ISSN 1068-5723 June 30, 1993 Volume 1 Issue 4
Legal and Ethical Aspects of Computer-Mediated
Jacob Palme, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences Stockholm University
ABSTRACT This paper discusses legal and ethical aspects of Electronic Mail, Computer Conferencing and other kinds of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) systems. Ethical prin-ciples in used in various electronic mail communities are discussed, and legal issues are discussed on human rights, privacy issues, copyright laws etc. A particular point made by the author is that legal and ethical rules in many cases are used to overcome shortcomings in the CMC systems used, and that thus with better designed CMC systems much existing regulation would be unnecessary. The paper discusses these aspects in an international context, not in the context of the legal system in any particular country.
1. ETHICS AND ETIQUETTE
1.1. IS THERE A NEED FOR ELECTRONIC MAIL ETHICS? Like in other areas of human interchange, there is a need also in the area of electronic mail for: > Ethics, principles for suitable and unsuitable uses of the medium. > Etiquette, forms for handling communication so that users know that certain types of communication are hand- led in certain ways. Ethics and etiquette often consist of unwritten rules. Sometimes, people try to write them down in more or less for- mal collections of rules. Breaking these rules is usually sanctioned by social pressure =D1 If someone breaks the rules, some other people complain and gets the person to change his/her behaviour. More formal organisational forms for sanc- tions, like ethics boards, rules of shutting down the account for those who regularly break the rules etc., are also some- times used. There is little special law controlling electronic mail. When electronic mail gets more widespread usage, more detailed control of the medium through law may occur. It is however dangerous to try to make laws controlling a technique under development =D1 the laws will easily be antiquated and can even cause more harm than benefit. Everyone does not agree on the proper ethics and etiquette in electronic mail. One community of users may have ethical rules which are in direct contradiction to the ethical rules in another community. As an example, some electronic communi- ties (example: [EARN 1986]) forbid political discussions, while other communities, for example the constitution in many countries, stress the importance of permitting discussions on political issues. When two communities with different written or unwritten views on ethics and etiquette get connected, sometimes cul- tural collisions occur when electronic messages from one of the communities enter the other community. People from each community use their ethics, and people in the other community may then find that these people are nasty, ill-mannered, ruthless, arrogant, lofty, stupidly careless, muddled, vague. Strong emotional reactions will sometimes occur, and also se- rious misunderstandings. Each group may try to use social pressure to get the other group to change their behaviour. New users of electronic mail will often begin by trying to apply ethics and etiquette which they have learnt from other communication media like postal mail, the telephone or face- to-face meetings. The need for ethical rules for electronic mail is especially important in cases where such ordinary ethics and etiquette is not suitable. Those principles which are common to all human communication are often felt to be so obvious that they need not be included in collections of ethics for electronic mail. The reason why different ethics and etiquette may be needed for electronic mail is that electronic mail works differently than other media, and this will then cause different kinds of communication problem. Important differences between electro- nic mail and other media is that electronic mail makes it so easy, fast and relatively inexpensive to distribute informa- tion to many recipients, and that this information can be saved and forwarded in other ways than is normal with voice communication. Because of this, many ethical rules for elec- tronic mail are primarily concerned with the use of electron- ic mail for group communication. Because different electronic mail systems are designed in different ways, this will influence the need for ethical rules. As an example, a commonly occurring ethical rule is that you should not send the same message to more than one distribution list. This rule is needed, since otherwise peo- ple who are members of several lists may get the same message several times, one from each list. However, good systems are capable of recognising such duplicates so that their users will only get to see such duplicate messages once, even though they get the messages via different routes. And in such systems, it may sometimes be very suitable to send a message to more than one group. Another example is that in some systems there is a rule which says that before you write something, you should wait and see if someone else has already written the same thing. There is even, sometimes, an ethical rule saying that you should not reply to everyone on a list, but only reply to the author of a message, and this author is then expected to summarise the replies s/he gets to the whole list. These rules are caused by delays in the distribution of messages, so that you cannot always be sure that you have seen all comments already writ- ten on an issue, when you write your own entry. With shorter delays in the nets, these problems become less serious. When you read collections of ethical rules for electronic mail, you sometimes wonder if these problems could not be solved by better design of the systems instead of by regulat- ing their users. A rule saying that people should not write too long messages can be avoided if the system makes it easy for recipients to stop reading a message and going on to the next. A rule, saying that discussions should not branch off outside their initial topic, may be avoided if it is easy for participants to unsubscribe from only the branch of a discus- sion which they are not interested in. Some people try to put the ethical rules into the computer software, by trying to design the electronic mail programs such that they stop users from behaving in what is felt as unethical ways. Doing this can however be dangerous. It is difficult to teach a computer to correctly judge whether cer- tain behaviour is ethical or unethical. A behaviour which in some cases may be unsuitable, may in other circumstances be necessary and suitable. It might be better to let the comput- er recommend and guide users towards good behaviour, but not to make it impossible for the users to knowingly break rules when necessary. Another form of control is to have one or more people whose task is similar to the chairman at a meeting. They have as their special task to control what is written in a compu- terised group discussion. Some systems are designed so that these moderators have to read all texts in advance, before they are sent to the group (pre-moderation). In other sys- tems, the moderators have the power to remove entries which are not suitable within the topic of a group, or move them to another group, or start a new subgroup (post-moderation). It is important, if a system gives the moderator such facili- ties, that moving an entry automatically also will move the whole branch of the discussion tree to which the entry be- longs =D1 including future, not yet written entries in this conversational branch. Pre-moderated groups, which require the moderator to pass all messages before they are sent out, gives the strongest con- trol, but slows down the interaction in the group very much. While the typical time between an entry and a reply is nor- mally less than a day in groups which are not pre-moderated, it will usually be about a week in pre-moderated groups. There are several reasons why organisers of certain groups make them pre-moderated. The first reason is that you can avoid messages which have no relevance at all to the subjects which the group is intended to discuss. The second reason is that you can avoid duplicates, where the same idea is put forward by different people. The third reason occurs when re- cipients get the messages via distribution lists, which send the messages into the personal mailboxes of the recipients. With the pre-moderated lists, the moderator collects together all messages on a certain topic once or twice a week, so that the recipients get these messages grouped together and not mixed up with other messages. This problem will not occur with good systems, since such systems will automatically sort incoming messages by topic so that the recipient can read messages for each topic when so desired. This again is an ex- ample of how human control rules are used to circumvent tech- nical shortcomings in the design of some message systems. My experience is that pre-moderation seems to be necessary for very large groups, with many hundreds of participants, while post-moderation is more suitable in smaller groups.
1.2. SOME COMMON ETHICAL RULES This collection is based on the ethical rules for Usenet News [Schwarz 1984], the ethical rules for CSNET [CSNET 1986], the rules for EARN [EARN 1986], the rules for KOM [Palme 1979] and a collection made by Anne-Marie Eklund [Eklund 1986]. One property of electronic mail is that it is so easy with a few keyboard commands do disseminate a message to so many people. Many ethical rules try to avoid problems which this may cause. Such rules say that you should think before you write, keep to the topic of a group discussion, begin with the most important you have to say (so that those not inte- rested can skip the rest), never write a message when you are angry etc. The fact that you can wait a few hours to calm down before you write a message is an advantage with elec- tronic mail compared to face-to-face meetings which of course should be utilised. The more work the author of a message spends on it, the more time is saved for the recipients. This means that there may be reason to spend more time on writing a message, if it is to be read by many people. Most people intuitively understand this principle. A problem with electronic mail is that you are not always aware of how many people are going to read what you write. A function which tells the authors of mes- sages how many people will see their message might be useful. A person who writes a message usually sits alone in front of a computer screen. This intimate environment may tempt them to write something suitable in a smaller group than is actu- ally going to read what they write. These kinds of experi- ences lead to ethical rules saying that personal assessments of other people should not be sent via electronic mail, or at least not except in very small closed groups of recipients. In face-to-face communication there is body language, facial inflections and nuances of voice. Such tools are used to give important emotional signals in association to what you are writing, for example to clarify that what you say is meant to be understood as irony. Because of this, serious misunder- standings can occur in written communication. To avoid this, sometimes special punctuation is used in electronic mail to indicate that what you are saying is not to be interpreted at face value. Common such punctuation is for example ":-)" (which looks like a smiling face if you turn it 90 degrees). There are also other special syntactical conventions used in electronic mail. Many electronic mail networks are not capa- ble of forwarding underscored, bold or italic text. Because of this, a common convention is to write one or more aster- isks around a word you want to stress. Another common conven- tion is to put "> " in front of quotations, usually in the beginning of a line. Examples: Andersen writes something very **important**: > Body language can sometimes be replaced by special symbols, > but sometimes people may overstep the mark. Electronic mail is often used more as a replacement for spo- ken than for written communication. An important difference is however that you do not have the same fast and direct in- teraction with electronic mail. This means that behaviour patterns which are suitable in spoken communication may not work in electronic mail. An example of this is the booking of time for a meeting. People new to electronic mail try to do this the way you normally do in a face-to-face situation: You propose one possible time, if this is not acceptable, you propose another possible time until you have found times which are acceptable to everyone. This method is not always suitable in electronic mail. A better method in electronic mail is to begin by indicating a series of possible times, but also saying which of them you prefer. The other partici- pants then say which of these times are not suitable for them, so that a time which is suitable to all can be found. General courtesy rules of friendliness and considerateness may be more important in electronic mail than in face-to-face communication, since you cannot as fast and immediately see a negative reaction, and then correct and clarify what you mean. A question can be answered either by a message only to the author, or to everyone who got the question. As an example, a question sent to a group of people asking at which time their flight will arrive, is usually best answered personally to the author only. It is valuable if the electronic mail system allows the author to indicate where replies should be sent. However, many systems have a reply-to field, but do not clarify what is meant by this field. It might mean: > Always reply to this address, > Use this address for personal replies to the author, > Use this address for replies meant for all who read the answered message. Because of this, such reply-to fields often cause more confu- sion than aid. In some messaging communities, there is more-or-less a rule that if someone asks a question to a group of people, the re- ply should be sent to the author, and the author is then ex- pected to summarise the answers to the whole group, if s/he feels that they are of general interest. This is of special importance in nets with long time delays, since there is oth- erwise a risk that several people, independently of each other, write the same reply. Some systems even allow the recipient of a message to choose whether to see all replies to a question, or only see the summary of the replies composed by the author of the original question. It happens now and then, that a message written to a small group, is forwarded without permission from the author to a much larger group. Sometimes, the author of the message does not like this. Because of this, a common ethical rule is that you should not resend texts to larger and more open groups without permission from the author. This, like most ethical rules, should not be an absolute rule. You can often under- stand that in a particular case the forwarding of a message will not be controversial, or there may be a large common in- terest that something which has occurred in a small group should be known to a larger group. Copying of texts written by others is also controlled by copyright laws, see section 6. The rules on advertising in electronic mail vary between nets. American nets usually have stronger restrictions against advertising than European nets, something which some- times causes clashes when connected. However, also the American nets find it valuable that people representing hard- ware and software suppliers can participate in technical meetings on their product, and the border between desirable technical information and undesirable advertising is not al- ways easy to set. One solution may be to have separate discussion groups/distribution lists for information from the suppliers and for other discussion of hardware and software products. It is important that recipients should be allowed to control what lists they are on, and be allowed to unsubscribe to lists they do not want to get messages from any more. This can be compared to the laws existing in some countries, which allow recipients to ask their names to be removed from direct mailing address lists (see section 5).
1.3. PRIVATE USAGE OF OFFICE MAIL SYSTEMS One controversial issue is whether employees in companies and government departments should be allowed to use the electron- ic mail system for personally private messages, and if not, how to stop this. The problem can be compared to use of your office phone for private calls or talking during office hours to your co-workers about personal problems. For some reason, perhaps because it is a new medium, some people are more troubled by such problems in the case of electronic mail than in the case of phone and face-to-face misuse of office re- sources. In reality, the cost to an employer of private use of elec- tronic mail is usually much smaller than the cost of private use of phone and face-to-face communication. One reason for this is the speed of electronic mail communication. But this issue seems to be an issue of deeply felt moral sentiments, it does not help to explain that it really is not an impor- tant issue from an economical viewpoint. It is important to be aware that the borderline between pri- vate and official usage of electronic mail is not always easy to put. An important usage of electronic mail is to exchange information so as to learn more. And the borderline between what you are learning privately and what you are learning to be able to do your tasks better is not easy to set. An exam- ple: If an employee of the defence research institute dis- cusses computer security or nuclear power security, is this private or part of his/her job? Even if the employee is not at that moment working on security issues in these areas, knowledge in such areas are important in defence planning! There is not very much statistics available of the extent of private usage of electronic mail. In the KOM system, I found that about 10 % of the usage was in areas which are obviously private, like bridge playing or computer games. These issues might be easier to solve if they are split into issues of economics, ethics and power/influence. > From an economical viewpoint, the benefits of electronic mail are so large [Palme 1986], that even if 10 % of the usage of the system is private use, it is still of ad- vantage to the employer. This will of course be even more so if you take into account that also phone and face-to-face communication in the office is sometimes used for private purposes. Also, one should note that computers, like electricity, cost very little during low usage times of day. Some companies, because of this, have issued rules that their employees may use the electronic mail system privately, but only outside office hours. > From a moral and ethics viewpoint, many people feel that private usage of office electronic mail system is to be condemned even though it does not cause large costs to the employer. > From a power/influence viewpoint, management may some- times feel that the introduction of electronic mail re- duces their ability to control what is happening in their company. They then sometime try to rectify this by ethical rules against, e.g., private usage of the sys- tem. 2. HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES The constitutions and laws in many countries contain laws which are applicable to electronic mail. For example, it is common with laws which say: > That the rights of free speech is important. > That the right for very citizen to inform himself of what other people have publicly said is important. > That the government (sometimes also other private per- sons or organisations) are forbidden from eavesdropping on private mail and phone calls unless special excep- tional rules are followed, for example permission by a court for certain police investigations. > That the right of citizens to privacy is safeguarded. These general rules are often applicable also to electronic mail. Thus, free speech and the right to communicate may be applicable also to electronic mail, as well as the protection against eavesdropping. The extent to which such laws are valid for electronic mail may of course vary from country to country. 3. PUBLIC DOCUMENTS Some countries have laws which say that documents produced by government agencies should be available for inspection by any citizen except when certain secrecy rules are valid. These laws are normally not applied to phone calls, unless they are recorded, but they are in most cases applied to electronic mail, since this is a written and recorded medium. This means that electronic mail communication in government agencies may be open to inspection by outsiders. This may also mean that the government agencies are not allowed to delete electronic mail messages except as permitted by archiving laws. 4. PRINTED MATTER Some countries have special laws controlling printed publica- tions. These laws are usually not applicable to electronic mail, but this can of course also vary from country to coun- try. 5. COMPUTERS AND PRIVACY LEGISLATION Many countries have special legislation controlling computers and privacy. The goal of such legislation is to protect the privacy of individuals in relation to the processing of per- sonal data in data files. Such national legislation is often based on some interna- tional agreements in this area: > Guidelines on the protection of privacy and the cross- border flow of personal data, established by the OECD 23 September 1980. > Convention of 28 January 1981 for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal data, established by the Council of Europe. > Proposal for a directive concerning the protection of individuals in relation to the processing of personal data, prepared by the European Community in 1990. > Proposal for a directive concerning the protection of personal data and privacy in the context of public digi- tal telecommunications networks, in particular the inte- grated services digital network (ISDN) and public digi- tal mobile networks, prepared by the European Community in 1990. The basic principle of these international agreements and na- tional legislation is that people and organisations should not be allowed to store and process personal data about other people unless controlled according to special rules. Typical of such special controlling rules are: > A supervisory authority is established to control the use of computers for storing and processing of personal data. > Those who wish to store or process personal data must either have permission of this supervisory authority, or in some cases must inform this supervisory authority. The authority may then regulate what personal informa- tion is to be stored and how it may be processed. > People, on which personal information is stored in com- puters, have to be notified of this, and/or may request a copy of what is stored about them, and can then ask for correction of incorrect information. > In some cases, for example address files used for market research and advertising, individuals may have the right to be excluded from such files. > The legislation often regards the storage of certain in- formation as especially sensitive, and object to special control. Such information is data revealing ethnic or racial origin, political opinions, religious or philo- sophical beliefs, trade-union membership and data con- cerning health or sexual life. > The moving of personal information from one data base to another may be restricted by special rules. Such laws may impact electronic mail in several ways: > Electronic mail systems include directories of users and what they have written. These are typical of the kind of personal information which the computers and privacy legislation was intended for, and there is usually no problem in applying the legislation to such information. > Information about electronic mail users, like directory information and information about messages they are sending and receiving, is often moved between different electronic mail systems, also often from country to country. Because of the very international nature of electronic mail, this may cause problems, if, for exam- ple, the computers and privacy laws forbid moving such information to countries who have not signed the OECD convention. One might compare if the postal companies were forbidden to send mail to and from such countries, or if the phone companies were forbidden to connect phone calls to and from such countries. > The text in electronic mail messages will of course of- ten contain personal information, and will also often contain exactly the kind of information which according to such rules should be controlled especially strictly. For example, in electronic mail discussion groups, many messages may contain information about political, reli- gious and philosophical beliefs, may reveal racial or ethic origin. A love letter may contain data concerning sexual life. Personal messages may of course also con- tain information about health, for example someone send- ing a message that they cannot come to a meeting because of illness, or giving health advice to friends with health problems etc. Note that such computers and privacy legislation is often in conflict with legislation about freedom of speech, since such legislation is intended to safeguard the rights of individu- als to communicate, and especially to communicate freely in areas like politics and religion. Many countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, France, Austria) have exempted computer us- age in newspaper offices from the computers and privacy laws in order to protect freedom of speech. For similar reasons, also electronic mail should maybe be exempted. This conflict between freedom of speech legislation and com- puters and privacy legislation is not easy to solve. Usually, those who have met this problem solve it by saying that the storing of personal information in word processing documents, electronic mail messages etc. is not to be controlled by the computers and privacy laws. These laws are restricted to app- ly only to more structured ways of handling personal informa- tion. However, there are still difficulties on where to put the borderline between what is permitted and not permitted. Is it, for example, permitted to collect electronic mail messag- es written by particular persons so that you can easily check what a certain politician has said in electronic mail messag- es on a certain issues, or what opinions on a certain issue has been voiced by different people? Is it permitted to send, via electronic mail, a list of ref- erences to journal articles? Such a list of references can be seen as a structured data base of personal information, and so is probably covered by the computers and privacy laws even if such laws only apply to structured information bases. As an example, Sweden, which was one of the first countries to establish computers and privacy legislation, has had seve- re difficulties in trying to solve conflicts in interpreting these laws as applying to electronic mail systems. This has included forbidding the use of certain electronic mail sys- tems and forbidding the discussion of political issues in certain electronic mail systems! The Swedish supervisory authority has had problems in clarifying how to resolve the conflict between freedom of speech and computers and privacy laws. 6. COPYRIGHT LAWS Copyright laws give authors rights to control the use of what they have written. In many countries, such laws will also apply to messages in electronic mail systems. The extent to which such laws are applicable to electronic mail can vary. Some providers of electronic mail services put into their contracts with their customers, that the customers give the electronic mail service providers a copyright licen- se to use what their customers have written in the electron- ic mail system according to the normal principles used for distribution of messages in the system. 7. UNLAWFUL USE OF ELECTRONIC MAIL Electronic mail, like almost any other tool, can of course be used for various kinds of illegal acts which may not be spe- cific to the electronic mail medium, just as the telephone and the postal system can be used illegally. Of course, this has also occurred and will be more common with more use of electronic mail. A well-known example of this is the electro- nic mail system in the White House, in which Oliver North and his associates sent messages to each other concerning illegal funding to the Contras in Nicaragua. In that case, the actual messages had been erased, but all backup copies were not erased, and by court order, these backup copies were retriev- ed and used as evidence against North. This example shows that a wise criminal would probably choose not to use electronic mail. A wise criminal will be very careful with his use of the telephone, since police may be listening. But with electronic mail, as the Oliver North ex- ample shows, police may even at a later time be able to find what has been said, even if no tapping was in operation when the message was sent. This will make electronic mail even more dangerous than the telephone to use by a criminal. Some sensation hungry journalists have now and then claimed that electronic mail is used for shady enterprises. My perso- nal belief is the opposite, a person with shady intentions would probably choose another medium. In one case in Sweden, a person was sentenced to pay 15000 kronor (about 2500 U.S. dollars) in damages for defamation of character. He had in a computer conferencing system distribu- ted messages, which indicated that another person was a Russian spy. These messages had been read by about 100 people in the conference system. If this person had made the same statements by voice at a meeting in a society, his risk of prosecution would probably have been lower because it would be more difficult to prove exactly what he said. Transcript of what he had written were given to the defamed person by a user of the conference system, this would probably not have been possible if his statement had been made by voice. 8. AGREEMENTS AND SIGNATURES A very important legal concept is that of contracts and agreements. Contracts and agreements can be formed in many ways, there is usually no legal requirement that all con- tracts must be written and signed. An exchange of electronic mail messages can thus be regarded as a legal contract. In such a case, one thing which has to be clarified is when and where a contract agreed to via electronic mail has been taken. It is advantageous in disputes over contracts to be able to prove that a certain exchange of electronic mail messages, resulting in a contract, has occurred and to be able to prove who wrote the messages. There is thus a need for something corresponding to signatures on postal letters and contracts written on paper. There are also very secure methods for electronic signatures and seals. An electronic signature is actually more reliable than a signature on paper, since a signature on paper is very easy to falsify. In one test, one third of a group of people were not able, themselves, to dis- tinguish between their own signature and a falsification of it. Electronic mail might thus make contracts more secure. The main risk with electronic signatures is that the secret key for a person gets stolen. Advanced algorithms try to pro- tect also against this risk. One way of getting even higher security would be to establish electronic archives, into which electronic messages and agreements can be submitted and registered. If these archives are run by a third party, such as public notaries, they can provide very high security against falsification or false de- nials of computerised agreements. 9. LEGAL RECIPIENTS It is sometimes important to distinguish between letters sent to an organisation, letters sent to an individual personally and letters sent to an individual as employee of an organisa- tion. This can for example control who is allowed to look at the letter if the indicated recipient is not available, and whether an official legal reply to the letter from the orga- nisation is expected. Some countries may have other special laws controlling official letters to private or government organisations. How is this represented in electronic mail? One should first note that there is no rule that says that the recipient of an electronic mail must be a person. Even when a so-called in- ter-personal mail service is used, it is perfectly legal to address an electronic mail message to an organisation, al- though all organisations may not be able to receive such let- ters. Many companies have a default mailbox with the name "Postmaster", to which mail to the company not addressed to a given individual can be sent. For example, you might send a message to Postmaster@STANFORD.EDU or Postmaster@SUMEX-AIM.STANFORD.EDU when you want to reach the official organisation "Stanford University". Note that the Personal Name component is not mandatory in X.400 electronic mail addresses. The following addresses is thus allowed, even though all organisations may not be able to handle incoming mail with such addresses: O=3DStockholm University/ADMD=3DSunet/C=3DSE or OU1=3DSubscription department/O=3DScientific American/A=3DCompuserve/C=3DUS In the 1988 version of X.400 there is an alternative to the personal name called "common name" which can be used to designate other entities than individual persons. In ordinary postal mail, you sometimes indicate whether a message is intended to an individual personally, or to an in- dividual as an employee of an organisation, in the following way: +---------------------------+------------------------------+ ! Format to indicate a ! Format to indicate a letter ! ! personal letter ! to the company ! +---------------------------+------------------------------+ ! John Smith ! Company XYZ ! ! Company XYZ ! Att: John Smith ! ! Box 1234, Small Town ! Box 1234, Small Town ! ----------------------------+------------------------------+ There is no directly corresponding facility in current elec- tronic mail standards. However, X.400 has some facilities which might be used to indicate this. On the P1 envelope, X.400 has a field called Alternate recip- ient allowed. This indicates whether someone else than the named recipient is allowed to open the message. If this field is not included in a message, the message should not be de- livered to an alternate recipient. If, for example, you send a message to an individual who is no longer employed at the company in the e-mail address, this field indicates that someone else should then open the message. In the P2 heading, X.400 has a field called sensitivity with the allowed values personal, private and company-confiden- tial. The absence of this field means that the message is not sensitive in any of the three ways. The value private probab- ly indicates that the message is not intended for the organi- sation itself, but whether the absence of this field should be construed to mean that the message is legally intended for the whole company is not obvious.
REFERENCES [CSNET 1986] Draft Guidelines on CSNET Content. Developed by CSNET Executive Committee 1986. [EARN 1986] The Code of Conduct for EARN Users. Established by EARN Board of Directors, Geneva 1986. [Eklund 1986] God ton och etikett i datorbaserade kommuni-kationssystem, by Anne-Marie Eklund, Department of computer and systems sciences, Stockholm University, IDAK promemoria nr. 47. (In Swedish. English translation of title: Accepted behaviour and etiquette in computer- mediated communication systems.) [Hiltz 1978] The Network Nation, by Star Roxanne Hiltz och Murray Turoff, Addison- Wesley, Massachusetts. [Kiesler 1984] Social Psychological aspects of computer-me-diated communication, by S. Kiesler, J. Siegel and W. McGuire, American Psychologist, 39, 1123-1134. [Palme 1986] Cost-benefit Analysis of Computer- mediated Message Systems. In Information Processing 86, H-J. Kugler(ed.) North-Holland 1986. Proceedings of the IFIP World congress pp 1021-1023. [Palme 1990] SuperKOM referensmanual, kapitlet "Lag och ordning", SuperKOM HB 1991. (In Swedish, English translation of title: SuperKOM reference manual, chapter "Law and order"). [Schwarz 1984] Emily Post for Usenet. Published electronically. [Scientific Communications, Computers and Networks. American 1991] Special issue of Scientific American, September 1991. [Sproull&Kielser Connections =D0 New ways of working in 1991] the networked organisation, by Lee Sproull and Sara Kiesler, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1991. _____ Keywords: Electronic Mail, Message Handling Systems, Computer Conferencing, Bulletin Board Systems, Computer- Mediated Communication, BBS systems, COM, KOM, PortaCOM, SuperKOM, Law, Ethics, Regulation, Usenet News, EARN.