[Mitch Kapor asked me to post the following]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cathy Cook (415) 759-5578
NEW FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED TO ENCOURAGE COMPUTER-BASED COMMUNICATIONS
Washington, D.C., July 10, 1990 -- Mitchell D. Kapor, founder of Lotus
Development Corporation and ON Technology, today announced that he,
along with colleague John Perry Barlow, has established a foundation to
address social and legal issues arising from the impact on society of
the increasingly pervasive use of computers as a means of communication
and information distribution. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
will support and engage in public education on current and future
developments in computer-based and telecommunications media. In
addition, it will support litigation in the public interest to preserve,
protect and extend First Amendment rights within the realm of computing
and telecommunications technology.
Initial funding for the Foundation comes from private contributions by
Kapor and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. The
Foundation expects to actively raise contributions from a wide
As an initial step to foster public education on these issues, the
Foundation today awarded a grant to the Palo Alto, California-based
public advocacy group Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
(CPSR). The grant will be used by CPSR to expand the scope of its
on-going Computing and Civil Liberties Project (see attached).
Because its mission is to not only increase public awareness about civil
liberties issues arising in the area of computer-based communications,
but also to support litigation in the public interest, the Foundation
has recently intervened on behalf of two legal cases.
The first case concerns Steve Jackson, an Austin-based game manufacturer
who was the target of the Secret Service's Operation Sun Devil. The EFF
has pressed for a full disclosure by the government regarding the
seizure of his company's computer equipment. In the second action, the
Foundation intends to seek amicus curiae (friend of the court) status
in the government's case against Craig Neidorf, a 20-year-old University
of Missouri student who is the editor of the electronic newsletter
Phrack World News (see attached).
"It is becoming increasingly obvious that the rate of technology
advancement in communications is far outpacing the establishment of
appropriate cultural, legal and political frameworks to handle the
issues that are arising," said Kapor. "And the Steve Jackson and Neidorf
cases dramatically point to the timeliness of the Foundation's mission.
We intend to be instrumental in helping shape a new framework that
embraces these powerful new technologies for the public good."
The use of new digital media -- in the form of on-line information and
interactive conferencing services, computer networks and electronic
bulletin boards -- is becoming widespread in businesses and homes.
However, the electronic society created by these new forms of digital
communications does not fit neatly into existing, conventional legal and
The question of how electronic communications should be accorded the
same political freedoms as newspapers, books, journals and other modes
of discourse is currently the subject of discussion among this country's
lawmakers and members of the computer industry. The EFF will take an
active role in these discussions through its continued funding of
various educational projects and forums.
An important facet of the Foundation's mission is to help both the
public and policy-makers see and understand the opportunities as well as
the challenges posed by developments in computing and
telecommunications. Also, the EFF will encourage and support the
development of new software to enable non-technical users to more easily
use their computers to access the growing number of digital
communications services available.
The Foundation is located in Cambridge, Mass. Requests for information
should be sent to Electronic Frontier Foundation, One Cambridge Center,
Suite 300, Cambridge, MA 02142, 617/577-1385, fax 617/225-2347; or it
can be reached at the Internet mail address e...@well.sf.ca.us.
ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION
A new world is arising in the vast web of digital, electronic media
which connect us. Computer-based communication media like electronic
mail and computer conferencing are becoming the basis of new forms of
community. These communities without a single, fixed geographical
location comprise the first settlements on an electronic frontier.
While well-established legal principles and cultural norms give
structure and coherence to uses of conventional media like newspapers,
books, and telephones, the new digital media do not so easily fit into
existing frameworks. Conflicts come about as the law struggles to
define its application in a context where fundamental notions of speech,
property, and place take profoundly new forms. People sense both the
promise and the threat inherent in new computer and communications
technologies, even as they struggle to master or simply cope with them
in the workplace and the home.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been established to help civilize
the electronic frontier; to make it truly useful and beneficial not just
to a technical elite, but to everyone; and to do this in a way which is
in keeping with our society's highest traditions of the free and open
flow of information and communication.
To that end, the Electronic Frontier Foundation will:
1. Engage in and support educational activities which increase
popular understanding of the opportunities and challenges posed by
developments in computing and telecommunications.
2. Develop among policy-makers a better understanding of the issues
underlying free and open telecommunications, and support the creation of
legal and structural approaches which will ease the assimilation of
these new technologies by society.
3. Raise public awareness about civil liberties issues arising from
the rapid advancement in the area of new computer-based communications
media. Support litigation in the public interest to preserve, protect,
and extend First Amendment rights within the realm of computing and
4. Encourage and support the development of new tools which will
endow non-technical users with full and easy access to computer-based
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
One Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marc Rotenberg (202) 775-1588
CPSR TO UNDERTAKE EXPANDED CIVIL LIBERTIES PROGRAM
Washington, D.C., July 10, 1990 -- Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility (CPSR), a national computing organization, announced
today that it would receive a two-year grant in the amount of $275,000
for its Computing and Civil Liberties Project. The Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF),founded by Mitchell Kapor, made the grant to expand
ongoing CPSR work on civil liberties protections for computer users.
At a press conference in Washington today, Mr. Kapor praised CPSR's
work, "CPSR plays an important role in the computer community. For the
last several years, it has sought to extend civil liberties protections
to new information technologies. Now we want to help CPSR expand that
Marc Rotenberg, director of the CPSR Washington Office said, "We are
obviously very happy about the grant from the EFF. There is a lot of
work that needs to be done to ensure that our civil liberties
protections are not lost amidst policy confusion about the use of new
CPSR said that it will host a series of policy round tables in
Washington, DC, during the next two years with lawmakers, computer
users, including (hackers), the FBI, industry representatives, and
members of the computer security community. Mr. Rotenberg said that the
purpose of the meetings will be to "begin a dialogue about the new uses
of electronic media and the protection of the public interest."
CPSR also plans to develop policy papers on computers and civil
liberties, to oversee the Government's handling of computer crime
investigations, and to act as an information resource for organizations
and individuals interested in civil liberties issues.
The CPSR Computing and Civil Liberties project began in 1985 after
President Reagan attempted to restrict access to government computer
systems through the creation of new classification authority. In 1988,
CPSR prepared a report on the proposed expansion of the FBI's computer
system, the National Crime Information Center. The report found serious
threats to privacy and civil liberties. Shortly after the report was
issued, the FBI announced that it would drop a proposed computer feature
to track the movements of people across the country who had not been
charged with any crime.
"We need to build bridges between the technical community and the policy
community," said Dr. Eric Roberts, CPSR president and a research
scientist at Digital Equipment Corporation in Palo Alto, California.
"There is simply too much misinformation about how computer networks
operate. This could produce terribly misguided public policy."
CPSR representatives have testified several times before Congressional
committees on matters involving civil liberties and computer policy.
Last year CPSR urged a House Committee to avoid poorly conceived
computer activity. "In the rush to criminalize the malicious acts of
the few we may discourage the beneficial acts of the many," warned
CPSR. A House subcommittee recently followed CPSR's recommendations on
computer crime amendments.
Dr. Ronni Rosenberg, an expert on the role of computer scientists and
public policy, praised the new initiative. She said, "It's clear that
there is an information gap that needs to be filled. This is an
important opportunity for computer scientists to help fill the gap."
CPSR is a national membership organization of computer professionals,
based in Palo Alto, California. CPSR has over 20,000 members and 21
chapters across the country. In addition to the civil liberties project,
CPSR conducts research, advises policy makers and educates the public
about computers in the workplace, computer risk and reliability, and
For more information contact:
CPSR Washington Office
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036 202/775-1588
CPSR National Office
P.O. Box 717
Palo Alto, CA 94302