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Church Of The
Swimming Elephant


Subject: RIAA Legislation
Date: 7/26/02

To the Honorable,

      Senator Robert Byrd
      Senator Jay Rockefeller
      Congressman Nick Rayhall

As an American, as a West Virginian, I write to you to describe my utter disgust at the approaching legislation relating to the RIAA and the music industry's approach to controlling their products. I cannot believe that we are living in a society where law abiding citizens may be subjected to the invasions of privacy as described in this article:

An excerpt of the article:

"....The bill would permit recording companies and other copyright holders to hack onto networks to thwart users looking to download free music, and would protect them from lawsuits from users..."

Please let me assure you that I don't write to you with a guilty conscience. If anything, I am not the least bit interested in the music industry. Frankly, I can do without any type of music, let alone downloading it and taking up my computer resources.

I am a computer (IT) professional. Specifically, I deal with computer privacy and security on a daily basis ( I cannot phantom the thought of _allowing_ someone else to by-pass existing laws, just for the sake of "checking for copied music". Furthermore, it's appalling to think that considerations could be made that would ALLOW "back doors" to be placed in software, granting access to individuals or companies for investigatory purposes. Consider this: What would happen if these "back doors" were released to the general public? Everyone with access to this information, and I can guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt this information _will_be_ released, will have access to anyone's computer running said software. This is not acceptable.

Like law enforcement, more specifically corrections officers, I work in a world where someone wants to be in a place they should not be. In the prison systems, the convicts want out. In my world, they want in. We are in a constant battle with computer crackers attempting to gain unauthorized access to our servers and workstations. Allowing computer operating systems and computer software to be inundated with "swiss cheese" holes is blasphemous to my vocation.

Gentlemen, this isn't a "terrorist issue". Frankly, I feel completely let down by "due process" for allowing this sham to advance to this level. Seldom do I take the time to write to my elected officials. However, I feel it necessary to voice my opinion on this matter. As an American, as a flag-waving, baseball watching, mom-and-apple-pie American, I see our individual rights and freedoms being circumvented for various "reasons". To some extent, I understand shrinking freedom in some areas. I am all for intense scrutiny during airport security checks. I understand imposing strict laws relating to border crossings. What I cannot understand is allowing _big_business_ to infringe on my privacy, and the privacy of others, simply to increase their bottom-line.

As the leaders and future leaders of our Senate and House of Representatives, I sincerely hope you will take a long hard look at what this proposition actually means to the individual rights and freedoms of your constituents. Our country was founded on the inalienable rights of the citizens, not _big_business_. We're at a cross-roads in America. Our citizenry feels ostracized by the limitations set forth by government. We have no National Health Care Plan, yet we tax our citizens at the greatest level of all time. We cannot guarantee the education of our children, but we can allow individual states to impose taxes on food. Our water supply cannot be secured, but our computer systems may be opened up for analysis by private companies.

I implore you to research this legislation. I offer you my time, as a Computer Professional, to help research any aspect of the subject at hand. Allowing this type of action is relative to creating "marshal law" in the online world. This article will be archived in the OpEd section of the Cotse Helpdesk ( as an Open Letter to my Representatives.


John Holstein


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