6.0401 Clinton, the FCC, and Information Policy (1/122)

Fri, 11 Dec 1992 10:52:14 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0401. Friday, 11 Dec 1992.

Date: Tue, 08 Dec 92 23:13:17 EST
From: "John M. Unsworth" <JMUEG@NCSUVM>
Subject: Clinton, FCC, and Information Policy

The following was forwarded to me by a friend--the message originates with
the author and organization identified below. If you'd like to register
an opinion on this appointment, you might write to Jack Gill of the Clinton
transition team, at his compuserve address, 75300.3115@compuserve.com

John Unsworth

> Taxpayer Assets Project
> Information Policy Note
> December 7, 1992
> * Lobbyist for Information Industry appointed
> to key Clinton Transition Post
> * Ronald Plesser named to head transition effort on
> Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.)
> * Public Interest Groups register opposition to
> appointment
> On Friday (12/4/92) Communications Daily reported
> information industry lobbyist Ronald Plesser has been appointed
> to a key Clinton/Gore transition post involving federal
> information policy. According to the friday CD article, attorney
> Ronald Plesser will head the Clinton transition efforts on
> communications issues, as part of a Science and Technology group
> headed by former astronaut Sally Ride. According to officials
> at Plesser's law office and the Clinton Transition office Plesser
> has been appointed as a Deputy Director of the Science and
> Technology group, in charge of the Federal Communications
> Commission (F.C.C.).
> Plesser has close ties to a wide range of commercial data
> vendors and other information industry clients. He is considered
> a key architect of Reagan Administration efforts to privatize the
> dissemination of government information, through:
> a) restrictions on individual access to federal
> databases and information systems,
> b) restrictions on the types of "value added" services
> that agencies can use to enhance public access to
> federal information, and
> c) restrictions on the types of electronic information
> products and services that are distributed to the
> federal depository library program.
> Plesser has also spearheaded efforts to weaken privacy laws.
> Plesser's clients include:
> - Information Industry Association (IIA).
> Plesser is legislative counsel for (IIA), a
> trade group representing commercial data
> vendors, telephone companies, and cable
> television companies.
> - Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Plesser
> represents DMA on a wide range of issues
> relating to privacy.
> - Mead Data Central. Plesser is a lobbyist for
> Mead (owners of LEXIS/NEXIS and contractor
> for the ill conceived SEC EDGAR system) on a
> wide range of topics, including the issues
> relating to public access to government
> information and the development of national
> telecommunications infrastructure, including
> the implementation of the recently funded
> National Research and Education Network
> (NREN).
> - Knight Ridder. Plesser is a lobbyist for
> TRANSAX, a vendor of government tariff
> information. In 1989 Plesser used his close
> ties to the House Subcommittee on Government
> Information to block efforts by the Federal
> Maritime Commission (FMC) to allow shippers
> to have access to the FMC's new Automated
> Tariff Filing Information (ATFI) system.
> (John Markoff, "Giving Public U.S. Data:
> Private Purveyors say No," 3/4/89, NYT,
> Government Publications Review, Vol. 19,
> 1992, pp 400-403).
> Plesser's appointment to shape F.C.C. policy was greeted by
> surprise and alarm by a wide range of citizen and library groups
> who have locked horns with Plesser on the past on issues ranging
> from public access to government information to privacy. In an
> article in monday's Communications Daily, written by reporter Art
> Brodsky (202/872-9202, ext. 252), James Love, Director of the
> Taxpayer Assets Project, Marc Rotenberg, Washington Director of
> Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and Jeff
> Chester, Director of the Coalition for Media Education,
> registered strong opposition to the appointment. Rotenberg said
> Plesser was far out of the mainstream of opinion on information
> policy issues.
> Before launching a highly successful lobbying career,
> Plesser ran Ralph Nader's Freedom of Information Clearing House.
> In recent years he helped raise corporate funding for the ACLU's
> "Information Technology Project" from large information industry
> companies. In 1991 the ACLU's project was transferred, staff and
> funding intact, to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
> This project reportedly has focused on issues relating to the
> development of new telecommunication infrastructure, including
> but not limited to NREN.
> -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
> James Love, Director voice 215/658-0880
> Taxpayer Assets Project fax call
> 12 Church Road internet love@essential.org
> Ardmore, PA 19003
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-