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EPIC Alert 7.22 [2000] EPICAlert 22


Volume 7.22 December 19, 2000

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

Table of Contents

[1] Congress Approves Mandatory Internet Filtering Bill
[2] Social Security Number Provision Removed from Spending Bill
[3] FTC Holds Public Workshop on Wireless Privacy
[4] Global Coalition Maintains Opposition to Cyber-Crime Treaty
[5] Library Association Seeks Nominations for James Madison Award
[6] Consumer Groups Release Online Holiday Shopping Tips
[7] EPIC Bookstore - EPIC 2000 Publications
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

[1] Congress Approves Mandatory Internet Filtering Bill

On December 15, Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act(CIPA), legislation requiring schools and libraries receiving federalfunds for Internet access or computers to install filtering andblocking software. The measure is contained in an omnibusappropriations bill that is expected to be signed by the President.
While the legislation has been characterized as providing protectionfor children, the final approved version mandates that schools andlibraries also block adults from accessing child pornography or anymaterial that meets the legal definition of obscenity. Institutionsmust also block access to material that is "harmful to minors" when acomputer is used by any person under the age of 17.

The measure, which evolved from a bill originally introduced by Sen.
John McCain (R-AZ), applies to "any picture, image, graphic imagefile, or other visual depiction" that falls into one of the prohibitedcategories, but does not apply to text material. Schools andlibraries that do not certify compliance with the filteringrequirements will lose their Internet and computer funding.

EPIC has long opposed the adoption of filtering systems, as have theAmerican Civil Liberties Union and other free speech organizations.
The harmful impact of such systems has been documented in a number ofstudies and highlighted in EPIC's publication, "Filters & Freedom:
Free Speech Perspectives on Internet Content Controls" (see EPICBookstore). Advocates of free expression have encouraged thedevelopment of Internet education initiatives as the best approach tochildren's use of online resources. Many communities have adoptedsuch programs, but will now be compelled to install flawed filteringprograms on their computer systems.

The federal filtering mandate is likely to be tested in the courts.
The ACLU has announced its intention to challenge the law, andCongress appears to have anticipated litigation: the bill provides forexpedited judicial review, with any challenge first heard by a specialthree-judge panel, and direct review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earlier challenges to the Communications Decency Act and the ChildOnline Protection Act, in which EPIC participated, resulted in thoselaws being declared unconstitutional.

The text of the Children's Internet Protection Act is available at:

[2] Social Security Number Provision Removed from Spending Bill

In last-minute budget negotiations, the controversial Amy Boyer's Lawwas removed from the Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill (partof the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act). The proposed lawaddresses the availability of Social Security numbers to the publicand has been targeted by privacy groups as a loophole-riddled law.
The spending bill, likely the last act of the 106th Congress, isexpected to be signed by President Clinton.

Tragically, late last year, 21-year-old Amy Boyer was located by astalker assisted by information -- including her Social Securitynumber -- he purchased over the Internet. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
later introduced legislation, entitled "Amy Boyer's Law," that seemedto require consent before Social Security numbers were displayed tothe public. Consumer and privacy groups opposed the proposal notingthe statute's significant exceptions for commercial use of SSNs andpublic records. The groups also criticized earlier versions of theproposal that pre-empted states' ability to pass laws offering greaterprotections. Tim Remsburg, Amy Boyer's stepfather, was alsoreportedly disappointed with the latest version of the law because itdid not go far enough to protect personal privacy.

The Clinton Administration had fought against the bill as well,
issuing a veto threat letter against the appropriations bill onOctober 26 that cited the lackluster protections of the Amy Boyerprovisions (see EPIC Alert 7.20). Many privacy groups hope thatCongress will return to the issue of Social Security numbers in amore aggressive manner next year.

In related privacy news, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recently presenteda "Report Card of the 106th Congress on Privacy" on the Senate floor.
In his short speech, Sen. Leahy noted that "our laws have not keptpace with sweeping technological changes, putting at risk some of ourmost sensitive, private matters." Emphasizing the need for greateraction, he added that "Congress has spent too long defining theproblem [of privacy] instead of fixing it." The remarks are availablethrough the Congressional Record for the Senate on December 14th, atpage S11777.

Information on Amy Boyer's Law is available through U.S. PIRG at:

[3] FTC Holds Public Workshop on Wireless Privacy

On December 11-12, industry representatives and privacy advocates metat the Federal Trade Commission to discuss the privacy, security, andconsumer protection issues raised by the development and use of newwireless technologies and services.

Location privacy was a principal issue among the panelists andattendees in light of the Federal Communications Commission's "E911"
rules. Those rules require wireless service carriers to provide thelocation of a caller to emergency centers when he or she dials 911.
To enhance safety for 911 callers, this information must be accurateto within 50-100 meters of the caller's actual location. Privacyadvocates have voiced concerns about potential law enforcement andcommercial uses of such location data. Location information may beused to track users' movements outside of an emergency setting, toaggregate data regarding personal preferences and activities, and todeliver targeted advertising based on wireless users' location.

Panelists also discussed the consumer protection aspects of wirelesstechnologies. Consumers and businesses may have difficulty incommunicating disclosures and other terms of service using currentwireless devices, as most devices have small screens and limitedstorage capacity. In a workshop presentation, EPIC General CounselDavid Sobel encouraged the development of a legal framework to ensurethe privacy rights of wireless users. He told participants that "pureself-regulation has not worked well with respect to Internet privacy,"
and that wireless technologies present both new challenges and newopportunities for privacy protection.

Information on the FTC's wireless workshop is available at:

[4] International Coalition Maintains Opposition to Cyber-Crime Treaty

The Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC), an internationalcoalition of cyber-liberties groups, has again warned the Council ofEurope (CoE) that a draft cybercrime treaty poses threats to privacyand human rights. According to the coalition's December 12 letter,
provisions of the proposed cybercrime treaty would allow governmentsto engage in disproportionately invasive investigative techniques.
In addition, the convention would encourage government collection ofInternet transmissions with systems similar to the FBI's Carnivore.
The GILC letter also cites provisions on law enforcement access todecryption keys similar to the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers(RIP) Act.

Recognizing that interception of communication is a tool often usedagainst dissidents and human rights workers, GILC recommended that theCoE redraft the treaty so that these invasive techniques could only beused to address serious crimes. GILC has called for judicial reviewto ensure protection for individuals' right to privacy and arecognition of the right against self-incrimination before invasivetechniques are employed.

GILC has also objected to the closed, secretive nature in which thecybercrime treaty has been drafted. The coalition has offered toassist the CoE by providing experts dedicated to stemming the problemof cybercrime while accommodating the human rights issues involved.

The GILC letter is available at:

[5] Library Association Seeks Nominations for James Madison Award

The American Library Association (ALA) is currently seekingnominations for the organization's 12th annual James Madison Award.
The Award is presented to individuals and groups that have preservedand protected the public's right to know. The ALA is seekingnominations until January 10, 2001. The award will be presented onMarch 16, 2001 in conjunction with Freedom of Information Day, anevent jointly organized with the Freedom Forum.

Mail nominations to Peter Kaplan at the ALA Washington Office at 1301Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 403, Washington, DC 20004 or fax to(202) 628-8419. Nominations should include a statement of why thenominee is should receive the award.

For more information, visit the ALA Washington Office homepage:

[6] Consumer Groups Release Online Holiday Shopping Tips

The Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), a coalition of U.S. andEU consumer groups, has released its "12-point checklist for onlineshopping." The shopping checklist is based on the Organization forEconomic Co-operation and Development (OECD) E-Commerce guidelines.

The checklist presents basic matters that should be considered beforepurchasing items online: contact information, cost, payment methods,
shipping charges and times, return policies, availability of customerservice, privacy and security, and how to handle possible disputes.

The TACD Online Shopping Checklist is available at:
OECD Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of ElectronicCommerce are available at:

[7] EPIC Bookstore - EPIC 2000 Publications

Planning any last minute shopping? Visit the EPIC Bookstore for ourselection of books on privacy, free speech and computer security.
And make sure to take a look at this year's EPIC publications.

Browse the EPIC Bookstore at

EPIC Publications:

"The Consumer Law Sourcebook 2000: Electronic Commerce and the GlobalEconomy," Sarah Andrews, editor (EPIC 2000).
Price: $40.

The Consumer Law Sourcebook provides a basic set of materials forconsumers, policy makers, practitioners and researchers who areinterested in the emerging field of electronic commerce. The focus ison framework legislation that articulates basic rights for consumersand the basic responsibilities for businesses in the online economy.

"Privacy & Human Rights 2000: An International Survey of Privacy Lawsand Developments," David Banisar, author (EPIC 2000).
Price: $20.

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 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

Call for Proposals - January 5, 2001. CFP 2001: The EleventhConference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy. For more information:

Call for Content - January 10, 2001. INET 2001: The Internet GlobalSummit. The 11th Annual Internet Society Conference. For moreinformation:
Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS '01). InternetSociety. February 7-9, 2001. San Diego, CA. For more information:

Privacy in the New Environments: What the Personal InformationProtection and Electronic Documents Act Means to Your Organization.
Riley Information Services. February 19, 2001. Ottawa, Canada. Formore information:

CFP 2001: the Eleventh Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy.
March 6-9, 2001. Cambridge, MA. For more information:

EUROSEC 2001: Forum sur la Sécurité des Systèmes d'Information. XPConseil. March 13-15, 2001. Paris, France. For more information:

Online, Offshore and Cross-Border: Regulating Global E-Commerce.
Washington College of Law, American University. March 30, 2001.
Washington, DC. For more information:
First International Conference on Human Aspects of the InformationSociety. Information Management Research Institute, University ofNorthumbria at Newcastle. April 9-11, 2001. Newcastle upon Tyne,
England. For more information:
National Summit on Electronic Privacy. The National Institute forGovernment Innovation. April 23-24, 2001. Washington, DC. For moreinformation:

The 26th Annual AAAS Colloquium on Science and Technology Policy.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. May 3-4, 2001.
Washington, DC. For more information:
The Internet Security Conference (TISC) 2001. Core Competence, Inc.
June 4-8, 2001. Los Angeles, CA. For more information:

INET 2001: The Internet Global Summit. The 11th Annual InternetSociety Conference. June 5-8, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden. For moreinformation:

Subscription Information

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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 publishes the EPIC Alert, pursues Freedom of Information Actlitigation, and conducts policy research. For more information,
e-mail, or write EPIC, 1718Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009.
+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 "EPIC" and sent to1718 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009.
Or you can contribute online at
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 7.22


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