QuickLinks 150 - 2 April 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government

  • EU - President Prodi's Register of correspondence goes on-line (RAPID) European Commission President Romano Prodi today fulfilled his pledge to publish a register of his correspondence, by opening a site on the Europa web-server of the European Union.

  • Australian Net Freedoms Group Blocked In Censorship Inquiry (Newsbytes) Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has requested the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) under the Freedom of Information Act to furnish it with the identity of Web sites that have been the subject of complaints. The ABA responded that the cost of delivering such information would amount to over US$2,816. The EFA has objected to the estimate of the costs.

  • UK - Information bill concessions (Guardian) Jack Straw will announce two changes to the government's much criticised freedom of information bill to try to head off a rebellion by Labour MPs. He is to give the new information commissioner the power to overrule chief executives of quangos who refuse to release documents to journalists and the public. He is also to modify the total ban on the release of policy advice to ministers.


  • FCC Approves Two Major Wireless Mergers (Reuters) The Federal Communications Commission gave final approval to the creation of a joint venture for the wireless operations of Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch and VoiceStream Wireless' purchase of Aerial Communications.

   Computer crime

  • Canada Called Hotbed of Cyberterrorism (Newsbytes) An American intelligence agency has determined that up to 80 percent of foreign attacks on US computers either originate or pass through Canada. The claim follows suspicions that some recent hacker attacks were routed through Canadian computers.

  • FBI chief urges laws on cybercrime (FT) The head of the FBI warned that US laws were not keeping up with the growing pace and sophistication of cybercrime, and called for changes to the legal procedures governing investigation and prosecution of such crimes.

  • Fighting Paedophilia on the Internet - the Brussels Forum (UNESCO) More than 150 experts in jurisprudence, Internet operations, and child protection met at Palais d'Egmont in Brussels on 17 March 2000 to reinforce the Fight against Paedophilia on the Internet, an international forum organised by the Association Mondiale des Amis de l'Enfance in cooperation with the World Citizens' Movement to Protect Innocence in Danger and UNESCO.

  • UK - Hackers released on police bail (BBC) Two teenagers arrested in Wales after an FBI investigation into an alleged $3m internet credit card fraud incident have been bailed.

  • Spain - Anonimato y distancia, retos de la ciberpolicía (Ciberestrella)

   Consumer protection

   Content regulation

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • EU - Commission endorses "safe harbor" arrangement with US (RAPID) The European Commission has given the go-ahead to seek the support of EU Member States for accepting the United States' proposed "safe harbor" arrangement as providing adequate protection for personal data transferred from the EU to "safe harbor" participants. Before adopting a formal decision to this effect, the Commission must seek the support of a qualified majority of Member States. It must also consult their data protection commissioners and the European Parliament.

  • 'Safe Harbor' privacy plan -- not so safe? (ZDNet) The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, or TACD, a group representing consumers in the United States and Europe said the "Safe Harbor" privacy provision between the European Union and the U.S. government doesn't go far enough to protect the rights of the citizens in either region.

  • Open call for tenders (Official Journal) B-Brussels: contract for a study on the application of Directive 95/46/EC relating to the protection of individuals within Member States. Final date for receipt of tenders: 15.3.2000 plus 36 days. OJ S59 24/03/2000.

  • Privacy Commissioner unveils Internet guidelines (Newswire) The Australian Privacy Commissioner has a developed the Guidelines on Workplace Email, Web Browsing and Privacy which recommend steps employers can take to ensure staff understand company policy with regards to email use and Web browsing.

  • USA - SECís plan to snoop for crime on Web sparks privacy debate (Wall Street Journal) The Securities and Exchange Commission is moving to create an automated surveillance system that would scour the Internet for people who violate securities law. The mechanism would monitor public Web sites, message boards and chat groups.

   Digital divide

   Domain names

  • Australia - AdultShop comes out on top in domain tussle (Newswire) After a protracted battle, plain forgetfulness has cost the owners of the adultshop.com.au address their fiercely guarded domain and delivered it into the hands of their arch-rival, online erotic retailer AdultShop.com.

  • Sweden halts dotcom name craze (FT) The Swedish patents and registration office, PRV, has banned new companies from including in their names not only .com but .se, the country's domain name, and any company names that include www and the sign @.

   Electronic commerce

  • China Bans Online Sale of Videos (AP) In its latest effort to impose control over freewheeling electronic commerce, China has announced rules banning online sales of imported music and videos and excluding foreign invested Internet companies from selling any audiovisual products.

   Electronic democracy

   Information society and Internet policy

  • eEurope initiative goes on-line (RAPID) The European Commission has launched an inter-active web site on its eEurope Initiative. The purpose is to show how the initiative is being pursued following the Lisbon Summit on 23-24 March 2000.

  • UK - Hague urges government to lay off the Internet (Silicon) The UK government should refrain from over-regulating ecommerce and the Internet if it wants to ensure they both continue to develop successfully, according to William Hague, leader of the Conservative Party.


  • UK - Legal fears over e-mail tapping (FT) Government changes to a new law allowing officials to bug and tap e-mails and mobile phones are insufficient to comply with human rights, according to a new legal opinion

  • UK - RIP: a framework for 21st century law enforcement? (Silicon) Or an unnecessary burden on British business? The government's controversial 'wire-tap' legislation - or the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill to give it its proper name - has come in for its fair share of criticism.

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

   Protection of minors

  • EU - Community backing against violence to women and children (RAPID) The DAPHNE Programme, a Community action programme to fight violence against women and children, is ready to receive applications for the year 2000. DAPHNE projects cover trafficking and sexual exploitation, all forms of domestic violence and abuse as well as violence in schools and violence towards minority groups and migrants.

   Safer Internet awareness

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • Commission launches "e-confidence" on-line forum The European Commission has proposed to set up an on-line "e-confidence forum" for the exchange of information, knowledge and experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).


  • Mexico moves to curb Telmex (FT) Mexican regulatory authorities began proceedings to prevent potentially monopolistic behaviour by Telmex, the telephone company, by imposing tariff floors and ensuring standards of fair competition.

  • Singapore Govt Awards New Internet, Telecom Licenses (Newsbytes) Singapore, with a population of around 3.1 million, will have about 20 Internet access providers and 20 operators of international call services after the Government awarded new facilities and service-based licenses to local and foreign telecom companies.

  • EU - Commission opens infringement procedures (RAPID) The European Commission has decided to open formal infringement proceedings against Belgium, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria and Finland for failure to implement the Numbering Directive 98/61/EC in relation to operator number portability and carrier pre-selection.

Market & Technology

   Electronic commerce

   Internet access and use


   Multilingual content and software

  • El español es la cuarta lengua más utilizada en Internet (Ciberestrella) El español ocupa actualmente el cuarto lugar en el ranking de idiomas utilizados en Internet, por detrás del inglés, el japonés y el alemán. El Instituto Cervantes afirma que esta situación cambiará a medida que Latinoamérica incremente el número de conexiones a Internet.

  • Großfusion der Sprach-Erkenner (Heise Online) Der belgische Spezialist für Spracherkennungs- und Übersetzungssoftware, Lernout & Hauspie (L&H), kündigte heute an, seinen größten Konkurrenten Dragon Systems Inc. übernehmen zu wollen. Der Kaufpreis beträgt rund 593 Millionen US-Dollar.

   Portals, browsers and search engines


  • Web Closed Captioning Simplified (Wired) A new freeware tool allows creators of streaming audio and video to make their websites more accessible to the sight- and hearing-impaired by adding captions and subtitles, as well as voice-over descriptions of images, to Web-based multimedia and CD-ROMs.

Useful addresses

  • The OECD Information Technology Outlook 2000 (Press Release) The Information Technology Outlook 2000 is the latest in a series of OECD reports covering the main trends in the information technology (IT) sector in OECD economies. In all, the IT Outlook presents 139 figures and 48 tables that quantify the important role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in OECD countries.

  • UNESCO Observatory on the Information Society (UNESCO) This Observatory's main objectives are to raise awareness on the constant evolution of ethical, legal and societal challenges brought about by new technologies. Documents and links to news items in English, French and Spanish.

Editorial information

  • QuickLinks 150th issue retrospective

    Top stories


    • First issue: 14 Oct 1997 Issue 100: 11 Dec 1998
    • Number of items published sinced issue 100: 3239 Total number of items: 6032
    • Contributors: Gerhard Heine, David Goldstein, Ola-Kristian Hoff, Alan Reekie, Rupert Selzer, John Rabun, Patrizio Menchetti, Stephen Balkam, David Hughes, Gordon Lennox, Meryem Marzouki, Angela Mills, Günter Wilms, Yaman Akdeniz, Alan Reekie, Stefaan Verhulst, Patricia Benda
    • Aggregators: NewsNow UK, MediaGrok, EPIC, TKRnews, EPIC, Slashdot, ACM, Europemedia, CPSR Cyber Rights
    • Most cited news sources: New York Times, Reuters, ZDNet, CNET News.com, FT, BBC, Newsbytes, Wired, RAPID
    • Most obscure news source: Louisville Courier-Journal


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