QuickLinks 192 - 26 March 2001

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Legal and regulatory issues


  • Legal Storm Brewing Over Microsoft's HailStorm (The Industry Standard) AOL TW and Sun are among the companies quietly talking to antitrust regulators about Redmond's online services project.

  • EU - Commission clears France Telecom purchase of Equant (RAPID) The European Commission has given the go ahead to the proposed acquisition by France Telecom of Dutch-based telecommunications company Equant after a careful analysis which showed that there would be sufficient competition in the telecommunications market even after the deal.

   Computer crime

  • Child pornography on the Internet : Victim identification (DAPHNE programme) The Internet has become the primary medium for the publication and exchange of child pornography. No reliable information exists about whether the children abused and pictured in photographs online have been identified and if so whether these children are aware of the publication of pictures of their abuse, and have received counselling and support. This pilot study will offer preliminary advice and guidance to professionals concerned about how to identify and support children who are abused and pictured online.

  • Datenschützer zur Cyberkriminalität (Heise) Der schleswig-holsteinische Landesdatenschutzbeauftragte Helmut Bäumler versucht jetzt die rechtstaatlichen Grundsätze bei der Bekämpfung der Cyberkriminalität zurechtzurücken. Mit seiner Stellungnahme wendet der profilierteste deutsche Datenschützer sich aber nicht nur mahnend an den Europarat, sondern vor allem an die EU-Kommission.

  • Interview with a Net pedophile (Register) first in a series of stories examining firsthand how pedophiles use the Internet.

  • Jail term for net paedophile is cut in half (Daily Telegraph) A man who used the Internet to lure a girl of 13 to his home for sex could be out of jail in five months after the Appeal Court halved his five-year sentence. Patrick Green's lawyers argued that the Crown court judge who sentenced him had not taken proper account of his remorse and lack of previous convictions. Campaigners for more controls over the internet said the Appeal Court had sent out the wrong message to paedophiles. see also UK - Warning as net predator sentenced

  • Net-Enforce (Press Release) An initiative to support Law Enforcement against the Sexual Exploitation of Children promoted by the Centre for Europe's Children, University of Glasgow. This web site co-financed by the European Commission's STOP Programme offers a range of up to date information, news and links to relevant resources in its open area and provides a forum for the exchange of expertise in a secure area. Guests and concerned user groups are welcome to use Net-Enforce as a tool of working against child sexual exploitation in a European context. see also New tool to protect children from Net exploitation (ZDnet UK).

  • Thus to bust Demon child porn (Silcion) Thus, the owners of Demon Internet, are to take down another 96 newsgroups it believes contain paedophilic content.

  • USA - Man Broke Into Accounts of Celebrities, Police Say (New York Times) Using simple tools and public library access to the Internet, a fraudster was able to gain access to the accounts of many of the 400 richest people in America.

   Consumer protection

  • Australian websites warning (Australian IT) Australia's consumer watchdog has warned that websites have a bad record of protecting customer privacy and basic consumer rights.

   Content regulation

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Adobe in Wonderland (The Standard) Larry Lessig in good form about "permissions" (i.e. restrictions) on the eBook version of Alice in Wonderland.

  • Freenet: Will It Smash Copyright Law? (Newsbytes) This is an age, Ian Clarke says, when copyright laws and freedom of speech cannot coexist. One of them has to go. And, if he has anything to say about it, freedom of speech won't be the one. Clarke is the founder and project director for Freenet, an open-source content exchange project that many are calling the next Napster, or even the indestructible Napster, because of its ability to function as a place to swap MP3 music files undetected.

  • Labels to tell courts Napster is slacking (CNET News.com) Unimpressed by Napster's efforts to strip copyrighted songs out of its file-trading network, the record industry says it will go to court to complain that the company is flouting the terms of a court order.

  • Threat of Scientologists' Legal Wrath Prompts Slashdot to Censor a Posting (Inside.com) The free-speech-loving site reluctantly agrees to remove a comment that quotes a church text in the face of rules set down in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

  • USA - NCAA sues gambling sites over trademark use (AP) A federal judge ordered a company to shut down two gambling-related Internet sites for unauthorized use of NCAA trademarks. U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Lee signed a temporary restraining order in Alexandria, Va., last week that froze the U.S. assets of BBF International of Haiti. The NCAA contends the sites lead consumers to believe they are sponsored or approved by the association. One Web site used pictures of athletes at member schools, the NCAA said.

  • A Thorn in the MPAA's Side (Wired)

  • The Recording Industry's Secret Weapon Exposed (7amNews)

  • Writers Fight for E-Rights (Wired)

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • Is Microsoft's privacy plan an improvement? (CNET News.com) Microsoft unveiled detailed plans for inserting Platform for Privacy Preferences, or P3P, technology into the upcoming version of Internet Explorer 6.0. Privacy experts say the proposal is a good first step but still doesn't go far enough in protecting consumers from snooping companies.

   Digital signatures

  • Imposters Obtain Microsoft Digital 'Signatures' (Reuters) Security software maker VeriSign said that an individual posing as a Microsoft employee was able to obtain two digital certificates - the online equivalents of signatures - that could potentially allow him to send harmful or virus-ridden software to unsuspecting Internet users.

   Domain names


  • Verwaltung geht online (Heise Online) Mit einer Sonderausstellung präsentiert das Bundesinnenministerium auf der CeBIT sein Projekt "Moderner Staat - Moderne Verwaltung". Bis 2005 will die Regierung eine Vielzahl von Dienstleistungen der Bundesverwaltung über das Internet zugänglich machen. Die elektronischen Informationsangebote und die Online-Dienstleistungen des Bundes will Innenminister Otto Schily (SPD) zur Eröffnung der weltgrößten Computermesse unter www.bund.de freischalten.

  • Germany - Justizministerin: Gesetze im Internet (Heise Online) Rechtzeitig zur CeBIT läutet die deutsche Justiz eine neue Epoche ein. Die 600 wichtigsten Gesetze würden in das Internet gestellt und künftig seien auch alle Neuerungen im Bundesrecht unter "Gesetze im Internet" zentral zu finden, sagte Bundesjustizministerin Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD) in einem dpa-Gespräch.

  • USA - Bush signs off from the Internet (Daily Telegraph) President Bush has been forced to withdraw from cyberspace after lawyers warned him that any future emails could be made public.


  • A New Zealand hotline (childsafety1st.org.nz) The hotline will provide the ability for people to report instances of child pornography found on the internet, through the website, anonymously, where it will be swiftly forwarded onto the appropriate authorities for processing.

   Information society and Internet policy

  • EU - Stockholm European Council : Presidency Conclusions (Council Web site) The European Council met in Stockholm on 23 and 24 March for its first Annual Spring Meeting on economic and social questions. see in particular paras 34-44 on harnessing new technologies.

  • Beyond the Information Superhighway: Searching for the Next Policy Metaphor (University of Washington School of Law) 20 - 22 April 2001, Seattle, Washington, USA. The Center for Law, Commercial and Technology presents its Spring Conference. The conference will focus on legal and policy questions arising from the Internet and technology arenas. Panelists will explore emerging issue in telecommunications, the Internet, intellectual property and e-commerce.

  • Stockholm Challenge (Press Release) We are looking for IT-projects which engage and inform people and offer them a new way to develop and improve their common life. The contest is free and projects can compete in seven categories: New Economy, Education, Health and Quality of Life, Public Services and Democracy, Culture and Entertainment, Environment, a Global Village. Deadline April 1, 2001.


  • Die ETSI-Dossiers (Heise Online) Ein internationaler Verbund von Polizeibehörden und Geheimdiensten entwickelt einen weltweiten Standard zum Abhören digitaler Netze. Hand in Hand mit der Industrie legen die Gremien, die ihre Tätigkeit immer mit dem Etikett "lawful" schmücken, die Technik der Abhörschnittstellen fest - am EU-Parlament vorbei. Von Anfang an arbeiteten hier US-Behörden mit den EU-Ländern zusammen.

  • European Parliament continues Echelon investigation (The Register) The European Parliament will continue its investigation into the Echelon spying system. A temporary committee was set up half way through last year when reports of the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand-sponsored spying system entered wide circulation.

   Internet access and use

  • UK web policy criticised (FT) The UK telecommunications watchdog has been criticised by a Commons committee for its "almost farcical" handling of internet liberalisation. The House of Commons trade and industry committee accused Oftel officials in its report on Local Loop Unbundling of not understanding the technical issues involved during the introduction of high-speed internet access through a process known as local loop unbundling. It also said the watchdog should have intervened earlier to prevent British Telecommunications from disrupting the growth of competition and warned that the UK had slipped behind other European countries. see also Unbundled broadband faces grim future

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

   Mobile and wireless

   Protection of minors

  • Why the Net is not child-safe (Times - John Carr) Millions of children are signing up to the World Wide Web but the Internet service providers who connect them take little interest in who is online. Should they not be more responsible?

   Racism and xenophobia

  • Fighting racism in the EU (RAPID) Speech by Anna Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner responsible for Employment and Social Affairs. see Innovation Prize 2000 award ceremony, fight against racism, Brussels, 21 March, 2001

  • Germany Won't Stop Yahoo! Auction (AP) German prosecutors have decided they won't take legal action against U.S.-based Yahoo! over online auctions of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf". The state prosecutor's office in Munich said Yahoo! could not be charged with incitement to racial hatred, because the Internet giant is the provider rather than the person directly offering the service. Yahoo! could have been charged only if it had been fully aware of the content of the online offer and been able to prevent it, but that was not the case.

   Rating and filtering

   Safer Internet awareness

  • UK - Bedroom Net 'puts children in danger' (Times) Families were advised to move computers from children’s bedrooms to living rooms to protect them from Internet paedophiles. Girls between 13 and 17 are most at risk from sex offenders who pose as children in chat rooms then lure their victims into sexual abuse. Paedophiles are also monitoring school e-mail addresses and today schools will be advised to avoid putting individual pictures of children on their systems. A report highlighting the need for vigilance over the use of Internet chat rooms estimated that five million children were online in Britain and that a quarter used chat rooms that allowed messages to be typed to anyone else in the room at that time. see Chatwise (Internet Crime Forum) . see also Chat wise, street wise - safe internet chat for children and Government challenges internet industry to make chatrooms "chat wise street wise" (Home Office Press Releases).

  • UK - new protection for children from unsuitable material on the Internet in schools (DfEE) New guidance for schools is to be displayed on the DfEE’s Internet safety website on the following areas: emails for pupils, filtering systems, school websites, and chat rooms. The revised guidance to schools recommends whole class rather than individual Internet email addresses, where possible. The guidance will stipulate that no children be identified by name or by other personal details and will advise that schools think carefully about their reasons for including pictures of children on their websites.It will also give advice for pupils, teachers and parents about chat rooms in an educational context.

  • Consumers Connected (ERICA) One stop for advice! The trusted charities NCH and European Research into Consumer Affairs are teaming up to bring you one combined stop for both kids’ and parents’ problems with the Internet. Buying on the net, avoiding hazards to children, your rights to complain - look on our joint pages for information! And throughout this page you will find links to relevant information.

  • NCH - A parent's guide to the internet (NCH) The Internet is a huge technological achievement promising great benefits to society. However, as with many new or emerging technologies, the Internet has brought a number of unfamiliar problems in its wake. Find out how to keep your children safe on the internet. see also Open letter to Rt Hon Jack Straw MP and Agenda for Action.

  • Safe Kids (PC World) Try these 23 parent-approved tips to defend children and teens against Internet dangers --from overzealous marketers to online criminals.

   Security and encryption

  • The Internet and State Security Forum (Cambridge Review of International Affairs) May 19th, 2001Trinity College, Cambridge UK. Identify how networks create new state vulnerabilities, Examine appropriate and best practice responses to these challenges, Explore international opportunities for state security using network technologies.

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

Market & Technology

   Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology

  • MTV to Mesh Its 2 Channels With Web Site (New York Times) Looking to evolve with its youthful audience, the MTV cable network is reinventing itself again: It will integrate its two cable channels with its Internet Web site to create what its executives are calling "a multimedia version of the MTV brand."


  • Gates to challenge AOL Time Warner customer base (FT) Bill Gates, Microsoft's co-founder, for the first time publicly demonstrated the software giant's .Net web services. The .Net service will allow users to access their calendar, e-mail, instant messaging, address books and information stored online, from any device.

  • Napster deals point to new services (CNET News.com) Napster has struck a deal with music-recommendation company Gigabeat, which could result in a new set of personalized services on the music-swapping network.

  • Salon to launch online subscription service (FT) The urgency of online media companies' search for alternatives to advertising-supported business models was underlined by plans from Salon.com, the online magazine, for a paid-for premium subscription service. The service will cost subscribers $30 a year. It will begin next month.

  • The next Napster? (Salon) A new online music service, the BitBop tuner from AudioMill, aims to give listeners what they want - if music-biz moguls are smart enough to let it.

  • Digital music: End the holy war now! (Gene Hoffman / EMusic.com)

   Mobile and wireless

   Protection of minors

  • Fox Kids sees market niche (FT) Fox Kids Europe, the children's broadcaster backed by Rupert Murdoch, is to sell market research about its young customers to WPP, the world's largest advertising company. Children visiting the Fox Kids' websites will be questioned about their attitudes, tastes and behaviour - to help advertisers and brand managers understand the valuable youth market.


  • British Web chat doubles (ZDNet UK) Britain's uptake of online chat has doubled in the last twelve months according to new research from Internet research company NetValue, despite increasing publicity surrounding the dangers posed to children by Internet chatrooms.

  • Just Numbers (eRevolution) (PDF Document) . Numbers on Internet use, electronic commerce, IT and related figures for the European Community. January 2001 see also Statistics page.

  • Online problems could deter customers (CNET News.com) Some 70 percent of online buyers would spend less money at a traditional retailer after having a bad experience with the retailer's online site, according to a report from Jupiter Media Metrix. Yet many retailers haven't yet set up their computer or logistical systems to offer the service that customers expect.

  • UK attracts 1m new Net users since October (The Register) The Net attracted 700,000 new UK-based home users between January and February 2001, according to the latest figures from Jupiter MMXI. In total, a million people were added to the list since October 2000 bringing the number of people going online from home in the UK to 13.5 million.

  • MSN builds UK lead over Yahoo (BBC)

Who's who

  • Bush Pick for FTC Was on '80s Staff (Washington Post) Timothy J. Muris, an economist and professor at George Mason University's law school, was named yesterday by President Bush to become the next chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.

Useful addresses

  • Don't Panic - Do E-commerce (Dr. Ecommerce) The beginner's guide to European Law affecting E-Commerce. Dr. Ecommerce Have you got a burning question about electronic commerce? Whether you need to know about European Commission support for e-commerce, how to accept credit cards on your web site, what the story is about VAT and e-commerce, or indeed anything about e-commerce, send your questions to Dr. Ecommerce, the Internet savvy, electronic commerce expert.


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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