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Can Your Customers Trust You?

Listen to a podcast version of this newsletter


In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Can Your Customers Trust You?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Camera Phones To Remain Hot: Study
    - Lenovo Said To Be Developing Windows Mobile Smart Phone
3. Breaking News
    - McAfee, MSN Extend Security Deal To Dial-Up Subscribers
    - Attackers Exploit New Zero-Day Windows Bug
    - Marriott Says Customer Data Missing
    - Police: Boyfriend Charged In Cell-Phone Assault
    - Mass. IT Chief, Supporter Of Controversial Open Software Format, Quits
    - AOL, Google Complete Deal
    - Pioneer To Release Blu-ray Disc Computer Drive
    - App Integration Will One Day Help Houston's Storm Recovery
    - India's Science Institute Attacked By Suspected Terrorists
    - China Cracks Down On Cell-Phone Spam
    - Staples' 'Easy Button' Comes To Your Desktop
    - Congoo To Offer Limited Access To Paid Content
    - Record Companies Gamble On Digital-Only Labels
4. Grab Bag: Apple's Stock Price
5. In Depth: Online Content Trends
6. Voice Of Authority: Online Video
7. White Papers: Outsourcing
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough." -- Frank Crane


1. Editor's Note: Can Your Customers Trust You?

Yesterday in this space, I railed against the latest two incidents involving possible mishandling of private personal data by two government entities and many of the issues they raise. Before my criticisms even landed in many of your in-boxes, there was yet another disclosure of lost customer data, this time from Marriott International Inc.

The company's time-share unit notified more than 200,000 people that their personal data--Social Security, bank account, and credit-card numbers (in other words, everything an ID thief needs to set up shop)--are missing after backup computer tapes went missing from a Florida office.

According to an Associated Press account of the incident, "Vacation club officials reported the missing data to authorities and began their own investigation into the tapes' disappearance. [The company] planned to search for the tapes, to determine how they disappeared and monitor accounts for any unusual activity or possible misuse."

Too little, too late.

My comments yesterday spurred one reader to write in with another example of the bone-headed mishandling of data stored on computers by a government entity. I'm starting to think there may be no end to this problem. But I'd like to know if that's really true and would like to see if you can help InformationWeek gain more insight into these issues. Please write to me with your input on any or all of the following issues:

  • What is the impact of mishandled customer data on customer loyalty, customers' level of trust and confidence, and overall business health?

  • Since so many of these incidents have involved similar missteps--i.e., lost backup tapes, access to data among those who shouldn't have such access, and so on--can you share your company's best practices on who should have access, the proper procedures for correct handling of backup media, and so on?

  • What legal considerations or concerns has your company had to address or consider when formulating its policies and practices for the management of customer data?

    These are clearly sensitive issues, so you can write and request that your name and company name not be used, or feel free to share comments and ideas that aren't specific to your company or industry. We're striving to deliver as much insight as possible, and we hope you'll share your knowledge with us so we can share it more broadly with your peers.

    Tom Smith
    tsmith@cmp.com
    www.informationweek.com


    2. Today's Top Story: Cell Phone Trends

    Camera Phones To Remain Hot: Study
    By 2009, camera-equipped cellular phones are forecast to represent almost three-fourths of the total handset market, the study says.

    Related Story:

    Lenovo Said To Be Developing Windows Mobile Smart Phone
    The device will be available this spring in Asia, but there's no word about availability in the West.


    3. Breaking News

    McAfee, MSN Extend Security Deal To Dial-Up Subscribers
    McAfee will provide its top-of-the-line consumer antivirus and firewall software to subscribers of MSN's dial-up.

    Attackers Exploit New Zero-Day Windows Bug
    A new unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft Windows and an in-the-wild exploit appear as security firms raise their alarms to critical.

    Marriott Says Customer Data Missing
    The time-sharing division has notified customers that backup tapes are missing with personal data--including Social Security, bank account, and credit-card numbers--on them.

    Police: Boyfriend Charged In Cell-Phone Assault
    A man has been charged with felony assault after he allegedly shoved a phone down his girlfriend's throat.

    Mass. IT Chief, Supporter Of Controversial Open Software Format, Quits
    The Massachusetts state IT chief who shepherded the OpenDocument format through a series of battles has resigned, leaving ODF without a champion, but with plenty of critics in the state government.

    AOL, Google Complete Deal
    All the legalities are set, and it's official: Google owns 5% of AOL. The only new twist to come out of the paperwork is that Google and AOL will link their instant-messaging services.

    Pioneer To Release Blu-ray Disc Computer Drive
    Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. plans to ship in the first quarter of next year a Blu-ray Disc computer drive for storing high-definition video content.

    App Integration Will One Day Help Houston's Storm Recovery
    But city officials wish the IT overhaul had been in place before hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast in August and September.

    India's Science Institute Attacked By Suspected Terrorists
    A professor was killed and three others were wounded at a science conference in India by a gunman with possible ties to a terrorist group.

    China Cracks Down On Cell-Phone Spam
    In an effort to fight spam and fraud, China will begin requiring prepaid cell-phone subscribers to register their devices using their real names in 2006.

    Staples' 'Easy Button' Comes To Your Desktop
    Staples is making a downloadable Easy Button available for computer desktops.

    Congoo To Offer Limited Access To Paid Content
    In essence, Congoo.com will be a marketing tool for publishers, giving them the ability to provide potential subscribers with a limited number of articles each month to pique their interest.

    Record Companies Gamble On Digital-Only Labels
    To date, no musician has made it big by being online only; CDs still account for more than 95% of all music sales. Still, the all-digital cost equation for music companies is compelling.

    All our latest news

    Watch More News

    In the current episode:

    Eric Chabrow With 'Online Vacations'
    Addicted to the Internet? You're not alone. More and more folks are packing their laptops on vacation.

    Ivan Schneider With 'Oracle's Yacht Club'
    CEO of I-Flex discusses his sailing aspirations and dreams of yachting with Larry Ellison.

    Lori And Don Are 'The Battling MacVitties'
    Listen to the two networking experts argue about, well, everything.

    Tony Kontzer With 'The IT Chef'
    Tony cooks up an IT plan for the federal government.


    4. Grab Bag: News You Need From The Web

    Still The Apple Of Your Eye? (TheStreet.com)
    Even after a three-year run that has sent Apple shares heavenward, some bulls believe the company--and its stock--can only climb higher in 2006.

    Amazon.com Founder's Next Big Idea (Mail & Guardian Online)
    Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos expects a rocket-ship complex for his aerospace venture, Blue Origin, to open in the south Seattle suburb of Kent early next year, city records show.

    Google Faces Patent-Infringement Lawsuit Over Google Talk (Search Engine Watch)
    Google is being sued for patent infringement over the VoIP portion of the Google Talk program. The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of New York. The suit includes two causes of action for patent infringement against Google.


    ----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

    Outlook For 2006
    Assess business-technology managers' outlook on the economy and business prospects with InformationWeek Research's Outlook for 2006 report, part of our Priorities series.

    New From InformationWeek: Get Your News In A Flash--Literally
    InformationWeek.com's latest service is automated E-mail news flashes. You pick the topic and the frequency (real time, daily, or weekly) and we'll do the rest. Sign up by following the link below and be one of the first to take advantage of this latest service.

    ----------------------------------------------


    5. In Depth: Online Content Trends

    Congoo To Offer Limited Access To Paid Content
    In essence, Congoo.com will be a marketing tool for publishers, giving them the ability to provide potential subscribers with a limited number of articles each month to pique their interest.

    Yahoo Streams Two CBS Comedies
    The shows will be available for a week; this is the first time the Web portal has streamed a CBS show in its entirety.

    More Women Are Tuning In To Podcasts
    But the number of people who have ever listened to a podcast remains small, according to just-released survey results.

    Retailers Tout Better Service With New Search Tool
    One of the two, Campmor--a seller of outdoor gear--says its new search contains synonyms, acronyms, and likely misspellings, which are automatically corrected, all with subsecond response time.


    6. Voice Of Authority: Online Video

    Why IT Execs Should Turn A Blind Eye Toward TV Shows Streamed To Desktops
    Now that Yahoo has begun streaming whole commercial-free CBS sitcoms, it's worth a moment to pause and consider the impact of the growing influx of video--not to mention podcasts and multimedia blogs--on the workplace. IT executives and senior managers will be trying to figure out how to combat the growing drain on productivity when such content is viewed at work. Well, here's what Tony Kontzer thinks they should do: absolutely nothing.


    7. White Papers: Outsourcing

    Getting To Virtual IT Resource
    This paper explores the reasons for outsourcing and shows that if it's done correctly, companies will reap huge benefits. It proposes criteria for selecting functions and projects for successful outsourcing. In addition, it identifies requirements for monitoring outsourcing arrangements.


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