealed profound
     disparities in fundamental values and assumptions among
     participants.

     This article is a response to that debate, and to the
     prevailing negative attitudes regarding the use of handles.
     Handles seem to have a bad reputation.  Their use is
     strangely unpopular, and frequently forbidden by network
     authorities.  Many people seem to feel that handles are rude
     or dishonest, or that anyone wishing to conceal his or her
     identity must be up to no good.  It is the primary purpose
     of this article to dispel such prejudices.

     Let us make one thing perfectly clear here at the outset: We
     do NOT challenge the need or the right of sysops to know the
     identities of their users!  But we do believe that a sysop
     who collects user names has a serious responsibility to
     protect that information.  This means making sure that no
     one has access to the data without a legal warrant, and it
     certainly means not pressuring users to broadcast their real
     names in widespread public forums such as conferences.



                             *  *  *  *  *



                       SO YOU WANT TO BE A STAR?
                       -------------------------


              John Lennon died for our sins.  [anonymous]


     Andy Warhol said that "In the future, everyone will be
     famous for fifteen minutes".  The computer nets, more than
     any other medium, lend credibility to this prediction.  A
     network conference may span the globe more completely than
     even satellite TV, yet be open to anyone who can afford the
     simplest computer and modem. Through our participation in
     conferencing, each of us becomes, if only briefly, a public
     figure of sorts -- often without realizing it, and without
     any contemplation of the implications and possible
     consequences.

     Brian Reid (reid@decwrl.DEC.COM) conducts and distributes
     periodic surveys of Usenet conference readership.  His
     statistical results for the end of 1991 show that of the
     1,459 conferences which currently make up Usenet, more than
     fifty percent have over 20,000 readers apiece; the most
     popular conferences are each seen by about 200,000 readers!
     Mr. Reid's estimate of total Usenet readership is nearly TWO
     MILLION people.

     Note that Mr. Reid's numbers are for Usenet only; they do
     not include any information on other large public nets such
     as RIME (PC-Relaynet), Fido, or dozens of others, nor do
     they take into account thousands of private networks which
     may have indirect public network connections. The total
     number of users with access to public networks is unknown,
     but informed estimates range to the tens of millions, and
     the number keeps growing at an amazing pace -- in fact, the
     rate of growth of this medium may be greater than any other
     communications medium in history.

     The special problems and risks which arise when one deals
     with a large public audience are something about which most
     computer users have little or no experience or
     understanding.  Until recently, those of us involved in
     computer conferencing have comprised a small and rather
     elite community.  The explosion in network participation is
     catching us all a little unprepared.

     Among media professionals and celebrities, on the other
     hand, the risks of conducting one's business in front of a
     public audience are all too familiar.  If the size of one's
     audience becomes sufficiently large, one must assume that
     examples of virtually every personality type will be
     included: police and other agents of various governments,
     terrorists, murderers, rapists, religious fanatics, the
     mentally ill, robbers and con artists, et al ad infinitum.
     It must also be assumed that almost anything you do, no
     matter how innocuous, could inspire at least one person,
     somewhere, to harbor ill will toward you.

     The near-fatal stabbing of actress Theresa Saldana is a case
     in point. As she was walking to her car one morning near her
     West Hollywood apartment, a voice behind her asked, "Are you
     Theresa Saldana?"; when she turned to answer, a man she had
     never seen before pulled out a kitchen knife and stabbed her
     repeatedly.

     After her lengthy and painful recovery, she wrote a book on
     the experience ("Beyond Survival", 1986).  In that book she
     wrote:

          [pg 12]  "... Detective Kalas informed me that the
          assailant, whom he described as a Scottish drifter, had
          fixated upon me after seeing me in films."

          [pg 28]  "... it was through my work as an actress that
          the attacker had fixated on me.  Naturally, this made
          me consider getting out of show business ..."

          [pg 34]  "For security, I adopted an alias and became
          'Alicia Michaels.'  ... during the months that followed
          I grew so accustomed to it that, to this day, I still
          answer reflexively when someone calls the name Alicia!"

     Or consider the fate of Denver radio talk show host Alan
     Berg, who in 1984 died outside his home in a hail of
     gunfire.  Police believe he was the victim of a local neo-
     nazi group who didn't like his politics.

     We are reminded of the murders of John Lennon and Rebecca
     Shaffer; the Reagan/Hinckley/Foster incident; and a long
     string of other "celebrity attacks" of all sorts, including
     such bizarre events as the occupation of David Letterman's
     home by a strange woman who claimed to be his wife! There is
     probably no one in public life who doesn't receive at least
     the occassional threatening letter.

     Of course, ordinary participants in network conferencing may
     never attract quite the attention that other types of
     celebrities attract. But consider the following, rather less
     apocalyptic scenarios:

         --  On Friday night you post a message to a public
             conference defending an unpopular or controversial
             viewpoint.  On Monday morning your biggest client
             cancels a major contract. Or you are kept up all
             night by repeated telephone calls from someone
             demanding that you "stop killing babies"!

         --  You buy your teenage son or daughter a computer and
             modem.  Sometime later you find your lawn littered
             with beer bottles and dug up with tire marks, or
             your home vandalized or burglarized.

         --  One day you are nominated to the Supreme Court.  Who
             are all these strange people on TV claiming to be
             your friends? How did that fellow know your position
             on abortion?  Your taste in GIFs?

     Celebrities and other professional media personalities
     accept the risks and sacrifices of notoriety, along with the
     benefits, as part of their chosen careers.  Should computer
     conference participants be expected to do the same?  And who
     should be making these decisions?


                             *  *  *  *  *



                              OTHER MEDIA
                              -----------


       When thou art at Rome, do as they do at Rome  [Cervantes]


     Older media seem to address the problems of privacy very
     differently than computer media, at least so far.  We are
     not aware of ANY medium or publication, apart from computer
     conferencing, where amateur or even most professional
     participants are required to expose their true names against
     their will.  Even celebrities frequently use "stage names",
     and protect their addresses and phone numbers as best they
     can.

     When a medium caters specifically to the general public,
     participants are typically given even greater opportunities
     to protect their privacy. Television talk shows have been
     known to go so far as to employ silhouetting and electronic
     alteration of voices to protect the identities of guests,
     and audience members who participate are certainly not
     required to state their full names before speaking.

     The traditional medium most analogous to computer
     conferencing may be talk radio.  Like conferencing, talk
     radio is a group discussion and debate medium oriented
     toward controversy, where emotions can run high. Programs
     often center around a specific topic, and are always run by
     a "host" whose role seems analogous in many respects to that
     of a conference moderator.  It is therefore worth noting
     that in talk radio generally, policy seems to be that
     callers are identified on the air only by their first names
     (unless of course they volunteer more).

     Finally, of course, authors have published under "pen names"
     since the dawn of publishing, and newspapers and magazines
     frequently publish letters to the editor with "name and
     address withheld by request" as the signature line. Even
     founding fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John
     Jay, in authoring the seminal Federalist Papers in 1787 for
     publication in the Letters columns of various New York City
     newspapers, concealed their identities behind the now-famous
     psuedonym "Publius".

     What would you think if someone called a radio talk show
     demanding to know the identity of a previous caller?  Such a
     demand would undoubtedly be seen as menacing and
     inappropriate in that context.  Yet that same demand seems
     to arise without much challenge each time a handle shows up
     in a computer conference.  The authors of this article feel
     that such demands should always be looked upon as
     suspicious, and that it would be beneficial for moderators
     to take upon themselves the responsibility of making sure
     that besieged handle-users are aware of their right to
     refuse such inappropriate demands.

     It is reasonable to assume that privacy policies in
     traditional media are the result of hard-won wisdom gained
     from long experience.  Are we so arrogant that we cannot
     learn from others?  It is not hard to imagine the sorts of
     problems and experiences which shaped these policies in the
     old media.  Will we have to wait for similar problems to
     occur on the computer networks before we learn?



                             *  *  *  *  *



                       PRIVACY AND SURVEILLANCE
                       ------------------------


             In an effort to identify people who fail to file tax
             returns, the Internal Revenue Service is matching
             its files against available lists of names and
             addresses of U.S. citizens who have purchased
             computers for home use. The IRS continues to seek
             out sources for such information. This information
             is matched against the IRS master file of taxpayers
             to see if those who have not filed can be
             identified.
                                     [COMPUTERWORLD, Sept. 1985]

             Date: Thu, 23 May 91 11:58:07 PDT
             From: mmm@cup.portal.com
             Subject: The RISKS of Posting to the Net
             -
             I just had an interesting visit from the FBI.  It
             seems that a posting I made to sci.space several
             months ago had filtered through channels, caused the
             FBI to open (or re-open) a file on me, and an agent
             wanted to interview me, which I did voluntarily...
             I then went on to tell him about the controversy
             over Uunet, and their role in supplying archives of
             Usenet traffic on tape to the FBI...
             [RISKS Digest]

             Also frequent are instances where computers are
             seized incident to an unrelated arrest.  For
             example, on February 28, 1991, following an arrest
             on charges of rape and battery, the Massachusetts
             state and local police seized the suspect's computer
             equipment.  The suspect reportedly operated a 650-
             subscriber bulletin board called "BEN," which is
             described as "geared largely to a gay/leather/S&M
             crowd."  It is not clear what the board's seizure is
             supposed to have accomplished, but the board is now
             shut down, and the identities and messages of its
             users are in the hands of the police.

                       [CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL, AND ETHICAL
                       CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEALING WITH ELECTRONIC
                       FILES IN THE AGE OF CYBERSPACE, Harvey A.
                       Silverglate and Thomas C. Viles]


     Most of us have been brought up to be grateful for the fact
     that we live in a nation where freedom is sacred.  In other
     countries, we are told as children, people are afraid to
     speak their minds for fear they are being watched.  Thank
     God we live in America!

     It would surprise most of us to learn that America is
     currently among the premiere surveillance nations in the
     world, but such, sadly, is indeed the case.  Our leadership
     in technology has helped the U.S. government to amass as
     much information on its citizens as almost any other nation
     in history, totalitarian or otherwise.  And to make matters
     worse, a consumer surveillance behemoth has sprung up
     consisting of huge private data-collection agencies which
     cater to business.

     As Evan Hendricks, editor of "Privacy Times" (a Washington
     D.C.-based newsletter) has put it: "You go through life
     dropping bits and pieces of information about yourself
     everywhere.  Most people don't realize there are big vacuum
     cleaners out there sucking it all up."  [Wall Street
     Journal, March 14, 1991].

     To get an idea of how much of your privacy has already been
     lost, consider the bits and pieces of information about
     yourself which are already available to investigators, and
     how thoroughly someone might come to know you by these clues
     alone.

     A person's lifestyle and personality are largely described,
     for example, by his or her purchases and expenses; from your
     checking account records -- which banks are required by law
     to keep and make available to government investigators -- a
     substantial portrait of your life will emerge. Credit card
     records may reveal much of the same information, and can
     also be used to track your movements. (In a recent case,
     "missing" Massachusetts State Representative Timothy O'Leary
     was tracked by credit-card transactions as he fled across
     the country, and his movements were reported on the nightly
     news!)

     Then there are your school records, which include IQ and
     other test results, comments on your "socialization" by
     teachers and others, and may reveal family finances in great
     detail.  Employment and tax records reveal your present
     income, as well as personal comments by employers and co-
     workers.  Your properties are another public record of your
     income and lifestyle, and possibly your social status as
     well. Telephone billing records reveal your personal and
     business associations in more detail. Insurance records
     reveal personal and family health histories and treatments.

     All of this information is commonly accessed by government
     and private or corporate investigators.  And this list is
     far from exhaustive!

     Now consider how easily the computer networks lend
     themselves to even further erosions of personal privacy. The
     actual contents of our mail and telephone traffic have up to
     now been subjected to deliberate scrutiny only under
     extraordinary conditions. This built-in safety is due
     primarily to the difficulty and expense of conducting
     surveillance in these media, which usually requires extended
     human intervention. But in the medium of computer
     communications, most surveillance can be conducted using
     automated monitoring techniques. Tools currently available
     make it possible and even cost-effective for government and
     other interests to monitor virtually everything which
     happens here.

     Why would anyone want to monitor network users?  It is well
     documented that, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI and
     other agencies of government, in operations such as the
     infamous COINTELPRO among others, spent a great deal of time
     and effort collecting vast lists of names. As Computer
     Underground Digest moderators Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer
     recalled in a recent commentary (CuD #3.42):

         "A 1977 class action suit against the Michigan State
         Police learned, through FOIA requests, that state and
         federal agents would peruse letters to the editor of
         newspapers and collect clippings of those whose politics
         they did not like. These news clippings became the basis
         of files on those persons that found there way into the
         hands of other agencies and employers."

     To get onto one of these government "enemies" lists, you
     often needed to do nothing more than telephone an
     organization under surveillance, or subscribe to the "wrong"
     types of magazines and newspapers. Groups engaged in
     political activism, including environmental and women's
     rights organizations, were commonly infiltrated.  The sort
     of investi-gative reporting which uncovered these lists and
     surveillances back in the '60s and '70s is now rare, but
     there is little reason to assume that such activities have
     ceased or even slowed.  In fact, progressive computerization
     of local police LEIU activities (Law Enforcement
     Intelligence Units, commonly known as "red squads") suggests
     that such activities may have greatly increased.

     Within the realm of computer conferencing especially, there
     is ample reason to believe that systematic monitoring is
     being conducted by government and law-enforcement
     organizations, and perhaps by other hostile interests as
     well.  In a recent issue of Telecom Digest
     (comp.dcom.telecom), Craig Neidorf (knight@EFF.ORG) reported
     on the results of a recent Freedom of Information Act
     request for documents from the Secret Service:

         " ... The documents also show that the Secret Service
         established a computer database to keep track of
         suspected computer hackers.  This database contains
         records of names, aliases, addresses, phone numbers,
         known associates, a list of activities, and various
         [conference postings] associated with each individual."

     But the privacy issues which surround computer
     communications go far beyond the collection of user lists.
     Both government and industry have long pursued the elusive
     grail of personality profiling on citizens and consumers. Up
     to now, such ambitions have been restrained by the practical
     difficulty and expense of collecting and analyzing large
     amounts of information on large numbers of citizens.  But
     computer communications, more than any other technology,
     seems to hold out the promise that this unholy grail may
     finally be in sight.

     To coin a phrase, never has so much been known by so few
     about so many. The information commonly available to
     government and industry investi-gators today is sufficient
     to make reliable predictions about our personalities,
     health, politics, future behavior, our vulnerabilities,
     perhaps even about our innermost thoughts and feelings.  The
     privacy we all take for granted is, in fact, largely an
     illusion; it no longer exists in most walks of life.  If we
     wish to preserve even the most basic minimum of personal
     privacy, it seems clear that we need to take far better care
     on the networks than we have taken elsewhere.



                             *  *  *  *  *



                                FREEDOM
                                -------

             Human beings are the only species with a history.
             Whether they also have a future is not so obvious.
             The answer will lie in the prospects for popular
             movements, with firm roots among all sectors of the
             population, dedicated to values that are suppressed
             or driven to the margins within the existing social
             and political order...
                                     [Noam Chomsky]


     In your day-to-day social interactions, as you deal with
     employers, clients, public officials, friends, acquaintances
     and total strangers, how often do you feel you can really
     speak freely?  How comfortable are you discussing
     controversial issues such as religion, taxes, politics,
     racism, sexuality, abortion or AIDS, for example?  Would you
     consider it appropriate or wise to express an honest opinion
     on such an issue to your boss, or a client?  To your
     neighbors?

     Most of us confine such candid discussions to certain
     "trusted" social contexts, such as when we are among our
     closest friends.  But when you post to a network conference,
     your boss, your clients, and your neighbors may very well
     read what you post -- if they are not on the nets today,
     they probably will be soon, as will nearly everyone.

     If we have to consider each post's possible impact on our
     social and professional reputations, on our job security and
     income, on our family's acceptance and safety in the
     community, it could be reckless indeed to express ourselves
     freely on the nets.  Yet conferences are often geared to
     controversy, and inhibitions on the free expression of
     opinions can reduce traffic to a trickle, killing off an
     important conference topic or distorting a valuable sampling
     of public opinion.

     More important still is the role computer networks are
     beginning to play in the free and open dissemination of news
     and information. Democracy is crippled if dissent and
     diversity in the media are compromised; yet even here in the
     U.S., where a "free press" is a cherished tradition, the
     bulk of all the media is owned by a small (and ever-
     shrinking) number of corporations, whose relatively narrow
     culture, interests and perspec-tives largely shape the
     public perception.

     Computer communication, on the other hand, is by its nature
     very difficult to control or shape.  Its resources are
     scattered; when one BBS goes bust (or is busted!), three
     others spring up in its place.  The natural resiliency of
     computer communications (and other new, decentral-ized
     information technologies such as fax, consumer camcorders
     and cheap satellite links) is giving rise to a new brand of
     global "guerrilla journalism" which includes everyone, and
     defies efforts at suppression.

     The power and value of this new journalistic freedom has
     recently shown itself during the Gulf War, and throughout
     Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as within the
     U.S.  Just think of the depth and detail of information
     available on the nets regarding the Secret Service's recent
     "Operation Sundevil" and associated activities, compared to
     the grossly distorted, blatantly propagandistic coverage of
     those same activities given to the general public through
     the traditional media.

     Historically, established power and wealth have seldom been
     disposed to tolerate uncontrolled media, and recent events
     in this country and elsewhere show that computer media are
     sometimes seen as threats to established interests as well.
     To understand the role of handles in this context, it is
     useful to note the flurries of anti-handle sentiment which
     have arisen in the wake of crackdowns such as Sundevil, or
     the Tom Tcimpidis raid in the early 1980s.  Although few
     charges and fewer convictions have typically resulted from
     such operations, one might be tempted to speculate that the
     real purposes -- to terrorize the nets and chill freedoms of
     speech and assembly thereon -- have been achieved.

     In this way, sysops and moderators become unwitting
     accomplices in the supression of freedom on the networks.
     When real name requirements are instituted, anyone who fears
     retaliation of any sort, by any group, will have to fear
     participation in the nets; hence content is effectively
     controlled.  This consideration becomes especially important
     as the nets expand into even more violent and repressive
     countries outside the U.S.

     We must decide whether freedom of information and open
     public discussion are in fact among the goals of network
     conferencing, and if so, whether handles have a role in
     achieving these goals.  As access to the networks grows, we
     have a rare opportunity to frustrate the efforts of
     governments and corporations to control the public mind!  In
     this way above all others, computers may have the potential
     to shape the future of all mankind for the better.



                             *  *  *  *  *



                           A CALL TO ACTION
                           ----------------

            The move to electronic communication may be a turning
            point that history will remember.  Just as in
            seventeenth and eighteenth century Great Britain and
            America a few tracts and acts set precedents for
            print by which we live today, so what we think and do
            today may frame the information system for a
            substantial period in the future.
             [Ithiel de Sola Pool, "Technologies of Freedom", 1983]


     There was a time when anybody with some gear and a few
     batteries could become a radio broadcaster -- no license
     required.  There was a time when anyone with a sense of
     adventure could buy a plane, and maybe get a contract to
     carry mail.  Those early technological pioneers were
     probably unable to imagine the world as it is today, but
     their influence is strongly felt in current laws,
     regulations and policies with roots in the traditions and
     philosophies they founded and shaped.

     Today the new pioneers are knitting the world together with
     computers, and the world is changing faster than ever.  Law
     and ethics are scrambling to keep up.  How far will this
     growth take us?  No one can say for sure.  But you don't
     need a crystal ball to see that computer communications has
     the potential to encompass and surpass all the functionality
     of prior media -- print, post, telegraph, telephone, radio
     and television -- and more.  It seems reasonable to assume
     that computer communications will be at least as ubiquitous
     and important in the lives of our grandchildren as all the
     older media have been in ours.

     It will be a world whose outlines we can now make out only
     dimly.  But the foundations of that world are being built
     today by those of us exploring and homesteading on the
     electronic frontier.  We need to look hard at what it will
     take to survive in the information age.

     In this article we have attempted to show, for one very
     narrow issue, what some of the stakes may be in this future-
     building game.  But the risks associated with exposing your
     name in a computer conference are not well defined, and
     various people will no doubt assess the importance of these
     risks differently.  After all, most of us take risks every
     day which are probably greater than the risks associated
     with conferencing. We drive on the expressway.  We eat
     sushi.  To some people, the risks of conferencing may seem
     terrifying; to others, insignificant.

     But let us not get side-tracked into unresolvable arguments
     on the matter.  The real issue here is not how dangerous
     conferencing may or may not be; it is whether you and I will
     be able to make our own decisions, and protect ourselves (or
     not) as we see fit.  The obvious answer is that users must
     exercise their collective power to advance their own
     interests, and to pressure sysops and moderators to become
     more sensitive to user concerns.

     To help in that effort, we would like to recommend the
     following guidelines for user action:

         --  Bear in mind John Perry Barlow's observation that
             "Liberties are preserved by using them".  Let your
             sysop know that you would prefer to be using a
             handle, and use one wherever you can.

         --  Try to support boards and conferences which allow
             handles, and avoid those which don't.

         --  When using a handle, BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY!  There will
             always be irresponsible users on the nets, and they
             will always use handles.  It is important for the
             rest of us to fight common anti-handle prejudices by
             showing that handles are NOT always the mark of an
             irresponsible user!

         --  Educate others about the importance of handles (but
             NEVER argue or flame anyone about it).

     To sysops and moderators: We ask you to bear in mind that
     authority is often used best where it is used least.  Grant
     users the right to engage in any harmless and responsible
     behaviors they choose.  Protect your interests in ways which
     tread as lightly as possible upon the interests of others.
     The liberties you preserve may be your own!

     In building the computer forums of today, we are building
     the social fabric of tomorrow.  If we wish to preserve the
     free and open atmosphere which has made computer networking
     a powerful force, while at the same time taking care against
     the risks inherent in such a force, handles seem to be a
     remarkably harmless, entertaining and effective tool to help
     us.  Let's not throw that tool away.




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