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FWD:Religious Right Threatens to Shut Down Net: Call NOW

>Return-Path: <[email protected]>
>Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 13:43:13 -0500
>From: [email protected]
>To: [email protected]
>Subject: Religious Right Threatens to Shut Down Net: Call NOW
>Content-Length: 27519
>Here are the advocacy instructions for individuals opposed to the Federal
>Online Indecency Legislation that we promised last week.
>	Update: -Latest News:
>		 The Christian Coalition is pushing Congress to censor
>		 the net more heavily than even Sen. J.J. Exon ever imagined.
>	 	 There is the very real possibility that they may succeed.
>		 You should be very worried.  We are.
>		-What You Can Do Now:
>	 	 Follow the directions below and call House Speaker
>		 Gingrich and Senate Leader Dole.  Implore them
>		 to allow parents to make choices for their children, instead
>		 of government censors.
>		 Volunteer to join the fight by helping organize in your
>		 home town.  
>			   Nov 2, 1995
>	The Latest News
>	What You Can Do Now
>	The letter from Ed Meese and the Christian Right
>	Chronology of the CDA
>        For More Information
>        List Of Participating Organizations
>Since the very first day that Senator J.J. Exon (D-NE) proposed censorship
>legislation for the Internet, the Christian Right has pushed for the most
>restrictive regulations they could think of.
>The Religious Right (which does not necessarily speak for all religious
>people concerned with this issue) recently tipped their hand in a letter
>to Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD) and Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-VA) requesting
>a new and more restrictive net censorship proposal.
>There are essentially three new dangerous elements of their campaign
>to shut down cyberspace:
>The Religious Right has proposed to hold anyone who provides access to the
>Internet or other interactive media, including online services providers,
>ISP's, BBS's, Libraries, and Schools, criminally liable for all speech
>carried on the network.
>In order to avoid liability under this provision, service providers would be
>forced to monitor user's electronic communications to be assured that
>no "indecent" material is transmitted across their networks.
>This proposal is MORE RESTRICTIVE than the Exon Communications Decency Act,
>or any other net censorship legislation currently in Congress.
>In their letter to Congress, the Religious Right says:
>	[Providers] would simply be required to avoid KNOWING violations of
>	the law. [emphasis added]
>However, the "knowing" standard is vague enough that the mere knowledge
>that such material exists could be sufficient to trigger criminal liability.
>A single complaint or even a news report could force a service provider to
>take down a web page, remove posts to chat rooms or other discussion
>forums, or shut down listservs in order to avoid going to jail and facing
>huge fines.
>The proposals pushed by the Christian Coalition relies on the
>unconstitutional "indecency standard".  Like the Exon Communications
>Decency Act, the Christian Coalition seeks to regulate all indecent
>speech online.
>Indecency is a broad category that includes everything from George Carlin's
>"seven dirty words" to such classic novels and "The Catcher in the Rye" and
>"Lady Chatterly's Lover". 
>The Supreme Court has ruled that restrictions on indecent speech are 
>Constitutional only if they rely on the "least restrictive means".  Broad
>indecency restrictions on interactive media do not satisfy the "least
>restrictive means" test, because interactive media allows users and
>parents tremendous control over the information they receive.
>Any legislation which attempts to apply an indecency restriction to the 
>Internet is unconstitutional on its face.
>The Christian Coalition's proposal that relies on an indecency
>restriction contemplates dumbing down every conversation, web page,
>newsgroup, and mailing list on the Internet to the level of what is
>not offensive to children.
>What kind of discussions between adults are possible in an arena
>where everything has been reduced to the level of the Lion King?
>The Christian Coalition would give the FCC broad jurisdiction over
>cyberspace.  It would allow the FCC jurisdiction over your online
>speech, and over the design Internet software, such as web browsers and
>filtering programs that parents can use to control their children's
>access to the Internet.
>The Internet has developed from a government project to a market-driven
>economic boom for thousands of businesses.  Giving the FCC authority over
>this medium would significantly hinder the growth of this new industry.
>1. The proposals from the Religious Right will literally destroy online
>   speech as we know it.  The odds of stopping this are not certain.
>   There is a very real chance that this legislation will pass, and
>   we will experience a period of uncertainty and chilling of speech
>   while an appropriate test case attempts to reach the Supreme Court
>   (should it even get there!)
>   The Religious Right has a strong grass-roots network.  We need to
>   counter their energy and ensure cyberspace is not lost due to them.
>   IMMEDIATELY CALL House Speaker Gingrich (R-GA) and Senate Leader
>   Dole (R-KS) and urge them to oppose the Christian Coalition's
>   proposal.
>   Name, Address, and Party     Phone            Fax
>   ========================     ==============   ==============
>   R GA Gingrich, Newt 		1-202-225-4501   1-202-225-4656
>   R KS Dole, Robert            1-202-224-6521   1-202-224-8952
>   If you're at a loss for words, try one of the following:
>	Please oppose the recent proposal from the Religious Right to
>	censor the Internet.  The only effective way to address children's
>	access to the Internet is through parental control tools outlined
>	by the Cox/White/Wyden approach.
>   or
>	As a religious person and a parent, I oppose the Religious Right's
>	attempts to censor the Internet.  I am the best person to monitor
> 	my child's access to the Internet using parental control tools
>	as outlined in the Cox/White/Wyden approach.
>2. Join the online fight by becoming a volunteer for your district!
>   Check to see if you're legislator is in the list below.  If they are
>   not, consult the free ZIPPER service that matches Zip Codes to
>   Congressional districts with about 85% accuracy at:
>	URL:http://www.stardot.com/~lukeseem/zip.html
>   The conference committee legislators are:
>   House: Barr (R-GA), Barton (R-TX), Berman (R-CA), Bliley (R-VA),
>	Boucher (D-VA), Brown (D-OH), Bryant (D-TX), Buyer (R-IN),
>	Conyers (D-MI), Dingell (D-MI), Eshoo (D-CA), Fields (R-TX),
>	Flanagan (R-IL), Frisa (R-NY), Gallegly (R-CA), Goodlatte (R-VA),
>	Gordon (D-TN), Hastert (R-IL), Hoke (R-OH), Hyde (R-IL),
>	Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Klug (R-WI), Lincoln (D-AR), Markey (D-MA),
>	Moorhead (R-CA), Oxley (R-OH), Paxon (R-NY), Rush (D-IL),
>	Schaefer (R-CO), Schroeder (D-CO), Scott (D-VA), Stearns (R-FL),
>	White (R-WA)
>   Senate: Burns (R-MT), Exon (D-NE), Ford (D-KY), Gorton (R-WA),
>	Hollings (D-SC), Inouye (D-HI), Lott (R-MS), McCain (R-AZ),
>	Pressler (R-SD), Rockefeller (D-WV), Stevens (R-AK)
>   If your legislator is on the conference committee, you have a chance
>   to influence their vote on this issue with your power as a constituent.
>   Volunteer to help educate your legislator by sending mail to
>   [email protected]  A coalition volunteer will be in touch with you.
>   You can starting working to help spread the word in your district by
>   sending this letter to five friends.  Ask them to call Dole and Gingrich
>   as well.
>3. The People for the American Way (PFAW) and the American Civil Liberties
>   Union are organizing a letter from ORGANIZATIONS to the Conference
>   Committee to oppose the censorship provisions.
>   If you are a representative of an organization that would like to
>   signon to this letter, you should contact [email protected] IMMEDIATELY. 
>4. We can't suggest relaxing at this point.  The stakes are too high, and
>   the risk is too great.  Everything now hangs in the balance.
>October 16, 1995
>The Honorable Thomas J. Bliley, Jr.  Chairman
>Committee on Commerce
>United States House of Representatives
>Washington, DC 20515
>The Honorable Larry Pressler, Chairman
>Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
>United States Senate
>Washington, DC 20510
>Re: Computer Pornography Provisions in Telecommunications Bill
>Dear Mr. Chairmen:
>We are writing to urge the conference committee seeking to reconcile the
>telecommunications bills passed by the House and Senate include in the
>final bill the strongest possible criminal law provisions to address the
>growing and immediate problem of computer pornography without any
>exemptions, defenses, or political favors of any kind accorded to those
>who knowingly participate in the distribution of obscenity to anyone or
>indecency to children. While there is no perfect solution to the problem
>of computer pornography, Congress could not hope to solve this problem by
>holding liable only some who are responsible for the problem.
>The recent Justice Department prosecution project targeting those who
>violated federal child pornography law using America On-Line is
>instructive in this regard. More than ninety individuals were targeted for
>prosecution although many others, perhaps as many as 3,000 according to
>one press report, were originally targeted by the Department of Justice as
>potential violators of child pornography laws. Apparently due to a
>shortage of investigative and prosecutorial resources, the project was
>limited. Since there are insufficient resources to investigate and
>prosecute but a fraction of those that are trafficking in child
>pornography by computer, then there will likely be even fewer resources
>available to investigate and prosecute those involved in obscenity and
>Thousands of individuals both in this country and abroad are regularly
>placing obscenity and indecency on the Internet. It is not possible to
>make anything more than a dent in the serious problem of computer
>pornography if Congress is willing to hold liable only those who place
>such material on the Internet while at the same time giving legal
>exemptions or defenses to service or access providers who profit from and
>are instrumental to the distribution of such material. The Justice
>Department normally targest the major offenders of laws. In obscenity
>cases prosecuted to date, it has targeted large companies which have been
>responsible for the nationwide distribution of obscenity and who have made
>large profits by violating federal laws. Prosecution of such companies has
>made a substantial impact in curbing the distribution of obscenity, with
>many such offenders going out of business altogether. So too will
>prosecution of access providers which _knowingly_ traffic in obscenity
>have a substantial impact, a far greater impact than just the prosecution
>of a person who places one or a few prohibited images on the Internet.
>Such a person could not traffic in pornography without the aid or
>facilitation of the service or access providers. Indeed, if Congress
>includes provisions protecting access or service providers in whatever
>bill is finally passed, it is likely that most in this country who are
>trafficking in indecency to children or obscenity would continue to do so
>since the threat of prosecution would be minuscule, given the numbers of
>those currently involved in this activity. It is also likely that those
>outside our country who are engaged in these activities would continue to
>do so since it would be nearly impossible to extradite them to the United
>States for prosecution. Thus, unless all who knowingly participate in such
>matters are subject to the law, the Internet will remain the same and
>Congress will have failed in its responsibilities to the children and
>families of America.
>Federal law has traditionally assigned equal liability both for those who
>commit a crime and those who aid and abet a crime. See Title 18 U.S.C.
>Code Section 2: "(a) whoever [sic] commits an offense against the United
>States or aids, abets, councils [sic], commands, induces, or procures its
>commission, is punishable as a principle [sic]." Service or access
>providers who knowingly participate in the distribution of indecency to
>children or in obscenity to anyone are aiders and abettors in the
>commission of those crimes and thus should have liability under any law
>Congress passes. Current federal law on child pornography provides no no
>exemption or defense for access providers. Thus, the child pornography law
>provides a strong deterrent against trafficking in child pornography for
>those who would otherwise knowingly participate in its distribution by
>computer whether pedophile or access provider.
>The changes in law which we support would not hold an access provider
>criminally liable for all illegal pornography on the Internet which their
>services may be used to obtain. Nor would it require that access providers
>check all communications to ensure that no violations of the law are
>occurring. They would simply be required to avoid knowing violations of
>the law. This is an obligation imposed on all citizens. Technology exists
>today for access providers, through a simple process, to target or flag
>and remove files containing objectionable material.
>We support the House-passed language insofar as it addresses obscenity by
>amendment Title 18, Sections 1462, 1465, and 1467 of the United States
>Code. The provision restricting transmission of indecency in the House-passed
>bill, an amendment to Section 1465, is inadequate, and we urge that it be
>substantially revised.
>Attached is the specific language we support which includes the House
>passed language on obscenity and includes revisions on both the House
>passed language on indecency, which would amend Title 18 and the
>Senate-passed language on indecency, which would amend Title 47. The
>combination of these provisions, we believe, would provide effective laws
>to curb obscenity and indecency on the Internet by establishing that all
>who knowingly participate in the distribution or facilitation of obscenity
>to anyone or indecency to children would be subject to the law.
>Thank you for your concern and attention to this matter.
>Edwin Meese III
>Ralph Reed
>Christian Coalition
>Donald E. Wildmon
>American Family Association
>Alan Sears, Former Executive Director
>Atty General's Commission on Pornography
>Phyllis Shafly
>Eagle Forum
>Beverly LaHaye
>Concerned Women for America
>Reverend Louis P. Sheldon
>Traditional Values Coalition
>Jay Sekulow
>American Center for Law and Justice
>Paul Weyrich
>Free Congress Foundation
>Paul McGeady
>Morality in Media
>Len Munsil
>National Family Legal Foundation
>Robert Peters
>Morality in Media
>Kenneth Sukhia
>Former United States Attorney, N.D., FL
>Former Chairman, Atty General's Advisory Committee
>Subcommittee on Child Exploitation and Obscenity
>Section 1465 of Title 18, United States Code, is amended to punish
>distribution by computer of indecent material to minors by adding at the
>end the following:
>Whoever knowingly communicates, transmits, or makes available for
>communication or transmission, in or effecting interstate or foreign
>commerce an indecent communication by computer to any person the
>communicator or transmitter believes has not attained the age of 18 years
>of age, knowing that such communication will be obtained by a person
>believed to be under 18 years of age, shall be fined under this title or
>imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
>         This title may be cited as the "Communications Decency Act of
>Section 223 (47 U.S.C. 223) is amended --
>   (1) by striking subsection (a) and inserting in lieu of [sic]:
> ``(a) Whoever--
>    ``(1) in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign
>communications --
>        ``(A) by means of telecommunications device knowingly--
>          ``(i) makes, creates, or solicits, and
>          ``(ii) initiates the transmission of,
>     any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other
>     communication which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or
>     indecent, with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass
>     another person;
>         ``(B) makes a telephone call or utilizes a
>     telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or
>     communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and
>     with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person
>     at the called number or who receives the communication;
>         ``(C) makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly
>     or continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at
>     the called number; or
>         ``(D) makes repeated telephone calls or repeatedly
>     initiates communication with a telecommunications device,
>     during which conversation or communication ensues, solely to
>     harass any person at the called number or who receives the
>     communication;
>      ``(2) knowingly permits any telecommunications facility
>     under his control to be used for any activity prohibited by
>     paragraph (1) with the intent that it be used for
>     such activity,
>  shall be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned not more
>  than two years, or both.''; and
>   (2) by adding at the end the following new subsections:
> ``(d) Whoever--
>       ``(1) knowingly within the United States or in foreign
>     communications with the United States by means of
>     telecommunications device makes or makes available any
>     indecent communication in any form including any comment,
>     request, suggestion, proposal, or image, to any person under
>     18 years of age regardless of whether the
>     maker of such communication placed the call or initiated the
>     communication; or
>       ``(2) knowingly permits any telecommunications facility
>     under such person's control to be used for an activity
>     prohibited by paragraph (1) with the intent that it be
>     used for such activity,
>  shall be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned not more
>  than two years or both.
>      ``(e) Defenses to subsections (a) and (d), restrictions on 
>     access, judicial remedies respecting restrictions for
>     persons providing information services and
>     access to information services--
>      "(1) It is a defense to prosecution that a person has complied
>     with regulations designed to restrict access to indecent
>     communications to those 18 years old or older as enacted by the
>     Federal Communications Commission which shall prepare final 
>     regulations within 120 days of the passage of this bill. Until
>     such regulations become effective, it is a defense to
>     prosecution that the person has blocked or restricted access
>     to indecent communications to any person under 18 years
>     of age through the use of verified credit card, adult access
>     code, or adult personal identification number (PIN).   
>     Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to treat
>     enhanced information services as common carriage."
>       "(2) No cause of action may be brought in any
>     court or any administrative agency against any person on account
>     of any activity which is not in violation of any law punishable
>     by criminal or civil penalty, which activity the person has taken in
>     good faith to implement a defense authorized under this section or
>     otherwise to restrict or prevent the transmission of, or access to,
>     a communication specified in this section.
>     (f) Nothing in this subsection shall preclude any State or
>     local government from enacting and enforcing laws and regulations
>     which do not result in the imposition of inconsistent obligations on
>     the provision of interstate services.  Nothing in this subsection
>     shall preclude any State or local government from governing conduct
>     not covered by subsection (d)(2)."
>     (g) Nothing in subsection (a), (d), or (e) or in the
>     defenses to prosecution under (e) shall be construed
>     to affect or limit the application or enforcement of any other
>     Federal law.
>     (h) The use of the term 'telecommunications device' in this
>     section shall not impose new obligations on (one-way) broadcast
>     radio or (one-way) broadcast television operators licensed by the
>     Commission or (one-way) cable services registered with the
>     Federal Communications Commission and covered by obscenity and
>     indecency provisions elsewhere in this Act.
>        Section 639 (47 U.S.C. 559) is amended by striking "10,000" and
>inserting "$100,000"
>        Section 1466 of Title 18, United States Code, is amended by
>striking out "$10,000" and inserting "$100,000".
>        "(a) If any provision of this Title, including amendments to this
>Title of [sic] the application thereof to any person or circumstance is
>held invalid, the remainder of this Title and the application of such
>provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected
>Sep 26, '95	Sen. Russ Feingold urges committee members to drop
>		Managers Amendment and the CDA from the Telecommunications
>		Deregulation bill
>Aug  4, '95	House passes HR1555 which goes into conference with S652.
>Aug  4, '95	House votes to attach Managers Amendment (which contains
>		new criminal penalties for speech online) to
>		Telecommunications Reform bill (HR1555).
>Aug  4, '95	House votes 421-4 to attach HR1978 to Telecommunications
>	 	Reform bill (HR1555).
>Jun 30, '95	Cox and Wyden introduce the "Internet Freedom and Family
>		Empowerment Act" (HR 1978) as an alternative to the CDA.
>Jun 21, '95     Several prominent House members publicly announce their
>                opposition to the CDA, including Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA),
>                Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), and Rep. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
>Jun 14, '95     The Senate passes the CDA as attached to the Telecomm
>                reform bill (S 652) by a vote of 84-16.  The Leahy bill
>                (S 714) is not passed.
>May 24, '95     The House Telecomm Reform bill (HR 1555) leaves committee
>                in the House with the Leahy alternative attached to it,
>                thanks to Rep. Ron Klink of (D-PA).  The Communications
>                Decency Act is not attached to it.
>Apr  7, '95     Sen. Leahy (D-VT) introduces S.714, an alternative to
>                the Exon/Gorton bill, which commissions the Dept. of
>                Justice to study the problem to see if additional legislation
>                (such as the CDA) is necessary.
>Mar 23, '95     S314 amended and attached to the telecommunications reform
>                bill by Sen. Gorton (R-WA).  Language provides some provider
>                protection, but continues to infringe upon email privacy
>                and free speech.
>Feb 21, '95     HR1004 referred to the House Commerce and Judiciary
>Feb 21, '95     HR1004 introduced by Rep. Johnson (D-SD)
>Feb  1, '95     S314 referred to the Senate Commerce committee
>Feb  1, '95     S314 introduced by Sen. Exon (D-NE) and Gorton (R-WA).
>Web Sites
>        URL:http://www.vtw.org/exon/
>        URL:http://epic.org/
>        URL:http://www.eff.org/pub/Alerts/
>        URL:http://www.cdt.org/cda.html
>	URL:http://outpost.callnet.com/outpost.html
>FTP Archives 
>        URL:ftp://ftp.cdt.org/pub/cdt/policy/freespeech/00-INDEX.FREESPEECH
>        URL:ftp://ftp.eff.org/pub/Alerts/
>Gopher Archives:
>        URL:gopher://gopher.panix.com/11/vtw/exon
>        URL:gopher://gopher.eff.org/11/Alerts
>        [email protected] (put "send alert" in the subject line for the latest
>		alert, or "send cdafaq" for the CDA FAQ)
>        [email protected] (General CDA information)
>        [email protected] (Current status of the CDA)
>In order to use the net more effectively, several organizations have
>joined forces on a single Congressional net campaign to stop the
>Communications Decency Act.
>American Civil Liberties Union * American Communication Association *
>American Council for the Arts * Arts & Technology Society * Association
>of Alternative Newsweeklies * biancaTroll productions * Boston
>Coalition for Freedom of Expression * Californians Against Censorship
>Together * Center For Democracy And Technology * Centre for Democratic
>Communications * Center for Public Representation * Citizen's Voice -
>New Zealand * Cloud 9 Internet *Computer Communicators Association *
>Computel Network Services * Computer Professionals for Social
>Responsibility * Cross Connection * Cyber-Rights Campaign * CyberQueer
>Lounge * Dutch Digital Citizens' Movement * ECHO Communications Group,
>Inc. * Electronic Frontier Canada * Electronic Frontier Foundation *
>Electronic Frontier Foundation - Austin * Electronic Frontiers
>Australia * Electronic Frontiers Houston * Electronic Frontiers New
>Hampshire * Electronic Privacy Information Center * Feminists For Free
>Expression * First Amendment Teach-In * Florida Coalition Against
>Censorship * FranceCom, Inc. Web Advertising Services * Friendly
>Anti-Censorship Taskforce for Students * Hands Off!  The Net * Inland
>Book Company * Inner Circle Technologies, Inc. * Inst. for Global
>Communications * Internet On-Ramp, Inc. * Internet Users Consortium *
>Joint Artists' and Music Promotions Political Action Committee * The
>Libertarian Party * Marijuana Policy Project * Metropolitan Data
>Networks Ltd. * MindVox * MN Grassroots Party * National Bicycle
>Greenway * National Campaign for Freedom of Expression * National
>Coalition Against Censorship * National Gay and Lesbian Task Force *
>National Public Telecomputing Network * National Writers Union * Oregon
>Coast RISC * Panix Public Access Internet * People for the American Way
>* Republican Liberty Caucus * Rock Out Censorship * Society for
>Electronic Access * The Thing International BBS Network * The WELL *
>Voters Telecommunications Watch
>(Note: All 'Electronic Frontier' organizations are independent entities,
> not EFF chapters or divisions.)
>	End Alert

Lynne L. Harrison, Esq.
Poughkeepsie, New York 
[email protected]

"Say not, 'I have found the truth', but rather, 'I have found a truth.'"
                         - Kahlil Gibran from "The Prophet"