QuickLinks 142 - 5 February 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues



   Computer crime

  • Hackers' New Tack on Kid Porn (wired) Kent Browne used to spend most of his free time hacking Web sites, erasing hard drives, disabling servers, and knocking folks out of chat rooms. Like many hackers, he subscribed to the classic Machiavellian argument, that the end justifies the means -- especially when the end was eradicating child pornography on the Internet.

  • Online fraud warning to all e-commerce users (zdnet UK) Increased fraud, loss of privacy and poor quality networks are just a few of the prices consumers will pay for a networked world.

  • Student charged with porn on Net (Post-Gazette) A sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh has been charged with possessing child pornography and using it to trade on the Internet for compact discs and other items.

   Content regulation

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Die rechtlichen Konsequenzen des DeCSS-Falls (Telepolis) Ein Interview mit Axel Horns, Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft (FITUG), zu den rechtlichen Konsequenzen des DeCSS-Falls und der Frage, wie deutsche Richter in diesem Fall entschieden hätten.

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • USA - DoubleClick under email attack for consumer profiling plans (CNET News.com) The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a consumer advocacy group has organized a protest against DoubleClick, encouraging the public to email complaints about the online marketing giant's privacy policies to the company and 60 of its clients.

  • USA - Health Sites Violate Their Own Privacy Standards, Study Finds (New York Times) Internet health sites collect some of the most personal information about their users, but few follow their own declared policies about maintaining the privacy of that data, according to a survey by the California HealthCare Foundation. 19 of the top 21 health sites had privacy policies, but most failed to follow their stated practices. And none of the sites followed fair information practices as defined by the Federal Trade Commission.

   Domain names

   Electronic democracy

  • Schnell, gezielt, billig (Spiegel Online) In den USA ist das Internet auf dem besten Weg, die Finanzierung von Kampagnen und den Ausgang von Wahlen entscheidend zu beeinflussen.

   Information society and Internet policy

  • UK - Centres to bridge 'digital divide' The government is set to launch a network of learning centres designed to close the gap between the information technology haves and have-nots.

  • Denmark - Realigning to a Network Society (Danish Ministry of Research and IT) Society is changing. This is imposing us with a whole new agenda for the Danish welfare society. The economical and political ground rules have changed. The relations between people, businesses and authorities have changed. "Realigning to a Network Society" is the statement from the Government to the Danish Parliament on this development.


  • USA - Cyber Safe or Gov't Surveillance? FIDNET, a government plan to monitor networks for intrusions goes too far and will lead to increased surveillance and privacy violations, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a civil liberties group, told a Senate panel.

   IT in education

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • USA - Another Legal Defeat for Victim of Online Hoax (New York Times) Kenneth M. Zeran, whose name will be forever linked to one of the seminal cases in Internet law, has been handed another defeat in his five-year legal battle to seek redress for an online hoax.

   Protection of minors

   Rating and filtering

   Security and encryption

  • New Kind of Hacking Threatens E-Commerce (APBNews) A new threat lets hackers launch malicious programs on remote computers. "Cross-site scripting" can be used to steal credit card numbers, passwords and other sensitive information and can even allow hackers to impersonate unknowing computer users on visits to Web pages.

  • US-Geheimdienst lahm gelegt (Spiegel Online) Eine, so die offizielle Begründung, "zu große Datenmenge" hat vergangene Woche die National Security Agency (NSA) lahm gelegt. Haben die US-Datenspione zu viel abgehört?

   Taxation and tariffs

Market & Technology


  • BBC newsmen join fight against Murdoch (Guardian) Top BBC journalists are demanding that Tony Blair resist 'unfair and heavy-handed' pressure from Rupert Murdoch to pull the plug on the BBC's rolling news service News 24.

  • BBC Set To Pass On Tv Soccer Rights (Press Association) The BBC's newly installed director general Greg Dyke has signalled that he is highly unlikely to bid for the rights to show Premiership football live.

   Internet access and use


  • Mannesmann submits to Vodafone bid (FT) Mannesmann capitulated to a 113bn takeover from UK wireless rival Vodafone AirTouch. It is a deal that will throw open the corporate doors of Europe and pave the way for a wave of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. The merger is the largest takeover of all time. see also Vivendi in internet deal with Vodafone.

  • BMG/Sony talks may lead to merger (FT) Bertelsmann, the German media group, has been in discussions with Sony, the Japanese electronics and entertainment corporation, about co-operation of their music businesses in response to the creation of Warner-EMI Music.

  • EasyJet chief says to expand cyber cafe business (Reuters) Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the head of budget airline easyJet, has said he plans to open 50 new cyber cafes across Europe to build up his easyeverything cafe business.

  • News group in Internet deal with Equant (FT) Reuters, the news and information group, and Equant, the Amsterdam-based telecommunications concern, are to form a joint venture to offer an Internet-based network for the financial services industry.

   Portals, browsers and search engines

  • AltaVista gives away search engine (ZDNN) Internet portal AltaVista.com will begin giving away its search engine and will start paying sites that successfully refer people to the portal. As part of its new AltaVista Affiliate Network, the portal will let Web sites big and small offer AltaVista services such as search, stock quotes and language translation free of charge.

  • Portals: providers re-evaluate their strategies (FT) Is the long-awaited retrenchment of the internet portal market finally under way? Recent moves in the industry appear to signal that second-tier portals are backing off from competition with the three giants - America Online, Yahoo! and Microsoft's MSN - to concentrate on niche markets.

   Security and encryption

  • Increasing the Privacy of E-Mail (New York Times) Microsoft has done more to spur the growth of the e-mail security industry in the past two years than perhaps any other company.


  • Microsoft plans new Windows interface (Financial Times) Bill Gates is planning sweeping changes for Microsoft's Windows operating system in his new role as the company's chief software architect.

   Who' s who

  • UK - Oftel announces new Director of Regulatory Policy (OFTEL) David Edmonds, Director General of Telecommunications, has appointed Chris Kenny to be OFTEL's new Director of Regulatory Policy. He succeeds Ann Taylor who is returning to the DTI after five and a half years.

Useful addresses

  • New issue of LABnews (European Commission) The November - December 1999 issue of LABnews is now online.


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