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ICT Law Blog
Monday, November 27, 2006
  Microsoft patent pledge 'worse than useless', say open source lawyers
Microsoft has vowed not to take patent infringement cases against open source software developers, but a body specialising in open source law has warned that the pledge is effectively worthless.

Wikis: New Cultural Model?
Wikipedia asserts it is more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica. However, it had to deputize a cleanup crew to enforce quality standards, catch mistakes and restore stories altered by pranksters or partisans. In one notorious incident, a Wikipedia saboteur falsely implicated a Nashville, Tenn., newspaper editor in the Kennedy assassinations.

Supreme Court to examine 'obviousness' of patents
Software and hardware makers have long complained that a glut of so-called junk patents threatens to disrupt the way they do business.
One key gripe about the patent process is expected to take center stage before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday morning. In their third major patent case this year, the justices are scheduled to hear arguments about what courts should consider when deciding whether an invention is too "obvious" to warrant protection.

Microsoft-Novell pact already in dispute
Less than three weeks after they reached an accord hailed as proof that rival software companies could work together, the chief executives of Novell and Microsoft are engaged in an unusual public dispute.

Closing Open-Source Gaps by Developing a Policy
Open-source software is becoming ubiquitous, but companies need to be aware that its use must be carefully managed. Even Microsoft has admitted the attractiveness of this business model through its engagement with open-source companies such as SugarCRM Inc.and Zend Inc. Problems can arise because many open-source licenses require that users who incorporate open-source code in their software must make their code available for free (at reproduction cost), permit modifications of the software and permit redistribution without charging a fee.

Does RSS Imply Permission To Reuse Content?
With the advent of the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, copyright law got a lot trickier. Labeled "really simple stealing" by AOL's Jason Calacanis, there is still no clear-cut legal precedent about implied consent to repurpose syndicated content, but the legal system that protects search engines may also green-light spammy content aggregators.

A Sneak Peek at a Fractured Web
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts -- Internet censorship is spreading and becoming more sophisticated across the planet, even as users develop savvier ways around it, according to early results in the first-ever comprehensive global survey of internet censorship.

ATMs hacked with MP3 player
A loop-hole in the security of free-standing ATM machines has been brought to light by a conviction for fraud at Minshull Street Crown Court. Maxwell Parsons was convicted of intercepting the signals sent from these ATM machines over telephone lines, simply by plugging in a two-way connector, and then later analysing these signals in order to produce counterfeit cards.

Friday, November 24, 2006
  WAPA formally constituted
The Wireless Access Providers Association (WAPA) has formally constituted itself and has 23 paid-up members, mainly smaller wireless ISPs, says founding-chairman David Jarvis.

Big Brother laws threaten World Cup
A slew of laws already in effect or pending in Parliament have the potential to scuttle SA's aspirations to top this year's German Soccer World Cup on the ICT front, said ICT lawyer Michael Silber.

2010 is IT revolution catalyst
City of Johannesburg is extending an open hand to the ICT industry to assist it to get ready for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Telkom all shook up by Telcordia comeuppance
TELKOM has had a rough few weeks, and it isn’t likely to get better any time soon, after the ruling against them yesterday by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Telkom faces R2bn bill after lawsuit
Telkom faces more than R2 billion in damages and legal fees after it lost a five-year legal battle against US-based computer software supplier Telcordia.

Over half of Chinese malware aims to steal passwords - Sophos
Experts at SophosLabs, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centres, have revealed that over half of all malware originating in China in October was designed to steal usernames and passwords.

New rules for safe data
Anyone who accepts and stores credit card numbers — and that includes small and medium enterprises — must comply with strict new security regulations by December 31 or face hefty fines if that card data is compromised in any way.

Cape small businesses win broadband battle
Small businesses, hampered by Telkom's insistence that they use a more expensive digital subscriber line (DSL) service as opposed to cheaper options used by home subscribers, have won a victory after competition commission scrutiny.

Microsoft brings 129 lawsuits against phishers
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Microsoft is helping law enforcers hunt down criminals who try to steal bank account details on the Internet and has initiated 129 lawsuits in Europe and the Middle East, the software company said.

Small Cape businesses win broadband battle
Cape Town - Small businesses, hampered by Telkom's insistence that they use a more expensive digital subscriber line (DSL) service as opposed to cheaper options used by home subscribers, have won a victory after competition commission scrutiny.
"price discrimination"
This came after the Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported Telkom for engaging in "prohibited price discrimination" by a dominant firm.

Banks face growing threat of inside identity theft
ZURICH (Reuters) - Banks are pouring money into building formidable defenses against computer hackers but are only just waking up to what may be a bigger threat -- the physical theft of client information by criminals in the office.

LG Philips wins flat-screen patent case
LG Philips has won a $53 million case against two LCD screen manufacturers who had infringed its patents, a US court said. The damages award could rise to up to $150 million.

EBay software pirates pay $100,000
Two eBay traders agreed this week to pay a total of $100,000 in damages after they were caught selling illegal copies of Norton security software.

US Government sued over passenger data
The US Government faces a lawsuit demanding information about the controversial programme which forces airlines to disclose information about European travellers to the US.

Thursday, November 23, 2006
  Supreme Court rules against Telkom
The Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld an appeal by a computer software company, which had been involved in a long-standing dispute with Telkom worth billions of rand.

IT Director Charged with Hacking Three Years After Firing
A former Source Media Inc. executive was charged with hacking into the company's computer system three years after he was dismissed, and tipping off employees whose jobs were in jeopardy, prosecutors said. In a press release, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan said Stevan Hoffacker, the company's one-time director of information technology and later vice president of technology, was charged with one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer network.

Lawyer Seeks to Stop Bank Employee's Version of U2 Song
A video of two Bank of America employees singing a version of U2's "One" to commemorate their company's acquisition of MBNA recently made the rounds of the blogs, prompting amusement and some ridicule from online viewers. A lawyer for the Universal Music Publishing Group, a catalog owner and administrator, posted the text of a cease-and-desist letter in the comments section of, a Web site carrying the video. It contended that Bank of America had violated Universal's copyright of the U2 song.

British Man Gets 2 1/2 Years for "Web Rage" Assault
A British man said to have carried out the country's first "Web rage" attack was jailed for 2-1/2 years for assaulting a man with whom he had exchanged insults over the Internet. Paul Gibbons, 47, from south London, admitted he had attacked John Jones in December 2005 after months of exchanging abuse with him via an Internet chat room dedicated to discussing Islam.

Adobe Still Considering Lawsuit Against Microsoft
Software maker Adobe may sue Microsoft if it is not satisfied with the European Union's steps to ensure Microsoft's new operating system does not shut out rivals, Adobe's chief executive said. Bruce Chizen told Germany's Euro am Sonntag newspaper there were two options: to sue Microsoft directly or to work with the authorities and provide them with the necessary information.

Florida Court Upholds Two Internet Sex Laws
Two state laws designed to crack down on sexual predators who use the Internet to prey on children do not violate constitutional rights of free speech and interstate commerce, the Florida Supreme Court ruled. The justices unanimously upheld statutes that make it a crime to use online services to lure or entice a child and transmit material harmful to a minor.

Universal Sues MySpace for Copyright Infringement
Popular social-networking Web site MySpace was slapped with its first copyright-infringement lawsuit, by Universal Music Group, alleging that the site enables "rampant" unauthorized copying and distribution of its artists' songs and videos. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, said "[n]o intellectual property is safe in the MySpace world of infringement -- not plaintiffs' videos, not plaintiffs' songs, not even songs from the unreleased album 'Kingdom Come' by superstar artist Jay-Z."

Using the Performance Review Process to Develop Employee's IT Skills

Connors College Stolen Laptop is Recovered

Missing Laptop Holds Nationwide Building Society Customer Data

Four Arrested in Spain Used Trojan for Blackmail and Fraud

478 IRS Laptops Lost or Stolen Over Four-Year Period

SANS Top 20 Internet-Based Attack Targets

Court Orders Company to Stop Distributing Deceptive Software
ERG Ventures and one of its affiliates were ordered by a U.S. district court to stop distributing what the Federal Trade Commission claims is false and deceptive software. According to the FTC, the Nevada-based ERG and its affiliate trick consumers into downloading seemingly innocent software such as screensavers and video files.

Internet Censorship Growing Worldwide, Survey Says
Internet censorship is spreading and becoming more sophisticated across the planet, even as users develop savvier ways around it, according to early results in the first-ever comprehensive global survey of Internet censorship. The Internet watchdog organization OpenNet Initiative is compiling a year's worth of data gathered by nearly 50 cyberlaw, free-speech and network experts across as many countries, whose governments are known internet filterers.

14 Arrested for Credit Card, Phishing Scams
The Washington Post today ran a story I wrote on the first phase of "Operation Cardkeeper," an international investigation by the FBI into scammers who are using online fraud forums to traffic in stolen credit cards and identities.

Report: Phishers Hooking Fewer (But Fatter) Victims
First the good news: While the number of phishing attacks continues to increase, fewer victims report falling for the scams than a year ago.

Lawyers argue validity of '98 online law
Justice Department attorneys, defending a law aimed at keeping online pornography from minors, argued that software filters often block valid sites — on gay rights or sexual health, for example — that teens might seek out.

Firms urged to come clean on IT breaches
Experts are encouraging firms, particularly banks, to publicise security breaches to tackle the stigma and culture of secrecy associated with such attacks.

Judge Dismisses Suit Against Craigslist
Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan wrote that "the prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements on the Internet has disturbing implications." A consortium of Chicago attorneys had accused Craigslist of violating federal housing laws by running more than 100 ads that excluded potential buyers or tenants on the basis of race, gender or religion.

Hackers Use New Tricks to Evade Detection
An increasing number of hackers build code that can detect when their virus is being run on a virtual machine. "This isn't a terribly new twist, but I have been seeing an increase over the last six weeks," said Roger Thompson, CTO of Exploit Prevention Labs. The trend is bound to continue as hackers tend to adopt proven strategies.

Libel ruling boosts net providers
Bloggers and US internet providers cannot be liable for posting defamatory comments written by third parties, the California Supreme Court has ruled.

Database details 'harm children'
Serious dangers exist from the growth of government databases on children, a report has said.

Government study: Web 1 percent porn
About 1 percent of Web sites indexed by Google and Microsoft are sexually explicit, according to a U.S. government-commissioned study.

Court OKs broad Web libel immunity
Web sites that publish inflammatory information written by other parties cannot be sued for libel, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Telkom to comply with ADSL regulations
Telkom expects to become fully compliant with the ADSL regulations, which went into effect in August, by March 2007.

Novell denies Linux infringes MS patents
Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian has written an open letter to the community in which he denies the 2 November patent co-operation deal between his company and Microsoft is an admission that Linux infringes on any of Microsoft's intellectual property rights.

SA to miss 5% broadband target
The South African government will not reach its ambitious goal of 5% broadband penetration at the current rate that connections are being made, states a new BMI-TechKnowledge report.

Dear Ivy, how are you going to save the Post Office from itself?
LET’S face it, post is not a sexy business. It’s a hard grind, with postal businesses around the world facing the threat of galloping technology. The South African Post Office has not escaped this trend, with far more nimble competitors having exploited its many weaknesses.

New internet domain name rules published
New regulations for settling disputes over internet domain names that fall under the .za domain were published for public comment on Wednesday.

MXit grows to 2.3 million users
MXit, a free mobile messaging platform, has grown to 2.3 million users is just under 2 years.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
  Popular crime website hacked by competition
KWAZULU-NATAL – A motion will be tabled in Parliament calling for an investigation into the running of the controversial Crime Expo South Africa (Cesa) website.
Simon Grindrod, a spokesman for the Independent Democrats, made headlines when he offered the creators of the Cesa website a one-way ticket out of South Africa paid for out of his own pocket.
The website details alleged crime stories and statistics.

Pirated Vista, Office 2007 Already on The 'Net
In today's That-Was-Quick Department, pirates have already gotten their hands on Windows Vista and are circulating a "cracked" version of the operating system on the Internet.

California court expands immunity for bloggers
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Individuals who use the Internet to distribute information from another source may not be held to account if the material is considered defamatory, the California Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a reversal of a lower court decision.

Microsoft to face challenge over Linux licenses
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Supporters of PC operating system Linux are preparing to counter a recent deal penned by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) which establishes for the first time the principle of paying the software giant for the operating system, whose license requires it to be free.

Perhaps Microsoft will sue Red Hat for trademark infringement (vs. copyright or patent)
Last week, in a post that details how Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer took the "Linux infringes on our intellectual property" sabre-rattling to an entire new level (he made it pretty clear that Microsoft will be seeking payment from Red Hat), I erred with a slip on a very important legal technicality: a mistake that most didn't notice, but a mistake that I never should have made given that it's one of my areas of expertise.

Apple patent filing hints at user interface refresh
It seems that Apple is exploring ways to revolutionise computer user interfaces for a new century. The company's ever-active research and development team continues to invest in new UI technologies.
Recent patents suggest the company's usability boffins are exploring new technologies to develop future interfaces. The moves seem to suggest attempts to extend existing paradigms for computer interfaces, namely the mouse and keyboard controllers that defined personal computing with the release of the first Apple computer.

Briefing: Web publishers receive immunity on defamation
SAN FRANCISCO: Web publishers receive immunity on defamation
The California Supreme Court said Monday that Internet publishers could not be held liable for posting defamatory comments written by others, a victory for online companies like Google and America Online

Proposed changes to Australian copyright laws could make iPod users into criminals
SYDNEY, Australia: Proposed new copyright laws in Australia dramatically lower the threshold for a criminal infringement, raising the prospect that having devices such as MP3 players or uploading a Web video of yourself singing along to your favorite song, could lead to serious penalties, critics say.

Friday, November 10, 2006
  Don't fall for worm spreading news of presidential deaths
IT security firm, Sophos, has warned computer users of a new e-mail-aware worm that poses as a number of false breaking news stories -including the outbreak of nuclear war and the death of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin - in an attempt by hackers to infect computers and steal information.

Google Accidentally Sends E-mails with Worm
Google Inc. accidentally sent out e-mail containing a mass mailing worm to about 50,000 members of an e-mail discussion list focused on its Google Video Blog, the company said. "Three posts were made to the Google Video Blog-group that should not have been posted," Google said in a statement.

Google's Video Service Faces Copyright Lawsuit
Google's online video service has been sued for copyright infringement, providing a possible preview of the legal trouble that may plague the Internet search leader after it takes over YouTube Inc. and its library of pirated clips, the company said. Without providing detail, Google disclosed the video copyright lawsuit in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Average Phishing "Catch" Soars, Survey Reports
Business is good for phishers. The size of their average catch increased almost five-fold, from $257 per victim last year to $1,244 in 2006. According to Gartner analyst Avivah Litan, this is happening because scammers are identifying higher-income targets, moving their phishing sites more frequently and switching up the types of business they try to impersonate.

Democrats' Win May Give Boost to Tech Issues
The seismic shift of power to Democrats in Congress gives a jolt of energy to issues crucial to the Bay Area, from immigration to investment in research and other tech priorities, according to advocates, analysts and House members. Lezlee Westine, president of Tech Net, a political network of technology company CEOs in Washington, said she was hopeful that renewal of the tax credit and more H-1B visas for tech workers would be approved in the lame-duck session of Congress.

The Emerging Threat of Cell Phone Spam
As with their wired counterparts, mobile carriers use network security measures to foil spammers. "They are always refortifying their firewalls to respond to the newest spam threats," said Joe Farren, a spokesperson for CTIA-The Wireless Association.

Dog Show Judge Files Libel Suit Over Website Comments
A Florida dog show judge is growling after a dog breeder made catty comments about him on a Web site for people who breed Doberman pinschers. Philip Martin, an American Kennel Club judge, alleges in a libel suit filed in Broward Circuit Court that Sandra Teague defamed him with comments that subjected him to ridicule and disgrace within the Doberman show world.

Google Denies Rumor of Reserve for YouTube Copyright Claims
Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt denied a widely circulated rumor that his company had set aside $500 million to settle copyright claims by media companies as part of its deal to acquire video-sharing site YouTube Inc. Speaking to more than 500 Internet industry insiders at the annual Web 2.0 Summit, Schmidt said an anonymous blog post asserting YouTube has reserved $500 million for legal claims, out of the $1.65 billion takeover price, was "not true."

Russia Makes Progress on Software Piracy, Gates Says
Microsoft Corp. chairman and co-founder Bill Gates said that Russia has made progress tackling software piracy, a problem that has threatened the country's bid to join the World Trade Organization. Knockoffs of the latest computer programs can be had from stalls and markets around Moscow for just a few dollars, and pirated films, music and software in Russia cost U.S. companies nearly $1.8 billion in 2005, according to the International Intellectual Property Association.

ISPA welcomes film bill extension
The In Business Today section is reserved for relevant company announcements and releases. Companies are not entitled to have their announcements published in this section, but from time to time, these may be selected by Moneyweb for publication in the interest of the Moneyweb Community of readers.

Palm hit by patent suit
Patent holding company NTP Inc. said on Monday it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Palm Inc., maker of the Treo mobile phone, in a U.S. court, sending Palm shares down more than 7 percent.

US shuts site said to reveal nuclear guide - NYT
The United States government has shut down a website it set up in March containing documents captured during the Iraq war after arms experts and officials raised concerns it offered a guide to building a nuclear bomb, The New York Times has reported.
Atomic cookbook

Delete Your Bad Web Rep
The mistakes you make on the internet can live forever -- unless you hire somebody to clean up after you.
A new startup, ReputationDefender, will act on your behalf by contacting data hosting services and requesting the removal of any materials that threaten your good social standing.

Internet predator jailed for targetting girls
London - A British court have jailed a man on who wrested control of the computers of girls as young as 13 in order to blackmail them for his sexual gratification. The Inner London Crown Court sentenced 36-year-old Adrian Ringland from the northern English town of Ilkeston to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to blackmail, indecency with a child and grooming, a term used to describe methods paedophiles use to befriend their victims.

Are More Laws Needed to Protect Kids Online
The Internet is a fixture in most kids' lives, but there is broad disagreement over the best way to protect children from things they shouldn't see online – and what role, if any, new laws should play.

YouTube can avoid 'Napster's fate'
The similarities between Napster and YouTube seemingly end there. Napster, the poster-child for online music file sharing, failed to convince the record industry to licence its content after taking the Internet by storm in 1999.

Cell phone Ringtones are Digital Phonorecord Deliveries
The Copyright Royalty Board ("the Board") held on October 16th, 2006 that ringtones made available on cellular phones or similar devices are digital phonorecord deliveries as defined by 17 U.S.C. § 115, irrespective of whether the ringtone is monophonic (one melody only), polyphonic (having melody and harmony) or mastertone (digital sound).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
  The End User: Content vs. Control
Never mind who controls the Internet and whether the U.S. government has undue influence over domain names and root servers.

Podcast: NYT Tech Talk
This week: Tech news, the Talking Tactile Tablet, the Accessible Digital Radio Broadcast Services project, and reader questions.

Microsoft Fixes Record 26 Security Holes
Microsoft today issued a record-breaking number of security updates, fixing at least 26 separate security holes in its Windows operating system and other products, including 16 vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office and Office components.

Microsoft Delays Service Pack 3 Again
Microsoft quietly let it be known this week that it plans yet again to delay the release of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP users, this time until some point in the first half of 2008.

14 Arrested for Credit Card, Phishing Scams
The Washington Post today ran a story I wrote on the first phase of "Operation Cardkeeper," an international investigation by the FBI into scammers who are using online fraud forums to traffic in stolen credit cards and identities. From the story.

Microsoft Boosts Virtual Earth Mapping Service With 3D
Microsoft has upgraded its online mapping service to include three-dimensional tours of 15 U.S. cities. The company is touting its 3D version of "Virtual Earth" as a more compelling alternative to Google's popular "Earth" software. "We think this is going to open a new dimension in search," said Stephen Lawler, general manager of Virtual Earth. "It's the beginning of the 3D Web."

Nuts and Bolts of Open Source Business Models
"There's a tendency to think of the community as being entirely volunteers somehow working for free in their basements, but invariably they're in government or research," said Red Hat's Rick Carr. "For the commercial products, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, where the customer base is Wall Street or wherever, the large majority of development is done by commercial IT companies."

Google to Test Newspaper Ad Program
Google is launching an experiment that could expand the Internet giant's sphere of influence to the print advertising world. Some 100 of its existing advertisers have been invited to participate in a test of a program that will place ads in 50 major U.S. metropolitan newspapers.

The Search for Online Shopping Satisfaction
As consumers browse the Web looking to complete their 2006 holiday shopping list, they will undoubtedly be greeted with fresh, new-look shopping sites, but this year's true innovation is more than skin deep. For the online retailers that get it right, the whole shopping experience will just seem natural and more satisfying, as if it should have always been this way.

Cyber bullying rises in S Korea
South Korea is one of the most connected places on earth, but as Dan Simmons reports, spending so much time online has created a whole new set of social problems.

Virus creators target Wikipedia
Malicious hackers have turned to Wikipedia to try to help them catch out PC users.

Online banking fraud rises fast
A surge in "phishing" in the first half of 2006 has produced a sharp rise in the amount of money being lost to online banking fraud.

'Enemies of the internet' named
A list of 13 "enemies of the internet" has been released by human rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

U.S. Air Force prepares to fight in cyberspace
The U.S. Air Force said Thursday it was setting up what could become a new four-star command to fight in cyberspace, where officials say the United States has already come under attack from China among others.

Chile arrests 'Byond' hackers
Police in Chile arrested four suspected computer hackers for allegedly belonging to a group accused of breaking into thousands of government Web sites around the globe, including NASA's.

Employee Loyalty: What Makes Them Stay?
With the right relationships and an effective coaching process, employees feel more connected to their manager and, more importantly, to their job. Building employee loyalty usually begins on the front lines. Call centers have an even bigger need to spend the time and money on developing frontline managers into employee loyalty experts.

The Digital Music Revolution, Take 2
Internet downloads, both legal and illegal, combined with the unprecedented invasion of MP3 players, are changing the way we acquire music and how we listen to it. This is all happening because of the hi-tech know-how companies have to make inexpensive, compact, quality digital players that can store thousands of songs -- and, of course, the wide availability of broadband Internet.

Google Negotiating Permission for Some YouTube Videos
Google is trying to win permission from media companies to broadcast output legally on YouTube and avoid the threat of legal action, a report has said. The Financial Times said Google was offering groups upfront payments for the right to use film and TV clips, music and other work on the site.

U.S. Takes Down Website with Possible Atomic Bomb Info
The nation's top intelligence official took down a government website with captured Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi documents, after questions were raised whether it provided too much information about making atomic bombs. In a statement, a spokesman for National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said his office has suspended public access to the website "pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing."

Starbucks Loses Track of Laptops with Data on 60,000 Workers
Starbucks Corp. said it had lost track of four laptop computers, two of which had private information on about 60,000 current and former U.S. employees and fewer than 80 Canadian workers and contractors. The data, which includes names, addresses and Social Security numbers, is about three years old, dating prior to December 2003, said Valerie O'Neil, a spokeswoman for the Seattle-based coffee retailer.

Company Agrees to $3 Million FTC Fine Over Adware
An online media and advertising company accused of unfairly and deceptively downloading its software onto consumers' computers has agreed to pay a $3 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission. In a settlement with the FTC, Zango Inc. agreed to clearly notify consumers and seek their consent before installing its software, which critics call "adware," onto Web surfers' computers.

FBI Cracking Down on Identity Theft Online
The FBI is cracking down on an international identity theft operation that involves the trading of social security numbers; the sale of stolen credit card account information; and phishing, the practice of using e-mail to trick consumers into handing over personal information, authorities said. Called Operation Cardkeeper, the investigation has brought about the arrests of more than a dozen people in the United States and other countries who are members of online communities that specialize in "carding," the trafficking of stolen identities and credit card and bank account information.

Macs, Hackers and the Computer Security Game
The Macintosh is a tantalizing platform for hackers, especially because of the perception some have that it is bulletproof, perhaps the most secure platform on the market. Yet, such perceptions may not be accurate. Security vendor Internet Security Systems found that there were three times as many vulnerabilities found for the Macintosh in May of this year as there were for Windows.

Security Screw-Up of the Month
Hackers broke into Akron Children's Hospital computer files over Labor Day weekend, and gained access to the names, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of about 230,000 patients and their families, as well as to a database containing the bank account information of about 12,000 donors. The hospital did not begin notifying families until seven weeks after the breach was discovered by sending out 10,000 letters, followed by 120,000 more two days later. As for the remaining 100,000 notifications, Everyone that's going to be contacted should know by next Wednesday, said Bob Howard, the hospital's director of planning. The hackers gained access to the hospital's computer network during an expansion of the system. We don't know that anybody was actually affected, Howard said. All we know is, it's possible. We don't even know if [the two hackers] took anything. According to a statement on the hospital's web site (, computer security consultants hired by the hospital found no evidence that any specific data was downloaded, tampered with orcompromised; however, the opportunity to view the data existed.

Apple Mac security download
Mac OS X Update 10.4.8 Delivers overall improved reliability for Mac OS X v10.4

Phishing Encyclopedia

'Stop treating iPod users like criminals'
Copyright laws need to be updated or millions of people in the UK will continue to be unfairly classed as criminals, according to a leading think tank.

PC reseller charged over ID theft of employee data
Terrence Chalk, the owner of Compulinx Managed Services, and his nephew Damon Chalk were indicted this week on fraud and conspiracy charges. The pair allegedly falsified information on applications for loans, credit cards and credit lines, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Cisco Patches Flaw In Security Agent Software
Cisco on Wednesday patched a critical vulnerability in its Security Agent Management Center (CSAMC) software that could allow remote attackers to bypass authentication and gain unfettered access to the application.

New Windows attack can kill firewall
Hackers have published code that could let an attacker disable the Windows Firewall on certain Windows XP machines.

Hospital group sued over data mishap
The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. and its contractor are facing a lawsuit over a security lapse that potentially exposed the private information of more than 260,000 patients and others associated with the hospital system in Indiana and Illinois.

Plugging In: Can E-Commerce Leverage Social Networks?
As social networking continues to gain a stronger foothold, with News Corp's MySpace now at more than 100 million members and Google recently scooping up YouTube for $1.65 billion, it's logical for e-tailers to seek ways to tap into that zeitgeist to drive traffic and pinpoint likely buyers. Still, there are reasons not to embrace social network tie-ins, at least not without careful consideration.

YouTube Sued Over Domain Use
YouTube is being sued by an industrial equipment maker whose domain name is Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment said it has been deluged by confused video searchers causing numerous crashes of its site and costing it business. The company's site once drew a steady 1,500 unique users monthly, Utube said, but that figure has soared to some 2 million per month in recent weeks.

Man Charged with Sex Assault Seen on Internet Video
A Canadian man has been charged with child sexual abuse after an undercover officer watched via the Internet as an assault on a young girl took place, Toronto police said. "It was horrible," Detective Constable Paul Krawczyk, who posed as a pedophile during a lengthy undercover investigation, told a news conference.

Guide Ranks Politicians on Technology Issues
To rate who's best and who's worst on technology topics before the Nov. 7 election, CNET has compiled a voter's guide, grading how representatives in the U.S. Congress have voted over the last decade. While many of the scored votes centered on Internet policy, others covered computer export restrictions, H-1B visas, free trade, research and development, electronic passports and class action lawsuits.

Internet Video Suits Could Spark New Copyright Wars
Universal Music Group's recent copyright infringement suits against two video-sharing Web sites have fueled speculation that Hollywood could be facing a repeat of the costly and lengthy litigation war against the once-popular music Web sites Napster and Grokster. But the court battles won't be the same this time. Copyright lawyers on both sides said they face different arguments in a decidedly gray area of the law.

Record Companies Turn Fight to Woman's Children
Patricia Santangelo wouldn't concede in her fight with record companies that accused her of pirating songs over the Internet. Now the companies are hoping for an easier tussle against her kids. Five record companies, represented by the Recording Industry Association of America, filed a lawsuit in federal court in White Plains against Santangelo's son and daughter.

Microsoft Drops Limitations on Vista License
Reversing a licensing change announced two weeks ago, Microsoft said that it will not limit the number of times that retail customers can transfer their Windows Vista license to a different computer. On Oct. 16, Microsoft issued the new user license for Vista, including terms that would have limited the ability of those who buy a boxed copy of the operating system to transfer that license.

Tech Bytes: Porn key in DVD war?
THERE has been a lot of speculation about whether the global porn industry will have a big influence on which of Sony Blu-Ray or Toshiba HD-DVD win the next-generation DVD format war.

YouTube gets competition
Comcast Corp is planning to launch a video uploading website similar to YouTube. But in a twist, videos submitted could end up being broadcast across the US.

Signs of IT governance failure
Good IT governance is a required ingredient for any organisation or company to succeed in the 21st century, says the Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Journal.

Local spammer pleads ignorance
A local man who attempted to sell databases of e-mail addresses to spammers has pleaded ignorance, saying he did not know that such activity is illegal.

Africa has less than 0.1% broadband users
The African continent is home to less than 0.1% of the world's fixed and wireless broadband subscribers, according to research from the Department of Communications.

Are the standards really that low?
Recent media reports about ICASA and the Department of Communications (DoC) indicate that these two institutions are quite happy with their own performance, and rate themselves very highly. Users and journalists disagree.

Naspers's R3bn BEE deals draw huge interest
Media24 and MultiChoice South Africa had drawn huge interest with their black economic empowerment (BEE) share schemes worth nearly R3 billion, the Naspers subsidiaries said yesterday.

The cracks widen
Broadband in SA is too slow, too unreliable and too expensive. Fortunately, things are improving, albeit slowly. Consumers are no longer solely dependent on Telkom for access. And competition should bring down prices and improve service.

Hellkom versus Telkom
Telkom’s nemesis Hellkom has been plaguing the telecoms giant for over two years already, and now the parody site is taking on the telecoms giant in the online search arena.

Users welcome new Sunday Times website
The Sunday Times newspaper recently revamped their website, and according to an online poll it has proven to be a hit with visitors.

Thursday, November 02, 2006
  French Publishers Group Joins Google Copyright Suit
An association representing 400 French book publishers has joined La Martiniere Groupe in its lawsuit to stop Google from digitizing books for its Google Book Search service. La Martiniere filed suit against Google and its French subsidiary in a French court on June 6, accusing the search engine of counterfeiting.

Music Industry Agrees to Tentative Kazaa Settlement
The music publishing industry reached a tentative deal with operators of the Kazaa file-sharing network over claims of copyright infringement, an industry group said. Publishers pursuing a class-action suit against Kazaa informed U.S. District Court that the peer-to-peer network had agreed to pay "a substantial sum" under the agreement, the National Music Publishers' Association said in a statement.

Agency will test community reviews of patents
A trial online peer-review process slated to launch early next year to streamline the U.S. patent system will be a social-networking first for the federal government, the project's director said at the American Intellectual Property Law Association annual meeting Thursday.

Protect, don't stifle
I HAVE always thought that the policy discourse on intellectual property (IP) law in Singapore was dominated by rights owners, to the near-exclusion of other stakeholders. So it was gladdening to note the Chief Justice's words at a recent legal conference: "We should strive towards the principled development our IP laws so as to continually strike a fair and equitable balance between the interests of all stakeholders in this brave, but wonderful, new world of intellectual property."

Linux leaders call for open source license simplification
The free and open source software industry should follow the lead of the Creative Commons project to make it easier for developers to understand and choose open source licenses.

Attempt to patent form-filling program rejected
Australian patent-seeker's defeat at U.K.'s Court of Appeal is welcomed by campaigners against software patents.
An Australian who tried to patent a form-filling application which enabled entrepreneurs to legally create a U.K. business from scratch suffered a defeat at the Court of Appeal on Friday morning.

Conference re-considers software patents
The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) are co-sponsoring a conference to discuss the impact of software patents on software development, innovation, and competition. Entitled "Software Patents: A Time for Change?," the conference is set for Nov. 17, at Boston University.

U.K. Court Rejects Patent for Form Creation Process (Update1)
Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- A British court today rejected a patent application for an online document creation system, in a case that confirms the U.K.'s restrictive approach toward protecting software programs and other computer-based ideas.
The Court of Appeal in London ruled that Australian inventor Neal Macrossan's ``UKcorporator,'' a Web-based system for acquiring company formation documents, is both a computer program and a method of doing business, both of which are excluded from patentability under European law.

European commissioner outlines software patent plans
European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy set out his plan for a single approach to patents across the European Union on Thursday, ahead of an Oct. 12 vote on the matter in the European Parliament, winning plaudits from some erstwhile opponents.

Appeal court ruling sets marker on UK software patents
The three judges of the UK Court of Appeal have ruled decisively that patents on pure computer programs may not be granted in the UK. The ruling came in the case of Macrossan vs the UK Patent Office (UKPO).

New U.S. system to review software patents
BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- American companies General Electric, IBM,, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard have joined with the New York Law School and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to inaugarate a new system of peer review for software patents.

What's wrong with software patents?
I know that many people come to the FFII—as I did—because they feel a deep sense of injustice at how the smaller players in IT are consistently squashed by special interests and monopolists. But I’m going to look at our core concern—software patents—from a different angle, one based more on economics and less on emotions.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
  Google faces defamation challenge
A FEDERAL judge has questioned whether Google defamed a small company by cutting it from its web search ranking system.







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