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7/29/2005
06:45 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: IM Cool, Hot-Spots Hot, Online Gambling Not

HOUSE RULES. Despite its questionable legal status, Internet gambling is increasing in popularity in the United States, and domestic casinos are trying to figure out how to get their share of the booming online market. Foxwoods Resort Casino is hoping to bring back a feature of its Web site that allows gamblers to check from home the winning status of lottery tickets purchased at the casino by playing a game on the site; winners have to return to the casino to collect their winnings. The feature, called PlayAway, was shut down two weeks ago by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who said the game violated state and federal laws against Internet gambling and gambling outside the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation, where the casino is located, according to an article in the New York Times. "It may well be they're seeking a sort of toe in the water for online gambling," Blumenthal told the Times. Casino officials deny the game is a form of Internet gambling and say its purpose is simply to entice gamblers back to the casino.

HOT-SPOTS ARE HOT. The National Association of Securities Dealers warned investors last week against using public Wi-Fi connections for accessing online accounts, saying they pose an increasing risk to confidential information. NASD issued two formal alerts, one for investors and the other for brokerage firms. NASD said brokerage firms must have systems and policies in place to address risks posed by wireless technologies. It advised investors to think twice about using remember-my-user-name-and-password features when accessing brokerage accounts and recommended they avoid public Wi-Fi connections--hot-spots--for conducting confidential business. "These hot-spots are becoming more common and pose significant security threats," NASD said.

TARGETING SENIORS ONLINE. A Federal Trade Commission official told Congress last week that America's seniors reported losing $152 million last year to scam artists, and that the biggest chunk was hijacked by Internet fraudsters. Net fraud is growing quickly in the over-50 age bracket, said Lois Greisman of the FTC's consumer-protection division, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Aging. In 2002, Internet scams accounted for just 33% of all claims by those over 50, Greisman said. But last year, online fraud added up to 41% of seniors' claims.

IM COOL, E-MAIL SQUARE. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that three-quarters of teenagers use instant messaging to communicate, and the time spent sending electronic notes has increased over the last four years. By contrast, E-mail is thought of by teenagers as a method for communicating with adults, such as teachers. Pew researcher Mary Madden said, "They see E-mail as much more formal, similar to how adults would see written letters: a quaint way of communicating with older relatives or for formal communications."

I hate to ask what teenagers think of written letters--like cave etchings, maybe? But I will ask--what do you think of The News Show? Check it out at www.TheNewsShow.tv or on InformationWeek.com. Send me your thoughts, and an industry tip, to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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