- Dynamic Medien Vertriebs GmbH v Avides Media AG +/-
(European Court of Justice) Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 14 February 2008 Case C-244/06. Reference for a preliminary ruling: Landgericht Koblenz - Germany. Free movement of goods - Article 28 EC - Measures having equivalent effect - Directive 2000/31/EC - National rules prohibiting the sale by mail order of image storage media which have not been examined and classified by the competent authority for the purpose of protecting children and which do not bear a label from that authority indicating the age from which they may be viewed - Image storage media imported from another Member State which have been examined and classified by the competent authority of that State and bear an age-limit label.
- Facebook: We didn't give data leading to Morocco arrest +/-
(CNET.com) Facebook has denied giving the Moroccan government information to identify a man who was sentenced to prison for posting a fake profile of a Moroccan prince. A Moroccan court sentenced the 26-year-old IT engineer to three years and fined him 10,000 dirhams ($1,320) for setting up a Facebook account in the name of King Mohammed's brother, Prince Moulay Rachid.
- Seeking Tighter Censorship, Repressive States Target Web 2.0 Apps +/-
(Wired) It's not the governments who censor keywords that worries Ethan Zuckerman, whose job it is to help dissidents around the world. He fears that governments will simply decide to go after the Web 2.0 tools that activists are using to publish.
- US - Congress, Content Regulation, and Child Protection: The Expanding Legislative Agenda +/-
(Progress & Freedom Foundation) by Adam Thierer. The 110th session of Congress has witnessed an explosion of legislative proposals dealing with online child safety, or which seek to regulate media content or Internet communications in some fashion. More than 30 of these legislative proposals are cataloged in a new joint legislative index that was released today by the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Progress & Freedom Foundation, compiled to help keep track of the growing volume of legislative activity on these fronts. Many of the measures highlighted in the index raise serious free speech concerns.
- US - Wikileaks gets its domain name back +/-
(CNET News) Iconoclast blog by Declan McCullagh. Wikileaks is getting its domain name back. After spending more than three hours hearing arguments from a raft of attorneys - two representing the Swiss bank that fought to get the site's plug pulled and about 10 who have been trying to get the site back online - a federal judge here has ruled in favor of Wikileaks. Wikileaks, which uses Wikileaks.org as its primary domain, is a whistle-blowing site that focuses on posting leaked documents.
- AU - Judge on privacy: Computer code trumps the law +/-
(CNET News) Australian Judge Kirby says computer code is more potent than the law - and that legislators are powerless to do anything about it. Technology has outpaced the legal system's ability to regulate its use in matters of privacy and fair use rights.
- CoE - Declaration on protecting the dignity, security and privacy of children on the internet +/-
(Council of Europe) The traceability of children's activities on the internet may expose them to criminal activities (for example the solicitation or "grooming" of children for sexual purposes, discrimination, bullying, stalking and other forms of harassment). Children need to be informed about the enduring presence of, and the risks associated with, the content they create on the internet. The right to privacy and the secrecy of correspondence is not respected on the internet. The profiling of information and the retention of personal data regarding children's activities can be used for commercial purposes. The Committee of Ministers asks member states to work together to explore the feasibility of removing or deleting such content and its traces within a reasonably short period of time. See Full text of the Declaration.
- EU - Protection of children's personal data +/-
(Europa) Working Document 1/2008 on the protection of children's personal data (General guidelines and the special case of schools). WP 147.Adopted by the art. 29 Data Protection Working Party, 18.02.2008,
- EU privacy watchdogs say any processor must obey EU rules +/-
(OUT-LAW News) Europe's data protection watchdogs have said that internet companies that do any personal data processing in Europe must comply with its privacy laws even if they are based outside of Europe. The Article 29 Working Party, a committee of all of the EU country's privacy or data protection commissioners, said that its data protection rules must apply to personal data processed by companies that do not even have offices in the EU. "[The EU's] provisions also apply to such controllers who have their headquarters outside the EU, but only an establishment in one of the EU Member States, or who use automated equipment based in one of the Member States for the purposes of processing personal data," said a Working Party statement. The EU's privacy watchdogs are locked in a battle with search engine companies such as Google over the processing of personal data. There are debates about whether companies are subject to the EU's rules as well as what those rules mean.
- Facebook opens door to second-class friends +/-
(Times) Facebook is to allow its users to create a hierarchy of friends within their profiles - in a move that threatens to complicate the already delicate social etiquette that governs the site. As part of new controls to be introduced in the social networking site's privacy settings, Facebook users will be given the option of banning certain friends from seeing what they are up to and accessing sensitive information in their profile. The change will mean that, for instance, a particular friend - a former partner, say - could be prevented from seeing that a person had changed their relationship status, while others could be banned from knowing the person's political or religious views.
- FR - Le site de notation des profs recalé +/-
(Libération) Les profs ne pourront plus être évalués par leurs élèves. C´est ce que le tribunal des référés de Paris a fait valoir en enjoignant le site Note2be.com à suspendre «l´utilisation de données nominatives d´enseignants aux fins de leur notation et de leur traitement ainsi que leur affichage sur les pages du site». Dans son jugement, le tribunal parle de ces limites qui portent atteinte aux activités d´enseignement, mais aussi de la liberté d´information et d´expression.
- FR - Note2be.com jugé « illégitime » par la Cnil +/-
(ZDNet.fr) Le très controversé site Note2be.com qui permet aux élèves de noter leurs profs, est épinglé par la la Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (Cnil) qui dénonce notamment le fait que les intéressés ne disposent pas de leur droit de contrôle sur les informations publiées, c'est-à-dire les données nominatives.
- Phorm fires privacy row for ISPs +/-
(Guardian) Web users are up in arms over what they see as an invasion of privacy by a company that will track surfing patterns to serve targeted ads. See also Ad system 'will protect privacy' (BBC).
- UK - Information Commissioner to focus on reducing risk, not enforcement +/-
(OUT-LAW News) The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said that its aim is to protect people from the risks associated with abuses of their personal data rather than strictly enforce the law. It has announced its broad aims in a new strategy document. The document will guide its activities overall, prioritising the use of its resources which it said were not sufficient to do everything it could in the data protection arena. See the new ICO strategy (24-page / 832KB PDF).
- UK - Private data, public interest? +/-
(BBC) The use of material taken from personal profiles on social networks by newspapers is to be the subject of a major consultation undertaken by industry watchdog the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). This comes in the wake of increasingly numbers of newspaper stories that include images and text taken from sites like Bebo, MySpace and Facebook.
- Web creator rejects net tracking +/-
(BBC) The creator of the web has said consumers need to be protected against systems which can track their activity on the internet. Sir Tim Berners-Lee told BBC News he would change his internet provider if it introduced such a system. Plans by leading internet providers to use Phorm, a company which tracks web activity to create personalised adverts, have sparked controversy.
- AU - Australian net filter at test phase +/-
(Australian IT) The federal Government's plan to have internet service providers filter pornography and other internet content deemed inappropriate for children is going full-steam ahead. 26 February was the deadline for expressions of interest to Enex TestLab, the Melbourne company evaluating internet service provider content filters on behalf of the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children, and will be followed by live field trials.
- CN - "The Connection Has Been Reset? +/-
(The Atlantic) by James Fallows. China's Great Firewall is crude, slapdash, and surprisingly easy to breach. Here's why it's so effective anyway.
- CN - China blocks media due to Tibet unrest +/-
(Guardian) The Chinese government has cracked down on international media coverage of the unrest in Tibet, blocking websites and censoring the local feeds of broadcasters including BBC World and CNN. China's internet clampdown came over the weekend, following the outbreak of widespread unrest and violence in Tibet last week, and has hit websites including Yahoo, YouTube and Guardian.co.uk.
- FR - Dailymotion : la technologie de filtrage Signature entre en scène +/-
(ZDNet.fr) Dailymotion annonce le déploiement généralisé de la technologie Signature sur tous ses sites dans le monde. En octobre dernier, le site français de partage de vidéos a passé un accord avec l'Institut national de l'Audiovisuel (Ina), créateur de ce système de protection des contenus audiovisuels. Fonctionnant à partir d'une base d'empreintes numériques, il a été développé en interne par l'organisme public. Signature reconnaît et bloque la mise en ligne de vidéos piratées sur les sites de diffusion tels que Dailymotion.
- ISP "Voluntary" / Mandatory Filtering +/-
(libertus.net) by Irene Graham. This page contains information about ISP-level filtering systems implemented, by various ISPs in various countries, to prevent accidental access to child sexual abuse material on web pages/sites. It has been researched and produced in the context of the Australian Federal Labor Government's 2008 "plan" to mandate that Australian ISPs block access to a vastly larger type and quantity of web pages.
- Online games and the pre-teen killers +/-
(Times) Blog by David Hutchinson. I have been playing online with my Xbox. The game I've been playing the most is Call Of Duty 4, which has a 16+ rating. I wonder about the whole age rating thing. The Xbox has a plug-in headphone/microphone set. Many of the players appear to be boys who can't even be into their teenage years who shout insults in their pre-adolescent high pitches. I want parents to enforce game restriction ages, so I can enjoy an evening gaming and even if I still come last, at least it will be last among my peers.
- PK - Details emerge on YouTube block +/-
(BBC) Pakistan has rejected claims that it was responsible for blocking global access to the YouTube video clip site. YouTube was hard to reach this week following action by Pakistan to block access inside its borders for its hosting of a "blasphemous" video clip. Analysis suggests the block was taken up by net hardware that routes data effectively cutting off the site.But a spokeswoman for Pakistan's telecoms authority said the problem was caused by a "malfunction" elsewhere. See also Blocked YouTube (Economist).
- UK - MPs get web filter 'dark ages' warning +/-
(Guardian) A Microsoft executive told MPs that forcing software companies to install internet content filtering technology with high-security settings as standard to all computers would send the UK back to the "dark ages". The idea of forcing companies such as Microsoft to pre-install high security content filters was raised at a Commons culture, media and sport select committee hearing on protecting children from harmful content on the internet and in video games.
- US - CDT skeptical participants in Internet Safety Technical Task Force +/-
(CDT) The Center for Democracy & Technology announced its participation in the newly formed Internet Safety Technical Task Force, created to examine technologies that might be used to protect children from inappropriate material or contacts on the Internet. Said CDT President Leslie Harris. "CDT is pleased to take its place at this important table. However, while we look forward to a thorough and rigorous study of the issues, our participation comes with a healthy dose of skepticism." CDT believes that technology tools in the hands of parents are a key part of the online safety landscape; however, technologies, such as age verification, that put Internet companies in the role of gatekeeper, raise a host of legal and policy questions.
- AU - Education 'as effective as internet filtering' +/-
(Australian IT) Better education about online safety would be just as effective as internet filtering to prevent children from accessing inappropriate material on the web, according to a report by Australia's communications watchdog. Targeted education campaigns such as those in Europe would also teach children about the dangers of online fraud and illegal contact from adults, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said in the first of three reports on online safety to be prepared for the Federal Government.
- EU - An even safer internet for children +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has proposed a new Safer Internet programme to enhance the safety of children in the online environment. Encompassing recent communications services from the Web 2.0, such as social networking, the new programme will fight not only illegal content but also harmful behaviour such as bullying and grooming. With a budget of 55 million, the programme, which builds further on the successful Safer Internet programme started in 2005, will run from 2009 to 2013.
- EU extends net safety programme +/-
(BBC) The European Commission is spending 55m euros on making the net a safer place for children. The money will be spent over four years on educational efforts and ways to protect children from inappropriate content and cyber bullying. It will also research the ways that children use the net on computers and other devices such as mobile phones.
- Just how risky is the Net for kids? +/-
(Net Family News) That's the question dad and tech writer David Pogue looks at in a recent column (New York Times). He writes about a past writing assignment on the subject, but now he looks at the kid-danger question in a new light: "As my own children approach middle school, my own fears align with the [PBS "Growing Up Online"] documentary's findings in another way: that cyberbullying is a far more realistic threat." See also Social Networking Risks: The Myths and Realities by Nancy Willard and "Growing Up Online: Discussion Needed [linking to the PBS show, which can be viewed in full online.]
- US - How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children? +/-
(New York Times) by David Pogue. A few years ago, a parenting magazine asked me to write an article about the dangers that children face when they go online. As it turns out, I was the wrong author for the article they had in mind. The editor was deeply disappointed by my initial draft. Its chief message was this: "Sure, there are dangers. But they're hugely overhyped by the media."
- AOL buys Bebo in $850m cash deal +/-
(OUT-LAW News) AOL has bought social networking site Bebo for $850 million in cash. The Time Warner-owned web services company said that the Bebo network would be a valuable place for it to sell advertising.
- MeetMoi: dating for those on the go +/-
(Social Media) MeetMoi hopes to revolutionize social networking with the first truly location-based mobile dating service. So whether it is a bar, an office, or a restaurant, users can open their cell phones and use MeetMoi to browse, chat, flirt with and meet people near them. Using groundbreaking technology, MeetMoi looks for people in a specified location and helps its users find local matches. Since MeetMoi values safety above everything, no one's actual location is ever revealed.
- Social Networking Moves to the Cellphone +/-
(New York Times) Social networks may be nothing new to habitués of the Internet. Several years of competition among Facebook, MySpace and Friendster have generated tens of millions of members. But now the market is teeming with companies that want to bring the same phenomenon to the cellphone. There are so many "mobile social networking" upstarts, in fact, that when New Media Age magazine in Britain tried to identify the "ones to watch," it ended up naming 10 companies.
- US - Berkman Center will head Internet Safety Technical Task Force. +/-
(Press Release) The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School will head a newly formed Internet Safety Technical Task Force. The Task Force, comprised of leading Internet businesses and organizations, will focus on identifying effective online safety tools and technologies that can be used by many companies across multiple platforms. The Task Force will evaluate a broad range of existing and state-of-the-art online safety technologies, including a review of identity authentication tools to help sites enforce minimum age requirements. The Task Force is a central element of the Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety announced in January 2008 by MySpace and the Attorneys General Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking.
- When Mom or Dad Asks To Be a Facebook 'Friend' +/-
(Washington Post) More and more moms and dads are signing onto Facebook to keep up with their offspring. Not only are they friending (or attempting to friend) their sons and daughters, they're friending their sons' and daughters' friends.
- MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning +/-
(MIT Press) The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning examines the effect of digital media tools on how people learn, network, communicate, and play, and how growing up with these tools may affect a person's sense of self, how they express themselves, and their ability to learn, exercise judgment, and think systematically. The full text of each volume in the Series is provided for free and open access thanks to the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation. Youth, Identity, and Digital Media; Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media; Digital Young, Innovation, and the Unexpected; The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning; Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility; Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth. See also John Palfrey's blog about Digital Young, Innovation, and the Unexpected
- Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain +/-
(New York Times) The prototypical computer whiz of popular imagination - pasty, geeky, male - has failed to live up to his reputation. Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of "The X Files." On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.
- CN - Chinese race past Americans to top of world internet league +/-
(Guardian) China has more internet users than any other country in the world, according to researchers at the Beijing-based analysts BDA. The research group said China had leapfrogged the US to become the world's most powerful nation online. At the end of 2007, figures from China's internet network information centre said the country had 210 million internet users, putting it just a few million people behind the US. According to BDA, growth rates indicated that China had now taken the top spot. Labels: Statistics.htm">Statistics
- EU - Mobile Internet Usage In Europe To Surge Over The Next Five Years +/-
(Forrester) Thirty eight percent of cell phone users in Western Europe will use mobile Internet services by 2013 according to a new five year forecast by Forrester Research. The growth in adoption means that 125 million Europeans will access the Web regularly from their mobile phone - triple the number that do so today. One of the key drivers will be the proliferation of 3.5G-enabled devices, which will overtake the number of GSM-only and GPRS phones by 2010. By 2013, one in four consumers will own a 3.5G-enabled phone. Forrester Research Analyst Pete Nuthall said "Deploying high-speed mobile networks and rolling out advanced handsets are not enough to spark demand - our data shows that less than half of 3G phone owners use the 3G capability on their phone. To drive the mobile Internet, operators will need to push flat-rate data plans, increase the number of relevant services and applications, and introduce new devices that provide a better user experience."
- EU - Telecoms sector in broadband stats clash +/-
(EurActiv) Telecoms operators were embroiled in a statistical row, with the latest figures on broadband internet published by incumbent operators association ETNO appearing to contradict those provided by ECTA, the "competitive" operators group. The Commission will resolve the dispute on 19 March with the publication of a definitive set of data.
- UK - Digital kids ditch homework for networking +/-
(Guardian) British 15-to-19-year-olds admit spending significantly less time doing homework than they used to as a result of their use of social-networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo. While teachers and parents will be dismayed, the 2008 Digital Entertainment Survey also makes uncomfortable reading for commercial TV executives. It shows that not only does a significant proportion of the important 15- to 19-year-old audience watch less television as a result of social networking, but that the vast majority of Britain's 15-to-54-year-olds fast-forward through adverts when they watch programmes they have recorded. The report, produced by Entertainment Media Research for media law firm Wiggin, shows the way the internet has changed working, reading and viewing habits.
- UK - Facebook fatigue +/-
(Economist) The number of Britons logging on to Facebook has fallen for the first time, according to Nielsen Online, an internet-metrics firm. In January, 8.5m unique users caught up with friends and colleagues, down by 5% from December. Facebook has added 712% more users in Britain since January 2007 and it appears that a natural plateau has been reached: Bebo and MySpace hit their user peaks in mid-2007. People may also be turning to more specialised sites, such as LinkedIn, a professional-networking site. America has already seen growth slacken.
- UK - YouTube most popular networking site +/-
(Guardian) YouTube is now the most popular social networking website in the UK, overtaking the user-edited encyclopedia Wikipedia with 10.4 million unique users during January. The Google-owned video-sharing site saw a 56% increase in traffic from January the previous year, cementing the popularity of online video among web users, according to newly released Nielsen Online figures. Nielsen Online estimates that nearly two-thirds of UK web users - or 20.8 million people - visited at least one of the top 10 social networking sites.
- US - Mobile Access to Data and Information +/-
(Pew Internet & American Life Project) 62% of all Americans are part of a wireless, mobile population that participates in digital activities away from home or work. Not only are young people attuned to this kind of access, African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are more likely than white Americans to use non-voice data applications on their cell phones.