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Newsletter 5-1-97

 

letters/FACTNews #5 - May 1, 1997

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======================================================================= @@@@@@@ @ @@@@@ @@@@@@@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @@@@@@ @ @ @@@@@@@ @@@@ @ @@@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @@@@ @ @ @ @@@@@@@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @@@@@ @ @ @ @@@@@@ @ @ @@@@@@@ ----------------------------------------------------------------------- A digest devoted to alerting Netizens about the issues of Freedom of Speech The Right to Privacy & Freedom of Thought Distributed by FACTNet (Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network, Inc.) <http://www.factnet.org/> ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Vol. I, Issue #5 May 1997 -----------------------------------------------------------------------

In this issue:

(*) FACTNET EXCLUSIVE - HUBBARD DIED WHILE ON PSYCH DRUGS!
(1) WOMEN FIGHT BACK WITH THE "W.H.O.A" WEB SITE
(2) ADMINISTRATION FAVORS HANDS-OFF APPROACH TOWARD NET
(3) "EDUCATION IS ACTUALLY THE LIMITING OF INFORMATION"
(4) NET GIVES HONG KONG INSURANCE ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
(5) THE BAD APPLE
(6) JUNGER DID IT HIS OWN WAY
(7) FTC TO CONDUCT PRIVACY HEARINGS
(8) GROUPS CONCERNED WITH GROWING USE OF COOKIES
(9) WIRETAPPING IN EUROPE - WITH THE HELP OF THE FBI?
(10) BRITONS RIGHT TO PRIVACY MAY BE COMPROMISED
(11) FOI UPDATE FOR THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES
(12) IS CYBERSPACE THE "NEW HOME OF MIND"?
(13) FIRST AMENDMENT LEGAL WATCH CONTENTS (VOL II, No. 15)
(14) EPIC ALERT CONTENTS (Vol. 4.06)

(*) FACTNET EXCLUSIVE HUBBARD DIED WHILE ON PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS!

When Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986, members were told how their leader had moved off to "research" a new "upper level" of knowledge. What they didn't tell the membership was that Hubbard had died with Vistaril, a psychiatric tranquilizer, coursing through his brain.

That information is contained in a heretofore unreleased document found in the coroner's file and presented to a judge in San Luis Obispo by FACTNet Attorney Graham Berry. Berry was asking the judge for emergency (fast) measures to seek information about the death of Hubbard and the disposition of his estate.

For decades Hubbard had denounced psychiatry and the use of any psychiatric drugs. Vistaril is a potent tranquilizer.

According to the coroner's examination, there were ten recent needle marks in Hubbard's buttock. The Physician's Desk Reference recommends Vistaril be administered in the buttocks.

Hubbard purportedky signed a new will the day before he died.

Scientology attorneys sought to strike the material Berry filed and are denouncing him for revealing the information.

To read the documents filed by Berry, visit FACTNet at http://www.factnet.org

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(1) WOMEN FIGHT BACK WITH "W.H.O.A" WEB SITE

Women who feel they and their gender are the target of Internet abuse now have a group and a web site for support.

Women Halting Online Abuse (WHOA) was started by a group that felt they had nowhere else to turn, to fight everyting from sexual come-ons to Internet stalkings. The site went up on February 12 and it offers tips and support, as well as sites deemed "safe" for women. The site asks ISPs and others to adopt policies to prevent harassment of women.

WHOA can be found at http://whoa.femail.com

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(2) ADMINISTRATION FAVORS HANDS-OFF APPROACH TOWARD INTERNET

The Clinton administration is working on a White Paper outlining its position on electronic encryption and Internet commerce issues, says Ira Magaziner, senior advisor to the president for policy development. A number of principles will be articulated in the White Paper, including: The Internet should be a tax- and duty-free zone; governments of the world should agree to avoid regulating electronic payments systems; private sector consortia, rather than governments, should set technical standards; a uniform commercial code should be developed; protection of intellectual property on the Internet is important; voluntary ratings and filtering systems should be used rather than government-imposed censorship of indecent material on the Internet; and a market-oriented approach to privacy is preferable to government regulation. (BNA Daily Report for Executives 30 Apr 97)

Excerpted from EDUPAGE with permission. Edupage archive and subscription information at http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/edupage.html)

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(3) "EDUCATION IS ACTUALLY THE LIMITING OF INFORMATION"

Author David Shenk ("Data Smog," HarperCollins, 1997) says that wiring the schools may be the wrong approach toward improving education: "I think we need to be very, very skeptical for a number of reasons. First of all, it's important to realize that education is not the same as accessing information. We don't have a problem accessing information easily and cheaply in this country. We've had great libraries and even adequate school libraries for a long time. Education is actually the limiting of information. You have a teacher who lets in a little information each day in each class that fits in with what you already know and puts it in context. A child adds a building block per class to help formulate knowledge and wisdom. Then they're able to go out and access information and learn more themselves. Let's be very skeptical when people like the president and vice president say this is going to revolutionize education. I think that is absolute hogwash." (Investor's Business Daily 30 Apr 97)

Excerpted from EDUPAGE with permission. Edupage archive and subscription information at http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/edupage.html)

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(4) NET GIVES HONG KONG INSURANCE ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Fearing that freedom of the press will be curtailed after it is transferred from British to Chinese rule on July 1st, Hong Kong is moving rapidly to sign on to the Internet, which is expected to remain a source of uncensored exchanges of news and views. In the past year, the number of Hong Kong companies with Web pages has more than tripled. Dr G. S. Rao, of the University of Brunei, Darussalam, says: "Tightening the Net is difficult because the information flows like an unstoppable wind. Once you try to block people, they try to get in another way. The Net is unpoliceable." (Financial Times 14 Apr 97)

Excerpted from EDUPAGE with permission. Edupage archive and subscription information at http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/edupage.html)

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(5) THE BAD APPLE

(Taken from an article by Declan McCullagh at Netly News, 4/8/97.)

To those of us who follow such events, it's a common enough scene: a squad of civil liberties attorneys troops into a federal courtroom to do righteous battle with an unconstitutional law. It happened this week in New York City, before a judge who finished hearing testimony yesterday in a case the ACLU brought against yet another state Net-censorship statute.

The outcome in this lawsuit, however, will reverberate not just in the Empire State but also along the marble corridors of the U.S. Capitol. If the Supreme Court rules that the Communications Decency Act indeed violates the First Amendment, Congress hopes the New York casewill guide it in revising the law so it passes constitutional muster. And given how the New York case is shaping up for the forces of unbridled free speech, that could be ugly.

(See http://cgi.pathfinder.com/netly/editorial/0,1012,811,00.html for the full article.)

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(6) JUNGER DID IT HIS OWN WAY

(Taken from a Netly News story by Declan McCullagh)

Peter Junger decided to do it differently when he filed a lawsuit against the Federal government seeking to lift export controls on encryption software. He could have mimicked the other two crypto-suits and asked the government to let him ship data-scrambling software overseas -- and sue when the request was denied.

But Junger never sent that query to the Feds. "In my case I've never applied for permission. From the beginning I'm raising the constitutional issues. So it's a cleaner case," says Junger, a 63-year old law professor at Case Western Reserve University.

Junger hopes to win by stressing that any regulation requiring government approval of a publication -- a "prior restraint" -- is unconstitutional, even when applied to computer programs. "My position is that I don't have to apply for a license. It's unconstitutional for you to require me to apply for a license," he says. (The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment's "chief purpose" is "to prevent previous restraints upon publication.")

(For the complete story, see http://cgi.pathfinder.com/netly/editorial/0,1012,792,00.html)

Junger filed his lawsuit last spring. Now the documents are online at http://jya.com/pdj.htm

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(7) FTC TO CONDUCT PRIVACY HEARINGS

(From EPIC Alert) The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will convene a public workshop devoted to consumer information privacy on June 10-13, 1997. This is a follow-up to FTC workshops held last summer.

The workshop is intended to gather information on the collection, compilation, sale and use of computerized data bases that contain sensitive identifying information, as well as self-regulatory efforts, technological innovations and unsolicited e-mail. The workshop will also address these developments as they pertain to children's personal information.

The workshop will gather information for a new computer data base study that the FTC has also announced. However, this study will be limited to "look up services" which contain personal identifying information, such as the Lexis-Nexis P-TRAK service. Importantly, the FTC will not address computer databases used primarily for direct marketing purposes, medical and student records or the use of computer credit reports for employment purposes.

Interested participants must submit written comments by April 15, 1997.

More information is available at the FCC web page: http://www.ftc.gov/

(From EPIC Alert, Volume 4.05 Published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) at <http://www.epic.org/>.)

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(8) GROUPS CONCERNED WITH GROWING USE OF COOKIES

(From EPIC Alert) Several leading consumer, civil liberties, and children's advocacy organizations have urged an Internet standards organization to fix a problem with web browser software that allows companies and government agencies operating web sites to track the activities of Internet users.

The groups say that there is a problem with the so-called "cookies" technology. Cookies make it possible to read information on users' computers and find out where they go on the Internet. Some companies in the on-line advertising industry use cookies data to collect personal information for advertising and marketing.

The Internet Engineering Task Force, a loose coalition of technical experts responsible for the development of standards for the Internet is meeting this week in Memphis to consider a wide range of technical issues concerning the Internet, including a proposal to limit the ability of companies to use cookies.

The proposed safeguard has come under attack by several companies engaged in interactive advertising and marketing. According to a March 31, 1997 article in Ad Age, these groups are now drafting a "counter-proposal" to head-off the IETF recommendation.

In the letter, the groups express support for RFC 2109, the proposal for an HTTP State Management Mechanism. The letter further says that "transparency" -- the ability of users to see and exercise control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information -- is a critical guideline for the development of sensible privacy practices on the Internet"

The letter was signed by the Center for Media Education, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, the Consumer Federation of American, the Consumer Project on Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, National Association of Elementary School Principals, NetAction, Privacy International, the United States Privacy Council, and more than one hundred Internet users.

The coalition letter, and more information about cookies, is available at http://www.epic.org/privacy/internet/cookies/

(From EPIC Alert, Volume 4.05 published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) at <http://www.epic.org/>.)

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(9) WIRETAPPING IN EUROPE - WITH THE HELP OF THE FBI?

(From CYBER-RIGHTS) The latest bulletin lambda ( http://www.freenix.fr/netizen/302-e.html) reports on cryptography and wiretapping in Europe.

One of its major topics is a proposal by the European Union (which does not have direct ability to legislate, but makes recommendations to governments) to create standards among telephone equipment and services that ensure governments can continue wiretapping. This action is reminiscent of the Digital Wiretapping initiative by the U.S. government, which led to the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act of 1994. And indeed, the FBI has been working with the EU to create the proposal.

As telecom is deregulated and multiple vendors/services enter the market, a variety of equipment may end up transmitting phone calls. While users would be interested in the establishment of standards to ensure interconnection, the only standards that the governments have shown any interest in promoting are those that permit surveillance. The EU wants to ensure that companies cooperate with law enforcement, that equipment permits the interception of messages, that laws in different countries are compatible, and that countries collaborate to wiretap criminals--or suspected criminals! As in the U.S., government representatives want to keep up with technology by doing such things as tracking the movement of people using mobile phones, and learning what phone numbers are being called.

A discussion and critique of the EU report by the British political group Statewatch is at: http://www.freenix.fr/netizen/swreport.html

CYBER-RIGHTS is a CPSR Project at http://www.cpsr.org

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(10) BRITONS RIGHT TO PRIVACY MAY BE COMPROMISED

(Excerpted from The Electronic Telegraph, by Wendy Grossman. Exceprted with her permission to reproduce for noncommercial purposes.)

BRITONS' right to privacy could be compromised if proposals announced by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) become law. The proposals require any company offering cryptographic services to the public to be licensed; and in order to get a licence, companies will have to store copies of the keys that decode their users' private files - such as personal medical and financial records and correspondence.

If enacted, the DTI's proposals would be roughly equivalent to requiring licensed builders to give copies of the front-door keys of all the houses they construct to a trusted bureau known to the police.

The DTI claims its proposals balance the demand from business for strong encryption services with "the requirement to preserve the ability of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight serious crime". But privacy advocates have condemned the plans.

"The document is a very cleverly orchestrated confidence trick," says Simon Davies, director of the civil liberties group Privacy International. "It redefines government control as a public trust issue. It means that nobody is ultimately going to be able to have private communication."

The consultation document proposes to create a network of trusted third parties (TTPs) to underpin the use of cryptography across networks. It will then be illegal to offer cryptographic services to the general public without a licence as a TTP. Licence holders will be required to produce a copy of users' keys upon presentation of a court order signed by the Secretary of State. Under the Interception of Communications Act 1985, users do not have to be informed if this happens.

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(11) FOI UPDATE FOR THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES

Ulf Oberg <oberg@INNET.LU>, Legal Secretary, Court of Justice of the European Communities, recently provided the following update to the FOI List. Due to the resources provided, it deserves repeating.

"Since I, as a new (and european, i.e. swedish) member to this list truly believe that a comparative approach to FOI acts is fruitful our discussion,note that a summary in english of the Swedish Governmental Data Act Committee's proposals to review the provisions of Chapter 2 of the Freedom of the Press Act concerning citizens' rights to gain access to public documents - one of the four constitutional acts that form the Swedish Constitution - can be found at:

http://www.skolverket.se/skolnet/dalk/engelsk.html

"The committee handed over it's report, INTEGRITY - RIGHT-OF-ACCESS - INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SOU 1997:39), including recommendations on new and amended legislation, to the Swedish Minister of Justice - Mrs. Laila Freivalds - on april 2, 1997.

"While I'm at it, in European Community Law, the Commission decision of 8 February 1994 on public access to Commission documents (94/90/ECSC,EC,Euratom) is available at

http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/accdoc/comdec.html

and the Code of conduct concerning public access to Commission and Council documents can be found at

http://europa.eu.int/en/comm/accdoc/code.html

" For press releases and summaries of the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities on public access issues, see:

Case C-58/94, Pays-Bas/Conseil, (in french): http://europa.eu.int/cj/en/cp/cp9707en.htm

"Case T-105/95, WWF (UK) v Commission of the European Communities, where the Commission's refusal to release documents was annulled, see

http://www2.echo.lu/legal/fr/acces/paysbas.html

"Case. T-194/94 - 19.10.1995, John Carvel and Guardian Newspapers Ltd / Council of the European Union

http://www2.echo.lu/legal/en/access/carvel.html

"Finally, the proceedings of a conference held in Stockholm 27/28 June 1996 entitled Access To Public Information: A Key To Commercial Growth And Electronic Democracy is found at

http://www2.echo.lu/legal/stockholm/?861310067

"Hope these references to swedish and EC law do qualify as State and Local Freedom of Information Issues!"

Ulf Oberg Legal Secretary Court of Justice of the European Communities

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(12) IS CYBERSPACE THE "NEW HOME OF MIND"?

The following essay was found as it moved about through various lists and groups. Directed towards governments, it could as well be directed at some totalitarian systems that are trying to taken control of the Net. It carries a message worth repeating:

Cyberspace: The New Home of Mind

You weary giants of flesh and steel, we come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, we ask you of the past to leave me alone. You are not welcome. You have no sovereignty where we gather. We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose. You have no moral right to rule, nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions. You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our market places. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions. You laim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Understanding . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours.

Our world is different. Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications.

Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity. Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, There is no matter here. Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge.

Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose. In the Republic of Venezuela, you have Laws, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Bolivar, Miranda, Sucre, Bello, Muqoz Tebar, and many others. These dreams must now be born again in us. You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits.

We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat. In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and Venezuela, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contamination for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media. Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in Venezuela and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost.

The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish. These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts. We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace.

May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

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(13) FIRST AMENDMENT LEGAL WATCH (VOL II, No. 15)

The First Amendment Legal Watch is a regular newsletter from the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderfilt University. For the benefit of FACTNet subscribers, this is the Table of Contents of the most recent issue:

I. COURT DECISIONS 1. Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down School Policy on Gang-Related Material as Unconstitutionally Vague

II. OTHER FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUES In the Courts 1. New York CDA Law Goes on Trial 2. Ex-Basketball Star Sues CBS for Inaccurate Portrayal in Movie 3. South Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Decision Allowing City Zoning Board to Refuse to License Adult Businesses In the Legislature 1. Pennsylvania House Debating School Dress Codes 2. South Carolina House Approves Special Confederate Flag License Plate

To subscribe, send email to fa_watch-request@fac.org with no subject and the word "subscribe" as the body (no signature please). First Amendment Legal Watch is available at http://www.fac.org.

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(14) EPIC ALERT (Vol. 4.06) CONTENTS

EPIC Alert is published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington DC and at http://www.epic.org. For the benefit and interest of FACTNet subscribers, this is the contents of their most recent (Vol 4.06) issue:

[1] Germany Indicts CompuServe Official
[2] House & Senate Approve IRS Browsing Bills
[3] Supreme Court Strikes Down Drug Testing Law
[4] SSN Bills Introduced in House and Senate
[5] Commission Recommends Genetic Privacy Law
[6] SSA Drops Web Page
[7] EPIC Submits Comments to FTC on Consumer Privacy
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

To subscribe, send email to epic-news@epic.org with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes) or use the subscription form at: http://www.epic.org/alert/subscribe.html. Back issues are available at: http://www.epic.org/alert/

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This editorial/opinion/news alert has been provided or distributed by FACTNet, Inc. (Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network.) Since 1993 we have been the largest online news and referral service as well as research archive for defending freedom of thought and mind from all forms of unethical influence tactics, mind control and mental coercion/torture used in destructive cults and fundamentalist groups. FACTNet is a tax deductible, IRS Approved 501(c)(3) non profit organization.

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