Mitch Kapor bails out of Groove

Udhay Shankar N
Tue, 11 Mar 2003 15:17:28 +0530

Didn't KnowNow hold talks with Groove at some point in the past, too? Rohit?


>Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 02:35:39 -0500
>Subject: [IP] Software Pioneer Quits Board of Groove (neat
>         picture of Micth)
>From: Dave Farber <>
>To: ip <>
>Software Pioneer Quits Board of Groove
>March 11, 2003
>SAN FRANCISCO, March 10 - Mitchell D. Kapor, a personal
>computer industry software pioneer and a civil liberties
>activist, has resigned from the board of Groove Networks
>after learning that the company's software was being used
>by the Pentagon as part of its development of a domestic
>surveillance system.
>Mr. Kapor would say publicly only that it was a "delicate
>subject" and that he had resigned to pursue his interests
>in open source software.
>The company acknowledged the resignation last week when it
>announced that it had received $38 million in additional
>"Mr. Kapor resigned from the board to focus 100 percent of
>his time on nonprofit activities," said a spokesman for
>Groove Networks, whose software has been used to permit
>intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials to
>share data in tests of the surveillance system, Total
>Information Awareness.
>However, a person close to Mr. Kapor said that he was
>uncomfortable with the fact that Groove Networks' desktop
>collaboration software was a crucial component of the
>antiterrorist surveillance software being tested at the
>Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Information
>Awareness Office, an office directed by Vice Adm. John M.
>The project has generated controversy since it was started
>early last year by Admiral Poindexter, the former national
>security adviser for President Ronald Reagan, whose felony
>conviction as part of the Iran-contra scandal was reversed
>because of a Congressional grant of immunity.
>The project has been trying to build a prototype computer
>system that would permit the scanning of hundreds or
>thousands of databases to look for information patterns
>that might alert the authorities to the activities of
>potential terrorists.
>Civil liberties activists have argued that such a system,
>if deployed, could easily be misused in ways that would
>undercut traditional American privacy values.
>"Mitch cares very much about the social impact of
>technology," said Shari Steele, executive director of the
>Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group
>that was co-founded by Mr. Kapor in 1990.
>"It's the reason he founded E.F.F.," she said.
>privacy and security experts said that Mr. Kapor's decision
>was significant and was indicative of the kinds of clashes
>between security and privacy that could become increasingly
>"With the dramatic change of funding availability in the
>high-tech sector, it's become difficult for companies to
>turn down the funding opportunities presented by the
>federal government," said Marc Rotenberg, director of the
>Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. "It
>does show that some people in the high-tech community,
>including some of the founders, are not happy with what's
>The debate echoes an earlier one that placed scientists at
>odds with advancing technologies. The war on terror is
>raising ever more difficult civil liberties issues.
>"Computer scientists are going to have the same kinds of
>battles that physicists did amidst the fallout of Hiroshima
>and Nagasaki," said Michael Schrage, a senior adviser to
>the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security Studies
>On Feb. 11, House and Senate negotiators agreed that the
>Total Information Awareness project could not be used
>against Americans. Congress also agreed to restrict
>additional research on the program without extensive
>consultation with Congress.
>Congressional negotiators gave the Defense Department 90
>days to provide a report to Congress detailing its costs,
>impact on privacy and civil liberties and likelihood of
>success against terrorists. All further research on the
>project would have to stop immediately if the report is not
>filed by the deadline.
>But President Bush can keep the research alive by
>certifying to Congress that a halt "would endanger the
>national security of the United States."
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((Udhay Shankar N)) ((udhay @ ((