"In the end, people on the Net should create their own
local content rather than complain about the US's.
They don't have to look at it! They could even create
US filters if they wanted - a stupid idea, bu-"
- ESTHER DYSON
...ahhh. That's better.
>> HARD NEWS <<
Think you've had a bad week? Allow us to make it worse. DTI
civil servants spelt out on Monday the details of the UK's
long-awaited crypto legislation. Under the new law,
Government-approved encryption authorities will be obliged
to keep a copy of your private key, and hand it over to the
authorities when requested by a "senior police officer" (as
opposed to the Home Secretary, as in phone taps). It will be
a criminal act for these authorities to tell you that your
key has been revealed. Now, in a better world (such as the
one we're just leaving), no-one would use these government
authorities because - as every expert in crypto has warned -
a key escrow system like this is fundamentally insecure.
You're better off with a free copy of PGP (or even your
browser's security features). So, to encourage you, the
government has declared only digital signatures created by
these approved companies will be accepted in law. What's
that you say? What have digital signatures and encrypting
messages got in common? Well, you're right - nothing. But
you can bet the lawmakers won't mention that. This is a
piece of legislation that requires an ignorant public to
Talking of which, why haven't you heard of this before? While
the government have yet to release any information through
official channels, DTI personnel at the ICX conference
confirm all of the above, and have declared the basic
principles of this regulation "not open for discussion".
In this, as so many other matters, they're wrong. DTI
officials have their own signing authority - a third party
known as Parliament. Next week, in a NTK special, we'll tell
you how you can hack into this trusted service provider
through a backdoor known as "public accountability", and
that way decode what these buffoons are assuming is
a secret transmission only they should understand.
- once again: why it's bad for civil liberties
- and why it's technically incompetent
- and makes no business sense at all
Falco! Awards go to anonymous, anonymous and anonymous for
their timely nomination of Soho Web house SUNBATHER, who
exit the living this week for the undead-crammed maw of
RAZORFISH. Judging by the lack of screams from the
previously piranha'd CHBi we're optimistic of their
continuing happiness - certainly compared to the uneartly
screams we hear the ...thing... which is no longer Online
Magic/Agency.com. Expect more US buyouts soon, ending at the
precise moment that we get bought up by the boosterish @NY.
- complimentary outlooks
- Sunfish? Razorbather?
- What is this Falco? And why do you never answer my mail?
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
Time Out's SPYDER so impressed by Macromedia's "Shockrave"
software that he devotes whole article to the (non-existent)
product... Stalinist BLUE PETER Webmasters work overtime to
remove Richard Bacon from BBC Website... MINISTRY OF SOUND
to become premium ISP (booming market, we understand)... new
WINDOWS NT service pack 88MB, mirrored nowhere: not quite
what http://www.eu.microsoft.com/ntserver/nts/downloads/ is
saying ... bystanders sickened by images of BBFC/SCi
multiple pile-up... INTERNET WATCH FOUNDATION attempts to
cancel pornographic news articles by sending out the porn
again... OFTEL spokesperson claims "US numbers aren't linked
to geography" in defence of the we-all-saw-it-coming,
terminally random http://www.numberchange.org/ ... Hollinger
"Daily Telegraph" Digital to launch portal... DOUGLAS
RUSHKOFF runs back to Mac... and now, one for Martin -
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Indie dilemma time again, with London's RAINDANCE FILM
FESTIVAL (mid-budget stuff, in between Volcano and the LFF?)
vying with the CRISP COMIC ART FESTIVAL, which mainly seems
to consist of big black-and-white strips above some of the
shops on Oxford Street. Raindance highlight should be
post-apoc rock epic SIX STRING SAMURAI (Fri 30/10/98, Prince
Charles Cinema, Leicester Sq), and we don't actually know if
the Roobarb / Henry's Cat BOB GODFREY RETROSPECTIVE (London
Cartoon Gallery, 44 Museum St, WC1A tel: 0171 242 5335) is
officially part of that Comic Art thing, but it ought to be.
- dner ner ner, dner ner ner, dner ner ner de de... oh dear
- also features "The Independant Film Awards" (sic)
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Hmmm... MACOS 8.5 or NETSCAPE 4.5? Well, MacOS's Sherlock
thing isn't quite as lame as it sounds. By contrast, the
Related Sites button on Netscape is is much lamer than you
can imagine, and they haven't done much to speed up the page
rendering as far as we can see. MacOS *is* noticeably
faster, but the full text search eats up hard drive space.
At 13 megs, the Netscape download only takes one meg more
than the 4.0. At 58UKP, the MacOS isn't cheap. Netscape's
free, but we might wait for the stable - and really free -
Mozilla. Ah, hell, we give up. Which one will run on our
- roaming with Netscape good, while
- iMacs are bloody heavy, and the handle's too small
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
Roger Corman to film Asimov's NIGHTFALL ("Your favourite
stars - like you've never seen them before!")... WINDAES
98... PATRICK STEWART to play Professor X: Reboot guys to
adapt RODDENBERRY pitch... one more time around the memepool
for http://web.wwa.com/~xene/cantina.html ... Paramount
sponsoring SETI@HOME for Trek tie-in... new about:jwz ...
Onion goes US-wide... scan your arse and send it to
http://www.my-mug.com/ ... all marketing resolves to
http://www.sixsides.com/ ... pro-Microsoft fans show their
great sense of humour: http://www.brokenwindows.net/ ...
unusual paper "Doh" - http://www.ntk.net/doh/cis981023.jpg
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> comedy horror extravaganza tonight, with Brian De
Palma's typically understated PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE rock
opera (12.30am, BBC1, Fri) rounding off the terror of THE
BBC NEW COMEDY AWARDS 1998 (11.45pm, BBC1, Fri) and a "new"
(but not so you'd notice) series of HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU
(10pm, BBC2, Fri)... while C4 expertly fields the especially
poignant age-difference romance episode of FRASIER (10pm,
Fri, C4)... clocks go back on Saturday - right back to the
late '80s, apparently, during Prince theme evening A NIGHT
FOR THE ARTIST (11.45pm-2.50am GMT, Sat, C4)... or a
different brand of semi-surreal, much-quoted, sex-obsessed
performers on MONTY PYTHON WEEKEND (from 8pm, Sat,
Paramount)... for once, a perfect cult movie changeover with
John Waters' SERIAL MOM (10pm, Sun, C4) ending just in time
for Jonathan "Silence Of The Lambs" Demme's lesbian prison
trash debut, CAGED HEAT (11.50pm, Sun, BBC2)... you can
already imagine what a speeded-up Victor Lewis-Smith
commentating on old TV commercials would be like, so no need
to watch ADS INFINITUM (9.50pm, Mon, BBC2)... students
compete in Will McDonald's zany Uni quiz CARRY ON CAMPUS
(6.45pm, Mon, BBC2) - but how would they fare against the
rather more exacting criteria posed by Rutger Hauer in THE
HITCHER (9pm, Mon, C5)?... it can't/doesn't get any better,
so feel free to turn over after the "Skeet Surfing" bit of
post-Airplane goof-off TOP SECRET (11.10pm, Tue, BBC1)...
especially as they're once again taunting us with
traditional - and how temporary? - double-bill THE LARRY
SEINFELD SHOW (11.10pm, Tue, BBC2)... BLACK BRITAIN (7.30pm,
Wed, BBC2) profiles Mekon-like Jamaican government tech
adviser 13-year-old... while IS IT LEGAL? (9.30pm, Wed, C4)
battles for title of dullest office sitcom with final -
they've promised - series of DROP THE DEAD DONKEY (9pm, Wed,
C4)... and finally, "Wouldn't it be a great front
organisation for showbiz homosexuals?" is just one of the
questions Jon Ronson won't be asking his Scientologist
guests on the new religion-oriented run of FOR THE LOVE OF
(12.25am, Thu, C4)...
FILM>> Roger Ebert, again on fine form, asks "How does
Michael Myers support himself" in the long years between his
last film and post-Scream self-referential Psycho in-joke
HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER (imdb: road-stop /
alcoolism / drugs / traumatism / private-college / truck /
elevator / pumpkin / fire-extinguisher / ax / halloween /
boarding-school / serial-killer / heroine /
throwing-knives): "I picture him working in a fast-food
joint. 'He never spoke much, but boy, could he dice those
onions!'"... Todd Haynes, whose debut was retelling The
Karen Carpenter Story with Barbie Dolls, disproves his
poster slogan "the secret of becoming a star is knowing to
behave like one" by producing something that looks like an
entertainingly arty '70s version of Citizen Kane, but is
actually just a disappointing Bowie-bio cover version
recorded down a VELVET GOLDMINE (imdb: bisexual / glam-rock
/ music / gay / 1970s)... Dreamworks' other fx-heavy war
romp of this summer, Joe Dante's sub-standard SMALL SOLDIERS
(imdb: part-animated / artificial-intelligence /
part-computer-animation / intelligence / animatronics) pits
Spinal Tap voices against The Dirty Dozen; the US cut was so
violent that the age-group the merchandise was aimed at
couldn't get in to see it... in another bittersweet tribute
to a deceased star (a la Small Soldiers' Phil Hartman), the
canine lead in kiddie feelgood sports nonsense AIR BUD
(imdb: basketball / dog) has subsequently died of cancer...
a national roll-out for supposedly action-packed
pseudo-Shakespeare yawn EL1ZABETH (imdb: historical /
period) - imagine a non-sci-fi version of Dune, with Kathy
"Waynetta Slob" Burke as Baron Harkonnen... and the worst
line in Minnie Driver costume race drama romance THE
GOVERNESS? (imdb: period / sephardic / judaism / victorian /
consumption / 1800s / photography) Either "I used to think
that a changeling would come and eat my kidneys" or "I could
drown in your hair - it's like treacle"...
MAGS>> new PSX demodisc mag STATION (UKP3.95, out now) is,
as feared, simultaneously more offensive yet more boring
than the OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE to which it obviously
aspires (although, unlike the latter, it doesn't - yet -
seem to be under the misapprehension that a few photos of a
PR party that the staff went to somehow constitutes a "news
item"). Howlers include: god-awful coverdisc (non-playable
Tomb Raider 3 - wahey!), *two* terrible Lara Croft pieces,
excessive use of exclamation marks, a reviewer under the
impression that Command And Conquer was based on "Dune 2000"
(p60), and a media pack that's even more illiterate than the
editorial: http://www.rapide.co.uk/station.html ...
Russian-Doll-style, Station #1 even includes a preview of
Rapide's new multi-format TOTAL CONTROL (UKP1.50, out
today). Presumably targeted at the same market as Future's
ARCADE (still due Nov we think - and no longer called
"Arcadia" due to confusion with the Duran Duran spin-off of
the same name), the thoroughly dull TC #1 does seem to avoid
the trap of other Edge-wannabes: Dave Perry's previous
X-Gen, the appalling Ultimate Future Gaming, and (of
course), Edge itself... "just for fun" deadpool - who'll
tank first: FRANK, DELUXE or UNCUT? (Hint: Uncut publishers
IPC look after their own)... new TIME OUT website terrible,
seems to avoid useful listings information for lame student
features... "email deliverable" http://www.futuregamer.com
(free, due Thu 05/11/98) promises to be "less than 256K" -
but will unzipping the weekly HTML be just one click too
far?... NTK completists will of course already have the new
INTERZONE (UKP3), containing a blistering behind-the-scenes
expose of our low-budget TV show (p30)... Bizarre, described
by its assistant editor as "Fortean Times's slutty little
sister", produces a trampy sibling of its own: one-off
showbiztastic CREAM, in three weeks' time... yet most
predictable content of the month goes to FRONT (right down
to the UKP1 launch price, out now) - it's "FHM for
teenagers", though some readers may find that tautology
excessive. Designed like Escape (confusingly) without all
the unconvincing PC bits, it's got semi-celebrity
semi-nudity, a distributor-scaring obsession with criminals
and corpses, Adam "Local Heroes" Hart-Davis, "what makes a
spot appear" (p95), and is hopefully as doomed as
predecessors LM ("Leisure Monthly", late '80s, not Living
Marxism) and vastly superior Sassy spin-off, Dirt...
>> SMALL PRINT <<
Need to Know is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that
happened last week or might happen next week. You can read it
on Friday afternoon or print it out then take it home if you have
nothing better to do. It is compiled by NTK from stuff they get sent.
It is registered at the Post Office as "message returned to sender"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
Archive - http://www.ntk.net/
Excuses - http://www.spesh.com/ntk/
Unsubscribe? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with 'unsubscribe ntknow'.
Subscribe? Mail email@example.com with 'subscribe ntknow'.
NTK now is helped by THE ILLUMINATI and UNFORTU.NET.
They worry about us, but we don't worry about them.
(K) 1998 Special Projects. Non-business copying is fine,
but retain SMALL PRINT. Contact
firstname.lastname@example.org for commercial license details.
Tips, news and gossip to email@example.com.