Great Circle Associates Firewalls
(July 1996)

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Subject: RE: Welcome banners (was Re: Request for Advice)
From: Chris Michael <cm @ rmsbus . com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 96 09:49:55 0600
To: firewalls @ GreatCircle . COM

Bryan D. Boyle[SMTP:bdboyle @
 erenj .
 com] wrote:
>I can only state what I
>was told by my corporate lawyers.  (Sorry, those communications are not
>publicaly available, and they did not provide citations to back up their
>rationale.)  They provided both the text of the warning banner, and the
>rationale they used for directing that we do not use "Welcome..."
>anywhere in the text.  Some of that information came from the NCSA, some
>from their own paranoia.  

A couple of years ago the US Justice Department was recommending that people put up a warning message on anything that you could log into like this one from Northwestern University:

 "This system is for the use of authorized users only.  Individuals using
this computer system without authority or in the excess of their authority
are subject to having all their activities on this system monitored and
recorded by system personnel.  In the course of monitoring individuals
improperly using this system or in the course of system maintenance, the
activities of authorized user may also be monitored.  Anyone using this
system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such
monitoring reveals possible evidence of illegal activity or violation of
University regulations system personnel may provide the evidence of such
monitoring to University authorities and/or law enforcement officials."

At the time, and I don't know if this is still true, no one was really sure how telecommunications laws were going to be applied to computing issues.  Without giving legal notice as above,  the worst case scenario was that if you were to intercept communications of someone breaking into your system that *you* might be guilty of an illegal wire tap.   I remember discussion of the "welcome message" issues at the same time, but I don't remember if there actually was a case ....

chris michael / <cm @
 rmsbus .

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