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GILC Alert

Volume 2, Issue 3
March 4, 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.


[A1] GILC Surveys International Encryption Policies
[A2] GILC Critiques UK Encryption Policy
[B1] Europe
[B1.1] EU Calls for Global Internet Charter
[B1.2] Russia and the Internet
[B1.3] EC Official Seeks to Protect ISPs
[B2] North America
[B2.1] US Federal Court Convicts Man For Sending E-Mail Threats
[B2.2] Senate Moves To Restrict Internet, Again
[B2.3] Virginia Court Protects Internet
[B2.4] Reno Asks Congress to Enlarge Computer Threat Team



[A1] GILC Surveys International Encryption Policies

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a GILC founding member,
working on behalf of GILC, undertook the tremendous task of surveying
virtually every national and territorial jurisdiction in the world to
gain a sweeping analysis of cryptography policy. EPIC conducted the
survey with dual convictions. First, "governmental regulation of
cryptographic security techniques endangers personal privacy."  And
second, "encryption ensures the confidentiality of personal records,
such as medical information, personal financial data, and electronic
To read the survey:
EPIC is at:
Read the CyberTimes Article:

  [A2] GILC Critiques UK Encryption Policy   Members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign criticized recent comments by UK Home Secretary Jack Straw. Straw favors developing "key recovery" solutions for the regulation of encryption. GILC which favors the unrestricted use of cryptography to protect personal privacy stated: "mandatory key recovery policies would make Britain a second-class nation in the Information Age." The statement, signed by 22 organizations from around the world, argued that the "debate about the prohibition or limitation of the use of encryption will not only have a terrible effect on online computer security a national security issue itself and electronic commerce, but also directly affects the right to privacy."   Read the GILC statement:   Read the GILC Press Release:   Read GILC's survey of International Cryptography Policy:   Read Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) first report on UK Encryption Policy:   Britain has delayed any encryption proposals:    
  [B1] Europe [B1.1] EU Calls for Global Internet Charter   The Scotsman has recently reported that the European Commission is finalizing a global plan for the Internet, covering all aspects of Internet commerce. According to the paper, this framework "is the brainchild of German Commissioner Martin Bangemann, who first called for an 'international charter for global communications' in a speech last September in Geneva." Bangemann is concerned that different countries would sign on to different rules proposed by different organizations. He suggests the non-binding charter include a minimum number of standards of conduct and rules that coordinate technical codes, date privacy, encryption and illegal or obscene material.   "EU Proposes International Charter For The Internet":   "European Union Hopes to Boost Global Internet Cooperation:  
  [B1.2] Russia and the Internet   Although Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais has supported the unfettered development of the Russian Internet, recent reports in the Moscow Times claim that the Russian Duma is discussing a new law on "mass media that could place a roadblock in the path of Russia's fledgling web publishers, from individuals with personal home pages to large corporations blazing the trails of electronic commerce." Chubais wants to create an agency promoting Internet growth in Russia, where about 120,000 people use the Internet per day and about 750,000 are subscribers. He stressed that the burden of "additional restrictions on information is unreasonable." While objecting to the use of the Internet for terrorism, violence, racism and pornography, he thinks prohibitory actions could only lead to censorship. Nevertheless, a series of proposed bills would include within the definition of "mass media" computerized information and, therefore, the new bills would have a chilling effect on free expression.   This site is in Russian:   So is this one:  
  [B1.3] EC Official Seeks to Protect ISPs   Techweb reports that the some in the European Commission want to protect Internet Service Providers from unjust liability if a user commits an illegal act on their networks. The article cites Patrick Vittet-Phillipe, adviser to the EC, as arguing that governments and law enforcement officials must learn that providing access to the Internet is fundamentally different from publishing on the Internet. Vittet-Phillipe's comments collide with EC proposals, issued last April.   Read the TechWeb article: twb19980226S0010    
  [B2] North America [B2.1] US Federal Court Convicts Man For Sending E-Mail Threats   A jury, sitting in a federal district court in Santa Ana, California, has handed down the first ever conviction for sending threats via E-mail. The jury found Richard Machado, 21, guilty of violating the civil rights of 59 Asian students. Machado, using his university computer lab, sent the students a nine-line, profanity-filled e-mail that threatened: "I personally will make it my life carreer [sic] to find and kill everyone of you personally." He signed the note, "Asian Hater."   Read the CyberTimes article: week/021498hate.html   Read the UPI article: html-ssi   Read the Channel 2000 News Article: http://www.channel2000. com/news/stories/news-980211-010850.html   Read the Netly News article: editorial/0,1012,257,00.html    
  [B2.2] Senate Moves to Restrict Internet, Again   With the latest studies showing that 21% of United States adults -- or 41.5 million people -- use the Internet, the Senate held hearings seeking to censor the information superhighway. Republican Senator >from Arizona and Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, John McCain introduced the Internet Filtering Act of 1998. In a press release >from McCain's office, he struggled to explain his scheme: "The prevention lies not in censoring what goes onto the Internet, but rather in filtering what comes out of it into the computers our children use outside the home." Conspicuously excluded from the McCain hearings were civil liberties organizations, free speech groups, and library and education associations.   Barry Steinhardt's full statement:   The ACLU press release:   The bill:   Read the statements of groups concerned with free speech: the Internet Free Expression Alliance:  
  [B2.3] Virginia Court Protects Internet   While legislators are continuing to propose and pass laws seeking to censor and regulate the Internet, the courts, thus far, have consistently protected free speech and freedom to information. Following that trend, a Virginia judge recently struck down a restrictive Internet law. The Virginia law sought to bar state employees from viewing "sexually explicit" communications online. In a 30-page decision issued late yesterday, Federal District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union (a GILC founding member) that the law unconstitutionally curbed the free speech rights of state university professors and others. Virginia plans to appeal.   Read the ACLU Press release: n022898a.html   Read the judge's decision: urofskyvallendec.html   Read the CyberTimes article: tech/98/02/cyber/articles/27virginia.html  
  [B2.4] Reno Asks Congress to Enlarge Computer Threat Team   Attorney General Janet Reno announced that the FBI is creating a National Infrastructure Protection Center (NPIC) to fight attacks on the computer networks. In her prepared statement to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Commerce, Reno argued that "one of the greatest challenges of the next century will be to address cybercrime before it can become an epidemic within the United States or a pandemic worldwide. Every day, the United States relies more heavily upon its interconnected telecommunications and automated information systems for basic services such as energy, banking/finance, transportation, and defense. Reliance on, and the use of, computers and the information superhighway is becoming a standard part of life for most Americans. As such, we must be certain they are safe and secure." She asked Congress for $64 million in extra funding to restructure and transform the FBI's Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Threat Assessment Center (CITAC) into NPIC.   Read the UPI story: nfrast_1.html   Read the CNET story:,4,19546,00.html  
  Raafat S. Toss GILC Organizer Developer American Civil Liberties Union 125 Broad Street New York, New York 10004  
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