The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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From: djones@insight.mcmaster.ca (David Jones)
Message-Id: <9602020138.AA22665@insight.mcmaster.ca>
To: kmcvay@nizkor.almanac.bc.ca
Subject: EFC: -- Net Censorship Backfires --
Status: RO

Hi Ken,

For your info, ...  -- Dave
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	  ELECTRONIC FRONTIER CANADA (EFC) --- PRESS RELEASE
				 
(For immediate release --- February 1, 1996)


		Net Censorship Backfires

	Germany's clumsy attempt to block access to specific sites
	has resulted in the controversial information being copied
	all over the Internet.

German prosecutors are at it again -- bumbling around in cyberspace,
trying to block access to information they think might be illegal under
German law.  According to some reports, the prosecutors hope the case
will end up in court where it may start to resolve some of the
uncertain legal issues about who is responsible for information
accessible through computer networks.

They've declared a computer in Santa Cruz, California (www.webcom.com)
to be 'off limits' because one of Web Communications' more than 1,500
customers is Ernst Zundel -- a Canadian resident notorious for claiming
the Holocaust is a Jewish hoax.  Stefan Althoff, spokespeson for
Deutsche Telekom, indicates his company's T-Online service (Germany's
largest) has complied with a request from the Mannheim prosecutor's office.
``We have blocked access via the Internet to Herr Zuendel and
his information,'' he says.

	* Smoke and Mirror Sites *

``What's ironic, is that this latest attempt at censorship has backfired.
Instead of limiting the audience for Zundel's propaganda, Germany's
clumsy attempt to block access has resulted in the information being
copied to new locations in cyberspace and becoming even more accessible,
... and with the publicity, more people might want to visit these web pages
to see what all the fuss is about,'' says David Jones, president of
Electronic Frontier Canada, a non-profit organization that advocates
freedom of expression on the Internet.  ``It's rather unfortunate,''
says Jones, who stressed that EFC ``strongly disagrees with Zundel's views.''

So-called 'mirror sites', which contain copies of Zundel's propaganda,
are springing up at various locations in the world-wide-web.
``It reminds me of the Greek myth in which Hercules battled the
many-headed serpent, Hydra.  Whenever he sliced off one head with
his sword, two more grew back in its place,'' comments
EFC vice-president, Jeffrey Shallit.

The appearance of so many mirror sites is partly due to the efforts
of Declan McCullagh, a free speech activist, who has packaged up the
controversial information into a single file and posted a message in
a Usenet newsgroup with instructions on ``how to open your very own
Zundelsite mirror archive in five minutes or less.''  So far there are
at least ten mirror sites, including ones at Carnegie Mellon University,
Stanford University, and MIT.  ``If Germany starts to prevent their
University's from connecting to other Universities outside the country,
it defeats the purpose of them being on the Internet in the first place,''
observes David Jones.

	* Detours on the Infobahn *

Mirror sites aren't the only headache for German censors.
The oft-quoted adage: ``The Internet recognizes censorship as damage
and routes information around it'' still rings true.  ``Students in
Stuttgart, Germany who can't access Zundel's web pages directly can
still visit them indirectly, by using an innovative and award-winning
web site in Toronto called the 'Canadianizer','' explains Jones.
	[ URL = http://www.io.org/~themaxx/canada/can.html ]
Created as a sort of joke, this web site in Toronto, allows you to
type in the URL of *another* web site that could be anywhere in the world.
The computer in Toronto then fetches a copy of that web page and
inserts a few 'Canadianisms', such as ending a sentence with 'eh?'.
Once Canadianized, the web page is displayed for you.  But since the
page appears to be coming from Toronto, the German blocking mechanism
will be fooled -- it cannot detect that the information really originated
in California.  ``It's just a detour on the Infobahn,'' says Jones.

	* Information wants to be free; Information wants to be true *

If censorship won't work, you might wonder, what should be done about
people like Zundel who spread hate and lies?  ``Zundel thrives on
publicity,'' says EFC's Jeffrey Shallit. ``The right right way to deal
with him is either to ignore him, or to counter his propaganda with the
truth about the Holocaust.''  Shallit points to the efforts of the
'Nizkor Project', based in Vancouver, which has assembled a huge
electronic archive on the Holocaust that researchers around the world
can consult to counter the bogus claims of Holocaust deniers.
``Anyone with an open mind will see who's telling the truth,''
says Shallit, who himself lost many relatives in the Holocaust.

The approach is not new; Justice William O. Douglas, said in 1958:
``The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas.  The way to combat
falsehoods is with truth.''  Ken McVay, who runs the Nizkor Project,
was recently named to the prestigious 'Order of British Columbia'
for his successful work fighting hate in Canada and elsewhere.

Montreal newspaper reporter, Matt Friedman, recently wrote:
``... while the mainstream and the traditional authorities
dither about, befuddled by the growth and power of the on-line medium,
unable to settle on either a coherent plan of action or a means of
combating hatred without bringing down the Internet in its wake,
McVay and his colleagues are doing battle -- and winning.''
 

-30-

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EFC Contact Information:
 
 
Electronic Frontier Canada
 
 Dr. David Jones        phone: (905) 525-9140 x24689    fax: (905) 546-9995
        email: djones@efc.ca
 
 Dr. Jeff Shallit       phone: (519) 888-4804           fax: (519) 885-1208
        email: shallit@efc.ca
 
 Dr. Richard Rosenberg  phone: (604) 822-4142           fax: (604) 822-5485
        email: rosen@efc.ca
 
 
Electronic Frontier Canada, online archives:
 
 URL:   http://www.efc.ca/


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Other Contact Information:

The original "Zundelsite"
	http://www.webcom.com/~ezundel

The company that runs the computer that houses the "Zundelsite"
is "Web Communications", 125 Water St, Suite A1, Santa Cruz, CA  95060
They are directing media inquiries to:
  Rob Gelphman		phone: (408) 451-8420
	email: gelphman@ix.netcom.com

The "Canadianizer" was created by Rob Stanley and Andrew Chak.
This site was awarded a *prize* by a Toronto radio station
(102.1 FM "The Edge") and a software company "InContext Spider".
	URL:	http://www.io.org/~themaxx/canada/can.html

Declan McCullagh	phone:	(412) 441-6768
	email: declan@well.com
Declan McCullagh's page on circumnavigating German censorship, URL =
http://www.cs.cmu.edu//afs/cs/user/declan/www/Not_By_Me_Not_My_Views/censorship.html

The Nizkor Project combats hate propaganda by telling the truth.
	URL:	http://www.almanac.bc.ca/
Ken McVay is director of the Nizkor Project,
	email: kmcvay@nizkor.almanac.bc.ca

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (Toronto Office) is concerned about
online hate propaganda.  Their spokesperson in Canada is Sol Littman.
	phone:	(416) 864-9735
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles office),  phone: (310) 553-1303

Matt Friedman, Montreal newspaper reporter who has covered the issue
of hate propaganda on the Net extensively	phone: (514) 486-3613
	email: mattf@friedman.interax.net

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