Junk mailers and scientologists for freedom!?

I Find Karma (adam@cs.caltech.edu)
Sun, 8 Sep 96 22:33:00 PDT

Maybe Rohit's right when he says if most people believe in
something, then it MUST be wrong.

If junk mailers and scientologists are fighting for certain
freedoms, maybe those freedoms are by definition bunk.

Where the heck in the first amendment does it say we have
a right to distribute junk mail (through AOL even!)?

And where in the declaration of human rights does it say
we have no right to post information anonymously?

Where the junk mailers and the scientologists are of one
mind is that they both believe the Internet should be a
cruddier place. So they *must* be wrong, right?


PS - Rohit, if there are any decent excerpts from the NYT
book review of "Where Wizards Stay Up Late", can you post it?

Edupage, 8 September 1996. Edupage, a summary of news about information
technology, is provided three times a week as a service by Educom,
a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of leading colleges and universities
seeking to transform education through the use of information technology.

Pending a trial scheduled for mid-November, a federal judge has ordered
America Online to refrain from blocking delivery of unsolicited e-mail
sent by Cyber Promotions Inc. AOL had refused to accept messages from
sites used by Cyber Promotions because they were the source of hundreds
of thousands of unwanted mail delivered to AOL subscribers. AOL is
appealing the judge's order. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 7 Sep 96 E3)

Police investigators in Helsinki say the Internet "anonymous remailer"
site anon.penet.fi was shut down partially because of a copyright
dispute with the Church of Scientology (and not because the site was a
primary conduit for child pornography, as was previously reported). The
Church of Scientology, which has been successful in convincing the
courts that its teachings are validly copyrighted material, was pursuing
an individual who used the anonymous remailer site to post Scientology
texts without the Church's permission. The operator of the site decided
to close it down rather than reveal the individual's name to Helsinki
police. The Church says it was not opposing the existence of the
server: "We have no opposition to there being anonymity for private,
consensual communications. What we oppose is using anonymous servers
for the purpose of permitting criminal or other unlawful acts." (New
York Times 6 Sep 96 C2)

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is shifting gears in its drive to
resolve electronic copyright issues, and is now working with members of
Congress to develop a legislative solution to the issue of online
service provider liability, which has been a sticking point in efforts
to pass new copyright legislation. "We are looking for a way to define
the nature of the provision of mere telecommunications services, for
which telecommunications providers should bear no liability for
copyright infringement. We are trying to define where the dividing line
is between someone who actively engages in the provision of information
versus someone who is a mere conduit," says a senior legal counselor for
the PTO. The PTO originally believed these issues could be resolved
through the court system, but now says it will work with Congress and
industry to develop legislative solutions. (BNA Daily Report for
Executives 4 Sep 96 A4)

General Motors' Hughes Electronics Corp. is pursuing deals with two
satellite companies that would greatly expand the company's global
footprint at an estimated cost of $4 billion. Hughes is negotiating a
$3 billion acquisition of PanAmSat, which already spans 98% of the world
and by 1998 plans to have a total of eight satellites offering a variety
of electronic feeds. A separate arrangement with Nethold, a
Netherlands-based supplier of satellite-television services, would cost
an additional $1 billion. "Hughes is making a very, very big statement"
about its interest in dominating global services for television, video,
telephone and data services, says a British satellite consultant. The
proposed satellite and broadcast system would be second in size only to
Intelsat, the international satellite consortium. (Wall Street Journal
6 Sep 96 A3)

IBM has formed a consortium comprising more than a dozen major banks,
aimed at providing consumer banking services over the Internet. The
alliance, dubbed the Integrity project, will be owned equally by IBM and
each of the partners. Financial institutions will be able to use IBM's
worldwide private network in addition to the Internet to enable
customers to do their banking online. (Investor's Business Daily 9 Sep
96 A21) Meanwhile, IBM unveiled its $700 Network Station, which is
expected to hit the shelves later this year. It is the first network
computer to be offered by a major computer maker. Other NC
manufacturers include Acorn Computer, Akai Electric, Funai Electric,
Idea, Olivetti, Uniden and Wyse Technology. (USA Today 6 Sep 96 B1)

The Stanford University library is working with the Council on Library
Resources to compile an electronic archive of information on copyright
law in an effort to keep educators and others aware of the ongoing
debate over the "fair use" doctrine. The Stanford site <
http://fairuse.stanford.edu > contains the full text of court decisions,
legislation and international copyright agreements, as well as related
articles on the topic. (Chronicle of Higher Education 6 Sep 96 A42)

BroadVision's new Web site, called The Angle, features the company's
One-To-One intelligent agent and WebPoint content management
technologies. "What intranets are looking for are ways to help users of
their site get information they need, and are entitled to, quickly and
efficiently without too much surfing," says the company's CEO, who touts
his service as an efficiency-booster for corporate technology managers.
Unlike its rival, Firefly, which is used to direct music seekers to
selections they might like based on similar buyers' tastes, the
One-To-One agent software is built on rule-based reasoning. BroadVision
is considering licensing Firefly's technology, which uses a
personalization algorithm to identify trends among users and personal
tastes, to expand its offerings. (Interactive Age Digital 4 Sep 96)

Netscape's new AppFoundry offers a collection of canned applications
developed by other companies for Netscape's intranet software suite.
"We see AppFoundry being the first jumpstart kit for intranet
development," says Netscape's director of server product marketing.
AppFoundry software includes a job-listing program from Austin Hayne
Corp., and software for managing sales and marketing data from Sage
Solutions, Inc., as well as basic development tools from Next Inc. and
Borland International Inc. "Most of these applications would be
considered examples to work from," says a Gartner Group analyst. "No
one gives away the store." Still, "This helps solve the chicken-and-egg
problem cropping up as companies build intranets -- that they need
applications and tools to make them useful," notes a Yankee Group
analyst. (Investor's Business Daily 9 Sep 96 A6)

Sega, the Japanese games group, and Trocadero, a U.K.-based
entertainment company, is opening Europe's first interactive theme park
as a retail and entertainment complex in Piccadilly, London. Segaworld
combines virtual reality and advanced computer graphics to create
interactive entertainment instead of the movement on which traditional
theme park rides rely. Sega already operates two such parks in Tokyo and
plans to open other ones in Sydney and elsewhere. (Financial Times 7
Sep 96)

The NY Times Sunday Book Review says the Hafner/Lyon book on the origins
of the Internet ("Where Wizards Stay Up Late") compiles a great deal of
much-needed information and "shows just how striking an innovation and
collaboration the Arpanet really was. One central focus of the book
(excerpted in the Sep/Oct Educom Review) is the contribution of the
brilliant psychologist and computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider, who
predicted an era when "human brains and computing machines will be
coupled .... tightly, and ... the resulting partnership will think as no
human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by
the information-handling machines we know today." (New York Times Book
Review 8 Sep 96 p19)

Educom -- Transforming Education Through Information Technology


Terrapin software: The turtle stops here. Faster than a speeding turtle!
-- Ernie Prabhakar (or was it Rohit?)