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EPIC Alert 3.14  EPICAlert 14 (1 August 1996)
Volume 3.14 August 1, 1996
Published by the
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Table of Contents
 G-7 Urges Net Restrictions -- GILC Launches Campaign
 New Domestic Surveillance Provisions Proposed
 Digital Telephony Funding Approved by House
 Another Court Enjoins CDA
 Govt Crypto Policy Criticized at Senate Hearing
 EPIC '96 Crypto Sourcebook Available
 New Files at WWW.EPIC.ORG
 Upcoming Conferences and Events
Leaders of the G-7 nations agreed to policies on Tuesday that couldlimit speech on the Internet and restrict the use of encryption.
Meeting in Paris in the aftermath of the crash of TWA flight 800 andthe explosion of a pipe bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta, delegatesfrom
the G-7 countries agreed to work together to combat internationalterrorism.
The G-7 group issued a declaration that included 25 principles rangingfrom the protection of mass transportation and furthering research
anddevelopment on bomb detection to measures that might limitinternational travel, restrict the activities of political andcharitable
organizations, and lead to the development of newidentification technologies.
Two provisions are of particular concern to the users of the worldwideInternet. One principle said that the G-7 would "Accelerateconsultations
on encryption that allows, when necessary, lawfulgovernment access to data and communications in order to prevent orinvestigate acts
of terrorism, while protecting the privacy oflegitimate communications." A second provision would limit theavailability of certain
information on the Internet.
Stronger measures sought by the US to restrict information on theInternet and limit the availability of encryption were apparently
notadopted by the G-7 countries
The G-7 acknowledged that it is necessary to respect "fundamentalfreedoms and the rule of law," but civil liberties experts were quickto
note that many provisions could lead to a dramatic expansion of lawenforcement authority. The G-7 countries include the United States,
Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Russia alsoparticipates in the meetings.
Earlier attempts by officials in Washington to pass similar measuresuin the United States Congress that would restrict the availability
ofinformation on the Internet or prohibit the use of encryption havefailed.
However, a recently established coalition of civil liberties, humanrights, and free speech groups said that governments should not
usethe tragic events in Atlanta and New York to erode the basic rights ofcitizens.
The Global Internet Liberty Coalition (GILC) said that it would opposeefforts to regulate privacy technology and free speech on theInternet.
GLIC urged users of the Internet to oppose legislativemeasures that could restrict the free flow of information or limit theability
of citizens to engage in private communication.
Members of GILC include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), theElectronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Human Rights Watch(HRW),
the Internet Society (ISOC), Privacy International (PI), andother organizations.
The GILC was formed in June at the annual meeting of the InternetSociety in Montreal. A temporary web page for the Global InternetLiberty
Campaign has been established at:
A permanent home for GILC will soon be established at
In the wake of the recent tragedies in Atlanta and New York, the WhiteHouse and the FBI are again calling for new federal powers to
expandwiretapping authority, even in the absence of any evidence thatinability to wiretap led to the two tragedies. The provisions
wereoriginally introduced as part of the counterterrorism bill but werestruck out after objection from a coalition of liberal andconservative
The White House is trying to rush the proposal through Congress thisweek before the August recess.
The new measure would allow prosecutors to use of "roving wiretaps."
The Administration proposal would allow prosecutors to tap multipletelephones in an area if they suspect that the target in switchingphones.
Other recommendations include allowing for 48 hour warrantless"emergency" wiretaps, easier access to consumer records includingphone
and travel records, and restrictions on the use of encryption.
Several members of Congress were critical of the proposal. Rep. BobBarr (R-GA) told CNN that the proposals created "vast powers" and
thatthere was "no case for emergency wiretaps and roving wiretaps." Rep.
Ike Skelton (D-MO) called for greater human intelligence noting thatlaw enforcement and intelligence agencies "seem to rely too much
ontechnology". Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and others met withPresident Clinton on July 29, after which Gingrich expressed
tentativesupport for the proposals.
The American public also remains divided on the desirability of givingfederal law enforcement new wiretapping authority. In a USAToday/CNN/Gallop
poll taken July 29, 50 percent of those polled saidthat "[i]ncreasing surveillance of U.S. citizens by the government"
was "going too far." According to the poll, 45 percent supported themeasures and five percent were undecided. The New York timeseditorialized
on June 30 that "the proposal to expand the Government'swiretapping authority is excessive."
A House/Senate conference committee meeting on the DefenseAppropriations bill is also reviewing a provision introduced bySenator Diane
Feinstein (D-CA) that would ban the dissemination ofbomb-related information on the Internet. This provision had also beenrejected
in the counterterrorism bill on First Amendment grounds.
More information on wiretapping is available from:
The House of Representatives approved on July 25 funding for theJustice Department that includes a provision to fund the "digitaltelephony"
The bill would establish a permanent "Telecommunications CarrierCompliance Fund" with contributions from "any agency of the UnitedStates
with law enforcement or intelligence responsibilities". Thusagencies such as the CIA and NSA, with their secret "black budgets"
will be able to fund the wiretap program without public oversight. Aprevious draft of the bill had also allowed agencies with "nationalsecurity"
roles to contribute.
Funding for the proposal was rejected in two earlier attempts: the FY1996 appropriations bill and the 1996 counter-terrorism bill.
It nowgoes to the Senate where advocates will attempt to remove the fundingprovision.
A copy of the House bill and more information on wiretapping is
Another federal court has ruled that the Communications Decency Act isunconstitutional and has prohibited its enforcement. This follows
thedecision earlier this month by a federal court in Pennsylvaniastriking down two provisions in a case brought by the ACLU, EPIC,
In this case, Joe Shea, editor of the American Reporter an onlinenewspaper, challenged the CDA in US District in New York city. Sheapublished
an "indecent" article by Judge Steve Matthews, a Texas statejudge and law professor, and then challenged the CDA.
The court ruled that the section prohibiting the dissemination of"indecent" speech was unconstitutional because it was overbroad andaffected
protected speech between adults. The court also found thatpresently there was no practical way to block the material usingcurrently
available blocking software and thus the affirmative defensewere not adequate to save the law: "there is no persuasive evidencethat
a substantial proportion of Internet content providers can makeavailable material potentially within the scope of the CDA withoutfear
of prosecution and criminal liability."
Unlike the ACLU case, however, the court rejected the challenge to theCDA as being overly vague. It ruled that there was substantial
caselaw available on what was "indecent" that has been upheld by thecourts. It also rejected the assertion that because of the globalnature
of the Internet, online providers could not be expected to knowwhat was indecent everywhere:
"We have no basis for concluding that Internet content providers are any less capable than those subject to obscenity laws or
other indecency restrictions to acquire a general familiarity with the relevant standards; indeed, one might conclude that a
content provider's contact with others around the country and around the world through interactive computer services would cultivate
a heightened awareness of regional and cultural differences."
The US Justice Department has twenty days to appeal this decision to theUS Supreme Court. DOJ has already filed a petition for appealing
thePennsylvania case to the Court, which will hear it in its fall session.
In a case raising similar issues brought before a French court, the FrenchConseil Constitutionnel on July 24 struck down a recently
enacted Frenchlaw Internet censorship law known as the "Fillon amendment". The courtruled that placing Internet regulations under
the control of the ConseilSuperieur de l'Audiovisuel and requiring Internet service providers totake the advice of the CSA was a
violation of free speech rights.
More materials related to free speech are available at:
Senators at the July 25 hearing of the Commerce Committee on S. 1726, thePRO-Code legislation were openly critical of current US policy
oncryptography. Senators Burns, Pressler, Ashcroft openly questioned theviability of key escrow and the effects of export controls
The first panel of the hearing included FBI Director Louis Freeh, WilliamReinch, Undersectrary of the Bureau of Export Administration
for the USDepartment of Commerce, and William Crowell, Deputy Director of theNational Security Agency. The panelists opposed S. 1726
and supported theimplementation of an international key escrow system. Freeh claimed thatfive percent of all cases show evidence
Many of the Senators were openly critical of the current export controlsand the viability of creating a comprehensive international
key escrowsystem. Senator Pressler held up a copy of Applied Cryptography and a diskand described the restrictions on the disk as
"somewhat absurd." Sen. RonWyden noted "The terrorists and drug merchants of the 21st century are notgoing to be encryption simpletons."
Senator Burns described theinternational key escrow system as a "pipe dream." When UndersecretaryReinsch claimed that "there's a
very clear commercial interest in havinghardware and/or software with a back door" to prevent a "electronic towerof Babel", Senator
Ashcroft forced him to admit that the only real usewould be for government access and then questioned the Constitutionality ofthe
proposal and invoked the Filegate incident as an example of thepotential abuses.
Under questioning by Senator Burns, FBI Director Louis Freeh acknowledgedthat if the current "voluntary" policy failed, he would seek
mandatorydomestic controls on cryptography. Freeh told the Committee:
I don't think I'm at that point yet. I believe that the policy that is enunciated here is a doable policy, but there could come
a point where that policy, the voluntary policy, is not a viable one. And then I would certainly look at more mandatory controls.
Not that that might work, but backing up my position that's where ultimately I would be.
A second panel was made up of industry representatives who supported S.
1726. James Barkesdale of Netscape Communications testified that hiscompany has lost 30 percent of its business to foreign competitors
who havestronger security systems. He described the Clipper III proposal as "mostmassive computer infrastructure on the planet .
. . beyond belief." RonPieper of Tandem Computers described the key escrow system as "an absoluteshow stopper" for electronic commerce.
The bill may now be considered by the Commerce Committee this week and thensent to the full Senate for a vote in September after the
Congressionalrecess. More information, including Freeh's written testimony, is availableat:
Copies of the EPIC 1996 Cryptography and Privacy Sourcebook are nowavailable for $25 each. The 1996 EPIC Sourcebook is an all new
compilationof the key documents of the last year including the latest internalFBI/NSA/White House documents obtained under the Freedom
of InformationAct, bills, analysis, and more on cryptography, wiretapping, and exportcontrols. A limited number of 1995 sourcebooks
are also available for $25.
For more information, visit the EPIC Bookstore at
New Security Archive. EPIC has added a new policy library on computersecurity. The topics include information warfare, hackers, and
relevant laws and cases.
SSN Alternatives. The Privacy Journal has provided a file on how largeorganizations can use alternatives to Social Security Numbers.
FBI Director Louis Freeh's testimony before the Senate Commerce
NRC Briefing on Cryptography report. August 7, 1996. Boston, Mass.
10:00 am to noon. Gardener Auditorium, the State House.
Surveillance Expo 96. August 19-21. McLean, Virginia. Sponsored byRoss Associates. Contact: Marilyn Roseberry 703-450-2200.
Fifth International Information Warfare Conference, "Dominating theBattlefields of Business and War", September 5-6, 1996. Washington,
DC. Sponsored by Interpact, NCSA, OSS. Contact: infowar96ncsa.com
Advanced Surveillance Technologies II. September 16, 1996. Ottawa,
Canada. Sponsored by EPIC and Privacy International. Contact:
http://www.privacy.org/pi/conference/ottawa/ or email piprivacy.org.
"Privacy Beyond Borders", 18th International Privacy and DataProtection Conference. September 18-20, 1996. Ottawa, Canada.
Sponsored by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Contact:
The 2nd International Conference & Exhibit on Doing Businesss Securely
on the Information Highway. September 30 - October 1, 1996. Montreal,
Quebec, Canada. Contact:
Communications Unleashed - What's at Stake? Who Benefits? How to Get
Involved! Sponsored by CPSR and Georgetown University. October 19-20.
Washington DC. Contact: phylandaol.com.
(Send calendar submissions to Alertepic.org)
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The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interestresearch center in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 to focuspublic
attention on emerging privacy issues relating to the NationalInformation Infrastructure, such as the Clipper Chip, the DigitalTelephony
proposal, medical record privacy, and the sale of consumerdata. EPIC is sponsored by the Fund for Constitutional Government, anon-profit
organization established in 1974 to protect civil libertiesand constitutional rights. EPIC publishes the EPIC Alert, pursuesFreedom
of Information Act litigation, and conducts policy research.
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