#008: Journalism at its Finest

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]


Bah. I say that to journalism when I read some of the shit they print and expect us to believe. In this case I have no doubt that 90% of who read the following article believed it. They don’t know better, but a few of us who know the guys and actually took interest in what the hell really happened know that this article is complete bullshit. This was printed in the Texas Tech UD which is distributed campus-wide and is basically free to the students. Read it through real quick.


TWO TECH SOPHOMORES FACING FRAUD CHARGES

Two Texas Tech Students face federal and state prosecution and a former Tech student faces federal charges for computer fraud after the Secret Service confiscated $5,000 of computer equipment and $20,000 of software Dec.15 on the second floor of Sneed Hall.

Tech’s Housing and Dining Services requested that one of the suspects move out of Sneed Hall because of rule violations detailed in the residence hall contract, Housing and Dining Director James Burkhalter said. According to the contract, the University reserves the right to cancel the contract when a student “disrupts the orderly administration and function of the university and any of its activities.”

“Any violation of the Code of Student Conduct and the housing policies require that the students face either a residence hall disciplinary committee or a university committee,” Assistant Director of Housing and Dining Services LeQuice Lancaster said. “The hearings determine whether the students have behaved in a manner which requires removal from the residence hall.”

Secret Service Agent Dave Freriks said, “Computer fraud is going to become major target for government law enforcement. Although this was not a big raid for the Secret Service, it was significant for the west Texas area. Computer fraud costs software companies about $500 million per year, Freriks said. A significant portion of computer hacking occurs at universities because students have time to work on computers and have access to computer networks, he said.

“This problem is quite prevalent on university campuses.” Freriks said. “In this case, the students just wanted the games and the programs and couldn’t afford them.”

The Secret Service investigation began in May when Tech’s academic computing services could not use the computer system’ disks because they were full.

The two 21-year-old sophomores accessed Tech’s mainframe computer by using account numbers giving to them by the Tech Library. The mainframe electronically transmitted a worldwide computer bulletin board that was used to request and receive pirated computer programs.

The former Tech student used a campus organization’s computer access code to enter the Tech system, said University News and Publications Assistant Director Steve Kauffman.

The former student confessed to pirating $6,000 worth of software during summer 1992. He was expelled in July for misusing the Tech computer system.

The students also used the computer to contact people in Belgium, Australia, and Israel, Freriks said. The students probably have been breaking into the computer system since Nov.1991, he said.

According to “Computers, the Law, and You.” an academic Computing Services publication, students are expected to use Tech computers ethically. Tech reserves the right to monitor all accounts to ensure the software and computer equipment are used properly.

Copying , adapting, and electronically transmitting computer software if forbidden unless the purpose of the copies is archival, or the copier receives written permission from the copyright holder, the publication states.

“Many network resources are provided by the U.S. Government,” the publication states.” Abuse of the system thus becomes a federal matter above and beyond simple professional ethics.”

ARTICLE TITLE: TWO TECH SOPHOMORES FACING FRAUD CHARGES
ARTICLE AUTHOR: SANDRA PULLEY
PUBLICATION: UNIVERSITY DAILY
DATE: THURSDAY, JANURARY 21, 1993


Ok. Harmless enough right? Well, one of the two sophomores they are talking about sorta wrote an article in response to it. He simply points out some of the mistakes of the article and corrects a few facts that were wrong. Read his reply.


Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to a front page article on Jan. 21 titled “Two Tech Sophomores Facing Fraud Charges,” written by Sandra Pulley. It disturbs me as to where some of Ms. Pulley’s fact originate from.

Ms. Pulley says that “the Secret Service confiscated $5000 of computer equipment and $20,000 of software Dec. 15 on the second floor of Sneed Hall.” First of all, the raid occurred on Monday, December 14th, not the 15th. Also, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Secret Service Resident Agent R. David Freriks said at the Dec. 15th press conference in the Lubbock Federal Building, that a dollar amount could not be placed on the confiscated equipment, the value of the software found, nor the actual loss to the software manufacturers. The Texas Tech Department for Police Services released a dollar amount of $3000 for the equipment confiscated. No dollar amount has been released for the value of the software, nor the loss to the software manufactures by any source other than the University Daily in the mentioned article. Also, all of the confiscations from the room in Sneed Hall were handled by the Texas Tech Police, not the Secret Service as stated in the article.

Farther down in the article Housing and Dining Assistant Director LeQuice Lasater is quoted as saying, “`Any violation of the Code of Student Conduct and the housing policies require [sic] that a student face either a residence hall disciplinary hearing committee or a university committee.'” The student that was “requested to move out of Sneed Hall” was not given a hearing of any kind, so far, and was not “requested” to leave; his contract with Housing and Dining was terminated and he was given 72 hours to move off campus.

The article states that the students received account numbers from the Tech Library. Granted that the Advanced Technology Learning Center (ATLC) is housed below the library, but they are an individual entity, not a part of the library. There are several other inaccuracies in the said article, but since the other mistakes were also made in the Associated Press story, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Special Projects writer, Joe Abernathy, I will not bore you with the details.

I do not mean to attack Sandra Pulley’s abilities as a news writer, I just want her and the other UD writers to be a little more accurate and careful with their facts.


Ok. Simple, to the point, and factual. No prob right? Well, the UD decided it wouldn’t print that for the following reasons according to the person who wrote the response to the article.


They refused the letter because I spent too much space “attacking the writer” and not enough “dealing with the facts” that were released in the article…

Pardon me, but I did not put one bit of personal knowledge, I wrote that letter from the AP wire report, the press conference transcript, and the press releases from the school… (the same sources a reporter should use!!!) and I never used the numbers and facts that the prosecuting attorney have, or those that my lawyer and I have estimated… those are for private ears only… so I am kinda suspicious that the UD is afraid that I might ruin the credibility of an up and coming journalist… looks to me that maybe she has no credibility to be ruined…

In the journalists defense, she swears up and down that Freriks gave her those numbers, but he says he has given no information out, except at the press conference and the official press releases… so I am still wondering….


Ok. You ask why the hell I am writing this file? It is one word against the other? Hmm. Don’t think so. I think that the reporter just needed an article and printed what s/he could to get it in on time and didn’t bother too much with facts. If that is the case then you need to think about other papers. These college reporters are the ones that later grow up and write for the bigger papers, the shit your parents read. Now if those papers are full of people that don’t bother with the facts too much then we have a serious problem. The paper wouldn’t print the letter to the editor. Why? He is right. They are scared of getting a bad name. But why does it matter? It is a free paper and students will read it regardless of reputation most likely.

It all begins here. Point of this file is to make you realize that newspapers and TV news shows might not be as factual as you think. They are just as biased as the people that write for them. Think about what you read and hear from them, and do NOT take things for fact all the time.

-Dam

PS- We are behind you…”sophomores”.