Open Letter from Electronic Frontier Foundation to Internet Providers & Users

ローリ・K・フィナ(Lori K. Fena,1961-)





Open Letter from Electronic Frontier Foundation to Internet Providers & Users


Feb. 12, 1996

The Electronic Frontier Foundation

1550 Bryant St., Suite 725

San Francisco CA 94103 USA

+1 415 436 9333 (voice)

+1 415 436 9993 (fax)

Internet: ask@eff.org

Dear U.S. members of the Internet community:

Now that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) has been signed into law, many decision makers in business, academic, and other organizations are writing EFF to inquire whether and how to bring their systems into compliance with the new statute. We have received a deluge of inquiries about assessing the risks of non-compliance, and of simply maintaining the status quo and operating as usual.

We believe, as do many members of Congress, that this law is patently unconstitutional. The new statute violates the First Amendment by being both overbroad and vague. This makes it exceedingly difficult for us to advise you in a reliable way about what you can do to avoid risks (other than the unacceptable choice of having to shut down altogether).

During the time between filing our Feb. 8th court challenge against the CDA, and either a preliminary injunction against enforcement or a final ruling in the case, we have only two suggestions which we feel we can responsibly make to you.

First, if you operate a general purpose system, our advice is to please be patient and do not overreact to the current cries for censorship. It is precisely because the CDA language is difficult to understand and apply, that we cannot advise you yet what the proper procedures are. No one can, and that is why the CDA will ultimately fail. Freedom of speech in the electronic world is fragile --don't risk damaging it before it's clear that you have to.

Second, if the fundamental focus of your business is distributing sexually explicit materials, we suggest you implement a procedure to screen out minors. Provisions in existing US law suggest that acceptable ways to screen out minors are:

* to require credit card numbers to gain access; or

* to use a password system and verification of user identity and age; and

* to have procedures in place which allow immediate removal of a user if s/he is discovered to be a minor.

If you are contacted by a government authority in regard to a possible violation of the new law, please notify us immediately. This way we can work to address the legal issues of your specific situation and we can keep track of how law enforcement agencies are interpreting the CDA, and share this information with others who are trying to understand and evaluate this law. And, with this information, we may be able to provide better guidance in the future.

Again, we believe that the restrictions that have been included in the legislation will be struck down in court. We have sought a temporary restraining order (TRO), and plan to follow it with a request for a preliminary injunction, to prevent enforcement until the court renders a final judgment in this case. A judge is expected to hear on our request for a TRO within a week.

In the meantime, while your are evaluating how to best manage risks, we urge that you do not make any decisions based on hasty reasoning or fear of liability. EFF is here to help you proceed in a reasonable and cautious manner that emphasizes preserving the integrity of your service as well as the First Amendment.


Lori K. Fena

Executive Director

Electronic Frontier Foundation

インパクト出版会編「インパクション No.98 サイバースペース独立戦争」1996.8,55pより引用



 EFF理事長 ローリ・K・フィナ