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Misdirected e-mail

Cityscape, the Internet service provider, has raised a storm of protest by switching its wholesale supply source from Pipex to Demon. Users have sent e-mail demanding to know why it is moving to a company that earlier this year had a poor reputation for reliability. One has even said he is considering legal action. Network knows this because the e-mail address Cityscape gave out was the same as this section's - causing havoc both at Cityscape and the Independent. Why has Cityscape switched? Because it has been bought by Demon, which is preparing for the big time on the stock market.

Addressing the problem

Researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre have discovered that if the same growth rate of new users and facilities such as Web sites continues, the Internet will run out of addresses within five years. To create new addresses with the current Internet set of communication standards is virtually impossible - it is not just a matter of adding a few characters to an address, it needs a new generation of communications software.

Policemen on the Net

A lawyer writes ... Stephen Dooley, of Morrell Peel & Gamlen, has written to say fears that Internet service providers could be held responsible for defamatory material posted over their networks are probably groundless. "The draft Defamation Bill confirms that those running a network are unlikely to be found liable for defamatory material posted on their systems unless they know or should have known of that material's existence. An online service provider must still take reasonable precautions to ensure they have no reason to suspect that they are publishing defamatory material ... Service providers will have to decide what level of policing is appropriate to their resources and user base."