QuickLinks 195 - 8 May 2001

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Legal and regulatory issues


  • EU - Commission clears Liberty Media's purchase of a controlling stake in UnitedGlobalCommunications (RAPID) The Commission has granted regulatory clearance to an operation by which Liberty Media International Inc, a US-based media, entertainment and technology company, acquires a controlling stake in UnitedGlobalCommunications Inc (United) and, therefore, in United's Dutch-based cable operator subsidiary United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC). The transaction does not lead to any competition concerns in Europe.

  • EU / USA - Die Fusion EMI/BMG findet nicht statt (Heise) Die geplante Fusion zwischen der britischen EMI und der Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) ist offenbar endgültig vom Tisch. Bertelsmann erklärte die Gespräche mit EMI für beendet und gab als Grund für das Scheitern die kartellrechtlichen Anforderungen aus Brüssel und Washington an.

  • USA - DT-VoiceStream deal clears final regulatory hurdle (FT) Deutsche Telekom has passed the final regulatory hurdle in its $24bn takeover of US wireless provider VoiceStream after a national security review cleared the merger.

   Computer crime

  • Attorneys General Fear Tech Speed (AP) At a National Association of Attorneys General meeting devoted to online legal trends, the chief complaint: The law simply cannot catch up with technology.

  • Be very afraid, the cyber cops may be watching (Guardian) Barely a week goes by without a report of terrorists or paedophiles misusing the internet, adding to its image of a vast lawless forum. But police are now starting to see the benefits the net can bring. The upbeat chairman of the internet crime forum, detective chief superintendent Keith Akerman, believes it offers police as many opportunities as problems in the fight against crime.

  • Deux ans et demi de taule pour un site porno (Transfert) Un Français installé en Grande-Bretagne est actuellement en prison pour avoir édité un site porno hard hébergé aux États-Unis. Depuis sa cellule, il proteste contre ses conditions de détention.

  • draft Convention on Cyber-crime (Council of Europe) (Draft N° 25 REV.)

  • IWF crackdown on Net paedophiles gets £100,000 (ZDNet UK) The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) announced over £100,000 of additional funding to help implement some of the recommendations contained in the government-backed Chat Wise, Street Wise report.

  • Polizei in Niedersachsen braucht Nachhilfe fürs Internet (Heise) Auf einer Fachtagung in Hannover forderte die Gewerkschaft der Polizei-Landesbezirk Niedersachsen die Einrichtung eines Internetzugangs für alle Polizeidienststellen. Weil es besonders in den Kommissariaten an Hintergrundwissen über das Internet und die Internet-Kriminalität fehle, forderte er darüber hinaus dringend entsprechende Aus- und Weiterbildungsmassnahmen.

  • Russland und Deutschland gemeinsam gegen Kinderpornografie (Heise) Russland und Deutschland wollen gemeinsam den kriminellen Missbrauch des Internets unter anderem für die Verbreitung von Kinderpornografie bekämpfen.

  • New Zealand - Court rejects appeal by hacker (New Zealand Herald) In Crown v Borislav Misic (PDF) The Court of Appeal has ruled that existing laws are sufficient to prosecute hackers committing internet or electronic fraud using hacking software. The appeal raised the question of whether a computer program and a computer disk on which the program was stored comprised a "document".

  • UK - Man jailed for internet sex assault (BBC) A man has been jailed for 18 months and put on the sex offenders register for 10 years for having sex with a 15-year-old schoolgirl he met via an internet chat room.

  • USA - Debating the Ban on Virtual Porn (Wired) A federal law that prohibits creating erotic images of minors should be upheld, antiporn groups told the U.S. Supreme Court. The organizations filed a set of amicus briefs saying the Child Pornography Prevention Act, which outlaws even Photoshop-morphed images that "appear" to depict minors, does not violate the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of expression.

  • USA - FBI turns tables on Russian hackers (MSNBC) Reflecting a growing frustration with the inability or unwillingness of some foreign governments to fight cybercrime, U.S. authorities have for the first time vaulted across borders and hacked the computers of two suspected Russian computer criminals to obtain evidence against them.

   Consumer protection

  • USA - FTC Launching International Internet Fraud-Prevention Site (Newsbytes) The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched a new Web site aimed at resolving international e-commerce disputes by allowing Internet users from around the world to file complaints at one location. consumer.gov will allow Internet users to file complaints in English, French, German and Spanish. Specifically designed to address cross-border, international e-commerce disputes, Econsumer.gov will record the complaints and pass them along to civil and criminal fraud fighters around the world. see also U.S., 12 other countries to tackle Internet fraud (Reuters) The United States and 12 other countries will start sharing confidential data about the complaints they receive from consumers in a bid to crack down on cross-border Internet fraud. The countries participating in the project, in addition to the United States, are: Australia; Canada; Denmark; Finland; Hungary; Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; South Korea; Sweden; Switzerland; and the United Kingdom.

  • USA - Pair of porno fraudsters found in contempt (New York Post) Two citizens of the United Kingdom accused by the Federal Trade Commission of running an online billing operation that defrauded U.S. consumers of millions of dollars have been found in contempt of court and face arrest if they set foot in the United States.

  • E-confidence initiative: Time for stakeholders to draw conclusions (RAPID)

   Content regulation

  • 1,001 Arabian Nights of Sex (Wired) It's all about sex. That, at least, was the surprise conclusion that came bursting out of a panel discussion Monday on what people in the Arab world are looking for when they go to the Internet. In other words, they are like Web surfers everywhere else in the world.

  • A safer Internet for all Australians (Press Release) The second of the Government's biannual reports on the operation of the Online Content Regulatory Scheme was released by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston. see Six-Month Report on Co-Regulatory Scheme for Internet Content Regulation. see also Questioning the Oz Net Censors (Wired).

  • China internet cafe debate hots up (BBC) To ban, or not to ban? Internet cafes are becoming an ever more frequent sight on street corners throughout China and are provoking fierce debate, with the government seeking to curb them while intellectuals argue their merits as a source of information.

  • Countries That Track Internet Activity (New York Times) Web filtering is just one method of restricting access to the Internet. Here are some countries that have tried to control or track their residents' online activities, according to Reporters Without Borders, a French advocacy group.

  • Indian Government Wants To Regulate Internet (asia.internet.com) India's information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj has said she would like to control and regulate the Internet, if it is technically feasible. The Indian Government is planning to form a Media Council. Currently, the country has a Press Council, which regulates newspapers and magazines, and a Film Censor Board, which governs movies. The two entities will be merged to form the Media Council.

  • Punching Holes in Internet Walls (New York Times) On one side are the governments that have restricted Web access. In some countries, like Singapore, most of the banned sites are pornographic. Many of these countries also block the sites of political dissidents, but the censorship may be much broader than that. Countering such government restrictions are services, some free, that are provided by companies like SafeWeb (www.safeweb.com), Anonymizer (www.anonymizer.com), SilentSurf.com (www.silentsurf.com) and the Cloak (www.the-cloak.com).

  • France - Affaire Danone : rien ne va plus ! (transfert) Le Réseau Voltaire s’apprêterait à attaquer 7 Ways, le prestataire technique qui a suspendu le nom de domaine avant décision de justice. voir aussi Condamné, Jeboycottedanone boit du petit lait (transfert). Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, jeboycottedanone a été condamné à cesser sa "contrefaçon" des marques Danone. Bloqué, le site se relance sous une autre adresse et pourrait être à nouveau attaqué pour les mêmes motifs.

  • Italy - Editoria:Lista Bonino,Giornale Web Contro Censura Internet (ANSA) Un settimanale on line clandestino contro la nuova legge sull' editoria. E' ''Disubbidisco'' (per ora ospite su www.agora.it/listabonino/) presentato dai candidati della Lista Bonino a Firenze e dall' associazione Andrea Tamburi come ''atto di disubbidienza civile contro la censura in Internet'' e a sostegno dello sciopero della sete che attuera' Emma Bonino per il diritto ad una corretta e completa informazione.

  • South Korea - 120,000 Internet Sites Blacklisted (KoreaTimes) The Information and Telecommunication Ethics Commission, a regulatory group under the Ministry of Information and Communication, has blacklisted some 119,000 Internet sites as requiring access to be blocked, fanning the flames in the fight over Internet filtering and civil rights.

  • South Korea - Internet Filtering Ordinance Spurs New Debate (KoreaTimes) The Internet contents filtering ordinance, to be put into effect from July to prevent children from being exposed to offensive or pornographic websites, is brewing new controversy between freedom of information and the government's attempt to control cyberspace.

  • USA - Anti-Porn Groups Want a Hard-Core Response in D.C. (Industry Standard) Family-values advocates will meet with Attorney General John Ashcroft next week, and are praying for a better response than they got during the Clinton years.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

  • Microsoft attacks Open-Source Software (Newsbytes) Craig Mundie, a top product strategist for Microsoft called the the GNU General Public License (GPL), a popular licensing scheme for open source software, a virus that can jeopardize revenue for developers expecting to make money. see Microsoft Is Set to Be Top Foe of Free Code (New York Times), speech (Press Release) and Microsoft's Attack on Open Source: Linus Torvalds Replies.

  • Broadcasters face challenges with online radio (AP) Radio stations have learned to embrace the Internet as an ally capable of carrying their programming all over the world. But cyberspace is not without its potholes. Major broadcasters, gathered in Las Vegas this week for their annual convention, now find themselves dealing with thorny copyright and performance issues as they bring their content online. see also RIAA wins in Net radio dispute (Reuters) The record industry has scored a win with the U.S. Copyright Office, which published a ruling that radio broadcasters are not exempt from licensing royalties when they simulcast their programs on the Internet. Radio stations shut down Internet streaming broadcasts.

  • New Media Player escapes Windows (CNET News.com) Microsoft is taking legal action against Web sites circulating a rogue version of Windows Media Player 8. The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker started issuing letters late Monday demanding Web sites pull down a supposed beta, or trial version, of the software.

  • Researchers face legal threats over SDMI hack (CNET News.com) the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), a music industry group, is seeking to block publication of research that describes anti-piracy technology known as watermarking, saying a report stemming from an industry-backed hacking challenge violates digital copyright law. The academic team, led by Princeton University Professor Edward Felten, is preparing to explain how they cracked the code to four watermark schemes being considered as a secure digital music standard.

  • The American crocodile that swallowed freedom (Observer) Appeasement, Winston Churchill said, is the policy of being nice to a crocodile in the hope that he will eat you last. Allow me to introduce a leading contemporary crocodile. It is called the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade body that represents the music recording companies. The RIAA is obsessed with the supposed threat of the internet to its members' prosperity.

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • Privacy Concerns for Google Archive (New York Times) With some decent search skills, a bit of free time and a degree of skepticism about what one ultimately finds, a person can learn a lot by trolling through an archive of Internet bulletin boards that has once again become available online.

  • UK - Email snooping code suffers 'unnecessary' delays (ZDNet UK) The Code of Practice designed to remove confusion over new laws affecting how employers monitor company email and Internet use is being unnecessarily delayed, say lawyers. At a conference on the subject in London, the Information Commissioner Elizabeth France was criticised for applying too onerous an interpretation of data protection principles.

   Digital divide

   Domain names

  • Irish bid planned for proposed .eu registry (Ireland.com) Efforts are being made to assemble an Irish-led consortium to bid for the operation of the proposed European Union top-level domain (TLD) registry. In a pre-emptive move, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) and its chief executive, Mr Michael Fagan, have been working on the formation of a consortium that would run the proposed central registry from an Irish base.

  • VeriSign Offers Domains In 350-Plus Languages (Newsbytes) VeriSign has completed the latest stage in its language support expansion plans for domain names, adding another 180-plus languages to those supported by its registrar operation. The move means that VeriSign now supports more than 350 languages.

  • Internet-Based Single-Number Plan Starts Tug-Of-War (Washington Post)


  • Australian State Unveils Online Legal System (Newsbytes) An online court system has been launched in the Australian state of New South Wales that allows lawyers to register hearing dates and other matters on the Net, and gives the public Internet access to court transcripts.

  • Council members calls for porn surfer to be named (ZDNet UK) A Richmond councillor caught surfing for pornography on a council-owned laptop is facing pressure from fellow male colleagues to declare his guilt publicly in order to clear their names

  • Liikanen: Zu wenig E-Government (Heise) EU-Kommissar Erkki Liikanen forderte gestern beim Deutschen Multimedia Kongress in Stuttgart, dass sich die Verwaltungen für mehr E-Government einsetzen. Es sei noch kein E-Government, erklärte er, wenn man zwar Verwaltungsformulare ins Netz stelle, die Bürger diese dann aber selbst ausdrucken, ausfüllen und per Post zurücksenden müssten. Durch sichere, vertrauenswürdige, elektronische Verwaltungsakte würden auch die Regierungen "wettbewerbsfähiger".

  • Public pressure keeps Opengov open (Guardian) The UK's first official government website has won a last-minute reprieve after plans to close it provoked a huge outcry from both the press and public.

  • Vote Swapping Hits the U.K. (IS Europe) As a general election approaches, a U.S.-style trend catches on: Web sites on which people can agree to trade votes.

  • USA - Sen. Lieberman Plans E-Government Initiative (Newsbytes) The federal government, and Congress in particular, have a big interest in how Americans can use the Internet. But new legislation from Sen. Joseph Lieberman would make the federal government itself more user-friendly to its citizens.

   Electronic commerce

  • 2nd European Summer School (ECLIP) Palma de Mallorca, 10th - 14thSeptember 2001. 2nd European Summer School designed for advanced students, postgraduates, lawyers and company members on Legal Aspects of E-Commerce. 2nd Generation Issues: Smart Cards, Convergence between Telecoms and Internet: m-commmerce and t-commerce, Electronic Agents, Digital Rights Management, Alternative Ways of Internet Regulation.

   Employment and social issues

   Information society and Internet policy

  • Oxford plans internet institute (FT) Oxford University is to open the world's first internet institute in a bid to put Britain at the centre of global e-research. The subjects that could be researched include e-government, the digital divide, global law enforcement, privacy and security and the impact of the internet on music and the creative arts.


  • USA - New documents disclose FBI's Web surveillance (AP) The FBI has used Internet eavesdropping tools to track fugitives, drug dealers, extortionists, computer hackers and suspected foreign intelligence agents, documents show. The documents, obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, also detail how the FBI scurried last year to prove it wasn't "randomly looking at everyone's e-mail" once its Web surveillance practices came under attack.

  • USA - Wireless Devices Account For Most Wiretaps In 2000 (Newsbytes) Wiretaps for cellular and other wireless devices accounted for roughly 60 percent of the total court-ordered telephone surveillance requests approved last year, according to the annual Wiretap Report of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

   Internet access and use

   IT in education

  • 'Professor, the Wireless Web Ate My Homework, I Swear' (New York Times) Colleges have rushed to join the wireless movement, installing invisible networks that enable students to use their laptops to go online during class. But do wireless networks help students learn? Research by two Cornell University professors sounds a cautionary note.

  • eSchola week 7-11.05.2001 (European Schoolnet) eSchola is about learning from each other, working together and celebrating success using new information and communication technologies in Europe's classrooms. It involves reaching out across Europe, and teaming up with others during the eSchola week and for years to come.

  • MIT To Post Most Course Materials On The Web (Newsbytes) In a step which it said challenges the privatization of knowledge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced plans to make the materials for nearly all its courses freely available on the Web over the next 10 years.

  • Program Catches Copycat Students (Wired) A professor at the University of Virginia has nabbed 122 students for plagiarism using a computer program he wrote himself.

   Junk mail (spam)

  • Spain - La AECE critica la prohibición del 'spam' (Europa Press) La Asociación Española de Comercio Electrónico (AECE) considera que la anterior regulación del correo electrónico comercial no solicitado ('spam') contenida en el borrador del Anteproyecto de Ley de Comercio Electrónico era ya "bastante restrictiva". Pardo advirtió de que el cambio en la normativa para prohibir el 'spam', anunciado por el Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, puede suponer que empresas nacionales creen sociedades en el países donde esta actividad no está regulada para enviar 'e-mails' a internautas españoles

  • USA - FTC Supports Senate Spam Bill (Newsbytes) A US Senate bill that would criminalize some forms of commercial e-mailing got a boost when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) endorsed the measure. The legislation requires that commercial e-mail messages contain valid return addresses that recipients can use to opt out of receiving further unsolicited e-mail. Spammers who "spoof" or fake their e-mail or physical address under this bill could be fined.

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

  • Border Disputes Simmer (Business 2.0) One lawyer representing the ecommerce industry at the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction says it may be good if a treaty is not reached.

  • Clinton Aide Settles Libel Suit Against Matt Drudge -- at a Cost (Washington Post) Nearly four years after filing a much-ballyhooed $30 million libel suit against cybergossip Matt Drudge, former White House aide Sidney Blumenthal settled the case yesterday for something less than he once demanded. In fact, he agreed to pay Drudge's side $2,500 for travel costs associated with the lawsuit.

  • UK - ISPs fight tobacco ad bill (FT) Internet service providers are lobbying the UK government to amend the tobacco advertising bill, which they believe sets a dangerous precedent by treating them as publishers, rather than simply conduits for information.

  • UK - Position impossible (Guardian) Times editor Peter Stothard says a libel case against his paper could result in publications with internet sites facing eternal damnation by the courts.

   Mobile and wireless

  • Commission calls for rapid move towards new generation Internet Protocol (RAPID) The European Commission yesterday hosted the first meeting of a European industry-led Task Force established to develop a comprehensive action plan by the end of 2001 to ensure the timely availability of the next generation of the Internet protocol (Internet Protocol version 6 or IPv6). Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner responsible for Enterprise and Information Society said, "Our objective is to ensure that Europe's competitiveness in wireless technologies, is not jeopardised by the lack of a clear road map towards IPv6." see also EU Task Force Examines Upgrade of Internet (Reuters).

  • DoCoMo delays herald worldwide 3G problems (FT) The risk of worldwide delays to third generation mobile phone services intensified as NTT DoCoMo revealed clues about why it was postponing its launch in Japan. The rollout of services will be delayed by at least four months to allow continued testing to iron out technical problems. These are understood to include difficulties maintaining connections when customers move between neighbouring radio base stations. This "handover" problem is also thought to be a major hurdle in producing reliable handsets for so-called 2½ generation phones in Europe. Another worrying issue identified by DoCoMo is the failure to agree on a common set of 3G technical standards among operators in Europe and Japan.

  • Europe split on spreading cost of 3G networks (FT) European governments are on a collision course over how much help to give struggling mobile phone companies as German operators prepare to split the cost of building third-generation networks.

  • German 3G link-ups reviewed (FT) Germany's six third generation mobile telephone licence holders are expected to receive clarification by June about how much they will be allowed to co-operate in building their networks.

  • Japan allows NTT web plan (FT) Japan's telecoms regulators have approved a highly controversial internet service planned by the regional NTT operators, which will allow the dominant carrier to venture beyond its legally designated business territory. After much heated public debate, the MPHPT has given NTT East and NTT West the go ahead to offer their internet service, dubbed L-Mode. The service will allow telephone users to access the internet through phones equipped with small screens.

   Protection of minors

  • Neue Studie: Keine Gefahr durch Gewaltspiele (Heise) Gewalt in Video-Spielen ist für Kinder und Jugendliche vermutlich weniger gefährlich als bisher angenommen. Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt eine Anfang der Woche veröffentlichte Studie des staatlichen Medienausschusses in Norwegen.

  • FTC: Music Industry 'Irresponsible' (AP) Children are being targeted with ads for adult-themed music despite the recording industry's promise last year to revise advertising practices, says a report by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC singled out the music industry as the worst offender in a study on the marketing of adult movies, music and video games to minors. Record companies were an "almost complete failure'' in making reforms, the FTC said. The FTC has been monitoring the movie, music and video-game industries after finding last year that the three were aggressively promoting to children products that carry adult ratings. see also FTC press release, Recording industry response (RIAA), Report: Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children (.pdf format) (FTC)

  • Media Group Opposes Violence-In-Entertainment Bill (Newsbytes) A A bill that would impose stiff penalties on companies that market violent films, music and video games to children is "constitutionally dubious" and could actually jeopardize voluntary content-rating efforts, a coalition of publishing groups said.

  • UK - E-campaign calls for child protection (Ananova) The NSPCC is calling on the public to write to their MPs and local newspapers calling for child protection to be put at the top of the election agenda.

  • USA - Columbine families sue gaming companies (CNET News.com) AOL Time Warner, Nintendo of America, and Sony Computer Entertainment are among 25 companies that face a lawsuit filed by the families of the victims of the Columbine massacre. Some of the families of those killed in the Columbine High School shootings are seeking $5 billion in punitive damages against the manufacturers and distributors of video technology. They say the massacre would not have occurred without the marketing of video games, particularly the game "Doom," which they say influenced the two gunmen.

   Racism and xenophobia

  • eBay to ban sale of hate items (CNET News.com) In a move that highlights the clash between moral and commercial interests on the Web, eBay announced a global ban of all hate-related items on its site, even if they previously had been allowed because of their historical value. Under the revised policy, eBay sellers will no longer be allowed to sell items such as Nazi battle flags or Ku Klux Klan cloaks

   Rating and filtering

  • UK - Computer shops to block child porn on internet (Observer) High street computer retailers and software giant Microsoft are to join forces with the British police and children's charities in an unprecedented crackdown on child porn on the internet. All computers are to be fitted with software to filter out child pornography and 'kite marks' for child-friendly chatrooms will be introduced. The big three, which dominate the home PC market, will develop packages to block websites with adult content and access to chatrooms which paedophiles use.

  • AOL's New Filter on the Block (Wired) America Online has begun using new filtering technology to power its "parental control" options for kids, young teens and older teens. The automated technology -- provided by filtering company RuleSpace -- recognizes eight languages and can analyze the content of 47 million webpages per day.

  • Filterinitiative ICRA: Wir sind die Guten (Heise) Die Internet Content Rating Association frischt ihr Marketing auf. Mit einem Feuerwerk an Ideen bereitet die Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) den Relaunch ihrer mit zahlreichen Produktinnovationen ausgestatteten Filterplattform 2.0 im Spätsommer vor.

  • Internet filters block pictures, but open debate (IT Week) UK software developer, First 4 Internet, (F4i) last week launched its email filtering software, which it describes as offering 95 percent reliability for the detection of inappropriate images. But some commentators question whether such filters are more trouble than they are worth.

  • Kenya - Firm in Move to Control Internet (The Nation (Nairobi) An Internet service provider (ISP) has developed software that can block access to pornographic content. Interconnect becomes the first local ISP to develop such a programme. The software, isafe, will help families limit the access children have to offensive sites.

  • Review: Filtering a dim life (FT) Chance encounters with new ideas broaden the mind. What, then, of technology that filters out the unfamiliar? The US constitution protects freedom of speech. Does it also protect my freedom to tune out anything I do not wish to hear? Professor Cass Sunstein, one of America's leading constitutional scholars, has written a new book, Republic.com, which argues against the unfettered right to block one's ears.

  • UK - 'Safe' net surfing for children (BBC) An internet service to protect children from falling prey to paedophiles and accessing pornography online is being launched in the UK. The firm behind the service says it can guarantee that it can prevent young people from logging on to inappropriate sites. The company V21 says there is a huge demand from families concerned about some of the material available on the internet. see also New ISP promises child-friendly surfing (ZDNEt UK).

  • UK - Home Office Web site adopts adult rating (ZDNet UK) The Home Office has adopted the Internet Content Rating Association's (ICRA) labelling system for its Web site.

  • USA - Concern over inappropriate material prompts Army to restrict Web access (AP) The Army is installing Web-filtering software from Websense at more than 100 military posts worldwide to prevent employees from viewing pornography and other inappropriate material.

   Safer Internet awareness

  • Ten tips for looking after your children in cyberspace (Sunday Times) According to research firm NOP, 5m children aged under 16 are now online. One of their favourite activities is online chat. In this anonymous, faceless world, it is vital that parents are alert to the dangers posed by predators who "groom" children to win their trust. see also What parents can do.

   Security and encryption

  • CERT statistics point to increasing security woes (IDG) A new set of security statistics released Friday by the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (CERT/CC) finds that in the first quarter of 2001 a number of security issues, including incident and vulnerability reports, are on track to top 2000 figures.

  • End to email viruses may be nigh (ZDNet UK) The Ministry of Defence has come up with a way of stopping quick-spreading email viruses before they get out of control, which doesn't rely on traditional virus-detection methods. The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (Dera) - an MoD agency - unveiled software that detects when a virus is attempting to send emails to all the names in your address book

  • German government calls for hacker warning system (IDG) The German government is planning an early warning system to protect the country's Internet resources against potential international hacker attacks. The Interior Ministry wants to build a network of the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) that already exist in various government and private organizations.

  • Kashmiri hackers attack BBC site (ZDNet UK) The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has confirmed that hackers supporting the liberation of Kashmir have attempted to break into a server used to provide information to BBC staff around the world.

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • Users say Yahoo! quietly extending porn crackdown (AP) When Yahoo! Inc. got rid of the adult videos and DVDs on its shopping pages last month, the popular Internet site wasn't done wrestling with pornography. During the last few weeks, Yahoo! quietly has reconfigured its adult-themed online clubs, message boards and chat rooms, removing links to them and making them harder to find, members say. Many users believe the clubs will fail to attract new members and ultimately disappear altogether. see also Pulling the porn (Guardian) and Trouble In Porn Land (Interactive Week). The economic downturn, a massive saturation of free adult content on the Web and new, stricter rules on credit-card fraud have combined to cause tectonic changes in the "adult site" industry.

  • UK - IWF defers newsgroup policy decision (ZDNEt UK) The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) failed to reach a consensus of opinion on whether Internet service providers (ISPs) should have their self-regulatory approach towards dealing with unlawful newsgroups revoked, when a board member deliberately left the meeting to make a vote impossible.



  • Mobile gaming to garner vast revenues (Nua) A hundred million mobile Internet users will enjoy wireless gaming by 2006. The wireless gaming market will be worth USD5 billion at that time, says Strategy Analytics in its new report entitled "Critical Challenges for the Mobile Gaming Market".


  • Germany - Bundesgericht stärkt Rechte von Telekom-Konkurrenten (Reuters) Das Bundesverwaltungsgericht in Berlin hat mit einem Grundsatzurteil Rechte von Konkurrenten der Telekom gestärkt. Die Richter entschieden am Mittwoch, dass die Deutsche Telekom AG neuen Anbietern auf der so genannten letzten Meile zum Kunden den direkten Zugang zu ihren Leitungen im Ortsnetz gewähren muss.

  • Germany - Telefongesellschaften klagen gegen Regulierungsbehörde (Heise) Das Düsseldorfer Telekommunikationsunternehmen ISIS Multimedia Net hat vor dem Verwaltungsgericht Köln eine Klage gegen die Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP) eingereicht. Das Unternehmen wendet sich zusammen mit fünf anderen regionalen Telefongesellschaften gegen die am 30. März von der Behörde festgelegten Teilnehmeranschlussgebühren, die Miete für die sogenannte letzte Meile.

Market & Technology

   Electronic commerce


  • AOL free trial 'fiasco' (BBC) The UK's second largest internet service provider AOL has come under criticism for its free trial offers. The company is currently offering internet users a free 99 day trial of its service with a free helpline for technical support. But dozens of people have contacted the BBC to complain about AOL's trials.

  • Do the Napster math (ZDNet) Commentary by John C. Dvorak. By my calculations, the record companies can make as much or more money by abandoning their old business model and going with Napster's. In real terms, Napster hurts CD sales only in situations where a one-hit wonder has a CD full of junk that nobody wants.

  • Kirch victorious in battle for Grand Prix TV deal (FT) Motor sport's governing body, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, granted a 100-year extension of the broadcasting and commercial rights to Formula One to a company controlled by German media groups Kirch and EMTV. But the $313m deal left unaddressed the concerns of big car makers taking part in F1, which have threatened to set up their own rival championship, mainly because of fears that Kirch and EMTV might seek to end the free-to-air TV broadcasts that attract 300m spectators for each race.

  • Murdoch's big birds (Economist) After years of trying, Rupert Murdoch could be about to plug the gap in his global satellite-television network. Making money from this ambitious plan, however, could prove even harder

  • Older Net Service Picks Up Napster's Slack (7am News) With services such as Napster coming under increasing pressure from the recording industry to reign in the free trading of copyrighted music across the Net, savvy traders are returning to one of the oldest services Internet protocols -- usenet. see also RIAA Head: Napster Is Done (Wired).

  • Publish Free or Perish (Scientific American) Life scientists are urging publishers to grant free access to archived research articles. An advocacy group,the Public Library of Science, has urged scientific publishers to hand over all research articles from their journals to public online archives for free within six months of publication. The authors threatened a boycott pledging to "publish in, edit or review for, and personally subscribe to, only those scholarly and scientific journals" that agreed. Some 15,817 life scientists from 138 countries have signed the letter, among them several Nobel laureates.

   Mobile and wireless

  • 4 Partners Sign On to Support Wireless Data Standard (New York Times) A Silicon Valley start-up company plans to announce its first partners to help roll out a new wireless data standard with a name only a geek could love: 802.11a. The problem is that mobile computer users are facing a thicket of wireless data standards.

  • Pass the painkillers (Economist) The introduction of third-generation mobile phones is being plagued by fearsome technical and financial difficulties

  • The Generation Game (Mobile Technology Advisor) The travelling professional will experience true mobility thanks to 3G. We explore this new wireless networking standard that promises fast mobile connection speeds see also It's a wap After the hype and the over-zealous marketing campaigns came WAPlash. This useful service isn't dead, though, and we show how to get the most from your WAP-enabled mobile. Futurama Bluetooth doesn't require cables and, even better, deosn't need line of sight for a connection. We reveal how our lives could be changed by this new technology

  • UTLKIN2ME? Can U speak cell phone? (Wall Street Journal) Like countless other mothers, Gabrielle Mander found some of the language used by her teenage daughter baffling. So she set about compiling a dictionary dedicated to one of the world's fastest-evolving lingoes: the oddly truncated words used to send short text messages by mobile phone. The result: "Ltl bks" devoted to text-messaging shorthand have been high on Britain's best-seller lists for months.

   Security and encryption

  • Microsoft warns of 'serious' software hole (BBC) A serious security vulnerability has been found in the Microsoft software used to keep millions of websites running. EEye Digital Security discovered the bug, which affects Windows 2000 Servers running the Internet Information Server 5.0 (IIS) add-on. The flaw uses the remote printing protocols inside the software. When the right string of text is sent, it causes the software to return an unsecured command prompt, effectively giving high-level access to a server.



  • Global home users number 379 million (Nua) About 379 million people around the world now have Internet access from home, and 211 of those are active Internet users, according to Nielsen NetRatings.

  • Internet Usage Increasing In Europe, Despite Downturn (Newsbytes) Research just published confirms what many Internet analysts have suspected, namely that the European Internet market is more resilient to the dot-com crash currently taking place in the U.S.

  • OECD broadband figures show Korea leads (Total Telecom) Korea leads the world for broadband access, according to figures released by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). At the end of 2000, Korea boasted 9.2 broadband lines per 100 inhabitants, way ahead of the nearest challenger, Canada, with 3.91.

  • Roughly 37 million Americans download music (AP) According to The Music Downloading Deluge a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 37 million Americans have downloaded free music from the Internet since last summer, a 40 percent increase.

  • Web ratings: Numbers lie sometimes (ZDNet) When his company, eFront Media, was listed as one of the 20 most-trafficked sites on the Web, there was just one problem: The ranking was a mistake. The Web site aggregator's leap to the big leagues was based on incorrect data. When Media Metrix learned of the error several weeks later, it revised the monthly rankings - the only time the Net research company has ever had to restate its top-50 list


Who's who

Useful addresses

  • Separating News From Noise (Wired) Craig Burton is a news junkie. Burton, an Internet consultant, spends three to four hours every day surfing for news from every corner of the globe. With the help of filtering software, a new publishing standard and some helpful humans, he's finding it easier to feed his addiction.

  • Web Sites Track Regulatory Changes (Washington Post) Regulatory aficionados can plug in to sites run by government agencies and private groups to get the anatomy of almost any rule.


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.

QuickLinks consists of

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