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Fwd: FC: Net-freedom roundup: Algiers, Malaysia, Burma, Hong Kong...
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>Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 05:59:38 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Declan McCullagh <email@example.com>
>Subject: FC: Net-freedom roundup: Algiers, Malaysia, Burma, Hong Kong...
[Update on situations in Algiers, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore,
European Union, U.K., Hong Kong, China, and Germany. More at
SUSPENDED ALGERIAN DAILY OFFERED INTERNET PAGE
Copyright 1996 Reuter Information Service
PARIS (Sep 30, 1996 1:24 p.m. EDT) - A press freedom watchdog on
Monday offered the suspended Algerian daily La Tribune a page on its
Internet site to give it an airing during the six-month ban.
"Thanks to this initiative, these journalists, banned from writing by
the Algerian authorities, will be able to practice their trade again,"
the Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RsF) said.
An Algiers court suspended La Tribune for six months on September 3
over a cartoon mocking the Algerian flag.
Fifty-seven journalists have been murdered by suspected rebels. RsF
said authorities had suspended or seized newspapers on 55 occasions
and 23 journalists had been held for more than 48 hours since the
conflict broke out over the 1992 cancellation of a general election
fundamentalists were poised to win.
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 27 (Reuter) - Malaysia's prime
minister accused the West on Friday of spreading smut and
violence, particularly on the Internet.
In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Mahathir bin
Mohamad said that although the information age facilitated
worldwide knowledge, it also demeaned moral values.
``Smut and violence gratuitously distributed by criminals
in the North is no less polluting than carbon dioxide
emissions nor less dangerous than drug trafficking.''
In a reference to the United States he said if one great
power could apply its laws to citizens of another country for
drug trafficking ``why cannot countries with different moral
codes extradite the traffickers of pornography for legal
``Before the whole world sinks deeper into moral decay, the
international community should act. Abuse of the ubiquitous
Internet system must be stopped,'' he said.
Politically, he said the monopoly of the West's electronic
media should be broken on so-called world news networks.
``Not only are distorted pictures of our countries being
broadcast but our own capacity to understand what is happening
is being undermined,'' he said.
``It is boring almost. And yet nothing much has been done
which could bring about amelioration of this sad state of
affairs, `` he said.
RANGOON, BURMA, 1996 SEP 27 (NB) -- Burma has made owning, using,
importing or borrowing a modem or fax machine without government
permission a crime, punishable by up to 15 years in jail,
according to a report by United Press International.
Burma's military government has imposed what's called "The
Computer Science Development Law" which empowers the Ministry of
Communications, Posts and Telegraphs to specify what exactly can
be restricted, UPI reports.
UPI quotes the government-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar as
saying the same punishment is prescribed for anyone who sets up a
link with a computer network without the prior permission of the
ministry, or who uses computer network and information technology
"for undermining state security, law and order, national unity,
national economy and national culture, or who obtains or
transmits state secrets."
UPI reports that in July a diplomat, Leo Nichols, died in prison
after he was sentenced to a lengthy term for illegal possession
of fax machines.
SINGAPORE, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Internet users in Singapore are
complaining that a new system to police the massive global
communications network is slowing down access to websites rather than
speeding it up as promised by government officials, news reports said
Earlier this month, special computers called proxy servers began
censoring all requests for websites from Singapore Internet users,
blocking access to those deemed ``objectionable'' by the government.
The proxy servers, which began regulating cyperspace Sept. 15, delay
access to the Internet because they first have to check a list of banned
websites before retrieving requested homepages, the Straits Times
``I've found that it can take twice as long to access the sites I
commonly access,'' said Teo Mei Chin, a 22-year-old undergraduate.
Users pointed out that slower access translated into longer on-line
time and higher telephone bills.
Although many Internet subscribers in the tightly-controlled city-
state anticipated such delays under the new system, the Singapore
Broadcasting Authority assured users access to certain websites would
actually be quicker since the proxy servers are able to store frequently
But Internet users say the filter computers also are dishing up
Walter Wu, who uses the Internet for up-to-date stock market and
business data, said some financial websites he requested were at least a
LONDON, ENGLAND, 1996 SEP 27 (NB) -- By Steve Gold. The British
government has added its support to plans to handle the problem of
child pornography on the Internet. The proposals, which have been
drawn up by the Home Office with assistance from Peter Dawe, the
founder of Pipex, the UK's largest Internet service provider (ISP),
are known as Safety Net.
According to Dawe, recent discussions in the industry, culminating in
a letter from the police to the various ISPs in the UK, has meant
there is considerable pressure on the ISP industry to exercise a
degree of self-regulation.
"Public opinion said that something had to be done. I came to the
conclusion that it was going to be impossible to establish industry-
wide consensus on how to tackle this issue," he said, adding that the
idea of Safety Net is gathering support in the UK ISP community.
According to Dawe, Safety Net has the backing of the Internet Service
Provider's Association (ISPA), as well as the London Internet
Exchange, two groups which claim to represent most of the ISPs
currently operating in the UK.
Quite how the ISPs will tackle the problem, such as blocking access to
those Web pages, remains to be seen, but Dawes claims that the ISPs
will have no excuse in law of being unaware of offending Web pages and
BRUSSELS (Reuter) - European Union telecommunications
ministers, reacting to a child-sex scandal in Belgium, pledged
Friday to consider ways to keep illegal material that could harm
children off the Internet.
Belgian Telecommunications Minister Elio Di Rupo announced
that his government planned to implement new measures requiring
Internet access providers to monitor and report material
featuring sexual abuse or exploitation of children.
He asked his colleagues to join forces with him.
``Today a big legal vacuum exists, for legislation is
falling behind technological evolution,'' he said, according to
a speaking note that was distributed to reporters.
``There is a big risk that it will create an enormous market
of children fed on by criminals.''
The ministers agreed to expand a working party that has
already been set up to look at the question of illegal material
on the Internet and asked it to come up with concrete proposals
before they meet again in November.
The group will include representatives of the 15 EU telecoms
ministries and of companies that provide access to online
services or prepare the content, a statement adopted by the
The accord follows an agreement by EU justice ministers in
Dublin Thursday to extend the scope of the EU police agency
Europol so it can fight the sex trade in women and children. The
moves come in the wake of the discovery in Belgium of a
paedophile network and the murders of four young girls.
But some of the telecoms ministers, including those from
Britain and Sweden, warned that the EU could not wander into
censorship and had to focus on fighting truly illegal material.
CENTRAL, HONG KONG, 1996 SEP 26 (NB) -- By Eric Lai. A Hong Kong
Internet enthusiast is claiming that his Web site, featuring
sexually suggestive photos of himself, was forcibly removed by his
Internet service provider (ISP) two days ago in a seeming act of
Donald Tu, 32, is a former radio and TV presenter and aspiring
bodybuilder and model. In May, he put up his Web site,
http://members/hknet.com/~hkstud/ , which featured photos of himself
topless, often wearing nothing more than wet, slightly transparent
briefs, posing in a studio and outdoors at scenic locations around
Tu, who was interviewed on last night's premiere of the Dataphile
On-Air radio show, says his site has received thousands of "hits"
coupled with encouraging e-mail, especially after a local Chinese
language newspaper on September 17 reviewed his Web site.
But a single complaint outweighs those thousands of positive comments,
at least according to his Web host, HKNet. After receiving a single
complaint from a member of the public, HKNet wrote to Tu on Tuesday
that "the government may take action against the site because of its
content and 'exposure,' based on the letter of the law governing
obscene and indecent materials, and recent experiences in its
enforcement. Therefore, we have made the decision to bar access to
the questionable materials for the time being."
But ISPs which censor and regulate content are not currently being
compelled by the government, according to a spokesperson at the
Broadcasting, Culture, and Sport Branch. The Branch has been devising
Internet content regulations all summer which should be announced
BEIJING, Sept 27 (Reuter) - China's Communist Party chief
Jiang Zemin moved on Friday to tighten the communists' grip on
the state media and to strengthen his position with a blaze of
publicity before a party plenum.
He used a visit to the Beijing offices of the People's
Daily, the party mouthpiece, to deliver a hardline speech on the
importance of maintaining communist control of all media, the
newspaper reported, splashing the news and three photographs of
Jiang across its front page.
Diplomats said the speech by Jiang was aimed at bringing
back into line Chinese writers and more daring media
organisations that have tried to push the limits of propaganda
``Historical experience has proved repeatedly that whether
guidance of news is right or wrong has to do with the party
growing strong ... the solidarity of the people and the
prosperity of the nation,'' Jiang said.
27-29 Sept 96
by Wendy Grossman
London, 26 September
Last Monday, a unified front of British police, government, and
representatives of leading ISPs announced proposals for cracking down
on illegal material available on the UK's portion of the Internet. The
first target is child pornography, but the protagonists have already
said they've set their sights on other types of illegal material such
as copyright violations, obscenity, and possibly hate speech.
Called R3/Safety-Net, the proposals were presented to the media by
Science and Technology Minister Ian Taylor and representatives from
the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), the London
Internet Exchange (LINX), and the Home Office, which is the government
department charged with law enforcement.
As it turns out, Demon and the Department of Trade and Industry had
been talking without publicity for months about taking action against
obscenity on the Net. But the media raised the pressure, as did
complaints on uk.censorship about a list of 133 newsgroups that
Superintendent Mike Hoskins of the Clubs and Vice unit of the
Metropolitan Police had sent ISPs as a guide to the location of
illegal material. Hoskins and the ISPs all swear no threat was
intended or taken, but the underlying tone was still: You do something
about it, or we'll do something about it. R3/Safety-Net is that
No one is going to oppose these measures. How can they, when the 1994
revision of the Criminal Justice Bill allows the police to arrest,
without warrant, people suspected of obscenity and certain child
pornography offenses? Child pornography is, of course, illegal to
create, distribute, or possess in Britain. For the purposes of the
Obscene Publications Act and the Protection of Children Act, if
something looks like a child in a sexual act, it is child pornography.
So it seemed like with Monday's announcement, everybody wins - almost.
The government gets to look like it's doing something big. The ISPs
get to stay out of jail. The police get to arrest people. Peter Dawe
gets to be a hero. Britain gets to be a world leader. And we get ...
well, what do we get? We get the certain knowledge that they will not
stop here. They have already said so. Books like the Anarchist's
Cookbook are banned here in print, and in a country where last Monday
police seized a massive haul of IRA explosives intended to rearrange
the landscape, the argument for letting people read
alt.engr.explosives is likely to lead to the withdrawal of reference
books from the public libraries. Britain has an Official Secrets Act,
not a Freedom of Information Act.
Government can proceed only with the consent of the governed, and on
Monday what that unified panel asked for was our trust. They will not
censor free speech; it's just the small percentage of illegal stuff
they want cleaned up. So we're left asking before every move, "Daddy,
is this illegal?"
Subject: Germany Bans Web Pages for Minors - and ALL
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 13:37:52 +0100 (MET)
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ulf Moeller)
Organization: private site, Hamburg (Germany)
From: email@example.com (Ulf Moeller)
The report is essentially correct. In Hamburg, the prosecutors
decided themselves that AOL had done nothing illegal, so as far as I
know there was no court decision.
Also, it appears that said Federal Office is neither responsible
for electronic nor for foreign publications. I think the minister
is trying to spead FUD.
>Subject: Germany Bans Web Pages for Minors - and ALL
>Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 06:46:58 GMT
According to Germany's leading tabloid paper "Bild" (Saturday
edition), Federal Minister for Familiy Affairs, Claudia Nolte
(Christian-Democrat), in an unprecedented decision
has formally had several Web pages banned
for being "X"-rated by the "Federal Office for the Evaluation
of Literature Hazardous to Minors".
These are pages featured by Ernst Zuendel, a leading political
revisionist located in Canada whose purportedly "Neo-Nazi"
views have been the subject of much controversy in Germany.
Ms Nolte is quoted as saying: "It is not tolerable that the
Internet should be an island with special privileges, on which
thoughtless or unscrupulous providers may pursue their infamous
activities with impunity."
This effectively forces Internet providers to restrict minors'
access to said pages - a technical impossibility since most
minors accessing the net are be using their parents' accounts.
No "Netwatch" or other self-censorship software will
suffice to conform with this provision, as it is THE PROVIDERS,
not the kids' legal guardians who have to comply with this
Following a recent decision by the State of Hamburg's Supreme
Constitutional Court to the effect that service providers cannot be
held responsible for possibly illegal contents of data transfers
via their networks (here, AOL was accused of disseminating
child pornography), this move must be regarded as a circumvention
tactics to put the thumbscrews on ISPs nevertheless by invoking
Minors Protection legislation instead.
(Also note that the Hamburg decision ruled that email message were
protected by privacy laws as any snail mail letter - hence, providers
could not be expected to monitor their contents as this would
violate constitutional rights.)
This implies that German based ISPs (including AOL's and Compuserve's
local services) will actually have to ban ALL GENERAL access to the
Zuendel pages from their systems unless they are willing to risk
running afault of the law.
[Posted to soc.culture.singapore through an anonymous remailer in\
Germany. No wonder the SBA wants to censor the Net! --Declan]
Mon, 23 Sep 1996 01:32:06 soc.culture.singapore Thread 228 of 350
Lines 18 SBA is screwed!! No responses
firstname.lastname@example.org Squirrel Remailer
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fight-censorship is at http://www.eff.org/~declan/fight-censorship/
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