MA House Bill 2743, Public Hearing, 4-2-03

Amy Isabel, MPAA

                Understands that this has caused concern

                Wants to make clear what it does and doesn’t do

                What does it do:

                                Updatees law to stop theft.  Updates 1961/1995 law, clarify theft

                                NOTHING TO DO WITH COPYRIGHT LAW – that’s a federal issue. What we’re doing is updating means of delivery of digital media. We’re covering all technology because there’s so much technology, so much change right now. Have to update for digital age.

                KEY HERE: based on intent to commit criminal acts (Ed note: realize that only limited parts of the bill deal with intent.  Further, intent to what? If crime is defined as any circumvention, then circumventing obviously shows intent to circumvent and intent to commit a crime)


James Derose

                Overreaches – stpes on legitimate Internet security issues

                Disucssees enryption and tunneling


Question from committee member regarding sharing connections on a network, quest for Ms. Isabel

Ms. Isabel: Intent, intent, intent. That’s what would be the key.

Committe Member: what are the holes in the current statue?

Isabel: Cant’ be specific, but cable providers say it’s necessary


American Electronics association Rep

                Want to voice concern, we are going to submit written testiomny soon.


Roger Dingledine, programmer

                Writes some software that provides anonymity for students surfing the web

                More generally, works on software that prevents sites like doubleclick from tracking people

                Privacy education – works on teaching people how to do this – We should be educating people about these issues

                Personal perspective: working on US Navy contract for privacy system, which he could not do in MA if law went through


Committee member: don’t we need to track down “individuals who will destroy the Internet” (literally what he said)

Response: Hackers would love to have this bill passed because it keeps people from protecting themselves on the Internet – reduces privacy


David Turner, works for FSF

                Wants to talk about section A – can’t receive communication with out express consent

                So, can’t use TV or radio without express consent.Companies might tell you that you can’t record it or pause it while you answer the phone. Think Tivo.

                                MPAA opposes stuff like this – want to limits freedoms with VCRs and Tivos

                So, FSF publishes Gnuradio – gets radio/tv signals and puts them in a form computer can use.

                Shouldn’t interfere with this technology

                This bill oesn’t address fair use

                Quotes Jamie Kellner about having to watch ads

                With this bill, might have to rent your TV or radio from them, or just use equipment that they sell, and that probably won’t have a record button.


Question from committee: Overall, are you opposed to all of it?

Response: Major portions – sectino B is bad too.  Encryption is key to privacy.


Charles Hannam

                Software consultant who worked on a variety of financial transaction systems – co-creator of an opensource operating system

                Works on systems that are INTENDED to conceal communications.

                Reasons: stop espionage, protect privacy/customers

                This bill would ruin security within companies and for individuals

                Not sure what the point of the section is in the first place

                Speak about section D too – MPAA person said this has to do with intent, but section D doesn’t make sense, because we never provide these with the intent for them to be used for bad purpsoes. We just provide the technology – we don’t determine the uses.

                Line 87 – each unlawful device becomes a separate offense – why do we need multiple convictions for this thing? Put someone in jail for 750 years for making a piece of software?

                Say you have a friend over to your house, and he plugs his laptop into your router – that’s unauthorized access, cable provider doesn’t know that it’s him who’s using it and not you – that’s concealing identity, right?


Question from Committee member: I don’t care about targeted marketing from tracking – but, how does FBI/CIA get past this concealing? don’t we need it for defense?

Response: that’s the same argument we’ve heard before. Problem is, putting responsibilty in the wrong place. This bill makes it so that the offense does not just fall on the person who commits the offense, but on the person who builds the technology that might conceal that info.  Criminalizing the wrong place.  I didn’t commit the offense, I just built some software.

Committee member: but you see my point – they’ll use that anonymity for bad purposes

Responses: But we aren’t trying to eradicate anonymity are we? 

… I want to note that there will be this chilling effect.  Can’t distribute DVD software – this should be legit


John Palfrey, Berkman Center Executive Director

                Law enforcement is important, I respect that

                This legislation is a bad idea – unnecessary to achieve its purpose, unintended consequences that would do the opposite of what it purports to do


                Three points about scope:

                1.  You don’t need this bill to stop people from stealing and hacking – already have a scope of laws that do this, DMCA, Computer Crime Fraud and Abuse Act, USAPA – if all you want to do is criminalize hacking, we already have the laws, and we can do it narrowly

                2. Internet law is already a complete and utter mess. Citizens and consumers  do not know what their rights are, who’s doing what to them. This extends DMCA, and it’s not necessary. Adds new definitions to things that are already defined dozens of time. It forces consumers to learn about things they already don’t understand.

                3.  Law go much further than just banning hacking – stifle research and speech, criminalize legitimate behavior and fair uses.  Berkman Center has to go to federal court to get declaratory relief to do research. This is horrible.

                Answer the question: WHO WANTS THIS BILL?

                National context: direct replica in many states.  Concerted special interest campaign, and you need to recognize that. These people haven’t even necessarily read the existing laws.

                Bad for the economy – bad for programmers, technology creators


(John gets applause)


Committee member: so federal laws already exist?

Response: Yes, and the balance has already swung way out of wack.  This is way overreaching. Look at these definitions. All I know is that it’s going to capture a lot of stuff – but we can’t even define what exactly. That’s a problem. 

This bill will severly cripple how to make computer security a reality. You’re hearing experts here – listen to them. This legislation is only going to harm us. If someone might use your tools or education for some horrible use, then you, the writer or coder, are the criminal – that’s going to cause a chilling effect on technology creators.

Committee: would this even prevent the govenrment from doing legitimate things?

Response: I don’t know. And that’s the point. Who knows how far reaching this bill will be – it’s too general.


David Carroll, Software developer

                Here as a citizen – brings NYT article that discusses anonymity software

                Discusses definitions of telecommunications service and provider – very broad, might have unintended side effects.  Why should telecommunications providers determine what is “authorized”? Internet has evolved from open systems, and interoperable systems – has nothing to do with what browser you have, what computer you have – just protocols.

                Even DMCA allows for exceptions – no exemptions here

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