IFJ 2001: 14. Cyber snooping

14. Cyber snooping

Proposed: NUJ Great Britain and Ireland

The 24th IFJ Congress meeting in Seoul on June 11th to June 15th, 2001

Noting that recent legislation -- the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act – passed by the UK government is believed by experts to constitute the most repressive electronic surveillance regime anywhere in the world and a dangerous threat to journalism,

Concerned that this most draconian invasion of individual privacy ever put on the statute book in the UK allows the authorities secret access to everyone's e-mails, internet date and other communications and permits the police, security services and other public authorities to obtain the e-mail addresses of whistleblowers for an unacceptably broad range of purposes, without executive warrant or prior judicial approval,

Deploring the fact that journalists who employ encryption to protect communications or stored data may be imprisoned for two years if they do not divulge either the key or the confidential material, and for five years if they breach a discretionary gagging order,

Calls on the IFJ Executive Committee to

(i) raise awareness among all affiliates of similar legislation being adopted by other governments and

(ii) launch a world-wide campaign involving other media federations and the ICFTU to oppose such legislation.