Government & Policy

19 August 2007

ANACOM Conference: Regulating Convergence - Converging Regulation ANACOM

Bringing together a number of key national and international figures from the world of communications regulation, this conference will be a unique opportunity for wide-ranging debate on the challenges faced by regulation and regulators. Such challenges come from issues that include next generation network implementation and access, competition from emerging markets, the development of new business models, the possible application of new regulation institutional models, as well as radio spectrum policies. Finally, the implications of these new realities for citizens in general must not be forgotten, especially within the scope of providing the universal service of electronic communications.

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18 August 2007

Botswana Cyber Crime Bill on the Cards

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has told Parliament that for the ICT Policy to succeed in business and other development transactions, her ministry will in the next few days present a cyber crime bill. Parliament approved the ICT policy on Monday unanimously.

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15 August 2007

German antihacker law could backfire, critics warn InfoWorld

Germany's new antihacker law could open the door to more cybercrime and not less, security experts warn. The law, which the German government approved in May and put into effect on Saturday, aims to crack down on the sharp rise in attacks on computers in the public and private sectors.

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14 August 2007

EU considers telecom 'superregulator' International Herald Tribune

Following its success in cutting mobile phone roaming fees, the European Commission is weighing a plan that could force some former EU phone monopolies to legally reorganize to open their networks to greater competition.

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13 August 2007

uk: COMMENT: Watch out - the state is after your hard drive The Observer

You can hear, from Westminster, the sound of the state pooing its pants about the digital revolution. Its authority is being eroded on two fronts. First, the internet doesn't recognise national borders so is nearly impossible to police. That is good for criminals. Second, the technology that allows people to publish and broadcast online is so widespread that central authorities cannot control the agenda. That is good for political activists. The tricky thing for government is how to curtail the freedom of the crooks while respecting the rights of reasonable dissenters.

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12 August 2007

us: Reported Decline in Surveillance Spurred Quick Law New York Times

At a closed-door briefing in mid-July, senior intelligence officials startled lawmakers with some troubling news. American eavesdroppers were collecting just 25 percent of the foreign-based communications they had been receiving a few months earlier. Congress needed to act quickly, intelligence officials said, to repair a dangerous situation. Some lawmakers were alarmed. Others, jaded by past intelligence warnings, were skeptical. The report helped set off a furious legislative rush last week that, improbably, broadened the administration's authority to wiretap terrorism suspects without court oversight.

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NZ iPod law eases for music, not films New Zealand Herald

Proposed law changes will make it legal to copy music for personal use, but anyone recording a favourite television programme will be able to keep it for only a few days.

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11 August 2007

uk: Call for more action against internet crime Financial Times

Businesses should face penalties if they fail to protect individuals from internet crime, says a parliamentary report published on Friday. The House of Lords science and technology committee calls for internet service providers to take more responsibility for providing internet security - such as filtering "bad" traffic. It suggests software companies and hardware manufacturers should pay up if they supply products with security flaws. The committee also proposes introducing a law, similar to one in California, which requires businesses to notify consumers when personal information in their databases has been illegally accessed.

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10 August 2007

ACLU Seeks Court's Spying Rulings Information Week

The American Civil Liberties Union said it is asking a federal court to disclose its recent legal opinions on the Bush administration's authority to engage in secret wiretapping of Americans. ... The ACLU said such an unusual disclosure was needed because of legislation adopted by Congress over the weekend to temporarily expand the government's power to conduct electronic surveillance without a court order in tracking foreign enemy suspects.

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Bandwidth price relief in sight for Australian internet users Australian IT

Australian consumers can expect by late next year relief from the international bandwidth drought that has been driving up internet access costs. Network infrastructure specialist, Pipe Networks, has selected Tyco Telecommunications to supply a new undersea cable linking Australia to Guam that is expected to break an international bandwidth duopoly suppressing local internet download quotas.

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Australia, the election, and broadband policy

In the lead-up to the federal government election in Australia, most likely later this year, broadband access is one of the hotter topics with both of the main parties having quite different policies. The Labor opposition claims they want to give 98% of Australians broadband access with fibre-to-the-node, while the government wants to use a mixture of fibre-to-the-node and wireless (WiMax). I've collated some of the latest news on this here.

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08 August 2007

Conflict over digital content moves to cellphones International Herald Tribune

Microsoft and Nokia are coming together in a rare accord, trying to take advantage of the expected explosion of the sale of mobile digital content.

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07 August 2007

Bush signs controversial surveillance bill The Guardian

US intelligence agencies will no longer need a warrant to eavesdrop on US citizens' international phone calls and emails after George Bush signed a temporary surveillance bill yesterday. The measure gives the National Security Agency - which is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications - and other agencies broader authority to monitor phone conversations, emails and other private communications that are part of a foreign intelligence investigation.

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California moves to lock down e-voting systems ComputerWorld

The California Secretary of State moved strongly on Friday to corral electronic-voting problems found in independent tests conducted on machines previously certified for use in that state.

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06 August 2007

us: House Passes Changes in Eavesdropping Program New York Times

Under pressure from President Bush, the House gave final approval Saturday to changes in a terrorism surveillance program, despite serious objections from many Democrats about the scope of the executive branch's new eavesdropping power. ... One major issue, apparently raised in secret by judges overseeing the program, is that many calls and email messages between people outside the United States are routed over data networks that run through the United States.

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04 August 2007

us: Democratic rivals in race to recruit bloggers The Guardian

US presidential contenders including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are heading to Chicago for the biggest gathering of leftwing and anti-war bloggers, in a move that highlights the increasing importance of online activists in American politics. All eight Democratic contenders will be present for the second YearlyKos convention, which opens today, in contrast with last year when only Bill Richardson turned up.

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Halt e-voting, says UK's Electoral Commission ZDNet

The Electoral Commission says there is little point in continuing with e-voting trials unless the government gives a clear justification for using the technology

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27 July 2007

EU to free up wireless spectrum for 3G Sydney Morning Herald

The European Union is making more radio spectrum available for accessing Internet services over mobile phones, saying the use of lower frequencies would cut operators' costs and let them reach customers over a wider area.

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23 July 2007

OECD Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress OECD

On 12 July 2007, OECD Member countries adopted a Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress to provide governments with a framework to help consumers resolve disputes and settle claims with business. The framework covers disputes in both domestic and cross-border transactions. It was developed to deal with issues arising from the rapid growth in electronic commerce, but it will also benefit consumers making traditional types of purchases.

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OECD urges government and industry to overhaul consumer protection for Internet and other shoppers OECD

OECD countries have agreed a new approach to better protect the rights of consumers and make online shopping safer. They call on national authorities and business to make it easier, cheaper and quicker for people to resolve complaints and get compensation when they are unhappy with goods or services they have bought.

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OECD-Canada Technology Foresight Forum on the Participative Web: Strategies and Policies for the Future OECD

Questions to be addressed in the Foresight Forum include: What does the future hold for the participative web? What are the trends and impacts on knowledge-creation, business, users and governments? What are the implications for enhancing confidence and trust in the Internet? What is the government role in providing the right environment for stimulating Internet innovation and economic growth?

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21 July 2007

EU approves German plan to subsidise Internet search engine project International Herald Tribune

Germany won European Commission approval Thursday to put €120 million into an Internet search system being developed by companies including Bertelsmann and Thomson. The benefit to the public of creating new technologies and putting more cultural material onto the Web outweighs the risk of giving selected companies an unfair advantage via subsidies, the top EU body ruled in Brussels.

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20 July 2007

Media activists concerned over new Thai cyber law Sydney Morning Herald

Thai police will be able to seize computers from homes and businesses under a new cyber-crime law that came into force Wednesday, which authorities say will help crack down on Internet pornography.

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19 July 2007

Electronic voting to debut this Australian election ComputerWorld

This year's federal election will be the first to engage electronic voting when blind or vision impaired people will be able to vote at 29 locations across Australia.

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18 July 2007

Internet Radio Gets Fee Break in Compromise Talks E-Commerce Times

As the July 15 deadline for new Internet radio royalty rates to take effect sailed by in relative peace, most Internet radio webcasters remained up and running following initial results of compromise talks late last week between webcasters and SoundExchange. Most recently, SoundExchange, the arm of the Recording Industry Association of America that collects the royalties, confirmed on Friday that it had offered to cap the $500 per-channel minimum fee stations must pay at $50,000 per year.

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