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(OEIL) European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities. See also Procedure file .
(RAPID) The European Commission has decided to open a full investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of the music publishing business of Germany's Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) by Universal, a US-subsidiary of the French company Vivendi. The Commission's initial market investigation indicates that the proposed merger would raise serious doubts as regards adverse effects on competition in the already concentrated music publishing market.
(BBC) The BBC's plans to offer all its TV and radio shows on-demand via the internet and cable TV have been criticised by the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. Ofcom said that certain aspects of the BBC's on-demand service, which is due to start later this year, could have a 'negative effect' on commercial rivals. It added that while the BBC's plans would boost interest in rival services, it would likely limit their investment.
(Slashdot) Bennett Haselton looks at the implications of a Canadian initiative to protect children online. 'Cybertip.ca, a Canadian clearinghouse for providing information to law enforcement about online child luring and child pornography, has announced that a group of major ISPs will begin blocking access to URLs on Cybertip's list of known child pornography sites. A Cybertip spokesperson says that the list fluctuates between 500 and 800 sites at any given time.'
(Washington Post) It was the year of computing dangerously, and next year could be worse. That is the assessment of computer security experts, who said 2006 was marked by an unprecedented spike in junk e-mail and more sophisticated Internet attacks by cybercrooks.
(Heise) The German Bar Association (DAV) has voiced grave doubts about the scrutiny of credit card data that the prosecuting authorities had initiated in the course of an enforcement operation aimed at the Internet-based child pornography scene; an approach that has allowed the authorities to score a spectacular success in their fight against child pornography.
(Reuters) Interpol is launching Project Guardian, a special task force to tackle a growing problem of pedophiles using fake 'modeling' sites on the Internet to gain access to children. The sites do not contain sexually graphic images, but serve as a front, enabling pedophiles to contact the site owners and gain physical access to the so-called child models, or to buy images of the children being abused.
(Reuters) Italy has introduced a new law requiring Internet service providers to block child pornography Web sites within six hours of being told to do so. The decree, which comes into force almost immediately, requires Internet providers to set up a system that blocks child pornography Web sites from being viewed soon after the providers are notified of their existence. Saranno subito oscurati i siti pedofili (Corriere della Sera) Il ministro delle Comunicazioni ha firmato un decreto per contrastare il fenomeno della pedopornografia in rete. I fornitori di connettivitą, i cosiddetti Internet Provider, dovranno dotarsi di sistemi in grado di oscurare entro 6 ore dalla comunicazione ricevuta da parte del neonato Centro nazionale per il contrasto della pedopornografia o dalla magistratura, dei siti che diffondano, distribuiscano o facciano commercio di immagini pedopornografiche.
(CNET News.com) The London Metropolitan Police Service has turned to some unlikely allies in the fight against Internet crime: cyberactivists who are taking action against online fraudsters. This includes Artists Against 419, whose activities include consuming the bandwidth of fraudulent banking and lottery sites in an attempt to force them off the Internet.
(BBC) Computer-generated child abuse images should be banned and a new 'kite mark' standard introduced for software to protect children from paedophiles. The Home Secretary, John Reid, said the Cabinet was discussing how to ban the images, including cartoons and graphic illustrations of abuse. While distributing such images is illegal, it is legal to possess them. He also said that by spring, approved parental control software would come with a British Standards' Kitemark.
(The Register) By the end of 2007, the Home Office intends that all ISPs 'offering broadband internet connectivity to the UK public' will have implemented systems for content blocking, primarily intended to block access to pornographic images of children, which are illegal to view or possess in the UK.
(out-law.com) Email, phone, prize draw and web shopping scams are being targeted by a new coalition of European consumer groups for the first time. The bulk of the Consumer Protection Co-Operation (CPC) Regulation came into force across Europe on 29th December. Designed to tackle cross-border schemes to defraud consumers, the CPC Regulation focuses on some emerging scams, such as those using email and phone calls to mislead consumers.
(Heise) Die Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) hat in der anhaltenden Debatte um ein Verbot von "Killerspielen" die Kritik des bayerischen Innenministers Günther Beckstein und des Kriminologen Christian Pfeiffer an ihrer Prüftätigkeit zurückgewiesen. Pfeiffer betreibe "seit Längerem eine Kampagne gegen die USK", heißt es in einer Mitteilung der seit der jüngsten Reform der Jugendschutzgesetzgebung im Rahmen der "Ko-Regulierung" staatlich beaufsichtigten Einrichtung.
(BBC) Hindus in Europe have joined forces against a German proposal to ban the display of the swastika across the European Union. Ramesh Kallidai of the Hindu Forum of Britain said the swastika had been a symbol of peace for thousands of years before the Nazis adopted it. He said a ban on the symbol would discriminate against Hindus.
(RAPID) Responding to continuing concerns from the European Parliament and non-governmental organisations about media concentration, and its possible effects on pluralism and freedom of expression, Commissioner Viviane Reding and Vice-President Margot Wallström presented to fellow Commissioners three-steps on media pluralism in the European Union. 1. A Commission Staff Working Paper on Media Pluralism 2. An independent study on media pluralism in EU Member States to define and test concrete and objective indicators for assessing media pluralism in the EU Member States (in 2007). 3. A Commission Communication on the indicators for media pluralism in the EU Member States (in 2008).
(Heise) Die Justiz- und Innenminister der EU konnten sich bei ihrem Ratstreffen in Brüssel nicht auf gemeinsame Aktionen zur Verschärfung des Jugendschutzes einigen. Vor allem auf Druck von EU-Justizkommissar Franco Frattini beschäftigten sich die Vertreter des Gremiums der nationalen Regierungen mit einem europaweiten Verbot brutaler Computerspiele und Gewaltvideos. "Die EU hat hier keine Gesetzgebungskompetenz", erteilte Bundesjustizministerin Brigitte Zypries einem koordinierten Vorgehen aber eine deutliche Absage.
(Cairns Blog) Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto announces tool to help Internet users circumvent government censorship of the Web. The Psiphon software, developed by CitizenLab at the University of Toronto, is downloaded onto a computer in an uncensored country, becoming the host computer.
(Guardian) The number of online journalists being jailed is increasing as authoritarian states seek to control news on the internet. In its annual survey, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found that as at December 1, 134 journalists were imprisoned, an increase of nine from last year.
(Guardian) Some of the most famous names in music, including Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Cliff Richard, U2, Yoko Ono, Barry Gibb, Petula Clark and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, were among 4,500 artists who put their names to a newspaper advertisement, calling on the government to extend the copyright in sound recordings to 95 years. se also Dead musicians sign petition in FT (Lawrence Lessig). For almost 10 years now, I've been waging a war against retrospective term extension. My simple argument has been that copyright is about creative incentives, and you can't create incentives retrospectively. I now see I am apparently wrong. An ad in the FT listed 4,000 musicians who supported retrospective term extension. At least some of these artists are apparently dead (e.g. Lonnie Donegan, died 4th November 2002; Freddie Garrity, died 20th May 2006). I take it the ability of these dead authors to sign a petition asking for their copyright terms to be extended can only mean that even after death, term extension continues to inspire.
(IPKitten) Codified versions of 3 Directives have been adopted: Directive 2006/114 of 12 December 2006 concerning misleading and comparative advertising, Directive 2006/115 of 12 December 2006 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property, Directive 2006/116 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights.
(Guardian) The government has endorsed calls for a stringent clampdown on music and film piracy and an end to restrictions on copying music for personal use. A wide-ranging intellectual property review by Andrew Gowers also recommended the existing 50-year copyright term for sound recordings be retained, much to the chagrin of a vocal lobby of major record labels and artists who wanted it increased.
(Silicon News) Microsoft's software licensing scheme for schools and colleges has several "shortfalls", according to a new report by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta).
(ZDNet UK) The UK Patent Office is considering reforms to the patent system based on recommendations made in last week's Gowers Review. Recommendation 23 of Gowers states: "The Patent Office should conduct a pilot of Beth Noveck's Community Patent Review in 2007 in the UK to determine whether this would have a positive impact on the quality of the patent stock." Professor Beth Noveck, director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at the New York Law School, recommended a system of peer review for patents in a September 2006 paper entitled "Community Patent Review Project Summary" whereby inventors seeking a patent should submit an application first to a community of interested expert reviewers, to ease pressure on patent examiners.
(CoE) An initiative of the Council of Europe with the support of the European Commission. A 2003 Eurobarometer survey on the protection of privacy in the European Union showed that 70% of European citizens feel they know little about what is done in their country to protect their personal data. In 2007, for the first time, the Council of Europe will be celebrating a Data Protection Day on 28 January. This will be the occasion for European citizens to become more aware of personal data protection and of what their rights and responsibilities are in that regard.
(RAPID) Franco Frattini, European Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, European Parliament, Strasbourg, 13 December 2006.
(BBC) The UK government has abandoned plans for a giant new computer system to run the national identity cards scheme. Instead of a single multi-billion pound system, information will be held on three existing, separate databases. see also UK - Government drops iris scan plan (OUT-LAW News) Iris scans will not form part of the UK Government's planned identity card system the National Identity Register (NIR). The only biometric information to be held on ID cards will now be fingerprints, in contrast to previously stated plans.
(ICO) Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner, is repeating his call for a two year jail term to deter those convicted of trading unlawfully in personal information. The report What price privacy now? reflects the six months progress made since his initial report What price privacy? was published in May 2006.
(Internet Governance Project) by Milton Mueller. The backers of the controversial .xxx domain have negotiated a new contract with ICANN. Final approval of the contract is still vehemently opposed by an amusing alliance of anti-pornography conservatives and pornographers with investments in existing adult domain names. Nevertheless, chances are now good that it will finally succeed in gaining the approval of the ICANN Board. What are the implications of this probable resolution of the .xxx drama for the Internet and Internet governance? They are major. But no one seems to be talking about them.
(ICANN) A revised proposed agreement with ICM providing for designation of a .XXX sTLD registry is published for public comment. The public comment period will be open until 5 February 2007. See Summary of major changes to the previously posted agreement.
(RAPID) The European Commission is taking five Member States to the European Court of Justice for a failing to put into practice the Directive on the re-use of public sector information (PSI). Member States should have notified the Commission of measures to put into practice the PSI Directive by 1 July 2005. Up to now, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg have failed to do so.
(BBC) The way the UK government makes its vast amounts of data available to the public could be about to change. It has decided to make access to a database of UK laws completely free for the public to access and re-use.
(BBC) Hundreds of UK government websites are to be shut down "to make access to information easier" for people. Of 951 sites, only 26 will definitely stay, 551 will definitely close and hundreds more are expected to follow.
(Euroap) The European Commission has hosted a two day meeting of international spam fighters in Brussels. Authorities and stakeholders from all over the world discussed how to win the fight against spam, as well as other on-line malpractices that threaten both citizens and businesses.
(OUT-LAW.com) Microsoft has stopped a man from selling lists of email addresses which were being used for spam. A court in England has granted a summary judgment against Paul Martin McDonald, stopping him from selling the lists.
(BBC) MySpace is being sued by the families of five teenage girls who it is claimed were sexually assaulted by men they met through the social networking website. The negligence and fraud suit against the popular site, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, was filed at a court in Los Angeles. It comes after a similar lawsuit was filed by the parents of a 14-year-old American girl last year.
(BBC) A virtual world which children can inhabit and interact with is being planned by the BBC. CBBC, the channel for 7-12 year olds, said it would allow digitally literate children the access to characters and resources they had come to expect. Users would be able to build an online presence, known as an avatar, then create and share content. Bosses said CBBC World would not have the financial aspects of other online worlds such as Second Life.
(Times) The final image of Saddam Hussein was on jerky unedited footage filmed by an anonymous onlooker standing at the foot of the steps beneath the gallows. The footage was filmed on a mobile phone.
(Deustsche Welle) Germany has taken a new tack in its plans to develop an Internet search engine with France. Instead, it will pursue a national project aimed at tackling US dominance in the information sector. Less than a year after French President Jacques Chirac hailed Quaero as Europe's answer to the challenge posed by 'American giants Google and Yahoo,' the ambitious project seems to have fallen by the wayside. Germany will now work on its own search engine program named Theseus after a legendary Greek hero who found his way out of the labyrinth of the monster Minotaur. see also DE - IT-Gipfel: Quaero heißt jetzt Theseus (Heise) Deutschland und Frankreich gehen bei der Entwicklung der Suchtechnologie der nächsten Generation unter dem Arbeitstitel Quaero getrennte Wege. Die Bundesregierung will nun unter dem Titel "Theseus" eine semantische Suchmaschine als "Leuchtturmprojekt" vorantreiben.
(RAPID) Vice-President Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Justice, Liberty and Security, and Viviane Reding, Commissioner responsible for Information Society and Media, are in Paris today attending an international meeting on the issue of missing, abducted and sexually exploited children. Also present are the members of the Honorary Board of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), including Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians, Her Majesty the Queen of Sweden, Mrs Laura Bush, Mrs Lyudmila Putin and Mrs Margarida Sousa Uva-Barroso. See also Laura Bush urges police cooperation on child pornography (- International Herald Tribune). EU - Stratégie européenne des droits de l'enfant. Discours de Franco Frattini, Commissaire européen responsable de la Justice, Liberté et Sécurité. Palais de l'Elysée, Paris, 17 janvier 2007.
(RAPID) A committee of Member State representatives has endorsed the Commission's initiative to reserve throughout the EU common freephone numbers for services of social value. This means in particular that the 116000 number will be made available for hotlines for missing children. Member States are asked to make this major initiative for children's rights a reality as soon as possible. Hotline telephone numbers for parents to report missing children already exist in several EU countries, but they currently use different telephone numbers in different countries. Having a common hotline number, 116000, will greatly help parents if they lose their child while travelling or on holiday in another European country. The Commission's draft Decision to reserve numbers beginning with 116 for harmonised services of social value in Europe has been endorsed by the Communications Committee, an expert group of Member States' representatives. Approval by this committee paves the way for the Commission to adopt this Decision, which will be binding on Member States, in early 2007. A public call will be launched early next year to identify other services that may benefit from 116 numbers.
(Europarl) European Parliament legislative resolution on the Council common position for adopting a recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of minors and human dignity and on the right of reply in relation to the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and online information services industry. Adopted on Tuesday 12 December 2006 in Strasbourg. See also Council Common position.
(CNET News.com) Under fire from both the U.S. government and parental organizations, MySpace.com is creating software to give parents a window into what their children are putting on their online profiles. Once the monitoring software is finished and distributed, parents can install it on a home computer to see what any MySpace user who logs on from that computer lists as his or her profile name, age and location. It will also track updates made to those profiles.
(BBc) A 'kite mark' standard is being planned by the home secretary to help protect children from internet paedophiles. John Reid told GMTV he planned a system of approved software so parents could feel assured their child was safe from paedophiles while online. He said the idea was to have a system which alerts parents if trigger phrases were used while their child was online.
(Heise) Mit einer bundesweiten Aufklärungskampagne will die Polizei über die Gefahren des Internets für Kinder informieren. Kern der Initiative "Kinder sicher im Netz" ist ein Online-Angebot, das über problematische Inhalte von Webseiten, Gefahren beim Chatten und sicheres Surfen informiert. Die Kampagne wurde im Auftrag der Innenministerkonferenz von der Polizei in Zusammenarbeit mit der Wirtschaft entwickelt.
(Europa) Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Final evaluation of the implementation of the multiannual Community action plan on promoting safer use of the Internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global networks.
(Europa) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Communication on the implementation of the multiannual Community Programme on promoting safer use of the Internet and new online technologies (Safer Internet plus).
(BBC) The European Commission has added its voice to the debate about the use of open source software. A report funded by the Commission concludes that the software could offer considerable savings to organisations with little effect on their business. The report found that in 'almost all' cases long-term costs could be reduced by switching from proprietary software produced by firms such as Microsoft.
(RAPID) In a new round of proceedings against possible infringements of EU telecom rules, the European Commission has opened two new infringement cases against Poland. The Commission is also sending a reasoned opinion to Slovakia and Latvia, opening the second stage of infringement proceedings. The Commission is referring two Member States (France and Poland) to the European Court of Justice and closing one case against Latvia.
(Guardian) BSkyB has set its sights on the very small screen with plans to start broadcasting direct to mobile phones, bypassing the existing five mobile phone operators in Britain. The UK's dominant pay-TV operator is considering using technology developed in the United States to beam its most popular programmes on to mobile phones.
(PC World) Researchers and IT managers are complaining that spam levels have risen significantly in recent months - some organizations have reported increases as high as 80 percent. Overall spam volume has increased 67 percent since August 2006. The new spam evades traditional spam filters because it doesn't include any text - instead, it uses an image embedded in the body of an e-mail to deliver its message.
(BBC) Global digital music sales have almost doubled to around $2bn (£1bn) in 2006, according to an industry report. But the rise, which represents 10% of all sales, has not reached the music companies' 'holy grail' of offsetting the fall in CD sales.
(BBC) With news-junkies turning increasingly to the net for their daily fix of world events, papers are beginning to feel the pinch. Not since the internet began has there been so much free quality newspaper content on the web. You will have to make the most of it because the current bonanza might not last forever.
(BBC) Children are increasingly swapping music via mobile phones, often without realising they can be breaking the law. A survey of almost 1,500 eight to 13-year-olds found almost a third shared music via their mobiles. hildren are using the built-in Bluetooth wireless feature of many phones to swap music - but without the consent of copyright holders.
(CNET News) A new study concludes that some eBay users are artificially boosting their reputations on the Internet auction Web site by selling items for practically nothing in exchange for positive feedback from the buyer. Sellers with good reputations can seek higher prices on items they sell, according to the study out of the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business.
(vnunet.com) Mobile operator 3 has announced that it is dropping most international roaming charges, and has challenged the rest of the industry to end what it calls the 'international roaming rip-off'. Under the new 3 Like Home pricing policy, subscribers will be able to make calls from abroad at no extra charge, so long as 3 has an arrangement with a local operator. Agreements are now in place in Ireland, Italy, Austria, Australia, Hong Kong, Sweden and Denmark.
(vnunet.com) After monitoring the most searched for terms for the whole year, Google has revealed that social networking has dominated web searches. 'Bebo' took the crown as the most searched for term throughout the year, followed by 'MySpace'.
(Net Family News) Watch out for emails that say there's been some unauthorized activity in your Amazon.com, Paypal, or bank account and 'click here' to confirm or reset your account information - username, password, social security number, etc. This is called 'social engineering,' and your kids get the messages too in IM, email, and social Web sites, in language tailored to their interests, (e.g., 'click to this cool video I put in YouTube...'). Beyond the tricks adults encounter, it's social engineering that gets kids to add people they don't know to friends lists or reveal more about themselves than they should.
(ZDNet France) Par les effets conjugués de la loi Dadvsi et d´une plus grande maturité des internautes, le nombre de fichiers téléchargés sur les réseaux P2P a été divisé par deux en 2006, soit 620 millions. Les Français sont pourtant plus nombreux à télécharger. Selon une étude de l'institut GfK, en partenariat avec le magazine SVM, le volume de fichiers téléchargés (musique, films, jeux vidéos, logiciels) en France a été divisé par deux en un an: leur nombre est passé de 1,3 milliard en 2005 à 620 millions en 2006. Plus de 95% sont récupérés illégalement.
(Europa) A conference entitled 'Scientific publishing in the European Research Area: access, dissemination and preservation in the digital age' will take place on 15 and 16 February in Brussels, Belgium. The aim of the conference will be to discuss and provide policy options for scientific publishing under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and in the European Research Area (ERA). Keynote speakers at the event will include Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik and the Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Vivian Reding.
(Europa) March 13th and 14th 2007, Conference Centre Albert Borschette, Brussels. This conference will concentrate on the following two objectives: 1) Identification of research needs from RFID towards the 'Internet of Things' with respect to different application areas; 2) Act as a platform for continuing the dialogue with the RFID stakeholders on an European level. After the opening by a keynote session, two streams will be run in parallel, focusing on academic research and development, and on an industry and technology forum. The conference will be concluded by a panel session, providing concise summaries and recommendations. Papers are welcomed in all related areas that focus on original research, development and experience. All papers submitted in this convocation will be published in the proceedings. Submission deadline: February 9th 2007. See call for papers
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