ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY MAGAZINE

No. 319 * March 22, 1996 * Copyright 1996, Entertainment Weekly, Inc.

Entertainment Weekly March 19, 1996 Cover

A WEBSITE FIGHTS NET CENSORSHIP

GETTING IN ON THE ACT


BY TY BURR
Illustration By David McLimans


[The 24 Hour] Democracy [site] links to more than 1,000 pieces whose writers span the globe and run from the famous (Bill Gates) to the obscure (Twyla Gab, a Harley-riding mom from Brookings, S.D., and her 14-year-old daughter, Shari). (emphasis added)





Get Your Hands Off My Kids! - Harley Mom
Thank You Government For Taking Care of Me - Harley Mom's Kid

The following is the full text of the Entertainment Weekly review.

Before President Clinton signed the Communications Decency Act on Feb. 8, the Internet community looked a lot like a headless chicken. In the face of a law that makes the online posting of an "indecent" word or idea punishable by up to two years in jail, Net denizens mustered a few petitions and a lot of scattershot outrage. But two surprisingly proactive things happened within a week of the bill's signing: Twenty organizations led by the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in federal court, arguing that the act is unconstitutional (a separate suit was filed by a consortium including top online providers on Feb. 26). And Dave Winer launched the 24 Hours of Democracy website, a collection of essays on freedom that has blossomed into the Net's most impassioned defense.

Democracy (http://www.hotwired.com/staff/userland/24) links to more than 1,000 pieces whose writers span the globe and run from the famous (Bill Gates) to the obscure (Twyla Gab, a Harley-riding mom from Brookings, S.D., and her 14-year-old daughter, Shari). In general, the essayists seem to have taken Winer's dictum to heart, to "be positive [and] say what's good about the Internet, not what's bad about the people who want to censor it."

"It's about freedom," says Winer, 40, a San Francisco-based software developer and columnist for the online magazine HotWired. He says Democracy grew out of his dissatisfaction at seeing photojournalist Rick Smolan's much-hyped 24 Hours in Cyberspace project largely ignore Clinton's signing of the Decency Act that same day. (Smolan responds that the official cyberspace site, launching on March 18, will cover the act in full. "The pictures that were published [on Feb. 8] represented three percent of everything we got.") While Winer welcomes such high-profile names as Gates, he points to Minnesotan Steve Westerlund's letter to his daughter, "For Emma," as exactly the type of attitude he hopes Democracy will reflect. "[It's] a personal statement to help people understand that there's more to this subject than just protecting kids from pornography," Winer says. "If they want to be citizens of the future of this world, they need to be here." On this website, they are here--and they've brought the family.





Copyright 1996, Entertainment Weekly, Inc.

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Copyright 1997

08/01/02