Created: 01-12-01. Page design and Entire Site ulTRAX@webtv.net.
NOTE: This discussion took place in April 99 after Mattman was TOSed. These discussions may contain inaccurate information and uninformed speculation.


From: ulTRAX@webtv.net Newsgroups: alt.discuss.improve.webtv Subject: Throw the book at ITV Hackers? Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 Bad enough I posted this from my storage account... but it ended up in the wrong NG. Duh. Oh Well... There are many people doing incredible things with the interactive TV (iTV) codes that MS and WNI are developing. Anything from inserting their own webpages on to your TV screen to having a TV screen pop-up in your recent box. People have been posting these codes since last August... but typically in "nice" groups like n2play, not the hacking NG. I bet most everyone would not see this as being in any way harmful... afterall, they are just little 'ole TV codes. The experimentation is akin to what people did trying to over come the roadblocks WNI has put in our path to stop us from using their URLs in sigs. Yet, just about all the arguements made against those badmouthed as being "hackers" could also be made against these iTV pioneers... as well as others. They are visiting a site meant for the use of ITV developers. They are stealing and USING codes only intended for developers. They are getting their box to do things WNI has not yet intended us to do... therefore has not authorized. All of the people involved in finding ways around WNI's attempts to stop us from using their codes are also guilty of using their box in an unauthorized way. You know what? This all sounds a lot like hacking to me... and probably a violation of the TOS. Do these people deserve to have the wrath of Uncle Billy come down upon them? I know some will say that these iTV hackers have not "trespassed".... but exactly how is that determined? By ignoring a posted warning? There were no posted warnings going into Weekly or Daily. So was that "trespass"? Most of the WTV-TRICKS pages turned out to be just ordinary web pages... accessible to all... and none had/have any warnings (a warning was LATER added to the TRICKS PW page but not to the pages themselves.). Yet some would say that "people should just know they don't belong there". Even though there are no warnings... people should "just know" that they should not download DOOM. Could not the same be said about the ITV hackers? They should "just know" that they do not belong at the developer's sites? They should "just know" these codes are not meant to be used by us. What about all of us who used the Stayin' Alive and the BlastNVRAM codes found in TRICKS? They knew where those codes came from. What about all of us who used the &codes? So where does one draw the line between these "hackers" and the "other" hackers? Intent? Are they benign or malicious? How is that determined? How is WNI making judgements who will lose their accounts? Which of all the possibly tens of thousands of guilty people will be punished, taking a financial hit on their box and deprived of their private files if they lose their account? Are those like Jack_Shytt going to come out for lynching the iTV, &code, Stayin Alive crowd? I guess he has to or betrays either an intellectual inability to deal with ambiguities or an underlying hypocrisy. There are many more "hackers" out there than those who cast the first stone may have thought. From: ulTRAX@webtv.net Newsgroups: alt.discuss.improve.webtv Subject: Re: Throw the book at ITV Hackers? Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 X, I'll get to you later. I just read this article on the history of customized IRC. It's at http://www.net4tv.com/voice/newsstory1.cfm?STORYID=841. It, again, sounds a lot like "hacking". Some one analysed the special WTV codes and used them to break the WNI/TC monopoly.... one designed to herd us subscribers to TC's advertisers. This arrangement would be worthless to WNI if they did not get a cut. Would we support WNI throwing the book at these people who broke the IRC codes? They obviously had every intent to circumvent WNI's intent to "deliver" us to one of their special "partners". They were involved in "unauthorized" activities. They were trying to get the WTV hardware to work a manner not approved by WNI. Sometimes "hacking" is our only way of fighting back. Wait until we find away of deleting the TV logs WNI keeps on us and sells to advertisers! From: ulTRAX@webtv.net Newsgroups: alt.discuss.improve.webtv Subject: Re: Throw the book at ITV Hackers? Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 MaddogTL wrote: " I don't consider this hacking since it is just like html (from what I understand)." That is my point. If someone uses HTML and inadvertantly discovers they can access a previewer's NG... is that "hacking"? Or is it merely using HTML within the context of a poorly designed network? Who is willing to surrender to WNI the final word on who will lose their accounts based on such poorly defined "offenses"? WTV is based on a thin client model. All their codes and commands are predetermined. The so-called "hackers" merely discover bits and pieces of the WNI master plan... On very rare occasions what they discover falls outside what WNI predicted. Most likely what they discover is garbage. From: ulTRAX@webtv.net Newsgroups: alt.discuss.improve.webtv Subject: Re: Throw the book at ITV Hackers? Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 WOLVERINE_X writes: "You purposefully exploit holes in the network and then act as if there is nothing wrong with it." As always you paint with a broad brush. I have made no attempt to access Weekly or Daily since the big Tricks Breakin of August 98. In fact I never have been in Weekly. That you repeatedly accuse me of such things is wearing thin. "You and others have repeatedly tried to access areas of the network that we obviously shouldnt be privy to." Broad brush again. And we're back to your vague assertion that "people should just know" what's off limits. You also never came to grips with the fact that WNI has rewarded people for such behavior. "Youve done it before WebTv enacted new security measures and after yet have the audacity to claim to do it in the name of privacy." I have never stated I have but one motivation. "Some of these areas must have copyrights and or are licensed and your total disregard for that shows exactly how ethical you are." Huh? How would copyright or licensing agreements come into play? " I also dont claim to go to areas that are clearly a violation to the TOS as interpreted by WNI." But those areas are not clearly defined. That is my point. Without clear boundries WNI can differentially enforce the TOS. I thought you were for consistant emforcement? " WEBTV DOES NOT CARE ABOUT OUR DEFINITIONS OF ANYTHING NOR DO THEY CARE ABOUT OUR INTERPRETATIONS OF THE TOS!!!!!!! " That's why the desirability of their policies as well as their differential enforcement should be examined. "WebTv could have the best security system available ulTRAX and it wouldnt deter people like yourself." Read above. Some people can also see "hacking" as a form of self-defense. Take for example the TV logs that WTV keeps on us (and God know what else)... some people may resent this practice so much they are determined to find ways of deleting those logs. Kind of like those people who want to find ways to avoid watching the Ads during login. "Why is it only the hackers that cant see that what they are doing is wrong?" Are you STILL clueless? WNI has rewarded people for some of these activities? Were these activities "wrong" up until a point what they become rewarded? Ya, there is plenty of hacking being done for any variety of reasons... some to satisfy technical curiousity, some to express creativity (ITV), some to get around policies someone feels is unfair (IRC), so for convinience (WTV codes in sigs), some hack for pure malicious intent. You really do seem intellectually incapable of discerning nuanced motivations and behavior. "Your definition keeps expanding for the sole purpose of becoming so diluted that you can actually feel that you arent violating any of the TOS and to justify your self serving definition." I was not the first to bring up some of the other examples of "hacking". Simple fact is tens of thousands of people are engaged in these activities. A year ago there already were 7-8 Tricks and Secrets NGs. Gee, what were they all involved in? I think you are absolutely clueless where to draw the line except to say "let WNI do it".... but that they have the right to bend the rules.... but that you want consistant enforcement of the TOS. Intellectually your position is contradictory and untenable. I look forward to your attempts to clarify it. "Again more of your "theyre doing it so why cant we, its just not fair" Get over it." Not at all. What I'm saying is that given the vageries of WNI's policies.... the hacking label can apply to tens of thousands of people. Sic 'em Fido! If you had your way WNI might have to terminate 25% of its subscribers. "lets see how does the previewers enter in to what he did releasing how to download Doom?" Huh? Was that suposed to be coherent? From: ulTRAX@webtv.net Newsgroups: alt.discuss.improve.webtv Subject: Re: Throw the book at ITV Hackers? X Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 WOLVERINE_X wrote: " ... you've made no attempt to be objective in the past and I have serious doubts that youd do anything but try and nitpick each and every issue I define so it would be a serious waste of my time." What does this mean? That I am ALWAYS anti-WNI and ALWAYS pro-hacker? Hardly. I support the termination of accounts for numerous reasons... based on a clear policies and clear warnings. There's nothing wrong with that. But I do have very real problems with a kangaroo court legal department which terminates accounts and lies that warnings were given when none had been. I have problems with a legal department that hands out form letters filled wilth vague bullshit no one can challenge instead of a letter stating specific charges. Hell, if WNI can have an entire department to analyse our TV and surfing habits then sell that info to advertisers.. they certainly can do better than a form letter when a person is being deprive of their private files.. (and WNI refuses to offer any pro-rated rebate for the month one was terminated in.) Problem here is you are just intellectually mushy on the whole topic. You seem to favor a policy that anything a corporation wants is fine. I'd like to see a bit more rationality and fairness involved..... and that includes by people like you. Wanting WNI to devise a fair policy hardly sounds radical, except to those who are not in favor of due process. "No ulTRAX I wont write up some sort of clear cut TOS." I didn't think so. You might come face to face with the contradictions and mushiness of your position if forced to write it down. Worse, you might be faced with the sticky issues I have been raising.... Better to just keep your mind-numbing mantra unruffled with the complexities of on-line life. "I would however say that if I were to it would be much more detailed than theirs in some areas however, I think that the way theirs is written allows them to look past certain things." You mean WNI's current failure to be clear in what essentially is a contract with their users is is not adequate for you? As for your last statement.... WNI may want to "look past certain things" but my complaint is that what they're overlooking is due-process based on a well thought-out TOS.. "Right now people are complaining because Matt got TOS'ed if they were truly hard nosed you know full well there would be plenty more." Since we don't know why Matts was TOSed it could have been for unauthorized use of ITV codes..... but then you don't support the accused having a right to know what they are accused of. Maybe you are not just pro-corporate, maybe you are just anti-justice. "Heres two questions for you ulTRAX. If WNI was to spell out in full color crayon for you the definitions of a hacker in their view and what constitutes a violation of the TOS would you stop hacking? I doubt it." Who says I even am doing any hacking... whatever that term means? I'm basically doing what I do.... being an historian. The again, hacking can mean any attempt to direct access WTV codes. So is trying to find out what's on ONE'S OWN hard drive "hacking"? If one wants to look at THEIR OWN Cookie List, is that "hacking"? All of the above involves acting in a manner WNI does not approve. How about use of the &Codes? ITV? IRC? What about when people used display tags to block the bouncing of mail? I'm still waiting for you to deal with these issues? Who are your evil hackers, uh sport? What makes THEM deserving of termination when others doing similar activities are spared your wrath? "Now I believe that Tricks did have popups mentioning something to the effect of it being a place we shouldn't be, did the popup stop you from trying? No I didnt think so." At times like this it'd be preferable if you knew what you were talking about before trying to score some points. Copies of some of the TRICKS pages are available in the Archives below. They were found ON THE WEB REGULAR WEB PAGES... why is that so difficult for you to understand? "So please stop with the hypothetical BS when you know full well youre just spewing more crap. X " I think you again failed to prove anything except an inability to face your own contradictions. From: ulTRAX@webtv.net Newsgroups: alt.discuss.improve.webtv Subject: Re: Throw the book at ITV Hackers? X Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 I'm not going to respond to any points you raised about hacking since I'm trying to end that. But... WOLVERINE_X wrote: "You can think of me as some mush minded military drone and I can think of you as a paranoid control freak who probably should join some antigovernment military group in Montana." I think your the simplistic view of the world, as stated in your sig, indicates a lack of intellectual sophistication. It's as useful in describing the world as Any Rand claiming all wealth derives from entrepreneurs or Karl Marx claiming all wealth derives from exploited labor. As for your implication that I am a Right Wing militia type, nothing could be further form the truth. My poltics are progressive and pro-democtatic (small "D"). My tendency to create a synthesis between seeming disparete ideologies tends to offend most everyone and despite their attempts makes me quite difficult to pigeonhole. "One thing I do despise ulTRAX is mealy mouthed pukes who presume to know a damn thing about the military or anything associated with it. If you don't like me thats fine but there is no need to disrespect any branch of the military. I expected better from you than that. X" Painting with a broad brush again sport. This discussion was NOT about the military. For what it's worth I have a flag flying outside my house and won't take it down until the air campaign is over. But that hardly means I accept the policies the armed forces are often used to support. I was bitterly opposed to the Vietnam war and proud of that opposition, albeit my beliefs tended to be more emotional than intellectual due to my age at the time. I was 1A for a while and very well might have been drafted had not Congress stopped funding for the SS for part of a year. I recently wrote to Boneham1, a Desert Storm Vet, who also terminated.... He received the same type form letters that Mattman did... fllled with untruths, gross exagerations, and not ONE documented example of his "crimes". I wondered if he fought for a corporation's right to earn a few extra measly pennies per share by skimping on a legal department large enough to implement fair policies of due process in these matters. Maybe you can add that to your sig.... "It's the Soldier who gives corporations the right to be private tyranies in a otherwise democratic system, not the lobbyists."