QuickLinks 171 - 1 October 2000
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Legal and regulatory issues
- No fast-track appeal in Microsoft case (ILN - Wired) In an 8 to 1 vote, the US Supreme Court decided that the MS antitrust case should be heard first by the Court of Appeals, rather than going straight to the highest court. See decision, articles in New York Times), Washington Post and Salon.
- German regulators clear the road for Covisint (CNET News.com) Covisint, the electronic commerce site formed by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and other carmakers, won regulatory approval from German antitrust authorities.
- EU - Telecommunications between Regulation and Competition (RAPID) speech by Mario Monti, European Commissioner for Competition Policy, Universitat Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, Barcelona, 28 September 2000
- EU - Time Warner and EMI Are Said to Offer to Sell Virgin Label In an 11th-hour attempt to rescue their $20 billion joint venture from rejection by European regulators, Time Warner and the EMI Group have offered to sell off EMI's Virgin record label to win approval.
- USA - AOL/Time Warner object to binding open access (Reuters) The CEOs of America Online and Time Warner, seeking to merge their Internet and media businesses, objected to being forced network to competing Internet services when that requirement is not imposed on rivals.
- Germany - Große Polizeiaktion gegen Kinderporno-Konsumenten (Heise Online) Deutschen Sicherheitsbehörden ist der bislang größte Erfolg im Kampf gegen die Kinderpornografie gelungen. Wie die in Halle erscheinende Mitteldeutsche Zeitung berichtet, leiten Justiz und Polizei in der gesamten Bundesrepublik derzeit Strafverfahren gegen tausende Privatpersonen ein, die auf eine bei T-Online gehostete Seite mit verbotenen Inhalten zugegriffen haben sollen.
- Europeans Defining The Long Arm Of The Cyberlaw (Inter@ctive Week) European and U.S. officials are moving toward a final draft of the world's first international treaty on cybercrime, a broad effort that high-tech industry groups and privacy advocates fear could intrude on personal privacy and hamper e-commerce.
- USA - California signs tough computer crimes bill (ILN - CNET News.com) California governor Gray Davis has signed into a law a new state computer crime bill that creates tough new penalties for hackers that spread computer viruses.
- USA - Net Gambling Ban Not Dead Yet (Wired) If you like to gamble online, your luck may be about to change for the worse. House Republicans are in the middle of closed-door negotiations over a bill that appears likely to restrict Americans from using credit cards at online casinos.
- Russian court overturns part of eavesdropping law (DFN) Russia's Supreme Court ruled that part of the SORM eavesdropping legislation was illegal. SORM allows the secret police to tap into any communication over telephone, cellular, or internet network. The Supreme Court ruled illegal the part of SORM which stated that no information about wiretapping decisions could be provided to communications companies.
- La confidentialité du courriel au centre d'un procès à Paris (AFP) Le courriel est-il un courrier comme un autre? C'est la question que devra trancher le tribunal correctionnel de Paris, qui a examiné la plainte d'un étudiant koweïtien contre trois responsables de son ancienne école, poursuivis pour avoir espionné sa messagerie électronique.
- UK - Home Office consultation on use of RIP Act powers (Press Release) A public consultation on the draft codes of practice on interception, covert surveillance and the use of covert human intelligence sources is to be made under Section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The consultation period begins on 25 September and the closing date for consultation responses is 17 November 2000. A summary of the consultation responses will be made available on the Home Office website.
- USA - Committee toughens email interception law (ILN - Wired) The House Judiciary Committee approved the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000, a bill that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before reading email messages.
- USA - Justice Department selects Illinois institution to review 'Carnivore' (ILN - CNN) The U.S. Department of Justice announced that a Chicago institution has been chosen to review the so-called "Carnivore" system, its controversial e-mail surveillance program, to determine whether it violates privacy rights. see winning proposal. see also Carnivore review team picked, Carnivore review team information leaked, FCC may adopt Carnivore (Wired).
- USA - Judge rules AOL clickwrap agreement unenforceable (ILN - San Francisco Chronicle) A California state judge has ruled that an AOL jurisdiction clause found in its clickwrap agreement is unenforceable. The judge found that it was unfair to require a California resident to travel to Virginia over a $65 dispute.
- A Second World Congress in 2001 (ECPAT) A second World Congress on commercial and other forms of sexual exploitation of children will be hosted by the Japanese Government in association with the Prefecture of Yokahama. It will take place in Yokahama, Japan 17 - 20 December 2001. The Japanese government, ECPAT International, UNICEF and the NGO Group on the rights of the child will be the organising partners, echoing the partnership format of the first World Congress.
- USA - Commission on Child Online Protection (COPA) COPA Commission Report Writing Meeting Scheduled for October 4-5 in Sterling, VA
- E-mail advertisers float industry standards on privacy (Reuters) Top U.S. online marketers proposed new privacy rules to curb the explosion of unwanted e-mail and head off a possible regulatory crackdown. Calling themselves the Responsible Electronic Communication Alliance (RECA), 16 firms said they were developing a "seal of approval" to identify subscribers to their proposed, enforceable standards.
- Bitter and Twisted (NewCarrier) Unbundling of Europe's copper is on the way. To read the media you might think a regulatory tweak here and a kick or two from the EU there will be enough to keep the process on track. In fact, the indications from new carriers are that unbundling wars, particularly in the U.K., are just beginning.
- BT may face legal threat over local loop access (FT) Telecommunications companies angered by British Telecommunication's delay in opening up its local monopoly are considering legal action against the former monopoly if the situation does not improve. see also Microsoft accuses BT of spoiling tactics in high speed Web roll-out (Total Telecom).
- Swisscom gets reprieve in last-mile monopoly vote (Reuters) Swisscom has won a last-minute reprieve from attempts to abolish its "last-mile" monopoly, which lets the state-controlled telecoms group keep control over direct access to homes and other retail customers. The lower house of parliament voted 76-69 to postpone a decision on letting Swisscom's rivals compete for last-mile linkups from their networks to residential clients.
Market & Technology
- UK boost for digital signatures (FT) An internet start-up company has struck an alliance with the Post Office to offer free digital signatures to millions of consumers, in a move designed to boost public confidence in using the internet for online transactions.
- Euro ISPs paying price for Internet's growing popularity (Total Telecom) The increasing popularity of the Internet amongst western Europe's citizens is forcing the continent's ISPs to consolidate, as new subscriber models are eating away at sustainable access revenues, according to consultancy the Yankee Group Europe.
- Study: Music sites gains from Napster (Reuters) While song-swapping firm Napster's fate lies in the hands of a landmark copyright court battle, many file-sharing client and streaming media sites are benefiting from the much-publicized event, Jupiter Media Metrix's AdRelevance said in a report.
- Experts call for easy-to-use Web phones (Reuters) Internet access by mobile phone will only be a success if operators and handset makers make the telephones easier to use, industry specialists said.
- BSkyB joins virtual operators (FT) British Sky Broadcasting is following in Virgin Mobile's footsteps by becoming a 'virtual' mobile operator. BSkyB, which already sells fixed telephony, has started to offer mobile services, rebranding the Vodafone service. Virgin Mobile's service is based on the One2One network.
- DoCoMo to Push i-mode Into Europe (The Industry Standard) Japan's NTT DoCoMo said that it would establish a U.K. subsidiary and a research lab in Germany to further strengthen its position in Europe. The company, which made a deal to buy 42.3 percent of America (AOL) Online's Japan unit for $100 million, also plans to set up a joint venture with KPN Mobile, a Dutch cellular phone carrier. see also DoCoMo, AOL agree on alliance (FT)
- Motorola and Palm sign 'smart phone' deal (FT) Motorola and Palm will announce that they are joining forces to produce a line of "smart phones" - devices that combine handheld computers with mobile phones.
- M-Commerce auf dem Vormarsch (Yahoo) 55 Prozent der europäischen Unternehmen bereitensich darauf vor, ihre Dienste künftig über mobile Endgeräte wie Handys, PDAs und Organizer mit Funkanschluss anzubieten.
- Nine billion g-mails per month (Press Release) The GSM Association today announced that a record nine billion G-mails or SMS (GSM mail or Short Message Service) text messages were sent over the world's GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) wireless networks during August 2000, a new world record for wireless text.
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