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1998 PRESS RELEASES ARCHIVE

"UK Internet Users Privacy Letter Finalised," 27 November, 1998.
"UK Internet Users are concerned about their Privacy," 06 November, 1998
"New Mailing list launched," 30 October, 1998
"KPMG and Denton Hall reviews the Internet Watch Foundation", 29 October, 1998
"Civil liberties organisations condemn talks between ISPs and police," 18 September, 1998
"Cryptography is not a weapon," 15 September, 1998
"New Watchmen Report launched," 27 August, 1998

For Immediate Release - 27 November, 1998

CR&CL (UK) Press Release - "UK Internet Users Privacy Letter Finalised"

LEEDS- A UK Internet users privacy letter has been finalised following extensive discussion within the cyber-rights-UK Mailing List in November 1998.

We now encourage Internet users with UK Internet Service Providers to send a letter (suitably modified as necessary) to their Internet Service Provider to obtain information related to privacy of communications of Internet users and their accounts. Apart from encouraging the letter to be sent to UK ISPs, we also encourage users to send it to academic institutions and companies who provide Internet usage to their employees.

We also encourage UK Internet users to notify us of any communications received in response to this letter with a view to publication through this web page. Our aim is to find more about the policies of around 300 UK ISPs.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) will also try to send this letter to UK ISPs through ISPA, LINX, and through personal contacts and will encourage them to respond.

Nicholas Bohm and Yaman Akdeniz

Notes for the Media:

Contact Information:

Mr Nicholas Bohm, E-Commerce Policy Adviser,
Phone: 01279 871272 (+44 1279 871272)
Fax: 01279 870215 (+44 1279 870215)
E-mail: nbohm@cyber-rights.org

Mr Yaman Akdeniz, director
Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.
Direct Telephone: +44 113 2335033
Fax: 0113- 2335056
E-mail: lawya@cyber-rights.org


For Immediate Release - 06 November, 1998

CR&CL (UK) Press Release - "UK Internet Users are concerned about their Privacy"

LEEDS - Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is developing a "privacy letter" to be sent by UK Internet users to their ISPs. (see http://www.cyber-rights.org/privacy/letter.htm)

The idea is developed by the Leeds based organisation following concerns raised by recent proposals by the Association of Chief Police Officers, Internet Service Providers & Government Forum to develop a memorandum of Understanding to access UK Internet users personal data and communications. The draft letter will be discussed within the newly launched cyber-rights-UK mailing list.

Nicholas Bohm, E-Commerce Policy Adviser, said:

"Customer confidence is vital for electronic commerce. Customer confidence will be undermined if ISPs collude with law enforcement agencies to abuse customers’ privacy by giving surreptitious access to customers’ confidential information without judicial authority."

Yaman Akdeniz, director of the Leeds based organisation said that:

"We encourage Internet users with UK Internet Service Providers to send this ‘privacy letter’ to their Internet Service Provider to obtain information related to privacy of communications of Internet users and their accounts."

"We also encourage UK Internet users to notify us of any communications received in response to this letter with a view to publication through this web page. Our aim is to find more about the policies of around 150 UK ISPs."

The development of the letter is part of a research initiative into data protection laws with relation to Internet usage that the organisation is looking into.

Notes for the Media:

Contact Information:

Mr Nicholas Bohm, E-Commerce Policy Adviser,
Phone: 01279 871272 (+44 1279 871272)
Fax: 01279 870215 (+44 1279 870215)
E-mail: nbohm@cyber-rights.org

Mr Yaman Akdeniz, director
Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.
Direct Telephone: +44 113 2335033
Fax: 0113- 2335056
E-mail: lawya@cyber-rights.org


For Immediate Release: 30 October, 1998

CR&CL (UK) Press Release - New Mailing list launched

LEEDS - Today Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) launched a new mailing list called cyber-rights-UK. The new list will be a public list open to anyone interested.

This list is devoted to discussions of cyber-speech, censorship, government policy and politics, cyber-privacy issues including the encryption policy and interception of communications. The cyber-rights-UK Mailing List will have a UK oriented audience but because of the nature of the Internet, there will be space for discussions on international issues, especially on the European Union’s policy together with the US Administration’s policies on these important issues.

The list is intended for concerned netizens, journalists, researchers, students, academics, and for anyone who has an interest on these subject matters including government representatives and policy makers.

"I believe the list will be beneficial to anyone who has an interest in these important policy issues and it is open to any concerned netizen. All welcome and join the list!" said Yaman Akdeniz, director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK).

According to Yaman Akdeniz:

"Information sharing and discussion of these important issues is very important and learning is a never ending process. Therefore, the list will be beneficial to all."

To subscribe to cyber-rights-UK, send a message to imailsrv@cyber-rights.org with the following message:

subscribe cyber-rights-UK your_full_name

in the body of your message (not on the subject line).


For Immediate Release - 29 October, 1998

CR&CL (UK) Press Release - "KPMG and Denton Hall reviews the Internet Watch Foundation"

LEEDS - Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) encourages British Internet users to express their views on the review of the Internet Watch Foundation.

Business advisory firm KPMG and City solicitors Denton Hall are launching a review of the Internet Watch Foundation ("IWF") with a confidential Web site - www.kpmgiwf.org- encouraging the public to express their views on illegal content on the Internet and the work of the IWF. The final report by KPMG and Denton Hall will be submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry ("DTI") in December 1998. (See below for their press release)

Yaman Akdeniz, director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) and the author of two "Who Watches the Watchmen" reports which were critical of the activities of the IWF said that:

"It is good to give a chance to public for comments but the review at www.kpmgiwf.org is only limited to the activities of the IWF as far as illegal content is concerned. The involvement of the IWF as an industry based body with important public policy issues such as the development of rating and filtering systems are omitted."

"Although the IWF acts as a private self regulatory body, its actions directly involve public matters and the IWF is involved with the UK government’s policy making process. No decisions should be taken without proper public consultation and an open and transparent environment should be established for regulatory initiatives in the field of Internet regulation rather than important policies being developed behind closed doors in secrecy. The public has a right to know from the very early stages of a policy making process. So far, both the DTI and the IWF have failed their duties and managed to provide as little information as possible on why certain policies are preferred without the need for public consultation."

Akdeniz also noted two contrasting issues on this new website.

Firstly, the website created by the reviewing firm is rated with a PICS label used by the RSACi system favoured by the IWF. Secondly, all comments would be made anonymously through a secure system (but no information has been provided on what sort of technology has been used). Therefore, one aspect of the website favours the current IWF and DTI policy on rating and filtering systems while the anonymous use of the web would be in contrast with the IWF and DTI Safety-Net proposals which has seen anonymity as a danger."

Notes For the Media:

Contact Information:

Mr Yaman Akdeniz
Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.
Direct Telephone: + 44 (0)113 2335033
Fax: 0113- 2335056
E-mail: lawya@leeds.ac.uk

==============================================

KPMG and Denton Hall Press Release - 26 October 1998
KPMG and Denton Hall launch Internet watchdog review

Business advisory firm KPMG and City solicitors Denton Hall are launching a review of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) with a confidential Web site - www.kpmgiwf.org- encouraging the public to express their views on illegal content on the Internet and the work of the IWF.

The IWF was launched in September 1996 to fulfil an independent role in receiving and processing complaints about illegal material on the Internet and to support the development of rating systems. It is an independent organisation founded by the UK Internet industry which has also funded it since 1997. The IWF is also supported by the DTI and the Home Office.

The KPMG/Denton Hall review is part of a DTI initiative to look at the current effectiveness of the IWF and to consider its future role. Feedback from the public and interested parties will be collated by KPMG and Denton Hall, and the DTI will make available the results of the review by the end of the year.

Paul Styles, KPMG director leading the project, commented: ‘With the explosion in the use of the Internet, the issue of its use for the dissemination of illegal material becomes a growing concern. We hope the public will use the Web site as a secure and confidential method for giving us their opinions on the issues, which will in turn provide invaluable input to the review.’

Nicholas Higham, partner at Denton Hall, added: ‘Material that is illegal off-line is illegal on-line. Fortunately such material is only a small part of what is available on the Internet but Government cannot ignore it and is looking with Industry and others to find a balanced and pragmatic solution. We look forward to a range of views.’

- ends -

More information:

Richard Whitehead, KPMG Media Relations Tel: 0171 311 5812
Will Hulbert, Denton Hall, Media Relations Tel: 0171 320 6212


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE 18 September 1998

Civil liberties organisations condemn talks between ISPs and police

Three of Britain’s leading Internet related civil liberties organisations today condemned the ongoing collaborative talks between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the UK police.

In a joint press statement Internet Freedom, Cyber Rights & Cyber Liberties, and the Campaign Against Censorship of the Internet in Britain, unanimously condemned secret talks between the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and representatives for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which aim to reach a "memorandum of understanding" to give the police access to private data held by ISPs, as reported in the Guardian Online this week.

There are to be three further seminars held by "ACPO, ISPs, and Government Forum" which do not include user representatives or civil liberties organisations as speakers.

The plans are for an agreement to allow the police access to email messages transmitted by any of Britain’s eight million Internet users along with detailed web usage logs about sites that users had visited. If reached, the agreement would exploit a so-called loophole in the existing Data Protection and Interception of Communications Acts which allows the police to routinely access private information without the signature of any rank higher than inspector. Currently the tapping of telephone communications requires the written consent of the Home Secretary and unlike email is not admissable as evidence in court.

The planned agreement would be in violation of Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights which will be incorporated to the English Legal System with the Human Rights Bill, stating:

‘Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence’

There can only be interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right when it is ‘necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder of crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.’

Chris Ellison, spokesman for Internet Freedom, added:

"The proposed ‘memorandum of understanding’ is the product of two years of collaborative talks between industry bodies and the police. Fuelled by panics around child pornography on the Net, industry representatives have got themselves into a situation where they are under pressure to disclose information without legal obligation or justification. There is no alternative but to break off these talks immediately."

Yaman Akdeniz of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) stated that:

"ISPs have a duty to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of their users, and in particular their right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data. ACPO might have found a loophole under weak UK laws about electronic surveillance but should not in any case be allowed to amass evidence without showing probable and specific cause either to the ISP or to a judge.

We are disheartened at learning yet again about influential but unaccountable bodies such as ACPO and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) taking decisions on regulatory issues involving the Internet, behind close doors. It is the duty of the government to take decisions on these matters and to open these closed doors to the public. Transparency and accountability are important features of a healthy society. If there is a legal loophole which allows speculative police intrusion, then the government should close that loophole immediately."

Malcolm Hutty, of Campaign Against Censorship of the Internet in Britain stated that:

"If Internet Service Providers intercept their customers email and pass it on to the police, people will be too scared to use the Internet for any sensitive communications. The police must not exploit loopholes in the Interception of Communications Act to invade personal privacy without any democratic accountability. A legal challenge for breach of the European Convention on Human Rights is almost inevitable."

Internet Freedom
http://www.netfreedom.org/
BM CAM, London WC1N 3XX, UK.
campaign@netfreedom.org
+44 (0) 171 681 1559

Cyber Rights & Cyber Liberties (UK)
http://www.cyber-rights.org
Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.
lawya@cyber-rights.org
+44 (0) 113 2335033

Campaign Against Censorship of the Internet in Britain
http://www.liberty.org.uk/cacib
60 Albert Court, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BE.
cacib@liberty.org.uk
+44 (0) 171 589 4500


For Immediate Release, 15 September, 1998

CRYPTOGRAPHY IS NOT A WEAPON

LEEDS-Today members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (http://www.gilc.org) sent a statement to the technical expert representatives of the 33 Nations who are signatory to the Wassenaar Arrangement. Leeds based Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a member of the campaign and signed the GILC statement which calls for the removal of cryptography from the Wassenaar Arrangement.

The aim of the Wassenaar Arrangement is to prevent the build up of military capabilities that threaten regional and international security and stability. The intent of the Arrangement is to restrict the proliferation of offensive strategic weapons, but cryptography is a defensive mechanism, particularly against electronic warfare attacks. The Arrangement states that it will not impede bona fide civil transactions. But cryptographic products are vital for the continued growth of digital economies, for the development of secure electronic commerce and the protection of the privacy of citizens.

There is no sound basis within the Wassenaar Arrangement for the continuation of any export controls on cryptographic products. Such controls can only serve to increase the vulnerability of the information infrastructures on which society is increasingly dependent. Rather than hampering crime and terrorism, expansive restrictions on cryptography will create an environment in which they will flourish.

Dr Brian Gladman, Crypto Policy Co-ordinator for Cyber Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) stated that:

"The Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC) effort to remove cryptography export controls is timely since further developments in Internet use now depend on cryptographic products to provide the better safety and security that users need."

Mr Yaman Akdeniz, director of the organisation stated that:

"Apart from the international campaign we are now starting our own campaign at a UK level. We have to act before it is too late and we need the industry's support on this important issue."

Dr Gladman, further added that:

"The Wassenaar nations now have a duty to remove all export controls that impact on such products in order to allow the emergence of the open international market that is needed to foster their development."

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) also released its own report on this issue entitled "Wassenaar Controls, Cyber-Crime and Information Terrorism," written by Dr Brian Gladman which concluded that "far from hampering criminal and terrorist activities, controls on civil cryptographic products are promoting the evolution of a global information infrastructure that provides many easy targets for cyber-crime and information terrorism."

Notes for the Media

Contact Information:

Mr Yaman Akdeniz
Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.
Direct Telephone: 0498-865116, dial (44)498 865116 if you are abroad.
Fax: 0113- 2335056
E-mail: lawya@cyber-rights.org, lawya@leeds.ac.uk
Urls: http://www.cyber-rights.org

Dr Brian Gladman, Crypto Policy Co-ordinator for Cyber Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)
Telephone: 01905 740902, dial +44 (0) 1905 740902 if you are abroad.
E-mail: brg@cyber-rights.org

Background Information:

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a non-profit civil liberties organisation founded on January 10, 1997. Its main purpose is to promote free speech and privacy on the Internet and raise public awareness of these important issues. The Web pages have been online since July 1996. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) started to become involved with national Internet-related civil liberties issues following the release of the DTI white paper on encryption in June 1996 and the Metropolitan Police action to censor around 130 newsgroups in August 1996. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) recently criticised the attempts of the Nottinghamshire County Council to suppress the availability of the JET Report on the Internet.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) covers such important issues as the regulation of child pornography on the Internet and UK Government’s encryption policy. The organisation provides up-to-date information related to free speech and privacy on the Internet. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a member of various action groups on the Internet and also a member of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (see <http://www.gilc.org>) which has over 30 member organisations world wide.

In November 1997, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) launched a new report entitled, Who Watches the Watchmen, on the implications of the use and development of rating systems and filtering tools for the Internet content. The report insists that the debates on regulation of Internet-content should take place openly and with the involvement of public at large rather than at the hands of a few industry based private bodies.

In February 1998, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) produced the Global Internet Liberty Campaign member statement which criticised the possible introduction of "key escrow" or "key recovery" systems for the regulation of encryption services in the UK. The statement signed by 22 organisations world-wide concluded that "mandatory key recovery policies would make Britain a second-class nation in the Information Age."

 

 


For Immediate Release, 27 August, 1998
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) releases a new Watchmen Report

Press Release

LEEDS - Today the Leeds based Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) published the second in the series of its Who Watches the Watchmen reports. The new report entitled as "Accountability & Effective Self-Regulation in the Information Age" is available through the organisation’s new web site at http://www.cyber-rights.org. This new report describes the new developments since the publication of the initial Who Watches the Watchmen report in November 1997 in a critical and analytical way; provides assistance to the government agencies for the review of the Internet Watch Foundation; and reviews the IWF consultation document on rating systems.

Mr. Yaman Akdeniz, director of the organisation stated that:

"November 97 seems like a long time ago but there has been so many developments that another report was needed to create public awareness of what the government is up to with Internet regulation within the UK. This report is ironically rated 18 as its conclusions may ‘deprave and corrupt’ the readers and regulators and may lead them to take a more liberal approach into Internet regulation."

This second report questions the current solutions offered at various foras such as the development of rating and filtering systems and further the report suggests that these may not be the real answers and solutions for the existence problems.

Professor Clive Walker, deputy director of the organisation stated that:

"A clear and present danger to Internet liberty arises from the terms on which self regulation is made available to the individual. The Watchmen report explains that danger. Government censorship has not gone away but is perhaps becoming more subtle and insidious."

Yaman Akdeniz added that:

"Government inspired and enforced pre-censorship is no more different than government-imposed censorship. Such restrictions and complex regulations would make Britain, like any other jurisdiction that goes too far, a very hostile place for network development."

Notes for the Media

Contact:

Mr Yaman Akdeniz , LL.B, MA
Ph.D. Researcher at the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies of the University of Leeds
E-mail: lawya@leeds.ac.uk
Tel: 44 - (0) 113 - 2335033
Fax: 44 - (0) 113 -2335056
Postal Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

Urls: http://www.cyber-rights.org and / or http://www.leeds.ac.uk/law/pgs/yaman/yaman.htm

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a non-profit civil liberties organisation founded on January 10, 1997. Its main purpose is to promote free speech and privacy on the Internet and raise public awareness of these important issues. The Web pages have been online since July 1996. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) started to become involved with national Internet-related civil liberties issues following the release of the DTI white paper on encryption in June 1996 and the Metropolitan Police action to censor around 130 newsgroups in August 1996. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) recently criticised the attempts of the Nottinghamshire County Council to suppress the availability of the JET Report on the Internet.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) covers such important issues as the regulation of child pornography on the Internet and UK Government’s encryption policy. The organisation provides up-to-date information related to free speech and privacy on the Internet. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a member of various action groups on the Internet and also a member of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (see <http://www.gilc.org>) which has over 30 member organisations world wide.

In November 1997, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) launched a new report entitled, Who Watches the Watchmen, on the implications of the use and development of rating systems and filtering tools for the Internet content. The report insists that the debates on regulation of Internet-content should take place openly and with the involvement of public at large rather than at the hands of a few industry based private bodies.

In February 1998, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) produced the Global Internet Liberty Campaign member statement which criticised the possible introduction of "key escrow" or "key recovery" systems for the regulation of encryption services in the UK. The statement signed by 22 organisations world-wide concluded that "mandatory key recovery policies would make Britain a second-class nation in the Information Age."


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