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If the Information Commissioner's Office has its way, cookies will soon be a lot less tasty to website operators.
In 2009, the British High Court was asked to weigh in on the long-standing dispute between Interflora and Marks and Spencer, which centered on Marks and Spencer's bidding on 'Interflora' as a Google AdWords keyword. It referred the matter to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The Advocate General ECJ has finally answered: Marks and Spencer violated Interflora's trademark.
Last November, I suggested that ACTA, the not-so-secret-anymore Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that governments have been negotiating for more than a year, could be "the worst thing for the internet - ever."
And with a 331-294 approval in the EU Parliament, it's one step closer to reality.
It seems most of the controversy is based on the typical ambiguity that seems to exist in many online rules and regulations. Because, let’s face it, the situation is meant to be led by public opinion, with the legislators supposedly following suit. The public want to be “protected” from evil online marketing spies, who are poised and ready to sell something at the first sign of interest.
Or do they?
A massive push on securing opt-ins from consumers on cookies is well under way both here and in the US.
For the record, and contrary to what you might think, I’m glad, if only because it forces us to review how we failed so badly to keep the wider world informed about how online advertising works.
Oracle's pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems apparently has some users of MySQL worried. MySQL, of course, is the open source database owned by Sun and offered freely under a GNU General Public License.
It's the most popular open source RDBMS in the world, and is used with popular products like WordPress and on major websites like Facebook and Wikipedia.
Are government bureaucrats in Europe trying to kill the commercial internet? If you've been following all of the laws, directives and general bureaucratic gobbledygook lately, you just might start to think the answer is 'yes'.
And now comes a new gem: some government officials in Germany apparently believe that Google Analytics is illegal. That's right, the free analytics service provided by Google is a threat to the citizens of Germany and they must be protected!
Earlier this year, I wrote about an EU plan to require that internet users consent to cookies before they're placed on their computers. At the time, I called the plan "absurd".
Which must be precisely why the Council of the EU has approved a directive amending legislation to do just that. The announcement of this potentially horrendous action? Well-hidden in an 18 page Council press release.
To appease the European Commission in its pending antitrust case over the tying of Internet Explorer and Windows, Microsoft initially planned to release a version of Windows 7 in Europe that would be browser-free. That would ensure that consumers had the ability to choose a browser freely.
But a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft reversed course and proposed an alternative solution: a "ballot screen" that would enable consumers in the EU to select their browser of choice.
Online gambling is a hot-button topic in the United States. When it comes to poker, which many argue is a game of skill, the US government considers the game to be illegal.
The US government has been successful in pushing some of the online poker services out of the American market. For instance, it drove out PartyGaming and Playtech, both of which are publicly-traded in the UK, and collected a hefty fine from PartyGaming.
Web proxy servers are not new. These servers, which serve as 'middlemen' for accessing the web, are often used by corporations to accelerate web browsing through caching and to filter traffic. They're also used by individuals looking for a bit of anonymity online.
I often use one since I live in a country that is sometimes blocked from using popular services that are based in the US.