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2007.08.27 Oxford Internet Institute - Civil Society Practitioners Programme

Reminder: Application deadline 26 September 2007

Oxford Internet Institute - Civil Society Practitioners Programme

Invitation to apply

The Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford) invites applications from the global South to fill two places in its Civil Society Practitioners Programme.

This visitor programme is intended for Civil Society Practitioners of distinction or outstanding promise who wish to visit the Institute for a period of six weeks between February and December 2008, to undertake research concerning the social impact of the Internet and related ICTs. Visitors are expected to reside in Oxford during their stay, and to participate fully in the intellectual life of the Institute. The successful applicants will receive:

A subsistence allowance of 3800 GBP (7500 USD) to cover research expenses and living costs during their stay in Oxford A travel grant of up to 1000 GBP (2000 USD) for travel to and from the UK

Applications will ideally be submitted by Civil Society Practitioners in or from the global South, active in the areas of freedom of expression, media reform, media justice, and communications and information policy in the globalized context of the Internet.

How to apply

For details on how to apply, please download:

Information for Applicants (PDF, 45kb) at

You may also request to have this information emailed to you in plain text form. The deadline for completed applications to reach the OII Academic and Student Affairs Officer (by post or email: contact details below) is 26 September 2007. Please note that incomplete applications cannot be considered.

Final notification of an award will occur in November 2007.

Successful candidates will be expected to take up their six week residency in Oxford at any time between February and December 2008.


Laura Taylor
Academic and Student Affairs Officer
Oxford Internet Institute
University of Oxford
1 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3JS
United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1865 287222
Fax: +44 (0)1865 287211
Email: recruit@oii.ox.ac.uk

This programme has been made possible through funding by the media policy portfolio in the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program of the Ford Foundation.

This Call for Applications is also available at:


2007.08.24 Finnish Schoolboy Fined for Posting Youtube Video of Teacher

A 15-year-old schoolboy was fined Friday for posting a video on YouTube showing a karaoke performance of his teacher and for claiming she was a lunatic. In the first case of its kind in Finland, Nurmes District Court found the teen guilty of intentional defamation and fined him 90 euros, or about $120. He also was ordered to pay 800 euros in damages for "causing harm and suffering" and 2,200 euros in court costs. http://www.siliconvalley.com/news/ci_6709891

2007.06.15 Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance

Hong Kong, which has long been considered a spamming safe haven, has finally introduced legislation designed to control spamming activities originating from, and/or received in, Hong Kong. The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance, which was gazetted on Friday 1 June 2007, regulates the sending of unsolicited 'electronic messages' (including e-mail, fax, SMS, voice call and video messages) having a 'Hong Kong link' for the purpose of supplying, offering or promoting goods, services or opportunities for the furtherance of business ("Spam Messages").

A Hong Kong link will be established where the Spam Message originates from Hong Kong, i.e.:

  1. in the case of the sender being an individual, where the individual is physically present in Hong Kong at the time when the message was sent;
  2. in the case of the sender being an organization, where the organization is carrying on business in Hong Kong at the time when the message was sent;
  3. in the case of the sender being a company, where the company is registered in Hong Kong at the time when the message was sent;
and where the Spam Message is received in Hong Kong, which will be deemed in the following circumstances:
  1. where the telecommunications device used to access the message is located in Hong Kong at the time when the message is accessed; or
  2. where the registered user of the 'electronic address' (which includes an e-mail address, Internet protocol address, instant messaging account name, telephone and fax numbers) to which the message is sent is either an individual who is physically present in Hong Kong or an organisation that is carrying on business or activities in Hong Kong when the message is accessed.

Extra territorial application

In introducing extra-territorial application to the Ordinance, the Hong Kong legislature has conceded that there will be significant practical difficulties in enforcing its provisions on spammers operating from outside the jurisdiction. This is of particular relevance in Hong Kong where 99% of spam e-mail messages received by residents are generated from outside the jurisdiction. Extending the legal authority of the government and courts of any country beyond its national boundaries presents complex legal issues. In the case of anti-spam legislation, there will also be significant evidentiary challenges associated with enforcing national spam legislation against spammers located outside Hong Kong. To this end it is widely acknowledged in the international community that the prosecution of cross jurisdictional spamming activities will only be able to be effectively dealt with where there is co-operation between the relevant national agencies.

Notwithstanding the practical difficulties of enforcement, it has become increasingly commonplace for countries to assert some form of extra-territorial jurisdiction in important legislation when appropriate. Spam legislation has been no exception. The extra-territorial application of the Ordinance is important because it sends a message to the International community that Hong Kong is taking spamming seriously, while also providing Hong Kong with a framework for implementing international agreements and conventions on the subject and to facilitate cross-border enforcement at an operational level, including through information exchange and co-operation in investigations. The Ordinance expressly confers upon the Telecommunications Authority ("TA") the right to disclose information collected in Hong Kong relating to an investigation of a contravention of the Ordinance to overseas authorities pursuant to any international agreement entered into by Hong Kong.

There are currently no multilateral international agreements in place of a binding nature which deal specifically with the problem of spam. There is however a growing co-operation at the operational level between a wide range of anti-spam regulators around the world and a number of countries have entered into bilateral cooperation agreements. The Ordinance expressly gives the TA the ability to implement any such agreements or conventions to which the Hong Kong Government may decide to adhere.

Conditions and Offences

The Ordinance aims to control spamming in four ways. First, by ensuring that senders are readily identifiable and that the content of electronic messages is not misleading or deceptive. Secondly, by mandating and providing procedures for recipients of unsolicited electronic messages to opt out of receiving further messages. Thirdly, by proscribing 'unscrupulous' methods known to be employed by spammers in connection with sending unsolicited electronic messages to multiple recipients. Fourthly, by imposing harsh penalties on fraudulent activities commonly used in spamming activities.

  1. Conditions on sending Spam Messages

    All Spam Messages having a 'Hong Kong link' must now accurately identify the sender of the message and contain information about how the sender can be contacted. Spam Messages must not have a subject heading which is likely to mislead the recipient about a material fact regarding the content or subject matter of the message, and must not contain any information which is not reasonably likely to remain valid for a period of 30 days.

    Any person who sends a Spam Message in contravention of any of these conditions will be liable to receive, in the first instance, an enforcement notice from the TA specifying the steps required to be taken to remedy the contravention. The failure to comply with any such enforcement notice will, unless the sender can prove that it exercised all due diligence to comply with the enforcement notice, attract a fine of up to HK$100,000 on the first conviction and up to HK$500,000 on a second or subsequent conviction.

  2. Opt Out Procedures and 'Do-Not-Call' Registers

    Spam Messages must also provide a functional unsubscribe facility through which the recipient can request to stop receiving further messages. The sender of any message in respect of which an unsubscribe request has been received must, within 10 days from the date of the unsubscribe request, cease sending any unsolicited messages and must additionally retain a record of the unsubscribe request for a period of at least 3 years. Account holders not wishing to receive any unsolicited Spam Messages will also be able to register their electronic addresses on 'do-not-call' registers to be set up by the TA. The sending of a Spam Message to any electronic address listed on a do-not-call register, which is required to be accessible by senders of Spam Messages, is also proscribed under the Ordinance.

    Any person who sends a Spam Message without providing an opt out procedure, or who sends a Spam Message to any electronic address listed in a 'do-not-call' register, will also be liable to receive an enforcement notice and a fine for any contravention of such notice of up to HK$100,000 on the first conviction and up to HK$500,000 on a second or subsequent conviction.

  3. Prohibitions on using unscrupulous techniques to send Spam Messages

    The Ordinance makes it an offence to supply or to use in Hong Kong software that is specifically designed to be used for collecting or compiling electronic addresses including from the Internet and public telecommunications directories, as well as to send messages to electronic addresses obtained using automated means (such as an automated process that generates possible electronic addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, etc by combining letters, characters, numbers of symbols into numerous permutations).

    It is also an offence under the Ordinance to use an automated means to register more than 5 e-mail addresses for the purpose of sending multiple Spam Messages, or to use a telecommunications device or network to relay or retransmit multiple Spam Messages with the intent of deceiving or misleading recipients as to the identity of the sender.

    The penalties for these offences range from HK$100,000 and/or 2 years jail for a summary conviction to HK$1,000,000 to 5 years imprisonment for a conviction upon indictment.

  4. Prohibitions on using fraudulent techniques to send Spam Messages

    The Ordinance imposes a penalty of an unspecified fine and imprisonment for 10 years on conviction upon indictment for the following offences:

    1. accessing a telecommunications device, service or network without authorisation and knowing initiating the transmission of multiple Spam Messages from that device, service or network;

    2. imitating the transmission of multiple Spam Messages from telecommunications device, service or network without authorisation with an intent to deceive or mislead recipients as to the source of such messages;

    3. materially falsifying header information in multiple Spam Messages and knowingly initiating the transmission of such messages from a telecommunications device, service or network;

    4. registering, using information that materially falsifies the identity of the actual registrant, 5 or more electronic address or 2 or more domain names; and

    5. falsely representing to be the registrant or the legitimate successor of 5 or more electronic address or 2 or more domain names and knowingly initiating the transmission of multiple Spam Messages from any such electronic address or domain names.

Until a multilateral international agreement or convention is acceded to by members of the international community, or until Hong Kong enters into bilateral arrangements with the world's highest spam relaying countries (most notably the United States which is responsible for nearly 20% of the world's spam e-mails, but also, China, Poland, South Korea, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Russia and India), the Ordinance is unlikely to have much impact on spam e-mails received in Hong Kong as the authorities and courts will as a matter of practice only be able to enforce the Ordinance against Hong Kong based spammers responsible for only 1% of Hong Kong's e-mail spamming problem.

Where Hong Kong residents are likely to see an improvement is in terms of unsolicited faxes, SMS and voice messages which do generally emanate from within Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents will be able to register their telephone and fax numbers on Do-Not-Call registers by the end of this year and will be able to take action directly against entities who send Spam Messages via fax, SMS and voice mail to any number included on a register.

Conversely, any person or entity which engages in direct marketing in Hong Kong using e-mail, fax, SMS and/or voice messages will need to ensure that they comply with the conditions prescribed in the Ordinance and implement procedures to ensure that no unsolicited promotional messages are sent to fax and telephone numbers included on a Do-Not-Call register.

2007.05.08 Public Consultation on Review on Administration of .HK

The Office of Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) of the HKSAR Government issued a consultation paper on the administration of .HK domain names on 4-May-07. Interested parties are invited to submit comments to OGCIO by 15-Jun-07.

A public consultation on the administration of .HK was conducted back in 2000. As an outcome of that consultation, a non-profit non-statutory organisation called HKIRC (Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd) was formed in March 2002 to take over the administration of .HK from the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC). HKIRC has a wholly-owned subsidiary called HKDNR (Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Co. Ltd) which carries out the day-to-day operations of the administration services. After five years of operations, the Government believes that it is time to review the set up and has suggested a number of changes in the consultation paper.

The consultation paper expressed the view that the administration of .HK should continue to be undertaken by HKIRC. It proposed extensive changes to the institutional framework of HKIRC - the membership scheme as well as the governing Board. In terms of services, the paper proposed the adoption of the registry-registrar model for .HK in order to foster competition and create more choices for domain name users. The paper also proposed more "guiding principles" and establishment of a corporate governance framework for HKIRC.

The full consultation paper can be downloaded at: http://www.ogcio.gov.hk/eng/pubpress/download/edomainreview.pdf

2007.03.30 .XXX Application was rejected the second time by ICANN

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a non-profit organization responsible for the administration of the global top-level domain name system, consisting of the generic Top-Level Domains (such as .com, .net, .org, .biz) and the country code Top-Level Domains (such as.hk, .cn, .us).  In March 2004, they received 10 applications for new sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLD), one of which was .xxx, an sTLD specially for the adult entertainment industry.  The application for .xxx was rejected in 2006. ICM Registry Inc., the organization proposing .xxx, resubmitted their application late again late last year for reconsideration by ICANN. In the recent ICANN meeting held in Lisbon, the ICANN board rejected their application again. "This decision was the result of very careful scrutiny and consideration of all the arguments. That consideration has led a majority of the Board to believe that the proposal should be rejected" said Dr Vint Cerf, Chairman of ICANN. The vote was not unanimous.  Some board members commented that the sTLD application process was too influenced by considerations which should not be taken into account.  Certain groups have had too much an influence in the process for evaluating new TLDs and clouded the decision making process.A copy of the resolution from the Board meeting is available at

A transcript of the Board meeting is also available.

2007.03.08 Chinese .HK Domain Name Officially Launched

Chinese .hk domain name is available for registration by the public starting 8-Mar-2007.  There are seven categories - .hk, .公司.hk, .組織.hk, .網絡.hk, .個人.hk, .教育.hk, .政府.hk.  Registration is on a first-come-first-serve basis.A special promotion for .個人.hk also starts on the same day.  The annual fee is only $10 per year for students registering .個人.hk.  The annual fee for Chinese .hk is $250 per year and that for other categories is $200 per year.

Please visit the website of HKDNR for details: http://www.hkdnr.hk/

2006.10.06 HKIF is a Certified At-large Structure of the ALAC of ICANN

HKIF was certified as an "At-large Structure" (ALS) by the ALAC (At-large Advisory Committee) of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in early October 2006. ICANN is a non-profit organisation responsible for the global assignment of Internet addresses and Internet domain names. ALAC is a committee under ICANN targeting at involving Internet users in different countries in the setting of ICANN policies and standards which will affect their interest. The purpose of ALS certification is to recognize that an organization meets the necessary criteria to involve individual Internet users at the local or issue level in ICANN activities, and that the organization will support its individual members' informed participation in ICANN efforts that affect end-users. HKIF has met all criteria required for such certification. There are a total of 58 ALS's in different countries certified by ICANN. We are one of the 14 certified ALS's in the Asia Pacific region.

As an ALS, HKIF shall continue to listen to the views of its members on issues related to the use and development of the Internet. HKIF will ensure that their views are heard at the international level, especially in the development of policies and standards by ICANN that will affect the interest of Internet users in Hong Kong.

2006.05.25 HKIF First Membership Drive

In the Council Meeting of HKIF held on 22-May-06, Council Members agreed unanimously to commence a membership drive for HKIF. To encourage more Internet users to use the forum, there is no membership fee charged for the the first member intake. Members who joined on or before mid-June 2006 do not have to pay any membership fee. Both individual and corporate members are welcome.

There is also an additional benefit for members who join before mid-June 2006. With the support of one of our corporate members, HKIF will provide, for each new member, a personalized email address (e.g. mail@peterchan.idv.hk, susan@john.idv.hk) and email forwarding to an email address of his/her choice. This is in line with the objective of HKIF to increase the awareness of local Internet users on innovative ways to use the latest developments in Internet. This benefit is applicable only to members who join on or before mid-June 2006

2006.02.28 Hong Kong Internet Forum was formed

A group of professionals from the legal profession, the Internet and Telecom industry, saw the need to set up a forum for the exchange of views and opinions by Internet users on the latest development of policies and strategies by the HKSAR Government on the use of Internet technologies and applications. HKIF, Hong Kong Internet Forum, started to come into existence today. Most IT and Internet associations in Hong Kong are formed to address the common interest of the practitioners working in those professions, or as a meeting place for businesses and vendors to know each other and expand their people network. The needs and wishes of Internet users may not be the top priorities of these associations. HKIF is formed to address these needs. Through the forum, members of HKIF can share and exchange their views and experience on Internet-related issues with one another. A closer tie can be established and a majority view on many of the issues can be derived from the discussions. These views can be put forward to relevant authorities and organisations for their consideration when they finalise policies and strategies which will affect the interest of Internet users.

The forum will also share latest updates on the recent development of Internet-related policies in the regional and global arena. This will help broaden the horizon of users who were previously restricted to receiving updates only on the local developments. Users can look a few steps ahead before the regional and global developments affect the local scenario.



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