[DNS] domain name news - January 7

[DNS] domain name news - January 7

From: David Goldstein <goldstein_david§yahoo.com.au>
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2008 21:41:41 -0800 (PST)
Don't forget to check out http://auda.org.au/domain-news/ for today's edition of the complete domain news, including an RSS feed - already online!

Headlines from the January 10 edition of the news include:
New Delhi Meeting Hotels Information | ICANN GNSO Initial Report on Domain Tasting | ICANN and the Root Server Operators by Bret Fausett | Reforming the DisGrace Period by Larry Seltzer | Phishing at the Top Level by Larry Seltzer | Competition May Be Driving Surge in Botnets, Spam | DDOS Botnets Thriving, Threatening | Storm Botnet Turned Toward Phishing Attacks | Ponting hits fake website for six | ca: Ed Stelmach, Alberta premier, takes on cybersquatter | Registrar denies 'front-running' Net registration | Network Solutions Accused of Domain Front Running | ICANN fights naming loophole

And see my website - http://technewsreview.com.au/ - for daily updates in between postings.


The domain name news is supported by auDA


Kremlin eyes internet control...

Watching the web grow up with Tim Berners-Lee

in: "Free flow of information to open up": Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Chairman Welcomes ICANN Community to a Celebration of Exciting Ten Years of Working Together

'Ragtag' Russian army shows the new face of DDoS attacks

How to Protect Yourself from Domain Hijacking by James Koole

IPv6 reality check

IPv6: coming to a root server near you by Iljitsch van Beijnum

IPv6 Set for Root Adoption?

Happy 25th, TCP/IP: TCP/IP marks 25 years since the ARPANET switchover

Kremlin eyes internet control...
The growing cold war with Russia has a new front besides oil fields and undersea territorial claims: the internet. Russia's government is pushing for greater control over the Russian-language part of the net - and its aim seems to be to create a web that operates in Cyrillic, completely independent from the wider web.
The problem for Russia is that its top-level domain - with the ASCII suffix .ru - translates into Cyrillic as .py, the domain name of Paraguay. That could pose security problems for Russian users. Kim Davies, who controls the domain names at the international domain naming agency Icann told the Guardian: "Russia has a second top level domain name of .ru in Ascii code, but is pushing for .rf in Cyrillic."

Russia can't wait for IDNs
Russian Internet users seem eager to be able to use their own Cyrillic characters. So much so that some people are already talking about a 2008 launch for .RU IDNs.

Russia threatens to build a separate Internet
In the latest issue of FP, I wrote (subscription required) about the efforts of ICANN, the group that gives out Internet domain names, to "internationalize" the Web. Starting this year, ICANN will allow users to use non-Roman characters in top level domain names. For example, Arabic-speaking users will no longer have to end Web addresses in ".com"?they can register the last part of their Web address in their own native language.

Russia wants Cyrillic web
The Russian government wants greater control over the Russian language part of the internet, threatening to create a separate web that operates using Cyrillic rather than Latin, ascii characters.

Don't Hand Over the Internet to the U.N. by U.S. Senator Fred Thompson
... The notion of surrendering management of the Internet ? a global, strategic infrastructure for communications and commerce ? to the UN is just a plain dumb idea. We shouldn?t be handing over something that works right to an institution that has difficulty doing anything right.

Watching the web grow up
Tim Berners-Lee created the web in 1991. Now people are talking about Web 2.0?but he is more excited by other things: In 1994, when Tim Berners-Lee left CERN, the particle physics laboratory near Geneva where he created the world wide web, to move to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), his children were toddlers?just like the fledgling information-sharing system he had released onto the internet three years earlier. Since then the web has grown up fast, expanding from around 10,000 websites in the world at the end of 1994 to over 100m today. After this rapid growth spurt the web is now, like Sir Tim's children, in its teenage years. The painfully self-conscious ?Web 2.0? movement?a label which encompasses a range of technologies such as blogs, wikis and podcasts?represents the web's adolescence. It has all the hallmarks of youthful rebellion against the conventional social order, and is making many traditional media companies

in: "Free flow of information to open up": Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Sir Tim Berners -Lee, inventor of the Web, shares his vision for the future and his take on the present in this exclusive interview: In an extensive interaction with Shashwat DC, Sir Tim talks about different issues be it India?s limited role on a global scale or how could what he thinks of Web 3.0.
... Finally, there comes the infrastructure. There is little governance of the underlying infrastructure like domain names, etc. But that is relatively small part of the social governance. What really drives or rather regulates the Web is more of social laws of the land, laws regarding copyright and libel and contracts and these differ from nation to nation. India has always been a part of the Web; I expect it to play a bigger role in the coming years.

ng: The National Internet Gateway of Controversy
Naturally a very warm person, but on the day of this interview one could feel the bitterness and the feeling of betrayal in his voice. Any one in his shoes will feel the same. He was successful professional in the United States of America when a call from the home government encouraged Nigerians in the Diaspora to come and invest back home and help move the country to the next level.


Chairman Welcomes ICANN Community to a Celebration of Exciting Ten Years of Working Together
The Chairman of ICANN welcomed the beginning of its tenth year of operations. "Happy New Year to all those involved in the work that ICANN does," said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the Board of ICANN. "I extend my personal best wishes to you all, and thank you in advance for the contributions I know you will be making to ICANN's mission in 2008."

Milestone Agreement Reached Between ICANN, and F Root Server Operator, Internet Systems Consortium
ICANN and Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) are today announcing the signing of a Mutual Responsibilities Agreement for the operation of the F-root nameserver.

F Root Server Makes its Peace with ICANN by Milton Mueller
ICANN has announced some kind of an agreement with the Internet Systems Consortium, operator of the F root server complex. We can?t say much about it yet, because the actual agreement hasn?t been published, and the agreement hasn?t been ratified by either organization?s Board. But any formalized agreement would represent an important step toward further institutionalization of the ICANN global governance regime, and the agreement could serve as the template for agreements with other root server operators.

Domain Name Front Running?
When you think of that perfect domain name and go to find out whether it?s been taken or not, do you ever get feeling that somebody could be listening in? It?s so difficult to find a domain name these days as pretty much anything that makes sense will display some kind of holding page or worse a page full of useless links pretending to be a search engine. If you do find something that makes sense and is available then you had better register it right away or you could lose it to anyone who might have noticed your query.

Kenya and ICANN's 2008 Annual Meeting by Bret Fausett
The news from Kenya is troubling enough by itself, but it also may have an impact on ICANN's choice of location for its annual meeting, now scheduled for November 2nd-7th, 2008.

A.WEB In Your Future?
Future Registrations of Single-Letter and Double-Digit Domain Names Being Considered by ICANN

ICANN?s Name Game [sub req'd]
Get ready to go native. Beginning this year, ICANN, the international body that doles out Web addresses, will allow nonLatin characters in toplevel domain names, the bits of a Web address found to the right of the ?dot? in, for instance, .com. Domain names will be allowed in characters from 11 nonLatin alphabets, including Arabic, Chinese, Persian, and Russian. ICANN executive Tina Dam, who is overseeing the change, says it will allow people to communicate in their native alphabet, removing language as a barrier to access for millions. But ICANN has a second goal; it hopes to keep China from ?splitting the root,? techspeak for essentially creating a second Internet. Beijing unilaterally began allowing people to register Chineselanguage domain names in 2006, a move that threatened to confuse the Internet?s core servers, which direct all traffic. ICANN?s new policy should hold the Internet together, for...

 - (cc)TLD NEWS
Indonesian internet charges may drop by half in 4 years
The telecommunications regulatory body is preparing a number of policies in order to gradually lower Internet charges, currently among the highest in the world, by 50 percent within four years reports The Jakarta Post. Aside from introducing new regulations and holding tenders for the development of the network, the government also plans to make a number of technical improvements next year, including better Internet protocol (IP) address and Internet exchange (IX) management, improved domain-name service administration, and migration from IP version 4 to IP version 6 the report in The Jakarta Post concludes. For more information, see the article in The Jakarta Post. The article may be available from http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailbusiness.asp?fileid=20071226.G01, otherwise go to the archive for the date of December 26, 2007.

Spanish characters for .INFO
Registry Afilias adds Spanish characters to the list of localized character sets which can be registered in .INFO.

.com, .net, .mobi. What?s in a name?
... It?s estimated that 1.3 billion people will connect to the internet via mobile phone during 2008 and .mobi is the first top level domain name (tld) formulated exclusively for delivering the internet to portable devices. With the .mobi tld, websites may be optimized for mobile users, allowing a variety of devices to become more effective internet tools, providing companies with direct access to mobile users as means of generating new business.

sg: Launch of SME Domain Name Reservation Programme [news release]
From 28 December 2007 till December 2010, all ACRA-registered businesses will save up to S$30 for the first-year registration of their first domain name. This promotion is valid for a limited period, so hurry and register now with any of the participating registrars!

700,00th .SE domain name registered
The 700,000th .SE (Sweden) domain name was registered this week with glasbruketcafe.se reportedly the lucky domain name to reach this round figure.

'Ragtag' Russian army shows the new face of DDoS attacks
In late April, a Russian-speaking blogger upset with recent events in Estonia posted a series of dispatches calling on like-minded people to attack government servers in that country.

Gmail exploit aids domain hijack
Web designer David Airey has succeeded in recovering his domain after hackers exploited flaws in Gmail to trick his hosts into authorising a fraudulent transfer.

US mogul foils ?500 web name hijack scheme
An American multi-millionaire has come to the rescue of a Leith businessman whose website was hijacked by a hacker. Internet mogul Bob Parsons owns the domain registry firm GoDaddy.com which web designer David Airey used to log his own site.

Bob Marley's "WAILERS" Win Cybersquatting Lawsuit
Bob Marley's Wailers, who eventually became known simply as the "Wailers" after Bob Marley's death, successfully argued for dismissal of this cybersquatting and trademark infringement lawsuit brought by band members of another Wailers musical group who started using the band name 10 years before Bob Marley named his group in 1969. The only evidence which could potentially have saved Plaintiff's claims against Bob's prot?g?es would have been that the band used the mark the "Wailers" and registered wailers.com in bad faith. No evidence of bad faith was introduced by plaintiffs.

How to Protect Yourself from Domain Hijacking by James Koole
Over Christmas there was a well-publicized case of domain-hijacking that gained some worldwide media attention when David Airey had his domain, www.davidairey.com, stolen. The story was a familiar one ? a domain thief gained access to a domain holder?s email account (in this case, a Google GMail account) and then used that account to gain control of the domain name and transfer it to himself.

Resolve to keep your domain names resolving
As a follow-up to yesterday?s post about how to protect your domain names from theft, I?ll point you to a blog post by Bill Sweetman, our General Manager, Domains Portfolio, over at the Canadian Marketing Association?s blog. In that post Bill suggests a domain name related New Year?s Resolution.

A New Year's Resolution That's Easy to Keep by Bill Sweetman
I'd like to suggest a New Year's resolution to you: Don't "lose" your domain name. What am I talking about? Well, every day my colleagues at Tucows deal with business owners who are in a panic because they "lost" their all-important domain names. And by "lost" this (upon further investigation) usually means the business owners forgot to renew their domain name on time.

us: Reverse Cybersquatting in Las Vegas: Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino goes after owner of CosmopolitanResort.com.
Las Vegas has always been a high stakes town. A recent lawsuit suggests it?s also high stakes for domain names. In an obvious case of ?reverse cybersquatting?, a new resort and casino in Las Vegas is going after the owner of CosmopolitanResort.com. Ryan Gile, a Las Vegas trademark attorney, writes about the saga on his blog.

us: Falun Gong activists make appeals
... A regional chapter in New York threatened a lawsuit against a domain name provider that hosted an anti-Falun Gong Web site. Samuel Luo of San Francisco, who runs the Web site www. exposingthefalungong.org, sought help from the American Civil Liberties Union in 2005 after his domain provider received a letter demanding they reveal the identity and contact information of Luo.

 - IPv4/IPv6
IPv6 reality check
Despite the gradual depletion of IPv4 address space, experts say there is no urgency to adopt IPv6. What this means is that we'll be living in a mixed IPv4/IPv6 environment until well past 2013.

IPv6: coming to a root server near you by Iljitsch van Beijnum
Just before year's end, ICANN/IANA sent out a short message saying that "on 4 February 2008, IANA will add AAAA records for the IPv6 addresses of the four root servers whose operators have requested it." The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is mostly responsible for the global Domain Name System, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the part of ICANN. That means that as of February 4, 2008, it will (theoretically) be possible for two IPv6 hosts to communicate across the IPv6 Internet without having to rely on any IPv4 infrastructure. It's been a long journey to get to this point.

IPv6 Set for Root Adoption?
IPv6 adoption has a key adoption deadline looming this year, but is still facing plenty of barriers to adoption. Key among them is this: IPv6 address information is not included in most of the root DNS servers that power the Internet. This makes IPv6 to IPv6 connections a difficult proposition.

NeuStar's Nifty Numbers Game
From Forbes Investor: You would think that as the only provider of a set of essential services relied on by thousands of communications service providers (CSPs), NeuStar, also the sole operator of the authoritative registry for the dot-us and dot-biz domains, would hold up fairly well in this weak-handed market, especially when the company has displayed impressive growth in recent periods. Yet the stock has fallen more than 20% since mid-October and ended down 11% for 2007. However, according to our quantitative model employed by the Forbes Growth Investor, the stock is due for a rebound.
Demand for NSR's services has been strong, boosted not only by its legacy number portability business but also from the proliferation of e-commerce (which has increased demand for Ultra Services and its dot-us and dot-biz domains) and strong growth of CSCs, as network clients and marketers find new ways to exploit their use.

Happy 25th, TCP/IP: TCP/IP marks 25 years since the ARPANET switchover
Believe it or not, it has been a mere 25 years since TCP/IP walked into our lives and changed them forever. It was Jan. 1, 1983, when Internet precursor ARPANET switched over fully to TCP/IP. TCP/IP is so well-known that it's one of those acronyms we no longer spell out at Network World, but in honor of the date, we should address this underappreciated and taken-for-granted bit of engineering by its full name, Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol.

Remarkable Internet History: Equifax Invented .COM in 1975 by John Berryhill
Once in a while, one comes across a new take on history that challenges everything you thought you knew. If you?re the type who engages in bar bets with geeks, then this one is a certain gem.

At .mobi, find sites made for mobiles
As we move toward becoming a wireless nation, manufacturers and consumers alike are increasingly looking for mobility in their technologies. Wichitan Marc Zwygart hopes to be at the forefront of the mobility demand by capitalizing on the rising popularity of .mobi, the first and only top-level domain dedicated to users who access the Internet with their mobile phones.

Netcraft December 2007 Web Server Survey
In the December 2007 survey we received responses from 155,230,051 sites. This is an increase of 5.4 million sites since last month, continuing the very strong growth seen during this year; the web has grown by nearly 50 million sites since December 2006. This once again breaks the record for growth of the web in one year; the previous highest growth was 30 million sites in 2006. The growth is also impressive in percentage terms, with the web growing by 48% since last December ? although this remains far less than the runaway growth of 160% seen back in 2000.

Who Is Really Monitoring Your Domain Searches?
... Last week an associate of mine was bulk-checking 200+ generic typo domains through a software that shall remain unnamed for now. All of the domains were available. But less than 2 minutes later, more than 50 of the domains had been registered by a number of different offshore companies from the Bahamas.

iran.com auction cancelled
There is currently an announcement on the Sedo page providing information on the auction of iran.com stating ?This auction has been cancelled. If you are interested in making an offer on this domain, please click here.?

Iran.com currently being auctioned
With just over four days to go for the auction of iran.com at Sedo, the current asking price is US$735,000.

Iran.com May Sell for $735,000
The domain Iran.com is up for grabs at Sedo after receiving a $735,000 offer. The auction runs through January 4 and the reserve has been met. If the sale closes this will be a heck of a way to kick off the 2008 year in the domain industry. According to DNJournal, Iran.com sold for $400,000 in June of 2007.

Oversee.net buys domain name firm Moniker
Moniker, the Pompano Beach company that made history selling Internet domain names like Porn.com and WallStreet.com, has been sold to Oversee.net, a Los Angeles online marketing company.

Oversee buys Moniker
Domain name services firm Moniker said it has been bought by Los Angeles' Oversee.net.

Moniker.com Brings Adult Domain Name Auction to Internext Expo in Las Vegas [news release]
Moniker, the leading provider of Domain Asset Management(TM) services, will host another exciting live domain name auction of premium adult domain names at Internext Expo, the world?s largest business-to-business online and digital media adult conference, on Tuesday, January 15 at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Gents.com Claims A Spot on Our Final Year-To-Date Top 100 Chart After Six Figure Sale
Our final YTD Top 100 for 2007 is now set. Gents.com became the last name to crack the elite list after selling for $100,444 through MissDomain.com this past week. 2007 was the first year that every name on the year's Top 100 chart reached at least six figures. By comparison only 70 names broke that barrier in 2006. We also saw 9 seven-figure sales in 2007, compared to only three the year before.

Biggest Austrian ccTLD Sale Ever Reported Clocks in at #1 On Our Weekly Top 20
... A pair of country code domains head our next to last Top 20 chart of 2007 and the #1 name is a real blockbuster. In fact, at ?408,000 ($590,949) Job.at is the biggest Austrian country code sale ever reported. ... The #2 domain was another generic ccTLD gem - Veiling.nl ("auction" in Dutch), that chalked up a nice ?46,000 ($66,627) sale for the Netherlands extension at Sedo.com. Sedo put three more country codes on the Big Board and wound up with ten entries overall to lead all venues.

Trio of Six-Figure Deals Rise to the Top of This Week's Domain Sales Chart 
Three six-figure sales rule the roost on our weekly Top 20 Chart. Two of the headliners are high quality geo domains - #1 Perth.com at $200,000 and #3 Zimbabwe.com at $130,000. Fittingly enough, Perth.com sold in Moniker's live auction at last month's GeoDomain Expo in San Francisco where Kevin Ham made the purchase. Sedo.com handled the Zimbabwe.com sale as well as the $157,500 sale of #2 Via.com. Sedo had more sales than any other venue this week, sweeping 11 of the the 20 openings on the Big Board.

The State of the Media Democracy: Are You Ready for the Future of Media?
To shed light on how different generations are ?consuming? media ? and what their future media preferences are likely to be ? Deloitte & Touche USA LLP?s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice commissioned an extensive survey on the evolving role of media in America. This State of the Media Democracy survey offers a generational reality check on the usage of current media platforms/devices and what the future may hold. Fielded by Harrison Group (an independent research services firm) from February 23 through March 6, 2007, the survey used an online methodology to collect information from 2,200 U.S. consumers between the ages of 13 and 75. The survey results provide keen insights into the different generations and their media consumption habits. The summary below is a small sampling of the numerous trends and data points the survey revealed. Firms of Deloitte & Touche USA are meeting with clients to share these insights and
 strategize on how they can help their businesses.

The social technologist: Yossi Vardi, an Israeli entrepreneur, thinks the technology industry should do more to address social problems
... Mr Vardi has long been Israel's most famous technologist. He is known for having helped build the country's high-tech industry, and for selling ICQ, an instant-messaging service, to America Online in 1998 for more than $400m. Now his aim is to become the industry's conscience. His message: only a happy few are benefiting from Israel's amazing high-tech boom. ?We have become two countries: a high-tech one with few children and very high incomes, and a poor one with lots of kids,? he says.

Web's not yet warm enough to beat the chill
Peter Preston: Online revenues four years ago were less than a twentieth of conventional money from conventional sources, and the touted growth figures since haven't altered the picture much ... Well, perhaps. The record looked - and still looks - impressive enough; the endeavour and investment remain formidable. But never forget to add a dollop of context. In the latest American Journalism Review, Paul Farhi looks at total US print advertising revenue in 2004, the last official collation. It registered $46.6bn, with another $11bn from cover price. The figures tell a continuingly valid story. Online revenues four years ago were less than a twentieth of conventional money from conventional sources, and the touted growth figures since haven't altered the picture much. The biggest online revenue raiser among US papers, the New York Times, still brings in only 11 per cent of its total cash that way. Though UK groups are more coy about revenue breakdowns,
 their average take appears to lie between 5 and 5.5 per cent.

AOL Plans to Drop Curtain on Netscape's Browser
AOL LLC?s Netscape unit is discontinuing its Navigator Web browser and urging users of the pioneering and once-dominant software to switch to its Firefox cousin. Ironically, the announcement of Navigator?s demise came on the same day that Microsoft Corp. filed a memorandum in federal court related to its 2002 antitrust consent decree. In the filing, Microsoft cited the ongoing development of Netscape?s browser and other products as a reason why most of the decree?s key provisions should be allowed to expire on Jan. 31.

Netscape Navigator set to be discontinued
The browser that helped kick-start the commercial web is to cease development because of lack of users. Netscape Navigator, now owned by AOL, will no longer be supported after 1 February 2008, the company has said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/29/technology/29browser.html [AP]
http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-netscape29dec29,1,4834833.story [AP]

Americans more wired, new-media survey finds
About 38 percent of U.S. consumers are watching TV shows online, 36 percent use their cell phones as entertainment devices and 45 percent are creating online content like Web sites, music, videos and blogs for others, according to a new-media survey from Deloitte & Touche. The findings of the online survey of 2,081 Americans, conducted October 25-31, were provided to The Hollywood Reporter before their official release next month. The "State of the Media Democracy" notes that in Deloitte's first edition of the survey just eight months earlier, 24 percent of consumers used their cell phones as entertainment devices, meaning that usage has soared 50 percent.

ca: Online dating brings hope and frustration [Reuters]
Online dating renews women's hope in love and sex, but can be just as disappointing as the real-life dating scene, according to new Canadian research. Susan Frohlick, an anthropology professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, says the women she surveyed gained a sense of empowerment from their online dating experiences.

Shopping on the internet predicted to command half of British sales by 2018
Internet shopping could account for half of Britain?s ?300 billion-a-year retail market by as early as 2018 after coming of age this Christmas, it was predicted yesterday (see Commentary, facing page).

Internet pushes NZ's boundaries in 2007
The internet can be used for a lot of things, from harmless messages to friends and sharing of photos to the more harmful - hurting others, and even ourselves. ... New Zealanders also pushed the limits in internet use - one teenager was allegedly involved in a multi-million dollar cyber-crime ring. ... But it was really social networking sites, which a lot of New Zealanders used the internet for this year.

us: Web worlds for the grammar-school set
The proliferation of broadband Internet access is forcing the major media players to rethink how they reach young people Forget Second Life. The real virtual-world gold rush centers on the grammar-school set. Trying to clone the success of blockbuster Web sites like Club Penguin and Webkinz, children's entertainment companies are drastically accelerating efforts to build virtual worlds for kids. Media conglomerates in particular think that these sites - part online role-playing game and part social scene - can deliver quick growth, help keep movie franchises alive and instill brand loyalty in a generation of new customers.

us: Generation Y biggest user of U.S. libraries, survey finds
More than half of Americans visited a library in the past year, with many of them drawn in by the computers rather than the books, according to a survey released on Sunday. Of the 53% of U.S. adults who said they visited libraries in 2007, the biggest users were young adults aged 18 to 30 in the tech-loving group known as Generation Y, the survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project said.

us: Generation Y Looks To The Web For Answers
Americans seeking information on common issues, such as an illness, finances, taxes, and careers, were found to consult the Internet for answers instead of other resources, according to a study released on Sunday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The Pew Internet & American Life Project, which produces reports that examine the impact of the Internet on families and communities, conducted the study in the form of a national phone survey in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. More than 2,790 adults were surveyed, ages 18 and older.

UK web ad spend 'to exceed TV in 2009'
The UK will become the first major economy to see advertisers spend more on the internet than on TV ads, according to the latest forecast from a leading media buying agency. Group M, the combined media planning and buying operation owned by Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP group, predicts that UK internet ad spend will overtake TV, which has been the leading advertising medium for half a century, in 2009.

Google left behind as Koreans Naver-gate web
When South Koreans want to find something on the internet, they almost never ?Google it?. They much prefer to ?Naver it?. Koreans are so loyal to their home-grown search engine that Naver has become the world?s fifth-largest portal, according to comScore, the US internet researcher. Not bad for a nation of 48m people, even if it is one of the most wired countries on earth.

'Stock' beats 'sex' on Google China [Reuters]
The names of two banks and the word "stock" were among the most googled terms in China last year, according to a Google China list seen Thursday.

uk: Bebo crowned the best networking site
Bebo, the popular website aimed chiefly at teenagers, has been named the best performing social networking forum by experts who praised its efforts to enhance security and protect younger users from data theft and unwanted visitors.

Bebo named as best social networking site in survey
They have transformed the way people communicate and attract millions of regular users keen to make virtual friendships or chat about common interests. Of the most popular social networking websites, Bebo is today named in a report as the top performer, beating its rivals Facebook and MySpace.

Networking obsessives click for cash
Social networking websites are not just a time-wasting diversion for office workers but can increasingly be a way of running a money-making business, according to a report commissioned by MySpace from the trends research consultancy, The Future Laboratory. Nearly 3 million people in Britain have made money from their page and millions more are set to do so in 2008, according to the report, 'MySpace08', published on Monday.

A world strip of humanity - inside the virtual reality websites where you can live out your wildest (and darkest) fantasies by John Humphrys
The great joy of childhood is unfettered imagination - it is the best toy in the world. And then we grow up. The real world intrudes with all its limitations and barriers. We get on with life, accept our mostly humdrum, routine existence and make the best of it. But what's this? Tens of millions of people in this country and around the world appear to have reverted to childhood. They spend extraordinary amounts of their time inhabiting an imaginary world. You might say we all do that on some level. A good book or even a good play on the radio will take you to places you have never been. But this is different. These people inhabit a virtual world on the internet.

Getting serious: social networking
It is a typical example of the colonisation of a new frontier. A few intrepid explorers stake out some new, unexplored territory. Before long the first settlers move in and start to look for ways to make a quick buck. Their success attracts more settlers, and an unruly bonanza ensues; finally the policemen, lawyers and tax collectors show up. But the territory in question is not a new continent: it is the realm of cyberspace, where two developments suggest that virtual worlds are coming of age. The first is the emergence of commercial uses for virtual environments; the second is the advent of litigation and regulation.
Many of the serious uses of virtual worlds were on show at a conference held in September at Coventry University in England. Aptly, people could also take part in the conference by visiting an online re-creation of the university's Serious Games Institute, where they could chat with other participants and watch presentations. David Wortley, the institute's director, says half those attending did so this way. The focus of the conference was the application of computer-game technologies and virtual environments to real-world business problems.

Playing tag with mobile technology: Crossing mobile phones with social-networking sites
Imagine you are a woman at a party who spots a good-looking fellow standing alone in a corner. Before working up the courage to talk to him, you whip out your mobile phone. A few clicks reveal his age and profession, links to his latest blog posts and a plethora of other personal information. To many, this sounds like a nightmare. But to those building so-called ?mobile? social networks, it is nirvana: linking virtual communities such as Facebook or MySpace with the real world. The idea is not new, but so far such services have not gained much traction. They have to be able to pinpoint people in order to work, but satellite positioning does not work indoors. More importantly, it is hard for such a service to gain critical mass: why join, if it does not already have many users?
A new generation of mobile social networks may have found ways to overcome these barriers. One is Aka-Aki, a start-up based in Berlin. Users of its service download a small program onto their mobile phone. The software then uses Bluetooth, the short-range radio technology built into many mobile phones, to check whether any friends or other members with similar interests are within 20 metres. If so, the program pulls down the person's picture and whatever information he or she is willing to reveal from the firm's website.

The accidental innovator: Evan Williams, the founder of Blogger and Twitter, epitomises Silicon Valley's right brain
At some point in the decade after he moved from the farm in Nebraska where he grew up to the innovation hub that is the San Francisco Bay Area, Evan Williams accidentally stumbled upon three insights. First, that genuinely new ideas are, well, accidentally stumbled upon rather than sought out; second, that new ideas are by definition hard to explain to others, because words can express only what is already known; and third, that good ideas seem obvious in retrospect. So, having already had two accidental successes?one called Blogger, the other Twitter?Mr Williams is now trying to make accidents a regular occurrence for his company, called Obvious.

Online Networking Goes Small, and Sponsors Follow
When jet-setters began flocking to an exclusive social-networking Web site reserved for the rich, they got the attention of an online community's most valuable ally: advertisers.

The Perils Of Social Networking
In November, more than 145 million people worldwide logged onto at least one of the 20 most-visited social networking Web sites, says Nielsen/NetRatings. Brian Mann wasn't among them. It's not that Mann, founder of management consulting firm Midnight Oil, is opposed to networking. Developing relationships, getting referrals and connecting with potentially new clients is crucial to his business.

Facebook set for a delicate balancing act
Facebook?s transformation from a quirky internet start-up into one of the most talked-about companies in Silicon Valley is sure to be remembered as one of 2007?s biggest technology stories. But as a hectic year draws to a close, Facebook appears to be embarking on a new, more difficult phase of development that could test the mettle of Mark Zuckerberg, its 23-year-old founder.

Cyber thieves target social sites
It is not just the average net user who is a fan of social network sites, so are hi-tech criminals. So say security professionals predicting what net criminals will turn to in 2008 to catch people out. The quasi-intimate nature of the sites makes people share information readily leaving them open to all kinds of other attacks, warn security firms.

Half of Aussies log on to social websites at work [AAP]
A new survey shows that while many Australian workers claim to be using social networking sites for work, they're not always sending out the right message.

Bill Gates hails age of digital senses with touch becoming an important interface for PCs
The way people interact with computers is going to dramatically change in the next five years, Microsoft chief Bill Gates has told BBC News. He predicted that the keyboard and mouse would gradually give way to more intuitive and natural technologies. In particular, he said, touch, vision and speech interfaces would become increasingly important.

Gates: Curtain call for crystal ball
Bill Gates may be stepping away from full-time work later this year, but he still has a few things he wants to show off.

CES: Gates touts progress in digital entertainment
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates marked progress in the company's strategy to provide digital content through a host of Internet-based channels and devices as he made his final appearance at the CES trade show as a full-time Microsoft employee Sunday.

The Annual Gates Speech at CES
For years Microsoft has been talking about all the advantages consumers can get from being connected--linking your computers, cellphones, TVs and digital cameras. This year the company is trying to make that connection more personal, driving technology to be smarter about who you are, what you want and where you're trying to go.

Asia accounts for 78 percent SMS traffic
Consumers across Asia are the most prolific users of mobile messaging and are forecast to further drive message volume in 2008, a research firm said. Nearly 1,5 trillion mobile messages were sent in the Asia-Pacific region over the past 12 months, accounting for 78,9 percent of all SMS traffic globally last year, said Gartner's report.

The Independent's Year in Review: Technology
Emily Hilscher's Facebook page contained all the chit-chat and memories you would expect of a 19-year-old freshman veterinary student: grinning pictures from fancy-dress parties, reminiscences about the time she and friends recreated a Spice Girls video, and invitations to discuss "Why Emily Hilscher was cooler than me". And this: "Recent News; 4/16/07 Emily Hilscher passed away during the Virginia Tech shooting."

Apple and Google ruled a year to note in your Facebook
Looking back on the 2007 technology world, only a few things stand out. The most prominent companies were Apple and Google; the most remarked-on development was the explosive growth of Facebook; and the biggest surprise was that the European Court of First Instance upheld the EU's anti-competitive ruling against Microsoft.

BBC News technology team picks technology with impact 2007
The last 12 months have seen plenty of talking points around technology - from the iPhone, to Facebook, the launch of Vista and the XO laptop - but what were the developments, stories or gadgets which had the biggest impact? The BBC News technology team members pick out their favourite technology of 2007.

Google in search to sell its advertising to newspapers
After colonising cyberspace, Google is going into the newspaper business. The search engine giant is in talks with several newspaper publishers to sell space in their pages to its online clients.

France warns against excessive cell phone use [Reuters]
A French health ministry on Wednesday issued a warning against excessive cell phone use, especially by children, though it recognized science had not proved cellular technology was dangerous.

Reports: Next iPhone update will break third-party apps, bust unlocks
The next upgrade for Apple Inc.'s iPhone will again relock unlocked phones and disable any third-party applications installed on the device, according to claims made by a noted iPhone hacker.

us: Accused spammer charged in Detroit with manipulating Chinese stock prices
A man described as one of the nation's most prolific senders of spam e-mail was among 11 people accused in an indictment unsealed Thursday of defrauding people by manipulating Chinese stock prices. Alan Ralsky, 52, of suburban West Bloomfield Township, made about $3 million through the scheme in summer 2005 alone, U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy said.

Alan Ralsky, Ten Others, Indicted in International Illegal Spamming and Stock Fraud Scheme [news release]
A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed today in Detroit charging 11 persons, including Alan M. Ralsky, his son-in-law Scott K. Bradley, and Judy M. Devenow, of Michigan, and eight others, including a dual national of Canada and Hong Kong and individuals from Russia, California, and Arizona, in a wide-ranging international fraud scheme involving the illegal use of bulk commercial e-mailing, or "spamming."

uk: Digital world creates a new underclass
Elderly and poor consumers are being left behind by sweeping changes in modern life, according to a new study, with many disadvantaged by the rise of internet shopping and banking and the lack of face-to-face contact with managers to resolve problems. The National Consumer Council reports a growing divide between well-educated customers, who are comfortable using the internet for transactions and understand about hidden costs such as bank charges, and poorer families, who find it impossible to work their way through glitches with bills and labyrinthine telephone complaints lines. Those who are elderly or live in poorer parts of Britain are especially vulnerable because they are least able to spend time or money trying to complain or receive compensation. 

One Laptop' a hit in Peruvian village [AP]
Doubts about whether poor, rural children really can benefit from quirky little computers evaporate as quickly as the morning dew in this hilltop Andean village, where 50 primary school children got machines from the One Laptop Per Child project six months ago. These offspring of peasant families whose monthly earnings rarely exceed the cost of one of the $188 laptops -- people who can ill afford pencil and paper much less books -- can't get enough of their "XO" laptops.

Intel Quits Effort to Get Computers to Children
A frail partnership between Intel and the One Laptop Per Child educational computing group was undone last month in part by an Intel saleswoman: She tried to persuade a Peruvian official to drop the country?s commitment to buy a quarter-million of the organization?s laptops in favor of Intel PCs. Intel and the group had a rocky relationship from the start in their short-lived effort to get inexpensive laptops into the hands of the world?s poorest children.

One laptop project loses Intel as partner
Intel has pulled out of a project to put cheap laptops in the hands of children in the developing world. Citing "philosophical" differences, Intel has withdrawn its funding and technical help from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

OLPC: Won't miss Intel's 'half-hearted' laptop effort [IDG]
Intel's resignation from the One Laptop Per Child Project's board of directors will have "no impact" on the group's operations, since the chip maker contributed little to the project since joining last year, OLPC President Walter Bender said in an interview. "We never really got much going with Intel to have an impact," Bender said.

OLPC fires back at Intel, children learn nothing
Nick Negroponte, founder and chairman of the One Laptop Per Child project, came out swinging at Intel on Friday, one day after the chipmaker decided to leave the group. ... "We at OLPC have been disappointed that Intel did not deliver on any of the promises they made when they joined OLPC; while we were hopeful for a positive, collaborative relationship, it never materialized," Negroponte said in a statement distributed by the OLPC on Friday.

OLPC ponders 'give one, get one' laptop offer for Europe [IDG]
Europeans interested in the One Laptop Per Child Project's XO laptop may soon have the chance through a "give one, get one" offer similar to that offered in North America last year. "At some point we might do it in Europe," said Walter Bender, OLPC's president, in an interview Friday.

Hackers quickly move to exploit Bhutto assassination
Within hours of yesterday's assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, malware makers exploited the breaking news to dupe users into downloading attack code, security researchers said Friday. Searches for news about Bhutto's killing and the ensuing chaos in Pakistan listed sites pimping a bogus video coder/decoder (codec), said analysts at McAfee Inc., Symantec Corp. and WebSense Inc.

Future Phishing
Forget the Nigerian prince. Phishing scams are moving beyond the misspelled, far-fetched ruses that clog your in-box and beg for your bank codes. In the year to come, security professionals are warning of bank code-stealing exploits that are much slicker and more convincing--hidden in guises as harmless as a banner ad on a reputable Web site or a message from a friend on a social network. In November, security firm Sunbelt Software found that hundreds of ads placed on Web sites by DoubleClick, the largest ad-serving platform on the Web, linked to pages designed to install malware on users' desktops. And in late December, a worm spread through Google's (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) social networking site, Orkut, infecting hundreds of thousands of accounts and sending messages from friend to friend.

Piracy and Privacy: IFPI asks Europe to require ISPs to use filters
In an effort to stymie Internet pirates, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a music industry group, is asking European lawmakers to require Internet service providers to use filters to block the illicit transfer of copyrighted material (dslreports.com). The Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org), a privacy advocate, responded by sending a letter to the European Parliament arguing that such filters would be an ?ineffective measure that will do little to practically address the concerns of major rights holders while imposing serious costs on the individual rights of European citizens.?

Online Thieves More Sophisticated, More Profit-Motivated
Every year uncharted threat territory lies ahead, but in 2008 there's a thicket of thieves to make it past. While computer security products now block far more than ever, attackers have banded together under the profit banner. They're using advanced weaponry and strategy to target businesses and consumers.

uk: The "lyrical terrorist" - Be careful what you Google
Those who fall foul of the law because of their internet-surfing habits are often assumed to be sheepish-looking middle-aged men. On December 6th a different sort of criminal was in the dock for downloading illicit material. Samina Malik, a slight 23-year-old in a headscarf, last month became the first Muslim woman to be convicted of a terrorism offence in Britain when she was found guilty of collecting a library of jihadist manuals from the internet. This week Miss Malik, who worked at an airport bookstore and called herself the ?lyrical terrorist? in online forums, was given a suspended nine-month prison sentence and community service.

au: Territory police hunt eBay scammer
A warrant has been issued for an Alice Springs man accused of cheating people on the auction website eBay.

Britain rated worst in Europe for protecting privacy
Britain, the country with the world's biggest network of surveillance cameras, has the worst record in Europe for the protection of privacy, according to a report from a London-based international watchdog. The UK is billed as "an endemic surveillance society" alongside Russia, the US, Singapore and China in the survey of 47 countries by Privacy International (PI). Britain is bottom in Europe because of its cameras, ID card plans and lack of government accountability.

Individual privacy under threat in Europe and U.S., report says [AP]
Individual privacy is under threat in the United States and across the European Union as governments introduce sweeping surveillance and information-gathering measures in the name of security and controlling borders, an international rights group has said in a report. Greece, Romania and Canada had the best privacy records of 47 countries surveyed by Privacy International, which is based in London. Malaysia, Russia and China were ranked worst.

A privacy group paints much of the world in black
The map of the world issued by Privacy International and the Electronic Privacy Information Center this week is striking most of all for its darkness, both visually and otherwise. There is the large, familiar shape of the United States blackened out across the middle of North America, and on the right, another shadowy mass that starts at Russia's western border, covering nearly all of Europe and Asia to the east. In between them is a smaller dab of black, straight up the length of Britain.

Australia slides into surveillance society
According to a new international privacy report, governments around the world are increasingly invading the privacy of citizens with surveillance, identification systems and archiving of private data -- and Australia is no exception.

au: Technology that exposes your dirty linen
Big Brother is washing you. The washing machine of the future may not only wash garments according to the instructions on the clothes but secretly collect information for telemarketers, political parties and anybody else with an interest in people's dirty linen. The Australian Law Reform Commission says washing machines could be fitted with radio frequency identification equipment, known as RFID, which stores information and transmits it to a data-processing system.

ca: Do you resolve to protect your privacy in 2008? [news release]
Threats to the privacy rights of Canadians will intensify in 2008 unless organizations resolve to do more to protect personal information, warns Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart. ?Heightened national security concerns, the growing business appetite for personal information and technological advances are all potent ? and growing ? threats to privacy rights,? says Commissioner Stoddart.

As ads arrive on cell phones, privacy concerns grow with targeting opportunities
Your cell phone is a potential gold mine for marketers: It can reveal where you are, whom you call and even what music you like. Considering the phone is usually no more than a few feet away, these are powerful clues for figuring out just the right moment to deliver the right coupon for the store just around the corner.

User Data Stolen From Pornographic Web Sites
Consumers of Internet pornography who secretly signed up for memberships on adult-oriented Web sites in the past few months may be in for a shock -- some of their personal information, including e-mail addresses, may have been compromised by a security breach. Though the breach, which potentially could affect tens of thousands of customers, reportedly did not involve the theft of credit card information, it could nonetheless have a significant impact on the lucrative Internet pornography industry, according to those who monitor the market.

Saudi blogger arrested, held without charges [IDG]
Saudi Arabian officials have reportedly detained a blogger whose writing has criticized religious extremism in the country, according to the two press freedom groups and a regional human-rights organization. Blogger and IT professional Fouad Ahmed al-Farhan, 32, was taken into custody Dec. 10, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported on Wednesday. His Arabic-language site now has a "Free Fouad" banner in English across the top.

Saudis Confirm Detention of Blogger
An outspoken Saudi blogger is being held for ?purposes of interrogation,? the Saudi Interior Ministry confirmed Tuesday. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman reached by telephone, said the blogger, Fouad al-Farhan, was ?being questioned about specific violations of nonsecurity laws.? Mr. Farhan?s blog, which discusses social issues, had become one of the most widely read in Saudi Arabia.

China tightens online video rules
China is stepping up efforts to control its blossoming online video industry with new regulations on the ownership of video websites and requirements for censoring content. But it remains unclear how the new regulations, posted online Tuesday, would affect domestic and foreign players in the industry.

China Clamps Down On Internet Video
Enjoy your streaming videos while you can, Chinese YouTube fans. The Chinese government announced new rules Thursday that could block all but a few video sites from reaching Chinese viewers. The regulations, posted to Web sites of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Information Industry, require that effective Jan. 31, all online video outlets avoid politically or morally objectionable content and obtain a government-issued permit.

The videos we laughed, winced and wondered at are blocked by China
It was the internet story of 2007, the website that brought you sneezing pandas, laughing babies, an epic battle on the African savannah and a guest appearance by Tony Blair in a video starring George Bush's dog. But for any web surfers in China, these and other gems purveyed by the video-sharing phenomenon YouTube look likely to become impossible to access, after the authorities signalled yesterday that they would no longer tolerate the "broadcast of degenerate thinking" on the internet.

China tightens its grip on internet with video ban
China is to further tighten its grip on internet use by restricting the broadcast of videos on the web to only those run by state-sanctioned companies. In the government?s latest clampdown on cyberspace, all sites that provide video programming or allow users to upload video must obtain a government permit, with the only companies permitted to apply being those that are state-owned or state-controlled. The new rules, which - crucially - apply to video-sharing websites too, also require providers to report questionable content to the government.

Stories China's media could not write
When journalists at China's national broadcaster CCTV log on, one of the first things that pops up on screen is a notice about what not to report. These notices are often short and seldom say who has authorised them, but they all contain strict instructions about how to report a story. Journalists were recently warned off a health scandal, told how to report the death of Benazir Bhutto and had to steer clear of a Hollywood film story.

au: Moral cleansers past their use-by date
Mrs Grundy was immortalised as the universal wowser by literary giants such as Charles Dickens and James Joyce. She was the neighbour from hell who disapproved of anything new, from the colour of your house to the latest obscenity at the bookshop. Her creator, 18th-century playwright Thomas Morton, never actually brought her to life on the stage, preferring to make her a much more potent character through her invisibility. Her universal opposite was another unseen but all-pervasive character immortalised in English common law, the reasonable adult. Unlike Mrs Grundy, who judges all things through her narrow set of values, the reasonable adult is often described as someone endowed with standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted in present-day society.

uk: 'I'm a good dad. I'm a safe place'
Last August actor Chris Langham was sent to prison for downloading images of child sex abuse. Now, in their first interview together since his release, he and his wife, Christine, speak candidly about how they have coped with the events of the past year as a couple and a family

eu: Consumers: New EU rules crackdown on misleading advertising and aggressive sales practices
Just two weeks before Christmas, sweeping new EU rules to crackdown on misleading advertising and aggressive selling practices - including a ban on fake "free" offers and a ban on "pester power" advertising (direct exhortation) to children on the Internet - will come into force across the EU (December 12 2007). These restrictions are part of an extensive black list of schemes which are banned by the new Unfair Commercial Practices (UCP) Directive ? targeting in particular a "dirty dozen" of the some of the most abusive practices, from bait advertising, to pyramid schemes, advertorials and false curative health claims which are used against consumers.

us: New Jersey law restricts some sex offenders from surfing the Web [AP]
Convicted sex offenders who used the Internet to help them commit their crimes will be banned from using the Internet under a measure signed into law Thursday. The bill applies to people who, for example, lured a potential victim through e-mail or other electronic messages. It also affects paroled sex offenders under lifetime supervision, but exempts computer work done as part of a job or search for employment.

New Jersey Bars Some Sex Offenders From Internet
The new law prohibits anyone convicted of using a computer to commit a sex offense from using computers or accessing the Internet for part or all of their parole.

New Jersey bans sex offenders from the web
Convicted sex offenders who used websites to help them commit their crimes are to be banned from using the internet under a tough new measure signed into New Jersey law yesterday.

us: Senate to zero in on Internet child porn
A State Senate committee wants to learn how serious a problem Internet child pornography is in New York, who is responsible and what, if anything, the state can do about it.

Kiwi company in talks over Australian internet filtering plans
Australian government plans to filter the internet at the ISP level for child porn is achievable says New Zealand company, Watchdog, but it also warns that attempts to rate websites for violent content and other objectionable material will be extremely difficult.

Onus on Australian internet users to "unfilter" websites
Australians will be forced to contact their internet service provider to avoid having their access to the web restricted. The restrictions are planned by the Federal Government to give greater protection to children from online pornography and "violent" websites. Under the plan, all internet service providers will be required to provide a "clean" feed to households and schools, free of pornography and other inappropriate material.

au: Conroy announces mandatory internet filters to protect children
Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy says new measures are being put in place to provide greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites. Senator Conroy says it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material.

au: Minister warned on porn filters
Labor's plan to introduce mandatory internet filters will send Australia down a censorship path similar to China's and Singapore's, but will not stop computer-savvy children looking at banned sites, according to the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. The council's vice-president, David Bernie, said the Federal Government plan was political grandstanding. It would force users to ask internet service providers to lift a block on extremely violent and pornographic sites.

Who's afraid of the net? - censorship in Australia
It's an idea that just won't die: if the government makes your internet provider run special software, all the bad things (and people) of cyberspace won't bother you. This is the view being touted by the new Minister for Information Technology, Senator Stephen Conroy, who is proposing that internet service providers should be required to filter Australians' internet connections against a list maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

au: Pedophiles talk in sign language
Pedophiles are using abstract symbols inscribed on jewellery such as rings, pendants and coins to publicly communicate their sexual desires to each other.

au: Rudd online porn-free plan questioned
A Rudd Government plan to censor internet pornography and violence could undermine another of its election promises - to speed up our internet access. The Internet Industry Association has warned the downside of censoring access could be a reduction in the speed of access to websites.

au: Rudd porn filter fails: experts
The "clean feed" filtering system Communications Minister Stephen Conroy hopes will halt internet porn has already been defeated by British researchers. Richard Clayton, of the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory, said the innovative blocking system CleanFeed, devised by British internet service provider BT, could be circumvented in a number of ways. "At first sight, it's an effective and precise method of blocking unacceptable content," Mr Clayton said. "But there are a number of issues to address as soon as one assumes that content providers or consumers might make serious attempts to get around it."

au: Labor online strategy slammed
opinion It sounds entirely defensible, at first. The federal Government plans to protect unwary children by blocking violence and pornography on the internet. Yet this simple sounding initiative - barely discussed during the election - is riddled with technical, financial, moral and social complexities. The Government's plan, overseen by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, would require internet service providers (ISPs) to block undesirable sites on computers accessed by all Australians.

au: Net-nanny state worth watching - State censorship always raises difficult questions
From the moment the internet was declared the new frontier of free speech and expression, governments everywhere have agonised over how to control it. For totalitarian regimes, free political speech represents a direct threat. For law-enforcement agencies, the ability of terrorists to build networks more easily increases the risks to public safety. For parents, the fear that chat-room sex-pests are stalking children is one more thing to worry about. It is understandable that governments want to aid police and give parents peace of mind. The decentralised nature of the internet makes exerting control over what is on it difficult. Nonetheless, state censorship is a growing trend worldwide.

Labor warned on porn filters
Labor's plan to introduce mandatory internet filters will send Australia down a censorship path similar to China's and Singapore's, but will not stop computer-savvy children looking at banned sites, according to the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

EFA attacks Labor?s ?clean-feed? Internet proposal
Independent industry body, the Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has savaged a plan by the Labor Government plan, (championed by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy) to "clean feed" filtered Internet connections to all homes and schools.

au: Nile pushes online pedophile list
A BID by Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile to list the addresses of all convicted pedophiles on the internet in a reform similar to America's Megan's Law has been rejected by the NSW Government.

The dangers of web filtering
... Prime Minister Kevin Rudd decreed before the election that his government would move to implement a system that would provide a ?clean? internet feed to Australian users. Now that he?s won the top job, he intends to make good on the promise.

au: Porn filter problems
The federal government's plan to tackle internet porn is in trouble, after British researchers found that the filtering system chosen by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, does not work.

Australia plans tough web rules
Australia is planning tough new rules to protect children from online pornography and violence. The new Labor government wants internet service providers to filter content to ensure households and schools do not receive "inappropriate" material.

Oz govt pushes mandatory net filters
Australia's newly elected Labor government is pushing plans that would make it mandatory for local ISPs to install porn-blocking filters, offering "clean" internet feeds as a preferred option.

au: One small but significant step towards Internet censorship
The Australian Labor Party is moving ahead swiftly to fulfil its pre-election promise to mandate ISP-level filtering of Internet content - and is taking a very significant step beyond the level of filtering contemplated by the former Government.

ACMA Places Obligation On Content Providers
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has established new rules for providers of MA15+ and R18+ content on mobile phones and the Internet. The declaration places the obligation on the content provider to check the age of the individual accessing the content.

Plans to filter Internet under fire
An Australian government plan to filter the Internet on Wednesday drew criticism from privacy advocates who said it represented the start of state censorship.

Australien plant zum Jugendschutz die Einf?hrung von Internetfiltern
Die neue australische Regierung plant zum Schutz von Kindern vor Kinderpornografie und Gewaltdarstellungen die Einf?hrung von Filtern. Internetprovider sollen zur Installation der Filter verpflichtet werden, um Webseiten zu blockieren, so dass von Privathaushalten, Schulen und anderen ?ffentlichen Einrichtungen nicht darauf zugegriffen werden kann und ein "Clean Feed"-Intrenet realisiert wird. Der frisch gek?rte Telekommunikationsminister Stephen Conroy erkl?rte, dass man sich nicht denen beugen werde, die sagen, dass man mit jeder Internetregulierung den "chinesischen Weg" gehe: "Wenn Menschen Meinungsfreiheit mit dem Betrachten von Kinderpornografie gleichsetzen, dann ist die Labor-Regierung damit nicht einverstanden."

Baut Australien eine Great Firewall?
Ab dem 20. Janur 2008 gelten in Australien neue Regeln zum Jugendschutz. Ziel ist es, Jugendlichen den Zugang zu f?r sie ungeeigneten Inhalten zu erschweren. Was jedoch wie Jugendschutz aussieht, gleicht frappierend der Great Firewall of China, also der Internet-Zensur in China.

Australien plant Filter f?r das Internet
Australiens Regierung will Internet-Inhalte filtern und Kinder so vor Gewalt und Pronografie sch?tzen. Kritiker f?hlen sich an Chinas "Great Firewall" erinnert.

us: Program Offers Kids Secure Web Hangout
After a 25-year career with the Office of Naval Intelligence, Kathy Godfrey has become the technology coordinator at St. Peter's Catholic School in Waldorf. The woman who helped identify security threats and weathered the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has a new set of challenges: third-graders who claim to have MySpace pages, middle-schoolers who want to watch YouTube and parents who don't realize the dangers of letting their kids run wild on the Internet.

ITU announces first global set of standards for IPTV [news release]
The International Telecommunication Union announced the first set of global standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) today. The standards were built with technical contributions from leading service providers and manufacturers from the information and communication technology (ICT) sector and cement ITU?s role as the global leader in IPTV standards development.

?The broadband revolution? by Susan Crawford
... Those of you who lived through ?What Is Broadband Good For?? with me last summer (first post here) know that the word ?broadband? is a pet bugaboo of mine. It?s a word that answers a lot of policy questions in a particular way. It connotes (and denotes) a speeded, managed ?service? that happens to use the Internet Protocol but is ultimately completely within the discretionary control of the network provider. So when the ITU talks about ?the broadband revolution,? they mean (I think) the rise of these speeded, managed ?services? provided by telephone companies. And the stated goal?made express in this press release?is to combine ?services? over single broadband links and ?from? a single provider. Revolutionary! Remarkably similar to cable television with a cellphone overlay.

Plan to give every British child internet access at home
Parents could be required to provide their children with high-speed internet access under plans being drawn up by ministers in partnership with some of the country's leading IT firms.

European Commission sees need for a stronger more consumer-friendly Single Market for Online Music, Films and Games in Europe [news release]
The European Commission has decided today to give a new boost to Europe's online content sector. EU citizens should be able to enjoy easier and faster access to a rich variety of music, TV programmes, films or games via the Internet, mobile phones or other devices. The Commission therefore encourages the content industry, telecoms companies and Internet service providers to work closely together to make available more content online, while at the same time ensuring a robust protection of intellectual property rights. The Commission also wants to facilitate copyright licences for online content covering the territory of several or all of the EU Member States. According to Commission studies, a truly Single Market without borders for Creative Online Content could strengthen considerably the competitiveness of Europe's music, film and games industry and allow retail revenues of the sector to quadruple by 2010 if clear and consumer-friendly measures are
 taken by industry and public authorities.

EC plans online content overhaul [AFP]
The European Commission will draw up plans to boost the online market for music, films and games while promising to uphold intellectual property rights. The EC said content providers, telecom companies and internet service providers should work together to make more online content available, while ensuring the robust protection of intellectual property rights. 

Super IT-regulator and federal CIO to emerge in Russia?
The shifts in the government structure, which are to follow the March elections, might radically change the ICT management structure. CNews has received some documents at its disposal, which present one of the possible development options. The question is of establishing the so called RF Committee on public administration. According to the concept developed by the government the new body will unite Rosfinmonitoring (Russia's Federal Service for Fiscal Monitoring), Rosstat (the Federal State Statistics Service), FAIT (the Federal Agency for Information Technologies), Spetssvayz FSO (Special communication and information service at the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation), profile FSUE (Federal State Unitary Enterprises) and Research Institutes. According to the document, a new position of a Vice-Premier is planned to be introduced, whose working title is meanwhile ?all-Russian CIO?. If the proposal is approved, then the Chief
 IT-Director will be able to tightly regulate the government informatization.

Radiohead offer fans New Year's Eve gig online
Those who find the familiar strains of Auld Lang Syne too upbeat - or insufficiently experimental - may wish to log on to the internet this New Year's Eve. Radiohead, who pride themselves on being one of the most technologically literate of bands, have announced that a pre-recorded concert will be available online from midnight to usher in the new year. The "songs and other bits", as Radiohead's frontman, Thom Yorke, calls them, will be shown on the band's website as well as the UK and US satellite and cable channel Current TV.

Amazon Challenges Apple's Music Empire
Amazon.com on Thursday added Warner Music Group to the growing number of labels that sell music free of copy protections in its digital music store. The news is a challenge to Apple, which has built a digital distribution empire for copyrighted music around its iPod digital music player and iTunes music store.

Warner agrees to use MP3 format
Warner Music agrees to sell its music for download on Amazon in MP3 format without copy protection.

Amazon, Warner Music team up to sell music downloads [AFP]
Amazon and Warner Music Group are offering music downloads that would have no copy protection, making them playable on virtually any digital audio device, the companies announced Thursday.

Warner to offer music via Amazon without DRM
Amazon.com Inc. has added songs from Warner Music Group Corp. to the offerings it sells as MP3 files without digital rights management (DRM) technology, the companies said Friday.

Wal-Mart cancels movie download service [Reuters]
Wal-Mart Stores quietly canceled its online video download service less than a year after the site went live, a company spokeswoman said on Thursday.

News Corp and Apple poised to offer Fox films through iTunes
News Corporation and Apple are close to announcing plans to make the latest films from Twentieth Century Fox available to rent online through Apple?s iTunes.

uk: 3m Christmas downloads bring cheer to industry
A rush to download music by those who received MP3 players for Christmas helped digital download sales hit an end-of-year record high, bringing some welcome cheer for the troubled music industry.

Telstra confident of CDMA switch-off
After carrying wireless telecommunications in rural Australia since 2000, the CDMA mobile phone network has just 25 days to live, with Telstra gearing up for a last-minute rush from customers switching from the old network to Next G.

CDMA killswitch will tear Telstra-government rift
A showdown between Telstra and the federal government over the termination of Australia's CDMA network is set to erupt within weeks.

Perth to get two new community radio stations
Two new community radio stations are set to hit Perth airwaves in the next 12 months, following an Australian Communications and Media Authority decision to allocate two new licences to serve the city's Indigenous and seniors communities.

Germany's biggest child porn investigation under threat
There are fears that an investigation into Germany's biggest-ever child pornography investigation could be in jeopardy after details of the probe were made public.

Swoop on Austria child porn rings
Police in Austria say they have questioned 107 people in an operation against internet child sex abuse. A man from Vienna has been detained on suspicion of abusing his stepdaughter. Investigators acting on tip-offs from the United States and Germany seized images and they also found films of two girls, one Asian and one European.

107 targeted in child porn investigation
More than 100 people in Austria, including several doctors and a teacher, have been questioned in child pornography investigations, police said yesterday.

Austrian police question 107 people in child pornography probe [AFP]
Federal authorities said on Wednesday they questioned 107 suspects in two major international child pornography investigations.

Austrian police investigate 107 child pornography suspects
Austrian police say they have questioned 107 suspects in the course of two major international child pornography investigations. So far 27 people have been officially charged.


Sources include Quicklinks <http://qlinks.net/> and BNA Internet Law News <http://www.bna.com/ilaw/>.


(c) David Goldstein 2008
David Goldstein
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Received on Thu Jan 10 2008 - 05:41:41 UTC

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