Legal & Security

29 October 2006

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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18 April 2006

Interpol: Give us the tools to fight cybercrime ZDnet

Interpol has called on politicians to help law enforcement officers bring cybercriminals to justice by making it easier for evidence to be transferred between countries.

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Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Issues Internet Hate Decision Michael Geist

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has issued a noteworthy Internet hate decision that focuses on the applicability of the Human Rights Act to Internet hate materials. The Tribunal ordered fines against several individuals for their role in maintaining several hate websites and newsletters. The lengthy decision is worth reading for at least three reasons.

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12 March 2006

ar: Internet child pornographer gets diplomatic immunity? Blog

The Argentine newspaper Clarin reported that following a request from Interpol Department of the German Police, the Argentine Federal Police with a warrant issued by the District Court No 48 tried to search premises from where child pornography video were offered via Internet.

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01 March 2006

au: International task force cracks down on child pornography ABC

Investigators of child pornography in Australia realised a long time ago that they were fighting a battle not limited to Australian shores. As part of the latest international effort to crack down on internet child pornography, the Innocent Images International Task Force is investigating child pornography and pursuing sexual predators in more than 40 countries.

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More than 100 arrested worldwide in child pornography sting INQ7

More than 100 people have been arrested in 19 countries in a Spanish-led crackdown on users of Internet pedophilia websites, Spain's interior ministry said

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12 February 2006

uk: Lords restrict terror website censorship plans The Register

The House of Lords has restricted Government plans to allow the police to order the take down of suspected terrorism-related web content by requiring that the authorities obtain the permission of a judge first.

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Internet jihad: tackling terror on the Web Christian Science Monitor

A British citizen faces US charges for running a militant site hosted in Connecticut. ... Charged with running websites hosted in the US that promoted and supported Islamic militancy, Mr. Ahmad is still in British custody. He has appealed the extradition order and Britain's High Court will hear the case on Feb. 20. The proceedings will test the ability of Western governments to put on trial Islamic radicals who use the Internet as a key recruiting and organizational tool.

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au/ng: Nigerian scammers fleece Australians SMH

Police are staggered by the amount of money Australians are losing to Nigerian investment scammers.

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29 January 2006

nz: Scam internet sites shut down tvnz

Fraudulent internet websites exposed by One News have been shut down and Auckland's fraud squad has begun investigations.

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