(Fwd) Freedom of information - a symbol

Subject: (Fwd) Freedom of information - a symbol
From: Grant Hogarth <GRANT -at- ONYXGFX -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 10:50:55 -0700

I think that this is an appropriate topic, albeit one that is controversial...



------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From: Peter Tupper <ptupper -at- direct -dot- ca>
Subject: For the New Year: A Symbol for Information Freedom

[If you think this is a good idea, please post or remail as you please.]

A Symbol for Information Freedom
by Peter Tupper <ptupper -at- direct -dot- ca>

1996 is off to a discouraging start when it comes to the
future of information freedom. The American Congress seems
determined to impose censorship on the Internet. The legal
status of strong dual-key cryptography is still in debate.
Telephone companies, cable TV services and publishing services
are all eagerly trying to seize control of the Internet and
eliminate the many-to-many nature of the medium. The accidental
wonder that is the Internet seems to be threatened on all sides,
in danger of being destroyed or denatured before reaching its potential.

My proposal is only a small contribution to the solutions to this
problem. I believe a symbol is needed; a simple yet recognizable item
that will communicate to others that you are:
-for freedom of speech and expression in all realms,
particularly via computer mediated communications.
-against the imposition of arbitrary community standards by
centralized authority on communications.
-for making access to communications available to everyone.
-against the violation of individual privacy by wiretapping,
intercepting computer communications,
compiling dossiers by government or commercial organizations
or other forms of surveillance.
-for making strong, dual-key encryption programs without
back-doors available to the public.
-against building surveillance measures into communications and
financial infrastructures.
-for a future of communications that is by, for and of the people,
not the state or the market.

The symbol I have chosen is the paper clip. Why a paper clip?
There are many reasons:

Pragmatic: Paper clips are readily available for
practically nothing, all over the world. They can be applied to
collars, lapels, scarves, pocket edges, suspenders and neck ties
without damaging them and without risk of the pin breaking the skin.

Aesthetic: The paper clip is a simple, elegant design that
is easily recognized the world over. It can be rendered in many
colors or plated with precious metals.

Symbolic: The paper clip is a simple but effective piece of technology.
An individual uses it to bundle together documents from
disparate sources to create a unified document upon a given subject,
which may be dismantled and remade for another topic. Furthermore, a
paper clip may be bent out of its regular shape and used as an
improvised tool for any number of purposes.

Historic: During the German occupation of Norway in World
War II, Norwegians wore paper clips on their collars as a sign of
solidarity against the invaders.

Commercial: While anybody can obtain a plain paper clip
with little trouble, funds for Information Freedom can be raised
by marketing electroplated or designer paper clips.

The cause of awareness of and activism about AIDS had a
simple, readily recognized symbol, the folded red ribbon. Just
as every celebrity who wears a red ribbon, no matter how trite
and self-promoting it is, is a reminder to those watching that
AIDS is happening and that many people are concerned,
celebrities appearing at the Academy Awards or Grammies with a
designer, gold-plated paper clip on their outfit reminds the
world that information freedom is under fire and that people are
concerned. It will make the Internet community a visible reality in
the public sphere. It will bring these issues into the public eyes,
and give those involved a rallying symbol. It will make a small
difference, but it will contribute to the greater good.

Peter Tupper ptupper -at- direct -dot- ca Creator of The Bishop Years "...but
I am wise like all hunted things." --Pat Califia V-Con 21, Vancouver's
own Science Fiction con, May 1996
http://mindlink.net/a7657/v-con21.html HTML Coding & Windows help

Grant Hogarth, Information Developer
Onyx Graphics Corp. Midvale, UT
www.onyxgfx.com ftp.onyxgfx.com
#include <std_disclaim>

"Men are not prisoners of fate,
but only prisoners of their own minds."
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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