EPIC logo

       @@@@  @@@@  @@@  @@@@      @    @     @@@@  @@@@  @@@@@
       @     @  @   @   @        @ @   @     @     @  @    @
       @@@@  @@@    @   @       @@@@@  @     @@@   @@@     @
       @     @      @   @       @   @  @     @     @  @    @
       @@@@  @     @@@  @@@@    @   @  @@@@  @@@@  @   @   @
   Volume 8.08                                        May 2, 2001
                            Published by the
              Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
                            Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
[1] Report: Lots of "Portable" Wiretaps; No Encryption Problems
[2] Order Served on News Site Raises Significant Issues
[3] EPIC Files FOIA Request on First 100 Days on Privacy
[4] Survey Shows Workplace Monitoring Continues to Rise
[5] Subscribe to the EPIC-Digest!
[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
[7] EPIC Bookstore - Body of Secrets
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
[1] Report: Lots of "Portable" Wiretaps; No Encryption Problems
As required by law, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has
released its annual report on federal and state applications for the
interception of communications.  While the overall number of wiretaps
decreased last year, a significant majority of electronic surveillance
was directed at portable devices such as cellular phones and pagers.
In another significant finding, the new report discloses that no
investigations were thwarted by the use of encryption technology.  The
report is based upon all data on wiretaps conducted from January 1,
2000 through December 1, 2000.
Last year, a total of 1,190 federal and state wiretaps were
authorized, a decrease from 1999 when an all-time high of 1,350
wiretap applications were approved.  As is often the case, no wiretap
applications were denied during the year.  Of the 1,190 authorized
wiretaps, 479 were authorized by federal judges and 711 by state
judges, both slightly smaller numbers than the previous year.
Consistent with earlier wiretap reports, the vast majority of
wiretaps, seventy-five percent, were authorized for narcotics
This year's report introduces "portable devices, carried by/on
individual," such as cellular phones and pagers, as a new category for
data relating to location of wiretaps.  The "portable" category turned
out to be the most popular as sixty percent -- 715 wiretaps in all --
of wiretaps were authorized for portable devices.  Of the 715 portable
device wiretaps, 691 involved cellular telephones.
The 2000 Wiretap report is also the first to indicate whether
encryption was encountered by law enforcement officials in the course
of a wiretap and whether it hindered obtaining plaintext.  Amendments
to the wiretap statute now require the collection of such data
beginning with this year's report. In 2000, no federal wiretaps
encountered encryption, but state and local agencies encountered
twenty-two situations where encryption was used.  In all twenty-two
investigations, the use of encryption did not prevent access to
plaintext.  The report does not go on to say how such plaintext was
For the period 1990-2000, the number of wiretaps has increased
thirty-six percent from 872 at the beginning of the decade to 1,190
for this past year.
The 2000 Wiretap Report is available online:
Table displaying results of past Wiretap Reports since 1968:
[2] Order Served on News Site Raises Significant Issues
An international inquiry into the alleged theft of Canadian government
documents could establish important precedents for the conduct of
online investigations.  On April 21, the Independent Media Center
(IMC) in Seattle was served with a sealed court order seeking
information about all users who had accessed the group's web server
during a 48-hour period.  The order, issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge
Monica Benton and served by agents of the FBI and U.S. Secret Service,
prohibited the IMC from disclosing the existence of the order or the
underlying investigation.  In response to First Amendment arguments
raised by counsel for the organization, Judge Benson lifted the "gag
order" on April 27, permitting public discussion of the matter.  The
other portions of the order, compelling disclosure of user
information, remain in effect.
The order states that it was issued as part of an "ongoing criminal
investigation" into acts that could constitute violations of Canadian
law, specifically theft and mischief.  Although the order does not
provide additional details, the federal agents told IMC volunteers
that the investigation concerned the source of either one or two
postings which, they said, had been posted to an IMC newswire.  These
posts, according to the agents, contained documents stolen from a
Canadian government agency, including classified information related
to the travel itinerary of George W. Bush (who was at that time in
Quebec City, participating in Summit of the Americas meetings).
Although the agents claimed an interest in only two posts, the court
order demands "all user connections logs" for a 48-hour period, which
would include individual IP addresses for every person who posted
materials to or visited the IMC site during the Quebec protests
against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.  The Seattle IMC
was launched in 1999 to provide grassroots coverage of protests
against the WTO; the IMC network now reaches around the world, with
dozens of sites scattered across six continents.  Each IMC's news
coverage centers upon its open-publishing newswire, a system that
allows "anyone with access to an Internet connection to become a
journalist, reporting on events from his or her own perspective."
Recognizing that an order compelling the disclosure of information
identifying an indiscriminately large number of users of a website
devoted to political discourse raises very serious constitutional
issues, EPIC is assisting the IMC as part of its national legal team.
The group plans to file a motion seeking to quash the disclosure
The text of the court order served on the IMC is available at:
[3] EPIC Files FOIA Request on First 100 Days on Privacy
Earlier this week, EPIC submitted a series of Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) requests in an effort to determine the Bush administration's
commitment to privacy protection during its first 100 days.  The
requests focus on appointment books of senior officials and transition-
al memoranda from the Department of the Treasury, Department of
Commerce, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission,
and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Privacy protection was an important element of President Bush's
campaign.  During the campaign, President Bush articulated strong
support for privacy protections.  In an Associated Press interview,
President Bush called privacy a "fundamental right," and vowed to
place privacy protections in law for individuals' sensitive personal
information.  In other interviews, President Bush referred to himself
as a "privacy guy," and said that every American should have "absolute
control over his or her personal information."
The series of FOIA requests for appointment books should reveal the
frequency with which senior agency officials met with lobbyists and
other political interests to discuss privacy issues during the first
100 days of the Bush administration.
The FOIA requests for transition team memoranda will indicate how Bush
Administration officials directed executive agency heads to formulate
and execute policies on privacy.
The series of EPIC FOIA requests is available at:
[4] Survey Shows Workplace Monitoring Continues to Rise
A new study by the American Management Association (AMA) reveals that
workplace surveillance continues to rise.  The American Management
Association's 2001 Annual Survey on Workplace Monitoring and
Surveillance, released on April 18, finds that nearly eighty percent
of all major U.S. companies carry out some form of employee
monitoring, a dramatic increase from thirty-five percent in 1997.
Approximately sixty-three percent of companies review employees'
Internet use and forty-seven percent monitor email communications.
Furthermore, twenty-five percent of companies say they have fired
employees, and sixty-five percent have disciplined, for misuse of
these services.  Other common forms of surveillance include telephone
monitoring and video surveillance.  According to the survey, most
employers cite legal compliance, legal liability, performance review,
productivity measures and security concerns as their top reasons for
snooping on their employees.
Last year, a bill requiring employers to notify workers of such
surveillance was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In a Congressional hearing on the bill, EPIC stated that any workplace
surveillance legislation should include strong privacy protection
principles in keeping with Fair Information Practices and the
International Labour Organization privacy guidelines.
A summary of the American Management Association's 2001 Annual Survey
on Workplace Monitoring & Surveillance is available at:
EPIC's Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on HR 4908, the
Notice of Electronic Monitoring Act, is available at:
[5] Subscribe to the EPIC-Digest!
The EPIC-Digest is a weekly compilation of privacy news and
information items posted on Privacy.org.  Each news item contains a
brief abstract and links to news articles and other information.
Individuals can subscribe to e-mail delivery of the Digest at the
address below.
Privacy.org is the site for daily news, information, and initiatives
on privacy.  The web site is a joint project of the Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC) and Privacy International.
Subscribe to the EPIC-Digest at:
[6] EPIC Bill-Track: New Bills in Congress
H.R.1543. Civil Rights and Employee Investigation Clarification Act.
To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to exempt certain
communications from the definition of consumer report, and for other
purposes. Sponsor: Rep Sessions, Pete (R-TX) Latest Major Action:
4/24/2001 Referred to House committee House Financial Services.
S.705 Health Information Technology and Quality Improvement Act of
2001. A bill to establish a health information technology grant
program for hospitals and for skilled nursing facilities and home
health agencies, and to require the Secretary of Health and Human
Services to establish and implement a methodology under the medicare
program for providing hospitals with reimbursement for costs incurred
by such hospitals with respect to information technology systems.
Sponsor: Sen Schumer, Charles E. (D-NY) Latest Major Action: 4/5/2001
Referred to Senate committee: Senate Finance.
EPIC Bill Track: Tracking Privacy, Speech, and Cyber-Liberties Bills
in the 107th Congress, is available at:
[7] EPIC Bookstore - Body of Secrets
Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency
- From the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century, by James Bamford
The NSA is the largest, most secretive, and most powerful intelligence
agency in the world.  With a staff of 38,000 people, it dwarfs the CIA
in budget, manpower, and influence.  Recent headlines have linked it
to the economic espionage throughout Europe and to the ongoing hunt
for the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
James Bamford first penetrated the wall of silence surrounding the NSA
in 1982, with the much-talked-about bestseller The Puzzle Palace.  In
Body of Secrets, he offers shocking new details about the inner
workings of the agency, gathered through unique access to thousands of
internal documents and interviews with current and former officials.
Unveiling extremely sensitive information for the first time, Bamford
exposes the role the NSA played in numerous Soviet bloc Cold War
conflicts and discusses its undercover involvement in the Vietnam War.
His investigation into the NSA's technological advances during the
last fifteen years brings to light a network of global surveillance
ranging from on-line listening posts to sophisticated intelligence-
gathering satellites.  In a hard-hitting conclusion, he warns that the
NSA is a two-edged sword.  While its worldwide eavesdropping
activities offer the potential for tracking down terrorists and
uncovering nuclear weapons deals, it also has the capability to listen
on global personal communications.
For other books recommended by EPIC, browse the EPIC Bookshelf at:
EPIC Publications:
"The Consumer Law Sourcebook 2000: Electronic Commerce and the Global
Economy," Sarah Andrews, editor (EPIC 2000). Price: $40.
The Consumer Law Sourcebook provides a basic set of materials for
consumers, policy makers, practitioners and researchers who are
interested in the emerging field of electronic commerce.  The focus is
on framework legislation that articulates basic rights for consumers
and the basic responsibilities for businesses in the online economy.
"Privacy & Human Rights 2000: An International Survey of Privacy Laws
and Developments," David Banisar, author (EPIC 2000).
Price: $20. http://www.epic.org/phr/
This survey, by EPIC and Privacy International, reviews the state of
privacy in over fifty countries around the world.  The survey examines
a wide range of privacy issues including, data protection, telephone
tapping, genetic databases, ID systems and freedom of information
"The Privacy Law Sourcebook 2000: United States Law, International
Law, and Recent Developments," Marc Rotenberg, editor (EPIC 2000).
Price: $40. http://www.epic.org/pls/
The "Physicians Desk Reference of the privacy world." An invaluable
resource for students, attorneys, researchers and journalists who need
an up-to-date collection of U.S. and International privacy law, as
well as a comprehensive listing of privacy resources.
"Cryptography and Liberty 2000: An International Survey of Encryption
Policy," Wayne Madsen and David Banisar, authors (EPIC 2000).
Price: $20. http://www.epic.org/crypto&/
EPIC's third survey of encryption policies around the world. The
results indicate that the efforts to reduce export controls on strong
encryption products have largely succeeded, although several
governments are gaining new powers to combat the perceived threats of
encryption to law enforcement.
"Filters and Freedom: Free Speech Perspectives on Internet Content
Controls," David Sobel, editor (EPIC 1999). Price: $20.
A collection of essays, studies, and critiques of Internet content
filtering.  These papers are instrumental in explaining why filtering
threatens free expression.
Additional titles on privacy, open government, free expression,
computer security, and crypto, as well as films and DVDs can be
ordered through the EPIC Bookstore: http://www.epic.org/bookstore/
[8] Upcoming Conferences and Events
The First Annual Privacy and Data Protection Summit. Privacy Officers
Association. May 2-4, 2001. Arlington, VA. For more information:
The 26th Annual AAAS Colloquium on Science and Technology Policy.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. May 3-4, 2001.
Washington, DC. For more information:
Surveillance, Risk, and Social Categorization. The Surveillance
Project, Queen's University. May 3-5, 2001. Kingston, Ontario CANADA.
For  more information: http://qsilver.queensu.ca/sociology/
Future of the Internet: Preserving the Internet's Openness, Freedom,
and Diversity. Center for Media Education and Center for Digital
Democracy. May 9, 2001. Washington, DC. For more information:
The Internet and State Security Forum (ISSF). Cambridge Review of
International Affairs. May 19, 2001. Cambridge, England. For more
information: http://www.cria.org.uk/
Communication Research and Policy Workshop. Ford Foundation and
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). May 24, 2001.
Washington, DC. For more information: http://www.cpsr.org/ICA_workshop
It's the Public's Right. National Freedom of Information Coalition.
May 25-27, 2001. Newport Beach, CA. For more information:
Call for Papers - June 1, 2001. Summer 2001 Issue on Cybermedicine.
John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law. For more
information: 5simondo@stu.jmls.edu
The Internet Security Conference (TISC) 2001. Core Competence, Inc.
June 4-8, 2001. Los Angeles, CA. For more information:
INET 2001: A Net Odyssey, Mobility and the Internet. The 11th Annual
Internet Society Conference. June 5-8, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden. For
more information: http://www.isoc.org/inet2001/
ETHICOMP 2001: Systems of the Information Society. Telecommunications
and Informatics Technical University of Gdansk, Poland. June 18-20,
2001. Gdansk, Poland. For more information:
ACS/IEEE International Conference on Computer Systems and Applications
2001: Taking Stock of Existing Technology, Charting Future Trends.
Lebanese American University. June 25-29, 2001. Beirut, Lebanon. For
more information:
Democracy Forum 2001: Democracy and the Information Revolution.
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. June
27-29, 2001. Stockholm, Sweden. For more information:
Call for Papers - June 30, 20001. CEPE2001: Computer Ethics,
Philosophical Enquiries. Lancaster University (UK). Centre for Study
of Technology in Organizations, Institute for Environment, Philosophy
and Public Policy. December 14-16, 2001. For more information:
Re-shaping the Culture of Research: People, Participation,
Partnerships & Practical Tools - Fourth Annual Community Research
Network Conference. The Loka Institute. July 6-8, 2001. Austin, TX.
For more information: http://www.loka.org/
Call For Submissions - August 3, 2001. Workshop on Security and
Privacy in Digital Rights Management 2001. Eighth Association for
Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Computer and Communications
Security. November 5, 2001. For more information:
ICSC 2001: International Conference on Social Computing. University of
Bremen. October 1-3, 2001. Bremen, Germany. For more information:
Privacy2001: Information, Security & Ethics for the New Century.
Technology Policy Group. October 3-4, 2001. Cleveland, Ohio. For more
information: http://www.privacy2000.org/
Nurturing the Cybercommons, 1981-2001. Computer Professionals for
Social Responsibility (CPSR) 20th Annual Meeting. October 19-21, 2001.
Ann Arbor, MI. For more information:
Learning for the Future. Business for Social Responsibility's Ninth
Annual Conference. November 7-9, 2001. Seattle, WA. For more
information: http://www.bsr.org/events/2001.asp
Subscription Information
The EPIC Alert is a free biweekly publication of the Electronic
Privacy Information Center. A Web-based form is available for
subscribing or unsubscribing at:
To subscribe or unsubscribe using email, send email to
epic-news@epic.org with the subject: "subscribe" (no quotes) or
Back issues are available at:
Privacy Policy
The EPIC Alert mailing list is used only to mail the EPIC Alert and to
send notices about EPIC activities.  We do not sell, rent or share our
mailing list.  We also intend to challenge any subpoena or other legal
process seeking access to our mailing list.  We do not enhance (link
to other databases) our mailing list or require your actual name.
In the event you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe your email address
from this list, please follow the above instructions under
"subscription information".  Please contact info@epic.org if you have
any other questions.
About EPIC
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest
research center in Washington, DC.  It was established in 1994 to
focus public attention on emerging privacy issues such as the Clipper
Chip, the Digital Telephony proposal, national ID cards, medical
record privacy, and the collection and sale of personal information.
EPIC publishes the EPIC Alert, pursues Freedom of Information Act
litigation, and conducts policy research.  For more information,
e-mail info@epic.org, http://www.epic.org or write EPIC, 1718
Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009.
+1 202 483 1140 (tel), +1 202 483 1248 (fax).
If you'd like to support the work of the Electronic Privacy
Information Center, contributions are welcome and fully
tax-deductible.  Checks should be made out to "EPIC" and sent to
1718 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009.
Or you can contribute online at
Your contributions will help support Freedom of Information Act and
First Amendment litigation, strong and effective advocacy for the
right of privacy and efforts to oppose government regulation of
encryption and expanding wiretapping powers.
Thank you for your support.
  ---------------------- END EPIC Alert 8.08 -----------------------