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(EurActiv.com) The Commission published a Communication on 22 September aimed at assisting Member States in making the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. The Communication on Digital Switchover sets out a guide on how best to migrate from analogue to digital radio and television broadcasting in a consumer-friedly fashion. Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society Erkki Liikanen emphasised that the EU was not considering 'intrusive measures' like prescribing deadlines for digital switchover, since progress varies widely across the Union. However, the Commission is actively monitoring national processes and will continue to run benchmarking exercises. The Commission's aim is to elicit voluntary switchovers through a series of incentives. Under the eEurope2005 Action Plan, Member States must publish their digital switchover plans by the end of 2003. In 2002, digital television's EU-wide penetration stood at 21 per cent of all households.
(Heise) Die ARD bereitet eine Selbstverpflichtung zur Beschränkung ihrer Online-Angebote vor. Das bestätigte ARD-Sprecher Martin Gartzke heute in Hamburg. Der Text befinde sich derzeit im Entwurfsstadium. Klar sei, dass in den Online-Angeboten 'auch künftig kein Platz für E-Commerce, Werbung und Sponsoring' sei. 'Beim Anzeigengeschäft wollen wir den Printmedien und kommerziellen Internet-Portalen keine Konkurrenz machen.'
(BBC) German police say they have broken up an international child pornography ring. Several hundred suspects are being investigated, and more than 500 homes across the country are said to have been searched. The raids involve at least 133 countries but it is not clear whether any arrests have been made.
(ddp) Der Polizei in Sachsen-Anhalt ist ein Schlag gegen internationale Online-Händler von Kinderpornografie gelungen. Das weltgrößte Ermittlungsverfahren habe unter Federführung des Landeskriminalamtes (LKA) Sachsen-Anhalt gestanden, berichtet die "Magdeburger Volksstimme". In dieser Woche seien in Deutschland 505 Wohnungen durchsucht worden. Bei der Aktion "Marcy" hätten die Ermittler 38 Kinderporno-Communities gesprengt.
(Japan Today) Police arrested a 38-year-old pediatrician for posting an ad on an Internet dating site inviting junior high school girls to have sex with him. The suspect, identified as Akiira Takabayashi, is the second man to be arrested under the newly introduced Dating Site Control Law, which intends to crack down on those who post messages on Internet bulletin boards seeking minors under the age of 18 as sexual partners. The law came into effect on Sept 13.
(IOL) The growing flood of child porn is threatening to engulf the Internet - about a million pornographic pictures depicting children are now on the World Wide Web - and it's having a terrible impact on South Africa. An estimated 90 percent of all paedophile-related activities involve the Internet. Those shocking statistics were revealed by Iyavar Chetty, the senior executive of the South African Film and Publication Board.
(ITWeb) The Films and Publications Amendment Bill, which aims to crack down on child pornography and force Internet service providers (ISPs) to take a role in blocking child porn, was tabled in Parliament in South Africa.
(Heise) Bei einer Aktion gegen kriminelle Abzocke mit 0190er-Nummern hat die Polizei 18 Wohnungen und Geschäftsräume in fünf Bundesländern durchsucht. Ein Verantwortlicher einer nordhessischen Internet-Firma wurde verhaftet, teilt das hessische Landeskriminalamt in Wiesbaden heute mit. Die Firma soll mindestens 280 Internetnutzer mit manipulierter Software um 37.000 Euro gebracht haben. Durchsuchungen gab es in Hessen, Berlin, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz und Sachsen-Anhalt.
(AP) A southwestern China government official accused of using Internet chatrooms to contact dissidents abroad has been arrested on subversion charges. Li Zhi was arrested Sept. 3 by state security agents in Dazhou, a city in Sichuan province where he was a finance official, according to a statement from New-York based Human Rights in China.
(CNET News.com) The Indian government has banned a Yahoo group, alleging that it has anti-India content. The offending Web site was found to promote antinational news, the government's Department of Telecommunications said in a statement Monday. The Web site contained material regarding the federal government and the local government of Meghalaya, a state in northeast India. Many insurgent groups are active in the region. The department said it ordered the site blocked after Yahoo officials in India declined to comply with a request to remove the material from the Web site.
(Out-law) The European Parliament has approved a controversial proposal for a Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, but only after making amendments to ensure that patents would not be issued for 'actual software.' The draft, which seeks to harmonise Europe's rules, passed by 361 votes to 157, with 28 abstentions. Software patent limits 'go too far' and Patents directive wins European Parliament OK (ZDNet UK). See EP amendments, Report A5-0238/2003 (Arlene McCarthy) and Legislative history. Debate and result of the vote (EP Daily Notebook).
(Heise) Das europäische Parlament hat sich nach heftigen Diskussionen für weit gehende Änderungen an der umstrittenen Richtlinie über die 'Patentierbarkeit Computer-implementierter Erfindungen' ausgesprochen. In der Schlussabstimmung in Straßburg votierten 364 Abgeordnete für deutliche Revisionen an dem Konstrukt und nur 153 dagegen.
(New York Times) The European Parliament debated a proposal for a pan-European law governing how patents apply to software programs, and with the main political parties apparently evenly divided on the bill, a close vote was expected. The proposal calls for computer-implemented invention patents to be awarded only to ideas that are new, not obvious and have a technical effect. That means that in order to be patented the software must be connected to a technical device that makes or does something new. Opponents of the law say it will stifle innovation by handing too much power to the large, litigious patent holders. Supporters counter that the smaller software developers stand to benefit from being able to protect their inventions with patents.
(New York Times) If Hollywood executives have learned anything watching their peers in the music business grapple with online file-sharing, it was how not to handle a technological revolution. While the major labels in the music industry squabbled about how best to deal with Internet piracy and failed to develop consumer-friendly ways to buy music online, the movie industry has gone on a coordinated offensive to thwart the free downloading of movies before it spins out of control. Next month the industry will begin promoting a "stealing is bad" message in schools, teaming up with Junior Achievement to sponsor an hour-long class for middle-school students on the history of copyright law and the evils of piracy. The class will include games like "Starving Artist," in which students pretend to be musical acts whose music is downloaded without payment from the Internet, and a crossword puzzle called "Surfing for Trouble.
(bIPlog) Copyright has an enddate, even if it's way past the author's death. But Trademark? Dewey's like a Tiffany Diamond® and possibly better. Because Dewey just keeps on paying. The Library Hotel is based on the theme of the Dewey Decimal System, so you know, floor eight is about erotic lit, seven is performing arts, just like those in the 800 and 700 series in the library. Anyway, the hotel used the Dewey system for their theme, and well, now lawyers are involved, suing for Trademark infringement.
(EFF) Seven major record labels dismissed charges of copyright infringement leveled at a 65-year-old educator, artist, and grandmother from Massachusetts. Sarah Ward was one of 261 individuals sued by the recording industry for allegedly sharing copyrighted music using peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing systems. What was the problem? The recording industry charged Ward with sharing songs using the KaZaA filesharing software, but she owns only a Macintosh computer which cannot run KaZaA.
(Washington Post) A government plan to allow Americans to block telemarketing calls to their homes was stalled by a federal judge in Oklahoma City who said the Federal Trade Commission overstepped its authority. Consumers have placed more than 50 million phone numbers on the anti-telemarketing list by using the Internet or a toll-free telephone number. Beginning Oct. 1, marketers would have risked an $11,000 fine each time they called a number on the list. The judge said that Congress had not given the FTC specific authority to develop and implement the list. Order: U.S. Security v. FTC. see also Call List Is Again Blocked In Court. A federal judge in Denver ruled that the government's effort to curb unsolicited telemarketing calls was unconstitutional, another blow to plans to implement a national do-not-call list. The decision was announced just minutes after Congress, in a rare display of speed and bipartisanship, voted to overturn an earlier federal judge's decision to nullify the list on different legal grounds. Opinion: Mainstream Marketing Services v. FTC and Order.
(Reuters) JetBlue violated a promise to maintain customer privacy when it gave passenger information to a military contractor last year, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said in a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission. JetBlue has apologized for handing over passenger names, addresses and phone numbers in an effort to help the Defense Department identify possible terrorist threats. see also JetBlue Customers Feel the Pain (Wired News).
(Heis) Sollen künftig internationale Regierungen das letzte Wort über die Politik der Namen und Nummern im Netz haben oder eine private Netzverwaltung? Darüber wird in den letzten Stunden der Vorbereitungskonferenz zum Weltgipfel der Informationsgesellschaft (WSIS) erbittert gerungen. Nacht für Nacht wurden die entsprechenden Paragraphen bei den Plenumssitzungen der Regierungsdelegationen verschoben. Ein Patt ist entstanden, nachdem der kenianische Vorsitzende der Internet Governance Arbeitsgruppe einen Vorschlag aus dem Hut zauberte, per ITU Task Force ein Modell für eine internationale Netzverwaltung entwickeln zu lassen.
(EP Daily Notebook) The European Parliament adopted a series of compromise amendments at the second reading of a directive on the re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector information. This should avoid the need for conciliation. [Ed: i.e. the Council is expected to vote the same amendments, in which case the Directive will be adopted]. see also EP amendments, Report A5-0284/2003 (W.G. van Velzen) and Legislative history.
(PoliticsOnline) PoliticsOnline announced the results of its second world wide survey recognizing the top 25 individuals, organizations and companies that are having the greatest impact on the way the Internet is changing politics. In recent years, the Internet and burgeoning information technologies have inexorably altered our body politic, fundamentally changing the way we do democracy. At the 4th Annual Worldwide Forum on Electronic Democracy in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, PoliticsOnline recognized the best of the best - the innovators and pioneers who blaze the e-political trails. Commissioner Erkki Liikanen is no. 12.
(BBC) The inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, outlines his ideas for a more 'intelligent' web in an interview with the BBC programme, Go Digital.
(Press Release) The power to end the scourge of spam is largely in the hands of internet users. So says Australia's Internet Industry Association, who announced a new collective worldwide push to help give internet users back the control of their inboxes. IIA chief executive Peter Coroneos said ''The collective aim of this unprecedented global campaign is to empower users with a simple message. 'If you have any doubt about the bona fides of email sent to you - Don't try - Don't buy - Don't reply'. If enough users started hitting the delete key on questionable, unsolicited offers, the commercial case for spamming will soon erode." The user empowerment campaign is building fast. Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo!, Junkbusters, and Consumers International (representing 250 consumer organisations in 110 countries) have quickly added their weight to the initiative. The Global Spam Campaign Web site will go live on Monday 29 September 2003.
(Spamhaus) Britain has disappointed the UK Internet community by introducing legislation that attempts to differentiate between 'private' and 'business' spam and creates loopholes in the process. From 11 December it will be illegal to send Unsolicited Bulk Email to a private email address, but legal to send Unsolicited Bulk Email to the hapless employees of British businesses. Britain's firms will continue to suffer the onslaught of ever more spam, now from spammers claiming legality. Worse, spammers have a free bite at spamming all UK addresses until issued a direct order to stop by the Information Commissioner. Enforcement is left to the overworked and under-resourced Information Commissioner whose job it will be to deal with thousands of daily spam complaints and issue spammers with "orders" to stop spamming. see also Spam policeman blasts new spam laws (vnunet.com). Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has criticised the government's anti-spam legislation, calling on ministers to extend his powers to tackle unsolicited email.
(ITU) The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit has published a collection of mobile messaging applications (SMS, MMS) in business, government, education etc. The examples highlight innovative uses of messsaging technologies in an increasingly wireless world. In this context, the ITU will be holding an international workshop on 'Shaping the future mobile information society' in March 2004 in Seoul. The workshop, which will focus on future technologies for mobile (e.g. ubiquitous, broadband, multimedia) and their impact on public policy and human life, will be jointly hosted by ITU and Korea's Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC). "
(Washington Post) So far, no outrageous misuse of camera-equipped phones has been reported by health clubs in the Washington area. But the phones' potential for mischief is making the devices the targets of concern by gym managers anxious about their responsibilities to members. Already, the gizmos have been banned by a scattering of Washington area health clubs.
(BBC) Microsoft's internet service MSN is to cut back drastically its chatroom services because of concerns about child safety. MSN is closing all its chatrooms in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and most of Asia from 14 October, and changing the way others are operated globally. Chatrooms on MSN's other global sites will either be supervised - or moderated - by an adult 24 hours a day, or will be on a credit card subscription-basis only. It means no free, unmoderated chatrooms will exist anymore on any of MSN's global network of sites. see also Pedophile threat closes Microsoft chat rooms, Chatroom ban prompts fierce debate (CNN), Rival attacks Microsoft decision to close chatrooms (Guardian). Freeserve accused MSN of making the well-publicised move because it wasn't prepared to invest in policing the chatrooms. Chatroom closures 'not altruistic' (Guardian), Microsoft chat move 'irresponsible' (BBC) and Internet chatrooms - About morals or money? (Economist).UK - Children's charities call for end to 'anarchic Internet' (ZDNet UK). Two of the UK's most prominent children's charities said that they hope Microsoft's decision to shut down most of its chatrooms is the beginning of the end for the technology, the reputation of which has suffered because of its misuse by paedophiles. The National Children's Home (NCH) and National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said that Microsoft made the right decision, regardless of its motives, because children will now be safer. see also Independent But Rachel O'Connell of Lancaster University, a specialist in online behaviour, warned that closing down chatrooms wholesale would only encourage children to go to other less- monitored parts of the Net - where they would be followed by paedophiles.
(Sydney Morning Herald) Australian censors were too uptight about the supposed dangers of violent computer games, overseas delegates told a classification conference in Sydney. Under Australian Office of Film Literature and Classification (OFLC) guidelines computer games can be banned on the basis their interactive nature makes them dangerous. But the director of the Film Classification Board of Sweden, Gunnel Arrback, said Australians were getting carried away about the dangers of computer games.
(Washington Post) A technology executive whose company does business with Microsoft has been forced out of his job after he helped write a cybersecurity report critical of the software giant. AtStake, a computer security firm, said that chief technology officer Daniel R. Geer Jr. is "no longer associated" with the firm. A company statement added that Geer's participation in preparation of the report was not sanctioned by the firm, and that "the values and opinions of the report are not in line with [AtStake's] views." Geer was one of several corporate and academic security experts who wrote the Computer and Communications Industry Assocation (CCIA) CyberInSecurity report, which argues that Microsoft's dominance over personal-computer operating systems and other software programs makes it easier for malicious hackers to attack millions of machines and networks at once.
(MSNBC) America Online is set to launch a children's version of its service, dubbed KOL, or Kids Online, featuring a host of new welcome screens, a daily Internet radio show for kids, original online shows and a new Batman comic strip. The KOL service, designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, is free and comes with AOL 9.0 Optimized, the newest version of AOL. see also Children Get Their Own Service, but Parents Get to Keep Control (New York Times).
(BBC) New 'push-to-talk' services that turn mobile phones into walkie-talkies with unlimited range could soon make text messaging obsolete. The services let users choose a recipient from an instant messenger-style 'buddy list' on their phone screen, press a key and start talking. Push-to-talk has proved immensely popular in the United States, and Nextel, the mobile phone operator which dominates the US push-to-talk market, has 12 million customers for its service. see also 'Push-to-Talk' Spreading Fast (Wired).
(BBC) A South African member of parliament is getting divorced after he inadvertently sent an amorous text message meant for his mistress to his wife instead.
(Associated Press) Amazon.com is planning to invade Google's turf with a new search-engine company aimed at plucking some of the profit flowing into the rapidly growing sector. Unlike Google, A9 is not trying to develop an all-purpose search engine that indexes billions of Web pages. The start-up instead is zeroing on one of the sweet spots of search engines: e-commerce. As more consumers have become comfortable with the Internet, a growing number are using search engines to review products and compare prices. The research frequently results in online sales, prompting more advertisers to pay for prominent listings in the commercial sections of Google and other search engines.
(Reuters) Microsoft, which is trying to drive growth by investing in everything from small business software to video games, has quietly set its sights on a new industry - searching the Web.
(CNET News.com) Information technology standards groups are raising warning flags over a proposal that could raise fees for commonly used industry codes, including two-letter country abbreviations, used in many commercial software products. At stake is a tentative proposal from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to add usage royalties for several code standards, a move that opponents say could weaken standards adherence by forcing software providers to pay a fee for each ISO-compliant product they sell. The standards cover country, currency and language codes, respectively.
(Press Release) ECTA, the European Competitive Telecommunications Association, has published the latest update to its DSL Scorecard, which shows the level and pace of broadband penetration across the European Union. In summary, the Scorecard shows that: dominant incumbents continue their lead on DSL lines; wholesale DSL operated by alternative operators/ISPs is being constrained; very little DSL interconnect has been provided; and continued poor performance on local loop unbundling.
(OCLC) Although the public Web has more than doubled in size since 1998, the speed of its growth steadily declined over that period. The trend culminated in a slight contraction in size over the past year, according to the latest results from OCLC Research's annual survey of the Web. While the number of sites may have plateaued, the size of Web sites is increasing. The average number of Web pages contained within a public site in 2002 was 441, compared to 413 in 2001. The amount of so-called "dark matter" on the Web - information in databases and other formats not accessible by traditional web-crawling techniques - is said to be large and growing. Adult sites - those offering sexually explicit content - constitute approximately 3 percent of the public Web, or a little more than 100,000 sites. see also Trends in the Evolution of the Public Web: 1998 - 2002 (D-Lib Magazine).
(The Age) The Internet filtering company N2H2 says the number of commercial pornographic sites on the internet has increased by 1800 percent over the last five years. The company said in a media release that in July alone, it identified web sites comprising over 28 million pages for its filtering database. It said it had now identified over 260 million pages classified as pornography.
(Europa) On 14 October 2003, the European Commission will hold workshops in Brussels on two independent studies for the Commission. In the morning, Siticom/Devoteam and Cullen International will present the findings of their study on the regulatory implications of Next Generation Networks and other developments in electronic communications (executive summary; full report). In the afternoon, Political Intelligence will present its work on the policy implications of convergence of numbering, naming and addressing (executive summary; full report). Programme for the day. The workshops are open but pre-registration is required.
(NYLS) A Conference sponsored by Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and Information Society Project at Yale Law School, to be held at New York Law School in New York City, November 13-15, 2003. This interdisciplinary conference will examine the state of play today in an effort to understand the phenomenon of digital games and the virtual worlds they create and to discuss the complex social, psychological, and legal issues to which they give rise. Registration.
(INHOPE) A major one-day international conference called "The Internet in 2004:Safe or Just Safer? - an INHOPE Initiative" in the Grand Hotel Esplanade in Berlin on 20 November 2003. The INHOPE inaugural one-day conference will create an exciting forum and target an audience representing the areas of law enforcement, child welfare, Internet Service Providers (ISP's) and the interested parents of children all eager for 'frank talk.' This conference will demonstrate the importance of protecting people's rights, especially childrens'; preventing victimization through consumer education; promote a network linking the experts and specialists in the field of sexual exploitation and online illegal content and enable the expansion of the INHOPE network to new and diverse stakeholders.
(Forum Europe) European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) second annual conference. Concert Noble, Brussels, Belgium. Erkki Liikanen will be a keynote speaker at this event. Fabio Colasanti, European Commission, Director General for Information Society and a panel of high-level experts & specialists will also take part in this one day conference focusing on three key issues: 1) Are winners emerging in the race to develop new business models? The relationship between content & infrastructure providers 2) Has the new regulatory framework contributed to the development of broadband? The conditions to deliver broadband (multi-platform competition) 3) Are the Broadband strategies on target to meet the Lisbon process objectives? What is being done at member state level to promote its development?
(Swedish Institute of Computer Science) WHOLES - A Multiple View of Individual Privacy in a Networked World. Stockholm, Sweden, January 30-31, 2004. With this workshop, we seek to explore interdisciplinary approaches to helping individuals in managing their privacy in the context of emerging information technologies. The workshop will explore privacy in the intersection of information technologies, law, political choices, public opinions, etc. We are particularly interested in usability and applicability aspects of this theme. Potential participants need to submit a short paper of 5-7 pages describing ongoing research in an area within the scope of the workshop. Only authors of accepted submissions will be invited to participate at the workshop. Please submit your contribution no later than October 31, 2003 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Internet Archive) Anna Patterson built a search engine for the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine! She has indexed a portion of the full archive, 11 billion pages. Browse through 30 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. the Internet archive at the New Library of Alexandria, Egypt, mirrors the Wayback Machine. Try your search there when you have trouble connecting to the Wayback servers. QuickLinks home page 11 November 1998, 19 June 2000 and 23 September 201.
QuickLinks consists of