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Consumer Watchdogs Join Forces to Hunt Down Cyberscams

Consumer protection agencies from around the world have joined forces in an international assault on scams in cyberspace. Australian consumers can report scams by calling the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502, filling out a complaints form at the ACCC's slam-a-cyberscam webpage or registering an overseas scam at

To read more, click here.

Do you think it this sort of attempt will work? What issues/problems could arise?

US Supreme Court hears MGM Studios v. Grokster

On Tuesday the US Supreme Court heard oral argument in MGM Studios v Grokster, a case that has previously been mentioned on this blog.

Read about the case at CNN Money or at Findlaw. Fore more background information about the case including a list of some of the strange alliances that have developed between organizations wanting to either save or kill Groskster, click here.

If you are interested, the briefs (detailed written submissions) filed before the Supreme Court are available here.

What do you think of the argument that these sorts of lawsuits might have discouraged past inventions like copy machines, videocassette recorders and iPod portable music players - all of which can be used to make illegal duplications of copyrighted documents, movies and songs?

Web censorship case

Lawyers for Yahoo Inc. have asked a federal appeals court for legal protection for U.S.-based Internet portals whose content is protected by the First Amendment in the United States, but is illegal in foreign countries.

Read more here.

Should Yahoo be protected by the First Amendment?

Want to know more about legal blogs?

If you are interested in reading more legal blogs, visit The Blog Book: A Guide to Legal Blogging. As well as providing links to many legal blogs, the Blog Book also blogs on issues involving legal blogs.

The Australian IT Today

There are a few interesting articles in the IT section of today's Australian:

Comment on any of the articles that interest you ...

Privacy and online shopping

"A company that provides payment services to online merchants has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations it sold information about more than 1 million Internet shoppers without authorization."

Read more here.

The Australian IT Today

There are a few interesting articles in the IT section of today's Australian:

Comment on any of the articles that interest you ...

Money for jam: a new kind of scam

Money for jam: a new kind of scam
By Sam Varghese
September 10, 2003

In what appears to be a scam of a different kind, an email is doing the rounds offering people 10 percent of the money deposited in their bank accounts by outsiders.

The email starts off:

"Looking for a perspective (sic) and well-paid job in Australia?
1. If you are looking for a perspective and well-paid work in Australia (of more than 1000 $ aud in a week guaranteed).
2. If you are a Australian resident (Obligatory condition).
3. If you are over 18 (Obligatory condition)."
A link with the text "Check up our site for the further information" follows, advising the readers to "Click here (once)".

Clicking on this link take one to a webpage located at which provides the following advice:

"My name is Andrew Colobanoff. I am an advertising manager of the A.I.C company. Our website address

(Reader Derek Jenkins added a word of warning about the aicau site: "It contains malicious VB scripting that creates a trojan (Win32/Aicau.Downloader) EXE called c:\2.exe. It was only discovered on September 9 and I suspect that most users' antivirus packages would not offer protection from it at this stage," he wrote.)

"The company deals with many overseas partners, but for the time being we have offices only in Russia and in the USA.

"At the moment we receive a lot of orders from Australia and New Zealand. So we are looking for agents in Australia for distant work.

"Our clients stipulate that they pay for our services only in Australian banks such as ANZ, National, and Westpac.

"Our offices will be opened in the country only in 2-3 months. Meanwhile, in order to start working with the clients in Australia we need to have accounts in the above-mentioned banks.

"If you live in Australia and you are ready to become our agent you should do the following:

"1. Open an account in one of the above-mentioned banks

"2. Send us the bank account data

"3. After receiving money (you'll get $2000-3000 monthly) you are to take 10% commission and send us the rest by WesternUnion

"With time you'll be able to open more accounts...

"Frequently-asked questions (FAQ's):

"1. Do I have to pay the money order tax?

"No, you don't, all the taxes are included.

"2. How long do you intend to cooperate with me?

"We are going to cooperate with our agents until we open an office in Australia. Provided we are satisfied with your work, we might suggest you signing a full-time job contract.

"3. Are you not afraid of entrusting me your money?

"As far as we know your bank account data, we can easily find you. We need honest and reliable people who have unlimited access to internet. You'll get a chance to earn some money, it can be both a good perquisite, and a favorable collaboration with us. The internet business is developing rapidly and has good prospects. It will bring you considerable profits, besides it can provide you with a place in our company. If you are ready to cooperate, you should open an account in one of the above-mentioned banks and inform us of its data."

Reader Robert Coleman, who received the email and did a bit of sleuthing, said: "The basic modus operandi appears to be, money is not transferred out of the bank, but across to another account within the bank. Who would think to look within the bank for the proceeds of a robbery? It is then taken out of the country via Western Union. Neat and simple. This is based just on the websites I saw and a bit of supposition, but it fits pretty well."

Another reader, Daniel McNamara, wrote in that he had received a different piece of spam that creates the same trojan. McNamara was curious and did a bit of investigation which makes for compelling reading.

An email query to Colobanoff as to where the money was coming from received no reply.

This story was found at:

Message from Citibank

Dear x,

You may have heard the term “phishing” in the news lately.

In case you haven't, it's not just “fishing” misspelled. It actually refers to unsolicited email that looks like it's from a trusted institution — but in reality is an attempt to lure people into providing personal or sensitive account information on phony web sites. The information collected is later used to commit fraud.

Citi Cards holds your security in the highest regard. For that reason, we're working diligently with law enforcement, industry organizations, and governments overseas to shut down these scams permanently.

But there are a few simple things you can do as well to protect yourself:

* Look for your “personal header” on all emails.
For your protection, effective immediately look for your first name, last name and the last 4 digits of your account number in an “email security zone” at the top of email we send you. Be suspicious of emails claiming to be from us that do not include this information.

* Never type account information into a pop-up window.
Don't type account information into a pop-up window, even if it looks legitimate. We never request account information through pop-up windows.

* Don't respond to emails asking you to verify information.
We'll never send you an email asking you to verify information. If we have an issue with your records, we'll contact you another way.

* Be suspicious of grammatical or spelling errors.
These are usually indications of a fraudulent message.

If you happen to receive a suspicious-looking email claiming to be from Citi Cards, please forward it to We have agents on staff around the clock monitoring these reports and acting on them immediately.

If you'd like more information on phishing, please visit our “Security and You” module. Or, you can contact one of our Internet Security Specialists at 1-888-285-9696.


pFor tomorrows class, we will look at:

Once the bad guys get your account details, how do they get your money?

More on whether bloggers are journalists?

In a case that could ultimately decide whether bloggers can be classified as journalists, a California judge has ruled that three online blog sites must surrender the names of confidential sources who allegedly leaked information about an upcoming product put out by Apple Computer Inc. Read more about the case here.

To read the opinion of the court, click here.

Call for blogger freedom

"Internet bloggers should enjoy traditional press freedoms and not face regulation as political groups, US politicians and journalists have said." Read more here.

If this was so, what would the jurisdictional implications (if any) of this be?

BitTorrent case to test FTA laws

Read all about it here.

Campaign Launched to Crack Down on Online Fraud

A national awareness campaign has been launched by banks and the Australian Federal Police outlining practical ways consumers can protect themselves and reduce risks of fraud perpetrated by criminals over the Internet.To build awareness of this criminal activity, banks and police have worked together to produce an advertising campaign and free consumer fact sheets with useful tips for minimising risks. As well as individuals, small business has also been identified as being at risk.David Bell, chief executive of the Australian Bankers Association, says identity theft is a complex crime and is an emerging threat, not just for banks, but for individuals, for other corporations and the entire community.Suggestions for protection include installing and keeping up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls, never giving out your PIN or password, deleting spam e-mail and not accessing internet banking from a link in an e-mail.

For more information, click here.

Beware of changes to privacy policies

Tonight's session is on privacy and the internet. As we will be looking at privacy policies at some stage tonight, have a look here.


Although it is not a topic covered in LWN117 Legal Regulation of the Internet, there have been a couple of interesting articles on e-voting recently:

Is home internet banking safe?

The Associate Dean of IT at Queensland University of Technology, Bill Caelli, says that hacking tools such as trojans and spyware - which lure users to sites where software was secretly downloaded allowing criminals to log every keystroke - has rendered the home PC useless for secure financial transactions.

Read more here.

A privacy issue?

"A woman who installed a spyware program on her husband's computer to record his online exchanges with another woman cannot use that evidence in her divorce proceeding, a Florida appeals court has ruled on an issue of first impression."

For more, click here. What do you think?

Media giants join forces to fight Ontario ruling

More than 50 of the world's largest media organizations have banded together to overturn an Ontario court ruling that they say threatens free speech and development of the Internet.

"This is a case of free expression," Brian McLeod Rogers, a Toronto lawyer representing the media coalition, told the Ontario Court of Appeal yesterday.

The 52-member coalition includes CNN, The New York Times, Time magazine, The Times of London, Google and Yahoo, as well as Canadian media such as The Globe and Mail, CanWest Publications Inc., CTV and CBC.

Read more here.

EBay and Phishing

From The New York Times: "On EBay, E-Mail Phishers Find a Well-Stocked Pond"

"The proliferation of eBay and PayPal phishes means that the legitimate e-mail that powers eBay transactions are increasingly being eliminated by junk e-mail filters. At the same time, some sellers say that buyers are becoming wary because of the constant threats from phishing, which is straining eBay's relationship with customers and may be driving down auction prices."

Read more at: This article is relevant to a couple of topics we wil look at this semester.

Australian Court Won't Freeze Kazaa Directors' Assets

"A court refused Friday to grant a request by the Australian recording industry to force owners of the file-swapping giant Kazaa to disclose their assets pending a decision in a landmark music piracy case.

"Australian recording labels are suing Kazaa's owners, accusing the company of contributing to widespread copyright infringements by letting Kazaa users download up to 3 billion files each month, freely exchanging songs, music and television programs without paying royalties."

Contiuned at:

Jurisdiction: Maryland v. Carefirst Pregnancy

Carefirst of Maryland v. Carefirst Pregnancy, a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision involves issues of Internet jurisdiction. The court ruled that absent a manifest intent to target residents of the forum, a semi-interactive website with a localized focus based in a foreign state is not sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction. The fact that web hosting services occurred within the forum state was not seen as relevant.
Decision at

EBay's Joy Ride: Going Once ...

EBay's Joy Ride: Going Once ...
By GARY RIVLIN, New York Times
Many longtime sellers and Wall Street analysts, long bullish on eBay, now say they are uncertain about the company's ability to sustain its torrid rate of growth.

Are pop-ups spam?

"Computer users are often bombarded with annoying pop-up advertisements. Separately, they also are often bombarded with annoying "spam"-- unsolicited commercial email. Can the pop-up ads be thought of, legally, as a form of spam?"

Read more at:

The Case of MGM v. Grokster

"The Supreme Court Finally Steps Into The Fray Between Online File Swappers And The Major Movie And Recording Studios.

On March 29, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., a closely-watched case involving peer-to-peer file sharing - a process in which people send or receive music or movies over the Internet.

The most famous peer-to-peer file sharing site was, of course, Napster. However, after a number of rounds of litigation, Napster has now been transformed into a site that, for a monthly payment, allows only legal downloads of music (that is, downloads of copyright music for which a license has been granted). Other sites, however, continue to offer peer-to-peer file sharing software despite the fact that one of its uses is to pirate copyrighted music and movies - and Grokster is one such site.

The Court's ultimate decision in MGM v. Grokster is very likely to be one of the landmarks of this term."

From: (The article continues to give a simple, but good, overview of the case.)


Gambling operator Ladbrokes, owned by Hilton, cannot offer
Internet-based betting services in the Netherlands,
according to a ruling by the Dutch Supreme Court that upheld
a ban by a lower court. Gambling is regulated under Dutch
law, and only organizations with a special permit can offer
services. Ladbrokes, which does not have a permit, is
offering its services on the Internet and through call
centres operated outside the Netherlands. The Supreme Court
noted that the gambling site may use geolocation software to
ban Dutch users from accessing their site. Dutch decision at
Coverage at,12597,1419838,00.html
[Source BNA newsletter]

Some recent UK Internet jurisdiction cases...

"Online defamation: where a website hit packs a real punch"

"Libel - Abuse of Process - Jameel Vs Dow Jones Inc"

"... the case of Jameel v Dow Jones Inc brings an important restriction on the right of Claimants to sue in this jurisdiction (which is amongst the most Claimant-friendly regimes in the world for libel). Previously, as long as a Claimant could show publication to one person in this jurisdiction, he could bring an action for libel here. This created the difficult scenario for online publishers (e.g. any website owner) of facing claims in England brought by foreign individuals or companies in respect of publications which in reality had little to do with England. The Jameel case was a good example, a Saudi individual suing a US publisher in this jurisdiction on the basis that the website was accessible from England and that he (the Claimant) had some level of reputation here. It emerged in evidence that, in fact, only five people had accessed the website from England, including the Claimant himself and two of his legal advisors.

The Court of Appeal indicated that it will no longer allow this sort of claim. It held that the costs of the case would have been completely disproportionate to the benefit which the Claimant could have acheived and the action was therefore struck out as an abuse of process. The decision is of some comfort to website owners, but is unlikely to impact claims where the Claimant does have some genuine connection to this jurisdiction and can show that the defamatory words have been read by more than a minimal number of people."


Welcome to Legal Regulation of the Internet - LWN117

The course starts on Monday evening this week.

To see the study guide, go to

Enjoy the course!

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