EFA October Newsletter

Greg Taylor editor@efa.org.au
Tue, 01 Oct 1996 23:58:47 +1000

EFA Newsletter
Vol 2 No 3 - 1st October 1996

     //////     //////    //\\         ELECTRONIC FRONTIERS AUSTRALIA
    //         //        //  \\           editor@efa.org.au
   //         //        //    \\          http://www.efa.org.au/
  /////      /////     /////\\\\\        
 //         //        //        \\        Phone: 08 8384 7316 (+618) 
//////// * //      * //          \\ *     PO Box 382 North Adelaide SA 5006
                                          Fidonet: EFA at 3:800/846

          Your volunteer voice on the electronic frontier.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those of us who profess to
favor freedom yet depreciate agitation are men who want the crops
without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder. They want
the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters...This struggle may 
be a moral one or a physical one, but it must be a struggle. Power 
concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will. Show me the 
exact amount of wrong and injustices that are visited upon a person and I 
will show you the exact amount of words endured by these people.  These 
wrongs and injustices may be fought with words or with blows or both. The 
limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they 
                                                     Frederick Douglass


Stop Telstra Campaign
ABA Report
Other Current Issues
Annual General Meeting Report
EFA on IRC Tuesday Nights
Women's Committee
Cryptography Committee
Overseas News
Membership Renewals
Stay in Touch with EFA!
What is EFA?

EFA Campaign Against Timed Local Data Calls
Telstra CEO Frank Blount has stated that owing to projected network
congestion, Telstra will seek to introduce timed local calls for data
next year.

He accused Internet users of tying up lines at the telephone exchanges
for up to 24 hours a day, implying that only by charging Internet users
more would the community be able to continue to have cheap, reliable

There are numerous technical and policy options to fix the alleged 
congestion of the telephone system. Communications writer Stewart Fist 
has published a series of articles debunking the Telstra claims, and 
providing real solutions to future problems.

The Telstra plan would triple the cost of Internet access to the average
user, and would be astronomically expensive for active users. People on
low incomes and organisations such as schools and libraries would be
forced off the Net, while businesses would simply pass on the costs to

It is no solution to the alleged congestion problem to throw the poor
off the Internet. Students, the unemployed and pensioners are major users
of the Internet and other online services such as amateur bulletin

While it is unproven that Telstra has lost money from the Net ... indeed 
profits have been on the up and up ... it is undoubtedly the case that 
the social costs of this decision will be enormous. The costs to the 
community of discouraging online usage, and depriving pensioners and 
the unemployed of Net access are incalculable.

The proposal is a flagrant disregard of Telstra's Universal Service 
Obligation, and the betrayal of Telstra's customers by this decision. 
Never before has Telstra's near-monopoly been so abused.

EFA has mounted a campaign against this proposal.  To help with the 

- Join the Stop Telstra campaign discussion mailing list:

        Send email to stoptelstra-request@efa.org.au
        with the word "subscribe" in the body of the message.

- Join the Stop Telstra campaign announcement mailing list (a low 
  volume list):

        Send email to stoptelstra-a-request@efa.org.au
        with the word "subscribe" in the body of the message.

- Contact National Spokesperson, Kim Heitman <kheitman@it.com.au>

        Telephone 09 458 2790
        Facsimile 09 356 1247

- On Usenet, see the newsgroup aus.org.efa

Join the EFA discussion on IRC every Tuesday night from 9.00 pm EST
on the Australian Undernet, server irc.mpx.com.au, or any other 
Australian Undernet server, on #efa.

For more information, see Tamara Morgan's Campaign Page, 
or the EFA mirror site.

Other sites of interest:

- The Economist - Is Telstra's move out of step with technology?
- Tel$tra - Death of Internet - An easy to read web page with good 
- Koala Net - Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland supports 
    the Stop Telstra campaign.
- Tel$tra Timed Data Calls - Another page devoted to following the debate.

ABA Report
On July 5th, the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Richard
Alston, announced the release of the Australian Broadcasting Authority 
(ABA) report.  The report is available on-line on the ABA Web site.
This extensive report made a number of recommendations supporting a 
largely self-regulatory regime based on Codes of Conduct to be developed 
in consultation with the Internet industry.  The report also strongly 
endorsed the PICS standard as a means of controlling access to on-line 

Further activity in the legislative area now appears to lie in 
amendments to the Broadcasting Act to allow the ABA to take
responsibility for Internet regulation.  

Central to the ABA approach is an industry "code of practice", ostensibly
drafted by the service provider industry, but subject to approval by the 
ABA.  It is significant that one industry body (INTIAA) has responded 
with a draft code:
that creates a bureaucracy with a government appointee at the head, no 
vote by members on the code of practice, and the requirement to adopt 
rating of content on the government's terms. Other industry bodies, such 
as the State and Territory Internet Associations, are developing codes 
of practice that will be subject to further scrutiny by local authorities.

The task for 1997 will be to resist the imposition of censorship on the
Internet in Australia by governments under any guise. EFA will be 
continuing to campaign against laws which restrict the ability of a 
service provider to provide an uncensored service, or deny users access 
to information or the freedom to communicate. 

EFA is currently finalising a response to the ABA report which will be
submitted to Senator Alston and the ABA shortly.

The State and Commonwealth Attorneys-General are due to meet again in 
October to further consider this issue.  EFA is monitoring the situation 
and will report further information when available.

For further details see the STOP! Campaign page.

Other Current Issues
The Commonwealth Attorney General released a discussion paper on privacy.
Although not central to EFA's charter, the board is considering a response
to this paper.

Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. was 
held in Adelaide on Sunday 22 September 1996, with participation by

The composition of the EFA Board for 1996/97 following the September AGM 
is as follows:

  Kimberley Heitman   <kheitman@it.com.au>
Vice Chair   
  Brenda Aynsley      <bpa@iss.net.au>
  Kerrin Pine         <kerrinp@bns.com.au>
  James Nunn          <jnunn@pobox.com>
General Board Members:   
  Michael Baker       <mbaker@pobox.com>
  Andrew Connor       <connor@pobox.com>
  Jonathon Coombes    <jon@valhalla.newcastle.edu.au>
  Michael Malone      <pariah@iinet.net.au>
  Greg Taylor         <gtaylor@gil.com.au>
  Danny Yee           <danny@staff.cs.usyd.edu.au>

The following reports presented at the meeting are available on-line:

EFA Financial Report

Report of the Board of Management

New EFA Rules approved at the AGM.

EFA conducts regular IRC sessions on Tuesday evenings as follows:


    (.edu and .gov users only)

The first two servers are available on ports 6666, 6668, 7000, and 
7777 as well as the default 6667.

Channel:    #efa
Date:       Every Tuesday evening
Time:       9.00 pm (EST)    

Board members will be in attendance throughout the night on the channel
and will welcome any questions, comments or feedback you may have.
Board Members can be identified by the "\" in front of their nicknames.

The topic of the current discussion will be posted as part of the
channel title. 

At times the channel may become moderated (depending on the number of
participants).  If this is the case details on how to ask questions and
comment will be posted on the channel, or ask one of the board members.

EFA Women's Committee
In recent times the EFA Women's Committee has met to discuss a complaint
about the moderation policy of the efa-women-issues list.  As a result of
this process, the guidelines for both efa-women-learning and
efa-women-issues have been revised and re-issued in an attempt to clarify
the policy.

In addition, during this period a FAQ has been issued, which includes 
the re-issued guidelines.

Many thanks must go to Val Thomson for the creation of this FAQ which
represents many hours of work to organise and collate.

The efa-women lists are both still alive and, in the case of the issues 
list at least, kicking.  Some stimulating and thought provoking items have
steadily been introduced over the past couple of weeks.  Why don't you join
one or both of them and participate in the experience, or share tips
and techniques with each other on the learning list!!

To join the lists:

This list is for discussion of matters that concern newcomers to the Net.
To subscribe, send an e-mail message to 
containing the word subscribe in the body of the message.
To post a message to the list, send to 

The moderator of this list is Brenda Aynsley <bpa@iss.net.au>

This list is for discussion of general issues concerning women online.
To subscribe, send an e-mail message to 
containing the word subscribe in the body of the message.
To post a message to the list, send to 

The moderator of this list is Val Thomson <val@pcug.org.au>

Cryptography Committee
EFA's Cryptography Committee is working towards preventing
unnecessary regulation of encryption technologies and promoting the 
benefits of strong encryption for the online community. Contact Greg 
Taylor <gtaylor@gil.com.au> if you would like to become involved.  

In Paris last week, an OECD/EPIC meeting was held to develop an 
international stance on cryptography and key escrow.  Australia was 
represented at this meeting by Steve Orlowski from the Commonwealth 
Attorney-General's department, Justice Michael Kirby, and Kevin O'Connor 
from the Australian Privacy Commission.

>From reports so far, it appears that:

- The OECD will eventually come up with non-binding principles on
    crypto policy for their member-states.
- The aggressively pro-escrow position of the U.S. met
    resistance during the meetings.
- The commercial and law enforcement perspective was more represented
    than privacy concerns.

For more information see the report on the meeting by Kenneth Cukier, a 
Paris-based journalist.

Overseas News
EFA is a foundation member of a global coalition of Internet freedom 
groups, including representatives from USA, Europe and civil rights groups. 

This coalition has released bulletins and position papers on international
free speech issues and highlighting particular governments' attacks on 
the Net. EFA has been part of the international debate on free speech, 
Internet regulation, cryptography policy and the grasp of criminal law.

G7 Alert
On July 30th the G7 group of nations met in Paris to discuss terrorism.
Among other responses the  G7 have endorsed a number of restrictions and
controls on the Internet.  

These include the prohibition or censorship of sources that may contain
"dangerous" information, restrictions on the electronic speech of 
unpopular political organisations, and the imposition of "key escrow" 
or other means of allowing governments to violate privately encrypted 

This particularly serious threat, which originates from recent events
such as a bombing at the Atlanta Olympics and the crash of TWA Flight
800, is another case in a long list of attempts to restrict freedom of
speech in electronic networks, of which there are alarming examples in
many countries including Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany,
Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the USA and Vietnam, under a variety of
pretexts ranging from "pornography" to "terrorism" and incorrect
political opinion.

The "offensive" material being targeted is no different from similar
material available in libraries and bookshops.  *What is legal offline
must also be legal online*.  If material cannot be censored at the
newsstand or the university library, it must not be censored in the
online newsstands and libraries of our future.

For more information see the G7 Alert page.

German authorities have enforced a total ban on an ISP in the
Netherlands because of a small number of pages that infringed German law.

The British Government has put forward proposals to enforce mandatory
PICS self-rating of Web pages, a move that is fraught with risk for 
content developers.  The proposal also imposes requirements for anonymous
remailers to maintain records of the true identity of the originators
of all messages.

For more info on global Net-muzzling in Singapore, China, France and 
elsewhere see Declan McCullagh's Plague of Freedom page.

Membership Renewals
Membership renewals for 1996/97 are now due. EFA membership is only $20.
If your dues are unpaid, please forward your subscription as soon as 
possible to support the cause of Net freedom.

You can renew your membership in any of the following ways:

- Cheque for $20 made payable to Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc.
    forwarded to PO Box 382, North Adelaide, 5006
- Credit card payments may be faxed to (08) 8373 3829 or (03) 9564 7729
- Credit card details may be phoned to vice-chair at (08) 8357 8844 or
    treasurer on 0411 241 041

If any of your details have changed, please let <membership@efa.org.au>
know so as to update your record.

Lost members - if you are a member and did not receive email notification 
of this newsletter, you are among the few members for whom we do not have
a valid email address.  Please contact <membership@efa.org.au>
with your preferred email address(es). 

If you can take a more active role please contact <volunteer@efa.org.au>
to offer your services.  We can really use you!
Stay in Touch with EFA

How to join
Membership of EFA costs just $20 per year and for that you get to belong
to the premier electronic communications organisation in Australia;  you 
get issues of the Newsletter on line or in the mail if you have no 
electronic address, you have the opportunity to contribute to the growth
of Electronic Frontiers Australia and volunteer your time and talents 
in this endeavour.  Please consider joining us -- it only costs $20 and 
the form to complete is available online at:

The membership form is also mailed automatically to anyone who sends email
to <efa-info@efa.org.au> or netmail to efa-info at 3:800/846.

How to follow EFA activities

- On Usenet, read aus.org.efa (and comp.org.eff.talk if you want the 
    global picture).
- If you use Fidonet Echos, follow discussion in the "EFA" echo.
- Follow the links on our Web home page at:
- Volunteer to help us. There's no better way to stay in touch than
    getting involved yourself!  Email <volunteer@efa.org.au> if you are 
    interested in helping.

What is EFA
ELECTRONIC FRONTIERS AUSTRALIA INC. is a non-profit national organisation
formed in 1994 to define, promote and defend the civil liberties of users
and operators of networked systems. EFA's members are Net and BBS users 
and other people with a common interest in the digital community, 
computer mediated communication and online information services. The 
formation of EFA was inspired by the American Electronic Frontiers 
Foundation (EFF) <http://www.eff.org>, and EFA is associated with the 
EFF and similar organisations around the world. 

EFA's objectives are:

To ensure that people have the same basic freedoms within
     computer mediated communication as without,
To educate the community at large about computer mediated
     communication and their use,
To support, encourage and advise on the development and use of
     computer mediated communication, and related innovations, and
To research and advise on the law as applied to computer mediated
     communication and related technologies.

Policymakers and media representatives are encouraged to contact EFA for
input and comment where relevant.

On the Internet, you can find more information about EFA at our World Wide
Web site:
or by sending email to:

Ways to get EFA information via Fidonet:

- File request efa-info.efa, efa-info.lzh, EFA, ERR from node 3:800/846.
- Send netmail to efa-info at 3:800/846 and a copy of the EFA 
    information file will be bounced back.
- Log in to sawasdi BBS as "EFA" password "EFA" and download the files
    from file area "EFA". The phone number for sawasdi is (08) 8261 7802.

Submissions to this newsletter are strongly encouraged. Ideas and brief
articles for future issues should be sent to <editor@efa.org.au>

Copyright (C) 1996 Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc.

Permission is hereby given for redistribution on networks, but distribution
via other media is subject to the written permission of the EFA Board.

Views expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors only, and not
necessarily those of Electronic Frontiers Australia.