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Re: GILC Alert 1.4
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- Subject: Re: GILC Alert 1.4
- From: Rigo Wenning <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 09 Jan 1998 09:12:23 +0100
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>Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 11:13:17 -0500
>From: "R.S. Toss" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: GILC Alert 1.4
>Volume 1, Issue 4
>December 15, 1997
>Welcome to the Global Internet Liberty Campaign Newsletter
>Welcome to GILC Alert, the newsletter of the Global Internet Liberty
>Campaign. We are an international organization of groups working for
>cyber-liberties, who are determined to preserve civil liberties and human
>rights on the Internet.
>We hope you find this newsletter interesting, and we very much hope that
>you will avail yourselves of the action items in future issues.
>If you are a part of an organization that would be interested in joining
>GILC, please contact us at email@example.com. If you are aware of threats to
>cyber liberties that we may not know about, please contact the GILC members
>in your country, or contact GILC as a whole.
>[A] FOREMOST NEWS
> [A1] GILC Opposes W3C PICS Recommendation
>[B] ROUNDUP OF GLOBAL INTERNET ISSUES
> [B1] Africa/Middle East
> [B1.1] Journalists to Fight Internet Regulation
> [B1.2] Nigerian Journalist Owes It All to Internet
> [B2.1] Mosaic Cyberporn Illegal
> [B2.2] China's IntrAnet
>[B3] Central/South America
> [B3.1] Costa Rica Set to Vote Via Internet
> [B4.1] EU Calls for "Action" to Sanitize (read Sterilize) Internet
> [B4.2] Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) Watches the Watchmen
> [B4.3] Belarus's Captive Press Laws
>[B5] North America
> [B5.1] Court Hears Encryption Case Appeal: Government Attorney Argues, U.S.
>Policy Doesn't Infringe on Free Speech, "Except on the Internet"
> [B5.2] New Internet Coalition Fights Backdoor Censorship
> [B5.3] G8ernet
>[A] FOREMOST NEWS
>[A1] GILC Opposes W3C PICS Recommendation
>Fearing the Platform for Internet Content Selections (PICS) debate has lost
>sight of human rights, civil liberties and personal freedom, the Global
>Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) has issued a statement opposing the W3C
>Proposed Recommendation "PICSRules 1.1."
>GILC relied on already agreed to international covenants in rejecting the
>W3C proposal. For one, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human
>Rights explicitly protects freedom of expression for all and specifically
>the "freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and
>impart information and ideas through any media." That principle was
>reaffirmed in multiple international agreements, including the International
>Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
>GILC also called W3C to task, asking it to hold fast to its mission
>statement: to "realize the full potential of the Web: as an elegant
>machine-to-machine system, as a compelling human-to-computer interface, and
>as an efficient human-human communications system."
>In signing on to the GILC Statement, the members noted: "If these PICS rules
>adopted and implemented, whole masses of people could be quarantined from
>information and news without even knowing they were being cut off."
>"The Internet is a tremendous tool for aiding in the spread of democracy and
>keeping freedom alive. But in the hands of totalitarian governments, PICS
>could transform the Internet into another tool of propaganda and
>The GILC Statement:
>Imaginons un Reseau Internet Solidaire (IRIS):"Labeling and Filtering:
>Possibilities, Dangers, and Perspectives"
>Electronic Frontiers Australia: http://www.efa.org.au
>W3C Proposed Recommendation "PICSRules 1.1" dated 4 November 1997
>[B1] Africa/Middle East
>[B1.1] Journalists to Fight Internet Regulation
>In Namibia, a conference (organized by the International Federation of
>Journalists), and attended by journalists from Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland,
>South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe urged the African media to join the
>current Internet regulation debate.
>Africa News quoted David Lush, chairman of the Namibia Journalists
>Association as saying that most of the discussion is still in the hands of
>the bureaucrats and technocrats. Consequently, ignoring issues such as free
>speech or freedom of access. "If we the media are not involved in these
>debates we will find ourselves with a whole lot of restrictive legislation
>because fundamental rights such as freedom of expression are being left
>out," Lush said.
>Lush fears that governments will continue to do what they are doing: use old
>legislation from colonial times to restrict access to the Internet.
>The International Federation of Journalists: http://www.ifj.org
>[B1.2] Nigerian Journalist Owes It All to Internet
>The Nigerian government is not in the free speech business. Actually, it's
>not in any freedom business. Since 1960, when Nigeria was liberated from
>the United Kingdom, it has only enjoyed 10 years of democratic rule, and 27
>years of military tyranny. With the latter being the order of the day since
>Inter Press Service relays the story of Babafemi Ojudu. In another
>governmental crackdown on the media, Nigeria officials seized the phone
>lines of Ojudu's weekly paper, The News. Ojudu proceeded to "hook up [his]
>laptop to the phones of friends and get in touch with reporters online."
>The Internet has allowed the press in Nigeria to keep "one step ahead of
>It is impossible, he says, to get truthful information from the government.
>Therefore, he surfs the net -- reading news sources and exchanging E-mail.
>Because of the Internet, he is able to "blow the whistle on the regime"
>whenever one of his colleagues is imprisoned.
>Go to the Free Nigeria Movement home page: http://www.FreeNigeria.org
>[B2.1] Mosaic Cyberporn Illegal
>The Okayama District Court, in Japan, recently ruled that sexual pictures
>with easily removed mosaic designs that cover certain pornographic body
>parts are obscene. Two men were sentenced to suspended prison sentences.
>The defense had argued that the images, clothed in mosaic, are saved from
>being obscene because the only way the images could be accessed in their
>original form is for users to actively unclothe them.
>The court dismissed those arguments. The Mainichi Daily News quoted
>Presiding Judge Shigeo Yamamori: "Mosaic designs . . . can be easily removed
>relatively simply and the images the mosaics cover are easily recognizable
>as being obscene. As the software that creates the mosaic is readily
>available, it is simple to remove the mosaic."
>The paper reports the ruling may have far-reaching implications for a
>country that has about 400,000 personal home pages (with some 14,000
>containing pornographic images). This, however, is not the first time
>Internet pornography was before the Japanese courts. Earlier, the Tokyo
>District Court ruled a man who placed mosaic-less pornography on the
>Internet was guilty of breaking obscenity laws.
>[B2.2] China's IntrAnet
>After releasing a set of Internet regulations in February, China appears to
>be moving away from active and obvious law-based censorship. In the not so
>long ago "old days," subscribers registered with the Public Security Bureau
>if they wanted Internet access. They also had to pledge not to view banned
>sites or to use the Internet to "endanger national security." China blocked
>Reuters and CNN and installed technology that scanned the Internet for
>certain words. The Government also warned all users that they were being
>But now, according to the South China Post, Beijing has eased its grip on
>the Internet. Reuters and CNN are accessible. Porn is easy to find. And
>political dissent is available. But is this just a window cracking open
>before backdoor censorship slams the Internet shut?
>The Agence France Presse quoted Peter Lovelock, a telecommunications
>researcher affiliated with Hong Kong University as saying: "China is getting
>away with what the West couldn't get away with -- creating a border for the
>This border takes advantage of the language and technology barriers that
>exist in the nation. Since most of the people read only Chinese, the
>government will provide Chinese-language alternatives to which the Chinese
>will naturally turn. China is also heavily investing to develop a Chinese
>Intranet with "just a few, carefully selected windows onto the outside
>With 600,000 Internet subscribers (or users -- officials don't specify) in
>China today (there were only 40,000 in mid-1995) and more than 100 Internet
>service providers, the aim is not to block out foreign Internet content, but
>to make it unduly burdensome for the vast majority of Chinese, who can't
>read English and have only basic computer skills to get to the material.
>While it will still be possible to access material, it will no longer be
>"point and click," Lovelock added.
>"The China Wide Web (CWW) -- an Intranet project with heavy government
>backing -- appears ready to consolidate all the country's available
>resources to creating a cyberspace safe for China's millions."
>Read WebWeek's piece:
>[B3] Central/South America
>[B3.1] Costa Rica Set to Vote Via Internet
>Come February of next year, the small Central American nation is expected to
>host an historical development: online elections. Costa Rica's 3.4 million
>citizens are required to vote, but registration requirements keep many of
>them from casting a ballot. All Costa Ricans are registered at the time of
>birth and at the city of birth; unless they re-register, they have to travel
>to the place where they were born to vote. The government actually
>subsidizes transportation for the voters.
>Brett Amdur, a teaching fellow at the Villanova Law School in Philadelphia,
>USA, and one of the three North American coordinators of Project Costa Rica
>is quoted in HotSeat as saying: "That means it's a huge government expense
>on election day, because most people in Costa Rica would admit, an
>atmosphere of something of a national holiday on election day, because
>people get to travel all over the country and return to their town of
>origin, and see old friends."
>By January, all Costa Rican high schools and about 50% of grade schools will
>be equipped with computers. Therefore, instead of traveling all day to
>return to her hometown to vote, a mother would simply enter her child's
>school and cast her ballot there.
>While Amdur thinks that Costa Rican's don't have a "sophisticated knowledge
>of the Internet," he relies on a 94% literacy rate (one of the highest in
>the world), to make the transition easy.
>One of the difficulties, however, is ensuring privacy. AT&T's Lorrie Cranor
>said, "you never want it to be possible to link a ballot with the person who
>cast it. And that offers some very unique requirements, and really that was
>[AT&T]'s primary concern in designing this system, because with audit trails
>and with backups, if you should mistakingly end up in a situation where you
>get more votes than you were supposed to have, you can correct this. But if
>you somehow find out how somebody's vote is linked back to them, it's too
>late, you can't undo it. So this was really the most important requirement,
>and we think we've come up with some solutions to address that pretty well."
>Another difficulty is preventing massive voter fraud. Amdur added that
>everything will happen locally. "Each voter will present an identification
>number to someone at a registration desk, and the registration clerk will
>enter that voter's name into a machine that's local at each polling station.
>The Internet will then be used to verify that that voter has not actually
>voted before, and also to deliver the appropriate ballot for that voter. So
>that the Internet will serve a registration function to assure that the
>voter does not make multiple votes, and to assure that the voter is getting
>the proper ballot."
>Originally, voters were to cast both paper and electronic ballots. Last
>week, however, Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Council voted not have the
>experiment on election day, but on another day. If the experiment is
>successful, Costa Rica may have a totally Internet-based election in 2002.
>For more information about the Costa Rica Project: http://www.cilp.org/costa
>To read the HotSeat Transcript:
>Read the NY Times article about the project:
>[B4.1] EU Calls for "Action" to Sanitize Internet
>The European Commission has issued an Action Plan to keep illegal and
>"harmful" material off the Internet. This plan will cover the years 1998 to
>2001 and cost an estimated ECU 37 million. AFX News reported the plan aims
>to "promote content monitoring schemes developed by access providers,
>content providers and network operators." According to Reuters, the
>Commission seeks to encourage European content providers to rate their
>The Action Plan called for "internationally compatible and interoperable
>rating and filtering schemes . . . used to protect users, especially
>children, against undesirable content."
>According to the European Report: The plan separates "illegal content" from
>"harmful content." "The first (for example, pornography involving children
>or incitement to racism) must be treated at the source by the police and
>judicial authorities, whose activities are directed by national statutes and
>legal cooperation agreements; it can also be combated through codes of
>conduct and self-regulation mechanisms involving the industry itself. The
>second category is not "illegal" but is likely to be harmful to certain
>categories of users. It can be dealt with by offering sensitive users
>filtering or classification systems.
>The Commission went on to identify three targeted areas. The first area of
>"action" involves creating "a safe environment through hot-lines and
>industry self-regulation." This network of "hot-lines" gathers information
>and deals with illegal content. The Commission's press release states: "The
>Action Plan envisages to establish a European network of hot-lines, and
>links between this network and hotlines in third countries, develop common
>approaches and stimulate transfer of know-how and best practice.
>Furthermore, it is foreseen to develop guidelines at the European level for
>codes of conduct, to build consensus for their application, and support
>The second targeted area focuses on applying "effective" filtering systems
>to the Internet. The Commission claims that filtering systems actually
>"empower the user to select the content he/she wishes to receive."
>Finally the Commission calls for "awareness actions." Here, it means "the
>dissemination of information from access providers to customers and develop
>material for use in educational institutions."
>According to the European Report, the Action Plan is based on Article 130 of
>the Treaty between member-states; and the Council of Ministers, after a
>single consultation of the European Parliament, must approve it unanimously.
>To read the EU's Press Release:
>[B4.2] Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) Watches the Watchmen
>The United Kingdom-based civil liberties organization, and member of the
>Global Internet Liberty Campaign, recently released "Who Watches the
>Watchmen: Internet Content Rating Systems, and Privatised Censorship." In
>it, CR&CL (UK) demonstrates why Internet regulation debates should be open
>forums involving the general public, instead of inaccessible tête-à-têtes
>between industry and government organizations.
>Last July, one such tête-à-tête (Eurim, a UK body made up of members of
>parliament, industry representatives and special interest groups) concluded
>that the current legal structure is inadequate; the government needs new
>laws and new regulations to deal with the Internet. CR&CL (UK) strongly
>disagrees. The report shows that the current state of UK laws are more than
>adequate to deal with Internet related matters.
>Furthermore, "Who Watches the Watchmen" attacks the call for further
>Internet regulation as groundless by using a four-pronged attack: (1) There
>is no pressing need in fact; (2) National legislation is the wrong response;
>(3) There is a confusion between illegal and harmful content; (4) Adults
>should not be treated as children.
>The distinction between children and adults is further clarified. Yaman
>Akdeniz, founder of CR&CL (UK), argues: "The regulation of potentially
>‘harmful content' such as pornography on the Internet and regulation of
>invariably illegal content such as child pornography are different in nature
>and should not be confused. Any regulatory action intended to protect a
>certain group of people, such as children, should not take the form of an
>unconditional prohibition of using the Internet to distribute certain
>content that is freely available to adults in other media."
>The report also critiques Platforms for Internet Content Selections (PICS).
>"While apparently being voluntary and fair, this kind of system is likely to
>end up being a serious burden on content providers. . . . [T]he only way to
>deal with incorrect ratings is to prosecute content providers. That is very
>dangerous and an infringement on free speech."
>Filtering software is not spared either. With about 15 parental blocking
>and filtering products available, parents feel they can keep out pornography
>without blocking other web sites. But that's a false sense of security. "It
>has been reported many times that this kind of software is over inclusive
>and limits access to or censors inconvenient web sites, or filters
>potentially educational materials regarding AIDS and drug abuse prevention."
>Finally, "Who Watches the Watchmen" goes on to highlight the "Dutch Model"
>of fighting child pornography. The Dutch Foundation for Internet Service
>Providers, Dutch Internet users and others have established a hotline that
>takes complaints about the presence of child porn. This has led to a
>"substantial reduction of the amount of child pornography pictures
>distributed from Holland."
>In comparison, the British have the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). But
>the basis of that organization is riddled with problems. First, according
>to the IWF, only 7% of the reported cases of illegal content involving child
>pornography originated from the UK. Furthermore, Akdeniz states, "The Dutch
>Hotline started on a voluntary basis and is not predominantly industry-based
>(as is IWF). The problem, however, is that there are no known prosecutions
>following the activities of either hotlines and that is why I do question
>the effectiveness of these kind of hotlines at a national level with regards
>to a global medium such as the Internet. Finally, removing materials
>containing child pornography from the Internet at a UK level only is near
>futile as material can always be accessed by UK residents from computers
>Read CR&CL (UK)'s Report, 'Who Watches the Watchmen'
>Eurim is at: http://www.eurim.org
>Read EPIC Censorware pages: http://www.epic.org/free_speech/censorware/
>The ACLU "Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?":
>Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Question Internet Filtering
>[B4.3] Belarus's Captive Press Laws
>On October 15th, the Belarusian Parliament's House of Representatives
>adopted new laws dealing with the "free" press. These changes empowered
>Aleksandr Lukashenko to not only shut down any publications he objects to,
>but also to block the distribution of foreign media in Belarus.
>In addition, this power over the media has been individually vested in a
>number of Ministries. The Current Digest of Post Soviet Press reports that
>Belarus's Administrative Code has been altered to allow for the easier
>persecution of dissidents. Now, the chairman and the vice-chairman of the
>State Committee on the Press will have the discretionary right to suspend
>the production of publications, without the involvement of any judicial
>agencies. The Minister of Culture and the Minister of Communications have
>also been vested with these same powers.
>The rules for registration have also been toughened. A publisher who
>"commits an infraction" is stripped of the right to publish another
>newspaper or magazine for two years.
>In the past, the laws exempted publications with circulations fewer than 500
>from registration requirements. Now, even "wall newspapers" are put under
>the watchful eyes of the State Committee on the Press.
>The Current Digest quotes, Belarussian Prime Minister Vladimir Zametalin as
>stating: "Independence of the media and press is a term for laboratory
>Well, the experiment is over. Late last week, the Russian Press Digest
>reported that President Lukashenko stepped up his campaign against a free
>press, by shutting down Svoboda (Freedom), a mass-circulation newspaper
>published by the Belarus opposition.
>But the story will not end there. In the old days of tyranny, the
>underground opposition had no where to run. Today, with the emerging power
>of the Internet, they run on to the information superhighway. Svoboda has
>reappeared on the Internet, in the inside pages of an economic daily.
>Vassili Byaku, a prominent Belarus writer, will continue to fight. He is
>quoted by the Agence France Presse: "The more the regime seeks to suppress
>the truth, the greater the demand for truth becomes. In such circumstances,
>the responsibilities of the remaining independent media are all the
>[B5] North America
>[B5.1] Court Hears Encryption Case Appeal: Government Attorney Argues, U.S.
>Policy Doesn't Infringe on Free Speech, "Except on the Internet"
>In an on-going saga, not soon ending, a Federal appeals court heard
>arguments challenging the government's encryption policy. On Monday,
>December 8, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth
>Circuit sought to review a lower court's ruling that the United States
>unconstitutionally restricts the "export" (including publication and other
>expression) of strong encryption software and source code.
>Under current law it is sometimes legal to send computer source code
>overseas in printed form (the government has said it will disallow export
>even of books if they are printed in an easily-OCRable font). But if a
>professor (like Daniel J. Bernstein, around whom the appeal centers) puts it
>on a disk or sends it via E-mail, he needs to be licensed as a munitions
>dealer and obtain an arms-trading license.
>Prof. Bernstein, while a graduate student at the University of California at
>Berkeley in 1995 sued the U. S. State Department when he tried to publish
>and teach about his software encryption program, Snuffle. The government
>told Bernstein he would have to submit his ideas about cryptography for
>review, apply for (though, he wouldn't necessarily get) a government license
>and register as an arms dealer.
>Over 400 pages of briefs served as ammunition for the three sitting judges,
>who pelted both sides with questions during a grueling 45-minute hearing.
>Zdnet quoted Judge Betty Fletcher: "There are all kinds of communications in
>today's world that need encryption, and need strong encryption. In arguing
>that national security overrides the First Amendment, the government has a
>harder case to prove."
>The government argues that the regulations just control the "function" of a
>"product" -- the ability of encryption software to keep information private.
>But opponents contend this argument is nonsensical, because software has no
>"function" other than to instruct a computer to do something -- a "function"
>that is expression in and of itself.
>The government's attorney, Scott McIntosh, representing the U.S. Department
>of Commerce and Department of State and the National Security Agency, argued
>that the intent was not to restrict the content of the speech but rather the
>medium. The New York Times reported that the judges seemed skeptical when
>McIntosh added, "The regulation doesn't stop anyone from speaking, including
>Professor Bernstein, except on the Internet."
>Cindy Cohn, who is representing Bernstein pro bono (with financial backing
>from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a GILC founding member), cited the
>recent Supreme Court ruling in Reno v. ACLU and legal precedent from the
>Pentagon Papers decision and urged the appeals court to affirm the lower
>court's ruling. Cohen was joined by a friend-of-the-court brief signed by
>many American members of GILC: Electronic Privacy Information Center;
>American Civil Liberties Union; Center for Democracy and Technology;
>Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility; Human Rights Watch;
>Internet Society; and Privacy International.
>In August, District Court Judge Marilyn Patel ruled that computer source
>code (a "recipe" for software -- used to create "object code," or what most
>of us think of as a software program) is protected expression under the
>First Amendment, just like a poem or a novel. Patel's ruling invalidated the
>government's licensing scheme as an unconstitutional prior restraint on a
>software author's free speech rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that
>prior restraints on free speech are the least tolerable infringement on
>First Amendment rights. The Court in 1976, held: "A prior restraint . . .
>has an immediate and irreversible sanction. It can be said that a threat of
>criminal or civil sanction after publication ‘chills' speech, prior
>restraint ‘freezes' it . . ."
>Under current U.S. law, the government may impose valid time, place and
>manner restrictions on speech when they: (1) are not viewpoint-based; (2)
>are narrowly tailored to (3) serve a substantial government interest; and
>(4) leave open alternate channels of communication. Additionally, (5)
>speech may not be conditioned on obtaining a license or permit from a
>government official in that official's boundless discretion.
>Judge Patel reasoned, "[w]hile the export of a commercial cryptographic
>software program may not be undertaken for expressive reasons, that same
>activity is often undertaken by scientists for PURELY expressive reasons."
>(emphasis in original).
>Judge Patel went on to defend the expressive freedom of academics: "By the
>very terms of the encryption regulations, the most common expressive
>activities of scholars -- teaching a class, publishing their ideas, speaking
>at conferences, or writing to colleagues over the Internet -- are subject to
>a prior restraint by the export controls when they involve cryptographic
>source code or computer programs."
>She also berated the government's regulation exempting most printed
>materials from the law. While it appears to protect some speech, it is "so
>irrational and administratively unreliable that it may well serve to only
>exacerbate the potential for self-censorship," Patel wrote in her 32-page
>Finally, Patel relied on Reno v. ACLU to find the government's distinction
>between hard-copy and electronic publication to be "not only irrational, it
>may be impermissible under traditional First Amendment analysis."
>Stanton McCandlish, Electronic Frontier Foundation program director, said:
>"The Bernstein case's outcome will probably play a crucial role in
>determining the future shape of privacy, free expression, and online
>commerce, all of which increasingly depend upon encryption. The current
>regulatory regime is akin to making it illegal to provide envelopes and
>locks or to tell people how to make their own."
>The Ninth Circuit will either decide the case in favor of the Government or
>Bernstein, or it might return the case to Judge Patel. Either way, the case
>is highly likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
>Read Judge Patel's ruling:
>Read EFF's press release on Judge Patel's ruling:
>Read the government's press release:
>[B5.2] New Internet Coalition Fights Backdoor Censorship
>In response to a White House-endorsed and industry-sponsored initiative (the
>Internet/Online Summit in Washington, D.C.) in early December, more than two
>dozen organizations have formed the Internet Free Expression Alliance
>(IFEA). IFEA is concerned with both "legal and technological" threats to
>freedom of expression on the Internet; and IFEA wants to guarantee that
>industry proposals to rate or filter online content do not interfere with
>"Internet speakers' [ability] to reach the broadest possible interested
>audience and that Internet listeners are able to access all material of
>interest to them."
>On Monday, December 1, the IFEA coalition held a news conference at the
>National Press Club in Washington to address the free speech issues raised
>by the Internet/Online Summit. Among other organizations, the American
>Civil Liberties Union, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility,
>Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Electronic Privacy Information
>Center (members of GILC) answered questions from the press.
>U.S. Vice President Albert Gore addressed the two-day Summit. He attempted
>to sweep aside censorship fears and warned against "a huge nationwide
>backlash" if the industry didn't push content rating and filtering schemes.
>The chance for a "photo-op" did not get lost on the VP. Surrounded by
>children, Gore proclaimed that the Department of Education has issued a
>parents' guide to the Internet. He also called on holding a national "town
>meeting" in the Fall of 1998 and introduced a "Cyber-Tips Hotline"
>(1-800-843-5678) where people could complain about online offenses.
>The online industry also promised new initiatives. Reuters reported that
>America Online reminded the audience that AOL already has an extensive
>collection of parental controls but will soon add enhancements. USA Today
>reported that Time-Warner will loan Fred Flintstone, the Three Little Pigs
>and Scooby-Doo to AOL for safety education. Both Time-Warner and Disney
>showed products designed to enable parents to limit access to every aspect
>of the Internet.
>Cybertimes reported that Christine Varney, a former Federal Trade Commission
>member and chairwoman of the Summit, called these initiatives a "part of the
>ongoing effort by the private sector to create a safe medium that provides
>education and entertainment for American families."
>Are we building a "safe medium" or a bland and incomplete one, asks IFEA.
>David Sobel, of Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC is a GILC
>founding member), spoke to the New York Times about an experiment EPIC
>conducted. The privacy center searched for "Thomas Edison" using the
>AltaVista search engine and found 11,522 references; a new "family-friendly"
>search engine found only nine. "If this kind of service becomes ubiquitous,
>then a vast amount of valuable information is going to disappear from view,
>and in effect the Internet as we currently know it and as the Supreme Court
>described it will be destroyed," Sobel argued.
>That information and more can be found in EPIC's new report, "Faulty
>Filters: How Content Filters Block Access to Kid-Friendly Information on the
>Internet." In it, EPIC found that "in many cases, the [family-friendly]
>search service denied access to 99 percent of material that would otherwise
>be available without the filters. We concluded that the filtering mechanism
>prevented children from obtaining a great deal of useful and appropriate
>information that is currently available on the Internet."
>Barry Steinhardt, of the American Civil Liberties Union (the ACLU is a GILC
>founding member) said at the IFEA news conference that, "A headlong mad rush
>to embrace private systems of censorship pose as great a threat to the
>Internet as government censorship."
>Internet Free Expression Alliance: http://www.ifea.net
>To Read the "Parent's Guide to the Internet": http://www.ed.gov
>The Cyber-Tips Hotline: http://www.missingkids.com/cybertip
>The full EPIC report on "Faulty Filters":
>The ACLU Press Release: http://www.aclu.org/issues/cyber/censorware.html
>The cyber-sky is falling. Well, that's what a meeting of the Group of Eight
>will lead us to believe. Fearing a spree of "lawlessness on the Internet,"
>Attorney General Janet Reno called a meeting of international leaders in
>Washington D.C. to address ways in which the nations can work together to
>identify and fight what she terms "cybercriminals."
>With the Internet explosion that is expected to reach 268 million computers
>in four years, the world's leading justice and interior ministers discussed
>the criminal use of the Internet. Cybercriminals threaten democracy, they
>say. For example, last year the San Francisco-based Computer Security
>Institute polled over 500 companies or government organization and found
>that 75% had "incurred substantial financial losses at the hands of computer
>criminals." The Agence France Presse cites the FBI as estimating that
>computer crime cost 10 billion USD a year. Even the secured halls of the
>United States Pentagon aren't safe. 1995 hackers attacked it 250,000 times
>and had a 64% success rate. The Justice Department and the Central
>Intelligence Agency also reported hackings.
>The members agreed to a 10-point plan, which includes: the need to better
>train personnel, quicker reaction times and conservation of data that can be
>later used in court; legal norms to authenticate electronic data and on
>cooperating with the high-tech industry.
>Central to the plan is the 24 hour availability of enforcement officers with
>computer expertise to help with international investigations of online
>crimes: fraud, money laundering and child pornography. "This will enable us
>to more immediately track down computer criminals or lend other critical
>support," Reno said.
>Moreover, members agreed to establish special units tracking cybercrimes,
>regardless of national origin.
>The G8 members also agreed to preserve information on computer networks and
>to review domestic laws and police staffing levels to guarantee that they
>can adequately discover, thwart and penalize computer crimes. "In taking
>this step, " she said, "information will be less likely to be tampered with
>by criminals, or erased by routine system update procedures."
>The meeting did include some disagreement, however. The Agence France
>Presse reported that French officials wanted governments to ensure computer
>network security while the Americans wanted corporations to shoulder the
>risk. Europeans, in general, were against any idea of a
>"world-Interpol-type body to fight computer crime, saying enforcement should
>remain in the EU." Europeans also disagreed about encryption, "with
>Europeans opposed to granting the FBI keys to decode private information."
>Read the Newsbytes News Network piece on the meeting:
>Raafat S. Toss
>GILC Organizer Developer
>American Civil Liberties Union
>125 Broad Street
>New York, New York 10004
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