jack straw ate my goldfish
"Andy & El" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mon, 27 Sep 1999 16:50:02 +0100
[: hacktivism :]
> guess the crime time...
> HOW THE NEW E-COMMERCE BILL COULD SEND JACK STRAW TO JAIL
> At the bottom of this email you will find the text of a letter
> sent to Home Secretary Jack Straw MP by Malcolm Hutty, a
> volunteer from the e-campaign group STAND.org.uk
> It's no ordinary letter.
> Indeed, should the Government's E-Commerce Bill reach the
> statute book unamended, the mere receipt of a similar
> missive could see the Home Secretary liable to a sentence
> of two years in jail.
> How? Why?
> The letter explains all, as does the STAND.org.uk Website at
> >> >> ABOUT STAND.org.uk
> Created by around 20 volunteers from the UK new media
> industry, the STAND.org.uk e-campaign (http://www.stand.org.uk)
> aims to focus MPs' attention on widespread public discontent
> over the Government's proposed legislation controlling
> electronic commerce.
> To date over 5,400 UK Net users have promised to educate and
> inform their MP about encryption and digital signatures, many by
> publishing their "@doption" certificates on their personal
> Websites. All but a handful of MPs have now been "@dopted" by
> one or more concerned constituents.
> STAND's innovative e-campaign has received numerous awards and
> commendations, including the 1999 New Statesman New Media
> Advocacy Award and New Media Age magazine's Special Award
> For Innovation.
> >> >> CONTACT DETAILS FOR STAND.ORG.UK
> Stefan Magdalinski / Tom Loosemore
> Tel: 07931 376 142
> Fax: 0171 681 2057
> email: email@example.com
> >>>> TEXT OF LETTER SENT TO JACK STRAW BY MR MALCOLM HUTTY
> Dear Mr Straw,
> How the E-commerce Bill could send YOU to jail
> Please find at the end of the letter a confession to a
> crime, which has been affirmed by Statutory Declaration.
> The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has been
> informed that you are in possession of this information.
> You will not be able to understand the confession, because
> the words have been scrambled using a strong cryptographic key.
> This key was created in your name and has been registered
> on international public key servers.
> The police may come and demand that you supply the key required
> to make this message intelligible. If you fail to do so you
> would be committing an offence under the E-Commerce Bill
> rendering you liable to imprisonment for up to 2 years.
> The fact that you don't possess this key won't help you
> unless you can prove that you don't have it. I wish you well
> in proving that it isn't hidden away on a disk in your
> secretary's home, or squirreled away on the Internet somewhere.
> We might have sent it to you last week; but according to the
> Bill, the police won't have to prove you ever had it at all.
> Even if you can prove that you don't have it you would
> STILL be liable for imprisonment unless you give information to
> the police that enables them to decrypt the key. Unfortunately
> for you this is impossible, because we've destroyed all copies
> of the key in our possession.
> If the police ask you keep the demand to hand over the key
> secret, telling anyone would render you liable to 5 years
> in jail.
> So you couldn't complain - or explain your predicament - to the
> PM or Home Secretary, to the Chief Whip or a journalist, or
> even to another policeman.
> Happily for all of us, the E-Commerce Bill has not yet been
> enacted by Parliament, so we have not in fact set you up for
> jail time. The Bill will be introduced in the coming session.
> I hope this exercise has demonstrated some of the drafting
> flaws in the Bill as it stands - copies of which are available
> from the DTI.
> I hope we have also demonstrated that it is not the
> perpetrators of crime who would suffer under these draconian
> new powers, but innocent parties who are in receipt of
> communications from miscreants. This is why such sober
> organisations as BT, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft have
> publicly criticised the Bill at each stage of its development.
> I trust that when the Bill reaches the House we can rely on your
> most careful scrutiny. Further analysis is available on our
> web site at: http://www.stand.org.uk/
> I am, Sir, Your most obedient servant,
> Malcolm Hutty
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