QuickLinks 197 - 21 May 2001

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Legal and regulatory issues

   Audiovisual

   Competition

  • Competition in the New Economy (RAPID) Speech by Mario Monti Commissioner for Competition Policy, 10th International Conference on Competition Bundeskartellamt Berlin , 21 May 2001

   Computer crime

  • UK - New curbs on internet paedophiles pledged (Guardian) Jack Straw committed Labour to fresh curbs on paedophile activity by introducing stringent new regulations which would allow parents to restrict their children's internet surfing habits - and impose prevention orders on known offenders who "groom" youngsters for potential exploitation in online chatrooms. But the home secretary's intervention on a hyper-sensitive topic during the election campaign drew criticism from both left and right.

  • Automatisierte Netzpatrouille (Heise) Das Bundesinnenministerium setzt im Kampf gegen Extremisten und Päderasten auf ein neues "Internet-Ermittlungstool" (INTERMiT), das das Web automatisch auf strafbare Inhalte hin scannen soll.

  • Die Gefahren des Niemandslandes (Heise) Auf einer Veranstaltung des österreichischen Innenministerium wurde die Cyberkriminalität für gefährlicher als das Organisierte Verbrechen erklärt

  • EU condemned over planned 'snoop laws' (BBC) Proposals are being put forward to the European Union to make communications companies keep records of all phone calls, e-mails, faxes and net use for seven years, just in case police forces need to search them during criminal investigations. Civil liberty groups and net watchdogs have condemned the plans and said the laws, if passed, would give law enforcement agencies powers denied to repressive regimes. Lack of legislation weak link in EU cyber crime battle (Europemedia.net), Privacy scandal: Dodgy data laws on the way (Silicon) and Statewatch Observatory on Surveillance in Europe (S.O.S. Europe).

  • Kinderpornografie im Internet nimmt weiter zu (Heise) Knapp zwei Drittel der Internetkriminalität sind nach Angaben von Bayerns Innenminister Günther Beckstein der Kinderpornografie zuzurechnen. Vordringliches Ziel sei, Kinder vor dieser "widerwärtigen und menschenverachtenden Ausbeutung" zu schützen. Bayern hat nach den Worten des CSU-Politikers eine Vorreiterrolle im Kampf gegen die Internetkriminalität

  • UK - Phone thieves warned: UR4it (Observer) Police are to get a new weapon in the fight against the menace of mobile phone thieves: bombardment by text. They will send stolen mobile phones a text message every hour reminding the new owners of the error of their ways.

   Consumer protection

   Content regulation

  • Mumbai cops place obstacle on information superhighway, it’s an ID (Yahoo India) The next time you walk into a cyber cafe in Mumbai, you won’t be able to plug into a terminal unless you produce an identification card, swipe it and punch in a password. And if you’re a foreigner, you will have to show your passport or flight ticket.

  • Questioning the Oz Net Censors (Wired) Australia's 16-month-old Internet censorship law, while less intrusive than originally feared, is largely ineffective, a waste of tax dollars and gives a false sense of security, critics say.

  • France - L'émission provoque un bras de fer entre Skyrock et le CSA (AFP) Après avoir déclenché la guerre entre TF1 et M6, l'émission Loft Story a ouvert vendredi un nouveau front entre Skyrock et le Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA): l'autorité de régulation du PAF a lancé une "mise en demeure" à la turbulente radio

  • Germany - Computerspiel mit Politikerjagd legal (Heise) Die CDU-Jugendorganisation Junge Union darf weiterhin das umstrittene Computerspiel "Schwarzwild" auf ihrer Homepage zum Download anbieten. Bei dem Spiel werden mit Hammerschlägen auf aus Erdlöchern auftauchende Politikerköpfe der rot-grünen Koalition Punkte gemacht. Das gegen sie eingeleitete Ermittlungsverfahren jetzt eingestellt worden. Nach Auffassung der Berliner Staatsanwaltschaft stelle das Spiel keine öffentliche Aufforderung zu Straftaten dar.

   Copyright, trademarks and patents

   Data Protection (privacy)

  • Commission launches new guide on data protection rights (Press Release) The European Commission has published a new guide entitled "Data Protection in the European Union", which provides citizens and businesses with information on their rights regarding the collection and use of personal data and on what to do when their rights are violated. This free guide provides useful tips on who is entitled to handle personal information and how data can be legitimately processed. Links to 11 language versions (PDF).

  • Microsoft to adopt EU's data privacy rules (FT) Microsoft plans to apply the European Union's tough data privacy rules to its global business. The US software giant will sign up to the so-called "safe harbour" agreement between the EU and the US that allows the transfer of personal data across the Atlantic. It is also going a step further and using the EU's standards as a basis for its information transfers around the globe.

   Domain names

  • VeriSign retains hold on .com domain (CNET News.com) After days of wrangling, the Commerce Department finally left its rubber stamp on an agreement with the Internet's governing body that allows VeriSign to remain in control of the .com domain. The agreement is little changed from the original proposal. The alterations require the company to give up control of the .net domain earlier than planned. The company also will be subject to yearly audits to determine that its registrar and registry businesses remain separate.

  • Aimster must give up domain to AOL (MSNBC) The "AIM" in Aimster violates America Online’s trademark and the company must relinquish several Internet domain names with that name in it to AOL, the National Arbitration Forum has decided

  • ICANN Accredits New Top-Level Domains (Press Release) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has finalized accreditation agreements with the new .biz and .info top-level domain (TLD) registries.

  • Porn fills police educational Web site (ZDNet UK) A Scottish police force has had to withdraw its promotion of a drug education Web site after it was found to contain hundreds of pornographic images. Tayside Police who commissioned the creation of the Web site for thousands of local schoolchildren, was unaware the domain name had been taken over by a Russian porn merchant who had filled the site with adult-rated images.

  • Germany - BGH: Gattungsbegriffe als Domainnamen frei (Heise) Gattungsbegriffe sind als Domainnamen grundsätzlich frei verwendbar. Mit dieser Grundsatzentscheidung hat der Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) in Karlsruhe einer langen Serie von Streitigkeiten um Internet-Adressen ein Ende gesetzt.

   Electronic commerce

  • Congress views new Internet music sales network (AP) The Internet media company RealNetworks showed a House Judiciary subcommittee a mock-up of the music industry's for-pay alternative to Napster.

  • Las Vegas Casinos Shift Stand, Backing Internet Wagering (New York Times) In a sharp reversal, several of Las Vegas's most powerful casinos no longer want to ban Internet gambling, and some are starting Web sites and exploring technology that could eventually offer wagering in homes, offices or anywhere there is a computer wired into cyberspace.

   Employment and social issues

  • Dismissed for Chat Room, C.I.A. Workers Speak Out (New York Times) Four C.I.A. employees, fired for their involvement with a private and unauthorized chat network on the agency's computer system, said in interviews this week that the agency had treated them far too harshly for what they considered a harmless social activity.

   Information society and Internet policy

  • France - La LSI débitée en tranches? (Transfert) Une disposition du projet de loi sur la société de l´information a été adoptée en douce à l´Assemblée nationale. Elle facilite les investissements des collectivités locales dans les réseaux à haut-débit.

   Interception

  • Schools Get Tool to Track Students' Internet Use (New York Times) The eSniff program is a modified version of a packet sniffer. ESniff detects packets that indicate that proscribed activities are going on - that a student is visiting Web sites that offer, say, sexual images, or copyright-violating music downloads or guns for sale or bomb- making instructions.

  • Senate Anti-Gambling Bill Forces Schools to Spy on Students (The Standard) A U.S. Senate bill intended to stop wagering on amateur sports would require colleges and universities to monitor student Internet use for illegal gambling transactions and would withhold federal education funding from schools that failed to do so.

  • Germany - Provider entwickeln Alternative zur geplanten Netz-Überwachung (Heise) Nach Auffassung des Verbands der deutschen Internet-Wirtschaft eco soll der Bereich Internet vollständig aus der geplanten Telekommunikations-Überwachungsverordnung (TKÜV) herausfallen. Das "normale" Abhören der Telefonleitungen reiche vollkommen aus, um auch die E-Mail-Kommunikation zu überwachen.

   Internet access and use

  • France - Le 'coup de gueule' de l'AFA aura des suites (vnunet.fr) France Télécom n'a pas souhaité réagir au communiqué de l'Association des fournisseurs d'accès Internet (Afa) remettant en question l'arrivée des forfaits Internet illimité. Pour sa part, l'ART cherche à calmer le jeu tout en précisant qu'elle "s'exprimera sur le sujet dans les prochains jours". Quant à l'Adim, membre du groupe de travail sur le sujet, elle abonde dans le sens de l'Afa.

  • UK - Labour u-turns on broadband promises (ZDNet UK) Labour has condensed its broadband strategy into one sentence in its manifesto for the forthcoming general election, leaving experts questioning its commitment to high-speed Internet services

   IT in education

  • USA - Government Internet Subsidy Stretched to Its Limits (New York Times) School and library requests for discounted Internet connections and wiring are now far outstripping the resources available for the e-rate program, forcing federal officials to revisit how the funds are distributed.

   Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law

   Protection of minors

  • Software helps parents track what kids do on computer: Is it "spying" or "parenting?" (Mercury News) Keeping track of your kids' activities - whether online or off - isn't the same as peering through your neighbor's window. When done thoughtfully, it's not spying at all. It's parenting.

  • Yahoo Goes Beyond Initial Plan Against Adult Sites (New York Times) A month after Yahoo, the Internet service, eliminated a section that offered pornographic videos from its shopping area, the company has begun making it harder for users to find sexually explicit chat rooms and clubs. The action has sparked anger and fear among users, prompting thousands of them to sign a petition demanding that the company continue to maintain the popular online forums.

  • UK - Watchdog fines firm over phone logos (Ananova) Young children are being encouraged to log on to websites where they can buy sexual images as screen logos for their mobile phones. The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS) ruled the advertisers had breached rules in the phone service industry's code of conduct.

   Racism and xenophobia

   Rating and filtering

   Safer Internet awareness

  • Protecting Kids Online (Washington Post) Reporter Jacqui Salmon and her guest Jim Browne, director of GetNetWise, a non profit group intended to help parents guide their children in the digital age talk about cyberspace "rules of the road" for parents and kids.

   Security and encryption

  • Anti-piracy program for digital TV (Los Angeles Times) In a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission, the Consumer Electronics Association said the majority of TV makers plan to equip their digital TVs with a new technology that can block viewers from making digital copies. FireWire raises the bar for those seeking to copy protected material. Instead of just one secret encryption key that might easily be defeated, digital cable networks will have dynamic encryption that is different for every user.

  • Echelon Spy System Not Urgent Matter - Intelligence Chair (Newsbytes) European Parliament officials who canceled a visit to the U.S. to get information about the "Echelon" spy system are "on a little bit of a wild goose chase" . But they were right to feel snubbed after several planned meetings with national security authorities were scrubbed. The views are those of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla.

  • Music anti-piracy group issues official shrug (CNET News.com) The struggling Secure Digital Music Initiative took another big step backward, breaking from its latest meeting with an admission that members can't yet agree on an industry standard for anti-piracy.

  • Professor describes hacking music industry's anti-piracy technology (AP) Princeton professor Edward Felten told a spillover crowd at Stanford University as much as he could about successfully hacking the music industry's latest anti-piracy technology, but stopped short on some details for fear of being sued.

   Self-regulation / codes of conduct

  • USA - What is the NAI? (Network Advertising Initiative) The NAI is a cooperative group of network advertisers. We have developed a set of privacy principles, in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission. The NAI's foremost commitment is to provide consumers with clear explanations of Internet advertising practices and how they affect you and the Internet itself.

   Taxation and tariffs

  • London warns EU against web tax (FT) The UK government is warning other European Union countries against going ahead with proposals to impose value added tax on digital products sold over the internet.

Market & Technology

   Electronic commerce

   Employment and social issues

   Health

   Internet access and use

  • UK - Freeserve increases price for broadband access (FT) Freeserve, the UK's leading internet service provider, is raising its price for high-speed broadband access to the net by £120 ($170) a year. The move is a fresh blow to the government's aim of making the UK "the most competitive and extensive broadband market" among the economies of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations by 2005. See also BT mulls broadband price rise (FT).

  • UK - SMEs targeted by NTL's broadband package (Independent) NTL, the country's largest cable group, unveiled a three-phase plan to provide high-speed internet services to Britain's 1.2 million small and medium enterprises (SME) from 1 June.

   Market

  • Authors Guild calls AOL e-terms "exploitative" (AP) -) A major writers' group lashed out against iPublish, AOL Time Warner's new electronic publishing unit, saying the terms being offered to authors are unfair.

  • Le "must" de l'année sur Internet (Le Monde) "Loftstory" ? Ce n'est pas seulement l'émission de télévision qui fait grimper l'audience de M6. C'est aussi, incontestablement, le succès Internet de l'année. Depuis le lancement du jeu, le 26 avril, au moins cent sites Internet consacrés à cette émission ont vu le jour, et des milliers d'informations transitent chaque jour par courrier électronique.

   Mobile and wireless

  • BT launches GPRS phones (BBC) BT Cellnet has launched a new breed of mobile phones in the UK: handsets that use General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) technology.

   Portals, browsers and search engines

  • Opera finds footing in browser war (CNET News.com) After years of waiting patiently for AOL Time Warner or Microsoft to stumble, Opera Software is trumpeting its relationship with IBM as evidence it's making progress against its massive rivals in the browser market.

   Rating and filtering

  • Fleshing Out Peer Filters (Wired) Nudester, a file-trading network for adult entertainment, allows its operators to have more control over who and what is on their networks thanks to automated programs that troll the system. Nudester works with several layers of filters and technology to ensure that child pornographers and their ilk don't invade the system. The content filter automatically blocks anyone who searches for flagged words, such as child or kid.

  • Neue Kindersicherung fürs Netz (Heise) Die Berliner Firma KinderCampus AG glaubt mit Safe-T eine Lösung fürs kindergerechte Surfen gefunden zu haben, die netzkompatibler ist als die von der Medien- und Netzindustrie gepushte Filterinitiative ICRA. Der Webseitenblocker des Startups arbeitet mit einer redaktionell betreuten Positivfilterliste zusammen, die den Zugang auf momentan rund 2 Millionen Angebote erlaubt.

   Standards

  • FCC, tech group tackle wireless speed (CNET news.com) The Federal Communications Commission and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, are working to make wireless standards technology faster for Internet connections in homes and businesses.

   Statistics

  • 15 Millionen Online-Konten in Deutschland (Heise) Die Zahl der Online-Konten in Deutschland ist im Vergleich zum vergangenen Jahr um die Hälfte gestiegen: von 10 auf nunmehr 15 Millionen.

  • Explosive growth in European Internet (Press release) The European Internet is growing explosively and becoming more central to daily life as European consumers shop and communicate more using the online medium, according to the first AOL Europe/Roper Starch Cyberstudy.

  • Forscher: Internet ist "Ergänzung statt Ersatz" (Heise) Das Internet macht in wichtigen Kernbereichen wie beim E-Commerce oder als Unterhaltungsmedium weder dem Fernsehen noch dem traditionellen Handel Konkurrenz. Das haben Internetforscher auf der GOR 2001 (German Online Research Konferenz) betont.

   Technology

  • Filter-Bypassing Web Browser 'Peekabooty' Coming Soon (Newsbytes) The Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC), the organization behind "sniffer" packages such as Back Orifice, is developing an advanced Web browser that can reportedly bypass company or governmental control systems. Known as Peekabooty, the Windows-based Web browser is set for unveiling at the July DefCon security event in Las Vegas.

  • TV Makers Take a Side on Anti-Piracy Technologies (LA Times) Intensifying a battle with Hollywood and broadcasters over new anti-piracy technologies, television makers have told federal regulators they are backing a new copy-protection scheme that could bring jarring changes to the way consumers watch TV.

  • WWW-Filter - Privatsphäre schützen mit HTTP-Proxies (iX) Was immer Websurfer aus dem Internet laden - stets sammelt der Anbieter im Gegenzug Informationen über sie. Spezielle Proxy-Server stutzen nicht nur die grafischen Inhalte auf die Wünsche des Anwenders zurecht, sondern kontrollieren auch den Rückfluss persönlicher Daten an die Inhaltsanbieter und deren Werbepartner.

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