QuickLinks - 4 December 1997
issue no. 24
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.
Attorney-General favours government and industry co-operation
Legal and regulatory issues
Access to public sector information / IT in government
- USA - Web Watchers Track, Trip Up Parolees
Since early November, ParoleWatch has posted more than a thousand listings of inmates in New York prisons who will become eligible for parole consideration in April. The site's founders intend to tap some of the Net's democratic potential by embellishing listings with boilerplate forms, petitions, and letters visitors can use to communicate their views on would-be parolees to the New York State Parole Board. A number of states are also burning onto CD-ROMs, or posting online, databases with registrations of sexual offenders. Among them: Alaska, Florida, Indiana, and Kansas. A victim's rights group produces a similar database for California.
- USA - Get What You Want . . . Online
Being a smart consumer is getting easier thanks to the free flow of information on the Internet, where the number of consumer-friendly Web sites is increasing faster than you can say "caveat emptor." Whether you need legal insight into your consumer problem, want to know how to file a consumer complaint, want to find a low-interest credit card, learn how to be an environmentally conscious shopper, or track down a corporation's customer service department, you can probably find it online.
- EU - European Commission issues Green Paper
Green Paper on the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors, and the implications for regulation - Towards an Information Society approach COM(97)623
- Miami A Center For Software Piracy For Latin America
Miami's role as a center for Latin American trade now includes the counterfeit software business, believed to cost the industry billions of dollars each year, police and industry officials said on Tuesday.
- First digital signature authority
Under a program that aims to make electronic communication and transactions more secure, the State of Utah has entrusted a banking subsidiary to store and authenticate digital signatures, a license that the state claims is the world's first.
Filtering and rating
- A Game of Hide vs. Seek - There's No Consensus About Systems for Rating Internet Sites
When it comes to protecting children in cyberspace, the online industry loves to chat up software products such as Net Nanny, SurfWatch and Cyber Patrol, which attempt to restrict access to adult-oriented material. Major Internet service providers have agreed to begin offering the software to subscribers for free or at a nominal cost. This week, the online industry, seeking to avert new regulation of Internet content, said it would mount a broad public-education campaign to encourage parents to use the technology. But mention the rating of Internet sites, which many people see as the next step in keeping the global network child-friendly, and the consensus vanishes.
- USA - Electronic Privacy Information Center tests filtering search engine
EPIC conducted 100 searches using a traditional search engine and then conducted the same 100 searches using a new search engine that is advertised as the "world's first family-friendly Internet search site." In every case in our sample, we found that the family-friendly search engine prevented us from obtaining access to almost 90 percent of the materials on the Internet containing the relevant search terms. We concluded that the filtering mechanism prevented children from obtaining a great deal of useful and appropriate information that is currently available on the Internet.
Internet Online Summit: Focus on Children
- USA - Attorney-General favours government and industry co-operation
Attorney General Janet Reno today praised private sector plans to protect children using the
Internet from predators and promised more measures by law enforcement agencies. Companies doing business on the Internet this week pledged to work closely with law enforcement in tracking down and reporting predators and child pornographers. They sponsored a toll-free number for Internet users to report suspicious activity. (See related story)
- USA - Advocates Want Funds Tied To Filters
As industry participants in this week’s
Internet Online Summit: Focus on Children go home with self-regulation proposals in hand, conservative groups concerned about children’s online safety are still looking to government for regulation.
- USA - AOL Plays Anti-Pedophile Strategy Close to Vest
At the Internet summit on children and the Net in Washington on Monday, America Online joined a chorus of content providers and ISPs in promising to work more closely with law-enforcement officials to track pedophiles online. Details of how AOL is planning to more closely monitor illegal activity on its own system or cooperate with police, however, were not forthcoming.
(The rest of the interview does in fact provide considerable information on AOL's cooperation with police in training and the extent of its monitoring)
- USA - No easy answers
If society is ever to gain the upper hand against online sexual predators, youngsters need to apply the same common-sense rules they live by to their experiences in cyber space, according to participants in a roundtable discussion on Internet safety.
- Online Kid's Summit In Full Swing
Monday was supposed to be the "day before" the White House-backed Internet Online Summit on children and cyberspace, but the debate on how best to protect children from the evil side of the Web was in full swing yesterday.
- What You Should Do Right Now to Protect Kids on the Internet
Everybody as their knickers in a knot over the Kids' Internet Online Summit underway in Washington, D.C.
Market & Technology
- Report: Net to drive digital TV
While digital TVs face a long road in gaining consumer acceptance, set-top boxes for converting digital content into regular TV signals and adding interactive content have a bright future, said analysts on Wednesday.
- WorldGate inks content partnerships
WorldGate Communications Inc., a company aiming to provide consumer Internet access via existing cable television systems, yesterday said 31 cable television networks have agreed to develop interactive content designed for the WorldGate system.
Internet access and use
- Cable access to reach six figures
More than 110,000 customers in North America will get high-speed Net access via cable systems by year's end, a tenfold increase for the year, according to a study to be released tomorrow. The report by Kinetic Strategies is consistent with its initial market forecast issued in April.
Filtering and rating
- Net Shepherd Offers Internet Ratings Through Internet Explorer
Net Shepherd Tuesday announced the availability of its World Opinion's Service of Internet content ratings, a large database of Internet content ratings. The service is currently being offered to users of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer (IE).
- Microsoft supports standards for online banking software
(Nando.net - The Associated Press)
Microsoft Corp. has thrown its clout behind standards for new online banking software that could make it more practical for consumers to pay bills over the Internet. The software standards would allow banks to continue using their old computer systems, overcoming what had been a key impediment to widespread use of Internet banking.
QuickLinks are edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributors: Alan Reekie
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