QuickLinks 180 - 3 December 2000

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Legal and regulatory issues



   Computer crime

   Content regulation

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

   Digital divide

   Domain names


   Electronic commerce

  • Japan Passes Legislation to Boost E-Commerce (Newsbytes) The Japanese parliament, or "Diet," passed overarching legislation aimed at bolstering the "Information Network Society" by bolstering education and Internet access and removing legislative obstacles to e-commerce growth. approved the sweeping bill.

   Employment and social issues

  • Amazon Fights Union Activity (New York Times) Amazon.com has come out swinging in its fight to stop a new unionization drive, telling employees that unions are a greedy, for-profit business and advising managers on ways to detect when a group of workers is trying to back a union.

  • Cable company sacks six for email "misuse" (ZDNet UK) Another six employees have lost their jobs for alleged "misuse" of email as Cable & Wireless has dismissed six people from its Birmingham office. see also Let the sacking begin (IT Director).

  • CIA fires employees for secret chat room (CNET) The CIA fired four employees and reprimanded 18 others for participating in a secret chat room created in the spy agency's classified computer system to exchange jokes and gossip.


   Information society and Internet policy

  • INET 2001: A Net Odyssey Stockholm, Sweden 5-8 June 2001 Call for content. The Internet Society is pleased to announce the 11th Annual INET Summit, to be held at the Stockholm Fairs in Stockholm, Sweden, 5-8 June 2001. "Mobility and the Internet" is the main theme. Proposals are being solicited in three areas: 1. Technology Summit, 2. Governance, Legislation & Regulation Summit, 3. Uses of the Internet Summit. Deadline: 15 December 2001.

   Internet access and use

   IT in education

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

   Mobile and wireless

  • EC under pressure to allow 3G sub-leasing (CWI) The European Commission is under increasing pressure from governments and industry to speed up legislation that lets 3G license holders sub-lease spectrum.

  • Pakistan nixes charges for incoming calls on cell phones (Bloomberg) The Pakistan government has announced that incoming calls on mobile phones will be free to boost usage and increase the number of subscribers. The news woke up the mobile phone market and sent Pakistanis rushing to stock up on handsets.

  • Swiss 3G auction to resume (Financial Times) The Swiss government has decided to proceed with its UMTS mobile licence auction after finding that a move by Tele Danmark to take control of two of the Swiss bidders would not harm market competition.

  • Wireless access left unsold (BBC) Large swathes of the UK will be left without broadband wireless access it emerged last week, as the auction process for the fixed wireless spectrum ended with many regions having received no bids. The auction has generated just £38m, a far distance short of the government's original target figure of £2bn.

  • Norway awards four UMTS licenses (Total Telecom)

   Protection of minors

   Racism and xenophobia

   Rating and filtering

   Safer Internet awareness

  • Microsoft wants children to play it safe online (CNET News.com) The Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, along with Olympic ice skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski, is promoting Microsoft's Internet privacy and safety portal for children. Stay Safe Online teaches children how to protect their personal information online.

  • Safe Surfing 2001 (PAGi / NIAC) 22 - 24 February 2001, Singapore. Safe Surfing 2001 is the first ever International Convention on On-line Safety. The event will gather world renowned authorities on on-line safety and organisations promoting child safety on the Internet to exchange ideas and best practices.

   Security and encryption

  • FBI Warns of Possible New Cyber Attacks (Reuters) Companies doing business on the Internet should tighten their defenses against a possible new wave of cyber attacks, an FBI-led group aimed at protecting vital systems said.

  • Network Associates hit by cyber criminals (vnunet.com) Computer security giant Network Associates has become a victim of cybercrime, after two of its corporate websites were broken into.

  • Signed code: Security or censorship? (ZDNet UK) A push by Microsoft to secure each program that runs on its next-generation PC operating system could easily be used to tighten its control over software developers.


  • EU Court Condemns Italy, Belgium (AFX News) The European Court of Justice said Italy and Belgium failed to correctly implement parts of the EU's telecom legislation to introduce fair competition in the sector. In two separate judgements, the court said Italy has not implemented a directive on a competitive telecom environment, while Belgium has not correctly introduced the interconnection directive.

  • Greek Parliament passes telecoms deregulation bill (Reuters) Greece's Parliament approved a bill deregulating the country's telecommunications market as of January 1, 2001 and ending OTE Telecoms fixed line monopoly on December 31.

  • Spanish telecoms regulator to have powers curbed (RDSL) The Spanish government is to reduce the powers of the regulator, the Telecoms Market Commission (CMT). Under the new law, the CMT will lose its role as an arbiter in disputes such as those in universal services. The CMT will not be able to take decisions on key matters such as the quality of phone services and service pricing.

  • EU - Deregulation, flexibility and harmonisation in electronic communications (RAPID) Erkki LIIKANEN Member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, 2nd European Parliamentary Conference on Information Society Brussels, 22 November 2000.

   Universal service

  • Canada - all change to the subsidy system (Reuters) Canada's telecoms regulator will overhaul its local phone-service subsidy system so that all phone companies, not just long-distance carriers, make contributions to the subsidy.

Market & Technology


   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

   Electronic commerce

  • German Sex Firm Beate Uhse Eyes Web for Growth (Excite) Though lingerie and condoms continue to be strong sellers, the future for German sex empire Beate Uhse lies in the Internet.

  • Stephen King puts "The Plant" on ice (CNET News.com) Stephen King is pulling the plug on "The Plant." The best-selling author said on his Web site that he will temporarily suspend the serial novel. King posted the first installment of the novel on the Internet this summer as an experiment, saying he would continue the story if 75 percent of readers voluntarily paid for it. But less than half the readers were paying for the story.


   Internet access and use

  • Rebirth of the Internet Cafe (atNewYork.com) The world's largest Internet cafe opened its doors on Times Square, hoping to revive New York's struggling cyber cafe scene.

  • Un réseau européen pour la recherche (Le Monde) Avec Geant (Gigabit European Academic Network), l'Europe progresse un peu plus vers l'Internet de seconde génération. L'objectif est de permettre, dès le début de l'année 2001, des liaisons ultrarapides à 2,5 gigabits par seconde, en attendant la centaine de gigabits par seconde prévue d'ici à 2004.


  • AOL's charges top the bill (FT) AOL's charging of user fees may yet prove to be its biggest asset. As media, content and telecoms companies increasingly compete for customer loyalty, the billing relationships that produce those revenue streams are becoming key strategic advantages.

  • Bertelsmann attempts to sell Napster deal to labels (Reuters) German media giant Bertelsmann has begun talks with other music majors on a business model for its song-swap partner Napster and is hopeful they will join the alliance.

  • El BSCH publica en Internet una obra jurídica sobre el derecho en la Red (Europa Press) El Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH) acaba de publicar en la Red un libro electrónico titulado 'Derecho sobre Internet', acerca de los contenidos jurídicos y la utilización de las últimas tecnologías en la edición sin papel.

  • Lernout & Hauspie Files for Bankruptcy Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V., a Belgian maker of speech-recognition software, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. Lernout & Hauspie also said it would seek similar protection in Belgium, where it became a shining star of Europe's high- tech industry before falling under the weight of suspected financial misconduct.

   Mobile and wireless

   Multilingual content and software

  • AltaVista geht in der Schweiz an den Start (internet.com) AltaVista ist ab sofort in der Schweiz mit einer länderspezifischen Web-Site in deutsch, italienisch und französisch präsent. Das Angebot von altavista.ch startet mit rund 3,5 Millionen Schweizer Dokumenten.

  • Hotmail Sees Chinese Users Rising by 50 Percent (Reuters) Microsoft's Internet portal MSN expects the number of users in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong of its free email service, Hotmail, to surge by 50 percent within the next two months following the launch of a Chinese language interface for Hotmail.

  • Is the Internet destroying Spanish? (ZDNet Latin America) Some say the jargon of technology is destroying Spanish, and some are worried, including Odon Betanzos, president of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language. Betanzos recently sent an open letter to the other 22 academies worldwide. The letter raised a harsh cry in defense of the Spanish tongue.

  • The Myth Of The Global Network (Interactive Week) To truly attract a global audience, companies to develop separate Web sites for each local market - staffed by local employees, written in the local language and featuring services that appeal to a particular region or country.

   Security and encryption

  • Retooled Navidad virus on the loose (CNET News.com) Symantec's AntiVirus Research Center has discovered a new, more potent variant to the "Navidad" virus. The original version had buggy code, disabling a relaunch feature that was intended to bombard victims with repeated attacks. That bad code has been fixed in a new version, making it potentially more damaging.


  • European Free Software Foundation created (ZDNet UK) A European "sister organisation" to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) was announced by programmers from Germany to cater for the complexity and diversity of the international open source community.

  • Microsoft, VeriSign team on e-commerce security (CNET News.com) Microsoft, VeriSign and WebMethods have developed technology designed to make it easier to use digital signatures and other online security tools with e-commerce applications. The software trio is aiming to make the new technology, called the XML (Extensible Markup Language) key management specification (XKMS), a standard. The companies intend to submit it to the appropriate Web standards bodies for consideration as an open Internet standard.



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