QuickLinks 171 - 1 October 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues



   Computer crime

  • 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.

   Content regulation

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Digital divide

   Domain names

   Electronic commerce

  • 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.

   Information society and Internet policy


   IT in education

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • 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.

   Protection of minors

  • 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

   Rating and filtering

   Safer Internet awareness

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • 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.

   Taxation and tariffs


Local loop

  • 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

   Digital signatures

  • 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.

   Internet access and use

  • 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.


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, Internet Law News, MediaGrok, Yaman Akdeniz, Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie