EDUPAGE> Edupage, March 10, 2003

  • From: Gleason Sackmann <gleason@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12Newsletters <k12newsletters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 07:25:36 -0600

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From: EDUCAUSE@xxxxxxxxxxxx
To:  <EDUPAGE@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 16:27:20 -0700
Subject: Edupage, March 10, 2003
Edupage is a service of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association
whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting
the intelligent use of information technology.

 Employers Look to Limit Non-Work Web Use
 Computer Waste Bill Reintroduced
 City Supplements Alarm with PC Notices
 Afghanistan Gets Own Domain
 Diploma Mills Shut Down
 Dell Refund Offer Rouses Customer Ire

As the Web and Web usage continue to grow, more employers seek to
monitor employees' e-mail and Internet use to gauge worker
productivity, limit network traffic, and prevent the spread of computer
viruses. An FBI survey found that employees at 78 percent of companies
had misused the Internet, and a study by IDC estimates that 30 to 40
percent of Internet surfing during work hours is not work related. An
alternative to monitoring Web use and "spying" on employees is highly
customized blocking software that can block specific sites entirely or
enable site visits for discrete amounts of time or during certain hours
of the day. Websense Inc. offers such employee Internet management
software to 18,000 customers worldwide that allows clients to define
access to 4.2 million Web sites, divided by categories. Privacy
advocates applaud blocking software as preferable to monitoring, which
one employee advocate labeled a "privacy nightmare."
Washington Post, 8 March 2003

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) last week reintroduced the National
Computer Recycling Act, which died in last year's Congress. The bill
would add a $10 surcharge to the price of every computer and monitor
sold in the United States, to be used to fund what Thompson called a
national infrastructure for recycling computers and dealing with
computer waste. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency would
administer a grant program to fund state and local computer recycling
programs. The bill is also intended to encourage electronics
manufacturers to set up programs for consumers to return unwanted
computers and monitors for recycling. Some computer makers, including
Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and IBM, already offer return and recycling
programs, but consumer participation has thus far been modest.
ZDNet, 10 March 2003

The city of Lincoln, Nebraska, is about to introduce a new system that
allows the public to download a new emergency alert application from
the city's Web site. When government officials have urgent warnings
for the community, such as notices about weather or about national or
local security, computer users who have downloaded the application will
hear an alarm and then will see the warning in a pop-up box.
Information about the warning, as well as URLs for further information,
will be included. The system will work in conjunction with existing
alert systems for television and radio. The system also allows targeted
alerts to particular groups of users, such as school administrators in
the event of a school shooting. An official from the city said the
system will later be available for PDAs, cell phones, and beepers.
Federal Computer Week, 10 March 2003

The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) and the Afghan Ministry of
Communications have worked together to establish the ".af" Internet
domain, set to debut this week. The top-level domain, representing the
country's "planting its flag in cyberspace," marks Afghanistan's
first step toward carving out its own portion of cyber real estate.
Under Taliban rule, using the Internet was forbidden, though an Afghan
citizen initially registered the .af domain in 1997. Communications
Minister Mohammad Moassom Stanakzai said, "For Afghanistan, this is
like reclaiming part of our sovereignty." So far only two .af sites
have been registered. One belongs to the Afghan Ministry of
Communications and the other to the UNDP.
Associated Press, 9 March 2003 (registration req'd)


A four-year effort by British and U.S. officials resulted in the
closure of Web sites offering fake degrees from 14 nonexistent U.K.
institutions in the areas of teaching, child care, and technology. The
operation, run by an Israeli couple with offices in Israel, Romania,
and the United States, employed 30 Romanian staff and targeted millions
daily with e-mails. British authorities noted that shutting down the
sites was difficult because those who purchased the degrees--mostly in
North America--knew the degrees were fake.  Buyers of the bogus
credentials often used them to obtain positions for which they were not
qualified. Investigator Tony Allen said, "Those people who bought the
degrees knew exactly what they were doing. The complaints we received
were actually from colleagues of those who got jobs by lying." Margaret
Hodge, Britain's higher education minister, highlighted the importance
of international cooperation in shutting down such operations.
BBC, 7 March 2003

A targeted refund offer from Dell Computer spun out of control when
news of it was posted on a message board, prompting many who were not
eligible for the discounts to claim them. The promotion, which ended in
December, offered refunds to students and faculty at certain
universities and to employees of five particular companies. When
information was posted on the message board, however, it reportedly
lacked details identifying who was eligible for the refunds. Dell said
it will not offer the refunds for ineligible consumers and is currently
working to sort out which claims will be honored. A Dell spokesman said
the number of denied claims would likely be around 2,500. Some
consumers complained about Dell's handling of the situation, accusing
the company of acting in bad faith.
Wired News, 9 March 2003,1367,57980,00.html


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