QuickLinks 123 - 21 July 1999
Legal and regulatory issues
- Conference on Advances in Electronic Government (IFIP / Zaragoza University) Call for papers. The working conference to be held in Zaragoza, Spain, on 10 and 11 February 2000, will focus on legal, social, technical and organisational aspects of information infrastructures and of new applications particularly in the area of Public Administration. Jointly organised by International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) WG 8.5 (Information Systems in Public Administration) and the Department of Public Law, Center for Computers and Law, Universidad de Zaragoza
- EU - Infringement proceedings against Belgium (RAPID) The Commission has decided to send the Belgian authorities a 'letter of formal notice' on the grounds that the Vlaams Commissariaat voor de Media's decision to require VT4 to apply for a Flemish licence is a violation of the "Television without Frontiers" Directive.
- French State aid to public broadcasters attacked (RAPID) The European Commission has decided to open formal proceedings regarding aid granted by France to the two public broadcasters France 2 and France 3 by means of capital increases and ad hoc cash subsidies between 1988 and 1994. This decision does not address the aid granted to the public broadcasters in the form of licence fees.
- USA - Microsoft Wins Bristol Case (Thed Industry Standard) A jury cleared Microsoft of antitrust violations in a lawsuit brought by Bristol Technology, a small software vendor in Connecticut that claimed Microsoft let a contract lapse to prevent Bristol from creating software that would run on a rival operating system.
- WorldNet warns users of scam (ZDNet News) AT&T WorldNet has warned its users of an e-mail credit card scam that aims to glean credit card information.
- Net clampdown criticised (BBC) Internet growth in the Middle East and North Africa has been stunted by countries fearing it will undermine their control over information, a Human Rights Watch report says.
- UK - Sex on TV complaints rocket (BBC) Complaints about sex on television have soared over the last year, according to the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC). In its annual report, the TV watchdog says complaints about sex rose by 60% in 1998-99 compared to the previous year and now represent nearly a quarter of all viewers concerns. See also Commission calls for better media education as concern grows for the viewing skills of the young (Press Release).
- USA - Playboy loses trademark suit (CNET News.com) In a federal ruling that stands to impact online advertising practices, Playboy lost a lawsuit aiming to bar two portals from generating hard-core sex ads when visitors search for the term "playboy."
- ICANN can't collect (ZDNet) Perhaps the most obvious direct effect of NSI's lack of cooperation is that ICANN can't collect any revenue via user fees from the company.
- Orientation Inks Global Domain Name Deal With NetSol (Newsbytes) Orientation.com, the New York-based operator of a growing network of local and regional portal sites around the world, has signed a deal with Network Solutions to offer domain names through its network. The deal will see .com, .org and .net domain names promoted to users of Orientation's portals in their local languages.
- U.S. Moves to Tighten Reins on New Internet Regulator (New York Times (registration required)) Responding to growing criticism of the way the Internet's new governing body is operating, the Commerce Department told the nonprofit group to eliminate a $1 fee on Internet address registrations, to open its board meetings to the public immediately and to draft clear restrictions on the boundaries of its authority. see also ICANN response 19 July, House to address domain system's future, ICANN responds to Congress, NSI rivals open Washington lobbying effort (CNET News.com), Domain names get dirty (CNET News.com), a history of developments in the assigning of domain names.
- Germany - Gericht verbietet Ortsnamen in Internet-Adresse (Heise Online) [Private individuals cannot use town names as domain names] Die Verwendung eines Gemeindenamens als Internet-Adresse einer Privatperson ist unzulässig. Das hat jetzt das Oberlandesgericht Karlsruhe in zweiter Instanz entschieden.
- Spain - La primera empresa española de registro de dominios ya opera en Internet (Yahoo ES) Desde ayer, Nominalia se convirtió en la única empresa la única empresa española y en una de las dos de Europa que pueden registrar directamente dominios de primer nivel en Internet (.com, .net y .org).
- Cybersquatters Battle Back (Internetnews)
- EU - Brussels Convention (EUR-LEX) Brussels Convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters 1968(consolidated version) Official Journal C 27 , 26/01/1998 p. 1 - 27
- EU - Rome Convention (EUR-LEX) Rome Convention on the law applicable to contractual obligations 1980 (consolidated version) Official Journal Official Journal C 27 , 26/01/1998 p. 34 - 46
- USA - Texas erects roadblock to GM online (ZDNet News) A state agency in Texas has denied General Motors' plans to launch a Web site selling cars directly to consumers.
- USA - Do not carry on, Nurse (ZDNet News) A Phoenix couple were suspended from their nursing jobs over an adult Web site they say they started to raise money for their kids' college education.
- The Internet is for Everyone (Internet Society (ISOC)) Speech given by Vint Cerf at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy on April 7, 1999. [Ed: highly recommended]
- Internet companies set up lobby (Press Release) Nine of the world's leading Internet companies announced the formation of NetCoalition.com, the first public policy organization comprised of members whose primary business is purely Internet-based. Founding members of NetCoalition.com are Amazon.com, America Online, DoubleClick, eBay, Excite@Home, Inktomi, Lycos, theglobe.com and Yahoo!
- UN Examines the Global Internet Society (NUA) The United Nations' UNDP Human Development Report 1999 looks at the global distribution and availability of the new technologies. See also
UN Retreats from Email Tax (Wired) A United Nations agency is backing away from a report in which it recommended Internet email taxes to help developing nations. In the report, the agency proposed a tax of the equivalent of one US cent on every 100 emails that an individual might send.
- Workshop: On the Brink of New Evolutions in the Law of Information Technology (Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix Research Center for Computer and Law (CRID)) Namur (Belgium), November 8-9-10, 1999. Two workshops will deal with the responsibility of Internet intermediaries and universal service. The following two days will be made up of plenary sessions and four working groups, Regulation of Telecommunications : Quo Vadis ?; Towards a Right of Controlling Access to Protected Works; E-Commerce in the General Theory of Contracts; Privacy in the Information Era
- Saudis ban late ISPs (Reuters) Saudi Arabia has withdrawn the licenses of 11 local Internet service providers (ISPs) for failing to provide services on time.
- Österreich verbietet unbestellte Werbe-Emails (Heise Online) [Austria: parties agree on "opt-in" for junk e-mail] Ein gemeinsamer Antrag aller fünf Parlamentsparteien im Justizausschuß des österreichischen Parlaments hat im letzten Augenblick das Fernabsatzgesetz ergänzt. Mit diesem sollte die EU-Fernkaufrichtlinie in nationales Recht umgesetzt werden. Nicht in diesem sondern im Telekommunikationsgesetz wird nun ein mit Strafe versehenes Verbot unbestellter Werbung per elektronischer Post eingefügt. see also Deutschsprachiger EU-Raum ist nun spamfreie Zone .
- You've Got Mail, Now Call Your Lawyer (California Law Week) Electronic mail is so ubiquitous that the body of case law involving digital scribblings has grown to substantial proportions.
- UK - BBC may float Web site (CNNfn) The BBC is considering listing beeb.com, its commercial online service, in an initial public offering that could value the unit at up to 500 million pounds
- Parents Lack Skills to Supervise Children Online (CyberAtlas) Parents are anxious about the Internet content their children are viewing, but many lack the time, understanding, and tools to help their children develop discerning Web skills, according to a new study.
- AT&T in Net content control venture (Reuters) AT&T plans to launch a new Internet company in partnership with Tim Robertson, the son of evangelist Pat Robertson, which aims to give parents a way to screen out material that might not be suitable for children on the Web, according to reports.
- Yes, We Have No Bananas (EFA) The dangers of collateral damage by censorware filtering products.
- Australia - Blinded by Smoke: the Hidden Agenda of the Online Services Bill (EFA) Publication and access to "R-classified" material will be subject to the use of an adult verification system. [Ed: Internet content (except for games) will be classified in the same way as films]. Films are classified R not primarily because of sexually explicit or highly violent content, but because they deal with social and political issues, referred to as "adult themes" such as suicide, crime, corruption, marital problems, emotional trauma, drug and alcohol dependency, death and serious illness, racism, religious issues.
- Website Shows U.S. Influence Over U.K. Policy (TechWeb) Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties , a U.K.-based Internet civil-liberties group has posted documents on the Web that it said prove the British government's encryption policies were driven by U.S. government interests. The site shows documents obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act - Britain has no similar law.
- Tory cries foul over 'key escrow by the back door' (Silicon) A Conservative MP has criticised the UK government for retaining the essence of the discredited 'key escrow' policy in its ecommerce plans.
- USA - The Standard for Internet Commerce (Global Information Infrastructure) The Commerce Standard codifies the best practices used by merchants in Internet commerce and will lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction, protection and confidence.
- EU - Commission attacks French charges for universal service (RAPID) The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to the French government regarding French methods of calculation of net costs of telecommunications universal service provision and the contributions paid by telecommunications operators for its financing.
Market & Technology
- Chinese July Killer Virus Causes Few Problems In Asia (Newsbytes) A potentially disastrous virus from China that attempts to wipe a user's hard disk drive has caused few problems in Asia in the first few days of July - the month it was programmed to trigger.
- Server Bug Places Sites at Risk (Wired) A once-obscure Microsoft Web server security problem is back with a vengeance, allowing crackers to easily pry open some of the Web's biggest sites.
- Consortium releases secure music spec (ZDNet News) The music industry took its first step toward securing control over unchecked copying of digital music. The Secure Digital Music Initiative or SDMI -- a consortium of more than 110 companies from the music and computer industries -- released the initial version of its requirements for portable digital music players. see also Standards Are Set for Thwarting Music Pirates (New York Times (registration required)).
- Radio industry vents fury at 'farcical' rules (Electronics Weekly) Manufacturers of short-range radio systems fear that the proposed self-certification of telecoms and radio products will lead to a deluge of inferior products on to the market from overseas suppliers if the new scheme is not policed properly.
- Researchers claim search engines lack balanced coverage (Reuters) Online search engines cover only about 16 percent of cyberspace. A study of 11 major search engines by Lawrence and Dr. C. Lee Giles of the NEC Research Institute in a report in the science journal Nature showed search engines are more likely to index popular sites, more U.S. than European sites and commercial rather than educational ones. The scientists estimate the public part of the Web which can be indexed contains about 800 million pages of information and roughly 180 million images. About 1.5 percent of sites contain pornographic information. see also Internet Search Engine Comparison (Associated Press)
- Study Says Internet Access Cuts TV Viewing (Excite) Households with Internet access watch television about 13 percent less than those not plugged in, according to a Nielsen Media Research study done for America Online.
- Worldwide Internet Use Predicted To Reach 130.6 Mio (Reuters) Another 35.2 million people worldwide will gain access to the Internet this year, according to a new study, bringing the total number of active Internet users to 130.6 million.
- ICQ gets vocal with telephony (CNET News.com) ICQ helped popularize real-time chatting over the Web with its instant messaging software - now it will partner with Internet telephony company Net2Phone to give ICQ users the ability to make phone calls over the Net.
Links to news items about
legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, and
market and technology
edited by Richard Swetenham (email@example.com). - Contributors: NewsNow UK, TKRnews, MediaGrok, EPIC, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie
Full text search and Archive | Full text of latest background items |