Message Hash: bdbe42e8f50b551895943ebb2611e18f4070fbb776d929dbf6fd6fdfe20567ae
Message ID: <199402110719.XAA23828@jobe.shell.portal.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-02-11 07:22:16 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 10 Feb 94 23:22:16 PST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 10 Feb 94 23:22:16 PST To: email@example.com Subject: JESUS SAVES! Message-ID: <199402110719.XAA23828@jobe.shell.portal.com> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain Part of the inspiration for OPERATION BLACKEN BLACKNET... ===cut=here=== RISKS-LIST: RISKS-FORUM Digest Thursday 10 February 1994 Volume 15 : Issue 49 Date: Sun, 6 Feb 1994 01:17:49 -0500 (EST) From: Paul Robinson <PAUL@TDR.COM> Subject: What goes around, comes around The following was posted on a local BBS about the recent incident on the network. ANDREWS NEWS Staff member suspended for network abuse, by Wendy Wein Clarence Thomas, systems administrator for "Redwood," the administrative computer, will be temporarily suspended from his job because he sent a 5,500 character religious message to between 1,200 to 1,500 news groups across the world through the Internet. This act violated the system's purpose, giving Andrews University a bad reputation among the Internet users. Over 1,200 complaints came over the Internet to the Andrews computer science department demanding justice. According to Mailen Kootsey, chair of the academic computing committee and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Thomas will be suspended from his position for a week. His status will be reviewed at the end of the time period. During this week Thomas will not have available access to the network computers. Sometime between five and eight o'clock Monday evening, January 17, Thomas sent his three-page message titled "Global Alert for All: Jesus is Coming Soon," from the Andrews computing center to the news groups which are accessible through the Internet, a computer system which connects computers throughout the world. These news groups deal with different individual topics. For example, if a news group is about cars, then only information about cars should be sent to that news group. Some people subscribe to more than one group and some universities and organizations are subscribed to almost all of them. Thomas sent his religious message to all of these groups. People who were not interested received this message, some more than once. Some organizations received 1,200 to 1,500 copies. For many of the subscribers religious input was not accepted very well. This message took up their time and money. The message accumulated 5.5 kilobytes of disk space. Within an hour after the message was sent, Daniel Bidwell, administrative contact for the network at Andrews, received Internet messages from the East coast. In two hours they came from the West coast and within four hours, complaint letters came in from other countries. The letters made statements such as "This is not what I am paying for" and "Will this guy be stopped?" In addition to the news groups, Thomas also sent his message through a mailing list, filling others' electronic mail. This could have been changed by sending it to only a few news groups so fewer copies could have been distributed. "If he sent his message through a news group which dealt with religious issues then everything would be fine," said Bidwell, "No one would have known." There are no laws against Thomas' actions, yet he violated and broke some of the unwritten rules of society. That is why many people are unhappy. This act created poor reactions towards the university. Thomas' intent was to spread the good news of Jesus' return to all those he could reach. Thomas was trying to witness to others, yet instead of creating joy in peoples' heart, he only created anger and resentment. "He was doing the right thing in the wrong way," said Bidwell. Some of those who wrote to complain said that they agreed with the message, but that Thomas delivered it wrongly. This message has created bad public relations for the church at another's expense. The letters that were received included threats. They wanted Thomas fired, or else the Internet connections from the Andrews campus could be "taken." People are now writing and finding ways to contact President Lesher. Not only have strangers called, but also a large amount of Adventists claiming that something must be done to save the church's sacred reputation. On Monday morning, January 24, Rob Barnhurst, Thomas's supervisor and director of the computing center, Ed Wines, vice president for finance, and Kootsey, met to discuss the incident. They decided to send out an apology through the Internet, explaining that they did not condone Thomas's act and will try to keep this from happening again. Thomas graduated from Andrews with a computer science degree. Those at the computer science department feel that he knew better then to send out that many copies. "It was clearly, very definitely abuse," said Ray Paden, chair of the computer science department. "He broke the guidelines for the Internet and violated the net etiquette. The trust was violated."