CyberLaw Blog

A news resource for CyberLaw and Cyber-Rights issues from around the globe

Archive for March, 2010

Cybercrime lawmakers call for worldwide implementation of the Cybercrime Convention

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Directorate of Communication – Cybercrime lawmakers call for worldwide implementation of the Budapest Convention

Press release – 254(2010)
Cybercrime lawmakers call for worldwide implementation of the Budapest Convention

Strasbourg, 25.03.2010 – At its 5th annual conference on cybercrime, the Council of Europe called for a worldwide implementation of its Convention on Cybercrime to sustain legislative reforms already underway in many countries and a global capacity-building initiative to combat web-based crimes and enhance trust in information and communication technologies.

Participants underlined the need to make the best possible use of existing tools, instruments, good practices and initiatives. They recommended that a global action plan be launched by the Council of Europe and the United Nations to get a clearer picture of criminal justice capacities and urgent needs, mobilise resources, provide support and assess progress made.

‘The UN Crime Congress in April 2010 will be an opportunity to reinforce our global response to the global threat of cybercrime and cyberterrorism. I think we will have the best chance to succeed if we unite around one international instrument which already exists – namely the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention,’ said Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, speaking at the opening of the conference.

Countries worldwide have been turning to the Budapest Convention since its adoption in 2001. During the conference, Portugal announced the ratification of the Convention and Argentina has made a request for accession.

The conference also highlighted the need to further establish dynamic partnerships between the public and private sectors and their shared responsibility in ensuring security and protecting human rights on the Internet. In this context, the conference proposed the establishment of a contact list for enhanced co-operation between law enforcement and industry.

Last but not least, participants called on ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to strengthen its oversight role of the Internet domain name registration process in order to allow both the protection of private data of individual registrants (in particular in the WHOIS database) as well as the opportunity for law enforcement to use the database to fight cybercrime and cyberterrorism.

The Council of Europe will continue to address the issue of ‘cloud computing’ and intends to ensure that globally trusted privacy and data protection standards and policies are put in place, and that both its Cybercrime Convention and its Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data are applied more widely and efficiently. A human rights and privacy dimension should be brought in the discussions of next year’s conference on cybercrime.

Held in Strasbourg from 23 to 25 March, the conference brought together 300 cybercrime experts from some 60 countries, the private sector and international organisations to also discuss ways of combating online child pornography, mapping networks and initiatives as well as training for judges and prosecutors.

The conclusions of the conference will be made available at: www.coe.int/cybercrime.

Google booted from China’s number two carrier

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Google booted from China’s number two carrier: “

‘We work with any company that obeys the law’

China’s second largest wireless carrier – China Unicom – has said it will remove Google’s search service from the Android phones it developed in tandem with the web giant, citing the company’s decision to reroute Google.cn to uncensored servers in Hong Kong.…

(Via The Register – Public Sector.)

Google, Yahoo Object to Australia’s Plan for Internet Filtering – WSJ

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Google, Yahoo Object to Australia’s Plan for Internet Filtering – WSJ

By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, 23.03.2010

Google and other tech giants are making waves today over Internet censorship in a place people might not expect — Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Google, Yahoo and others ‘delivered a withering critique’ of government plans to force Internet service providers to block certain content.

The Australian government has been putting its censorship plans in place for more than a year now. And it plans to introduce legislation this year that will require that ISPs use filters to block content such as child sex abuse, bestiality, detailed instruction in crime or anything advocating terrorism, according to Australia’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

In its response to the plan, Google said its ‘primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide.’ Although the company said it already has a global ban on all child pornography, it said that it also has a ‘bias in favor of people’s right to free expression.’

The company’s objections don’t end with its free-speech concerns; it says that such large-scale filtering ‘appears to not be technologically possible’ and would ‘negatively impact user-access speeds’ in a serious way.

Yahoo expressed similar misgivings about ISP-level filtering, pointing out that the proposed rules could block content such as anti-abortion Web sites, sites that advocate safe drug injection and Gay forums that discuss sexual experiences. ‘Clearly some of this content is controversial and, depending on one’s political beliefs, rather offensive,’ the company wrote, but it added that there was ‘enormous value in this content being available to encourage debate.’

In some other democracies, such as Canada and the U.K., content is filtered at an ISP level, Australia has pointed out. But Google argues that in these countries, the filtering applies only to child pornography.

The Australian government, which had solicited input on the plan, posted comments from the Internet giants and others online and told the Herald that there would be more consultations with ISPs.

Internet race hate pair petition Supreme Court – Peterborough Today

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Internet race hate pair petition Supreme Court – Peterborough Today

Published on Wed Mar 24 13:55:27 GMT 2010

A Lancashire man who became the first to be convicted of inciting racial hatred online is to petition the Supreme Court for leave to appeal against the convictions.

The move by Stephen Whittle, along with Simon Sheppard who was also convicted of the crime, follows the decision of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division to certify three points of law in the case – although it denied permission to appeal, meaning the pair have to petition the Supreme Court directly.

Lawyers for the two men confirmed that they would be filing petitions with the Supreme Court. The case will raise important issues about whether material placed on the internet counts as written material, and whether the courts have jurisdiction in cases involving material posted online from abroad.

Sheppard, 52, and Whittle, 42, were jailed at Leeds Crown Court in July last year after being convicted of Public Order Act charges of publishing and distributing racially inflammatory material and possessing such material with a view to distribution.

Sheppard, 52, of Brook Street, Selby, was convicted of 16 offences and Whittle, 42, of Avenham Lane, Preston, Lancashire, of five. In January the Court of Appeal rejected their appeals against conviction, but reduced Sheppard’s sentence of four years and 10 months by a year and Stephen Whittle’s term of two years and four months by six months.

The Court has now certified three issues in the case as a point of law of general public importance.

These cover whether a document stored in a computer memory and/or displayed on a screen is written material within the meaning of Section 29 of the Public Order Act 1986, the issue of the correct test of jurisdiction for criminal cases involving or arising from the use of the internet, and whether, for the purposes of Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, making material generally accessible or available to placing or offering it to the public via the internet counts as publication to the public or a section of the public.

During the appeal in January, Sheppard’s counsel, Adrian Davies, challenged the convictions on the grounds of jurisdiction, the meaning of ‘publication’ and whether material on the internet was ‘written material’ within the meaning of the Act. The articles complained of were posted on a website in California, where there was no doubt that they were ‘entirely lawful and enjoyed the highest degree of constitutional protection under the laws of the United States’, he said. There was also no evidence that anyone in England and Wales, except the police officer – and the Crown did not claim that he was a member of the public under the Act – had read any of them.

The police investigation which led to the pair being jailed started after a complaint about a leaflet called ‘Tales of the Holohoax’, which was pushed through the door of a Blackpool synagogue and traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard. Published material found later included images of murdered Jews alongside cartoons and articles ridiculing ethnic groups.

During their first trial in 2008, Sheppard and Whittle skipped bail and fled to California, where they sought asylum claiming they were being persecuted for their right-wing views. The claims failed and they were deported.

After China Move, Google Faces the Fallout

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

After China Move, Google Faces the Fallout Google’s China operations came under pressure as some content from its uncensored Hong Kong site was blocked.

(Via NYT > Technology.)

Official Google Blog: A new approach to China: an update

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Official Google Blog: A new approach to China: an update

3/22/2010 12:03:00 PM
On January 12, we announced on this blog that Google and more than twenty other U.S. companies had been the victims of a sophisticated cyber attack originating from China, and that during our investigation into these attacks we had uncovered evidence to suggest that the Gmail accounts of dozens of human rights activists connected with China were being routinely accessed by third parties, most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on their computers. We also made clear that these attacks and the surveillance they uncovered—combined with attempts over the last year to further limit free speech on the web in China including the persistent blocking of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger—had led us to conclude that we could no longer continue censoring our results on Google.cn.

So earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk. Due to the increased load on our Hong Kong servers and the complicated nature of these changes, users may see some slowdown in service or find some products temporarily inaccessible as we switch everything over.

Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced—it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.

In terms of Google’s wider business operations, we intend to continue R&D work in China and also to maintain a sales presence there, though the size of the sales team will obviously be partially dependent on the ability of mainland Chinese users to access Google.com.hk. Finally, we would like to make clear that all these decisions have been driven and implemented by our executives in the United States, and that none of our employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them. Despite all the uncertainty and difficulties they have faced since we made our announcement in January, they have continued to focus on serving our Chinese users and customers. We are immensely proud of them.

Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer

Google Will Redirect China Users to Uncensored Site – NYTimes.com

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Google Will Redirect China Users to Uncensored Site – NYTimes.com: “Google Shuts China Site in Dispute Over Censorship

By MIGUEL HELFT and DAVID BARBOZA
Published: March 22, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO — Just over two months after threatening to leave China because of censorship and intrusions by Chinese hackers, Google said Monday that it was closing its China-based Internet search service and instead directing Chinese users to a Hong Kong-based uncensored version of its search engine, which may get blocked in mainland China.

google_china_shut2.jpg

In a blog post, Google also said that it would retain much of its existing China operations, including its research and development team and its local sales force. The stunning move represents a powerful slap at Beijing regulators but also a risky ploy in which Google — one of the world’s technology powerhouses — will essentially turn its back on the world’s largest Internet market, with nearly 400 million Web users and growing quickly.

Hungary Passes Holocaust Denial Law

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Hungary Passes Holocaust Denial Law

by INN Staff – 21.03.2010

(IsraelNN.com) Hungarian lawmakers have passed legislation to punish those who deny the history of the Holocaust. Along with the Hungarian Social Party, which sponsored the bill, a wide Christian-Jewish coalition helped push the law through.

The bill passed by a vote of 197-1; however, there were 142 abstentions, signaling the lingering ambivalence of many Hungarian lawmakers over the issue.

%u201CThose who publicly hurt the dignity of a victim of the Holocaust by denying or questioning the Holocaust itself, or claim it insignificant, infringe the law and can be punished by a prison sentence of up to three years,%u201D according to the new legislation.

The main opposition party, Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union, was among those who abstained. A party spokesman, MP Robert Repassy, said the party %u201Cintended to draw up legislation after the general election which penalizes sympathy expressed for the Nazi- and Communist-era crimes on equal terms.%u201D Elections are set for April 11.

The law, which takes effect in early April, brings Hungary into line with numerous other European nations who have enacted similar measures, Germany among them.

Conroy (Australia) slams internet enemies report

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Conroy slams internet enemies report

March 15, 2010
www.manlylodge.com.au

AAP

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has hit back at a new report listing Australia as a potential internet enemy.

Press freedom advocacy group Reporters without Borders released their Enemies of the Internet report last Friday, to coincide with World Day Against Cyber Censorship.

It found Australia should be kept ‘under surveillance’ for signs that internet freedom may soon be curbed.

The federal government wants all internet service providers to ban refused classification material hosted on overseas servers.

Senator Conroy said listing Australia as a country that may be an ‘enemy of the internet’ – alongside South Korea, Turkey and Russia – showed Reporters without Borders were seriously mislead about what Labor wanted to do.

‘What we have indicated we will block is refused classification content,’ he told parliament on Monday.

‘Material that is not currently available in a newsagent, in a bookstore, on a DVD, at the movies or on television.

‘Material like child pornography, pro-rape websites, pro-bestiality websites and material of that nature.’

Senator Conroy disputed that he ever dismissed critics of his plan as advocates of child pornography.

He said the material cited by Reporters Without Borders had been supplied by the group Electronic Frontiers Australia who had been challenged publicly to produce a quote where that was said.

‘I challenge each and every one of you to come up with such a quote, because it does not exist,’ he said.

‘Electronic Frontiers Australia have one of the most disgraceful misinformation campaigns and have misled Australians.’

© 2010 AAP

Massive Protest Against UK Anti-Piracy Bill | TorrentFreak

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Massive Protest Against UK Anti-Piracy Bill | TorrentFreak: “Massive Protest Against UK Anti-Piracy Bill
Written by enigmax on March 19, 2010

As Feargal Sharkey, head of UK Music, speaks of his confidence that the massively controversial Digital Economy Bill will be passed before the general election, the Open Rights Group has revealed that in the last 3 days more than 10,000 outraged citizens have written to MPs demanding a debate on the issue.

The UK Government continues to push forward the Digital Economy Bill (DEB) that aims to protect copyright holders from online pirates. On 15th March the House of Lords approved the bill and handed it over to the House of Commons.

To the absolute dismay of most outside the music and movie industries, some of the most controversial elements of the Bill are unlikely to receive any major scrutiny and will be dealt with quickly under the so-called ‘wash-up’, a short period between the announcement of an election and parliament being closed down.

‘It’s a deeply unsatisfactory and very worrying development,’ a senior executive from an ISP told The Guardian. ‘The fear is that no one will know what is being cooked-up before it becomes law. It’s legislation on the hoof.’

But this situation suits the BPI just fine. This week a leaked memo from the BPI fell into the hands of Cory Doctorow which showed that the ‘LibDem amendment’ – a proposal under the DEB which would allow for websites to be blocked if, essentially, the BPI didn’t like their activities – was in fact written by the BPI. Very cosy.

But the controversies don’t end there. Doctorow also received an internal document prepared by the BPI’s Director of Public Affairs and prospective Labour parliamentary candidate, Richard Mollet. In the document he admitted that the only reason the DEB had a chance of passing is because MP’s are resigned to voting on it without debate.

‘Translation: if MPs got to debate the Bill, they would tear it to unrecognizable pieces as they realized what terrible rubbish it really is,’ wrote Doctorow. The scandals go on and on, but we have to stop somewhere.

Nevertheless, UK Music head Feargal Sharkey says that he is confident that the DEB will be passed before the general election, although others are not so sure.

‘It will still be nip and tuck to get the Digital Economy Bill onto the statute book before the election so the battle is not won yet,’ wrote Shadow Culture Minister, Jeremy Hunt, on his blog this week.

According to Jim Killock at the Open Rights Group, UK citizens aren’t leaving anything to chance with 10,000 of them having written to their MPs in the last three days to demand a debate on the Digital Economy Bill.

‘It is outrageous for corporate lobbyists including the BPI, FAST and UK Music to demand that MPs curtail democracy and ram this Bill through Parliament without debate,’ says Killock, adding: ‘The British people did not elect UK Music and the BPI to write our laws.’

Killock says that what is making the 10,000 so angry is the pushing through of the DEB without debate, an act he describes as ‘undemocratic and dangerous’.

If you’d like to add your dissenting voice, please email your MP, write to your local newspaper, and attend the planned demonstrations”