[opensource] EFF's anti-censorship campaign

Brian Swaney swaneybr at opensource.osu.edu
Mon Dec 13 12:21:41 EST 2010


I hate to bother everyone with yet another e-mail, but I just wanted to 
post a friendly reminder since this was announced at an inconvenient 
time. The poll for whether or not to endorse EFF's anti-censorship 
campaign <https://eff.org/r.5uT> with a button/link on our site as shown 
at <https://www.eff.org/pages/say-no-to-online-censorship>. Since the 
time I first announced it on the mailing list, not a single person has 
voted on the poll, and only one person registered (not signing back in 
once the account was approved). Before that, only 2 people have voted, 
which I know is not representative of the club as a whole. For the 
record, if you are unsure of what to vote and worried about changing 
your mind, you can always change or cancel your vote on any poll until 
it closes, and your vote (or THAT you voted) will not be disclosed to 
anyone. The poll will remain open until THIS Wednesday, and will 
automatically close at 1 am.

Although I know this is inconvenient timing for everyone, waiting just 
this long may be kind of pressing our luck. If I understand correctly, 
congress is still in session until this Friday and there is a decent 
chance they will use Wikileaks as an excuse ("national security" and 
all) to hastily pass otherwise unpopular internet legislation, just as 
they passed the PATRIOT act in 2001 (not to imply that putting a single 
link on a website would make that critical of a difference or anything, 
but it wouldn't do any good if we didn't decide until it was too late).


On 12/8/10 1:45 PM, Brian Swaney wrote:
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> The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted a call to action
> <https://eff.org/r.5uT>, asking webmasters to post a button/link on
> their websites standing up against internet censorship. For those who
> do not know, EFF is a respectable non-profit organization that has
> long supported the open source community and academic research. They
> have made very important strides in areas ranging from defending
> security researchers who get sued by embarrassed corporations to
> successfully lobbying for a DMCA fair use exemption to make
> jailbreaking ("hacking") your cell phone legal. With the recent
> controversy and press surrounding Wikileaks and national security,
> there is a very real threat to making the internet in the U.S.
> centrally controlled, much like China, under the guise of "protecting
> national security" from sites like Wikileaks (or possibly
> thepiratebay.org).
>
> I feel this is an issue we need to decide on as a club. This is a very
> heated issue right now, which has the potential to reach well into our
> region, whether it be censoring the next AACS master key, taking down
> software projects the powers-that-be feel could be used to "support
> terrorism", or just plain anti-competition when the precedent
> inevitably gets abused, this may very well be the start of what will
> decide whether our internet access becomes akin to China -- everything
> we do being centrally controlled by one authority -- or whether we can
> truly continue to have free and open exchange of information. With 2
> key bills, ACTA and COCIA, making rounds in Washington, and
> politicians looking to use Wikileaks as an example of why these
> broad-reaching powers of censorship are necessary, now is the time to
> make the decision.
>
> This IS a grassroots political campaign, which could be considered
> spam, or even out of line with the anti-bureaucratic policy of our
> constitution, so I'm posting this as an issue for the club to decide
> on as a whole -- it's not my website to make the decision. I feel that
> if we are to decide on it, as a club, we will need to decide quickly,
> even before our next meeting in January. This is quite possibly the
> kind of thing politicians can push through the house/senate on an
> extremely short timeframe, and could even be the basis for a new
> censorship law by the time we have another meeting. So, I created an
> online poll. Log in with your website account or register with your
> name.n at osu.edu e-mail address to vote. I apologize that this issue is
> introduced during finals week, a most inconvenient time to decide on
> such an issue, so the poll will remain open until Wednesday NEXT WEEK
> at 1 am. When the poll closes, I will tally the votes, and if the
> majority says yes, there will be a button pointing to EFF's campaign
> page on our website.
>
> - -- 
> Brian Swaney
> Open Source Club at
> Ohio State University
> Website Administrator
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