Edupage, August & September 2006

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Edupage is a service of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

TOP STORIES FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 07, 2006 Bowdoin Backs Away from City Wi-Fi, Cites CALEA Open Source Popular at U.K. Universities Google Debuts Web Site Warnings RIAA Sues LimeWire

BOWDOIN BACKS AWAY FROM CITY WI-FI, CITES CALEA A planned rollout of wireless Internet service by Bowdoin College to the residents of in Brunswick, Maine, has been halted, at least temporarily, due to concerns over the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The FCC has said that the law, which mandates law enforcement access to communications systems, should apply to network operators, including colleges and universities. Higher education has opposed that decision, saying it would be extremely costly for them to comply and that there are other ways for institutions to cooperate with law enforcement. Following legal action and lobbying, a court allowed an exception for "private" networks. Bowdoin, which is in Brunswick, had been working to implement a wireless network in the city for students and town residents. Saying that it isn't clear whether allowing town residents to access the network would compromise its being a "private" network, officials from the college have decided that the network will only be available to students. Mitch Davis, CIO at Bowdoin, noted that the plan to open the network to everyone in town is currently suspended, not dead. Inside Higher Ed, 7 August 2006

According to a survey by Open Source Software Advisory Service (OSS
Watch), open source software on campuses in the United Kingdom has
moved out of the shadows and into legitimate contention with
proprietary software solutions. Results of the survey indicated that
although only one-quarter of institutions include open source in their
IT policies, 77 percent at least consider open source during
procurement. Randy Metcalfe of OSS Watch said, "It's not about
explaining what open source is any more, but how to compare open source
and proprietary software." The increase in use of Moodle, an open
source learning management system, has been especially significant,
according to Metcalfe. "To reach 56 percent in two and a half years is
amazing," he said. In addition, Firefox, an open source browsers, is
reportedly available on 68 percent of university computers (all have
Internet Explorer). Of concern to some observers, however, is the fact
that very few universities share changes they make to open source
software. Many universities have policies dictating that developments
are the property of the institution, preventing their being submitted
to the open source community for broader use.
The Register, 4 August 2006

Google has debuted a new service that warns users who click links to
visit sites that have been identified by the Stop Badware coalition,
itself a project of Google, Lenovo, and Sun Microsystems. The coalition
was founded to help address the problems of spyware and other malicious
software by helping users know which sites have distributed such
software. Users of Google's search engine who try to access a site on
Stop Badware's list are shown a warning that the site they want to
visit has been flagged as potentially dangerous, though users are not
prevented from going to that site. The warning messages are expected to
become more detailed over time, including specific information about
exactly how the site tries to install malicious software. A product
called Scandoo, from company ScanSafe, performs a similar function for
users of Google or MSN.
BBC, 7 August 2006

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed a
lawsuit against Lime Group, the company responsible for the LimeWire
P2P service, alleging that it is responsible for the copyright
infringements of its users. Last year, the RIAA won a Supreme Court
ruling that said operators of P2P services can be held liable for such
infringements if they do not take adequate steps to keep their services
from being used for copyright violations. The RIAA's suit, which is
the first of its kind since the Supreme Court ruling, says that the
operators of LimeWire are "actively facilitating, encouraging, and
enticing" copyright violations and that the company benefits from those
actions. The RIAA contends that after other leading P2P companies have
either closed down or been converted to legal subscription services,
more users now turn to LimeWire for piracy than any other service. A
spokesperson from LimeWire declined to comment on the legal action.
New York Times, 5 August 2006 (registration req'd)

TOP STORIES FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2006 EU Orders Deutsche Telekom to Share Network Romania Arrests 23 for Internet Scams Microsoft Repairs Security Patch EA Exec Claims Gaming Industry Fails Women SanDisk MP3 Player Doubles Storage of iPod Nano

EU ORDERS DEUTSCHE TELEKOM TO SHARE NETWORK The European Commission (EC) supported German regulators who ordered Deutsche Telekom AG to open its high-speed Internet networks to competitors. As a result of the order, the company must permit competitors to buy access on its broadband network to offer their own services to end users. German regulators will have advance approval of the price charged. Past refusals to grant access forced the company's business rivals to build their own networks, effectively preventing them from operating outside cities and causing higher Internet prices in rural areas, according to the EC. Wall Street Journal, 21 August 2006

As part of a move against Internet scam rings operating in Romania,
police arrested 23 people in Pitesti, from a group of 63 suspects
sought for questioning over accusations of scamming foreigners by
posing as well-known firms to clients of those companies. After
tricking the e-mail recipients into updating their contact database,
the scammers allegedly created false identity documents and collected
money from other countries. If convicted, the accused face up to 15
years in prison for identity theft. FBI officials reportedly aided in
the investigation.
The Register, 21 August 2006

Microsoft announced that it has fixed a bug in the MS06-040 Windows
Server services update, a critical security patch. The bug affected
programs that use large amounts of memory on some versions of Windows.
Although the bug did not affect most Windows systems, it did cause
problems in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and the 64-bit version of
Windows XP Professional Edition. The company's fix for the problem is
available online.
PCWorld, 21 August 2006,126839-c,windowsbugs/article.html

According to David Gardner, chief operating officer for Electronic Arts
(EA), the video gaming industry continues to fail women by not
producing suitable content. Gardner was speaking to a conference in
Edinburgh at the time. His company's research discovered that 40
percent of teen girls play video games versus 90 percent of teen boys,
and most girls lost interest within a year. He pointed to EA's Sims
game, which accommodates relationships and chat, as a successful
example of the kind of games girls and women enjoy playing.
BBC, 21 August 2006

SanDisk has introduced the Sansa e280, a flash-based MP3 player with
twice the storage capability of Apple's iPod nano, in an attempt to
gain market share against Apple Computer. The new player includes 8
gigabytes of flash memory and an optional 2 GB microSD card. The price
of the 4 GB iPod nano is $249, almost the same as the 10 GB Sansa e280
at $249.99. The new device also comes with a digital FM tuner to record
and store songs, photo display, video playback, a voice recorder, and a
user-replaceable lithium battery.
Red Herring, 21 August 2006

TOP STORIES FOR FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2006 Publishers Take Heart from Belgian Court Ruling U.S. Renews Agreement with ICANN Commerce Department Missing 1,100 Laptops

PUBLISHERS TAKE HEART FROM BELGIAN COURT RULING Buoyed by a recent ruling from a court in Belgium, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) is leading the development of an automated system for coordinating content permissions with search engines. The Belgian court found that Google violates the rights of content producers when it indexes news stories and reposts parts of those stories on its own site. News organizations have long complained that search engines profit from the efforts of news outlets, and the court ruling, which Google is appealing, strengthens their position in trying to restrict how search engines are allowed to use online content. Search engines typically rely on applications that scour the Web for content and incorporate it into search results without human intervention. The Automated Content Access Protocol being developed by the WAN will reportedly give news organizations the ability to include parameters about how their content may be used inside online content. The applications that search engines use to index content will be able to interpret those parameters and treat the content accordingly. Gavin O'Reilly, chairman of the WAN, said, "This system is intended to remove completely any rights conflicts between publishers and search engines." CNET, 22 September 2006

The U.S. Department of Commerce said it would renew its Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN) for oversight of the naming system for the
Internet. The current MOU will expire at the end of September, and
international groups have called for responsibility of Internet names
to be transferred to an organization such as the United Nations. Some
within the U.S. government have criticized ICANN
and pushed for changes. Rep. John Dingell (D- Mich.) said, "ICANN remains far from a
model of effective and sustainable self-governance." Though details
were not released, a new MOU is expected to be in force for between one
and three years. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) was critical of the Commerce
Department's vagueness about a renewed MOU. Nevertheless, Upton
commented, "Allowing ICANN to continue to develop under the watchful
eye of the Department of Commerce is not only the right thing to do,
but the most prudent action, as well."
Internet News, 22 September 2006

A statement issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that
the agency cannot account for 1,137 laptops that should be in its
inventory of about 30,000. Of those that are missing--whether lost or
stolen--249 reportedly contained personally identifiable information
from the U.S. Census Bureau. The agency said that it has received no
reports that the information contained on the missing computers has
been misused, noting that the data are protected by passwords,
encryption, and complex database software. The Commerce Department's
statement did acknowledge, however, that since 2003, nearly 300 cases
of compromised personal information had been reported. Those instances
involved 217 laptops, 15 handheld devices, 46 other devices, including
USB flash drives. Security Tools
ZDNet, 22 September 2006

  British Library Says Copyright Law Needs Updating
  MySpace Works to Educate Parents
  Online Risks Increase

BRITISH LIBRARY SAYS COPYRIGHT LAW NEEDS UPDATING The British Library has called for a wide-scale revision of existing copyright law, which, it said, inadequately addresses digital content, putting too much control into the hands of content producers and owners. Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, took aim at digital rights management (DRM) technology in particular, saying that it allows content producers to prevent legitimate uses of content, such as for academic purposes, for archival efforts, or for making content available to people with disabilities. Calling the problem a global issue, Brindley said that without "a serious updating of copyright law to recognize the changing technological environment, the law becomes an ass." The Open Rights Group supported the library's call for revising copyright law, saying that the current situation "allows publishers to write whatever license they like, which is what is happening now." The British Library also said the question of orphaned works should be addressed--works whose proper copyright owners cannot be located easily or at all. Digital rights management (DRM) technology explained CNET, 25 September 2006

Operators of the social networking site MySpace are partnering with
several organizations to help educate users of the site--many of whom
are minors--and their parents about appropriate ways to protect kids
online. MySpace has become wildly popular with the teen crowd and, as a
result, with some online predators. Working with Seventeen magazine,
the National School Boards Association, and the National Association of
Independent Schools, MySpace will write and publish a guide to safe
usage of online networking tools. The guide will be available on the
MySpace home page and will be distributed to students in grades 7
through 12 at about 55,000 schools. Atoosa Rubenstein, Seventeen's
editor in chief, commented that parents bear responsibility for
teaching their kids safe habits. "My mom was the person who told me not
to walk down the dark alley by myself," she said, "not the person who
created the dark alley."
House Rules to Protect Children
ZDNet, 25 September 2006

According to new data from security firm Symantec, online criminals are
increasingly turning to Web applications--rather than e-mail--and are
motivated more by money than by bragging rights. In the early days of
the Internet, many hackers engaged in such activities purely for the
challenge or for the notoriety of successfully bypassing security
measures. Today's hackers, according to Symantec, are after credit
card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other information they can
use to steal money from victims. Targeted attacks--as compared to
viruses and other randomly circulated malicious code--are increasingly
directed at financial institutions, jumping from just 4 percent in the
last six months of 2005 to 14 percent in the first six months of 2006.
The result is a potential loss of confidence in online commerce and
banking. Hackers are also spending more efforts targeting Web
applications, given the growing numbers of vulnerabilities discovered
in browsers, including Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's
Firefox, and Apple's Safari.
Does the Hacker Ethics Idea Exist?
Wall Street Journal, 25 September 2006 (sub. req'd)

TOP STORIES FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2006 Georgia Tech Redefines Computer Science Degree San Jose State Tries to Ban Skype University in Spain Joins Google Book Search Libraries Develop New Archiving Application

GEORGIA TECH REDEFINES COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE Responding to the large-scale exodus of students from computer science programs nationwide, the Georgia Institute of Technology is undertaking a fundamental redesign of the curriculum for computer science majors. The new approach replaces the core curriculum with courses that follow "threads" and "roles." Students choose two of eight threads of instruction and tailor their schedules around those concepts. Threads include computational modeling, intelligence, and so on. Many of the courses that compose a student's threads might be taught by faculty outside the computer science department. For the role part of the curriculum, students choose either programmer, entrepreneur, innovator, or communicator, which guides selection of other courses. The hoped-for result is a curriculum that provides the flexibility and breadth that students need to compete in the changing high-tech landscape. Richard DeMillo, dean of the College of Computing, noted that confidence in the job market for computer science graduates is flagging, saying that he spends considerable amount of time talking to parents about their children's prospects. He believes the new curriculum will help allay their concerns. Inside Higher Ed, 26 September 2006

Administrators at San Jose State University (SJSU) have temporarily
suspended a ban on Internet phone service Skype but said they would
reinstitute the prohibition if concerns over network usage are not
adequately addressed. A number of universities have blocked use of
Skype because of language in the user agreement that appears to allow
individuals not associated with the university to use the campus
network for phone calls. Skype works by routing calls through available
networks, even for third parties, using computers of users who have
accepted the company's terms of use. "It's a fairly subtle problem,"
said Kevin Schmidt, campus network programmer at the University of
California, Santa Barbara, which has also banned Skype. He said the
result could be "fair amount of traffic that has nothing to do with
university business." Following the ban at SJSU, many students and
faculty objected, saying the service has become vital to their efforts
to keep in touch with families overseas and to promote educational
programs around the globe. Campus officials acknowledged those concerns
but said that if eBay, which owns Skype, cannot address the problem,
the service will be shut off.
San Jose Mercury News, 21 September 2006
A federal judge in California ruled against StreamCast Networks,
developer of the Morpheus P2P application, saying that evidence of the
company's "objective of promoting infringement is overwhelming."
Previous high-profile rulings have been handed down against Grokster
and Kazaa, both of which have stopped distributing file-sharing
software. Morpheus was the remaining hurdle in the recording
industry's legal attack on services that facilitate widespread
copyright infringement. Saying the past few years have been
"challenging...for the music community," the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) said the ruling against StreamCast "means
that the rules of the road for online music are better today than they
were yesterday." Officials at StreamCast remained defiant, however. A
spokesperson for the company said StreamCast "did not encourage users
to infringe on copyrighted works" and would continue to distribute the
Morpheus software.
RIAA's Mass Litigation Strategy for Making Money
Internet News, 28 September 2006

Songwriters and record companies in Britain reached an agreement over
royalties for online music sales just as a copyright tribunal that
would have decided the issue went into session. In the dispute, record
companies were represented by the British Phonographic Industry, and
Adam Singer represented songwriters. Singer heads the
Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society Ltd and the Performing Right
Society Ltd. Songwriters and composers had sought a royalty rate of 12
percent, an increase from the existing rate of 8 percent. Record
companies wanted the rate to drop to 6.5 percent. In the final
negotiations, both sides agreed to accept the 8 percent rate for three
more years, which amounts to about 10 cents per song sold on Apple's
iTunes service. The tribunal accepted the settlement, which is legally
binding only in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, experts said the deal
could influence similar negotiations in other countries, including the
United States and Germany.
Also learn about the YouTube & Warner License Deal
Wall Street Journal, 28 September 2006 (sub. req'd)

  U.S. Law Attacks Online Gambling
  Smaller Budget Proposed for DHS IT Procurement
  Crime Groups Use IE to Exploit Windows Weakness
  Yahoo Opens Core Code for E-Mail to Web Programmers
  NetFlix Offers Prize for Better Movie Reviews

U.S. LAW ATTACKS ONLINE GAMBLING President George W. Bush is expected to sign legislation passed by the U.S. Congress outlawing Internet gambling in the United States. The law, called the Safe Port Act, was passed Saturday. The legislation could halve the $12 billion Internet gambling industry. Several companies have already suspended operations in the United States. Red Herring, 2 October 2006

A recent House/Senate conference report on the fiscal 2007 Department
of Homeland Security appropriations bill indicates that the DHS will
receive less money for its IT programs in 2007 while facing closer
oversight of its management of the programs. Language picked up from an
earlier House report on IT oversight requires DHS's CIO to approve any
IT procurement of $2.5 million or more, giving the CIO greater control
over IT planning. The report specifies that all IT procurements conform
to the department's enterprise architecture plan, with justification
for any deviations.
Federal Computer Week, 29 September 2006

Online crime groups reportedly are using Internet Explorer as an attack
vector against a Windows Shell vulnerability. Several third-party
patches have already surfaced for the flaw, and Microsoft plans to
issue a patch October 10 in addition to prepatch workarounds already
provided. Attackers use IE to trigger an integer overflow error.
According to Exploit Prevention Labs in Atlanta, two online crime
groups are hacking into Web sites and message boards to plant a
malicious HTML tag. Web surfers visiting the legitimate site are
redirected to an exploit server that attempts to deposit up to eight
different exploits onto the visitor's computer.
eWeek, 30 September 2006,1895,2022805,00.asp

Web programmers will have access to the core code for Yahoo's e-mail
program, although the company will retain control of the code dealing
with usernames and passwords. According to Chad Dickerson of Yahoo's
software developer relations, "Yahoo is a very large company, but we
can't build every application that a user might want." Yahoo Mail has
more than 257 million users.
BBC, 2 October 2006

Online movie rental service Netflix announced a contest that will give
$1 million to the first person to improve the accuracy of movie
reviews. The winner must come up with a recommendation system that
beats the company's current system by at least 10 percent. Netflix
will offer 100 million movie ratings provided by its customers to
improve the level of research.
New York Times, 2 October 2006 (registration req'd)

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