County of Fulton )
State of Georgia )
1. My name is Jeff Graham. I am over the age of 18 and competent to testify.
2. I am Executive Director of the AIDS Survival Project. The AIDS Survival Project is a non-profit membership organization which was incorporated in the State of Georgia in 1988. The AIDS Survival Project currently serves a mailing list of 3,000 people throughout Georgia.
3. The AIDS Survival Project promotes the self-empowerment of people with AIDS and those living with persons who have AIDS. The AIDS Survival Project's goal is to provide people with the most current and accurate information about AIDS available.
4. The membership of the AIDS Survival Project uses the Internet extensively to gain and exchange information about AIDS and its treatment. The home pages on the Internet, such as those of the Center for Disease Control and the AIDS Information Network, provide our members with the most up to date information about AIDS.
5. The Internet offers extensive information on how AIDS is transmitted, and more importantly how its transmission can be prevented. Also, the Internet has information on current treatment options for those who are HIV positive or have AIDS, information about the most current research regarding AIDS, and information on how to contact organizations and services worldwide.
6. Our members also engage in chat room discussions on the Internet which serve as support groups for those dealing with AIDS related issues. These chat rooms are often the only direct emotional support available to our rural members with AIDS or HIV. Considering the high rate of HIV infection in rural Georgia, AIDS Survival Project places a high priority on its members having continuing accessibility to these chat rooms.
7. In spite of laws meant to protect the rights of those with HIV and AIDS, including one making HIV status confidential, people with AIDS continue to lose jobs, insurance, and even their homes as a result of social prejudices. Thus, it is very important for persons with HIV and AIDS to be able to keep their HIV status confidential.
8. In order to avoid discrimination and social stigma, many of our members use pseudonyms or "handles" when communicating or accessing information on the Internet. Our members do not know whether their use of pseudonyms violates the Act because such use constitutes "transmit[ting] data through a computer network ... if such data uses any individual name ... to falsely identify the person." Because the meaning of the Act is unclear, our members are forced to choose between abandoning their use of pseudonyms or risking prosecution under the Act. Many of our members would not use the Internet at all if they had to use their real name, and would therefore be deprived of an important forum for communicating and obtaining information about AIDS/HIV.
9. AIDS Survival Project also seeks to prevent the spread of AIDS through the dissemination of information on safe sex. Due to the stigmas associated with both AIDS and sex, the AIDS Survival Project also fears many people would not take advantage of the information regarding safe sex available on the Internet if they could not do so anonymously.
10. To better enable our members to take advantage of the information available on the Internet, the AIDS Survival Project is currently developing a Web page to serve as a conduit by providing links to other organizations' Web pages. Such organizations we seek to link to include the Center for Disease Control and AIDS Information Network. As a small non-profit, it would be impossible to provide useful information to our members without using such links to other related Web pages.
11. As a result of the prohibition against using trade names, trademarks, logos, or legal or official seals in O.C.G.A. 16-9-93.1, the AIDS Survival Project feels its proposed Web page, composed primarily of links to other organizations Web pages, may be in conflict with the law. Thus, the AIDS Survival Project has reluctantly curtailed its efforts to create its Web page pending the outcome of this lawsuit.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the within and foregoing is true and correct:
EXECUTED: This Day of , 1996