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EFFector - Volume 8, Issue 7 - ALERT: Communications Decency Act - Imminent Passage or Failure - Act NOW!


EFFector - Volume 8, Issue 7 - ALERT: Communications Decency Act - Imminent Passage or Failure - Act NOW!

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EFFector Online  Volume 08 No. 07      June 6, 1995
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation        ISSN 1062-9424

ALERT: Communications Decency Act - Imminent Passage or Failure - Act NOW!
  The Latest News
  What You Can Do Now -- U.S. and non-U.S. citizens
  Senate Contact List
  For More Information
  List Of Participating Organizations
  Dole/Grassley Legislation Threatens Online Free Speech - Worse Than CDA
  New Draft of Communications Decency Legislation
  Sen. Lott to Attempt to Rip Sysop Defenses from Exon Bill
  The Other Side of the Coin: Feinstein Bill v. Bomb Material Online 
  Prodigy Potentially Liable for User Postings
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: ALERT: Communications Decency Act  - Act NOW!

* EMERGENCY UPDATE: Just as this issue was going to virtual press, more and 
* very dire news has arrived.  Senators Bob Dole (R-KS) and Charles Grassley
* (R-IA) have announced they are sponsoring, and probably introducing very
* soon, new Internet censorship legislation even more threatening 
* to free speech than the Exon "Communications Decency Act".  Unlike the 
* Leahy alternative to the CDA, the Dole/Grassley legislation is not, 
* according to sponsor Grassley, intended to be offered as a replacement 
* for the Exon language in the Senate telecom reform bill, but rather is 
* intended as free-standing bill.  As CDT, a member of the Stop314 Coalition
* with EFF, notes, the advent of the Dole/Grassley bill creates an even 
* greater need for support of Senator Leahy's alternative (S. 714).  If 
* the Senate rejects Senator Leahy's alternative, it will pass either the 
* Exon bill or the even more draconian Dole/Grassley proposal, and the 
* net as we know it will never be the same again. Please, take the very
* few minutes it will require to call your Senators and sign the Leahy 
* petition, as detailed in the lead article below.  More info on the
* Dole/Grassley proposal is in the Newsbytes section of this newsletter.

Below is the latest action alert from the Stop314 Coalition (including EFF).
*This may look like alerts you've seen on previous days and weeks, but it
is new.*  Please take the time to check it out - the time has come to 
direct your activism toward your Senators.  The petition drive for the 
Leahy opposition bill has receive over 20,000 signatures in a very short 
time, but it is not enough.  Please pardon the length of this EFFector,
but this is the most important action alert that has appeared in EFFector 
this year.



	Update: -Senate changes gears, we're caught with little time
		-What You Can Do Now (US and non-US citizens)

			   June 6, 1995


      Distributed by the Voters Telecommunications Watch (

[NOTE: EFF has added two bracketed additions to the "What You Can Do Now"
section, in light of the sudden appearance of the Dole/Grassley bill
and the Lott amendment.]


	The Latest News
	What You Can Do Now -- U.S. and non-U.S. citizens
	Senate Contact List
        For More Information
        List Of Participating Organizations



The Senate is ready to act on the Telecommunications Reform Bill this
week, perhaps as soon as Wednesday, June 7th.  We had thought the
Counter Terrorism bill would take all week, but the Senate changed its
schedule without consulting us. :-)

(We sincerely apologize for issuing another alert on the heels of the
prior one, but the Senate's readiness to move on this legislation was
not anticipated.  We'll watch out for such a situation again and avoid
releasing two alerts so close together in the future. We also apologize
for the length of this Alert, but it contains the entire Senate contact

Note that there are few people who don't know about the bill.  However
if you are unfamiliar with the bill, take a moment to retrieve the
materials listed in the "For More Information" section.


WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW -- U.S. and non-U.S. citizens

The Telecomm Reform Bill, will, in all likelihood, include either the
Exon Amendment (formerly the Communications Decency Act) or the Leahy
Amendment. It is essential that the Leahy language be substituted for
Exon's, and therefore it is essential:

1. That all citizens call or fax their Senators as soon as possible.
   There is no time for written letters and email is too easily
   discounted or ignored. Non-U.S. citizens should contact Vice
   President Gore.  Note, if you decide to send a fax, you'll want to
   write an expanded version of the statement below.

   It's very important that you always be cool, collected, and polite.

   U.S. citizens:

	"Hello, Senator ________'s office"
	"Hi, I'm a constituent and would like to register my
	 opinion on the Telecommunications Reform bill to the 		
	"Hold On please.  Alright, go ahead."
	"Please vote to remove the Communications Decency Act provision
         (Title 4 of S652) from the Telecomm Reform bill and 
	 replace it with the Leahy alternative (S714).  My name and 
	 address is ________."
	"Thanks for calling." 

[Addition in light of emergency update:  Ask your Senators to also
oppose the Lott amendment S.714, and to oppose the Dole/Grassley 
alternative to the CDA.]

   Non-U.S. citizens:
	"Dear Vice President Gore,

	 The world looks to the United States as one leader in 
	 developing a Global Information Infrastructure.  Title 4 of
	 the Telecomm Reform bill (the Communications Decency Act)
         [like the Dole/Grassley Internet censorship bill,]
     	 imperils that leadership.  Please work to remove it from the
	 Telecomm Reform bill (S652) and replace it with Senator
 	 Leahy's sensible alternative (S714).  I'm calling from

2. Send VTW a note telling us what you did. If you contacted your two
   Senators, send a letter to with a subject line of
   "XX ack" where "XX" is your state.  For example:

	Subject: OH ack

	I called my Ohio Senators and expressed my opinion.

   If you contact Senators outside your state, please let us know what
   state you're from.  

   If you contacted Vice President Gore, send a letter to with
   a subject line of "gore ack".  For example:

	Subject: gore ack

	I called VP Gore and expressed my opinion.  I'm from France.

   An automatic responder will return an updated contact tally.

3. Forward this Alert to relevant forums on other online services and
   BBS's.  Check the letter you get back to see which Senators are
   underrepresented by citizen contacts. Forward the Alert to any
   friends and colleagues in those states.

4. If you haven't yet signed the petition to support Sen. Leahy,
   do so now.  Send mail to with a subject line of
   "send petition" for directions.

5. Congratulate yourself!  Your two-minute activism joins that of many
   thousands of others over the past two months. 



Vice President Gore can be reached at:

	White House comment line
		Telephone: (202) 456-1111 (M-F 9-5 EST)
		Facsimile: (202) 456-2461 (M-F 9-5 EST)

US Senate Listing:

      D ST Name (Party)               Phone           Fax
      = == ============		      =====	      ===
      R AK Murkowski, Frank H.        1-202-224-6665  1-202-224-5301
      R AK Stevens, Ted               1-202-224-3004  1-202-224-1044
      D AL Heflin, Howell T.          1-202-224-4124  1-202-224-3149
      R AL Shelby, Richard C.         1-202-224-5744  1-202-224-3416
      D AR Bumpers, Dale              1-202-224-4843  1-202-224-6435
      D AR Pryor, David               1-202-224-2353  1-202-224-8261
      R AZ Kyl, Jon                   1-202-224-4521  1-202-224-2302
      R AZ McCain, John               1-202-224-2235  1-202-228-2862
      D CA Boxer, Barbara             1-202-224-3553  na
      D CA Feinstein, Dianne          1-202-224-3841  1-202-228-3954
      D CO Campbell, Ben N.           1-202-224-5852  1-202-225-0228
      R CO Brown, Henry               1-202-224-5941  1-202-224-6471
      D CT Dodd, Christopher J.       1-202-224-2823  na
      D CT Lieberman, Joseph I.       1-202-224-4041  1-202-224-9750
      D DE Biden Jr., Joseph R.       1-202-224-5042  1-202-224-0139
      R DE Roth Jr.  William V.       1-202-224-2441  1-202-224-2805
      D FL Graham, Robert             1-202-224-3041  1-202-224-2237
      R FL Mack, Connie               1-202-224-5274  1-202-224-8022
      D GA Nunn, Samuel               1-202-224-3521  1-202-224-0072
      R GA Coverdell, Paul            1-202-224-3643  1-202-228-3783
      D HI Akaka, Daniel K.           1-202-224-6361  1-202-224-2126
      D HI Inouye, Daniel K.          1-202-224-3934  1-202-224-6747
      D IA Harkin, Thomas             1-202-224-3254  1-202-224-7431
      R IA Grassley, Charles E.       1-202-224-3744  1-202-224-6020
      R ID Craig, Larry E.            1-202-224-2752  1-202-224-2573
      R ID Kempthorne, Dirk           1-202-224-6142  1-202-224-5893
      D IL Moseley-Braun, Carol       1-202-224-2854  1-202-224-2626
      D IL Simon, Paul                1-202-224-2152  1-202-224-0868
      R IN Coats, Daniel R.           1-202-224-5623  1-202-224-8964
      R IN Lugar, Richard G.          1-202-224-4814  1-202-224-7877
      R KS Dole, Robert               1-202-224-6521  1-202-224-8952
      R KS Kassebaum, Nancy L.        1-202-224-4774  1-202-224-3514
      D KY Ford, Wendell H.           1-202-224-4343  1-202-224-0046
      R KY McConnell, Mitch           1-202-224-2541  1-202-224-2499
      D LA Breaux, John B.            1-202-224-4623  na
      D LA Johnston, J. Bennett       1-202-224-5824  1-202-224-2952
      D MA Kennedy, Edward M.         1-202-224-4543  1-202-224-2417
      D MA Kerry, John F.             1-202-224-2742  1-202-224-8525
      D MD Mikulski, Barbara A.       1-202-224-4654  1-202-224-8858
      D MD Sarbanes, Paul S.          1-202-224-4524  1-202-224-1651
      R ME Snowe, Olympia             1-202-224-5344  1-202-224-6853
      R ME Cohen, William S.          1-202-224-2523  1-202-224-2693
      D MI Levin, Carl                1-202-224-6221  na
      R MI Abraham, Spencer           1-202-224-4822  1-202-224-8834
      D MN Wellstone, Paul            1-202-224-5641  1-202-224-8438
      R MN Grams, Rod                 1-202-224-3244  1-202-224-9931
      R MO Bond, Christopher S.       1-202-224-5721  1-202-224-8149
      R MO Ashcroft, John             1-202-224-6154  na
      R MS Cochran, Thad              1-202-224-5054  1-202-224-3576
      R MS Lott, Trent                1-202-224-6253  1-202-224-2262
      D MT Baucus, Max                1-202-224-2651  na
      R MT Burns, Conrad R.           1-202-224-2644  1-202-224-8594
      R NC Faircloth, D. M.           1-202-224-3154  1-202-224-7406
      R NC Helms, Jesse               1-202-224-6342  1-202-224-7588
      D ND Conrad, Kent               1-202-224-2043  1-202-224-7776
      D ND Dorgan, Byron L.           1-202-224-2551  1-202-224-1193
      D NE Exon, J. J.                1-202-224-4224  1-202-224-5213
      D NE Kerrey, Bob                1-202-224-6551  1-202-224-7645
      R NH Gregg, Judd                1-202-224-3324  1-202-224-4952
      R NH Smith, Robert              1-202-224-2841  1-202-224-1353
      D NJ Bradley, William           1-202-224-3224  1-202-224-8567
      D NJ Lautenberg, Frank R.       1-202-224-4744  1-202-224-9707
      D NM Bingaman, Jeff             1-202-224-5521  na
      R NM Domenici, Pete V.          1-202-224-6621  1-202-224-7371
      D NV Bryan, Richard H.          1-202-224-6244  1-202-224-1867
      D NV Reid, Harry                1-202-224-3542  1-202-224-7327
      D NY Moynihan, Daniel P.        1-202-224-4451  na
      R NY D'Amato, Alfonse M.        1-202-224-6542  1-202-224-5871
      D OH Glenn, John                1-202-224-3353  1-202-224-7983
      R OH Dewine, Michael            1-202-224-2315  1-202-224-6519
      R OK Inhofe, James              1-202-224-4721
      R OK Nickles, Donald            1-202-224-5754  1-202-224-6008
      R OR Hatfield, Mark O.          1-202-224-3753  1-202-224-0276
      R OR Packwood, Robert           1-202-224-5244  1-202-228-3576
      R PA Santorum, Rick             1-202-224-6324  1-202-228-4991
      R PA Specter, Arlen             1-202-224-4254  1-202-224-1893
      D RI Pell, Claiborne            1-202-224-4642  1-202-224-4680
      R RI Chafee, John H.            1-202-224-2921  na
      D SC Hollings, Ernest F.        1-202-224-6121  1-202-224-4293
      R SC Thurmond, Strom            1-202-224-5972  1-202-224-1300
      D SD Daschle, Thomas A.         1-202-224-2321  1-202-224-2047
      R SD Pressler, Larry            1-202-224-5842  1-202-224-1259*
      R TN Thompson, Fred             1-202-224-4944  1-202-228-3679
      R TN Frist, Bill                1-202-224-3344  1-202-224-8062
      R TX Hutchison, Kay Bailey      1-202-224-5922  1-202-224-0776
      R TX Gramm, Phil                1-202-224-2934  1-202-228-2856
      R UT Bennett, Robert            1-202-224-5444  1-202-224-6717
      R UT Hatch, Orrin G.            1-202-224-5251  1-202-224-6331
      D VA Robb, Charles S.           1-202-224-4024  1-202-224-8689
      R VA Warner, John W.            1-202-224-2023  1-202-224-6295
      D VT Leahy, Patrick J.          1-202-224-4242  1-202-224-3595
      R VT Jeffords, James M.         1-202-224-5141  na
      D WA Murray, Patty              1-202-224-2621  1-202-224-0238
      R WA Gorton, Slade              1-202-224-3441  1-202-224-9393
      D WI Feingold, Russell          1-202-224-5323  na
      D WI Kohl, Herbert H.           1-202-224-5653  1-202-224-9787
      D WV Byrd, Robert C.            1-202-224-3954  1-202-224-4025
      D WV Rockefeller, John D.       1-202-224-6472  na
      R WY Simpson, Alan K.           1-202-224-3424  1-202-224-1315
      R WY Thomas, Craig              1-202-224-6441  1-202-224-3230



For more information on the Communications Decency Act, visit the
following resources:

Web Sites

FTP Archives 

Gopher Archives:

Email: (put "send help" in the subject line) (General CDA information) (Current status of the CDA)



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:

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Communication Association (ACA)
American Council for the Arts
Arts & Technology Society
biancaTroll productions
Californians Against Censorship Together
Center For Democracy And Technology (CDT)    
Centre for Democratic Communications (CDC)
Center for Public Representation (CPR)
Computer Communicators Association
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Cross Connections
Cyber-Rights Campaign
CyberQueer Lounge
Electronic Frontier Canada (EFC)
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)         
Electronic Frontier Foundation - Austin
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)
Electronic Frontiers Houston (EFH)            
Electronic Frontiers New Hampshire (EFNH)
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Feminists For Free Expression (FFE)           
First Amendment Teach-In    
Florida Coalition Against Censorship
FACTS (Friendly Anti-Censorship Taskforce for Students)
Hands Off! The Net                     
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Inland Book Company
Inner Circle Technologies, Inc.  aka. NovaLink
Inst. for Global Communications
National Libertarian Party                 
Libertarian Party (national) (LP)
Marijuana Policy Project
Metropolitan Data Networks Ltd.
National Bicycle Greenway
National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)
National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN)
National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981 AFL-CIO)
Oregon Coast Rural Information Service Cooperative
Panix Public Access Internet               
People for the American Way            
Rock Out Censorship
Society for Electronic Access
The Thing International BBS Network (TTNet)
The WELL                                    
Voters Telecommunications Watch (VTW)         

(Note: All 'Electronic Frontier' organizations are independent entities,
 not EFF chapters or divisions.)

	[End of Alert]


Subject: Newsbytes

* Dole/Grassley Legislation Threatens Online Free Speech - Worse Than CDA

[This summary provided by Center for Democracy & Technology,]

The Dole/Grassley bill would create new penalties in Title 18 for all
operators of electronic communications services who knowingly transmit
indecent material to anyone under 18 years of age.  The bill would also
create criminal liability for system operators who willfully permit minors
to use an electronic communications service in order to obtain indecent
material from another service.

The Dole/Grassley bill would impose criminal liability on online service
providers, electronic bulletin board operators, as well as any other entity
that uses computer storage to deliver information to users, including video
dialtone services, cable television video on demand services, etc.  The
degree of knowledge required to impose liability is unclear, but it appears
that an entity could be said to have the requisite knowledge if it is
merely informed by a third party that some material on its system is

The text of the Dole/Grassley bill (currently unintroduced and without a 
bill number) is at:, /pub/Alerts/dole_grassley_95.bill, 1/Alerts, dole_grassley_95.bill

* New Draft of Communications Decency Legislation

Sen. Exon, the Dept. of Justice, and some unnamed online service providers
have attempted to fix the "bugs" in the Exon/Gorton Communications 
Decency Act, recently folded into the Senate telecom reform bill, S.652.

All in all, the amendment fixes only superficial problems, leaving the 
core faults of the bill intact.

The revisions are not currently out of the draft stage as far as can be 
determined, but may be intended to be introduced by Exon on the Senate 
floor in an attempt to convince the Senate that the CDA is "fixed" and 
should be preferred over the Leahy counter-legislation. The draft changes 
various minor parts of the bill (e.g. changes "knowingly and willfully" to 
"knowingly"); allows but fails dismally to require that the implementation
of technology to enable the user to restrict or prevent access to "obscene,
lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent" material may be used to avoid 
liability on the part of system operators; and separates out some 
offenses from others more clearly.  The revisions also aim to 
satisfy the concerns the Justice Dept. had regarding the poorly written 
CDA's negative effect on law enforcement's ability to enforce "dial-a-porn"
statutes and (to the DoJ's credit) its negative effect on the protection 
citizens enjoy under privacy laws.  Whether the changes actually do 
address these problems is highly questionable.

The Exon legislation revised by this draft amendment will remain 
unconstitutional, as it still attempts to ban expression protected by the 
First Amendment.  Even the regulation of indecency has been limited by 
the courts to very narrowly defined circumstances - none of which apply 
to online media. Such restrictions, even if eventually overturned after 
years of expensive legal battles, will greatly hamper networking 
development and will stifle freedom of expression online, rendering all
electronic communications subject to censorship so that adults are 
limited to accessing and expressing only that which is suitable for 

Additionally, the new version introduces a new problem: It protects only
large commercial service providers from more-restrictive state laws.  The 
draft states: "No State or local government may impose any liability 
for commercial activities or actions by commercial entities...that is 
inconsistent with the treatment of those violations under this section..."
EFF concurs with the Center for Democracy & Technology in finding no 
valid argument for according greater protection to commercial than 
non-commercial speech.  Indeed the entire history of commercial 
regulation and free speech jurisprudence in the U.S. points in the 
opposite direction.  The CDA revisions would leave individuals, educational
institutions, non-profit organizations, users' groups and all others 
besides commercial interests subject to whatever censorship measures states
might wish to enact on whatever whim.

The draft changes to the Exon bill, showing what was deleted and what was 
added, are available at:, /pub/Legislation/Bills_by_number/s652_051995_amend.draft, 1/EFF/Legislation/Bills_by_number, s652_051995_amend.draft

* Sen. Lott to Attempt to Rip Sysop Defenses from Exon Bill

CDT in their alert regarding the Dole/Grassley bill also note that
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) has announced plans to introduce an amendment to 
S.652 to remove all of the service provider defenses from the Exon 
language (the CDA).  *This move would make the Exon bill even more of a 
privacy and free speech threat than the original Exon bill.*  Holding 
system operators liable for the posts of users over which they hold no 
editorial control threatens to put most providers out of business, stifle 
free expression online, and force the remaining providers to become 
full-time censors and invaders of user privacy.

[Apologies to those who also receive CDT newsletters and get essentially 
two copies of this information, but its relevance here and its effect on 
the now extreme urgency of the main action alert in this newsletter and 
on the Leahy petition drive requires at least summarizing the main points 
here again.]

The text of the Lott amendment will be available as soon as we receive it
from:, /pub/Alerts/, 1/Alerts
Look for a file with "lott" in the filename.

* The Other Side of the Coin: Feinstein Bill v. Bomb Material Online

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has drafted an amendment to the Senate 
Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention bill, S.735, of Sen. Dole.  Like the CDA
revisions, this remains an unintroduced draft, on hold until its parent 
bill is in open discussion in the Senate.  The draft intends to: 
"prohibit the dissemination of information on the making of explosive 
materials with intent or knowledge that such information will be used for 
a criminal purpose."

The draft amendment would mandate up to twenty years in prison for anyone 
who "teach[es] or demonstrate[s] the making of explosive materials, or...
disseminate[s] by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, 
the manufacture of explosive materials" if the person even "resonably 
should know" that such explosives or information "is [sic] likely to be 
used for, or in furtherance of, a federal offense or other criminal 
purpose affecting interstate commerce."

Though the legislation does not directly mention the Internet, it is 
certainly drafted to apply to online media, and was inspired by what 
Feinstein perceives (or hears about in the media, since it is unlikely 
the Senator has actually ever logged in and found any bombmaking 
instructions online) as tools for terrorism on computer networks.  The 
agenda is clear. Feinstein, herself a near-victim of a failed letter-bombing 
attempt, along with other legislators, representatives of the 
Administration, and spokespersons from the civil liberties community, 
participated in a May 11 Senate Terrorism Committee hearing on "The 
Availability of Bomb Making Information On The Internet".  Feinstein 
suggested that bomb-making data be banned from the net, according to 
_Interactive_Week_.  Calling such materials information that "teaches 
people to kill" she stated that it is "pushing the envelope of free 
speech to the extremes."  Feinstein was asked, and did not answer, if 
she intended to ban such materials (e.g. the widely available 
_Anarchist_Cookbook_) from bookstores, after she suggested 
that the "doctrine of prior restraint is one we have to look at", 
because such information "isn't what this country is all about."  

Others likely to support the Feinstein amendment if introduced when the 
anti-terrorism bill hits the Senate floor include Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and 
the Justice Department. Kohl at the same hearing commented that Americans 
would be shocked at the "dark back alleys of the Internet... In other words, 
the industry acts now, or Congress will do it for you... After all, if we 
have the technology to get kids on the Internet, we have should have the 
technology to get them off." Expanding on the overused outrage-generator of
protecting kids from the evils of electronic communications, Dep. Asst.
Atty. Gen. Robert Litt, testified, "Not only do would-be terrorists have
access to detailed information on how to construct explosives, but so do

Experienced BBS and Internet users may marvel at the seeming gullibility 
of these hearing pronouncements. It is clear that Kohl, Feinstein and Litt 
are unware, or choose to ignore, that most of the material they are 
decrying is actually written by minors - neither very accurate nor 
likely at all to be used by terrorists - and that far more reliable 
information on topics like the anatomy of a bomb can be had from most 
public libraries (e.g. in the _Encyclopaedia_Britannica_), and from the 
U.S. government itself.  Brock Meeks writing for _Interactive_Week_ 
notes that the very bomb type used to destroy the Federal Building in 
Oklahoma City is covered in a "detailed recipe" in the Forestry 
Service's own readily available _Blaster's_Handbook_.

Others at the hearing, including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), warned against 
looking to censorship for a solution. Leahy retorted that the real problem
is "harmful and dangerous conduct, not speech".  Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA),
who chaired the hearing, appeared to remain rather neutral on the issue, 
being neither certain that censorship and access restriction to online 
material was technically feasible, nor encouraged to call for censorship 
by the DoJ's admission that they had no evidence at all of crimes taking 
place as a result of information gathered from the Internet.

The full text of the Feinstein draft can be found at, /pub/Legislation/Bills_by_number/s735_95_feinstein_amend.draft, 1/Legislation/Bills_by_number, s735_95_feinstein_amend.draft

There's plenty more to worry about from this and other anti-terrorism 
legislation, most of which proposes one or more unconstitional 
"solutions" to perceived problems, and many of which seek to expand, in 
some cases radically, law enforcement and intelligence wiretapping 
authority and abilities.  These bills, archived by bill number, are 
also available in the Bills_by_number directory at the sites above.

* Prodigy Potentially Liable for User Postings

In a case that could have major ramifications for BBS system operators and
Internet newsgroup moderators, a New York state trial court ruled that
communications service provider Prodigy Services Company may be liable for
potentially libelous statements made by one of its users.  Prodigy was sued
by the securities investment banking firm of Stratton Oakmont, Inc., and
its president, Daniel Porush, for statements made by an unidentified poster
on Prodigy's Money Talk bulletin board.  The statements claimed that
Stratton Oakmont committed criminal and fraudulant acts in connection with
the initial public offering of stock of Solomon-Page, Ltd.

Stratton Oakmont and Porush sued Prodigy, the volunteer moderator of the
Money Talk forum, and the anonymous user who made the postings.  Prodigy
filed a motion for summary judgment, asking to be dismissed from the case
on the claim that Prodigy could not be held responsible for the postings of
its users.

On May 24, 1995, the court held that Prodigy had editorial control over the
messages in the Money Talk forum and was therefore liable for the content
of those messages.  According to the New York Supreme Court (which is a
trial level court in New York), Prodigy's policy of systematically
monitoring messages made it liable for the content of these messages.

In addition, the court held that since Prodigy directed and controlled the
actions of volunteer Board Leaders, at least for the limited purpose of
monitoring and editing the Money Talk bulletin board, Prodigy was
responsible for the actions of its Board Leaders.


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: Jun. 6, 1995

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

July 5-
     7  - Key Players in the Introduction of Information Technology: Their
          Social Responsibility & Professional Training; Namur, Belgium.
          Sponsored by CREIS.

July 5-
     8  - Alliance for Community Media International Conference and Trade
          Show. [See Jan. 31 for proposal submission deadline info].
          Contact: Alliance c/o MATV, 145 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148
          Fax: (617) 321-7121; Voice: Rika Welsh (617) 321-6400

July 5-
     8  - 18th International Conf. on Research & Development in Information
          Retrieval; Sheraton Hotel, Seattle, Wash.

July 6-
     7  ! Interoperability & the Economics of Information Infrastructure;
          Freedom Forum, Rosslyn, Virginia.  IITF/NSF/Harvard/FFMSC joint
          workshop to "analyze and evaluate economic incentives and
          impediments to achieving interoperability in the National
          Information Infrastructure.  The goal is to help agencies,
          associations, the Administration, and the Congress to develop
          sound policies for realizing the vision of a seamless,
          interoperating NII. Deadline for proposals: Mar. 17.  Deadline
          for submissions: June 15.
          Contact: +1 617 495 8903 (voice), +1 617 495 5776 (fax)

July 11-
     15 - '95 Joint International Conference: Association for Computers and
          the Humanties, and Association for Literacy and Linguistic
          Computing; UCSB, Santa Barbara, Calif. Will highlight the
          development of new computing methodologies for research and
          teaching in the humanities
          Contact:  Eric Dahlin, +1 805 687 5003 (voice)

July 22-
     26 - Syllabus'95; Sonoma State U., Rohnert Park, Calif.
          "The premier conference covering the use of technology in the
          Contact: 1-800-773-0670 (voice, US-only), +1 408 746 200 (voice,


Subject: Quote of the Week

In light of the advent of Sen. Feinstein's draft bill, we'll keep last 
issue's quote of the week for this issue too:

"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

* Communications Decency Act (the Exon Legislation)

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 the replacement of Exon's 
communications decency language in the Senate telecom reform bill s.652 
with S. 714, Sen. Leahy's alternative to the Comm. Decency Act.  Explain 
quickly, clearly and politely, why you feel the Exon language is dangerous.

S.652, the Senate telecom deregulation bill, now contains Sen. Exon's
"Communications Decency Act" (formerly S.314.)  The House version of the 
CDA, H.R.1004, is essentially stalled.  The House telecom reform bill
will almost certainly include the Leahy language, a fact that may be 
worth mentioning to your Senators.

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

* The Dole/Grassley Draft Internet Censorship Bill

As above, contact your Senators, and ask them to oppose this legislation,
and to support the Leahy amendment to S.652.

* The Lott Draft Amendment to the Exon Legislation

As above, contact your Senators, and ask them to oppose this amendment to 
the Senate Telecom Bill.  Ask the to not only oppose this but oppose all 
of the Communications Decency Act, urging them to support the Leahy 
alternative, currently S.714.

* The Feinstein Draft Internet Censorship Bill

As above, contact your Senators, and ask them to oppose the addition of
any such legislation, particular that authored by Sen. Feinstein, to the
Dole "Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act", S.735.  You may also wish 
to express your concerns about other civil liberties problems raised by 
the bill, and encourage your Senator to vote against such proposals until 
a proper study and period of public evaluation an input have taken place.

* 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.  If you do not know who your Representatives are, 
you should contact you local League of Women Voters, who typically maintain
databases that can help you find out.

* 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
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