Catholics distrust Scientology software
June 7, 2000
Several Catholic dioceses in Germany do not want to prematurely install the Windows 2000 computer operating system by Microsoft because of possible involvement of the Scientology organization in program development.
Hamburg - Limburg diocese as well as the Berlin diocese are advising their parishes against installation. "That is a preventive measure because of a program component developed from a company whose business manager is a professed Scientologist," said Limburg Diocese spokesman Michael Wittekind on Wednesday. The Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI) in Bonn is currently checking to see if user data is secure under implementation of Windows 2000.
According to what Wittekind said, the recommendation had been made the beginning of May by the Association of the Dioceses of Germany. Government agencies, including those of the Free State of Bavaria, intend to wait for the review by the federal office before implementing the software. As a BSI spokesman said on Wednesday, an agreement between the federal office and Microsoft in June will be taken into account in the review.
The Windows NT successor system, introduced in Germany in February, made headlines because of installation of a software component for care and maintenance of the hard disk. Microsoft purchased the program with the name of "Diskeeper" from the California Executive Software company, whose boss, Craig Jensen, openly acknowledges his membership in Scientology. Since last December, primarily in Germany, there has been controversy and discussion as to whether data on hard disk drives could be at risk with the help of Diskeeper Microsoft has consistently denied that.
"We do not trust the Scientologist on their own," said Wittekind. The diocese has considerable objections because Scientology has supposedly openly stated that it intends to gain a toehold in German business. The Berlin diocese also wrote a memo advising against implementing Windows 2000 and recommending the continued use of Windows NT and Windows 98.
The main job of the BSI is to test whether user data on the hard disk could be forwarded, undetected, to a third party, Dickopf stated. However, the BSI was not concerned about possible involvement by Scientology, Dickopf made it clear. He said the BSI was purely a technical agency for reviewing security.
Bavaria wants Windows 2000 checked out
March 31, 2000
Hamburg (dpa) - The Free State of Bavaria will not install the Windows 2000 operating system from Microsoft until the controversial Scientology Organization's involvement with the software has been reviewed.
As reported by c't computer magazine, the government agencies will wait until Windows 2000 has been checked out by the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI). That is what the state administration answered to a minor inquiry by the SPD. Microsoft came under criticism because a portion of the software had been programmed by a company aligned with Scientology.
It is still unclear how the software is to be checked out. The issue, primarily, is whether the program code, which is regarded as secret by Microsoft, will have to be revealed to the BSI. The Federal Office has suggested a possible procedure for Microsoft, c't cited BSI spokesman, Michael Dickopf. According to Microsoft, the suggestion is currently being examined in the U.S. company headquarters in Redmont. Microsoft was last quoted as denying that it intended to reveal the program code to BSI.
The discussion concerns a component program for data maintenance on the hard drive. The defragmentation program, called Diskeeper, was produced by professed Scientologist Craig Jensen's California software firm, Executive Software. After that become known, there was speculation that Scientology could spy upon corporations and individuals in this way. That was dismissed by Microsoft.
Caberta warns - Sect firm provides a component of Windows 2000
Is Scientology in government computers?
December 24, 1999
The year 2000 problem has not yet been completely taken care and already the computer experts in the Hamburg administration are getting new worries. Now it has been learned that components of the new Windows 2000 operating system come from a Scientology company. In response to the apprehension that this could be a set-up in regard to the the flow of data, some of which is highly sensitive, in the Hamburg government apparatus, the speaker of the leading revenue office stated: "We take the matter seriously."
It has been said in the Hamburg State Office for Information Technology (LIT) in Rothenburgsort that Windows 2000 is supposed to replace the old Windows NT operating system early next year. The computers would then have the latest update.
Presumably, however, this date will no longer be valid. The reason is a so-called "defragmentation" program by the name of "Diskeeper." With its help the files on the hard drive are "tidied up" and organized so that the computer can access them and be able to work with them more quickly.
This program, which by itself in not unusual, has a catch: it is produced by a U.S. company, Executive Software Inc., and this business belongs to the influential Scientologist, Craig Jensen. Jensen has been in the sect since 1974 and by climbing up to "Operating Thetan Grade VIII" has the highest rank which Scientology has to offer. From 1992 to 1996, Executive Software also ran a branch in Hamburg.
Technical computer magazine "c't" wrote on the subject that Windows provider Microsoft had "handled a problem with the integration of the Executive product in Windows 2000, which was taken seriously by at least a few potential major customers." The major customers would not only include Hamburg, but also other German states and agencies, as well as large firms. A computer expert told the "Abendblatt": it cannot be ruled out that in the "tidying up" of the hard disk, files could be transmitted out over the internet to an unknown address.
As do other companies, Executive Software belongs to the "World Institute of Scientology Enterprises" (WISE), a federation of firms which are uniformly managed according to the ideology of sect founder L. Ron Hubbard.
And yet more: a report from the work group on Scientology directed by Ursula Caberta to the citizenry stated that a WISE enterprise had just as much of an obligation to spread Scientology ideology in society as do Scientology organizations or missions. Caberta on the Windows 2000 problem: "If it goes together with Microsoft, then it should not be underestimated." Her advice: "hands off."
Not everybody is so inflexible in their thinking about it, though. While the revenue agencies make the application of the software dependent upon a review, the Federal Office for Security and Information Technology trusts that the distributor will have his product certified. BSI speaker Michael Dickopf: "We only check if he wants us to, and no application has yet been submitted."
Information Technology Professor Klaus Brunnstein also stated about Windows 2000 that it was conceivable that the software in question contained a function which could forward files to unauthorized points unknown. That would not necessarily be perceptible to the PC user, nor would it have to appear under emails sent.
Brunnstein recommends taking the problem seriously. He says that before the city implements Windows 2000, Microsoft should grant an unconditional guarantee for the software. A review would also be helpful, such as by the ISCA (Information Systems Consultant's Association) in the USA. For reasons of personnel and technical methods, Bonn BSI or the TueV are not in the position [to do that].
Hamburg agencies still have the question of whether they can continue contractual obligations with Microsoft. That is to say, the city made a decision in 1996 not to make purchases from companies which operated according to Hubbard's technology. What is not clear is whether that also applies when other providers are part of the picture.
Business - Network World - Panorama
Scientology Bug in Windows 2000
December 3, 1999
One component of the new Microsoft operating system is from a software company in the coterie of Scientology organizations. Churches and agencies are now concerned that the program could pass on information about its users by using hidden functions.
Hamburg - One of the software components integrated into Windows 2000 comes from Executive Software, a California company led by a Scientologist. That was reported in the latest edition of "c't", a computer technical magazine. Craig Jensen, head of Executive Software, lets the public know via the internet that his corporation follows the controversial methods of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Microsoft states that it is operating according to state legal principles: speaker Kurt Braatz is reported to have said that one has to deal with the Executive company like any other business, regardless of its Scientology connections. No legal decision is in effect in which Scientology is classified as an organization hostile to the Constitution," he said. "We cannot exclude anybody doing business with us on religious, racial or other grounds without a court order."
In contrast, churches and agencies do not regard the the Scientology business' software to be safe: "That interests not just the Catholic Church, but also all German provinces, Constitutional Security and even German industry," said Harald Baer, one of the German Bishop Conferences sect and worldview commissioners.
According to Ursula Caberta, Director of the Hamburg Interior Agency's Work Group on Scientology, Executive Software is one of the leading enterprises of Scientology's WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises.) WISE is said the "decisive arm of Scientology for the purpose of infiltration and covert data collection." She pointed out decisions in the German provinces of Bavaria and Hamburg which state that no products or services may be purchased from Scientology corporation, especially not in the area of information services.
"Windows 2000 Disk Defragmenter," which is integrated into Windows 2000, is based on Executive Software's "Diskeeper." That is a program which alleviates fragmentation of data on the hard disk. In defragmentation, the data is written back to disk contiguously. The full version of the program contains a function in which one of the options is, as part of network housekeeping, to have the disk automatically defragmented. Using a different technology, the company advertises, one can "guard Windows NT system data which is critical to business and confidently protect it from undesired fragmentation."
These kind of automatic functions do not exactly inspire confidence in data security managers. According to Uwe Schlaeger, computer expert at the Hamburg data protection commission, a danger theoretically exists that the program could shoot data out to the internet. In the technical analysis of "Diskeeper" "c't" experts, however, no irregularities were found. "Of course external investigation cannot completely rule out the possibility that an operating system component could covertly gather data on users," read the magazine.
"Our developers have checked to see whether the program really only performs the defined functions," countered Microsoft speaker Thomas Baumgaertner. If a company or organization does, nevertheless, not trust the program, an administrator could shut off the Diskeeper function, which according to "c't" is "rather complicated." The argument of the churches that the purchase of Windows 2000 could contribute to Scientology's finances was rejected by Microsoft. "Whoever has such objections is free to express them in his decision to buy," said Braatz.
Computers and technology
Microsoft sees not way of excluding companies
Scientology company included in development of Windows 2000
December 3, 1999
Hamburg dpa. A software business from the Scientology organization's following was included in the development of the new Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system. "Diskeeper," a program integrated into Windows 2000 to service the hard disk comes from the Executive Software California company of known Scientologist Craig Jensen, reported computer technical magazine c't in its latest edition. "That would not only be of interest to the Catholic Church, but also to all German states, Constitutional Security and even German industry," said Harald Baer, one of the commissioners for sects and worldview of the German Bishop's conference.
Microsoft speaker Kurt Braatz said that they would have to deal with the Executive company just alike any other business, regardless of its Scientology connections. "There is no legal decision in effect which classifies Scientology as an organization inimicable to the Constitution." Microsoft was said to deal according to the state's legal principles. "We cannot exclude anyone from doing business with us for religious, racial or other like reasons."
Ursula Caberta, the Director of the interior agency's Work Group on Scientology, described Executive Software as one of the leading companies in Scientology's WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises.) She said WISE was the "decisive arm of Scientology to infiltrate and covertly gather information from business." She made mention of decisions in the German provinces of Bavaria and Hamburg whereby no services or products may be purchased from Scientology enterprises, especially in the area of information technology.
Craig Jensen, head of Executive Software, lets the public know via the internet (http://home.scientologist.org/cjensen/myself.htm) that his corporation follows the controversial methods of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Executive's program clears up the hard disk
"Diskeeper" is a program which rectifies fragmentation of data on the hard disk. In "defragmentation," fragmented data is read from the disk and re-written back to it contiguously. In their technical analysis of "Diskeeper," the c't experts found "no conspicuous" irregularities. "Of course the presumption that an operating system component could be covertly gathering information on the user cannot be fully disproved by external investigations," the magazine wrote.
Uwe Schlaeger, computer expert at the Hamburg data security commission, said that, theoretically, the danger exists that the program was transmitting contents of the hard drive into the internet. "But that would probably be discovered by experts at some time." Inexperienced users, however, would probably not absolutely notice it. The important thing is whether the source code of the program was available, and whether it could be reviewed by Microsoft for hidden functions.
Microsoft spokesman Thomas Baumgaertner told the dpa that Diskeeper's source was available to his company. "Our developers have reviewed to see whether the program really performs only the functions defined." If a company or organization should, nevertheless, not trust the program, an administrator could shut off the diskeeper function. According to what c't says, however, it is "rather complicated" to deactivate the Diskeeper function.
The argument of the churches that the purchase of Windows 2000 could contribute to Scientology's finances was rejected by Microsoft. "Whoever has such objections is free to express them in his decision to buy," said Braatz.