QuickLinks - 22 January 1998
issue no. 38
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.
Magaziner May Offer Fewer Domains
ACLU threatens suit on Net filters
McCain: Require Wired Schools to Block Net Smut
Legal and regulatory issues
- France - Quatre radios mises en demeure pour non respect du quota de chansons françaises
Le réseau NRJ ainsi que les stations Radio Scoop (Lyon), Top Music (Strasbourg) et Vibration (Orléans) ont été mises en demeure par le Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel de respecter le quota de diffusion de 40% de chansons francophones, indique La lettre du CSA de janvier.
- Microsoft Asks Court to Suspend Lessig's Work
Microsoft has asked a federal appeals court to suspend proceedings by a legal expert assigned to assess the facts of the Justice Department's antitrust case against the company, saying the official is biased against it and that the judge who appointed him did not demonstrate a need to do so.
- EU - Microsoft, EC near agreement on browser contracts with ISPs
Microsoft has expressed its willingness to revise its contracts with ISPs to bring them in line with European Union (EU) competition rules, European Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert said Tuesday.
- Germany - Tarifverhandlungen über Urheberrecht im Internet beginnen
Die rund 17 000 Redakteure an deutschen Tageszeitungen sollen nach dem Willen der IG Medien an den Erlösen beteiligt werden, die von den Verlagen für digital verbreitete Beiträge erzielt werden.
Data Protection (privacy)
- AOL says US Navy tricked it to get subscriber data
Internet service provider America Online accused the U.S. Navy Wednesday of tricking it into disclosing data on a subscriber now at the center of a wide-reaching privacy lawsuit. In a statement, AOL said the Navy "deliberately ignored both federal law and well-established procedures for handling government inquiries" and used trickery instead in the case of Senior Petty Officer Timothy McVeigh.
- New porno spam scam
The case of the naval officer facing dismissal after private information about him was allegedly leaked to Navy investigators by America Online took another bizarre twist Tuesday as prankster Web site Annoy.com launched an E-mail protest against the Navy -- one that dragged AOL's chief executive into the spotlight.
- Germany - Datenschutz - Innenministerium fordert Zugriff auf Provider-Bestandsdaten
Dem Verfassungsschutz soll ermöglicht werden, Urheber von verfassungsfeindlichen Inhalten im Internet zu identifizieren. Internetprovider sollen künftig den Verfassungsschutzbehörden Zugriff auf ihre Bestandsdaten gewähren müssen. Dies fordert in einem ministeriumsinternen Argumentationspapier der Leiter der Abteilung Innere Sicherheit im Bonner Innenministerium, Reinhard Rupprecht. Begründung: Die Behörden wollen Homepages und E-Mail-Adressen per Datenabgleich eindeutig identifizieren können.
- Domain Name Group Targets Cybersquatters
A group planning to introduce a new Internet domain name system has published plans to stop "cybersquatters" from extorting money from holders of trademarks and brands. The Geneva-based Policy Oversight Committee published plans Friday to ban "cybersquatting" from the Net.
- How rumor and innuendo are fueling panic on the eve of the release of new domain names.
Panic is rising among businesses as the eve of a new domain-name system approaches. Due to be released before the end of March to a name server near you: .arts, .firm, .info, .nom, .rec, .shop, and .web -- but not if fear-stricken business leaders have anything to say about it.
- Magaziner Plan Wants Government Out Of Internet
(Computer Reseller News)
A U.S. government agency planning a migration strategy for Internet governance will recommend setting up a U.S.-based board staffed by domestic and international companies.
- Magaziner May Offer Fewer Domains
Presidential technology adviser Ira Magaziner indicated in a series of conversations over the last week that the U.S. government's soon-to-be-released plans for restructuring the Internet's domain name system may favor big-name trademark holders over companies that want to expand the Web's stock of real estate
- Japan - Net lotteries hard for officials to figure
A Web site that offered a lottery with a first prize of 5 billion yen has shut down after police searched 20 places associated with the two companies running the scheme.
Unsolicited commercial email (spam)
- USA - Washington State Bill Bans Spam
Legislation prohibiting most forms of unsolicited commercial email, aka "spam," was introduced into the Washington State Legislature on January 19, 1998. Senate Bill SB6434 would amend the State's consumer protection act. Under the new provisions, Washington State resident's could claim actual damages or $500 per instance (message), whichever is greater. A Washington State Internet service provider (known in the proposed legislation as an "interactive computer service") could claim actual damages or $1,000 per instance (message), whichever is greater.
Information society and Internet policy
- Et Vinton Cerf créa l'Internet
En 1974, cet ingénieur inventait le protocole IP, signant ainsi l'acte de naissance du réseau des réseaux. La prestance de Vinton Cerf est à l'opposé de l'univers du techno-nerd. De grandes entreprises en centres de recherche publique, il pousse son bébé pour que se tissent encore plus de liens entre les gens et les idées.
- USA - California Lawmakers Take Aim at Web-Related Issues
(Los Angeles Times)
Fueled by the growing popularity of the Internet, California lawmakers have introduced a flood of measures designed to apply existing statutes to the global computer network as well as address issues unique to it.
- Group Opposes Thai Bill
(Los Angeles Times)
The Internet Society is urging hundreds of its members in Thailand to oppose provisions in the Thai government's proposed "Internet Promotion Act," which the group believes would set a dangerous precedent for government censorship of the global computer network in the Asian nation.
- Spain - Pédophilie sur Internet dans des administrations, selon une association
Des ordinateurs installés dans des administrations publiques espagnoles ont été utilisés pour consulter des sites pédophiles sur Internet, a dénoncé mardi une association. Prodeni, organisme de défense des droits des mineurs, affirme avoir repéré 40 cas en Espagne d'échanges d'images de pornographie infantile sur Internet impliquant des utilisateurs d'ordinateurs installés dans des administrations (mairies, universités...).
Filtering and rating
- USA - New Net decency rules developing
The campaign to bar children's access to "indecent" online material found a new target this week: needy schools. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) promised yesterday to introduce legislation mandating schools that apply for federal Net access discounts to filter out indecent Net sites. The up to $2.25 billion in annual discounts, also known as "e-rates," will be doled out to schools and libraries starting this year by the Federal Communications Commission, under direction from the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- USA - McCain: Require Wired Schools to Block Net Smut
In a proposal that instantly drew fire from free-speech activists, Senator John McCain said today that he wants to require schools getting funds for Internet wiring under the federal universal service program to screen content to block indecent material.
- USA - ACLU threatens suit on Net filters
The American Civil Liberties Union has given a Southern California library system ten days to remove Net filtering software from its computers or risk being slammed with a lawsuit.
- Leading U.K. Web development shop closes
The closing down last week of Webmedia, a leading Web-site producer partly owned by Maurice Saatchi, stunned the U.K. Web site production industry, especially after the company's own Web site proclaimed, "We've been shafted!," allegedly made by an ex-employee with a password.
Security and encryption
- Net Controls Set To Loosen In France
Electronic commerce is expected to get a major boost in Europe later this year, when one of the continent's most interventionist and highly centralized governments relaxes its tough controls over encryption software.
- Swedish police catch cannabis-promoting hackers
(Nando.net - Reuters)
Two young Swedish hackers who turned a Swedish county's home page into an advertisement for pornography and cannabis and broke into the U.S. space agency's computer system have been found, local media reported. Police were quoted as saying no charges would be laid because no economic crime had been committed.
- Global telecom talks to resume
Trade diplomats said today that they hoped agreement would be reached next week for a pact to open up global telecommunications services to competition to go into force from February 1.
- Struggle to Implement Global Telecom Accord
The fanfare that greeted the historic signing of the World Trade Organisation's Basic Telecom Agreement last year is now distinctly muted, with some of the world's largest telecom markets yet to ratify the deal.
- Germany - Deutsche Telekom se défend de retarder la séparation de son réseau TV câblé
La compagnie semi-publique allemande Deutsche Telekom s'est défendue mercredi de retarder la filialisation de son réseau de télévision câblée, premier pas vers la fin de sa domination sur la diffusion audiovisuelle par câble en Allemagne.
- Sweden/Norway - Scandinavian telecoms merger
((Summary in English) The two government owned network operators, Telenor (N, 19000 employees) and Telia (S, 34000 employees), had started talks on a possible merger to strengthen their international position. The combined value of the two companies is estimated to be approximately NKR 100.000.000.000. The talks were stopped by the Norwegian Government to prevent distortion of competition in the Norwegian market. However, strong criticism in Parliament forced the government to reverse its decision. The talks are now expected to continue, although no conclusions have yet been reached. This is the first major defeat in Parliament for the minority, non-socialist, coalition Government elected last September.related story
Market & Technology
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
Unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam)
- Spam site killed under threats
When word got out Friday on a spam-fighting newsgroup that its members' nemeses Sanford Wallace and Walt Rines had launched a Web site, the postings started flying. Then came the email. And the phone calls.
Internet access and use
- America Online Surpasses 11 Million
In a little more than two months, America Online said it increased its worldwide membership from 10 million to 11 million, with strong growth throughout December and into January.
- Europe explores alternative Net access
Europe's newly opened telecom markets should lower Net access costs, but new types of providers are also taking advantage of deregulation to offer alternatives to phone-line access.
- Japan's surfers beached by phone rates
The slow dissemination of the Internet in Japan is partly attributable to the rigid charging system for regional calls, according to experts.
- Another paper charges for archives
The Washington Post is the latest major newspaper to offer extensive online archives--for a price. At first, Net users won't be charged to search and pull up full-text articles from the Post's new 11-year archives. But sometime this year, registered users will have to pay to retrieve the articles. Viewing articles from the Post's two-week archive will continue to be free.
- Internet takes up rising share of record market
(Nando.net - Agence France Press)
The Internet is poised to become one of the world's biggest record stores in less than five years' time. By 2002, buyers downloading records from Internet sites at the click of a button could make up 15 percent of the global sales market, a music industry convention was told.
- Japanese Web site is a real bargain
(San Jose Times)
Combining two of America's favorite pastimes--shopping at the mall and cruising the Internet--was inevitable. But San Jose-based Bargain America Corp. has added a unique twist to this merger: Targeting the Japanese consumer market, it offers a Japanese-language World Wide Web site for electronic commerce, in addition to a conventional English site.
- Microsoft seen posting strong increase in earnings
While Microsoft Corp is tangled in a legal morass with federal antitrust regulators, the company is poised to show strong earnings growth this week as its fundamental business shows few signs of weakness
- Net music companies increasingly are looking outside the United States
Net music company SonicNet will announce tomorrow it is launching in Switzerland, in a partnership with Swiss ISP Blue Window. SonicNet already has local sites for Japan and Australia. N2K, another Net music player, has expanded its international dealings today as well, with a partnership with Latin American online network StarMedia to create a music retail area aimed at the Latin American market.
- Two-way Sidewalk: Growth, layoffs
Just in case folks forgot what the Internet is all about these days, they need only look at the reorganization of Microsoft's localized service Sidewalk. Right. It's the money.
- Yahoo!/MCI Internet deal raises competitive issues
Web publishers are still sorting through the significance of Yahoo!'s announcement last week that it will provide Internet access with MCI Communications Corp. While the deal gives Yahoo! marketing muscle to begin to challenge America Online, it also calls into question MCI's existing relationship with CNET: The Computer Network.
- College Students Addicted to the Net
College campuses are experiencing a rising number of cases of Internet addiction, according to an article appearing in the January issue of the new Journal, CyberPsychology and Behavior: The Impact of the Internet, MultiMedia, and Virtual Reality on Behavior and Society, published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
- Is Concept of "Internet Time" Becoming Passe?
With traditional companies having reclaimed portions of the Internet, the cosmically compressed product cycles currently driving the tech business seem likely to give way to the (merely furious) pace of yesteryear.
- Lightning Net Speeds Coming This Christmas
A small Massachusetts firm called Aware Inc. is poised to take advantage of what may be the biggest improvement in consumer bandwidth since the 28.8 modem. Aware's Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology, called DSL Lite, and its accompanying line of G.Lite modems, have reportedly been blessed by Microsoft, Intel, and Compaq for inclusion in the Christmas 1998 line of PCs and software. In what is expected to be a groundbreaking announcement next week, the three computer giants are set to create a de facto standard for DSL modems based on the Aware technology. GTE and four of the five major regional Bell carriers are reportedly on board as well.
- Technology blocks DVD copying
Think again about trying to make bootleg copies of movies from the DVD-ROM drive on your computer. Macrovision (MV SN) announced today it has licensed its copy protection technology to Compaq Computer, Gateway 2000, Packard Bell, IBM, Micron Electronics and Hewlett-Packard for use in their personal computers.
QuickLinks are edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributors: Pierre Bischoff, Andreas Grünwald, Ola-Kristian Hoff, Alan Reekie
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