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------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Phil Shepard ------------------------------------------------------------------------- It would be prudent, to say the least, for all of the Non-proifts represented on this list to take the survey linked below and follow up as indicated to prevent disruption of internet and computer use in the future.
Phil Shepard

Audrie Krause wrote:

Published by NetAction            Issue No.  79       December 19, 2001

Repost where appropriate. Copyright and subscription info at end of message.
* * * * * * *
In This Issue:
Is Your Computer Secure?
Make a Difference
More on Worrisome Perceptions About Online Activism
About NetAction Notes

Is Your Computer Secure?

Information technology is increasingly important to the mission of
many nonprofit organizations. As our reliance on technology grows, so
does our need for computer security. NetAction is conducting a survey
of computer security practices in nonprofit organizations so that we
can do a better job of educating organizations about computer
security and assisting organizations in improving their security

Please take a few minutes to answer the survey questions. The survey
is at: http://www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?1F3BTJQRJXQKD9W9V1W5A24C.
Please click this link now (or paste this URL into your Web browser).

Your individual responses are confidential, and you will not be asked
to provide any identifying information. The overall survey results
will be reported in NetAction Notes, and will help us prepare new
educational materials and content for the Virtual Activist training

We used Zoomerang, a survey clearinghouse, to create our survey, and
are distributing it to our NetAction Notes subscribers and relevant
lists. We encourage you to forward this to colleagues in other
nonprofit organizations who may be interested in participating in the

Thank you for your help!

Make A Difference

With every passing year, the Internet has become a more important
tool for citizen action, making NetAction's Virtual Activist training
a more important resource for online activists. We are asking for
your support now so that we may continue to provide Internet users
with the information they need to make effective use of technology
for outreach, organizing, and advocacy.

You can make a credit card donation from NetAction's secure server
at: <https://secure.manymedia.com/netaction/form.html>.

For nearly six years now, NetAction has helped activists learn to use
the Internet for organizing, outreach, and advocacy. In 2001, we
added a significant new resource for online activists - NetAction's
Guide to Using Encryption Software. Thanks in part to your generous
support, we continued our student internship program to introduce
students with computer skills to Internet activism and technology
policy. On the policy side, we brought back our popular BillyFish to
help Internet users speak out against the Justice Department's
proposed settlement of the Microsoft antitrust case.

As always, we've accomplished our work on a limited budget, and we
need your support to continue our efforts in 2002.  The information
we obtain from our survey of computer security practices in nonprofit
organizations will enable us to expand our Virtual Activist
curriculum to include materials that will help nonprofit
organizations improve their computer security practices.

Please be as generous as possible. As a project of The Tides Center,
NetAction is a 501 (c) (3) organization and contributions are
tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

More on Worrisome Perceptions About Online Activism

In the last issue of NetAction Notes
<http://www.netaction.org/notes/notes78.html> we reported that the
UCLA Internet Project's second annual survey of Internet user
behavior and attitudes revealed that fewer people see the Internet as
an effective tool for political action.

The report prompted some thoughtful comments from two of our longtime
readers. With their permission, we are sharing their comments.

Debra Cash wrote:

"I think in terms of overall electoral political effectiveness this may be
true (after all, we got our President *appointed* by the Supreme Court!)
and it would be very interesting to see what the folks at Working Assets
etc. who send out mass emails to Congresspeople, against Ashcroft etc.
think about this. I gather there is some real disagreement among
progressives about whether emails and email petitions to political
officials make a difference; I would like to see a systematic analysis of
the response to these as compared to phone calls, regular mail etc.
(Obviously, if they are not going to listen, no numbers of emails will help.)

"However, if you frame the question in terms of activist *campaigns*
(abortion rights, globalism, and my own area, fighting coercive publishing
contracts) I think that the Internet (or actually, email) among interested
persons involved in the campaign is indispensable. This spans education,
logistics and activity such as petitions. Perhaps some of the problems with
[the survey] statistics was the way the question was worded?"

Richard Petersen wrote:

"As for Online Activism - perhaps the issue has less to do with the
Internet and more to do with the general sense that elected officials (and
the media generally) are bought and paid for by those who fund them - and
that that is the fundamental reason that people feel little power.
Between the corporations and the politicians - no one in power or the
media really cares what most Americans are going through.  Beyond this
thought there is a lot of organizing going on online - from indymedia to
the numerous email lists that operate below the horizon.  Beyond those
who have found the Internet an invaluable tool for keeping up on
international news sources, the vast majority of Americans appear to be
content to watch flag wearing news readers dish out pro war propaganda.  I
am hopeful, but it will take time.  The kids growing up in school now are
comfortable with using online sources and activism may be the real hope
for the future - especially if the continuing clampdowns on freedom spark
a backlash in young people."

The comments from both Debra and Richard underscore an important
aspect of online activism: the difference between its use as an
organizing and outreach tool to get information to supporters and
colleagues, and its use as a tool for communicating with elected
officials. In our Virtual Activist training, NetAction addresses this
distinction and cautions activists against relying on email
communication with elected officials. If a recent New York Times
report is accurate, there is now some documentation of the
ineffectiveness of email as a tool for communicating with elected
officials.  In a Dec. 13, 2001 article entitled "Email Gets the Cold
Shoulder in Congress," the Times reports:

"Ill equipped to cope with the deluge of correspondence that
the Internet has brought, many Congressional offices no
longer disclose e-mail addresses to the public. And both
staff members and lobbyists say that e-mail is far less
successful than faxes, phone calls or letters in reaching
and influencing legislators."

Online access to the NY Times requires registration. The complete
article is at:

About NetAction Notes

NetAction Notes is a free electronic newsletter, published by
NetAction. NetAction is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated
to promoting use of the Internet for grassroots citizen action, and
to educating the public and policy makers about technology policy

To subscribe to NetAction Notes, send a message to: <majordomo@netaction.org>
The body of the message should state: <subscribe netaction>
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The body of the message should state: <unsubscribe netaction>

NetAction is supported by individual contributions and grants. You
can make a credit card donation from NetAction's secure server at:

For more information about contributing to NetAction, contact Audrie
Krause by phone at (415) 775-8674, by E-mail at
mailto:audrie@netaction.org>, visit the NetAction Web site at
<http://www.netaction.org>, or write to:
NetAction * 601 Van Ness Ave., No. 631 * San Francisco, CA 94102
Copyright 1996-2001 by NetAction/The Tides Center.  All rights reserved.
Material may be reposted or reproduced for non-commercial use provided
NetAction is cited as the source.  NetAction is a project of The Tides
Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Phil Shepard
  ============================================================== ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/ Postings to: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net For info, send email to majordomo@great-lakes.net with a one-line message body of "info enviro-mich" ==============================================================