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[FYI] (Fwd) High UN Official Calls for Global Attack on Internet Dru

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Date sent:      	Sun, 2 Jul 2000 13:00:32 -0400
Send reply to:  	Law & Policy of Computer Communications
From:           	Matthew Gaylor <freematt@COIL.COM>
Subject:        	High UN Official Calls for Global Attack on Internet Drug

High UN Official Calls for Global Attack on Internet Drug Information


  The UN official in charge of the global body's international drug
  control office called last week for a crackdown on the use of the
  Internet in the drug trade.  But his comments left unclear whether
  he draws a distinction between the use of the Internet to
  disseminate information about drugs and drug policy and its use in
  criminal activity by drug trafficking organizations.

  Pino Arlacchi, head of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime
  Prevention (ODCCP, http://www.undcp.org), based in Vienna, told a
  New York press conference last Thursday that his organization will
  explore giving "universal jurisdiction" to Internet drug crimes
  because cyber crime so easily evades traditional national

  Under international law, the only crimes that now qualify for
  universal jurisdiction are genocide and crimes against humanity.

  Because of the global nature of the drug trade, Arlacchi told the
  press conference, "It is extremely difficult to route a case into a
  precise jurisdiction, so we believe this problem is encouraging us
  to go in the direction of universal jurisdiction."

  He said the idea will be explored in depth at a UN symposium at
  year's end in Palermo, Italy, to mark the signing of an
  international convention on organized crime.  The symposium will
  address expanding universal jurisdiction to money laundering and
  Internet crime.

  Arlacchi admitted, however, that use of the Internet in actual
  drug trafficking or for online drug sales is "very small, it is

  Arlacchi's remarks provided hints that he has more than drug
  traffickers' use of the Internet in mind.  The former Italian
  Mafia prosecutor added that, "The Internet is more and more
  important in providing exchanges of information, in expanding the
  market, particularly the final market, and we are very worried about

  Arlacchi said that by searching one key word, which he refused to
  identify, "You receive advice on where to find drugs, you receive a
  lot of extremely dangerous information."

  Even worse, in the drug bureaucrat's view, "You can enter a
  completely different world where the issue [drug policy] is
  treated in the opposite view as it should be.  Unfortunately,
  some of these views are spreading and we are now thinking about some
  instrument to at least stop the expansion of this flow of

  The preceding statement appears clearly directed not at drug
  traffickers but at organizations and individuals expressing
  policy preferences different from those of the UN ODCCP.

  To Sarah Andrews, policy analyst for the Electronic Privacy
  Information Center, a non-profit civil liberties organization
  (http://www.epic.org), Arlacchi's remarks "sound like an argument
  for censorship."

  Andrews told DRCNet that Arlacchi's proposal should be seen in
  context.  "This is part of a larger attempt to control the
  Internet on the international level," she noted.  "The European
  Union has drafted similar legislation," she said, adding that "this
  reprises the arguments about cryptography, where law enforcement
  officials spoke of dire threats but the number of crimes linked to
  it is really small."

  Andrews said EPIC would oppose such a move by the UN.  "This is an
  exaggerated response to a small problem," she said.  "There is a
  need for security," she added, "but giving law enforcement more
  access to private communications only gives them overreaching

  Another UN drug agency, the International Narcotics Control
  Board, has called on nations to restrict the right of their
  citizens to discuss drug legalization.  (See
  http://reason.com/9808/col.coffin.html for an excellent
  discussion by Phil Coffin in Reason magazine.)

  Arlacchi drew charges of lacking realism after he spearheaded a
  major UN drug summit in 1998; the summit's title was "Drug Free in
  Ten Years: We Can Do It."

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