From CIS; this is just an informational forward, and does not represent EFF positions or p
[From CIS; this is just an informational forward, and does not represent
EFF positions or policy.]
Should your employer prohibit you from
operating a BBS, on your own equipment, at
your own expense, on your own time with the
threat of being fired if you do? It has
happened! Tandy/Radio Shack did it to one of
their employees. This is a press release of
the incident. Everyone should read this!
P.O. Box 5216
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403-5216
voice: (805) 549-9625
modem: (805) 549-0961
America Online: Rochelle1
>>> NEWS RELEASE <<<
Dateline: San Luis Obispo, California
The Constitutional right of Freedom of Speech by using the
Information Superhighway is being roadblocked by Joseph Provenzano,
one of the District Managers for Radio Shack - a division of Tandy
Ms. Rochelle C. Skwarla, one of the System Operators (SYSOP) for a
local hobby computer Bulletin Board System (BBS) and also an employee
of Radio Shack was advised to consider shutting down her system or
leaving the company.
Searchlight of San Luis Obispo, California has been in operation
since March 1990 and has become one of the largest, most popular, and
well respected BBSs on the Central California Coast.
Ms. Skwarla has also been employed by one of the local Radio Shack
stores since April 1991.
Ms. Skwarla and another coworker were advised on Saturday, May 14,
1994 by the company that the operation of their free (donation
optional) system was a conflict of interest and she should choose one
or the other.
Rochelle gave the following statement:
"I am a very strong believer in everyone's right to freedom of
speech. Preventing me from operating a free BBS would deny me and the
many hundreds of my callers this Constitutional freedom. I cannot
allow this to happen. I don't really have much of a choice. I am not
only standing up for my own rights, but most-importantly, for the
rights of everyone to access and make available the means to use the
Information Superhighway. If I allow my employer to dictate to me
what I can and can't do with my own equipment on my own time, where
will it end?"
"Their control stops at the timeclock. If this were not so then
everyone's rights are in jeopardy. Your employer could tell you that
you can't do such-and-such off the job. For example: You work for an
insurance company that refuses to insure motorcycle riders because
they consider them to be too high a risk. Now lets say you own some
land which you allow off-road bikers to use free. Your employer says
that this is a conflict of interest and you can't do it. Should this
be allowed? How about if you wrote a letter to the local newspaper
editor why you felt motorcycle riders should not be discriminated
against. Should you be fired?"
"A computer Bulletin Board System, or Online Information Service as I
prefer to call them, is a form of media. Something like a party line
telephone, mail, library, radio, television, magazine, and newspaper
all rolled into one. Almost everything --books, letters, speeches,
movies, and songs-- are now available through electronic means. How
you access it is through a BBS or OIS. Some systems are free, others
are not. We are talking about freedom of the press and the people.
The Information Superhighway is just now starting to be built. My
system is one of the on-ramps. It is open to traffic and will
continue to be so for years to come. I will fight this tooth and
nail if I have to. Like a turtle, you will never get anywhere if you
don't stick your neck out."
John V. Roach, CEO and Chairman, Tandy Corporation, Tandy Trends,
Volume 9, Number 1, Page 8: "...I urge you to contact your
congressional representatives'offices - either by phone or by mail -
and let them know that you cannot support these bills [H.R. 3626,
H.R. 3636 & S.1822] unless they protect your Right to Own, your Right
to Choose, and your Right of Access on the Information Superhighway."
>>> UPDATE: <<<
The week following the ultimatum Ms. Skwarla's weekly hours were cut
back to 15. The following week to 8 1/2. On May 27, 1994 her hours
were cut back to 0 and she was advised that her services would no
longer be needed at that store.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank