Picture/Poem Icon January 2001:              
suggested link
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Speech without Accountability

A CyberView report from
sciam.com, the website of
Scientific American

"New software makes it nearly
impossible to remove illegal
material from the Web--or to
find out who put it there."

Recent articles on Internet Censorship and Privacy Issues
published in Scientifc American, both in
the magazine and on their website at

INTERNET_ANONYMITY: Speech without Accountability

"New software makes it nearly
impossible to remove illegal
material from the Web--or to
find out who put it there."

"In the centuries-long struggle to decide what people may say without fear
of prosecution, almost all the big decisions have been made by constitution
writers, judges and politicians. When things work properly, these players
balance one another out and change the limits of free speech only slowly
and after much debate. Inventors have played an occasional starring role,
too, Gutenberg being the archetype. But with the rise of the Internet, a
certain class of inventors--computer scientists--has asserted its own special
power to determine the boundaries of permissible speech. [...]

"Consider Publius, a censor-resistant Web publishing system described in
mid-August at a computer security conference in Denver. [...] Publius is indeed
an impressive technical achievement: a tiny little program that, once widely installed,
allows almost any computer user to publish a document on the Web in such a way
that for all practical purposes it cannot be altered or removed without the autho's
consent, even by an incensed government. In fact, authors can post files to Publius
that even they themselves cannot delete. Yet it is quite simple for any Web surfer
anywhere to view files published this way. [...]

Related articles...

Privacy in the Workplace

"The U.S. Constitution gives substantial protection to privacy
in the home but not where Americans make a living. A 1998
survey of 1,085 corporations conducted by the American
Management Association shows that more than 40 percent
engaged in some kind of intrusive employee monitoring. Such
monitoring includes checking of e-mail, voice mail and telephone
conversations; recording of computer keystrokes; and video
recording of job performance."

Private Parts

"The U.S. may be in for a shock if Europe, flexing its newly
unified muscles in a globally networked world, refuses to budge
and companies find themselves unable to trade because of data flow
problems. [...] "They still think that because they're American they
can cut a deal, even though they've been told by every privacy
commissioner in Europe that safe harbor is inadequate," [...]
"They fail to understand that what has happened in Europe is a
legal, constitutional thing, and they can no more cut a deal with
the Europeans than the Europeans can cut a deal with your
First Amendment."

Who Wants Privacy?

"Benefits of cryptography, such as secure e-mail and digital
pseudonyms, have yet to be tested. Have the tens of millions
of people who exchange information unguarded over the Internet
every day become used to the notion that, as Scott McNealy of
Sun Microsystems has said, "you have no privacy"? Schell predicts,
on the contrary, that demand for some privacy, such as through
untraceable pseudonyms, will increase as more and more people
realize how much of their personal information is at risk. As an
example, he cites this winter's admission by Web-advertising giant
Doubleclick that it was matching its years-long database of Web-
browsing habits with the names and addresses of several million
potential targets for direct mail and telephone solicitations. Although
Internet consumers may be willing to trade this kind of information
for better-targeted Web ads, cryptographic tools may at least give
them a chance to decide."

And from the European perspective...(from wired.com)

Privacy a Likely Loser in Treaty

"The treaty, which is being circulated among more than
40 nations, is designed to aid police investigations by
requiring websites and Internet service providers to collect
and record information about their users, a move privacy
groups insist goes too far. It could also make it illegal to
distribute some kinds of security products used by system
administrators to secure their networks against intruders."

Germany Looks to E-Mail Privacy

"The German government appears likely to pass a law,
later this year or next, that will place restrictions on
companies' monitoring of the e-mails employees send
and receive in the workplace. The move in support of
citizens' rights to privacy in e-mail and other commun-
ications could set an important example internationally,
especially considering the contrast with the United States,
where employers have unrestricted access to employee
e-mail and other communications."

Picture/Poem Link Archive 2001
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