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(Internet News) A Microsoft white paper suggesting that children get digital identity cards to verify their age and better protect them online. But not everyone is convinced it's the right approach. "It's not 100 percent clear to me that there's a compelling reason to validate the age of kids going to a social networking site," Larry Magid, a technology journalist, child safety advocate and member of the Internet Safety Task Force (ISTF), told InternetNews.com. "Is the solution going to be worse than the problem?" Microsoft's suggestion came in response to the ISTF's call for solutions. The plan would require that government, schools, or private companies certify children's identities and ages based on personal documents like birth certificates.
(NetFamilyNews) by Anne Collier. "ISTTF" stands for Internet Safety Technical Task Force, the result of an agreement last January between 49 state attorneys general (minus Texas) and MySpace. The emphasis is on the word "technical," because the attorneys general basically charged the task force, of which I'm a member, with reviewing technical solutions to online youth risk - "age verification" technology being their stated predetermined solution of choice. Why? Because they're law enforcement people. They deal with crime - not all these other subjects that have come up in online-youth and social-media research - so they probably feel that this is all about crime and technology, so some technology that separates adult criminals from online kids, or that somehow identifies every American on the Web, is what will make the Internet safe for youth. See also Age Verification Debate Continues; Schools Now at Center of Discussion (Progress & Freedom Foundation) by Adam Thierer and State attorneys general push online child safety snake oil by Chris Soghoian. see also 2008-09-23 US, Cambridge MA - Internet Safety Technical Task ForceOpen Meeting
(CNET News) Microsoft has made some progress developing a set of documents required as part of its antitrust consent decree, but the work could be accomplished much more quickly if the company took on a less grudging attitude, state and federal antitrust regulators said during a status conference meeting held to asses Microsoft's compliance with the consent decree.
(RAPID) The European Commission organised an EU expert meeting on the fight against cybercrime in Brussels on 25-26 September 2008. This meeting represented another step in the implementation of the Commission Communication of 22 May 2007 "Towards a general policy on the fight against cyber crime". The aim was to engage key law enforcement and private sector to identify concrete actions which can be undertaken at EU and national levels. The highlight of the conference was a presentation by the Commission of a series of recommendations guiding public-private cooperation against cybercrime. Labels: Computer_crime
(OUT-LAW News) The Government will change the law to make it clear that promoting suicide on the internet is illegal. The Ministry of Justice said that it will rewrite the Suicide Act of 1961 which will make it easier for website hosts to remove offending material. The Government has conducted a review of the Suicide Act and said that it wants to make it clear that activity which is illegal offline is also illegal online. The Act currently says that it is an offence to "aid, abet, counsel or procure" a suicide, though courts have ruled in the past that the simple provision of information about committing suicide would not open a publisher to prosecution. Concerns have been widely expressed about the use of the internet to disseminate information on how to commit suicide and even to encourage people to do it. Labels: Computer_crime
(Heise) Nach der kleinen Kammer, dem Ständerat, sprach sich nun auch die große Kammer des Schweizer Parlaments, der Nationalrat, mit 103:52 Stimmen bei 18 Enthaltungen dafür aus, dass die Regierung (der Bundesrat), gegen ihren Willen Gesetzesbestimmungen für ein Verbot von Pornografie und Gewaltdarstellungen auf Handys ausarbeiten muss.
(Guardian) A Turkish court has banned internet users from viewing the official Richard Dawkins website after a Muslim creationist claimed its contents were defamatory and blasphemous. Adnan Oktar, who writes under the pen name of Harun Yahya, complained that Dawkins, a fierce critic of creationism and intelligent design, had insulted him in comments made on forums and blogs.
(OUT-LAW News) A court in Montana has ruled that a newspaper does not have to reveal the identity of those who posted comments on its website. A state law that protects journalists from revealing their sources also protects a news site's user comments, the court ruled.
(OUT-LAW News) The cost of registering community trade marks (CTMs) across Europe will fall from ?1,650 to ?1,000, according to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), the body reponsible for the marks. The plan is the result of a meeting of the body's administrative board and budget committee.
(ISOC-ECC) The purpose of this Aide Memoire is to express the comments of European Chapters of the Internet Society with regard to proposed restrictions on access to and use of the Internet, in the name of protection of intellectual property rights. Recognising the importance of copyright, some proposed measures go beyond that which would be necessary or effective. In short, the signatories, consider that the proposed French law in particular is a disproportionate response to the stated objectives of the EU Commission's Communication and that the proposed measures and sanctions reflect a lack of understanding as to the nature of the Internet with unfavourable consequences for the use of the Internet for many economic and social purposes. See also version française.
(CNET News) The Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America are lobbying for a pair of bills to rewrite and expand digital copyright law, designed to give the federal government more power to police copyright violations.
(CNET News) Carl Malamud has devoted his life to liberating laws, regulations, court cases, and the other myriad detritus that governments produce daily, but often lock up in proprietary databases or allow for-profit companies to sell for princely sums.
(CNET) Three out of four teens were bullied online over a 12 month period, according to a study released by psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles. And while that number may seem high at the outset, only 1 in 10 of those kids told their parents or another adult about it, the study showed.
(BBC) The government has outlined how a controversial online ad system can be rolled out in the UK. In response to EU questions about its legality, it said that it was happy Phorm conformed to EU data laws. But any future deployments of the system must be done with consent and make it easy for people to opt out. The European Union had demanded clarification about the system which tracks web habits in order to provide better targeted ads.
(OUT-LAW News) The Article 29 Working Party, an independent EU advisory body on data protection and privacy, will lead hearings with Google over the search giant's claim that EU data protection laws do not apply to it. It said that Google is refusing to submit to Europe's data protection regime and that "strong disagreements" remain. It said in a statement that Google "considers that the European law on data protection is not applicable to itself, even though Google has servers and establishments in Europe". It also said that Google "wishes to retain personal data of users beyond the six months period requested by the Article 29 Working Party, without any justification."
(OUT-LAW News) Google will anonymise search engine data after nine months instead of 18 months after pressure from EU and US privacy activists and regulators. The company also said that EU law does not apply to crucial parts of its data processing operations. The company, which has come under fire for the volume of information it gathers and keeps on users, has published a detailed response to EU privacy regulators' group the Article 29 Working Party's criticisms of its policies. see also Debunking Google's log anonymization propaganda (Surveillance State) by Christopher Soghoian.
(Daily Telegraph) A mother who complained to shop staff that her seven-year-old son's Superman playsuit was faulty was told data protection laws meant they could only deal with him. Staff at Marks & Spencer insisted that Jacob Hunter-Lamb give consent for his mother to act on his behalf before they would resolve the problem. The problems arose after Jacob was given the costume as a birthday present, bought online, only for him to realise it had come without Superman's yellow belt. Labels: Data_protection_privacy
(IDG) Three of the four largest ISPs (Internet service providers) in the U.S. will adopt policies that require them to get meaningful permission from customers before tracking online activities. Representatives of AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon told a U.S. Senate committee that they currently do not engage in behavioral advertising that uses subscribers' Web activities to deliver contextual ads. If the ISPs decide to start behavioral advertising programs, they will give customers a detailed description of the ad program and ask for permission before tracking online activities, the companies said. However, the ISPs also suggested that legislation is not now needed to protect customer privacy online.
(Center For Democracy and Technology) Online Behavioral Advertising: 1) Using ISP Data for Behavioral Advertising Raises Critical Privacy and Internet Functionality Concerns 2) Existing Implementations of ISP-Based Behavioral Advertising May Violate Federal Law 3) House Investigation Reveals Problematic Behavioral Advertising Practices.
(BBC) A new initiative to bring old newspapers that pre-date the digital age to the web has been launched by the search giant Google. The company has partnered with around 100 newspapers to digitize them and make scanned copies available online. This means users will see entire pages of the original paper as they were printed at the time.
(BBC) The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organisation has signed a deal with Amazon to sell its low cost laptops. The online retailer will help with its next Give 1 Get 1 (G1G1) programme that is due to begin in late November.
(Australin IT) The federal Government's plan to implement content filters at the internet service provider level is one step closer to reality with live trials set to commence after next month. The Government will seek expressions of interest in the second half of October for ISPs to participate in live trials.
(Press Release) TeliaSonera international Carrier has launched a free service allowing operators and Internet Service Providers the ability to deny their users access to web sites containing child sexual abuse. TeliaSonera International Carrier (TSIC) is a global provider of IP-services with a network spanning around the globe. The service is based on a solution provided by the Swedish company NetClean and uses a dynamic and comprehensive list from the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation. The list contains live child sexual abuse URL's.
(Times) Paedophiles are publishing an increasing number of sadistic and violent images of younger children on the internet and are abandoning the slow grooming of victims, instead using threats to force them into commiting indecent acts, an intelligence review has found. The review, published by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), also found evidence that individual paedophiles are running multiple e-mail accounts, sending out hundreds of messages a day to children. See Press Release and Strategic Overview 2007-2008 (CEOP).
(BBC) China has been monitoring and censoring messages sent through the internet service Skype, researchers say. Citizen Lab, a Canadian research group, says it found a database containing thousands of politically sensitive words which had been blocked by China. The publically available database also displayed personal data on subscribers.
(RAPID) The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). NGA optical fibre-based networks enable bitrates several times higher than those currently available on traditional copper wire networks. NGAs are required to deliver high-definition content (such as high definition television) and interactive applications. The objective of a common regulatory framework for NGA is to foster a consistent treatment of operators in the EU and thereby ensure the necessary regulatory predictability to invest. The Commission is consulting on the basis of a draft Recommendation, addressed to the regulators in the 27 EU Member States and suggesting definitions for harmonized categories of regulated services, access conditions, rates of return and appropriate risk premiums. The public consultation will be open until 14th November 2008. The Commission will then finalise the Recommendation in the light of comments received and formally adopt it in 2009.
(RAPID) Europe could take the lead in the next generation of the Internet. The European Commission has outlined the main steps that Europe has to take to respond to the next wave of the Information Revolution that will intensify in the coming years due to trends such as social networking, the decisive shift to on-line business services, nomadic services based on GPS and mobile TV and the growth of smart tags. The report shows that Europe is well placed to exploit these trends because of its policies to support open and pro-competitive telecom networks as well as privacy and security. A public consultation has been launched by the Commission on the policy and private sector responses to these opportunities. The Commission report also unveils a new Broadband Performance Index (BPI) that compares national performance on key measures such as broadband speed, price, competition and coverage. Sweden and the Netherlands top this European broadband league, which complements the more traditional broadband penetration index used so far by telecoms regulators.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Conference 'Network Neutrality - Implications for Innovation and Business Online' Copenhagen, 30 September 2008.
(RAPID) Mobile phone users can expect the cost of sending text messages from abroad in the EU to be much cheaper next summer. The European Commission has proposed to reduce the price of roaming text messages by 60% as of 1 July 2009. EU citizens travelling in other EU countries should pay no more than 0.11 per SMS compared to the current EU average of ?0.29. The Commission also wants to improve transparency for surfing the web and downloading data on a mobile phone while abroad: consumers used to cheaper data services at home should be better protected against roaming "bill shocks" that can run to thousands of euro. The proposals will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council, who must agree before they become law. The EU already reduced charges for making and receiving calls abroad (voice roaming) by 60% in summer 2007.
(BBC) Vodafone has warned that 40 million mobile phone users in Europe might switch off their handsets because of proposed EU reforms to call charges. Cuts in termination rates - the amount one network charges another to connect a call - sought by Brussels could be damaging to the industry, it said. If mobile firms had to raise fees to make up the loss, users could leave in droves, its research showed.
(Economist) In future, most new internet users will be in developing countries and will use mobile phones. Expect a wave of innovation.
(Economist) Google's new web browser is its most direct attack on Microsoft yet. Several years ago, Silicon Valley was rife with rumours that Google, then primarily a search engine, might be building a new web browser to rival that of Microsoft, called Internet Explorer (IE), or even an operating system to rival Microsoft's Windows. Google mocked those rumours and they died down. But if Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, is to be believed, the speculation itself made him think that "maybe it's not a bad idea". And so this week Google did launch a new browser, called Chrome, that is also, in effect, a new operating system. The rumours, says Mr Brin cheekily, "just happened to migrate from being false to being true."
(BBC) Social networking websites and major technology companies are joining the government in an organisation designed to improve children's safety online. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety is to be launched by Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. The council will promote responsible online advertising and will seek to shut down "harmful" websites. It will also develop a voluntary code for websites featuring users' content.
(Department for Children, Schools and Families) Some of the biggest names from industry and charities have joined forces with the Government, parents and young people to help keep children safe online, Children's Secretary Ed Balls and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced. The new UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) will unite over 100 organisations from the public and private sector working with Government to deliver recommendations from Dr Tanya Byron's report 'Safer Children in a Digital World'. Reporting directly to the Prime Minister, the Council will help to improve the regulation and education around internet use, tackling problems around online bullying, safer search features, and violent video games. This unprecedented coalition of experts and organisations will ensure that parents and young people have a voice in the development of a Child Internet Safety Strategy, to be delivered early next year. List of members Executive Board
(ISTTF) Tuesday, September 23, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Wednesday, September 24, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Ropes Gray Room, Pound Hall, Harvard Law School. The Internet Safety Technical Task Force (ISTTF) is a group of Internet businesses, non-profit organizations, academics, and technology companies that have joined together to identify effective tools and technologies to create a safer environment on the Internet for youth. It was created in February 2008 in accordance with the Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety announced by the Attorneys General Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking and MySpace in January 2008. The scope of the ISTTF's inquiry is to consider those technologies that industry and end users can utilize to keep children and youth safe on the Internet, with a focus on preventing harmful contact with adults and with other minors. On September 23rd and 24th, 2008 the Berkman Center will host a day and a half-long public meeting of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force at Harvard Law School. This meeting will be an opportunity for members of the public to learn about the work of the Task Force, to explore the different technology-related problems and solutions under consideration, and to raise questions and share ideas. The day's agenda will include over a dozen presentations of youth online safety solutions based on a range of technologies, including age verification, biometrics, filtering and auditing, text analysis, and combinations thereof. Additionally, on Wednesday, September 24, participants are invited to hear presentations by leading social network sites regarding recent measures they have undertaken to make their sites safer for youth. see also Internet Safety Technical Task Force meeting roundup. see also The ISTTF: Chicken or egg?
(Guardian) The computer games industry has again called for the UK government to choose PEGI, the voluntary Pan-European Games Information ratings, instead of a proposed hybrid system, as it seeks to implement the findings of this year's Byron report on the safety of children online.
(Figaro) INTERVIEW - La secrétaire d'État à la Famille propose «huit conseils pour protéger les enfants sur Internet» sur une plaquette distribuée aux parents des écoliers.
(Google Public Policy Blog) Posted by Patricia Moll, International Policy Manager. Google hosted several events for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) at our headquarters in Mountain View. See also FOSI Roundtable - 'Searching for Online Safety Solutions'. FOSI's roundtable was held at the Googleplex, Mountain View, California. Entitled 'Searching for Online Safety Solutions', it attracted over forty participants. With panellists from Facebook, MySpace, Ning, Google, Yahoo!, AT&T, Second Life, Loopt and YouTube, it provided a fascinating insight into the online safety measures already deployed by industry and how they protect families online.
(Silicon News) To prevent the loss of sensitive data, organisations must change their cultures. Safeguarding data for government departments has never been an easy task but the last few weeks could lead to greater regulatory and commercial scrutiny than ever before.
(Washington Post) The video-sharing service YouTube is banning submissions that involve "inciting others to violence," following criticism from Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman that the site was too open to terrorist groups disseminating militant propaganda. The company earlier this year removed some of the videos that Lieberman targeted, many of which were marked with the logos of al-Qaeda and affiliated groups. But the company refused to take down most of the videos on the senator's list, saying they did not violate the Web site's guidelines against graphic violence or hate speech. Now that videos inciting others to violence are banned, more videos by the terrorist groups in question may be removed. Labels: Content_Regulation, Self-regulation_Codes_of_Conduct
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Safer Internet Forum, Luxembourg, 26 September 2008. See also Frequently Asked Questions.
(NetFamilyNews) The social Web has solid support from the European Commission. In fact, the EC's now looking ahead to Web 3.0, which means "seamless, anytime, anywhere business, entertainment and social networking over fast reliable and secure networks" and "the end of the divide between mobile and fixed [phone] lines," said Viviane Reding, EC Commissioner for Information Society & Media, in a September 26 speech in Luxembourg, according to VNUNET. Europe "must lead the next generation of the Internet," she said. The EC is encouraging SN industry self-regulation and has created a task force to that end, PublicTechnology.net reports. Participants include MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Bebo, Amsterdam-based Hyves, Berlin-based StudiVZ, and Paris-based Skyrock; "a number of researchers and child welfare organisations. The EC reportedly plans to unveil best-practice guidelines for social-network sites on Safer Internet Day next February 10.
(BBC) The governing board of a new European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is holding its inaugural meeting in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The European Union is providing initial funding of more than 300m euros (£238m) for the institute, aimed at generating more European technological advances.
(OUT-LAW News) The European Parliament has voted in favour of reforms of telecommunications laws that members hope will boost competition and provide consumers with clearer information. The Parliament rejected some of the measures proposed by the European Commission. The alternative plan created a co-regulatory body that would consult national telecoms regulators and the Commission but would not fall under direct Commission control. see also Commission reaction.
(OUT-LAW News) Providers of internet telephony must now allow emergency 999 calls over their networks or face the risk of enforcement action, regulator Ofcom has said. Caller location information must also be provided where technically feasible. It affects businesses such as BT, Vonage and Skype that offer services that connect VoIP calls to the public telephone network.
(EU Kids Online) Cross-national Comparisons (D3.2). The first part of this report compares findings from various European studies to address some key research questions and hypotheses. These allow us to reach some general conclusions (i.e. cross-national similarities) which hold across the European countries examined. The second part considers factors that might help to explain the patterns that we found.
(Pew Internet & American Life Project) The first national survey of its kind finds that virtually all American teens play computer, console, or cell phone games and that the gaming experience is rich and varied, with a significant amount of social interaction and potential for civic engagement. The survey was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The primary findings in the survey of 1,102 youth ages 12-17 include: Game playing is universal, with almost all teens playing games and at least half playing games on a given day. Game playing experiences are diverse, with the most popular games falling into the racing, puzzle, sports, action and adventure categories. Game playing is also social, with most teens playing games with others at least some of the time and can incorporate many aspects of civic and political life. Another major finding is that game playing sometimes involves exposure to mature content, with almost a third of teens playing games that are listed as appropriate only for people older than they are.
(Figaro) Lassés de voir leur vie privée étalée sur le Web et d'être importunés par de prétendus amis, de nombreux internautes préfèrent se désinscrire des réseaux sociaux virtuels.
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