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(BBC) A concerted international effort could see the end of websites that profit by selling images of child sex abuse, a leading action group has said. The UK's Internet Watch Foundation conducted research to identify how many sites trade such images and concluded there are 2,755 such sites worldwide. Of these, 80% are judged to be fully commercial operations. The IWF said this "manageable" number could be eliminated if net firms, governments and police worked together.
(CNET.com) by Declan McCullagh. The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them. Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images.
(IHT) The Council of Europe settled on voluntary guidelines to strengthen cooperation between the police and Internet service companies. The guidelines - adopted at a special conference in Strasbourg of more than 200 people representing law enforcement agencies, trade groups for Internet service providers and companies ranging from Microsoft to eBay - are also a practical attempt to smooth uneasy confrontations that service providers complain are common when investigators seek information. See Octopus Interface 2008 Cooperation against Cybercrime, Tuesday 1 - Wednesday 2 April 2008, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France. The conference adopted a set of conclusions and the guidelines for service provider - law-enforcement cooperation
(Pew Internet) Many Americans assume that China's internet users are unhappy about their government's control of the internet, but a new survey finds most Chinese say they approve of internet regulation, especially by the government.
(BBC) European politicians have voted down calls to throw suspected file-sharers off the net. The idea to cut off persistent pirates formed part of a wide-ranging report on creative industries written for the European parliament. But in a narrow vote MEPs backed an amendment to the report which said net bans conflicted with "civil liberties and human rights".
(CNet News) Patent lawyers beat up on large technology companies lobbying for a U.S. patent system revamp, arguing that their efforts could discourage start-ups, prompt foreign competitors to rip off inventions, and tear apart the economy more generally. The debate over patent system changes that has been raging for several years now largely pits a coalition of major Internet and technology companies--including Microsoft, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Amazon.com, eBay, Oracle, Dell, and Comcast--against seemingly every other industry that relies on patents.
(OUT-LAW News) Search engines must delete search logs after six months if they are to comply with data protection laws, according to a committee of EU countries' privacy watchdogs. The Article 29 Working Party has published a long-awaited report into search engines and privacy which is the result of months of consideration. That report says that search engine companies must delete personal data as soon as they have used it for the purpose for which it was gathered, and that it should not be routinely kept for longer than six months.
(Los Angeles Times) A coalition of medical groups and child advocates called for guidelines that would prevent Internet companies from tracking the behavior of minors online, contending that many adolescents are divulging more than they realize and aren't digesting complex privacy policies. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Assn. were among those asking the Federal Trade Commission to encourage the Internet industry to stop profiling young Web surfers by monitoring the sites they visit and the interests they list on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. Childrens' Advocy Group filing. See also Microsoft not opposed to regulation of online privacy (CNet). See Online Behavioral Advertising: Moving the Discussion Forward to Possible Self-Regulatory Principles Public Comments (FTC).
(BBC) It will become harder for adults to search for site users under 18. Sex offenders' e-mail addresses are to be passed to social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo to prevent them contacting children.Under government proposals, offenders who do not give police their address - or give a false one - would face up to five years in jail. Websites would be expected to monitor the e-mail address usage or block them accessing the sites. The Home Office said the new laws would apply to about 30,000 sex offenders. See also Internet safety plans 'pointless' (BBC).
(BBC) People searching the web for information on suicide are more likely to find sites encouraging the act than offering support, a study says. Researchers used four search engines to look for suicide-related sites, the British Medical Journal said. The three most frequently occurring sites were all pro-suicide, prompting researchers to call for anti-suicide web pages to be prioritised.
(IWF) The Internet Watch Foundation Annual Report 2007 reveals new intelligence regarding the scale of publicly available child sexual abuse websites known to the IWF. Whilst it is very rare to trace these websites to the UK, the IWF has identified a core of 2755 websites hosted abroad during 2007; this total number has remained relatively static for three years and represents a concrete target which can be tackled through international partnerships. This target is characterised by websites, 80% of which are commercial operations, which frequently hop host company and region to avoid detection. These tactics, coupled with the complex multi-national nature of the crimes, mean that only a united global response involving law enforcement authorities, governments and the international online sector will enable effective investigation of these websites, their content and the organisations behind them.
(EDRI-gram) The 9th meeting of the Council of Europe (CoE) group of specialists on Human Rights in the Information Society (MC-S-IS) was held in Strasbourg from 31 March to 2 April 2008. At the same time, on 1-2 April, another division of the CoE was holding in a building across the street its 2008 Octopus conference on cooperation against cybercrime. This schedule overlapping is not the only sign that CoE's left hand seems to ignore what its right hand is doing: different divisions are also addressing same issues, though from different points of view and with different results.
(BBC) Tough action is required by US regulators to protect the principles that have made the net so successful, a leading digital rights lawyer has said. Professor Lawrence Lessig was speaking at a public meeting to debate the tactics some net firms use to manage data traffic at busy times. He said the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) should act to keep all net traffic flowing equally.
(OUT-LAW.com) Three French websites have been found guilty of invading an actor's privacy for publishing links to articles containing the offending material. The Paris Tribunal has fined the operators of all three sites. Oliver Martinez, who is famous for his relationship with pop singer Kylie Minogue, sued two blogs and one news site over links to other people's stories about him and his relationship with Minogue. The case was principally against Fuzz.fr, a website which displays links to news stories on other sites ranked by popularity. One of those links was to a story about Martinez and Minogue and formed the basis of the case, which claimed that the article violated his right to privacy. French sites fined for linking to privacy-invading content.
(OUT-LAW News) A French court has punished web publishers because of snippets of text that appeared on their sites via an RSS reader. It is believed to be the first time that a website operator has been held responsible for content delivered by a third party's RSS feed.
(EDRI-gram) A recent decision by the Paris Tribunal has condemned 3 different French websites for linking to another website containing gossip information on the French actor Olivier Martinez.
(BBC) The head of one of Britain's biggest internet providers has criticised the music industry for demanding that he act against pirates. The trade body for UK music, the BPI, asked internet service providers to disconnect people who ignore requests to stop sharing music. But Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse, which runs the TalkTalk broadband service, is refusing.
(Guardian) YouTube, the video-sharing website owned by Google, came under attack from MPs after admitting that an error in its review procedure meant it had failed to remove footage apparently showing a gang rape. Pressed by the culture, media and sport select committee to explain how it dealt with offensive and illegal material posted to the website, Google's vice-president and general counsel, Kent Walker, said human error had been to blame for footage of an apparent gang rape being viewed more than 600 times before it was removed.
(OUT-LAW News) Two recent judgments could erode vital protections there for web publishers in the US. The rulings could undermine protections from liability for user-posted material previously enjoyed by publishers. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) has been taken to mean that a content publisher cannot be held responsible for the content provided by someone else to an un-moderated website. But accommodation matching service Roommates.com and a sex partner finding website have both lost parts of court cases in recent weeks which experts say could change the interpretation of that law.
(Michael Geist) In the mid-1990s, John Gilmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, coined the phrase "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." A growing number of countries seem determined to challenge Gilmore's maxim. China is the best known, having implemented both a massive content filtering system that exerts control over external content and demanded that foreign Internet firms establish Chinese-versions of their services that abide by the government's requirements. China's censorship system may be the most extensive, but it is not alone. The University of Toronto's OpenNet Initiative, a world leader in tracking state-sponsored Internet censorship, recently co-published Access Denied, a book that highlights its pervasive growth.
(Council of Europe) Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to promote the respect for freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 26 March 2008 at the 1022nd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies) .
(BBC) Video game ratings need to be overhauled to make them easier for parents and children to understand, a UK government-backed review has said. Carried out by psychologist Dr Tanya Byron, it says more games need to be rated by official bodies. It calls for the creation of a UK body to draw up and oversee a national strategy to keep children safe online. It also recommends that new PCs be sold with software that will help prevent children seeing harmful online content. See also Government to create child internet safety council (OUT-LAW News).
(Register Hardware) Psychologist Dr Tanya Byron has told a meeting of videogame publishers that most retailers support the idea of giving the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) a bigger role over game classification.
(FT) Start-up KidZui have come up with a radically different approach that combines elements of social networking and fun avatars to create a safe web surfing experience for children aged three to 12. Instead of blacklisting bad websites, the KidZui service, which is built on top of standard browser technology, effectively "whitelists" the good ones - which have been identified and vetted by real people.
(CBSNEWS.com) Larry Magid debunks the prevailing myths about teen safety on the social Web. [Ed: worth reading in full.]
(BBC) Technical analysis of the Phorm online advertising system has reinforced an expert's view that it is "illegal". The analysis was done by Dr Richard Clayton, a computer security researcher at the University of Cambridge. What Dr Clayton learned while quizzing Phorm about its system only convinced him that it breaks laws designed to limit unwarranted interception of data.
(Silicon News) Social network data makes life too easy for fraudsters. Identity theft is rife. Perhaps it's time individuals took a leaf out of business's book and adopted a personal information policy that will make life harder for criminals.
(Home Office) The first UK Social Networking Guidance provides advice for industry, parents and children about how to stay safe online. This has been developed by a taskforce of representatives from industry, charity and law enforcement agencies including Vodafone, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Good practice guidance for the providers of social networking and other user interactive services 2008 (PDF file 1.8 MB) .
(Guardian) Users of social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace could be faced with a swathe of safety information, privacy alerts and warnings about their behaviour under Home Office guidelines drawn up to promote best practice in the online industry. The detailed guidance, published by the Home Office taskforce on child protection on the internet, will also oblige social networking sites to publish prominent links to established advice services such as anti-bullying campaigns, and have a straightforward "report abuse" process. Facebook: parents are responsible for child safety too (Times).
(OUT-LAW) Half of the UK's internet-using children have profiles on social networking sites despite bans for users under 13 on the major sites according to research by media regulator Ofcom. The research found that users are not especially concerned with privacy. The regulator's research found that 49% of 8 to 17 year-olds who use the internet have a profile on a social networking site such as MySpace, Facebook or Bebo. This is despite the fact that the major sites say that users under 13 should not register pages.
(RAPID) The Council reached a common approach on the amendment of the Framework Decision on combating terrorism proposed by the Commission on 6 November 2008. The amendment up-dates the Framework Decision making public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment and training for terrorism punishable behaviour, also when committed through the Internet.
(RAPID) With the average age of video gamers now exceeding 23 years, the European Commission has been analysing the steps made by industry players and public authorities across the 27 EU Member States to provide clear rules for the protection of minors from video games more suited to adults. In its Communication "On the protection of consumers, in particular minors, in respect of the use of video games", the Commission will also be calling on all stakeholders to raise parents' awareness on existing self-regulatory age-rating systems and make them more effective in all 27 EU Member States.
(Business Week) Sales of ringtones and games through phone makers and the Web are way up, another sign service providers are losing their grip on the industry.
(BBC) The BBC's iPlayer video service will soon be available via the Nintendo Wii. The video download and streaming service that lets people catch up with BBC programmes will soon be a channel on the hugely popular game console. The BBC is still at loggerheads with internet service providers (ISPs) over who should pay for extra network costs. ISPs say the iPlayer is putting strain on their networks, which need to be upgraded to cope. Simon Gunter, from ISP Tiscali, is leading a call for the BBC to help pay for the rising costs.
(Economist) Wireless communication is changing the way people work, live, love and relate to places and each other;
(BBC) Web payment firm Paypal has said it will block "unsafe browsers" from using its service as part of wider anti-phishing efforts. Customers will first be warned that a browser is unsafe but could then be blocked if they continue using it. Paypal said it was "an alarming fact that there is a significant set of users who use very old and vulnerable browsers such as Internet Explorer 4".
(BSI) The Kitemark for Child Safety Online has been launched with the Home Office and Ofcom to provide consumers - especially parents - reassurance that their children will not be subjected to undesirable web content. Manufacturers of filtering, monitoring and blocking applications can get their products certified against the Kitemark standard and those that pass the tests will be able to display the Kitemark symbol on their products. Parents will be able to see clearly and quickly which products will give their children the most effective protection whilst online. The Kitemark for Child Safety Online has been developed through a collaboration between BSI (the UK's National Standards Body), the Home Office, Ofcom and representatives from ISPs and application developers.
(RAPID) National laws on data protection demand good data management practices on the part of the entities that process data: the "data controllers". These include the obligation to process data fairly and in a secure manner, and to use personal data for well-defined and legitimate purposes. This Flash Eurobarometer survey on Data Protection in the EU (No 226) measures perceptions about data protection among data controllers in the 27 EU Member States.
(RAPID) This summary gives an overview of the findings of the Flash Eurobarometer survey on Data Protection that was conducted in January 2008. Previous waves of the survey had been performed three times before, in 1991, 1996 and 2003. Fieldwork was carried out from January 8th to 12th, 2008. Over 27,000 randomly selected citizens aged 15 years and over were interviewed in the 27 EU Member States.
(RAPID) More than half of Europeans are now regular Internet users, 80% of them have broadband connections and 60% of public services in the EU are fully available online. Two thirds of schools and half of doctors make use of fast Internet connections, thanks to strong broadband growth in Europe. These are the findings of a Commission report on the results achieved so far with i2010, the EU's digital-led strategy for growth and jobs.
(IPPR) Many young people are effectively being 'raised online' spending in excess of 20 hours a week using sites such as bebo, Myspace, Facebook and YouTube, according to new research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr). This is over three times higher than previous official estimates. This new research comes ahead of the final report of the Byron Review of children and new technology, set up by Gordon Brown in 2007 and headed by Dr Tanya Byron. See Behind the Screen: the Hidden Life of Youth by Kay Withers with Ruth Sheldon.
(BBC) Google engineers have adapted a software program to help track child sex predators and search for patterns in images of abuse on the web. Google has created the technology for the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). It was originally developed to block copyrighted videos on the company's YouTube division. The program uses pattern recognition to enable analysts to sort and identify files containing child sex abuse.
(Press Release) The INHOPE network is delighted to announce the appointment of Birgit Roth as the new Secretary General. Birgit Roth was Public Policy manager, Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs for Deutsche Telekom AG. Ms Roth was previously a Member of the German Parliament for the Speyer-Neustadt constituency. The INHOPE Association of Internet Hotlines was founded in 1999. The general public can report illegal internet content such as child pornography to hotlines. The hotline confidentially then reviews each report, referring illegal material onto the relevant law enforcement agencies or Internet Service Providers for further action. Today, there are thirty members of INHOPE worldwide, including members from Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. INHOPE is part funded by the EC Safer Internet Programme.
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