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What Are The IT Giants Afraid Of?

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: What Are The IT Giants Afraid Of?
2. Today's Top Story
    - Linux Vulnerabilities Spur Enterprise Warning
    - CERT Stats Under Fire
    - Linux Kernel Developer Says No To GPL 3
3. Breaking News
    - 'Extremely Critical' Exploit Hits Winamp
    - Cisco Warns Of Vulnerability In VPN Device
    - Buyers Scour eBay For Data-Rich Hard Drives
    - AMD Considers Steps To Improve Motherboard Support
    - Q&A: Microsoft's Allchin Discusses Vista
    - Microsoft Plans Staggered Release Of Windows Vista Beta 2
    - Google Plans Monday Beta For Toolbar Upgrade
    - Microsoft Targets Red Tape At Government Leaders Forum
    - HP Takes On Rising Cost Of Data-Center Heat
    - U.K. Channel Airs Geek TV Show First On The Web
    - German Company To Demo Technology For PCs To Sense Users' Moods
4. Grab Bag: News You Can Use From Around The Web
    - 'Electronic Discovery' Industry Blooming
    - German Patent Court Rules In RIM's Favor
    - High-Tech Heavyweights Forecast More Free Wares Via Internet
5. In Depth: Privacy and Data Security
    - Security Vendors Aim For Standard Spyware Testing
    - Sprint Files Second Customer-Data-Privacy Lawsuit
    - ChoicePoint's Far From Alone In Data-Security Dungeon
    - BIOS Could Hide Rootkits
    - Judge Sets Hearing Date In Google, DOJ Case
6. Voice Of Authority: Don't Ignore India And Hope It Will Go Away
7. White Papers
    - How An Integrated Mail Server Solution Makes Scheduling Meetings In Outlook Easier
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex--but Congress can." -- Cullen Hightower


1. Editor's Note: What Are The IT Giants Afraid Of?

Congressional subcommittees and caucuses are often annoying and self-important, and probably no one attends at least half of their hearings save for the panel members themselves, their staff, and the people called before them to testify about whatever.

Nonetheless, in an atmosphere infused with constant references to exporting freedom, democracy, and other rights, a report that several Internet heavyweights--among them Microsoft and Google--are either refusing or so far ignoring a request from the Congressional Human Rights Caucus to discuss their already publicly acknowledged censorship activities in China doesn't sit well. At the very least, it seems ill-timed.

While American soldiers struggle to bring democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, we have several high-profile companies with an international presence, and more important, influence handicapping their offerings, blocking certain information, and/or providing individual subscriber data to the Chinese government, in order to gain a foothold in what is one of the largest, fastest-growing, and still very underdeveloped economies in the world.

You can make the argument that China is essentially a dictatorship, and if you want to do business there, you can't play the stereotypical Ugly American. You have to play by their rules or it's game over.

You can also make the argument, as Google most recently has, that it's better to bring some level of Internet access to an oppressed public then to be shut out of bringing any at all. In the latter case, you could certainly make the point that it's the would-be subscribers who will really suffer if the Net is unplugged.

Both of these arguments have, in fact, been unapologetically posited. So, it begs the question: If the companies are comfortable with these positions, then why would they be uncomfortable expanding upon them before this caucus? And yet, so far, Microsoft and Cisco Systems have refused to attend the Feb. 1 briefing, while Google and Yahoo have yet to accept. Click here to read why this might not be the smartest strategy and why these companies could be cutting off their noses to spite their face.

Patricia Keefe
pkeefe@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Linux Vulnerabilities Spur Enterprise Warning
Although most business customers don't officially use "raw" Linux products and so aren't in imminent danger, security experts say the situation makes it worth double-checking your software version levels and making sure the techies aren't bringing unpatched Linux products onto the network.

CERT Stats Under Fire
The Linux camp objects to the method used by the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team to count Linux vulnerabilities.

Linux Kernel Developer Says No To GPL 3
Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, is not supporting the new version of the General Public License. He objects to a new proposal that would require people to make previously private keys available, calling the idea "insane."


3. Breaking News

Alert! 'Extremely Critical' Exploit Hits Winamp
The popular music player suffers a zero-day vulnerability that attackers can use to take over a user's system. The flaw is already being exploited.

Cisco Warns Of Vulnerability In VPN Device
The vulnerability in the VNP 3000 Series concentrators could allow malicious users to launch a denial-of-service attack.

Buyers Scour eBay For Data-Rich Hard Drives
They're looking for drives that haven't been wiped clean and contain valuable data.

AMD Considers Steps To Improve Motherboard Support
To ensure consistent quality from third-party suppliers--and boost its market share in enterprises--Advanced Micro Devices is looking at ways to improve its support policies.

Q&A: Microsoft's Allchin Discusses Vista
At this point, Vista has all the features Microsoft is planning for the first release, client-software chief Jim Allchin says, "and people will see that in the next beta that comes out this quarter." Microsoft continues to debug the operating system and work on security issues.

Microsoft Plans Staggered Release Of Windows Vista Beta 2
Businesses will get it first, consumers get it next. Microsoft executive Jim Allchin says the two-phase release doesn't mean features are missing or that the ship date could be delayed until 2007.

Google Plans Monday Beta For Toolbar Upgrade
Google Toolbar 4 has features for customizing the toolbar, enhanced bookmarks hosted on Google's servers, enhanced search, and a new sharing capability called Send To.

Microsoft Targets Red Tape At Government Leaders Forum
Microsoft will promote strategies and solutions designed to reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks.

HP Takes On Rising Cost Of Data-Center Heat
Increasing server density and rising energy costs have companies looking for better cooling options.

U.K. Channel Airs Geek TV Show First On The Web
The program chronicles the life of IT staffers Jen, Roy, and Moss, who work out of the basement of fictional Reynholm Industries and are scorned by co-workers.

German Company To Demo Technology For PCs To Sense Users' Moods
The technology, to be demonstrated at the CeBIT Conference, will allow PCs to sense user mood using cues such as posture, fidgeting, and facial expressions.

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4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web

'Electronic Discovery' Industry Blooming (AP)
Even just a few years ago, lawyers in corporate lawsuits sometimes agreed to confine themselves to paper memos and other documents on file as they pursued evidence. Now, however, with so much work done via E-mail, instant messaging, and other online platforms, "nothing's in the file cabinets anymore," said Michele Lange, staff attorney for legal technologies at Kroll Ontrack.

German Patent Court Rules In RIM's Favor (Reuters)
Research in Motion said Monday the federal patent court in Germany had ruled in favor of the maker of the BlackBerry E-mail device against patent-holding company InPro.

High-Tech Heavyweights Forecast More Free Wares Via Internet (AFP)
High-tech bigwigs trawling for new clients in a tight market are forecasting more free wares based on an emerging Internet-based model used by the search engine Google and telecoms phenomenon.


5. In Depth: Privacy And Data Security

Security Vendors Aim For Standard Spyware Testing
McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, and other vendors will join forces to standardize evaluation criteria, develop spyware metrics, and create a common standard for spyware samples.

Sprint Files Second Customer-Data-Privacy Lawsuit
For the second time in a week, Sprint has sued a vendor that it claims is fraudulently acquiring subscriber information.

ChoicePoint's Far From Alone In Data-Security Dungeon
The Federal Trade Commission recorded more than 685,000 consumer-fraud and identity-theft complaints in its database in 2005. Thirty-seven percent of all of the complaints were because of identity theft.

BIOS Could Hide Rootkits
Attackers could use the PC's Advanced Configuration and Power Interface, a collection of power-management controls, to code or deploy snippets of a rootkit into the BIOS flash memory, a researcher says.

Judge Sets Hearing Date In Google, DOJ Case
U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, Calif., set the hearing for Feb. 27. He also gave Google until Feb. 6 to file its reasons for refusing to comply with the Department of Justice subpoena.


6. Voice Of Authority

Opinion: Don't Ignore India And Hope It Will Go Away
Maybe India and other developing countries will become the centers for future tech innovation. Maybe India's contribution will be limited to low-cost, low-end jobs. But India's tech industry is not going away, and American IT managers shouldn't underestimate it, or ignore it, Rob Preston says.


7. White Papers

How An Integrated Mail Server Solution Makes Scheduling Meetings In Outlook Easier
The Rockliffe MailSite mail server provides rich support for Outlook's group scheduling capabilities and allows organizations to take advantage of its integrated calendaring and E-mail functions. The result saves valuable time and improves worker productivity, particularly in small organizations, where personnel resources may be limited.


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