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(BBC) Europe's proposed satellite-navigation system, Galileo, faces big delays and cost overruns unless major obstacles to its development are removed - and fast. A large order for spacecraft must be placed in the coming months if the project is to keep to a 2011-12 target for full operational deployment. But negotiations to set up the private framework that will implement and run the system have now been suspended.
(IBLS) European governments crack down on the recording and distribution of violence online. Several years ago, the United Kingdom noticed a disturbing pastime among a segment of its youths - 'happy slapping'. Individuals or groups found amusing the slapping or striking of strangers while accomplices filmed the assaults using mobile phones. The images were later showcased on the Internet. In recent years, the 'happy slapping' virus has spread into France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, among other European countries. And governments have had enough of this cruel and sometimes lethal form of entertainment.
(U.S. House of Representatives) A staff report prepared for the use of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Makes a number of suggestions for combating child pornography in the USA.
(Ars Technica) A data breach originally disclosed by the parent company of retailer T.J. Maxx could be the largest case of consumer information theft to occur to date. TJX Cos. disclosed in a regulatory filing this week that the company believes that data on at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards was stolen by hackers, and has reason to believe that the actual number could be much higher.
(Xinhua) The former editor-in-chief of a Chinese website has been given a six-year prison term for subversion, according to a statement from the Ningbo Intermediate People's Court in east China's Zhejiang Province. The court ruled that Zhang Jianhong, former editor-in-chief of a website named "Aiqinhai", or "Aegean Sea", had written articles which defamed the Chinese government and amounted to agitation aimed at toppling the government.
(CNET News.com) U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed in Philadelphia permanently barred prosecutors from enforcing the Child Online Protection Act, or COPA, saying it was overly broad and would undoubtedly 'chill a substantial amount of constitutionally protected speech for adults.' The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Even though politicians enacted COPA nearly a decade ago as part of an early wave of Internet censorship efforts, the courts have kept it on ice and it has never actually been enforced. The law makes it a crime for commercial Web sites to make "harmful to minors" material publicly available, with violators fined up to $50,000 and imprisoned for up to six months. See COPA Struck Down Again by Court, COPA Struck Down, Part 2 and The COPA Decision, Part 3: Implications for Age Verification and Social Networking (Progress & Freedom Foundation) by Adam Thierer.
(out-law.com) A European Parliament committee has voted in favour of an EU-wide law which would criminalise intentional infringements of an intellectual property right on a commercial scale. If the proposed Directive on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights becomes law, attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting such infringements will also be treated as criminal offences. Under an accompanying Framework Decision, those convicted will face penalties of up to ?300,000 and four years in jail.
(CNET News) The latest draft of revisions to the dominant open-source license offers an accommodating approach to some significant objections, but it could throw a wrench into the works of a major open-source company, Novell.
(BBC) Rampant piracy is threatening the future of the PC games industry, Todd Hollenshead, head of Doom 3 creator Id software has said. He warned that unless the problem was tackled some companies could relegate the PC to a second tier platform.
Labels: Copyright trademarks and patents
(Europa) Communication on the follow-up of the Work Programme for better implementation of the Data Protection Directive Protection Directive COM(2007) 87.
(BBC) European citizens are getting the chance to shape policy on smart tags. The European Commission is setting up a group made up of citizens, scientists, data protection experts and businesses to discuss how the tags should be used. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags store data about the objects they are attached to, and are already used by some firms and supermarkets.
(OUT-LAW News) The European Commission will make changes to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive to take account of the exploding market in radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, it has said. Amendments will be proposed by the middle of this year. The Commission has published a Communication, intended as 'a step towards a policy framework,' for dealing with RFID chips, whose usefulness is seen by some to be at odds with privacy and data protection.
(BBC) Privacy bodies have welcomed Google's decision to anonymise personal data it receives from users' web searches. The firm previously held information about searches for an indefinite period but will now anonymise it after 18 to 24 months.
(BBC) Plans to create an internet domain specifically for pornographic websites have been rejected. The proposal for the .xxx domain was voted out by the overseer of the net's addressing system, seven years after the ideas was first put forward. Board members said they were concerned that approval would put the agency into the position of a content regulator. See Board meeting resolution and transcript. GAC Communique: GAC expresses concern that ICANN could be moving towards assuming an ongoing management and oversight role regarding Internet content which would be inconsistent with its technical mandate. Government of Canada comments on the proposed ICM Registry Agreement. See also Why I Voted For XXX (Susan Crawford), Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) Press Release and .XXX ICANN comments - enormous opposition (Seth Finkelstein).
(Berkman Center for Internet & Society) by Mary C. Rundle. Increasingly, governments are regulating the "Net" - that is, the Internet and people's activities over it. Because the Net is global in nature, governments are turning to intergovernmental organizations to iron out common approaches. Taken together, these international Net initiatives foray into all areas of government traditionally dealt with by domestic regimes - addressing foreign commercial relations, jurisdiction, infrastructure, security, monetary authority, property, relations between private parties, and citizenship.
(UNESCO) by Mary Rundle and Chris Conley. The Infoethics Survey of Emerging Technologies prepared by the NGO Geneva Net Dialogue at the request of UNESCO aims at providing an outlook to the ethical implications of future communication and information technologies. The report further aims at alerting UNESCO's Member States and partners to the increasing power and presence of emerging technologies and draws attention to their potential to affect the exercise of basic human rights. Perhaps as its most salient deduction, the study signals that these days all decision makers, developers, the corporate scholar and users are entrusted with a profound responsibility with respect to technological developments and their impact on the future orientation of knowledge societies.
(BBC) European Commission telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has issued a stern warning to those involved in mobile TV to agree on adopting a single technology standard. She said that if the industry did not agree on one, she would do it for them. Ms Reding warned that Europe risked losing a chance to be a global player in the burgeoning mobile TV market. See Mobile TV: Commission urges industry and Member States to develop a proactive European strategy.
(Europa) The EU's 27 Telecom Ministers gathered on 15 March at the CEBIT IT fair in Hannover/Germany for an informal EU Telecom Council to discuss the roaming proposal. Substantial progress has been made on this issue. EU Commissioner Viviane Reding attended the meeting. An ambitious EU regulation that will reduce roaming charges by up to 70 per cent for citizens in the EU is now within reach and could be agreed upon in June. This will be achieved by a combination of compulsory caps both at wholesale and at retail level, following the Commission proposal of July last year. The next important steps are the vote in the European Parliament in May and the formal Telecom Council on 6 and 7 June.
(OECD) Mobile commerce is a promising market both for consumers and businesses. However, consumer troubles and complaints are increasing and can sometimes become serious, including issues for minors. Member countries' experiences show that we should ensure that consumers benefit. In particular, countries may review their instruments with regard to a more effective scheme for information disclosure, liability protection over SIM and RFID cards, effective notice to excessive consumption, and the importance of consumer education. Businesses may also consider more effective consumer protection schemes. see also Mobile Multiple Play: New Service Pricing and Policy Implications. This paper provides an overview of the evolution in mobile multiple play services (voice, data and video) and raises relevant regulatory and policy issues. The mobile infrastructure is being upgraded as 3G network coverage expands and as mobile broadcasting networks are being developed.
(Guardian) Technology firm Segala is spearheading an initiative to help internet users identify trusted web content through a comprehensive labelling system. Irish-based Segala has been developing content labels for more than two years and is now in talks with major web organisations and publishers to roll out the service for a number of applications.
(Guardian) by Seth Finkelstein. Would you be surprised to hear US civil liberties groups arguing that internet censorship is cheap, easy, relatively effective and difficult to circumvent? While in reaction, the US government claimed that such efforts had an unacceptable amount of collateral damage? Yet that's what has been happening for more than a decade in litigation involving censoring the internet. While these arguments sometimes descend into a fog of statistics, the overall implications are important for public policy. In the UK, a different set of censorship issues has arisen with BT's Cleanfeed project, intended to block content that is illegal, as gathered by the Internet Watch Foundation.
(Guardian) A "labelling" system for media content is under way to help parents protect their children from unsuitable content in the digital age, Gordon Brown revealed. The chancellor said that as part of its responsibilities for content regulation and media literacy Ofcom, the industry regulator, will introduce common labelling standards providing information on the type of content, regardless of the medium concerned: cinema, TV, radio, computer games, or the internet. A Treasury spokeswoman was unable to confirm when the scheme will be introduced.
(BBC) Fewer than half of the UK's 29m adult internet users believe they are responsible for protecting personal information online, a survey suggests. One in six of the 2,441 people surveyed felt responsibility rested with banks. The research, for a government-backed online safety campaign, found 12% had suffered online fraud in the last year - at an average loss of £875.
(Net Family News) The US Justice Department, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and Ad Council just launched a new phase of their media campaign to raise public awareness about exploitation of online teens, Government Technology magazine reports. The article cites a news study by Cox Communications showing that 61% of 13-to-17-year-olds have a personal profile on social networking sites; half of them 'have posted pictures of themselves online'; 20% of them say it is 'somewhat safe' or 'very safe' to share personal info on a public blog or profile; and 37% say 'they're not very concerned or not at all concerned about someone using personal information they've posted online in ways they haven't approved.' The 'Think Before You Post' videos can be viewed in the Ad Council site, and here's the National Center's press release.
Labels: Safer Internet awareness
(RAPID) The Commission has launched today a public consultation to identify common Europe-wide telephone services of social value that could benefit from single European freephone numbers starting with 116. The consultation will run until 20 May 2007. The public consultation is the next step after the Commission's Decision of 15 February requiring Member States to reserve the six-digit number range starting with 116 for services of social value in Europe. This Decision also reserved the first such number, 116000, for hotlines for missing children. The consultation seeks to identify other services that may also benefit from a single Europe-wide number. Once the Commission has decided which numbers should be reserved for which services, it will be for Member States to assign the numbers to individual organisations within their territory.
(Ars Technica) Quanta, the company manufacturing the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project's XO laptops, plans to begin selling low-cost budget mobile computers for $200 later this year. The company plans to leverage the underlying technologies associated with OLPC's XO laptop to produce laptop computers that are significantly less expensive than conventional laptops. The OLPC project hopes to bring inexpensive Linux-based laptops to the education market in developing countries.
(ITU) WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs. The 2nd WSIS Action Line C5 facilitation meeting will be held 14-15 May 2007 at ITU Headquarters (Room K) in Geneva, Switzerland from 9:30-17:30 both days. The meeting is open to all stakeholders and will be held in conjunction with a cluster of events 14-25 May surrounding World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (May 17th). The invitation letter and draft agenda is available here. See also Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity Web site and Background on WSIS Action Line C5.
(EUPACO) We bring together a new group of reputed expert speakers and we invite participants for the second Brussels event on 15 and 16 May. Keynote speakers: Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical Ltd; Ron Marchant, and William Kovacic. Ron Marchant has just retired as Chief Executive of the Patent Office (UK) where he was also Director of Patents for 12 years. Under his leadership, the UK office has become widely known as a leader among national office for its innovative services and policy development. William Kovacic is one of five Commissioners of the Federal Trademark Commission in the U.S. He previously served as General Counsel for the FTC at the time agency conducted its landmark study on patents, innovation, and competition.
(OpenNet Initiative) The OpenNet Initiative is holding its first public conference to discuss the current state of play of Internet filtering worldwide. The conference will be hosted by the Oxford Internet Institute and held at the University of Oxford on May 18, 2007. The conference is free of charge and open to the public. Results from the first global study of Internet filtering carried out by the OpenNet Initiative will be on the table for a day of discussion involving ICT development experts, speech and human rights advocates, journalists and bloggers, international laywers and scholars, and others interested in state responses to online information flows. We hope you will join us in exploring interpretations and implications of our data and helping to shape the OpenNet Initiative's evolving research agenda.
(ITU) The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) are jointly organizing a high-level experts meeting to identify global trends and to address the new technological and policy challenges in the digital content delivery environment. The ITU/EBU High-Level Experts Meeting on 'Competitive Platforms for Digital Content' will be held from 21 to 22 June 2007 at EBU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. It is a unique opportunity which will bring together the world's leading ICT companies, decision-makers, international organizations and governments for a high-level meeting to facilitate the creation of new opportunities for growth in the digital content market.
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