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IP: Planned global Net-treaty hands police more power, limits privacy
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Wed, 03 May 2000 09:37:17 -0700

From: Declan McCullagh <declan () well com>


   Cyber-treaty Goes Too Far?
   by Declan McCullagh (declan () wired com)

   3:00 a.m. May. 3, 2000 PDT
   WASHINGTON -- U.S. and European police agencies will receive new
   powers to investigate and prosecute computer crimes, according to a
   preliminary draft of a treaty being circulated among over 40 nations.

   The Council of Europe's 65KB proposal is designed to aid police in
   investigations of online miscreants in cases where attacks or
   intrusions cross national borders.

   But the details of the "Draft Convention on Cybercrime" worry U.S.
   civil libertarians. They warn that the plan would violate longstanding
   privacy rights and grant the government far too much power.

   The proposal, which is expected to be finalized by December 2000 and
   appears to be the first computer crime treaty, would:

    * Make it a crime to create, download, or post on a website any
    computer program that is "designed or adapted" primarily to gain
    access to a computer system without permission. Also banned is
    software designed to interfere with the "functioning of a computer
    system" by deleting or altering data.

    * Allow authorities to order someone to reveal his or her passphrase
    for an encryption key. According to a recent survey, only Singapore
    and Malaysia have enacted such a requirement into law, and experts say
    that in the United States it could run afoul of constitutional
    protections against self-incrimination.

    * Internationalize a U.S. law that makes it a crime to possess even
    digital images that "appear" to represent children's genitals or
    children engaged in sexual conduct. Linking to such a site also would
    be a crime.

    * Require websites and Internet providers to collect information about
    their users, a rule that would potentially limit anonymous remailers.


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