FC: Civ-libs ask Council of Europe about secret "Second Protocol"

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 07:52:54 PST

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    "Council of Europe drafts secret 'Second Protocol'"
    From: BSteinhardtat_private
    To: "Declan McCullagh \(E-mail\)" <declanat_private>
    Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 12:23:19 -0500
    Thirty-three cyberliberties and human rights groups from around the world
    sent a letter today to the Council of Europe about a second, secret protocol
    to the international Cybercrime treaty that is reportedly being considered.
    (Despite the name Council of "Europe," the US has signed the main Convention
    on Cybercrime.)
    This protocol as you reported apparently has something to do with "terrorist
    messages and the decoding thereof," and very little information has been
    forthcoming from the CoE about this mysterious protocol.
    Barry Steinhardt
    -----Original Message-----
    Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 7:23 PM
    To: Office of COE SG Walter Schwimmer (E-mail)
    February 28, 2002
    Dear Council of Europe Secretary-General Walter Schwimmer:
    We are non-governmental organizations from Council of Europe member and
    observer nations who share a common desire to protect human rights on the
    global Internet. Many of the undersigned organizations had previously sent
    you three letters as members of Global Internet Liberty Campaign (dated
    Oct. 18, Dec. 12, 2000, and Feb. 6, 2002) that raised a number of concerns
    regarding the Council of Europe activities on computer-related crime and
    international co-operation.
    We understand that a second draft protocol is under discussion within the
    Council of Europe 'to cover also terrorist messages and the decoding
    thereof' [1].  It appears to be a derivative effort from the Racist and
    Xenophobic activities [2]; and could serve as a basis for the revision of
    the Convention on Suppressing Terrorist activity [3].
    We are writing to ask for the public release of this discussion draft as
    soon as it is completed, as well as preliminary meeting documents in order
    to provide us with the opportunity to participate in your discussions.
    the potentially serious ramifications of the proposed second protocol and
    related work of the CoE, we believe its draft text must be disclosed to
    allow vigorous and wide-ranging debate over its merits.
    The signatories are of the unanimous view that the development of any
    protocol or treaty should conform with principles of transparency and
    democratic decision-making.  Over the past 18 months, GILC and its member
    organizations have appealed to you personally and the CoE committees on
    many occasions to open up the development processes, to allow for broader
    participation, while we repeatedly offered our time and experience for
    consultation.  As the CoE expands even further the powers of law
    enforcement authorities and definitions of offences, it manages to do so
    under increasingly closed and secretive conditions.  We continue to be
    disappointed by the CoE's practice of creating important international
    conventions and treaties under the protection of obscurity.  This opaque
    and non-democratic process is particularly surprising in contrast with the
    CoE's previous important contributions to liberty and human rights.
    For these reasons, we urge you to release information and draft documents
    regarding this second protocol to the general public if it is finished, or
    to release the document as soon as it is completed.
    American Civil Liberties Union (US)
    ARTICLE 19-The Global Campaign for Free Expression
    Association for Progressive Communications
    Associazione per la Liberta nella Comunicazione Elettronica Interattiva (IT)
    Bits of Freedom (NL)
    Bulgarian Institute for Legal Development (BG)
    Center for Democracy and Technology (US)
    Chaos Computer Club (DE)
    Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)
    Derechos Human Rights (US)
    Digital Freedom Network (US)
    Digital Rights (DK)
    Electronic Frontiers Australia (AU)
    Electronic Frontier Foundation (US)
    Electronic Privacy Information Center (US)
    Equipo Nizkor (ES)
    Feminists Against Censorship (UK)
    Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft (DE)
    Foundation for Information Policy Research (UK)
    Human Rights Network (RU)
    Human Rights Watch
    Imaginons un Réseau Internet Solidaire (FR)
    Internet Society of Bulgaria (BG)
    Liberty (UK)
    The Link Centre, Wits University, Johannesburg (ZA)
    Networkers against Surveillance Taskforce (JP)
    Online Policy Group (US)
    Privacy International (UK)
    Privacy Ukraine (UA)
    Quintessenz (AT)
    Swiss Internet User Group (CH)
    VIBE!AT - Verein für Internet-Benutzer Österreichs (AT)
    XS4ALL (NL)
    1.  Committee of Ministers, 776th meeting - 6 December 2001, Item
    1.6.  <http://cm.coe.int/stat/E/Decisions/2001/776/d01_6.htm>
    2.  Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE, Recommendation 1534 (2001)1 -
    Democracies facing terrorism.
    3.  Multidisciplinary Group on International Action Against Terrorism
    (GMT),  Meeting Report of 1st meeting, Strasbourg, 12-14 December
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