From: [log in to unmask]
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of EDRI-gram
Sent: 23 May 2007 18:44
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: EDRI-gram newsletter - Number 5.10, 23 May 2007
biweekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe
Number 5.10, 23 May 2007
1. US official makes PNR demands to the European Parliament 2. UK
implements the Data Retention Directive 3. Google is profiling online
gamers 4. UK House of Commons culture committee wants copyright
extension 5. The Italian Big Brother Awards for 2007 6. Bulgarian
actions against online piracy - "collateral damage"
7. Opennet Initiative publishes alarming results on Internet filtering
8. OECD finds the real piracy losses 9. International Declaration on G8
and Intellectual Property launched 10. Romanian open source community
gets together 11. Polish people arrested for publishing movie
translations 12. Recommended Reading 13. Agenda 14. About
1.US official makes PNR demands to the European Parliament
As the negotiations of the PNR (Passenger Name Records) issue continue
between the US Government and the European Parliament, during his visit
to Brussels on 14 May, US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
asked for more relaxed restrictions on the personal data transfer from
the airline companies.
The interim agreement on PNR between EU and US expires in July 2007 and
unless a common agreement is reached by then, airlines are in a
difficult position, facing either being sued in Europe for providing
these data in the US or in the US for not sharing the information.
Chertoff addressed the Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties,
Justice and Home Affairs asking for looser privacy safeguard conditions
in the transfer of the personal data of passengers flying from Europe to
US. The European Parliament has resisted until now, being concerned on
personal data protection issues.
One of the restrictions Chertoff referred to in asking for looser
conditions was the use of the data limiting their dissemination to
institutions that have strict privacy safeguards standards as in the EU.
Chertoff considers that in order to stop terrorism, the data have to be
shared among all US government agencies. He also stated the U.S. wanted
to hold the data for 40 years but he also said this was negotiable.
While the European Commissioner for justice and home affairs Franco
Frattini said he was confident the EU and the US could reach an
agreement on how to handle personal information about European citizens
flying to America, there were voices that asked uncomfortable questions
MEP Sophie in 't Veld, the rapporteur responsible for PNR policy asked
if PNR were used for purposes other than counter-terrorism, such as
control of infectious diseases, or private purposes of certain companies
such as insurance companies. The answer was that the use of PNR by
private companies was illegal and those infringing the law would be
brought to justice.
But PNR data are first of all commercial records created and used for
commercial purposes by travel companies and Chertoff 's answer would
imply that these companies are forbidden to use these data and that
would make impossible for them to operate. US has generally more lax
laws on privacy and data protection and there is no law restricting them
from passing part or all of those data to a third party, or using the
data for other purposes than those for which the data had been
Chertoff also claimed that "PNR data is protected under the U.S. Privacy
Act and the Freedom of Information Act, among other laws, as well as the
robust oversight provided through ... American courts." However, Privacy
Act applies only to U.S. persons, not EU citizens and residents.
Sophie in 't Veld also asked Chertoff if he was really interested in a
compromise "instead imposing unilaterally US standards and wishes" but
she did not get a clear answer.
"It is never justified to give unlimited and uncontrolled powers to any
government," said in 't Veld.
US asks Europe to relax privacy rules for new airline deal (15.05.2007)
U.S., EU Hopeful on Airline Data Privacy Pact (14.05.2007)
Did Chertoff lie to the European Parliament? (15.05.2007)
Does the Chicago Convention authorize government demands for PNR's? No.
Video of the PNR hearing (14.05.2007)
2. UK implements the Data Retention Directive
The UK Home Office is presently implementing the Data Retention
Directive that will oblige telephony and internet service providers to
keep data for
12 months. The decision was taken without any debate by simple
votes in the parliament and the Directive is to be implemented by 15
September 2007 for fixed and mobile telephones and 18 months later for
internet services (including VOIP telephony).
The Home Office intents to implement the Directive by a Regulation that
will replace the current "voluntary" Code and does not seem to have
taken into consideration any risk related to the privacy of personal
Moreover, the government says that the EC Directive covering serious
crime can be used for any crime and that there is no need for public or
parliamentary discussion on privacy, civil liberties or human rights
issues as these have already been discussed at the EU level.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The collection and retention of everyone's communications data is a
momentous decision, one that should not be slipped through parliament
without anyone noticing as the government plans to do.
The government's proposal changes a voluntary agreement into a binding
law, on these grounds alone there should be primary legislation.
Moreover, the EC Directive limits the purpose for which data can be
retained to "serious crime" but the government intends to extend the
scope to all crime however minor."
Having in view the character of the data retained, consumers and
telecoms companies need safeguards concerning the use of these data.
Under the EC Directive, all countries are required to adopt measures
that ensure the data can only be used by competent national authorities.
Yet, UK's draft regulation and consultation process makes no reference
on this. Also there is nothing in the Regulation covering sanctions and
remedies for unauthorised use of the data as stipulated in the EC
Further more, the data can also be obtained in the absence of existing
court proceedings and can be available to anyone who can convince the
Courts that they have a right to access them.
Keeping personal data should help law enforcement authorities in their
fight against crime and for national security purposes. On the other
hand, telecom companies must protect their customers' privacy and,
according to the draft regulations, they will not be able to protect
these data by destroying it.
The only positive element for them is that, at least, the government
proposes to compensate them for compliance costs and litigants are
obliged to pay for disclosure of documents which they request from third
Mandatory data retention in the UK - Statewatch analysis (05.2007)
Data retention: a balancing act for telcos (10.05.2007)
3. Google is profiling online gamers
Google has filed a patent in Europe and in US on a profiling technology
planning to create psychological profiles of web users based on their
behaviour at playing on-line games. The company thinks it can gather up
information to shape the personality of web users according to the way
they react and take decisions while playing online and then sell these
psychological profiles to advertisers.
The patent says: "User dialogue (e.g. from role playing games,
simulation games, etc) may be used to characterize the user (e.g.
literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc). Also, user play may be
used to characterize the user (e.g. cautious, risk-taker, aggressive,
non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative,
On the basis of these profiles, adverts inside online games could be
shaped to address the people's interests, tastes and tendencies. Adverts
that appear inside the game could thus be more "relevant to the user",
The patent says that information from previously saved games could be
accessed from memory cards. "Such saved information may be thought of
state information, and offers a valuable source of information to the
and also that Google could also monitor people playing on any game
console that connects to the internet, including the Sony PlayStation,
Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's Xbox.
These plans have created concerns for privacy campaigners, who consider
that the implications of compiling and storing such detailed information
Sue Charman the Open Rights Group said: "I can understand why they are
interested in this, but I would be deeply disturbed by a company holding
a psychological profile. Whenever you have large amounts of information
it becomes attractive to people - we've already seen the American
federal government going to court over data from companies including
The patent gives alarming examples of the invasive type of approach the
advertisers could use, such as: "In a car racing game, after a user
crashes his Honda Civic, an announcer could be used to advertise by
saying 'if he had a Hummer, he would have gotten the better of that
altercation', etc. If the user has been playing for over two hours
continuously, the system may display ads for Pizza Hut, Coke, coffee."
The experts say that although such scanning is already done by some web
companies that use keywords for online advertising based on basic
attributes, such kind of complete profiles viewed by the Google patent
would go much further in combining information sources to put names and
addresses to the anonymous profiles.
Google stated to The Guardian that it had no plan in the next future
regarding this patent and that this was only one of the large number of
patents filed during the last months by the company. "Google registers
different patents irrespective of whether we actually intend to use
was Google spokesman's statement.
Google may use games to analyse net users (12.05.2007)
Google Patents Gamer Profiling Technology (14.05.2007)
Google Plans to Secretly Track Your Online Gaming (12.05.2007)
Google's online gaming patent alarms privacy advocates (14.05.2007)
4. UK House of Commons culture committee wants copyright extension
The copyright term for sound recordings is back on the public agenda in
UK, after a report from the House of Commons culture committee has
recommended its extension from 50 to 70 years, despite the negative
feedback received earlier from Andrew Gowers' report or a recent study
commissioned by the European Union and made public in January 2007.
The Culture committee report considered that the musicians have a "moral
right" to keep control of their creations while alive and that 7000
people will lose in the next years their royalties from the 50s and 60s
Also the report considered there was a non-reasonable difference between
the copyright term for songwriters, whose families keep the copyright 70
years after the death of the author and the 50-year rule for sound
"We recommend that the government should press the European Commission
to bring forward proposals for an extension of copyright term for sound
recordings to at least 70 years.", concluded the report.
77 UK MPs have signed a parliamentary motion calling for this extension.
EDRi-member ORG has publicly opposed the change asking from the people
to remind the politicians to debate this issue on the basis of evidence
- which points firmly against extension - rather than nostalgia.
The decision of the UK MPs is opposite to Andrew Gowers' report, backed
by the Treasury, that recommended not to extend the copyright term for
Moreover, Gowers exclusively revealed to Out-Law Radio last month that,
far from leaning towards extension, he almost recommended shortening the
"I could have made a case for reducing it based on the economic
he said. "We certainly considered it, and if you look at the report that
came from the academics that we commissioned to examine the arguments
and examine the evidence they also argued very robustly that 50 years
could be arguably more than enough."
Copyright extension back on Commons' agenda (16.05.2007)
Music stars 'must keep copyright' (17.05.2007)
Copyright extension: Seems our MPs haven't been doing their homework
EDRI-gram: Copyright extension term rejected by EU commissioned report
5. The Italian Big Brother Awards for 2007
On 19 May 2007, the two-day e-Privacy Conference in Florence hosted the
Big Brother Awards Italy. The candidates for the awards were selected by
a jury made of seven members.
The people's choice price "The People's lament" was won by far by
Telecom Italia especially for the Tavaroli & Co case when a vast system
of illegal eavesdropping of telephone conversations was discovered under
the company's umbrella. The company's financial maneuvers and court
actions have also contributed to its victory.
The Municipality of Milan won the award "The Worst Public Agency" for
having installed several cameras in the city starting with public parks
without giving any information on who would use the recorded data and
for having sponsored a private initiative that proposes to the Milanese
traders a 50% reimbursement for the installment of cameras on their
The "Worst private corporation" award was received again by Telecom
Italia for having illegally intercepted the conversations of millions of
Italian citizens without any constitutional guaranty or requests from
the secret services for emergency situations. In a best scenario, the
management of the company had lost control over their employees'
The award for "The Most Invasive Technology" was received by Google for
the large amount of data retained. The company is considered the second
most dangerous entity for privacy in the world. With the recent
acquisition of DoubleClick.com, the advertising giant, its motto could
now be "Don't be evil, buy the Devil!".
Paolo Gentiloni, the Minister of Communications received the "Boot in
the Mouth" price. He considers that the eavesdropping is not a problem
as long as unless such data is made public, especially by the
The "Lifetime Menace" award was adjudicated by the Italian Parliament
for having approved a law against the illegal interceptions only when
its members considered they were personally in danger. The Italian
Parliament has proven lately that the defense of the privacy rights of
the Italian citizens is no longer a focus.
The positive award "Winston Smith - Privacy Hero" was awarded this year
to Representative Maurizio Turco who has presented the Winston Smith
Project law against Data Retention, the only law proposal issued during
the last year in favor of privacy.
The winners of Big Brother Italia (only in Italian, 21.05.2007)
Big Brother Award Italia 2007
E-privacy 2007 Conference proceedings (18-19.05.2007)
6. Bulgarian actions against online piracy - "collateral damage"
Bulgarian authorities went beyond the EU limits in investigating
Internet users and website owners in 2005 according to MEP Antonyia
Parvanova who thinks the Bulgarian officials have caused the bankruptcy
of some Internet clubs and brought serious damages to a website owner by
prosecuting people who had not actually committed any crime.
She believes that these cases should be investigated and she stated she
would address this matter to the European Commission to verify whether
the actions of the Bulgarian authorities did not infringe the European
laws, especially article 11 of the Chapter of Human Rights.
Rumen Petkov, Bulgaria's Minister of Interior, stated the actions
involving the serisure of all the equipment of some Internet clubs
followed by very strong mass media coverage had been triggered by EU
pressure to "control Internet piracy".
The case was dismissed after two years of litigation, the Internet clubs
were found not guilty and the equipment was returned but the clubs has
already gone bankrupt and the equipment was already outdated.
Actions were also taken against the "black boards" where users post and
exchange what they have. One of these actions was against ArenaBG.com,
one of the most popular websites of this kind. As a result of the police
raids and prosecution the owner was out of business. According to
Parvanova, due to the publicity created around the case and to false
reports regarding his wealth he had to hide for fear of being kidnapped.
These cases were brought to the attention of Parvanova by
representatives of EDRI-member Internet Society Bulgaria.
Bulgarian crackdown on "pirate" Internet captures no one (12.05.2007)
EDRi-gram - Bulgarian Police ordered ISPs to block US-based torrent
7. Opennet Initiative publishes alarming results on Internet filtering
On 19 May 2007 the Opennet Initiative (ONI) held a conference on the
state of global internet filtering. On the conference ONI presented the
results of its research over the last years. It concludes that an
increasing number of coutries is applying filtering to the Internet. The
core of the results can be found on ONI's website and will be published
in a book in the end of 2007.
"It's an alarming increase," according to Ron Deibert, one of the
academics leading the ONI Initiative. "Once the tools are in place,
authorities realize that the Internet can be controlled. There used to
be a myth that the Internet was immune to regulation. Now governments
are realizing it's actually the opposite."
The academic study has categorized their findings on government Internet
filtering into four broad categories: political (such as opposition
material), social (such as pornography, gambling), conflict/security
(armed conflict, militant groups), and Internet tools (such as
anonimizers). There are country reports on 40 specific countries and
eight regional reports, including Europe, the last opening with: "In
less than a decade, the Internet in Europe has evolved from a virtually
unfettered environment to one in which filtering in most countries,
particularly within the European Union (EU), is the norm rather than the
An important conclusion of ONI is the lack of tranparency of the
filtering that was discovered. "What's regrettable about net filtering
is that almost always this is happening in the shadows. There's no place
you can get an answer as a citizen from your state about how they are
filtering and what is being filtered.", according to John Palfrey,
director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, one of the
partners of ONI.
Internet filtering in Europe is a point on the agenda of the Council of
Europe Group of Specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society
(CoE MC-S-IS) in which EDRI is an observer. The first exchanges during
the March 2007 meeting of the MC-S-IS group on the technical filtering
of content seemed promising, EDRI-Gram reported on 12 April 2007, as a
large majority of participating member states expressed strong doubts on
both the usefulness of technical filtering measures and their
compatibility with Article 10 of the ECHR.
Research OpenNet Initiative
Governments using filters to censor Internet, survey finds (18.05.2007)
Global net censorship 'growing' (18.05.2007)
EDRI-gram: CoE to address the impact of technical measures on human
(Contribution by Joris van Hoboken - EDRI-member Bits of Freedom -
8. OECD finds the real piracy losses
Financial Times obtained an executive summary of a new report produced
by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that
estimates the trade losses due to piracy and counterfeiting did not
exceed 200 billion USD.
The report should be endorsed by the OECD board this month and is
considered politically sensitive, taking into account that the estimates
from the industry show figures up to 3-4 times higher than the OECD
estimates based on reported customs seizures in various countries.
The efforts of the international business lobbists, that have pushed for
Germany to put the fight against counterfeiting on the next G8 summit
agenda, could be undermined by this new report. This is why the
International Chamber of Commerce Secretary General quickly reacted by
considering the OECD figures as "underestimated" and said that "up to 1
000 billion USD in international trade was lost annually" to piracy and
Forgery trade losses 'under $200bn' (7.05.2007)
9. International Declaration on G8 and Intellectual Property launched
The German non-profit organization "Netzwerk Freies Wissen" (Free
Network) heavily criticizes the goals of the conference held by the G8
states' ministers of justice starting on 23 May 2007.
The most important item on the agenda is a stronger enforcement of
intellectual property. For this reason the Network, together with other
organizations and private persons from many countries will present the
"Civil Society declaration on the G8 summit 2007 and intellectual
"The goal of this declaration is to point out the severe problems in
this area, which have grown throughout the world in the last years",
says Petra Buhr, speaker for the network. "Furthermore we demand radical
changes in the politics of the G8", she adds. Be it patents on drugs,
the protection of seeds that prevent the cultivation of plants or the
freedom of education which is threatened by strong copyright laws. The
paper demands, that a state has to decide by itself on how far it wants
to introduce intellectual property laws and that the pressure, mainly on
developing countries, must stop in order to allow a fair development.
Also the paper talks about the problems in the G8 states. It claims
software patents are a threat to innovation and digital rights
management a threat to the worlds cultural heritage. It also demands a
massive aid towards alternatives such as free access to knowledge or
free software which was financed by public funds. It shows concern at
the increasing privatization of public research.
Finally the Network demands from the hosting German Government to show
its true colours: "It is perfidious to talk about fake T-Shirts and
unsafe medicine while actually trying to stop the important production
of generic drugs in developing countries", Buhr answers to a statement
of Brigitte Zypries, the German minister of justice. "The government
arguments are one-sided. The problems caused by ever increasing
intellectual property rights are complex and very serious. Alternatives
should be chosen instead of enforcing a very corrupt system worldwide"
The declaration is open for signatories starting today. Among the first
signatories of the Declaration are also the EDRI-members Netzwerk Neue
Medien, Chaos Computer Club and Swiss Internet User Group SIUG.
Declaration - For better development and just access to knowledge in
all forms - Against the domination of exclusionary rights on the
knowledge economy - A civil society statement concerning intellectual
property and the
2007 G8 summit
Tool for signatures
Statement Minister of Jusice Zypris (15.05 2007):
General information on the G8 meeting by the German government:
(Thanks to Petra Buhr - Netzwerk Freies Wissen)
10. Romanian open source community gets together
Probably the most important conference in Romania on open source and
free software took place at the end of the last week - on 18-19 May 2007
in Brasov. The eLiberatica 2007 conference was organized by a new group
of IT specialists called Romanian Open Source and Free Software
The conference aimed at bringing community leaders from around the world
to talk about the hottest topics in FLOSS movement demonstrating the
advantages of adopting, using and developing Open Source and Free
The international participants that included Monty Widenius, the main
engineer and supervisor of MySQL, Brian Behlendorf, one of the Apache
Project initiators or Zak Greant, representing Mozilla Foundation,
provided a high level view on the entire FLOSS movement including
business, social and technical aspects.
Aleksander Farstad, CEO of eZ systems explained how open source
development can be used in creating a successful business and the
presentations from the Romanian speakers showed examples of locally
developed open source products from ERP/CRM solutions to Open Source for
Public Libraries or VoIP solutions.
The use of open source software and open standards in public
administration were highlighted by Georg Greve (president of Free
Europe) in its presentation on the necessity of adopting open standards
and supporting them at the national level as well. A practical example
on adopting FOSS in public administration was shown by Jim Willis,
Director of eGovernment and Information Technology from Rhode Island.
As some of the Romanian participants pointed out, the Romanian
Government preferred until now proprietary software and technologies
(with closed source code) at very high prices, "making Romania directly
available to foreign corporations and paying hundreds of millions of
Euro from public money as licenses."
The necessity for a better-organized open source community was
highlighted by Bogdan Manolea from EDRI-member APTI Romania, who
presented the obstacles the Romanian copyright legislation creates for
open source developers and why the open source community should react to
those actions supposed to "fight piracy" of the authorities.
A similar message was projected by Lucian Savluc, the main organizer of
the event, who promoted ROSI as a good framework where the Romanian open
source community can be gathered, if there is support, work and
involvement. The first step will be the creation of a public portal that
will present all the Romanian activities related to FOSS, both in
Romanian and English. Other projects will follow as well.
Eliberatica 2007 Conference (18-19.05.2007) http://eliberatica.ro/2007/
About ROSI and eLiberatica - past, present and furture (only in
Open technologies bring transparency in government, development and
knowledge (only in Romanian 22.05.2007)
Laws and Open source (only in Romanian, 22.05.2007)
11. Polish people arrested for publishing movie translations
A popular subtitle exchange community in Poland, Napisy.org, was in
shock, after nine of its members were accused of posting illegal
translations of movies and were held by the Police for questioning.
The Napisy.org community, that gathers approx. 600 000 users, allowed
the submission of translated subtitles for movies (especially from
Polish) for free. The translators did not get any money for their work.
The Polish Police had a common intervention in 6 cities of Silesia,
Podlachia, Cracow and Szczecin where they entered at 6 AM in some of the
translator's homes and took them for questioning. According to the
Polish Police, 2000 CDs with allegedly illegal copied movies were also
found and 17 computers were seized.
Krzysztof Czerepak, the webmaster of napisy.org, contested the
information made public by the Police, explaining that he knows only
about 6 persons (2 admins, 3 moderators and one translator) and denied
the existence of the CDs found by the Police. "The two admins had
laptops with fully legal software, while the woman-translator had a
company-owned laptop" he added.
The webmaster also commented that " most of the amateurish translations
appear long before a "professional" translation is prepared. It is also
an often omitted fact that a lot of "professionals" use (or steal,
things) our translations to do their job. Nobody calls this a violation
of the law."
The website that was hosted on a German server was shut down and the
Polish Police explained that it was a collaboration with the German
colleagues for this activity. The people held for questioning could be
accused of illegal publication of copyrighted works and could be
sentenced to up to 2 years jail time.
Poland: Nine people held by police for translating movies (17.05.2007)
12. Recommended Reading
ITU and UNCTAD announced the publication of the World Information
Society Report 2007
8 May - 22 July 2007, Austria
Annual decentralized community event around free software lectures,
panel discussions, workshops, fairs and socialising
24 May 2007, Geneva, Switzerland
Council of Europe Roundtable - The Internet and public service: do they
go together ?
26 May 2007, Zurich, Switzerland
Creative Commons Switzerland - Launch Event
11-15 June 2007, Geneva, Switzerland
Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda:
11-12 June 2007, Strasbourg, France
Council of Europe - Octopus Interface 2007 - Cooperation against
12 June 2007, Berlin, Germany
German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of
Information - Symposium "Data Protection in Europe"
14 June 2007, Paris, France
ENISA/EEMA European eIdentity conference - Next Generation Electronic
Identity - eID beyond PKI
15-17 June 2007, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Creative Commons iSummit 2007
17-22 June 2007 Seville, Spain
19th Annual FIRST Conference, "Private Lives and Corporate Risk"
18-22 June 2007, Geneva, Switzerland
Second Special Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and
Related Rights (SCCR)
5-11 September 2007
Ars Electronica Festival - Festival for Art, Technology and Society
EDRI-gram is a biweekly newsletter about digital civil rights in Europe.
Currently EDRI has 25 members from 16 European countries.
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 <[log in to unmask]>
Information about EDRI and its members:
- EDRI-gram subscription information
subscribe by e-mail
To: [log in to unmask]
You will receive an automated e-mail asking to confirm your request.
unsubscribe by e-mail
To: [log in to unmask]
- EDRI-gram in Macedonian
EDRI-gram is also available partly in Macedonian, with delay.
Translations are provided by Metamorphosis
- EDRI-gram in German
EDRI-gram is also available in German, with delay. Translations are
provided Andreas Krisch from the EDRI-member VIBE!AT - Austrian
Association for Internet Users http://www.unwatched.org/
- Newsletter archive
Back issues are available at:
Please ask <[log in to unmask]> if you have any problems with subscribing
Distributed through Cyber-Society-Live [CSL]: CSL is a moderated discussion
list made up of people who are interested in the interdisciplinary academic
study of Cyber Society in all its manifestations.To join the list please visit: