2. Obligatory Disclaimer
● This is not a talk on DDoS
● The “Ping of Death, Email Bombs, Clobbering Servers with
HTTP calls etc
● This is not a talk about Penetration Testing
● Nor Disrupting communications and privacy
● However, some of the events related here may refer to a
previous epoch when all of this was considered 'de rigeur',
ordinary, and even legal.
● If you feel uncomfortable about any of this, you are free to
leave the room
3. Back in Ancient Times
● Academia was 'connected' via Unix, UUCP,
NNTP, Pop Mail, Lynx, Gopher, Vi, Vim,
SunServer (Oracle) under physical lock and key.
● The Free BBS Scene
– CECS/CRIC, NUSAS anti-apartheid Unions & Student
Organising, using the Apple II Revolution, XT AT
personal computers versus apartheid death squads.
● South Africa's Beltel/Minitel 'Videotex' Internal
Network versus Worknet BBS, NNTP Gateway to
the outside world (Greennet, Peacenet, Econet).
● Telkom One-size-fits all. Provides devices and
● Emergence of Pay Lines, Gaming Lines, Sex
5. IBM & Apartheid● IBM a repeat offender:
– In the 1880s, Herman Hollerith (1860–1929), an employee at the United States Bureau of the
Census, conceived of the idea of creating readable cards with standardized perforations, each
representing specific, individual traits such as the sex, nationality, & occupation.
– IBM subsidiary “Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft” or Dehomag formed in 1910
– Hitler's National “race” Census 1933 using Hollerith tabulating-machines
– Similar system adopted by the apartheid state (1948-1994).
– Lease of data-processing equipment by IBM to the apartheid state “provided database and information
storage services that allowed the apartheid government to implement the race-based classification
system, in particular the Dompas.”
My 1989 complaint to Mondo 2000 and good old XT, AT v ATM surveillance
The IBM apartheid case, now in its 14th
year after lengthy pre-litigation.
● Actually two cases, Ntsebeza and Balintulo/Khulumani (100 000 victims)
● Petition to Second Circuit Court by Ntsebeza dismissed in June 2016
– Khulumani may still appeal to a US District Court on the basis of new evidence from the South African
Department of Justice archives.
– Khulumani still has the option of appealing in the Second Court of Appeals or Supreme Court.
– Case outline as lodged, IMHO suffers from emphasis on grand apartheid i.e. bantustan
denationalisation programme, IBM intent lot harder to prove than pure census information.
6. Early Hacktivism & Online Protest
1994 BBS PPP Dialup replaced by TCP/IP &
Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link superceded
● Mozilla and Netscape Navigator released,
WWWoosh, I log into Stellenbosch
University Library for very first time.
1994 Zippie Intervasion of the UK & 1995
– alt.raves, alt.2600
– HMS John Major, CJB & Morph Servers go
down (Mark Heley)
– Kevin Mitnick Arrested on my birthday
– Covered by Berkeley Free Radio & Hackbloc
Phil Zimmerman 1991, PGP & Clipper Chip
Debacle, US drops case in 1996
7. NetDemocracy & Cyber-rights
● Back from “exile”
● Campaigned around access, privacy and
information freedom @iCafe, first public
video chat with Douglas Rushkoff, Lisa
● Faxing Jay Naidoo and Pallo Jordan
● Virtual Community & Electronic
● SA Bill of Rights “a document of its time”
● Article 14 Privacy
● Article 32 Access to Information
● Wired Magazine buzz
● Bill signed by Nelson Mandela
Anniversary this year
8. South Africa's 15 year reprieve
● Net Neutrality & Digital Rights mostly respected
Result has been that South Africa has a number of NB precedents
protecting user's rights to not have their digital communication
intercepted by government and also private persons, i.e. to receive
and impart information.
Extremely difficult to regulate traffic, The Net routes around
ISPs and Networks generally protected from liability
A complete copyright/copyleft free-for-all
Internet considered a Human Right.
● Post-TRC Litigation (2006-2016), Lewis v Big Data.
9. Rise of Draconian Policies
RICA (post 911) sets bad precedent so far as
mobile communication concerned.
Malusi Gigaba's National Firewall (2010) shelved.
Post Polokwane(2007-2015) (Zuma, Mbkodo)
– Films and Publications Board (FPB) regulations bill
● “Africa's worst new Internet censorship bill”
● creates paid censors and places all media under prior restraint,
under guise of curbing child pornography & sexual deviance
● Fees for online content distribution, a new source of “unlimited revenue”
Physically impossible to enforce, would create a massive bottleneck
– Cybercrimes & Cybersecurity Bill
● Mere use of a computer, & opening a terminal, grounds for suspicion
Treats unix and linux as a “virus”.
● Allows for extradition of “cyber-criminals” i.e. suspects.
● Weak due process protections or none-at-all, circumvents local courts.
– Copyright Amendment Bill
● Restricts permissive licensing, negates GNU GPL , Creative Commons by a default to copyright regime.
10. Electronic Freedom Charter
We, the people of the new world of the Internet declare for all those online and in chatrooms to know:-
That cyberspace belongs to all who surf it, whether in 256 colours or millions of pixels and that no government can
justly claim authority unless it is based on global connectivity; that our bandwidth has been robbed by greedy
corporations, and Intellectual Property Rights founded on injustice and inequality; that our broadband connections
will never be stable or free until all our people surf the Internet in complete freedom and anonymity — enjoying equal
rights and opportunities; that only an autonomous, self-regulating digital anarchy, based upon fibre optic cable and
free and open source software, available to all the people, and secured by PGP encryption technology without
distinction of national boundary, ethnic race, sex or identity, will provide;
Therefore we, the People of the Internet, whether via low definition graphics or high resolution colour come together
– as equals, both cybercitizens and netizens, and adopt this Electronic Freedom Charter. And we pledge ourselves to
strive together, sparing neither our hard-drives nor USB ports, until the digital revolution set out here has been won.
THE INTERNET SHALL GOVERN!
ALL COMPUTER PLATFORMS SHALL HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS!
THE USERS SHALL SHARE IN THE COLLECTIVE WEALTH
THE NEW MEDIA SHALL BE SHARED AMONG THOSE WHO WORK IT!
ALL USERS SHALL BE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW!
ALL SHALL ENJOY EQUAL DIGITAL RIGHTS!
THERE SHALL BE LEISURE AND GAMING!
THE DOORS OF LEARNING AND OF CULTURE SHALL BE OPENED!
THERE SHALL BE CHATROOMS, COMPUTERS AND COMFORT!
THERE SHALL BE PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP!
‘THESE FREEDOMS WE WILL FIGHT FOR, SIDE BY SIDE, THROUGH OUR ROUTERS & MODEMS UNTIL WE
HAVE WON OUR LIBERTY.’