Legal & Security

10 November 2006

au: New Australian copyright rules 'restrictive': Google Sydney Morning Herald

Internet search engine Google has asked for more flexibility in new federal copyright laws, warning Australian businesses could be held back because the new rules are too restrictive.

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08 November 2006

us: Company fined $3m for adware use BBC

An online advertising company, Zango, is to pay US$3m for "unfairly and deceptively" downloading its software onto people's computers.

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04 November 2006

uk: Who's watching as we watch ourselves? The Guardian

Last week, footage of a girl being badly bullied in a New Zealand school playground had to be take down from YouTube, the hugely successful video hosting site now owned by Google. It was rightly removed because in a perverse act of glorification it had been uploaded by the gang that had committed the offence. But it could easily have been taken by an onlooker and used as evidence against the gang. Surveillance is now expanding too fast for its effects to be fully understood.

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Spy planes, clothes scanners and secret cameras: Britain's surveillance future The Guardian

It sounds like a scene from the Tom Cruise futuristic thriller Minority Report. A teenager enters a record shop and a scanner hidden in the doorway instantly reads data secreted in electronic tags embedded in his clothes. The scanner clocks the brand of clothing and where it was purchased, flashing to a database which analyses what type of person would have bought that line of clothing and predicts what other products that person would like to buy. In an instant, adverts for those products are beamed to eye-level billboards for the teenager to see.

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03 November 2006

uk: How to hide in a connected world BBC

As we enter a more connected world, where devices talk to each other and make sense of the masses of data we create, the issue of how much control we have over this process becomes more important.

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02 November 2006

Microsoft files a slew of counterfeiting suits International Herald Tribune

Microsoft said it had filed more than 50 lawsuits against individuals and companies worldwide, claiming that they had sold counterfeit copies of its programs using online auction sites, including eBay.

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us: IP Address-Level Security a Growing Concern Enterprise Networks & Servers

Earlier this year, the FBI published statistics on computer crime that indicated it was costing U.S. businesses $678 billion per year. The average company cost when you do the math is $24,000 in hard dollar losses.

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01 November 2006

ca: Public no pushover on Canadian snooping law by Prof Michael Geist The Star

The push for new Internet surveillance capabilities dates back to 1999, when government officials began crafting proposals to institute new surveillance technologies within Canadian communications networks along with additional legal powers to allow surveillance and access subscriber information. The initiative nearly became reality with the Liberal government's introduction of the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act (MITA) last fall.

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au: Online predator threat on rise Australian IT

More internet child sex predators are facing court, and most offenders are quick to plead guilty, according to Australian Federal Police online child sex exploitation team co-ordinator Greg Harrigan.

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29 October 2006

nz: School fights posted on YouTube New Zealand Herald

About seven video recordings of New Zealand school violence are available for viewing on the internet site YouTube

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Is Google legal?

A Belgian court ruled against Google's use of newspaper stories in early September. If you believe Google, it did nothing wrong and failed to defend itself because it was unaware of the publishers' lawsuit. If you believe the publishers, Google is lying and infringes copyright on a colossal scale. The parties return to court on 23rd November in a case that finds legal uncertainty looming over the world's leading search engines.

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26 October 2006

US publishers say Child Online Protection Act should be struck down

A group of US online publishers and a lobby group is taking the Government to court to challenge an eight-year-old law which it says amounts to censorship of the internet. The challenge is to the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which became law in 1998.

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us: ACLU challenge to federal child protection law goes to trial ACLU

The federal bench trial of a lawsuit challenging the 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA) began Monday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the suit on behalf of internet websites such as and, arguing that the severe punishments outlined in COPA for publishing material considered "harmful to children" restrict free speech. Also see for the ACLU news release.

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au: How to stay smart online: National E-Security Awareness Week Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian Federal Government wants Australians to be more cautious when conducting their affairs on the internet, and has launched its Stay Smart Online initiative to help them do just that.

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25 October 2006

uk: Web watchdog outlines porn battle BBC

More than 30,000 websites of child pornography have been removed in 10 years by the UK's internet watchdog.

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YouTube to make life even busier for Google lawyers New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald

Google attracts millions of web users every day. And, increasingly, it's attracting plenty of lawyers, too. As Google has grown into the world's most popular search engine and, arguably, the most powerful internet company, it has become entangled in scores of lawsuits touching on a wide range of legal questions, including copyright violation, trademark infringement and its method of ranking websites.

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18 October 2006

uk: Internet user admits 'web-rage' BBC

Paul Gibbons, 47, tracked down John Jones using details obtained online after the pair exchanged insults in an internet chatroom, a court heard.

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au: Cronulla game falls between legal cracks Sydney Morning Herald

The racists are at it... "Australian authorities are powerless to remove from the internet a downloadable board game based on the Cronulla riots. The game has recently surfaced on the internet and appears to incite racial violence."

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14 October 2006

Online poker bosses were only ever after a quick, illegal buck The Guardian

Internet gambling in the US was always dodgy - the analysts just turned a blind eye: Richard Wray's article made much of the fact that internet gaming companies and British investors were caught out by the clampdown on gambling in the United States. Yet it is hard to argue that there weren't very clear warning signals that it was about to happen.

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us: Woman wins payout for slurs on blog The Guardian

A jury in Florida has awarded a woman $11.3m in costs and damages after a former acquaintance accused her of being a crook, a con artist and a fraudster on an internet talkboard. The award, believed to be the largest verdict of it sort relating to individual postings on bulletin boards or blogs, was handed down by a jury in Broward County, Florida, against a woman from Louisiana. The sum included $5m in punitive damages.

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Law reins in wild webbers Sydney Morning Herald

Bloggers beware: thoughtless musings in cyberspace can have costly consequences. That's one lesson that might be gleaned from a Florida jury's decision last week to order a Louisiana woman to pay $US11.3 million in compensation, after she used an internet forum to accuse another woman of being a con artist and a fraud. The damages award is believed to be the largest relating to amateur postings on the internet.

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09 October 2006

uk: Net crime 'big fear' for Britons BBC

More people fear net crime than they do burglary or being mugged, a survey backed by the UK government suggests.

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08 October 2006

World's largest banks join forces to stamp out child internet porn The Guardian

The world's biggest banks are joining an international effort to crack down on child pornography on the internet by taking action to cut off its sources of financing. Under the proposals, the proposed body will share information about sites and paedophiles can have access to finance cut off.

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Pornography has its benefits Online Opinion

If we were to stop for a moment and take the time to properly assess the community impact of internet pornography, it would soon become clear that internet pornography is not the height of evil which do-gooder parliamentarians and parental groups profess. Indeed, it is probably one of the main factors contributing to a notable reduction in violent crime over the last decade. Our community is safer and more peaceful thanks to internet pornography. This may sound counter-intuitive, but there are recent figures to back up the argument. In a paper just released in the United States titled Porn Up, Rape Down, Northwestern University Law Professor Anthony D'amato crunches the numbers to reach the conclusion: The incidence of rape in the United States has declined 85 per cent in the past 25 years while access to pornography has become freely available to teenagers and adults. The Nixon and Reagan Commissions tried to show that exposure to pornographic materials produced social violence. The reverse may be true: that pornography has reduced social violence.

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08 May 2006

uk: Warning to chatroom users after libel award for man labelled a Nazi The Guardian

A political argument that erupted in a remote corner of cyberspace and descended into vicious name-calling could lead to a spate of libel actions by contributors to internet message boards, the man at the centre of the case claimed.

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