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Ethics Aren't Just For The Classroom

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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.

Paul has been following an ongoing wrongful dismissal lawsuit against Morgan Stanley. The discussion--and beating--are happening on three separate blog entries: "Better Have Season Tickets If You Want To Sell IT Equipment To Morgan Stanley" and "Morgan Stanley E-Mails Reveal Outsourcing's Dirty Little Secret," by Paul, as well as "What Happened To Morgan Stanley Could Happen To Any Of Us," by yours truly.

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 violation.

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.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

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.


3. Breaking News

iPod Is Allowed Under Previous Pact With Record Company: Apple
Apple Computer said its agreement with the music company doesn't prohibit data transfers, so iTunes is allowed.

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.

Disable IE's Active Scripting To Protect Against Bug
Microsoft's preferred workaround for the createTextRange bug is to disable Active Scripting to prevent any JavaScript code from running. Here's a step-by-step guide.

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 company Wednesday.

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 they wish.

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.

Three Competitors Threaten Skype With A Smackdown: Analysis
Skype's once-rosy future is now looking less sure. Europe-based Jajah is a particularly intriguing entrant.

Microsoft Readies IE Change In Response To Patent Lawsuit
The patented technology allows a browser to call programs over the Internet to display streaming audio and video, advanced graphics, and other content within a single Web page.

Google Intends To Raise Another $2 Billion From Wall Street
Google is selling 5.3 million shares. It's the third time Google has gone to the equity markets for more cash.


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

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: FeedDemon 2.0, Nourishment For News Junkies
The second version of FeedDemon offers a variety of options in a variety of styles for serious RSS and blog readers.

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.

Second Thoughts: Palm Treo 700w
After living with a shiny new Treo 700w for three months, we now have the wisdom of a grizzled veteran.

Apple iPod Vs. Wolverine MVP
Two portable media (read: video) players go head-to-head in this comparative review.

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.

Best Bits: The Re-Emergence Of Convergence, Part 3
There's a lot of competition to build the "convergent PC" that will be the hub of your media center--but be careful not to get caught in the middle.


6. Voice Of Authority

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?


7. White Papers

Adopting The Ultimate Service Metric: A Checklist For An Effective Quality-Of-Experience Solution
IT organizations are being held accountable to the businesses they support for delivering on quality and cost-effectiveness. Understanding quality and cost in accordance with related business processes serves to dramatize core roles in measuring efficiencies. This report focuses on quality of experience as a baseline for effective service management.


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