Articles by date

23 February 2007

Censorship: Still a burning issue (The Independent)

If you want to know what defines an era, look no further than the authors, artists and activists who fell foul if it. Censorship is as old as civilisation itself - and the drive to suppress as strong today as ever. As 'The Independent' launches a major series of the greatest banned books in history, Boyd Tonkin asks whether the thought police will ever learn

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Internet safety gets powerful champion (The Guardian)

A new web safety thinktank launched in Europe today with the backing of major tech firms including BT, Verizon and Microsoft. The Family Online Safety Institute is a non-profit organisation funded by membership of technology, telecoms and content firms and chaired by Nick Truman, head of internet security at BT.

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us: CDT Analyzes Data Retention, Other Proposals For Protecting Kids Online (Information Week)

The Center for Democracy and Technology recommends education and filtering tools to prevent what it calls an unfair burden of liability on content and communications providers.

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Registerfly.com threatened with ICANN shutdown (Computer Wire)

ICANN has given scandal-hit domain name registrar Registerfly.com 15 days to sort its problems out or risk losing its license to sell domains.

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Registerfly files suit against ousted CEO (The Register)

The split between the founders of Registerfly.com took a tawdry turn last week, as court documents filed by John Naruszewicz and Unifiednames, the corporation that owns Registerfly.com, made some shocking allegations against ousted CEO Kevin Medina. The complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and alleges that 75,000 domain names were lost in January 2007 alone due to failure to remit registry fees. The complaint goes on to accuse Medina of using corporate accounts as private slush funds, thereby failing to maintain sufficient float to cover registry fees.

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us: Smarter kids through television: debunking myths old and new (Seattle Times)

The digital divide used to separate rich from poor; now it separates parents from their children. Whether it's infants watching the new 24-hour "Baby's First TV" channel, or teenagers instant messaging while they watch last night's "Daily Show" on their iPods, television is an enormous presence in the lives of kids today. The average American child spends three to five hours a day watching it. And they start their viewing careers much earlier than ever before: In 1961, the average child began to watch television at age 3; today it is 9 months.

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22 February 2007

Apple and Cisco share iPhone name (BBC)

Apple and Cisco Systems agree to share the iPhone trademark, allowing both firms to use the name.

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Big names may not prevail in domain disputes (CNet)

Looking at UDRP and the success of small firms, this article looks at how sometimes they can win. Two cases are examined - wargames.com and pig.com. In both cases they "bucked the trend" of large company/trademark holders winning their domain names. In the former, the arbitration panel found the registrant used the domain name first for pay-per-click advertising and then as an online store to sell military simulation war games. The panel found there was a bonafide offering of goods. In the latter, the panel did not find that the domain name was registered to take advantage of the claimant, New Pig's trademark. Instead, it was used to display pay-per-click links related to the generic term "pig." The panel found that Pig.com was registered in good faith based on the dictionary meaning of the word "pig."

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Cerf: Internet is a reflection of society (Info World)

IDG quotes Vint Cerf saying the internet is a mirror of the population that uses it, in reference to the proliferation of fraud, social abuse, and other online crimes. "If you stand in front of a mirror and you don't like what you see, it does not help to fix the mirror," Cerf said. For example, Cerf is quoted as saying spam is a result of the free email services readily available. While companies are putting a lot of effort into preventing abuses, Cerf claimed the problem is more social and economic than technical.

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Doubts over internet porn domain (Computer Business Review)

The resurrected proposal to open an internet domain reserved for porn web sites is looking less likely to succeed according to CBR Online, with ICANN's board of directors last week expressing 'serious concerns' about it. Concerns of ICANN directors include that the adult industry might not want .xxx. The report says 3 directors claimed to have no serious concerns, 8 did, while "Paul Twomey fence-sat." The article also notes "According to ICANN's minutes, of the 88 adult webmasters that contacted ICANN during a recent public comment period, only 23 were in favor of the domain."

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Runet: domain registration market assessed (CNews)

CNews, a Russian news outlet, examines the Russian domain name business and estimates the domain registration market in 2006 as being worth 375mln rubles ($14m). Of this, 15% was spent to support the domain RU infrastructure, the rest on registrars. The number of second-level domain names grew by 60% and is expected to reach 1mln this coming autumn. There are some interesting statistics including the average age of domain owners is 26 (previously 28); there were 718,000 domains registered in 2006 growing to 756,000 in February 2007 and there being only 5 of the 248 ccTLDs demonstrating double figures increase – these being .at, .es, .fr, .us as well as .ru.

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uk: Amnesty: ISPs must protect free speech (ZDNet)

The human rights group Amnesty International has called on internet service providers to do more to protect free speech online. Speaking at the annual awards dinner held last week by the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), Amnesty's campaigns director, Tim Hancock, told delegates that: "Web users and service providers alike have a responsibility to keep alive the things that have made the internet great -- its democracy, its freedom and the way it gives people access to knowledge and the opportunity to participate and be heard, in a way that was unthinkable 45 years ago".

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Eli Lilly Loses Effort to Censor Zyprexa Documents Off the Internet- Judge Rescinds Injunction Against Wiki, Other Websites (Internet Business Law Services)

Judge Rescinds Injunction Against Wiki, Other Websites New York - A U.S. District Court judge today refused Eli Lilly's request to ban a number of websites from publishing leaked documents relating to Zyprexa, Eli Lilly's top-selling drug. Although the judge rejected the First Amendment arguments made by a variety of individuals eager to publish the documents, the court concluded that "it is unlikely that the court can now effectively enforce an injunction against the Internet in its various manifestations, and it would constitute a dubious manifestation of public policy were it to attempt to do so." The order is a victory for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which represents an anonymous individual who was previously barred by the court's earlier orders from posting links to the Zyprexa documents on the zyprexa.pbwiki.com wiki.

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uk: Police failing over internet paedophiles (The Observer)

Police are failing to investigate thousands of people who are suspected of accessing paedophile websites because of lack of resources, say child protection experts.

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uk: Privacy row as checks on phones and e-mails hit 439,000 (The Times)

Almost 450,000 requests were made to monitor people's telephone calls, e-mails and post by secret agencies and other authorised bodies in just over a year, the spying watchdog said yesterday. In the first report of its kind from the Interceptions of Communications Commissioner, it was also revealed that nearly 4,000 errors were reported in a 15-month period from 2005 to 2006. While most appeared to concern "lower-level data" such as requests for telephone lists and individual e-mail addresses, 67 were mistakes concerning direct interception of communications.

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Man sues IBM after internet porn dismissal (The Times)

A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming that he is an internet addict who deserved treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

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Report: Survey shows growing number of Japanese fear Internet crimes (Sydney Morning Herald)

An increasing number of Japanese fear they may become the victims of crime on the Internet, according to a government survey reported by Japanese newspapers.

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Europe’s Plan to Track Phone and Net Use (New York Times)

A proposed law would require companies to keep detailed data about people's Internet and phone use.

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uk: Government backs digital lockdown (BBC)

Calls to ban Digital Rights Management to limit what people can do with digital media have been rejected.

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us: Neutrality On the Net Gets High '08 Profile (Washington Post)

Bloggers and other Internet activists made their marks in the past two presidential elections chiefly by building networks of political enthusiasts and raising money for candidates. Now, they are pushing aggressively into policymaking -- and not just over high-profile issues such as Iraq.

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us: More states move to ban Internet hunting (Chron)

A Texas businessman who wanted to allow computer users to hunt from the comfort of their homes has instead spawned dozens of state laws banning the practice.

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21 February 2007

Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of a five-day grace period to sample millions of domain names (International Herald Tribune)

This Associated Press story compares buying clothing to domain names - with the practice of domain tasting akin to buying clothes on a credit card in that one has a period in which one can return both. The article notes "entrepreneurs have turned the return policy into a loophole for generating big bucks". Further, "Experts believe spammers and scam artists are also starting to use the grace period as a source of free, disposable Web addresses." The article also notes there were an "average tasting of 1.2 million names each day in December, compared with 7,200 two years earlier" using data from Name Intelligence while "Legitimate registrations made up 2 percent of the registrations at the end of 2006, down from about half in 2004." Another point the article makes is of "A newer variant, sometimes called 'kiting,'" that "involves the same company reregistering the same name every fourth or fifth day to hang onto it in perpetuity, without ever paying for it."

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Internet is beyond political control: Cerf (The Hindu)

This article in The Hindu quotes Vint Cerf saying "It is a huge, new democratic opportunity and beyond any one agency's political control." Further, "Nations had tried to control portions of the Internet for their own national goals -- but the Net is too ubiquitous for any single agency to throttle, Dr. Cerf said. "No one owns the Internet -- but there must be some agencies to make it work."

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20 February 2007

Hard disk test 'surprises' Google (BBC)

The impact of heavy use and high temperatures on hard disk drive failure may be overstated, says a report by three Google engineers.

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Registerfly on the fly, ICANN on the run (The Register)

The Register questions the role of ICANN in this article about Registerfly - a US-based registrar that has 900,000 customers and 2 million domain names. The Register asks "just what is ICANN responsible for, anyway?" Apparently there is a power struggle between two Registerfly partners with customers left "scrambling to recover domains that were not automatically renewed as agreed, or were paid for and for no apparent reason allowed to lapse well before the agreed upon expiration date." The Register asks"what of ICANN's decision to simply refer customers back to Registerfly, when the reason they are contacting ICANN in the first place is for a problem concerning domain registration that Registerfly either cannot or will not resolve on its own? If ICANN itself is either unable or unwilling to handle a problem of this magnitude, what is the point of having ICANN around?" The Register concludes "With ICANN watching from the sidelines, customers can only hope that local or federal authorities will step in. Stay tuned.

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