[ISN] Internet 'a threat to privacy'

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Nov 11 1998 - 01:25:34 PST

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    Forwarded From: phreakmoi <hackereliteat_private>
    From: http://www.newsit.com.au/
    Internet 'a threat to privacy'
    By High Court correspondent BERNARD LANE
    WHEN people enter the cyberspace of the Internet, they often make the
    mistake of assuming they become anonymous and their privacy is protected,
    Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court says. 
    In an article on the Web, Justice Kirby warns privacy is increasingly at
    risk in the ever-expanding Internet, since national regulators are mostly
    powerless and new global rules are yet to be devised. 
    "Users commonly think that because they do not enter their names or other
    details to gain access to Web pages, this means that there is a high
    degree of privacy in their use of the Internet; in other words, that it is
    virtually anonymous," he says. 
    The judge, whose interest in privacy and information technology follows
    work with the OECD 20 years ago, canvassed the many Internet tools that
    collect information, including browsers, crawlers and spiders;  search
    engines, robots and indexes. 
    "It is not often appreciated by users of the Web that, without specific
    initiatives on their own part, their visits to particular Web sites can
    usually be resurrected: presenting a profile of their minds," he says. 
    "Their visits may illustrate the subjects in which they are interested: 
    their inclinations, political, social, sexual and otherwise." 
    Justice Kirby acknowledged that regulatory impotence enhanced freedom of
    speech over the Net but said other human rights, such as privacy, also had
    to be given protection. 
    He cited "strong resistance" to the US Government's proposed "clipper
    chip", intended to allow the State to override individual encryption as
    part of a campaign against crime and terrorism. 
    "Whilst society needs to be shielded from clearly anti-social conduct,
    there are strong arguments for permitting, and protecting the anonymity of
    most Web site visits and providing 'dungeons' and 'chat rooms' in the Web,
    where people can communicate without fear that their interests, attitudes,
    beliefs and concerns will be monitored either by public or private sector
    snoops," he said. 
    Justice Kirby's article for the University of NSW Law Journal is posted on
    the Australasian Legal Information Institute site, at www.austlii.edu.au. 
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