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NSI Accused of Unfair Tactics
(Wired News, 26 June 2000) - Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), formerly the Internet’s sole domain name registrar, has been accused of violating the accreditation agreement that registrars sign with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the domain name industry. The accusations stem from a special notice NSI recently began e-mailing to owners of past-due accounts. In the notice, NSI says it will put any past-due domain names up for auction in order to satisfy payment obligations. It is not clear where additional proceeds beyond the US $35 annual registration fee would go. Critics say that the plan will result in a large number of domain names defaulting to NSI instead of re-entering the open market for domain names. Although other companies are taking steps to enter the name auction business as well, NSI’s competitors maintain that the policy violates the registrar contract.

Yahoo! Rejects French Court Ban on Nazi Sites
Flag image Copyright 1997 Xoom Software, Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.(Reuters, 16 June 2000) - Jerry Yang, cofounder of Yahoo! Inc., has rejected a French court order to prevent Web surfers in France from accessing sales of Nazi memorabilia on one of the Web sites it hosts. Under French law, it is illegal to exhibit or sell objects with racist overtones. Users of a Yahoo! auction site put hundreds of Nazi, neo-Nazi, and Ku Klux Klan objects up for auction each day. In May, a French court ordered the California-based company to report back by July 24 with an explanation of the steps it had taken to prevent French users from participating in such sales. Yang has so far refused. Lawyers for Yahoo! told the court that it was not technically possible for the company to scan the content of all sites its service carries. "We are not going to change the content of our sites in the United States just because someone in France is asking us to do so," Yang said.

China Arrests Internet Editor
Flag image Copyright 1997 Xoom Software, Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.(The Human Rights Information Network, 7 June 2000) - China has arrested the man who launched that country’s first human rights Web site. Huang Qi has been accused of attempting to overthrow the government. Huang and his wife, Zeng Li, were taken from their home on 3 June after articles commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown appeared on the Web site. Although Huang’s wife was released after three days, he was not. The arrests occurred just before the 11th anniversary of the Tiananmen events.

U.N. Urged to Assure Universal Internet Access by 2005
Flag image Copyright 1997 Xoom Software, Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.(The Human Rights Information Network, 21 June
2000) - In a report to the United Nations, a panel has proposed that everyone in the world have Internet access by the end of 2004, even if it means half a day’s walk to the nearest computer or cell phone. But the panel—which included government ministers from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe and representatives of private businesses and foundations—has warned that action is urgently needed to stop the rapidly growing digital divide between rich and poor nations. Currently less than 5 percent of the world’s population benefits from e-commerce, and developing countries risk "not just being marginalized but completely bypassed" by the new global market. The Group of Eight members will review the report when they meet in Okinawa, Japan, in July. More information.

New Zealand Budget Boosts E-Government Resources
Flag image Copyright 1997 Xoom Software, Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.(16 June 2000) - Plans to improve New Zealand’s e-government and e-commerce structures received a boost in the country’s most recent budget. Finance Minister Michael Cullen, who announced the new funding, said that it was important for all government information and services to be made available online. But Commerce Minister Paul Swain said that leadership and the vision to develop a strategy are more important than large sums of money. The budget news comes in the same week as a Deloitte Consulting report suggesting that New Zealand is about two years behind Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada in developing an e-commerce focus. The report says that New Zealand lags in providing government information and services on the Internet and should adopt a more customer-focused approach. This corresponds with findings in a Victoria University study that found that less that half the people visiting government Web sites managed to find what they were looking for. The Deloitte report concluded that a central agency needs to take responsibility across all governmental sites. More information.

India Net Veterans Skeptical About E-Commerce Penetration
Flag image Copyright 1997 Xoom Software, Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.(India News, 27 June 2000) - The Internet business market is not faring well in India, according to some of that country’s Internet veterans. Opportunities for dot-coms will be limited for some time, they say. Even though Internet service providers ISPs) have been slashing Internet access rates, the cost for a consumer to access the Net have not significantly decreased—primarily because of high computer costs and telephone charges. Unreliable ISP services and poor telephone lines make consumers skeptical, one expert said. He stressed that liberalization of issues pertaining to the Internet would instantly generate more users, such as in China. More information.

U.S. Survey Shows a Majority of Americans Support Net Taxes
Flag image Copyright 1997 Xoom Software, Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.(Wired News, 22 June 2000) - A recent survey shows that a majority of Americans support applying sales taxes to Internet transactions. The survey was conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers, a group vocally opposed to keeping the Internet a tax-free zone. The group said it conducted a scientific study of a cross-section of Americans, including many who shop online. Of 1,038 adults surveyed, 65 percent agreed with the argument that it is unfair to let consumers avoid paying taxes when buying things online. The survey found that support for Net taxes increased when respondents learned that the same goods available from brick-and-mortar retailers can be bought online tax-free. Americans know little or nothing about the debate over an Internet sales tax, according to the survey. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to extend the Internet sales-tax moratorium until 2006.

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