EU's knee-jerk anti-plasma campaign could lead to total ban and more sensationalist tech headlines

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Everyone knows that, in general, large TVs consume more electricity than small ones, but it seems that EU bureaucrats are just turning themselves on to the idea of banning plasma TVs because they’re not energy efficient.

The yawn-inducing title attributed to plasma sets is “the 4×4 of the living room” (I reported this over at HDTVUK two years ago) because it’s easy to lump them all together as electricity guzzlers.

Sweeping generalisations reported in the mainstream press include such gems as “they use up to four times as much electricity and are responsible for up to four times as much carbon dioxide as traditional cathode ray tube sets.” The clue is in those two words — “up to” — which, just as when applied to your flagging broadband connection, can cover a huge range of values…

MEPs vote in favour of new telecoms law, could lead to universal "three strikes"

computer_handcuffs.gifUsually we’ve got much better things to do than watch what European politicians do, particularly in the summer, and that’s probably why they’ve chosen to vote on reforms to a telecoms law which could see a three strikes policy rolled out across EU member states.

We’ve been watching this issue for some time. Virgin Media has teamed up with the BPI, threatened alleged file-sharers and then backtracked. Campaigners believe that the proposed amendments to the Telecoms Bill will, in layman’s terms, force ISPs to pay more attention to what their customers are doing, issue “informative letters” to those suspected of illegally sharing copyrighted media, possibly cut people off from the Internet, and perhaps allow governments to decide what software is legitimate.

UK mobile phone users may end up paying to receive calls

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With the UK’s mobile network operators likely to be forced to cut termination charges and roaming costs, they could try to recoup some cash by charging their customers to receive, as well as make, phone calls.

Many US consumers already pay to receive calls on their mobile phones, though the overall operating cost of a cell phone in the States is, generally, significantly cheaper than in Britain…

EU to probe Microsoft's file format support

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The European Commission has revealed that it plans to investigate Microsoft’s recent decision to support rival file formats in its Office products. Among these will be Open Document Format (ODF) and the decision to introduce direct support is seen as a concession to antitrust regulators and a serious step towards improving customer choice…

Europe votes "no" to internet bans for file sharers. We are saved!

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The EU has just voted against the idea of banning file-sharers from using the internet, in a rare victory for the right-thinking common man.

Any possible plan to criminalise file-sharing was rejected by EU members, along with the concept of axing the web connections of those caught Bittorrenting the entire output of Hollywood overnight. It’s OK. You’re not going to get done for it any more…