Articles by date

22 January 2007

Web conduct code to be drawn up (TVNZ)

Technology companies Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Vodafone are in talks with human rights and press freedom groups to draw up an internet code of conduct to protect free speech and privacy of Web users.

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Belgian Newspapers to Challenge Yahoo Over Copyright Issues (E-Commerce Times)

A group of Belgian newspapers has asked Yahoo to remove links to their archived stories from its Web search service, claiming they infringe copyright laws, their lawyers confirmed Friday. The move follows a legal challenge by the group against Google that has seen Belgian newspaper content stripped from Google News pending a court ruling expected early this year.

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us: Pa. Court Withdraws Holding on Internet Viewing of Child Porn (Law.com)

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has withdrawn its recent first-impression holding that merely to look at child pornography on the Internet -- without intentionally saving or downloading any images viewed -- does not amount to "knowing possession" of child pornography as proscribed under state law. The court also granted a prosecution request for an en banc re-argument.

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se: Bank loses US$1.1m to online fraud (BBC)

Internet fraudsters have stolen around 8m kronor (US$1.1m) from account holders at Swedish bank Nordea.

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Pakistanis like Indian porn (Times of India)

Pakistanis are most inclined towards Indian porn, entertainment and 'masala' websites on the Internet, the rating website Alexa said.

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CONFERENCE: eLearning Africa (E-Learning Africa)

This event focuses on ICT for development, education and training in Africa. It will establish a network of decision makers from governments and administrations with universities, schools, governmental and private training providers, industry, and important partners in development cooperation. This year's edition focuses on "Building Infrastructures and Capacities to Reach out to the Whole of Africa", reflecting the significant efforts of African countries to set up their national and regional ICT infrastructures to create access to education, training and services for all. The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition.

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Father of internet warns against Net Neutrality (The Register)

Robert Kahn, the most senior figure in the development of the internet, has delivered a strong warning against "Net Neutrality" legislation. Speaking to an audience at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California at an event held in his honour, Kahn warned against legislation that inhibited experimentation and innovation where it was needed.

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Peaks, valleys and vistas: Microsoft (The Economist)

The launch of a new version of Microsoft Windows, called Vista, is not quite the event it used to be. Has the software giant reached the pinnacle of its power?

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An end to that blue screen of death? Microsoft's latest upgrades should make PC users happier (The Economist)

It is an old chestnut, but a telling one: if carmakers built vehicles as Microsoft produces software, they would come in only one colour, the dashboard would be incomprehensible and they would crash a lot. Microsoft's latest products mean that its users should no longer double as crash-test dummies.

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ITU: Voice Revenues in the Telecommunications (ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog)

The ITU workshop The Future of Voice held on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland looked, inter alia, at the voice traffic and revenue trends in the last fifteen years. On the global level, local and national long-distance reported telephone minutes per capita were growing in the 1990s and stably falling since the beginning of the new decade. A notable exception of the general rule is the US experiencing continuous growth in the number of local minutes: in 15 years, the number of local minutes per capita has grown four-fold. The international outgoing traffic grew significantly over the last fifteen years: in the Republic of Korea, in 2005 it was 15 times more intensive than in 1990, in the US - five times. Even though, since the beginning of the new century, the international voice traffic tends to slowly decrease.

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21 January 2007

eu: Storm chaos prompts virus surge (BBC)

Experts say they are surprised how quickly computer virus writers take advantage of the European storms

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20 January 2007

us: MySpace sued over sex predators (Sydney Morning Herald)

Four families have sued News Corp. and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site, lawyers for the families said.

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19 January 2007

U.S.: No Net governance changes expected (CNet)

CNET reports that two of the Bush administration officials involved in setting internet policy have denied there are any tensions relating to the US government's role in the internet. David Gross and John Kneuer said at a recent meeting no UN body would exercise additional control over tasks such as "handing out numeric Internet addresses or operating the root servers that power the Internet anytime soon." Recent reports on the new ITU head being more interested in issues such as cybersecurity and the digital divide, while future IGF meetings would focus on issues such as "freedom of speech and multilingualism." Due to criticism of the US government's "undue influence over the day-to-day operations of the Internet" by countries such as Tunisia, Cuba, Iran and China, CNet wonders if the ITU will continue with its latest view.

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Triple X, Internet Content Regulation and the ICANN Regime Drafted by Milton Mueller (Internet Governance Project)

This paper, drafted by Milton Mueller of the Internet Governance Project, asks "What are the implications of this probable resolution of the .xxx drama for the Internet and Internet governance?" He says "They are major. But no one seems to be talking about them." The paper begins with the most direct implication. The paper says the ".xxx contract sets an important precedent by giving ICANN policy making and enforcement responsibility over web site content while it concludes "the Internet Governance Project has long maintained that ICM's .xxx application deserved to be successful. We took this position because we don't believe ICANN should discriminate among TLD applications on the basis of the content or meaning of the string, and because we believe that ICANN (and its oversight authority, the US Government) should not arbitrarily change the rules in the middle of the game. If there are problems here, they are not problems with the .xxx gTLD application. They are problems inherent in ICANN's institutional structure." The paper has some criticisms of ICANN, including "The ICANN process fosters dealing with policy problems in an ad hoc manner by taking advantage of the narrow kinds of leverage inherent in ICANN's gatekeeping role and contractual governance model." Further, the contract process that's complained about by many governments and theorists, the "contractual approach can be seductive and self-perpetuating. ... In the .xxx case, governments didn't have to negotiate a generally applicable treaty about the thorny issue of what is pornography and what to do about it, build support for it, get it ratified, and face any electoral accountability. They just raised some objections and let Paul Twomey's staff and ICM Registry work out the details. It is a mutual accommodation that is convenient for the established institutional players. Whether it serves the global Internet-using public very well remains to be seen."

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Push resumes for new .xxx domain for Internet pornography (Baptist Press)

Christian groups have voiced some criticisms of the proposed .xxx TLD. This article from the Baptist Press quotes the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the executive editor of the Baptist Messenger newspaper who all opposed .xxx with the latter "urging readers to contact ICANN and encourage the agency to reject the proposal."

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Breach of .eu domain rules may trigger instant cancellation (Out-Law)

Breaches of .eu domain rules including "using the domain name in bad faith or for an unlawful purpose or in a way that violates any third party rights, laws or regulations, including discrimination on the basis of race, language, sex, religion or political viewpoint" will all be grounds for cancelling the .eu domain names.

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First ladies urge joint attack on child abuse (International Herald Tribune)

Their husbands may not always agree but when Bernadette Chirac, Laura Bush, Lyudmila Putin and Suzanne Mubarak met here on Wednesday to discuss the fight against child pornography and pedophilia, they spoke with one voice.

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us: MySpace developing parental-notification software (International Herald Tribune)

Under fire from both the U.S. government and parental organizations, MySpace.com has announced that it is creating software to give parents a window into what their children are putting on their online profiles.

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uk: Police maintain uneasy truce with cybervigilantes (ZDNet)

Metropolitan Police are treading a fine line by working with online activists in the fight against internet fraud

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kr: Internet pushes concept of 'free' content (International Herald Tribune)

"FIFA 07," a video game for soccer fans, costs around €50 in Europe. In South Korea, five million players have downloaded the online version free -- yet Electronic Arts, the publisher, is cheering them on. Realizing that it was impossible to sell "FIFA Online" in a country where piracy is rampant, Electronic Arts started giving away the game last spring. Once the players were hooked, the company offered for sale ways to gain an edge on opponents; extending the career of a star player, for instance, costs less than $1. Since May, Electronic Arts has sold 700,000 of these enhancements.

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uk: Computers baffle 50% of adults, says survey (The Guardian)

Half of British adults feel overwhelmed by new technology and struggle to understand the jargon, according to a survey today. The research also expresses concern about the large number of older people who are frightened to use computers or the internet, despite the many practical and social benefits.

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Designers work to make Web accessible (USA Today)

Cynthia Ice is blind and lives in the suburbs, so shopping on the Internet can make her routine easier. But it also leads her into odd dead ends -- like the time a technical shift in a Web grocery site made its meat department inaccessible to her screen-reading software. "Everybody could go on the Atkins diet but me," she joked. Such troubles are especially common for computer users with disabilities as the Web takes on many features that make sites appear more like dynamic programs than static documents.

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uk: Music firms talk tough on file-sharing (The Times)

The music industry has threatened to sue internet service providers that allow customers to share digital music files illegally

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Businesses too scared to switch to VoIP: But should they be? (Silicon)

Companies are missing out on the long-term benefits of VoIP because they're too afraid of the short-term pain of putting in the systems, a new survey has revealed.

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Internet Extends Reach Of Bangladeshi Villagers (Washington Post)

The village doctor's diagnosis was dire: Marium needed immediate surgery to replace two heart valves. The 28-year-old mother of three said she was confused and terrified. She could barely imagine open-heart surgery. She had no idea how her family of farm laborers could pay for an operation that would cost US$4,000.

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