QuickLinks 113 - 19 March 1999
Legal and regulatory issues
- USA - Sex offender Web sites center of controversy (CNN) 14 U.S. States have taken to using the Web to broadcast the names of convicted sex offenders. Anyone, for instance, can access Virginia's sex offender registry, which gives details on every violent sex offender in the state.
- France - Numéricâble: la Cour d'appel de Paris rejette le recours de France Télécom (Agence France Presse) La Cour d'appel de Paris a rejeté le recours formé par France Télécom (FT) contre la décision du Conseil de la concurrence qui lui a interdit provisoirement, le 12 janvier, de relever le prix de la redevance exigée pour permettre au câblo-opérateur Numéricâble (groupe Canal+) d'utiliser ses infrastructures.
- UK - Monopolies Board 'Rejects' Bskyb Bid For Man Utd (Yahoo UK) has been turned down by the Sources close to the Department of Trade and Industry were quoted as saying that the Monopolies and Mergers Commission had found that the satellite broadcaster BSkyB's takeover bid for Manchester United was not in the public interest. According to the Daily Telegraph, the MMC questioned undertakings that BSkyB's ownership of the club would not give it an unfair advantage when negotiating broadcasting rights to football matches.
- USA - AOL gets green light (BBC) The US Justice Department has decided to allow America Online (AOL) to acquire Netscape and enter into a strategic alliance with Sun Microsystems.
- Internet Child Porn Said Major Threat To Future (Reuters) Child pornography, particularly on the Internet, is a booming industry that poses a serious threat to society, an international conference against the sexual exploitation of children heard.
- France - Arrestation d'un internaute diffusant des images pornographiques de mineurs (Agence France Presse) Un étudiant de 23 ans soupçonné de diffuser des images pornographiques de mineurs sur Internet a été arrêté par la police la semaine dernière en région parisienne. Il a été repéré par la police au cours des surveillances régulières de la BPM sur le réseau Internet.
- USA - Reno Announces Alliance to Curb Cybercrime (New York Times (registration required)) A new public-private alliance to curb Internet crime will help teach children "that hacking is the same as breaking and entering," Attorney General Janet Reno said. Educating children about acceptable online behavior is among three initiatives under the Cybercitizen Partnership, an initiative of government and the high-tech industry to promote cyberspace ethics and help law enforcers track down online criminals.
- Australia - Internet content regime announced (Press Release) The Government will introduce stronger measures to protect Australian citizens, especially children, against illegal or highly offensive material on the internet. The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) will administer this regime. For content hosted in Australia, the ABA must seek a National Classification Board opinion or classification if the content is likely to be classified in certain ways. The Board is responsible for classifying films and videos, computer games and publications. The regime also provides for self-regulatory codes of practice for the online service provider industry, to be overseen by the ABA. These codes of practice must include a commitment by an online service provider to take all reasonable steps to block access to RC or X material hosted overseas, once the service provider has been notified of the existence of the material by the ABA. See also Electronic Frontiers Australia and CSIRO report on content blocking
- Malaysia Drops Registration Plans For The Internet (Newsbytes) Malaysia's Prime Minister has ordered that Internet registration provisions related to Internet access from cybercafes introduced last December be removed.
- Malaysia holds two over riot rumors on Internet (Reuters) Malaysia has used a powerful national security law to arrest a man and woman over suspicion of spreading rumors of riots in the capital over the Internet last week
- Rising Tide: Sites Born of Hate (New York Times (registration required)) Racist pages grow in number and sophistication and may lure the unwary.
- The Internet's 'Open Sesame' Is Answered Warily (New York Times (registration required)) Ever so gingerly, the Internet is being allowed across some final frontiers, into restrictive parts of the Islamic world, under the wary eye of governments used to playing Big Brother.
- Warner tells artist to stop Web distribution (E! Online) Tom Petty has been thwarted in his attempt to make his latest single available via the Internet in the controversial MP3 format. Released as a free, Web-only exclusive this week, Petty's "Free Girl Now" has been yanked after two days under orders from his label, Warner Bros.
- USA - Bill on Protecting Databases Resurfaces in House (New York Times (registration required)) The Clinton Administration and a diverse coalition of academics, Internet companies, banking and medical groups lined up against legislation on how to protect databases from pirates without limiting access to information that has historically been part of the public domain.
- Graphic artists to protest illegal Web copying (Reuters)
- EU / US - Shakeups Won't Affect Privacy Debate (Newsbytes) Top Commerce Department and European Union officials David Aaron and John Mogg said that the recent resignation of all 20 members of the European Commission should not have an effect on discussions to arrive at proposals to allow online commerce between the two trading zones in the future, but did not rule out that possibility.
- UK - ISP forum favours privacy code (Computing) A privacy code for Internet service providers (ISPs) is top of the agenda at an Internet privacy forum next week. The meeting, on 22 March, has been organised by trade association London Internet Exchange (Linx) to counter fears that ISPs have been collaborating with police forces to allow access to personal data and email.
- USA - Better Business Bureaus Offer Online Privacy Seal (Washington Post) A subsidiary of the Council of Better Business Bureaus plans to begin a new effort to protect privacy on the Internet, offering qualified companies an electronic seal verifying their commitment to use personal information properly.
- USA - Truste's Test: Going After MS (Wired) The Internet's ability to guard consumers' privacy without government intervention faces a significant challenge this week when the independent online privacy organization Truste evaluates whether to investigate Microsoft -- one of its biggest sponsors -- for privacy infractions.
- ICQ's 'Dirty' Filter Fixed (Wired) Solid Oak Software, authors of the Cybersitter filtering program, released a "dirty-word filter" plug-in for America Online's ICQ chat that replaces the controversial filter. The company originally charged that ICQ was providing 28 million ICQ users free access to its copyrighted word filter, saying its encrypted filter had been reverse-engineered and published without permission.
- Internet-Access Price War Erupts In Germany (TechWeb) An Internet-access price war is looming in Germany in spite of America Online and two other ISPs stopping Deutsche Telekom from dropping its prices. Telecom group Viag Interkom announced it would cut its access charges by 40 percent to 6 pfennigs (3.3 cents) per minute, starting in May. The price combines access and local phone call charges. This model and the price mirror Deutsche Telekom's thwarted plan.
- Belgium - Les internautes paieront moins cher (Le Soir) [Belgian ISPs dispute Minister's claim that new system will make Internet access cheaper] Le ministre des Télécommunications Elio Di Rupo prévenait la communauté des surfeurs et des fournisseurs d'accès: le coût des communications allait encore baisser tandis qu'une croissance harmonieuse du secteur par l'organisation d'une concurrence équitable et régulée serait favorisée. mais voir aussi Nouveaux tarifs de l'Internet en Belgique? (ISPA Belgique)
- Switzerland - La concurrence fait baisser les prix d'Internet (Agence France Presse) La guerre des prix qui fait rage en Suisse dans le domaine des accès à Internet a poussé le leader du marché Blue Window, filiale de l'opérateur national de communications Swisscom, à baisser ses tarifs et annoncer l'accès gratuit à Internet, accélérant le mouvement chez ses concurrents.
- Belgium - Novell wins copyright case against ISP (The Register) A Belgian Internet Service Provider (ISP) has been convicted of copyright infringement after subscribers to a bulletin board were found to be using the service to upload copies of Novell software. [Ed: Readers are invited to mail in more information on this]
Market & Technology
- Royal Bank, Reuters In Internet Trial (Reuters) British banking company Royal Bank of Scotland said it had teamed up with international news and information company Reuters to pilot a treasury and capital markets service over the Internet.
- UK 'lagging' (BBC) A survey on behalf of the Institute of Directors and Oracle software suggested the UK lagged behind the rest of Europe in understanding the Internet.
- Sweden - Sifo Interactive: Over 3.3 Million Online (NUA) In Sweden 3.326 million people between the ages of 12 and 79 accessed the Web in February 1999, according to Sifo Interactive. This represents 46.9 percent of all Swedes in this age group.
- USA - 72 Million Online (NUA) By August 1998, an estimated 72 million Americans had Internet access, according to a report by Media Mark. The study estimates that in August 1998, 53.5 million US adults had accessed the Internet in a typical thirty-day period, up from 43.6 million people in May 1998.
- Silicon Valley's Awesome Look at New Sony Toy (New York Times (registration required)) Sony's Playstation II, though still more than a year away from store shelves, is creating a stir here in Silicon Valley because it is the first machine to deliver graphics that until now could be produced only by supercomputers -- and at prices that will put it under Christmas trees in 2000.
- EU - IST Programme calls (Commission) The first Calls for Proposals under the IST Programme was launched on 19 March 1999. The final version of the Work Programme is also available.
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edited by Richard Swetenham (firstname.lastname@example.org). - Contributors: Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie
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