QuickLinks 117 - 8 May 1999
Legal and regulatory issues
- EU - Reasoned opinion to Belgium concerning taxes on satellite dishes (RAPID) The European Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion (the second stage of a formal infringement procedure under Article 169 of the EC Treaty) to Belgium concerning taxes imposed on satellite television dishes by some municipal authorities ("communes").
- UK - Television: the publicís view 1998 (Press Release) The ITC has published the annual survey into the viewing habits and preferences of the UK public, Television: the Publicís View 1998. Access to the internet at home has increased to 8%, up from 5% in 1997 and 3% in 1996. In AB households, internet access is 21%. see also Sky faces rise in consumer hostility (The Independent)
- Australia - Online hoax Nets April Fools (ZDNet) The Australian Securities and Investments Commission -- the Antipodean version of the Securities and Exchange Commission -- has been running a massive Internet investment hoax site, to educate the Australian public about the dangers of some online investing. It will also e-mail online investing advice tips to its 1,445 April Fools who asked for more information.
- USA - SEC: Online Brokers Should Tell It Like It Is (The Standard) Although investors are ultimately responsible for their own actions, online brokerages must communicate the risks to their customers more clearly, says SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt. see also Reuters.
- The Net's Neighborhood Watch (Reuters)
- USA - FCC sends dirty joke to email list (CNet News.com) The Federal Communications Commission--which monitors the airwaves for what it considers obscene and indecent language--today forwarded a dirty joke to subscribers of its external email list.
- Germany - Telekom siegt im Streit um Telefonverzeichnis (dpa) [Deutsche Telekom wins injunction and damages against producers of phone number directories on CD-ROMs] Die Telekom hat sich vor dem Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) im Streit um ihre Telefonverzeichnisse durchgesetzt. Ohne Erlaubnis der Telekom dürfen sie nicht von Dritten übernommen und als CD-ROM verkauft werden.
- Deja News to stop tracking addresses (Inter@ctive Week) The popular Deja News Internet search engine will no longer track e-mail addresses visitors click on when they respond to messages posted to Internet newsgroups.
- Singapore - SingNet issues public apology for secret virus scanning (Wall Street Journal) Singaporeís internal-security agency secretly scanned 200,000 computers last month to trace a virus that allows hackers to steal computer passwords and credit-card numbers. The revelation has caused such a controversy in the island-state that the Internet service provider involved, SingNet, issued a public apology.
- USA - Agreement Reached on Internet Privacy (New York Times) In its second Internet-privacy enforcement action, the Federal Trade Commission said today that Liberty, a multibillion-dollar investment company, had agreed to change the way its World Wide Web site treated information it gathered from children and teen-agers. See also Reuters<
- USA - Clinton Makes Play for Privacy (Wired) President Clinton proposed additional regulations on what financial institutions could do with information about their customers.
- EU - Telecommunications Council (RAPID) Among items discussed in Luxembourg on 22 April 1999 were the Common Framework for Electronic Signatures (political agreement on a Common Position), the Year 2000 computer problem and Convergence of the Telecommunications, Media and Information Technology Sectors.
- USA - Legislators push digital signature approval (Bloomberg) U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation designed to promote online commerce by giving electronic signatures the same legal validity as hand-written ones.
- USA - Internet Address Firm to Be Probed (Washington Post) The Justice Department is investigating whether Network Solutions is violating antitrust laws by claiming sole ownership of a list of customer names and electronic addresses that it generated under an exclusive government contract to assign most Internet addresses.
- Lawsuits: Free the Domain-Name 7 (Wired) Domain-name registrar Network Solutions is defending itself against two separate legal challenges to the company's policy of refusing to sell domain names that include the seven dirty words and their permutations already banned on US radio and television. Network Solutions limits its restrictions to six, making an exception for one word needed to transcribe Japanese names.
- EU - European Parliament amends e-commerce directive in first reading (Reuters) The European Parliament approved legislation designed to promote electronic commerce by setting out rules in areas ranging from consumer protection to liability of Internet service providers (ISPs). Amendments were adopted on country of origin and liability of intermediaries.
- European Parliament Debates Wiretap Proposal (New York Times (registration required)) The European Parliament debated a controversial resolution that would provide the technical infrastructure to enable police agencies to eavesdrop on Internet, fax and cell phone communications to combat money laundering, terrorism, child abuse and drug trafficking.
- New STOA report on interception (Duncan Campbell for STOA) Report on the development of surveillance technology and risk of abuse of economic information. This study considers the state of the art in Communications intelligence (Comint) of automated processing for intelligence purposes of intercepted broadband multi-language leased or common carrier systems, and its applicability to Comint targeting and selection, including speech recognition.
- USA - Congressmen tackling cable access (Inter@ctive Week) Two Congressmen introduced legislation requiring all telecommunications companies to give Internet service companies the same access to their facilities their own Internet divisions already have. Though couched in terms that place the same obligations on all carriers, whether phone, cable, satellite or wireless, the bills seem aimed straight at the nation's cable companies, which are fighting moves to open their networks to others.
- Star Wars rekindles Net debate (CNET News.com) Lucasfilm is sending a form letter to hundreds of Internet service providers, which provides a much broader reading of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) than is generally held by online professionals. It is rekindling debate about who is responsible for policing copyright infringement on the Net. ISP representatives say that the letter does not comply with notice requirements under the DMCA. see also Bootleggers: Dark side of the Force? (ZDNN).
- USA - Court Calls Encryption Rules Unconstitutional (New York Times) The United States government's restrictions on the export of encryption software are an unconstitutional prior restraint of free speech. The decision was handed down by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco in the case of an Illinois mathematics professor who sought to distribute information about encryption on the Internet. see also Government loses crypto case (ZDNN)
- USA - DOD overhauls network to thwart hackers (IDG) The Defense Department has started an overhaul of its global unclassified network to fight off the barrage of hacker attacks the department's systems suffer and to increase capacity to handle a huge rise in traffic to and from the Internet.
- W3C rallies Web industry to defend patent claim (W3C) The World Wide Web Consortium is calling on the Internet community to help it defend a potentially hostile patent claim from communications company Intermind in relation to W3C's P3P Platform for Privacy technology. W3C is looking for information concerning any systems that predate the Intermind patent and create communications objects or data structures and transfer them from one machine to another so as to control communication of feedback information or update information between machines.
- EU - Commission closes investigation into mobile and fixed telephony prices (RAPID) The European Commission has decided to conclude the European Union (EU)-wide investigation into fixed and mobile operators' interconnection rates. This follows an assessment of the substantial price reductions of more than 80% in some cases, which have taken place in response to the investigation.
Market & Technology
- Intel Invests In Belgian Speech Technology Firm (Yahoo) Intel formed a venture with Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products,a Belgian speech software company to develop easy-to-use voice technology for electronic commerce and telecommunications in various languages.
- Lucent makes a wireless portal (Reuters) Lucent Technologies has licensed Custom Netcenter from Netscape in a bid to develop an Internet portal for its wireless telephones and handheld personal organizers. Lucent's new portal, named Zingo, will serve as an Internet start page for traveling professionals and a testing ground for wireless equipment providers.
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