EFFector Online Volume June org Pub

Found at: gopher.meulie.net:70/EFFector/effect09.08

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EFFector Online Volume 09 No. 08       June 12 1996       editors@eff.org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation        ISSN 1062-9424

Federal Court Rules Communications Decency Act Unconstitutional
 Security and Freedom through Encryption (SAFE) Forum, July 1 (Stanford)
Upcoming Events
Quote of the Day
What YOU Can Do

* See http://www.eff.org/Alerts/ or ftp.eff.org, /pub/Alerts/ for more
nformation on current EFF activities and online activism alerts! *


Subject: Federal Court Rules Communications Decency Act Unconstitutional

Groups challenging the law prepare for government appeal to the Supreme Court

Electronic Frontier Foundation              

Contacts: Stanton McCandlish, Online Activist, +1 415 436 9333
          Mike Godwin, Staff Counsel, +1 510 548 3290
          Shari Steele, Staff Counsel, +1 301 375 8856

unfettered speech the First Amendment protects."

With these ringing words, a Philadelphia federal court has struck down a law
today that would have criminalized constitutionally protected speech on the

computer communications, a three-judge panel in Philadelphia's federal 
court ruled in a unanimous decision that the controversial 
"Communications Decency Act" (CDA) violates the U.S. constitutional 

"First of all, we are pleased to see the court vindicate our vision of 
the Net as a medium protected by the First Amendment," said Lori Fena, 
executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a watchdog 
computer communications. "Secondly, we are delighted that the court has gone
beyond striking down the law, and has stated positively what constitutional
medium the world has ever seen." 

Said EFF Chairman Esther Dyson: "This is a day for individual citizens, for
families, and for public and private organizations online to celebrate." 

"The judges recognized that CDA was a wholly inappropriate exercise of
counsel. "The law would have abridged one of the freedoms that Americans
treasure most, and a freedom that is central to any democratic society," he

Godwin applauded the members of the coalition that challenged the law in
federal court. "We and the other plaintiffs persuaded them that the

Dyson stated that the decision stands for one of EFF's principal positions
n the empowerment of any audience for that speech to control what they see.

"This decision takes the responsibility for controlling and accessing speech
on the Net out of the hands of government and puts it back in the hands of
already have the technical means to make their own choices about what they
and their children read and see," Dyson said.

Godwin noted that existing anti-obscenity laws, together with low-cost
technological solutions, offer a more efficient, less intrusive answer to
questions about protecting children in the online world.

"The government kept saying that this was a crisis that required harsher
censorship in the online world than in any other communications medium,"
Godwin said. "In fact, we showed that it's possible to promote both freedom
of speech and family values -- that the two goals don't oppose each other."

While the plaintiffs  are pleased with the victory, Fena said, "it's no time
to be complacent." A collection of poorly drafted state laws has followed in
the wake of the passage of the CDA, and the issues these statutes raise must
be addressed as well, she said. 

"What's as compelling as the language of this decision," Godwin said, "is the
breadth of the opposition to this legislation," He noted that two large
Electronic Privacy Information Center, People for the American Way, the
American Library Association, Microsoft, and Apple Computer, had challenged
the recently passed law in Philadelphia's federal court. Even Administration
officials have privately and publicly voiced their concerns. The plaintiffs
must now prepare for the government's planned appeal to the United States
Supreme Court, Godwin said, citing a provision of the Telecommunications
Reform Act of 1996, which prescribes such a direct appeal when a provision of
the telecom act is found unconstitutional in a lower court..

Godwin also commented that "this may be the most rapidly distributed federal
court opinion in American history." Sites all over the over the Net would be
carrying the full text of the opinion almost as soon as the judges hand it
computer diskettes as well as through more traditional means.

The constitutional challenge to the Communications Decency Act has been
overbroad (criminalizing protected speech), that it is unconstitutionally
vague (making it difficult for individuals and organizations to comply),
that it fails what the judiciary calls the "least restrictive means" test for
the First Amendment to engage in this type of content regulation in any
nonbroadcast medium.

"We are confident the Supreme Court will uphold the Philadelphia court's

To reach EFF board chairman Esther Dyson or executive director Lori Fena, 


The Electronic Frontier Foundation
San Francisco CA 94103 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)


Subject: NewsNybbles

* Security and Freedom through Encryption (SAFE) Forum, July 1 (Stanford)

         Security and Freedom Through Encryption Forum
                        July 1, 1996
                    Stanford, California

Making the Case for a Pro-Commerce, Pro-Privacy National Encryption Policy 

A National Public Education Campaign

The Message 
       Current U.S. export controls and other limits on encryption are 
       stifling electronic commerce on the Internet, preventing computer 
       users from protecting their privacy, and handicapping U.S. 
       industry in the global marketplace. Congress must eliminate 
       barriers to electronic commerce by removing these Cold
       War-era regulations of vital information technology. 
The Goal 
       Further encourage policy makers to relax export controls, by 
       raising public awareness of encryption's importance to U.S. 
       competitiveness, individual privacy, the economic future of the 
       computer industry, and ultimately jobs in America. 
The Event 
       The Security and Freedom Through Encryption (SAFE) Forum in 
       Northern California, hosted by Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) 
       and Tom Campbell (R-CA), with members of Congress,
       prominent industry leaders, and computer security experts. 

       Location: Kresge Auditorium at Stanford University, 
                 Stanford, California 
       Date: July 1, 1996 
       Audience: National and local press, California 
                 constituents, members of Congress. 
       Published proceedings in book form (MIT Press proposal pending). 

Simultaneous smaller events will be held by local organizers in cities 
across the nation. 

Event will include panel discussions, keynote presentations, and a 
technology demonstration.

Speakers and sponsors still needed - contact Daniel Weitzner or Alan 
Davidson at the Center for Democracy and Technology, +1 (202) 637-9800. 


Upcoming 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,
or conferences at which government representatives are speaking) are marked
ndicates a non-USA event.  If it's a foreign EFF event with govt. people,
t'll be "*!+" instead of "-".  You get the idea.

The latest version of the full EFF calendar is available from:

ftp: ftp.eff.org, /pub/EFF/calendar.eff

See also our new Now-Up-to-Date HTML calendar at:

June 15 - Open discussion of the lack of computer industry philanthropy.
          $10 dollar donation includes dinner and drinks. ($5-children); 
          4pm - midnight, Fred and Sylvia's CyberSalon West, 630 San 
          Miguel Way, Berkeley, CA.
          Contact: +1 510 526 5555

June 16-
     20 - Society and the Future of Computing; Snowbird, UT.
          Email: rxl@lanl.gov
          URL: http://www.lanl.gov/SFC

June 17-
     18 - Practicing Law Institute's 16th Annual Institute on Computer
          Law: Understanding the Business and Legal Aspects of the Internet;
          San Francisco, CA
          Contact: +1 800 477 0300
          Email: info@pli.edu

June 17-
     18 * Venture Market Europe - presentation and discussion of private
          technology company CEOs' international business plans and ideas;
          London, England.  Speakers will include EFF Board of Directors
          Chairperson, Esther Dyson.
          Contact: +1 415 865 2277 x210 (voice), +1 415 865 0453 (fax)

June 17-
     22 - World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia,
          ED-MEDIA 96; Boston, MA. Submission deadline: Oct. 20, 1995.
          Contact: +1 804 973 3987
          Fax: +1 804 978 7449
          Email: aace@virginia.edu

June 21-
     22 - ISTAS 96, International Symposium on Technology and Society;
          Princeton Univeristy, Princeton, NJ. Abstract submission
          deadline: Dec. 15, 1995.
          Email: istas@wws.princeton.edu
          Fax: +1 609 258 1985

June 21-
     22 - "Personal Information - Security, Engineering and Ethics,"
          sponsored by the Britsish Medical Association; Isaac Newton
          Institute, Cambridge, MA. Deadline for submissions: May 10.
          Contact: Dr. Ross Anderson, Isaac Newton Institute, 20 Clarkson
          Road, Cambridge CB3 0EH, England
          Email: rja14@newton.cam.ac.uk

June 24-
     26 + Australasian Conference on Information Security and Privacy;
          New South Wales, Australia.
          Email: jennie@cs.uow.edu.au

June 25-
     28 + INET 96, The 6th Annual Conference of the Internet Society: "The
          Internet: Transforming Our Society Now"; Montreal Canada. Deadline
          for abstracts: Jan. 15.
          Contact: Carol Gray, International Secretariat
                   12020 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 210
                   Reston, VA 22091
          Voice: +1 703 648 9888
          Fax: +1 703 648 9887
          Email: inet96@isoc.org
          URL: http://www.isoc.org/conferences/inet96

June 26-
     28 - MIT seminar, "Converging Networks: Business and the
          Telecommunications Act of 1996."
          Email: cnbta@rpcp.mit.edu
          URL: http://farnsworth.mit.edu/Workshops


Subject: Quote of the Day

"We are in danger of getting government by the clueless, over a place
they've never been, using means they don't possess"
  - John Perry Barlow, EFF co-founder, 1995

Find yourself wondering if your privacy and freedom of speech are safe 
the rush to make us secure from ourselves that our government 
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 
moves to the US Supreme Court. But in the mean time, numerous states
of which are unconstitutional and pose severe legal threats for all Internet
access and service providers, as well as content providers, including 
anyone who uses mailing list forums or newsgroups or who has a web page.

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 
your free speech rights will be voted against by you in the next elections.

Join in the Blue Ribbon Campaign - see http://www.eff.org/blueribbon.html

Support the EFF Cyberspace Legal Defense Fund:

For more information on what you can do to help stop this and other 

ftp.eff.org, /pub/Alerts/

for information to ask@eff.org.

censorious legislation is turning up at the US state and non-US 
national levels.  Don't let it sneak by you - or by the online activism 
community. Without locals on the look out, it's very difficult for the 
Net civil liberties community to keep track of what's happening locally 
as well as globally.

* New Crypto-Privacy Legislation

Urge your Represenatitives to support the Pro-CODE crypto export bill 
(and to fix the few remaining bugs in it).  

For years US export controls on encryption have hampered the development
of secure communications online. This technology is vital for online 
commerce, for national security, and for YOUR electronic privacy.

The new Pro-CODE legislation will go a long way to rectifying the situation.

Join in the Golden Key Campaign - see http://www.eff.org/goldkey.html

Support the EFF Cyberspace Legal Defense Fund:

See also:
for more info.

* Digital Telephony/Comms. Assistance to Law Enforcement Act

The FBI has been seeking both funding for the DT/CALEA wiretapping 

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.

See http://www.eff.org/pub/Privacy/Surveillance/ for more info.

* Anti-Terrorism Bills

Several bills threatening your privacy and free speech have been introduced
this very moment - however, this status may change. Urge your 
Congresspersons to oppose these unconstitutional and Big-Brotherish 
bills, which threaten freedom of association, free press, free speech, 
and privacy. One such bill passed a few weeks ago, stripped of some of the 
more onerous provisions.  It could have been worse, and could yet still 
be worse.

Keep up the pressure. Write to your legislators: No 
authority, no national or "smart-card" ID systems!

For more information on some of this legislation, see 

* The Anti-Electronic Racketeering Act

This bill is unlikely to pass in any form, being very poorly drafted, and 
flying colors [the jolly roger?] in Congress. 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 
enhance the medical privacy of citizens.

More information on this legislation will be available at 
t appear there faster. :)

* Child Privacy Legislation

A new bill to protect children from unethical marketing practices (e.g. 
tricking kids into revealing personal information by offering prizes or 
like, and dislike, various points in this bill.  The legislators 

* Find Out Who Your Congresspersons Are

Writing letters to, faxing, and phoning your representatives in Congress
s 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: 
ftp.eff.org, /pub/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
nformation provided to us, so pass it on!

try contacting your local League of Women Voters, who maintain a great 
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
n 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
opinions heard.  EFF members are informed and are making a difference.  Join
EFF today!

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



EFFector Online is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
San Francisco CA 94103 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)
Membership & donations: membership@eff.org
Legal services: ssteele@eff.org
General EFF, legal, policy or online resources queries: ask@eff.org

Editor: Stanton McCandlish, Online Activist, Webmaster (mech@eff.org)

This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.

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End of EFFector Online v09 #08 Digest