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Keeping Our Private Info Private In An Online World

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Keeping Our Private Info Private In An Online World
2. Today's Top Story
    - Resigning Microsoft Developer Cites 'Paralysis' In Windows Live Effort
3. Breaking News
    - 3Com CEO Exits After Seven-Month Tenure
    - Privacy Group Assails AOL For Mistake
    - Microsoft Defends IE7's RSS Security
    - CSC To Cut 1,800 Domestic Jobs, Add 2,000 Offshore Workers
    - Google Adds University Of California To Library Project
    - Security Researcher To Release Code That Could Help Exploit BlackBerry Security Flaw
    - 6 Mobile Innovations That Will Change Your Life
    - Cisco Posts Record Results, Remains Bullish
    - Fiber-To-The-Home Usage Skyrockets In The U.S.
    - Review: Give The Windows GUI A Face-Lift
4. Grab Bag
    - Bloggers Drive Inquiry On How Altered Images Saw Print (NY Times - reg. required)
    - Tech To Rescue Of Parking Spot Seekers (CBS News)
    - Baby Brains Are Hard-Wired For Math (MSNBC)
    - U.K. Worker Fired By Text Message (MSNBC)
5. In Depth: Multimedia
    - MTV Finds Growing Hunger For Shows On The Web
    - Nokia To Acquire Music Service Provider Loudeye
    - Sprint Nextel Adopts WiMax
    - CNN Seeking Eyewitness Footage
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Do You Know Where Your Laptops Are?
7. White Papers
    - Unix/Linux And Windows--The Power Of An Integrated, All-In-One, Familiar Environment
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still." -- Lou Erickso


1. Editor's Note: Keeping Our Private Info Private In An Online World

There were a couple of incidents this week that made me stop and think about my own personal data, who has it, and who could get their hands on it.

The answer to the last question is, apparently, absolutely anyone.

Just ask any of the 38,000 U.S. military veterans who had their data lost by Unisys Corp., a subcontractor for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Today those vets have to worry that their names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and addresses are out there somewhere unsecured and vulnerable. Has the information been sold to identity thieves? Only time will tell, I'm afraid.

It gets even worse when you realize this is far from an isolated incident for the VA. In another recent case, a laptop and external drive were stolen, jeopardizing personal and financial information on about 25 million veterans, active-duty personnel, and their spouses. Two teenagers were arrested a few days ago in connection with the theft.

AOL made its own blunder this past weekend. The company admitted early this week it had exposed the personal search data of 658,000 people. Spokespeople for AOL quickly released an apology, calling it a "screw-up." Well, at least they got that part right.

The information, which focused on about 20 million searches done from its AOL software over a three-month period, was available for download over the weekend on AOL's research site. The company pulled it on Sunday, but not before it was downloaded and not before raising a maelstrom of criticism from the blogosphere.

The information is being made available from a number of Web sites, and it's proving to be interesting reading for a whole lot of people. AOL says the information has been "anonymized," meaning the users' names have been stripped off. That doesn't mean there isn't enough information in there to identify a lot of users. Come on... How many of us have searched at some point for our own names just to see what's out there? What if someone did just that and then searched for information on a particularly embarrassing medical condition?

Think about all the companies and organizations out there collecting data about each and every one of us—employers, doctors' offices, law offices, ISPs, and even search engines. And how much of that information would you like to have posted on a Web site for easy download? Think about all the things you've done searches for over the years.

If companies are going to keep this kind of information about us, it better be protected. And we need to think about who we entrust with our information. Do you care that someone somewhere might know what you're googling for?

What do you think? How worried are you about who has your information and what they're doing with it? Read more about this in my blog on InformationWeek.com.

Sharon Gaudin
sgaudin@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Resigning Microsoft Developer Cites 'Paralysis' In Windows Live Effort
One key developer on the Windows Live initiative got fed up with the job, which just happens to be a major component of Microsoft's product strategy. That IT guy tells all on his blog and in an interview.


3. Breaking News

3Com CEO Exits After Seven-Month Tenure
Former 3Com exec Edgar Masri will replace Scott Murray, who said the time commitment involved in managing 3Com's China partnership took him away from his family too often.

Privacy Group Assails AOL For Mistake
The World Privacy Forum says AOL's mistake is "a gross violation of its users' privacy." It says some of the leaked search queries include Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, and insurance and banking information.

Microsoft Defends IE7's RSS Security
A critic says attackers could use malicious JavaScript to launch an attack through RSS, but Microsoft says the new Internet Explorer has some tricks to defend it.

CSC To Cut 1,800 Domestic Jobs, Add 2,000 Offshore Workers
CSC also says it may close some facilities, according to a Wednesday regulatory filing by the company.

Google Adds University Of California To Library Project
Google will digitize and make searchable books from the University of California's huge library system.

Security Researcher To Release Code That Could Help Exploit BlackBerry Security Flaw
But Research In Motion says the threat is overstated.

6 Mobile Innovations That Will Change Your Life
New mobile technologies are emerging that can change—and even save—our lives. Expect to see these six breakthrough applications in the next year or two.

Cisco Posts Record Results, Remains Bullish
Cisco CEO John Chambers boasted on an earnings call that Cisco is gaining market share against almost all its competitors and total orders are growing even faster than revenue.

Fiber-To-The-Home Usage Skyrockets In The U.S.
Verizon has 81% of the market.

Review: Give The Windows GUI A Face-Lift
Stardock's Object Desktop 2007 lets you fiddle with the look and feel of Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista to get it the way you like it.

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John Soat With 'The Gamble'
Odds are not in your favor when it comes to attacks, Lenovo and AMD strike a deal, CNN wants you, and more.

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4. Grab Bag

Bloggers Drive Inquiry On How Altered Images Saw Print (NY Times - reg. required)
As of Tuesday afternoon, Adnan Hajj was the most searched term on the Technorati Web site, which tracks what's being discussed in the blogosphere. Hajj is a Lebanese photographer based in the Middle East who has been accused of doctoring a photo of an Israeli air raid on Beirut.

Tech To Rescue Of Parking Spot Seekers (CBS News)
Tired of circling and circling city streets hunting for a parking spot? If you are, you're not alone. An estimated one-third of traffic comes from drivers searching for spots. Parking reservation Web sites and mobile systems are popping up to aid urban motorists.

Baby Brains Are Hard-Wired For Math (MSNBC)
Through monitoring the brains of infants, researchers confirmed that infants as early as six months in age can detect mathematical errors.

U.K. Worker Fired By Text Message (MSNBC)
A woman received a startling message when her cell phone beeped, you're fired. The company defends firing-by-text as a way to "keep modern."


5. In Depth: Multimedia

MTV Finds Growing Hunger For Shows On The Web
Companies hope to rake in hundreds of millions of new advertising dollars, and advertisers like being able to closely track which ads work with consumers. For their part, Web watchers see the types of shows they want, when they want.

Nokia To Acquire Music Service Provider Loudeye
Loudeye aggregates the rights and content from major record labels and hundreds of independents, distributing a catalog of more than 1.6 million tracks.

Sprint Nextel Adopts WiMax
Sprint Nextel is working with Intel, Motorola, and Samsung to develop a nationwide network infrastructure, along with chipsets for computing, portable multimedia, interactive, and consumer electronic devices.

CNN Seeking Eyewitness Footage
The network is licensing Blip.tv software to help people around the world send in professional-quality video from cell phones and video cameras.


6. Voice Of Authority

Do You Know Where Your Laptops Are?
I got an urgent e-mail from IT yesterday about a company-owned laptop I never returned upon getting a new one. It's not the first time those guys have asked, but the old laptop got stuck in a box during a move and I forgot about it. It was on its last legs back then. Heck, it's probably got a 486 chip. What's the rush?


7. White Papers

Unix/Linux And Windows—The Power Of An Integrated, All-In-One, Familiar Environment
More often than not, Unix systems are used to run business applications and provide decision support, Linux is used to provide application and database services, and Windows systems are used for office functions. So how can enterprises reduce management complexity and improve interoperability across heterogeneous systems?


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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