In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Ethics Aren't Just For The Classroom
2. Today's Top Story
- Justice Department Subpoenas Reach Far Beyond Google
- FOIA Request: DOJ Subpoena Highlights
3. Breaking News
- iPod Is Allowed Under Previous Pact With Record Company: Apple
- Microsoft, EU Spar Over Antitrust Case
- U.S. Justices Question eBay About Curbing Patent Rights
- Disable IE's Active Scripting To Protect Against Bug
- Cell Phone Spy Actually Trojan
- Sling Media: We're Good For Cable
- Analysis: U.S. Security Frames Lucent, Alcatel Talks
- Digital Hollywood Mulls Changing Content Rights
- Most States Offshore Federal Programs
- Three Competitors Threaten Skype With A Smackdown: Analysis
- Microsoft Readies IE Change In Response To Patent Lawsuit
- Google Intends To Raise Another $2 Billion From Wall Street
4. Grab Bag
- Spring Forward And Miss A Meeting (Wired News)
5. In Depth
- Firefox Essentials: Fixing The Fox
- Review: FeedDemon 2.0, Nourishment For News Junkies
- Review: OnAir Solution USB HDTV Creator
- Second Thoughts: Palm Treo 700w
- Apple iPod Vs. Wolverine MVP
- Security Suite That Fights Rootkits
- The Five Biggest Network No-Nos
- Is Your Business Ready For Podcasting?
- Best Bits: The Re-Emergence Of Convergence, Part 3
6. Voice Of Authority
- Microsoft Security Flaws Create A New Market
7. White Papers
- Adopting The Ultimate Service Metric: A Checklist For An Effective Quality-Of-Experience Solution
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself
mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid ... He must be, to use
a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor--by instinct, by
inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without
saying it." -- Raymond Chandler, "A Simple Art of Murder"
"This is a good job for people like us. We don't have a lot of
education, but we can read and write, and we're honest. Don't
ever embarrass this job." -- Detective Sipowicz, to a new cop, on "N.Y.P.D. Blue"
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1. Editor's Note: Ethics Aren't Just For The Classroom
My colleague Paul McDougall has been taking quite a beating in
the comments section of the InformationWeek
Weblog for suggesting that it's a bad idea for executives to
take massive gifts from vendors bidding on company business. Paul
is making the crazy, wild-eyed assertion that bribery is,
perhaps, ethically speaking, the nonoptimal solution. You might
even say it's wrong.
Among the charges filed by Arthur Riel, a former Morgan Stanley
IT manager who set up the company's E-mail archive, are that CTO
Guy Chiarello received hard-to-get sports tickets and other
favors from tech vendors that do business with the firm.
According to the lawsuit, Chiarello used one of the company's
vendors to set up a network in his home.
There are other charges, too--that Morgan Stanley investment
bankers pressured the firm's IT department to buy from vendors as
a way to win their banking business, and that former CFO Stephen
Crawford tried to wall himself off from all E-mail communications
coming from outside his inner circle to make it virtually
impossible for whistle-blowers to contact him.
The finger of accusation points both ways in this dispute. Morgan
Stanley says Riel's allegations are false, claiming that Riel was
fired for snooping into people's E-mail--itself an ethical
We sometimes view ethics as an ethereal concern, suited to
college classrooms but not the rough-and-tumble real world. And
yet Riel's lawsuit is all about ethics. 1) Should a company
executive accept lavish gifts from vendors seeking to do business
with the company? 2) Should a company be permitted to give its
own customers preferential treatment when selecting partners? 3)
Does an executive have an obligation to open his E-mail inbox to
everyone and read all those messages on the chance that some
whistle-blower might be contacting him?
None of these seem like hard questions. Question 3: No, because
the person would end up drowning in E-mail. The company as a
whole has an obligation to listen to whistle-blowers, but the CFO
doesn't have to be the guy to do it. Question 2: It depends. The
company has a right to use whatever criteria it wants in
selecting suppliers, within the parameters of the law. One
company might choose to give its own customers preferential
treatment; another might choose to make the decision on cost and
technical merits. A third company might decide its systems have
to be top-of-the-line, regardless of cost. In the end, the most
profitable company will win.
Question 1 also seems to be a pretty easy one to answer: Just
don't accept big gifts. Don't do it. You want to see the big ball
game? Buy the tickets like everybody else, or watch the game at
home on your big-screen TV. You want a home network? Do it
yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
Some of the people commenting on the blog say this view is naive,
that gift-giving is pervasive and everybody does it. But the
popularity of gift-giving is irrelevant; a popular wrong action
is still a wrong action.
I've been compiling the best comments from previous blog posts on
this subject for Monday's print and online issue of
InformationWeek, which will also feature an in-depth
report on the ongoing Morgan Stanley situation.
Administrivia: Today's newsletter is a little longer than
usual. We apologize for that, as we know you value this
newsletter as a quick briefing to start your day. It's just that
we have a lot of great articles to bring to your attention, and
we couldn't leave any out.
We've been doing our jobs too well. Out of respect for your time,
we will strive to be more mediocre in the future.
Justice Department Subpoenas Reach Far Beyond Google
In its effort to uphold the Child Online Protection Act, the U.S.
Department of Justice is leaving no stone unturned. In addition
to America Online, MSN, and Google, the government has demanded
information from at least 34 Internet service providers, search
companies, and security software firms, InformationWeek
learned through a Freedom of Information Act request.
FOIA Request: DOJ Subpoena Highlights
A Freedom of Information Act request reveals that the DOJ
actually subpoenaed at least 34 companies in its bid to collect
data in support of the Child Online Protection Act.
Microsoft, EU Spar Over Antitrust Case
As a member of the European Commission accused Microsoft of
turning this week's hearing into a "media exercise," the company
argued it has more than complied with the Commission's demands.
U.S. Justices Question eBay About Curbing Patent Rights
Several of the justices expressed skepticism during oral
arguments about eBay's contention that a federal appeals court
had made it too easy for patent owners to get injunctions barring
the use of their technologies. A ruling is expected in June.
Cell Phone Spy Actually Trojan
A program that installs secretly on cell phones to monitor calls
and text messages was dubbed a Trojan horse spy by a security
Sling Media: We're Good For Cable
Sling Media Inc. CEO Blake Krikorian testified before the House
Commerce Committee that his video "place shifting" device will
help, not hurt, broadcasters and cable providers.
Analysis: U.S. Security Frames Lucent, Alcatel Talks
Lucent's Bell Labs unit is involved with some of the most
sensitive intelligence work the government conducts, so some
observers believe the potential transatlantic merger will likely
have different rules of engagement than most standard acquisitions.
Digital Hollywood Mulls Changing Content Rights
Accenture and others are pushing digital rights management
software that would identify the consumer rather than the device,
so people can pay once and put the content on as many devices as
Most States Offshore Federal Programs
Though a number of efforts have sprung up to limit the practice
by government agencies, only two states prohibit offshoring of the
federal programs they administer, according to a new GAO report.
Analyzing Networking Vendors InformationWeek Research's "Analyzing The Networking
Vendors" provides customer evaluations from more than 600 network
equipment users. You can download this report right now, free.
A Week's Worth Of Dailies--All In One Place
Have you missed an issue or two of the InformationWeek
Daily? Or want to check out some recent quotes of the day?
Check out our all-new Daily newsletter archive page and get
caught up quickly.
4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web
Spring Forward And Miss A Meeting (Wired News)
Starting April 2, residents of Indiana--the state notorious for
its complex approach to setting time--will begin observing
daylight saving time. This move is bound to confuse servers
throughout the state. One observer says it's like Y2K, "except
this one is really happening."
5. In Depth
Firefox Essentials: Fixing The Fox
Trouble with Firefox? Never fear: We'll show you how to keep
Firefox running its best--and how to isolate, identify, and fix
problems when they do crop up.
Review: OnAir Solution USB HDTV Creator
As television migrates from analog to digital, consumers also
have to upgrade their equipment to be able to view this new,
digital, high-definition content. This hardware-software
combination aims to bring HDTV programming to your PC and laptop.
Security Suite That Fights Rootkits
F-Secure's Internet Security 2006 is a good all-around,
inexpensive security package that also includes rootkit
detection. Learn how to get it working.
The Five Biggest Network No-Nos
If you're expanding your network or building one from scratch,
there's plenty to watch out for. Here are the five biggest
mistakes you should avoid.
Is Your Business Ready For Podcasting?
Podcasting--currently mainly an ancillary service promoted by
mainstream media types--is fast becoming a small business tool.
We show you how podcasting can make a substantive contribution to
your bottom line.
Microsoft Security Flaws Create A New Market
Larry Greenemeier says: It's happened again: Someone other than
Microsoft has ridden in on their white horse and delivered a
patch designed to protect Microsoft customers while Redmond
readies its next regularly scheduled download of fixes. Have the
most important software companies gotten too big and their
products too complex for their own good?
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