QuickLinks 175 - 29 October 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues


   Computer crime

   Consumer protection

  • Online Credit Card Fraud (NOIE) NOIE and the Australian Computer Society explore how perception of high risk may be misplaced in, 'The Phantom Menace: Setting the Record Straight about Online Credit Card Fraud for Consumers'.

  • USA - Airlines Ordered to Tell Callers Internet May Offer Cheaper Fares (New York Times) The Transportation Department warned airlines that they faced sanctions if they did not tell consumers who made reservations over the telephone that cheaper fares might be available on the Internet, but it stopped short of requiring the airlines to say exactly what those fares would be.

  • USA - Microsoft, FTC settle false ad claim (Reuters) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Microsoft's WebTV interactive television unit agreed to settle charges filed by the regulatory body, which accused the company of false advertising. The company agreed to end the ads in question, give refunds, pay for a public education campaign and to pay fines if it repeats its offences. WebTV Settles FTC Charges (FTC Press Release).

  • BT demands money back after ISP gaffe (Yahoo UK)

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Copyright Office backs content holders (WSJ Interactive Edition) The Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress, decided to allow only two narrow exemptions to the DMCA, a new federal law that makes it illegal for Web users to hack through the barriers that copyright holders erect around books, films, music, and other content released online. The first exemption involves software that blocks children and others from finding obscene or other controversial material on the Web. The other exemption involves giving people the right to bypass malfunctioning security features of software and other copyrighted goods they have purchased.

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Digital divide

   Domain names

  • Scam claim over com.au reselling (Fairfax IT) Domain name resellers have taken direct action in a dispute over business tactics, blocking a competitor's website. A group of resellers and Internet service providers have accused Melbourne firm Domain Name Authority of Australia (DNA) of tricking their customers, and some are even blocking their customers' access to DNA's website and redirecting them to a "consumer alert".

  • Dirt in the domain name game (MSNBC) A small cabal of insiders appear to be gaming the selection process that will soon determine who will win the right to control new domains such as .xxx, .kids or .web.

  • Domain name controversy brews (IDG) Users all around the Internet are crying foul, saying someone is spying on their domain name searches and then buying up the names they wanted.

  • ICANN Antagonist Calls For Board Resignations (Newsbytes) In a lengthy statement, University of Miami Law Professor and stalwart ICANN critic Michael Froomkin called the original board members of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) "squatters" for staying on past the deadline posted in ICANN's original charter.

  • ICANN--Pressing Issues II (Berkman Center) "Pressing Issues II: Understanding and Critiquing ICANN's Policy Agenda," a series of moderated panel discussions on issues facing ICANN at its annual meeting in Los Angeles. Free and open to the public, the event takes place Sunday, November 12 and will address UDRP review, At-Large membership and elections, and new TLDs.

  • Olympic 'cybersquatters' for the high jump (The Register) Lawyers acting on behalf of the Olympic movement have issued some 750 "cybersquatters" with writs demanding they hand over their domains or face the threat of legal action.

  • Planning a mega-merger? Don't forget to register the internet domain name (FT) When Chevron and Texaco put the final touches to their $43bn merger, they apparently forgot one small detail: registering their new internet domain name.

  • Pornographers create bogus EU Web site (IDG) Italians seeking online information about the European Union could bump into a Web site hosting explicit pornographic images that certainly don't bear the imprimatur of EC.

  • The dot-ca revolution (Globe and Mail) Starting Nov. 8, it will be a whole lot easier for Canadians -- private citizens as well as companies big and small -- to get their hands on one of the least-tapped resources on the World Wide Web: addresses featuring the suffix dot-ca, short for dot-Canada. see also New dot-ca world needs an election (Globe and Mail), Dot-ca wannabes line up for lottery (Globe and Mail) , .ca Deadline Causes Online Crunch (internet.com) and Canadians, Queen Elizabeth Set For Domain-Name Rush (ComputerUser).

  • Germany - Hälfte der ".de-Domains" sind ungenutzt (ZDNet) 55 Prozent aller in der ersten Januarwoche 2000 registrierten ".de"-Domains sind entweder nicht konnektiert, zeigen auf die Provider-Standardseite oder sind seit Monaten "under construction".


   Electronic commerce

   Employment and social issues

  • Labor Pains for the Internet Economy (Standard) Once, old-economy companies watched in fear as their best people left for dot-coms. Twenty thousand layoffs later, they're coming back.

   Information society and Internet policy

  • Rating the Reps on Net Issues (Wired) California legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives dominate the winners in a scorecard of technology votes compiled by Wired News. The list was assembled by selecting seven tech bills in the House, and grading each representative based on his or her floor vote on them during the last two years. see also Naming Net's Best House Friends.

  • EU - eEurope: A framework for the new economy (RAPID) Erkki LIIKANEN Member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society. Global Forum 2000 - Shaping the future: Towards a global e-society Nice Sophia-Antipolis, 19 October 2000

  • EU - L'action européenne au service de l'esprit d'entreprise (RAPID) M. Erkki LIIKANEN Membre de la Commission européenne chargé de l'entreprise et de la société de l'information Forum européen sur les formations à l'entrepreneuriat "Former pour entreprendre" Nice Sophia-Antipolis, 19 et 20 octobre 2000

  • Germany - Grüne: "Wir sind die Internet-Partei" (Heise) Nach einer kürzlich veröffentlichten Umfrage der Forschungsgruppe Wahlen sind die Anhänger der Grünen unter den deutschen Internet-Nutzern am stärksten vertreten.

  • Luxembourg - La peur du gendarme "fausse" le débat (Luxemburger Wort online) Régulation d'Internet. Présentation des résultats d'une consultation publique sur le sujet d'Internet

   IT in education

  • USA - Online Exchange To Link School Boards, Public (Newsbytes) Educators and America Online unveiled plans for a pilot program that will build online exchanges to link five school boards with the public to get parents and communities more involved in education decision-making.

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • Ruling lays email bare (Yahoo UK) No longer safe to assume that ISPs will protect identities, as email case ruling shows Individuals posting defamatory statements can no longer hide behind the anonymity afforded to them by their Internet service providers (ISPs), following a recent court case. The case highlighted the rights of firms and individuals to protect themselves from online defamation, regardless of the source.

  • Switzerland - Internet-Provider wollen Klarheit über Verantwortlichkeiten (AP) Schweizer Internet-Provider wollen grundsätzlich keine strafrechtliche Verantwortung für rassistische und pornographische Inhalte im Netz übernehmen. Die Rechtslage erweise sich als völlig unbestimmt und verlange eine Klärung durch den Gesetzgeber, kommt ein Gutachten im Auftrag des Verbandes Inside Telecom zum Schluss.


  • Blu faces bill as Italy accepts UMTS result (Reuters) Italy's auction of new-generation mobile phone licences flopped as one of the bidders, BT-backed Blu, quit the three-day-old race, leaving the government with half the cash windfall it had hoped for. Accusations of bungling flew after Europe's final, major auction of high speed UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) licences and Italy called a snap ministerial meeting in Rome to see whether the tender could be annulled. But after five hours of talks, the government said it would accept the outcome of the tender - but that it would try and recoup the 2.1 billion euro ($1.7 billion) auction deposit from Blu - and might even seek further damages. see also Blu denies bad behavior in Italy and Italy to Freeze Blu Deposit , Lex: Blu in the Face, Shrugging Off the Blus , Schadenfreude at BT's Blus (FT).

  • U.S. forced to make U-turn on 3G spectrum allocation (CWI Online) The United States will hold auctions of spectrum for third generation (3G) wireless services in September 2002, in a reversal of the U.S. government's position at the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) in May. Back then the U.S. government was at odds with most of the rest of the world over how to provide more global spectrum for high-speed wireless services.

   Protection of minors

  • Government admits education site 'unsuitable' (Yahoo UK) The government admitted that its educational Web site Eduweb contains material that is inappropriate for children, after a report condemned the site for allowing millions of children to gain instant access to sexually explicit material and drugs information.

  • Zwei Drittel der Eltern ahnungslos über Computerspiele (Heise Online) Zwei Drittel aller Eltern kennen nach einer Studie der Universität Bochum die Computerspiele ihrer Kinder nicht, sagte der Bochumer Wirkungsforscher Clemens Trudewind in Nürnberg auf der Jahrestagung der Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften.

  • Children's Internet use in USA (UCLA Press Release)

   Racism and xenophobia

   Rating and filtering

   Security and encryption

  • Microsoft attack adds fuel to hacker crackdown (CNET News.com) Calling it an act of "industrial espionage," Microsoft says its internal networks are accessed by hackers. CEO Steve Ballmer confirms that hackers did see key code, but didn't make any changes to it.

  • Israeli Web Sites Crash (New York Times) Several Israeli Web sites containing the government's perspective on the Mideast conflict crashed after Islamic groups abroad jammed them with fake traffic.

  • Secure digital music hits a sour note (ZDNet) A team of researchers breaks the watermarks on four music-protection candidates. But SDMI still sings the praises of identifiable music.

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

   Taxation and tariffs

  • USA - IRS Considers Regulating Internet Speech (Tech Law Journal) The IRS released a document stating that it is considering whether to issue guidance regarding the application of the Internet Revenue Code to various types of Internet communications by tax exempt entities.


Market & Technology

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • Sony, others to start digital broadcast services (Reuters) New set-top boxes will enable viewers to store entertainment programming on memory devices and watch it later, or to access the Internet via TV. Four Japanese electronics giants will create a joint venture to standardise technology for interactive broadcasting and storage-type datacasting.

  • Vereinigung von Fernsehen und Internet fern (n-tv) Der Weg zu mehr Gemeinsamkeit zwischen Internet und Fernsehen scheint noch weit. Während die interaktive Dominanz des Internets wächst, stolpert das Fernsehen noch ziellos ins digitale Zeitalter, meinen Experten.

  • Will TV lovers pay the Ultimate price? (CNET News.com) Microsoft announced pricing for its UltimateTV satellite service, which allows customers to record their favorite TV shows onto a hard drive, surf the Internet, and play along with game shows. UltimateTV puts Microsoft in direct competition with the pioneers of digital video recording: TiVo and ReplayTV.

   Electronic commerce

  • Dotcoms devoured (FT) The accelerating shake-out among internet companies demonstrates the market's winner-takes-all logic.

  • Public Broadcasting on Sale (New York Times) Public radio and television stations are starting to build online stores or expand their previously modest online shops. As they do, they are looking not only to generate revenue, but to remain relevant to their audiences in an age when viewers and listeners are awash in media choices.

  • UK - Snarl-up fears for online delivery (Independent) The already overloaded Christmas postal services could be brought to a standstill by the internet. This Christmas is the first when e-commerce is expected to play a major role in buying and sending presents, and operators such as Amazon and eToys are gearing up for bumper sales. But industry experts believe that parcel-services are not equipped to handle the added volume.

  • Technology Sent Wall Street Into Market for Pornography (New York Times)

  • The Middlemen of Content (New York Times)

   Internet access and use

  • AOL France: Woes due to Web hogs (ZDNet France) America Online is blaming recent service problems in France on the "passion" of its online customers -- in particular a minority of subscribers who are hogging the service, making the most of their 99F (roughly $14) per month for "unlimited" access.

  • Freeserve suspends registration for unmetered (Yahoo UK) Latest chapter in unmetered soap-opera: Freeserve stops taking on new members for unmetered package.

  • Harvard limits Napster outbound traffic (Crimson) Harvard Arts and Sciences Computer Services (HASCS) restricted Napster access for the first time yesterday, limiting outbound network traffic for the music-sharing service. HASCS will not restrict Napster downloads.


  • AT&T to split into four companies (Reuters) AT&T will restructure by creating a family of four companies that will be separately traded, marking the boldest reorganization of the corporate icon since it broke apart and created the Baby Bells in1984. Each of its major units will become a publicly held company.

  • Microsoft sallies forth with new Explorer (CNET) Microsoft formally launched MSN Explorer, the software titan's latest assault against the industry dominance of America Online.



  • Net standards group puts XML to the test (CNET News.com) The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has opened its XML (Extensible Markup Language) schema specification to public comment, and is encouraging member companies to begin using it in commercial applications. see Press release.

  • Setback for IM standard (Yahoo UK) The technical group that has been developing a standard protocol for instant messaging (IM) now says it will not choose a final standard and will leave that task to other bodies. The delay will affect firms that communicate using different IM systems and want to standardise.


Useful addresses

  • Best of the Web for Technology News (Forbes) With reviews and URL's.

  • Conferences and events (EuropeMedia) Upcoming conferences and events in the Internet world over the next 12 months. see also EU Institutions Events (provided by Hill and Knowlton).

  • Filter 3.7 (Berkman Center) New issue of a publication of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.

  • Streamlining Domain Squabbles (Wired) Resources on cases brought under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Process.

  • The Internet's Coming of Age (Computer Science and Telecommunications Board) A book available online for free from the Committee on the Internet in the Evolving Information Infrastructure, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council. The book will also soon be available in hard copy.


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, Lena Carlsson, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie, Paula Telo Alves