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5/13/2005
07:40 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Spamming The Globe, Surfing At Work

SPAM IS A GLOBAL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY. Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly obtained a court order last week shutting down dozens of Web sites allegedly operated by a ring of international spammers located in the Boston area selling illegal products such as counterfeit drugs, pirated software, pornography, mortgage loans, and phony designer watches. Attorneys from the state's Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division filed a lawsuit against Leo Kuvayev and six others with Massachusetts ties, accusing them of violating consumer-protection laws. Judge Ralph Gants granted the AG's request to shut down Web sites linked to Kuvayev as well as two Internet companies. Referring to them as "The Internet Spam Gang," the AG's office said the group's operations had been tracked to Russia and other countries, with domain names registered in Australia, France, and Monaco, and computer servers located in Brazil, China, Korea, and Taiwan. The AG's investigation, aided by Microsoft, found that the defendants recruited affiliates around the world who generated E-mails that linked consumers with the gang's Web sites. The gang tracked Web-site hits attributed to E-mails generated by the affiliates, then compensated them based on the E-mails and site traffic they generated.

LAST LAUGH ON ME. "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet," presidential candidate Al Gore told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in March 1999, according to several people who wrote to chastise me for an item that (sort of) perpetuated the myth that former VP Gore claimed to have "invented" the Internet. Next month, Gore will be honored by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for his contributions to the Internet, which as a congressman he helped fund and develop.

IN MEMORIAM. George DiNardo, a pioneering business technologist and former CIO at Mellon Bank, died May 5 from complications resulting from respiratory failure. He was 67. InformationWeek named DiNardo its Chief of the Year in 1988. Most recently, DiNardo served as chief technology officer of Citibank's Asia Pacific Consumer Bank, where he oversaw the standardization of consumer bank processing and products from Turkey to South Korea to Australia. He retired from that post in 2001. "We don't want 15 countries developing 15 versions of the same product," he told InformationWeek in 1995. "The priority is delivering our products to market in half the time. The fact that we're going to save a fortune is secondary."

JOE OR JAVA? When asked what they would relinquish, their morning coffee or use of their companies' Internet connections for personal surfing, 52% of workers would hand over the joe, according to a Harris Interactive poll done for Websense, an Internet-monitoring company. Five hundred employees with access to the Internet at work were surveyed, and exactly half admitted they use the Internet for both business and personal reasons. Topping the list of most-surfed categories: news, by 81% of employees, followed by personal E-mail (61%), online banking (58%), travel (56%), and shopping (52%).

When it comes to my morning coffee, all negotiations are off the table. Get it? Coffee table? Sheesh, what does it take to get a laugh around here? Or an industry tip? Please send one to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk global business or Web surfing at work, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


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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