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(RAPID) The Commission has sent Spain a reasoned opinion for failing to comply with the television advertising rules in the Television without frontiers Directive. The infringement procedure, started in July 2007, is based on a monitoring report that found that the main TV channels in Spain, both publicly funded and commercial, failed regularly and by some margin to restrict advertising and teleshopping spots to 12 minutes per clock hour.
(RAPID) The European Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion (the second and final stage before the case is referred to the European Court of Justice) to Belgium on "must-carry" rules imposed on broadcasters in the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital. "Must-carry rules" require network operators such as cable companies or telecom operators to carry specified radio and TV broadcast channels and services where a significant number of consumers use them as their principal means to receive radio or TV broadcasts.
(RAPID) Vice-President Barrot, Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, has expressed his strong support for the advanced plans to set up an EU Coalition of Stakeholders against commercial sexual exploitation of children on the Internet, presented by Missing Children Europe and other stakeholders at a press conference. See Allen & Overy report.
(BBC) Interpol has released images from the internet of a man it suspects of sexually abusing young boys. The international police agency is launching the worldwide appeal because two years of investigations have failed to identify the man. Pictures showing the man sexually abusing at least three boys were found on the internet, police say. See also Global manhunt nets abuse suspect (BBC).
(Guardian) Microsoft raised the stakes again in its long-running legal battle with the European Commission by lodging an appeal with the Court of First Instance against the record €899m fine imposed on February 27.
(BBC) Possession of sexually violent images will now be punishable by up to three years in jail. The ban is part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The bill had its final reading on Thursday where it received Royal Assent.
(RAPID) EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva published the mid term report on an EU wide enforcement investigation - involving 15 EU national authorities as well as Norway - against misleading advertising and unfair practices on airline ticket selling websites. The report shows that there are "serious and persistent consumer problems" throughout the airline industry as a whole. 1 in 3 websites surveyed (137 out of 386 originally checked by the 13 reporting countries) have had to be followed up with enforcement action over the last 7 months for breaches of EU consumer law. Over 50% of those websites have been corrected during this time. See also Airline Ticket selling website - EU Enforcement Results. Questions and Answers and Meglena KUNEVA, European Consumer Commissioner, Airline Ticket Sweep Investigation, Press conference speaking points, Brussels, May 8th 2008. see also EU issues airline website threat (BBC).
(BBC) A blogger who "let off steam" about the way he was treated by police has been convicted of posting a grossly offensive and menacing message.
(IDG) Internet service providers, Web site operators and manufacturers of devices that are used by some to pirate content should play a part in stamping out that piracy, Sumner Redstone, chairman and controlling shareholder of both Viacom and CBS, said.
(Iconoclast blog) by Declan McCullagh. NeW York State prosecutors decided to charge Isaiah Rodriguez, 18, of aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child over a series of MySpace.com messages professing his ardent devotion to a 14-year-old girl. Fortunately, the New York City criminal court thought otherwise. In a ruling on April 4, Judge Michael Gerstein in Brooklyn hels that while the actions of a love-struck teenager may well be foolish, reckless, or otherwise acts which might not be expected from a mature adult, they are not, without more, elevated to crimes.
(Washington Post) Teens are conducting an increasing share of their social lives electronically, via text-messaging, e-mail and social networking sites such as Facebook. Threats, harassment and bullying have followed them online. Although such behavior is not new, research suggests that it is expanding rapidly, and educators and lawmakers seem resolved to pay closer attention to the words students exchange online while off campus.
(RAPID) On 10 April, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted an Opinion on the European Commission's proposal amending the Directive on Privacy and electronic communications, usually referred to as the ePrivacy Directive. Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "I welcome the approach followed by the proposal which is in line with views expressed in previous opinions. However, the proposed amendments to the Directive are not as ambitious as they should be. In dealing with new issues, such as the setting up of a mandatory security breach notification system, the proposal remains too restrictive in its scope."
(Economist) At the end of April, without warning or consultation with the data-protection authority the Italian tax authorities put all 38.5m tax returns for 2005 up on the internet. The site was promptly jammed by the volume of hits. Before being blacked out at the insistence of data protectors, vast amounts of data were downloaded, posted to other sites or, as eBay found, burned on to disks.
(Reuters) Dutch authorities intend to crack down on illegal online casinos and are calling on banks to stop providing financial services to them. The ministry has made a list of 30-50 Internet gamers and has asked banks to stop services to these companies. Swedish online gamer Unibet and Dutch firm Oranje Casino, are targets.
(ZDNet.fr) Les principaux organismes français encadrant le développement d'internet - la Cnil, le FDI, l'Afnic et l'Isoc France - militent pour que l'Europe pèse d'avantage dans les réunions du Forum international sur la gouvernance de l'Internet (FGI). Les quatre organismes vont donc pousser l'idée de créer un FGI européen dont l'objectif sera de coordonner les interventions au prochain FGI mondial, qui se tiendra du 3 au 6 décembre prochain à Hyderabad (Inde). La Cnil, le FDI, l'Afnic et l'Isoc France ont déjà défini quelques thèmes fédérateurs : la protection des données personnelles, celle des mineurs (lutte contre les contenus illicites) et l'accessibilité des services internet à toutes les populations (développement de contenus multilingues, éducation en milieu scolaire...).
(AFP) Le TGI de Paris a rendu une nouvelle décision favorable au site de partage de vidéos Dailymotion et débouté les humoristes Jean-Yves Lafesse et Omar et Fred qui le poursuivaient pour avoir diffusé sans autorisation plusieurs de leurs sketches. Si le tribunal a jugé que Dailymotion n'était pas un éditeur et n'était donc pas coupable de contrefaçon, il a en revanche estimé que la plateforme n'avait pas retiré suffisamment "promptement" certains des sketches, une fois que Lafesse l'avait averti de leur exploitation. A ce titre, Dailymotion devra verser 5.000 euros de dommages et intérêts et retirer les vidéos en question.
(Reuters) Egypt has asked mobile phone companies to block service to anonymous subscribers as a public security measure, and at least two firms have begun efforts to comply.
(RAPID) The European Commission invites feedback by industry, consumers and other interested stakeholders to review the functioning and effectiveness of the EU Roaming Regulation, which entered into force on 30 June 2007. According to the provisions of the Regulation, the Commission must report to the European Parliament and the Council in 2008 about the functioning of the new roaming rules and their effects. The public consultation aims to gather responses from mobile operators, businesses, consumer associations and any interested party by 2 July 2008.
(Berkman Center) by John Palfrey. I'm just delighted that the Harvard Law School faculty has voted unanimously to adopt an open access policy. This policy is consistent with the policy adopted by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences earlier this year.
(BBC) For many years the average video gamer has been male and aged 24 or more. But casual games and the appearance of the Nintendo Wii have changed that profile and now it looks like it is about to change again. Research suggests that there are about 158 online games and virtual worlds in development or up and running designed specifically for children. See graph.
(Heise) Sperrverfügungen für Inhalte im Internet "greifen in erheblichem Umfang in die Meinungsfreiheit der Inhaltsanbieter, die Informationsfreiheit der Nutzer sowie die Berufsfreiheit der Internetprovider ein." Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt das von der Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) vorgestellte Gutachten zu Sperrverfügungen im Internet. Wegen der Grundrechtseingriffe und der möglichen Beeinträchtigung der technischen Funktion des Netzes müssten "schwierige rechtliche Abwägungen und Verhältnismäßigkeitsprüfungen im Einzelfall" den Maßnahmen immer vorangehen, heißt es in dem Gutachten weiter. Der KJM-Vorsitzende Wolf-Dieter Ring sagte, die KJM habe bewusst in den vergangenen fünf Jahren keine Verfügung erlassen. Vielmehr setze man auf einen Dialog mit den Zugangsanbietern, damit diese selbst Verantwortung übernähmen und Inhalte auf freiwilliger Basis sperrten.
(BBC News) Web criminals are stepping back from infecting computers themselves and creating "one-stop shops" which offer gigabytes of data for a fixed price. Speaking at InfoSecurity Europe, security firm Finjan said it had seen thousands of such online services. Experts at the conference said web fraud was skyrocketing and called for police to urgently address the problem. Security guru Bruce Schneier said anti-cyber crime efforts needed to be closely allied to the scale of threats. See also Economist article.
(ZDNet France) Les dirigeants de Dailymotion ont accueilli le secrétaire d'État en charge du développement de l'économie numérique, pour sa première sortie officielle depuis sa prise de fonctions. L'occasion pour lui de se frotter aux réalités du web 2.0.
(vnunet.com) A member of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has been jailed for 19 days after posting a picture of himself on Facebook without permission. Reports in the Jerusalem Post claim that the soldier came from the elite 8200 military intelligence unit of the IDF, which specialises in encryption and military information.
(Net Family News) Review by Anne Collier. The UK guidelines are surprisingly digestible for a document coming from a government. The actual "Recommendations for Good Practice" are only about eight pages long (see p. 24), and they also come in convenient checklist form (p. 60). The whole report can be downloaded here. Anne Collier congratulates everyone involved in these guidelines for the milestone the document represents and lists a number of "positives", but also some "neutrals and negatives"
(BBC) Facebook is to add a slew of new safeguards to protect young users from sexual predators and cyber bullies. At the heart of the changes are efforts to ban convicted sex offenders from the site and finding better ways to verify users' ages and identities. The agreement was announced by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in a deal along with other attorneys general around America. see also After long negotiations, Facebook agrees to safety plan with state AGs (CNET). Press Release (Attorney-General of Connecticut). Text of agreement.
(RAPID) The European video games sector is dynamic, with expected revenue of € 7.3 billion by the end of 2008. However, public concerns that video games can cause aggressive behaviour, heightened by school shootings such as in Helsinki (Finland, November 2007), have led several national authorities to ban or block video games such as "Manhunt 2". In response, the European Commission has surveyed existing measures protecting minors from harmful video games across the 27 EU Member States. 20 EU Member States now apply PEGI (Pan European Games Information), an age-rating system developed by industry, with EU support, since 2003. In the Commission's view, industry must invest more to strengthen and in particular to regularly update the PEGI system so that it becomes a truly effective pan-European tool. Also, industry and public authorities should step up cooperation to make classification and age rating systems better known and to avoid confusion caused by parallel systems. A Code of Conduct for retailers should be drawn up within two years on sales of video games to minors. See Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the protection of consumers, in particular minors, in respect of the use of video games COM(2008) 207 final.
(BBC) Given that the average gamer is aged 23 or above, it's perhaps no surprise that a lot of games are rated over-18 only. But who are the guardians of taste and decency and how do they decide a videogame's age rating? In the UK, video games are classified by two bodies - the Pan European Game Information system (Pegi) and the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) - both of which have overlapping roles.
(BBC) New monthly mobile price plans from Vodafone will offer unlimited internet access as a standard feature in a bid to meet the growing demand for access to email and social networking on the move. Facebook, Google and the BBC are the top three internet sites on the Vodafone Mobile Internet, according to the company.
(BBC) Software giant Microsoft has dropped its three-month-old bid to buy internet firm Yahoo because the two sides cannot agree on an acceptable sale price. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer formally withdrew the offer in a letter to Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang. See also Microsoft and Yahoo! - No deal (Economist).
(USA TODAY) Facebook, MySpace and other social-networking sites have been the rage of the tech industry for more than a year. Following investments by Microsoft and News Corp., the companies are valued in the billions of dollars and are considered blueprints for how to build a website. Yet a deeper question lingers: How are they going to consistently produce profits to match their soaring valuations?
(FT.com) Two of the world's largest mobile phone operators signalled their determination to profit more from the growing popularity of wireless internet. Vodafone, the world's largest operator by revenue, and China Mobile, the largest by number of customers, announced a research project aimed at speeding the roll-out of mobile internet services. Softbank, Japan's third largest mobile operator, is also part of the project, to be known as the joint innovation lab.
(BBC) Developers are being asked to devise applications for mobile devices so users can "access it, mix it up, save it, and store it". The plea to harness the creativity of the internet and apply it on mobile phones was made by Mitchell Baker the chair of Firefox developer Mozilla.
(Internet Evolution) by Carsten Rossenhövel. Internet Evolution and SNEP (the Syndicat National de l?Édition Phonographique, an organization that represents the interests of the French music industry), commissioned an independent test lab, the European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC), to test the functionality and performance of P2P filters. EANTC invited 28 vendors of P2P filtering products to participate in the evaluation. 0nly five agreed to take part, and only two vendors were brave enough to agree with publication of the results.
(BBC) The charity Childnet is launching a global information campaign to warn children about the potential dangers of downloading music illegally. The campaign, which is supported by the music industry, will distribute a pocket-sized guide to schools and colleges in 21 countries. Childnet says the risks include breach of copyright, the threat of viruses and the loss of privacy and security.
(Press Release) Fourteen leading mobile operators, mobile content, social networking companies and internet providers have launched TeachToday.eu, a website designed to help teachers encourage children to use the internet and mobile technology responsibly and safely. This is the first time such a significant number of major businesses have worked together to address this complex issue. This initiative was launched in Brussels in the presence of Commissioner Viviane Reding.
(ZDNet.fr) Dailymotion, YouTube et consorts s'engagent à promouvoir un DVD éducatif édité par e-Enfance, destiné à sensibiliser les parents. Les sites communautaires veulent démontrer leur bonne volonté en matière de protection de l'enfance. L'Asic, leur organisation professionnelle, vient de signer un partenariat avec l'association e-Enfance dans le domaine de la protection des mineurs. Il s'agit pour l'instant essentiellement d'un effort de communication : les sites web 2.0 s'engagent à faire la promotion du DVD « Enfants, Ados : l'internet sans danger » sur leur site, par le biais de bandeaux publicitaires ou d'insertions dans des lettres d'information.
(BBC) New teaching resources aimed at helping primary school children surf the web safely have been launched. Figures from regulator Ofcom suggest 500,000 five to seven-year-olds are allowed to go online unsupervised. Teachers have expressed concern many are joining gaming or social networking sites and leaving personal details without realising the risks. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) has devised a cartoon series to warn of the dangers.
(TechCrunch) Google will launch a new product on Monday called "Friend Connect," which will be a set of APIs for Open Social participants to pull profile information from social networks into third party websites. This week MySpace launched Data Availability, a competing product and in a pre-release announcement, we heard about Facebook Connect, another similar product. They will all be a way to securely send personal profile data, including friend lists, presence/status information, etc., to third party applications. The primary benefit of these services is to allow users to maintain a single friends list and to coordinate social activities across different sites that perform different services. see also MySpace lets users share data (BBC).
(BBC) Yahoo users will soon have one place where they can manage all the services they use on the popular website. The company has begun a mammoth re-engineering project that will unify the disparate services Yahoo runs. It hopes the project will transform the site into a vast social network where Yahoo users can quickly find and communicate with each other. The project should also aims to make it easier for web developers to use Yahoo data and services for their own ends.
(vnunet.com) The college educated turn more to Facebook, according to the report, while MySpace caters largely for those who leave school early. A preliminary report from a six-month research project by the School of Information Sciences at UC Berkeley carried out by PhD student Danah Boyd found the class divide between popular social networking sites MySpace and Facebook.
(BSA) New research shows that New Zealand children are savvy media users and that while there has been an explosive growth of media devices in homes in the past few years, television remains the principal form of entertainment. The research, Seen and Heard, was carried out by Colmar Brunton for the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA). It involved interviewing more than 600 children aged between six and 13 and their primary caregivers. The focus of the research was how New Zealand children use and respond to media, including television, radio, the internet, and cell phones.
(Le Monde) voir aussi Réseaux sociaux, mode d'emploi.
(Guardian) It seems that Britons are more addicted to poking and tweeting and writing on each other's walls than anyone else in Europe. Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace reached 9.6 million users in the UK in 2007, according to a new report from Datamonitor. This puts it ahead of bigger countries, including France with 8.9 million and Germany with 8.6 million. Spain is in fourth place with just 2.9 million. The UK user base is forecast to almost triple to 27.1 million by 2012. For Europe overall, the user base is forecast to rise from 41.7 million now to 107.4 million over the next four years.
(Net Family News) "America's young people spend more time using media than they do on any single activity other than sleeping," according to The Future of Children, a joint project of Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. So we all need to know how our children and students use media - the Web, phones, videogames, instant messaging, music, video, TV, etc. - and how they affect their users. The just-released new issue of the project's journal Children and Electronic Media, published semi-annually, "looks at the best available evidence on whether and how exposure to different media forms is linked to child well-being."
(BBC) Game design and social networks are merging into one of the most persuasive forces on the net. That assertion was made by a string of speakers at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.
(Reuters) Playing video games does not turn children into deranged, blood-thirsty super-killers, according to a new book by a pair of Harvard researchers. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, a husband-and-wife team at Harvard Medical School, detail their views in "Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do," which promises to reshape the debate on the effects of video games on kids.
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