IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES )
UNION OF GEORGIA, et al., )
Plaintiffs, ) CIVIL ACTION
) FILE NO. _______
ZELL MILLER, in his official )
capacity as Governor of the )
State of Georgia, et al. )
Jonathan Wallace of New York, New York, declares under penalty of perjury that the following is true:
2. I use the Internet extensively to communicate and access information on both personal and business matters.
3. In 1996, I co-wrote a book entitled "Sex, Laws & Cyberspace," published by Henry Holt & Co., that discusses various cases and legal issues that have arisen regarding censorship and new online technologies.
Use of Pseudonym on the Internet
4. I have two "user names" that I use when communicating online. One is my real name, Jonathan Wallace, and the other is a pen name, Jonathan Blumen. The e-mail address for the account using my real name is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the e-mail address for the account using my pseudonym is email@example.com.
5. I began using the pseudonym Jonathan Blumen in January, 1995, in connection with The Ethical Spectacle, a monthly newsletter that I publish on the World Wide Web (see paragraph 8 below). In The Ethical Spectacle, I express political and ethical views which are sometimes of a controversial nature (for example, that we should dissolve the Central Intelligence Agency, or that same sex marriages should be legalized.) Since I sometimes write and lecture for the New York-based software company by which I am employed, I adopted the Jonathan Blumen pseudonym in order to keep my business "persona" and personal beliefs separate. In particular, I wanted to be able to express my views without my employer being held responsible for them. I have even written essays in The Ethical Spectacle on subjects such as the antitrust case against Microsoft, on which my company could not safely take a position without endangering certain business relationships. Under the name Jonathan Blumen, I have subscribed to Internet mailing lists and posted to online discussion bulletins on topics such as freedom of speech, constitutional liberty in America, cryptography and anonymity, and threats to the environment.
6. Because of the nature of the online medium, I have no way to determine whether my online communications travel through the State of Georgia and therefore may subject me to liability under the Act. There is no way for me to determine the geographic location of persons who read and reply to the postings that I make to online newsgroups, mailing lists, and chat rooms. Most of these fora can be accessed by anyone in the world, and there is no way for me to ensure that no one from Georgia will view my messages.
7. I do not know whether my use of a pseudonym to communicate on the Internet violates the Act because it 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 to me, I am forced to choose between abandoning my long-time use of the pseudonym or risking prosecution under the Act.
The Ethical Spectacle Web Site
8. The Ethical Spectacle newsletter can be accessed by online users at http://www.spectacle.org. I published the newsletter under the pseudonym Jonathan Blumen until April 1996. Since then, I have placed my own name on new issues. All prior issues are on the Internet with my pseudonym, Jonathan Blumen, still listed. The Jonathan Blumen e-mail account is still active and I still receive and send e-mail associated with The Ethical Spectacle under this name.
9. The Ethical Spectacle began in January 1995. I rent space to house the newsletter from a computer server in Montclair, New Jersey, but I do all of the preparation for the newsletter from New York City. Thousands of people visit The Ethical Spectacle each month and the numbers have been growing. The web site was accessed approximately 12,000 times in April 1996, and 13,000 times in May 1996. Each issue of The Ethical Spectacle is approximately 20-30 pages. I receive no payment for maintaining the newsletter.
10. The purpose of The Ethical Spectacle is to address issues at the intersection of ethics, law, and politics in American life. The material in the newsletter is meant to provoke thought about these important issues. A typical newsletter includes excerpts from works of others as well as my own thoughts. I retain sole editorial control of The Ethical Spectacle.
11. Some issues of The Ethical Spectacle are dedicated to particular subjects, including the meaning of government, freedom of speech, ethics and science fiction, pornography, and Nazi concentration camps. The August 1996 issue deals with media issues, and includes an article entitled "Think, Pig," discussing the difficulty of communicating intelligently through mass media, and an article entitled "The Internet Land Grab: History Repeats Itself," discussing parallels between the new telecommunications law and the creation of the Federal Radio Commission in the 1920's. The July 1996 issue on the meaning of government includes articles on same sex marriage, and the right to be spiritual.
12. I accept e-mail submissions for publication in The Ethical Spectacle, and I occasionally publish anonymous and pseudonymous submissions. For example, "Bob Wilson" has written several articles for the Spectacle taking extremely conservative positions on issues such as welfare and gun control. Bob is a businessman in a Western state who does not care to use his real name when expressing his views. Another article, entitled "Mike Tyson is a Rapist, Not a Hero", which appeared under the byline Lisa G., was submitted by a woman who requested that her name not appear. Other articles have appeared under the name of the author's e-mail account, which differed from the author's real name. For example, I published a piece about the electoral college submitted by someone I know only as "demorep1."
13. I have also received and published mail in The Ethical Spectacle that was sent to me through anonymous remailers. One letter was from a German who read my issue on Auschwitz, at http://www.spectacle.org/695/ausch.html, and was very affected by it but was still struggling with the issue of whether to believe the Holocaust occurred. This troubled individual wrote me anonymously because he wanted to confess his emotional struggle without my knowing his name.
14. I do not know whether publishing articles by anonymous or pseudonymous authors in The Ethical Spectacle violates the Act because it 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 to me, I am forced to choose between rejecting anonymous submissions or risking prosecution under the Act.
Anonymous Access of The Ethical Spectacle
15. I believe it is important for readers of The Ethical Spectacle to be able to access the web site anonymously or pseudonymously. Because it contains controversial material, or because they do not want their identity to be recorded by particular web sites, some readers might be inhibited from accessing the site if they could not do so pseudonymously.
16. Because of the nature of the online medium, there is no way to determine with specificity whether persons residing in Georgia have accessed The Ethical Spectacle web site. In addition, because it is impossible to determine what path a particular online communication travels, persons outside of the State of Georgia may nevertheless be communicating "through" the state of Georgia when they access The Ethical Spectacle web site.
17. I believe that readers do not know whether their anonymous or pseudonymous access of The Ethical Spectacle could subject them to prosecution under the Act. They are forced to choose between abandoning their anonymity or pseudonymity, or risking prosecution under the Act.
Links in The Ethical Spectacle Web Site
18. I currently provide links in The Ethical Spectacle web site to other relevant online material. For instance, I provide links to the web sites of Yahoo (a popular Internet search engine), Wired Magazine, United Church of Christ, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), the American Civil Liberties Union, and Greenpeace. Some of these links may include trade names, registered trademarks, logos, legal or official seals, or copyrighted symbols. These links provide valuable references to information that may be of interest to readers of the web site.
19. I do not know whether providing these links in The Ethical Spectacle web site violates the Act because it constitutes "transmit[ting] data through a computer network . . . if such data uses any . . . trade name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol to . . . imply . . . permission or legal authoriz[ation] to use such trade name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol." Because the meaning of the Act is unclear, I am forced to choose between removing the links, which would significantly decrease the value and usefulness of the web site, or risking prosecution under the Act.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing statements are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Executed on this _____ day of _____, 1996.