QuickLinks 163 - 9 July 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government



  • EU - Microsoft gives up joint control over Telewest (Rapid) Microsoft has agreed to limit its investment in Telewest Communications to a minority interest, without the possibility of exercising decisive influence over the British broadband cable company. This means that Microsoft no longer has joint control over Telewest, leading it to withdraw its notification of the original deal. Consequently, the Commission will not take any further action with regard to this operation.

  • Business-Exchange Sites Raise Questions for Regulators (New York Times) As companies in practically every industry rush to join business-to-business exchanges on the Internet, regulators are growing concerned that they will face a rash of new antitrust questions for which they are not prepared.

  • EU set to take Spain to court over golden share law (Reuters) The European Commission is set to take Spain to court over a law giving the state special powers to prevent takeovers of formerly state-owned companies such as Telefonica SA and Repsol SA. It will also decide whether to issue a formal legal warning to the Netherlands over its "golden share" in both KPN Telecom NV and TNT Post Group.

  • Australia - Anger at Olympic broadcast ban (FT) The UK government and Reuters have protested about the plan to ban all international media from access to the Sydney Olympics except those that have paid for exclusive rights to televise the tournament.

  • Germany - Court says OK to unbundling (IDG.net) The Bundesgerichtshof has ruled that Microsoft cannot prevent dealers from unbundling its OEM software and selling it separately.

   Computer crime

   Consumer protection

   Content regulation

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • EU rejects U.S. data privacy adequacy (IDG news) The European Parliament rejected the current system of U.S. data privacy protection, stating that it does not represent the level of protection required by European legislation because the system of "safe harbor" principles is not yet in place in the U.S.

  • USA - Giving Consumers Access to Personal Data (New York Times) One online privacy principle has received scant air time recently: giving consumers access to the data collected on them. Still, recent steps within the industry suggest that some companies are heeding the call for access.

   Digital divide

  • UN forum seeks to close technology gap (Yahoo) Wealthy nations face huge obstacles to spreading technology in a world where half the population does not have a telephone and four of every 10 African adults cannot read, a UN forum said.

   Domain names

   Electronic commerce

  • Study into interactive gambling ban (Press Release) A study into the feasibility and consequences of banning interactive gambling was announced by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.

   Information society and Internet policy


   IT in education

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • Australian ISPs Approve Of Copyright Changes (Newsbytes) Australia's Internet Industry Association (IIA) welcomed the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Bill 1999 through the Australian Parliament. It will get ISPs off the hook of being responsible for the third-party content they carry and also permits caching of popular sites on local servers.


   Quality of service

   Rating and filtering

  • Australian controversy over government Web censorship (ZDNet Australia) In Australia the Code of Practice that forces ISPs to filter information on the Web has been branded "government endorsed privatised censorship" by the civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA).

  • Wireless Porn ... of Course (Wired) Sexually explicit stories featuring small, fuzzy pictures of naked people are now available to anyone, anywhere, 24 hours a day. To the dismay of family advocates and antiporn activists, anyone with a wireless access protocol phone can access at least 12 adult WAP sites currently under construction.

  • France - «Baise-moi», enfer du X (Le Monde) Le Conseil d'Etat a décidé d'annuler le visa d'exploitation du film Baise-moi. Le Conseil d'Etat constate qu' en se bornant à assortir le visa d'exploitation du film d'une interdiction aux mineurs de moins de seize ans et d'un avertissement, le ministre de la culture et de la communication a entaché sa décision d'excès de pouvoir.

   Security and encryption

  • Student Admits Hacking Government Computers (Newsbytes) A 29-year-old student has pleaded guilty to breaking into US government computers, including those of NASA and the Department of Defense Logistics Agency, to cripple systems, inflict damage and steal login names and passwords.

  • £20m subsidy likely over e-mail bill (FT) Tony Blair has told the Home Office to concede to business demands and contribute up to 20m towards its costs in implementing legislation allowing the interception of e-mails.

  • UK - Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (UK Parliament) Full text of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, as amended in Committee in the House of Lords. also available: PDF version.

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • Ad Group Pushes Net Privacy Self-Regulation (E-Commerce Times) Hoping to fend off government regulation of online privacy, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has issued a set of privacy guidelines for companies doing business on the Internet.

  • Self-regulation - Two draft reports (University of Washington) The Center for Law, Commerce and Technology has published
    • Online Alternative Dispute Resolution: An Issues Primer focuses on the possibility of using Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") as a means for dealing with consumer complaints and disputes connected to Internet transactions and analyzes the use of the Internet itself as a medium for such dispute resolution.
    • The ABCs of Internet Self-Regulation: An Issues Primer documents various ways in which communities on the Internet attempt to regulate themselves.


  • USA - Deutsche Telekom's Reported Sprint Bid Opposed by Senators (Bloomberg.com) Deutsche Telekom's reported bid for Sprint was opposed by a group of 30 U.S. Senators, who sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission. The group said U.S. law prevented a company owned by a foreign government from buying a U.S. telecommunications operator.

Market & Technology

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Copyright Groups Knock Heads (Wired) Five composer and songwriter organizations - BMI of the United States, GEMA of Germany, SACEM of France, SGAE of Spain, and SIAE of Italy - announced an alliance to develop a technology infrastructure to track music use across international borders.

   Data Protection (privacy)


  • Crime News Web Site to File for Bankruptcy Protection (New York times) APB Online, operator of a criminal justice news Web site that recently foundered, plans to file for protection for creditors under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

  • Online event-planning service folds (CNET News.com) Online event coordinator TimeDance.com went out of business. The site launched one year ago, offering visitors a way to plan events and invite participants.


  • C&W, Nokia Join Forces On Wireless Web (CRN) Cable & Wireless and Nokia's infrastructure division have teamed up to develop services and software that mobile carriers and corporate customers can use to deploy wireless applications.

  • WAP Homepage (FT) Special issue on WAP technology.

  • Mobile market (Economist) Telecoms firms are betting that they will reap big rewards from the growth of mobile telephony in Europe. They may have been too optimistic.

  • Mobile phone smuggling rife (FT) More than half a million mobile phones are thought have been smuggled out of Britain to cash in on the lucrative subsidies offered by UK network operators.

  • Wap patent 'owner' extends licence deadline (vnunet)

   Rating and filtering

   Security and encryption

  • New Encryption System Would Protect Digital Music (New York Times) Three mathematicians at Brown University have obtained a patent for an encryption code they say will make it impractical - if not impossible - to infringe copyrighted data like digital music.

  • Sneaky new virus format has software makers scrambling (CNET News.com) A comparatively new type of virus is forcing antivirus software companies to rebuild their products. These email viruses, such as Kakworm and Bubbleboy, are small programs called scripts that reside in the body of an email message, not in the file attached to the messages.


  • Three South Korean Phone Firms choose European Standard (nytimes.com/thestreet.com) The three largest mobile phone operators in South Korea have decided to use the wide-band code division multiple access, or W-CDMA standard developed by Nokia and Ericsson when they are granted licenses to offer high-speed Internet access.

  • U.S., Europe to Unite on Web Traffic Standards (The Industry Standard) The U.S. and European online audience measurement committees of the Future of Advertising Stakeholders (FAST) will join forces to establish standards for the measurement of site audiences.


  • Progression d'Internet en France (Le Monde) La France a gagné en mai 150.000 internautes connectés depuis leur domicile, leur nombre total s'élevant désormais à 5,53 millions.

   Voice over IP


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