FC: Battle Creek retreats, says won't prosecute anti-spammer

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 21 2002 - 17:41:04 PST

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "FC: Google still delists anti-Scientology site -- reports were premature"

    Previous message:
    Ian tells me he isn't sure whether he'll resume the ORBZ service.
    ----- Forwarded message from MAReenat_private-creek.mi.us -----
    From: MAReenat_private-creek.mi.us
    Subject: Re: Query from Wired News
    To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 15:49:47 -0500
    X-Mailer: Lotus Notes Release 5.0.8  June 18, 2001
    For your information.
              March 21, 2002
              Contact: Michelle Reen, Assistant to the City Manager, 966-3378
                                    City Settles Dispute
                                        with orbz.org
                   BATTLE  CREEK, MI ? City officials have agreed not to pursue
              charges against Ian Gulliver, a 20-year-old systems administrator
              from  Ghent, New York and the administrator of orbz.org. Gulliver
              is  an  anti-spam  activist  that  sent  an email to the City and
              caused a major slowdown of its mail server.
                   "Our  investigation  and  conversations  with Mr. Gulliver's
              attorney have led us to believe that there was no criminal intent
              to  cause the City harm. However, there was no way for us to know
              when  we  received  the  hit  that  this  was  not  intended as a
              malicious  prank,"  said  Michelle  Reen,  Assistant  to the City
              Manager.   "Our   Information   Systems   Department  and  Police
              Department  took  the  situation  seriously. The Detective had no
              reason  not  to believe he was pursuing a hacker when he issued a
              search  warrant.  The  purpose  of  the  search  warrant  was  to
              determine  the  identity  of  the  person who sent the email that
              caused  our  system  to  fail  so we could then determine whether
              further investigation would be necessary."
                   According to Gulliver's attorney, the email sent by Gulliver
              was  intended to test the City server to determine whether it was
              vulnerable to a spam attack. Spam refers to a computer prank that
              causes  multiple  duplicate  emails, sometimes several hundred at
              once, to clog up the recipient's mail server.
                   The  email test triggered a weakness in the version of Lotus
              Domino  software  used by the City and caused a major slowdown of
              the  City's  email  network for about a day on February 25, 2002.
              The  weakness has been fixed and there is no reason to believe at
              this time that the City's server is vulnerable to illicit use for
                   "We  are  satisfied  that  Mr. Gulliver intends to provide a
              service  by  creating a blacklist of vulnerable servers. In fact,
              we  recognize  that  he has done us a service. We are going to be
              taking  a  close  look  at  our policies regarding Lotus security
              updates  and  how  we can avoid the issue in general," said Reen.
              "In  turn, however, we have asked him to reconsider his policy of
              making  unannounced  tests  on  servers.  In today's computerized
              world  it  is  everyone's  responsibility  to  maintain  a secure
                   "But,  if  I can draw the analogy that just because everyone
              should  wear  a  computerized  bulletproof vest doesn't mean that
              shooting  people  to  find  out who isn't wearing one is the best
              answer.  If Mr. Gulliver chooses to do this, he perhaps shouldn't
              be  surprised that he will occasionally be confused with the type
              of individual he is fighting against.
                   "In  this  case, no one was injured. We have been tipped off
              by  Mr.  Gulliver  and,  we  hope, we have also sent a message to
              hackers  that  we will pursue online activity that we feel may be
              maliciously intended," said Reen.
    ----- End forwarded message -----
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
    You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
    Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
    To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
    This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Mar 21 2002 - 17:21:23 PST