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[FYI] (Fwd) E-minister defends snooping law

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Thu, 28 Sep 2000 10:28:09 +0100 (BST)
From:           	Ian Goodyer <goodyer@well.ox.ac.uk>
To:             	UKCrypto <ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk>
Subject:        	E-minister defends snooping law
Send reply to:  	ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk

E-minister defends snooping law

By Steven Mathieson in Brighton
[26 Sep 2000]

Ecommerce minister Patricia Hewitt has defended the UK government's
unpopular Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act as a price
worth paying to fight child pornography. "Some of you will disagree
with the conclusions I've reached," she told a fringe meeting at the
Labour Party conference in Brighton on Tuesday. "We shouldn't kid
ourselves that this will solve hardcore crime on the internet, but we
shouldn't just throw up our hands."

"I'm not prepared as a parent and a civil libertarian to do that," she
told the meeting, which was run by web decency watchdog the Internet
Watch Foundation.

Hewitt, once a noted civil liberties campaigner, detailed the kind of
crime she felt the RIP Act will help to fight.

"The internet has changed the scale of [paedophiles'] operations," she
said. "We know of at least one paedophile club, the admission to which
- and this puts Gary Glitter in the shade - is 10,000 images."

But Hewitt said that technology could let people make their own
choices on censorship, citing the example of a Channel 4 film which
was shown censored on TV - as regulations dictate - and uncensored on
Channel 4's website. "Those who wanted the full frontal [version]
could have it on the net," she said.

"My first reaction was this is ridiculous. But we came to the view
that it opened up greater consumer choice," she said, referring to a
committee that is currently discussing options for the government's
white paper on communications, which is due out by Christmas.

"We have to look at how we empower consumers to make their own
decisions," she added.

The white paper is expected to suggest ways of standardising
regulations between converging types of media such as TV, film and the

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