QuickLinks 128 - 28 September 1999
Forthcomings events | Background items
Legal and regulatory issues
- EU - Deutsche Telekom allowed to buy One2One (RAPID) The European Commission authorises the acquisition by German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom of the United Kingdom mobile telecommunications operator, One2One. The proposed concentration does not create or strengthen a dominant position.
- USA - Summations Are Offered in Microsoft Antitrust Trial (New York Times (registration required)) Almost a year after it began, the Microsoft antitrust trial wound to a close Tuesday with final arguments from lawyers for the company and the Government that ranged from scornful to contemptuous of the other side's case.
- Another tech exec. in sex scandal (Associated Press) Another high-tech executive was arrested for attempting to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. Michael David Rostoker, president and CEO of Microelectronics Research was arrested on charges he paid the family of a 13-year-old Vietnamese girl more than $150,000 to have sex with her in Vietnam. see also Disney's web king caught in child sex net (Sunday Times).
- Conférence internationale sur la pornographie infantile sur l'internet (Agence France Presse) Quelque 250 experts américains et européens doivent élaborer cette semaine à Vienne des recommandations concrètes pour lutter contre la pornographie infantile sur l'internet.
- Defense shows off new cybercrime lab (Nando Media) The Defense Department unveiled its latest arsenal of high-tech crime-fighting tools, a $15 million computer lab where it can trace hackers across the Internet, unscramble hidden files and rebuild smashed floppy disks that were cut in pieces.
- Finland - Virus spreaders to feel the long arm of the law (Helsingin Sanomat) Parliament approved an amendment to Finnish criminal legislation that will make the writing and spreading of computer viruses punishable under law. The decisive second reading of the Bill cites the offence as a catch-all "Causing danger to data processing systems".
- USA - eBay rejects marijuana auction (Reuters) The U.S. online auction site eBay pulled an auction for 500 pounds of marijuana although it had no way of knowing whether the sale was a hoax.
- FBI Net porn stings contested (CNet News.com)
- A Search Site for Search Sites Is Accused of Trespassing (New York Times (registration required)) mySimon, which operates a comparison-shopping site, has filed a lawsuit against a meta-search site called Priceman accusing it of unfair piggybacking, because it merely passed on search queries from its site to the mySimon site, and then presented the retrieved information as if Priceman -- not mySimon -- had performed the search.
- BSA warns of possible WTO action over piracy (Computer World) The Philippines faces possible sanctions from the World Trade Organization (WTO) if it fails to curb software piracy or if it fails to meet the world body's standard for intellectual property protection. This warning came from the president of the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
- "Public Voice in Electronic Commerce" Conference (Press Release) The 3rd Trade-Union/NGO Public Voice conference will be held at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, on October 11th, 1999 in conjunction with the OECD Forum on Electronic Commerce (October 12-13, 1999). The conference be hosted by TUAC (Trade-Union Advisory Committee) and is sponsored by the Global Internet Liberty Campaign, with the help of TACD (Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue).
- USA - Could Model E-commerce Law Scare Away Shoppers? (Cal Law) The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, or UCITA, a model law designed for consideration by state legislatures throughout the United States is siring controversy. see the Federal Trade Commission's consumer welfare objections to UCITA.
- USA - New Net Alcohol Law (Newsbytes) Even though a federal bill to make it harder to directly ship alcohol across state lines still is awaiting consideration in Congress, Maryland has taken its own step toward cutting down on Internet alcohol orders.
- UK - Surveillance: A special report (ZDNet UK) A News Special that examines the reasoning behind government plans to snoop on our electronic communications. It probes leading industry experts and asks what are the true motives behind the plans, which could be in place as early as next year.
- Singapore Lifts Limit on Foreign ISP Ownership (Bloomberg) Singapore's telecommunications regulator is doing away with the limit on foreign ownership for Internet service providers from 49 percent in a bid to draw more international players.
- FSK will den Jugendschutz in neuen Medien vereinheitlichen (dpa) [German film censor wants uniform international rules for youth protection in new media] Um Jugendschutz in den neuen Medien zu gewährleisten, müssen nach Ansicht der Freiwilligen Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK) international einheitliche Regeln aufgestellt werden.
- Internet habitues picked up by cops (Inquirer) Law enforcers in the Philippines picked up 28 high school students from a local Internet center to implement a city ordinance imposing a 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. ban on the entry of minors in Internet cafés in Tagbilaran City.
- Germany - Interview mit der Leiterin der BPjS (Heise Online) [drop in number of games submitted for rating by official body] Kaum noch Anträge bei der Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften
- Internet Rating System Plans to Globalize (New York Times (registration required)) In response to the increasing globalization of the Internet, a content rating and filtering system that was originally developed primarily for the United States will be expanded to encompass a more global audience.
- Porn ratings: 'A blessing or a curse' (ZDNN) A round-up of views on content rating among civil libertarians, commercial pornographers and industry.
- Datenschutzbeauftragter warnt vor Handys als Wanzen (dpa) [Some GSMs can be switched on by an incoming call and so used to bug conversations] Handys der Marken Nokia und Ericsson könnten in einem Raum versteckt und dann bei Bedarf von außen angerufen werden. Das Gerät schalte sich akustisch unbemerkt auf Empfang und übertrage die Raumgeräusche
- Shhh! Are Eastern Europe's Banks Being Cracked? (Industry Standard) Banks in developing nations, fearing negative publicity, have hesitated to pool their resources against cybercrime. A new group hopes to change that.
- US and Australian authorities raid "hijack" porn ring (ZDNet UK) The Federal Trade Commission announced it has won an injunction in a US federal court against an international porn ring believed to be resident in Australia and Portugal that cloned 25 million Web pages and "hijacked" unsuspecting visitors to its smut sites. The judge issued an unusual order that permitted the Government to serve a summons by E-mail. see also Net Sites Co-Opted by Pornographers (New York Times (registration required))
- UK - Activists Pull Stunt To Show Crypto Holes (TechWeb) The British Home Secretary has been sent a potentially incriminating e-mail by a pressure group trying to show that a draft e-commerce law could see innocent people falsely imprisoned.
- UK - Cyberspace Is No 'Wild West' (Industry Standard)
- Standards Row Threatens EU Tetra Contracts (CommunicationsWeek International) The European Commission has claimed that the United Kingdom has breached EU public procurement directives by insisting that companies bidding for a contract for police radio communications used a specific standard, TETRA, thus precluding bidders from offering an "equivalent" solution.
- USA - Will you pay Internet tolls? (Sm@rt Reseller) Utah and other states plan to charge access fees to companies laying cable for Internet and other telecommunications services along interstate highways.
- Byers urges EU members to fully open up telecoms (Electronics Weekly) Trade and Industry secretary Stephen Byers has criticised other EU members for failing to open up their telecoms and energy utilities markets.
- EU Gives Cautious Welcome to Scaled-Back Telia-Telenor (Total Telecom (registration required)) European Union regulators said a pledge by Telia AB and Telenor AS, the main Swedish and Norwegian phone companies, to get out of the cable television business will help overcome antitrust obstacles. see also Suède et Norvège trouvent accord sur fusion Telia et Telenor (AFP)
- Finnish Mobile Operators Uncompetitively Exclude Telia (Total Telecom (registration required)) The Finnish Competition Agency (FCA) has ruled that Sonera and Radiolinja, both Finnish mobile operators, acted uncompetitively by failing to negotiate national roaming rates with newcomer, Telia.
- Germany opens floodgates for broadband wireless access (Total Telecom) In Europe's first broadband wireless local loop allocations, Germany's regulatory authority, the RegTP, was inundated by applications for frequencies in the 3.5-gigahertz and 26-GHz bands.
- Swedes Spar Over Broadband (Industry Standard) Two Swedish telcos have pitched a battle over broadband access. Bredbandsbolaget lodged formal complaints with the European Commission and the Swedish Competition Authority. The company argues that Telia is abusing its position of control over Sweden's cable and telephone networks.
- Vietnam Holds Telecom Tight (Industry Standard) Fearing an unsafe, uncoordinated system, Vietnam says it won't open up its telecommunications market to outside competition.
- Netherlands - Regulator Mandates 3-Year Rate Cut Plan for KPN (Bloomberg) The Dutch phone industry regulator set a three-year program of price cuts for former monopoly Royal KPN NV as part of efforts to increase competition and simplify the rate structure.
- USA - US West Looks Set To Be Forced To Share DSL Lines (Total Telecom (registration required)) US West, incumbent telecoms operator, has seen the Minneapolis Public Utilities Commission (MPUC), Minneapolis, MN, order it to work with rival DSL operators.
Market & Technology
- Telekom Won't Sell Cable Network to Mannesmann (Total Telecom (registration required)) Deutsche Telekom, Europe's largest phone and cable company, isn't interested in selling its cable television network to Mannesmann, which bid for all of the nine regional cable units Telekom is selling.
- Television and The Web Do Mix (The Industry Standard) A new study reveals that contrary to conventional wisdom, those who watch a lot of TV spend plenty of time surfing the Web.
- AOL flat-rate pricing in UK (Silicon) AOL has announced flat-rate pricing for its online services. AOL UK will from tomorrow offer an 'off peak all the time' plan, whereby users paying £9.99 per month will only be charged 1p per minute for dial-up access. While still falling short of toll-free access for a set monthly fee - the US model - AOL reckons the move will mean its subscribers will spend more time online.
- AOL Could See Impact from Earthlink/Mindspring Merger (Internetnews.com) The merger by independent Internet service providers Earthlink Network and Mindspring is set to serve approximately 3 million users, which may give powerhouse America Online a run for its money. see also As AOL's Brand No. 2, Compuserve Is Being Rejuvenated (New York Times (registration required))
- ExciteAtHome Invades Germany (Industry Standard) ExciteAtHome is forming the joint venture, called AtHome Deutschland, with Deutsche Bank Investor and its subsidiary Tele Columbus, the second-largest cable operator in Germany, to provide a German version of its high-speed Internet service. see also Internet über TV-Kabel kommt in Schwung (Heise Online).
- Free ISP Trend Moves to Australia (Internetnews.com) The free ISP movement is Australia is accelerating with the announcement that Free Net will join the ranks of FreeOnline and FreeISP in offering Australian users Internet access at no charge.
- Microsoft Raises Internet Access Fees, relaunches portal (Internetnews.com) Despite the growing proliferation of free Internet access, Microsoft Corp. is raising the price for unlimited access to its MSN Internet service by $2 a month. The move matches a recent price increase by industry leader America Online. Microsoft also plans to re-launch their MSN.com Web portal with a fresh interface and new features including an emphasis on holiday shopping.
- Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch merge wireless business (Press Release) Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch today announced that they have reached a definitive agreement to create a new wireless business - with a national footprint, a single brand and a common digital technology - composed of Bell Atlantic's and Vodafone AirTouch's U.S. wireless assets.
- China's Internet Investment Law May Be Changed (Reuters) China's laws do not permit foreign investors to provide Internet content or servers, but the legal framework could be changed by the end of the year. see also China Leaves Wriggle Room for Net Investment (The Industry Standard) and Yahoo Boosts China's Net Hopes (Reuters). see related story
- Microsoft steps up game console discussions (Bloomberg News) Microsoft has discussed plans for a new video game console system with U.S. and Japanese game publishers. Any move by Microsoft into the video game market would come as competition intensifies and sales soar.
- Net fears hammer Reuters (CNNfn) Reuters shares plunged as much as 17 percent in London as analysts turned bearish on the stock on worries about the effects of competition from the Internet on the company's Instinet electronic broking unit. The U.K.-based news and financial information group got hit by earnings downgrades from all sides after the company flew London-based analysts out to New York for a presentation by senior executives.
- Net Majors Are Coming to India (Internetnews.com) Yahoo! plans to set up India-specific portal and search engine. Lycos is setting up a portal for India and nine other countries in Asia. The Geneva-based Internet training institute, World Wide Web Institute (WWWI), will set up a wholly owned subsidiary in India soon. Microsoft is also planning a portal for India.
- Yahoo! Unveils Chinese Version (Internetnews.com) Yahoo! has rolled out its Yahoo! China service. Yahoo! China boasts more than 20,000 Web sites displayed in simplified Chinese characters, and the same number of sites created in traditional Chinese characters. Yahoo! has localized Web guides for other markets in Asia, including Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and southeast Asia. see related story
- Google's New GoogleScout Feature Expands Scope of Search (Press Release) Google announced the launch of its new website. Google interprets a link from Page A to Page B as a vote by Page A for Page B. Google assesses a page's importance by the votes it receives. Google delivers the most relevant and important results first. Google's newest feature, GoogleScout, offers a list of sites related to a search result.
- French army gives iBook users static (Nando Media /Agence France-Press) Researchers from the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) warned that French buyers of Apple's new iBook notebook computer could be in for a nasty surprise if they use the machine's nifty AirPort wireless transmitter for accessing the Internet. The device uses the same 2.4 gigahertz waveband reserved by the French military.
- Long Distance Prices Rise For Most (Reuters) A majority of U.S. consumers are paying more -- not less -- for long distance telephone service since Congress overhauled the nation's communications laws in 1996, leading consumer groups said.
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