QuickLinks 67 - 15 May 1998
EU - Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on a common framework for electronic signatures
White House announces Internet privacy plan
Germany - Pornography test case for Internet providers
USA - Microsoft negotiates and pushes Windows 98 back
USA - Court Rules For Microsoft On Windows 98
Legal and regulatory issues
- USA - Court Rules For Microsoft On Windows 98
Microsoft won its most important legal decision in its fight with the U.S. Justice Department late Tuesday, when a U.S. Appeals Court ruled that a preliminary injunction barring Microsoft from bundling its Internet browser with its Windows operating system does not apply to Windows 98.
- USA - Microsoft negotiates and pushes Windows 98 back
(InfoWorld Electric )
The U.S. Department of Justice, along with several states poised to sue Microsoft on antitrust grounds, agreed to postpone action until next week so eleventh-hour negotiations could continue, while Microsoft will not ship Windows 98.
- USA - Sun to seek injunction barring incompatible versions of Java in Windows 98
(InfoWorld Electric )
Sun Microsystems on Tuesday asked a federal court to prevent Microsoft from shipping an incompatible version of Java with Windows 98 and its Visual Java ++ development tool. "We are not trying to prevent them from shipping Windows 98," said Alan Baratz, president of Sun Microsystems' Java Software division. "We are asking them to ship a compatible Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in Windows 98."
WorldCom - MCI
- EU - WorldCom, MCI defend merger at hearing
WorldCom Inc and MCI Communications Corp were expected to argue at a hearing organised by the European Union antitrust watchdog on Tuesday that their merger would not give them control of the Internet. But rival telecommunications firms, particularly GTE Corp ., were set to take their turn on Wednesday to argue that WorldCom's $37 billion acquisition of MCI could severely harm competition in the global market for the supply of Internet backbone services. The Commission did not comment on the hearing, but dismissed as "rubbish" the WSJ article where it said the EU was expected to insist WorldCom Inc sold off some of its Internet holdings.
- G8 summit gets cybercrime briefing
(Nando.net - Reuters )
Leaders of the Group of Eight nations will interrupt their summit meeting this weekend for a video presentation by a senior British detective on high-tech computer battles between international criminals and police. Chief Constable Roy Penrose, Director-General of Britain's newly formed National Crime Squad, will speak for 10 minutes to the eight world leaders and show them video clips based on real cases.
Data Protection (privacy)
- White House announces Internet privacy plan
U.S. Vice President Al Gore Thursday announced a new Clinton administration plan to give U.S. citizens greater control over the information about them that is available over the Internet. The privacy plan includes a Web site that individuals can use to restrict certain types of personal information from being accessed and exploited. It also calls for legislation regarding the use of Internet-based medical records and for a "Summit on Privacy" to discuss the feasibility of self-regulation on the Internet, with a focus on children's privacy. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission will sponsor the new Web site at http://www.consumer.gov, which Gore said will allow individuals to do the following: Prohibit companies from prescreening their credit records without their permission; Prevent their driver's license data from being sold to data miners; and Remove their names and addresses from direct-mailing and telemarketing lists.
Information society and Internet policy
- UK - New Media Rules Needed In Digital Era - Minister
New media regulation will be needed to ensure that digital broadcasting and advertising offers choice and quality to consumers, UK Secretary of State Chris Smith said. Smith said regulation was needed to ensure that new media services were not burdened by overlapping regulation and multiple licensing. Current broadcast regulation must also be reassessed in the light of these new services. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport will work with the Department of Trade and Industry to consult on how new policy may need to adapt. Sustaining competition and streamlining existing regulators would be among the key aims of any new regulation, Smith said. New UK policy would also help shape the direction of European media policies, Smith said. The new regulation will promote competition among emerging new services, rather than consolidating existing dominant companies.
- USA - Clinton Adviser Outlines Government's Reduced Role In Net Regulation
Ira Magaziner, senior adviser to the president for policy development, outlined his vision of the U.S. government's minimal role in regulating the Internet, saying the medium's flexible technology and business conditions obviate the need for the regulation required in other media. The U.S. government recently asked that Internet executives devise a privacy code of conduct. Websites could then display a seal indicating compliance with the privacy standard, and the government would empower the Federal Trade Commission or Justice Department to enforce the use of the seal. Instead of government censorship of the Internet, Magaziner proposed that individuals should decide what content they view. He cited filtering software, available through ISPs or Web browsers.
- USA - High-Tech Week Kicks Off In Senate
Bills which may be voted on this week cover "slamming" (switching from one long distance carrier to another without consumer permission), Next Generation Internet, an increase in the number of visa for foreign workers in technology and a prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and use of devices that allow circumvention of copyright.
- Germany - Pornography test case for Internet providers
German trial of CompuServe ex-chief airs censorship arguments. In a crucial test case bearing on the policing and freedom of the Internet, the former head of a major online provider went on trial yesterday charged with disseminating child, animal, and violent pornography in cyberspace. Arguments on cyber-censorship, commercial pressures, and transnational restrictions on the use of the Internet will feature in the trial of Felix Somm, 34, a Swiss national, former head of the German subsidiary of CompuServe, the Internet provider. The Bavarian authorities allege that he "knowingly" facilitated the dissemination of illegal pornographic pictures and could have erected electronic "firewalls" to prevent the spread of criminal material.
- Gernmany - CSI case draws German Net lobby
A group of German Internet lobbyists called on a Munich court to shelf a case against a former manager of the CompuServe online service for failing to rid his network of pornography and other illegal material. Eco Electronic Commerce Forum, a grouping of German businesses seeking to promote the Internet, said yesterday it would have been impossible for Felix Somm, ex-chief of the German unit of CompuServe, to have fully monitored content on the network.
Security and encryption
- USA - Senators propose E-Privacy Act
(PC Week Online)
Senators John Ashcroft (R-Missouri) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced legislation today intended to pacify both sides of the federal government's encryption policy debate. The Ashcroft-Leahy E-Privacy Act preserves the right to strong encryption without key escrow within the United States, maintains that law enforcement access to encrypted data is essential and loosens export laws for encryption products.
Taxation and tariffs
- U.S. House Panel approves Internet tax bill
The U.S. House Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously approved legislation to impose a three-year moratorium on new state and local taxes that discourage greater use of the Internet. The Internet Tax Freedom Act would bar the Federal Communications Commission and states from regulating the prices of Internet access and on-line services. It also calls for a three- year "time-out" on state and local taxation of the Internet and seeks a panel of experts to study long-term solutions on Internet taxation issues.
- U.S., Japan strike deal to keep Internet tax-free
(Nando.net - The Associated Press)
The United States and Japan struck a deal Friday to keep the Internet tax-free as President Clinton toned down accusations that Japan wasn't doing enough to deal with the Asian financial crisis. The deal on the Internet commits the world's two largest economies to not impose restrictions on electronic commerce, encouraging self-regulation by Internet users themselves.
Market & Technology
- Two Giant Users Sign On The Digital Line
Eastman Kodak and Federal Express are about to give digital signatures their biggest boost yet. The corporate giants are each deploying tens of thousands of the electronic IDs in what appear to be the largest domestic commitments to date. Some view the projects as a sign that digital certificates, until now issued only sparingly by financial services firms and foreign phone companies, are poised to emerge as a preferred technology to secure large-scale, everyday corporate interactions over networks.
- USA - CyberCash Revenues Rise, Loss Narrows
CyberCash Inc. reported revenues of $1.14 million for the three months ended March 31, up from $155,000 for the first quarter of 1997. Nonetheless, the provider of secure electronic commerce solutions posted a net loss for the quarter of $5.6 million, down from a loss of $9.2 million for the same period a year ago. On the operating side, the company said it is continuing to see increased transaction volume in processing over 2 million transactions for the first quarter, up from 1.5 million transactions the prior quarter. This is an increase in transaction volume from 260,000 transactions in first quarter of 1997.
- Netscape unveils email client code
Communicator 5.0 has nothing left to hide. That's because Mozilla, which oversees the free source code development of Netscape Communications' Communicator software suite, today announced the release of source code for Messenger, the last major component in that suite to be unveiled.
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, and
market and technology.
QuickLinks are edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributor: Alan Reekie
http://www.qlinks.net/ * Now with subject index *