GILC Actions 



 Free Speech 





 GILC Alert 

 Mailing List
 GILC Events 




 Mail GILC 

Home Page

US Site
European Mirror


GILC Alert
Volume 7, Issue 1

January 31, 2003


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.

Free expression

[1] Jailed Tunisian Net dissident on hunger strike
[2] Norwegian teen faces DVD computer speech retrial
[3] Chinese gov't targets weblogs, arrests Net activists
[4] Malaysian web news agency raided
[5] Vietnamese online dissident gets jail time
[6] German Internet censor plan papers cause alarm
[7] Pro-Net fair use bill resubmitted in US Congress
[8] Court holds cybercafe chain liable for copyright violations
[9] Music labels consider Net blocking, more crippleware
[10] Several European nations sign online hate speech pact
[11] Emails to British politicians censored


[12] EU privacy concerns lead to Microsoft Passport changes
[13] New bills target Total Informational Awareness spy program
[14] Verizon appeals Net customer info subpoena decision
[15] Panel rejects British gov't data retention plan
[16] Transmeta microchips to include TCPA-type features
[17] Studies indicate barriers to mass surveillance are eroding
[18] Big Brother Awards ceremonies held in Bulgaria, France & Denmark
[19] European privacy & civil rights newsletter launched

[1] Jailed Tunisian Net dissident on hunger strike

The proprietor of a prominent Tunisian news website has begun a hunger strike to protest the conditions of his confinement.

Zouhair Yahyaoui founded and edited TUNeZINE, which included coverage of political affairs in the North African nation and materials from opposition party leaders. The Tunisian government arrested, tortured, then imprisoned him for republishing a letter online written by his uncle that derided the country's legal system. During his detainment, he has been forced to share a cell with 100 other inmates, and prison authorities have reportedly denied Yahyaoui medical aid even though he has been suffering from several serious medical ailments. Nearly two weeks ago, Yahyaoui began a hunger strike, saying that in "any event, the suffering is so intense that I am unable to eat."

These latest developments have spawned grave concern from free speech advocates. Robert Menard, the Secretary-General of Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF-a GILC member), charged: "Not only does the Tunisian regime imprison persons whose only crime is to express themselves, but it also detains them in deplorable conditions."

For more information in French (Francais), visit the TUNeZINE website at

Additional details are available from the Digital Freedom Network (DFN-a GILC member) website under

An RSF press statement about this case is available under

[2] Norwegian teen faces DVD computer speech retrial

Authorities in Norway are attempting to prosecute a teenager once more for creating a DVD-related computer program.

Jon Johansen created DeCSS in 1999. DeCSS is designed to help Linux operating system users watch DVDs on their machines. Norwegian authorities briefly detained him in early 2000 for his activities but released him not long afterwards. Nearly 2 years later, he was arrested again on the theory that by developing DeCSS, he violated a Norwegian law against break-ins.

Presiding judge Irene Sogn subsequently vindicated Johansen, holding that there was "no evidence" that he had used DeCSS for illegal purposes. Sogn went on to rule that there was no proof that anyone else had used the program to break the law, and that Johansen could not be held liable as an accessory. Furthermore, the judge found there was no sign that Johansen had the necessary intent to cause illegal copying to take place. Finally, she held that, under Norwegian law, it was legal to use DeCSS to watch legally obtained DVDs, citing past personal property precedents. Norwegian prosecutors have announced plans to appeal the decision.

The trial court ruling drew positive reactions from a number of free expression experts. Cindy Cohn from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF-a GILC member) noted that the "Norwegian court has recognized Jon has the right to take the steps necessary to view his own DVDs on his own computers. Johansen's acquittal, along with that of Russian company Elcomsoft in the U.S. last month, will hopefully convince Hollywood to stop filing unfounded charges in cases where there is no copyright infringement." Cohn was referring to the case of Dmitry Sklyarov, who developed a program for Elcomsoft, his employer, that circumvents the copy protection scheme contained on Adobe Systems electronic books. He was subsequently found innocent of having violated the criminal law provisions contained in the controversial United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

For the latest details, read "Special division will retry 'DVD-Jon'," Aftenposten, 21 January 2003 at

An EFF press release on the lower court ruling is posted at
20030107_ eff_pr.html

For an archive of documents regarding the Johansen case, visit the EFF website under

For video and text coverage, see "Teenager wins DVD court battle," BBC News, 7 January 2003 at

Read Lisa M. Bowman, "Norway piracy case brings activists hope," CNet News, 8 January 2003 at

For further information in French (Francais), read Jerome Thorel, "Justice: acquittement de Jon Johansen, poursuivi pour 'piratage de DVD,'" ZDNet France, 7 January 2003 at,,t118-s2128287,00.html

[3] Chinese gov't targets weblogs, arrests Net activists

Beijing continues to tighten its grip on Internet speech, both through technical methods and criminal prosecutions.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government apparently blocked its citizens from accessing The website is used by hundreds of thousands of individuals to create weblogs or "blogs"-lists of weblinks (which occasionally include commentary) that spotlight Internet pages of interest, such as news articles. While Chinese authorities have reputedly since removed the block on other blogs on, the block on one blog in particular remains in place - DynaWeb (, which has lists of proxy servers that Chinese Internet users can use to gain access to restricted Web sites from within the country. The ban has angered many Chinese Internet users; one of them warned that the block would only lead to "more dissent. The bloggers who have something to say won't be deterred by the blockage at all. We'll find other ways."

Meanwhile, concern is growing over 2 recently arrested Net activists. The Chinese government reportedly has convicted Tao Haidong of "inciting the overthrow of the state power." He had been accused of posting excerpts from 2 books he had written that decried the health of the country's economy and criticized various Chinese leaders. The excerpts appeared on various Chinese and foreign websites. While his sentence has yet to be announced, he could face the death penalty. In addition, Chinese authorities have formally arrested Ouyang Yi, who is a member of the banned Chinese Democratic Party and allegedly wrote online about the 1989 Tiananmen protests, disparaged Beijing's economic strategies and advocated structural reforms.

For further information on the Blogspot ban, visit the Digital Freedom Network (DFN-a GILC member) website under

See "Beijing blocks bloggers," Reuters, 15 January 2003 at

See also "China blocks bloggers' sites,", 14 January 2003 at

Additional details concerning Tao Haidong are available from the Human Rights in China website under

For more about the Ouyang Yi case, click

Read "China charges web dissident," BBC News Online, 16 January 2003 at

[4] Malaysian web news agency raided

Malaysian government agents have raided the offices of a prominent independent online news agency.

Malaysiakini (also known as Malaysia Now) is an award-winning web publication that features critical reporting on the nation's political scene. The organization recently posted a letter from a concerned reader complaining about state policies that provide preferential treatment to ethnic Malays. After a complaint from the youth-wing of the country's ruling party, Malaysian authorities demanded that the news agency reveal the name of the letter's author. When the request was denied, police officers went into the agency's offices and confiscated of all 19 of its computers. The government has since accused Malaysiakini co-founder Steven Gan of breaking criminal sedition and racial hatred incitement laws; a court hearing on the matter is scheduled for May 2003. In the latest development, the agency's landlord, which has links to the government, is planning to evict Malaysiakini from its offices.

The incursion has spurred protests both at the domestic and international levels. Some 200 people held a vigil outside Malaysiakini's offices to support the agency in its fight against the government harassment. Elsewhere, Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF-a GILC member) issued a statement warning that the persecution of Malaysiakini "threatened once again the country's chief source of independent news."

The text of the letter is available at

A Malaysiakini press release about the raid is posted at

A RSF statement on this case is posted under

Read "Malaysian police raid website office," BBC News Online, 20 January 2003 at

Further analysis is available from Amnesty International via

[5] Vietnamese online dissident gets jail time

The Vietnamese government is apparently continuing efforts to stifle its online critics.

The Vietnamese government has sentenced Nguyen Khac Toan to 12 years in prison. A former soldier, Nguyen was charged with allegedly emailing various "reactionary" overseas human rights organizations. His trial was reportedly marred by numerous procedural failings. For example, the trial was held in secret and lasted less than a day; Vietnamese authorities prevented him from consulting privately with his attorney, and limited consultations with his lawyer to 2 visits held several days prior to the hearing. The sentence itself is reputedly the heaviest ever levied in Vietnam against a person for his or her Internet activities.

Not surprisingly, the prosecution of Nguyen has drawn sharp criticism from free speech advocates. In a statement, Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF-a GILC member) "strongly condemned" his sentencing, labeled his trial a "sham" and called on Vietnamese "justice minister Uong Chu Luu to free him at once."

The RSF statement is posted at

[6] German Internet censor plan papers cause alarm

Recently revealed documents concerning local German government attempts to censor Internet content are causing considerable anxiety among civil society activists.

The district government of Duesseldorf had previously ordered Internet service providers (ISPs) to prevent users from reaching selected foreign websites. Duesseldorf officials have tried to justify these efforts as a way to fight right-wing extremists. However, according to government papers and audio recordings obtained by the cyber-rights group ODEM, authorities would not only prevent access to neo-Nazi sites, but would also be able to censor political criticism, entertainment files and sexual content. Indeed, the information uncovered by ODEM indicates how one of the prime backers of the blocking order, Jurgen Buessow, who is the head of administration of the Duesseldorf region, pressured a local broadcaster to takedown an online critique of his behavior.

Even before these revelations, the Duesseldorf Internet content control plan had generated protests from a coalition of groups and politicians, not to mention a series of court challenges by affected ISPs. The newly unearthed documents have served to intensify this opposition. Foerderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft (FITUG-a GILC member) issued a call on private Internet users and non-governmental organizations to help defend "against Mr. Buessow's assault on our freedom" and ominously compared the Internet censorship scheme to past German government efforts to block foreign radio broadcasts. ODEM's Alvar Freude fears that if the Duesseldorf government has its way, information that is that only available from outside Germany "shall be taken offline with the help of the access providers. ... Do we actually want the internet or the"

To read the documents uncovered by ODEM, click

The censored critique of Governor Buessow has been republished at

A FITUG press release on the subject is posted under

An English-language translation of the release is available at

See "Website-Sperrungen: Internet oder Deutschland-Net?" Heise Online, 28 January 2003 at

See also Stefan Krempl, "Internet oder Deutschland-Net?" C't, 28 January 2003 at

[7] Pro-Net fair use bill resubmitted in US Congress

Renewed efforts are being made to protect traditional free expression rights in the Information Age.

United States Representative Rick Boucher has submitted a proposal to amend the much-criticized U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Among other things, the plan would allow users to bypass copy protection schemes "if such circumvention does not result in an infringement of the copyright" in a given work, which would ostensibly include fair uses, that is, making use of the work for research, public commentary, and educational or other salutary purposes. In addition, the bill would permit the manufacture, distribution and "noninfringing use" of software or hardware "capable of enabling significant noninfringing use of a copyright work"-a provision that might apply to such items as music sharing software and optical disc burners. The proposal would also require special labeling for copy-protected CDs.

Boucher explained that he resubmitted the bill because the "fair use doctrine is threatened today as never before. ... The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the Fair Use rights of the users of copyrighted material. The re-introduced legislation will assure that consumers who purchase digital media can enjoy a broad range of uses of the media for their own convenience in a way which does not infringe the copyright in the work."

The resubmission of the Boucher bill came just as a recent report indicated that the DMCA is having an adverse impact on free speech in the digital domain. Entitled "Unintended Consequences: Four Years under the DMCA," the study documents how key portions of the Act "have not been used as Congress envisioned. ... In practice, the anti-circumvention provisions have been used to stifle a wide array of legitimate activities, rather than to stop copyright piracy." The report was commissioned by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF-a GILC member).

The text of the bill is available (in PDF format) under

A statement from Rep. Boucher on his proposal is posted at

For further information in German (Deutsch), read "US-Gesetzesinitiative fur Recht auf private digitale Kopie," Heise Online, 9 January 2003 at

The Unintended Consequences report is posted under

Read Lisa M. Bowman, "EFF: DMCA is choking innovation," ZDNet News, 10 January 2003 at

For further information in German (Deutsch), see Monika Ermert, "Unbeabsichtigte Folgen des US-Urheberrechts," Heise Online, 13 January 2003 at

[8] Court holds cybercafe chain liable for copyright infringement

A global business mogul is refusing to surrender in his battle against the recording industry over alleged copyright violations.

Stelios Haji-Iannou is the founder of the EasyGroup business empire, which includes the European airline EasyJet and the EasyInternet Café chain. A number of major recording companies, including the British Phonographic Industry (which represents Universal, Virgin and EMI) have sued EasyGroup, claiming that that it should be liable for music that allegedly has been downloaded illegally by EasyInternet Café customers. Sony went so far as to ask the court for a "gag order" to prevent public discussion of the dispute-a request that was denied.

A court in London has since ruled in the music companies' favor. Judge Peter Smith rejected arguments by EasyInternet that it should not be held responsible for what its customers do while using its computers. The tribunal has not yet announced what penalties it will impose. Haji-Iannou savaged the ruling, accusing Smith of failing to answer one of his firm's key arguments: that downloading music was a legally permitted fair use, similar to recording a television program for later viewing. "I believe the judge side-stepped the issue because it would have opened a can of worms for the music industry, throwing it into disarray, but that is not a good reason." He has vowed to appeal the ruling.

See "Net café to appeal against ruling," BBC News Online, 28 January 2003 at

Read Jill Treanor, "Music chiefs win net café ruling," The Guardian, 29 January 2003 at,12597,884428,00.html

See also Owen Gibson, "Internet café guilty of piracy," Media Guardian, 28 January 2003 at,7496,884052,00.html

For further information in French (Francais), read Estelle Dumont, "Les cybercafes Easy Internet epingles pour contrefacon au Royaum-Uni," ZDNet France, 29 January 2003 at,,t118-s2129563,00.html

[9] Music labels consider Net blocking, more crippleware

In order to prevent music piracy, we must censor the Internet on a global scale, and restrict people's use of audio discs, even if they were purchased legally.

Those are several ideas reportedly being pushed by Pascal Nègre, the Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music France, and the president of the a leading music industry trade group (Société civile des producteurs phonographiques-SCPP). Among other things, he is calling for national procedures to block access to Internet content as an antipiracy measure. Negre has tried to justify this notion by claiming most music is downloaded from websites hosted outside of France.

He is also lobbying for measures that would limit buyers of CDs to making just one copy-a concept that may be coming closer to reality. Microsoft has recently unveiled a new copy protection scheme that features multiple layers of information encoded on compact discs. Microsoft claims that its new Windows Media Data Session Toolkit is an improvement on past copy protection systems, which produced CDs that couldn't be played on personal computers, portable devices or car stereos.

Questions remain, however, as to whether such measures would simply be rejected by consumers. For example, Fred von Lohmann from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF-a GILC member) commented that crippled audio discs were "going to drive people to use alternative means to get a hold of the music that they legitimately purchased." Indeed, in Japan, a system of copy protected CDs launched by Label Gate nearly a year ago has flopped due to poor sales.

For more on Pascal Negre's comments, see Estelle Dumout, "Musique: les producteurs francais exigent un filtrage de l'internet," ZDNet France, 10 January 2003 at,,t118-s2128510,00.html

Read "Label Gate CDs tackle 'burning' question," Asahi Shimbun, 24 January 2003 at

For more on Microsoft's new copy protected CD format, read "Microsoft's new CDs face uphill battle," Associated Press, 23 January 2003 at

See "Microsoft sets sights on CD piracy," BBC News Online, 20 January 2003 at

See also "Microsoft unveils new CD copy protection," Reuters, 18 January 2003 at

[10] Several European nations sign online hate speech pact

Various European nations have signed a controversial protocol regarding online hate speech.

The protocol was considered in connection with the Council of Europe's Cybercrime Convention. The proposal essentially requires signatory nations to bar people from "making available" or "distributing ... racist and xenophobic material ... through a computer system." Among other things, the plan also calls for signatories to criminalize the use of computer networks to conduct various "racist and xenophobic" activities. The pact had previously been approved by the CoE's Council of Ministers in November 2002.

The list of signatories includes Armenia, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden. However, the United States government, which supported the underlying Convention, has signaled that it will not sign the protocol, due to concerns that the hate speech agreement would run afoul of Constitutional free expression protections.

A Council of Europe press release on this subject is posted at

For additional background information on U.S. resistance to the protocol, see Declan McCullagh, "U.S. won't support Net 'hate speech' ban," CNet News, 15 November 2002 at

[11] British politicians' emails to be censored

A number of politicians in the United Kingdom are raising objections to a new plan that will censor their email messages.

The British Parliamentary Communications Director has announced changes in the way electronic mail will be handled. Under the new rules, messages that contain "profanities of a sexual or offensive nature" will not be tolerated. However, many details regarding the scheme have yet to come to light, and it is not clear even to the affected politicians which words will be censored. Instead, Members of Parliament (MPs) will be forced to write to the directorate to discover precisely what is taboo.

Not surprisingly, the plan has met with irritation from a number of MPs. One of them, Paul Tyler, explained: "We might be more relaxed about censorship and the nanny state if we knew who the nanny was. Some MPs are known for their colourful language. Even the grey prime minister, John Major, was known to describe his colleagues as bastards. Would he now be bleeped?"

Read "MPs face foul language censorship," BBC News Online, 17 January 2003 at

[12] EU privacy concerns lead to Microsoft Passport changes

The world's leading provider of computer operating systems has entered into an agreement with European government regulators to alter its user personal information practices.

Microsoft has agreed to make changes to its .NET Passport user authentication service in order to comply with European Union privacy rules. The company had intended Passport to act as a central repository for such personal information as birth dates and credit card numbers, which, in turn, could be used for a variety of purposes, such as commercial transactions online. As explained in a report issued by the EU Working Party on Data Protection, Microsoft will have to allow users greater control over how much information they divulge through the service. Key measures include recoding the registration system to separate "the creation of a Passport account from the decision to communicate personal data to participating sites or to store it in the [respective user's] profile," and permitting users "to decide on a site-by-site basis whether they want to communicate their profile data or not." Other steps involve "revising the text of the .NET Passport privacy statement and providing additional information on registration pages." The report also mentions other online authentication schemes, including the Sun Microsystems-backed Liberty Alliance Project, and notes that the Working Party "will continue to monitor" future developments in this field.

Passport had been the subject of intense scrutiny from privacy experts for years. In 2001, several organizations, including GILC members the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Net Action, had filed formal papers with the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the potential detrimental impact that Microsoft Windows XP might have on user privacy, especially its Passport component. Those complaints led to an investigation and settlement with the FTC.

The EU report is available (in PDF format) under

An EPIC archive of materials concerning Passport is available via

Read Matt Loney, "Microsoft agrees to Passport changes," CNet News, 30 January 2003 at

See "Microsoft OKs 'Passport' Changes," Associated Press, 30 January 2003 at

For further information in German (Deutsch), see "Microsoft verbessert Datenschutz von Passport," Heise Online, 30 January 2003 at

[13] New bills target Total Informational Awareness spy program

Several new proposals may curb the development of a shadowy United States government program to collect a wide range of personal information.

A project of the U.S. Department of Defense, Total Informational Awareness (TIA) is designed to gather personal data on a grand scale, including emails, phone calls, financial records, transportation habits, and medical information. Its proponents believe that by scanning and analyzing this massive pile of data, government agents will be able to predict and prevent crime. Many specifics concerning this plan have yet to be determined, including methods to protect the security of the warehoused information and other prevent unauthorized access. It is known, however, that the U.S. government is already funding projects to develop tools that could be used as part of this system, including software to predict an individual's behavior based on what that person does online. Experts believe the recently created U.S. Department of Homeland Security will use TIA.

Not long after details began to surface about the program, a coalition of non-profit groups issued a letter urging United States lawmakers "to act immediately to stop the development of TIA and other similar programs that create massive public surveillance systems." Among other things, the document pointed out that, according to the various Defense Department documents, "TIA would expand domestic intelligence activities to include the analysis of innocent people's personal information-credit card transactions, hotel reservations, or even prescription receipts. ... By definition, the program is privacy-intrusive. ... Yet even as millions of dollars are spent to develop a hi-tech domestic surveillance system, the Defense Department's recent response to a Freedom of Information Act request strongly suggests that privacy policy has received little consideration-if any-in TIA's development." The list of signatories included a number of GILC member organizations, notably the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Since then, several pro-privacy bills on the subject have been submitted for consideration in the U.S. Senate. The Data-Mining Moratorium Act, sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold, Ron Wyden and John Corzine, would halt development of all data-mining systems in the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security (which would ostensibly include TIA). The Act would also require all Federal agencies to submit reports within 90 days about any or all such systems that they are developing or using as well as what measures are being implemented to protect individual privacy. In addition, Senator Wyden has put forth an amendment to an omnibus budget bill that would essentially restrict the use of Federal funds for "any research, development, test, and evaluation" of TIA technology. The Senate approved the amendment, but the bill itself must now go through a conference committee to resolve differences between the Senate version and the version passed by the House of Representatives (which does not contain the anti-TIA language).

The text of the Feingold bill is available at

For a summary of the Data-Mining Moratorium Act and a press release from Sen. Feingold, click

The text of the Wyden amendment (in PDF format) is posted under

To read the coalition letter (in PDF format), click

See Dan Eggen and Robert O'Harrow Jr., "Surveillance Plan Worries GOP Senator," Washington Post, 22 January 2003, page A13 at

Read Declan McCullagh, "Senate limits Pentagon 'snooping' plan," CNet News, 23 January 2003 at

For more on one U.S. government-funded computer user behavior prediction project, read Ben Dobbin, "Mission: Find Intruders Instantly," Associated Press, 23 January 2003 at

[14] Verizon appeals Net customer info subpoena decision

A major United States Internet service provider (ISP) has appealed a decision that would force it to divulge personal information about one of its subscribers to a recording industry trade group.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has requested data concerning a customer of telecom giant Verizon. The RIAA alleges that the individual in question had engaged in copyright infringement through peer-to-peer music file trading over the Internet. The Association claims it has the power to gather such information under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) even though it has not actually filed a lawsuit yet. The cited DMCA provision essentially says that copyright owners can request a U.S. Federal court to subpoena "information sufficient to identify the alleged infringer" from a "service provider." Verizon refused, claiming that this power can only be used when infringing material is stored or controlled on the service provider's network.

A trial court in the U.S. subsequently agreed with the RIAA and ordered Verizon to turn over the requested information. In his ruling, presiding judge John D. Bates did not determine whether the affected individual was engaged in copyright infringement. Instead, he focused on fears that "Verizon's reading of the act, a significant amount of potential copyright infringement would be shielded from the subpoena authority of the DMCA." Judge Bates then broadly interpreted the term "service provider" to include companies that merely provide a conduit for allegedly infringing material. He also suggested it was unnecessary to institute measures (similar to those used in anonymous online speech cases) to protect the privacy of Internet users, using terms like "cumbersome" and "uneconomical for copyright holders" to describe such procedures. Verizon has since appealed the decision.

Privacy advocates have blasted the trial court's ruling, warning it may allow copyright holders unchecked power to gather personal information based on mere allegations. Gwen Hinze from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF-a GILC member) noted that "[p]eople used to rest assured that their ISP would protect their privacy. After this decision, your ISP will be required to turn over your identity to any copyright holder simply because they claim you're doing something illegal."

To read the text of the decision (in PDF format), click

An EFF press release on this subject is posted under

See Declan McCullagh, "Verizon appeals RIAA subpoena win," CNet News, 30 January 2003 at

Read Jonathan Krim, "Recording Labels Win Copyright Ruling," Washington Post, 22 January 2003, page E1 at

For audio and text coverage, go to "Music labels win net piracy case," BBC News, 22 January 2003 at

[15] Panel rejects British gov't data retention plan

The British Home Office's data retention plans have received a thumbs-down from a Parliamentary inquiry panel.

The All Party Internet Group (APIG), which is comprised of Members of Parliament and Peers, had analyzed a retention scheme put forward under the British Anti-Terrorism Crime & Security Act of 2001. The proposal called for customer telecommunications traffic data to be retained for up to a year for law enforcement purposes. The types of data to be stored under this plan would ostensibly include email header information, web surfing habits, callers' and recipients' names, and the geographic locations of individual mobile phones.

The APIG has since issued a report indicating that that the entire scheme should be dropped. The Group based its decision on several grounds, including concern that the data retention plan would run afoul of various human rights laws. The panel also concluded that the proposal, if implemented, would cost far more money than the Government's prior estimates, and that there would be great difficulty in getting the necessary cooperation from industry.

The panel's report was warmly embraced by cyber-rights experts. Ian Brown from the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR-a GILC member) stated that data retention "would be a gross invasion of all of our privacy. It would also be extremely costly, ineffective against terrorism, and illegal under human rights law. We hope the Home Office will take the inquiry's advice and drop the whole idea."

For further information, visit the FIPR website under

See "MPs urge changes to net snooping laws," BBC News Online, 28 January 2003 at

See also "UK stands firm on snooping laws," BBC News Online, 30 January 2003 at

[16] Transmeta microchips to include TCPA-type features

A new line of microprocessors will include various "security" features, but it is unclear whether they will enhance or reduce computer users' rights.

Transmeta has announced that these functions will be built into its T5800 chips. While precise details about these microdevices have yet to be released, they will apparently include an encryption engine that supports many key algorithms. The T5800 will also have a special "invisible" tamper-resistant area that could be used to store such items as encryption keys, digital certificates and intellectual property files. The chips are scheduled to go on the market later this year. Since the announcement, one of Transmeta's main rivals, Intel, has unveiled similar plans for its next generation of mobile processors.

The T5800 bears a strong resemblance to the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance project and its Microsoft-led Palladium software counterpart, which have generated a great deal of concern from cyber-rights experts. Skeptics worry that Palladium-type systems will be used to control everything that users can do on their machines, such as barring people from reading or downloading files from the Internet. In addition, there are fears that central microchip repositories such as the "invisible" area in the T5800 will hurt online privacy by denying individual users control over their personal information while making it easier for outsiders to access the same data.

See John G. Spooner, "Transmeta notches up notebook security," CNet News, 14 January 2003 at

See also Lisa Gill, "Transmeta Embeds Security Features in Mobile Chip," NewsFactor, 14 January 2003 at

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC-a GILC member) has created a special dossier on Palladium under

For links to information on TCPA in German (Deutsch), visit the Stop1984 (a GILC member) website under

[17] Studies indicate barriers to mass surveillance are eroding

A new report suggests that the emergence of an Orwellian surveillance state may not be far off.

Entitled "Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains," the report, which was written by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU-a GILC member) describes how recent advances in data-gathering technology (such as biometric identification scanners, implantable Global Positioning System chips and cell phone location systems) have made it possible to create a "mosaic of information ... on every individual." Meanwhile, recent legislation such as the USA Patriot Act have steadily eroded long-standing bulwarks against privacy abuses. As a result, the report continues, "a surveillance society does loom over us, and privacy, while not yet dead, is on life support." The document concludes that there is a need for new comprehensive privacy laws to cope with new invasive technologies, rather than a "patchwork of largely inadequate protections."

To read the "Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains report, visit

See Lisa M. Bowman, "ACLU: You're being watched," CNet News, 16 January 2003 at

For further information in German (Deutsch), read "Burgerrechtler: Big Brother formiert sich," Heise Online, 17 January 2003 at

[18] Big Brother Awards ceremonies held in Bulgaria, France & Denmark

The winners of the Bulgarian, French and Danish Big Brother Awards were announced earlier this month. These prizes are given out by Privacy International (a GILC member) and affiliated groups in several nations to government agencies, companies and initiatives that have done the most to invade personal privacy. Special awards are also given to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the protection of privacy.

The list of Bulgarian Big Brother Awards recipients included the Bulgarian Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov for wiretapping his colleagues, the ex-President, opposition party members, and ordinary citizens; Mobiltel, which retains records of all text messages sent through their systems, to allow government officials "to find out a customer who has been sending uncensured, vulgar, based on personal, religious, faith or political ground";, which is requiring users of the country's top-level domain to provide large amounts of personal data, and the Bulgarian Interior Ministry for several incidents of intrusive behavior, including the curious seizure of a teenager's computer because the installed version of Microsoft Windows was not authorized by the country's National Combat Unit against Organized Crime. Special citations were presented to the Bulgarian Council of Ministers for secretly farming out customs searches to a foreign-based private company, Crown Agents, and for a secret contract for the government to make large-scale purchases of Microsoft products at inflated prices. A positive award was given to Snezhanka Georgieva, the head of the nation's Civil Registry and Administrative Services of the Ministry of regional development, for her continuous attempts to stop publishing citizens' social security numbers on the election voters lists.

In France, Orwell awards (for privacy villains) were given to Alain Bauer of AB Associates (Special Prize, Lifetime Achievement), Logiciel Géoprévention / Ville de Roubaix (Technologies, products and systems category) Carrefour / France Express Recouvrement (Private enterprises and professional organizations), Jack Lang & Xavier Darcos - logiciel SIGNA (States, administrations, elected officials and personalities) and Gérard Collomb / Municipalité de LYON (Cities and urban policies). On the other hand, Voltaire prizes were given to Act Up Paris (Special Prize, Lifetime Achievement), GISTI and le Collectif RATP (joint winners in the Freedom of movement and assembly category), Collectif Bureau d'Etudes - Strasbourg (Freedom of information and expression), Collectif CLARIS (Methods of monitoring and security control), and No-Log - Globenet (Private life, personal correspondences and data).

In Denmark, the second-ever Big Brother Awards ceremony helped establish the event as an annual tradition, as well as heighten media attention and public awareness of privacy issues. Danish Orwell Awards were handed out to the Danish Data Protection Agency (State category) for failing to address the issue of continuing massive function creep related to National IDs (introduced more than 30 years ago), Høje-Taastrup County (District/County) and DSB (Company) received awards for installing remote monitored video surveillance systems, eBoks - KMD (Project/product) for attempting to establish a digital depository for personal data based on National IDs, Henrik Qvortrup (Person) for repeatedly invading the privacy of celebrities and public figures, and the Anti Piracy Group (Peoples Choice) for establishing a system for non-police searches of people's homes based on information from the Kazaa service. Line Barfoed (Person) from the left-wing party Enhedslisten received the only Simon (positive award) for her work against Anti-terror/Data Retention legislation. Although local organizers sought and called for candidates for positive awards in other categories, there were no nominations due to a dearth of suitable candidates, reflecting an apparent trend against privacy rights.

The full list of Bulgarian Big Brother Awards winners for 2003 is posted at

For further details on the 2003 French Big Brother Awards, click

Additional information on the 2003 Danish Big Brother Awards is available under

See also

[19] European privacy & civil rights newsletter launched

EDRI-gram is a new bi-weekly newsletter about freedom, rights and rules in the information society in Europe. It is produced by European Digital Rights (EDRi), an association currently made up of 10 different privacy and civil rights organizations from 7 European countries. EDRi has an active interest in developments regarding these subjects in the EU accession countries; the goal of this new publication is to share knowledge and raise awareness on these issues throughout the continent.

To submit ideas for the EDRI-gram, email

To subscribe to the EDRI-gram, click


The GILC News Alert is the newsletter of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign, an international coalition of organizations working to protect and enhance online civil liberties and human rights. Organizations are invited to join GILC by contacting us at

To alert members about threats to cyber liberties, please contact members from your country or send a message to the general GILC address.

To submit information about upcoming events, new activist tools and news stories, contact:

Christopher Chiu
GILC Coordinator
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street, 17th Floor
New York, New York 10004

Or email:

More information about GILC members and news is available at

You may re-print or redistribute the GILC NEWS ALERT freely.

This edition of the GILC Alert will be found on the World Wide Web under

To subscribe to the alert, please send an e-mail to

with the following message in the body:
subscribe gilc-announce