ACLU Honored for "Excellence in Internet Promotion" at Internet World Conference

May 1, 1996 12:00 am

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ACLU Honored for “Excellence in Internet Promotion” at Internet World Conference


SAN JOSE, CA– The American Civil Liberties Union received an award April 30 for “Excellence in Promotion of the Internet” from Internet industry publisher Mecklermedia Corporation at its Spring ’96 Internet World Conference in San Jose, California.

The award, one of six given to leaders in the Internet industry, honors products, companies, and individuals for outstanding contributions to the Internet. Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation, gave the awards ceremony keynote speech via live satellite.

The iWorld conference, as it is known, is the largest trade show devoted to the Internet and the World Wide Web. iWorld is sponsored by the Connecticut-based Mecklermedia Corporation, the leading provider of Internet information through its publications Internet World, Web Week, Web Developer, and its Internet World trade shows and web development seminars.

Accepting on behalf of the organization, ACLU Associate Director Barry Steinhardt said, “We are honored that Internet World has recognized the ACLU’s efforts to promote and protect freedom of speech in cyberspace.”

Steinhardt, who is chair of the ACLU’s Cyber-Liberties Task Force, added, “The Internet can be an enormously empowering medium that allows ordinary people of modest means to speak to audiences great and small. Governments around the world, including our own, find this prospect frightening. The ACLU will continue to resist wrongheaded initiatives like the Communications Decency Act, which seek to reduce the content of online communications to government approved pablum.”

Since its launch on February 7, 1996, the ACLU’s “Freedom Network” website has been providing complete information on threats to cyber-liberties — including details on ACLU v. Reno, the ACLU’s challenge to censorship provisions of the Communications Decency Act.

The website has recorded an average 125,000 hits per week, many of them from visitors seeking information on ACLU v. Reno — including the direct testimony affidavits of ACLU witnesses, statements by teens affected by Internet censorship, trial transcripts, and daily press releases.

An “activist” feature allows Internet users to fax or e-mail a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, urging her to refrain from prosecuting any indecency cases until the courts rule on the Constitutionality of the indecency provisions of the telecommunications bill. To date, more than 5,000 faxes and e-mails have been sent to the Attorney General’s office. (The Department of Justice has since stipulated that it will not investigate or prosecute so-called “indecency” in the Internet until the trial’s conclusion.)

The ACLU website also contains special features for students, activists and all Americans concerned about protecting and preserving liberty. Internet users can find the Freedom Network by directing their web browsers to the following address: <<>>.

The launch of the Freedom Network marks the third step into cyberspace for the ACLU, which has since 1994 explored the medium’s capacity to broaden the nationwide community of civil libertarians, distribute information, teach young people and bring activists together. In addition to the Freedom Network, the ACLU hosts a very active forum — Constitution Hall — on America Online, the nation’s largest commercial online service. (Keyword ACLU).

The ACLU’s provocative and informative site contains a comprehensive array of documents, news releases, legal briefs and Congressional memos on all aspects of the ongoing struggle to protect civil liberties. Among the special features are extensive looks at 15 issues, including:

  • Church and State
  • Criminal Justice
  • Cyber-Liberties
  • Death Penalty
  • Free Speech
  • Immigrant’s Rights
  • Lesbian and Gay Rights
  • National Security
  • Racial Equality
  • Reproductive Rights
  • Student’s Rights
  • Voting Rights
  • Women’s Rights
  • Workplace Rights

Each issue area contains internal links to ACLU press releases, publications, and other resources — including links to other Web sites — allowing users to stay on top of the latest developments in their areas of interest.

Through the website, activists, journalists, and others can sign up for e-mail delivery of ACLU News Releases, Legislative Alerts, programmed ACLU events on AOL, and the biweekly newsletter, ACLU Cyber-Liberties Alert.

The Freedom Network’s “In the Courts” and “In Congress” sections provide further primary source material, such as the text of Supreme Court decisions and summaries of current Congressional bills, as well as unique ACLU information — including photos and profiles of some ACLU clients.

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

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