- EU arrest warrant enters into force +/-
(Euractiv.com) On 1 January 2004, the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) entered into force between Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The other EU Member States have failed to meet the implementation deadline of 31 December 2003 laid down in the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant. The European Arrest Warrant will allow these eight EU Member States to secure the extradition of suspected terrorists or criminals more easily than before. The most significant change is the abolition of 'dual criminality' - the requirement that a person can only be extradited for an action considered to be an offence in both the country seeking extradition and the country being asked to surrender a suspect. It will also reduce political involvement in extradition by eliminating the practice of giving the justice minister the final say. The European arrest warrant covers all offences that carry a sentence of one year or more in the country seeking an extradition (including sexual exploitation of children and child pornography and computer-related crime).
- NL - Child porn cases hit Netherlands +/-
(BBC) Police in the Netherlands have arrested the conductor of a boys' choir after finding thousands of child pornography pictures at his home. And in a separate case, it has been announced that a former judge is to be prosecuted for possessing child pornography.
- UK - £8,000 bill for phone theft victims +/-
(BBC) A couple have been told they must pay a bill of more than £8,000 run up by thieves after their mobile phone was stolen in South Africa where they were on holiday. They only realised it was missing when they got back to Britain. T-Mobile says it is extremely unlikely to waive the bill which shows the phone was used non-stop every minute for a week, with calls to countries such as Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal and Ethiopia.
- US - U.K. man in Internet sex case gets 5 years imprisonment +/-
(AP) An Englishman was sentenced to five years in prison after he traveled to Iowa to have sex with a 14-year-old girl he met on the Internet. Barry Beadle, 52, pleaded guilty in September to enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and traveling with intent to engage in sexual activity with a minor. The former psychiatric nurse met the girl in an Internet chat room last year and set up an in-person meeting in April. Beadle, of Merseyside, England, and the victim stayed together for six days at an Iowa motel, having sex, watching television and drinking beer, prosecutors said.
- FR - Des éditeurs de presse crient haro sur Google +/-
(01net.) Les principaux titres de la presse quotidienne nationale accusent Google de ne pas respecter les droits d'auteur, et demandent à être supprimés de son service d'agrégation de contenus, Google Actualités. Selon le président du Geste (Groupement des éditeurs de services en ligne) et directeur de l'édition électronique du quotidien Les Echos, Philippe Jannet, certains membres de la commission « presse en ligne » de cette organisation professionnelle (Le Monde, Libération, Le Figaro, La Tribune, L'Express, Les Echos, ... à l'exception notable du Nouvel Observateur) ont récemment adressé un courrier de mise en demeure à Google.
- NO - The Norwegian DVD case +/-
(Lovdata) Decision by Borgarting Appellate Court. A young person had in 1999 co-operated on the development of a program that circumvented the Content Scrambling System for DVDs on Internet. He had programmed a user interface which made the program available also for persons without any special knowledge of information technology. The appellate court found, as had the first instance court, that the development of the program was not illegal. The decision will not be appealed to the Supreme Court. English translation from the original Norwegian by Prof. Jon Bing, Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo.
- UK - Amazon investigated over cut-price CDs +/-
(Guardian) Record industry trade body the British Phonographic Industry is looking at whether Amazon.com breaks the law by selling American CDs to UK consumers at cheaper prices. It is not investigating Amazon.co.uk, which only sells domestically sourced CDs. The development comes as the BPI is preparing a lawsuit against UK-based retailer CDWow, which buys CDs at low prices overseas and distributes them from Hong Kong, undercutting high street stores. The BPI argues that CDWow breaks the law by importing CDs from outside the European Economic Area and selling them at cheaper prices than UK retailers without the consent of copyright owners.
- EU - Commission wants database of 'wanted persons' to include biometrics +/-
(EurActiv.com) The second generation Schengen information system (SIS II) will be a new version of the existing Schengen database, extending its use to the accession countries and enabling the addition of new functions. It consists of national databases of 'wanted persons' in each EU country, with the central data base managed by the French administration in Strasbourg. On 11 December, the Commission adopted a Communication on the Development of the Schengen Information System and possible synergies with a future Visa Information System (VIS) (progress report for the activities carried out in the first half of 2003) COM(2003) 771. The Commission recommends: storing biometric data, such as digital photographs and fingerprints, on SIS II; setting up an agency to manage the system; integrating SIS II into the same technical architecture as the future Visa Information System (VIS) while keeping the two sets of data separate. Twenty-eight million euro are to be allocated from the EU budget to develop SIS II. see Council Regulation (EC) No 2424/2001 of 6 December 2001 on the development of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), and SIS II takes ominous shape (Statewatch).
- UK - You can't print that +/-
(Guardian) Thanks to European privacy rulings, the British media may find it harder and harder to prove stories and images are in the public interest. The European data protection rules are implemented into UK law under the Data Protection Act of 1998. Under this act, the use of personal data will not usually give rise to criminal liability, even if the use contravenes the requirements of the act. However, there may be civil liability for compensation or an injunction if personal data is used improperly. There has been relatively little litigation over the act as yet but many media lawyers anticipate that it will, in the future, be used to extend rights not only in privacy but also to develop image and personality rights. Such rights would allow a famous person much greater ability to control the use of his or her image, name or personality and would potentially provide a further lucrative income for celebrities for such use.
- UK pleads for easing of $100 visa ruling +/-
(Guardian) British diplomats are urging Washington to relax security regulations which may force UK travellers from late October to buy a $100 visa. Pressure is building up on both sides of the Atlantic to find a way around the deadline after which all newly-issued passports presented at US airports must contain either biometric details of the carrier or a visa. At present British holiday-makers can visit the States without a visa for up to three months. The new requirement will not affect most passport holders, only those who acquire a new one after October 26. The UK Passport Agency is not expected to produce passports with biometric details - bearing a microchip recording fingerprints or face recognition data - until mid-2005.
- CN - China mobiles outstrip landlines +/-
(BBC) China now has more mobile phones than it has landlines, new figures show. According to the data from the Ministry of Information Industry, subscriber numbers were up by more than 30% in 2003 to 269 million. Over the same period, the number of fixed-line phones rose to 263 million in a population of 1.3 billion people.
- FR - Les voeux par SMS font le bonheur des opérateurs GSM +/-
(ZDNet France) Le chiffre est impressionnant: 88 millions de SMS ont été envoyés au cours du 1er janvier 2004. Les opérateurs se frottent les mains sans donner de chiffres. Estimation du profit net ramassé par Orange lors de cette journée: 5,4 millions d'euros.
- Global broadband keeps climbing +/-
(BBC) Broadband internet is well on the way to becoming one of the 'fastest growing new technologies in history', according to industry analysts Point Topic. There are now an estimated 100 million broadband connections globally, it said in its end of year analysis.
- Rumours fuel top Google searches +/-
(BBC) Google has published its 2003 'zeitgeist', which gives a flavour of what people looked for on the net. Globally, Britney Spears led the pack ahead of boy wizard Harry Potter. Prince Charles was the top search term in the UK, fuelled by rumours which the British press were banned from reporting on in detail. Michael Jackson, Winnie the Pooh and rugby star Jonny Wilkinson also featured in the UK top 10 searches, along with newcomers Paris Hilton and old favourites The Simpsons and David Beckham. The honey-loving bear has been the subject of a drawn-out legal battle over merchandising rights in 2003.
- UK - Mobile net has 'best ever month' +/-
(BBC) More people accessed the net on their mobile phones in November 2003 than any other month, said analysts. A record 947m Wap (Wireless Application Protocol) pages were hit, said the Mobile Data Association (MDA). Large numbers of users went online to download polyphonic ringtone versions of music hits, according to the MDA. November's huge figures mean the MDA's prediction for total downloads via mobiles for 2003 was topped, before December's figures were included.
- UK - Old mobiles 'dumped' at Christmas +/-
(BBC) Three quarters of a million old mobiles will have been discarded or dumped since Christmas, according to a survey. Just four per cent of those questioned in a poll for The Body Shop said they would bother to recycle them. Toxics in dumped mobiles can harm the environment, but more than a quarter of people with new models said they would just throw their old ones in the bin. It is estimated 15 million mobiles are replaced annually, with owners updating them on average every 18 months. It is thought about 3.75 million mobile handsets will have landed in Christmas stockings in 2003, according to NOP, a figure which is likely to grow next year. The Body Shop, which has teamed up with recycling firm Greener Solutions to encourage people to hand in their old phones so that they can be recycled for charity.
- UK - Text record smashed for New Year +/-
(BBC) New Year revellers smashed the record for the most texts ever sent in a day, said the Mobile Data Association (MDA). A thumb-numbing 111 million SMS messages were sent on all four main UK mobile networks between midnight 31 December and midnight 1 January. The new record beats last year's 102 million by 8%, and is twice the volume sent on an average day. But some well-wishes may well have never received their messages because of network traffic. O2 said it handled the largest volume of texts out of the four networks - 37.2 million - and added that the majority sent arrived within minutes. In the crucial 11pm until midnight hour, 97% were delivered in 10 seconds.
- US - Down on Downloading +/-
(Washington Post) A survey of 1,358 Internet users conducted in November and December found that the percentage of Americans who said they downloaded music dropped to 14 percent of Internet users (or about 18 million people), compared with 29 percent (some 35 million people) revealed in a similar survey last spring. The findings - reported by the Pew Internet & American Life Project - showed that the numbers who are downloading files on any given day have plunged since the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began filing suits against those suspected of copyright infringement. Furthermore, a fifth of those who say they continue to download or share files online say they are doing so less often because of the suits.