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EFFector - Volume 5, Issue 12 - Online Congressional Hearing


EFFector - Volume 5, Issue 12 - Online Congressional Hearing

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EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 12       7/9/1993
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation   ISSN 1062-9424

                        In this issue:
             EFF Has Moved
             Online Congressional Hearing
             To Be at Liberty, by John Perry Barlow
             Announcement of Group Meeting
             Request for Help from Canadian Readers
             Job Openings at EFF

EFF Has Moved
On July 2, EFF moved.  Please note our new address and telephone numbers:

     Electronic Frontier Foundation
     1001 G Street, N.W.
     Suite 950 East
     Washington, DC  20001
     202/347-5400 voice
     202/393-5509 fax

Our e-mail address is the same,

Online Congressional Hearing
On July 26 at 9:30AM EDT, the Subcommittee on Telecommunications
and Finance of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold the first
Congressional Hearing ever held over a computer network.  The oversight
hearing on "The Role of Government in Cyberspace" will take place in 
the Grand Ballroom of the National Press Club at 14th and F Streets, 
N.W., Washington, D.C.  The hearing is open to the public. An open 
house will be held from 3-5PM on the same day in the same location and 
is also open to the public.

Chairman Markey has asked that this historic occasion demonstrate
the potential and diversity of the global Internet.  Thirty Sparcstations 
will be in the hearing room, allowing members of Congress, staff, and 
their guests to read e-mail, use Gopher menus, read testimony in WAIS 
databases, browse the World Wide Web, and otherwise use the resources 
of the global Internet as part of the hearing.  

Some witnesses for the hearing will testify remotely, sending audio 
and video over the Internet.  Audio and video of the hearing will also 
be multicast over the Multicast Backbone (MBONE).  We are hoping that 
C-SPAN and other traditional media will also carry the event.  *MORE 

One of the primary points that we are hoping to demonstrate is
the diversity and size of the Internet.  We have therefore established
an electronic mail address by which people on the Internet can communicate 
with the Subcommittee before and during the hearing:

We encourage you to send your comments on what the role of government
should be in the information age to this address.  Your comments to this
address will be made part of the public record of the hearing.  Feel free
to carry on a dialogue with others on a mailing list, cc'ing the e-mail

Your cards and letters to will help
demonstrate that there are people who use the Internet as part of their
personal and professional lives.  We encourage you to send comments on
the role of government in cyberspace, on what role cyberspace should play
in government (e.g., whether government data be made available on the
Internet), on how the Internet should be built and financed, on how you 
use the Internet, and on any other topic you feel is appropriate.  This 
is your chance to show the U.S. Congress that there is a constituency 
that cares about this global infrastructure.

If you would like to communicate with a human being about the
hearing, you may send your comments and questions to:

Support for the Internet Town Hall is provided by Sun Microsystems
and O'Reilly & Associates.  Additional support for the July 26 on-line 
congressional hearing is being provided by ARPA, BBN Communications, 
the National Press Club, Xerox PARC, and many other organizations.
Network connectivity for the Internet Town Hall is provided by 
UUNET Technologies.

To Be at Liberty
John Perry Barlow wrote this essay for an upcoming PBS special on liberty. 
This is the text of what will be a quarter of the show. The other three
essayists include Salman Rushdie.

To Be At Liberty
An Essay for Public Television

Text by John Perry Barlow 
Video production by Todd Rundgren

Let me tell you where I'm coming from.  I grew up on a ranch near Pinedale,
Wyoming, a very free town not far from the middle of nowhere. 

It was the kind of place where a state legislator could actually say, "If
the English language was good enough for our Lord Jesus Christ, it's good
enough for our school children."

Though surely a hick town, it was also a real community.  There was a lot
of trust.  Neither the locks nor the lawyers got used much.  People knew
each other and tried to let one another be.  After all, they'd come to that
wild and remote place to be free.  Liberty was a fierce practice among
them.  That it might also be a legal guarantee seemed irrelevant.

It seems to me that elsewhere in America, liberty is far more a matter of
law than practice.  The Bill of Rights is still on the books, and they'd
have a hell of a time putting you in jail for just saying something, but
how free are we?

Whatever the guarantees, I believe liberty resides in its exercise. Liberty
is really about the ability to feel free and behave accordingly. You are
only as free as you act.

Free people must be willing to speak up...and listen.  They can't merely
consume the fruits of freedom, they have to produce them.

This exercise of liberty requires that people trust one another and the
institutions they make together. They have to feel at home in their

Well, Americans don't appear to trust each other much these days. Why else
would we employ three times more lawyers per capita than we did in 1970?  

Why else would our universities be so determined to impose tolerance that
they'll expel you for saying what you think and never notice the irony?

Why else would we teach our kids to fear all strangers? Why else have we
become so afraid to look one another in the eye? 

We have come to regard trust as foolishness and fear as necessary.  We live
in terror that the people around us might figure out what we're actually

Frankly, this America doesn't feel very free to me at all.  What has
happened to our liberty?  

I think much of the answer lies in the critical difference between
information and experience. 

These days we view most of our world through a television screen. Most of
our knowledge comes from information about things, not experience with

Let me return to Pinedale for an example.  Those folks killed each other
pretty regularly, but there wasn't much fear. They knew each other, and if
somebody got shot, it wasn't too hard to figure out why.

Homicide was not abstract. It was a familiar threat, like wild horses or winter.

And you also knew that today's opponent might be the only person along to
pull you out of a snowdrift tomorrow.  So tolerance and trust were
practical necessities.  Living more or less safely in a world we
understood, we found liberty an easy thing to keep.

But elsewhere, as I say, the average American's sense of the world has
likely been derived by staring at it through the one-way tunnel of

What the media's taught my fellow citizens is that all the world is
dangerous in some irrational, non-specific way. Terrorists are everywhere.
Nature is in open rebellion. Making love can kill you. Your fellow humans
are liars in suits, thugs, zealots, psychopaths, and, mostly, victims who
look a lot like you.

Television amplifies the world's mayhem and gives you no way to talk back.
No way to ask, "Is this the way the world is?"  Just as right now it's
giving you no way to argue with me.

Why does television prefer terrifying images?  Because it lives on your
attention.  That's what television is really selling.  And scaring the hell
out of you is, like sex, one of those really efficient ways to get your
undivided focus.  To gain it, they flood your living room with images
designed to hit your fear glands like electricity.

So we have erected a glowing altar in the center of our lives that feeds on
our terror, and Fear has become our national religion.  

We ask the government to defend us against the virtual goblins that stream
from the tube, and the government has obliged us.

For example, in 1992, a total of two Americans died in terrorist attacks. 
Not what I'd call a major threat. But our fear of them is so real that we
spend tens of billions a year to protect ourselves from terrorism. For many
Americans, making the car payments depends on keeping this fear alive.

But you cannot build a society of general trust in an atmosphere of general
fear. The fearful are never free.

If we are to fight back - if we are to regain the courage necessary to the
practice of liberty - we are going to have to stage another kind of
revolution.  We need to find a new means of understanding the world that
takes no profit from our fear.  

We need a medium that, like life itself, allows us to probe it for the
truth. We need, in essence, to cut out the middlemen and speak directly to
one another.  Indeed, we need a place where we can share information
unfiltered by the needs and desires of either Big Brother or the Marketing
Department down at Channel Six.

Such a medium may be spreading across the planet in a thickening web of
connected computers called the "Internet."  Through the Internet I can
already get a personal connection with people all over the globe, learning
from those on the scene what's really going on.  Through the Internet I can
publish my own understandings to whomever might be interested, in whatever

During the War in the Persian Gulf, I was able to get minute by minute
reports from the laptop computers of soldiers in the field.  The picture
they presented felt far more detailed, more troubling and ambiguous, than
the mass hallucination presented on CNN. 

The Internet is also creating a new place...many call it Cyberspace...where
new communities like Pinedale can form. The big difference will be that
these Cyberspace communities will be possible among people whose bodies are
located in many different places in the world.

Direct communication should breed understanding and tolerance.  Our fears
will be far easier to check out.  We may begin to understand that these
distant and sometimes alien creatures are real people whose rights are
directly connected to our own.  

I imagine the gathering places of Cyberspace, some as intimate as
Pinedale's Wrangler Cafe, some more vast than Tienanmen Square.  I imagine
us meeting there in conditions of trust and liberty that no government will
be able to deny.

I imagine a world, quite soon to come, in which ideas can spread like fire,
as Jefferson said, "expansible over all space, without lessening their
density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe... incapable of
confinement or exclusive appropriation by anyone."

If ideas can spread like fire, then freedom, like water, will flow around
or over those that stand in its way.  In Cyberspace, I hope that this truth
will be self-evident.

Announcement of Group Meeting
Hypereal Group Meeting:    The Aesthetics of Presence -
                           towards an ethic of design
Sunday, July 11            within interactive technologies         
7:00 pm
Sunken Room - Genesee Co-op
713 Monroe Ave  Rochester, NY

Free and open to the public.

For more information, contact:
     Haim Bodek
     Hypereal Group
     P.O. Box 18572
     Rochester, NY  14618

Request for Help from Canadian Readers
Peter Hum, a reporter with a major Canadian newspaper called the Ottawa
Citizen (circulation about 200,000 in an area of about 1 million) is
interested in learning about encryption issues in Canada.  Anyone with
information can send e-mail to Peter at, or call
him at (613) 596-3761.

Job Openings at EFF

EFF is looking for a dependable, organized, hands-on SysAdmin with 2-3
years experience to manage a cluster of Sun Sparcstations serving as our
Internet host in our Washington, DC, office.  The successful candidate must
know UNIX applications, including sendmail, ftp archive, Gopher, DNS &
WAIS.  S/he must be able to customize, install & debug in C.  Extensive Mac
(System 7, LocalTalk, Ethernet, MacTCP) experience is also required to
manage our Mac LAN & bus applications.  This person will be responsible for
hardware & software acquisition & maintenance & our 50-port PBX telephone

Our SysAdmin must enjoy a high energy, interrupt-driven environment.  Good
communications skills (writing & speaking) & a user-friendly attitude are
required.  A BS in CS, EE, MIS or a related field is helpful.  Interest in
EFF's mission & an ability to advise EFF staff members on technical issues
related to public policy is preferred.

Salary negotiable with excellent benefits.  Send resume, cover letter &
salary requirements by 7/20 to:

     EFF SysAdmin
     238 Main Street
     Cambridge, MA  02142
     Attn:  L. Breit

by e-mail (ASCII only, please): 
no phone calls



EFF and its upstairs neighbors are looking for a telephone receptionist. 
Computer and phone experience preferred.  Must be professional, personable,
courteous, extremely reliable and graceful under pressure.  All applicants
should be content with a permanent position as a receptionist with our
organizations.  Competitive salary with good benefits.

E-mail your resume (ASCII) to, or fax to (202) 393-5509. 
You may also mail your resume to:

     Receptionist Search
     1001 G Street, NW
     Suite 950 East
     Washington, DC  20001
     Attn:  K. Erickson

No phone calls, please.  Resumes should be received by 7/20.  EFF is an
equal opportunity employer.


     EFFector Online is published biweekly by:

     Electronic Frontier Foundation
     1001 G Street, N.W., Suite 950 East
     Washington, DC  20001  USA
     Phone:  +1 202 347 5400  FAX:  +1 202 393 5509
     Internet Address:

     Coordination, production and shipping by Shari Steele,
     Director of Legal Services & Community Outreach (

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

     *This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.*


In order to continue the work already begun and to expand our efforts and
activities into other realms of the electronic frontier, we need the
financial support of individuals and organizations.

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Your membership/donation is fully tax deductible.

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Mail to: 
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         Electronic Frontier Foundation
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         Suite 950 East
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