- AU - Australian firewall trials start +/-
(BBC) The Australian government is due to start a series of field trials this month in order to filter websites that are harmful to children. The 'cyber-safety plan', spearheaded by Australia's Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy, will cost around AUS$126m (£55m) and will be implemented over a period of four years. See also Net firms rebuff filtering plan (BBC) and The Great Firewall of Australia (ARN).
- CN - China defends latest web censorship +/-
(Guardian) Chinese government officials have defended their decision to block several foreign news websites, including the BBC, as the country moves away from its pledge for uncensored internet access during the Beijing Olympics. The BBC, Voice of America, Hong Kong's Ming Pao News and Asiaweek have all had their websites blocked in China since early December. Restrictions had previously been lifted in August, when foreign journalists demanded full access during the Olympics. China's foreign ministry said that it was within its rights to block sites that showed content illegal under the country's law.
- U.K. Internet watchdog backtracks on Wikipedia ban +/-
(CNET) The UK's Internet watchdog reversed its decision to prevent users in that country from visiting a Wikipedia page containing an image of a naked child. The Internet Watch Foundation had taken exception with a page dedicated to a 1976 album by rock band The Scorpions. The cover of that album - called Virgin Killer -includes the image of a prepubescent girl, which the group deemed a "potentially illegal indecent image," landing Wikipedia on the group's blacklist. As a result, Internet service providers in the U.K. began filtering access to all pages of the online encyclopedia over the weekend. The IWF reversed that decision after an appeal and presentation by the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia. "The IWF board has today considered these findings and the contextual issues involved in this specific case, and - in the light of the length of time the image has existed and its wide availability - the decision has been taken to remove this Web page from our list," it said. See How to make child-porn blocks safe for the internet (Guardian) by Cory Doctorow and Why the IWF was wrong to lift its ban on a Wikipedia page (OUT-LAW News).
- EU - New Safer Internet Programme +/-
(RAPID) The EU will have a new Safer Internet Programme as of 1 January 2009. Following the overwhelmingly positive vote on 23 October in which the European Parliament expressed its support for the new Safer Internet Programme, the Council of Ministers has adopted the new Programme covering the period 2009-2013. It was proposed by the European Commission to protect children in the ever more sophisticated online world and empower them to safely use web services like social networking, blogging and instant messaging.
- IE - New guide warns parents of bullying by mobile phone +/-
(Irish Times) Parents can help protect their children and teenagers from mobile phone-based bullying, according to a new guide produced by the Irish Cellular Industry Association (ICIA). The mobile operators in Ireland - Vodafone, O2, Meteor and 3 - have come together to publish Mobile phones: A parent's guide to safe and sensible use. The booklet warns that young people using mobile phones can be bullied, communicate with people they should not, view online content that is unsuitable for their age and waste money. However, when the owner of an account is a child, operators offer parents a service called "dual access". This means parents can check the numbers their child has been calling and texting, and keep an eye on the amount of money spent. Parents can also ask operators to block certain services.
- Safety, education, and empowerment on YouTube +/-
(YouTube Blog) YouTube's new Abuse and Safety Center features straightforward safety tips and multimedia resources from experts and prominent safety organizations. The new center also makes it easier for you to find our Help and Safety Tool, which lets you report concerns to us and gives you granular control over your channel, like the option of blocking comments from specific users or disabling the video comments feature on specific videos. The Abuse and Safety Center is easy to find. Just look at the bottom of any YouTube page and click on the link titled "Abuse and Safety Center.".
- US - Online safety czar called for +/-
(Net Family News) The Family Online Safety Institute has called on President-Elect Obama to promote "a national strategy on how to best educate children, tweens, teens and their parents on online ethics, safety and cybercitizenship". In a report, FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam, makes four recommendations: that the Obama administration 1) hold an annual White House Online Safety Summit, 2) create a US Council for Internet Safety 3) create a $100 million online-safety program to fund research and educational and awareness campaigns, and 4) create a National Safety Officer position in the office of the US's new chief technology officer.
- Cellphone to be No. 1 access tool: Study +/-
(Net Family News) By 2020, the mobile phone will be the main tool for connecting to the Internet for most of the world's people, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's latest "Internet Evolution" study. The study asked a group of 'Internet leaders, activists and analysts' to forecast what they expect to be the major technology advances of the next decade. Two other interesting predictions concerned social tolerance and virtual reality, and the experts polled seem to have felt just as uncertain as the rest of us about what impact connective technology will have on human relations and social tolerance: "The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness." Their prediction about virtual reality lines up with teens' approach to tech for some time: "divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations."
- EU - new Eurobarometer survey: parents' perspective +/-
(RAPID) A new Eurobarometer survey "Towards a safer use of the Internet for children in the EU - a parents' perspective" has ben published. According to the survey conducted in all EU Member States, 75% of children aged from 6 to 17 years already use the Internet - a trend which continues to grow. Half of the parents who did not use Internet themselves said that their child had online access. At least half of the parents stated that they talk to their children about their online activities. In addition, they take precautionary measures such as not allowing their children to disclose personal information online (92%) or to talk to people they do not know (83%). 59% of parents declared that they use filtering or monitoring software. Parents who do not use filtering tools say they trust their children (64%) or did not know how to access or use them (14%).
- FR - Quels sont les 10 réseaux sociaux français les plus populaires ? +/-
(Neteconomie) L'institut Médiametrie a dévoilé le classement des 10 principaux sites « communautaires ». Blogs ou réseaux sociaux, ces sites attirent désormais 22,5 des 32 millions d'internautes français pour environ 1 heure et 40 minutes de surf mensuel. Pionnier du genre, Skyrock.com garde sa couronne avec une audience de 8,5 millions de visiteurs uniques et 57 minutes de surf en moyenne. La plate-forme hexagonale est néanmoins talonnée par Facebook qui revendique désormais plus de 8 millions de visiteurs uniques pour un temps passé de près de deux heures par mois (1 heure 55).
- The global Zeitgeist +/-
(Google Blog) Posted by Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience. For the first time, our annual Year-End Zeitgeist features search data from more than 30 countries. Social networks comprised four out of the top 10 global fastest-rising queries, while the U.S. election held everyone's interest around the globe. Republican VP candidate, Sarah Palin, may have lost in the election, but she was the #1 fastest-rising query on our global list (Obama was #6).