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Oud 28 augustus 2006, 19:33   #1
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Boadicea's schermafbeelding
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Standaard De VS bepaald mee onze Freedom Of Speech

"World's Worst Internet Law" ratified by Senate

8/4/2006 11:57:22 AM, by Nate Anderson

The US Senate ratified the Convention on Cybercrime last night, paving the way for greater international cooperation on cybersecurity issues. The Convention was drafted back in 2000, went through several rounds of public comment, and was opened for signature on November 23, 2001. Because it's a treaty, the Senate must authorize it before it goes into force, and they did that last night, five years after the US first signed the agreement.

The Convention had the backing of George Bush, but also of some industry groups like the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, composed of members like McAfee, RSA, Symantec, and F-Secure. But it aroused the ire of civil liberties groups on the left and the right, including the ACLU and the EFF (which called it one of the "World's Worst Internet Laws").

Why the worry?

According to the EFF, "The treaty requires that the U.S. government help enforce other countries' 'cybercrime' laws—even if the act being prosecuted is not illegal in the United States. That means that countries that have laws limiting free speech on the Net could oblige the F.B.I. to uncover the identities of anonymous U.S. critics, or monitor their communications on behalf of foreign governments. American ISPs would be obliged to obey other jurisdictions' requests to log their users' behavior without due process, or compensation."

Those are legitimate issues to worry about, but among some conservative commentators, the fear goes far beyond thorny questions of international relations. Distrust of "leftists," "internationalists," and "Eurocrats" is palpable. "Even worse, the Cybercrime Treaty is open to all nations to ratify," writes one commentator. "That means a future leftist President could even allow Communist China to sign on to the treaty and direct U.S. law enforcement to investigate Chinese dissidents, even Americans, based in the United States."

Sure, because the left hates human rights and privacy, and it wants nothing more than to spy on ordinary Americans who haven't committed a crime. Oh, wait.

Or again, "the treaty could allow European or even Chinese Communist agents to electronically spy on innocent Americans." The Europeans, as the Convention's drafters, come in for special flogging—"greater control over what we do on the Internet is the goal of the Eurocrats so enamored with global government."

The happiest countries in the world are Denmark, Switzerland, and Austria, and the US spends more and gets less out of its health care system than most European states, so perhaps it's time to drop the "Incompetent Eurocrats want to run our lives into the ground and then spy on them" rhetoric. It smacks of xenophobia and does nothing to advance this sort of debate. It's also inaccurate. Though drafted by the Council of Europe, the US participated fully in the drafting process and the government was pleased with the resulting draft.

It's worth focusing instead on the tradeoffs found in the treaty, and the worries raised by groups like the EFF. While the Convention does give other countries more access to US law enforcement (and in some cases does so without requiring "dual criminality"), that seems a necessity in such a connected world. The question is simply how best to go about it. We want the same access to other countries, for instance, and are in fact the ones already arresting Europeans for offences that are not illegal in their own countries. The point here is not that the US is necessarily wrong, but that the Internet has made things complicated.


The Convention on Cybercrime does recognize this, and to its credit provides a set of exceptions to mutual assistance that should help prevent the worst abuses. The Convention does require members to adopt similar legislation on the following issues: illegal access, illegal interception of computer data, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, computer-related fraud and forgery, child pornography, and copyright violations "on a commerical scale." The goal of the treaty is not to let the Chinese crack down on dissidents living in America, however, and so countries may refuse to cooperate with requests that involve a "political offence" or if a country believes the request would "prejudice its soverignty, security, ordre public or other essential interests." The US Department of Justice has already announced that "essential interests" would allow the US to refuse any request that would violate the Constitution.

Given these safeguards, fears of political persecutions seem overblown, as do concerns that these requests will simply be issued directly from Beijing (which is not a signatory) to Comcast HQ without court oversight. Article 15 of the Convention explicitly leaves such oversight in place, though, saying that proper safeguards include "judicial or other independent supervision, grounds justifying application, and limitation of the scope and the duration of such power or procedure." (To better understand the Convention, read through the Council's own analysis of the document.)

The Convention will no doubt lead to tricky situations in the future and raise questions about civil rights, international law, and the best ways to prosecute cross-border electronic crime. But let's remember that the tricky situations are already here. This is not a choice between an existing system that works well and fairly and a new one that has huge potential for abuse. Questions raised by Internet crime and international speech (like France's decision to make Yahoo take down an auction for Nazi war medals) already vex the developed world, and they're currently being handled without any comprehensive international framework in place to deal with them.

The Convention at least gives us a place to start. Greater cooperation on busting child porn rings, e-commerce fraud, phishing and hacking, and identity theft is a good thing. When that cooperation inevitably leads to requests that make people uncomfortable, the Convention provides enough safeguards to prevent the worst kinds of abuse, and additional protocols can always be negotiated if problems become insurmountable.


Dit betekent dat de VS kan beslissen om IP nummers door te geven aan andere landen van om het even wie die het internet gebruikt.
Hun eigen wetten van Freedom of Speech blijven voor hen wel gelden, maar voor een ander niet.

Binnenkort geraakt ons gerecht nog meer overspoeld met werk van het CGKR.
Opgepast voor geiteneukende honden:

Laatst gewijzigd door Boadicea : 28 augustus 2006 om 19:36.
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Oud 28 augustus 2006, 19:41   #2
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US aims to maintain internet monopoly
By Arshad Mohammed in Washington
May 22, 2006

THE US Government plans to renew its exclusive contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the American non-profit group that oversees technical matters governing how computers communicate over the net.

The intention to give ICANN a sole-source contract, disclosed on a Government contracting website on Thursday, reflects the Commerce Department's belief that the group, based in Marina del Rey, California, is the only entity capable of the unglamorous but necessary responsibility of managing the internet's plumbing.

"We continue to believe ICANN is uniquely qualified to perform the services," said Ranjit de Silva, a spokesman for the department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The decision may revive international debate about the Commerce Department's role overseeing ICANN's work, a source of resentment among countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

Even the European Union has called for the department's oversight to be phased out in favour of a model that would increase international input.

This puts the Bush administration in something of a bind as it tries to balance the demands of US lawmakers adamant that America retain its oversight with those of other countries that want more of a say.

"The people in the Government have one eye on the domestic situation, where the internet is the American flag," said Michael Gallagher, a former assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information who is now a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie.

"[But] internationally, we can't appear too strong or too much in charge, because that's exactly what drives the international community to distraction."

Under the contract, which would run for one year with four one-year options, ICANN would keep its core function of managing the internet's domain name system - essentially overseeing the master list at the heart of the web that helps users find their way around and ensures traffic goes to the right addresses.

In its notice, the Commerce Department said other groups had until June 17 to make the case that they were capable of meeting the contract's technical demands and overcome the agency's presumption that ICANN was the best organisation for the task.

"Most people in the internet space believe that despite its flaws, ICANN is the only organisation that could conceivably fill its role in the internet management space," said David McGuire, a spokesman for the Centre for Democracy and Technology, a Washington public policy group that often takes positions critical of the Government.

"We would like to see ICANN get better; we would like to see ICANN become more transparent and more representative … but we tend to agree that ICANN is the only reasonable option at this point for managing the internet's domain name system."
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