QuickLinks 146 - 4 March 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues


  • Internet: le CSA surseoit à sa décision sur la pub télévisée (AFP) Le Conseil supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA) a décidé de surseoir à la décision d'autoriser la publicité télévisée de tous les sites internet, y compris pour les secteurs jusque-là interdits de petit écran (distribution, presse, cinéma, édition...), qui avait provoqué la colère de certaines organisations professionnelles.

  • UK - Soccer clubs get TV rights (FT) England's top football clubs will be able to broadcast delayed coverage of their Premiership games on their own television channels after the league's new media deal is signed this summer.


   Computer crime

  • Borderless credit card fraud (MSNBC) The Internet has revolutionized commerce by allowing businesses to sell globally, but it also has created what so far appears to be the perfect cybercrime.

  • Canada Court Convicts Hacker (Reuters) A Quebec court convicted a man of hacking the computers of government and corporate institutions -- the first time a Canadian court has passed sentence in such a case.

  • Italy - Opération policière contre la pornographie pédophile sur l'internet (AFP) Une vaste opération policière contre un réseau de diffusion via internet de matériel pornographique pour pédophiles a été menée dans une quarantaine de villes italiennes.

  • USA - Child-sex images lead to arrest (Miami Herald) A man was arrested at his Westchester home, accused of possessing child pornography and transmitting images over the Internet.

  • USA - Tracking one child pornographer online (Knoxville News-Sentinel) A 17-year-old girl in Idaho was shocked when she received a pornographic picture, allegedly sent by a Knoxville, Tenn., man, over the Internet. So she told her father, the chief of police.

   Consumer protection

  • USA - Online Fraud Complaints on the Rise (APBnews.com) Internet fraud cost consumers $3.2 million last year, up 38 percent from the year before, according to a study by a nonprofit consumer organization. The National Consumer's League in Washington said the results show a need for better education in online shopping.

   Content regulation

  • Malaysia sends conflicting signals on Internet (Reuters) Malaysia's government came under pressure to spell out its policy on regulating the Internet after conflicting statements on restrictions on an opposition newspaper on the Web came from four different departements.

  • USA - Confronting Media Violence (Violence Studies Program) Conference at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia March 2, 2000. The Impact of Media Violence on Violent Behaviour and Efforts to Address Media Violence.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Digital signatures

  • EU - UK concern over e-signature standards (Yahoo UK) The government is urging UK firms to join European discussions on e-commerce standards. A body known as the European Electronic Signature Standardisation Initiative (EESSI) has been formed to advise on standards for signature creation, product verification and to interoperability of e-signatures.

   Domain names

  • ICANN "At Large" Representation (Newsbytes) The "ICANN At-Large Membership" page of the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), allows any Internet user with a valid e-mail address and a verifiable physical address to become an at-large member. The at-large membership is intended to provide the Internet user community a voice in the ICANN decision-making process. Once it reaches a critical mass, the at-large membership will be called upon to elect an at- large council, which in turn will nominate nine individuals to serve on ICANN's powerful board of directors. see also ICANN Launches Membership Web Site for Individual Internet Users (Press Release), Thousands Joining ICANN (The Industry Standard) and Internet Governance Election Plan Criticized (Reuters)..

  • auDA chief quits (Newswire) Less than a month into his reign as the head of Australia's new Internet industry body, Joseph O'Reilly has resigned. The CEO of .au Domain Registration (auDA) has blamed a lack of funds and staffing resources for his departure.

  • Domains would push social agendas (MSNBC) A Ralph Nader-backed consumer group is proposing the creation of several new Internet domain names intended to facilitate free speech and criticism and enable consumers, workers and others to organize.

  • USA - Volkswagen wins Net domain battle (Bloomberg) Volkswagen won a court ruling to claim the vw.net World Wide Web domain name from an Internet service provider.

   Electronic commerce

  • Auktionen fürchten juristisches Zwielicht (tecChannel.de) Die Online-Auktionshäuser ricardo, versteigern.de, primus-auktion, offerto, andsold, atrada, itrade und qxl haben den Arbeitskreis Online-Auktionen (AOA) gegründet. Der Arbeitskreis will die rechtliche Situation der Online-Auktionen klären helfen und in einem zweiten Schritt Qualitätsstandards vereinbaren.

  • Offshore Net gambling takes a hit (Reuters) Jay Cohen, 33, a co-owner of World Sports Exchange based in Antigua, was convicted by a Manhattan federal jury for operating a sports betting business that illegally accepted bets and wagers on sporting events from Americans over the Internet and telephones.

  • EU - Common position adopted (Press Release) Following the political agreement at the Internal Market Council on 7 December 1999, the Council formally adopted the Common position on the Directive on certain legal aspects of electronic commerce in the internal market on 28 February.

   Electronic democracy

  • EU - eurVoice web site launched (European Information Society Forum) This web site has been realised thanks to financial assistance from the European Commission. Its purpose is to find out what European citizens think about their rights in the Information Society.

  • USA - Judge Lets Internet Primary in Arizona Proceed (FT) A federal judge ruled that Arizona Democrats would be allowed to cast ballots on the Internet from home in their presidential primary next week, despite a lawsuit from a voting rights group that sought to block the online voting on the grounds that it could discriminate against minorities. see also Net Voting Standards Proposed (Newsbytes).

   Information society and Internet policy


  • ECHELON Research Resources (Patrick S. Poole) A set of links to news items and documents about the surveillance network run by US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

   Internet access and use

  • EU seeks to boost net access (FT) European Union leaders are finalising plans for an EU-wide reduction in local telephone costs to boost e-commerce and internet access across the region.

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • USA - Single Web Beer Sale to Minor Not Enough for Jurisdiction (E-Commerce Law Weekly) Determining that the sale of beer by Illinois corporations to an Alabama minor on the Internet occurred in Illinois, a federal court held that the single sale was insufficient minimum contact to establish personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

   Rating and filtering

  • USA - Bush On Porn In Libraries (Newsbytes) Analysis of comments on Internet filtering by George W. Bush, candidate for the Republican nomination to the US Presidency.

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • UK - new code to clamp down on bogus web job ads (vnunet.com) The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the recruitment industry's main trade body, has pledged to help run cowboy internet recruitment agencies out of town by enforcing a new code of practice.

   Taxation and tariffs


  • UK - BT threatens action over licence (FT) British Telecommunications has warned the UK government it may take legal action over the auction of licences for the next generation of mobile phone services. BT is concerned that the rapid pace of consolidation in the industry could lead to one company securing two licences, something strictly forbidden by the auction rules.

Market & Technology

   Electronic commerce

  • PSA et Vivendi créent un portail internet pour automobilistes (AFP) Le constructeur automobile français PSA Peugeot Citroën et le groupe de communication Vivendi ont constitué une société commune pour créer "Wappi", le premier portail internet multi-accès conçu pour l'automobiliste européen.

  • RealNetworks finds new outlets for jukebox software (CNET News.com) In a sign that retailers can no longer ignore the popularity of Net music, several big-name stores including TransWorld Entertainment, Virgin JamCast & Megastore and The Wherehouse have teamed with RealNetworks to carve a place in the growing digital distribution market.

  • Watchdog nets car scheme (FT) The Consumers' Association is to charge an as yet undisclosed fee for organising sales and delivery of cars to customers as part of an internet-based importing scheme for new cars that it is to launch next month.

  • Wells Fargo links with eBay Leading internet auction company eBay has formed an alliance with Wells Fargo, the California bank, to enable individual buyers and sellers to conduct credit card transactions via the internet.

  • Internet surfers get burned on virginity prank (Reuters)

   Employment and social issues

   Internet access and use

  • Telewest freezes unmetered service sign-up (vnunet.com) UK cable operator Telewest has stopped accepting new customers for its unmetered internet service while it upgrades its modem and network capacity to cope with the heavy demand for its £10 a month Surfunlimited service. see also BT Internet claims unmetered success.

  • BT offers free internet for evening surfers (BBC) BT Internet customers will be able to use the net free during the evening. Its customers, who already have free internet calls at the weekend, will also see their monthly subscription reduced from £11.75 to £9.99.

  • DSL Will Beat Cable (Newsbytes) Competition between providers of digital subscriber lines (DSLs) and the cable industry will remain hot for another three years but DSL will be the ultimate winner, a study by Cahners In-Stat Group has found.

  • ISPs battle for wireless web (FT) America Online, Earthlink and Microsoft's MSN network each announced plans to extend their reach over mobile telephones and other wireless devices.

  • L'INC publie son classement des fournisseurs d'accès (Yahoo FR) Le magazine « 60 millions de consommateurs » - édité par l'Institut National de la Consommation (INC) - publie son premier banc d'essai de 12 fournisseurs d'accès à l'Internet (FAI).

  • Is AOL underplaying threat of free ISPs? (CNET News.com)


  • Bertelsmann cuts AOL stake (FT) Bertelsmann, Europe's biggest media group, has cut its equity stake in America Online as the privately-held German group scales back its relationship with its European joint venture partner. Bertelsmann's 5 per cent stake in AOL, bought in 1995 for $50m has been reduced to just 0.7 per cent.

  • Deutsche makes Qwest offer (FT) Deutsche Telekom has submitted a takeover offer to buy Qwest Communications, the US long distance carrier, a move that could eventually lead to the biggest transatlantic merger in the telecommunications industry. see also German group seeks to disrupt Qwest merger.

  • Murdoch offers stakes to Microsoft and Yahoo! (FT) Rupert Murdoch is in talks with Microsoft and Yahoo! to offer both companies minority stakes in News Corporation's new digital satellite company.

  • TF1 shares surge (FT) Shares in TF1, the French commercial television group, soared after it unveiled ambitious plans to expand into digital and internet services.

   Multilingual content and software

  • AltaVista Goes Local in France, the Netherlands (internet.com) AltaVista extended its global reach by launching its newFrance and Netherlands properties. Both sites will generate local content and the search functions with country-specific indices which AltaVista claims will cover 95 percent of local sites in both the French and Dutch languages.

   Portals, browsers and search engines

  • Portal wars: peace in our time? (Inter@ctive Week) The Web battles may be over. Some of the largest hubs are revamping their strategies to reflect the Internet's new world order, and others have settled for being 'niche' players.


  • AOL instant messenger war continues (CNET News.com) America Online was accused of blocking entertainment start-up iCast from tapping into its AOL Instant Messenger service.

  • Sun slammed by global body over Java (Sm@rt Reseller) The Geneva-based standards organization ECMA has issued a scathing denunciation of Sun Microsystems for pulling Java off the standardization track.



  • UK scientists expect £100m to build super-fast internet (FT) British scientists are preparing an ambitious plan to build a new internet for the next generation. The Grid, as it is provisionally known, will work far more quickly and reliably than today's internet. It should eventually enable computer users to receive exactly the information they want from anywhere in the world, within seconds - and without having to go through a tortuous search process.

  • Web filtering sends Autonomy soaring (FT) Investors enthusiasm over a product that filters and organises information "intelligently" on the web sent shares in Autonomy Corporation soaring by nearly 44 per cent on Easdaq, the European technology market in Brussels.

Useful addresses

  • PreLex - monitoring of the decision-making process between institutions (Europa) PreLex follows the major stages of the decision-making process between the Commission and the other institutions and monitors the works of the various institutions involved (European Parliament, Council, ESC, Committee of the Regions). PreLex follows all Commission proposals and communications. Links allow to reach directly the electronic available texts (COM documents, Official Journal, Bulletin of the European Union, documents of the European Parliament, press releases).

  • Status of Commission initiatives (QuickLinks) An unofficial compilation from publicly available sources: pending legislation, pending policy issues, recent events, where to look, and compendium of links by subject-matter.


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, Gerhard Heine, Rupert Selzer