Business & Finance
Commentary
6/18/2004
07:05 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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IT Confidential: Anti-Spyware's First Step; Accenture OK

The Spyware Bill will pass before year's end, chairman predicts.

House of Representatives subcommittee voted unanimously last week to approve the first-ever anti-spyware bill. Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass (Spy Act), approved by the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, would levy fines up to $3 million for those who illegally collect personal information, deliver pop-up ads that can't be closed, change a browser's default home page, log keystrokes, or steal identities. "We are one step closer to restoring safety, confidence, and control to consumers when using their own computers," said Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., a co-sponsor of the bill, in a statement. Last year, Bono introduced House bill 2929, dubbed the Safeguard Against Privacy Invasion Act, and as recently as April, hearings were held on that bill. This latest bill, however, is an amended version of the original, with provisions requested by IT vendors, particularly those that sell antivirus and parental-control software.

Speaking of Congress, the House voted last week to kill an effort to prevent IT consulting firm Accenture from getting a proposed multibillion-dollar Homeland Security contract to put together an ambitious border-security system. Congressional opposition sprang from the fact that Accenture, the former Andersen Consulting, is based in Bermuda. House Democrats had drafted an amendment to a bill that would have prevented Homeland Security from awarding contracts to companies not based in the United States. Separately, Accenture said it expects its third-quarter revenue to jump 21% year over year, to $3.7 billion, supported by strong outsourcing sales.

Media and travel company Virgin last week launched its low-cost U.S.-based airline, Virgin America. It also introduced the new company's management team, including its CIO, Don Applegarth. Applegarth is an 18-year veteran of airline-technology management. Most recently, Applegarth was a VP of Navitaire, a division of Accenture that offers a hosted airline-reservation system for low-cost airlines. Before that, Applegarth was VP and CIO at Western Pacific Airlines.

When asked at a software conference last week whether the exit of Siebel Systems founder and CEO Tom Siebel was good or bad for the CRM company, group VP Kevin Nix said Siebel hasn't exactly ridden off into the sunset. "I get a lot of E-mails from him, so if he's off playing golf, I'm not seeing that. He's still pretty involved." Nix said new Siebel CEO, former IBM exec Mike Lawrie, is a good fit for two reasons: He's very focused on interacting with customers, and he's familiar with Siebel Systems because of the two companies' long-standing partnership. Says Nix: "He knows Siebel, warts and all."

Not my favorite expression. I mean, what does the "and all" part refer to? I don't want to know. But I do want an industry tip, so send it to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about spyware, Accenture, or CIO opportunities, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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