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 Monday, October 25, 2010

As technology advances, children are becoming quite adept at using smart phones, surfing the web, posting pictures, etc. So it may be important to sit your child down and teach them one quick lesson about the Internet:

What happens on the Internet, Stays on the Internet…FOREVER

And as parents, before you hand over that phone to provide some extra entertainment when you get stuck in line at a restaurant, you may want to make sure all other applications are locked down, you have signed out of your email and other social networking sites, and that before anything can be sent a passwords must be entered.

 

(Source: Infosec Island)

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Infosec Island

Monday, October 25, 2010 4:23:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 14, 2010

INTERPOL has launched an international initiative which will see the world police body provide a list of Internet domains containing severe child sexual abuse content to Internet Access Service Providers (ASPs) voluntarily participating in the scheme to reduce the availability of such material on the Web. Under the scheme, Internet users attempting to access severe child abuse material on the web will be re-directed away, either to an INTERPOL stop page or to an error page.

INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Human Beings unit, which steers the world police body’s combat against child sexual exploitation, will work with the Organization’s National Central Bureaus and international police forces amongst its 188 member countries in updating and enlarging this “Worst of” list of domains containing severe child sexual abuse material, according to criteria defined in collaboration with the pan-European police project CIRCAMP – the COSPOL (Comprehensive Operational Strategic Planning for the Police) Internet Related Child Abusive Material Project.

 

(Source: Interpol)

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Interpol

Thursday, October 14, 2010 12:59:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PRE-TEENS should not be on Facebook, insists Queensland Premier Anna Bligh - and the social networking site needs to work harder at enforcing the 13-year age limit. "I think that parents are right when they say that primary school children should not be on Facebook and I support Queensland parents when they say that Facebook needs to do more to address their legitimate fears," Ms Bligh said. "Vigilant parents can email the company if their child is under 13 and the child's site will be shut down.

''Unfortunately, there really is nothing to stop their child setting up another site." Sandy White from Norman Park in Brisbane's inner east is the mother of Thomas, 13, and Ryan, 12. She believes the number of primary school children using Facebook is growing. "I do not allow my boys to have a Facebook account, even though they would love to. It seems the norm these days is for children as young as 10 or 11 to join up but I believe that children of that young age are defenceless to predators.

 

(Source: Queensland Newspapers)

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Queensland Newspapers

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 9:43:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Adult websites and applications are too easily accessible to adolescent smartphone users, with the Korean government unable to censor materials uploaded from foreign soil, a lawmaker said Monday. Rep. Han Sun-kyo of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) said that smartphone users, including minors, can access many applications containing sex-related material and games. “Internet users cannot search sites containing adult materials by typing in sex-related words. But if you do that in the App Store and Google-backed Android market, you get up to 900 X-rated applications,” he said during the National Assembly’s audit of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports. In particular, those who are over 17 can download adult content from the App Store, Han said. “Even if they are minors, they can have access to adult content as long as they type in passwords and click the approve button.” Among the most downloaded applications, one involving sex acts ranked 40th, he said, stressing there are even applications allowing smartphone users to view adult video clips by providing their uniform resource locators (URL).

“The Korea Communication Standards Commission (KOCSC) has recently decided to tighten applications on App Store and other online open application markets, believing there is too much sex-related material. But it is not certain that the commission will be able to apply local regulations to foreign companies,” the lawmaker said.

 

(Source: The Korea Times)

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The Korea Times

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 9:41:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Addiction counsellors have told Newsbeat they're seeing more cases of people worried about being hooked on playing video games. There are now calls for the gaming industry to offer more support to people who can't switch off. Technology or computer addiction isn't officially recognised as a clinical condition. But the group representing games companies admits there needs to be more research into the problem.

"Most of the people that are getting into difficulties tend to be in their teenage years and early 20s. "As that generation moves through and others come on behind, I think the problem is going to get bigger."

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 4:01:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 05, 2010

500 million users worldwide and still growing, Facebook is now ubiquitous. Because of its popularity, minors have jumped onto the social media bandwagon, too, and they use networking the same way adults do--to share pictures, connect with friends, organize events, and play social games. And that can be a problem.

For the most part, Facebook provides a fun and safe way for users of all ages to communicate with their pals. But because kids and teens are, well, kids and teens, they're the ones most at risk of falling victim to the dangers of Facebook. With a bit of strategic parental guidance, you can educate your kids about the potential hazards of social media and give them the tools they need to protect themselves from online predators, guard their personal information, preserve their online reputation, and avoid suspicious downloads that could harm your PC.

 

(Source: PC World)

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PC World

Tuesday, October 05, 2010 11:42:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 23, 2010

Students awaiting loans and grants should watch out for scam emails asking for bank details, Student Finance England warns Students were today warned to beware of scam emails purporting to be about loans and grants, after it emerged that 50 phishing websites targeting young people have been shut down during the last year.

Hundreds of thousands of people are starting university in the coming weeks, and Student Finance England, which processes English students' loans and grants, today urged students to "remain vigilant" and not disclose any personal or bank details in response to email requests that look like they are from either itself or its parent company, the Student Loans Company. Student Finance England expects to make payments to more than 600,000 students this week, and fraudsters are taking advantage of the timing to target students who are waiting for money to arrive. Heather Laing, its fraud manager, said: "Students are likely to receive a great deal of correspondence from Student Finance England at this time, with payment schedule letters or letters requesting further information coming through the door. Some students may fall victim to an email request that looks to be from Student Finance England or the Student Loans Company asking for confirmation of bank details. However, we will never ask students to confirm their bank details via email. If they do receive such a request, they should forward it on to us to investigate."

 

(Source: Guardian)

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Guardian

Thursday, September 23, 2010 3:23:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

For the 10th eLearning Awards, European Schoolnet and ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency, announce a new prize category called "Teaching online safety and citizenship".

The rapid spread of internet use among young people is making it essential to address eSafety and ePrivacy, in order to protect young people from online risks and threats and to prepare them to use digital technologies in a secure and responsible way. As a major European actor for eSafety and ePrivacy, ENISA highly encourages all teachers to address these issues with their young students. “Young people and children are today amongst the biggest user groups of online technologies in Europe. It is important to equip them with the skills and knowledge to stay safe online,” said Dr Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of ENISA.

 

(Source: ENISA)

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ENISA

Thursday, September 23, 2010 3:06:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harrisburg University has banned these social media sites, as well as MySpace and AOL Instant Messenger, for one week on the Pennsylvania campus, starting September 13.

The ban is not because of any security or privacy issue. Rather, it is an experiment to make students and faculty members think about the significance of social media and how best to benefit from this channel in its absence. "We're not trying to stop all access to these sites," says Charles Palmer, executive director of the Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies. "We're trying to enhance people's ability to reflect on how technology impacts their daily lives and really generate valuable conversations." According to Jeffery Mechling, a prominent author and lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, "People depend a lot on those they trust. Making those connections easier is powerful, as social media have demonstrated. But this is a new phenomenon, so studying and understanding better is valuable."

 

(Source: Bank Info Security)

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Bank Info Security

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 4:42:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes it's a story of a grown woman who has chosen prostitution as a path to a better life. More often, it's a story of a woman being forced to sell her body by a pimp. And then there are the children, and the mothers that miss them.

"They told me to look on Craigslist and it almost blew my mind," the mother of one missing 12-year-old told CNN. "She was there with a wig on. She was there in a purple negligee. The same day the woman spoke to CNN, her daughter was rescued by police at a seedy hotel near Washington where she was being sold for sex. And she's not alone. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website contains thousands of posters of missing children. Many are girls, classified as "endangered runaways," and the center says more than fifty of them have been pushed into the sex trade. But that's just a snapshot, a tiny indicator of the true scale of the problem.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:57:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 13, 2010

With its millions of users, the world’s most popular social network has become a perfect target for hackers exploiting such a dense concentration of potential victims. Apart from phishing attacks or spam, which are now easily recognized by many Internet users, hackers are employing new methods, which for the moment at least, are proving to be successful. What to do if your Facebook profile has been hacked

Step 1: Firstly, remove all permissions that have been given to the malicious application. This is a simple process: from Account > Application settings in the top-right corner of your Facebook profile. This ensures that the application will not continue to have access to your profile once the password is changed.

Step 2: Change the login password! To keep your identity safe, it is advisable to change your password and the user name (it’s a good idea to do this from time to time anyway). This is also easy: Go to Account > and Account Settings in the menu in the top left corner of your Facebook profile. It is also advisable to use strong passwords that cannot easily be guessed.

 

(Source: Panda Security)

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Panda Security

Monday, September 13, 2010 5:45:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Safer Internet Forum has been organized by the Safer Internet Programme as an annual conference on safer internet issues since 2004. It brings together representatives of industry, law enforcement authorities, child welfare organizations and policy makers. The past editions of the Safer Internet Forum have welcomed guests not only from Europe, but also from countries such as Australia, Brazil or the Russian Federation.

The 2010 edition of the Safer Internet Forum will take place in Luxembourg on the 21-22 October. This year the Safer Internet Forum will focus on the results of two major research projects funded by the Safer Internet Programme: EUKidsOnline II, which surveyed children and parents in 25 European countries about internet use, and European Online Grooming Project, the first European research project that studies the characteristics and behaviour of sexual offenders who have used the internet to groom young people.

 

(Source: Europe's Information Society)

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Europe's Information Society

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 10:57:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Zealand has joined a global taskforce to fight online child exploitation. Police Superintendent Win Van Der Velde today signed an agreement with the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) board in Rome. VGT is made up of international law enforcement agencies, and Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope said joining strengthened an already firm resolve to tackle the online abuse of children. Police will collaborate with VGT through its Online Child Abuse Exploitation Squad (OCEANZ). VGT is chaired by the Australian Federal Police.

 

(Source: New Zealand Herald)

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New Zealand Herald

Thursday, June 17, 2010 4:35:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

 

(Source: Baltimore FBI)

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Baltimore FBI

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 4:59:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 10, 2010

Driven by the popularity of online video among 18-29 year-olds, there have been dramatic increases since 2007 in the number of American adults watching:

  • Comedy or humorous videos, rising in viewership from 31% of adult internet users in 2007 to 50% of adult internet users in the current survey
  • Educational videos, rising in viewership from 22% to 38% of adult internet users
  • Movies or TV show videos, rising in viewership from 16% to 32% of adult internet users
  • Political videos, rising in viewership from 15% to 30% of adult internet users

One in seven adult internet users (14%) have uploaded a video to the internet, almost double the 8% who were uploading video in 2007. Home video is far and away the most popular content posted online, shared by 62% of video uploaders. And uploaders are just as likely to share video on social networking sites like Facebook (52% do this) as they are on more specialized video-sharing sites like YouTube (49% do this).

(Source: Pew Research Center)

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Pew Research Center

Thursday, June 10, 2010 2:37:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Internet security firm Sophos has warned Facebook users to be on the alert for a scam which sends a spam message to all of their friends on the social network. Sophos, in a pair of blog posts late Monday, said "hundreds of thousands" of Facebook users have fallen for the scam which it dubbed "likejacking." It said some Facebook users had received a message such as "This man takes a picture of himself EVERYDAY for 8 YEARS!!" and were encouraged to click on a link. "This of course posts a message to your newsfeed, your friends see it and click on it, and so it spreads," Sophos said.

That followed a similar scam that spread on Facebook the week before involving a fake posting tagged as the "sexiest video ever," according to Sophos.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Wednesday, June 02, 2010 1:50:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 28, 2010

"People that play these fast-paced games have better vision, better attention and better cognition," said Daphne Bavelier, an assistant professor in the department of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester. Bavelier was being a presenter at Games for Learning, a daylong symposium on the educational uses of video games and computer games. The event, the first of its kind, was an indication that electronic games are gaining legitimacy in the classroom.

President Barack Obama recently identified the creation of good educational software as one of the "grand challenges for American innovation," and the federal Department of Education's assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement, Jim Shelton, was to attend Thursday's conference. Panelists were to discuss how people learn and how games can be engineered to be even more educational. "People do learn from games,"

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Friday, May 28, 2010 3:21:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 27, 2010

It might go against conventional wisdom, but a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project is adding fuel to the argument that young people are fast becoming the gurus of online reputation management, especially when it comes to social networking sites. Among other things, the study found that they are most likely to limit personal information online — and the least likely to trust free online services ranging from Facebook to LinkedIn and MySpace.

Marlene McManus, 21, is among those young adults. On the job hunt since graduating from Clark University in Massachusetts, she's been "scouring" her Facebook page, removing photos that contain beer cups and any other signs of college exploits. She's also dropped Twitter altogether. "I have to present a public face that doesn't have the potential to hurt my image," McManus says.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Thursday, May 27, 2010 4:51:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the Internet social network will roll out new privacy settings for its more than 400 million users, amid growing concerns that the company is pushing users to make more of their personal data public. "Many of you thought our controls were too complex," said Zuckerberg in an opinion piece published on Monday in The Washington Post.

"Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark," said the 26-year-old Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook in his Harvard dorm room in 2004. In the coming weeks, Zuckerberg promised, Facebook will add privacy controls that he said would be much simpler to use. Facebook will also give users an easy way to turn off all third-party services, Zuckerberg said.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 5:17:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thousands of people have paid tribute on Facebook to an Australian teenager allegedly lured to her death by a man she met on the social networking site. The body of Nona Belomesoff was found two days after she went on a trip with the man, who told her they were going to rescue injured animals, police say. A 20-year-old man has been charged with Ms Belomesoff's murder at a creek south of Sydney.

Detectives say the case reinforces the need for vigilance when using Facebook. Ms Belomesoff, 18, is believed to have befriended Christopher James Dannevig, who police say set up a fake Facebook profile in which he claimed to work for an animal welfare group.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 4:44:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 07, 2010

As much heat as Facebook has taken recently for its privacy policies and the freedom with which it shares data across the Web and around the world, Facebook is still not the biggest threat to online privacy--you are. A study by Consumer Reports illustrates that users are really their own worst enemy when it comes to online privacy.

Here are some of the key findings of the Consumer Reports survey: • A projected 1.7 million online households had experienced online identity theft in the past year. • An estimated 5.4 million online consumers submitted personal information to e-mail (phishing) scammers during the past two years. • Among adult social network users, 38 percent had posted their full birth date, including year. Forty-five percent of those with children had posted their children's photos. And 8% had posted their own street address. • An estimated 5.1 million online households had experienced some type of abuse on a social network in the past year, including malware infections, scams, and harassment.

 

(Source: PC World)

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PC World

Friday, May 07, 2010 1:37:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 23, 2010

Facebook brings families closer together. But as with any medium, Facebook is sometimes abused, occasionally to damaging effect. The Facebook Privacy Settings options let you control who has access to your personal information. The page includes a Block List that prevents contact with the people and e-mail addresses you specify without their knowledge.

The Safety for Parents section of the Safety Center describes what to do if your child views inappropriate content on a Facebook page, how to help a child report abusive conduct, and how to delete an account of a child under the age of 13. Much of the information in this section parrots the entries on the Safety for Teens page, but it does include links to in-depth articles by Common Sense Media on security for teens online.

 

(Source: CNet News)

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CNet News

Friday, April 23, 2010 12:37:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Text messaging rises sharply among teens and is now their most frequent form of communication with friends. 72% of those ages 12-17 now are texters and the average young text user exchanges 1,500 texts per month.

Cell phones are mixed blessing to American families, bringing safety and connection along with disruption and irritation. Daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months from 38% of teens texting friends daily in February of 2008, to 54% of teens texting daily in September 2009. In fact, text messaging has become the most frequent way that teens reach their friends, surpassing face-to-face meetings, email, instant messaging and voice calling as a daily communications tool. However, cell phone calling is still the preferred mode that teens use to connect with their parents.

 

(Source: Pew Research Center)

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Pew Research Center

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 10:25:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Police hunting a hacker who had attacked a US school's systems found themselves cornering a "very intelligent" 9 year old instead, it has emerged. When passwords for teachers at Spring Hill Elementary, Virginia, were changed without authorisation the school board initially thought a hacker had broken into the school district's Blackboard system. Police were called in to investigate in mid-March and were quickly able to trace the incident back to a PC at the home of a 9 year-old school student.

The youngster's mother was initially chief suspect in the hack but after speaking to her and and her son police came to the surprising conclusion that they were dealing with a 'kindergarden' hacker.

 

(Source: The Register)

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The Register

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:29:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 19, 2010

Is it cyberbullying if kids post mean comments and then say they were “just joking”? Is it wrong for a boy to pressure his girlfriend to send racy text messages? For teenagers, these questions don’t necessarily have clear answers. Associated Press MTV is trying to get teens themselves to support each other in standing up to behavior that crosses over into “digital abuse” — use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass and intimidate people.

The network introduced a new online tool called Over the Line this week that allows young people to post about their problem and have peers say whether the behavior is acceptable. The posts and comments are moderated, to make sure bullying doesn’t become a problem in the tool itself.

 

(Source: The Wall Street Journal)

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The Wall Street Journal

Monday, April 19, 2010 1:23:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 16, 2010

The report, from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania, is among the first quantitative studies looking at young people's attitudes toward privacy as government officials and corporate executives alike increasingly grapple with such issues.

Among the findings:

• Most people — 86 percent — believe that anyone who posts a photo or video of them on the Internet should get their permission first, even if that photo was taken in public. Among young adults 18 to 24, 84 percent agreed — not far from the 90 percent among those 45 to 54.

• Forty percent of adults ages 18 to 24 believe executives should face jail time if their company uses someone's personal information illegally — the same as the response among those 35 to 44 years old.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Friday, April 16, 2010 10:39:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cell phones, texting, IM, e-mail, Facebook, MySpace -- kids are interconnected today in ways hardly imagined two decades ago. But these technology-based communication platforms also enable new forms of an age-old parenting strategy: monitoring your kids.

Is it any easier to put the proper measures in place to ensure your child's security since you already have an expertise in this area? Or do you go overboard because of you are hyperattuned to risk? And what is the right balance of freedom and guidance to provide for kids? Turns out it was tricky issue before social networking, and remains tricky now. Here are views and strategies collected from an array of security professionals.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 4:33:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A British child protection agency said it has pressed Facebook to add "panic buttons" to its pages after the murder of a teenager was linked to the site. Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), said the social networking giant did not agree to his demands outright at a meeting in Washington but he felt they were moving in the right direction. Speaking after a four-hour meeting Monday, Gamble said Facebook was close to "doing the right thing" but urged the website to turn "words into action."

Calls have since grown for the inclusion of the buttons -- which allow youngsters who feel threatened online to quickly contact a number of sources of help, such as CEOP or anti-bullying helplines. Politicians, police and anti-bullying groups have voiced outrage that the online giant will not bow to demands to include the system.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 10:05:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 12, 2010

The case of a teenager in Massachusetts who killed herself after a relentless, months-long bullying campaign shows how the common schoolyard behavior is evolving in dangerous new ways online.

Six students face felony charges in the death of Phoebe Prince, 15, who hanged herself in January after being subjected to verbal assault and threats of physical harm. Some harassment occurred online on Facebook, in text messages and in other high-tech forms, a contemporary development in the age-old practice, experts said.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters

Monday, April 12, 2010 2:18:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 08, 2010

Suing your parents isn't just for celebrities anymore--a 16-year-old Arkansas boy is suing his mother for hacking into his Facebook account and allegedly posting slanderous remarks. ATV-TV reports that Denise New of Arkadelphia is facing harassment charges from her 16-year-old. Her son, who lives with his grandmother, also requested a no-contact order. Prior to this issue, New and her son reportedly had a "great relationship," despite their living arrangements.

According to the boy, his mother hacked into his Facebook and email accounts, then changed both passwords. She also allegedly posted remarks that involved slander and information about his personal life. New admits to changing the passwords, but denies hacking--she claims he left his account logged in on her computer.

 

(Source: PC World)

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PC World

Thursday, April 08, 2010 3:38:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 23, 2010

International police agency Interpol launched Monday a "most wanted" site for suspected child sex offenders across the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialised nations. The "G8 Wanted Child Sex Offender" site, accessible via Interpol's homepage (www.interpol.int), draws together information from G8 members the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

It includes photographs of people wanted on charges of abuse and enables the public to access to information about how to report missing sex offenders who may have crossed borders.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 4:13:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Internet was built on freedom of expression. Society wants someone held accountable when that freedom is abused. And major Internet companies like Google and Facebook are finding themselves caught between those ideals. Such may have been the case when three Google executives were convicted in Milan, Italy on February 24 over a bullying video posted on the site -- a verdict greeted with horror by online activists, who fear it could open the gates to such prosecutions and ultimately destroy the Internet itself.

Matt Sucherman, a Google vice president and general counsel, wrote in a blog post that the company was "deeply troubled" by the case, saying it "attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built."

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 12:09:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 22, 2010

An online survey of 895 Web users and experts found more than three-quarters believe the Internet will make people smarter in the next 10 years, according to results released on Friday. Most of the respondents also said the Internet would improve reading and writing by 2020, according to the study, conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University in North Carolina and the Pew Internet and American Life project.

"Three out of four experts said our use of the Internet enhances and augments human intelligence, and two-thirds said use of the Internet has improved reading, writing and the rendering of knowledge," said study co-author Janna Anderson, director of the Imagining the Internet Center.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters

Monday, February 22, 2010 4:55:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 15, 2010

A man has appeared before magistrates in Truro charged with four sex offences following an investigation into children being groomed on the internet. Michael Williams, 28, of Tresooth Lane, Penryn, was charged with sexual assault and grooming a girl under 16 and two counts of making indecent images. The inquiry centres around pupils from Falmouth School and Penryn College. Mr Williams, who was remanded in custody, is not a teacher and is not directly connected with the schools. Letters have been sent to parents of pupils at Falmouth School and Penryn College informing them of the investigation.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Monday, February 15, 2010 2:25:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 12, 2010

50% of European teenagers give out personal information on the web – according to an EU study – which can remain online forever and can be seen by anybody. Today, Safer Internet Day, the European Commission is passing a message to teenagers: "Think before you post!" It welcomed actions to protect children using social networking websites taken by the 20 companies who signed the Safer Social Networking Principles last year (IP/09/232 ).

Most of these companies have empowered minors to tackle online risks by making it easier to change privacy settings, block users or delete unwanted comments and content. Yet more needs to be done to protect children online, the Commission says. Less than half of social networking companies (40%) make profiles of under-18 users visible only to their friends by default and only one third replied to user reports asking for help.

 

(Source: Europa)

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Europa

Friday, February 12, 2010 2:22:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 08, 2010

Nearly 500 teachers are meeting in Seville to celebrate the fifth anniversary of eTwinning, an action that creates online communities of teachers and schools across Europe. Through eTwinning, over 85 000 teachers from across Europe work together in international school activities involving more than 50 000 schools in 32 European countries. In the five years of its existence, eTwinning has grown from being a partner-finding tool for teachers to become a rich, Europe-wide community of teaching and learning ( www.etwinning.net ).

On 5 February, a prize ceremony is being held for 37 schools from 21 countries that are the top winners of this year's eTwinning Awards for excellence in eTwinning.

 

(Source: Europa)

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Europa

Monday, February 08, 2010 4:18:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If you have thousands of friends on Facebook, most of them are not your real friends, reports The Sunday Times of London.

According to a recent study by Oxford University professor of Evolutionary Anthropology Robin Dunbar, a human brain is limited to keeping up with about 150 meaningful relationships, regardless of how many Facebook friends you might have. This is in line with Dunbar's earlier research on the matter, in which he concludes that there exists a theoretical "sweet spot" for the number of relationships a human can effectively manage. Throughout history, people have formed social groupings of about 150, as larger groupings quickly begin to deteriorate and lose social cohesion.

 

(Source: PC World)

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PC World

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 1:57:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A man who ran a music-sharing website with almost 200,000 members has been found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud at Teesside Crown Court. Alan Ellis, 26, was the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for illegal file-sharing. He operated the site, called Oink, from his flat in Middlesbrough from 2004 until it was closed down in a police raid in October 2007. In that time Oink facilitated the download of 21 million music files.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 4:30:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 14, 2010

With communications in Haiti ravaged by an earthquake, tech-savvy residents turned to Twitter to send pictures and news of the destruction while others used the Web service to mobilize appeals for aid.

Harrowing personal accounts, heart-rending pictures and rallying cries for relief for quake-ravaged Haiti spread swiftly on Twitter as the microblogging platform once again became a key communications tool during disaster. Haiti solidarity groups sprang up on social network Facebook, meanwhile, including one that quickly attracted more than 142,000 members, and video of the aftermath of the 7.0-magnitude quake appeared on YouTube.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Thursday, January 14, 2010 11:41:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Facebook is trying to strengthen security on its Web site with some outside help. Computer security company McAfee Inc. will now scan and repair the computers of Facebook users whose accounts have been compromised, the company said Wednesday. The scanning process will be added to the steps that Facebook already makes the users of such accounts go through if they want to reclaim their pages.

Facebook says spam and viruses affect a tiny percentage of its users. But hackers are increasingly targeting the social sites as they become a core part of the Web. Spokesman Barry Schnitt said Facebook spends a lot of time and resources to keep users' accounts secure.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Thursday, January 14, 2010 10:50:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Despite the prevalence and popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, almost a third of respondents said that they preferred to meet friends face-to-face, although 44 percent said the internet made it easier to keep in touch with them. More than seven in 10 children said their most common use of the Internet was for gaming, while 59 percent said that they used the worldwide web in the course of doing their homework. The youngsters from Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Poland also expressed a strong sense of social responsibility, with 90 percent saying it was important to look after the planet, and 74 percent saying they recycled regularly.

They've never known a world without the Internet, but they still prefer to meet their friends offline.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:10:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Violent video games have "a much bigger negative influence on kids" than pornography, a leading porn star has claimed. He said parents should be more worried about the harmful effects of such games. Mr Jeremy's comments were made at a session called the Great Porn Debate during the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, in Las Vegas. His comments angered gamers, who accused him of "ignorance".

Mr Jeremy also urged parents to play their part in preventing children from accessing adult websites. He said the industry already does all it can to protect youngsters. "Parents can block this stuff and need to stop blaming porn for a bad case of parenting," Mr Jeremy told BBC News.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 3:35:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 07, 2010

Got an e-mail list of customers or readers and want to know more about each such as their full name, friends, gender, age, interests, location, job and education level? Facebook has just the free feature you're looking for, thanks to its recent privacy changes. The hack, first publicized by blogger Max Klein, repurposes a Facebook feature that lets people find their friends on Facebook by scanning through e-mail addresses in their contact list.

Using a simple scraping tool, a marketer could then turn a list of e-mail addresses into a rich, full-fledged set of marketing profiles, with names, pictures, ages, locations, interests, photos, wall posts, affiliations and names of your friends, depending on how users have their profiles set.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Thursday, January 07, 2010 11:19:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 04, 2010

Thanks to efforts from Microsoft Research, criminals involved in child-exploitation will have less places to hide, especially when it comes down to the nooks and crannies of the Internet. Ernie Allen, president and CEO of National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) notes that while the Internet has created new opportunities for pedophiles to access content in the privacy of their own homes, and to expose themselves less to the risks associated with their illegal activities, work has been done to identify them and bring them to justice. At the same time, PhotoDNA is designed to help stop the distribution of child-exploitation images across the web.

NCMEC will be using a technology donated by Microsoft in order to produce blueprints of known images of children abuse.

 

(Source: Softpedia)

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Softpedia

Monday, January 04, 2010 11:41:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thirty percent of 17-year-olds with cell phones have received sexting photos or videos, while eight percent have sent them, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. What's more, four percent of 12- to 17-year-olds admit they have texted sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of themselves to someone else. Another 15 percent said they have received such images.

Meanwhile, laws and law-enforcement practices have emerged around sexting. The Pew report notes that some law-enforcement officers and district attorneys have begun prosecuting teens who create and share such images under laws generally reserved for producers and distributors of child pornography.

 

(Source: News Factor)

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News Factor

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:25:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Australia said Tuesday it would push ahead with a mandatory China-style plan to filter the Internet, despite widespread criticism that it will strangle free speech and is doomed to fail.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said new laws would be introduced to ban access to "refused classification" (RC) sites featuring criminal content such as child sex abuse, bestiality, rape and detailed drug use. Blacklisted sites would be determined by an independent classification body via a "public complaint" process, said Conroy, admitting there was "no silver bullet solution to cyber-safety".

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3:23:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lessons in using the internet safely are set to become a compulsory part of the curriculum for primary school children in England from 2011.

The lessons are one element of a new government strategy being unveiled called "Click Clever, Click Safe". Children will also be encouraged to follow an online "Green Cross Code" and block and report inappropriate content. The measures have been drawn up by the UK Council on Child Internet Safety, a new body comprising 140 organisations. The campaign intends to encourage children to not give out personal information on the web, block unwanted messages on social networks and report any inappropriate behaviour to the appropriate bodies, which may include the website, teachers or even police.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 2:08:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 03, 2009

The 13-year-old Florida girl sent a topless photo of herself to a boy in hope of gaining his attention. Instead, she got the attention of her school, as well as the high school nearby. The incessant bullying by classmates that followed when the photo spread put an emotional weight upon Hope that she ultimately could not bear.

Her death is only the second known case of a suicide linked to bullying after “sexting” — the practice of transmitting sexual messages or images electronically. In March, 18-year-old Jesse Logan killed herself in the face of a barrage of taunts when an ex-boyfriend forwarded explicit photos of her following their split. “As far as training them on the Internet and what to look at and what not to look at, yeah, we talked about it,”

 

(Source: MSNBC)

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MSNBC

Thursday, December 03, 2009 10:06:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 26, 2009

The European Union’s first dedicated NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online (eNACSO) launched its Digital Manifesto on 14 November 2009 during the Internet Governance Forum(IGF) in Egypt. ‘The global nature of the internet places a particular responsibility on international institutions and governments to take action at national and international level to ensure children are safe online’ says Dieter Carstensen, eNACSO Chair.

The Digital Manifesto will form part of eNACSO’s ‘Agenda for Action’ document which will be launched in Brussels in May 2010.

 

(Source: eNACSO)

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eNACSO

 

Thursday, November 26, 2009 4:24:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 25, 2009

That television set you discourage your children from watching may not be the greatest threat to their wellbeing. Instead, the mobile phone is the gateway in introducing children to the world of cyberspace, posing a great risk to their safety, a lobby group said Tuesday.

According to The Cradle, the unmonitored use of technology is increasingly exposing youngsters to the risk of harm and violence. "Only 24 per cent of children in the study reported to their parents or an authority of online or cell phone harassment,” Cradle programme manager Brian Weke told journalists. The study also revealed that 77 out of the 96, who had the incidences reported to them, took no action and ignored the seriousness of the matter.

 

(Source: Daily Nation)

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Daily Nation

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:51:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 23, 2009

A Canadian woman on long-term sick leave for depression says she lost her benefits because her insurance agent found photos of her on Facebook in which she appeared to be having fun.

Nathalie Blanchard has been on leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Quebec, for the last year. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday she was diagnosed with major depression and was receiving monthly sick-leave benefits from insurance giant Manulife. But the payments dried up this fall and when Blanchard called Manulife, she says she was told she was available to work because of Facebook.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Monday, November 23, 2009 2:53:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 19, 2009

The world's biggest social networking site has brushed off criticism by a senior UK police officer responsible for preventing online bullying that it is failing to combat abuse.

Jim Gamble, head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) Center, said Facebook and MySpace, which between them have more than 500 million users, could work harder to stamp out bullying. The initiative came as UK charity Beatbullying highlighted Bebo, owned by AOL, and Microsoft's instant messaging service as hotspots for bullying. In a poll of 2,094 young people across England conducted by the charity, 30 percent of 11 to 16-year-olds who had been "cyberbullied" had been targeted on Bebo.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Thursday, November 19, 2009 11:48:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 13, 2009

Nearly half of England's 14-year-olds have been a victim of bullying and cyber-bullying is now the joint most common form, according to new research.

The Government-commissioned research, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research, analysed bullying among more than 10,000 secondary school pupils in England aged 14-16. The initial findings show that 47 per cent of young people report being bullied at the age of 14. After cyberbullying - where children face taunts, threats and insults via the internet and mobile phones - and name calling, the most common type of bullying was teenagers being threatened with violence, being excluded by their friends and facing actual violence.

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Friday, November 13, 2009 11:06:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 12, 2009

Australian internet provider BigPond has become the latest internet company to be targeted by hackers on Twitter, after one of its accounts was hijacked as part of a phishing scam.

Affected users received a private message from BigPondTeam saying "Hey, look at this," and directing them to follow a link that asked them to enter their Twitter password. The attack was part of an attempt to steal their credentials and potentially gain access to other services they use - such as their bank accounts or email services.

 

(Source: Guardian)

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Guardian

Thursday, November 12, 2009 5:54:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 09, 2009

Spain says Internet-related child pornography has risen tenfold in the past five years. Francisco Villanueva of the Interior Ministry says the number of cases has gone from 108 in 2004 to 1,024 last year. Other Internet-related crimes also rose.

Villanueva said Thursday that hacking has risen from 92 to 447 cases, and that bank fraud has more than doubled in the same period, from 509 cases to 1,954. He says piracy of intellectual property decreased slightly from 330 to 298 cases, but that if more resources are not dedicated to policing piracy, Spain could lose up to 300,000 jobs. Villanueva says Spain's cyber crime levels are similar to those of neighboring European countries.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Monday, November 09, 2009 4:42:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pedophiles can exploit virus-infected PCs to remotely store and view their stash without fear they'll get caught. Pranksters or someone trying to frame you can tap viruses to make it appear that you surf illegal Web sites. Whatever the motivation, you get child porn on your computer — and might not realize it until police knock at your door.

An Associated Press investigation found cases in which innocent people have been branded as pedophiles after their co-workers or loved ones stumbled upon child porn placed on a PC through a virus. It can cost victims hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove their innocence.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Monday, November 09, 2009 3:45:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 30, 2009

Twitter warned users Tuesday of a new phishing scam on the social networking site. It's the latest in a series of scams that have plagued the site over the past year, designed to trick victims into giving up their user names and passwords.

"We've seen a few phishing attempts today, if you've received a strange DM and it takes you to a Twitter login page, don't do it!," Twitter wrote on its Spam message page. The message reads, "hi. this you on here?" and includes a link to a fake Web site designed to look like a Twitter log-in page. After entering a user name and password, victims enter an empty blogspot page belonging to someone named NetMeg99.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Friday, October 30, 2009 1:39:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Facebook outlined changes to its privacy policy on Thursday and asked for feedback from the social network's more than 300 million users. Members will have until November 5 to send in their comments about the proposed changes.

"This is the next step in our ongoing effort to run Facebook in an open and transparent way. After the comment period is over, we'll review your feedback and update you on our next steps." Some of the changes to Facebook's privacy policy are the result of pressure from Canada, whose privacy czar conducted an investigation into its handling of personal information.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Friday, October 30, 2009 10:21:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 29, 2009

The 17-year-old’s body was dumped in a ditch after she sneaked out of her home on Sunday night to meet a boy she thought was 16, but who turned out to be 32. Her mother, Andrea Hall urged, “Tell your kids to be careful on the internet. Don't trust anybody and don't put your children on Facebook or other sites if they are under age. All we ask now is that people help the police in any way they can. We don't want any other child to be a victim.”

A 32-year-old man, of no fixed abode was due to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court on Wednesday, charged with manslaughter and kidnap. The convicted sex offender was also charged with failing to notify a new address as required for sex offenders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:39:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A man is being questioned after the body of a teenager he is believed to have met on the internet was discovered in a field in County Durham.

Det Ch Insp Paul Harker said the case highlighted the dangers of meeting people on the internet, and urged parents to monitor their children's online habits. He said: "This is a very, very unusual event. My message in terms of meeting people from the internet is 'please do not do it unless you are absolutely certain it is safe'." He added: "Speak to them about it, speak to their friends, let them know the dangers of the internet."

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:35:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 22, 2009

It is being billed as the largest-ever social change event on the Web and one which its organizers believe will unite the digital world in a wider conversation about climate change.

"I would say that 99 percent of our bloggers have never written about climate change before. I think there is a lot of power in people who usually don't write about this having conversations about a major issue like climate change." The scale of involvement in the day has been impressive. So far, over 8,000 blogs have registered in 144 countries and organizers predict that there will be around 15 million readers.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Thursday, October 22, 2009 3:59:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A 15-year-old girl who posted her profile on a vampire website was allegedly murdered by two men who created a "fictional internet alter-ego" a court heard.

Carly Ryan's body was found by a swimmer on an Australian beach in 2007. Yesterday a father and son appeared before the South Australian supreme court accused of setting a trap that led to her alleged murder. The girl posted personal details and photographs of herself on the Gothic website www.vampirefreaks.com and soon began an internet romance with a fictitious teenager called Brandon.

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 1:39:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 19, 2009

The founder of lastminute.com, Martha Lane Fox, has unveiled an ambitious policy to get everyone in Britain online by 2012, backed by a study that says it would save the government up to £1bn annually in customer service costs and boost the economy by more than £20bn.

Lane Fox, who is now chair of the government-created Digital Inclusion Task Force, says that getting the 10m Britons who have never used the internet to go online could generate at least £22.6bn in economic benefit – including at least £10.6bn over the lifetimes of the 1.6m children who have never used it.

 

(Source: Guardian)

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Guardian

Monday, October 19, 2009 10:06:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 16, 2009

It’s the F word question that all parents now dread. “Can I go on Facebook?” your eleven year-old bullies you over dinner, declaring that absolutely everybody else in her class is not only on Facebook, but also on Twitter as well as Bebo and Orkut and other peculiarly named social networks.

So how should parents in today’s social media age deal with the F word question? Is social networking bad for children’s brains? Should we allow our kids to freely expose their identities on the Internet?

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Friday, October 16, 2009 10:26:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 15, 2009

A survey of 16 to 24 year olds has found that 75% of them feel they "couldn't live" without the internet. The report, published by online charity YouthNet, also found that four out of five young people used the web to look for advice.

About one third added that they felt no need to talk to a person face to face about their problems because of the resources available online. The survey looked at how the web influences the well-being of people aged between 16 and 24.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC 

Thursday, October 15, 2009 1:29:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Internet users in the North East of England have the most nervous attitude towards the web, according to research that highlights the country's "digital divide".

Online engagement will soon replace social class as the most powerful determiner of economic success, damaging the career prospects of internet refuseniks, according to the social anthologist who analysed the survey. Nearly one-third (31 per cent) of in the North East are reluctant to use the internet for anything more than sending email and occasional browsing, higher than the national average of 23 per cent.

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Thursday, October 15, 2009 1:19:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Twitter users should refrain from changing their log-in data until further notice or else risk getting locked out of their accounts. Twitter is investigating instances of users who have lost access to their accounts after modifying their usernames, passwords or e-mail addresses, the microblogging company said on Tuesday.

Until the problem is resolved, Twitter users shouldn't modify their log-in data, according to an official posting on Twitter's Status Web site. "This seems to affect new users as well as long term users," the note reads.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 2:05:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Facebook has seen an impressive bump in traffic versus this time last year. For September 2009, the site claimed 58.6 percent of U.S. social networking tracking, a jump of 194-percent over the same period last year. Twitter's increase, meanwhile, was downright absurd, jumping 1,170 percent over the past year.

In September 2008, Facebook recorded a 19.94 share, which increased to 58.59 percent for Sept. 2009. MySpace, by contrast, dominated the social-networking sites last September, with a 66.8 percent share. Since then, however, MySpace's market share has plunged to 30.3 percent, still leaving it second in U.S. traffic.

 

(Source: PC Magazine)

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PC Magazine

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 4:29:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 09, 2009

1. There's always a friend's computer. 2. They're a form of censorship. 3. They give you a false sense of security. 4. Kids resent them -- and you. 5. Kids can defeat them. 6. They catch too much. 7. They don't catch everything.

Most parental control programs use a combination of filtering techniques to block access to unwanted sites. But each method is vulnerable, and none promises 100% accuracy. Text-based filters can't really determine the context of words or phrases, so they can block access to perfectly acceptable sites. Words like "sucking," for example, might get caught in the filter and prevent your kid from researching, say, mosquitoes.

 

(Source: Common Sense)

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Common Sense

Friday, October 09, 2009 9:43:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Meet "network man." He has basic desires of his own, but has many arbitrary preferences, such as in music or clothes, that have been influenced by the people he knows. Network man's likes and dislikes, in turn, affect the behavior of his friends, and their friends, and their friends.

People have profound influences on each other's behavior within three degrees of separation, the authors find. That means that your friends, your friends' friends, and your friends' friends' friends may all affect your eating habits, voting preferences, happiness, and more. At the fourth degree, however, the influence substantially weakens.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Friday, October 09, 2009 9:32:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The social networking site said that its security teams had noticed an increase in scams where people's login information is collected through phishing sites, and then their accounts are accessed without permission to ask friends for money.

"While the total number of people who have been impacted is small, we take any threat to security seriously and are redoubling our efforts to combat the scam," The attacks, known as 419 scams, involve a fraudster accessing Facebook accounts and posing as the account owner.

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Wednesday, October 07, 2009 9:40:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 02, 2009

"We were at a restaurant for my mom's birthday. I looked over and there are my daughter and my oldest son texting, holding their phones under the table," said the mom of four in Lewiston, Idaho. "I just came unglued. I was like, `Are you kidding? You're at your grandma's birthday party. Put those phones away now!'"

We all know teens love their gadgets — more for texting than talking. But the devices are posing some new challenges for parents. How can they teach their tech-savvy kids some electronic etiquette? So far, parents are learning on the fly, imposing new rules for their young offenders such as "no texting at dinner."

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Friday, October 02, 2009 10:21:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 01, 2009

A long-time critic of the video game industry has sued Facebook for US$40 million, saying that the social networking site harmed him by not removing angry postings made by Facebook gamers.

Thompson is best know for bringing suit against Grand Theft Auto's Take Two Interactive, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Wal-Mart, arguing that the game caused violent behavior. In 2005 episode of CBS's 60 Minutes, Thompson likened the popular video game to a "murder simulator" and blamed it for the 2003 shooting deaths of two police officers and a 911 dispatcher in Fayette, Alabama.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld 

Thursday, October 01, 2009 2:05:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

It's your birthday. And thanks to your Facebook profile, everybody knows that. Your wall fills up with well wishes from hundreds of "friends." Sure, it's nice to be noticed. But security experts are skeptical about whether sharing information, such as birthdays, with a broad audience is a bright idea. "It's all about providing the bad guy with intelligence," said Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDtheftsecurity.com.

Many people use their birthdate in passwords and personal identification numbers, and security questions often ask for it to resend a lost password. So broadcasting a birthdate could help cybercriminals pose as others as they log on to various Web sites, experts warned.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Thursday, October 01, 2009 10:49:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Web surfing is no longer a solo affair. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks have quickly become an integral part of the online culture, and with them comes a whole new array of potential security threats.

Social networking is built on the idea of sharing information openly and fostering a sense of community. Unfortunately, an online network of individuals actively sharing their experiences and seeking connections with other like-minded people can be easy prey for hackers bent on social-engineering and phishing attacks. It's important to be aware of the threats, and to maintain a healthy skepticism in your online interactions.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 10:50:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The US Secret Service is trying to identify the people who launched an online poll at Facebook asking whether US President Barack Obama should be assassinated. Facebook on Monday shut down the user-generated poll, which was titled "Should Obama be killed?" and offered answer choices of yes, no, maybe, and "If he cuts my health care."

"Once we found out about it, we worked with Facebook to have it removed," Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley told AFP. "We are certainly investigating; just like we would with any threat case." More than 750 Facebook users had reportedly cast votes by the time the poll was yanked from the wildly popular online social networking community.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 10:08:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 28, 2009

Next time you're recovering from trip to the emergency room, keep an eye on the young doctors tending to you. They might be chatting about your case on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs.

A survey of medical schools published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 13 percent of respondents reported breaches of doctor-patient confidentiality, and 60 percent reported "unprofessional content" posted online.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld 

Monday, September 28, 2009 8:35:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 25, 2009

Many major social networking sites are leaking information that allows third party advertising and tracking companies to associate the Web browsing habits of users with a specific person, researchers warn.

That's the conclusion of a study on the leakage of personally identifiable information on social networks done at AT&T Labs and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. "In some cases, the leakage may be unintentional, but in others, there is clever and surreptitious anti-privacy engineering at work," the EFF said.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Friday, September 25, 2009 12:29:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

They were crimes born of the Internet age -- romantic solicitations on popular Web site Craigslist that police say led to the fatal shooting of one woman and the robbery of another in Boston hotels this past spring. And it was high-tech, 21st-century sleuthing, along with some old-fashioned gumshoe detective work, that put police on the trail toward a suspect and eventually an arrest.

CNN looks at how technology was used to lead police to 23-year-old medical student Philip Markoff, who has been indicted on seven counts, including first-degree murder. Investigators knew they had crimes born of the Internet on their hands, but how were they able to use that same technology to help them find a suspect who went to great lengths to hide his tracks?

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Friday, September 25, 2009 12:03:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 24, 2009

Scammers are increasingly using machine-generated Twitter accounts to post messages about trendy topics, and tempt users into clicking on a link that leads to servers hosting fake Windows antivirus software, security researchers said Monday.

The latest Twitter attacks originated with malicious accounts cranked out by software, said experts at both F-Secure and Sophos. The accounts, which use variable account and user names, supposedly represent U.S. Twitter users. In some cases, the background wallpaper is customized for each account, yet another tactic to make the unwary think that a real person is responsible for the content.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:30:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Teens and texting is a subject that's often discussed in pathological terms. They're texting in class! They're sexting! They need thumb therapy! But texting isn't always bad. In some families, it's become a primary form of communication between parents and children. In fact, one of my favorite texts from kids is the earth-shattering query "Wuz4dina?"

Psychologist Thomas W. Phelan says one of the biggest problems with teens is getting them to communicate at all, so if they're willing to text their parents, we should embrace the trend. "Instead of seeing the whole text thing as an enemy, see it as an ally."

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:12:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Decades of war and occupation have not provided an answer to that question -- but the social networking Web site now permits both options, sparking fears about an anti-Facebook cyber-war. The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. Since then it has been internationally classified as Israeli-occupied territory.

Up until recently, Facebook fans in the Golan Heights could only choose Syria as their country of origin or else leave it blank. Pro-Israel Web site honestreporting.com sought to change that, starting a group called "Facebook, Golan residents live in Israel, not Syria."

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 1:38:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 17, 2009

In the economic downturn, teenagers around the world have focused their spending cuts on clothes, games and food, according to a survey by networking site Habbo Hotel.

The survey of 61,000 teenagers in more than 30 countries showed one teenager out of three is getting less money from their parents, with more than half of youngsters getting less to spend in the United States, Spain and Latin America. Some 19 percent of youngsters globally say the recession has most hurt their spending on console and computer games -- the industry for which teenagers are a key client group.

 

(Source: Reuter)

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Reuter

Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:42:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 16, 2009

As millions of students across the world go back to school this month, 178 students from 49 countries will turn on their computers and step onto the virtual campus of the world's first global, tuition-free online university.

"Our mission is to change people's lives." Called University of the People, the non-profit comes from Israeli entrepreneur Shai Reshef who says he founded the school to provide higher education to those who might otherwise never have access to it. "We are creating a global classroom for science and allowing people to freely collaborate. We want to put high quality teaching and learning materials into the hands of anybody and everybody who wants to become a scientist,"

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:01:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 11, 2009

A third of Web users under 25 claim they don't care about their "digital tattoo" and the items they post online, says Symantec. Symantec said a "digital tattoo" is created by all the personal information web users post online and can easily be found through search engines by a potential or current employer, friends and acquaintances, or anyone who has malicious intent.

The security firm revealed that nearly two-thirds of all those surveyed had uploaded personal photographs, while 79 percent had at least part of their address online and nearly half had their mobile phone numbers online.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld

Friday, September 11, 2009 9:57:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In communist Cuba, where only state media exist locally, a vibrant blogger culture has emerged as a venue for critical commentary, a leading journalists' rights group said Thursday. "Despite vast legal and technical obstacles, a growing number of Cuban bloggers have prevailed over the regime?s tight Internet restrictions to disseminate island news and views online," said a report from the New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"The bloggers, mainly young adults from a variety of professions, have opened a new space for free expression in Cuba, while offering a fresh glimmer of hope for the rebirth of independent ideas in Cuba?s closed system."

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Friday, September 11, 2009 9:26:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 10, 2009

By selling an array of virtual products from avatar clothes to e-furniture, Asia's social networking sites appear to have solved the conundrum of how to leverage big profits from their extensive user bases.

Chinese university student Tan Shengrong spends about 20 yuan ($2.90) per month purchasing outfits for her pet penguin avatar or playing games on QQ, an instant message portal on Qzone, China's most popular social networking site. It might not seem like a hefty sum, but every fen, or cent, is money in the bank for Tencent Holdings, which owns Qzone and saw an 85 percent increase in its second quarter net profit this year compared to 2008 despite the economic downturn.

 

(Source: Reuter)

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Reuter

Thursday, September 10, 2009 11:22:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 09, 2009

President Barack Obama warned American teenagers on Tuesday of the dangers of putting too much personal information on Internet social networking sites, saying it could come back to haunt them in later life. "Well, let me give you some very practical tips. First of all, I want everybody here to be careful about what you post on Facebook, because in the YouTube age, whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life," Obama said.

The presidential words of advice follow recent studies that suggest U.S. employers are increasingly turning to sites such as Facebook and News Corp's MySpace to conduct background checks on job applicants.

 

(Source: Reuter)

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Reuter

Wednesday, September 09, 2009 9:16:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Parents who install a leading brand of software to monitor their kids' online activities may be unwittingly allowing the company to read their children's chat messages - and sell the marketing data gathered.

Software sold under the Sentry and FamilySafe brands can read private chats conducted through Yahoo, MSN, AOL and other services, and send back data on what kids are saying about such things as movies, music or video games. The information is then offered to businesses seeking ways to tailor their marketing messages to kids.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Tuesday, September 08, 2009 9:53:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 07, 2009

In an age in which instant news and constant life streams from Facebook and Twitter change the way we communicate, the rules of etiquette surrounding these interactions are still evolving. What happens when I expected a phone call about something and read about it in a status update instead? What's the polite response to a distant friend posting bad news on Facebook? What to do with sensitive information?

Good etiquette on Facebook might not apply on Twitter or in an e-mail. These days, milestones like marriage, pregnancy, breakups and divorce are being described over more forms of communications than ever. Because it's so new, there is sort of a gray area of what the manners are,"

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Monday, September 07, 2009 8:47:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 04, 2009

Facebook warned Thursday that members who buy "friends" from an Australian online marketing company could face banishment from the social network. The Brisbane-based firm, uSocial.net, offered this week to sell a Facebook user 1,000 friends for 177 dollars and 5,000 friends -- on a standard profile account -- for 654 dollars. USocial caused a stir earlier this year with a similar offer to users of popular micro-blogging service Twitter seeking to increase their number of followers.

Facebook fired back against uSocial on Thursday and issued a reminder that it was against its terms of service for a user to access an account belonging to someone else or to share a password.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Friday, September 04, 2009 10:34:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ben Alexander spent nearly every waking minute playing the video game "World of Warcraft." As a result, he flunked out of the University of Iowa. He needed help to break an addiction he calls as destructive as alcohol or drugs.

Internet addiction is not recognized as a separate disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, and treatment is not generally covered by insurance. But there are many such treatment centers in China, South Korea and Taiwan - where Internet addiction is taken very seriously - and many psychiatric experts say it is clear that Internet addiction is real and harmful.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Friday, September 04, 2009 8:42:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 03, 2009

A coalition of 10 U.S. privacy and consumer groups has called for new federal privacy protections for Web users, including a requirement that Web sites and advertising networks get opt-in permission from individuals within 24 hours of collecting personal data and tracking online habits.

In a broad set of new recommendations for privacy regulations released Tuesday, the groups also called on the U.S. Congress to prohibit Web sites and ad networks from collecting behavioral information about children under age 18, whenever it's possible to distinguish the age of the Web user, and to require that online businesses inform consumers about the purpose of the information collection.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Thursday, September 03, 2009 9:24:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Google said Tuesday's widespread Gmail outage occurred when the company took some servers offline to perform routine maintenance, causing its remaining routers to become overloaded with traffic. "We know how many people rely on Gmail for personal and professional communications, and we take it very seriously when there's a problem with the service." wrote Ben Treynor, a Google vice president of engineering.

Gmail's problems were a top trending topic on Twitter, with users trading updates and posting links to blogs such as Mashable, which published a post called, "5 Things to Do While Gmail is Down." (No. 1: "Immediately flood Twitter with tweets alternately proclaiming 'Gmail is down!' and inquiring 'Is Gmail down?' ")

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Thursday, September 03, 2009 8:27:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Federal judge George Wu officially overturned the conviction of Lori Drew, who was convicted of cyberbullying 13-year-old Megan Meier to suicide. That conviction was based on the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which makes it a crime to intentionally accessing a computer system with intent to commit a crime or tort.

At trial, the jury found Drew guilty of misdemeanor violations of CFAA based on the theory that accessing MySpace with intent to harrass Meier was an unauthorized access of an interstate computer.

 

(Source: ZDNet)

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ZDNet

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 10:38:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Unlike some people have hoped, the Internet hasn't led to big changes in the socio-economic makeup of Americans engaged in civic activities, a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds. As in offline politics, people who participate in online civic life — by contacting government officials, making political or charitable donations or signing petitions, for example — tend to be richer and better educated.

There are signs that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are driving civic engagement among younger people. On social networks, income and education levels seem to be less correlated with whether someone engages in civic activism.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 8:35:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This is a story about love and Twitter, hope and the relative safety of a Walmart parking lot. Six months ago, Brianna Karp found herself living in an old truck and camper she inherited after the suicide of a father she barely knew.

She wrote as a way to stay in touch with the world. Soon, other homeless people were leaving comments on her blog, telling their stories and cheering her on. "I was definitely surprised just how many homeless and former homeless people are online and using social media to seek opportunities," Karp said. She blogged from Starbucks while she continued to search for work, buying $5 cards each month that entitled her to sip coffee and soak up unlimited Wi-Fi.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 10:47:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 31, 2009

Facebook has agreed to make worldwide changes to its privacy policy as a result of negotiations with Canada's privacy commissioner. Last month the social network was found to breach Canadian law by holding on to users' personal data indefinitely.

It will also make it clear that users can deactivate or delete their account. "These changes mean that the privacy of 200 million Facebook users in Canada and around the world will be far better protected," said Canadian privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Monday, August 31, 2009 9:43:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

There's still plenty of room for innovation today, yet the openness fostering it may be eroding. While the Internet is more widely available and faster than ever, artificial barriers threaten to constrict its growth. Call it a mid-life crisis. A variety of factors are to blame. Spam and hacking attacks force network operators to erect security firewalls.

"There is more freedom for the typical Internet user to play, to communicate, to shop — more opportunities than ever before," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor and co-founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "On the worrisome side, there are some longer-term trends that are making it much more possible (for information) to be controlled."

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Monday, August 31, 2009 9:10:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 28, 2009

Users of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter could face higher insurance premiums because burglars may be using them to find out their personal details. The Digital Criminal report, which polled 2,000 social network users, found nearly two fifths had posted details of their holiday plans, with nearly two thirds of 16-24 year-olds doing so.

"I call it 'internet shopping for burglars'. It is incredibly easy to use social neyworking sites to target people, and then scope out more information on their actual home using other internet sites like Google Street View, all from the comfort of the sofa."

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Friday, August 28, 2009 10:34:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A vulnerability in Twitter Inc.'s popular microblogging service remains unfixed and can be used by criminals to hijack accounts or redirect users to malicious Web sites, a developer claimed today. The cross-site scripting bug in Twitter allows hackers to insert malicious JavaScript into tweets simply by adding code to a field of an API used by third-party Twitter application developers.

A software developer, a U.K.-based search optimization specialist, Slater recommended that, until Twitter patches the vulnerability, users should stop following any Twitterers they don't personally know or trust. "Who's to say they're not already stealing your details? If you don't see their tweets, they can't harm you,"

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Friday, August 28, 2009 10:03:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 27, 2009

Internet service providers (ISPs) have reacted with anger to new proposals on how to tackle internet piracy. The government is proposing a tougher stance which would include cutting off repeat offenders from the net.

TalkTalk's director of regulation Andrew Heaney told that the ISP was as keen as anyone to clamp down on illegal file-sharers. "This is best done by making sure there are legal alternatives and educating people, writing letters to alleged file-sharers and, if necessary, taking them to court. But disconnecting alleged offenders will be futile given that it is relatively easy for determined file-sharers to mask their identity or their activity to avoid detection," he added.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Thursday, August 27, 2009 9:33:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Users of social networks are concerned about security but few are taking the steps necessary to protect themselves against online crime, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said they have experienced identity theft, 47 percent have been victims of malware infections and 55 percent have seen "phishing" attacks, in which hackers seek to capture password information. They also suggested that passwords be changed at least once a month and that friends or coworkers not be allowed to access one's personal computer.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:54:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The average gamer, far from being a teen, is actually a 35-year-old man who is overweight, aggressive, introverted — and often depressed, according to a report out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study also shows that when children and teenagers become game players, a trend toward physical inactivity and corresponding health problems extends -- and is exacerbated -- into adulthood.

"Among researchers, there is growing concern and uncertainty about the health consequences of video game playing," the CDC reported.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:52:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The German government warned job-seekers Friday to avoid posting potentially compromising pictures or remarks on social networking sites such as Facebook, citing a study about their use by employers. Consumer affairs minister Ilse Aigner "calls on citizens who use the Internet often to think about what they put online," a spokeswoman for her ministry told a regular government news conference.

28 percent of the around 500 German companies polled searched for information about their would-be employees' hobbies, political opinions and personal lives.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:40:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 21, 2009

The first US retreat for Internet addicts has opened its doors, welcoming a teenager that was captive to World of Warcraft online role-playing videogame. The 19-year-old boy went from pursuing quests in Azeroth to bottle-feeding baby goats and building a chicken coop as part of a reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program at a rural five acre spread in the state of Washington.

"It is about helping people addicted to technology get through the withdrawal and help their brains get wired back to normal and connected to the world in a positive way. Games are really designed to keep people hooked. Those that stay hooked are people really vulnerable for whom the world is painful or scary."

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Friday, August 21, 2009 10:02:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Facebook, for better or worse, is like being at a big party with all your friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers. There are lots of fun, interesting people you're happy to talk to when they stroll up.

Sure, Facebook can be a great tool for keeping up with folks who are important to you. But far more posts read like navel-gazing diary entries, or worse, spam. A recent study categorized 40 percent of Twitter tweets as "pointless babble," and it wouldn't be surprising if updates on Facebook, still a fast-growing social network, break down in a similar way. Here are 12 of the most annoying types of Facebook users:

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Friday, August 21, 2009 9:15:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Canadian model has won a landmark case in a New York court after Google was forced to disclose the online identity of a blogger who anonymously posted derogatory comments about the Vogue covergirl. The ruling came after Liskula Cohen, 36, filed suit in a bid to unmask the identify of her tormentor, who posted suggestive photographs of Cohen on the blog and described her as a "ho" and a "psychotic, lying, whoring... skank."

Google said that while the company does not tolerate "cyber bullying" it is also respectful of privacy. "We sympathize with anyone who may be the victim of cyber bullying,"

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:46:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The clock is ticking, people are dying and a flu virus is sweeping the globe -- that is the scenario of a new computer game designed to make people think about how to respond to the swine flu pandemic. In "The Great Flu", players must choose whether or not to stockpile anti-viral drugs and deploy research teams to new areas of outbreak as the number of infections and deaths rises and more countries are affected.

"The game is very realistic and has an educational value. It informs people how the virus spreads, what the flu is and on the ways to fight the pandemic."

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:28:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A 14-year-old boy was in critical condition in hospital with kidney failure after repeated beatings at an Internet rehabilitation camp in southwest China, state media said Wednesday. The incident in Sichuan province took place just weeks after another teenage boy was beaten to death at a similar rehabilitation centre in the south of the country where his parents had sent him to cure his Internet addiction.

China has 10 million teenage web addicts, the China Daily said, citing data from the China Youth Internet Association. The association said last week that there are at least 400 private Internet rehabilitation clinics nationwide.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 10:05:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A new hacking incident report warns there has been a steep rise in attacks at social-networking hotspots including wildly popular microblogging service Twitter. Hackers aren't just hunting for victims in the flocks of people at social networks, they're also using Twitter to command "botnet" armies of infected computers, according to Internet security specialists.

"A lot of Web 2.0 widgets, mashups and the like that users go for make it easy for all these guys to launch attacks." Facebook became an Internet star after opening its platform to widgets, mini-applications made by outside developers, and now boasts more than 250 million members.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:14:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 17, 2009
The Twitter micro-blogging service was knocked offline this morning for several hours as a result of a denial of service attack (DDoS). Twitter has confirmed and reported the attack in a post on its official blog earlier today: "We are defending against this [DDos] attack now and will continue to update our status blog as we continue to defend and later investigate." The company later reported that the service as been resumed but they are still continuing to defend against and recover from this attack. No further updates have been provided yet. Several sources are also reporting problems with Facebook today.

(Source: CircleID)

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CircleID


Monday, August 17, 2009 4:32:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The 24-year-old Singaporean research analyst is constantly on the lookout for attack manuals, video clips of Islamist militants in training and fiery extremist chatter that could hint at an imminent assault somewhere.

Nur Azlin is one of five research analysts at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies who monitor extremist websites daily to get a sense of an emerging battleground in the fight against terrorism. There are an estimated 5,500-6,000 websites worldwide peddling extremist ideas, according to the researchers.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Monday, August 17, 2009 10:21:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A researcher looking into the attacks that knocked Twitter offline last week discovered another, unrelated security problem. At least one criminal was using a Twitter account to control a network of a couple hundred infected personal computers, mostly in Brazil.

Networks of infected PCs are referred to as "botnets" and are responsible for so much of the mayhem online, from identity theft to spamming to the types of attacks that crippled Twitter. A Twitter account that was used to send out what looked like garbled messages. But they were actually commands for computers in a botnet to visit malicious Web sites, where they download programs that steal banking passwords.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Monday, August 17, 2009 9:00:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 14, 2009

Foreign pornography producers are suing South Korean Internet users for breach of copyright by uploading their content onto local websites, police said Thursday. In an unusual case, a local law firm representing 50 US and Japanese porn producers has filed suit against about 10,000 heavy uploaders.

The lawsuit was filed simultaneously through 10 police stations in Seoul and the adjoining Gyeonggi province, a National Police Agency spokesman said, refusing to give details. "We selected about 10,000 user IDs that earned financial benefits from habitually uploading pornography on websites," an official of the unidentified law firm told local media.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Friday, August 14, 2009 10:05:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Children are using the Internet to watch YouTube videos, connect with friends on social network sites and look up "sex" and "porn", according to a study of the top Web searches by youngsters. The words "sex" and "porn" also made it into the top 10, ranked numbers four and six respectively.

"It also helps identify "teachable moments" when parents should be talking with their kids about appropriate online behavior and other issues in their kids' online lives," California-based Symantec's Internet safety advocate Marian Merritt said in a statement.

 

(Source: Reuter)

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Reuter

Friday, August 14, 2009 8:58:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A growing number of South Korean companies are opening Twitter accounts to better connect with consumers and generate buzz for their products. However, industrial heavyweights such as Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, SK Group and Lotte Group are not among them. Should they decide to join the 140-word Web phenomenon, they will have to acknowledge that they will be unable to use their own corporate brands.

A Twitter account created under Samsung's name has been currently suspended by the Internet company due to "strange activity," which could mean anything from service violations, technical abuse and spam distribution.

 

(Source: The Korea Times)

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The Korea Times

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 1:41:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Worried that your relationship is going south? Maybe it's time to get off Facebook. A study released by the University of Guelph in Ontario shows that the Facebook social network increases jealousy in users' romantic relationships. The study, which was published in the latest issue of CyberPsychology and Behaviour, concluded that the more time people spend on Facebook, the more jealous they get.

"This may include details about their partner's friendships and social exchanges, especially interactions with previous romantic or sexual partners." The simple availability of information -- whether it's a girlfriend's posts, or photos and details about her friends and exes -- seems to increase a person's desire to search for even more information, say researchers.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:24:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The outage that knocked Twitter offline for hours was traced to an attack on a lone blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia - but the collateral damage that left millions around the world tweetless showed just how much havoc an isolated cyberdispute can cause.

"It told us how quickly many people really took Twitter into their hearts," Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, said Friday. Tens of millions of people have come to rely on social media to express their innermost thoughts and to keep up with world news and celebrity gossip. Twitter "is one of those little amusements that infiltrated the mass behavior in some significant ways, so that when it went away, a lot of people really noticed it and missed it."

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:15:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 10, 2009

A group of teenagers have reacted to warnings that using sites like Facebook, Bebo and Myspace can leave them traumatised. The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, says the sites encourage users to value the number rather than quality of friends they have.

He’s worried this makes people get too many temporary friends instead of real, genuine ones. He said: “It’s an all or nothing syndrome that you have to have in an attempt to shore up identity. "Friendship is not a commodity, friendship is something that is hard work and enduring when it’s right.”

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Monday, August 10, 2009 1:32:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks that knocked out Twitter for hours and affected other sites like Facebook, Google's Blogger, and LiveJournal on Thursday continued all day Friday and may persist throughout the weekend. In its latest update, posted to a discussion forum of its third-party developers at 11 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Friday, Twitter reports it's still fighting the attacks.

"The DDoS attack is still ongoing, and the intensity has not decreased at all," wrote Chad Etzel, from Twitter's application development platform support team.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld

Monday, August 10, 2009 9:39:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 07, 2009

Micro-blogging service Twitter and social networking site Facebook have been severely disrupted by hackers. Twitter was taken offline for more than two hours whilst Facebook's service was "degraded", according to the firms.

The popular sites were subject to so-called denial-of-service attacks on Thursday, the companies believe. Denial-of-service (DOS) attacks take various forms but often involve a company's servers being flooded with data in an effort to disable them.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Friday, August 07, 2009 9:04:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A suspected pedophile surrendered to police after German law enforcement published clips from videos of child pornography allegedly showing the man. The German Federal Criminal Investigations Office also posted several photos and audio samples of the man's voice as they reached out to the public for clues leading to his arrest.

Police said they found about 42 videos in which the suspected pedophile abused children, believed to be between the ages of 5 and 7 at the time. The Investigator's Office said the man used violence against the children in some of the clips. The German Federal Criminal Investigations Office has been using technology to combat child pornography for several years.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Friday, August 07, 2009 8:29:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Police are searching for a missing schoolgirl, believed to have run away with a man she met on the internet site Bebo. Clare Haver, 14, of Bourne, Lincolnshire, has been missing since July 25 and is thought to be with 23-year-old Michael Ellis. Police revealed today that Ellis has mental health issues and appealed for Haver to return to her family.

She met jobless Ellis, of Lincoln, on the social networking site Bebo seven months ago. The week before last he joined her while she was on a camping trip with a friend in Skegness.

 

(Source: Times)

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Times

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 1:25:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Parents have been warned of a new teenage trend of "sexting", in which children exchange explicit photos of themselves by text. More than a third of secondary school children have been sent messages containing sexual content, a survey showed.

Researchers found youngsters were regularly being sent sex texts or "sexts" - often by their school friends. The messages contain images of sex acts involving young people but more generally of boys and girls exposing themselves. Material is sent to mobile phones via texts, transferred using Bluetooth or uploaded to social networking groups. Girls are bullied into taking, and sharing, explicit pictures of themselves, the charity warned.

 

(Source: Telegraph)

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Telegraph

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 10:37:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A teenager was allegedly beaten to death by trainers at a rehabilitation camp in southern China where his parents had sent him to cure his Internet addiction, reports said Tuesday.

The three supervisors who allegedly beat Deng Senshan, 16, were arrested after the boy's death early Sunday, his father Deng Fei told the Global Times. "We are investigating a case where a high school student was beaten to death by his camp supervisors. The case is still under investigation," a police officer in Nanning, Guangxi region, was quoted as saying.

More than 10 million of the country's 100 million teenage web surfers are Internet addicts, the China Daily said, citing a survey by the China Youth Internet Association last year.

 

(Source: The Economic Times)

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The Economic Times

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 1:06:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

High-tech Japan is gearing up for elections, but you won't hear a tweet from Prime Minister Taro Aso or his main rivals. When election campaigning officially begins on August 18, a cyberspace ban will make it illegal for politicians to update their Internet blogs, share their political views by email or put new videos online.

It is an odd situation in one of the world's most wired countries, where more than 60 percent of the population regularly uses the Internet. Japanese politicians "are missing a real chance to try to generate interest among young voters by not allowing cyber campaigning," said Professor Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 10:07:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 03, 2009

Chinese hackers crashed the website of Australia's biggest film festival, organisers said on Saturday, escalating tensions over a visit here by the exiled leader of the Uighur minority. Online bookings for the Melbourne International Film Festival had to be shut down after the site was bombarded with phony purchases which resulted in the entire program being sold out, said festival spokeswoman Asha Holmes.

A Chinese citizen living in the United States had alerted organisers to the viral campaign, which originated from a website in China titled "A Call to Action to All Chinese People", said Holmes.

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Monday, August 03, 2009 4:34:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 29, 2009

China has banned Web sites from advertising or linking to games that glamorize violence, another step in China's censorship campaign aimed at ensuring social stability ahead of the 60th anniversary of communist rule on Oct. 1.

A notice posted on the Culture Ministry Web site on Monday said games that promote drug use, obscenities, gambling, or crimes such as rape, vandalism and theft are "against public morality and the nation's fine cultural traditions." "Such online games promote the glorification of mafia life ... and are a serious threat to the moral standards of society causing vulnerable young people to be adversely affected," the notice said. The ban on the Web sites starts immediately.

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 9:53:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Amid concerns that the U.S. has a shortage of cybersecurity professionals, a new consortium of U.S. government and private organizations aims to identify students with strong computer skills and train them as cybersecurity guardians, warriors and "top guns."

The U.S. Cyber Challenge initiative will bring together three cybersecurity competitions for high school or college students and launch new in-person competitions, said Alan Paller, research director at the SANS Institute, a cybersecurity training organization. The organizers of the U.S. Cyber Challenge also plan to offer scholarships to promising students and hook them up with internships and jobs, Paller said.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 3:37:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An undersea cable plugging east Africa into high speed Internet access went live Thursday, providing an alternative to expensive satellite connections.

SEACOM, the cable provider company, opened its 17,000 kilometer submarine cable, capable of 1.28 terabytes per second, allowing the region true connectivity. Most Africans rely on expensive and slow satellite connections, which make the use of applications such as YouTube and Facebook extremely trying. "This is going to reduce the cost of doing business in Africa, within Africa and with international parties" said Suveer Ramdhani, SEACOM spokesman in South Africa.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 1:47:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 24, 2009

The first undersea cable to bring high-speed internet access to East Africa has gone live. The fibre-optic cable, operated by African-owned firm Seacom, connects South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique to Europe and Asia.

Five institutions are already benefiting from the faster speeds - national electricity company Tanesco, communications company, TTCL, Tanzania Railways and the Universities of Dar es Salaam and Dodoma.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Friday, July 24, 2009 8:39:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The popularity of Facebook and other popular social networking sites has given hackers new ways to steal both money and information, the security company Sophos said in a report released on Wednesday.

About half of all companies block some or all access to social networks because of concerns about cyber incursions via the sites, according to the study. "Research findings also revealed that 63 percent of system administrators worry that employees share too much personal information via their social networking sites, putting their corporate infrastructure -- and the sensitive data stored on it -- at risk," the Sophos report said.

 

(Source: Reuter)

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Reuter

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 10:07:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Internet Addiction Disorder." According to Wikipedia, "IAD was originally proposed as a disorder in a satirical hoax by Ivan Goldberg, M.D., in 1995. He took pathological gambling as diagnosed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as his model for the description of IAD. However, IAD receives coverage in the press, and its classification as a psychological disorder is being debated and researched."

In China, it is considered to be an epidemic. Last year China estimated that of the country's 40 million underage Internet users, some 10% were "addicted" to the Web. Surveys discovered that about 42% of these kids said they felt "addicted" while only 18% of US children felt similarly.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 1:45:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 20, 2009

The popular social networking site Facebook is not doing enough to protect the personal information it gets from subscribers, and it gives users confusing and incomplete information about privacy matters, Canada's privacy commissioner said on Thursday.

"It's clear that privacy issues are top of mind for Facebook, and yet we found serious privacy gaps in the way the site operates," Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said in a report on an investigation into Facebook.

 

(Source: Reuter)

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Reuter

Monday, July 20, 2009 9:44:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Seth Owusu knew at a young age that he wanted to help his countrymen. "I came from Ghana," Owusu recalls. "It all started when I was in primary school and we had some missionaries come to the school."

Just after he graduated from a technical college, Owusu established Entire Village Computer Organization, a small nonprofit organization that donates refurbished used computers to schools. EVCO goes much further than simply dropping off the computers in villages.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Monday, July 20, 2009 9:22:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 17, 2009

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the number of people using the online social networking service has climbed to 250 million.

Palo Alto, California-based Facebook was founded in 2004 and has become the most popular online social networking service, eclipsing News Corporation-owned MySpace.

"The rapid pace of our growth is humbling and exciting for us," Zuckerberg said in a message posted at Facebook's official blog. "For us, growing to 250 million users isn't just an impressive number; it is a mark of how many personal connections all of you have made."

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP

Friday, July 17, 2009 10:54:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The microblogging service Twitter is taking legal advice after hundreds of documents were hacked into and published by a number of blogs.

"We are in touch with our legal counsel about what this theft means for Twitter, the hacker and anyone who accepts...or publishes these stolen documents, " said Twitter's Biz Stone. In a blog posting he wrote that "About a month ago, an administrative employee here at Twitter was targeted and her personal email account was hacked.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Friday, July 17, 2009 8:32:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 13, 2009

The defendant in the case of a MySpace hoax that ended in a girl's suicide applauded a federal judge for tentatively dismissing her conviction that could have resulted in up to three years in prison.

Prosecutors had argued that Drew and an accomplice, who was granted immunity, pretended to be a teenage boy named Josh, and used that identity to at first flirt with 13-year-old Megan Meier, an emotionally troubled classmate of Drew's daughter, before turning on her.

 

(Source: People)

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People

Monday, July 13, 2009 5:19:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 10, 2009

New York's attorney general charged Thursday that Tagged.com stole the identities of more than 60 million Internet users worldwide — by sending e-mails that raided their private accounts. Andrew Cuomo said he plans to sue the social networking Web site for deceptive marketing and invasion of privacy.

"This company stole the address books and identities of millions of people," Cuomo said in a statement. "Consumers had their privacy invaded and were forced into the embarrassing position of having to apologize to all their e-mail contacts for Tagged's unethical — and illegal — behavior."

 

(Source: AP)

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AP

Friday, July 10, 2009 1:48:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Long Island, New York, social worker is facing two misdemeanor charges after allegedly posting a sexually suggestive ad on Craigslist that gave interested parties the home phone number of a 9-year-old girl.

Officials told CNN affiliate News 12 in Long Island that the Craigslist ad read "I need a little affection... I'm blond, I'm cute and I'll be waiting." Interested parties were directed to an e-mail address where they were given the girl's name and home phone number. Callers were unaware they were trying to reach a 9-year-old.

 

(Source: CNN)

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CNN

Thursday, July 09, 2009 10:46:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 03, 2009

One of Britain's biggest online paedophile inquiries is to be challenged in the court of appeal amid allegations from campaigners that hundreds of men have been wrongly convicted in a mass miscarriage of justice.

Senior officers in Ceop, the child exploitation and online protection unit, who co-ordinated the inquiry, have been anticipating the test case for some time. They are adamant that Ore was an extremely successful operation, which led to more than 2,600 British men who downloaded images of child abuse, or attempted to, being brought to justice. The vast majority of them pleaded guilty.

 

(Source: Guardian)

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Guardian

Friday, July 03, 2009 1:27:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 02, 2009

Lori Drew, 50, pretended to be a boy on the MySpace website to befriend Megan Meier, who hanged herself after the virtual friendship ended. Sentencing will take place this week in the first federal cyber bullying case in the US which was brought to trial after a teenage girl took her own life.

The US National Crime Prevention Council in a report last year found that 43% of teens are exposed to cyber bullying in one form or another yet only one in 10 kids told their parents. "Cyber bullying can have such a devastating effect on our young people from depression to falling grades and low self esteem. This case shows however that cyber bullying is not something that just young people commit but we as adults can also be at fault," said the council's Michelle Boykin.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Thursday, July 02, 2009 5:03:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A blind Boston-area teenager was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison Friday for hacking into the telephone network and harassing the Verizon investigator who was building a case against him.

Matthew Weigman, 19, was part of a group of telephone hackers that met up on telephone party lines and was associated with more than 60 "swatting" calls to 911 numbers across the country. Weigman, known as "Little Hacker," became involved in telephone hacking around age 14 and continued to operate until last year.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld

Wednesday, July 01, 2009 8:20:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 29, 2009

Police in western Switzerland have broken a paedophile online network operating in nearly 80 different countries, the official Swissinfo.ch news website reported Sunday.

At least 32 people across Switzerland are now under investigation due to suspected connections with the case, the website quoted police in the canton of Vaud as saying.

A police official said cybercrime experts in Lausanne were alerted by Interpol more than a year ago that pornographic details were hidden on a website for hip-hop music run by a webmaster in western Switzerland.

 

(Source: Mathaba)

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Mathaba

Monday, June 29, 2009 12:58:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recently scammers have become more aggressive on the site. They will set up new accounts and post spam messages on hot topics in hopes of gaining clicks when people search through Twitter.

And while hacked Twitter accounts are still rare, they're a much more effective way to reach victims, according to Rik Ferguson, a researcher with Trend Micro. "If you can take over an account that has a couple of thousand followers then you can get a much better return on your investment."

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:11:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 22, 2009

A woman who won a retrial after a $220,000 verdict against her for sharing music files has now been ordered to pay $1.92 million by a jury in Minnesota.

In 2007, when she lost the original suit, Jammie Thomas-Rasset was one of the first people to receive a guilty verdict in a case backed by the Recording Industry Association of America, which has filed more than 20,000 lawsuits against people in a bid to stop online music trading and copyright infringement.

On Thursday, a jury ordered her to pay $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she is accused of illegally trading over the Kazaa Internet service. The jury could have ordered her to pay between $750 and $150,000 per song. In a statement, the RIAA said it was pleased that the jury found the defendant liable and that it continues to be willing to settle the case.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Monday, June 22, 2009 10:45:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The United Nations has appealed to parents, the Internet industry and policy-makers to join hands to eradicate hate speech from cyberspace.

Addressing a day-long seminar titled "Unlearning Intolerance" on the danger of "cyberhate," UN chief Ban Ki-moon lauded the benefits of the Internet but regretted that "there are those who use information technology to reinforce stereotypes, to spread misinformation and propagate hate." "Some of the newest technologies are being used to peddle some of the oldest fears," he warned, decrying what he called "digital demonization... targeting innocents because of their faith, their raace, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation."

 

(Source: UN)

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United Nations

Monday, June 22, 2009 8:55:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 18, 2009

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are exploding in popularity, bringing people from all walks of life together online. At the same time though, overall Internet use keeping family members apart.

Forty-three percent of all online users are involved with a social networking site, and that's up from just 27% a year ago, according to a report released today by The Conference Board, a non-profit research association. The report also notes that more than half of those who use social networks log on at least once a day, and the majority log on several times a day.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:32:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The takedown last week of a rogue ISP by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) slashed spam volumes by about 15% and reduced the spam spewed by a pair of big-name botnets by as much as to just 64%, a security firm said today.

"Spam dropped 15% across the board," said Bradley Anstis, director of technology strategy at Marshal8e6. "We especially noticed [the drop] over the weekend," he said, adding that the decline picked up steam slowly.

Last Tuesday, a federal court ordered the plug pulled on 3FN, an ISP operated by Belize-based Pricewert, after the FTC complained that the company hosts spam botnet command-and-control servers, as well as sites operated by child pornographers, identity thieves and other criminals.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

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ComputerWorld

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:42:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A Chinese developer of pornography filtering software protested reports linking the program to China's broader Internet censorship on Wednesday, after the government ordered that his software be distributed with all PCs sold in the country.

The government edict requiring PC makers to distribute the program touched off concerns that it could be used to block access to politically sensitive material online in addition to pornography.

China says the initiative is meant to protect children from "harmful" online content. The software blocks only illegal materials such as pornography and some content related to gambling and drugs, said Bryan Zhang, the general manager of Jinhui.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 2:54:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A woman has been arrested by police in the UK following investigation into the distribution of child abuse images. The  police raided the home of the 39 yr old nursery worker and closed the 60 place nursery during enquiries. Plymouth Commanding officer Ch Supt Jim Webster stated that the the allegations made against the nursery worker raised "serious concerns"  and in response all the parents of children at the nursery are being contacted.

Ch Supt Jim Webster added, "... our work today is to find out what's happened, where the images have come from, where they've been sent to and any risk to anybody in Plymouth..."

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC website

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 1:24:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 05, 2009

"In the week we used the system we found it very useful to pupils, teachers, therapists and parents alike. It allows children to take control of the conversation without having to rely on help from us.", Sue Williams, head teacher at Capability Scotland's Corseford School in Kilbarchan, said.

'How was school today?' is software to help children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy communicate faster. The system is the result of a project between computing scientists from the Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee, and Capability Scotland. Pupils from Corseford School in Renfrewshire were first to trial it.

Scientists claim to have developed the first technology of its kind to allow children with communication problems to converse better.

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC

Friday, June 05, 2009 5:09:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

British YouTube users are amongst the most sensitive in the world, executives at the site have claimed. Amid demands for an independent regulator to police its content they said Britons are amongst the most likely to object to footage hosted on the site.

The company has reacted by introducing special “Britain-only” policies following a raft of complaints from users over gang-related videos. Victoria Grand, head of policy at YouTube, told The Times: “The UK is a big flagging country. We get a lot of videos flagged up in the UK because of issues that British people are concerned about which maybe aren’t an issue in the US, such as the brandishing of guns.”

 

(Source: TimesOnline)

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TimesOnline

Friday, June 05, 2009 3:48:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Spending more time on social networks and blogs? With the latest figures showing the number of minutes spent on social networking sites in the United States has almost doubled over the past year.

Nielsen Online, which measures web traffic, said the number of minutes on social networks in the United States rose 83 percent in April from the same month a year ago, but found users were quick to move on and sites could quickly fall from favor.

The total number of minutes spent on Facebook surged 700 percent year-on-year to 13.9 billion in April this year from 1.7 billion a year ago, making it the No. 1 social networking site for the fourth consecutive month. News Corp's MySpace was second most popular but the number of minutes spent on this site fell 31 percent to 4.97 billion from 7.3 billion a year ago, although it remained the top social networking site when ranked by video streams.

 

(Source: Reuters)

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Reuters website

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:36:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 01, 2009

An Australian woman who cyber-stalked an American Idol contestant was jailed for 26 months. Tanya Maree Quattrocchi pleaded guilty to stalking 2004 American Idol runner-up Diana DeGarmo by hacking into her My Space account and hijacking email accounts belonging to the singer, national news agency AAP reported.

Victorian County Court judge Lisa Hannan described Quattrocchi's offences as serious and said she had no option but to send her to jail. "It is important that you understand the fact you perpetrated your offending using cyberspace does not diminish its significance," Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper quoted Hannan as saying. She said the victims of such crimes had no doors to lock or alarms to activate, adding: "They are constantly vulnerable."

 

(Source: AFP)

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AFP website

Monday, June 01, 2009 3:26:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 29, 2009

A mother has been reunited with her son, 27 years after she claims he was kidnapped, after her sister saw him on the social networking site Facebook.

Avril Grube, 62, who lives in Poole, Dorset, says she was given custody of her son Gavin Paros after her marriage to a Hungarian man broke down in 1982. His father, who died in 2006, had visiting rights but took him to Hungary and Ms Grube has not seen him since. But Mr Paros met his mother again this week after being found on Facebook.

Avril Grube and her sister Beryl Wilson who lives in Liverpool, had spent years trying to trace her son, even contacting the Hungarian Embassy and taking their case to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. 

 

(Source: BBC)

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BBC website

Friday, May 29, 2009 1:17:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Chinese man who extorted virtual items and currency from a fellow Internet cafe user to improve his performance in online games was sentenced over the weekend, local media said.

With three friends, the man beat up the victim and forced him to turn over virtual currency worth 100,000 yuan (US$14,700), China's official Xinhua news agency reported late Sunday. The attackers also extorted virtual equipment for online games from the victim, local media said. The men were each fined and the main attacker sentenced to three years in prison by a court in northeastern Liaoning province.

Selling in-game weapons, armor and other items to players for real-world cash is a common way for China's online gaming companies to a turn a profit. Internet cafes in China are often packed with chain-smoking teenagers who play World of Warcraft or similar Chinese games for long hours.

 

(Source: PCWorld)

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PCWorld website

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 12:40:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a report showing that there are some significant factors which increase the likelihood of online sexual abuse of girls. The researchers suggest that 'girls are more likely to experience online sexual advances or have offline encounters if they have previously been abused or have a provocative avatar'.

Sites such as Facebook and MySpace allow individuals to describe themselves as well as post photographs and the type of photographs and accompanying texts give individuals their online identity and directly affects online behaviour and interaction.

The authors suggest that....."self-presentations can change the way Internet users interact in a manner that increases the risk for online sexual advances.."

(Source: CNN)

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CNN website

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 12:15:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 25, 2009

A new Vatican website, www.pope2you.net, has gone live, offering an application called "The pope meets you on Facebook", and another allowing the faithful to see the Pope's speeches and messages on their iPhones or iPods.

The Vatican's World Communications Day this Sunday is devoted to communicating the gospel with new technologies. "We recognise that a church that does not communicate ceases to be a church," said Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican's Social Communications department. "Many young people today are not turning to traditional media like newspapers and magazines any more for information and entertainment. "They are looking to a different media culture, and this is our effort to ensure that the Church is present in that communications culture."

Users of the new site can select from more than a dozen "virtual postcards" with pictures of the pope and messages from him on faith, love and life specifically aimed at young people, and send them to other users.

 

(Source : Reuters)

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Reuters website

 

Monday, May 25, 2009 1:08:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

California has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a law to keep violent video games out of the hands of anyone under 18. A U.S. Court of Appeals revoked the law in February. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged the court to let parents decide. But the Entertainment Software Association called the petition a "complete waste" of time.  

The law was passed by California legislators in 2005 but was blocked by the video-game industry. Brown and Schwarzenegger compared the ban on violent games to banning pornography.

"I signed this important measure to ensure parents are involved in determining which video games are appropriate for their children," Schwarzenegger said. "By prohibiting the sale of violent video games to children under the age of 18 and requiring these games to be clearly labeled, this law would allow parents to make better informed decisions for their kids."

 

(Source : NewsFactor)

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NewsFactor website

 

Monday, May 25, 2009 10:45:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 22, 2009

Video-sharing website YouTube has removed hundreds of pornographic videos which were uploaded in what is believed to be a planned attack.

The material was uploaded under names of famous teenage celebrities such as Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers. Many started with footage of children's videos before groups of adults performing graphic sex acts appeared on screen. YouTube owner Google said it was aware and addressing the problem.

Under other uploaded videos, online users posted comments such as: "Take the tags off, you'll get us caught." Another said: "Your gonna kill us all!" As the disturbing videos were being uploaded, many viewers added them to their favourites and rated them highly.

 

(Source : BBC)

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Friday, May 22, 2009 3:17:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 21, 2009

Identity thieves that hit Facebook last week with a new round of phishing attacks are harvesting passwords for profit.

The newest Facebook attacks resemble previous phishing rounds in their tactics: A compromised account sends a malicious link to friends. That link leads to a site that mimics the legitimate log-in page. But users duped into entering their usernames and passwords are likely giving away more than just their Facebook credentials.

"It's not surprising that they're targeting Facebook," said Kevin Haley, a director on Symantec's security response team. "Facebook has, what, 200 million-plus users? The bad guys always go where's there's a lot of people."

 

(Source : PCWorld)

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PCWorld website

Thursday, May 21, 2009 4:16:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Militants and hate groups increasingly use social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube as propaganda tools to recruit new members, according to a report by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The report was based on "over 10,000 problematic Web sites, social networking groups, portals, blogs, chat rooms, videos and hate games on the Internet which promote racial violence, anti-semitism, homophobia, hate music and terrorism."

Examples of what the report calls "digital terrorism and hate" range from a Facebook group named "Death to gays" in Croatian to a YouTube video of a Koran being burned and various Web sites promoting militant groups such as Hezbollah, the Taliban, al Qaeda and Colombia's FARC.

 

(Source : REUTERS)

Full story

REUTERS website

Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:00:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Researchers from Cambridge University have found that many photos were still accessible on a number of social networking sites  including Facebook, even after having been deleted.

The researchers reported that Flickr and Google's Picasa performed better, while Microsoft's Windows Live Spaces removed the photos immediately.

A Facebook spokesperson stated: "When a user deletes a photograph from Facebook it is removed from our servers immediately. However, URLs to photographs may continue to exist on the Content Delivery Network (CDN) after users delete them from their Facebook, until they are overwritten. overwriting usually happens after a short period of time".

 

(Source: BBC)

Full story

BBC website

Thursday, May 21, 2009 7:39:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre reports in its Annual Review that it had assisted in protecting '139 children and disrupte 82 paedophile networks' during the past year.

The types of crimes, in the UK and abroad, include a wide range of offences from possession of indecent images of children and rape.

Jim Gamble, CEO of CEOP, stated, "..This is not about technology - this is about people. There is no distinction between the online and offline worlds......This is about the behaviour of offenders manipulating any environment to abuse children..."

CEOP's Annual Review showed that there was a "fast and growing trend" of grooming through social networking sites and warns that mobile Internet access was "placing new and additional responsibilities on parents".

Mr Gamble added, "...Child protection is everybody's business and we should afford our children the same protection online that we would give them in the park or playground".

(Source; BBC)

Full story

BBC website

 

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 7:51:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo's office reports that a group of 7 individuals operated a 24hour prostitution service called 'Room Service Entertainment' from Craigslist's erotic services section.

Cuomo's office added that Craigslist was the "sole vehicle through which the company operated". The advertisements listed included either a pornographic or semipornographic photograph with a phone number "to arrange a date". If found guilty of enterprise corruption, the group of 7 could all face up to 25 years in prison.

In a written statement, Andrew Cuomo stated, "Until Craigslist gets serious about putting real protections in place, it will continue to be an environment where criminal operations thrive with impunity".

 

(Source: CNN)

Full story

CNN website

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 7:22:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The sentencing of a Lori Drew, convicted of three misdemeanours counts of accessing protected computers without authorisation to obtain information to cause emotional damage to Megan Meier.

Mrs Drew was accused of fraudently using the MySpace site to pose as a teenage boy who pretended to be interested in Megan Meier. Tragically Meier committed suicide after the "boy" made disparaging remarks about her online.

Source: CNN

Full story

CNN website

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 9:43:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 17, 2009

ContactPoint, the 224 million pounds database containing details of all children in England has finally been launched following two delays due to data security concerns. This information will be available to 390,000 childcare professionals who must have undergone 'stringent security training'.

Although the UK government argues that such a database will allow for improved coordination in the services provided to children, a 2007 report by auditors Deloitte and Touche stated that it could never be secure.

(Source: BBC)

Full story

BBC website

 

 

Sunday, May 17, 2009 8:28:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 15, 2009

Recent sexting (the sending of naked or partially clothed photos of an individual to others via mobile phones) cases in the USA have led to concern about whether such online behaviour should be classified as a criminial offence or simply a 'misdemeanour'.

Such cases have resulted in police arrests of several adolescents and criminal charges of child pornography.

Sending or distributing explicit images of child under 18 is illegal in many countries.

Parents are being encouraged to warn their children about the possible consequences of sexting (for both the sender and receiver).

A recent National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies survey of more than 1000 teenagers in the USA, found that one-fifth of 13-19 year olds had actually sent compromising images of themselves via text or online. A third of boys and a quarter of girls reported that they had had nude or semi nude images, originally meant to be private, shared with them.

Speaking to the BBC, WiredSafety founder, Parry Aftab stated, "It is dangerous behaviour that we don't want children to be encouraged to do.....Not only could these images end up in the hands of paedophile groups and place kids at higher risk of being targeted, but they could also be subject to extortion by those who have ended up with the images".

 

(Source: BBC)

Full story

BBC Website

Friday, May 15, 2009 3:02:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, May 09, 2009

UK children's charities want to ensure that children do not have access to those online goods which are aimed at adults. To that effect, a private members bill going through the House of Lords will oblige web retailers to have such a system in place.

Charities have fully endorsed this bill following concerns about children purchasing alcohol, knives and violent video games online.

Trading standards officers from a London Council performed tests on a sample of websites in order to establish whether there were age verification checks being made. In a controlled test, a 16-year old managed to purchase pre-paid credit cards which were registered under his true date of birth and address. This adolescent successfully bought knives, drink and adult-rated DVDs as well as games from 12 different online retailers.

Only three of the retailers asked the 16-year old to confirm his age, and when he "lied" was not challenged or asked for proof.

Zoe Hilton, policy advisor for the NSPCC, speaking on behalf of the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety, stated, "..Retailers' increasingly successful efforts to control the sale of age-restricted products over the counter on the High Street are being seriously undermined by their failure to take similarly effective steps to limit sales of exactly the same items on the Internet".

(Source: BBC)

Full story

BBC website

Saturday, May 09, 2009 12:42:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 07, 2009

Craigslist, a centralised network of online communities featuring  online classified ads, may face criminal action in South Carolina if it fails to delete ads which 'promote prostitution and pornography'. Attorney General Henry McMaster, sent a communication to Craigslist CEO, Jim Buckmaster asking him to remove such items listed  under "erotic services" and "casual encounters" in the South Carolina section.

Sherriff's deputies in Richland County, South Carolina, have made up to 121 prostitution-related arrests from Craigslist ads, claims attorney general spokesman Mark Plowden.

(Source: CNN)

Full story

CNN website

Thursday, May 07, 2009 10:16:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Eight paedophiles from Scotland were convicted of child abuse and producing indecent images of children. The charges against them include abusing infants from three months old to conspiracy and possession of more than 125,000 images of child abuse.

The accusers were caught after one of them, Neil Strachan, took his computer to be repaired. The repair technician found indecent images of children. 7000 more images were uncovered, with emails showing that other children were at serious risk. Local Scottish detectives were granted warrants by courts in the USA to have access to email records from Microsoft.

Investigation into the digital camera used to record the abuse exposed another of the accusers' identities. Sophisticated tracking equipment pinpointed this individual's broadband Wi-Fi signals in a specific area of Edinburgh, Scotland. Further investigation by the police revealed the identities of all eight paedophiles.

(Source: Guardian)

Full story

Guardian website

Thursday, May 07, 2009 8:51:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 06, 2009

In the USA, Democratic congresswoman for California, Linda Sanchez, is leading a bill aimed at combatting cyberbullying. However, opponents argue that such a bill silences free speech.

The bill itself, states that any electronic communication (to include emails, blogs, instant messaging and texts) sent to "...coerce, intimidate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress" could result in a fine or a two year prison sentence.

Those who oppose the bill are concerned about honouring fthe reedom of expression as set out in the US constitution's first amendment. The bill is named after Megan Meier, a Missouri teenager who committed suicide after being the victim of cyberbullying on MySpace.

In the UK, the secretary of state for children, schools and families, Ed Balls, refers to such online abuse as "insidious".

(Source:Guardian)

Full story

Guardian website

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 1:29:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The first ever 02 Digital Families Report released yesterday showed that for families, the Internet was more important than food and other household bills. The telecommunications company, 02 polled 500 families in the UK in order to find out which items they were reluctant to cut back on, and found that more than 67% opted for Internet access over school uniforms (59%), family holidays (30%) and their weekly food shopping (24%).

(Source: Telegraph)

Full story

Telegraph website

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 8:09:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A secret report by the UK Border and Immigration Agency's national intelligence unit reveals that a 59-bed local authority children's home was used by criminal gangs to traffic Chinese children into prostitution and drug trafficking spanning  four continents.

The 'restricted' report indicates that children arrive at the children's home, located by Heathrow airport, only to vanish straight away.

UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is being asked to respond to questions on how the local authority home fell under the control of child traffickers.

(Source: Guardian)

Full story

Guardian website

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:42:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 01, 2009

Although the IWF 2008 Annual Report suggests that there has been a 10% decrease in the number of child abuse websites in the past year, it is important to note that there has been an increase in the serious nature of those abuse images which are still available.

The IWF report shows that among the remaining 1,536 child abuse sites, 74% were for profit while 26% allowed users to share or swap images, and states, "..1,536 domains remains a problem of a scale which can be seriously targeted and significantly disrupted through international efforts".

Peter Robbins, Chief Executive of the IWF said, "These websites, although reducing in number, represent an extremely serious problem."

The methods used by such sites to avoid detection were reported to be more and more sophisticated and include the scrambling of domain names and attempts to hide methods of payment in order to try to remain one step ahead of law enforcement.

(Source: BBC)

Full Story

BBC website

Friday, May 01, 2009 7:51:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 30, 2009

An American girl chatting on Facebook with a British teenage boy alerted her mother after he admitted that he planned to commit suicide. Without having his address, the girl's mother contacted local police which then led to a series of calls to the White House, the British Embassy in Washington and finally the police in the UK town where the boy was found alive.

(Source: BBC News)

Full Story

BBC Website

Thursday, April 30, 2009 10:43:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Africa and Arab States, dedicated to “Connecting the World Responsibly”, aims to identify some of the main challenges faced by countries in Africa and Arab States in enhancing cybersecurity and securing critical information infrastructures.

It will consider best practices, information sharing mechanisms and concrete actions for cybersecurity development, taking into consideration the key principles of matching the borderless, transnational nature of cyber-threats with meeting specific national and regional requirements. The Forum will consider initiatives at the regional and international levels to increase cooperation and coordination amongst different stakeholders. The forum programme will include interactive sessions on the projects and related tools that ITU is working on to assist Member States in developing and implementing cybersecurity capabilities.

Capacity building activities will be undertaken in the following main areas:

  • Development of a legal framework;
  • Development of watch and warning and incident management capabilities, including the establishment of a national computer incident response team (CIRT); and,
  • Actions to be considered when developing a national cybersecurity strategy and harmonization within the key principles of international cooperation.

    The event is expected to bring together government representatives, industry actors, and other stakeholder groups from countries on the African continent and the Arab States to discuss, share information, and collaborate on the elaboration and implementation of national policy, regulatory and enforcement frameworks for cybersecurity. It will benefit information and communication policy makers from ministries and government departments; institutions and departments dealing with cybersecurity policies, legislation and enforcement; and representatives from operators, manufacturers, service providers, industry and consumer associations involved in promoting a culture of cybersecurity.

    The forum will be conducted in English, Arabic and French with simultaneous interpretation. Participation in the Forum is open to all ITU Member States, Sector Members, Associates, and other interested stakeholders, including representatives from regional and international organizations.

    More detailed information about the event (including the draft forum agenda, online pre-registration, fellowship requests (for eligible LDCs) can be found on the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Africa and Arab States website at www.itu.int/ITU-D/cyb/events/2009/tunis/.

    Register for the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Africa and Arab States here.

    We look forward to seeing you at the event!

  • Wednesday, April 29, 2009 10:03:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The Times reports that a young German man, David Heiss, became infatuated with Joanna Witton while playing on a cyber war website set up by Joanna and her boyfriend, Matthew Pyke, in the UK.

    After seeing her photo on Facebook, Mr Heiss made up his mind that she was the girl for him, sending her a stream of disturbing messages despite her protests that she was already in a relationship.

    Travelling to the UK from Germany, Mr Heiss tracked the couple down, committing the murder on his second visit. The killing of the victim was said by the prosecution to be driven by "...obsession for Joanna Witton, who was Matthew's girlfriend, and hatred for Matthew, because he was Joanna's boyfriend".

    (Source: The Times)

    Full Story

    Timesonline website

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 6:46:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, April 24, 2009

    Following earlier reports of users not being able to delete their personal information, Facebook has now allowed voters to decide on the best way to proceed. In reviewing their policies with users, the popular social networking site has agreed to allow its users greater control of their personal data.

    After a vote, 75% of responders were in favour of these proposed changes, which will allow users to own their own information and also have the right to remove it if they so choose.

    Founder, Mark Zuckerberg explained that the networking site was aiming for a more "...transparent and democratic approach"

    (Source: Telegraph)

    Full story

    Telegraph website

    Friday, April 24, 2009 12:48:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Miguel Angel Mancera, the Attorney General of Mexico City, stated that seven suspects including a Roman Catholic priest, were accused of distributing over 100,000 child sex abuse images (including pictures and videos) of children worldwide. Among the material taken away by law enforcement were CDs, DVDs and computers.

    (Source: CNN)

    Full story

    CNN website

     

    Friday, April 24, 2009 11:23:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    A new report of the mobile industry shows that some progress has been made by the 26 mobile operators signed up to the "European Framework for Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children” brokered by the Commission in February 2007 (IP/07/139). These operators serve around 580 million customers, 96% of all EU mobile customers. "The new report of the mobile phone industry association shows that mobile operators have started to take seriously their responsibilities to keep children safe when using phones," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

    50% of 10 year-old, 87% of 13 year-old and 95% of 16 year-old children in the EU have a mobile phone, but half of European parents worry mobile phone use might expose their children to sexually and violently explicit images (51%) or bullying by other children (49%), according to a survey. The European Commission today called on mobile operators to do more to keep children safe while using mobile phones by putting in place all the measures in the voluntary code of conduct, signed by 26 mobile operators in 2007. The report published by the GSM Association, the trade body of the mobile phone industry, showed that national self-regulatory codes based on the framework agreement brokered by the European Commission now exist in 22 Member States, 90% of them in line with the 2007 agreement, and 80% of operators have put in place measures to control child access to adult content.

    Read the full EC press release from 20 April 2009 here.

    More information on the GSMA report onimplementation of the framework agreement on "Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children" can be found here.

    Friday, April 24, 2009 8:03:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Chris De Wolfe, MySpace co-founder is reported by the Telegraph to be stepping down as chief executive.

    In 2008, Facebook was reported to be the number one social networking site, relegating MySpace, (with 130 million users globally), to second place.

    As well as tough competition from Facebook, a more recent social networking site, Twitter, appears to be holding its own against MySpace.

    (Source:Telegraph)

    Full story

    Telegraph website

    Thursday, April 23, 2009 3:04:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The Guardian reports that, in one of the first cases of its kind, images of a UK man sexually abusing Thai girls were used to identify him despite the fact that he had taken steps to hide his face.

    Photographs were uncovered during a police search of Dean Hardy's home, where images were stored on memory cards from cameras and the hard drive of a computer.

    A forensic anthropologist examined the freckles and blemishes visible in the images and found them to be identical with those on Mr Hardy's left hand.

    Judge Stone, sentencing, referred to this case as "...sex tourism of the most offensive kind."

    (Source: Guardian)

     

    Full story

    Guardian website

    Thursday, April 23, 2009 1:46:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, April 17, 2009

    The British Computer Society (BCS)'s website shares information and advice on how to stay safe while shopping online in a set of "Golden Rules" compiled by Global Secure Systems (GSS).

    The twelve golden rules to safely shopping online include the below (detailed information available on the BCS website):

    1. Most malware exploits are known problems with software and operating systems. The hacker, or code writer, is relying upon people being lazy and not keeping systems up to date. For this reason it is very important to keep your anti-virus product up to date with the latest signature files and operating system updates from Microsoft.
    2. Never go online without ensuring you have your personal firewall enabled.
    3. Don't ever select the remember my password option when registering online as your passwords are then stored on the PC, often in plain text, and are the first thing that a fraudster will target. Some
    4. Ensure that your credit cards are registered with your card provider's online security services such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.
    5. Use only one card for online shopping, maintaining a limit on the card as low as possible or even using a top-up card for your online purchasing.
    6. Be sure to use a credit card and not a debit card.
    7. Be sure to check your statements regularly, and if there is any sign of irregular activity, report it straight away.
    8. Always check for the little padlock at the bottom right hand corner of the browser (when using Internet Explorer) before entering your card details. 
    9. Make a habit of checking the site's privacy policy for details of how your personal information will be used and only provide the minimum of personal information, especially in online forms.
    10. Never shop from sites that you arrive at from clicking links in unsolicited marketing emails (spam). 
    11. It is important to remember that you could be doing everything right, but that the vendor may do something wrong. A vendor may well be storing all your credit card data on a single server.
    12. Finally, don't rely on previous customer's testimonials - they are part of the organisation's marketing and not necessarily factual. The golden rule of commerce is still the same as it ever was - if the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is!

    The full set of "Golden Rules to Safe Internet Shopping" can be found here.

    For more information see the British Computer Society (BCS) and Global Secure Systems (GSS) websites.

    Friday, April 17, 2009 2:03:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, April 10, 2009

    ITU is pleased to announce the launch of its 2009 Cybersecurity and ICT Applications Essay Competition.

    The 2009 ITU Cybersecurity and ICT Applications Essay Competition is open to current students and recent graduates in economics, political science, law, literature, telecommunications, computer science, information systems and related fields between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. The winners of the 2009 Essay Competition will be offered the opportunity of a consultancy contract within the ITU Development Sector's ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division for three months. The winners will be given a contribution towards the cost of an economy class flight from their place of residence. In addition, they will be paid the sum of CHF 6000 towards living expenses for the duration of the contract.

    To enter the competition you need to submit an essay on one of the following essay topics:

    • Mobiles for Development: Enabling Low-Cost e-Applications for Rural and Remote Areas (e-Health, e-Government, e-Environment)
    • Protecting Children and Youth in the Internet and Mobile Age: Innovative Technical and Social Solutions
    • Connecting the World Responsibly: Empowering Women and Girls Through Creative Uses of ICTs
    • Personal Information Online (internet/mobiles): Responding to User Safety Concerns

    All applications should be submitted online through the competition website.

    The deadline for applications is 14 June 2009.

    We look forward to reviewing your applications and wish you the best of luck in the competition!

     

    Friday, April 10, 2009 7:17:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, March 27, 2009

    The European Commission has unveiled new laws aimed at protecting children from online sexual abuse. As a result, individuals who are found to be guilty of abuses such as online grooming or viewing online pornography, may face criminal prosecution.

    (Source: BBC)

    Full Story

    BBC Website

    Friday, March 27, 2009 12:58:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, March 26, 2009

    An advertising campaign by Beatbullying for its new website CyberMentors was helped by the testimony from boxing champion Joe Calzaghe.

    Joe Calzaghe, a spokesperson for Beatbullying, spoke about the misery he suffered during his school years from bullying and how it affected him and changed his personality.

    Adding, "For two years I was bullied, called names and ignored by former friends which turned me from a happy, out-going kid who enjoyed school and schoolwork, into an introverted wreck, detached from his studies and scared of his own shadow during school hours".

     

    (Source: BBC)

    Full story

    BBC Website

    Thursday, March 26, 2009 11:44:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    The UK government has unveiled plans to monitor social network sites contacts in an effort to “tackle crime gangs and terrorists” , stressing that it “would not keep the content of conversations”.

     

    Following earlier plans to keep all phone calls, e-mails and websites visited on a central database, the UK government has been accused of putting together a “snoopers’ charter” by campaigners for civil liberties.

     

    Amid concerns about security, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake stressed his lack of confidence in the security of personal information in a government-controlled database.

     

    Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer called this latest proposal "overkill".

     

    An EU directive to store all Internet traffic data will come into force in the UK on 6th April 2009.

     

    (Source:BBC)

     

    Full story

     

    BBC website

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 6:19:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    A new social network site available only for under-18s,Yoursphere.co.uk, has commissoned a research paper on parental supervision of children online.

    Evidence from this Virtual Parenting Report supports the need for more parental supervision for children online.

    It suggests that parents should treat their children's online safety as having the same risks as  offline safety. There appears to be a false sense of security in parents feeling that their children are less at risk because they are using the Internet whilst in the safety of the family home.

    (Source:Telegraph)

    Full Story

    Telegraph website

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009 7:08:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    In the USA, the North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, summoned MySpace to provide the identities of these registered sex offenders to law enforcement.

    Commenting on the responsibility of social networks, Cooper added that, "...MySpace, Facebook and other social networks need to do much more to protect kids online".

    North Carolina state passed a law in 2008 banning sex offenders from registering on networks involving children and young people.

    (Source:CNN)

    Full Story

    CNN Website

     

     

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 4:23:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Press release issued simultaneously by ITU and European Commission.

    Geneva, 10 February 2009 — ITU and the European Commission have joined forces to mark Safer Internet Day. This year, the focus is on protecting children online.

    Children are among the most active — and most vulnerable — participants online. According to recent surveys, over 60 per cent of children and teenagers talk in chat rooms on a daily basis. Three in four children online are willing to share personal information about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services. One in five children will be targeted by a predator or paedophile each year. Protecting children in cyberspace is, therefore, clearly our duty.

    "Children are very resourceful in making the most of online services such as social networking sites and mobile phones," said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "But many still underestimate the hidden risks of using these, from cyber-bullying to sexual grooming online. Today, I call upon all decision-makers, from both the public and the private sector, to listen and learn from children and to improve awareness strategies and tools to protect minors." Ms Reding added: "The Internet binds the whole world together. The safety of children who use it is a concern for everyone. I am therefore very happy that ITU is associated with us in doing this, today on Safer Internet Day, and all year round."

    "Child online safety must be on the global agenda," said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré. "We must ensure that everyone is aware of the dangers for children online. And we want to promote and strengthen the many outstanding efforts that are being made around the world, such as the Safer Internet Programme, to limit these dangers." This year, the 6th edition of Safer Internet Day includes more than 500 events in 50 countries worldwide. ITU and the European Commission will collaborate on this and future events, such as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, 17 May 2009, which is dedicated to "Protecting Children in Cyberspace". The European Commission’s Directorate General for Information Society and Media has declared its full support for ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) Initiative. The EC’s Ins@fe Network will launch a Safer Internet Day virtual exhibition which will host pavilions where visitors can learn more about initiatives undertaken by the 50 participating countries. ITU will host an online pavilion in support of EC’s efforts to raise awareness among youngsters aged 12 to 17 regarding the risks they may face online.

    ITU and Child Online Protection (COP)

    ITU’s motto is "committed to connecting the world", but we are also committed to connecting the world responsibly. That means working together to ensure cybersecurity, enable cyberpeace, and — more importantly — protect children online. While child online protection programmes exist in many developed countries, there are very few in the developing world today — and very little coordination between them. ITU established the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) and launched the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative. COP aims to bring together partners from all sectors of the global community to ensure a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere.

    See the press release here.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 3:38:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Telecommunication company, 02 has launched  a new book, 'Who Wants 2 No?', aimed at 8-12 year olds in an effort to promote greater Internet safety among children.

    Available to schools and libraries, this book also aims to encourage children's literacy skills by providing an enjoyable story as well as an important safety message.

    Ronan Dunne, CEO, Telefónica 02 UK Limited added, "....Technology is available to help keep children safe, but is only part of the solution. It's also important that children learn how to be smart and stay safe as part of their online experiences...."

    (Source:www.02.com)

    Read full article

     

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 9:27:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, January 26, 2009

    Despite the number of data breaches which have occured in the UK over the past year, the UK Government has now authorised 390,000 professionals (including local authorities, police, health service and children's charities) direct access to contact details on all under 18-year-olds in England.

    This  224 million pounds ContactPoint database was developed following the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000, when Social Services were highly criticised for lack of coordination and adequate follow-up of children at risk.

    It is hoped that this database will go some way to preventing children from slipping through the net.

    The Conservatives voiced their concern by stating that this database was "another expensive data disaster waiting to happen". The Liberals were equally opposed, calling it an "intrusive and expensive project".

    (Source: BBC NEWS)

    Full Story

    BBC website

     

     

     

    Monday, January 26, 2009 2:45:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Sunday, January 18, 2009

    Well-known British Child Psychologist, Tanya Byron compares the dangers of letting children use the Internet without supervision to allowing them to cross dangerous roads without assistance.

    "Government must be co-ordinated in its approach, we must have a national strategy" Byron states, adding,

    "Now Obama has laid out his ambitious strategy and France has just published its own, too, there's a bit of a race on to lead the way in protecting children online...."

    She encourages parents to take an interest in their children's online activity as well as providing commonsense advice such as putting the family computer in the living room as opposed to the child's bedroom.

    (Source:Telegraph)

    Full story

    Sunday, January 18, 2009 4:23:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, January 15, 2009

    In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Emily Steel looks at who should bear the responsibility for protecting children online following the release of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force report on child esafety.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina is reported as saying, "Clearly the main responsibility is on parents."  adding, "..because technology companies are providing the gathering space and encouraging children to come, they have a duty to put in place technologies that can help protect kids".

    Acknowledging efforts by social networking sites such as MySpace to respond to reports of abuse within 24 hours, as well as blocking child predators from their network.

    (Source: Wall Street Journal)

    Read article here

    Wall Street Journal

    Thursday, January 15, 2009 12:14:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Saturday, January 10, 2009

    A number of children at a London girls school were suspended from school as a result of posting "deeply insulting comments" about a staff member who is reported to be receiving counselling as a result.

    The group of girls, aged between 11 and 18 signed up as members of The Hate Society on Facebook. The headteacher of Grey Coat Hospital School, Rachel  Allard stated, "We can confirm that a number of pupils have been given fixed term exclusions for between 2 and 15 days after the school became aware of their involvement in a hate campaign about a member of staff using an open Facebook group.."

     

    (Source: Telegraph)

    Full story

    Telegraph website

    Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:06:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, John Carr, from the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety argues that cohesion within the Internet industry can do much to address child online safety "without the need for direct government intervention".

    (Source: Guardian)

    Read letter here

    Guardian website

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:41:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, November 13, 2008

    ITU launched a new initiative today to safeguard children, the most vulnerable users of the Internet. Addressing ITU’s high-level meeting on cybersecurity by video message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "We have to protect against cyberthreats, especially when they target children. I welcome the ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative and urge all States to support it."

    The Child Online Protection initiative brings together partners from all sectors of the international community with the aim of creating a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere. While the virtual world offers unlimited opportunities in many respects, it is also the hunting ground for cybercriminals and paedophiles. Recognizing that a concerted global effort would be required to ensure that the cyberworld becomes a safe place for young people to work, learn and play, ITU is working with other UN agencies, including UNICEF, UNICRI and UNIDIR.

    Building confidence and security At the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, ITU was entrusted by leaders of the international community with Action Point C5: "building confidence and security in the use of ICTs". As an intergovernmental organization with a network of 191 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates, ITU was a logical choice. In 2007, in answer to this responsibility, Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), an international framework that addresses 5 main aspects: legal measures technical and procedural measures organizational structure capacity building international cooperation The WSIS outcomes also specifically recognized the needs of children and young people and their protection in cyberspace.

    The Tunis Commitment recognized "the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the protection of children and in enhancing the development of children" and the need to "strengthen action to protect children from abuse and defend their rights in the context of ICT". The COP initiative is in line with ITU’s mandate to establish the foundation for a safe and secure cyberworld for future generations. The need for COP is clear. A decade ago, there were just 182 million people using the Internet globally — and almost all of them lived in the developed world. By the end of 2008, however, there will be over 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide, and more than 400 million of them will have broadband access — vastly increasing the dangers online, especially for children. With over 600 million users in Asia, 130 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 50 million in Africa, the Internet is a growing common resource. 

    "ITU is the lead UN agency on ICT for Development," said Mr Sami Al-Basheer, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "In working towards an all-inclusive information society we must ensure that children everywhere can enjoy the benefits of ICTs while being protected from the risks posed by inappropriate use."

    Read the full press release for the COP initiative here.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:00:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, May 19, 2008

    On an article published Wednesday, 14 May 2008, on the Guardian, Will Ashley-Cantello writes about how the youth are both fully aware of the need to reduce environmental impacts and equipped to making this change happen. Ashley-Cantello points out that the second generation internet has fast become the most powerful tool the environment movement has. "Around 96% of Americans between 11 and 18 are members of an online social network. So when you consider that protecting the environment is a passion of many young people, the potential power of influence of Web 2.0 for the green movement is phenomenal." According to the Forum for the Future, 78% of university applicants in 2007 believed that "lifestyles need to change across the board, or in many areas, for human civilisation to survive the next 100 years". It is, therefore, imperative that our young citizens are given a fair hearing on the decisions that current leaders are making - and online social networking can help achieve this.

    A new social networking site, Footprintfriends.com, was set up exclusively to join together young people who share a passion for protecting our natural environment. As a moderated site, it aims to be an enabler for young people aged 11 to 18 to act on their environmental concerns. The site has already attracted hundreds of young people since launching last August. It is set to expand rapidly after establishing a new partnership with the British Standards Institute, which is using the site to promote a Sustainable Students competition, involving about 20,000 schools.

    Read the full article here.

    Monday, May 19, 2008 9:46:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, May 16, 2008

    As part of the ITU Cybersecurity Internship Programme, ITU launches the 2008 Cybersecurity Essay Competition. The purpose of the ITU Cybersecurity Internship Programme, and related 2008 ITU Cybersecurity Essay Competition, is to increase cybersecurity awareness and give young people, especially from developing countries, exposure to the main issues related to cybersecurity and to the ongoing work of ITU in this area. It is hoped that the fellowships granted to promising students and recent graduates from ITU Member States through the cybersecurity essay competition will help build cybersecurity capacity in developing countries as these interns will be exposed to ITU cybersecurity activities, learn about the main international and regional actors in this field, and constructively contribute with their country-specific insights into ITU cybersecurity-related work. The competition is open to current students and recent graduates in economics, political science, law, literature, computer science, information systems and related fields, between the ages of 20 and 30 years old.

    For more information about the programme and competition, visit the programme website.

    Friday, May 16, 2008 9:26:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, April 03, 2008

    A report by the UK media regulator, Ofcom, has reported that 'millions of children are using social networking websites intended for older users.'

    Despite the minimum age requirement  of between 13 and 14 yrs set by Bebo, MySpace and Facebook, the report found that more than 25% of UK 8-11yr olds have a social network profile.

    The Home Office is due to disclose a set of guidelines for such sites involving best practice, security and privacy on Friday 4th April.

    This report by Ofcom showed a "significant difference" between the perception of risks in using social network sites between parents and children.

    James Thicket, director of market research, Ofcom stated, "While people are aware of the status of their profile, there is a general lack of awareness of the issues attached to them around privacy and safety". He also added, "People put aside concerns about privacy and safety believing they have been taken care of by someone else".

    The lack of child protection in such social network sites is further demonstrated by the following Ofcom figures:

    41% of children allowed their profile to be viewed by anyone -

    16% of parents did not know if their child's profile could be seen by strangers -

    The vulnerability of children (especially younger ones) to online predators cannot be ignored and Mr Thickett goes on to say,

    "Children are using these sites with a far lower awareness of some of the issues and rules that these sites entail".

    Ofcom  plan to monitor and review the new guidelines agreed by social networks and the Home Office.

    Dr Rachel O'Connell, Bebo chief safety officer, said, "We're working with the regulatory bodies. It's critical to our business that we adhere to these guidelines".

    For more information see BBC and The Guardian.

    Thursday, April 03, 2008 10:27:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, March 27, 2008

    The Guardian newspaper reports that the first UK national strategy for child Internet safety (which includes a streamlined system for classifying  computer games and codes of practice for social networking sites) will be set out today, 27th March 2008.

    This comprehensive and detailed report  carried out by child psyhologist, Dr Tanya Byron, showed that parents are worried about online predators and children are worried by cyber bullying.

    One of her proposals includes new codes of practice to regulate social networking sites, such as Bebo and Facebook, and standards on privacy and harmful content.

    Dr Byron states that these social networking sites should be asked to agree on codes of practice on harmful content and calls for an independent body to evaluate whether the site is meeting such standards.

    She is planning to say that the online explosion has rendered parents as "...the Internet immigrants" and children as "...the Internet natives.." leaving parents lagging behind as as result of the fast past of technology.

    Dr Byron is reported to have said yesterday, "Ironically parents' concerns about risk and safety of their children in the streets and outside has driven a generation of children indoors, where it could be argued they are being exposed to a whole new set of risks".

    Suprisingly, the British Board of  Film Classification system fails to provide any indication about the actual content of computer games or to explain their age rating.

    Full article here.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008 8:29:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    The UK government is pledging action to protect teachers from bullying through mobile phones and the Internet.

    During the NASUWT Annual Conference 24-27 March 2008, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, is expected to address union members declaring that the cyber bullying of teachers should be regarded as a "serious disciplinary offence".

    A "cyber bullying taskforce" for England will be responsible for preventing teachers from being targeted by pupils.

    NASUWT leaders (the largest UK wide teachers' union) want mobile phones classified as "potentially offensive weapons" as well as a ban on online allegations.  Until now the government taskforce  has focused on the effects of cyber bullying on children, but with the increasing numbers of teachers being harassed online, the situation for teachers can no longer be ignored.

    The cyber bullying taskforce includes representatives from anti-bullying and children's charities, the Internet industry and teachers' groups.

    The general secretary of NASUWT, Chris Keates, stated, "I am pleased the government accepts that we need strong policies in schools which focus on teachers. Increasingly, teachers' lives are being destroyed by what pupils are doing" and added, "pupils who once had to content themselves with exhibiting poor behaviour when face to face with the teacher, now increasingly use technology to support their indiscipline. Relying on industry self-regulation to resolve this problem is the equivalent of waiting for hell to freeze over".

    Read full article at BBC website.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:17:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Another "security lapse" has allowed unauthorised access to personal photos posted on Facebook. What makes this situation all the more worrying is that it happened after a recent upgrade to the website's privacy controls.

    This incident was verified by the Associated Press after they were alerted by computer technician, Byron Ng.

    Facebook spokeswoman, Brandee Barker stated, "We take privacy very seriously and continue to make enhancements to the site".

    This latest lapse is yet another warning about the dangers of sharing photographs and personal information online, even when such websites attempt to assure its members that their information cannot be accessed by everyone.

    Even after such warnings, increasing numbers of teenagers and young adults are still publishing personal details on the Internet.

    MySpace.com, the only online social network larger than Facebook, also experienced a similar security lapse last year.

    Full story at CNN website.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008 4:37:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Once again parents in the UK are being warned by teachers about the possible dangers to children by Internet and mobile phone misuse.

    A survey of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' members reports that more than half are aware of pupils being "cyber bullied" and 16% have been victims themselves.

    Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers calls for more serious consequences and policies which might deter such behaviours. She then went on to suggest that as most cyber bullying takes place outside school hours, it might be difficult for teaching staff to take action.

    What about the parental role? With parents complaining that their young children are watching pornography in the school playground on their mobile phones, it seems that the call to engage parent-teacher dialogue is not before time.

    Unfortnately the situation is more complex, as Dr Bousted  points out the difficulty in  punishing children for such behaviours without the complete support of the parents, adding, "...it's not just students who can behave inappropriately through the Internet, it's parents as well".

    Read full article at BBC website.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008 9:57:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Time Warner's AOL Internet Divison is buying the social networking site, Bebo, for $850m cash.

    Social networking sites are valuable to online advertisers as the information posted by members is very valuable to online advertisers who can then target them with those products and services which match their profiles.

    Bebo is reported to have 40 million members worldwide, many of whom are within the 13-24 year old age range and thus attractive to advertisers. ComScore report that Bebo is the UK's second most popular social networking site after Facebook. In the US, Bebo is the third biggest social networking site, after MySpace and FacebookComScore report that Bebo is the world's ninth most popular social site.

    Read full article at bbc website.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008 3:37:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, March 03, 2008

    The UK  industry watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), will undertake an investigation into the use of material taken from personal profiles on social networks by newspapers.

    Tim Toulmin, director of the PCC has said that his organisation had received complaints from people about material "that is being re-published when they themselves are the subject of news stories", and suggests that guidelines are necessary in order to guide the press in their use of social network content. Due to the present lack of boundaries, the PCC has commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct research into public attitudes. In addition, Mr Toulmin points out that social networking sites have a responsibility to advise their users about the implications of uploading personal information to public, or semi-private spaces and goes one step further, saying, "..the press do have obligations over and above those that govern the online community".

    However, Bob Satchwell, Director of the Society of Editors stated that the press should be subject to the same regulation as the public.

    The recent media interest in the large number of suspected suicides among young people in Brigend, UK, has caused concern about the way social network profiles were being used by journalists.

    The British Journal of Photography has stated that the publication of images on social networks does not automatically grant rights to republish photographs elseware.

    Read full article on BBC website

    Monday, March 03, 2008 12:26:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The European Commission recently proposed a new Safer Internet programme to enhance the safety of children in the online environment. Encompassing recent communications services from the Web 2.0, such as social networking, the new programme will fight not only illegal content but also harmful behaviour such as bullying and grooming. With a budget of €55 million, the programme, which builds further on the successful Safer Internet programme started in 2005, will run from 2009 to 2013.

    The proposed new programme will:

    • Reduce illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online.
    • Promote a safer online environment.
    • Ensure public awareness.
    • Establish a knowledge base.

    Read the full press release here.
    For more information on the Safer Internet Programme, click here.

    Monday, March 03, 2008 9:27:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    The Australian federal Government's plan to have internet service providers filter pornography and other internet content deemed inappropriate for children is going full-steam ahead. The Government wants to evaluate content filters in a controlled environment. Trials are to be conducted soon in a closed environment in Tasmania. Enex TestLab was selected more than six months ago after the Australian Communications and Media Authority closed a tender for an organisation to test ISP-based content filters. ISP-based filters will block inappropriate web pages at service provider level and automatically relay a clean feed to households. To be exempted, users will have to individually contact their ISPs. The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children, Enex said. "We invite vendors of all types (hardware appliances, software - proprietary or open-source) of ISP-based internet content filters to participate." The testing is slated for completion by July and will be followed by live field trials.

    The internet sector has consistently voiced concern about the Government's ISP filters. Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos has said any clean feed policy would have to be balanced against the likely financial and performance costs, and ACMA's first annual report to Senator Conroy confirmed his fears. On the performance impact of filters, ACMA said: "In the case of personal computers the cost of upgrading processing power may be modest (although significant in terms of household income). "However, for ISPs the cost of upgrading or augmenting the expensive hardware that they typically deploy may be substantial, particularly for small providers."

    Read the full article on the Australian IT.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:40:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, February 15, 2008

    Once more there is controversy over a new database due to go online in September 2008, which will hold the school records of all UK school pupils aged 14years and over. Amid security concerns from a number of sources, the British government is under pressure not to implement it.

    The Learning and Skills Council (LSC)  insist that it is not a "tracking system" and would in fact be using existing information that had been collected a number of times already. David Russell, national director of resources at the LSC, said "It will only hold factual information such as name, surname, age, postcode, qualifications achieved and courses attended."

    Under the Managing Information Across Partners (MIAP) system - to be launched on Thursday 21st February 2008 by Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell - the number will stay with them until they retire.

    However, data security watchdog, the Information Commissioner stated that no database could be totally secure and a spokesman added, "We have provided advice and assistance to help ensure that this system is watertight and secure - but no system is immune to human error and breaches can and do occur..."

    Last year, the British government put another planned database of children, ContactPoint, on hold, pending a security review and changes to the system including its access controls. ContactPoint is designed for use by child protection agencies. The review was ordered after the loss by HM Revenue and Customs of two discs containing the personal and bank details of 25 million people.

    Read full article at the BBC News website

    Friday, February 15, 2008 4:36:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Safer Internet Day, 12th February 2008, was marked around Europe with events to educate children and parents about Internet dangers. A spokeswoman for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP),  which is coordinating the UK's involvement, said its efforts were focused on getting schools to run assemblies that discuss the issue, had these comments: "it is about them talking about the issue, the personal information they put online and their social networking profiles". Dr David King, chair of the Information Security Awareness Forum (ISAF) voices his concerns about the growing number of messages aimed at young people, "There are a lot of messages coming out from lots of different places but the question is who do you listen to?". ISAF plans to produce best practice guides for businesses and to run events to raise awareness about computer security and will collaborate with web-safety campaign Get Safe Online to promote security awareness.

    Read full article at the BBC News website.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:44:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |