- CN - China wants fewer monsters, more 'culture' in online games +/-
(IDG News Service) Online games in China should move away from "lowbrow" content such as monster hunting, Chinese regulators said, highlighting the uncertain regulatory conditions faced by game operators in the country. The game features the regulators dislike, especially monster hunting as the main way for players to gain experience points and new powers, exist in virtually all hit online games. Game operators should also limit highly popular systems that let players kill other human-controlled characters, the country's culture ministry said in a statement on its Web site.
- CN - China's Censorship 2.0: How companies censor bloggers +/-
(First Monday) by Rebecca MacKinnon. This study explores an under-studied layer of Chinese Internet censorship: how Chinese Internet companies censor user-generated content, usually by deleting it or preventing its publication. Systematic testing of Chinese blog service providers reveals that domestic censorship is very decentralized with wide variation from company to company. Test results also showed that a great deal of politically sensitive material survives in the Chinese blogosphere, and that chances for its survival can likely be improved with knowledge and strategy.
- CN - Chinese Agencies Struggle Over Video Game +/-
(New York Times) The virtual World of Warcraft game is the subject of a regulatory dispute in China, where such games are big business. The background: the Chinese General Administration of Press and Publication ordered the Shanghai-based operator of World of Warcraft, NetEase, to shut down its servers for World of Warcraft. The agency said that it had rejected the company's application to become the new host of the game's four million Chinese players. But the Ministry of Culture had struck back. "In regards to the World of Warcraft incident, the General Administration of Press and Publication has clearly overstepped its authority," a ministry official was quoted as saying "They do not have the authority to penalize online gaming." The ministry said it had that authority. And it said NetEase was perfectly free to offer the game on computers in China. The matter now appears destined for settlement by the State Council, the Chinese government's cabinet.
- IR - Iran moves to silence opposition with internet crime unit +/-
(Guardian) Iran has moved to block the last remaining outlet of expression for the country's political opposition with the launch of a special force to police the internet. A 12-member team reporting to the chief prosecutor will scour websites with a view to pressing charges against those judged to be "spreading lies" and "insults" against the Islamic system. Members will include police and personnel from other, unspecified, parts of Iran's security apparatus.
- EU - European Commission puts challenges of books digitisation for authors, libraries and consumers on EU's agenda +/-
(RAPID) The European Commission has adopted a Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy aiming to tackle the important cultural and legal challenges of mass-scale digitisation and dissemination of books, in particular of European library collections. The Communication was jointly drawn up by Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding. Digital libraries such as Europeana will provide researchers and consumers across Europe with new ways to gain access to knowledge. For this, however, the EU will need to find a solution for orphan works, whose uncertain copyright status means they often cannot be digitised. Improving the distribution and availability of works for persons with disabilities, particularly the visually impaired, is another cornerstone of the Communication.
- Google, Authors try to answer book deal concerns +/-
(Reuters) Google and the Authors Guild filed a new version of a deal to create a massive online library in hopes that changes will answer possible antitrust and copyright concerns in the United States and overseas. Amendments to the settlement were crafted after extensive meetings with the Justice Department, according to the parties. Google's plan to put millions of books online has been praised for bringing broad access to books but has also been criticized on antitrust, copyright and privacy grounds. In one shift, money from unclaimed or orphan works will go to an independent fiduciary rather than go to the registry. Also, books in the registry and covered by the deal were reduced to those copyrighted in the United States or published in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
- Keeping a Global Eye on Copyright Law +/-
(EFF) We're happy to announce our involvement in a truly global project: Copyright Watch. Working with academics, libraries and copyright monitors from across the world, Copyright Watch brings together the most recent copies of laws from as many countries as we could find. And with that global team, we'll be tracking new proposals, consultations, and freshly passed regulations: finding the promising changes, and highlighting the spectacularly bad ideas hopefully before they can take hold.
- What is Acta and what should I know about it? +/-
(Guardian) Acta, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, has been progressing for two years without much fanfare. Supporters say the treaty will help create a broad consensus on how to deal with counterfeit goods: the kind of legislation usually aimed at criminals who mass-manufacture and sell pirate DVDs, or flood the market with dangerous fake products such as batteries and electrical equipment. In truth, the treaty also contains suggestions for the control of internet content that some believe could radically alter the nature of copyright law worldwide. See also The ACTA Threat: My Talk on Everything You Need To Know About ACTA, But Didn't Know To Ask (Michael Geist) and ENDitorial: ACTA Revealed, European ISPs Might Have A Big Problem (EDRI-gram).
- CH - Street View in Switzerland +/-
(Google European Public Policy blog) We have learned that Swiss Data Protection Authority intends to take Google to court over Street View in Switzerland. We are disappointed. Data Protection Commissioner Herr Thuer has taken this move despite our efforts to provide a comprehensive set of solutions to his concerns. We want to take this opportunity to outline the situation to date and to explain why we believe his legal action is unnecessary. Before the launch in Switzerland, we made sure we spoke to privacy regulators and other interested groups to give them an opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns they might have. We always do this before a launch because we know that different countries may have different expectations. See also ArsTechnica FDPIC's complaint to the Federal Administrative Court (PDF, German-only).
- EU - Securing personal data and fighting data breaches +/-
(Europa) Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. see also Stakeholders discuss how to respond to data breaches at EDPS-ENISA seminar (Brussels, 23 October 2009).
- EU - Telecoms: Commission steps up UK legal action over privacy and personal data protection +/-
(RAPID) The Commission has moved to the second phase of an infringement proceeding over the UK to provide its citizens with the full protection of EU rules on privacy and personal data protection when using electronic communications. European laws state that EU countries must ensure the confidentiality of people's electronic communications like email or internet browsing by prohibiting their unlawful interception and surveillance without the user's consent. As these rules have not been fully put in place in the national law of the UK, the Commission will send the UK a reasoned opinion. Specifically, the Commission has identified three gaps in the existing UK rules governing the confidentiality of electronic communications: 1) There is no independent national authority to supervise interception of communications 2) The current UK law - the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) - authorises interception of communications not only where the persons concerned have consented to interception but also when the person intercepting the communications has "reasonable grounds for believing" that consent to do so has been given. These UK law provisions do not comply with EU rules defining consent as freely given, specific and informed indication of a person's wishes 3) The RIPA provisions are limited to 'intentional' interception only, whereas the EU law requires Members States to prohibit and to ensure sanctions against any unlawful interception regardless of whether committed intentionally or not.
- Experts agree on proposed global privacy standards +/-
(AFP) Experts from 50 nations meeting in Madrid have reached a draft agreement on international standards for the protection of privacy and personal data. Under the proposed standards, data may only be processed after obtaining the "free, unambiguous and informed consent" of the data subjects and it should be deleted when it is no longer necessary for the purposes for which it was gathered. Data collectors must identify themselves, state in clear language the purpose of the data processing and the recipients of the gathered data. International transfers of personal data may only be carried out to a country which "affords, as a minimum, the level of protection provided for in the document," according to the proposed standards, agreed by representatives from privacy protection agencies.
- FR - NKM veut un droit à l'oubli numérique +/-
(Le Point) Les données numériques sont impalpables : c'est à la fois leur force et leur faiblesse. En effet, leur effacement ne peut pas être contrôlé facilement, et le respect de la vie privée des internautes en souffre sans vraiment qu'ils s'en rendent compte. La secrétaire d'État à l'Économie numérique, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, propose de garantir le "droit à l'oubli numérique". Elle souhaite la création de labels pour les sites Web, particulièrement pour les réseaux sociaux, afin de garantir l'effacement des données. voir aussi Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet s´est rendue à Charm el Cheikh, dimanche 15 novembre 2009, pour représenter la France au Forum mondial sur la gouvernance de l´Internet. Elle a saisi cette occasion pour défendre la notion de droit à l´oubli numérique et pour proposer la mise en place d´un groupe de discussion international sur la prescription des données personnelles sur Internet." Discours de la Ministre.
- UK - T-Mobile staff sold personal data +/-
(BBC) Staff at mobile phone company T-Mobile passed on millions of records from thousands of customers to third party brokers, the firm has confirmed. Details emerged after the firm alerted the information commissioner, who said his office was preparing a prosecution. Christopher Graham said brokers had sold the data to other phone firms, who then cold-called the customers as their contracts were due to expire.
- AU - ACS gives conditional thumbs up to internet filtering +/-
(SC Magazine) The Australian Computer Society has released a report that flags conditional support to ISP-based internet filtering from a technical standpoint, based on a series of boxes that need to be checked before giving the scheme the green light. Six experts from the ACS said that filtering of the internet is plausible, but suggested a number of steps that the Federal Government needs to first address. The computer society pushed for the blacklist to be "transparent." "Transparency and credibility should include an independent oversight, a system of checks and balances that incorporates a system of appeals and an independent auditing process," the report said. Blocking websites was not enough to stop illegal websites from appearing, the report said. The ACS suggested the Federal Government work with the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN) and encourage it to reject domain name applications that were likely to contain illegal material.
- AU - Technical Observations on ISP Based Filtering of the Internet +/-
(Australian Computer Society) Report from the Filtering and E-Security Task Force.
- IGF - IGF: Jugendschützer für Netzsperren +/-
(Heise) Die Jugend im Netz war neben Klassikern wie Meinungsfreiheit und Datenschutz eines der großen Themen auf dem diesjährigen Internet Governance Forum (IGF) im ägyptischen Sharm El Sheik. Auf rund einem Dutzend Veranstaltungen wurden Themen wie Kinderschutz im Internet oder der Kampf gegen Kinderpornographie diskutiert. Dabei sprachen sich Experten auch für den Einsatz von Netzsperren aus.
- Internet Blocking study +/-
(Aconite) Government attempts to block access to the Internet are mounting throughout Europe - but look set to backfire, according to new study. The Open Society Institute funded the report which is titled "Internet Blocking: Balancing Cybercrime Responses in Democratic Societies." The study shows how efforts to block Internet content are spreading throughout democratic Europe. In Germany, Britain, Italy and Scandinavia, the measures are intended to block pages containing child pornography. The new study concludes that the measures are ineffective. Many technical ways exist to get around blocking technologies. More importantly, the blocking measures are intrusive and often abuse fundamental freedoms. These systems either over-block or under-block content and do not prevent the serious offender from gaining access.
- Bringing down walls and barriers in the digital world - priorities for the European Digital Agenda +/-
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, 'Visby Agenda: Creating impact for an eUnion 2015' Visby/Gotland, 9 November 2009.
- IGF - Net talking shop kicks off debate +/-
(BBC) Egypt should not have been picked as the venue for a key net talking shop, say human rights activists. Reporters Without Borders said it was "surprised" that the Internet Governance Forum will take place in Egypt's Sharm-el-Sheikh resort. Set up by the UN, about 1,400 participants are expected to attend the three day meeting which gets under way on 15 November. Delegates will debate security, access and the growth of social networks. In a statement Reporters Without Borders said: ""It is astonishing that a government that is openly hostile to internet users is assigned the organization of an international meeting on the internet's future." See also Open Net Initiative profile for Egypt and UN slated for stifling net debate.
- IGF / CN - China isn't happy with the IGF +/-
(Rebecca McKinnon) On the final day of a four-day meeting, most government representatives expressed support for renewing the Internet Governance Forum's five-year mandate which ends next year. China did not. Chen Yin, the head of the Chinese delegation to the Internet Governance Forum, said that the IGF's mandate should not be continued without reforms.
- IGF- Muzzled by the United Nations +/-
(Rebecca McKinnon) The Internet Governance Forum is winding down today in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. There have been a lot of very constructive conversations in workshops and panels over the past four days about how to advance security, privacy, child protection, AND human rights and free expression on the Internet. Unfortunately, the biggest headline coming out of the forum so far has been an incident on Sunday in which a poster promoting a book about censorship by the Open Net Initiative was removed by U.N. security. See reports by the BBC, the Associated Press, and the ONI's FAQ on the incident. Also see a YouTube video of the incident, and video of IGF Chairman Markus Kummer explaining the incident.
- Europe's amazing Internet-safety work +/-
(Net Family News) Last week I had the great good fortune of participating in the Safer Internet Forum 2009 in Luxembourg. What a fantastic experience, connecting with online-safety experts representing the 27 EU member countries plus Malaysia, Brazil, and New Zealand. The Forum included teen panelists (aged 14-18) from 26 of the 27 countries. This year's focus was "Promoting Online Safety in Schools." Here are highlights - things I heard from presenters over the four days of Forum and INSAFE meetings.
- IGF - Children in the Web 2.0 world - the European approach +/-
(UN) Audio Webcast. Chair: Ana Luiza Rotta Soares (Protegeles), Panelists: Katia Segers (EU Kids Online), Rachel O'Connell (Bebo), Janice Richardson (INSAFE), Gry Hasselbalch (Danish Media Council), Simon Grehan (NCTE Ireland), Dieter Carstensen (eNACSO) .
- US - Call for descriptions: online safety programs +/-
(Berkman Center for Internet & Society) The Risky Behaviors and Online Safety track of Harvard University Berkman Center's Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative is creating a Compendium of youth-based Internet safety programs and interventions. We are requesting organizations, institutions, and individuals working in online youth safety to share descriptions of their effective programs and interventions that address risky behavior by youth online. We are particularly interested in endeavors that involve educators, social services, mentors and coaches, youth workers, religious leaders, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and those working in the field of public or adolescent health. Program descriptions will be made publicly available. Exemplary programs will be spotlighted to policy makers, educators, and the public so that they too can learn about different approaches being tried and tested. Submissions also will be used to inform recommendations for future research and program opportunities. Deadline: December 21, 2009.