Subject: EFFector Online 08.02 - Feb. 23 1995 - Crypto Export; Censorship
Date: 24 Feb 1995 11:54:51 -0500
Organization: Electronic Frontier Foundation
Summary: EFF sues for privacy, opposes CoS censorship & Exon bill;
Iceland free speech threat
Keywords: S314 S.314 S. S 314 Communications Decency Act Exon Bill system
operator sysop liability Church of Scientology Scientologists CoS Tom Klemesrud
Netcom Dennis Erlich censorship Iceland Constitution intellectual freedom of
speech free expression
EFFector Online Volume 08 No. 02 February 23, 1995 edit...@eff.org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In This Issue:
EFF Sues to Overturn Cryptography Restrictions
EFF Opposes Scientology Censorship and Attacks on System Operators
Jefferson Ascendant: Information Technology & Decentralization
Calendar of Events
What YOU Can Do
* See http://www.eff.org/Alerts/ or ftp.eff.org, /pub/Alerts/ for more
information on current EFF activities and online activism alerts! *
Subject: EFF Sues to Overturn Cryptography Restrictions
First Amendment Protects Information about Privacy Technologies
February 21, 1995
San Mateo, California
In a move aimed at expanding the growth and spread of privacy and
security technologies, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is sponsoring a
federal lawsuit filed today seeking to bar the government from restricting
publication of cryptographic documents and software. EFF argues that
the export-control laws, both on their face and as applied to users of
cryptographic materials, are unconstitutional.
Cryptography, defined as "the science and study of secret writing,"
concerns the ways in which communications and data can be encoded to
prevent disclosure of their contents through eavesdropping or message
interception. Although the science of cryptography is very old, the
desktop-computer revolution has made it possible for cryptographic
techniques to become widely used and accessible to nonexperts.
EFF believes that cryptography is central to the preservation of
privacy and security in an increasingly computerized and networked
world. Many of the privacy and security violations alleged in the
Kevin Mitnick case, such as the theft of credit card numbers, the
reading of other people's electronic mail, and the hijacking of other
people's computer accounts, could have been prevented by widespread
deployment of this technology. The U.S. government has opposed such
deployment, fearing that its citizens will be private and secure from
the government as well as from other vandals.
The plaintiff in the suit is a graduate student in the
Department of Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley
named Daniel J. Bernstein. Bernstein developed an encryption equation, or
algorithm, and wishes to publish the algorithm, a mathematical paper
that describes and explains the algorithm, and a computer program that
runs the algorithm. Bernstein also wishes to discuss these items at
mathematical conferences and other open, public meetings.
The problem is that the government currently treats cryptographic software
as if it were a physical weapon and highly regulates its dissemination. Any
individual or company who wants to export such software -- or to publish
on the Internet any "technical data" such as papers describing encryption
software or algorithms -- must first obtain a license from the State
Department. Under the terms of this license, each recipient of the licensed
software or information must be tracked and reported to the government.
Penalties can be pretty stiff -- ten years in jail, a million dollar
plus civil fines. This legal scheme effectively prevents individuals from
engaging in otherwise legal communications about encryption.
The lawsuit challenges the export-control scheme as an ``impermissible
prior restraint on speech, in violation of the First Amendment.''
Software and its associated documentation, the plaintiff contends, are
published, not manufactured; they are Constitutionally protected works of
human-to-human communication, like a movie, a book, or a telephone
conversation. These communications cannot be suppressed by the government
except under very narrow conditions -- conditions that are not met by the
vague and overbroad export-control laws. In denying people the right to
publish such information freely, these laws, regulations, and procedures
unconstitutionally abridge the right to speak, to publish, to associate
with others, and to engage in academic inquiry and study. They also have
the effect of restricting the availability of a means for individuals to
protect their privacy, which is also a Constitutionally protected interest.
More specifically, the current export control process:
* allows bureaucrats to restrict publication without ever going to court;
* provides too few procedural safeguards for First Amendment rights;
* requires publishers to register with the government, creating in
effect a "licensed press";
* disallows general publication by requiring recipients to be
* is sufficiently vague that ordinary people cannot know what conduct
is allowed and what conduct is prohibited;
* is overbroad because it prohibits conduct that is clearly protected
(such as speaking to foreigners within the United States);
* is applied overbroadly, by prohibiting export of software that
contains no cryptography, on the theory that cryptography could be added
to it later;
* egregiously violates the First Amendment by prohibiting private
speech on cryptography because the government wishes its own opinions
on cryptography to guide the public instead; and
* exceeds the authority granted by Congress in the export control laws
in many ways, as well as exceeding the authority granted by the
If this suit is successful in its challenge of the export-control laws, it
will clear the way for cryptographic software to be treated like any other
kind of software. This will allow companies such as Microsoft, Apple,
IBM, and Sun to build high-quality security and privacy protection into
their operating systems. It will also allow computer and network users,
including those who use the Internet, much more freedom to build and
exchange their own solutions to these problems, such as the freely
available PGP encryption program. And it will enable the next generation
of Internet protocols to come with built-in cryptographic security and
privacy, replacing a sagging part of today's Internet infrastructure.
Lead attorney on the case is Cindy Cohn, of McGlashan and Sarrail in San
Mateo, CA, who is offering her services pro-bono. Major assistance has
been provided by Shari Steele, EFF staff; John Gilmore, EFF Board; and Lee
Tien, counsel to John Gilmore. EFF is organizing and supporting the case
and paying the expenses.
Civil Action No. C95-0582-MHP was filed today in Federal District
Court for the Northern District of California. EFF anticipates that
the case will take several years to win. If the past is any guide,
the government will use every trick and every procedural delaying
tactic available to avoid having a court look at the real issues.
Nevertheless, EFF remains firmly committed to this long term project.
We are confident that, once a court examines the issues on the merits,
the government will be shown to be violating the Constitution, and
that its attempts to restrict both freedom of speech and privacy will
be shown to have no place in an open society.
Full text of the lawsuit and other paperwork filed in the case is available
from the EFF's online archives. The exhibits which contain cryptographic
information are not available online, because making them publicly available
on the Internet could be considered an illegal export until the law is struck
down. The non-cryptographic exhibits and other documents including the
complaint, as well as a series of letters between Bernstein and various
government people regarding crypto export are available at:
Press contact: Shari Steele, EFF: sste...@eff.org, +1 202 861 7700.
For further reading, we suggest:
The Government's Classification of Private Ideas: Hearings Before a
Subcomm. of the House Comm. on Government Operations, 96th Cong., 2d
John Harmon, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel,
Department of Justice, Memorandum to Dr. Frank Press, Science Advisor to
the President, Re: Constitutionality Under the First Amendment of ITAR
Restrictions on Public Cryptography (May 11, 1978). [Included in the
above Hearings; also online as http://www.eff.org/pub/EFF/Policy/Crypto/
Alexander, Preserving High-Tech Secrets: National Security Controls on
University Research and Teaching, 15 Law & Policy in Int'l Business 173
Cheh, Government Control of Private Ideas-Striking a Balance Between
Scientific Freedom and National Security, 23 Jurimetrics J. 1 (1982)
Funk, National Security Controls on the Dissemination of Privately
Generated Scientific Information, 30 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 405 (1982)
Pierce, Public Cryptography, Arms Export Controls, and the First
Amendment: A Need for Legislation, 17 Cornell Int'l L. J. 197 (1984)
Rindskopf and Brown, Jr., Scientific and Technological Information and
the Exigencies of Our Period, 26 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 909 (1985)
Ramirez, The Balance of Interests Between National Security Controls and
First Amendment Interests in Academic Freedom, 13 J. Coll. & U. Law 179
Shinn, The First Amendment and the Export Laws: Free Speech on
Scientific and Technical Matters, 58 Geo. W. L. Rev. 368 (1990)
Neuborne and Shapiro, The Nylon Curtain: America's National Border and
the Free Flow of Ideas, 26 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 719 (1985)
Greenstein, National Security Controls on Scientific Information, 23
Jurimetrics J. 50 (1982)
Sullivan and Bader, The Application of Export Control Laws to Scientific
Research at Universities, 9 J. Coll. & U. Law 451 (1982)
Wilson, National Security Control of Technological Information, 25
Jurimetrics J. 109 (1985)
Kahn, The Codebreakers: The Story of Secret Writing. New York:
Macmillan (1967) [Great background on cryptography
and its history.]
Relyea, Silencing Science: national security controls and scientific
communication, Congressional Research Service. Norwood, NJ:
Ablex Publishing Corp. (1994)
John Gilmore, Crypto Export Control Archives, online at
EFF Crypto Export Control Archives, online at
Subject: EFF Opposes Scientology Censorship and Attacks on System Operators
An Open Letter to the Church of Scientology (CoS) and the Net
from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Over the past several days, the Electronic Frontier Foundation
has received several reports from system administrators and
others about threats of lawsuits they have received from
attorneys for the Church of Scientology and the closely
associated Religious Technology Center and Bridge Publications,
Inc. These threats apparently are designed to convince sysadmins
to discontinue the carriage of certain newsgroups that involve
discussions of the Church of Scientology and its teachings, solely
on the ground that some of the messages sent through these
newsgroups allegedly involve infringements of CoS copyrights or
other intellectual property rights.
EFF has also received a letter from CoS stating that it would
not use the threat of lawsuits against sysadmins if there were
any other way to deal with allegedly wrongful messages.
EFF believes there is a better way to deal with allegations of
wrongful messages -- and that using the threat of litigation to
shut down entire newsgroups, or to persuade sysadmins who
have not originated any allegedly wrongful messages to shut down
newsgroups, is itself highly inappropriate.
Electronic communications are in their infancy, and most of the
providers are not big corporations with substantial funds to
spend on expensive litigation, but rather small operators who
cannot afford protracted litigation, even if they are in the
right. The mere threat of a lawsuit could result in some sysadmins
refusing to carry all sorts of contentious newsgroups simply because
they could not afford to put on a case to show that they should not
be held responsible for another party's alleged wrong.
Rather than attempting through threats of lawsuits to induce
innocent sysadmins to censor speech, Church members are
encouraged to participate in Usenet discussions to make their views
known and refute erroneous posts -- in other words, to answer
allegedly wrongful postings with more speech. As U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Louis Brandeis articulated in 1927: "If there be time to
expose through discussion the falsehood and the fallacies, to avert
the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is
more speech, not enforced silence." If CoS claims that a
copyright violation or other wrong not remediable by speech has
been perpetrated by a particular person, then it should confine
its legal threats to that person -- not direct them at an innocent
sysadmin who did no more than forward a message, and certainly
not at the innocent participants of a newsgroup seeking to exchange
views through the newsgroup channel. Even if CoS cannot determine
the identity of the person perpetrating an alleged wrong against it,
that provides no excuse for cutting off the free flow of information
over the net.
Events like these show us how important it is to search for new
paradigms for handling disputes that arise from time to time.
We think the better way to handle this dispute would be to
submit the claims and counterclaims to arbitration or
mediation, perhaps in a proceeding conducted over the net
among the parties to the newsgroup discussion. EFF offers its
services to help find an appropriate mediator or arbitrator
who would be available online for this purpose. Any party to
this dispute that refused to participate in such a forum would,
of course, have to explain why it had done so if a case were
brought in a more traditional court.
Meanwhile, we urge CoS to leave the innocent sysadmins out of
their fight. We urge CoS not to take actions designed to cut off
the free flow of information through the net. Where there are
legitimate disputes about particular messages or the wrongful
actions of particular individuals, those can and should be
addressed -- perhaps most efficiently through the new
communications medium itself.
Since this letter was written, CoS obtained a search warrant and raided
the home of Dennis Erlich, a former CoS minister, whom CoS accuses of
copyright violations. Erlich believes his rights to have been violated
in several ways (e.g. CoS allegedly damaged his computer equipment and
deleted files in the course of the raid). CoS also obtained restraining
orders against not only Erlich but also Erlich's Internet access
provider, BBS sysop Tom Klemesrud, and Klemesrud's own service provider,
EFF sought and found pro-bono legal representation for Klemesrud, and
is still seeking counsel for Erlich.
CoS has filed a lawsuit against Erlich and both service providers,
seeking damages compensation of $120,000 per infringement.
In a Feb. 21 hearing, Klemesrud and Netcom were successful in
having restraining orders against them lifted.
In a related incident, CoS was able to convince the Finnish authorities
to present anonymous remailer operator Johan (Julf) Helsingius with a
search warrant that allowed them to force Helsingius, who operates one of
the most used privacy-protecing mail servers in the world, anon.penet.fi,
to reveal the identity of a remailer user, also accused of copyright
violation by CoS.
Documents from the legal cases referred to above are archived
We currently have Klemesrud's statement, which makes a strong and very
well-worded case for liability protection for system operators - a case
the judge apparently agreed with, as well as Erlich's statement, which
was made without legal represenation, but which alleges clearly that CoS
misrepresented many facts in seeking their search warrant and in
obtaining the restraining orders. Also archived at the above sites is
CoS countering press release, which consists largely of ad hominem
attacks on Erlich, as well as a sound critique of this statement by David
Klemesud, who called the raid on Erlich "a stunning affront on First
Amendment rights by a vile and dangerous cult masquerading as a religion",
presentated a declaration at his hearing, which states, among other things:
Because of the nature of the bulletin board system and
its method of operation, it is impossible for me to
prevent any one from accessing the bulletin board under
an assumed name...Thus I have no way of preventing
Dennis Erlich, whom I know to be a subscriber to my system
and a frequent user of the bulletin board, from logging under
an assume name, from changing the assumed name every three
weeks, etc. Not only is it physically impossible for me to
do it, the technology simply does not permit it...
The daily data throughput in and out of the BBS is rather
staggering...I would have to read 2,926 pages of material
[every day] just from my Fidonet feed alone, to check for
any L. Ron Hubbard copyrighted material assuming that
I knew how to spot what is copyrighted by L. Ron Hubbard.
[Counting Internet and Usenet messages -] Total printed
pages of text in a 20 hour period: 36,138 Printed pages...
I do not and for physical and technical reasons cannot
monitor message traffic on the BBS for content....
Helena Kobrin, one of the attorney's for the plaintiffs...
[said] she would not and could not provide me proof of
copyright infringement, and demanded that I censor Rev.
Erlich by cutting off his ability to access my BBS and
post text messages there, and through my BBS, to the
Internet community...This I refuse to do.
...I welcome the comments of Scientologists and non-
Scientologists, and have and will continue to take every
step humanly possible to protect the access of all citizens
interested in this topic to my bulletin board and the
opinions expressed there...
In my opinion the "Information Superhighway" cannot be
built without the active participation of small BBS's
...[through which] the Internet can flourish as a tool of
low or no cost citizen participation in democracy,
education and information gathering. Requiring me to censor
all the traffic that crosses my wires, and the wires of other
small BBS operators, is a physically impossible task, and
results in the shutting off of the BBS as a net access tool.
Sysops like me will be simply unable to put in the non-
remunerative hours, nor will they have either the insurance,
or the deep pockets, to stand up to libel, copyright
infringement or trade secret litigation as to which they
bear no real blame or fault except for the fact that the
offending message crossed the BBS wires in a nanosecond of
time on the message's travel through cyberspace.
...In my opinion a real time monitoring requirement will
kill every small BBS in the world...Then you'd have
censorship - nothing more than a bunch of editors selecting
suitable "letters to the editor" with no freedom for everyone
to express themselves. This would be perfect for the Scient-
ologists, as it would permit them to continue what often
appears to me to be a mis-information campaign, designed to
disguise from the public the true character of Scientology
while allowing them to threaten to sue...if the editors did
not see things their way. The result would be the
elimination, or at least the chilling, of criticism of the
Scientology, or any other group.
...If I am ordered to prevent Dennis Erlich from posting
messages on my BBS, or if I am forced to monitor his or any
other persons text messages or files for content, I will be
forced to turn the power off the system, denying service to
all 4,000 users, and suspend service to all 911 news groups,
in order to honor the injunction. I cannot monitor the text
of 15,000 to 30,000 messages, or the myriad of files, that
come across the 12 lines of my system each day on a real time
Netcom expressed similar sentiments, saying that cutting off the Usenet
feed to Klemesrud to prevent Erlich's postings would censor all of
Klemesrud's BBS users. Netcom counsel Michael Sullivan told CoS that
Netcom should not be held liable "to investigate each allegation of
infringement by each subscriber to each of the bulletin boards that
subscribe to its Internet access service," and indicated it would be
willing to defend itself in court if necessary.
Erlich has noted that the raid on his home was not conducted with a US
marshal present, as is the usual procedure, and challenges the legality
of the seizure on several grounds, including possibly authorized
alterations in pen to the writ of seizure. Erlich's declaration to Judge
At 7:30, on the morning of February 13, 1995...[e]scorted by
the Glendale Police Officer Steve Eggett..., six unidentified
individuals entered my home and told me that I would have to
cooperate with a search and seizure directed by your honor.
They presented me with a stack of legal documents about six
inches thick to prove their right to do so. I protested the
legality of the raid, and was told in no uncertain terms, that
if I resist, force would be used against me. I was not
permitted to have an attorney present before they proceeded...
None of the remaining people would show me identification,
despite my asking repeatedly.
I was left for the rest of the six hour search and seizure,
with an in-house attorney for the scientology cult (Small),
a private investigator working for the cult (Robert Shovlin),
2 armed, off-duty officers working for the scientology
lawyer (Off. Mark Fronterotta and Sgt. Ed Eccles) and another
dozen or so scientologists ransacking my property, including
the plaintiff, Warren McShane. The scientologists went through
my computer, all my papers, every closet, every drawer. They
busted open a door to my garage and, I assume, searched my car.
They also photographed every nook and cranny of my house.
I believe that they deliberately mislead you in obtaining
the writ. They then misused your authority by executing it
in such a way as to invade every bit of my privacy they had
not previously stolen from me.
During the search, the files on my hard drive were deleted
and the entirety of the data on my disk was copied onto two
250 mb Colorado back-up tapes the scientologists brought with
them into my house. Also, after their raid, I was missing a
key to my house, my current bank statement and a tape with
several of my copyrighted songs recorded on it...
After several hours the press arrived and began recording
the scene. At first the scientology agents said that the
press was not allowed in. I invited them in anyway and the
scientologists fell back and seemed to try to finish up and
get out of my house more quickly. When they were ready to
depart, neither they (the scientologists), nor the other
Glendale Policeman, Sgt. MiKillop, whom I had summoned at
the end of the raid to protect my rights, would permit
me to inventory or even look at the hundreds of disks and
files they had copied and were removing from my possession.
I begged the officer not to allow the material and files
to be taken without my examining the poorly inventoried items.
After they had departed, two of my computers would no longer
boot properly. They had left me with no current back-up of
the material they illegally deleted. I no longer have the
material to use in my own defense, or to restore my disk to
In the course of carrying out your Writ of Seizure, the
plaintiff and their paid agents deleted and copied from my
computers the evidence I need to adequately defend myself
against the barratrous assault on my freedom of speech and
religion which they themselves have launched.
I am somehow sure that this is not what you had intended.
...Because of the obvious bad faith displayed by the
plaintiff in both the manner in which the order was obtained
and how it was carried out, I request that your honor lift the
temporary restraining order against me, order the forfeiture
of the bond and dismiss this case immediately.
CoS's press release following the hearings stated:
A federal judge in San Jose confirmed and extended a
temporary restraining order on Glendale, California resident
Dennis Erlich, prohibiting him from illegal posting of
copyrighted and trade secret religious materials to the
Internet computer system.
The Church is seeking a preliminary injunction against
Erlich which forbids him from making further unlawful
postings of religious materials onto the Internet until
the time of trial, violations of which will place him in
contempt of court.
Of course, it has yet to be determined at all that Erlich has made any
"unlawful postings" whatsoever. The press release made many other
questionable statements and attacks on Erlich's character, while avoiding
any substantive issues, other than making statements like the following
by Helena Kobrin, CoS attorney:
A means of control should exist whereby access operators
and their organizations are held responsible for what is
posted on the Internet.
The press release also exhorts:
The laws of the land apply to those who use the Internet.
This valuable resource should be used for free discussion and
information exchange, and not to violate the rights of others
...The Internet is too valuable a resource for us to allow
criminality to flourish on it. Individuals like Erlich cannot
be allowed to violate the law and threaten the freedom of all
lawful net users.
This is particularly ironic in light of the fact that Klemesrud and
others maintain that Scientologists not only forged cancellations for
several Usenet messages in alt.religion.scientology - an action that may
be a violation of federal laws against interference with computer data in
storage - but may have also been the party responsible for an abortive
attempt to completely remove the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup from
Subject: Jefferson Ascendant: Information Technology & Decentralization
David G. Post
Policy Fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
When Newt Gingrich's House of Representatives recently set up its first
outpost on the Internet, it chose to name it "Thomas" in honor of Mr.
Jefferson -- a small but telling symbol of the ascendancy of the
"Jeffersonian vision" not only in the realm of politics, but in the realm
of high technology as well.
Jefferson and Hamilton remain the two great pole stars in American
politics, their feud surely the longest-running in American political
history. The two men staked out opposing positions and battled over
most of the great issues on which the fate of the infant Republic was
seen to depend -- states' rights versus a strong national authority,
agriculture versus manufacturing, legislative power versus executive
power, free trade versus mercantilism, yeomanry versus the elite. Their
intellectual descendants continue to do battle to this day.
To be sure, theirs was a debate about means, not ends: both men were
deeply committed to the republican ideal, to the legitimacy of only those
governments grounded upon the consent of the governed, and to the primacy
of individual liberty in the constellation of natural rights. But they
held fundamentally different views about the nature and the proper
exercise of governmental power and the manner in which governmental power
could best be brought to bear so as to secure that liberty.
For Jefferson, power was always a corrupting force, and concentrations of
power were always to be avoided lest the Republic founder:
"What has destroyed liberty and the
rights of man in every government
which has ever existed under the
sun? The generalizing and
concentrating all cares and powers
into one body, no matter whether of
the autocrats of Russia or France, or
of the aristocrats of a Venetian
Diffusion and decentralization of power were the touchstones of the
Jeffersonian philosophy. Jefferson was, in his own words, "not a friend
to a very energetic government," finding it "always oppressive" in that
it "places the governors indeed more at their ease, at the expense of the
people." The government he sought, as he declared in his First Inaugural
Address, was one "which shall restrain men from injuring one another
[but] which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits
of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor
the bread it has earned." Because "men are disposed to live honestly,
if the means of doing so are open to them," they required little
direction from central authority to manage their affairs: "Were we
directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon
want bread," he observed, later adding, in a letter to his friend Gideon
Granger, that "when all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in
great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it
will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and
we will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we
To Hamilton, this was all anarchy and riot, a "dance to the tune of
liberty without law," put forth by "never to be satiated lovers of
innovation and change." Power tends to corrupt, to be sure; but "the
possibility of abuse is no argument against the thing," and "too little
power is as dangerous as too much."
"History is full of examples, where
in contests for liberty, a jealousy of
power has either defeated the
attempts to recover or preserve it in
the first instance, or has afterwards
subverted it by clogging government
with too great precautions for its
felicity, or by leaving too wide a
door for sedition and popular
licentiousness. In a government
framed for durable liberty, not less
regard must be paid to giving the
magistrate a proper degree of
authority, to make and execute the
laws with rigor, than to guarding
against encroachments upon the
rights of the community. As too
much power leads to despotism, too
little leads to anarchy, and both
eventually to the ruin of the people.
. . . "
Against the Jeffersonian position that the best government was the least
government, Hamilton counterpoised a strong central government controlled
by an executive officer commanding broad powers, an efficient government
which "through the medium of stable laws, shelters and protects, the
life, the reputation, the prosperity, the civil and religious rights of
every member of the community."
It is hardly surprising that Jefferson has been adopted as the patron
saint of the new Republican congressional majority, which invokes his
spirit at every turn, but it might come as something of a shock to
Jefferson himself, the great defender of the agrarian way of life, that
his vision has taken root in the new technological wonderland of
The decentralizing effect of information technology is one of the truly
startling developments of the late 20th century. As Peter Huber observes
in his book "Orwell's Revenge," Orwell got all the details right in 1984
but erred with the fundamental premise: that technology would inevitably
concentrate power in the hands of the few and lead to an expansion of
mechanisms of centralized, totalitarian control. Circumstances
surrounding the downfall of the Soviet Union alerted us all to the
alternative possibility that the widespread availability of everything
from telephones, fax machines, and CNN broadcasts might make it
more, not less, difficult for the State to maintain its control
over information and the levers of centralized control.
And the emergence of the global Internet further illustrates, and will
accelerate, this trend. On the Internet there is no centralized control
of any kind, no governing authority that can impose its own vision of the
good on the colonists of the new territory. Information roams freely,
literally at the speed of light; because no one owns or operates this
network, which anyone with a computer and access to a telephone line can
hook into, no one has the power to set uniform rules of conduct.
Washington is only now discovering just how difficult imposition of its
rules on a decentralized network can be. The federal government's
ill-fated "Clipper Chip" initiative is symptomatic. Concerned about the
possibility that powerful encryption software would fall into the hands
of terrorists or other malfeasants, allowing them to shield their
communication from governmental eavesdroppers, the federal government
proposed a requirement that all encryption software had to use a
government-approved algorithm that would allow back-door law-enforcement
entry. They were persuaded to withdraw the proposal by the outcry from
the Internet community itself, and from businesses hoping to serve a
growing international market, and, finally, by a recognition of the
futility of trying to legislate in the usual heavy-handed fashion when
thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of copies of the offending
programs have been distributed (and continue to be available) over the
And if, as many have suggested, cyberspace metaphorically resembles the
Wild West -- a place where the inhabitants set (and enforce) their own
rules in the face of an inefficacious central government -- well, we have
a good idea how the Jeffersonians and Hamiltonians among us are likely to
react, inasmuch as their two forebears already squared off on the
question of settlement of the non-metaphorical Wild West, i.e. on
expansion into the "Western" territories (of Kentucky, Ohio, etc.).
For his part, Hamilton despaired of the central government's ability to
maintain control over settlements in the western territories:
"The western region [is] not valuable
to the United States for settlement. .
. . Should our own citizens, more
enterprising than wise [!], become
desirous of settling this country, and
emigrate thither, it must not only be
attended with all the injuries of a too
widely dispersed population, but by
adding to the great weight of the
western part of our territory, must
hasten the dismemberment of a large
portion of our country, or a
dissolution of the Government."
Hamilton spoke from bitter personal experience; one of the great crises
faced during his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury was the Whisky
Rebellion, the refusal of settlers in the "western region" to pay the
newly-imposed federal levy on distilled spirits, and Hamilton himself was
forced to lead the militia into battle to ensure efficient projection of
federal power as the westward expansion proceeded.
Jefferson, on the other hand, foresaw a flourishing "empire of liberty"
on the western frontier, a place where the "utmost diffusion of power"
could take root and where "new sources of renovation" would serve as a
safety valve against the despotic tendencies of the national government,
renewing the spirit of liberty "should its principles, at any time,
degenerate in those portions of our country which gave them birth."
Surely, were Hamilton to log on today, he would indeed find the anarchy
and "public licentiousness" he railed so frequently against -- a
cacophonous international debate with a million voices on everything from
copyright policy to scientology to the best ways to play Doom II, an
unregulated and largely unregulatable collection of everything from the
Federalist Papers to video clips of people having sex with animals. But
the millions who continue to flock there are finding something that looks
more like a place where Jefferson's fundamental democratic value -- "free
communication among the people, which has ever been justly deemed the
only effectual guardian of every other right" -- reigns without
interference. The sage of Monticello, one suspects, is smiling broadly.
* EFF, CTD, VTW and other orgs. to oppose Exon bill
Sen. Exon's "Communications Decency Act", which threatens to criminal
a staggering number of online service users and operators, will be
opposed by a coalition of civil liberties organizations, including
EFF. More details in next issue. See the "What YOU Can Do" section
of this newsletter for info on how to show your opposition to this
censorship bill today.
* Icelandic Freedom of Expression Threatened
The new coalition Icelandic Center for Human Rights is combatting a move
by Iceland's Parliament to amend the island nation's constitution in a
way that will severely limit freedom of speech. Detractors say this plan
directly violates the Icelandic government's obligations under the World
Conference on Human Rights agreements.
The bill would "restrict freedom of expression in order to protect the
health and decency of the population, whatever that may mean," says activist
and journalist Sigmundur Halldorsson, who also notes that the bill is
being proposed during a time of Parliamentary elections, and threatens to
slip through unnoticed among the many other issues on the table and in
See the "What YOU Can Do" section of this newsletter for more details on
this action alert.
Subject: Calendar of Events
This schedule lists imminent EFF events, and those we feel might be of
interest to our members. EFF events (those sponsored by us or featuring
an EFF speaker) are marked with a "*" instead of a "-" after the date.
Simlarly, government events, such as deadlines for comments on reports or
testimony submission, are marked with "!" in place of the "-" after the date.
If you know of an event of some sort that should be listed here, please
send info about it to Stanton McCandlish <m...@eff.org>
The latest full version of this calendar, which includes material for
later in the year as well as the next couple of months, is avialable from:
ftp: ftp.eff.org, /pub/EFF/calendar.eff
gopher: gopher.eff.org, 1/EFF, calendar.eff
Mar. 16 - Online Seminar Series: the Law of Electronic Commerce; conducted
on CompuServe by the Nat'l. Computer Security Assoc. Host:
Benjamin Wright esq. (Note: most sessions are geared toward
management, finance and commercial transactions).
Contact: 1 800 488 4595 (voice, US-only), +1 717 258 1816 (voice)
25 - The Alliance for Public Technology Annual Conference:
Technologies of Freedom. Washington, DC
Contact: +1 202 408 1403 (voice/TTY), +1 202 408 1134 (fax)
Email: Ruth Holder <hol...@apt.org>
Feb. 24 - New Mexico Regional Technology Business Summit, Sweeny Conv. Ctr.,
Santa Fe, NM. Sponsored by the New Mexico Technology Consortium,
"this day-long event is geared toward those in both large and
small companies active in high-tech industries."
Contact: +1 505 983 6767
Mar. 2 - ATM Year Three: The Definitive Conference on the Technology,
Applications and Business Issues of Asynchronous Transfer Mode
(ATM); San Jose, Calif.
Contact: 1 800 200 4884 (voice, US-only)
Mar. 2 - NEPCON'95, "the trade show for anyone involved in electronics
packaging, testing, assembly, design, and CAD/CAM...pick from
over 114 seminars". Anaheim, Calif.
Mar. 1 - Proposal deadline for Virtual Futures '95 (see May 26 below).
5 - National STS Meeting & Technological Literacy Conf., Arlington,
Contact: +1 814 865 3044 (voice), +1 814 865 3047 (fax)
4 - Midwest Conference on Technology, Employment and Community,
sponsored by the UIC Center for Urban Economic Development
Deadline for proposals: Jan. 8, 1995
Contact: +1 312 996 5463
Conf. mailing list for discussion: listserv@uic, message body:
"SUBSCRIBE JOB-TECH <firstname> <lastname>" (w/o "quotes")
8 - '95 PC Forum (incl. Local-Global Creative Tension conf.), Phoenix
Contact: +1 212 924 8800 (voice), +1 212 924 0240 (fax)
15 - Microcomputers in Education Conference. Arizona State University;
Tempe, Arizona. "An opportunity to explore recent advances and hear
about emerging technology in the educational arena."
Contact: Pat Southwick, A.S.U., Box 870908, Tempe AZ USA 85287-0908
Mar. 14 - "Towards an Electronic Patient Record" conference, Orlando,
Sponsored by the Medical Records Inst.
Contact: +1 617 964 3926 (fax only)
Mar. 15 - Deadline for proposals, ICI'95 (see Sep. 21 for conf. details.)
Contact: +1 800 301 MIND (voice, US-only), +1 202 962 9494 (voice)
+1 800 304 MIND (fax, US-only), +1 202 962 9495 (fax)
Email: Dr. Dorothy Denning <denn...@cs.georgetown.edu>
Mar. 17 - Access, Privacy, and Commercialism: When States Gather Personal
Information; College of Wm. & Mary, Williamsburg VA.
Contact: Trotter Hardy, +1 804 221 3826
Mar. 27 * John Perry Barlow (EFF co-founder) seminar on "Cyberspace: the New
Frontier", 4pm local time, NCB Auditorium, 71 Science Park Dr.,
Contact: Marvin Tay Eng Sin <m...@iti.gov.sg>
30 - Geographic Information Systems '95, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Contact: +1 604 688 0188 (voice), +1 604 688 1573 (fax)
31 * 5th Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy (CFP95), Burlingame
/Palo Alto, Calif. Sponsored by the Assoc. of Computing Machinery
Featured speakers include EFF's Esther Dyson & Mike Godwin, plus
Roger Wilkins of George Mason U., John Morgridge of Cisco Sytems,
Margaret Jane Radin of Stanford, Willis Ware of of NAE, IEEE &
AAAS, Phil Agre of UCSD, Stuart Baker ex- of NSA, David Banisar
of EPIC, Chris Casey of Sen. Kennedy's office, Michael Froomkin
of U. Miami, Phil Karn of Qualcomm, Jamie Love of TAP, Brock
Meeks of _Inter@ctive_Week_ and _Cyberwire_Dispatch_, Lance Rose
author of _SysLaw_, Dick Sclove of Loka Inst., Brad Templeton of
ClariNet, Ross Stapleton-Gray of TeleDiplomacy, Glenn Tenney of
Fantasia Systems, Kim Taylor-Thompson of Stanford U., Alan Westin
of Columbia U., Mitch Ratcliffe of _Digital_Media_, Matt Blaze
of AT&T Bell Labs, Kent Walker Asst. US Atty. of the Dept. of
Justice, David Smith of EFF-Austin, Christine Harbs of Privacy
Rights Clearinghouse, Peter Harter of NPTN, Barbara Simons of the
US ACM, Roger Clark of Australian Nat'l. U., and many others.
Contact: Carey Heckman, +1 415 725 7788, fax: +1 415 725 1861,
Gopher: www-techlaw.stanford.edu, "CFP95" menu item
FTP: www-techlaw.standord.edu, /CFP95
30 - ETHICOMP95 - Int'l. Conf. on the Ethical Issues of Using
Information Technology; DeMontfort U., Leicester UK.
Contact: Simon Rogerson, +44 533 577475, +44 533 541891 (fax)
7 - National Net '95 (Net'95), Loews L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, Washington
DC; sponsored by Educom, ALA, ARL, CAUSE, CNI, CSN, CRA, CREN,
FARNET, ISoc, NASULGC. Featured speakers: Ron Brown (US Sec'y.
of Commerce), Richard McCormick (US West), Molly Broad (CSU),
Larry Irving (NTIA), Andrew Blau (Benton Found.), Steve Cisler
(Apple), Marty Tennebaum (EIT/CommerceNet), Peter Lyman, Marc
Rotenberg (EPIC/PI), + others incl. "public interest
representatives". Sessions on the underprivileged & the NII,
net surveillance, network challenges for business, int. property.
Contact: Elizabeth Bernhart, +1 202 872 4200 (voice),
+1 202 872 4318 (fax)
14 3rd Int'l. WWW Conference: Technology, Tools & Applications;
Darmstadt, Germany. Organized by Fraunhofer Inst. for Computer
Graphics. Feb. 15 submission deadline (for posters & demos as
well as papers.
Email: ww...@igd.fhg.de (?), www95_webmast...@igd.fhg.de
29 - USAIN: Cultivating New Ground in Electronic Information Use of the
Information Highway to Support Agriculture; Lexington, Kentucky.
Proposals due by 12/31/94.
29 - CCUMC (Consortium of College and University Media Centers). Utah
State U., Logan, Utah
Contact: +1 515 294 1811 (voice)
Subject: What YOU Can Do
* Icelandic censorship threat: Activists in Iceland are seeking
international online community response in opposition to the threat to
gut the intellectual freedoms guaranteed in the Icelandic constitution.
Please help to revoke the dangerous sections by showing that the
electronic community cares about the freedom of expression in what ever
form it may take.
Show your feelings by sending a message where you politely state that the
second half of section 73 of the amended Icelandic constitution should be
removed in order to promote the free and unrestricted flow of ideas vital
to any democratic society.
bj...@centrum.is (the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign
Affairs, and supporter of change), and to d...@althing.is (the Office of
Parliament. Please Put: ATTN: Geir H. Haarde, the Chairman of the
Constitutional Reform Committee before your message).
Please act now as the new constitution will be voted on before the end of
February! There has still not been set a date for debate, but it will be
For more information, contact:
Sigmundur Halldorsson Radio Journalist
E-mail:si...@centrum.is Icelandic Broadcasting Service - Channel 2
Tel:Int+354-5693040 Efstaleiti 1
Fax:Int+354-5693678 Reykjavik, Iceland
* S314: This bill could pass in a matter of WEEKS, or be added to any
legislation pending on the Senate floor. Business/industry persons
concerned should alert their corporate govt. affairs office and/or
legal counsel. Everyone should write to their own Senators and ask them
to oppose this bill. Explain, quickly and clearly, why this bill is
dangerous, and urge efforts to stop this legislation or revise it to fix
its numerous problems. S314 is Sen. Exon's "Communications Decency Act".
* HR830: This bill would horribly cripple the Freedom of Information Act,
one of the most important laws protecting citizen access to government
information. Again, alert your business contacts, and write, phone, and
fax your Representatives asking them to remove the West Publishing
special interest language in this bill.
* HOW TO FIND YOUR CONGRESSFOLKS: EFF has lists of the Senate and House with
contact information, as well as lists of Congressional committees.
These lists are available at:
The full Senate and House lists are senate.list and hr.list, respectively.
"If five years from now we [the FBI] solve the access problem, but
what we're hearing is all encrypted, I'll probably, if I'm still here, be
talking about that in a very different way: the objective is the same.
The objective is for us to get those conversations whether they're by an
alligator clip or ones and zeros. Whoever they are, whatever they are, I
- FBI Director Louis Freeh, clarifying statements that the FBI may seek
legislation to ban strong encryption, in an Oct. 1994 interview with
Ensuring the democratic potential of the technologies of computer-mediated
communication requires active participation in the political processes that
shape our destinies. Government agencies, legislatures and heads of state
are accustomed to making decisions about the future of technology, media,
education, and public access to information, with far-reaching and
long-lasting effects on citizens and their lives, but are accustomed to
doing so with little input or opposition from anyone but the largest of
corporations, and other government representatives.
Now, more than ever, EFF is working to make sure that you can play an
active role in making these choices. Our members are making themselves heard
on the whole range of issues. EFF collected over 5000 letters of support
for Rep. Maria Cantwell's bill to liberalize restrictions on cryptography.
We also gathered over 1400 letters supporting Sen. Leahy's open hearings on
the proposed Clipper encryption scheme, which were held in May 1994. And
EFF collected over 90% of the public comments that were submitted to NIST
regarding whether or not Clipper should be made a federal standard.
Additionally, EFF has worked for the passage of legislation that would
ensure open access to the information infrastructure of today and tomorrow,
and continues to provide some of the best online resources on privacy,
intellectual freedom, the legalities of networking, and public access to
government representatives and information.
You *know* privacy, freedom of speech and ability to make your voice heard
in government are important. You have probably participated in our online
campaigns and forums. Have you become a member of EFF yet? 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
For EFF membership info, send queries to members...@eff.org, or send any
message to i...@eff.org for basic EFF info, and a membership form.
EFFector Online is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
1667 K St. NW, Suite 801
Washington DC 20006-1605 USA
+1 202 861 7700 (voice)
+1 202 861 1258 (fax)
+1 202 861 1223 (BBS - 16.8k ZyXEL)
+1 202 861 1224 (BBS - 14.4k V.32bis)
Internet fax gate: remote-printer....@126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.0.2.1.tpc.int
Editor: Stanton McCandlish, Online Services Mgr. <m...@eff.org>
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed
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End of EFFector Online v08 #02 Digest
<A HREF="http://www.eff.org/~mech/"> Stanton McCandlish
</A><HR><A HREF="mailto:m...@eff.org"> m...@eff.org
</A><P><A HREF="http://www.eff.org/"> Electronic Frontier Foundation
</A><P><A HREF="http://www.eff.org/1.html"> Online Services Mgr. </A>