QuickLinks - Information society and Internet policy
Issue no. 291 - 15 November 2003
- Laying Down the Virtual Law
A collection of the brightest thinkers and best designers of games like EverQuest, and metaverses like There and Second Life, are gathering for the first State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds conference in New York. A host of questions are on everyone's minds: Are virtual worlds the new Wild West or a legitimate province of the courts? Is game play equivalent to speech as defined in the First Amendment? Is there such a thing as fraud in a metaverse? "As the game universe becomes intricate, as transactions start to cross the boundary between the game world and the real world, it becomes more complicated as to what you're going to call defamation," says Jack Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School and an organizer of the conference. Beth Noveck, a professor at New York Law School and another organizer of the conference, says those arriving for the three days of panels, discussion and networking are coming to intellectualize about where games and virtual worlds fit into the fabric of their lives.
- WSIS - Rich and poor states split before Internet summit
Developed and developing nations were wide apart on managing the Internet and closing the digital divide between rich and poor at the end of what was meant as a final meeting before a world summit. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is to be held in Geneva December 10-12. A further previously unscheduled session has been called for December 5-6 in a bid to clear the way for 60 heads of state and government to agree a declaration of principles and a plan of action. The summit has broadened to embrace many facets of the information society, including questions of press freedom and Net management. Some developing states such as Brazil and India would like to see greater national or even supranational involvement in administering the Net, while many rich states are happy to see it left to the private sector. The summit, being held under the auspices of the United Nations, is the first of two. A second will be held in Tunis in 2005. see Latest versions of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action (WSIS). voir aussi Le futur Sommet de l'information bute sur le contrôle de l'internet (AFP)
Issue no. 290 - 9 November 2003
- EU - Council endorses MODINIS Programme
The multiannual MODINIS Programme was launched by the Commission on 26 July 2002 and covers the period from 2003 to 2005. Its original aim was to monitor the progress of the eEurope initiative, disseminate good practices and prepare measures to pave the way for a European policy on network and information security. It also seeks to promote the dissemination of good practices and launch the Agency for the Security of Networks and Information. The amendment, approved by the Council on 27 October without debate, sets the budget for the programme at 21 million euro.
- US - Media Ownership and Democracy in the Digital Information Age
(Stanford Law School)
by Dr. Mark Cooper, Director of Research at the Consumer Federation of America. Cooper analyzes the growing threat to media democracy, combining a detailed review of First Amendment jurisprudence with rigorous economic analysis to demonstrate the continuing need for structural limits on media ownership to promote democratic discourse in America.
- WSIS - UN tech summit looms with no agenda
Who controls the Internet and how richer nations should subsidize its growth in poorer countries are central issues dividing planners a month ahead of the first United Nations summit on information technology. More than 50 heads of states have confirmed their attendance for the Dec. 10-12 Geneva meeting, but there's still no agreement on what they'll be asked to consider. So government, business and civic representatives are convening in the Swiss city to try to narrow differences over such contentious issues as government oversight of on-line media that several rounds of talks failed to overcome.
Issue no. 288 - 19 October 2003
- Sommet mondial sur la société de l'information : les associations cherchent leur voix
A Paris, la société civile tente de concilier intérêt du public et propriété intellectuelle. Les réunions de préparation du Sommet Mondial de la Société de l'Information (SMSI) se suivent et se ressemblent. Elles regroupent gouvernements, entreprises et représentants de la société civile.
- US - The Beginning of the End of the Internet? Discrimination, Closed Networks and the Future of Cyberspace.
Commissioner Copps discussed the threat posed by a regulatory movement to replace open networks with closed systems and the impact this will have on both the Internet and the media. Upcoming decisions at the FCC will determine how much control companies will have over Internet access and their ability to discriminate against users, data, websites, or technologies. In his speech, Copps warned that "the Internet as we know it is at risk." He said that the original vision of a free Internet could soon be replaced by closed networks and a view that accessibility can be superceded by a new power to discriminate. He continued, "From media to telecom to the Internet, we appear to be rushing toward breathtaking regulatory alterations. The Commission is permitting, even encouraging, competition to wither in the face of centralization. It is short changing its responsibility to protect the public interest.
Issue no. 287 - 11 October 2003
- EU - Commission participates in Geneva TELECOM 2003 Conference
European Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen will participate in the opening of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) TELECOM 2003 in Geneva on Sunday October 12. Throughout the conference (October 12-18), the European Commission will focus on the theme of eEurope. Each day, officials will be presenting one of the specific policy priorities that the Commission and Member States are pursuing in this context (Broadband, eSafety, eLearning, eGovernment, etc). Copies of the presentations and high resolution photos of these events will be posted to the special website for Telecom 2003. see also ITU - Chastened, telecom show turns down glitz (IHT).
Issue no. 286 - 3 October 2003
- DE - Kontrolle des Internet
Natürlich war es Zufall, dass die Tagung 'Das Internet, ein rechtsfreier Raum?' ausgerechnet am selben Tag begann, an dem der große Coup in Sachen Kinderpornografie bekannt wurde. Trotzdem hätte man den Zeitpunkt kaum besser wählen können.
- WSIS - Preparatory Conference fails to agree
by Monika Ermert. Geneva Prepcom-III was supposed to be the final preparatory conference for the UN's World Summit of The Information Society (WSIS) which takes place in December 10-12 in Geneva. Now organisers have hastily reconvened another meeting for November aimed at breaking the deadlock over the drafting of two key documents. Neither of the two core documents, the Declaration of Principles and the Action Plan could be finalised after two weeks of lengthy discussions
Issue no. 285 - 28 September 2003
- Net guru peers into web's future
The inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, outlines his ideas for a more 'intelligent' web in an interview with the BBC programme, Go Digital.
Issue no. 284 - 21 September 2003
- WSIS - RSF barred from participating
(RSF/Pacific Media Watch)
Reporters Without Borders, an international human rights organisation, protested against a ban on its participation in the World Summit on the Information Society next December in Geneva. Calling the ban 'grotesque and absurd,' Reporters Without Borders noted that it followed the organisation's suspension for a year from the UN Commission on Human Rights.
Issue no. 283 - 14 September 2003
- EU - eEurope 2005 Mid-term Review
The eEurope 2005 Action Plan was launched by EU leaders at Seville in June 2002. It sets out the targets to be achieved by between 2003 and 2005 to promote the development of a knowledge-based economy in Europe. This web area is part of the public consultation to a mid-term review of the Action Plan which is currently underway. Contributions are invited by email and should be submitted by 25 September 2003.
Issue no. 282 - 7 September 2003
Issue no. 279 - 17 August 2003
- CoE - Declaration on freedom of communication on the Internet
(Council of Europe)
This declaration contains principles on: Content rules for the Internet, Self-regulation or co-regulation, Absence of prior state control, Removal of barriers to the participation of individuals in the information society, Freedom to provide services via the Internet, Limited liability of service providers for Internet content and Anonymity.
Issue no. 278 - 10 August 2003
- WSIS - Human Rights Caucus
Civil society members participating in PrepCom1 of the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, July 1-5) have decided to organize themselves in sub-committees, working groups and regional as well as thematic caucuses. One representative from each group participates in the Civil Society Coordination Group (CSCG). The Human rights caucus has been proposed by the French NGO IRIS, in order to ensure that this question is duly taken into account in the WSIS process, by governments as well as by NGOs. In French and English
- CoE / EU: Commission proposes joining Council of Europe Convention
The European Commission has adopted a draft decision to sign Convention 180 of the Council of Europe on behalf of the EU. This Convention establishes an international mechanism for the prior notification of national rules on online services, based on the EU system of legislative transparency in this area introduced by Directive 98/34/EC. The Convention's aim is to enhance the transparency and coherence of national rules on information society services as far as possible since these services are by definition often provided across borders.
Issue no. 277 - 30 July 2003
- EU - Commission holds High-level Forum in Peru on partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean
Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society will meet with Ministers, Regulators, Private Sector and Civil Society representatives from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean in Lima (Peru) on 20-21 July 2003 at a high-level forum.
- The tortoise, the hare and the Internet
by Michael Geist. As countries continue to grapple with Internet policy issues, the lesson of the tortoise and the hare comes to mind, with its moral that being fast and first out of the gate does not necessarily lead to a better result. There may well be many reasons for preferring private sector leadership to that of the government on Internet policy, but speed is not one of them.
- US - Net Neutrality: Let's Look Before We Leap
Remarks of Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy J. Victory to the Progress and Freedom Foundation Conference. June 27, 2003. see also FCC official: No need to regulate ISPs (Reuters) .There is no need for the Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules to address concerns that high-speed Internet service providers will favor some Web sites over others, said Kenneth Ferree, head of the FCC's media bureau, which regulates cable operators, at the Progress & Freedom Foundation conference.
- WSIS - WSIS Intersessional meeting results
The WSIS Intersessional meeting was held from 15 to 18 July 2003 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (France). see revised version of the Draft Declaration of Principles and an extract from the Draft Plan of Action containing examples of specific action items and Note by the President of the Preparatory Committee.
Issue no. 276 - 23 June 2003
Issue no. 272 - 24 May 2003
- EU - European Commission launches a broad debate on the future of services of general interest in Europe
On the basis of a Green Paper the European Commission intends to stimulate a discussion on the role of the European Union in promoting the provision of high-quality public services. It is the first time that the Commission has launched a full review of its policies relating to services of general interest. In its Green Paper, the Commission recognises that there is a need for an open debate on the overall role of the Union for defining the objectives of general interest that are pursued by those services and on the way they are organised, financed and evaluated. Comments should be sent to the Commission by 15 September 2003.
- EU - Report on Transparency Directive
A European Commission report COM(2003) 200 gives a favourable assessment of the compulsory procedure under which the Member States give prior notification of draft national regulations governing goods and on-line services. This system, which is currently based on Directive 98/34/EC, has been applied to national regulations on products for nearly 20 years. It was recently extended by Directive 98/48/EC to include Information Society services, and it continues to prove its effectiveness as a tool benefiting the Internal Market and European enterprises. The report clarifies the central role which the notification procedure played between 1999 and 2001 in avoiding the creation of barriers to the free movement of goods and services.
- EU / WSIS - Commission sets out its objectives for the United Nations World Summit on Information Society
The European Commission has adopted a Communication COM(2003) 271 on the forthcoming World Summit on Information Society setting out the main objectives for the EU at this Summit. This Summit, the first world-wide event in the field, is under the patronage of the United Nations and will be held in Geneva in December 2003, continuing in Tunis in November 2005. see EU input to WSIS.
- Promoting Innovation to Prevent the Internet from Becoming a Wasteland
by Zoë Baird. Achieving the potential of the Internet will depend on balancing often-competing interests: Industry’s goals may differ from those of consumers or civil society, and the State, too, may have different interests. Each of these interests is equally important to maintaining innovation at the individual layers, and across layers. If we are going to find a legitimate way to balance them, and prevent the Internet from becoming a wasteland, then we need to have the three sectors included in the local, national, and international policymaking processes. The future of the Internet may depend on such a pluralistic policymaking framework.
Issue no. 271 - 18 May 2003
- US - Citizens Urge FCC to Retain Current Media Ownership Rules
The Federal Communications Commission has virtually no evidence of citizen backing for their controversial media ownership plan, according to an analysis of comments filed in the FCC. The Future of Music Coalition today released a survey of the comments available for public review in the Broadcast Ownership rulemaking. Citizen response to these proposed rule changes is overwhelmingly negative. As of May 8, 2003, 9065 citizens unaffiliated to a corporation, organization or association opposed changing existing media ownership rules that would pave the way for further consolidation, while only 11 unaffiliated citizens supported changing the rules.
Issue no. 269 - 6 May 2003
- SG - National Internet Advisory Committee report 2002
Singapore's National Internet Advisory Committee (NIAC) advises the Media Development Authority (MDA) on the regulation of electronic information services and the development of the industry. The Committee also assists MDA in the development of its regulatory framework for the Internet. MDA is formed by the merger of the Singapore Broadcasting Authority, the Films and Publications Department, and the Singapore Film Commission, on 1 Jan 2003. See report for 2002.
- WTO - EU tables proposals for services
The EU has tabled in the WTO a detailed list of sectors where it is offering companies and individuals in third countries further opportunities to offer services in the EU market. The further opening of trade in a number of areas, ranging from telecommunications, to banking, insurance, environmental services or distribution will contribute to growth and employment in the EU. A particular focus of the offer aims to give developing countries a better deal especially in sectors of interest for them via the temporary entry of foreign nationals into the EU to provide services. Telecoms: the EU offers to guarantee to third countries' operators full access to the internal market, while fully safeguarding the right of the EU, for example, to define its universal service objectives. The EU also removes restrictions, such as prohibitions for telecom companies to engage in non-telecom activities (e.g. computer related services) in Greece, restrictions on foreign ownership in Portugal or prohibitions against providing telecom services across borders in several Member States. Audiovisual services: The current regime is unchanged: no commitment in this sector, and maintenance of all exemptions to the Most-Favoured Nation clause listed by the EU during the Uruguay Round to cover cultural policies, such as co-production agreements and privileged treatment accorded to audio-visual works originating from the EU and other European countries. Trade in services: Conditional offer from the EC and its Member States (PDF).
Issue no. 267 - 21 April 2003
- EU - Commissioner Liikanen assesses 'e-Inclusion in Europe'
The underlying goal of the Commission's eEurope 2005 Action Plan is to make information society accessible to all, and e-Inclusion is a key element of the process, Mr Liikanen told a ministerial symposium in Crete on 11 April. The e-Inclusion concept is especially pertinent to the needs of people with disabilities. Text of Mr Liikanen's speech: eInclusion in Europe .
- US - Fretting about the future, lost liberty
by Declan McCullagh. At the 13th annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) conference, attendees fretted about shrinking privacy, growing online censorship, and their reduced ability to make "fair use" of music, video and software girded with anticopying technologies. Events included panels with titles such as "Terrorizing Rights" and enthusiastic condemnations of corporate miscreants. What many CFPers failed to recognize, however, is the tremendous difference between actions by governments and those undertaken by corporations. We should be most worried about government infringements of our civil liberties. Especially in wartime, freedom suffers.
Issue no. 266 - 6 April 2003
Issue no. 264 - 23 March 2003
- FR - Internet / Le Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel veut corriger la loi Fontaine
La loi sur l'économie numérique attribue au CSA la compétence pour réguler l'internet. Une compétence trop large pour l'institution, qui veut la limiter aux télévisions et aux radios en ligne. L'Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART), l'Association des fournisseurs d'accès et des services internet (AFA) et même le Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA) sont unanimes: l'article 1 de la loi Fontaine doit être modifié. Dans son premier article, le texte définit la «communication publique en ligne» comme un sous-ensemble de l'audiovisuel. Projet de loi pour la confiance dans l'économie numérique (Assemblée nationale).
- FR - Le gouvernement envisage la création d'un conseil supérieur de l'internet
Le gouvernement envisage la création d'un conseil supérieur de l'internet, a annoncé la ministre déléguée à la Recherche Claudie Haigneré au cours d'un point de presse. La "société civile des internautes" serait représentée au sein de ce conseil consultatif composé de "sages", a-t-elle précisé, les contours précis de cette instance devant être arrêtés lors d'un prochain Comité interministériel pour la société de l'information. Selon Claudie Haigneré, "il faut aller au-delà du Forum des droits sur l'internet", un organisme de corégulation du net créé par le gouvernement Jospin. voir aussi ZDNet France.
Issue no. 263 - 16 March 2003
Issue no. 261 - 2 March 2003
- EU - Report on Transparency Directive in online services
The first European Commission report shows that the Community-level application of the binding system of prior notification of national rules on online services has been highly successful. Extended to online services by Directive 98/48/EC, this system has prevented new barriers to the free movement of services and saved litigation. The report confirms the notification procedure's importance in ensuring a clear and stable European legal framework at a time when the Information Society is developing rapidly.
- WSIS - PrepCom-2 for World Summit on the Information Society Concludes
(WSIS Press Release)
The second meeting of the preparatory committee for the World Summit on the Information Society (PrepCom-2) concluded with two working documents for a draft Declaration and Action Plan.
Issue no. 260 - 23 February 2003
Issue no. 259 - 9 February 2003
- EU - Moving towards open platforms and interoperable services in tomorrow's information society
Mr Erkki Liikanen Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, Public Hearing on Open Platforms and Interoperability for Digital Television and 3G Brussels, 4 February 2003.
- ICANN - Dyson cleans out her closet
Esther Dyson, one of the key figures in the development of the commercial Internet, advisor to Al Gore, promoter of the Net in Eastern Europe and poster woman for the dotcom millionaires, went to massive lengths to distance herself from the failures of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Dyson was speaking in the Oxford Union at a conference called 'The Politics of Code', jointly organised by the Oxford Internet Institute and the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Politics at Oxford University. The one day conference brought together many net luminaries, including Professor Lawrence Lessig from Stanford University, Alan Davidson of the Center for Democracy and Technology and Harvard Alvestrand, chair of the IETF.
Issue no. 258 - 2 February 2003
- WSIS delegates fail to agree on open-source 'support'
A three-day meeting that brought together Asian governments, organizations, companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) ended with the approval of a declaration that, among other things, calls for encouraging the development of open-source software. A draft of the declaration had called for open source to be "supported" but was changed after objections from the U.S. government delegation.
Issue no. 257 - 26 January 2003
Issue no. 256 - 18 January 2003
- UN summit could spark Net regulation talks
A major United Nations summit on the information society due to take place in December could be the spark for international talks on regulations covering cyberspace and encompassing tax, freedom of speech, intellectual property rights and privacy, the secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said.
Issue no. 255 - 6 January 2003
- Perspective: Do-gooders will wreck the Internet
By Charles Cooper . The do-gooders have found a new cause for 2003: Saving the Internet from the private interests intent on mucking up the cyberlandscape. Considering that 40 percent of all U.S. citizens have been online for more than three years and that most are able to find the information they seek when surfing the Web, that's a curious cause. One of the most articulate and forceful examples of the something-must-be-done mind-set was recently served up by Zoe Baird, president of the Markle Foundation.
- US - Whatever Happened to Leaving the Internet Unregulated?
It seems like everybody's got a plan to tame the freewheeling Internet these days. The technology and telecommunications sectors of the American economy are increasingly under assault at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Republicans and Democrats alike are looking for ways to regulate everything from privacy to porn, while simultaneously seeking ways to subsidize access.
Issue no. 253 - 8 December 2002
- EU - MODINIS programme
Proposal for a Council Decision adopting a multi-annual programme (2003-2005) for the monitoring of eEurope, dissemination of good practices and the improvement of network and information security (MODINIS) COM(2002) 425 OJ C 291 26/11/2002 p. 243 PDF.
- EU - Telecommunications Council, Brussels, 5th December 2002
On December 4-5, the Council of Telecommunications Ministers will meet in Brussels. Commissioner Erkki Liikanen will represent the European Commission. On December 4, a Council dinner will take place in Brussels. An exchange of views will take place on various issues like the current situation of the telecom sector, broadband and the new regulatory framework, eEurope and its applications in areas such as eGovernment and eHealth as well as on 3G.
Issue no. 252 - 30 November 2002
Index page see also Internet content
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
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