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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 30 Oct 2000


From: Peter
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Kiwi Carnivore

It needs to be remembered that 'traffic analysis' of
messages is just as important as content, and would yield
valuable information about who is communicating with whom.
Use of third party letterboxes may help protect privacy in
some cases.

If surveillance is to be allowed, it is very important that
it be on a 'user pays' basis ie the Police, SIS etc meeting
reasonable costs out of their budgets, and not being
subsidised by users of communications services.  This would
provide a very effective control on these activities.



From: Rob K
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Email is Record Communication

Email is "Record Communication."  That means there is a
reproducable record of whatever is communicated.  Like a
registered legal document at the local courthouse, all one
has to do is go to the source (any one of a <enter
astronomical number here> servers that have retained a copy
as an intermediate postal server and you can reproduce
whatever has been written.

The answer?  If you really want privacy... well... can YOU
say, "PGP, anyone?"

Rob K
Baton Rouge, LA



From: Ian
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Postcards,

It's late in the day, but I thought I'd add this to the
"those wih nothing to fear" argument.

All the transactions I make with my bank are perfectly
legal. I pay rates, buy pizza, pay for net access -- that
sort of thing. This doesn't mean I want my bank statement
easily read (or forged) by anyone at all.

I don't want my "private" mail (of a legal nature) to be
available to others without my knowledge. News of births,
marriages and deaths, neighbours who are unwell, parents
washing their car -- it's all legal but I don't want people
reading it.

Should we be required to have all our email readable by
anyone? Perhaps we could arrange for politicians who are
not computer literate to show the way by arranging for ALL
their correspondence to be sent by postcard.

Just because I don't want people reading my mail doesn't
mean that I am engaged in illegal activities.



From: David Mohring
For : Right Of Reply (for publication)
Subj: Don't you realize how vulnerable you are?

One side effect of this legislation will result in a
fearsome weapon that can be used by anyone in the world
against anyone in New Zealand.

It is not possible to provide 100% protection against
another person or agency cracking into your computer
over the internet and using an inserted trojan program
to commit criminal or terrorist acts. What is to stop
you being held criminally liable for this?

Similarly, what is to stop another person or agency cracking
your computer over the internet and just planting evidence
of criminal or terrorist activity, and then anonymously
notifying the police?



From: Andy Truman
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: The Kiwi Carnivore

Absurd - isn't it?

As you have so obviously pointed out in
your article, the chances of an email with the subject
heading 'Meet me at 7:00 to arrange the Trustbank Heist' as
opposed to a cellular conversation between felons is
ludacrous.

It makes me wonder what the real intentions of
govenment officials are. What do they really hope to
achieve by the monitoring of our email? What possible
information that we send to each other via email on a daily
basis could be of an use to them?

It also angers me that they are so openly ready to jump
on the international monitoring bandwagon here and yet more
desperate issues (like internet credit card fraud) is still
residing in their 'too hard' basket.

As an online retailer we approached the ISP's of this country
and the fraud squad several years ago and tried to arrange
for a professional managed tracking system between the ISP's
and Telecom to trace IP addresses of known fraudulent offences
legally.

The main problem being that consumers agree NOT to use
their net access for illegal purposes when they sign up,
but there is no agreement with Telecom that you won't use
your phone to create mishief. The best that the ISP's could
come up with was that would ban users that could be proven
to have committed credit card fraud, but even this failed
because two of the ISP's were more than happy to take the
extra customers. And the police don't care because the
amounts are too small, and the credit card companies don't
care because they use it as a means to justify the high
interest charges.

If the govenment really wants to exercise some monitoring
muscle, why not force all ISP's and Telecom to setup an
automated system that online retailers can get in touch
with to electronically backtrack these criminals. Cause
right now - it's open slander on retailers out there!



From: Jenny Shearer
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: surveillance comment (exclusive)

Communications companies should refuse to collaborate with
plans by the Government to bring New Zealand to the status
of a surveillance society, says ISOC Aotearoa Chapter in
formation coordinator Jenny Shearer.

"It is not the place of communications companies to be
party to breaching the trust of its customers by actively
assisting the Government to impose heavy and unchecked E-
mail and other electronic surveillance, that would amount
to a covert threat to our democracy.

"The proposals being discussed by Associate Minister Paul
Swain to amend the Telecommunications Act would require
telephone and Internet companies to adapt their systems to
open them to spy services, and possibly to police
administered "sniffer" software operating within commercial
networks. The result would be some of the worst
infringements of the privacy of citizens to be found in the
world. Worse, the revelations of researcher Nicky Hager
indicate a process of deception by the Government as to the
meaning of add-ons to existing legislation which would
enable unchecked electronic invasion into the lives of New
Zealanders.

"From the point of view of the communications companies,
this action will probably be an indicator of how little the
Government understands e-commerce and the Internet. The
high public uptake of the Internet is based on free nature
of its information flows and confidential nature of its
communications. It is well known internationally that
national secret services are being increasingly used for
purposes of industrial spying to profit the host country,
and to spy on the citizens of the host country in order to
secure the position of the Government.

"To ask telecommunications companies and Internet Service
Providers to collaborate and effectively to approve in
advance of law, extremely serious breaches of e-democracy,
is ridiculous. Paul Swain, who is in error both in the area
of responsible process of developing law in such a critical
area, but also in foisting on to communications companies a
task which is similar to asking them to cut their own
throats in a business sense, (and that of New Zealand e-
commerce in general), should reconsider how this initiative
is being handled.

"He is using understandable public concerns about vandals
hacking into people's confidential databases, plus scare
tactics about international terrorism, to be thoroughly
irresponsible. The area needs extensive public debate and
education before the process of cautious legislative change
begins. The situation where police apply for a warrant to
access e-mail communications is an obvious step to take.
The next ten, where routine electronic surveillance of
citizens going about their lawful business is undertaken by
police and/security services without transparency or
accountability, is another matter entirely," Dr Shearer
says. Her views do not necessarily represent the views of
the ISOC Aotearoa Steering Committee.



From: Richard
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: E-gad

"If you have done nothing wrong then you'll have nothing to
worry about."

Good greif, do they still use *that*?

"Oh sure." you say. "It's the government. We can trust
them. They won't abuse their powers."

Uh-huh. Riiiight.

If you believe that, I have some prime real-estate on the
moon I can sell you too.

If you need any proof that governments - even
elected "democratic" ones are capable of using their powers
for unjust reasons just give Amnesty International a call.

Even in the land of "Truth, Justice and the American Way"
where everyone is granted the right to "Life, Liberty and
the Pursuit of Happiness" we find that both the LAPD, the
LA District Attorney and even the respected FBI (whose
motto is "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity") conspired to
wrongfully convict and imprison for TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS an
innocent man, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt a former Black Panther
leader.

Why? Simple. He didn't agree with their politics.

If this can happen in America (purportedly the most
democratic & free place on Earth) in the seventies - can
you imagine what could happen today with the technology now
at their disposal?

Politicians are human, just like the rest of us, subject to
all the same temptations and certainly not christ-like in
their honesty.

Without we, the citizenry exercising our civil and
democratic rights we will surely lose them to those who
would rather like to cement their grip on power.

I'm sure Mr Pratt didn't have anything to fear.

As for encrypting your mail - forget it. The new laws
coming into force in the UK mean you will have to surrender
your encryption key *on demand* or you could face arrest.

Remember, if encryption is outlawed, then only outlaws will
have encryption.



From: spiro harvey
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: our security govt

Yet again our government proves they don't have a clue. have
they learned how to collect their own email yet, or are they
still getting their much more knowledgeable secretaries to
do it?

when I thought about it at first, like you bruce, I wasn't
too concerned if they start to steal all our email, but on
second thoughts, how will they police it?

Enforce all ISPs to collect the data? give them all grunty
sun enterprise servers with terrabytes of disk? make it all
go to a central point where the police can collect it? Will
they pay the ISPs for any traffic they have to pay to get
the data there? or will the ISPs have to foot the bill? Some
of the smaller ones are already on the brink of losing
money.

And what about all the non-ISPs? web hosting companies,
companies who host their own mail servers in-house? home
users with domain names and run their own mail servers off
dsl or cable connections? will they assume everything in the
.nz domain? or will they do name searches to see which new
zealanders have .coms, or .cc's, or .uk's, or any other one
of the TLDs out there? what about mail servers in the .nz
domain hosted overseas?

Will the govt sponsor companies who don't have the in-house
knowledge who always have to call contractors to do their IT
work? or is that bad luck for these companies?

Will the government make it a tax that we can claim back
100%?

I'm betting there are dozens of other issues I haven't
thought of (the slowing down of all traffic in NZ may not be
such an issue when everybody has broadband, but people are
still paying for traffic and we're going to have to foot
those bills)....

Has the govt thought of any of these? I'm betting not
because otherwise they would see just how absurd a task it
is. I mean, really, they are completely clueless idiots.
They really have no idea whatsoever. and they try to tackle
things like this.

Perhaps the govt should have saved the money they gave to
entertainment industry to put into this venture. it would
have been a wiser move.

Anyone would think this country is being run by a woman.

oh. wait a minute...

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