QuickLinks 176 - 5 November 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues


   Computer crime

  • Government claims paedophile laws do not need updating (Yahoo UK) The Home Office claims the Indecency with Children Act 1960 is sufficient to deal with paedophiles operating on the Internet. The Indecency with Children Act states "conspiracy, enticement or the attempt to commit gross indecency with a child under 14" is a criminal offence and it is this clause that the government believes covers the offence of luring children online. Police authorities, lawyers and children's charities have called for the law in the UK to brought in line with the US, where authorities have the power to "entrap" online paedophiles. See also Entrapment of Net pedophiles (ZDNet UK)

  • Italian politicians 'obstructing inquiry into child porn on Net' (Independent) The Italian magistrate leading the investigation into paedophiles on the Internet, Alfredo Ormanni, has provoked a furore by denouncing a "paedophile lobby" supported by politicians which he said openly obstructed the investigators and worked to prevent tougher sanctions for the consumers of child pornography.

  • Kinderpornografie - "Die Opfer werden immer jünger..." (Der Spiegel) Kinderpornografie ist kein internetspezifisches Problem. Doch der Boom des Webs verhalf auch der Subkultur der Pädokriminellen zu völlig neuen Möglichkeiten.

  • Senate Passes Net False ID Act (Newsbytes) The Senate passed a bill designed to prevent false identification development on the Internet, months after highly publicized hearings showing the online false IDs are a rampant and growing problem.

  • USA - Computer Search Warrant Valid, Says 9th Circuit (Law.com) The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, hearing the appeal of a man convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography for materials he received online, addressed the issue of whether the United States Customs Service established probable cause to search his entire computer system, and concluded that the search was justified. USA V Hay (US Court of Appeals).

   Consumer protection

  • Global Cops Crack Down on 'Dot Cons' (Reuters) Emphasizing cross-border cooperation, consumer protection agencies from around the world unveiled the top 10 Net scams. FTC unveils effort to eradicate 'dot cons' Highlighting efforts to boost global cooperation against fraud on the Net, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission unveiled 18 new cases.

  • USA - e-Bay auction posse (MSNBC) Much as citizens in the Old West once banded together to run desperadoes out of town, buyers and sellers concerned that eBay is being overrun by bandits formed their own "posse" to unmask the crooks. But when the "sheriff" - eBay - sought to rein in their investigations, the volunteer deputies rode out of town to pursue justice on their own terms.

  • USA - Internet Complaints Are Climbing in New York (New York Times) The New York State attorney general's office said that consumer complaints to the office about Internet shopping and other online matters could be twice as numerous this year as they were two years ago, reflecting a steady rise in Internet use.

   Content regulation

  • French court rules email interception illegal (Globe and Mail) A French court has ruled that privacy laws cover email interception and monitoring. The court awarded a university student 10,000 francs damages after it found that his university tapped into his email based on the suspicion that he was using his email account for personal uses. Pour la justice française, un e-mail est un courrier secret PARIS (Reuters) - Le tribunal correctionnel de Paris estime qu'un courrier électronique est couvert par la loi sur le secret des correspondances.

  • Laos Issues Warnings On Illegal Internet Usage (Newsbytes) A government committee in the Lao People's Democratic Republic has put its citizens on notice that certain behavior and publishing on the Internet will not be tolerated. Banned activities include incitement to protest against the government, online data theft or copyright infringement, pornography and publishing national secrets.

  • Myanmar's Tangled Web (Wired) Unlike neighboring countries India and Thailand, where technology is making inroads, Myanmar's military dictatorship has actively kept Internet access out of bounds from its citizens.

  • Germany - Computer sind Waffen (Telepolis) Am 25. und 26. Oktober fand in Nürnberg die Jahrestagung der Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften statt. Ein persönlicher Bericht über Deutschlands oberste Moralhüter

  • UK - Film censor wants sex shop in every town (Sunday Times) Britain's film censor has called for a big increase in the number of sex shops selling pornographic videos to help stem the tide of illicit porn.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Illegal software use exposed by staff (vnunet.com) Companies caught using unlicensed software are usually trapped as a result of tip-offs from disgruntled former IT staff. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) said today that the majority of its reports of illegal software use come from ex-employees. It receives between two and three reports a day and has doubled the maximum reward for informants to £10,000.

  • Germany - Bundesjustizministerin gegen Software-Patente (Heise) Die Bundesjustizministerin Herta Däubler-Gmelin hat sich gegen die Einführung der Patentierbarkeit von Software ausgesprochen.

  • USA - Copyright Office Issues Unusual Rule (New York Times) t's not every day that the federal government gives its blessing to hacking. But that's what happened last week when the U.S. Copyright Office issued a special rule clarifying a new federal law that governs copyright in the digital age.

   Digital divide

   Domain names

  • Conference on Intellectual Property Questions Relating to the ccTLDs (WIPO) Tuesday, February 20, 2001 Geneva, Switzerland. An announcement will be made of the Proposed WIPO ccTLD Best Practices, a voluntary set of intellectual property guidelines for the benefit of ccTLD administrators.

  • Domain Company Sues ICANN (Interactive Week) A Texas company is suing ICANN and one of its top officials, claiming it is intimidating registrars not to sign agreements with the company, which offers customers the chance to get a jump start on registering names among the new groups of domains expected to be announced by ICANN later this month.

  • The roadmap to Internet regulation (Globe and Mail) Michael Geist's cyberlaw column examines the generic TLDs proposals currently before ICANN, suggesting that the primary concern should not be trademark issues but rather concerns over the potential for certain generic TLDs to form the basis for greater regulatory control on the Internet.

  • Germany - Bund verliert im Rechtsstreit um "marine.de" (Heise Online) Im Rechtsstreit um den Domainnamen marine.de hat die Bundesregierung gegen ein kleines Unternehmen aus Hamburg den Kürzeren gezogen: Die Klage des Verteidigungsministeriums gegen die Firma Kegel Bootsimport auf Übertragung dieser Domain ist vom Hamburger Landgericht zurückgewiesen worden.


   Electronic commerce

   Employment and social issues

  • Techs Suspended for Sending Porn E-Mails (Reuters) Eighteen technicians at a factory in France have been suspended after pornographic e-mail they were exchanging at work ended up in the inbox of a female executive at a television network in the United States.

   Information society and Internet policy

   Junk mail (spam)

   Racism and xenophobia

   Rating and filtering

   Security and encryption

  • Hacker Defaces Pro-Israel Web Site (New York Times) The Web site for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, was defaced Wednesday with anti-Israeli commentary - an increasingly common occurrence as the escalating conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has spilled over into cyberspace. see also US Companies Warned Of Middle East Hacker Threat (Newsbytes).

  • Keine Sicherheit vor illegalen Machenschaften im Internet (Heise Online) Im Internet wird es auch in Zukunft keine absolute Sicherheit vor kriminellen Machenschaften geben, sagte der Sicherheitsexperte der Universität Freiburg, Günter Müller, am Rande einer Expertendiskussion zum Thema "E-Security", die das Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt veranstaltete.

  • USA - Revised encryption rules (DoC) The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) published an amendment to its export regulations on encryption products. The new rule amends the Export Administration Requirements (EAR) and liberalizes exports and re-exports of encryption products to the fifteen European Union member states plus Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and Switzerland.


  • Storm over Spanish 3G fees (FT) Spanish telecommunications groups are threatening to take the Madrid government to court over its decision to raise 30-fold the fee charged to holders of third generation mobile phone licences.

  • Zimbabwe court nullifies state telephone monopoly (Reuters) Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has nullified the state-owned Post and Telecommunications Corporation's (PTC) monopoly on fixed telephone line services following a challenge by a private company.

  • EU - Unbundled access to the local loop (ISPO) Informal consolidated text (PDF format) of the proposed Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on unbundled access to the local loop, including the amendments voted by the European Parliament during the plenary session of 26 October 2000.

  • Switzerland - Swisscom appeals to leased line price ruling (Reuters) Swiss dominant telecoms operator Swisscom will appeal to the Federal Court over a ruling by the ComCom regulator which ordered price cuts of up to 63 percent on leased lines.

Market & Technology

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • King of interactive TV? It's Britain (ZDNet UK) Nearly four million households will have interactive TV by the end of the year according to research firm IDC confirming that the UK is leading the world in this area.

  • Net Animations Nibble at TV's Turf (New York Times) The Internet is morphing into a more offbeat version of television that is often more profane and always less formulaic than its broadcast and cable counterparts.

   Electronic commerce

  • BBC may put ads on its internet service (BBC) The BBC, the UK's state-owned broadcaster, is considering putting commercial advertisements on its internet service, BBC Online, in what would be a controversial break with its ad-free culture.

   Internet access and use

  • La tarifa plana de Internet (Europa Press) Hoy ha entrado en vigor la tarifa plana de Internet a través de la línea básica de telefonía en horario reducido a un precio máximo de 2.750 pesetas mensuales.

  • NTL's low-cost surfing (BBC) The UK's biggest cable operator, NTL, is reported to be preparing to slash the cost of high-speed access to the net.

  • TF1 reporte sine die le lancement de son fournisseur d'accès à internet (AFP) Le groupe TF1, qui devait lancer en décembre son propre fournisseur d'accès à l'internet (FAI), a reporté sine die son projet, préférant attendre le développement du haut débit.



  • High-Flying Modo Takes A Crash Dive (Sm@rt Partner) Wireless technology could open the Internet to billions of users. But the market is so unstable, it can fool even the best venture capitalists. Consider as evidence the untimely demise of Scout Electromedia.

  • Mobile phone radiation danger (FT) Radiation absorbed by the head from hands-free mobile phone kits might be much greater than government research had found, according to a report published by the Consumers Association. The results contradict a study published by the Department of Trade and Industry, which found that hands-free kits reduced the amount of radiation reaching the head.

   Portals, browsers and search engines

  • Assistance humaine pour internautes égarés (AFP) Webhelp, "moteur de recherche humain" a ouvert ses portes en France, après avoir rodé son concept aux Etats-Unis. Quelque 150 personnes de chair et d'os, épaulent l'internaute, qui pose sa question en temps réel sur le site webhelp.fr. A charge pour les limiers du "web center" - délocalisé en Roumanie - de dénicher et d'envoyer gratuitement par e-mail la réponse aux internautes.

  • Can peer-to-peer grow up? (Red Herring) InfraSearch uses peer-to-peer computing to create a search engine with super powers.

  • European rivals for U.S. portals dwindle to three (CNET News.com) Only three home-bred European Internet portals - Telefonica's Terra Networks, France Telecom's Wanadoo and Deutsche Telekom's T-Online - will be able to compete successfully with American rivals America Online and Yahoo, according to Forrester Research.

   Security and encryption

  • Fingerprint Security Gets Handier (Wired) While there are a variety of biometric identification systems available today - face, voice, retinal and iris scans among them - fingerprint scanners are poised to dominate the market for PC security,


  • E-Mail Is No 1 Wish for UK Mobile Web Surfers (Reuters) Mobile phone users can talk to each other all day but that is not enough -- the ability to send email is top of their list for their next Web-enabled phone.

  • US web use may have peaked (Financial Times) Internet usage in the US has reached a plateau as consumers spend less time on the web, according to a survey by consultants at PwC.


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