QuickLinks 164 - 15 July 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government

  • UK - International Benchmarking Report (Press Release) Report prepared by the Central IT Unit of the Cabinet Office with the findings of an International benchmarking study on the development of e-government services.

   Audiovisual

  • European audiovisual policy in the digital age (Press Release) The European audiovisual industry in the digital age must be able to compete at international level while also guaranteeing pluralism, cultural diversity and consumer access to networks and content, said the European Parliament Culture Committee.

   Competition

  • WorldCom, Sprint officially call off merger (ZDnet) Long-distance telephone powerhouses WorldCom and Sprint canceled their $120 billion merger plan following regulatory complaints.

  • EU - Commission approves e-commerce joint venture between Deutsche Bank and SAP (Rapid) The European Commission has given the go-ahead to the joint venture between Deutsche Bank and the software company SAP for emaro, an electronic trading platform where suppliers of office equipment can do on-line business with customers.

  • EU - Commission approves rules on separation of accounts for public service providers (RAPID) The European Commission approved an amendment of the Transparency Directive which introduces separation of accounts for companies which operate services of general economic interest and receive compensation in form of payments or special or exclusive rights and which are also active in normal commercial operations. The public broadcasting sector is in principle covered by the Directive. However, the Directive only applies if a company has also activities outside the scope of its public service obligation.

  • EU - Commission clears Belgian joint venture between Planet Internet and Fortis Bank (RAPID) The Commission has authorised the creation of a joint venture in the Internet sector in Belgium between Planet Internet, a subsidiary of Dutch telecom operator KPN, and Fortis Bank. The proposed venture will set up a web site which will contain general information addressed to young people.

  • EU - Commission clears Telefónica buy of Endemol (RAPID) The European Commission has authorised the acquisition of Endemol Entertaining Holding, the Dutch producer of TV programmes, by Telefónica, the incumbent Spanish telecommunications operator which is also active as a television broadcaster.

  • EU - Independents demand limits on music mergers (FT) The EU's leading independent music companies have called on the European Commission to impose strict conditions on current mergers in the entertainment and internet business such as the AOL-Time Warner tie up, in order to ensure the digital delivery market for music is not controlled by a small number of big players

  • UK - Commission to make way for ITV consolidation (netimperative) Granada has received the blessing of the Competition Commission to merge with ITV rivals Carlton or UN&M. But the commission found that the merger of Carlton and UN&M may "work against the public interest". The secretary of state for trade and industry stipulated that the companies agree to dispose of the Meridian licence to avoid having "adverse effects" on the advertising market.

  • USA - TV Networks Face Competition Suit (New York Law Journal) In an antitrust lawsuit, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that satellite company PrimeTime 24 had sufficiently alleged that the major broadcast networks made baseless and harmful challenges to PrimeTime's right to send signals to households throughout the country.

   Computer crime

   Consumer protection

  • USA - FTC clamps down on Web pharmacies (Associated Press) In a crackdown on Web sites offering Viagra and similar drugs, the Federal Trade Commission has reached settlements with a group of Web pharmacies over accusations that they overcharged customers and made false claims about their medical staff. The pharmacies have agreed to stop their current business practices. see Online Pharmacies Settle FTC Charges (Press Release).

   Content regulation

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • Australian Govt Grilled Over Streaming Net Content Review (Newsbytes) Australia's Internet Industry Association (IIA) has called on the Australian Government to publicly explain and clear up the reasons for a mandatory review of streamed Internet audio and video content as contained in the country's recently passed digital television legislation.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Digital signatures

  • Ireland Joins E-Sig Craze (Wired) Following closely on the tail of the United States, Ireland became the second country to use a digital signature to sign its electronic commerce and digital signature act.

   Domain names

   Electronic commerce

   Electronic democracy

  • USA - Report Says E-Voting Is Unsafe (Wired) Voting in your pajamas is unsafe. So says the latest study published by the Voting Integrity Project, a non-partisan group based in Arlington, Virginia that has openly attacked theArizona Democratic Party's Internet primary election in March.

   Information society and Internet policy

   Interception

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • France - Valentin Lacambre ferme Altern, service d'hébergement gratuit (Libération) Le service d'hébergement Altern.org a définitivement fermé, et plus de 40 000 sites personnels se retrouvent à la rue. Créée en 1992, la structure avait pour principe d'offrir une fenêtre d'expression libre à tout un chacun, gratuitement et sans un embryon de bandeau publicitaire.

   Mobile

  • Germany - Regulator approves 3G alliance (FT) German regulators have approved a pan-European mobile phone alliance between Hutchison Whampoa, KPN and NTT DoCoMo despite fears that it will dramatically reduce the proceeds from third generation licence auctions.

   Protection of minors

  • Germany - Internet-Cafes ignorieren Jugendschutz (tecChannel.de) Die Stiftung Warentest hat neun Internet-Cafes auf technische Ausstattung und Einhaltung der Jugendschutzbestimmungen geprüft. Die Tester landeten dabei sowohl in Cafes mit neuester Technik als auch in Spelunken. Der Jugendschutz bleibt bei den meisten Betreibern außen vor.

   Rating and filtering

  • British Columbia Classifies Violent Computer Game as Adult Movie (New York Times) Authorities in British Columbia have classified a computer game that graphically depicts severed heads and humans burned alive as an adult movie, making it illegal to sell or rent it to anyone under 18. It is the first time in Canada that a computer game has received the adults-only rating and could trigger further efforts to limit availability of computer games with violent themes.

   Safer Internet awareness

  • Canada - Canada's Children In A Wired World: The Parents' View (Media Awareness Network) In the survey parents were asked for their opinions on their child's Internet use, the benefits and risks associated with their child's use of the Internet, effective measures for addressing Internet safety issues and inappropriate online content.

  • USA - Awareness key for cybercrime prevention (IDG.net) The biggest challenges law enforcement officials face when combating child pornography and stalking is public awareness and informing citizens about how to report crimes.

   Security and encryption

   Taxation and tariffs

  • European Parliament Hears E-Commerce Tax Pitch (Newsbytes) The European Parliament in Brussels received the Internet-based value-added tax pitch from EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, who explained that - despite American IT company objections - e-commerce should be taxed within the European Union in the same fashion as traditional sales.

   Telecommunications

Market & Technology

   Domain names

  • Net firm to auction four ".TV" domains (Reuters) The company that agreed to pay the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu $50 million for rights to Web addresses ending in ".tv," is putting four of those destinations up for bid during a live televised auction.

   Employment and social issues

   Market

   Mobile

   Standards

Useful addresses

  • EPIC Bill Track (EPIC) Tracking Privacy, Speech, and Cyber-Liberties Bills in the 106th Congress


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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, Alan Reekei, Paula Telo Alves