QuickLinks 49 - 20 February 1998
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.
EU - Third report on the implementation of the EU telecommunications regulatory package
Legal and regulatory issues
- BT says BIB no threat to competition in EU
British Telecommunications Plc said on Monday it was trying to convince the European Commission that its digital television venture British Interactive Broadcasting (BIB) did not threaten competition. BT chief executive Peter Bonfield said BIB, which also involves British satellite broadcaster BSkyB and other investors, would develop technology that would be available to other interactive broadcasters.
- USA - Texas Loses Suit Against Microsoft
Microsoft racked up a legal victory Tuesday morning when a Texas judge threw out a lawsuit filed by the state's attorney general claiming Microsoft impeded his investigation of possible antitrust violations.
- American programmer charged with computer sabotage
(Nando.net - Reuters )
A former programmer at a high-tech firm that makes instruments used by NASA and the Navy was arraigned on Tuesday on charges of detonating a programming "bomb" that wiped out all of the company's software.
- Coup de filet dans le milieu néonazi grâce à l'Internet
Grâce à la collaboration des polices britannique et française, grâce au réseau Internet, Hervé Guttuso, 25 ans, chef des CHS, groupe néonazi international d'une extrême violence, a été arrêté la semaine dernière dans sa planque de Londres, où il s'était réfugié.
- Norwegian has been convicted for possession of child pornography down-loaded from Internet
According to Aftenposten, this is the first conviction of its kind in Norway.
- Servers stolen from Net domain group
Thieves apparently broke into a San Francisco server facility over the holiday weekend and stole two computers belonging to a group that is putting forth a plan for adding generic domain names to the domain name system. The two servers were testing the shared registry system for the Internet Council of Registrars, known as CORE. The thieves also made off with the software used to run the registry system, according to CORE.
- USA - Sabotage suspect charged
A former programmer at a high-tech firm that makes instruments used by NASA and the Navy was arraigned yesterday on charges of detonating a programming "bomb" that wiped out all of the company's software.
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- U.S. raising billions in latest spectrum auction
The Federal Communications Commission opens bidding Wednesday on the rights to a broad swath of airwaves, seeking to promote new competition against local phone and cable television monopolies. The "Local Multipoint Distribution Service," or LMDS, band of spectrum uses microwaves to send high volumes of information between fixed points. That makes it suitable for replacing cable television or telephone wires but not mobile phones or pagers.
- Antipiracy laws under fire
Although the Net often is called a great equalizer, legal and technology experts warned today that proposed antipiracy laws coupled with the trend toward pay-per-view online content is hedging society to "information feudalism." Surfers shouldn't be forced to research public materials with "the meter running," speakers told the American Committee for Interoperable Systems (ACIS) at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference.
Data Protection (privacy)
- Net can't police itself
Former Federal Trade Commissioner Christine Varney said Wednesday she can no longer back industry self-regulation as the primary way to solve privacy problems on the Internet. "We have this view in the Clinton administration we're not going to regulate electronic commerce," Varney told participants at a conference on politics and the Internet. "I'm not sure it's going to work with privacy
- EU - U.S. trying to head off privacy trade war
U.S. companies doing business in Europe are nervously counting the days to what they fear could be a new transatlantic showdown. The potential trigger date is October 24, the deadline for the 15 European Union countries to implement a tough law designed to protect their citizens from computer-age invasions of privacy.
- USA - FCC restricting use of phone records
In an attempt to protect customer privacy, federal regulators adopted rules Thursday aimed at preventing telephone, cellular and paging companies from using customer records or calling patterns to sell other services. The Federal Communications Commission agreed to require companies to obtain affirmative permission - either written, oral or electronic - to use such personal information before they market new services to them.
- USA - FTC will survey marketer Web sites for privacy
Marketers that claim they can implement Internet privacy policies without the involvement of government are about to get close scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, which is launching its most detailed survey yet of marketer Web sites.
Filtering and rating
- Cyber Patrol blocks Deja News
Censorware Project, a group opposed to Internet filtering, released a report today criticizing a filtering company for blocking access to Deja News, a popular newsgroup archiving site. Cyber Patrol puts Deja News, a site that stores postings from the Usenet newsgroup system, on its blocked site list because it contains all postings from newsgroups, including those that are considered obscene or otherwise inappropriate for children.
Security and encryption
- UK - Government Delays Encryption Proposals
The British government has postponed the release of new regulations controlling encryption, the technology used to protect Internet communications from fraudsters and snoopers -- citing messages circulating on the Internet as a cause of the delay.
- EU - Third report on the implementation of the EU telecommunications regulatory package
- EU Upbeat On Telecoms Liberalization
The European Commission issued an upbeat assessment on Wednesday of the way Europe's governments have opened their telecoms markets to competition., However, it also listed countries that had not yet properly opened their markets or implemented EU laws in areas such as licensing, frequencies and "interconnection" fees charged by former monopolies to rivals that hook up to their networks.
- Italt - Fin du monopole dans la téléphonie fixe: licence à Infostrada et Wind
La fin du monopole de Telecom Italia dans la téléphonie a pris officiellement fin mercredi avec la concession par le ministère italien des communications de licences à Infostrada (Olivetti) et Wind pour la fourniture et l'installation de réseaux de téléphonie fixe en Italie. Wind est une société commune à Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom et l'italien Enel, qui en est l'actionnaire majoritaire (51%).
Market & Technology
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- USA - Net broadcasting trials to begin
Microsoft will begin nationwide trials of an Internet broadcasting technology in partnership with 12 television broadcasters and cable programmers, the company announced today. The broadcasters will push Web content like news, stock tickers, and programming information to viewers in conjunction with regular programming. The technology capitalizes on an used portion of the cable transmission signal called the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI)..
- Dell Computer anticipates surge in European sales via web
U.S. giant Dell Computer Corp, the world's third-biggest seller of personal computers, said it plans to make 50 percent of its sales via its Internet site within three years.
- Publisher opens online German bookshop
(Nando.net - Reuters )
Publishing giant Bertelsmann AG said on Monday it had opened a German Internet bookstore providing an all-round "shopping experience" to online bookworms. Boulevard Online (www.boulevard.de) will enable users to search in a catalogue of 290,000 books by author, title, keyword, ISBN number, keyword or publisher.
- Sports Illustrated puts swimsuits online
Time Warner tonight launches its popular Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition on the Web for Netizens who are willing to pay $7.95, the latest example of a media giant tapping moneymaking opportunities on the Net.
- New search engine goes commercial
Idealab is expected to jump into the search-engine business with Goto.com, which will take on the likes of Yahoo and Excite with a decidedly commercial approach. According to those familiar with the plan, it ranks Web sites based on how much the sites are willing to pay to be placed at the top of the search, rather than based on keyword density or some other mathematical formula. In essence, this approach means those who pay the most to advertise get the highest placement.
- Giants propose antipiracy scheme
Intel and four leading consumer electronics firms have agreed on a technology for preventing piracy of digital content, a major step toward allaying Hollywood's continuing fears about the ease of copyright violation. Intel, Sony, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric, and Toshiba presented a proposal yesterday that would protect content that is passed in digital form between PCs, DVD players, and eventually next-generation consumer electronics devices such as digital set-top boxes, high-definition televisions, and digital cameras.
- Online catalog protocol in air
Backers of a new Internet standard for online catalogs are gathering this week to put finishing touches on the Open Buying on the Internet (OBI) protocol, but analysts suggest OBI may be so complex that online sellers won't bother to use it.
- Internet commerce is heating up cyberspace
(Nando.net - Agence France-Presse )
After much contemplation, consumers are finally going shopping on the Internet with billions of dollars a year, forcing traditional retailers to take their wares to cyberspace as well, analysts say. One market research group, Forrester Research of Massachusetts, says online sales totaled $2.4 billion in 1997 and will double to $4.8 billion this year and reach $17 billion by 2001.
- More Consumers Going On-line for News
The Internet is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for many news consumers, in some cases meeting or surpassing traditional forms of media, according to a survey conducted for MSNBC on the Internet by Market Facts Inc. The study examined the role of the Internet as a medium for gathering news as compared to newspapers, broadcast television, radio, cable television and magazines among regular on-line news customers.
- Norway/Sweden - No Scandinavian Telecoms merger.
According to Aftenposten/NTB, talks to merge the government telecom companies in Norway and Sweden, Telenor and Telia, have been ended as the two companies/governments failed to agree on principles for the administration of a merged company. In Norway the Minister of communication, Mr Dørum, expresses his regrets no agreement was made, but did not want to give details about the demands the Swedes did not want to meet. According to the newspapers, there seems to have been several obstacles to the merger. The Swedes say that Telenor lacks the necessary experience in the liberalised telecoms market and that the Norwegians have been opposing a full integration of the two companies. In Norway the Swedes are being accused of opposing a possible privatisation, and the chairman of Telia clearly stated a privatised Telia would be unacceptable, because the company "must be owned by the Swedish people to ensure services in all of Sweden". see related story Swedish version
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