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EFFector - Volume 9, Issue 2 - EFF Open Letter to US Net Users on Comm. Decency Act Compliance


EFFector - Volume 9, Issue 2 - EFF Open Letter to US Net Users on Comm. Decency Act Compliance

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                          Happy Valentine's Day!
EFFector Online Volume 09 No. 02      Feb. 14, 1996
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation        ISSN 1062-9424


EFF Open Letter to US Net Users on Comm. Decency Act Compliance
ALERTS: Blue Ribbon Campaign and "24 Hours in Democracy"
The CDA: Has It Fallen? Can It Get Up?
EFF Statement on CDA Impact, Substance and Process
Activists' Corner
 Blue Ribbon Campaign
 Pro-CDA Free Speech Skeptics
 URGENT: We Need to Know What's Happening in Your Area!
 EFF Notes
 Get Out the Netly Vote
 Govt. Printing Office Online Access Finally "Free" - Fresh not Stale Bills
 PROFS Case Update - Closer to Resolution
Upcoming Events
Quote of the Day
What YOU Can Do

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


Subject: EFF Open Letter to US Net Users on Comm. Decency Act Compliance

                                                           Feb. 12, 1996

                                      The Electronic Frontier Foundation
                                              1550 Bryant St., Suite 725
                                              San Francisco CA 94103 USA
                                                 +1 415 436 9333 (voice)
                                                   +1 415 436 9993 (fax)

Dear U.S. members of the Internet community:

Now that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) has been signed into law, many
decision makers in business, academic, and other organizations are writing
EFF to inquire whether and how to bring their systems into compliance with
the new statute.  We have received a deluge of inquiries about assessing the
risks of non-compliance, and of simply maintaining the status quo and
operating as usual.

We believe, as do many members of Congress, that this law is patently
unconstitutional. The new statute violates the First Amendment by being both
overbroad and vague.  This makes it exceedingly difficult for us to advise
you in a reliable way about what you can do to avoid risks (other than the
unacceptable choice of having to shut down altogether).  

During the time between filing our Feb. 8th court challenge against the CDA,
and either a preliminary injunction against enforcement or a final ruling in
the case, we have only two suggestions which we feel we can responsibly make
to you.  

First, if you operate a general purpose system, our advice is to please be
patient and do not overreact to the current cries for censorship.  It is
precisely because the CDA language is difficult to understand and apply,
that we cannot advise you yet what the proper procedures are.  No one can,
and that is why the CDA will ultimately fail.  Freedom of speech in the
electronic world is fragile --don't risk damaging it before it's clear that
you have to.

Second, if the fundamental focus of your business is distributing sexually
explicit materials, we suggest you implement a procedure to screen out
minors.  Provisions in existing US law suggest that acceptable ways to
screen out minors are: 
  * to require credit card numbers to gain access; or
  * to use a password system and verification of user identity and
    age; and

  * to have procedures in place which allow immediate removal of a
    user if s/he is discovered to be a minor.

If you are contacted by a government authority in regard to a possible 
violation of the new law, please notify us immediately. This way we can 
work to address the legal issues of your specific situation and we can 
keep track of how law enforcement agencies are interpreting the CDA, and
share this information with others who are trying to understand and evaluate
this law. And, with this information, we may be able to provide better
guidance in the future.

Again, we believe that the restrictions that have been included in the 
legislation will be struck down in court.  We have sought a temporary 
restraining order (TRO), and plan to follow it with a request for a
preliminary injunction, to prevent enforcement until the court renders a
final judgment in this case.  A judge is expected to hear on our request for
a TRO within a week. 

In the meantime, while your are evaluating how to best manage risks, we urge
that you do not make any decisions based on hasty reasoning or fear of
liability.  EFF is here to help you proceed in a reasonable and cautious
manner that emphasizes preserving the integrity of your service as well as
the First Amendment.


Lori K. Fena
Executive Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation


Subject: ALERTS: Blue Ribbon Campaign and "24 Hours in Democracy"

* Blue Ribbon Campaign

[If this alert is redistributed separately, please leave this notice 
attached:  For more information, contact  Released Feb. 12, 
1996, do not redistribute after Mar. 1, 1996 - instead see for updated information.]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), decries the forfeiture of free
speech prescribed by the sweeping censorship provisions of the
telecommunications "reform" legislation, and similar regulatory attempts
at the US state, and non-US national, levels.

EFF is launching a campaign using a blue ribbon as a symbol to visually
communicate support for free speech in the electronic world.  The blue 
ribbon is the longer-term outgrowth of the blackened page protest, in 
which thousands of WWW authors turned their web pages black for two days 
after the Comm. "Decency" Act was signed into law.  That protest 
attracted a lot of much needed attention, but it is not enough!

As a provider of content on the Internet we invite you to join in this new
awareness campaign by displaying a link to a "Blue Ribbon" page (such as 
the one at our site, and several others) with updates on what is 
happening in the efforts to restrict - and preserve - free speech online.

WWW page icons, sample HTML anchors and information on the progress of the 
campaign are all available from:

This page links to updates on the legal challenges to the CDA, alerts 
regarding other censorship attempts, even information for skeptics who 
have been misled into believing the CDA is good legislation.

As our servers are somewhat overloaded, please feel free to use one of 
the following alternate sites:

We are also seeking mirror sites who can run the Apache WWW server (or 
another that will allow remote sites to use our domain name) to help absorb 
some of the load on our system by serving local copies of the relevant 
material as additional "" servers.  If you can help with this,
please contact

BBS-using readers may wish to post (or encourage their sysops to post) 
ANSI and ASCII ribbons and frequently updated info on their systems.

When offline, try wearing a real blue ribbon on your shirt or jacket.

Don't wait in silence. Please join the fight for free speech, press and 
association online!

* 24 Hours in Democracy  [From]

[NOTE: This project is in need of volunteers to help coordinate things, 
and in particular needs server resources.  See
for more info. The original Feb. 14 date has been moved back to Feb. 22.

  *** The net has been redefined ***

On February 8, 1996 cyberspace was redefined by the US Government.

If you doubt me, visit . Click on the
calendar icon next to What's New.  Check out their coverage of the  Telecom
Act, and their celebration of 24 Hours in Cyberspace. I think this trip
should be required reading for every freedom-loving  webmaster, webwriter
and web user.

The first huge blast of cyberpsace puffery and a historic rejection  of
the US Constitution, on the same day.

A coincidence? An accident of history? Hmmmm.

If we want real change, now is the time to make an investment in
democracy on the Internet.

Every voice can be heard. Our ideas speak for us. We can persuade,
cajole, taunt, seduce, use logic, examine all aspects of a problem, learn,
be angry, be scared, and then find the most eloquent statement, the one
that resonates deepest within all of us.

And then we march.

    *** It's our turn ***

Here's my proposal.


Start time: 12:01AM, Pacific Time, February 22, 1996.

End time: 11:59PM, Pacific Time, February 22, 1996.

24 Hours of Democracy.

They defined cyberspace.

We define democracy.

  *** Write an essay ***

What does freedom mean to you?

What does democracy mean to you?

What are your hopes and dreams for the Internet?

Have you ever experienced grace or nobility on the net?

Do you have children? Are you a child? What do you think?

How does the Internet help make things right?

Be angry! That's cool. And be respectful. It's Valentine's Day!

Write a love letter to the Internet.

  *** How it works ***

Spend a couple of days writing your essay.

Talk about it with your friends. Share ideas. Listen.

When you're ready, post your essay to the web. If you don't have a
website, check out the Sponsors page at the 24 Hours website. I'm
enlisting the help of service providers. We may have an easy way for people
who don't have sites to get their essays posted to the web.

Shortly after the start time I'll mail a DaveNet piece telling you where
to send the URL for your page.

The styling of the page is entirely up to you. There's a Template page
n the 24 Hours site, the URL is at the bottom of this email. I suggest
using a white background for easy reading, and to contrast the black
backgrounds of last week. Use animated GIFs. RealAudio. Java   applets.
Shockwave parts. JavaScript banners. Near the bottom of   the page, put
some keywords about yourself, where you are   geographically, your email
address. Web crawlers will be able to   extract this information and index
it. Follow the example in the   template if possible.

At the top of your page, create three links, Next, Prev and Index.
After the 24 Hours database is compiled, a few days after the end time,
we'll send you a mail message containing the addresses to fill into   each
of these pointers. Next and Prev will point to essays written by   other 24
Hours participants. The Index link will point to a home page   for the
whole project.

Essays will not be judged or reviewed. You own your own words, and are
responsible for what you write.

  *** Who can help ***

Moms & Dads: Ask your kids how they feel about the Internet. Have they
made new friends? What have they learned? Did the Internet ever scare them?
Make some quiet time. Listen.

Teachers: This would make a great homework assignment for your   students.

Webmasters: You have to seduce people into caring about this stuff.
Convey your excitement to people you work with. It's not just about
pornography, it's about freedom. Point them to "Netscape"'s home   page.
Ask them to read your essay. Create a page of pointers to their   essays.

Computer users: Be a visionary! What kind of software would you like   to
see coming from the software industry over the next few years?

Graphic artists: We need colorful schemes, a simple message, low
bandwidth art with commercial appeal.

Celebrities, political leaders: Do you have something to say?

Editorial organizations: Can you review essays and choose the most
compelling ones or the most interesting ones?

Online companies: We need mail, web and database servers; search
engines. Can you make it easier for your users to get a single page up on
your server? Can you assist them in registering their pages on   Wednesday?
Can you give them a discount, or provide free storage for   their essays?
Bandwidth, support and free service to participants   is what counts.

Everyone: Have fun! That's what this is about. Be creative. As soon as
it stops being fun we stop growing, and that's the end. Be positive!

  *** Only a week left ***

That's about it.

I've committed the next few weeks to making this happen.

I want to work with people, where possible, but by design it's a very
distributed Internet sort of thing.

I plan to write my own 24 Hours essay, and have lots of ideas for the

Let's have fun!

  Dave Winer

  PS: People have said there's not enough time. I think there is. I've
been getting lots of long emails from people in response to the DaveNet
pieces I've been running. We'll get something done on 2/22/96 and then if
it works, we'll do it again in a few weeks.

  PPS: Please watch  for project
and sponsorship news and other information.

  PPPS: Remember, if you want to participate in the legal system, it's
*very* important that if you're old enough, that you vote. Think about
who you can support. 1996 is an election year in the US. Be part of the
system. If you're a voter, please vote!

  PPPPS: Please pass this essay on! The 24 Hours project is worldwide.
It's open to everyone, of all nationalities.

It's your turn to speak: 


Subject: The CDA: Has It Fallen? Can It Get Up?

[Redistribute at will.]

In the days after the passage of the unconstitutional "Communications 
Decency Act" as part of the Telecom bill, the CDA appears to be toppling
just as it should have begun to ride high in the saddle of fundamentalist
"victory" (though the battles are hardly over yet.)

The entire Congress passed this bill (some Members knowing it was 
unconstititonal, and some on the other extreme not even knowing the CDA 
existed), with the exception of the following legislators who voted 
against the whole Telecom Bill:


Earl Hilliard (D-AL), Pete Stark (D-CA), Pat Schroeder (D-CO), Neil 
Abercrombie (D-HI), Lane Evans (D-IL), Sidney Yates (D-IL), Barney Frank
(D-MA), John Conyers (D-MI), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Harold Volkmer (D-MO),
Pat Williams (D-MT), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Peter 
DeFazio (D-OR), Timothy Johnson (D-SD), Bernard Sanders (independent-VT)


Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Paul Simon (D-IL), Paul 
Wellstone (D-MN), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and John McCain (R-AZ).

(Plus a handful that did not vote.)  In all, only a singe Republican, out 
of both Houses of Congress, voted to preserve American freedom of 

The President proclaimed, in the first State of the Union Address to 
mention the Internet, "When parents control what their children see, 
that's not censorship. That's enabling parents to assume more 
responsibility for their children. And I urge them to do it". Clinton 
then, in a signing party timed to coincide with the press attention given 
to the "24 Hours In Cyberspace" multimedia event, enacted a law that
strips parents of the right and responsibility to decide what is 
appropriate for their own children.  The CDA would not only fail to help 
"parents control what their children see" - a goal long supported by 
EFF, ACLU, VTW, CDT and others opposed to the "decency" bill - but actually 
hinder the development of tools and services to help parents and 
teachers filter children's Net access.

* Backlash

It is ironic that it took passage of this law to garner the public and 
media attention it warrants.  

For 48 hours after President Clinton's signing of the CDA into law, 
thousands of Web users and BBS sysops world wide took part in a "Thousand 
Points of Darkness" protest of the new censorship law by turning their Web 
page and login screen backgrounds to black, to mourn the death of the 
Internet as we know it.  Some, including online magazines such as 
Factsheet Five Electric and Scamizdat, blanked out their entire online 
offerings, replacing everything that had been available with a 
single sentence: "This is what censorship looks like".

The protest garnered major news coverage of the Net censorship debate for 
the first time.  Finally the debate has shifted from false "save the 
children" hype to the real issue: free speech, press and association 
rights in new media.  The "facts", figures and motives of the 
lobbyists and lawmakers behind the CDA are at last being more widely 

The "black page" protest is being followed up with a long term 
awareness-raising and protest effort, in which particants, already 
numbering in the tens of thousands, wear blue ribbons, and place 
graphics of blue ribbons on their online services and homepages. 
Participants range from individual users, to online journalism 
sites like HotWired, to major centers of Internet connectivity like 
Netcom and Yahoo!, among others.

As with Germany and France, where attempted censorship of online 
information has backfired, leading to proscribed data's immediate 
global availabilty from numerous anti-censorship "mirror sites", the U.S. 
government may have to learn the hard way. The online community is 
determined to knock the lesson into regulators' heads.  To cater to 
censored U.S. users, "offshore" anonymous Internet access providers are 
popping up, such as Offshore Information Services Ltd - - offering $50/month privacy-protected 
accounts from tax-haven island Anguilla.

In case that were not enough, an ad-hoc programmer coalition, the Decense 
Project - at - has produced an 
"de-censoring" solution, which like that of the Anguilla ISP, also provides 
privacy protection as a bonus: Decense, "a cgi script designed to 
provide a double-blind pseudonym scheme which allows a site to hide 
behind a chain of http servers which 'proxy' for it. Neither the user [ID]
requesting the document, nor the ultimate address of the destination web 
site is immediately available to prying government eyes."

* Action in Court and Congress

The action has spread offline as well. There has already been an public
protest rally in Washington DC on Feb. 10, and there are others in the 
works.  The University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia will see a 
demonstration just before a scheduled speech by VP Gore.  A DC "Electronic
Freedom March" is gearing up, and even high school students are donning
blue ribbons and demonstrating against reactive academic censorship

Most importantly, the new law itself is under concerted attack in 
the courts and on the Hill.

EFF, with ACLU and 24 other organizations, have filed a federal lawsuit 
against the Department of Justice (DoJ), in the Phildelphia court of Judge 
Ronald Buckwalter, challenging the CDA on constitutional grounds. As of 
Feb. 13, Judge Buckwalter has not only commended the plaintiffs on a well-
written lawsuit, but has put the case on the fast track, demanding a DoJ 
response by Wed. Feb. 14. The Judge further indicated that he will 
likely grant plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO), 
by Thu., Feb. 15 at the latest, without further hearings.
The TRO would prevent enforcement of the CDA pending a hearing before and 
decision from a panel of three judges, on a motion for a longer-term 
preliminary injunction that would prevent all enforcment of the 
"decency" provisions until the real meat of the case is settled - 
whether the CDA stands up to constitutional challenges.  The hearing on 
the long-term injunction should take place within the next few weeks.  And 
the balance of the legal "tests" the CDA must face are very much in plaintiffs'

Though the DoJ has agreed to make no arrests under the new statutes between 
now and the probable issuance of a TRO this week, content and access 
providers should be warned that the FBI and other Justice Dept. agents
may later decide to prosecute for CDA violations committed during this 
time, if they eventually win the case - a possibility everyone should be 
concerned about.  And plaintiffs' attorneys warn that even the little 
assurance provided by DoJ for now is rather meaningless since it has not
been put in writing.

The Justice Dept. and the Christian Coalition are expected to present, as 
evidence supporting the CDA, the most vulgar content they can possibly find 
online - though this tactic could backfire.  After all, the CDA does not 
address pornography (obscenity) at all, since it is already illegal 
online or offline, but rather targets indecency, a broader category 
including nudity in almost any context, or "indecent" words like those 
found in any PG-rated movie.

In the mean time, the Telecom bill has been delivered a one-two-punch by 
some of the legislators that voted against it the first time around.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), like Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), was a 
high-profile participant in the WWW Blackout protest, and has, with
Sen. Russ Feingold, introduced a new bill (S.1567) to repeal most of the 
CDA. This legislation will likely need to be re-examined and modified to 
make sure it actually succeeds in the goal of removing the threat posed 
by the Communications Decency Act.

* Women's Groups and Others Join the Battle

Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-CO) is attacking another dangerous provision of 
the Telecom Bill - an amendment outlawing the online distribution of 
certain kinds of abortion-related information. The amendment in question 
was slipped into the leviathan telecommuncations "deregulation" package 
by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), who also shepherded the final version of the CDA.

Schroeder announced that she will introduce a bill, when Congress 
re-convenes on Feb. 26, to repeal this less well-known Telecom Bill 
assault on free expression. (It should be noted that although Rep. 
Shroeder voted against the Telecom bill in the final vote, she can be 
partially blamed for the existence of the CDA in that bill - she voted 
"yes" on it in committee deliberations, along with a majority of her 

The "abortion gag rule" in the Telecom bill is also being slammed in 
in another lawsuit, Sanger v. Reno, filed in New York by the Center for 
Reproductive Law and Policy, and many other plaintiffs.  In this case, 
U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter has (according to ACLU releases) admitted 
the unconstitutionality of the CDA, and also agreed to hold off enforcing 
it for a while. East District of New York Chief Judge Charles P. Sifton has 
asked Chief Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd 
Circuit to convene another 3-judge panel to decide this case.

Sifton has not granted a TRO or injuction. The Judge appears to find the 
DoJ's assurances sufficient evidence that this particular provision will 
not be enforced or chill free speech. His decision may also rely on the 
fact that the section of the ancient Comstock censorship law modified 
by the Telecom Bill to ban abortion info online, has not been enforced in 
many years.  However, no court has yet to rule the Comstock Act  
unconstitutional, leaving some people worried for the short term, even if 
they expect an eventual favorable decision from the 3-judge appellate court.
Content providers and internet users, as well as women's groups, are also
not pariticularly comforted by the platitudes of supporters of the 
abortion info ban, who have disingenously claimed they simply want to 
update the Comstock law for consistency reasons and to show support for 
"Christian" ideals, but don't expect anyone to actually be censored 
under the new revisions.

Plaintiffs' attorney Simon Heller said, "We are extremely pleased that the 
Clinton Administration has recognized the invalidity of this law. 
However, we believe a court ruling against the provision barring receipt 
or provision of abortion information is still necessary to prevent a 
future administration or radical right-wing members of Congress from 
wielding it against women's health care providers and advocates." 

* Shifting Lines

It is clear that the Internet and computer industries do not support the 
Communications Decency Act, though most organizations in these fields did 
not act, other than to support EFF and other advocacy groups, until too 
late.  It has shocked the commercial world as well as the general public 
that Congress would actually pass a bill so terrible.  The industry is, 
however, increasinly participating in protest, and legal, action against
the CDA, realizing that such important decisions as what we each should 
read or avoid cannot be left up to government.  Even the usually 
Beltway-shy Microsoft is taking a stand; in an AP interview, the company's 
leader, Bill Gates, said of the Internet regulation attempt, "Unfortunately,
it means we're going to have to spend some time in Washington, DC. In 
the first 15 years of Microsoft history, we never visited Washington."

And content producers of all sorts are expressing concern, even outrage, 
from upstart multimedia giants, to major print publishers, all of 
whom now find not only their free press rights but also their livelihoods 
threatened. As journalism organizations have flocked to the pro-speech 
side, only one news association, to our knowledge, has offered anything 
but derision for the CDA. (Newspaper Association of America President 
John Sturm expressed support for the telecom bill as a whole, citing only 
disappointment at the censorship, and support of the "motives of the 
conferees to protect children from obscene and indecent material".  One 
wonders how closely Mr. Sturm has questioned those motives.)

It is clear that the fundamentalist organizations and legislators behind 
the CDA have neither an understanding of the medium and issue, nor any 
particular desire to inform the public or the media. The Family Research 
Council - - disinformed readers by quoting and 
explaining in their newsletter the obscenity restrictions from an older 
draft of the bill (which they helped replace with an unconstitutional 
"indecency" version) in an attempt to imply that the FRC and their 
favorite bill would prohibit online distribution of obscenity.

Religious right spokespersons, as well as CDA sponsors like Exon 
and Hyde, repeatedly tell the press and tv news programs that they are 
trying to "protect children from pornography" as if somehow unaware that 
their bill actually makes it more difficult to prevent children from 
being exposed to inappropriate materials, by removing all incentive to 
continue developing services and software which genuinely perform this 
needed function. 

But perhaps even the moralists are having second thoughts (or trying to 
save face): Confronted with World Wide Web co-creator Tim Berners-Lee's 
free Net filtration software, Christian Coalition spokersperson 
Heidi Strup conceded that the program "definitely would be a useful tool 
for us."  One must wonder how and why the CC and its allies failed to 
realize this 6 months ago.

More education and outreach is clearly needed, so that legislators do not 
fear the net, so that lobbyist groups do not push for unneeded and 
hazardous legislation, and most importantly so that the general public 
have a better understanding of their free speech rights and recognize the 
early warning signs of censorship threats.

On the other side of the issue, organizations like Voters' Telecom Watch 
(, with help from local activists (see, for example 
the "Tennessee Hit List" of bad legislators at
vow to bring the Net constituency into its own in upcoming elections.
They are gearing up to vote out legislators and other officials at all 
levels who betray the trust of their voters by pushing for censorship. 
The online voting bloc will have a number of people to remove from 
office, it seems, given Congresspersons like Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-VA), 
chair of the House Telecom Committee, who seems to consider the CDA's 
assault on the Constitution an inconsequential matter to be fixed by 
"technical corrections" to the bill later in the year. And what about 
Vice-President Al Gore? For all his "Information Superhighway" hype, 
Gore stronly supported passage of the legislation, since, after all, the 
courts can take care of the unconstitutional stuff.  Sen. Carl Levin 
(D-MI) echoed both sentiments, at an "ask the politicians" event in 
Kalamazoo, MI, claiming that the CDA was only "one small page in a very 
large bill", and stating that he knew it was unconstitutional and (you 
won't believe this) that it is "always necessary to test the 
Constitutionality of some legislation", ergo no service providers would 
get hurt!  Perhaps Sen. Levin considers this a game, but online voters 
may just cure him of that notion come election day.  And let's not 
forget legislators from Connecticut and other states, who did not even 
know the CDA was in the Telecom Bill - they passed it without reading 
the bill at all, much less understanding it's impact.

* Civil Disobedience (and Decidedly Uncivil Obedience)

At present EFF cannot advise what to do and not do under the CDA.
No one can.  The law is too vague and overbroad to be applied meaningfully.

Some sites are already closing, with more providers broadly self-censoring 
their content.  The moderator of an amateur radio discussion group 
closed the forum down, saying only, "I have closed my mailing lists to 
minors, not in protest but for my own protection. Since I enforce rules 
of conduct for the lists, I think I'm too close to being part of content 
creation to be safe should one of the subscribers post a 4-letter 
word."  If the judges in the cases challenging the CDA need any evidence 
of the chilling effect of this legislation, this should be all they need.

Other content providers, including many who had never thought of posting 
"offensive" materials at all, are engaging is widespread civil 
disobedience, deliberately violating the new Act. A particularly 
creative example can be found at
- you can send a Valentine'd Day card to Sen. Exon, reading "In honor of 
Valentine's Day, I thought I would send you an example of some of the 
nudity I've found on the Internet - Enjoy", and including your choice of 
several classic works of art, including Michelangelo's "David" and 
Boticelli's "Birth of Venus".

Yet more are being "uncivilly obedient", complying - barely - by 
ROT13-encrypting "dirty words", putting "CENSORED!" banners all over 
their web pages, replacing scatological terms with legislators' 
surnames, and other actions of visible obedience-under-duress.  

Still, helpful as these actions may - or may not - prove to be, some 
protest activities are decidedly unhelpful.  "Spamming" Senate and House 
email addresses, particularly with indecent material is self-defeating.
Please remember that this legislation passed because legislators by and 
large were too ignorant of the medium to recognize that the Net is not 
really a den of pornographers and terrorists.  Irresponsible and 
overtly threatening gestures - especially threat letters or dirty 
stories - will only prove to legislators' minds that they were right after 

Lastly, please keep in mind that obvious civil disobedience can be 
dangerous, particularly as "Oklahomans for Children and Families" and 
other local fundamentalist groups are on the prowl, vowing to report to 
police any CDA violations they find. The current hold on enforcement of 
these laws by the Justice Dept. does not even mean you can't be prosecuted 
for violations occuring now (assuming the court cases fail, which is 
probably not a good assumption, fortunately), only that you won't be 
prosecuted right now.

Stanton McCandlish,
Online Activist & Webmaster
Electronic Frontier Foundation
San Francisco - Feb. 13, 1995

[* I observe that only one Republican voted against the CDA because it 
is a fact. This does not constitute an endorsement of the Democractic 
Party or any other kind of endorsement on my or EFF's part.]


Subject: EFF Statement on CDA Impact, Substance and Process

EFF Statement on 1996 Telecommunications Regulation Bill
 Feb. 1, 1996                               Electronic Frontier Foundation
                                            Lori Fena, Exec. Dir.
                                            415/436-9333 *
                                            Mike Godwin, Staff Counsel
                                            510/548-3290 *
                                            Shari Steele, Staff Counsel
                                            301/375-8856 * 
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), decries the forfeiture of free
speech prescribed by the sweeping censorship provisions of the
telecommunications "reform" legislation passed overwhelmingly by the 
House and Senate Feb. 1, 1996, almost immediately after being reported 
out of committee, before the public was able to read, much less comment 
upon this bill.

Congress demonstrates once more their willingness to abandon their most
sacred responsibilities - the protection of the US Constitution and
Bill of Rights - in order to expedite legislation that sacrifices 
individual, family and community rights in its rush to win the support 
of telecom industry giants as well as the religious right, during an 
election year.
The consolation offered by our elected officials to those concerned about
abridging free speech, is that there is a high probability that the
censorship provisions in this bill would not stand up to court challenges
based on constitutional grounds. 

Consider this a wake-up call.  Our elected officials have spoken, and 
with the passage of the most sweeping US telecommunications legislation 
in over 60 years, our Constitutional rights in the new medium
of computer networking have been usurped.  As the 21st century draws near,
our elected representatives have chosen to take us back to the close of 
the 19th.

EFF is dismayed by the process and substance of this legislation, as
well as by the immediate and far-reaching negative impact it will have on 
individuals, society and commerce.
This latest version of the "Communication Decency Act", originally proposed
by Sen. James Exon (D-NB), contains a deadly combination of a vague and 
overly broad definition of what speech is unacceptable online, criminal
prosecution, and large monetary fines, which will set off a tidal wave of
censorship to avoid real and perceived liability.

Although the bill provides for some protection for service providers, this
shelter only exists if the provider takes an active role in censoring 
public and private messages. We have already felt the industry foreshocks 
when AOL and CompuServe responded to recent government censorship 
requests. The censorship wave will begin with the largest online 
services, and flow rapidly through the whole U.S. community of service 
and content providers.

The result will be a crippling of free society and commerce in the U.S., and
damage to the global Internet. 

Individual participants in this medium stand to lose the freedom that has
characterized the Internet since its beginning.

Providers of online content, such as authors of World Wide Web documents, 
or hosts of AOL forums, will find themselves forced to "dumb down" all 
information and entertainment that they provide into little more than a 
cleansed, thin collection of "G-rated" material suitable for children.  
If the Internet is one vast, global library of information, this 
legislation will have reduced the public spaces of the Net to the 
"children's room" of that library. 

System operators and access providers will divert resources to censorship
mechanisms and programs to avoid exposure to felony-level criminal liability
for the actions and posts of users over whom they can exercise no control.

New multi-billion dollar industries currently based in the U.S., such as
Internet service, online publishing, and digital commerce, face
economic uncertainty just as they begin to hit their stride, as investors,
stockholders, and customers evaluate the negative impact of censorship on
the value of their product and their company.

The telecom bill unwisely encourages states to follow suit, defining and 
legislating online censorship and liability their own ways.  These 
aftershocks, already working their way through state legislatures all 
over the country, will subject individuals and companies to legal mayhem 
as they run into contradictory local regulations enforced from afar against 
providers and users in other jurisdictions.

The long-term effects could reach other media as well.  As traditional 
content providers such as publishers, newspapers, television shows and 
talk radio, increasingly merge with online communications, it will 
become prohibitively expensive to produce two versions of the content, 
one for the Net, and one for everywhere else - a  single, censored, version 
for all formats would be produced, chilling expression in print and 
other currently freer media. 
A quick review of the political process which produced this bill
demonstrates how bad legislation occurs when the content of a bill is kept
from public scrutiny, allowing only staffers and lobbyists to participate. 
* There have been no public hearings on this legislation.  Neither the
  CDA, nor the larger Telecom Bill have been presented openly to the
  public. As a result, Congress has neither heard expert testimony about the
  medium and industry, nor allowed constituents to review and comment on what
  their "representatives" are doing.
* No conference committee report or final bill text was made available for
  review, except to committee staffers and innermost lobbyists until after
  passage.  Despite repeated promises from House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
  Congress has failed to provide online public access to committee reports 
  and "live" bills. 
* Congresspersons voted for passage of this regulation without even having
  time to read, much less consider the impact of, the bill - less than 
  one day after it is voted out of conference.
* The sponsors of the bill and its fundamentalist supporters have, with no
  public participation or oversight, thrown away more rational proposals, 
  including the Cox/Wyden bill, which would have actually helped parents 
  and teachers control the online access of their children and students.

* The fundamentalist lobby and the CDA sponsors have "spun" this legislation
  as "protecting children from pornography", when in fact it does not address
  pornography at all, and actually removes the incentives to develop improved
  filtering and labelling services. EFF continues to support empowering
  parents and the education community with tools and services that 
  ensure children only have access to appropriate material online.  Support
  for free speech does not equate to support for pornography (obscenity), 
  harassment, or the sexual abuse of children, which are already illegal, 
  online or offline.  Even the Justice Department itself has stated - 
  and demonstrated - that it already has all the authority it needs to 
  enforce these laws.
EFF, along with Taxpayer Assets Project and several other public interest 
organizations, have repeatedly asked that current Congressional information
be immediately provided to the public, not just to lobbyists, and that
that the Telecom Bill be put on hold, pending full public participation 
in this debate.  Voters may wish to express to Congress how they feel 
about being denied the right to read or have a say in legislation 
that threatens their freedom of expression.

A brief summary of the problems inherent in the Telecom Bill's censorship
provisions illuminates the magnitude of the issues.  The CDA would:
* subject all online content to the interpretation of ill-defined
  "indecency" law;
* irrationally equate Internet communications with radio and TV broadcasting,
  and unconstitutionally impose on computer networks indecency restrictions
  that are more severe than those applied to any other medium;

* actively hinder the on-going development and refinement of real 
  solutions to problems such as online harassment and parents' needs to 
  supervise their own children's online access;
* in all probability will establish broad FCC regulation of the Internet,
  with all of the attendant problems that will entail;
* create a new "access crime", equating the posting of material on a web 
  site, or even the provision of basic Internet access, with willful 
  transmission of indecent material directly to minors - harming the online
  service industry, and retarding the development of the electronic press;

* afford no effective legal protection for system operators, creating a 
  speech-chilling liability no more sensible than holding librarians and 
  postmasters responsible for the content on bookshelves and in parcels.

* weaken the privacy of all Internet users by turning system operators
  into snoops and censors.
* would criminalize even classic works of literature and art, or medical 
  and educational materials on breast cancer or sexually transmitted 
  disease. Obscenity law, not the indencency law used in the Telecom Bill, 
  considers literary, artistic or scientific value. Indecency law makes 
  no such exceptions.

Many reasonable adults might be surprised to find that the Telecom Bill's
indecency restrictions could ban:

* the online distribution of the King James Bible, which quite prominently 
  features the word "piss" (in II Kings) - a word already specifically 
  defined by the Supreme Court to be indecent;

* the text (or video, for that matter) of a PG movie that any child may
  attend without parental supervision, not to mention the R-rated content 
  available on any of a number of cable TV stations;

* a _Schindler's_List_ WWW site, which could earn an Internet service 
  provider prison time;
* anything featuring nudity, in any context, including breast cancer
  information or photos of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel paintings, which
  could result in the poster have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars
  in fines, if the material happened to seem "patently offensive" to an 
  excitable prosecutor.

This is the grim reality of censorship through indecency regulation: It
makes no allowances for artistic merit, social value, or medical necessity.
It is without reason, and without conscience.

Court Challenge

Fortunately, there is a very good chance that the courts will refuse
outright to uphold the Communications Decency provisions of the Telecom
Bill. EFF, along with other civil-liberties groups, will be mounting a
legal challenge to the bill's censorship provisions, on First Amendment and
other Constitutional grounds. Among the bases for challenging the act:

* Unconstitutional expansion of federal authority. It is inappropriate
  for the Federal Communications Commission or any other federal agency to
  dictate standards for content in a medium where there is no independent
  Constitutional justification for federal regulation, as there has been in
  the broadcast arena and in certain narrow areas of basic telephone
  service. Like newspapers and bookstores, the Internet is fully protected
  by the First Amendment.

* Vagueness and overbreadth. The terms the act relies on -- "indecency"
  and "patently offensive" -- have never been positively defined by the
  courts or the Congress, and so create uncertainty as to the scope of the
  restriction, necessarily resulting in a "chilling effect" on protected
  speech. Moreover, these terms criminalize broad classes of speech that are
  understood to be protected by the First Amendment, including material that
  has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

* Failure to use the "least restrictive means" to regulate speech. The
  First Amendment requires that speech regulation laws must pass the "least
  restrictive means" test.  That is, if government censorship is not
  the least restrictive possible means of ensuring the goal (protecting
  an unwitting or under-age audience from unsolicited indecency), then
  the restriction is unconstitutional.  In the case of the Internet,
  government control is demonstrably not the least restrictive means,
  as filtration, ratings, and labeling technology and services are already 
  available and operational - from software tools to help parents shield 
  their children from inappropriate material, to special filtered 
  Usenet service for entire schools, in which all information has been
  checked for indecent content.

An indecency restriction must pass all of these tests to be constitutional.
The Communications Decency Amendment fails every one of them.

EFF, together with a wide range of civil-liberties groups and
organizations that would be affected by the legislation, has already
joined preparations for a massive legal challenge to the CDA should
it pass - an effort that should enjoin enforcement of this legislation,
and, we hope, prevent the darker scenarios outlined above.  The entire
process will be very costly in time, human resources and money, but is
necessary to protect what remains of our rights to free speech, press, and

Launching of the Blue Ribbon Campaign

A blue ribbon is chosen as the symbol for the preservation of basic civil 
rights in the electronic world.
EFF asks that a blue ribbon be worn or displayed to show support for the
essential human right of free speech.  This fundamental building block of
free society, affirmed by the U.S. Bill of Rights in 1791, and by the U.N.
Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, has been sacrificed in the 1996 Telecom
The blue ribbon will be a way to raise awareness of these issues, and for 
the quiet voice of reason to be heard.

The voice of reason knows that free speech doesn't equate to abuse of
women and children, or the breeding of hatred or intolerance.


For more information on the Blue Ribbon Campaign, including blue ribbon
graphics we encourage Net users to prominently display on their WWW pages 
with links to the URL below, please see:, 1/Activism/BlueRibbon, /pub/Activism/BlueRibbon/

For more information on the Communications Decency legislation and other 
Internet censorship bills, see:, 1/Alerts, /pub/Alerts/


Subject: Activists' Corner

* Blue Ribbon Campaign 

Please take a little bit of time to get some ribbon and safety pins, 
which should be available at many local stores, and fashion some blue 
ribbons to wear and to hand out.  You'll be surprised how many people 
will ask what it means and wear a ribbon themselves when you tell them.

Please also put blue ribbon graphics on your homepage. See for more info. If you have some extra 
time and resources, please set up your own blue ribbon info page, to help 
spread the word - and spread the load on our hard-working servers (and 
sysadmin! :)

* Pro-CDA Free Speech Skeptics

If you are active in online forums where the CDA is a hot topic, or are 
hosting a blue ribbon page on your own site, you will sooner or later get 
one or more flames from people professing to support the goals of the 
Communications Decency Act. Many of these people will display hostility, 
and an great deal of confusion about what the new law really says and means.
Many will also be ideologically opposed to the concepts of free speech.
The latter die-hards may be a lost cause, but even if they seem that way, 
please refer them politely to
- There they will find the CDA's provisions and their meaning explained 
in lay terms as well as explorations of what the negative impact of the 
CDA, if enforced, will be on online communications, electronic libraries, 

Remember: People new to the net, who have seen little accurate media 
coverage on this issue, and who are concerned about the welfare of their 
kids, are not enemies. They are simply potential allies you have not yet won 
over.  Pro-speech advocates have something in our favor: We are telling 
the truth about the CDA, about indecency law, and about the nature of the 
Internet, and can prove it.

* URGENT: We Need to Know What's Happening in Your Area!

EFF does not have an army of hundreds of legal researchers. As a result, 
we cannot track every piece of relevant legislation evey day. If you have 
or can obtain information on impending state-level, or non-US national-level, 
censorship (and anti-privacy) legislation and regulation, then please do 
so, and pass the info on to us.  Even if we completely defeat the CDA, 
this will have done no good if every other state and country is passing 
Exon-alike censorship bills.  *This is happening already.*
When adequate info is available, it will appear at (currently featuring info 
on progress in derailing a state Net censorship bill in New York, and a 
partial update on what is happening in Germany - much more will be coming 

You may also wish to consider helping start a local "Electronic 
Frontiers" organization in your area.  There's not better time than now, 
and if we all wait for someone else to do it, it will never get done.
You'll be in good company; such independent "EF" groups are already 
active in Texas, New Hampshire, Norway, the UK, Italy, Australia and 
several other places.  If you are committed to doing this, please get in 
touch with Stanton McCandlish, EFF's online activist (, who 
can put you in touch with people working on similar projects, and also 
give you at outline of some steps to take to make it happen.


Subject: NewsNybbles

* EFF News 

  -, our web server, is now 4 web servers in one (3 in-house 
    machines, and 1 remote server - thanks to APK!)  The mirroring is not
    working perfectly yet. If you encounter problems, please try connecting
    directly to the "master" version of, (e.g.
    replace "www" in any EFF URL with "kragar".) Please do not bookmark or
    create links to kragar URLs - the bugs should be worked out soon, and
    the vast majority of connections via should work just fine.

  - We've seen an increase in WWW traffic over the last week or so, from
    60-80,000 hits per day to over 700,000 hits per day when we quit 
    counting.  By now we estimate it is over 1,000,000 per day.  Most of
    this traffic is due to the Blue Ribbon Campaign. This is a very 
    encouraging sign that the campaign is working, and working rapidly.

  - Ye editor's apologies for the lag between the last EFFector and this one.
    I'm also EFF's webmaster, and simply keeping up with the telecom bill's
    passage and the subsequent lawsuits and grassroots activism had absorbed
    all available time.  CDT, VTW and others reported on much of this action
    very well, and thanks to the black page and blue ribbon campaigns,
    there's been a load of "traditional" media attention as well, so we doubt
    EFFector telling you the same things would have helped much anyway.
    Things are now getting into the details - the legal challenges, the
    action campaigns, the state and foreign shockwaves, so EFFector is 
    back on the beat.

* Get Out the Netly Vote

If the folks at the Voter's Telecommunication Watch have their way, civil
liberties on the Internet will be a prominent issue in federal, state and
local campaigns this year.

VTW has already started encouraging candidates to think about their
stances on encryption, censorship and public on-line access to government
documents. During a special election in Oregon to fill retiring Sen.
Packwood's seat. Candidates from the American, Democratic and Republican
parties all signed a "Technology Pledge," asserting their support of
civil liberties on the Internet.  The one who had a track record of 
actually upholding such values in Congress, then-Rep. Ron Wyden, won by a 
narrow margin. Narrow enough that he may have lost if not for the 
support of online constituents.

Given more preparation time, increased awareness, and the public ire 
spawned by the passage of the Communications Decency Act, the online 
voting bloc's power should be even larger, come November.

Since the conclusion of the Oregon election on Jan. 30, VTW has said it will 
begin gearing up for other races in 1996.  See for 
more info.

Those who aren't willing to wait can express their views with votes that 
count in a different way. VoteLink, and advertiser-supported service free 
to users presents topics on which visitors can vote and debate. The 
results of these surveys are distributed to press organizations, 
Congress, and the White House.  VoteLink is available at  NOTE: VoteLink will soon have available a special
section on the CDA, and we urge you to add your input.  The results of 
this survey too will be send to regulators and major media outlets. This 
is another opportunity to make your voice heard!  [EFF does not 
commercially endorse VoteLink or any other service or product.  We simply 
recognize a good opportunity for activists here.]

* Govt. Printing Office Online Access Finally "Free" - Fresh not Stale Bills

It seems as if the U.S. government has been heeding the call for 
increased access to federal records. As of December 1, 
the Government Printing Office's GPO Access on-line service has been 
transformed from a restricted access, subscription-based service to a "free" 
(already tax-paid) Internet service.  It seems likely that the last year and 
more of protests from Internet users has paid off - user upset at being 
charged again - and charged a lot - for what they've already paid for 
with their tax money.  The action now must move to the state level, as 
California and other areas prepare to gouge taxpayers to satisfy 
monopolistic demands of companies accustomed to being able to re-sell 
public information at high cost.
The GPO went on-line in June 1994, and since that time access to the 
service has been free only at 600 of the nearly 1,400 Federal Deposit 
Libraries and to users of 20 deposity library "gateways."
GPO Access provides on-line text of the Congressional Record, the Federal 
Register, congressional bills, and other government documents to the 
public the same day they are published.  This is a very under-announced 
victory.  The much-touted "Thomas" service from the Library of Congress - - provides legislative texts far too late for many 
of them to be of any use to the concerned citizen.  Letters of support to 
the GPO are now warranted - this agency has done on its own, in response 
to citizen pressure, what all the promises of Speaker of the House Newt 
Gingrich have failed to deliver: immediate public access to the law as it 
is being made, rather than after the fact when it is too late to affect.

GPO access is not perfect. The interface could use some work, and there 
remain problems with the publication process itself - committee and 
conferences drafts remain the purview of specially-favored lobbyists, for 
example, preventing almost all public input into the most important 
decisions being made in Congress.  But it's better than what was 
previously available.

GPO is funded from Congressional monies for the Federal Depository 
Library Program and can be accessed at
Users can also telnet to and log in as "guest," or 
dial direct to 202-512-1661, type "swais" and log in as "guest."

Australian and British citizens aren't so lucky however. It seems the
government-owned publishing organizations in these countries want to 
exploit their copyright commercially instead of providing free Internet 
access to the public information it is in charge of publishing. In the 
UK, a group called the Campaign for Freedom of Information is calling for 
the government to post the daily record of the parliament and the
Acts of Parliament to the Internet.  Electronic Frontiers Australia may 
take similar action "down under".

* PROFS Case Update - Closer to Resolution

Now in it's seventh year of litigation, all but one essential aspect of
the PROFS case has been settled. In Dec., 1995, the District Court for
Washington, DC, issued a ruling agreed upon by both parties which
stipulated that the government would pay the plaintiffs $585,803 to
cover attorney's fees and expenses in the portion of their complaint
concerning the preservation of federal e-mail.

The case began in 1989 when the American Historical Association and
journalist Scott Armstrong went to court seeking a temporary injunction
to prohibit the destruction of e-mail messages of the National Security
Council. Armstrong v. the Executive Office of the President is often
referred to as the PROFS case because the NSC was using IBM's PROFS 
(Professional Office System) software for electronic mail.

The case also dealt with federal response to a Freedom of Information Act
request made by Armstrong and a controversy over whether NSC records are
agency records and therefore subject to the Federal Records Act or
presidential records, which are not. The only remaining portion of the
case left to be decided is the governments appeal of a District Court
judge's decision that NSC records were subject to the FOIA.

The judge made his ruling last spring and the decision was heard on
appeal in September. No judgement has yet been issued in the
government's appeal.

As a result of the PROFS case, the National Archives has set new
standards for the preservation of federal agency e-mail. All federal e-mail
messages are now considered official documents and subject to the FOIA as
are their paper counterparts. Also as a result of the PROFS case,
federal e-mail must now be transferred to paper or to electronic tape in
order to be preserved by the National Archives.

Also in December, the government dropped its own appeal in a related case
of the American Historical Association v. Carlin. A district court judge
had ruled illegal an agreement between former President George Bush and
former U.S. Archivist Don Wilson which gave the president control over the
backup tapes of e-mail messages at issue in the PROFS case.


Subject: Upcoming events

This schedule lists events that are directly EFF-related. A much more 
detailed calendar of events likely to be of interest to our members and 
supporters is maintained at:

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

Feb. 14 - CDA Protest Rally, U. Penn., Philadelphia PA
          Be there, to protest Internet censorship right before a
          speech by VP Gore!

Feb. 15 - HotWired Electronic Frontiers Forum; online event, 7pm PST
          "speak"ers will include EFF's fellow members of the Coalition
          to Stop the CDA, Shabbir Safdar of Voters' Telecom Watch and
          Jonah Seiger of the Center for Democracy & Technology. Topic:
          The Communications Decency Act and other threats to online
          free speech.  Users can participate via either WWW
          ( or telnet ( 2428).

Feb. 22 - 24 Hours in Democracy, 12:01am-11:59pm PST
          "They defined cyberspace.  We define democracy."  A global
          multimedia event in support of online free speech, privacy and
          other democratic values. NOTE: This event still needs a lot of
          content, and a lot of volunteered time, effort, server horsepower,
          etc. Please get active and help out!
          Email: Dave Winer (

Mar. 27-
     30 - CFP96, the Sixth Conference on Computers, Freedom, & Privacy;
          MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sponsored by ACM SIGCOMM,
          SIGCAS, SIGSAC, and the World Wide Web Consortium.  This is
          THE electronic privacy conference. Speakers include EFF
          representatives (and CFP is also the time and place of the
          EFF Pioneer Awards ceremony.)


Subject: Quote of the Day

"It is error alone which needs the support of government.  Truth can
stand by itself."
 - Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on Virginia"

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 make us secure from ourselves that our government 
representatives may deprive us of our essential civil liberties? 
Concerned that legislative efforts nominally to "protect children" will 
actually censor all communications down to only content suitable for 
the playground?  Alarmed by commercial and religious organizations abusing
the judicial and legislative processes to stifle satire, dissent and 

Join EFF!

Even if you don't live in the U.S., the anti-Internet hysteria will soon 
be visiting a legislative body near you.  If it hasn't already.


Subject: What YOU Can Do

* The Communications Decency Act & Other Censorship Legislation

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

Business/industry persons concerned should alert their corporate govt.
affairs office and/or legal counsel.  Everyone should write to their own
Representatives and Senators, letting them know that such abuses of 
public trust will not be tolerated, that legislators who vote against
your free speech rights will be voted against by you in the next elections.

Join in the Blue Ribbon Campaign - see

Support the EFF Cyberspace Legal Defense Fund:

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 (e.g. WWW), send your request
for information to

* Digital Telephony/Comms. Assistance to Law Enforcement Act

The FBI is now seeking both funding for the DT/CALEA wiretapping provisions,
and preparing to require that staggering numbers of citizens be 
simultaneously wiretappable.  

To oppose the funding, write to your own Senators and Representatives 
urging them to vote against any appropriations for wiretapping. 

We are aware of no major action on this threat at present, but keep your
eyes peeled. It will be back.

* Anti-Terrorism Bills

Numerous bills threatening your privacy and free speech have been introduced
this year.  None of them are close to passage at this very moment, but 
this status may change. Urge your Congresspersons to oppose these 
unconstitutional and Big-Brotherish bills.

* The Anti-Electronic Racketeering Act

This bill is unlikely to pass in any form, being very poorly drafted, and 
without much support.  However, the CDA is just as bad and passed with 
flying colors [the jolly roger?] in the Senate. It's better to be safe 
than sorry. If you have a few moments to spare, writing to, faxing, or 
calling your Congresspersons to urge opposition to this bill is a good 

* Medical Privacy Legislation

Several bills relating to medical privacy issues are floating in Congress 
right now. Urge your legislators to support only proposals that *truly* 
enhance the medical privacy of citizens.

More information on this legislation will be available at soon.  Bug to make 
it appear there faster. :)

* 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. (A House list is included in this
issue of EFFector). 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 are having difficulty determining who your Representatives are,
try contacting your local League of Women Voters, who maintain a great 
deal of legislative information, or consult the free ZIPPER service
that matches Zip Codes to Congressional districts with about 85%
accuracy at:

Computer Currents Interactive has provided Congress contact info, sorted 
by who voted for and against the Communcations Decency Act:

* 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
1550 Bryant St., Suite 725
San Francisco CA 94103 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)
Membership & donations:
Legal services:
General EFF, legal, policy or online resources queries:

Editor: Stanton McCandlish, Online Activist, Webmaster (
Assoc. Editor: Ryan Thornburg, Communications Intern (

This newsletter is 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.  HTML editions of the current issue sometimes take a day or 
longer to prepare after issue of the ASCII text version.


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