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(Consilium) At its meeting on 2 December 2010, the Council reached a general approach, thus opening the way for negotiations with the European Parliament, on two directives regarding: - the fight against sexual exploitation of children. During the Council meeting, ministers focused their debate on the following issues: disqualifications arising from convictions which aims to ensure that a person convicted may be temporarily or permanently prevented from exercising at least professional activities involving regular contacts with children; and measures against websites containing or disseminating child pornography, including the removal or, where not possible, blocking of webpages containing or disseminating child pornography.
(EP) Child pornography or child abuse material on the web must be removed at source in all EU countries, said the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee, in amendments to proposed new EU rules to prevent abuse, stiffen penalties, and protect victims. Where removal is impossible, e.g. because pages are hosted outside the EU, Member States may still "prevent access" to this material, in line with their national laws, MEPs added, so no Member State will be prevented from blocking sites. MEPs made a series of amendments to a proposed EU directive to combat sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Complete removal at source must be the main aim.
(RAPID) Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda TechAmerica event on joint EU/US cybersecurity Washington, 16 December 2010. I am particularly horrified by the ease with which children abuse images can be exploited online. Last weekend, yet another case was discovered, thanks to cooperation between the US and the Dutch authorities. It is essential that we do more to prevent such exploitation and crimes. There is no excuse for taking a month to remove a paedophile website, when phishing websites are generally removed within hours of their detection. We are taking steps to improve this. My department in the Commission runs a Safer Internet Programme that supports hotlines for the public to report illegal content. We also fund an international network of hotlines, called INHOPE, with members in Europe but also in Asia, Canada and the United States (Cybertipline, which is run by the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children). From January 2011, we intend to promote systematic and fast notification of ISPs by the European hotlines, in an agreed procedure with law enforcement agencies.
(Light Blue Touchpaper) Our paper The Impact of Incentives on Notice and Take-Down by Tyler Moore and Richard Clayton examines a number of different types of wicked Internet content and discusses how effective people are at getting the material removed by serving notices upon the website owners who host it. We have a number of interesting results, but perhaps the most striking is that although phishing websites impersonating banks are generally removed in a couple of hours, the mean lifetime for a website hosting child abuse images is almost a month and even the median (the time by which half of the sites are removed) is 12 days.
(RAPID) The European Commission has decided to open an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google has abused a dominant position in online search. The opening of formal proceedings follows complaints by search service providers about unfavourable treatment of their services in Google's unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google's own services. The Commission will investigate whether Google has abused a dominant market position in online search by allegedly lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of competing services. The Commission's probe will additionally focus on allegations that Google imposes exclusivity obligations on advertising partners, preventing them from placing certain types of competing ads on their web sites, as well as on computer and software vendors, with the aim of shutting out competing search tools. Finally, it will investigate suspected restrictions on the portability of online advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms.
(New York Times) European antitrust investigators are asking advertisers whether Google suggested they increase spending with the company in return for improved visibility in its Web search results. The investigators are also examining whether Google stymied companies who had tried to move their business elsewhere. The queries are among about 120 questions sent as part of the European Union’s inquiry, opened late last year, into possible antitrust abuses by Google. A copy of the confidential questionnaire, seen by The International Herald Tribune, seeks to ascertain whether Google manipulated search results and used its popular platform to keep business and disadvantage rivals in online advertising and Internet search.
(RAPID) Speech by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. Open Hearing on Freedom of the Press in Hungary European Parliament, Brussels 11 January 2011.
(01.net) Michel Boyon, président du CSA, souhaite mettre en place un label pour distinguer les contenus mis en ligne sur des sites comme YouTube et Dailymotion. Il veut avoir le pouvoir d´ordonner le retrait de vidéos illicites.
(BBC) Hungary has dismissed Western critics of a new media law and insisted that it remains committed to press freedom. The law, which came into force with the start of the year, created a new authority with powers to monitor and impose fines on the media. Some European politicians and newspapers have expressed concern that the regulator will lack independence. But Hungary, which has just assumed the EU presidency, says the concerns are unfounded. Under the new law Hungary's media authority, the NMHH, oversees all public news production and has the power to fine broadcasters and newspapers for violating "public interest, public morals or order".
(EDRi) European Digital Rights has published a study on the increasing tendency for governments to ask, demand or coerce Internet intermediaries to carry out surveillance, policing, judging and sanctioning measures on their customers. The document looks at the causes for this development, case studies of the damage caused by such policies and a selection of the European and international initiatives to spread this approach in the future. See also press release.
(BBC) The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, plans to look at cracking down on rules covering online television. Hunt admitted that while he did not believe it was possible to introduce blanket regulation for the internet, he was keen to put online content rules under scrutiny. Today, TV content on the internet is subject to no regulations – even if it was made by a traditional broadcaster and streamed over broadband – meaning that there are no taste and decency or impartiality requirements. Hunt explicitly ruled out regulating Google-owned video-sharing website YouTube, however. He said his real focus is on so-called IPTV [internet protocol television] services, providing broadcast-like content delivered online.
(OUT-LAW News) The Commission has published a report on the effectiveness of 2004's Directive on Intellectual Property Rights. It says that rates of intellectual property infringement in the EU are "alarming". The Directive has had some effect, but that it was not designed to deal with online piracy. Current laws are not strong enough to combat online IP infringement effectively and powers to compel internet service providers (ISPs) and other intermediaries to take more proactive steps should be examined.
(OUT-LAW) Rights owners should have to register with EU authorities in order to exercise all their rights under copyright law, the European Commission has been advised. A committee of three experts has said that as a measure to prevent the creation of 'orphan works' whose owner is not known the creators of material should have to register to receive their full copyright rights. The report also said that libraries, galleries and museums should be able to digitise copyrighted works that are out of commercial distribution if private owners do not do so. A 'high level reflection group', the Comité des Sages, has submitted proposals to inform the European Commission's policies on digital culture and its library of digitised cultural artefacts, Europeana. The Comité is made up of advertising executive Maurice Lé vy; German national library chair Elisabeth Niggemann; and author Jacques De Decker. "Preventing orphan works in the future is a main concern," said the report. "In order to avoid orphan works in the future in an environment where creative production is exploding online (e.g. user generated content) without a clear indication of how to contact the creator, some form of registration should be considered as a precondition for a full exercise of rights." "The Comité realises that this would require a change in the Berne Convention and related instruments," it said, referring to a legal instrument binding many countries to laws respecting copyright. "Its members consider that a discussion on 'refreshing' the Convention should be taken up in the World Intellectual Property Organisation, and promoted by the Europea Commission." The Comité stressed the importance of ensuring the number of orphan works is reduced.
(BBC) Google has said it will tweak its search service in an attempt to tackle online piracy, following lobbying by the music industry. The search giant will implement four changes, including the removal of words that are associated with piracy from appearing in its autocomplete feature. However, it will not prevent sites that host illegal copyright material from appearing in its search results. The music industry said the measures did not go far enough. See Making copyright work better online (Google Public Policy Blog).
(Google European Public Policy Blog) YouTube, la SACD, la SCAM and l´ADAGP - trois sociétés de gestion collectives représentant un large spectre d´auteurs français, créateurs, compositeurs et artistes - ont signé un accord de soutien aux auteurs français. Ce partenariat vise a encourager une diffusion plus large d'émissions et de films français sur la plateforme YouTube en France. En permettant aux auteurs de bénéficier d'une juste rémunération pour l'exploitation de leurs uvres, cet accord encourage la création de programmes originaux français et leur diffusion sur Internet.
(CNET) The Obama administration has drafted new proposals to curb Internet piracy and other forms of intellectual property infringement that it says it will send to the U.S. Congress "in the very near future." It's also applauding a controversial copyright treaty known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, saying it will "aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement" once it enters into effect. Those disclosures came from a report by Victoria Espinel, whom President Obama selected as the first intellectual property enforcement coordinator.
(BBC) Google has challenged Spain's data protection agency, the AEPD, in court over claims that its search engine invades personal privacy. The regulator had told the internet giant to delete links to websites that contain out of date or inaccurate information about individuals. But the company argues that it is publishers - and not search engines - that should be forced to take action. The case revolves around a ruling that some search results contravene the country's privacy laws.
(RAPID) On 14 January 2011, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issued an opinion on the Commission's Communication on the review of the EU legal framework for data protection. The EDPS suggests introducing a mandatory security breach notification covering all relevant sectors, as well as new rights, especially in the online environment, such as the right to be forgotten (to have one's data deleted or not further disseminated after a fixed period of time) and data portability (the ability to shift data from one place to another and not be tied to a particular system). Children's data should also be better protected.
(ACLU) The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report (PDF) that provides an outstanding start on describing the problems of data collection both on and offline. Buried in that FTC report is a small gem: On pages 107 and 108 is Appendix C, a chart prepared by technologist Richard Smith which conveys all of the personal information collected about all of us and where it goes.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Privacy matters, The European Data Protection and Privacy Conference Brussels, 30 November 2010. I want to introduce the "right to be forgotten". Social network sites are a great way to stay in touch with friends and share information. But if people no longer want to use a service, they should have no problem wiping out their profiles. The right to be forgotten is particularly relevant to personal data that is no longer needed for the purposes for which it was collected. This right should also apply when a storage period, which the user agreed to, has expired. Existing legislation has led to divergences between the national laws. Even when there is only one European issue, there is not always one European response. Take the example of Google StreetView and the collection of snippets of personal information from unsecured WiFi networks. This did not only prompt different responses by national data protection authorities but it also led the company to provide different remedies for individuals in different Member States. This situation runs counter to both of the two main objectives of the existing Data Protection Directive: ensuring the protection of a fundamental right and ensuring the free flow of personal data within the Single Market.
(Spiegel) As part of its pitch to give people more personal privacy on the Web, the German government is encouraging development of software that sets expiration dates on photos and other private information.At the invitation of the German government, an IT professor has introduced software that allows people to set an expiration date for photos they post on Facebook or other sites. What it can't do, however, is prevent others from copying or stealing a person's personal data and posting it wherever they want on the Internet.
(RAPID) The report of the Comité des Sages (high-level reflection group) on Digitisation of Europe's cultural heritage was delivered to Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, and Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner responsible for Education and Culture. The report is called "The New Renaissance". Its key conclusions and recommendations are:
(Information Today) Europeana, the portal which provides links to cultural artifacts such as paintings, music, films and books from cultural institutions across Europe, has published a new strategic plan which sets out the direction for its development up to 2015. To remain successful, the plan says, Europeana must move to a more distributed model, collaborating with other content aggregators and making its content available in the places where users congregate online, such as social networks and educational sites.
(BBC) The website of whistle-blowing organisation Wikileaks has been shut down by the company providing it with domain name services. EveryDNS.net said it had terminated services because Wikileaks.org had come under massive cyber attacks. It said the attacks threatened its infrastructure and endangered access to thousands of other websites. Wikileaks says it has faced disruption since it began publishing thousands of secret US diplomatic cables. The memos, which discuss US diplomatic relations and military activities, have been causing controversy across the world. In a post on Twitter, Wikileaks acknowledged that its domain had been "killed" by EveryDNS.net. It was not clear how long disruption to the site would last for. In a statement on its website, EveryDNS.net said it had issued a 24-hour termination notice to Wikileaks which ended at 0300 GMT on 2 December.
(OUT-LAW News) Nominet, the body responsible for running the .uk domain, is considering changing its terms and conditions to give police more power to demand that domain names be cut off from the internet.The non-profit body will consult on changes to its terms and conditions that would allow it to suspend domain names when it has "reasonable grounds" to believe that they are involved in criminal activity.
(ePSIplatform) Opportunities and challenges in the re-use of public sector information. An open meeting in Berlin jointly organised by ePSIplatform, the Open Data Network, Geokomm, Online Consultants International GmbH and PSI Alliance. The rapid rise in ‘apps’ (applications for mobile devices) offer opportunities to disseminate data and services that could be decisive in unlocking PSI reuse. They also present challenges as public and private sector organisations seek to adapt to the rapid pace of change. The meeting aims to provide a forum for decision-makers and their representatives to gain an up-to-date understanding of open data and PSI re-use in Germany, to assess progress in comparison with other EU countries and to focus on the identification of market drivers. The meeting aims to develop key points for an action plan to successfully implement open data policies in Germany that embrace the idea of PSI reuse by design. The event is aimed at: Government and public administration representatives nationally, regionally and locally that produce data; Stakeholders that reuse data: businesses and their representative associations, NGOs and citizens. Meeting Date: Friday 18 February 2011, 9am – 6pm CET Location: GLS Campus, Kastanienallee 82, 10435 Berlin. Participation in the meeting is free of charge but you will need to register for the event.
(Consilium) 21. The Commission is invited to make rapid progress in key areas of the digital economy to ensure the creation of the Digital Single Market by 2015, including the promotion and protection of creativity, the development of e-commerce and the availability of public sector information.
(RAPID) eelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, "Lift-Off towards Open Government" conference, Brussels, 15 December 2010 .
(Europa) The Commission has published selected statistics (PDF) and the responses (Excel) to the on-line public consultation on the PSI Directive, launched on 9 September 2010 and closed on 30 November 2010. The full analysis of the responses will be published in the form of a report in the coming weeks.
(DigiSus) Ich war an der Open Data: apps for everyone?’ in Berlin (sehr gut organisiert von der European Public Sector Information platform EPSI) und habe dort das Münchner MOGDy-Projekt vorgestellt. Am Ende nach meinen drei wichtigsten Tips für Verwaltungen gefragt, was Open Government/Open Data Projekte erfolgreich macht, habe ich gesagt:
(Ronny Patz) Understanding EU-level decision-making is complicated. You have to be quite an expert to search and find relevant EU documents, even when they are public.
(CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh. This week's leak - still incomplete - of some 250,000 State Department dispatches follows WikiLeaks' April release of hundreds of thousands of classified military dispatches from Afghanistan and Iraq. These documents add up to a massive store of sensitive U.S. information totaling around 725,000 files and amounting to what Der Spiegel is calling "nothing short of a political meltdown for U.S. foreign policy." And, according to chat logs made public earlier this year, they all came from one source: Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence specialist whose successful efforts to liberate data went completely undetected by authorities. The possibility that a lowly Army private could have access to such a dizzying volume of classified files, and manage to spirit it away under the noses of his superiors has left official Washington scrambling for explanations.
(ZDNet UK) The European Union and the Unites States will try to develop a common approach for the interoperability of electronic health records, according to a memorandum of understanding signed by the two parties. Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes and US secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius signed the document in Washington, calling not only for health records that can be used both in the EU and US, but also for education programmes for information technology and health professionals. They said the move would benefit companies seeking to expand the e-health sector, as well as patients.
(RAPID) Speech by Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, World Economic Forum Davos, 27 January 2011. I want to make Europe not just "cloud-friendly" but "cloud-active". I will invite cloud providers and cloud users to Brussels for a series of intense consultations in the spring. Broadband for all – every European digital – is the Digital Agenda's ICT infrastructure policy. People often ask me what will be done with all that bandwidth. I am convinced that cloud computing is an important part of the answer. If you agree and want to help us to get it right, I am the woman to talk to.
(RAPID) Cecilia Malmström, Member of the European Commission responsible for Home Affairs, European Commission conference, Brussels, 3 December 2010. The evidence the Commission has collected so far suggests that the data retention Directive has made a substantial contribution to security in the EU, and provided a more level playing field for telecom operators. The costs for operators have not been unacceptably high. Valid concerns over the impact of data retention on privacy remain, although there is no evidence that it has led to serious abuse in any concrete cases. Building on the evaluation report, which I expect to be published early next year, I intend to prepare a proposal to amend the Directive. That proposal should cover all relevant issues. To name just a few: We must reflect again on the purpose of data retention, including the types of crime that the Directive covers; We may need to agree on more harmonised, and possibly shorter, retention periods; We should consider defining who may access the data and according to what procedures. Should there be a central contact point in each Member State? Should judicial authorisation be compulsory? What about cases of urgent need for access? We need to agree on whether operators should be compensated by the State for the costs incurred. We need to ask what types of data to retain.
(Economist) February 14th saw the launch of SpotCloud, the world's first spot market for cloud computing. It works much like other spot markets. Firms with excess computing capacity, such as data centres, put it up for sale. Others, which have a short-term need for some number-crunching, can bid for it. Enomaly, the software firm behind SpotCloud, takes a cut of between 10% and 30%, depending on the size of the deal.
(RAPID) Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, ECTA Regulatory Conference, Crowne Plaza Brussels, 30 November 2010.
(Economist) Level 3, a firm that slings terabits of data per second around the world on behalf of its customers, has accused Comcast, a residential broadband and television programming provider, of violating the principle of net neutrality by demanding fees to carry traffic from Level 3. Comcast retorted that Level 3 had massively increased the data flow over the two firms' connection, notably as the result of a deal to handle Netflix's streaming video delivery, and that it merely wanted to negotiate the price for bringing more data ports online to meet Level 3's needs. The crux of the matter is whether Comcast has the right to choose in what way—and at what price—other networks interconnect with its own.
(BBC) BT has introduced a controversial service that some say could allow broadband providers to create a "two-tier internet". Content Connect, as it is known, allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that use BT's network to charge content firms for high-speed delivery of video. It could spell the end of so-called "net neutrality", where all traffic on the net is treated equally.
(Guardian) The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, has warned broadband providers not to introduce charges for delivering the corporation's programmes to homes via the internet. Thompson said the continued success of online TV services such as the BBC's iPlayer could not be guaranteed if internet service providers introduced a "fast lane" that would allow them to charge customers for receiving content more quickly.
(Guardian) A coalition of internet and venture capital companies and pressure groups have written to communications minister Ed Vaizey calling for a clear political commitment from the government to preserve net neutrality. They say it must adopt five key principles – including openness, minimisation of data traffic management, and a strong regulatory framework. The open letter, which is signed by representatives from eBay, Skype, Yahoo, the music site we7, the software service The Filter, VOIP provider Truphone, the Open Rights Group, the National Union of Journalists, the reviews site Reevoo, the e-retail representative Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), Eden Ventures, Ariadne Capital, Consumer Focus, TechHub, the consumer group Which?, Article 19 and the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), says that it welcomes Vaizey's earlier statements on net neutrality.
(01net) Dans un arrêt, la Cour de cassation a rejeté le pourvoi déposé par les sociétés Nord-Ouest Production et UGC Images dans l'affaire qui les opposent à Dailymotion. La plate-forme de partage de vidéos avait été condamnée en première instance par le TGI de Paris pour « contrefaçon et parasitisme », du fait de la mise en ligne du film Joyeux Noël, de Christian Carion. Mais, la cour d'appel avait annulé cette décision et souligné le statut d'hébergeur de Dailymotion. la Cour a d'abord estimé que Dailymotion pouvait bel et bien revendiquer le statut d'hébergeur technique au regard de la LCEN, et qu'on ne pouvait pas lui imputer la responsabilité de la nature des contenus mis en ligne. Les juges ont également considéré qu'on ne pouvait pas lui reprocher un manquement quelconque à l'obligation de retirer rapidement un contenu illicite, le site ayant réagi dès qu'il avait été informé du problème.
(RAPID) European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes told the world’s largest mobile industry conference the industry needs to invest more in new and better broadband networks. Kroes said she wanted to start a debate about this challenge. "This lack of investment will choke you in the coming years and hurt Europe in general. Some people say that we will be crushed by the Far East on production and beaten by the Far West on content. I am not willing to write Europe off in either of those fields but we have to take measures to respond to these major challenges. And I am sure of one thing – the domain we can influence most directly is our networks, and if we do not get that right, the future for all digital business in Europe will be bleak!" Kroes said finalising the proposed EU Radio Spectrum Policy Programme is critical for expanding wireless internet in Europe. She also announced that the Commission's latest consultation on roaming has confirmed that competition in roaming services is not yet sufficiently strong and that there is "strong support for continuing price regulation.". However, "we cannot exclude that different approaches may need to be implemented ... while I doubt that time may in itself solve our problems, it seems difficult to think that we can maintain price regulation forever." Mobile World Congress Barcelona, 14 February 2011. <
(RAPID) Neelie Kroes European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda GSMA Europe's Mobile Day – Annual Reception Brussels, 8 December 2010. Ordinary citizens and businesses cannot understand why operators charge at today's high levels. It is even more difficult for consumers to understand data pricing. Less than 5 cents for downloading a MB of data at home can turn into €2.60 per MB when they cross an invisible, and mostly artificial, border! It frustrates me to see that real price competition is not emerging in roaming services markets. Operators are generally setting roaming prices close to, or exactly at, the maximum allowable levels. Despite recent developments, I still see an average retail price that makes consumers' eyes water. Really. Frankly this is a nightmare for business people, for tourists, for young people in particular. See also Commission launches consultation on review of EU mobile phone roaming rules. The consultation runs until 11 February 2011.
(Press Release) The EPO and Google have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve access to patent translations in multiple languages. Under the agreement, the EPO will use Google's machine translation technology to translate patents into the languages of the 38 countries that it serves. In return, it will provide Google with access to its translated patents, enabling Google to optimise its machine translation technology. Google technology will be used to translate patents originating in Europe as well as patents originating in other regions of the world and enjoying protection in Europe.
(OpenBelgium.be) Whether we talk about government data, scientific, medical or technological knowledge: in a lot of areas, there is a (big) tension between opening up data, or not to do so out of commercial or other interests. With OpenBelgium.be, we want to strive to open up as much data as possible and to make that data easily available & usable. That way, people can be informed better, software developers can work with the data to create interesting applications, and scientists can build upon freely available research data.
(Cabinet Office) Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude and Business Minister Edward Davey have outlined plans for a new Public Data Corporation. The Corporation will, for the first time, bring together Government bodies and data into one organisation and provide an unprecedented level of easily accessible public information and drive further efficiency in the delivery of public services.
(CORDIS) Technical workshop on the goals and requirements for a pan-European data portal, Wednesday 3rd November 2010, Luxembourg.
(RAPID) Speech by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda Launch of OpenAIRE, the European infrastructure for open access publishing of research results Ghent, 2 December 2010.
(RAPID) Speech by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. Formal presentation of the report Riding the Wave: How Europe can gain from the raising tide of scientific data, Brussels, 6th October 2010 .
(New York Times) Vivek Kundra, chief information officer of the United States government. Vivek Kundra is the chief information officer of the United States. His job is to help shape the use of technology in government and build tools to help the public navigate the incredible amount of data and information available.
(Datenjournalist) Interview with Jonathan Gray: A short while ago I sent some questions about the recent Eurostat Hackday to Jonathan Gray (@jwyg). He ist the Community Manager of the Open Knowledge Foundation. He's painting a thoughtful picture about OpenData in the EU and its economical impact in his answers. see also Eurostats Hackday: Es braucht Daten, um Politik verstehen zu können Open Data Blog Offene Daten – offene Gesellschaft.
(Guardian) One year after the Labour government launched the data.gov.uk portal, intended to provide a front door to a library of government data that developers in the outside world could use to analyse trends and create commercial services, there is disquiet that the initial enthusiasm has worn off and that civil servants are quietly blocking widespread release of useful information.
(Guardian) Open data expert Paul Clarke explains how he would change the government's open data project. A year, almost to the day, from the launch of data.gov.uk it seems clearer that it was really trying to fire at three targets simultaneously: transparency, usefulness and good old commercial value. Three targets that have some overlap, but also some inherent tensions. How well has it done?
(Economist) Much conventional wisdom about programs written by volunteers is wrong. Book review of The Comingled Code: Open Source and Economic Development. By Josh Lerner and Mark Schankerman. MIT Press. Its main contribution consists of two surveys - one of users of software, the other of developers - that are unprecedented in both scale and scope. More than 2,300 companies and nearly 2,000 programmers, spread across 15 countries, both rich and poor, filled out questionnaires. And Messrs Lerner and Schankerman asked a lot of questions, from how much open-source software a firm has implemented to whether governments should mandate the use of such programs. The findings contradict much conventional wisdom. Many open-source developers work for firms that develop both open-source and proprietary programs and combine them in all kinds of business models. More than a quarter of companies happily mix and match both sorts, in particular in poorer countries. Yet the finding that open-source advocates will like least is that free programs are not always cheaper. The authors argue that governments should make sure that the two forms of software compete on a level playing field and can comingle efficiently. One way of doing this would be to promote open standards to ensure that proprietary incumbents do not abuse a dominant position.
(RAPID) Results from a study released by the European Commission show that while a healthy 84% of the software programs tested enable parents to block access to certain websites, they are less efficient at filtering so-called web 2.0 content such as social networking sites or blogs. In addition, only a few products on the market are able to filter web content accessed via mobile phones or game consoles, at a time when one child out of four in Europe goes online in this way. A database where parents can search for the parental control tool most suitable to their needs is available. In parallel, an EUKIdsOnline survey, also funded by the EU's Safer Internet Programme, found that only a quarter of EU parents use parental control software to monitor, track or filter what their children can do online.
(Insafe) It's more than a game, it's your life. Safer Internet Day is organised by Insafe each year in February to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world. The topic for 2011 is "our virtual lives" around the slogan " It's more than a game, it's your life". In 2010 Safer Internet Day was celebrated through over 500 events in 65 countries all over the world. For more information and resources please see our toolkit.
(RAPID) On the occasion of Safer Internet Day 2011, the European Commission announced that it will step up talks with ICT industry and children's organisations to encourage the design of safer products to help keep children safe online. Moreover, the Commission will shortly review the 2006 Recommendation on minors and how to protect them in audiovisual media and Internet and on the 2008 Communication on the protection of youngsters from harmful content in video games. See also speech by Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Digital Agenda Safer Internet Day 2011: protecting children online Child Focus, Safer Internet Centre in Belgium, Safer Internet Day, 8 February, 2011.
(Guardian) In an extract from his Andrew Olle lecture, the Guardian editor-in-chief sets out 15 things Twitter does effectively.
(PCWorld) The people behind the Opera mobile Web browser have released the results of their State of the Mobile Web survey, which questioned 300,000 users in July and August this year. It makes for fascinating reading. For example, Nokia phones rule the roost outside of North America and Europe. In these same less wealthy areas of the world, mobile phones are the primary method of accessing the Internet. It's proof that there's a massive thirst for the Internet around the world, even if that means people have to get it through their cell phones.
(CNET) Google has won a major contract to provide Google Apps for an entire federal government agency. Teaming up with Unisys and two other companies, Google will deploy Google Apps for Government to all 17,000 employees and contractors at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA handles business for the entire federal government by providing real estate and building management services along with buying assistance to other agencies, according to a Google blog post.
(Economist) It flourished during the first phase of the internet. The next one may be tougher.
(Heise) Das Internet gehört fest zur Lebenswelt von Kindern und Jugendlichen. 98 Prozent der deutschen Kinder und Jugendlichen im Alter von 10 bis 18 Jahren sind im Netz; selbst Kinder im Alter von 10 bis 12 sind bereits zu 96 Prozent online. Das ergab eine repräsentative Befragung (PDF-Datei) des Marktfoschungsunternehmens forsa im Auftrag IT-Verbandes Bitkom. Den Ergebnissen zufolge nutzen 76 Prozent der Teenager das Internet, um Informationen für Schule oder Ausbildung zu suchen. 74 Prozent nutzen soziale Netzwerke. Auf den weiteren Plätzen der häufigsten Internet-Aktivitäten stehen der Konsum von Videos, Chat und "Musik hören".
(RAPID) Almost three quarters of Europeans are worried about the cost of using their mobile phone when travelling in the EU a survey released by the European Commission today shows. 72% of travellers still limit their roaming calls because of high charges even if a majority is aware that prices have fallen since 2006. Only 19% of people who use internet-related services on their mobile phones when abroad think the costs of data-roaming for (Internet surfing or checking e-mails) are fair.
(CENT) by Larry Magid. A survey of online mothers found that more small children can play a computer game than ride a bike. The Digital Diaries study from Internet security firm AVG said that 58 percent of children aged two to five know how to play a "basic computer game" compared with 52 percent who know how to ride a bike. Sixty-three percent can turn a computer on and off, and 69 percent can use a mouse. By contrast, only 20 percent can "swim unaided," 11 percent can tie their shoelaces without help, and 20 percent know how to make an emergency phone call.
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