Cyber Ramblings - Jun 27, 2000

27 June 2000
Banks May Assign Digital Signatures
The American Bankers Association is developing plans that would make Trust ID available to its member institutions. Using Trust ID will enhance a bank's ability to know its customers, and would allow each bank to decide whether a customer could receive Trust ID certificates, a form of digital certificate.

AOL Launches AOLTV
Looking to chow down on its own fat slice the interactive TV market, America Online, Inc., has launched AOLTV--an interactive television service for mass-market consumers. Viewers can watch television while choosing from a range of AOL interactive features and content, such as email and instant messaging. Service is provided through an easy-to-use set-top box and a wireless keyboard or remote control. AOLTV is making its debut in select cities including Phoenix, Sacramento and Baltimore.

NY Electronic Signature Bill Signed Electronically
When the New York state government presented the new E-Commerce Initiative for Governor Pataki's signature, he provided it using electronic signature technology instead of the more commonly used ink pen. Pataki used PenOp (R) Signature software to securely and electronically sign a MS Word document with a pressure pad and pen-like stylus manufactured by Wacom Technologies Corporation. "Electronic signatures will usher in an era of paperless processes that will streamline the work of government institutions, businesses, and individuals," commented PenOp CEO Howard Schecter.

China Proposes Online Advertising Legislation
The Chinese government is developing regulations to prevent fraudulent advertising and other Internet advertising abuses for introduction late this year, NewsEdge Corporation reported. Already, the government has begun revising current law targeting electronic crimes. Soon, only officially licensed businesses will be able to advertise on the Internet, said an official from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.

Is the COPA Unconstitutional?
The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) may be ruled unconstitutional, following appeals by opponents of the new law. COPA requires online sites to verify the age of users before providing content that may be considered harmful to minors. A decision by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that COPA's requirements are economically unfeasible for many site operators to enforce, and could cause these sites to lose users who don't want to provide the necessary proof. One Circuit judge called the law "Congress' laudatory attempt to achieve its compelling objective of protecting minors from harmful material on the World Wide Web," according to an AP story. Should the bill be struck down, another bill that addresses the Constitutional objections is likely to be introduced.

Concerns Among the Russian Media
Members of Russia's media are leery of the new "information security doctrine" that was recently approved by President Vladimir Putin's Security Council. Few details about the doctrine have been released, but many critics believe it will force the media to become a propaganda machine for the government, as happened under Soviet rule. Decisions from the Security Council are not legally binding, although presidential decrees--which need no legislative approval--frequently are the result of the Council's decisions. Government authorities, however, have said the doctrine is merely designed to fight computer hacking and other Internet crime.

No More Cookies from U.S. Government Sites
The Clinton administration this week forbade government Internet sites to track computer users through the use of cookies, without a "compelling need to gather the data." The cookie ban has been extended to government contractors' sites as well. At least one government site used the services of DoubleClick to track who clicked on ads that linked to a government drug policy site called "Freevibe," according to AP reports.