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EFFector - Volume 16, Issue 9 - EFF Files Comments Against Government Attempt to Ignore E-Activism


EFFector - Volume 16, Issue 9 - EFF Files Comments Against Government Attempt to Ignore E-Activism

EFFector       Vol. 16, No. 9       April 13, 2003

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 248th Issue of EFFector:

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EFF Files Comments Against Government Attempt to Ignore E-Activism

EFF recently submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the rejection of a rule that would bar citizens from using online "action centers" in some government rulemakings. Proposed rule 219.19(d)(1) would ban "form letters, check-off lists, pre-printed post cards, or similar duplicative materials" from being considered in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) proceedings. While this particular rule is limited to NEPA initiatives, it sets a bad example for other agencies and raises free speech issues for citizens and organizations that use empowering technology to address policy issues.

A broad range of advocacy organizations have online action centers, from the American Association of Retired Persons to the National Rifle Association, the National Right to Life Coalition to the American Civil Liberties Union and thousands of others. EFF has its own center at


California Supreme Court Hears Email Pamphleteer Case

Lower Court Decision Threatens Internet Commerce and Speech

Los Angeles - The California Supreme Court recently reviewed a lower court ruling that companies can sue those who send unwanted email to their employees.

The case, called Intel v Hamidi, arises from six firmwide email messages sent by Ken Hamidi during a two-year period to thousands of Intel employees worldwide. The messages admittedly did no harm to Intel's computer systems and caused no delays in its computer services. Nonetheless, in a 34-page opinion, the Third Appellate District Court in California ruled that sending unwanted emails was an illegal "trespass."

"The court today heard arguments explaining why extending the trespass to chattels doctrine to electronic communications would be very hard to justify," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "The court seemed unwilling to rule that anyone who sends electronic communications after having been told not to could risk a lawsuit from recipients."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief in the Intel v. Hamidi case, arguing that the lower court distorted the "trespass to chattels" doctrine when applying it to the Internet. EFF noted that the doctrine has already been used by companies in several cases around the country to stop competitors from gathering comparative price information from websites, something that is generally viewed as assisting consumers.


2003 Pioneer Awards Thanks, Pictures

EFF held the 12th Annual Pioneer Awards on April 2nd, 2003, on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building. EFF would like to thank everyone that helped make the evening a success.

We would, of course, like to thank the 2003 Pioneer Award Winners, Eben Moglen, Amy Goodman, and David Sobel, both for their difficult and visionary work, and for their inspirational acceptance speeches at the event itself.

Thank you also to the 2003 Pioneer Award Judges, who chose this year's winners. They gave generously of both their time and effort to choose the new Pioneers. This years' judges were:

  • Herb Brody (Senior Editor, Technology Review)
  • Beth Givens (2002 Pioneer Award Winner, Executive Director of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse)
  • Moira Gunn (Host, "Tech Nation", National Public Radio)
  • Donna L. Hoffman (Associate Professor of Management, Vanderbilt University)
  • Peter G. Neumann (Principal Scientist, SRI Intl.; Moderator, ACM Risks Forum)
  • Drazen Pantic (Media & Tech. Director, NYU Center for War, Peace, & the News Media)
  • Barbara Simons (past President, Association for Computing Machinery, & U.C. Berkeley Distinguished Alumnus)
  • Karen G. Schneider (Director, Librarians Index to the Internet, Oakland, CA)

Thank you to the Empire State Building for allowing us to use their space, even in a time of high security for New York City, and specifically to Tricia Dempsey, who helped us coordinate the event.

Thank you to CFP (Computers, Freedom and Privacy) and specifically to Barry Steinhardt, for both supporting and publicizing the Pioneer Awards Ceremony.

Finally, thank you to Madison Caterers for providing the delicious dessert buffet for the event.

A round of applause from all of us at EFF to all of you for your generosity. Thank you!


EFF at RSA Conference 2003!

Once again, the EFF will have a booth at the upcoming RSA Conference on data security. Various EFF representatives will be there, passing out literature and promoting your privacy. Stop by and say hi!

RSA Conference
Where: Moscone Center, 747 Howard St., San Francisco, CA
When: April 14-16, 10am - 5pm

Thanks to Van Dayke Software

The Electronic Frontier Foundation would like to thank Van Dayke Software ( for their donation of EnTunnel, a software tool for establishing secure, compressed SSH tunnels to our Linux email server. EFF appreciates donations of useful tools from companies that support our cause.

Deep Links

Deep Links features noteworthy news items, victories, and threats from around the Internet.

EFFector is published by:

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Ren Bucholz, Activist

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