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Up Front: TECH TALK
TAKE THAT, YOU LUGARING DOLE
AMERICANS CURSE OUT politicians all the time. Now comes a new computer program allowing them to substitute a politician's name for a dirty word--and circumvent possible federal curbs on cybersmut. Say you want to avoid prosecution for a message describing sexual climax. It would read: "Oh my gosh, I'm Clinton!" Or you can observe: "Life Gores." (Translation: "Life sucks.") The harshest--and most unprintable--sobriquets in the lexicon go to lawmakers who back outlawing naughty words on the Net, such as Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.).
In the version of the telecom reform bill, passed by the Senate, everything from posting porn images on the Net to using "indecent" language in E-mail could bring fines or jail. The issue will surface next in the Senate-House conference committee. The stealth smut program was designed by cyber-rights activist Robert Carr. He dubs it "HexOn Exon," after the measure's chief sponsor, Senator James Exon (D-Neb.), called an anatomical term in the program, who won't comment.
HexOn Exon, available on the Internet, runs on the Apple Macintosh and can be ordered for free by contacting SmurfBoy@aol.com. The program uses a search-and-replace routine to sub the officeholders' names as code words for dirty words. You just run your X-rated text through the HexOn program before sending it, and the recipient can decode it with the same program. Amy Cortese