James Randi --- Wizard ((no email))
Sat, 25 Feb 1995 19:57:00 -0500


(To my recipients out of the USA, I submit this merely as an
interesting aspect of the present political situation here in
the USA. To residents, it is an urgent matter that needs to
be acted upon IMMEDIATELY. It has been sent around the e-mail
circuits, and here is one version that I believe says it well.)


A matter has come to my attention that is of the utmost importance
to all of us online.

Simply put, a couple of senators have proposed a particularly
heinous piece of legislation titled the "Communications
Decency Act of 1995" (Senate Bill S. 314). Basically, the
bill would subject all forms of electronic communication --
from public Internet postings to your most private email --
to government censorship. The effects of the bill onto the
online industry would be devastating -- most colleges and
private companies (AOL, Compuserve, etc.) would probably have
to shut down or greatly restrict access, since they would be
held criminally liable for the postings and email of private

Obviously, this bill is designed to win votes for these senators
among those who are fearful of the internet and aren't big
fans of freedom of speech -- ie., those who are always trying to
censor "pornography" and dirty books and such. Given the
political climate in this country, this bill might just pass
unless the computer community demonstrates its strength as a
committed political force to be reckoned with. This, my friends,
is why I have filled your mailbox with this very long message.

A petition, to be sent to Congress, the President, and the media,
has begun spreading through the Internet. It's easy to participate
and be heard -- to sign it, you simply follow the instructions
below -- which boil down to sending a quick email message to a
certain address. That's all it takes to let your voice be heard.
(You know, if the Internet makes democracy this accessible to the
average citizen, is it any wonder Congress wants to censor it?)

Finally, PLEASE forward this message to all your friends online.
The more people sign the petition, the more the government will
get the message to back off the online community. We've been doing
fine without censorship until now -- let's show them we don't plan on
allowing them to start now. If you value your freedoms -- from
your right to publicly post a message on a worldwide forum to your
right to receive private email without the government censoring it --
you need to take action NOW. It'll take fifteen minutes at the most,
a small sacrifice considering the issues at hand. Remember, the age
of fighting for liberty with muskets and shells is most likely over;
the time has come where the keyboard and the phone line will prove
mightier than the sword -- or the Senate, in this case.

Yours in liberty,

To to sign the petition via e-mail:

Send an e-mail message to: S314-petition@netcom.com

The message (NOT the subject heading) should read as follows:

SIGNED <your online address> <your full name> <U.S. Citizen (y/n)>

That's all there is to it, so PLEASE send in your signature. It's
really important.


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Internet: randi-hotline@ssr.com

The Amazing One reads all mail and will generally respond eventually.
This can change with growing volume, of course...

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