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11/30/2001
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IT Confidential

Attorney General John Ashcroft has asked his 93 U.S. Attorneys across the country to designate "CIOs" for each of their districts. The technology chiefs are to facilitate information sharing among local and federal agencies in the effort to track terrorists. He's asked the appointed officials to establish information-sharing protocols that, at a minimum, will include a system for communicating information related to terrorist investigations "24 hours a day, seven days a week." He's also encouraging each district to use the Regional Information Sharing System, an Internet application for disseminating criminal intelligence among federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies. The CIO position may not require much technical experience; the U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of California has named the chief of the securities fraud unit to the post.

Who's afraid of a little recession? "A faltering economy tends to discourage innovation, which can lead many businesses to stagnate," says John Parkinson, newly appointed chief technologist for the Americas for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. "The companies that will thrive tomorrow are those that can adapt to the changing business landscape today." In his new position with the consulting firm, Parkinson will define the emerging and core technologies used to serve clients, manage innovation labs as well as research and development, and provide career and learning maps for technology professionals within the firm. The 16-year Cap Gemini veteran also will serve as a tech spokesman for the firm and spearhead its technology advisory board.

Who's afraid of a little recession, part II? John Nallin, VP of IS at United Parcel Service, says the delivery company's 2002 IT budget will increase over last year's "by high single digits." That's nothing new for UPS, whose IT spending in 2001 was up over the previous year's. "We're not blindly spending," he says. "IT is very important to the business." This year, "our competitors reduced salaries, reduced [IT] expenditures; we did none of that," Nallin says. Much of UPS's increased IT budget is earmarked for new development, he says.

After months of negotiation, the Wireless Location Industry Association, which represents companies working on technology and services for locating wireless devices such as cell phones, said last week it adopted a privacy policy based on the FTC's Fair Information Practices. "The goal of the WLIA policy," Tom Morner, VP for standards and self-regulation, said in a statement, "is to give subscribers of a location-based service the ability to choose whether or not to have geographically tagged personal information collected."

Oracle sent Cliff Godwin, VP of applications technology, to last week's Oracle Applications User Group meeting in San Diego-a reversal of its recent policy toward the group's meetings. In the past, Oracle had used the group's conferences to unveil products and enhancements and had hosted dozens of user-oriented sessions. But the company recently stopped providing content for the group's meetings and asked it to fold its activities into Oracle's own AppsWorld conferences. The user group, an independent organization, declined. President Jeremy Young says the group hopes Godwin's attendance signals a return to Oracle's participation in its meetings; Oracle says it's evaluating whether it will provide executives and developers for the group's conferences.

Bob Crowley, CEO of Web-services firm Bowstreet, resigned last week. CFO Gary Haroian will serve as interim CEO, and Crowley, known as an intense manager, will stay on to assist company co-founder and chairman Frank Moss until a new CEO is found. Gene Ostrovsky, executive VP of Bowstreet customer The Thread in New York, which provides Internet-based supply-chain collaboration services to the garment industry, says Crowley was well-respected. "As an executive to deal with, he was always straightforward, always helpful, and attentive to our needs," Ostrovsky says. Crowley's departure, however, "isn't going to cause the demise of Bowstreet."

Not me! When I go, I'm taking the whole place down with me! Just don't tell my boss (or my colleagues). Before I go, send me an industry tip to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about the recession, privacy, or hiring plans, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.

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