Skip to main content
Podcast Episode: Fighting Enshittification

EFFector - Volume 4, Issue 1 - Megatrends or Megamistakes? What Ever Happened to the Information Society?


EFFector - Volume 4, Issue 1 - Megatrends or Megamistakes? What Ever Happened to the Information Society?

########## ########## ########## |
########## ########## ########## |     MEGATRENDS OR MEGAMISTAKES?
####       ####       ####       |        What Ever Happened to 
########   ########   ########   |      the Information Society
########   ########   ########   |              (Part 1)
####       ####       ####       |
########## ####       ####       |EFF EXPLAINS ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES
########## ####       ####       |
EFFector Online           December 17, 1992               Issue  4.01
           A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
                            ISSN 1062-9424

        What Ever Happened to the Information Society?
                      (Part 1 of 2 Parts)

              by Tom Forester, Senior Lecturer,
         School of Computing & Information Technology,
             Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

What ever happened to the Information Society?  Where is the
Information Age? What, indeed, happened to the "workerless" factory,
the "paperless" office and the "cashless" society?  Why aren't we all
living in the "electronic cottage," playing our part in the push-
button "teledemocracy" - or simply relaxing in the "leisure society,"
while machines exhibiting "artificial intelligence" do all the work?

Remember when the microchip first appeared on the scene in the late
1970s and we were told that social transformation was inevitable? 
Remember the Siemens report, which allegedly predicted that 40 per
cent of office jobs would soon be sacrificed to the "job destroyer"? 
And the plan by one Dutch political party for a new tax on
automation?  Remember, indeed, the US Senate committee report which
earnestly discussed the social implications of a 22 hour work week by
1985 and retirement at age 38?  

Recall, too, how we have been regularly assaulted with trendy buzz-
words and ugly acronyms by market researchers and computer vendors
over recent years, promising us that the videodisc, the video
telephone, electronic mail, teleconferencing, videotex, desktop
publishing, multimedia, ISDN, EDI, OSI, MIS, EIS, EFT-POS, RISC,
CASE, MAP, JIT, CIM, CD-ROM, DAT and HDTV would be the next "hot"
product and/or the wave of the future and/or actually deliver the
long-awaited productivity pay-off from the huge expenditure on
information technology (IT)?  

The truth is that society has not changed very much.  The microchip
has had much less social impact than almost everyone predicted. All
the talk about "future shocks", "third waves", "megatrends" and
"post-industrial" societies must now be taken with a large pinch of
salt. Life goes on for the vast majority of people in much the same
old way.  Computers have infiltrated many areas of our social life,
but they have not transformed it.  Computers have proved to be useful
tools - no more, no less.  None of the more extreme predictions about
the impact of computers on society have turned out to be correct. 
Neither Utopia nor Dystopia has arrived on Earth as a result of

In this address, I will first compare some of the intended
consequences of the IT revolution predicted by the pundits with what
has actually happened in important areas of society - especially in
the workplace and at home. After this review, I will look at some
tentative explanations of why so many technology forecasters seem to
have got things hopelessly wrong.  I will then review some of the
unintended consequences of the IT revolution, which weren't predicted
by the pundits. These include: the new social problems of unreliable
software, computer crime, software theft, hacking, the creation of
viruses and the invasion of privacy;  and some psychological problems
associated with computer-based communication technologies - who could
have foreseen, for instance, that today we would be discussing why
some executives have become "communicaholic" mobile phone users,
"spreadsheet junkies", "electronic mail addicts" and "fax potatoes"? 
I will conclude with some brief comments about the relationship
between humans and technology, arguing that we need to reassert the
primacy of human values.  

                    INTENDED CONSEQUENCES 


Since so many of the early predictions about the social impact of IT
envisaged dramatic reductions in the quantity of paid employment
and/or large increases in the amount of forced or unforced leisure
time available to the average person, work and leisure would seem an
appropriate starting point for an assessment of the actual social
impact of IT.   

     First, the microchip has not put millions of people out of work
- although it is steadily eroding employment opportunities.  Mass
unemployment has not occurred as a result of computerization chiefly
because the introduction of computers into the workplace has been
much slower and messier than expected - for a variety of financial,
technical and managerial reasons. In some companies, computerization
has actually been accompanied by increased levels of employment. 
Unemployment may be regarded as unacceptably high in many OECD
countries, but economic recession and declining competitiveness are
mostly to blame. However, many manufacturers now have an active
policy of 'de-manning': when and if economic growth does return to
its former levels, labour will not be taken on pro rata and increased
investment in IT may actually reduce the number of jobs available.
There is also concern about the service sector's continuing ability
to create jobs and a growing realisation that the high-tech sector
itself will remain small relative to total employment. 

Second, the vast majority who are in the workforce appear to be
working harder than ever. There is very little sign of the "leisure"
society having arrived yet!  According to one survey, the amount of
leisure time enjoyed by the average US citizen shrunk by a staggering
37 per cent between 1973 and 1989. Over the same period, the average
working week, including travel-to-work time, grew from under 41 hours
to nearly 47 hours - a far cry from the 22 hours someone predicted in
1967! (Gibbs 1989).  Note that these increases occurred just as
computers, robots, word processors and other "labour-saving" gadgetry
were entering the workplace.  Moreover, the proportion of Americans
holding down a second job or doing more work at home has been
increasing, due to inflation and other pressures on the domestic
standard of living.  Much the same sort of thing appears to be
happening in European countries like Germany, where weekend working
has been resumed in some industries, and in Australia, where 24-hour
working has been re-introduced, for example, in the coal industry. 
The Japanese, of course, continue to work longer hours than almost
everybody else and rarely take more than very short holidays.  

We are still awaiting the "workerless", "unmanned" or "fully-
automated" factory.  The "factory of the future" remains where it has
always been - somewhere in the future. Take industrial robots, for
example: analysts confidently predicted that the US robot population
would top 250,000 or more by 1990. The actual figure was 37,000 - and
some of these had already been relegated to training centres and
scrap metal dealers (Kilborn 1990). Worldwide robot sales actually
peaked in 1987 and have been going downhill ever since, primarily
because users have found that the care and feeding of robots is more
costly than that of people.  General Motors wasted millions on
premature robotization and robot makers have gone bust all over the
place - victims of their own exaggerated claims.  Even CNC (computer
numerically controlled) machine tools, which have been around for
some time, are not as widely used as might be expected: one study
found that only 11 per cent of machine tools in the US metalworking
industry were CNC; 53 per cent of the plants surveyed did not have
even one automated machine! (Harvard 1988).  

While the robot revolution has been stalled, other panaceas such as
"FMS" (flexible manufacturing systems) and "CIM" (computer-integrated
manufacturing) have been stillborn.  FMS has rarely progressed beyond
the "showcase" stage and has proved to be an expensive headache for
those few companies who have tried it in a real commercial
enterprise.  CIM remains a direction or a dream: connecting up all
the "islands" of automation is taking much longer than expected.
Full implementation of CIM would require the encoding of all relevant
management expertise into decision-making devices which would then
control fault-free machines without human intervention - this seems
somewhat unlikely in the short term.  MAP (manufacturing automation
protocol) was supposed to be the breakthrough which would enable
machines to "talk" to each other, but it was slow to catch on and it
has been overtaken by a number of other incompatible, competing
protocols like OSI.  In general, manufacturers have had to revise
their automation strategies - steady upgrading seems to have replaced
the 1980s concept of total automation. 

The "paperless" office now looks to be one of the funniest
predictions made  about the social impact of IT.  More and more trees
are being felled to satisfy our vast appetite for paper, in offices
which were supposed by now to be all-electronic.  In the US, paper
consumption has rocketed 320 per cent over the past 30 years, ahead
of real GDP which has gone up 280 per cent (Tenner 1988). In absolute
terms, this means that US consumers gobbled up about 4 trillion pages
of paper last year, compared with only 2.5 trillion in 1986 - about
the time that word processors and personal computers were becoming
really popular. The two most successful office products of recent
times - the photocopier and the fax machine - are of course enormous
users or generators of paper, while technologies which do not use
paper - such as electronic mail and voice mail - have been slow to
catch on.  The overall market for "office automation" equipment is
not as strong as it was in the 1980s, but sales of desktop laser
printers are booming - and of course they also consume vast amounts
of paper.  EDI (electronic document interchange) might help reduce
paper consumption in the future, but it will be some time before it
becomes a significant force. 

Despite the huge increase in telephone usage and the existence of
electronic mail and videotex, old-fashioned surface mail - much of it
paper-intensive "junk" mail - is still growing in volume in most
industrial countries.  Paper-using "junk faxes" are also on the
increase.  Banks still rely on paper to a surprising degree, despite
EFT (electronic funds transfer) and plastic transaction cards. A
recent IBM study estimated that 95 per cent of information in
business enterprises is still in paper form (Markoff 1988).  It has
also been suggested (Business Week, 3 June 1991) that only 1 per cent
of all the information in the world is stored on computers. The US
Pentagon recently declared "war" on paper: apart from the normal
paper problems of all unwieldy bureaucracies, the Pentagon now has to
cope with the huge amounts of documentation which go with complex
high-tech weapons systems.  For example, a typical US Navy cruiser
puts to sea with no less than 26 tonnes of manuals for its weapons
systems - enough to affect the performance of the vessel! (Seghers

While with hindsight it was perhaps unreasonable to have expected
that automated factories and offices would be a reality by now, are
we at least moving in right direction?  Surely the huge amount of
spending on IT equipment has had some positive impact, particularly
on productivity?  Unfortunately, the studies available all indicate
that the productivity pay-off from IT has been somewhat slow in
coming - in fact, it is hard to detect any pay-off at all!  This
certainly appears to be the case in manufacturing. In the service
sector, including banking and commerce, education and health care,
productivity seems actually to have declined in recent years
(although this conclusion is apparently based on aggregate figures
which would appear to mask what has been achieved in individual firms
and organisations). 

There are many possible explanations for this apparent paradox: the
favourite is that there is a "learning curve" associated with IT.
Thus it will be some time before we - and in particular, IT managers
- learn to use the stuff properly.  Typically in offices, potential
productivity gains are frittered away through computer glitches, the
excessive re-drafting of documents, endless retraining, idle chatter
and even game-playing: in one recent survey of 750 US executives, 66
per cent of respondents said that they regularly used their computer
for playing games - this did not include playing around with
spreadsheets and the like (Fortune, 5 June 1989). Half of these
actually admitted to playing games in office hours - in fact, this
recreation activity was overwhelming preferred to lunchtime drinking
and intra-office sex (which is, of course, very tricky in modern,
open-plan offices). 


One of the most pervasive myths of the IT revolution is that large
numbers of people will "soon" be working from home, shopping from
home and banking from home. The appealing notion of the "electronic
cottage" was first made popular by writers such as Alvin Toffler (who
gave a new verb to the English language - to "toffle", as in
"waffle"). The general idea was that the Industrial Revolution had
taken people out of their homes - and now the IT revolution would
allow them to return. It has since become a recurring theme in the
literature on the social impact of computers and has become firmly
implanted in the public consciousness as an allegedly widespread
social trend. 

The only problem with this attractive scenario is that it is not
happening. There is very little evidence to suggest that increasing
numbers of people are working from home full-time, although some
professionals are doing more work at home using their "electronic
briefcase".  Most surveys would seem to indicate that only about 10
per cent of the total workforce in the US and Europe work from home
full-time on a variety of tasks, just as they have always done.
Despite some well-publicized high-tech homeworking experiments -
which have typically been on a small scale and have usually been
abandoned after a while - the number of actual "telecommuters" who
use IT equipment to process and transmit their work rather than
physically commute to work remains very small. One authority who has
studied telecommuting for the best part of a decade recently
concluded that it is "not a significant phenomenon"(Olson 1989). 

The reasons why high-tech homeworking has not taken off are
instructive. Proponents have glossed over basic problems like the
space constraints in most houses and apartments, the fact that there
are not many occupations which can be carried on at home and the
managerial problems faced by the employers of homeworkers.  But most
important of all, the technocrats who have advocated increased
telecommuting as a possible solution to traffic congestion and air
pollution have seriously underestimated the human or psychological
problems of working at home. Almost without exception, high-tech
homeworkers report a host of problems such as increased family
conflict, neighbourhood noise, loneliness, inability to divide work
from leisure, workaholism, stress and burnout - I should know, I
worked from home full-time for seven years whilst bringing up a young
family and experienced most of them!  (Of five other homeworkers I
followed in the UK, only one continued to work at home on a long-term

If relatively few people will be working at home in years to come,
will more people be staying at home and using IT-based gadgetry for
entertainment purposes, to access videotex information services, and
to bank, shop and even vote from their living rooms?  Certainly, the
200 million VCRs sold worldwide cannot be ignored, nor can current
sales of CD players, camcorders, video games consoles and other
consumer electronics goods. But in general the evidence of increased
participation to date is not encouraging and as Schnaars (1989)
points out, some famous market research firms have consistently
overestimated the market for home banking, shopping and information

Fewer than 1 per cent of US households use any kind of videotex
information service, even though it was predicted in 1980 that 5 per
cent of all US households would be hooked up by 1985 (Brody 1991).
Britain's Prestel still languishes with a small and declining user
base.  Even videotex boosters now admit that information services
offering such things as constant news and weather updates, current
stock prices and flight times are likely to have only limited appeal.
Moreover, videotex is not easy to use, it is slow and it is
inflexible. It is also costly and most consumers have been unwilling
to pay for mere information. The only videotex system in the world to
attract a mass audience is the French Minitel system which boasts
about 2.5 million terminals.  But even in the case of Minitel, there
are signs that the novelty of, for example, exchanging sexy messages,
is wearing thin. 

Home banking has failed to take off in the US and Europe. The two
most successful US experiments were the Bank of America's service in
San Francisco (with 15,000 claimed customers) and the Chemical Bank's
Pronto system in New York (a reported 21,000 subscribers), while the
Verbraucher Bank of Hamburg, Germany, claimed the most subscribers in
the world (50,000) for its service.  But these totals were a far cry
from the massive numbers envisaged when the services were launched in
the early 1980s. Chemical Bank closed down Pronto in 1988.  Several
small-scale experiments in the UK went nowhere. There is talk in
Japan of home banking being re-launched using the millions of
Nintendo consoles in Japanese living rooms, but basically home
banking must be deemed a flop. Home banking has two basic drawbacks:
it can't be used for cash transactions and most consumers don't do
enough banking to justify the initial costs or recurring charges.
Quite simply, it's not very useful and customers aren't demanding it. 

Indeed, the continued importance of cash in the "cashless" society we
were promised is another great paradox of the IT revolution. ATMs
(automated teller machines) have become very popular with consumers -
precisely because they dispense cash.  Despite plastic cards and EFT-
POS (recently abandoned in New Zealand), the number of bank notes in
circulation shows no sign of diminishing - and in Australia, for
example, is in fact increasing in line with GDP. 

Home shopping or teleshopping has also failed miserably. The most
famous home shopping schemes were Knight-Ridder's Viewtron experiment
in Florida, Times-Mirror's Gateway service in California and Centel's
Keyfax service in Chicago.  Many saw Viewtron as the pioneer and it
was heavily promoted. Users could shop, bank, catch up with the news
and access databases without leaving their living room.  But Knight-
Ridder managed to sign up only 5,000 customers and Viewtron was shut
down in 1986 after losing an astonishing $50 million (Zinn 1989).
Attempts to get home shopping going in the UK were also unsuccessful.
Home shopping failed because of practical problems such as
complicated on-screen instructions, difficulties over payments,
problems with delivery times and a lack of choice of products. It
also failed to meet the psychological needs of shoppers: many people
enjoy shopping, especially the social aspect.  Shopping offers people
the chance to get out of the house, to perhaps bump into friends and
to re-acquaint themselves with their local community. 

Likewise, suggestions by, for example, Toffler, Naisbitt and Williams
that the IT revolution would lead to "push-button voting", to the
holding of "electronic town meetings" and the creation of a
"teledemocracy" have proved to be wide of the mark.  Despite
increased access to information and communication technologies,
electoral turnout in the US and most other Western democracies
continues to decline.  Arterton (1987) recently looked at 13 major
"teledemocracy" experiments in the US and found that their impact on
political participation levels was only marginal because of the
powerful forces working against increased involvement - chiefly the
fact that people are so bombarded with media messages that they
actually absorb less and less. Teledemocracy is unlikely to cure
America's severe turnout problem, let alone lead to a transformation
of the political system. 

Thus it seems that many commentators have overestimated the capacity
for IT-based gadgetry to transform domestic lifestyles. The argument
that developments in consumer electronics, computers and
telecommunications will dramatically alter the nature of economic and
social activity in the home is not supported by the available
evidence.  Despite the arrival of microwaves, food processors, VCRs,
CD players, big-screen TVs, answering machines, home faxes, word
processors and portable phones, home life remains basically the same.
Moreover, a succession of revolutionary "homes of the future"
incorporating various "home automation" systems have been built in
the US and Europe in recent decades, but by and large they have left
consumers cold.  A recent UK study found that people could do with a
few extra warning lights and such on their cookers, but they were not
bothered about home robots, futuristic wall-based screens, home
terminals and automated lighting systems.

The same sort of miscalculation has been made in relation to schools.
There is as yet not much sign of the "classroom revolution" taking
place and the idea of human teachers being replaced by automated
teaching machines still sounds just as fanciful as it always did.  A
recent OTA (Office of Technology Assessment) report in the US pointed
out that classrooms have changed very little in the last 50 years -
unlike, say, offices or operating theatres.  Despite a huge influx of
personal computers into US schools, there is still only one for every
30 pupils on average (OTA 1988).  But even this expenditure is being
queried by some educationalists, who argue, among other things, that
more money should be spent on books and better teachers rather than
computers, that much educational software is trivial and of limited
educational value, that the use of computers in class tends only to
have a short-term novelty value and that the whole notion of
"computer literacy" does not stand up to close examination (eg,
Rosenberg 1991). 


Obviously those industry analysts, forecasters, academics and writers
who have made predictions in the past which have turned out to be
completely wrong do not tend to publicize their own mistakes, let
alone examine in public just where and why they went wrong.  But
recently two writers have attempted to explain why so many technology
forecasts go awry. 

Schnaars (1989) re-examined major US efforts to forecast the future
of technology and found they had missed the mark not by a matter of
degree, but completely.  For example, top scientists and leading
futurists in the 1960s had predicted that by now we would be living
in plastic houses, travelling to work by personal vertical take-off
aircraft, farming the ocean floors and going for holidays on the
moon.  Robots would be doing the housework, working farms, fighting
wars for us, and so on. The best result of these forecasts was a
success rate of about 15 per cent.  Most others failed miserably -
chiefly, says Schnaars, because the authors had been seduced by
technological wonder. They were far too optimistic both about the
abilities of new technologies and the desire of consumers to make use
of them.  The forecasts were driven by utopian visions rather than
practicalities and hard realities. An especially common mistake of
the 1960s predictions was to assume that existing rates of
technological innovation and diffusion would continue.  Schnaars thus
comes to the astonishing conclusion:  "There is almost no evidence
that forecasters, professionals and amateurs alike have any idea what
our technological future will look like." 

Likewise, Brody (1988a, 1991) went back and looked at the forecasts
made by leading US market research firms about the commercial
prospects for robots, CD-ROMs, artificial intelligence, videotex,
superconductors, Josephson junctions, gallium arsenide chips, and so
on.  In almost every case, he found that the market researchers had
grossly exaggerated the market for each product, sometimes by a
factor of hundreds. The main reason for this appallingly low  level
of accuracy was that the researchers had mostly got their information
from vested interests such as inventors and vendors. A second lesson
was that new technologies often did not succeed because there was
still plenty of life left in old technologies. Consumers in
particular were loathe to abandon what they knew for something that
offered only a marginal improvement on the old.  Predictions based on
simple trend extrapolation were nearly always wrong and forecasters
often neglected to watch for developments in related fields. They
also failed to distinguish between technology trends and market
forecasts and they greatly underestimated the time needed for
innovations to diffuse throughout society.

(Part 1 of 2 Parts. Part 2 will be published in EFFector Online 4.2)

Opening Address to International Conference on the Information
Society, Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute / Green Meadow Foundation,
Zurich, Switzerland, 18 November 1991


                 THE 24-STAGE SOFTWARE TEST:

alpha:      It compiles!
beta:       It runs on Joe's machine.
gamma:      It runs on Kate's machine, too.
delta:      It runs on the network.
epsilon:    It's stopped running on Kate's machine.
zeta:       It runs on all machines, but Report crashes.
eta:        It crashes with HIMEM.SYS.
theta:      It crashes without HIMEM.SYS.
iota:       It crashes with a serial printer.
kappa:      It works!  But the spec has changed.
lambda:     It runs, but mysteriously at half the speed of before.
mu:         It crashes the network.
nu:         It crashes Kate's machine with HIMEM.SYS, Joe's without.
xi:         It runs, but the printout is garbage.
omicron:    As above, but crashes after printout sometimes.
pi:         It sometimes crashes.
rho:        Kate thinks it works, but it turns out she's running lambda.
sigma:      No luck yet.
tau:        Aha, sorted out the printout.
upsilon:    Nearly there -- jus tneed to tidy up the help text.
phi:        It won't run at all on anything.
chi:        Yippee!  It runs perfectly on all the machines in the world.
psi:        It runs on all the machines in the world except tat idiot's
            from Basingstoke with the customised Amstrad and DOS 4.01.
omega:      It won't compile.



Mitchell Kapor, Chairman and President of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF), today explained several organizational moves and
initiatives approved by the EFF Board at its November 10, 1992 meeting in
San Francisco. According to Kapor, "they are designed to increase our
effectiveness in making EFF into a national public education, advocacy,
membership, and chapters organization that represents and serves our
growing constituency on the electronic frontier."

Berman Becomes Acting Executive Director

Kapor stated that "Jerry Berman, who currently heads our
Washington Office, has been designated by the EFF board to serve
as the interim Executive Director of EFF with present overall
responsibility for managing the activities of our Cambridge and
Washington, D.C. offices. In this capacity, he will oversee EFF's public
policy, membership, and chapter building activities."

Berman said: "I am delighted to be working with Cliff Figallo, our
Cambridge Office Director and the entire EFF staff and Board.  In the next
two months we will be making a concerted effort to develop a plan to make
EFF into a more effective and powerful public interest organization."

Chapters Summit

On January, 23 and 24, 1993, EFF will hold a "chapters summit" in Atlanta,
Georgia. Dave Farber, EFF Board Member, stated that the
meeting would be "an open, candid sharing of views about chapter
relations with EFF and EFF's relations with chapters with the goal of
making the chapters an integral part of the EFF mission." The
meeting is being organized by a steering committee made up of Cliff
Figallo, Jerry Berman, Dave Farber and representatives from
chapters and potential chapters including Mitch Ratcliffe and Jon
Lebkowsky .

Mitchell Kapor to Chair EFF Board and Oversee Critical Policy Studies
and Initiatives

	Mitchell Kapor, who serves as Chairman of the EFF Board, has
turned over management functions to Berman and Figallo to devote
his energy and talents to developing EFF strategy and public policy
initiatives, such as a pragmatic program for achieving an open
broadband communications network and an exploration of the
potential role of the cable television network in serving as a
interactive, multimedia electronic communications highway. Kapor
will also continue to lead EFF's current public policy initiative to
develop a near term digital path to the home designed to maximize
free speech, innovation, and privacy.

Permanent Executive Director

	The EFF Board, once it has developed and approved an overall
strategic plan in January, will proceed with an open search for a
permanent Executive Director for the organization.


                    REMARKS FROM LITTLE ROCK
Dr. Ross Alan Stapleton posted a portion of the remarks made at
yesterday's economic summit in Little Rock (12/14/92). 
Here's a little more to get a flavor possible future policy debates.

ALLEN (AT&T): A focus on infrastructure including information networks,
commercial networks which are interconnected, interoperable, national
and global, needs to be encouraged.... I think the government should
not build and/or operate such networks.  I believe that that private
sector can be and will be incented to build these networks, to enhance
them and to make it possible for people to connect with people and people
with information any place in the world.

   I do think, however, that the government role can be strong in the
sense of first increasing investment in civilian research and
precompetitive technologies.  Secondly, supporting the effective transfer
of that technology to the private sector.  Thirdly, establishing and
promulgating technical standards, which are so important to be sure that
networks and devices work together and play together....

VP-Elect Al GORE: I fully agree when it comes to conventional networks and
the new networks that your industry is now in the process of building. 
But with the advanced high-capacity networks like the NREN, it does seem
to me that government ought to play a role in putting in place that
backbone.  Just as no private investor was willing to build the interstate
highway system but once it was built, then a lot of other roads connected
to it.  This new very broadband network, most people think ought to be
built by the federal government and then transitioned into private
industry.  You didn't mean to disagree with that view when you said
government shouldn't play a role did you?

Allen: Yes, I may disagree.

President-Elect CLINTON:  I was hoping we'd have one disagreement.


"As life moves to this electronic frontier, politicians and
corporations are starting to exert increasing control over the
new digital realm, policing information highways with growing
strictness. Before we even realise we're there, we may find
ourselves boxed into a digital ghetto, denied simple rights of
access, while corporations and government agencies make out their
territory and roam free. So who will oppose the big guys? Who's
going to stand up for our digital civil liberties? Who has the
techno-literacy necessary to ask a few pertinent questions about
what's going down in cyberspace? Perhaps the people who have been
living there the longest might have a few answers."

                                               --Mark Bennett


If you support our goals and our work, you can show that support by
becoming a member now. Members receive our bi-weekly electronic
newsletter, EFFector Online, the newsletter
and special releases and other notices on our activities.  But because
we believe that support should be freely given, you can receive these
things even if you do not elect to become a member.

Our memberships are $20.00 per year for students, $40.00 per year for
regular members.  You may, of course, donate more if you wish.

Our privacy policy: The Electronic Frontier Foundation will never, under
any circumstances, sell any part of its membership list.  We will, from
time to time, share this list with other non-profit organizations whose
work we determine to be in line with our goals. If you do not grant
explicit permission, we assume that you do not wish your membership
disclosed to any group for any reason.

---------------- EFF MEMBERSHIP FORM ---------------

Mail to: The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Inc.
    155 Second St. #41
    Cambridge, MA 02141

I wish to become a member of the EFF  I enclose:$__________
    $20.00 (student or low income membership)
    $40.00 (regular membership)
    $100.00(Corporate or company membership.
    This allows any organization to
    become a member of EFF. It allows
    such an organization, if it wishes
    to designate up to five individuals
    within the organization as members.)

    I enclose an additional donation of $




City or Town:

State:     Zip:    Phone:(    )     (optional)

FAX:(    )    (optional)

Email address:

I enclose a check [  ]   .
Please charge my membership in the amount of $
to my Mastercard [  ]     Visa [  ]    American Express [ ]


Expiration date:



I hereby grant permission to the EFF to share my name with
other non-profit groups from time to time as it deems
appropriate   [  ]  .

Your membership/donation is fully tax deductible.
     EFFector Online is published by
     The Electronic Frontier Foundation
     155 Second Street, Cambridge MA 02141
     Phone: +1 617 864 0665 FAX: +1 617 864 0866
     Internet Address:
 Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.
 Signed articles do not necessarily represent the view of the EFF.
 To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors
 for their express permission.
     This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.

Back to top

JavaScript license information