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AFRIK-IT  April 1996

AFRIK-IT April 1996

Subject:

Internet and Free expression

From:

David Lush <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Fri, 26 Apr 1996 10:37:00 GMT+0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (212 lines)

Greetings. I hope you are all well.
 
I have been invited to attend the following. Any suggestions for issues
which should raise / input which should be made from the African
perspective?
 
 
World Internet Freedom Project
First Organizational Meeting
May 13, 1996  Toronto, Canada
 
Meeting Logistics
 
 
 
Date:           Monday May 13, 1996, 10am - 5:30pm
                        (Pre-meeting dinner on Sunday May 12)
 
Place:          Delta Chelsea Inn
                        31 Gerrard St. West
                        Toronto, ON M5G 1Z4
                        CANADA
                        +416-595-1975 (voice)
                        +416-5854362 (fax)
 
Individual reservations can be made by contacting the hotel reservations
department directly at +416-243-5732.  Rates are Cdn$119 (US$87) before
taxes.  Please request the group rate for the International Free Expression
eXchange conference and give the Q-name: GGCCPJ.
 
 
 ========================================================================
World Internet Freedom Project
First Organizational Meeting
May 13, 1996  Toronto, Canada
 
Sponsored by the Open Society Institute
 
 
Overview
 
        The World Internet Freedom Project is convening a day-long planning
session to identify issues and approaches to the problem of increased
content control and censorship on the global Internet.  The goal of the
World Internet Freedom Project (WIF) is to promote basic free expression
and privacy rights for Internet users around the world.
 
        As the Internet grows, it has the potential to increase democratic
political participation, as well as to bring the economic opportunities of
the Information Age to communities around the world.  Yet, neither the
political nor economic potential of the Internet will be realized unless
basic free expression, free association, free flow of information, and
privacy rights are established and protected internationally.  As
governments grow fearful of the power of the Internet, challenges to basic
rights online mount daily around the world.  Today, however, there is no
internationally-coordinated effort to advance individual rights online.
 
        WIF is asking a small group of leading international human rights
activists, civil libertarians, and members of the Internet industry to come
together to discuss pressing issues affecting the free flow of information
online.  The goal of this meeting is to identify ways in which existing
Internet activist groups, human rights organizations, and the Internet
industry can work together for international legal protections for basic
free expression principles.  This is not an effort to create a new
organization, but to leverage existing resources and expertise in support
of the goal of the free flow of information on the global Internet.
 
        Shortly after the meeting, the Center for Democracy and Technology,
in consultation with the organizing committee, will issue a report to
identify next cooperative steps that can be taken.  This report will be the
basis for discussions with the Soros Foundation/Open Society Institute and
others regarding further work in this area.
 
Global Challenges to Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association,
Individual Privacy, and the Open Online Marketplace
 
        As usage of the Internet increases and the reach of the net grows,
countries around the world are responding defensively by limiting the
individual rights of network users.
 
*       Free Expression: The United States and other countries are mounting
efforts to censor controversial content online.  US efforts are centered on
pornography, while Singapore targets expression critical of the government.
Given the seamless, global nature of the Internet, censorship law in one
country will have a direct impact on all users of the Internet.
 
*       Free Association & Anonymity:  China has recently announced a
policy requiring all Internet users to register with the government.
Singapore plans to require all Internet access providers to register as
"broadcasters" and be subject to content regulation.  United States law
enforcement officials have engaged in several cross-border seizures of
personal information held in computers abroad.  Lack of uniform rules
regarding access to information which reveals the identity of users seeking
anonymity will chill individual political expression and free association,
while exposing dissidents to the wrath of their own governments.
 
*       Communications Privacy & Encryption:  Encryption technology is
vital to assure the security of global communications, as well as to
protect the identity of users who require anonymity for political purposes.
Cryptography is essential in order to enable electronic commerce across
the net.  Yet, recently Russia announced an edict banning encryption
technology, France requires that users of strong encryption deposit keys
with the government, and the Council of Europe has expressed official
support for an unspecified 'key escrow' scheme which could restrict access
to strong encryption technology.  Finally, the United States government has
numerous policies in effect which limit the availability of strong
encryption both domestically and internationally.
 
*       Government interference with design of telecommunications networks:
Advanced telecommunications networks provide unparalleled opportunities
for enhanced surveillance of citizens and organizations by law enforcement
and national security agencies.  Seeking to maximize this potential for law
enforcement, many countries are attempting to dictate the design of
communications networks to suit law enforcement needs.  These initiatives
must be monitored carefully to assure that individual privacy is protected
against increased surveillance capability.
 
*       Lack of uniform, legal protections for communications privacy:
Given the global nature of the Internet, messages travel through numerous
countries on their way from sender to receiver.  Messages pass through
countries where basic communications privacy laws may be inadequate to
protect basic privacy rights or simply non-existent.  If the Internet is to
serve as a global medium for democracy and commerce, shared minimum privacy
protections must be agreed to.
 
 ========================================================================
Composition of the World Internet Freedom Project
 
        A project of the Center for Democracy and Technology, the WIF
project will work to coordinate the efforts of human rights advocates and
others concerned about the development of the Internet.  The project has
received initial funding from the Soros Foundation, and will be coordinated
by an organizing committee.
 
Organizing Committee: [to be expanded]
 
Jerry Berman, Center for Democracy and Technology
James X. Dempsey, Center for National Security Studies
Jack Krumholtz, Microsoft
Gara Lamarche, Human Rights Watch
Kate Martin, Center for National Security Studies
Jonathan Peizer, Soros Foundation
Tony Rutkowski, General Magic
Daniel Weitzner, Center for Democracy and Technology
 
 
 ========================================================================
About the Center for Democracy and Technology
 
The Center for Democracy and Technology is a non-profit public policy and
research organization based in Washington DC.  CDT stands at the center of
major debates affecting communications policy and the future of democracy
in the Information Age.
 
The Center's mission is to develop and implement public policies that
preserve and enhance constitutional civil liberties and democratic values
in new interactive media.
 
CDT advances it's goals through policy working groups and coalition
building efforts, public policy research and advocacy, and through outreach
and grass-roots organizing.  CDT relies on a combination of staff expertise
in relevant law and technology, together with discussion and consultation
processes that bring together diverse interests from across the public
interest spectrum and from all sectors of the communications industry to
address critical public policy issues.
 
Public Policy Working Groups
 
The Center for Democracy and Technology organizes and coordinates working
groups around major issues of concern to CDT, including:
 
*       The Interactive Working Group (IWG): Freedom of speech and the free
flow of information in cyberspace;
 
*       The Digital Privacy and Security Working Group (DPSWG):
Communications privacy and data security;
 
*       The Privacy Forum: Information privacy and individual control over
sensitive personal data.
 
 
For More Information Please Contact:
 
Daniel J. Weitzner, Deputy Director <[log in to unmask]>
Center for Demoracy and Technology
1634 Eye St., NW Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006
USA
 
202-637-9800 (v)
202-637-0968 (f)
http://www.cdt.org/
 
========================NOTE NEW MAILING ADDRESS=============================
Daniel J. Weitzner, Deputy Director                       <[log in to unmask]>
Center for Democracy and Technology                       202.637.9800 (v)
1634 Eye St., NW Suite 1100                               202-637.0968 (f)
Washington, DC 20006                                      http://www.cdt.org/
 
* PROTECT THE INTERNET AND THE FUTURE OF FREE SPEECH IN THE INFORMATION AGE *
      Join the legal challenge against the Communications Decency Act!
               For More Information, Visit the CIEC Web Page
                         http://www.cdt.org/ciec/
                       or email <[log in to unmask]>
 
David Lush
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
Private Bag 13386
Windhoek, Namibia
Tel. +264 61 232975, Fax. 248016
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

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