Re: cr> Re: Online PR: consensus


Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)

Craig A. Johnson <•••@••.•••> wrote:

> To repeat, the co-leadership of Cyber Rights has made no decision to
> undertake this "project."  It seems to me it is useful to get

I'm surprised to hear you claim this list has some official
"leadership".  I was only aware of a generous "moderator".

My understanding is that CPSR provides this electronic meeting room
for anyone interested in cyber-rights issues.  It is not a requirement
that we belong to CPSR.  Indeed, I am not a member of CPSR precisely
because of my clash with CPSR over democracy issues.

If CPSR undemocratically *assigns* us our leaders, where are our

We are people of all affiliations and no affiliations with one burning
interest in common: cyber-rights.  If *we* are not democratic, we can
not expect responsibly democratic behavior from any other groups.

Now then, if you, as an equal partner in our list have an objection to
finding some sort of group consensus, please explain.

And if you have an objection to our sending out a press release when
and if we form a consensus, please explain.

And if you have any objections and/or improvements to the consensus
statement so far, or if you have an alternate statement for our
consideration, please come forward with that.

And if you feel qualified and would be interested in serving as a
phone rep for this online group (in addition to your excellent work
for CPSR), please tell us.

And if you would like to pitch in with some press contacts please
contact •••@••.•••.  If you can help with faxing to your area
code or other production issues, please volunteer.
Marilyn                               *
Marilyn Davis, Ph.D.-------------- * ---- eVote - online voting software
|                                 *       To participate in the beta
3790 El Camino Real, #147  *     *        write •••@••.•••
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA     *   *
(415) 493-3631 ------------- * * -------- •••@••.••• -------

Subject: Re: cr> Online PR: consensus

Sender: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: consensus | Regulatory CHALLENGE

In my view, this statement is fundamentally flawed.

The essential distinction should be between commercial and non-commercial
uses. It should not be form-based (email vs. everything else) but
purpose-based.  It should follow the example of the distinction between
nonprofit vs. for-profit incorporation

>We, the 500 members of the cyber-rights email list, agree by consensus
>1.  Email is the communication/cooperation superhighway, completely
>distinct from the information/entertainment superhighway.

I've gotten WAY too much gibberish & downright hostile (not just
un-cooperative) emial to take the "email is" clause seriously.  As for the
"completely distincnt" clause , I WANT information from email, as well as
books, websites & radio.  Furthermore, I am completely at a loss as to HOW we
can have communication & cooperation WITHOUT information!

In short, this point, while at first glance it may LOOK simple,
straightforward and non-controversial, is actually riddled with false

>2.  Email is the backbone of grassroots online organizing and holds
>great promise as a democracy-enhancer.

Ever get into it with a ditto-head?  Well, I did once.  I spent a few hours
cruising websites & put together so much info on global warming he never
recovered.  If we stay fixated on email & fail to realize the
democratic/organizing potential of the web, well, there's just one word for
us: BLIND!

>3.  Email demands a miniscule amount of resources delivered at low
>priority compared to information/entertainment applications.  Any
>scheme that bases price on resources used and makes entertainment
>affordable will render email almost free, as it should be.

This is a good subsidiary argument, sort of like arguing that spectrum is
scarce.  But the primary point with spectrum is that it's a public good.  The
primary point we should make is that non-commercial uses promote the general
welfare and should not be subjected to commercial price-structures.  They
consitute the modern equivilent of the town square, without which democratic
civic society may not endure.  As such, access should be available to all.

>4.  If a[n innapropriate] minimum charge per session or per transaction is
>applied, only email will be [adversely] affected and it will be [felt] as a
>direct attack by government on online democracy.
>Therefore, *if* the government regulates the price of internet access,
>the regulation must guarantee continued [widely affordable] access to email.

Again, this should not be targeted to form, but to purpose.  I have only been
spammed a relatively few times.  Make email free, everything else expensive,
and how often do think YOU'LL get spammed?

Please, folks, let's not take a superficially plausible but poorly grounded
position just to acheive "consensus".

Paul Rosenberg
Committee To Save Public Media
Reason & Democracy

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"


Sender: •••@••.••• (Glen Raphael)

>Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)

>Does something like the following draft work better for Martin and
>Glen and perhaps still carry Richard and others?

Well, since you asked...

>We, the 500 members of the cyber-rights email list, agree by consensus
>1.  Email is the communication/cooperation superhighway, completely
>distinct from the information/entertainment superhighway.

Many people subscribe to cyber-rights to get information, and subscribe to
the emailed Letterman Top Ten List for entertainment. "Bits is bits". I do
not agree that the use of email for communication is "completely distinct
from" the use of email for information/entertainment and in fact don't
think you can make a meaningful distinction between the two. Communication
*is* a form of entertainment, especially for netizens.

I'm also not terribly keen on encouraging the whole "superhighway"
metaphor: the net is governed primarily by the laws of physics, the laws of
the marketplace, and collaboratively generated community standards, not by
traffic cops. The info-net is an organic process.

>2.  Email is the backbone of grassroots online organizing and holds
>great promise as a democracy-enhancer.

I can live with this.

>3.  Email demands a miniscule amount of resources delivered at low
>priority compared to information/entertainment applications.  Any
>scheme that bases price on resources used and makes entertainment
>affordable will render email almost free, as it should be.

I agree that rational pricing mechanisms would make email nearly free. In
fact, the status quo is that email is essentially free to many users right
now. However, this same argument would also render *very low-quality
telephone service* essentially free!

The real problem is that the government chooses to regulate traditional
telephone as if its bandwidth were inherently expensive and monopolistic.
The net and Moore's Law are making this old regulatory structure look
ridiculous. The solution is not for the government to apply the same old
shackles to the new media, the solution is to remove the old shackles on
the old media so that it can compete. The telcos are *right* that it is
unfair that they have to tax and cross-subsidize and their upstart
competition does not. The way to make this fair is to get rid of the
current limitations on the telcos. Let them freely compete with one another
and with the new media, and we can all reap the benefits of lower telephone

>4.  If a minimum charge per session or per transaction is applied,
>only email will be affected and it will be seen as a direct attack by
>government on online democracy.

I don't agree that "only email will be affected." Remember, "bits is bits."
If they charge by the packet, email will be MUCH cheaper than video or
telephone. On the other hand if, as you suggest, they charge "per session
or per transaction" I'd just expect transactions and sessions to
"virtually" get a hell of a lot bigger than they are now. Every person,
business, or ISP could run a Perl script that conglomerates each hundred
little email messages into one big one, then mails that one off and pays
the tax on it. email would get slower, especially between the more remote
sites, but it might yet stay pretty cheap. It all depends on how big that
tax is.

>Therefore, *if* the government regulates the price of internet access,
>the regulation must guarantee continued cheap or free access to email.

I don't want to grant that "if". I do not want the government to regulate
the price of internet access and that includes regulating the price of
email. When the government sets prices, if this action has any effect at
all it is either to set something *below* the market price or to set it
*above* the market price. If they set it below, we get a shortage of the
good in question. If they set it above, we get a glut. Either outcome is
less efficient than letting the market set a market-clearing price.

If you reworded it "government must not pass regulations that drive up the
cost of access to email" I could probably support that, but it would be
roughly equivalent to saying "government must not pass regulations." ALL
regulations drive up costs. If costs have been increased, we should not try
to hide that fact from the consumers via price controls, that just shifts
costs around and makes them even higher somewhere else.

As an alternative consensus statement I'd suggest something built around
the following outline.

1) The net, including email, is an important and useful medium of communication.
   [list uses of the net, including as an aid to voters and volunteers and
grass-roots organizers]

2) Attempts to TAX the net at this juncture are likely to do large and
lasting damage.
   (a) the economics of email mailing lists
   (b) the practical difficulties of packet metering
   (c) the impossibility of determining the difference between packets used
for "socially useful" purposes and those used for frivilous purposes
   [ and other problems ]

3) Therefore, the government should not tax net usage at this time.

By the way, the difference between internet service and cable is that the
government legally restricts local cable competition. Where the local
governments ALLOW more than one company in, cable prices are much lower. As
long as there are no government barriers to entry, I expect net prices to
keep dropping for a while. For instance, yesterday CompuServe announced
their response to AT&T: the new "wow!" service provices unlimited internet
access for $17.95/month including 6 email accounts.

There will eventually be a shakeout, but prices will never again be what
they were a year ago.

Glen Raphael

Glen Raphael, •••@••.•••  NewtPaint - the Newton paint program!
President, Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User's Group (SMUG)
<A HREF="">Glen's World</A><BR>


Sender: •••@••.•••

hi everyone.  sorry about that letter yesterday morning.  i subsequently
until 1625 yesterday afternoon, or 4:25 pm for those of you who are speds.
(yes, that's unusual for going to sleep earlier that i have recently)


tim may, what did you mean by this? : "Boycott "Big Brother Inside" software!
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, we know that that ain't

although i am thankful for recognition from ms. longwinded, marilyn davis,
i have problems with your proposed statement.  (and what did you think, that
i was just going to put your number on a press release without warning you?)

to whom do you mean for us to send these kinds of demands?  sending them to
isps will not result in much.  sending them to our government, whether the
executive or legislative or the fcc, will be surrendering to them
controls to which they are not entitled.  besides, these demands consist of
subjects to be discussed with one's own isp, and some to be seen as only
rhetorical or a campaign over intangibles.  our isps know that if they are
the first to meet demands widely voiced, then they will be the first to be
killed in an avalanche of business and money.  besides, "*if* the government
regulates the price of internet access, the regulation" would be inflexible,
archaic by sunrise, and completely *unconstitutional*.

i realize that i am going to be assaulted by a bunch of letters telling me
well, if i'm so smart, then why don't *i* give an idea.  well fine, then.  i

my memory decided to quit, so i'll just say this : i think our message must
be that our government, meaning congress, the senate, and the fcc, must
all action immediately, as it is all oppressive and unconstitutional, and
keep the
hell out of the emerging New World.  we don't want nor need new,
government-supported, regulated and legislated monopolies of something of
only facists like the moral majority, the kkk, and other buchanan backers
are afraid.

and another thing.  i really got mad when i saw something about one of the
monolithic tv networks having a discussion on what we so dislike.  i was
angered because it was described as a fight between us and the rights of
others not to look at porno online.  no, we know who it is we fight : it is
those who, despite very pointed statements from us that we don't want them,
still look back hautily from congress and the senate and the christian
coalition and say that they must protect us from ourselves.  yes, someone
actaully said that they want the government to protect us from those horrid
ideas of others, and from what we ourselves demand.  it's this kind of
willful and deliberate attempt by the media to decieve and lie to everyone
that we are fighting as well.  and we most definitely are fighting those who
actually brag about knowing nothing about our world and yet want to make laws
and lies to violate our rights.

can't we all just get the hell out of each other's business?  we aren't
allowed to even speak to you, so why do you pretend to be doing what's best
for us?



ps, look to see if my letter is in the upcoming spring issue of 2600.  i
think it will be, since it's a subject that pertains to alot of people,
including this group.


Sender: John Whiting <•••@••.•••>

Marilyn Davis writes:

"When Hollywood had a blacklist, opponents of the list eliminated
the list by consciously converting public opinion, not by
struggling with the proponents of the blacklist. We should follow
their successful example."

Oh dear. As one who lived through those harrowing events, if only
vicariously, I find it depressing to see the Hollywood Black List
cited as an example of successfully educating the public. Private
opposition to the black list was about as effective as shovels
against the lava from Mt. Vesuvius. Eventually Mt. Vesuvius ran
out of lava, eventually the black list ran out of steam, both
leaving behind the massive mutilation of institutions, careers and
families. McCarthey was finally made a fool of on TV by Judge Welch,
but thanks chiefly to his own massive stupidity; he was by then a
sitting duck.

For years thereafter, talented writers continued to work only
under pseudonyms, if at all. Larry Adler is still an exile here
in London, if a happy one. Just wind up Larry on the subject of
betrayal and you can settle back comfortably in your chair for
several hours. Better still, consult his autobiography, "It
Ain't Necessarily So".

So please, no happy analogies from history: You too can achieve
immortality - just get yourself crucified!

John Whiting

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