http://www.wired.com/news/print_version/politics/story/18969.html?wnpg=all Wired News updated 9:15 a.m. 6.Apr.99.PDT Shaping Online Privacy by Declan McCullagh 3:00 a.m. 6.Apr.99.PDT WASHINGTON -- The timing for the 1999 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference couldn't have been better. Just last Friday, the US Department of Justice appealed its loss in a lawsuit over restrictions on online erotica. The alleged author of the Melissa virus was nabbed a few days ago. And the FBI has shown no signs of backing down on its demand to outlaw unapproved encryption software. This year's CFP conference <http://www.cfp99.org/>, which starts Tuesday in Washington, is especially focused on international Internet regulation and privacy protection. "Even as there are new threats to freedom and privacy, there are new opportunities," says Marc Rotenberg, the conference chair. Speakers from around the globe gathered Monday night to trade war stories -- and, not infrequently, to gripe -- about what their governments were doing. "They want to introduce something like the CDA [Communications Decency Act]. They want blocking of bad material by Internet service providers," says Greg Taylor of Electronic Frontiers Australia, who is speaking on a panel about global Internet censorship. Ever since the conference's kickoff in 1991 in Burlingame, California, CFP has been an event where the savviest people interested in technology's impact on society have gathered. Cypherpunks, law enforcement officers, government officials, and businessmen come to puzzle out the knottiest technology-and-politics conundrums of the day. "Of all the conferences one can go to and throw a rock and hit 10 famous people in cyberspace, this is probably still it," says Ross Stapleton-Gray, the program coordinator, who met his wife, Sarah, at a previous CFP. But the conference has become a victim of its own success. Eight years ago, it was pretty much the only place to talk about online privacy, the European Data Directive, or free speech on the Internet. Now all of those topics have become staples of dozens of other conferences. In a word, they've become mainstream. Some of the hackers and cryptographers who made the previous events so memorable are staying away. Stapleton-Gray remembers when nearly the entire membership of the Electronic Frontier Foundation <http://www.eff.org/>, including its board members and employees, would participate in CFP conferences. Only one EFF employee showed up Monday night. "It isn't going to be like it was," he says. On Tuesday, EFF will hand out three Pioneer Awards at a reception hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in downtown Washington <http://www.aaas.org/>. The next day, Privacy International will give out its annual Big Brother Awards. Dave Banisar, the group's deputy director, said that the leading candidates for the four awards include Microsoft; Representative Bill McCollum (R-Florida), who has pressed for national ID cards; and Ira Magaziner, who opposed abiding by European restrictions on the amount of information corporations can collect. Lorrie Faith Cranor, a researcher at AT&T Labs-Research, will chair next year's CFP. The likely location will be either Philadelphia, New York City, St. Louis, or California. "I'm hoping to get that nailed down within a month," she said. Copyright © 1994-99 Wired Digital Inc. All rights reserved. ---------------------------------- Send mail for the 'huridocs-tech' list to 'email@example.com'. Mail administrative request to 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. For additional assistance, send mail to: 'email@example.com'. Archives of previous messages posted to the list can be found at: http://www.human-rights.net/huridocs-tech.
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