- AU - Internet suicide chat could cost you $110,000 +/-
(News.com.au) People who use the internet to encourage others to commit suicide will attract fines of up to $110,000 under a new law being introduced by the Federal Government. Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the law would make it illegal to counsel or incite suicide or promote methods of suicide. Corporations can be liable for fines up to $550,000 and individuals $110,000.
- JP - Seven die in online suicide pact in Japan +/-
(Guardian) Seven people have killed themselves within hours of each other in Japan in the latest round of suicides committed after pacts made on the internet. All seven had apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning after sealing themselves in the vehicles and inhaling the fumes from charcoal stoves. Police said suicide notes had been found in both cars. The note in the second vehicle indicated that the victims had arranged to die together in internet chatrooms.
- UK - Police struggling to fight cybercrime +/-
(ZDNet UK) A Home Office report has found that police are struggling to cope with the weight of Internet child porn cases, due to under-resourcing and insufficient training; The report, Keeping Safe, Staying Safe: Thematic Inspection of the Investigation and Prevention of Child Abuse by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, found that police are spending so much time investigating Internet paedophilia they are failing to pursue other child abuse enquires.
- UK - 'Unit needed' to tackle net porn +/-
(BBC) Police want a new body to be set up to investigate internet child pornography. It comes as new figures show arrests and convictions for downloading such images have quadrupled in two years. Home Office figures, revealed by children's charity NCH, showed 2,234 people were charged or cautioned in 2003, compared with 549 in 2001. The BBC has learned the proposed unit - dubbed the UK Internet Safety Centre - would be staffed by police, charity workers and computer experts.It would operate around the clock to investigate reports of suspicious images found on the internet.
- UN- Illegal Drug Sales Booming on Internet +/-
(Reuters) Illegal drug sales on the Internet are booming as unlicensed online pharmacies selling drugs like morphine evade a patchy global effort to stop them, the United Nations narcotics watchdog said. In its 2004 annual report, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said Internet pharmacies sell several billion doses of medicine illicitly each year and deliver them by post, making them an alternative drug-trafficking route.
- JP - Japanese region bans violent games +/-
(Australian IT) A region near Tokyo plans Japan's first ban on selling violent videogames to children, fearing that the bloodshed on the screen can pose a social danger. 'New media such as the internet and games may be wielding a far greater influence than adults imagine in the life of children,' said an official in charge of juvenile affairs at the Kanagawa prefectural government. The prefecture, which is located southwest of the capital, will invite academics, lawyers and others in May to discuss the practicalities of the ban.
- MY - Content Regulation in Malaysia +/-
(JILT) by Ida Madieha Azmi. A Content Code in Malaysia sets out guidelines, good practice procedures and standards for content disseminated to audiences by service providers in the communications and multimedia industry in Malaysia. It was drafted by the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum under sections 212 and 213 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, an industry body representing relevant sectors of the industry to ensure that the Code reflects the views of the community at large. The Code seeks to identify what is regarded as offensive and objectionable while spelling out the obligations of content providers within the context of social values in this country. The code, which is a blueprint of self regulation, is drafted purely by an industry society with no interference from the government.
- UK - Anger over BBC vice documentary +/-
(BBC) The BBC has received around 200 complaints after a documentary about pornography was shown at 9.15am. Britain's Streets of Vice, presented by Sally Magnusson, featured interviews with several people who make a living from the UK's porn industry. Media regulator Ofcom said it was looking into the matter after receiving 34 complaints.
- UK - Game given pre-watershed ad ban +/-
(BBC) The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned adverts for a violent computer game, the 18-rated game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, from being shown on television before the watershed of 2100 GMT when children could be watching. see Rockstar Games
- EU ministers endorse software patent law +/-
(BBC) European ministers have endorsed a controversial proposed law on patents which critics say could stifle software development. see Council Press Release. The Council adopted by qualified majority its common position on a draft Directive laying down rules for the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, with Spain voting against and the Austrian, Italian and Belgian delegations abstaining. The Commission and Denmark, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland have entered declarations to the Council's minutes. The Council's common position will now be submitted to the European Parliament for second reading.
- FR - Un internaute relaxé après avoir téléchargé près de 500 films +/-
(Le Monde) Un internaute de 22 ans, poursuivi pour avoir téléchargé ou copié près de 500 films sur Internet ou DVD, a été relaxé par la cour d'appel de Montpellier. La cour a ainsi confirmé le jugement rendu par le tribunal de grande instance (TGI) de Rodez (Aveyron) en octobre 2004. Dans son arrêt, elle rappelle que "lorsqu'une uvre a été divulguée, l'auteur ne peut interdire les copies ou reproductions strictement réservées à l'usage privé du copiste et non destinée à une utilisation collective", se fondant sur les articles L 122-3 à 5 du code de procédure pénale. Parmi les dix-sept parties civiles déboutées, figurent des sociétés de production de films ou d'édition telles que Columbia Pictures Industries, Disney Enterprise, Dreamworks, Gaumont Columbia, MGM Entertainment, Paramount ou encore Warner Bros.
- Geneva meeting on access to knowledge +/-
(EDRI-gram) On 3-4 February 2005, more than 60 academics, researchers and scientists, software developers, diplomats, librarians, consumers and representatives of disability and other public interest groups from north and south gathered in Geneva to discuss the WIPO Development Agenda and a draft Treaty on Access to Knowledge (A2K). The meeting was organised by the Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech), Third World Network (TWN) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). see full report.
- IT - Agreement to fight copyright infringements +/-
(EDRI-gram) The Italian government has concluded an agreement with 50 organisations from the music, video, publishing and IT industry to fight copyright infringements by organising public 'sensibilisation' campaigns. The agreement was launched during the well-known Sanremo pop music festival. Prepared by three ministers (of Technological Innovation, Culture and Communications) the agreement was signed amongst others by RAI (the state-owned TV and radio broadcasting corporation), Microsoft, BSA, Philips, Mediaset (the largest private TV broadcasting corporation in Italy), Sony, Tiscali, Telecom Italia, AIIP (the Italian association of Internet Providers) as well as by two consumer organisations (Adiconsum and UNC).
- UK - Academics thrash out open access details +/-
(Guarian) International open access to research papers on the internet has taken a crucial step closer after a meeting at Southampton University, supporters have said. A gathering of 60 academics, publishers and university librarians this week thrashed out practical steps to promote open access. Stevan Harnad, a professor of cognitive science at Southampton and a leading advocate of open access, believes that universities have found a way around previous objections by encouraging academics to self-archive their research papers in repositories at their own universities. These papers would then be accessible by anyone via the internet, providing the author agrees.
- UK - BBC investigates Doctor Who leak +/-
(BBC) The BBC is investigating how an episode of the new Doctor Who series ended up on the internet three weeks before the show is due to begin on BBC One. A show spokesperson said the leak was a 'significant breach of copyright'.
- UK - British music industry sues next batch of file-sharers +/-
(out-law.com) The British Phonographic Industry has been granted an order by the High Court requiring six UK ISPs to disclose the names and addresses of 31 individuals alleged to have uploaded large numbers of music files on to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. This follows last week's announcement from the record companies' trade association that it had successfully settled 23 of the 26 cases launched in its first round of litigation against illegal uploaders, beginning in October 2004.
- UK - Keystroke strategy for open access +/-
(Guardian) Stevan Harnad, professor of cognitive science at the University of Southampton, will present a proposal that could revolutionise how academics and the public view research. Known as the "keystroke strategy", Prof Harnad's plan calls for all academics who have had research papers accepted by journals to place information about the paper - such as its title and author, known as metadata - on a university's own archive for all to see. Alongside that should be a copy of the article itself.
- UK - Music industry 'nails pirates' +/-
(BBC) The UK music industry has claimed victory in its first battle with illegal file-sharers after 23 people paid £50,000 to settle out of court. The UK internet users, ranging from a student to a local councillor, have admitted putting out up to 9,000 songs each for other fans to download. It was likely some parents settled for their children.
- US - Appeals court revisits Eolas decision +/-
(CNET News.com) A federal appeals court partially reversed a lower-court decision that had exposed Microsoft to $565 million in damages. The patent infringement case, brought by the University of California and its Eolas Technologies spinoff, had riled the Web over potential ripple effects that could have forced changes in millions of Web pages that use plug-in applications like Macromedia Flash and Adobe Acrobat that run inside the browser. Both sides claimed victory in the mixed ruling, which reversed part of the lower-court ruling, affirmed other parts of it, vacated the decision as a whole and sent it back for a new trial.
Eolas Tech. Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. (Findlaw)
- EU - EP debate on PNR and data retention +/-
(EDRI-gram) On 9 March the European Parliament debated in plenary in Strasbourg about the transfer of passenger data (PNR) to the US and asked the Commission about the Council plans for mandatory data retention. EU Justice Commissioner Frattini for the first time stated in public that the Commission sees no legal basis for a framework decision from the Council and he personally 'will try to convince' the Council of Justice and Home Affairs to withdraw the proposal. "As a consequence, the Commission will present an alternative proposal on data retention based on Article 95 of the Treaty of the European Community by early spring 2005." Frattini also announced that the Commission will carry out "an impact assessment to determine to what extent the creation of obligations to retain data will have economic implications."
- EU - Frattini will set new agenda on data protection +/-
(EurActiv) The question of collection of personal data by telecoms companies will be examined anew as Commissioner Frattini takes over the data potection brief from Commissioner McCreevy. Frattini announced to Parliament duing a debate on data retention in Strasbourg on 9 March that his department, Justice, Freedom and Security, is to take over the data protection portfolio from DG Internal Market. Mr Frattini said that he would table a new proposal on the retention of data by telecoms companies in spring 2005 and that a general proposal on data protection would follow in October or November.
- FR - E-marketing: la Cnil assouplit les règles de la prospection entre professionnels +/-
(ZDNet France) Toute société de marketing direct peut désormais envoyer un message commercial sur l´adresse professionnelle d´une personne physique, sans son consentement préalable. Seule condition: cet e-mail doit être en rapport avec la fonction du destinataire. La Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (Cnil) a entendu les revendications des sociétés de marketing direct qui s'inquiétaient d'une interprétation trop stricte des dispositions anti-spam de la loi pour la confiance dans l'économie numérique. Ses membres ont accepté de revoir leur position sur la prospection des personnes physiques via leur adresse professionnelle.
- IE - Ireland sneaks data retention into law +/-
(EDRI-gram) Ireland's Government has decided to pass a law on data retention. Data retention was snuck into the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act, first introduced in 2002, in the final hours before the Bill became law in February 2005. The law now calls for three years data retention at all phone companies that provide fixed line and mobile services. The obligation does not extend to more complex information such as location data.
- UK - Child database 'will breach human rights' +/-
(Observer) The government's plans, outlined in a green paper Every Child Matters, for a national database containing details on every child in England and Wales risk breaching the European Convention on Human Rights. In a submission to the education and skills select committee, Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, has said that the plans, are in danger of being ruled illegal under European law and may not work in practice.
- US - Critics Question Impartiality of Panel Studying Privacy Rights +/-
(Washington Post) Even before recent security breaches exposed private data about millions of consumers, the Department of Homeland Security was assembling a public board to recommend how to best safeguard privacy, as the agency makes use of growing stores of information collected about U.S. citizens. But the 20-member panel has angered security and privacy-rights advocates who charge that it is tilted toward the industries that profit most from gathering, using and selling personal information, often to the government.