NetAction Notes

Published by NetAction Issue No. 35 March 23, 1998
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


The Virtual Activist Online
Strong Support for Free Speech Principle
Fax for Free
About NetAction Notes

The Virtual Activist Online

NetAction is pleased to announce that "The Virtual Activist," our comprehensive training course on cyber-activism, is now on the web and available globally to assist activists who want to use technology effectively for grassroots organizing, outreach, and advocacy.

The complete course can be found at:

This online training course is based on the curriculum developed for a half-day workshop on cyber-activism, which was co-taught last year in San Francisco, CA, by Audrie Krause and Michael Stein. We had numerous inquiries about the class from activists outside the Bay Area, and several of the people who contacted us suggested that we put the training course on the web site. Earlier this year, Judi Clark agreed to help create a web site based on the curriculum.

In contrast to the trend toward high-end graphics and complex technology that has characterized the commercial evolution of the Internet, NetAction's training course promotes a more text-oriented approach. That's because the more complex the technology, the more limited the access. As activists our goal is to get information to people, and to do that, we recommend keeping it simple.

In its electronic form, the training course is a mix of information about how the technology can be used, and examples of how it is being used. The examples, drawn from a range of activist sites, are included in the training course as links.

Internet technology is changing rapidly and activists are constantly experimenting with the technology. Given the pace of change, it won't be long before the information on the site is out-of-date. We plan to update the site regularly to keep up with these changes.

To that end, readers who visit the site are encouraged to offer feedback. Please send any comments, questions, or suggestions to .

We hope the site will be useful to all who visit it. We've included helpful hints for using email and the web, as well as examples of how the Internet can be used by activist organizations to build membership and raise money. There is also a chapter that addresses netiquette and the important technology policy issues that could impact access to the Internet by activists and non-profit organizations. We also included a Virtual Activist Reader with links to other useful resources on the web.

Strong Support for Free Speech Principle

Responding to last week's call for support from NetAction and the Domain Name Rights Coalition (DNRC), more than 200 individuals and grassroots organizations have endorsed a statement calling on the White House and Department of Commerce to recognize the right to free speech as a fundamental principle for Internet governance. Support for the statement comes from women's rights advocates, media activists, physicians, privacy advocates, community organizers, educators, and individuals from all walks of life and regions of the nation.

The statement will be formally submitted to the White House today. A copy of the statement, along with the complete list of individuals and organizations who support it, is on the web at

We are delighted by the strong indication of support from grassroots organizations and individuals. These are the people and organizations using the Internet, but most have not previously participated in the debate over Internet policy and governance.

The statement calling for free speech as a principle of Internet governance was prepared in response to the Clinton Administration's "Green Paper," a draft proposal for addressing the needs of the Domain Name System and the Internet. Released on January 30, 1998, the Green Paper proposes setting up a private, non-profit corporation to manage top level domain name assignments and technical operations at the highest levels of the Internet.

The diverse range of organizations and individuals who endorsed our call for a free speech principle supports our contention that the Internet was founded primarily for the free exchange of ideas.

NetAction and DNRC view the Green Paper as an important document which proposes international structures for governing the Internet now and in the future. We support the Green Paper overall as it provides a common ground for dialogue, an open and public transition for Internet Governance, and a good roadmap for addressing technical and policy issue.

For further background on this issue, see "The Internet is for Everyone," in NetAction Notes No. 34.

Fax for Free

OMB Watch has a new -- free -- service on its web site that will permit anyone to send a letter via email or fax to members of Congress. If OMB Watch is sponsoring a letter campaign, Internet users can send it "as is" or with their own comments included. It is also possible to write and send your own letter by email or fax. Individuals are encouraged to use the site, but OMB Watch asks that activists planning mass(ive) letter campaigns NOT use this site as it will tie up their resources (system and otherwise).

Information is also available on the page to identify the Congressional representatives from your state and district.

The URL is (NOTE: This URL is no longer valid as of 05/23/2001.)

About NetAction Notes

NetAction Notes is a free electronic newsletter, published by NetAction. NetAction is a California-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting use of the Internet for grassroots citizen action, and to educating the public, policy makers, and the media about technology policy issues.

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