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Fwd: FC: European Parliament calls for international Net-censorship

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>Message-Id: <v0300780faf87001f3c40@[]>
>Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 20:56:10 -0400
>To: fight-censorship-announce@vorlon.mit.edu
>From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
>Subject: FC: European Parliament calls for international Net-censorship

I've included three articles:

  * Reuters on European Parliament calling for international rules
    against racist speech, pornography, and pedophila.
  * Financial Times on European Commission report:
        Perhaps the largest single threat comes from fraud through
        the Internet... The potential for abuse of
        computer systems is huge, particularly since encryption
        technology is vulnerable to sophisticated computer abusers.
        The Internet is now also being used to manipulate financial
   * AP-Germany on how blocking web sites is doomed to failure.

Note the European Parliament's call for governments to censor "racist
speech" and "pornography" online. Good luck to them. Both hate speech and
pornography (though not obscenity) remain legal here in the U.S.




01:21 PM ET 04/24/97

EU assembly calls for action on cyber-filth

            By Gillian Handyside
            BRUSSELS (Reuter) - The European Parliament called Thursday
for European and international action to drive pornography,
pedophilia and racist material off the information superhighway.
            The European Union assembly acknowledged it was difficult to
police the Internet, but called for action ranging from industry
self-regulation and teams of cybersleuths to international
agreements to prosecute criminals who misuse the global computer
            Euro-MPs said Internet service providers should be held
criminally liable for putting illicit material on their systems
or for knowingly transmitting cyber-filth provided by third
parties when they could have removed it.
            The issue of service provider responsibility came to the
fore last week when German authorities indicted the Bavarian
head of online service CompuServe for allegedly aiding the
dissemination of pornography on the Net.
            The case has worried some service providers, who argue they
should be treated like telecommunications companies who are not
prosecuted when criminals contact each other by phone.
            One of the most promising methods for cleaning up cyber-
space, in Euro-MPs' eyes, is specialized software which allows
parents or online service providers to filter out harmful
            One example is a system which, when triggered, simply
disconnects the user.
            The German parliament is debating tough new communications
laws -- one of the first efforts to define Internet regulation
-- and is being watched closely by the European Commission in
Brussels, which is considering bringing in Europe-wide rules.
            European Industry Commissioner Martin Bangemann warned
Euro-MPs Wednesday that even European-level efforts would be
insufficient to police the wilds of cyber-space, which has over
50 million surfers worldwide.
            There is little to stop criminals bypassing obstacles and
sending new messages via a different access provider or shifting
base to another country where their material, while it may be
considered offensive, is not explicitly illegal.
            Because of this, the parliament insisted European Union
states should agree common laws defining what constitutes
illegal content, so that those involved can be prosecuted
wherever the provider is based.
            The 15-member bloc must also press for a similar accord
worldwide, the assembly said.
            Euro-deputies acknowledged there was a delicate balance
between protecting the public and respecting their right to
freedom of speech and privacy.
            While censorship of Internet providers is commonplace in
countries like China and Singapore, the assembly insisted
freedom of expression was ``a fundamental right in all
democratic societies.''


   Financial Times, April 24, 1997, p. 3.

   EU fraudsters 'revel in fiscal paradise'

      Report urges Brussels authorities to crack down on $77bn
      cross-border corruption

   By John Mason in Brussels

   International fraud in the European Union could be costing
   governments, companies and individuals up to $77bn a year,
   a report commissioned by the European Commission has

   Crimes such as Internet abuse, counterfeiting, banking and
   investment frauds and smuggling pose an increasing threat
   which can only be countered by further international
   action, said Deloitte & Touche, the accountancy firm.

   Harmonisation of laws and regulations, improved
   co-operation between states and a greater stress on fraud
   prevention are needed if EU economies are not to be
   undermined by international criminals, the report said.

   Mr Will Inglis, the Deliotte & Touche partner responsible
   for the report, said: "There is clear evidence that
   determined fraudsters deliberately and cynical]y manipulate
   and take advantage of the different regulatory and
   monitoring regimes across the EU to perpetrate their
   frauds. In particular, we see the fraudsters taking
   advantage of havens of secrecy and fiscal paradises.
   Fraudulent activity in the Union has the potential to
   seriously distort competition and harm the citizens of the
   EU who end up paying the cost."

   The report identified 10 areas of concern: computer abuse,
   banking frauds, counterfeiting, investment fraud,
   confidence tricks, public sector fraud, fraudulent
   bankruptcy, insurance fraud, smuggling and money

   The type of crime varies considerably between countries. In
   the UK, financial services fraud is a problem because of
   the size of the industry, France suffers particularly from
   counterfeiting of luxury goods, while in Greece the
   smuggling of antiquities is second only to the drugs trade
   in terms of crime.

   However, across the EU, the removal of restrictions
   following the creation of the single market and
   technological advances have opened up opportunities for
   fraudsters, the report said.

   Perhaps the largest single threat comes from fraud through
   the Internet, Mr Inglis said. The potential for abuse of
   computer systems is huge, particularly since encryption
   technology is vulnerable to sophisticated computer abusers.
   The Internet is now also being used to manipulate financial

   In other areas, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated.
   Insider dealers are making more use of offshore havens to
   avoid detection while criminal syndicates with knowledge of
   banking practice have cheated banks.

   Not that frauds all need to be sophisticated. Italian
   investigators discovered that Libyan dinars were being
   taken to Naples to be literally "laundered" with a solvent
   and re-printed as D-Marks.

   The incidence of cross-border frauds is increasing faster
   than those which take place only within one country, with
   organised crime playing a substantial role, the report
   said. Other perpetrators of fraud, although on a lesser
   scale, include senior company managers.

   The report points to lack of legal harmonisation: In some
   EU states it is not even an offence to bribe somebody in a
   different country.

   Action against fraud can also damage a member state's
   economy. The use of "offshore" havens, some inside the EU,
   remains a common feature of fraud. But with some EU
   economies closely linked to the offshore world, the
   incentive to push for reform in this area is limited.

   Fraud, especially crossborder fraud, tends also to be given
   low priority compared to other crimes. There is also less
   political will to tackle money laundering when this
   involves fraud rather than drugs.

   The report concludes there are four priority areas -
   increased legal harmonisation, improved co-operation
   between member states, a greater concentration on
   confiscating fraudsters' assets and developing awareness of
   fraud prevention.

   [Bar chart] Corporate Fraud. Countries involved, with two
   bars for each showing: Number of cases involving each
   region and number of times countries in this region were
   mentioned as being of concern.

   EU countries
   Tax havens/fiscal paradises
   Eastern European countries
   Others (including US and Asia)

[Thanks to JYA. --DBM]


Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 10:38:59 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Felipe Rodriquez <felipe@xs4all.nl>
Subject: Effective blockade on the Internet impossible (AP newswire)

This was was sent in Germany on tuesday, i got the translation today:

"Effective blockade on the Internet impossible"

Frankfurt/M, April 22 (AP)
Effectively barring information of a certain kind from
the Internet is not possible. That is the outcome of a week
long blockade by Deutsche Forschungsnetz (DFN) of the Dutch
Internet provider XS4ALL (meaning Access for All), which was
lifted Monday evening.
"It has been demonstrated that an effective blockade of
illegal information has not been within the bounds of
possibility" said DFN spokesman Klaus)Eckart Maass to AP news
agency last Tuesday. Other Web servers, according to Mr Maass,
have set up mirror sites of the online edition of the
underground magazine "Radikal", published via XS4ALL, that
is, it has been copied and been made accessible to the public.
But this  only served to put "Radikal" really in the picture.
Besides, he had been faced with a flood of protest and abuse
from the Internet, Mr Maass said. "Maintaining the blockade
was not feasible."

With their measure of 11 April, DFN responded to a letter
from the Federal Criminal Investigation Department, pointing
out the illegal contents of the magazine. Issue no. 154 of the
radical left wing magazine contains a "Short Guide to
hindering railway transports of all kinds" a manual
describing how attacks can be made on the tracks on which the
nuclear waste transports to Gorleben take place. On account of
the Telecoms Bill, which received its second reading in the
federal parliament on Friday, he is obliged to bar access to
material on the Internet as soon as he learns of any illegal
contents, Mr Maass explained, provided this is technically

Protests from Serbia's opposition broadcasting station B92

As suppressing separate Web)pages is technically not
possible, DFN cut off all access to the Dutch provider, which
offers more than 6,000 different information sites among
which those of Serbian opposition broadcasting station B92 and
several others in the scientific field. "I cannot undertake
anything that hampers scientific developments", said Mr Maass.
Three DFN users complained they were no longer able to reach
archeological and other information at XS4ALL. DFN, to which
all German universities are connected, is used by about
500,000 users to obtain access to the Internet. Protests also
came from B92, as the broadcasting station found its efforts
to further the cause of democracy in Serbia thwarted by the
In September of last year several commercial Internet
providers had already blocked XS4ALL temporarily out of
concern, so they said, that the measures taken by the law
could take on such dimensions as would endanger their very
existence. This action gave rise to fierce protests on the
Internet, but also caused XS4ALL to remove issue 154 of
"Radikal" from the server temporarily. It has not come to that
during this recent blockade.
Speaking out on the renewed blockade, XS4ALL said they were
surprised, stating that censoring measures on the
Internet had repeatedly proved to be counter productive. "As a
provider we take the position that we cannot curtail freedom
of opinion", XS4ALL spokesman Felipe Rodriquez-Svensson said.
If there are doubts about the legitimacy of "Radikal" in the
Netherlands, they should be settled in a Dutch court.

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