So, if China wants to censure criticism of their government, the FBI will stop US citizens from criticizing China’s government because we have to enforce their law here? What about porn? One country has laws against it on the net, so is this how ultra-conservatives end it here? Then if the US government pressures a foreign country to enact a law against something it could never get outlawed here, does this law suddenly allow it to be enforced here? Is enactment of a non-net version next?

Totalitarianism let in through the back door. Orwell simply wasn’t thinking big enough!

The World’s Worst Internet Laws Sneaking Through the Senate

The Convention on Cybercrime is a sweeping treaty that has been waiting in the wings of the Senate for nearly three years. Now the administration is putting pressure on the Senate to ratify it in the next two days. If it does, it would mean the U.S. would enforce not just our own, but the rest of the world’s bad Net laws. Call your Senator now, and ask them to hold its ratification.

The treaty requires that the U.S. government help enforce other countries’ “cybercrime” laws – even if the act being prosecuted is not illegal in the United States. That means that countries that have laws limiting free speech on the Net could oblige the F.B.I. to uncover the identities of anonymous U.S. critics, or monitor their communications on behalf of foreign governments. American ISPs would be obliged to obey other jurisdiction’s requests to log their users’ behavior without due process, or compensation.

The treaty came into force last year on the international front, but not in the US, where it needs to be ratified by Congress first. So far, ratification has been blocked thanks to a “hold” placed by conservative lawmakers. But Republican senators this week are now being heavily pressured by the administration to drop their objections, and let it fly.

Ratifying the Cybercrime treaty would introduce not just one bad Internet law into America’s lawbooks, but invite the enforcement of all the world’s worst Internet laws. Call your senators now, and tell them to hold this invasive treaty at bay.

Come on, conservatives. How do you justify your president wanting this?

  1. Shouldnt the American tax payer get American law enforcement agencies to do American law enforcement? Or are they going to bill other countries for their “contract” work?

    Or is that just silly talk??

  2. ECA says:

    Its funny that we uphold ALL the laws of copyrights for other countries, but a few of the others dont even CONSIDER ours. Including China.

  3. Smartalix says:

    This is all about stifling access and free speech. Soon we’ll only be able to shop and play games online, and places where people can actually discuss issues will be blocked because of the subversive nature of grumpy speech.

  4. gquaglia says:

    What, conservatives doing the right thing? I thought they were evil incarnate, after spending some time on this blog.

  5. Howard says:

    Six lines before Uncle D gets in a gratuitous shot at “conservatives,” in the last line of the post, the article he’s quoting clearly states that it is conservatives that are blocking this monstrosity. The great thing about raging leftists is they never let the facts get in the way of a partisan attack.

    If it weren’t for liberal Dems who think whatever the United Nations wants must be cool, this outrageous treaty wouldn’t have a chance of passage. Time for bloggers to flood Harry Reid’s inbox with warnings that they don’t want to see any Dem’s supporting this horror.

  6. god says:

    gc — just cowards and copouts who gave up their political party to madmen.

  7. lou says:

    Treaties are different than laws. It should be understood that different countries have different laws and customs, and treaties help us all get along a little better without necessarily endorsing other countries practices.

    For example, if an American national commits a crime (say child rape) in another country, it would be proper to extradite the person (with appropriate safeguards).

    That being said, due process and other constitutional safeguards must be followed, and this potential law does not seem to respect that.

  8. Gustavious says:

    This appears to be an attempt by Bush to do through a back door that which he could not do through the front, which is require ISP’s to provide real time information about their subscribers’ internet usage. Once the government gets legal access to this information, who among us believe that they will not use it for whatever they feel is necessary?

  9. Howard says:

    Follow the link in the main post, and you’ll find a link to the original source of this heads-up.
    There you’ll see that the groups already fighting this are a Who’s Who of the Conservative Movement. Sorry, lefties — for real conservatives, liberty and American sovereignty will always be more important than partisan advantage. Can liberal Dems say the same?

  10. Howard says:

    For those of you too lazy to read the whole article, here’s the money quote.

    “And so it is no wonder that many leading conservatives have called on the Senate to hold serious, open hearings on this treaty. Leaders from American Conservative Union, Eagle Forum, and Free Congress Foundation, among others, wrote to the Senate in June urging real hearings on these important concerns.”

  11. Smartalix says:

    …for real conservatives, liberty and American sovereignty will always be more important than partisan advantage. Can liberal Dems say the same?

    Maybe not. However, this issue is way bigger than partisan politics. IMNSHO “Liberal Dems” and “Conservative GOP” leadership would both fail that question.

  12. AB CD says:

    These are important concerns, but looking at the Convention itself, I don”t see it. The very early parts specify that free speech online is a fundamental right. The rest looked like it was covering hacking of computers and identity theft. Then again, I didn’t read the whole thing thoroughly, and Europe is not known as a haven for free speech. Could someone point out a provision of the treaty that they object to? Anyone wanting to bash Bush for this treaty, can no longer bash him for dropping other treaties on the grounds that he is ignoring the demnds of the rest of the world.

  13. Smith says:

    “Come on, conservatives. How do you justify your president wanting this? ”

    Simple, Bush isn’t a conservative.

    It’s just plain stupid to commit this country to any kind of international Internet treaty when we haven’t agreed to what laws we should apply to our own use. We have a tough enough time working this out with our own politicians, why should we give any say in our laws to Nigerian scammers or Iranian ayatollahs?

  14. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #4 – What, conservatives doing the right thing? I thought they were evil incarnate, after spending some time on this blog.

    Comment by gquaglia — 8/4/2006 @ 4:33 am

    Conservatives aren’t evil. They’re just a little timid about positive progressive change. Not bad people, just a little nervous around people who are different from them.

    It’s neo-conservatives who are evil, and they are a dying breed anyway.

  15. Mike Voice says:

    15 This ship appears to have sailed, BTW

    Hmmm, lets see now:

    1. Federal judge shields Yahoo from verdict in French court, regarding access by French citizens to sales of “nazi” merchandise.

    2. Internet Gambling…

    3. Search results for Republic of China, Dali Lama, Tiannemen Square massacre, “Free” Tibet, etc…

    4. Depictions of Mohammed…

    5. ?


    Looks like we’re in for some interesting times.

  16. Mike Voice says:

    Follow-up link from EFF, on which countries have ratified this:

  17. joshua says:

    Ok Smartalix….where you want to go for dinner on our first date?

    This is the third time in a week I agree with you.

    The Republican LEADERSHIP is out to lunch on this, as is the Democratic leadership….and apparently most Democratic Senators.
    The Conservatives fighting this are basically good old traditional Conservatives, not neocons or religious rights conservatives.

    And whoever said Bush isn’t a Conservative…..bravo…..that is sure the truth.

  18. Smartalix says:

    I’m high maintenance, we should just worship one another from afar, Joshua.


    What smells the worst about this is that America has been on a roll ignoring international treaties like they were bad diet advice. Why the big effort to comply with this one? Who is the real beneficiary, and why?

    IMNSHO, this is only yet another attempt to kill the independent internet. The powers that be see us exchanging information freely, and it scares them shitless.

  19. AB CD says:

    Could people please read the treaty first, instead of quoting press releases? My scanning of the treaty suggests all four of your examples are wrong.

  20. Mike Voice says:

    22 My scanning of the treaty suggests all four of your examples are wrong.

    What an interesting concept. I’m embarassed I just took the EFF’s word for what it implied.

    Article 10 is probably where the push to ratify this treaty is coming from:

    Article 10 requires criminalizing infringing on copyrights as per [among others] the WIPO copyright treaty – and article 12 of that treaty prohibits anything which …will induce, enable, facilitate or conceal an infringement of any right covered by this Treaty or the Berne Convention:

    (i) to remove or alter any electronic rights management information without authority;

    Article 9, paragraph 2 is interesting in that they want all signatories to make it a criminal offense to transmit child pornography – with the preferred definition including:
    b a person appearing to be a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
    c realistic images representing a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

    But the signatories may reserve the right not to apply those standards.

    Article 11 makes it a crime to aid or abet violating any of the crimes outlined in the treaty, and would prefer that attempting to aid/abet also be a crime.

    Article 13 requires that all sanctions against individuals are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, which include deprivation of liberty.

    And that all sanctions against “legal persons” [corporations?] shall be subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal or non-criminal sanctions or measures, including monetary sanctions.

    Article 14 is where it gets vague…

    Scope of procedural provisions…
    2 Except as specifically provided otherwise in Article 21, each Party shall apply the powers and procedures referred to in paragraph 1 of this article to:

    a the criminal offences established in accordance with Articles 2 through 11 of this Convention;

    b other criminal offences committed by means of a computer system; and

    c the collection of evidence in electronic form of a criminal offence.

    Ah well, time for bed…


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