From: m...@eff.org (Stanton McCandlish)
Subject: EFFector Online 07.06 - bill updates, NII summit, Pioneer Awards
Date: 24 Mar 1994 20:04:34 -0500
Organization: Electronic Frontier Foundation
Summary: HR3626, HR3627, HR3636, MD HB1627, EFF BBS, EFF Activist List!
Keywords: HR3636, HR3627, HR3636, HB1627, EFF BBS, Outpost, Activists,
Pioneer Awards, NII, Summit, New Mexico, NM, Consortium, Compton's, Patent
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EFFector Online Volume 07 No. 06 Mar. 24, 1994 edit...@eff.org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In This Issue:
Summary of Revisions to House Bills 3636 and 3626
NII Public Interest Summit Announcement - 03/29/94
Third Annual EFF Pioneer Awards Announced
EFF Attending BBS Expo '94 in Washington, DC - 04/94
Inter-Organization NTIA Workgroup Formed to Bring NII to New Mexico
H.R. 3627 co-sponsored by Rep. Karen Shepherd (D-UT)
New features at EFF Online, EFF PGP Public Key & Activist List
Maryland Telecom Privacy Bill Fails
Compton's/Britannica/Tribune Multimedia Patent Rejected
What YOU Can Do
Subject: Summary of Revisions to House Bills 3636 and 3626
The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up two major
telecommunications bills last week. The Committee approved HR 3636, the
National Communications Competition and Information Infrastructure Act of
1993, cosponsored by Reps. Markey (D-Mass.) and Fields (R-Tex.), and HR
3626, the Antitrust Reform Act of 1993, cosponsored by Reps. Brooks
(D-Tex.) and Dingell (D-Mich.). The House Judiciary Committee, which also
has jurisdiction over HR 3626, approved the bill in a different version.
The House Rules Committee will decide which provisions from the two
different versions of HR 3626 to allow on the floor. Floor votes on HR
3626 and 3636 may be scheduled as early as late April.
Both bills are designed to provide more opportunity for competition
in long-distance telephone, cable television, and cellular communication
services. HR 3636 would allow cable and telephone companies to compete in
each other's lines of business. HR 3626 is a major antitrust reform
measure and would allow the regional Bell telephone operating companies,
known as Baby Bells or RBOCs, to offer long-distance services.
HR 3636 proposes a major restructuring of the Communications Act of
1934 to account for changes in technology, market structure, and people's
increasing needs for advanced telecommunications services. HR 3636
includes EFF's Open Platform provisions and supports an open, accessible
network with a true diversity of information sources. Open Platform
service is designed to give residential subscribers affordable access to
voice, data, and video digital telephone service on a switched, end-to-end
basis. Open Platform service would provide residential and business
customers access to a variety of applications on the information highway,
including distance learning, telemedicine, telecommuting, the Internet, and
many more. HR 3636 directs the FCC to investigate the policy changes
needed to make Open Platform service widely available at reasonable rates.
The bill promotes the entry of telephone companies into video cable
service and seeks to benefit customers by spurring competition in the cable
television industry. Telephone companies that want to provide video
programming would be required to provide video services through a "video
platform," which would be open to all bona fide requests from other video
programming providers. The markup bill substitutes a contract carriage
regime for the original bill's common carriage regime by dropping the
original bill's requirement that 75% of a telephone company's video
platform channels must be reserved for competitors. Instead, the markup
bill would require that video platforms have a suitable margin of capacity
to meet reasonable growth in demand. To promote local competition in
telecommunications services, the bill requires that local telephone
companies open their networks to competitors who wish to interconnect with
the public switched telephone network. The bill also would establish a
Joint Federal-State Board (made up of FCC members and state regulators) to
devise a framework for ensuring continued universal service. The Board
would be required to define the services encompassed within a telephone
company's universal service obligation and to promote access to advanced
Several amendments were approved during markup of HR 3636 to
address a myriad of issues. Some of these amendments are designed to
facilitate the deployment of advanced telecommunications services. For
example, Rep. Boucher's (D-Va.) amendment would accelerate FCC approval of
common carrier facilities' applications to provide video dialtone services
under section 214 of the Communications Act. Rep. Swift's (D-Wash.)
amendment would require telephone companies to provide at-cost preferential
rates to noncommercial and governmental entities for advanced, non-video
platform services. Rep. Schaefer's (R-Colo.) amendment would prohibit the
imposition of fees on new telecommunications providers that are not imposed
on existing service providers.
Other amendments address common carrier rate regulation. Rep.
Tauzin (D-La.) sponsored an amendment requiring that a common carrier with
more than 1.8 million access lines be "subject to alternative or price
regulation, and not cost-based rate of return regulation," when it has
implemented equal access, openness, and accessibility provisions. Another
Tauzin amendment would allow broadcasters to use spectrum for ancillary
services and provides that the FCC would collect fees generated from any
broadcasts made using advanced services. Rep. Wyden (D-Ore.) sponsored an
amendment requiring that telephone rate increases for residential customers
who opt out of advanced telecommunications services must be implemented
over a period of 5 years if they are more than an inflation adjustment. To
address cross-subsidy and franchising requirements, Rep. Synar (D-Okla.)
sponsored a ban on cross-subsidies between regulated telephone service and
competitive telecommunications, information, and video services. In
addition, Rep. Fields' (R-Tex.) amendment would preempt state and local
governments' ability to extend their franchising authority over cable
television providers to cover any telecommunications services offered by
cable television operators.
This bill would phase out the limitations placed on the Baby Bells
under the modified consent decree that resulted in the antitrust agreement
that broke up AT&T in 1982 (the "MFJ" or "Modification of Final Judgment").
The MFJ currently precludes Baby Bells from providing long distance
service and manufacturing telephone equipment. Until two years ago, the
Bell Companies were precluded from electronic publishing.
The bill gives the Attorney General and the FCC the authority to
make a public interest determination before a Baby Bell could offer
competitive long distance services. The bill requires the Attorney General
to make a finding that there is no substantial possibility that the Baby
Bell or its affiliates could use monopoly power, for example by preventing
access to networks or using profits earned, to impede competition in the
market it seeks to enter. HR 3626 also would lift MFJ restrictions and
allow Baby Bells to engage in manufacturing telephone equipment, electronic
publishing, and burglar alarm services.
Two different versions of HR 3626 emerged from the Energy and
Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Dingell, and the Judiciary Committee,
chaired by Rep. Brooks. The two Committee chairs had previously reached a
compromise on the conditions under which Baby Bells should be allowed into
interstate resale and intrastate service. However, the Judiciary
Committee's version would tighten the requirements for Baby Bells to enter
intrastate long distance and interstate resale.
Rep. Dingell's bill would allow Baby Bells to provide incidental
services across the LATA boundaries that currently divide their regions.
An amendment sponsored by Rep. Markey would list privacy requirements for
common carriers and require the FCC to study the impact of converging
technologies on consumer privacy. Rep. Markey also introduced an amendment
to expand the definition of electronic publishing.
An amendment to both HR 3636 and 3626 would authorize additional
FCC appropriations as necessary to carry out the acts and their amendments.
Subject: NII Public Interest Summit Announcement - 03/29/94
Shaping the National Information Infrastructure
Public Interest Summit
NOTE: Use this electronic mail address for contact: <sum...@tmn.com>
On-site registration for the Public Interest Telecommunications Summit
scheduled for March 29th in Washington, DC quickly reached the maximum
capacity of 500 people. Vice President Gore will address the Summit. It
will be broadcast over public radio stations. It is expected to be
covered live over C-Span. It will include live participation from
community networks, the Internet and many other online forums. Though
physical participation in the even is now closed, electronic participation
is still possible.
It is critical to broaden participation of this Summit far beyond
Washington, DC, -- to the Nets and beyond the Nets. An Organizing Kit
will be posted, and comments requested. This kit will show how you can
quickly conduct local discussion groups and involve your local public
media. These discussions will be recognized as part of the Summit if you
let us know about them. Help us build a strong public voice to accompany
the Summit. Please read the Organizing Kit carefully (and quickly).
The organizing kit, conference schedule, and notes can be found at:
gopher.eff.org, 1/EFF/Policy/Open_Platform, nii_summit.kit
We now have offline discussion groups forming all over the
country. We have video clips coming in from great community-based
projects too and radio stations signing up. That now happening, let's
hear more from the Net!
For discussion and debate on these matters, send a subscribe request to
majord...@civicnet.org: subscribe nii_agenda <your email address>
In your postings, please remember to Cc: to <sum...@tmn.com> so we can
gather the broadest number of responses out there possible into one place
where we can work with them. The Summit agenda itself was posted just
recently. Take a look at the people and organizations on the first panel.
Consider the following panel description, and let the panelists know --
and each to all -- what you think.
Description of the First Panel:
"Delivering the Goods: Meeting Public Needs?"
The NII could have profound impacts on the way we learn, how we stay
healthy or get well, how and where we work, and how we communicate within
our community and beyond. Or it could be saturated with TV reruns and
movies, home shopping, electronic games and gambling. What services,
information and programming do we want delivered over the NII? What needs
will not be met in the commercial marketplace? Once the hardware is in
place, how will we guarantee that the information, health, education,
cultural and other public interest benefits are available?
WHAT DO YOU THINK? DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR A PANELIST?
During the course of the all-day Summit, four panel discussions will cover
the impacts, promises and dangers the information superhighway poses for
individuals, our homes, jobs, education and health, the future of our
democracy and our way of life. Topics will include public interest
applications, Universal Service, communities and the economy, and making
The Summit will bring major consumer and public interest advocates
together with key Administration officials. Panelists and moderators will
include C. Everet Koop, Jean Armour Polly, Connie Stout, Pat Waak, Rev.
Ben Chavis, Morty Bahr, Randy Ross, Mitch Kapor, Ralph Nader, Nadine
Strosser, Sonia Jarvis, Linda Tarr-Whelan,Woody Wickham, Andrew
Schwartzman, Peter Goldmark and many others.
The Summit is supported by private foundations and organized by a
broad-based coalition of public interest and non-profit organizations.
The Summit will set a new process in motion that will bring a strong
public voice to the critical communications legislation that is moving
through Congress this year. Many of the activities we can begin over the
next week will carry on after the Summit itself is over. We are dropping
a pebble into a very big pond. Help turn the ripples into a wave of change.
In addition to televised segments, panelists will also answer questions
from callers and through the Internet on a special edition of the Derek
McGinty Show. This joint effort of WAMU, Washington DC, and the National
Federation of Community Broadcasters will be made available to stations
nationwide over the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) during the Summit.
Further announcements from the Summit production staff will be made early
next week. Press releases, the full agenda, a recently published survey
of how Americans view the NII and other materials will become broadly
available shortly. A gopher server will be established for the Summit,
and pointed to from many gopher sites around the country and the Summit
will be live on the Net during the event. Stay tuned!
Subject: Third Annual EFF Pioneer Awards Announced
On March 24, at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in
Chcicago, Illinois, the Electronic Frontier Foundation presented
its Third Annual Pioneer Awards to eight individuals or institutions
who were judged to have made significant and influential contributions to
computer-based communications or to the empowerment of individuals in
using computers. The 1994 Pioneer Award recipients are Ivan Sutherland,
Bill Atkinson, Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, Murray Turoff and
Starr Roxanne Hiltz, Lee Felsenstein, and the WELL (the Whole Earth
Nominations for the Pioneer Awards were carried out over several national
and international computer-communication systems from December 1993 to
February 1994. A panel of six judges selected the winners from these
The Pioneer Award Recipients
Ivan Sutherland is the father of computer graphics. Author in the 1960s of
the first graphics program for computers, Sketchpad, Sutherland is the person
chiefly responsible for the recognition that computers can be more than
advanced calculating machines--that instead they could be used as a medium
for expression and design, an extension of the creative power of the human
mind. Now at Sun Microsystems, Sutherland can be credited for making a
triggering contribution to the modern-day emphasis on graphics in
microcomputers and the beginnings of virtual-reality technology.
Bill Atkinson is one of the premier developers of the technology of the
Macintosh personal computer. He was the graphics-toolbox developer for
Apple's Lisa computers, for which he wrote the basic Quickdraw graphics
routines at the heart of the Macintosh. Through his program MacPaint,
Atkinson almost singlehandedly fulfilled Ivan Sutherland's vision of the
computer as a creative tool, and his application HyperCard, the first
truly mass-market hypertext product, put the power of Macintosh application
and database design into the hands of nonprogrammers. Even in the small
group of highly creative people who developed the Macintosh, a machine that
continues to be a primary influence on nearly every new computer sold
today, Atkinson, now of General Magic, stands out for both the breadth and
the brilliance of his contribution.
In a world in which many computer enthusiasts seem to worship technology
for its own sake, Lee Felsenstein has been a pioneer in bringing computers
to the general public. For decades he has been outspoken in his commitment
to the ideal of making computers work for communities and individuals
rather than against them. Through his work on the Bay Area's Community
Memory project, his critical role in developing computer user groups, his
development of the seminal portable microcomputer, the Osborne I, and of
the Pennywhistle modem, Felsenstein has consistently shown himself to be
an exemplar of the pioneer spirit on the electronic frontier.
Whitfield Diffie of Sun Microsystems and Martin Hellman of Stanford
University are the persons chiefly responsible for public-key encryption.
In a period in this country's history when the government,
and in particular the National Security Agency, had a near-monopoly on
encryption technology, Diffie and Hellman developed public-key
encryption, a technology that enhances the ability of individuals to
keep their communications private and that eliminates the reliance of
individuals on third parties to ensure the authenticity of communications.
One implementation of Diffie and Hellman's work, Pretty Good Privacy, is a
worldwide standard in public-key encryption. Virtually every current
public-policy debate on encryption has been profoundly shaped by
Diffie and Hellman's work.
Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz are key innovators and the premier
theorists of computer-mediated communications. Turoff and Hiltz wrote the
seminal book that helped define the electronic frontier: The Network
Nation. The term we currently use for online discussions, "computer
conferencing," was popularized by Turoff almost a quarter-century ago.
The term was no metaphor--it was a literal description of what they had
built in the EIES ("Eyes") system -- that is, a system that allowed
people to "confer" via the computer. Hiltz's notion that computer
conferencing could form the basis of communities is a concept that
increasingly dominates popular discussion of online conferencing systems.
Hiltz and Turoff forecast most of the common uses and conventions of
online conferencing systems that we see today.
The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) is one of the best known
conferencing systems and virtual communities in the United States. Although
many commercial systems are far larger, the WELL is the fulfillment of the
vision that Turoff and Hiltz articulated in The Network Nation. It has
been a gathering ground for everyone from Grateful Dead fans to the
founding members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Begun by Stewart
Brand in the mid-'80s and long associated with the Whole Earth Review, the
WELL continues to be the most influential example of "virtual community."
Accepting the award for the WELL will be Cliff Figallo, former managing
director of the WELL and former director of EFF's Cambridge office, now of
Pandora Systems. Figallo, together with John Coate, is commonly regarded
as a chief architect of the WELL's implementation of virtual community.
This year's judges for the Pioneer Awards were: Mike Godwin, online
counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who coordinated the
judging process, Jim Warren, Pioneer Award recipient from 1992
and founder of Infoworld, Mary Eisenhart, editor of Microtimes, Steven
Levy, author of HACKERS and Macworld columnist, technology writer Paulina
Borsook, and Mark Graham of Pandora Systems.
For further information, contact Mike Godwin or Stanton McCandlish at
202-347-5400. Internet: a...@eff.org
Subject: EFF Attending BBS Expo '94 in Washington, DC - 04/94
EFF will be sending several staffers and it's membership booth to the BBS
Expo '94 Conference held from April 5-7, 1994 at the Sheraton Washington in
Washington, DC. EFF's Executive Director, Jerry Berman, will be giving the
keynote address, and staffers Shari Steele and Mike Godwin will both be
Be sure to look for out membership booth in the exhibits hall to pick up
our latest literature and t-shirts. There is a "Meet the EFF" BoF session
tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 6 at 8pm. Hope to see you
For information on attending BBS Expo '94 contact the conference
coordinators at +1 609 953 5955
Subject: Inter-Organization NTIA Workgroup Formed to Bring NII to New Mexico
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16 March 1994
CONTACT: Sharon K. Tison
New Mexico Technology Consortium
+1 505 983 6767 (voice)
Public & Private Organizations Join Together to
Prototype the Info Highway in New Mexico
Los Alamos National Laboratory, the New Mexico Free-Net Alliance, the New
Mexico Technology Consortium and New Mexico Technet are among a dozen public
and private agencies and organizations that are joining together to develop
prototypical models of the National Information Infrastructure (the
so-called "information highway").
The first step in this state-wide initiative for New Mexico is a joint proposal
to create a state-wide info highway prototype. The organizations are requesting
about a million dollars in matching funds from the US Department of Commerce's
National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
According to John R. Grizz Deal, director of the New Mexico Technology
Consortium "The call for proposals from NTIA is nation-wide and competition
among states will be fierce. The only way New Mexico can effectively
participate is by bringing together all interested parties into one
Deal goes on to say, "...this [joint proposal] will include community networks,
the laboratories, educational institutions and several state agencies as
well as private organizations dedicated to providing access to all those that
Several organizations in the state have already established, or are in the
process of establishing, a connection to world-wide information networks. The
joint proposal is an opportunity to bring together all of these groups to
provide the basis of a state-wide, community-based initiative.
The inter-organization NTIA proposal group will meet in Santa Fe during the
second week of April. The proposal is due mid-May. All organizations and
community-based computing networks interested in participating in the joint
proposal are invited to attend. Contact the New Mexico Technology Consortium
in Santa Fe at +1 505 983 6767 or by e-mail to gr...@lanl.gov for more
J. R. Grizz Deal <gr...@lanl.gov> comments further:
"The idea is to split NTIA funds based on regional populations and
matching/in-kind funds. I have hired a professional grant writer to bring
this all together. All we will need from each participating group or agency
is a single point of contact, a letter stating the organization's intent to
participate and information on your group. Each participating group's budget
and responsibilities (as it relates to the NTIA prototype) will be developed
out of the joint meeting in April and continuing conversations while the
proposal is being prepared.
"Let me emphasize that the New Mexico Technology Consortium will NOT take
any grant money from NTIA. We will facilitate this process as part of our
on-going efforts to bring advanced telecommunications to New Mexico.
"We are still looking for participation [from] more federal agencies and
Readers may also be interested that Lew Newby of UNM and others have set up
a New Mexico Free-Net. Mail free...@quasar.unm.edu for more information.
Subject: H.R. 3627 co-sponsored by Rep. Karen Shepherd (D-UT)
Activism works! Writing to your representatives in goverment is *not* a
waste of time or paper. It is effective, and it does produce results.
In many cases, your Senators, Representatives, Assemblymembers, Delegates,
etc., are not only unopposed to a bill, they may not even be aware of it
or the issue at all.
In Feb. 1994, EFF asked the net to help us show support for the Cantwell
bill, HR 3627, which would liberalize export controls on cryptography.
Thousands of you sent your letters in to this campaign, as well as to our
parallel Leahy Clipper hearings campaign which was also a success. But the
story doesn't stop there, and neither does the action. Co-sponsors or
lack thereof can be the life or death of a bill, and the more co-sponsors
HR 3627 has, the more likely it is to pass the House. Shabbir Safdar and
many others have done some great work in this area, and one message
indicating how effective personal grassroots activism can be was sent to
us from Colin Campbell, whose Representative Karen Shepherd has agreed to
co-sponsor the bill. We reproduce the letter below so you can see for
>>From: ccamp...@dsd.es.com (Colin Campbell)
>>To: jber...@eff.org (Jerry Berman)
>>Subject: H.R. 3627 will be co-sponsored by Rep. Karen Shepherd (D-UT)
>>Dear Mr. Berman:
>>I recently sent the following letter to my district's delegate in the
>>House of Representatives, Rep. Karen Shepherd (D-UT) in support of
>>H.R. 3627. Her office later telephoned me to say that before my
>>letter she had been unaware of the issue, but after studying the issue
>>she will be co-sponsoring the bill.
>>;;; text of letter
>>Rep. Karen Shepherd
>>U.S. House of Representatives
>>Dear Rep. Shepherd:
>>I would like to register my strong support for H.R. 3627, Legislation
>>to Amend the Export Administration Act of 1979. The bill proposes to
>>end the ban on the export of privacy and data-security software from
>>As a longtime worker in the software industry, I can attest to the
>>senseless and counter-productive effects of the current export
>>restrictions on cryptographic software.
>>For me, the issue is simple:
>> 1) The current ban is ineffective. There is no way to control
>> the availability of privacy software in other countries.
>> Software is not a commodity that is consumed and continually
>> reexported to replenish supply; it is information and technology.
>> The encryption technology in question is already fully available
>> wherever there are computers. Whether we like it or not,
>> the genie is out of the bottle and will not be put back.
>> 2) The U.S. software industry is severely hampered by not
>> being able to export products with privacy
>> and data-security features. This is about jobs.
>>I think cryptography has a bit of an image problem. I think it is
>>inaccurately associated in popular thinking with secrecy, espionage
>>and even crime or terrorism. In fact, privacy software is just an
>>electronic "envelope." It is as common and unexotic as paper
>>envelopes or locking file cabinets.
>>I regularly send my mail sealed in envelopes made of opaque paper, and
>>no one would interpret this practice as evidence of criminal intent.
>>Similarly, I file my business documents in a locking file cabinet. In
>>the future, nearly all electronic communication will be enclosed in
>>secure, software "envelopes." This is proper, natural and in no way
>>suspect. And it is a growth industry for the U.S., if we are only
>>sensible enough to recognize and take advantage of the opportunity.
>>I believe that the arguments of national security offered by opponents
>>of the proposed legislation are not compelling. I suspect that many
>>in the law enforcement and national security communities, who pursued
>>the majority of their careers with the technology and politics of the
>>Cold War, regret the wide availability of electronic privacy;
>>undeniably, it does make their job harder. However, whether or not we
>>allow privacy software to be exported will not change this.
>>Classifying privacy software as a "munition" makes about as much sense
>>as classifying personal computers and photocopy machines as implements
>>of war. Are we willing to forbid the export of personal computers and
>>photocopy machines for national security reasons as well?
>>Now is an opportunity for progressive, forward-thinking approaches to
>>electronic communications and the software industry. Our national
>>policy should reflect the realities of the technology and the public
>>interest. Needlessly crippling one of our most vital industries with
>>a policy which is ineffective at meeting its stated goals is not in
>>that interest. I urge you to support and even co-sponsor H.R. 3627.
>>This is an issue that is very important to the software
>>If there is any way I can help you in your effort pass HR 3627,
>>please let me know.
>>Thank you for your consideration.
>>Colin Campbell ccamp...@dsd.es.com
>>Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Subject: New features at EFF Online, EFF PGP Public Key & Activist List
* EFF now has an EFF Activist and Volunteers mailing list,
The list is founded to provide a forum for discussion and planning, idea-
sharing and bulletin posting, among activists on the electronic frontier,
as well as a place for EFF volunteers to gather, plan, and execute
projects, from helping stuff envelopes to programming and
net.dissemination of files and information. We ask that people stay
focussed and on topic, and resist any temptation to flame. The
eff-activists list is a _workgroup_. For free-sprited debate and
higher-bandwidth general discussion of EFFly issues, see Usenet's
comp.org.eff.talk, available as the eff-t...@eff.org mailing list.
To subscribe to eff-activists, send a request to
eff-activists-requ...@eff.org with the following in the body:
subscribe eff-activists <optional email address, NOT your name>
* EFF's BBS is now open to the public!
+1 202 638 6210, 300-14400 V.32bis, N-8-1, 24 hour
The system is still in beta testing and costruction, but already
provides a wide range of the files from *.eff.org. Future features
will include networked mail, 3 more dialin lines, and a search utility
to locate text material rapidly for online viewing or download.
* The MIT PGP Public Key Server is now available from EFF's WWW host,
for Web clients that support HTML forms (unfortunately this does NOT
include Mac Mosaic, and Lynx only appears to support the retrieving,
not adding, of keys.
http://www.eff.org/ - keyserver link readily located on our home page.
EFF's internet site is now supporting two new files-by-email features:
* EFF's PGP public key, which can be found at:
gopher.eff.org, 1/EFF/Misc, pgpkey.eff
can be retrieved via email, by sending any message to pgp...@eff.org
* Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet, which can be found at:
gopher.eff.org, 1/Net_info/Big_Dummy, bigdummy.txt
can be retrieved via email, by sending any message to bdgu...@eff.org
For info on the various versions and formats of this guide see
bigdummy.faq (same path as above).
Subject: Maryland Telecom Privacy Bill Fails
A Maryland state legislature bill, the Nonbroadcast Telecommunications
Privacy Act, failed to survive committee markup on Feb. 24, 1994.
Sponsored by MD House Delegate Joan Pitkin, bill HB1627 had several
landmark provisions for consumer privacy protection, including a
definition of "interception" that protected 2-way data over cable networks;
a requirement that nonbroadcast telecommunications providers remove from
their records and databases personal information of ex-customers; and
language prohibiting cable, satellite, and related data services from
monitoring users for "viewing patterns or practices", and from building
databases of, or even collecting, personal user information, without the
user's written consent (excepting certain types of information, such as
that required for billing and to ensure "system integrity"). Monitoring
to obtain viewer stats in the aggregate, without recording personal
details, would have still been allowed by the bill.
The legislation, though weak in some areas (notably, by focusing on the
passive aspects of little more than cable and satellite tv viewing),
nonetheless did have many provisions hinting at a wider market in the
future, including upstream use of heretofore one-way bandwidth, and the
use of television technology for person-to-person communication.
Del. Pitkin had been interested in making the text of the bill, already
becoming subjected to weakening amendments in committee, available on the
Internet, and had hoped to generate comment from net users.
Unfortunately, the lack of internet access at MD government offices
prevented our receipt of the bill until after it had already died in
committee, as it had to be ground-shipped. Her staff indicates that she
is likely to re-propose a version of the bill next session. Pitkin says
she first proposed this sort of legislation in MD some twenty years ago.
"Back then, no one knew what I was talking about," she said. "Many still
don't." She also said that MD legislation tends to build in stages, with
the passage of general frameworks happening intially, to be built upon in
layers by amendment over the years.
Before the bill failed to pass committee it had been subject to heavy
amendment, removing large sections. However, it's provisions were also
generalized to include other communications providers, and audio or video
monitoring, without permission, of customers was added to the list of
Given this, and the fact that the bill came under harsh crossfire from most
major telcos and cable companies (who have a vested interest in retaining
their ability to build, and rent and sell, databases of personal customer
info), Maryland telecommunications users may wish to watch for this
legislation's next incarnation, and lend their support, knowing that even
if it is missing a few pieces to the puzzle there is room for improvement
after the basic legal "infrastructure" is laid down. Del. Pitkin expressed
interest in hearing from constituents about these issues, and would
probably be heartened to learn of wide support for the next go-around. Her
office can be reached at:
+1 410 841 3105 (voice)
+1 410 841 3104 (fax)
The full text of the bill is available at:
gopher.eff.org, 1/EFF/Legislation/Foreign_and_local/MD, hb1627.bill
The amendments to the bill are available in hb1627.amend (same paths).
EFF is interested in hearing about other local and state legislation of
relevance. Send info to m...@eff.org (Stanton McCandlish). Probably the
only reason this bill failed is because not enough people knew about it,
and not enough people had taken the time to inform their representatives
of the issues, the importance thereof, and their opinions as voters on
Subject: Compton's/Britannica/Tribune Multimedia Patent Rejected
A Voorhees Report, redistributed with permission
(c) 1994 Mark Voorhees <markv...@phantom.com>
PATENT OFFICE REJECTS COMPTON'S NEWMEDIA PATENT
Controversial CD-ROM filing falls during re-exam
March 24, 1994--The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the
controversial Compton's NewMedia patent during a re-examination.
The patent covers basic techniques for searching and
retrieving information from CD-ROM data bases. It has generated
wide criticism in the computer and technology fields as a symbol
of the problems with software patents. Some critics say the
techniques were not new at the time of the patent filing. A
minority of critics say patents should not cover software.
Most or all of the 41 claims were rejected on the basis that
they were not novel or were obvious. The rejection was delivered
to Encyclopaedia Britannica, one of the patent owners, last
Encyclopaedia Britannica and Tribune Co., the other patent
owner, will have at least once chance to persuade the office that
its rejection is wrong. Afterward, the owners can appeal either
to federal court or to an appellate tribunal within the patent
Examiner Archie Williams cited a popular computer book, The
HyperCard Handbook, and several patents as evidence that
Compton's NewMedia was not the first inventor of the CD-ROM
Patent Commissioner Bruce Lehman took the rare step of
ordering the re-exam after industry protest over how
the patent would upset the advance of multimedia and interactive
Subject: What YOU Can Do
"The defendents objections to the evidence obtained by wire-tapping must,
in my opinion, be sustained. It is, of course, immaterial where the
physical connection with the telephone wires leading into the defendant's
premises was made. And it is also immaterial that the intrusion was in aid
of law enforcement. Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to
protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to
freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by
evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious
encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
- Justice Louis D. Brandeis, dissenting, Olmstead v. United States,
277 U.S. 479 (1928)
You've been following the newspapers and reading EFFector Online.
You know that today there are several battles being fought over the future
of personal privacy. The Clipper Chip, export restrictions, the Digital
Telephony Proposal - the arguments are numerous and complex, but the
principles are clear. Who will decide how much privacy is "enough"?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that individuals should be
able to ensure the privacy of their personal communications through any
technological means they choose. However, the government's current
restrictions on the export of encrytion software have stifled the
development and commercial availability of strong encryption in the U.S.
Rep. Maria Cantwell has introduced a bill (H.R. 3627) in the House that
would liberalize export controls on software that contains encryption, but
needs vocal support if the bill is to make it out of the committee stage.
The decisions that are made today will affect our futures indefinitely.
EFF is a respected voice for the rights of users of online technologies
and EFF members receive regular online updates on the issues that affect
our online communications and particpate in shaping the future.
Now, more than ever, EFF is working to make sure that you are the one that
makes these decisions for yourself. Our members are making themselves heard
on the whole range of issues. To date, EFF has collected over 4800 letters
of support for Rep. Cantwell's bill to liberalize restrictions on
cryptography. We also have over 1400 letters supporting Sen. Leahy's
open hearings on the proposed Clipper encryption scheme
If you'd like to add your voice in support of the Cantwell bill and the
Leahy hearings, you can send your letters to:
cantw...@eff.org, Subject: I support HR 3627
le...@eff.org, Subject: I support hearings on Clipper
Your letters will be printed out and hand delivered to Rep. Cantwell and
Sen. Leahy by EFF.
You KNOW privacy is important. You have probably participated in our online
campaigns. Have you become a member of EFF yet? We feel that the best
way to protect your online rights is to be fully informed and to make your
opinions heard. EFF members are informed, and are making a difference.
Join EFF today!
MEMBERSHIP IN THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION
Print out in monospaced (non-proportional) font and mail or fax to:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
1001 G Street, NW, Suite 950 East, Washington, DC 20001
+1 202 347 5400 (voice) +1 202 393 5509 (fax) +1 202 638 6120 (BBS)
Or upload to the BBS or our Internet ftp site: ftp.eff.org, /incoming
SIGN ME UP!
I wish to become a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I enclose:
___ Regular membership -- $40
___ Student membership -- $20
___ SysOp membership -- $10*
* SysOp members are required to bring in 10 new members to renew at the
SysOp membership rate (otherwise normal rates apply). Send queries to
members...@eff.org for more info.
I wish to make an additional tax-deductible donation in the amount of
$__________ to further support the activities of EFF and to broaden
participation in the organization.
___ Enclosed is a check or money order payable to
the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
___ Please charge my:
___ MasterCard ___ Visa ___ American Express
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Expiration Date: _________________________________________
NOTE: We do not recommend sending credit card information via email!
YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION:
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Phone: _____________________ FAX: ___________________________
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* BBS Notes: (OS, modem types/speeds, Internet connectivity, *
* access requirements, hours, fees, software, focus *
* or special interests, unique features, etc.) *
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* EFF will maintain a publicly available list of BBSs and *
* similar services that support the efforts of the Electronic *
* Frontier Foundation. Members with BBSs who support EFF at *
* the Regular or Student rates can be listed as well. *
* Include my BBS in the EFF Member BBS Directory _______ *
___ Electronic: Please contact me via the Internet address listed above.
I would like to receive the following at that address:
___ EFFector Online - EFF's biweekly electronic newsletter
(back issues available from ftp.eff.org,
___ Online Bulletins - bulletins on key developments
affecting online communications.
NOTE: Traffic may be high. You may wish to browse these
publications in the Usenet newsgroup comp.org.eff.news (also
available in FidoNet, as EFF-NEWS).
___ Paper: Please contact me through the US Mail at the street
address listed above.
NOTE: Paper documents available upon request.
"Networks & Policy" Newsletter automatically sent via US Mail.
EFF occasionally shares our mailing list with other organizations promoting
similar goals. However, we respect an individual's right to privacy and
will not distribute your name without explicit permission.
___ I grant permission for the EFF to distribute my name and contact
information to organizations sharing similar goals.
[This form came from EFFector Online - please leave this line on the form!
If you found it elsewhere, please tell us where so we see how far it goes.]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization
supported by contributions from individual members, corporations and
private foundations. Donations are tax-deductible.
EFFector Online is published biweekly by:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
1001 G Street, N.W., Suite 950 East
Washington DC 20001, USA
Phone: +1 202 347 5400, FAX: +1 202 393 5509
BBS: +1 202 638 6120 (300-14400bps V.32bis, 24hr.)
Internet Address: e...@eff.org or a...@eff.org
Coordination, production and shipping by:
Stanton McCandlish, Online Activist/SysOp/Archivist <m...@eff.org>
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed
articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce
signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express
To subscribe to EFFector via email, ask br...@eff.org for a subscription
to the EFFector mailing list.
Internet Contact Addresses
Membership & donations: members...@eff.org
Legal services: sste...@eff.org
Hardcopy publications: p...@eff.org
Technical questions/problems, access to mailing lists: e...@eff.org
General EFF, legal, policy or online resources queries: a...@eff.org
End of EFFector Online v07 #06
Stanton McCandlish * m...@eff.org * Electronic Frontier Found. OnlineActivist
F O R M O R E I N F O, E - M A I L T O: I N F O @ E F F . O R G
O P E N P L A T F O R M O N L I N E R I G H T S
V I R T U A L C U L T U R E C R Y P T O