Loek EssersAmsterdam correspondent for IDG News Service, IDG News Service

Loek Essers focuses on online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues.

A laptop battery cabal: Panasonic pleads guilty to price fixing

Panasonic and its subsidiary Sanyo have agreed to plead guilty to price fixing conspiracies involving laptop battery cells and automotive parts. They will pay a total of $56.5 million in criminal fines, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) said.

Aggressive game advertising to children prohibited by German Federal Court

Aggressive advertising messages aimed at children urging them to purchase goods for the game "Runes of Magic" are not permitted, the German Federal Court ruled.

Open-Xchange to double development team, speed up feature rollout

Collaboration software vendor Open-Xchange has received a $20 million investment that it will use to expand its development team to speed up feature rollouts for its Web-based office suite, the company announced on Thursday.

Dutch judges: Decryption orders could violate human rights

A Dutch draft law that aims to introduce a decryption order that forces suspects to decrypt data on their computers could violate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), said the Dutch Council for the Judiciary on Wednesday.

privacy

W3C rejects ad industry attempt to hijack do-not-track specs

The World Wide Web Consortium has rejected an attempt by the advertising industry to hijack a specification describing how websites should respond to "do not track" requests sent by Web browsers.

Forget fiber! Gigabit-boosted DSL standard could be ready next year

A broadband standard that aims to support bandwidth-intensive applications such as streaming Ultra-HDTV movies without the need to install fiber between the distribution point and people's homes met its first-stage approval, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said on Tuesday.

Google's chances to obtain dotless 'http://search' domain are shrinking

Google's chances of obtaining the "http://search" domain name are shrinking after several committees affiliated with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently warned that dotless domain names could be harmful to the Internet.

Apple faces competition for iWatch trademark in Europe

Apple will face competition in Europe for the "iWatch" trademark it has already filed for in Japan, Taiwan and Mexico, because other companies have already registered the name in relevant trademark categories.

on macworld.com

privacy google

Google ordered to change its privacy policy in the UK

The U.K. Information Commissioners Office has ordered Google to change the privacy policy it introduced in 2012 to make it more informative for users.

Microsoft to appeal European court's trademark decision over SkyDrive brand

Microsoft on Monday said it will appeal a trademark lawsuit over its SkyDrive cloud storage service it lost to the British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) Group.

T-Mobile to buy US wireless 4G spectrum for $308 million

T-Mobile said Friday that it has signed an agreement to buy 10MHz of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) wireless spectrum from U.S. Cellular for US$308 million in cash.

on techhive.com

Square launches online marketplace service to rival eBay, Amazon and Etsy

Mobile payments company Square has launched an online marketplace, an offering that an analyst said is similar to those from eBay, Amazon and Etsy, where merchants can sell products to consumers.

Big data project aims to improve Dutch flood control, save the government millions

A big data project called Digital Delta aims to investigate how to transform flood control and the management of the entire Dutch water system and save up to 15 percent of the annual Dutch water management budget.

Google News opt-in is not good enough, German publishers say

German publishers will disappear from Google News on Aug. 1 unless they opt in to the service as Google seeks to comply with a new German law. But the publishers said on Monday that this is not good enough, they want a share in Google's revenue.

Ecuador considers NSA leaker Snowden's asylum request

Ecuador is considering U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's asylum request and has been maintaining diplomatic contact with Russia, said Ricardo PatiƱo Aroca, Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration, on Monday.