August 3, 2006 | By Danny O'Brien

The World's Worst Internet Laws Sneaking Through the Senate

[Update: The Cybercrime Treaty was ratified by the Senatelate last night. The U.S. will now have to comply to requests for assistance from fifteen countries, and growing.]

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.


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