QuickLinks 162 - 2 July 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government

  • Clinton envisions central government Web site (Reuters) Coming soon: a Web site that will make available at the click of a mouse every online resource offered by the federal government. Its name will be Firstgov.gov, and it will be created in 90 days or less, President Clinton said. see also Twenty Things You Can Do and Learn On U.S. Government Web Sites (Press Release).

  • Interpol Offers Information on Cybercrime (New York Times) Interpol will provide intelligence to a private Web site to help businesses defend themselves against global cybercrime. Atomic Tangerine, an independent U.S. venture consulting firm, said the organisation that groups 178 national police forces had agreed to pass on relevant information about hacking, stolen goods, fraud and other dangers to corporate health.

  • Vous avez demandé la police? Cliquez... (Libération) La Suède va ouvrir à la fin du mois son premier cybercommissariat, une sorte de cabine vide de policiers et connectée aux réseaux informatiques. Les initiateurs du projet reconnaissent eux-mêmes qu'ils ne savent pas encore exactement ce que cela va apporter.



   Computer crime

   Consumer protection

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • USA - FCC chairman to launch proceeding on "cable access" The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), William E. Kennard, will propose that the FCC begin a formal proceeding on the issue of multiple Internet service providers gaining access to a cable company’s platform.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • Failed dot-coms may be selling your private information (CNET News) At least three companies that have recently failed, Boo.com, Toysmart and CraftShop.com, have either sold or are trying to sell highly sought-after customer data that could include information such as phone and credit card numbers, home addresses, and even statistics on shopping habits.

  • Mattel removes software feature over privacy concerns (AP) In response to public complaints about privacy, Mattel Interactive announced the company would provide a tool that removes software that was surreptitiously placed on customers' computers and is designed to transmit and receive information for Mattel.

  • USA - Feds' Hands Caught in Cookie Jar (Wired) Federal agencies are ignoring stern White House instructions not to use cookies on government websites. Dozens of U.S. government sites, including ones operated by the Justice Department, the Defense Department, and the Energy Department continue sending cookies to the computers of unsuspecting visitors. see also How Congressional Cookies Crumble

   Digital divide

  • OECD chief warns against creation of digital divide (Silicon) Speaking at the Organisation for Economic Coordination and Development's (OECD) Forum 2000 in Paris, Ignazio Visco, chief economist at the OECD, has warned that the digital divide between information-rich countries and their technologically under-developed counterparts is set to widen.

   Digital signatures

   Domain names

   Electronic commerce

   Electronic democracy

   Information society and Internet policy

  • France - La corégulation, contribution française pour une régulation mondiale (Texte officiel) Christian Paul, Depute de la Nievre, en son rapport au Premier Ministre "Du droit et des libertés sur Internet" propose la création d'un Forum des droits sur l'internet, qui prendrait la forme d'un association mêlant acteurs publics et privés pour débattre de la société de l'information. Ce forum ne sera pas un conseil supérieur de l'Internet, mais un forum qui ne sera pas piloté par les entreprises ou les Etats, un lieu de référence sur les débats. voir aussi le sommaire du rapport.

  • EU - Information Society Technologies (IST) Nice 2000 Conference: The Information Society For all (European Commission) On 6-8 November 2000, IT decision-makers and specialists will meet in Nice at this year's IST Conference "IST 2000" this year, under the theme of an "Information Society for All". The IST 2000 event will also focus the European Commission's eEurope Initiative. It is organised by the Information Society Directorate-General of the European Commission, in close co-operation with the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry and the Ministry of Research.



  • Canada prepares for 3G windfall (Total Telecom) Canada can expect a multibillion-dollar windfall from a high-capacity wireless band auction if recent bidding wars in Europe are any indication.

  • Germany may limit auction (Financial Times) The German government is considering cutting the number of mobile phone licences on offer in next month's auction amid fears that consolidation among telecommunications operators will greatly reduce such proceeds across Europe.

   Protection of minors

  • USA - New Reports On Children And Media (Press Release) The three new studies, Media in the Home 2000, Is the Three-Hour Rule Living Up to Its Potential? and Public Policy, Family Rules and Children's Media Use in the Home, examine how families use media and explore the implications of two major public policy initiatives established to help parents better supervise their children's television viewing: the Three-Hour Rule and the V-Chip ratings.

   Racism and xenophobia

   Security and encryption

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • New ways to police the internet (FT) It is the private sector's responsibility, not that of governments, to combat cyber-attacks, argue Vint Cerf and John Patrick.


  • EU Adopts New Regulations On "Dual Use" Exports (Newsbytes) The European Union's Council of Ministers adopted new regulations governing the export of so-called "dual use" goods (technologies that have both commercial and military uses), clearing the way for possible changes in US export laws.


  • Regulator recommended for New Zealand (Total Telecom) New Zealand needed an independent telecommunications industry regulator, the government's telecommunications sector inquiry said in a draft report.

  • U.S. marks its territory before Japan talks (Total Telecom) The United States dug in in its heated telecoms dispute with Japan, saying proposals by Tokyo to rein in telecoms giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) did not go nearly far enough.

  • EU - Unbundled access to the local loop (Eur-lex) Official Journal L 156 of 29/06/2000: Commission Recommendation of 25 May 2000 on unbundled access to the local loop: enabling the competitive provision of a full range of electronic communications services including broadband multimedia and high-speed Internet

  • USA - Court's Open Access Decision Spurs Response (Newsbytes) Reactions were mixed about the decision by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit deciding that broadband Internet services are telecommunications services and therefore subject to regulation in the same manner as other telecommunications services. see also AT&T Keeps Cable

   Voice over IP

  • EU - Review of status of voice on the Internet (European Commission) Official Journal C 177 of 27/6/2000: Consultative communication on a review of the 1998 notice by the Commission on the status of voice on the Internet under Community law, and in particular, under Directive 90/388/EEC Supplement to the Communication by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the status and implementation of Directive 90/388/EEC on competition in the markets for telecommunications services

Market & Technology

   Electronic commerce

  • Visa shift to cut costs for e-traders (ZDNet.uk) Visa is planning radical changes to its business rules that will mean online merchants will no longer have to carry the cost of fraudulent transactions. Visa will shift responsibility for authenticating online shoppers from merchants to the credit card issuers.


  • Deutsche Telekom Web Unit Ends Its Talks for Freeserve (New York Times) Deutsche Telekom's Internet arm, T-Online International, has withdrawn from negotiations to acquire Britain's largest Internet service provider, Freeserve PLC, for about $9 billion.

  • Experts Uncertain Over Future Of Content Licensing (Newsbytes) A group of expert panelists, recognizing that content licensing is evolving, expressed more concern over how to make money from the 700,000 hours of entertainment content that currently exists on the Web each day.


  • 'WAP is crap' (ZDNet Australia) Wireless application protocol - seen as the mobile market's 'Next Big Thing' - is flopping, says an analyst, hampered by high prices, too many content restrictions and not enough apps. Most WAP (wireless application protocol) users can only view the content prescribed by their carrier. And at an average cost of 20 cents per minute, there's little reason to keep them interested.

  • Belgacom plans joint venture for 3G bid (Financial Times) Belgacom, the Belgian telecommunications operator, will bid jointly with Deutsche Telekom for a third generation mobile phone licence in the Netherlands as well as merging its internet business with France's Infosources.

  • Game theorists thrive on wireless auctions (Financial Times) An unlikely new industry is emerging from Europe's mobile phone boom. The scramble to win third-generation operating licences has created unprecedented demand for economists specialising in game theory.

  • Palm shuns Wap in launch (FT) Palm, the handheld computer company, is joining the scramble for wireless internet customers across Europe by launching its own mobile portal using its own technology. see also ITN in digital initiative (FT).

   Portals, browsers and search engines

  • Yahoo! for Google (FT) Yahoo! will use search technology from Google for about 20m daily searches. Inktomi's search service will be phased out over the next 30 days. Google claimed it had searched and indexed about 70 per cent of all websites - about 50 per cent more than rivals. voir aussi Google, moteur en explosion (Libération).

   Security and encryption


  • Porn surfing soars, but portals dominate (vnunet.com) Net Value is tracking 1600 UK households using software installed on each participant's computer. The survey revealed that during May over a third of UK surfers had visited an adult site, and that 40 per cent of the top 5769 websites visited were X-rated. But new statistics revealed to vnunet.com this week show that portals and ISP sites still attract the most visitors.

Useful addresses

  • Rambling Through Legal Web Sites (Cyber Law Journal) Many journalists jealously guard their sources of news tips and inspiration. But in the spirit of summer, columnist Carl S. Kaplan reveals the secrets of the cyberlaw guild by spotlighting the most useful legal Web sites and online newsletters.


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, UNESCO, TKRNews, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Paula Telo Alves