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                    Volume 3.14              August 1, 1996

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

Table of Contents

[1] G-7 Urges Net Restrictions -- GILC Launches Campaign
[2] New Domestic Surveillance Provisions Proposed
[3] Digital Telephony Funding Approved by House
[4] Another Court Enjoins CDA
[5] Govt Crypto Policy Criticized at Senate Hearing
[6] EPIC '96 Crypto Sourcebook Available
[7] New Files at WWW.EPIC.ORG
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events       

[1] G-7 Urges Crypto Restrictions -- GILC Launches Campaign

Leaders of the G-7 nations agreed to policies on Tuesday that could limit speech on the Internet and restrict the use of encryption. Meeting in Paris in the aftermath of the crash of TWA flight 800 and the explosion of a pipe bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta, delegates from the G-7 countries agreed to work together to combat international terrorism. The G-7 group issued a declaration that included 25 principles ranging from the protection of mass transportation and furthering research and development on bomb detection to measures that might limit international travel, restrict the activities of political and charitable organizations, and lead to the development of new identification technologies. Two provisions are of particular concern to the users of the worldwide Internet. One principle said that the G-7 would "Accelerate consultations on encryption that allows, when necessary, lawful government access to data and communications in order to prevent or investigate acts of terrorism, while protecting the privacy of legitimate communications." A second provision would limit the availability of certain information on the Internet. Stronger measures sought by the US to restrict information on the Internet and limit the availability of encryption were apparently not adopted by the G-7 countries The G-7 acknowledged that it is necessary to respect "fundamental freedoms and the rule of law," but civil liberties experts were quick to note that many provisions could lead to a dramatic expansion of law enforcement authority. The G-7 countries include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Russia also participates in the meetings. Earlier attempts by officials in Washington to pass similar measures uin the United States Congress that would restrict the availability of information on the Internet or prohibit the use of encryption have failed. However, a recently established coalition of civil liberties, human rights, and free speech groups said that governments should not use the tragic events in Atlanta and New York to erode the basic rights of citizens. The Global Internet Liberty Coalition (GILC) said that it would oppose efforts to regulate privacy technology and free speech on the Internet. GLIC urged users of the Internet to oppose legislative measures that could restrict the free flow of information or limit the ability of citizens to engage in private communication. Members of GILC include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Internet Society (ISOC), Privacy International (PI), and other organizations. The GILC was formed in June at the annual meeting of the Internet Society in Montreal. A temporary web page for the Global Internet Liberty Campaign has been established at: http://www.aclu.org/gilc/index1.html. A permanent home for GILC will soon be established at http://www.gilc.org/

[2] New Domestic Surveillance Provisions Proposed

In the wake of the recent tragedies in Atlanta and New York, the White House and the FBI are again calling for new federal powers to expand wiretapping authority, even in the absence of any evidence that inability to wiretap led to the two tragedies. The provisions were originally introduced as part of the counterterrorism bill but were struck out after objection from a coalition of liberal and conservative groups. The White House is trying to rush the proposal through Congress this week before the August recess. The new measure would allow prosecutors to use of "roving wiretaps." The Administration proposal would allow prosecutors to tap multiple telephones in an area if they suspect that the target in switching phones. Other recommendations include allowing for 48 hour warrantless "emergency" wiretaps, easier access to consumer records including phone and travel records, and restrictions on the use of encryption. Several members of Congress were critical of the proposal. Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) told CNN that the proposals created "vast powers" and that there was "no case for emergency wiretaps and roving wiretaps." Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) called for greater human intelligence noting that law enforcement and intelligence agencies "seem to rely too much on technology". Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and others met with President Clinton on July 29, after which Gingrich expressed tentative support for the proposals. The American public also remains divided on the desirability of giving federal law enforcement new wiretapping authority. In a USA Today/CNN/Gallop poll taken July 29, 50 percent of those polled said that "[i]ncreasing surveillance of U.S. citizens by the government" was "going too far." According to the poll, 45 percent supported the measures and five percent were undecided. The New York times editorialized on June 30 that "the proposal to expand the Government's wiretapping authority is excessive." A House/Senate conference committee meeting on the Defense Appropriations bill is also reviewing a provision introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) that would ban the dissemination of bomb-related information on the Internet. This provision had also been rejected in the counterterrorism bill on First Amendment grounds. More information on wiretapping is available from: http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/

[3] Digital Telephony Funding Approved by House

The House of Representatives approved on July 25 funding for the Justice Department that includes a provision to fund the "digital telephony" bill. The bill would establish a permanent "Telecommunications Carrier Compliance Fund" with contributions from "any agency of the United States with law enforcement or intelligence responsibilities". Thus agencies such as the CIA and NSA, with their secret "black budgets" will be able to fund the wiretap program without public oversight. A previous draft of the bill had also allowed agencies with "national security" roles to contribute. Funding for the proposal was rejected in two earlier attempts: the FY 1996 appropriations bill and the 1996 counter-terrorism bill. It now goes to the Senate where advocates will attempt to remove the funding provision. A copy of the House bill and more information on wiretapping is available from: http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/

[4] Another Court Enjoins CDA

Another federal court has ruled that the Communications Decency Act is unconstitutional and has prohibited its enforcement. This follows the decision earlier this month by a federal court in Pennsylvania striking down two provisions in a case brought by the ACLU, EPIC, ALA and others. In this case, Joe Shea, editor of the American Reporter an online newspaper, challenged the CDA in US District in New York city. Shea published an "indecent" article by Judge Steve Matthews, a Texas state judge and law professor, and then challenged the CDA. The court ruled that the section prohibiting the dissemination of "indecent" speech was unconstitutional because it was overbroad and affected protected speech between adults. The court also found that presently there was no practical way to block the material using currently available blocking software and thus the affirmative defense were not adequate to save the law: "there is no persuasive evidence that a substantial proportion of Internet content providers can make available material potentially within the scope of the CDA without fear of prosecution and criminal liability." Unlike the ACLU case, however, the court rejected the challenge to the CDA as being overly vague. It ruled that there was substantial case law available on what was "indecent" that has been upheld by the courts. It also rejected the assertion that because of the global nature of the Internet, online providers could not be expected to know what was indecent everywhere: "We have no basis for concluding that Internet content providers are any less capable than those subject to obscenity laws or other indecency restrictions to acquire a general familiarity with the relevant standards; indeed, one might conclude that a content provider's contact with others around the country and around the world through interactive computer services would cultivate a heightened awareness of regional and cultural differences." The US Justice Department has twenty days to appeal this decision to the US Supreme Court. DOJ has already filed a petition for appealing the Pennsylvania case to the Court, which will hear it in its fall session. In a case raising similar issues brought before a French court, the French Conseil Constitutionnel on July 24 struck down a recently enacted French law Internet censorship law known as the "Fillon amendment". The court ruled that placing Internet regulations under the control of the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel and requiring Internet service providers to take the advice of the CSA was a violation of free speech rights. More materials related to free speech are available at: http://www.epic.org/free_speech/

[5] Congressional Hearing Critical of US Crypto Policy

Senators at the July 25 hearing of the Commerce Committee on S. 1726, the PRO-Code legislation were openly critical of current US policy on cryptography. Senators Burns, Pressler, Ashcroft openly questioned the viability of key escrow and the effects of export controls on American business. The first panel of the hearing included FBI Director Louis Freeh, William Reinch, Undersectrary of the Bureau of Export Administration for the US Department of Commerce, and William Crowell, Deputy Director of the National Security Agency. The panelists opposed S. 1726 and supported the implementation of an international key escrow system. Freeh claimed that five percent of all cases show evidence of cryptography. Many of the Senators were openly critical of the current export controls and the viability of creating a comprehensive international key escrow system. Senator Pressler held up a copy of Applied Cryptography and a disk and described the restrictions on the disk as "somewhat absurd." Sen. Ron Wyden noted "The terrorists and drug merchants of the 21st century are not going to be encryption simpletons." Senator Burns described the international key escrow system as a "pipe dream." When Undersecretary Reinsch claimed that "there's a very clear commercial interest in having hardware and/or software with a back door" to prevent a "electronic tower of Babel", Senator Ashcroft forced him to admit that the only real use would be for government access and then questioned the Constitutionality of the proposal and invoked the Filegate incident as an example of the potential abuses. Under questioning by Senator Burns, FBI Director Louis Freeh acknowledged that if the current "voluntary" policy failed, he would seek mandatory domestic controls on cryptography. Freeh told the Committee: I don't think I'm at that point yet. I believe that the policy that is enunciated here is a doable policy, but there could come a point where that policy, the voluntary policy, is not a viable one. And then I would certainly look at more mandatory controls. Not that that might work, but backing up my position that's where ultimately I would be. A second panel was made up of industry representatives who supported S. 1726. James Barkesdale of Netscape Communications testified that his company has lost 30 percent of its business to foreign competitors who have stronger security systems. He described the Clipper III proposal as "most massive computer infrastructure on the planet . . . beyond belief." Ron Pieper of Tandem Computers described the key escrow system as "an absolute show stopper" for electronic commerce. The bill may now be considered by the Commerce Committee this week and then sent to the full Senate for a vote in September after the Congressional recess. More information, including Freeh's written testimony, is available at: http://www.epic.org/crypto/

[6] EPIC 1996 Crypto Sourcebook Now Available

Copies of the EPIC 1996 Cryptography and Privacy Sourcebook are now available for $25 each. The 1996 EPIC Sourcebook is an all new compilation of the key documents of the last year including the latest internal FBI/NSA/White House documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, bills, analysis, and more on cryptography, wiretapping, and export controls. A limited number of 1995 sourcebooks are also available for $25. For more information, visit the EPIC Bookstore at http://www.epic.org/epic/bookstore.html

[7] New Files at WWW.EPIC.ORG

New Security Archive. EPIC has added a new policy library on computer security. The topics include information warfare, hackers, and relevant laws and cases. http://www.epic.org/security/ SSN Alternatives. The Privacy Journal has provided a file on how large organizations can use alternatives to Social Security Numbers. http://www.epic.org/privacy/ssn/alternatives.html FBI Director Louis Freeh's testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee 7/25/96. http://www.epic.org/crypto/export_controls/freeh.html

[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events

NRC Briefing on Cryptography report. August 7, 1996. Boston, Mass. 10:00 am to noon. Gardener Auditorium, the State House. http://www.tiac.net/biz/bcslegal. Surveillance Expo 96. August 19-21. McLean, Virginia. Sponsored by Ross Associates. Contact: Marilyn Roseberry 703-450-2200. Fifth International Information Warfare Conference, "Dominating the Battlefields of Business and War", September 5-6, 1996. Washington, DC. Sponsored by Interpact, NCSA, OSS. Contact: infowar96@ncsa.com Advanced Surveillance Technologies II. September 16, 1996. Ottawa, Canada. Sponsored by EPIC and Privacy International. Contact: http://www.privacy.org/pi/conference/ottawa/ or email pi@privacy.org. "Privacy Beyond Borders", 18th International Privacy and Data Protection Conference. September 18-20, 1996. Ottawa, Canada. Sponsored by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Contact: jroy@fox.nstn.ca. The 2nd International Conference & Exhibit on Doing Businesss Securely on the Information Highway. September 30 - October 1, 1996. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Contact: http://www.ecworld.org/Conferences/2nd_Security/menu.html. Communications Unleashed - What's at Stake? Who Benefits? How to Get Involved! Sponsored by CPSR and Georgetown University. October 19-20. Washington DC. Contact: phyland@aol.com. (Send calendar submissions to Alert@epic.org)
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The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest research center in Washington, DC. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging privacy issues relating to the National Information Infrastructure, such as the Clipper Chip, the Digital Telephony proposal, medical record privacy, and the sale of consumer data. EPIC is sponsored by the Fund for Constitutional Government, a non-profit organization established in 1974 to protect civil liberties and constitutional rights. EPIC publishes the EPIC Alert, pursues Freedom of Information Act litigation, and conducts policy research. For more information, email info@epic.org, HTTP://www.epic.org or write EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20003. +1 202 544 9240 (tel), +1 202 547 5482 (fax). If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, contributions are welcome and fully tax-deductible. Checks should be made out to "The Fund for Constitutional Government" and sent to EPIC, 666 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 301, Washington DC 20003. Your contributions will help support Freedom of Information Act and First Amendment litigation, strong and effective advocacy for the right of privacy and efforts to oppose government regulation of encryption and funding of the National Wiretap Plan. Thank you for your support.