Home page| Extended HTML version
(Council of Europe) The Parliamentray Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) points out that media regulation must respect freedom of expression and information. Technological change in the audiovisual media has made it necessary to revise the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT), whose aim is to ensure freedom of transmission and retransmission of broadcasting in Europe regardless of frontiers. It proposed that the current revision of the ECTT should respect this freedom, define the "public service mission" of audiovisual media services and re-examine the role of the Standing Committee with regard to its supervisory function over compliance with convention obligations and arbitration. PACE also proposed that measures should be taken to address the allocation of radio-frequency spectrum following the analogue switch-off of broadcasting in many countries as well as the independence of national regulators for the audiovisual media sector.
(Japan Times) The head of UNICEF has condemned Japan's laws on child pornography, saying the country is falling behind global standards and is guilty of spreading illegal material abroad. "Japan and Russia are the only two G8 countries that do not ban civil possession of child pornography," Ann Veneman, executive director of UNICEF, the U.N. body that campaigns for children's rights, said at a news conference at the group's Tokyo branch.
(Independent) Internet service providers that fail to curb child pornography on the web would be criminalised in a crackdown to be introduced in the Queen's Speech this autumn. The leaked Home Office letter says a clause in the Police, Crime and Private Security Bill in the Queen's Speech would "compel domestic ISPs to implement the blocking of illegal images of child sexual abuse". There will be a four-week consultation with ISPs on the proposals, but insiders said the firms had not been informed about the proposed crackdown.
(The Register) New laws reportedly planned for the Queen's Speech to force all internet providers to block access to child pornography websites have been questioned by Britain's top abuse investigator. Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), said the blacklist currently used to filter the vast majority of UK internet connections had been a "fabulous success". However, he added he is unconvinced of the need for legislation to impose it on the remaining small and boutique ISPs who argue it is unaffordable and easily circumvented by determined paedophiles.
(BBC) The European Union has voiced its approval for Microsoft's latest pledges to curb its anti-competitive practices. The technology giant has agreed to give customers a wider choice of web browser through its Windows operating system and to share information with rivals. The EU will now consult PC makers, software firms and consumers on Microsoft's offer.
(RAPID) The European Commission has adopted Guidelines on the application of EC Treaty state aid rules to the public funding of broadband networks. The Guidelines provide a clear and predictable framework for stakeholders and will help Member States to accelerate and extend broadband deployment. The Guidelines also contain specific provisions concerning the deployment of Next Generation Access networks, allowing public support to foster investment in this strategic sector without creating undue distortions of competition. The Guidelines take account of comments received during a public consultation.
(BBC) The US Justice Department has urged a New York court to reject a deal that would allow internet company Google to publish millions of books online. The deal raised copyright and anti-trust issues, the department said, and should be rejected in its current form. See Press release. In its filing, the Department proposed that the parties consider a number of changes to the agreement that may help address the United States' concerns, including imposing limitations on the most open-ended provisions for future licensing, eliminating potential conflicts among class members, providing additional protections for unknown rights holders, addressing the concerns of foreign authors and publishers, eliminating the joint-pricing mechanisms among publishers and authors, and, whatever the settlement's ultimate scope, providing some mechanism by which Google's competitors can gain comparable access.
(New York Times) Gadget makers often know exactly who has a missing or stolen device, because in many instances it has been registered to a new user. But many tech companies will not disclose information about the new owners of missing devices unless a police officer calls with a search warrant. Even a request to simply shut down service - which would deter thieves by rendering their pilfered gadget useless - is typically refused.
(Reuters) China has banned websites featuring or publicizing online games which glamorize mafia gangs, saying violators will be "severely punished". The Culture Ministry said such games "advocate obscenity, gambling, or violence," and "undermine morality and Chinese traditional culture," the official Xinhua news agency said. "These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangsters' lives. It has a bad influence on youngsters," the report said, citing a ministry circular.
(RSF) Reporters Without Borders calls on the Egyptian authorities to explain why police arrested three bloggers - Abdel Rahman Ayyash, Magdi Saad and Ahmad Abu Khalil, two of them on their return from a trip abroad. All three were arrested on the same day, 21 July. "These arrests seem to be yet further evidence of the desire of the security services to silence politically-committed bloggers", Reporters Without Borders said. "We urge the authorities to state publicly why they are being held".
(WSJ) Attempts to censor the Internet are spreading to Southeast Asia as governments turn to coercion and intimidation to rein in online criticism. Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam lack the kind of technology and financial resources that China and some other large countries use to police the Internet. The Southeast Asian nations are using other methods -- also seen in China -- to tamp down criticism, including arresting some bloggers and individuals posting contentious views online. See interactive graphics.
(Tech and Law) I'd previously blogged the Associated Press's announcement about a new system they were going to use to "wrap" their content to track its usage. As far as I could see from what the AP had said, it wasn't DRM in the sense that people normally understand it. I've now further updated my blog post to refer to an excellent article by Ars Technica which also can't figure out how on earth hNews can be used to "wrap" and "protect" content in the all-encompassing way that the AP seem to be suggesting. "One is struck by the thought that perhaps the AP has been snookered into believing that it's getting 'DRM for news', when in reality it's simply using an open-source news metadata markup language with Creative Commons rights expression". See previous QuickLinks item.
(RAPID) Joint Statement of EU Commissioners Reding and McCreevy on the occasion of Google Books meetings in Brussels. Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, and Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, have made a joint statement setting out the important cultural and economic stakes of book digitisation in Europe. To face the daunting task of digitising Europe's books, of which there are tens of millions in Europe's national libraries alone, the two Commissioners stressed the need for fully respecting copyright rules to ensure fair remuneration for authors, but also welcomed public-private partnerships as a means to boost digitisation of books. They highlighted the need to adapt Europe's still very fragmented copyright legislation to the digital age, in particular with regard to orphan and out-of-print works. The statement of the two Commissioners comes ahead of a series of workshops and meetings between the Commission, cultural institutions, right holders, IT companies and consumer organisations, which start with an information hearing on the US class action settlement on Google Book Search. see also articles in BBC, Guardian and New York Times.
(Press Release) New ideas to allow for swifter and more flexible measures to tackle unlawful peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing are published by the Government. The Government is seeking views on the idea of including a power, under the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, for the Secretary of State to direct Ofcom to introduce technical measures to clamp down on piracy, if necessary. This would involve an obligation on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take action against individual, repeat infringers - for example by blocking access to download sites, reducing broadband speeds, or by temporarily suspending the individual's Internet account. To enable stakeholders to provide feedback on the new ideas, the Government has today issued an explanatory statement and extended the current consultation on unlawful P2P file sharing to 29 September.
(New York Times) In response to Amazon's filing in opposition to Google's landmark settlement with publishers and authors, the Authors Guild, one of the parties to the settlement, fired back with a statement on its Web site. In its filing, Amazon said the settlement would violate antitrust laws by giving Google a monopoly over millions of so-called orphan works and create a cartel controlled by authors and publishers for setting prices for e-books. "Amazons hypocrisy is breathtaking," the guild's statement read. "It dominates online bookselling and the fledgling e-book industry."
(Economist) The internet giant's plan to create a vast digital library should be given a green light. To its opponents, it is a brazen attempt by a crafty monopolist to lock up some of the world's most valuable intellectual property. To its fans, it is a laudable effort by a publicly minded company to unlock a treasure trove of hidden knowledge. Next month an American court will hold a hearing on an agreement, signed last year by Google and representatives of authors and publishers, to make millions of books in America searchable online. The case has stirred up passions, conflict and conspiracy theories worthy of a literary blockbuster. See also Google books - Tome raider. A fuss over Google's effort to build a huge digital library.
(Guardian) Google's ambition to create the largest body of human knowledge on the internet by scanning millions of library books and turning them into a massive digital publishing venture is prompting growing opposition from authors and legal experts who object to its scope and copyright implications. Opponents and supporters of Google's plans are lining up for a showdown that will come to a head on 4 September, the deadline for submissions to be lodged with a Manhattan court that is reviewing the scheme, known as Google Book Search. see also A plan to scan (FT).
(Guardian) The parents of a 15-year-old schoolgirl who jumped to her death after being bullied on Facebook have spoken of the "huge pressures" placed on young people by social networking sites. Holly Grogan died after plunging 30ft from a road bridge near her home on to a dual carriageway, where she was hit by passing traffic. She was found under a bridge in Churchdown, Gloucestershire, two miles from her home.
(BBC) A teenager has been detained for three months in a young offenders' institution for harassing a woman on social networking website Facebook. Keeley Houghton swore at and threatened Emily Moore in person and on the internet in July, Worcester Magistrates' Court heard. The 18-year-old of Elgar Avenue, in Malvern, Worcestershire, admitted a charge of harassment on 31 July. She was also given a five-year restraining order. Houghton is prohibited from contacting Ms Moore, or commenting about her on any social networking system or website during that time.
(Heise) Schüler dürfen ihre Lehrer weiterhin im Internet benoten. Das Persönlichkeitsrecht eines Lehrers werde dadurch nicht verletzt, entschied der Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) in Karlsruhe (Az. VI ZR 196/08). Das Gericht prüfte die Klage einer Lehrerin aus dem nordrhein-westfälischen Moers, die von Schülern im Internetportal spickmich.de bewertet worden war. Die Pädagogin, die im Unterrichtsfach Deutsch die Note 4,3 erhalten hat, sah ihr Persönlichkeitsrecht verletzt. Siehe auch: Spickmich.de: Pädagogin zieht vors Bundesverfassungsgericht.
(Heise) Das Social Network StudiVZ hat ein Manifest vorgestellt, mit dem er die Hoheit der Nutzer über ihre persönlichen Daten stärker betont und gleiche Spielregeln für alle hierzulande aktiven Online-Communities fordert. Siehe auch Pressemitteilung.
(Register) Google, Microsoft and other special interests are subjecting the European Commission to the most intense lobbying campaign it has ever faced, over regulation of how data is used to target advertising online, according to officials in Brussels.
(BBC) Eurovision Song Contest organisers say they may ban countries from the competition if broadcasters disclose information about voters' identities. It comes after a number of people in Azerbaijan were questioned by police after voting for a song by neighbouring Armenia in this year's contest. Labels: Data_protection_privacy
(01net) Ce qui est bien avec Internet, pour un journal, c'est que le problème de la place ne se pose pas. Quand on a beaucoup d'informations, on peut tout mettre en ligne sans avoir à faire un tri. C'est ce qu'a dû se dire L'Est républicain, qui a publié une série d'articles sur les démêlés juridico-financiers d'un député de l'Essonne. Mais le journal a été rappelé à l'ordre par la justice. Il a été condamné à 1 euro de dommages et intérêts et à 3 000 euros de remboursement de frais de procédure pour atteinte à la vie privée, comme le révèle le site Legalis.net.
(TechCrunch) Looking over the top 10 paid iPhone apps list, I noticed one called Offender Locator. It's an app to show you registered sex offenders living around you. While all 50 states require that sexual offenders register themselves, and allow anyone to access the information online, most people never look at it. The app allows you to see a list of offenders based on your current location (using the iPhone's location services), any contact's address, or it allows you to manually enter an address. The app then scours the database and lists the sexual offenders based on their proximity to the location you gave. You can click on any of these names to get a picture of the person, their information like date of birth, height, weight, and a picture. And you can also see the specific sexual crime they were charged with.
(BBC) Home Secretary Alan Johnson has dropped plans to make ID cards compulsory for pilots and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports. The cards were due to be trialled there - sparking trade union anger. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said that the reverse in policy was "an absurd fudge" and "symbolic of a government in chaos". But Mr Johnson said the ID card scheme was still very much alive - despite Tory and Lib Dem calls to scrap it. He said the national roll-out of a voluntary scheme was being speeded-up - with London to get them a year early in 2010 and over-75s to get free cards.
(ZDNet) The Conservative Party has promised to reduce government databases and introduce stronger measures to protect people's privacy, if it wins the next general election. The shadow justice secretary, Dominic Grieve, introduced a policy paper, Reversing the Rise of the Surveillance State, that outlines 11 measures to achieve these goals. Overall, the Conservatives are calling for fewer massive central government databases, stronger data-protection rules and fewer access rights - for both central and local government - to the information that is already been stored. The party also pledged to introduce a greater focus on privacy, in both the public and private sectors.
(Guardian) A blogger stripped of her anonymity by the US courts has said she plans to sue Google for handing over her real identity. Rosemary Port, a 29-year-old fashion student from New York, has said she will file a $15m (£9m) lawsuit against the internet giant after it complied with an order from a US court to reveal that she was behind the vitriolic "Skanks in NYC" blog. The case erupted last week after the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that Google must hand over the identity of the writer, who had targeted 36-year-old model Liskula Cohen online and called her a "psychotic, lying, whoring... skank". Cohen had filed a lawsuit demanding that the writer's identity be revealed, an argument that judge Joan Madden agreed with.
(AP) Parents who install a leading brand of software to monitor their kids' online activities may be unwittingly allowing the company to read their children's chat messages - and sell the marketing data gathered. Software sold under the Sentry and FamilySafe brands can read private chats conducted through Yahoo, MSN, AOL and other services, and send back data on what kids are saying about such things as movies, music or video games. The information is then offered to businesses seeking ways to tailor their marketing messages to kids. Five other makers of parental-control software contacted by The Associated Press, including McAfee, Symantec and CyberPatrol said they do not sell chat data to advertisers.
(Observer) German chancellor Angela Merkel has waded into the row over Google's plans to build a massive digital library. The move was a remarkable intervention from a leading world politician in a growing dispute about the threat posed by the internet, and Google in particular, to publishing companies, authors and also newspapers. In her weekly video podcast, before the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, Merkel appealed for more international co-operation on copyright protection and said her government opposed Google's drive to create online libraries full of scanned books.
(RAPID) Viviane Reding Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. EDiMA's White Paper on Policy Strategy for the Development of New Media Services 2009-2014 ? Launch Breakfast Event Brussels, 1 October 2009.
(RAPID) 4.6 million digitised books, maps, photographs, film clips and newspapers can now be accessed by internet users on Europeana, Europe's multilingual digital library ( www.europeana.eu ). The collection of Europeana has more than doubled since it was launched in November 2008 ( IP/08/1747 ). The European Commission, in a policy document declared as its target to bring the number of digitised objects to 10 million by 2010. The Commission has launched a public consultation on the future of Europeana and the digitisation of books that will run until 15 November 2009. Questions the Commission asks include: How can it be ensured that digitised material can be made available to consumers EU-wide? Should there be better cooperation with publishers with regard to in-copyright material? Would it be a good idea to create European registries for orphan and out-of print works? How should Europeana be financed in the long term? see also EUROPEANA - Europe's Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions.
(Reuters) The European Union's media commissioner, Viviane Reding, has thrown her weight behind internet search group Google in the row over whether it should be allowed to publish millions of scanned books online. The EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media added her voice to the debate welcoming "private-sector initiatives" such as Google's. "Google Books is a commercial project developed by an important player," Reding said in a statement. "It is good to see that new business models are evolving which could allow bringing more content to an increasing number of consumers."
(BBC) The race is on to get as many British people online as possible by 2012, Martha Lane Fox has told the BBC. As the government's new Digital Champion she has been charged with getting millions online who are not yet connected to the internet. Speaking to BBC Business Editor Robert Peston, Ms Lane Fox said she wanted a "virtual race" to coincide with preparations for the 2012 Olympics.
(RAPID) Viviane Reding, the EU's Commissioner for Information Society and Media, today welcomed news that ICANN, the body primarily responsible for managing internet domain names, will become more open and accountable to billions of internet users worldwide. As of 30 September, ICANN, the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, will no longer be subject to unilateral review by the US Department of Commerce, but by independent review panels appointed by ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and ICANN itself with the involvement of governments around the world. Since 2005, the European Commission has repeatedly called for reform of the governance of the internet's key global resources.
(Economist) America is poised to loosen its control over cyberspace. For the past decade America has delegated some of its authority over the internet to a non-profit organisation called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN's latest mandate is due to expire on September 30th. The day before, a new accord is planned to come into effect, whereby America will pass some of its authority over ICANN to the "internet community" of businesses, individual users and other governments.
(BBC) New government guidance has been published urging civil servants to use the micro-blogging site Twitter. Launched on the Cabinet Office website, the 20-page document is calling on departments to "tweet" on "issues of relevance or upcoming events". Neil Williams, of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), published the "template" strategy. Writing on the Cabinet Office's digital engagement blog, Mr Williams - who is BIS's head of corporate digital channels - conceded that 20 pages was a "a bit over the top for a tool like Twitter" but added: "I was surprised by just how much there is to say - and quite how worth saying it is."
(Reuters) The Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. agency that regulates the telecommunications industry, is becoming more media savvy by joining popular networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. The agency, which is conducting a series of workshops to hear from the industry and public on what the FCC's national broadband plan should include, is also urging the public to vote on which topics are the most important.
(Heise) Die für die Innen- und Rechtspolitik zuständige Koalitionsarbeitsgruppe von FDP und Union hat überraschend schnell einen Kompromiss ausgearbeitet, wonach die geplanten reinen Blockaden kinderpornographischer Seiten faktisch passé sind. Das Bundesinnenministerium soll das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) anweisen, international stärker auf die tatsächliche Löschung kinderpornographischer Inhalte im Internet zu drängen. Zugleich wird der Wiesbadener Polizeibehörde untersagt, Sperrlisten an die Zugangsanbieter herauszugeben. Die bislang vom noch nicht in Kraft getretenen Zugangserschwerungsgesetz sowie in Verträgen großer Provider mit dem BKA vorgesehenen Web-Sperren könnten so nicht zur Anwendung kommen. Konkret setzen die Liberalen vor allem auf die Internetwirtschaft und die Verbesserung von Hotlines zum Löschen illegaler Inhalte wie INHOPE, dass das BKA auf dem kleinen Dienstweg über eine direkte Ansprache von Providern ohne den Umweg über ausländische Polizeibehörden mehr zum Entfernen kinderpornographischer Angebote aus dem Netz beitragen könnte.
(Heise) In den nächsten Wochen muss das Gesetz zur Netzsperre von den Providern umgesetzt werden. Michael Rotert von der deutschen Internetwirtschaft warnt vor Überregulierung und Offline-Politikern.
(ONI) The OpenNet Initiative is proud to announce the release of our Middle East and North Africa study. see also blog post. While not all countries in the Middle East and North Africa filter the Internet, censorship across the region is on the rise, and the scope and depth of filtering are increasing. Testing has revealed political filtering to be the common denominator across the region; however, social filtering is on the rise. Many Arab countries have begun blocking explicit and morally objectionable content in the Arabic language that was previously accessible. While many regimes are transparent about social filtering, most continue to disguise political filtering practices by attempting to confuse users with different error messages.
(ONI) The summer of 2009 was a hectic one for online social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a bevy of other sites fell under the censors' axe in China and Iran as political events - namely the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the Iranian presidential election - shook both countries. Based on testing conducted in 2008-2009, the OpenNet Initiative has compiled data on the most frequently blocked social media sites around the world. We are proud to present five new social media filtering maps that serve as easy visual guides to the countries where Facebook, Flickr, Orkut, Twitter and YouTube are blocked.
(BBC) The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RC Psych) is calling for urgent action to protect vulnerable young people from eating-disorder websites. It says the number of websites promoting eating disorders has soared with the growth of social networking. The RC Psych wants the government's Child Internet Safety Council (UKCCIS) to mark such sites as harmful and raise awareness among parents and teachers.
(Guardian) Addiction to online games is becoming more widespread among vulnerable young people, according to a treatment centre that has begun running abstinence courses in Britain. As games become more visually enticing and the recession leaves people at home in front of computer screens, therapists are encountering more cases of people obsessed with being online. In extreme circumstances game players can, they warn, become detached from normal existence and forget to eat or sleep as they interact with screen characters such as wizards and monsters. Youngsters can also develop posture problems.
(01net) Pointdecontact.net, le site pour dénoncer les contenus illicites et choquants, est maintenant accessible sur les mobiles. Depuis le 23 septembre 2009, une version mobile est aussi en ligne à l'adresse www.pointdecontact.mobi.
(Europa) The objective of the consultation is to help prepare a new EU strategy for the information society, as the current i2010 strategy is coming to a close this year. All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Period of consultation: from 4 August until 9 October 2009.
(RAPID) The European Commission has repeated its call for EU countries to do more to tackle online privacy threats to the public. A Commission-funded study found that although in recent years several EU countries have taken some measures to enforce Europe's ban on spam, including fines for spammers, the number of prosecuted cases and sanctions imposed on lawbreakers vary considerably. The study confirms the need for the legislative improvements proposed under the reform of the EU's Telecoms rules: clearer and more consistent enforcement rules and dissuasive sanctions, better cross-border cooperation, and adequate resources for national authorities in charge of protecting citizens' online privacy.
(Guardian) The WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan and his promoter, Frank Warren, are squaring up to the social networking site Facebook in a legal battle that could have far-reaching consequences. The pair have engaged lawyers to threaten the US internet company with action over the use of images and names alongside material they consider to be defamatory and racist. Stephen Taylor Heath, head of sports and media at Lupton Fawcett, said that a cursory search of Facebook quickly led to "bogus" pages that used the images and names of the pair to link to material that would be "highly defamatory" if published in a newspaper or magazine. Warren, who has fought several high-profile legal battles, is understood to be determined to force Facebook to change its policy and take responsibility for the more unsavoury opinions of its registered users. There is a legal grey area about the extent to which the operator of a website, or the provider of community tools, can be held liable for comments posted.
(BBC) The High Court has given permission for an injunction to be served via social-networking site Twitter. The order is to be served against an unknown Twitter user who anonymously posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger. The order demands the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity and stop posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney's Blarney. <
(Europa) The way we use media is changing, the volume of information enormous, demanding more of us than being able to read, write or use a computer. The European Commission today warned that Europeans young and old could miss out on the benefits of today's high-tech information society unless more is done to make them 'media literate' enough to access, analyse and evaluate images, sounds and texts and use traditional and new media to communicate and create media content. The Commission said EU countries and the media industry need to increase awareness of the many media messages people encounter, be they advertisements, movies or online content. The European Commission has adopted policy guidelines calling on EU countries and industry to promote media literacy across Europe through activities that help people access, understand and critically evaluate all media they are exposed to, like TV and film, radio, music, print media, the internet and digital communication technologies. Education is a national competence, but the Commission invited EU countries to open a debate on how to give media literacy a prominent place in schools. Commission Recommendation C(2009)6464 on media literacy in the digital environment for a more competitive audiovisual and content industry and an inclusive knowledge society.
(RAPID) Europe took an important step towards a new generation of mobile services when the Council of Ministers followed the European Parliament in approving a proposal from the European Commission. The updated GSM Directive now allows the 900 MHz frequency band to be used to provide faster, pan-European services such as mobile internet while ensuring the continuation of GSM services. The renewed Directive will enter into force this October.
(BBC) The mobile phone has become indispensable to modern life. But some communities in France believe they are paying too high a price for this convenience.
(RAPID) The European Commission can confirm that Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case about the tying of Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser with Windows. This followed extensive discussions with the Commission which centred on a remedy outlined in the January 2009 Statement of Objections whereby consumers would be shown a "ballot screen" from which they could - if they wished - easily install competing web browsers, set one of those browsers as a default, and disable Internet Explorer. Under the proposal, Windows 7 would include Internet Explorer, but the proposal recognises the principle that consumers should be given a free and effective choice of web browser, and sets out a means - the ballot screen - by which Microsoft believes that can be achieved. In addition OEMs would be able to install competing web browsers, set those as default and disable Internet Explorer should they so wish. The Commission welcomes this proposal, and will now investigate its practical effectiveness in terms of ensuring genuine consumer choice.
(Council of Europe) In a recommendation, the Parliamentary Assembly calls on the member states to increase protection for minors who use Internet and online media services, particularly through the use of parental filter systems. PACE also urges the member states to support the creation of secure, restricted-access networks which filter content harmful to minors and comply with codes of conduct. In addition to technological solutions, the Assembly favours measures to raise public awareness, focusing on the risks and opportunities for minors using Internet and online media services. It also recommends that the Committee of Ministers work towards ensuring greater legal responsibility of Internet service providers for illegal content, and that it call on the member states which have not yet signed the Convention on Cybercrime and its Additional Protocol to do so without delay.
(Council of Europe) Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment.
(Michael Geist) The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the Internet hate provision found in the Human Rights Act is unconstitutional. The Tribunal ruled that the restriction on speech imposed by the provision is not a reasonable limit under Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
(IDG News Service) Some of the few PC makers who offered a controversial Web filtering program mandated by China have reversed those plans, dealing the latest blow to China's efforts to deploy the software nationwide. Lenovo, Acer and Sony have all stopped bundling the program, named Green Dam Youth Escort, with PCs sold in China, the companies said.
(Heise) "What's wrong with the Germans?" - an dieser provokanten Frage hat Electronic-Arts-Manager Gerhard Florin am Donnerstag auf der Kölner Spielemesse gamescom seine harte Kritik am deutschen Jugendschutz und dem System der Selbstkontrolle aufgehängt. Besonders an der Nicht-Freigabe vieler Spiele entzündet sich die Kritik des EA-Vertreters: "Das ist für mich Zensur".
(News.com) In a report regarding the implementation of the Child Safe Viewing Act, the FCC found that the video game ratings scheme is a success and that "the video game industry already provides one of the most robust voluntary rating systems available." The report also concludes that the variety and variables within each media segment make it extremely difficult to manage.
(Heise) Medienkompetenz braucht Vorbilder: Damit Kinder in Zukunft verantwortungsvoll mit Computerspielen, SchülerVZ und Handys umgehen können, setzt der Deutsche Kinderschutzbund auf die Eltern. Die Organisation stellte auf der Kölner Spielemesse gamescom die Initiative Medien-Dschungel vor, die Eltern den Umgang mit neuen Medien lehren soll. Das Projekt wurde in Kooperation mit der EU-Initiative klicksafe entwickelt.
(Europa) Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, World Childhood Foundation Seminar, Stockholm, 17 September 2009.
(Net Family News) The Swedish Media Council recently unveiled three 30-second animated videos designed to be distributed "virally" by the human peers of their star, "Eddy." He's "an impulsive teenage boy who tries out typical online behavior in the physical world," and he's meant to get youth thinking about why people act differently online. It's interesting to see what's rising to the top as the most salient concerns in many countries. Here are their links and descriptions: "'Eddie's blog' illustrates how easy it is to forget that online publication of texts and photos usually are available to everyone and not only the people they were intended for." "'Eddie comments' ... demonstrates that the illusion of anonymity on the Internet sometimes has a negative effect on people?s behavior. 'Eddie signs up' points out that signing up on a social networking site or registering as a user for a service usually entails giving away rights or approving that the information submitted can be used in other contexts." Here's the Swedish Media Council's site.
(Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada) This report was prepared for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner by Jennifer Barrigar, a consultant and researcher with experience in both privacy law and developments in internet technology. It was originally commissioned in late 2008, and a final report was delivered to the Office in February 2009. Some of the observations made in this report may appear outdated or even incorrect. This is certainly the case with Facebook, one social network that has undertaken successive rounds of privacy amendments in 2009. This is not the case with many of the other social networking sites identified by Ms. Barrigar.
(Net Family News) Linden Lab, which runs Second Life, has sequestered adult content and activity in the virtual world onto a new continent called "Zindra." Residents of the virtual world have to verify that they're adults before they can search for anything on Zindra or go there (see how the age verification process works). The entire "world" is now classified as either "Adult," "Mature," or "PG".
(BBC) Donations to UK charities sent via text message will be free of VAT from this week as part of an agreement with the major mobile phone operators. Under the framework set up by the Mobile Data Association (MDA), gifts made to a dedicated short code will have the VAT waived. It means charities of all sizes will be able to receive an estimated 10p in the £1 extra for text gifts of up to £10.
(Economist) Mobile phones have transformed lives in the poor world. Mobile money could have just as big an impact. mobile phones have evolved in a few short years to become tools of economic empowerment for the world's poorest people. These phones compensate for inadequate infrastructure, such as bad roads and slow postal services, allowing information to move more freely, making markets more efficient and unleashing entrepreneurship. All this has a direct impact on economic growth: an extra ten phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points, according to the World Bank. More than 4 billion handsets are now in use worldwide, three-quarters of them in the developing world (see our special report). Even in Africa, four in ten people now have a mobile phone.
(BBC) A rising number of British women are working as webcam models on the internet. Market analysts say the overall webcam market is now worth more than a billion pounds, with online sex shows a big part of it. Industry insiders say there's been a rise in applications, partly fuelled by the recession, with hundreds of British women signing up to UK websites each month, many more internationally. They appear live on webcams that can be accessed on computers around the world.
(Simplifydigital) There is both good news and bad news in the latest announcement from Vodafone's mobile broadband headquarters. The good news is that they have again been pushing the mobile broadband boundaries with news that they are just about to launch a 21Mbs mobile broadband package. The bad news? It's Vodafone Greece not Vodafone UK who are launching the high speed mobile broadband product and there is no news yet on when these speeds are expected to hit UK shores. Vodafone Greece have long been renowned as the pioneers of high speed mobile broadband. Earlier this year residents of mainland Greece were the first people in Europe to be offered mobile broadband speeds of up to 14Mbs.
(Guardian) Cynics have long dismissed social networking as a fad - but the appetite for connecting online appears to be growing more rapidly than ever, after Facebook announced that it now has more than 300 million users worldwide. The announcement, made by the company's 25-year-old co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, underlines Facebook's reputation as one of the largest properties on the internet with an audience that could encompass almost every man, woman and child in the United States. The number is almost as large as the entire internet population of China, and equivalent to the number of web users in Europe's ten largest countries combined. It also marks the latest chapter in an astonishing period of growth for the company. The site reached the 250m user milestone in July, meaning that it has added an additional 50 million people in just two months.
(BBC) Yahoo and Microsoft have announced a long-rumoured internet search deal that will help the two companies take on chief rival Google. Microsoft's Bing search engine will power the Yahoo website and Yahoo will in turn become the advertising sales team for Microsoft's online offering. Yahoo has been struggling to make profits in recent years. But last year it rebuffed several takeover bids from Microsoft in an attempt to go it alone. Labels: Portals_browsers_and_search_engines
(Guardian) The BBC has struck a landmark deal with four national newspaper groups to share video news on their websites for the first time. The BBC is providing a limited range of video news content to Mail Online, guardian.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk and Independent.co.uk, which will supplement the newspaper websites' own material, in four areas - UK politics, business, health and science and technology. For partner media organisations to use the BBC online video content there must be no advertising - such as pre-roll or post-roll ads - running around any clips. The video shared with partner organisations will carry BBC branding. All BBC content will appear in a branded video player and the content will be geo-blocked so that it can only be viewed by web users in the UK. The video news sharing proposal marks a significant shift in relations between the BBC and rival media companies. Newspaper publishers, in particular, have long argued that the BBC has used the public subsidy provided by the licence fee to fund its expansion into digital media areas - such as online video - while commercial companies have not had the financial firepower.
(BBC) James Murdoch has launched a scathing attack on the BBC, describing the corporation's size and ambitions as "chilling" and accusing it of mounting a "land grab" in a beleaguered media market. News Corporation's chairman and chief executive in Europe and Asia also heavily criticised media industry regulator Ofcom, the European Union and the government, accusing the latter of "dithering" and failing to protect British companies from the threat of online piracy. He described the BBC's purchase of the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet as a "particularly egregious example of the expansion of the state" and compared government intervention in broadcasting with failed attempts to manipulate the international banana market in the 1950s. Murdoch added that the BBC's news operation was "throttling" the market, preventing its competitors from launching or expanding their own services, particularly online. News International, the News Corp subsidiary that owns the company's British newspapers, including the Sun and the Times, is currently considering introducing charges for all its websites.
(Reuters) 3G cards or sticks that allow people to get online via the mobile network from anywhere have come to symbolise how a goldmine of surging data traffic risks becoming a nightmare for mobile operators. Dongles are often sold with a flat-rate data plan, or with a subscription allowing a certain number of megabits of data to be used. They are fuelling a boom in mobile data traffic that is so heavy it is putting unprecedented stress on networks. Yet even as traffic explodes, revenues from these new services aren't keeping up because of the intense pressure on prices -- so investment in improvements risks squeezing margins.
(Europa) The EU will invest € 18 million into research that will underpin next generation 4G mobile networks. The European Commission just decided to start the process of funding research on Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced technology, that will offer mobile internet speeds up to a hundred times faster than current 3G networks. LTE is becoming the industry's first choice for next generation mobile networks, also thanks to substantial EU research funding since 2004.
(BBC) Researchers predict that more than one billion people around the world will be using mobile broadband by 2012. However some European mobile operators claim that current levels of use are already crippling their networks. In Britain mobile operator Vodafone is doubling its mobile broadband capacity to 14.4Mbps (Megabits per second). The new service rolling out across the UK should give users a realistic peak speed of 10.8Mbps, says the company.
(Economist) A new way to deliver information to mobile phones is spreading around the world.
(Economist) Ever greater numbers of Americans are disconnecting their home telephones, with momentous consequences.
(Economist) What is a Facebook friend worth? Marketers are eager to use fast-growing social networks to tout their products. An Australian online-marketing company, uSocial, wants to help them?for a price. On September 16th the firm started selling Facebook friends and fans.
(Reuters) Vodafone launched a Web service meshing social networks, contacts and entertainment in a bid to fend off stiff competition from Apple, Google and Nokia. Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone operator by revenue, said its Vodafone 360 service would launch on two tailor-made Samsung phones and four Nokia phones in eight European countries by Christmas. Vodafone 360 will allow users to store contacts from social networks such as Facebook and other Internet accounts in one place and will automatically synchronize to users' computers.
(Google) This Google resource brings together the latest industry facts and insights. These have been collected from a number of third party sources covering a range of topics from macroscopic economic and media trends to how consumer behaviour and technology are changing over time.
(BBC) A survey of children's web habits shows that "sex" and "porn" are among the top 10 most-searched terms. The study logged webpage visits through security firm Symantec's OnlineFamily.Norton, a web-monitoring service for parents. Video website YouTube topped the list, as did search engines Google and Yahoo, along with social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. The survey scanned 3.5 million searches between February 2008 and July 2009.
(Ars Technica) In tests where they were asked to perform tasks that required working memory and focus, people prone to consuming multiple streams of information at once failed relative to their more single-minded peers.
(Social Media) posted by Ryan Kelly. We embarked on a study as to how people are using and consuming Twitter. Some felt it was their source of news and articles, others felt it was just a bunch of self-promotion with very few folks actually paying attention. But mostly, many people still perceive Twitter as just mindless babble of people telling you what they are doing minute-by-minute. So we took 2,000 tweets over a 2-week period and categorized them into 6 buckets: News, Spam, Self-Promotion, Pointless Babble, Conversational and Pass-Along Value. See also Twitter: "pointless babble" or peripheral awareness + social grooming? by danah boyd. Studies like this one by Pear Analytics drive me batty. They concluded that 40.55% of the tweets they coded are pointless babble; 37.55% are conversational; 8.7% have "pass along value"; 5.85% are self-promotional; 3.75% are spam; and ::gasp:: only 3.6% are news. Twitter - like many emergent genres of social media - is structured around networks of people interacting with people they know or find interesting. The vast majority of Twitter users are there to maintain social relations, keep up with friends and acquaintances, follow high-profile users, and otherwise connect. I vote that we stop dismissing Twitter just because the majority of people who are joining its ranks are there to be social.
(BBC) Broadband users are not getting the speeds they are paying for, according to the largest survey of its kind ever undertaken by telecoms regulator Ofcom. Nearly one fifth of UK broadband customers on an eight Megabit per second (Mbps) connection actually receive less than 2Mbps, it found. The research showed that less than 9% of users received more than 6Mbps. see also Virgin defends broadband speeds (Ed: an odd choice of ISP for the BBC to interview, since Virgin did best in the test).
(BBC) Technology addiction among young people is having a disruptive effect on their learning, researchers have warned. Their report concluded that modern gadgets worsened pupils' spelling and concentration, encouraged plagiarism and disrupted lessons. The study - Techno Addicts: Young Person Addiction to Technology - was carried out by researchers at Cranfield School of Management, Northampton Business School and academic consultancy AJM Associates.
(BBC) More than a third of under-18s have been sent offensive or distressing sexual images electronically, a survey by the charity Beatbullying suggests. A large majority of the 2,094 respondents said a fellow teenager had sent it, compared with 2% who said an adult had sent the message.
(Net Family News) "As the Twitter audience has mushroomed in recent months - to 21 million US visitors in July 2009 - the younger age groups are the ones flooding in the fastest," the comScore blog says about the micro-blogging service. In fact, people under 35 are "fueling Twitter's continued growth," with July usage spread evenly among the 12-17, 18-24, and 25-34 age categories, blogger Andrew Lipsman shows very visually with his growth charts.
(Pew Internet & American Life Project) Teenagers have previously lagged behind adults in their ownership of cell phones, but several years of survey data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that those ages 12-17 are closing the gap in cell phone ownership. The Project first began surveying teenagers about their mobile phones in its 2004 Teens and Parents project when a survey showed that 45% of teens had a cell phone. Since that time, mobile phone use has climbed steadily among teens ages 12 to 17 ? to 63% in fall of 2006 to 71% in early 2008. In comparison, 77% of all adults (and 88% of parents) had a cell phone or other mobile device at a similar point in 2008. Cell phone ownership among adults has since risen to 85%, based on the results of our most recent tracking survey of adults conducted in April 2009. The Project is currently conducting a survey of teens and their parents and will be releasing the new figures in early 2010.
(Information is Beautiful) Chick rule ! Gender balance on social networking sites.
(Net Family News) Online video is just huge and growing. YouTube is now the fourth most visited site on the Web, globally, according to Mashable.com, citing comScore figures for this past July. YouTube had 120.3 million viewers in July, over one-third of the US population, and in that one month, they watched 8.9 million videos. "What may be more shocking is the average number of videos per viewer: 134.9. That's nearly five YouTube videos per day." Here's The Guardian on how peace recently broke out between YouTube and the music industry. And here's TheJournal.com on how one teacher made the case for using YouTube at school.
QuickLinks consists of