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EPIC Alert 8.02 [2001] EPICAlert 2


Volume 8.02 January 31, 2001

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

Table of Contents

[1] The Public Voice and the Digital Opportunity
[2] Groups Urge Court to Protect Free Speech in Copyright Case
[3] Federal Trade Commission Closes Investigation of DoubleClick
[4] EPIC Files Comments on Electronic Case Files
[5] Request Seeks Information on Use of Internet Filtering Data
[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
[7] EPIC Bookstore - P.E.A.C.E: A Novel
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

[1] The Public Voice and the Digital Opportunity

When the leaders of the "G-8" countries gathered last summer inOkinawa they sought to address one of the great challenges of theInformation Society -- how to ensure that the benefits of newtechnology are widely shared around the world. They set out acharter on the Global Information Society and said that:

The potential benefits of IT in spurring competition,
promoting enhanced productivity, and creating and sustaining economic growth and jobs hold significant promise. Our task is not only to stimulate and facilitate the transition to an information society, but also to reap its full economic,
social and cultural benefits.

They also established a Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) tosolicit opinions from a wide range of organizations about what shouldbe done to address the challenge and opportunity.

Now a new project has been launched to promote public participationin the DOT Force consultation. The Public Voice is urging Internetusers, particularly from Emerging Market Economies, to express theirviews on what should be done to close the Digital Divide. We arelooking for ideas that are original, creative, captivating, andenergizing.

We want to hear from students, from educators, and from artists. Weare interested in the opinions of craftsmen and writers, workers andpoets. We want to hear from children and from parents. Frommunicipal leaders and from people who have never used a computer.
What would you say to the G-8 leaders about Digital Opportunities?

We will bring together your suggestions and present them to the DOTForce. Please respond by February 15. And encourage others torespond.

Submit Your Comments on Closing the Digital Divide:
The Public Voice Dot Force Project:

Okinawa Charter on the Global Information Society:
The DOT Force web site:

[2] Groups Urge Court to Protect Free Speech in Copyright Case

EPIC joined the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups onJanuary 26 in a friend-of-the-court brief urging a federal appealscourt in New York to protect the balance between copyright law and theFirst Amendment. The case, Universal Movie Studios, Inc. v. Corley,
pits the entertainment industry's attempts to control its digitalproperties against free speech rights. At issue is the distributionof software called DeCSS that allows users to bypass the securitysystem used to prevent copying of DVD movie disks. Last year, eightHollywood movie studios filed suit to prohibit the posting of thesoftware on Web sites or providing links to other Web sites that postit.

The studios claimed that DeCSS violated a provision of the DigitalMillennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), which prohibits manufacturingor offering technology -- such as DeCSS -- that allows users to bypassmeasures that protect access to copyrighted works (see EPIC Alert5.10). The defendants argued that software like DeCSS should not bemade illegal because it allows DVDs to be used in a variety of ways,
some of which would traditionally be protected under the "fair use"
doctrine. As the ACLU/EPIC brief explains, the doctrine hastraditionally limited copyright liability by protecting the use ofcopyrighted works in criticism, parody, comment, news reporting,
teaching and scholarship.

The lower court ruled in favor of the studios, effectively abolishing"fair use" for technology like DeCSS. The court also imposedliability under the new copyright law for merely providing links on aWeb site to another site containing DeCSS software. The ACLU/EPICbrief argues that links are simply "digital footnotes." Since Webpublishers have no control over the content on linked sites or users'
decisions to follow links, imposing liability for links violates theFirst Amendment.

In addition to the ACLU and EPIC, the amicus brief was endorsed by theAmerican Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries,
Computer & Communications Industry Association, Music LibraryAssociation and National Association of Independent Schools.

The amicus brief is available at:
EPIC's 1998 testimony on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act isavailable at:

[3] Federal Trade Commission Closes Investigation of DoubleClick

On January 22, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it wasclosing its investigation of DoubleClick, one of the Internet'slargest advertisers. In a letter to DoubleClick, the FTC concludedthat the company never actually used or disclosed personallyidentifying information in violation of its privacy policy. Theletter also made note of DoubleClick's commitment to abide byself-regulatory guidelines for online profiling. These guidelineswere developed by the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), aconsortium of online advertisers, and endorsed by the FTC in July 2000(see EPIC Alert 7.15). The closing letter does not prohibitDoubleClick from merging online and offline data at a later date.

The investigation began in February 2000 some weeks after DoubleClickrevealed that it planned to link personal data to detailed profiles ithad created on Internet users using tracking technologies such ascookies and web bugs. Privacy advocates had anticipated this movesince November 1999 when DoubleClick acquired Abacus Direct, anoffline market research firm. Once it became clear that DoubleClickintended to go forward with personal profiling, EPIC filed a formalcomplaint with the FTC alleging that that this practice constituted anunfair and deceptive business practice. In particular, the complaintcontended that the intention to merge these two databases violatedDoubleClick's previous assurances that information collected onInternet users would remain anonymous. The New York and MichiganState Attorneys General, as well as a number of private citizens, alsobegan legal proceedings against the company. In response, DoubleClickannounced in March 2000 that it would suspend its plan to merge thedatabases pending the development of "government and industry privacystandards."

The FTC letter did not address the allegations in the EPIC complaintand presents the question of whether the FTC's current statutoryauthority allows it to effectively pursue privacy complaints. EPIChas filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Commissionseeking all records pertaining to the DoubleClick investigation.

The text of the FTC's letter to DoubleClick is available at:
The text of EPIC's complaint against DoubleClick is available at:
Background information on the DoubleClick case is available at:

[4] EPIC Files Comments on Electronic Case Files

In response to a Request for Comments distributed by theAdministrative Office of the U.S. Courts, EPIC has submitted commentson the privacy implications of providing electronic access to courtcase files (see EPIC Alert 7.21). The federal courts have beenconverting paper files into electronic files and accepting electronicfilings directly from litigants. These files sometimes containsensitive personal information such as Social Security numbers,
medical information, family conflict information, and tax records.

EPIC's comments support broad public access to electronic case filestempered with privacy safeguards. In the context of civil case files,
EPIC advised that public files be redacted for certain sensitivepersonal information. Court officers and litigants in civil caseswould have access to the complete file. In the context of criminalcases, the public would have access to the indictment and finaldisposition of the court. However, pre-indictment information,
unexecuted warrants, and pre-sentence reports would be limited tocourt officers and parties. In the context of bankruptcy files, EPICrecommended a system where sensitive information would be segregatedand collected on separate forms protected from public access.

EPIC's comments are available online at:
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts' Request for Comment onPrivacy and Public Access to Electronic Case Files:

[5] Request Seeks Information on Use of Internet Filtering Data

EPIC has filed a series of FOIA requests to obtain information fromthe Department of Defense concerning the agency's purchase ofaggregate data on children's Internet browsing habits. As reported inthe Wall Street Journal on January 26, the Department of Defense ispaying $15,000 for data collected by Internet filtering company N2H2.
The N2H2 filtering software, called Bess, collects data fromchildren's Internet browsing behavior through the use of contentfilters installed at public and private schools and colleges acrossthe country.

The recently passed Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) wouldmandate that all schools and libraries receiving federal funding forInternet access use similar Internet filters on school computers (seeEPIC Alert 7.22).

EPIC's FOIA request is available online at:
The text of the Children's Internet Protection Act is available at:

[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress


H.R.95 Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail Act of 2001. To protectindividuals, families, and Internet service providers from unsolicitedand unwanted electronic mail. Sponsor: Rep Green, Gene (D-TX)
(introduced 1/3/2001). Latest Major Action: Referred to Housecommittees: House Energy and Commerce and House Judiciary.

H.R.232 Telemarketing Victims Protection Act. To amend theTelemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act to authorizethe Federal Trade Commission to issue new rules regulatingtelemarketing firms, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep King, PeterT. (R-NY) (introduced 1/6/2001). Latest Major Action: Referred toHouse committee : House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R.237 Consumer Internet Privacy Enhancement Act. To protect theprivacy of consumers who use the Internet. Sponsor: Rep Eshoo, Anna G.
(d-CA) (introduced 1/20/2001) Latest Major Action: 1/20/2001 Referredto House committee: House Committee on Energy and Commerce.


S.30 A bill to strengthen control by consumers over the use anddisclosure of their personal financial and health information byfinancial institutions, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen Sarbanes,
Paul S. (D-MD) (introduced 1/22/2001) Latest Major Action: 1/22/2001Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, andUrban Affairs.

EPIC Bill Track: Tracking Privacy, Speech, and Cyber-Liberties Billsin the 107th Congress, is available at:

[7] EPIC Bookstore - P.E.A.C.E: A Novel

P.E.A.C.E.: A Novel by Guy Holmes
P.E.A.C.E: A Novel by Guy Holmes presents a world in which anti-crimevideo surveillance cameras are strategically placed on street corners,
airports, train stations, apartment and office complexes. The videosurveillance system is known as P.E.A.C.E. (Police Enforced Anti-CrimeEnvironment) and matches faces with a database of known criminals.

The book presents P.E.A.C.E. as a novel approach to crime fighting.
However, the system soon becomes more than a crime fighting aid, itbecomes a tool for oppressive surveillance and political control.

Fantasy? Not quite. At least 100,000 spectators arriving through thegates at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to watch the 2001 Super Bowlwere subject to a similar surveillance system, according to the St.
Petersburg Times. What is presented as futuristic fiction by GuyHolmes is now state-of-the-art for police. Super Bowl spectators hadtheir faces scanned and digitized and matched against a database ofcriminals and terrorist suspects. Plans are afoot to use similarsystems for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

For other books recommended by EPIC, browse the EPIC Bookshelf 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, authors (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

Register for CFP 2001!

CFP 2001: The Eleventh Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy.
March 6-9, 2001. Cambridge, MA. Registration and Program Informationavailable at:

Are You Covered?: Navigating the New Federal Health PrivacyRegulations. Health Privacy Project. February 5, 2001. Washington, DC.
For more information:

Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS '01). InternetSociety. February 7-9, 2001. San Diego, CA. For more information:

Nominations - February 16, 2001. MIT Sloan eBusiness Awards:
Recognizing Successful Innovation in eBusiness. 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:

The Second National HIPAA Summit: The Leading Forum on HealthcarePrivacy, Confidentiality, Data Security and HIPAA Compliance. March1-2, 2001. Washington, DC. For more information:

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

Consumer Assembly 2001: New Issues in a New Political and EconomicEra. Consumer Federation of America. March 8-9, 2001. Washington, DC.
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:
Call For Papers - March 31, 2001 (prizes available for graduatestudent papers). The 29th Research Conference on Communication,
Information and Internet Policy. October 27-29, 2001. Alexandria, VA.
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: A Net Odyssey, Mobility and the Internet. The 11th AnnualInternet Society Conference. June 5-8, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden. Formore 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:
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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 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 8.02


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