- CN - China Steps Up Internet Video Control +/-
(AP) China will take a new step to tighten control of the Internet when rules go into force limiting online video-sharing to state companies. But regulators, wary of hurting a fast-growing industry, are expected to let private operators work around the restrictions. The rules are aimed at expanding a Chinese censorship system that tries to block Internet use to spread dissent while promoting it for business and education. Communist leaders are especially anxious about unflattering video showing up online ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August, a major prestige project.
- MA - Jail for Facebook spoof Moroccan +/-
(BBC) A Moroccan computer engineer has been sentenced to three years in jail for setting up a Facebook profile in the name of a member of the royal family. Fouad Mourtada was arrested on 5 February on suspicion of stealing the identity of Prince Moulay Rachid, younger brother of King Mohammed VI. The Casablanca court also ordered Mr Mourtada, 26, to pay a $1,300 fine.
- PK - Pakistan blocks YouTube website +/-
(BBC) Pakistan has blocked access to the popular YouTube website because of content deemed offensive to Islam. Its telecommunications authority ordered internet service providers to block the site until further notice. Reports said the content included Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that have outraged many.
- UK - Media regulation needs reform +/-
(Guardian) Sir Christopher Meyer, the chairman of the press watchdog, today said that the system of media regulation was "pretty weird" and needed to be sorted out with a new communications act. Meyer, appearing before the House of Lords communications committee, said the system of separate media regulators including Ofcom, the Press Complaints Commission he chairs, the BBC Trust and the Advertising Standards Authority was a "typical British fudge" and needed rationalisation.
- UK - Ministers plan clampdown on 'unsuitable' video games +/-
(Guardian) A legally enforceable cinema-style classification system is to be introduced for video games in an effort to keep children from playing damaging games unsuitable for their age, the Guardian has learned. Under the proposals, it would be illegal for shops to sell classified games to a child below the recommended age.
- US - Whistle while you work +/-
(Guardian) From government to big business, if you have a dirty secret, Wikileaks is your nightmare. David Leigh and Jonathan Franklin on the site a US court has tried to muzzle. See also Wikileaks judge gets Pirate Bay treatment.
- CN - Record labels sue China's top search engine +/-
(OUT-LAW News) Three major record labels have launched court actions against three Chinese internet companies accusing them of building a business on copyright infringement. One of them is China's biggest search engine, Baidu.com. Music trade body The International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI) said that it, Warner, Sony BMG and Universal have all filed suits against Baidu, Sohu and a company associated with it, Sogou. The actions demand that the internet firms remove links from their services to copyright infringing material in which the three firms hold rights.
- EU - Extend performers' copyright to 95 years, says commissioner +/-
(Guardian) Performing artists, such as Cliff Richard, and session musicians would get copyright protection on their recordings for 95 years instead of the current 50, under plans put forward yesterday by Charlie McCreevy, the EU's internal market commissioner. McCreevy took issue with the Gowers report in Britain which rejected such a change despite intensive lobbying from long-standing artists such as Richard. "I disagree with Gowers," said McCreevy, who has been lobbied hard on the issue. See Extension of term of copyright protection for European performers speech by Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Press Conference, Brussels, 14 February 2008 and Commission Press Release.
- EU - Parliament demands action on criminal IP penalties +/-
(OUT-LAW News) The European Parliament has asked EU member states to press ahead with a plan to criminalise copyright infringement. The Parliament wants a proposal it agreed last year to be approved by ministers from each member state. The proposed EU directive would create new rules on copyright protection, and would require each EU country to pass laws criminalising intellectual property infringement. It must be approved by the Council of Ministers before it takes effect.
- UK - IPO changes software patent advice +/-
(OUT-LAW News) The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) will not appeal against a High Court ruling that some computer programs can be patented. It has amended its guidance to firms on the controversial issue. In January the High Court demanded the re-examination of six companies' patent applications, saying that the UK-IPO was wrong to reject them on the grounds of their being software.
- Call to scrap children's database +/-
(BBC) The government faces calls to scrap a database containing the details of every child in England after a report said it could never be secure. The report, by accountants Deloitte and Touche, was ordered after last year's missing data discs crisis. ContactPoint will begin operation in September or October this year, five months later than planned. It will list the name, address and date of birth of every child in England and contact details for their parents, doctors and schools. Every child will be given a "unique identifying number".
- DE - StudiVZ-Chef fordert runden Tisch zum Datenschutz im Web 2.0 +/-
(Heise) Der Geschäftsführer von StudiVZ, Marcus Riecke, hat sich bei einer Diskussion mit Schülern zum 2. Europäischen Datenschutztag an der Robert-Jungk-Oberschule in Berlin für die Einberufung eines runden Tischs zum Datenschutz im Web 2.0 ausgesprochen. Andere Plattformanbieter, Hüter der Privatsphäre, Werbetreibende, Jugendschützer und Innenpolitiker sollten zusammenkommen, um Rahmenbedingungen für soziale Netzwerke und andere Plattformen im Mitmach-Web abzustecken. Dabei sei etwa der "Zielkonflikt zwischen Daten- und Jugendschutz" bei der Frage der Speicherung von Logfiles der Nutzer zu erörtern.
- EU - EC plans biometric border checks +/-
(CNET News) Visitors to Europe will face biometric screening and automated security checks under proposals for a shake-up of EU border controls. Under plans to strengthen checks at European borders laid out by the European Commission, international travelers would also have their stay logged and monitored by an electronic system, which could become operational by 2015.
- EU guidelines on RFID aim to protect privacy +/-
(Reuters) RFID chips embedded in items ranging from pets to retail products will have to be deactivated at the point of sale to protect purchasers' privacy under draft guidelines proposed by the European Commission. A public consultation is being launched into the "soft law" guidelines that EU information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding hopes will be adopted by the European Union executive to be applied in all the bloc's 27 member states. The consultation will be open until 25 April. The Commission services will then analyse the received contributions and put forward a draft Recommendation for adoption before the summer of 2008.
- Google argues against calling IP addresses "personal data" +/-
(Ars Technica) European data protection leaders are considering a plan that would make IP addresses "personal information." Google wants to make sure it doesn't happen, and today it took the fight to the blogosphere. In a new public policy posting, Google software engineer Alma Whitten made the case that IP addresses aren't so much personal information as potentially personal information. Many IP addresses assigned to consumers don't reliably map to a single machine (due to the wonders of DHCP), and even when they do, it's only the machine and not the person who is identified. Google clearly hopes to avoid a "black-and-white declaration that all IP addresses are always personal data."
- Personal data privacy 'at risk' +/-
(BBC) Millions of people are leaving themselves open to identity theft when using social networking websites, according to the consumer group Which? Members of sites such as Facebook can join large networks which reveal personal information to thousands of others on the network. Which? says people are at a greater risk of being targeted by fraudsters than they think.
- UK - Facebook faces privacy questions +/-
(BBC) Facebook is to be quizzed about its data protection policies by the UK Information Commissioner's Office. The investigation follows a complaint by a user of the social network who was unable to fully delete their profile even after terminating their account. Currently, personal information remains on Facebook's servers even after a user deactivates an account. Facebook has said it believes its policy is in "full compliance with UK data protection law".
- UK - Marks & Spencer ordered to encrypt data after laptop theft +/-
(OUT-LAW News) Marks & Spencer broke the law when it allowed the details of 26,000 employees to be held on a laptop without the protection of encryption, according to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The laptop, and the information on it, has been stolen. The retailer must ensure that all laptop hard drives are encrypted by April of this year. If it fails to comply with an enforcement notice issued against it by the ICO it could face criminal charges.
- UK - Watchdog calls for 'reckless data-breach' offence +/-
(ZDNet.co.uk) The Information Commissioner's Office has called for amendments to UK data-protection laws, including making "reckless" data breaches an offence. In a document submitted to governemnt submitted to government, information commissioner Richard Thomas called for the Data Protection Act (DPA) to be amended to include a penalty for data controllers "knowingly or recklessly failing to comply with the principles" of the DPA.
- EU - Mobile goes Internet : Key Challenges for Mobile Ubiquity in Europe's Single Market +/-
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, GSMA Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 11 February 2008. Data roaming: I want to see the end of these artificial borders between networks and nations which are both preventing private consumers and business customers to benefit fully from the single borderless market we have created between 27 EU countries so far. The objective is clear: Sending text messages or downloading data via a mobile phone while in another EU country should not be substantially more expensive for a consumer than sending text messages or downloading data at home. If the mobile industry responds to the need for attractive packages of data services offered to their customers, with a credible Eurotariff for data roaming in all EU Member States, I will applaud your action. However, if I see no such single market offers for data roaming evolve by 1 July of this year, I will have no other choice than to propose regulatory intervention again.
- EU - Ofcom seeks lower charges for texting in Europe +/-
(Guardian) The cost of sending a text message and accessing the mobile internet looks as if it will fall dramatically for business travellers and holidaymakers who use their phones and mobile devices abroad. At a meeting of European telecom regulators, Ofcom boss Ed Richards will call for urgent action to reduce roaming charges for texting and data services such as the mobile internet. He will also raise concerns about hidden charges faced by mobile phone users when they make a call from other European countries.
- Vodafone pre-empts regulator to cut internet roaming charges +/-
(Guardian) Vodafone has became the latest mobile phone operator to try to head off a clash with regulators over the cost of using the mobile internet abroad by cutting its data roaming prices. EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding is expected to use her appearance at next week's mobile world congress (MWC), the industry's annual get-together in Barcelona, to accuse the operators of overcharging customers to send texts and access the mobile internet while overseas.
- Vodafone rejects EU call for caps on data roaming charges +/-
(IHT) The chief executive of Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator, rejected a European commissioner's demand that wireless operators cut fees for cross-border text messaging by July or face the possibility of new retail price controls. Arun Sarin, in remarks at the Mobile World Congress here, called the ultimatum by Viviane Reding, the European Union commissioner who oversees the telecommunications industry "inappropriate."
- AU - Developments in internet filtering technologies +/-
(ACMA) Australian Communications and Media Authority has published the inaugural report on Developments in Internet Filtering Technologies and other measures for promoting online safety. It investigates international developments in internet filtering technologies and other safety initiatives and draws together current key trends and makes observations about content, communication and e-security risks online.
- EU - Results of benchmarking of filter tools +/-
(SPI-BENCH) During the second year of this three-year project, Deloitte once again carried out the SIP Benchmark testing via a comprehensive study of 30 tools for parental control. This benchmark analyses how effectively these technical solutions protect children aged 6 to 16 against harmful content on the Internet. About 150 parents and teachers from various European countries were involved in the study. In addition to these "real life" testers, an Internet laboratory was set up to conduct thorough testing under identical conditions. The results of the 2007 Benchmarking study have been compared with those of 2006 to reveal the evolution of these tools and the industry. Half of the 23 filters we tested both in 2006 and 2007 have improved their filtering capabilities relative to non-sexual content.
- FI - Controversy over police block list +/-
(IDG) In Finland, programmer Matti Nikki is under investigation for publishing a secret list of domains that authorities had allegedly censored in an effort to stop the spread of child pornography. Nikki published his list to prove the system was being abused, and was himself censored as a result. The Finnish Chancellor of Justice has received a complaint about police handling of the matter. The authorities distribute their list to the country's 20 largest ISPs, which then block access to the sites. see also Finnish internet censorship critic blacklisted (Wikinews) and Lapsiporno.info "Finnish law allows the police to list sites that fulfill the two criteria of containing child pornographic material (defined as being images that depict children in sexual context) and that are hosted abroad. However, lapsiporno.info is hosted in Finland and does not contain any child pornographic material." (Wikipedia).
- PC Magazine on parental controls +/-
(NetFamilyNews) Parents might be interested in the latest reviews of filtering and monitoring software here at PC Magazine. The top-rated products are Net Nanny 5.6, Bsafe Online, Safe Eyes, and Webroot Child Safe. Note that these are "client" software products you install on the family computer. If you have the latest operating systems on Mac and Windows PCs, you can simply configure and use OS-level parental controls that are pretty feature-rich.
- EE - Estonia fines man for 'cyber war' +/-
(BBC) A 20-year-old ethnic Russian man is the first person to be convicted for taking part in a "cyber war" against Estonia. Dmitri Galushkevich was fined 17,500 kroons (£830) for an attack which blocked the website of the Reform Party of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. The assault, between 25 April and 4 May 2007, was one of a series by hackers on Estonian institutions and businesses. At the time, Estonia accused the Russian government of orchestrating the attacks. Moscow denied any involvement. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC in May 2007 that the allegations were "completely untrue".
- Hackers Rig Google to Deliver Malware +/-
(PC World) Hackers loaded up more than 40,000 Web pages with malicious software and thousands of common search terms. They then employed an automated network of malware-infected computers--known as a botnet--to link to those sites in blog-comment spam and other places. The mentions elevated the position of the poisoned sites in search results, often to the first page.
- RU - Russia edges China as top malware source +/-
(Techworld.com) For the second time in a week, Russia has been named and shamed for its rising profile as a global malware hub. Last week, Sophos ranked Russia as number 2 on its league table of spam-relaying countries, behind the U.S., but well ahead of the usual suspect, China. Now Australian security company PC Tools reckons that Russia has overtaken China again, but this time as a producer of active malware such as viruses, Trojans and spyware.
- CN - China's major websites pledge to boycott 4 categories of Internet unpleasantness +/-
(Xinhua) China's eight leading online media officially sanctioned to publish news have signed the "Chinese Pact on the Self-discipline on Visual-Audio Programs and Services of the Internet", urging all domestic websites to spread positive, healthy programs and boycott corrupt, outdated ones. It urges all the signers to abide by the country's laws, regulations and policies on the development and management of the Internet culture and boycott programs, including films, teleplays and cartoons that advocate elements in the catch-all categories of violence, pornography, gambling and terror.
- DE - Mehr Jugendschutz bei Handys +/-
(bildungsklick.de) Die führenden Mobilfunkunternehmen in Deutschland haben nach intensiven Verhandlungen mit den Jugendministerien der Länder, die durch das Land Rheinland-Pfalz vertreten wurden, eine freiwillige Selbstverpflichtung zu mehr Jugendschutz im Mobilfunkbereich unterzeichnet. Jugendmedienschutz im Mobilfunk - Selbstverpflichtung der Mobilfunkanbieter.
- UK - Online content providers sign up to code of conduct to protect children +/-
(Guardian) Media companies including the BBC, Channel 4, Google, Yahoo and social-networking site Bebo have signed up to a new code of conduct, designed to give parents more information about the suitability for children of audiovisual content available on the internet and mobile phones. The new content information guidelines have been developed by industry and the government's independent advisory body the Broadband Stakeholder Group, backed by regulator Ofcom. For the first time, they extend the existing principles of broadcast consumer guidance across the wider new media industry. The guidelines do not cover user-generated content such as that found on YouTube or adverts. Instead, they call for all commercially generated content available online or on mobile phones to be flagged if it is unsuitable for particular age groups or contains content that may harm or offend. See Good Practice Principles on Audiovisual Content Information.
- CN - The internet in China +/-
(Economist) China will soon boast more internet users than any other country. But usage patterns inside China are different from those elsewhere. The internet fills gaps and provides what is unavailable elsewhere, particularly for young people. More than 70% of Chinese internet users are under 30, precisely the opposite of America, and there is enormous pent-up demand for entertainment, amusement and social interaction.
- EU - One person in eight in the EU27 avoids e-shopping because of security concerns +/-
(RAPID) In connection with the 5th Safer Internet Day on 12 February 2008, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, presents a selection of statistics concerning internet activities, security concern and virus attacks. The Safer Internet Day is part of a global drive to promote a safer Internet for all users, in particular younger people, and is organised by Insafe, a European internet safety network co-funded by the European Commission. The data presented in this news release have been collected from the 2006 and 2007 surveys on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals in the EU27. More data on Internet security and related topics can be found in the dedicated section Science and Technology/Information Society on the Eurostat website.
- US - Teens posting personal info: Study +/-
(NetFamilyNews) We now have further insights into teens' info-sharing practices in the Journal of Adolescence. According to this, 8.8% revealed their full name, 57% included a picture, 27.8% listed their school and 0.3% provided their telephone number. The authors concluded that "the problem of personal information disclosure on MySpace may not be as widespread as many assume, and the overwhelming majority of adolescents are responsibly using the web site." Personal information of adolescents on the Internet: A quantitative content analysis of MySpace by Sameer Hindujaa and Justin W. Patchin.