One thing that I always try to do with this column is include some information for those of you not online about issues that you should care about, whether they involve you at the present time or not. I am confident that at some point, nearly everyone will have a computer and online access, just like nearly everyone now has a television and a telephone. The thing is, what you will be able to do with your computer online is being worked out now, before the majority of the public has access to it.
One of these issues that is currently being dealt with is encryptation. This is technology that allows users to communicate back and forth electronically without anyone else being able to tell what they are talking about or what they are sending each other. It is sort of like a secret code, but much more complicated. The problem is, the US government is trying to regulate what kind of codes companies and individuals can use to communicate with each other, as well as wanting the ability for government officials to have the ability to decode ALL communications.
The government released a encryptation export plan on October 1st, 1996 that President Clinton was expected to sign shortly after this was written. The order will go into effect at the first of the year. The plan allows companies to export encryptation codes that are 56 bits in length (that is sort of like a password that is 56 characters long) if they have a permit, but also says that within two years, those companies have to provide the government with what is called a "key-recovery system" which would allow the government to intercept and read any transactions that were encrypted! It would give the government the power and the tools to look at any piece of encrypted information on the internet that was sent through legitimate means.
Do you want the government to have the ability to look at any information it pleases? What about companies who want to generate codes longer than 56 characters? Is it really an interest of national security to tell them they can't? These are just a few of the questions raised by this executive order. If you want more information on the encryptation issue, visit the Encryptation Policy Resource Page at http://www.crypto.com/ . There is a petition there you can sign to tell the government you don't like the policy, and there are constant updates on the encryptation policy. You can also get updates on what the senators and representatives from your state are doing on the encryptation issue. Encryptation may not seem like a very big deal, but it does give the government a lot of power, so check out this web site today.
Since the column a couple of months ago where I told you about the anonymous e-mail service at anon.penet.fi the service has closed down. Though the site was in Finland, the guy running it bowed to pressures from U.S. authorities that the service was being utilized to facilitate the transfer of child porn. How convenient that they can use a hot button issue to get rid of a service that can be used for other, less nefarious (or maybe just differently-nefarious) purposes. It figures.
Well, now it's on to the mindless (or not so mindless) entertainment sites for you to browse. A little bit of something for everyone this time around. Enjoy.
If you have a decent computer (a fast 486 or a Pentium) and a fast (28.8 or better) connection to the internet, you should check out CRUX Internet Radio. This site brings you audio via the program Real Audio, and offers punk, ska, and other forms of new rock music. They also have live concerts, which in the past have included THE QUEERS, THE SWINGING UTTERS and DOWN BY LAW. They do CD reviews, have a message board, live IRC chat via the web, and interviews and features. It's a pretty extensive site. Unfortuneately, for some reason, my computer was having problems with the audio portion of the site, but give it a try. You'll find it at http://www.crux.org .
For all of you scum-sucking, pretentious-asshole record collectors out there, the usenet newsgroups offer a few areas for you to buy and sell vinyl, Cds, and memorabilia. There are no punk only groups for record collecting, but you might be able to find what you are looking for in any of the following areas: rec.music.collecting.misc, rec.music.collecting.vinyl, rec.music.marketplace.cd, rec.music.marketplace.misc, or rec.music.marketplace.vinyl . Good luck, and if you find any copies of the first GISM lp, let me know.
From out of Madison, WI comes a weird little e-zine called GOATWEISER. It's a fun, but quick read -- sorta like one of those one or two page zines someone hands you at a show. Goatweiser is at http://pw2.netcom.com/~bberu/goatzine.html .
Another new online zine (they keep cropping up even faster than their paper counterparts!) is Guilt Trip. Reviews, interviews, columns, and whatnot. My favorite part is where editor Justin T. Stranzl says that he named the zine Guilt Trip partly because he felt guilty about doing a zine so he could get free promo records, tickets to shows, and that the best stuff in his zine is done by other people. You can't argue with honesty. You'll find Guilt Trip at http://members.aol.com/gtzine/welcome.htm .
NOW MEET SATAN zine out of Seattle has a great web site for those of you that don't want a lot of photos, but want a lot of cool stuff to read. Carol Steele has put together some of the articles from the various issues of her magazine, as well as pages for her bands -- Not My Son and Naugahyde. If you haven't read the paper version of this zine, do yourself a favor and check out the web version. I think you'll like it. The URL for NMS is http://www.aa.net/~cheezus/nowmeetsatan/ .
Now here's a page for those of you who want lots of photos but don't want to (or can't) read. It's called PunkShow (http://ws-34.socomm.net/sczott/punkshow.htm) and is a photo exhibit put together by Scott Bilby of bands that have played in Columbia, SC. There are some really good photos here of bands like Assfactor 4, Antioch Arrow, Rye Coalition, and Los Crudos, just to name a few. Go to the PunkShow pages and see what some of your favorite bands look like playing live.
For fans of underground and alternative cinema, FLICKER offers a ton off information about little known artists. There's also resources for would be film makers, and a library of stills from various films. Most of these filmmakers very underground and experimental, so it is fun to see what they are doing with the medium. You can also order videos of many of the films you read about from Flicker, but seem kind of expensive, unless you realize many of these are actually films and therefore have more overhead than a simple punk video. You can find Flicker at http://www.sirius.com/~sstark/ .
Hope you find some of those sites to your enjoyment. I've enjoyed exploring cool net sites and bringing them to you every month here at Netpunk, and I plan to bring you even more in the New Year. I love hearing from you, so e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think, or what you're up to on the net. Finally, 1997 is going to bring a major change for me. I've decided after 15 years in the Boise, Idaho punk scene, to pick up and move to Santa Cruz, California. If you want to write me, my address is PO Box 752; Boise ID 83701 until December 25, after that point, write me at my new address -- PO Box 8059; Santa Cruz CA 95061. I'm outta here.
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