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|28 augustus 2006, 19:33||#1|
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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.
|28 augustus 2006, 19:41||#2|
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