- EU - Commission closes inquiry into financing of Portuguese public broadcaster +/-
(RAPID) Following commitments to change the funding system of the Portuguese public service broadcaster RTP, the European Commission has closed the existing procedure under EC Treaty state aid rules (Article 88(1)). Portugal has agreed to implement measures to increase transparency and proportionality in its funding system, which will prevent cross-subsidies for commercial activities.
- EU - Commission approves French cinema and audiovisual support mechanisms +/-
(RAPID) The Commission has approved the collection of French cinema and audiovisual support mechanisms on the basis of the EC State aid rules. The Commission considered that almost all of the numerous mechanisms notified constituted State aid. However, the Commission concluded that it can approve them on the basis that most of them encourage cultural development without affecting exchanges between Member States to an extent contrary to the common interest.
- EU - Microsoft accuses Brussels of collusion +/-
(FT) Microsoft was warned that its behaviour was leading inexorably towards large fines from the European Commission after the US software giant accused the competition body of colluding with the company's rivals. Neelie Kroes, European Union competition commissioner, said: "If we pursue the line we are following now, there will be fines and they won't be small fines." The Commission was accused by Microsoft of "secret collaboration" with the group's rivals and violating its rights of defence.
- EU - More competition on UK football media rights +/-
(BBC) The Commission has adopted a decision according to which the English Premier League football clubs can sell their media rights together. The decision, adopted on 22 March 2006, concerns TV, mobile phone and internet and stipulates that the live TV rights will be sold in six packages, no single buyer being able to buy more than five. An independent trustee will ensure that the rights are sold in an open and competitive bidding process.
- EU - Role of the Monitoring Trustee in the Microsoft case +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has published its Decision defining the role of the Trustee in the Microsoft case, the curriculum vitae of the Monitoring Trustee, as well as the curricula vitae of his advisors. The Trustee Decision is the formal document which sets the parameters for the Trustee's work in monitoring Microsoft's compliance with the March 2004 Decision (see IP/04/382) in order to advise the Commission on that compliance.
- BR - Google Brasil summoned on chat room complaint +/-
(Reuters) Google's Brazilian unit has been asked to appear before authorities to explain what the company was doing to curb crimes allegedly being committed through its Orkut chat rooms. The summons came after a complaint was filed with the ministry by the nongovernmental organization Safernet, which monitors crime on the Internet [Ed: Safernet is a member of the INHOPE association].
- European phishing gangs targeted +/-
(BBC) Microsoft is launching legal action against 100 phishing gangs based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
- Interpol: Give us tools to fight cybercrime +/-
(CNET News.com) Interpol has called on politicians to help law enforcement officers bring cybercriminals to justice by making it easier for evidence to be transferred between countries. The international police organization said that a new global legislative framework was needed to deal with cybercrime, which has evolved dramatically since the current legislation was passed.
- Online child porn ring 'smashed' +/-
(BBC) An international online child porn ring that used a chat room to transmit live shots of molestation has been cracked, the US federal authorities say. Twenty-seven people - from Australia, Britain, Canada and the US - have been charged with participating in two online chat rooms.
- Sites selling child porn targeted +/-
(BBC) Net and finance firms are joining up to stamp out commercial child pornography. The newly formed Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography brings together 18 organisations including Bank of America, American Express, Mastercard, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft.
- AU - Government orders spoof site shut +/-
(Sydney Morning Herald) A spoof John Howard website that featured a soul searching 'apology' speech for the Iraq war has been shut down under orders from the Australian Government. Richard Neville was "mystified" to discover his satirical website johnhowardpm.org had been blocked. After two days of silence, a customer service representative from Melbourne IT informed him by telephone that the site had "been closed on the advice from the Australian Government". [Ed: Richard Neville was one of the defendants in the OZ Trial at the Old Bailey in 1971].
- AU - Labor wants Net porn, violence blocked +/-
(ZDNet Australia) Internet service providers (ISPs) will be forced to block violent and pornographic material before it reaches home computers if Labor wins the next federal election. Under the policy, announced by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley today, international Web sites would be banned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority if they contained graphic sexual or violent material, rated R or higher. see also IIA dismisses Labor's anti-porn plans.
- Google's Schmidt Clears The Air +/-
(PC Magazine) Stung by recent criticism of the company's actions in recent months, Google CEO Eric Schmidt held a roundtable lunch with a number of journalists in which he talked a lot about the company, how it is perceived, and where it is headed. Schmidt was most animated in discussing the controversy over its deleting some content at the request of the Chinese government. He said the decision of how to act in China was "one of the most controversial decisions the company has ever made," and it took over a year of internal arguments before the company came out with its policies. "It is a hard call, but it is a clear call" to do business in China, he said, and do as the Chinese government requires it to.
- UK - Telco fined for implied child abuse on premium-rate phone line +/-
(out-law.com) Premium-rate network and service provider 4D Telecom Ltd has been fined £50,000 and given a formal reprimand by premium-rate watchdog ICSTIS for narratives on three recorded adult entertainment services that seemed to imply child abuse.
- EU - Data Protection Supervisor on exchange of police information Rapid - Press Releases +/-
(RAPID) The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has issued an Opinion on the proposal for a framework decision on the exchange of information under the principle of availability. Introduced by the Hague program, the principle of availability means that information that is available to law enforcement authorities in one Member State should also be made accessible for equivalent authorities in other Member States. The principle raises a number of data protection issues, notably because of the sensitivity of the data and the reduced control of the use of the information.
- EU - The RFID Revolution: challenges and options for action +/-
(RAPID) Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, International CeBIT Summit, Hannover, 9 March 2006.
- European Commission consults on RFID +/-
(out-law) The European Commission has launched a debate on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). It is seeking views on the opportunities, interoperability and compatibility issues as well as the privacy and security concerns raised by the new technology.
- FR - Une start-up française relance la géolocalisation des enfants +/-
(ZDNet France) Les clients de l'opérateur Orange peuvent désormais localiser le mobile de leur enfant via un service proposé par Illico.net, une start-up parisienne. Un service de «géocontrôle parental» agrémenté par la Cnil. La société française Ilico.net lance, sur le réseau d'Orange, un service de géolocalisation des enfants via leur téléphone mobile. Ce système de «géocontrôle parental» repose sur un principe simple: l'adulte s'inscrit à un service en ligne, baptisé «ootay», et y enregistre les nom et coordonnées téléphoniques de son enfant.
- UK parents to get online check of 8m child workers records +/-
(Register) The UK Government announces plans for a massive data, security and privacy own goal, in the shape of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill. The Bill, which is intended to widen and centralise the vetting of people working with children (approximately 8 million individuals), will allow employers, including parents hiring nannies and childminders, to check the records of potential employees online.
- Accord pour une bibliothèque numérique francophone +/-
(01net) Les bibliothèques nationales de six pays ou régions francophones ont adopté le principe de la constitution d'une bibliothèque numérique en langue française. La Belgique, le Canada, la France, le Luxembourg, le Québec et la Suisse se sont engagés à ne pas donner d'exclusivité d'accès aux futures collections numériques à un moteur de recherche.
- Digital media 'empowering users' +/-
(BBC) A differnt mantra is replacing 'content is king' as the new slogan of the media industry, delegates at a London conference on new media have been told. As more media become increasingly available in digital formats, and traditional models of media packaging and distribution start to unravel, 'the customer is king' is fast becoming the industry's new catchphrase.
- EU - European Digital Library +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission's plan to promote digital access to Europe's heritage is rapidly taking shape. At least six million books, documents and other cultural works will be made available to anyone with a Web connection through the European Digital Library over the next five years. In order to boost European digitisation efforts, the Commission will co-fund the creation of a Europe-wide network of digitisation centres. The Commission will also address, in a series of policy documents, the issue of the appropriate framework for intellectual property rights protection in the context of digital libraries. By the end of 2006, the European Digital Library should encompass full collaboration among the national libraries in the EU. In the years thereafter, this collaboration is to be expanded to archives and museums. Two million books, films, photographs, manuscripts, and other cultural works will be accessible through the European Digital Library by 2008. see also The European Digital Library : Frequently Asked Questions.
- EU - High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries named +/-
(RAPID) A High Level Group on the European Digital Library will meet for the first time on 27 March 2006 and will be chaired by Commissioner Reding. It will bring together major stakeholders from industry and cultural institutions. The group's task is to advise the Commission on how to best address the organisational, legal and technical challenges of digital libraries at European level and also to contribute to a shared strategic vision for European digital libraries. The group will address issues such as public-private collaboration for digitisation and copyrights. The names of the 20 Members of the European Commission's High Level Group have now been been made public. see also EU-Kommission ruft Bibliotheksrat ins Leben (Heise).
- EU - Kommission entwirft "Content Online"-Strategie +/-
(Heise) Die EU-Kommission will unter dem Aufhänger "Content Online" bis zur Mitte des Jahres Handlungsvorschläge und Empfehlungen für nationale Gesetzgeber in den Bereichen Musik, Film und digitale Bibliothek aufstellen. Ein Schwerpunkt dabei wird die weitere Harmonisierung des Urheberrechts sowie die bessere Bekämpfung illegaler Kopien sein. Dies kündigte Martin Selmayr, Sprecher der Kommission im Bereich Informationsgesellschaft, auf einer Diskussionsrunde der Gesellschaft zum Studium strukturpolitischer Fragen in Berlin an. Das Strategiepapier soll ihm zufolge eine effektivere Umsetzung des inzwischen "doch recht umfangreicheren Korpus" zum geistigen Eigentum auf EU-Ebene ermöglichen.
- Internet means end for media barons, says Murdoch +/-
(Guardian) Rupert Murdoch has sounded the death knell for the era of the media baron, comparing today's internet pioneers with explorers such as Christopher Columbus and John Cabot and hailing the arrival of a 'second great age of discovery'.
- Wikipedia study 'fatally flawed' +/-
(BBC) A study on the accuracy of the free online resource Wikipedia by the prestigious journal Nature has been described as 'fatally flawed'. Encyclopaedia Britannica has hit back at the findings, calling for the paper to be retracted.
- 2006-03-08 OECD, Paris - The Future of the Internet +/-
(OECD) The OECD ICCP workshop "The Future of the Internet" brought together policy-makers, leading academics, private sector organisations, and civil society organisations to discuss the trends shaping the future of the Internet, explore the various approaches - technical, regulatory, and economic - that are being taken or can be taken to create new functionality for and increased trust in the Internet, to promote its sustained growth and adoption, and to identify opportunities for increased international cooperation on pressing issues.
- CN - China's wild, wild Web +/-
(New York Times) By some estimates, there are more than 30,000 people patrolling the Web in China, helping form one of the world's most sophisticated Internet filtering systems. But while China's huge Internet police force is busy deleting annoying phrases like 'free speech' and 'human rights,' experts say that Wild West capitalism, crime, piracy, pornography and other scourges of the real economy in China have moved into the virtual one.
- EU - Broadband for all: Commission mobilises all its policy instruments to bridge the broadband gap +/-
(RAPID) The Commission considers wide broadband coverage in Europe as crucial for fostering growth and jobs in Europe. This is why EU telecoms legislation, structural and rural policy instruments need to be mobilised in full respect of state aid rules in a joint drive to bring high-speed "broadband" internet access to all Europeans, in particular to the EU's less-developed areas. This is the conclusion of "Bridging the Broadband Gap", a European Commission Communication presented jointly by the European Commissioners for Information Society and Media, Competition, Regional Policy and Agriculture and Rural Development.
- UK - interview with John Whittingdale, MP +/-
(OfcomWatch) Interview with John Whittingdale, MP, (Conservative), Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. February 16, 2006. One area of likely consensus we uncovered in the interview between the Conservatives and New Labour is the issue of the European Commission's proposed revisions to the Television Without Frontiers Directive. Whittingdale indicates that he supports the government's opposition to the EC's proposals, calling them 'bonkers'.
- WSIS - Internet Governance Forum Advisory Group to be Established +/-
(ITU) In light of the consultations on the convening of the IGF, the United Nations Secretary-General will set up a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group to assist him in this task. The Group will consist of about forty members, representing governments, private sector and civil society and include members of the academic and technical communities. The members of the group will be chosen in their personal capacity. All stakeholders are invited to submit recommendations for members of the Advisory Group to the IGF secretariat by 18 April. A new round of consultations on the convening of the IGF will be held at the United Nations in Geneva on 19 May 2006. They will be open to all stakeholders and will focus on the substantive preparation of the inaugural meeting of the IGF.
- WSIS - Preparations Begin for Internet Governance Forum +/-
(ITU) The UN Secretary-General has decided to establish a small Secretariat in Geneva to assist in the convening of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The Secretary-General was asked by the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis in November, to convene such a Forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue. see also Global net tussle reaches uneasy truce and IGF: success, great success or useful sideshow? (The Register).
- DK - Deep linking is legal in Denmark +/-
(EDRI) The Maritime and Commercial Court in Copenhagen has decided that so-called deep linking is legal in Denmark. The decision is expected to have a major impact on many Danish online-services and search engines.
- UK - £10,000 damages awarded for internet libel +/-
(out-law.com) A former parliamentary candidate for the UK Independence Party has been awarded £10,000 in damages after winning a defamation case. Michael Keith Smith had sued over postings in an internet chat room.
- US - Government Not Entitled to Google Records, CDT Argues +/-
(CDT) (CDT) In the dispute over the federal government's demand that Google turn over millions of search terms to assist the government in its defense of an Internet censorship law, CDT filed a brief arguing that, in its search function, Google is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which prohibits certain online service providers from disclosing customer records under the kind of subpoena the government is using in this case. see also Department of Justice brief, Law Professors' brief, Google brief.
- US - Revised Google search plan allowed +/-
(New York Times) After the Justice Department drastically reduced its request for information from Google, a federal judge has said that he intended to approve at least part of that request. The government is requesting a sample of 50,000 Web site addresses in Google's index, instead of the one million it had demanded. And it is asking for just 5,000 search queries, compared with its earlier demand for an entire week of queries.
- AU - Filters cause reduction in network performance +/-
(NetAlert) Research into the use of filters in the broadband environment confirms that accessing the Internet through a content filter at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level leads to a significant reduction in network performance. Network performance was reduced by 18 per cent for the best performing filter and almost 78 per cent on the worst performing filter. The research also demonstrated variable filter performance across the different categories of restricted content. Even the most effective filter in terms of accuracy, only blocked 76 per cent of the selected list of potentially offensive URLs used in the testing.
- BoingBoing banned in UAE, Qatar, elsewhere. +/-
(BoingBoing) Boing Boing is blocked by entire countries including the United Arab Emirates, and by many library systems, schools, US government and military sites, and corporations. Internet Qatar, the sole ISP in the State of Qatar, has also banned BoingBoing. At fault in most of these cases is a US-based censorware company called Secure Computing, which makes a web-rating product called SmartFilter.
- Microsoft readies Windows Live parental controls +/-
(CNET News.com) Microsoft is inviting testers to try an early version of new parental control software for Windows XP called Windows Live Family Safety Settings. The parental controls software lets people filter online content, Microsoft said in an e-mail invitation to testers. It is designed to help keep Web content that parents deem inappropriate from reaching their children--such as items on alcohol, pornography, gambling and tobacco.
- Nouvelle mise à l'épreuve pour le contrôle parental +/-
(01net) L'association e-enfance a testé l'efficacité des logiciels de tous les fournisseurs d'accès à Internet. AOL sort nettement du lot.
- Oxford Internet Institute joins research on Internet filtering +/-
(OII) The Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford has joined the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a programme established in 2003 to study state-sponsored filtering of the Internet. This worldwide initiative is a joint project undertaken by the University of Toronto, Cambridge University, and the Berkman Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, in addition to Oxford.
- DE - Microsoft leads German TV venture +/-
(BBC) Deutsche Telekom is teaming up with Microsoft to offer an interactive TV service through high-speed, broadband connections in Germany. The tie-up will exploit the growth of the next-generation VDSL network, which with bandwidth of up to 50 megabits per second can carry far more content.
- Hollywood takes new tack against film piracy +/-
(International Herald Tribune) Hollywood studios, seeking a way to foil piracy and looking toward life beyond the DVD, are turning Europe into a proving ground for new methods of digital movie distribution. The new services from Warner and Universal will allow consumers to download to "own" the movie files for unlimited viewing, potentially creating a replacement for DVDs, and at the same time as the DVD retail-store release
- Teen craze over networking sites +/-
(BBC) In the 13 months since it launched, Bebo has racked up more than 22 million members. It is aimed at those aged 13-30 but has proved particularly popular with school and college students.
- Windows Live offers Microsoft a quicker turnaround +/-
(CNET News.com) Microsoft has added more than a dozen new products under the ever-growing Windows Live umbrella. Microsoft's goal is to continuously update and launch products in a "rolling thunder" approach, as opposed to Microsoft's usual strategy of formal unified product launches. On the business side, Microsoft's new ad-serving engine, AdCenter, is at the heart of the effort. The engine, aimed at helping the company increase its ad sales and rates, draws on user demographic information to help drive more targeted marketing pitches. See also Windows Live services online and on tap