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EPIC Alert 7.04 [2000] EPICAlert 4


Volume 7.04 March 2, 2000

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

Table of Contents

[1] DoubleClick Drops Plan to Utilize Personal Information
[2] Current State of Internet Content Filtering
[3] European Parliament Holds Hearing on Echelon
[4] U.S. State Department Releases Human Rights Report
[5] Possible Safe Harbor for Children's Privacy?

[6] FTC Opens Telemarketing Service Rule for Public Comment
[7] EPIC Bookstore -- Behind Closed Doors
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

[1] DoubleClick Drops Plan to Utilize Personal Information

The Internet's largest advertising network announced today that it hadmade a "mistake by planning to merge names with anonymous useractivity across Web sites in the absence of government and industryprivacy standards." DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor added that "Wecommit today, that until there is agreement between government andindustry on privacy standards, we will not link personallyidentifiable information to anonymous user activity across Web sites."

Privacy organizations supported the move by DoubleClick, thoughseveral noted that it would be important to determine whetherDoubleClick would continue to maintain the Internet Address Finder( and Get Away From It All Sweepstakes sites( Both of these web sites are used by DoubleClickto tie people's names, mailing addresses, and email addresses to theirDoubleClick cookies.

Jason Catlett, CEO of Junkbusters Corp., commended DoubleClick fortheir announcement and said that it was important that DoubleClickrecognized the need to develop appropriate legal and technicalsafeguards for online privacy.

DoubleClick's announcement followed growing public protest, formalcomplaints before the Federal Trade Commission, and efforts by stateattorney generals to bring legal actions.

On February 10, EPIC had filed a complaint at the FTC alleging thatthe company had engaged in "unfair and deceptive" trade practices intheir surreptitious collection of personal information and dataindicating Internet users' behavior. EPIC had earlier raisedquestions about the privacy implications of the DoubleClick-Abacusmerger at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing held in July 1999.

For more information about the DoubleClick controversy: and

EPIC's complaint against DoubleClick filed with the Federal TradeCommission:
EPIC's testimony on Internet Privacy and DoubleClick before the U.S.
Senate Commerce Committee :

[2] Current State of Internet Content Filtering

Last week, voters in the conservative town of Holland, Michiganrejected a ballot proposal requiring public libraries to installfilters on computers. The measure, which would have withheld fundingfor the library unless it blocked access to sites containing "obscene,
sexually explicit or other material harmful to minors," was defeated55 percent to 45 percent. Critics also noted that Holland shares thelibrary with other townships whose residents were excluded from thevote. The American Family Association of Michigan sponsored themeasure and contributed more than $35,000 to the campaign. Filteringproponents outspent free-speech advocates by a ratio of 14 to 1.

The Utah Senate unanimously approved a measure on Monday to blockfunding from public libraries that fail to install filtering softwareto prevent children under the age of 18 from accessing "obscene"
materials on the Web. The legislation awaits the signature of Gov.
Mike Leavitt. The Smartfilter system is widely used in Utah to shieldInternet users from pornography. A study conducted by the CensorwareProject in 1998 showed that Smartfilter blocked access to documentsuseful for educational and research purposes, such as the Declarationof Independence and the U.S. Constitution, as well as sites discussingsafe sex and AIDS prevention.

Peacefire released a report this week about sites banned by thefiltering program I-Gear. The study found that 38 of the first 50sites in the ".edu" domain blocked as "pornography" were errors.
I-Gear also blocked web pages on sites for EPIC, the ElectronicFrontier Foundation, and American Civil Liberties Union as fallingwithin the "Sex/Acts" category. I-Gear describes sites in the"Sex/Acts" category as "Sites depicting or implying sex acts,
including pictures of masturbation not categorized under sexualeducation. Also includes sites selling sexual or adult products." Oneof the blocked EPIC webpages contains a transcript of the trialproceedings in the legal challenge to the Communications Decency Act,
a federal law that attempted to ban certain categories of Internetcontent.

The Censorware Project's findings on the Smartfilter system areavailable at:

For the full report and analysis of I-Gear and other types offiltering software, visit Peacefire:

To learn about attempts to outlaw content on the Internet andfiltering technology, peruse the Internet Free Expression Alliancewebsite:

Also available through the EPIC Bookstore, "Filters and Freedom: FreeSpeech Perspectives on Internet Content Controls":

[3] European Parliament Holds Hearing on Echelon

The European Parliament held hearings last week on the "EchelonNetwork," which has been described as a global spy network that isreputed to involve the governments of the U.S., U.K., Canada, andAustralia. The purpose, according to some, is to intercept and gatherelectronic signals, such as faxes, phone calls and e-mails forcommercial espionage.

Duncan Campbell, a British journalist, presented his assessment ofEchelon before the European Parliament on February 23. Campbellalleged that Echelon has been used to block deals between Europeanfirms and other countries and contributed to a decision by SaudiArabia to drop a contract with Airbus.

The Echelon matter has attracted interest at the highest levels ofgovernment. British Prime Minister Tony Blair denied that hisgovernment was engaged in corporate espionage. The French governmenthas indicated that it will begin a formal investigation. The EuropeanCommission is also likely to pursue the Echelon matter.

In the United States, a spokesperson for the Department of State saidthat it was not US policy to engage in corporate espionage. CIADirector George Tenet told Reuters "We do not spy on foreigncompanies for the economic gain of American companies. We don't dothis. It's our policy, it's our regulation, we do not do this." TheNational Security Agency circulated a letter to members of Congresssaying it was "not authorized to provide intelligence information toprivate firms for their economic advantage."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is urging public hearings onEchelon. Congressman Bob Barr has asked the Government ReformCommittee to hold public hearings on Echelon.

European Parliament Hearing on "The European Union and DataProtection":
National Security Agency Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Duncan Campbell's Echelon Study for the European Parliament,
Scientific and Technological Options Assessment:
ACLU's Echelon Watch page:
Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy:

[4] U.S. State Department Releases Human Rights Report

The Department of State has released the 1999 edition of its annualCountry Reports on Human Rights. The report examines 194 nations'
compliance with internationally recognized individual, civil,
political, and worker rights, as stated in the Universal Declarationof Human Rights. Section 1, part (f) documents nations' respect forthe integrity of the person, including freedom from arbitraryinterference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence. Section2, part (a) covers nations' respect for civil liberties, includingfreedom of speech and press.

The report documents numerous cases in which national governmentsinvade citizens' right to privacy. In Angola, for example, thegovernment utilized an elaborate security system to facilitate thesurveillance and wiretapping of opposition party leaders, journalists,
and foreign officials. The Belarus Constitution claims to protect itscitizens from invasion of privacy and interference with telephone orother communications. In practice, however, the government routinelymonitors individuals' homes, telephones, and computers. The KGBreportedly enters residences without warrants, conducts illegalsearches, and intercepts mail.

Violations of free speech also persist throughout the world accordingto the State Department study. For example, the Turkish governmentbanned or confiscated publications and police physically attackedjournalists. In China, an estimated several thousand individuals whopeacefully expressed their political, religious, or social views weredetained by authorities. Leaders of political reform or human rightsgroups were frequently harassed and imprisoned.

The Department of State's annual report on human rights is availableat:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be found at:

[5] Possible Safe Harbor for Children's Privacy?

The Federal Trade Commission has posted a notice soliciting commentson a proposal from to provide a Safe Harbor -- aself-regulatory alternative -- for the Children's Online PrivacyProtection Act (COPPA). COPPA, passed in 1998 and set to go intoeffect in April, protects the collection and use of personalinformation from children up to the age of thirteen.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act is the first and onlypiece of federal legislation to address Internet privacy. Under thesafe harbor component of COPPA, an industry group or a seal programthat offers an approved set of guidelines would be responsible foroversight and compliance of companies that claim to adhere to thoseprinciples.

Comments on the safe harbor proposal are due thirtydays from when the notice appears on the Federal Register.

The notice is currently available at:
To download a PDF copy of the FTC's final rules implementing theChildren's Online Privacy Protection Act:

[6] FTC Opens Telemarketing Service Rule for Public Comment

On February 23, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened up a commentperiod on the Commission's Telemarketing Services Rule (TSR).

The rule seeks to protect consumers from deceptive and abusivetelemarketing practices. As dictated by the Telemarketing andConsumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act which directed the formationof the rules, the FTC is soliciting comments on the costs and benefitsof TSR. The FTC is also taking advantage of the comment period toexamine the telemarketing industry in general and its impact onconsumers.

Comments on TSR are due by April 27, 2000. On July 27-28, 2000, theFTC will also be holding a public forum to discuss TSR and relatedissues.

For more information about filing comments or the upcoming forum:

[7] EPIC Bookstore -- Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors: Privacy from Plymouth Rock to the Information Ageby Robert Ellis Smith, Editor and Publisher of Privacy Journal
Behind Closed Doors: Privacy from Plymouth Rock to the Information Ageprovides the complete story of privacy in the U.S. since itsbeginnings. This new 340-page book delves into the hidden niches ofAmerican history, from monitoring during the Colonial period and thedevotion of the Founders to privacy, to the clamorous newspapers ofthe Nineteenth Century and the creation of a right to privacy in 1890;
then the story of wiretapping and of credit bureaus and how SocialSecurity numbers grew into national ID numbers, and finally the impactof all of this on our current use of the Internet. It's all here - abook you will not put down and one you will go back to often to armyourself for the debates to come. In a special section, author RobertEllis Smith offers practical advice for protecting yourself, advicesimilar to what Ben Franklin would have provided on Poor Richard's Website.

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

Public Meeting, Child Online Protection Act Commission. U.S.
Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and InformationAdministration. March 7, 2000. Department of Commerce. Washington, DC.
For more information:
Privacy, Security & Confidentiality of Medical Records 2000: ComplyingWith New HIPAA Regulations. NonProfit Management. One Day Seminars.
Various Locations and Times. For more information:
Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) Program 2000. Privacy & American Business.
For more information:

Federal Trade Commission Advisory Committee on Online Privacy andSecurity. Series of Meetings. Federal Trade Commission Headquarters.
Washington, DC. For more information:

Protection, Property, and Privacy: A Symposium on Electronic Commerce.
University of Virginia School of Law, Journal of Law and Technology.
March 8-10, 2000. For more information:
The New Wave of Privacy Protection in Canada. BC Freedom ofInformation and Privacy Association and Riley Information Services.
March 9-10, 2000. Hotel Vancouver. Vancouver, British Columbia. Formore information:
National Freedom of Information Day Conference -- Access & Technology:
Recovering the Promise. The Freedom Forum in cooperation with theAmerican Library Association. March 16, 2000. Rooftop ConferenceCenter, The Freedom Forum. Arlington, VA. For more information:
Consumer Assembly 2000: 21st Century Public Policy Challenges.
Consumer Federation of America. March 16-17, 2000. Washington PlazaHotel. Washington, DC. For more information:
Is It Any of Your Business? Consumer Information, Privacy, and theFinancial Services Industry. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
March 23, 2000. Seidman Center Auditorium. Arlington, VA. For moreinformation:
HIPAA Security and Privacy Requirements: A How To Blueprint forCompliance. MIS Training Institute. Two-day Seminars. VariousLocations and Times. For more information:
Access Act Reform: The Destruction of Records and Proposed Access ActAmendments. Riley Information Services. May 1, 2000. Westin Hotel.
Ottawa, Canada. For more information:

Call for Papers -- Freedom of Expression in the Information Age.
Stanford Journal of International Law. Deadline April 15, 2000. Formore information:

Entrust SecureSummit 2000. May 1-4, 2000. Hyatt Regency Dallas atReunion. Dallas, TX. For more information:
Shaping the Network: The Future of the Public Sphere in Cyberspace.
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). May 20-23,
2000. Seattle, WA. For more information:
Telecommunications: The Bridge to Globalization in the InformationSociety. Biennial Conference of the International TelecommunicationsSociety. July 2-5, 2000. For more information:
KnowRight 2000 - InfoEthics Europe. Austrian Computer Society andUNESCO. September 26-29, 2000. Vienna, Austria. For more information:
Privacy2000: Information and Security in the Digital Age. November 29,
2000. Adam's Mark Hotel. Columbus, Ohio. For more information:

Subscription Information

The EPIC Alert is a free biweekly publication of the Electronic PrivacyInformation Center. A Web-based form is available for subscribing orunsubscribing at:
To subscribe or unsubscribe using email, send email with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes) or"unsubscribe".

Back issues are available at:

About EPIC

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest researchcenter in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 to focus publicattention on emerging privacy issues such as the Clipper Chip, theDigital Telephony proposal, national ID cards, medical record privacy,
and the collection and sale of personal information. EPIC is sponsoredby the Fund for Constitutional Government, a non-profit organizationestablished in 1974 to protect civil liberties and constitutionalrights. EPIC publishes the EPIC Alert, pursues Freedom of InformationAct litigation, and conducts policy research. For more information,
e-mail, or write EPIC, 666Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20003. +1 202 544 9240(tel), +1 202 547 5482 (fax).

If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic Privacy InformationCenter, contributions are welcome and fully tax-deductible. Checksshould be made out to "The Fund for Constitutional Government" and sentto EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20003.

Your contributions will help support Freedom of Information Act andFirst Amendment litigation, strong and effective advocacy for the rightof privacy and efforts to oppose government regulation of encryptionand expanding wiretapping powers.

Thank you for your support.

END EPIC Alert 7.04


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