- CoE- A new Council of Europe Convention to protect children against sexual exploitation and abuse +/-
(Press Release) The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, which represents a major advance in this field. This new Convention is the first instrument to establish the various forms of sexual abuse of children as criminal offences, including such abuse committed in the home or family, with the use of force, coercion or threats. In addition to the offences traditionally committed in this field - sexual abuse, child prostitution, child pornography, children's forced participation in pornographic performances - the text also addresses the issue of "grooming" of children for sexual purposes and "sex tourism". The Convention will be opened for signature at the Conference of European Ministers of Justice in Lanzarote on 25 and 26 October this year. See The full text of the Convention and the explanatory report.
- MySpace deletes 29,000 sex offenders +/-
(Reuters) Popular Internet social network MySpace has detected and deleted 29,000 convicted sex offenders on its service, more than four times the figure it had initially reported. The company, owned by media conglomerate News Corp., said in May it had deleted about 7,000 user profiles that belonged to convicted offenders. MySpace attracts about 60 million unique visitors monthly in the United States.
- US - Democrats to push new Net sex-predator laws +/-
(CNET News.com) Expect a new push in Congress this fall for laws aimed at keeping sexual predators off the likes of MySpace.com and elevating fines on Internet service providers that don't report child pornography.
- US - New Scrutiny for Facebook Over Predators +/-
(New York Times) Facebook, the online social network, has stolen some of MySpace's momentum with users and the news media. Now, it is being subjected to the same accusations that it does not do enough to keep sexual predators off its site. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general, said that investigators in his state were looking into "three or more" cases of convicted sex offenders who had registered on Facebook and had "also found inappropriate images and content" on the service. The inquiry continues, he said, and state officials have contacted Facebook and asked it to remove the profiles.
- Eminem sues Apple over downloads +/-
(BBC) Rap star Eminem is suing computer firm Apple for allegedly selling his music in its iTunes store without permission. A lawsuit claiming infringement of copyright has been filed on behalf of the singer by his music publishing company Eight Mile Style. Apple pays Eminem's record label for each download - but Eight Mile Style argues it has not approved the deal.
- Please don't steal this Web content +/-
(CNET News.com) Automated digital plagiarism in which software bots can copy thousands of blog posts per hour and publish them verbatim onto Web sites on which contextual ads next to them can generate money for the site owner. Such Web sites are known among Web publishers as "scraper sites" because they effectively scrape the content off blogs, usually through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and other feeds on which those blogs are sent.
- UK - Cameron pledge over violent music +/-
(BBC) David Cameron has pledged to extend copyright on music to 70 years - in exchange for an effort by music bosses to curb violent music and imagery. The Tory leader told record industry chiefs they had a responsibility to help fix Britain's "broken society". See speech. See also ISPs face down Tories on file sharing (The Register) ISPs have given David Cameron's call for them to block P2P music sharing short shrift, repeating their stance that they are not "the gatekeepers of the internet", as he insists.
- UK - Government rejects the extension of the copyright term for performers +/-
(EDRI-gram) To the big disappointment of the music industry, the UK Government refused to promote at the EU level, the extension of the presently 50-year copyright term for performers. According to the EU rules, the copyright period for song writers and their families covers their entire lives plus 70 years while performers and their producers benefit of a 50 year copyright period starting from the recording date. UK Government considers that the majority of the performers would not benefit of the extension as most of them "have contractual relationship requiring their royalties be paid back to the record label." It also stated that such an extension would lead to the increase of costs for the industry and to the consumers.
- UK - Survey finds pirate downloads at all-time high and set to rise +/-
(Guardian) Illegal music downloading is at an all-time high and set to rise further, according to a report that urges the record industry to make legal buying easier and cheaper. Although social networking sites are boosting interest in music that translates into sales, a growing band of consumers are unconcerned about being prosecuted for illegal downloads, according to Entertainment Media Research.
- US - eBay wins round in 'Buy it now' patent dispute +/-
(CNET News) A tiny patent-licensing company has once again lost a plea to prohibit eBay from using its patent covering the auction giant's "Buy it now" feature, but the closely watched battle isn't over yet. Ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit whether an injunction is necessary in the long-running spat, a U.S. District Judge ruled that awarding monetary damages alone to MercExchange is enough to compensate any harms it experienced as a result of eBay's infringement.
- US - Mom Sues Universal Music for DMCA Abuse +/-
(EFF) The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), asking a federal court to protect the fair use and free speech rights of a mother who posted a short video of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song on the Internet. Under federal copyright law, a mere allegation of copyright infringement can result in the removal of content from the Internet.
- US - Patent law changes ahead in Congress +/-
(CNET News) The U.S. patent system transformation long sought by high-tech industry players like Microsoft, Amazon.com and Cisco Systems may finally be gaining momentum in Congress. Supporters say the proposed Patent Reform Act of 2007 would go a long way toward staving off expensive court litigation, limiting what are perceived as excessive damage awards, and keeping questionable patents off the books in the first place.
- EU - EDPS - Data Protection Directive should be fully implemented +/-
(EDRI-gram) The EDPS (European Data Protection Supervisor), Peter Hustinx, issued on 25 July 2007 an opinion on the European Commission communication regarding the improved implementation of the EC Data protection directive (95/46), considering that the Directive should not be amended and asking for its full implementation before applying any changes.
- EU - MEPs fear that new PNR agreement fails to protect citizens' data +/-
(EP Press Release) The European Parliament looked into the recent agreement signed by the EU-US administration for the transfer of air passengers' data and concluded in its resolution that the new deal still fails to offer an adequate level of data protection and it has been concluded without any involvement of parliaments from both sides, lacking democratic oversight. While recognising the difficult conditions under which the negotiations took place, MEPs regret that the EU-US agreement for the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) is 'substantively flawed', in particular by 'open and vague definitions and multiple possibilities for exception'.
- EU - Our data retention is not data protection watchdogs' business, says Google privacy boss +/-
(OUT-LAW News) The retention of search engine query data is a security matter and not one for Europe's data protection officials, according to Google's global privacy chief. Google said that it had to keep the records because the Data Retention Directive demanded it, but the Article 29 Working Party said that the Directive does not apply to search engines.
- EU finds clerical solution to PNR privacy concerns +/-
(OUT-LAW News) A new passenger name records (PNR) deal was announced this week by the EU and the US. It covers how much information can be handed to US authorities about passengers on flights from Europe to the US and the conditions on which it was kept. The US won major concessions from the EU, winning its demands to keep data for far longer and the ability to pass it on to other US agencies. The EU appeared to win one argument, reducing the amount of data transferred. However, the reduction of the number of data fields handed to US security services announced by the European Union was achieved by squeezing almost the same amount of data on to fewer lines. The news undermines what was seen as a concession won by EU negotiators.
- Google cookies will 'auto delete' +/-
(BBC) Google has said that its cookies, tiny files stored on a computer when a user visits a website, will auto delete after two years. They will be deleted unless the user returns to a Google site within the two-year period, prompting a re-setting of the file's lifespan. The company's cookies are used to store preference data for sites, such as default language and to track searches.
- Search sites tackle privacy fears +/-
(BBC) User worries are driving search firms to let people manage how much data they reveal when they visit the sites. The top four search sites, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Ask, have unveiled plans to cut how much data they hold and how long they store it. Going furthest Ask said it would let users search without surrendering any data about themselves and their PC.
- UK - Caught on camera and found on Facebook +/-
(BBC) Facebook, the social networking website, is being used as a disciplinary tool by university authorities. Staff at Oxford University are searching the website, collecting photographs of students who they say have broken rules on post-examination celebrations, and handing down fines. The student union has branded the move a "disgraceful" intrusion into privacy and has e-mailed every common room advising how to prevent dons viewing the photographs.
- UK - Data retention law passed +/-
(OUT-LAW News) UK telecoms companies will have to keep phone call logs for a year under a new law to come into force in October. The law does not apply to records of internet activity, such as web surfing, email and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone calls. The Data Retention (EC) Regulations transpose into UK law most of the European Union's Data Retention Directive. The Regulations will come into force on 1st October, two weeks after the deadline set by the EU, but they will not apply to internet traffic data. The Directive allows member states to extend the rules to internet data at a later date, provided these rules are in force by 15th March 2009.
- US - Appeals court dismisses suit against NSA spy program +/-
(CNET News) In a setback for foes of a controversial Bush administration wiretapping program, a federal appeals court threw out an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit that alleged illicit snooping on Americans' calls and e-mails.
- EU - Commission proposes to remove restrictions on radio spectrum for innovative wireless services +/-
(RAPID) The Commission has proposed measures to make it easier and more lucrative for mobile operators in Europe to offer and develop innovative wireless technologies. By opening radio spectrum for advanced mobile data and multimedia services (such as 3G services that allow video streaming and fast downloads on a mobile handset), the Commission proposals, if they become law, will increase the number and choice of wireless services available, and will expand their geographic coverage to the benefit of all European citizens. The new EU measures will also reduce network deployment costs for Europe's wireless communications industry.
- EU - Roaming after the deadline: Most operators comply with the law +/-
(RAPID) One month after the EU Roaming Regulation to reduce mobile roaming charges by up to 70% entered into force, the Commission has published a website to benchmark how mobile operators in all 27 Member States have applied the new EU rules. The Commission has found that the broad majority of mobile phone operators comply with the EU Regulation by offering customers the new "Eurotariff". The Commission notes that many operators offered the Eurotariff already at the start of July while others waited till just before the 30 July deadline. Some operators are also offering prices below the EU cap or new roaming packages.
- EU - Start of reduced mobile phone roaming charges +/-
(BBC) Mobile phone companies have to cut by up to 70% the amount they charge customers for making and receiving calls between EU countries. Under the new EU rules, the companies have to offer customers now a new pricing structure, with cheaper "roaming" fees.
- EU backs standard for mobile TV +/-
(BBC) European officials have backed a single standard for the rollout of mobile TV services across Europe. Telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has called on member states to roll out services using the DVB-H standard "as quickly as possible". See also Press Release and Television on the Move (Europa).
- Google sidesteps mobile reports +/-
(BBC) Google has refused to deny mounting speculation that it is working to produce its own brand mobile phone. Reports suggest that the web giant is developing a series of'GPhones', centred on its mobile services, such as search, e-mail and maps.
- UK - Television is a turnoff for mobile users +/-
(Guardian) Television on mobile phones might not be dead in the UK, but after BT's decision last week to close its Movio service for Virgin Mobile, it is certainly in intensive care - and operators have shovelled a lot of money that they won't recoup into it. Yet it might be rescued by the European Commission, which is preparing to mandate a European standard for mobile TV - just as it did for mobile phones by enforcing the use of the GSM standard.