In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: Upping The Ante On Data Collection 2. Today's Top Story - What's Been Yanked From Vista, And When - WinFS Decision Shows New Thinking At Microsoft - Vista/Office Wonderland? - Microsoft Offers Online Demo Of Office 2007 3. Breaking News - Intel Dual-Core Itanium Due In July - Security Software Slaps Internet Explorer In 'Sandbox' To Ward Off Threats - Microsoft Makes Anti-Piracy Tool Less Intrusive - In-Flight Calling Takes Off, Sputters, Descends In U.S., Climbs In Europe - Red Hat CEO Bemoans State Of Education, Tech Talent Pool - Data Brokers, Their Customers Spark Congress' Ire - Wireless Firms Agree On Rules For Mobile Web Sites - EDS Wins $700 Million Bank Of America Contract - Oracle Releases PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 - Symantec Unveils Anti-Phishing Suite - Review Roundup: Five Low-Cost 19-Inch LCD Displays - Researcher Finds Flaw In Cisco's Access Control Server - Forensics Expert Traces Digital Trail To Defendant In UBS Sabotage 4. Grab Bag - Intel Starts To Push Back (BusinessWeek) - IPizz, Podaholics, Podestrians (Wirednews.com) - 15 Tips For A Better Business Trip (Business 2.0) 5. In Depth: High-Tech Woes - Intel Sells Unit To Marvell For $600 Million - Nortel Cuts 1,100 Jobs, Pension Plan To Trim Costs - Symantec Lays Off 80, Drops SGS, SNS Appliance Lines - Novell's New CEO Isn't Talking Up A New Game Plan - SCO Offers Cash And Cars To Attract Unix Developers - 'Teardown' Analysis Of HD DVD Player Shows Toshiba Taking Big Loss 6. Voice Of Authority - AMD Vs. Intel: Analysis And Forecast 7. White Papers - Ensuring Data Protection For Growing Businesses 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the Day: "Never fight an inanimate object." — P. J. O'Rourke
1. Editor's Note: Upping The Ante On Data Collection
So much about the overall issue and recent incidents of data loss are astounding that it's hard to know where to start. One good place is the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which offers up some sobering statistics on stolen data: Since Feb. 15, 2005, there have been over 200 data breaches (with some companies starring as repeat offenders) affecting the data of 88,399,953 individuals. At least that's what's been reported.
Outrageously, Congress has been dragging its feet and blowing hot and cold on the data protection issue for over a year. The intelligence community has supposedly quashed two pending bills, while reports have emerged that law enforcement makes use of data brokers, who everyone knows tend to obtain their data illegally, often through a form of impersonation called pretexting. (Heck, I'm surprised data brokers don't just pay people to steal corporate laptops. It would be cheaper and, apparently, easier.) A congressional hearing held on the practice of data brokering was shocked—just shocked—to conclude last week that there's no data that can be kept private! Having established the obvious, I'm sure they'll probably go back to sleep.
Meanwhile, on the corporate side, I don't know which is more arrogant: AIG, for waiting three months before starting to notify the roughly 97,000 consumers whose personal data was exposed following the theft of a company laptop in March, or AT&T, for informing its video and online customers that it can do anything it wants with the data it has collected on those users.
In the case of AIG, I'm not sure how the insurer plans to rationalize this egregiously late notification, but let's hope it isn't confusing it with some aborted notion of customer service. Three months is a lifetime in personal identification theft.
As for AT&T, it once again brings to surface the long-nagging issue of just whose data is it anyway?
Your medical, educational, professional, and financial records; what you read, watch, and drive; where you travel, what you buy, and where you wander online—is this your data, or does it belong to the companies that collect it, one way or another?
In a June 7 Editor's Note, I called for a uniform bill of consumer data rights, as well as a uniform agreement on best practices for companies and law enforcement to follow in the event of a data breach. It looks like I'm not the only one who thinks we need something like this. A week ago a dozen companies banded together under the umbrella of the Consumer Privacy Legislative Forum and issued a call to Congress to pass a comprehensive federal consumer privacy law that would cover the handling of personal data.
The group is looking for a "legal framework" that will straddle the line between protecting consumers from inappropriate collection and misuse of personal information and allowing legitimate companies to use data on people in conducting business.
I would love to know its definition of "using data on people in conducting business." But hey, it's a start. It's just a matter of time before people start suing the pants off corporations for either collecting the data in the first place, not protecting it adequately, or not monitoring who they're making it available to. The CPLF members are just looking ahead, and maybe this is the kick in the pants Congress needs. Let's hope so.
Back to my data rights bill and the issue of data ownership, which is the one key ingredient I left out. Which got me to thinking, if Congress is right—and of course it is—that we have no prayer of keeping any of our personal data private, and since it's obvious that we can't stop legitimate and illegitimate collectors and buyers of our data, then maybe it's time to consider royalties.
That's right—data royalties. Every time someone accesses or collects a piece of your data, they have to pay you for it. Everyone else is trying to make money off it, so why not cut the public in on a piece of the action? What's the fair market value of all this data anyway? It's got to be worth something—too many people are trying too hard, legally and illegally, to collect it and use it.
As silly as it may seem, the motive behind this suggestion is not. It's high time the public got something of value back from the wholesale invasion of our privacy besides spam, junk mail, spying, and identity theft. And if it's not going to be protection, then money just might be the way to go. You can tell me what you think by leaving a comment on the blog entry for this note.
Wireless Firms Agree On Rules For Mobile Web Sites The World Wide Web Consortium has created 60 guidelines to help developers design sites that are easy to use on cell phones, including a way of making the content appear right at the top of a cell phone screen, allowing users to avoid scrolling past multiple navigation links.
Oracle Releases PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 A series of three software modules, PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 marks one of Oracle's three major 2006 initiatives following its acquisition of PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and many other smaller software makers.
Symantec Unveils Anti-Phishing Suite Norton Confidential, which will enter beta testing sometime this summer, will include anti-phishing black lists, heuristics-based detectors, additional site authentication cues, and password encryption.
Researcher Finds Flaw In Cisco's Access Control Server Secure ACS, software that combines authentication, access, and policy controls, includes a hole that could enable attackers to gain administrative access to the Web-based interface used to manage network devices, the researcher says.
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Intel Sells Unit To Marvell For $600 Million The unit, part of Intel's communications chip business, makes and sells processors for advanced cell phones and personal digital assistants. The business has been trying to turn a profit for years.
Nortel Cuts 1,100 Jobs, Pension Plan To Trim Costs Nortel, which this month reported a wider first-quarter loss amid higher expenses and sluggish sales, will eliminate about 1,900 positions around the world and create 800 new ones in "centers of excellence" in low-cost Mexico and Turkey.
AMD Vs. Intel: Analysis And Forecast As competition between Intel and AMD heats up with the much-anticipated release of Intel's new "Woodcrest" server CPU, manufactured using 65 nm technology, Max Fomitchev couldn't resist the temptation to analyze and forecast possible outcomes of these new developments.
7. White Papers
Four Advantages Of An Appliance-Based File Transfer System Among on-demand secure file transfer solutions, it makes sense for most organizations to consider the use of a file transfer appliance—a dedicated appliance that can solve the problems associated with conventional file transfer processes that are currently handled through e-mail or FTP-based solutions.
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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.