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Recommended reading: Security Policies in Europe

2 February, 2006

Current trends in ICT-based public security policies in Europe show a systematic, generalized and global use of control and surveillance technologies. This leads to implementing irreversible technical standards, to long term structuring of an economic sector, to durably established social behaviours, as well as, more globally, to questioning fundamental aspects of the rule of law. The seminar "Role of ICTs in the Evolution of Security Policies in Europe : Implementation Tools or Deep Restructuration Foundations ?" that took place on 27 January 2006 explored how these global tendencies imply profound changes in the social contract.

Presentations available at:

Civil Society Tunis declaration

21 November, 2005

APC, the association for progressive communication, reports on the civil society press conference on 18 November. Civil society representatives from all continents lined up on a panel to deliver a stark closing statement. The civil society statement was not finalised, but four points are addressed: internet governance, human rights, financing and development, and follow-up. The press conference essentially driven by questions of the audience, revolved around issues of development through ICTs.

Renate Bloem of the Civil Society Bureau kicked off the conference by saluting some language used in the official Tunis Commitment such as multistakeholderism. She held up that civil society has become a force to be reckoned with. "We have moved to become a partner in negotiations," she

New Dutch database to create lifetime record for every baby

21 September, 2005

The Dutch ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport plans to introduce a new electronic file on every new-born, starting in January 2007. The file will contain information about the child, the family situation and its surroundings, later adding educational data, information from social workers and possible police records. The file will be principally maintained by youth doctors and medics working for the child public health care service. The file will be connected to the citizen service number, a new electronic ID for every Dutch resident and citizen replacing the old social-fiscal number. Secretary of State Clémence Ross explained: "Medics can easily trace the development and situation of a child and thus get a clear picture of its need for care. They can also see which other institutions work or have worked with a child. The electronic childfile

New EDRI initiative on e-voting

27 July, 2005

European Digital Rights has opened a new open mailinglist on e-voting. Anybody interested in contributing knowledge on this matter is kindly invited to subscribe and share information with experts from all over Europe. The discussion is focussed on developments in Europe, and can be both political as well as technical.

Subscribe to the EDRI-voting mailinglist

Another Italian community server violated?

14 July, 2005

After the recent discovery that the Italian Autistici/Inventati server had been seized by the Italian police and a backdoor had been probably installed to allow for easier monitoring of all communication going through it, looks like another Italian community server could have endured the same fate.

On Monday 27 June 2005, two members of FLUG (Firenze Linux User Group) visited the data centre of Dada S.p.a., in Milan, where the community server of the group is physically housed, in order to move it to another provider.

When the server was put out of the rack, however, it was discovered that the upper lid of the server case was half-opened. At a closer inspection, it was also discovered that the case lid was scratched, as if it had been put out and reinserted into the rack. Worse, the CD-ROM cable was missing, as were the screws that kept the hard disks in place.

Police backdoor discovered in Italian alternative server

29 June, 2005

On 21 June 2005 the Italian collective Austistici/Inventati discovered a major police backdoor in their server. The server hosts a large number of websites, mailboxes, mailing lists and Internet services for NGOs, grassroots activists and public interest associations. The backdoor was installed over a year ago, on 15 June 2004 by the Italian "Polizia Postale" (Postal Police), after a seizure ordered by the Procura di Bologna (Office of the Public Prosecutor in Bologna) in the context of an investigation into the anarchist collective Crocenera.

The legal owners of the server ('Investici', a legally recognised association) were not informed, nor by the police nor by the public prosecutor. The provider claimed that the downtime - caused by the Police putting the server off-line - was due to a power outage.

NL Municipality wants to ban famous hacker gathering

24 May, 2005


The organisers of 'What the Hack', the 2005 edition of a series of famous Dutch outdoor hacker conferences, were told that their conference will not receive the municipal permit needed for the event to happen. 'What the Hack" is planned to take place on a large event-campground in Liempde (The Netherlands), between the 28th and 31st of July 2005. About 3.000 participants from all over the world are expected. 'What The Hack' is appealing the decision.

What The Hack is scheduled to take place near Boxtel, a village near Den Bosch in the south of The Netherlands. The mayor of Boxtel, J.A.M. van Homelen, cites "fear of disturbances of law and order and danger to public safety". This is noteworthy because the previous editions of the event saw no incidents of any kind – neither at the event itself nor on the Internet.

Council adopts decision on attacks against information systems

10 March, 2005

On 24 February 2005 the JHA Council finally adopted the framework decision on attacks against information systems. The decision harmonises legislation in the EU for any offence committed against a computer infrastructure with the intention of destroying, modifying or altering the information stored on computers or networks of computers. The two key definitions in the decision are illegal access to information systems and illegal interference with the system. In both cases, intent has to be proven, to rule out gross negligence or recklessness. The decision covers not only offences affecting the Member States but also offences committed in their territory against systems located in the territory of third countries.

The decision was debated for the first time in 1999, initiated by the European Commission in 2001 and sent to the European Parliament for advice in the spring of 2002. In October 2002 the EP gave its recommendations and on 28 February 2003 the ministers of Justice had reached an agreement. It is unclear why it took the Council 2 years to actually adopt the proposal. At the time, parliamentary scrutiny reservations were made by the Irish, French, Swedish, Danish and Netherlands delegations. Civil society raised many objections to the proposal, most notably the broad scope of illegal access and the fact there is no exemption for security experts to test the security of systems.

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