March 15, 2003
A letter from my Congressman

I wrote to my congressman, Adam Schiff, about my concerns about electronic civil liberties several weeks ago. While I was at SXSW, I received this reply:

-----Original Message-----

From: Congressman Adam B. Schiff [mailto:[spamhole]]
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 2:01 PM
Subject: Reply from Congressman Schiff

February 20, 2003

Mr. Michael A. Pusateri
1914 Marengo Avenue
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Thank you for contacting me regarding some of your concerns about the internet and computer technology. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome your input.

The first issue you brought up was the regulation of unsolicited commercial email, commonly known as "spam." I share your thoughts that we should use technology to block unwanted emails from our computers. During the 107th Congress, Rep. Heather Wilson introduced H.R. 718, the Anti-Spamming Act of 2001. This bill would provide criminal penalties for intentionally transmitting 10 or more unsolicited commercial emails. During consideration of this bill in the House Judiciary Committee, on which I sit, I offered an amendment that would require the subject line of any email correspondence to include an "ADV:" - or advertisement notification. This amendment, however, was not approved by the committee. As the 107th Congress has come to a close, H.R. 718 must be reintroduced in the 108th Congress. Please be assured I will continue to work on this issue and look for other opportunities to stop unsolicited commercial emails. 

You also mentioned your opposition to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and your concerns about copyright and patent laws. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I am currently working with my colleagues to examine ways in which we can ensure that intellectual property rights are protected, while at the same time encouraging consumers to take advantage of new technologies now available in the digital age. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor this issue, and I will keep your views in mind as related legislation is considered in the House.

Finally, you mentioned your opposition to the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program. As you may know, the goal of TIA is to develop technology that will identify the presence of terrorist networks, their plans, and potentially define opportunities for disrupting or eliminating the threats. I share your concerns about the broad implications of the TIA program. One of Congress' duties as we fight this war on terrorism is to ensure that our nation's enhanced security measures do not infringe on our Constitutional rights. Striking this careful balance will not always be easy, but we must preserve the civil liberties that are the hallmark of our great democracy. Currently, TIA is only a research program and has not been implemented. In addition, Congress acted this month to curtail or mandate strong Congressional oversight of the proposed program. Please be assured that I will certainly keep your views in mind should Congress consider any similar programs in the future.

An on-going job of a Representative in Congress is to help his or her constituents solve problems with federal agencies, access services, or get questions answered fairly and promptly. For this reason, I have designed a "Guide to Constituent Services" which details some of the help my office can provide to you as a constituent. Please know that you can always reach me at (626) 304-2727 or via the website at which includes an electronic version of the guide.

Again, thank you for your input. If I can be of any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


I was suprised to see that it's not a complete form letter and does state the Congressman's position on the issues. I am hopeful that not everyone in congress is oblivious to the issues. I wonder what Howard Dean & John Edwards thoughts are on these issues...

I suggest you contact your Representative too.

Posted by michael at March 15, 2003 09:51 AM