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This Day in Computer History: October 31

written by: Pipedreamergrey•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 11/1/2008

Today marks the anniversary of the surprising arrest of Eugene Kashpureff for hijacking the U.S. domain naming system (DNS). Read about these events and more in "This Day in Computer History", a chronology of notable events in the computer, ecommerce, and software industries on this day in history.

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    This Day in Computer History


    The first conference regarding digital computers was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


    Texas Instruments discontinued the fifteen dollar rebate program for its TI-99/4A home computer but extended its offer of a free Speech Synthesizer to qualified customers who purchased six program modules through January 31, 1984.


    IBM released its Operating System/2 1.1 Standard Edition. Code-name: Trimaran.


    Prodigy announced that it had exceeded one hundred thousand subscribers in the U.S.


    The Quantum Link internet service, including ecommerce, e-mail, games, and news, for Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 computers, announced that it would withdraw from the Commodore market due to a decline in users. Subscribers were transferred to America Online's newly established service.


    The founder of the Alternic DNS root alternative, Eugene Kashpureff, was arrested on wirefraud charges after he allegedly hijacked the domain of the more popular InterNIC registry service in order to redirect traffic to his own site on July 11th through the 14th. Kashpureff publicly committed the hijacking to protest the monopoly United States-based Network Solutions held over the Internet's domain name system (DNS). The news of Kashpureff's arrest in Canada shocks the internet community, many of whom had seen the hijacking as only an act of civil disobedience, as it had seemed the matter was closed following a civil suit brought by Network Solutions, the manager of InterNIC, against Alternic. However, unsatisfied with the result of the suit, Network Solutions had turned the case over to the FBI. Richard Sexton, one of Kashpureff's colleagues, later released a statement to the effect that, “The most you could have lost was two seconds and one mouse-click. It was fraud, but the fiscal damage amounts to zero. He should be found guilty and fined a dollar.”


    Sketch was first publicly released as version 0.5.0 under a GNU Free License. Sketch was a free vector graphics editor written in the Python programming language. It would later be renamed Skencil.

    The first piece of U.S. legislation to directly address the issue of identity theft, the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (ITADA) of 1998, was signed into law. The bill made identity theft a federal crime, punishable by up to three years imprisonment and a fine of a quarter of a million dollars. Under the law, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was directed to assist identity theft victims, providing the first official legal assistance available to such victims. The act reads, “knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.”


    Napster announced that it would enter into a partnership with the Bertelsmann AG (BMG) record label under which the two companies would develop a subscription-based distribution system in exchange for Bertelsmann dropping its lawsuit against Napster.


    MCI's reorganization plans are approved by a federal bankruptcy court, concluding what had been the largest bankruptcy in United States history.


    Version 3.0.8 of the Scientific Linux operating system was released.