QuickLinks 168 - 9 September 2000

Forthcoming events | Full text search and archive

Legal and regulatory issues

   Access to public sector information / IT in government

  • AOL gives French unmetered access (FT) AOL is offering its subscribers unmetered internet access in France, but not in the UK, because it claims France's telecoms regulation is more difficult to deal with than the UK's.



   Computer crime

   Consumer protection

   Content regulation

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

   Copyright, trademarks and patents


   Data Protection (privacy)

  • "Safe Harbor" decision published (Official Journal) Commission Decision of 26 July 2000 pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the adequacy of the protection provided by the safe harbour privacy principles and related frequently asked questions issued by the US Department of Commerce OJ L 215 25 August 2000 p 7. see also Decisions re Switzerland and Hungary.

  • Judge rules on Toysmart (AP) A federal bankruptcy judge declined to place advance conditions on the proposed sale of the customer list of bankrupt Internet toy retailer Toysmart.com.

  • Privacy group accused of breaking own rules (AP) Truste, an advocacy organization that runs a privacy seal-of-approval program for retail Web sites and shows companies how to write effective privacy policies, itself has tracked Web surfers with means not mentioned in its own privacy policy.

  • USA - Contending with COPPA Confusion (Wired)

   Digital signatures

  • Commission plans to clear bank certification network (RAPID) The European Commission has intends to clear agreements between a number of major European and US banks to set up a joint venture called Identrus, a world-wide network for the authentication of electronic signatures and other aspects related to financial and e-commerce transactions.

   Domain names

  • Domain Boom in Germany (internet.com) By the weekend, over 3 million Internet addresses will be registered in Germany. The 1 million line was only crossed in October 1999. The number of .de domains has thus more than tripled in just 11 months.

  • Droits sur les noms de domaine internet: l'OMPI donne tort à EasyJet (AFP) Le Centre d'arbitrage de l'Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI) a tranché en défaveur de la compagnie aérienne britannique EasyJet dans une affaire d'utilisation abusive d'un nom de domaine sur l'internet. See also Webmaster Granted Benefit Of The Doubt In Domain Dispute (BizReport) An arbitrator umpiring a dispute over rights to the Internet domain name Easy-Jet.com has decided that a British discount airline should have had more damning evidence on hand if it expected to take the address away from a UK-based Web developer.

  • France Télécom débouté par l'OMPI sur les Pages Jaunes (Reuters) France Télécom a perdu son procès portant sur les adresses de sites web"pagesjaunes.com" et "pagesjaunes.net", annonce l'Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI).

  • France's Le Monde Wins Rights to Internet Address (AP) The French newspaper Le Monde won the rights to the Internet address www.le-monde.com under a U.N. procedure designed to curb "cybersquatting."

  • Geographic Domains on Shaky Ground (TheStandard.com) In a landmark decision, the World Intellectual Property Organization says Barcelona can reclaim its domain name. compare St Moritz case (rejected - the arbitrator found no bad faith and that the owner may have a legitimate interest in the name. There is no discussion of the "confusion" argument raised in the controversial barcelona.com case)

  • Parody sites sucked into cybersquatting squabbles (CNET News.com) Protest and parody sites that register Internet addresses based on trademarked corporate names are increasingly coming out on the losing end in domain name disputes, according to a review of arbitration records.

  • Sex.com Ruling: It Wasn't Stolen (Wired) U.S. District Court Judge James Ware dismissed a theft claim - technically called a "conversion" claim - for hijacking sex.com, ruling that Web domains aren't property, and therefore can't be stolen.

   Electronic commerce

  • E-Commerce Patent War Looms (Newsbytes) A small Virginia company on the verge of snaring a patent for computerizing international trade has begun warning other firms that it may soon demand licensing fees for a range of cross-border e-commerce transactions.

  • EU - Regulators clash over online protection rules (Silicon) European ecommerce regulators are set to clash over consumer protection rules for ecommerce. The European Council wants to make firms selling over the web beholden to the consumer laws of the buyers' country. However, the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee decided by one vote to change this jurisdiction, so a company can only be sued under the laws of its registered country. see Proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters COM(99) 348.

   Electronic democracy

  • Civic Exchange in Cyberspace (Center for Interdisciplinary Research) Bielefeld (Germany), October 23/24, 2000. What exactly are the possibilities of using the Internet to support political activities in the information society? Where in particular do the democratic potentials of the new communication technologies lie? Are we really heading towards a cyber democracy?


  • Hotlines lead the way in U.K. Internet cleanup (CNN) A series of hotlines aimed at cleaning up the Internet have resulted in thousands of sites being removed from servers in the U.K. Since launching in 1996, hotlines run by the U.K.-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) have been instrumental in getting more than 25,000 potentially illegal items, mostly child pornography, removed from servers.

  • Australia - Safety on the Net (DCITA)

   Information society and Internet policy


  • Industry criticism delays UK internet bill (Financial Times) The UK government abandoned its attempt to rush through rules on employers' monitoring of employees' e-mails ahead of the October 2 introduction of the Human Rights Act, after ferocious industry criticism.

  • Japan's Police Gain Right to Tap Phone, E-Mail (industry Standard) Japan's police have gained the right to eavesdrop on telephone calls and fax messages and access e-mail accounts in the course of their investigations into serious crimes. These are defined by the law as crimes involving illegal drugs, weapons, organized group illegal entry into Japan and organized murders.

  • USA - Court limits federal wiretapping powers (CNET News.com) A federal judge in Washington blocked the expansion of federal wiretapping powers, saying the the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) threatened individual privacy. The court did leave in place a provision that will require mobile phone carriers to let authorities pinpoint which antenna cell phone callers are using.

   Racism and xenophobia

   Rating and filtering

   Safer Internet awareness

  • Australia - Safety on the Net (DCITA) NetAlert, an advisory service that includes a toll free national help line and an informative website to help Australians manage Internet content access with greater certainty has been launched.

  • USA - New Web Site To Teach Kids Netiquette (BizReport) The Justice Department and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) launched a new Web site, the Cyber Citizen Partnership designed to help teachers and parents steer tech-savvy youngsters away from the dark side of the Internet. The Web site offers a variety of resources for teaching kids the Internet's legal rules of the road.

   Security and encryption

   Taxation and tariffs


  • USA - Deutsche Telekom plays with regulatory fire (CNET News.com) Deutsche Telekom showed no fear of its foes in Congress as it moved to continue its purchase of wireless systems in the United States, in spite of a House hearing and upcoming floor action in the Senate. Just a month after announcing its plans to acquire VoiceStream Wireless for $50.7 billion, the German telecom giant said it plans through VoiceStream to purchase U.S. cell phone company Powertel for $5.75 billion.

  • Auction by German Government Nets $50 Billion for Wireless Licenses (New York Times) The most expensive telecommunications auction ever ended when six companies bid a total of nearly $50 billion to win licenses for a new generation of wireless communications in one of Europe's largest markets. siehe auch UMTS-Sieg bedeutet Segen und Fluch für die Lizenz-Gewinner und Hintergrund: Die Gewinner der sechs UMTS-Lizenzen (Heise Online)

  • France outlines 3G license award process (Reuters) France will award four third-generation UMTS mobile phone licences on the basis of 14 criteria, scoring candidates out of a possible total of 500 points. voir aussi Mobiles de 3ème génération : lancement de l'appel à candidatures (ART).

  • India opens domestic long-distance to competition (Total Telecom) The Indian government has kept its promise of opening up the national long-distance telephony market. The key policy guidelines include the unrestricted entry of operators, a one-off entry fee of US$23 million (1 billion rupees), a bank guarantee of US$93 million, a non-exclusive license for 20 years, and a 15% revenue-sharing agreement with the government.

  • India unveils rules for private Internet gateways (Reuters) India unveiled rules for cable-based private Internet gateways which demand strict monitoring of their operations by the government. The rules require payment of an annual fee of two million rupees to the government to cover the costs of monitoring and reiterate that voice traffic will not be allowed on the Internet.

  • Belgium - Une seule zone tarifaire au royaume de Belgacom (Le Soir) Le 1er octobre, l'ex-RTT allégera la facture de tous. Sa méthode: transformer la Belgique une seule zone téléphonique. Fini le découpage de la Belgique en zones téléphoniques. Pour Belgacom, le pays est un et indivisible. Côté tarifs de l'appel, s'entend. Voir aussi Belgique: Belgacom ouvre son réseau de téléphonie locale (Reuters).

  • EU - Luxembourg lagging with "rights of way" (RAPID) The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Luxembourg for failing to comply with Community legislation requiring the authorities of the Member States to authorise the deployment of telecom networks across or via areas in the public domain, such as motorway or rail networks - a principle known as "rights of way".

  • UK - Charges for unbundled local loops (Press release) Oftel published Access to Bandwidth: Conclusions on charging principles and further indicative charges, the detailed principles that it will use to determine wholesale charges for unbundled local loops. Oftel intends that the final wholesale prices to operators should be set at a level which will encourage competition in DSL services while preserving the incentive for investment in alternative networks such as cable and wireless local loop.

  • UK - Oftel 'fails on competition' (Daily Telegraph) OFTEL, the telecoms regulator, was strongly criticised for failing to bring about effective competition in the UK internet market. The Internet Service Providers' Association said David Edmonds, Oftel's director-general, was mistaken in his belief that adequate regulation was in place to bring about competitive flat-rate internet services.

  • USA - An even-handed signal (Financial Times) William Kennard, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, insists that the the US does not restrict European access to its orbital telecommunications market.

Market & Technology

   Employment and social issues

   Internet access and use


  • Tiscali close to completing takeover of World Online World Online, the Dutch internet provider, has been bought by Tiscali of Italy. The deal, expected to be structured as a share swap, creates Europe's second largest internet access company behind Germany's t-online, an offshoot of Deutsche Telekom.

   Security and encryption

  • New strain of "Love" virus steals passwords (CNET News.com) A new strain of the infamous "I Love You" virus has hit some businesses located in Europe and in the United States. The virus, "VBS/LoveLetter.bd," runs a program that steals passwords from an infected computer and displays see a résumé for "Knowledge Worker, Zurich," written in German.

  • New Web attack tools exploit chat technology (CNET) New attack software has been discovered that uses Internet relay chat to deliver crushing loads of traffic to victim computers and could put the launch button within reach of almost anyone.



  • A cure for e-mail overload (Network World) Tired of slogging through hundreds of e-mail messages each day? An emerging technology called Sieve touts a simple, universal way to create filters for sorting, deleting and forwarding e-mail messages before they enter your inbox

  • New weapon in child-porn wars (MSNBC) A new software program could potentially revolutionize crime-fighting efforts to crack down on Internet child pornography. Using a sophisticated searching technique, the program extracts unique identifiers from images and within minutes is able to find copies of those files anywhere on a hard drive or the Internet.

Useful addresses


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.

QuickLinks consists of

  • a free newsletter appearing approximately once a week. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list. To be included on the mailing list, either fill out the form at http://www.qlinks.net or send an email to quicklinkshtml-subscribe@eGroups.com (HTML) or quicklinks-subscribe@eGroups.com (Text)

  • a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.

QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham richard.swetenham@cec.eu.int - Contributors: NewsNow UK, Internet Law News, MediaGrok, UNESCO, TKRNews, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Ingrid Silver, Pierre-Paul Sondag