Home page| Extended HTML version
(Guardian) In a statement of "general approach" before a vote in the EU assembly, the Council of Ministers bowed to pressure to limit government oversight to "TV-like" services on the web. That means Ofcom will regulate TV-style video downloads from major broadcasters, but not video clips on social networking websites. When it first objected, Ofcom had the support of only a handful of other EU member states, but it has since won them over. see Press Release of Council Meeting, Education, Youth and Culture, Brussels, 13 November 2006 and European Parliament Press Release following vote by Culture Committee Television in the digital age: MEPs adopt a new approach to product placement.
(RAPID) The modernisation of the Television without Frontiers Directive: Frequently asked questions
(RAPID) The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the German internet access business of AOL by Telecom Italia. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
(Asian Banker) Financial institutions and internet giants are working with governments and regulators to hit perpetrators of child pornography where it hurts most - the pocketbook. But can they overcome privacy and antitrust issues?
(BBC) Some of the UK's most wanted child sex offenders have been identified online. It is believed to be the first time that details of convicted paedophiles have been published nationwide by Britain's law enforcement agencies. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre has set up the new website in an effort to track missing child sex offenders. see also Fugitive paedophile website raises vigilantism concerns (Guardian).
(BBC) A surge in "phishing" in the first half of 2006 has produced a sharp rise in the amount of money being lost to online banking fraud. The number of recorded incidents rose 16-fold to 5,059. That led to a 55% rise in losses from online fraud against banks, reaching £23m in the first half of 2006.
(BBC) A man has been jailed for more than two years after carrying out the UK's first 'web-rage' attack on an internet user. Paul Gibbons assaulted John Jones at his Essex home, after the pair exchanged insults in an internet chatroom, the Old Bailey heard. "This case highlights the dangers of internet chatrooms, particularly with regards to giving personal details that will allow other users to discover home addresses," said the Investigating Officer.
(CNET News) A U.K. law has been passed that makes it an offense to launch denial-of-service attacks. Among the provisions of the Police and Justice Bill 2006, is a clause that makes it an offense to impair the operation of any computer system. Other clauses prohibit preventing or hindering access to a program or data held on a computer, or impairing the operation of any program or data held on a computer. see also UK bans denial of service attacks (OUT-LAW News).
(BBC) An online advertising company is to pay $3m (£2m) for "unfairly and deceptively" downloading its software onto people's computers. US-based Zango, the FTC said, installed adware more than 70 million times, causing 6.9 billion pop-up ads.
(Guardian) Hugo de Burgh, a journalism professor and expert on China, argued that only a "tiny" proportion of people in the world's most populous state were in prison for journalism or blogging. Speaking at a debate entitled the Great (Fire)Wall of the Internet, Professor de Burgh said it was important not to overstate the curbs on free speech in China, which were often a legacy of confused laws and perpetrated by local officials. His remarks drew opposition from several of those present at the debate, organised by the London School of Economics and Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).
(Heise) Der Ratsvorsitzende der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD), Bischof Wolfgang Huber, hat das Internet für die erhöhte Gewaltbereitschaft Jugendlicher verantwortlich gemacht. "Was im Internet möglich ist, stellt eine große Gefahr dar. Jugendliche tauchen auf manchen Internetseiten in eine Welt der Gewalt ein, die dann real wird", sagte Huber im Gespräch mit der "Welt am Sonntag". Huber äußerte sich vor dem Hintergrund des Amoklaufes von Emsdetten. Am Donnerstag war an einem Berliner Gymnasium ein weiterer Amoklauf verhindert worden.
(Heise) After a massacre at a school in the German town of Emsdetten, the dispute about whether killer games are one of the causes for the increase in violence among young people has heated up again in Germany, as has the call for a ban on such games.
(Heise) Mit einer Bundesratsinitiative will Niedersachsens Innenminister Uwe Schünemann (CDU) ein Verbot von gewaltverherrlichenden Computerspielen erreichen. Ziel sei ein Herstellungs- sowie ein Verbreitungsverbot, sagte ein Sprecher des Ministeriums gegenüber dpa. Ein Herstellungsverbot sei zwar schwer umsetzbar, da der Großteil der Baller-Spiele im Ausland programmiert werde. Ein Verbot zur Verbreitung in Deutschland sei allerdings ein wichtiger erster Schritt. Siehe auch Kritik an "naiver Scheindebatte" um das Verbot von "Killerspielen".
(Heise online) Der Konsum von gewaltverherrlichenden Computerspielen erhöht Studien der Universität Potsdam zufolge die Aggressionsbereitschaft bei Kindern, Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen. Experimente belegen, dass solche Spiele aggressive Gedanken und Gefühle sowie aggressives Verhalten begünstigen, teilte die Potsdamer Universität mit.
(BBC) A list of 13 'enemies of the internet' has been released by human rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF). For the first time, Egypt has been added to the list while Nepal, Libya and the Maldives have all been removed. The list consists of countries that RSF believes are suppressing freedom of expression on the internet.
(The Register) Italian MPs debated if computer games featuring sex and violence are sending their country's children berserk. The meeting was convened after the proposed release of Rule of Rose, a computer game some fear will corrupt Italian children, erupted into an international tizz - within the computer games industry and some corridors in Brussels, at least. A consensus emerged that retailers should be made legally answerable to PEGI, the European ratings system for computer games, set up in 2003. Even retailers are warming to the idea.
(Reuters) Italian prosecutors put two Google Italy representatives under investigation as part of an inquiry into how a video of teenagers harassing an autistic classmate surfaced on its video site, a judicial source said. The two are accused of failing to check on the content of the video posted on the Internet search engine's Web site. The video, which sparked outrage in the country, showed four teenagers beating and poking fun at a 17-year-old disabled boy in a classroom in the northern Italian city of Turin.
(Reuters) Teens who play violent video games show increased activity in areas of the brain linked to emotional arousal and decreased responses in regions that govern self-control, a study presented at the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting found. The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to record tiny metabolic changes in brain activity in 44 adolescents who were asked to perform a series of tasks after playing either a violent or nonviolent video game for 30 minutes.
(Ars Technica) Issued by the National Institute on Media and the Family, the 11th Annual MediaWise Video Game Report Card attempts to provide a 'snapshot' of the video game industry and its relationship with parents, teens, and children.
(Guardian) The judge presiding over the copyright infringement case between Google and a number of Belgian newspapers has said that he will not be announcing his ruling until next year. Google appeared in a Belgian court to defend claims that it took content from newspaper websites without paying or asking permission. In September, Copiepresse - an organisation that represents the French and German-speaking Belgian press - won a ruling ordering Google to remove content from some Belgian newspapers from its website.
(Bloomberg, AP) Google has settled with two Belgian groups representing photographers and journalists in a copyright dispute. The agreement with the Belgian copyright groups Sofam, representing the rights of about 3,700 photographers, and Scam, which acts for journalists, is the first step forward in a dispute that started with the introduction of Google News in Belgium.
(BBC) China's leading web search engine has been cleared of copyright infringement by a Beijing court. Baidu.com faced a lawsuit from music companies after posting links to sites offering illegal music downloads. But the ruling said the service did not constitute an infringement as the music was downloaded from webservers of third parties.
(Associated Press) Yahoo has rebuffed Google's attempt to learn more about its efforts to create digital copies of books, dealing the Internet search leader another setback as it prepares to fight against a copyright infringement suit.
(CNET News.com) Russia has agreed to shut down Allofmp3.com and other music sites based in that country that the U.S. government says are offering downloads illegally. The nation has struck the agreement with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as it seeks entry to the World Trade Organization. The U.S. has suggested that it would hold up Russia's acceptance in the WTO unless leaders there took action against digital piracy.
(OUT-LAW News) The UK's main recording industry body wants to authorise UK music buyers to copy CDs for personal use. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has recommended to a Government investigation that a private right to copy be created.
(OUT-LAW News) The UK Patent Office will use the judgments in two recent Appeals Court patent cases as the benchmark for all future disputes over the patentability of software. The cases will replace all past case law as the basis for future decisions, it said.
(The Register) The DMCA is supposed to protect copyright owners, it can be an enormous hammer to crack a very small nut. Its safe harbor provisions mean that US webhosts and ISPs feel they have to remove entire sites from the web, to protect themselves from punishment. Take down first, ask questions later, is the order of the day. This gives copyright holders enormous scope to browbeat ISPs into acting as censors-by-proxy. Mischief-makers and bamboozlers can join the fun too.
(OUT-LAW News) The Internet Archive project has won an exemption from US copyright law, overcoming an obstacle which threatened the entire work of the not-for-profit group. It can now host copies of obsolete computer games and software without fear of prosecution. The Library of Congress has published six exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which criminalises duplication of material copyrighted to someone else. The exemption is from punishment for breaking the kinds of copy controls on material which are designed to stop unauthorised duplication.
(BBC) Universal Music Group is suing MySpace - claiming the online social network site is encouraging its users to illegally share music and music videos. It accuses MySpace of allowing people to illegally upload videos and of providing the technology for users to share the content with others.
(CNET News) After settling with Blackberry maker earlier this year, NTP's lawyers are now going after Palm's wireless e-mail devices. Palm's Treo smart phones are likely the intended target of NTP's lawsuit. NTP is looking for an injunction on the sale of Palm products that allegedly violate its patents, as well as monetary damages. NTP settled a legal ordeal with RIM earlier this year for $612.5 million, after alleging that RIM's BlackBerry devices and wireless e-mail service infringed on NTP's patents.
(OUT-LAW News) The Supreme Court in Germany has ruled that internet service providers (ISPs) must delete all customer logs when asked to by a user. The decision threatens to undermine entertainment industry and law enforcement attempts to urge ISPs to keep records.
(RAPID) The European Ombudsman (EO), P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Brussels. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure the consistent treatment of complaints concerning data protection and to avoid unnecessary duplication.
(OUT-LAW News) A group of international data and privacy protection commissioners has decided to act together to challenge the surveillance society which they claim is developing. Commissioners from the UK, France, Germany and New Zealand will adopt common policies. At the annual Conference of Data Protection and Information Commissioners, held in London, a joint set of objectives was adopted by the international commissioners aimed at tackling what they see as a growing international issue of constant citizen surveillance.
(BBC) Serious dangers exist from the growth of government databases on children, a report has said. The Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) said guidelines ignored family values and privacy. The study was carried out for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) which said the details on databases need to be 'looked at carefully'.
(RAPID) Speech by Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. Cultural Diversity and Creative Rights Conference, Brussels, 29 November 2006.
(MIP) EURid, the registry for .eu domain names, is halving the costs of registering and renewing .eu domain names. As of January 1 2007, the price for registering a domain name and the annual renewal fee will be 5 as opposed to today's 10. The registry said the reduction was due to the high number of domains registered since the .eu domain name was launched at the end of 2005. There are now more than 2.34 million active .eu domain names.
(BBC) Sports authorities are taking action to stop illegal live coverage of football and other events over the internet. Almost all English Premiership matches are available to watch live and for free, as are other leagues and sports. The coverage, mainly from Chinese sport channels, is put on peer-to-peer applications and can be watched anywhere in the world.
(EDRIgram) The first global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was organized by United Nations in Athens between 30 October and 2 November 2006. The forum has shown a strong and large opposition to Internet blocking and filtering, putting under pressure repressive governments such as China. The three sessions devoted to content regulation and control have been dominated by the advocates of anti-censorship and access to knowledge that have criticized the state control of Internet content.
(Teepolis) von Wolfgang Kleinwächter. Das erste Internet Governance Forum (IGF) war ein Experiment, eine Innovation, von der niemand wusste, ob sie funktioniert. Das IGF betrete "unbekanntes Territorium" ("unchartered water") hatte UN-Generalsekretär Kofi Annan zu Beginn des IGF gesagt. Nach vier Tagen Diskussion in sechs Plenarsitzungen, knapp 40 Workshops mit mehr als 200 Vorträgen und nicht mehr überschaubaren bi- und multilateralen Gesprächen am Rande der Tagung über nahezu alle Aspekte der zukünftigen Internetentwicklung hat die Mehrheit der 1.500 Teilnehmer, die von Regierungen, der Privatwirtschaft, der Zivilgesellschaft sowie der technischen akademischen Community kamen, einen positive Bilanz gezogen. Das IGF funktioniert, es war ein Erfolg, es war sogar ein "außerordentlicher Erfolg" ("outstanding success") wie der sonst eher nüchtern urteilende Vorsitzende der IGF-Advisory Group, Kofi Annans Internet Berater Nitin Desai, am Ende sagte.
(Guardian) By the last day of the IGF everyone had decided that the forum had come up trumps. A determined effort by the OECD to create an international coalition to fight spam finally took off. Another 'dynamic coalition' was formed to push open standards to governments across the world. A third coalition promised to look at gender issues; a fourth determined to set up an 'Internet Bill of Rights'. Another was set up to raise funds for developing countries. Yet another promised to push access to knowledge and to protect freedom of expression online.
(Heise) Der Referentenentwurf zur Neuregelung der Telekommunikationsüberwachung aus dem Bundesjustizministerium fordert eine Identifizierungspflicht von E-Mail-Nutzern und eine Vorratsspeicherung von Verbindungsdaten bei Anonymisierungsservern. Und die Anbieter von E-Mail-Konten müssen nach dem Entwurf Kundendaten erheben und ihre Nutzer so eindeutig identifizieren. Die rasche Eröffnung eines Accounts ohne Vorlage eines Personalausweises bei einem deutschen Webmail-Dienst dürfte damit passé sein.
(RAPID) The Commission has called on all regulatory authorities and stakeholders in Europe to step up the fight against spam, spyware and malicious software. Despite existing EU legislation to outlaw spam in Europe, Europe continues to suffer from illegal online activities from inside the EU and from third countries, the Commission underlines in a new Communication. The Communication stresses that although internet safety is on the political agenda for some time, national authorities should step up their actions to prosecute illegal online activities
(ZDNet France) La cour d´appel de Paris confirme que les fournisseurs français doivent empêcher l´accès au site révisionniste AAARGH, hébergé à l´étranger. Les organisations antiracistes, qui avaient initié la plainte, ont obtenu gain de cause.
(OUT-LAW News) People who publish someone else's libellous statements online are immune from litigation under US law, even if they published after being warned that the statements were false and defamatory, the California Supreme Court has ruled. The ruling, which overturns a lower court's ruling on internet libel, covers publishers of other people's comments, such as blogs, discussion lists, ISPs and individuals running their own sites. It says that a libelled person must sue the individual who made a libellous comment, not the person or company who allowed it to be published.
(EurActiv) Germany supports the Commission in its quest to bring down the prices of cross-border mobile phone calls, but the Merkel government wants more far-reaching reductions sooner. Germany wants the caps to come into force during the 2007 summer-holiday season. Operators would not be allowed to tie customers to any tariff model for long periods.
(iTWire) Cybertip.ca, Canada's national tipline for reporting child sexual exploitation, with a richly resourced website of information, has launched Project Cleanfeed Canada, based on the successful UK launch of their own Project Cleanfeed in 2004. Working with major Canadian ISPs such as Rogers, Telus, Bell Canada, Shaw, SaskTel, MTS Allstream and Videotron, 500 and 800 offending sites will be blocked from access by their Canadian customers. see also Michael Geist's blog.
(Free Expression Policy Project) by Marjorie Heins. Music-loving teenagers may have been disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision last year in MGM v. Grokster, condemning peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. But the full implications of that case are just beginning to be played out. One of the most troubling such implications has to do with the deceptively simple 'quick fix' of using filtering software to prevent access to copyrighted works. A decision from the federal district court last month, on remand from the Supreme Court in Grokster, dramatizes the filtering dilemma.
(RAPID) An independent evaluation finds that the EU's Safer Internet programme, which promote safer internet use, particularly for children, has been very effective in tackling illegal and harmful internet content, whilst respecting people's freedom of expression. The Commission is taking into account the recommendations of these experts, in its implementation of the "Safer Internet plus" programme in 2007-2008. Meanwhile, the current programme is being used as a model by other regions of the world.
(BBc) Blogs and other internet sites should be covered by a voluntary code of practice similar to that for newspapers in the UK, a conference has been told. Press Complaints Commission director Tim Toulmin said he opposed government regulation of the internet, saying it should a place 'in which views bloom'. But unless there was a voluntary code of conduct there would be no form of redress for people angered at content.
(Heise) The governing coalition of the CDU/CSU and the SPD has reached an agreement on amendments to the Telecommunications Act. The provisions to temporarily exempt new markets from regulation in the government's draft had "only been slightly modified." The dispute with the EU Commission is about to heat up. The Commission's legal experts believe that investigations into the legality of the revisions are inevitable if the bill takes effect in its current version.
(RAPID) In a letter sent to the Office of Communications ('Ofcom', the UK telecom watchdog), the European Commission expresses concerns as to how wholesale tariffs, charged by the five UK mobile operators for terminating calls to their customers, have been assessed. In the Commission's view, Ofcom's proposed tariffs keep termination values higher than necessary due to 3G spectrum cost valuations which risk overestimating the costs.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, ECTA Conference 2006, Brussels, 16 November 2006.
(RAPID) Dans une lettre au régulateur luxembourgeois des télécommunications, l'Institut Luxembourgeois de Régulation ("ILR"), la Commission européenne accepte une mesure réglementaire proposée par l'LR et qui donnera aux nouveaux opérateurs sur le marché un accès à large bande (ou accès « bitstream ») aux clients finaux à travers les réseaux à haut débit de l'EPT (Entreprise des Postes et Télécommunications), l'opérateur historique de télécommunications au Luxembourg. La Commission salue en particulier le fait que le remède proposé garantit un accès large bande indépendant de la technologie utilisée par l´EPT (ADSL2, ADSL2+ et VDSL).
(Guardian) BBC News 24 is to launch what it has billed as the UK's first news programme based entirely on user generated content. Your News will broadcast stories, features and videos that have proved most popular with viewers on television and the internet.
(FORTUNE Magazine) Second Life, the three-dimensional virtual world, has been getting tons of press lately. In the software, which anyone can download for free, you travel around as an "avatar", through a huge range of spaces - beautiful natural environments, shopping malls, museums, clubs, homes, apartments and cities. So far, it's signed up 1.3 million members. Is it a game? No. Is it a marketing opportunity? Yes, but who cares? What matters most is that it may point to the future of the Net, says Fortune's David Kirkpatrick.
(BBC) Using internet search engine Google can help doctors diagnose tricky cases, researchers have said. A team of Australian doctors Googled the symptoms of 26 cases for a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. In 15 cases, the web search came up with the right diagnosis, the paper published on the British Medical Journal website reports. he authors say Google can be a 'useful aid', but UK experts said the internet was 'no replacement' for doctors.
(Guardian) Noticed a lot more junk in your inbox? Danny Bradbury reports on the increasingly sophisticated methods being used to pump out millions of unwanted emails.
(Economist) The phone has had a splendid 130-year history. What will it look like in future? Will it even be called a phone?
(Silicon.com) Like the Internet before it, it looks like mobile's content explosion could be set off by porn. Adult content on mobile devices will be worth $3.3 billion by 2011, up from $1.4 billion this year, according to industry analysts JupiterResearch. Europe is the biggest spender on porn, due to both its appetite for smut and the relatively high-priced nature of adult content. The Asia-Pacific region follows in second place.
(RAPID) Mobile roaming charges continue to be very high in Europe. This is shown by a Europe-wide survey by Eurobarometer, and by the recent development of international mobile roaming prices. An overwhelming majority of EU citizens believe the EU should step in to make sure that prices for making and receiving calls on mobile phones when travelling in other EU countries are not substantially higher than those at home.
(Pew Internet) Some 12% of internet users say they have downloaded a podcast so they can listen to it or view it at a later time. However, few internet users are downloading podcasts with great frequency; just 1% report downloading a podcast on a typical day.
(Mercury News) A confidential analysis of Internet search queries and a random sample of Web pages taken from Google and Microsoft's giant Internet indices showed that only about 1 percent of all Web pages contain sexually explicit material. The analysis was presented during a federal court hearing in Philadelphia in a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
(Pew Internet) Fully 87% of online users have at one time used the internet to carry out research on a scientific topic or concept and 40 million adults use the internet as their primary source of news and information about science.
(BBC) A smart system that can recognise and label the content in photos and videos is being developed by researchers. They believe it will help people to organise, find and share the mass of multimedia data being generated by cameras, camcorders and phones. The EU-partnered project, carried out by the Acemedia consortium, is to be showcased at the Information Society Technologies meeting in Helsinki.
(BBC) A tool has been created capable of circumventing government censorship of the web, according to researchers. The free program has been constructed to let citizens of countries with restricted web access retrieve and display web pages from anywhere. The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab software, called psiphon, will be released on 1 December.
QuickLinks consists of