Declan McCullagh | 2 Aug 17:35 2004

A close look at John Kerry's *real* tech agenda [ip]

John Kerry's real tech agenda

   August 2, 2004, 4:00 AM PT
   By Declan McCullagh

   The  Democratic National Convention is over, some $65 million has been
   spent  on  a  week-long party in Boston, and what do we now know about
   John Kerry?

   The   Massachusetts   senator   barely  mentioned  technology  in  his
   convention  speech,  except to marvel at ever-shrinking microchips and
   implore everyone to visit That's not much to work with.

   So  let's  take a look at what Kerry was doing before he announced his
   bid  for  the  White  House--long  before  the usual phalanx of speech
   writers   and   marketing   consultants  began  filtering  his  public
   statements  into  something  that  resembles the texture and flavor of

   A  careful  review  of  Kerry's  history  in the Senate shows that his
   record  on  technology is mixed. The Massachusetts Democrat frequently
   sought  to  levy  intrusive  new restrictions on technology businesses
   that  could  harm  the  U.S.  economy. He was no friend of privacy and
   sided with Hollywood over Silicon Valley in the copyright wars.

   But his votes in favor of free trade won him a rating of 87 percent in
   the  106th  Congress  and  71  percent  in  the  107th, according to a
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Declan McCullagh | 10 Aug 15:19 2004

Irwin Schiff's gets no help from 9th Circuit [fs]


Previous Politech message:

>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          TAX
>MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2004                                    (202) 514-2007
>TDD (202) 514-1888
>Tax-Scheme Promoters Barred from Selling Tax-Scheme Materials
>WASHINGTON D.C. -  The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth 
>Circuit today affirmed a federal district court preliminary injunction 
>barring Irwin Schiff and two associates, Cynthia Neun and Lawrence N. 
>Cohen, from selling their tax scheme, which according to the court's 
>holding fraudulently claims that paying federal income tax is voluntary. 
>The preliminary injunction bars Schiff and his associates from: 1) 
>advertising or selling Schiff's "zero-income tax return" plan; 2) 
>preparing tax returns for others; and 3) assisting others to violate the 
>tax law, including by "selling services, books or other materials that 
>provide direction about how to fill out fraudulent or false tax forms." 
>The preliminary injunction also requires Schiff, Neun, and Cohen to 
>provide a copy of it to each of their customers, to post it on their 
>websites, and to provide the government with a list of their customers.
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Declan McCullagh | 10 Aug 15:21 2004

Big Brother is now talking to your doctor? [priv]


>From: "Chuck Mauthe" <cmauthe <at>>
>To: "'Politech'" <declan <at>>
>Subject: big brother is now talking to your doctor
>Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 15:26:44 -0400
>original is at
>Posted on Sun, Aug. 08, 2004
>Fessing up to doctor costs drinker his license
>A Lebanon County man admitted that he drank a 6-pack a day. A Pa. law
>required PennDot to be alerted.
>By Patrick Kerkstra
>Inquirer Staff Writer
>Like most people, Keith Emerich thought he could tell a doctor anything.
>So the 44-year-old print-shop pressman answered honestly when asked during
>an office visit whether he drank alcohol. Yes, he said, six to 10 Budweisers
>a day.
>That candor cost Emerich, of Lebanon, Pa., his driver's license.
>In a strict reading of a Pennsylvania law that requires physicians to report
>patients with conditions that might "impair the ability to control and
>safely operate" a vehicle, the doctor notified the Pennsylvania Department
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Declan McCullagh | 10 Aug 15:22 2004

ACLU report on the "surveillance-industrial complex" released [priv]


Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 10:04:02 -0400
>To: Declan McCullagh <declan <at>>
>From: Barry Steinhardt <Bsteinhardt <at>>
>Subject: The Surveillance Industrial Complex
>The ACLU is releasing a new report today on the "Surveillance-Industrial 
>Complex," an in-depth look at all the ways that the government is 
>conscripting or recruiting private companies for its war individual 
>privacy and liberty .  The report is online at:
>In conjunction with the release of the report, we have created a new 
>action Web page asking consumers to help us ask companies to take a 
>"no-spy pledge" that they won't willingly cooperate with government 
>demands for their customers' data.
>The action page is online
>The No Spy Pledge says:
>1. You will not turn individually identifiable data on your customers over 
>to the government for security purposes unless legally required to do so.
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Declan McCullagh | 10 Aug 15:23 2004

Canada's RIAA wants to force Internet providers to boot pirates [ip]


>Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 07:21:23 -0400
>To: Declan McCullagh <declan <at>>
>From: Michael Geist <mgeist <at>>
>Subject: Canadian Recording Industry Calls for Notice & Termination of
>  File Sharers
>Of possible interest to your readers - my Toronto Star column today 
>focuses on the Canadian Recording Industry Association's call for what is 
>effectively a notice and termination approach to removing allegedly 
>copyright infringing material. CRIA's counsel told a parliamentary 
>committee that once an ISP receives notification that a subscriber is 
>offering copyrighted works for download, the ISP "ought to kick that 
>subscriber off the system." The approach would be the most radical 
>worldwide as the proposed removal would presumably come without a court 
>hearing or other due process.  Given that CRIA lost its file sharing suit 
>earlier this year, this would appear to be an end-around the court system 
>by attempting to force ISPs to terminate subscriber service based on a 
>mere allegation of activity that may or may not constitute copyright 
>Since Canada has yet to adopt a notice and takedown system, the column 
>proposes a four step procedure that respects the rights of copyright 
>holders, the privacy rights of users, the fairness of court review, and 
>the need to appropriately limit the burden placed on ISPs.
>Column at <>.
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Declan McCullagh | 10 Aug 15:26 2004

Update on church linking case: Gag order reportedly issued [fs]


>Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 19:21:07 -0700 (PDT)
>From: "The Very Rev. Tony Begonja" <tbegonja <at>>
>Reply-To: "The Very Rev. Tony Begonja" <tbegonja <at>>
>To: declan <at>
>Subject: Update on Prentice, James et al v. Griffith-Mair
>Prev. Politech links:
>Just wanted to briefly report that my vituperrious co-defendant Montgomery 
>in 02-CV-117 (Colorado District federal court, see 
>was effectively gagged by Arkansas Judge Homer Wright by some
>kind of injuction today, after the same team of plaintiffs (Prentice,
>James, et al) had had sued Griffith-Mair for criticizing them
>(Garland County Circuit No. CV-2003-515-I), and won.
> )
>Griffith-Mair, known for his thriftyness, may have hurt himself
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Declan McCullagh | 10 Aug 15:28 2004

Latex clothes website runs afoul of Paypal prudishness [fs]


>From: Ron Gustavson <rongus <at>>
>To: Declan McCullagh <declan <at>>
>Subject: censorship via Paypal
>Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 21:59:10 -0400
>[for consideration on Politech]
>The Baroness ( ) writes...
> >You know I've always believed in the power of clothing, but it seems 
> someone at Paypal thinks a latex skirt or dress may have even more power 
> than I had dared to dream. Despite a complete lack of nudity and sex on 
> (it's all about the CLOTHES), Paypal has closed my account 
> -with no option of review- for alleged violation of their "Acceptable Use 
> Policy", which says their service may not be used to send or receive 
> payments for any "adult, sexually oriented, or obscene materials or services".
> >
> >While the censors at Paypal apparently have the legal right to summarily 
> dismiss their clients for any reason they choose, I hope you, my readers, 
> will consider what this means for the future of free commerce for anyone 
> with "alternative lifestyles". Next time you use Paypal, consider this: 
> What if the major banks and credit card companies decided to adopt the 
> same policy? Any commercial venture they deemed "unacceptable" would 
> disappear from the Internet.
> >
> >Government censorship is even worse, and in this arena my friend Barbara 
> Nitke has been fighting for all of us. In Nitke vs. US Attorney General 
> Ashcroft, she and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) are 
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Declan McCullagh | 10 Aug 15:32 2004

FCC votes 5-0 for Internet wiretapping; Verizon applauds [priv]


My article on the decision itself:
"Broadband providers and Internet phone services must comply with 
wiretapping requirements designed for the traditional phone network, the 
Federal Communications Commission said in a preliminary decision Wednesday."

My column on questions to ask John Ashcroft and the FBI:
•  Your request to the FCC said that broadband and VoIP companies may raise 
prices to "recover their CALEA implementation costs from their customers." 
How do you square higher prices with President Bush's speech in March 
calling for "affordable broadband" for all Americans?
•  Congress gave telephone companies $500 million to buy new equipment to 
comply with CALEA. Why should Internet companies not receive the same 
treatment? Is it because Verizon, SBC and the other former Bells have 
well-connected lobbying outposts in Washington, D.C.--but Vonage, 8x8 and 
other VoIP start-ups do not?
•  Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom told me last fall that "we do not have any 
legal obligation to provide any means for interception" in his company's 
VoIP software. How will you force a company based in Luxembourg to insert 
backdoors in its software when it has no obligation to do so?
[...remainder snipped...]


Verizon Wireless Applauds FCC for Law Enforcement Assistance
(Continue reading)

Declan McCullagh | 11 Aug 14:02 2004

Is Buffy the Vampire Slayer "indecent?" FCC decides... [fs]

6. The November 20, 2001 episode involves a scene depicting Buffy kissing
and straddling Spike shortly after fighting with him. Based upon our review 
of the scene,
we did not find that it is sufficiently graphic or explicit to be deemed 
indecent. Given the
non-explicit nature of the scene, we cannot conclude that it was calculated 
to pander to,
titillate or shock the audience. Consequently, we conclude that the 
material is not patently
offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast

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Declan McCullagh | 11 Aug 14:03 2004

DOJ steps up obscenity prosecutions with "Susie's Corral" case [fs]

U.S. Department of Justice  United States Attorney District of Montana
P.O. Box 1478 Billings, Montana  59103406/657-6101
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact:William W. Mercer
                      United States Attorney for the
                      District of Montana
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced 
today that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 7, 2004, 
before U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, GARY ROBINSON, a 63-year-old 
resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing.  ROBINSON was sentenced to a 
term of:
*Prison: 1 year and 1 day
*Special Assessment: $100
*Supervised Release: 3 years
*ROBINSON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to charges of 
transportation of obscene matters.  In the fall of 2002, while doing 
business as "Suzie's Corral," ROBINSON used the United Parcel Service to 
distribute obscene videotapes.  ROBINSON shipped the videotapes in response 
to orders placed by customers who received the "Susie's Corral" catalog 
through the United States mail.  The videotapes depicted bestiality and 
*The Supreme Court's decision in Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973), 
stated that material which appeals to prurient sexual desire,  is patently 
offensive, and contains no serious literary, artistic, political or 
scientific value falls outside the protection of the First Amendment right 
of free speech.  The Miller Court also stated that the standard should be 
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