(New York Times) A federal appeals court handed a huge victory to the nation's largest television networks and cable operators, ruling that the government had to reconsider sharp limits on the number of stations a network can own and striking down the regulation that had restricted cable operators from owning television stations. see also Defending Broadcast Rules Hard, FCC Chief Says and and US media groups welcome ownership ruling (FT). Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission (District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals).
(RAPID) The liberalisation of the telecommunications sector and the application of competition rules to sports broadcasting rights are the two main topics on the agenda of the fifth "European Competition Day" which will take place in Madrid on February 26.
(Reuters) Microsoft will have to supply the computer code for its Windows program to a group of states seeking stiffer antitrust sanctions against the software giant, a federal judge has ruled.
(Newsbytes) The U.S. Justice Department released all 47 of the "major" comments it received concerning its proposed antitrust settlement with Microsoft, and all but five were staunchly opposed to the deal.
(The Age) A Victorian public servant caught browsing child pornography websites on his office computer was today spared a jail term after pleading guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. see also Australia - Jail sentence suspended on child porn charge.
(Reuters) China has postponed sentencing six students arrested for posting articles on the Internet about the banned Falun Gong movement, days before U.S. President George W. Bush is due in Beijing.
(Irish Independent) A student pleaded guilty to two charges of importing a video from Russia and possession of 19 computer disks containing child pornography downloaded from the internet.
(Business Day) The creation by government of a cyberspace inspectorate which will trawl the internet in search of purveyors of pornography, women and child abuse and other crimes is in the pipeline. The establishment of the inspectorate is one of the provisions of the Electronic Communications and Transaction Bill to be tabled in Parliament. It will also provide for the first time for the legal recognition of digital signatures and electronic documents.
(BBC) Police have seized computer equipment containing child pornography after a raid on a house in Birmingham. Officers from West Midlands Police paedophile unit along with the Customs and Excise unit also seized DVDs and videos containing adult pornography.
(Newsbytes) E-mail-based scams have almost completely displaced the faxes and postal mailings used when Nigerian money frauds first appeared nearly 25 years ago. The unsolicited messages, which are usually sent from Web mail accounts at providers such as Yahoo, entice greedy recipients with the false promise of windfall profits in exchange for helping the sender recover millions of dollars in frozen or hidden assets. Annual losses attributed to these scams are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
(Reuters) A High Court judge has ordered the closure of a London-based insurance company that had been selling bogus automobile warranties over the Internet.
(Newsbytes) A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the companies behind the nation’s largest “psychic hotline, ordering the companies to cease a range of fraudulent business practices that have become the focus of a federal investigation. see FTC press release.
(AFP) Im bezahlten Abonnentenfernsehen dürfen pornographische Sendungen ausgestrahlt werden, wenn sichergestellt ist, das Minderjährige keinen Zugang zu dem Programm haben. Das hat das Bundesverwaltungsgericht entschieden. Danach reicht im so genannten Pay-TV der pornographische Inhalt für ein Verbot allein nicht aus.
(Europa) The European Commission has presented a proposal for a Directive on the protection by patents of computer-implemented inventions. The proposed Directive would harmonise the way in which national patent laws deal with inventions using software. Such inventions can already be patented by applying to either the European Patent Office (EPO) or the national patent offices of the Member States, but the detailed conditions for patentability may vary. see also frequently asked questions.
(vnunet) A Taiwanese attempt to run an online video on demand service without the permission of the Hollywood film studios has been shut down. Dubbed a "pirate" site by Hollywood, Movie88.com offered access to a huge library of films for just $1 each. he site's owners claimed that they were complying with Taiwanese laws, but the country's authorities helped to close the site down, according to the Motion Picture Association (MPA), an international trade group representing the interests of the film industry.
(Newsbytes) A panel of arbitrators assigned by the U.S. Copyright Office recommended that most Webcasters pay record companies 0.14 cents for each tune they stream for free to Internet listeners, while traditional radio stations should pay 0.07 cents for each tune from their AM/FM transmission they simulcast online.
(New York Times) The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the 1998 law that extended the duration of existing copyrights by 20 years was constitutional.
(New York Times) America's major record companies, which successfully sued to shut down the online music-swapping service Napster, suffered a setback as the judge in the case allowed Napster to seek evidence that the record companies colluded to monopolize the digital music market.
(Newsbytes) The World Intellectual Property's Phonograms and Performances Treaty (WPPT) to protect singers, musicians, composers, artists - and record companies - against online intellectual property theft will become effective on May 20, after Honduras became the 30th country required to sign on to the treaty today gave its assent.
(AP) The Supreme Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of Internet registries listing the names of convicted sex offenders who long ago completed their punishment.
(Newsbytes) Most online consumers worry that companies will not properly protect their personal data, and want to see required independent third-party verification of companies' privacy policies on the Internet, according to a study.
(Forum des droits sur l'internet) Par un arrêt du 28 décembre 2001, le Conseil d’Etat a déclaré "recevable" la réclamation d’un administré envoyée par courrier électronique contre une opération électorale.
(FT) The UK Government faces a tough uphill struggle if it is to achieve its ambitious goals for getting all services online by 2005. Experts like Novell, a technology firm that has worked closely with the government on e-projects, are doubtful it will reach 100% electronic delivery of services by its target date.
(Government Computer News) Although voting problems marred the 2000 presidential election, an online alternative is not viable, according to the principal researcher for AT&T Labs, a multinational research organization.
(Moscow Times) If the Education Ministry has its way, by the autumn of this year, every child in every school in every village in Russsia will have access to a personal computer and the Internet. On Feb. 28, the ministry will announce an open tender to install the computers, the second part of a nationwide project that is part of the broader Children of Russia program.
(Europa) The Commission has launched a wide-ranging consultation on benchmarking of national and regional e-business policies in support of SMEs. This consultation from 15 February - 31 March 2002 should help both to sharpen the focus of e-business policy making on the real needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe, and to define yardsticks against which success can be measured. see also Synthesis Report - Benchmarking National and Regional e-Business Policies.
(Total Telecom) The International Chamber of Commerce has proposed changes to a draft model law for electronic signatures and contracting, which has been written by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The ICC has called for electronic consumer contracts to be excluded from the model, additional rules helping businesses trace parties, and that it should dovetail with the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.
(Australian IT) A New Zealand High Court judge is under pressure to resign after revelations he accessed internet pornography at work, while five of his colleagues who also logged on to sex sites have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
(Newsbytes) The Federal Trade Commission filed suit against two companies that sold devices designed to protect users from harmful radiation emitted by their cell phones, saying the companies had no scientific basis to back up their claims.
(Reuters) EU telecoms ministers unanimously approved Spain's plan to bolster Internet usage and help the 15-nation bloc catch up to the United States. see also Document of the Presidency (Spanish Presidency). Approval for eEurope 2005 at the Informal Meeting of Ministers for Telecommunications and the Information Society (21-23 February - Vitoria) (PDF) and The future of the eEurope Action Plan (RAPID) Mr Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society.
(Heise) Die Gegner der Rasterfahndung konnten in Nordrhein-Westfalen nur einen halben Erfolg feiern. Die Beschwerden eines Jordaniers und Marokkaners wies das Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf am Montag in letzter Instanz zurück. Die Einbeziehung deutscher Staatsangehöriger in die nordrhein-westfälische Rasterfahndung sei jedoch unverhältnismäßig und damit rechtswidrig gewesen, entschied das Gericht. siehe auch Rasterfahndung (Universität Münster). Die neueste Rechtsprechung. siehe auch umfangreiche Linksammlung von Herrn Dr. Bizer (Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaft der Universität Frankfurt am Main) und Seiten der AStA der Universität Giessen.
(Heise) Zwischen der Europäischen Kommission in Brüssel und dem EU-Beitritts-Kandidaten Türkei gibt es neue Spannungen. Der für die Beitrittsverhandlungen zuständige Kommissar Günter Verheugen rief am Dienstag den türkischen Botschafter bei der EU, Nihat Akyol, zu sich, um gegen die Veröffentlichung EU-interner E-Mails zu protestieren.
(Heise) Die vier großen Mobilfunkbetreiber -- Mobilkom Austria, Maxmobil, ONE und tele.ring -- wandten sich erstmals mit einer gemeinsamen Erklärung zum Thema Rufdatenerfassung an die Öffentlichkeit. Die Mobilfunkbetreiber sehen hier "Aufklärungsbedarf" und betonen, dass bei der Rufdatenauswertung im Zuge der Verbrechensbekämpfung "Daten unbeteiligter Kunden absolut geschützt" werden müssen.
(Newsbytes) On the first leg of its tour through Europe, a U.S. congressional delegation led by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., spoke out against proposals in the Russian lower house of parliament that would allow the government to monitor online activity and require access to encrypted documents through the use of key-escrow accounts.
(Forum des droits sur l'internet) Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, ordonnance de référé, 15 janvier 2002 Monsieur P. V. contre Société Liberty Surf et Société Free. La pratique du spamming, considérée dans le milieu de l'internet comme une pratique déloyale et gravement perturbatrice, est contraire aux dispositions de la charte de bonne conduite. Les défenderesses étaient dès lors fondées à couper les accès à internet du demandeur, simple conséquence du non respect de ses obligations contractuelles.
(politechbot) Bosnia-Hercegovina's Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA) has released the draft text of new licensing regulations for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The text contained several unwelcome surprises. Perhaps most unwelcome is Paragraph 5.2, which says, "The LICENSEE shall ensure that objectionable, obscene, unauthorised or any other content, messages or communications infringing copyright and international & domestic regulations on Internet and public communications, in any form are not carried in his network."
(Heise) Die umstrittene Sperrungsverfügung der Bezirksregierung Düsseldorf gegen rechtsradikale Websites ist nach Ansicht des Verbandes der deutschen Internet-Wirtschaft (eco forum) "nicht nur rechtswidrig, sondern insbesondere auch unzweckmäßig und unverhältnismäßig". siehe auch Deutschland - Sperrungsverfügung "bedenklicher Dammbruch". xref 13007
(Newsbytes) Responding to demands by New York City's chief attorney, online auction giant Ebay agreed on to halt some auctions of Sept. 11-related memorabilia. The company agreed to help city officials track down and halt Ebay auctions that infringe on legally protected New York City marks and insignias. The company also informed Cardozo that it had halted auctions of fire department photos, audio recordings and other items that violated Ebay's posted policies on inappropriate items.
(AAP) A controversial website containing images of male students from several Melbourne private schools appears to have been shut down. The site contained unauthorised photographs of students involved in a variety of activities such as rowing and playing football. All were fully clothed. Compiled by anonymous photographers who declared their "motivation is that beauty should be shared and appreciated", the site appears to have been pulled by the United States-based site owners. see also Schools unable to stop photos on paedophile website (The Age).
(Press Trust of India) Observing that it would not be possible to block pornography Web sites on the Internet, an expert team appointed by Mumbai High Court has suggested among other restrictions, the introduction of photo identity cards for users of cyber cafes across the state.
(CoE) Publication of Preliminary draft of the First Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime on the criminalisation of acts of a racist or xenophobic nature committed through computer systems and its Explanatory Report. see also Interview with Henrik W. K. Kaspersen (CoE) and Die wundersame Vermehrung der Zusatzprotokolle (Telepolis).
(Reuters) The Anti-Defamation League issued a report warning of computer games that espouse racist violence. The organization's main exhibit was "Ethnic Cleansing," a computer game sold by Resistance Records, a small underground label that specializes in bands spouting racist and Nazi messages. see also Growing Proliferation of Racist Video Games Target Youth on The Internet (ADL Press Release) and Les jeux vidéo de la haine (transfert).
(BBC) Net security is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. So says Peter Tippett, the computer security pioneer who now runs TruSecure, a company dedicated to spotting the next big security problem before the vandals and malicious hackers exploit it.
(SBA) The National Internet Advisory Committee (NIAC) has released the Model Data Protection Code, a voluntary Code outlining NIAC's views on what constitutes "fair information principles". The Code, which is modelled on internationally recognised standards, serves to establish minimum standards for electronic data protection and promote the harmonisation of data protection principles among the various sectors.
(RAPID) The European Commission welcomed falling prices in the cost of calls made between telephone networks in the Community, and adopted a Recommendation that phases out benchmarks for interconnection charges between network operators.
(FindLaw) by Peter K. Yu. The digital divide, defined as the gap between the information haves and have-nots, separates those who can make effective use of computers and information technology and those who cannot. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the digital divide has been increasingly linked to the war on terrorism in major international forums. Whether coincidental or intentional, the link between the two makes a lot of sense.
(Network World) Network World assembled a team of experts to discuss security issues. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, network executives have to consider the possibility that terrorists may one day attack critical IT infrastructures, private or public. New questions raised are how likely is such cyberterrorism, what can be done to defend against it, and who needs to be involved in that defense?
(Economist) The world’s biggest software firm is pushing into the mobile telephone and computer-games businesses. These are no interesting diversions, but a desperate attempt to stop new consumer products from stealing large parts of Microsoft’s market over the coming years. The software giant's alliance with the world’s biggest chip maker, Intel, to set a new standard for the next generation of mobile telephones and the launch in Japan of Microsoft’s new computer-games console, the Xbox may seem unrelated, but they are not. It is all part of the Great Game.
(Newsbytes) Gator, a digital wallet program installed on millions of computers, contains a security flaw that could enable malicious sites to take control of a user's computer.
(ZDNet) VeriSign partnered with Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and other technology makers to provide security for Web services. VeriSign's new software tools allow companies to add authentication services for online bill payment or financial data exchange between companies, for instance, to Web services applications.
(RAPID) The European Commission has adopted the Communication entitled IPv6 Priorities for Action. The Communication calls for a European action plan to accelerate the rollout of Internet Protocol version 6 (Ipv6) - a key technology for the Next Generation Internet. Unless action is taken, space on the current generation of the internet is projected to be exhausted by around 2005. IPv6 will provide a quantum leap in the number of Internet addresses available for the foreseeable future. see also Task Force report.
(Newsbytes) In their Responsible Disclosure Process Internet Draft submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a pair of computer security researchers are seeking comments on a proposal to bring order to the reporting and fixing of security holes in software.
(Reuters) The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has adopted the XML-Signature Syntax and Processing standard. see Press Release.
(Newsbytes) The Internet still is welcoming millions of new netizens each year, but according to a new study, the growth rate is slowing down - especially in developed countries.
(Consilium) Access to full text of public Council documents in all official languages and list of all documents. Simple search in English.
(GILC) Global Internet Liberty Campaign Newsletter. Volume 6, Issue 2. February 21, 2002.
(Baker & McKenzie) A weekly e-mail update on IT, telecommunications, and e-commerce.
(QuickLinks) In between issues of the newsletter, items selected for publication are posted on the QuickLinks Web site using Blogger. The 15 most recent items can be seen on the front page, and other items can be found by clicking on the link to the archive.
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QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham firstname.lastname@example.org - Main Sources and Contributors: Michael Geist BNA - ILN, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine