QuickLinks 53 - 5 March 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.
Legal and regulatory issues
- EU - European Regulators Probe WorldCom-MCI Merger
The European Commission will launch a detailed antitrust investigation into the mega-merger of WorldCom and MCI, after fears that the deal would reduce competition for Internet services across Europe. The commission, which regulates trade within the 15 countries of the European Union, said Wednesday that it would extend its initial investigation of the merger into a fully fledged detailed examination of the deal's impact.
- USA - Gates Says Microsoft Has No Monopoly
Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates on Tuesday rejected charges his company holds a monopoly on computer operating systems and said the software giant has no intention of turning the Internet into a private "toll road". "Microsoft does not have monopoly power in the business of developing and licensing computer operating systems," Gates said in testimony to a packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
- Study shows hacking increased last year
The Computer Security Institute's third annual survey of 520 companies, government agencies, and universities found that the number of institutions suffering network breaches rose by one third between 1996 and 1997. Damages increased by a similar percentage.
- USA - Computer Crime Getting Worse - U.S. Watchdog Group
Computer crime is booming and few people are doing enough to protect themselves against assaults ranging from stolen laptops to high-tech Internet heists worth millions, a watchdog group said on Wednesday. In its third annual survey, the Computer Security Institute said 520 specialists polled at U.S. corporations, government agencies, financial institutions and universities reported that the wired world was becoming increasingly dangerous.
- USA - Large scale hacker attack on university and NASA sites
An unknown hacker caused thousands of Windows-based university and government computers to crash on the eve of Senate testimony by Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, authorities said Wednesday. The Monday night attack affected nine of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's 10 major field offices as well and major universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California at Berkeley.
- USA - Pentagon servers penetrated by hackers
The Pentagon and the FBI are investigating successful efforts by computer hackers over the last two weeks to obtain information from U.S. military computers, a top defense official said today. Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre told reporters there was no indication that the electronic invasion was connected to a crisis over U.N. arms inspectors in Iraq. He also stressed that ultrasensitive classified systems had not been breached.
Data Protection (privacy)
- United States, Europe Look For Common Ground On Privacy
- France - Libre-échange des fichiers en Europe
Guy Braibant, conseiller d'Etat, a fait hier à Lionel Jospin un certain nombre de propositions pour toiletter les textes qui protègent les citoyens contre les fichages abusifs. Le conseiller d'Etat avait en effet été chargé par le Premier ministre de lister les modifications qui devaient être apportées à l'actuelle loi afin de la mettre aux normes de la directive européenne sur la protection des données .
Information society and Internet policy
- Europe Stands Divided Over R&D Budget
Edith Cresson, the European Commissioner responsible for promoting research, urged European Parliament members to reject the European Union research budget of 14 billion European currency units (ECUs), or $15.3 billion, agreed upon last month. Agreement on the $15.3 billion budget for the Fifth Framework program -- the European Union's latest five-year R&D program -- came after months of political wrangling, and represented a victory for Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
- Malaysia calls for monitoring of cybercafes
(The Associated Press)
Concerned that cyberspace will expose Malaysia's youth to pornography, bestiality and other kinds of "moral decay," the government has urged authorities to closely monitor cybercafes. Megat Junid Megat Ayob, the domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, said "We have received reports that students, some of them in school uniform, frequently access the pornographic sites."
- USA - States Target "Indecent" Net Speech
(Net Insider )
Nine months after the demise of the Communications Decency Act, "indecent" Net speech is again under fire, this time from state legislators trying to clean up online pornography. The New Mexico legislature last month passed a Net decency bill, pushing the measure though both houses with only token opposition. The bill, which is now awaiting the governor's signature, would make it illegal to allow minors access to "indecent" material on the Net, but makes exceptions for companies that have rated their sites or require credit cards for entry.
- UK - Internet watchdog removes child porno images
(Nando.net - Agence France-Presse )
Almost 2,000 images of child pornography were removed from the Internet in the past year after complaints to the British industry watchdog, according to figures published Tuesday. In its first annual report , the industry-funded Internet Watch Foundation said it had received 781 complaints referring to 4,300 items on the Net in the 12 months since it set up a complaints hotline.
- USA - 14 charged with Internet gambling
(Nando.net - Reuters )
In the first federal case of its kind, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan Wednesday charged 14 people with running illegal sports gambling operations over the Internet and toll-free phone lines. The defendants, including two stock brokers and a lawyer, are U.S. citizens, but the six operations are all based offshore, in Curacao, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Costa Rica, where sports gambling is legal. White said the offshore locations would not protect the businesses from prosecution, warning operators: "You can't hide online and you can't hide offshore."
Security and encryption
- USA - Industry Coalition Wants Encryption Rules Eased
A diverse array of companies and advocacy groups have banded together to oppose strict U.S. export limits on computer encryption, an increasingly critical technology that scrambles information to enhance security. The group, Americans for Computer Privacy, said it will launch a broad media and lobbying campaign starting Wednesday opposing any new limits on computer data-scrambling technologies and seeking relaxed exports.
Market & Technology
- Microsoft To Drop Its "Channel Bar" - Source
Microsoft will abandon its so-called channel bar in the next release of its Internet Explorer Web browser, a source close to the issue said. The channel bar is a band on the left-hand side of Internet Explorer's front-page screen. The channels are arranged in categories -- for everything from travel to business to entertainment -- and lead users to 34 proprietary sites. They include MSNBC, Disney and AOL.
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- L'AFP lance un nouveau service d'information en images de synthèse animées
L'Agence France-Presse (AFP) a présenté, mercredi lors du Festival Imagina de Monte-Carlo, un nouveau service d'information pour illustrer l'actualité, destiné aux chaînes de télévision, réalisé en images de synthèse animées en trois dimensions.
- Norway / Sweden - Telenor buys Swedish Pay-TV company
The Norwegian government telecom operator Telenor has bought the Swedish pay-television company SF Vision AB broadcasting satellite channels to some 350.000 households and 70.000 hotel-rooms in Scandinavia. The acquisition strengthens Telenor's position as a distributor of satellite television signals and pay-television. Telenor already owns other pay television companies, such as "Canal Digital" 50/50 with Canal+.
- Analysis: Net tollgates ahead
A report suggests that as Web access via set-top boxes is opened up, the free-information culture of the Net will be finished. Make the most of it while you can: the Internet is currently enjoying a golden age, but it won't last much longer. That's one of the surprising findings of a recent report, "Planning for Social Change", published by the Henley Centre for Forecasting, a marketing research company which predicts consumer trends.
- CLT-Ufa soll RTL 9 verkauft haben
Nach Informationen der französischen Tageszeitung "Le Figaro" hat die CLT-Ufa den TV-Sender RTL 9 an die AB-Gruppe verkauft. Die AB-Gruppe ist eine der größten Produktionsfirmen für TV-Serien und darüber hinaus Besitzer der dritten französischen digitalen TV-Plattform AB Sat, die neben Canal Satellite und TPS existiert. RTL 9 ist in Frankreich vor allem über Kabel und Satellit zu empfangen
- Microsoft Invests In General Magic
(Computer Reseller News )
Microsoft has made a minority investment in General Magic. General Magic's upcoming network service, code-named "Serengeti," is a second-generation virtual assistant for mobile professionals that goes beyond offering only voice mail to integrating e-mail, faxes, address book, calendar, news, and stock-quote information, all accessible via a telephone using a proprietary voice user interface or via a Web browser, the companies said.
- USA - Satellite television: DirecTV links up with Bell Atlantic and SBC
DirecTV, the leading US satellite television provider, yesterday stepped up its challenge to cable companies by forming alliances with the regional telecommunications groups SBC and Bell Atlantic. The links will restore some of the marketing and distribution reach the company lost when its partnership with AT&T was cancelled last December.
Multilingual content and software
- China - Wired Launches Webmonkey China Site
Wired Digital, the on-line media division of Wired Ventures Inc., is teaming with Internet Technologies China Inc. (ITC) to create a Chinese version of Webmonkey, a Web development site. In addition, ITC recently announced the launch of Sohoo, or "search fox", an on-line guide to the more than 100,000 Chinese language Web sites currently operating around China.
- Study Finds Netizens Still Concerned About Privacy On-line
Consumer concerns about sharing personal information on-line are a key barrier to commerce on the Internet, according to a Business Week/Louis Harris & Associates survey released Wednesday. The survey found that computer users are worried about sending information ranging from phone numbers to Social Security numbers and financial or medical profiles; such concerns may limit the growth of the Internet as a popular medium for commerce.
- Inktomi: From Engine Driver to Gridlock-Buster
Inktomi is powering up to create the mass-transit solution to Internet traffic congestion. Traffic Server reduces congestion through a method of caching, or temporarily storing, copies of frequently requested data and documents on servers close to users who request them, so that the data doesn’t have to continually be shipped from the home site. The company has been beta-testing the software since October, and claims that audited performance tests show a 40 percent to 50 percent reduction in traffic.
- Wider pipe: Transatlantic internet cable goes into service
The first transatlantic submarine telecoms cable network to cater principally for internet traffic has gone into service ahead of schedule. The new network, Gemini, will provide much needed new capacity for data communications between the US and Europe where demand for internet services is at its most intense. The network is capable of carrying voice conversations and packets of internet information at speeds of up to 30bn bits of data a second, roughly equal to 500,000 simultaneous telephone calls. At present, the network is carrying equal volumes of voice and data traffic but its owners expect the ratio will move to 95:5 in favour of data within five years.
- Virus Hoax pages
(Data Fellows Anti-Virus HOAX warnings page)
Hoax warnings are typically scare alerts started by malicious people - and passed on by innocent users who think they are helping the community by spreading the warning. The hoax "WIN A HOLIDAY - virus warning" is the most recent example, although there is very little that is original in this hoax. see also http://stiller.com/hoaxes.htm.
QuickLinks are edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributors: Pierre Bischoff , Ola-Kristian Hoff, Alan Reekie
http://www.qlinks.net/ * Now with subject index *