Articles by date
23 April 2007
Yahoo! sued over torture of Chinese dissident (The Times)
A Chinese political prisoner sued Yahoo! in a US federal court, accusing the internet company of helping the Chinese government torture him by providing information that led to his arrest. The suit, filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act, is believed to be the first of its kind made against an American internet company.
uk: Wi-Fi: Children at risk from 'electronic smog' (Independent on Sunday)
Britain's top health protection watchdog is pressing for a formal investigation into the hazards of using wireless communication networks in schools amid mounting concern that they may be damaging children's health. Sir William Stewart, the chairman of the Health Protection Agency, wants pupils to be monitored for ill effects from the networks - known as Wi-Fi - which emit radiation and are being installed in classrooms across the nation.
uk: Danger on the airwaves: Is the Wi-Fi revolution a health time bomb? (Independent on Sunday)
It's on every high street and in every coffee shop and school. But experts have serious concerns about the effects of electronic smog from wireless networks linking our laptops and mobiles: So far only a few, faint warnings have been raised, mainly by people who are so sensitised to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobiles, their masts and Wi-Fi that they become ill in its presence. The World Health Organisation estimates that up to three out of every hundred people are "electrosensitive" to some extent. But scientists and doctors - and some European governments - are adding their voices to the alarm as it becomes clear that the almost universal use of mobile phones may be storing up medical catastrophe for the future.
22 April 2007
Robert Fisk: Caught in the deadly web of the internet: Any political filth or personal libel can be hurled at the innocent (The Independent)
Mr Akcam has now become a different kind of prisoner: an inmate of the internet hate machine, the circle of hell in which any political filth or personal libel can be hurled at the innocent without any recourse to the law, to libel lawyers or to common decency. The Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was misquoted on the internet for allegedly claiming that Turkish blood was "poisonous"; this total lie - Dink never said such a thing - prompted a young man to murder him in an Istanbul street.
21 April 2007
This issue celebrates the release of the 2007 NetSafe Kit for Schools and takes a look at the new NetSafe research which is uncovering exactly how young people use technology in New Zealand. It introduces NetSafe's newest staff member, and the training he is taking around New Zealand in 2007. There is also a range of columns and tips to keep you up to date with the latest in cyberspace including a new Spam and Scams column.
uk: Net firms 'could do more' to fight viruses (The Guardian)
Internet providers could be held responsible for the spread of viruses on private computers, one of Britain's leading experts has claimed. Giving evidence to the House of Lords science and technology committee, Jonathan Zittrain, professor of internet governance and regulation at Oxford, said that holding broadband companies accountable for dangerous online traffic could help solve some security problems.
Microsoft software will sell for just US$3 in some parts of the world in an attempt to double the number of global PC users. The firm wants to bring computing to a further one billion people by 2015.
20 April 2007
Vint Cerf surveys his domain (Scripps News)
Vinton Cerf sees a reflection of our best and worst instincts in the internet in a story that comes out of a speech given on Monday. The story notes what most surprised and pleased him "has been the continuing avalanche of free information that's become available since the advent of the worldwide Web in the mid-1990s." The worst aspects were "spam, viruses, worms ... fraud and worthless content" noting these are already problems in other contexts, and that fraud has occurred for decades via the telephone and the Postal Service. The article concludes "Cerf apparently has no plans to ease into retirement. 'I consider it a successful day,' he said, 'when I wear out two 26-year-olds.'"
Political pressure on porn? by Stephen Balkam (Baltimore Sun)
What does this somewhat obscure international organization (ICANN) have to do with how the Internet will be managed and how governments around the world will view their role in regulating content? Quite a lot - and not necessarily all good. ... So, where does all this leave ICANN? While some will be cheering the decision, many more will be left wondering how this body can retain whatever semblance of transparency, objectivity and independence of government interference it claims to possess. The decision by ICANN, influenced as it has been by political pressures, chips away at the fundamental value of the Internet. For all of us involved in the online world - and that is virtually all of us - this is a worrying trend.
What is a Domain Name Worth to an End User? (Domain Name Wire)
A couple weeks ago Domain Name Wire more than quadrupled my money on a domain name sale. The domain was purchased less than a year ago at a reseller market. A broker was used to market the domain to companies that sold the related product, bringing in a five-figure sale. (The domain nor the actual sales price is not disclosed for confidentiality reasons.) While the domain name didn't get many clicks, it is the title of an entire software category dominated by large companies such as Sun and Oracle; the term receives 5,000-10,000 searches per month and advertisers are paying $5-$10 per click for this term.
More than a decade ago -- as the Cold War ended and the technological revolution begun -- many predicted that globalization would usher in a new era of freedom of expression across the planet. ... Now time has passed. Globalization has continued apace, spreading throughout former Soviet states and China, to the great profit of local economies and Western multinational companies. But those predictions about a worldwide end to censorship? Never happened. In fact, Internet censorship is picking up steam around the world. Thailand banned YouTube after a video was posted belittling the king. In Malaysia, the government is increasing the heat on bloggers, telling mainstream media outlets not to publish information from Web logs.
China fails to ban nude web chats (The Register)
The Chinese have dismally failed to clamp down on nude web chats after discovering "there was no basis in law to bring charges" against a housewife who arranged such online fleshfests, Reuters reports.
Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks (Pew Internet & American Life Project)
The majority of teens actively manage their online profiles to keep the information they believe is most sensitive away from the unwanted gaze of strangers, parents and other adults. AP reports that teens generally don't think twice about including their first names and photos on their personal online profiles, but most refrain from using full names or making their profiles fully public.
Updating e-mail rights in the EU (International Herald Tribune)
The European Convention on Human Rights has just been updated for the Internet age to include the basic right to keep your personal e-mail messages and Web surfing private. This follows a precedent set by a court ruling earlier this month in Strasbourg in a case involving a Welsh college employee.
Ultra violent games are 'no threat' (The Times)
The British Board of Film Classification isn't the first place that gamers expect to find research on video games and the reasons that people play them, but the BBFC has just released such a report as part of its attempt to better understand the attitudes of gamers and those who don't play them. The BBFC's even-handed report also delves into the question of game violence, but always with an eye to understanding rather than judgment. Their findings? Despite some parental fears, gamers consistently understand the distinction between the real-world and an onscreen fantasy, and don't confuse the two.
Reducing the digital divide through "integration" is the theme of a two-day Microsoft conference in Beijing that kicked off Wednesday morning. The Microsoft Government Leaders Forum Asia opened with calls to reduce economic inequalities among nations through the use of technology, under the theme of "Innovation, Integration and Inclusion for Sustained Growth."
Europe Not Pushing Enough Fiber to Home (BusinessWeek)
The Continent doesn't match North America or Asia in fiber-to-the-home delivery of broadband services, which could lead to slower innovation claims BusinessWeek, while blog postings from internet users claim it depends on where you are in Europe!
19 April 2007
RegisterFly has been ordered by US Federal Court Judge, Manuel J. Real, to hand over to ICANN current and accurate data for all of its domain names now that ICANN's application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against RegisterFly was granted yesterday. Under the TRO, RegisterFly is also obliged to provide this data every seven days, plus immediately allow ICANN staff access to the company's records and books in order to perform an audit.
U.S. House bill clarifies ban on Web names resembling those of U.S. agencies (International Herald Tribune)
A 1994 law that bars "any" use of a name of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service and their initials, logos and other symbols to solicit business by for-profit organisations is to be clarified in a House vote by specifying that the prohibition against "any" includes domain names. The law also states that a disclaimer is not a defense against either civil or criminal action. The change follows warnings twice in the last three weeks by the Internal Revenue Service commissioner about confusion over the official Web site of his agency and commercial firms playing off that confusion.
18 April 2007
To show some people have no remorse or morals, a number of mindnumbingly awful people have registered domain names relating to the recent shootings in Virginia, just like was done following other disasters around the world in recent times such as the tsunmai and hurricanes. For example, a resident of Virginia has registered vtmurders.com, vtmurders.info, vtkillings.com, and choseung-hui.com (the name of the suspected killer). The first three domains are available for $250K and the last one for $1 million. A number of domains are available on eBay, while other domain names have been registered to look like they're charities attempting to raise money to assist the victims. Click on the link for a list of some of the domains.
au: Post sexy images at your peril, teens told (Sydney Morning Herald)
A world authority on cybersex has warned teenagers against posting rude or sexually explicit images of themselves on internet chat sites because of their potential to be used by people who view child pornography. Images that children and teenagers believed would remain with their friends found their way on to the internet and became fodder for men who viewed child pornography. "Self-produced material is a huge concern," Dr Ethel Quayle, a consultant with the research organisation COPINE (Combating Pedophile Information Networks in Europe) said.
The State of Global Cybersquatting in 2007 (Internet Business Law Services)
This article reports recent notable cases, trends in cybersquatting, and strategic developments being advanced against the issue Cyberquatting is the predicament of the Internet era following the recent WIPO release on cybersquatting statistics. The article notes the "WIPO complained the domain name system itself was in danger of becoming a mere forum for 'speculative gain' as cybersquatters have snapped up many choice addresses associated with top businesses, brands and other trophies in this intellectual property skirmish." The article concludes "cybersquatting remains a serious issue that can only be reigned in through government action, better laws, the organization of groups to lobby against it and private owner's vigilance. Billions of dollars in commerce are at stake, and therefore good legislation and strong responses against these thieves of intellectual property must be encouraged across the globe."
Another article looking at cybersquatting from Computerworld who looks at the efforts required by large companies to keep on top of cybersquatters, with the head of global privacy at InterContinental Hotels Group, Lynn Goodendorf, claiming she receives "about 100 e-mail alerts concerning potential trademark infringements from three different domain monitoring services." Monitoring these potential infringements requires a lot of time, and money tracking down registrants who often give incorrect or private Whois data with Subpoenas sometimes needed to uncover the identities of individuals. Defensive registration works to a point, but Goodendorf says it's impossible "to anticipate every name combination". Computerworld then says "the Domain Name System is showing signs of being out of control" and gives some statistics on how domain names are used.
Cybersquatting Can Yield Pay-Per-Click Bounties (Computerworld)
Computerworld in another article says "Regardless of whether a domain name is legitimate, the economics of registering it are the same. The registrar makes money. The registry that manages the TLD under which the name is registered is also paid. ICANN gets a cut of the registration fee as well. And for illegitimate domains, the moneymaking doesn't stop there." Further, for illegitimate domains, the moneymaking doesn't stop there" with many domains "'parked' at advertising services or intermediary portal sites that automatically populate pages with links to ads. For instance, microsotf.com takes you to such a page."
Hunting for typosquatters (The Key blog)
This blog posting notes the domains "that make the most money on parked pages--are often those that infringe on trademarks. Hence, typosquatting, where someone registers a misspelled version of a company name or a product name, is booming." A recent start-up, CitizenHawk, has developed TypoSquasher. TypoSquasher "crawls the Web to identify misspelling of domain names and identifies possibly trademark infringements, in part by matching names against the government trademark database". The article gives the example of domains including "google" total 37,544. The article notes the irony here being "Google is making money off of many of them by serving up the ads".