#326: Gossip Whore

[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.]


It’s nothing new to me or in general, but seems to be prevalent in my life again. ‘Scene politics’. Let me define a few things to make sure we are on the same wavelength. The scene constitutes any part of the online word, who meet via computers, phones, or in person. These people share the same interests typically, be it hacking, phreaking, or other reasonably specific areas involving computers. Politics in this instance is seemingly any communications between said people.

I won’t go into specific cases for this file even though there are enough to write several books with. Why not list specific instances to better prove my point? Because they propagate themselves in doing so. Seems that every day some new situation arises that causes some kind of tension or other problems between people in the scene. One of the most ironic facets of this problem is that everyone involved in it recognizes the problem, and claims to hate it as much as I do. Yet it continues on, hanging above us day in and day out.

For two years now, I have had dealings with someone that lives in my area who is part of the scene. Every week of those years I have had to watch my back, wondering what he is doing. Outwardly we are good friends believe it or not. In social situations or in chat rooms, we get along just fine, maintain that we are friends, and continue on. Yet once a month I find yet another example of him plotting or scheming for some kind of hostile activity for me. Many times there is no direct action, but implied threat. I don’t know why I carry on as if we are friends when I have to watch my back like I do. I guess from here on out I should act accordingly. This example is not here to point fingers, but to remind everyone of how accustomed we have become to the workings of this monster.

How does this happen? Forget the ‘why’, as that can be easily and quickly explained as “human nature” for my purposes. As for how, that is quite simple too. No, fuck it. Change of venue. How is not important either. The reasons do not become the actions, so we will not dwell on them. The issue at hand that must be realized is just that, that it is a problem we all seem to face, and that it must end no matter the cost. This petty bickering and continued backstabbing serves no purpose but to alienate each other further.

Every time I pause while writing, I keep thinking to myself that everyone reading this will know of what I speak. That this is by no means new to anyone over three years old, and that I shouldn’t waste my time with things known to all. So let me cut this short and just serve this reminder to everyone out there. There are no secrets, especially when it comes to your feelings about someone else. If you dislike someone, it will be known to them whether it communicates itself via your own actions, or the slip of another’s tongue. The bigger the secret, or the more potent the hatred, the longer it will take to escape and find home in new minds. But do not deceive yourself, it will escape.

In recent days I have found myself caught up in the middle of yet another ugly situation. I was brought into the mess by the clever manipulation of one person to another. Through a clever lie, information was wrongfully passed that prompted one to question me, thus bringing me into the fray. Instead of yielding to the politic monsters that consume us, I let my mind be known and put my involvement to rest at once. My response to the misplaced question the person posed was less than hospitable. I did not know the person beyond recognition of name and place, but my dagger-like response lay all doubt aside to whether I would be part of the ugliness at hand. True, my response could have been much less bitter, but anything less and my point would not have been as clear as it was.

This will be my response, my stance, on all scene politics in the future. I will not be part of anything of the sort. Realization that friends may be lost in the process is foremost on my mind, but a necessary evil in the path I have chosen. If you know about what I describe above, and are equally as sick as I, then cast away your participation in the game. Face the consequences of your actions as well as the penalty in doing so, but know that you are ridding yourself of inordinate amounts of stress and removing yourself from those tense situations.

The first response from people reading this will be that of disbelief. Surely it can’t be that easy to distance yourself from these situations. Of course it is that easy. Why wouldn’t it be? You just have to accept that resolve and force your will upon others. Let it be known that you will not stand for that kind of silliness, and that you refuse to be even a neutral observer. Completely remove yourself from the situation as fast as you can, and let things work themselves out, without your involvement. It can be done, and it is that simple. Seeing is believing as they say, so I encourage you to try that. Don’t let scene politics be a part of your life, and make damn sure they don’t control any aspect of it.

#322: Who’s Net Is It?

[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.]


There are a few things about the internet that you should be aware of. The following facts and information were collected from various articles posted to mailing lists, UseNet groups, and web pages.

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Domain Name registration used to be handled by NSF (National Science Foundation).

National Science Foundation has turned domain name registration over to Network Solutions Inc (NSI).

NSI was purchased by Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in May 1995

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Over the years SAIC’s relationship with the government has had its ups and downs. A quick check of public databases shows that:

In 1990 SAIC was indicted by the Justice Department on 10 felony counts for fraud in its management of a Superfund toxic cleanup site. (SAIC pleaded guilty.)
In 1993 the Justice Department sued SAIC, accusing it of civil fraud on an F15 fighter contract.
In May 1995, the same month SAIC purchased NSI, the company settled a suit that charged it had lied about security system tests it conducted for a Treasury Department currency plant in Fort Worth, TX. (The company paid the government $125,000 to cover the cost of the investigation as part of that settlement.)

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SAIC’s board members include:
Admiral Bobby Inman, former NSA head and deputy director of the CIA
Melvin Laird, Nixon’s Secretary of Defense
retired General Max Thurman, Commander of the Panama Invasion
Donald Hicks, former head of research & development for the Pentagon
Donald Kerr, former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Recently departed board members include
former CIA director Robert Gates
current Secretary of Defense William Perry
current CIA director John Deutch
Anita Jones, Deutch’s procurement officer when he was at the Pentagon.

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Current SAIC government contracts include:
Re-engineering information systems at the Pentagon
Automation of the FBI’s computerized fingerprint identification system
Building a national criminal history information system

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SAIC describes themselves as: (http://www.saic.com/)

Science Applications International Corporation, SAIC, is the
largest employee-owned research and engineering company in
the United States. Based in San Diego and international in
scope, SAIC offers a broad range of expertise in technology
development and analysis, systems development and
integration, technical support services, and high technology
hardware and software products. SAIC scientists and
engineers work to solve complex technical problems of
significance to federal, commercial, and international
customers in a variety of market areas, including: Energy,
Environment, Government, Health Care Technology, Information
Technology, Internet, Telecommunications and Transportation.

Founded by a small group of scientists in 1969, SAIC has had
a continuous record of growth in its financial performance
and technical scope. SAIC attributes its success to a
decentralized, flexible working environment which promotes
and rewards technical excellence, individual initiative, and
entrepreneurship. Our ability to attract and retain the best
qualified people, coupled with an environment that fosters
team building, has led to 27 years of sustained growth --
with 22,254 employees, more than 350 locations world-wide,
and annual revenues exceeding $2.2 billion.

Today, SAIC generates about 85 percent of its business
through federal government contracts. In the last few years,
the company has been transitioning its extensive experience
in advanced systems and software engineering to benefit     
commercial and international clients.

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Recent Results

Revenues for the 1996 fiscal year ending on January 31
totaled $2.2 billion, an increase of almost 12% over last
years total of $1.9 billion. Net earnings were $57 million,
up 17% over the prior years net earnings of $49 million.

At years end, SAIC's firm order backlog was approximately
$1.1 billion, a 10% increase over 1995's backlog.

This represents the 27th consecutive year of revenue and
earnings growth for SAIC, solidifying its position as one of
the most successful employee owned companies in the United
States.

And viable SAIC certainly is. As their annual report shows, the
company, with over 20,000 employees and 450 locations around the
world, reported $1.9 billion in gross revenues in 1994. Over 90% of
its income was generated by government contracts -- more than half of
that from defense, intelligence, and federal law enforcement
contracts.

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So what does that leave us? A net run by a bunch of spooks and ex-spooks, all with strong ties to companies and organizations capable of doing anything. If the SAIC wants to shut down the net, they could. If they want to monitor all traffic and search for keywords, they can. There is no way to stop them from controlling the routing of traffic on the net.

Imagine, this text file gets spread to hundreds or thousands of people over the net as it is released. There is a good chance that every time it does, it is tripping an alarm so to speak, and being copies for later review by a SAIC employee. That kind of monitoring by past and present government officials seems to be a curse the net must live with now.

Remember, anything you send on the net should be treated as if you are handing it out on flyers at your favorite street corner. Act as if everything you send on the net is going to be read by thousands of people. If that bothers you, take the time to learn about encryption and ways to protect your privacy. Become active in current politics that affect the way the net grows. Just be aware.