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Yet more Attacks... - 10/29/2004 7:28:50 PM   

Posts: 2156
Joined: 6/18/2004
Status: offline
For Immediate Release - Please Repost
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

Contact: Susan Wright, Spokesperson
[email protected]

October 29, 2004, New York City - Testimony concluded on October 28, 2004, in
Barbara Nitke and National Coalition for Sexual Freedom v John Ashcroft, in the
Federal District Court for the Southern District of NY, case # 01 CIV 11476 (RMB).
This lawsuit is challenging an unconstitutional law called the Communications
Decency Act (CDA) which criminalizes free speech on the Internet. Plaintiffs are
represented by noted First Amendment attorney, John Wirenius.

The tone was civil and polite throughout the two days in court as images of SM and
explicit sexual photographs were examined by the three judge panel. Supporters
filled the courtroom to listen to expert testimony ranging from Arthur Danto, the
Emeritus Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, to the concerns
of Dov Hechtman, a webmaster for the SM membership group The Eulenspiegel Society.

Barbara Nitke, fine art photographer whose work is an exploration of sexual
relationships, testified that she feared prosecution in areas of the country where
there is little understanding of alternative sexual _expression. Noted columnists,
photographer David Steinberg and sex educator Tristan Taormino, both provided
sexually frank images to the court which they have not included on their websites
because of the vagueness of obscenity laws.

The reliability of geolocation software was challenged by testimony from Ben Laurie
of The Apache Software Foundation. Seth Finkelstein, a computer technical expert,
testified about the conflicts between geolocation software and the protection of
privacy. Geolocation software allows website hosts to block visitors from certain
states or areas of states. This is a critical component of the case because
obscenity is determined by "local community standards." Testimony was sharply
divided over the accuracy of geolocation software, varying over a range of 60-95%

The difficulty of determining local community standards was attested by Jeffrey
Douglas, Chair of the Board of the Free Speech Coalition, who has compiled a study
of obscenity prosecutions called "Know Censorship." Susan Wright, Spokesperson for
NCSF, testified as to the significant variance in local community standards faced
by individuals, groups, events and businesses in the SM-leather-fetish, swing and
polyamory communities.

The government supplied only two witnesses. Thomas Miltonberger with Quova
testified that the geolocation software currently available would cost a website
owner several thousand dollars a month. Chris McCulluh with Sinetimore Internet
Security Service Provider suggested that Barbara Nitke request the full name and
address of every user who wants to access her website, and then confirm their
geolocation by mailing them a confirmation letter, a process that would take
several weeks.

Written final arguments are due December 17th. This case is expected to reach the
Supreme Court on appeal.

Attorney General John Ashcroft is currently prosecuting people and businesses for
violating obscenity laws. The first target under obscenity law amended by the CDA
was Extreme Associates which produces SM-themed pornography. Ashcroft continues to
meet with religious political extremist groups and has promised to outlaw
all "obscene" material. Under the Clinton administration, obscenity laws were not
enforced, but the Bush administration has made obscenity prosecutions a priority.

NCSF is challenging the CDA law because personal websites and chat groups that
include discussions and images of SM, swinging or polyamory are at risk of
prosecution. Since alternative sexual _expression is outside the mainstream, it is
an easy target. Membership groups that have educational and social websites are
also at risk, in the same way SM events were targeted by religious political
extremist groups in the Midwest in 2002-03.

If you would like to donate to the CDA lawsuit expenses, go to: Every dollar goes directly to ensuring
free speech on the Internet!


A project of NCSF

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is a national organization committed to
creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that
advances equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual
_expression. NCSF is primarily focused on the rights of consenting adults in the SM-
leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities, who often face discrimination
because of their sexual _expression.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127
Baltimore, MD 21202-3707
[email protected]

Posted As A Service by:
The Leather SINS Social Club
A NCSF Coalition Partner
Profile   Post #: 1
RE: Yet more Attacks... - 10/29/2004 8:30:57 PM   

Posts: 6142
Joined: 1/31/2004
From: Washington
Status: offline
If i am understanding this right it sounds like it could affect CM. Would members in certain states be banned?



"Without goals you become what you were. With goals you become what you wish." .

"You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts"--Alan Greenspan

(in reply to smilezz)
Profile   Post #: 2
RE: Yet more Attacks... - 10/29/2004 8:38:56 PM   

Posts: 2203
Joined: 5/11/2004
From: Scranton, PA
Status: offline
I really get a kick out of Ashcroft. He is such a self-rightous crusader, but he only has this job because he lost his last election to a dead guy. We'll know after next Tuesday if we need to worry about it, because after that there's a good chance Ashcroft will be looking for work instead of prosecuting anyone.


"Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live." . . . Mark Twain

(in reply to proudsub)
Profile   Post #: 3
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