- China launches 'people's war' against porn on the Internet +/-
(AFP) China has launched a 'people's war' against pornography on the Internet, giving websites a deadline until September to rid themselves of indecent content. Officials have so far identified 500 websites across China that carry pornographic pictures and film clips. Zhou Yongkang, the minister of public security, has vowed to crack down on the activities and severely punish those found guilty of violating the law. President Hu Jintao has gone one step further, saying a 'people's war' must be waged against pornography on the Internet. It appears the Chinese have answered their president's call, filing a total of 22,000 complaints on a dedicated government website set up to make it easier for the public to report online wrongdoing.
- EU - Cross-border paedophile case boosts cooperation on criminal records +/-
(EurActiv.com) France, Spain and Germany have announced they will be linking up their criminal records' systems electronically from 2005 on. A joint statement issued by the three Member States called for this model to be used in setting up an EU-wide register "as soon as possible". The trio's initiative emerged as EU justice ministers were discussing ways to share information on criminals convicted of serious crimes, in response to judicial shortcomings underlined by a Franco-Belgian serial murder investigation.
- UK - AOL casts doubts on BT's child-porn protection +/-
(ZDNet UK) Around 230,000 attempts to reach paedophilic Web content have been blocked by BT's Cleanfeed, but AOL says this content blocker may not be the answer.
- UK - cybercops catch suspected Russian blackmailers +/-
(ZDNet UK) Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) has helped to smash a Russian gang involved in online extortion. Three men were arrested in a series of raids that targeted an online protection racket that threatened to crash online sport bookies' Web sites unless the gang was paid off. More arrests are expected to follow. Three men were arrested in a series of raids that targeted an online protection racket that threatened to crash Web sites unless the gang was paid off. More arrests are expected to follow.
- UK - Extent of child net porn revealed +/-
(BBC) BT says it is blocking more than 10,000 attempts each day to access child porn. Its figures provide the first firm evidence of the extent of web paedophilia and BT is targeting the porn with its Clean Feed system. The Internet Watch Foundation called the figures 'staggering' and said children were being abused in order to supply the hardcore images. Police officials said the extent of the online porn problem was 'extremely disturbing'.
- UK - Fake websites entice paedophiles +/-
(BBC) Police have set up fake websites to catch people accessing child porn, the National Crime Squad (NCS) has said. A web sting has been set up by the NCS, who worked with the FBI, Interpol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Australian HI-Tech Crime Centre. The online operation, known as Operation Pin, targets offenders by setting up fake websites that collect details of people wanting to look at child porn. Law enforcement agencies have worked with search engine operators to ensure that the fake sites appear when a person looks for certain keywords. The aim is to prevent people joining the more clandestine community of experienced paedophiles. As yet it is unclear how many offenders have been caught as a result of this approach.
- UK - Talks Aim to Tackle Internet Child Porn +/-
(PA News) Tony Blair announced a Government-backed summit into ways to stop paedophiles accessing child porn on the internet. The Prime Minister invited internet firms to the talks in September in a new bid to block online viewing of youngsters being abused. He also welcomed a BT initiative which used new technology to block access to child porn, but revealed the scale of the problem with 200,000 attempts to view hardcore websites in just three weeks. Mr Blair urged other firms to follow BT's lead.
- Ukraine - Police Shut Model Agency in Porn Crackdown +/-
(Reuters) Ukrainian police shut a modeling agency which photographed underage girls and sold images over the Internet in North America as part of their biggest crackdown on child pornography. Police are questioning about 15 people about the agency, which operated for three years across the country.
- AU - Watchdog losing fight against extreme web porn +/-
(Sydney Morning Herald) Controls on extreme pornography and other prohibited content on internet websites in Australia have virtually ceased, a newspaper claims. An investigation by the Daily Telegraph revealed the federal government's watchdog was powerless against offshore operators and that just four Australian-based sites were ordered off the web last year.
- China - Censorship stepped up to target blogging +/-
(Reporters sans frontières) The Chinese authorities have stepped up Internet censorship to include blogging, closing two sites hosting blogs - personal pages where Internet-users post their own comments on the news.
- China - Yahoo, Google 'irresponsible' +/-
(silicon.com) Human rights organisation Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has accused two of the biggest names in search - Yahoo! and Google - of deliberately conspiring to censor the Web. RSF called the pair 'irresponsible' for blocking some content labelled as subversive by the Chinese government - sites relating to Tibet's independence, for example. Such sites disappear from the Chinese language version of Yahoo and a Yahoo-parented search engine, Yisou, while a local search engine that Google now owns a share of, Baidu, also censors its results.
- DE - Das Spiel Manhunt wird beschlagnahmt +/-
(reticon) Bundesweit wird auf Grund eines Urteils des Amtsgerichts München das Computerspiel Manhunt beschlagnahmt. Das Spiel war schon durch Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien indiziert worden. Dass ein Computerspiel beschlagnahmt wird, ist in Deutschland eher selten der Fall, zuletzt geschehen vor fast 10 Jahren bei dem Spiel "Mortal Combat II". Manhunt hatte schon bei der ersten Publizierung für viele Diskussionen gesorgt, da das Spiel äußerst brutale Gewaltszenen enthält. siehe auch Brutalo-Spiel bundesweit beschlagnahmt (Onlinekosten.de).
- Maldives - Protest at net controls +/-
(BBC) Telecoms giant Cable & Wireless has been urged to use its influence in the Maldives to help free jailed net users. The press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, has written to the company's boss, asking him to put pressure on the Maldives authorities to end abusive internet censorship. Reporters Without Borders says that the Maldives is one of the world's most repressive in terms of freedom of expression on the internet.
- UK - More Study Needed on Video Games - Expert +/-
(PA) More research was needed into how violent video games can influence the behaviour of adolescents, a psychology expert said. Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, said a link had already been proved between violence and video games in children aged eight years or below. But more study was needed into the long-term impact of blood-thirsty games on the behaviour of older children as they grow up. see also Caution call on video game storm (BBC). UK - Killing 'incited by video game' (Guardian). The parents of a 14-year-old boy who was bludgeoned and stabbed to death by another teenager blamed a video game for his murder. Stefan Pakeerah was stabbed and beaten repeatedly with a hammer in an attack his mother described as mimicking the gameplay in the video game Manhunt. see also Shops withdraw computer game and Don't blame the games (Observer) by Mary Riddell.
- UK - Ofcom rules out ban on child junk food ads +/-
(Guardian) The television watchdog, Ofcom, ruled out a ban on advertising junk foods to children yesterday, saying the role of advertising in obesity was small compared to that of other factors such as exercise and family habits. It said any other action would have to wait for the government's public health white paper in the autumn. The decision to kick the issue into the long grass sets Ofcom on collision course with the growing campaign to curb marketing to children.
- US - You Can't Do That on Television! +/-
(New York Times) Six months after the Super Bowl, writers, producers and network executives are in a state of confusion about what they are allowed to say and show on television.
- Vietnam tightens net controls +/-
(Australian IT) Vietnam has stepped up efforts to control internet traffic, instructing service providers to terminate contracts with cybercafes that allow customers to access pornographic or anti-government websites. The directive is the latest in a string of measures unveiled in recent months to prevent 'bad and poisonous information' being circulated online. This latest regulation requires the communist nation's seven state-owned ISPs to disconnect cybercafes if they allow clients to access forbidden websites. Cafe owners are also instructed to monitor their customers' use of the web for any violations of government regulations, such as distributing viruses and accessing pornographic sites or those that 'threaten national security'.
- UK - Sony wins landmark case against mod chips +/-
(ZDNet UK) Sony has won a landmark judgment against a man who sold modified PlayStation2 chips that circumvented copy protection. The UK high court ruled that Sony's intellectual property rights were being violated by the practice of 'modding', also known as 'chipping'. Users could install the chips in their PS2 to play imported games from other regions as well as pirated copies. Like many console and DVD-drive makers, Sony uses regional encoding that prevents European hardware, based on the PAL standard, from playing software from the US or the Far East. Mr Justice Laddie ruled that Ball had violated the European Union Copyright Directive, which came into UK law in 2003. This is the first time that the UK's copyright laws have been used to prevent the circumvention of copy protection.
- EU - Informal Consultation on Digital Rights Management Systems +/-
(Europa) At the second meeting of the High Level Group on Digital Rights Management Systems (DRM) it was decided to launch a wider consultation of all stakeholders on the Final Report. This informal consultation will allow views to be expressed by interested circles on the outcome of the High Level Group. A workshop will be organised by the Commission in the course of November 2004, at which the issues identified as obstacles directly linked to DRM will be addressed. Stakeholders and interested circles are invited to submit their comments to the Commission until the 15 September 2004.
- FR - French ISPs Join Piracy Crackdown +/-
(AP) French Internet service providers agreed to cooperate in a crackdown against Web surfers who illegally download music online. In a government-backed charter also signed by record labels and musicians' groups, France's leading Internet companies agreed to pull the plug on pirates and step up cooperation with copyright prosecutions. The agreement was signed by representatives of Internet service providers Free, Noos, Club-Internet, Wanadoo and Tiscali France. The chief executive of Club-Internet who also is head of France's association of Internet service providers, stressed that companies like her own would "cut subscriptions only upon the decision of a judge." Nevertheless, the charter also calls on music copyright holders to carry out "targeted civil and criminal" court action against pirates by year-end. see alsoMusic downloaders to have internet connection terminated (Digital Media Europe). French music fans who download music illegally are to have their internet connection shut down as part of a severe clamp down on the practice by the French government. The termination of the account of a regular offender could be implemented very quickly. In a few hours a judge will be able to order an ISP to shut down a connection at the request of a record label monitoring peer-to-peer networks.
- FR - Musique en ligne, attention à la déconnexion +/-
(Libération) Aux termes de la charte signée entre l'industrie du disque et les fournisseurs d'accès, tout abonné qui contreviendra aux droits des auteurs pourra être débranché. Des millions de Français usagers des services peer-to-peer (P2P) d'échanges gratuits de fichiers comme Kazaa sont désormais dans le collimateur. Pour officialiser le top départ de la chasse à ces «pirates», il a fallu mercredi trois ministres, des producteurs, des représentants des auteurs, dont la Sacem, et des fournisseurs d'accès à l'Internet. Du beau monde pour signer une «charte» pour le «développement de l'offre légale en ligne» et la «lutte contre la piraterie numérique». Le tout à l'Olympia, un «symbole», comme l'a souligné le ministre de la Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, présent avec ses camarades Nicolas Sarkozy (Economie) et Patrick Devedjian (Industrie). Charte d´engagements pour le développement de l´offre légale de musique en ligne, le respect de la propriété intellectuelle et la lutte contre la piraterie numérique. «Extrêmement défavorable au consommateur» Entretien avec Julien Dourgnon, de l'UFC-Que choisir. Les fournisseurs d'accès se frottent les mains Entretien avec Marie-Christine Levet, présidente de l'Association des fournisseurs d'accès (AFA) et de Club Internet.
- Music piracy 'funding terrorism and crime' +/-
(FT) Gangs linked to international terrorism and organised crime are relying increasingly on music piracy to fund their operations, according to music industry figures. Leading music groups saw the value of pirated sales rise by 4 per cent to $4.5bn (?3.7bn, ú2.4bn) last year, and claimed the proceeds were being used for money laundering, drugs trafficking and terrorism. The International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), representing music labels in 70 countries, said it had uncovered evidence of links between gangs involved in music piracy and Middle East terrorists. IFPI press release and Report
- Storm over iPod 'hacker tactics' +/-
(BBC) Apple says it is looking closely at software firm RealNetworks' claim that it has found a way for tunes from its online store to be played on iPods. Real said it had created a program to mimic Apple's protection software which allows tracks downloaded from iTunes stores to be played only on iPods. Apple said it was 'stunned' at Real's 'hacker tactics'. Real has hit back by saying that consumers and not Apple should decide what music goes on their iPod. see also Is Real's 'hacking' of iPod legal? (CNET News.com). Code-crackers risk fines and prison time when they defeat copy-protection technology, but such draconian rules likely don't apply in the case of RealNetworks and its iPod 'hack,' legal experts said. Apple Shows Some Mean Colors (Silicon Valley) by Dan Gillmor. The Trouble with Tethering(Engadget). We asked Siva Vaidhyanathan, an assistant professor of Culture and Communication at NYU, to put things in perspective for us. He explains why RealNetworks? move might actually be good for Apple and why all these attempts by companies to tether their customers to specific products, platforms, and formats are bound to backfire.
- US - Antipiracy bill gains new ally +/-
(CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh. The U.S. Copyright Office is about to endorse new legislation that would outlaw peer-to-peer networks and possibly some consumer electronics devices that could be used for copyright piracy. Marybeth Peters, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, is planning to announce her support for the measure at a Senate hearing. The Induce Act, which critics warn could imperil products like Apple Computer's iPod, is an 'important improvement over existing law,' according to a copy of her statement seen by CNET News.com. Peters goes even further than the politicians supporting the Induce Act, saying a 1984 Supreme Court decision 'should be replaced by a more flexible rule that is more meaningful in the technological age.' That 5-4 ruling said that VCRs were legal to sell because they were 'capable of substantial noninfringing uses' - a legal shield that one federal court has extended to cover the Grokster and Morpheus file-swapping networks.
- US - GWU Students Will Get Free Tunes This Fall +/-
(Washington Post) George Washington University this fall will become one of a small number of colleges to attempt a novel solution to the problem of students illegally downloading music from the Internet: It's going to give them the music, legally, for free. Through a deal worked out with the online music library Napster, students living in campus residence halls will be able to access hundreds of thousands of songs over the university's high-speed network, effectively allowing them to use their personal computers as digital jukeboxes.
- FR - Revision of French Data Protection Act +/-
(IRIS) DELIS, LDH and IRIS joint Communique. By voting identically to the National Assembly, the French Senate has allowed the final adoption on July 15, 2004, of the draft law on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data. This law revises the French Data Protection Act of January 6, 1978, and transposes the European Directive of 1995. Many aspects of the adopted text constitute a regression of the protection of citizens ensured so far by the Data Protection Act of 1978, and not all of them are a consequence of transposing the European Directive of 1995. Logically following its vote against this text, the parliamentary opposition would submit the adopted law to the French Constitutional Council. If the Council Decision does not allow to restore the level of protection enjoyed by French citizens before the adoption of this law, the DELIS coalition, the LDH and IRIS reserve themselves the possibility of filing a complaint with the European Commission, in order to have it carried by the Commission before the Court of Justice of the European Communities, against France for infringement of the Community legislation.
- UK - 2004 Big Brother Awards +/-
(out-law.com) Privacy International announced the winners of its Big Brother Awards 2004, the sixth year that the privacy group has run a competition to name those who have "done the most to devastate privacy and civil liberties in the UK".
- UK - ID card plans 'badly thought out' +/-
(BBC) Plans for introducing ID cards in the UK are poorly thought out and vital details are still unclear, say MPs. The Commons home affairs committee says ID cards should go ahead and can help fight organised crime and terrorism. But it criticises a 'lack of clarity' over how the scheme will work in practice, with too much information kept secret by ministers. Committee Report. see also MPs attack Blunkett ID card plan (Guardian). Ms express alarm about what they describe as 'function creep' once a national identity register is in place. They warn that ministers are already planning to use the ID card scheme as a cover to introduce a national fingerprint system within five years.
- UK - They have your number +/-
(Guardian) A powerful new surveillance system which uses the latest automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology is being rolled out at service stations.
- EU - Commission wants giant data network +/-
(KableNet.com) The European Commission is looking for suppliers to work on a new communications infrastructure covering all national governments and EU institutions across the continent. The 100m (£66m) system will replace the existing network, known as Testa, which allows the exchange of data between European and national administrations. The deadline for responding to the tender notice is 13 September 2004.
- EU INSPIREs better geographical info +/-
(RAPID) To improve mapping in Europe, the European Commission is launching the INSPIRE (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in the European Union) initiative. A database with consistent geographical information, INSPIRE will support environmental protection policies as well as infrastructure development, agriculture and maritime navigation. A new Directive proposed today calls on EU Member States to put geographical information on a publicly accessible electronic network and to progressively harmonise it. At present, information on rivers, road networks and other geographical features is collected in an uncoordinated way and based on different methods and specifications, resulting in data gaps and lack of comparability.
- FR - Météo France rétablit la gratuité de ses prévisions sur internet +/-
(Reuters) Face aux protestations d'internautes, Météo France a décidé de rétablir la gratuité de ses prévisions à trois jours pour l'ensemble de la France, mais les mesures plus précises resteront payantes. La direction de l'établissement public s'est également défendue de diffuser des prévisions trop aléatoires, comme l'affirme la revue de défense des consommateurs "Que Choisir".
- UK - MPs back free access to research results +/-
(Guardian) The results of publicly-funded scientific research carried out in Britain should be made freely available to all and the government should help universities fund digital archives of their academic work, a committee of MPs will urge. In its long-awaited report into the scientific publishing market, the Commons science and technology committee will also call on the Office of Fair Trading to carry out a biennial review of the market.
- CoE - Public consultation on future Council of Europe activities in the media field +/-
(CoE) At a meeting of the Council of Europe's Steering Committee on the Mass Media (CDMM) on 11-14 May 2004, it was decided to organise the 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 10-11 March 2005. The main topics of the Conference will be 1) freedom of expression and information in times of crisis, 2) cultural diversity and media pluralism in times of globalisation and 3) human rights and regulation of the media and new communication services in the Information Society. The CDMM is now preparing the draft political texts (a draft political declaration, draft resolutions on the three main topics of the Conference and a draft action plan) to be adopted by the Ministers at the Conference, outlining priorities for future work within the Council of Europe in the area of media law and policy. In this context, the CDMM would like to invite non-governmental organisations working in the media field in Europe and other interested persons to submit their ideas and proposals as regards these future activities. The proposals should not exceed 2 pages and should be sent to the Media Division, in English or French, by 31 August 2004.
- UK - Current Internet Regulation Issues +/-
(EURIM) Status Report for MPs. Recently there has been increasing focus on the presence of, and ability to gain access to, illegal and harmful content online. This has been followed by calls to prevent access to such material and to regulate the Internet. Such calls often ignore the technical and / or legal barriers to doing so, and fail to take into account the collective responsibility of society in general for the Internet "cleaning up its act". We need to recognise that this is an international problem, and that the UK is leading the way in industry and law enforcement co-operation. Since 1997, UK hosted potentially illegal content is down from 18% to less than 1%. 99% of illegal content reported is traced to outside the UK. Child abuse content traced to the USA is now 55%, while content traced to Russia is 23%. International co-operation between law enforcement agencies is therefore a crucial component and one which may be hampered by lack of expertise or resources from country to country.
- UN 'off track on Internet ' - Cerf +/-
(Reuters) The United Nations is veering off-track in its discussions on whether government officials should set Internet policy, a founding father of the network says. Instead, governments should join together to fight electronic crime globally and develop best practices to encourage the growth of Internet commerce, said ICANN's chairman Vinton Cerf, who helped invent the Internet's early architecture.
- WSIS - Civil society participation - Call for expressions of interest +/-
(OII) The Oxford Internet Institute has received a grant from the ESRC to hold four seminars and one small conference focusing on civil society participation in the World Summit on the Information Society. Four events will be held in the run up to the 2nd summit in November 2005. A final seminar will be held early in 2006, to allow for an informed and reflective discussion of the whole WSIS process. We are currently seeking expressions of interest from researchers, civil society advocates and activists who wish to participate in, or contribute to, these seminars. Numbers are limited so please contact us as soon as possible and certainly by 1st October 2004.
- Australian code aims to curb spam +/-
(ZDNet Australia) A spam taskforce operating under the auspices of the Australian Internet Industry Association (IIA) has released a draft industry code of practice designed to block the spam epidemic. Members of the public and all relevant stakeholders are invited to submit comments by 30 August 2004.
- NL - Dutch regulator inundated with spam complaints +/-
(Digital Media Europe) OPTA, the Dutch telecom watchdog, has reported receiving 2,200 spam complaints - including 1,900 over e-mail - in the two months since anti-spam regulations went into force in the Netherlands.
- Sender Address Verification: Solving the Spam Crisis +/-
(CircleID) Thankfully, a new anti-spam technology has made its way into the market. This approach, known as Sender Address Verification or SAV, is poised to cripple spammer's ability to deliver machine-generated email. [Ed: Read the comments as well as the article].
- Spam - Think Globally, Block Locally +/-
(internetnews.com) Spam is a global problem: Even though most of it originates in the United States, the bulk of it is sent from overseas on behalf of American spammers. Is law or technology the best way to solve the problem? That's the question considered by privacy experts at a conference called 'International Spam Law & Policies: The Global Case.' Most speakers firmly came down against legislation, promoting a mix of private legal action and technology.
- US - Florida delivers sunshine and spam +/-
(USA Today) Although Florida is fighting back with an anti-spam law that went into effect this month, the state has long been known as the "spam capital of the world." Florida is relatively attractive to folks who are running scam-type operations because it has very favorable personal bankruptcy laws. If they get sued, they're able to hold on to a lot more of their personal possessions.
- US - Judge fines spammer $4m +/-
(Reuters) Microsoft has won a judgement against a Californian spammer. A federal judge in California has awarded Microsoft $4m after finding that a California man and his company had sent spam, or unsolicited email, to users of its MSN and Hotmail services to get them to download a toolbar onto their computer desktops.
- 2004-08-27 NL, Amsterdam - Guaranteeing Media Freedom on the Internet +/-
(OSCE) The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Mr Miklos Haraszti, is organizing a two-day conference on "Guaranteeing Media Freedom on the Internet" on 27 and 28 August 2004 in Amsterdam. The conference is a follow-up to the 2003 Amsterdam Internet Conference. More than 20 international experts will lecture. Interested representatives from IGOs, NGOs, academia, media and industry are invited to attend. Eventually a 'Freedom of the Media - Internet Cookbook' with best practices and benchmarks for Internet legislation, regulation and education will be produced and published at end of this year. Agenda;
- 2004-09-23 EU, Brussels - Second mobile communications seminar: health, environment & society +/-
(Europa) 23 - 24 September 2004 Residence Palace, International Press Centre, Brussels. The European Commission in co-operation with the GSM Europe/GSM Association and the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) organize the Second Mobile Communications Seminar on Health, Environment and Society. Following the January 2004 Conference, this one-and-a-half day seminar aims to contribute towards Europe-wide science-based public policy and regulation on health and electromagnetic fields (EMF) in order to ensure safety for everybody and improve public information. Best practices will be identified on the basis of a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective of the issues and a continuing dialogue between public policy representatives and all stakeholders.
- 2004-10-01 CA, Ottawa - The Internet and the Law - A Global Conversation +/-
(University of Ottawa) Friday, October 1st and Saturday, October 2nd, 2004. Bringing together leading academics from 16 countries, including Lawrence Lessig, David Post, Bernt Hugenholtz, Graham Greenleaf, and Ian Walden, the conference will explore comparative approaches to intellectual property law, e-commerce, Internet regulation, and developmental issues. The conference will begin in Ottawa on the evening of September 30, 2004 with the iCommons Canada launch party at which time the newly-ported Canadian version of the popular Creative Commons licence will be introduced to the public. The guest of honour at the celebration is Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford Law School, founder of Creative Commons.
- 2004-10-14 NL, Amsterdam - Seminar on e-Security +/-
(Dutch EU Presidency) Under the Dutch Presidency of the European Union, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is organising this conference. Network and information security is a prerequisite for the growth of electronic businesses and the competitiveness of the whole economy. So e-Security can substantially contribute to the Lisbon objectives.