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(Europa) Ex-ante advertising for a negotiated procedure for a contract of a total value below €25.000. Deadline: 15 April 2010. We seek to contract 2-3 persons to help the Commission in the drafting of 1) guidelines to be used by potential producers and providers of online content aimed at giving children and young people positive experiences and 2) criteria for carrying out a competition within this field. The contracts are for work of up to 9 days to be carried out over a period of 4 months (June through September 2010), with a maximum total value below 5000€ each.
(RAPID) The European Commission has cleared the proposed merger of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, respectively France Télécom's (FT) and Deutsche Telekom's (DT) UK subsidiaries. The decision is conditional upon the amendment of an existing network sharing agreement with Hutchison 3G UK (3UK), to ensure that there remain sufficient competitors in the market, and the divestiture of a quarter of the combined spectrum of the merging parties in the 1800 MHz band, which is one of three frequency bands currently used for mobile communications in the UK. In light of these commitments, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) withdrew its request to refer the case for review by the UK Competition Authorities.
(Guardian) Google is facing a preliminary anti-monopoly probe by the European Commission into its dominant position in online browsing and digital advertising following allegations that it demotes competing websites to the lower echelons of customers' search results. The Silicon Valley internet company revealed that the commission has sent out formal questionnaires seeking information about complaints from three firms – the British price comparison site Foundem, a French legal search engine called eJustice and a shopping site, Ciao, which is owned by Microsoft. The complaints centre on the way in which Google's search results are compiled and on the terms and conditions the company attaches to deals with advertisers. Although the commission's investigation is only at a tentative stage, the fact that Brussels is taking the issue seriously is likely to set off alarm bells at Google. See also Exclusive: How Google's Algorithm Rules the Web (Wired) and blog post by Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow responsible for ranking, explains the principles behind its algorithm.
(Peoples' Daily) China shut down or blocked more than 140,000 mobile WAP sites offering pornography for mobile phone users in a five-month crackdown, Zhou Huilin, deputy director of the national office against pornographic and illegal publication, said the move had "clearly cleansed the Internet environment." "In the next stage, we'll target serious criminal activity related to porn mobile WAP sites with servers overseas, as many such sites were moving their servers overseas to avoid supervision," he said.
(BBC) China's top internet official has warned that Google will "pay the consequences" if it continues to go against Chinese law. Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong was speaking at China's annual legislation session. Google announced in January that it would no longer comply with China's internet censorship laws. It warned that it may shut down google.cn because of censorship and a hacking attack on the portal. See also Google to shut China search engine (FT). Google has drawn up detailed plans for the closure of its Chinese search engine and is now "99.9 per cent" certain to go ahead as talks over censorship with the Chinese authorities have reached an apparent impasse.
(CNET) A report by Reporters Without Borders, which fights for freedom of the press across the world, has cited several nations for their attempts to restrict freedom on the Net. The list of Internet enemies includes what Reporters Without Borders calls "the worst violators of freedom of expression on the Net." Those nations are Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam. Turkey and Russia are also currently on Reporters Without Borders "Under Surveillance" list. In Russia, the Kremlin has arrested and prosecuted bloggers and censored Web sites that it considers extremist. In Turkey, Web sites that discuss the army, the Kurds and Armenians, and other topics considered taboo are blocked. Further, two democratic countries are on the "Under Surveillance" watch list: Australia, which has been trying to push through an Internet filtering system, and South Korea, which sets up laws that are imposing too many restrictions on Internet users.
(Tech Central) It's Oscars time and the votes for best movie from the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be known in a few hours. But there is another way of tracking the popularity of the nominees in the Best Picture Category - illegal downloads. What is astonishing is the number of times the most popular files have been downloaded, despite the demise of The Pirate Bay. The total here for all these movies is well above 60 million. While arguments can be had about how much this level of piracy affects profits, it can't be good for the film industry that this many people are seeing the films illegally and not in the theatres or buying the DVD. Here is the list - and the winner is District 9, just edging out Avatar.
(OUT-LAW News) Google's AdWords system does not break trade mark law but companies can still stop their trade marks being used in the system in some circumstances. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has said that Google's AdWords system does not violate the trade mark rights of a brand owner when its trade marks are used by another to trigger adverts. It said, though, that the advertiser does infringe trade mark rights in some cases and that trade mark owners can demand that Google stop the use of its trade marks, and that Google will be liable for that infringement if it does not act quickly to stop that use.
(Michael Geist) On the heels of the leak of various country positions on ACTA transparency, an even bigger leak has hit the Internet. A new European Union document canvasses the Internet and Civil Enforcement chapters, disclosing in complete detail the proposals from the U.S., the counter-proposals from the EU, Japan, and other ACTA participants. The 44-page document also highlights specific concerns of individual countries on a wide range of issues including ISP liability, anti-circumvention rules, and the scope of the treaty. This is probably the most significant leak to-date since it goes even beyond the transparency debate by including specific country positions and proposals.
(Guardian) Microsoft has been forced to backtrack after it closed down a whistleblowing website after it published a leaked version of the company's "spy guide". The American software giant took action against the Cryptome website for publishing a copy of the Microsoft Global Criminal Compliance Handbook, a document explaining how law enforcement officials can access millions of people's private information online. Microsoft said the publication infringed its copyright and lodged a complaint with Cryptome's web hosting company, Network Solutions. Network Solutions shut down the website entirely - a move that caused uproar among civil liberties campaigners, and led Microsoft to withdraw its complaint so that Cryptome could go back online. The company did not intend to close the site - just remove the document in question.
(OUT-LAW News) Cafes, pubs, universities and libraries that offer wireless internet access will not be granted a special exemption from measures aimed at tackling copyright infringement, the Government has said. The Government's controversial Digital Economy Bill makes an internet access subscriber liable for the copyright-infringing behaviour of others. Internet law expert Professor Lilian Edwards had previously warned that without an exemption the measure would have a damaging effect. The Government has now published guidance to the Bill which clarifies that organisations providing access will be granted no such exemption.
(EDRI-gram) A European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision in the case of the European Commission vs. Germany rules that the Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) established in accordance with the Data Protection Directive 95/46 needs to be completely independent. In this case the German regional DPAs were considered as not independent, since they are part of the regional administration and subject to State scrutiny. Labels: Data protection / privacy
(Bloomberg) by Stephanie Bodoni. Google Inc.'s Street View may break European Union privacy laws, according to data-protection regulators who say the mapping service stores images for too long. The EU's privacy watchdog said in a letter to Google that "it is disproportionate to retain unblurred copies of the images for one year," and urged the company to cut the period to six months. Street View, which offers photos of roads and intersections, was introduced in early 2007 in the U.S. and is being rolled out across Europe.
(OUT-LAW News) Data protection laws should change to force people creating new technologies to design privacy features into them, the EU's data protection advisor has said. European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Peter Hustinx has told the European Commission that the law should change, and be applied to three areas of technology development as a priority. These are social media, RFID and targeted advertising. The EDPS has adopted an opinion and submitted it to the Commission, which is developing a 'digital agenda' to guide its government of emerging and existing technologies.
(Michael Geist) Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has issued a 20-page opinion expressing concern about ACTA. The opinion focuses on three key issues: three strikes legislation, cross-border data sharing as part of enforcement initiatives, and transparency. Although the EDPS acknowledges the importance of enforcing intellectual property rights, he takes the view that a three strikes Internet disconnection policy constitutes a disproportionate measure. It can be questioned whether data transfers to third countries in the context of ACTA are legitimate. The principles of necessity and proportionality of the data transfers under ACTA would be more easily met if the agreement was expressly limited to fighting the most serious IPR infringement offences, instead of allowing for bulk data transfers relating to any suspicions of IPR infringements. The EDPS strongly encourages the European Commission to establish a public and transparent dialogue on ACTA, possibly by means of a public consultation.
(NetFamilyNews) Because Buzz is brand-new and a hybrid of Gmail, micro-blogging, cellphone social mapping, and social networking, we're all at the early stages of figuring out its implications for kids - a lot of whom use Gmail. Charlene Li, a mom and well-known social-media-industry analyst, blogged that she had discovered her 9-year-old daughter was using and really enjoying Buzz. The child had had one conversation on it with her friends. The problem was that the kids didn't know their conversation was public.
(ReadWriteWeb) MySpace has taken a bold step and put a large quantity of bulk user data up for sale on startup data marketplace InfoChimps. Data offered includes user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes. Friend lists are not included. This user data is intended for crunching by everyone from academic researchers to music industry information scientists. The 22 sets of data being made available are cheap. Prices range from $10 for raw dumps from the MySpace API to $300 for everything broken out by latitude and longitude. Subsequently derived data sets can be put on sale by InfoChimps users as well, with a revenue split.
(PC World) Danah Boyd, a social media expert for Microsoft Research, presented a keynote speech Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival in Austin spotlighting the fate of privacy. Boyd was clear that she does not feel privacy is dead. Contrary to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's claim, people do still care about privacy. As one blog summed up her speech "Boyd says that privacy is not dead, but that a big part of our notion of privacy relates to maintaining control over our content, and that when we don't have control, we feel that our privacy has been violated."
(New York Times) olicy and privacy experts agree that the relentless rise of Internet data harvesting has overrun the old approach of using lengthy written notices to safeguard privacy. These statements are rarely read, are often confusing and can't hope to capture the complexity of modern data-handling practices. As a result, experts say, consumers typically have little meaningful choice about the online use of their personal information - whether their birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers or Web-browsing habits.
(ZDNet UK) The British Library has said its UK Web Archive may store 220TB of data annually from 2011. The project aims to store all the UK's free-access websites. The British Library said the UK's rapidly growing and changing web domain has some eight million sites with an average life expectancy of between 44 and 75 days. Material that is freely available on the web is still subject to copyright and cannot be archived without permission. However, the library hopes parliament will change the law following a Department for Culture, Media Sport consultation, due to close on 1 March.
(Google Blog) We're announcing an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage that will push this vision forward. Working with the National Libraries of Florence and Rome, we’ll digitize up to a million out-of-copyright works. The libraries will select the works to be digitized from their collections, which include a wealth of rare historical books, including scientific works, literature from the period of the founding of Italy and the works of Italy's most famous poets and writers. It marks the first time we've ever joined forces with Italian libraries, and the first time we've worked with a ministry of culture.
(David Goldstein) ICM Registry, the applicant for .XXX generic Top Level Domain, hopes to begin offering .XXX domain names in 2010 following an independent review of its application to, and subsequent refusal by, ICANN. The rejection of ICM Registry's application was always controversial, however the first ICANN Independent Review Process decision since the process was introduced six years ago voted two to one to advise the ICANN Board to reconsider the .XXX gTLD at its next meeting. The review panel found that ICANN's handling of ICM Registry's application to run the .XXX top level domain violated ICANN's Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation, as well as international and California law. It should be noted that the holdings of the Independent Review Panel are advisory in nature and that they do not constitute a binding arbitral award.
(AP) A global Internet oversight agency odeferred a decision until June on whether to create a ".xxx" Internet suffix as an online red-light district. The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, initiated a 70-day process of consultations on a domain that could help parents block access to porn sites. Use of the ".xxx" suffix would be voluntary, though, and would not keep such content entirely away from minors.
(Sydney Morning Herald) Australia's biggest technology companies, communications academics and many lobby groups have delivered a withering critique of the government's plans to censor the internet. The government published most of the 174 submissions it received relating to improving the transparency and accountability measures of its internet filtering policy. Legislation to force ISPs to implement the policy is expected to be introduced within weeks. The filters will block a blacklist of "refused classification" websites for all Australians on a mandatory basis.
(OUT-LAW News) Google has stopped censoring its internet search results in China and has moved the service to Hong Kong. Reports from the Chinese mainland suggest that results for controversial searches are being blocked by the Chinese government. Google announced in January that after its services were attacked from within China it would no longer comply with Chinese laws demanding that certain results be censored. It now redirects search queries from mainland China to a Hong Kong-based service without censorship. The BBC reported that this has resulted in blocked pages when politically sensitive terms are searched for through that service. See also Google Faces Fallout as China Reacts to Site Shift (New York Times).
(EDRI-gram) EDRi has written to Commissioners Cecilia Malmström (Home Affairs), Viviane Reding (Justice and Fundamental Rights) and Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) about the re-launch of the Commission proposal for a revised Framework Decision on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. The Commission made a proposal for the mandatory blocking of websites deemed to contain illegal images of child abuse ("child pornography"). That measure is, as proven by the remarkably poor accompanying "impact assessment", an example of legislation proposed without evidence and without due regard for human rights. As a measure which superficially sounds like a positive move, it is also an attractive option politically, which creates the temptation to legislate based on impulse rather than on evidence, legality and effectiveness.
(01net) L'Association française des fournisseurs d'accès juge peu efficace la procédure de blocage prévue par La loi d'orientation et de programmation pour la performance de la sécurité intérieure (Loppsi) a été votée par les députés et continue son parcours parlementaire au Sénat, et préfère l'intervention directe auprès des hébergeurs.
(Ars Technica) New Zealand's government-run Internet filtering system is now running, and two ISPs are already using the system. Seven thousand websites are on the list, most dealing with child sexual abuse, bestiality, and other illegal content, as classified by the country's official censors. ISP participation remains voluntary. Currently, Maxnet and Watchdog are confirmed to be using the filter, though other ISPs are said to be interested. The filter uses a BSD Unix-based appliance called WhiteBox from Swedish company Netclean. The government runs the filtering server and maintains the blocklist, which it advertises to ISPs using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Because an IP address can host many domains, requests to blocked IP addresses are analyzed by the WhiteBox using deep packet inspection, rather than being blocked outright. If the requests are for non-problematic URLs, they are forwarded on; if they go to a banned site or link, they are blocked, the user's IP address is logged, and a block message appears on the screen.
(EDRI-gram) The German Federal Constitutional Court rejected the legislation requiring electronic communications traffic data retention for a period of 6 months. The legislation on data retention, implementing the similar EU Directive, was passed by the Bundestag on 9 November 2007 and entered into force on 1 January 2008. The court judges considered that the data storage was not secure enough, that it was not clear what it would be used for and that it could "cause a diffusely threatening feeling of being under observation that can diminish an unprejudiced perception of one's basic rights in many areas," as stated the president of the court, Hans-Jürgen Papier. They considered that "such retention represents an especially grave intrusion" into citizens' privacy. The court did not annul the legislation entirely but suspended it, asking for the immediate deletion of the data already collected and for the massive modification of the law in order to provide stricter conditions for to the use and storage of the data. According to the decision, the data should be encoded and there should be "transparent control" of the information usage.
(Heise) Die Massen-Speicherung von Telefon- und Internetdaten zur Strafverfolgung ist unzulässig. Das Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe entschied am Dienstag, dass die Vorratsdatenspeicherung gegen die Verfassung verstößt. Sie ist dem Urteil zufolge mit dem Telekommunikationsgeheimnis unvereinbar.
(FCC) Speech by Chairman Genachowski. A recent Kaiser study found that children consume recreational media 7-and-a-half hours a day, and are consuming nearly 11 hours' worth of content. When the same study came out in 2004 and reported 6 hours of daily media consumption, experts said it was impossible for the number to go higher. Apparently, mobile phones and the Internet have pierced the space-time continuum. Instinctively, these numbers have us concerned. The finding that heavy media users are more than twice as likely as light users to have bad grades suggests that we should trust our instincts. So parents are left asking if they should be embracing these new technologies or worrying about them. The answer: We have to do both. The FCC will work to do both with our Children's Agenda for Digital Opportunity, which I'm happy to announce today. This strategy builds on four core pillars: digital access, digital literacy, digital citizenship, and digital safety. See also News Release.
(Economist) A year ago, Congress asked for a plan that would provide affordable broadband service to all America's citizens. On March 16th, the Federal Communications Commission responded with a non sequitur: a national wireless plan which is good in its way, but which largely fails to tackle the problem it was asked to solve. There is much to like in the FCC's proposal. It proposes to auction a large chunk of radio spectrum that could be used to provide data to wireless devices, and to encourage existing licence-holders, in particular broadcasters, to auction or sell any capacity they are not using. It also frees up more spectrum for tinkering on unlicensed space. None of this, though, will do much to make broadband access universal or more affordable. Almost uniquely among OECD countries, America has adopted no policies to require the owners of broadband cables to open their infrastructure to rival sellers in order to enhance competition. America relies almost exclusively on "facilities competition", the provision of rival infrastructures: a cable provider may compete, for example, with a network that runs optical fibre to the home. See National Broadband Plan.
(BBC) An Italian court has convicted three Google executives in a trial over a video showing an autistic teenager being bullied. The Google employees were accused of breaking Italian law by allowing the video to be posted online. Judge Oscar Magi absolved the three of defamation but convicted them of privacy violations. The UK's former Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said the case gave privacy laws a "bad name". The three employees, Peter Fleischer, David Drummond and George De Los Reyes, received suspended six-month sentences, while a fourth defendant, product manager Arvind Desikan, was acquitted. David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google and one of those convicted, said he was "outraged" by the decision. See Serious threat to the web in Italy (Google Public Policy Blog).
(CNET news.com) Google searchers can now refine their search results based on location. The new "Nearby" feature is available in Google's Search Options panel. It defaults to users' current location, which can be further refined to include their city, region, or state.
(CNET News.com) A new site called Please Rob Me has popped up to expose the potential pratfalls of the geolocation craze: If you're pushing a "check-in" from Gowalla, Brightkite, or Foursquare to a local restaurant out to your public Twitter stream, you're broadcasting that you aren't home. Which could be taken to mean that your home is ripe for burglary. Please Rob Me consists exclusively of an aggregation of public Twitter messages that have been pushed through fast-growing location-based networking site Foursquare, one of a handful of services that encourages people to share their whereabouts with their friends. You can filter by geographic location, too.
(RAPDI) Under the Roaming Regulation, mobile phone operators are obliged to offer their customers from 1 March 2010 a monthly cut-off limit of €50. Customers will receive a warning when they hit 80% of the chosen limit. Until 1 July 2010, customers need to make a deliberate choice in order to benefit from a cut-off limit. Customers who do not make a choice by 1 July 2010 will have the cut-off limit set at €50 by default as from that date. Thanks to the EU's roaming rules, the price that operators pay each other per megabyte (MB) downloaded has been limited to a safeguard level of 1€ per MB, and it will fall over the next two years. These savings should be passed on to consumers and deliver lower prices for surfing the Internet while abroad.
(O1.net) Ce site permet de regarder de manière aléatoire d'autres internautes qui se filment avec une webcam. L'association e-enfance alerte sur les risques de se retrouver face à des exhibitionnistes.
(Heise) Die Staatskanzleien der Bundesländer haben den jüngsten Entwurf für einen neuen Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) auf den Gesetzgebungsweg gebracht. Die Schlussfassung soll den Ministerpräsidenten plangemäß in deren Sitzung am 25. März vorgelegt werden. Die derzeit anstehende Novelle soll für eine Vereinheitlichung des Jugendschutzes auf Bundes- und Länderebene sorgen. Gleichzeitig wurde das Zusammenspiel der Selbstregulierung durch Brancheninstitutionen (etwa die Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia) und der staatlichen Aufsicht im Rahmen der "regulierten Selbstregulierung" neu justiert. Dabei wurden auch Internetanbieter wie Social Networks ins Auge gefasst. Große Hoffnungen setzen die Länder auf technische Maßnahmen und den "Rating-und-Filtering-Ansatz", nach dem Inhalte von Anbietern gekennzeichnet und so etwa durch Software auf dem PC der Minderjährigen gefiltert werden können.werden also privilegiert. siehe auch Kennzeichnung von Internetinhalten als Teil des "technischen Jugendschutzes".
(Hans-Bredow-Institut) Im Dezember 2009 haben die Länder den Arbeitsentwurf einer JMStV-Novellierung vorgelegt. Hierzu hat das Hans-Bredow-Institut offiziell Stellung genommen und die vorgeschlagene Novelle vor dem Hintergrund der wissenschaftlichen Evaluationsergebnisse kommentiert.
(eNACSO) Save the Children Denmark is seeking an experienced and motivated Project Coordinator to lead and develop an EU funded thematic NGO network, the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online (eNACSO), which consists of children's rights NGOs from, at present, 18 EU member states. The network works to promote and support actions at national, European and international level to protect children and promote their rights in relation to the Internet and new technologies. It is the EU's first NGO network dedicated solely to advocating for European and international action on online child safety. eNACSO is co-funded by the European Commission's Safer Internet Programme. Deadline for Applications 15 April 2010.
(OII) The interests of advocates of online child protection and freedom of expression have often been portrayed as diametrically opposed. The OII invited advocates on both sides of this debate to meet in October 2009, in order to open channels of communication, explore different perspectives on the fundamental rights of protection and freedom, and map areas of agreement and difference. A report of the discussions, including participant position papers, is now available. Issues discussed at the forum included content blocking and filtering, government legislation and law enforcement, and parental involvement and education. There was also discussion of location-based services, data protection and privacy, liability of Internet Service Providers, age verification online, lawful interception legislation, appropriate classification of written content and pseudo-images of sexual abuse, and encryption.
(Home Office) An independent review into the sexualisation of young people has been published. The author, psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos was commissioned by the Home Office to look at how sexualised images and messages may be affecting the development of children and young people and influencing cultural norms. She also examined the evidence of a link between sexualisation and violence. Key recommendations include: launching an online 'one-stop-shop' to allow the public to voice their concerns regarding irresponsible marketing which sexualises children; encouraging the Advertising Standards Agency to take steps to extend existing regulatory standards to include commercial websites; requiring broadcasters to ensure music videos featuring sexual posing or sexually suggestive lyrics are only broadcast after the watershed; ensuring games consoles are sold with parental controls already switched on. Purchasers can then choose to unlock the console if they wish to allow access to adult and online content.
(New York Times) Terrorists and racists are turning to online social networks and depending less on traditional Web sites, according to a new report on digital terror and hate speech. The report, by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, found a 20 percent increase in the number of hate and terrorist-abetting Web sites, social network pages, chat forums and micro-bloggers over the past year, to a total of 11,500.
(BBC) A controversial new DVD system that can censor films is to be released in the UK later this year. ClearPlay allows parents to filter material with options to remove scenes containing blood, violence, offensive words and blasphemy. But the system has been criticised in America, with the Directors Guild of America taking the company to court claiming violation of copyright laws. A judge decided that wasn't the case because no fixed copy of the altered version of the motion picture was created. The system requires a compatible DVD player and a monthly subscription costing $7.99. Users download a regularly-updated database of movie information, containing timecodes of potentially offensive content. This 'meta-data' tells the player when to jump past a scene or cut the volume.
(The Canadian Press) Ontario is changing the school curriculum to include Internet safety lessons. The Liberal government has approved changes to the health and physical education curriculum for elementary schools to help children better protect themselves online. Next fall, there will be specific sections in the curriculum for grades 4 and 7 about Internet safety and the potential risks of online activities. There will also be "age appropriate" discussions about online dangers in Grades 1 through 8.
(CNET News.com) by Larry Magid. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski laid out the "broadband plan for children and families". eferring to children as "our most precious national resource," Genachowski said "we must do everything we can to educate and prepare them to thrive in the 21st century and keep them safe." New technologies, he said, "can expose our children to new dangers, and can potentially outpace the ability of parents to guide their children. So parents are left asking if they should be embracing these new technologies or worrying about them. The answer: We have to do both. The Children's Agenda for Digital Opportunity builds on four core pillars: digital access, digital literacy, digital citizenship, and digital safety."
(INTECO) The participants of the Conference "Trust in the information Society" announce the Conclusions of Leon, a document that addresses the European Commission and Member States with the aim to draw the attention to the conclusions for the consideration of them in the development of the future European Digital Agenda. Trust in the Information Society” was divided into five sessions: Digital Life and Trust; Trustworthy networking and computing services; Management of Digital Identities in the Common European Framework; Development of the Legal Framework of the EU with regard to the Protection of Data and Privacy; International Cooperation and e-Trust.
(Guardian) Britons online are a discriminating bunch who trust specialist advice sites and their friends' social content more than the views of celebrity bloggers or tweeters, according to a survey conducted by ICM on behalf of the Guardian and first direct. The survey, of a random sample of 752 adults, asked Britons from a nationally representative online panel for their opinions on trust in the digital age. The over-riding conclusion is that we're a cautiously trusting bunch - 56% of respondents thought that "most people can be trusted", whether online or in the real world.
(OUT-LAW News) Marketers must not collect personal data from children under 12 years' old without consent from a parent or guardian, according to new advertising rules. Two new Codes of Practice will come into force in September. The new rules outlaw the collection of children's information; simplify the structure of broadcast ad regulation; and carry new rules against 'greenwashing', the practice of making misleading claims for a product's environmental credentials. The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Codes operate the Codes, to which advertisers sign up and which are policed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
(OUT-LAW) Media regulator OFCOM has appointed the Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD) as the new regulator for video on demand material. Companies offering video on demand services must now notify ATVOD under new EU rules.
(The Australian) Social networking companies including YouTube, Facebook and MySpace are likely to announce new education initiatives to help users protect themselves online. Representatives from Australia's top social networking sites were called to a crisis meeting after the defacing of Facebook tribute pages for two murdered Australian children. The meeting was hastily convened by the Internet Industry Association. Internet safety issues stemming from the events concerning Facebook are also understood to have been canvassed at a government and industry working group meeting in Canberra.
(Apophenia) by Sarita Yardi. ChatRoulette is a new website that connects you face to face with Internet users around the world. When you go to the site and hit Play your webcam turns on and you're connected to another person. Most times you'll hit Next within a few seconds and be connected to someone else. Sometimes people stop to chat. Basically, instead of surfing the web, you’re surfing people. See also ChatRoulette, from my perspective by danah boyd, The Surreal World of Chatroulette (New York Times) and ChatRoulette: Heads up, parents! (Net Family News).
(BBC) Facebook says it will not install a "panic button" on its main pages for users to report suspected paedophiles, but will develop its existing system. The company says it will have links to organisations including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre on its reporting pages. Earlier, the Home Secretary said Facebook executives had told him they had "no objection in principle" to installing the safety button. Alan Johnson said he and the site's executives had had a "frank exchange of views" during the meeting. But Richard Allan, director of policy for Facebook Europe, made clear the company was not considering including the button on its main site. He said the Ceop button might be effective in principle, but only "for other sites", and not Facebook. Jim Gamble, head of CEOP, said the button needed to be on the front page of every Facebook profile page.
(Guardian) Facebook was accused of a "glaring failure" to implement advice on protecting children online after the conviction of a man for kidnapping, raping and murdering a teenager he ensnared using the social networking site. The Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, criticised Facebook for not adding a panic button, created by the Home Office's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, to its site. See also Police criticise Facebook safety record after Ashleigh Hall murder.
(Guardian) Facebook has threatened to sue the Daily Mail for damages after the paper wrongly claimed that 14-year-old girls who create a profile on the social networking site could be approached "within seconds" by older men who "wanted to perform a sex act" in front of them. The paper apologised in print and online for the error, which the author of the piece, Mark Williams-Thomas, insisted had been introduced at the paper despite being told it was wrong. Williams-Thomas insists that he was not using Facebook but had been using another, unspecified social network.
(Berkman Center) The Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative's response to the FCC's Notice of Inquiry (09-94) on "Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape". The response synthesizes current research and data on the media practices of youth, focusing on three main areas: 1) Risky Behaviors and Online Safety, 2) Privacy, Publicity and Reputation, and 3) Information Dissemination, Youth-Created Content and Quality of Information. See also submission by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.
(RAPID) The European Commission has ruled that Polish telecom regulator Urząd Komunikacji Elektronicznej (UKE) must withdraw its plans to regulate the markets for internet traffic exchange services in Poland. Internet service providers use these data traffic exchange services to connect their customers to the Internet. After a two-month investigation, the Commission has decided that UKE has failed to show that competitive conditions in Poland require the regulation of these markets, which are not regulated elsewhere in the EU.
(RAPID) A public consultation on what is the best approach to ensure that basic telecoms services are available for all EU citizens has been launched by the European Commission. Current EU rules on universal service obligations for telecoms date from 2002 and guarantee that Europeans have access to public telephone networks and to services like basic internet access. The consultation launched today aims to see if these rules and definitions on universal service need to be updated for the digital age, and in particular if they should be extended to cover broadband access. Reactions from consumers, industry stakeholders, and policy experts will help the Commission decide if it needs to present new legislative proposals on universal service obligations for telecoms by end of 2010. The consultation will run until 7 May 2010.
(RAPID) The European Commission has launched a consultation on strategic priorities for an EU radio spectrum policy programme for 2011-2015. Access to radio spectrum is essential for a huge range of activities from telephony and broadcasting through to transport and space applications. Wide and fair access to radio spectrum is crucial to ensure that EU citizens in both urban and rural areas can enjoy the benefits of digital technology. Better use of spectrum could also give Europe's economy a boost since rolling out fast wireless services would enhance competitiveness and growth. Industry, consumers and other stakeholders are invited to respond to the consultation by 9 April. A "Spectrum Summit" held jointly by the Commission and the European Parliament will take place on 22/23 March to discuss Europe's spectrum priorities.
(Reuters) Internet telephony firm Skype has questioned Egypt's move to ban international calls made through mobile Internet connections and said markets should be left open for consumers to choose. National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority head Amr Badawy told Reuters earlier this month it will ban international calls through mobile Internet connections. The ban applies to Egypt's three mobile operators - Mobinil, Etisalat Egypt and Vodafone Egypt - offering Internet access for computers via USB and other mobile modems, as well as mobile handsets. It does not apply to fixed lines. Egyptian law requires international calls to pass through a network of state-controlled, fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt.
(CNET) Google is building on its partnership with the World Bank and other statistics gatherers to present an array of data in visual form, Google Public Data Explorer. The site takes public data regarding schools, population, crime, and even names to construct charts and graphs that help illustrate trends. Google is also releasing a list of the top search terms that can be answered with public data, based on the analysis of anonymized search data. School comparisons and unemployment topped the list of the most frequent queries, followed by population, sales tax, and salaries.
(BBC) Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests. The survey - of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries - found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide.
(BBC) Explore this interactive graphic to find out which are the biggest sites on the internet, as measured by the Nielsen company.
(Guardian) Facebook was the most-visited site in the US - just - in the past week. Compared to the same week in 2009, Google's visits were up 9% - but Facebook's were up 185%. So now Facebook was 7.07% of visits, while Google was put in the shade - just - at 7.03%.
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