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EFFector - Volume 14, Issue 24 - ALERT: Ask Congress to Legislate to Improve Security Not Eliminate Freedoms

           EFFector       Vol. 14, No. 24       Sep. 17-18, 2001
                              editors@eff.org

   A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

    In the 184th Issue of EFFector (now with over 29,000 subscribers!):

     * ALERT: Ask Congress to Legislate to Improve Security Not Eliminate
       Freedoms
     * Administrivia

   This issue was released Sep. 17, 2001, and updated Sep. 18, 2001.

   For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org/

   To join EFF or make an additional donation:
     http://www.eff.org/support/
   EFF is a member-supported nonprofit. Please sign up as a member today!
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ALERT: Ask Congress to Legislate to Improve Security Not Eliminate Freedoms

  Congressional Response to Terrorism Threatens Privacy

    Electronic Frontier Foundation ACTION ALERT

    (Updated: Monday, September 18, 2001 / Deadline: Friday, September 20,
    2001)

  Introduction:

   San Francisco, California - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
   today urged governmental officials to act deliberately in the coming
   days and to approve only measures that are effective in preventing
   terrorism while protecting the freedoms of Americans. Your urgent
   action is needed TODAY.

   In a press conference earlier today, Attorney General John Ashcroft
   indicated that he would be asking Congress to expand the ability of
   law enforcement officers to perform wiretaps in response to the
   terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Ashcroft
   asked Congress to pass anti-terrorism legislation including "expanded
   electronic surveillance" by the end of this week.

   Ashcroft's comments come in the wake of the Senate's hasty passage of
   the "Combating Terrorism Act" on the evening of September 13 with less
   than 30 minutes of consideration on the Senate floor.

   EFF believes this broad legislation would result in unintended
   negative consequences for civil liberties of law-abiding citizens by
   making it unnecessary for law enforcement officers to obtain a court
   wiretap order before requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to
   release e-mail message header information and Internet browsing
   patterns of their subscribers. The bill would also authorize local
   U.S. attorneys to authorize certain surveillance orders.

   The Combating Terrorism Act is presently a Senate-passed amendment to
   a House appropriations bill. It is expected to be voted on in joint
   conference committee this week, or early next week at the latest. The
   House has already passed the "base" bill, while the Senate has passed
   it plus the wiretapping amendment. The House delegates several
   Representatives to meet with several Senators, who will collectively
   decide what amendments the final, joint version will include. This
   final version is then voted on by the full House and Senate. This only
   real pressure point is the conference committee; whatever emerges will
   almost certainly pass both houses near-unanimously.

  What YOU Can Do Now:

     * Contact the conference committee members and your legislators
       about this issue AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Call them, and fax and/or
       e-mail the EFF letter below today. Postal mail will be too slow on
       this issue. Feel free to use this letter verbatim, or modify it as
       you wish. Let them know that you do not believe liberty must be
       sacrified for security. Please be polite and concise, but firm.
       For information on how to contact your legislators and other
       government officials, see EFF's "Contacting Congress and Other
       Policymakers" guide at:
         http://www.eff.org/congress.html
     * Join EFF! For membership information see:
         http://www.eff.org/support/

  Sample Letters:

   There are two sample letters below, one to the conference committee
   members, and one to your own legislators.

   Use this sample letter below to conference committee members or modify
   it, and send to all of the following:

   Representatives:

   Name (State), Phone (202-225-####), Fax (202-22#-####), E-mail

   Frank Wolf (VA), 5136, 5-0437, none
   Hal Rogers (KY), 4601, 5-0940, talk2hal@mail.house.gov
   Jim Kolbe (AZ), 2542, 5-0378, none
   Charles Taylor (NC), 6401, none, repcharles.taylor@mail.house.gov
   Ralph Regula (OH), 3876, 5-3059, repregula@workinohio.org
   Tom Latham (IA), 5476, 5-3301, latham.ia05@mail.house.gov
   Dan Miller (FL), 5015, 6-0828, none
   David Vitter (LA), 3015, 5-0739, david.vitter@mail.house.gov
   Jos Serrano (NY), 4361, 5-6001, jserrano@mail.house.gov
   Alan Mollohan (WV), 4172, 5-7564, none
   Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), 1766, 6-0350, none
   Robert Cramer (AL), 4801, 5-4392, budmail@mail.house.gov
   Patrick Kennedy (RI), 4911, 5-3290, patrick.kennedy@mail.house.gov

   For Representatives that don't provide a direct e-mail address, use
   this form:
    http://www.house.gov/writerep/

   Senators:

   Name (State), Phone (202-224-####), Fax (202-224-####), E-mail

   Robert Byrd (WV), 3954, 228-0002, senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov
   Patrick Leahy (VT), 4242, 3479, senator_leahy@leahy.senate.gov
   Ted Stevens (AK), 3004, 2354, senator_stevens@stevens.senate.gov
   Mitch McConnell (KY), 2541, 2499, senator@mcconnell.senate.gov
   Ernest Hollings (SC), 6121, 4293, none
   Daniel Inouye (HI), 3934, 6747, senator@inouye.senate.gov
   Barbara Mikulski (MD), 4654, 8858, senator@mikulski.senate.gov
   Herb Kohl (WI), 5653, 9787, senator_kohl@kohl.senate.gov
   Patty Murray (WA), 2621, 0238, senator_murray@murray.senate.gov
   Jack Reed (RI), 4642, 4680, jack@reed.senate.gov
   Judd Gregg (NH), 3324, 4952, mailbox@gregg.senate.gov
   Pete Domenici (NM), 6621, none, senator_domenici@domenici.senate.gov
   Kay Hutchison (TX), 5922, 0776, senator@hutchison.senate.gov
   Ben Campbell (CO), 5852, 1933, none
   Thad Cochran (MS), 5054, 9450, senator@cochran.senate.gov

   Sen. Hollings can be e-mailed via the Web at:
     http://www.senate.gov/~hollings/webform.html
   Sen. Campbell provides no public e-mail mechanism of any kind.

     Dear Sen./Rep. [Surname] and Other H.R. 2500 Conference Committee
     Members:

     I write to express my gravest concern over aspects of the
     Congressional response to the tragedies of September 11. While I
     share your grief and anger in no uncertain terms, I do not believe
     that sacrificing essential liberties in a vain hope of improving
     security is good for America or the world. Security can be improved
     without privacy invasion, and we cannot win an attack on freedom by
     attacking that freedom ourselves.

     I specifically object to H.R. 2500 amendment S.A. 1562 sections
     816, 832, 833, and 834, and any similar measures, such as those
     proposed by Attorney General Ashcroft, as well as recent calls for
     measures that would thwart Americans' use of secure encryption. I
     also object to provisions being passed in response to terrorism but
     which have nothing to do with terrorism, such as "emergency"
     wiretaps against simple computer crime incidents.

     I urge you to vote AGAINST incorporating the above-mentioned
     sections of S.A. 1562 into the final version of H.R. 2500, and to
     vote against any similar amendments expanding wiretap powers,
     online monitoring, warrantless pen register or trap and trace
     authority, censorship, or restrictions on encryption.

     The United States should not take steps toward becoming a police
     state, or otherwise undermine our own freedom in the name of
     defending that freedom from terrorist attack, or the terrorists
     have already won. This is a time for careful consideration, not
     passing legislation without debate or careful consideration of the
     consequences.

     Sincerely,

     [Your name & address]

   (Be sure to correct the salutation - use EITHER Sen. or Rep., and use
   the correct name.) If one of the conference committee members if your
   Rep. or Sen., mention that you are a constituent, as in the letter
   below.)

   Use this sample letter to YOUR legislators or modify it, and send to
   their Washington fax and e-mail, which you can get this from Project
   Vote Smart:
     http://www.vote-smart.org/vote-smart/data.phtml?dtype=C&style=
   or the House:
     http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html
   and Senate:
     http://www.senate.gov/senators/index.cfm
   websites. 

     Dear Sen./Rep. [Surname]

     I write as a constituent to express my gravest concern over aspects
     of the Congressional response to the tragedies of September 11.
     While I share your grief and anger in no uncertain terms, I do not
     believe that sacrificing essential liberties in a vain hope of
     improving security is good for America or the world. Security can
     be improved without privacy invasion, and we cannot win an attack
     on freedom by attacking that freedom ourselves.

     I urge you to vote AGAINST H.R. 2500 should it emerge from
     conference committee with amendment S.A. 1562 attached, and to vote
     against any similar legislation expanding wiretap powers, online
     monitoring, warrantless pen register or trap and trace authority,
     censorship, or restrictions on encryption.

     The United States should not take steps toward becoming a police
     state, or otherwise undermine our own freedom in the name of
     defending that freedom from terrorist attack, or the terrorists
     have already won. This is a time for careful consideration, not
     passing legislation without debate or careful consideration of the
     consequences.

     I specifically object to S.A. 1562 sections 816, 832, 833, and 834,
     and any similar measures, such as those proposed by Attorney
     General Ashcroft, as well as recent calls for measures that would
     thwart Americans' use of secure encryption. I also object to
     provisions being passed in response to terrorism but which have
     nothing to do with terrorism, such as "emergency" wiretaps against
     simple computer crime incidents.

     Sincerely,

     [Your name & address]

   (Be sure to correct the salutation - use EITHER Sen. or Rep., and use
   the correct name.)

  Non-US Activists

   Non-US readers can probably have little impact on the US Congress's
   votes on these matters, and could even affect them negatively. Your
   best course of action is to contact your own
   legislators/parliamentarians and urge them to avoid similar policies
   in your own country.

  Privacy Campaign:

   This drive to contact your legislators about unprecedented wiretap
   power expansion is part of a larger campaign to highlight how
   extensively companies and governmental agencies subject us to
   surveillance and share and use personal information online & offline,
   and what you can do about it.

   Check the EFF Privacy Now! Campaign website regularly for additional
   alerts and news:
     http://www.eff.org/privnow/

  Background:

   During the Congressional session considering the Combating Terrorism
   Act, which was introduced as amendment S.A. 1562 to an omnibus
   appropriations bill, H.R. 2500, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed
   concern that he was asked to vote so rapidly on such important
   legislation within minutes of receiving it and without conducting
   hearings in the Intelligence, Armed Services and Judiciary committees:

     Maybe the Senate wants to just go ahead and adopt new abilities to
     wiretap our citizens. Maybe they want to adopt new abilities to go
     into people's computers. Maybe that will make us feel safer. Maybe.
     And maybe what the terrorists have done made us a little bit less
     safe. Maybe they have increased Big Brother in this country.

     If that is what the Senate wants, we can vote for it. But do we
     really show respect to the American people by slapping something
     together, something that nobody on the floor can explain, and say
     we are changing the duties of the Attorney General, the Director of
     the CIA, the U.S. attorneys, we are going to change your rights as
     Americans, your rights to privacy? We are going to do it with no
     hearings, no debate. We are going to do it with numbers on a page
     that nobody can understand.

   EFF shares Senator Leahy's concerns in this time of national crisis.
   EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn commented, "These proposals
   significantly impact the civil liberties of Americans. We urge
   legislators to please slow down and consider the long-term
   consequences of your votes."

   "I believe that deep in their souls, Americans understand that the
   reason this country is so great--is so worth defending--is because it
   is free," explained EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "We should be
   very careful to make sure that any legislation that passes is truly
   needed to address national security concerns."

   During World War I, the US Congress hastily passed the Espionage Act
   which was notorious for decreasing freedoms without improving the
   security of the American public, under which Congress granted the
   Postmaster General (who delegated it to 55,000 local postmasters) the
   authority to read any mail and remove any material that might
   "embarrass" the government in conducting the war effort.

   The relevant portions of the Combating Terrorism Act (S1562) passed by
   the Senate:
     http://www.eff.org/sc/wiretap_bill.html

   To read the entire provisions from Congress's legislation server, go
   to:
     http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:h.r.2500.pp:
   They are the very last three sections on the page.

   Senator Leahy's testimony on the Combating Terrorism Act:
     http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2001/s091301.html

   EFF analysis of the Combating Terrorism Act [coming soon]:
     http://www.eff.org/sc/eff_wiretap_bill_analysis.html

   Why "backdoor" encryption requirements reduce security:
     http://www.crypto.com/papers/escrowrisks98.pdf

   EFF Surveillance Archive:
     http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/

  About EFF:

   The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
   organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded
   in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and
   government to support free expression, privacy, and openness in the
   information society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
   maintains one of the most linked-to Web sites in the world:
     http://www.eff.org

    Contact:

     Cindy Cohn, EFF Legal Director
       cindy@eff.org
       +1 415-436-9333 x108

     Lee Tien, EFF Senior First Amendment Attorney
       tien@eff.org
       +1 415-436-9333 x102

                                  - end -
     _________________________________________________________________


Administrivia

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   Editors:
   Katina Bishop, EFF Education & Offline Activism Director
   Stanton McCandlish, EFF Technical Director/Webmaster
     editors@eff.org

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