In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: Protecting Kids, Protecting Yourself 2. Today's Top Story - Google Searches For Software Engineers With IPTV Know-How 3. Breaking News - New Virus Proves Cross-Platform Infection Possible - Java 5 Added To Virtual Machine - Five Things You Didn't Know About Apple's iPod - Adware Firm Facing NY Lawsuit Denies Wrongdoing - Interview: Microsoft's Database Guru - Minnesota Considers Mandatory Use Of ODF - Rivals See CSC As Vulnerable With Potential Sale - Stock-Related Spam Works: Researchers - Salesforce.com Crashes Again - Compliance, Not Malware, Drives IT Budgets: Survey - Mac Users May Meet Windows Threats 4. Grab Bag: Going To Boot Camp And Open Source - Hands On With Boot Camp (Inside Mac Games) - Norway Looks To Open Source (BetaNews) 5. In Depth: Advanced Cellular Applications - Mobile Tornado Whips Up A Storm In Push-To-Talk Communications - Satellite Navigation Finds Its Way To Phones - Adobe Signs First Flash Deal On U.S. Mobile Phones - The Census Bureau Goes Wireless - PayPal To Allow Text Message Payments - Disney To Launch Parent-Controlled Phone For The Kids 6. Voice Of Authority - J. Nicholas Hoover's Blog: ChoicePoint For Our Safety? 7. White Papers - Providing Enterprise-Wide Pricing, Product, And Process Configuration Systems For Mass Customization 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day: "The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it." -- Dudley Moore (1935 - 2002)
It was shocking to read last week that child pornography isn't illegal in most countries. In fact, more than half of 184 countries analyzed have no laws that specifically address child porn.
The night before this news was published, I attended a presentation by an FBI agent who investigates and arrests those who exploit and abuse children. Some examples of the extreme measures abusers will go to in order to reach their victims and abuse them (think cross-country car trips while leaving a spouse and job behind) were difficult to fathom.
One of the most troubling misuses of the Internet is by these criminals to prey upon children. More to the point, many of these people consume porn online, grow addicted to it, and then branch out to child porn. Their insatiable needs often lead them to make contact with children online in the hopes of luring them into one-on-one meetings. Once arrested for attempting to commit or committing child abuse, computer scans invariably find that these people possess vast quantities of child porn. The huge gap in laws against child porn drives home the extent of the problem and the ongoing threat facing children. It's not comforting in the least.
There was, however, some good news last week in terms of protecting kids with technology, and it came from Disney. The company will offer a nationwide phone service that lets parents manage their children's phone use, setting allowances and tracking usage of voice minutes, text messages, picture messages, and downloadable content. Parents can also restrict certain numbers and set other controls. Just as with computer and Internet use, the more cell phone controls parents can exert, the more likely they are to prevent kids from straying into trouble or becoming victims.
I'd be even more encouraged if such features and controls were coming from the biggest cellular network operators and phone manufacturers.
Also in the realm of personal protection, there was discussion last week in this space about a plan, supported by the IRS, to let tax preparers sell personal information with the consent of their clients. The prospect is disturbing for a number of reasons: the litany of personal data breaches and mishandlings over the past 15 months; the mass of useless marketing materials that the average person already receives by phone, postal mail, and E-mail; and the Feds' own poor record--and judgment--when it comes to managing personal data. Here are the two latest black marks from last week's headlines:
2. ChoicePoint For Our Safety? This blog entry by InformationWeek's Nick Hoover details how the FBI has just signed a multimillion-dollar deal with ChoicePoint, the company literally synonymous with customer data breaches. Good grief.
If the sale of your personal data by tax preparers becomes legal and your accountant is seeking your consent to profit from the lunacy of this plan, just say no.
Google Searches For Software Engineers With IPTV Know-How The company's online help-wanted ad says Google is looking for software experts who know how to create and deploy "robust, high-volume applications for consumer devices." The ad is creating a lot of buzz about what might be next for the search giant.
Five Things You Didn't Know About Apple's iPod Despite the massive popularity of the player, there are still some little-known tricks that can help you get more mileage out of your music. (Hint: You can replace that battery yourself.)
Java 5 Added To Virtual Machine The new Perc Ultra virtual machine from Aonix, meant to develop embedded applications, also includes enhanced packages from the Java Standard Edition library set.
Interview: Microsoft's Database Guru Paul Flessner, Microsoft's senior VP of data and storage platforms, takes exception to the categorization of databases as "commodity items" and talks about the technology's future. This includes the need to support pictures and sounds as well as text and data.
Stock-Related Spam Works: Researchers On average, stock prices climbed almost 2% the day the spam went out, according to two university researchers. And the more spam sent out about a specific stock, the higher the increase in its price.
Salesforce.com Crashes Again The online CRM vendor's status page described the outage as having begun yesterday morning and attributed the problem to a cache server overload. The outage lasted most of the day.
Mac Users May Meet Windows Threats Some security experts worry that Mac customers who opt to run the Windows operating system will need reminding to keep up with all the various viruses and other threats.
Benchmarking Tools Take a five minute break and try one of the 18 research tools available from InformationWeek. They're informative, confidential, totally free, and just a click away. -----------------------------------------
4. Grab Bag: Going To Boot Camp And Open Source
Hands On With Boot Camp (Inside Mac Games) When Apple announced it would be switching to Intel, I knew this day would come. But what's amazing, and something I didn't think would happen, was that Apple had a hand in creating a piece of software that makes installing Windows on a Mac so easy.
Norway Looks To Open Source (BetaNews) Norway said Friday that it plans to wean itself from dependence on large corporations like Microsoft by increasing the use of open-source software within government agencies.
Satellite Navigation Finds Its Way To Phones Mologogo, which displays a user's location only to those authorized to see it, is just one of the applications that have sprung up as satellite navigation. And there are plenty of other applications that do similar things.
Adobe Signs First Flash Deal On U.S. Mobile Phones The new service will allow customers to more quickly view graphic images on their Verizon cell phone screens. For Adobe, it pushes the company beyond computers and into the potentially lucrative mobile phone market.
PayPal To Allow Text Message Payments With the new service, consumers can use their cell phone to buy or rent DVDs and services from 20th Century Fox, MTV, and the National Basketball Association's store.
J. Nicholas Hoover's Blog: ChoicePoint For Our Safety? Why on earth would the federal government choose to sign a multimillion-dollar contract with a company that just a year ago suffered a data breach affecting almost 150,000 Americans? I don't know, but that's exactly what it has done.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.