CFP Overview

From electronic commerce to improved public health to participation in electronic democracy to access to information, computer and telecommunications technologies can enrich our lives by enhancing our freedom to speak, to associate, to be left alone, and to exercise political power.

At the same time, these technologies and the organizations that control their development and use pose new threats to these same freedoms. Personal privacy is increasingly at risk, as is the privacy of our electronic communications and transactions. Societal gaps between haves and have-nots are widening.

These same technological advances enable new forms of illegal activity, creating new challenges for the legal and law enforcement communities. Yet the very same technologies used to combat these new cybercrimes can themselves threaten the freedoms we take for granted.

The lack of recognizable state or international borders in cyberspace raises its own set of opportunities and problems ranging from the distribution of cryptographic software to the interstate transport of pornographic material. Even such fundamental notions as speech, assembly, and property are being transformed, calling into question the basic Constitutional protections that have guarded them.

CFP offers a much-needed neutral ground where people from widely different backgrounds and positions can learn from each other.

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Last updated November 22, 1995