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IT Confidential: Internet Back Alleys: Warez, Porn, Etc.

DON'T FOOL WITH "STAR WARS." The Justice Department detailed a crackdown last week on so-called warez Internet sites.
DON'T FOOL WITH "STAR WARS." The Justice Department detailed a crackdown last week on so-called warez Internet sites. As a result of Operation Site Down, four people were arrested in the United States and others in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, and Portugal on suspicion of illegally trafficking copyrighted material, including music, movies, and software. The FBI and foreign law-enforcement agencies conducted more than 90 searches and dismantled at least eight major online distribution sites. The Justice Department said the operation targeted "release groups," the first-providers of illegal content, and estimated the value of confiscated pirated works at more than $50 million. Titles included Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge Of The Sith and Mr. And Mrs. Smith, as well as Autodesk's Autocad 2006. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said intellectual-property industries make up approximately 6% of U.S. GDP, employ more than 5 million people, and contribute more than $600 billion to the economy. Gonzales said: "Law enforcement can find and prosecute those who try to use the Internet to create piracy networks beyond the reach of law enforcement."

FILTERING THE SLEAZE. A Government Accountability Office study released last week says Google and Yahoo filters are largely ineffective in blocking searches for porn. The GAO was studying how easy it is to access porn on popular peer-to-peer networks, with the risk of deliberate or inadvertent exposure to minors. Microsoft's MSN network does a better job of blocking porn requests by using a filtering system that identifies titles and metadata, the GAO says. Yahoo, on the other hand, simply requires users to designate specific words to be blocked, which the GAO contends still lets a good deal of porn requests go through.

PILING ON. Sanjay Kumar, former head of Computer Associates, faces more charges in his indictment on obstruction of justice and securities fraud in connection with financial irregularities at the New York software company. Newsday reported last week that the U.S. attorney's office filed a revised indictment that includes charges against Kumar of bribing a client with a no-work, no-show consulting contract to keep quiet about the financial maneuverings. Kumar has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the original 10-count indictment.

NO MORE CORNER OFFICE. The CIO of Florida is out of a job. Florida's State Technology Office lost funding in the budget that took effect last week, resulting in the elimination of 26 positions, including that of CIO Simone Marstiller, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. About 156 high-tech workers will be transferred to the state's Department of Management Services. Florida's Technology Office, created in 2000 by Gov. Jeb Bush, was responsible for more than $1 billion in purchases but was plagued with scandal, including questions about bid-letting and outsourcing, according to the paper. Ex-CIO Marstiller, a former Bush senior aide, said she will take some time off.

I haven't had a lot of time off lately, mainly because I've been working on The News Show, a daily video technology report that features news, analysis, and reviews. But I'm never too busy for an industry tip--send it to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. And don't forget to watch The News Show, which is available at noon ET weekdays at InformationWeek.com or TheNewsShow.tv.


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