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EPIC Alert 7.17 [2000] EPICAlert 17


Volume 7.17 September 25, 2000

Published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

[1] EPIC and PI Release Third Annual Privacy and Human Rights Survey
[2] It's Baaack ... Mandatory Filtering Returns to Congress
[3] Banned Books Week Celebrates Freedom of Expression
[4] Privacy Foundation Investigates :CueCat Scanning Device
[5] Int'l Data Protection Conference Brings Together NGOs
[6] Upcoming Forum Presents ICANN Candidates
[7] EPIC Bookstore - Privacy & Human Rights 2000
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

[1] EPIC and PI Release Third Annual Privacy and Human Rights Survey

On September 19, EPIC and Privacy International (PI) released theirthird annual Privacy and Human Rights survey. "Privacy and HumanRights 2000: An International Survey of Privacy Laws andDevelopments", reviews the state of privacy in over fifty countriesaround the world.

The report finds worldwide recognition of privacy as a fundamentalhuman right. Many countries around the world are enactingcomprehensive data protection laws to safeguard individual privacy.
Many of these countries, especially in South America, South Africaand Central Europe, are introducing such laws to remedy privacyviolations that occurred under previous authoritarian regimes. Others,
such as in Asia, are developing information privacy laws in an effortto promote electronic commerce. Others still, such as countries inCentral and Eastern Europe, are hoping to become members of theEuropean Union and are adopting laws based on the 1995 European UnionData Protection Directive.

At the same time, both law enforcement agencies and privatecorporations are extending surveillance powers through the use of newtechnologies. The report notes that many of the recent threats toindividual privacy result from new Internet-based commercial services,
such as interactive television -- or "SpyTV" -- that record thepreferences of individuals. The report recommends improved oversightand stricter enforcement of current laws to prevent such practices.

The report also argues that the United States government is leadinga multi-tiered effort to limit individual privacy and enhance lawenforcement surveillance powers. For example, on the domestic front,
it is promoting domestic laws such as the Communications Assistancefor Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) that make it mandatory for allcompanies developing telephone switching, cellular, and satellitecommunications technologies to build in surveillance capabilities.
The government has also sought to limit the development anddissemination of encryption products that protect individuals'
private communications. At the international level, the report findsthat the U.S. has been vigorously promoting greater use of electronicsurveillance and pressurizing countries, such as Japan, into adoptingwiretapping laws. It has also been working through internationalbodies such as the European Union, the Organization for EconomicCo-operation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe and theG-8 to promote surveillance and place restrictions on online privacy,
anonymity, and encryption.

"Privacy and Human Rights 2000: An International Survey of PrivacyLaws and Developments" by David Banisar is available at:

[2] It's Baaack ... Mandatory Filtering Returns to Congress

In what is becoming a perennial end-of-session strategy, proponentsof mandatory Internet filtering are again trying to push legislationthrough Congress. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Ernest Istook(R-OK) have attached a federal filtering mandate to the appropriationsbill for the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services (HHS).
The "Children's Internet Protection Act" would require all publicschools and libraries that receive federal funding for Internet accessto install Internet blocking software on their computer terminals.

Proponents of controversial measures often attempt to attach them tomajor appropriations bills when it appears unlikely that thelegislation would survive if considered independently. Supporters ofInternet censorship and filtering have often resorted to such tactics;
the Child Online Protection Act (since ruled unconstitutional) wasattached to an omnibus spending bill last fall, and there have beenseveral unsuccessful attempts to enact filtering requirements insimilar fashion. With the election campaign now in full swing,
members of Congress are likely to feel political pressure to supportefforts to "protect" children, no matter how misguided or ineffectivethey might be.

The McCain-Istook mandate would deny local schools and libraries theability to establish Internet policies and practices that conformwith the values and desires of their communities. For instance, thecitizens of Holland, Michigan rejected a mandatory library filteringinitiative earlier this year (see EPIC Alert 7.04), despite a strongcampaign financed by a national pro-filtering group. That communitydecision, however, would be overturned by the "one-size-fits-all"
filtering requirements now pending before Congress. In an effort topreserve local choice, most of the major education and libraryorganizations are opposed to the McCain-Istook amendment.

More information on Internet filtering, including ways to weigh inon the pending legislative mandate, is available at the Internet FreeExpression Alliance website:

[3] Banned Books Week Celebrates Freedom of Expression

A group of publishers, booksellers, and libraries have launchedthe Nineteenth Annual Banned Books Week, to run from September 23rdthrough the 30th. The week-long event highlights the importance ofFirst Amendment freedoms and the need to protect controversialexpression against attempts at censorship.

For the period 1990-1999, 5,718 attempts to remove or restrictmaterials have been reported to the American Library Association'sOffice of Intellectual Freedom. The top ten list of most challengedbooks for the decade includes works such as "I Know Why the CagedBird Sings" by Maya Angelou, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" byMark Twain, and "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger. In 1999alone, there were 472 challenges to various publications. The popularHarry Potter books topped the list of the past year's most challengedbooks due to the series' references to wizardry and magic.

As an illustration of the need for protecting free expression,
one-third of the Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels of the20th century have been previously banned or challenged in bookstores,
libraries, or schools. The banned books include notable works suchas "The Grapes of Wrath", "The Great Gatsby", and "Brave New World".
In the words of past ALA President Ann K. Symons, "Ideas can onlyflourish-and democracy survive-if the right of everyone to choose forthemselves what they wish to read, hear and view is guaranteed".

More information about Banned Books Week is available at:
Exercise your right to free expression at the EPIC Bookstore:

[4] Privacy Foundation Investigates :CueCat Scanning Device

The Privacy Foundation, a privacy research center based in Denver, hascompleted an analysis of a new product produced by Digital:Convergencecalled :CueCat. The device raises privacy concerns due theincorporation of unique identifiers that potentially facilitate usertracking.

The device, distributed for free with upcoming issues of Forbes andWired magazines, attaches to a personal computer and scans bar codesappearing in print advertisements and articles that will bringconsumers to web pages featuring the selected products. The :CueCatcan also be attached to televisions and will present similar featuresin response to audio signals included in broadcasts. The informationgathered through the device will be provided to its marketing partnersas "demographic and psychographic data". Digital:Convergence plans tomake the devices widely available, distributing up to 10 million bythe end of this year and 50 million by the end of 2001.

The privacy concerns of the product arise due to its use of uniqueidentifiers. Unique identifiers have been at the center of recentprivacy controversies such as the Intel Processor Serial Number (PSN)
and online profiling conducted by Internet advertiser DoubleClick.
Much as in the situation surrounding those companies' products, when aconsumer uses :CueCat, the device will send an unique identifier withthe transmitted data. Digital:Convergence also collects personal datasuch as names, email addresses, and zip codes via registration butclaims to have no plans to link this information with profile dataabout what individuals are scanning.

The Privacy Foundation recommends that the company distribute asoftware patch that can disable unique identifiers and explicitlydisclose its information collection practices.

The :CueCat Bar Code Reader Privacy Advisory is available from thePrivacy Foundation:

[5] Int'l Data Protection Conference Brings Together NGOs

On September 27, EPIC and Privacy International will host aconference, "The Public Voice in Privacy Policy," in Venice, Italy.
The meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting ofthe International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners to beginon September 28. Both events will be webcast live.

The conference will bring together leading academic experts, NGOleaders, and privacy officials from around the world to explorecurrent issues in privacy protection. Panel discussions will focuson the globalization of surveillance; copyright protection andprivacy; the EU-US negotiations on transborder data flows (SafeHarbor); and the need for an international convention on dataprotection.

The first of these conferences was organized by Privacy Internationaland held in Sydney in 1992. Subsequent meetings have taken place inManchester (1993), The Hague (1994), Copenhagen (1995), Ottawa(1996), Brussels (1997), and Hong Kong (1999).

For program and registration details see:

For the webcasts and the International Data Protection Commissioner'sconference agenda, visit the Italian Data Protection Commission'shomepage at:

[6] Upcoming Forum Presents ICANN Candidates

The Internet Democracy Project and the Berkman Center for Internet &
Society at Harvard University are jointly presenting "A Day with theICANN North-American Candidates" on October 2 in Cambridge, MA.

The afternoon will bring together all of the North American candidatesto discuss the role of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names andNumbers, as well as the issues confronting the organization. Laterthat evening, the candidates will participate in a question-and-answercandidates forum.

Both events will be webcast live, open to the public, and allow forremote participation.

For more information, visit the Internet Democracy Project homepage:

To register for the webcast:

[7] EPIC Bookstore - Privacy & Human Rights 2000


Privacy & Human Rights 2000: An International Survey of Privacy Lawsand Developments by David Banisar

This survey, by EPIC and Privacy International, reviews the state ofprivacy in over fifty countries around the world. The survey examinesa wide range of privacy issues including, data protection, telephonetapping, genetic databases, ID systems and freedom of informationlaws.

The report finds that there is a worldwide recognition of privacy as afundamental human right. Many countries around the world are enactingcomprehensive data protection laws to safeguard individual privacyincrease.

However at the same time, privacy is increasingly being undermined bytechnical advances and the demands of intelligence and law enforcementagencies for increased surveillance powers. There is a strong need forimproved oversight and stricter enforcement of current laws to ensurethat legal protections are not ignored as threats to personal privacy.

EPIC Publications:

"The Privacy Law Sourcebook 2000: United States Law, InternationalLaw, and Recent Developments," Marc Rotenberg, editor (EPIC 2000).
Price: $40.

The "Physicians Desk Reference of the privacy world." An invaluableresource for students, attorneys, researchers and journalists who needan up-to-date collection of U.S. and International privacy law, aswell as a comprehensive listing of privacy resources.

"Cryptography and Liberty 2000: An International Survey of EncryptionPolicy," Wayne Madsen and David Banisar, editors (EPIC 2000).
Price: $20.

EPIC's third survey of encryption policies around the world. Theresults indicate that the efforts to reduce export controls on strongencryption products have largely succeeded, although severalgovernments are gaining new powers to combat the perceived threats ofencryption to law enforcement.

"Filters and Freedom - Free Speech Perspectives on Internet ContentControls," David Sobel, editor (EPIC 1999). Price: $20.

A collection of essays, studies, and critiques of Internet contentfiltering. These papers are instrumental in explaining why filteringthreatens free expression.

Additional titles on privacy, open government, free expression,
computer security, and crypto, as well as films and DVDs can beordered through the EPIC Bookstore:

[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

KnowRight 2000 - InfoEthics Europe. Austrian Computer Society andUNESCO. September 26-29, 2000. Vienna, Austria. For more information:
The Public Voice in Privacy Policy. EPIC and Privacy International.
September 27, 2000. Venice, Italy. For more information:

Media, Democracy & The Constitution. The Fund for ConstitutionalGovernment. September 27, 2000. National Press Club. Washington, DC.
For more information:
One World, One Privacy: 22nd Annual International Conference onPrivacy and Personal Data Protection. September 28-30, 2000. Venice,
Italy. For more information:

Drawing the Blinds: Reconstructing Privacy in the Information Age.
CPSR's Annual Conference and Wiener Award Dinner. October 14, 2000.
Philadelphia, PA. For more information:

Privacy: A Social Research Conference. New School University. October5-7, 2000. New York, NY. For more information:

Call for Papers. Financial Cryptography '01. Cayman Islands. For moreinformation:
Call for Papers. Online, Offshore and Cross-Border: Regulating GlobalE-Commerce. Washington College of Law, American University. October15, 2000. For more information:
Measuring & Analyzing Online Customer Behavior. International Qualityand Productivity Center. October 23-24, 2000. Chicago, IL. For moreinformation:
Privacy2000: Information and Security in the Digital Age. October 31-
November 1, 2000. Columbus, Ohio. For more information:
Mealey's Internet Law 101 Conference. November 1-2, 2000. TysonsCorner, VA. For more information:
2000 BNA Public Policy Forum: e-commerce and internet regulation.
November 15-16, 2000. Tysons Corner, VA. For more information:
Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS '01). InternetSociety. February 7-9, 2001. San Diego, CA. For more information:

Subscription Information

The EPIC Alert is a free biweekly publication of the ElectronicPrivacy Information Center. A Web-based form is available forsubscribing or unsubscribing at:
To subscribe or unsubscribe using email, send email with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes) or"unsubscribe".

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The EPIC Alert mailing list is used only to mail the EPIC Alert and tosend notices about EPIC activities. We do not sell, rent or share ourmailing list. We also intend to challenge any subpoena or other legalprocess seeking access to our mailing list. We do not enhance (linkto other databases) our mailing list or require your actual name.

In the event you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe your email addressfrom this list, please follow the above instructions under"subscription information". Please contact if you haveany other questions.

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, orwrite EPIC, 1718 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC20009. +1 202 483 1140 (tel), +1 202 483 1248 (fax).

If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic PrivacyInformation Center, contributions are welcome and fullytax-deductible. Checks should be made out to "The Fund forConstitutional Government" and sent to EPIC, 1718 ConnecticutAve., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009.

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 expanding wiretapping powers.

Thank you for your support.

END EPIC Alert 7.17


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