QuickLinks 88 - 5 October 1998
Legal and regulatory issues
Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology sectors
- USA - FCC reorg eyes convergence
The Federal Communications Commission will restructure its various departments next year to better oversee converging markets like digital television and high-speed Internet access, the head of the agency said today.
- USA - Clinton, Gore Vow New Efforts On Piracy
Taking aim at software piracy, President Clinton is directing federal agencies to use only authorized computer software and asking foreign governments to do the same. The high-profile commitment to legal software and strong copyright policy is a declaration of war on software piracy, Al Gore said. "The message is clear: Don't copy that floppy," the vice president said.
- USA - Web site sued for copyright violations
In a case with broad implications in cyberspace, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit against a Web site that posts their stories without permission. see also TechWeb
Data Protection (privacy)
- USA - Accounting firm to audit Web privacy protections
In a move designed to send a message to Washington that the Internet industry is capable of looking out for the interests of online consumers, the accounting firm of Ernst & Young will audit Web-site companies. The company will partner with TRUSTe, a nonprofit organization that monitors Web-site companies to make sure they safeguard the information obtained from users.
- USA - Measure on Online Privacy Clears Senate Panel
(New York Times)
Congress on Thursday took its first step toward regulating the collection of personal information from consumers online as the Senate Commerce Committee endorsed legislation to protect children.
- Private Sector Group Submits Internet Name Plan
One of the founders of the Internet on Friday presented the Clinton administration with a consensus plan to privatize management of the global network's critical addressing system. Jon Postel, who heads the government contractor that currently runs the system telling computers where to route all Internet traffic, said the plan had been hashed out by many groups and companies to meet the administration's requirements for phasing out U.S. management of the global network. see also TechWeb, New York Times and InfoWorld.
- List of Members for Interim Board on new Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
(New York Times)
In its filing with the Department of Commerce, the new Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers said the following individuals have agreed to serve on its interim board: Geraldine Capdeboscq, George H. Conrades, Gregory L. Crew, Esther Dyson, Frank Fitzsimmons, Hans Kraaijenbrink, Jun Marai, Eugenio Triana, Linda S. Wilson.
- Economic ministers meet for e-commerce summit
(Nando.net - Reuters)
Internet businesses will be watching closely next week as government ministers from 26 countries meet in Ottawa to whittle the future of electronic commerce. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conference on October 8-9 is the last of three to be held with the aim of establishing international policy options (after Bonn and Turku - Ed).
Internet access and use
- UK - BT Shifts Net Service To Dodge Regulators
British Telecom has shifted control of its pay-as-you-go Internet-access service from its core telecommunications business to a multimedia subdivision to escape the heat of Britain's telecom regulators. BT said it had to transfer the consumer arm of Click to another division of the company because the Office of Telecommunications' (Oftel) regulations prevented the core part of the business from bundling a Web browser and e-mail address service with the service.
- EU - Council Common Position on the Internet Action Plan
The Council Common Position on the Action Plan on promoting safer use of the Internet was adopted on 24 September 1998. It now returns to the European Parliament for second reading under the co-decision procedure.
- USA - Congress Passes Computer Info Exchange Bill
The House of Representatives has joined the Senate in passing legislation that would allow U.S. companies to share information about fixing computers unable to handle dates beginning with year 2000. President Clinton lauded the congressional action and pledged to sign it into law.
Security and encryption
- Canada Proposes Relaxing Crypto-Export Laws
The Canadian government announced a new policy on encryption software. The government will streamline the export permit process, reducing "regulatory drag" on the manufacturer's production time line. The Canadian government will not seek mandatory key recovery or a key-escrow plan. However, it will maintain some encryption-export restrictions as mandated by the 33-country Wassenaar arms-control treaty.
- USA - Defense Dept says hacking stories were untrue
The US Department of Defense said that recent reports of hackers penetrating military Web sites and altering soldiers' medical files were inaccurate. Instead, a "Red Team" of American military computer experts carried out a simulated attack designed to test the security of the Pentagon's computer networks.
Taxation and tariffs
- U.S. Senate Clears Path for Internet Tax Bill Vote
The U.S. Senate rejected 65-30 a proposal to allow states to require mail order catalogue houses and Internet companies to collect taxes on goods shipped to consumers within their borders. The vote eliminates a major hurdle to Senate adoption, expected next week, of landmark legislation barring new state and local taxes of the Web for two years.
- EU - UMTS - Common position adopted by the Council
Common position adopted by the Council concerning the coordinated introduction of a third - generation mobile and wireless communications system (UMTS) in the Community. Download in WinWord format.
Market & Technology
- Bertelsmann Quietly Prepares Its Online Play
(The Industry Standard)
Bertelsmann Online will launch in six countries: the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands. Although the site, www.bol.com, will initially sell only books, the company is researching the possibilities of selling CDs and videos.
Internet access and use
- Firm aims to speed content delivery
Network caching firm Inktomi may be about to get a run for its money. After two years of research and development, a Los Angeles firm this week launched a product that promises high-volume Web publishers an improved online commute for their visitors.
- Netly News goes quietly into the night
The Netly News died a quiet death Thursday, the victim of poor financial performance. The Netly News, a three-year old online news publication published on Time-Warner Inc.'s Pathfinder, covered politics and culture in an irreverent style targeted at tech industry insiders.
- People magazine reportedly headed to AOL
In what could be a major shake-up in the way that Internet content is distributed, Time Warner's People magazine is close to sealing an exclusive carriage deal with America Online. With the collapse of most competitors, AOL is practically the only place to go now for content companies looking for license fees.
- Hotbot relaunched as portal
Wired Digital relaunched its HotBot search site adopting the popular portal site approach of categorizing information in channels. The revamped site, which allows users to search for information in nine languages, provides search results pages that include external site recommendations, news headlines, company profiles and stock quotes. Each of HotBot's 16 channels has a guide to the Web's best information sources, compiled by Wired editorial staffers.
- Sex drive
Porn is the driving force behind much of the technology for the Net. David Bradwell explains how dirty money has pushed the Net forward.
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, and
market and technology
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