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(Europa) The European Commission has published the results of a public consultation on Age verification, Cross media rating and classification and Online social networking. Download summary report on social networking (155 KB)and an expert report on age verification solutions and cross media rating and classification, including the results of the public consultation on these topics.
(New York Times) Law enforcement officials want popular sites, like the social network MySpace, to confirm the identities and ages of minors and then allow the young Web surfers to talk only with other children, or with adults approved by parents. But performing so-called age verification for children is fraught with challenges. Nevertheless, over the last year, at least two dozen companies have sprung up with systems they claim will solve the problem. Surprisingly, their work is proving controversial and even downright unpopular among the very people who spend their days worrying about the well-being of children on the Web.
(RAPID) Vortrag von Viviane Reding, EU-Medienkommissarin, Zu Gast bei Peter Müller: "Europa contra ARD und ZDF? Welche Perspektive lässt die EU-Kommission dem gebührenfinanzierten öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk in Deutschland?", Berlin, 10. November 2008.
(Observer Observer) European banks are under pressure to crack down on the owners of child pornography websites, following a legal breakthrough that has enabled international enforcement agencies to identify those who profit from them. A meeting in Brussels next month will see child protection agencies and lawyers attempt to persuade the European Banking Federation and law enforcement agencies to form a financial coalition to combat what is a $2bn industry.
(RAPID) The Council of Ministers of the European Union has adopted the European Commission's strategy to reinforce the fight against cyber crime. The strategy proposes a series of operational measures, such as cyber patrols, joint investigation teams and remote searches to become part of the fight against cybercrime in the next five years. The strategy also introduces concrete steps for closer cooperation and information exchange between law enforcement authorities and the private sector. See Draft Council Conclusions on a Concerted Work Strategy and Practical Measures Against Cybercrime.
(New York Times) A long article by Jeffery Rosen about Google's and YouTube's relationship with national censorship laws. Over the past couple of years, Google and its various applications have been blocked, to different degrees, by 24 countries.
(AFP) South Korean police have rounded up more than 2,000 people for spreading malicious rumours on the Internet during a month-long crackdown sparked by an actress's suicide. The National Police Agency said 11 people have been formally arrested and detained for serious legal breaches and that prosecutors would be asked to charge another 2,019 with various offences.
(Journal du Net) La ministre de la Culture, Christine Albanel a commandé le 2 novembre dernier une nouvelle étude relative aux "différentes solutions possibles à la question de la prévention de la lutte contre le piratage" au juriste Pierre Sirinelli, membre du Conseil supérieur de la propriété littéraire et artistique (CSPLA, placé sous la tutelle du ministère de la Culture). La ministre souhaite notamment que ce rapport étudie la piste d'une charte signée à la fois par les ayants-droit et les acteurs du Web 2.0, dans laquelle chacune des parties reconnaîtrait la bonne volonté et les engagements de l'autre en matière de lutte contre le piratage.
(New York Times) Is lying about one's identity on the Internet now a crime? The verdict in the MySpace cyberbullying case raised a variety of questions about the terms that users agree to when they log on to Web sites. The defendant in the case was convicted by a federal jury on three misdemeanor counts of computer fraud for having misrepresented herself on the popular social network MySpace. The woman, Lori Drew, posed as a teenage boy in using the account to send first friendly and then menacing messages to Megan Meier, 13, who killed herself shortly after receiving a message in October 2006 that said in part, "The world would be a better place without you." MySpace's terms of service require users to submit "truthful and accurate" registration information. Ms. Drew's creation of a phony profile amounted to "unauthorized access" to the site, prosecutors said, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, which until now has been used almost exclusively to prosecute hacker crimes.
(BBC) Privacy experts have banded together to influence policy in the new Obama administration and set best practices for the industry. The newly formed Future of Privacy Forum aims to present a privacy agenda to the Obama team in late November. It also plans to talk to internet users about their concerns.
(Europeana) On the first day of its launch, Europe's digital library Europeana was overwhelmed by the interest shown by millions of users in this new project. This is an unexpected difficulty, but it is also an encouraging sign that citizens in Europe and around the world have great interest in Europe's digital library. Europeana must now be made more robust to deal with peak hour requests - thousands of users searching in the very same second for famous cultural works like the Mona Lisa or books from Kafka, Cervantes or James Joyce. The Commission and the Europeana management are confident that Europeana will be up and running again by mid-December.For the time being, a demo version of Europeana will be available at http://dev.europeana.eu/. See Europeana: A shop window on Europe's cultural heritage Speech by José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, Launch of Europeana, Brussels, 20 November 2008; La bibliothèque numérique européenne: du rêve à la réalité Discours de Viviane Reding, Membre de la Commission européenne, responsable de la société de l'information et des médias, Forum d'Avignon 2008 - Culture, facteur de croissance, Avignon, le 17 novembre 2008; EUROPEANA: un voyage à travers la culture européenne Discours de Viviane Reding. Lancement d'Europeana, la Bibliothèque européenne Bruxelles, le 20 novembre 2008; Now Online: "Europeana", Europe's Digital Library; EUROPEANA - Europe's Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions. See also EU Presents Ambitious Open-Source Library Digitization Project, Site Promptly Crashes (TechCrunch) by Kathlyn Clore.
(New York Times) One of the many ways that the election of Barack Obama as president has echoed that of John F. Kennedy is his use of a new medium that will forever change politics. For Mr. Kennedy, it was television. For Mr. Obama, it is the Internet. "Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee," said Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. see also Blogged Down in the Past (Columbia Journalism Review).
(OUT-LAW News) Search engines in Argentina have been banned from linking to stories naming up to 100 famous people including football legend Diego Maradona in a move critics have said is tantamount to censorship. Google and Yahoo! have filtered search results relating to the names on their Argentine sites but not their international ones, the companies told internet filtering campaigning organisation the OpenNet Initiative (ONI).
(ARN) An information security expert claims the government has the wrong approach to Internet filtering, and should focus on protecting Australians from technical risks rather than content. IBRS information security advisor, James Turner, has setup the Website nothingbutnet.net.au to lobby Australian ISPs to provide a safer Internet feed cleansed of known malicious content, like spam and viruses.
(Heise) Bundesfamilienministerin Ursula von der Leyen will im Kampf gegen Kinderpornographie im Internet deutsche Access-Provider zur Sperre von kinderpornographischen Webseiten verpflichten. Dazu will die Ministerin eine Änderung des Telemediengesetzes durchsetzen. siehe auch Forderung nach Webseiten-Sperrungen entzweit die große Koalition.
(Heise) Juristischer Ärger für Wikimedia Deutschland. Der Bundestagsabgeordnete Lutz Heilmann (Die Linke) hat gegen den Verein eine Einstweilige Verfügung erwirkt, wonach der Betrieb des Portals wikipedia.de eingestellt werden muss. Der Betrieb der Wikipedia selbst ist von dem Rechtsstreit nicht berührt. Siehe auch Wikipedia-Sperre: Linke distanziert sich von Heilmann (Heise) und Die Fallstricke des Online-Lexikons (Spiegel). See also German MP's Wikipedia Lockdown Unleashes Flood of Donations (Deutsche Welle).
(Press Release) State-of-the art filtering technology will allow parents, schools, businesses and web users to further restrict access to websites advocating or promoting terrorism. Following joint work between the internet industry and government, web users now have the opportunity to download software allowing them to restrict access to websites that may encourage the endorsement or participation in acts of terrorism.
(Le Point) Épaulé par l'association e-Enfance, le gouvernement continue de lutter contre les dangers encourus par les jeunes sur le Net. Dans cette optique, la ministre de l'Intérieur Michèle Alliot-Marie et le secrétaire d'État chargé du développement de l'économie numérique, Éric Besson, ont inauguré hier une ligne d'accueil téléphonique pour la protection des mineurs sur Internet. Joignable au 0820 200 000 (numéro Indigo, 0,09 /mn), le service Net écoute famille est ouvert du lundi au vendredi, de 9 h à 19 h. Aide à l'installation des logiciels de contrôle parental, conseils sur l'utilisation sécurisée de l'Internet, assistance psychologique en cas de confrontation à des images choquantes ou de rencontres avec des personnes malintentionnées, aide en cas de dépendance ou d'addiction à Internet... Encadrée par les psychologues spécialisés, Béatrice Copper-Royer et Michaël Stora, l'équipe apporte des réponses aux multiples questions générées par les dangers du Net. À terme, l'objectif est de passer de l'aide aux victimes à la simple prévention.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. European Internet Foundation Special Event "A view of the Digital World in 2025", Brussels, 13 November 2008.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, BEUC's Annual General Assembly, Brussels, 13 November 2008.
(Heise) Nach dem Landgericht hat nun auch das Oberlandesgericht München mit Urteil vom 23. Oktober 2008 seine zunächst im Eilverfahren ergangene Entscheidung im Streit des Heise Zeitschriften Verlags gegen verschiedene Unternehmen der Musikindustrie bestätigt. Danach bleibt es dem Verlag verboten, im Rahmen der redaktionellen Berichterstattung über Kopierschutzsoftware einen Link auf die Webpräsenz des Unternehmens Slysoft zu setzen.
(BBC) Surfing the internet, playing games and hanging out on social networks are important for teen development, a large study of online use has revealed. The report counters the stereotypical view held by many parents and teachers that such activity is a waste of time. More than 800 teenagers and parents took part in the three-year US project . See Two page summary (pdf) and White Paper - Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project (pdf).
(OUT-LAW News) EU citizens travelling in other EU countries must be charged no more than 0.11 plus VAT per text message compared to the current EU average of 0.29 if the European Parliament backs a proposal that was approved by telecoms ministers. Data downloads will also be capped at 1 per megabyte for wholesale fees under proposals designed to protect travellers against "bill shocks". The plan also extends the duration of a current cap on voice roaming charges from 2010 to 2013.
(Press Release) Failure to understand the real challenge of protecting children on the internet has reduced the impact of global internet discussions, according to European child rights NGOs. While welcoming a higher than ever profile for children's issues at the UN's 3rd Internet Governance Forum (3-6 December), the European NGO Alliance on Child Safety Online (eNACSO) has criticized a low level of understanding of children's right to protection among some other key stakeholders. Speaking in the Forum plenary session, eNACSO representative John Carr emphasized the responsibility of industry in making the internet a safer place for children. Parents must not be left on their own to put in place complex technical solutions to keep their children safe.
(IDG News Service) The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in collaboration with several U.N. agencies, has launched an initiative to safeguard children, the Internet's most vulnerable users. Called Child Online Protection (COP), the initiative will bring together partners from all sectors of the international community with the aim of creating a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere.
(Reuters) Facebook has removed several pages from its site used by Italian neo-Nazis to incite violence after European politicians accused the Internet social networking site of allowing a platform to racists. Seven different group pages had been created on the site with titles advocating violence against gypsies.
(Net Family News) The US body responsible for videogame ratings - the Entertainment Software Rating Board - are making them a little more useful to parents. They've created a mobile ratings site for cellphones (http://m.esrb.org), CNET reports. So parents can now access a rating even at point-of-purchase, when pressure from those kid gamers can be intense and a little right info at the fingertips can help. Both the mobile site and the regular Web one also have rating summaries. L
(Actualité - Presse) Le secrétariat d'Etat à la Famille fera diffuser sur les principales chaines TV un film qui alerte sur les dangers potentiels d'Internet. Traduit en 12 langues et diffusé dans de nombreux pays européens, il à déjà reçu deux récompenses, dont le « New York festival International Advertising Awards ». En France, il sera diffusé durant la période de Noël sur les chaines du réseau hertzien et de la TNT.
(OUT-LAW News) The European Commission has launched a consultation on how it can strengthen the European Union's response to computer attacks. The Commission is canvassing views ahead of a debate about an EU-wide co-ordination of computer security.
(Net Family News) "It's a bad week for Internet porn,"a Wired blogger reports. Indeed. Given the news from Ning and now with YouTube "cracking down on sexually suggestive content," as VentureBeat reports. Here's some of what YouTube's crackdown looks like: "Videos that are 'sexually suggestive' (but not prohibited) will now be age-restricted to viewers 18 or older [if younger ones are truthful about their ages when they register]. In addition, these types of videos will be algorithmically demoted on pages like 'Most Viewed' and 'Top Favorites'." Also, "thumbnails" (little still images that represent videos in YouTube) will be automatically generated by the site rather than chosen by the videos' creators.
(BBC) A court in the US is preparing to hear the case of a woman accused of using MySpace to bully a 13-year-girl who later committed suicide. The case has prompted new concerns over the potential dangers of online social networking sites. Websites like Facebook, Bebo, Twitter and others have come to be seen as an essential part of life for millions of people. They enable users to share their lives with friends around the world, and get in touch with people with similar interests.
(The Register) A juror in a sex abuse case was kicked off the case after using Facebook to ask her mates whether the suspect was guilty or not. The female juror was removed from the case at Burnley Crown Court on 18 November. Jurors are forbidden from talking about cases outside court.
(Guardian) British couple set to divorce after wife finds her husband's alter-ego chatting affectionately with a woman in the virtual world.
(The Local) A new Swedish study shows that playing violent video games can alter children?s heart rates, raising concerns about violent games' long term physiological effects on youngsters. In a collaborative project, researchers from Stockholm University, Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institutet asked a group of 19 boys aged twelve to fifteen to play two different computer games, one specifically violent, the other not. The data illustrated that after playing the violent game, the heart rates of the boys were no longer regular.
(Times) YouTube took its first step towards a comprehensive movie service, reaching a deal with a big Hollywood studio to start showing full-length television shows and films. The video-sharing website is set to announce that it will host TV episodes and movies from the archives of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in its latest step to boost advertising revenue. The deal is expected to be the first of many. It emerged over the weekend that the site, which is owned by Google, was in negotiations with other Hollywood studios.
(Economist) The internet: Predictions that an "exaflood" of traffic will overload the internet have been doing the rounds. But will it really happen? Video killed the radio star. Might its next victim be the internet? The popularity of YouTube, BitTorrent and other online-video services has prompted many gloomy prophesies that the net is on the verge of collapsing under the load.
(Economist) How much would you pay for unlimited access to WiFi hotspots that stretched for miles instead of a few hundred feet, provided unbroken connections even deep inside buildings, and offered broadband speeds ten times faster than today's wimpy connections found in coffee shops, hotel lobbies, airport lounges and homes? How about nothing, or next to nothing? That could be on the cards within a couple of years, thanks to a decision taken by America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
(Economist) Not all is doom and gloom in the mobile-phone industry. On the contrary, it is going through two important shifts that promise to generate much growth and profit in the years to come. Sales of "smart" phones - those that allow you to surf the internet, download music and use other data services, as well as make calls and send text messages - are booming. Second, and more important, as handsets get smarter the nature of the industry will change. It will be less about hardware and more about software, services and content. More will be spent this year on such intangibles than on the handsets themselves and a fierce battle between operating systems for handsets has broken out.
(Economist) Websites can now let visitors bring along their friends. A new button is appearing on some websites. It says "Facebook Connect" and saves visitors from having to fill out yet another tedious registration form, upload another profile picture and memorise another username and password. Instead, visitors can now sign into other sites using their existing identity on Facebook, the world's biggest online social network.
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