[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[FYI] (Fwd) [NEWS] Europe Debates Cybercrime Treaty

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Thu, 8 Mar 2001 01:42:38 -0500
From:           	"David L. Sobel" <sobel@epic.org>
Subject:        	[NEWS] Europe Debates Cybercrime Treaty
To:             	gilc-plan@gilc.org
Send reply to:  	gilc-plan@gilc.org


Tuesday March 6 1:24 PM ET

Europe Debates Cybercrime Treaty

By ANGELA DOLAND, Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) - As Europe moves closer to an ambitious
international treaty on cybercrime, Internet industry
specialists on Tuesday raised concerns that the final version
might endanger users' privacy.

Four years in the works and now in its 25th draft, the Council
of Europe's treaty is likely to be ready for signature by year's
end. But some industry observers say the convention could stifle
the Net's free-for-all nature by giving governments too much

On Tuesday, the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly
convened a panel of private Internet experts, police officers
and academics in Paris to debate the controversial text in front
of reporters for the first time.

The treaty, drafted by representatives of the 43-nation Council
of Europe, covers the destruction of data or hardware - such as
the damage caused by the Love Bug virus - as well as online
child pornography, copyright theft and other Internet crimes.

Computer attacks still are not universally recognized as crimes.
The speakers agreed that the council's work was an important
step toward standardizing laws on cybercrimes.

But Fred Eisner, a consultant for the Dutch government and
private companies, said the draft made unfair demands on
Internet service providers by asking them to track Web users'
online movements.

``This draft convention lacks balance,'' Eisner told the
assembly. ``The convention explicitly gives much more power to
law enforcement agencies and it has no system of checks and

Bruce McConnell, president of McConnell International, a
Washington-based consulting firm, said the treaty should be more
forceful in protecting the privacy of Web users - who are
already worried about being spied on.

``There is concern that the powers of surveillance ... are not
balanced by comparable protections for individuals' privacy,''
he said.

When the draft convention was declassified in April 2000,
concerned Web users flocked to chat rooms and set up newsgroups
to talk about what they perceived as a threat to Net freedom.

The council has addressed many of their concerns in more than
two dozen version of the text, and it is not likely to evolve
much before it is ratified and opened for country signatures,
said Guy de Vel, the council's director of legal affairs.

``Everything has been so carefully weighted, I don't really see
important parts of it changing,'' he said.

Some critics say the treaty doesn't go far enough. They have
slammed it for focusing on financial measures such as copyright
infringement while leaving out provisions to fight online
racism. The United States, which often stresses freedom of
expression over measures to fight hate speech, had pushed to
keep such anti-racism measures out of the treaty.

``You're stopping short of protecting human dignity,'' lawyer
Marc Levy told the group. Levy has represented one of several
French advocacy groups that sued California-based Yahoo! for
hosting online auctions of Nazi memorabilia.

The United States, along with Canada, Japan and South Africa,
has been working with the Council to develop the treaty, and
will have a right to sign on once it is ratified.

Though the U.S. government has endorsed the gist of the treaty,
it is unclear whether the Bush administration might have
objections with the final version, McConnell said.

``The new administration is becoming very interested in the
treaty but is not yet up to speed,'' he said in an interview.
``We still need to see how it will play out.''

. David L. Sobel, General Counsel              *   +1 202 544 9240
(tel) Electronic Privacy Information Center        *   +1 202 547 5482
(fax) 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Suite 301          *   sobel@epic.org
Washington, DC 20003   USA                   *   http://www.epic.org .

------- End of forwarded message -------