- Commission approves 3rd Generation mobile network sharing in Germany +/-
(RAPID) The Commission has taken a favourable decision on 3rd Generation ("3G") mobile network sharing. This decision confirms that site sharing in itself does not raise competition concerns. The investigation has also confirmed that national roaming between licensed network operators benefits consumers by allowing the operators involved to offer better and quicker 3G coverage.
- EU - Commission appoints Chief Competition Economist +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has appointed Professor Lars-Hendrik Röller as the Chief Competition Economist in its Directorate-General for Competition. Professor Röller is expected to take up the post on 1st September. The Chief Economist will report directly to the Director General of Competition and have a dedicated staff of approximately 10 specialised economists.
- EU - Commission clears UEFA's new policy regarding the sale of the media rights to the Champions League +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has taken a final decision exempting the new joint selling arrangements of European soccer organisation UEFA for the media rights to the Champions League. The new policy will allow UEFA to continue selling the rights to its successful Champions League brand while bringing football within the reach of more broadcasters as well as Internet and telephone operators, and permitting clubs to market part of these rights individually. see also EU / DE - New marketing system for Bundesliga broadcasting rights and EC threat to Premier League TV soccer auction (Guardian).
- EU / FR - Commission fines Wanadoo for abuse of a dominant position +/-
(RAPID) The Commission has adopted a decision against Wanadoo Interactive, a subsidiary of France Télécom, for abuse of a dominant position in the form of predatory pricing in ADSL-based Internet access services for the general public. The Commission found that, up to October 2002, the retail prices charged by Wanadoo were below cost. This practice restricted market entry and development potential for competitors, to the detriment of consumers, on a market which is key to the development of the information society. In view of the gravity of the abuse and the length of the period over which it was committed, the Commission is imposing a fine of EUR10,35 million.
- U.S. dissatisfied with Microsoft licenses +/-
(Reuters) The U.S. Justice Department told a federal judge that Microsoft still hasn't fully complied with a key provision in its landmark antitrust settlement with the government. In a report to the judge, attorneys with the department said they 'remain concerned' about the price Microsoft plans to charge competitors to view the inner workings of the Windows program, a requirement under the antitrust settlement.
- UK - BBC defends internet operations +/-
(Guardian) The BBC has submitted a robust defence of its online operations to the government ahead of an impending review, drawing on a report that claims its impact on commercial rivals amounts to just £4m a year. The BBC commissioned the independent research from KPMG to head off vociferous criticism from rivals that the corporation had crippled them by pouring resources into areas such as sport, entertainment and search engines that were already served by the commercial sector. But while conceding that the BBC website, the most popular in Britain, takes some users away from commercial rivals, the report suggests the impact on advertising revenues represents just £4m out of a total UK online market of £7.6bn. And it adds that the BBC may have boosted advertiser-funded sites by getting up to 2 million people to use the internet who would not have otherwise connected.
- NZ - Young men 'download illegal porn' +/-
(BBC) Pornographic images are traded via the web These days it is likely to be internet-savvy young men, living at home with their parents who are trading illegal pornography, says a report. The New Zealand study, the final version of which is due to be released at the end of the month, provides an insight into the type of person downloading illegal porn and violent images.
- UK - Grooming to be outlawed +/-
(Guardian) Legislation to criminalise what is known as "internet grooming" is due to receive a second reading in the Commons today, providing some protection for vulnerable youngsters who use computer chatrooms. The sexual offences bill creates a new offence for any adult who arranges to meet a child under the age of 16 with intent to abuse them sexually either at that meeting or on a subsequent occasion. Those convicted will be liable to up to five years in jail.
- UK - Paedophile victim database launched +/-
(BBC) A computer database to identify images of paedophilia victims will be launched by police. The software, called Childbase, already includes 220,000 images of children's faces which have been distributed over the internet. The software maps the facial characteristics of each victim, producing a sequence of numbers which can be cross-checked within seconds against millions of images.
- US - Feds Crack Down on Sex Offenders +/-
(Reuters) The Department of Homeland Security launched an operation to help protect children from pornographers, child prostitution rings, Internet predators and human traffickers. The initiative will use the Internet more effectively to track sex offenders who prey on young people and build a central database of child pornography images to help rescue the children involved and arrest those who exploit them.
- US - Law Professor Sentenced In Child-Porn Case +/-
(Information Week) A former New York Law School professor who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography was sentenced today to six months in jail and 10 years' probation. Edward Samuels, an expert in copyright law, was a tenured member of New York Law School's staff when two IT workers discovered images of naked girls while troubleshooting his office computer in June of 2002. Following Samuels' arrest, a search of his home turned up tens of thousands of images of child pornography. In April, Samuels pleaded guilty, then resigned from his position.
- DE - Napster Charge Can't Be Delivered to Bertelsmann +/-
(Reuters) A $17 billion lawsuit alleging Bertelsmann perpetuated online piracy by funding the Napster file-swapping service cannot be delivered to the German media group, Germany's top court said. The Federal Constitutional Court stopped the delivery because it could not rule out that the lawsuit, filed by a group of U.S. music publishers in Manhattan, would violate Bertelsmann's constitutional rights in Germany.
- DE - Verfassungsgericht schützt Bertelsmann vorerst vor Napster-Klage +/-
(Heise) Das Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf darf bis auf Weiteres die Klageschrift im Prozess um die Musiktauschbörse Napster nicht an den Bertelsmann-Konzern zustellen. Das hat das Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe (BVerfG) entschieden BVerfG, 2 BvR 1198/03 vom 25.7.2003. Die von den Bertelsmann-Konkurrenten EMI und Universal in den USA eingereichte, nach Ansicht von Bertelsmann unbegründete Sammelklage auf 17 Milliarden US-Dollar Schadensersatz wegen der Napster-Beteiligung Bertelsmanns könnte gegen die Prinzipien des Rechtsstaats verstoßen. Die Verfassungsrichter wollten jedenfalls nicht ausschließen, dass Bertelsmann mit einer entsprechenden Verfassungsbeschwerde Erfolg haben könnte, und gewährten den Güterslohern daher im Eilverfahren vorläufigen Rechtsschutz gegen die Zustellung. siehe auch Pressemitteilung.
- ES - Firms Target File Traders +/-
(Wired) In what is being touted as the largest legal action of its kind, a Spanish law firm has announced plans to file a copyright-violation complaint against 4,000 individuals who allegedly have swapped illegal files over peer-to-peer networks in that country. Thirty-two Spanish companies that manufacture software or other material protected by the country's intellectual property laws have united to report the file traders to the Technological Investigation Brigade of the National Police, according to the plaintiffs' attorney, Javier Ribas.
- EU - Commission moves against Member States for failure to copyright directive +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has decided to pursue infringement procedures against Member States for failure to implement the copyright directive in national law. The Commission will formally ask Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and the UK to implement the Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the Information Society was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in May 2001. Member States agreed to implement it within eighteen months. In addition, the Commission has decided to request Ireland to compy with a judgement of the European Court of Justice to ratify the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works (Paris Act, 1971).
- Music Industry Ad Snipes at Downloaders +/-
(Reuters) Music industry groups turned up the volume in their fight against song-swapping over the Internet, warning Americans in a full-page newspaper advertisement that they could face legal action.
- Online Piracy Spurs High-Tech Arms Race +/-
(Washington Post) Sharing illegal copies of songs and movies on the Internet is a common practice. But as the entertainment industry steps up its push to rid the online world of piracy, tech-savvy file sharers are devising new ways to avoid getting caught. File traders are looking at ways not just to make their activity harder to detect, but also to make it easier to do. One of the most interesting is "swarming technology," allows users to chop up big files into manageable chunks that are stored on numerous systems throughout the P2P provider's network
- US - Google cache raises copyright concerns +/-
(CNET News.com) Through a caching feature on the popular Google search site, people can sometimes call up snapshots of archived stories at NYTimes.com and other registration-only sites. The practice has proved a boon for readers hoping to track down Web pages that are no longer accessible at the original source, for whatever reason. But the feature has recently been putting Google at odds with some unhappy publishers.
- US - How to Tell if the RIAA Wants You +/-
(Wired) File sharers can check a new online database to see if they are wanted by the recording industry. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a site where users can plug in their file-sharing user names. That name is checked against the list of those subpoenas filed in the Washington, D.C., district court.
- US - Record industry to sue downloaders +/-
(AP) The embattled music industry has threatened to sue hundreds of individual computer users who illegally share music files online. The Recording Industry Association of America, citing substantial sales declines, said it will begin to search Internet file-sharing networks to identify users who offer "substantial" collections of mp3 music files for downloading. It expects to file at least several hundred lawsuits seeking financial damages within eight to 10 weeks as it tries to put an end to music piracy.
- US - Universities raise objections to subpoenas +/-
(CNET News.com) Some universities are balking at stepped up demands from the recording industry to unmask alleged student file swappers, citing procedural uncertainties over an avalanche of subpoenas filed with the courts in recent weeks. Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said they are barred from immediately handing over the names of students to the recording industry by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which requires institutions to notify students before releasing any personal data.
- Antigua - Online gambling haven takes on U.S. restrictions +/-
(Financial Times) The tiny twin-island Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda took on the world’s biggest trade superpower in challenging U.S. restrictions on online gambling - one of Antigua’s most promising sources of export income. The dispute is the first concerning electronic commerce to be brought to the World Trade Organization since its creation in 1995, and only the second relating to the WTO’s general agreement on trade in services.
- EU / GR - Commission challenges Greek legislation on electronic games +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has sent Greece a warning with regard to legislation prohibiting the use of electrical, electromechanical and electronic games, including computer games, in all public and private places - including premises providing Internet services (cybercafés). The Commission questions the compatibility of the law in question (of 29 July 2002) with the provisions of the EC Treaty on the free movement of goods and services and the freedom of establishment. The fact that the law was not notified at the draft stage also raises questions concerning a possible infringement of Directive 98/34/EC, which provides for prior notification of national regulations laying down technical rules in respect of on-line goods and services.
- NL - Government forces foreign sites to block Dutch gamblers +/-
(Sydney Morning Herald) The Netherlands state betting monopoly took 80-odd global betting houses to court. Some 62 betting agencies based all over the world caved in to the request. They agreed to block Dutch residents from gaining access to their websites. Those that did not comply face fines of €10,000 a day. see judgment in Dutch.
- US - PayPal settles over gambling transfers +/-
(CNET News.com) PayPal will pay the U.S. government $10 million to settle allegations that it knowingly transferred funds to unlawful offshore gambling sites. The U.S. Attorney's office had alleged that PayPal had provided services to offshore sites in violation of 18 U.S. Code 1960, which prohibits transmitting funds "derived from a criminal offense," and 18 U.S. Code 1084, which relates to the transmission of information about wagers. The $10 million settlement represents what both parties agreed represented forfeitable revenue that PayPal obtained from processing the gambling transactions. As part of the settlement, PayPal also agreed to maintain a corporate compliance program for at least two years. When eBay acquired PayPal last October, it halted the practice of processing online gambling payments.
- US - Report criticizes Net wine sale bans +/-
(Reuters) Lifting state laws banning the sale of wine on the Internet could mean savings of up to 21 percent for consumers, particularly if they buy higher-priced varieties, U.S. regulators said. The report by the Federal Trade Commission concluded that the laws crimp competition and cost wine drinkers money. The wine report is part of a broad FTC review of state regulations that also considers whether they are thwarting online competition. Twenty-six states, including New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, ban interstate wine sales over the Internet, largely because of fears that the Internet would be used to sell to minors, the agency said.
- EU - SPAM: European Commission goes on the offensive +/-
(RAPID) Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, outlined in Brussels how the European Commission is planning to address the proliferation of unsolicited commercial e-mail, otherwise known as 'spam'. Given the timely adoption last year of a directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, Member States have to transpose a 'ban on spam' into national legislation by the end of October 2003. As a second step, the European Commission expects a Communication on spam to be adopted in the Autumn. Concrete action would focus on effective enforcement, notably through international co-operation, technical measures for countering spam, and consumer awareness. The proposed measures would be first tested with Member States and interested parties through a workshop to be convened in October. Combating Spam on All Fronts (RAPID) Mr Erkki Liikanen Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society "Combating Spam on All Fronts" Press Conference on Spam Brussels, 15 July 2003 and Questions and Answers on Spam and the EU Opt-in Regime. see also World Summit on the Information Society and SPAM (ITU).
- AU - Government to ban spam +/-
(ZDNet Australia) Australia's federal government intends to introduce legislation that will ban unsolicited commercial email. The legislation would be enforced by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).
- AU - 'Over-enthusiastic' agent spams mobiles +/-
(ZDNet Australia) A real estate agent in Queensland, Australia, has been reprimanded for spamming mobile phones, waking many people at 4 a.m. The Surfers Paradise office of Ray White real estate has apologised for blanket spamming mobile phone users, and has told ZDNet Australia it will 'severely discipline' the employee responsible. "
- Microsoft urged to fry its own spam +/-
(CNET News.com) Microsoft recently launched a high-profile campaign against spammers, but some critics say the company should be more introspective if it is serious about reducing the scourge of unwanted e-mail.
- UK - 'Spammer' protests innocence +/-
(BBC) A British man accused by Microsoft of spamming has told the BBC it is a case of mistaken identity and he will fight to clear his name. Simon Grainger, who lives on Merseyside, was one of 15 people around the world targeted by the company in what is the most high-profile attack so far on the huge wave of unwanted e-mail clogging up the internet. But the 43-year-old telecoms engineer insists that, in his case at least, Microsoft has got the wrong man - and he is now in a David and Goliath contest with the US software giant. see also Spambusters.
- EU - Commission adopts proposal for a Regulation on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations ("Rome II") +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation aimed at harmonising the rules on the law on non-contractual obligations ("Rome II"). This measure is being taken as part of ongoing efforts by the European Union to create a genuine European area of freedom and justice. The goal is to ensure that courts in all the Member States apply the same law to cross-border disputes involving non-contractual obligations, thereby facilitating mutual recognition of court rulings in the European Union. The rules proposed by the Commission strike a reasonable balance between the interests of the parties involved in a cross-border dispute. They also aim at applying a law that reflects the centre of gravity of the situation. COM(2003) 427.
- AU - IIA Releases Draft Cybercrime Code of Practice +/-
(IIA) The Australian Internet Industry Association has released its draft Cybercrime Code of Practice for public consultation. The Code is the product of over 18 months' development by the IIA Cybercrime taskforce. It defines the rights and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers in meeting their enforcement co-operation obligations, while preserving, to the full extent the law, the sanctity of their customers' personal information. The IIA sees the Code as forming day to day operational guidelines to enable ISPs to assist law enforcement and national security agencies in the execution of their duties. The public consultation period for the draft Code ends on 21 August 2003.
- DE - Androhung von Zwangsgeldern wegen fehlender Website-Sperrungen in NRW +/-
(Heise) Die Bezirksregierung Düsseldorf sorgt wieder einmal unter den Providern in Nordrhein-Westfalen für Verunsicherung. Mehrere Internet-Zugangsanbieter erhielten eine Androhung eines Zwangsgeldes, weil sie sich nicht an die Sperrungsverfügung der Bezirksregierung hielten. Doch die amtlichen Schreiben beruhen auf einem technischen Missverständnis auf Seiten der Aufsichtsbehörde und sind somit gegenstandslos.
- FR - le moteur Voila est jugé non responsable des sites qu'il référence +/-
(transfert.net) Le vice-président au tribunal de grande instance de Paris a donné raison à Wanadoo dans l'affaire qui l'opposait à la chanteuse Lorie. Le juge a estimé que Wanadoo n'était pas responsable du lien tissé par le moteur de recherche de sa filiale Voila vers le site Lorienue et ses photomontages osés, jugés litigieux par la chanteuse.
- US - Bloggers Gain Libel Protection +/-
(Wired) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers. Online free speech advocates praised the decision as a victory. The ruling effectively differentiates conventional news media, which can be sued relatively easily for libel, from certain forms of online communication such as moderated e-mail lists. One implication is that DIY publishers like bloggers cannot be sued as easily. Batzel v. Smith [PDF].
- China Calling With Cell-Phone Standard +/-
(Washinbton Post) China, the world's largest market for cell phones, is aggressively developing a homegrown technology that can run the next generation of mobile telephone networks, challenging the traditional dominance of American and European companies. In the United States, Europe, Japan and Korea, third-generation networks are being planned or have already been erected using two established technologies - WCDMA, whose production is dominated by European telecom companies, and CDMA2000, a creation of US-based Qualcomm. Both standards are variants of a basic means of routing phone calls through the skies known as CDMA, or Code Division Multiple Access. The standard in China, TD-SCDMA, was developed by the German electronics firm Siemens AG but shelved when it failed to catch on in Europe.
- ITU - Mobile Overtakes Fixed: What Next? +/-
(ITU) For the first time in 2002, mobile subscribers on a global scale outnumbered fixed-line subscribers. This phenomenon has not been restricted to the industrialized world. Mobile communications has also dramatically increased access to telecommunication services in many developing countries. Cellular networks can be built faster than fixed-line networks and cover geographically challenging areas. Services have been introduced in a competitive environment and pre-paid models have opened access to mobile cellular for those who would otherwise not qualify for subscription plans. On this topic, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit has recently released a background resources website and a background paper entitled Mobile Overtakes Fixed: Implications for Policy and Regulation (PDF).
- PT - Government takes steps to boost wireless Internet use +/-
(AFP) Portugal hopes to become one of Europe's most tech-savvy nations by ensuring all university students and professors are equipped with laptops with high-speed wireless Internet access. All of Portugal's 150,000 university students and professors will be eligible to purchase a laptop at a special rate which the government has negotiated with major computer-makers. Those who can not afford to pay for a new laptop all at once will be eligible for bank loans at reduced interest rates. Students will not be required to have a laptop with high-speed wireless Internet access, or Wi-Fi, but their lives will be made easier if they do as universities will offer a growing number of administrative services online. All universities will be installed with "hotspots" which will provide free high-speed wireless Internet access. The government earlier announced it intends to provide Wi-Fi access points at half of all firms with more than nine employees, and half of all homes, by 2005.
- SE - Study: Hands-free phones not safer +/-
(Reuters) Talking on a mobile phone while driving your car is just as dangerous when using hands-free equipment as when holding the phone in your hand, according to a Swedish study.
- UK - Drivers face mobile phone ban +/-
(BBC) Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is to be made illegal. Ministers say the new offence is to take effect from 1 December this year, with offenders fined £30 initially - rising to a maximum £1,000 if their case goes to court. Those caught breaking the ban would also get three penalty points on their driving licences for each offence. Under current laws motorists can only be prosecuted for using mobiles if they fail to keep proper control of their vehicle - there is no actual law specifically prohibiting the use of mobiles while driving. The government announced it was considering the law change last August. Since then it has consulted the public and experts on the proposal - with nearly 90% of responses in favour of a ban.
- UK - Mobile bills set to fall +/-
(BBC) British mobile phone firms are due to start cutting their call charges in order to comply with a ruling from the competition watchdog. The cost of calling from one mobile network to another should fall from 24p per minute to 19p over the next three years, while the cost of landline to mobile calls should fall 5p to 12p per minute. The average monthly phone bill is expected to fall by £18 over the same period, according to telecoms industry regulator Oftel.
- DE - Kein Monopol für Anwälte auf Tätigkeit als Jugendschutzbeauftragter +/-
(Heise) Auch Nicht-Juristen dürfen Website-Betreiber beraten, deren Angebote negative Auswirkungen auf Jugendliche haben können. Das Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Düsseldorf hat in einem Urteil rechtskräftig entschieden, dass diese berufliche Tätigkeit keine juristische Ausbildung erfordert und nicht gegen das Rechtsberatungsgesetz verstößt. Nach Auffassung der Richter hat der Gesetzgeber die Beratung über den im Internet erforderlichen Jugendschutz als freien Beruf ausgestaltet und kein Monopol für Rechtsanwälte geschaffen.
- TH - Lawmakers restrict online game +/-
(MSNBC) A Korean games maker has created an online hit that has millions in Asia hooked - and has left some lawmakers not amused. "Ragnarok Online," a so-called massive multiplayer online role-playing game, has become so popular that it prompted Thai authorities to prohibit players from enjoying the game past bedtime. Thai authorities and some parents feel that the negative effects of "Ragnorak" far outweigh the pros, saying young people play the game at the expense of sleep and studies. Thai authorities last month instituted the ban on online games from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily from July 15 to Sept. 30.
- UK - mmO2 shows its credentials on spam, porn and road safety +/-
(silicon.com) mm02 is the latest mobile operator to jump on the ethical bandwagon, publishing its first corporate responsibility report. With the advent of picture messaging and video phones in particular, access to adult content is in the firing line. see Key questions answered (Adult content, Policing illegal content, Etiquette and Blocking stolen mobiles) and Our performance (Privacy and adult content). see also excerpt from Business: Who Are Our Stakeholders of the Future? speech by David Varney, Chairman, mmO2 plc at Institute of Directors, Royal Albert Hall, 30 April 2003.
- US - Court Blocks Washington Video Game Sales Law +/-
(Reuters) A federal judge issued an order postponing enforcement of a Washington state law designed to restrict the sale of violent video games to minors. U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the law, which was set to take effect from July 27 and would have imposed a $500 fine on anyone who sold a video game depicting violence against "law enforcement officers" to minors under age 17.
- US - High Court Upholds Porn Filters +/-
(Wired) A divided Supreme Court ruled that Congress can force the nation's public libraries to equip computers with anti-pornography filters. The blocking technology, intended to keep smut from children, does not violate the First Amendment even though it shuts off some legitimate, informational websites, the court held. United States et al. v. American Library Association, Inc., et al. (Supreme Court) PDF HTML (Findlaw).
- DE - Webfilter: Wer nicht labelt, den bestraft der Filter +/-
(Heise) Wer im Web ist, soll doch bitte auch sagen, was er dort anbietet - und zwar per filterfreundlichem Metatag. Wer dieses so genannte Selfrating für Webfilter aber nicht durchführt, der muss künftig vermehrt damit rechnen, dass andere sein Webangebot in eine Schublade stecken. Die Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) hat mit EU-Geldern ihr auf dem W3C-Standard Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) basierendes Filtersystem neu aufgesetzt. Es soll zusätzlich zum vielbeschworenen Selfrating auch die Einbindung kommerzieller Filtersoftware möglich machen.
- UK- Mobile bar to under -18s accessing adult material +/-
(Business Weekly) Parents can bar children's mobile phones from accessing pornography and violence thanks to Cambridge technology. A new service from Bango.net means that by texting go bar to the number 89080, parents can prevent youngsters accessing adult pictures and videos or violent games. It costs £1.50 to bar access. Most content is either sold through an operator portal such as Vodafone live! or off-portal using Bango. The Cambridge company's mobile barring service is aligned with the operators to ensure that users are protected wherever possible. The "bar this" mobile service requires content providers to self-certify their content and tag it as "R" if it contains material of a sexual or violent nature. Certification is a mandatory part of the Bango registration process
- US - Libraries get a break on Net filters +/-
(CNET News.com) Libraries have an extra year to comply with a controversial law that says if they accept federal funds, they must install Internet filtering software. The Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the law, set the deadline of July 1, 2004. Because the law, called the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), had been challenged in court, the FCC decided it was reasonable to give libraries time to comply. see also Library group cancels meeting on filtering pornography (AP). The American Library Association canceled a meeting with software developers over how to meet new requirements to block pornography at libraries' Internet terminals. and Libraries Ponder Filtering Decision (Washington Post).
- US - Study Released on Internet Blocking in Schools +/-
(Press Release) The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG) released a study documenting the effects of Internet blocking, also known as filtering, in U.S. schools. The study found that blocking software overblocked state-mandated curriculum topics extensively - for every web page correctly blocked as advertised, one or more was blocked incorrectly.
- EU - Commission holds workshop on single European Telephone Area Code +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission held a workshop on 24 June to identify whether or not there is a demand from market players for the delivery of pan-European services such a freephone and premium rate services that can be reached by a common telephone number from anywhere in Europe.
- EU - Commission pushes for rapid deployment of location enhanced 112 emergency services +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation that will help the emergency services locate people who call them using the pan-European emergency number 112 that can be dialled in all EU Member States. From 25 July 2003, under the Universal Service Directive 2002/22/EC, fixed and mobile network operators are required to provide caller location information to emergency service centres responding to '112' calls. The Recommendation proposes a coordinated approach to translate the legal requirements into concrete measures.
- EU - Commission ready to ensure regulatory co-ordination in electronic communications +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has taken an important step towards putting into place the new Framework Directive for electronic communications networks and services. As Commissioners Liikanen and Monti announced at the open workshop held on 15 July 2003 in Brussels, the Commission is preparing to exercise its new tasks under Article 7 of the directive. These preparations include the adoption of the Recommendation on notifications, time limits and consultations regarding the procedures to be followed for notifications of draft measures by national regulators pursuant to Article 7. The adopted Recommendation was discussed extensively with national regulators, the European Regulators Group (ERG) and Member States. Commission Recommendation of 23 July 2003 on notifications, time limits and consultations provided for in Article 7 of Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services COM(2003)2647. see also EU - Getting Ready to Implement New Electronic Communications Law (RAPID). Mr Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, Article 7 workshop, Brussels, 15 July 2003 and EU - Commissioners Liikanen and Monti ready to take up new tasks in telecommunications policy.
- EU - Commission reduces regulation of the provision of leased lines +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission took a Decision that will lead to the removal of obligations on certain telecommunications network operators to provide specific types of circuits known as leased lines. Leased lines are used by large companies to create in-house company networks. Following the successful liberalisation of electronic communications, there is now competitive supply of leased lines in the EU. Consequently the need to require provision of these leased line services nationwide in the Member States is decreasing.
- EU - Five Member States have implemented new telecoms regulatory package +/-
(RAPID) 25 July 2003 is the first day of the new regulatory framework for electronic communications in Europe, designed to create more competitive markets. Five Member States have taken the necessary action to transpose the package into national law (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Ireland), and a number of others, in particular Italy, are close behind. Latecomers risk infringement proceedings if action is not taken rapidly.
- AOL lays off Netscape developers +/-
(CNET News.com) America Online has laid off 50 employees involved in Web browser development at its Netscape Communications subsidiary amid a reorganization of its Mozilla open-source browser team. The layoffs mark the latest setback for Netscape, which has fought an increasingly lopsided battle with Microsoft for browser market share. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is currently used by more than 90 percent of Web surfers, according to site visitor statistics published by Google. see also Netscape browser left with skeleton staff (ZDNet Australia).
- Bertelsmann sells share in BarnesandNoble.com +/-
(Guardian) German media giant Bertelsmann is continuing to rein in its dotcom investments by selling its stake in online bookseller BarnesandNoble.com and is still considering a deal to merge its music division with Warner Music. US bookstore Barnes & Noble will pay £101m to buy out its joint venture partner in the business as part of Bertelsmann chief Gunter Thielen's strategy of selling off or closing down many of the internet forays launched by his predecessor, Thomas Middelhoff.
- Mobile games - The Un-Doom Boom +/-
(New York Times) While many developers in the multibillion-dollar video game industry seek to extend its appeal, profile and profits with bolder, flashier and ever more engrossing games - a different sort of video game is quietly asserting itself into the mainstream. These games tend to be brief amusements that are almost instinctive. They are easy to learn and can be played on a variety of devices, including PC's, laptops, digital organizers and cellphones.
- US - AOL online faces further investigation +/-
(Guardian) US media giant AOL Time Warner's embattled online division has been told to hand over documents relating to its bulk subscriber programme, which it used to boost subscriber figures. The securities and exchange commission, already investigating America Online over its accounting practices around the time of its record-breaking merger with Time Warner, has asked to see all documents relating to the practice of boosting subscriber figures with bulk deals. AOL subscription data exaggerated? (Reuters) and AOL Subscribers Down by 846,000 (Washington Post) .
- Analysts pessimistic on digital music sales +/-
(Guardian) Record companies should not rely on the growing market in online music downloads to plug the financial gaps created by declining CD sales, according to a new study. Internet research firm Jupiter Media has slashed its estimates for online sales in the US this year to $800m (£490m). Last year it predicted that legal internet downloads would generate revenues of $5.1bn by 2007, but that figure has been reduced to $3.3bn by 2008, a quarter of the total market.
- Europe - Net equality could be years away +/-
(BBC) According to the latest study of surfing patterns from internet measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings, in May 2003 42% of European surfers, or 35 million people, were female. This is only up two percent on the previous year and at that growth rate it will be 2010 before there is gender equality online.
- UK - OII to launch Oxford Internet Surveys +/-
(Press Release) The Oxford Internet Institute has launched OXIS (Oxford Internet Survey), a major nationwide survey about Internet Capital - its causes, its uses and its consequences. The survey will evaluate the government's goal of promoting greater access by examining the reasons why some people do and others do not make use of the Internet. As part of the World Internet Project, a collaborative set of surveys in more than 20 countries on four continents, the survey will also show how Britain rates in comparison with other countries in Europe, the United States, and the world-leading Internet users of Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.
- Vodafone subscriber total hits 122m +/-
(Times) Vodafone set course for 10 per cent growth in revenues in the year to next March as its customer total hit 122.7 million, higher than analysts had expected. Christopher Gent, Vodafone's outgoing chief executive, was "encouraged" by take-up of the Vodafone live! multi-media system, which saw subscriber numbers rise from 1.5m at the end of May to 2m today, mainly in Germany, the UK and Italy.