Subject: EFFector Online 09.01: EFF & Rep. Anna Eshoo on Censorship Bill
summary: 1) ALERT: Lobby Against CDA NOW! 2) EFF Statement on CDA; 3) Rep.
Eshoo op-ed against CDA 4) Digital Be-In - EFF Benefit
organization: Electronic Frontier Foundation
keywords: EFF,EFFector,activism,activist,Electronic Frontier Foundation,Exon,
Coats,Grassley,Hyde,White,,HR1555,H.R. 1555,HR 1555,H.R.1555,S.652,S652,S 652,
S. 652,S.314,S 314,S314,censor,censorship,free speech,freedom of speech,
free expression,intellectual freedom,indecency,harmful,obscenity,telecom reform,
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EFFector Online Volume 09 No. 01 Jan. 5, 1995 edit...@eff.org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
IN THIS ISSUE:
ALERT: Meet With Legislators to Stop the CDA!
What You Can Do Now
How To Setup A Really Good Meeting With Congressional Staff
The Latest News
Chronology of the CDA
For More Information
List Of Participating Organizations
Latest Telecom Bill Provisions Would Cripple Online Free Speech
Guest editorial: "Nanny on the Net", by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
EFF Named Beneficiary of 8th Annual Digital Be-In (Jan. 11)
Newsnybbles [skipped again for this issue due to urgency of lead articles]
Quote of the Day
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! *
-> If you are organizing a rally in your area, please let us know.
-> We'll keep the alerts page updated. - m...@eff.org
Subject: ALERT: Meet With Legislators to Stop the CDA!
As most of you know, CompuServe has censored the Usenet access of its
customers - including access to a variety of political and social issues
forums having nothing to do with pornography, in response to
investigations by German prosecutors, and, more to the point, to comply
with the Communications Decency Act, even though it is not law (yet).
AOL similarly censored user profiles that contained the word "breast",
inadvertently clobbering the profiles of breast cancer survivors. The
online services as well as the users, are already becoming victims of the
climate of fear inspired by Congress' attempts to pass unconstitutional
restrictions on Internet speech.
Those attempts are still underway. Though, thankfully, passage of this
legislation has been at least delayed, the fight is NOT yet over. Please
read and act on this alert. The full text of the latest version of the
censorship provisions is available at:
gopher.eff.org, 1/Alerts, s652_hr1555_96_draft_bill.excerpt
The second article below contains EFF's concise analysis of and statement
on this draft legislation, followed by a guest editorial from US
Representative Anna Eshoo of California, condeming these "Communications
CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE NET CENSORSHIP LEGISLATION
(SEE THE LIST OF CAMPAIGN COALITION MEMBERS AT THE END)
Update: -Latest News: We've won our reprieve! Make this count!
-What You Can Do Now: Meet with your Congress-person and
ask them to oppose the Telecomm bill
CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT
Jan 1, 1996
PLEASE WIDELY REDISTRIBUTE THIS DOCUMENT WITH THIS BANNER INTACT
REDISTRIBUTE ONLY UNTIL Jan 30, 1996
REPRODUCE THIS ALERT ONLY IN RELEVANT FORUMS
What You Can Do Now
How To Setup A Really Good Meeting With Congressional Staff
The Latest News
Chronology of the CDA
For More Information
List Of Participating Organizations
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
As you probably already know, Congress has attached legislation to the
Telecommunications Deregulation bill that will criminalize much speech
on the Internet that may be considered "indecent" with a 2 year jail
term and a US$100,000 fine. Online activists have been fighting to have
these provisions removed from the bill from Day 1. Our latest thrust
has been to stall the passage of the bill, hoping to gather enough
support to have these provisions removed.
As you also probably already know, Congress broke for the year without
voting on the Telecommunications Deregulation bill. Although net
activists should not take too much credit for this nonevent, our loud
objections to the language being tossed around in the Conference
committee certainly helped slow things down a bit.
We have bought ourselves some time, and now we must meet with our
legislators and explain to them why the Telecommunications Deregulation
bill will cripple the Internet as a medium for commerce, education, and
We've done well so far in establishing ourselves and our concerns in
Washington DC. We need to transform ourselves, evolve into the next
step in the political process and begin the face to face work that will
convince candidates that we vote, and our votes turn on the First
Make a New Year's resolution: vow to have a face to face meeting with
the staff of your local legislator. Follow the directions below and
help become a part of the growing Internet Voter block.
1. Setup a meeting at the local office of your Congress-person.
Sample phone call (a bit long for a call, but use it as a guide)
Hi, I'm a constituent.
The pending Telecommunications Reform bill contains a provision
which, under the guise of protecting children from
objectionable material on the Internet, will destroy the
Internet as a viable medium for commerce, education, and
democracy. I believe that there are other, less restrictive
ways to address this issue.
I am very concerned about this issue, and I would like to come
in and meet with someone in your office to talk about why this
bill must not be passed in its current form. How soon can I
schedule a meeting?
If you don't know who your local legislator is, try these methods:
League of Women Voters: In many cities you can call them and they will
look up your legislator for you.
Elections Board: Many cities allow you to look up your legislator by
calling the local Elections board.
The Zipper: Stardot Consulting has setup a Congressional lookup service
called the Zipper, which lets you look up your legislator by entering
your zipcode. URL:http://www.stardot.com/zipper/
You can call the capitol switchboard at: 202 224-3121
A list of phone numbers for Congress is available also at:
2. Tell us about your meeting, preferably before and after by sending us
mail to feedb...@vtw.org. We will be keeping track of feedback to help
coordinate lobbying efforts in DC if and when Congress votes on this issue.
$ Mail feedb...@vtw.org
Subject: meeting setup with Rep. Snodgrass
I've got a meeting scheduled with Rep. Snodgrass' staff on Tues.
I'm taking the Internet Parental Control FAQ and will educate them
about why these laws are not only unnecessary, but will not help
control kids' access to the net!
$ Mail feedb...@vtw.org
Subject: my meeting with Rep. Snodgrass
I just got back from my meeting with Snodgrass' staff. It went well!
They didn't know anything about the Internet, but I helped explain
to them about parental control tools and the fact that current laws
are *already* being enforced there, and they seemed to understand!
3. Relax! You have really done a lot to help the cause.
HOW TO SETUP A REALLY GOOD MEETING WITH CONGRESSIONAL STAFF
REMEMBER THE POINT OF THE MEETING
You must have a clear theme in the meeting. Even if you say it and you
think it sounds corny, you don't want to leave a staffer guessing at what
The theme should be:
The Telecom bill should not pass with the net censorship
provisions in its current form. House Speaker Gingrich and
Senate Leader Dole have both expressed concern over these
provisions. Please work with them to protect free speech and
It will help if you bring a personal Internet success story, such as
important medical information found on the net, children gets material
for school reports, car-owners talking to one another, camping tips,
consumer product information from companies, local library card
catalog, government information from CDC, Census, USDA, NASA, etc.
SCHEDULING THE MEETING
When you setup your meeting, do not overload the meeting. It is better
to have a local office have three meetings with three people, rather
than one meeting with nine people.
A perfect meeting would include an Internet user, an Internet business
(like an Internet provider or another company that uses the net), and a
librarian. Pick someone to be the MC so things progress smoothly.
If you're the only one going to the meeting, that is good too. It's
better to go to the meeting alone, rather than have no meeting at all.
PREPARING FOR THE MEETING
Make sure you're familiar with the issues before going into the
meeting. Take some time to read the Communications Decency Act FAQ
available from URL:http://www.vtw.org/pubs/cdafaq to get a sense of the
myths you may have to dispel during the meeting. Also, become familiar
with, and take a copy of the VTW Internet Parental Control FAQ to back
up claims that there are many parental control devices out there that
allow parents to control what their children see on the Internet. It
is available from URL:http://www.vtw.org/pubs/ipcfaq.
Are you ready? Ask yourself if you know why no new laws are necessary
to control information on the Internet.
If the answer is that current laws about child porn and obscene
material extend there already, which, combined with parental control
tools, make such unconstitutional laws unnecessary, then you're ready.
RUNNING THE MEETING
Remember that most staffers know nothing about the Internet. You'll have to
bring them up to speed on the net, as well as why the net needs no new laws.
It's crucial you be polite. This is the first time they've met Internet
Voters, and first impressions count.
Dress appropriately, a jacket and tie are not out of the question. Be very
polite and patient. Never raise your voice or utter the following phrases
during a meeting with a staffer:
"I pay my taxes" or "You work for me, I'm a taxpayer"
(We all pay taxes, this is moot)
"I'll make sure you're not re-elected"
(They haven't met that many Internet Voters yet to convince them
this might be true)
Make sure everyone has a chance to speak, answer any questions they might
have, and then thank the staffer for their time. Leave your name and number
so they can call you and ask you any questions they might think of later.
AFTER THE MEETING
Send a thank you letter (faxing it is appropriate). Remember to let VTW
know that you had the meeting by sending email to feedb...@vtw.org.
THE LATEST NEWS
Congress has broken for the year without a vote on the Telecomm bill.
We have been given the breathing room we sorely needed. We must now
convince legislators to vote against the censorship legislation.
Just to refresh your memory, the House and Senate passed different pieces
of legislation which addressed regulation of the Internet. Some of the
legislation promoted a "parental control" approach, where parents, not
the government, were the most appropriate to control children's access
to speech on the Internet. (This approach was called Cox/Wyden and was
approved 421-4 by the House)
Other proposals advocated dumbing down the content of the Internet to
that which is acceptable to children, and holding providers responsible
for the speech of their users. These approaches were the Communications
Decency Act (S314 approved 84-16 by the Senate), and the Manager's Amendment
(slipped into the House Telecomm bill at the last second).
Although we are trying very hard to get an electronic copy of the conference
report, it's not fast in coming. As soon as we can get a copy into electronic
form we'll put it up on several WWW pages.
In the meantime, here's a summary of what the bill looks like.
CRIMINALIZATION OF "INDECENT" MATERIAL
The proposed legislation relies on the unconstitutional "indecency standard".
Like the Exon Communications Decency Act, it seeks to regulate all indecent
Indecency is a broad category that may include everything from George Carlin's
"seven dirty words" to such classic novels and "The Catcher in the Rye",
"Lady Chatterly's Lover", "The Scarlet Letter", "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn",
"Our Bodies, Our Selves", Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", and "Catch-22".
The Supreme Court has ruled that restrictions on indecent speech are
Constitutional only if they rely on the "least restrictive means". Broad
indecency restrictions on interactive media do not satisfy the "least
restrictive means" test, because interactive media allows users and
parents tremendous control over the information they receive.
The net effect of an indecency restriction would be to tone down every
conversation, web page, newsgroup, and mailing list on the Internet
to the level of what is not offensive to children.
Even the Department of Justice, who will have to enforce this law once
it becomes public, says that the indecency standard is "constitutionally
problematic". (Letter from Andrew Fois of US DOJ to Rep. Howard Berman,
CONTENT PROVIDERS, ONLINE SERVICES, AND LIBRARIES CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR
Although the proposed legislation tries to hold harmless those who simply
function as "pipelines" for Internet access, there are many Internet
businesses who act as more than just access providers. Hosting discussion
groups, chat rooms, and other additional services, many Internet providers
function as content providers as well as simple access providers.
On top of this, the rest of us who provide content on the net (which includes
everyone who sends mail, posts to Usenet, puts up a WWW page, maintains an
ftp directory, or a gopher page) will fall under the indecency law, and
be forced to screen our material and "dumb it down" to the level of what is
not offensive to a child.
This will include anything having to do with sexual abuse, abortion, or any
"GOOD SAMARITAN" PROVISION REMAINS IN BILL
The original Cox/Wyden/White legislation included a "Good Samaritan"
provision which said that a provider who takes some actions to police
their content cannot be penalized for not taking action in other places.
UNPRECEDENTED CONTROL OVER ONLINE SPEECH FOR THE FCC
The original Cox/Wyden/White bill prohibited FCC jurisdiction over the
Internet. This provision has been removed from the proposed legislation,
which now leaves the FCC open to make a case for regulating this new
The Internet has developed from a government project to a market-driven
economic boom for thousands of businesses. Giving the FCC authority over
this medium would significantly hinder the growth of this new industry.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT
Dec 7, '95 The House half of the Telecomm conference committee
votes the "indecency" standard for online speech into
the Telecomm Deregulation bill.
Sep 26, '95 Sen. Russ Feingold urges committee members to drop
Managers Amendment and the CDA from the Telecommunications
Aug 4, '95 House passes HR1555 which goes into conference with S652.
Aug 4, '95 House votes to attach Managers Amendment (which contains
new criminal penalties for speech online) to
Telecommunications Reform bill (HR1555).
Aug 4, '95 House votes 421-4 to attach HR1978 to Telecommunications
Reform bill (HR1555).
Jun 30, '95 Cox and Wyden introduce the "Internet Freedom and Family
Empowerment Act" (HR 1978) as an alternative to the CDA.
Jun 21, '95 Several prominent House members publicly announce their
opposition to the CDA, including Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA),
Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), and Rep. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Jun 14, '95 The Senate passes the CDA as attached to the Telecomm
reform bill (S 652) by a vote of 84-16. The Leahy bill
(S 714) is not passed.
May 24, '95 The House Telecomm Reform bill (HR 1555) leaves committee
in the House with the Leahy alternative attached to it,
thanks to Rep. Ron Klink of (D-PA). The Communications
Decency Act is not attached to it.
Apr 7, '95 Sen. Leahy (D-VT) introduces S.714, an alternative to
the Exon/Gorton bill, which commissions the Dept. of
Justice to study the problem to see if additional legislation
(such as the CDA) is necessary.
Mar 23, '95 S314 amended and attached to the telecommunications reform
bill by Sen. Gorton (R-WA). Language provides some provider
protection, but continues to infringe upon email privacy
and free speech.
Feb 21, '95 HR1004 referred to the House Commerce and Judiciary committees
Feb 21, '95 HR1004 introduced by Rep. Johnson (D-SD)
Feb 1, '95 S314 referred to the Senate Commerce committee
Feb 1, '95 S314 introduced by Sen. Exon (D-NE) and Gorton (R-WA).
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Web Sites (roughly in alphabetical order)
v...@vtw.org (put "ipcfaq" in the subject line for the Internet
Parental Control FAQ or "send cdafaq" for the CDA FAQ)
cda-i...@cdt.org (General CDA information)
cda-s...@cdt.org (Current status of the CDA)
LIST OF PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS
In order to use the net more effectively, several organizations have
joined forces on a single Congressional net campaign to stop the
Communications Decency Act.
American Civil Liberties Union * American Communication Association *
American Council for the Arts * Arts & Technology Society * biancaTroll
productions * Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression * Californians
Against Censorship Together * Center For Democracy And Technology *
Centre for Democratic Communications * Center for Public Representation
* Citizen's Voice - New Zealand * Cloud 9 Internet *Computer
Communicators Association * Computel Network Services * Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility * Cross Connection *
Cyber-Rights Campaign * CyberQueer Lounge * Dorsai Embassy * Dutch
Digital Citizens' Movement * ECHO Communications Group, Inc. *
Electronic Frontier Canada * Electronic Frontier Foundation *
Electronic Frontier Foundation - Austin * Electronic Frontiers
Australia * Electronic Frontiers Houston * Electronic Frontiers New
Hampshire * Electronic Privacy Information Center * Feminists For Free
Expression * First Amendment Teach-In * Florida Coalition Against
Censorship * FranceCom, Inc. Web Advertising Services * Friendly
Anti-Censorship Taskforce for Students * Hands Off! The Net * HotWired
Magazine * Inland Book Company * Inner Circle Technologies, Inc. *
Inst. for Global Communications * Internet On-Ramp, Inc. * Internet
Users Consortium * Joint Artists' and Music Promotions Political Action
Committee * The Libertarian Party * Marijuana Policy Project *
Metropolitan Data Networks Ltd. * Michigan Electronic Communities of
Concerned Adults * MindVox * MN Grassroots Party * National Bicycle
Greenway * National Campaign for Freedom of Expression * National
Coalition Against Censorship * National Gay and Lesbian Task Force *
National Public Telecomputing Network * National Writers Union * Oregon
Coast RISC * Panix Public Access Internet * People for the American Way
* Republican Liberty Caucus * Rock Out Censorship * Society for
Electronic Access * The Thing International BBS Network * The WELL *
Web Review Magazine * Wired Magazine * Voters Telecommunications Watch
(Note: All 'Electronic Frontier' organizations are independent entities,
not EFF chapters or divisions.)
Subject: Latest Telecom Bill Provisions Would Cripple Online Free Speech
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has reviewed the draft language
of the "indecency" sections of the Telecommunications Deregulation Act
proposed by Sen. Pressler's joint conference committee. In every
respect, this language is abhorrent to all who value the First
Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech.
This latest "indecency" legislation from Congress would impose upon the
Internet a vague and unspecified "speech code", chilling
freedom of speech among law-abiding citizens while having little or no
affect on purveyors of obscenity or child pornography (both of which are
already illegal, online or offline, in the US.) The Justice Dept. itself
agrees that law enforcement needs no new anti-porn laws for this medium.
Despite the claims of the bill's supporters, this would not be a law
limited to pornography or the sexual abuse of children. Instead, the
Telecom Bill would criminalize a great range of expression that
is legal in media such as books, newspapers, cable television, film and the
stage, as well as group conversation and personal correspondence. It
would reduce discussion and publication on the Net to what is appropriate
for a third-grade classroom. Our government is proposing to regulate the
free exchange of ideas. This is unacceptable.
Problems with the legislation include:
1) It would unconstitutionally censor speech on the Internet as if it
were a "one-to-many" broadcast medium, despite the fact that less-
restrictive means are available to prevent access to sexual (or any other)
material - means like ratings, labelling and filtering systems and
services. All content and communication on the Net would be placed under
the control of the Federal Communications Commission, whose unelected
officials in Washington, DC, would set the standards of what is
"acceptable" expression online.
2) Anyone who makes so-called indecent content available on the
Net in places where children *might* come across it, would be guilty of a
felony and punishable by a jail term and a quarter-million dollar fine.
It is as if librarians could be sent to jail simply because a child might
come across the King James Bible, or works by Norman Mailer or J.D.
Salinger on the library's shelves.
3) The term "indecency" is deliberately left undefined in the statute.
This uncertainty will act as a "chilling effect" on the free speech of
citizens who are unsure about its meaning, and will retard business and
educational investment in the medium.
4) Online services providers would be held liable even if they enable
parents and other users to employ filters and labelling systems to block
5) The statute does not prevent the states from enacting their own
censorship laws. This will create legal mayhem, and increase
the risk of conflicting regulatory burdens on service providers and users.
In sum, the latest "indecency" proposal has all the problems of previous
proposals and adds some new ones. It insists on treating computer networks
as if they were like broadcasting, and as if they had what the Supreme Court
takes to be broadcasting's unique characteristics of pervasiveness and
spectrum scarcity. But the network capacity is not "scarce" in the sense
that broadcast frequencies are, and the Net is not "pervasive" in in the
sense that content is "pushed" toward a passive audience unable to block
unwanted material before receiving it -- on the Net, content is "pulled
by the user, who has a widening range of filtration options available.
Thus there is no rationale for this new iteration of the "Communications
Decency" legislation, which would transmute a medium that has been the
fulfillment of the promise of the First Amendment into a lowest-common-
denominator environment fit only for goverment-regulated expression.
EFF opposes it, as you should.
If you are interested in discovering what you can do to oppose this
legislation, which has not yet been reported out of conference committee,
please check the EFF web page (http://www.eff.org/) and the Voters Telecom
Watch web page (http://www.vtw.org/). It is not too late to let your
Representatives and Senators know that you value the First Amendment online,
and that you will not support politicians and policymakers who pass ignorant,
ineffective, and destructive laws that do little or nothing to protect
children, and that savagely undercut our freedom of speech in the online
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a non-profit public interest
organization devoted to protecting privacy and freedom of expression as
new communications technologies emerge.
Electronic Frontier Foundtion
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)
1550 Bryant St., Suite 725
San Francisco CA 94103 USA
From: US Rep. Anna Eshoo (annag...@hr.house.gov)
Subject: Guest editorial: "Nanny on the Net", by Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Despite all the talk about "getting government off our backs," some
conservatives are now trying to have it intrude in our private lives.
Ironically, they are using the Internet itself to promote censorship of the
Information Superhighway and encourage Congress to turn the federal
government into an online nanny.
On November 30, 1995, the Christian Coalition posted an "Action Alert"
on its home page urging its supporters to call, fax, and send letters to
"the House and Senate members who will decide whether or not kids will
continue to get easy access to hard core porn" on the Internet "and urge
them to support the only proposal that gets tough on porn, the Hyde
As one of the House members appointed to the Telecommunications
Reform Conference Committee, I'm very familiar with Rep. Hyde's
legislation. He wants to establish a penalty of two years in prison and
up to $100,000 in fines for anyone sending "indecent" material on the
Internet. In addition, he seeks to hold online services--like
CompuServe--and their users criminally liable for the content that is
transmitted by such services, even in areas of these services beyond
their control. Yes, his provision gets tough on pornography. But it also
trashes the Constitution in the process and curbs free speech in the
First, the "indecency" standard is so vague that it creates an
unprecedented criminal situation in which people and organizations will
be violating the law for private expressions that are in no sense
pornographic. Great works of literature like Ulysses or Catcher In The
Rye could be banned from the Net, as could individual conversations that
include profane comments or deal with mature topics that may be
considered unsuitable for children. This is the cyberspace equivalent of
book burning and should be rejected outright.
Second, if members of the Christian Coalition wish to stay on a strictly
family friendly diet of reading material, it is their privilege and anyone
else's. They shouldn't be able to impose their ideological and moral
standards on others or get Washington to do their bidding for them. The
Hyde proposal opens the door for the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) to engage in broad-based regulation of the Internet. It
would place the federal government in the position of reviewing private
communications between individuals. We don't let the Postal Service
read our letters, and we shouldn't let the FCC screen our e-mail either.
Third, high technology businesses are vulnerable to lawsuits or criminal
prosecution under the Hyde proposal. For example, Netscape provides
customers with "browsing" software that enables them to jump from
network to network over the World Wide Web. The company's
executives have no control over where their customers go, but under
the Hyde plan, they can get thrown in prison if people wander in the
wrong direction. That makes as much sense as arresting a telephone
operator because someone makes an obscene phone call.
Fourth, successful U.S. government censorship of the Net is a doubtful
proposition. The Internet is not an American government network, nor is
it a network solely owned or controlled by American companies.
Because the Net is a private, global network, it's unlikely that censorship
by a government agency will accomplish the goals set out by proponents
of federal intrusion.
To get a glimpse of government nannies in action, one need look no
further than the recent decision by CompuServe to block subscriber
access to more than 200 computer discussion groups and picture data
bases. The online company was ordered to take this drastic action by a
prosecutor in Germany who said the material in question violates German
pornography laws and other prohibitions against explicit materials
deemed harmful to minors and adults.
On the day that they were banned, the Electronic Frontier Foundation
posted a list of these newsgroups on its home page. Among the items
that CompuServe is being forced to hide from its four million users are
serious discussions about Internet censorship legislation pending in
Congress, thoughtful postings about human rights and marriage, and a
support group for gay and lesbian youth. Banning this material doesn't
protect minors and adults--but it does have a chilling effect on political
and social discussion in a free society.
The German experience should serve as a warning to Congress about
the consequences of online censorship and government intrusion in our
lives. If the Christian Coalition and its conservative allies really want to
help parents stop their children from reading objectionable material, they
should encourage the use of software developed by private companies
that will give them the power to determine what is accessible on their
computers. According to the Interactive Working Group, America Online
and Prodigy offer technologies that allow parents to block their children's
access to certain online forums where they might find inappropriate
materials. Further, a variety of software developers have produced
parental control features for home PCs, while schools and businesses
have the ability to block specific sites from access by underage Internet
If ever a piece of legislation deserved to be deleted from a democratic
political system, the Hyde proposal is it. While the problem of children
being exposed to pornography is a legitimate issue that society must
address in a responsible manner, control of the Internet belongs in the
hands of mom and dad, not Uncle Sam.
Anna Eshoo represents California's 14th Congressional District.
Subject: EFF Named Beneficiary of 8th Annual Digital Be-In (Jan. 11)
Multimedia Concert and Exhibition Melds the Technology of the 1990s
with the Evolutionary Spirit of the 1960s
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Verbum’s ever-evolving Digital Be-In, now in its eighth
year, migrates into cyberspace with a pioneering live netcast of the January
11 event. Inspired by the seminal January 1967 Human Be-In and the counter-
cultural origins of the personal computer and digital media revolutions, the
‘90s Be-In showcases humanistic applications of digital technology and the
aesthetics of the future. Scheduled during MacWorld Expo from 7 p.m.–2 a.m. on
January 11, 1996 at the Transmission Theater, 314 11th Street in San
Francisco, the Digital Be-In is open to the public, with tickets $15 in
advance and $20 at the door, available at all Bay Area BASS ticket outlets,
510-762-BASS, at the Verbum Booth #4474 at MacWorld Expo, or by calling 415-
The event will benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation, recently relocated
to San Francisco from Washington, D.C. The EFF was founded by John Perry
Barlow, Mitch Kapor and John Gilmore, is the leading public advocacy group
for citizen rights in the emerging media.
The Be-In is produced by San Francisco-based multimedia publisher Verbum, Inc.
Sponsors include Progressive Networks (makers of Real Audio), MacWorld Expo,
Fujitsu TeleParc internet magazine, Equilibrium (makers of DeBabelizer
software), Chi Pants, Pop Rocket, Imaja, Micro Publishing News, MicroTimes,
BAM, and ISP Networks.
LAUNCH OF THE BE-IN WEBSITE
The Be-In internet site (http://www.be-in.com/) will be the source of a live
“netcast” of the January 11 event, which will utilize continuously
updated pages and live audio feeds. Video clips will be available to
download, and CU-SeeMe live video will be used to bring participants
such as Timothy Leary to the event from remote locations. The website
includes a “Mind Meld” area where visitors can participate in the
development of the Be-In and the ideas surrounding it, and the Real-Time
Be-In, which simulates the actual live venue, allowing visitors to
experience different areas of the Be-In as if they were actually
present. Executive Producer Michael Gosney expects that this year’s Be-In
“will continue the tradition of thought-provoking content and great
entertainment—with the added dimension of the innovative netcast made possible
by several talented individuals and groups working together to create
something truly original on the net. The Be-In website will continue evolving,
both as a community of ideas, and, eventually, into a fully immersive
navigable 3D environment.”
MUSIC, MINDS AND BLENDO
Show highlights include musical performances by The Venusians, Haunted by
Waters, tantric dancer Daniella Haskara, and the usual expected surprise
appearances; readings by leading San Francisco poets Allen Cohen (with musical
accompaniment by George Michalski), Neeli Cherkovski, Jack Foley, Genny Lin,
Julia Vinograd and Bart Alberti; appearances by Timothy Leary, John Barlow,
Paolo Soleri, R.U. Sirius, EFF Staff Counsel Mike Godwin and many others.
The musical performances will be enhanced with the Be-In’s popular
“blendo” visual accompaniment by several leading digital artists, including
Denise Gallant and Peter Towbin.
THE DIGITAL FRONTIER: OPEN SCREENS, VR, FINE ART, GLOBAL NETS
In addition to the performances, the Be-In will again feature the popular
Digital Frontier, where pioneering digital media applications are showcased,
with an emphasis on aesthetics and thoughtful content. This year, the Frontier
incorporates a special edition of Gulture Enterprises’ monthly “Open Screens”
forum of film, video, computer and animation works.
Other highlights include “VR the World,” a collection of cutting edge virtual
reality exhibits organized by CyberEdge Journal, “The Art-ROM Room” selection
of limited edition fine art multimedia works on CD-ROM collected by Beverly
Reiser and Lucia Grossberger; an interactive exhibit by IGC Networks, who
manage Womens Net, PeaceNet, EcoNet, ConflictNet and LaborNet; and a Digital
Art Exhibit of 2D works by Bert Monroy, a “futurespective” of editorial art
from MONDO 2000 magazine, and the winners of the Micro Publishing News digital
illustration competition sponsored by Digital Pond of San Francisco.
THE BE-IN WEBSITE AND LIVE NETCAST
For the precedent-setting netcast, Verbum’s team of producers and “cyber-
reporters” will be working with MediaCast, a San Francisco firm specialized in
live internet exvents, ISP Networks, a Bay Area internet service provider, and
Progressive Networks, creators of RealAudio technology. Verbum’s site,
optimized for the Netscape Navigator 2.0 browser, has been designed to allow
for continuous uploading of images and text, which form a “time capsule” of
the entire event. Real Audio, a compression system which allows high-quality
audio streaming (uploaded to the user on demand, as opposed to being
downloaded and then played) wil be used to continuously broadcast
entertainment and interviews during the event, including the commentary of Be-
In hosts and MCs. The netcast will also utilize CU-See-Me, a video
conferencing software that includes black and white or color video with
monaural audio, and M-Bone, a broad bandwidth broadcast featuring full-motion
color video and high fidelity audio. QuickTime videos and audio clips will be
avail-able for downloading, and the site will include of hotlinks to related
websites. Tokyo’s TeleParc online magazine will carry the event with Japanese
reportage for viewers in the Far East.
The Digital Art Be-In is produced by multimedia publisher Verbum, which has
developed magazines, books, and multimedia CD-ROMs for creative professionals
working with digital media since its founding by Michael Gosney in 1986.
Verbum's current Multimedia Power Tools – Second Edition book/CD-ROM (Random
House), Desktop Color Book – Second Edition (MIT Press), and The Official
Photo CD Handbook book with 2 CDs (Peachpit Press), are leading resources for
the new wave of digital design and multimedia production. Verbum’s Digital Be-
In has been produced every year since 1988, sponsored by prominent hardware
and software vendors.
According to Gosney, “We're not about left or right politics, we're about
taking the ideals and visions that emerged in the contradictory ferment of the
’60s and translating them into evolutionary tools for the human race. The ’60s
spawned a community of hackers and artists that eventually gave birth to the
personal computer, and is now creating the advanced software and integrated
media technologies that give substance to the ‘information superhighway’
rhetoric. The Be-In celebrates the collective genius of those who are creating
the new media, and encourages conscience and vision in its global, democratic
The Human Be-In: Spark of the Counterculture
“A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In,” announced on the cover of the
new issue of the San Francisco Oracle, would feature Timothy Leary, Allen
Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Richard (Ram Dass) Alpert, Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel,
Jerry Ruben, and All SF Rock Bands January 14, 1967, 1 to 5 pm in Golden Gate
Park. 30,000 people showed up.
The Be-In focused the key ideas of the 1960s counter-culture: personal power,
decentralization, ecological awareness, consciousness expansion. More
encompassing than a war protest movement, the counter culture “questioned
authority” in regard to civil rights, women’s rights, and consumer rights,
shaped its own alternative media - the “underground” newspapers and radio
stations, and spawned new directions in music, art, and technology.
In the 1970s, the dynamic San Francisco area milieu, blending Silicon Valley
with Haight Ashbury and Berkeley, gave birth to the personal computer – the
ultimate gesture of personal power, “counter” to the then-prevailing main
frame computer paradigm that implied centralized authority.
Verbum’s Digital Be-Ins
The Digital Be-Ins, held each January in San Francisco during MacWorld Expo,
bring together and celebrate the Bay Area and international community of
artists, programmers, technology visionaries and entrepreneurs whose work with
digital media is transforming the worlds of publishing, video and music
production, education, training—and ultimately mass communication and
entertainment. This community of talented, driven, dedicated people is
contributing in an essential way to the development of a worldwide,
multilingual digital network—its interfaces and architectures—and the new
multimedia content forms that will move through it.
For further information: please see the Be-In WWW Site at
http://www.be-in.com/, and/or contact Veronika Hausle of Verbum at 415-777-
9901 or 777-0665, m...@verbum.com; Queenie Taylor at 415-380-8068; or Bob
Gelman at 415-728-7778, cyber...@well.com.
Subject: Upcoming events
This schedule lists events that are directly EFF-related. A much more
detailed calendar of events likely to be of interest to our members and
supporters is maintained at:
ftp: ftp.eff.org, /pub/EFF/calendar.eff
gopher: gopher.eff.org, 1/EFF, calendar.eff
Jan. 11 * 8th Annual Digital Be-In Multimedia Concert, Exhibition and EFF
Benefit; Transmission Theater, 11th & Folsom, San Francisco Calif.
Sponsored by Verbum, Mac World, et al. Speakers will include
EFF co-founder and boardmember John Perry Barlow, EFF staff counsel
Mike Godwin, Paolo Soleri, Timothy Leary, R.U. Sirius (_Mondo_
_2000_), plus various performances and exhibits. Along with the
meatspace event, the Be-In will be Cybercast, so that anyone may
participate virtually. See the web page for more info.
Contact: +1 415 777 9901; tickets: +1 510 762 2277
* UniForum Security Seminar; Westin Hotel, Santa Clara, Calif.
Speakers will include EFF co-founder and boardmember John Gilmore,
Whit Diffie (Sun Microsystems), Web Augustine (Verisign), Chini
Kirshna (Terisa Systems), Taher El Gamal (Netscape). Topics include
encryption & security, electronic commerce, social implications of
cryptography, and digital certificates & identification.
Contact: 1 800 255-5620 x30 (voice, US-only)
+1 408 986 8840 x30 (voice, world)
18 * Innovation Now; Oregon Convention Center, Portland Oregon.
Sponsored by American Electronics Association's Oregon Council,
et al. Speakers include EFF chair of the board Esther Dyson.
Jan. 18 * HotWired Electronic Frontiers Forum; online event, 7pm PST
"speak"ers will include EFF-Austin directors, on grassroots
organizing. Users can participate via either WWW
(http://www.hotwired.com/club/) or telnet (chat.wired.com 2428).
Jan. 25 * HotWired Electronic Frontiers Forum; online event, 7pm PST
"speak"ers will include Steve Jackson, on events since the
raid and the SJG v. USSS case. See Jan. 18 event for more info.
Feb. 1 * HotWired Electronic Frontiers Forum; online event, 7pm PST
"speak"ers will include Bob Anderson & Ed Stastny, on cyberarts &
censorship. See Jan. 18 event for more info.
Feb. 8 * HotWired Electronic Frontiers Forum; online event, 7pm PST
"speak"ers will include EFF staff counsel Mike Godwin, on
censorship, privacy, the Marty Rimm/Time/CMU scandal, and more.
See Jan. 18 event for more info.
Subject: Quote of the Day
"Photons have neither morality nor visas."
- David Farber, EFF boardmember and U. of Penn. professo
Find yourself wondering if your privacy and freedom of speech are safe
when bills to censor the Internet are swimming about in a sea of of
surveillance legislation and anti-terrorism hysteria? Worried that in
the rush to make us secure from ourselves that our government
representatives may deprive us of our essential civil liberties?
Concerned that legislative efforts nominally to "protect children" will
actually censor all communications down to only content suitable for
the playground? Alarmed by commercial and religious organizations abusing
the judicial and legislative processes to stifle satire, dissent and
Even if you don't live in the U.S., the anti-Internet hysteria will soon
be visiting a legislative body near you. If it hasn't already.
Subject: What YOU Can Do
* The Communications Decency Act & Other Censorship Legislation
The Communications Decency Act and similar legislation pose serious
threats to freedom of expression online, and to the livelihoods of system
operators. The legislation also undermines several crucial privacy
Business/industry persons concerned should alert their corporate govt.
affairs office and/or legal counsel. Everyone should write to their own
Representatives and Senators, and visit them in their home offices this
month, asking them to oppose Internet censorship legislation. Urge them to
ensure that system operators not be held liable for crimes they did not
commit, and that the FCC be barred from regulating the Internet.
See the first three articles in this newsletter for more detailed info.
For more information on what you can do to help stop this and other
dangerous legislation, see:
If you do not have full internet access (e.g. WWW), send your request
for information to a...@eff.org.
* Digital Telephony/Comms. Assistance to Law Enforcement Act
The FBI is now seeking both funding for the DT/CALEA wiretapping provisions,
and preparing to require that staggering numbers of citizens be
To oppose the funding, write to your own Senators and Representatives
urging them to vote against any appropriations for wiretapping.
To oppose the FBI's wiretapping capacity demands, see the FBI Federal
Register notice at the end of the second article in this newsletter, which
contains instructions on how to submit formal comments on the ludicrous
and dangerous proposal - DEADLINE: Jan. 96!
* Anti-Terrorism Bills
Numerous bills threatening your privacy and free speech have been introduced
this year. None of them are close to passage at this very moment, but
this status may change. Urge your Congresspersons to oppose these
unconstitutional and Big-Brotherish bills.
* The Anti-Electronic Racketeering Act
This bill is unlikely to pass in any form, being very poorly drafted, and
without much support. However, the CDA is just as bad and passed with
flying colors [the jolly roger?] in the Senate. It's better to be safe
than sorry. If you have a few moments to spare, writing to, faxing, or
calling your Congresspersons to urge opposition to this bill is a good
idea. If you only have time to do limited activism, please concentrate
on the Internet censorship legislation instead. That legislation is far more
imminent that the AERA.
* Medical Privacy Legislation
Several bills relating to medical privacy issues are floating in Congress
right now. Urge your legislators to support only proposals that *truly*
enhance the medical privacy of citizens.
More information on this legislation will be available at
http://www.eff.org/pub/Privacy/Medical/ soon. Bug m...@eff.org to make
it appear there faster. :)
* Find Out Who Your Congresspersons Are
Writing letters to, faxing, and phoning your representatives in Congress
is one very important strategy of activism, and an essential way of
making sure YOUR voice is heard on vital issues.
EFF has lists of the Senate and House with contact information, as well
as lists of Congressional committees. (A House list is included in this
issue of EFFector). These lists are available at:
The full Senate and House lists are senate.list and hr.list, respectively.
Those not in the U.S. should seek out similar information about their
own legislative bodies. EFF will be happy to archive any such
If you are having difficulty determining who your Representatives are,
try contacting your local League of Women Voters, who maintain a great
deal of legislative information, or consult the free ZIPPER service
that matches Zip Codes to Congressional districts with about 85%
* Join EFF!
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
1550 Bryant St., Suite 725
San Francisco CA 94103 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)
Membership & donations: members...@eff.org
Legal services: sste...@eff.org
General EFF, legal, policy or online resources queries: a...@eff.org
Stanton McCandlish, Online Services Mgr./Activist/Archivist (m...@eff.org)
This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed
articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce
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