EDRI-gram newsletter - Number 5.20, 24 October 2007

EDRI-gram newsletter edrigram at edri.org
Wed Oct 24 11:13:10 PDT 2007



biweekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe

    Number 5.20, 24 October 2007


1. Sign up EDRi Statement on CoE Recommendation - Campaign update
2. New Italian draft law - to disguise state censorship
3. Online Police searches adopted also in Austria
4. Some Internet and media companies push for principles on user content
5. Website with P2P download links found legal by Spanish court
6. Electronic voting machines eliminated in the Netherlands
7. Fingerprints in passports: the German population in a risky experiment
8. Update on DNA and biometrics in French immigration law
9. "Oscars for Data Leeches" - German Big Brother Awards 2007
10. COMMUNIA: public domain and alternative licensing for knowledge-sharing
11. Social welfare leaks show flaws in Irish government databases
12. Recommended Reading
13. Agenda
14. About

1. Sign up EDRi Statement on CoE Recommendation - Campaign update

31 international and national organisations from different countries have
already signed EDRI statement on a new Recommendation from the
Council of Europe (CoE) failing to uphold freedom of expression in
the online environment.

As other related instruments are currently in preparation by the CoE,
EDRI calls for NGOs and groups from all over the world to sign up in
support of EDRI statement and take further action to help avoid the
risk of more damages to freedom of expression and information in the
online world. Signatures should preferably be gathered before 28 October
2007, as the next meeting of the CoE expert group having prepared
this Recommendation is scheduled on 29-30 October 2007 in Strasbourg
and will be attended as an observer by EDRI representative.

In this statement, EDRI expresses its serious concerns over this
Recommendation that promotes opaque "self-regulation" and other soft
law instruments driven by private interests and implemented through
technical mechanisms. EDRI is deeply concerned that such instruments
will be used to legitimize subtle means of censorship, through
privatised censorship and measures to protect against so-called
harmful content.

As the OpenNet Initiative reports through its Internet filtering
study, and as numerous filtering cases reported in EDRI newsletter
have shown, technical mechanisms are used to remove local content or
block access to it when hosted on foreign websites to censor political and
social content found objectionable by some. Even when the content is
allegedly illegal, filtering is seldom, if at all, operated following a
legal order, leading to serious breaches of the rule of law.

In addition to freedom of expression, privacy and access to
information and knowledge are other fundamental rights at stake when
technical filtering mechanisms are promoted and used. Given the lack
of transparency of the filtering tools, no one knows what happens to
the personal data of persons tentatively accessing blocked content.
Finally, such filters are more and more used on content-sharing
platforms, while they are still showing many design failures,
including some leading to massive over-blocking of legal and
legitimate content.

EDRI considers thus this Recommendation to be damaging and a
retrograde step for freedom of expression and freedom of the press in
the online world, as well as for other fundamental rights and for the
rule of law principle.

First signatories, EDRI statement and background information in 7

OpenNet Initiative

Selection of filtering cases reports in EDRI-gram

2. New Italian draft law - to disguise state censorship

As it already happened six years ago with the infamous law 62/2001, a new
law draft on the "re-arrangement of publishing", prepared by the Italian
government on 3 August 2007 and now entering parliament procedure, clearly
intends to enforce bureaucratic and financial burdens, as well as sanctions,
also on the free and private expression of thought by "normal citizens"
using the internet.

The text prepared by the government is deliberately confusing and ambiguous.
If approved by parliament as it is, it would cause confusion and uncertainty
on the possibility of free expression even for people who are not
professional journalists or publishers of newspapers, magazines or

There is no explanation of why the government intends to treat as
"card-carrying journalists" also people who are not, and don't intend to
be and why the proposed text omits any clear statement that the
obligations to be instituted by this law (if it is approved) apply only
to professionals and entrepreneurs in the content producing industry.

If the concern is to sanction "defamation" the government's proposal is a
non-solution: the appropriate laws already exist, and anyone publishing
online can be easily identified. So this cannot be an excuse for
liberticide legislation.

The fact is that this legislator draft leads to the creation of one more
"Damocles sword" to be used against whoever publishes "uncomfortable"
opinions or information. Such a law, if approved, would not be obeyed by
many people, for a variety of reasons. Because they are not aware of it, or
they don't understand it. Because of deliberate and legitimate "civil
disobedience". Because of its obscure meaning and difficult interpretation.
Etc. The result would be the creation of an "artificial crime" to be
persecuted according to circumstances and opportunities - or to the whims
and biases of whoever will hold this power.

This is damaging also for business enterprises using the net, as well as
internet providers. This draft law inflicts a severe blow on hosting
services, as well as those based on communities and the free providing of
widely useful content. Therefore, in addition to contrasting the universal
right for free speech, it also hampers a business model that has
increasingly proven to be an extended social benefit.

What we demand: it should be clearly stated that the obligations - if they
are really necessary - apply only to publishers, press services and
generally only to information entrepreneurs, that work for profit and obtain
public subsidies, clearly excluding any publishing by private individuals
and non-profit organisations that are not "selling" anything.
After this statement was issued by ALCEI on 19 October, and following
widespread protest in Italy, the government has been making "reassuring
noises" about amending the draft. Of course this does not mean that the
problem is solved. It will be necessary to keep an eye on what happens
to this law - if and when it goes through parliamentary process - as
well as on any other government or legislative action that may have
similar effects.

ALCEI statement - Return of MinCulPop ? (19.10.2007)
Italian version

Law 62/2001 (only in Italian, 7.03.2001)

Draft law on the "re-arrangement of publishing" (only in Italian, 3.08.2007)

InterLex - N. 382 - special issue on the freedom of information (only in
Italian, 23.10.2007)

(contribution by EDRI-member - ALCEI -Italy)

3 . Online Police searches adopted also in Austria

Austrian authorities have announced that the police will start from 2008 to
use online searches as an investigation tool in order to keep up with the
use of new technologies for terrorist and serious crimes. Austria is joining
in this way Germany and Switzerland that are working in the same direction,
despite serious privacy concerns.

In an interview to the radio station V1, Austrian Minister of Internal
Affairs, G|nther Platte, and the Minister of Justice, Maria Berger,
announced this new measure that was proposed to be discussed in the
Government meeting. The two politicians explained that the measure will be
used only in connection with terrorist cases or other serious crimes, where
a punishment of at least 10 years imprisonment is foreseen.

The decision adopted by the Government meeting on 18 October 2007 still
waits for legal and technical clarifications on how the decision will be
applied and its implementation is not expected to start earlier than late

The online searches will need a judge's warrant and will be overseen by the
Ministry for Home Affairs' legal protection officer. Minister of Justice
Maria Berger said that online searches will only be carried out under
exceptional circumstances and that this measure was needed in order to keep
up with the terrorist's use of the Internet resources and as a response to
the growing number of electronic crimes worldwide.

According with the new decision the Austrian police will be able to bug the
hard disks of PCs by sending Trojan horses to them via the email, but
also planting the Trojan horses into the PCs of targeted users after
penetrating into their apartments.

As reported by EDRI-gram, online searches of computers by the secret
services have been a reality in Germany since 2005, following an order of
Interior Minister Otto Schily. The German Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe
ruled, on 5 February 2007, that, according to the German Code of Criminal
Procedure, online police snooping was illegal. Since then the German
authorities have shown a higher desire to push for a legal basis of the
online searches of personal computers in Germany.

Switzerland decided also in June 2007 to allow secret online searches from
federal police authority.

Coalition agrees on online searches (only in German, 17.10.2007)

Austria plans to start conducting secret online searches in 2008

Swiss government decides on secret online searches (only in German,

EDRI-gram: New calls for computer online searches by German authorities

EDRI-gram: Online police searches found illegal in Germany (14.02.2007)

4. Some Internet and media companies push for principles on user content

A set of principles desired to create an online environment for the
development of User Generated Content (UGC) services and the protection of
copyright owner rights has recently been set out by several media and
Internet companies such as CBS, Dailymotion, Fox Entertainment Group,
MySpace, NBC, Veoh Networks, Viacom, at the initiative of Walt Disney and
Microsoft. Other major companies such as Google or other rights owner (Sony,
TimeWarner, Paramount) did not sign the document.

UGC Services refer to services such as MySpace, Soapbox on MSN Video,
Dailymotion and Veoh.com, but exclude technologies such as browsers, email,
or search services.

The principles are a set of guidelines which has objectives such as the
"elimination of infringing content on UGC Services, the encouragement of
original and authorized user-generated audio and video content uploads, the
protection of the user privacy and the encouragement of a fair use of the
copyrighted content on UGC Services", but also seen by outsiders as an
attempt to bring DRM into the online video-sharing space.

Although the principles are meant to "foster innovation and encourage
creativity" they have in view the use of a state of the art filtering and
blocking technology that may eliminate infringing content from UGC services.
The regular removal of the unblocked infringing content and the links to
sites that are clearly or predominantly used for the dissemination of
infringing content are targeted as well. The companies should also
collaborate in creating procedures to deal with claims of blocking out of
error. The principles mention "fair use" four times in the document, but do
not refer to what the signatory organisations understand by this term.

One of the obligations set out by the principles is that of preserving for a
60-day period the connection information related to an Internet user having
posted infringing content online, information that the site is suppose to
provide to the rights owner, at request.

Another interesting commitment of all the members of the UGC agreement is
that, while observing the rules, they should not attack each other in case
some of the content is not properly filtered; this, in the context that two
of the members, NBC Universal and Veoh, have applying complaints one against
the other. Having signed the agreement might bring a leverage of the

The big absent from the signatories of this agreement was Google, which, on
15 October, unveiled its filtering technology for YouTube video-sharing site
that it owns now. Google representatives were part of the negations but have
decided not to sign the agreement for the time being. YouTube Engineering
Director Jeremy Doig stated: "(..) industry-wide technology mandates are
generally a bad idea. This industry is still young and we believe that
marketplace innovation can lead to creative solutions we can't even begin to
imagine today."

A reason for this reserve could be the law suit between Google and Viacom
over copyrighted content on YouTube. One other reason may be the fact that
Google's new filtering technology removes the infringing content immediately
from the site while the guidelines suggest "blocking infringing uploads
before they are made available to the public."

Internet and Media Industry Leaders Unveil Principles to Foster Online
Innovation While Protecting Copyrights - Press Release (18.10.2007)

Principles for User Generated Content Services

Disney, Microsoft Lead Copyright Pact (19.10.2007)

Studios unveil their copyright protection guidelines (18.10.2007)

Sharing videos: towards the end of the process? (only in French, 19.10.2007)

Microsoft, Viacom Posture On Content Sharing (19.10.2007)

5. Website with P2P download links found legal by Spanish court

The case against Sharemula.com, a website publishing P2P download links
through which users can acquire movies, music and software, has been
recently dismissed by a Spanish magistrate.

The case was opened in October 2006, when the Brigade of Technological
Investigations retained 15 people responsible with Sharemula.com, asking the
closing down of the site for alleged copyright infringement. At that time,
the Spanish media made a big fuss of the case, the 15 retained people having
been considered as belonging to a large international clandestine pirating
network. The case was considered a big success by Federacisn Antipiraterma
in Spain (Anti-pirating Federation).

A year later, a Madrid court decided that the site and its administrators
have not infringed any law as the links to P2P downloads have no commercial
purposes. Furthermore, the site included no illegal content but only links
to downloads. The defence of Sharemula was based on three previous similar

The defence attorneys consider they have found a Judge that rigorously
applied the law and dismissed the accusations that were based on sheer
ignorance. They believe the prosecution, including SGAE (General Society of
Authors and Editors), EGEDA (Audio-Visual Producers' Rights Management
Association) and large companies such as Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company
Iberia, Twentieth Century Fox Home etc. will appeal the decision but hope
that the appelate Court will back up the present decision.

Sharemula.com: the case against a linking web was decided dismissed (only in
Spanish, 17.10.2007)

Spanish court decides linking to P2P downloads is legal (19.10.2007)

A legal sentence casts doubts on the illegality of P2P downloads (only in
Spanish, 18.10.2007)

6. Electronic voting machines eliminated in the Netherlands

All Nedap/Groenendaal voting machines were decertified on 1 October 2007 by
District Court of Alkmaar in the Netherland, following the 'Voting with
confidence' advice issued on 27 September by Korthals Altes Committee
(created with the purpose to verify the validity of the systems), and the
announcement of the Secretary for the Interior that the 'Regulations for
approval of voting machines 1997' would be withdrawn.

The action is the result of an administrative law procedure started by 'We
do not trust voting computers' foundation in March 2007. The foundation had
issued a report in October 2006 that had examined the Nedap/Groenendaal ES3B
in operation in 8 out of the 9 poling stations in the Netherlands. The
report was showing that the systems were highly insecure, leaving room for
fraud at a large scale. The Korthals Altes Committee report came to confirm
the results of the foundation.

In their report, 'We do not trust voting computers' showed how the system
worked, what software they had created for it and gave details on how one
could get complete and undetected control of the election results if one had
access to the devices before the elections, even for a brief period. The
report also showed that radio emanations for the systems could be received
at a several meter distance giving the possibility to find out how people

The next elections in the Netherlands will use paper ballots and red pencil,
a method that provides transparency and that is now used in several
countries of Europe and in the US where a paper copy of each vote is
required. In Ireland, the use of the voting machines is stopped due to
serious questions regarding their security and the UK election council
intends stopping all electronic voting pilot projects that had been carried
on during the last years. In Germany doubts have arisen regarding their use
as well. In France, serious problems occurred during the pilot electronic
voting in spring election, the system having been considered a disaster. A
petition for the preservation of the paper voting was issued on that

In the future, the next phase in The Netherlands after paper poling could be
the use of 'vote printers' and separate counting machines.

Dutch voting computers decertified

Study by "We do not trust voting computers" foundation (6.10.2006)

EDRI-gram: E-voting in France - After the First Round of Presidential
Elections (25.04.2007)

EDRI-gram: European e-voting machines cracked by Dutch group (11.10.2006)

7. Fingerprints in passports: the German population in a risky experiment

On 1 November 2007, registration offices throughout Germany will begin
collecting fingerprints from all citizens wishing to travel. Two years
after the storage of a facial image on an RFID chip has been introduced,
the project of full biometric registration of the whole population
continues. Germany's Chaos Computer Club (CCC) points out once more that the
ePassport has risks and side-effects, which particularly affect senior

Many older people will have problems giving fingerprints. Experience as
well as international and German studies show that considerably more
than 10% of all senior citizens must expect to have no recordable
fingerprints. This will inevitably expose them to discrimination through
tightened inspections and longer delays. People working intensely with
their hands will face the same disadvantages.

The CCC advises that only a few days are left in which passports without
fingerprint registration can be applied for in German registration
offices. Even people whose passport is still valid can apply for a new
passport, thus evading the German authorities' data collection mania
until the Federal Constitutional Court rules on the compatibility of the
new measures with the German constitution.

Even according to the German government, there is no measurable gain in
security through biometric passports. This is proved by the written
answer to a parliamentary question. As CCC speaker Dirk Engling says, "the
introduction of this risky technology seems to be motivated mainly by the
commercial interests of a few current and former members of the government -
this should really be a case for the Corruptions Perceptions Index of
Transparency International".

The extent of the threat posed by biometric data on RFID chips is
illustrated by none other than Jvrg Ziercke, president of the Federal
Criminal Office. Despite all assurances by his "experts" that the
biometric data is "safe", he wears his own biometric passport in a
protective cover to shield it against radio waves. The Federal Foreign
Office has also shown its distrust of the security promises of the
Interior Ministry: German diplomats will receive passports without RFID
chips due to the "higher threat levels" they face.

Fingerprints in passports: the German population become guinea pigs in a
risky experiment (only in German, 16.10.2007)

German government confirms that biometric identification documents are
pointless (only in German, 20.06.2007)

(Contribution by EDRI-member Chaos Computer Club - Germany, translation by
Sebastian Lisken, FoeBuD e.V.)

8. Update on DNA and biometrics in French immigration law

With its final vote on 23 October 2007, the French Parliament
confirmed the introduction of DNA testing in the new immigration law to
prove family links for foreign candidates applying for a more than 3
months visa on family regrouping grounds. The only recourse could now
be a decision from the French Constitutional Council to remove this
provision from the law, since the Parliamentary opposition
(Socialists, Communists and Greens), together with some centrist
members of Parliament, announced that it would challenge the adopted
law before the Constitutional judge.

The final vote occurred after a Parliamentary Commission agreed on
the harmonisation of the draft texts resulting from both the National
Assembly and the Senate. With respect to DNA testing provision as
initially adopted by the National Assembly, some modifications
occurred in order to answer to some of the criticisms. Main changes are:
the DNA tests will be paid by the French government and not anymore
made at the expenses of the visa applicant; the biological family
links would be checked against the mother's DNA to avoid unexpected,
possibly dramatic revelations in the family; the need for the test
should be authorised by a civil court; informed consent from
concerned persons should be expressly collected; the whole provision
is now declared as experimental, and will be revised after the end of
year 2009.

However, these changes have by no mean satisfied the numerous
opponents of this provision, as their demand remains that DNA testing
should not be used to check family links, since such links cannot be
reduced to blood relation. More than 280 000 persons, including
personalities from all political parties, signed a petition, and
thousands of people participated in street demonstrations in many
French cities on 20 October against this provision.

Many observers commenting this provision, including in foreign
countries, referred to practices from the Nazi occupation period. An
editorial by the New-York Times even reminded that 'immigration
issues bring out the worst instincts in politicians', while
Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo has recently introduced a
similar bill in U.S. House, as press agencies have reported. French opinion
seem however divided: according to a poll made on 18-19 October 2007, only
45% of the 1000 asked persons find the provision to be "against French
society values", while 49% considers DNA testing "as a good measure since it
allows to check if family visa applicants are indeed members of the same

The French Constitutional Council will decide upon the challenged law
within one month after the challenge is filed, which is expected to
happen immediately after the vote of 23 October.

In addition to DNA testing, the draft law introduced further use of
biometrics against foreigners, without much debate. Article 62 of the
adopted law requires that the beneficiaries of financial support
(foreigners voluntarily returning home) have their photograph and
digital fingerprints taken and stored in yet another database. This
provision has been introduced with the claim that it would help
fighting frauds in case these persons come back to stay again in France.

In an analysis published on 24 October French EDRI member IRIS
highlights how this provision, in the same way as the DNA testing and
former biometric databases set-up, is part of the general strategy
and managerial logic based on the rationalization of processes and
procedures, leading to the fundamental transformation of a conception
of society once based on mutual trust into a situation of generalized

EDRI-gram: DNA Tests Proposed In France For Family Visa Applicants

Petition against DNA tests (only in French, launched on 03.10.2007)

Thousands of people have demonstrated against the immigration project and
DNA tests (only in French, 21.10.2007)

The New-York Times: 'Pseudoscientific Bigotry in France' (21.10.2007)

AP: 'DNA Test of Immigrants Sought' (16.10.2007)

49% of the French for a DNA test for family regroupment (only in French,

IRIS: 'Immigration: yet another biometric "detail"' (only in French,

(Contribution by Meryem Marzouki, EDRI member IRIS - France)

9. "Oscars for Data Leeches" - German Big Brother Awards 2007

The 2007 Ceremony for the German Big Brother Awards called "Oscars for Data
Leeches" took place on 12 October in Bielefeld when the jury had the
difficult task of choosing from more than 500 nominations.
The negative Big Brother Awards Germany, which have started in 2000, are
organised by EDRI-member, FoeBuD Association.

For the category Workplace, the winner of this year award was Novartis
Pharma GmbH company for having spied on its employees. Although the company
has joined the "FairCompany Initiative", has committed itself to the
"Voluntary Self-control For The Pharmaceutical Industry" code of conduct and
boasts on its respect for fair work conditions and human rights, at the same
time it sends detectives to follow its sales people to take notes on their
visits to pharmacies and GPs. Following these "reports" the company sends
appraisals to the employees through its HR department.

Hamburg Municipal Education and Sports Authority won the award for the
Regional Category for having introduced a Central Register of Pupils for all
pupils and students, which is permanently compared with the Register of
Residents in order to find children and parents without a residence permit.
The Alien Registration Office has access to these files. Due to this
register, parents are taking their children out of school because they risk
to be found and therefore they may be deported. Thus, Hamburg acts against
the right of access to education which applies to all children with or
without a residence permit.

For the Business category, Deutsche Bahn AG (the German Railways PLC) was
declared winner. The company has introduced as many measures as possible to
identify its travellers, from personalised online ticket selling, to the
mandatory provision of photo and date of birth for discount passes, video
surveillance and up to a RFID chip for the all-inclusive one-year ticket
without its customers' knowledge and without any guarantees of personal
data protection.

The award for the Consumer Protection category went to Marriott, Hyatt and
Intercontinental hotel chains in Germany for keeping personal information on
their customers from their eating or drinking preferences, to their credit
card data, address, telephone number, hobbies, and even medical type
information. What is the most frightening thing is that the customers have
no idea all their personal information is stored in the hotel computers and
probably in the servers located in the US.

The Technology category was won by PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG, for
their individual rating system of car insurances that uses the
"pay-as-you-drive" technology. A piece of equipment is used to record the
driving routes and behaviours and then to send the information to the
insurance company.

The award for Politics category was received by the Federal Minister of
Finance, for the introduction of a permanent Tax ID number for all taxable
persons, something like a personal code number which is unconstitutional in
Germany. The data is gathered by all the registration authorities in the
country and sent to the Federal Central Tax Authority which assigns the
unique Tax ID and sends the number back to the registration authorities. "It
would be incompatible with the constitutional value of human dignity if the
state were to assume the power of compulsive registration and cataloguing of
the individual with their complete personality" is the decision given in
1969 by the Federal Constitutional Court, the highest court in Germany.

The Federal Minister of Justice received the award in the Communication
category for a bill that goes against the Federal Constitutional Court
ruling of 1983 that states as constitutional the collection of
non-anonymised data for undetermined or not-yet-determined purposes. The
bill of the Ministry of Justice will introduce the retention of all
telecommunications connection data in Germany, in agreement of the European
directive 2006/24/EC according to which member states have to oblige
providers and public communication network operators to retain traffic data.
However this directive comes into conflict with the Federal Constitutional
Court ruling.

The Government and Administration category was won by Monika Harms,
Germany's Federal Prosecutor, for the anti-terror measures against opponents
of the G8 summit in May this year, for her decision to collect and preserve
body scent samples from G8 opponents and especially for the postal
surveillance in Hamburg in search of letters from militant G8 opponents
which was a clear violation of the privacy of correspondence and of the
professional confidentiality, as stipulated by the German Constitution.

Besides the individual awards on categories, the Jury of the Big Brother
Awards also established the most worrying trend at the moment in Germany
which is that of the increase in registration of biometric data, by both
public and private institutions.

An audience award was attributed for the second time at the German Big
Brother Awards and the winner designated by the audience was Monika Harms
for the anti-terror measures against opponents of the G8 summit.

German Big Brother Awards 2007 (12.10.2007)

10. COMMUNIA: public domain and alternative licensing for knowledge-sharing

Today's digital networks offer extraordinary new opportunities for
sharing and building upon our global, public pool of knowledge.
Shedding light on the scientific, educational, economical, ethical and
political importance of the digital public domain has, therefore,
become crucial for the future of our knowledge-based societies.

This is the rationale behind a freshly launched project: COMMUNIA, the
European Thematic Network on the Public Domain in the Digital Age.

Funded by the European Commission under the eContent+ programme and
coordinated by the Politecnico di Torino's  NEXA Research Center for
Internet and Society, the three-year long project held its kick-off
meeting in Turin, Italy, on 28 September 2007.

The project has been proposed by a network of 36 members from 21
countries who are dedicated to developing theoretical analysis and
strategic policy discussion of existing and emerging issues to the
public domain in the digital environment, as well as related topics
including, but not limited to, alternative forms of licensing for
creative material (including the Creative Commons licenses), open
access to scientific publications and research results, and management
of works with unknown authors (i.e. orphan works).

COMMUNIA is organizing a productive schedule of thematic workshops and
conferences to be held in several European venues, with the goal of
maintaining a strong link between participants. The network aims at
producing both analytical and practical results, including the
production of a book and an academic journal, a "best practices" guide
for European research and reference centres and a final strategic
report containing specific policy guidelines.

The overall goal is to create an open, wide, and active partnership
aimed at improving knowledge access and to help all the stakeholders -
public and private, from the local to the European level - tackling
the issues that the existence of a digital public domain have raised
and will undoubtedly continue to raise.

For more information, please visit the project website; questions,
comments, requests for information and/or clarification should be sent
to the Coordinator of COMMUNIA, Prof. Juan Carlos De Martin
<demartin at polito.it>, or to COMMUNIA project manager, Andrea Glorioso
<andrea.glorioso at polito.it>.

European Commission page on COMMUNIA

COMMUNIA project website

NEXA Research Center for Internet and Society

(contribution by Bernardo Parrella, COMMUNIA dissemination manager)

11. Social welfare leaks show flaws in Irish government databases

Two recent stories have confirmed that security measures in Irish government
databases are inadequate.

In the first case an official in the Department of Family and Social Affairs
was found by police to have leaked personal and financial information to his
brother, a serious criminal, which was then used to target victims for
burglary and blackmail. The second case involved another official in the
same department who examined files on Irish celebrities and systematically
leaked that information to the media.

Both cases appear to reveal a culture in that Department where it is "common
practice" among department employees to be "checking people casually". They
follow another recent scandal where officials in the same department were
found to be selling information to the insurance industry.

Civil servant mole leaked intelligence to criminal (16.10.2007)

Official gave private details to media in new leak shock (16.10.2007)

Welfare Records Leaked to Insurers (16.07.2007)

EDRI-gram: Irish insurance industry gets personal data from Police

(Contribution by TJ McIntyre, EDRI-member Digital Rights Ireland)

12. Recommended Reading

Everyone's Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide
The guide has been published by Citizen Lab, a project at the University of
Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies. Citizen Lab director Ronald
Deibert, who spoke about Internet censorship at IFEX's general meeting in
Uruguay, is also a co-founder of the OpenNet Initiative. The guide, intended
for non-technical users, provides tips and strategies on avoiding Internet
content filters. It is published in English, but translations are planned.

Privacy and Human Rights 2006 Report
This annual report by EPIC and Privacy International provides an overview of
key privacy topics and reviews the state of privacy in over 75 countries
around the world. The report outlines legal protections, new challenges, and
important issues and events relating to privacy.
The Privacy and Human Rights 2006 report documents the continued expansion
of government surveillance authority. Several countries have pursued new
data retention schemes, expanded biometric identification requirements, and
intensified international data transfers.

French report on e-voting
The legal studies service of the French Senate published in September
2007 a report on e-voting. It is a study  which concerns the following
countries: Germany, England and Wales, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Italy, The
Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland.
Abstract (only in French)
Report (only in French)

13. Agenda

25 October 2007, Vienna, Austria
quintessenz, VIBE!AT and LUGA organise the 8th Big Brother Awards.
The gala will take place at the Rabenhof Theatre.

27-28 October 2007, Sofia, Bulgaria
Openfest - 5th annual conference for FOSS and free knowledge share

29-30 October 2007, Geneva, Switzerland
WIPO - International Conference on IP and the Creative Industries

6 November 2007, everywhere, Germany
Protests against data retention legislation

9 November 2007, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Big Brother Awards Switzerland

11 November 2007, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
GigaNet'07 - Global Internet Governance Academic Network 2nd Annual

12-15 November 2007, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Government of Brazil will host the second Internet Governance Forum

16-18 November 2007, Munich, Germany
20 years of grassroot networks - 20 years /Cl-Network in Germany
Congress on Networking of alternative media, privacy, environment,
anti-nuclear, antifascism, peace and human rights

4-5 December 2007, Rome, Italy
First QualiPSo Conference - Fostering trust and quality of Open Source
Software systems

5-7 December 2007, Pisa, Italy
Second DELOS Conference on Digital Libraries

17 January 2008, London, UK
Nanotechnology for security and the crime prevention III

14. About

EDRI-gram is a biweekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe.
Currently EDRI has 28 members based or with offices in 17 different
countries in Europe. European Digital Rights takes an active interest in
developments in the EU accession countries and wants to share knowledge and
awareness through the EDRI-grams.

All contributions, suggestions for content, corrections or agenda-tips are
most welcome. Errors are corrected as soon as possible and visibly on the
EDRI website.

Except where otherwise noted, this newsletter is licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License. See the full text at

Newsletter editor: Bogdan Manolea <edrigram at edri.org>

Information about EDRI and its members:

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