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EFFector - Volume 8, Issue 6 - Campaign & New Petition to Stop the Communication Decency Act!


EFFector - Volume 8, Issue 6 - Campaign & New Petition to Stop the Communication Decency Act!

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EFFector Online Volume 08 No. 06       May 22, 1995
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation        ISSN 1062-9424

In This Issue:
Campaign & New Petition to Stop the Communication Decency Act!
Calendar of Events
Quote of the Week
What YOU Can Do

* See or, /pub/Alerts/ for more
information on current EFF activities and online activism alerts! *


Subject: Campaign & New Petition to Stop the Communication Decency Act!

EFF, VTW, CDT and other organizations in the Stop314 Coalition have issued
a new immediate action alert.  Please read this alert and act quickly!



	Update: -Bill is on the Senate floor
		-Please act to help Leahy stop the Exon censorship bill

                         COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT
		      	        May 19, 1995

  	             REDISTRIBUTE ONLY UNTIL June 9, 1995

        Distributed by the Voters Telecommunications Watch (


	The Time Is Now
        Another Petition?
        What Is Sen. Leahy Proposing?
        How To Sign The Petition
        The Petition Statement
	Signing the petition from Fidonet or FTN systems
        For More Information
        List Of Participating Organizations




The Senate is expected to on vote the Communications Decency Act (CDA,
a.k.a. the Exon Bill) within the next three weeks.

The Communications Decency Act, in its current form, would severely
restrict your rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression
online, and represents a grave threat to the very nature and existence
of the Internet as we know it today. Without your help now, the
Communications Decency Act will likely pass and the net may never be
the same again.

Although the CDA has been revised to limit the liability of online
service providers, it would still criminalize the transmission of any
content deemed "obscene, lewd, lacivious, filthy, or indecent,"
including the private communications between consenting adults. Even
worse, some conservative pro-censorship groups are working to amend the
CDA to make it even more restrictive.

Currently, Senator Exon is negotiating with pro-censorship groups and
commercial entities that would be affected by the CDA. The voices of
Internet users must be heard now. We need to demonstrate that we are a
political force to be reckoned with.

In an effort to preserve your rights in cyberspace, Senator Patrick
Leahy (D-VT) has introduced the only legislative alternative to the
Communications Decency Act.  Senator Leahy is willing to offer his bill
as a substitute for the CDA, but needs your support behind his

Senator Leahy's legislation would commission a study to examine the
complex issues involved in protecting children from controversial
content while preserving the First Amendment, the privacy rights of
users, and the free flow of information in cyberspace.



Yes.  With a strong showing of support from the, Senator
Leahy can offer his bill as a substitute for the Communications Decency
Act when the Senate votes on the issue later this month.  Senator Leahy
needs and wants to demonstrate to his colleagues in the Senate that the is behind him in his efforts. We must rise to the task
and demonstrate that we will not sit idly by as our rights are

Senator Leahy, a strong civil liberties advocate, has been the Senate's
most vocal critic of the Exon/Gorton Communications Decency Act, and
has taken a leading role in defending the rights and civil liberties of
Internet users.  Senator Leahy has taken a great political risk in
representing the interests of Internet users on Capitol Hill.  The time
has come for us to show our appreciation and our support for his

The previous petition against the Communications Decency Act generated
over 108,000 signatures, and was instrumental in Senator Leahy's
decision to offer his alternative   As the Senate moves to vote on the
CDA, we must act quickly to ensure that our collective voice continues
to be heard.



Senator Leahy's bill, S. 714, would direct the Department of Justice
and the Department of Commerce to commence a 5 month study to examine:

* Current law enforcement authority to prosecute the distribution of
  pornography over computer networks;

* Whether any additional law or law enforcement resources are necessary;

* The availability of technological capabilities, consistent with the 
  First Amendment and the free flow of information in Cyberspace, to 
  protect children from accessing controversial commercial and non-
  commercial content;

* Ways to promote the development and deployment of such technologies.

After conducting the study, the Justice Department must report to Congress
on its findings, and, if necessary, recommend changes in current law.

Leahy's bill represents the only substantive legislative alternative to the
Communications Decency Act, and will buy important time to have a detailed
and rational discussion about the issues involved in protecting children
from controversial content, and avoid the rush to censorship which is
occurring now on the Senate Floor.  

Without a strong show of support for Leahy's bill, the Communications
Decency Act is very likely to pass.



Please Sign the petition in support of Senator Leahy's alternative.
There are two ways to sign:

1. World Wide Web:


      Please follow all instructions carefully.  Please also put a link 
      to this page on your homepage.

2. email:

        send email to 

      Please provide the following information EXACTLY AS SHOWN.  
        Be sure that you make a carriage return at the end of each line

        Your Name
        Your email address
        Are you a US Citizen (yes or no) (** IF NO, skip to last line)     
        Your Street Address (** USE ONLY ONE LINE)
        Your City
        Your State
        Your Zip Code (**VERY IMPORTANT)

PRIVACY POLICY: Information collected during this campaign will not be
used for any purpose other than delivering a list of signers to
Congress and compiling counts of signers from particular states and
Congressional districts.  It will not be reused, sold, rented, loaned,
or available for use for any other purpose.  All records will be
destroyed immediately upon completion of this project.

        --- sample email submission ---
        Subject: signed

        Every Body
        1111 State Street, Apt. 31 B
        Any Town

      --- sample email submission ---

Multiple signatures will not be counted, so please only sign once.



We the undersigned users of the Internet are strongly opposed to the
"Communications Decency Act" (Title IV of S. 652), which is currently
pending before the Senate. This legislation will severely restrict our
rights to freedom of speech and privacy guaranteed under the

Based on our Nation's longstanding history of protecting freedom of
speech, we believe that the Federal Government should have no role in
regulating the content of constitutionally protected speech on the

We urge the Senate to halt consideration of the Communications Decency
Act and consider in its place S. 714, the "Child Protection, User
Empowerment, and Free Expression In Interactive Media Study Bill", an
alternative approach offered by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).




To sign the petition from FidoNet or other FTN systems, create a
netmail message to your local UUCP host.  Search the nodelist for the
GUUCP flag, and use the address of that system:

To: UUCP, [GUUCP system's address here.  "To:" name MUST be set to UUCP]
From: [you]
Subject: signed

        Every Body
        1111 State Street, Apt. 31 B
        Any Town

[Message starts on 3rd line.  The second "To:" line with the internet
email address MUST be the first line of the message body, and the blank
line following that is REQUIRED.  Mail will not be delivered by the gateways
without it.]

If you are unsure whether your FTN has an Internet gateway, or suspect it
may use something other than a GUUCP nodelist flag, ask your network



We oppose the "Communications Decency Act", sponsored by Senators James
Exon (D-NE) and Slade Gorton (R-WA), for the following reasons:

* It criminalizes the transmission of constitutionally protected speech,
  including the private communications between consenting individuals;

* It would violate privacy rights by protecting system administrators
  who take steps to ensure that their networks are not being used to 
  transmit prohibited content, even if those steps include reading all 
  messages, in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act 

* It fails to account for the unique characteristics of interactive 
  media, including the tremendous control users have over the content 
  they or their children receive.

* It would give the Federal Communications Commission jurisdiction over  
  online speech by giving the FCC authority to establish rules 
  governing the distribution of content online;

The Internet and other interactive communications technologies offer a
unique opportunity for the free exchange of information and ideas, and
embody the very essence of our nation's democratic traditions of
openness, diversity and freedom of speech.

As users of these technologies, we know perhaps better than anyone that
there are other, less restrictive ways to protect children from
controversial materials while preserving the First Amendment and the
free flow of information.

Senator Leahy's bill provides an opportunity to address the issues
raised by the Communications Decency Act without restricting the free
speech and privacy rights of users.



Petition updates will be posted to appropriate newsgroups and other
forums on a regular basis.

To have the latest status report sent to you automatically, send email

If you have specific questions, or if you are interested in mirroring
the petition page, contact Jonah Seiger 

Other petition related information can be found on the CDT petition


For More information on the Communications Decency Act issue:

Web Sites


FTP Archives 


Gopher Archives:


Information By auto-reply email:

If you don't have www/ftp/gopher access, you can get up-to-date
information from the following autobots:

General information on the CDA issue  
Current status of the CDA issue       
Chronology of events of the CDA issue with the
						subject "send events"



In order to use the net more effectively, several organizations have
joined forces on a single Congressional net campaign to stop the
Communications Decency Act.

In alphabetical order:

Californians Against Censorship Together
Center For Democracy And Technology (CDT)    
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)         
Feminists For Free Expression (FFE)           
Florida Coalition Against Censorship
Hands Off! The Net                     
Inner Circle Technologies, Inc.  aka. NovaLink
League for Programming Freedom
National Libertarian Party                 
Marijuana Policy Project
National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN)
National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981 AFL-CIO)
Panix Public Access Internet               
People for the American Way            
Society for Electronic Access
The WELL                                    
Voters Telecommunications Watch (VTW)         

If you would like to add your organization to this list, contact Shabbir
Safdar at VTW  


Subject: Calendar of Events

This schedule lists EFF events, and those we feel might be of interest to
our members.  EFF events (those sponsored by us or featuring an EFF speaker)
are marked with a "*" instead of a "-" after the date.  Simlarly, government
events, such as deadlines for comments on reports or testimony submission, are
marked with "!" in place of the "-" after the date.

If you know of an event of some sort that should be listed here, please
send info about it to Stanton McCandlish (

The latest full version of this calendar, which includes material for
later in the year as well as the next couple of months, is available from:

ftp:, /pub/EFF/calendar.eff
gopher:, 1/EFF, calendar.eff

Updated: May 15, 1995


May  22-
     24 - ErgoCon '95 - Silicon Valley Ergonomics Conference & Exposition;
          San Jose, Calif.
          Contact: Abbas Moallem, +1 408 9244132 (voice), +1 408 924 4153 (fax)

May  26-
     28 - Virtual Futures 1995; U. of Warwick, Coventry, UK.  VF'95 "is an 
          interdisciplinary event that examines the role of cybernetic 
          and specifically dissipative or non-linear models in the arts,  
          sciences, and philosophy. The conference explores the relationship
          between postmodern philosophy and chaos theory, with topics 
          ranging from: information  technology, hypertext and
          multimedia applications...[to] neural nets, and nanotechnology."
          Speakers include: Kathy Acker, Hakim Bey, Richard Kadrey, Manuel
          DeLanda, Alan Sondheim and many more.  Deadline for proposals:
          Mar. 1 '95.
          Contact: +44 0203 523523 x2582 (voice), +44 0203 523019 (fax)

May  31 - Deadline for paper submissions, 11th Ann. Computer Security 
          Applications Conference (see Dec. 11, below).

June 4-
     6  - Cyber.Xpo.95; Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada; sponsored by 
          _Sysop_News_. Seminar sessions & tradeshow.
          Contact: +1 614 452 4541 (voice)

June 5-
     6  ! 5th Annual "U.S. Copyright Office Speaks" Seminar (West Coast);
          the Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles, Calif.  Topics include: inside 
          look at New Register's agenda, analysis of NII legislation, 
          ACCORD update, & international developments. (See May 1-2 for 
          East Coast event.)
          Contact: +1 201 894 8260 (voice)

June 7-
     9  - Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence
          Applications on Wall Street; Pace University, New York City, NY.
          Contact: +1 914 763 8820 (voice), +1 914 763 9324 (fax)

June 8-
     10  - Exploring the VideoClass Alternative; Raleigh, N. Carolina.

June 11-
     14 - Society & the Future of Computing (SFC'95); Tamarron Lodge, 
          Durango, Colorado.  Sponsored by the Assoc. for Computing 
          Machinery, LANL, U. of Md., IEEE. Speakers will include Phil Agre 
          (UCSD), Leslie Sandberg (Institute for Telemedicine), Wm. 
          Halverson (PacBell), Don Norman (Apple), Linda Garcia 
          (Congressional Office of Technology Assessment), John 
          Cherniavsky (Natl. Science Found.) and several others.

June 13-
     15 - IDT 95 - 12th Congress on Information Markets and Industries;
          Paris, France.  Organized by ADBS (a society of information
          professionals), ANRT (National Association of Technological
          Research), and GFII (French association of information industries).
          Contact: +33 1 43 72 25 25 (voice), +33 1 43 72 30 41 (fax)

June 17-
     19 - NECC'95: Emerging Technologies and Lifelong Learning: 16th Annual
          National Educational Computing Conf., sponsored by International
          Society for Technology in Education; Baltimore, Maryland.
          VP Gore and Sec'y. of Labor Robert Reich invited as keynote
          speakers. Other speakers include: John Phillipo (CELT), Frank
          Knott (MGITB)
          Contact: +1 503 346 2834 (voice), +1 503 346 5890 (fax)

June 18-
     21 -  ED-MEDIA'95; Graz, Austria. A world conference on educational
           multimedia and hypermedia. Sponsor: The Association for the
           Advancement of Computing. 
           Contact: +1 804 973 3987 (voice)

June 24-
     28 - Workshop on Ethical & Professional Issues in Computing; 
          Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY. Deadline for submissions:
          Apr. 15.
          Contact: +1 518 276 8503 (voice), +1 518 276 2659 (fax)

June 27-
     29 - Women in Technology Conference: Channels for Change; Santa Clara 
          Conv. Ctr., Santa Clara, Calif.  Speakers include: Gloria Steinem.
          Sponsored by Int'l. Network of Women in Technology (WITI).
          Contact: +1 818 990 1987 (voice), +1 818 906 3299 (fax)

June 28-
     30 - INET '95 Internet Society 5th Ann. International Networking
          Conf.; Honolulu, Hawaii.  Sponsored by Internet Society (ISoc).
          See Jan. 13 for proposal deadline
          Contact: +1 703 648 9888 (voice)
          FTP:, /isoc/inet95/
          Gopher:, 1/isoc/inet95 


Subject: Quote of the Week

"It is no solution to define words as violence or prejudice as
oppression, and then by cracking down on words or thoughts pretend that
we are doing something about violence and oppression.  No doubt it is
easier to pass a speech code or hate-crimes law and proclaim the streets
safer than actually to make the streets safer, but the one must never be
confused with the other...Indeed, equating "verbal violence" with
physical violence is a treacherous, mischievous business."
  - Jonathon Rauch, in an essay in _Harper's_Magazine_, May 1995

Find yourself wondering if your privacy and freedom of speech are safe 
when bills to censor the Internet are swimming about in a sea of of 
surveillance legislation and anti-terrorism hysteria?  Worried that in 
the rush to protect us from ourselves that our government representatives 
may deprive us of our essential civil liberties? 

Join EFF!


Subject: What YOU Can Do

* The Exon Bill (Communications Decency Act)

The Communications Decency Act poses serious threats to freedom of
expression online, and to the livelihoods of system operators.  The
legislation also undermines several crucial privacy protections.

Business/industry persons concerned should alert their corporate govt.
affairs office and/or legal counsel.  Everyone should write to their own
Senators and ask them to support Sen. Leahy's replacement bill.  Explain, 
quickly and clearly, why Exon language is dangerous, and urge efforts to 
remove it from the larger bill it is a part of (S.652)

S.652, the Senate telecom deregulation bill, now contains Sen. Exon's
"Communications Decency Act" (formerly S.314.)  The House version, even
more dangerous to system operators (though far less imminent), is H.R.1004.
Senator Leahy's replacement bill for the S.314 language in S.652 is the 
new bill S.714.

For more information on what you can do to help stop this and other 
dangerous legislation, see:, /pub/Alerts/, 1/Alerts

If you do not have full internet access, send your request
for information to

* ITAR Export Restrictions on Encryption

The U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations classify encryption
algorithms and products as "munitions" (weapons of war), and the State 
Department and NSA thereby restrict distribution of encryption technology -
technology vital to the networking security and your personal privacy.
Companies making encryption products are forced to produce good versions 
for domestic use and crippled versions for export.  Or, more likely, to 
simply produce a crippled version, since maintaining two versions is 
often prohibitively expensive.  The ITAR export controls are the primary 
ace in the hole the Administration is using to push key "escrow" schemes 
such as Clipper.  Help EFF defeat the unconstitutional ITAR crypto export 
restrictions but supporting the EFF Cyberspace Legal Defense Fund, the 
fund fuelling the Bernstein v. Dept. of State case.
For more information, see:, 1/Alerts, cyberlegal_fund_eff.announce, /pub/Alerts/cyberlegal_fund_eff.announce

* Find Out Who Your Congresspersons Are

Writing letters to, faxing, and phoning your representatives in Congress
is one very important strategy of activism, and an essential way of
making sure YOUR voice is heard on vital issues.

EFF has lists of the Senate and House with contact information, as well
as lists of Congressional committees. These lists are available at:, /pub/Activism/Congress_cmtes/, 1/EFF/Issues/Activism/Congress_cmtes

The full Senate and House lists are senate.list and hr.list, respectively.
Those not in the U.S. should seek out similar information about their
own legislative bodies.  EFF will be happy to archive any such
information provided.

* Join EFF!

You *know* privacy, freedom of speech and ability to make your voice heard
in government are important. You have probably participated in our online
campaigns and forums.  Have you become a member of EFF yet?  The best way to
protect your online rights is to be fully informed and to make your
opinions heard.  EFF members are informed and are making a difference.  Join
EFF today!

For EFF membership info, send queries to, or send any
message to for basic EFF info, and a membership form.



EFFector Online is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
1667 K St. NW, Suite 801
Washington DC 20006-1605 USA
+1 202 861 7700 (voice)
+1 202 861 1258 (fax)
+1 202 861 1223 (BBS - 16.8k ZyXEL)
+1 202 861 1224 (BBS - 14.4k V.32bis)
Membership & donations:
Legal services:
Hardcopy publications:
General EFF, legal, policy or online resources queries:

Stanton McCandlish, Online Services Mgr./Activist/Archivist (

This newsletter printed on 100% recycled electrons.

Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.  Signed
articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF.  To reproduce
signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express
permission. Press releases and EFF announcements may be reproduced individ-
ually at will.

To subscribe to EFFector via email, send message body of "subscribe
effector-online" (without the "quotes") to, which will add
you to a subscription list for EFFector.

Back issues are available at:, /pub/EFF/Newsletters/EFFector/, 1/EFF/Newsletters/EFFector

To get the latest issue, send any message to (or, and it will be mailed to you automagically.  You can also get
the file "current" from the EFFector directory at the above sites at any 
time for a copy of the current issue.  HTML editions available at: 
at EFFweb.


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