Date: Mar 2, 1995 2:45 PM
Subject: internet decency

The following was forwarded to me and I am forwarding it to nctm-L
>>A matter has come to my attention that is of the utmost importance to all
>>of us online.
>>Simply put, a couple of senators have proposed a particularly
>>heinous piece of legislation titled the "Communications
>>Decency Act of 1995" (Senate Bill S. 314). Basically, the
>>bill would subject all forms of electronic communication --
>>from public Internet postings to your most private email --
>>to government censorship. The effects of the bill onto the
>>online industry would be devastating -- most colleges and
>>private companies (AOL, Compuserve, etc.) would probably have
>>to shut down or greatly restrict access, since they would be
>>held criminally liable for the postings and email of private
>>Obviously, this bill is designed to win votes for these senators
>>among those who are fearful of the internet and aren't big
>>fans of freedom of speech -- ie., those who are always trying to
>>censor "pornography" and dirty books and such. Given the
>>political climate in this country, this bill might just pass
>>unless the computer community demonstrates its strength as a
>>committed political force to be reckoned with. This, my friends,
>>is why I have filled your mailbox with this very long message.
>>A petition, to be sent to Congress, the President, and the media,
>>has begun spreading through the Internet. It's easy to participate
>>and be heard -- to sign it, you simply follow the instructions
>>below -- which boil down to sending a quick email message to a
>>certain address. That's all it takes to let your voice be heard.
>>(You know, if the Internet makes democracy this accessible to the
>>average citizen, is it any wonder Congress wants to censor it?)
>>Finally, PLEASE forward this message to all your friends online.
>>The more people sign the petition, the more the government will
>>get the message to back off the online community. We've been doing
>>fine without censorship until now -- let's show them we don't plan on
>>allowing them to start now. If you value your freedoms -- from
>>your right to publicly post a message on a worldwide forum to your
>>right to receive private email without the government censoring it --
>>you need to take action NOW. It'll take fifteen minutes at the most,
>>a small sacrifice considering the issues at hand. Remember, the age
>>of fighting for liberty with muskets and shells is most likely over;
>>the time has come where the keyboard and the phone line will prove
>>mightier than the sword -- or the Senate, in this case.
>>Here's what you have to do to sign the petition:
>>send an e-mail message to:
>>the message (NOT the subject heading) should read as follows:
>>SIGNED <your online address> <your full name> <U.S. Citizen> (y/n)
>> SIGNED lsewell@leland.Stanford.EDU Laura Sewell YES
>>If you are interested in signing the petition, I would highly suggest
>>investigating the details of the situation. You can find out more on
>>the Web at or in the newsgroup

>Ruthie Ristich
>voice: 617/495-4090
>Fax: 617/495-9613
>s-mail: Dept. of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Harvard Univ. & HHMI,
> 7 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA, USA 02138

Judy Roitman, Mathematics Department
Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66049