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Cyber Patrol sues codebreakers (the AP story is *wrong*)

Mar 16, 2000, 21:17 (4 Talkback[s])

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[ Thanks to bennett@peacefire.org Bennett of Peacefire.org for this report. ]

Cyber Patrol has asked a judge for a restraining order to force the "Cyber Patrol codebreakers" -- Eddy L O Jansson in Sweden and Matthew Skala in Canada -- to stop distributing their program that can decrypt the list of sites blocked by Cyber Patrol.

(Unfortunately, the Associated Press completely botched the story about this incident, so if you've read about it on the AP wire, please see below to clear up any confusion.)

WHAT HAPPENED: Jansson and Skala released a program that can decrypt the list of sites blocked by Cyber Patrol. (This is basically the same thing that Peacefire did for X-Stop and I-Gear in the last few weeks, when we were also releasing reports about what percentage of sites blocked by these programs were obvious mistakes.) Jansson and Skala's program can be downloaded from:

http://hem.passagen.se/eddy1/reveng/cp4/cp4break.html

The authors stated that they wrote this program in order to give customers the ability to see what sites Cyber Patrol blocks, so they can make an informed decision about whether to use Cyber Patrol or whether to recommend it.

WHAT THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STORY SAID: The AP wire story, which is at:

http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1574168.html

claimed that Jansson and Skala's program was just a tool for decoding the parental control password and hacking around Cyber Patrol. This is *not* what the program does, and it's not why Cyber Patrol is suing them. The primary purpose of the program is to decode the list, not turn Cyber Patrol off. (Peacefire has already had information on our site about how to turn Cyber Patrol off for over a year and a half, and Cyber Patrol never sued us.)

The confusion has arisen because Cyber Patrol knows it would look bad for them, if people read that they were suing to stop parents and other customers of their product from finding out what Cyber Patrol really blocks. For that reason, they have been trying to spin this as a case of their company trying to stop two hackers from showing kids how to disable Cyber Patrol. Please note that that is *not* what the case is about. (If you think this sounds cynical, you can go to the original URL of the report at http://hem.passagen.se/eddy1/reveng/cp4/cp4break.html and see for yourself :-) )

In response to threats of legal censorship from Cyber Patrol against the authors of the original codebreaker, we have mirrored their essay and their codebreaking program on our Web site.

-Bennett

bennett@peacefire.org
http://www.peacefire.org
(425) 649 9024

Related Story:
SJ Mercury/AP: Software filter firm sues hackers (Mar 16, 2000)