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The Internet Governance Forum: Will Theory Lead To Action?

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: The Internet Governance Forum: Will Theory Lead To Action?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Microsoft Responds To Vista License Concerns
    Related Story
    - Standards Body Strengthens Office Open XML
3. Breaking News
    - New From Cybercrooks: Fake Chrome, Pump-And-Dump
    - Phishing Domain Resale Market Booms
    - How To Avoid The Patent Trap
    - Review: Netgear's Skype Phone Keeps You Connected
    - Judge Mulls If Site Demoted By Google Was Defamed
    - Big Ideas, Small Budgets
    - Wal-Mart Takes Its Lumps Online, But Charges Ahead With Refreshed Site
    - Federal Government Begins Rollout Of Smart Cards To Employees
    - University Researchers Break Ground In Molecular Computing
    - Jajah Offers VoIP Without The Internet
    - Intel Shows Off Quad-Core Xeon
    - Time To Teach Digital Etiquette, Experts Suggest
4. Grab Bag
    - Copyright Office Delays Triennial DMCA Ruling (Public Knowledge)
    - Under Fire, Soldiers Kill Blogs (Wired News)
    - Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade? (The Chronicle Of Higher Education)
5. In Depth: China
    - Chinese Companies Favoring Soft IP
    - IBM, Lehman Bros. Launch China Investment Fund
    - China May Require Bloggers To Register Under Their Real Names
    - Microsoft Adding 500 Engineers In China
    - Zilog To Increase Investment In China
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Do You Use Vista Or Does Vista Use You, Continued
7. White Papers
    - How Enterprise Single Sign-On Can Help You Survive A Sarbanes-Oxley Audit
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -- Paulo Freire


1. Editor's Note: The Internet Governance Forum: Will Theory Lead To Action?

The first meeting of the U.N. Internet Governance Forum (IGF) began yesterday in Athens, and it's promoting a very worthy agenda. Some of the critical issues to be discussed include these: Who has access to the Internet? Who has control? What are the best ways to combat spam, phishing, and child pornography? How can we protect freedom of speech online--especially in countries with repressive regimes?

The biggest issue, of course, is whether the forum can move past the "town meeting" format, as chairman Nitin Desai has called it, to one that will actually result in action.

(You can watch the Webcast live--translated into English in real time--by going to the IGF's main Web site and clicking on the prominently displayed link there.)

The motivation for the forum is an urgent one. The Internet is now so socially, politically, and commercially important that it long ago outgrew its origins as a network run by and for computer specialists. It is now the very center of government administration, business operations, telecommunications, news distribution, and broadcasting of private opinion. The logical conclusion, according to the organizers: We can no longer trust scientists, technologists, and government organizations to manage it.

Thus the ongoing debate over whether ICANN can be trusted to continue with its oversight of the Internet is likely to be in the spotlight this week. In particular, one recent hot button is whether ICANN is dragging its feet on allowing non-Latin characters in domain names. The IGF is expected to spawn impassioned debate on this and other culturally and politically explosive issues.

So there will be a lot of talking. Will anyone actually be listening?

For starters, there are so many conflicting interests to appease. There are governments anxious about legal and regulatory issues. Private corporations determined to protect their commercial interests. Consumer groups advocating safeguards against corporate greed. Political activists urging protection of free speech. And, yes, there are still the all-important technologists and computer scientists concerned about security, protocols, and performance issues.

As Bill Thompson points out in his blog for the BBC, the language in the IGF's mandate is anything but action oriented. There are all sorts of squishy terms such as "facilitate discourse," "promote and assess," and "help to find solutions." In short, the IGF has no teeth.

Then there was the very ironic--and much blogged about--incident last week, in which Greek cybercrime authorities, apparently unaware that a global forum on Internet rights was about to convene in their back yard, arrested the Webmaster of a blog aggregation Web site simply because he had linked to a satirical blog.

What do you think? Have you been following the debate over the efficacy of the IGF? Do you believe the Internet is too America-centric? Does the United Nations have a prayer of wresting influence away from big business and politicians? Let me know what you think by responding to my blog entry.

Alice LaPlante
Alice.laplante@gmail.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Microsoft Responds To Vista License Concerns
Microsoft says Windows Vista's "hardware tolerance" for upgrades has been improved, but there are no current plans to change the specific language in the license.

Related Stories:

Standards Body Strengthens Office Open XML
The new version of Microsoft's specification has removed all proprietary technology, standards group Ecma says.


3. Breaking News

New From Cybercrooks: Fake Chrome, Pump-And-Dump
E-Trade and TD Ameritrade were victims of an online brokerage scheme. Security researchers, meanwhile, have their eyes on a new technique for faking a Web page's chrome.

Phishing Domain Resale Market Booms
Security researchers at F-Secure have identified more than 30 registered domain names for resale on Sedo that would be of interest only to the legitimate holder of the trademark or to phishers, F-Secure says.

How To Avoid The Patent Trap
IBM's lawsuit against Amazon highlights the need for patent reform and raises a question: Are big tech vendors using their massive patent portfolios to stifle innovation?

Review: Netgear's Skype Phone Keeps You Connected
It looks like a mobile phone, it works like a mobile phone, but it's just for Skype--and "mobile" is in the eye of the beholder.

Judge Mulls If Site Demoted By Google Was Defamed
KinderStart.com, a parenting Web site, filed a lawsuit challenging the fairness of how Google calculates the relative popularity of Web sites.

Big Ideas, Small Budgets
According to the InformationWeek 500, our list of the most effective users of IT, the stingiest industries in terms of tech budgets are construction and engineering, at 0.8% of revenue; metals and natural resources, at 1.0%; and chemicals, at 1.8%. But that doesn't mean they aren't innovating with technology.

Wal-Mart Takes Its Lumps Online, But Charges Ahead With Refreshed Site
The new site, 13 months in the making, arrives in time for the holiday season.

Federal Government Begins Rollout Of Smart Cards To Employees
If successful, the initiative could provide key lessons for smart-card use in the private sector.

University Researchers Break Ground In Molecular Computing
Researchers at Columbia University and the University of New Mexico have built a DNA-based computer whose processing complexity rivals that of the earliest computer chips.

Jajah Offers VoIP Without The Internet
Telecom company offers cheap international calls that don't require hardware, software, or a contract.

Intel Shows Off Quad-Core Xeon
Chipmaker says new server chips will be ready next month and will provide a big performance boost.

Time To Teach Digital Etiquette, Experts Suggest
As cyberbullying increases, users on YouTube and elsewhere are trying to do something about it.

All Our Latest News


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

Windows Vista: Ready, Set, Go?
Microsoft and its customers are gearing up for the release of Vista in November. But will the product ship as promised? Learn how nearly 700 business technology professionals are planning to adopt Vista in InformationWeek Research's report Windows Vista: Ready, Set, Go?

Subscribe To Your Favorite Authors
Are you a fan of Fred Langa? Are there other InformationWeek authors that you view as must-reads? Then check out our all-new author's directory; each author has his or her own page and RSS feed.

-----------------------------------------


4. Grab Bag

Copyright Office Delays Triennial DMCA Ruling (Public Knowledge)
The U.S. Copyright Office has put off recommending exemptions to the current ban that forbids users to "circumvent" digital-rights management technologies on copyrighted material.

Under Fire, Soldiers Kill Blogs (Wired News)
Writers of popular "milblogs," which are blogs kept by current or former members of the U.S. military, seem to be doing some self-censorship in response to increasingly aggressive government monitoring of their content.

Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade? (The Chronicle Of Higher Education)
Academic experts from a broad range of disciplines can't agree whether to help Wikipedia or turn their backs on it.


5. In Depth: China

Chinese Companies Favoring Soft IP
As developers in China begin to favor soft IP blocks over hard cores, intellectual property vendors like MIPS and ARM are loosening up about delivering RTL code to Chinese customers.

IBM, Lehman Bros. Launch China Investment Fund
The China Investment Fund will start with $180 million and target companies in technology, financial services, biotech, and communications.

China May Require Bloggers To Register Under Their Real Names
A group that works closely with Beijing on Internet policy wants to pull the plug on anonymity for bloggers.

Brief: Microsoft Adding 500 Engineers In China
It's part of the company's effort to create a core research base in the country.

Zilog To Increase Investment In China
Zilog will boost spending in China to be closer to customer design centers and end manufacturers.


6. Voice Of Authority

Do You Use Vista Or Does Vista Use You, Continued
David DeJean analyzes the Vista doublespeak coming out of Redmond.


7. White Papers

How Enterprise Single Sign-On Can Help You Survive A Sarbanes-Oxley Audit
Many organizations are discovering that an enterprise single sign-on solution can help them make it through a Sarbanes-Oxley audit while also strengthening application and database security across the enterprise.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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