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H-1B Visa Cap: What It Means To You

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Should IT Departments Oversee Spying Operations?
2. Today's Top Story
    - With The H-1B Visa Cap Filled In Record Time, Reform Is In The Air
3. Breaking News
    - Retailers, FBI Launch Crime-Tracking Database
    - Google Talk Gadget Adds New Features
    - Security Researchers Say Windows .ANI Problem Surfaced Two Years Ago
    - Firefox Also Vulnerable To .ANI Exploits
    - Microsoft Back On Patch Schedule With 5 Fixes Next Week
    - Researchers Find New Windows Code-Execution Bug
    - HP Gets Ready To 'Kick Butt' In PC Gaming
    - Researcher Explains Why PowerPoint Is Dull
    - Big Brother Watches -- And Chides -- In The U.K.
    - Robotic Braces Could Help Rewire Stroke Victims' Brains
    - ICANN Weighs Recommendation To Go Private
    - VeriSign Domain Price Increase Criticized
    - Linux Poised To Make Inroads In Mobile Phone Market
4. The Latest Digital Life Blog Posts
    - Search Finds Python In NYC Google Office
    - Small Businesses Turn To DotMobi For Mobile Web Sites
    - DIY Map Mashups Now On Google Maps
    - Will The iPhone Allow Apple To Capture All Three Screens?
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
    - E-Mail Management: A Storage Or Content Management Issue?
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important." -- Bertrand Russell


1. Editor's Note: Should IT Departments Oversee Spying Operations?

Wal-Mart always seems to be in the news for one reason or another. Supporters tout its pioneering marketing model and groundbreaking success in offering low-cost goods to consumers and keeping operational costs low. And then there is Wal-Mart's leading-edge IT department and its cutting-edge use and investigation of bleeding-edge technology -- ever in the pursuit of keeping costs low and maximizing profit.

Critics claim the company badly underpays and compensates employees, undercuts local businesses, and is a different sort of leader when it comes to the practice of questionable labor and competitive strategies.

In recent weeks, a new wrinkle has emerged in Wal-Mart lore that should provide fresh grist for the endless debates about the company. It's an issue I can't help but wonder what our readers think about.

Wal-Mart recently fired two employees for illegally tape recording conversations with a news reporter, after notifying authorities about the incident. One of the fired employees claims the company maintains an internal surveillance organization that keeps taps on company critics, employees, and who knows what else. What really caught my attention was an Associated Press story I read that said the surveillance unit, called the Threat Research and Analysis Group, was a unit of Wal-Mart's Information Systems Division. Other stories from other sources say the group worked on the third floor of Wal-Mart's Bentonville, Ark., technology offices.

The issue of corporate spying aside, I found it interesting that this group is supposedly attached to the IT department. On the one hand, given the role technology can play in monitoring employee computer activity and network access attempts, all fairly normal corporate activities, it's not surprising IT would be involved in corporate surveillance. On the other hand, keeping tabs on critics and competitors, regardless of the technology deployed, would seem to be an activity better suited for the oversight of the legal or corporate security department.

What do you think? Is the idea of attaching a corporate spy group (or whatever you want to call it) to IT logical, or do you find it kind of creepy? Maybe this isn't that unusual -- especially in a post-9/11 world -- so I am wondering, does your IT department assist with or engage in such activities? As an IT worker, is this something you want to be involved in? Or, as an IT manager, something you feel equipped to oversee or contribute to? Let us know what you think by commenting here.

Patricia Keefe
pkeefe@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

With The H-1B Visa Cap Filled In Record Time, Reform Is In The Air
If changes to the controversial foreign worker program happen, they'll likely occur this year and be tied to increases in the visa cap.


3. Breaking News

Retailers, FBI Launch Crime-Tracking Database
U.S. retailers have teamed up with the FBI to support a central database designed to track and share data on organized shoplifting, which costs the industry an estimated $30 billion a year.

Google Talk Gadget Adds New Features
The update includes a "Pop out" function for those who want to embed a Google Talk button on their Web sites.

Security Researchers Say Windows .ANI Problem Surfaced Two Years Ago
The Windows .ANI bug that has plagued users for the past week is nearly the exact same problem Microsoft had to patch two years ago, security experts say.

Firefox Also Vulnerable To .ANI Exploits
Mozilla warns the animated cursor handling bug that's plagued Microsoft's Internet Explorer could cause trouble for Firefox users as well.

Microsoft Back On Patch Schedule With 5 Fixes This Week
At least two of the bugs being squashed in this week's Patch Tuesday release are rated critical, and four of the five patches will be aimed at Windows bugs.

Researchers Find New Windows Code-Execution Bug
The vulnerability, which is getting a "high severity" rating, affects Windows 2000, Windows 2003, and Windows XP, but does not affect Windows Vista.

HP Gets Ready To 'Kick Butt' In PC Gaming
The PC maker looks at filing in a consumer need currently wedged between its HP and Voodoo product lines.

Researcher Explains Why PowerPoint Is Dull
Your inability to stay awake during your supervisor's presentation is no coincidence, says Australian researcher.

Big Brother Watches -- And Chides -- In The U.K.
The British government plans to spend nearly $1 million (U.S.) on interactive surveillance cameras that don't just watch people. They scold them, too.

Robotic Braces Could Help Rewire Stroke Victims' Brains
Researchers reported an average of 23% improvement in arm function after testing the therapeutic device on patients.

ICANN Weighs Recommendation To Go Private
A strategy committee is encouraging the board of directors to explore options to allow ICANN to adjust to the Internet's growth and development.

VeriSign Domain Price Increase Criticized
The cost increases are necessary to pay for the increased volume of domain name system queries, the company asserts.

Linux Poised To Make Inroads In Mobile Phone Market
By 2011, the number of advanced cell phones running Linux is expect to increase to 127 million from 8.1 million this year, according to ABI Research.

All Our Latest News

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The BI Explosion
Examine the business intelligence strategies of 500 companies, including deployment drivers and challenges, spending plans, and vendor selection, in this recent InformationWeek Research report.

Benchmark Your Security Strategies
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4. The Latest Digital Life Blog Posts
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/digital_life/index.html

Search Finds Python In NYC Google Office
Forget the latest upgrade to Google Talk or Google's new map mashups, the real Google news this week centered on a big snake. Reports claim that a 3-foot python, named Kaiser, somehow got loose in Google's New York City office in Chelsea.

Small Businesses Turn To DotMobi For Mobile Web Sites
Interest in the mobile Web is high among many small and medium-sized businesses, but most of these small companies see launching a mobile site as too challenging. That's why they're turning to dotMobi as a simple and less expensive alternative.

DIY Map Mashups Now On Google Maps
Google last week launched My Maps, a Google Map service that lets users make their own map mashups for Google Maps and Google Earth.

Will The iPhone Allow Apple To Capture All Three Screens?
Bill Day at BillDay.com ponders the possibility that the iPhone will allow Apple to capture all three screens -- the desktop, the TV, and the mobile phone. Right now Apple looks pretty well-positioned for an integrated multimedia platform: The Mac is strong, iTunes is still dominant, Apple has launched Apple TV, and in June the iPhone will complete the company's offerings.


5. Job Listings From TechCareers

Beth Abraham Family of Health Services seeking PC Support Tech in Bronx, NY

International Securities Exchange seeking Computer Operator in New York, NY

Toyota seeking Information Systems Specialists - Project Leader in Erlanger, KY

Agilent seeking IT Manager in Santa Clara, CA

Agilent seeking IT Technical Support Specialist in Spokane, WA

For more great jobs, career-related news, features and services, please visit CMP Media's TechCareers.


6. White Papers

E-Mail Management: A Storage Or Content Management Issue?
This white paper explores the requirements large enterprises need for effective e-mail management that minimizes risk and cost while maximizing access to information. Learn the difference between a content-centric vs. storage-centric approach and the advantages of using your enterprise content management framework.


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