QuickLinks 83 - 16 September 1998
Legal and regulatory issues
- UK - BT's 'rogue salesman' excuse fails to Click
Following BT's admission last week that it has been poaching Internet users from other ISPs, a ZDNet News reader has reported a second instance of the tactic contradicting the telco's claim that the first was an "isolated" occurrence. The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) which has expressed its concern over Click in several meetings and a letter to Oftel is worried by the latest developments. see also BT Click gets the all clear... for now http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1998/35/ns-5443.html BT admits to ISP customer poaching http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1998/36/ns-5454.html
see related story
MCI - WorldCom
- USA - FCC approves MCI-WorldCom
The Federal Communications Commission said today it had cleared WorldCom's acquisition of MCI Communications, subject to MCI completing the divestiture of its Internet assets. In authorizing the transfer of communications licenses and other authorizations associated with the deal, the FCC said it had found that the merger would produce tangible benefits to consumers and was in the public interest. See also FCC announcement http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Common_Carrier/News_Releases/1998/nrcc8061.html
- Judge's denial of Microsoft's request proves revealing
New details in the battle between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice came to light on Monday, offering some of the most interesting looks so far into the evidence the government has gathered against the software giant.
- China arrests hacker
(Nando.net - Reuters)
In the first arrest since a new criminal code outlawed computer crimes, Chinese police arrested a software programmer and charged him with hacking into a nationwide computer network.
- Egyptian hackers accused of fraud
(Nando.net - Reuters)
Police arrested two Egyptian computer hackers, accusing them of using a stolen credit card number to download pornographic pictures and films worth $147,000 from the Internet. The sources said the incident was the first Internet-related crime in Egypt.
- UK - Police bust £50m worth of Microsoft counterfeit
The National Crime Squad has made its fourth illegal-software bust, bringing the total of counterfeit Microsoft goods recovered in the past three months to a street value total of more than £50 million. The latest bust follows an intensive two-year investigation by the National Crime Squad, who intercepted a truck with 20,000 Microsoft Windows 95 upgrades. The disks were believed to have been stolen from KAO Systems in Ireland, one of Microsoft's distribution centres.
- Domain name policy compromise close
After a week of closed-door negotiations, the two biggest players in the Net's domain debate say they are close to compromise on a plan for governing the Internet's domain-name system.
- Germany - Die deutsche Politik entdeckt ein neues Wahlkampfmedium
Das Internet ist bei den Parteien »in«. Bei der Bundestagswahl 1994 wußten die meisten Politiker wahrscheinlich noch nicht einmal, was das Internet ist. Heute, vier Jahre später, sind sie alle drin. Alle großen und die Mehrzahl der kleineren Parteien haben das World Wide Web, das weltumspannende öffentliche Computernetz, für sich entdeckt. Viele Politiker aller Ebenen haben zudem eigene Adressen, sogenannte Homepages, im Netz, wo sie für sich werben und ihre Ansichten zu den politischen Fragen darstellen - für jedermann mit Internetanschluß einsehbar.
- USA - A Call for Digital Surveillance Is Delayed
(New York Times)
In a setback for the FBI, the Federal Communications Commission has given the telecommunications industry an additional 20 months to comply with a federal law meant to bring law enforcement surveillance into the digital age. But in extending the deadline the commission deferred action on some of the most disputed facets of the issue, which has pitted law enforcement officials against telephone equipment manufacturers, network-service providers and privacy-rights advocates.
Internet access and use
- Ireland looks at putting every citizen on Net
The Irish government is examining a proposal to celebrate the millennium by providing an e-mail address for every citizen. Under the plan every person will have their own electronic mailing address that could be accessed through the post office. The plan also calls for each of the republic's residents to be given access to the Internet through smart cards.
- Parenting on the Internet
Detailed article discussing filtering and rating and areas where parents should consider exercising control.
- Parents often skip porn filters
(Orange County Register - Lexington Herald-Leader)
Article discussing extent to which parents actually use filtering and rating.
- Germany - Dix mois de prison pour diffusion d'images pédophiles
(Agence France Presse)
Un Allemand de 40 ans a été condamné à dix mois de prison avec sursis par le tribunal de Rendsburg pour avoir diffusé sur Internet des images à caractère pédophile et zoophile. L'homme avait diffusé en février deux images montrant l'abus sexuel d'enfants ainsi que d'animaux, et la police a découvert 160 autres images pornographiques dans le disque dur de son ordinateur, lors d'une perquisition à son domicile. Un Allemand de 41 ans a par ailleurs été arrêté à Hanovre pour avoir diffusé plusieurs milliers d'images pédophiles sur Internet.
- UK - Crackdown on Internet racism
The UK Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has called for a crackdown on racist material published on the Internet. He has asked governments across the world to work together to remove illegal Websites and prosecute those responsible. Speaking to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Mr Straw revealed that the National Criminal Intelligence Service would act against threatening, abusive and racist material.
- USA - Net advocates say lawmakers have sex double standard
The Electronic Frontier Foundation have criticised politicians who support bills restricting access to pornographic Internet content for inconsistency in voting to release the Starr report on the Internet without restrictions.
Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law
- Austria - Die elektronischen Wege abscheulicher Bilder
(Der Standard (registration required))
Austrian service providers in court accused of distributing pornography. Erstmals müssen sich Internet-Anbieter wegen verbotener Inhalte verantworten.
- USA - Yahoo shifts message board policy
Following a lawsuit aiming to uncover the identity of 100 Yahoo message board users who allegedly posted defamatory statements about a public company, Yahoo will henceforth attempt to authenticate visitors' email addresses.
see related story
Security and encryption
- U.S. to relax encryption export limits
The Clinton administration is expected to relax export controls on data scrambling equipment Wednesday, preparing the ground for yet another round of debate over encryption policy. Among other things, the new policy will relax controls for sales to specific industries, including e-commerce, medicine and insurance The liberalization will fall far short of what administration critics wanted.
- Cryptography is not a weapon
Today members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (http://www.gilc.org) sent a statement to the technical expert representatives of the 33 Nations who are signatory to the Wassenaar Arrangement. Leeds based Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is a member of the campaign and signed the GILC statement which calls for the removal of cryptography from the Wassenaar Arrangement.
- US West hit by internal hack
A hack is often assumed to originate from an outsider attempting to break into a system, but sometimes the hacker is an employee. US West says that, for at least the last three months, its computers were hacked into by a computer consultant working for the Baby Bell, the Denver Post reported, bringing some of the telecom's services to a standstill. An information systems employee allegedly used the 2,585 computers to search for a new prime number.
- Virus Hunters: Stalking 'Disease' on the Net
(New York Times)
In a survey released on Monday by International Computer Security Association Inc. (ISCA), the number of virus attacks on major corporate computers rose to 87 per 1,000 computers this year, up from 62 attacks last year. In all, ISCA, a company that accredits anti-virus software makers and monitors the industry, estimates there are 15,000 to 20,000 viruses, with 1,000 new ones emerging a month.
- USA - N.Y. Times site hacked
The New York Times Web site was hacked Sunday morning by an organization calling itself HFG that proclaims support for imprisoned hacker Kevin Mitnick. The site was affected for about 12 hours after some visitors to the site encountered a page posted by the hackers including attacks on reporters and a large HFG logo, in which the letters were filled in with titillating partial photos of the upper bodies of nude women.
Market & Technology
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- Motorola unveils set-top box entry
Motorola Inc. Monday unveiled a new architecture for what could be considered a set-top box on steroids -- its so-called "Blackbird" technology. Motorola touts Blackbird as the ultimate multimedia platform: it is to support 3D graphics, Java, DVD digital video, high-fidelity audio, Internet access, e-commerce and broadband networking, in one unit that plugs into a television set. In other words, the futuristic platform is a gaming console, Internet terminal and entertainment system all rolled into one.
- 'Whois' Blocks Abusers Of Domain Database
Network Solutions Inc. is blocking certain companies from using its public database of domain name holders. NSI's Whois database contains detailed information on 2.3 million Internet domain name recipients who have registered through NSI's InterNIC service. The listings, which include name, postal address, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, were designed primarily to help network operators communicate with domain holders. But Whois has become increasingly popular with companies that mine the list for direct mail marketing campaigns and subsequently burden its servers.
- Media giants turn to e-commerce
Time Warner, Walt Disney Co., and News Corp. are planning ambitious e-commerce expansions of their sites to supplement online advertising revenues.
- Time Warner plans Web store
Media titan Time Warner said today it will market products on the World Wide Web, catching up in the tremendous electronic commerce marketplace. The company's yet-to-be-named virtual store could start selling Time Warner videos, books, clothing, and other products within 6 to 12 months, said Peter Costiglio, spokesman for publishing and direct marketing division Time Incorporated.
- IBM confirms plans to sell global network
IBM is indeed looking to sell its Global Network and underlying infrastructure, which offers connectivity services to clients worldwide, the company confirmed today.
- Yahoo, MCI End Internet Partnership
Yahoo said Monday that it is parting ways with MCI, with which it has a joint Internet service. The partnership was doomed by WorldCom's takeover of MCI, according to Yahoo. MCI agreed to sell its Internet unit to get regulators to let the deal go through. Cable & Wireless has agreed to buy it for $1.75 billion.
Quality of service
- Net doesn't break down
It may have been a record traffic day on the Internet, but predictions that the Web would be driven to its knees did not come true. Only one in 10 attempts by Internet users to get access to the Web site of the House of Representatives succeeded on Friday afternoon after the report was posted, according to Keynote Systems, a San Mateo, California, firm that monitors the performance of the network. Half of all attempts to access top commercial news Web sites succeeded, the firm reported.
Security and encryption
- Security software monitors typing habits
BioPassword, which monitors a person's typing habits, will be incorporated into the next version of Net Nanny Software International Inc.'s filtering product, due in early 1999. The software was designed by researchers at Stanford University. The company is touting the technology as a less invasive and cheaper alternative to other so-call biometric methods, such as fingerprinting and iris scanning, because it does not require special hardware.
- Technology uses "voiceprints" to identify Web surfers
Before entering a Web site, surfers are required to prove their identity by speaking into a microphone on their PCs. Using voice verification algorithms to sample digitized voiceprints, a server at the other end analyzes voice inflections and intonations, and doesn't grant access until it finds a biometric match in its database.
- US takes immigration in hand
In an effort to speed the process for international travelers, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service is offering a biometric system for willing frequent flyers. It employs a biometric kiosk to scan and match the geometric dimensions of travelers' hands, verify their identities, and perform standard background checks.
- Net Britannia leads the way
Internet use in the UK has more than doubled in two years. Britons are embracing the Internet age much more than their European counterparts, according to a new survey. The poll, commissioned by IT Systems and the computer services company ICL, suggests that attitudes to technology across Europe and the US are very different.
- UK - Internet Survey Results
Typical UK user: a single male aged 22-30 who owns his own home and car, lives in or near a metropolitan area and may have an income exceeding 40k pa. If he reads a paper, it's likely to be The Guardian - he's well educated (to degree level) and holds a senior position in the banking, finance or business services sectors.
- Droits des nouvelles technologies - nouveau site
(E-mail from gefib@FranceNet.fr)
Il a été créé par Lionel THOUMYRE, doctorant en droit, et regroupe différents juristes, dans différentes domaines, droit des NTC, Propriété industrielle .... Ce site n'a aucun objectif commercial. Il permet juste à des jeunes juristes de s'exprimer sur ce sujet.
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