Government & Policy

10 August 2007

ACLU Seeks Court's Spying Rulings Information Week

The American Civil Liberties Union said it is asking a federal court to disclose its recent legal opinions on the Bush administration's authority to engage in secret wiretapping of Americans. ... The ACLU said such an unusual disclosure was needed because of legislation adopted by Congress over the weekend to temporarily expand the government's power to conduct electronic surveillance without a court order in tracking foreign enemy suspects.

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Bandwidth price relief in sight for Australian internet users Australian IT

Australian consumers can expect by late next year relief from the international bandwidth drought that has been driving up internet access costs. Network infrastructure specialist, Pipe Networks, has selected Tyco Telecommunications to supply a new undersea cable linking Australia to Guam that is expected to break an international bandwidth duopoly suppressing local internet download quotas.

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Australia, the election, and broadband policy

In the lead-up to the federal government election in Australia, most likely later this year, broadband access is one of the hotter topics with both of the main parties having quite different policies. The Labor opposition claims they want to give 98% of Australians broadband access with fibre-to-the-node, while the government wants to use a mixture of fibre-to-the-node and wireless (WiMax). I've collated some of the latest news on this here.

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08 August 2007

Conflict over digital content moves to cellphones International Herald Tribune

Microsoft and Nokia are coming together in a rare accord, trying to take advantage of the expected explosion of the sale of mobile digital content.

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07 August 2007

Bush signs controversial surveillance bill The Guardian

US intelligence agencies will no longer need a warrant to eavesdrop on US citizens' international phone calls and emails after George Bush signed a temporary surveillance bill yesterday. The measure gives the National Security Agency - which is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications - and other agencies broader authority to monitor phone conversations, emails and other private communications that are part of a foreign intelligence investigation.

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California moves to lock down e-voting systems ComputerWorld

The California Secretary of State moved strongly on Friday to corral electronic-voting problems found in independent tests conducted on machines previously certified for use in that state.

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06 August 2007

us: House Passes Changes in Eavesdropping Program New York Times

Under pressure from President Bush, the House gave final approval Saturday to changes in a terrorism surveillance program, despite serious objections from many Democrats about the scope of the executive branch's new eavesdropping power. ... One major issue, apparently raised in secret by judges overseeing the program, is that many calls and email messages between people outside the United States are routed over data networks that run through the United States.

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04 August 2007

us: Democratic rivals in race to recruit bloggers The Guardian

US presidential contenders including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are heading to Chicago for the biggest gathering of leftwing and anti-war bloggers, in a move that highlights the increasing importance of online activists in American politics. All eight Democratic contenders will be present for the second YearlyKos convention, which opens today, in contrast with last year when only Bill Richardson turned up.

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Halt e-voting, says UK's Electoral Commission ZDNet

The Electoral Commission says there is little point in continuing with e-voting trials unless the government gives a clear justification for using the technology

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27 July 2007

EU to free up wireless spectrum for 3G Sydney Morning Herald

The European Union is making more radio spectrum available for accessing Internet services over mobile phones, saying the use of lower frequencies would cut operators' costs and let them reach customers over a wider area.

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23 July 2007

OECD Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress OECD

On 12 July 2007, OECD Member countries adopted a Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress to provide governments with a framework to help consumers resolve disputes and settle claims with business. The framework covers disputes in both domestic and cross-border transactions. It was developed to deal with issues arising from the rapid growth in electronic commerce, but it will also benefit consumers making traditional types of purchases.

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OECD urges government and industry to overhaul consumer protection for Internet and other shoppers OECD

OECD countries have agreed a new approach to better protect the rights of consumers and make online shopping safer. They call on national authorities and business to make it easier, cheaper and quicker for people to resolve complaints and get compensation when they are unhappy with goods or services they have bought.

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OECD-Canada Technology Foresight Forum on the Participative Web: Strategies and Policies for the Future OECD

Questions to be addressed in the Foresight Forum include: What does the future hold for the participative web? What are the trends and impacts on knowledge-creation, business, users and governments? What are the implications for enhancing confidence and trust in the Internet? What is the government role in providing the right environment for stimulating Internet innovation and economic growth?

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21 July 2007

EU approves German plan to subsidise Internet search engine project International Herald Tribune

Germany won European Commission approval Thursday to put €120 million into an Internet search system being developed by companies including Bertelsmann and Thomson. The benefit to the public of creating new technologies and putting more cultural material onto the Web outweighs the risk of giving selected companies an unfair advantage via subsidies, the top EU body ruled in Brussels.

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20 July 2007

Media activists concerned over new Thai cyber law Sydney Morning Herald

Thai police will be able to seize computers from homes and businesses under a new cyber-crime law that came into force Wednesday, which authorities say will help crack down on Internet pornography.

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19 July 2007

Electronic voting to debut this Australian election ComputerWorld

This year's federal election will be the first to engage electronic voting when blind or vision impaired people will be able to vote at 29 locations across Australia.

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18 July 2007

Internet Radio Gets Fee Break in Compromise Talks E-Commerce Times

As the July 15 deadline for new Internet radio royalty rates to take effect sailed by in relative peace, most Internet radio webcasters remained up and running following initial results of compromise talks late last week between webcasters and SoundExchange. Most recently, SoundExchange, the arm of the Recording Industry Association of America that collects the royalties, confirmed on Friday that it had offered to cap the $500 per-channel minimum fee stations must pay at $50,000 per year.

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16 July 2007

The US and Japan provide the strongest environments for IT competitiveness, finds the Economist Intelligence Unit Economist Intelligence Unit

Relatively few countries possess all the factors necessary to support a thriving information technology sector, but the United States, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom provide the strongest environments for IT competitiveness, a new study concludes.

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uk: Texting and traffic lights are the perils of a former PM The Sunday Times

Speaking to a star-studded audience at Wembley Stadium, Mr Blair revealed that after a decade in office he needed to be taught how to use a mobile phone. When the former Prime Minister finally managed to fire off a text message, he was somewhat bemused to receive one back that said: "Who are you?"

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15 July 2007

au: Kevin, 49, seeks friends he can count Sydney Morning Herald

Kevin Rudd, 49, is a Hogan's Heroes fan. Joe Hockey, a Leo from Sydney, likes the song Who Let the Dogs Out? Bob Brown, 62, was on duty in a London casualty ward the night Jimi Hendrix died. And if you want a meaningful relationship, all three are anxiously seeking friends on MySpace. The Opposition Leader, the federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and the Greens leader were among 20 politicians and candidates whose profiles yesterday launched a local channel of the social networking website that has become a political force in the US.

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'Free The iPhone' Campaign Calls For Open Internet Information Week

A consumer advocacy organization is using the popularity of Apple's new iPhone as an opportunity to urge Americans to demand an open mobile Internet. The organization, known as Free Press, launched a campaign on Friday called As part of the campaign, Americans are asked to sign a petition addressed to the Federal Communications Commission and Congress so they can free up the mobile Internet.

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13 July 2007

us: FCC wants open access to spectrum Los Angeles Times

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin is readying proposed guidelines for the upcoming auction of prime public airwaves that would require that the winning companies let consumers hook up any wireless device to the network.

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07 July 2007

New British law will criminalise possession of extreme porn

The Government has published a new law which will criminalise extreme pornography. The Government first indicated that it would criminalise the possession of violent pornography two years ago. A new Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill has had its first reading in Parliament, which means that it has been published and awaits debate and committee scrutiny.

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06 July 2007

Ugandan Internet Crime Law in Offing

The Ugandan cabinet is currently scrutinising three bills aimed at thwarting increasing levels of electronic crimes, particularly those committed over the internet, according to the Minister for ICT, Dr Ham Mulira.

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Broadband Bullying Banned in EU Internet Business Law Services

First, it was France Télécom and Deutsche Telekom. Now, it's Telefónica. The European Union has levied one of the largest fines ever - €152 million - against Spanish telecom operator Telefónica for allegedly engaging in a "margin squeeze" in the Spanish broadband Internet access market, thus impeding competition. Telefónica is expected to appeal the decision at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

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