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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 6, Issue 5 - New EFF Open Platform Statement Available Online


EFFector - Volume 6, Issue 5 - New EFF Open Platform Statement Available Online

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EFFector Online Volume 6 No. 5         11/15/1993
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation        ISSN 1062-9424

In This Issue:

New EFF Open Platform Statement Available Online
EFF Welcomes Mary Beth Arnett, Staff Counsel
Please Help Us Get EFF's BBS Up and Running!
Statistics Needed for Analysis of Lost Crypto Sales
Retrieving the National Information Infrastructure Documents
NSF Digital Library Open Meeting - Dec. 6


Subject: New EFF Open Platform Statement Available Online

The recent spate of telecommunications mergers -- Bell Atlantic/TCI, US
West/Time-Warner, AT&T/McCaw, plus numerous others in the works -- raise
the stakes for information policy makers and those of us who are concerned
about the development of an open, accessible information infrastructure.  

EFF has just released a major new statement on our Open Platform Campaign,
which explains EFF's approach to infrastructure policy.  Our big concern is
to encourage Congress and the Administration to do the right thing and set 
out a new, positive communications policy that is ready for the information
age.  We believe that this policy must achieve the following goals:

*       Diversity of Information Sources:  Promote a fully interactive
        infrastructure in which the First Amendment flourishes,
        allowing the greatest possible diversity of view points;

*       Universal Service:  Ensure a minimum level of affordable
        information and communication service for all Americans;

*       Free Speech and Common Carriage:  Guarantee infrastructure
        access regardless of the content of the message that the
        user is sending;

*       Privacy:  Protect the security and privacy of all
        communications carried over the infrastructure, and
        safeguard the Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of all
        who use the information infrastructure;

*       Development of Public Interest Applications and Services:
        Ensure that public interest applications and services
        which are not produced by the commercial market are
        widely available and affordable.

Our policy proposal, available by anonymous ftp on in
/pub/Eff/papers/op2.0, contains a discussion of these principles and
concrete legislative recommendations on how to accomplish many of these
goals.  Here are a few selected paragraphs from the main paper to give a
flavor of our positions, but we hope you'll read the whole thing.

Regulatory changes should be made, and mergers approved or barred
based on specific, enforceable commitments that the electronic
superhighways will meet public goals and realize the potential of digital
technology.  That potential arises from the extraordinary spaciousness of
the broadband information highway, contrasted with the scarcity of
broadcast spectrum and the limited number of cable channels that defined
the mass media era.  Properly constructed and administered, the information
highway has enough capacity to permit passage not only for a band of
channels controlled by the network operator, but also for a common carriage
connection that is open to all who wish to speak, publish, and communicate
on the digital information highway.  For the first time, electronic media
can have the diversity of information we associate only with the print

But we can't rely on the promises of industry or the wonders of the
competitive marketplace alone to create this infrastructure.  We need
legislative benchmarks to ensure that all citizens have access to advanced
information infrastructure.  We will achieve this goal not by having
government build the whole thing, but by finding a new communications
policy framework that works for the market and brings benefits to

We've expanded the concept of "Open Platform Services" from just narrowband
ISDN, to include any switched, digital service, offered on a common
carriage basis, by any provider.

To achieve the full potential of new digital media, we need to make
available what we call Open Platform services, which reach all American
homes, businesses, schools, libraries, and government institutions.  Open
Platform service will enable children at home to tie into their school
library (or libraries all around the world) to do their homework.  It will
make it possible for a parent who makes a video of the local elementary
school soccer game to share it with parents and students throughout the
community.  Open Platform will make it as easy to be an information
provider as it is to be an information consumer.

Open Platform services provide basic information access connections, just
as today's telephone line enables you to connect to an information service
or the coaxial cable running into your home connects you to cable
television programming.   This is not a replacement for current online
services such as America Online or Compuserve, but rather is the basic
transport capacity that one needs to access the multimedia version of these
information services.

Specifically, Open Platform service must meet the following criteria:

*       widely available, switched digital connections;
*       affordable prices;
*       open access to all without discrimination as the content
        of the message;
*       sufficient "up-stream" capacity to enable users to
        originate, as well as receive, good quality video,
        multimedia services.

Open Platform service itself will be provided by a variety of providers
over interconnected networks, using a variety of wires, fiber optics, coax
cable, and wireless transmission services.  But however it is provided, if
it is affordable and widely available, it will be the on-ramp for the
nation's growing information superhighway.

Rather than a narrow focus on stopping or delaying the proposed mergers,
policy makers should use the leverage of the moment to create a new
Communications Act that serves the public interest.

The Administration and Congress can create and prompt the deployment of
open platforms by using the political leverage at its disposal.  Bell
Atlantic, TCI, Time Warner, US West and others involved in recent mergers
are all promising to build open platforms.  Telecommunications giants are
asking policymakers for permission to enter new markets or to form new,
merged entities.  Rather than per se opposition to current mergers, or mere
reliance on competition to build the data highways, make the mergers and
other accommodations conditional on providing affordable open platform
services.  The terms of this new social contract should be written into a
new Communications Act, revised for the information age.  With a real
"social contract" in hand, we just might realize the Jeffersonian potential
of the data superhighways.

Together with a coalition of public interest groups and private industry,
the Electronic Frontier Foundation is working to establish Open
Platform objectives in concrete legislation.  Open Platform provisions,
which would cause near term deployment of Open Platform services, are
present in both the recent Senate infrastructure bill and the latest draft
of House telecommunications legislation, soon to be introduced.  We are
also working with the Administration to have Open Platform policies
included in the recommendations of the Information Infrastructure Task
Force.  In addition to federal policy, critical decisions about the shape
of the information infrastructure will be made at state and local levels. 
Since 1991, EFF has been working with a number state legislatures and
public utility commissions to have affordable, digital services offered at
a local level.  As cable and telephone infrastructures converge, we will
also work with local cable television franchising authorities.  We invite
all who are concerned about these issues to join with us in these public
policy efforts.

We hope that everyone will have a look at our new proposal, and join in to
help us.  

Daniel J. Weitzner, Senior Staff Counsel, 


Open Platform Campaign: Public Policy for the Information Age
/pub/eff/papers/op2.0.readme -> .../announce.op2 

Senate Telecommunications Infrastructure Act of 1993 (S. 1086)

EFF Testimony on Senate Infrastructure Bill

This material is also available via WAIS and gopher from and, respectively.  If you do not have access to any of these
net tools, feel free contact us for assistance.


Subject: EFF Welcomes Mary Beth Arnett, Staff Counsel

Mary Beth Arnett has joined EFF as Staff Counsel for the Public Policy
team.  Mary Beth has published an extensive analysis of two federal
information disclosure programs involving community and workplace
right-to-know laws.  She served for four years as an attorney at a law and
policy research institute and for six years as a public member of a state
licensing and regulatory board.  Mary Beth's objective in electronic
information analysis is to devise policies consistent with the Jeffersonian
ideal of empowering citizens through information provision.


Subject: Please Help Us Get EFF's BBS Up and Running!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is working to start an EFF bulletin
board system to reach the "other half of cyberspace" -- BBSs, including the
tens of thousands of participants in BBS networks such as FidoNet.  EFF
considers these hobbyist grassroots pioneers as important to the future of
communications as experienced net.surfers, and both cultures of the
online world have much to gain or lose by the issues at stake.  

The EFF BBS will provide a full mirror of our FTP/gopher/WAIS archives, as
well as networked messaging, including FidoNet's and UseNet's relevant
conferences, such as BBSLAW, SYSLAW,,,
alt.politics.datahighway, and more.  The board will serve as a place for
those with modems but no Internet access to get the information they need
to avoid pitfalls and to support campaigns to preserve our rights online.

However, money does not grow on trees, and EFF is asking for contributions
of hardware donations so that the project can get rolling.  Our wish list:

Basic system components - 486DX2-66 motherboard, 512k cache, preferably
       EISA-VESA; tower case w/300+ watt PS; both floppies; AT keyboard
800+ MB SCSI-2 hard drive
SCSI-2 HD controller card with at least 1MB cache, especially EISA or VESA
8-16 MB RAM in 4MB 60NS SIMMs
SVGA card, 1024x768, 1MB+
SVGA monitor .28mm, 1024x768, 14"+, colour
Fast ethernet card, especially EISA or VESA
SCSI or parallel tape backup
4 fast modems (19.2 USR DS, 28.8 Hayes, 19.2 ZyXEL, and one other, 
  undecided yet, probably Telebit V.terbo)

For non-critical components (i.e., anything but MB/CPU, HD and modems),
we'll certainly consider used equipment.

BBS software has already been donated, though various other software is
still needed (utils, editors, Fido mailer, etc.)

All donors will receive a note of thanks in EFFector and on the BBS in a
permanent bulletin.  Note that donations are tax deductible.


Subject: Statistics Needed for Analysis of Lost Crypto Sales

The Software Publishers Association (SPA) has been working to bring
about the liberalization of export controls on mass market software
with encryption capabilities.  SPA's much-publicized study of the
foreign availability of cryptographic products has clearly
demonstrated the widespread and easy availability of encryption
that is stronger than what U. S. firms have been able to export.
However, NSA claims that software companies have not demonstrated
sufficiently the economic harm they have suffered from export
controls.  Congress has told us that without better economic harm
statistics, our chances of liberalizing the export laws are slim.

If you or your firm has lost business because you have not been
able to export your encryption product, please let us know.  Be as
specific as possible.  It is the cumulative effect of this
information that will be most compelling.

Please pass this on to those in your firm who might know about
these matters or might also be able to respond.

Please send replies to or to

Ilene Rosenthal, General Counsel
Software Publishers Association
1730 M St. NW, Suite 700
Washington DC 20036
(202) 452-1600 ext. 318

or to

Douglas Miller
(same address)
(202) 452-1600 ext. 342

When sending this information to SPA, please also send a copy to the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, as both SPA and EFF are working on this
issue, and both organizations aim to reduce the ITAR restrictions on
cryptographic technology.  You can send your information to


Subject: Retrieving the National Information Infrastructure Documents


Information on the National Information Infrastructure is available both 
electronically, in print and in CD-ROM.  Please note that some information 
varies at each site and can include daily updates from the White House, 
press releases and briefings, background information, and reports.  

As additional documents and retrieval sources become available, we
will update this factsheet.

          I. Retrieving an electronic version -- at no charge
                A. Retrieval via electronic bulletin board
                B. Retrieval via electronic mail 
                C. Retrieval via gopher and telnet
                D. Retrieval via anonymous-ftp



1)  Bulletin Board at Fedworld (National Technical Info. Service)

        Set software parameters for:    N-8-1
        Dial:           (9600 baud)     703-321-8020    


1) send a message to:                   

Depending on the information you are looking for, using the commands  
below, you will receive the information you request. 

        TO RETRIEVE:                            TYPE:

        Agenda for Action                       send niiagenda

        Technology for Economic
          Growth Catalog                        send nii-tech catalog


1) gopher                (Extension Service, USDA)

        To get to this gopher, type:

        From the Main Menu, choose: 

        5. Americans Communicating Electronically/... 
            3.  National Information Infrastructure documents

2) gopher       (University of North Carolina)

        To get to this gopher, type:

        Sunsite Archives
          12. National Information Infrastructure Information/ 
               4.  Technology Initiative Summary/

3) telnet
                 Telnet to:
                 login as "gopher".  Choose the menu item "DOC
                 Documents". Choose "niiagenda.asc".

1.       Internet   The package is available in ASCII format through
         anonymous FTP and Gopher.  The name of the file is
         "niiagenda.asc".  Access information and directories are
         described below.

                 Login as "anonymous".  Use your email address or guest
                 as the password.  Change directory to "pub".

                 Login as "anonymous" using "guest" as the password.

                 Login as "anonymous". Use your email address or "guest"
                 as the password. Change directory to npr.

                 The package also may be present in a self extracting
                 compressed file named "niiagend.exe".  Remember to
                 issue the binary command before "getting" the
                 compressed file.


         Bulletin Boards  The package is available for downloading on
         the following bulletin boards:

         Name:            NTIA Bulletin Board
         Phone:           (202) 482-1199
         Communications parameters should be set to either 2400 or
         9600 baud, no parity, 8 data bits and 1 stop bit.  The
         package is available under the "press releases" menu item as
         "niiagend.asc" (ascii) and "niiagend.exe" (compressed-self

         Name:            Department of Commerce Economic Bulletin Board
         Phone:           202-482-1986 (voice instructions for subscription
         This is a "fee for service" bulletin board.  Subscribers may
         download the "niiagenda" document for normal on-line
         charges.  Non-subscribers may subscribe for $35 and download
         the report for no additional charge.  Free telnet access and
         download services are available through the Internet by
         using the address:  Use trial as your user

         Name:            FedWorld On-line Information Network
         Phone:           (703) 321-8020
         Communications parameters should be set to either 2400 or
         9600 baud, no parity, 8 data bits and 1 stop bit.  To access
         "niiagend.asc" from the FedWorld menu, enter "-==--==--==--

Subject: NSF Digital Library Open Meeting - Dec. 6

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will hold a Briefing Meeting
concerning the NSF/ARPA/NASA "Research on Digital Libraries" Initiative
(Announcement NSF-93-141). This meeting will take place on December 6,
10:00 am to 12:00 noon, at the Auditorium of the National Academy of
Sciences, 2100 C Street N.W., Washington, DC.  This meeting will be open to
all parties interested in responding to this Initiative. For further
information, please contact Gwendolyn Barber. By telephone: (202) 357-9572.
By email:  NSF-93-141 is available via US Mail or email,
believe it or not, but due to a move to a new office, there may be a delay in
getting it to you.


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: or

     Coordination, production and shipping by:
     Stanton McCandlish, Online Activist 

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.*



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financial support of individuals and organizations.

If you support our goals and our work, you can show that support by
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Your membership/donation is fully tax deductible.
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