An Advocacy Handbook for the Non Governmental Organisations: The Council of Europe’s Cyber-Crime Convention 2001 and the additional protocol on the criminalisation of acts of a racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, Cyber-Rights.Org, December 2003 (revised and updated in May 2008).
The Cyber-Crime Convention 2001 and its Additional Protocol concerning the Criminalisation of Acts of a Racist and Xenophobic Nature Committed Through Computer Systems have been developed by the Council of Europe, an international and well respected organisation with a primary mission to strengthen democracy, human rights, and the rule of law throughout its member states. Although the Cyber-Crime Convention states in the preamble that a proper balance needs to be ensured between the interests of law enforcement and respect for fundamental human rights, the balance resolutely and regrettably favours the former.
While the CoE’s concerns in relation to cyber-crimes and its desire to address criminal law and mutual assistance in criminal matters are shared by many, any co-ordinated policy initiative at an international level should ideally aim to offer the best protection for individual rights and liberties. Lamentably, this has not been the case.
This advocacy handbook for the NGOs provides a policy analysis of the Cyber-Crime Convention 2001 and the Additional Protocol from a human rights perspective for policy specialists, NGOs, and human rights activists within the 45 member states of the Council of Europe. Compatibility problems with the European Convention on Human Rights and implications for freedom of expression, privacy of communications and data protection are the main focus of this critical analysis.
Nine Inch Nails Album Is Free Online: “In a nod to the popularity of free music online, the rock act is offering its new album, ‘The Slip,’ through its Web site — for nothing.”
In a post on the band’s Web site, www.nin.com, the band’s leader, Trent Reznor, said, “Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years — this one’s on me.”
(Via NYT > Technology.)
BBC News: Few gains for press freedom: “Wednesday, 30 April 2008 13:02 UK
An annual survey of media freedom has reported a mixed picture in East Asia – with some losses and some gains.
The US-based Freedom House organisation says China tightened some restrictions in 2007, but also tolerated more investigative journalism into cases of official corruption.
The report noted gains last year in Thailand and Malaysia, but said Vietnam and Laos continue to fare poorly.
It ranked North Korea as the world’s most restricted media environment.
Freedom House reported that China made some progress in 2007 in allowing investigative journalists to carry out their work – in cases including corruption and enforced child labour.”
See the Freedom House Freedom of the Press 2008 report (pdf file).
The court decided that for uploading 4,500 music tracks and 30 movies with the filesharing application Direct Connect. The defendant should receive a heavy fine and a suspended prison sentence. Initially the file-sharer had been accused of uploading around 23,000 music tracks, but Sweden’s Anti-Piracy Agency’s (APB) use of questionable investigative techniques forced the prosecutor to withdraw some of the charges.
In its verdict, the Linköping District Court decided that due to the large number of files involved in the case, handing out just fines wasn’t enough, hence the suspended sentence. This situation of sharing many thousands of files at once affects the BitTorrent user a lot less than those using other methods of sharing, which is probably why the music industry prefers to target users using ‘folder sharing’ clients, such as DirectConnect, LimeWire and KaZaA.
Thankfully, the court denied the prosecutor’s request to have the man thrown in prison and said that this is ‘a task for the government, that by legislative means or in other ways take the necessary actions’ to come to a solution to the problem. In fact, the court implied that the reason it issued only a suspended sentence was because the copyright industry has to take some responsibility for the situation it finds itself in.
Although escaping prison would’ve been his number one aim, the fine received by the file-sharer will hurt. In Sweden there is a system of ‘day fines’ that is regulated by how large an income the guilty party has. In the case of day fines, two figures are given, for example ‘40 day fines of 50 kronor’ (that is to say, 2000 kronor). The first figure shows how seriously the court considers the offense (culpability) and the latter figure is determined depending on the accused’s financial situation.
He was given 40 day fines, amounting to some 10000 kronor ($1650) and he also must pay the court costs of 44670 kronor ($7360).
Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask, doesn’t want to comment on whether she sees the sentence as positive or negative. However, she commented on its effects:
‘A consequence of the court having increased the sanctions in this case is that it will be easier to make ISPs give out information on IP addresses [in the future]. This of course affects the possibilities to act against these kinds of crimes.’
Morgan Gerdin, acting for the defense says the sanctions are too severe: ‘The District Court hasn’t observed the technical evidence. It is not possible from that evidence to conclude that my client has been filesharing. He should have been found not guilty.’
There were fears that a conviction in this case which resulted in prison time could open up the possibility that in the future, police could be allowed to search file-sharers’ homes in pursuit of evidence, something forbidden up to now. It remains unclear if a suspended sentence is enough to change the position.
This is an article from: TorrentFreak
New powers to force terror suspects to hand over encryption keys have been used in only eight criminal investigations, prompting fears that police could be bypassing courts by spooking suspects with the mere threat of extra jail time.…
I already reported on this news item but here is an article with some commentary.
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)
The camel that is the UK Government’s answer to what it terms ‘extreme porn’ lumbers onward. Although, by the time it escaped the Lords last week it really was beginning to look like a particularly moth-eaten dromedary.…
What started in the Commons as a relatively straightforward piece of legislation from the government has now twice survived opposition amendments – only to be mauled by its own side.
The proposal, contained in the Criminal Justice Bill, is to make it a criminal offence to possess certain images that are deemed to be extreme porn. In the course of its passage through the Lords, Baroness Miller, Home Affairs spokesperson for the Lib Dems, tried on two occasions to amend it.
Read the rest through the Register, good article summarizing last week’s discussions at the House of Lords.
(Via The Register – Public Sector.)