(Council of Europe) The Group of Specialists on digital broadcasting has decided to invite the public to comment on a draft Recommendation on the democratic and social impact of digital broadcasting FR. Please send your comments (maximum two pages and preferably in the form of drafting proposals) to the Media Division firstname.lastname@example.org by 18 September.
(RAPID) The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Dutch companies Zomba Record and Zomba Music by Germany's Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) from Summer Shore of the Netherlands. The Commission has asserted that the transaction will result in relatively small increases of BMG's market shares which will not significantly alter the competitive structure of the European music market.
(EurActiv) In his draft opinion on the framework Decision on attacks against information systems for the EP's Industry Committee, Mr Cappato, states the approximation of laws in this should clearly distinguish between cybercriminality and cyber-civil disobedience.
(BBC) A 16-year-old boy is one of five people who have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into child pornography downloaded and distributed from the Internet. Metropolitan Police officers seized a number of computers and made the arrests in London and the Home Counties under the Protection of Children Act 1978.
(IOL) A woman has told how an alleged paedophile well known for portraying Father Christmas at festive season celebrations throughout Cape Town raped and indecently assaulted her when she was aged between 10 and 12. James McNeil, 71, pleaded guilty to one charge of indecent assault and two charges of contravening the Films and Publications Act for being in possession of 4 200 digital images and 10 video clips showing child pornography.
(Europa Press) La Guardia Civil ha desarticulado una red de defraudadores que insertaban publicidad de páginas web con contenido pornográfico en canales de chat a los que tenían acceso menores. Los implicados insertaban en el chat expresiones pornográficas con enlaces directos a páginas web de contenido adulto, utilizando para ello un programa que, haciéndose pasar por un usuario, se encargaba de la conexión a un chat o a dichas páginas mediante una llamada telefónica a un 906. De este modo, el fraude iba dirigido contra los menores que, atraídos por la facilidad que ofrecía este sistema, accedieron a las citadas páginas, en las que no era necesario ningún tipo de identificación ni pago a través de otros medios, ocasionando una elevada factura telefónica a sus familias.
(OFT) In the first case of its kind the Office of Fair Trading has stopped two companies from publishing misleading advertisements for website domain names with suffixes such as .brit, .usa, .scot and .sex that are difficult to view on the world wide web. The OFT worked alongside the US Federal Trade Commission on this case.
(MSNBC) In Greece, playing a shoot-’em up video game could land you in jail. The government there has banned all electronic games across the country, including those that run on home computers, on Game Boy-style portable consoles, and on mobile phones. Thousands of tourists in Greece are unknowingly facing heavy fines or long terms in prison for owning mobile phones or portable video games. see also Greece declares game over (PC Advisor).
(BBC) China appears to have blocked access to the popular search engine, Google. The site was repeatedly inaccessible when tested by BBC News Online using a system developed by the researchers at the Harvard Law School. Google has become popular among users in China because of its simplicity and ability to run searches in the Chinese language. China maintains tight controls on the internet, blocking several foreign news sites and frequently forcing domestic sites to remove controversial material. Analysts say this is the first time Beijing has blocked access to an internet search engine. see also Google fights Chinese ban (BBC), China blocks Altavista (BBC) and Google mirror beats Great Firewall of China (New Scientist).
(Sydney Morning Herald) Prostitution websites in Victoria will no longer be able to entice customers with full-body images of naked women or explicit menus of available services, under new regulations.
(Reuters) Malaysian officials will begin a nationwide crackdown on the use of pirated software by businesses, declaring war on the rampant use of illegally copied programs.
(AP) A bankruptcy judge blocked the sale of Napster Inc. to Bertelsmann AG, killing a deal that might have revived the idled Internet music pioneer as a legitimate music-sharing network. The judge cited conflicting loyalties by Napster's top executive. Napster CEO Konrad Hilbers, a Bertelsmann veteran, said the judge's decision likely will force Napster to change its reorganization effort into a Chapter 7 liquidation.
(EFF) Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Copyright Law after Napster by Fred von Lohmann Attorney-at-Law and Visiting Researcher Berkeley Center for Law & Technology
(Wired) A Chicago federal court judge granted the recording industry's request for an injunction to shutter the file-trading network originally known as Aimster, almost certainly ending the company's short life. The decision came down on the same day Napster quietly closed its doors for good, posting only a series of rotating animations on its website's front door.
(CNET News.com) A key Republican senator withdrew his support for an anti-piracy bill that would make it a crime to distribute counterfeit authentication features including digital watermarks. Sen. George Allen, R-Va., said he could no longer support a proposal titled Anticounterfeiting Amendments of 2002. The bill originally targeted the kind of large-scale pirates who manufacture fake Windows holograms and enjoyed broad support from software makers such as Microsoft. But, in a little-noticed move, the Senate Judiciary Committee rewrote the bill to encompass technology used in digital rights management.
(Reuters) A Colorado company has sued 16 Hollywood directors, including Steven Spielberg, seeking the right to edit "objectionable" material such as sex and violence from movies. Clean Flicks of Colorado and Robert Huntsman, who has a patent pending for a new way to edit movies, filed the lawsuit in federal court, seeking a judgment that would declare it constitutional to provide edited movies to the public for private home viewing.
(CNET News.com) Duke University's law school has received an anonymous $1 million gift to fund advocacy and research aimed at curtailing the recent expansion of copyright law. The school is using the money to fund a center focused on finding "the correct balance" between intellectual property rights and material that should be in the public domain. The center is likely to look skeptically at recent laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and a measure that extended copyright's duration by another 20 years.
(Europa) Official Journal of the European Communities C 208 of 3.9.2002. Interested parties have until 25 October 2002 to reply (deadline). see also The creation of a ".eu" Top Level Domain (Europa)
(Yahoo ES) El teniente fiscal de la Audiencia Nacional solicitó al Juzgado Central de Instrucción número 5 de la Audiencia Nacional, del que es titular Baltasar Garzón, que se aplique la parte dispositiva del auto del juez Garzón referida a la neutralización de los sitios web del complejo Batasuna, como parte del proceso de ilegalización de la formación radical. Para ello, requiere que se curse una petición a la Corporación de Internet para la Designación de Nombre y Números (ICANN) que suspenda los dominios 'www.batasuna.org', 'www.euskal-herritarrok.org', y 'www.batasuna-barakaldo.org' (la única radicada en España). Del mismo modo, el Ministerio Público solicita al juez que inste a este organismo a que extraiga "Batasuna", "Euskal-Herritarrok" y "Herri-Batasuna" como palabras registrables en Internet.
(Heise) Nach vielen Verzögerungen und insgesamt fast drei Jahren Beratungszeit hat heute die EU-Kommission endlich den Registry-Betrieb für die geplante Europa-Top-LevelDomain ausgeschrieben
(CNET News.com) The Internet's governing body has threatened to pull VeriSign's contract to sell Web addresses unless the domain name company maintains more accurate records of its customers. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accused VeriSign of breaching its contract because it failed to correct inaccurate customer information in a timely fashion.
(Guardian) Attempts by the Inland Revenue to persuade taxpayers to submit their returns online are doomed unless it can dramatically improve security and reliability of electronic self-assessment, MPs warn. Technical teething troubles, and a security breach allowing personal tax details to be viewed by other users, have sapped public confidence, according to the Commons public accounts committee.
(New York Times) The difficult balance between open access and privacy in putting court records online.
(Red Herring) After hundreds of exhaustive studies, there remains no conclusive proof that technology in the classroom actually helps to teach students. In fact, in some cases it hinders learning. And even if there is a benefit, the amount of money and resources being expended to put technology into the classroom does not match the current or expected benefit.
(Libération) Les eurodéputés déréglementent les ventes promotionnelles. La gauche européenne a tenté de voler au secours du petit commerce. Mais, au final, c'est la logique libérale prônée par la Commission européenne qui l'a emporté à Strasbourg, au Parlement européen. Par 359 voix contre 164 et 39 abstentions, les eurodéputés ont largement déréglementé les ventes promotionnelles afin, notamment, de permettre à la grande distribution de mener ses opérations au niveau européen sans s'encombrer des particularismes nationaux.
(Reuters) Abuse of e-mail and the Internet, including the downloading of pornography, has overtaken theft of office supplies and lying to the boss as the top disciplinary action reported in the workplace, a new study has found. More disciplinary cases have been brought against employees for violating company e-mail and Internet policies than for acts of dishonesty, violence or health and safety breaches, according to a survey by KLegal, a law firm associated with global accounting group KPMG, and Personnel Magazine.
(Internet Law & Policy Forum) Seattle, September 18-19. The conference lineup includes a Special Briefing by Howard Schmidt, Vice Chairman of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, on the newly announced National Strategy for Securing Cyberspace. Register by Thursday, 12 September, and receive $200 off the full registration fee - enter CPN3 in the priority code/coupon code field. This discount does not apply to the government/academic/non-profit rate.
(Press Release) The Association of Internet Hotline Providers in Europe (INHOPE) exists to coordinate an international network of hotlines receiving complaints about allegedly illegal Internet content. An exciting opportunity has arisen for a full-time Secretary-General to join this developing non-profit organisation. Applications should be received before October 4th, 2002. For further information about this job, please contact Thomas Rickert via email at email@example.com. Please send your application and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Irish Examiner) Reports of alleged child pornography on the internet are increasing by a rate of 50% each year, according to web watchdog, hotline.ie. The hotline received almost 700 reports in the 18 months up to June 2001. At least another 700 reports have come in during the last 12 months, according to Cormac Callanan, site's director.
(Reuters) The Internet is helping some of Scotland's faithful get closer to God after one of the country's oldest churches launched an online prayer service Monday. The Rosslyn Chapel, founded around 1446 just outside Edinburgh, said it set up the "e-prayer" service for worshippers to leave prayer requests.
(Heise) Zum Jahrestag der Terroranschläge vom 11. September wollen Online-Bürgerrechtsaktivisten im Internet gegen die kürzlich in Kraft getretene Änderung der Telekommunikationsüberwachungsverordnung und die geplante Vorratsspeicherung von Verbindungsdaten demonstrieren. Anders als bei früheren Gelegenheiten wollen die Initiatoren dieser Online-Demonstration allerdings keine virtuelle Blockade einer Website durchführen. Unter dem Motto "we shall overload statt we shall overcome" soll ein Skript vielmehr "Datenmüll für die Überwachungsstellen" produzieren.
(Danish Presidency) Based on a report from the organisation Statewatch, there has over the past few days been rumours in certain parts of European press of imminent EU-rules on the retention of telecommunication traffic data and the access to such data. In this connection it has been suggested that the Danish Presidency of the European Union has tabled a proposal for binding rules on such retention, The proposal that was made available on the Council website (ue.eu.int) contains a request that within the very near future binding rules should be established on the approximation of Member States' rules. The proposal contains no detailed indications as to what the contents of such rules should be. see Questionnaire on traffic data retention 11490/1/02 REV 1.
(Register) Campaigners in Ireland have launched a scathing attack on the country's lack of affordable and fast Internet access. A new Web site, EircomTribunal.com, rips into what it describes as the "saboteurs of the Internet development in Ireland" pulling no punches as it tears into incumbent telco, Eircom, regulator ODTR and the Government.
(BBC) Junk e-mails which encourage users to access pornographic websites are becoming an increasing menace almost impossible to control, it has emerged. An investigation by BBC One's Watchdog programme found even Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that filter out pornographic or other unwanted material are often unable to stop rogue e-mails arriving in mail boxes.
(Yahoo UK) A religious charity in London recently discovered first-hand the dangers that can accompany new measures to stem the tide of junk email, when the organisation's site was yanked offline without notice. The charity's Internet service provider, Netcetera, said it had received a report of junk email originating from the charity from a service called SpamCop, which is designed to send complaints to the ISP from which spam appears to originate, and had promptly switched the Web site off. Netcetera said its policy is to shut down sites reported for spam, and puts the burden on Web site owners to prove that the report is wrong.
(CNET News.com) Web sites with policies outlawing other sites from linking to pages other than the home page are the targets of the Don't Link to Us.
(Heise) Der Düsseldorfer Regierungspräsident Jürgen Büssow hat dem Verlag Heinz Heise eine Klage angedroht, falls dieser seine Forderung nach Veröffentlichung einer Gegendarstellung nicht erfüllt. Dabei geht es um zwei im Newsticker von heise online erschienene Berichte über die Sperrungsverfügungen gegen nordrhein-westfälische Internet-Provider. Büssow stört sich daran, dass sein scharfes und höchst umstrittenes Vorgehen gegen Zugangsanbieter in Zusammenhang gebracht wurde mit dem grundlegenden Beschluss des EU-Parlaments von Mitte April, in dem sich die Abgeordneten klar gegen Website-Sperrungen aussprachen.
(ZDNet News) A federal law that the recording industry is using to unmask a suspected Kazaa music-trader is unconstitutional. A dozen consumer and privacy groups filed an amicus brief in federal court arguing that the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) request for information about a Verizon Communications subscriber should be denied. Verizon has opposed the request on procedural grounds.
(Reuters) Japan's largest wireless carrier, NTT DoCoM, plans to combat computer-generated one-ring calls intended to lead users to adult services. DoCoMo was forced to take action after telephone communications in Japan's industrial region of Osaka were crippled twice in July due to a flood of calls generated automatically by a single caller. The caller was believed to be a firm that rings random mobile phone numbers very briefly and then hangs up, generating a missed-call message. In many cases, those who unwittingly return such calls are charged only to hear obscene messages.
(New York Times) Across the country there are now hundreds of neighborhood arcades, sometimes called PC rooms, where action takes place not on free-standing games like pinball machines but on powerful computers and over high-speed network connections. Critics contend that such arcades have created a wide loophole in the already haphazard effort to keep children from access to games designed for adults. The PC rooms typically do not check players' ages or limit access to games like Counter-Strike, which is rated M, meaning that it is for players 17 and older.
(Harvard Law School) by Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman, Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The authors are studying Internet filtering in countries worldwide, including restrictions on Web access in China. To help broaden the list of pages tested and to provide the general public a means of finding out whether particular pages of interest are filtered, we have created the form, which will run a realtime query via our methods.
(PC Advisor) The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) announced its process for classifying digital works at ECTS (the European computer tradeshow). The London-based tradeshow is the biggest yearly gathering for the games industry and the BBFC choose this venue to explain its procedure for categorising games under certain certificates.
(BBC) A site that promotes safer use of the internet has been launched by education groups across Europe. The use of internet chatrooms by paedophiles has been back in the headlines recently and the UK Government is considering legislation to make online 'grooming' of children an offence. Besafeonline.org has been developed by education groups in Scotland, Iceland, Spain and the Netherlands. [Ed: this is the SUSI project, co-funded by the EU Safer Internet Action Plan].
(Reuters) As if sexual predators and computer viruses weren’t enough for the youngest set of Web surfers to worry about, they also have to be on the lookout for their peers. Hackers and predators are considered the biggest threats, but some dangers are to be found closer to home. Teenangels is a group of volunteers who work to ensure the safety of children and teenagers on the Web by producing educational videos, teaching kids about anti-virus software and compiling tips on how to avoid predators.
(New York Times) Governments around the world, afraid that Microsoft has become too powerful in critical software markets, have begun working to ensure an alternative. More than two dozen countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America, including China and Germany, are now encouraging their government agencies to use "open source" software - developed by communities of programmers who distribute the code without charge and donate their labor to cooperatively debug, modify and otherwise improve the software.
(Guardian) The freedom of information available on the internet has been seriously curtailed since last year's terrorist attacks on America on September 11, a report by media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres has warned. RSF argued the campaign against terrorism and the resulting tightening of security has caused governments to clamp down on the free flow of information on the web. see The Internet on probation : Anti-terrorism drive threatens Internet freedoms worldwide (Reporters sans frontières).
(BBC) The UK is one of the worse places in the world for privacy with the internet playing a huge part in the erosion of rights, a report has found. A 400-page study compiled by Privacy International and the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center paints a grim picture of the state of privacy in a post-11 September world.
(CNET News.com) Doomsday predictions of a "digital Pearl Harbor" have persisted in the year since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. The specter was a driving force behind controversial new law enforcement measures portrayed as necessary by the government but decried by civil libertarians as an assault on constitutional rights to privacy. Yet security experts, network managers and public safety officials say privately that the threat of cyberterrorism has been overblown and misunderstood - and that physical attacks remain far easier to carry out. As a result, government officials and industry leaders may have spent needless effort addressing an arguably nonexistent enemy at a time when all resources are needed to guard against more realistic dangers.
(Wired) The government said that a vigorous investigation of Zacarias Moussaoui's computer activity turned up no sign of an e-mail account the accused Sept. 11 conspirator said he used. In response to a judge's questions, prosecutors and an FBI computer expert said "email@example.com" was not found because Microsoft's free Hotmail service does not verify an account user's identity. see Government’s response to court’s order on computer and email evidence and attached affidavit [PDF].
(Economist) Almost everywhere, governments have taken September 11th as an opportunity to restrict their citizens' freedom
(Washington Post) More than two-thirds of Americans say it's OK for government agencies to remove public information from the Internet, even though many didn't believe it would make a difference in fighting terrorism, a new study finds. But Americans were evenly divided on whether governments should be able to monitor e-mail and Web activities, with 47 percent opposed and 45 percent in support. see September 11 and the Internet (Pew Internet and American Life Project)
(Guardian) German group Bertelsmann is to become the latest media giant to retreat from the internet as it looks to sell its online book retailer Bol.com and pull the plug on the Napster music service. The company is in talks to sell the Bol.com network of sites to e-tailing giant Amazon. see also Gütersloh goes off line (Guardian) and Bertelsmann may dump Web units (News.com).
(Yahoo FR) La Poste a annoncé le lancement pour novembre 2002 d'un service de lettre recommandée électronique. Un tel service est déjà proposé par la société Cyberpreuve, via son site Lettrerecommandée.com, depuis début 2001. Cyberpreuve accuse La Poste de mener «une stratégie de contrefaçon».
(AP) Free music-swapping services continue to attract millions of new users despite the recording industry's legal efforts to shutter them, and few consumers are even aware of the handful of pay sites that have emerged over the last year. That's unlikely to change -- unless the new sites begin to offer compelling, innovative features that set them apart from the free networks, consumers and analysts say.
(ZDNet News) The second biannual survey, conducted by Finnish Web designer Marko Karppinen showed that only 21, or 4.6 percent, of 454 sites of members of the World Wide Web consortium passed the W3C's own HTML validator, which tests for grammatically correct HTML.
(Guardian) Europe has overtaken the US and Asia to become the continent with the most internet users, according to a new study by the Internet Advertising Bureau, the trade body. While internet penetration is beginning to level out in the US and other areas with high numbers of connected homes, it is continuing to grow apace elsewhere.
(Business 2.0) In a term paper for their applied mathematics class last winter, Andrew Chen and Andrew Schroeder, two University of Washington seniors, borrowed from environmental studies to conclude that polluting the peer-to-peer (P2P) milieu with phony files is a more effective strategy for the record labels than lawsuits.
(CNET News.com) Fearful of consumer backlash, major record labels in the United States have slowed controversial plans for making CDs more difficult to copy, even as tension over online music piracy mounts.
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