QuickLinks 177 - 12 November 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues


  • French competition body to probe WAP 'locking' (FTMW) France's competition watchdog is authorising the wireless operators of France Telecom and Vivendi to continue selling WAP terminals, but it will further investigate the practices of both France Telecom Mobiles and Vivendi unit SFR.

  • EU / Sweden - EC raids Telia (FT) European Commission inspectors have carried out a series of dawn raids on the headquarters of Telia, the Swedish telecommunications operator, as part of an investigation into allegations of predatory pricing in broadband services.

  • USA - F.T.C. Delays Action on AOL-Time Warner Deal (Reuters) The Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to delay any action on America Online's proposed $127 billion acquisition of Time Warner for up to three weeks while the companies come up with proposals to solve problems with the deal.

   Consumer protection

  • High-speed MSN: Truth in advertising? (ZDNN) Those who want satellite Internet access through MSN HighSpeed need to junk their existing computers and buy brand-new Compaq Computer Corp. systems outfitted with satellite-compatible network cards.

   Content regulation

  • China publishes rules governing news on Internet (Reuters) China published new regulations governing news and chatrooms on the Internet. The rules require Web sites not run by state media to seek approval from the Information Office of the State Council, or cabinet, before they may publish news.

  • South Australian government censors Net (ZDNet Australia) The South Australia government has announced it will enforce new laws for content on the Internet. Opponents say it could spell jail for anyone who unwittingly uploads material deemed 'offensive'.

  • Morocco - Le gouvernement marocain s'apprête à légiférer contre la pornographie dans les cybercafés (AP) Le gouvernement marocain devrait légiférer prochainement pour lutter contre ''les phénomènes pervers portant atteinte aux bonnes moeurs'' relevés dans les cybercafés, en raison du libre accès à des sites pornographiques sur Internet.

  • USA - No right to be obscene (New York Law Journal) An Internet domain name registrar could not be sued for civil rights violations for denying a company domain names that included obscene words, a New York federal judge has ruled.

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • USA - Cable open access ruled unconstitutional in Florida (Bloomberg News) AT&T and other cable TV companies scored a victory in Florida, where a federal judge ruled that requirements, known as open access, to open cable lines to rival Internet service providers are unconstitutional, violating First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the press because cable companies distribute information.

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • Sprint's GPS technology creates privacy concerns (CNET News.com / Gartner Viewpoint) As one of the first major telecommunications carriers to adopt federally mandated pinpointing technology for wireless calls, Sprint will face serious consumer concerns about how caller privacy will be affected by the inclusion of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology in its wireless phones

  • The Internet’s chastened child (Economist) The founder of Doubleclick thought he could help keep the Internet free of rules and regulations. Instead he has brought them closer by underestimating users' concerns about privacy.

   Domain names

  • ICANN narrows field of possible internet domains (Newsbytes) Officials of the powerful Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today narrowed down the field of potential new Internet domains to include ".web, .biz" and ".xxx," among others. see Report on New TLD Applications (ICANN).

  • Asian Languages Are Dot-OK (Wired) Some 48,000 new domain names are being registered around the world every day. Now names can be registered in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, to go with the extensions dot-com, dot-net and dot-org.

  • Canadian Domain Registry: Day 1 For New Names Big Hit (Newsbytes) Plans to make it easier to register Internet addresses within the Canada's ".ca" domain space became reality today when the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) opened the floodgates on a queue of some 70,000 would-be monikers.

  • Rough Justice (Dr. Milton Mueller) An Analysis of ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy . This report uses quantitative and qualitative data to assess the results of ICANN's uniform domain name dispute resolution policy. There are significant variations in the dispute resolution service providers' tendency to rule for the complainant or the defendant, speed of decision making, and national origin of the complainants that take cases to them.

  • USA - Hasbro fails again to oust tiny tech firm from clue.com (Newsbytes) In a legal battle that has lasted nearly four years, toy maker Hasbro has been handed another defeat in its bid to claim an Internet domain name it says is too reminiscent of its popular board game for amateur detectives, Clue. see Hasbro v Clue Computing (FindLaw).


   Electronic commerce

   Employment and social issues

  • Chat Room Penetrates CIA Net (Washington Post) The CIA is investigating 160 employees and contractors for exchanging "inappropriate" e-mail and off-color jokes in a secret chat room created within the agency's classified computer network and hidden from management

   Information society and Internet policy

  • Human Aspects of the Information Society (IMRI) First International Conference on Human Aspects of the Information Society 9 to 11 April 2001, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Papers, which will be fully refereed, are invited on the following themes: * citizenship and democracy * social inclusion * sustainability * access to culture * learning * finding, using and transforming information * impact on daily life, for example e-commerce.

  • World Internet Forum cancelled (The Register) The World Internet Forum - an inaugural event bringing senior politicians and business leaders together from round the world to explore how the Net can be used to better life - has been cancelled due to lack of interest. WIF was due to be held in London on 13 and 14 November.

  • EU - eEurope 2002 - Une société de l'information pour tous (RAPID) M. Erkki LIIKANEN Membre de la Commission européenne chargé de l'entreprise et de la société de l'information Conférence IST 2000 " Une société de l'information pour tous " Nice, le 6 novembre 2000.

   IT in education

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

   Mobile and wireless

  • Four bidders quit Swiss 3G (FT) The Swiss government auction for third generation mobile phone licences looked set to be as short and inexpensive as its Italian and Austrian counterparts when it emerged on Friday that only five bidders were left in the race for four licences.

  • Switzerland - Die Swisscom darf «Europa-Player» werden (NZZ Online) Der Bundesrat hat als Swisscom-Mehrheitsaktionär im Hinblick auf die Versteigerung von UMTS-Lizenzen einer Beteiligung der Vodafone zugestimmt. Er will damit eine Marginalisierung des Schweizer Telekommunikations-unternehmens verhindern.

  • UK - New broadband auction begins (BBC) Bidding begins in the next Government sale of part of the radio spectrum. This time companies will be bidding for the right to offer local high-speed wireless services to homes and businesses.

  • USA - FCC takes steps to make more spectrum available (Press Release) The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Policy Statement and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) setting forth a framework to promote the development of more robust "secondary markets" in radio spectrum

  • French competition body to probe WAP 'locking' (FTMW)

   Protection of minors

  • UK - IWF Newsgroup Discussion Paper (Internet Watch Foundation) The IWF has published its Newsgroup Discussion Paper to initiate an open consultation process on the subject of child pornography in newsgroups.

  • ICANN staff: no to Dot-Kids (Standard) Staff of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recommended that no new top-level domains distinguishing between kid-friendly and kid-unfriendly material be added to the Internet at this time. see Report on TLD Applications: Application of the August 15 Criteria to Each Category or Group c. Restricted Content Group.

  • Yahoo! blasted for chat room apathy (ZDNet UK) Two leading children's charities have lambasted Internet giant Yahoo! for the way it runs its Instant Messaging service and chat rooms. Last week, Yahoo!'s Messenger client was upgraded. On launch, the new client highlighted rooms with clear pedophile themes from the opening screen. Chat rooms alluding to discussion threads clearly inappropriate for children remain accessible.

   Racism and xenophobia

   Rating and filtering

  • USA - Filtering programs block candidate sites (ZDNN) Congressional candidate Jeffery Pollock used to advocate Internet filters. Then he learned that popular blocking software Cyber Patrol has been banning some people from visiting his campaign site.

   Security and encryption

  • Online music safeguards withstand hackers (Washington Post) The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), a coalition of companies in the software and recording industries, declared that three of five technologies aimed at stopping the online piracy of music had so far survived attack by hackers seeking to win $10,000 for cracking the security measures.


Market & Technology

   Electronic commerce

  • The hollow promise of Internet banking (Economist) Internet banking has failed to live up to its promise, both for traditional banks and for the upstarts that were supposed to wipe them out

   Internet access and use

  • AOL's unlimited service invades Britain (ZDNet UK) Unmetered access receives a much-needed boost as America Online Inc. rolls its flat-rate service out nationwide. The service is expected to massively boost AOL's subscriber figures. The 14.99 pound ($21.45) per month service is based on British Telecommunications's Friaco unmetered system.


  • Bertelsmann and EMI in merger talks (FT) Bertelsmann, the German media giant, and EMI, the UK music group, are in talks about a merger which could result in a combined European company becoming the leader in the world's $40bn music industry.

   Mobile and wireless

  • Shopping in Palm of the Hand Is Making Its Holiday Debut (New York Times) There is something new as the retailing season comes to its peak: the era of mobile shopping, or m-commerce, is making its debut

  • Wireless: The Next Next Thing (TechWeb) The noise you hear in Las Vegas will likely be the whoosh of vendors rushing to embrace wireless capabilities. Among the vendors, both large and small, touting wireless technologies will be Microsoft. Chairman Bill Gates will show off a Tablet PC at Comdex.

   Multilingual content and software


  • NetValue reveals latest European Internet statistics (Press Release) NetValue, the first panel-based service that measures all Internet activity - including Web, e-mail, chat, audio, video, games, ICQ, and FTP - released the August 2000 key Internet results for the US, the UK, France, Germany, Denmark and Spain.

  • Oh To Be Young, Wealthy and Online (InternetNews) Internet activity in the American e-commerce arena is very largely being driven by the young and the affluent, according to a new research study from the Conference Board.



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QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham richard.swetenham@cec.eu.int - Contributors: NewsNow UK, Internet Law News, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie