(vnunet) Microsoft has withdrawn its request for a hearing in response to European Commission antitrust complaints, signalling its desire to settle the case quickly. The oral hearing had been scheduled for 20 and 21 December and would have allowed Microsoft to add new or additional material to its defence against Commission antitrust allegations.
(CNN) Police have arrested seven people in the UK and carried out 130 raids in 19 countries in a global sweep against Internet child pornography. "Operation Landmark" targeted people who downloaded and distributed child pornography from the Internet. Police in 18 other countries - Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States - also executed search and arrest warrants, acting on information supplied by Interpol. In one instance, the UK's National Crime Squad said, a newsgroup was used to seek help with the 'grooming' of a young child for abuse. see also Nine held in net child porn raids (Guardian) and Police examine paedophile evidence (BBC).
(Newsbytes) On Nov. 23, foreign ministers from the United States, Canada, Japan and South Africa joined their counterparts in 26 other countries in signing the Council of Europe’s "Convention on Cybercrime", an international treaty designed to harmonize laws and penalties for crimes committed via the Internet.
(Newsbytes) The European Union has taken several steps to combat cybercrime, notably heading up initiatives to confront "harmful and illegal content" on the Internet, while protecting copyrights and personal data, Erkki Liikanen, the E.U.'s commissioner for the information society, said. The E.U. Forum on Cybercrime's Brussels conference was organized as a first plenary session. Organizers invited industry members, law enforcement authorities, privacy protection groups and other parties to comment on E.U. policymaking in the online crime arena. see also Network Security - Policy Development in the European Union (RAPID) Speech by Mr Erkki Liikanen, and Inside EU-Cybercrime Hearing (q/depesche)A reasonably balanced view from the civil liberties' perspective of the first plenary session of the EU Cybercrime Forum.
(ZDNet UK) The National Crime Squad (NCS) has confirmed that it will be using sophisticated facial-mapping software to identify the children depicted in 60,000 pornographic images obtained through dawn raids on suspected Internet pedophiles. The raids were part of the biggest-ever international crackdown on Internet pedophiles.
(Detroit Free Press) 17-year-old Will Luker's work as an unpaid intern on the ayne County Sheriff's Internet Crimes Task Force has led to the shutdown of one of the largest child-pornography Internet operations in the state. In two days, Luker wrote a script to modify a software program that enabled him to monitor the trading of underage sexual material in nine chat rooms.
(Newsbytes) An organization representing marketing companies in Canada is asking the country's telecommunication regulators to establish a mandatory "dot-not-call" registry to be heeded by all telemarketers.
(BBC) The government launches campaign to boost internet shopping as a survey suggests there is less fraud on the net than in the high street. The guidance on safe shopping is published in a new section on the Government's Consumer Gateway website, and it is also available in a leaflet available in Citizens' Advice Bureaux, libraries and at local authorities.
(Australian IT) The Federal Government has delayed the release of its half-yearly internet censorship report until early next year, despite promising to report to the Senate every six months.
(Heise) Bund und Länder verhandeln über eine Neugestaltung des Jugendschutzes in einer vernetzten Medienwelt. Bekannt wurde der Vorschlag, eine Sendezeitbegrenzung einzuführen. Die Entwürfe für einen Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (JMStV) gehen nun sogar weit über eine solche 23-Uhr-Sperre für Heranwachsende im Netz hinaus. Demnach werden in Zukunft die Länder über den Jugendschutz wachen.Die Länder dürfen die strengen Regeln für den Rundfunk und die Mediendienste auf das Internet und alle elektronischen Online-Medien ausweiten .
(IDG) The U.S. Supreme Court listened to oral arguments on whether to reinstate a hotly debated Internet pornography law, after three years of wrangling over whether the law violates First Amendment rights. The Children's Online Protection Act (COPA), which levels heavy criminal penalties against the knowing distribution of online materials deemed harmful to minors. See also Considering 'Community Standards' and Internet Pornography (New York Times).
(FT) A US federal appeals court has delivered a big victory to copyright holders who want to use technology to protect films, music, and other copyrighted material from digital piracy. The second US circuit court of appeals in New York upheld a lower court ruling barring the publisher of a hacker website from publishing or linking to software which can be used to make unauthorised copies of DVDs (digital versatile disks). see also DVD CCA Appeals Ruling To Calif. Supreme Court (Newsbytes).
(IDG) The makers of popular file-sharing software KaZaA have to make it impossible for users to continue to share copyright-protected material using the software, or pay a fine for each day the product remains unchanged, a Dutch judge ordered. see also File-swapper Kazaa hit with court order (ZDNet).
(Yahoo UK) BT's court case against ISP Prodigy Communications over the hyperlink patent will begin on 11 February 2002 in New York. BT is claiming unspecified damages for alleged infringement of its patent, which covers the basic navigation method on which the Web is built. If BT wins it is likely to pursue other ISPs for licence fees.
(Newsbytes) A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by civil liberties groups who claimed that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was planning to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to keep a Princeton University professor from publishing research on security flaws in music industry anti-piracy software.
(Newsbytes) A New York federal judge has approved an interim agreement over royalties that must be paid to songwriters and music publishers when over-the-air radio stations stream music online.
(New York Times) The two institutions that vote on Europe- wide laws are facing a confrontation over how much access law enforcement authorities should have to the digital trails left by phone and Internet users.
(Mercury News) The birth records of more than 24 million Californians have been sold by the state and posted on the Internet, offering easy access to critical information needed to create fake identities.
(Newsbytes) The publisher of Playboy magazine has wrested the Internet domain PlayboyOnline.com from anti-porn crusaders who appeared to be making money when stray surfers visited a Web site at that address.
(Newsbytes) Anthrax scares at the postal facility that serves most federal agencies have virtually shut down mail delivery to the Federal Communications Commission, prompting the agency to ask that all filings be submitted by e-mail, in person, or by overnight delivery.
(Le Monde) Selon le tableau de bord élaboré par le ministère des Finances et de l'Industrie, la France accuse un retard en matière de commerce électronique. Principal fautif : le minitel.
(Statewatch) The UK government is to introduce a "voluntary code" for all telecommunication providers to retain communications data for 12 months. The details of the government's plan is set out in the Supplemental Regulatory Impact Assessment: Retention of communications data ( PDF) accompanying the planned legislation in the Anti-Terrorism, crime and security Bill currently before parliament.
(ZDNet UK) The National Crime Squad (NCS) denied that it had access to the traffic logs of Demon Internet for Operation Landmark, despite implying previously that it had "imaged" the servers of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) for 16 days.
(FT) Excite@Home, the bankrupt US broadband company, can shut down its high-speed internet service to more than 3m customers of AT&T and other cable companies, a California judge ruled. see also At Home Talks Continue, Some Customers Lose Service (Washington Post).
(Heise) Zu dem gewonnenen Verfahren des Anwalts Joachim Steinhöfel gegen den Verein Freedom for Links (FFL) hat das Landgericht (LG) Hamburg jetzt die schriftliche Urteilsbegründung nachgereicht. Danach ist der Verein nicht berechtigt, auf seiner Homepage Metatags im HTML-Code mit Bezug zu Steinhöfel einzusetzen.
(Newsbytes) The Court of Appeal for the Fourth District in the ComputerXpress case recently issued what legal experts say is a precedent-setting decision on the right to make comments about a public company on Internet message boards.
(FT) The French government on Friday set a tax of 1 per cent on revenues from third-generation mobile phone licences, a decision welcomed by French operators who had feared a heavier fiscal burden.
(Newsbytes) America Online has removed a prominent hyperlink to a hardcore pornography site from its Web-based search engine for children. The "Just For Fun" section of AOL's Kids Only site featured a hyperlink to a site called 100% Girls. Web surfers who followed the link would reach a pornography site advertising "XXX" images and other adult entertainment.
(RAPID) In a proposal for a Framework Decision (a legislative instrument in the field of penal law), the European Commission has proposed that the racist and xenophobic acts should be punishable by the same penalties in all Member States . The offences covered include public incitement to violence or hatred for racist or xenophobic reasons, and directing, supporting or participating in the activities of a racist or xenophobic group. For these, a "minimum maximum" penalty of two years is proposed. The public dissemination of racist material by any means, including the Internet, must also be regarded as a criminal offence.
(Newsbytes) U.S. Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln has introduced a resolution that would require senators to post a content rating label on their official Web sites. The resolution said that the labeling system should be "in a manner consistent with the labeling system utilized by the Internet Content Rating Association and other recognized voluntary Internet content filtering organizations."
(Press Release) Children are still finding "rude, violent, nasty and upsetting" material on the Internet, mostly by accident, new surveys by European Research into Consumer Affairs in the UK, and Media Education Institute at the Landesakademie show. Three out of four UK kids aged 11 - 14 years find harmful material on-line. But they are starting to recognise safety guidelines like ERICA’s. Over three quarters of children in Austria and over eight out of ten in UK surf the Internet (at least sometimes) alone.
(Newsbytes) Banner ads promoting a notorious group of computer attackers known as Fluffi Bunni today appeared at SecurityFocus.com, after the hackers compromised a server operated by the leading security firm's advertising partner.
(IT Week) The police National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has appointed an industry liaison officer to develop a confidential crime reporting system. The liaison officer has the task of creating a system to help companies report digital security breaches to the police without suffering any embarrassing public disclosures
(FT) The European Commission said Europe's telecommunications sector was still growing strongly, despite the global economic downturn, but warned it would take legal action against member states that did not fully open up their markets to companies offering high-speed access. 7th Report on liberalisation of telecommunications in the Member States see also Press Release, Europe to punish broadband laggards (BBC), EC Gets Heavy On European Local Loop Liberalization (Newsbytes) and EU touts flat fee for Net access (Reuters).
(Heise) Die Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post (RegTP) setzt das Verfahren um den Preis der Großhandelsflatrate für Wählverbindungen aus, um ein neutrales technisches Gutachten anzufordern. Es soll klären, auf welcher Netzebene die Telekom den Datenverkehr an ihre Tochter T-Online und deren Konkurrenten übergeben kann, und ob der dabei entstehende Netzwerkverkehr zumutbar ist.
(BBC) Somalia's only internet company and a key telecoms business have been forced to close because the United States suspects them of terrorist links.
(Newsbytes) Citing deep financial trouble spawned by the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, American, United and Delta have pulled out of a planned joint venture with Boeing to develop an in-flight Internet service.
(New York Times0) Several Internet music ventures backed by the record industry are poised to start next week, with others to follow in the next two months. But the long-awaited subscription services will enter an online world where the free music swapping they are meant to counteract is at record levels.
(Newsbytes) Gator, the controversial Internet marketer known for pop-up promotions that can cover other banner advertising, has agreed to temporary truce with the rest of the online advertising industry, with both sides saying they will "work together" on a new approach to Gator's technology.
(Newsbytes) Providers of digital subscriber line (DSL) connectivity logged 2001's first increase in subscriber growth last quarter, according to a new report that says the number of installed lines at the end of September - over 3.8 million - was up more than 487,000 since the second quarter.
(BBC) The high cost of high-speed internet access in Britain is the biggest deterrent for people considering taking up the speedy surfing services. Almost 60% of those questioned for a survey for Support.com about broadband net access said the high monthly cost was stopping them signing up.
(CNN) Going online is now so entrenched in American life that not even the dot-com collapse and the subsequent economic slowdown have diminished the Web's popularity, according to a wide-ranging study by UCLA Center for Communication Policy on Internet use in the United States. The internet is becoming part of everyday life in the US, with people increasingly spending more time online looking for information at the expense of watching television, a university study shows. see also Web Is Mainstream Activity In American Homes (Newsbytes) and Americans taking internet to heart (BBC).
(FT) Mary Whitehouse, who has died aged 91, became synonymous with the "Clean Up TV Campaign". For the first 53 years of her life, Mrs Whitehouse was unknown. Then, in May 1964, she organised a meeting at Birmingham Town Hall to protest about television's growing explicitness. That packed meeting launched the Clean-Up TV Campaign, first formed in January 1964, and led to the formation of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association in 1965.
(Statewatch) In the wake of the attacks in the US on 11 September governments in the UK, US and the EU are planning a number of measures to protect against future terrorist attacks. This "Observatory" will be tracking proposed measures by providing both analysis and documentation so that civil society can find out what is being planned and make its views known.
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