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nettime: Censorship/monitoring Europe's internet
Michael van Eeden on Tue, 25 Feb 97 14:02 MET


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nettime: Censorship/monitoring Europe's internet


>[...]
> 
>      European Parliament Launches Internet Censorship Project
> 
>      The European Parliament has awarded Surrey-based Smith
>      System Engineering a contract to investigate the feasibility
>      of jamming or censoring pornography and racism on the
>      Internet. The consultants will work with legal and social
>      policy experts over a period of six months. A recent study,
>      based on one sample of Internet traffic using a European
>      search facility, showed that 47 percent of queries logged by
>      the indexing system were related to pornography. "The
>      passing of pornography and racist material over the Internet
>      has been recognised as a serious social issue by all
>      countries within the EU," said Alan Pitman, project leader.
>      (Financial Times, Britain; February 14, 1997)
>
>[...]
>
>      Activist Groups, InfoTech Industry Urge Monitoring Of Net
> 
>      At the first European conference on pornography on the
>      Internet, human rights activists and the computer industry
>      urged more effective policing of pornography and violence on
>      the Internet. "We acknowledge the problems. We're not
>      abdicating responsibility," said Janet Henderson, lawyer at
>      British Telecommunications (BT). BT has adopted a "taste and
>      decency" policy where illegal material is reported to the
>      Internet Watch Foundation, created last October. But
>      Henderson said ISPs could not be the "moral guardians of the
>      nation." German human rights campaigner Monika Gerstendorfer
>      noted that the Internet made it easier for extremist
>      political organisations to coordinate efforts worldwide.
>      (Reuters News Agency; February 13, 1997)
> 

-- 
Michael van Eeden
mieg {AT} factory.org

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<title>Net Across the World: February 24, 1997</title>
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<strong>a Monday feature</strong>
<p>
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<STRONG><A HREF="mailto:rao {AT} igc.org">by Madanmohan Rao</A></STRONG>
<p>
February 24, 1997</h3>
</center>

<blockquote>

<h3>Webcasting Ushers In New Model Of Information Distribution</h3>

In a world of online traffic congestion and growing competition 
for advertising dollars, software entrepreneurs are borrowing 
from another medium--television--to cut through Web clutter. 
The narrowcasting model of information delivery is transforming 
the Internet into a personal broadcast system, and is hotly 
pursued by companies like Pointcast, BackWeb, Ifusion, Marimba, 
and Netscape. According to the Yankee group, Webcasting may 
generate a third of the $14 billion in Net advertising, 
subscriptions, and retail revenues by the year 2000. Companies 
ranging from ZDNet and the Wall Street Journal to the Samsung New 
Media Group in Korea are experimenting with such "push" systems 
to deliver news and entertainment. Perhaps the most revolutionary 
advance may be the creation of a "whole universe of small-scale broadcast
networks."
(Wired magazine, March 1997; Business Week, February 24, 1997)
<p>
<h3>Online Gaming May Account For 10 Million Households By Year 2000</h3>

According to Jupiter Communications, a market research company, 
online gaming is growing so rapidly that the number of 
households playing will have soared from 800,000 in 1995 to 10 
million by the year 2000. Revenue from gaming may hit US$1.6 
billion in 2000 from a modest $90 million in 1996. Six companies 
offered gaming services in 1993; by 1996, that number rose to 46. 
Factors to boost game growth will be increased PC penetration, 
the growth of ISDN, cable modems, the deregulation of telephone 
companies, and MMX technology. 
(The Age, Australia; February 18, 1997)
<p>
<h3>Row Breaks Out Over Internet Ratings In Australia</h3>

The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) is expected to gain 
control over Australian Internet content later this year. The 
PICS and RSACi (Recreational Software Advisory Council internet) 
systems allow users to select the level of sensitive material 
they are willing to view. Sites self-rate according to preset 
criteria, and it are these criteria that some Australian critics 
feel are "U.S.-centric." A review of RSACi underway could allow 
a local version of RSACi to be more relevant to non-U.S. Internet 
users, the ABA countered. The ABA has provided RSACi with copies 
of the Australian ratings systems now used for film and 
television. 
(The Age, Australia; February 18, 1997)
<p> 
<h3>Internet Accounts For Largest Portion Of Seed Capital</h3>

In 1996, for the first time, venture capitalists surpassed the 
US$2 billion milestone in investing in Silicon Valley. But 
financiers are also demanding tougher business models and 
tempering their expectations of swift returns. The Mercury News/Price
Waterhouse LLP quarterly survey shows that venture capitalists invested
$2.25 billion in 524 separate deals in 
Silicon Valley last year, an increase of 42.6 percent over 1995.  
The increase of $672 million was almost as large as a year's 
investment a dozen years ago.
<p>
Securities Data of New Jersey estimates that the amount of fresh money
committed to venture funds in the United States has grown from $2.5 billion
in 1993 to $5.2 billion in 1996. In the last quarter of 1996, Internet
companies got more than 30 percent of the money in the seed 
capital category, as compared to 25.3 percent in telecommunications and 20.5
percent in biotechnology. Many financiers remain bullish on the future of
the corporate side of the 
Internet phenomenon. "We suspect that there'll be a lot of 
interesting things happening in bandwidth, and Intranet companies 
and electronic commerce," says analyst Tim Draper.
(San Jose Mercury News; February 17, 1997)
<p>
<h3>Internet Creates Opportunities, Challenges For Medical Care</h3>

Some physicians think online discussion groups about medicine and 
health are starting to revolutionise medicine itself. "People do 
have a right to medical information. They'll get it somewhere, 
whether it's over the back fence, at the bowling club, or in the 
Encyclopedia Britannica," says Adrain Cohen, an Australian 
doctor. Automated consultations are one thing, but a site run by 
a U.S. doctor already has a physician on duty 24 hours a day. 
Pages devoted to alternative medicine abound on the Web. <A 
HREF="http://www.cmhc.com" target="_top">Mental Health Net</A> is 
a site packed with information on all kinds of disorders, 
including depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
<p>
There may also be a great future in selling medical products over the 
Net. But the medical profession is also becoming increasingly 
concerned. Plastic surgeon Vic Zielinski warns that "a little 
knowledge is worse than no knowledge at all." Some sites contain 
directly misleading information. Also at issue is the legal 
status of a doctor who gives incorrect information. 
(Sydney Morning Herald; February 18, 1997)
<p>
<h3>European Parliament Launches Internet Censorship Project</h3>

The European Parliament has awarded Surrey-based <A 
 HREF="http://www.smithsys.co.uk/smith/" target="_top">Smith 
System Engineering</A> a contract to investigate the feasibility 
of jamming or censoring pornography and racism on the Internet. 
The consultants will work with legal and social policy experts 
over a period of six months. A recent study, based on one sample 
of Internet traffic using a European search facility, showed that 
47 percent of queries logged by the indexing system were related 
to pornography. "The passing of pornography and racist material 
over the Internet has been recognised as a serious social issue 
by all countries within the EU," said Alan Pitman, project 
leader.
(Financial Times, Britain; February 14, 1997)
<p>
<h3>Japan And Singapore Launch Online Trading System</h3>

Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corporation is to set up what may 
be Asia's first Internet-based electronic trading system in a 
joint venture with Singapore Technologies, the Singapore 
government-owned industrial group. The joint venture, to be named 
Asia Business Venture Holding, will be based in Singapore, with 
branches in Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. 
The system will match buyers and sellers via the Internet, 
arrange for delivery, and clear payments for traders across the 
region. It will be set up by the end of April and start operating 
in March next year, handling exports of used cars from Japan to 
the rest of Asia. Future goods include electronic components, 
construction machinery, oil, and petrochemicals, with traders 
from Europe and the U.S. as well.
(Financial Times, Britain; February 13, 1997)
<p>
<h3>Activist Groups, InfoTech Industry Urge Monitoring Of Net</h3>

At the first European conference on pornography on the Internet, 
human rights activists and the computer industry urged more 
effective policing of pornography and violence on the Internet.
 "We acknowledge the problems. We're not abdicating 
responsibility," said Janet Henderson, lawyer at British 
 Telecommunications (BT). BT has adopted a "taste and decency" 
policy where illegal material is reported to the Internet Watch 
Foundation, created last October. But Henderson said ISPs could 
not be the "moral guardians of the nation." German human rights 
campaigner Monika Gerstendorfer noted that the Internet 
 made it easier for extremist political organisations to 
coordinate efforts worldwide.
(Reuters News Agency; February 13, 1997)
<p>
<h3>Internet Relay Chat Networks Growing But Fragmented</h3>

The number of nonconcurrent IRC users has grown dramatically 
from 2,000 worldwide in 1990 to what is believed to be at least 
half a million people today, excluding corporate Intranets. 
As it has grown, the "world's largest electronic playground" has 
changed and fragmented. IRC was once a large, interconnected network, but a 
schism between U.S. and European operators led to its 
fragmentation into Efnet and Irc Net. There are now at least 45 
different IRC networks, none of which talk to each other. Some 
are local networks, some are international. Commercialisation of 
the Internet in Australia also contributed to the growth of 
smaller local IRC networks and the fragmentation of IRC 
worldwide. 
(The Age, Australia; February 11, 1997)

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