Edupage, March 17, 2006

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  • Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 12:00:09 -0500

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  Online Course Program Closes Doors
  No Improvement for Federal Agencies in Network Security
  French Outline Penalties for Copyright Violations
  Survey Hints at Cybercrime Losses

ONLINE COURSE PROGRAM CLOSES DOORS An initiative begun in September 2000 by the University of Oxford, Stanford University, and Yale University to offer noncredit courses online has announced it will end operations due to ongoing financial pressures. Originally marketed to alumni of the three founding institutions, the Alliance for Lifelong Learning, or AllLearn, was later expanded to be available to anyone. Despite the prestige of the three founding universities, however, AllLearn was never able to attract enough students to be financially viable. Some courses were popular, such as the writing courses, but AllLearn's 11,000 enrollments were not sufficient to keep it afloat. Analyst Sean Gallagher from Eduventures pointed to the fact that AllLearn only offered noncredit courses as one of the key factors in its inability to attract more students. S. Kristin Kim, president of AllLearn, acknowledged that offering only noncredit courses hurt the program's chances of survival. Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 March 2006 (sub. req'd)

Evaluate $$ Distance Learning

The House Government Reform Committee has once again issued a failing
report card on computer security at federal agencies. Despite the fact
that five federal agencies were graded A+, overall, agencies earned a
D+, the same grade as last year. The grades are based on performance
metrics from the Office of Management and Budget. Agencies on "the
frontline in the war on terror" were uniformly terrible, according to
Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the committee. The Department of
Homeland Security's grade stayed the same this year as last: F.
Meanwhile, the grade for the Department of Defense fell from a D to an
F, the State Department went from a D+ to an F, and the Department of
Justice dropped from a B- to an F. Representatives from federal
agencies appeared before the committee, and many of those with failing
grades offered explanations about why their scores have remained low.
Members of the committee were generally dismissive of the explanations,
however, saying that the agencies were simply making excuses.
Federal Computer Week, 16 March 2006

Legislators in France have passed a law that criminalizes copyright
violations stemming from bypassing copy protections. Some in the
government had argued that making such copies should be allowed and
that a tax added to the cost of CDs and DVDs could be used to
compensate artists. Currently, an estimated 8 to 10 million computer
users in France regularly download copyrighted songs and movies. That
proposal was rejected in favor of a law that mirrors a directive issued
in 2001 by the European Union. Under the new law, those found guilty of
supplying software that allows users to bypass copy protections will
face six months in prison and a fine of about $37,000. Those found
guilty of using such software are subject to fines of between about
$1,000 and $4,000.
Yahoo, 16 March 2006

Copyright Facts

SURVEY HINTS AT CYBERCRIME LOSSES A recent survey conducted by IBM of CIOs in manufacturing, financial, health-care, and retail industries shows the growing threat of cybercrime on organizational resources. Of the 600 U.S. CIOs in the survey, 57 percent said cybercrime costs their companies more than conventional crime. About 75 percent said the threat from cybercrime comes in part from within their companies. Moreover, 84 percent said hackers are increasingly part of organized crime, not simply individuals working alone. Results from international CIOs in the survey closely followed those of the U.S. companies for most measures, but they diverged on several key points. Among U.S. CIOs, 83 percent said they were prepared to face the threats of cybercriminals, compared to just 53 percent of internationals. CNET, 17 March 2006

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