Government & Policy

22 September 2007

US Senators push for Internet tax ban InfoWorld

John McCain, John Sununu, and Trent Lott want to make permanent a temporary measure banning taxes on Internet access that is due to expire November 1

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Australian communications minister seeks to censor the Web Australian IT

The Federal Police commissioner will have the power to block and ban websites believed to be crime or terrorism related under an internet censorship amendment bill introduced into Parliament today (20/9).

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20 September 2007

us: Warrantless Wiretaps Not Used, Official Says New York Times

The National Security Agency has not conducted wiretapping without warrants on the telephones of any Americans since at least February, the nation's top intelligence officer told Congress on Tuesday. Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, told the House Judiciary Committee that since he took office that month, the government has conducted electronic surveillance only after seeking court-approved warrants.

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US intelligence chief says China is spying on cold war scale The Guardian

China and Russia are spying on the US on a scale not seen since the end of the cold war, the head of US national intelligence, Mike McConnell, said yesterday. Giving evidence to a Congressional committee, Vice Admiral McConnell said that US facilities, intelligence services and development projects were all being targeted. He was speaking weeks after the Pentagon had claimed it had come under attack from Chinese computer hackers. The Foreign Office is among British government departments that appear also to have been targeted.

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18 September 2007

Australian spy laws track mobile phones, internet Sydney Morning Herald

Security agencies would be able to secretly track people via their mobile phones and monitor their internet browsing for up to three months without obtaining a warrant under new laws due to go before the Senate this week. The powers could be used in a range of even relatively minor criminal investigations, not just terrorism cases.

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16 September 2007

Canada gives lawful access another look IT World Canada

The Canadian federal government has rekindled debates around lawful access with the launch of a consultation process that discusses the possibility of granting law enforcement agencies greater access to Internet and telecom service providers' subscriber data.

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Australian politicians embrace Google for the 'e-election' Sydney Morning Herald

John Howard says the internet is "not some sort of gimmick" and has invited voters to have a conversation with him on YouTube. Peter Garrett believes the web will play a "really really critical role" in the upcoming election, which Joe Hockey has dubbed the "e-election campaign". The Prime Minister, opposition environment spokesman and Workplace Relations Minister broadcasted the comments over YouTube this morning in glowing endorsements of Google's new federal election website.

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15 September 2007

uk: New thinktank to investigate changing media The Guardian

The government is to convene a new thinktank to confront the rapid pace of media change as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the way the sector is regulated, it emerged yesterday. Setting out his broadcasting vision for the first time, the culture secretary, James Purnell, revealed that he and business secretary John Hutton would recruit senior figures from inside and outside the government to inform media policy.

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14 September 2007

uk: Religious hatred: a crime from October, but exemptions are wide Out-Law

The Racial and Religious Hatred Act comes into force in October, carrying a threat of prison terms for a person who tries to stir up religious hatred. However, its free speech exemptions are so wide that convictions could be difficult, a lawyer said.

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13 September 2007

Ofcom begins public service television broadcasting review Ofcom

Ofcom published the terms of reference for its second review of public service television broadcasting (PSB). The review will examine the extent to which the public purposes of PSB are being met and assess options for maintaining and strengthening the quality of PSB in future. It is expected to conclude in early 2009. Ofcom's first PSB Review concluded that there was continued demand for PSB but that the existing model of ensuring it is provided by commercially funded channels would not survive the transition to a wholly multichannel world unchanged. It stated that, as the value of analogue broadcasting licences declines, so the regulator's capacity to require commercial public service broadcasters to deliver certain types or quantities of programmes diminishes.

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12 September 2007

Speech by Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Minister of Communications, South Africa at CRASA Workshop on the Impact of Convergence on ICT Policy and Regulation South African Department of Communications

This speech, by the South African Minister of Communications in June 2007 discusses an "African renaissance" through the use of ICT across the continent and that it "is an emerging reality; it is attainable and it is within reach." The speech advocates the continued growth and use of ICT, and its importance in today's world where convergence is key.

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11 September 2007

Legislation of INTERPOL member states on sexual offences against children INTERPOL

In order to set up a base document regarding legislation of the member countries of the International Criminal Police Organization-INTERPOL on child sex abuse, INTERPOL asked member countries to provide us with a summary of the applicable legal texts regarding these offences.

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08 September 2007

Judge Rules Feds Cannot Silence ISPs With Patriot Act E-Commerce Times

A federal judge has struck down a component of the USA Patriot Act, saying the post-9/11 law violates constitutional principles by attempting to force third parties such as Internet service providers who receive demands for information without search warrants to keep silent about those inquiries. U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero handed a victory to Patriot Act opponents including the American Civil Liberties Union with the ruling, which was handed down on Thursday.

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06 September 2007

nz: Call for "bad taste" ban on net TVNZ

Victim Support is calling for legislation to prevent offenders posting bad taste material about murder cases on the internet.

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02 September 2007

German spyware plans trigger row BBC

German government plans to spy on terror suspects by deploying malicious e-mails have drawn sharp criticism. The e-mails would contain Trojans - software that secretly installs itself on suspects' computers, allowing agents to search the hard drives.

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26 August 2007

U.S. confirms telecoms' role in eavesdropping International Herald Tribune

The Bush administration has confirmed for the first time that American telecommunications companies played a key role in the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program after asserting for nearly two years that any role played by the companies was a "state secret." The acknowledgment came in an interview that Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, conducted with The El Paso Times last week in which he discussed a number of sensitive issues that the administration has long insisted were classified and has refused to discuss publicly.

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24 August 2007

Attempts to regulate online hate in Canada Internet Business Law Services

Though free speech is generally protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, hate speech is outlawed by the Canadian legislation like the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act, among others. Sections 318 through 320 of the Canadian Criminal Code criminalize hate speech and have been upheld as constitutional by the country's Supreme Court. The Canadian Human Rights Act is a civil measure that targets hate speech. However, it may be difficult to use these laws to prosecute many of the hate web sites themselves due to jurisdictional issues, because these sites can, and do, find homes in the United States, where they are protected by the First Amendment. This article provides an overview of Canadian laws applicable to hate speech, including online hate speech.

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Israeli ISP's will Block Pornographic Sites upon Request Internet Business Law Services

On July 8, 2007 a bill was approved by the Israeli Government's Ministers' Committee for legislation requiring ISPs to provide to clients a service for blocking websites which are "not fit for children". Such sites are defined websites containing primarily violent, pornographic or gambling content, provided that the websites are not intrinsically of any artistic scientific, news, educational or social value.

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23 August 2007

us: The Warrantless Debate Over Wiretapping New York Times

Congress just passed, and President Bush hurriedly signed, a law that amends the legal framework for the electronic interception of various kinds of communication with foreign sources. Almost immediately, commentators concluded that the law was unnecessary, that it authorized a lawless and unprecedented expansion of presidential authority, and that Democrats in Congress cravenly accepted this White House initiative only for the basest political reasons. None of these widely broadcast conclusions are likely to be true.

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European legal circles await ruling on Microsoft New York Times

Perhaps the most closely watched figure in European legal circles this summer has been Bo Vesterdorf, the Danish judge who heads Europe's top appeals court, with antitrust lawyers hanging on his every public utterance.

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us: Leahy, Cheney Wrangle Over Warrantless Wiretap Docs E-Commerce Times

The battle over the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping efforts escalated Monday as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee threatened to hold White House officials in contempt for flouting an already-extended deadline to respond to a June subpoena. The subpoena by the Senate Judiciary Committee requested documents providing the legal justifications for the warrantless wiretapping program.

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All is Not Safe for Kenyan Media

Hardly before the dust settles on the controversial Media Bill of 2007, the media fraternity has discovered yet another equally controversial and even more sinister and draconian piece of legislation, which is in the process of being promulgated. But like the Media Bill 2007, media owners and practitioners have vowed not to take the Kenya Communications Amendment Bill 2007, also known as the ICT Bill, lying down.

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20 August 2007

us: Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New Law New York Times

Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include -- without court approval -- certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans' business records, Democratic Congressional officials and other experts said.

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Terror law puts Britons at risk of surveillance by US agents The Observer

A new law swept through Congress by the US government before the summer recess is to give American security agencies unprecedented powers to spy on British citizens without a warrant. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was approved by Congress earlier this month to help the National Security Agency in the fight against terrorism. But it has now emerged that the bill gives the security services powers to intercept all telephone calls, internet traffic and emails made by British citizens across US-based networks.

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19 August 2007

ANACOM Conference: Regulating Convergence - Converging Regulation ANACOM

Bringing together a number of key national and international figures from the world of communications regulation, this conference will be a unique opportunity for wide-ranging debate on the challenges faced by regulation and regulators. Such challenges come from issues that include next generation network implementation and access, competition from emerging markets, the development of new business models, the possible application of new regulation institutional models, as well as radio spectrum policies. Finally, the implications of these new realities for citizens in general must not be forgotten, especially within the scope of providing the universal service of electronic communications.

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