QuickLinks 140 - 22 January 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government

  • EU - Eurokraten versus Europakritiker (Spiegel Online) Die Europäische Kommission will ihren Kritikern einen Riegel vorschieben, indem sie den Zugriff auf EU-Dokumente - unteranderem übers Internet - erheblich erschwert.

  • USA - DOJ seeks to Web-enable all crime info (Inter@ctive Week) The U.S. Department of Justice is leading a national push to integrate, standardize and Web-enable all criminal justice information that is harvested and stored by local, state, tribal and federal governmental entities.


  • Bid battle: EU clarifies its stance (FT) The European Commission took the unusual step of issuing a statement about its talks with Vodafone AirTouch and Mannesmann on Vodafone's hostile bid for its German rival.

  • UK - Probe into e-tailer 'boycott' (FT) The Office of Fair Trading is investigating a retailer's complaint that a supplier boycotted it when the store began undercutting high street prices via the internet.

   Computer crime

  • UK - Cyber squad set up to tackle computer crime (Independent) Jack Straw is to set up a national computer crime squad to combat the growing problem of hackers, Internet fraudsters and pornography.

  • Germany - Internet als "pornografischen Kontakthof" missbraucht (Spiegel Online) Sechs Jahre und neun Monate Haft hat das Landgericht Konstanz gegen einen Mann verhängt, der Pornofotos von einem heute zehnjährigen Mädchen ins Internet gestellt hat. Die Jugendschutzkammer des Landgerichts ging damit über das von der Staatsanwaltschaft geforderte Strafmaß von sechs Jahren hinaus.

  • USA - Naughton porn conviction overturned (Reuters) A former top Infoseek executive convicted of possessing child pornography was granted a new trial by a judge who said he had "no choice" after an appeals court overturned part of the U.S. child pornography law.

   Content regulation

  • Internet users want to take responsibility for what they access (ITC News Release) Concerns about the internet and its content lessen when people learn more about it, according to new research published by the Independent Television Commission, with the support of the Broadcasting Standards Commission, today. As users and potential users became more aware of ways of avoiding access to material which they consider undesirable, either for themselves or for their children, they became more willing to take responsibility for what they view, and feel that the internet does not need to be subject to external content regulation.

  • Australia - ABA starts cleaning up the Web (Network World Today) An undisclosed number of locally hosted Websites have been ordered to remove questionable content in the wake of the new Federal Internet regulation laws introduced on January 1.

  • Australia - Internet content (DCITA) Transcript of an interview with the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston and the head of the Internet Society of Australia on the Triple J Morning Program. Triple J is a national youth network (aimed at 18 to 25s) and is part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

  • Myanmar Issues Tough Internet Restrictions (AP) Myanmar's military regime has issued tough restrictions that forbid the posting of political writings in cyberspace - even though the public does not have access to the Internet.

  • USA - iVillage.com Sues Couple Over Obscene Internet Postings (Law News Network) A Web site geared toward women is suing a wife and husband, charging that they posted obscene and threatening messages on a message board devoted to the benefits of breast-feeding.

  • USA - To Fight Hate Speech Online, U.S. Turns to Housing Law (New York Times) Federal officials have invoked an unlikely statute in their quest to prosecute the alleged operator of a hate site: the Fair Housing Act.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • DVD Crypto Injunction (Newsbytes) The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) convinced a federal judge to grant an injunction ordering three individuals to remove information about DVD encryption from their Websites. See also Sites Sued For DVD Secrets (Newsbytes).

  • USA - Recording Industry Files Copyright Lawsuit Against MP3.Com (AP) The Recording Industry Association of America has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against MP3.com for its services that allow users to instantly hear music and add their personal music to a play list.

  • USA - Streaming Audio Ruling a Win-Win (wired.com) A US District Court in Seattle issued a split decision in the Streambox and RealNetworks fight over digital audio copyrights. Streambox can continue to sell its Ripper software for converting music files, but is barred from distributing other products that could circumvent the copyright protection in RealNetworks products.

   Domain names

  • ICANN in Cairo (ICANN) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will be holding its next set of meetings in Cairo, Egypt during the week of March 7-10. Topics on the agenda include the creation of new top-level domain name registries, country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) delegation and administration policies.

  • International Panel Resolves First Domain Dispute (New York Times) In the first test of a new international system for resolving disputes over Internet domain names, a panel in Geneva took an address away from a man accused of trying to peddle it to the World Wrestling Federation for a hefty profit.

  • USA - Federal Cybersquatter Law Survives Test (Law News Network) In one of the first lawsuits to test the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, Bargainbid.com has obtained a temporary injunction against a dot-com competitor and a Tennessee man who allegedly diverted consumers to the competitor's Web site.

   Electronic democracy

   Information society and Internet policy


  • USA - Clinton Favors Computer Snooping (wired.com) The Clinton administration wants to be able to send federal agents armed with search warrants into homes to copy encryption keys and implant secret back doors onto computers.

   IT in education

  • USA - Study on Online Education Sees Optimism, With Caution (New York Times) An online class, the Online Pedagogy Report concluded, can be a worthy and in some cases a great educational experience. But to work effectively, online class sizes should be limited. And Internet learning may be inappropriate for certain academic endeavors, most notably, the completion of an entire undergraduate degree program.

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

   Security and encryption

   Taxation and tariffs

  • USA - Florida Fights to Collect Cyber Taxes (Law News Network) Florida stands to lose $1 billion a year in sales-tax revenues by 2002 because of transactions over the Internet that, under existing rules, are exempt from taxation.


Market & Technology

   Domain names

  • BSKYB: Broadcaster pays $1m for address (FT) Sky Computers, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of computer hardware has received a windfall of about $1m (600,000) after selling its Sky.com internet address to British Sky Broadcasting, the satellite television group.

   Electronic commerce

  • Japan: Internet im Supermarkt (Spiegel Online) Das Land der aufgehenden Sonne holt auf: Bald schon können Japaner in 24-Stunden-Supermärkten online ihre Reise buchen oder Musikdateien aus dem Internet herunterladen.

  • Movies on the web (BBC) Hollywood studio MGM has teamed up with video rental chain Blockbuster to allow customers to download its films from the internet. The agreement allows viewers to access selected films on Blockbuster's site for a fee at the same time as they are available to rent on video or DVD.

  • Von den Käufern verschmäht (Spiegel Online) Die Geldkarte, eine mit einem aufladbaren Chip ausgestattete Plastikkarte, wird sich in Deutschland als Zahlungsmittel nicht durchsetzen.

  • Germany leads in e-marketing (FT)

   Internet access and use

  • Brazil ISP launches free access (FT) The battle for a share of Brazil's fast expanding internet market stepped up a gear with the announcement of a free internet access service from Terra Brasil, the internet service provider controlled by Telefónica of Spain.


   Multilingual content and software

  • Belgium rivals Silicon Valley (BBC) Jo Lernhaut and Pol Hauspie have now created a little centre of excellence, called the Flanders Language Valley, where companies with a similar sort of computer language expertise can cluster and breed more innovation, just like Silicon Valley.

  • Chinese Domain Names Offered (Newsbytes)


  • Geoworks to get rich on WAP licenses (zdnet UK) Wireless communications company Geoworks has announced that it owns Intellectual Property (IP) rights to parts of the international WAP forum and will begin collecting licensing fees from manufacturers of WAP compatible devices.

  • Sun gives away PKI security sourcecode (vnunet.com) The Sun-Netscape Alliance said it will kick start the use of digital certifications among ecommerce sites by giving away its public key infrastructure (PKI) library sourcecode.


  • Advertising revenues exceed $1.2bn (FT) Web advertising revenues surged to $1.2bn in the third quarter of last year, the first time they have passed the $1bn mark in a single quarter, according to Internet Advertising Bureau data.


  • Telcos agree mobile internet venture (FT) Ericsson, the Swedish telecoms group, is to join forces with KPN Mobiel, the mobile unit of KPN of the Netherlands, to develop mobile internet technology. Ericsson will provide GPRS (general packet radio service) technology on behalf of KPN Mobiel, Europe's seventh largest mobile operator.

Useful addresses

  • Consumer Voice (European Commission) Consumer Voice is a quarterly trilingual news bulletin reporting on current consumer affairs and debates. It focuses more closely on the EU institutions at work, on personalities related to the consumer world, on consumers' views on particular subjects, on news and developments as well as on forthcoming events. On-line Shopping Today Consumer Voice 99 Special Issue.


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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QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham richard.swetenham@cec.eu.int - Contributors: NewsNow UK, MediaGrok, David Goldstein, Alan Reekie, Rupert Selzer