Articles by date

29 November 2006

OECD: Ask the economists: Grappling with the world's new IT giants (OECD)

Can China and India maintain their impressive IT growth rate? What can developed economies do to meet these challenges? Click to see the questions and answers from the online debate on this issue.

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Anarchy State and the Internet by DAVID G. POST (Temple University School of Law/Journal of Online Law)

Abstract: Who will make and enforce the rules of 'cyberspace'? In this paper, I look at the question by positing various 'controllers,' or points from which rules can issue, ranging from the technical protocols defining the inter-network at one end of the spectrum to Congressional statutes on the other. These controllers vary in their ability to enforce whatever rules they choose to adopt, depending on the existence of conflicting higher-level controllers, and on the possibility that those who are subject to the rules can change jurisdictions to seek a more favorable rule set. The Internet allows a relatively easy change of jurisdiction, or exit, from any given controller, leading to the unprecedented-and unpredictable-situation of a free.

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The Evolution of High-Speed Internet Access: 1995-2001 by GREGORY L. ROSSTON (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research SIEPR Discussion Paper)

Abstract: While Internet usage blossomed during the entire 1995-2001 time period, there was a large change in the nature of the high-speed Internet access business. Cable companies initially teamed with a third party provider, @Home, to create their high-speed access offering. Telephone companies resisted working with third party providers for their high-speed access product. In the end, both cable and telephone providers moved toward a more integrated approach to the sale of high-speed access. Changes in the marketplace help to explain why the cable companies moved toward the telephone company approach. The recent announcement by AOL that intends to move away from access provision toward a content-based model is consistent with the economic forces that were at play in the earlier time periods.

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The 'Unsettled Paradox': The Internet, The State, and The Consent of the Governed by DAVID G. POST (Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies) (Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies)

The settlement of the new domain of cyberspace may enable us to take more seriously than ever before the possibility that individuals in the ordinary course of their affairs can create governmental entities that lack territorial status, a-territorial consensual associations with no geographical referents whatsoever onto which a portion of their 'sovereignty' devolves. This paper explores some of the implications this may have for evolving normative theories of statehood and for related questions of the extraterritorial assertion of jurisdiction by existing territorial states.

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An empirical examination of Wikipedia's credibility by Thomas Chesney (First Monday)

Abstract: This short study examines Wikipedia's credibility by asking 258 research staff with a response rate of 21 percent, to read an article and assess its credibility, the credibility of its author and the credibility of Wikipedia as a whole. Staff were either given an article in their own expert domain or a random article. No difference was found between the two group in terms of their perceived credibility of Wikipedia or of the articles' authors, but a difference was found in the credibility of the articles -- the experts found Wikipedia's articles to be more credible than the non-experts. This suggests that the accuracy of Wikipedia is high. However, the results should not be seen as support for Wikipedia as a totally reliable resource as, according to the experts, 13 percent of the articles contain mistakes.

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Podcast Downloading (Pew Internet & American Life Project) (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

Some 12% of internet users say they have downloaded a podcast so they can listen to it or view it at a later time. However, few internet users are downloading podcasts with great frequency; just 1% report downloading a podcast on a typical day.

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28 November 2006

Web censorship 'bypass' unveiled (BBC)

A tool has been created capable of circumventing government censorship of the web, according to researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab software. The free program, called psiphon, has been constructed to let citizens of countries with restricted web access retrieve and display web pages from anywhere.

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UN warning on e-waste 'mountain' (BBC)

The UN meets to discuss how to tackle the growing problem of dumping of electronic waste in Africa.

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Online video 'eroding TV viewing' (BBC)

Almost half of people who regularly watch online video spend less time watching TV, a survey suggests.

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ISPs to block child porn sites in Canada (iTWire)

Mirroring a similar program in the UK, Canada's major ISPs have banded together to support 'Project Cleanfeed Canada' to block child porn sites from access by Canadians. It's a good start, but there's still a long way to go.

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Google settles copyright dispute with 2 groups in Belgium (International Herald Tribune/Bloomberg/AP)

Google said last week that it had settled with two Belgian groups representing photographers and journalists in a copyright dispute.

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Trouble clicks: “Click fraud” could undermine the boom in online advertising (The Economist)

Internet advertising is booming. The industry has gone from $9.6 billion in revenue in 2001 to $27 billion this year, according to Piper Jaffray, an investment bank. And it is still early days. The internet accounts for only 5% of total spending on advertising, but that figure is expected to reach at least 20% in the next few years. The single largest category within this flourishing industry, accounting for nearly half of all spending, is "pay-per-click" advertising, which is used by firms both large and small to promote their wares.

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us: Groups Oppose Passage of New Surveillance Bill (Center for Democracy and Technology)

A new bill that would weaken intelligence oversight should not pass in the few remaining days of the 109th Congress, a coalition of groups said Monday. CDT joined with several other public interest groups in urging Senate Judiciary Committee Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to end his effort to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Oversight and Resource Enhancement Act of 2006 (S. 4051). Instead of pushing for rushed passage of a legislation that could undercut the security and privacy of innocent Americans, the groups urged Specter to work with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to more fully address the issues relating to warrantless domestic spying when the new Congress convenes next year. November 22, 2006

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Domain name games (The Age)

This article in the Australian Fairfax press discusses the international domain names and the complexities that go with their introduction. It also mentions the IGF in Athens where IDNs "came to a head" and the complexities of introducing IDNs. The article concludes quoting Paul Twomey "We live in multicultural Sydney ... and we all want a multicultural internet," Twomey says. "And yet, there's one big difference between human beings and computers. Human beings can deal with ambiguity, but computers can't."

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27 November 2006

za: Regulations to manage domain name disputes (South African Department of Communications news release)

The South African Department of Communications has published regulations to deal with disputes regarding the .za domain name, in the Government Gazette. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations that have been signed by Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri provide guidelines, rules and procedures and also set out fee structures for the adjudication of such disputes.

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3 Jolting Statements at the IGF by Assoc Prof Ang Peng Hwa (Singapore Internet Research Centre)

A/P Ang Peng Hwa is surprised at those who continue to say that (i) the internet is working fine, (ii) that therefore it needs no governance and (iii) that the phrase “internet governance” should not exist. On the first point, he raises the point that many governments feel uneasy that the internet to any one particular country could be cut off by a decision of the US government. Second, that “governance” is not “government” and the differences between them. And third, the US dominance of the internet may not be such a good thing. Point 2, raised by Lynn St Amour President, ISOC, who says in part that the discussion needs to go back to the “national level, local level, participation in the forms that are available to you, that are important to you as an individual” while Ang Peng Hwa who says in part “Taking away the Forum and moving such meetings to the national and local levels would only reduce the quality of the discussion when was is needed is higher, not lower quality.” And third, Vint Cerf who Ang Peng Hwa says “there cannot be competition at the root zone, that ICANN is a “natural monopoly” not in the strict economic sense but because of the requirements of the system—there can only be one root.” Further, “Cerf, however, misses a major point—in the good old USA as well as significant portions of the civilised world, there is only on way to handle monopolies—regulate them. This is precisely the issue of internet governance. If ICANN is indeed an inevitable monopoly, then it inevitably invites regulation. Anything less would not be transparent or fair.”

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Internet Governance Forum Report 2: Why The Need for IG by Assoc Prof Ang Peng Hwa (Singapore Internet Research Centre)

A/P Ang Peng Hwa is surprised at those who continue to say that (i) the internet is working fine, (ii) that therefore it needs no governance and (iii) that the phrase "internet governance" should not exist. On the first point, he raises the point that many governments feel uneasy that the internet to any one particular country could be cut off by a decision of the US government. Second, that "governance" is not "government" and the differences between them. And third, the US dominance of the internet may not be such a good thing. Point 2, raised by Lynn St Amour President, ISOC, who says in part that the discussion needs to go back to the "national level, local level, participation in the forms that are available to you, that are important to you as an individual" while Ang Peng Hwa who says in part "Taking away the Forum and moving such meetings to the national and local levels would only reduce the quality of the discussion when was is needed is higher, not lower quality." And third, Vint Cerf who Ang Peng Hwa says "there cannot be competition at the root zone, that ICANN is a "natural monopoly" not in the strict economic sense but because of the requirements of the system -- there can only be one root." Further, "Cerf, however, misses a major point -- in the good old USA as well as significant portions of the civilised world, there is only on way to handle monopolies -- regulate them. This is precisely the issue of internet governance. If ICANN is indeed an inevitable monopoly, then it inevitably invites regulation. Anything less would not be transparent or fair."

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The Dark Side of Second Life (Business Week)

Software that lets residents copy others' possessions is the latest reminder that this virtual world may need tougher law enforcement

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Podcast Downloading (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

Some 12% of internet users say they have downloaded a podcast so they can listen to it or view it at a later time. However, few internet users are downloading podcasts with great frequency; just 1% report downloading a podcast on a typical day.

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26 November 2006

Belgian newspapers, Google in copyright stoush (Sydney Morning Herald)

Lawyers for Belgium's French-speaking newspapers and Google clashed in court today during a hearing into a copyright case against the US giant.

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ITU Conference signals enhanced international cooperation in ICT: Plenipotentiary Conference endorses expanded mandate for ITU (International Telecommunication Union news release)

The 17th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference wound up Friday evening by setting out a road map for the Union to chart its future course as the pre-eminent world body for telecommunications and state-of-the-art information and communication technologies (ICT). It endorsed ITU's essential role in Bridging the Digital Divide and ensuring the continued expansion of global communication networks. The Conference renewed focus on implementing the outcomes of the WSIS. Over 2000 participants from 164 countries, including more than one hundred ministers attended the Plenipotentiary Conference, the supreme organ of ITU which meets every four years, and lent their support to the future work of the Union. The conference focused on a number of key issues: ITU's role in Implementing the outcomes and action lines of WSIS; Enhanced cooperation among the membership on international public policy issues related to the internet, such as internationalized domain names, to build bridges within the internet community and in the intergovernmental process.

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Stock fraudsters may become victims of their own success (The Times)

The biggest increase in spam over the past two years has been in e-mails that offer recipients shares in obscure technology companies based in the United States.

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ICANN Launches Public Comments on Whois Task Force Report (ICANN)

ICANN is launching a public comments period on the Preliminary Task Force Report on Whois Services. This report forms part of the GNSO policy development process (PDP) on Whois which seeks to build consensus on policy issues in the generic top level domain (gTLD) space. The public comment period will last from 24th November, 2006 to 15 January, 2007.

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Forward the online revolution (BBC)

We all have the power to shape the networked world, argues regular BBC commentator Bill Thompson. Over the last 20 years the global economy has been shaped and reshaped by computers and the growing reach of the internet as a public communications network.

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25 November 2006

How engineers tamed the internet's Tower of Babel (The Guardian)

At the IGF last month, a bespectacled Swede made a small, barely noticed announcement that nevertheless represented a pivotal moment in the history of the internet. "Regarding the technical implementation for the world wide web, we are done," Patrik Fältström told the Internet Governance Forum. By "we are done", he meant that following a decade of hard work by a global consortium of engineers and linguists, they had finally decided on a document that will enable all the world's languages to be fully represented on the internet. People will be able to type in addresses in their own language, search in their own language and move around the internet in their own language.

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