NSI Accused of Unfair Tactics
(Wired News, 26 June 2000) - Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI), formerly
the Internets 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, NSIs
competitors maintain that the policy violates the registrar contract.
Yahoo! Rejects French Court Ban on Nazi Sites
(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
(The Human Rights Information Network, 7 June 2000) - China has
arrested the man who launched that countrys 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 Huangs 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
(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 days walk to the nearest computer or cell phone.
But the panelwhich included government ministers from Africa,
Asia, and Eastern Europe and representatives of private businesses
and foundationshas 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 worlds 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
(16 June 2000) - Plans to improve New Zealands e-government and
e-commerce structures received a boost in the countrys 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
(India News, 27 June 2000) - The Internet business market is not faring well in India, according
to some of that countrys 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
decreasedprimarily 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
(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.