WorldLII Home | Databases | WorldLII | Search | Feedback

EPIC Alert

You are here:  WorldLII >> Databases >> EPIC Alert >> 1998 >> [1998] EPICAlert 13

Database Search | Name Search | Recent Alerts | Noteup | LawCite | Help

EPIC Alert 5.13 [1998] EPICAlert 13 (5 October 1998)






EPIC ALERT

 
 

Volume 5.13 October 5, 1998
 
Published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Washington, D.C.
 
http://www.epic.org 

Table of Contents

 

[1] GILC Publishes Global Survey of Privacy and Human Rights
[2] Global Internet Policy Conference Set to Begin in Ottawa
[3] Senate May Soon Consider "CDA2" Censorship Bill
[4] Canada Introduces Privacy Bill and New Crypto Policy
[5] UNESCO Congress Explores Cyberspace
[6] Senate Committee Approves Kids' Privacy Bill
[7] New Bills in Congress
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events 


[1] GILC Publishes Global Survey of Privacy and Human Rights

 
A new comprehensive report, "Privacy and Human Rights: An InternationalSurvey of Privacy Laws and Practice," has been produced by EPIC andPrivacy International on behalf of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign(GILC). The report details the state of privacy in 50 countries aroundthe world, outlining the constitutional and legal conditions of privacyprotection, and summarizing important issues and events relating toprivacy and surveillance. Among the report's key findings:
 
- Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in all majorinternational treaties and agreements on human rights. Nearly everycountry in the world recognizes privacy as a fundamental right in theirconstitution, either explicitly or implicitly. Most recently draftedconstitutions include specific rights to access and control one'spersonal information.
 
- New technologies are increasingly eroding privacy rights. Theseinclude video surveillance cameras, identity cards and geneticdatabases.
 
- There is a growing trend towards the enactment of comprehensiveprivacy and data protection acts around the world. Currently over 40countries and jurisdictions have or are in the process of enacting suchlaws. Countries are adopting these laws in many cases to address pastgovernmental abuses (such as in former East Bloc countries), to promoteelectronic commerce, or to ensure compatibility with internationalstandards developed by the European Union, the Council of Europe, andthe Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
 
- Surveillance authority is regularly abused, even in many of the mostdemocratic countries. The main targets are political opposition,
journalists, and human rights activists. The U.S. government isleading efforts to further relax legal and technical barriers toelectronic surveillance. The Internet is coming under increasedsurveillance.
 
Preparation of the report was supported by a grant provided by the OpenSociety Institute. It will be formally released and distributed atGILC's "Public Voice in the Development of Internet Policy" conferencelater this week in Ottawa (see below).
 
The text of the report is available at:
 
http://www.gilc.org/privacy/survey/
 


[2] Global Internet Policy Conference Set to Begin in Ottawa

 
The Global Liberty Internet Campaign (GILC) will sponsor "The PublicVoice in the Development of Internet Policy" in Ottawa, Canada onWednesday, October 7. The meeting is scheduled to coincide with theMinisterial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation andDevelopment (OECD) that begins in Ottawa on October 8.
 
The Public Voice conference is a public meeting on the role of thecitizen in the development of the information society. The meetingwill hear from consumer groups, human rights organizations and civilliberties advocates on such issues as privacy, access, consumerprotection and human rights in the 21st century.
 
John Manley, the Canadian Minister of Industry will be the openingspeaker. Mr. Manley will be followed by David Johnston, the formerChair of the Canadian Information Highway Advisory Council and formerProvost of McGill University. Stephen Lau, the Privacy Commissionerfor Personal Data in Hong Kong, will address the group in theafternoon. Experts from Belgium, Canada, Norway, Britain, Germany,
Austria, Australia, and the United States will discuss a range ofimportant issues affecting consumers and citizens in the on-line world.
 
The GILC meeting is being organized by EPIC in cooperation withFederation Nationale des Associations de Consommateurs du Quebec(Montreal), the Public Interest Advocacy Center (Ottawa), andElectronic Frontiers Canada.
 
More information about the GILC Public Voice conference, includingregistration information, is available at:
 
http://www.gilc.org/events/ottawa98/
 


[3] Senate May Soon Consider "CDA2" Censorship Bill

 
As Congress rushes to complete its work before a scheduled October 9adjournment, Senate supporters of Internet censorship legislation areattempting to attach their re-write of the Communications Decency Act(CDA) to the pending (and relatively non-controversial) Internet TaxFreedom Act. The Supreme Court struck down the original CDA last year.
 
The Senate has already passed Sen. Dan Coats' (R-IN) bill (dubbed"CDA2") that would make it a crime for commercial web sites to displayto anyone under the age of 17 material deemed "harmful to minors." Itpassed as part of a comprehensive appropriations bill that is nowpending before a House-Senate conference committee.
 
The Internet Tax Freedom Act may provide an easier route for enactingthe Coats bill into law. The House Commerce Committee recentlyapproved a similar proposal, the "Child Online Protection Act" (H.R.
3783), and that measure could come up for a vote on the House floor atany time.
 
EPIC is supporting an online campaign to raise Congressional awarenessof the implications of Internet censorship laws. Faxes can be sent --
free of charge -- to your Representative and Senators by visiting theEPIC Free Speech Action page:
 
http://www.epic.org/free_speech/action/
 


[4] Canada Introduces Privacy Bill and New Crypto Policy

 
Canadian Industry Minister John Manley announced two major proposals onOctober 1 on privacy and electronic commerce. One concerns a new billon privacy which will require companies holding personal information tofollow privacy rules. The other major announcement was theintroduction of a new Canadian encryption policy which eschewsrestrictions on domestic use and relaxes export controls. Bothrepresent major setbacks for the U.S. government, which has placedpressure on its allies to oppose privacy laws and place restrictions onencryption.
 
The "Personal Information Protect and Electronic Documents Act" imposesnew privacy rules on all companies engaged in federally regulatedbusinesses (including banking, telecommunications and transportation)
based on principles developed by the Canadian Standards Association.
Three years after coming into force, the provisions will apply to allpersonal information collected, used or disclosed in the course ofcommercial activities, except in provinces such as Quebec, whichalready have privacy laws covering companies. The bill is expected togo into effect in 2000.
 
The standards impose "Fair Information Practices" on the use ofpersonal information by companies. Under the bill, personalinformation can not be used or disclosed for purposes other than thosefor which it was collected, except with the consent of the individualor as required by the law. The collection of personal information islimited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by theorganization and can only be kept as long as necessary for fulfillmentof those purposes. Individuals can ask companies about the existence,
use and disclosure of their personal information and be given access tothe information. An individual would be able to challenge the accuracyand completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.
 
More information on the bill is available at:
 
http://e-com.ic.gc.ca/english/releases/41d7.htm 
The Canadian Government also announced its new encryption policy onOctober 1. The policy represents a setback for U.S. officials such asformer "crypto czar" David Aaron, who had traveled to Canada to urgethe government to further restrict encryption. Highlights of thepolicy include:
 
- No domestic restrictions on encryption development and use.
Canadians are free to develop, import and use whatever cryptographyproducts they wish. The Government will not implement mandatory keyrecovery requirements or licensing regimes.
 
- The Government encourages industry to establish responsiblepractices, such as key recovery techniques for stored data. TheGovernment will act as a model user of cryptography through thepractices of the Government of Canada Public Key Infrastructure (GOCPKI). The Government encourages and supports industry-led accreditationof private sector certification authorities.
 
- Some relaxation on restrictions on export of encryption products.
Canada will continue to implement cryptography export controls inkeeping with the framework of the international Wassenaar Arrangement.
However, Canada will take into consideration the export practices ofother countries and the availability of comparable products whenrendering export permit decisions. The export permit applicationprocess will be streamlined.
 
- New laws on criminalization. The Government proposes amendments tothe Criminal Code and other statutes as necessary to criminalize thewrongful disclosure of keys, deter the use of encryption in thecommission of a crime, deter the use of cryptography to concealevidence, and apply existing interception, search and seizure andassistance procedures to cryptographic situations and circumstances.
 
More information on the policy is available at:
 
http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/cy00001e.html 


[5] UNESCO Congress Explores Cyberspace

 
Delegates from around the world engaged in lively round-table debatesat the 3-day INFOethics'98 Congress on the legal and societalchallenges of cyberspace, organised by UNESCO in co-operation with thePrincipality of Monaco and the Institut national de l'audiovisuel,
(INA, France) and chaired by Peter Canisius, President of the GermanNational Commission to UNESCO.
 
The conference brought together governmental, university andprivate-sector specialists from some 65 countries. In his welcomingaddress, Mr. Canisius urged participants to "form a common ground forco-operation based on human rights, solidarity and justice incyberspace."
 
"If we meet criminals on the information highways, we have to fight thecriminals -- not the highways," declared Henrikas Yushkiavitshus,
UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication, Information andInformatics at the opening of the congress. Mr. Yushkiavitshusreminded participants of UNESCO's mandate to promote world-wideimplementation of articles enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declarationof Human Rights, highlighting that the Internet offers "almostunlimited opportunities for the practical implementation of Article19," which upholds the "freedom to hold opinions without interferenceand to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any mediaand regardless of frontiers."
 
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC and a Legal Expert toUNESCO, called on UNESCO to assert the applicability of legal rightsacross national borders. "Article 12 of the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights establishes the fundamental right of privacy and should berespected in all nations."
 
Rohan Samarajiva, Director-General of Telecommunications at theTelecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka, warnedparticipants that international co-operation may not help developingcountries and regions gain an equal voice in shaping cyberspace normsand values. "The fact is that cyberspace is populated primarily byactors located in rich countries and they are the people who will setthe ground rules," suggested Mr. Samarajiva. "Those (countries) whojoin later and in smaller numbers will not have their cultural moresand values reflected in these developing ethical and legal frameworks."
 
Kazem Motamed-Nejad, Professor of Communication Science at theUniversity of Allameh Tabatabai in Teheran (Iran), outlined efforts inthe field of communication policy by the Economic Cooperation forDevelopment (ECO), a regional body founded in 1990 grouping 10 CentralAsian and Arab states with a total population of over 300 million. Heexpressed hope that "ECO Member States may, at the regional level,
adopt legal instruments guaranteeing freedom of speech and informationwhile recognizing the limits of this freedom, of which the protectionof privacy is a part."
 
The participants at the Congress adopted a statement at the conclusionof the conference reaffirming support for Article 19 of the UniversalDeclaration on freedom of expression and Article 12 on the right toprivacy. The group recommended that UNESCO in cooperation with otherinternational organizations pursue several efforts, including measuresto overcome barriers between information rich and information poor; thepromotion of learning, education and training to achieve mediacompetence; and an interdisciplinary debate on all ethical implicationsof new communication technologies.
 
INFOethics '98 attracted scholars and policy-makers from every worldregion to debate the ethical, legal and societal challenges ofcyberspace. Among the distinguished speakers were Alexander Yakolev, akey figure from Russia's Glasnost movement now at the head of theInternational Democracy Foundation; Vigdis Finnbogadottir, formerPresident of Iceland and current chairperson of UNESCO's WorldCommission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology; AidanWhite, General Secretary of the Internet Federation of Journalists; andRichard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and theGNU/Linux "Copyleft" movement.
 
Additional information is available at:
 
UNESCO Infoethics '98 Conference http://www.unesco.org/webworld/infoethics_2/
 
UNESCO Virtual Forum on INFOethics http://www.de3.emb.net/infoethics/
 
UNESCO Infoethics '98 Press Releases http://www.unesco.org/opi/eng/unescopress/ (English)
http://www.unesco.org/opi/fre/unescopresse/ (French)
 


[6] Senate Committee Approves Kids' Privacy Bill

 
The Senate Commerce Committee passed an amended version of the"Children's Online Privacy Protection Act" (S. 2326) by unanimous voicevote on October 1. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Bryan (D-NV),
would prohibit websites and online services oriented toward childrenfrom collecting information from children under 13 years of age withoutobtaining parental consent. Procedures for obtaining such consent arenor specified; the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be grantedauthority to promulgate regulations specifying methods of compliance.
 
At a recent committee hearing on children's privacy, FTC ChairmanRobert Pitofsky testified in favor of the bill. In a report issuedearlier this year, the FTC recommended legislation to limit thecollection of personal data from children. A witness from the DirectMarketing Association also acknowledged that some governmental actionto protect children's privacy is necessary; indeed, the only consensusthat exists on Internet privacy issues is that sites targeting childrendeserve special attention.
 
The bill must still be passed by the full Senate prior to the scheduledadjournment on October 9. It must also be approved by the HouseCommerce Committee and the full House.
 


[7] New Bills in Congress

 
H.R. 4632. Practice What You Preach Privacy Protection Promotion Act.
To require Federal regulation of online privacy protections to apply toall Federal agencies. Indroduced by Franks (R-NJ) on September 25.
Referred to the Committee on Commerce, and in addition to the Committeeon Government Reform and Oversight.
 
S.2484. Safe Schools, Safe Streets, and Secure Borders Act of 1998.
Eases access to pager information, gives location information oncellular phones with a warrant. Introduced by Leahy (D-VT) on September16. Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
 
S.2491. Protection of Children From Sexual Predators Act of 1998.
Requires Internet Service Providers to pass information onto policewithout warrants in cases of suspected child abuse. Introduced by Hatch(R-UT) and Leahy (D-VT) on September 17. Referred to the Committee onthe Judiciary. Approved by Judiciary Committee on September 17.
 


[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

 
The Public Voice in the Development of Internet Policy. Ottawa, Canada.
October 7. Sponsored by GILC. Contact:
http://www.gilc.org/events/ottawa98/
 
One Planet, One Net: Governing the Internet Symposium. Boston, MA,
October 10-11. Sponsored by CPSR. Contact:
http://www.cpsr.org/conferences/annmtg98/
 
Symposium on Infowar and Civil Liberties. October 26. National Press Club,
Washington, D.C. Sponsored by EPIC and FCG. Contact: infoepic.org.
 
Encryption Controls Workshop. Bedford, MA, October 29. Sponsored by U.S.
Department of Commerce. Contact: (202) 482-6031.
 
PDC 98 - the Participatory Design Conference, "Broadening Participation"
November 12-14. Seattle, WA. Sponsored by Computer Professionals forSocial Responsibility in cooperation with ACM and CSCW 98. Contact:
http://www.cpsr.org/conferences/pdc98 
Data Privacy in the Global Age. November 13. Milwaukee, WI. Contact:
Carole Doeppers <acluwicmdaol.com>. Sponsored by: ACLU of Wisconsin DataPrivacy Project.
 
Computer Ethics. Philosophical Enquiry 98 (CEPE'98). December 14-15.
London, UK. Sponsored by ACMSIGCAS and London School of Economics.
http://is.lse.ac.uk/lucas/cepe98.htm 
1999 RSA Data Security Conference. January 18-21, 1999. San Jose, CA.
Sponsored by RSA. Contact: http://www.rsa.com/conf99/
 
FC '99 Third Annual Conference on Financial Cryptography. February 22-25,
1999 Anguilla, B.W.I. Contact: http://fc99.ai.
 
Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) '99. April 6-8, 1999. Washington, DC.
Sponsored by ACM. Contact: infocfp99.org.
 
(Send calendar submissions to alertepic.org)
 

Subscription Information

 
The EPIC Alert is a free biweekly publication of the ElectronicPrivacy Information Center. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send emailto epic-newsepic.org with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes) or"unsubscribe". A Web-based form is available at:
 
http://www.epic.org/alert/subscribe.html 
Back issues are available at:
 
http://www.epic.org/alert/
 

About EPIC

 
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interestresearch center in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 tofocus public attention on emerging privacy issues such as the ClipperChip, the Digital Telephony proposal, national ID cards, medicalrecord privacy, and the collection and sale of personal information.
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.
For more information, e-mail infoepic.org, http://www.epic.org orwrite EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC20003. +1 202 544 9240 (tel), +1 202 547 5482 (fax).
 
If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic PrivacyInformation Center, contributions are welcome and fully tax-
deductible. Checks should be made out to "The Fund forConstitutional Government" and sent to EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave.,
SE, Suite 301, Washington DC 20003. Individuals with First Virtualaccounts can donate at http://www.epic.org/epic/support.html 
Your contributions will help support Freedom of Information Act andFirst Amendment litigation, strong and effective advocacy for theright of privacy and efforts to oppose government regulation ofencryption and funding of the digital wiretap law.
 
Thank you for your support.
 
END EPIC Alert 5.13
 








 



WorldLII: Copyright Policy | Disclaimers | Privacy Policy | Feedback
URL: http://www.worldlii.org/int/journals/EPICAlert/1998/13.html