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Media Release: Court Hearing on Electronic Voting Company's Threats Against Critics

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 14, 2003


David Weekly
Colocation Director
Online Policy Group

Court Hearing on Electronic Voting Company's Threats Against Critics

Diebold Suppressing Evidence of Voting Machine Flaws

San Jose, CA - Two student activists and an Internet Service Provider (ISP) will ask a federal district court judge on Monday to stop the ongoing legal harassment of them and others in a case involving disclosure of flaws in electronic voting machines. The nonprofit ISP Online Policy Group (OPG) and two Swarthmore college students seek to prevent electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Systems, Inc., from issuing further legal threats against ISPs in an attempt to squelch publication of the embarrassing information.

Date: Monday, November 17, 2003

Time: 9:00am PST (press conference in front of courthouse after hearing)

Location: Federal Courthouse, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113 (near W. San Carlos St.)

Courtroom: Judge Jeremy Fogel, Courtroom 3, 5th Floor

Case: Online Policy Group v. Diebold (Case Number C-03-04913 JF)

Diebold has threatened a dozen or more ISPs who host websites that publish or link to an email archive that includes emails 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 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."

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 media release:

Online Policy Group v. Diebold case archive:

Cease-and-desist letter Diebold sent to OPG:

IndyMedia Web page subject to Diebold cease-and-desist letter:

Security researchers discover huge flaws in e-voting system:

Link to Chilling Effects on DMCA safe harbor provisions:

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

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

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

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