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  • CleanIT – Leak shows plans for large-scale, undemocratic surveillance of all communications

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-26 20:48:25
    'A leaked document from the CleanIT project shows just how far internal discussions in that initiative have drifted away from its publicly stated aims, as well as the most fundamental legal rules that underpin European democracy and the rule of law.

    The European Commission-funded CleanIT project claims that it wants to fight terrorism through voluntary self-regulatory measures that defends the rule of law.

    The initial meetings of the initiative, with their directionless and ill-informed discussions about doing “something” to solve unidentified online “terrorist” problems were mainly attended by filtering companies, who saw an interesting business opportunity. Their work has paid off, with numerous proposals for filtering by companies and governments, proposals for liability in case sufficiently intrusive filtering is not used, and calls for increased funding by governments of new filtering technologies.

    The leaked document contradicts a letter sent from CleanIT Coordinator But Klaasen to Dutch NGO Bits of Freedom in April of this year, which explained that the project would first identify problems before making policy proposals. The promise to defend the rule of law has been abandoned. There appears never to have been a plan to identify a specific problem to be solved – instead the initiative has become little more than a protection racket (use filtering or be held liable for terrorist offences) for the online security industry.

    The proposals urge Internet companies to ban unwelcome activity through their terms of service, but advise that these “should not be very detailed”. This already widespread approach results, for example, in Microsoft (as a wholly typical example of current industry practice) having terms of service that would ban pictures of the always trouserless Donald Duck as potential pornography (“depicts nudity of any sort ... in non-human forms such as cartoons”). The leaked paper also contradicts the assertion in the letter that the project “does not aim to restrict behaviour that is not forbidden by law” - the whole point of prohibiting content in terms of service that is theoretically prohibited by law, is to permit extra-judicial vigilantism by private companies, otherwise the democratically justified law would be enough. Worse, the only way for a company to be sure of banning everything that is banned by law, is to use terms that are more broad, less well defined and less predictable than real law.

    Moving still further into the realm of the absurd, the leaked document proposes the use of terms of service to remove content “which is fully legal”... although this is up to the “ethical or business” priorities of the company in question what they remove. In other words, if Donald Duck is displeasing to the police, they would welcome, but don't explicitly demand, ISPs banning his behaviour in their terms of service. Cooperative ISPs would then be rewarded by being prioritised in state-funded calls for tender.

    CleanIT (terrorism), financed by DG Home Affairs of the European Commission is duplicating much of the work of the CEO Coalition (child protection), which is financed by DG Communications Networks of the European Commission. Both are, independently and without coordination, developing policies on issues such as reporting buttons and flagging of possibly illegal material. Both CleanIT and the CEO Coalition are duplicating each other's work on creating “voluntary” rules for notification and removal of possibly illegal content and are jointly duplicating the evidence-based policy work being done by DG Internal Market of the European Commission, which recently completed a consultation on this subject. Both have also been discussing upload filtering, to monitor all content being put online by European citizens.

    CleanIT wants binding engagements from internet companies to carry out surveillance, to block and to filter (albeit only at “end user” - meaning local network - level). It wants a network of trusted online informants and, contrary to everything that they have ever said, they also want new, stricter legislation from Member States.

    Unsurprisingly, in EDRi's discussions with both law enforcement agencies and industry about CleanIT, the word that appears with most frequency is “incompetence”.

    The document linked below is distributed to participants on a “need to know” basis – we are sharing the document because citizens need to know what is being proposed.

    Key measures being proposed:

    -Removal of any legislation preventing filtering/surveillance of employees' Internet connections
    -Law enforcement authorities should be able to have content removed “without following the more labour-intensive and formal procedures for 'notice and action'”
    -“Knowingly” providing links to “terrorist content” (the draft does not refer to content which has been ruled to be illegal by a court, but undefined “terrorist content” in general) will be an offence “just like” the terrorist
    -Legal underpinning of “real name” rules to prevent anonymous use of online services
    -ISPs to be held liable for not making “reasonable” efforts to use technological surveillance to identify (undefined) “terrorist” use of the Internet
    -Companies providing end-user filtering systems and their customers should be liable for failing to report “illegal” activity identified by the filter
    -Customers should also be held liable for “knowingly” sending a report of content which is not illegal
    -Governments should use the helpfulness of ISPs as a criterion for awarding public contracts
    -The proposal on blocking lists contradict each other, on the one hand providing comprehensive details for each piece of illegal content and judicial references, but then saying that the owner can appeal (although if there was already a judicial ruling, the legal process would already have been at an end) and that filtering such be based on the “output” of the proposed content regulation body, the “European Advisory Foundation”
    -Blocking or “warning” systems should be implemented by social media platforms – somehow it will be both illegal to provide (undefined) “Internet services” to “terrorist persons” and legal to knowingly provide access to illegal content, while “warning” the end-user that they are accessing illegal content
    -The anonymity of individuals reporting (possibly) illegal content must be preserved... yet their IP address must be logged to permit them to be prosecuted if it is suspected that they are reporting legal content deliberately and to permit reliable informants' reports to be processed more quickly
    -Companies should implement upload filters to monitor uploaded content to make sure that content that is removed – or content that is similar to what is removed – is not re-uploaded
    -It proposes that content should not be removed in all cases but “blocked” (i.e. make inaccessible by the hosting provider – not “blocked” in the access provider sense) and, in other cases, left available online but with the domain name removed.'

    Leaked document: http://www.edri.org/files/cleanIT_sept2012.pdf

    CleanIT Project website: http://www.cleanitproject.eu/
  • Stallman urges Americans to support Senator Merkley's bill, the Protect America's Privacy Act

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-23 13:47:18
    'US citizens: Phone your senators to support Senator Merkley's bill, the Protect America's Privacy Act (S. 3515), which would limit warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

    The Capitol Switchboard numbers are 202-224-3121, 888-818-6641 and 888-355-3588.

    Here's info from CREDO Action about the bill:

    While Sen. Merkley's bill does not repeal telecom immunity for illegal spying, restore privacy protection to library and bookstore records, end National Security Letter abuse, or roll back the worst abuses of the PATRIOT Act (all issues CREDO will continue to fight for, in addition to the full repeal of the PATRIOT Act), it does make three major changes to the warrantless wiretapping program that help us end some of the abuses of the Bush era.

    First, it would put stronger protections in place to ensure that spy agencies are not using this program as an indirect way to target someone in the U.S.

    Second, current law allows the government to collect information in anticipation of having its request to do so approved by a special type of top-secret court. Sen. Merkley's bill would ensure that if this court decides the procedures the government is using to collect information are improper, any information collected from Americans cannot be used in a legal proceeding.

    Third, the bill would establish a new process for ensuring that if security agencies determine that information is being collected on Americans, that information cannot be accessed or searched until a proper warrant is obtained.'
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee accuses government of 'draconian' internet snooping

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-06 20:47:39
    'The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has accused the government of invading the privacy by monitoring internet use.

    Sir Tim warned that plans to monitor individuals' use of the internet would result in Britain losing its reputation as an upholder of web freedom

    The plans, by Theresa May, would force service providers to keep records of every phone call, email and website visit in Britain.

    Sir Tim told the Times: "“In Britain, like in the US, there has been a series of Bills that would give government very strong powers to, for example, collect data. I am worried about that."

    Yesterday was the launch of the World Wide Web Foundation's first global Web Index analysing the state of the web in 61 countries using indicators such as the political, economic and social impact of the web, connectivity and use.

    Britain came third in the list which was topped by Sweden and the United States in second place.

    Speaking at the launch, Sir Tim said that Britain would soon slip down the rankings if the draft Communications Data Bill became law.

    “If the UK introduces draconian legislation that allows the Government to block websites or to snoop on people, which decreases privacy, in future indexes they may find themselves farther down the list,” he said.

    The draft bill extends the type of data that internet service providers must store for at least 12 months. Providers would also be required to keep details of a much wider set of data, including use of social network sites, webmail and voice calls over the internet.

    Mrs May has justified the need for the new legislation by saying that it is necessary to combat organised crime and terrorism.

    Sir Tim's comments came on the same day as he denied that there was an 'off'; switch for the internet.

    He said the only way the internet could only ever be completely shut down is if governments across the world coordinated to make it a centralised system:

    "At the moment, because countries connect to each other in lots of different ways, there is no one off switch, there is no central place where you can turn it off.

    "In order to be able to turn the whole thing off or really block, suppress one particular idea then the countries and governments would have to get together and agree and coordinate and turn it from a decentralised system to being a centralised system.

    "And if that does happen it is really important that everybody fights against that sort of direction."'

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9524681/Sir-Tim-Berners-Lee-accuses-government-of-draconian-internet-snooping.html
  • Don’t Let Them Trade Away Our Internet Freedoms

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-29 20:24:36
    'The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) endangers the Internet and digital freedoms on par with ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA, and it does so in two significant ways: First, its intellectual property (IP) chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedoms and innovation, and second, the entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy. The TPP is a major threat because it will rewrite global rules on IP enforcement and restrict the public domain.

    As of now, corporate lobbyists are the only ones who have been officially invited to contribute and access the negotiating text. The Bush administration initiated TPP negotiations back in 2008, but closed door sessions over this powerful multi-national trade agreement have continued under the Obama administration, led by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Governments are characterizing this as a free trade agreement, but its effects will go far beyond trade.

    We are fighting back.

    Activists, scholars, and individuals around the world are speaking out against the TPP’s onerous intellectual property chapter and the threat it poses to our digital freedoms. Americans and Canadians are protesting at every negotiation round; the Japanese are growing more disaffected; and demonstrations have also occurred in Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia. Law professors from around the world and over 130 US representatives have raised alarm over the TPP in letters to Representative Ron Kirk, the head of the U.S. delegation.'

    Check the article below to see how you can take action against this proposed legislation...

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/08/dont-let-them-trade-away-our-internet-freedoms
  • LEAKED! TPP: the Son of ACTA will oblige America and other countries to throw out privacy, free speech and due process for easier copyright enforcement

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-26 20:09:00
    'The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the son of ACTA, a secretive copyright and trade treaty being negotiated by the Pacific Rim nations, including the USA and Canada. As with ACTA, the secretive negotiation process means that the treaty's provisions represent an extremist corporate agenda where due process, privacy and free expression are tossed out the window in favor of streamlined copyright enforcement. If this passes, America will have a trade obligation to implement all the worst stuff in SOPA, and then some. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Carolina Rossini and Kurt Opsahl explain:

    TPP article 16.3 mandates a system of ISP liability that goes beyond DMCA standards and U.S. case law. In sum, the TPP pushes a framework beyond ACTA[1] and possibly the spirit of the DMCA, since it opens the doors for:

    * Three-strikes policies and laws that require Internet intermediaries to terminate their users’ Internet access on repeat allegations of copyright infringement

    * Requirements for Internet intermediaries to filter all Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material

    * ISP obligations to block access to websites that allegedly infringe or facilitate copyright infringement

    * Efforts to force intermediaries to disclose the identities of their customers to IP rightsholders on an allegation of copyright infringement.

    Incredibly, it gets worse:

    If the copyright maximalists have their way, the TPP will include a “side-letter,” an agreement annexed to the TPP to bind the countries to strict procedures enabling copyright owners to insist material are removed from the Internet. This strict notice-and-takedown regime is not new—in 2004, Chile rejected the same proposal in its bi-lateral trade agreement with the United States. Without the shackles of the proposed requirements, Chile then implemented a much more balanced takedown procedure in its 2010 Copyright Law, which provides greater protection to Internet users’ expression and privacy than the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s copyright safe harbor regime.

    Instead of ensuring due process and judicial involvement in takedowns, the TPP proposal encourages the spread of models that have been proven inefficient and have chilling unintended consequences, such as the HADOPI Law in France or the DMCA.

    TPP Creates Legal Incentives For ISPs To Police The Internet. What Is At Risk? Your Rights.'

    http://boingboing.net/2012/08/25/leaked-tpp-the-son-of-acta-w.html