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(Vice-President Franco Frattini) Many people have brought to my attention the existence of a provider, Russian Business Network (RBN), which, it would seem, is based in Russia. The provider hosts hundreds of paedo-pornographic sites. Many citizens have written to me asking for action to be taken to put a stop to this plague. I will personally write to the Russian authorities citing the sincere friendship and understanding that has been established between us in the past. see Shadowy Russian Firm Seen as Conduit for Cybercrime (Washington Post) by Brian Krebs.
(BBC) Mobile firms from across the world have launched a new alliance which aims to block paedophiles using phones to send or receive child sexual abuse images. The GSMA, the global association for mobile firms, has launched the Mobile Alliance, and says it is vital to act as web access via phones improves. Among planned measures will be a block on mobile phone access to websites which host abusive content. There will also be hotlines to report services carrying inappropriate images. The Alliance has been founded by the GSMA, Hutchison 3G Europe, mobilkom austria, Orange FT Group, Telecom Italia, Telefonica/02, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile Group, Vodafone Group and dotMobi.
(CNET) Microsoft will have to put up with another two years of court antitrust oversight, a federal judge has ruled. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly cited the length of time it has taken Microsoft to get its protocol licensing program up and running as the primary reason she is extending the consent decree. "The court's decision in this matter is based upon the extreme and unforeseen delay in the availability of complete, accurate, and useable technical documentation relating to the communications protocols," Kollar-Kotelly said.
(AHN) Contrary to popular belief, Internet sex predators target teenagers and not young kids, cites a new study. Also, a majority of Internet sex predators are not adults who pose as another youth to victimize children by enticing them to meet then abducting or forcibly raping them. Only 5 percent of online offenders pretended to be teenagers. The study, which was based on three surveys, revealed that Internet sex offenders rarely use force but instead gain the trust and confidence of their victims before seducing them into sexual relationships. The victims of these predators are mostly teenagers who mistake the attention for love. According to the researchers, young people who were most vulnerable to online sex offenders had histories of sexual or physical abuse, family problems, and are adventurous on the Internet or have most likely talked online about sex. The study, 'Online Predators and Their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment' was conducted by Janis Wolak, JD, David Finkelhor, PhD, Kimberly Mitchell, PhD and Michele Ybarra, PhD, at the Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire and published in the American Psychologist.
(BBC) Thousands of young people have been sent fake scam text messages by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to warn them about con-artists. The campaign saw 25,000 mobile phone users aged between 18 and 24 receive a message telling them they might have won £1,000 in cash. But a second message arrived soon after informing them that the message was a fake and warning them about scams.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(Heise) Das Landgericht Köln hat im Rechtsstreit zwischen einer Gymnasiallehrerin und dem Schülerportal "Spickmich" erneut gegen die Lehrerin entschieden. Diese will gerichtlich erzwingen, dass ihre persönlichen Daten und Bewertungen gelöscht werden. Bei "Spickmich" können Schüler Bewertungen über ihre Lehrer in Kategorien wie "cool und witzig", "faire Noten" oder "menschlich" abgeben. Die Gymnasiallehrerin, die zunächst lediglich die Note 4,3 erhalten hatte, sieht darin eine Verletzung ihrer Persönlichkeitsrechte und klagt auf Unterlassung. Das Gericht wies die Klage der Lehrerin jedoch als "unzulässig" ab. Das Grundrecht auf Meinungsfreiheit gelte zwar nicht unbeschränkt, sondern finde seine Grenzen bei reinen Schmähkritiken und Beleidigungen, doch davon könne bei "Spickmich" nicht die Rede sein. "Durch die Bewertungen sind nicht das Erscheinungsbild oder die allgemeine Persönlichkeit der Klägerin betroffen, sondern die konkrete Ausübung ihrer beruflichen Tätigkeit", argumentierten die Richter.
(ZDNet.fr) La pression monte contre le site « Note2be.com » ; créé fin janvier, il propose aux élèves de noter leurs enseignants, en les citant nommément, ainsi que le nom de l'établissement et la matière qu'ils enseignent. Le site fait l'objet d'une enquête officielle de la part de la Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés, qui dit avoir été saisie de 17 plaintes et de plus de 160 signalements. La Cnil a « effectué en urgence un contrôle sur place, le mercredi 13 février », indique-t-elle dans un communiqué.
(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".
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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."
(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.
(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".
(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.
(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.
(IHT) The mobile phone is now the world's best-selling portable music device - even if most people don't play tunes on their phone. An MP3 player is almost standard on any midrange or high-end phone coming to market these days. Orange is about to open digital music stores in a half-dozen countries. The Orange stores will not be just for phone users, however. They will be on the Web, and anyone with an Internet connection can buy. In addition, Orange customers will be able to get their downloads from either their computer or their phone. Internet access is key for music on phones. Nokia said that 75 percent of customers were "sideloading" music from their computers to their phones via a cable, while 25 percent were downloading the tunes over the air.
(IHT) Especially among 15- to 25-year-olds, people seem to need their peers to validate their musical tastes, making the Internet a perfect medium for the intersection of MP3s and mob psychology. The challenge is to draw young people away from file-sharing networks that don't bother with legal licenses. So "added value" has become the new hook, or as one industry participant put it at a music industry gathering this week, "a better form of free." Imeem and Bebo are two Web sites trading on the idea that music is a social phenomenon, and that the Internet is the place to be to gather around it. Imeem asks, "What's on your playlist?," while Bebo calls itself a "social media network."
(ZDNet Australia) The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has formally announced a proposal to make "domain tasting" a thing of the past by changing the way it charges for domain names. Domain tasting is the use of the "add grace period" - a five-day period following registration where the domain name can be deleted at no cost to the registrar - to see how profitable a domain name is.
(ZDNet France) Le système de dépôt de plainte par internet permettra à une victime de faire une déposition en ligne, qu´elle devra ensuite aller confirmer au commissariat ou à la gendarmerie. Le service ne gèrera, dans un premier temps, que les plaintes contre X pour des affaires mineures. Le ministère de l'Intérieur ne veut pas être accusé de mettre en place un système de délation en ligne ; il a donc prévu la parade : la victime souhaitant déposer plainte devra s'identifier, en donnant notamment son numéro de carte d'identité nationale. Cette fiche sera ensuite transmise électroniquement au commissariat le plus proche. La victime y sera convoquée pour confirmer ses dires, puis valider complètement la plainte.
(NetFamilyNews) There was a debate going on recently over at The Economist - the house believes that social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom., and the pro-social-networking side won.
(RAPID) The European Commission has decided to send to Germany an official request for information on national legislation restricting the supply of gambling services. This new inquiry focuses on a number of provisions of the new legislation which entered into force on 1.1.2008: the total prohibition of games of chance on the Internet, notably sports betting; advertising restrictions on TV, on the Internet or on jerseys or billboards; and the prohibition on financial institutions to process and execute payments relating to unauthorised games of chance.
(RAPID) The European Commission has decided to send an official request for information on national legislation restricting the supply and promotion of certain gambling services to Sweden. Poker games and tournaments are offered in Swedish international casinos and, since 2006, the state-owned company also offers such services online on a large scale. However, the national legislation prevents online poker games and tournaments offered by operators licensed and regulated in other Member States. Also, it provides for restrictions and criminal sanctions on the promotion both of online poker offered by a licensed service provider in another Member State, and of poker organised within licensed premises in another Member State.
(BBC) Mobile phone use does not raise the risk of brain tumours, a Japanese study suggests. The research is the first to look at the effects of hand set radiation levels on different parts of the brain. Tokyo Women's Medical University found no increased risk of the three main types of brain cancer among regular mobile phone users. The study, comparing 322 brain cancer patients and 683 healthy people, appears in British Journal of Cancer.
(OUT-LAW News) The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that EU law does not force the disclosure of internet users' details in file-sharing cases. The judgment will be a blow to record labels but could also put ISPs in the UK at a commercial disadvantage, a copyright expert has said. The ECJ has said that it is up to each country to decide how to balance the rights of the copyright holders to protect their intellectual property and the rights of internet users to protect their privacy. See Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-275/06 Productores de Música de España (Promusicae) v Telefónica de España SAU (ECJ Press Release). See also EU court ruling on file-sharers is not what it seems (OUT-LAW News).
(BBC) by Michael Geist. Industry has now dangerously shifted toward locking down the Internet. The Internet locks approach envisions requiring Internet service providers to install filtering and content monitoring technologies within their networks. ISPs would then become private network police, actively monitoring for content that might infringe copyright and stopping it from reaching subscribers' computers.
(BBC) Four men who run one of the most popular file-sharing sites in the world have been charged with conspiracy to break copyright law in Sweden. The Pirate Bay's servers do not store copyrighted material but offer links to the download location of films, TV programmes, albums and software.
(BBC) Internet service providers must take concrete steps to curb illegal downloads or face legal sanctions, the government has said. The proposal is aimed at tackling the estimated 6m UK broadband users who download files illegally every year. The culture secretary said consultation would begin in spring and legislation could be implemented "by April 2009". Its intentions are outlined in a creative industries strategy paper called Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy. The document is a broad ranging paper that sets out government support for the creative industries. See also Net firms reject monitoring role.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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."
(CNET News) The European Commission has expressed doubt regarding Microsoft's recent announcement claiming a move toward greater interoperability. "The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability," the statement says. "Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."
(CNET News) A Microsoft press release announced changes in its business practices to work better with software from other providers, including open-source communities. The software maker had already taken baby steps in this direction, signing individual pacts with companies like Novell and Turbolinux, as well as agreeing not to sue individual developers. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said these steps are part of the company's efforts to comply with anti-trust obligations laid out by the European Court of First Instance (CFI).
(Ars Technica) In recent years, the Open Access movement in academic publishing has been gathering steam, with the growth of open access journals such as PLoS and mandates from funding bodies such as the NIH that require authors to deposit copies of their work into open databases. Now that 800lb. gorilla of academe, Harvard University, has started to throw its weight behind the spread of Open Access publishing. Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has voted to require faculty to make copies of their research freely available through the Office of Scholarly Communications.
(AP) Israel's 84-year-old president has a novel idea on how to battle anti-Semitism: Facebook. Shimon Peres told a group of international students at Israel's Holocaust memorial that the popular social networking site was an effective means to counter the spread of hate and incitement on the Internet.
(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.
(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.
(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).
(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.
(BBC) Safer Internet Day is being marked around Europe with events to educate children and parents about net dangers. Themed events will reveal the risks of sharing too much personal data and warn children that their virtual friends may not be who they say they are. Public events will encourage parents to oversee their children's online life so they know who they are talking to. In the UK schools were encouraged to run assemblies that discuss how children should behave online. see Safer Internet Day has arrived! The fifth annual edition of Safer Internet Day has surpassed all records, with 55 countries taking part across the world from New Zealand to Costa Rica and Taiwan to Greenland. SID 2008 events (INSAFE). See also Let's listen to children: They know how to make the Internet a safer place! (Commission Press Release) Today, 100 organisations in over 50 countries worldwide celebrate Safer Internet Day. In Brussels a first ever pan-European Youth Forum on Safer Internet is organised by the European Commission with the participation of Meglena Kuneva, the EU's Consumer Commissioner. The purpose is to increase dialogue between children and decision makers on safer Internet issues and to raise awareness of the best ways for protecting minors online. Safer Internet Day is organised under the patronage of the EU's Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.
(Heise) 27 Jugendliche aus neun europäischen Ländern hat die EU Kommission zum fünften Safer Internet Tag nach Brüssel geladen, damit sie Politikern und den anwesenden Telekommunikationsunternehmen ihre Vorschläge für ein "kindersicheres" Internet präsentieren. Ganz oben stand bei den 14- bis 17-Jährigen der Wunsch nach besser ausgebildeten Lehrern. Insgesamt 55 Länder haben sich mit verschiedenen Aktionen am Safer Internet Day beteiligt.
(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".
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(ENN) A new guide to social networking websites was launched by the Minister of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Brian Lenihan. The parents' guide to social networking websites was produced by the Internet Advisory Board (IAB). The guide explains what social networking websites are and how they operate, all in a user-friendly format.
(Attorney-General of Massachusetts) The text of the agreement with MySpace to better protect children on its website, including the creation of a broad-based task force to explore and develop age and identity verification technology. MySpace acknowledged in the agreement the important role of this technology in social networking safety and agreed to develop on-line identity authentication tools. The attorneys general advocate age and identity verification, calling it vital to better protecting children using social networking sites from on-line sexual predators and inappropriate material. See also Appendix A: Design and Functionality Changes and Appendix B: Design and Functionality Initiatives
(Fosters.com) At least one expert and several young MySpace users are somewhat skeptical of a recent agreement between MySpace and the National Association of Attorneys General to tighten security. David Finkelhor, director of the UNH Crimes Against Children Research Center, said there are elements of the agreement that could be "difficult to maintain." See also Key researcher's view on MySpace/AGs accord (Net Family News).
(ETSI) A Specialist Task Force has been funded by EC/EFTA to produce an ETSI Technical Specification, DTS/HF-00089, "Specification and guidelines for service providers on the provision of information services to young children". The current draft can be found here. By young children, we mean those between 4 and 12 years of age. A workshop to obtain consensus on the new specifications and guidelines will take place in Brussels on Wednesday 12th March.
(RAPID) The Commission has approved the proposal of the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom to de-regulate the wholesale broadband market in some parts of the UK, covering around 65% of all UK homes and businesses This is the first time that a national telecoms regulator in the EU has identified different broadband markets in different geographic areas within a country and proposed lifting regulation in those geographic areas now characterised by effective competition. The Commission supports Ofcom's proposal, which is based on detailed economic evidence, to deregulate local exchanges with four or more actual or potential providers serving areas with more than 10,000 homes and businesses.
(BBC) Firms across the Middle East, India and Bangladesh are experiencing disruption after undersea broadband cables were damaged between Egypt and Italy. India is home to an $11bn (£5.5bn) outsourcing industry, but UK firms say they have so far seen little impact. The disruption looks set to continue, with repairs to take another week, and after another broadband cable was cut between the UAE and Oman.
(CNET News.com) Microsoft went public with a $44.6 billion cash-and-stock bid to acquire Yahoo. In its response, Yahoo called the Microsoft bid "unsolicited" but did not reject it. Microsoft's offer, which was contained in the letter to Yahoo's board, amounts to $31 a share and represents a 62 percent premium over Yahoo's closing price. Microsoft said it will offer shareholders the option of cash or stock. see also Gates v Google: Microsoft's search for a future on the net (Observer) and How Microsoft-Yahoo could shape social networking (the social - blog on CNET by Caroline McCarthy).
(BBC) Google has launched a new search service for mobile phones, promising "faster" and "more relevant results". The facility gathers regular and mobile web results, news, images and local listings, meaning people no longer have to specify a type of search. An improved "local search experience" is based on Google's belief that mobile search is more often used to find area information such as cinema listings. The service is now available in the UK, France, Germany and Canada. It has been available in the US since March last year.
(Yahoo!7) Social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook are safer places for children to chat than other types of internet sites, according to a new survey. The survey, which involved 1,588 children between the ages of 10 and 15 years old, found 28 per cent had been harassed via a social networking site, compared to 33 per cent for the internet as a whole. The survey, which was conducted by Internet Solutions for Kids in California and the University of New Hampshire, appears in the prestigious journal Paediatrics.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(Silicn Republic) The Government of Ireland has appointed a director to head up the new Office for Internet Safety (OIS), which will strive to make the internet a safer place. The Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan TD has appointed John Laffan to the role and he will take up the position from the beginning of March. See also Establishment of an Office for Internet Safety and an Internet Safety Advisory Council.
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