Patrice Riemens on Mon, 6 Mar 2000 12:32:20 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] UK's RIP (fwd)

Hi Mods, comes from the HfH list. Pls see if it was posted before!

See for the full text. Here's the
executive summary:

ISPs as wiretappers

ISPs are now classified as "public telecommunication systems". As are
mobile telephone providers, Net gateways, newservers, and,
potentially, operators of Web applications like Hotmail. This provides
a new set of burdens on even the smallest ISP, and may introduce a new
level of bureaucracy and liability for anyone seeking to offer any
form of Internet service. Additionally, employees of these companies
are compelled to keep any surveillance they conduct on their customers
secret in perpetuity. We believe this to be a dangerous extension of
obligations on British Net citizens, with no corresponding checks or
balances on law enforcement.

Interception Methods

Additionally, the Home Secretary has reserved the right to demand the
placing of specific devices to monitor ISP traffic with little
deliberation, and no guarantee that the nature of this monitoring will
ever be publicised. We'd like to see such impositions made public.

Mass Surveillance

The bill clarifies the requirements for an interception warrant, but
also provides for Certificates, which are general permissions granted
by the Home Secretary in a set of situations that don't make sense on
the global Internet. In particular, the security services can now
attempt to gather information on all communications that travel across
an international boundary, without limit. We believe this affects
everyone who uses the Net, to an extent unwarranted by the
requirements of law enforcement.

Permanent Secrecy

Surveillance of communications, as before, is explicitly excluded from
being used in a court of law. While this ostensibly provides
continuing privacy for your e-mails (they won't be quoted in a court
case), it also means that if your communications are tapped, you will
never know.

Traffic Data

A wide group of government authorities are now allowed to collect
communications data - that's to say, everything about your Net
sessions *apart* from the contents of your messages. So, for instance,
the Web sites you visit or the full list of who you have contacted may
be collected by anyone from the local police to the security services,
with very little supervision. We think that collecting mass traffic
data is effectively watching your every movement online, and should
have the same safeguards as watching your home.

Government Access to Keys

The government can still demand you hand over keys or plaintext, and
can still potentially gaol computer users for being unable to unlock
their own files. This tipping-off offence provides serious criminals
with a get-out-of-jail-quick escape, while still effectively
criminalising the widespread use of encryption by making the act of
losing keys or forgetting passwords a criminal offence.

----- End forwarded message -----

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