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17 March 2007

America's Digital Divide Narrows (Business Week)

One way or another, many Latinos and other minorities are getting online -- but they're missing the full range of interactive Web features according to Latinos Online, a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (see next story below).

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American Latinos Online (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

Latinos comprise 14% of the U.S. adult population and about half of this growing group (56%) goes online. By comparison, 71% of non-Hispanic whites and 60% of non-Hispanic blacks use the internet.

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U.K. Secondary Domain Name Market Sees a Growth of More than 150% in 2006 - Growth in .co.uk domain value exceeds that of .com (news release) (Sedo)

Annual statistics for 2006 compiled by domain marketplace Sedo and DNJournal reveal a surge of 153% in the value of all published .CO.UK domain sales worldwide, in comparison to a growth of 79% in 2005. Already one of the world's most expensive online addresses with an average sales value of £2,062.15. The increasing scarcity of quality .CO.UK domains, and the continued recovery in the UK online industry, have steadily driven prices higher in the past years

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Topix.com Sells for $1M (Domain Name Wire)

The domain name Topix.com sold for $1M in January according to a report in the Wall Street Journal says Domain Name Wire. The new owner is Topix.net, which receives 10M visitors per month. Due to confusion between the .net and .com versions of the domain name led the topix.net to negotiate the purchase of topix.com. Domain Name Wire reports that in the early days of registering domain names, registrants were often unaware of the confusion between .com and .net domains, regularly choosing to type in the .com domain and not considering .net. In a blog posting on Skrentablog, the owner of topix.net, and now topix.com, noted they knew they were going against one of the rules for registering a domain name, that being never register anything but a .com domain. But for various reasons they thought it may not matter to them. But when the first news story went out in March 2004, while the article referred to topix.net, a caption under the photo mistakenly referred to topix.com. While their name grew, people often went to the .com website, or typed .com in email addresses. Focus groups showed people liked the name “topix” but found .net a turn-off. So after much discussion with the board, who were supportive, moves were made negotiate the purchase of topix.com.

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Web censorship spreading globally (Financial Times)

Internet censorship is spreading rapidly, being practised by about two dozen countries and applied to a far wider range of online information and applications, according to research by a transatlantic group of academics.

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Repressive governments widen stifling techniques (Financial Times)

Repressive governments no longer limit themselves simply to blocking access to websites they want to keep from their citizens. Increasingly, experts on internet censorship say, they are turning to a range of other techniques, from methods developed for "cyber-warfare" to the filtering-out of specific content deemed undesirable. In the process they have been relying on private companies, many from the US and other liberal regimes, to supply the technical know-how and, in some cases, act as their eyes and ears in cyberspace.

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Indonesia to tighten Internet surveillance (Sydney Morning Herald)

Indonesia plans to tackle Internet crime by tightening the supervision of web surfers, an official said.

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Google to erase information on billions of internet searches (The Times)

Google will erase personal information on billions of internet searches in an attempt to secure the privacy of its users, the company has announced.

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The unsung guardians of the internet (The Guardian)

An army of 'digilanti' - unpaid loners at their PCs - are trying to keep the web free of spam and scammers

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YouTube's fate rests on decade-old copyright law (CNet)

Whether YouTube suffers the same fate as Napster may depend on the wording of a nearly antique law written long before video-sharing Web sites were envisioned.

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The effects of a “happy slapping” epidemic: European governments crack down on the recording and distribution of violence online (Internet Business Law Services)

Several years ago, the United Kingdom noticed a disturbing pastime among a segment of its youths - "happy slapping". Individuals or groups found amusing the slapping or striking of strangers while accomplices filmed the assaults using mobile phones. The images were later showcased on the Internet. In recent years, the "happy slapping" virus has spread into France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, among other European countries. And governments have had enough of this cruel and sometimes lethal form of entertainment.

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Internet Addiction, a Worldwide Crisis (Internet Business Law Services)

Some countries like China, India and United States present a high rate of internet addiction cases, especially among the young male population. Indeed, some internet addiction treatments are being developed by psychologist and research teams at medical schools. Even internet addiction boot-camps have been created in Asia to combat this concerning trend.

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50 Largest Telecommunications Service Providers for 2006 (Cellular News)

The Eastern Management Group has released the names of the World's 50 Largest Telecommunications Service Providers for 2006. Topping the list as the world's largest service provider in 2006 was Japan's NTT, with revenues of US$95 billion. Verizon ranked number two among service providers worldwide, followed by AT&T. The smallest company making the list of the 50 was Italy's Wind Telecomunicazioni, with revenues of US$6 billion.

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E-commerce and the Telecommunication Sector in Brazil (Internet Business Law Services)

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Brazil boasts the most advanced Internet and e-commerce industry in Latin America and the fifth largest telecom infrastructure worldwide. This is due to privatization of Brazilian telecom services and associated advancements. between 1998 when the Brazilian telecom system was privatized, and the year 2000, telecom investments advanced an average of 1.36% GNP per year, a rate well above both Brazilian and Latin American historical levels. Thus, in record time the privatization of the Brazilian telecom system succeeded in revolutionizing the national communications industry, which in turn promoted national development of e-commerce.

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Regulation of VOIP services in the European Union (Internet Business Law Services)

In order to encourage competition between Internet carriers of telephone traffic and traditional telephone the European Commission favors an EU-wide light touch approach to VoIP services. The European Commission launched a consultation on the treatment of Voice over VoIP services under the EU regulatory framework. Based on the conclusions reached in this consultation, the European Commission expressed its intention to promote the development of VoIP services rather than develop detailed guidelines for VoIP. Moreover, VoIP providers often face difficulties to provide guaranteed access to emergency services due to technical limitations. However, rather than impose strict obligations, the European Commission has encouraged market players to collaborate on possible solutions for the provision of emergency access services.

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16 March 2007

Two RegisterFly Sites Online as Ousted CEO Returns (Netcraft)

"ICANN is continuing to press RegisterFly to repair its management systems so domain owners can manage their names, but is now dealing directly with company founder Kevin Medina, who has been awarded control of RegisterFly by a New Jersey court" according to a Netcraft story. "ICANN met Saturday with Medina to demand immediate action on RegisterFly's failure to provide adequate WHOIS information and make critical transfer codes (known as auth-info codes) available to customers." Netcraft also noted the task for ICANN appears to be more difficult with two Registerfly websites operating - registerfly.com and registerfly.net. ICANN has also stated that Registerfly has not provided registrant, administrative contact, technical contact, or other registrar-level Whois data, instead reporting only registry-level data. Registerfly has been told to correct this problem and report back. The failure to do so effectively prohibits all registrants of .com and .net names from transferring out.

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The Real Problem with dot-XXX by Michael Roberts (Circle ID)

Michael Roberts responds to Milton Mueller's recent article (see below) on .xxx approval process. Roberts says that if the issue was money, "ICANN would have been bought, or not bought, by now and the fuss would be over." Roberts sees "something more fundamental at stake." Roberts quotes from report of the U.S. Congressional Research Service, in part noting "The Supreme Court, however, has held that the First Amendment does not protect two types of pornography: obscenity and child pornography." He notes "herein lies the quandary. As a long list of indictments and successful prosecutions attest, Web-based pornography frequently slides into criminality." With "the freedom and openness of the net" new frontiers in predatory behaviour have been established "across state and national lines, to the point that in the US, it takes a joint federal-state task force of lawyers, net experts, FBI agents and local police to try to keep up with the illegal behaviour of a pathological fringe." Roberts says it comes down to a morals contest - on one side are the free expression advocates, such as Milton and on "the other side are those who wonder how ICANN could have gotten itself entangled in a tawdry business that not infrequently preys on innocent youngsters and enjoys a lot of profit at the same time." Roberts concludes "Is the current ICANN Board going to hide behind process, or is it going to fulfill its own pledge of transparency and take sides on the morality of dot-xxx?"

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Domain name chaos needs measured response (ZDNet)

ZDNet, in response to a WIPO report below that notes the "number of cybersquatting disputes filed with WIPO in 2006 increased by 25%", comment that there are some rules to improve the situation, such as "A grace period after a lapse would let active users react in time to save the situation, while harming no-one. A ban on automated domain harvesting, while hard to define and police, would encourage the development of saner management and provide some comeback against the worst of the offenders. And a better way of telling domain owners that a domain is due to lapse would be helpful -- the automated warning emails currently used are too easy to lose in the spam tsunami."

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Microsoft hits 'cybersquatters' (BBC)

Microsoft is pursuing five alleged UK-based cybersquatters in its battle against firms and individuals who have registered variations or misspellings of its key brands, such as Xbox.

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15 March 2007

Coming to terms with the language of cybersquatting (Financial Times)

The Financial Times provides a handy guide defining cybersquatting, typosquatting, domainer, dropcatcher, domain tasting and domain parking.

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McAfee Reveals List of Riskiest Country Web Sites for Malicious Downloads, Browser Exploits and Unwanted E-Mail (news release) (McAfee Site Advisor)

McAfee has released its SiteAdvisor research report “that creates a global road map of the riskiest, and the safest, places to surf and search”. The report found the ten safest TLDs are .gov (safest), .fi, .ie, .no, .is, .se, .au, .co, .sg and .si. The riskiest TLDs are .tk (riskiest), info, .ws, .ro, .com, .biz, .ru, .net, .name and .sk. The report noted cheap domain name registration is driving the growth in spam where .ro (5.6% risky sites) and .ru (4.5% risky sites) sites are among the TLDs most commonly hosting malicious downloads, browser exploits, and scams. Further, giving ones email address to a .info website gives an amazing 73.2% chance of receiving spam.

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in: Computer curfew after student suicides (The Times)

An elite Indian Institute of Technology restricted access to the internet in an attempt to make whiz-kids more sociable

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Google and YouTube to be sued (BBC)

Entertainment giant Viacom Media says it will sue Google and video-sharing website YouTube for $1bn.

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14 March 2007

Cybersquatting remains on the rise with further risk to trademarks from new registration practices (news release) (WIPO)

The number of cybersquatting disputes filed with WIPO in 2006 increased by 25% as compared to 2005. In a related development, the evolution of the domain name registration system is causing growing concern for trademark owners, in particular some of the effects of the use of computer software to automatically register expired domain names and their 'parking' on pay-per-click portal sites, the option to register names free-of-charge for a five-day 'tasting' period, the proliferation of new registrars, and the establishment of new gTLDs. The combined result of these developments is to create greater opportunities for the mass, often anonymous, registration of domain names without specific consideration of third-party intellectual property rights.

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13 March 2007

China ramps up blog censorship (Sydney Morning Herald)

China will intensify controls of the growing numbers of bloggers using the internet to lay bare their thoughts, politics and even bodies, the country's chief censor has announced.

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