New GILC Member: HREA. The Global Internet
Liberty Campaign recently added a new member: Human
Rights Education Associates (HREA). Aside from running the "Huridocs-Tech" listserv on the use
of information and communication technology for human rights work since 1998
(currently a little over 800 subscribers from 90 or so countries), HREA has
been promoting debate and training around human rights and the Internet. The
organization offers a broad range of distance learning courses via the Internet
for human rights advocates, including two annual courses on Using the Internet
for Human Rights Work (both Introductory and Advanced). Currently, HREA is
assisting HURIDOCS in implementing a search engine dedicated to human rights
information (HURISEARCH) and the Martus project in providing training in their
encrypted database software for human rights organizations.
2003 UK Big Brother Awards Announced. On March 25, 2003, Privacy International (a GILC member organization) announced the winners of the 5th Annual UK "Big Brother" awards to the government and private sector organisations that have done the most to invade personal privacy in Britain.
Four "Big Brother" awards were presented to the individuals, organizations, and departments which have done most to invade personal privacy. A "lifetime menace" award was given to an invader with a long history of attacking privacy. A new award: "Dog Poo on a Stick" was also given.
"Winston" awards were also given to individuals and organisations which have made an outstanding contribution to the protection of privacy, as well as to people who have been victims of privacy invasion.
GILC Welcomes New Member: Statewatch.
Founded in 1991, Statewatch encourages the publication of investigative
journalism and critical research in the fields of the state, civil liberties
and openness in Europe. It has received numerous awards for its efforts to gain public
access to European government documents, including papers regarding
telecommunications surveillance initiatives. Statewatch is a non-profit
volunteer group comprised of lawyers, academics, journalists, researchers
and community activists; its European network of contributors is spread
across 12 countries.
GILC Welcomes New Members: EFFI and AEL.
The Global Internet Liberty Campaign recently added two new members:
Electronic Frontier Finland
and Association Electronique
Libre (Belgium). EFFI has made numerous efforts to protect computer
users' civil liberties; among other things, the group organized the
Brother Awards to spotlight some of the country's greatest threats
to individual privacy. AEL is dedicated to promoting fundamental rights
in the information society and cyberspace; towards that end, it has
campaigned heavily against various government data retention proposals.
GILC Welcomes New Member: RSF.
The Global Internet Liberty Campaign has welcomed a new member into
the fold: Reporters Sans
Frontières. Founded in 1985, RSF has worked intensively over
the past several years to defend press freedom throughout the world,
including online journalism. They have launched several projects to
document attacks on the press, including "Enemies of the Internet,"
which contains country-by-country descriptions of how governments in
many parts of the world have tried to limit free speech along the Information
Superhighway. In addition, RSF has fought against censorship of journalists
through such methods as sending protest letters, systematically reproducing
censored articles, and hosting banned newspapers.
GILC Welcomes New Member: stop1984.
The Global Internet Liberty Campaign has added a new member: stop1984.
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, stop1984
garnered over 16,000 signatures for an open letter protesting the European
Union's approval of a controversial data retention directive.
Socialist MEP Comments on GILC Letter.
In a letter addressed
to all GILC members, Mrs. Elena Paciotti, Shadow rapporteur of the Party
of European Socialists ("PES"), answered to the open
letter that GILC sent on May 22 to all European Parliament Members
and other important officials of the European Commission, the Council
of the European Union and the European Union Council of Ministers. Her
letter explains why her party endorsed the Council's position in favor
of data retention. The PES recently rallied the center-right European
People's Party ("EPP") to back up the Council and EU Member States'
governments' pro-data retention stance. GILC,
& Cyber-Liberties and Statewatch
have issued responses to the comments.
Coalition Asks European Parliament to Vote
Against Data Retention. In an open
letter sent to all Members of the European Parliament, 40 civil
liberties organizations from 15 countries strongly recommended that
Members vote against general data retention of communications by law
enforcement authorities. The vote, scheduled for May 29 in Brussels,
is critical, as it constitutes the major step before the final adoption
of the new EU Telecommunications Directive. It may have serious consequences
on the manner in which data retention is currently regulated in the
United States and other countries around the world. Over 16,000 individual
endorsements were also received. View a GILC press
GILC Welcomes New Member: TEA (Hungary).
Technika az Emberert Alapitvány (TEA), or "Technology for
People Foundation," is a Hungarian group that successfully organized
the first annual Hungarian
Big Brother Awards last November. TEA also publishes a weekly privacy
newsletter, "Privacy Hírlevél," to inform the
Hungarian people about privacy issues. See their home
page for a summary of the group's other activities.
NGOs Request Release of Cybercrime Protocols.
On February 6, several GILC members and related non-governmental organizations
from Council of Europe member and observer nations sent a letter
(also available in French
to Council of Europe Secretary-General Walter Schwimmer. The letter
requests that the CoE release the draft protocol on "Racism and
Xenophobia," which is currently under discussion to be considered
in connection with the Council of Europe Cybercrime
Treaty. Update: the draft protocol and other documents are now available
through the CoE
website. A French listing of documents is available here.
Also, on February 28, NGOs sent a letter
(also in French
to Schwimmer requesting the release of a second draft protocol and preliminary
Denmark Holds First Big Brother Awards.
On January 21, the first Danish
Big Brother Awards were awarded
in a ceremony at the Danish Parliament in Christiansborg. Next week,
the second French Big
Brother Awards will take place in Paris. A list of nominees (in
French) is available at http://www.bigbrotherawards.eu.org/2001/nomines/nomines.html.
The Netherlands will hold their Awards in February, the United Kingdom
in March, and the United States Big Brother Awards will be held at CFP2002
in April. See http://www.bigbrotherawards.org/
for an overview.
GILC Welcomes New Member: FIPR.
Based in London, the Foundation
for Information Policy Research (FIPR) promotes public understanding
and dialogue between technologists and policy-makers in the UK and Europe.
It has fought strenuously against several surveillance initiatives over
the past few years, including the controversial British Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act (RIP). It has also issued numerous policy papers
and analyses on such topics as digital signatures, secure e-commerce
and computer encryption laws. FIPR was honored at the UK
Big Brother Awards 2000 for its outstanding contributions to the
protection of privacy.
Australian Internet Censorship Bill Stalls.
Although new Internet censorship laws under consideration by New South
Wales (NSW) Parliament in Australia cleared both houses of Parliament,
the proposal has not passed into law. NSW Attorney General Bob Debus
referred the legislation to a committee for review yesterday after writing
illustrating his decision that the legislation needed further consideration.
The decision was made largely due to the large number of concerned citizens
and groups that contacted Debus. Electronic Frontiers Australia had
warned on November 17 that the laws, which would criminalize Internet
material unsuitable for children, were too restrictive, and suggested
that the Bill be suspended pending the addressing of its full ramifications.
See EFA's comprehensive reference source on the NSW Bill, including
links to the Bill and a detailed analysis, here.
The Standing Committee on Social Issues has been asked to report on
the legislation by June 2002.
International Coalition Urges EU to Safeguard
Privacy. On November 12, an international coalition of consumer
and privacy organizations wrote a letter (available in both English
to Guy Verhofstadt, President of the European Union Council of Ministers,
expressing their concerns about President Bush's recent letter requesting
that the proposed EU Directive on the protection of privacy in the electronic
communications sector be altered to allow for data retention of telephone
calls and Internet messages. EU lawmakers voted on the issue the next
day, and chose not to act on President Bush's requests. More information
on the vote is available here
(in French. Choose Strasbourg, "November 13"), and New York Times coverage
of the issue is available here.
Council of Europe Approves Cyber-Crime Convention.
On November 8, the Council of Europe approved the
Convention on Cyber-crime, an international treaty designed to harmonize
laws against crimes committed via the Internet. The convention was drafted
as an attempt to set some level of legal and ethical standards for online
activity. The treaty will go into effect when five countries have ratified
it. The convention will be open for signature at an international conference
on cyber-crime in Budapest on November 23rd. For more information, see
Brian Krebs, "Council
of Europe Adopts Global Cyber-Crime Treaty," Newsbytes,
Nov. 8, 2001.
Civil Society Meeting at ICANN.
On November 13, the Internet
Democracy Project will host a special Civil
Society meeting in Los Angeles, CA. This coincides with the weeklong
the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Topics
to be discussed include the future of .org, recent events concerning
civil liberties in cyberspace (with a special focus on privacy issues),
a dialog with ICANN At-Large Directors, network privatization, and a
roundtable on ICANN At-Large membership. No pre-registration is required
for this meeting, and attendance is free.
Web Restrictions for Singapore Election.
In light of the upcoming snap elections on November 3, Singapore's electoral
office warned political parties to follow strict Web-posting rules.
For example, non-party political websites registered with the industry
regulator, the Singapore Broadcast Authority, cannot post items that
constitute campaigning for any political party or candidate. Breaches
of the law carry a fines and the possibility of a year in jail. See
on web for elections, Australian IT, October 30, 2001.
Cyberliberties Groups Lobby
for Privacy Protection. Seven cyberliberties
groups have issued a joint letter
urging the European Council "to refrain from new and
extended communications interception and lawful access
powers for police forces and intelligences services." The
organizations also urged leaders not to implement
legislation mandating that internet and telecommunication
service providers retain traffic data for law enforcement
purposes. GILC members participating in this effort
include Bits of Freedom, Digital Rights (Denmark),
Quintessenz, FITUG, the Chaos Computer Club, and Privacy
International. Civil society groups in several other
countries, including France, have issued similar letters.
FITUG Urges Political Leaders to Defend Freedom.
In wake of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States, Förderverein
Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft (FITUG) , a GILC member, has released
urging the leaders of all open societies to protect the freedoms enjoyed
by their citizens, as well as a similar statement dealing specifically
for cryptography policy (also available in PDF).
European Parliament Rejects
Data Retention Requirement. The European
Parliament rejected an EU directive that would have
allowed Irish and member-state law enforcement agencies
to retain personal communications information. The
decision was called "a victory for the protection of
civil liberties and the right to privacy." Had the
directive passed, law enforcement agencies would have
been able to access private email and website addresses;
the location of Internet newsgroups accessed, and the
times and duration of land and mobile phone calls. See
Rejects Use of Personal Communications, Irish
Times, September 7, 2001.
Court Forces New Round in DVD Weblinks Case.
Matthew Pavlovich, one of the defendants in a high profile copyright
case centering around DeCSS (a computer program that unscrambles the
copy protection scheme used in DVDs) had posted DeCSS on a DVD player
development mailing list that he operated. He has now suffered a serious
court setback: after the initial lawsuit was filed, a court ruled that
Pavlovich can be forced to answer charges in California, largely because
"California is commonly known as the center of the motion picture industry"
and that he somehow should have known that posting DeCSS was "injuriously
affecting the motion picture and computer industries in California."
See the text
of the ruling and an EFF
press release on the ruling.
Indicted. Dmitry Sklyarov, who helped create
software that permits Adobe eBook owners to translate
from Adobe's secure eBook format into Portable Document
Format (PDF), has been indicted on five counts of
trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in a copyright
circumvention device. Sklyarov faces over $2 million USD
in fines and up to 25 years in jail. See freesklyarov.org
Protest Excessive Copyright
Protection. The Free Trade Area of the
Americas (FTAA) nation-signatories are negotiating
language for an international treaty
between 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere, including
the U.S., that would make nations pass anti-circumvention
provisions similar to the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act (DMCA), except it would grant even greater control to
publishers. To express disapproval and work to correct
this trend in copyright law, contact the U.S. Trade
Representative (or your country's representative) and
urge the removal of the anti-circumvention measures from
incorporation into the final FTAA treaty. Comments, to be
received by the FTAA organization by August 20, should be
Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff
Attn: FTAA Draft Text Release
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
1724 F. St., NW, Fifth Floor
Washington DC 20508 USA
Non-US writers should also send a copy to their own
country's intellectual property government officials. A
list is available at http://www.sice.oas.org/int_prop/ip_dir.asp.
Opposition to South African
Internet Censorship Bill. Privacy
International has submitted comments
to the South African Parliament in opposition to the
Internet Censorship and Monitoring Act. The bill would
allow for increased surveillance to protect national
security, monitoring of web browsing without a court
order, and requires communications technologies to be
Fight Online Censorship in
Korea. Recent changes to Korean law will
result in mandatory Internet content rating and
restrictions on online organizing. Help support
the efforts of Korean activists.
Coalition Releases Statement
Against Stealth Blocking. The
Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) and
Free Expression Alliance (IFEA) have released a
opposing stealth blocking. Stealth blocking is the
practice of some Internet service providers (ISPs) to
block Internet access to particular hosts without the
knowledge of end users.
Study Identifies Enemies of
the Internet. Reporters
Sans Frontiers and Transfert.net
have released "Enemies
of the Internet: Obstacles to the free flow of
information on the Internet" [fr],
a report examining threats to freedom on the Internet.
The study looks at fifty-nine democractic and
non-democratic countries and possible threats to
Public Voice Releases Report
on Digital Divide. The
Public Voice, a project of EPIC
that facilitates public participation in the development
of Internet policy, has submitted a report to the
Opportunities Task Force - a G-8 Digital Divide
Public Voice and the Digital Divide: A Report to the DOT
assembles comments and proposals from the public and
urges the G-8 to incorporate more public participation in
Journalism Group Releases
Report on Free Speech in China. The Committee
to Protect Journalists has published a report
on the state of free speech in China. Entitled the "Great
Firewall", the study examines the impact of the Internet
on the future of free speech and access to information.
GILC Members Maintain
Opposition to Cyber-Crime Treaty. Responding
to the latest version of the Council of Europe's
Convention on Cyber-Crime, twenty-one GILC member
organizations have drafted a new
letter arguing that the treaty's current provisions
will continue to violate the rights of Internet users.
The letter from the groups also points out the lack of
public input in the drafting process.
GILC Members Release Letter
Opposing Cyber-Crime Convention. Twenty-eight
GILC member organizations from around the world have
urged the Council of Europe to reject the current version
of its Convention on Cyber-Crime. The letter
from the organizations states that provisions of the
treaty runs contrary to internationally accepted human
rights norms and would infringe on the free speech and
privacy rights of all Internet users.
Declaration of Internet
Actors. Several GILC member organizations have
joined French organizations in opposing the Liberty of
Communication Act pending in the French Parliament. The
bill would have a detrimental impact on the free speech
and privacy of Internet users. See the statement
and background materials produced by Imaginons
un Réseau Internet Solidaire (IRIS).
G-8 Cyber-Crime Meeting Ends
Without Significant Progress. The Group of 8
(G-8), the eight largest economies in the world, met in
Paris to discuss a possible resolution on cyber-crime.
Industry and governments agreed to cooperate more to
fight cybercrime. Controversial suggestions to mandate
that ISPs gather and keep more information about users
were opposed. See Privacy International's new Cyber-Crime
page for more information.
New Report on Internet
Access in Central and Eastern Europe.
"Bridging the Digital Divide: Internet Access in Central
& Eastern Europe" has been released in updated and
expanded version. The report,
while offering a snapshot of the state of the Net in a
single region, addresses one of the most fundamental
Internet policy issues worldwide -- the challenge of
affordable access -- and includes a discussion of the
universal service principle and policies that promote
wider Internet access.
GILC Releases Statement
Opposing DVD Suit. Twenty-three GILC member
organizations have signed onto a statement
opposing the DVD Copy Control Association's (CCA) suit
against people who have posted information about the DVD
Content Scrambling System (CSS). The suit claims to
protect trade secrets surrounding DVD CSS, but the letter
points out that the controversial DeCSS software is legal
reverse-engineering needed to provide interoperability of
DVDs on different computer systems. The statement also
explains that DeCSS does not enable the practical
duplication DVDs and that DVDs can already be copied
through other available means.
Public Interest Policy Forum
Releases Internet Recommendations. Two years
in a row, representatives from a number of "groups,
associations, and trade unions" have met in Paris under
to discuss policies that would create and preserve an
"Internet that promotes non-commercial interests and
solidarity." The final motion passed by the second forum,
which took place on November 27, 1999, approved the
recommendations for a democratic Internet in the year
2000." This document should interest people around
the world who are concerned with access to information
for all, even though a few of the statements touch on
particular French laws. Supplementary
statements are available in French.
EPIC Sues for NSA
Interception Documents. On December 3, EPIC
asked a federal court to order the release of
controversial documents concerning potential government
surveillance of American citizens. EPIC's lawsuit
(PDF) seeks the public disclosure of internal National
Security Agency (NSA) documents discussing the legality
of the agency's intelligence activities. See the
release for more details, and EPIC's Former
Secrets page for examples of other government
documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
No Licensing of ISPs in
Bulgaria. On November 18, the Bulgarian
government announced that it would not require Internet
Services Providers (ISPs) to obtain licenses. By avoiding
a governmental role in Internet access, Bulgaria managed
to avoid a potential obstacle in the availability of
online information. For more information, see the
Website on ECHELON Launched.
Watch, a new website
administered by the American
Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) along with the Omega Foundation and the
Privacy Information Center (EPIC),
provides news and materials on Project ECHELON. ECHELON
is a worldwide surveillance system run by the U.S.
National Security Agency (NSA) with the cooperation of
intelligence agencies in the UK, Canada, Australia and
New Zealand. While the existence of ECHELON has remained
largely unknown to the general public, recent proceedings
by the European Parliament and an upcoming hearing in the
U.S. Congress will shed light on the scope of the
For other current news
stories, see the GILC