Cyber Ramblings - Jul 25, 2000

25 July 2000
Compiled by Emily DiFilippo

G-8 Announces Call to Action
At a recent meeting of the G-8 nations in Okinawa, Japan, various government leaders, privately owned companies, and universities made plans to help increase Internet and computer technology opportunities in developing nations. The group announced a call to action that included the following steps:

  • Fostering policy, regulatory and network readiness;
  • Expanding basic connectivity to people everywhere;
  • Building human capacity in education and training;
  • Enhancing healthcare and quality of life using information technology; and
  • Create new opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises through e-commerce and e-business.
    The group hopes to at least provide basic connectivity everywhere, as well as to better educate and train people to use Internet technology and it will form a global task force to execute the ideas. This answer to previous requests by the governments of developing nations is hoped to help improve international standards of living and will be implemented by the year 2010.

    White House Outlines Cryptography Policy
    A new White House policy for the export of cryptography products has been introduced. These products do not have to be licensed and can be exported to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, some fifteen states of the EU, and to a few other European nations. Hopefully this will improve e-commerce by making transactions more secure.

    ICANN Prepares to Introduce New Domains
    At a meeting in Yokohama, Japan, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) made plans to introduce a number of new top level Internet domain names. Currently, only seven names exist, including .COM and .ORG. More top-level domain names will mean less competition and more clarity for users. Some proposed names might actually aid users, for example, .TRAVEL. It has been suggested, however, that some of these might bring up issues of trademark infringement. Still, ICANN hopes to start implementing new domain names by the end of this year.

    Lycos Exec Calls on FCC to Control Cyber Crime
    Lycos Chief Executive Bob Davis, though claiming to be "the furthest thing from a puritan," has expressed concern about Internet corruption. He believes that the Federal Communications Commission should be involved in controlling "Internet-based crime," which is broadly defined as the online publication of "hateful and violent speech, as well as illegal pornography." Davis is also worried about organizations like Napster, whose operations may be considered as illegal piracy of copyrighted music. Though everyone wants to maintain free speech on the Web, there are those who feel that some regulation is warranted

    WHO Warns that Cell Phones Could Be Dangerous
    The National Brain Tumor Foundation says that it receives numerous concerned calls inquiring as to whether cell phones increase the risk of brain cancer. Senator Tom Hayden of California even introduced a bill, which would mandate research on this subject. The World Health Organization (WHO) is conducting multi-national research to see if a connection exists. As of now, the cause of brain tumors is largely unknown, but there is evidence that radio frequencies such as the kind emitted by cellular phones can cause damage to animal cells. Statistics also prove that instances of brain cancer have been increasing in recent years. There is no hard proof that cell phones cause cancer, but there is also no proof that they do not. WHO suggests that hands-free phones are safer than standard hand-held models and that users should limit call time.

    UK Telcom Expands
    U.K. telecommunications group Cable & Wireless PLC is completing its European acquisition program having spent a total of $650 million US dollars. The company has purchased five Internet-related businesses for US$100 million. Now they can offer a "unique set of Internet Protocol services."