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Posted Saturday, September 5, 1998


New Internet censorship report released

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) releases
a new Watchmen Report

This message is forwarded from the newsgroup "uk.politics.censorship".

From: Yaman Akdeniz, 27 August, 1998

Press Release

LEEDS - Today the Leeds based Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) published the second in the series of its Who Watches the Watchmen reports. The new report entitled as "Accountability & Effective Self-Regulation in the Information Age" is available through the organisation's new web site at This new report describes the new developments since the publication of the initial Who Watches the Watchmen report in November 1997 in a critical and analytical way; provides assistance to the government agencies for the review of the Internet Watch Foundation; and reviews the IWF consultation document on rating systems.

Mr. Yaman Akdeniz, director of the organisation stated that:

"November 97 seems like a long time ago but there has been so many developments that another report was needed to create public awareness of what the government is up to with Internet regulation within the UK. This report is ironically rated 18 as its conclusions may 'deprave and corrupt' the readers and regulators and may lead them to take a more liberal approach into Internet regulation."


This second report questions the current solutions offered at various forums such as the development of rating and filtering systems and further the report suggests that these may not be the real answers and solutions for the existence problems.

Professor Clive Walker, deputy director of the organisation stated that:

"A clear and present danger to Internet liberty arises from the terms on which self regulation is made available to the individual. The Who Watches the Watchmen report explains that danger. Government censorship has not gone away but is perhaps becoming more subtle and insidious."

Yaman Akdeniz added that:

"Government inspired and enforced pre-censorship is no more different than government-imposed censorship. Such restrictions and complex regulations would make Britain, like any other jurisdiction that goes too far, a very hostile place for network development."

Notes for the Media

The new home of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is at but until a complete move is completed, the pages will continue to be available through

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a non-profit civil liberties organisation founded on January 10, 1997. Its main purpose is to promote free speech and privacy on the Internet and raise public awareness of these important issues.

3.The Web pages have been online since July 1996. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) started to become involved with national Internet-related civil liberties issues following the release of the DTI white paper on encryption in June 1996 and the Metropolitan Police action to censor around 130 newsgroups in August 1996.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) recently criticised the attempts of the Nottinghamshire County Council to suppress the availability of the JET Report on the Internet.

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) covers such important issues as the regulation of child pornography on the Internet and UK Government's encryption policy.

The organisation provides up-to-date information related to free speech and privacy on the Internet. Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a member of various action groups on the Internet and also a member of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (see which has over 30 member organisations world wide.

In November 1997, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) launched a new report entitled, Who Watches the Watchmen, on the implications of the use and development of rating systems and filtering tools for the Internet content. The report insists that the debates on regulation of Internet-content should take place openly and with the involvement of public at large rather than at the hands of a few industry based private bodies.


In February 1998, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) produced the Global Internet Liberty Campaign member statement which criticised the possible introduction of "key escrow" or "key recovery" systems for the regulation of encryption services in the UK. The statement signed by 22 organisations world-wide concluded that "mandatory key recovery policies would make Britain a second-class nation in the Information Age."

This press release is available through

The second Watchmen report is available at:

The initial Watchmen report (November 97) is available at:

See also the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) CensorWare pages for further information at

Right to Reply: Your comments and views on the Internet Watch Foundation Proposals for Developing Rating Systems for the Internet at a UK level at

Mr Yaman Akdeniz Address: Centre For Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT. E-mail: [email protected] Urls:

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

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