///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ////////////// ////////////// ////////////// /// /// /// /////// /////// /////// /// /// /// ////////////// /// /// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 1 2/5/1993 firstname.lastname@example.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 584 lines -==--==--==-<>-==--==--==- In this issue: Three perspectives of a two-day meeting in Atlanta between EFF and representatives of regional groups of grassroots networking activists. -==--==--==-<>-==--==--==- INTRODUCTION: This past January 23rd and 24th, 11 members of the electronic community met in Atlanta with members of the staff and board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The meeting lasted a day and a half, with topics of discussion including EFF's recent organizational restructuring and how groups serving the electronic community can work together to be more effective. By the end of the two days, meeting attendees had formed a group to organize and formulate guidelines for continuing interchange among all who work to strengthen electronic communications. This issue of EFFector Online presents some first-hand views of what transpired in Atlanta. Mitch Ratcliffe, one of the members of This!Group out of San Francisco's Bay area, David Smith, a board member of the EFF-Austin group, and Jerry Berman, EFF's Executive Director, all offer their thoughts about the meeting. Other meeting attendees were: Dick Anderson, Delegate from EFF-Austin John Perry Barlow, EFF Executive Committee Chairman Judi Clark, Delegate from This!Group Esther Dyson, EFF Board Member Dave Farber, EFF Board Member Cliff Figallo, EFF Online Coordinator John Gilmore, EFF Board Member Mike Godwin, EFF Legal Services Counsel Mitch Kapor, EFF Board Chairman Jon Lebkowsky, Delegate from EFF-Austin Matt Midboe, Delegate from Huntsville, Alabama Simona Nass, Delegate from NTE (New York) Alexis Rosen, Delegate from NTE (New York) Shari Steele, EFF Staff Attorney Bob Stratton, Delegate from Washington, DC, area Glenn Tenney, Delegate from This!Group Ed Vielmetti, Delegate from Ann Arbor, Michigan Information Activists Confer, Establish Understanding ******************************************************************* by Mitch Ratcliffe Atlanta, where the world comes everyday for news and colorized movies, the capitol of Cyberspace, was the setting for a discussion between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and information activists on the weekend of January 23-24. After two days of discussions, the parties came away with a new understanding of EFF's legislative agenda in coming years, and how local groups can work together to raise awareness of electronic freedom and privacy. EFF has endured a roller-coaster year, during which it wrestled with the growth of its influence in Washington and growing interest in local chapters. After the group's board of directors rejected investing organizational energy in local chapters and closed its Cambridge, Mass. office -- shifting all funding to a Washington office -- they faced the challenge of explaining their new role to the world. EFF's founders had already discovered the Internet community can be a fickle friend. As the group succeeded inside the Beltway, its Internet constituency has savaged them in e-mail and news groups. People have questioned their commitment to civil liberties and whether the EFF agenda served only its corporate sponsors. So, the purpose of the meeting in Atlanta was clearly two-fold. In addition to identifying the projects on which the attendees can work together, EFF needed to cultivate a chorus of voices in key virtual and actual forums that can articulate their new agenda. The representatives invited to the summit included members of the Austin, Texas,-based EFF chapter that has been growing for the past year, as well as activists from New York, San Francisco, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Huntsville, Ala. EFF and the representatives of the various groups met bearing with them considerable defensiveness after months of crossed signals and animosity. What transpired was not a conversion, but a discovery of the personalities behind the EFF machine. Mitch Kapor and John Perry Barlow, the founders, and Jerry Berman, the lobbyist who has ascended to head the now Washington-based organization, exposed themselves to questioning for two days. What we found were very human leaders, who are as confused about perceptions of them as the world is about where they came from, what they have accomplished and how they operate in Washington. While we do not agree with everything they do, there is no denying that they are effective. Considerable educational and advocacy territories are also wide open for other groups who want to make them their own. "There has been some ambiguity in people's minds with regard to who we are," Barlow said. "We are who we've always been. The changes we announced are fairly minimal. We've decided to focus a lot of our activities in Washington because there is a significant window of opportunity there" If EFF has suffered from anything this last year, it's bad communication. Without a concerted effort to reach out to the Net -- and to everyday people who live and work on the fringes of Cyberspace, because they use computers, cable television and ATM cards -- the organization has allowed itself to become a victim of its own early expectations that enlightened visions of the future would allow them to transcend organizational and Beltway politics. Instead, the EFF received a fierce, full-body reality check. They've found that experience can be a high-sticking teacher on the black ice of life. "We're a bunch of permanent, chronic mavericks," Kapor said. "But certain things became very clear when the board met to discuss our direction. We clarified the role of chapters, or lack of chapters, deciding that we did not want a centralized organization. The other thing that's increasingly clear is that there is a sense in certain parts of the net that EFF has a perceived obligation to serve particular constituencies. We are not trying to be the provisional government of Cyberspace, and we also reject the idea that we have an obligation to serve the good of the net," he said. He also said his own personal animosity for running the day-to-day operations of a large organization had contributed to the miscommunication between EFF and potential chapters. Discussion on the first day revolved around the recently announced changes at EFF. After EFF presented several perspectives on its Washington-based strategy, the activists from around the country explained how their groups were founded and had begun to grow. "We're better defined and we're capable of changing based on what we hear from the outside," said EFF board member Esther Dyson. "We are not for the net community, we're for the idea of communities. One that we come from and feel close to is the net community, but that's not the only one." Jerry Berman explained that EFF will continue to advocate for freedom of expression and extension of civil liberties into Cyberspace. "We are committed to the legal services and civil liberties service role and we will work with people using the technology in different ways that will raise constitutional and public policy issues," Berman said, citing as an example the 2600 case the EFF has just joined with the American Civil Liberties Union. "With regard to those two functions, of representing people in trouble and civil liberties representation, we are on the ground. With regard to representation of the net community, there is a strong part of all of us who wants to work with grass-roots organizations outside of Washington DC." That outreach will come through collaboration with local information advocates, Berman said. The regional groups in attendance outlined their organizations: This!Group, the San Francisco-based group, said that it has pursued a loose structure, but tightly defined projects. Without a board or officers in place, This!Group has not grown particularly fast. It has, however, begun work on a pamphlet, "Thirteen Things to Keep You Awake at Night at the Dawn of the Information Age", and a CD-ROM containing video and audio clips from the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conferences I and II, and text of various electronic civil liberties cases and papers. EFF-Austin, the "alpha" chapter that EFF sanctioned in 1991, has grown very quickly and holds monthly Cyberdawg events to reach a large audience of potential members. With approximately 70 members, EFF-Austin has published "InfoDisks" of EFF-related documents and conducted seminars on sysop liability. NTE, the New York group that sprung up last fall, has 50 or so active members. They have established a board of directors and hold monthly meetings in Manhattan that are well attended. Net access is a focus for NTE, because several public access UNIX providers have joined; they would also like to conduct educational programs for ordinary folk and the law enforcement community. Ann Arbor, the Washington DC area and Huntsville, where people have discussed forming groups, were represented, as well. Conversation about how the Net might be organized to fight intrusions on privacy or freedom of expression revolved around how EFF might act as a central clearinghouse for information. But more than that, it became apparent that a national action coordinator is needed. This person or organization must be a conduit not only between EFF and the regions, but also a mechanism for generating letters to Congress, agencies and so on (for example, imagine the impact of 100,000 letters sent to the National Security Agency vis-a- vis encryption export policy -- the Director of the NSA should have to wonder about how people got his address by now -- but no such coordinated mailings have happened). Attendees called repeatedly for a national coordinator staff member at EFF. They also demanded that EFF take its show on the road, having staffers and the board meet with activists around the country. However, this may have been missing the real point -- if the people of the Net want to have this kind of coordination, they are probably going to have to set the wheels in motion themselves. EFF has a talent for lobbying, and will be honing their legislative blade over the next year. The Net -- or better, people concerned about the extension of civil liberties into Cyberspace -- had better get to organizing a body that can provide these services. The message is that EFF is already busy. So came the suggestion on the second day that a federation of information activist organizations would be one possible solution to the problem. Of course, more organization may be the last thing the Net and activists need. But the suggestion was made and approved resoundingly by all. A steering committee was named to explore how such an organization might be launched, and to gauge the interest of groups like Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, the American Library Association, ACLU and many others. The steering committee began work on a statement of principles and conjured the working title for the group: Congress of Information Associations (CIA). A Birds of a Feather session to discuss the CIA will be scheduled for the Third Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy in Burlingame, Calif. on March 9 - 12, 1993. (for CFP information, send mail to email@example.com). What was accomplished? The reestablishment of communication among members of a broad coalition, but one that has not succeeded in including everyone concerned about electronic communications and civil liberties. Contentiousness is the first law of the Net, and there is certain to be argument about the motivations of EFF in holding this conference without invitations to CPSR, ACLU and the thousands of activists who are reaching users in the far corners of the Matrix. But for those who attended, it was a weekend of productive face-to-face talk that may serve as the foundation for future collaboration and action. Mitch Ratcliffe Editor at Large MacWEEK firstname.lastname@example.org Mitch_Ratcliffe@macweek.ziff.com +=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+ February 7, 1993 ATLANTA SUMMIT CONFERENCE David Smith email@example.com [This is not intended to be a definitive account, but rather my personal account of what I thought was important at the Atlanta Summit Conference. --D.S.] The format of the conference was (roughly) a day and a half of conversations while seated in a Georgia Tech campus building, 2-3 hours of conversation while seated at a Chinese restaurant, and many more hours of conversation while seated in the lobby and bar of the hotel. In addition to a greater understanding of the other groups and individuals, I learned a lot more about EFF-Austin, and how we fit into the "national scheme." Take, for example, the nature of each organization. The word "civil liberties" was dropped more times by lunch than I had heard in almost a year of my own involvement with EFF-Austin. While EFF- National works primarily as a political activist, EFF-Austin works as a social activist. The strength of our organization is providing a forum and common ground for the vast and diverse members of the Austin electronic community. While a wing of EFF-Austin may develop in the future that more closely resembles the traditional cyber-liberties organizations, a self- definition of "community activist" more aptly describes not only our history but future goals as well. A preconception I carried into Atlanta was thinking that the "Best Thing To Do" was the creation of a document, FAQ, outline, or guideline that served as a cookbook for creating other local groups across the country. After meeting and speaking with members from the other groups, however, I now believe a cookie sheet cut-out won't work, because each group exists as a function unique to their environment and local area. Some examples. San Francisco already hosts a strong Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) group as well as Bay Area MacIntosh User Group (BMUG). There is no need (or desire) for This!Group to replicate those efforts. There is no need (or desire) for another highly structured organization like an EFF-Austin, and so this is a very loose affiliation of people picking and choosing tasks that interest them. Judi Clark and Mitch Ratcliffe are working a CD-Rom that will be a combination of historical archive of the Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference (sound bytes, multi-media), as well as having 600+ textfiles. Glenn Tenney mentioned as another possible project an informational brochure or pamphlet. Another example of a group being a function of their area is Matt Midboe, the representative from Huntsville. He cannot receive UUCP access in his area, much less an Internet connection. (Note: He is "borrowing" one from one of the Departments at his University, with implicit permission). Austin has at least a dozen sites to receive USENET newsgroups and e-mail access, so this is not an issue of concern for EFF-Austin. Finally, after listening to Simona Nass and Alexis Rosen discuss the organization-building experiences of NTE, I am glad that we had the good common sense to only have *one* lawyer-type and not half a dozen or more. EFF-NATIONAL RE-ORGANIZATION Jerry Berman, executive director of EFF-National, spoke about the recent reorganizations, the role of EFF, and how it operates. After reading the press release and litany of jilted lovers on comp.org.eff.talk, and after speaking with other EFF-Austin Board members, my impression was that EFF had engaged in a full scale retreat. Berman's explanation, however, showed the re-organization as an attempt to realign the organization with their commitments to advance the cyber liberties agenda. Not only did it not work to have two offices, he said, but it was counter- productive, created mixed signals, and was not very effective. Rather than abandoning the communications function of the Cambridge office, they were simply re- consolidating inside the Beltway. Nearly every member of EFF- National that spoke admitted to the organization having a serious communication problem, aggravated in part by having two offices. Berman also left me with a greater understanding of the role that EFF plays in national politics. Cyberspace is a domain in the Washington political arena surrounded by entities who have interests other than the First Amendment at heart : the CIA, FBI, the military, AT&T, NSA, IBM, et. al. These organizations have enclosed telecommunications policy into a gridlock and the way EFF-National has chosen to break this gridlock is through alliances with as many members as possible in order to provide for the passing of the civil liberties agenda. Berman gave as an example the digital telephony bill, which the FBI proposed, allowing law enforcement agencies (in essence) a back door to all encryption methods. EFF-National opposed this on constitutional grounds and enlisted the aid of several business and telecommunication industry interests. Perhaps these corporations were *really* concerned with the bottom line and thought that the scheme would be too expensive to implement. Perhaps they aligned with EFF-National not out of concern about being a good democratic citizen, but out of the desire to protect profits. So what? says the EFF-National. The alliance was so effective that not a single member of the Senate nor House of Representatives sponsored the bill, when it could have just as easily been framed as protecting the public from terrorists or the need to be tough on crime etc. etc. The civil liberties agenda was served through alliances with industry spear-headed by EFF- National. That is the dance that Jerry Berman is hosting in Washington. POST ATLANTA AGENDA Besides a sense of greater understanding and co-operation between groups (as measured by a whole week sans flames on the thesegroups mailing list), some more concrete items are rising out of Atlanta. The local groups banded together to present EFF-National with a joint proposal about what we wanted from EFF-National. Essentially we made a list of resource-sharing tasks that would help us out, and asked EFF-National to assign or hire a person to perform these tasks. Berman said this would be discussed at the Board Meeting (which was scheduled for Sunday afternoon), though no official announcement or follow- up as been released as of this writing. As a direct result of contacts made in Atlanta, Matt Midboe reports that he has located a company interested in providing access to the Huntsville area. A special Steering Committee was formed to investigate the creation of a formal organizational structure that will serve as an alliance between the cyber-liberties groups. Jon Lebkowsky immediately volunteered as the representative for EFF-Austin, pending Board approval at the next Director's meeting. We also agreed to continue using the thesegroups mailing list as a forum for communication. We discussed having another conference in a year from now, and immediately volunteered Austin as a host site.
EFF-Austin is also working on projects that involve members of different groups. * * * End note : I want to point out that both Dick Anderson and Jon Lebkowsky were vigorous participants in representing EFF-Austin as well. There just wasn't room to try and discuss everything. Also, I want to personally thank EFF-National for sponsoring the conference and taking the time to listen to our concerns. I want to thank EFF-National for paying for our round trip airfare and dinner Saturday night, as well as Mike Godwin for picking up the tab at the bar, even if Atlanta doesn't stock Shiner Bock. +=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+- EFF-Austin contact information E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Snailmail : PO Box 18597, Austin, TX 78760 VoiceMail : 512-465-7871 Disclaimers : You are encouraged to re-distribute this. document electronically. Any opinions expressed belong to the author and not the organization. (c) 1993 +=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+= +-+=+ February 5, 1993 An Open Letter from Jerry Berman Executive Director Electronic Frontier Foundation On January 12, 1993, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it was moving all of its operations to Washington, DC, and that I was EFF's Executive Director. At the same time, EFF announced that it was not going to establish formal EFF chapters around the country. On January 23 and 24, members of EFF's board and staff met in Atlanta with representatives of groups interested in possible EFF affiliation to explain our decisions and discuss future cooperative efforts. In this first issue of EFFector Online for 1993, we offer you both "grass roots" and EFF views on what this all means. I am including my own first take on the changes at EFF. First and foremost, we are consolidating our operations in Washington, DC, in order to better carry out our mission of fostering openness, individual freedom and community on the electronic frontier. We want to serve as more effective advocates of policies and causes that increase civil liberties and democratic values in new digital media, and we want to engage in education and advocacy both with other groups who share a common mission and with "grass roots" citizens on and off the net who want to join with us in these efforts. But why Washington? The answer is plain: While many of us are increasingly cynical about Washington, DC, and "inside the beltway" politics, we must also understand that the momentous decisions that affect our society are being made in Washington. This is as true when it comes to the shaping and civilizing of cyberspace as with anything else. While many who already communicate online think of the electronic frontier as inhabited by BBS systems, the WELL, USENET and other fledgling outposts of new digital communities, in fact the electronic frontier exists within communications wires that are highly regulated and structured. Today, giant public and private institutions -- from the FBI to the Congress, from the FCC to the telephone and cable companies -- are battling between and among themselves over the future control and governance of the electronic frontier. Recognizing the importance of being "inside the beltway," EFF opened the Washington office last January and ever since has devoted an increasing amount of staff and resources to shape the outcome of these policy battles in ways that are consistent with and supportive of civil liberties and democratic values. Unfortunately, we have not communicated well about our goals and activities. Seldom have our electronic public interest policy efforts, or those of others, been discussed in EFFector or other EFF outlets. And when they have, they have often been badly garbled or misconstrued. We can only accept full responsibility for failing to explain the civil liberties implications of the "ISDN thing" or to fully communicate EFF's leadership role in thwarting the FBI's effort to "dumb down" new computer and communications technologies and networks to carry out government wiretapping. As none of these policy debates or issues are resolved, nor can they be resolved in ways that serve the public interest without broader citizen participation, we are restructuring our operations and our communications. Soon, both EFFector and our new public policy newsletter will set out the critical issues. For example, we will explain how: * our ISDN initiative and our involvement in the NREN are designed to empower a diversity of electronic voices to share politics, commerce and culture with one another as we transition to the broadband networks of the next century; * EFF will continue to coordinate a broad coalition of organizations -- from public interest groups like the ACLU and CPSR to companies interested in the future of communications like AT&T, Microsoft, Lotus and Sun Microsystems -- in opposition to the FBI's legislation to "certify" technologies and networks only when they meet broad, ill-defined wiretapping standards; * EFF wants to build grass roots support for lifting export and other controls on encryption to guarantee the right of privacy and security; * EFF not only wants to litigate future "Steve Jackson Games"-type cases, but it wants to avoid the need to do so by establishing new Secret Service and FBI investigative guidelines that keep law enforcement officers from trampling on the First and Fourth Amendment rights of computer users; * we want other groups to use EFFector and other EFF publications for communicating about their local, state and national policy and cultural initiatives; and * EFF is interested in working toward a possible federation of electronic frontier outposts that we would join but not govern or control. To accomplish this mission, we will be located in Washington but will maintain our presence on the Net. We are committed to listen, learn and work towards common goals but maintain our independence. Members of the EFF board and staff will be out and about, both online and off. EFF is a unique organization, operating at a critical moment. Major policy decisions affecting free speech and privacy will be made over the next several years. Combining technical, legislative and legal expertise, EFF is committed to engaging in vigorous advocacy for our vision of the electronic future, which we hope you share. We look forward to working with you to make this vision a reality. Jerry Berman* EFF Executive Director (*Before joining EFF as Washington Office and now Executive Director, Jerry Berman was Chief Legislative Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union and founder of the ACLU Projects on Privacy and Information Technology.) ============================================================= For information on EFF membership, email or call (617)576-4506. EFFector Online is published by The Electronic Frontier Foundation 666 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC 20003 Phone: +1 202 544-9237 FAX: +1 202 547 5481 Internet Address: email@example.com Coordination, production and shipping by Cliff Figallo, EFF Online Communications Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. =============================================================