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[EFG] Fwd: Ga. Internet Law Challenged
>X-Sender: [email protected]
>Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 16:47:07 -0400
>To: [email protected]
>Reply-To: [email protected]
>>From: [email protected]
>>Date: 96-09-24 15:25:54 EDT
>>.c The Associated Press
>> ATLANTA (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union and computer
>>activists filed suit Tuesday challenging a new Georgia law they
>>contend restricts free speech in cyberspace.
>> ``Fundamental civil liberties are as important in cyberspace as
>>they are in traditional contexts,'' said Ann Beeson, an ACLU
>>attorney who specializes in computer law.
>> Plaintiffs in the suit filed in federal court also include state
>>Rep. Mitch Kaye, R-Marietta, who fought the law's passage, and
>>Electronic Frontiers Georgia, a computer liberties organization.
>> The law took effect July 1. It bars computer users from falsely
>>identifying themselves, a provision which critics contend makes it
>>illegal to use pseudonyms in electronic messages sent by computer.
>>Some computer services allow users to send messages that identify
>>them only by a pseudonym or account number.
>> The law also makes it a crime for someone to use a company's
>>trademark or symbol without permission. Critics argue that could
>>make criminals of Web page owners who have established links to
>>help users move quickly from their pages to those of corporate
>> Robert Costner of Electronic Frontiers Georgia said that aspect
>>of the law could subject his own group to penalties because its Web
>>page provides a link to BellSouth's page to assist computer users
>>in contacting the company about a recent rate increase.
>> Rep. Don Parsons, R-Marietta, who steered the law to passage,
>>has said critics are overreacting.
>> The law only makes it illegal for a person to misrepresent
>>himself on the network, posing as someone or something else, he
>> ``If somebody uses that type of data, such as a trade name, to
>>identify themselves as some other organization, then they clearly
>>are seeking to defraud,'' Parsons said last spring.
>> Gov. Zell Miller signed the bill April 18 despite a warning from
>>the attorney general that it was vague and a plea for a veto from
>>the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which
>>called the measure an unconstitutional restraint on free speech
>> Ms. Beeson said the suit appears to be the first legal challenge
>>in the country to an individual state's attempt to regulate the
>> ``If 50 states pass 50 contradictory laws, Internet users will
>>be virtually paralyzed for fear of violating one or more of those
>>laws,'' she said.
>> AP-NY-09-24-96 1523EDT
>> Copyright 1996 The Associated Press. The information
>>contained in the AP news report may not be published,
>>broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without
>>prior written authority of The Associated Press.