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Inter@ctive Week: Kerberos In The Legal Limelight

May 20, 2000, 00:51 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mary Jo Foley)

"It's been a hectic week for the little security protocol that could."

"On Thursday, lawyers for Andover.Net, the parent company of the Linux enthusiast site Slashdot, posted a response to a legal challenge posed by Microsoft Corp. lawyers last week over Kerberos. On the same day, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it was working with Apple Computer Inc. to insure availability of Kerberos for the forthcoming Mac OS X operating system. And to top it all off, CERT warned of a Kerberos buffer overflow that could result in severe security problems for certain implementations."

"Microsoft was one of those vendors that opted to add Kerberos Version 5 support to Windows 2000. Over the past two weeks, however, Microsoft decided to go after Slashdot, in its role as ISP, regarding a handful of postings that Microsoft claimed violated the nondisclosure agreements it required as part of the licensing terms for proprietary extensions it made to the Kerberos protocol."

"On Thursday, Slashdot lawyers responded to Microsoft's request to pull the offending posts in an open letter posted to the Slashdot Web site. ... The letter went on to comment on whether Microsoft has a legal right to attempt to trademark and protect proprietary extensions to a public protocol. Many Slashdot protesters have focused on whether Microsoft's demand that Slashdot remove posts that allegedly violate a non-disclosure agreement is an example of an abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."

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