Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

11.19. What organizations exist that protect the Internet and its users?

Here's a listing of the biggies. Join one of them (or join them all!).

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit public interest membership organization working to protect individual rights in the information age. The EFF was founded in July of 1990 to ensure that the principles embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are protected as new communications technologies emerge.

Here's the EFF's mission, in the organization's own words:

From the beginning, EFF has worked to shape our nation's
infrastructure and the policies that govern it in order to maintain and
enhance First Amendment, privacy and other democratic values.  We believe
that our overriding public goal must be the creation of Electronic
Democracy, so our work focuses on the establishment of:

o       new laws that protect citizens' basic Constitutional rights as
use new communications technologies,

o       a policy of common carriage requirements for all network
so that all speech, no matter how controversial, will be carried without

o       a National Public Network where voice, data and video services
accessible to all citizens on an equitable and affordable basis, and

o       a diversity of communities that enable all citizens to have a
in the information age.
EFF supports legal and legislative action to protect the civil liberties of online users and hosts, and participates in related conferences and projects. It works to educate the online community about its legal rights and responsibilities. It also publishes the Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet, an online guide to navigating the Internet.

EFF members receive online bulletins about the critical issues and debates affecting computer-mediated communications; members also participate in online political activism.

For information, send e-mail to

Lots of great information from the EFF is available via FTP from

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
    1001 G St. NW, Suite 950 E
    Washington DC 20001, USA
    voice: (202) 347 5400
    fax: (202) 393 5509

    Internet Society

    The Internet Society (which I talked a bit about in Chapter 1, "Just What Is the Internet?") is a professional, not-for-profit organization with the goal of fostering the well being, interest in, and evolution of the Internet. The following goals of the Society are taken from its charter:
                 A.  To facilitate and support the technical evolution
             the Internet as a research and education infrastructure, and to
             stimulate the involvement of the scientific community,
             industry, government and others in the evolution of the
                 B.  To educate the scientific community, industry and the
             public at large concerning the technology, use and application
             of the Internet;
                 C.  To promote educational applications of Internet
             technology for the benefit of government, colleges and
             universities, industry, and the public at large;
                 D.  To provide a forum for exploration of new Internet
             applications, and to stimulate collaboration among
             organizations in their operational use of the global
    More information about the Internet Society is available via anonymous FTP from the following:

    Center for Civic Networking

    The Center for Civic Networking is a nonprofit organization that promotes broad public benefits of the emerging national information infrastructure. The Center brings together expertise in large-scale computer and network systems, community-based applications of computing, nonprofit management, community development, architecture, public policy, and democratic participation. The Center's Programs focus on framing a national vision for civic networking, developing a policy framework that supports civic networking, developing and supporting model civic networking projects, and assisting in the technology transfer needed to achieve the broad-based benefits of civic networking.

    For information, send e-mail to

    Info is also available via FTP., ftp/amo/civicnet
    or you can pick up the phone and call (202) 362-3831.

    Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

    CPSR is a national membership organization that conducts a variety of activities to protect privacy and civil liberties. According to the CPSR boilerplate, "CPSR's mission is to provide the public and policymakers with realistic assessments of the power, promise, and problems of information technology. As concerned citizens, CPSR members work to direct public attention to critical choices concerning the applications of information technology and how those choices affect society."

    Founded in 1981 by a group of computer scientists concerned about the use of computers in nuclear weapons systems, CPSR has grown into a national public-interest alliance of information technology professionals and others. CPSR has 22 chapters in the U.S. and affiliations with similar groups worldwide. CPSR is based in Palo Alto, California and maintains an office in Washington, D.C., which is home to our Civil Liberties and Computing program.

    CPSR membership is open to everyone who uses or is concerned about the role of information technology in our society. For information, send e-mail to

    You can get CSPR information via FTP from or via Gopher from

  • CPSR National Office
    P.O. Box 717
    Palo Alto CA 94302 USA
    Voice: (415) 322-3778
    Fax: (415) 322-3798

    National Public Telecomputing Network

    The National Public Telecomputing Network, the folks who bring us Free-nets, exists to help people establish free, open-access, community computer systems.

    For information, FTP to
    For more information, send e-mail to (where your mail will be read by a human, so ask nicely.)
  • National Public Telecomputing Network
    P.O. Box 1987
    Cleveland, Ohio 44106
    Voice: 216-247-5800
    Fax: 216-247-3328
    Note: Check out "Outposts on the Electronic Frontier," a great online resource listing dozens of international, national, and regional organizations supporting the online community. This list is available via FTP from It's also available via e-mail: To:
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