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Internet Privacy Threatened

On 13 September, the U.S. Senate passed a law allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to install e-mail monitoring software on Internet Service Providers' servers, says Reporters sans frontières (RSF). On 11 September, just a few hours after the terrorist attacks, FBI agents went to the offices of America Online (AOL), Earthlink and Hotmail to install on their servers a programme called Carnivore, which is used to monitor and intercept e-mail messages, states RSF. The FBI's objective was to search for any traces that might have been left by the perpetrators of the attacks.

According to Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellsc
haft (FITUG), a member organisation of Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC), the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies feel that eavesdropping capabilities currently available are insufficient for uncovering and monitoring communication of today's distributed and highly organized groups of terrorists and criminals. FITUG released a statement urging political leaders to defend citizens' freedoms after the terrorist attack. The statement says that virtually unbreakable encryption products, which allow individuals to encrypt their e-mail and guarantee the confidentiality of their messages, are available to the general public and are perceived as a major obstacle in the current battle against terrorism.

RSF and many civil liberties organisations in the US fear that, in the name of defence and national security, authorities may ban encryption software. "Such activity would undermine basic values of free and open societies, such as citizens' right to privacy and private communication," reads the FITUG statement. "We urge political leaders and policy-makers not to restrict citizens' and businesses' freedom to communicate privately, using the best technology available."

Journalists Detained and Prevented from Working at the Pakistan/Afghanistan Border

On 18 September, two Norwegian journalists and a Pakistani photographer were briefly detained by Pakistani secret service near the city of Peshawar's airport in the north-western province of Pakistan that borders with Afghanistan, states RSF. Photographer Jon Ingemundsew from the Norwegian newspaper "Stavanger Aftenblad", an unidentified colleague of his, and photographer Ghafar Baig from the Pakistani news agency Online, were interrogated by members of the secret service. According to Baig, the agents wanted to verify whether or not the journalists had taken pictures of or filmed the military base which is located near the airport.

RSF adds that on the same day, Pakistani soldiers prevented foreign journalists from entering the border town of Torkhan. The day before, foreign reporters were manhandled by Pakistani security personnel in Torkhan and prevented from interviewing Afghani refugees. Journalists, who had received authorization from the federal information ministry, were threatened by officers and escorted back to their vehicles. According to RSF, about fifty foreign journalists have been in Peshawar covering the situation at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan since threats of a US reprisal attack.

Photojournalist Among Dead and Media Workers Missing at World Trade Centre

A freelance news photographer is among the dead in the 11 September terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and several other media workers have been reported injured or missing, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Photojournalist William Biggart rushed to the World Trade Center with his camera shortly after hearing about the attacks. Biggart's body was found on 15 September in the rubble, near the bodies of several firefighters. He had been a member of the Impact Visuals photo agency since 1988 and covered events in the Gaza Strip and Northern Ireland, according to Photo District News (, a website devoted to photojournalism. His work appeared in "The Village Voice", "The City Sun", and "The Christian Science Monitor".">">, a website devoted to photojournalism. His work appeared in "The Village Voice", "The City Sun", and "The Christian Science Monitor".

"New York Daily News" photographer David Handschuh, who arrived at the scene just as people were being evacuated from the north tower, was among those injured by the blast while running for cover, according to news reports. Handschuh, whose leg was broken in two places, was later rescued by firefighters.

Most of New York City's television stations had broadcast facilities on the top floors of the World Trade Center's north tower, notes CPJ. A number of broadcast engineers are still missing, including WCBS-TV engineers Isaias Rivera and Bob Pattison; WNBC-TV engineer William Steckman; WPIX-TV engineer Steve Jacobson; WABC-TV engineer Donald DiFranco; and WNET-TV engineer Rod Coppola.

For more information, visit,,, and [Updates IFEX "Communique" #10-37.]">">,,, and [Updates IFEX "Communique" #10-37.]

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