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GILC Alert
Volume 2, Issue 11

December 10, 1998


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

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.

[1] Setbacks, Progress Mark 50th Anniversary of Declaration of Human Rights
[2] Free Speech, Scientific Organizations Launch Campaign to Release Jailed Chinese Scientists; Coalition Urges Public to Send Email Protest Letters to Chinese Officials
[3] International Crypto Agreement Modified
[4] Europol Seeks a Broad Structure for Tapping Mobile Communications
[5] EU Criticizes US Proposal on Self Regulation of Privacy Protection
[6] XS4ALL Appears in Court Over Refusal To Tap Online Service
[7] Judge Halts Enforcement of Internet Censorship Law in US
[8] US Court Finds Net Blocking in Libraries Unconstitutional
[9] Canadian Working Group Backs Expanded Hate Crime Law
[10] Australia Considers Applying Anti-Hate Laws to Net
[11] UK Civil Liberties Group Asks ISPs to Explain Privacy Practices
[12] Japan: Unauthorized computer access to be punished
[13] Albania Gets First Private Internet Provider
[14] Finland Announces a Liberal National Cryptography Policy
[15] South Korean Teen Arrested Over Pro-Communist Web Site
[16] Links to other news stories and resources of interest

[1] Setbacks, Progress Mark 50th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

As the world celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today, members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign released a statement remarking that "it is essential that the international community reassert its commitment to respect and promote human rights regardless of physical borders."

Additional remarks from the GILC member statement are excerpted below:

"Fifty years ago, the nations of the world affirmed their commitment to protect and promote human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Understanding that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world," the nations of the world committed themselves to protect the rights of privacy, equality, human dignity and freedom of speech.

The rights cemented in the UDHR are as essential, and as threatened, today as they were fifty years ago. The undersigned organizations, members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign, would like to remind the citizen nations of the world of the guarantees of freedom of expression and privacy enshrined in the UDHR.

Article 19 of the UDHR provides that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression ...through any media and regardless of frontiers." However, governments continue to restrict expression on the Internet. In China, software dealer Lin Hai is being tried for releasing 30,000 email addresses to a dissident group in the United States. Civil rights groups in the United States are fighting a court battle against a law dubbed Communications Decency Act II, which would restrict access by adults to online content.

Although Article 12 of the UDHR states that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy..." governments around the world seek to monitor and intercept communications on the Internet and elsewhere. Recently, under pressure from the United States, 33 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and South America agreed to limit the exportation of mass-market software that would protect the privacy of Internet users. This software, which scrambles data so that it can only be read by its intended recipient, is widely used by human rights groups, including GILC members, to ensure the safety and integrity of sensitive information. In Singapore, all Internet service providers (ISPs) are controlled directly or indirectly by the government and in Russia, a proposal is being debated to connect all ISPs via a black box to the Federal Security Service to monitor all Internet communications.

The Internet holds the promise of being the greatest tool for communication and freedom of expression. Members of GILC encourage the governments of the world to recognize and promote this potential in accordance with the principles of the UDHR. We also encourage the governments of the world to avoid restrictions on any software that protects the privacy of an individual's communications."

In its annual world report released December 3, Human Rights Watch (HRW), (GILC member) praised major advancements in human rights over the last fifty years, but called for an international system of justice to anchor that progress in permanent institutions. Human Rights Watch also criticized U.S. policy on human rights as "subject to large blind spots," and noted that "human rights concerns rarely ranked with the [Clinton] administration's other interests."

Many governments continue to violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which will mark its fiftieth anniversary on December 10. But the possible extradition of Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain to Spain has underscored the growing willingness of many countries to end impunity for gross abusers of human rights, HRW stated.

"Pinochet's arrest makes a very nice fiftieth-anniversary present," said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. "But we need an international system of justice to ensure that no despot gets away with his crimes."

The Human Rights Watch World Report 1999, a 506-page book, offers a synopsis of the human rights situation in 68 countries, as well as analyses of U.S., European, and United Nations responses to those abuses. Human Rights Watch is an international monitoring organization based in New York, with 150 staff members and offices in ten countries. It was founded in 1978 and is the largest U.S.-based human rights organization.

In his introduction to the report, Executive Director Kenneth Roth noted that governments can no longer ignore criticism of their human rights records, as they did fifty years ago. Now they feel compelled to answer such challenges and justify themselves publicly. Human rights have become "the legitimate concern of the international community," said Roth.

In addition, Roth noted, the notion of human rights now extends to many more groups than the victims of political repression who were the original focus of the Universal Declaration. He pointed out that human rights protection now extended to women, children, refugees, civilians in wartime, gays and lesbians, ethnic and religious minorities, and other groups who are victims of discrimination.

Roth called for the speedy ratification of the treaty establishing an international criminal court, which was passed by 120 countries at a United Nations-sponsored conference in Rome this summer. So far, 59 countries have signed the treaty. Sixty countries must sign and ratify the treaty for the court to come into being.

In addition, Amnesty International today presented over 10 million individual pledges of support for the UDHR to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The pledges, gathered in 125 countries during a year long campaign by the worldwide human rights organization, were handed over in the Palais de Chaillot in Paris - the site of the adoption by the UN of the UDHR in 1948. Also today, in a globally coordinated event, Amnesty International representatives are handing over pledges to UN officials in over 20 countries.

The full GILC member statement is online at

The Human Rights Watch World Report 1999 is available at:

[2] Free Speech, Scientific Organizations Launch Campaign to Release Jailed Chinese Scientists; Coalition Urges Public to Send Email Protest Letters to Chinese Officials

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a broad coalition of organizations including GILC members launched an email campaign on behalf of two jailed Chinese scientists charged with using the Internet to promote democracy, and advocating free flow of information through the People's Republic of China.

Lin Hai, a Shanghai software engineer, was arrested in March after sending 30,000 Chinese email addresses to VIP Reference, an Internet pro-democracy newsletter based in Washington and New York. Wang Youcai, a Chinese physicist and dissident in Hangzhou, was arrested last month on several charges, including trying to form an opposition party and emailing its documents to dissidents.

"We wanted to use the Internet to defend Lin Hai and Wang Youcai since they are being punished for sending emails. This campaign helps the global Internet community protect free speech throughout the world," said Bobson Wong, executive director of the Digital Freedom Network, (GILC Member).

"We are outraged by the recent wave of repression highlighted by the detentions of Lin Hai and peaceful dissidents like Wang Youcai. China's signing of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights two months ago was an empty gesture," said Xiao Qiang, executive director of Human Rights in China.

An action alert is freely available on each organization's Web site, urging people to send email messages to Chinese media and government organizations calling for Lin and Wang's release. The alert points out that their arrests are "serious violations of international human rights standards enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

"As in traditional letter writing campaigns, the more action we can generate, the greater the impact. We therefore, urge other organizations to post the alert on their Web sites or to send it to their subscribers," said Audrey Chapman, Director of the Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"The state-controled media in China is ignoring Lin and Wang's cases. By sending email messages about them to Chinese government officials and the media, people can let China know that they are taking notice," said Richard Long, editor at VIP Reference.

Lin Hai was arrested on March 25, 1998, and charged with "inciting to overthrow state power" for providing 30,000 Chinese email addresses to VIP Reference. Based in the U.S., VIP Reference distributes reports on dissident activities, human rights, and essays in the promotion of freedom of speech and democracy to more than 250,000 email addresses in China. Wang Youcai, a leader of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, is scheduled to go on trial on December 17 in the Hangzhou Intermediate Court. The charges include "inciting the overthrow of state power," meeting with members of "subversive" foreign organizations, and emailing his organization's documents to dissidents overseas.

The Action Alert is available at as well as other coalition member websites.

[3] International Crypto Agreement Modified

The US Commerce Department announced on December 3 that the Wassenaar Arrangement, a 33-country working group on the export of military goods, reached a new agreement on setting limits on international transfers of encryption products (hardware and software).

According to US officials, the new agreement will permit exports of cryptography products up to 56 bits and 64 bits for mass market software or hardware. The reported changes would reflect both a relaxation and an increase in restrictions.

However, at press time, there was still public confusion over ultimate impact of a new agreement since a statement released by the Wassenaar Secretariat on December 4 about the plenary session appeared to be less definitive than the US announcement.

The decision to implement these changes will remain with each country and this agreement may not result in any changes in current practice. As the Wassenaar Secretariat web page states: "The decision to transfer or deny transfer of any item will be the sole responsibility of each Participating State. All measures undertaken with respect to the arrangement will be in accordance with national legislation and policies and will be implemented on the basis of national discretion." The US has been lobbying the other members to adopt more restrictive laws. However, many nations such as Finland, Canada and Ireland have announced domestic policies in the past year which allow for more liberal exports.

Earlier this year members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign wrote to and met with the Wassenaar Secretariat to urge the removal of controls on the transfer of cryptography products. The GILC Statement said that "failure to protect the free use and distribution of cryptographic software will jeopardize the life and freedom of human rights activists, journalists and political activists all over the world."

More information on Wassenaar is available from:

GILC Statement:

[4] Europol Seeks a Broad Structure for Tapping Mobile Communications

Austrian officials' appetite for boldly broadening their authority to monitor private citizens is in no way a unique case in Europe.

As a Europol internal document obtained by Telepolis shows, massive attempts on the part of European police forces are underway to acquire the ability to eavesdrop on the Iridium system, currently in a sensitive stage of expansion.

The document entitled "Enfopol 98" from the group "Police Cooperation" dated September 3, 1998, deals with the "observation of telecommunications" and primarily addresses the so-called satellite-supported personal communication systems (S-PCS), but also the Internet. (The Enfopol document was been made public by Tony Bunyan at but has never been officially released by the EU.) On the recommendation of the European Union, a list of points desired by the European police was drawn up as a "Draft for a Recommended Resolution" in order to simplify the passage of the resolution. The terrestrial gateway stations are to provide comprehensive access via Iridium and other Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) since they are "collective and simple locations for monitoring solutions."

The demands of the "legally empowered authorities," as they are so stereotypically called in the Enfopol papers, are listed throughout a total of forty pages and can relatively easily be summed up with the word "everything". Beginning with the "Proclamation for the State of Preparedness", simply "all signals created at the observed facilities" are to be made accessible as well as all related technical services and data: the redirecting of telephone calls, conference calls, voice mail and other forms of telecommunication. Even in-bound and out-bound connections which are not completed have been taken into consideration.

And "legally empowered authorities" want all of this data immediately. "The data relevant to connections should be available within milliseconds after the call is made... in order to allow the collation of the event and the details of the call." Even though "due to the global topology of the MSS, ...the delivery of the data relevant to the connection is more likely to be delayed" than is the case with "terrestrially cellular wireless services."

By the time these passages appear in Paragraphs 2 of the Enfopol paper, it becomes clear that the plans of the European police will not be able to be realized without serious effecting the topology of the network.

Only with considerable technical effort and expense would it be possible to make the data in GSM networks, to which the catalog of demands by the European police are oriented, available in real time. The evaluation of the transfer protocols of every individual relay station for the purpose of establishing charges alone for the national GSM operators, which are tiny in comparison with the Iridium system, would take "around eight hours," as Klaus Steinmauer of the Austrian MaxMobil remarks.

The point made in the "Introduction to the Topic of the Internet" that there is already formal governmental approval in the USA, Australia and Canada for national regulations to meet Enfopol demands underlines a serious suspicion of the EU on the part of the STOA Committee.

In their controversial "Appraisal of the Technologies of Political Control" , Paragraph 7.4.2, the technical committee refers to an "EU-FBI Global Telecommunications Surveillance System" which is to be established under the "third pillar" of the Maastricht Treaty for the cooperation in the areas of justice and police work. A related "memorandum of understanding" with the file number ENFOPOL 112 10037/95, signed by all the members of the EU, has been kept secret to this day. The background is the fear of European secret services that the control over analog satellite communication gained via the military Echelon system will be lost in the digital age. [For background information on these issues, see The European Secret Service Union, by Armin Medosch 29.11.98, published in Telepolis. This article provides a summary of the reports on the ENFOPOL papers

This article is online at:

In German it is available at:

For related articles, see:

Europe Is Listening, by Niall McKay, 2 Dec 98, Wired

European Union may investigate U.S. global spy computer network, By Daniel Verton and L. Scott Tillett, Nov. 17, 1998, Federal Computer Week is online at:

[5] EU Criticizes US Proposal on Self Regulation of Privacy Protection

The European Union on November 23 announced that the US Department of Commerce's proposal for addressing privacy is not sufficient under the terms of the EU Directive on Privacy. The US proposal for a "Safe Harbor" was released for industry comment on November 4 and generally called for voluntary self-regulation by the industry to protect privacy.

A European Commission Spokeswoman, Betty Olivi, said at a November 23 briefing said that all 15 members of the EU found the proposals "unacceptable". The EU's two major concerns were to ensure that individual's will be able to access to their files and have the ability to stop the unauthorized sale and use of their personal information.

Privacy advocates and law professors across the US also sharply criticized the proposal saying it offered cover for businesses worried about trade problems as a result of the EU Directive on Data Protection, but that the safe harbor offered little in terms of protecting users and giving citizens recourse for violations of their privacy.

U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce David Aaron has lobbied the EU to relax their laws on privacy so that American businesses can freely transfer personal information on European citizens without any privacy restrictions. Thus far, the EU has rejected this approach.

The failure of the United States to adopt privacy legislation could lead to restrictions in the flow of personal information between the Europe and the United States. Under the EU Data Protection Directive that went into effect in October, other countries must ensure equivalent protection before information can be sent. A survey by Privacy International released in October of 50 countries found that nearly all industrialized countries have either adopted or are in the process of adopting comprehensive privacy laws. The Australian government recently indicated that it would consider adoption of private sector privacy legislation to address the concerns of the EU.

For more information about privacy, see:

The European Union official website:

Privacy International website:

[6] Dutch GILC Member XS4ALL Goes to Court Over Refusal to Conduct Surveillance

XS4ALL (GILC member) was summoned to Court in Utrecht (Holland) on 20 November 1998 over its refusal to assist with an Internet wiretap order by the Ministry of Justice a year earlier.

The 1997 order by the Ministry of Justice to XS4ALL required them to surreptitiously intercept all of the Internet communications of one of its users in connection with a criminal investigation. However, XS4ALL argued that there were insufficient legal grounds for the order and that the group therefore considered the order an illegal method of investigation, said XS4ALL's Maurice Wesslig.

The Ministry of Justice order would have required XS4ALL to tap all of the subject's Internet communications for one month, including the e-mail, World Wide Web, news groups, IRC and all other Internet services used, and then disclose the information to the police, Wesslig said.

XS4ALL stated that it would not cooperate with such invasive requests without a sufficient legal basis and that it would not wish to risk the civil liabilities that it could be exposed to by complying with the order.

"Cooperating with the order could set an undesirable precedent with far-reaching consequences for the privacy of all Internet users in the Netherlands," Wesslig added.

The Ministry of Justice based its order on Article 125(i) of the Netherlands Code of Criminal Procedure (Wetboek van Strafvordering), introduced in 1993 as part of the Computer Crime Act.

Under the law, magistrates are granted the power during preliminary inquiries, to order third parties to hand over data stored in computers in the interests of reaching the truth.

However, XS4ALL said that both the history and the plain statutory construction of the law are limited to review of stored communications and that the law does not provide authority to require surveillance of future communications.

"The Constitution and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms require a precise legal basis for any invasions of fundamental rights such as privacy and the privacy of correspondence and that was not met," Wesslig said.

Wesslig said his group is also very concerned over the adoption of a new telecommunications law that will soon make surveillance of Internet communications legally permissible. Such expansive government surveillance powers have never been justified and there has been little proof that such sneaky techniques will be cost effective or efficient.

For more information see:

[7] US Judge Halts Enforcement of Internet Censorship Law

Civil liberties groups and Internet users everywhere breathed a sigh of relief last month as a US judge halted enforcement of a federal Internet censorship law until its constitutionality is ultimately resolved in court.

Ruling in ACLU v. Reno 2, Judge Lowell A. Reed, Jr. said that the groups have shown "a likelihood of success on the merits of at least some of their claims" that the federal Internet censorship law violates the First Amendment rights of adults. The government, Judge Reed said, presented "no binding authority or persuasive reason" why the court should not enjoin "total enforcement" of the law pending an outcome.

Significantly, the judge emphasized that the temporary restraining order, or TRO, applies to all Internet users -- not just the plaintiffs in the case -- and that, even if the law is ultimately upheld, the Administration cannot prosecute online speakers retroactively.

Indeed, the judge wrote, to enjoin the law now but leave Internet users open to potential prosecution later "would be hollow relief indeed for plaintiffs and members of the public similarly situated."

GILC members, the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) -- co-counsel in the case -- welcomed the order -- as did 25 other members of GILC that expressed their concerns with the new law in October when they wrote to US President Clinton, asking him not to sign it.

"Our clients, David Talbot, CEO of Salon Magazine and Norman Laurila, President of A Different Light Bookstores, provided compelling testimony today that if this law were not enjoined, they might be forced to shut down their websites altogether," said Ann Beeson, ACLU National Staff Attorney. "That may not have been the intent of the law, but it certainly is the outcome."

Under the current schedule, the groups will return to court next month for a preliminary injunction hearing on the matter. The TRO, which was originally going to expire on December 4, has been extended until after the hearing in order to maintain the current status quo.

"We are very pleased with the court's initial ruling, " said Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Like the original CDA, this censorship law raises troubling implications for both free speech and privacy in the online world."

Barry Steinhardt, President of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, agreed. "This is an important first step," he said. "At least for now, speech on the Internet retains the strong constitutional protection that the Supreme Court said it deserved in the original ACLU v. Reno case."

The temporary restraining order is online at:

[8] US Court Says Internet Blocking for Adult Library Users is Unconstitutional

A federal district judge last week said that forcing adults to use blocking software in public libraries "offends the guarantee of free speech," and permanently blocked government officials in Loudoun County, Virginia from unconstitutionally restricting online access.

The American Civil Liberties Union (GILC member) hailed the ruling, which marks the first time in America's legal history that a court has applied First Amendment principles to Internet access at public libraries. The ACLU, along with its Virginia state affiliate, had entered the case as intervenors on behalf of a diverse group of eight Internet speakers seeking to reach library patrons in the county.

In a 46-page decision issued this afternoon, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia soundly rejected the notion that access to the Internet "should really be construed as a library acquisition decision, to which the First Amendment does not apply, rather than a decision to remove library materials."

"The court clearly agreed that mandatory filtering blocks adult library patrons from accessing important online speech on issues ranging from safer sex to fine art to popular news columns," said Ann Beeson, an ACLU staff attorney who argued the case before the court.

"At the same time," she added, "the judge -- herself a former librarian -- cited the experience of other Virginia librarians in suggesting that Loudoun county could use a variety of less restrictive means to keep children from accessing inappropriate material online."

"Such strategies," she added, "could include placing privacy screens around terminals, establishing Internet use policies, and allowing optional filtering on terminals used by children. These are all strategies that the ACLU has recommended as alternatives to the unconstitutional use of mandatory blocking software."

The ACLU's plaintiffs in the action are The Safer Sex Page, operated by Chris Filkins; Banned Books Online, created by John Ockerbloom; American Association of University Women Maryland (AAUW Maryland); Rob Morse, an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Examiner; Books for Gay and Lesbian Teens Youth Page, created by 18-year-old Jeremy Myers; Sergio Arau, the popular Mexican artist and rock singer known as "El Padrino"; Renaissance Transgender Association, a group serving the transgendered community; and The Ethical Spectacle, created by author Jonathan Wallace.

In court papers, the ACLU had argued that X-Stop, the blocking software installed by the library, had at one time or another blocked all of their clients. In response, the library had argued that it generally unblocked websites when notified.

But, as the court's opinion noted, "the degree to which the Policy is completely lacking in standards is demonstrated by the defendant's willingness to entrust all preliminary blocking decisions -- and by default, the overwhelming majority of final decisions -- to a private vendor." The government, the judge said, "cannot avoid its constitutional obligation by contracting out its decision-making to a private entity."

In response to the ruling, the Loudoun County Library Board initially removed all access to the Internet from the library. However, this week, the library board voted to permit adults with access to the World Wide Web with or without filters and will now require parents to sign consent forms before their children can use the World Wide Web. Under the new policy, parents may permit their children to gain either filtered or unfiltered Web access.

Complete information on the case, including full text of the decision, the ACLU's complaint, links to plaintiffs' web pages, and related cyber-law cases, can be found on the ACLU Freedom Network at

[9] Canadian Working Group Backs Expanded Hate Crime Definitions

Canada's Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Working Group on Diversity, Equality, and Justice last week recommended sweeping amendments to the current criminal code provisions relating to hate crimes. Under the new recommendations, it would be a crime to possess material "for the purpose of distribution to promote hate."

The new amendments would also permit seizure of computer hard drives storing hate propaganda; establishing a uniform, national definition in the Criminal Code of 'hatred'; expanding the identifiable groups to include race, national or ethnic origin, language, color, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability and sexual orientation.

Under the amended criminal provisions, the possession of material that is deemed to embody hatred, would be punishable even if the individual possessing such information believed the information to be true or accurate. Moreover, the law increases penalties where the possession or dissemination of such information involves the Internet.

"The existing provisions of the Criminal Code have not kept pace with the proliferation of hate propaganda through new technology. Nor does the code reflect the complexity of hate activity as it is being carried out by organized hate groups across the world," said British Columbia Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh who has been a staunch advocate of expanded criminal penalties against hate motivated actions. Dosanjh previously announced that such reforms were supported by the attorney generals of Canada's other provinces as well.

However, Electronic Frontier Canada, (GILC Member) criticized the recommendations saying that the solution to hate speech is not stifling free speech or the discussion of controversial ideas. "The proposals reflect the fears in certain constituencies represented by some of the participants in the working group," said the EFC Vice President, Richard Rosenberg in an interview with Wired News. "There seems to be a notion that you can curtail free speech and society will somehow be better for it."

The recommendations on broadened hate crime prohibitions are expected to be presented to the Canadian Parliament next year.

[10] Australia Considers Applying Anti-Hate Laws to Net

In Australia, a proposal to apply provisions of the Racial Discrmination Act (RDA) to the Internet was also being considered by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission as a result of a case involving allegedly racist comments made on a web site that originated in Australia.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (a GILC member) issued an open letter to the Human Rights Commission saying that attempts to censor hate speech on the Internet by applying existing hate laws will not be effective.

"There are both principled and pragmatic arguments against the application of the RDA to web sites," said EFA board member Danny Yee. "While telling race-based jokes in the pub is probably unlawful under the RDA, that is hardly something the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is or should be involved in. But your chances of overhearing racist jokes in a pub are vastly greater than your chances of unwittingly stumbling over offensive material on the Adelaide Institute's web site. The RDA could severely curtail the freedom of Australian Internet users."

"Pragmatically, attempts to suppress hate speech online will only result in its publication overseas," commented EFA board member Irene Graham, who pointed out that the United States Constitution explicitly protects the views expressed by the offending site and that such content originating abroad will not fall under the RDA.

"Rather than publicizing offensive speech by attempting to censor it the Executive Council of Australian Jewry would be better advised to make factual information available on their own web site," Graham said. "Internet users can make their own decisions about the accuracy of the various claims, or ignore the debate entirely."

Full text EFA's letter is online at:

A statement by Global Internet Liberty Campaign members on hate speech is online at:

The Australian Racial Discrimination Act, Section 18C is available at:

[11] UK Civil Liberties Group Calls on ISPs to Explain Privacy Protection Practices

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) (a GILC member), which recently launched an campaign to encourage all UK Internet users to ask their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for explanations of their company privacy protections and policies said it is disappointed over some industry members apparent disregard of the efforts.

The group posted a model privacy letter on its web site which may be modified by individuals and sent to ISPs to obtain the information as well as academic institutions and companies that provide Internet access to employees. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) also sent the letter to ISPs through many sources including the two trade organizations, including the Internet Service Providers Association ("ISPA"), and the London Internet Exchange ("LINX"), and encouraged them to respond in order to learn more about the privacy practices of the UK's 300 or more ISPs.

ISPA is involved in a forum with the Association of Chief Police Officers over what type of access should be allowed to users' private e-mails and personal information. Immediately after the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties letter went out, the ISPA advised its members to ignore all letters sent by users which relate to the privacy letter, according to Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties Director, Yaman Akdeniz.

However, now the group has written a letter to the civil liberties group formally asking them "cease its letter-writing campaign", and defended its position with regards to the private discussions with the police.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties sent a response to the cease and desist letter saying that the campaign is being conducted on behalf of and by Internet users as the public is sending the letters. The group also criticized ISPA's lack of dialogue saying that privacy protection issues should be debated in the public domain rather than behind closed doors.

"Most people would be shocked if their bank or their doctor gave the police information about their affairs without a court order, and we think ISPs should take the same view. Some have already replied to the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) privacy letter to say they agree with this. We think users will prefer ISPs that show respect for their privacy rights in this way, and we will be publishing the responses we receive," added Nicholas Bohm, E-Commerce Policy Adviser for Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK).

However in reports by the Silicon News, Lansman has argued that all ISPA's members already handle their data in such a way that consumer rights are always protected. He said that the only information that is ever revealed outside their servers is that which is considered to be related to illegal activities and is required by law enforcement agencies. (See "ISP Association rejects civil rights campaign," Silicon IT TV News Service, 01 December, 1998).

The model privacy letter is online at:
In addition, Cyber-Rights has started posted response letters by ISPs on the site as well.

[12] Japan Announces that Unauthorized Computer Access Will be Punished

The Japanese National Police Agency (NPA) recently unveiled a plan to be used in drafting a bill to criminalize and punish unauthorized access of restricted computer networks.

The plan will, among other things, require businesses to save computer entry logs to aid police investigations, the agency said adding that the law marks the first step toward giving Japan a legal weapon against hacking, the reports stated.

[13] First Private Internet Provider in Albania

The 2K company has been granted a license by the government's telecommunications licensing body to provide Internet access to private and commercial users. 2K pledged to invest $360,000 in the project, Albanian Daily News reported.

Previously, only the United Nations Development Program and the Open Society Foundation operated full-fledged Internet servers in Albania. Those servers were accessed only by non-governmental organizations, government agencies, Tirana University, and other educational institutions.

[14] Finland Announces a Liberal National Cryptography Policy

The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland recently published its new national cryptography policy eliminating restrictions on the use of strong encryption for confidentiality purposes.

According to the policy, which is now available in English online, there should be no mandatory key recovery systems either, at least not provided for by law. Businesses and private persons are encouraged to use voluntary key management systems but they are not obligated to and will receive no special benefit under the law for using such a system.

According to an announcement accompanying the policy, the government said that it will continue to observe international agreements on cryptography, but that Finland will seek to reform the current controls over encryption under the Wassenaar Arrangement, an agreement of 33 countries. It was unclear at press time how the Finnish government would respond to the announced changes to the Wassenaar agreement (see story above) since it does not appear that restrictions have been liberalized under the new agreement.

"Finland's aims are to examine the restrictions on cryptographic products so that control lists correspond to technical development, and to ensure that the necessary restrictions will not unreasonably impede normal foreign trade of industry and businesses," according to the release.

A proposal for a new law on privacy in the telecommunications sector is being studied by the Finnish Parliament. The law, which is to enter into force in the coming months, would provide everyone for the right to use any technical means available to ensure the confidentiality of his or her telecommunications messages.

Article on Wassenaar with details on new Finnish crypto policy

[15] South Korean Teen Arrested Over Pro-Communist Web Site

Police arrested a teen-ager last week for creating pro-communist Web site that "eulogized" North Korea, the Associated Press and Nando Media report. The Police are also searching for the 4,000 or more visitors of the site since its opening last month, AP reports.

South Korean authorities routinely search Web sites looking for pro-North Korea propaganda and charged the teen for violating national security by posting pro-communist material, which included images of a North Korean flag and a burning South Korean flag, according to the reports.

The teen's Web site, titled the "Forum for People Who Love North Korea," also featured the North Korean constitution and a profile of leader Kim Jong Il.

[16] Other Resources and Links of Interest:

The recently enacted UK Human Rights Act 1998 is at:

Economic and Social Impacts report published (OECD) The Economic and Social Impacts of Electronic Commerce: Preliminary Findings and Research Agenda

Vietnam's Net Roadblocks: Have trouble getting work done online? Businesspeople in Vietnam know just how you feel, By David Legard, IDG News Service, Nov. 30, 1998


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