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IP: EFFector 11.16: Human Rights Day; COPA Update; Alerts
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 03:50:25 -0500
Summary: 1) COPA injunction & court dates; 2) Filters in library overturned;
3) Wassenaar crypto action campaign; 4) Chinese dissidents alert.
EFFector Vol. 11, No. 16 Dec. 10, 1998
editor () eff org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
IN THE 144th ISSUE OF EFFECTOR:
This Human Rights Day special issue not only marks a historic liberty
milestone, but also represents a full gross (12x12) EFFectors issued
since EFF's founding in 1990.
* Judge Halts Enforcement of COPA Internet Censorship Law
* EFF Statement on Loudoun Ruling
* 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights --
and two human rights alerts
+ Web site launched to allow citizens of the world to protest
their loss of privacy
+ China--Engineer & Physicist Imprisoned
For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org
Judge Halts Enforcement of COPA Internet Censorship Law
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 10, 1998 -- Civil liberties groups and Internet
users everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief - for now - as a federal
judge has halted enforcement of the "Child Online Protect Act" (COPA,
or colloquially "CDA-II"), a new federal Internet censorship law,
until its constitutionality is ultimately resolved in court.
In a Nov. 20 ruling in ACLU v. Reno II, Federal District Judge Lowell
A. Reed, Jr. said that the groups have shown "a likelihood of success
on the merits of at least some of their claims" that the federal
Internet censorship law violates the First Amendment rights of adults.
The government, Judge Reed said, presented "no binding authority or
persuasive reason" why the court should not enjoin "total enforcement"
of the law pending an outcome. The initial temporary restraining order
(TRO) issued by the court has been extended to Feb. 1, 1999, with the
next hearing in the case slated for Jan. 20-21, in which the free
speech organizations will argue to turn the TRO into a more lasting
preliminary injunction pending conclusion of the trial.
Significantly, the judge emphasized that the temporary restraining
order, or TRO, applies to all Internet users -- not just the
plaintiffs in the case -- and that, even if the law is ultimately
upheld, the Administration cannot prosecute online speakers
Indeed, the judge wrote, to enjoin the law now but leave Internet
users open to potential prosecution later "would be hollow relief
indeed for plaintiffs and members of the public similarly situated."
The American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF) and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) -- co-counsel
in the case -- welcomed the order.
"Our clients, David Talbot, CEO of Salon Magazine and Norman Laurila,
President of A Different Light Bookstores, provided compelling
testimony today that if this law were not enjoined, they might be
forced to shut down their websites altogether," said Ann Beeson, ACLU
National Staff Attorney and a member of the legal team that appeared
in court today. "That may not have been the intent of the law, but it
certainly is the outcome."
Under the current schedule, the groups will return to court next on
December 8 and 9 for a preliminary injunction hearing on the matter.
The TRO, which expires in ten days (on Friday, December 4), will
likely be extended for another 10 days in order to maintain the
current status quo.
"We are very pleased with the court's initial ruling, " said Marc
Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information
Center. "Like the original CDA, this censorship law raises troubling
implications for both free speech and privacy in the online world."
Barry Steinhardt, President of the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
agreed. "This is an important first step," he said. "At least for now,
speech on the Internet retains the strong constitutional protection
that the Supreme Court said it deserved in the original Reno v. ACLU
More information on the case can be found at:
* EFF's "Child On-line Protection Act" Legal Challenge (ACLU v. Reno
II) Archive at http://www.eff.org/pub/Legal/Cases/COPA
(you can think of this archive as the "COPA Cabana" -
check back periodically for updates, or simply visit the Blue
Ribbon Campaign for Free Speech Online page -
http://www.eff.org/br - for the latest news.)
* The judge's temporary restraining order (TRO) decision (makes COPA
unenforceable for the time being):
* Our memorandum in support of the motion for a TRO (explains the
basis of our case and why the law is bad, in legal terms.)
To: action () eff org (action mailing list)
EFF Statement on Loudoun Ruling
Nov. 23, 1998
Another Victory for Free Speech on the Internet
For the second time in one week, a U.S. court has handed down a ruling
upholding the strongest Constitutional protections of free expression
on the Internet. A U.S. District Court ruled today, in Mainstream
Loudoun, et. al. v. Board of Trustees of the Loudoun County Library,
that the Loudoun County, Virginia, policy requiring filtering software
in public libaries violated the First Amendment by preventing adults
from using library computers to access a wide array of mainstream,
The decision follows closely on the heels of the first victory in the
new legal challenge being mounted by the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic
Privacy Information Center, against the recently passed Child Online
Protection Act (COPA, a.k.a. "CDA-II"). Decision text:
Filtering measures rob local libraries, schools, and ultimately
parents of the authority to decide for themselves what are appropriate
uses of the Internet and force them to install crude blocking
software. All too often, material about topics ranging from the
prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, to women's rights, to
current news stories about political sex scandals is likely to be
blocked. Even religious groups such as the Society of Friends (Quaker
religion) and mainstream organizations like the American Association
of University Women have been blocked. Earlier this year we learned
that even conservative groups like the American Family Association
have been blacklisted by these imperfect tools, which are already
being installed in libraries and schools today.
As EFF has said on numerous occasions that you can no more create a
computer program to block out content that fits one community's view
of "indecent", "obscene" or "harmful to minors", than you can devise a
filtering program to block out misguided proposals by members of
Congress. Both goals may be desirable, but neither are possible.
For more information, see EFF's Loudoun Co. Library Case Archive
http://www.eff.org/pub/Legal/Cases/Loudoun (major documents) and/or
Censorware.org's Loudoun Co. Library Case Archive
http://censorware.org/legal/loudoun (all documents).
50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- and two human
EFF Urges You to Exercise Your Human Rights Today!
Thursday, December 10, 1998 marks the 50th Anniversary of the UN
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. EFF urges you to participate in
2 on-line campaigns for the betterment of human rights everywhere.
First, you can globally protest recent anti-cryptography changes to
the international Wassenaar agreement on export controls, by
participating in the FreeCrypto.org campaign. Second, send an e-mail
to Chinese officials and urge them to free two jailed Chinese
scientists facing prosecution for using the Internet to promote
democracy. For more information see http://www.eff.org (under "What's
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights a Reminder that Privacy
must be preserved.
Web site launched to allow citizens of the world to protest their loss of
December 9, 1998 (Montreal)--On the 50th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as well as in protest of the
recent changes to cryptography policies worldwide, Zero-Knowledge
Systems is spearheading a campaign to encourage governments to loosen
newly imposed cryptography restrictions. This campaign, seen on the
web site http://www.freecrypto.org, enables citizens of the world to
express their outrage and concern at the increasing loss of their
Article 12 of the UDHR states,
"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his
privacy, family home, or correspondence..."
Yet, decades later, we are witnessing the unprecedented collection of
personal information and intrusions into the lives of many. Internet
users in particular, confront multiple privacy violations while
online. Over 80% of Internet users polled consider privacy be their
The best defense for online privacy is to use strong cryptography,
which allows Internet users to preserve the privacy of their
communications and personal information.
On December 3, 1998, the Internet community experienced one of the
strongest setbacks to their privacy in recent years. The 33 member
countries of the Wassenaar Arrangement agreed for the first time to
impose export restrictions on mass-market cryptography products.
Until December 3rd, the majority of the Wassenaar signatories did not
impose export controls over mass-market products that protect personal
security and privacy through cryptography. The United States
Department of Commerce Under-Secretary has taken credit for convincing
all other Wassenaar countries to impose these added restrictions over
cryptography designed for average citizens.
Barry Steinhardt, President of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
believes "The US government has strong-armed the rest of the
industrialized world into adopting a policy that will make us less
secure and more vulnerable to electronic terrorism. Our critical
national and international infrastructures need to be protected by
strong encryption. Weak encryption with back doors that will be
exploited not just by governments, but by information pirates, will
leave us at greater risk."
"It is not too late to reverse course," continues Steinhardt.
"Wassenaar allows, but does not require, the other national
governments to follow the US' foolish lead."
"Cryptography is the key to preserving privacy for Internet users,"
explains Austin Hill, President of Zero-Knowledge Systems. "By
limiting the accessibility of cryptography, you are limiting people's
ability to protect themselves. Now, more than ever, we have the
ability to influence the future of the electronic world; we must
ensure that it has the same the basic rights and protections that the
UDHR promised us fifty years ago."
Hill continues, "We hope that Internet users will be proactive in
protesting this human rights infringement to their governments. The
freecrypto.org web site provides such a space, where users can learn
about the issues and send their government representatives a message
expressing their dissatisfaction with the tightening of cryptography
The http://www.freecrypto.org web site provides a form that citizens
can fill out and have faxed or emailed to their respective government
representatives. It also provides information and articles on the
recently imposed cryptography restrictions.
Zero-Knowledge Systems Inc. ( http://www.zks.net ) is a Canadian based
software developer dedicated to providing cryptographic solutions for
the privacy and security of Internet users. They will be launching
their first product called Freedom(TM) in February 1999.
10 December 1998
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION
China--Engineer & Physicist Imprisoned
You -- Wang Youcai
ME9810.Hai -- Lin Hai
(Previous alert issued on 19 August 1998).
ISSUES: the right to life, liberty, and security of person; freedom
from arbitrary arrest and detention; freedom of opinion and
expression; freedom of peaceful assembly and association; the right to
communicate freely over the Internet and other telecommunications
FACTS OF THE CASE: On a day when most countries are celebrating the
50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
software engineer Lin Hai and physicist and dissident Wang Youcai sit
in jail for using the Internet to support democracy in China.
The Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science, in collaboration with the Association for
Computing Machinery, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the
Committee of Concerned Scientists, the Committee on the International
Freedom of Scientists of the American Physical Society, Cyber-Rights &
Cyber-Liberties (UK), Derechos Human Rights, the Digital Freedom
Network, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy
Information Center, Human Rights in China, the New York Academy of
Sciences' Committee on Human Rights, and VIP Reference, has initiated
an e-mail appeal campaign on behalf of Lin Hai and Wang Youcai. We
encourage other groups to share this alert with their constituencies.
Lin Hai was arrested on 25 March 1998 for providing 30,000 Chinese
e-mail addresses to VIP Reference, which publishes a pro-democracy
newsletter described by Chinese prosecutors as a "hostile foreign
publication." US-based VIP Reference distributes reports on dissident
activities, human rights, and other issues to more than 200,000 e-mail
addresses in China. Lin Hai has been charged with "inciting to
overthrow state power." His trial was conducted in secret in Shanghai
on 4 December 1998; the verdict is expected to be announced soon.
Lin's arrest has been described as evidence that the Chinese
government is determined to prevent freedom of information on the
Internet from posing a challenge to its leadership.
Wang Youcai, a leader of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, is
scheduled to go to trial on 17 December in the Hangzhou Intermediate
Court on the charge of "inciting to overthrow state power." Among his
crimes is sending e-mail messages to dissidents in the US. Wang was
arrested in July for trying to organize an opposition party. He was
then released and put under house arrest. He was detained again on 2
November and formally charged on 30 November.
More than one million Chinese citizens reportedly have access to the
Internet. The government encourages this access to promote national
development while, at the same time, fighting to control its use for
The arrests of Lin Hai and Wang Youcai constitute serious violations
of international human rights standards enumerated in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted without opposition by
the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. They include:
* Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person
* no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
* everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this
right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and
to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any
media regardless of frontiers (Article 19); and
* everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
association (Article 20).
(Sources of information for this update include Chinese VIP Reference,
the Digital Freedom Network, Human Rights in China, and the New York
Times. Previous sources of information include the Associated Press
and Human Rights in China.)
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send e-mail or fax messages:
* calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Lin Hai and
Wang Youcai on the grounds that they were arrested solely for
exercising their internationally recognized rights to freedom of
expression and association; and
* urging Chinese officials to cease their interference with
To maintain the legitimacy of our efforts, we request that you send
only one message to the e-mail addresses listed below.
Premier of the People's Republic of China
fax: 86 1 512 5810 (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
No.2 jin tai xi lu
fax: +8610 65092893
e-mail: info () peopledaily com cn
e-mail: ly () peopledaily com cn
106 Yong An Road
fax: +8610 63039387
e-mail: gmdaily () public bta net cn
e-mail: sqw () bd748 pku edu cn
Jiefang Daily (Shanghai)
No.300 Hankou Road
fax: +8621 63526517
e-mail: wzmao () guomai sh cn
China's Central TV
No.11, Fuxing Road
Beijing, bj 100859
e-mail: webmaster () mail cctv com
e-mail: michael () NIC CCTV COM
Xinhua News Agency
fax: +8610 63071080
e-mail: xinhua () cb col com cn
e-mail: aaron () CHINA COM
Human Rights of China
Bldg.22, Anyuan BeiLi, Asian Games Village
Beijing, Beijing 100029
e-mail: infornew () PUBLIC BTA NET CN
State Development Planning Commission of China
58# SANLIHE road
XICHENG district Beijing China
fax: +8610 68558560
e-mail: liujg () mx cei gov cn
Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may receive,
or direct any questions you may have to Elisa Munoz by e-mail at .
The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful,
accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as
possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human
rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation.
Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation
is always helpful.
To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not
continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of
the posting unless an update has been issued.
EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
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+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
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Editor: Stanton McCandlish, Program Director/Webmaster (mech () eff org)
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- IP: EFFector 11.16: Human Rights Day; COPA Update; Alerts Dave Farber (Dec 11)