Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

UK ISPA Give Police Secret Briefing and new CR&CL(UK

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Date:          Mon, 1 Feb 1999 12:43:19 GMT0BST
From:          "Yaman Akdeniz" <>
Subject:       UK ISPA Give Police Secret Briefing and new CR&CL(UK) report lau

Here is our recent effort on the ISPs, police and privacy issues.


For Immediate Release, 01 February, 1999
UK ISPA Give Police Secret Briefing and new CR&CL(UK) report launched

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) has discovered that the Internet
Service Providers Association ("ISPA") last year gave a secret
briefing to the Association of Chief Police Officers ("ACPO") about
the ISP industry capabilities for the provision of information to the
police about their customers. This new "Who Watches the Watchmen"
report therefore brings into the open what your ISP can do for the
police with your Internet account.

The publication of this new report entitled "Who Watches the Watchmen:
Part III - ISP Capabilities for the Provision of Personal Information
to the Police,"
(<>) follows the
development of a "privacy letter" from the consumer's perspective by
the Leeds based organisation, and an exchange of letters between
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) and the ACPO/ISPs and the
Government Forum in December 1998.

Mr Yaman Akdeniz (, director of Cyber-Rights &
Cyber-Liberties (UK) stated that:

"With all these possibilities and capabilities for the provisions of
information through the ISPs to the police, the ISPA runs the risk of
becoming the Big Brother Providers Association. The leaked report
shows that our concerns were fully justified, and that secrecy, rather
than `media disinformation' was at work with the activities of the
ACPO/ISPs Forum."

Mr Nicholas Bohm (, E-Commerce Policy Adviser
for Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) added:

"The police need help to understand how to deal with Internet crime,
and ISPA is of course free to give them that help. But ISPs also have
responsibilities to their customers, and for ISPA to produce a report
in secret for the benefit of the police is bound to send out
completely the wrong message. ISPA should have been open about it, so
that there can be proper debate and public understanding of the
difficult issues involved. Getting the best out of the Internet
depends on public confidence in it and its operators, and secret
reports are no way to build confidence."

The new Watchmen report concludes that "transparency, openness and
accountability are important features of a healthy society. We believe
it is now time for the Government through the Parliament to intervene
in the activities of the ACPO/ISPs, Government Forum and clarify these
matters including the laws in relation to interception of
communications and the relevant procedures."

Notes for the Media:

This press release will be available at

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), "Who Watches the Watchmen: Part
III - ISP Capabilities for the Provision of Personal Information to
the Police," February 1999, at

UK Internet Users Privacy Letter is at

Contact Information:

Mr Yaman Akdeniz, director
Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2
9JT. Direct Telephone: +44 498 865116 Fax: 0113- 2335056 E-mail:

Mr Nicholas Bohm, E-Commerce Policy Adviser,
Phone: 01279 871272 (+44 1279 871272)
Fax: 01279 870215 (+44 1279 870215)

Yaman Akdeniz <>
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) at:

Read the new CR&CL (UK) Report, Who Watches the Watchmen, Part:II
Accountability & Effective Self-Regulation in the Information Age,
August 1998 at