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8/29/2003
06:16 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Privacy Is Overrated; So Is The Job Market

Forty-two percent don't expect to do any hiring next year.

Turnabout is fair play, I guess. A group of independent Webcasters filed suit last week against the Recording Industry Association of America, alleging that the RIAA is violating antitrust laws by charging unreasonably high rates that could force small Webcasters out of business. "We're contending that all of the [rate] options that are open to Webcasters have in some way, shape, or form been manipulated to the advantage of the recording industry and against the Webcasters," says Ann Gabriel, president of the Webcaster Alliance, which filed the suit. The RIAA dismissed the suit as a publicity stunt and said in a statement that record companies and artists have worked hard to negotiate a variety of agreements, and that the music industry is committed to supporting "new, cutting-edge performance models such as Internet radio."

Even though almost half of senior executives say their companies are understaffed, most of them don't expect to do any significant hiring in the next year. That's the finding of a survey of 148 executives at public companies conducted by executive search firm Christian & Timbers during the week of Aug. 14. Seth Harris, a Christian & Timbers partner, says the survey, which represents all business sectors, strongly reflects what's happening in the tech sector, partly because the demographics of the survey are tech heavy. "The survey matches what we've been seeing," Harris says. "There's a need for people, but IT hiring is just not happening." Offshore and domestic outsourcing of IT functions such as application development and application hosting is a key reason why companies aren't hiring in IT, he says. "But the flip side is that there are opportunities for an uptake in jobs at those outsource companies--if people are willing to take substantial cuts in pay and have less responsibility," Harris says. While nearly half of the executives admit they're understaffed, 23% say they're correctly staffed, and 31% say they are actually overstaffed.

Privacy advocates will love this. Ingram Micro, the technology products and services company, last week unveiled "Target: Surveillance," a marketing program focused on selling surveillance and network-monitoring equipment and services, with a special emphasis on vertical sectors such as education, government, military, retail, and transportation. The surveillance-market strategy is a joint effort with Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, wireless-network device maker Proxim, and network-camera maker Axis. "As demand for heightened security and surveillance solutions increases, the need for advanced products, systems, and services rises," Kevin Murai, president of Ingram Micro North America, said in a statement.

Privacy is overrated. Between my wife and my two teenage kids, I haven't had any privacy in 20 years, and it hasn't done me any harm--so stop staring at me! Instead, send me an industry tip, to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about the future of digital content, the future of IT jobs, or the future of privacy, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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