Government & Policy

30 March 2007

Bloggers are not journalists, Lithuanian parliament IOL Technology

Bloggers are not journalists, and therefore do not have the rights and protections accorded to them, says the Lithuanian parliament.

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23 March 2007

UK regulators 'relaxed' on net neutrality ZDNet

Ofcom and the Department for Trade and Industry argue against net neutrality legislation as the debate reaches Westminster

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American Studios' Secret Plan to Lock down European TV Devices Internet Business Law Services

An international consortium of television and technology companies is devising draconian anti-consumer restrictions for the next generation of TVs in Europe and beyond, at the behest of American entertainment giants. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the only public interest group to have gained entrance into the secretive meetings of the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), a group that creates the television and video specifications used in Europe, Australia, and much of Asia and Africa. In a report released today, EFF shows how U.S. movie and television companies have convinced DVB to create new technical specifications that would build digital rights management technologies into televisions. These specifications are likely to take away consumers' rights, which will subsequently be sold back to them piecemeal -- so entertainment fans will have to pay again and again for legitimate uses of lawfully acquired digital television content.

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20 March 2007

UNESCO states position on ethical issues in the information society Heise

UNESCO has published a brochure entitled "Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies" dealing with the consequences of the use of RFID chips, biometric identification systems, and location-based services (LBSs). Written by lawyers from the US, the brochure was published as part of the "NGO Geneva Net Dialogue" in which non-governmental organizations stated their case after the UN World Summit on Information Freedom and the Internet Governance Forum. The results of the dialogue are to be included in the WSIS Action Line C10 "Ethical dimensions of the Information Society."

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18 March 2007

eu: Mobile TV warned to standardise BBC

A European Commission official has issued a stern warning to those involved in mobile TV to agree on adopting a single technology standard. EC telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said that if the industry did not agree on one, she would do it for them.

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13 March 2007

Sweden seeks telecoms monitoring BBC

Sweden's government has presented a bill to give its defence intelligence agency powers to monitor any e-mail or phone call into or out of the country.

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09 March 2007

US Justice Department takes aim at image-sharing sites CNet

The Bush administration has accelerated its Internet surveillance push by proposing that Web sites must keep records of who uploads photographs or videos in case police determine the content is illegal and choose to investigate, CNET has learned.

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French to limit violent net clips BBC

French people could be prevented from posting images or videos of violent acts online under new laws.

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06 March 2007

Berners-Lee: Congress should consider net neutrality InfoWorld

Timothy Berners-Lee advocated that the U.S. Congress protect net neutrality and questioned the value of DRM (digital rights management) Thursday. Berners-Lee, speaking before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet in the U.S. House of Representatives, said it was "very, very important" for lawmakers to protect the ability of users to access the Web content they want regardless of their ISP.

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Berners-Lee pushes Congress on 'nondiscriminatory' Web CNet

World Wide Web father Tim Berners-Lee told politicians on Thursday that it's critical to shield his seminal innovation from control by a single company or country.

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28 February 2007

EC Sues Germany Over High-Speed Internet Law E-Commerce News

The European Commission said Monday it was suing Germany over a law allowing Deutsche Telekom to keep rivals off its high-speed Internet networks. A letter "of formal notice" was sent to Berlin after it ignored repeated warnings not to adopt legislation that could grant Deutsche Telekom a de facto monopoly on a new broadband network. The German parliament on Friday passed the telecommunications law, exempting Deutsche Telekom's high-speed network from regulation.

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24 February 2007

The changing media environment in Singapore ABC Media Report

The ABC's Media Report examines the limits of liberalisation in nearby Singapore. There's little doubt the society is loosening up and that includes its media. But has the ruling People's Action Party given any ground when it comes to the coverage of political affairs?

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Estonia to hold first national Internet election CNet

The Baltic state of Estonia plans to become the world's first country to allow voting in a national parliamentary election via the Internet next month--with a little help from the forest king.

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22 February 2007

Europe’s Plan to Track Phone and Net Use New York Times

A proposed law would require companies to keep detailed data about people's Internet and phone use.

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uk: Government backs digital lockdown BBC

Calls to ban Digital Rights Management to limit what people can do with digital media have been rejected.

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us: Neutrality On the Net Gets High '08 Profile Washington Post

Bloggers and other Internet activists made their marks in the past two presidential elections chiefly by building networks of political enthusiasts and raising money for candidates. Now, they are pushing aggressively into policymaking -- and not just over high-profile issues such as Iraq.

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us: More states move to ban Internet hunting Chron

A Texas businessman who wanted to allow computer users to hunt from the comfort of their homes has instead spawned dozens of state laws banning the practice.

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14 February 2007

us: Feds seek middle ground in Net neutrality feud ZDNet

Federal consumer protection officials on Tuesday indicated they're not ready to side with fans or foes of contentious Net neutrality regulations and said a middle-ground approach may be preferable.

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06 February 2007

eu: Internet video rules 'misguided' BBC

An EU bid to make internet broadcasters subject to the same laws as traditional television is "seriously misguided", a House of Lords committee has said. Proposals risk damaging the new media industry, pushing broadcasters to set up outside Europe, the committee said.

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01 February 2007

us: The Inegalitarian Web Forbes

The new Congress is determined to enact a "net neutrality" bill. Nobody yet knows what those two words mean. The new law won't provide any intelligible answer, either. It will, however, put a real drag on new capital investment in faster digital pipes by making it illegal for many big companies to help pay for them, while leaving everyone guessing about the details for years. That last bit is great news for all the telecom lawyers (like the author) who get paid far too much to make sense out of idiotic new laws like this one.

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31 January 2007

The World Economic Forum – Forbes coverage Forbes

For most of the year, the only moguls to be found in Davos, Switzerland, are on the ski slopes. But for six days each January, this picturesque resort town is overrun with heads of state, NGO do-gooders, celebrities and CEOs who come to town for the World Economic Forum (Jan. 24-29).'s has numerous stories, slide shows, blogs and video blogs including stories on The $100 Computer, Whose Afraid Of Second Life?, Technorati's Davos Dealing, and Google Guys In Davos: Is Google evil? Will newspapers survive? Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Chad Hurley take questions.

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30 January 2007

us: Bill would stiffen penalties for crimes posted online CNet

Criminals who post images or videos to the Internet of their violent exploits could face stiffer penalties under a new bill in Congress.

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28 January 2007

uk: 'No more smoke-filled rooms' The Guardian

Gordon Brown said today that the days of the "smoke-filled room" were over and that politicians had to involve the public in decision-making in order to win the arguments for free trade, globalisation and the fight against terrorism. Speaking in Davos in a debate about leadership, the chancellor said that politicians were "in the slow lane of the super-information highway" and had failed to recognise how the internet had revolutionised the nature of political debate.

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09 January 2007

Spain takes lead in closing down the websites that tell girls it's good to be anorexic The Times

Four months after the city led the world in the Size 0 debate by banning ultra-skinny models from its catwalks, health officials are shining the spotlight on the growing number of "pro-ana" websites that glorify starvation diets.

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05 December 2006

us: Groups Urge Courts To Limit FCC's Authority to Regulate Speech Center for Democracy and Technology

As communications technologies converge, courts must rein in the Federal Communications Commission's continued efforts to expand its authority to regulate speech over broadcast media. That is the key message of two friend-of-the-court briefs CDT filed this week in conjunction with Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd and 3rd Circuits. As an organization focused on the Internet and emerging digital technology, CDT has not typically involved itself in the broadcast indecency debate. But the FCC’s increased indecency enforcement is likely in this age of convergence to threaten the underlying freedom of other digital communications.

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