Computerworld

ISOCNZ shuts off archive

The Internet Society (ISOCNZ) has blocked access to an archive of its mailing lists to prevent non-members from seeing discussion on its draft submission on the controversial Crimes Amendment Bill.

The Internet Society (ISOCNZ) has blocked access to an archive of its mailing lists to prevent non-members from seeing discussion on its draft submission on the controversial Crimes Amendment Bill.

Some ISOCNZ members have been upset over the publication on IDGNet of a story about a draft discussion paper on the society's select committee submission.

The society has closed its archive to non-members as of this morning (Tuesday 23 January). Ewan McNeill, the author of the draft paper, says: "Since some people considered the ISONCZ ISWG mailing list archives 'public' because no passwords were required to access them, despite my messages over the past few days stating that they were set that way in order to give ISONCZ members access to them (the only other choice being "iswg mailing list members only"), I have reluctantly changed the setting on the mailing list archives to 'private'".

Paul Brislen, a reporter for Computerworld and a member of the society, wrote about the draft proposal ('Bill makes PC networks illegal – ISOCNZ') after receiving notification of it on the members mailing list.

The society's acceptable use policy (AUP) specifically outlaws the re-posting of members' comments from the list without the permission of the author. Brislen has apologised to the society for the breach of protocol and will tender his resignation as a member of the society.

The row centres around whether or not a journalist can write about what he or she sees on the members-only list. Keith Davidson, a society member, feels it is inappropriate for Brislen to have written the story without the authorisation of the society or the authors of the report in particular. Others, including report author Ewen McNeill, seem to agree. Some society members feel the story does not adequately represent the society's position.

The draft submission is in fact a pre-draft submission - and has not been approved by ISOCNZ as its final stance on the matter, or even its draft stance on the matter. However, a poll of members on the list shows they clearly support the broad stance being taken by the society on the Bill.

The draft submission, now in its second version, suggests the definition of an "interception device" is too broad and could lead to problems for IT managers or users who are simply doing their job.

"If the definition proposed by the bill were to become law then almost everyone with a modern personal computer for use at work, or at home, would be in possession of an ëinterception device'. This is surely not the intention of the drafters of the Bill," says the draft submission.

Encryption is also a matter of some concern for the society in the draft submission.

"ISOCNZ strongly supports the ability to use strong encryption to ensure the privacy of information." The draft submission asks that "the bill be reworded to make it clear that considerations of encryption technology are explicitly left for later legislation to cover more carefully."