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(Europa) A call for tender was published on 8 August 2007 in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union 2007/S 151-187363. The purpose of the assessment is to analyse the economic and social impact of the public domain and to gauge its potential to contribute for the benefit of the citizens and the economy. Time limit for receipt of requests for documents or for accessing the documents: 26 September 2007 (16.00 h). Time limit for receipt of tenders: 3 October 2007 (16.00 h).
(G-8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministers) May 24th, 2007 Child pornography grievously harms all children: it harms the child who is sexually assaulted in the making of the image; the same child is re-victimized every time that image is viewed; and it harms all children because it portrays them as a class of objects for sexual exploitation. We categorically denounce those who sexually exploit children by producing images of their sexual abuse and by distributing or collecting such images. Because no child should be victimized in this horrific way, today we pledge to redouble our efforts to enforce the international fight against child pornography.
(Reuters) A 39-year-old Briton has been arrested on suspicion of using someone else's wireless Internet connection without permission, police said on Wednesday. Officers spotted the man using a laptop as he sat on a wall outside a house in Chiswick, West London. He told officers he had browsed the Internet via an unsecured broadband link from a nearby house, Scotland Yard said. He was arrested and later released on police bail to November 11 pending further inquiries. See also Police: Wi-Fi arrest not part of a crackdown (ZDNet UK).
(RAPID) The government must do more to protect internet users from the threat of e-crime, says a House of Lords report. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said the internet was now "the playground of criminals". The report criticised the government's current "Wild West" approach of leaving internet security up to the individual as "inefficient and unrealistic". See Personal Internet Security. Witnesses from the European Commission, including Commissioner Viviane Reding, gave evidence: see Vol II - Evidence.
(FT) Channel 4 has responded to a spate of scandals over premium rate phone lines by announcing that it would no longer seek to make a profit from them - a decision that will deal a huge financial blow to the broadcaster. In a statement, Channel 4 said the move was an attempt to regain the trust of its audience and played down the financial impact, saying that it would cost the company only £3m in the current financial year. In fact, in the last full financial year, PRTS contributed "more than £10m" to overall pre-tax profits of £21.3m.
(bigmouthmedia) Police in China have created a cartoon depiction of the Chinese internet police force that will be displayed to users every thirty minutes whilst browsing the web. The aim of the cartoon is to be a friendly reminder to users to abide by the laws of the land and to avoid anything that could be deemed illegal in China.
(Reporters Without Borders) Reporters Without Borders condemns the "self-discipline pact" signed by at least 20 leading blog service providers in China including Yahoo.cn! and MSN.cn. Unveiled by the Internet Society of China (ISC), an offshoot of the information industry ministry, the pact stops short the previous project of making it obligatory for bloggers to register, but it can be used to force service providers to censor content and identify bloggers.
(Bangkok Post) Internet law experts and webmasters lashed out at what they said was the government's illegal blocking of websites and the use of threats and intimidation tactics against webmasters by government officials. Paiboon Amornpinyokiart, an internet and IT law expert, said nowhere in the controversial Cyber Crime Act does it say the government has the authority to freely block websites. The law says any move to block a website must be backed by a court order.
(BBC) Some of the largest broadband providers in the UK are threatening to "pull the plug" from the BBC's new iPlayer unless the corporation contributes to the cost of streaming its videos over the internet. The likes of Tiscali, BT and Carphone Warehouse are all growing concerned that the impact of hundreds of thousands of consumers watching BBC programmes on its iPlayer, which allows viewers to watch shows over the internet, will place an intolerable strain on their networks. Some of the companies involved have told the BBC that they will consider limiting the bandwidth available to iPlayer, a process known as traffic shaping. The measure would limit the number of consumers who could access the iPlayer at any one time.
(FT) Ofcom is facing questions about whether its reach should stretch further. The scandals arising from television companies' pursuit of phone-in revenues have highlighted "boundary questions" for the super-regulator. Although broadcasters who deceive the public are answerable to Ofcom, the providers of such premium rate services, or PRS, are regulated by another body, Icstis. At the BBC, meanwhile, although Ofcom can fine the corporation for breaches, its management is answerable in other regards to the new BBC Trust.
(Ars Technica) One of the biggest Danish pop bands of the 80's has won a case against its record label that could remake the European digital music scene. Dodo & the Dodos charged that Sony BMG had no contractual permission to distribute its music over the Internet, and the Danish Eastern High Court agreed last week. Now, record labels could be forced to negotiate new contracts with every band who signed a deal in the pre-Internet era, and those bands could rake in much higher royalties.
(Ars Technica) "Everybody's doing it!" That's one excuse provided by European kids as to why they pirate media or software from the Internet, according to new survey results from the European Commission. The qualitative survey consisted of 9-10 year olds and 12-14 year olds across all 27 of the European Union's member states (plus Norway and Iceland) and was meant to gauge how children in Europe use online technologies. And while most of them are aware that downloading things like music, movies, and video games is illegal, they're more than willing to justify it.
(Reuters) Children in Europe are aware of the risks of illegal downloading but often rationalize their act by saying that everyone - including their parents--is doing it, according to a major European Commission survey. Other excuses included: the download is for personal and private purposes; the Web sites presumably remunerate the artists; claims of harm inflicted on artists lack credibility; and DVDs and CDs are simply too expensive.
(Inside Facebook) Facebook has completely kicked the Audio application off the Facebook Platform, a first in Platform history for an application of this size. The reasons cited were IP violations. Audio was an application that let Facebook users upload MP3 files, share them with friends, and listen to them on the site. One of the fastest growing apps after launch, Audio had about 750,000 users before Facebook pulled out the rug.
(BBC) A former owner of Russia's music website Allofmp3.com who sold cut-price downloads of Western music has been acquitted of copyright offences. A court in Moscow ruled that Denis Kvasov and his site had operated within the bounds of Russian law.
(BBC) Vivendi's Universal Music is to test the digital sale of songs from artists without the customary copy-protection technology. It will allow the sale of thousands of albums and tracks available in MP3-form without the protection, known as digital rights management (DRM). Most major recording studios insist music sellers use DRM technology to curb online piracy.
(New York Times) In a decision that may finally settle one of the most bitter legal battles surrounding software widely used in corporate data centers, a federal district court judge ruled that Novell, not the SCO Group, is the rightful owner of the copyrights covering the Unix operating system. Judge Kimball's decision in favor of Novell could almost entirely undermine SCO's 2003 lawsuit against IBM.
(vnunet.com) An entrepreneur in Second Life, maker of 'adult' items such as the SexGen bed, a piece of virtual furniture that allows Second Life users to simulate more than 150 sex acts, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a fellow virtual resident. lthough the concept of 'virtual' property has been bantered around by lawyers in recent years, this will be the first time that such a copyright case will be taken to a US court.
(News.com) IT security firm Sophos has released the results of its Facebook ID Probe, a test to see just how many users of the site are willing to divulge highly personal information to potential identity thieves. The results, to say the least, show that more than a few Facebook members might not be taking their privacy seriously enough. Sophos created a fake Facebook profile, and randomly requested 200 members to be friends with 'Freddi.' Out of those 200, 87 accepted the friend request and 82 of those gave 'Freddi' access to "personal information" such as e-mail addresses, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers, and school or work data.
(vnunet.com) Monster.com has admitted that the number of job seekers on its website who had their personal data stolen is greater than the 1.3 million originally reported. Monster.com kept the original attack secret for five days before alerting users to the problem. The company's database holds around 73 million CVs. Iannuzzi claimed that only a few hundred had cancelled their accounts, along with a "handful" of employers.
(BBC News) Columnist Bill Thompson says firms should tell customers when their computer security has been breached. UK organisations have no legal duty to tell if personal data has been compromised. The situation may change, if the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology has its way. They have spent the last year looking at internet security and how it affects us all and they published their final report, called Personal Internet Security.
(OUT-LAW News) The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has issued its first ever ruling on video content published online by a newspaper. It said that the Hamilton Advertiser breached school pupils' rights to privacy with a video of an unruly classroom.
(Kablenet.com) A study commissioned by the Ministry of Justice has revealed that the signal for satellite technology for tracking offenders could be lost and that offenders could remove their ankle tags and leave them behind. The report says that, in ideal conditions, the technology is capable of finding the exact location of a tracked offender. But the signal could be distorted if an offender enters a building or a street with tall structures.
(vnunet.com) The creators of the online world Second Life, Linden Lab, has banned all forms of gambling in the game. While Linden Lab itself does not offer any gambling facilities in Second Life, the ability for people in the game to create just about any type of object means that virtual casinos have sprung up all over the world. This new policy will effect all users of the game, regardless of where they live in real life.
(Times of Malta) The Ministry for Investment, Industry and Information Technology and Agenzija Appogg have collaborated in the setting-up of the Hotline for child abuse over the internet. This project also includes the collaboration of other stakeholders such as the Cyber Crime Unit of the Malta Police Force, the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity, the Ministry for Education, Youth and Employment, the Commissioner for Children and the local internet Service Providers. EU funds facilitated the setting-up of the Appogg hotline service, which forms part of an international network of hotlines as represented by INHOPE (Association of Internet Hotline Providers).
(BBC) German government plans to spy on terror suspects by deploying malicious e-mails have drawn sharp criticism. The e-mails would contain Trojans - software that secretly installs itself on suspects' computers, allowing agents to search the hard drives. German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is quoted as saying the spyware would be used only in a few cases and for a limited time.
(Guardian) US intelligence agencies will no longer need a warrant to eavesdrop on US citizens' international phone calls and emails after George Bush signed a temporary surveillance bill. The law, which was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives just before Congress adjourned for the summer, had been made a priority by Mr Bush and his chief intelligence officials.
(ZDNet) MySpace.com is well known as a social-networking service that allows members to create unique personal profiles online to find and communicate with other people. But did you also know that MySpace is actively trying to root out spammers? In a lawsuit in federal court, the company alleged it was the victim of an abusive scheme to disseminate commercial messages and solicitations to MySpace users. The defendant was ordered not to access or use the MySpace Web site to transmit any electronic messages. The court said he could not establish or maintain any MySpace profiles or accounts. What's more, he was ordered not to use MySpace for any commercial purpose or to refer to MySpace in connection with any unsolicited electronic communication in any way that suggests that the message is affiliated with the company.
(Eur-Lex) Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II). see IPR HelpDesk. The Regulation establishes uniform conflict of law rules to be applied by the courts of the Member States to determine the law applicable to claims related to acts of unfair competition (Art. 6) and infringements of intellectual property rights (Art. 8). Thanks to these new rules, companies will enjoy certainty and legal security in the protection of their intellectual property rights. The Rome II Regulation does not include conflict of law rules related to obligations arising from violations of privacy and rights relating to personality, but the Commission will submit a study on the situation of both legal matters no later than December 2008. The Regulation will not enter into force until January 2009.
(CNET News.com) Yahoo has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by two Chinese journalists who alleged that the Internet company and its subsidiaries "willingly" handed over information about their online writing to the People's Republic of China. The case hinges on a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Plaintiffs Shi Tao, Wang Xiaoning- two pro-democracy advocates - and Yu Ling (Wang's wife) charged Yahoo and its Hong Kong subsidiary with allegedly divulging information about their online activity and pro-democracy writing to Chinese authorities, an act that ultimately caused their arrest and prosecution, according to the filing. Both men were sentenced to 10 years in prison.
(RAPID) Following the Commission's publication of its "name and shame" roaming benchmarking website on 2 August, all mobile operators have since informed the Commission of the Eurotariffs they are offering their customers as required by the EU's new Roaming Regulation. All these Eurotariffs are now listed on the Commission's website. For mobile customers roaming in Europe, the first result is quite positive: In 23 of the 27 EU Member States, there is at least one mobile operator offering roaming tariffs below the regulation's ceilings.
(Australin IT) John Howard is going to spend $189 million on "cleaning up the internet" for Australian families, blocking pornography, upgrading the search for chat-room sex predators and cutting off terror sites. Every Australian family will be provided with a free internet filter and the federal Government will enter an unprecedented partnership with service providers to filter pornography at the source. Communications and Australian Federal Police resources will be boosted immediately to expand checks on internet chat rooms to detect child predators, and privacy laws masking sex offenders on the net will be altered. see also AU - Student cracks Government's $84m porn filter
(DCITA) Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Address to Australian Personal Computer Awards Night, Sydney, Wednesday 21 March 2007
(BBC) Members of the European Parliament overwhelmingly want to see an EU-wide register of sex offenders established, a survey suggests. A poll commissioned by the campaign to find missing Madeleine McCann found that 97% of MEPs backed the measure. Pollsters contacted 105 MEPs they judged to be representative of all the major EU member states and political groups in the European Parliament. As well as nearly all MEPs contacted agreeing with the creation of an EU-wide sex offenders register, the survey found that 95% wanted police to treat serious crimes involving children identically across Europe. Almost nine out of 10 MEPs who were canvassed supported introducing a common EU child abduction policy.
(BetaNews) Attorneys General across the country banded together, calling on social networking sites to strengthen parental controls to keep minors from accessing questionable material on their sites. The efforts are being headed by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who worked previously to get MySpace to disclose the identities of sex offenders on its Web site, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. While both are working to have the companies voluntarily change their policies, they are also pushing for actual laws.
(Heise) Der SPD-Innenexperte Dieter Wiefelspütz hat staatsanwaltschaftliche Ermittlungen gegen die Internet-Plattform YouTube wegen der Verbreitung rechtsextremer Videos gefordert. Auch das Bundesinnenministerium empfahl, gegen den YouTube-Eigentümer Google Strafanzeige zu erstatten. Weil das Unternehmen auf mehr als 100 Abmahnungen von Jugendschützern nicht reagiert habe, erwägt auch der Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland diesen Schritt. Nach Angaben von Report Mainz sind auf YouTube unter anderem der NS-Propagandafilm "Jud Süß" sowie verbotene Videos der Gruppen "Kommando Freisler" und "Landser" zu sehen.
(Herald Sun) A Melbourne schoolboy has cracked the Federal Government's new $84 million internet porn filter in minutes. Tom Wood, 16, said it took him just over 30 minutes to bypass the Government's filter. Tom, a year 10 student at a southeast Melbourne private school, showed the Herald Sun how to deactivate the filter in a handful of clicks.
(iTWire) US software company, Nominum, claims that its technology is able to provide ISP level content filtering with 'sub-millisecond' delays, contrary to many claims that ISP level filtering would inevitably slow down response times for web surfers.
(Brigham Young University Law Review) by Dawn C. Nunziato, George Washington University Law School. In this Article, I scrutinize these attempts to use technology to remedy the problem of minors' access to harmful Internet content, focusing on the relationship between the efficacy of the technology and the constitutionality of the legislation at issue.
(RAPID) Can parents trust their 13 year old daughter when she surfs the web? Do they know for sure that their 11 year old son's mobile phone conversation is safe? A Commission survey of children from all over Europe has looked into how they use new media. It shows that the use of internet and mobile phones has become almost self-evident for Europe's young generation. In general, they also know the risks of using the internet and mobile phones. However, when facing trouble online, minors will ask an adult only as a last resort. See Findings from the Eurobarometer on Children's use of online technologies.
(IHT) With social networking sites exploding in growth, most young users are well aware of the risks and the seamy side of the territory, from cyber-bullying, identity theft and encounters with adults posing as children to communities that promote anorexia and bulimia eating disorders as lifestyle choices. With backing from the European Union, which is spending 45 million on an Internet safety program through 2008, a collection of national groups are now focusing specifically on the issue of online sexual grooming.
(News.com) by Stefanie Olsen. All parents question how technology is affecting their kids. Henry Jenkins, a media scholar at MIT, is working on the answer. As director of the comparative media studies program at MIT, Jenkins is working under a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to study how digital environments are influencing children and to develop educational curricula based on his group's findings. (Last year, the MacArthur Foundation said it would invest $50 million over the next five years to build a network of researchers and community activists to work on digital education and new media literacy.)
(ENISA) ENISA presents the 1st European report on current practices on measuring successful awareness raising initiatives in information security across the EU, with responses from 67 European organisations headquartered in 9 different countries. The main areas studied are: The importance of information security awareness, Techniques to raise information security awareness, and Mechanisms to measure the effectiveness of awareness programmes.
(Guardian) Experts are warning internet users to be more careful with their private information after secret code from the popular social-networking site Facebook was published on the internet. This is the first time that some of the site's secret operational code has been made public. Although it does not allow hackers to access private information directly, it could help criminals close in on personal data, according to one expert.
(MediaGuardian.co.uk) The gambling industry has agreed a new marketing code that includes a pre-9pm watershed ban on TV advertising and an end to branding on children's replica football shirts. The voluntary code for socially responsible advertising, supported by 12 industry bodies including the British Casino Association, has been hurriedly drawn up following pressure from the new culture secretary, James Purnell.
(BBC) Internet law professor Michael Geist says the walled gardens of social networks should be pulled down. Internet users are repeatedly required to re-enter their personal information for each new network they join and find that each network is effectively a "walled garden", where the benefits of the network are artificially limited by the inability to link a friend in Facebook with one in MySpace.
(BBC) A student campaign using the social networking website Facebook has forced an international bank into a U-turn over charges. HSBC is to abandon plans to scrap interest-free overdrafts for students leaving university this summer. Thousands of students on Facebook had threatened to boycott the bank. The National Union of Students said this made all the difference to the protest.
(BBC) Researchers have found a way to enforce good manners on file-sharing networks by treating bandwidth as a currency. The team has created a peer-to-peer system called Tribler in which selfless sharers earn faster upload and download speeds but leechers are penalised. Overlaid on Tribler is social networking technology that helps to police the system and encourage fair sharing. Tribler has already caught the attention of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is trying to create a standardised internet broadcasting system across Europe.
(IHT) Microsoft and Nokia, which both make operating systems for mobile phones and compete for control of that market, are coming together in a rare accord in an effort to take advantage of the expected explosion of the sale of mobile digital content in the coming years. Under the agreement, Microsoft's PlayReady DRM technology - which helps content owners like music companies and service providers deliver digital content while restricting access - will be loaded directly on some Nokia phones beginning early next year.
(IHT) Across Europe, growing ranks of cost-conscious consumers are transforming the Continent's mobile phone market by bypassing established networks and forcing big operators to reinvent themselves to stay competitive. The pressure to "go low" is now so great that T-Mobile, the wireless unit of Deutsche Telekom, last month created its own discount brand, Congstar.
(Guardian) The success of social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo and even YouTube could represent the next boom for the mobile phone operators. Revenues from putting so-called user-generated content - meaning content such as videos and blogs created by consumers rather than media organisations - onto mobile phones is expected to rise more than tenfold over the next five years, according to estimates by Juniper Research.
(Business Week) Better known as "aSW" to its members, aSmallWorld is one of a handful of private online social networks where big is bad. Membership in these networks, not unlike the exclusive country clubs where the rich and powerful hobnob, is carefully guarded.
(News.com) Half of businesses are restricting employees' access to social-networking site Facebook, due to concerns about productivity and security. According to research by security company Sophos, 43 percent of workers polled said their employer blocks Facebook access completely. A further 7 percent said access is restricted depending on whether it's required for a particular job. The issue of security was also raised by the Sophos research. In a separate poll by the company, 66 percent of workers said they are concerned about colleagues sharing information on Facebook.
(OPA) The Internet Activity Index (IAI) provides a new way of looking at consumer engagement online, dividing Internet usage into four distinct activities: content, communications, commerce and search. The IAI is derived from a categorization of Web properties accounting for more than 90%, on average, of active Web users and approximately 55% of total usage time (excludes .gov and .edu Web sites, as well as pornographic domains).
(CNET News.com) by Stefanie Olsen. The majority of parents say they've taken some action to ensure their child's safety online, but at least some will admit they're clueless about how to protect kids. According to a new study from research firm Harris Interactive, roughly a third of parents said they don't feel confident about teaching kids how to use the Internet safely and responsibly. Nevertheless, as many as 94 percent of parents have turned to Web content filters, monitoring software or advice from an adult friend to help shield their kids from harm on the Net.
(vnunet.com) Teen social site Bebo has overtaken MySpace as the most visited social networking site among UK surfers, according to web monitoring firm comScore. Bebo attracted 10.6 million unique visitors, an increase of 63 per cent over the start of the year. MySpace enjoyed a 25 per cent increase in traffic, to reach 10.1 million. The fastest growing social networking site was Facebook, which has grown 366 per cent to attract an audience of 7.6 million.
(BBC) The net, mobile phones and MP3 players are revolutionising how Britons spend their time, says Ofcom's annual report. It reveals that older media such as TV, radio and even DVDs are being abandoned in favour of more modern technology. Surprisingly, it also shows that women, in some age groups, are the dominant web users and older web users spend more time online than any group. Among children it showed that web and mobile phone use is growing at the expense of video games. See also Mobile phones 'eroding landlines' and More than half of UK homes have broadband (vnunet.com).
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