The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/compuserve/cis-censorship.01

From: Mike Curtis 
To: "'Jamie'" 
Subject: Found Them
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 96 15:05:00 C
Message-ID: <>
Encoding: 7 TEXT, 55 TEXT, 85 TEXT, 892 TEXT
X-Mailer: Microsoft Mail V3.0
X-MS-Attachment: CT213.TXT 3459 00-00-1980 00:00
X-MS-Attachment: GC13.TXT 3314 00-00-1980 00:00
X-MS-Attachment: CLAW0113.TXT 57516 00-00-1980 00:00

Here they are three files. You can do with them as you wish I guess. I'm   
not sure of copywrite laws on this stuff.
[[ CT213.TXT : 5405 in CT213.TXT ]][[ GC13.TXT : 5406 in GC13.TXT ]][[   
CLAW0113.TXT : 5407 in CLAW0113.TXT ]]
Let me know if they help!

CompuServe reopens banned newsgroup access

February 13, 1996

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- CompuServe reopened access Tuesday to all but
five of more than 200 newsgroups on the Internet that have been
blocked off from its subscribers since December.

CompuServe cut off access to the newsgroups because it feared criminal
charges from German prosecutors, who gave CompuServe a list of
newsgroups that it said were illegal under German law.  The online
service provider said it believed that Germany would file criminal
charges if it did not cut off access to the newsgroups. Germany denied
making any such threats, veiled or otherwise.

Yet CompuServe said that it would not reinstate the newsgroups until
it found a way to single German subscribers out, and block the
newsgroup access to only that country.  Its decision to reopen the
connection Tuesday reversed that stance.

Instead of blocking access to the areas, CompuServe said it is giving
the choice to block them to parents instead.

"A key issue in Germany was the availability of content to minors,"
CompuServe president Bob Massey said in a statement. "We are confident
that our parental controls will meet any requirements under German law
and will also offer tremendous value to our members."

"We are committed to doing everything within our power to help people
create the kind of on-line experience they want," Massey said. "We
believe that parental supervision and controls, not government
regulation and legal confrontation, are the best way to serve the
interests of the growing, global cyberspace community."

The five areas which are still shut off were identified by the German
prosecutors' office as containing explicit child pornography.  They
will remain off-limits to people accessing the Internet through
CompuServe pending further legal investigation.

The company is offering free copies and updates of Cyber Patrol
Internet filtering software to CompuServe subscribers, and has built a
new area on its online service called the Parental Controls Forum,
where parents can get more information on content control issues.

The software screens out potentially offensive materials on the
Internet, including the World Wide Web, File Transfer Protocol sites
and newsgroup sites.

CompuServe, owned by H&R Block, is second only to America Online in
number of subscribers.  It provides on-line services to over four
million users in 147 countries.

Related stories:

Germans consider charges against America Online - Feb. 2, 1996

Internet's popularity poses threat to CompuServe, AOL - Jan. 16, 1996

CompuServe reopening newsgroups - Jan. 4, 1996

CompuServe denies report that it will reopen newsgroups - Jan. 4, 1996

Germans dispute CompuServe account of Internet probe - Jan. 3, 1996

German law forces Compuserve to ban adult newsgroups - Dec. 29, 1995

Related Sites


Download Cyber Patrol software (CompuServe site or SPRYNET site) and

Germanys: CompuServe decided

which explicit forums to ban January 2, 1996 Web posted at: BERLIN (AP) -- The CompuServe on-line service decided itself which sexually explicit Internet areas to prevent its 4 million users from accessing, German authorities asserted Tuesday. That statement conflicts with CompuServe's explanation last Thursday of why it blocked access to the 200 electronic message boards known as newsgroups. A CompuServe spokeswoman on Tuesday repeated the company's initial explanation that German officials had identified which newsgroups were illegal and that company officials had been threatened with arrest. Prosecutors reiterated Tuesday that they never threatened CompuServe Inc. with criminal charges. CompuServe's decision to deny access to the forums set off debate over censorship on the Internet, the worldwide computer network that hosts some 40 million users. Newsgroups, where users can post messages, draw discussions on everything from computer games and astrophysics to sexual fetishes and lesbian and gay issues. In announcing the ban, the Columbus, Ohio-based CompuServe said: "Each of the newsgroups that was suspended was specifically identified to CompuServe by the German authorities as illegal under German criminal law." But Munich Senior Public Prosecutor Manfred Wick said Tuesday that his office did not provide CompuServe any such list as part of its investigation of child pornography on the Internet. "We did not make any stipulations. It was the decision of CompuServe alone," he said. The prosecutors also have not said what, if any, child pornography of Internet origin they saw via CompuServe's private network, Wick said. A CompuServe spokeswoman in Ohio, Daphne Kent, said that the company's legal department was talking with German prosecutors. "The newsgroups were specifically identified by German officials," she said Tuesday. "I don't know if the German prosecutors are backpedaling a little ... We got some information from them that there was a real possibility of arrest if we didn't comply." CompuServe has not released a list of the barred newsgroups yet, she said, because the company's legal department may add or drop groups. A CompuServe-Germany executive, Arno Edelmann, said Tuesday that in-house forum leaders are receiving an avalanche of complaints from users demanding access to certain newsgroups. CompuServe blocked worldwide access because it lacked the technical ability to block out just the German users. Associated Press text, photos, graphics, audio and/or video materials shall not directly or indirectly be published, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed in any medium. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. Subscriber does not hold the AP liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damage arising from any of the foregoing. Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. EDITED TRANSCRIPT, CNNFORUM ON-LINE CONFERENCE SATURDAY, 13 JANUARY, 1996 Part of a continuing series of conferences and discussion groups conducted at 12:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time in CNNFORUM Conference Room 2 ("Formal Conference") on the topic of "Cyberporn, Censorship, and On-Line Media." Participation is open to all Members of CNNFORUM, and CNNFORUM Membership is available to all CompuServe subscribers. Today's conference was devoted primarily to the questions surrounding CompuServe Inc.'s decision to suspend access to certain 'Net newsgroups in connection with investigations of the Bavarian (Germany) Prosecutor's Office. In keeping with CNNFORUM policy, our guest was not given prior access to any specific questions; nor did our guest request that any area of question be excluded. Participants were recognized in the order in which they sought recognition, insofar as possible. Continuing discussion of the subject is ongoing in CNNFORUM's Section 17 "INTERNET & CSIS," and questions and comments may be posted in that area. ** Moderator: John Linendoll [CNNFORUM] ** Guest: Russ Robinson, Director of Public Relations, CompuServe, Inc. ** (Transcript edited for continuity; extraneous remarks and comments by those not first recognized have generally been deleted from this edited transcript. A full transcript will be available shortly.) NOTE: This transcript has been provided in edited format for ease of reference to the remarks of the principal guest. A full and unedited transcript of the conference, including the lengthy session which followed, will be made available shortly as CLAW0113.DOC John Linendoll [CNN | Hi Everyone! We're about to begin, so let me | briefly run through the | "protocol" for formal conferences! If you | have a question or comment, | please just type "?" or "!" and then please | _wait_ to be recognized. | We will recognize everyone in the order in | which their "?" or "!" is | received, giving priority to each person's | first question. Russ Robinson | Russ Robinson here. John Linendoll [CNN | Welcome Russ! | Welcome, everyone, to CNNFORUM! And a | special welcome to Russ Robinson, | Director of Public Relations for CompuServe | and CSIS's principal | spokesperson in the present controversy. | I'll be hosting today's | Conference, and will recognize questionners | in the order in which your | "?" or "!" are received. Again, please just | type "?" or "!" if you have | a question or comment and then wait to be | recognized before speaking... John L [MODERATOR] | With that, allow me to introduce Russ | Robinson, and offer him the | opportunity of making a few opening remarks. | Welcome, Russ! Russ Robinson | Thanks, John. I thought that perhaps a quick | overview of what happened would help set the | stage. With your | permission, I'll do that. John L [MODERATOR] | By all means, Russ! Russ Robinson | In November, CompuServe's headquarters in | Munich was contacted by the Munich | prosecutor's office and the | youth protection arm of the criminal police. | The Munich authorities had a court-issued | search and seizur order to examine | 26 Internet newsgroups on the grounds that | they may contain pornographic material. | Based on the appropriate legal | documentation, CompuServe fully cooperated | with the investigation. | In December, the police returned with a list | of more than 200 Internet newsgroups that | they said contained material that | was illegal to disseminate under German law, | or that was illegal to make available to | minors. CompuServe did not identify | any of the newsgroups on the list. | It also became apparent that CompuServe and | its employees could be subject to criminal | prosecution when the Munich | prosecutor told us that we must whatever was | necessary to comply with German law. | After talking with our German legal counsel, | we decided that the only practical way to | immediately comply with the Munich | prosecutors directive was to suspend access | to the newsgroups. We do not have the | technology to suspend access | to just Germany, so we had to temporarily | suspend access worldwide. | We are trying to determine the best way to | address the legal challenge in Germany. | The Internet was designed specifically to | facilitate the exchange of information across | borders and around the world. It | has innumerable on-ramps, off-ramps, | redundancies and loopholes. Geographic | restrictions are very difficult. | That in a nutshell is what has been going on | for the past several weeks. Back to you, | John. John L [MODERATOR] | Thanks, Russ! | First question goes to Jeff Lipton. Jeff? | Jeff Lipton, you there? John L [MODERATOR] | Phil Leonard is up next. Jeffrey H. Lipton | Thanks. I'm a believer in "informed | consent". Why can't CServe put a "gateway" | page in front | of the "bad" newsgroups asking for the user's | consent to see that group? That's what most | of | the adult web sites do John L [MODERATOR] | Russ, how about that? Russ Robinson | That is one of the options we are | considering, Jeff. We planned on introducing | parental controls with the next issue of our | information manager. This situation has | stepped up that activity. It seems that | controls will be part of the answer. Jeffrey H. Lipton | Thanks... John L [MODERATOR] | Phil Leonard, your question? Phil Leonard | Russ, Don't you think it would have made | more sense for Compuserve to investigate the | laws of every country it provides access to, | before offering them, rather than after? And | now | that you have decided to cancel certain | newsgroups, | wouldn't it have made more sense to cancel | all newsgroups | and not offer the Internet in the first | place? | Thank-you Phil GA John L [MODERATOR] | Fair question, Phil. | Though, as I'm sure Russ will note, that | might be a pretty big order... | ...with all of the countries CServe serves :) Russ Robinson | Good question, Phil. Couple of | clarifications. We didn't cancel any | newsgroups. They still are on the Internet. | They still | are accessible. Our position is that we are | an access provider. If a regulatory agency | has a problem with newsgroups, | they should go to the people who control | those newsgroups and the content in those | newsgroups. Not the access | provider. It is impractical to expect us to | be able to review and know the content of all | the 15,000 newsgroups on the | Internet. And, we don't want to be censors. | You should decide what material is | appropriate for you and your family. John L [MODERATOR] | Lovro Tomasic, your question for Russ? Lovro Tomasic | Why doesn't T-Online have to censor the | Internet (or | AOL Germany) ? John L [MODERATOR] | You mean, Lovro, why don't other services | have to do the same thing? Lovro Tomasic | Yes, exactly Russ Robinson | We are the largest internet access provider | in Germany. It appears that the Munich | prosecutor started with us because we | are the largest. But the point is very good. | This is more than a CompuServe question. | This is an industrywide questions. | What has happened to CompuServe can happen to | all access providers. We simply were first. John L [MODERATOR] | Felix Gonzalez, your question for Russ? felix s.gonzalez | why couldnt CIM install a warning program | that picks out pornoPass | soorry | go ahead. Russ Robinson | Someone has to determine what material is | included in any screening program. That is a | very difficult decision. We are | obligated to abide by the laws of the 147 | countries in which we operate, but those laws | vary from country to country and are | subject to interpretation. John L [MODERATOR] | Charles, your question for Russ? John L [MODERATOR] | Charles is asking why the matter couldn't be | fought in court... Charles | Comment: As for a "intro" page in front of | "objectionable" areas, who is to decide what | is | objectionable and what is not. What content | is | "more" objectionable than others". Is this | decided by | a select group of people? Is it country, | regional, or | community based? | Comment: CompuServe may want to think it is | an | access provider - but it is not a common | carrier. It | gave up that option by giving into the German | request | instead of fighting it in court. This one | action has | damaged any Internet service provider's | possibility of John L [MODERATOR] | ...rather than simply acceding to the | Prosecutor's request, as CIS indicates it's | done. Charles | being considered a common carrier. | Question: Although I personally do not use | CompuServe to access Internet news groups | (the | service to too slow) - I instead use a local | Internet | provide that does not censor access to the | Internet. | What Guarantee can you give us that | CompuServe | will not bow down under the oppressive | Republican | lead religious right conservative minority in | the US | and terminate access to areas of the Internet | based | on content? John L [MODERATOR] | Thanks for your question, Charles. If | everyone could, please, keep their... Russ Robinson | We don't know where it will end up. We felt | that we faced immediate criminal liability | and wanted a breathing period while John L [MODERATOR] | ...questions to just a few lines, it would | make it easier for everyone to follow. Russ Robinson | we considered our options. The suspension | gave us a chance to do that. John L [MODERATOR] | Thanks! | Dennis, your question for Russ? John L [MODERATOR] | Dennis Caffey? Dennis Caffey | Thank You.. My question concerns Industry | (telecommunications/Entertatainment/legal) | attempts to | wrestle control of the Internet for $$$ gain | by using the | "porno issue" as a scapegoat... | Is this possibly what is driving this whole | issue..? Russ Robinson | I'm afraid I don't understand the question | fully, Dennis. Dennis Caffey | Congress is in session to pass laws that | affect every John L [MODERATOR] | Could you re-phrase the question, Dennis? Dennis Caffey | aspect of our lives and the special interest | can basically John L [MODERATOR] | Marshall Dyer, you have a question for Russ? Marshall K. Dyer | Thanks, John, and Russ for being here--I have | a couple of quick questions--first, do you | have any idea how the German authorities | accesse | the 200 groups that were designated by the | Munich prosecutor? | Secondly, a companion issue seems to be | rearing up here | in that the Wiesenthal Center is asking | Webpage providers to exclude certain groups-- Russ Robinson | When the German authorities came to our | office, they had a court issued search and | seizure order. Based on that, we | spent some time teaching them about the | Internet. It appeared that the Munich | prosecutor and his criminal police | investigators had little knowledge of how the | Internet actually worked. After the initial | visit, they were gone for several | weeks before coming back with the list of | 200. Marshall K. Dyer | Since CIS is starting to offer webpages--has | CIS heard from the Wiesenthal center, and, if | so, has it responded? GA Russ Robinson | We don't know how they drew up that list or | what criteria they used. That is part of | what we are pursuing. Russ Robinson | GA John L [MODERATOR] | And have you heard from the Wiesenthal | Center, Russ? Russ Robinson | We have not heard from the Wiesenthal Center, | but I have talked to reporters who have told | me that we will. | Our position is that we are an access | provider. We do not wish to be censors. John L [MODERATOR] | Tom Arndt, your question for Russ? Tom Arndt | Thankyou for listening, I am curious to know | the name of the case in Munich, | secondly, last week on A&E I learned about a | case in California I believe it was, | were someone was convicted for posting | pornographic images to be downloaded | off his bulleten board li John L [MODERATOR] | Tom, had you complete your question? | completed? Russ Robinson | I'm not familiar with that case, Tom. But we | know that state legislature around the | country are looking at efforts to control | content on the Internet. We also are | concerned about the provisions of the | Telecommunications Reform Bill, and the | Exxon Amendment, which would put us in the | position of having to make judgement | decisions on content. Those | decisions should be made by individuals. If | there is a problem with content on a bulletin | board, it should be pursue with | the owner of the bulletin board, not the | company that provides access to it. We are | like a bookstore. The books are on the | shelf for you to read if you want, but we | can't read all of them and be responsible for | the content. Tom Arndt | do you know the name of this California case | as well? Russ Robinson | Not familiar with the CA case. GA John L [MODERATOR] | David Fox, your question? David Fox | Thank you. Russ, why has CIS not identified, | to its subscribers, those newsgroups which it | now prohibits them from accessing? And as an | aside, I am inclined to suggest wishfully | that | CIS cancel the accounts of all its residents | of Germany, and let them change their laws or | do | without; I expect that it would be a | significant incentive. And better that, than | have the entire | world be required to conform to German law! Russ Robinson | It is the Munich prosecutor that has taken | action against us, David. That is one | prosecutor in the whole country of | Germany. Our office is located in Munich. | We have more than 200,000 members in Germany | and don't want to abandon | them. Besides, this issue reaches far beyond | Germany. The Internet community has known | for some while that sooner or | later some governmental authority would try | to control it. That is what the response has | been so emotional and has | received so much attention. GA | I should point out that this issue is not yet | settled. John L [MODERATOR] | Ben Soulon, your question? Ben Soulon | Thanks. How does Compuserve plan to react | when some Oberstaatanwalt finds child | pornography in comp.language.compiler.theory? David Fox | Why have you not publicized the names of the | newsgroups to which you have prohibited | access? | That was my question Russ Robinson | That's the bigger question, Ben. It will be | part of our decision when we settle the | issue. I can't give you an exact answer | right now. We are looking at the alternative | and what they mean to CompuServe, the online | services industry and the | Internet community. These are far=reaching | questions. Russ Robinson | I also should point out that while the | initial response was overwhelmingly negative, | it is now running 50-50. Half favoring | eliminating access. Half against it. | Everyone has an opinion on the issue. | ga John L [MODERATOR] | Ed-WSL, your question? Ed [WSL-Media] | We are wondering why parental controls and | Internet blocks | were not built-in to the software CompuServe | uses, prior to the | addition of the Internet services to | CompuServe? Russ Robinson | We do have controls on our Internet in a Box | for Kids product. And our new offering | Project WOW! has them integrated. We | had planned to introduce them in the spring | with the next version of CIM. Russ Robinson | When we began 17 years ago. Controls were | not an issue. | We now are seeing a different kind of user -- | novices, families. That is why we started | building them. This situation has | increased that effort. John L [MODERATOR] | Jack Wilmeth, your question for Russ? Jack Wilmeth [SL] | There was an initial flurry of people upset | with CIS and thus they left. | Has that stopped? Also, how about insisting | that each country | PROVIDE CIS with a list of undesirable net | sites, then post that for the | membership? Russ Robinson | We are signing people up at record rates, | Jack. The Christmas buying season is | starting to kick in. There is no | significant increase in our drop-out rate. | We continue to maintain that it is not our | job to police the Internet. If a country | has a problem with an Internet site, they | should take it up with the people who operate | that site. Not the people who | provide access. Jack Wilmeth [SL] | Thanks, Russ. John L [MODERATOR] | David Battley, your question? David Battley | thanks, first question, more questions next | time on the list. If the German government | targeted Cserve first, why haven't they gone | after some of the forums provided by | Cserve, such as EVIDEO forum or any of the | GRAPHICS forums, or any other forum that | might be considered questionable? Russ Robinson | Good question, David. And why haven't they | gone after the World Wide Web. They only | targeted Usenet Newsgroups. We | don't know the answers to those questions. | However, there is no "obscene" material on | CompuServe. There is adult | material, but it is clearly marked. John L [MODERATOR] | George Scuderi, your question? George J. Scudieri | The precedent that Compuserve has set | concerns me a | great deal. The future implications of | limiting access to | Usenet newsgroups, or anything for that | matter, is VERY | serious. I do not want my access limited in | any way shape | or form...that is supposedy the "charm" of | the internet. | With that said, strongly do you | feel about what | you said (Compuserve being a bookstore)? How | strongly | do the powers that be at Compuserve (and the | company | that owns CIS) that Compuserve is like a | bookstore? Can | we depend on this CIS to stand up to "freedom | of speech" | issues? Thanks :) Russ Robinson | Your question goes to the heart of the issue, | George. In a short period of time, we will | make an announcement that will | clearly outline our position. I am not able | to tell you right now what that position will | be. Russ Robinson | It will consider the precedent that it will | set. It will consider the implications for | online industry and for the Internet | community. | ga John L [MODERATOR] | E. M. Edwards, your question? George J. Scudieri | Thank you for your reply. :) E.M. Edwards | Why don't you sustain your position of not | wishing to be | censors by simply not giving the germans | access? We | are in a global community and you cannot | allow any | single nation or interest group to dictate | mores. Russ Robinson | If we did that, couldn't all access providers | slowly but surely be eliminated from the | various countries that object to any | material on the Internet, whether that | materials is adult content or political | thought. John L [MODERATOR] | James Riley, your question? JAMES H. RILEY | 1) Why did not the German Procisecutor " go | after " | any German University or other Educational | Institutions | that provides their students with Internet | Access as part | of its educational facilities before coming | after CIS ? | Or did they ( Prosecutors Office) do that ? | 2) Note: 17 Years ago | 2400 Baud wasn't | an issue either & this is slower than a | TRS-80 Model -I | @ 300 Baud ! 3 For you folks that weren't yet | on-line | then : What were the first words you looked | up in a | dictionary when your parents couldn't | "catup-you" ? John L [MODERATOR] | Good question, James; but probably not one | Russ can answer :) Russ Robinson | James, we are the largest foreign provider of | Internet access in Germany. Why they came | after us, we don't know, but we | would like to know. Your point is very good. | All access providers face this same issue. John L [MODERATOR] | Alexis, your question? Alexis Rutter | Thanks. . First, my major problem with CIS | handling of the events is that, to | date I have seen nothing posted on "What's | New" to explain what is missing | and why. Second, is CIS working to provide | very localized blocking (maby | node by node) or lock and key to prevent a | local objection from blocking | world wide access? Also, put me down as | overwhelmingly against blocking | access to large sections of your customers. | By the way, the list took over 40 | min. to get to me! WinCim keeps trying to | disconnect me. ga Russ Robinson | Alex, we have worked very hard to make it | apparent that we did not draw up the list. | The Munich prosecutor did. If we | published a list, it would immediately become | the CompuServe list. It is not our list, and | we do not wish to be identified | with it. John L [MODERATOR] | Thanks, Russ. | I see we've already gone over the time Russ | agreed to be here... Alexis Rutter | Sorry, your work has been in vain - no | explanation has come accross John. John L [MODERATOR] | ....we still have about five questions in the | queue... | ...but I don't know if Russ is able to remain | that much longer. Russ? Russ Robinson | I'll remain a while longer, John. It is | important that folks understand that this is | a complex legal and technical issue. John L [MODERATOR] | Thanks, Russ! | Anonomous, you had a question? ANONOMOUS | yes | I find it very surprising | that Germany, the only place in the world | that has | really hard core pornography | would be the ones to object | What about throwing stones in a glass house? John L [MODERATOR] | Is there a question there? Russ Robinson | The issue also was the availability of the | material to minors. But you make a very good | point. In fact, they cited Section 184 | of the German Criminal Code which prohibits | distribution of pornography. | ga John L [MODERATOR] | Henry Ruzumski, your question? Henry Rozumski | Mr. Robinson, I have a really hard time | accepting that this 'temporary' newsgroups | access | denial was caused by child porno and the | german government. Why did I recently get | denied access to sites that were previously | accessible and had NOTHING to do with the | subjects just stated? I've now recently | regained access to them. What is really at | issue | here.....? I don't want my intelligence to | be you? There are too many | illogical | assumptions raised here to support the child | porno/german government theory. Why just | germany? And why is Compuserve SO WILLING to | deny access......I don't buy the 'first one | in line' theory either. In fact, the germany | government is just as LIBERAL or | CONSERVATIVE as the US govt when it comes to | these issues in censorship. Russ Robinson | Henry, I don't know to which newsgroups you | are referring. But, sometimes technical | problems or overloads in different | areas limit access. That is not our doing. | It is a function of the Internet and the way | it operates. We have not limited | access to any more areas. If you regained | access to them, that should indicate that. | Why did this happen in Germany? | I don't know. But it did. On Jan. 3, the | Munich prosector issued a statement backing | up everything we said. It was widely | reported by the Associated Press. GA John L [MODERATOR] | Kevin Manson, your question for Russ? Kevin Manson | John, Just wanted to pass on a hello through | Russ to S. Heaton (we testified at same | hearing last summer re protecting kids on the | Net) Question is whether the most restrictive | laws on the Net will determine CISA access? Henry Rozumski | Thanks for your response....and I hope we | don't have too many more overloads. I do | know | what you mean about overloads...since I run a | network/e-mail system... Russ Robinson | Kevin: access decisions should be made by | the individual or the parent. The | legislation should reflect that. The best | thing that has come out of this situation is | the widespread realization that this could | happen again, and it could happen to | other providers, and the Internet community | better pay attention and protect its | interests. John L [MODERATOR] | Ben Trumble, your question for Russ? Ben Trumble | So I guess had CIS been in South Africa five | years ago and had the government there | suggested that you cut off all access to | outlawed newsgroups dealing with | Pan-Africanism -- by your logic you would | have been willing to comply -- as you did in | Germany? | Isn't that an apt analogy? Depite your | protests -- you are indeed policing the net | in this case... BTW -- should your policy | change | can content providers cancel their contracts | and move their product to more hospitable | environments? GA Russ Robinson | Ben, I can't speculate on a situation that | didn't occur. John L [MODERATOR] | Susan, your question? | Susan Getgood has a question for Russ. Susan J. Getgood | pass -point has been made John L [MODERATOR] | Dave Looney, your question? dave looney | Mr. Robinson, it is still not clear to my why | has CIS refused to | divulge to its customers a list of the | suspended newsgroups ? Isn't | this just common courtesy ? Kevin Manson | Thanks John and Russ for geting into the | "fray" here. CIS has been a very responsible | On-line community member and I'd like to | thank you for your time on this week-end. The | law and the market will eventually settle | many of these issues, but not today Russ Robinson | It is not our list, Dave. And inevitably if | we did publish it, the headlines would read: | CompuServe publishes list of banned | newsgroups. We did not ban any newsgroups. | We suspended access to them. They still | are available. The list belong | to the Munich prosecutor. It is not our | list. dave looney | It's your suspension John L [MODERATOR] | CYBER Outlaws C&C, your question? CYBER Outlaws C&C | Hello to ALL. We , *previously* POSTED to the | a.b.p.e. newsgroups from BOTH | here & : *CYBER Outlaws (Cody & | Cory)* *PREFER* using C-$erve | because of its 1 MEG file POST size limit as | opposed to AOL's 28 kb limit... but with | this *ridiculous* cave-in to Bavarian | prosecutors... we are seriously considering | taking our *business elsewhere (along with | our <1400+ member trading list(s)>. | AOL is *expanding into EUROPE (as well as | Germany) & has NO fear of offering | teh a.b.p.e. groups to those it offers AOL | Europe to... WHY do you?? John L [MODERATOR] | abpe =, I | understand. Ben Soulon | It does. ANONOMOUS | YES Russ Robinson | Other providers haven't faced this situtation | yet in Germany. And, we don't know how they | would have responded if they | had a prosecutor and policemen standing in | their offices telling them there were in | violation of the law and facing | prosecution. We wanted time to consider our | options and postion, and we wanted to protect | our people. We took a | prudent action to do that. It standard Dana Rawls [CNN] | Thanks for spelling that out, John! John L [MODERATOR] | You're welcome, Dana. I was provided the | information by one of our Staff. Russ Robinson | practice to suspend access to groups when | legality is questioned. This generally | occurs in copyright violation cases, and | all the services do it. | ga John L [MODERATOR] | Loyal Snyder, your question for Russ? Loyal T. R. Snyder | What is CIS's committment to the subscribers | re the First Amendment?What has your | testimony before congress supported? CYBER Outlaws C&C | Thank you for your answer... We are in | agreement with the previous person who | stated that: C-$erve should have *Parental | Controls* in place as does AOL Russ Robinson | Unfortunately, there is no first amendment in | Germany, Loyal. Loyal T. R. Snyder | Di you considder my first amendment rights | in the USA? Russ Robinson | Our testimony before congress has been that | control should be put in the hands of the | user. John L [MODERATOR] | David Battley, your question for Russ? David Battley | A couple of comments first. 1)Having been to | Germany, I have seen some of what the | red light district has to offer (this | district is legal, by the way), as well | public nude | sunbathing (also legal) and not just by | adults. It seems more than a little | hypocritical | on thier part. 2) Dispite your protests that | Cserve does not want to be in a censorship | position. the fact is that you DID censor. My | question is, What is the penalty for not | complying with the Munich prosicutor? Kevin Manson | BTW, Ann Duval (Surfwatch - a | filtering/blocking software product) also | testified at the same hearing (July 26th as I | recall). Russ Robinson | John: If I may, the First Amendment has come | up often. There may be some attorney here | who can elaborate, but, the first | amendment prohibits the government from | banning free speech for its citizens. | Newspapers make decisions every day | on what they will run, what columns they will | print. Those are not questioned under the | First Amendment. | David: We were told we faced criminal | prosecution -- and jail and fines. David Battley | could you elaborate? Susan J. Getgood | INAL, but the free speech question may be | answered by this: CIS has not prohibited you | from exercising your free speech to any | newsgroups, but just not theourgh them. Loyal T. R. Snyder | Newspapers face these issues and often they | stand their ground and fight David Battley | We out here may not see what you are afraid | of, so could you please explain. John L [MODERATOR] | If you'd give Russ a moment to answer. Loyal T. R. Snyder | NY Times - Pentagon Papers etc Russ Robinson | In Germany, when a corporation is charged | with a crime, the officers of that | corporation are arrested and put on trial. ga John L [MODERATOR] | I believe he's said, essentially, that CServe | was concerned about criminal... | ...prosecution. | Brian Mulholland? Brian B. Mulholland | I lost and rgained access to this conference | just after another participant | complained of exactly the same problem. | Pardon me if this has already been addressed | .... | will CIS acknowlege an obligation to | regularly notify users that access to a given | web site has | been deleted? Will CIS concede an obligation | to notify users that a request for censorship | has | been made? Russ Robinson | Brian: we issued a news release to the whole | world, published it in a What's New and Bob | Massey posted an online | letter. We also sent out thousands of | letters through Customer Service. From the | number of calls I took I have to believe | that almost every news outlet in the world | covered the story. We do try to keep our | members notified. Russ Robinson | ga Brian B. Mulholland | Rus, I read Mr. Massey's note, but don't | recall a list of the deleted materials. John L [MODERATOR] | Michael, your question for Russ? Russ Robinson | You missed the earlier discussion on why we | didn't publish a list, Brian. Brian B. Mulholland | Sorry-I guess I did. Loyal T. R. Snyder | No discussion, just your excuses Michael | One of the groups targeted by the Bavarian | State government was Usenet's Conspiracy | Nation and another was a Gay and Lesbian | Youth | support forum. Both of these groups are | clearly political targets in a state their is | political repression. | Why did you not release the names of the | targeted groups? Bob Watkins | Logged on late so wonder if any information | was given on if/when CS plans to return to | previous selection of newsgroups. John L [MODERATOR] | There will be a transcript made available, | Bob. Bob Watkins | Thanks. Russ Robinson | In many respects, the groups on the list | don't seem logical. We are trying to | understand them. Michael | Am I correct that you did not release the list John L [MODERATOR] | Russ explained that earlier, Michael, I | believe. Russ Robinson | The Munich prosector's office has been very | difficult to work with. And then there are | the language and cultural problems. David Battley | does he plan to? Michael | As someone who has lived in Bavaria, the list | -- that I know of -- is very logical. And | that is why the comparison to the Pentagon | papers is apt. Lloyd E. Russell | Why don't you put out the list of your | "suspended" | (not banned) newsgroups? You should admit | you | are being controled by the religious | extremists. John L [MODERATOR] | Dr. Art Malernee has a question for Russ, I | believe? | And that's the last question in the queue. Art Malernee, DVM | Russ, you said there is no "obscene" material | on | CompuServe earlier. Who determines what is | obscene? Would a hate site that says the | Holocaust was a Bob Watkins | Why does CS choose to report a banned group | doesn't exist, rather than truthfully | acknowledge that CS chooses not to make it | available? Art Malernee, DVM | wonderful thing be considered obscene? What | is your | policy towards such material Russ Robinson | We ask our sysops to apply the legal | definition of obscenity. However, I should | make it clear that we don't monitor or | edit content. We react if we are made aware | of a situation. In addition | when you joined compuserve, you signed | agreement saying that you would not post | anything that would be illegal or Art Malernee, DVM | How exactly do you "react", then? Russ Robinson | offensive to the average person. We don't | make that judgement. The average person | notifies the sysop of he/she has a | problem with content. John L [MODERATOR] | Russ, if I may, let me condense several | questions which have been | expressed to us: What does CompuServe | envision doing with respect | to the many countries which have very | restrictive attitudes toward | on-line content. Any plans for the future? Russ Robinson | John: That is the crux of the problem. We | are determining our position on that question | right now, and we anticipate | making an announcement shortly. I know | everyone wants to know when, but I can't tell | you that. There are some | technology questions to be answered and we | all know how difficult those can be, | especially when dealing with the Internet. | But we realize that our position will be | widely scrutinized and will set a tone for | the industry. i Robert Streitmatter | Indeed, if as one suspects, the List is not | simply pornographic, CIS is already in the | situation carrying out political censorship | at the behest of a foreign nation. Loyal T. R. Snyder | CIS is nothing if not a co-collaborator in | censorship Russ Robinson | Secondly, John, our removing access does not | remove the material from the Internet. It | still is available. David Battley | if not here where to access it at? John L [MODERATOR] | Russ, I want to thank you very much for | taking the time to be with us | here today, especially on your weekend! I | also want to thank everyone | for being here, for being so patient, and for | asking such insightful | questions! We'll continue the discussion in | open format for as long | as anyone wishes, but I know you have things | which command your attention | today. Again, thanks everyone, and thanks | very much Russ Robinson! Jack Wilmeth [SL] | Thanks Russ and John. Ray F. Jones | Thanks, Russ. Russ Robinson | Thanks to everyone for the thoughts. It is | apparent you understand the signifance of | this issue. David Battley | Thanks, Russ. Mike Morra | Thanks, Russ & John! yob | Tricia Yeung | Thanks John and Russ for the conference. John L [MODERATOR] | We'll be continuing the discussion here... | ...and all are welcome to participate. END OF MODERATED CONFERENCE (EDITED TRANSCRIPT) approximately 2:00 p.m. EST

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