[IWAR] JAPAN wiretapping bill

From: Mark Hedges (hedgesat_private)
Date: Sun Feb 01 1998 - 16:43:37 PST

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    Forwarded from elsewhere...
    Following article was written in last autumn and appeared in AMPO,
    Japan-Asia Quarterly Review, Vol.28 No.1, 1997. Please see the end of this
    article for more information about AMPO.
    Japan's Big Brother The Wiretapping Bill and the Threat to Privacy
    By Toshimaru Ogura
    In July 1997, a legislative consultation group serving the Ministry of
    Justice issued a report on the legalization of wiretapping. Based on this
    report, the Ministry of Justice plans to submit a bill called The Law
    Against Organized Crime, commonly known as Tochoho, or the wiretapping law,
    during the extraordinary session of the Diet this fall.
    In the United States and many European countries, wiretapping is already
    legal, and civil rights violations by law enforcement authorities, stemming
    from police electronic surveillance, has emerged as a major issue. Here in
    Japan, there is no crime problem that would seem to justify wiretapping.
    Nevertheless, the legalization of wiretapping is being proposed by the
    Ministry of Justice.
    We have to consider this move by the Japanese government in light of the new
    international order. Instead of the Communist bogeyman, international mafia
    groups and groups Iabeled by the government as "terrorist" are cited as the
    new public enemies. Yet, behind this rhetoric lies the nagging insecurity of
    global capital. For the social antagonisms it produces continue to endanger
    its rule of the planet. Autonomous people's movements, the grass that shoots
    up through the cracks in capital's paved-over order. Still contest the
    domination of capital and its attend forms of immiserization, destruction
    and discrimination. In this era, too, new communication tools, especially
    the Internet, are enabling various people's movements to exchange
    information and circulate struggles more quickly and efficiently. In this
    context, increased electronic surveillance reveals the state tendency to try
    to suppress autonomous people's movements by utilizing its police apparatus.
    Outline of Wiretap Bill
    At the time this article was written, the Ministry of Justice had not yet to
    introduce the wiretapping bill to the Diet. However, the Ministry of Justice
    report sheds some light on the probable content of the bill.[1] Tochoho
    would allow wiretapping of telephones, cellular phones, facsimile machines
    and computers. Law enforcement authorities would need a court warrant to
    carry out wiretaps, as they do in order to conduct house searches.
    If the Japanese courts approach toward granting search warrants is any
    indication, however, this check may be largely ineffective in curbing police
    abuses. Courts almost never refuse requests for search warrants, and
    sometimes turn a blind eye to police investigators enforcement on suspects
    rights. In 1987 and 1988, for example, using the terrorist activities of the
    Japanese Red Army as a pretext, 260 houses across Japan were searched;
    somewhere searched several times.  Police used an address file found in one
    search to extend the scope of their searches and seizures. Although it had
    been ascertained that those under investigation were not members of the
    Japanese Red Army, or otherwise involved in criminal activity, the court did
    not refrain from issuing search warrants.
    During the investigation into the Tokyo subway gas attack by members of Aum
    Shinrikyo, 500,000 pieces of data on users of the Japanese Diet Library were
    seized because of suspicion that Aum followers might have used the library
    to gain information about the making of sarin gas.
    Law enforcement authorities need not list the name of a suspect in a search
    warrant request; the same would hold true for Tochoho. Moreover, with
    Tochoho, suspicion of future crimes could be considered adequate grounds for
    a warrant application. Yet another problem with Tochoho is that
    investigators could use information gathered by wiretapping to proceed with
    new wiretaps; no additional court warrants would be necessary to expand
    their web of surveillance.
    The wiretapping law would prohibit the recording of conversation unrelated
    to suspected criminal activity. However, since no third parties would be
    present to observe investigators, there would be no way to confirm that
    authorities were abiding by the law. And, of course. Even if investigators
    were not recording a conversation, they could easily take notes. Tochoho,
    then, will create new opportunities for police to secretly monitor
    individuals and organizations.
    According to the report on wiretapping legislation, telephone companies,
    Internet providers, employer and schools will all be expected to cooperate
    with law enforcement authorities. Thus, many people may soon find themselves
    in the position of having to help spy on their own colleagues, customers or
    students. NGOs and Internet providers, meanwhile, may come under pressure
    from authorities to aid in the electronic surveillance of people's
    Rolling Back Rights
    In the Japanese Constitution, the secrecy of telecommunication is guaranteed
    by Article 21: "Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press
    and all other forms of expression are guaranteed. No censorship shall be
    maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be
    violated." Furthermore, the Telecommunication Law, which is predicated on
    Article 21, states, "The secrecy of telecommunication handled by
    telecommunication companies shall not be violated."
    Since the secrecy of telecommunication has been established as an individual
    right in both the Constitution and the Telecommunication Law. Police can not
    legally tap telephones. Tochoho would thus represent, in effect, a rollback
    of citizens rights.
    This broadening of police powers is particularly disturbing when certain
    existing police practices are taken into account. In Japan, as has been
    documented by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and
    Nichibenren (Federation of Japan Bar Association) and prisoner support
    groups, the rights of criminal suspects are frequently ignored. In
    comparison with the United States and European countries, police
    interrogation in Japan is severe and sometimes is accompanied by mental and
    even physical torture, Police questioning often lasts for more than three
    weeks at a time, and suspects are kept under constant watch by police. Due
    to this environment, a high percentage of suspects confess. As police forces
    do not have the right to be present at interrogations, it is not unusual for
    suspects to confess to false charges. Given this pattern of rights abuses,
    we must view with grave concern any further strengthening of the powers of
    police investigators.
    History of Wiretapping by Police
    The most famous case involving police wiretapping was that of Ogata Yasuo,
    whose phones were bugged for more than a year while he served as an official
    in the Japanese Communist Party. The electronic surveillance was carried out
    mainly by a covert group of security police that specialized in illegal
    activities such as the gathering of information on leftist groups. Renting a
    room near Ogata's house, the police tapped directly into a telephone circuit
    connected to Ogata's residence. Ogata filed a suit against the police, and
    won his case in both district court and the high court in Tokyo. It was
    revealed in the trial that police never received a warrant for the wiretap;
    moreover, it became clear that Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Company (NTT)
    offered illegal assistance to the police, helping them select the correct
    phone circuit. Police involved in the case never admitted having tapped
    Ogata's phone Iine, and an officer charged with wrongdoing in connection
    with the surveillance operation repeatedly refused to testify in court, even
    under threat of punishment.
    Ogata's case is the only one of its kind. However, more than 20 instances of
    wiretapping against the Communist Party have been documented. Since the
    Tochoho began to take shape in .spring 1997, citizens from around the
    country have come together to hear and exchange stories of past experiences
    with police wiretapping. Yoshikawa Yuichi of now-defunct Beheiren (The
    Japanese "Peace for Vietnam!" Committee) testified about having his phone
    tapped during the Vietnam War. Police used information acquired from the
    wiretap to track down fugitive U.S, soldiers whom Beheiren had assisted in
    deserting. Other people have testified in recent citizens meetings about
    hearing unusual noise on their phone lines and about having seen people take
    phone lines down from poles and link them directly to police vehicles.
    Why is the Ministry of Justice now trying to legalize wiretapping? One
    factor to consider is the current demand for cros-border cooperation on
    criminal investigations. Also, new technologies, including computers,
    cellular phones, and digital phone lines, have created the need for
    large-scale technical cooperation from telecommunication companies if police
    are to conduct effective electronic surveillance. Finally, in the case of
    illegal wiretapping, there is a limit to the number of personnel that can be
    assigned to an investigation as well as budgetary constraints.  For these
    reasons, Iegalizing wiretaps is a way to cut costs and to rationalize
    electronic surveillance in Japan.
    The Reality of Wiretapping in the United States
    According to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), there
    were more than 1,000 legal wiretaps in the United States in 1994.[2] Between
    1984 and 1994, the number of wiretap warrants issued by U.S. federal and
    district courts doubled. And in addition to the electronic surveillance of U
    S citizens, at least 600 cases of wiretapping against foreign countries and
    associations abroad have been carried out under the authority granted by the
    Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. It is widely believed
    that there are also a large number of illegal wiretaps conducted by U.S.
    Under U.S law, the maximum period for one wiretap is 30 days, but it is
    renewable. In1994, the average bugging period was 40 days. (By contrast, the
    average period in 1970 was 20 days.) During an average 40-day period, 2139
    calls and 84 people are monitored. By simple calculation, then, more than
    2.1 million calls and 84,000 people were electronically monitored in the
    United States in 1994. According to a 1995 report prepared by the United
    States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), wiretapping will increase 54
    percent by 1998, and 130 percent by the year 2004.
    The bigger problem, however, is that wiretaps related to actual criminal
    activity make up only 17 percent of total wiretapping. This number, which
    was 25 percent in 1984, is decreasing every year. We can calculate that in
    1994, more than 1.9 million calls unrelated to crimes were tapped.
    New Technologies, New Enclosures?
    With the spread of computer use, wiretapping now poses a greater threat to
    our privacy than ever before. Computers enable rapid dissemination of
    enormous amounts of information. All of this information, including past
    data stored in computers could become available to authorities if wiretaps
    are made legal. Moreover, since it is possible to communicate with many
    people at a time using computers, the number of people subject to electronic
    surveillance could increase exponentially.
    The wiretapping bill that will be introduced will impose on investigators
    the duty to immediately decode the contents of encrypted communication. This
    means that the use of encryptions that cannot be readily decoded may be
    prohibited. Hence, encryption software like PGP, which is the most popular
    one distributed through the Internet, may be outlawed. It also appears that
    encryption programs and communication device  will be standardized to allow
    investigators to utilize the kind of master key that can decipher any
    telegraphic codes.
    All of this bodes ill for people's movements. The Internet plays an
    important role in assisting and circulating struggles against oppressive
    regimes. The violation of the secrecy of communication among people opposing
    those regimes could become much more than an infringement on an abstract
    individual right; it could, quite simply, endanger people's lives. We must
    bear in mind this possibility, for information gathered by Japanese
    authorities under a new wiretapping law could be leaked or intentionally
    passed along to authorities serving oppresive governments.
    The Struggle Against Tochoho
    As the new communication technologies become more widely used, electronic
    surveillance looms as a serious problem. Nowadays, electronic surveillance
    goes beyond simple wiretapping and is shifting toward a comprehensive
    monitoring system, including monitoring by video and multimedia
    In Japan, the dominant opinion is that even though wiretapping violates
    citizen privacy rights, it may be a necessary part of certain criminal
    investigations. Sensational mass media reporting about the drug trade and
    heinous crimes has spawned campaigns from time to time demanding more severe
    law enforcement. With this kind of backdrop public sentiment as a backdrop,
    the powers of the police have gradually increased.
    Still, many people in Japan are alarmed by the trend toward greater police
    surveillance, and since the beginning of 1997, different struggles have
    emerged to fight the legalization of wiretapping. One anti-wiretapping
    campaign has created its own homepage on the Internet. [3] Recently, a
    resolution against Tochoho was passed by a coalition of groups including
    Nichibenren, Simbumroren (the Japan Federation of Workers' Newspaper Unions)
    and Nishoren (the Japan Federation of Consumers), as well as religious
    groups working on human rights issues and groups opposing the Emperor
    system. Activists have also produced a documentary video on the reality of
    wiretapping in Japan.[4] JCA, a users' group on the Internet, carried the
    resolutions against the Tochoho. These struggles are gradually spreading. If
    Tochoho is not introduced in the Diet by the end of this year, it may come
    up for a vote during the next Diet session. Therefore, our struggle has just
    1.The report by the legislative consultation group calls for new legislation
    other than the legalization of wiretapping. The report suggests a law for
    "group crimes" which would impose more severe punishments and allow for the
    seizure of properties gained through criminal activity. This law enforcement
    would not be limited to criminal groups in a narrow sense such as gangsters.
    There is a significant danger that it might be arbitrarily applied to
    people's movement organizations, NGOs, labor unions or human rights
    organizations. Since the discussion in this article is limited to the issue
    of wiretapping, there is no mention of these other issues.
    2. ACLU. "Wiretapping Bills on Immigration and Terrorism Move to House Votes
    on March 12-19," on homepage: http://www.aclu.org/congress/wiretap.html
         Also, on wiretapping in the United States, related resources can be
    found by going to the homepage of the Electronic Privacy Information
    Center(EPIC: http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/
    3. http://www.jca.ax.apc.org/~toshi/cen/wiretap.intr.html
    4. Video, "Tochoho: The Day When Police Rob Privacy" by the Video Production
    Committee "Wiretap." Contact: 81-3-3330-8270 (phone & fax).Price is
    AMPO is publisned by Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC), one of most
    important non-profit activist resource center in Japan. This issue of AMPO
    is special issue on The Twilight Of The Soehart Regime: Toward
    e-mail PARCat_private
    web page: http://www,.jca.ax.apc.org/PARC
    phone: 81-3-3291-5901
    fax: 81-3-3292-2437
    address: Rm.303, Seiko Bldg. 1-30 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101
    (((((((((NO! WIRETAP BILL)))))))))
    Toshimaru Ogura
    another world Home Page
    (((((((((NO! WEB RATING)))))))))

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