QuickLinks 133 - 18 November 1999
Forthcomings events | Background items
Legal and regulatory issues
- Embassies to promote Britain on the Internet (The Times) British embassies are to be turned into "cybercafés" with websites to promote "the best of Britain".
- Swedish Local Government Evolves into e-Community (internetnews) The city of Bollnas in northern Sweden has begun using streaming real-time video for better communication with its local residents. Once every month, the delegate members of the city counsel hold a meeting, and this meeting is now broadcast over the Internet for all residents to follow.
- The making of e-government (idg.net) There are probably few things more disagreeable to either an individual or a business than the prospect of dealing with a government agency.
- EU - Quel avenir pour le cinéma européen? (RAPID) Discours de Madame Viviane Reding, Membre de la Commission européenne, chargée de l'Education et de la Culture Forum du Cinéma européen de Strasbourg Journée du cinéma de l'Union européenne : Rencontre avec les créateurs Strasbourg, le 16 Novembre 1999
- UK - New row over pay-TV referral (Observer) Byers' shock decision scuppers NTL/Telewest merger | Cable fury at BSkyB lobbying. The sensational decision by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers to refer two pay TV deals to the Competition Commission is set to cause a fresh row over the Government's links with media magnate Rupert Murdoch and provoke a power struggle within Whitehall departments over future TV regulation.
- USA - Legal Experts Assess Microsoft's Options for Appeal (New York Times (registration required)) Although mostly solid, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's findings in the Microsoft antitrust trial may have been so sweeping as to leave the company room to chip away at them on appeal, some leading antitrust experts say.
- Teacher quits in kiddie Net porn scandal (The Register) A UK headmaster has resigned from his job at a Welsh comprehensive school after allegations that he used school computers to surf the Net for porn.
- Unseen, obscene and dangerous (The Guardian (registration required)) Are you accidentally downloading porn? If your job involves using the Internet there is always the danger of a frightening scenario. You could be called into the boss's office one day to find the police are there.
- UK - Glitter drops sentence appeal (BBC) Pop star Gary Glitter will not appeal against his four-month jail sentence for downloading child pornography from the internet.
- UK - Student charged with unlawful 0800 use (The Register) An Internet user is to appear before a Magistrates Court charged with gaining unauthorised access to the Internet.
- Spammer scammer gets thrown in slammer (The Register) A British man has been arrested by Spanish police investigating a stunning scam carried out over the Internet. As with all the best scams, the man used the intricacies of human behaviour to stockpile a still-unknown amount of money.
- EU - Second Annual Assembly of consumer associations (European Commission) The Health and Consumer Directorate-General will be organising its second assembly of consumer associations in Europe on 18 and 19 November 1999. A seminar with participants from governments and consumer organisations of all candidate countries will be organised on 17 November.
- Canada Lets the MP3s Roll (Wired) With the announcement of a new licensing regime by Canada's Audio Video Licensing Agency last week, DJs are nowfree to spin MP3s from their computer hard drives.
- Net Radio s'engage à payer les droits d'auteurs (france.internet.com) En signant un accord avec la SACEM, NetRadio est la première radio en ligne a se mettre en conformité avec la loi régissant le droit d'auteur.
- Police smash UK's biggest pirate software operation (zdnet.co.uk) PlayStation games, blank discs, cash uncovered in Stetchford. West Midlands police last week smashed one of the UK's largest ever counterfeit software operations.
- EU - Adidas Wins Court Ruling Over Pirate Traders (IPR Helpdesk) The European Court of Justice has ruled that German sports goods maker Adidas had the right to know who had trafficked in counterfeit branded Adidas goods and that customs officials must release that information.
- France - Internet: accord sur les droits d'auteur (Libération) Un accord sur les droits d'auteur des journalistes a été signé entre la presse quotidienne régionale et quatre syndicats (CFDT, CGC, CFTC, SNJ-FO). Ce document définit les conditions de réutilisation des articles et photos, non seulement sur support papier mais aussi sur l'Internet, Minitel ou CD-Rom.
- UK - Soccer crunch match divides the net (vnunet.com) Sky Sports will attempt to block out Internet traffic from overseas tomorrow as it broadcasts the England vs Scotland football match live on its website. The Euro 2000 qualifier will be broadcast free on the Internet by Sky at 2pm, as well as on its satellite TV network. But restrictions to its broadcasting license mean it can only let Internet viewers within the UK and Eire watch the game.
- USA - Disney barred from using Go Network logo (CNET News.com) A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction barring the Walt Disney Company from using its Go Network logo. The court order is a victory for search engine GoTo.com.
- USA - Hilfiger Sues Online Store (Newsbytes) The owner of a Beverly Hills Web-design firm says he was surprised to find his name as a defendant on papers supporting a trademark-infringement lawsuit filed in New York by lawyers for trendy clothing company Tommy Hilfiger Corp.
- USA - RIAA To Sue MP3 Napster (Newsbytes) Continuing its strident crusade against music piracy, the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) is planning to sue MP3 "library" Napster Inc., for allegedly trafficking in purloined MP3 files.
- USA - Setback for a Web Site in Copyright Case (New York Times (registration required)) In a case that pits the push by newspapers for online revenues against the free-for-all nature of cyberspace debate, a federal judge intends to rebuff the assertion of conservative Web forum that it has a right to post articles from two newspapers to foster discussion.
- USA - Software watchdog attacks cyberpiracy (Press Release) The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a new initiative aimed at shutting down illegal trafficking in software on the Internet. BSA has filed a lawsuit against twenty-five individuals allegedly participating in the "warez4cable" IRC channel, an Internet forum used to traffic in pirated software. This is the first lawsuit ever filed against individuals for pirating software in an IRC channel.
- Grokking the Privacy Lesson (Wired) Just last week, RealNetworks provided the Internet world with a case study of data collection gone wrong. Its RealJukebox software was caught red-handed collecting detailed information on user behavior and sending the data back to the company.
- New Tools to Protect Online Privacy (New York Times (registration required)) David Chaum, a master cryptographer who made his name creating techniques for preserving a person's anonymity on the Net, is now developing a new generation of tools for protecting the privacy of online shoppers.
- USA - What To Do With DNA Data? (Wired) The FBI's DNA advisory panel questioned whether sufficient safeguards exist to prevent the unauthorized access and release of DNA samples which all 50 states collect from crime scenes and some criminals.
- World Summit of Regulators "Internet and the New Services" (CSA) A conference of audiovisual regulators organised by the French audiovisual regulator, Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (Paris, UNESCO, 30 Nov.- 1 Dec. 1999) Third preparatory note summary of the first contributions and discussion prospects.
- EU - Tourism in the Information Society (RAPID) Speech by Erkki LIIKANEN Member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Information Society Brussels, 12 November 1999
- EU - Großbritannien blockiert Überwachungspläne der europäischen Strafverfolger (Heise Online) Die Verhandlungen zu dem europäischen Rechtshilfeübereinkommen stagnieren. Bei einem Treffen des Justiz- und Innen-Rats am 29. Oktober in Luxemburg konnten die Minister erneut keine Einigung erzielen. In der Frage der Telekommunikations-Überwachung fährt die britische Regierung einen eigenen Kurs.
- USA - ACLU To Watch Spy Network (currents.net) In its latest fight against government-sponsored violations of personal freedoms, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that it would set up a new Website to keep tabs on the fabled Echelon global surveillance network.
- UK - Oftel acts on net overcharging (Guardian) Oftel, the telecoms watchdog, will today call on British Telecom, AOL and other internet service providers to reconsider how they charge consumers for access to the web.
- UK - Oftel lays down challenge to BT (ZDNet UK) A new round in the ongoing fight for cheaper Net access opened as Oftel laid down a challenge to ISPs -- complain about BT and we will act. At a secret meeting with industry leaders including telcos, ISPs and consumer groups Oftel claimed that it was a complaint-driven organisation and according to one attendee "needed a complaint from somebody to act".
- iseek launches free porn filter (APC Newswire) Over 1,000 Australian schools have signed a deal to use a new Internet filter that can block access to offensive Web sites.
- Blame US Regs for DVD Hack (Wired) Irate motion picture industry lawyers have been busy for the last week trying to shut down Web sites that show how to circumvent the copy protection algorithm on DVDs. Instead, they should be angry at the US government.
- Industry takes new look at crypto regs (zdnet) Has bureaucracy played its ugly hand? Companies say the regulation-writing process has muddied the new crypto rules
- USA - Capital Dispatch: Congress Fears White House May Fall Short on Encryption (New York Times (registration required)) The Clinton Administration hopes this week to issue a draft proposal for lifting its controversial restrictions on the export of encryption technology, a document that could upset the administration's fragile two-month truce with Congress.
- USA - Law Firm Accused of Cyberattack in Domain Dispute (InternetNews.com) Steptoe and Johnson, a leading Washington, D.C., law firm, is accused of trying to settle a domain dispute by launching a cyberwar against a cybersquatter that registered its name. Steptoe is accused of hacking into a server operated by Moore Publishing Co., which operates an information service for investigators called Dig Dirt.
- Grasping The Nettle Of Internet Tax (IT-Director) It looks as though the Internet is going to play a big part in the coming US presidential campaign. Politicians in the US and across the world have been polishing up their internet credentials for quite some time and, hopefully, any moment now someone is going to try to grasp the nettle of Internet taxation.
- Read My Clicks: No Net Taxes (E-Commerce Times) Everything that has to do with e-commerce seems to move at record speed, except for one thing: The decision whether to tax goods and services sold over the Internet.
Market & Technology
- Bundesregierung fördert Open Source (Heise News-Ticker) Das von dem Düsseldorfer Programmierer Werner Koch koordinierte Open-Source-Projekt GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) soll noch in diesem Jahr eine Finanzspritze des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Technologie (BMWi) in Höhe von rund 250.000 Mark erhalten.
- CPEX Gets Personal (wired.com) Internet marketers should move a step closer to their Holy Grail of knowing just about everything about everybody in cyberspace.
- Y2K Cost US $365 Per Person (currents.net) The entire United States has spent about $100 billion since 1995 in a preemptive strike against anticipated Year 2000 date change problems, or about $365 for each American, according to a new report that the Commerce Department released today.
- As Internet traffic reaches a peak of 220m words a second, total gridlock approaches collapse (Independent) Every day at about 5pm, the flow of traffic between the 88 top-level Internet service providers in the UK reaches its peak - a vast 1.3 gigabites per second, equivalent to five copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica each second. Happily, every day so far the network has survived.
- UK has cheapest Internet access (Independent) Britain is now the cheapest place in the world to get Internet access - cheaper even than the United States. Thousands of Britons took full advantage last weekend of a scheme allowing them to surf the Net free via an 0800 freephone number, with no subscription fee. And thousands more overwhelmed the call centre, trying to sign up for the service.
- UK - BT speeds internet access (BBC) British Telecommunications says it is hugely expanding its UK capacity for internet traffic in a programme which it says will make its dedicated data network 60 times faster.
- Leading Media Companies Forming Joint Web Venture (New York Times (registration required)) An unusually broad news-sharing arrangement is bringing together some of the nation's leading media companies in a venture to share news reports on their Web sites.
- Microsoft Teams Up With RadioShack (The Industry Standard) Microsoft will set up a "store-within-a-store" presence at some 7,000 RadioShack outlets around the U.S. to promote access to the software vendor's MSN portal and Web-related products.
- Niche Sites Offer Chance to Create or Personalize Gifts (New York Times (registration required)) Although Web portals channel shoppers to the same high-profile stores, the Web itself offers an antidote to the herd mentality. Tiny, family-run stores abound -- many of which suggest gifts that you would never find at J. C. Penney or the retail shops that surround it.
- Softbank, Reciprocal to Establish Contents Copyright Protection Service Joint venture (Nikkei BP) Softbank and Reciprocal of the United States will set up a joint venture in Tokyo that offers copyright protection and collection of downloading fees for contents marketed over the Internet in the first quarter of 2000.
- Some Free Music Sites Start Paying Artists (New York Times (registration required)) On the Internet, the starving artist is going a bit less hungry these days. Several Web sites that offer free downloads of music byunsigned artists have started paying the artists a few pennies each time their songs are downloaded.
- Online Journalists Keep Their Eyes on Daily Numbers (New York Times (registration required))
- Beware of Funlove, anti-virus experts warn (vnunet.com) Anti virus vendors have issued warnings of a new virus which attacks Windows NT file security. The virus, dubbed Funlove, has hit one multinational corporation already and the infection began in the UK.
- Can Egg crack its security worries? (The Register) Egg could be incubating a serious security problem and undermining confidence in the service. Yesterday, the online bank admitted there had been a security lapse when dealing with a customer's credit card details.
- Stranded Americans love Web surfing most, says study (vnunet.com) Two thirds of Americans said that if they were stranded on a desert island they would want to have a computer wired to the Web more than anything else, according to this year's survey of 1,000 US Web surfers by America Online (AOL) and Roper Starch Worldwide.
- Germany - Vier Millionen surfen täglich -- aber warum? (Heise Newsticker) Vier Millionen Bundesbürger nutzen täglich das WWW. Eine neue Studie von interactive media fragt nach den Motiven, das Web zu nutzen, danach, welche Erwartungen der Nutzer an die Websites stellt und nach der tatsächlichen Nutzung von Web-Inhalten, um zu erfahren, wie die ideale Website aussehen muss, damit sie genutzt wird.
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edited by Richard Swetenham (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rupert Selzer. - Contributors: NewsNow UK, MediaGrok, David Goldstein, Gerhard Heine, Alan Reekie, Rupert Selzer
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