cr> The “Blue Ribbon” Campaign


Craig A. Johnson

Below is the announcement of the EFF's "blue ribbon campaign," with
the accompanying URL, which has blue ribbons available for
downloading to Web sites.

Following this announcement is a personal statement by EFF Board 
member and U. of Penn. Professor David Farber.



The Blue Ribbon Campaign                                       

  for Online Freedom of Speech, Press and

A blue ribbon is chosen as the symbol for the preservation of basic
civil rights in the electronic world. 

EFF asks that a blue ribbon be worn or displayed to show support for
the essential human right of free speech. This fundamental building
block of free society, affirmed by the U.S. Bill of Rights in 1791,
and by the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, has been
sacrificed in the 1996 Telecom Bill. 

The blue ribbon will be a way to raise awareness of these issues,
and for the quiet voice of reason to be heard. 

The voice of reason knows that free speech doesn't equate to abuse
of women and children, or the breeding of hatred or intolerance.


Date sent:        Sat, 03 Feb 1996 12:06:14 -0500
From:             Dave Farber <•••@••.•••>
Subject:          IP: a personal statement re the CDA and the Telecommunications
To:               •••@••.••• (interesting-people mailing list)

Several people have questioned my focus on the computer decency act
(CDA) of the Telecommunications Reform Act in IP mailings as opposed
to issues relating to control of the airwaves, regulation  etc.

My concern with the CDA is it is a direct and dangerous attack on
both the First Amendment and upon the  Network as a vehicle for
exercising the right granted under the Bill of Rights.   

I really believe that there could be a dramatic decline in the power
of the network to act as a vehicle for the exchange of ideas given
the CDA and thus a slowdown in the growth of the network business

How you may ask? Take the Universities on the net. A significant
percentage of the undergraduates are legally minors. Exposing them to
indecent language would expose the Universities to legal action. Will
they chance it? I think many, if not all, will choose to screen out
any newsgroups which could be deemed to contain such language not
only from minors but from the whole campus community. Note that may
include a whole range of items besides recreational pictures.
Discussion of sexuality, abortion, history, art etc. 

What ISP will chance fighting letters from irate well organized
people complaining about indecent discussions that they have seen on
the net that pass through the ISP or are presented in AOL/Compuserve
or even accessed via those services (notice the explosive case in
Penn).    Not many I doubt. We will slowly slide toward a broadcaste
model of the net and 500000 channels and nothing to watch.

Will the courts save us? Maybe soon enough but realize the answer
may just be that they equate the Net to TV and radio  and allow such

The other parts of the Bill will be subject to court challenges,
endless hearing before regulatory commissions etc. They do not
immediately challenge our freedom to speak, write, listen and look..
The CDA does and is a basic attack on the Bill or Rights in the
Information Age.


Wear a Blue Ribbon


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