QuickLinks 179 - 26 November 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues


  • EU - European Commission participation in the European Audiovisual Observatory (RAPID) On 16 November, Commissioner Viviane Reding, in charge of Community policy in the audiovisual sector, communicated to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe the intention of the European Commission to formalise in the form of an exchange of letters the participation of the European Community in the European Audiovisual Observatory.


  • Time Warner To Open Cable Network To EarthLink (TechWeb) EarthLink's high-speed Internet access, content, applications, and functionality, including video streaming, will be available, without discrimination, to the approximately 20 million homes served by the broadband-capable cable networks of Time Warner Cable.

   Computer crime

  • Yahoo! vows crackdown on pedophiles (ZDNet UK) The UK managing director of Yahoo!, confirmed that the company is about to employ a Yahoo! "inspector" charged with ensuring that Yahoo!'s Messenger system is not polluted with pedophile content.

  • How Russia's cyber crooks hack the net (Guardian) In St Petersburg, modern villains don't use shotguns to rob banks. Their weapons are rebuilt computers and stolen internet accounts.

  • Money launderers get lucky with online casinos (Agence France-Presse) Blackjack may be risky, the roulette table hazardous, but offshore Internet gambling sites are proving a safe bet for organized crime groups looking to launder money.

   Content regulation

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Hewlett Packard to Pay German Fees (AP) Computer giant Hewlett-Packard has become the first company to be snagged by a German law requiring firms to pay fees for making CD burners that are being used to illegally lift the latest hits off the World Wide Web. siehe auch Weiter Streit um Urheberrechtsabgabe auf Computertechnik und Einigung über Urheberrechtsabgabe auf CD-Brenner (Heise Online): Der Computerhersteller Hewlett-Packard und die Urheberrechts-Verwertungsgesellschaft Gema vereinbarten vor dem Stuttgarter Landgericht eine Urheberabgabe von zwölf Mark für CD-Brenner.

  • Europe Nixes Software Patents (Wired) Europe will not officially allow developers to own patents on software, at least for the time being. All European countries, with the exception of Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, voted against extending the current European patent system to cover software at the Diplomatic Conference to Revise the European Patent Convention in Munich. But the vote "should not be interpreted as a vote against software patents, but rather as a vote to postpone any decision on this matter until the consultation launched by the European Commission is closed." see also Software patents: Commission launches consultations

  • If You Use Napster, You're Being Watched (Industry Standard) Customers are under surveillance by download site EMusic to make sure they don't post its licensed songs. If they do, EMusic wants their accounts terminated.

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • 4 th ECLIP II workshop: E-marketing and data protection (CRID) PDF file Namur 8th December 2000; Electronic Commerce legal Issues Platform (ECLIP II) is a project, funded by the European Union, under the Information Society Technologies program. Workshop objectives: considering the developments of new practices (such as tracking, profiling or/and matching) of e-marketing and the need to increase the protection of privacy of individuals.

  • Software to Track E-Mail Raises Privacy Concerns (New York Times) New e-mail software makes certain kinds of monitoring easy and nearly imperceptible.

  • USA - Clinton to Issue New Rules on Medical Data Privacy (New York Times) The Clinton administration will soon issue sweeping new rules to protect the privacy of medical records. But under pressure from the health care industry, they are backing off a proposal to give patients a broad new right to sue and recover damages for the improper disclosure of confidential information.

   Digital divide

  • 'New Economy' leaves Africa in dust (Reuters) Africa is still critically short of the basic infrastructure, technology, systems and computer skills required to support electronic commerce and "the new economy".

  • Campaigns (OneWorld.net) News and resources on the digital divide.

  • Das Internet vergrößert die Wissenskluft (Heise News-Ticker) : Das Internet spaltet die Gesellschaft: Die Kluft zwischen gut informierten Viellesern und passiven Medienverweigerern wächst mit dem neuen Medium schneller. Die neue Studie der Mainzer Stiftung Lesen über das Leseverhalten der Deutschen ist ein neuer Beleg für dieses Phänomen, das die Fachleute "Wissenskluft" nennen.

  • Digital Nations and eDevelopment meetings (Steve Cisler - First Monday) At a time when the concept of nationhood is being questioned by political scientists, forecasting firms, online visionaries, and political dissidents, the Media Lab at MIT in Massachusetts held a kickoff event October 18, 2000, for a new program entitled Digital Nations.


   Electronic commerce

  • Digital desert: Dubai bids to become tech oasis (CNET News.com) Dubai, one of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates, has launched an intensive industrial campaign to become a center for e-commerce, software development and hardware in the Middle East.


   Internet access and use

   IT in education

  • This Campus Is Being Simulated (New York Times) Perhaps the most far-reaching experiment in higher education is being carried out by a humanities professor and an entrepreneur who have a multimillion-dollar plan to bring college-level courses online. It's not everybody's idea of progress.

  • USA - More Technology Training for Teachers (New York Times) Schools are spending more to train teachers how to use technology, but the amount still lags behind that invested in new computers and software, according to a recent analysis of technology spending in education.

   Mobile and wireless

  • Australia drags its feet on 3G The Australian government will set strict rules for next year's auction of third-generation, or 3G, mobile spectrum to ensure adequate competition in the local 3G market.

  • Swedish 3G beauty contest faces delay (FT) Winners of Swedish third generation mobile phone licences will not be announced until December 16 because more time is needed to process the applications of the ten companies or consortia.

  • France - DT quits Paris 3G contest (FT) Deutsche Telekom has pulled out of the contest to gain a third-generation mobile telephony licence in France.

  • UK - Future radio auctions in doubt (FT) The UK government may drop plans for further auctions of the radio spectrum following the failure of its latest sell-off this week.

   Protection of minors

   Racism and xenophobia

  • EU - Internet racism on the rise (uk.internet.com) A European Union report has attacked the Internet, slamming it as a breeding ground for racism, as both Europe and the US see a rise in racist activity. see also Victims afraid to report racist incidents (Word) (EUMC) and Diversity and Equality in Europe. The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia has published its second report on developments in racism, xenophobia and Anti-Semitism in the EU Member States. The report includes coverage on "Mass media and xenophobia" and "Racism in cyber space".

  • Hate Groups Proliferate On The Internet (TechWeb) Hate groups are increasingly using the World Wide Web to promote racist and extremist views, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

   Rating and filtering

   Taxation and tariffs

  • VAT: Commission proposes rules on invoicing The European Commission is proposing to simplify, modernise and harmonise the rules for invoicing in respect of Value Added Tax within the Community. Firms operating within the Internal Market would no longer have to cope with fifteen different sets of legislation on invoicing. At the same time, the Commission is proposing that Member States must recognise the validity of electronical invoices.


Market & Technology


  • BBC attacked by rival over children's channels (Guardian) Nickelodeon bosses have today claimed that Greg Dyke's planned children's channels could put its television station, Nick Jnr, out of business.

  • Bertelsmann-EMI discuss joint management approach (FT) Bertelsmann and EMI executives negotiating a merger to create a giant European music group are moving closer to agreeing a management structure led by joint chief executives.

  • The Napster Master Plan (Wired) Since last year, Bertelsmann has been developing a digital distribution superhighway through its Digital World Services (DWS) division. The goal: create the infrastructure to deliver secure digital media to retailers throughout the world.

   Portals, browsers and search engines

  • Plagiarism search engine (Webmonkey) FindSame is an entirely new kind of search engine that looks for content, not keywords. You submit an entire document, and FindSame returns a list of Web pages that contain any fragment of that document longer than about one line of text.

   Security and encryption


Who's who


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