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Message-ID: <103338Z21021995@anon.penet.fi> Path: senator-bedfellow.mit.edu!bloom-beacon.mit.edu!spool.mu.edu!howland.reston.ans.net!EU.net!news.eunet.fi!anon.penet.fi Newsgroups: alt.anonymous,alt.privacy.anon-server,alt.personals,alt.sex.bondage,alt.personals.bi,alt.religion.scientology,soc.culture.indian,alt.sex.bestiality,soc.culture.turkish,alt.sex.motss,alt.sexual.abuse.recovery,soc.culture.pakistan,alt.support.depression,alt.conspiracy,soc.culture.china,alt.suicide.holiday,soc.culture.bosna-herzgvna,soc.culture.yugoslavia,soc.culture.croatia,alt.recovery.aa,alt.recovery.codependency,soc.culture.malaysia,soc.culture.arabic From: an0@anon.penet.fi (The Anonymous Administrator) X-Anonymously-To: alt.anonymous,alt.privacy.anon-server,alt.personals,alt.sex.bondage,alt.personals.bi,alt.religion.scientology,soc.culture.indian,alt.sex.bestiality,soc.culture.turkish,alt.sex.motss,alt.sexual.abuse.recovery,soc.culture.pakistan,alt.support.depression,alt.conspiracy,soc.culture.china,alt.suicide.holiday,soc.culture.bosna-herzgvna,soc.culture.yugoslavia,soc.culture.croatia,alt.recovery.aa,alt.recovery.codependency,soc.culture.malaysia,soc.culture.arabic Organization: Anonymous contact service Reply-To: an0@anon.penet.fi Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 10:28:09 UTC Subject: Press release on anon servers, child porn and scientologists Lines: 140 Xref: senator-bedfellow.mit.edu alt.anonymous:1522 alt.privacy.anon-server:2043 alt.personals:127220 alt.sex.bondage:116743 alt.personals.bi:7905 alt.religion.scientology:35280 soc.culture.indian:222854 alt.sex.bestiality:18949 soc.culture.turkish:100231 alt.sex.motss:24939 alt.sexual.abuse.recovery:47290 soc.culture.pakistan:77285 alt.support.depression:21435 alt.conspiracy:79784 soc.culture.china:177607 alt.suicide.holiday:24366 soc.culture.bosna-herzgvna:21636 soc.culture.yugoslavia:36530 soc.culture.croatia:17881 alt.recovery.aa:3099 alt.recovery.codependency:4817 soc.culture.malaysia:34573 soc.culture.arabic:36828 Press release, Monday, February 20th, 1995 Helsinki, Finland World-wide Internet community appalled over the Scientology seizure Was the child porn scandal just a cover? The reputation of Finland as a country that holds freedom of expression, justice and human rights in high esteem has suffered among the world-wide Internet community. So far Finland has gotten a lot of positive publicity as the home of the best-known anonymous server, anon.penet.fi. These servers enable safe net discussion of sensitive issues, such as reporting violations of human rights. The ease with which the Church Of Scientology (with the help of Finnish police) obtained sensitive information has caused great concern and uproar. With the help of the finnish police, the Church Of Scientology found out the identity of a person who had published material on the Church of Scientology anonymously on the Usenet newsgroups. At the same time there has been a lot of speculation on the net on whether the recent child porn scandal (which was totally unsupported by hard evidence) might be connected to the Scientologists' interest in the anonymous server. ___________________________________ Anonymous servers enable anonymous discussions via electronic mail and newsgroups on the Internet, used by millions of people all over the world, and are vital for support of freedom of expression. These servers are used by people who are under pressure or persecuted, people who report offenses of human rights or even discuss their personal problems and sufferings. One of the longest-lasting and probably the most famous anonymous server is anon.penet.fi, created by the Finnish Internet specialist Johan "Julf" Helsingius back in 1992. Every day more than 7000 messages are automatically handled by the service, and there are over 200 000 registered users. The popularity of the server is largely due to its trustworthiness, based on both the personal reputation of Helsingius among the network community, as well as on the good reputation of Finland as a country where individual rights, privacy and freedom of expression are respected. This kind of reputation is important, since there are lots of people and organisations in the world that would rather see the anon servers being shut down. Governments that violate human rights, as well as other organizations banning public and open discussion of their activities, such as the Church of Scientology, are among these. The Church of Scientology has in fact approached the people offering anonymity services, threatening with lawsuits unless the anonymous discussion in scientology-related newsgroups stops. In fear of lawsuits many American servers have either stopped altogether or strongly limited their activities. The flow of events On Thursday, February 2, an American representative of the Church of Scientology (CoS) contacted Johan Helsingius, informing him that some information residing on a private and closed CoS system had been made public via the anon.penet.fi server. Based on this they have reported a burglary to the Los Angeles Police and FBI. The representative of CoS asked Helsingius for the real identity of the individual that had posted the confidential information. After Helsingius had made it clear that he was in no position to give out the information, he was told an official request to the Finnish Police was on its way via Interpol. The next day, February 3, the Finnish police contacted Helsingius, informing him that if need be, they would get a warrant of search and seizure. The necessary documents for these actions were promised for Monday. On Monday, February 6, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter published an article based on the investigation of Mats Wiklund from University of Stockholm. The article stated that child porn was distributed to Internet from the Finnish anon.penet.fi server. The Finnish media picked up the story, with headlines such as "Internet distributes child porn from an address in Helsinki" (Helsingin Sanomat) and "Internet flooded with child porn" (Ilta-Sanomat). The first public reaction in Finland was based purely on the initial article in Dagens Nyheter. Meantime, the Internet community started to investigate the matter. The child porn statements caused amazement, as the anon server has (due to heavy traffic) been forced to limit the maximum size of messages, and ban postings to groups containing pictures altogether. At closer look the Wiklund "research" is revealed to have been made sloppily and without enough expertise. The information needed to reveal the sender of the articles has not been saved, and the famous pictures themselves are nowhere to be obtained for a closer look. The only picture that is actually included in Wiklund's report seems to be taken on a nudist camp. Wiklund has investigated four newsgroups dealing with sexual pictures, checked 5651 postings and found 8 pictures of adolescent nude children, none of which are (according to Wiklund's own report) actually pornographic. After a closer look at the pictures in those groups, they are shown to actually come from United Kingdom, not Finland. Wiklund admits that he never thought of the possibility of the source of the pictures being forged. On Saturday, February 11, Johan Helsingius reveals the true nature of events and the headlines in Finnish media quiet down. On the Internet there follows a lot of lively discussion and questioning of the motives of the Swedish researcher, the person who forged the source of the pictures, and the journalist of Dagens Nyheter. Some writers suggest a connection to the attempts by the CoS to silence anon servers. Since the authorities don't seem to be investigating the case, Helsingius himself files a request for investigation with the Finnish police. The initial investigation reveals no crime committed at least in Finland. In the meantime, on February 8, the Finnish police serve Helsingius with a warrant for search and seizure, and obtains from Helsingius the electronic mail address of the anonymous user that the CoS wants. Within an hour after the Finnish Police gets hold of the information, the Finnish representative of the CoS informs Helsingius legal representative that they received the information. On 14 February the criminal investigation on the scientologists case is dropped. Helsingius gets this information on February 17, and reveals the situation on some discussion groups and mailing lists on the Internet. This announcement has caused a flood of electronic mail, and a huge outroar among the Internet community. During the weekend, Helsingius received hundreds of comments and queries, most of them questioning the actions of the Finnish authorities. February 19 the maintainer of an anonymous service in Amsterdam tells Helsingius that the Church of Scientology has approached him again, threatening with legal action unless the anonymous participation into the discussion on scientology is stopped. This time the issue would be claims about illicit distribution of copies of copyrighted computer programs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- To find out more about the anon service, send mail to help@anon.penet.fi. Due to the double-blind, any mail replies to this message will be anonymized, and an anonymous id will be allocated automatically. You have been warned. Please report any problems, inappropriate use etc. to admin@anon.penet.fi. -------------------


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