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EFFector - Volume 11, Issue 5 - Oppose Government-Mandated Internet Filtering! Send a Free fax to Your Senators!

                         EFFector Online Newsletter
                                      
   Vol. 11, No. 5               May 8, 1998                editor@eff.org
   A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424
                                      
IN THIS ISSUE

     * ACTION ALERT: OPPOSE GOVERNMENT-MANDATED INTERNET FILTERING! SEND
       A FREE FAX TO YOUR SENATORS
         1. ACTION TO TAKE
         2. BACKGROUND
     * ADMINISTRIVIA
       
   See http://www.eff.org for more information on EFF activities &
   alerts!
     _________________________________________________________________
   
       ACTION ALERT: OPPOSE GOVERNMENT-MANDATED INTERNET FILTERING! 
                     SEND A FREE FAX TO YOUR SENATORS

                            Issued May 8, 1998 

         RE-DISTRIBUTE WIDELY IN APPROPRIATE FORUMS UNTIL MAY 31
         
                             
  ACTION TO TAKE
  
   The United States Senate may vote as early as next week on the
   "Internet School Filtering Act" (S. 1619). The bill would require
   libraries and schools receiving federal Internet subsidies to install
   filtering software designed to prevent children from accessing
   "inappropriate" material. EFF, ACLU and EPIC are sponsoring an online
   campaign to oppose this measure. By visiting any of the following
   links, you can send faxes -- free of charge! -- to your two Senators:
   
                       http://www.eff.org/blueribbon/
                                      
                 http://www.aclu.org/congress/cybmarch.html
                                      
                  http://www.epic.org/free_speech/action/
                                      
  BACKGROUND
  
   On March 12, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the "Internet
   School Filtering Act" (S. 1619). The bill would require schools and
   libraries receiving federal "e-rate" Internet subsidies to certify
   that they are using filtering software designed to prevent minors from
   accessing "inappropriate" material.
   
   The bill raises serious constitutional questions. In a decision issued
   on April 7, a federal judge in Virginia rejected an effort to dismiss
   a challenge to Internet filtering at a public library, finding that
   "the Library Board may not adopt and enforce content- based
   restrictions on access to protected Internet speech" unless it meets
   the highest level of constitutional scrutiny.
   
   Several studies have found that a great amount of valuable educational
   material is blocked by filtering programs. Some filtering systems even
   block access to web sites created by elementary schools for elementary
   school children. Filtering requirements are inconsistent with the goal
   of providing our children a rich educational experience and, when
   mandated by government, violative of the First Amendment.
   
   Many local communities have decided that the best approach is one that
   emphasizes acceptable use policies and Internet education programs.
   They have rejected the use of filtering software as ineffective and
   contrary to educational objectives. They've decided to instill values
   rather than install filters. Tell Congress to leave this issue to
   local communities, and not to mandate a federal, one-size-fits-all
   filtering requirement.
   
   Additional information on Internet filtering is also available at the
   Internet Free Expression Alliance website:
   
                            http://www.ifea.net
                                      
   NOTE: Non-US citizens may also wish to contact US Senators to object
   to this draconian legislation. It would be most appropriate to contact
   Senate leadership:
   
  Party      Last Name, First Name      Voice Phone        Fax
     State
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    R SC    Thurmond, Strom          +1-202-224-5972  +1-202-224-1300
    R MS    Lott, Trent              +1-202-224-6253  +1-202-224-2262
    D SD    Daschle, Thomas          +1-202-224-2321  +1-202-224-2047
    R OK    Nickles, Don             +1-202-224-5754  +1-202-224-6008
    D KY    Ford, Wendell            +1-202-224-4343  +1-202-224-0046
    R FL    Mack, Connie             +1-202-224-5274  +1-202-224-8022
    R ID    Craig, Larry             +1-202-224-2752  +1-202-224-2573
    D MA    Kerry, John              +1-202-224-2742  +1-202-224-8525


   US Senate leaders are, respectively: President Pro-Tempore, Majority
   Leader, Minority Leader & Democratic Policy Committee Chair, Majority
   Whip, Min. Whip, Republican Conference Chair, Rep. Policy Cmte. Chair,
   Dem. Steering Cmte. Chair.
   
   See EFF's Contacting Congress Factsheet at http://www.eff.org/congress
   which provides links to places to look up who your legislator is for
   information on sending postal letters to US legislators.
   
     _________________________________________________________________
   
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