Computer underground Digest Wed Mar 6, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 20 ISSN 1004-042X Editor: Jim
Computer underground Digest Wed Mar 6, 1996 Volume 8 : Issue 20
Editor: Jim Thomas (email@example.com)
News Editor: Gordon Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow Master: Stanton McCandlish
Field Agent Extraordinaire: David Smith
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Cu Digest Homepage: http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest
CONTENTS, #8.20 (Wed, Mar 6, 1996)
File 1--Mike Godwin: "The Backlash Against Free Speech on the Net"
File 2--The Need For a Netizens Association
File 3--IMPACT: U. Penn on CDA
File 4--In Defense of Newt Gingrich
File 5--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 6 March, 1996)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE.
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 10:22:50 -0800 (PST)
From: Declan McCullagh
Subject: File 1--Mike Godwin: "The Backlash Against Free Speech on the Net"
[Feel free to redistribute. -Declan]
Speech by Mike Godwin, Online Counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation
"Fear of Freedom: The Backlash Against Free Speech on the 'Net"
This is the luncheon speech given by Mike Godwin at a technology conference,
"New Media Technology: True Innovations or Electric Fork?," jointly
sponsored by the Freedom Forum Pacific Coast Center and The Freedom Forum
Media Studies Center. The conference was held in the Pacific Coast Center,
Jack London Square, Oakland, California, Feb. 13, 1996. The luncheon was
held next door at Scott's Seafood Restaurant. Mr. Godwin was introduced by
Adam Clayton Powell III, director of technology studies and programs at the
Media Studies Center. Mr. Powell concluded his introduction by mentioning
Mr. Godwin's unusual e-mail address.
I'm often asked why I chose the username "mnemonic." I use it on almost
every system on which I have an account. I chose it long ago because of a
William Gibson short story, "Johnny Mnemonic," a science-fiction short
story from 1981.I've used it for many years and I didn't anticipate when I
picked it more than a decade ago that suddenly cyberspace would be making
William Gibson is the science fiction novelist who invented the term
"cyberspace" more than a decade ago. He probably never anticipated quite the
set of controversies that we're facing today. Most of them don't involve
high tech computer hackers or huge multinational corporations with monster
databases in cyberspace. Instead they involve something that's very
fundamental and personal to Americans. They involve freedom of speech and
To give you an idea about the backlash against freedom of speech on the
Net, let me tell you a little about what happened when I set up my first
home page on the Worldwide Web.
When you get a home page, you're never quite sure what to put on it. I
had some pictures of myself that I didn't like much. But I also have lots
of baby pictures and I liked those a lot. And I thought everybody in the
world ought to be able to see them. So I scanned them in and I put them up
on my home page, and then I got e-mail from someone who said, "Aren't you
afraid that by putting a picture of your child on the Internet you're
going to invite child molesters to target your child as a potential
This is how far we have come.
The Internet which the press and public has seen as a threat, as a
cornucopia of pornography, was once upon a time seen as a boon to the
nation and to the world. But now there is a dismaying backlash against
freedom of speech on the Net.
I'd like to take you back to the dim dawn of time: 1993. Remember when
there was so much hype about the information superhighway, that it made
the cover of Time magazine? We were told that 500 channels of all sorts of
content would somehow make its way into our home. Every library, school,
hospital, and home would have a connection to the Internet. And everyone,
literally everyone, could potentially be a publisher.
Three measly years later the Internet is widely perceived as a threat.
Why? Because everyone is a publisher! Because there are way more than 500
channels of this stuff! And because it will be connected to every library,
school, hospital and home! Many of the people publishing on the Internet
will not have been to journalism school! Many of them will say things that
offend other people! Many of them will publish their own opinions without
any notion of what is fair play, or nice, or middle-of-the-road
This is frightening people. It's even more frightening to see how these
fears of the Net have played out in the media and in the United States
The original hype about the Internet was justified. There is something
very different from other kinds of communications media about the medium
of the Net.
Previously, we used the telephone, which is a one-to-one medium. Telephone
conversations are intimate. They're two-way, there's lots of information
going back and forth. But you don't reach a mass audience on a telephone.
Telephones work best as one-to-one media. And there's no greater proof of
this than to try to participate in a conference call. Conference calls are
attempts to use telephones as many-to-many media and they're always
For even longer, we've had one-to-many media, from one central source to
large audiences. These include the newspaper, a couple of centuries-old
technology. Movies. Broadcasting. These media have a certain power to
reach large audiences, but what they gain in power they lose in intimacy
and feedback. You may see all sorts of things on TV, but it's very hard to
get your opinions back to the broadcaster or back to the editor of the
newspaper. Even the narrow channels that we're allowed, whether op ed
pages or letters to the editor or the nanosecond of time to answer a
televised editorial, are wholly inadequate. You never really get anything
like equal time, no matter what the FCC has said.
The Net and computer technology has changed all this. It is the first
many-to-many medium. It is the first medium that combines all the powers
to reach a large audience that you see in broadcasting and newspapers with
all the intimacy and multi-directional flow of information that you see in
telephone calls. It is both intimate and powerful.
Another way this medium is different is pure cost. It takes many millions
of dollars to start up a daily newspaper. If you were to succeed -- this
is not the best year to do this, by the way -- you will find that it's an
expensive process. You have to be highly capitalized to reach audiences of
hundreds of thousands, or if you're lucky, millions.
But now everybody can afford a PC and a modem. And the minimal cost of
connecting to the Net can reach audiences far larger than the ones reached
by any city's Times-Herald Picayune, or even the New York Times or Time
magazine. We're talking global.
This is a shift in power. It grants to individual citizens the full
promise of the First Amendment's Freedom of the Press. The national
information infrastructure or the information superhighway or the Net or
whatever you're in the mood to call it makes it possible to reach your
audience no matter who your audience is and no matter where they are.
There's no editor standing between you and your readers -- changing what
you want to say, changing your content, shortening it or lengthening it or
altering it to make it "acceptable."
I often think of poets. It's been a long time since a volume of poetry has
regularly stood up on the best seller list. People who are poets, and we
have a lot of good poets around these days, don't often succeed
commercially, or sell. even a few thousand copies of a volume of poetry.
But if that poet puts his material on the Internet, he can reach literally
every single person who would ever understand his masterpiece. And that is
a fundamental shift.
So why the backlash? Why the fear? I think part of it is that people get
on line and discover that it makes some things easier and more accessible.
Itis possible for some people to find pornography on the Internet. It is
also possible to get so called "dangerous information." And it's probable
for people to say bad things about each other.
So people think there ought to be some new kind of control, either legal
or social. I remember the immense national headlines surrounding the
prosecution of a Milpitas, California couple who operated a micro-computer
bulletin board system. They were prosecuted in Memphis, Tennessee. It was
quite a good story, because prosecutors in Memphis had reached all the way
across the country to get a gentleman who was selling adult material out
of his house on a computer. But I noticed that the stories were expanded
into a perception of a general problem. The problem of pornography or
obscenity on the Net.
This change in perception is widespread. Someone recently asked me how
many hours a day I spend on line. I said, I spend six or eight hours, some
days even more, I work on line. And he actually said, "It must be bad with
all that pornography.
" I never see pornography on the Internet," I said.
"You're kidding," he said.
"No, I guess there's some out there, but I never go looking for it, I have
work to do."
He thought that when you turned on your computer and connected it to the
Internet, pornographic images simply flooded over the computer monitor
into your face. What's worse, he thought that maybe they flooded over the
computer monitor into your child's face. To judge from the question I had
about putting my child's picture on the Web, some people think that child
molesters can reach through the computer screen and grab your child out of
your living room.
How did we get this amount of fear, and how does it reflect itself in
other ways?. I can think of one other example. It involves Howard Kurtz,
the esteemed media critic of the Washington Post. Mr. Kurtz, who is widely
regarded, and rightfully so, as an astute critic of the traditional media,
wrote two stories in the course of about a year about the Net.
The first story involved a Los Angeles Times article by a fellow named
Adam Bauman that somehow conflated hackers, pornography, spies and
cryptography in one story. It was kind of amazing to see all that stuff in
one story. It was as if Mr. Bauman had had a check list of hot button
issues on the Internet. The story was widely criticized for not being
logical, not being coherent, not justifying his assertions, and people
said bad things about Mr. Bauman on the Net. Howard Kurtz, the media
critic, looked at the story and did he think how terrible that the L.A.
Times to run this terrible story? No. He was horrified that people on the
Internet would say bad things about reporters. Sometimes they use impolite
language. Now how many of us have never wished we could use impolite
language to a reporter? The Internet enables us to do that.
The second Howard Kurtz column involved Time magazine's cover story from
last summer which featured the height of what turned out to be a patently
fraudulent study of so called cyberporn from a con artist at Carnegie
Mellon University. The person has since been exposed, and part of the
reason he was exposed was that there were a lot of reporters, a lot of
amateur reporters on the Net who looked into his research, who read his
study and criticized it and who looked into the past of the person who
wrote the study, and they discovered he'd done similar cons before. There
was a lot of criticism of Time magazine and of the author of that story
for buying into the hype about so called cyberporn. When Mr. Kurtz wrote
about this controversy, did he criticize Time magazine or the reporter who
wrote that story? No. In fact, he criticized the Internet for being so
nasty to that poor fellow at Time for hyping the fake crisis of cyberporn.
I was thinking about Mr. Kurtz' columns and I found that they dovetail
very nicely with a very common complaint that one hears about speech on
the Internet. People say you know, we think the First Amendment is a great
thing, but we never thought there'd be all these people using it so
irresponsibly. Don't you think there ought to be a law. There are other
matters that have used to press our hot buttons about the Internet, to
make us fear on-line communication.
They involve things like cryptography, the ability of every citizen to
make his or her communications or data truly private, truly secret, truly
protected from prying eyes.
And they involve things like copyright. For those of you who have been
following the discussion of copyright on the Net, you know that Bruce
Lehman of the Patent and Trade Office has authored a report that would
turn practically everything anyone does with any intellectual property on
line into a copyright infringement. If you browse it without a license,
that's an infringement. If you download it, that's an infringement. If you
look at it on your screen, that's an infringement. Three strikes and
you're out and you go to federal copyright prison!
There's also the sense that there's dangerous information on the Net.
People are very troubled by the fact that you can log in and hunt around
and find out how to build a bomb, even a bomb of the sort that was used to
blow up a building in Oklahoma City. The Washington Post, interestingly
enough, faced the issue of whether to publish the instructions on how to
make a fertilizer bomb of the sort that was used in Oklahoma City. When
they published in the story how the bomb was built, many people wrote into
the Washington Post and said, "You shouldn't have published that stuff,
people will get ideas! They will use that information to build bombs!" The
Washington Post editors, I think quite rightly, concluded that the people
reading the Washington Post were not the people who were building bombs.
That the people who were building bombs already knew how to do it.
But there's the sense that if this information is available on the
Internet, it's vastly more destructive to society than if it's available
in a library. After all, *children don't go to libraries*. I remember that
after the Oklahoma City bombing, I started getting a lot of calls in my
office at the Electronic Frontier Foundation from reporters who said,
"Tell me more about bomb-making information on the Internet -- we're doing
a follow-up on the Oklahoma City bombing."
Now, if you actually followed that story one of the things you know for
sure is that there seems to be *no connection* between computer technology
and the suspects in the Oklahoma City bombing. There doesn't seem to be
any evidence that any information from the Net was ever used in relation
to the Oklahoma City bombing. So why were people calling asking me about
dangerous information on the Net?
I have a theory. I think it goes something like this. They knew that the
chief suspect was a fellow named Tim McVeigh. And they knew that Tim
McVeigh might be associated with militia groups. And they knew that some
militia groups used bulletin board systems to communicate. And they knew
that bulletin board systems were "kind of like the Internet." And they
knew that there was information on the Internet, therefore there was a
connection between bomb making information on the Internet and the
Oklahoma City bombing. It was very interesting to see how these little
assumptions about the connection between the Net and bomb-making
information propagated throughout the media. (So far as we know, by the
way, there is no connection between Tim McVeigh
and computer technology except that at one point he is said to have
believed that he had a computer chip implanted in a very delicate place
during the Gulf War.)
Let me tell you a little bit about how the Net is misrepresented both to
the media and to the general public, and also to Congress. We hear about
the mythical child that finds pornography on line within 30 seconds of
logging on. You know, *I* can't even find pornography on line in 30
seconds of logging on. In fact, I can't find *anything* within 30 seconds
of logging on.
The second myth is that the Net is very much like broadcasting, therefore
deserves the kind of regulation that the Federal Communications Commission
administers to the broadcasting entities around the country. My own
feeling is this: "Why shouldn't anything that's legal in a Barnes and
Noble Bookstore or in the New York Public Library be legal on line?"
I ask this question again and again, and I had a debate one Sunday on a
Seattle radio station with a fellow from Morality in Media, Bob Peters. I
raised this question and Bob Peters responded: "But, Mike, computers come
into our home!" And I said "Well, you know, Bob, *books* come into my
home! And yet you wouldn't be able to limit the content of books the way
you want to limit the content of computer networks. We would think it was
totally a violation of the First Amendment to impose the kinds of
restrictions that you would impose on the Net on the publishers of books."
Why should the rules be any different? And yet you hear again and again
there ought to be new laws required to regulate the Net. That the Net is
currently unregulated in some way. That cases like the Milpitas couple who
were prosecuted in Memphis illustrate the need for new laws. Never mind
the fact that they were successfully prosecuted under old laws.
How can one equate the Net and broadcasting? I mean up to now, the nicest
thing that you could say about the broadcasting medium and the legal
regime that governs it was this: Those limits don't apply to any other
medium. The FCC doesn't control newspapers or books, and isn't that great?
The justification constitutionally for special regulation of content of
broadcasting has essentially been twofold. The notion that broadcasting
frequencies are scarce so therefore require the government to step in, and
not only allocate them, but govern their use for the public good. And
secondly, the notion that broadcasting is pervasive in some way. That it
creeps into the home in a special way that makes it uniquely different
from other media.
Regardless of whether you accept these justifications for content control
over the air waves, the fact is the Internet is nothing like broadcasting
in either way. Internet communication is not scarce. Every time you add a
computer to the Internet you've expanded the size of the Internet. It is
not pervasive because you don't have people pushing content into your
home, you have people logging on and pulling content from all over the
world. It is not the case that you log on and have stuff pushed at you
that you don't want to see. It is a fundamentally choice-driven medium, a
choice-driven form for communication very much like a bookstore, a
newsstand or a library, and therefore deserving of the same strong First
For those of you who weren't paying attention this year, the United States
Congress passed an omnibus telecommunications reform act. I think most of
the provisions there won a lot of popular support. The telecommunications
regulatory regime was very old and needed to be updated. There are debates
about how the balances ultimately ought to be struck, but there was a wide
consensus on the need to deregulate the traditional telecommunications
industries. Compare the fact that in one small section of the bill, the
"Communications Decency Amendment," we find the federal government, whose
competence to regulate all the other media has been indeed questioned,
imposing new regulations on content on the Net and with little, if any,
constitutional justification. You see, this isn't about pornography. This
isn't about obscene materials. This is about something called "indecency,"
a far broader category that you might think involves pornography, but in
fact, it encompasses quite a bit more.
For example, a George Carlin comedy routine has been restricted under the
name of indecency. The Allen Ginsburg classic poem, "Howl," has been
restricted from radio because it was deemed by one court to be indecent.
Various other kinds of material from the high to the low, from Allen
Ginsburg to Jackie Collins' novels, cannot be spoken or uttered on the
radio. Now why is that? The FCC has special power and the government and
the congress has special power to control content in the broadcasting
arena. But where's the justification for the expansion of that federal
authority to this new medium that holds the power of granting freedom of
the press to every citizen. Where does the Constitution say the government
can do that? Where does the First Amendment say the government can do
Everybody more or less knows something about what qualifies as obscene.
You know it has something to do with "community standards," right? And
with appealing to the "prurient interest." A work has to be a patently
offensive depiction of materials banned by state statute and appeal to the
prurient interest to be obscene and it also has to meet one other
requirement. It also has to lack serious literary, artistic, social,
political or scientific value. That's how something is classified as
The reason that religious fundamentalist lobbying groups want to expand
the notion of indecency to the Net is that they are very troubled by the
test for obscenity. They regard the serious literary, artistic, social and
political clause of the test for what is obscene to be a sort of an escape
clause for pornographers. What they would really like to be able to do is
to prosecute anyone who distributes content in any way other than by
printing ink on dead trees under a far broader censorship law that has no
provision for artistic value or social importance.
That is something I find very, very frightening. This is not about
protecting children. We've heard it again and again, we're trying to
protect our children from bad content on the Net. But this is not about
protecting children. This is not about pornography. (I wish it were about
pornography. That's easy to talk about.) But it's about a far broader
class of speech. So the Communications Decency Amendment is not really
about protecting children, it's about silencing adults. We were sold the
Internet, we were sold the information superhighway as this great global
library of resources. Now you have people in Congress and people on the
religious right who want to reduce the public spaces of the Net to the
children's room of the library.
I think we can do better than that, and I think American citizens can be
trusted with more than that. It should be remembered whenever we look at
how to apply the First Amendment to any medium--be it the Net or anything
else--that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect speech that is
offensive, troubling, or disturbing because nobody ever tries to ban the
bland, pleasant, untroubling speech. This new law, the Communications
Decency Amendment, creates immense problems for anyone who's a provider,
for anyone who's a user. In fact, the interests of the industry and the
interests of the consumers are essentially the same.
And the media have a special responsibility not only to make these issues
clear but also not to play to our fears anymore. Because the fact is,
Americans are nervous about sex, we're nervous about our children, and
we're nervous about computers. So if you combine all of those into a
newspaper story, you could pretty much drive anyone into a frenzy of
anxiety. And the impulse to regulate is always there.
But you'd better think twice before calling for new regulation because
these are the rules that we are all going to play under in the 21st
century. It is important to understand that this is the first time in
history the power of a mass medium lies in the hands of potentially
everybody. For the first time the promise of freedom of the press will be
kept for everyone. A. J. Liebling famously commented that freedom of the
press belongs to those who own one. Well, we all own one now.
The Net is an immense opportunity for an experiment in freedom of speech
and democracy. The largest scale experiment this world has ever seen. It's
up to you and it's up to me and it's up to all of us to explore that
opportunity, and it's up to all of us not to lose it. I'm a parent myself,
as you know. And I worry about my child and the Internet all the time,
even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry
about. I worry that 10 or 15 or 20 years from now she will come to me and
say, "Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from
the Internet?" And I want to be able to say I was there -- and I helped
stop that from happening.
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 01:50:11 -0500 (EST)
From: ptownson@MASSIS.LCS.MIT.EDU(Patrick A. Townson)
Subject: File 2--The Need For a Netizens Association
((MODERATORS' NOTE: The following is in from Pat Townson,
moderator of Telecom Digest, always a source of top-quality
discussion and the best source of telecom information around)).
An interesting message reached me today that I thought several of
you might be interested in. If you do wish to continue the
discussion, please send your comments direct to the author as
shown below and not to the Digest itself. Perhaps at some future
point the author will be so kind as to summarize responses for
the Digest and submit them to me for publication.
Fromemail@example.com (Michael Hauben)
Subject--The need for a Netizens Association
Date--4 Mar 1996 03:57:45 GMT
The recent passing of the telecommunications bill in the USA
demonstrates the lack of understanding by Congress and the government
about the value of the Net and what it really is. In light of this,
there seems a need for people to organize and form a Netizens
Association. The following summary of a trip I made to Japan in
November 1995 describes the genesis for this idea. Please e-mail me
or respond publicly if you have suggestions or can help.
Towards a Netizens Association,
A little under one year ago, I received a letter sent through
the Internet, via electronic mail. The letter was sent by a professor
from Japan, and concerned studies we were both interested in. This
communication between people concerned common interests despite
differences in age, language, and culture. While Professor Shumpei
Kumon knew English and was studying global communication, there were
still real barriers of distance and time. I hope to show how the new
technologies are helping to alleviate these barriers and help bring us
into a new age of communications where the old rules and ways are no
longer the guiding rules and ways.
What brought Professor Kumon and me together was our shared
interest in the globalization of culture and society through the
emerging communications technologies. The specific concern was about
the emergence of Netizens, or people who use computer networks who
consider themselves to be part of a global identity. The Netizen is
part of a developing global cooperative community. I first used the
term "Netizen" in 1993 after researching people's uses for the
Internet and Usenet. Professor Kumon's first communication to me
Date--Tue, 28 Feb 1995 12:30:23 +0900
Fromfirstname.lastname@example.org (Shumpei Kumon)
I am a social scientist in Japan writing on information
revolution and information-oriented civilization. Since I came
across the tern "netizen" about a year ago. I have been fascinated by
this idea. It seems that the age of not only technological-industrial
but also political-social revolution is coming, comparable to the
"citizen's revolution" in the past. I would very much like to do a
book on that theme.
Yesterday, I was delighted to find your Netizen's Cyberstop. You are
doing a great job.
Professor Kumon also asked if I was the first to use the term
Netizen. Part of his studies are socio-linguistics, so he is
interested in the development and use of language over time. Netizen
had come to replace the term netter or networker in Japan to describe
people who use computer networks.
In response to my return message, Professor Kumon offered his
understanding of Netizen as "people who abide in networks and are
engaged in collaborative propagation of information and knowledge just
as citizens abide in cities and are engaged in commerce and industry."
He continued, "In this sense we can perhaps find the origin of
netizens in Europe of 13-15th centuries, just as first citizens in
modern civilization appeared in Europe of 12th century as commerce
revived there." Professor Kumon concluded the message by asking if I
was interested in visiting Japan. He said he could make this possible.
At the time I did not know where this would lead, but I
responded that I would be very much interested in visiting. Japan was
an unfamiliar country for me. Previously in my education I did do some
research into the secondary education system, and found it to be a
very stressful environment. Otherwise I had some general interest in
the culture. However, I was unfamiliar with Professor Kumon, and the
institutions he was connected to, the Global Communications
Institute (GLOCOM) of which he was the director and the Internation-
al University of Japan. However, this contact with him, and soon with
his colleagues brought me to Japan. One of the planning directors of
GLOCOM, Izumi Aizu, wrote me shortly after Professor Kumon, and
mentioned a conference in November to which they might invite me.
Before the real invitation actually arrived, several other events took
Izumi Aizu arrived in New York City in late April, and we spoke
of many things. Most interesting was how he saw the Internet being a
direct challenge to traditional Japanese culture. While people
normally go by their last names in Japan, the Usenet and Internet
culture encourages first-name familiarity. Professor Kumon's e-mail
address was made up of his first name, not his last. The style of
writing in e-mail is usually informal. The ease of use encourages
people to use the medium as if it were in between writing a letter and
making a phone call. E-mail, Usenet and the world wide web (WWW)
encourage people to share their original thoughts and creations with
the world. I have been told that Japanese culture encourages people to
represent the larger grouping they are part of. The concept and
history of Netizen strikes a good mid-point between being
individualistic or having a group identity. Netizens represent
themselves, but as part of the larger group. The many-to-many
technology gives people the chance to represent themselves, but in the
context of contributing to the whole on-line community. During Izumi's
visit, we also briefly spoke of some of the barriers to the spread of
the Internet in Japan and the United States. A big concern of Izumi's
was who could or should pay to spread the Internet in Japan. There are
other social and technical hurdles to overcome in order to spread the
Internet throughout Japan.
Izumi described more of the work of the HyperNetwork Society
which was connected to a network community in Oita Prefecture and
described some about the conference I was being invited to speak at in
November. He also asked if I was willing to be interviewed for a
television special that would be created for Japanese TV introducing
Netizens and describing the Internet.
Two days after my graduation from Columbia College in May, the
two film-makers arrived to conduct their interview and to film me and
Columbia. They explained that their film would be aired on TV Tokyo, a
NHK television channel on an educational TV show in July, 1995.
The airing of the TV program about the Internet, communications
and multimedia was very important to my later trip to Japan. My
connection to Japan would broaden out from the initial contact by the
members of GLOCOM. After July 2, I received several e-mail messages
from other people in Japan.
A student in his final year of undergraduate study at Saitama
University wrote on the very day the TV show was on in Japan. In his
e-mail, Hiroyuki Takahashi explained that "I discovered your idea --
Netizen ... I feel attracted to your concept. I would like to talk with
you about netizen and so on. I want to spread netizen among networker
in JAPAN." (email of July 2). He asked if he could copy to his public
computer server in Japan the documents about Netizens that I have
publicly available through my Columbia University web pages.
I responded yes, and wrote, " I am glad to hear you are trying to
spread Internet access to the public. We thus have a common goal. :-)"
Hiroyuki wrote back "Yes we can collaborate on that purpose."
He had apologized saying that his English was not very good. I
responded that "unfortunately, I speak no Japanese, but appreciate
that we can communicate." Hiro wrote back saying "Nationality has no
longer senses on the network. Everybody stands on same starting points
He wrote that there were many problems in trying to spread the
Internet in Japan as computer networking had grown a lot in the past
two years. He explained: "[In the] Last 2 years [the] computer network
environment in Japan grew up marvelously so most of japanese included
mass media, market and ordinary men cannot catch up with the growth
and they are expecting too much." Hiroyuki explained "So now I am
seeking how to spread network environments." (e-mail July 4, 1995)
The connection to GLOCOM similarly flourished, and I was asked
to contribute a chapter to Professor Kumon's planned book about
Netizens tentatively titled "The Netizen Revolution." In addition, I
submitted a paper for inclusion in a newspaper special supplement
whose theme was "The Media Revolution."
More people sent me e-mail, and I posted publicly to public
newsgroups like soc.culture.japan and fj.life.in-japan. This
connection with people from across the globe whose native language was
different was occurring because the computer and communications
technology had developed to 1) break down the geographic and time
barriers, and 2) break down the social barriers which exist in all
cultures, but which are traditionally strong in Japanese culture.
These changes are helping all cultures and societies to become more
global, in both making their contribution to the larger world and to
receive back from the world.
I heard from Izumi several times after July concerning the
conference, and the final invitation arrived in August. Izumi invited
me to make a presentation on "Netizen concept and issues." Izumi
also mentioned that there would be two other Internet conferences in
Kobe that it might be possible to attend.
In November, plans for my visit to Japan were worked out. I was
asked to prepare a 20 minute talk and to submit a description of my
talk for the conference program.
I wrote Hiro telling him I would be visiting Japan and asked if
it would be possible to meet him. I also posted on some Japanese
Usenet newsgroups asking if there were suggestions about my visit.
Hiro wrote back that he would be very happy to meet me. He said
that "We can discuss or talk about many things; netizen, internet,
computing and so on. I am very happy to see you :-)" (email Nov 16)
When I was in Japan, we met and had dinner. We spoke of many
things including the lack of professors at his University who
understand the computer technology. I learned that he and other
students managed the campus computers and networks. Hiro also worked
towards introducing the Internet and spreading its use in Japan. When
I asked how I could help, he mentioned that he wanted help to
translate some of the netizens writings into Japanese. I said I would
be helpful if he had any questions. Then I left Tokyo and went to the
HyperNetwork conference in Oita. Similar to what took place in Tokyo,
I received an extremely warm and friendly welcoming from many of the
People from COARA and the BBC '95 conference. My presentation in Beppu
concentrated on describing the emergence of Netizens and analyzing the
development of the public communications medium know as the Net.
Following is a definition of Netizens presented in the speech,
"Netizens are the people who actively contribute on-line towards the
development of the Net. These people understand the value of
collective work and the communal aspects of public communications.
These are the people who actively discuss and debate topics in a
constructive manner, who e-mail answers to people and provide help to
new-comers, who maintain FAQ files and other public information
repositories, who maintain mailing lists, and so on. These are people
who discuss the nature and role of this new communications medium.
However, these are not all people. Netizens are not just anyone who
comes on-line, and they are especially not people who come on-line for
isolated gain or profit. They are not people who come to the Net
thinking it is a service. Rather they are people who understand it
takes effort and action on each and everyone's part to make the Net a
regenerative and vibrant community and resource. Netizens are people
who decide to devote time and effort into making the Net, this new
part of our world, a better place."
When I got back to Tokyo, Hiro came to visit again, and he brought
several members of his computer club with him. The computer club was
the Advanced Computer and Communication Engineering Studying Society
I had also received email from Mieko Nagano in November before my
visit to Japan who said she was housewife active in the community
network COARA which sponsored the Hyper network conference. Her e-mail
was an invitation to the conference from someone outside of GLOCOM. In
a later email she wrote that she was moved by my concept of Netizen
which she shared in my understanding would "help further the growth of
the Net by connecting a diversity of people who have various opinions,
specialties and interests. This worldwide connection of people and
other information resources of different sorts will help the world
move forward in solving different societal problems." (email Oct. 29,
She wrote that she was not able to "comprehend high-class
discussions in the past conferences." "I only enjoy," she continued,
"as a ordinary housewife, communication with good-willed and
good-sensed people through COARA and/or E-mail on real name basis."
"What is great for me," she noted, "is that I can talk to the
people all over the world instantaneously and look around various
sites full of information including images and sounds." (Oct. 29)
When I arrived at the hypernetwork conference, there were
stickers and hats declaring "Netizen in COARA." After the conference,
"Naming after NETIZEN, as Mr. Hauben advocated, COARA members
prepared in advance 'Netizen sticker' appealing to be COARA
constituent by attaching the logo on their chests of clothes and
welcomed our guests."(email Dec 12, 1995)
After our visit, I wrote Hiro that I was very happy to have met
him and his friends from their computer club at his University. In his
email when I returned home he asked if there was a Netizens
Association. He wrote in a P.S. in an email of Dec. 6 "Netizen
association is available? If not in Japan, I want to make it." I told
him I did not know of any and asked him what he had in mind for a
Netizens association to do. He responded:
"I think [a] Netizen Association is a guide into tomorrow's
Internet world. Internet and other network[s] have a flood
of electrical informations. So people cannot swim very good
in Internet. So Netizen Association tell or advise how to
swin or get selected information. The association act as
guide. Oh, and we have to spread information about concept
of netizen. But making association process has many
difficult points, I think. So we have to give careful
consideration to the matter."
"Please let me know your idea," he added. (email Dec 12, 1995)
Hiro also wrote that he and his classmates had a "translation
team" that was "now reading carefully" through the Netizens article.
"And next Thursday and Friday," he wrote, "our club has big
presentation about Internet in my university, so we are very hard [at
work] this week." (from Dec. 9, 1995 email)
Others wrote to explain their interest in the concept of
Netizen. The response was important because as I found out while in
Japan, the word 'netizen' meaning 'network citizen' would have a
different meaning in the Japanese culture. The term or concept of
citizen differs from the American meaning as the individual finds
meaning in the group organizational setting and not separately. This
means the meaning of the concept rather than the surface of the term
While in Japan, I met many people interested in spreading the
Internet. Those involved, young or old, found it important to try and
connect people to the Internet as a way forward into the future. Young
people were happy to have a new tool to challenge the old conventions
of society. I was more surprised to find others of older generations
still interested in this new technological medium which was
challenging the traditional Japanese social customs. More importantly,
however, was the global connections and broadening of people the
Internet brings. Mieko, Izumi, Professor Kumon and Hiro were all
working towards making it possible for the Japanese people, from any
part of Japan, to be able to communicate with others around the world.
Michael Hauben Teachers College Dept. of Communication
Netizens Netbook http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/netbook/
WWW Music Index http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/music/
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Thank you for a very fine presentation
to the Digest readers today. I quite agree that a Netizen's Association
would be a marvelous idea. I wonder what other Digest readers think
of this proposal? I believe we should at this time unanimously appoint
Mr. Hauben as Chairperson or President of the Netizens Association in the
United States and encourage him to work with not only his counterparts
in Japan but to aid in beginning Netizen Association chapters or groups
all over the world. And Michael, you can count me in as a member from
the very beginning. PAT]
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 11:54:11 -0800 (PST)
From: telstar@WIRED.COM(--Todd Lappin-->)
Subject: File 3--IMPACT: U. Penn on CDA
Witness the dread "chilling effect."
This letter from Stanley Chodorow, Provost at the University of
Pennsylvania, demonstrates the tough position that many university
administrators now find themselves in as a result of the Communications
Almost reluctantly, Provost Chodrow points out, "Members of the Penn
community should be aware that although enforcement of the 'indecency'
provision is temporarily barred, the bill's other provisions are and will
remain in effect unless overturned or repealed. Those provisions subject
violators to substantial criminal penalties. Individuals or institutions
that make information or materials available on electronic networks have
an obligation to comply with the statute."
The full text of Chodorow's letter follows below.
To the Penn community:
Recent federal legislation has significant implications for all members of
the Penn community who use telecommunications or electronic networks. The
Telecommunications Act of 1996 , signed into law by President Clinton on
February 8, includes provisions, known as the Communications Decency Act,
that prohibit dissemination of certain materials to persons under the age
One provision prohibits using a telecommunications device to make and
transmit any "obscene or indecent" communication to anyone known to be
under 18. Another prohibits using any "interactive computer service" to
display, in a manner available to anyone under 18, any communication that,
"in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured
by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or
organs." While the terms "indecent" and "patently offensive" are not
defined in the law and their meaning is unclear, the terms may be
construed to include materials with literary, scientific, artistic, or
The constitutionality of these provisions has been challenged in Federal
court on the grounds that they prohibit speech protected by the First
Amendment and are impermissibly vague and overbroad. The court has entered
an order that temporarily bars enforcement of the prohibition against
"indecent" communications, but the order does not bar enforcement of the
Act's other provisions. Penn believes the constitutional challenges are
important and should be resolved quickly, because we believe the Act may
chill the free exchange of ideas and information that is central to the
University's mission. It may also significantly restrict the development
and usefulness of new forms of electronic communication.
Members of the Penn community should be aware, however, that although
enforcement of the "indecency" provision is temporarily barred, the bill's
other provisions are and will remain in effect unless overturned or
repealed. Those provisions subject violators to substantial criminal
penalties. Individuals or institutions that make information or materials
available on electronic networks have an obligation to comply with the
statute. Individuals who distribute information through the University's
computing resources are responsible for the content they provide and may
wish to evaluate the material they make available in light of the Act's
requirements. The University is unable to prevent information that is
posted to publicly accessible resources, such as newsgroups and homepages,
from becoming available to persons under the age of 18.
We regret the uncertainty and disruption caused by this legislation and
will try to keep you informed (via Almanac and the University's home
page on the WorldWideWeb) of significant developments as they occur.
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 02:38:40 -0500 (EST)
From: Mitchell L. Silverman
Subject: File 4--In Defense of Newt Gingrich
I feel as if I must come to Newt Gingrich's defense after Charles
Stanford's rather mealy-mouthed attack on him in CuD 8.19.
Mr. Stanford wrote:
> The only reason that sex is an issue, especially non-missionary position
> sex, is that it is something a politician can be against without
> problems. "I am trying to protect the moral fiber of our great
> country," they spout and Newt leads the amens. Pass a bill. Stop all
> this midnight ejaculation.
A cursory Yahoo search (well, a Boolean Yahoo search, anyway) on
"Gingrich and CDA" produced
http://www.cdt.org/policy/freespeech/gingrich_exon.html, a transcript of
an interview David Frost conducted with Gingrich on PBS on 5/31/95.
> Frost: Right. What do you think about Senator Exon's ideas for federal
> law to ban obscene material from the Internet? Is that practical?
> Gingrich: It's probably illegal under our Constitution is my guess. We
> have a very strong freedom of speech provision. On the other hand, I've
> been advocating quite openly that major advertisers ought to announce
> that they will not advertise on radio stations that broadcast songs
> encouraging the raping and the torture and the physical violence against
> women. I mean, freedom of speech doesn't mean subsidized speech. And we
> have every right as a culture, not as a government but as a culture; we
> have every right for wise leadership to say we won't support that. We
> won't tolerate that.
> Gingrich: Now, first of all ... computers. There is a problem, nowadays
> .. I was quite surprised when I was told this by an expert. There is a
> problem nowadays, pedophiles - using computer networking to try to
> pursue children. It's truly amazing. I think there you have a perfect
> right on a non-censorship basis to intervene decisively against somebody
> who would prey upon children. And that I would support very intensely.
> It's very different than trying to censor willing adults.
According to the EFF's own chronology, Gingrich announced his opposition
to the CDA on June 21, 1995 -- which makes him, too, an early adopter.
I'm no CDA supporter -- I've volunteered to lead the Committee 451
anti-CDA student protest here at FSU Law School on March 14th, and just
signed up as CIEC plaintiff number 7,187. Since two essays on my
homepage are stories I wrote about volunteering as an escort at an
abortion clinic -- one that involves getting bitten by a pro-lifer
(http://www.sar.usf.edu/~silverma/mitch-bites-back.html) -- I feel
especially strongly about the CDA as enacted. Neither, should I point
out, am I Newt's biggest fan.
But to paint Newt Gingrich as James Exon or Henry Hyde (or, IMHO, Bill
Clinton, who did, after all, sign the CDA-laden Telecomm Reform bill into
law) ignores the real issue -- that censorship is unconstitutional,
and, more importantly, *wrong* -- and does no one any good.
As well, Mr. Stanford's article obscures the fact that while Gingrich
did vote in favor of the Telecomm Reform Act, he also probably supports
repeal of the CDA provisions -- which, instead of judicial
interpretation or limitation (and barring approval of the Tribe
Amendment to the Constitution) is really the best result those of us who
oppose censorship can hope for.
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 1995 22:51:01 CDT
From: CuD Moderators
Subject: File 5--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 6 March, 1996)
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E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank