Response to Complaint by Tim Redman to USCF Ethics Committee against Sam Sloan

Sam Sloan
2356 Pitkin Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11207
(718) 827-7422

March 26, 2001

The USCF Ethics Committee lacks jurisdiction and authority to hear the ethics complaint because the complaint is not signed and is not contemplated or authorized by the Code of Ethics of the United States Chess Federation. The Code of Ethics states in part:

"The purpose of this code of ethics is to set forth standards to which the conduct of players, tournament directors, sponsors, and other individuals and entities participating in the affairs of the United States Chess Federation (USCF), including tournaments and other activities sponsored by or sanctioned by the USCF, should conform."

Among the examples of Ethical violations are: Cheating in a game of chess by illegally giving, receiving, offering, or soliciting advice; or by consulting written sources; or by tampering with clocks, deliberately losing a game for payment, or to lower one's rating, or for any other reason; deliberately misrepresenting one's playing ability in order to compete in a tournament or division of a tournament intended for players of lesser ability; Participating in a tournament under a false name or submitting a falsified rating report, and barring someone from entering a USCF-sanctioned event for personal reasons.

In the complaint presented here, Tim Redman, claiming to act on behalf of the USCF, seeks to stifle dissent and to quash my legal effort to remove him from his position as member of the Executive Board and President of the USCF. The offense he claims is in connection with a political mailing I made to USCF delegates and alternate delegates. Such a mailing cannot be the subject of a USCF Ethics Complaint.

The Code of Ethics states:

This code of ethics shall apply only to: (A) actions and behavior by members of the USCF that occur in connection with tournaments or other activities sponsored by or sanctioned by the USCF; and (B) individuals and entities acting in an official capacity as officers or representatives of the USCF.

My political mailing did not occur in connection with a tournament or other activity sponsored by the USCF and I am not an officer or representative of the USCF. Although I am an alternate delegate from New York State, I did not conduct this mailing in that capacity, since any USCF member could have and was entitled to conduct a mailing to USCF delegates and alternate delegates.

Furthermore, the underlying complaint is without basis. The complaint alleges that I made a reckless and harmful public mailing and posting when I revealed that US ChessLive is infected with spyware.

Every recognized authority on this subject agrees that US ChessLive does contain spyware, except to the extent that there is disagreement as to the definition of the term "spyware".

The Michigan Attorney General has brought proceedings against eGames, a company whose games contain Conducent software, the same kind of software that is in US Chess Live.

The Michigan Attorney General has issued a press release stating that in settlement eGames has agreed to provide full disclosure to its customers of what the spyware does. The press release is available at .

However, neither the USCF nor US ChessLive have made any similar offer nor have they provided to USCF members any comparable information as to what the spyware in US ChessLive does. Most USCF members are not even aware of this issue.

I have never stated that the software in US ChessLive does in fact read credit card numbers, bank account passwords and the like on user's hard drives. I merely stated that they could do that if they wanted to. That is a true statement.

For example, James B. Shearer, under the heading "Re: Who made George John the USCF Internet computer guru?" wrote in on February 26, 2001:

"First let note that this is not my professional opinion. My professional expertise is in the area of mathematical software which has little to do with this or other USCF issues with the possible exception of the ratings calculations software.

"It is theoretically possible to write a program to scan your harddrive (or your monitor your keystrokes) and capture anything that looks like a credit card number. It could also look for common financial management software and pull information out of the data files. Some of this stuff might be encrypted in some cases but I wouldn't rely on that. This program need not be large and probably could be easily hidden in a large piece of software like the USCL, Conducent combination."

On Sun, 25 Feb 2001 17:22:45 GMT, in "Rick
Sutherland" wrote in Re: Who made George John the USCF Internet computer guru?:

"I really think you're missing the point here George. Very few people want their software to send information about them back to a company that then makes money off that information. We didn't even know this was happening until Sam brought it up and by law, we should have full disclosure and the right to stop it. How do we know what information is being sent back? How do we know that we can trust what this company is telling us?

"I'd much rather not have any Spyware running on my system, and any program that collects information about me in any way, is Spyware!

"Richard Sutherland"

On 26 Feb 2001 18:22:12 GMT, Dr. Robert Hyatt , a Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama, wrote in Re: "Conclusive Proof that US ChessLive contains Spyware":

"That sounds benign enough. But in practice, it probably only sounds that way. in any case, I have chosen to take this problem by the horns so that these guys can install anything they want on my machine. But they won't _ever_ get a single byte sent to them by such spyware. I suspect many others will also use the same policy eventually rendering this nonsense moot.

Robert Hyatt Computer and Information Sciences University of Alabama at Birmingham
(205) 934-2213 115A Campbell Hall, UAB Station
(205) 934-5473 FAX Birmingham, AL 35294-1170

On 27 Feb 2001 22:05:01 -0800, in Paul Rubin

"George, you are a sensible guy and you've done a lot for the USCF and will probably be a good EB member. I doubt that the USCF can be saved but you're about as good a candidate as any. Sloan is giving you a bad rap for reasons unknown to me. While it's not possible to be right about absolutely everything, on the average you do very well.

"However, on the Conducent spyware issue, Sloan is right and you are wrong. This is simply not your grandfather's Internet. Trusting software indiscriminately and failing to value user privacy is dangerous and inadvisable. As security guru Bruce Schneier likes to say, "If McDonalds offered a free Big Mac in exchange for a DNA sample, there'd be lines around the block". Members who are not computer geeks, when offered USCF-labelled software (like USCL), will generally trust the judgement of the USCF about the software's safety. Please do not fail them by making errors in judgement."

Moreover, the USCF Executive Board has been notified by the USCF Internet Committee that US ChessLive does contain spyware. A member of the Internet Committee wrote them the following:

"I don't believe that Computer and Internet Committee can give the USCF and the users of USChessLive valid assurance that the software is clean. . . . I will not allow suspected spyware to run on my own computers or my company's network."

Dr. Eric Schiller, who holds a PhD degree in a computer related field, reports that he was an official in the Brain Games Kasparov-Kramnik match for the World Chess Championship and that Joel Berez, the Games Parlor CEO, came to London and pitched them on including Games Parlor software in the downloads of persons seeking to follow the Kasparov-Kramnik match. Schiller reports that Joel Berez did not attempt to hide the fact that the Games Parlor software was spyware. Commenting on US ChessLive, Schiller writes: "It's spyware, pure and simple, and for that reason I will not touch it."

Myron Lieberman, in connection with his report of the Computers and Internet subcmmittee states that he did not express an opinion as to whether or not US ChessLive contains spyware, primarily because of differences of opinion as to what constitutes spyware. However, Lieberman referred readers to Internet sites which do list US ChessLive as spyware. Lieberman writes at :

Conducent, like Radiate and many other companies, has been under fire as a supplier of "spyware". Privacy oriented web sites such as , , and others refer to Conducent / Timesink software as "spyware"

Turning to the disclaimer notice which Tim Redman cites as evidence that US ChessLive does not contain spyware, even George John, who has become defacto-Executive Board spokesman on this issue, has admitted that some of the statements are false. For example, George John says that the following answer is false:


If I uninstall US Chess Live, will the Conducent software be removed as well?


Joel M. Berez, Chairman & CEO, GamesParlor, Inc

It has been established that this is not true. Testers have installed US ChessLive and then tried to uninstall it only to find that something is left behind. The software installs a TIMESINK directory. If the user tries to delete that directory and all the subdirectories it contains, he will find that the next time he goes online, that directory will re-install itself without asking permission.

Other statements by Games Parlor are misleading. For example, it states that it does not use cookies. However, cookies come in when the user is using the NETSCAPE or Internet Explorer browsers. US ChessLive has its own platform and therefore has no need of cookies. Thus, the following statement is misleading:

Does Conducent software use cookies or attach itself to my browser?


Other statements in the question and answer paragraphs are subject to question. For example, it says that Conducent software is not running when the user is not online or is not playing chess. However, it may be that some other kind of software linked to Conducent software is running or gathering information in some way. TIMESINK spyware is installed at another place in the hard drive, so that if the user deletes US ChessLive and all the directories it appears to have created, the TIMESINK directory will still be there and will still presumably be active.

George John, who is the leading proponent of US ChessLive, has reported that when he uninstalled US ChessLive, spyware was left behind. On Sat, 03 Mar 2001 22:03:49 GMT, in in Re: Timesink is Still in US ChessLive!, "George C. John" wrote:

Total spyware references found on this system:8

George John feels that this spyware is harmless and should be ignored by the user. However, many disagree and feel that they have the right to be informed of what is put in their computers and what it does.

Numerous newspaper articles have identified Conducent software as containing spyware, such as for example the following article in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

George John also states that persons concerned about spyware should simply disable cookies in their browser system. On Sat, 03 Mar 2001 03:59:45 GMT, "George C. John" wrote in "Re: US(SR)CF and "Operation Spyware":

Initial reports from a subcommittee member indicate that if you disable
cookies in your browser security settings, ValueClick should satisfy most
anti-spyware purists. I would assume that anti-spyware purist have cookies disabled (or at least generate a prompt to accept or reject).

However, most USCF members do not know about this and may not want to disable some features of their browser. For example, cookies are useful for shopping online and many computer users prefer to have the cookies provided by Amazon Books, The New York Times and Yahoo available in their computer. However, if they knew about it, nobody would want the spyware from US ChessLive in their computer, especially since they have the alternative of playing chess for free on FICS, which has exactly the same chess playing software as US ChessLive uses and does not use Conducent spyware.

George John has recently backtracked from some of his earlier statements supporting US ChessLive. On Fri, 16 Mar 2001 06:29:58 GMT, in under the heading Re: Has Spyware infected WinBoard? "George C. John" wrote:

Some comments about advertising and Conducent appear (reappeared?) on the USCL Website at and Unfortunately, one of the statements, "If I uninstall US Chess Live, will the Conducent software be removed as well?", proved to be not completely correct. Given this fact and given the sensitivity of the issue, my recommendation might be (if the cost isn't prohibitive) to hire a consultant who is an expert in the area of "adware/spyware" and Internet security to review not only whatever 3rd party software the USCF is using like Conducent or ValueClick, but also the USCF and GamesParlor contracts, privacy policies, and security procedures. We need to make certain that any software the USCF distributes under its name is reasonably safe. An independent, expert professional opinion could go a long way towards satisfying that goal.

Furthermore, On Sat, 17 Mar 2001 04:47:14 GMT, in under Re: Has Spyware infected WinBoard? "George C. John" wrote:

>> Another of the statements on the web page is that the
> Conducent software only runs when the USCL program is running.
> As you may recall this was a concern of mine. You were not
> bothered by the possibility itself but I presume you would be
> bothered by errors in the statements on the web page.

An error casts doubt. I'd like *all* the statements on the USCL Website to be correct. The USCL uninstall attempts to remove the Conducent software. It isn't 100% successful. I do think enough of it is removed to make it no longer functional. Nevertheless, I'd like to see all traces of it removed.

For these and many other reasons, the Ethics Complaint brought by Tim Redman must be dismissed, with costs.


While making an ethics complaint against Sam Sloan, Tim Redman has committed numerous ethical offenses. These are so many that they are too numerous to mention, but here are a few of them.

By filing an ethics complaint on behalf of the USCF, Tim Redman has committed an ethics violation because as president he can take no action without an open debate and vote by the full board, and no such thing has occurred. Here is what Redman states:

Attached is an ethics complaint against Mr. Sam Sloan. I believe the comment I have cited materially hurts our Federation and undermines our new efforts to recruit lapsed members by way of the new internet membership option. I am therefore making it on behalf of the USCF as USCF President. I am confident that the Executive Board will support me in this matter, and I know that if they don't, I'll hear from them soon.

This statement makes it clear that Redman has not consulted other members of the board. This in itself is an ethics violation.

Clause 1b in the code of conduct for EB members states:

(b) All Board members have the right to be involved in the determination of all Board decisions. A Board majority has no authority except as a majority vote within the context of a properly called Board meeting. Board decisions must result from discussions in which all Board members have had the opportunity to participate.

On many occasions (not just this one) Redman has taken actions on behalf of the board without consulting the board. This is a clear ethical violation, especially since it appears that none of the other board members support Redman's ethics complaint.

Redman committed a much more serious ethics violation when he posted on an Internet newsgroup that I had sexually harassed a female chess opponent.

On Mon, 05 Mar 2001 11:42:48 -0800, in under the heading Re: The Spyware Infested Software List Tim Redman wrote:

Dear Tom,

I have heard from a member of the Ethics Committee that they have accepted my complaint.

In the meantime I have heard indirectly from two members of our chess teams in Parsippany that Sam Sloan sexually harassed our fourth-board player, Karen Birkedahl, before their game. He even asked her to marry him. Karen is an extremely level-headed person and took it in her stride, but can you imagine the effect Mr. Sloan has on other players, especially young women who are playing in their first tournament?



This claim that I both sexually harassed and proposed marriage to Karen Birkedahl is utterly false and without basis. I have known Karen Birkedahl for two years. I have a picture posted on my website of Karen and I together, which her mother took and gave to me. The picture is posted at

It is clear from Redman's statements that he never spoke to Karen Birkedahl and is making this allegation without her knowledge or permission. It is noteworthy that Tim Redman frequently credits others when he makes allegations.

The fact is that I had a brief conversation with Karen Birkedahl before we started our chess game, plus I took her picture with her permission. I never proposed marriage to her. I expressed surprise that she was playing on the chess team for the University of Texas at Dallas, because I know that she lives with her mother in Provo, Utah. Karen explained that she had won a scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas at the US Open in Reno.

It is a well established ethical principle in journalism that when a woman makes a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct of any kind, the name of the woman is not to be revealed by the press.

Karen Birkedahl is an 18-year-old girl. She has never accused me of sexual harassment or of anything else. Now, she finds her name dragged in the mud by Tim Redman. All kinds of snickers and jokes about this at her expense are already being made on the Internet newsgroups. Karen will probably never live this down and may decide to quit chess because of this. This would be a great tragedy, because Karen is completely devoted to chess.

This ethical violation is so severe that I believe that Tim Redman should be permanently expelled from the USCF as a result.

Tim Redman has made many other false and misleading statements as well in the pages of Chess Life and elsewhere. For example, he said that his fiddle points system had been approved "after consulting with the Ratings Committee". This clearly implied that the ratings committee was in favor of fiddle points. In reality, the ratings committee was vehemently opposed to them.

At the meeting of the USCF Executive Board on October 6, 2000, Redman told the other members of the board that members of the ratings committee were in favor of his activity points "as individuals". This was a lie, as all 13 members of the ratings committee were vehemently opposed to activity points.

These and other false statements by Tim Redman plus the filing of this baseless ethics complaint have severely harmed the USCF and Tim Redman should be disciplined as a result.

WHEREFORE, for all of the reasons set forth above, the ethics complaint by Tim Redman against Sam Sloan must be dismissed, and ethical violations by Tim Redman must be found by the Ethics Committee.

Respectfully submitted,

Sam Sloan

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