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August 09, 2005

Cyworld Takes Hold of South Korea

"There's more to online social networks than matchmaking, and South Korea's Cyworld is showing the way.

"The online service blends homepage building and social networking with a host of other online activities, including Sims-like role-playing."

Jonny Evans. Koreans Find Secret Cybersauce. Wired News. Aug. 8, 2005.

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July 21, 2005

Pirates Digitize New Harry Potter Book

"The latest Harry Potter tome was not released as an ebook because of fears over piracy - a plan as cunning as any of Baldrick's.

"Unfortunately some committed fans/pesky pirates immediately scanned the book on its release last weekend and used optical recognition software to digitise the text. Copies were then proof-read, not very well from the bits we've seen, before being released.

John Oates. Harry Potter Hit by Pesky Pirates. The Register. July 20, 2005.

See also:
TeleRead. Illegal But Beautifully Read: Net.radio Performance of New Harry Potter Book. July 17, 2005.

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July 20, 2005

Family Reunion Through Cable for Two Koreas

"Sixty years after telephone lines between South and North Korea were cut, communications officials from the world's most wired country and one of the least joined fibre-optic cables at the border on Monday.

"The cable linking Seoul and Pyongyang will be used next month for the first video reunions of families torn apart by the 1950-53 Korean War."

Reuters. Two Koreas Get Wired for Video Family Reunions. July 18, 2005.

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July 19, 2005

UN Working Group Outlines Internet's Future

"A UN group charged with deciding how the net should be run has failed to reach a decision.

"The group's report (.pdf) suggests four possible futures for net governance that range from no change to complete overhaul.

"The proposals will go forward to a key UN net and society conference due to take place in November."

BBC News. UN at Odds Over Internet's Future. July 18, 2005.

See also:
Château de Bossey. Report of the Working Group on Internet Governance. (.pdf) June 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story the battle over Internet governance.

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July 16, 2005

EU Opens the Spectrum for Wireless

"This week, the European Commission (EC) in Brussels gave the okay for enabling use of 5GHz spectrum (specifically, the bands between 5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz) for license-free use with wireless networks (what the EC calls RLANs, or radio LANs). The move will allow broadband Internet usage in the 25 member states of the European Union (EU) to "become faster and more widespread," according to a statement."

"Previously, the EC only allowed use of 2.5GHz spectrum, to prevent potential interference with other services using 5GHz, such as radar equipment. However, as more and more RLAN equipment is sold in the EU, the EC saw the 2.5GHz band becoming more congested. It says the new decision will ensure sufficient spectrum for new equipment for all member states."

Eric Griffith. Europe Opens Spectrum for Wireless Broadband . Internetnews. July 15, 2005.

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July 15, 2005

Newspapers Face Cost Challenges

"Newspaper publishers face economic problems common to many information industries: the fixed costs of creation are large, and the incremental costs of serving additional users are small. This leads to competition that results in prices so low they do not cover overall costs.

"Price deflation leads to firms collapsing and consolidating. Market power stabilizes or raises prices. And then, another wave of entry occurs, often through new technology, and a new cycle begins.

"In the process, the information industry is becoming among the most unstable of business sectors."

Eli Noam. Bad News for News. FT.com. July 14, 2005.

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Sony Slices Into iPod's Market in Japan

"Don't call it a comeback yet, but Sony Corp. has a new lineup of digital music players that are slicing into the popularity of Apple Computer's iPod device in Japan.

"While Apple remains the top seller of hard drive players in Japan, there has been a decisive momentum swing in the Japanese market, with Sony securing the top position for memory-type players in both May and June, knocking Apple and its iPod shuffle device into second place."

Nathan Layne. Sony Takes Bite Out Of Apple's iPod in Japan. Reuters. July 14, 2005.

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July 14, 2005

EU Raids Intel

"U.S. computer chip maker Intel Corp., computer makers and distributors were raided by European Commission and local authorities on Tuesday as part of an investigation into possible antitrust violations, a spokesman for the European Union executive said.

"The Commission's escalation came as Intel's smaller rival, Advanced Micro Devices, was trying to ratchet up pressure on the chip maker, which has 90 percent of world sales of microprocessors for personal computers that run Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Reuters. EU Officials Raid U.S. Chipmaker Intel, Others. July 12, 2005.

See also:
Andy Reinhardt. The EU's Assault on Intel. BusinessWeek Online. July 14, 2005.

Spencer Ante. AMD Hauls Intel Back to Court. BusinessWeek Online. June 28, 2005.

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Group Establishes Public Libraries in China

"A group of Chinese-Americans is financing public libraries in towns and villages in China.

"The effort has led to the creation of more than 60 libraries, and is intended to bridge the gap between rich and poor in the world's most populous nation."

Mike O'Sullivan. Chinese-Americans Establish Libraries in China. VOA News. July 13, 2005.

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July 12, 2005

The Battle Over Internet Governance

"An international political spat is brewing over whether the United Nations will seize control of the heart of the Internet.

"U.N. bureaucrats and telecommunications ministers from many less-developed nations claim the U.S. government has undue influence over how things run online. Now they want to be the ones in charge."

Declan McCullagh. Will the U.N. Run the Internet?. News.com. July 11, 2005.

Declan McCullagh. United Nations Ponders Net's Future. News.com. March 26, 2004.

See also:
Working Group on Internet Governance. Internet Goverance Questionaire-Response. (.pdf) June 1, 2005.

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July 09, 2005

Cell Phone Users Overwhelm Networks

"Reports that wireless networks became clogged Thursday morning during the horrific bomb attacks in London came as no surprise to people in the United States.

"As Londoners discovered on Thursday, an emergency puts enormous strain on wireless infrastructure.

"The question for governments and wireless companies around the world is: What can be done about keeping these networks up and running during an emergency?"

Michael Grebb. Crises Strain Cell-Phone Networks. Wired News. July 7, 2005.

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July 08, 2005

Microsoft, France Telecom Partner for Wireless

"Microsoft Corp. and France Telecom said on Wednesday the first product from their multimedia partnership was likely to be ready within a year and that they were confident of success in the venture.

"The world's largest software maker and France Telecom held a joint news conference in Paris to highlight that the partnership would initially focus on mobile phones using wireless technology and on bringing together voice, video and data over networks."

Reuters. Microsoft, France Tel Upbeat on Partnership Hopes. July 7, 2005.

See also:
Associated Press. France Telecom, Microsoft in Net Phone Deal. MSNBC News. July 7, 2005.

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July 05, 2005

Motorola Readies Linux Based Mobile Phone

"Motorola announced a new step this week in its plan to remake most of its mobile phone line with Linux, expanding use of the open-source operating system to midrange phones.

"The E895 is a flip-phone design that uses a version of Linux from MontaVista Software, said Cheryln Chin, vice president for Motorola mobile phone marketing. Motorola expects to begin shipping it in Asia in the fourth quarter of the year and in other parts of the globe after that.

"Motorola began selling Linux-powered mobile phones in 2003 but, until now, has used the OS only in high-end phones. Motorola expects to change that as software makers slim down Linux and hardware makers bulk up cell phone computing power, Chin said."

Stephen Shankland. Linux Moves Into Midrange Motorola Phones. News.com. July 1, 2005.

See also:
Linux News. Motorola Readies Tri-band Linux/Java Phone. June 27, 2005.

Stephen Shankland and Ben Charny. Linux to Power Most Motorola Phones. News.com. Feb. 23, 2003.

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July 02, 2005

Vodafone Connects to MSN Messenger

"Vodafone Group and Microsoft have partnered to connect Vodafone's mobile phone customers with Microsoft's instant messaging service, the companies announced Thursday.

"The service will bring together more than 165 million customers of Microsoft's MSN Messenger and nearly 155 million Vodafone customers who will be able to see each other online and exchange instant messages from their PCs to mobile phones and vice versa. It is slated to go live in several European markets before the end of the year."

John Blau. Vodafone to Link Mobile Phones to MSN Messenger. InfoWorld. June 30, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. Vodafone, MSN Plan PC-to-Mobile Messaging Service. June 30, 2005.

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July 01, 2005

Feds Lead Global Crackdown on Piracy

"The government announced Thursday an 11-nation crackdown on Internet piracy organizations responsible for stealing copies of the latest 'Star Wars' film and other movies, games and software programs worth at least $50 million.

"FBI agents and investigators in the other nations conducted 90 searches, starting Wednesday, arresting four people, seizing hundreds of computers and shutting down at least eight major online distribution servers for pirated works.

"Called Operation Site Down, the crackdown involved undercover FBI operations run out of Chicago, San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C., and included help from authorities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom."

Mark Sherman. Feds Target Internet Piracy Organizations. San Jose Mercury News. June 30, 2005.

See also:
Federal Bureau of Investigation. Justice Department Announces International Internet Piracy Sweep. (Press Release.) June 30, 2005.

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June 30, 2005

Motorola Buys Sendo's Patents

"Motorola is buying U.K.-based competitor Sendo's patents and 200-employee research division in an effort to strengthen its cell phone sales in Europe and elsewhere.

"The deal, announced Wednesday, will add 50 existing Sendo patents, plus 40 that are pending, to Motorola's intellectual property portfolio. The researchers will be reassigned to a Motorola division 'while preserving the team's focus,' the company said in a statement.

"Because of 5-year-old Sendo's European roots, Motorola believes the acquisition will improve sales of Motorola handsets on the Continent, where the market is dominated by No. 1 handset maker Nokia, Motorola Mobile Devices President Ron Garriques said."

Ben Charny. Motorola Buys Sendo's Brains. News.com. June 29, 2005.

See also:
Mobile Pipeline Staff. Motorola Buys Phone-Related Assets From Sendo . Mobile Pipeline. June 29, 2005.

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Nextel Trials Non-WiMax Broadband

"While WiMAX wireless broadband technology edges toward widespread availability, Nextel said Wednesday that it will trial wireless broadband in the Washington, D.C. area that uses UMTS TDD technology.

"The technology, championed by IPWireless, also is being deployed throughout the Czech Republic by T-Mobile and in France by Orange. Nextel previously had trialed another competing wireless broadband technology, Flarion's FLASH-OFDM, in North Carolina. Both technologies that Nextel has trialed are mobile while even pre-standard mobile WiMAX won't be available for, at the very least, a year."

Mobile Pipeline Staff. Nextel To Launch Non-WiMAX Wireless Broadband Trials. Mobile Pipeline. June 29, 2005.

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June 23, 2005

India Portal Launches New Services to Extend Reach

"India's top portal has its eyes on a much larger audience--at home and around the world.

"Rediff.com, based in Mumbai, is launching three new services aimed at expanding its local base of 35 million registered users and boosting its international audience.

"The company, which is listed on the Nasdaq exchange, is expanding its offerings to include voice over instant messenger geared for low bandwidth connections, a social networking site, and a news site with computer and human-generated listings."

Elinor Mills. India Portal Rediff.com Branches Out. News.com. June 22, 2005.

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June 22, 2005

Microsoft to Release PeaBody

"A low-cost smart phone from Microsoft code-named Peabody is nearing completion and will run on the recently released Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, an executive from the software giant said Tuesday.

"When the phone platform was first discussed in February, Microsoft planned to aim it at emerging markets such as India and China.

"But the company has since decided to offer it in all parts of the world, since 'everyone is interested in low costs,' said Ya-Qin Zhang, corporate vice president at Microsoft's mobile and embedded devices division."

Dan Nystedt. Microsoft's Peabody Smart Phone Nearing Completion. InfoWorld. June 21, 2005.

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Telemarketers Reach Out to Cell Phones

"After years of impunity, the United States' 190 million mobile telephone subscribers are now more likely than ever to encounter telemarketers - and they are finding there is not a lot they can do to stop this plague of unwanted calls.

"There was a rash of complaints to federal regulators 18 months ago when telemarketers were confused by new rules allowing people to transfer their home telephone numbers to cell phones, which then started ringing with telemarketing calls.

"Just about the only recourse a consumer has is to subscribe to the National Do Not Call Registry."

Ben Charny. The Curse of Telemarketing Plagues Mobiles. SiliconValley.com June 22, 2005.

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June 20, 2005

Use Your Cellphone to Pay

"Already a device of multiple disguises, from camera to music player and mini-TV, the cell phone's next trick may be the disappearing wallet."

"This is already a reality in Japan, where NTT DoCoMo Inc. says 3 million cell phone subscribers use its Mobile Wallet service to buy things at 20,000 stores and vending machines."

"Similar services may be on the way in the United States and Europe. MasterCard International Inc. has been testing phone-based versions of its PayPass contactless payment technology since 2003, and may conduct a significant market trial next year."

Bruce Meyerson. Cell Phones Now Playing Role of Wallet. Yahoo! News. June 18, 2005

See also:
Michael Sciannamea. It’s A Cellphone! It’s A Wallet! It’s Both!. The Wireless Weblog. June 18, 2005.

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June 18, 2005

Labels Introduce Copy-Protected Music in U.S.

"The record labels are in pursuit of a new class of music pirates -- not the millions who download bootlegged songs over the Internet but those who copy music CDs for their friends.

"The music industry considers the seemingly innocuous act of duplicating a music CD for someone else 'casual piracy,' a practice that surpasses Internet file-sharing as the single largest source of unauthorized music distribution. After fits and starts, the industry's largest players are taking measures to place curbs on copying."

Dawn C. Chmielewski. Music Industry Eyes 'Casual Piracy'. SiliconValley.com. June 15, 2005.

See also:
Mercury News Research. How the Protections Work. San Jose Mercury News. June 15, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on copy-protected CDs.

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June 17, 2005

Will ISPs Be Required to Maintain Data Logs?

"The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.

"Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs--that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place.

"No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept."

Declan McCullagh. Your ISP as Net Watchdog. News.com. June 16, 2005.

Related:
Sylvia Carr. Europe to Push Ahead with Digital Snooping Law. Silicon.com. June 9, 2005.

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Microsoft Helps China Censor Bloggers

"Microsoft is aiding China’s web censors in what could be a lesson for other multinationals.

"Just two and a half weeks after Microsoft launched its new China-based web portal, the company acknowledged on Tuesday that it is censoring blogs posted there to avoid politically sensitive words like 'freedom,' 'democracy,' and 'human rights.'

"If the blogs contain such words in the subject line, the poster will get a message saying 'prohibited language, please delete.' The portal was launched on May 26 and already has hosted about 5 million blogs, according to Microsoft."

The situation, which has been widely reported by The Associated Press, Reuters, and other news organizations, exemplifies the dilemma that multinationals face: how to do business with partners whose norms are different from one’s own in such areas as free speech.

Red Herring. MSN Plays by China’s Rules. June 15, 2005.

See also:
Reporters Without Borders. Microsoft Censors its Blog Tool. June 14, 2005.

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June 16, 2005

Samsung Combines Bluetooth and Voice Recognition

"Samsung Electronics is marrying Bluetooth wireless with voice recognition technology in a new cell phone for the European market, it said Wednesday.

"The main feature of the SGH-E620 will be the ability to place calls by saying the receiver's name into a Bluetooth headset. Voice recognition software in the phone will match this with entries in the user's phone book and proceed to place the call.

"Samsung is launching the phone in Italy, France, Germany, and Russia in June and will expand sales based on market demand."

Martyn Williams. Samsung Handset Couples Bluetooth, Voice Recognition. InfoWorld. June 15, 2005

See also:
Business Wire. Samsung Unveils Bluetooth Voice Recognition Phone. (Press Release.) June 15, 2005.

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June 13, 2005

European Labels Push for Copyright Extension

"European recording companies are pushing to extend terms of copyright to nearly 100 years to be more in line with U.S. law.

"The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, which represents European music labels, is calling on the European Commission to bring the issue to EU countries, which will consider the matter sometime next year, according to IFPI spokeswoman Francine Cunningham.

"Currently in the EU, there are separate copyright terms for composers and performers. Composers are awarded copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years. Performers hold a copyright for 50 years from the first recording. It's the 50-year term the IFPI wants to extend."

Katie Dean. Keeping Up With Uncle Sam. Wired News. June 10, 2005.

Editor's note See also SNTReport.com's prior story on plans for copyright extension.

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June 10, 2005

Web Services Connect Mobile Users, Online Magazines

"Two companies are combining online-only glossy magazines with mobile short message texting services to link mobile handset users to Internet publications even when they are not online.

"The companies -- Norwegian publisher Fast Forward Media Group and Belgian technology company Allisblue -- presented their new ways of connecting consumers to publications on Thursday at a conference of European publishers.

Reuters. New Services Link Mobile Users to Online Magazines. June 9, 2005.

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June 06, 2005

U.S. Includes Canada on 'Watch List'

"The United States recently released the Special 301 Report (.pdf) on the state of global intellectual property protections. This report places countries deemed to have insufficient protections on a 'watch list.' The list includes Canada.

"This report deems Canada's intellectual property laws insufficient, along with those of 50 other countries, such as the European Union and dozens of nations in South America, Eastern Europe and Asia."

David Canton. Canada on U.S. Watch List. London Free Press. June 4, 2005.

See also:
United States Trade Representative. 2005 Special 301 Report. (.pdf) April 29, 2005.

United States Trade Representative. Watch List (.pdf) April 29, 2005.

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May 26, 2005

Senators Address International IP Piracy

"U.S. senators urged the Bush administration on Wednesday to increase pressure on Russia and China to respect copyright law, warning that those nations have become havens for movie and software piracy.

"Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who chairs the Senate copyright subcommittee, made one of the most ominous statements to date about what might happen if unfettered piracy continues.

"James Mendenhall, the acting general counsel for the U.S. Trade Representative, said his colleagues are hosting a delegation from China this week to talk in part about copyright law."

Declan McCullagh. Senators Urge International Copyright Crackdown. News.com. May 25, 2005.

See also:
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Testimony of James Mendenhall. May 25, 2005.

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May 25, 2005

FTC Launches International Campaign Against Zombies

"Today, the Federal Trade Commission launched 'Operation Spam Zombies,' a campaign to educate Internet service providers about hijacked 'zombie' computers.

"A zombie is a computer that has had software secretly installed on it which allows a spammer to send large amounts of spam and mask their identity, making it harder for law enforcement officers to find them.

"The FTC, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security are collaborating with officials from 25 other countries to educate Internet service providers about measures they can take to stem the flow of spam sent across their networks from zombie computers.

Corey McKenna. FTC Targets Zombies Sending Spam. Government Technology. May 24, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. FTC Asks for Help Against Spam 'Zombies'. CNN.com. May 24, 2005.

Federal Trade Commission. FTC, Partners Launch Campaign Against Spam “Zombies”. (Press Release.) May 24, 2005.

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May 21, 2005

Ask Jeeves Acquires Excite Europe

"Search engine Ask Jeeves announced Friday it has purchased Excite Italia, the operator of Excite Europe, from Tiscali.

"The company, which agreed to be acquired by Barry Dillers's IAC/InterActivCorp back in March for 2006 $1.85 billion in stock, says the acquisition of Excite Europe will extend Ask Jeeves' ownership of the Excite brand beyond the United States."

Tim Gray. Jeeves Heads to Europe. InternetNews.com. May 20, 2005.

See also:
Ask Jeeves. Ask Jeeves Acquires Excite Europe. May 20, 2005.

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May 20, 2005

VeriSign to Increase Servers, Seek New Markets

"VeriSign plans to significantly increase the number of DNS servers it operates, a move that it says will make a key part of the Internet's infrastructure more resilient to cyberattacks.

"And VeriSign is eying more markets. CEO Stratton Sclavos announced in a presentation Thursday that VeriSign wants to provide infrastructure products to manage the increasing amount of Really Simple Syndication and Atom traffic generated by blogs and other sites on the Web."

Joris Evers. VeriSign to Put More Backbone Into the Net. News.com. May 19, 2005.

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May 17, 2005

Digital Divide Between U.S. & Others Broadens

"In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. Today, most U.S. homes can access only 'basic' broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access.

"The lag is arguably the result of the Bush administration's failure to make a priority of developing these networks. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized state without an explicit national policy for promoting broadband.

"It did not have to be this way."

Thomas Bleha. Down to the Wire. Foreign Affairs. May/June 2005.

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Vonage to Market in Asia

"Internet phone provider Vonage has all but tapped Singapore to start its expansion into Asia later this year.

"The primary attraction? Singapore's utility regulators are 'very friendly' to Net phone operators, Vonage Chief Financial Officer John Rego said during a recent interview. So too are public utility officials in Japan and Korea, which are also on Vonage's radar screen, Rego added.

"As the New Jersey-based company's experience shows, U.S. Internet phone operators expanding beyond the hypercompetitive U.S. market are finding a world divided between nations that very much welcome foreign Net phone operators and those that don't."

Ben Charny. VoIP Finds Foreign Friends and Adversaries. News.com. May 16, 2005.

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May 16, 2005

Google Library Project May Expand to Europe

"Mom and pop investors got a rare opportunity to question Google Inc. 's top executives Thursday, but most chose generally upbeat topics of inquiry at the search engine's first shareholder meeting.

"Google's executives used the opportunity to address the company's potential for growth abroad, its competition against Yahoo and Microsoft and its efforts to keep employees motivated.

"Many of Thursday's questions were routine. But a few elicited some nuggets of new information."

Verne Kopytoff. Google Shareholders Meet for First Time. SFGate.com. May 13, 2005.

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May 13, 2005

Google to Increase Global Presence

"Google Inc.'s top executives said yesterday that they are focused on aggressively increasing the search engine's business abroad, particularly in Europe, Japan, and China, where the number of new Internet users is growing faster than in the United States.

"Speaking at Google's first annual meeting since going public, chief executive Eric E. Schmidt told shareholders he anticipated that the company, which gets almost all of its revenue from advertising sales, would see a shift that would reflect its increasing global presence. The company's latest financial results show that it generates slightly less than two-thirds of its revenue domestically."

David A. Vise. Google to Focus on Expanding Its Business Overseas. WashingtonPost.com. May 13, 2005.

See also:
Doug Young. Google Steps Up Fight for the China Market. Reuters. May 11, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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May 12, 2005

Google Mini Launches Across Europe

Google on Wednesday launched its entry-level search appliance, the Google Mini, into the European market. The Google Mini is designed to enable small businesses to let employees and Web site visitors search up to 100,000 documents, including blog and wiki entries."

Matt Loney. Google Mini Debuts in Europe. News.com. May 10, 2005.

See also:
John G. Spooner. Google Bulks up Mini Search Appliance. News.com. April 6, 2005.

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May 05, 2005

Webby Awards are Announced

"Google, the BBC and a blog entitled Boing Boing are among the websites honoured at this year's online Oscars.

"The winners of the 9th annual Webby Awards have been chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences and will be recognised at a special ceremony in New York on June 6.

"The awards cover more than 60 categories - from popular favorites like community, fashion, film, and politics to new categories making their debut this year, such as blog, beauty, real estate, retail, and social networking."

Rachel Sharp. Online Oscars Revealed. 999 Today. May 4, 2005.

See also:
Stefan Lovgren. Webby Awards Founder on Internet "Oscars," Web's Future. National Geographic News. May 4, 2005.

BBC News. BBC Triumphs in Online Oscars. May 3, 2005.

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Congressman Criticizes EU's RFID Passports

"A key U.S. congressman who led post-Sept. 11 passport reforms told European diplomats last week that there was no need for European countries to put RFID chips in their passports and that Congress never required them to do so.

"Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, expressed dismay that EU countries were planning to employ a technology that was still unproven for use in travel documents that would add costs and delays to rolling out new, more secure passports."

Kim Zetter. Lawmaker Rips RFID Passport Plans. Wired News. May 4, 2005.

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April 30, 2005

France Gains EU Support Against Google

"France's decision to create an online repository of European literature got critical backing from five other European nations this week when the heads of Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain joined French President Jacques Chirac in asking for support from the European Union.

"European media reported that a letter signed by the leaders asks EU President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to coordinate the effort and, more importantly, cut a check to fund it. The letter comes after the national libraries of 19 European nations agreed to support the plan as well."

Robert MacMillan. Google Unites Europe. WashingtonPost.com. April 29, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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April 22, 2005

Coldplay Goes Cellular

"Fans of British rock band Coldplay take delight in the group's lush, full sound and the keening vocals of front man Chris Martin. Fans of mobile smart phones, though, take great pleasure in personalizing their mini-machines.

"This week, the two met, thanks to an exclusive deal between the band and Cingular Wireless. Even though it may be hard for music fans of a certain vintage to believe that rich-sounding music can be channeled through the tiny, tinny speaker of a cell phone, the $209 million market -- which has nearly doubled since last year -- suggests that the mobile masses have few qualms with the sound quality."

Eric Hellweg. Coldplay Calling. TechnologyReview.com. April 15, 2005.

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Mobile Phone Providers Stalk iPod

"Mobile phones that rock, jam, thunder, and swing are on the way. Wireless operators around the globe are working with music studios, phone makers, and artists such as Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs in a sweeping effort to turn the mobile phone into a go-anywhere digital jukebox.

"Foreign carriers such as Vodafone and SK Telecom are leading the way, and U.S. wireless players are following fast. Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and Cingular Wireless are expected to unveil services for downloading music directly to wireless phones later this year.

"With innovative services and snazzier phones, the telecom players figure they can swipe a chunk of the digital music market that Apple Computer Inc. cracked open with its iconic iPod."

Roger O. Crockett, et al. iPod Killers? Business Week Online. April 25, 2005.

See also:
Business Week Online. P. Diddy Sees Bling in the Ring. April 25, 2005.

Tom Lowry. Ringtones: Music To Music Moguls' Ears. Business Week Online. April 25, 2005.

Moco.News. Death Of iPod — My Two Cents. April 19, 2005.

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April 19, 2005

VoIP Companies Crisscross Boundaries

"The 800-pound gorillas of VoIP--Skype Technologies and Vonage Holdings--have so far been addressing different markets, but each firm is finally beginning to move into the other's space.

"Vonage has primarily targeted North American public switched telephone networks (PSTN) but its paid service has been creeping into international markets. Skype, in the meantime, which is primarily used for international calling, has been making big inroads into the U.S. market."

W. David Gardner. Vonage And Skype Turn Up The Heat--On Each Other. Advanced IP Pipeline. April 18, 2005.

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April 16, 2005

Skype Enhances VoIP Services

"Skype has enhanced its popular voice-over-IP application with today's official public beta launch of two new paid-for features: SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail.

"Both have been available in limited tests but are now ready for widespread use for the Windows, Linux, Pocket PC and Mac OS X versions of the VoIP software, which has just reached the 100 million download mark and boasts 35 million registered users."

Sylvia Carr. Skype Spruced Up with Paid-for Services. Silicon.com. April 15, 2005.

See also:
Reuters. Skype Adds New Services for Internet Phoning. April 15, 2005.

Associated Press. Skype Nears 100M Downloads for Software. Forbes.com. April 15, 2005.

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April 15, 2005

Stay in School

"Aomori University has started using mobile phones in what it calls a system to thwart attendance record cheats.

"Students attending classes must use a mobile phone to e-mail a college administrators's site a number their teacher will show them as the lesson begins.

"Administrators then randomly select five to 10 students who have claimed attendance and send them a reply."

Mainichi Daily News. College Uses Mobile Phones to Monitor Attendance. April 13, 2005.

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Google to Go Local in UK

"Rumours that Google UK is planning to take on local area information suppliers such as the Yellow Pages at their own game were confirmed as fact this week.

"Head of Google Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Holger Meyer, went on-the-record and stated that the UK was to receive a new 'local' button to its search engine 'later in the year.'"

Peter Hayes. Google.co.uk Goes Local. The Register. April 12, 2005.

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April 08, 2005

Microsoft Launches Blogging, Messenger Services

"Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled new versions of its instant messaging and blogging services with beefed-up community, video, search and advertising features.

"In partnership with Logitech, MSN Messenger now offers full-screen videoconferencing capabilities with new technology that promises to establish connections between two people more easily, including across firewalls.

"MSN Messenger users can now share in the IM window search results from Microsoft's proprietary search technology."

Evan Hansen. MSN Mixes Advertisers with Blogs. News.com. April 7, 2005.

See also:
Matt Hicks. MSN Moves Blog Service Out of Beta. eWeek. April 7, 2005.

Allison Linn. Microsoft Makes Big Advertising Push. HeraldNet. April 7, 2005.

Kim Peterson. MSN Spreads Its Message. Seattle Times. April 7, 2005.

Loren Baker. MSN Spaces and Messenger Open Up to Advertisers. SearchEngineJournal. April 7, 2005.

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Yahoo Search Announces Support for Wikipedia

"Yahoo plans to add functionality to Yahoo Search that will give users shortcuts to content from Wikipedia, the community-based encyclopedia.

"The links to Wikipedia content will be displayed above search results, said Yahoo and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit group that is parent to Wikipedia, on Thursday. The feature will be added sometime during the next several weeks in the United States and in some European, Asian and Latin American markets, Yahoo said."

Dinesh C. Sharma. Yahoo to Support Wikipedia. News.com. April 7, 2005.

See also:
Wikimedia Foundation. Wikimedia Foundation Announces Corporate Support of Wikipedia from Yahoo! Search. Yahoo News. April 7, 2005.

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Ask Jeeves launches in Spain

"Web search provider Ask Jeeves is testing a Spanish version of its search site.

"The Spanish service, dubbed Ask Jeeves Espana, is currently available in test form, with a full-fledged launch expected this summer, the company said Tuesday."

CNET News.com Staff. Ask Jeeves Heads to Spain. News.com. April 5, 2005.

See also:
Ask Jeeves Inc. Ask Jeeves, Inc. Launches Ask Jeeves Espana. Yahoo! News. April 5, 2005.

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April 07, 2005

U.S. Blogger Breaches Canadian Publication Ban

"Canada's long-standing practice of barring news organizations from disclosing what's happening in certain court proceedings is being tested by Internet bloggers.

"A Canadian commission that's investigating charges of high-level wrongdoing in the nation's Liberal Party has ordered news organizations not to reveal details from the proceedings, which are open to the public.

"But Ed Morrissey, a conservative Web logger in Minneapolis, has been gleefully violating the ban by posting detailed reports of the verboten 'Adscam' testimony.

"Public revelation of Adscam, which involves allegations of corruption and illegal campaign contributions, could end the Liberal Party's precarious grasp on power and force new elections this summer."

Declan McCullagh. U.S. Blogger Thwarts Canadian Gag Order. News.com. April 5, 2005.

See also:
Stephanie Rubec. AdScam Leak on Web. Toronto Sun. April 4, 2005.

Update: Clifford Krauss. A Blog Written From Minneapolis Rattles Canada's Liberal Party. The New York Times. April 7, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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April 06, 2005

Blogging Is a Tool of Expression Abroad

"Weblogs started off as a personal outpouring, a kind of digital diary. If you work on the basis that a problem shared is a problem halved, you can share with millions and - who knows? Now blogs feature everything from cant on cars, opinions on opera, to rants from the politically righteous East and West.

"But not everyone is free to say what they think."

David Reid. Blogging from East to West. BBC News. April 4, 2005.

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March 31, 2005

Brazil Choses Linux Over Microsoft

"Since taking office two years ago, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has turned Brazil into a tropical outpost of the free software movement.

"Looking to save millions of dollars in royalties and licensing fees, Mr. da Silva has instructed government ministries and state-run companies to gradually switch from costly operating systems made by Microsoft and others to free operating systems, like Linux.

"On Mr. da Silva's watch, Brazil has also become the first country to require any company or research institute that receives government financing to develop software to license it as open-source, meaning the underlying software code must be free to all."

Todd Benson. Brazil: Free Software's Biggest and Best Friend. News.com. March 29, 2005.

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March 28, 2005

2005 Technology Trends

"Wouldn't it be great to have a good handle on what will happen this year to make sure you could plan around it? asks Mitchell Levy, CEO and executive editor of Happy About, a US publisher of books for corporations.

"In his latest book, Knowing What to Expect in 2005: Predictions from Over 50 Executives, Levy offers ten trends that he says software vendors need to factor into their business plans for the year ahead."

NevOn. Ten Trends to Watch. March 25, 2005.

See also:
Mitchell Levy. Ten Trends for 2005. Sandhill.com. March 21, 2005.

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March 14, 2005

Forrester Surveys Potential VoIP Users

"During the past year, multiple system operators like Cablevision Systems, specialty Net phone operators like Vonage and traditional telecom providers like AT&T; and Verizon Communications have introduced a new, cheaper generation of consumer voice services based on Internet Protocol.

"Have consumers noticed? To find out, Forrester surveyed 1,132 online U.S. households to gauge their awareness and interest in services based on voice over IP technology."

Maribel D. Lopez. Commentary: Net Calls? Not So Fast. News.com. March 11, 2005.

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March 03, 2005

Skype = Seed of Redmond?

"Bill Gates has often outlined a vision of Microsoft becoming an 'information utility,' the nerve center of a Microsoftian infrastructure network where people subscribe to computing power (think 'grid') the way they subscriibe to electric power, cable television, or--you guessed it--telephone service. Skype's startling vision of a future telephone-over-Internet network is probably closer to creating the infrastructure of utility computing than even Bill Gates himself is prepared to admit.

"Skype is an orchestrated attempt to utterly replace a the global telephone network, driven by a small army of cash-armed tech warriors who are as success-driven and shrewd as Gates himself was as an ugly, gawky teenager in the 1970s. If I were Microsoft, or SBC, or Nextel, I'd be watching Skype very closely right now."

Tad Wallingford. Skype Looks More and More Like a Baby Microsoft. O'Reilly Developer Weblogs. Feb. 16, 2005.

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February 28, 2005

World Bank Report: Digital Divide Closing Fast

"The 'digital divide' between rich and poor nations is narrowing fast, according to a World Bank report.

"'People in the developing world are getting more access at an incredible rate - far faster than... in the past,' said the report.

"But a spokesman for the UN's World Summit on the Information Society said the digital divide remained very real."

No author. Global Digital Divide 'Narrowing'. BBC News. Feb. 25, 2005.

See also:
Thomas Atkins. 'Digital Divide' Narrowing Fast, World Bank Says. Reuters. Feb. 24, 2005.

Global Information and Communication Technologies Department. World Bank Highlights Role of Private and Public Sectors in Closing Digital Divide. (.pdf) (Press Release.) Feb. 28, 2005.

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February 25, 2005

Russian Police Investigate MP3 Site

"A Russian digital-music site offering high-quality song downloads for just pennies apiece is the target of a criminal copyright investigation by the local police, recording industry groups said Tuesday.

"AllofMP3.com has been operating for several years, asking consumers to pay just 2 cents per megabyte of downloads--usually between 4 cents and 10 cents per song. Alongside the catalogue available at traditional stores like Apple Computer's iTunes, the site offered access to songs from the Beatles and other groups that haven't yet authorized digital distribution.

"The Russian site claimed it had licenses to do so from a local clearing house, but record labels have maintained that the licenses weren't valid. After long-standing complaints, the Moscow City Police Computer Crimes division completed an investigation earlier this month and recommended that prosecutors charge the site's operators with criminal copyright infringement."

John Borland. MP3s for Pennies? Russian Cops Say No. News.com. Feb. 22, 2005.

See also:
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Recording industry Welcomes Police Investigation of Allofmp3.com. (Press Release.) Feb. 22, 2005.

John Leyden. Russian Police Probe Cheap Downloads Site. The Register. Feb. 22, 2005.

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February 18, 2005

Questel-Orbit Introduces New International Patent Database

"Questel-Orbit recently announced the release of FamPat, the family-based version of its international patent database PlusPat. An interesting feature of FamPat is that it gives searchers a choice of how broad a patent family they may display. Subject-searchable elements include:

"First, some background. Like PlusPat, FamPat has probably the broadest country and time coverage of any subject-searchable patent database. It covers 75 patenting authorities, and some countries go back to the early 20th century (or even earlier: Germany goes back to 1877). The very early records only have numeric information. However, this includes ECLA classes in some cases, so they can be retrieved in subject searches."

  • title and abstract text and (for some French patents) indexing terms
  • ECLA (European Patent Office) classifications, as applied by the EPO, including the ICO (in computer only) classes that cover non-inventive and other aspects of the patent
  • U.S. patent classes as applied by the USPTO
  • International Patent Classes as applied by most countries’ patent offices

Nancy Lambert. Announcing FamPat, A New International Patent Database from Questel-Orbit. Information Today. Feb. 14, 2005.

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February 17, 2005

Cell Phone Industry Eyes Entertainment Downloads

"With a covetous eye on the success of portable music players, mobile phone makers are going after would-be iPod buyers by building high-quality players into their handsets.

"Sony Ericsson announced Monday it would soon market music-player mobiles under its parent's Walkman brand, drawing on the music catalogue of a sister company, Sony BMG, the world's No. 2 record company.

"And Nokia Corp., the world's leading phone maker, announced an alliance with Microsoft Corp. to allow mobile subscribers to load music from a PC onto their phones - much the way that a digital music player works."

Laurence Frost. Mobile Phone Industry Eyes Music Downloads. WashingtonPost.com. Feb. 14, 2005.

See also:
Chris Marlowe. Ring-a-Ding Ding for Mobile Music. Reuters. Feb. 15, 2005.

Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson to Offer Exciting Mobile Music Solution in Collaboration with Sony Group Companies. (Press Release.) Feb. 14, 2005.

Nokia. Microsoft and Nokia Collaborate to Help Ensure Consumers Can Enjoy Digital Music Anywhere. (Press Release.) Feb. 14, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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MasterCard Fights Fraud With Cell Phones

"If you've ever had a credit card purchase mysteriously rejected only to discover later that the bank thought you were a fraudulent user, you may appreciate an effort by MasterCard International to use SMS (short message service) to streamline the process of clearing up card-usage questions.

"MasterCard has joined with mBlox, a service provider of mobile messaging infrastructure, to add an SMS option to its Aristion fraud detection system and is making Aristion Communicator available to banks beginning Wednesday.

"MasterCard, in Purchase, New York, and mBlox, with primary locations in both London and San Francisco, are first rolling out Aristion Communicator in Europe due to the high use of mobile phones across the continent and in the U.K. One bank in the U.K. and another in Italy have expressed an interest in using the service, Gerber says, declining to name any customers."

Laura Rohde. MasterCard Uses Cell Phones to Fight Fraud. PC World. Feb. 9, 2005.

See also:
Jo Best. MasterCard Turns to Text to Foil Fraudsters. Silicon.com. Feb. 10, 2005.

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China Cracks Down on Illegal Net Cafes

"Chinese authorities closed 12,575 net cafes in the closing months of 2004, the country's government said.

"According to the official news agency most of the net cafes were closed down because they were operating illegally.

"Chinese net cafes operate under a set of strict guidelines and many of those most recently closed broke rules that limit how close they can be to schools."

No author. China Net Cafe Culture Crackdown. BBC News. Feb. 14, 2005.

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February 14, 2005

Yahoo Rebrands Its Music Service

"Yahoo has renamed its online music service Yahoo Music.

"The service had been operating under the brand name Launch, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2001. But now, Yahoo wants to showcase all its music products and services under a single brand, the company said. The service already has begun operating with a new logo.

Yahoo Music offers streaming audio, music videos, Internet radio and news covering various genres of music."

Dinesh C. Sharma. Yahoo Music--the Service Formerly Known as Launch. News.com. Feb. 11, 2005.

See also:
Yahoo! Inc. Yahoo! to Rebrand LAUNCH, the Internet's #1 Music Destination, as Yahoo! Music. (Press Release.) Feb. 9, 2005.

Jim Hu and Melanie Austria Farmer. Yahoo Thinks Entertainment with Launch Buy. News.com. June 28, 2001.

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Surround Sound for Cell Phones

"Are those tinny ring tones making you jumpy? How about a new kind of phone that can make it sound like you're literally in the middle of a soothing forest stream?

"A new line of multimedia phones has hit the streets in Japan over the past few weeks that incorporates three-dimensional sound technology from British start-up Sonaptic. As yet, the content for it is slim--a fishing game, a handful of sound and video clips--but the technology promises a substantial advance for mobile-phone audio.

"The company's developers previously created the 3D audio technology for the Xbox, and they are now aiming to create a similarly compelling experience even with the constraints of a little mobile phone, they say."

John Borland. Cell Phones Get Surround Sound. News.com. Feb. 11, 2005.

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February 11, 2005

Wi-Fi Phone's Sales See Slow Growth

"A new study suggests it will be a number of years before Wi-Fi phones, supposedly a revolutionary telephone technology, manage to fulfill expectations.

"Analysts at Infonetics Research say portable phones using Wi-Fi, the popular technology that creates 300-foot zones of high-speed wireless connectivity, are taking hold in hospitals and businesses, but worldwide sales were negligible last year.

"The results are disappointing. After years in development, the much-anticipated devices were supposed to take off in 2004. But with just 113,000 such handsets sold last year, or $45 million in total sales, it's apparent the prognosticators were wrong. Rather, the sales 'represent a market at its birth,' as Infonetics analysts put it."

Ben Charny. Wi-Fi Phones Don't Add Up to Much. News.com. Feb. 7, 2005.

See also:
Ben Charny. Wi-Fi Phones Make a Splash. News.com. Aug. 4, 2004.

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February 10, 2005

VoIP Connects Developing Countries

"David Kovach and Nersi Zand are in a business that sometimes takes them where other telecommunications companies don't want to go.

"The company has built an Internet-phone network into developing countries such as Vietnam, India, Turkey; into combat areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan; and even into Iran, which does not have diplomatic relations with the United States.

"The two and a silent partner started Xyrous Communications LLC in Vienna in December 2003. The company is selling a new Internet-voice technology that is grabbing attention in the industry because it is less expensive than traditional calling technology."

Yuki Noguchi. Using Net to Reach Developing Countries. WashingtonPost.com. Feb. 7, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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Posted by Carol Schwartz at 08:19 AM | Send to a friend! | Comments (0)

February 01, 2005

China Bans 50 Video Games

"The Chinese government on Wednesday issued a list of 50 banned video and computer games, according to government news agency Xinhua.

"The list is roughly split between pirated games and games banned based on content. Pirated games cited by the news agency included 'The Sims 2," the top-selling PC game in North America last year, and soccer game 'FIFA 2005.'

"Xinhua said the list was part of an overall crackdown by the State General Administration of Press and Publication 'to protect intellectual property rights and create a good environment for Chinese youth.'"

David Becker. Banned in Beijing: China Cracks Down on Games. News.com. Jan. 26, 2005.

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January 29, 2005

Yahoo Offers Local Search Via Cell Phones

"Yahoo began offering on Thursday a new tool that allows users of its local search service to send restaurant or business information in the form of a text message from a computer to a mobile phone.

"Yahoo said its new service is available across all the major wireless carriers at no charge for consumers. However, wireless carriers may charge fees for receiving text messages on a mobile handset.

"For example, a user could search for information about San Francisco's Slanted Door restaurant on a PC and then click on a link to send the address and telephone number to a mobile phone. The message goes via SMS--or short message service, a form of text messaging offered by all major mobile phone carriers in the United States and in most other countries.

Reuters. Yahoo tool sends local info to cell phones. News.co. Jan. 27, 2005.

See also:
Matt Hicks. Search Engines Go Mobile. eWeek. Jan 27, 2005.

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January 24, 2005

Report: China's Net Usage to Surpass U.S. by 2008

"The Chinese net-using population looks set to exceed that of the US in less than three years, says a report (.pdf). China's net users number 100m but this represents less than 8% of the country's 1.3 billion people.

"Market analysts Panlogic predicts that net users in China will exceed the 137 million US users of the net by 2008.

"The report says that the country's culture will mean that Chinese people will use the net for very different ends than in many other nations."

No author. Chinese 'to Overtake US Net Use'. BBC. Jan. 20, 2005.

See also:
Jo Best. Young People Ditch 'Boring' Telly for Internet. Silicon.com. Jan. 19, 2005.

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January 22, 2005

Study Shows Online Music Stores Fall Short

"Online music stores like Apple Computer's iTunes have been a boon to fans and the beleaguered music industry, but many of them still have a long way to go, according to new research released Tuesday.

"A study from market research firm Shelley Taylor & Associates blasts music stores for confusing navigation and locking users into proprietary formats and music players.

"'As a result, users' initial enthusiasm is being deflated as they realize they have been conned--there are more limitations imposed on legitimate digital downloads, media players and portable devices than advertised,' Taylor said."

Reuters. Study: Online Music Stores Falling Short. News.com. Jan. 18, 2005.

See also:
Shelley Taylor & Associates. New Study Accuses Music Download Services of Spreading Latest Consumer Disease: Digital Deficit Disorder. (Press Release.) Jan. 18, 2005.

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New Dell CEO Remains Confident

"Dell CEO Kevin Rollins is just now starting to step out of Michael Dell's shadow and into the limelight.

"It has been six months since Rollins took the reins at the PC giant after its namesake founder stepped aside as chief executive. In that short span, IBM has more or less bowed out of the PC business ('waving the white flag,' Rollins said), Hewlett-Packard has realigned its PC business, and Apple Computer has reignited public attention with budget-minded Macs and iPods.

"We caught up with Rollins last week and asked about his views on everything from the Chinese technology market to Apple and the iPod to the Republican Party."

Andy McCue. Dell's Rollins: Unfazed by iPod, IBM. News.com. Jan. 18, 2005.

See also:
CNET Staff. Dell Chief Unperturbed by iPod, Mac Mini. News.com. Jan. 18, 2005.

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January 19, 2005

Craigslist Expands Globally

"A motor scooter in Manchester, an apartment in Amsterdam, a poster in Paris. All are available via Craigslist, an online bulletin board that presents a new challenge to the established players in the estimated $100 billion global market for classified advertising.

"Craigslist was started 10 years ago by Craig Newmark, an Internet pioneer in San Francisco, as a way of keeping friends up to date on events in the Bay Area. It spread through the United States before going international in 2003, with sites in London and Toronto. The expansion accelerated in late 2004 with a flurry of sites, including ones for Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and Sydney. About a dozen other international start-ups are planned in the next few months.

"Craigslist, which bills itself as a community-based operation in the techno-utopian spirit of the early Internet, accepts advertising for just about anything, from jobs to apartments to electronics to 'erotic services.' What it generally will not accept is money. The sites let users post most classified advertisements free. Only job ads posted in three United States cities require a fee."

Eric Pfanner. Craigslist Circles the Globe With Online Classifieds, One City at a Time. The New York Times. Jan. 17, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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January 18, 2005

MSN India Partners for Mobile IM & E-Mail

"Microsoft on Thursday signed deals with two Indian cell phone companies to deliver e-mail and instant messages via SMS.

"BPL Mobile, owned by Indian electronics maker BPL, offers cell phone services in five Southern and Western Indian states, and has around 2.4 million subscribers. Airtel, which has a presence in 20 Indian states, has around 9.5 million subscribers.

"The companies, together with mobile data services firm Mobile 365, on Thursday launched two new services-–Mobile-mail and MSN Messenger over SMS. However, they did not say whether the service will carry a fee or be offered for free."

CNET Staff. Hotmail Goes Mobile in India. News.com. Jan. 13, 2005.

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January 12, 2005

Bio Med Central Responds to Open Access Myths

"In the evidence presented to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into Scientific Publications, many dubious arguments have been used by traditional publishers to attack the new Open Access publishing model.

"Below, BioMed Central responds to some of the most prevalent and most misleading anti-Open Access arguments."

Jonathan B Weitzman. (Mis)Leading Open Access Myths. Open Access Now. No date.

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January 10, 2005

Fujitsu-Siemens Ordered to Pay Copyright Tax

"Fujitsu-Siemens has been ordered by a German court to pay a levy every time one of its computers is sold in the country, as part of a 'tax on piracy.'

"The judge ruled in December that because the company's PCs could be used for copying material--and denying rights holders their due royalties--Fujitsu-Siemens should make it up by way of a contribution of about $16 (12 euros) per machine."

Jo Best. Fujitsu-Siemens to Pay Per-Machine Fee for Piracy. News.com. Jan. 4, 2005.

See also:
Jan Libbenga. Fujitsu Siemens Loses German PC Levy Case. The Register. Jan. 3, 2005.

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January 07, 2005

Internet Archive to Build Google Alternative

"Ten major international libraries have agreed to combine their digitised book collections into a free text-based archive hosted online by the not-for-profit Internet Archive. All content digitised and held in the text archive will be freely available to online users.

"Two major US libraries have agreed to join the scheme: Carnegie Mellon University library and The Library of Congress have committed their Million Book Project and American Memory Projects, respectively, to the text archive. The projects both provide access to digitised collections.

"The Canadian universities of Toronto, Ottawa and McMaster have agreed to add their collections, as have China's Zhejiang University, the Indian Institute of Science, the European Archives and Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt."

Mark Chillingworth. Internet Archive to Build Alternative to Google. Information World Review. Dec. 21, 2004.

See also:
Internet Archive. International Libraries and the Internet Archive Collaborate to Build Open-Access Text Archives. Dec. 15, 2004.

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January 04, 2005

2004 Search Engine Trends

"So, 2004 turned out to be a very exciting search engine year, after all. For a moment, one could believe that we were moving into an era with a virtual Google monopoly, and monopolies are seldom good for innovation.

"Instead there has grown up new alternatives. Competition is as fierce as ever, and given that both users and stockmarkets reward innovation, there has been a large number of refinements, new services and new products."

No author. Search Engine Trends in 2004. Pandia. Dec. 31, 2004.

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Tsunami Debate Rumbles in Cyberspace

"As the horror of the South Asian tsunami spread and people gathered online to discuss the disaster on sites known as Web logs, or blogs, those of a political bent naturally turned the discussion to their favorite topics.

"To some in the blogosphere, it simply had to be the government's fault.

"The interplay between the sites, left and right, is typical of the rumbles in cyberspace between rivals at different ends of the political spectrum. In many ways, Web logs shone after the tsunami struck: bloggers in the regions posted compelling descriptions of the devastation, sometimes by text messages sent from their cellphones as they roamed the countryside looking for friends and family members. And blogs were quick to create links to charities so that people could help online."

John Schwartz. Myths Run Wild in Blog Tsunami Debate. The New York Times. Jan. 3, 2005.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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Microsoft's New Year's Resolutions

"Directions on Microsoft has released a list of what it considers the top 10 challenges for the software giant in 2005.

"'Left unattended, each (challenge) could ultimately interrupt Microsoft's 25-plus-year run of growth and profits and leave the door open for younger, smaller and more nimble competitors,' the analyst house said in its end-of-year research note Wednesday."

Tony Hallett. New Year's Resolutions for Microsoft. News.com. Dec. 23, 2004.

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January 03, 2005

Britney Spears is Queen of Google

"Based on billions of searches conducted by Google users around the world, the 2004 Year-End Zeitgeist offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and trends.

"Search statistics are automatically generated based on the millions of searches conducted on Google over a given period of time - weekly, monthly, and annually. With some help from humans, these statistics and trends make their way from the depths of Google's hard drives to become the Google Zeitgeist report.

"What you see here is a cumulative snapshot of interesting queries people are asking – some over time, some within country domains, and some on Google.com – that perhaps reveal a bit of the human condition.

"The year's most popular searches were 'Britney Spears' and 'Paris Hilton' (these were the two most-searched women as well); 'Orlando Bloom' was the leading search term for men. 'George Bush' was the public figure term most likely to be searched from Google's news search engine."

Google has been publishing the year-end Zeitgeist since 2001.

Google. 2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist.

See also:
Matt Hines. Our Faves: Britney, eBay and Tablets, Says Google. News.com. Dec. 23, 2004.

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Analysis of Microsoft's EU Decision

"In rejecting Microsoft's appeal this week a European court has dealt a significant setback to Redmond's attempts to mount an attack on competitors based on intellectual property litigation.

"The decision by Judge Bo Vesterdorf at the European Court of the First Instance reveals for the first time many of the legal arguments that were made behind closed doors this year. The parts that interest us here are the decision itself, which rejects the idea that communication protocols are any kind of 'trade secret,' and the slightly astonishing admission from Microsoft itself that suing people for IP violations is bothersome, or in its lawyers' own words: 'a particularly complicated and inefficient exercise.'

"If we're to take the lawyers at their word (always a risky business), then what has so often been described as a patent war between Redmond and open source developers looks much more like a phony war. Put the two together, and we have a much clearer idea of Microsoft's strategy than we did twelve months ago."

Andrew Orlowski. How Microsoft Played the Patent Card, and Failed. The Register. Dec. 23, 2004.

See also:
Red Herring. Europe Smacks Microsoft. Dec. 24, 2004.

BBC. The European Court of Justice. No date.

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eBay to Acquire Rent.com

"Web auctioneer eBay continued its expansion into classified listings with the acquisition of Rent.com for $415 million in cash and stock. According to eBay, Rent.com, the most visited apartment-listing site in the United States, will continue to operate as a separate unit.

"Rent.com's transaction-based business model allows apartment owners and managers to list properties on its site free of charge and pay fees only for leases produced through Rent.com. According to comScore MediaMetrix, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Rent.com is the number one third-party producer of verified lease transactions in the nation both online and off.

"In April Ebay paid $121 million for Mobile.de, a German-based classified site for buying and selling automobiles, and followed that up with the $290 million November acquisition of Markplaats.nl, the most popular Web classified site in the Netherlands. In addition, eBay in August took a 25 percent stake in San Francisco-based Craigslist."

Roy Mark. eBay Grabs Rent.com for $415M. InternetNews.com. Dec. 17, 2004.

See also:
Greg Levine. Whitman: EBay To Buy Rent.com; Complements Craigslist Stake. Forbes.com. Dec. 17, 2004.

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December 23, 2004

Electronic Arts Buys 19.9 Percent of Ubi Soft

"Electronic Arts, the world's largest video game publisher, on Monday said it was buying almost 20 percent of the French video game maker Ubi Soft Entertainment, fueling speculation it might bid for the whole company.

"Analysts did not expect EA to stop at a 20 percent stake.

"'We believe that this move by EA is a step towards acquiring the entire UbiSoft and is a potential signal that EA may be willing to take similar aggressive moves to acquire other leading video game publishers,' Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter said in a note."

Reuters. Electronic Arts to Buy Into Ubi Soft. News.com. Dec. 21, 2004.

See also:
Associated Press. Ubisoft Sees Share Purchase As Hostile. Forbes.com. Dec. 21, 2004.

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December 22, 2004

Cell Phones Leap From Luxury to Necessity

"Cellphone use in US triples in 10 years, to 172 million, changing lifestyles from the campus to the highway.

"The notion of the cellphone as necessity may not be universally agreed, but if you're in doubt about whether the device is transforming American life just try wresting one away from a teenager you know.

"With a popularity and versatility that spans continents and generations, the cellphone may be on its way to becoming mankind's primary communication interface and a lifestyle tool that exceeds the personal computer in ubiquity, say watchers of technology culture."

Daniel B. Wood. Cellphones: Once a Status Symbol, Now a Necessity. Christian Science Monitor. Dec. 13, 2004.

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December 18, 2004

2004: Review of Mobile & Wireless Technology

"Mobile and wireless technology is still hot, only its application is going through teething problems. Tony Hallett looks back on a busy 12 months and sticks his neck out on what to expect in 2005 - sort of…

"In all things mobile and wireless it has been a year of consolidation, launches, wireless everywhere and some familiar battles between well-known standards and companies.

"But 2004 was also 12 months where some of us became a little more sophisticated in how we use mobile devices and even the higher-ups learned - sometimes the hard way - that this remains one of tech's most exciting areas, one that can make a real difference to the bottom line."

Tony Hallett. Re:Viewing 2004: Mobile and Wireless. Silicon.com. Dec. 14, 2004.

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Social Networking Sites Hold User's Interest

"Karlyn Neel propelled herself into uncharted territory by joining Friendster, the popular Web site for gabbing and dating.

"In the year since then, she has amassed a network of online friends that is almost too big to manage and landed several DJ gigs. She has also been referred to a musician in Portugal with whom she has recorded a few songs, sending audio tracks back and forth by instant messaging.

"Neel is living the promise of online social networking, an industry that was engulfed in extraordinary buzz a year ago. Now trying to get their businesses in order, the services are still attracting millions of users as they try to find new ways to keep them interested."

Verne Kopytoff. Log On, Link Up. San Francisco Chronicle. Dec. 13, 2004.

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December 11, 2004

Mobile Phone Subscribers Double Since 2000

"Mobile phone subscribers around the globe totaled nearly 1.5 billion by the middle of this year, about one quarter of the world's population, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said on Thursday.

"The figure reflected a sharp surge in the mobile telephony business, especially in developing countries, over the first half of the decade, with subscribers doubling since 2000, according to the United Nations agency's annual report.

"The ITU said the growth in mobile phone subscribers had outpaced that for fixed lines, who totaled some 1.185 billion today against 1 billion at the start of the century, and was also outstripping the rate of increase in Internet users."

Robert Evans. Mobile Phone Users Double Since 2000. Reuters. Dec. 9, 2004.

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December 09, 2004

U.K. Telecom Provider Launches 3G Handsets

"Orange has taken the wraps off 3G aimed mainly at consumers four days before handsets are due in stores, claiming to have the best network and set of devices available yet in the U.K.

"Despite an attempt by rival mmO2 to spoil the party with a press release outlining plans to start using a faster technology next summer, Orange was in a bullish mood this morning. The France Telecom-owned operator is launching services in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as the U.K., with roaming from the outset.

"Applications of the technology will include video calling and voicemail, online gaming, rich content such as Star Wars clips and surfing via the Orange World portal and across the wider Web."

Tony Hallett. U.K. Cell Provider Launches 3G Handsets. News.com. Dec. 6, 2004.

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December 08, 2004

China's Tenuous Relationship With the Internet

"As the number of people online in China has quintupled over the last four years, the government has shown itself to be committed to two concrete, and sometimes competing, goals: strategically deploying the Internet to economic advantage, while clamping down - with surveillance, filters and prison sentences - on undesirable content and use.

"Both trends, experts say, are likely to continue.

"China is already the largest mobile communications subscriber market in the world, with more than 320 million subscribers. Internet users - who numbered fewer than 17 million in 2000 - are now estimated to be somewhere near 90 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, the government's clearinghouse for Internet statistics. China is second only to the United States in the number of people online, and the 90 percent of its total population around 1.3 billion who are not online still represents a vast, untapped market. "

Tom Zeller Jr. Beijing Loves the Web Until the Web Talks Back. The New York Times. Dec. 6, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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December 04, 2004

Microsoft to Offer Blogging Service

"Microsoft is looking to take on Google's Blogger and other blog-creation and hosting services.

"Microsoft's MSN division is expected to take the wraps off its MSN Spaces blogging service this week, according to sources close to the company.

"MSN is expected to tout MSN Spaces as a direct competitor to blog-creation and hosting tools, such as Blogger, Blog*Spot, LiveJournal and TypePad. Microsoft also will position MSN Spaces as a way to allow users to more easily share photo albums and music lists, too, insiders said."

Mary Jo Foley. MSN Readies New Blogging Service. Microsoft Watch. Nov. 30, 2004.

See also:
Matt Hicks. MSN Launches Blog Service with IM Ties. Dec. 1, 2004.

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November 19, 2004

Microsoft Opens Software Development Center in India

"The Microsoft Corporation announced on Monday that it was significantly expanding its software development operations in India as it opened a new campus near Hyderabad, its second-largest campus after its headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

"Microsoft's chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, formally opened the 28-acre campus in the suburbs of Hyderabad, which is 250 miles north of Bangalore, a rival technology center. The campus thus far has only one building, with capacity for 1,600 workers."

Saritha Rai. Microsoft Expands Operations in India. The New York Times. Nov. 16, 2004.

See also:
Andy McCue. Ballmer Opens Microsoft's Indian Campus. Silicon.com. Nov. 15, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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November 18, 2004

eBay Payment Scams Proliferate

"Everyone knows that buying and selling on eBay is precarious. Even eBay admits this and gives basic advice on its site that it believes helps eliminate most fraud.

"But there appears to be a basic weakness in eBay's system that fraudsters and petty thieves are exploiting. It occurs when buyers pay sellers direct into the sellers' bank account by cheque or cash.

"The pattern is all too predictable. Buyers and sellers agree not to go through the more secure PayPal system because it costs more to do so. So buyers take the risk of sending the money to the seller who either doesn't send the goods or sends shoddy or fake goods."

Ken Young. How Scammers Run Rings Round eBay. The Register. Nov. 16, 2004.

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November 17, 2004

Defense Department Tests Internet Telephony Over IPv6

"The Department of Defense has completed its third round of tests in an ambitious plan to upgrade its networks to next-generation Internet Protocol, including its first evaluation of Internet telephony over IP version 6.

"The tests, completed Nov. 12, simulated real-world traffic conditions on Moonv6, an experimental network billed by its backers as the world's largest test bed for IPv6, the next version of the Internet's addressing system.

"InterOperability Laboratory spokesman Chris Volpe said the tests showed that the base IPv6 infrastructure appears solid. But he said researchers ran into some implementation problems with specific equipment and protocol configurations, suggesting complications for real-world IPv6 deployments."

Evan Hansen. Defense Dept. Tests Net Phone Calls on IPv6. News.com. Nov. 15, 2004.

See also:
William Jackson. Defense Continues Its March Toward IPv6. GCN. Nov. 15, 2004.

CXOtoday staff. Nokia Extends IPv6 To Phones. CXOtoday.com. Nov. 17, 2004.

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November 12, 2004

Microsoft Shares Tools With Government

"As part of its ongoing efforts to woo public sector customers, Microsoft Corp. has begun giving governments tools for collaborating and sharing technology information with other organizations so that they can learn from each other's experiences and cut development costs.

"Under a program titled the Solutions Sharing Network, Microsoft is helping provide public sector clients with a community-based portal for sharing best practices, application source codes, and other development information, it said Tuesday.

"The Redmond, Washington, software maker is providing interested public sector customers with the tools for free, but the client organizations are in charge of the content, maintenance and procuring of any necessary hardware, Microsoft said."

Scarlet Pruitt. Microsoft Offers Governments Sharing Tools. InfoWorld. Nov. 9, 2004.

See also:
Brian Robinson. Microsoft Starts Solutions Network. FCW. Nov. 9, 2004.

ElectricNews.net. Microsoft Opens E-gov Collaboration Portal. The Register. Nov. 10, 2004.

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November 11, 2004

E-Commerce Document Specification Approved

"A Web standards body has published a series of definitions that could make it easier for big companies to share business documents.

"The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, or OASIS, on Monday gave final approval to a specification called Universal Business Language (UBL) version 1.0, a standardized document format.

"UBL is meant to make it easier to turn paper records into electronic ones and, ultimately, easier to share documents, such as purchase orders, between organizations doing business online. UBL is designed to work with commerce-related Extensible Markup Language (XML) and technical standards from OASIS called ebXML, which include a series of protocols for transporting information over the Internet."

Martin LaMonica. Web Business Standard Gets Thumbs Up. News.com. Nov. 9, 2004.

See also:
Paul Krill. Document Spec for E-commerce is Approved. InfoWorld. Nov. 8, 2004.

Clint Boulton. OASIS Blesses E-Document Standard. InternetNews.com. Nov. 8, 2004.

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November 08, 2004

Researchers to Study International Governance

"The University of Albany's Center for Technology in Government is expanding its research to international governance with a new grant from the National Science Foundation.

"The center has focused on intergovernmental information sharing within the United States for the past two years through another NSF grant, but the additional $90,000 is for examining information technology innovation across governments on an international scale, according to officials."

Diane Frank. Researchers to Study International IT Innovation. FCW.com. Oct. 29, 2004.

See also:
Office of Government Commerce. Open Source Software Becoming Mainstream Says New Government Report. Oct. 28, 2004.

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November 06, 2004

China To Implement Copyright Draft Legislation

"The National Copyright Administration will soon implement a draft regulation on administrative protection of copyrights on information networks, to better protect Internet-based work and prevent piracy.

"The draft regulation, worked out by the administration and the Ministry of Information Industry, aims to further bring China's copyright protection closer to international standards, sources from the administration said at a hearing yesterday in Beijing.

"The draft regulation applies to the administrative protection of dissemination rights on Internet-based services. And these services refer to loading, saving, transmitting, linking, searching and other functions through the Internet, the draft regulation states."

Cui Ning. Regulation to Protect Copyrights on Networks. China Daily. Nov. 5, 2004.

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November 03, 2004

Canada Study Sees Risk in U.S. Patriot Act

"A key U.S. anti-terrorism law threatens the privacy of Canadians and rigorous steps are needed to protect private medical and financial information, a government study said Friday.

"Current safeguards are not sufficient to prevent the FBI from using the USA Patriot Act to force U.S. firms and their foreign subsidiaries to turn over private data even if doing so violates Canadian law, the province of British Columbia's privacy commissioner said.

"The study is among the first to examine the foreign impact of the Patriot Act, which was passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Reaction to the study is being watched closely as governments move to contract their data storage work to private firms -- many of which are U.S.-linked."

Allan Dowd. Canada Study Sees Risk in U.S. Anti-terrorism Law. Reuters. Oct. 29, 2004.

See also:
Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia. Privacy & the USA Patriot Act - Implications for British Columbia Public Sector Outsourcing. (.pdf). Oct. 2004.

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October 30, 2004

Presidential Website Restricts Access

"The folks in charge of the U.S. president's re-election campaign seem to have forgotten that the first two letters of WWW stand for "world wide."

"Just days before the presidential election, the Bush campaign's official Web site, GeorgeWBush.com, is turning away Web traffic from abroad. The virtual blockade began Monday, according to Internet traffic analysis company Netcraft.

"The site appears to be rejecting visitors from most points outside the United States, while allowing access from most U.S. locations and Canada, according to Netcraft, which is based in Bath, England."

Alorie Gilbert. Bush Campaign Site Blocks Traffic From Abroad. News.com. Oct. 27, 2004.

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October 28, 2004

Former Defense Secretary Encourages Information Sharing

"The United States faces a brave new world in which terrorism and technology are merged, former Defense Department Secretary William Cohen said today.

"Speaking to the Executive Leadership Conference meeting, Cohen said U.S. officials 'got lazy. We dropped our guard.... We made assumptions that no one would dare attack us on our homeland.' Now, he said, U.S. officials must work to integrate systems during a siege rather than making a slow and careful transition.

"Cohen said he believes the war against terrorists must be won with not only military force but also good policies, information sharing and collaboration with officials in other countries."

Judi Hasson. Cohen Promotes Info Sharing. FCW.com. Oct. 25, 2004.

See also:
Patience Wait. Cohen Backs Info Sharing, Police Work in Beating Back Terror Threats. GCN.com. Oct. 25, 2004.

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October 26, 2004

Identity Theft Hits Home

"Analysts say several factors have combined to make identity theft a particularly intractable crime: the growth of the Internet and digital finance, decades of expanding consumer credit worldwide, the hodgepodge nature of local and federal law enforcement, and the changing but often still inadequate regulations governing the credit industry.

"In a report prepared by its consumer protection bureau, the F.T.C. said 27.3 million Americans had their identities stolen from April 1998 to April 2003 - with more than a third of them, or 9.9 million, victimized in the last 12 months of that period alone. The crimes ranged from the theft of a credit card number to more elaborate identity thefts used to secure loans.

"The crimes ranged from the theft of a credit card number to more elaborate identity thefts used to secure loans. During those 12 months, the report said, businesses and financial institutions suffered about $48 billion in losses because of identity theft, and victimized consumers paid more than $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses to regain their financial identities."

Timothy L. O'Brien. Identity Theft Is Epidemic. Can It Be Stopped?. The New York Times. Oct. 24, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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October 23, 2004

Google Expands AOL Alliance in Europe

"America Online and Google have expanded their partnership in Europe, in a deal that once again pushes search rival Overture Services to the margins.

"Under the deal, announced Tuesday, AOL subscribers in the United Kingdom, France and Germany will receive targeted advertising from Google related to their search request.

"Google has already been providing Web search results for all AOL search-related products in Europe. Google AdWords advertisers will now appear on all search results on AOL's European Web sites, the companies said."

Dinesh C. Sharma and Stefanie Olsen. AOL, Google Expand Alliance in Europe. News.com. Oct. 19, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 21, 2004

Data Miners Offshore Privacy

"The choreographer of one of the Bush administration's most ambitious homeland security efforts, a former intelligence official named Ben H. Bell III, is taking his ideas to a private company offshore, where he and his colleagues plan to use some of the same concepts, technology and contractors to assess people for risk, outside the reach of U.S. regulators, according to documents and interviews.

"Bell's new employer, the Bahamas-based Global Information Group Ltd., intends to amass large databases of international records and analyze them in the coming years for corporations, government agencies and other information services. One of the first customers is information giant LexisNexis Group, one of the main contractors on the government system that was known until recently as the second generation of the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening Program, or CAPPS II. The program is now known as Secure Flight."

Robert O'Harrow Jr. Bahamas Firm Screens Personal Data To Assess Risk. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 16, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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Click Fraud Exposed

"If there is any single axiom of the digital age, it must be this: for every advance, there is a scourge.

"E-mail has spam. The Web has pop-up windows and spyware. Even the market infant, Internet telephony, has analysts bracing for an onslaught of what is been called 'Spam Over Internet Telephony,' (or "spit," of course).

"It should come as no surprise, then - and some might say it is a bit of poetic justice - that online advertisers are becoming acquainted with their own special plague: click fraud.

Tom Zeller Jr. With Each Technology Advance, a Scourge. News.com. Oct. 18, 2004.

See also:
Adam L. Penenberg. Click Fraud Threatens Web. Wired News. Oct. 13, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 20, 2004

Sshhhh! (21st Century Style)

"It was the reporters who noticed first. Unable to call their editors while covering the weddings of the rich and famous, they asked the priest why their cell phones never worked at Sacred Heart. His reply: Israeli counterintelligence.

"In four Monterrey churches, Israeli-made cell phone jammers the size of paperbacks have been tucked unobtrusively among paintings of the Madonna and statues of the saints."

Olga R. Rodriguez. Churches Installing Cell Phone Jammers. eWeek. Oct. 17, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 19, 2004

Blogs Do Not Fix Businesses

"It seems that the technology trap - believing new stuff can fix old problems - afflicts corporate, nonprofits and individuals alike. You need to deal with cultural change as well as technology change at the same time. If you try and bring technology in without commitment from the top, regard to working practices and so on, you'll get resistance... or lots of systems that don't work. And if you try and innovate without using appropriate tools you could be frustrated in your purpose."

Designing for Civil Society. Technology Traps Corporates and Nonprofits Alike. Sept. 21, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 18, 2004

Global Effort to Fight Spam

"Representatives from worldwide governments, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, are meeting in London this week to discuss how a united front can help to crack down on the problem of unsolicited bulk e-mail.

"The initiative represents the latest in a string of events regarding spam, which to date have yielded little result and little agreement on the best approach.

"John Vickers, chairman of the Office of Fair Trading that is hosting the event, urged the industry, the media and average e-mail users to hold off on cynicism about this most recent initiative until its effect has been witnessed."

Will Sturgeon. Britain, U.S. Talk Up Spam Fight. News.com. Oct. 11, 2004.

See also:
No author. Call For Global Action on Spam. BBC. Oct. 11, 2004.

Office of Fair Trading. International Agencies Join Forces to Combat Spam. Oct. 11, 2004.

SNTReport.com™ The Online Journal for Social Software, Digital Collaboration & Information Policy. A Seso Group™ Venture.

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October 16, 2004

FDA Approves RFID Chips for Humans

"The Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for a Florida company to market implantable chips that would provide easy access to individual medical records.

"The approval, which the company announced yesterday, is expected to bring to public attention a simmering debate over a technology that has evoked Orwellian overtones for privacy advocates and fueled fears of widespread tracking of people with implanted radio frequency tags, even though that ability does not yet exist.

"Applied Digital Solutions, based in Delray Beach, Fla., said that its devices, which it calls VeriChips, could save lives and limit injuries from errors in medical treatment. And it expressed hope that such medical uses would accelerate the acceptance of under-the-skin ID chips as security and access-control devices."

Barnaby J. Feder and Tom Zeller Jr. Identity Badge Worn Under Skin Approved for Use in Health Care. The New York Times. Oct. 15, 2004.

See also:
Alorie Gilbert. FDA Approves Injecting ID Chips in Patients. News.com. Oct. 13, 2004.

National Public Radio. FDA Approves Implantable Health ID Chips. Morning Edition. Oct. 13, 2004.

National Public Radio. Radio Frequency Identification Causes Privacy Concerns. Talk of the Nation. Oct. 13, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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October 13, 2004

U. S. Earns Gold Metal at World Cyber Games

"Amid fanfare fit for actual world-class athletes, five Americans with really quick fingers took home the gold medal in the popular 'Counter Strike' competition of the World Cyber Games championships, capping five days of intense gaming by the world's elite.

"In addition to 'Counter Strike: Condition Zero' and 'WarCraft III: Frozen Throne,' players competed in 'FIFA Soccer 2004,' 'Need For Speed: Underground,' 'StarCraft: Brood War,'Unreal Tournament: 2004,' 'Halo' and 'Project Gotham Racing 2.'

"Winners at this year's event, which took over the streets near San Francisco City Hall, took home a combined $400,000, according to organizers. The video game industry rakes in $10 billion annually in the United States alone."

Associated Press. U.S. Wins Gold at World Cyber Games. CNN.com. Oct. 11, 2004.

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October 09, 2004

Professional Video Gamers

"Mr. Leto, 20, of Allen, Tex., is no ordinary gamer. He is one of a relative handful of young people who make a living playing video games.

"Recognized by many as the world's greatest Halo player, he was in Long Beach, Calif., last month at the American finals of the World Cyber Games. He was hoping to qualify for a trip to the world finals this week in San Francisco, aiming to repeat his feat of last year, when he won a top prize of $20,000 in Seoul, South Korea.

"As with other pro sports, the entrepreneurs behind tournaments like the World Cyber Games believe that in the multibillion-dollar video game industry there is enough interest to support an elite level of gamers who play for pay.

"Some of the biggest names in the electronics industry, including Intel, Nokia and Samsung, have latched on to the idea, sponsoring competitions in the hope of a big publicity payback and sales boost."

Eric A. Taub. Taking Their Game to the Next Level. The New York Times. Oct. 7, 2004.

See also:
David Becker. Global Gamers Battle For Glory--And Money. News.com. Oct. 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Times allows free access to their stories on the Web for seven days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archive.)

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October 06, 2004

No Profit in Google News Beta

"When Google launched its news site three years ago, it led to a certain amount of hand-wringing at Yahoo News, MSNBC and CNN. Unlike its competitors, which were forced to budget millions of dollars a year to license up-to-the-minute content and pay reporters and editors, Google had figured out a way to do it on the cheap.

"By relying on algorithms, Google News completely automated the news-gathering process using high-speed computers to sift through information and determine the most relevant articles. They then grab the headline and first paragraph to post on Google's news page, with the headlines acting as external links.

"As it turns out, however, Google has a problem that is nearly as complex as its algorithms. It can't make money from Google News.

"The reason: The minute Google News runs paid advertising of any sort it could face a torrent of cease-and-desist letters from the legal departments of newspapers, which would argue that 'fair use' doesn't cover lifting headlines and lead paragraphs verbatim from their articles."

Adam L. Penenberg. Google News: Beta Not Make Money. Wired News. Sept. 29, 2004.

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October 04, 2004

U. S. and Canada Lag Behind in Global E-Government Study

"Brown researchers scrutinized 1,935 government websites this summer, perusing the sites of, among others, executive offices, legislatures, judicial branches, and major agencies including education, interior, economic development, administration, and foreign affairs.

"Despite the accelerated learning curve, some of the 198 nations surveyed are excelling at e-government. Taiwan landed the researchers' top honors because its comprehensive website serves as a tidy entry point to all government agencies and departments.

"The report also lauded Singapore (#2) and the United States (#3) for portal sites that clear a distinct path for citizens trying to navigate the maze of government. The United States got the nod for its 'extensive privacy policies,' while the Singaporean government edged others out on utility—you can use it to reserve outdoor parks for picnics—and creativity: its site offers online dating."

Deborah Asbrand. E-Government Inches Ahead. Technology Review. Sept. 28, 2004.

Brown University. Taiwan, Singapore Lead U.S. and Canada in Online Government. InsidePolitics.org. Sept. 2004.

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September 23, 2004

Interview with "Father of the Web"

"Perhaps for some, being credited with inventing the World Wide Web would be more than enough as far as life accomplishments go. But for Sir Tim Berners-Lee, it's merely the beginning of something even more fulfilling.

"The man who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 greatest minds of the 20th century is now busy channeling his energies into the work of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a standards body he founded and now directs.

"Moments after delivering a keynote address at the SpeechTek Conference in New York earlier this week, Sir Tim sat down with internetnews.com to discuss the state of the Web browser market, the growth of the Semantic Web and some of the challenges facing the W3C."

Ryan Naraine. Tim Berners-Lee, Director, W3C. internetnews.com. Sept. 17, 2004.

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September 22, 2004

Microsoft Expands Source-Code Sharing Program

"Microsoft is expanding a program to give government organizations access to some of its tightly guarded software blueprints amid growing competition from rivals who make such source code freely available.

"Beginning Monday, Microsoft will offer more than 60 governments and international organizations the option of viewing the proprietary source code for the latest version of its ubiquitous Office software, including the Outlook e-mail program, Microsoft Word and Excel spreadsheet application.

"Microsoft has launched a number of efforts in recent years to give governments and certain private groups access to some source code. The moves come as an increasing number of governments and companies are looking at switching to 'open source' alternatives such as Linux.

Associated Press. Microsoft Shares More Source Code. Wired News. Sept. 19, 2004.

See also
Peter Galli. Microsoft Opens Office Source Code to Governments. eWeek. Sept. 19, 2004.

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September 15, 2004

USA Ranked Third in Global E-Government Study

"A study of digital government (.pdf) finds that the 198 nations around the world are making steady progress at putting services and information online, but movement forward has been slowed because of budget, bureaucratic, and institutional factors. The United States and Canada rank third and fourth behind Taiwan and Singapore."

Fourth Annual Global E-Government Study. Inside Politics. September, 2004.

Attribution: SNTReport.com first discovered news the Global E-Government study through a posting in ResourceShelf, edited by Gary Price.

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September 14, 2004

Intel Seeks Another Web

"The internet must be changed to help it cope with what the future holds for it, according to chip maker Intel.

"The US company's chief technology officer, Pat Gelsinger, says new uses and millions more users could stretch the net to breaking point.

"In a keynote speech at an Intel conference, he said building a new network on top of the old would end many of the problems plaguing the net."

No author. Intel Sees Big Changes to the Net. BBC News. Sept. 10, 2004.

See also Iain Thomson. Intel Chief Outlines Multicore Future. E-Commerce Times. Sept. 8, 2004.

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September 10, 2004

Company Makes Payment for Violation of Do-Not-Call Registry

"A division of Primus Telecommunications Group Inc. agreed to pay $400,000 to the federal government to settle allegations that the McLean phone provider made telemarketing calls in violation of the national do-not-call registry.

"Primus did not admit or deny wrongdoing in the agreement with the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement division, and the company promised to bring its operations into compliance with the do-not-call rules and to make the $400,000 voluntary payment to the Treasury.

"I think this was a human error,' said Gerry A. Simone, a spokeswoman for Primus. Spanco Telesystems & Solutions Ltd., which the company hired to call prospective customers, failed to properly check its call list with the do-not-call registry, violating its contract with Primus, Simone said."

Yuki Noguchi. Primus Unit to Pay $400,000 in Do-Not-Call Probe. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 8, 2004.

See also:
Federal Trade Commission. Complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule. January, 2004.

Editor's note: See also SNTReport.com's prior story violations of the do-not-call registry.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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September 09, 2004

China Cracking Down on Piracy Yet Allowing Blatant Sales

"China on Monday touted the impact of a recent crackdown on pirated goods, seeking to mollify criticism from the United States that it has done little to curb the brazen and widespread sale of such things as illegally copied Hollywood films, fake auto parts and pharmaceuticals.

"At a news conference in Beijing, Zhang Zhigang, a vice minister of commerce, said China seized 2 million compact discs during the first half of the year in raids on 8,000 CD and software dealers around the country, fining violators about $3.6 million.

"The disconnect between the official word from the capital and the actuality of the street highlights the entrenched nature of one of the most nettlesome trade conflicts between Washington and Beijing. Though China is in the midst of one of a series of periodic crackdowns, experts said the continued blatant sales illustrate that the government is more interested in managing the politics of the problem than curbing the reality."

Peter S. Goodman. Pirated Goods Swamp China. WashingtonPost.com. Sept. 7, 2004.

(Editor’s Note: The Post allows free access to their stories on the Web for 14 days before sending the stories to the paper’s fee-based Archives.)

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September 07, 2004

China Cracks Down on Internet Porn

"China has intensified its battle against Internet and mobile phone pornography by threatening distributors with life in prison, Xinhua news agency said.

"Beijing has stepped up its battle against smut in recent weeks, saying it is worried that the easy access to such material on the Internet and elsewhere will have a bad effect on youth and society."

No author. China Threatens Internet Porn Merchants with Life. Reuters. Sept. 5, 2004.

Xinhua News Agency. Porn Producers Face Severe Punishment. China Through A Lens. Sept. 6, 2004.

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August 30, 2004

Broadcast Treaty Negotiation Reaches Crucial Stage

"An international treaty to give broadcasters the right to control who may record, transmit, or distribute their signals is reaching a crucial stage of negotiation by the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva.

"The current draft (.pdf) incorporates many proposals, but the main ones most countries agree on give broadcasters 50 years' worth of legal control over the recording, retransmission, and reproduction of their broadcast signals. These rights are separate from those of the owners of the actual content being broadcast and if members at the next meeting of WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, in November approve the treaty, it could take effect by 2006.

"The idea that broadcasters should have rights enabling them to combat signal piracy is relatively uncontentious. Opponents such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Union for the Public Domain are concerned, however, that broadcast rights might lock up materials that should be freely available to the public."

Wendy Grossman. Broadcast Treaty Battle Rages On. Wired News. Aug. 28, 2004.

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Who is Responsible for Technical Service?

"Tech support once meant wrestling with the lingo of personal computers. These days, it may also involve grappling with a different kind of language barrier, as James R. Barr Sr. discovered.

"Barr called Dell seeking help formatting, partitioning and reloading Windows XP. 'I got a tech in India who spoke British English. I am 73, speak Alabama English and use two hearing aids. We both experienced some understanding problems.'

"One communications snag: The rep didn't realize that when Barr said 'oh' he meant the number, not the letter.

"Tech service horrors are nothing new, of course. War stories abound of people who languish on hold only to finally reach a support rep even more befuddled than they were. No company seems immune. But the situation appears to be worsening."

Edward C. Baig. Have You Tried to get Tech Support Lately? Arrgh! #*!!. USAToday. Aug. 27, 2004.

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August 27, 2004

Ask Jeeves Branches Out to Japan

"The fifth-largest search site in the United States has formed a joint enterprise with Tokyo-based software company Transcosmos to launch the site, called Ask Jeeves Japan.

"The new Japanese venture could spell competition for Web search stalwarts in that country, where Yahoo Japan, a joint venture between Yahoo and Softbank, dominates. Google, the No. 1 search property in the United States, also operates a Web site and advertising arm in Japan.

"The country is attractive to search providers because it's host to a fast-growing Internet economy with thriving e-commerce."

Stefanie Olsen. Ask Jeeves Knocking on Japan's Door. News.com. Aug. 23, 2004.

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August 25, 2004

Shall Sonny Bono Rescue Peter Pan?

It seems that Peter Pan is due to fall out of copyright protection and into the public domain. And the character's British copyright holders are trying their damndest to do a Disney and keep that from happening.

Disney, of course, was one of the chief proponents of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), which Congress passed into law in 1998. The CTEA extended copyright protection another twenty years not only for new creative works, but also for existing creative works -- including those (like Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh) that were about to fall into the public domain.

(Lest we always smack Big Corporate for the CTEA, let it be known for the record that the Gershwin estate -- holder of the copyrights to George's and Ira's songs -- also lobbied hard for the CTEA.)

Now we have a Reuters story that says that London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, the entity that holds the Peter Pan copyright, is desperately seeking an author to write a sequel to the Peter Pan story; the European copyright on the story is due to expire in 2007. According to the Reuters story, royalties from Peter Pan provide "a 'significant but confidential' source of income."

I am unsure of what British or European Union copyright law says on this issue, but given the recent penchant for global "harmonization" of copyright laws, I am almost sure that those foreign laws have been updated to include CTEA-like provisions. (By the way, "harmonization" is just another way to say for "the U.S. needs foreign companies to make its IP laws just like ours in order to make sure that domestic creativity gets the same protection everywhere in the world.")

The irony here is that author J. M. Barrie donated the Peter Pan character to the Hospital in the late 1920s. Apparently, the hospital is not interested in being similarly charitable.

This may be occurring across the pond, but it is sooooo Hollywood.

Reuters. Author Sought So Peter Pan Copyright Never Grows Up. Aug. 23, 2004.

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August 18, 2004

Music Being Downloaded Directly to Cell Phones

"The ability to download complete tracks directly over cell-phone networks to mobile phones is becoming a reality in Europe.

"O2 Music, the music arm of U.K.-based international telecom operator mmO2, has started offering songs for download in Germany and the United Kingdom.

"The emerging trend of selling full-length songs directly to mobile phones in Europe has been triggered by better understanding and cooperation between mobile phone operators, handset manufacturers and record labels."

Reuters. Downloads on the Move in Europe. Wired News. Aug. 15, 2004.

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July 21, 2004

How Law can Help Bridge the Digital Divide

"My regular Toronto Star Law Bytes column discusses how law can help bridge the digital divide.

"The column reflects on a recent United Nations sponsored meeting on e-commerce law in Asia which highlighted not only great enthusiasm of the developing world, but also how many are being poorly advised by conflicted consultants, self-interested companies, and some members of the intellectual property law community.

"The column coincides with my launch of the Techlawed Project, which will seek to provide pro bono technology law training assistance in the developing world as well as the announcement of a global Internet law conference featuring experts from 16 countries."

Michael Geist. Bridging the Digital Divide. Toronto Star. July 19, 2004.

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July 14, 2004

The Game of Numbers

"Just a day after the BSA came out with their misleading report on software 'piracy', the MPAA needed to follow suit by releasing their own misleading study on the impact of movie downloads.

"On the numerical side, this is really a survey, so they're not making up numbers... just conclusions. They found that 50% of people they surveyed claimed to have downloaded 'copyrighted content' last year.

"First off, that's a ridiculous question. If you visit just about any website you've downloaded 'copyrighted content.'"

Techdirt. MPAA's Turn To Mislead With Statistics. July 8, 2004.

See Also. Techdirt. BSA's Latest Made Up Software Piracy Numbers Parroted By The Press. July 7, 2004.

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July 10, 2004

FBI Links Phishing to Organized Crime

"Federal and state law enforcement have linked organized crime to phishing attacks that are increasing in both volume and sophistication.

"There's a lot of activity in the former Soviet bloc, the Eastern bloc, Latvia, and Ukraine,' says John Curran, supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
'It definitely looks like there are organized groups.'

"A broad array of criminals appears to be involved in phishing attacks, ranging from teenagers to grandmothers, the FBI is investigating links to organized crime. So far, there isn't any indication that crime syndicates with ties to the Mafia are involved."

Michael Cohn. Phishing Attacks Linked To Organized Crime. Security Pipeline. July 8, 2004.

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July 03, 2004

Canada Shelters ISPs from Copyright Infringement

"Internet service providers cannot be held liable for the copyright infringement of their subscribers, even when a cached copy of a work is held on local servers, a Canadian court has ruled.

"The decision on Wednesday marked an important victory for the country's ISPs, which were worried about being held legally or financially responsible for subscribers' use of peer-to-peer and other music downloading services."

John Borland. Canadian ISPs Win on Copyright Ruling. News.com. June 30, 2004.

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June 30, 2004

Will "De facto" Standards Rule?

"When is a standard not a standard?

"Technology users are pondering that conundrum more and more as the industry moves to technology standards. Most are administered by the World Wide Web Consortium, to ensure interoperability between disparate systems.

"But some of the most common formats in computing veer away from the standards process in one way or another, creating a nebulous area of 'de facto standards' that mix democratic ideals with corporate concerns.

"As a result, these technologies are testing long-held assumptions about the standards process."

David Becker. When Standards Don't Apply. News.com. June 29, 2004.

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June 29, 2004

Internet Attack Disarmed

"Web surfers are no longer playing Russian roulette each time they visit a Web site now that Intenet engineers were able to disarm a Russian server that had been the source for a far-reaching Internet attack.

"Still, Web surfers should take precautions, as the Internet underground is increasingly using this type of attack as a way to get by network defenses and infect officer workers' and home users' computers.

"This stops the problem for the short term," said Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering for Symantec. However, it just takes a new culprit to come along and do the same thing all over again."

Robert Lemos. Web Site Virus Attack Blunted. ZD Net. June 25, 2004.

See Also:
Robert Lemos. Researchers Warn of Infectious Web Sites. News.com. June 25, 2004.
James Niccolai. New Attack Hitting Web Users Through Major Sites. InfoWorld. June 24, 2004.
Dennis Fisher. DoS Attack May Tap Web Graphics Flaw. eWeek. June 24, 2004.
LURHQ Threat Intelligence Group. Berbew/Webber/Padodor Trojan Analysis. June 25, 2004.

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June 21, 2004

Senate Addresses Cybercrime Treaty

"A controversial treaty that is the first to focus on computer crime is inching toward ratification in the U.S. Senate.

"Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at a hearing Thursday that the Council of Europe's cybercrime treaty should be ratified quickly because it 'will help the United States continue to play a leadership role in international law enforcement and will advance the security of Americans at home and abroad.'

"The treaty would require participating nations to update their laws to reflect computer crimes such as unauthorized intrusions into networks, the release of worms and viruses, and copyright infringement. The measure also includes arrangements for mutual assistance and extradition among participating nations."

Declan McCullagh. Senate Debates Cybercrime Treaty. News.com. June 18, 2004.

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June 18, 2004

Canada Becoming Global Hub for Advanced Research Networking

"CANARIE, Inc., Canada's advanced Internet development organization, has selected Nortel Networks Optical Multiservice Edge 6500, an optical convergence solution that provides resilient, secure and scalable broadband connectivity. CANARIE will be using the product to support research in such fields as astronomy, bioinformatics and high energy physics.

"As part of its ongoing work to position Canadians to reap the benefits of the latest technological developments, CANARIE is adding a third 10Gbps wavelength to CAnet 4, the national optical Internet research and education network that interconnects universities, research centers, government research laboratories, schools and other eligible sites nationally and internationally.

"As part of this network expansion, Nortel Networks Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 was chosen to perform SONET/SDH line termination and cross-connecting functions through CANARIE's User Controlled Lightpath software. This feature of CAnet 4 gives end users the ability to provision, partition and allocate network links to other users without involving a central management organization."

Business Wire. CANARIE Expands World's Most Advanced Customer Empowered Research and Education Network Using Nortel Networks Optical Networking Solution . Forbes.com. June 17, 2004.

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June 08, 2004

Foreign Languages for the Mobile Phone

"Foreign language education specialists Berlitz, together with mobile content developers Player X, have launched the world's first foreign language phrase guides for mobile phones.

"The two firms launched the service, initially available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch, in London yesterday. A number of mobile phrase guides are available for different situations under different categories, including holiday phrases, eating out, popular phrases, cool lingo and chat up lines."

Leigh Phillips. Berlitz Launches Foreign Language Phrase Books for Mobiles. Digital Media Europe. June 4, 2004.

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June 05, 2004

UK Economist Rails Against Record Industry

"he copyright lobby has acquired its power because it has persuaded creative people that it defends their interests. I remember upbraiding a colleague who was using pirated software: I argued that we had a common concern to protect intellectual property. But I was mistaken. The law protects computer programs but not the ideas of a think-tank. That is why software businesses are well endowed and think-tanks are not, except for those that lend support to arguments such as those of Mr Munns.

"The claim by the music business to maintain control of every subsequent exploitation of its product has no more moral basis than the claim of a think-tank to control every subsequent expression or development of its ideas. Or the right of Trinity College, Cambridge, to approve every application of calculus, the invention of Isaac Newton, its late employee. Far from stimulating creative effort, such restrictions would paralyse it. The unreasonable nature of the assertion and its unenforceability reinforce each other. This pretty much describes the music industry's situation. So it will be the first industry to be genuinely transformed by the internet."

John Kay. The Music Industry Needs to Change the Record. FT.com. June 2, 2004.

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