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Judge Speeds Case On E-Voting Company's Threats

Electronic Frontier Foundation
Media Release
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Judge Speeds Case on Electronic Voting Company's Threats Against Critics

May Prevent Diebold From Suppressing Evidence of Voting Machine Flaws

San Jose, CA - A federal district court judge today set an accelerated schedule for consideration of a request to halt legal harassment of Internet publishers. The suit, brought by a nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP) and two Swarthmore college students seeks to bar electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Systems, Inc., from issuing further legal threats against ISPs.

Diebold has been threatening ISPs who host websites that publish or link to a Diebold email archive that includes email from Diebold staff confirming flaws in Diebold voting machines and difficulties certifying the systems for actual elections.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School are providing legal representation to the ISP, the Online Policy Group (OPG), and two Swarthmore students, Nelson Pavlosky and Luke Smith, in this important case to prevent abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting, the very foundation of our democratic process.

"We are pleased that the court has recognized the urgency of our case against Diebold with an expedited schedule," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "Diebold must not be permitted to use unfounded copyright claims to stifle public debate over the accuracy of electronic voting machines."

Judge Jeremy Fogel of the federal district court in San Jose will hear the OPG v. Diebold case (Case Number C-03-04913 JF) on November 17, 2003.

Diebold threatened not only the ISPs of direct publishers of the corporate documents, but also the ISPs of those who merely publish links to the documents. The ISP OPG refused to comply with Diebold's demand that it prohibit Independent Media Network (IndyMedia) from linking to Diebold documents.

"As an ISP committed to free speech, we are affirming our users' right to link to information that's critical to the debate on the reliability of electronic voting machines," said OPG's Colocation Director David Weekly. "The court now has the opportunity to defend free speech by helping protect small publishers and ISPs from frivolous legal threats by large corporations."

"Instead of paying lawyers to threaten its critics, Diebold should invest in creating electronic voting machines that include voter-verified paper ballots and other security protections," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.


For this release:
http://www.eff.org/Legal/ISP_liability/OPG_v_Diebold/20031104_eff_pr.php

Online Policy Group v. Diebold case archive:
http://www.eff.org/Legal/ISP_liability/OPG_v_Diebold/

Cease-and-desist letter Diebold sent to OPG:
http://www.eff.org/Legal/ISP_liability/cease_desist_letter.php

IndyMedia Web page subject to Diebold cease-and-desist letter:
http://www.indybay.org/news/2003/09/1649419_comment.php

Security researchers discover huge flaws in e-voting system:
http://www.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/20030723_eff_pr.php

Link to Chilling Effects on DMCA safe harbor provisions:
http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512/

Media coverage of Diebold threats:
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/business/7182111.htm
and:
http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,60927,00.html

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the world at http://www.eff.org/

About Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School:

The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) is a public interest technology law and policy program at Stanford Law School and a part of Law, Science and Technology Program at Stanford Law School. The CIS brings together scholars, academics, legislators, students, programmers, security researchers, and scientists to study the interaction of new technologies and the law and to examine how the synergy between the two can either promote or harm public goods like free speech, privacy, public commons, diversity, and scientific inquiry. The CIS Cyberlaw Clinic gives Stanford Law School students an opportunity to work with clients on cases and legal projects that involve questions of technology, law and the public interest.

About OPG:

The Online Policy Group (OPG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to online policy research, outreach, and action on issues such as access, privacy, the digital divide, and digital defamation. The organization fulfills its motto of "One Internet With Equal Access for All" through programs such as donation-based email, email list hosting, website hosting, domain registrations, colocation services, technical consulting, educational training, and refurbished computer donations. The California Community Colocation Project (CCCP) and QueerNet are OPG projects. OPG focuses on Internet participants' civil liberties and human rights, like access, privacy, safety, and serving schools, libraries, disabled, elderly, youth, women, and sexual, gender, and ethnic minorities. Find out more at http://www.onlinepolicy.org/

About IndyMedia:

IndyMedia is an international network working to build a decentralized, non-commercial media infrastructure to counter an increasingly consolidated corporate media. IndyMedia collectives have spread rapidly since the WTO protests in Seattle 1999, with IMC groups now working throughout North & South America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, accessible through http://www.indymedia.org/

-end-


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