(Newsbytes) European telco KPNQwest has gained European Commission permission to acquire the London-base broadband firm Ebone, and the central European assets of Ebone's telco parent, Global TeleSystems (GTS). see also Commission clears purchase of European units of US telecoms company Global TeleSystems by KPNQwest (RAPID).
(FT) On the $24.2bn deal between Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer, European competition authorities have a choice similar to the one faced by the two companies' customers when their computers crash.
(FT) Liberty Media, the US cable group, withdrew a filing to the German Cartel Office seeking approval for the acquisition of 22 per cent of KirchPay-TV, a unit of Germany's Kirch Gruppe. The move is the first sign that Liberty may be softening its uncompromising stance in talks with the competition watchdog on the separate E5.5bn ($4.9bn) acquisition of Deutsche Telekom's cable network.
(Newsbytes) Italian authorities identified, but did not arrest, six young hackers who launched attacks on computer systems at the Pentagon and NASA. The Italian Guardia di Finanza has identified the hackers as six boys and men between the ages of 15 and 23.
(This is London) New guidelines for judges in child pornography cases would significantly increase jail terms for paedophiles such as Gary Glitter who download thousands of depraved images of children from the internet.
(Newsbytes) A computer technician at Georgia-run college who found himself facing criminal charges will face probation instead of prison. David McOwen, once a systems administrator, faces a year of probation and a $2,100 fine for connecting a number of DeKalb computers to Distributed.net so that the spare computing cycles could assist in a communal code-breaking challenge.
(LA Times) A Colorado homemaker has won praise - and arrests - for her efforts against kiddie porn. But critics of such online crusaders call it a form of vigilantism.
(AP) China has issued its most intrusive Internet controls to date, ordering service providers to screen private e-mail for political content and holding them responsible for subversive postings on their Web sites.
(BBC) Two Chinese dissidents have been jailed for four years for posting articles on the internet criticising President Jiang Zemin, according to a Hong Kong-based human rights group
(Newsbytes) Officials from the nation's top antitrust enforcement agencies have agreed to meet with the Senate Commerce and Appropriations Committees to discuss plans to modify the review process for media, telecommunications and entertainment industry mergers. The U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission had been poised to announce a deal that would reallocate by industry the agencies' antitrust review authority. But a 1 p.m. signing ceremony to seal the deal was canceled, and reporters waiting for the ensuing press conference were told without further explanation that the ceremony had been postponed. see also FTC Commissioners Speak Out On Antitrust Review Debacle (Newsbytes).
(Newsbytes) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal regulators can control fees that utilities charge cable operators for using their poles to provide high-speed Internet service to consumers.
(Newsbytes) Dutch portal Kazaa has announced it is voluntarily suspending downloads of its file sharing software until further notice. A decision of the Dutch court on its future, which is due on Jan. 31.
(Reuters) Ukraine's parliament approved a watered-down law aimed at cracking down on pirated compact discs in hopes that the move would avert $75 million in U.S. trade sanctions.
(Newsbytes) Lawyers for the New York-based "hacker quarterly" 2600 magazine have asked that the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reconsider a decision by three of its judges to uphold a ban on publishing software code that can unlock encrypted video on DVDs.
(Reuters) Federal investigators have turned up roughly 30 suspects and continue to raid college campuses a month after moving to shut down the "DrinkOrDie" software piracy ring.
(Europa) The European Commission has recognised that the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act provides adequate protection for certain personal data transferred from the EU to Canada. This will allow certain personal data to flow freely from the EU to recipients in Canada subject to the Canadian Act, without additional safeguards being needed to meet the requirements of the EU Data Protection Directive.
(Newsbytes) The U.K. Information Commissioner's office, formerly known as the Data Protection Registrar, says it will check on data protection compliance at various Web sites. The project will take in results from around 130 U.K. Web sites and should be completed by May.
(Newsbytes) A user identification technology built into Microsoft's Windows Media Player could enable Web sites to track users, a privacy watchdog warned. According to Richard M. Smith, the unique identification number assigned by default to every Windows Media Player user can be captured from the user's system registry using a simple script in a Web page.
(Newsbytes) Privacy and civil liberties advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said that it asked a federal court to order the release of records that detail the sale of personal information to law enforcement agencies. EPIC said in its complaint that the Justice and Treasury Departments both failed to respond to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests that the group filed with the agencies.
(Newsbytes) Qwest Communications, under fire for its policy regarding the use of private account information, will send another opt-out notice to customers.
(Newsbytes) The company that operates England's ".uk" Internet domain today officially launched a second-level ".me.uk" addressing space that is intended to serve as an online neighborhood for individual Internet users in the United Kingdom.
(BBC);) A row is brewing over the reliability and security of the servers that direct much of the net's traffic. Some of the organisations that oversee the net's domains are calling on the internet's ruling body to give guarantees about the safe running of these crucial servers. They are threatening to withhold cash demanded by ICANN, saying the fees it is levying amount to a tax for which they get little in return.
(SSRN) UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 73A. In this article Michael Froomkin and Mark A. Lemley focus on a hitherto-neglected implication of ICANN's assertion that it is a private rather than a public actor: its potential liability under the U.S. antitrust laws,
(Heise) Das Potsdamer Landgericht hat im Prozess um die Domain polizeibrandenburg.de der brandenburgischen Landesregierung das Recht auf Nutzung der Domain zugesprochen (AZ: 2 O 566/01). Die umstrittene Domain wird derzeit von der so genannten Volksinitiative zur Stärkung der Grund- und Bürgerrechte gegenüber der Polizei genutzt.
(BBC) Während in Deutschland im Bereich Online-Wahlen nach wie vor kleine Pilotprojekte angeschoben werden und die großen Visionen rar sind, will sich die Schweiz zum europäischen Vorreiter beim E-Voting aufschwingen: 2010 sollen die Eidgenossen alle Abstimmungen, Wahlen und Unterzeichnungen von Volksinitiativen und Gesetzesreferenden auf elektronischem Wege erledigen können.
(CNET News.com) Increasingly U.S. companies must design products and make business decisions based on strict regulatory hurdles in Europe. In fact, European regulations governing hot-button technology issues such as privacy, antitrust and taxation are beginning to play as much of a role as American regulations for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic
(FT) Radical plans by the European Commission to allow companies to run Europe-wide sales promotions are being threatened by several EU governments, including France and Germany. Commission officials said nine countries - Sweden, France, Finland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Greece - were trying to delay the Commission's proposals to outlaw barriers to cross-border sales promotions such as discounts and "two-for-one" offers.
(Newsbytes) Washington and Florida have filed separate suits against the operators of Aprescribe.com, a Florida-based online pharmacy that the states allege sold Cipro, Viagra and other prescription drugs over the Internet without proper prescriptions
(Yahoo UK) Government departments have monopolised nominations for the Internet Villain award at this year's ISP Awards. The Home Office, Oftel and the RadioCommunications Agency have all been nominated for the award, which will be presented at the ISP World show at Olympia Exhibition Centre in February.
(ZDNet Uk) Telecoms watchdog Oftel has given a green light to BT's plans to distribute millions of pounds to British Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to subsidise their broadband advertising. Many ISPs have already applied for a share of this fund. To qualify, they must be planning to launch advertising specifically for their high-speed Internet services.
(Mercury News) A group of Silicon Valley business leaders will call on the president and Congress to make high-speed Internet access available to every U.S. home and business by 2010. TechNet, the powerful valley-based lobbying group that includes Cisco Systems chief John Chambers and Intel leader Craig Barrett. see also Tech leaders see super-fast Web access as new manifest destiny (AP).
(Heise) Die Rundfunkexperten der Länder konnten sich bei ihrem gestrigen Treffen in Hamburg überraschend nicht auf den vorgelegten Entwurf für einen Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag einigen. Das Treffen scheiterte wegen grundsätzlicher Vorbehalte Bayerns gegen die Rollenverteilung zwischen Bund und Ländern. Gestört hat die Bayern vor allem, dass mit der etablierten Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften weiterhin eine nicht den Ländern unterstellte Behörde über die Indexierung von Inhalten in Online-Medien mit Ausnahme des Rundfunks wachen sollte.
(ESC) Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee. Rapporteur Ann Davison. Appendices: safer surfing advice to parents and guidelines to children, results of survey under the CISA project funded by Safer Internet Action Plan.
(Heise) Das Ermittlungsverfahren wegen "Verwendung von Kennzeichen verfassungswidriger Organisationen" gegen den Journalisten Burkhard Schröder wurde eingestellt. Eingeleitet wurde das Verfahren wegen der umfangreichen Link-Sammlung des Gegners und Kenners des Rechtsextremismus Schröder auf braune Seiten.
(Heise) Der Verfassungsschutz fordert von eBay bessere Kontrollen gegen verfassungswidrige Angebote wie Musik rechter Gruppen von "Absurd" bis "Radikahl". Das ZDF-Magazin Frontal 21 fand bei dem Auktionshaus zahlreiche Versteigerungen ewig Gestriger.
(AP) German authorities have warned Internet auctioneer eBay to combat the trading of racist music and other illegal neo-Nazi items over its German Web site after an upsurge in recent weeks. EBay's German unit last weekend deleted hundreds of items being offered for sale on its virtual marketplace. Most involved music by extreme-right bands that was on a list of banned songs kept by German authorities. Though German laws outlaw spreading neo-Nazi propaganda, denying the Holocaust and whipping up racial or anti-Semitic hatred, prosecutors have refrained from putting eBay under criminal investigation. see also Nazi Items Gone From Ebay Under German Pressure (Newsbytes).
(Newsbytes) Instructions on how to exploit a critical security hole discovered last month in Microsoft's latest Web browser were posted on the Internet, raising concerns that malicious code may soon appear that takes advantage of the flaw. Security experts said the Internet Explorer file execution vulnerability is one of the most severe ever found, because it enables an attacker to run a program on another user's computer simply by causing the victim to view a Web page or open an HTML e-mail.
(Heise) Das Bundesinnenministerium und die Telekom haben eine langfristige strategische Zusammenarbeit und einen Austausch von Experten vereinbart. Im Bedarfsfall wollen sie so auf "akute Bedrohungen der nationalen informationstechnischen Infrastruktur" reagieren können. Dazu werden die Computer Emergency Response Teams des Ministeriums und der Telekom zusammenarbeiten.
(Reuters) Computer security experts, who have long complained about holes in Microsoft Corp. software, were pleased to see Chairman Bill Gates proclaim security as the highest priority after years of lip-service. see also Trust, but verify, Microsoft's pledge (news.com) by Bruce Schneier.
(Newsbytes) Authorities moved quickly to shut down the latest "InstaKiss" Web site designed to dupe AOL users into giving up their account passwords in exchange for an electronic smooch.
(Newsbytes) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took aim at a proposal by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) calling on Congress to authorize state and federal authorities to share information on identity cards applicants. The DMV body also requested funding to equip state IDs with technology that ties the cards to their owners’ unique physical characteristics or preferences.
(Newsbytes) The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center advised providers of water, energy, transportation, finance and other critical infrastructures to evaluate the content of their Web sites from a security perspective.
(CNET News.com) The United States Internet Service Provider Association, which includes America Online, Cable & Wireless, EarthLink, Verizon Online and WorldCom, formed earlier this year met Justice Department officials to discuss such issues as clarifying how ISPs can work with law-enforcement officials during criminal investigations.
(ART) L’Autorité de régulation des télécommunications a prononcé une sanction pécuniaire de cinq millions d’euros à l’encontre de France Télécom, relative aux manquements de France Télécom dans l’exécution de la décision de l’Autorité se prononçant sur un règlement de différend entre les sociétés Sonera France et France Télécom relatif à l'accès au réseau de France Télécom pour la fourniture d’un service de renseignements téléphonique.
(Newsbytes) A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell urging him to adopt strict standards governing Baby Bell phone companies make their networks available to competitors.
(Scientific American) Excessive cravings do not necessarily involve physical substances. Gambling can become compulsive; sex can become obsessive. One activity, however, stands out for its prominence and ubiquity--the world's most popular leisure pastime, television.
(Newsbytes) Revenues from paid-for content on mobile phones are already higher than revenues for paid content on the Internet in Europe.
(Newsbytes) The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) unveiled new guidelines to sharpen the accuracy of audience measurement in hopes of propping up the struggling online ad market.
(Newsbytes) There is a lot of unanimity among operators of nascent online music subscription services about what they do, how they do it, and how to work with the music and retail industries to make it happen. In fact, if one is to judge from a teleconference held today, one of the few areas of disagreement seems to be what to do about music piracy.
(Newsbytes) The future of the entire third-generation (3G) wireless industry depends on the success of a small number of application developers, a new report proclaims. The study, "The Savior of 3G," from Sweden's Mobile Metrix and published by telecom consultancy BWCS, says that there are currently no "killer applications" for 3G, mainly because very few carriers have developed mainstream non-voice services on their existing second-generation (2G) cellular networks.
(ZDNet News) Customers paid more for high-speed Internet access in 2001, reaching record levels by the end of the year, according to a report by ARS. But the price increases could be detrimental in some cases. Kersey said he believes higher prices will encourage consumers to keep their slower dial-up connections instead of switching to broadband.
(Heise) Rund 27,8 Millionen Deutsche im Alter über 14 Jahre sind jetzt online. Das sind mehr als zwei Fünftel der Bundesbürger. Im vergangenen Jahr sind zehn Millionen neue Nutzer hinzugekommen, ermittelte die jüngste Internet-Studie @facts.
(Newsbytes) Broadband Internet penetration now stands at 6 percent of Western European homes, according to Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society. He also said in a speech that, despite the recent economic downturn, the Internet is here to stay. Speaking at the Oracle "Leaders Circle" conference in Amsterdam, Liikanen told delegates that e-commerce is an important part of the commission's drive to forge a dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy. see The eEurope 2002 Action Plan (RAPID).
(Newsbytes) Consumers finally appear to be ready to use interactive television features, according to a new study by Cahners In-Stat/MDR.
(Newsbytes) A report from the GartnerG2 research operation says retailers in the U.K. and across Europe have failed to market digital TV as an interactive medium.
(ITAA) Majority of adult internet users access government web sites.Majority of adult internet users access government web sites.
(IP Worldwide) by Mike Godwin. The content and technology industries differ over an initiative that would build infringement-sniffing powers into new computers.
(Reuters) The new music discs making their way into record stores in the United States and Europe contain countermeasures that prevent playback on computers and, in some unintended cases, normal CD players as well. Philips, the co-creator of the CD, is refusing to play along. Because of conformity issues, it has warned the record labels that the discs are actually not compact discs at all, and must bear warning labels to inform consumers. That means labels would also be barred from using the familiar logo stamped on every CD.
(Scientific American) Heir to a famed military and political legacy, Michael K. Powell tries to make his mark on the federal agency that regulates cell phones, television and the Internet
(Robert Cannon) Cybertelecom-L-Announce is a mailing list for people who wish to receive the daily news summaries and other items of interest gleaned from the world of telecommunications. It is also the goal to create one central space where the Internet community can receive proper and timely notice of Federal regulatory events. The Cybertelecom-L listserv is for the discussion of telecommunication regulatory issues facing the Internet.
(Steven Clift) If you are interested in democracy online, which includes politics online, new media, e-governance, e-government, online advocacy, citizen interaction and related topics, then join DO-WIRE, a free, low volume, moderated e-mail announcement list. Launched in January 1998, DO-WIRE now connects over 2300 experts, practitioners, journalists, and citizens from around the world.
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