Last Chance on Censorship Bill
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 95 20:31:23 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Last Chance on Censorship Bill
Excerpted-from: EFFector Online 08.19
Organization: Electronic Frontier Foundation
Subject: EFF Statement on Proposals Regarding Content Control on the Net
Dec. 5, 1995
The Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains its longstanding position
that no new legislation is required to regulate content in cyberspace, and
that the existing federal and state framework provides an adequate legal
basis for the prosecution both of illegal material and of any
victimization of children.
Given the Telecom Bill conference committee's insistence that it must pass
new content legislation affecting the Net, however, EFF acknowledges the
value of the approach of Rep. Rick White (R-Washington). Rep. White, who
clearly possesses substantial familiarity with Net communications and legal
issues, is attempting to steer the Telecom Bill toward legislation that
remains within the bounds of well-understood Constitutional principles,
that provides protections for providers and users from the
"chilling effect" of overreaching federal statutes and overbroad risk of
legal liability, and that empowers parents and other users to make their
own content choices in online environments.
EFF does not endorse all provisions of the White proposal. We do, however,
endorse the following principles, which Rep. White has attempted to
incorporate in his proposal:
1) No crimes based on the vague and undefined notion of online
2) Encouragement of open-ended filtering/labelling systems that empower
parents and other users to make their own choices about net content.
3) Refusal to impose strict legal liability on providers, system
operators, and others, given that such liability would chill the existence
and growth of free online forums.
4) Extension of the same protections to commercial and educational forums.
5) Setting the criminal-intent element of any criminal-law provisions so
that users and providers cannot accidentally become criminally liable.
EFF notes that the alternative to the White proposal -- a proposal offered
by Rep. Hyde -- is so deeply repugnant both to parental autonomy and to
the First Amendment's protections for freedom of speech as to constitute a
direct authoritarian assault on the fabric of the Net. The conference
committee is being fiercely lobbied by religious extremists who falsely
represent themselves as speaking for all who care about families,
children, and morality -- these extremists will stop at nothing to enact
legislation that is aimed not at the protection of children, but at the
silencing of everybody whose values do not echo their own.
EFF strongly urges the conferees not to take this nation and this new
medium down the path of unthinking, fearful censorship. We ask that the
conferees instead refuse to assume that the only way to protect our
children and ourselves is to turn our backs on the First Amendment.
Americans are a smarter people than that, and we expect our
representatives not to fall for this false choice. The true choice is
between those who would cut the Constitution to fit their own moral
fashions and those who believe that our citizens can, at the same time, be
trusted both with freedom of speech and with the primary authority to make
choices for their children.
For further information, contact:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Regrettably, we do not yet have an online copy of the White proposal -
yet another reason you should join the hundreds if not thousands of
citizens who have written to Rep. Gingrich to make good on his months-old
promise to ensure that the public had immediate online access to *all*
legislative information, including bill amendments!
When available the text will be at
gopher.eff.org, 1/Alerts, s652_hr1555_white_amend.draft
For the time being, CDT has provided analysis of the White amendment and
competing drafts from more censorious legislators. See
http://www.cdt.org/publications/pp311204.html for this analysis.
ALERT: *Last Chance* on Net Censorship Legislation! Act NOW!
CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE NET CENSORSHIP LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS
(INCLUDING THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT AND THE HYDE AMDT)
Short Update: The Conference Committee will vote this week!
What You Can Do Now: Call the conference committee and tell
them to oppose Rep. Hyde's proposal
to censor the Internet.
Time is running out.
CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL NET CENSORSHIP LEGISLATION
Dec 4, 1995
PLEASE WIDELY REDISTRIBUTE THIS DOCUMENT WITH THIS BANNER INTACT
REDISTRIBUTE ONLY UNTIL December 20, 1995
REPRODUCE THIS ALERT ONLY IN RELEVANT FORUMS
THE LATEST NEWS
The fate of the Internet as we know it today and the future of freedom of
speech in interactive media will come down to a vote of the telecommunications
reform bill conferees, scheduled for Wednesday December 6. A bad outcome
will criminalize content currently provided by millions of people on the
Internet as illegal and subject to jail time and large fines.
Call the conference committee now and tell them that parental control not
government censorship is the only effective means of addressing childrens'
access to objectionable content on the Internet. Don't wait. The stakes
here are too high.
Please look below at the list of legislators and call yours, and if yours
is not on the conference committee, call House Speaker Gingrich or Senate
Because of the slow speed with which staffers read legislators' email, email
to them will not be effective.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
1. Most of the proposals available to the conference committee will
fundamentally restrict your speech on the Internet and other public
networks. Look at the list below and call the legislators in your
state and ask them to oppose Rep. Hyde's efforts to censor the net.
If none of them are in your state, call Gingrich and Dole.
If we cannot convince the conference committee to make the right
choices at this juncture, we will have lost this campaign.
To see which legislator is yours, consult the free ZIPPER service
that matches Zip Codes to Congressional districts with about 85%
Or simply look at the list below organized by states.
If you're at a loss for words, try one of the following:
Please oppose the Internet censorship amendments for the
Telecomm bill being put forth by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL).
The only effective way to address children's access to
objectionable material on the Internet is through parental
As a religious person and a parent, I oppose the Internet
censorship language for the Telecomm bill currently proposed
by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). I, the parent, am the best person
to monitor my child's access to the Internet.
Although there is information on the Internet that I wouldn't
allow my children to see, I don't agree with the proposals
from the Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) and others that would censor the
the Internet. As a parent, I have parental control tools that
are far more effective at controlling my children's access to the
House members of the Conference Committee
Dist ST Name, Address, and Party Phone Fax
==== == ======================== ============== ==============
6 GA Gingrich, Newt (R) 1-202-225-4501 1-202-225-4656
14 CA Eshoo, Anna G. (D) 1-202-225-8104 1-202-225-8890
6 TN Gordon, Bart (D) 1-202-225-4231 1-202-225-6887
27 NY Paxon, Bill 1-202-225-5265 1-202-225-5910
7 GA Barr, Bob (R) 1-202-225-2931 n.a.
1 IL Rush, Bobby L. (D) 1-202-225-4372 1-202-226-0333
27 CA Moorhead, Carlos J. (R) 1-202-225-4176 1-202-226-1279
6 FL Stearns, Clifford B. (R) 1-202-225-5744 1-202-225-3973
4 NY Frisa, Daniel (R) 1-202-225-5516 1-202-225-4672
6 CO Schaefer, Daniel (R) 1-202-225-7882 1-202-225-7885
14 IL Hastert, J. D. (R) 1-202-225-2976 1-202-225-0697
7 MA Markey, Edward J. (D) 1-202-225-2836 1-202-225-8689
23 CA Gallegly, Elton (R) 1-202-225-5811 1-202-225-1100
6 IL Hyde, Henry J. (R) 1-202-225-4561 1-202-226-1240
26 CA Berman, Howard L. (D) 1-202-225-4695 1-202-225-5279
8 TX Fields, Jack (R) 1-202-225-4901 1-202-225-2772
6 TX Barton, Joseph (R) 1-202-225-2002 1-202-225-3052
5 TX Bryant, John (D) 1-202-225-2231 1-202-225-9721
14 MI Conyers Jr., John (D) 1-202-225-5126 1-202-225-0072
16 MI Dingell, John D. (D) 1-202-225-4071 1-202-225-7426
1 AR Lambert-Lincoln, Blanche (D) 1-202-225-4076 1-202-225-4654
10 OH Hoke, Martin R. (R) 1-202-225-5871 1-202-226-0994
5 IL Flanagan, Michael (R) 1-202-225-4061 n.a.
4 OH Oxley, Michael G. (R) 1-202-225-2676 1-202-226-1160
1 CO Schroeder, Patricia (D) 1-202-225-4431 1-202-225-5842
9 VA Boucher, Rick (D) 1-202-225-3861 1-202-225-0442
1 WA White, Rick (R) 1-202-225-6311 1-202-225-2286
6 VA Goodlatte, Robert W. (R) 1-202-225-5431 1-202-225-9681
3 VA Scott, Robert C. (D) 1-202-225-8351 1-202-225-8354
2 WI Klug, Scott (R) 1-202-225-2906 1-202-225-6942
18 TX Jackson-Lee, Sheila (D) 1-202-225-3816 n.a.
13 OH Brown, Sherrod (D) 1-202-225-3401 1-202-225-2266
5 IN Buyer, Steve (D) 1-202-225-5037 n.a.
7 VA Bliley Jr., Thomas J. (R) 1-202-225-2815 1-202-225-0011
Senate members of the Conference Committee
P ST Name and Address Phone Fax
= == ======================== ============== ==============
R MT Burns, Conrad R. 1-202-224-2644 1-202-224-8594
D HI Inouye, Daniel K. 1-202-224-3934 1-202-224-6747
D SC Hollings, Ernest F. 1-202-224-6121 1-202-224-4293
D WV Rockefeller, John D. 1-202-224-6472 n.a.
D NE Exon, J. J. 1-202-224-4224 1-202-224-5213
R AZ McCain, John 1-202-224-2235 1-602-952-8702
R SD Pressler, Larry 1-202-224-5842 1-202-224-1259
R WA Gorton, Slade 1-202-224-3441 1-202-224-9393
R AK Stevens, Ted 1-202-224-3004 1-202-224-1044
R MS Lott, Trent 1-202-224-6253 1-202-224-2262
D KY Ford, Wendell H. 1-202-224-4343 1-202-224-0046
R KS Dole, Robert 1-202-224-6521 1-202-228-1245
2. Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how it went.
$ Mail email@example.com
Subject: phoned Congress-person XXX
They thanked me for my opinion and said they had received many
calls speaking out against net censorship.
3. If you run any sort of system that allows a welcome message for all
users, please add the following:
Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) and others are lobbying for broad
infringements on free speech net by passing legislation that "dumb
down" Internet content to that which is acceptable to children. In
addition, services like this one might become liable for what their
users say and read on the Internet. Please call Congress now; for
more info URL:http://www.vtw.org/ or send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
"send alert" in the subject line. (12/4/95)
If you have a Web page that gets a lot of traffic, please add the
Stop Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) from dumbing down online speech!
4. This is a very tense week. A very very bad bill could be passed.
© 1995 Peter Langston