NetAction Notes

Published by NetAction Issue No. 24 June 31, 1997
Repost where appropriate. See copyright information at end of message.


Toxic Technology
Can the Spam: NetAction's Tips on E-mail Outreach
Browser Blues
About NetAction Notes


Toxic Technology

Two years ago, as the head of a consumer group, I upset folks at the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) by joining forces with the oil industry to defeat an attempt by two large and very sleazy utility companies to force consumers to subsidize the development of electric cars through higher rates.

While I'm certainly no friend of the oil industry, I knew that substituting electric-powered vehicles for gas-burning models would not reduce pollution. At best, it would have moved the source of pollution from the tailpipes of automobiles to the smokestacks of power plants. At worst, it would have paved the way for construction of more nuclear power plants.

Like electric cars, the Information Highway isn't an obvious source of pollution. There are no deadly fumes spewing from our personal computers, and we don't add to air pollution when we telecommute. But, as is the case with electric cars, pollution on the Information Highway is occurring somewhere else. Technology is a very dirty industry, and the toxins produced in the electronics manufacturing process are just as dangerous as fossil fuel emissions and spent nuclear fuel rods.

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition is one of the few organizations working to reduce the pollution associated with electronics manufacturing and make the industry more accountable. One of the Coalition's projects, the Campaign for Responsible Technology (CRT), was formed to promote grassroots participation in efforts to develop sustainable practices within the global electronics industry, which is the world's largest and fastest growing manufacturing sector.

CRT is now developing a global E-mail network of individual activists and grassroots groups working to hold the high-tech industry accountable for the environmental, economic, labor, community and health impacts of its practices. The list will make it easier for activists concerned about high-tech development to share experiences, struggles, strategies, and technical information.

To join CRT's moderated list service, contact the Coalition at: . For more information about the decision to form an International Campaign for Responsible Technology, check out

Can the Spam: NetAction's Tips on E-mail Outreach

E-mail can be an effective organizing tool, or an annoying invasion of disk space. To be effective as an activist, you need to know the difference, and how to avoid the latter.

NetAction's tips on how to use E-mail for outreach without generating complaints about spam are featured this week in Hellraiser Central on the Mother Jones Web site. You'll find plenty of tips for avoiding spam at

The article also discusses the three anti-spam bills now pending in Congress, and includes pointers to Web sites with background on the legislation.

Browser Blues

A NetAction survey of the top Internet service providers (ISPs) concludes that Microsoft's marketing strategy is preventing consumers from choosing the browser they use to access the World Wide Web, and the integration of Internet Explorer (IE) into the Windows 98 operating system will only make matters worse.

These are the primary conclusions of "Consumer Choice in Web Browsers," a NetAction Report released today. The full report is available on NetAction's Web site.

In addition to the survey results, the report includes recommendations for actions consumers can take to ensure choice in Web browsers. NetAction is asking Internet users concerned about Microsoft's anti-competitive marketing practices to participate in a September 15, 1997, visit with Congress.

Right now, only a few members of Congress really understand the Internet, and even fewer understand why Microsoft is a threat to the Net's continued growth and development. Since consumers can't rely on the Justice Department to stop the Microsoft monopoly, NetAction wants Congress to put pressure on the Justice Department to vigorously enforce the laws intended to protect competition. As a start, NetAction will be asking Congress to hold public hearings so that consumer concerns about Microsoft will be on the record.

More information about the Sept. 15 visit to Congress is on the NetAction Web site. A registration form for participants is at

If you would like to be informed of new developments in NetAction's Consumer Choice Campaign, subscribe to the Micro$oft Monitor, a free electronic newsletter.

To subscribe, send an E-mail message to: In the body of the message, type: subscribe monitor

About NetAction Notes


NetAction Notes is a free electronic newsletter, published by NetAction. NetAction is a California-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting use of the Internet for grassroots citizen action, and to educating the public, policy makers, and the media about technology policy issues.

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