QuickLinks - 17 November 1997
issue no. 16
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and
market and technology.
Legal and regulatory issues
Access to public sector information / IT in government /electronic democracy
- Judge Zobel: Learn the Difference Between Broadcasting & Narrowcasting (Internet Outlook - webreference.com) Judge Zobel's decision to use the Internet to disseminate the revised verdict in the Woodward child killing case nearly received as much attention as the verdict itself. And his Internet announcement scheme flopped miserably.
- Bill Gates assails critics for 'witch hunt atmosphere' ( Nando InfoTech) Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates lashed out at his increasingly vocal critics Friday, accusing them of creating a "witch hunt atmosphere" and unfairly targeting the computer software giant. At the company's annual shareholders meeting, Gates blamed a recent increase in what he called "anti-Microsoft activities" on an unprecedented, coordinated effort by its biggest industry rivals.
- USA - Microsoft under the gun (News.com) Collection of links to stories about Microsofts's alleged anti-competitive practices and the firm's reaction to these allegations
Interception of communications
- Netherlands - Dutch ISP Refuses 'Net Tap' (Wired News) On 31 October, XS4ALL received a mandate from the Dutch Ministry of Justice directing it to monitor all the IP traffic - Usenet, IRC, email, Web - of one of its subscribers under government investigation. Wessling said XS4ALL is refusing on the basis that the service should not be required to compromise the privacy of its customers and therefore compromise the integrity of its own business - especially considering that a good number of subscribers are dabbling in controversial topics.
- Site fights crime in Eastern Europe (News.com) The publishers of new Web site CrimiScope hope it will expose rampant crime in Central and Eastern Europe. They also hope it will sell security products.
- High-Tech Thieves Target Net Information (TechWeb) Attorneys and others using the Net to send sensitive information should beware, say speakers at an Internet law seminar.
- Scottish link suit settled (News.com) About a year ago, the Shetland Times newspaper and online site filed a lawsuit against the digitally produced Shetland News for linking to the Times' online headlines about the latest happenings on the island of 23,000 people. According to Shetland News publisher Jonathan Wills, the settlement was struck when the hearing was stalled for four hours while technical experts tried to hook up a live Net connection for the courtroom. Under the deal, the Shetland News was granted permission to link to the Times' headlines, but must label individual articles as "A Shetland Times Story."
Data Protection (privacy)
- USA - Net models sue Larry Flynt (Reuters) Five women who staged "adult performances" over the Internet sued Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and two other companies today for alleged sexual harassment and discrimination. The plaintiffs, who described themselves as "nude online adult videoconferencing models," also said the defendants undercut their privacy rights by failing to keep their names and addresses secret.
- CAs cooperate to cross-certify (News.com) A coalition of certificate authorities and software vendors, led by Canada's Entrust Technologies, is scheduled to announce Monday that they will cooperate to cross-certify their digital IDs so that certificates from one CA can be authenticated by another.
- General Usage in International Digitally Ensured Commerce (GUIDEC) (International Chamber of Commerce) The principle objective of the GUIDEC is to establish a general framework for the ensuring and certification of digital messages, based upon existing law and practice in different legal systems. In so doing the GUIDEC provides a detailed explanation of ensuring and certification principles, particularly as they relate to information system security issues and public key cryptographic techniques.
Unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam)
- Antispam efforts heat up (News.com) Spammers who thought they had a virtually free ride on the Net are increasingly having to pay for the resources they use. Earlier this week, a Travis County district court in Texas ordered a spammer to pay $19,000 for clogging up an ISP and personal email box when he falsified the return address on an unsolicited email advertisement he sent over the Net.
Internet content regulation
- New Zealand man confesses to high-tech skirt snooping (Nando.net - Reuters) A New Zealand man has admitted to nine charges related to using a miniature video camera to film up the skirts of thousands of women and girls, the New Zealand Herald reported on Friday. Overend scanned the images into his computer and traded them around the world by e-mail, Internet and video tape, an Auckland court heard.
- USA - Lawyers Aim At Moving Internet Target (TechWeb) One big question mark is the enforceability of the new communications decency bill introduced into the Senate earlier this week, said computer lawyer Lenoard Nuara, at the Law Journal seminar on Legal and Business Aspects of the Internet in New York on Thursday.
- New UK Report on Online Censorship (Yaman Akdeniz) Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) released a report, "Who Watches the Watchmen: Internet Content Rating Systems, and privatised censorship"on November 11, 1997 on the implications of the use and development of rating systems and filtering tools for the Internet content.
- UN - Big Jump in Hate Sites, Activist Says (Reuters) The number of Internet hate sites has nearly doubled to 600 in just a year, an official of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told a global conference on racism on the Internet today.
- USA - CDA sequel introduced (News.com) The senator who vowed to protect children from indecent material on the Net has spawned a son of the now-defunct Communications Decency Act.
- AOL speech ruling cuts both ways (News.com) The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a provision in the Communications Decency Act "plainly immunizes computer service providers like AOL from liability for information that originates with third parties." The ruling also held that, even when notified of defaming material, service providers cannot be prosecuted for failing to remove it.
Promoting safe use of the Internet
Filtering and rating
- USA - Plan to keep children off Net blocked (News.com) On Tuesday, Virginia's Fairfax County Public Library board of rejected a proposal to let parents block Net access for children under 12 who frequent their local branches' book stacks and Pcs.
Security and encryption
- France - Cryptologie et commerce électronique (Min. del. à la poste, aux télécommunications et à l'espace) Début septembre 1997, une mission sur le "commerce électronique" a eacute;té confiée par le Gouvernement à Francis Lorentz lequel rendra ses conclusions fin novembre. - Cryptologie : définition - Les besoins - Le cadre juridique - Les textes de référence (communautaires et nationaux) - Les interlocuteurs - Glossaire
- USA - Magaziner: FBI chief doesn't speak for White House on encryption (PC Week) Senior presidential policy adviser Ira Magaziner today distanced the Clinton administration from the tough views toward encryption expressed recently by FBI Director Louis Freeh. Magaziner, in an interview with PC Week Online, said it could be some time before the Clinton administration hammers out a final policy on encryption use in the United States. He said the debate in the White House has been a difficult one, split between industry advocates, who want to lift all restrictions, and law enforcement officials, who worry that their investigations will be crippled by the proliferation of strong encryption.
Market & Technology
- Video on the Net (Net Insider) It's the latest grail for Internet visionaries: Full screen, crystal-clear video on demand, right through a user's Net connection.
- Flirtation between PCs and TVs blossoms into romance
Flirtation between PCs and TVs blossoms into romance (Nando.net The Associated Press) Today's new PCs, starting at under $1,000, are veritable home entertainment centers, enabling people to play games and music videos with crisp, real-looking images and high-quality sound. And living room gadgets that are even less expensive allow people to surf the World Wide Web on their current TV sets.
- Net TVs may get boxed in (News.com) The infant market for Internet set-top boxes for TVs may never grow up. As the convergence between television and the Internet develops, some analysts and industry observers say a set-top box is just a small stepping stone to the day when all TVs will be Internet-ready straight from the factory.
- Niue - Une île polynésienne vend son nom pour les adresses Internet (AFP) Une île-nation de Polynésie, Niue, propose son code postal international, NU, à toutes les sociétés dans le monde qui désespèrent d'enregistrer une adresse Internet se terminant par la classification ".com" ou le nom d'un autre pays.
- Net commerce sales boom (News.com) Companies betting their futures on selling over the Internet saw sales jump more than 31 percent in their last quarters, according to recent quarterly earnings reports. In addition, anecdotal evidence from firms that sell both on the Net and in the physical world suggest that the online businesses of those companies are booming as well. Most companies that sell online and through real-world outlets do not report Internet revenues separately.
- Australia - Will Roulette Wheel Land on 'Ban' or 'Tax'? (Wired) That age-old quandary has resurfaced, this time in connection with that combination of vice and multimedia: Internet gambling.
- USA - Computers make it easier than ever to cheat (Nando.net Scripps-McClatchy Western) By referring to a tear-off Internet Web site address conveniently included on the flier, students could check into a computerized library of ready-to-go term papers, or order a custom-written term paper at $10 per page.
- MasterCard, AT&T team for e-commerce (Reuters) MasterCard says it has formally launched a global private network developed in partnership with AT&T (T) for its worldwide transaction processing system.
- Report tracks cybertrends (News.com) Confirming the conventional wisdom that the high-tech industry is driving national economic growth, the American Electronics Association will release a report on Tuesday quantifying the latest cybertrends.
Internet access and use
- USA - Study: Web Traffic Doubles In First Three Quarters Of '97 5 (InterActive Week) Web traffic has more than doubled since the beginning of the year. That's the finding of a new survey of Web usage released today by Internet Profiles Corp., which measures and analyzes usage of 24 of the Internet's 40 largest ad revenue-generating sites.
- China Turns to the Net (internetnews.com) The Internet is at a very different time and place in China. The Internet is tiny here--about 300,000 users. It's under the thumb of the government, which controls all access, screens content and makes users register with the police. Yet it's surging ahead, wriggling out of the government's grasp as mainstream middle-class families get online.
- Microsoft reportedly cuts into Netscape's Web browser lead (Nando.net - Reuters) Dataquest said in a survey to be issued Monday that Netscape is still the leader in the Web browser category with market share of 57.6 percent in the third quarter of 1997, but Microsoft's market share has roughly doubled in nine months to 39.4 percent.
QuickLinks are edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributors: Pierre Bischoff, Ola-Kristian Hoff, Theodor Schlickmann
QuickLinks Archive http://www.kids-o-rama.com/quicklinks/