Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday April 07, @11:10AM
from the dropping-the-echelon-bomb dept.
www.2advanced.net writes "The world's first arrest resulting from passive monitoring of electronic communications is being reported by Globe Technology. In the article, sources reveal that 'an e-mail message intercepted by NSA spies precipitated a massive investigation by intelligence officials in several countries that culminated in the arrest of nine men in Britain and one in suburban Orleans, Ont. -- 24-year-old software developer Mohammed Momin Khawaja, who has since been charged with facilitating a terrorist act and being part of a terrorist group.'"
UK keeps global net censorship ticking over
September 19 2003
by Jo Best
Be afraid, be very afraid?
Far from being a haven for civil liberties and free speech, it seems the web is now prey to increasing monitoring and restrictions, according to a global study into internet censorship released today. And while countries with poor human rights records, such as Zimbabwe and Burma, are already well known for their internet censorship, the US and Western Europe don't escape criticism from the report for their growing fondness for monitoring the activities of web users. The study, Silenced, launched at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, condemned governments' use of the events of 11 September to introduce measures that would previously have been unacceptable.
The report says: "There has been an acceleration of legal authority for snooping, from increased email monitoring to the retention of web logs and communications data. Simultaneously, governments have become more secretive about their own activities, reducing information that was previously available and refusing to adhere to policies on freedom of information."
One of the report's editors, Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said in a statement: "It is clear that democratic nations such as the US and the UK have failed to set an acceptable benchmark for free speech. Non-democratic regimes look to the West for technologies and techniques of repression."
The report highlights how non-democratic regimes are already using internet surveillance and censorship for political purposes but, without technology supplied by Western nations, wouldn't be able to achieve the same level of monitoring.
But it's not just global governments who will take an interest in censorship and surveillance in the future. The report says: "It is arguable that in the first decade of the 21st century, corporations will rival governments in threatening internet freedoms. Aggressive protection of corporate intellectual property has resulted in substantial legal action against users, and a corresponding deterioration in trust across the internet."
The report does list positive developments in the sphere of internet monitoring, including countries establishing privacy legislation, but warns against complacency: "Technological developments are being implemented to protect a free internet but the knowledge gap between radical innovators and restrictive institutions appears to be closing."
The report is available at http://web.archive.org/web/20070310144120/http://www.privacyinternational.org/survey/censorship/ .
Internet restrictions and communications surveillance around the world have reached an “unprecedented level “ since the September 2001 attacks on the United States.
October 1, 2003
Days after the Indian government blocked a website for its alleged subversive content, a new global report states that post 9/11, countries across the world are intensifying measures to police the Internet.
London-based Privacy International, a surveillance watchdog, and GreenNet Educational Trust, a group propagating the use of information technology, conducted the September report, entitled Silenced.
The study, which surveyed 50 countries over a period of 12 months, points out that many countries view the Internet as a potential threat to security, and that Internet restrictions and communications surveillance have reached an “unprecedented level ” since the September 2001 attacks on the United States.
“This study has found that censorship of the Internet is commonplace in most regions of the world,” says Privacy International. “It is clear that in most countries over the past two years there has been an acceleration of efforts to either close down or inhibit the Internet.”
Governments employ a wide variety of restrictive methods, such as applying laws and licenses, filtering content, tapping and surveillance. Myanmar, for instance, blocks any online writings “detrimental” to its interests while Bahrain blocks sites that are “platforms for spreading biased news, rumors and lies.”
India, the report states, regulates speech that is “lascivious” or “that appeals to the prurient interest.” In 2002, India enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance Act authorizing the government to monitor electronic communications, including personal email.
The report's launch coincides with an Indian government ban on the Yahoo discussion group Kynhun for “promoting anti-national news and containing material against the Government of India and the state government of Meghalaya.”
Insurgents who have been fighting for their ethnic rights in the northeastern region of India for several decades allegedly ran Kynhun.
The report finds that Internet censorship is rife across the world, even in developed countries such as the U.S.
“The September attacks gave the U.S. government the opportunity to adopt law enforcement policies that had failed to win public support in the 1990s, such as enabling law enforcement to monitor Internet traffic in detail and limiting access to certain types of public information,” the report says.
In Asia, though Internet access is limited, governments are imposing restrictions on both access and content.
For instance, the report says Indian authorities are implementing stricter surveillance and monitoring controls over Internet activities, especially after the September 11 attacks and an armed assault on the Indian Parliament in December 2001.
The blocking of the Kynhun group is a case in point. The website was apparently blocked because some of its messages called for independence of the Nagas, an indigenous community living in northeast India. There were some references to corruption and police brutality.
“This whole episode smacks of utter disregard for people's rights as citizens and for their rights as consumers,” says online activist Harsh Kapoor of South Asia Citizens' Wire.
In a signature campaign against the move launched last week, he says, “While the government of India continually lectures the world about our being some larger-than-life information economy superpower, it is deeply undermining the very basis on which the conditions for a domestic information driven economy flourish — by regimenting and controlling information.”
“This is a worrying development, though I can't say it is completely unexpected,” remarks free Internet software consultant Raj Mathur. “Under the umbrella of national security, the government thinks it has the mandate to block anything,” he says.
Kapoor points out that there have been several other instances of the Indian government clamping down on Internet access in a bid to beef up national security. When India was battling Pakistan over the Kargil hills in 1999, the website of a leading Pakistani daily was blocked.
Last year, a Kashmiri journalist, Iftikhar Gilani, was arrested from his New Delhi residence for downloading an article on defense positions in Kashmir from the Internet.
The Internet experts stress that the problem arises also from the fact that the Indian government has no policy on website content. “The government should present a stated policy on what is accepted and what is not,” says Mathur. “Then we are in a position to discuss it, accept it or repeal it,” he says.
Silenced also underlines the need for laws and policy to combat censorship across the world. “Laws are needed, laws will be created; expertise and participation is essential to ensure that appropriate regimes of protection and minimalist regimes of invasion are established,” it says.
“Much remains to be done,” the report concludes. “Policies are yet to be formed; policies need to be questioned; laws repealed, destroyed, and built up again.”
Kalyani is a journalist with OneWorld South Asia, where this story originally appeared.
Biometric ID card bill on its way 'in a month'
April 08 2004
by Jo Best
Pistols at dawn for Blunkett and rest of Europe
David Blunkett last night said that he was pushing on with plan for an ID card, with a draft bill to hit Parliament within months. The ID cards will contain biometrics and may be in the wallets of UK citizens by 2007 at the earliest. Blunkett told Radio Five Live that the introduction is necessary to give the government better control over immigration and prevent terrorists using multiple identities.