cr> CNET Interview and D.C. press conference


Craig A. Johnson

For anyone who has an interest, I was interviewed by CNET Radio this 
afternoon on the ACLU suit, on behalf of CPSR.  The interview will go 
live at 2:30 pm EST today at <>.

The D.C. Chapter of CPSR also held a press conference today at which 
Senator Leahy spoke, along with a representative of Microsystems 
Cyber Patrol  parental-enabling software and the Chief of Library 
Development for the Maryland State Department of Education.

I spoke on our participation in the ACLU suit, along with Robert 
Cannon, a telecommunications lawyer here.  

PBS Nightly Business News may run a segment.

Below is the press release issued by Larry Hunter.



Date sent:        Thu, 15 Feb 1996 11:50:53 -0500
From:             •••@••.••• (Larry Hunter)
To:               •••@••.•••
Copies to:        •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••
Subject:          Today's press event
Send reply to:    •••@••.•••

Audrie & CPSR folks,

This morning's press conference went well.  The people who signed in

  Newswires: AP, Reuters, Gannett, Legi-Slate News Service
  TV: McNeil (PBS), Nightly Business News, Christian Broadcasting Network
  Others: Communications Daily, NIS, Education Daily, Congress Daily,
          and Communications Today.

Below is a copy of the press release we sent out.  If you see clips
anywhere, send me a copy! 


----- begin file ~/Projects/cpsr/press-release -----


February 15, 1996                               Contact: Dr. Lawrence Hunter
        (301) 977-0043


WASHINGTON, D.C.: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was joined today with
leaders from business, academia and public libraries to denounce the
recently enacted Communications Decency Act, which establishes
government control of the Internet. The Act, which was part of the
broad telecommunications deregulation bill, calls for fines and jail
sentences for anyone making available material deemed "indecent" via
the internet.  Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, a
national organization of computer experts concerned about the impact
of technology in society, organized the event.

"Americans should be taking the high ground to protect the future of
our home-grown Internet, and to fight these censorship efforts that
are springing up around the globe," declared Senator Leahy. "We all
want to protect our children from offensive or indecent online
materials.  But we must be careful that the means we use to protect
our children does not do more harm than good."  The Senator has
introduced legislation, which is co-sponsored by Senator Russ Feingold
(D-WI), to repeal the Act.

Joining Senator Leahy was the Manager of Library Development for the
Maryland State Department of Education, Rivkah Sass, who expressed her
concern over the legislation. "The internet is like an enormous
library and community center, where information and ideas are freely
exchanged.  Never before has our nation had such instantaneous and
inexpensive access to so much knowledge," explained Ms. Sass.  "This
'Decency' Act is like a government bulldozer which will plow down
almost the entire digital library, leaving only the children's
section.  That is the wrong way to protect the families of our

"The Communications Decency Act has been a key legislative goal of the
Christian Coalition," explained Dr. Lawrence Hunter, the chair of the
Washington, D.C. Chapter of Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility and Professor of Computer Science at George Mason
University.  "The religious right is saying that the government knows
how to protect children better than parents do -- coming from them,
that's the height of hypocracy," declared Dr. Hunter.  "The values in
my family are that children are encouraged to read books and use
computers at the level the parents decide is appropriate."

"Not everything on the Internet is fit for children, but there is a
rapidly growing and very competitive industry in parental control
software," explained Dr. Hunter.  "Informed and caring parents are far
better than the government at guiding a child's quest for knowledge
and keeping children from accessing those parts of the internet not
meant for them, " explained Ms. Sass, "just as parents help their
children in making choices about what books to read or what videos to

CompuServe, a major internet access provider, recently licensed
Microsystems Software's parental control software Cyber Patrol (R),
and is making it available to its 4.3 million users worldwide at no
charge.  Susan Getgood, Director of Marketing for Microsystems
explained, "We developed Cyber Patrol on the belief that
responsibility for content lies with the individual user, and that
parents need to be actively involved in shaping the online experience
for their children."  Ms Getgood explained that, unlike government
censorship, Cyber Patrol does not take a one-size-fits-all approach.
"Parents can use our continuously updated review service, or they can
set our parental preference controls that let them restrict Internet
sites according to their own values and standards," she explained.

Senator Leahy supported using technology to help parents, "We can
already control the access our children have to indecent material with
blocking technologies available for free from some online service
providers and for a relatively low cost from software manufacturers.
Should we not say that the parents ought to make this decision, not us
in the Congress? Banning indecent material from the Internet is like
using a meat cleaver to deal with the problems better addressed with a

----- end file ~/Projects/cpsr/press-release -----


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