Navigation: Return to: Seth Finkelstein - EFF 2001 Pioneer Award or Anticensorware Investigations

Seth Finkelstein's EFF Pioneer Award - BCFE's nomination

Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 10:36:50 -0500
From: Robert Chatelle <kyp[at-sign]>
To: pioneer[at-sign]
Subject: In Support of the Nomination of Seth Finkelstein

We send this email to support the nomination of Seth Finkelstein for an EFF Pioneer Award at this year's CFP.

Some of you know us, but we'll supply a short introduction for those who don't.

Bob Chatelle -- currently a criminal-justice advocate -- fought primarily for free-expression from 1990-1997. From 1992-1997 he served as Political Issues Chair for the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981), one of the country's largest and most active writers' organization. In this position, he fought censorship on behalf of the Union and was an early and committed member of the Free Expression Network (FEN).

Jim D'Entremont (along with Bob Chatelle) was a founder in May of 1990 of the Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression (BCFE). He is currently that organization's Director. The BCFE is the informal Boston affiliate of the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression (BCFE) and has also worked closely with the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) throughout its history. The BCFE continues to fight censorship both regionally and nationally..

We formed an alliance with Seth many years ago. He proved to be an invaluable resource and ally. He was our main information resource for cyberspace issues. He was a lucid presenter at the BCFE's "Harmful to Minors" conference, and an important member of the New England Free Expression Network.

We have both long held that all rating and filtering systems constitute censorship. Thus we were delighted to find that Seth not only recognized the dangers of such schemes (far too many do not, especially those who consider themselves progressive), but could explain these dangers more intelligently and persuasively than anyone we had previously encountered. Moreover, as you now know, Seth's brilliance and technical expertise also enabled him to decode most of the standard internet filtering systems (CyberPatrol, CyberSitter, SurfWatch, etc.). This deciphering, more than anything else, made clear to most people that these systems were not only pernicious, they were also fraudulent -- they claimed to do what they in fact were not (and are not) capable of doing.

In February of 1997, Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino ordered the installation of censorware (CyberPatrol) within the Boston Public Library system. The censorship was opposed by the National Writers Union, the BCFE, the Massachusetts Music Industry Coalition, New England FEN, and others. Bob Chatelle appeared on Boston Cable, opposed by several people including a Boston City Councilor and a representative (Susan Getgood) of the company that sold CyberPatrol. After this show, Seth presented us with the current copy of the CyberNOT list. He also informed us that CyberPatrol blocked our own personal web site and the web site of the Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression.

The CyberNOT list was an invaluable resource in our (unfortunately unsuccessful) efforts to remove CyberPatrol from the Boston Public Library system. We shared information with anti-censorship journalist Wendy Kaminer, who wrote an anti-CyberPatrol op-ed for The Boston Globe on 3/13/97. (See ) It informed the testimony against CyberPatrol presented by the National Writers Union to the Boston City Council on 3/19/97. (See ) Some of the information supplied by Seth still is in use on our web site (See )

For many years, Seth Finkelstein has been our good friend and an even better friend of freedom of expression. In retrospect, I can't imagine how we would have managed without him. He is a true and valiant pioneer and we are privileged to support his nomination.

Bob Chatelle, The Bernard Baran Justice Committee
James D'Entremont, The Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression

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