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.SIG disclaimer, clarification

At 3:55 AM 12/4/95, Timothy C. May wrote:
>At 1:30 AM 12/4/95, Brian Davis wrote:

>>Gee, and Tim May didn't get a new ISP when his current PC-ISP canceled
>>his Usenet access because of his protected speech and then gave it back
>>only if he included a disclaimer on his messages.  Fire away, Cypherpunks!!!
>Indeed, we all make compromises.

From Jay Campbell's post on this, I more carefully reread Brian's comment.
Without going into this in detail, which there is not enough time or
patience for anyone to read, I'll make a few clarifications.

1. I have not gotten a new ISP anytime recently.

2. I added a disclaimer to my .sig partly to lessen any future
misunderstandings about whether I was speaking for "[email protected]" or
speaking for "foobar.com". And partly I added it--as should be clear from
"or the views of my government" part--as an ironic tweak.

3. The case involved a Usenet rant I wrote some time back in which my
"Organization:" field remained set at the default provided by the ISP
(complete with phone number for getting an account, as is common with
Netcom, AOL, Pipeline, etc.). People complained to the owner of
"foobar.com" claiming that his company could be sued, blah blah, for the
views I expressed. (I think this is absurd, of course, for so many reasons
I cannot begin to list them here.)

(I don't believe the nature of my rant is germane to the issues involved.
It was posted to a group filled with similar, or worse, rants, and was not
inappropriate to the subject of the newsgroup. And explaining the post in
context, including preceeding and following posts, and other posts
circulating at the same time, would take far too much time while
accomplishing nothing productive. Was it extreme? Maybe. Events had pissed
me off, so I posted to a rant group. Unfortunately, some on the Usenet want
only their own rants heard.)

4. The owner of foobar.com abruptly turned-off my ability to access his
news machine and sent me an angry note demanding that I cancel my article,
post an apology, and make it clear in future posts that I was not with his
company (by changing the default Organization: field he had automatically
set!). He informed me that failure to promptly indicate my acceptance of
his conditions would result in my account being cancelled.

5. Being that I like the services at foobar.com, and being that it was a
minor matter to meet his conditions, I did so. My access to Usenet was
turned back on. This is what I meant by my statement "we all make

6. I am very happy with "got.net," and Jay Campbell, one of the sysops of
got.net, was not the person involved above.

7. This issue presumably came to Brian's attention through the Cyberia
list, where someone (Chris Mohr) had commented on .sig disclaimers in
general and mine in particular. So I outlined the story, in even less
detail than I have here, as an interesting data point on how pressure can
be applied to stifle unpopular opinions.

(Understand that I am opposed to any laws which would force a sysop to keep
a customer he no longer wishes to have. My point is more sociological. In
particular, if a service or ISP gets the "reputation" for cancelling
accounts because of pressures applied, then those who want certain views
suppressed will know they can "roll" the ISP. Netcom, to their credit,
understood this early on and adopted a policy of never cancelling accounts
for the content of things said (spamming, fraud, chain letters, etc. being
well-described exceptions in their "Terms and Conditions") Netcom has
several "despicable" posters who use the system to spread Jew-hating,
white-hating, gay-hating, men-hating, and other such *-hating views, and
even has Holocaust Deniers and the White Aryan Resistance as
account-holders. Netcom refuses to give in to those who want these accounts
cancelled. A lesson for all ISPs, and for remailers, too.)

--Tim May

Views here are not the views of my Internet Service Provider or Government.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."