QuickLinks 75 - 12 June 1998
Legal and regulatory issues
- EU reviews Microsoft deals
The European Commission sought comments OJ C 175 on licensing agreements between Microsoft and online service providers on the promotion of the software giant's Internet browser. Microsoft revised the agreements earlier this year to meet antitrust concerns in the European Union that the company was abusing its power in the software market to impose its browser. A commission spokesman said at the time that the modifications appeared to address the agency's fears and said today that this was still valid, but it needed to consult interested parties before giving its blessing. The licensing agreements are unrelated to a U.S. antitrust lawsuit concerning Microsoft's bundling of its popular Windows software with Explorer.
- Teen Crackers Admit Guilt
Two California teenagers have pleaded guilty to federal charges of cracking Pentagon computers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
- Private Sector Will Take Up Domain Plan
The Global Incorporation Alliance Workshop will meet July 1-2 in Reston, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., to try to reach consensus on a domain-name governing organization. The conference, called "Toward an Internet Assigned Numbers Entity: Charter Stakeholders Workshop," is sponsored by the Commercial Internet Exchange, a group representing ISPs, the Domain Names Rights Coalition, IBM, and Network Solutions. Tamar Frankel, a Boston University Law professor and expert in corporations and the control of financial institutions, will lead the workshop. Eighty-two companies, organizations, and experts have been invited, including the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority , the Internet Council of Registrars, America Online, AT&T, PSINet, the American Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Association for Interactive Media, Disney Online, the Internet Society, as well as some foreign organizations.
- Stars Spar over US Net Policy
Ira Magaziner, and Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor, collided over the Clinton administration's approach to handling issues crucial to the future of the global network. Lessig focused his criticism on a plan to form a private, nonprofit agency to set Internet addressing policy and run the domain system. Although he acknowledged that Americans have many reasons to be skeptical of government involvement in such an operation, he argued that delegating the job to a private agency raised serious legal and constitutional issues. He noted that the agency, charged with regulating crucial activity in "the biggest new territory since the Louisiana Purchase," would operate beyond any judicial, legislative, or other public accountability.
Information society and Internet policy
- Germany's Internet Angst
Nearly a decade after the fall of the Wall that had so clearly defined two Germanys for 40 years, the reunified nation still shows symptoms of schizophrenia, and nowhere are the symptoms wreaking more havoc than on the Internet. Just as US politicians reach for the buzzword "terrorism" to justify incremental invasions into the privacy of its citizens, German policy-makers point to the country's "special history" when they feel the itch to eavesdrop on their own, or to plug perceived leaks in their national mediascape.
- USA - House Stiffens Kid Porn Laws
The House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation Thursday that would create new laws and increase prison sentences for anyone using the Internet to engage children in sexual activity or to send or receive child pornography. The Clinton administration said it supports the bill, which now moves on to the Senate.
- White House Pursues Child-Safe Net
The federal government continues its push to generate a kid-friendly Internet this week, as officials and representatives from Internet companies meet in Los Angeles. The meeting is the second in a series of White House-sponsored industry summits. "This particular summit is focused entirely on content, as opposed to issues of enabling technology or privacy practices," said event coordinator Jon Goodman.
- Germany - Eine Kontrolle ist nicht unmöglich
Seit Anfang des Jahres durchwühlt eine spezielle Software Nacht für Nacht selbständig das weltweite Netz nach Pornographie, rassistischem und gewaltverherrlichendem Material. Das Programm orientiert sich an Listen mit bestimmten Begriffen und mit Adressen einschlägig bekannter Anbieter. Am Morgen präsentiert der Rechner dann rund 200 bis 300 Angebote, die die Mitarbeiter von "jugendschutz.net" in Rheinland-Pfalz auf ihren Inhalt überprüfen.
- MCI, WorldCom shift asset sale
MCI Communications and WorldCom are revising the sale of certain Internet assets to gain regulatory approval for their proposed merger, Cable & Wireless revealed in its lawsuit filed against MCI. After agreeing to purchase MCI's wholesale Internet business last month for $625 million, Cable & Wireless charged that the companies planned to violate the sale agreement by offering a revised package of assets to others without first engaging in exclusive negotiations with Cable & Wireless. The ten-page suit was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Security and encryption
- An appraisal of technologies for political control
(European Parliament, STOA)
This document includes a section on developments in surveillance technology (including the emergence of new forms of local, national and international communications interceptions networks and the creation of human recognition and tracking devices).
- Kryptographie & Datensicherheit
zusammengefasste Artikel über Verschlüsselung und Abhörmechanismen
- US' 'Soft, Digital Underbelly'
The head of a new US cyber law-enforcement agency says a half dozen substantial attacks have been launched against government computer systems since February. "A good percentage of the incidents we see ... involve [the Department of Defense], because DOD is such a prime target for even individual hackers who want to test their skills," said Michael Vatis, the chief of the National Infrastructure Protection Center of the FBI. "They see the Department of Defense as the big banana, the final exam, the ultimate challenge to test their skills."
Market & Technology
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- German DigiTV Plan Presses On
Premiere, the pay-TV service at the center of two German media giants' plans for digital TV, intends to push forward with its digital service despite rejection by the European Commission. The European Union last month blocked an attempt by Bertelsmann AG and Leo Kirch to merge their digital-TV activities, contesting the deal on the grounds that it would create a market monopoly. But Premiere said today that it has filed new applications for digital broadcasting licenses.
- Airline's Internet sales hit by fear of fraud
Fear of fraud rather than fear of flying has held back the growth of air travel sales on the Internet, travel industry experts told the International Air Transport Association annual general meeting. It is also a totally groundless fear, the panel said. Besides dispelling fears about credit card security, airlines and online travel agencies can encourage electronic buying by adding visual features to their sites that people cannot get over the phone. Such features could include aircraft seating diagrams, maps and the latest travel and weather information. Also spurring Internet sales of air travel is the phasing out of paper tickets. All it takes to get a boarding pass is a confirmation number.
- Amazon.com jumps into online music sales
(NandoNet - Reuters)
Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. moves beyond books for the first time on Thursday, making a play for the rapidly growing market of music sales over the Internet. The Seattle-based company, the leader in online book sales with $87 million in sales in its most recent quarter, faces stiff competition in the new market, notably from online music sellers CD Now Inc. and Music Boulevard, a unit of N2K Inc. But with sales of recorded music over the Internet projected to rise from about $300 million this year to $2.5 billion in 2002, analysts and industry executives say Amazon.com (www.amazon.com) is well positioned to get a piece of the market.
Internet access and use
- Excite Chooses to Wear "150" Cap
Excite, Inc. announced today that its new nationwide Internet access service offered in conjunction with AT&T WorldNet will be the latest to limit users to 150 hours online per month.
- Cable & Wireless sues MCI over sale of Internet business
(NandoNet - Reuters)
Cable & Wireless Plc. said Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit to require MCI Communications Corp. to comply with its existing agreement to sell its Internet backbone business to the British company. The lawsuit was seen by industry experts as a preemptive strike by Cable and Wireless' to prevent MCI from reneging on the deal in an effort to gain regulatory approval for the U.S. company's proposed acquisition by WorldCom Inc.
Multilingual content and software
- IRELAND: Software localisation by Microsoft
Microsoft has its European software localisation centre at Leopardstown in Dublin. The Worldwide Product Group Ireland (WPGI) was set up in 1988 to provide the European and South American markets with country specific versions of Microsoft's products, reflecting local languages and culture. The group has grown from localising two products, MSDos and PC Word, into two languages in 1988, to working on more than 100 products in 25 languages today.
- Female AOL Users Now The Majority
Women will take over the Internet this year, according to Ted Leonsis, president of AOL Studios. Speaking at Summit '98: New York's New Media Industry Leadership Conference, Leonsis said America Online's audience, which is growing at the rate of a million a month, is now 52 percent female.
- Poll suggests cybersex not so hot after all
(NandoNet - Reuters)
Cybersex, it turns out, is not so steamy after all. In what is being billed as the first major "click-and-tell" poll about online sex, Internet users poured cold water on feverish speculation about their hot-and-heavy, high-tech love lives. More than 13,500 people responded, anonymously answering 47 questions ranging from age, career, and sexual orientation to what sort of cybersex thrilled them most. Statistics compiled by Relevant Knowledge, a web traffic tracking company, found that 9.6 million users, or about 15 percent of all Web users, logged on to the ten most popular cybersex sites in April.
- Yahoo! most popular Web site in May - report
Yahoo! Inc.'s Internet site, the consistent pacesetter for Web traffic, drew in 36 percent more Web surfers in May than its nearest competitor, according to an industry report released Monday. Some 30.6 million individuals traveled last month to http://www.yahoo.com, where they accessed Yahoo!'s services, which include news, Internet search, and e-mail, Internet research firm RelevantKnowledge Inc. said. The company, in its report, "Top 25 Dot.com Domains," said it measures "unique visitors," or individuals who may travel to a site by surveying a panel of users over age 12.
- France - Bilan encourageant de la pénétration du commerce électronique
(Agence France Presse)
Quelque 60.000 entreprisees, soit 39% des entreprises françaises, utilisent le commerce et les échanges électroniques, via le minitel, internet ou au travers l'EDI (échanges de données informatisé), selon un premier état des lieux dressé par l'observatoire du commerce et des échanges électroniques.
- Company to offer IP telephony between U.S., Eastern Europe
(InfoWorld Electric )
Internet service provider CxTel Inc. has teamed with telecommunications equipment maker e-Net Inc. to offer Internet telephony services between the U.S. and Eastern Europe, e-Net said Thursday.
- EU - EUR-Lex
The Official Journal is now available free online in all 11 official languages, for 20 days from publication. EUR-Lex also contains the Treaties, consolidated texts of legislation, and recent case-law of the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance. The existing subscription services, CELEX and EUDOR, will continue.
- EU - I*M Europe presents Newsdesk
(European Commission DG XIII)
A gateway to IM (Information Market), ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and IS (Information Society) related news originating from the European institutions.
- France - Internet.gouv.fr
Le site du programme d'action gouvernemental pour la société d'information
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, and
market and technology
edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributors: Gerhard Heine, Theodor Schlickmann
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