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[FYI] (Fwd) GILC Alert

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From:           	Chris Chiu <CCHIU@aclu.org>
To:             	"GILC announce (E-mail)" <gilc-announce@gilc.org>
Subject:        	GILC Alert
Date sent:      	Tue, 23 Jul 2002 12:07:11 -0400

GILC Alert
Volume 6, Issue 5
23 July 2002

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 <gilc@gilc.org>. 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. Please feel free to redistribute
this newsletter to appropriate forums.

Free expression
[1] Beijing Net censorship grows after cybercafe fire 
[2] Greenpeace Stop Esso website logo flap
[3] Danish court rules against deep weblinks 
[4] New Zimbabwe Internet censorship case
[5] Tunisian gov't jails Net protestor
[6] ICANN nixes public elections
[7] Spain approves controversial Info Society bill
[8] Italian police censor US-hosted sites
[9] Korean music website loses in court
[10] Yahoo email censorship program revealed
[11] 2600 magazine's Net speech fight ends
[12] Australian bill would hide Net censor details
[13] New initiative to protect anonymous speech online

[14] French LOPSI bill endangers Net privacy
[15] British Net personal info sharing plan shelved
[16] Australian government rejects email spying plan
[17] Microsoft Palladium plan causes privacy worries
[18] Korean e-commerce privacy abuses revealed
[19] US bill would allow Hollywood computer attacks

[20] New GILC member: Stop 1984

[1] Beijing Net censorship grows after cybercafe fire 
Over the past month, the mainland Chinese government has tightened its
grip on Internet dissent through a number of harsh measures.

Among other things, Chinese authorities have forced many cybercafes
across the country to shutdown. Government agents have closed nearly
2400 Internet cafes in Beijing alone; similar efforts have been
launched in other cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou (Canton),
Tianjin and Shenzhen. Although a few cybercafes have since reopened,
they are being required to get or renew government licences, and to
install powerful Internet blocking packages such as Filter King.
Filter King not only censors such items as foreign news and religious
information, but can also record users' attempts to access banned
information and send reports to the police. In addition, the Chinese
government has pressured many Internet service providers and Web
portals to sign "self-discipline" agreements requiring them to curb
"the spread of harmful information," including materials deemed
"harmful to national security or social stability." 

These moves came after a deadly fire at a Beijing cybercafe several
weeks ago. Although Chinese officials claim that these measures were
necessary due to public safety concerns, many observers believe that
the fire merely provided an excuse for the government to clamp down on
Internet free speech. These suspicions were bolstered when the Chinese
government tried to use the tragedy to justify certain initiatives,
such as the use of Filter King, which had little or nothing to do with
fire prevention. Indeed, some experts have suggested that Beijing's
censorial measures were at least partly responsible for the tragedy by
forcing people into unsafe environments in order to express themselves
freely online.

Meanwhile, new programs are being developed to counter the effects of
Beijing-sponsored censorware. One of these programs, dubbed Six-Four
(in reference to the 4 June 1989 government massacre of Chinese
students in Tienanmen Square), is a special peer-to-peer protocol that
will allow users to create virtual private networks and tunnel past
Internet blocking schemes. Six-Four, which was unveiled at a recent
H2K2 hackers conference in New York, will be formally released
sometime next year.

For further information, visit the Digital Freedom Network (DFN-a GILC
member) website under http://dfn.org/news/china/cafe-reopen.htm

See "Beijing Internet cafes reopen after fire," Reuters, 18 July 2002
at http://news.zdnet.co.uk/cgi-bin/uk/printer_friendly.cgi?id=2119332 

To read the text of the "Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for China
Internet Industry," click

See "Net portals pledge to axe 'subversive content'," South China
Morning Post, 16 July 2002 at

See "China internet firms 'self-censoring'," BBC News Online, 5 July
2002 at
8530.s tm

Read "Deadline tightens mainland Net crackdown," South China Morning
Post, 1 July 2002 at

For more on attempts to restrict cyber-café operations in Hong Kong,
see "Cyber-café regulations unveiled," South China Morning Post, July
18, 2002 at

For more on Filter King censorware, read "Cyber-cafes 'ordered to
install spy programs' after fire," South China Morning Post, 29 June
2002 at

For further details in French (Francais), read Jerome Thorel, "Les
portails chinois pretent serment a la censure politique," ZDNet
France, 17 July 2002 at

For information in German (Deutsch), see Katja Seefeldt, "China macht
das Netz dicht," Heise Telepolis, 17 July 2002 at

Read "Hackers target web censorship," BBC News Online, 15 July 2002 at

See also Eric Auchard, "Hackers Take Aim," Reuters, 15 July 2002 at

[2] Greenpeace website logo flap
A veteran environmental group is facing several lawsuits in connection
with doctored logos that were posted on its protest websites.

In one of these cases, Greenpeace, along with several coalition
partners, has been waging a campaign against petroleum giant Esso,
claiming that the firm has done "more than any oil company to block
international action on global warming." As part of this campaign, it
created a special logo based on Esso's insignia, but replaced the
double "s" in Esso with a double dollar sign ("$$"). These logos were
posted on several Greenpeace-related websites, including a special
"Stop Esso" webpage in France. The oil conglomerate's French
subsidiary then sued Greenpeace's French division and the division's
webhost (Internet FR) in a Paris court, on the grounds that the
altered Esso symbols damaged its reputation (while curiously claiming
that the lawsuit had nothing to do with Greenpeace's right to
protest). The presiding judge threw out the lawsuit against the
webhost, but issued a preliminary injunction against Greenpeace
France's use of the doctored Esso logo pending a full trial; if
Greenpeace fails to comply, it could be fined 5000 Euros per day.

In a statement, Greenpeace called the ruling "a blow to freedom of
expression on the Internet" and "climate protection." One of the
group's spokespeople Stephanie Tunmore, labeled the lawsuit as "just
another attempt by Esso to use its money as a means of continuing its
dirty business unhindered. ... Esso's action in taking Greenpeace to
court has simply made its bad reputation worse." A number of
cyberliberties groups have spoken out in support of Greenpeace,
including Imaginons un Reseau Internet Solidaire (IRIS-a GILC member),
which expressed concern over how trademark laws increasingly were
being used to stifle criticism and otherwise threaten noncommercial

Subsequently, another company sued Greenpeace on similar grounds.
Nuclear processing firm Areva has launched a legal action against
Greenpeace France, Greenpeace New Zealand and Internet FR, over
another protest logo, which had a stylized skull as the shadow of the
firm's corporate symbol. A formal hearing date on this second lawsuit
has yet to be scheduled. 

For more on the Areva lawsuit in French (Francais), read Christophe
Guillemin, "Greenpeace France a nouveau assigne pour detournement de
logo," ZDNet France, 18 July 2002 at

To see Greenpeace's anti-Areva logo, click

To read the text of the Stop Esso ruling (in PDF format), click

A Greenpeace press release on this subject is posted under

The French Stop Esso website is located at

For an Esso press release on this subject (in PDF format), click
eenpea ce_july_8.pdf

An IRIS press release about the French Esso case is available at

[3] Danish court rules against deep weblinks 
A Danish court has ruled that an online news service can provide
weblinks to only the front pages of other Internet sites.

The case involved a lawsuit by the Danish Newspaper Publishers'
Association against Newsbooster, which had provided so-called deep
links to individual Danish newspaper articles. Presiding Judge Michael
Kistrup held that Newsbooster's practices violated Danish copyright
and marketing laws. He barred Newsbooster from creating deep links to
any web content owned by Association members. The judge also went so
far as to ban the service from "reproducing and publishing headlines
from the Internet versions" of Association publications. The case will
now be sent to the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court, which will
decide whether to confirm Kistrup's order within the next few weeks.

The decision provoked derision and scorn from many observers, who fear
that it will hurt free speech and rob the Information Superhighway of
its utility. As legal expert Victor Angeleno pointed out: "Linking is
the way the Web works. If judges continue to rule on a case-by-case
basis against linking, the Web will simply unravel." 

To read a transcript of Judge Kistrup's ruling, click

Read Michelle Delio, "Deep Link Foes Get Another Win," Wired News, 8
July 2002 at http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,53697,00.html

For further background information, see Lisa M. Bowman, "Linking
threats under the radar?" CNet News, 3 July 2002 at

[4] New Zimbabwe Internet censorship case
Attempts by the government of Zimbabwe to punish a journalist for his
Internet articles may have serious global free speech implications.

Andrew Meldrum wrote an article regarding a claim by the Zimbabwe
Daily News that ruling party sympathizers had cut off the head of a
woman in a politically-motivated killing. Meldrum's article was posted
on the website of the British newspaper, The Guardian (which is
otherwise unavailable in Zimbabwe). Subsequently, officials in
Zimbabwe charged him under the country's so-called Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which has been derided by
human rights advocates for helping to stifle free speech while
permitting massive government surveillance. Prosecutors claimed that
the laws of Zimbabwe should apply to Meldrum even though the offending
article was posted on a server in Britain. Although the trial court
cleared the reporter of charges that he "published falsehoods," the
government of Zimbabwe then tried to deport him, claiming he was a
"security risk." The deportation order has been stayed pending a
hearing before the country's Supreme Court.

The Meldrum case is believed to be the first instance where a country
attempted to apply its criminal laws to postings on an overseas
Internet news site. Previous legal disputes focused on the
extraterritorial effect of civil laws (such as defamation) on the
Information Superhighway. Ironically, some experts believe that the
case may have a damaging impact on the government of Zimbabwe, which
previously had argued that the Act was largely domestic in nature in
response to the Act's many critics abroad.

For the latest details, read "Zimbabwe reporter wins reprieve," BBC
News Online, 17 July 2002 at

For further information, visit the Digital Freedom Network (DFN-a GILC
member) website under http://dfn.org/news/zimbabwe/meldrum2.htm 

See also Geoffrey Robertson, "Mugabe versus the Internet," The
Guardian, 17 June 2002 at

[5] Tunisian gov't jails Net protestor
Tunisian authorities have arrested the proprietor of a prominent local
news website.

Zouhair Yahyaoui founded and edited TUNeZINE, which included coverage
of political affairs in the North African nation and materials from
opposition party leaders. Recently, he republished a letter written by
his uncle that deplored the country's legal system. He was then
charged with "knowingly putting out false news" and "stealing"
Internet connection time from the cybercafe where he worked. A
Tunisian court sentenced him to 2 years and 4 months in jail, which
was only reduced by 4 months on appeal.

Not surprisingly, these events have alarmed free speech advocates.
Robert Menard from Reporters Without Borders called the arrest and
prosecution of Yahyaoui "outrageous" and added that Tunisian
"President Ben Ali has committed all kinds of abuses against his
opponents. When is this going to stop?"

For more information in French (Francais), visit the TUNeZINE website
at http://www.tunezine.com/

See also Christophe Guillemin, "Pas de miracle pour le cyberdissident
tunisien," ZDNet France, 12 July 2002 at

For English language coverage, read Dermot McGrath, "Tunisian Net
Dissident Jailed," Wired News, 13 June 2002 at

[6] ICANN nixes public elections
The organization tasked with running the Internet domain name system
has decided to eliminate public elections from its governance

In a resolution, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers has approved a "Blueprint" that, among other things, does not
include any plans to resume ICANN public elections. Instead, under
this scheme, an ICANN Nominating Committee would select Board members.
This decision received a strongly negative response from many
quarters; the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT-a GILC member)
issued a joint statement with Common Cause calling the Blueprint
"fatally flawed in critical areas." Similarly, Jamie Love from the
Consumer Project on Technology savaged the plan as a "cynical,
top-down staff-board-managed PR [Public Relations] exercise that will
... be used by the board to pack key committees ... with cronies."

As ICANN continues to move forward with its plans for reorganization,
many observers believe that the debate will continue at many other
levels, including the United States government, which retains
considerable control over ICANN operations. Indeed, several ranking
U.S. Congressmen sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans
stating that they "desire to see some specific concepts included in
any reform package to ensure legitimacy and the continued existence"
of ICANN. Among other things, they argued that the domain body "needs
to be an independent review process that provides complainants with a
fair, speedy, and unbiased resolution." The Congressmen also suggested
that the Department of Commerce should only renew its Memorandum of
Understanding with ICANN for a "short-term ... unless and until ICANN
can show that reforms, necessary to limit its authority and provide
for accountability and transparency, have been implemented."

The text of the ICANN resolution is posted under

For a joint Common Cause-CDT statement on ICANN's decision, click

The text of Congressmen's letter to Secretary Evans is available at

See "Net body under pressure," BBC News Online, 3 July 2002 at

Read "ICANN to Net users: No, you can't," Reuters, 28 June 2002 at

See also David McGuire, "ICANN Critics Consider Options,"
WashingtonPost.com, 28 June
2002 at

For further background information, click

[7] Spain approves controversial Info Society bill
The Spanish government has approved a proposal that critics warn will
seriously erode human rights on the Internet.

The LSSI bill (meaning La Ley de Servicios de la Sociedad de la
Informacion y de Comercio electronico) will essentially allow
"administrative authorities" within the government to shut down
websites. Previously, this exercise of this power required court
approval. Spanish government officials have hinted that they plan to
use these powers to control online content. In addition, the bill
includes provisions allowing customer data to be kept for up to a
year, which government agents may access with the consent of a judge. 

The bill has drawn heavy fire as a serious threat to civil liberties
(particularly freedom of speech). For example, although several
conditions were introduced to clarify in which way "administrative
authorities" are able to shut down sites, a number of observers
believe these supposed safeguards are not enough, and that the power
to shutdown sites should stay in the hands of judges. These and other
concerns have led some experts to claim that the LSSI is
unconstitutional; at least one cyberliberties group, Kriptopolis (a
GILC member), is campaigning to have the LSSI examined by the Spanish
Constitutional Council. 

For more on Kriptopolis' anti-LSSI campaign, click

To read the text of the LSSI bill in Spanish (Espanol), click

See "El Congreso aprueba la 'Ley de Internet' con el voto en contra de
PSOE, IU y PNV," ElPais.es, 27 June 2002 at
unet_1 &type=Tes&d ate=

[8] Italian police censor US-hosted sites
Italian government agents have censored Internet content that was
hosted in the United States. 

A Vatican state newspaper had brought the websites to the attention of
Italian police. According to local authorities, the 5 sites contained
harsh language, which is illegal under Italian law, and included
sexual imagery alongside verbal references to God and the Virgin Mary.
In response, Italian law enforcement officials, who claimed that the
content essentially offended the "dignity of the people," used the
password of one of alleged site creators to remove both the text and
the images, replacing them with the seals of their special unit and
the following proviso: "Site seized by the Head of Rome's Special
Police Force on the orders of Rome's Chief Prosecutor." The site's
authors have yet to be charged with a crime.

This apparent cross-border attempt to censor Internet content is seen
by many experts as a setback for free expression. Last year, a U.S.
Federal court ruled that French speech restrictions could not be
enforced in the United States against content posted in the U.S. by
online portal company Yahoo. The case is currently on appeal.

To see one of the targeted websites (after it was censored), click

Read "Net extends reach of national governments," Associated Press, 22
July 2002 at
ernet_ x.htm

See "Italy gags 'porno' Virgin Mary sites," BBC News Online, 10 July
2002 at

[9] Korean music website loses in court
A court has ruled against the proprietors of a Korean file-trading

Soribada (which means "sea of sound") was created by two Korean
brothers and allowed users to trade MP3 music files with each other.
Soon afterwards, 16 members of the Recording Industry Association of
Korea, including the association's chairman Park Kyung-Joon, sued
Soribada on copyright infringement grounds in the hopes of shutting
down the service. This past week, a local court in Korea sided with
the RIAK, holding that the "operators of Soribada should not allow
Netizens to download or upload MP3 files of songs belonging to the
firms Chairman Park and the 15 others." Towards that end, the tribunal
imposed a 200 million won fine (USD 170,000) on the brothers (to be
paid within 7 days) and essentially ordered them not to use their
servers for file-trading purposes. 

Many Internet users have expressed outrage over the ruling, claiming
that it will damage free expression over the Information Superhighway.
One of them complained: "It's nonsense that the recording industry is
insisting that free exchanges of music files among members of Soribada
constitutes a breach of property rights. Soribada only plays a role of
the middleman in the exchange." Jinbonet, a Korean cyberliberties
group, noted that the legal battle waged against Soribada reflected an
antiquated view of copyrights that failed to take technological
advances into account: "The law enforcement authorities must
understand the paradox of copyrighted music in this new era of digital
media. The decision shows that our society still approaches online
copyright issues from the offline point of view." An appeal of the
ruling is expected shortly.

For the latest details, see Kim Deok-hyun, "Online Music Fans
Challenge Ruling," Korea Times, 15 July 2002 at

See also Lee Chi-dong, "Ruling Against 'Soridaba' Bans MP3 Sharing,"
Korea Times, 12 July 2002 at

[10] Yahoo email censorship program revealed
Internet giant Yahoo has confirmed that it censors its customers'
email messages through an elaborate word-changing scheme.

Under this scheme, which was used for Yahoo's free email service,
replaced words in email messages (and attached files) with other
terms. For example, "mocha" was converted to "espresso" and
"expression" into "statement." The program even altered portions of
words (such as "eval"), so "evaluate" was turned into "reviewuate" and
"medieval" becomes "medievaluate". This censorship system has been
operational since at least March 2001, apparently without any notice
to the people who were affected. 

The company said its program is designed to prevent the spread of
computer viruses-a claim that was viewed with skepticism by many
observers. Technology expert Richard M. Smith charged, "You don't need
to change text of e-mail," and suggested other methods by which Yahoo
could stop malicious attackers (such as deactivating Javascript
programming commands.

See Stefanie Olsen, "Yahoo Mail puts words in your mouth," CNet News,
17 July 2002 at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-944315.html

Read "Yahoo admits mangling e-mail," BBC News Online, 19 July 2002 at

See also "Yahoo! Can Make You Seem Like Yo-Yo," CBS News Online, 18
July 2002 at

[11] 2600 magazine's Net speech fight ends
A closely watched Internet copyright case has ended in disappointment
for free speech activists.

The case, which had lasted over 2 years, revolved around DeCSS--a
primitive computer program that was meant to help users of the Linux
operating system view DVDs on their machines. 2600 magazine provided
information about DeCSS information on its website, the Motion Picture
Association of America (MPAA) sued the publication under the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Last year, a United States Federal
appeals panel upheld a trial court ruling against 2600 magazine that,
among other things, bars the publication from even linking to other
websites that contain DeCSS. 

After the panel refused a request to reconsider its decision, 2600
decided not to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF-a GILC member), which had
represented the magazine during its long legal battle, expressed the
hope that a future dispute "will provide a better foundation for the
Supreme Court to act on the problems created by the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act." EFF staff attorney Robin Gross added that, in the
meantime, "EFF and 2600 magazine will strive to ensure that the public
need not sacrifice its side of the copyright bargain to Hollywood's
fears of piracy."

An EFF press release on this subject is posted under

See Lisa M. Bowman, "Copyright fight comes to an end," CNet News, 3
July 2002 at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-941685.html

[12] Australian bill would hide Net censor details
New legislation could make it more difficult to determine what the
Australian government has censored online.

Proposed changes to the country's Freedom of Information (FOI) Act
would curb access to records regarding a controversial Internet scheme
to regulate web content. Under this complaint-based regime, which was
created nearly 3 years ago, certain websites are supposed to be
screened out or taken down based on guidelines that had previously
been applied to films. The list of affected webpages includes sites
that contain "verbal references to ... suicide, crime, corruption,
marital problems, emotional trauma, drug and alcohol dependency, death
and serious illness, racism, [or] religious issues." 

After the standards took effect, Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA-a
GILC member) requested documents from the Australian Broadcasting
Authority (ABA) regarding what sites had been the subject of
complaints. However, many of the documents that the ABA released in
response were heavily redacted, including such basic information as
the URLs and names of webpages that had been taken down. The new FOI
amendments would allow the ABA and the Office of Film and Literature
Classification (OFLC) to prevent the release of such documents

Free speech advocates are urging the government to reject the
proposal. EFA Executive Director Irene Graham warned that the noted
that the planned FOI changes would greatly limit public oversight:
"The ABA and OFLC could write the name of a 'prohibited' web page on
any document they don't want to release and the entire document would
then be exempt." She called the proposal "an admission by the
Government that its Internet censorship laws have failed to achieve
their objective. If material the government claims has been 'taken
down' was not still accessible, there would be no reason to use FOI
law as a tool of censorship."

An EFA press release on this subject is available under

[13] New initiative to protect anonymous speech online
A number of groups have started a joint initiative to help defend the
right of people to speak anonymously through the Information

This new undertaking specifically focuses on cases where people have
chosen to publish critical comments online without using their actual
names, such as company whistleblowers. Oftentimes, the targets of such
criticism have launched lawsuits and tried to get personal details
about those speakers from the relevant Internet service providers
(ISPs) through subpoenas. In many instances, even though the
underlying lawsuits were without merit, the identities of the speakers
were revealed without their knowledge, leading to harassment and

As part of the new project, Internet service providers are being urged
to include in their privacy policies a promise that they will notify
any customer whose personal information or identity is subpoenaed. In
addition, an informational Web site has been created that includes
answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" and legal briefs. Among the
list of organizations who participating in this endeavor are several
GILC members, notably the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the
Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

For further details, click

[14] French LOPSI bill endangers Net privacy
Controversy has arisen over a new French proposal that may have a
serious negative impact on Internet privacy rights.

On 17 July 2002, the French National Assembly adopted in its first
reading a Law for Orientation and Programming for Internal Security
(Loi d'Orientation et de Programmation pour la Securite
Interieure-LOPSI). Among other things, the plan will grant law
enforcement authorities direct access to the personal data of Internet
users, which will be retained by telecom operators and Internet
service providers. This would change current laws that mandate
government agents to file a requisition addressed to the relevant
telecommunications provider before they can get the desired personal
information. LOPSI was submitted to the Assembly through an emergency
procedure, and a draft document is expected to appear this fall
detailing and implementing the means for such direct access. The
government's purported justification for such a provision is to
overcome "the incapacity of the public or private institutions
[including] telecom operators ... to answer within [a] reasonable time
the requisitions carried out by the legal senior police officers at
the request of the judicial authority". 

The proposal has already generated a fair amount of criticism. In a
detailed analysis, Imaginons un Reseau Internet Solidaire (IRIS-a GILC
member) noted that LOPSI would abrogate one of the few procedural
checks left against government surveillance-the required filing of a
requisition. By removing this requirement, IRIS warned that the legal
regime would increase the likelihood of abuse. Moreover, the group
raised the possibility that the LOPSI and its progeny could be used to
coalesce personal information into a single centralized database,
making it even easier for government agents to spy on unsuspecting
innocent civilians.

To many observers, LOPSI represents just the latest in a series of
French government moves that have badly eroded privacy rights online.
Previously, the French government had approved a package of security
measures popularly known as LSQ (short for "la Loi n°2001-1062 du 15
novembre 2001 sur la Sécurité Quotidienne"), which contained language
allowing "technical data involved in a communication" to be kept for
up to one year. IRIS filed a complaint against LSQ with the European
Commission, but the Commission has yet to make a formal decision on
the matter.

An IRIS press release on this subject is available at

To read an IRIS analysis of LOPSI, click

For background information on LSQ and other French data privacy
issues, see http://www.iris.sgdg.org/documents/pvipm-conf/ 

[15] British Net personal info sharing plan shelved
After a firestorm of controversy, the British government has held off
plans to expand the list of officials who could conduct online
surveillance. But questions remain as to whether officials in the
United Kingdom have already overstepped their Internet snooping

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) act has been in the
center of a heated debate that has lasted several years. The act
mandated telecommunications providers to facilitate government
surveillance of email, mobile phone, fax and Internet activities.
Since its introduction, the act has been opposed by Internet users and
civil rights groups who feared a huge encroachment on individual
privacy of ordinary citizens, as well as by industry leaders who were
alarmed at the prohibitive costs of buying and implementing the

Last month, the British government sought to vastly increase the
number of organizations that could conduct surveillance under the RIP
act. The list of agencies that would be given RIP wiretapping powers
were not limited to law enforcement bodies and included such groups as
the British Food Standards Agency and National Health Services-over
500 agencies in all. Proponents of the move originally maintained that
there was nothing drastic about this expansion, claiming that the
practice was already widespread. Cyber-libertarians, however, were
quick to point out that it wasn't in fact the case: the vast majority
of the requests for information were made by the police and were only
requests for subscriber information, whereas the new plan would have
allowed a vast number of government agencies to carry out far more
extensive and invasive surveillance. 

British officials ultimately did an about-face after a blizzard of
protests; within days, they announced that the plan had been shelved
indefinitely. Some privacy experts, however, still fear that the plan
could at some point be resurrected, presenting a renewed challenge to
cyberprivacy protections. In the meantime, the RIP act itself goes
into effect on August, raising alarm among Internet service providers
(ISPs), who are scrambling to acquire and implement the necessary
technology, as well as many individual Internet users.  

See "Switch on for State Snooping", BBC News Online, 17 July 2002 at

Read "Tech industry questions snooping figures," BBC News Online, 26
June 2002 at

See Giles Turnbull, "The fax machine uprising," BBC News Online, 24
June 2002 at
d_2062 000/2062418.stm

See also Paul Stevens, "RIPA demands push up ISP costs," ZDNet UK, 9
July 2002 at

[16] Australian government rejects email spying plan
In a closely watched vote, the Australian senate rejected a proposal
that would have increased government surveillance powers along the
nation's telecommunications networks.

The Senate voted on June 27 to reject the amendment to a part of the
'Telecommunications Interception Legislation Amendment Bill 2002', one
of several anti-terrorism Bills.  If passed, the amendment would have
authorized a host of government agencies to capture and read various
types of electronic communications without a warrant. Under this
scheme, government officials would have been able to intercept
transmissions as they passed through a given telecommunications
provider's equipment. The types of information that could be collected
under the bill included emails, mobile text communications and voice
mail messages.

The proposal had been savaged by many cyberlibertarians. Irene Graham,
Executive Director of Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA-a GILC
member), applauded various politicians who had opposed the bill for
"protecting the privacy rights of users of new telecommunications
technologies. We are delighted to see a growing number of
parliamentarians showing they understand the technologies and related
issues." Despite the victory, there is concern that the government may
soon re-introduce the proposal in the coming months.

An EFA press release on this subject is posted under

To read transcripts of the relevant Australian Senate proceedings (in
PDF format), click

[17] Microsoft Palladium plan causes privacy worries
Microsoft's plans for a new universal software platform have generated
serious concern from many observers, including a number of online
rights experts.

Known as Palladium, the program is meant for use on hardware designed
by the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (an industry trade group
that includes Intel). The combined scheme would create a special zone
within a personal computer, where software could run and private data
could be stored. The type of data that might be kept in the zone could
include personal details such as credit card numbers. Information
inside this zone generally would not be accessible even to other
programs on the same computer, but applications that run within the
zone could communicate with sources from outside the given computer,
such as software manufacturers. Indeed, reports indicate that the
system will constantly monitor what goes on individual machines to
make sure all operations are "trustworthy."

Skeptics worry that Palladium will be used to control everything that
users can do on their machines. For example, Palladium could prevent
people from reading or downloading files from the Internet, playing
legally purchased compact discs more than a few times, making backup
copies or running non-Microsoft products. Fears that the program will
be used for content regulation were further fueled when Microsoft
Palladium group product manager Mario Juarez acknowledged that the
project's software segment would largely be based on techniques
spelled out in a patent that Microsoft recently received for a Digital
Rights Management Operating System. Moreover, besides the monitoring
aspects, there are also serious concerns that Palladium's central
repository features will erode online privacy by denying individual
users control over their personal information while making it easier
for outsiders to access the same data.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC-a GILC member) has
created a special dossier on Palladium under

See "Microsoft's bid for secure computing," BBC News Online, 27 June
2002 at

Read Farhad Manjoo, "Can we trust Microsoft's Palladium?" Salon.com,
11 July 2002 at

[18] Korean e-commerce privacy abuses revealed
A recent survey of Internet shopping malls by the Korean government
has revealed widespread flouting of privacy protection laws.  

The Ministry of Information and Communication reported that more than
a third of the companies studied had failed to comply with privacy
regulations and other laws. The violations included failing to notify
consumers of a privacy policy, failing to indicate the children under
14 cannot make purchases without adult permission, and failing to
properly monitor what was being done with the personal information of
consumers once it was obtained.  In many cases, that information was
leaked out either by the company itself or by affiliated
organizations, such as the delivery companies, to groups that used it
for spam lists. 

The Ministry has imposed penalties on some of the more flagrant
offenders, but recognized that this would be an area requiring
continued vigilance, saying, "We will continue to monitor the
activities of these Internet shopping malls to ensure that the
personal information of consumers are protected."

See "Internet Shopping Malls Abuse Personal Information," Korea Times,
17 June 2002 at

[19] US bill would allow Hollywood computer attacks
Should copyright holders be allowed to attack users of Internet
file-trading software such as Morpheus?

That is the question being posed by United States Representative
Howard Berman, who intends to introduce a new bill to legalize such
efforts. Although the precise language of the bill has yet to be
disclosed, Berman has outlined the proposal in a speech to the
Computer and Communications Industry Association. In the speech, he
said that his legislation would create a "safe harbor from liability
for copyright owners that use technological means to prevent the
unauthorized distribution of their copyrighted works via P2P
networks." The list of permissible tactics would apparently include
swamping users with phony requests to prevent downloads
("interdiction"), misleading users to sites that they did not intend
to visit ("redirection") and tricking users into downloading files
that they did not want ("spoofing"). Current laws (including the
Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) may bar copyright holders from
engaging in this kind of behavior.

Many experts have questioned the wisdom of the proposal. A
spokesperson for StreamCast Networks, which distributes Morpheus, said
that Berman "has called for a posse of copyright vigilantes."
Moreover, it is unclear what effect the bill would have on Internet
free speech, particularly the right to make fair use of copyrighted
works for private non-commercial purposes.

A statement from Congressman Berman about the bill is available under

For the latest details, read Declan McCullagh, "Hollywood heads up
anti-piracy charge," CNet News, 22 July 2002 at

Read Robert MacMillan, "Lawmaker Tries To Foil Illegal File-Sharing,"
WashingtonPost.com, 25 June 2002 at

See also John Borland, "Lawmaker: Let studios hack P2P nets," CNet
News, 25 June 2002 at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-939333.html

Read "Piracy fight gets serious," BBC News Online, 27 June 2002 at

For information in German (Deutsch), read "Mit Viren und Hacks gegn
Musikborsen?" Spiegel Online, 28 June 2002 at

[20] New GILC member: Stop 1984
The Global Internet Liberty Campaign has added a new member: Stop
1984. This Germany-based group is dedicated to supporting
"informational self determination, data protection and freedom of
speech." Towards that end, it has engaged in web-based initiatives to
increase public awareness of various cyberliberties issues. In one
such campaign, Stop 1984 garnered over 16 000 signatures for an open
letter protesting the European Union's approval of a controversial
data retention directive.

For further information, visit Stop 1984's website at

The GILC News Alert is the newsletter of the Global Internet Liberty
Campaign, an international coalition of organizations working to
protect and enhance online civil liberties and human rights. 
Organizations are invited to join GILC by contacting us at

To alert members about threats to cyber liberties, please contact
members from your country or send a message to the general GILC

To submit information about upcoming events, new activist tools and
news stories, contact:

Christopher Chiu
GILC Coordinator
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street, 17th Floor
New York, New York 10004

Or email:

More information about GILC members and news is available at

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