elena on Fri, 8 Oct 1999 03:01:52 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> FW: Control BG Internet

Dear colleagues,

The Internet Society - Bulgaria is requesting help from International
organizations like GILC, EFF, ISOC.  The issue is concerning an executive
order of the Bulgarian Committee of Posts and Telecommunications (CPT), a
ministry-level government agency. It stated that local ISPs should become
subject to general licensing. The proposes statutes require that ISPs
apply for operators' licenses and pay fees to the state. Based on the
Telecommunications Act, it also gives to governmental employees to enter
ISPs offices at any time and obtain any documentation, including user
names and passwords, as well as other private information. 

After the first articles were published in the Bulgarian newspapers,
Antoni Slavinski, chief executive of the CPT, said that Internet content
should be scrutinised for illegal activities, including racist appeals,
child pornography and terrorist training. "We have thought, that in the
beginning, there could be some very general restrictions," he says. 

Bulgarian Internet users promptly denounced that proposal, charging that
it would bring Bulgaria closer to the less-than-democratic Internet clubs
of Russia, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, China... In Russia, the FSB, successor to the
KGB, demanded that every ISP allow the authorities access to and control
of their servers' content. 

Slavinski's comments added to fears that Bulgaria's government is really
after tighter control over local Internet access and content, combined
with an opportunity to help fill the state coffers. Licenses are a threat
because they can be rejected at government officials' whim, the
ISOC-Bulgaria warns. 

Mario Tagarinski, minister of the state administration, envisions a "tame" 
Internet. In his opinion, the site www.bulgaria.com should not be "used
by, say, a few young people, interested in sex." Local press, TV and radio
expressed fears that the government's plans for the Internet are further
proof of its ultimate goal, to control the media as a whole. 

A promise made by state officials, which pundits find laughable, is that
licensing would protect Bulgarian users from hackers attacks.
ISOC-Bulgaria believes this should be settled down in the Criminal (Penal)

CPT says the Internet license would cost only 2.3 % of the ISPs turnover. 
For 1999, the Bulgarian government decided the licenses fee would be 0 %
of the ISPs turnover. Noone can say if it wouldn't be higher next year.
However, even a $ 5 increase in the current $ 20 / month rate for
individual Internet access would be cost-prohibitive for many users. 

The government officials couldn't supply even ONE reason why Internet
licensing will be for the good of the people. 

ISOC-Bulgaria, Alpha research, and the World of Internet biweekly have
made 3 separate surveys among users, ISPs and in the country. More than
96% of all people are against the proposed licensing. 100 % of the ISPs
would like to see it turned down. 

ISOC-Bulgaria has filed a claim in the Supreme Court that the decision to
license ISPs violates existing telecom legislation in Bulgaria, the
Constitution and art. 10 of the European Convention on Human rights. In
response, the Supreme court passed an interim order June 17 to suspend
lincensing for ISPs until a final decision. 

In the meantime, the Commission on Monitoring (CoM) from the Parliamentary
Assembly of the European Council (PACE) has written a report on the
overall situation in Bulgaria where it claims the proposed licensing is a
step backwards in the democratic development of Bulgaria. (Almost as a
joke sounds the story about the chief of the State Commission on
Telecommunications (STC), who has sent a letter to the CoM stating at
least 4 false points regarding the Internet licensing. Later on he denied
in writing to the Supreme Court that he had sent this letter. However, it
was clearly written in English, was requested by the CoM, and was quoted
in its report) 

ISOC-Bulgaria was supported in writing by Vinton Cerf, then Chairman of
the Internet Society; Don Heath, President of the Internet Society, 8 west
europeans chapters of the Internet Society; the Committee of Bulgarians in
Sweden; the Center for citizens control over acts and actions of the
administration; the Bulgarian Internet Association; the Bulgarian
Association for Information Technologies; the Gergiovden movement (a
strong youth party);  and last week the German Chancellor Shroeder had
stated - during a speech at the Technical University - that the Internet
should be free from licensing OR registration. Which is also what article
4 of the German Law on telematic services says. 

ISOC-Bulgaria is looking for support from organizations, individuals,

Please, send your letters to isoc@isoc.bg

We are also very much interested to hear what's the situation in your own
country, so please, let us know! 

Veni Markovski
Chairman of the Internet Society - Bulgaria

P.S. More information about the issue in English can be found at our web
site http://www.isoc.bg/kpd/

Veni Markovski

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net