Home page| Extended HTML version
(ABC) Australian police say new technology, like video phones and smaller computers, will lead to more and more people accessing child pornography. Internet sex crime is now an area of policing unto itself, and keeping up with the technology is half the battle. But as the gadgets get smaller, and less secure, police say there will be more offenders making use of them, and they'll be harder to catch.
(Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal) by James R. Alexander. In Japanes law, obscenity is defined in terms of the explicitness of visual images rather than anticipation of aberrant behavioral consequences.
(AP) A Dutch court ordered a psychiatric evaluation for a man who confessed to contaminating dairy products in an Internet extortion scheme against food companies.
(Stuff) A maximum penalty of 10 years' jail for people caught trading, producing or distributing child pornography will be introduced in New Zealand by Christmas. The changes to censorship laws, approved by Cabinet, will also see users of child porn face up to two years behind bars, under a new offence of possession "with knowledge". Currently, trading child porn carries a penalty of up to one year's imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000 per charge. The maximum penalty for those merely possessing illicit material without trading it is a $2000 fine.
(Computer Weekly) Police have urged IT departments to ensure they have proper audit systems in place when they are investigating whether illegal obscene material may have been downloaded onto company networks. The warning follows the government's decision last month to withdraw an amendment to the Sexual Offences Bill that would have given IT staff legal protection from prosecution if they encountered child pornography during their work.
(Independent) A paedophile who sexually abused two teenage girls he met in an internet chat room had his sentence increased yesterday following a protest from the Attorney General. Judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that the three years given to 36-year-old electronics engineer Michael Wheeler at Norwich Crown Court in June was "significantly too lenient" for one of the worst cases of internet abuse. They jailed him for an additional 18 months.
(BBC) The acquittal at Southwark Crown Court of a teenager accused of carrying out a high-profile hack attack has cast doubts over future computer crime prosecutions, say experts. Aaron Caffrey, 19, was accused of crashing systems at the port of Houston in Texas by hacking into its computer systems. But a jury cleared him after believing his defence that hackers had broken into his computer and used it to launch the attack. Mr Caffrey had faced one charge of unauthorised modification of computer material.
(dc.internte.com) In a twisted turn of unintended consequences, the enormous success of the Internet as a distribution vehicle for pornography has created competitive pressures among smut purveyors to provide more depictions than ever of children engaging in violent and deviate sexual conduct. John G. Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday afternoon that the "proliferation of this material and the desire by pornographers to differentiate themselves in a highly-competitive market have prompted pornographers to produce ever-more offensive materials."
(News24) The South African Social Development Minister welcomed the Constitutional Court's ruling that the possession of child pornography without a permit was a crime. In a statement he called on all South Africans to make sure that children were protected against negative exposures that could affect their morals and values. The Constitutional Court dismissed an application by Tasco Luc De Reuck to strike down sections of the Films and Publications Act making it an offence to possess child pornography without a permit, even for researchers.
(DCMS) The UK Government will act to protect consumers from unfair betting. The Government will bring forward proposals for the new Gambling Commission to have powers to freeze and, where appropriate, void bets that it believes to be unfair. The proposals are a response to a new form of betting now happening on the Internet, but will apply to other betting operators too.
(Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law) by Robert Chalmers. Many of the recent Australian regulatory initiatives created to address perceived Internet based problems were subject to widespread criticism at the time of their generation and inception (in particular the censorship and gambling controls). Let us hope that governments advance more carefully in the future, paying fuller regard to the limitations, financial costs and other downsides of laws, especially those that are effectively unenforceable or meaningless. Perhaps some of our best hopes lie in better education.
(Xinhua) The 2003 China Internet Media Forum opened in Beijing, calling for local Internet media to take more responsibility in dealing with online ethical issues. Diverging from the previous two forums in 2001 and 2002, which mainly focused on the development of the Internet in China, this year the topic turned to 'social responsibility of the Chinese Internet media.' Cai Mingzhao, deputy director of the Information Office of the State Council, said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony that the Internet should contribute to China's social progress as it plays an increasingly important role in the country. The latest survey on China's Internet development shows by June 30, 2003, China had about 470,000 portals, with 68 million Internet users, and the numbers are growing every day. While offering a quick access to information, the Internet also can expose people to pornography, violence, superstition and evil cults, Cai said. He urged local Internet portals, the 150 approved news publishing portals in particular, to bear more social responsibility.
(ITC) British television viewers expect and want to see the 9pm watershed continue, says a new report from the BBC, Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) and Independent Television Commission (ITC). There is strong support for the watershed as the point at which programme content can become progressively more adult in tone. The report, The Watershed: Providing A Safe Viewing Zone shows that viewers want broadcasters to comply with the watershed principle. They would also like to see more information about programme content made available through listings in magazines and newspapers, and through details on the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) and on screen. see two recent ITC Programme Complaints about bad language and frank approach to sexual relationships broadcast before the watershed.
(North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology) by Angela M. Xenakis. Very few people disagree that children should be protected from viewing harmful material on the Internet. The global nature of the Internet and technological infeasibilities of blocking end-user access to particular sites create valid constitutional First Amendment concerns. And while Congress has the authority to regulate obscene material until the technological hurdles can be overcome, statutory solutions will not be able to prevent children from accessing harmful sites. Instead of new laws, market solutions might be more effective at controlling children’s access to pornography. Partial solutions are available in parental monitoring and filtering devices, but the most effective tool might be the creation of a 'red light district' within the Internet through the use of adult-oriented top-level domains. see also The Virtual Red Light District: Filtration Software and the Zoning of the Internet ( West Virginia Journal of Law and Technology) by Christopher Scott Maravilla and Censoring Hate Speech In Cyberspace: A New Debate in a New America (North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology) by Edgar Burch.
(Washington Post) The Supreme Court agreed to revisit the thorny question of how to protect children from online smut without resorting to unconstitutional censorship. The American Civil Liberties Union, representing booksellers, artists, explicit Web sites and others, challenged the Child Online Protection Act as an unconstitutional damper on free speech. The Bush administration appealed to the high court, arguing that children are "unprotected from the harmful effects of the enormous amount of pornography on the World Wide Web.
(Richmond Journal of Law & Technology) Freedom of Speech is Pitching and Congress May Strike Out. by: Dawn S. Conrad. The fact that Congress has tried three times to enact legislation that would protect minors from sexually explicit material on the Internet proves that it is a compelling government interest. All three attempts have run into the same problem?any regulation that protects children from sexually explicit material on the Internet must be carefully tailored so it does not infringe on the First Amendment rights of adults. This proves that the government cannot remedy the problem alone. Joint efforts by the government, consumers, parents, law enforcement, the technology industry, and the adult Internet industry will be required.
(Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal) The Invincibility of Cyberporn by Joseph C. Rodriguez. Unfortunately, for those countries seeking to enact their own brand of regulation, Singapore’s attempt at regulation demonstrates that the technology does not yet exist, and it is impossible to filter the Internet. The task of filtering is made more difficult by evolving technology that circumvents filters and by increasing bandwidth that allows greater flows of information. Therefore, unless a nation takes the drastic step of blocking all foreign Websites and essentially creating a national Intranet, a grudging acceptance of U.S. Internet policy is in order. For U.S. Internet policy, the legislative trend indicates that U.S. ISPs will be gaining more responsibility and legal liability.
(AP) The board that regulates utilities in Minnesota unanimously agreed to abide by a federal judge's order barring state officials from treating a company that provides calls over the Internet as a traditional telephone company.
(Legalis.net) Le modèle économique de Google basé sur la vente de mots clés vient d'être remis en cause par une décision du tribunal de grande instance de Nanterre du 13 octobre 2003 qui condamne le moteur de recherche pour contrefaçon de marques. Ce n'est pas l'usage d'une marque dans une requête qui est concernée par le litige mais le fait de permettre à un annonceur de réserver des mots-clés correspondant à des marques déposées par des tiers. Dans cette affaire, le tribunal a sanctionné la vente des marques "Bourses des voyages" et "Bourses des vols" par Google auprès de divers sociétés.
(Washington Post) The federal government is preparing for the first time to require that personal computers and other consumer electronics devices contain technology to help block Internet piracy of digital entertainment. A rule being considered by the Federal Communications Commission is one of a series of proposals pushed by the entertainment industry to help thwart copying and online trading of movies and television shows that increasingly are being broadcast in digital form with high-quality picture and sound. But the new rule also would force consumers to purchase new equipment if they wanted to record enhanced digital-quality television programs and replay them on other machines. [Ed: This is known as the "broadcast flag". The US Supreme Court is hearing a case about the pledge of allegiance to the US flag which US schoolchildren recite every morning. An alternative pledge of allegiance to the broadcast flag has been proposed by EFF Board Chair Brad Templeton ( in Copyfight, Donna Wentworth's weblog).]
(Bits of Freedom) In Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Dutch Big Brother Awards were presented in front of a large audience. With the awards the person, company, governmental institution and initiative are rewarded for damaging the privacy of citizens in 2003 the most. The 4 winners of 2003 are: Minister of Justice Piet Hein Donner; several major lawyer firms that have used the services of investigation office Mariendijk; the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the legal proposal to introduce compulsory identification. [online text only in Dutch at time of posting].
(Europa) Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) 1683/95 laying down a uniform format for visas and Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) 1030/2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals COM(2003)558 final. The Commission’s intention with these proposals is twofold: to bring forward the final date for the implementation of the photograph from 2007 to 2005 and at the same time, require Member States to integrate biometric identifiers into the visa and the residence permit for third country nationals in a harmonised way, thus ensuring interoperability.
(Reuters) Finland has proposed a new law that would let parents track the movements of their young children via mobile phone, even without their consent, in a move that could set an European Union benchmark in privacy and handset use. Finland's parliament will likely start discussing the proposal early in November. According to the draft, individuals aged 15 or older could only be tracked after giving their consent, but for children under 15 such consent could also be given by their parents or guardians. In emergency situations people can still be tracked without their consent regardless of their age. Finland's top two mobile operators, TeliaSonera and Elisa, currently offer positioning services that locate the phone user based on the mobile base station he or she is nearest to.
(out-law.com) Major Charles Ingram and his wife, famous for coughing their way to a million pounds on the UK's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" TV show, have lost a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) over an easyJet advert for cheap flights. The Ingrams complained that their photograph had been used without their permission and was an invasion of their privacy. The ASA did not agree.
(Guardian) Five law lords rejected an attempt to establish that a right exists under English law to sue for invasion of privacy. The ruling, which had been keenly awaited by lawyers, establishes that there is no "freestanding" right to privacy in English law. Instead, those seeking damages when their privacy is invaded will have to bring their cases under other, well-established types of action, such as breach of confidence. Wainwright v. Home Office  UKHL 53.
(New York Times) Could the Patriot Act threaten the growth of e-commerce? That is the question being raised by some online booksellers and e-tailing analysts, who suggest that the antiterrorism law, passed in October 2001 to give the U.S. government new counterterrorism capabilities, has already changed the way some companies and consumers do business online. For some consumers, it has meant fewer online purchases of politically incorrect books. For the Web sites, it has meant changes to privacy policies and marketing strategies, among other things.
(Sydney Morning Herald) The National Library of Australia is a world leader in tracing the evolution of the internet. But with the average life of a website now only 44 days, time and money are short.
(Reuters) Regular, off-the-shelf computer video games are an effective method of treating people's fears, using a style of therapy that exposes people to what scares them in a controlled setting, according to a new study. The study, published in the October issue of the journal CyberPsychology and Behavior, was conducted at the Université du Québec en Outaouais in Québec, Canada. The paper is available free online.
(Der Spiegel) Zwischen der Bundesanstalt für Arbeit und dem Web-Unternehmen 2nd-level ist ein heftiger Streit entbrannt: Die Behörde will dem Unternehmen mit aller Macht seine Web-Adresse wegnehmen.
(CNET News.com) VeriSign is selling its Network Solutions domain registration business for roughly $100 million, but plans to retain control over the database that directs people to .com and .net addresses.
(CNET News.com) VeriSign will give a 30- to 60-day notice before resuming a controversial and temporarily suspended feature that redirected many .com and .net domains, company representatives said. Speaking before an unusual gathering of technical experts in Washington, D.C., VeriSign said its own re-evaluation of its Site Finder redirection service found 'no identified security or stability problems.' When it was active, Site Finder added a 'wild card' for .com and .net domains that snared queries to nonexistent Internet sites and forwarded them to VeriSign's own servers.
(New Scientist) A new website will allow people to post information about the activities of government organisations, officials and the judiciary. The website, called Government Information Awareness (GIA), is designed to collect snippets of information to build a database that can later be searched to reveal patterns of suspicious behaviour. The two MIT researchers behind the project face one serious problem: how to protect themselves against legal action should any of the postings prove false. The answer, they say, is to borrow a technique from the underground music-swapping community. Instead of storing the data in one place, they plan to distribute it around the internet in a similar way to the notorious Napster software that got music file-sharing under way.
(Wired) by Lawrence Lessig. When they write the account of the 2004 campaign, it will include at least one word that has never appeared in any presidential history: blog. Whether or not it elects the next president, the blog may be the first innovation from the Internet to make a real difference in election politics. But to see just why requires a bit of careful attention.
(Transfert) A Paris, la société civile tente de concilier intérêt du public et propriété intellectuelle. Les réunions de préparation du Sommet Mondial de la Société de l'Information (SMSI) se suivent et se ressemblent. Elles regroupent gouvernements, entreprises et représentants de la société civile.
(FCC) Commissioner Copps discussed the threat posed by a regulatory movement to replace open networks with closed systems and the impact this will have on both the Internet and the media. Upcoming decisions at the FCC will determine how much control companies will have over Internet access and their ability to discriminate against users, data, websites, or technologies. In his speech, Copps warned that "the Internet as we know it is at risk." He said that the original vision of a free Internet could soon be replaced by closed networks and a view that accessibility can be superceded by a new power to discriminate. He continued, "From media to telecom to the Internet, we appear to be rushing toward breathtaking regulatory alterations. The Commission is permitting, even encouraging, competition to wither in the face of centralization. It is short changing its responsibility to protect the public interest.
(BBC) Internet privacy campaigners say new legal advice could blow a hole in Home Office plans to snoop on people's online and telephone activity. A draft European directive on keeping communications data, which could be used to strengthen the current voluntary code of practice in the UK, breeches human rights laws, says international law firm Covington & Burling. Two test cases may be taken to the European courts by lobby group Privacy International to show UK attempts to widen internet surveillance would be unlawful.
(IDGNet New Zealand) A scrap has broken out between two Australian online watchdogs over the country's proposed anti-spam legislation. Caube.au, Australia’s Coalition Against Unsolicited Bulk Email, has hit back at criticism of the federal anti-spam bill by Electronic Frontiers Australia. Caube.au has reviewed the criticisms of EFA, and found that its criticism of the bill as not truly anti-spam is entirely unjustified.
(Herald Sun) Trafficking and advertising of child pornography on the Net has exploded in the past two weeks, an Australian child protection agency says. Child Wise national director Bernadette McMenamin said 500 per cent more child porn spam (Internet advertising) had been received by the group in past weeks. Ms McMenamin said complaints about child porn advertising and promotions had also soared. "As a monitoring agency, it comes as a dramatic increase and we aren't sure what's going on," she said. "The concern is (the spam) is actually fuelling pedophilia because it's reaching more people and promoting the demand for abused children."
(TACD) The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, which represents EU and US consumers, is interested in what you think of Spam, (unsolicited commercial emails), that is e-mails that you receive but you have not asked for, which are usually offering to sell you something. The survey's results will inform our discussions on this topic and so your answers are important. To take part in the survey, please click below on 'Start the survey' - it takes less than 3 minutes to complete. Please submit your answers only once. The questionnaire exists in 11 official EU languages.
(Heise) Gesetze allein werden das Spam-Problem nicht lösen. Das sagte EU Kommissar Erkki Liikanen bei der von der Kommission veranstalteten Spam-Konferenz gestern in Brüssel. Die Kommission will bis Ende des Jahres eine Mitteilung herausgeben, die den Mitgliedsstaaten im Kampf gegen das Übel Dampf macht und den effektiven Vollzug, mehr öffentliche Aufklärung und weitere Selbstregulierungs- und technische Anstrengungen der Branche einfordert. Noch hinken indes viele Mitgliedsstaaten schon bei der Umsetzung der Datenschutzrichtlinie, und damit auch des darin geforderten Opt-In-Prinzips, hinterher. Dabei tickt die Uhr: die nationalen Gesetzgeber haben nur noch bis zum 31. Oktober Zeit. ECO-Geschäftsführer Harald Summa warb für die ECO-Initiative von Trusted Networks. Sogenannte Premium-E-Mails sollen dabei nur noch über vertrauenswürdige Server ausgetauscht werden. Die Notwendigkeit zu filtern würde in diesem Netz aufgehoben, so Summa. Schließlich könnte die Branche den überforderten Behörden auch mit der bestehende Hotline unter die Arme greifen, denn entsprechende Kanäle bei den nationalen Regulierern beziehungsweise Datenschützern fehlen noch.
(Korea Herald) The South Korean government plans to introduce a new rule that will make it easier to identify junk e-mail, the Ministry of Information and Communication said. Under the new rule, commercial organizations sending unsolicited e-mail advertisements, or spam, will be required to place the '@' symbol in the subject line.
(Associated Press) The premise sounds simple: To cut down on junk e-mail, simply submit your addresses to a "do-not-spam" list that marketers would have to check to avoid fines. With more than 50 million phone numbers already on a federal do-not-call list in the United States, many e-mail users are eager for a no-spam counterpart. But don't hold out much hope, even if one is created. Phone and e-mail systems -and the marketers who employ them - are fundamentally different.
(Reuters) British officials urged their US counterparts to cooperate in their fight against "spam'' email, downplaying differences between the two countries' legal approaches to unwanted commercial marketing. Several UK lawmakers and an appointee of Prime Minister Tony Blair are meeting this week with US lawmakers and law enforcement agencies to discuss how to curb the unwanted messages that now account for roughly half of all email traffic.
(Heise) Der Netzaktivist Alvar Freude hat sich wieder einmal durch eine Aktion Ärger eingehandelt. Die Staatsanwaltschaft Stuttgart droht ihm sogar mit Berufsverbot. Sie reibt sich unter anderem an dem Vorlesedienst "Freedom Fone" auf der Website Odem.org. Freude bietet an, in Nordrhein-Westfalen gesperrte Internetseiten am Telefon vorzulesen.
(JoongAng Daily) The Korea Communications Commission, an arm of the Ministry of Information and Communication, said that four Internet service providers must pay damages to subscribers for losses incurred during the Jan. 25 nationwide network crash. The broadband operators failed to provide enough evidence to support their argument that the incident was beyond their control, the commission said.
(CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh. The FBI is convinced that I'm an Internet service provider. It's no joke. A letter the FBI sent on Sept. 19 ordered me to 'preserve all records and other evidence' relating to my interviews of Adrian Lamo, the so-called homeless hacker, who's facing two criminal charges related to an alleged intrusion into The New York Times' computers.
(FT) The heads of Europe's biggest telecoms companies urged the European Union to take a more accommodating approach and soften obligations for third-generation mobile phone licences. At an industry summit in Brussels, executives asked for the help of Erkki Liikanen, the EU's information society commissioner, in encouraging the roll-out of 3G, steering clear of new regulations and stimulating broadband content. Participants in the meeting included the chief executives of Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, BT, Philips and Ericsson. In documents seen by the FT, the executives estimate that the cost of 3G licences has totalled €110bn ($129bn), with roll-out costing an additional €105bn - of which only €12bn has been spent.
(CNET News.com) The Federal Trade Commission remains concerned that consumers may not be able to tell when search results are advertiser-sponsored, thanks to sometimes-unclear disclosure on the part of search companies. Last year, the FTC notified Web operators - including Yahoo-owned AltaVista and America Online - that they must clearly mark advertisements that appear within their search results. Though some reform trickled through the industry, questions still linger about how well companies label the commercial listings that appear when Web surfers delve into their indices.
(BBC) MSN's free unmoderated chatrooms are shutting down in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Latin America and most of Asia. 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.
(Stuff) New Zealand Internet service provider Xtra has shut the door on all its Microsoft MSN chatrooms, bowing to calls to clamp down on "spam" and sex predators. Internet experts are sceptical and say children and paedophiles will simply switch to other free chatrooms.
(Guardian) Scare stories about 'groomers' and MSN's closedown policy shouldn't, and won't, mean the end for internet chatrooms, says Parul Amlani. Parul Amlani is from UKChatterbox.com, which launches a new safety initiative for chatrooms on October 15th.
(Washington Post) Following the Supreme Court decision to revisit the constitutionality of the Children's Online Protection Act, a controversial 1998 law aimed at protecting children from online pornography. An edited transcript of an online chat with Daniel L. Weiss, Media & Sexuality Analyst with Focus on the Family, talking about his group's support for the law.
(Observer) Children using mobile phones to access internet chatrooms or download pornographic pictures will have their parents alerted under new 'spy' technology introduced because of safety fears about the worldwide web. Teenagers' ability to surf the net in secret has been increased by the latest generation of handsets, and the use of mobiles for internet access has trebled in the last year. Apart from the thousands of porn sites accessible by phone, there is concern over online gambling sites and chatrooms infiltrated by paedophiles. The new safeguard, the so-called i3G system, devised by the giant communications group Cable and Wireless, works by identifying unusual patterns of calls from, say, a child who has mostly used a phone for text messaging and short calls to friends but suddenly begins expensively downloading a lot of pictures, dialling premium rate or foreign numbers - one possible indicator of a suspect site registered overseas - or running up huge bills in chatrooms. Parents could then be alerted.
(eLuxembourg) Le 16 octobre 2003, Monsieur François Biltgen, Ministre délégué aux Communications, et Monsieur Michel Lanners du SCRIPT (Service de coordination de la recherche et de l’innovation pédagogiques et technologiques) du MENFPS donnent une conférence de presse marquant le lancement de la campagne de sensibilisation Safeborders. Le but de la campagne est de sensibiliser les enfants et les jeunes aux dangers potentiels d’Internet et d’informer les parents, les enseignants et les consommateurs, ainsi que les enfants eux-mêmes, des possibilités de minimiser ces risques tout en profitant des opportunités offertes par Internet. [Ed: co-financé par le programme Safer Internet]
(BBC) Children should be taught to use the internet "more creatively", rather than spending their time playing games and chatting to friends, a report, Children on the Internet, recommends. Research carried out at the London School of Economics found youngsters were often at the forefront of family computer use. But schools and parents should do more to encourage children to participate in online political discussions and produce their own websites, it added. Its author, Professor Sonia Livingstone, said: "Young people were still relatively trusting and uncritical about online material". see also Children are internet experts (Guardian).
(Computer World) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, along with its Canadian and British counterparts and the SANS Institute, today released a list of the 20 security vulnerabilities most often exploited by criminal hackers. The creation of the Top 20 list of commonly exploited Windows, Unix and Linux flaws marks one of the first times that a multinational consensus has been reached on critical Internet vulnerabilities that must be fixed to meet a minimum level of security protection for computers connected to the Internet.
(EurActiv.com) The Parliament adopted on 9 October the interinstitutional agreement on better law-making, defining the conditions for the use of alternative regulation methods. Following the publication of its White Paper on Governance in July 2001, the Commission published in June 2002 an 'Action Plan' to simplify and improve the EU's regulatory environment. In this Communication, the Commission called upon the Council and the Parliament to conclude an interinstitutional agreement on this issue. The Parliament is especially concerned about the use of alternative regulation methods (so called 'soft law'), such as co-regulation and self-regulation. see European Parliament decision on the conclusion of the interinstitutional agreement on Better Law-Making between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission and Report A5-0313/2003
(Guardian) The government has rejected a call by MPs for a privacy law, branding it "unnecessary and undesirable" and insisting that self-regulation remains the best way of maintaining high standards in newspapers.
(Press Release) The Death2Spam Mail Server is a third-generation Internet email filtering service, built around an amazingly accurate word-frequency distribution analyzer. This incredibly powerful technology compares the pattern of words found in an incoming message against a vast database of "good" and "spam" emails. It then assigns each email a probability score indicating whether that message is good and interesting, or is just another piece of useless junk mail.
(GFi) This white paper describes how Bayesian mathematics can be applied to the spam problem, resulting in an adaptive, 'statistical intelligence' technique that is much harder to circumvent by spammers. It also explains why the Bayesian approach is the best way to tackle spam once and for all, as it overcomes the obstacles faced by more static technologies such as blacklist checking, databases of known spam and keyword checking. This is not to say that these technologies are obsolete, but they cannot be used as effectively as needed if not combined with a Bayesian filter.
(Guardian) Female Dutch athletes are baring all on a pay-per-view website to fund training abroad during the winter after cuts in subsidies left them in the cold. Around 250 photos of six women are on the site, which received almost 2m hits on Monday alone. All the proceeds go to the women, who expect to earn about 1,000 euro (£700) each to put towards travel and training costs.
(BBC News) BT is throwing its weight behind online gaming in an attempt to encourage more people to switch to broadband. It has joined forces with gaming giants Sony and Microsoft to offer a combined router/modem and broadband package for console gamers.
(BBC) Relying on online translation tools can be a risky business, especially if you expect too much of it. For the time being, might translation be something best left to the humans?
(RAPID) World Standards Day on 14 October will focus on the role of Standards for the Information Society. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standards have a direct bearing on almost all aspects of our life: business and commerce, finance and banking, healthcare and education, transport and tourism, and public administration. This year's World Standards Day will also pave the way to an EU-US dialogue on ICT standards to exchange early warnings on potential technical barriers to global solutions for the Information Society. Europe's contribution to this dialogue include a recognition of the importance of open standards in order to stimulate competitive innovation in ICT goods and services worldwide
(Press Release) Whether they're surfing cyberspace or getting homework help, playing games or listening to Internet radio, today's "wired youth" are going online more often, spending an average of four days a week on the Internet. According to a recent America Online/Digital Marketing Services, Inc. online survey conducted in Opinion Place among more than 2,000 kids aged 7 - 12 years and parents of kids aged 7 - 12 years, nearly half of kids (46%) go online at least four times a week and nearly 20% go online every day.
(CyberAtlas) 'Go to your room!' doesn't have the same impact on kids as it used to, as a Knowledge Networks/SRI study finds that a significant number of children have various media and entertainment devices in their bedrooms. Based on interviews with 245 children ages 8 to 17, the firm found that the kids' domain is rife with media usage. According to the study, 61 percent have a television in their room, and while 17 percent of the kids have a computer mouse planted next to the TV remote control, only 9 percent have Internet access. More than half the kids surveyed (57 percent) said that all their Internet usage takes place in their rooms, and 61 percent of their parents enact rules restricting Web use. Comparatively, 69 percent of kids without a Net connection in their rooms have parental restrictions.
(MSNBC) E-mail users are getting smarter when it comes to fighting spam. The number of consumers deleting spam without reading it has climbed to 65 percent from last year's 60 percent. Only 4 percent bother to read spam to see if it is of any use, compared with 5 percent in 2002, and 18 percent the year before, according to a study by DoubleClick.
(CNET News.com) For households that are considering upgrading to broadband, price still matters, according to a new study. Sixty-three percent of dial-up households said they would not upgrade to broadband because it's too expensive, according to a survey conducted by The Yankee Group, a market research firm. In addition, one-third of households that have broadband said they would swap out their current broadband service for a cheaper one.
(CyberAtlas) The untethered life holds great appeal for Internet users worldwide as the number of subscribers to wireless applications continues to grow. The Yankee Group predicts that global wireless users will grow nearly 9 percent from 2002 to exceed 1.75 billion in 2007, and Instat/MDR expects the number of worldwide wireless Internet subscribers will have risen from 74 million at the end of 2001 to more than 320 million by the end of 2006.
(Economist) Is it time to declare the demise of the handheld computer, also known as the personal digital assistant (PDA)? A lot of people suddenly think so, for despite high hopes that the devices would someday become ubiquitous, annual sales have stayed flat at around 11m units worldwide. In contrast, sales of smartphones, high-powered mobile handsets capable of doing most things PDAs can do, are rising fast. Smartphones can be used to store addresses and phone numbers, download small pieces of software (such as games), browse the internet while on the move, store and play music, and jot down brief messages. And, of course, they are also telephones.
(OII) Oxford University has announced two new professorships. The closing date for applications is 24 November 2003. Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation. The appointee will be a non-stipendiary professorial fellow of Keble College. Professor of Society and the Internet. The appointee will be a non-stipendiary professorial fellow of Mansfield College. In each case, the postholder is required to reside within twenty-five miles of Carfax during six months at least in each academical year.
QuickLinks consists of