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(BBC) Following a barrage of criticism, World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard has backed down on the need for gamers to use their real names on its forums. The firm's about-face comes three days after saying it would introduce the feature as part of its Real ID product.
(RAPID) Cecilia Malmström, Member of the European Commission responsible for Home Affairs, EPP hearing on "audiovisual, legal, technical and ethical implications of sexual abuse of children on the internet through child pornography" Brussels, 1 July 2010 .
(RAPID) Joaquín Almunia Vice President of the European Commission responsible for competition policy, UCL Jevons Lecture London, 7 July 2010.
(BBC) Virgin Media has lodged a complaint with Ofcom, aimed at halting the BBC-backed video-on-demand service Project Canvas. The cable giant says the project, which is developing common standards for net TV in the UK, is anti-competitive. BT, Channel 4 and ITV are also partners. It was given the green light in May, when the Office of Fair Trading ruled it was not a merger. But Virgin Media said it could destroy the online TV market. It said the collaboration between the three most prominent public service broadcasters would "significantly and irreparably harm" the TV sector.
(EDRi-gram) EDRi and the European ISP Association (EuroISPA) have prepared a joint civil society/industry position on the European Commission's draft informal recommendation for the takedown of websites which have been accused of being illegal. The recommendation's scope is nominally restricted to child abuse websites, terrorism and racism. However, the proposal already represents a "mission creep" of aspects of policies used for the removal of child abuse websites and, therefore, further "mission creep" into other areas can be considered inevitable.
(BBC) The Chinese government has renewed Google's licence to operate in China, ending a long-running stand-off between the two. Google gave no details of the licence renewal. There had been speculation China would revoke the licence after Google began redirecting Chinese users to its unfiltered search site in Hong Kong. But, in a conciliatory move towards Beijing, Google said it would no longer automatically redirect users.
(EDRI-gram) Iceland's Parliament has recently accepted a proposal by Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) asking the Icelandic Government to find "ways to strengthen freedoms of expression and information freedom in Iceland, (and provide) strong protections for sources and whistleblowers." Its approval by the Parliament may turn Iceland into a haven for media, with one of the strongest freedom of expression and whistleblowing protection laws. The IMMI has proposed several legal reforms including the limitation of the scope of an exception to existing source protection laws, the increase of protections for whistleblowers employed by the state and the creation of a law similar to the free speech-protecting anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation against Public Participation) law of California.
(BBC) A ban on YouTube was imposed by a court in Ankara on 5 May 2008, after a series of 17 temporary bans the preceding year. The grounds by the courts given each time varied, but they followed a number of complaints from Turkish citizens about videos on YouTube deemed insulting to Kemal Ataturk, the country's revered first president. In 2007 the government passed a sweeping law regulating the internet, known as Law No 5651. It allows a court to block any website where there is "sufficient suspicion" that a crime has occurred. The eight crimes listed include child pornography, gambling, prostitution, and "crimes against Ataturk". Insulting or denigrating Ataturk was already a crime. The Turkish government refuses to publish statistics, but campaigners for internet freedom estimate that more than 4,000 websites are currently blocked, making internet censorship in Turkey amongst the heaviest in the world.
(Guardian) Whistleblowing site Wikileaks says it has a 'backlog' of further secret material after publication of Afghanistan war logs.
(Michael Geist) With the leak of the full ACTA text the simmering fight between the U.S. and the E.U. on ACTA is now being played out in the open. The biggest source of disagreement remains scope of the agreement, with the U.S. (supported by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore) pushing for an agreement limited to trademark and copyright, while the E.U. and Switzerland seeking to extend it to all intellectual property.
(OUT-LAW News) Google will let companies use competitors' trade marks as keywords to trigger search adverts in all European countries for the first time. The move will test the interpretation of a number of EU and national court rulings on the controversial practice. Google's AdWords system sells the right to have an ad displayed when a specific term is searched for in the Google search engine. The adverts are displayed beside the natural search results, ranked by which advertiser bid most and by the ad's relevance. Many of the keywords sponsored by companies will be general words, such as 'car', or their own brand names. But some advertisers use competitors' brands as triggers for their own ads. Some companies claim that this practice is an infringement of the competitor company's trade mark rights, and courts in France have ruled that the practice infringes trade mark rights.The European Court of Justice (ECJ), though, ruled that a trade mark right is only infringed if the advert creates confusion about what company is behind the advert.
(New York Times) Professors used to deal with plagiarism by admonishing students to give credit to others and to follow the style guide for citations, and pretty much left it at that. But many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed. It is a disconnect that is growing in the Internet age as concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information, say educators who study plagiarism.
(BBC) The Australian police have been ordered to investigate Google for possible breach of privacy while taking pictures for its Street View service. Australia's attorney general said he had asked police to probe the internet giant following complaints that Google had gathered personal data from some unencrypted wi-fi services. Google has admitted doing so, but apologised, saying it was in error. see also Google is 'close' to handing over German wi-fi data.
(CNET) by Caroline McCarthy. Does privacy exist anymore? Do we even know what it is? A conversation between digital academics Jeff Jarvis and Danah Boyd at the Supernova conference capped off a week in which many peoples' perceptions of the tension between public and private data online were shaken (and stirred).
(Europa) Letter from the Article 29 Working Party addressed to search engine operators (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!). Letter from the Article 29 Working Party addressed to Federal Trade Commission related to search engine operators (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!). Letter from the Article 29 Working Party addressed to Viviane Reding, European Commission Vice-President in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship related to search engine operators (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!).
(Europa) 12.05.2010 Letter from the Article 29 Working Party addressed to Signatories of the "Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU" and to Facebook.
(BBC) The man who harvested and published the personal details of 100m Facebook users has spoken out about his motives. Ron Bowes, a security consultant, used a piece of code to scan Facebook profiles, collecting data not hidden by the user's privacy settings. The list, which contains the URL of every searchable Facebook user's profile, name and unique ID, has been shared as a downloadable file.
(BBC) Facebook has begun to roll out changes to the site in its efforts to appease critics of its privacy practices. The change means that games and applications installed on a person's profile must specify what personal information they will access and use.
(Google European Public Policy Blog) Google and the National Library of the Netherlands, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB) will be working in partnership to add to the library's own extensive digitisation efforts. Google will be scanning more than 160,000 of its public domain books, and making this collection available globally via Google Books. The library will receive copies of the scans so that they can also be viewed via the library's website. And significantly for Europe, the library also plans to make the digitised works available via Europeana, Europe's cultural portal.
(RAPDI) Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, EURid dinner European Parliament, Brussels, 2 June 2010.
(OUT-LAW News) The European Commission was right to blank out the names of five people who attended a vital brewing industry meeting on data protection grounds because a beer maker had not justified its request for the names, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled. Beer company Bavaria had claimed that it had the right to see who had attended the meetings under the EU's Access To Documents provisions of EU founding document the EC Treaty. The EU's Court of First Instance (CFI) said that the attendees could be named because to do so would not breach their right to privacy, as guaranteed by the Data Protection Regulation. The ECJ has over-ruled that decision, saying that the Commission was entitled to keep the names secret under that Regulation. Commission v. Bavarian Lager.
(Europa) The EU has launched the European e-Justice portal - an electronic one-stop-shop for access to justice throughout the EU. The web site benefits citizens, businesses, lawyers and judges with cross-border legal questions and boosts mutual understanding of different legal systems by contributing to the creation of a single area of justice. With more than 12,000 pages of content, the first version provides information and links on laws and practices in all Member States. For example, the portal offers information on legal aid, judicial training, and videoconferencing, as well as links to legal databases, online insolvency and land registers.
(BBC) The government has announced a tie-up with the Facebook website as it seeks new ideas on spending cuts. The social networking site says it has 23 million members in the UK and has agreed to ask them to submit and vote on ideas for where cuts can be made. A website set up to ask public sector staff to suggest cuts was called an "outrage" by a union, but ministers say 50,000 ideas have been sent in.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, at the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, Brussels, 22 June 2010.
(OUT-LAW News) European countries are within their rights to create gambling monopolies and to ban internet gambling companies from other EU countries operating, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said. Sporting Exchange Ltd v. Minister van Justitie. The ECJ said that countries could restrict the gambling trade if they did it in a consistent way and to protect the interests of their citizens. "It should be noted in that regard that the internet gaming industry has not been the subject of harmonisation within the European Union," said the ECJ ruling. "A Member State is therefore entitled to take the view that the mere fact that an operator such as Betfair lawfully offers services in that sector via the internet in another Member State, in which it is established and where it is in principle already subject to statutory conditions and controls on the part of the competent authorities in that State, cannot be regarded as amounting to a sufficient assurance that national consumers will be protected against the risks of fraud and crime, in the light of the difficulties liable to be encountered in such a context by the authorities of the Member State of establishment in assessing the professional qualities and integrity of operators." The Court said that a previous case involving online gambling firm Bwin had established that internet betting was inherently more risky for consumers than shop-based betting. "Because of the lack of direct contact between consumer and operator, games of chance accessible via the internet involve different and more substantial risks of fraud by operators against consumers compared with the traditional markets for such games," it said.
(The Australian) Australian ISPs have an opportunity to see off Labor's mandatory internet censorship laws, but their disunity could let it slip. For three years, the internet lobby has been fighting a losing battle to stop the laws, which would require them to put filters in place that would, in theory, block illegal internet content. Last week, the federal government delayed the legislation and gave ISPs an opportunity to work within a voluntary filtering scheme adopted by Optus, Telstra and Primus. However, the voluntary filter scheme rather has fractured the industry than united it, with two major ISPs, Internode and TPG, refusing to co-operate.
(Heise) Das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) ist weiterhin unzufrieden mit den eigenen Möglichkeiten zur Bekämpfung von Kinderpornographie im Web. Einschlägige Seiten "bleiben trotz aller Löschungsbemühungen eine zu lange Zeit abrufbar", zitiert Die Welt aus einer Studie der Wiesbadener Polizeibehörde für das erste Halbjahr 2010. 40 Prozent der Webangebote, die Bilder sexuellen Kindesmissbrauchs zeigen, sind demnach eine Woche nach einem Hinweis der deutschen Ermittler noch abrufbar. Bis zum Verschwinden der Webseiten gibt es laut dem Bericht "immense Zugriffszahlen", was zu "einer Störung der öffentlichen Sicherheit und Ordnung" führe. Das BKA plädiert deshalb für das Sperren der Angebote bis zu ihrer Löschung.
(New York Times) Indonesia's information minister said that local service providers would have to start blocking online pornography by the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts Aug. 11. That deadline is fast approaching but no official decree has been issued, no list of banned sites has been published and no details have surfaced on who will pay for monitoring and screening of Web sites. The minister has, however, threatened the roughly 230 Internet service providers in Indonesia with closure if they fail to block pornographic sites for the country's 40 million Internet users.
(Haaretz) Israeli would-be gamblers will be left bereft of a venue after the police ordered Israel's Internet service providers to block access to overseas gambling websites. Gambling is illegal in Israel, explain the police. This is the first time Israeli ISPs have been ordered to block sites. Israel Police representatives visited every Israeli ISP over the past few days to personally deliver the directive. The police handed the providers a list of overseas gambling sites and their IP (Internet protocol) addresses to be blocked. According to the police order, the sites "provide a place for illegal gaming for lotteries or gambling, as defined in Section 224 of the Penal Code."
(Sydney Morning Herald) The Chinese Communist Party has detailed its ambitious but secretive strategy for transforming the internet into a force for keeping it in power and projecting "soft power" abroad. An internal speech by China's top internet official, apparently posted by accident on an official internet site before being promptly removed, outlines a vast array of institutions and methods to control opinion at home and also "create an international public opinion environment that is objective, beneficial and friendly to us". Concerning the Development and Administration of Our Country's Internet, Report by Wang Chen, Deputy Director, Propaganda Department, Communist Party of China (CPC) Director, External Propaganda Department, CPC Director, Information Office, State Council, People's Republic of China. Delivered on April 29, 2010 before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
(RAPID) Speech by Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, 2nd Annual Internet of Things Conference Brussels, 1st June 2010.
(RAPID) Speech by Neelie Kroes, World Congress on Information Technology, Amsterdam, 25 May 2010. see also Building the Networked World (BBC).
(OUT-LAW News) The High Court has ordered a chef to pay £10,000 in libel damages for a Facebook posting in which he called a former friend a homosexual paedophile. Law student Raymond Bryce said he was neither.
(Guardian) It's the coolest social networking tool in the world. But is the geo-location app Foursquare a stalker's dream? Just how easy it is to uncover the intimate details of a complete stranger's life?
(Ars Technica) When location-based services started becoming popular in the mobile world, there was a contingency of jaded skeptics who joked about increased robberies and stalking incidents. It turns out that those concerns reflect what users are really thinking: more than half of people who use geolocation services on their mobile phones are worried about a loss of privacy, according to survey data from Webroot.
(CNET) A small trade group called the Internet Content Syndication Council (ICSC) has been circulating a document to drum up industry concern about "content mills," a fast-growing sector of the digital media business that publish loads of cheap, fast stories (mostly created by low-paid freelancers) that rank high in search engine results, and run ads against them. Content mills like Demand Media, AOL's Seed.com, and Associated Content (freshly acquired by Yahoo) say they're streamlining the creation of print and multimedia content up to the speed of the Digital Age, filling up holes in the Web with new, often very niche-oriented material. But they have also unleashed a bogeyman of a business model onto the Web, with many journalists and media outlets claiming that their craft is getting cheapened, perhaps fatally so.
(BBC) Reports from China say a controversial government-backed software project to filter internet content could be on the brink of collapse. State media said the developer behind the Green Dam Youth Escort software had closed its Beijing project team because of a lack of government funding. Its partner in Henan said without funding, its team would soon close too. China had insisted all computers be equipped with the software, but scaled back plans after censorship complaints.
(BBC) The newly-revamped PEGI age-ratings system for videogames in the UK has been delayed and will not come into force until April 2011. The Video Standards Council has said that no game carrying a PEGI 18 logo should be on shelves in game stores until April 1 2011. After that point in time, PEGI's age-ratings system will be legally enforceable, with heavy fines for retailers that flaunt the law by selling adult games to minors. The delay is down to the fact that the recently-passed Digital Economy Act has not yet been 'made effective' according to the VSC.
(iTnews) A new industry body that has formed in Australia over discussions of the Federal Government's ISP-level Internet Filter counts Google, Internode and the Internet Industry Association as members. The Safer Internet Group announced plans to "work with the government to make the internet safer". Members include the Australian Library and Information Association, System Administrators Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU), Yahoo!, the Inspire Foundation, iiNet and Australian Council of State School Organisations.
(CNET) Saudi Arabia has ordered the country's cell phone service providers to halt all BlackBerry services, the latest Mideast nation to announce moves to exercise greater control over data sent by the Research In Motion phones. The country's Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) asked Saudi Telecom, Mobily, and Zain Saudi Arabia to suspend service to BlackBerry phones. The suspension was being implemented because BlackBerry The suspension was being implemented because BlackBerry service "in its present state does not meet regulatory requirements". "CITC has informed the three mobile telecommunications providers more than a year ago of the need to quickly fulfill with the manufacturer of BlackBerry handsets the required regulatory requirements". The prohibition is expected to impact about 700,000 BlackBerry users in Saudi Arabia. The announcement comes just days after Saudi Arabia's neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, announced it would block e-mail, instant messaging, and Web browsing on BlackBerry devices starting October 11 if it fails to reach an agreement with RIM to bring BlackBerry services in the region in line with UAE telecommunications regulations. The UAE has complained that the security used to encrypt the BlackBerry data violates its regulations and prevents it from monitoring such data in the name of national security.
(BBC) A social networking site aimed at 6 to 8 year-olds is the latest indication that children are spending increasing time on computers. Critics say youngsters are missing out on 'human connections', whilst participating parents hope an early start will teach children online etiquette and safety under parental supervision.
(CNET) Though it has successfully resisted pressure to install a mandatory "panic button" on users' home pages, Facebook has permitted the U.K.'s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to build an app for its platform that members of the social-networking site can use to report online abuse directly to CEOP or seek advice about potential dangers of the Web. Called ClickCEOP, the app has been released following negotiations and eventually a partnership with Facebook. U.K.-based Facebook members between the ages of 13 and 18 will see an ad on the site that encourages them to install it - the same way that they would install any other third-party Facebook app. CEOP also has a new "fan page" with resources geared toward young Facebook users in the U.K. see also Facebook: Let's not call it a 'panic button' (Guardian) and So-called Facebook "Panic button" is about engagement, not panic (Huffington Post) by Larry Magid and Facebook's Panic Button: Who's panicking? And who's listening? (danah boyd).
(BBC) Yahoo and Facebook are to tie their services closer together. The tie-up means people with a presence on both sites can have updates to one service mirrored to the other. It also means that it will get easier for users of Yahoo's other services, such as Flickr, to share what they do with friends on Facebook.
(Mashable) Young women are becoming more and more dependent on social media and checking on their social networks, according to a new study released earlier today by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research. In fact, as many as one-third of women aged 18-34 check Facebook when they first wake up, even before they get to the bathroom. The study sampled the habits of 1,605 adults using social media in an attempt to break down their social media habits.
(Nfer) Research report by Peter Rudd and Matthew Walker. The overarching aim of this work was to gather young people's views about web 2.0 technologies. The project was interested in young people's personal use of social media, but also in how they might use these tools in a community or local authority (LA) context, for example, to communicate with other young people, organise meetings and events, express their views, or take part in a youth cabinet or similar representative group. The report provides useful information for LA personnel considering using web 2.0 tools and policy personnel considering future forms of communication within children's services fields.
(Guardian) The Times has lost almost 90% of its online readership compared to February since making registration mandatory in June. The huge drop matches the industry expectation before the Times instituted the paywall that traffic would fall off by 90%, which is the standard experience when a site moves to a paid-access model instead of free access.
(Saferinternet.pl) The 4th International Conference "Keeping Children and Young People Safe Online", which will take place at the Novotel Warsaw Airport, on 28-29 September 2010, is organized by the Polish Safer Internet Center, established by the Research and Academic Computer Network (NASK) and the Nobody's Children Foundation. Klicksafe, a German project devoted to Internet safety, is also involved in the preparations for the Conference, organized within the framework of the European Commission's "Safer Internet" program. The main partner of the event is Orange Foundation. The Warsaw conference will bring together representatives from the education sector, NGOs, law enforcement, government and industry. It will address a wide variety of issues relating to children and young people's safety online, such as identifying computer crimes against the youngest Internet users, grooming, cyberbullying, child safety and mobile phones, online gaming and Internet addiction.
(Europa) How do children use online technologies? Are parents up to speed? How to cope with risks? The 2010 edition of the Safer Internet Forum will take place in Luxembourg on the 21-22 October. This year the Safer Internet Forum will focus on the results of two major research projects funded by the Safer Internet Programme: EUKidsOnline II, which surveyed children and parents in 25 European countries about internet use, and European Online Grooming Project, the first European research project that studies the characteristics and behaviour of sexual offenders who have used the internet to groom young people. The results of research will be put in context in 3 parallel sessions on 21 October and a plenary session on 22 October. see agenda.
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