QuickLinks 110 - 3 March 1999
Legal and regulatory issues
- Microsoft hunts pirates on auction sites
Microsoft is turning a sharp eye on Web auction sites such as eBay, looking to stem the sales of pirated software online. Microsoft will begin monitoring eBay's software auctions, asking the company to shut down auctions of software it believes to be counterfeit.
- China - Nearly 100 computer hacking cases uncovered
China cracked some 100 cases of computer hacking last year ranging from mischief to serious crime. Public Security officials estimated that the uncovered cases represented just 15 percent of true activity, and with growing use of computers the crime was proliferating at an alarming 30 percent a year.
- India - Moves To Police Internet Abuse, Cyber Crimes
Indian police will take the lead in cracking down on computer crimes and regulating Internet companies to check gambling and pornography. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will initiate measures to design new high-tech legislation.
- UK - Boy behind £10,000 software scam
An 11-year-old boy has been revealed as the brains behind a computer game bootlegging operation worth £10,000. The child, whose lucrative sideline was discovered by software piracy investigators, ran the scam from his bedroom in his parents' home in Sunderland.
- UK - Child porn turns to Chat
The UK body set up to monitor illegal material on the Net says paedophiles are turning to online Chat rooms to pursue their activities, after being driven from Websites and newsgroups. David Kerr, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), says 90% of the "Hotline" calls it receives are about child pornography.
- UK - Cracker Sentenced to Prison
A Rhode Island cracker who broke into universities, disabled Internet services, and ran a computer security Web site received a 1-year federal prison sentence.
- UK - Criminals Beating Police In Cyberspace
Police are losing the fight against criminals in cyberspace and will have to take giant strides to catch up on the information superhighway, said Paul Higdon, head of the criminal intelligence directorate at Interpol.
- UK - Police stake out illicit gambling Websites
A special police unit is being formed in the UK in response to the growing number of illegal gambling Websites on the Internet. The move by the National Intelligence Crime Squad comes as the Emerging Crime conference in London warned that organised criminals are using the Net to set up illegal virtually reality casinos.
- USA - New injunction against 'Nuremberg' site
A federal judge issued a permanent injunction barring 14 defendants from threatening doctors through a controversial anti-abortion Web site or similar printed materials.
- USA - Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes part of pornography law
(Nando Media - Associated Press)
The Wisconsin Supreme Court annulled part of the state's anti-pornography law, dismissing two counts of sexual exploitation of a child against a man accused of downloading Internet pictures of naked boys and distributing them in 1995 and 1996. The justices struck down the portion of a 1987 law used to charge Zarnke, ruling it unconstitutional because it requires the defendant to prove his or her lack of knowledge of the child's age and violates the First Amendment.
- USA - Yahoo message board suit continues
A publicly traded Internet company that sued 100 "John Does" for allegedly posting false and defamatory statements about it on a Yahoo Finance message board has narrowed its case to a handful of individuals. *
- Universities Grapple With Computer Use Policies
(New York Times (registration required))
Copyright, trademarks and patents
Data Protection (privacy)
Intel Pentium III
- Big PC makers decide to disable chip ID
In a blow to Intel's plans for its controversial processor serial number, the largest four PC makers have decided to disable the function in the basic control software of their Pentium III computers.
- Pentium III serial number is soft switchable after all
The controversial serial number of the new Pentium III processors can be read on the quiet after all. Contrary to Intel's description so far, the system architecture allows for individual identification by software tricks without a user's explicit allowance or notice.
- USA - Rights Group Details Complaint To FTC On Intel
The Center for Democracy and Technology, a civil liberties group, plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission charging that the release of a new computer chip by Intel constitutes unfair and deceptive trade practices.
- France - U.S. firm ordered to hand over Web domain to France's Total oil
(Nando Media - Agence France-Press)
A French court prohibited U.S. firm Probiz Technologies from using an Internet domain name claimed by the soon-to-merge French and Belgian oil companies Total and Petrofina.
- WWW - ICANN to vote on domain registration policy
The nonprofit corporation charged with overseeing the Net's core technical underpinnings is holding a public meeting in Singapore and will vote on proposals to spur competition in the ".com" registration market. Preceding the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) public meeting, its international Government Advisory Committee met today and endorsed the nonprofit's principles.
Information society and Internet policy
- France goes head to head with U.S. over Internet law
(Total Telecom (registration required))
France is calling for a new round of trade negotiations for electronic commerce at the World Trade Organization in an effort to bring better legal certainty for issues as diverse as consumer protection and Internet domain names.
Liability, jurisdiction and applicable law
Protection of minors
- Germany - Protection of minors on television to be reinforced
(Agence France Presse)
Im deutschen Fernsehen wird es einen verstärkten Jugendschutz geben. Darauf verständigten sich die Ministerpräsidenten der 16 Bundesländer bei einem Medien-Sondertreffen. Im Rundfunkstaatsvertrag solle verankert werden, grundsätzlich die Ausstrahlung jugendgefährdender indizierter Filme zu verbieten, deren Sendung bislang ab 23 Uhr möglich ist. Für das digitale Fernsehen soll eine technische Regelung für eine Vollsperrung nicht jugendfreier Filme rund um die Uhr geprüft werden.
- UK - ITC imposes financial penalty on Telewest
The ITC has imposed a financial penalty of £10,000 on Telewest for continued breaches of the ITC Rules on the Amount and Scheduling of Advertising, which details products which must not be advertised in or adjacent to children’s programmes.
- USA - Safe Children's Sites Honored By Cyber-Watch Group
Cyberangels, an internet neighborhood watch group, honored four Web sites for children Monday for making both parents and kids happy by being safe as well as fun.
Security and encryption
- UK - Beckett warns of hacker menace
Britain's computer network is at risk from "malicious attack" by hackers. In a speech to leading computer experts, the Leader of the Commons Margaret Beckett warned of the threat of hackers infiltrating the security files and personal data held by Government and commercial computers at a conference, which was sponsored by GCHQ, the Government's secret monitoring organisation
- UK - Credible source: hacker Web site
Reuters reported a dramatic story that hackers had seized control of a British military satellite, and won’t release it until a ransom is paid. The Hacker News Network threw cold water on the report, in another example of how personal Web publishing has turned journalism on its ear.
- UK - Encryption key would lock up criminals
Cyber-criminals would be caught if the government introduced a system where the keys to coded e-mail were voluntarily lodged with licensed authorities, according to the UK National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS).
- USA - Professor appeals to publish crypto code
A Cleveland law professor has appealed a federal ruling that prohibits him from publishing encryption code on his Web site without government permission.
Self-regulation / codes of conduct
Taxation and tariffs
- USA - Counties Demand Net Taxes
A congressional advisory panel is unfairly biased against taxing Internet purchases and should be barred from meeting, local government officials claim in a lawsuit. The National Association of Counties will ask a federal judge to prevent the group from holding its first meeting, scheduled for later this month.
- Nordic Trailblazers Tackle High-Cost Mobile Roaming
(Total Telecom (registration required))
Regulators in Denmark, Finland and Norway are supporting an international operator that is demanding fixed-style interconnect rates instead of conventional roaming charges.
- UK - BT Needs More Time for Carrier Pre-Selection
(Total Telecom (registration required))
The U.K. regulator is to ask the European Commission for a delay in the introduction of carrier pre-selection (CPS). Europe has legislated that it should be mandatory from 1 January 2000 in member states. The Office of Telecommunications said that the magnitude of the software upgrade task means that BT will be unable to meet the deadline.
- USA - FCC Leaves Internet Dial-Up As Local Call
The Federal Communications Commission left intact rules that designate calls to ISPs as local and that result in the regional Bells paying fees to the new carriers for completing calls of its customers. For now, computer users connecting to the Internet will not be charged long distance rates.
- Spain - Government Sees Net as Universal Right
Spain will join France in asking the European Union to consider Internet access a "universal right"--like education and healthcare--thus allowing financed access at an "accessible price."
Market & Technology
- Network Solutions Angers Domain Holders
Several holders of domain names are angry at Network Solutions after their domain names disappeared from root servers, making it impossible for Internet users to navigate to their sites or send them e-mail.
- BBC expands online shop with MSN deal
The BBC is to expand its Web presence and ecommerce offerings in a bid keep its loyal viewers and to reach new customers in a different way. Britain's broadcasting bastion will relaunch the online BBC shop to include 4,000 products, creating a channel to provide goods the high street retailer wouldn't necessarily stock, such as back catalogue videos of cult TV shows.
- Bertelsmann und VIAG Interkom gründen Game Channel
Die Bertelsmann Interactive Studios und VIAG Interkom gründen ein Joint-Venture: VIAG Interkom beteiligt sich mit 50 Prozent an dem von Bertelsmann gestarteten "Game Channel" (www.gamechannel.de).
- Software allows users to avoid advertising banners
see also Ad Blockers Challenge Web Pitchmen. Der Web Washer von Siemens filtert Werbung aus Web-Seiten heraus und das sehr wirkungsvoll. Während sich die Anwender über kürzere Ladezeiten freuen, bangen die Anbieter von Inhalten um ihre Werbeeinnahmen. Bedrohen Reklameblocker die kostenlosen Dienste im Web oder beweisen sie nur, daß Online-Werbung bislang den falschen Ansatz verfolgt?
- Net Advertising: Who's Looking?
Employment and social issues
- Don't overdo the surfing
(Agence France Presse)
Un Italien qui avait passé trois jours quasiment sans interruption à naviguer sur internet a dû être hospitalisé, souffrant de "confusion mentale, hallucinations et délires". Il s'agit d'un cas "d'intoxication aiguë d'internet".
Internet access and use
- China - Internet, Telephone Fees Cut
China's Ministry of Information Industry has slashed the price of using the Internet, cutting charges by 50 percent. The government ministry is also making the price of using voice telephony cheaper.
- Inktomi Finds That Cache Beats Search
(The Industry Standard)
Inktomi's search-engine business has hit some choppy waters in the last month, but the company hopes its expansion into network caching will save the day.
Portals, browsers and search engines
- Giving Voice to the Web
A coalition of telecom and technology companies is pushing for an industry-wide standard to transform Web content from text into voice. The new standard would give people without computers access to online content over phone lines. A group of about 20 companies led by AT&T, Lucent, and Motorola announced the formation of the VXML Forum.
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, and
market and technology
edited by Richard Swetenham
- Contributors: TKRNews, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine
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