Anyone who keeps up with the news, or who explores the Internet on a regular basis, will be aware of the increasing interest among legislators in the type of information that is being so freely passed around on the so-called "Information Superhighway". What seems like the greatest source of information available to those who know where to look, seems like a breeding ground of dissent, or at least a potential risk to those accustomed to seeing a bit more control over the passing of sometimes controversial information. It should come as no surprise, for those aware of the quantity and scope of the resources available, that there are a number of Internet sites devoted to providing information on the topic of freedom of information as it applies to the Internet. A good place to begin to explore the issue of online information and free access to resources would be the Electronic Frontier Foundation Web site.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes itself as "A non-profit civil liberties organization working in the public interest to protect privacy, free expression, and access to online resources." This Web site is essentially an archive of information containing just about anything to do with the topic of censorship and the Internet. The site offers general information on the EFF, and the option of "changing the world" by becoming a member of the EFF. The "Alerts" section is quite a large collection of recent new stories dealing with censorship, including stories and full text of relevant legislation. For those who have been reading the stories in the press about government concerns over the Internet, and for anyone doing research in this area, this site would be a very good place to find perhaps the greatest concentration of information in full text form, as well as sound bites and video clips. The EFF also provides an archive of these documents (and those in related sites), allowing the user to FTP items from an organized and indexed collection, directly to their home computer.
The EFF WWW page also provides access to the current edition of the organization's Newsletter, as well as back issues and an index. There are collections of information to be found under "Special Collections", including "The Frontier Files Collections", a best of the EFF, and the online library of computers and academic freedom, featuring acceptable use policies, and collections of local and foreign computer crimes laws. This site also makes available the archives of Computer Underground Digest E-Zine (CuD), an electronic journal which provides news on intellectual freedom and the Internet, as well following the activities of the Internet community.
The EFF provides links to other related sites, and provides some unique addresses which might not be found easily elsewhere. These include the the U.S. Library of Congress Legislation Server, information on privacy, cryptography, and security services, a link to PGP Key Server at MIT (for PGP encryption of messages), and links to servers which provide anonymous re-mailing of messages (they work, I tried it). Links to sites dealing with "Activism, computing, and non-profit organizations", provide access to sites of many organizations concerned with freedom such as FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), the ACLU, and the NRA. Finally, this site also provides access to some forums dealing with freedom of information issues including EFF-related Usenet groups.
EFF-Web is a site that I may very well add to my personal Hotlists simply for the unique and interesting material that it contains, as well as the fact that this site is actively maintained and topical. It is also an entertaining site, providing access to some obscure sources and occasionally straying into the bizarre. The archives of its own material, as well as the back issues of CuD, would also be useful to those who simply want to refer to an old article, or who are interested in research in the area of intellectual freedom.
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
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