Buys Inc. Attorneys
ICT Law Blog
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
  Dismay at govt's Big Brother act
PLANS by the government to go ahead and exert control over the Internet, particularly the usage of electronic mail (e-mail), has raised the spectre of even more pervasive control on information by authorities who have systematically assumed control on the flow of information in the country. Although the Supreme Court ruled that plans to allow state agents to pry on e-mails were unconstitutional, news doing the rounds is that the government has pushed ahead with the cyber monitoring project through the proposed new contracts reported to have been issued to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which would compel them to block material deemed to be inimical to the laws of the country.

Breaking news at a price
[Johannesburg, 28 June 2004] - A handful of South African content providers are still confident there is a place for paid-for electronic news and information, despite years of debate over whether readers will be prepared to buy this content. South African news and information providers are slowly expanding their paid-for content offerings as they explore additional revenue streams. Local subscribers are paying between R40 to R5 000 per month to access information, depending on the content provider and the type of information required.

MS explains mysterious Net attack
[Cape Town | ITWeb, 28 June 2004] - The mysterious Internet attack that occurred late last week has been identified as "Download.Ject", which originated in Russia and exploited an Internet Explorer vulnerability. Microsoft says it has established with its partners that this attack is not a 'worm' or virus. Instead this attack was a targeted manual attack by individuals or entities towards a specific server

Internet is extremists' channel of choice
NEW YORK (AP) - Al-Qaida-linked terror groups and their sympathizers have in recent months made a big splash on the Internet, making it their communications channel of choice. They're benefiting from free discussion boards, e-mail accounts and other online forums for propaganda, recruitment, fund-raising and even planning.

Spyware: The Next Spam?
"Spyware is a nationally important issue because it relates to a state's right to regulate the Internet, as well as the spyware itself," said Peter Jaffe, an attorney in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's D.C. office. That law firm was involved in the Utah spyware legislation proposal. Spyware is fast becoming the next generation of spam. It is software that installs onto a computer or local network, monitors computing habits and delivers the information to third parties. Usually, the user is unaware that the software exists on his or her computer.

Naspers points a finger at Telkom
[Cape Town | ITWeb, 29 June 2004] - Media conglomerate Naspers has blamed the ongoing Telkom monopoly and the impasse of legislation for stalling the growth of its M-Web Internet business at 242 000 subscribers. Naspers made the statement today, in its financial results for the year ending 31 March 2004. M-Web is regarded as the largest consumer Internet operation in the country. Along with Telkom's own service, Tiscali and Absa's service, it accounts for just over half of the 1.1 million Internet subscribers in the country

Gates says Microsoft cutting virus combat time
[Sydney - Reuters News Service, 29 June 2004] - Microsoft is cutting the time it takes to blitz viruses but needs personal computer users to turn on their auto-updating features to help it combat potentially dangerous attacks, Bill Gates said yesterday. Computer security experts said a virus designed to steal financial data and passwords from Web users rippled across the Internet on Friday, exploiting a vulnerability in servers using Microsoft's IIS software.

Internet browser breach defused
The Russian web server at the centre of a serious net security problem has been shut down. When visited by unwitting web users the server exploited loopholes in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and opened a backdoor into compromised PCs. When first discovered, the security problem prompted experts to tell people to avoid using Internet Explorer.

Malware Attack Thwarted but Danger Lurks
A Russian Web site that was being used to distribute malware programs as part of a sophisticated attack against Microsoft IIS 5.0 servers has been taken offline by law enforcement officials. Microsoft announced over the weekend that law enforcement officials, working in tandem with ISPs, shut down the malicious Web site to thwart the spread of the Download.Ject Trojan. But experts warned that a still-unpatched flaw in the popular Internet Explorer browser is still a major security problem.

Amazon says 'game's over' to has asked a New Jersey Superior Court to end its 4-year old partnership with, as the two companies wage a legal battle over the terms of their longstanding pact. The online shopping giant filed an official request to terminate the partnership on Friday. It asked for damages in excess of $750 million, based on its contention that the toy retailer failed to adhere to the requirements of a deal signed in 2000. It said online toy store parent Toys "R" Us was unable to meet demand for top-selling toys, games and baby products, particularly during the busy holiday season.

Video Coming to Mobile Phones
In the United States, video messaging got started in March 2003 with T-Mobile. The company now offers two phones capable of shooting 10-second video clips: the Nokia 3660 at $149 and the Nokia 6600 at $299, both prices requiring a one-year contract. "In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes," goes the legendary quote from 1960s artist and self-promoter Andy Warhol.

China's Web Police Send Mixed Message
Internet cafe users in China have long been subject to an extraordinary range of controls. They include cameras placed discreetly throughout the establishments to monitor and identify users and Web masters, and Internet cafe managers who keep an eye on user activity, whether electronically or by patrolling the premises.

High court bars Internet porn law enforcement
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked enforcement of a law intended to protect children from pornography on the Internet, saying the law probably violates free-speech guarantees. By a 5-4 vote, the high court said 1998 legislation "likely violates the First Amendment."

Friday, June 25, 2004
  Experts studying Internet attack
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Government and industry experts warned late Thursday of a mysterious, large-scale Internet attack against thousands of popular Web sites. The virus-like infection tries to implant hacker software onto the computers of all Web site visitors. Industry experts and the Homeland Security Department were studying the infection to determine how it spreads across Web sites and find adequate defenses against it.

MasterCard hunts cyber-criminals
[Johannesburg, 25 June 2004] - MasterCard has teamed up with digital fraud detection company NameProtect to combat illegal online activities such as ÒphishingÓ. Phishing involves sending spam mail appearing to come from a bank, asking the mail recipient to click on a link to confirm his or her details. The linked site appears to be genuine, but is not related to the bank. Details gathered through the site could be used for fraudulent purposes.

New Australia Law to Target Cyberspace Pedophiles
CANBERRA, Australia (Reuters) - Australian police could soon be using fake Internet identities to trap pedophiles trying to lure children, the government said Friday. A bill waiting for approval from the upper house Senate says adults caught using the Internet to procure children younger than 16 for sex, could face 15 years in jail.
The new law would also impose prison terms of 10 years for accessing or transmitting child pornography on the Net.

Researchers warn of infectious Web sites
Security researchers warned Web surfers on Thursday to be on guard after uncovering evidence that widespread Web server compromises have turned corporate home pages into points of digital infection. The researchers believe that online organized crime groups are breaking into Web servers and surreptitiously inserting code that takes advantage of two flaws in Internet Explorer that Microsoft has not yet fixed. Those flaws allow the Web server to install a program that takes control of the user's computer.

Calif. Man Faces Fraud Charges Over Google Scheme
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California man was arraigned on Thursday on federal extortion and wire fraud charges arising from a software program he claimed could allow spammers to defraud Web search company Google Inc. of millions of dollars, federal prosecutors said. A federal grand jury in San Jose, California, returned an indictment on Wednesday against Michael Anthony Bradley of Oak Park, California, charging him with one count of interfering with commerce by threats and 10 counts of wire fraud over a scheme for a software program he claimed to have developed.

Identifying ICT risks
[Cape Town | ITWeb, 25 June 2004] - Law firm Buys Inc has released the second edition of its free South African ÔICT Risk Check List', which identifies more than 112 technology risks that threaten most local businesses. "IT risks and liabilities are starting to take a toll on South African businesses and businesses are scrambling to protect their assets and reputations," says Helaine Leggat, who heads Buys Inc's Johannesburg office. Leggat points out that recent local court judgments made businesses liable for the Ônegligent omission' and Ôharassing actions' of their employees. She also notes that the King II report on corporate governance requires businesses to identify, value and mitigate IT risks but fails to provide cost-effective assistance to smaller businesses.

Court convicts obscene text messager
[Moscow | Reuters News Service, 25 June 2004] - A teenager who sent an obscene text message to 15 000 cellphone users has become the first computer whizkid in Russia to be convicted of sending spam. The unnamed university student from the Urals city of Chelyabinsk hacked into one of Russia's biggest mobile phone operators and used a special program to send the message, Interfax news agency said. He was handed a one-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay a 3 000-rouble (around $100) fine.

State's high court hears from 'Friends'
Free-speech groups want the California Supreme Court to overturn an appellate ruling that allowed a writers' assistant for the TV comedy 'Friends' to pursue a sexual harassment claim because of bawdy banter between the show's writers. The appeals court said a plaintiff in a sexual harassment case "does not need to be a direct victim" and can pursue a sexual harassment claim exclusively on the basis of hearing speech at work that is sexual in nature.

Sentech calls on MPs to end Telkom's monopoly
Cape Town - Sentech, the state-owned signal distributor that aims to become a major player in the whole telecommunications market, yesterday lobbied parliamentarians hard for a more level playing field in the sector, seeking an end to Telkom's almost invincible monopoly. A high-powered team led by Gladwin Marumo, the chief operating officer, particularly urged members of the national council of province's select committee on labour and public enterprises to help speed up the passing of the long-awaited Convergence Bill, to open the market to more multimedia, third-generation players without specifying whether analog or digital technology should be used.

Indian rail 'to offer net access'
Indian Railways is to offer internet access to passengers from 30 June, according to the Times of India. The service will be launched on the Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Bhopal routes, the report said. A kiosk with two computers will be set up on luxury coaches while 'hotspots' will allow passengers with wireless-equipped devices to connect to the web.

Norwegians try out TV on mobiles
Mobile users in Norway can now watch TV on their phones, courtesy of the public broadcaster NRK. The service from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation allows people to watch television on their mobiles 24 hours a day. Alongside the live streaming, people can pick more specialised content such as a news bulletin every hour and a Top Gear style motoring show.

Hotmail counters Google e-mail
Hotmail is boosting the amount of storage space for users of both its free and paid e-mail service. From July the basic Hotmail allowance will be boosted to 250MB and paying customers will get two gigabytes. The move is widely seen as a response to Google's GMail service which gives all users a gigabyte of storage to keep all their messages.

Decision bolsters online-publisher immunity
Web site owners can rest a little easier following a little-noticed court decision last month that bolsters legal protections against lawsuits arising from the activities of their advertisers. Ramey v. Darkside involved a Washington, D.C., area dancer who sued a Web site publisher after one if its advertisers used a photo of her without her permission. In a May 17 ruling, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler rejected the bid in a decision seen as a statement that online publishers aren't responsible for the content of advertisements created by others.

Cisco the target of wireless lawsuit
A small wireless company in Canada is going after the Wi-Fi equipment and semiconductor industry for infringing on its patents--and Cisco Systems is one of its first targets. Wi-LAN, based in Calgary, Alberta, filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Canada's federal court that claims the networking giant produced and marketed Wi-LAN's technology without a license. Cisco uses the technology in both its Linksys home-networking products and its Aironet wireless bridges and access points.

Tiffany sues eBay over fake jewellery sales
Tiffany & Co. has sued eBay over alleged trade mark infringements caused by the on-line auction site 'facilitating' the sale of fake Tiffany products that potentially harmed the New York jeweller's reputation, according to reports. Tiffany & Co, immortalised by the 1961 classic on eBay earlier this year. The firm randomly purchased goods marketed as 'Tiffany's' and found that 73% of them were counterfeit, according to the LA Times.

MasterCard's fight against phishers
MasterCard International and digital fraud detectors NameProtect have launched a scheme designed to tackle phishing scams and the sale of fraudulently obtained credit card details. Their plan is to detect the fraud web pages and e-mails before they reach their targets. On-line identity theft schemes such as phishing, where a fraudster sends an e-mail linking to a fake web site on which users are asked to provide personal account information, are growing.

Spyware, adware, malware, thief: what's in a name?
"Good labels have become bad words," writes Jerry Stern of the Association of Shareware Professionals. In this article, Stern charts the deterioration of software labels and argues that what really matters now is controlling the software's behaviour. Labels blur and change with time. It's behaviour that's important, and not the common label for it. That makes legal approaches to stopping harmful actions difficult. If your definition of an act that could be made illegal is imprecise, the behaviour continues, and law-abiding citizens are restricted from activities that are beneficial to consumers and the economy.

Thursday, June 24, 2004
  Poor quality data cited as key hurdle in gaining Basel II compliancy
[Johannesburg, 15 January 2003] - A survey released recently by SAS, the leader in business intelligence, has revealed that seven out of ten large financial institutions in Europe are not managing risk effectively - and only 17% believe they will meet the Basel II deadline. While no major survey has been conducted in this country, SAS SA's Basel II specialist, Annette Hieber, believes the picture may be even worse locally.

Managing people risks effectively during IT change
[Johannesburg, 24 February 2003] - Companies often fail to derive full benefit from newly implemented IT systems because they inadequately manage the risks associated with the people who use them. That's according to Dr Theo Veldsman, divisional director and People Effectiveness expert at CS Holdings

Operational risk: The changing face of IT risk management
[Johannesburg, 16 September 2003] - Risk management is a topic that needs little introduction. During the past five years a lot of research has gone into various systems and methodologies that enable companies to implement more successful risk management strategies. However, recent reports such as the Basel II have highlighted one - not that well known -subject: operational risk.

Risk management critical to investment performance
[14 October 2003] - The last three years have been a painful lesson for many investors who thought they had safely entrusted the management of their financial portfolios to investment houses boasting impressive records of returns and profits. As many investors have since learned, even if their investment managers beat their benchmark, they can still lose significant value of the fund. The result is that there is generally nothing they can do apart from looking for a new investment management house with suitable credentials.

Technology key to better risk management, says Compuware
[Johannesburg, 29 January 2004]] - With corporate governance moving to centre stage in most organisations, the issue of risk identification and management is becoming a corporate imperative. It's also one that is demanding visible intervention to quell the fears of increasingly jittery investors who have suffered on the back of spectacular corporate meltdowns. In this context, technology has become the catalyst for businesses to become more risk averse, says Les Stevens, Practice Leader for Security and Risk Services at research organisation The Meta Group.

Risk management: Key to good corporate governance
[Johannesburg, 24 June 2004] - Businesses have always needed to safeguard valuable corporate assets and information. Today, the asset register includes the corporate-wide network together with its electronic information systems. Its value to the company is almost incalculable, says Annette Hieber, a director of Bytes Business Solutions, as it encompasses the company's 'knowledge repository' as well as internal control systems and methodologies, the power of which can be harnessed to build more robust, profitable and powerful business operations in future.

US charges AOL worker sold customer list for spam
[Washington | Reuters News Service, 24 June 2004] - US investigators said yesterday they had arrested an America Online employee and a Las Vegas marketer for stealing the Internet provider's customer list and selling it to a purveyor of spam e-mail. AOL members were flooded with millions of unwanted messages because of the scheme, according to a criminal complaint filed in US district court in New York.

Microsoft boosts storage capacity in e-mail war
[San Francisco | Reuters News Service, 24 June 2004] - Microsoft plans to give paying customers for its Hotmail e-mail service 2GB of storage and boost the size limits on free accounts, matching similar moves earlier this month by rival Yahoo, the company said yesterday. Microsoft also said it will roll-out free e-mail and anti-virus protection to all the 170 million MSN Hotmail customers worldwide that will both scan and clean incoming and outgoing e-mail for viruses and worms before they can enter a customer's inbox.

Three IT firms in FM's top 20
[Johannesburg, 24 June 2004] - Three ICT groups made Financial Mail's top 20 companies this year. The three are cellular network operator MTN (ranked third), smart card company Aplitec (10th) and hi-tech group Altech (13th). The top 20 companies, headed by mining group Mvelaphanda Resources, were determined by combining past financial performance with the views of Financial Mail investment writers

Speak to government online
[Cape Town | ITWeb, 24 June 2004] - South Africans will be able to communicate directly with government through the Gateway Portal from next month, President Thabo Mbeki said in Parliament yesterday. Speaking in the National Assembly during the Presidency's budget vote, he said the public would soon be able to use the Batho Pele portal to follow the implementation of government's programme of action.

E-tail site boom, sales slow
[Johannesburg, 24 June 2004] - SA is seeing an explosion in the number of e-tail sites, despite slow sales growth. This is according to the latest 'Goldstuck Report: Online Retail in South Africa 2000', The survey, by research firm World Wide Worx, found that online sales by retailers - which exclude property, cars and travel - increased by 35% in 2003. However, these sales are expected to grow by only 25% in 2004.

1.6m women sue Wal-Mart
New York - A federal judge in San Francisco has certified as a class action a sex-discrimination case filed by current and former female employees against Wal-Mart, documents showed on Tuesday. As a class action, the case covers about 1.6 million women. Wal-Mart said it would release a statement soon about the ruling. "I am thrilled" said Joseph Sellers, a lawyer at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld and Toll, who represents plaintiffs in the case.

Sentech threatens legal action
[Johannesburg, 24 June 2004] - Sentech's threat to take legal action against Roelf Diedericks, owner of the Web site, has resulted in Diedericks taking the site down. However, Diedericks says he hopes to reopen the site under another domain name. Diedericks, an IT professional, says he bought the domain names and and launched his page, entitled 'Sentech's MyWireless sucks', to put pressure on Sentech to improve the slow download speeds on its MyWireless service.

Hollywood Offers $500 Bounty for Movie Bootleggers
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The U.S. movie industry is enlisting theater employees to help combat piracy, offering a reward of up to $500 for every person they catch illegally recording films and report to the police. The Anti-Camcording Rewards Program was unveiled Monday by the Motion Picture Assn. of America (MPAA), which represents the major studios, and the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO).

RIAA takes hundreds more 'John Does' to court
The Recording Industry Association of America launched a new round of lawsuits Tuesday against online music swappers, targeting 482 individuals around the United States. As with previous rounds of suits filed by the music industry group, the "John Doe" lawsuits come without names attached. The identities of the individuals are expected to come out through a court discovery process.

E-mail carriers sign on to anti-spam efforts
The nation's largest carriers of e-mail Tuesday proposed drastic actions to slow a proliferation of home PCs unwittingly spewing spam. A spate of e-mail viruses and malicious computer worms over the past year has turned millions of high-speed home PCs into distributors of spam, or "zombie PCs," security experts say. Ads touting porn sites and miracle drugs are flowing through consumer PCs as if they come from a trusted friend, making it harder for law-enforcement officials to hunt down spammers, security experts say

Utah judge freezes anti-spyware law
A Utah judge has granted an injunction to adware maker to temporarily halt the state's new anti-spyware law from going into effect. New York-based WhenU, whose software is the subject of several lawsuits, filed a lawsuit in April to challenge the nation's first anti-spyware statute, called the Spyware Control Act, on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. The suit, filed in the 3rd Judicial District Court in Salt Lake County, Utah, was filed shortly before the law was set to go into effect in May.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
  Tech heavies support challenge to copyright law
The copyright cold war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley is about to heat up. Skirmishes between content-producing companies seeking expansive copyright protections and hardware and telecommunications corporations on the other side have resulted in a legislative deadlock on Capitol Hill. Some of the most influential technology companies are planning to announce on Tuesday an alliance that they hope will end the impasse. Called the Personal Technology Freedom Coalition, its purpose is to coordinate lobbying efforts in opposition - at least initially - to the most controversial section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

High court: Intel can be forced to give documents
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Intel can be forced to turn over documents to rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for use in a European Union antitrust investigation, if a lower court approves AMD's request. AMD hopes that the documents, closed records from a 1997 lawsuit between Intel and competitor Intergraph, will show Intel (INTC) violated antitrust law. AMD wants to give the records to the EU. Documents from AMD have been the major driver of the EU's four-year antitrust investigation of No. 1 chipmaker Intel.

Symantec settles counterfeiting suit
Security software maker Symantec said Monday that it was awarded $3.2 million as part of a settlement with a company it accused of marketing forged versions of its products. Under the terms of the agreement, the defendant, Papa B Enterprises, and its owner, Richard Mastrogiovanni, were also ordered to help prosecute other companies believed to be counterfeiting Symantec's applications.

Tiffany Sues eBay, Says Fake Items Sold on Website
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. has sued eBay Inc., claiming the online auctioneer has aided violations of the Tiffany trademark by letting counterfeit items be sold on its Web site, a Tiffany spokesman said on Monday. A study of certain pieces of "Tiffany" jewelry sold on eBay this year showed that 73 percent of the jewelry was counterfeit, Mark Aaron, a Tiffany spokesman, said in a statement about the lawsuit, which was filed Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in New York.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
  Tech firms push for single EU download licence
[London | Reuters News Service, 22 June 2004] - Layers of red tape and mounting copyright levies are crippling Europe's emerging digital media market, a group of technology firms said yesterday.
The snags must be removed if new online music and video download services have a chance to survive, pressure groups representing the software and consumer electronics manufacturers told members of the European Commission at a closed-door meeting on copyright laws in Dublin.

Finance firms risking wi-fi woe
Many of the wireless networks used by firms in Europe's financial centres are wide open to attack, research shows. A survey by RSA Security found that a third of businesses are still not doing enough to protect data passing over wi-fi networks. Worst offenders in the survey were firms in Milan which left 72% of wi-fi data broadcast unencrypted. RSA said lax wi-fi security could leave firms open to a range of potentially damaging hacker attacks.

No Red Flag at Red Hat?
Red Hat's average subscription price, a key measure of revenue growth, was $430, or $30 more than the company's estimate. On June 16, Red Hat stock regained much of its previous loss, closing up 3.1%, at $22.75. Red Hat declined to discuss Thompson's departure further until it releases earnings officially on June 17.

Survey Finds File-Sharing Networks Boost CD Buys
"[The survey] shows that most people have used P2P networks in a way that many of us have: to find music that is actually worth buying," Jarad Carleton, an IT industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan in Palo Alto, California, told TechNewsWorld. "Putting a top-40 hit on a CD with 11 other piece-of-crap tracks is the reason the record industry is suffering."

Hate Online, Role of Industry Debated
The United States was the subject of discussion at the conference, particularly with regard to sites hosted in the U.S., where free speech protections often allow the promotion of ideologies that support racism and hate. Although a code of conduct might emerge from the conference, there were also concerns that the work of dealing with racism online should be left to the companies that provide Internet services - and not to governments.

US moves to rein in spyware
US law-makers have taken steps towards imposing controls on hidden software that can secretly spy on online habits. A key congressional panel endorsed a bill that would force the makers of spyware to notify users before installing any software on their PCs. Spyware is a broad term for software that hides on a PC, collecting data about you and what you do on the net.

Web Addresses Extending Their Global Domain
Much has changed since the dot-com boom ended abruptly in the stock market wipeout of 2000. But one aspect of the Internet that has remained constant is growth in Internet traffic, which continued with nary a hiccup even as millions of Web sites were dying. Europe's new '.eu' Internet domain names go on sale next year. Internet addresses written in Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters, meanwhile, recently went live after years of technical work. Looming on the horizon is a newer set of Web addresses ending in such suffixes as '.jobs' and '.asia.' Perhaps more intriguing, a move is afoot to merge Internet addresses with phone numbers.

Draft numbering plan looks to the future
[Johannesburg, 21 June 2004] - The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) is seeking comment from interested parties on the draft numbering plan, published recently in the Government Gazette. According to the regulator, telephone numbers are a limited resource and the need for numbers is constantly growing as new services emerge and the number of industry players grows.

Spyware Bill Gets House Panel OK
House bill sponsor Mary Bono said that the subcommittee passage of the bill helped it move forward, saying that the piece of legislation is now strengthened to fight 'spyware-related invasions.' The bill is aimed at protecting individuals from unknowingly downloading spyware with revisions that prohibit unfair or deceptive behavior.

Consumer Alert: Identity Theft on the Rise
"Financial companies could take steps, such as putting photos on all credit cards or using fingerprints to verify each transaction, that could help to minimize identity theft," Norwich University's Kabay told TechNewsWorld. "But they appear unwilling to do that because they don't want to increase their operating expenses."

Crime is turning from a blue-collar to a white-collar profession. Rather than taking out guns and robbing convenience stores, criminals are performing 'virtual robberies' where they use computer technology to steal a person's identity. From a criminal perspective, these crimes are simple to commit, they carry lighter sentences and they can be more lucrative than armed robberies.

Italian school foils cheats by blocking phone signals
[Rome - Reuters News Service, 21 June 2004] - Mobile phone-savvy teenagers tempted to cheat on exams by sending text messages or scanning pictures of tests could be thwarted by a device that jams signals inside the school walls. The Enrico Tosi Technical Institute school in northern Italy has found a way to foil the next generation of would-be cheats with the help of military technology.

Switching off the phone virus
[Johannesburg, 21 June 2004] - An Australian company says it can cure the world's first cellphone virus, while phone maker Nokia says catching the worm is not likely. The virus, named Cabir, was discovered last week, and was written off by experts as a 'proof of concept' virus rather than an attempt to cause damage at this stage. The worm runs on the Symbian operating system, which is used in certain Nokia, Siemens, Motorola and Sony Ericsson phones. Anti-virus vendors gave the assurance last week that Cabir was not likely to be widespread, but cellphone users have expressed alarm nonetheless.

Fake DVDs cost billions
Pirated videos and DVDs are costing the country billions of rands a year, threatening legitimate businesses and hundreds of jobs. Cinema chains alone are losing hundreds of millions in DVD sales and cinema receipts as counterfeit DVDs of hit movies, such as Shrek 2, are being sold on street corners weeks - sometimes months - before their big-screen opening.

IM Worms Could Spread In Seconds
Enterprises whose workers use one of the free public instant messaging networks - the likes of America Online's, Yahoo's, or Microsoft's - risk malicious attacks that could make the quick-spreading Sasser worm look like a worn-out snail, said a security analyst Friday. "In instant messaging, we have a lot of the same security issues as in e-mail and networks," said Eric Chien, a senior researcher with Symantec's security response team. "Attacks can come in as attachments, there have already been some IM-related worms that send themselves to people on your buddy list, and IM lacks encryption."

Monday, June 21, 2004
  Too much confidential data is e-mailed in error
Confidential data loss is a clear threat to UK companies, according to a survey published by web and e-mail filtering company SurfControl. Almost 40% of respondents admitted receiving sensitive information via e-mail that was not intended for them. In a survey of over 400 IT and HR professionals, SurfControl found that 91% of those interviewed regularly send and receive corporate or customer confidential information by e-mail. Thirty-nine percent received confidential information via e-mail that was not intended for them, 26% of which came from an external source.

Atari, EA and Vivendi sue 321 Studios over copying software
A US firm that sells copying software which circumvents security features, promoted as a means of making back-ups for DVDs and games, was sued on Tuesday by Atari, Electronic Arts and Vivendi. They say 321 Studios is facilitating illegal copying. Copy protection systems can be found on most DVDs, computer games and video games, and while they play a part in preventing piracy, they also hinder the average user from making a back-up copy of his or her legitimately purchased product.

Passenger data saga on course for court
Both the European ParliamentÕs legal affairs committee and a meeting of Parliamentary group leaders voted on Wednesday in favour of referring to the European Court of Justice a controversial policy that permits air passenger data transfers to the US. Parliamentary president Pat Cox now has to decide whether to make the referral or defer the matter until Parliament can consider the issue for a fourth time, only this time it would be with the newly elected MEPs.

Owning a pay-TV descrambler shouldn't get you sued
A US appeals court ruled this week that DirecTV has no right to sue people simply because they own equipment that might be used to illegally intercept the companyÕs transmissions. The satellite giant must also show that the equipment was used for that purpose. The digital TV service provider charges subscribers for the privilege of decoding its encrypted programme transmissions, but decoding devices that let users intercept pay-TV broadcasts for free are readily available.

William Hill infringed database right, says Advocate-General
William Hill's use of horseracing data infringed the British Horseracing Board's database right, even though the bookmaker obtained the data from independent sources and not directly from the Board's database, said Advocate-General Stix-Hackl this week. The battle between William Hill and the British Horseracing Board was one of four cases upon which Advocate-General Christine Stix-Hackl delivered an opinion to the European Court of Justice on Tuesday. She is one of eight Advocates-General and, while their opinions are not binding on the Court, they tend to be very persuasive.

Mobile phones get their first virus
The first example of a virus that is capable of spreading among Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones has been identified, it was announced on Monday. Known as Cabir, the worm is believed to be a proof of concept virus and is not thought to be malicious. The virus was first identified by Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs, which believes the worm to have been created by an international group of virus writers known as 29a. Kaspersky says this group has a reputation for developing proof of concept viruses.

Banks likely to break FSA conflict rules due to IT failures
The vast majority of UK investment banks are being complacent by failing to ensure that their IT systems enable compliance with the Financial Services Authority's new conflict of interest legislation despite a looming regulatory deadline, according to new research.
Specialist software and services provider Blue Curve reports that only 11% of investment banks surveyed by the company in May believed they would be compliant within the deadline. The FSA has ruled that by 1st July 2004, investment banks must put in place a policy to govern conflicts of interest in investment research, and ensure that their systems, controls and procedures to implement the policy are robust and adequate to identify the conflicts which may occur.

Data sharing lawsuit dismissed because privacy policy unread
A US judge has dismissed lawsuits against Northwest Airlines over its transfer of passenger data in breach of its own privacy policy, in part because it could not be shown that passengers had actually read the policy. Privacy groups expressed outrage.

The lawsuits relate to revelations in January that Northwest Airlines had given NASA personal data about millions of its passengers. The data was retained by NASA for two years before being returned in September last year, just after another airline - JetBlue Airways - was severely criticised for making similar disclosures to a defence agency.

DVD pirates stealing the show and costing jobs
Pirated video and DVD movies are costing legitimate businesses more than R1 billion a year and the burgeoning entertainment black market is threatening cinema and movie rental chains.

Saturday, June 19, 2004
  Meet Joe Blog
A few years ago, Mathew Gross, 32, was a free-lance writer living in tiny Moab, Utah. Rob Malda, 28, was an underperforming undergraduate at a small Christian college in Michigan. Denis Dutton, 60, was a professor of philosophy in faraway Christchurch, New Zealand. Today they are some of the most influential media personalities in the world. You can be one too.

Gross, Malda and Dutton aren't rich or famous or even conspicuously good-looking. What they have in common is that they all edit blogs: amateur websites that provide news, information and, above all, opinions to rapidly growing and devoted audiences drawn by nothing more than a shared interest or two and the sheer magnetism of the editor's personality. Over the past five years, blogs have gone from an obscure and, frankly, somewhat nerdy fad to a genuine alternative to mainstream news outlets, a shadow media empire that is rivaling networks and newspapers in power and influence. Which raises the question: Who are these folks anyway? And what exactly are they doing to the established pantheon of American media?

Thursday, June 17, 2004
  Bosses may be sued over electronic harassment
Harassment on the job can come in many forms: verbal, physical, and now, electronic. Any time an employee sends a sexist email, racist joke or homophobic SMS, the employer could be held liable for any damage caused, according to legal experts. The Cape High Court ruled in March that employers could be held "vicariously responsible" for the actions of employees.

Piracy battle begins over digital radio
Consumer groups, electronics companies and record labels squared off Wednesday in the first full public airing of proposals for antipiracy protections for digital radio networks. Digital radio, which transforms traditional over-the-air broadcasts into the same kind of bits and bytes used in Internet transmissions, promises to boost the audio quality of FM signals to that of a CD. But it also holds out the promise of transforming radio listening in the same way that TiVo hard drive-based recorders have changed TV--by providing powerful recording and playback options. The new medium has attracted the attention of the Federal Communications Commission, which recently began a proceeding that could end up laying out content protection rules and other regulations for it.

Britain Cracks Down on Paid Web Search Results
LONDON (Reuters) - British regulators have asked an Internet service provider to make clearer that some of its Web search results are paid advertisements, saying pay-for-placement listings from search provider Overture could confuse consumers. The British ISP Wanadoo, a unit of its namesake French parent company, displays a light-gray hyperlink against a white background to explain that search results from Overture are ranked according to the highest bidder instead of by relevance. Users searching for "Harry Potter," for example, see six Overture results from sites including eBay and Toys R Us before the official sites for the Harry Potter movies and books.

Buying Drugs Online Can Be Risky - Report
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People who buy prescription medicine on the Internet risk taking drugs without proper instructions or even getting counterfeits, according to a new U.S. government report. Drugs from Web sites in foreign countries were especially likely to be mishandled and exclude warning information, said the report released on Thursday by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

Spying on spyware
EarthLink and Webroot Software released a report Wednesday, revealing that nearly one of every three computers scanned in April for Trojan horse programs or system monitor spyware was infected. Internet access provider EarthLink and security software maker Webroot scanned nearly 421,000 computers for their April Spy Audit report. Trojan horses and system monitors accounted for 133,715 pieces of the spyware found on those computers--representing almost one in three machines. System monitors track users' computer activity, capturing virtually everything they do online. Trojan horses appear to be software programs a user has requested but actually aid hackers in stealing computer data. That information is then used to gain unrestricted access to users' computers while they are online.

Blackout hits major Web sites
A domain name outage Tuesday morning that left many popular Web sites, including those of Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Apple, temporarily inaccessible was the result of an Internet attack, according to Web infrastructure company Akamai. The attack caused problems for more than two hours--from 5:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. PDT. Many of the world's most popular sites suffered from widespread outages, according to Keynote Systems, which compiles statistics related to Web surfing. On a typical day, the top 40 sites measured by Keynote rarely dip below 99 percent availability. On Tuesday, however, Keynote saw availability drop to 81 percent.

Canada's spam king apologizes, tells others to mend their ways
A Canadian man accused of being one of the biggest spammers in the world by Yahoo Inc. has agreed to stop sending unwanted e-mails and plans to help educate children about the dangers of the Internet. In March, Yahoo sued Eric Head and his father and brother as part of an industry crackdown on unsolicited e-mail, or spam. Yahoo alleged the Heads ran a huge spamming operation and sent more than 94 million e-mails in one month alone to users of Yahoo's e-mail service.

Bank ID deadline extended
Pretoria - The June 30 deadline for banks to verify the identities of some 17 million clients was delayed on Thursday to an array of new cut off points starting on December 31. Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told reporters in Pretoria banks would have to confirm the identities of their highest risk clients by year end. By May 31 next year banks would have had to verify the identities of at least 50% of their clients.

Don't panic about cellphone virus
[Johannesburg, 17 June 2004] - The first virus to infect cellphones is not likely to cause any problems, local anti-virus firms say. The virus, named Cabir, was discovered earlier this week. It appears to have been written by an international group of virus authors who specialise in Ôproof of concept' viruses. The worm runs on the Symbian operating system, which is used in certain Nokia, Siemens, Motorola and Sony Ericsson phones. Netxactics, local Sophos distributor, says customers should not panic. Sophos says despite ÒhystericalÓ reports from some members of the security community, the virus does not appear to be in the wild, and seems unlikely to spread without the recipient being aware of it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004
  Spam king says sorry
Toronto - A Canadian man accused of being one of the biggest spammers in the world by Yahoo! Inc has agreed to stop sending unwanted e-mails and plans to help educate children about the dangers of the internet, a newspaper reported on Tuesday. In March, Yahoo sued Eric Head, his father and brother as part of a worldwide industry crackdown on hundreds of people sending unsolicited e-mail, or spam.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
  Web sites try 'follow me' ads
NEW YORK (AP) -- You certainly expect to see golf ads while visiting the golf section of But if you're a devoted duffer, those pitches will soon find you as well when you're checking baseball scores or catching up on football trades. ESPN and other Web sites, eyeing the successes search engines have had with ads based on keywords, are exploring a new form of targeting that's tied to their visitors' online habits.

Yahoo e-mail battles Google's Gmail
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Internet giant Yahoo! Inc. is fortifying its free e-mail service with 25 times more storage and freeing up millions of previously claimed e-mail addresses in an effort to thwart a looming threat from its increasingly disruptive rival Google Inc. Beginning Tuesday, all of Yahoo's free e-mail accounts will be upgraded to 100 megabytes, a move spurred by Google's plans to offer 1,000 megabytes of free storage through its Gmail service, which has remained in a test phase since early April.

Virus hits mobile phones
[Johannesburg, 15 June 2004] - Anti-virus experts have found the first network worm that can spread through mobile phone networks. Kaspersky Labs reports that it has detected a network worm that infects mobile telephones running Symbian. Symbian is used in certain Nokia, Siemens, Motorola and Sony Ericsson phones. The worm, named Cabir, may be a Ôtest virus' and does not appear to have caused any security incidents yet.

Fury over sale of personal details
Johannesburg, 15 June 2004] - Reported plans by the Post Office to sell its customers' personal information Ð including names, addresses, telephone numbers and identity numbers Ð have sparked a public outcry. Local radio listeners have been inundating stations with complaints after Cape Town and Johannesburg newspapers reported that the Post Office aims to sell the information to private businesses.

SNO foiled by legal battle
[Johannesburg, 15 June 2004] - It is Òreally bad news for the countryÓ that Nexus Connexion has chosen to seek a judicial review of the process which saw a 26% combined shareholding in the second national operator (SNO) awarded to two foreign bidders. Andre Wills, a telecoms analyst at Africa Analysis, says such a move will damage the communications market as a whole and will benefit no one except Telkom, the incumbent operator.

Legal Threats Stalk Adult Sites
SAN DIEGO -- The landmark federal prosecution of an infamous porn producer is putting the fear of John Ashcroft into the owners of countless adult websites, even those whose content is far milder than the material under attack. Experts told an audience of porn webmasters last weekend that they indeed have reason to worry. A variety of X-rated photos and videos could become illegal nationwide if the Bush administration scores an important victory in its war on obscenity. But the online adult industry is divided over exactly what to do about the threat from Attorney General Ashcroft and his crew.

Calif. Teen Gets Almost 3 Years Jail in eBay Scam
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A southern California teenager who previously bilked investors out of $1 million in an Internet betting scheme was sentenced on Monday to almost three years in jail for an unrelated scam he operated through online auctioneer eBay Inc. (EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Cole Bartiromo, 19, was sentenced by a federal judge to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay about $20,000 in restitution after pleading guilty in February to charges he posted items for sale on eBay and then collected payment, without actually shipping the merchandise.

PayPal settles customer suit
PayPal has reached a preliminary settlement with some customers who accused the eBay unit of illegally freezing their funds. The company on Friday said it will pay a total of $9.25 million to settle the federal class-action suit, $3.4 million of which will pay lawyers' fees and costs. PayPal admitted no wrongdoing in settling the claims, which were filed in 2002 as part of two federal class-action suits that also alleged other customer service deficiencies. Those two cases were merged, and a third case, pending in California state court, will be dismissed if the settlement agreement is approved.

CEOs Plan a Phish Fry
Type "phish" into your favorite search engine and you'll get plenty of links to fan sites for the cult rock band of the same name. Click into your e-mail inbox, however, and you're likely to come across another kind of phish, one that has Corporate America sounding the red alert. Today's Wall Street Journal reports that more than a dozen big companies -- including IBM, Tenet Healthcare Corp. and Fidelity Investments -- have linked up to create "the Trusted Electronic Communications Forum, a trade group that is expected to research and promote technical standards to combat phishing." Phishing, of course, involves cleverly crafted e-mail messages and Web sites designed to trick computer users into disclosing sensitive personal information like passwords, credit card numbers and checking accounts.

Company secrets leak via e-mail
Confidential information is leaking out of companies due to careless e-mail use, a survey has found. Nearly 40% of workers have received confidential information that was not meant for them according to a poll conducted by e-mail filtering firm SurfControl. Another 15% admit sending confidential information by mistake and 17% of those are unable to retrieve the data.

Internet Users Seeing Increase in 'Phishing' Scams
Citibank is not the only company whose identity is being used to lure people into providing account information. The list also includes eBay, the online auction service, and PayPal, which allows people to send and receive money online. Pat Kelly, like many others who use e-mail, has seen his share of spam over the years. One recent e-mail caught his attention. The return address was from "Citi users billing for" and the body of the e-mail featured the Citibank logo. It said he must update his account information.

Oracle Judge Gets Tough in PeopleSoft Case
The Justice Department has used testimony from PeopleSoft customers Verizon and IBM to argue that there is not enough competition in Oracle's market to allow it to take over PeopleSoft. Meanwhile, Oracle cited an analysis done by PeopleSoft to show that smaller companies were significant for the market.
In the U.S. government's case to block Oracle's hostile bid for PeopleSoft, the federal judge overseeing the proceedings has pushed for both sides to make more information public, and has taken an active role in questioning witnesses.

Online Crime Engenders a New Hero: Cybersleuth
ICG, which is licensed as a private investigator in New Jersey, tracks down online troublemakers for major corporations around the world, aiming at spammers and disgruntled former employees as well as scam artists, using both technology and more traditional cat-and- mouse tactics. A lot of perfectly respectable small businesses are raking in money from Internet fraud. From identity theft to bogus stock sales to counterfeit prescription drugs, crime is rife on the Web. But what has become the Wild West for savvy cybercriminals has also developed into a major business opportunity for cybersleuths.

Electronic Arts to Stop Advertising for Online Casinos on Its Web Site
SAN FRANCISCO, June 11 - Electronic Arts, the video game giant, said Friday that it had decided to stop running advertisements for Internet casinos on its Web site, delivering another blow to the online gambling industry. The decision, which the company said would take effect soon, follows similar announcements in recent months by Google and Yahoo, the Internet titans, and some media companies like Discovery Networks and Clear Channel Communications, which said they stopped taking advertisements for online casinos that offer sports betting, virtual poker and other games.

Music Industry Seeks Digital Radio Copying Limits
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Digital radio broadcasts that bring CD-quality sound to the airwaves could lead to unfettered song copying if protections are not put in place, a recording-industry trade group warned on Friday. Without copy protections, music fans could cherry-pick songs off the air and redistribute them over the Internet, further deepening the copyright woes of record labels, the Recording Industry Association of America said.

Web newspaper registration stirs debate
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) - Imagine if a trip to the corner newsstand required handing over your name, address, age, and income to the cashier before you could pick up the daily newspaper. That's close to the experience of many online readers, who must complete registration forms with various kinds of personal data before seeing their virtual newspaper.

Monday, June 14, 2004
  Foes Clash over State Online Anonymity Law
"This is an outrageous attempt to change jurisprudence in California by burdening the subpoena process when you're attempting to identify an individual, as in our case, who would be stealing movies," senior vice president for state legislative affairs Vans Stevenson told TechNewsWorld. The entertainment industry and civil liberties advocates have their dirks leveled at each other's throats again -- this time over a proposed California law aimed at protecting anonymous free speech on the Internet.

VoIP Opportunity Comes with Risk, Experts Warn
"In general, VoIP is less secure than a comparable circuit-switch call," Gartner principal analyst David Fraley told TechNewsWorld. "When looking at a next level and the ability to hack a network. VoIP is very sensitive to latency. Add a half a second or a tenth of a second delay, and you've killed the quality of the voice [communication]." Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become an increasingly hot market, with new players such as Vonage touting the ability to deliver voice communications for less cost. While there are technical, regulatory and other issues that remain ahead for VoIP, security was highlighted as a chief concern at the VON conference in the UK this week.

China Gives Cyber Dissident Suspended Sentence
BEIJING (Reuters) - A prominent Internet dissident was given a suspended sentence for subversion on Friday in a rare display of leniency by a Chinese court. The People's Intermediate Court in Xiaogan city in the central province of Hubei sentenced Du Daobin to three years in prison on charges of "subverting state power," the official Xinhua news agency said. But the sentence was suspended for four years, Xinhua said. The former civil servant does not have to serve time unless he breaks the law again in the next four years.

AOL settles copyright claim
America Online settled a four-year lawsuit with author Harlan Ellison concerning the digital distribution of his works. Ellison's suit had alleged that AOL allowed unauthorized distribution of his writings. The settlement was quietly announced earlier this week. The parties did not release the sum of the settlement. Ellison originally claimed AOL was responsible for the appearance of his works on Usenet newsgroups, which were accessible through Internet service. A judge in 2002 said AOL was protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but the ruling was partially reversed by an appeals court earlier this year.

Microsoft Files Eight New Lawsuits Against Spammers
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. has filed eight lawsuits against spammers, saying that they deceived consumers and used false information to hide their tracks, the world's largest software maker said on Thursday. The lawsuits are the latest salvo in the Redmond, Washington-based company's war to eradicate unsolicited emails, which have clogged countless inboxes on personal computers running the Windows operating system.

Linux vs. Apple: An Uncomfortable Battle
Linux represents a threat and an opportunity for every software and hardware company. Apple is once again at the crossroads. While it will take a couple of years before we know whether the company will make the right choice, one thing is clear: Apple's path is about to become vastly more interesting.

SA courts on brink of collapse: top judge
South Africa's courts are being strangled by a lack of finances and could be undermined to the extent that the country's judicial institutions crumble. This dire warning comes from Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson - the country's most senior judge - who this week warned parliament that budgetary constraints imposed by the government are threatening the country's courts and judiciary.

IT law gets competitive
IT lawyers say the spate of moves within the IT legal fraternity indicates that as a specific legal discipline, IT law is getting increasingly competitive. Law firms are also making more use of IT. Former Buys Inc employee Francis Cronje has moved to The Forest Group, headed by Lance Michalson, to spearhead the firm's new business development.

Friday, June 11, 2004
  FBI-Led Task Force Makes Arrests in Theft of Game Code
Arrests have been made in the theft of computer code behind Half-Life 2, which is expected to be one of this year's best-selling titles, the game's manufacturer announced yesterday. The theft last year had a role in the delayed delivery of the game, originally scheduled for release in September 2003, as Valve Corp., based in Bellevue, Wash., rewrote parts of its programming and assisted in an FBI-led investigation. Valve chief executive Gabe Newell said at the time that he believed the code was stolen by hackers from a company computer.

Digital signatures added to PDF documents
Publishing software maker Adobe Systems announced a partnership Tuesday with authentication company Identrus to add secure digital signatures to documents based on Adobe's portable document format (PDF). Identrus will integrate its SimpleSign service with Adobe's Acrobat applications for creating PDF files. Adobe executives expect initial interest to be strong among financial institutions. Banking giant Wells Fargo conducted a successful test program with SimpleSign-enabled PDF forms and has said it will continue to use the technology.

Spam-Fighting Theories Far From Practice
WASHINGTON - Filters and sender authentication protocols are not likely to do much to stem the spam flood around the world, at least for the time being, according to Gartner analysts. Maurene Caplan-Grey, Gartner's research director, told attendees at the company's 10th annual IT Security Summit here that filters are in the 'embryonic stage' and sender reputation-authentication services are, at this point, little more than theories.

Brightmail partners to fight instant spam
Brightmail, a maker of antispam tools, has teamed up with IMlogic to fight spam that targets instant-messaging users on PCs and mobile devices. The companies on Tuesday said they will collaborate to develop integrated antispam products for corporate customers. The combined products will be aimed at combating 'spim,' as experts have dubbed IM spam.

Song-swappers settle out of court
Eighteen file-sharers in Europe have so far settled out of court as part of the music industry's legal action against 200 illegal song-swappers. The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) began prosecuting in March. Seventeen Danes and one German have settled at a cost of several thousand euros each.

Consumers Say eBay Most Trusted Company for Privacy
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Online bazaar eBay Inc.(EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is the most trusted U.S. company for privacy, according to a new consumer study released late on Wednesday.
Internet companies, banks and health care organizations were seen as the most trustworthy, while the hotel industry and grocery store operators were seen as less trustworthy.

IBM faces copyright infringement suit
Software company Zero-Knowledge Systems has filed a copyright infringement complaint against IBM, alleging it wrongfully reproduced its privacy language specification. Montreal-based Zero-Knowledge Systems (ZKS) filed the civil suit on behalf of its newly formed subsidiary Synomos, a specialist in privacy and data-management solutions for corporations. The complaint was filed Tuesday in the District of Montreal of the Superior Court of Quebec.

Claria sues L.L.Bean
Adware maker Claria has sued L.L.Bean, charging the retailer with filing a frivolous lawsuit against its advertisers. Claria, formerly known as Gator, filed the complaint last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The Redwood City, Calif.-based company is firing back at L.L.Bean after it logged four complaints in Portland, Maine, district court in recent weeks against Atkins Nutritionals, J.C. Penny, Nordstrom and Gevalia Kaffee.

Pop-up toolbar spreads via IE flaws
An adware purveyor has apparently used two previously unknown security flaws in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to install a toolbar on victims' computers that triggers pop-up ads, researchers said this week. One flaw lets an attacker run a program on a victim's machine, while the other enables malicious code to 'cross zones,' or run with privileges higher than normal. Together, the two issues allow for the creation of a Web site that, when visited by victims, can upload and install programs to the victim's computer, according to two analyses of the security holes.

The funny odds of online dating
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rick, a Web site developer from Columbus, Ohio, remembers his divorce nearly four years ago with an extra tinge of bitterness: His ex-wife remarried the same day, to a man she met via the Internet. "After we decided to split, we were still living together for awhile and she got online," Rick, 29, said. "They ended up meeting and two days after that, she was wearing his ring."

Microsoft to emerging markets: We've got a deal for you
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - The long-running legal battles between Microsoft Corp. and governments in Europe and the United States make the company look like a partner in a bad marriage, ready to walk out and call the divorce lawyer. But in Southeast Asia, the software giant seems more like an ardent suitor, wooing governments with sweet promises and gifts - such as unprecedented bargain prices on its Windows operating system.

Thursday, June 10, 2004
  Old wine in new bottles
Johannesburg - Why go through the trouble of signing an agreement on paper if you are now allowed to conclude contracts online? The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 now allows parties to conclude contracts online. The basic principles of a contract still need to be present, i.e. contractual capacity, lawfulness, possibility of performance, offer, acceptance and intent, but technology has given rise to a few grey and uncertain areas e.g. where was the offer accepted, in the information system of the seller (etailer) or when the acceptance notice came within the reach of the buyer?

Showdown With The Linux Gang
For a small but fervent cadre of computer enthusiasts, the most popular Internet parlor activity over the past year hasn't involved animated dungeons, dragons or warlords. Instead, it is real-life sleuthing to piece together a business puzzle: How can a tiny, struggling software company based here at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains afford to pursue a legal donnybrook with some of the biggest names in corporate America?

Cell phone companies know your fury
NEW YORK (AP) - Mobile phone service was the second-lowest ranked industry - beating only cable providers among the 40 rated - in the University of Michigan's newest customer satisfaction index. And there's more: mobile companies were the No. 2 sector in complaints last year to Better Business Bureaus, dropping from first place in 2002. Only auto dealers did worse.

Cyber-cops to patrol Internet chatrooms
LONDON, England (Reuters) - Police plan to patrol Internet chatrooms as part of a multinational crackdown on pedophile rings. They will also seize the finances of Web site operators who peddle child pornography and freeze the credit cards of their customers. "We want to create the equivalent of a beat cop for the Internet," said the UK's National Crime Squad Assistant Chief Constable Jim Gamble.

Microsoft to fight record EU fine
Microsoft, the world's largest software company, has appealed against a European Union ruling that it abused its dominant market position. In March, Microsoft was hit with a record fine of 497m euros (£332m) and ordered to change how it operates. At the time, the company said it would challenge the decision because it stunted competition and innovation, and limited consumer choice.

Email boom creates jobs boost
Almost 200 jobs have been created at a BT call centre in County Fermanagh. The site in Enniskillen will be one of a new generation of centres handling emails from customers. The job creation agency, Invest Northern Ireland, is supporting the project, which was announced on Thursday. BT said it expected e-customer service to be a growth area.

Hacking made easy
Las Vegas - Computer vandals toting nothing more than a Sega game device, handheld computer, or even a compact disc can slip into offices and launch 'phone home' attacks via remote computers under their control, speakers at a US hackers convention have said. Lonely office printers aren't any safer, and can be hacked into through an interment connection via a corporate network, one speaker said at the annual Defcon conference of computer security enthusiasts and mischievous network tinkerers.

UK man hacks into US military computers
Washington - An unemployed Briton was charged Tuesday with hacking into more than 100 US military and Nasa computers, including a Navy system that was shut down just after the September 11 terrorist attacks, officials said. The US intends to formally seek the extradition from Britain of Gary McKinnon (36), to face charges of computer fraud handed down by grand juries in Virginia and New Jersey, the justice department said.

Hackers get into bank accounts
Tokyo - Two men were arrested for allegedly stealing 16 million yen by hacking into a bank's accounts, police said on Thursday.
Police suspect the two, a 35-year-old unemployed man and a 27-year-old businessman, broke into the bank's accounts from a computer at a cafe in Tokyo on September 18, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said on condition of anonymity. He refused to say which bank they robbed.

Beware the hacker attacker
Paris - The first commercial software to strike back at computer vandals and spammers has run into crossfire from experts, who fear it could unleash 'a cyber bloodbath' that could engulf the internet, New Scientist says. The product, launched in March by Texas security company Symbiot, gives companies an escalating list of options to defend themselves against hackers and other sources of unwanted traffic.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
  McDonald's, Sony Singing Free Downloads
CHICAGO (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp. and Sony Corp. <6758.T> are teaming up to give away free music downloads, in a step that analysts said raises questions about McDonald's long-standing relationship with Walt Disney Co. McDonald's will launch a U.S. promotion on June 8 offering customers who buy a Big Mac Extra Value meal an access code worth one free song download at Sony's Connect music store. The so-called Big Mac Meal Tracks promotion, which will run for six to 10 weeks, will later expand to Europe, McDonald's said. The Sony alliance could be a way for McDonald's to tap in to pop culture without relying on movie tie-ins with Disney. McDonald's still has about two years left on a 10-year promotional agreement with Disney.

McAfee founder returns with 'legal p2p radio'
A former McAfee CEO appears to have found a way around the legal minefield hindering anyone attempting to enter the music sharing market: by a licence to webcast content. Mercora is a P2P - "person to person", is how it defines the term - network that allows users to share songs without actually downloading them. It's an approach the company dubs "P2P radio".

Italy Passes Tough Internet Piracy Law
ROME (AP) - Italy's parliament has passed one of the world's toughest laws aimed at fighting illegal file-sharing and other Internet piracy, with prison time among the penalties. The law calls for up to three years in prison for using the Internet illegally for commercial purposes. Such offenses include selling content for which the vendor does not hold the intellectual rights. Fines for infringements run as high as $300,350, though smaller fines of up to $1,250 would be imposed for simply downloading copyright works for personal use.

Judgment Against 'P. Diddy' Overturned
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A civil judgment ordering rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs to pay $450,000 to a man who claimed he was beaten by bodyguards has been overturned by the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The ruling came Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by Cedrick Bobby Lemon, who said he was beaten in June 1995 by bodyguards Combs hired to protect soul singer Mary J. Blige at a Joel Coliseum concert in Winston-Salem. Combs was Blige's manager. Lemon was a limousine driver and wore an identification badge that permitted him to stand backstage, the lawsuit said.

UNCITRAL developments on a convention for cross-border e-contracting
For those interested in recent UNCITRAL developments on a convention for cross-border e-contracting, please click on the title for a list of recent developments.

Web Address Sales Hit Record High
A record 4.7 million Internet addresses were sold in the first three months of 2004, bringing the total number of registered addresses to a new high of 62.9 million, according to a study released today by Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign Inc.
The report attributed the spike in domain-name sales to growing Internet usage in Europe and Asia, as well as a rebounding U.S. economy. VeriSign noted that 4.1 million domain names were sold in the first quarter of 2003 and 3.7 million in the first quarter of 2002. VeriSign, the exclusive wholesaler of Internet addresses ending in dot-com and dot-net, measured registrations for every available domain -- from dot-org and dot-edu to country codes like dot-ch for Switzerland and dot-sg for Singapore. It also included data on relatively newer domains like dot-biz, dot-info and dot-museum.

Will the Beatles Finally Let It Be Online?
Leave it to the Beatles to start a revolution in the online music business: Representatives for the Fab Four reportedly are in talks with several companies to sell their music on the Internet. If a deal comes to fruition, it could fuel lagging music sales and add appeal to paid online music services that people often criticize for lacking tunes by some of the world's most legendary musicians. Chief among those missing stars are the Beatles, whose surviving members have long resisted uploading their catalog to the Internet.

Hard drive secrets sold cheaply
A hard drive containing sensitive information on one of Europe's largest financial services groups has been purchased on an internet auction site for just a fiver.
The hard drive was bought as part of research into what happens to lost or stolen laptops. It contained information including pension plans, dates of birth and home addresses of customers.

Rooibos battle rages on
Cape Town - Communities in the Western Cape should get traditional knowledge royalties on rooibos tea products, provincial economic development MEC Lynne Brown said on Wednesday. "I would support that," she told a media briefing in Cape Town ahead of her first-ever budget address in the legislature.

Pirate DVD mastermind nabbed
Cape Town - Police have arrested one of the country's biggest importers and distributors of pirate DVDs in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Fred Potgieter of the SA Federation against Copyright Theft (Safact) told News24 the pirate DVD kingpin was arrested at premises of Juraan's Furniture in Mayfair, Johannesburg about 11:00. The police crime prevention unit and Safact in a joint effort raided the warehouse after receiving a tip-off from an informer.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) has appointed Jackie Manche as its new CEO. Manche will replace the former CEO, Nkateko Nyoka. Formerly deputy director-general in the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG), Manche is expected to bring her years of experience in the public service to bear in her new role as CEO at the regulator.

Cape Town IT wins global award
Cape Town has received the 21st Century Achievement Award from the Computerworld Honours Programme for visionary use of IT in the category of government and non-profit organisations. The award, handed over in Washington DC on Monday, recognised the Cape Town smart city project for its scope, innovation and impact on society.

Microsoft's Patent Plans Worry Open-Source Supporters
Microsoft's new policy for licensing its patents has supporters of open-source software worried that the company will use a broken government system for protecting intellectual property to beat back gains Linux and other competing software have made in the marketplace. The Redmond, Wash., software maker, which holds about 4,500 patents covering a broad spectrum of technology affecting desktops, servers, and more, said in December that it would begin licensing patents to meet requests from customers, partners, and regulators.

MWeb 'will obey' Zim e-mail snooping laws
MWEB said on Tuesday that it will block or divulge the source of its customers' e-mail messages if required, by the Zimbabwean authorities. The government in Zimbabwe has proposed new contracts for all internet service providers (ISPs) that will force them to block content or report "malicious messages". AFP reported on Tuesday that an official at one ISP raised questions as to whether the contract was legal and also said it would be "practically impossible to monitor and check on all e-mails communicated through our network".

US multinationals agree to principle of selling stakes to black investors
BLACK empowerment in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector enjoyed a major breakthrough at the weekend when multinational companies agreed to the sale of equity in their local operations. Negotiators broke the deadlock on the issue just as it was becoming clear that government regarded the sale of equity as a nonnegotiable aspect of black economic empowerment. Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said at last week's African Economic Summit in Maputo that although government realised it risked alienating foreign investors by insisting on the sale of equity it was a "risk worth taking", internet news service Mineweb reported.

Sexual harassment: Naspers appeals
Should employers be held liable for sexual harassment in the workplace? This is what the Supreme Court of Appeal will decide after the Cape High Court gave Naspers Limited leave to appeal against a March ruling that it be held vicariously, or indirectly, liable for damages arising from the sexual harassment of former secretary Sonia Grobler by trainee manager Gasant Samuels. Grobler was employed as a secretary at Naspers Magazines between October 1996 and August 1999, when the sexual harassment took place. She took her case to the Cape High Court claiming that Naspers had failed to come to her assistance after she had complained about Samuels's behaviour.

Escorts now only R6 000 at ThisDay
ThisDay, South Africa's newest daily newspaper, is taking legal action against a website owner in the United Kingdom who it says has snatched its domain name, [WARNING: Contains explicit content]. Newshounds after the latest headlines from the website will probably get more than they bargained for -- including a limousine with two escorts for hire, at R6 000. The actual website address for the newspaper is now

Computer Forensics Expert Uncovers Employee's Attempt to Download Company Confidential Documents
LeJeune v. Coin Acceptors, Inc., 2004 WL 1067795 (Md. May 13, 2004). In a case involving the violation of a state trade secrets act, an employer alleged that a former employee copied proprietary electronic documents from his work laptop to a compact disk (CD), shortly before he went to work for a competitor. The employee stated that, for the sake of simplicity and because he did not know how to save individual files onto a CD, he had transferred his entire "My Documents" folder, which contained personal files such as his wedding photographs, onto the CD. He alleged that during the transfer he had inadvertently captured some of his former employer's confidential business documents. The employer's computer forensics expert refuted the employee's claims, testifying that a file, which was not contained in the "My Documents" folder, was also copied to the CD. The expert also determined the employee had attempted to hide the document transfer by deleting information about the downl
oads from the laptop. Based on this evidence, the appellate court affirmed the lower court's finding that the evidence supported a finding of trade secret misappropriation.

Court Denies Motion for Sanctions Where Plaintiff Fails to Seek Assistance of a Computer Forensics Expert
Aero Prods. Int'l v. Intex Rec. Corp., 2004 WL 417193 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 30, 2004). In a patent infringement suit, the plaintiffs moved for production of documents relating to the development of the products in question. When the plaintiffs uncovered that the defendant had been deleting all of its emails every 30 days since the initiation of the suit, the court entered a protective order requiring the defendant to make a full and complete effort to recover any and all deleted electronic documents, including email. The order also stated the plaintiffs could petition for the appointment of a computer forensics expert to assist in recovering electronic data, and the plaintiffs could request that the defendant bear the costs of the expert. Responding to the order, the defendant produced 45 pages of documents and an expert report that described the defendant's efforts to recover the deleted emails. Although the plaintiffs found these submissions unacceptable, they did not file a petition seeking the appointment of a neutral computer forensics expert. In denying the motion, the court declared that the plaintiffs, as was their right pursuant to the protective order, should have filed a petition seeking the appointment of a computer forensics expert. The court also held that an award of sanctions would be unjust because plaintiffs waited more than seven months before filing the discovery motion.

Court Sets Forth Production Procedure for E-Documents
Jicarilla Apache Nation v. United States, 60 Fed.Cl. 413 (Fed. Cir. 2004). Alleging the government mismanaged trust funds, the plaintiff moved for a confidentiality agreement and protective order. Determining that good cause existed for approval and entry of the order, the court issued specific procedures for the production of electronic records. In defining records that needed to be produced, the court included computer or network activity logs, data, databases, images, emails, spreadsheets, and metadata. The court also determined that if the parties provided access to electronic data rather than making actual copies of it, the parties should designate which electronic records are available for production by categorizing them in writing by record, category, search parameters, or other reasonable methods. In addressing production format, the court directed the parties to produce records "in the format in which that party routinely uses or stores them, provided that electronic records shall be produced along with available technical information necessary for access or use." If the requesting party is unable to access or use an electronic record, the court indicated it may request that the responding party provide a paper version of or underlying source data for the electronic record.

Court Denies Protective Order Absent Proof of Destruction or Degradation of Electronic Evidence
Capricorn Power Co. v. Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp., 220 F.R.D. 429 (W.D.Pa. 2004). The defendant sought a preservation order requiring the plaintiff to preserve documents and things, including electronic documents. The plaintiff, in responding to the defendant's motion, countered with a preservation order request of its own, requiring the defendant to preserve and produce documents. In addressing the need for these orders, the court focused on the medium in which the evidence was stored. The court stated that "[if] the evidence is stored upon a computer floppy disk or hard drive, finding physical space to store the evidence will not be as much of an issue ... [but] evidence stored within a computer hard drive may present a difficulty in that it may be compromised or degraded as new information is added and pieces of old information are 'deleted' and subsequently written over by the computer." In discussing when an order would be appropriate, the court declared that timing is of the essence, particularly in cases where a party does not know electronic evidence needs to be preserved. The court denied both preservation order requests, determining there was insufficient proof showing that evidence would be lost or destroyed absent these orders.

Computer Expert Exposes Attempts to Destroy Electronic Data
Arista Records, Inc. v. Sakfield Holding Co. S.L., 2004 WL 881851 (D.D.C. Apr. 22, 2004). In a copyright infringement suit, the court issued an order compelling the defendant to produce computer servers, which hosted the defendant's Web site and contained records of its users. When the plaintiffs' computer expert inspected the servers, he discovered the vast majority of that information had been intentionally destroyed after the defendant learned that litigation was imminent. The expert found the defendant ran a program, designed to erase electronically stored information, more than 50 times from a remote location in an attempt to delete all electronic data from the servers. In spite of the defendant's attempts, the expert recovered a small amount of data to support the plaintiffs' claims. Although the defendant attempted to attack the plaintiffs' methodologies for extrapolating the number of users and downloads, the court indicated that the defendant was "in a poor position to attack plaintiffs' evidence," noting that "[d]estruction of evidence raises the presumption that disclosure of the materials would be damaging." The court decided not to issue sanctions but instead encouraged the plaintiffs to move for appropriate sanctions as the case progressed.

Man pleads guilty to wireless hack into stores
BOSTON - A Michigan man pleaded guilty on Friday to four counts of wire fraud and unauthorized access to a computer after he and two accomplices used a vulnerable wireless network at a Lowe's Companies Inc. store in Michigan to attempt to steal credit card numbers from the company's main computer systems in North Carolina and other Lowe's stores in the U.S. Brian Salcedo could face up to 18 years in prison for the crime, which the government claims could have caused more than US$2.5 million in damages. However, federal prosecutors will ask for a more lenient sentence in exchange for Salcedo's cooperation in other investigations stemming from the incident and full disclosure of details about the intrusions on Lowe's network, according to a copy of the plea agreement.

Report: Spam Costs Are Rising at Work
Spam will cost large companies nearly $2,000 per employee in lost productivity this year, despite improving technology designed to block the ever-growing volume of unsolicited commercial messages aimed at workers' e-mail accounts, according to a new report.

Workers at some of the country's biggest corporations report that they spend nearly 15 minutes every day sifting through an average of 29 unsolicited e-mail messages, dramatically higher than the seven minutes they spent sorting through spam in 2003. The findings are based on a survey of workers at Fortune 500 companies conducted by Wellesley, Mass.-based Nucleus Research Inc.

Report: Spam Costs Are Rising at Work
Spam will cost large companies nearly $2,000 per employee in lost productivity this year, despite improving technology designed to block the ever-growing volume of unsolicited commercial messages aimed at workers' e-mail accounts, according to a new report.

Workers at some of the country's biggest corporations report that they spend nearly 15 minutes every day sifting through an average of 29 unsolicited e-mail messages, dramatically higher than the seven minutes they spent sorting through spam in 2003. The findings are based on a survey of workers at Fortune 500 companies conducted by Wellesley, Mass.-based Nucleus Research Inc.

BT Group to Block Access to Child Porn Web Sites
LONDON (Reuters) - Web sites carrying pornographic images of children will be off-limits to BT Group's one million broadband Internet customers, Britain's telecoms giant said on Monday. The effort is believed to be the biggest scheme of its kind by an Internet service provider (ISP) to bar its customers from child porn sites. It comes as law enforcement officials around the globe step up pleas to the industry for help. BT announced it would be installing an elaborate software filter to block access to a list of suspected child porn sites. The "block list" will be compiled by watchdog group Internet Watch Foundation and vetted by the Home Office.

Music Industry Readies Fresh Wave of Net Lawsuits
LONDON (Reuters) - A new wave of lawsuits is being prepared against the most prolific Internet song-swappers as part of an expanding global crackdown on Internet piracy, music industry officials said on Tuesday. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said it will sue 24 individuals in Denmark for trading music files online and it warned Britain, France and Sweden that they could be added to the list of target countries. "It's inevitable," said Jay Berman, IFPI CEO, when asked of the likelihood those countries would be included. He added that Japan, the world's second largest music market, is also a strong candidate for lawsuits as recorded music sales there continue to slide.

BT acts against child porn sites
BT customers will soon be prevented from accessing websites containing images of child sexual abuse. The move has been welcoming by child protection bodies but is acknowledged as only a small step in the fight against child pornography on the net. BT's internet customers will be blocked from viewing websites blacklisted by the Internet Watch Foundation.

United front against spam urged
The European Commission has urged the computer industry to sort out its anti-spam strategy. Lack of co-operation between all those tackling spam was holding back efforts to stem unwanted commercial messages, said EC official Philippe Gerard.

Tracking the E-mail You Sent
A new service promises to pull back the curtain on anyone hiding behind the common white lie "I never got your e-mail." Users of the service, DidTheyReadIt, can clandestinely track when and where their e-mail is read. The service, which has already drawn complaints from privacy advocates, offers a new and quiet way to harvest behavioral information about friends, colleagues and potential customers. "There's a type of covert surveillance here," said Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit privacy advocacy group. "Just from a technology viewpoint, it's basically an evil service."

Microsoft lodges EU appeal
Luxembourg - US software giant Microsoft has lodged an appeal with the European Union's top court against a landmark EU anti-competition ruling, the court said on Tuesday. The European Court of Justice's chamber of first instance said it had "received an application from Microsoft for annulment of the commission's decision of 24th March 2004 finding that Microsoft had acted contrary to Community competition law and had abused its dominant position".

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
  Korgo Worms onto the Net
"My advice for anyone worried about the Korgo worm is to apply the patch, for goodness sake," Graham Cluley, Sophos senior technology consultant, in an interview with the E-Commerce Times. "How many more alarm calls do you need?" A virus that was first seen on May 22nd has been worming its way across the Internet, stealing personal information in the process. Dubbed 'Korgo,' the worm exploits the same vulnerabilities and spreads in the same way as the Sasser worm that caused havoc last month.

Microsoft Patents Handheld Computing Clicks
Tom Franklin, a patent attorney with the firm of Townsend & Townsend in Denver, Colorado, said Microsoft may be trying to replicate the success that IBM, Xerox and others have had in producing thick portfolios of patents they then license to their customers. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has won a patent related to the timing of button-clicks on handheld computers and similar devices, sparking concerns among some companies and industry observers that the software giant will attempt to reap licensing fees for what many view as a common practice.

New Lemon Law for Computers?
The bill's primary sponsor, Rep. Raymond Bunt, a Montgomery County, Pa., Republican, said the legislature has become a stop-of-last-resort for frustrated computer buyers. Bunt says that three or four times a month, his office gets a call from a computer owner seeking help with a manufacturer or retailer that seems to be dodging its responsibility to make and sell reliable products.

Experts See Sharp Rise in Malware Attack Probability
What worries Louis Cheng, spokesperson for Finjan Software security products, is how easily uninformed computer users become victims of spyware and other malware products. With the increase in threat levels, more damage will occur. Security experts are warning that malware attacks will pose more of a major threat over the next three years than direct hacker attacks.

Priority for Internet Users: Porn
"This is one of the big, untouched research areas," Pew research specialist Mary Madden told TechNewsWorld. "For many reasons, it's incredibly difficult to get an accurate reading." Madden added that while it is an 'incredibly thorny subject', the extent to which American Internet users consume pornography online is also "an incredibly important one."

Wiretapping the Wireless Becomes New Fed Hangup
The government still can't listen to you chatting on your cellphone or your land line without a court order, he said. That order can be granted by a criminal court judge or, if national security is involved, by a secret court that operates out of public view. American agents have become experts at tracking and rounding up terror suspects by their cellphone signals, but some see Big Brother looming in the government's expanded wiretapping powers and prowess.

Linux vs. Apple: An Uncomfortable Battle
Linux represents a threat and an opportunity for every software and hardware company. Apple is once again at the crossroads. While it will take a couple of years before we know whether the company will make the right choice, one thing is clear: Apple's path is about to become vastly more interesting. I'm currently reading a science fiction book that refers to Bill Gates, and I was watching a movie recently in which one of the streets is named Microsoft Way, which happened to be on the moon. Clearly, Microsoft permeates much of what we do in tech, so it's no wonder that every time there is a change, we focus on the impact on Microsoft and attempt to forecast a demise that has been overhyped and simply not forthcoming.

Seagate to join tiny-drive fray
A struggling Seagate Technology plans to ship later this year 1-inch disk drives with up to 5GB of storage capacity. The drives could be used in music players and digital cameras. Seagate, which recently announced a plan to shed about 2,900 workers and also said its market share for drives for notebook computers and other mobile devices could fall, aims to formally announce the small drives next week as part of a broader product launch. Other devices slated to be unveiled include a 400GB drive targeted at the digital video recorder market. In all, the 12 new products will allow the company's lineup to cover 97 percent of the $22 billion disk drive market, up from 70 percent today, a Seagate representative said.

Microsoft bars Windows pirates
Many people using pirated copies of Windows XP will get no help from Microsoft to make their PC safer. The software giant has decided that a forthcoming update to XP will not work with the most widely pirated versions of its operating system. The upgrade, called Service Pack 2, closes security loopholes in XP and adds features that make it easier to keep machines safer from viruses.

Microsoft Expects to Win Brazil Competition Case
SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Microsoft Brasil (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) expects a victory from Brazil's anti-trust body CADE next Wednesday when a five-year-old unfair competition case is expected to go to trial, the company's legal director said.
Microsoft said that two years ago it replaced commercial guidelines that limited its resellers to operate only where they were headquartered. As a consequence, TBA Informatica, based in Brasilia, became the exclusive reseller to the huge federal administration market.

Time Warner puts AOL-CompuServe subscribing fiasco behind it
Time Warner Inc., the world's biggest media company, will give refunds to subscribers at its America Online and CompuServe units to settle lawsuits over complaints about billing practices at the Internet access providers. The agreement will result in dismissal of suits filed in California and Oklahoma on behalf of subscribers who claimed they were billed after they tried to disconnect the service, America Online said. The company admits no liability in the settlement.

Monday, June 07, 2004
  Think before you text
A few hours after NBA star Kobe Bryant had sex with a Vail-area hotel worker last summer, the woman exchanged cell phone text messages with a former boyfriend and someone else. What's in those messages could help determine whether the sex was consensual or whether Bryant is guilty of rape as charged. The judge himself said the content may be "highly relevant" to the case.

Labels to dampen CD burning?
Tools under review by the major labels would limit the number of backups that could be made from ordinary compact discs and prevent copied, or "burned," versions from being used to create further copies, according to Macrovision and SunnComm International, rivals that are developing competing versions of the digital rights management (DRM) software. SunnComm said a version of its new "secure burning" technology is already being tested by BMG Music Group, the world's fifth-largest record label and the most aggressive to date in pushing CD copy protection schemes in the United States. Macrovision's version is expected to be ready in the next few months.

Report: Spam Costs Are Rising at Work
Spam will cost large companies nearly $2,000 per employee in lost productivity this year, despite improving technology designed to block the ever-growing volume of unsolicited commercial messages aimed at workers' e-mail accounts, according to a new report. Workers at some of the country's biggest corporations report that they spend nearly 15 minutes every day sifting through an average of 29 unsolicited e-mail messages, dramatically higher than the seven minutes they spent sorting through spam in 2003. The findings are based on a survey of workers at Fortune 500 companies conducted by Wellesley, Mass.-based Nucleus Research Inc.

Human Responses to Technology Scrutinized
Not long ago, a British poll found that three quarters of people have hit their computers in frustration. A German carmaker recalled an automobile with a computerized female voice issuing navigation information -- because many men refused to take directions from "a woman." A study found that people try to be nice to their own computers: They are more likely to report problems with the machine when asked about it while working on a different computer.

Hospital tests barcoding patients
London's Charing Cross hospital is beginning trials this month of a system using barcodes on patients. Hospital authorities hope the system will improve patient safety by reducing drug-related errors on the ward. In England, five out of every 100 oral drug doses in hospitals go wrong, according to the Department of Health's most recent statistics.

Good governance avoids scandals
Bad decision-making has been a hallmark of the ICT industry, contributing to its reputation as a high-risk sector, says South Africa's corporate governance expert Mervyn King who spoke at the Futurex Conference. Mervyn King, who chaired the King Commission into Cor-porate Governance, says governance is playing a pivotal role, not only for companies in the ICT sector, but also for companies and the boards that have to make decisions about implementing new technologies.

Sunday, June 06, 2004
We tell you how to avoid becoming a victim of an unscrupulous computer scam. Worldwide about 7,5 million people have been the victims of Internet-based identity theft, which has allowed criminals to buy goods on their credit cards and gain access to their personal bank accounts. No figures are available for South Africa yet, but there have been quite a few scares and the local banks offering Internet and on-line banking facilities now all take basic steps to protect access to your account and personal information.

How to protect and educate your children about porn on the Internet.
Pornography has long been widely available on the Net, through e-mail, chatrooms and websites offering graphic images and videos. ItÕs estimated that 95 of the 100 most popular sites at any given time are pornographic and that last year users spent an astronomical £2 billion on online pornography, according to a January report in The Week. However, the report goes on to point out that only about two percent of the content on the Net is Ôadult-orientedÕ. ItÕs just that that two percent gets by far the most visitors. The problem lies in the number of young computer users who, in surfing the wonders of the Internet, increasingly find themselves stumbling into its distinctly sleazy side.

Virus targets bank accounts
Berlin - German authorities on Thursday alerted computer users to a new internet virus targeting bank accounts and credit cards and bearing a striking resemblance to the Sasser worm that disabled millions of systems worldwide last month. The Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI) in the western city of Bonn said the new Korgo virus exploited security loopholes in the Microsoft operating system Windows.

Net brings activists out in force
With politics in America more polarised than any time since the 1960s, there is one thing that all the parties can agree on this crucial election year - the power of web-based activism. New York City may be a bastion of Democratic Party politics and support, but that didn't stop the Republican grassroots' campaigner-in-chief, Ralph Reed, from attending a downtown seminar in late May on politics and the internet.

The legendary right-wing organiser - who is leading the president's re-election team in the south-east - told his mainly left-leaning audience that local democracy was being regenerated through the internet.

Saturday, June 05, 2004
  Sharing Files: The Untold Story of Software Piracy
File-sharing through the dozens of software piracy mills on the Internet and well-known peer-to-peer networks like Kazaa , Morpheus , iMesh, eDonkey, Gnutella, LimeWire and Grokster accounts for thousands of illegally downloaded music files, games, movies and software. Computer security experts warn that more harm than the mere theft of intellectual property by piracy occurs through participation in file-sharing over the Internet. For example, use of file-sharing operations usually leads to situations in which computers -- and even networks -- are infected with spyware, malware and backdoors left ajar for hackers.

Friday, June 04, 2004
  Careless coders tempting legal troubles?
Most software developers regard "code-borrowing"--reusing existing software in their own work--as an acceptable practice, despite the legal minefield it could create for their employers, according to research due to be published later this week. The anonymous online survey of more than 3,000 developers found that almost 70 percent of respondents keep a personal library of code that they freely carry from employer to employer. Such code is generally used without the lawful owner's knowledge or permission, according to, a site that provides legal advice on information technology and e-commerce.

"Reusing or copying code, though in some ways unlawful, I believe is common practice in software development," said one freelance developer who participated. "Most developers that I come in contact with (including myself) reuse, copy or even reverse-engineer code to make it work better or to include it in an application that we are programming."

Iraq seeks '.IQ' domain to make its mark on Net
Iraq is making its first claim for an internationally recognized presence on the Internet. Iraq's media commission and the U.S.-led administration in Iraq want to set up Web addresses using the domain code ".IQ" as the final tag. That would mean addresses for Web pages would be distinctively identified on the Internet with Iraq's own country code. The Iraqi chairman of the National Communications & Media Commission, Siyamend Othman, said the .IQ domain name would allow Iraqis to stake a "virtual flag" in the worldwide Internet community. It is "an important tangible and symbolic milestone for this nation, as well as the freedom and hopes of the Iraqi people," he wrote in a letter dated May 20 to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Can't stop the pop-ups
In January, Paul Haigh downloaded Google's toolbar to dispel annoying pop-up ads. By March, they were back. Google's pop-up blocker, included as part of the Web search engine's popular browser plug-in, "worked fantastically well for about two months, blocking everything," said Haigh, a photographer from the United Kingdom. "Then the odd pop-up started to appear, mainly on highly ad-displaying sites based in the United States." "I know they are on the increase because they are annoying me again," he said, adding that he's received three this week.

US Department of Justice ends Movelink antitrust investigation
The Department of Justice said Thursday that it has dropped an investigation into Movielink, an online film-rental service that raised questions of industry collusion three years ago when it was founded by five Hollywood movie studios. The DOJ's Antitrust Division said that it ended the inquiry after reaching the conclusion that the joint venture had not harmed competition or deprived consumers of movies. In part, the DOJ was responding to charges from rival video-on-demand services, including now-defunct Intertainer, that the studios colluded to limit licensing of their films to third-party operators.

Microsoft bars Windows pirates
Many people using pirated copies of Windows XP will get no help from Microsoft to make their PC safer. The software giant has decided that a forthcoming update to XP will not work with the most widely pirated versions of its operating system. The upgrade, called Service Pack 2, closes security loopholes in XP and adds features that make it easier to keep machines safer from viruses.

Worm eyes up credit card details
Windows users are being warned about a virus that is "aggressively stealing" credit card numbers and passwords. The Korgo virus debuted on 22 May and since then has been steadily racking up victims. Although the virus is not widespread, security firms are issuing warnings because it is proving so effective at stealing confidential data.

Seb Coe loses privacy ruling
Former MP and Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Coe lost a court battle on Saturday to prevent two Sunday papers revealing details of an extra-marital affair. The High Court ruled that freedom of the press and free speech outweighed his right to privacy. The kiss and tell story, based on an interview with Lord Coe's former mistress Vanessa Lander, was published just days after Lord Coe was put in charge of London's 2012 Olympic bid, and hours after a court hearing to determine whether publication could go ahead.







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