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lynx-dev Big Brother was English
lynx-dev Big Brother was English
Thu, 11 May 2000 07:00:27 -0400
[ the UK govt has never given up powers it seized during the World Wars:
we like to think we're more relaxed re security in Canada.
Berliners have even prohibited their transit authority
from using smart-cards to track individual journeys (useful for planning) ]
AP we 000510 1622
UK Plans Cyber Spy Centre -- JILL LAWLESS [a suitable name ... ]
LONDON -- The UK government plans to set up a multimillion-dollar spy center
capable of tracking every e-mail and Internet hit in the country,
saying it will help fight cybercrime, but civil libertarians contend
it heralds the arrival of an Orwellian state. The new cyber-snooping base,
which will bear the unassuming title `Government Technical Assistance Centre',
wb housed within the fortress-like London HQ of the MI5 spy agency,
as part of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill to become law 2000.
ISPs will have to establish secure channels to transmit information
about Internet traffic to the government cyber-center; law enforcement
authorities will have power to demand Internet users hand over the keys
to decode encrypted messages. The legislation is wending its way
thro' Parliament, but the government has already established
an Encryption Co-ordination Unit to oversee creation of the $ 40 M centre.
Civil liberties groups argue the legislation sets a sinister precedent
by requiring individuals and companies to prove they cannot hand over
encryption keys or face prosecution: "We regard it as an outrageous piece
of legislation", said Yaman Akdeniz, Director, Cyber-Rights & Cyber Liberties:
"The bill creates a new offense: not providing this information to the govt.
It will be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights
in terms of self-incrimination & a switch in the burden of proof".
The government argues the bill protects individual rights, setting out
strict conditions under which law enforcement agencies can demand keys
to unlock encrypted data or intercept records of Internet traffic:
"The bill does not give the authorities any new powers to obtain material
which they cannot already do", said Home Office Minister Charles Clarke:
"Accusations that the bill reverses the burden of proof are simply wrong.
Innocent people are not going to suffer under these proposals"
[just convince the govt you're innocent & you'll be ok ... ].
Critics argue the grounds for getting a warrant are vague & they sb issued
by judges instead of by Cabinet Ministers [!], as provided by the bill.
ISPs have expressed concerns about the cost to industry of complying --
c $ 32 M -- and of the vagueness of the rules. Some predict the new rules
will scare Internet users away from encryption, dealing a blow
to the government's stated aim of making UK a hotbed of e-commerce:
"Everything in the bill is a little bit undefined", said Roland Perry,
regulation officer, London Internet Exchange, which groups c 100 ISPs:
"Who needs to sign the bits of paper, what they might be requesting:
there's a national standard for that negotiated between industry
& law enforcement & if we're not careful this bill might throw all that away".
While eg China & Singapore monitor their citizens' Internet use,
the UK move is unprecedented in Europe: Akdeniz says: "Of course [!],
the government has to improve law enforcement techniques & adapt to IT,
but that doesn't mean they have to turn it into an Orwellian state.
We are moving toward Big Brother" [it's no accident `1984' was set in UK].
UK ISPs must already tread more carefully than counterparts elsewhere,
incl USA: 0003 Demon apologized & agreed to pay damages out-of-court
to a man who said he was libeled by items posted on a WWW site,
setting a precedent that ISPs could be considered publishers
and held responsible for information transmitted on their networks.
In the USA, by contrast, the Supreme Court ruled 0005 that ISPs are not
legally/financially liable when someone is defamed in e-mail
or bulletin-board messages.
Cyber Rights and Cyber-Liberties -- www.cyber-rights.org
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill
SUPPORT ___________//___, Philip Webb : address@hidden
ELECTRIC /]     | Centre for Urban & Community Studies
TRANSIT `-O----------O---' University of Toronto
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