Articles by date

15 November 2006

Educational toys? Just give toddlers your old phone (The Times)

Parents spending hundreds of pounds on high-tech educational toys for toddlers would be better off giving them an old mobile phone to play with, according to an education expert.

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Surfing to Excess: How Much Is Too Much? (Washington Post)

More Internet users say their time online is interfering with their lives; medical communities are taking their complaints seriously.

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au: Victoria the first to cast e-vote in a state election (Computer World)

Electronic votes are set to be cast in the state of Victoria today, marking a first for Australia in any state election.

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us: Catching Up With Cybercriminals (eCommerce Times)

Last year for the first time, proceeds from cybercrime were greater than proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs, according to recent comments by Valerie McNiven, an adviser to the U.S. Treasury Dept. "Cybercrime is moving at such a high speed that law enforcement cannot catch up with it," she says.

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us: Satanic Barney on Web tests copyright laws (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Barney the purple dinorsaur's owner, Lyons Partnership, is in a legal squabble with a Web site creator who posted unflattering images of the children's character. The dispute is testing the boundaries of copyright law and free expression on the Internet.

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us: Could Online Poker Law Raise The Stakes on Free Linking? (Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School)

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act rocked the online casino industry mere days after its passage this month, and, with the president expected to sign the bill on Friday, most commentary has focused on how it will impact the millions of Americans who enjoy playing poker and placing bets online. As in many other instances, this attempt to stamp out an online activity could also impact anyone who wants to link to or help you access sites online.

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The Information Society and the Nature of Digital Divide, by Elisa Burchett (UN Observer)

Click here - http://www.yourlanguage.yourlocale - Are you connected? As rudimentary as this example is, it's a very complicated business. The inaugural meeting of the IGF or Internet Governance Forum held in Athens, Greece has come to an end and the abundance of information made available at the IGF website is proof of just how complex and increasingly expansive the future of the internet could be. Fittingly the IGF held a 4 day interactive discussion on various themes including openness, diversity, access and multilingualism, highlighting concerns for minority and indigenous rights.

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Britain kills EU attempt to regulate net video clips (The Guardian)

The British government is set to fight off proposed European rules that would make it responsible for overseeing taste and decency in video clips on sites such as YouTube and MySpace. Under a clause in the European media regulation directive TV Without Frontiers, national governments would be responsible for regulating the internet for the first time. Britain's media watchdog, Ofcom, backed by the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, argued that the plan was unworkable and would stifle creativity and investment in new media across Europe.

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uk: Press freedom being eaten away, says watchdog chief (The Guardian)

Sir Christopher Meyer, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission who sparked a political furore by lifting the lid on his time as ambassador to Washington, warned last night that freedom of the press was being gradually chipped away by the government. He said the breakdown in communication between the government and newspapers was unhealthy for democracy.

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Websites face four-second cut-off (BBC)

Shoppers are likely to abandon a website if it takes longer than four seconds to load, a survey suggests.

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au: Soon recordings will be a crime (Sydney Morning Herald)

Hundreds of U2 fans used their mobile phones to record Bono belting out their favourite songs at Sydney's Telstra Stadium over three concerts ending last night. Little did they know that under planned changes to copyright laws, they would be committing a criminal offence, attracting a maximum fine of A$6600.

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14 November 2006

Can't we all share in the search bounty? (The Guardian)

Should we be paid for using search engines? For most people that is a silly question. Of course not, they would say. If anything, we should be paying them. The use of search engines has transformed our lives by bringing knowledge on any subject to our computer screens in a fraction of a second - and all for nothing. The more relevant question is: how much would you pay to have a search engine if it were suddenly whisked away from you? The answer is: a lot of money.

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13 November 2006

When elephants make love, the grass gets trampled (CNet)

Steve Ryan, a barrister who attended the IGF, asks whether the IGF was a success. His answer, he says, "hinges on whether ideals broadly held by the U.S. Internet community were furthered". Ryan looks at "control issues", these being government control of the internet. Here he also quotes the outgoing Secretary General of the ITU, Yoshio Utsumi of Japan who commented on the "continued lack of consensus" regarding Internet governance, stating it "borders on arrogance" to believe national governments and the ITU should not have the controlling role in Internet governance. Then Ryan looks at the "venerable founders", Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf, the former citing "two key ways the Internet succeeded: first, that it was removed from central control through its open architecture; and second, it was fueled by the active cooperative participation by the research community." Then "Cerf warned the assembled government representatives that the desire for internationalized domain names (IDNs) that moved beyond Latin characters A to Z and 1 to 9 was indeed inevitable, but he did not minimize the challenge this worthy goal posed to global interoperability." Towards the end of the article Ryan writes "There is a palpable concern in the Internet community that ICANN will be badly harmed by Cerf's being 'termed out' and having to leave ICANN's board, which he has chaired with distinction. ICANN's more than occasional political tone deafness will not be enhanced by losing its most deft and respected spokesman."

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us: What the Democrats' win means for tech (ZDNet)

Now that this week's elections have switched control of the House and Senate back to the Democrats, the outlook for technology-related legislation has changed dramatically overnight. On a wealth of topics--Net neutrality, digital copyright, merger approval, data retention, Internet censorship--a Capitol Hill controlled by Democrats should yield a shift in priorities on technology-related legislation.

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Google chief vows to protect users' privacy (The Guardian)

The Google chief executive, Eric Schmidt, yesterday vowed to resist attempts by US president George W Bush's administration to obtain private information on internet users. On the day when the Republican administration faced dispiriting results in the US mid-term elections, Dr Schmidt launched a stinging criticism of the government's attitude to privacy.

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Why spam is out of control (The Guardian)

Noticed a lot more junk in your inbox? Danny Bradbury of The Guardian reports on the increasingly sophisticated methods being used to pump out millions of unwanted emails.

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Spam Levels Up by 80 Percent (PC World)

Researchers and IT managers are confirming security vendors' claims that spam levels have spiked in the past month--some say by as much as 80 percent--and show no signs of decreasing.

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us: LA police in YouTube beating film (BBC)

An investigation begins after a video of a man being beaten by Los Angeles police is posted on YouTube. There is also a BBC TV report that includes the video.

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us: Are More Laws Needed To Protect Kids Online? (Wall Street Journal)

The Internet is a fixture in most kids' lives, but there is broad disagreement over the best way to protect children from things they shouldn't see online - and what role, if any, new laws should play.

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us: Judges: Mere Viewing of Child Porn Images on Internet Not a Crime (Law.com)

A Pennsylvania Superior Court decision issued late last week has shed light on a legal loophole that appears to let off the hook those who view child pornography on their computers but don't save those images on their hard drives.

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au: Internet child pornography a growing problem (ABC 7.30 Report)

For many people, the Internet of course has created an exciting new world of information and communication but as we've increasingly come to know, it has its very definite dark side. Broadband and high-speed Internet connections have helped a global market in images of abused children. Interpol now has a database of a staggering 200,000 images and only a fraction of these children have been identified. If anything, the problem is only getting worse.

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12 November 2006

us: Online scams target the wealthy (BBC)

High-income earners in the US are the target of online "phishing" scams a study shows. The study, by analysts Gartner, found that people who earn more than $100,000 received nearly 50% more phishing e-mails than lower earners.

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11 November 2006

Baffled GPs urged to try diagnosis by Google (The Times)

If in doubt, Google it, doctors puzzling over a diagnosis have been told. The internet search engine used by millions of people to find a plumber or discover what their house is worth is also pretty handy when it comes to putting a name to unusual ailments.

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Internet governance: it's like an arranged marriage (The Guardian)

Kieran McCarty, writing in The Guardian, starts his story writing about a tussle between Lithuania vs Azerbaijan, both wanting to host and IGF meeting in 2010. But on the conference, the article notes that many attended the meeting to see what would happen, and left thinking it was an outstanding success. The article notes “The forum was largely experimental: instead of giving governments the last word, it put everyone together in the same room, gave them equal status and hoped that common interests would be enough to patch over cultural differences.” The article also notes an online poll carried out during the conference found 57% said the event had been better or much better than they had imagined, with just 14% saying it was worse.

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uk: ISPs 'should be responsible' for hacker attacks (News Scientist)

ISPs should be made legally liable for the damage caused by "denial of service" attacks carried out via their networks, a leading internet lawyer says.

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