FoE logoThe Freedom of Expression Project

Challenges and opportunities for freedom of expression in the networked environment

News Stories (18th - 24th July 2007)

info: Submitted by Lisa Horner on Tue, 2007-07-31 09:30.

Information and debate

US Democrats hold YouTube debate
The public have submitted questions to presidential candidates online via YouTube with the resulting debate broadcast on CNN. However, this is less radical than it might at first appear as questions of gate-keeping by major corporations through the selection of questions remain.

Democracy

Chinese internet censors blamed for e-mail chaos
The Chinese government has been accused of disrupting e-mail services as part of their efforts to rid the internet of ‘unhealthy’ content.

Senate Majority Leader goes online to forge bill
Commentators ask whether moves by the Senate Majority Leader in the US to open broadband legislation up to online discussion represents the democratisation of democracy.

Culture and Education

US publisher takes action over Harry Potter leak
Online breaches of the embargo on the new Harry Potter book raise questions about the relevance of traditional business models for arts and culture industries to the networked communications environment.

Music file-sharers get boost in top EU court
The debate over how much responsibility internet service providers have for the activities of their subscribers continues with the EU ruling that a Spanish ISP is not required to hand over details about their users to a music company, regardless of suspicions of illegal file-sharing. Meanwhile, a Belgian court has made a contrary ruling that ISPs should filter out illegal music downloads from its services..

Elsewhere, anti-piracy groups are campaigning for Google to take responsibility for pirated content available through their search engines.

Microsoft accelerates free access to journals
Discussions are underway at Microsoft to give technical assistance for open access to journals for researchers in the developing world.

Drivers of change

‘$100 laptop’ production begins
The One Laptop Per Child initiative’s affordable laptops have gone into production, due to be available by October this year.

Search sites tackle privacy fears
Search engine users have pushed search companies to address their concerns over privacy. Could this be a step towards making ‘applications’ companies more accountable?
Elsewhere, Google is looking to move into wireless service provision in the USA

EU backs standard for mobile TV
The telecoms commissioner at the EU has called on member states to adopt a common standard for mobile TV to ensure that the EU remains competitive in the global marketplace.