Government & Policy

05 July 2007

eu: Google's DoubleClick deal runs into consumer resistance The Guardian

Google's £1.5bn (US$3.1bn) takeover of online advertiser DoubleClick has run into new turbulence with a formal protest by a consumers' group. BEUC, backed by consumers in Germany, Italy and Spain, has urged the competition commissioner Neelie Kroes to investigate the deal, arguing in a letter seen by the Guardian that it "may have a negative impact on the selection of online content available to consumers and on privacy". The US federal trade commission is already investigating on similar grounds.

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Sexy clip lifts EU YouTube debut BBC

When the EU opened its own channel on YouTube, no-one could have predicted it would get upwards of 20,000 hits a day. But while videos on the CAP and road safety are barely getting touched, a clip of sex scenes from European cinema has become a runaway success.

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04 July 2007

New UK e-waste recycling laws begin BBC

A much-delayed law that makes British producers and importers of electronic goods responsible for the recycling of their products has come into force. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive requires 4kg of "e-waste" to be recycled per person.

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03 July 2007

FTC Issues Staff Report on Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy (news release) Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission's Internet Access Task Force today issued a report, "Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy," which summarizes the Task Force's findings in the area of broadband Internet connectivity and, in particular, so-called network neutrality regulation. Based on these findings, and FTC staff's experience with the operation of myriad markets throughout the economy, the report identifies guiding principles that policy makers should consider in evaluating proposed regulations or legislation relating to broadband Internet access and network neutrality.

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01 July 2007

South Korean chat room bullies face end to their internet anonymity The Times

Cyber-bullies who plague internet chat rooms with obscene and insulting comments will be banned under the first national scheme to strip them of their anonymity. People going online will be forced to provide their real names and social security numbers under a new law that makes internet portals responsible for policing message boards and weblogs.

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EU laws on recycling electronics come into force Financial Times

Consumers shopping on Sunday for a new electrical appliance or electronic gadget will find something has changed at the check-out. Along with their change and receipt the retailer will give them some information: the arrangements that have been made to dispose of the old equipment so it can be recycled in accordance with European Union legislation. The waste electrical and electronic equipment regulations come into effect on July 1, requiring distributors and producers to make arrangements for disposing of appliances and gadgets - even if sold or made by other companies.

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us: FTC Issues Staff Report on Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy FTC

The Federal Trade Commission's Internet Access Task Force today issued a report, "Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy," which summarizes the Task Force's findings in the area of broadband Internet connectivity and, in particular, so-called network neutrality regulation. Based on these findings, and FTC staff's experience with the operation of myriad markets throughout the economy, the report identifies guiding principles that policy makers should consider in evaluating proposed regulations or legislation relating to broadband Internet access and network neutrality.

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29 June 2007

Joint report released into Australian communications infrastructure ARNnet

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today released a joint report titled Communications Infrastructure and Services Availability in Australia 2006-07. The report addresses the availability of broadband, fixed voice, mobile voice, mobile data, and broadcasting infrastructure and services.

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27 June 2007

au: Behind the bullying on broadband by Paul Budde Australian IT

The interesting thing about the bickering between the Government and Opposition on broadband is that they are both right. From my position as an independent observer, it really doesn't matter who gets the broadband ball rolling, as long as we do get that ball rolling.

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26 June 2007

au: Telstra gives a tick for 'gold-plated' Labor broadband scheme The Age

With broadband speed turning into an election issue, Telstra's head of public policy, Phil Burgess, has put his seal of approval on Kevin Rudd's approach to telecommunications over the Government's. Mr Burgess said Labor's plans to invest A$4.7 billion in fibre networks delivering minimum speeds of 12 megabits a second was superior to the Federal Government's $1.9 billion rural broadband plan.

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23 June 2007

EU Probe to Look at All Search Engines Sydney Morning Herald

A European Union probe triggered by concerns over how long Google Inc. stores user information has widened to include all Internet search engines. The EU's panel of national data protection officers said it's now concerned over the retention of data that the companies use to deliver more relevant search results and advertising. Some fear the data could be targeted by hackers and governments.

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19 June 2007

Euro1bn in digital technologies for Europeans to age well European Commission Information Society

Responding to the needs of Europe's growing ageing population, the Commission has today adopted a European Action Plan for "Ageing Well in the Information Society". This Action Plan is accompanied by a new joint European research programme raising to over €1bn the research investment on information and communications technologies targeted at improving the life of older people at home, in the workplace and in society in general. These new EU initiatives will contribute to allowing older Europeans to stay active for longer and live independently. Together they promise a triple win for Europe: improved quality of life and social participation for older people in Europe, new business opportunities for Europe's industries and more efficient and more personalised health and social services.

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15 June 2007

British calls mount for probe into Google's dominance The Times

The former deputy chairman of the Competition Commission has called for UK regulators to probe Google’s “huge commercial power” to arrest a “dangerously imbalance” in the online advertising market. The move comes amid growing pressure from rivals, including WPP, the advertising group, and Microsoft, the software giant, for regulators to curb Google's expansion. Baroness Kingsmill, widely seen as a cheerleader for intervention during her six years on the Competition Commission, said in today’s Financial Times that the “concentration of power” created by Google’s dominance of the internet search market “creates risks for businesses and consumers that ought to be the subject of a market inquiry in the UK”.

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14 June 2007

Internet spells end for political spin, says US web guru The Guardian

Internet activism is spelling the end for the age of spin, the online campaign guru Joe Trippi will warn British politicians today, suggesting that the rules for dealing with "old media" no longer apply. "The game has changed in a way the top needs to understand," he told the Guardian.

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NZ internet speed 'a baby's crawl' Stuff

New Zealand's slow internet speeds are threatening to leave the nation out of the global economy, one of the web's founders says. Larry Smarr, director of the Californian Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, said New Zealand's speeds were "a baby's crawl compared to the spaceship" on the international scene.

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12 June 2007

Australia lags, says net guru Sydney Morning Herald

One of the internet's original architects says Australia's living standards are in danger of slipping out of the top tier because it is not gearing up for the next level of web infrastructure. Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, says "real broadband" would allow connections 1000 times the speed of the current average Australian connection - and 80 times the speed the Government and Labor propose.

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11 June 2007

Cyber warming: PCs produce same CO2 emissions as airlines The Independent on Sunday

British Ministers act to counter health risk from dumped computers and Wi-Fi technology. ... New research shows that computers generate an estimated 35 million tons of the gas each year - the equivalent of one million typical flights to and from the UK. And Gartner, the international information technology research company, estimates that globally the IT industry accounts for around 2 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions - much the same as aviation.

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31 May 2007

The internet will revolutionise the very meaning of politics by Jonathan Freedland The Guardian

The web could yet bypass government and existing political communities, and either expand democracy in the process - or stifle it: So the Washington journalist who warned me 10 years ago that the internet was doomed, that it would collapse under the weight of all those pages, was wrong. The internet is here and changing everything, the way we work, shop, communicate, even fall in love. But what of society itself? The industrial revolution changed politics completely, leading to universal suffrage, as well as modern socialism, communism and fascism. What will the internet revolution do for the politics of our own age?

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25 May 2007

South Korea to introduce Internet code of ethics Independent Online

South Korea will introduce an Internet code of ethics to curb the distribution of pornographic material and other information deemed inappropriate, officials said.

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04 May 2007

Email Wiretap is Permissible in Australia... for now Internet Business Lsw Services

An amendment to the Australian Telecommunications (Interception) Act makes it easier for the police and state authorities to read citizens' e-mails and text messages. The Australian House of Representatives passed the Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment (Stored Communications) Act 2004 which amends the Australian Telecommunications (Interception) Act of 1979, with regard to electronic messages (e-mail) and text messages (SMS). This law, the Australian government's third attempt to amend the said Telecommunications (Interception) Act, enables the police, several Federal and State authorities, private investigators, Internet service providers and other business owners - to access e-mail messages, SMS messages, and voice messages which are temporarily stored during transfer - without a telecommunications interception warrant, even in cases the suspected offence is not grave in nature.

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01 May 2007

au: Rudd's broadband offer calls time on Howard's telecoms regime The Australian

"Time's up," Kevin Rudd told the National Labor conference. "Time's up for Mr Howard and his Government." That may prove a premature political assessment but time certainly seems to be up for the Howard Government's telecommunications regime. It is being helped on its way by Rudd's vague promise to spend $4.7 billion of taxpayer funds to help build a national broadband network. That has succeeded in revving up the broadband debate in a way Telstra could only have dreamed of. The ALP leader used his major address to the party conference yesterday to contrast Labor's activism on the issue with the Government's failure to fix the problem.

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24 April 2007

Canadian Conservative MP Introduces 'Clean Internet Act' by Michael Geist Michael Geist blog

Conservative MP Joy Smith yesterday introduced the Clean Internet Act. The private member's bill would establish an Internet service provider licensing system to be administered by the CRTC along with "know your subscriber" requirements and content blocking powers. Just about everything associated with this bill is (to be charitable) rather odd. Smith introduced it by warning against the use of the Internet to support human trafficking and added that "the bill would address the fact that child pornography is not okay to put on the Internet throughout our nation," though the Criminal Code already does that.

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17 April 2007

uk: Blog bullies propel state of the internet into the spotlight The Independent

Teachers are mocked on YouTube. Internet commentators receive death threats. But the UK press watchdog's Tim Toulmin says that you can trust UK web journalists ... The case for a form of non-statutory independent regulation for print and digital media, which protects freedom of expression, promotes good journalistic practice and provides redress for individuals when things go wrong is stronger than ever. The development of such a system through the Press Complaints Commission is perhaps one reason why the online journalism of UK newspapers and magazines - with its global audience of tens of millions of people - has not provoked the ethical questions raised by Alan Johnson and Jimmy Wales about You Tube and blogging. Because the PCC - while independent - involves the industry in its decision making, no one considers circumventing its advice and rulings. The same cannot be said for imposed restrictions and injunctions, which are a clumsy and sometimes counterproductive alternative. In the online environment, the Commission's non-statutory framework enables it to act quickly to resolve disputes in hours or days when things do go wrong - particularly important considering one of the main concerns people have concerns the speed of dissemination of inaccurate or intrusive information. This is not a complete answer to the challenges thrown up by the revolution in information provision. But, while the rows over social-networking sites and blogging continue to simmer, it is at least worth highlighting that the British press has taken the lead in voluntarily subjecting its online written and audio-visual journalism to independently-policed professional standards.

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13 April 2007

gh: Four ICT bills before cabinet Joy Online

Four information and communication technology bills, namely: National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Electronic Transaction Bill, New Telecom Bill and Amendment Bill are currently before Cabinet. ... When established, the National Information Technology Agency will .. monitor the implementation of national information communication technology policy. ... It will also resolve all matters involving domain names within the Domain Name Register under the ETA in accordance with the provisions of the NITA Act. ... When passed into law, it will ensure efficient use and management of the country's domain space. Further, it will also ensure that the interests and image of the nation are not compromised through the use of electronic communications.

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Korean law revision will give authorities access to phone, Internet data for 1 year The Hankyoreh

A campaign against a revision of the so-called "telecommunications privacy law" has been getting fiercer. Under the proposed revision bill, it will be possible for the government to monitor mobile phone conversations, e-mail, and Internet messenger services, and telecommunications data and Internet use records will be stored by companies for at least a year.

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