to the Future: Clarity on Communications Data Retention Law
NCIS Submission to the Home Office, By Roger Gaspar, Deputy Director General, NCIS Chairman ACPO Police and Telecommunications Industry Strategy Group, on behalf of A.C.P.O. and A.C.P.O (S), H.M. Customs & Excise, Security Service Secret Intelligence Service, and, GCHQ, 21 August, 2000. See also the Observer, Secret plan to spy on all British phone calls, 03 December, 2000.
Detective: Censorship, National Security, and Freedom of Information
- Added December 2000.
A case of censorship or protection of national security? Read the related documents and the Ombudsman's decision and judge yourself.
asks Diana Wallis, MEP, 03 December, 2000
“It’s down to the European Commission to make sure that the various governments do not get together and agree this convention. The Commission has its own proposals on cybercrime and there is no need for such email surveillance measures to be included. “I have asked the Commission a further question relating to the Council’s proposals in the light of the RIP experience in the UK.”
50th Anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights - 1950-2000, 04 November 2000.
Global Internet Liberty Campaign Member Letter on Council of Europe Convention on Cyber-Crime, 18 October, 2000. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties signed this letter and was involved with the drafting of this letter. See the press release for this letter through http://www.cyber-rights.org/press/. See also the Draft Convention on Cyber-crime (version 22). An html version is offered by CR&CL here.
IWF launched a consultation paper about banning a number of newsgroups that carry illegal content, November 2000. See the document and comment by 31 January, 2001.
The Home Office published the Preliminary draft codes in relation to RIP: These documents are circulated by the Home Office in advance of enactment of the RIP Bill as an indication of current thinking. They will be subject to changes and additions. See http://www.cyber-rights.org/crypto/ for details and links.
BUSINESS PRACTICE REGULATIONS: RESPONSE TO CONSULTATION
"The Government is confident that the Lawful Business Practice Regulations will allow business to conduct most important monitoring or recording activities without needing to restructure practices and without undergoing significant costs. The Regulations should offer business the greatest possible scope for maximising the advantages of new ways of working with phone, email and other electronic communications, consistent with a high degree of privacy for the users of communications services. As such, they will contribute to the Government's aim of making the UK the best place for e-commerce by encouraging modern markets and confident consumers." --- So they say but the new regulations will not achieve this country to become the best place for e-commerce, 04 October, 2000. See further Ananova, "Government to award firms more licence to snoop". For the DTI press release see http://www.cyber-rights.org/interception/
House of Lords
Select Committee on European published its Fourteenth Report
E-Commerce: Policy Development and Co-ordination in the EU in August 2000. See also the Minutes of Evidence
and Written Evidence including Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)'s submission. In relation to hotlines, the Committee stated that: "51. We recommend that the United Kingdom Government take advantage of the expertise which exists in certain independent monitoring organisations to address the issue of harmful content. However, we also recommend that the Government takes steps to ensure that such organisations conform to the principles of good regulation as laid down by the Cabinet Office's Better Regulation Task Force. (see paragraph 259)" - This was a point raised in the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)'s submission to the Select Committee. In relation to the RIP Bill, the Committee stated that: "270. Clearly, there is a justifiable need for legislation to counter serious crime and terrorism over the Internet. On balance, however, we have found that the continuing adverse perception of the Bill has weakened the impression that Government understands and supports the e-commerce-based sector and has threatened the Prime Minister's objective of making "the UK the best environment in the world for e-commerce". This highlights the need to proceed with careful consideration of all aspects of legislation impacting upon industry, especially in a rapidly changing technological environment. Wider and earlier consultation would have been helpful in this case. A more patient development of an agreed international approach to common legislation might have been helpful in the longer run."
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), A Critique of Part III, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, (for the report stage in the House of Lords), 11 July, 2000, at http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/part-iii.htm See also the associated press release at http://www.cyber-rights.org/press
Ukrainian ISPs demonstrate their willingness to be subservient to Big Brother and information about Network monitoring in Ukraine: legal framework, July 2000, at http://www.cyber-rights.org/documents/ukrainia.htm (provided by Privacy Ukraine).
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), A Further Open Letter to the House of Lords concerning the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, 29 June, 2000, at http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/hl-let2.htm - This is an updated version of the 27 June letter to the House of Lords as on 26 June, 2000 (the day we wrote to the House of Lords), the Government introduced a series of amendments in the House of Lords in an effort to reduce opposition to this legislation. Since these amendments were introduced after we first raised our concerns with the House of Lords, this letter repeats our earlier input but with the addition of comments on the extent to which the Government amendments allay our fears. The new sections are in italic text.
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), Press Release - 27 June, 2000 - Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) today sent an open letter to members of the House of Lords in relation to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers ("RIP") Bill. The six page letter expressed concerns of the CR&CL(UK) Board members that the proposed Bill will not achieve the desired result. The concerns raised in the CR&CL(UK) letter to the House of Lords is for the most part, confined to those raised by Part III dealing with the seizure of encryption keys. For the full press release see http://www.cyber-rights.org/press/ and for the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) letter to the House of Lords, see http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/hl-lett.htm
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) Press Release, 23 May, 2000 - Submission made to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union (by Sub-Committee B -Energy, Industry and Transport) on e-Commerce: Policy Development and Co-ordination in the European Union. The written submission which was sent to the House of Lords Select Committee during last week dealt with Internet content regulation related matters within the UK and within the European Union. The submission is critical of the role played by the Internet Watch Foundation. The press release is at http://www.cyber-rights.org/press/ and the submission is available through http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports
AP News, "Britain plans cyber-center to spy on the Internet," May 10, 2000, at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/article/0,2669,SAV-0005110169,FF.html
Which.Net Press Release 04 May, 2000 - "Internet filters don't safeguard children against pornography and other net nasties" --- "You can't rely on internet filtering systems to protect your children from pornography and sites about devil worship, Nazi propaganda and bomb-making," says a Which? report published on 04 May, 2000.
According to the study, "most filters use 'bad lists' of unsuitable web sites. These are compiled automatically by computers searching for certain words, or manually by teams of people scouring the Internet." Which? found that the filters fail to block many offensive sites and often deny access to innocent ones. In an investigation of seven filters, Which? tried to access 23 web sites with undesirable content, including pornography, illegal drugs, guns and violence or racial hatred. All seven allowed access to at least six of the 23 offensive sites. According to the study, another problem is that the filters block too much. For example, three filters blocked access to an advice and information site run by Lancashire Council's Youth and Community Service because of a small, factual paragraph on safe sex that parents may find harmless. The products may also block information that is unfavourable about their own company or its commercial interests. Graeme Jacobs, Editor of Which? said:
"Although these filter systems provide some protection from offensive material, parents should not rely on them to block the information thoroughly. They aren't an alternative to parental guidance and supervision." "Young children don't really need to access the whole web, so a better option than filters is using a restricted children's ISP. These will protect them from the nastier parts, while allowing some surfing."
Scope: Which? tested 14 methods of protection children from undesirable content on the internet - including software filters, browser settings, restricted children's ISPs, search engines with filtering options and (see below for how each method works and our main findings) Using each method, we tried to access 23 websites with inappropriate content for children -
sexually explicit material, guns, illegal drugs, violence and racial intolerance We also attempted to access 17 innocent sites - ranging from straightforward safe sex information to university sites, online magazines and free speech sites We compared the results with the type of content that each product claims to block
Filtering software - these work by using lists of banned sites or keywords that are compiled by the software manufacturer. The filter then stops you downloading any sites on the bad list, or that contain certain key words. Which? looked at AOL Parental Controls, Cyber Patrol, Cyber Sentinel, Cyber Sitter, Net Nanny, Pure Sight and Web-Blocker.
Internet browsers - Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator both offer a filter option based on ratings that websites give themselves (3rd part rating). Unfortunately very few sites are currently rated in this way, so this method offers only very limited access to the web.
Children's ISPs - such as Planet Kids and Kidz.Net. These limit access to pre-approved, child-friendly sites. They are most suitable for very young children who don't need to be able to explore lots of sites.
Filtered search engines Alta Vista, UK Plus and Yahoo! all offer the option of filtered searches. These let you seach as normal, but any sites that are blocked by the filter don't appear in the search results.
Yaman Akdeniz, director of the Cyber Rights and Cyber Liberties UK, is looking for immediate clarification in relation to ISPs' potential liability for content on its servers. He said: "We need to follow the US approach. Parliament should urgently look into the matter if the government is serious about making the UK the best place for ecommerce development."
The latest ruling is in the case of high school student Alexander Lunney vs ISP Prodigy Communications Corp. An imposter had used Lunney's name to send obscene emails and postings via Prodigy's service and he sued the ISP for defamation. The Supreme Court on Monday threw out the case saying Prodigy could not be considered the publisher of the material.
Nicholas Lansman, secretary general for the ISP Association (ISPA), said the US case was a very positive development, and backed up Akdeniz's call for greater clarity on the subject in the UK. "We are greatly concerned that ISPs have to act as judge and jury in these cases at present," he said.
The case indicates the gulf between the UK and US on the issue. While the libel case between Godfrey and Demon was settled out of court, the judge's preliminary ruling that ISPs are liable for content held on their servers remains a point of law in the UK, and sets a precedent. Lawyers today said the US case would have little bearing on the UK position, except to fuel the debate on the issue. They pointed instead to the EU Ecommerce Directive, currently going through its final draft stages, which will direct Europe-wide legislation on the topic.
Crypto Policy and Privacy pages ¦ Regulation of Child Pornography on the Internet ¦ Interception
of Communications ¦
and Echelon ¦ Freedom
of Information Files Section
European Union Watch ¦ Official Secrecy and Cyber-Censorship ¦ Reports and Publications ¦ Broxtowe Case, 'The JET Report' and related materials
UK Police Ban of Newsgroups ¦ CR&CL(UK) CensorWare pages ¦ Domain Name Policy Pages ¦ Documents, Case Reports and other publications of Interest
Info on Hate Speech Related Material on the Internet ¦ American Civil Liberties Union v Reno case related materials ¦ ISPs and Privacy Concerns