cr> Rep. Anna Eshoo in Washington Post


Craig A. Johnson

Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), a telecom conference committee
member, had a hard-hitting anti-censorship column in yesterday's
Washington Post.

If only there were more like her...

Excerpts follow. 



The Washington Post, Wednesday, January 31, 1996

   By Anna G. Eshoo

"Despite all the talk about 'getting government off our backs,' some
conservatives are now trying to have it intrude in our private lives.
Ironically, they are using the Internet istself to promote censorship
of the information superhighway and to encourage Congress to trun the
federal government into an on-line nanny.

"On Nov. 30, 1995, the Christian Coalition posted an "Action Alert" on
its home page urging its supporters to call, fax and send letters to
'the House and Senate members who will continue to get easy access to
hard core porn' on the Internet 'and urge them to support the only
proposal that gets tough on porn, the Hyde proposal.' ...

"In addition to significantly penalizing anyone sending 'indecent'
material on the Internet, [Hyde's proposal] would have held on-line
services, such as CompuServe, and their users criminally liable for
the content that is transmitted by such service, even in areas beyond
the services' control.

"In the conference committee's most recent proposal, Hyde's 
'indecency' standard is combined with liability for Internet users, as
well as service providers that don't meet certain standards. ...

"...the 'indecency' standard is so vague that it creates an 
unprecedented criminal situation in which people and organizations
will be violating the law for private expressions that are in no sense
pornographic.  ...

"...if members of the Christian Coalition wish to stay on a strictly
family-friendly diet of reading material, it is their privilege and
anyone else's.  They shouldn't be able to impose their ideological and
moral standards on others or get Washington to do their bidding.  The
current conference proposal would place the federal government in the
position of reviewing private communications between individuals for
loosely defined material. ...

"If ever a legislative proposal deserved to be deleted from a 
democratic political system, the 'indecency' standard is it."


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