Forwarded from: Jay D. Dyson <jdysonat_private> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Courtesy of Cryptography List. http://www.newscientist.com/news/print.jsp?id=ns99991944 UK bill would "infringe scientists' freedom" 14:30 18 February 02 Duncan Graham-Rowe and Will Knight British scientists could soon face a ten-year jail sentence for sending an email or failing to ask for permission before teaching a foreign student. New legislation, which will be reviewed by UK House of Lords in March, would even give the government the right to "prior review" of scientific papers - effectively allowing ministers to censor academic research if they so choose. "It potentially affects every type of science and technology and a fair amount of medicine too," says Ross Anderson, computer scientist at Cambridge University and cofounder of the Foundation for Information Policy Research. The Export Control Bill is designed to curb the spread of scientific knowledge on how to make weapons of mass destruction. It is being touted as a modernisation of existing controls, following a UK government report in 1996 that found British intelligence had been illegally selling weapons to Iraq. Journal threat For decades, controls have existed on the transfer of physical goods on the "dual-use" list - a list, recognised by the international community, of technologies that could have both civilian and military uses. These controls have allowed scientists to carry out research with relative freedom, provided they do not try to physically carry it overseas. But the new powers will extend these controls to apply to "intangibles", such as software, emails, designs and presentation slides. This will subject much more scientific activity to controls, says Nicholas Bohm, a member of the Law Society's electronic law committee. Even more worrying is that the bill covers internal communications within the UK - not just "exported" communications. Anyone submitting their research for publication in a British journal could be subjected to the controls. This, say critics, could prevent scientists from assessing and replicating their colleagues' work, and threatens to undermine the very fabric of the scientific process. "The problem of the dual list is that it contains anything that the MOD thinks is high-tech," explains Anderson. This can include anything from semiconductor testing equipment and hard composites to certain types of catalyst, he says. It would also include types of software that many researchers have posted on their websites, such as cryptoanalytic or code-breaking programmes. Such postings could become illegal overnight. Fundamental freedom The Department of Trade and Industry, which drafted the bill, say the exemptions will be brought in to protect academic interests as secondary legislation, after the bill has passed. But such reassurances are little comfort, since secondary legislation cannot be amended once it has been drafted by ministers. Universities UK, which represents the heads of British Universities, is concerned that the Bill could have dire consequences for collaborative research, both within the UK and overseas. "We believe that there should be some direct reference to the protection of routine academic activity in the text of the bill," a spokesman for Universities UK told New Scientist. The potential power to give government the right to prior review of scientific publications could infringe scientists' fundamental academic freedom, he adds. The DTI claim that the bill will merely bring the UK into line with European regulations, introduced in 2000, which extend export controls to include intangibles. "But the UK was a prime mover in pushing for these extensions in the first place," says Bohm. "The European regulations don't require the UK to impose domestic transfer or publications controls." 14:30 18 February 02 © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2 Comment: See http://www.treachery.net/~jdyson/ for current keys. iQCVAwUBPHqewLlDRyqRQ2a9AQEeegP9HNNnJjQa0OooPl3iIOVhPcuy8M5t2nxl ZB/lZK667TUv9yIeGjUHAEYioSp/AUQaxa0FQKPivLUvuBTpuFWLny3zM7G7pq9r 4UhLsLMsT5T3YCMXUFG/g6VLUx957vs/J4YOHXkfPj5ktrRJ3V5q+5PV73udRdY6 i3UF4O3z4x8= =jUNK -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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