(Guardian) The government's eagerly awaited shake-up of media ownership was finally revealed after months of consultation with the industry, consumers and regulators. The communications bill sets out a blueprint for the future of the media sector, which will overseen by a new super-regulator - the office of communications. As an amalgamation of five bodies, Ofcom will have an unprecedented range of powers and be given the task of regulating broadcasting and telephony's three great powers: the BBC, BT and BSkyB. see also UK - Labour urged to clip BBC's wings (Guardian ). The government is facing parliamentary pressure to bring the BBC fully under the control of the new media regulator, Ofcom, as it published wide-ranging new legislation for the broadcasting industry.
(BBC) The Conservatives have criticised reforms of media regulation which would allow the government to force BSkyB to carry BBC channels on its digital service. see also UK - Masterplan for the media
(BBC) Adults who befriend children in person or via the internet with the intention of abusing them will face five years in jail under a government crackdown on sex offenders. The new offence of sexual "grooming" will enable police officers to intervene and arrest a suspect before any sexual activity takes place. see Sex offences crackdown at a glance.
(BBC) A man who made thousands of child porn images and movies of children as young as six-months-old has been jailed for a year. Philip Fernandez, 29, from Harrow in north-west London, was arrested after police officers raided his home, seizing computer equipment, videos and children's underwear from his bedroom.
(BBC) Prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed criminal charges against two Hollywood actors - Paul Reubens, known as Pee-wee Herman, and Jeffrey Jones - following a year-long child pornography investigation.
(CNET News.com) A federal appeals panel has ruled that police did not need to be present when executing a search warrant at an Internet company and instead could fax the request. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said police acted legally when they faxed a search warrant to Yahoo during an investigation into alleged child-porn activity. see also EPIC's Bach Page.
(Shidler Center) In 2001, the Shidler Center and the High Tech Unit of the Washingtonattorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division released "BidderBeware: Towards a Fraud-Free Marketplace in Internet Auctions". A newreport provides updated data concerning Internet auctions and includesinterviews with the industry participants who had recommended a menu ofbest practices for consumers and businesses.
(ABC) A government-funded service providing satellite-television programming to French Polynesia is being criticised over its alleged pornographic content. A group of women from Tahiti's opposition recently complained about violence and pornographic material screened on TNS, a multi-channel service funded by the territorial government. One island's mayor, who is also the pastor, ensures nobody sees the offending programs by shutting down the electricity generator at midnight and switching it back on at six o'clock in the morning.
(LawMeme) Following CBS television show Victoria's Secret Fashion (a company selling women's underwear), Michael Copps, an FCC commissioner, called for the FCC to expand its definition of "indecent." Copps complained that currently, the FCC only acts against material that is "palpably and demonstrably indecent." see Commissioner Michael J. Copps Calls for Re-Examination of FCC's Indecency Definition (FCC).
(First Monday) by John Willinsky. This paper examines contradictions in how copyright works with the publishing of scholarly journals. These contradictions have to do with the protection of the authors' interest and have become apparent with the rise of open access publishing as an alternative to the traditional commercial model of selling journal subscriptions. Authors may well be better served, as may the public which supports research, by open access journals because of its wider readership and early indications of greater scholarly impact.
(Patent Office) Formal consultation on draft amendments to UK law considered to be necessary to comply with the Directive closed on 31 October. Almost 300 responses have been received. The Patent Office see no prospect of meeting the Directive’s transposition date of 22 December 2002, but remain committed to the earliest possible implementation of this important Directive and will endeavour to implement the Directive by 31 March 2003 at the very latest.
(New York Times) Several Internet shopping sites have removed information about post-Thanksgiving sales after major retailers including Wal-Mart and Target threatened legal action under a digital copyright law.Legal experts said invoking a copyright law in this context was unusual, because the information appeared to be a set of facts rather than the kind of original or expressive work that is typically covered by copyright law
(CNET News.com) U.S. Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner, one of America's most prominent jurists, warned of an "enormous expansion" of intellectual-property law, adding a conservative voice to a chorus of criticism that's so far come from the left. During a lecture organized by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, Posner criticized a 1998 law extending the duration of U.S. copyrights. He also attacked the Patent and Trademark Office for granting "very questionable" business method patents.
(AP) A new Web site will make thousands of children's books from 100 different cultures available for free to Internet-savvy kids around the world. When it's completed in about five years, the International Children's Digital Library will hold about 10,000 books targeted at children ages 3 to 13.
(Heise) Auf der Website des Bundesgerichtshofes (BGH) stehen alle Entscheidungen, die ab dem 1. Januar 2000 gefällt wurden, zum Download im PDF-Format zur Verfügung.
(BBC) The increasing use of the internet by political activists could provide valuable lessons for the UK Government. At a summit of ministers, business leaders and net experts in London this week, officials acknowledged that the government needed to do more to get citizens engaged in the political process online.
(CDT) The E-Government Act, a bill intended to fundamentally change the way the federal government uses information technology to interact with citizens has been passed by Congress. The final version included several new provisions, notably the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law. Text of S. 803.
(CNET News.com) The Department of Energy closed the online research database Pubscience after receiving complaints that it competed too closely with commercial efforts.
(Euractiv) On 20 November, the EP plenary adopted in its first reading a Resolution on tobacco advertising fully endorsing the Commission's proposal for a new Directive on this matter. The ban will extend to the advertising and promotion of tobacco via different channels. On the internet, commercial information on ingredients, quality standards and health aspects can still be made public. see also Tobacco Advertising (EurActiv).
(New York Times) In the wake of rules from credit card companies and banks that have strangled many online gambling sites, Visa and MasterCard are now looping the noose for adult sites that may have spotty credit-card records. Many of the online companies say that the new rules, which the card companies call antifraud measures, will clean up an industry rife with unethical billing practices. But some operators say that, in fact, the credit card companies have taken it upon themselves to step in as de facto regulators of their industries.
(Reuters) The European Commission wants to introduce minimum quality standards for Web sites providing advice on health matters. Concerns about the authenticity of healthcare and pharmaceutical sites have been percolating for years, particularly as more and more consumers head online to research maladies and cures. Thousands of professional and amateur sites have appeared to field their questions. A common EU standard would reinforce consumer protection for increasingly popular medical Web sites.
(AP) The Pentagon defended an anti-terrorism technology experiment that critics have likened to domestic spying on the financial transactions of ordinary citizens. Pete Aldridge, the chief of technology for the Defense Department, told reporters that the project is intended to test whether new computer tools can comb through masses of information - such as credit card and bank transactions, car rentals and gun purchases - and spot clues to the planning of terrorist acts. see also Pentagon defends 'Big Brother' plans (MSNBC) 11/20/2002,
(BBC) UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has promised to give every school, university, hospital and doctors' surgery a high-speed link to the internet. At present many public services connect to the web through a telephone line, but the government wants more access to the broadband connections. UK - Prime Minister's keynote speech to e-Summit (Number 10). PM: Britain can become 'technological powerhouse' in IT. In a keynote speech at the e-Summit the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said that Britain has the potential to match the 19th Century industrial revolution with 'a 21st Century information revolution'. see also E-envoy left in the slow lane (BBC)
(BBC) The government should do more to extend the range of high-speed internet services in the UK, a major report into the progress of broadband Britain has found. In its second annual report the Broadband Stakeholders Group found there had been progress in wiring the nation. But it also saw plenty of room for improvement, especially if the government is to achieve its target of making the UK the best place for e-commerce by 2005.
(CNET News.com) A coalition of technology companies called the Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators warned that cable companies might try to interpose themselves as gatekeepers between customers and Internet content. In a three-page letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the group, which includes Amazon.com, Apple Computer, Microsoft and others, called on the agency to preserve Internet users' "unfettered ability to reach lawful content and services and to communicate and interact with each other."
(CNET News.com) E-mail security company CipherTrust wants your spam. The company is calling on surfers of all stripes to help it wage a fight against spam by sending their unsolicited mass e-mail to its new Web site, Spamarchive.org. The idea is to create a vast public repository of spam, so makers of antispam tools can test their algorithms on the latest mass-messaging trends.
(Slate) by Kevin Werbach. It's time to give up: Despite the best efforts of legislators, lawyers, and computer programmers, spam has won. Spam is killing e-mail. Or at least it's about to destroy the e-mail we're used to.
(Libération) Est-ce la fin des dizaines de messages non-sollicités qui encombrent, chaque jour, les boîtes aux lettres d'internautes toujours plus nombreux? Ce phénomène, appelé le «spam», vient de faire réagir la Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (Cnil), qui a publié un rapport sur le sujet, et alerté la justice à propos de cinq sociétés émettrices de spams. Halte au spam (CNIL). voir aussi Agir contre le spam (AFA).
(CNET News.com) America Online has banned teens from its shopping areas, including auctioneer eBay and retailer Amazon.com. Previously, children ages 13 to 17 who signed onto the service with a parentally controlled screen name could buy products. While many of the products may have been acceptable to parents, teens were also able to find and purchase alcohol, tobacco and pornographic material. The drastic move plugs a potential leak in AOL's highly touted parental controls, which have become a central selling point for AOL as it battles with Microsoft's MSN service.
(Parliament) Clause 10 of the Communications Bill contains detailed provisions laying down a duty of OFCOM to encourage a better public awareness and understanding of electronic media content and methods of access-control and filtering, and to encourage the development and use of technologies and systems for access-control and filtering. see also UK - Masterplan for the media
(Heise) Geht es nach dem Willen des Rats der Europäischen Union, drohen Sicherheitsprüfern im IT-Bereich und gutwilligen Hackern bald dieselben Strafen wie Cyberterroristen. In einer Stellungnahme zum umstrittenen Rahmenbeschluss der EU-Kommission zu Angriffen auf Informationssysteme, die heise online vorliegt, plädiert die Vertretung der EU-Mitgliedstaaten in Brüssel für eine gravierende Verschärfung des Kommissionsvorschlags. Auf Druck von Ländern wie Frankreich, Portugal, Großbritannien, Griechenland und Spanien wurde aus einem der Kernparagraphen der Vorlage, dem Artikel 3, das Privileg für Security-Experten zum freien Testen von Systemen gestrichen.
(CNET News.com) Like it or not, the proposed Department of Homeland Security firmly establishes Washington's central role in computer and network security. The massive new bureaucracy will become - among other things - the nation's clearinghouse for developing plans to prevent electronic attacks, thwart them when they occur and release advisories to the public.
(CNET News.com) A secretive federal court granted police broad authority to monitor Internet use, record keystrokes and employ other surveillance methods against terror and espionage suspects. In an unexpected and near-complete victory for law enforcement, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review overturned a lower court's decision and said that Attorney General John Ashcroft's request for new powers was reasonable. The 56-page ruling removes procedural barriers for federal agents conducting surveillance under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The law, enacted as part of post-Watergate reforms, permits sweeping electronic surveillance, telephone eavesdropping and surreptitious searches of residences and offices.
(Eurochambres) OnlineConfidence aims to give buyers (both businesses and consumers) access to an out of court process which will be effective, transparent, independent, fair, low cost and which respects the legal rights of all concerned. We propose a single, pan-European alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system, seamless to the user, and delivered by arbitrators/mediators spread throughout Europe. This will apply to B2B and B2C disputes deriving from on-line activities only, such as purchases made via Websites. see also Euro-Label Euro-Label is the trust mark awarded to commercial websites that comply with the European Code of Conduct. It guarantees the reliability of international and national transactions.
(Shidler Center) The ABA Task Force for E-commerce and Alternative Dispute Resolution, in cooperation with the Shidler Center, has released its final report and a set of recommended best practices for ODR Service Providers. see also comprehensive bibliography.
(First Monday) Bytesby Maura Conway. This paper examines the concept of cyberterrorism. Fringe activity on the Internet ranges from non-violent 'Use' at one end to 'Cyberterrorism' at the other. Rejecting the idea that cyberterrorism is widespread, the focus here is on terrorist groups' 'use' of the Internet, in particular the content of their Web sites, and their 'misuse' of the medium, as in hacking wars, for example. Terrorist groups' use of the Internet for the purpose of inter-group communication is also surveyed
(CNET News.com) The Internet sustained relatively little damage during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when the collapsing World Trade Center destroyed lower Manhattan's communications networks, according to a new report. The National Research Council's report, however, warns that Internet service providers must prepare for future emergencies. see The Internet Under Crisis Conditions: Learning from September 11 (CSTB).
(Economist) The convergence of mobile phones and computers is bringing the giants of the two industries into direct conflict. see also Computing's new shape - Smartphones and handheld computers (Economist).
(Washington Post) Movielink, the first site to let people legally download major-studio motion pictures - a joint venture of the five big studios (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros.) - has opened for business. Its first-to-the-market status makes Movielink worthy of commendation: The movie industry may still whine about online piracy, but it's also offering an alternative to theft. If, however, you are a consumer instead of a policy analyst, Movielink looks much less attractive. It offers a lousy selection, uncompetitive prices, unduly restrictive terms, poor quality and a slow delivery mechanism.
(vnunet) BT Openworld has joined forces with CyberPatrol to offer content filtering software. It will block websites which parents feel may be unsuitable for children and enable them to filter inbound and outbound chat room content or block it completely. The service can also block children from disclosing personal information such as phone numbers and addresses. Parents who do not want their offspring online for hours at a time will be able to use the service to allocate the amount of time spent online by individual family members.
(CNET News.com) When Microsoft introduced version 6 of its Internet Explorer browser, many Webmasters were puzzled to find that their cookies were being blocked in increasing numbers. The culprit was IE's default implementation of the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P), and for that, the irate Webmasters had Lorrie Cranor to thank.
(Nua) According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, Internet subscriptions in the UK grew 12.4 percent from September 2001 to September 2002.
(NUA) A new study from Pew Internet & American Life indicates that parents are more likely to use the Internet than non-parents. 70 percent of US parents with a child at home use the Internet, compared to just 53 percent of non-parents. The study found that parents are generally more enthusiastic than non-parents about technology and its benefits and are strong believers that their children need to master PCs and the Net in order to get ahead in life.Yet, parents are less fervent Internet users than non-parents, according to the study. Online parents are less likely to use the Internet on a typical day than non-parents and if they do go online will go on for a shorter period of time.
(Childnet International) The deadline for submissions for the Cable & Wireless Childnet Awards is 6 December 2002. It's a unique global contest that rewards children and those working with them, who are developing outstanding Internet sites and activities that directly benefit other children. Winners receive prize money, free trips to London for the awards ceremony in April 2003, and the activities surrounding the event.
(Forum des droits sur l"internet) Le sixième débat du Forum des droits sur l'internet abordera le 10 décembre la question de la pornographie sur l'internet. Internet est en effet un vecteur plus important que la télévision dans la diffusion des contenus pornographiques.
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