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ACM TechNews is published every week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


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Volume 4, Issue 338: Friday, April 19, 2002

  • "Immigrants Link Silicon Valley to Global Economy"
    SiliconValley.com (04/18/02); Ha, K. Oanh

    Immigrants who work in Silicon Valley are leveraging their connections to their home countries to contribute to the global economy, according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California. The survey, culled from 2,300 immigrants spread across 17 professional associations in the Bay Area, finds that 82 percent of respondents share technology information with homeland-based associates, while 80 percent notify their overseas colleagues about American job and business opportunities. Furthermore, over 25 percent of respondents have acted as advisors or consultants for companies in their homelands, almost 20 percent have invested in startups or venture funds, and 50 percent of the study's 600 entrepreneurs have established subsidiaries, sub-contracting, or other ventures in their countries of origin. Almost 90 percent of survey participants are Chinese, Taiwanese, or Indian immigrants. Three out of four Chinese and Indian immigrants acknowledge the possibility that they may start businesses in their native countries in the future. Study author AnnaLee Saxenian notes that the report, with its emphasis on startups rather than multinationals, runs counter to the common globalization vision. She also describes the situation as "unique to Silicon Valley," in that it is not prevalent throughout the rest of the United States.
    http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/local/3094221.htm

  • "White House Official Asks Colleges to Help Create National Computer-Security Strategy"
    Chronicle of Higher Education Online (04/19/02); Carnevale, Dan

    Speaking at the Networking 2000 conference, the president's cyberspace security advisor Richard A. Clarke urged U.S. colleges and universities to contribute to the development of a national computer security strategy so networks are adequately protected against enemy attacks. Educational institutions and businesses should determine how open they are to cyberattacks and share plans for safeguarding their systems, he recommended. Clarke maintained that colleges and universities have always had a vital role in national security, partly because they can focus on long-term, high-risk research projects that businesses cannot. He said the Bush administration would endorse the institutions' efforts without dispensing financial aid. The White House will release a report in late July that provides guidelines for computer network security, and Clarke promised that "It's not going to be one of these coffee-table books issued by Washington once a year." The American Association of State Colleges and the American Council on Education are a few educational organizations that have recently announced plans to coordinate cybersecurity research.
    http://chronicle.com/free/2002/04/2002041901t.htm

  • "Deep Linking Returns to Surface"
    Wired News (04/18/02); Delio, Michelle

    Deep links--hyperlinks that take Web surfers directly to the specific content of other sites without going through home pages--may violate copyright and trademark laws, according to legal experts. Deep-linking's legal status could be determined by a case in which the Danish Newspaper Publishers' Association filed a petition for an injunction against the Newsbooster newsfeed service because it was providing deep links to Danish newspaper content. Lycos Denmark's Martin Thorborg considers deep-linking to be "the killer application for the World Wide Web," and warns that a victory for the Danish newspaper association will have a negative impact on the Internet. Because the Danish Copyright Act that deep-linking allegedly violates is based on European Union Community law, the court's ruling could be applied to other European news services and Web sites, says community law attorney Matthew Monk. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, Web observers and intellectual property lawyers agree that there will be more and more legal objections to deep-linking in Europe and the United States. Several U.S. cases have involved deep-linking: Ticketmaster sued Microsoft for deep-linking, although the case was settled out of court; another case, Kelly vs. Arriba, was adjudicated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which ruled in favor of the copyright owner. Intellectual property lawyer Harvey Jacobs believes that an even more effective solution than legal barriers will be found in technology that imposes limits on linking to copyrighted material.
    http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,51887,00.html

  • "Rich Vein of Raw Talent Makes China Potential R&D Hothouse"
    Financial Times (04/19/02) P. 14; Kynge, James

    China is drawing attention as an abundant source of research talent as multinational technology companies invest in more laboratory activity there. Intel, IBM, Alcatel, and others have set up research centers in China, staffed mostly with the best Chinese talent around. Analysts say the use of Chinese workers will eventually lead to more expertise and innovation in the domestic market as well, as local companies increase pressure on the government to make the business environment more investor-friendly, for example. However, for now multinational laboratories are able to draw the top researchers from neighboring facilities because of much higher wages, working conditions, advanced equipment, and the opportunity to effect great change. IBM China Lab researcher Liu Dong says he likes his job because he is able to put forward his own ideas about the direction of the research, even though he is just a low-level manager. Alcatel recently signed an agreement with Chinese investment group New Margin ventures to seek out emerging opportunities to cash in on Chinese innovation, and has also committed 15 percent of its international research budget to Shanghai laboratories.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Disposal Costs for Electronic Waste Pinching Governments"
    SiliconValley.com (04/17/02); Marimow, Ann E.

    The EPA estimates that the United States produces about 220 million pounds of electronic waste each year, and the problem is especially pronounced in California, where local governments and manufacturers are struggling to find ways to dispose or recycle 6 million accumulated computers and televisions. Unfortunately, disposal costs are rising and disposal options are becoming fewer and fewer. Not all charities will accept old electronics for lack of disposal funds. Some Bay Area communities are upfront with residents about their e-waste responsibility: Palo Alto, for example, is advising residents to deliver their discards to a drop-off point for Earth Day, and is distributing educational fliers this month. Other communities, such as San Jose, are reticent to promote their e-waste reclamation programs because they anticipate being inundated by material. It is a costly challenge to convince consumers to recycle their e-waste, especially since they have to pay for the privilege; in Palo Alto, it costs $15 for each item to be recycled. Major tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM have instituted reclamation programs, but consumers must pay them fees as well. Local governments are also monitoring the progress of two bills that would hand recycling responsibility over to manufacturers.
    http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/local/3085767.htm

  • "Going Mobile"
    Los Angeles Times (04/18/02) P. S1; Kaplan, Karen

    New 3G mobile network rollouts in the United States are supposed to get Americans revved up over m-commerce, according to industry analysts. They say the faster transmission speeds will make buying things over the Internet more attractive and lead to a bevy of other mobile data applications. Businesses will be the first to log on, especially those in the mobile workforce that use wireless networking cards, says Cahners In-Stat analyst Ken Hyers; consumer adoption will likely lag by 12 to 18 months. Researchers at eMarketer predict m-commerce sales worldwide will reach $28 billion annually by 2006, while Jupiter Media Metrix places the total in 2005 at $22.2 billion. However, Americans are already lagging behind Europe and Asia because of better Internet access via PCs in the U.S. and the fact that many U.S. commuters drive to work. Analysts say the speeds afforded by new 3G networks, about the same as available through a 56K modem, are key, and most wireless carriers say they will finish necessary hardware upgrades by year end. Verizon already has speedier wireless data service in Salt Lake City, around the Bay Area, and on the East Coast, while Sprint PCS says it will launch 3G services over its entire nationwide network by the end of summer.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Larry Irving: Digital Divide Lives, Few People Care"
    Newsbytes (04/18/02); MacMillan, Robert

    Speaking at the ACM sponsored Computers Freedom and Privacy 2002 conference in San Francisco, Privacy Council chief strategist and former U.S. Commerce Undersecretary Clarence "Larry" Irving accused both the federal and private sectors of indifference in bridging the digital divide between the Internet haves and have-nots. He noted that 60 percent of African-Americans and 70 percent of Hispanic-Americans lack Internet access, while the Bush administration's decision to cut or scale back critical programs indicates little overall enthusiasm for giving the Internet a ubiquitous presence. Irving said the White House's attitude of "Let's declare victory and go home...didn't work in Vietnam and it won't work on this particular issue." The Bush administration is more concerned with financing the war on terrorism, while corporations mainly focus on satisfying their shareholders, he claimed. Convincing large firms that are "predominantly male, predominantly white, and predominantly geeks" to invest in minority marketing is a daunting challenge, Irving said. Media consolidation and privacy were other issues he expounded upon: Mass privatization was one of his predictions, and he blasted journalists for failing to more thoroughly document consolidation. As for Internet privacy, Irving recommended that there be a stronger concentration on fundamental rather than theoretical discourses.
    http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/176000.html

  • "Experts Chew on National ID Card Idea"
    IDG News Service (04/18/02); Pruitt, Scarlet

    Despite the enthusiasm for a national ID card system with biometric identifiers favored by industry heavyweights such as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the scale and associated costs of such an initiative has dampened government support. Experts at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference sponsored by ACM and held this week in San Francisco asserted that the practical implications are also staggering. Chief researcher for the Privacy Foundation Andrew Schulman notes that deployment and viability concerns have not really been addressed. The task of designing, implementing, and maintaining a system that serves 250 million Americans would be an unprecedented burden, according to the experts. Maintaining the security and privacy of such a vast amount of biometric data also adds to the general reluctance to pursue such an initiative. AAMVA Net CEO Jay Maxwell estimates that every dollar spent for each new ID card would raise the project's budget by $250 million. He also says that some states have issued biometric drivers' licenses that are unfortunately non-interoperable.
    http://www.pcworld.com/resource/article/0,aid,94823,00.asp

  • "Sneak Peek at the Mouse of the Future"
    NewsFactor Network (04/17/02); McDonald, Tim

    The computer mouse may be about to undergo significant changes in form and function. Optical mice, such as those offered by Microsoft, New Motion, Labtech, and Agilent Technologies, do not require cords, mouse pads, balls, or cavities. Agilent's optical mouse controls cursor movement by taking thousands of digital pictures every second, possesses an "on-chip" LED drive, and has power-saving features. Another promising technology is haptics interface technology, which is divided into three conceptual foci: Force feedback, in which a mechanical haptic interface imparts a sensation of force to the mouse user; tactile feedback, whereby mechanoreceptors in the mouse provide the user with tactile sensations; and proprioception, which is based upon the ability to use internal musculoskeletal forces to determine the body's spatial orientation. Haptics is being applied to medical simulation and imagery as well as oil and gas exploration. There has also been progress in the development of laser pen technology--OTM Technologies has reportedly devised an inexpensive digital stylus for mainstream markets. Meanwhile, Swedish inventor Johan Ullman is touting an ergonomic mouse designed to prevent repetitive strain injuries.
    http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/story/17295.html

  • "Carnivore's New Leash on Life?"
    Wired News (04/18/02); McCullagh, Declan

    At this week's Privacy Enhancing Technologies workshop, Dartmouth graduate student Alex Iliev detailed a way to prevent authorities from abusing email and Web surveillance programs such as Carnivore. His solution, the armored data vault, would store encrypted information and only divulge data specified by court order. There would be only one key to the information, which would be retained by the vault. The data would be released when the vault recognizes the digital signature of the judge on the search order. "We want this to take place in an environment where people who have their data collected can be confident that how they agreed to have their data accessed will be how it will be accessed," Iliev explains. His program operates on an IBM 4758 cryptographic coprocessor, which is keyed for self-destruction if any attempt to breach the vault is made. Partial funding for Iliev's research came from IBM and the Justice Department.
    http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,51917,00.html

  • "Microsoft Sees What's in Tech's Future"
    ZDNet (04/18/02); Wilcox, Joe

    Microsoft outlined its plans to deal with upcoming computing trends over the next five or more years--usually self-fulfilling prophecies because of the market-shaping clout Microsoft wields through its Windows operating system. The company emphasizes the importance of ubiquitous networking technology, cheaper and more efficient microprocessors, Internet-delivered software, and the dominance of digital media. Windows client team vice president Chris Jones said Microsoft's future Windows system, dubbed Longhorn, is set for release sometime after 2004 and will cater to communications technology. All of the trends Microsoft outlined affect one another in some way, such as the sharing of easily gathered digital media over networks that reach further into the home than before. Jones predicted that homes will each have more computers embedded in other devices, with servers to consolidate and manage data. Rather than racing to reach higher clock speeds, he said improved chip technologies would force Intel and Advanced Micro Devices to focus on consolidating processor components so that they are smaller, faster, cheaper, and more power-efficient instead. To that end, Jones said Microsoft planned to influence technology hardware more than it has in the past.
    http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104-885781.html

  • "The Beige Box Fades to Black"
    New York Times (04/18/02) P. E1; Lohr, Steve

    Desktop PC boxes have long sported a drab beige hue, but it is falling out of favor. Hewlett-Packard has adopted a silver and dark gray color, while both IBM and Dell have shifted to black; Gateway plans to debut non-beige desktop models next week, and Compaq recently announced a black-and-silver color scheme for upcoming consumer desktops. "The death of the beige box is really the tip of the iceberg," argues Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future. "Computers of all kinds--desktops, notebooks, handhelds, MP3 players, and cell phones--are embedding themselves deeper and deeper into our lives, and one of the things they have to do is dress better." Part of the reason why PCs are going black has to do with the spread of black attire, according to PC designers. An even bigger reason is a change in users' perception of PCs, which is more personalized and driven by the movement of desktops from the office to the home, where the machines become more of a fashion statement than a mere tool. Color and design could also help arouse interest in products, especially in a tough market. Apple has become a leader of design experimentation with such products as the iMac, which began life as a brightly colored one-piece machine and has since evolved into a flat-panel screen connected by a hinged strut to a white domed base.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/18/technology/circuits/18BEIG.html
    (Access to this site is free; however, first-time visitors must register.)

  • "In Defense of Copyright"
    Salon.com (04/15/02); Cave, Damien

    The Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, which tacks on an extra 20 years to the terms of copyright, will be reviewed by the Supreme Court based on arguments that it threatens the public by allowing copyright owners to reassert their claims on information in the public domain. Intellectual property lawyer Morton David Goldberg argues that questioning whether Congress has the right to extend copyrights could put similar powers granted it by the Copyright Clause in jeopardy, and shift them over to the judiciary, making this case one of the most significant copyright cases in years. He claims that the retroactive aspect of the Bono Act has been misinterpreted, and is actually prospective, in that it covers the extension of existing copyrights. The "chilling effect" alleged to by critics of the law, which raises penalties significantly, applies only to copyright infringers, according to Goldberg. If the online publishers protesting the Bono Act score a victory, he predicts that it will set a dangerous precedent and dampen the dissemination of copyrighted material and both new and derivative works. However, Goldberg acknowledges that the extension cuts back on people's flexibility to make use of copyrighted works, but does not believe that dramatic changes in copyright are necessitated by the development of the Internet.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "War on E-Mail Spam Ratchets Up in Courts, Legislatures"
    Christian Science Monitor (04/18/02) P. 1; Marks, Alexandra

    Much effort is currently underway to control the proliferation of spam, including federal legislation, new blocking technology, and a federal crackdown on illegal spammers. States have lead the way in the fight against unsolicited email, as businesses in the 20 states that have already passed anti-spam laws have filed dozens of cases against spammers. Californian law firm Morrison & Foerster (Mofo), for example, is suing Etracks, a bulk email company, under California's anti-spam legislation. Mofo says Etracks sent up to 6,500 spam messages each day to employees even after being notified of its anti-spam policy. That was one violation of the California law, the second being that Etracks did not tag the spam messages with "ADV" as prescribed under state law. The case is significant because of the preeminence of both players in their fields. Experts estimate that billions of dollars are lost due to spam, since it takes up computer server space and employees' time in deleting the messages. Mofo aims to set a precedent in its suit against Etracks and make doing business in spam unprofitable, whereas getting just a few responses to thousands of sent spam messages had previously proved worthwhile. Mofo is asking for $50 in statutory damages per each spam message improperly sent, totaling thousands of dollars in penalties for each day Etracks operated in violation of the law.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0418/p01s01-ussc.html

  • "Esther Dyson on Internet Privacy, Policing, ICANN, and Investing"
    Knowledge@Wharton (04/13/02)

    Internet expert and current ICANN board member Esther Dyson, speaking recently at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said that ICANN has become stuck in disputes about openness, authority, and accountability. "ICANN has become a real cesspool," said Dyson. According to Dyson, having ICANN run by an Internet community free of all ulterior motivations may have been an idealist conception, and that when Professor Jonathan B. Postel carried out ICANN's original, mostly technical mandate, Postel was able to settle disputes without widespread rancor because of Postel's reputation for integrity. Currently, ICANN is working on major operational reforms and intends to issue recommendations at the end of May. However, if ICANN cannot cobble together rules and protocols within six months, Dyson argues that ICANN should ask the Commerce Department to establish rules for intra-ICANN disputes. Dyson is also concerned about online privacy and personal security issues, and believes that if companies like Microsoft plan to operate "digital data banks" that contain people's personal data, government regulation is needed.
    Click Here to View Full Article

  • "Linux Fans Take on Copy Control"
    ZDNet (04/16/02); Bowman, Lisa M.

    Linux enthusiasts plan to fight lawmakers' efforts to impose innovation-stifling technology regulations through GeekPAC, a lobbying organization that aims to give developers a stronger voice in the legislative process. The group's formation is a response to legislation that serves film studios, Baby Bells, and intellectual property owners that could also have a negative impact on technology development, one of the more recent examples being Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings' (D-S.C.) bill to embed copying safeguards in consumer devices. The GeekPAC proposal states that "It has become apparent...regardless of the efforts that people in the various and diverse technology communities have attempted to use to influence the outcome of political events, that the real impact that the mixed group of communities has exerted has been minimal, and that those efforts have failed." GeekPAC supporters want developers and tech boosters to provide the financial muscle needed to do battle with Disney and other pro-regulation industries. The group's founders plan to spread knowledge of the GeekPAC cause through a "whistle-stop campaign" and intend to bring an "all-star" team of top technology experts onto their side.
    http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1106-882219.html

  • "Silicon Valley's Spy Game"
    New York Times Magazine (04/14/02) P. 46; Rosen, Jeffrey

    The tech bubble implosion and Sept. 11 is redefining Silicon Valley as the military's technology provider, and the Office of Homeland Security has an agenda to use e-business consumer tracking technology to trace and thwart terrorists. The goal of integrating disparate state and federal databases into one so that agencies can share information about U.S. citizens is being cheered by tech entrepreneurs such as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who argues that consolidation is "The single thing we could do to make life tougher for terrorists." He also supports the creation of a national ID card system that would be connected to the central database so foreigners can be monitored. Oracle is developing a hospital surveillance system called Leaders (Lightweight Epidemiology Advanced Detection and Emergency Response System) that would track disease outbreaks across the country. Meanwhile, Accenture and HNC Software, along with the Federal Aviation Authority, are planning to test a system based on profiling methods originally used to detect credit-card fraud; its primary function is to catch terrorists by assigning air travelers a "threat index" based on their travel history, living arrangements, and other personal data. Such initiatives have raised the specter of citizens' privacy rights getting trampled, but Ellison believes the advent of central databases signals the extinction of privacy, and advocates the relaxation of information restriction laws with his argument that the threat to American lives outweighs grumblings about civil liberty violations. A balance must be struck between privacy and security, and technologists are eager to hand that job off to politicians who are often unfamiliar with the technology.

  • "Listing Again"
    Economist (04/13/02) Vol. 363, No. 8268, P. 63

    ENUM would enable people to use telephone numbers to reach email addresses by turning telephone numbers into Internet addresses ending in .arpa, a move that would allow business cards to display just telephone numbers, with the ENUM service then responsible for routing messages to a phone or Internet in-box. Both VeriSign and NeuStar are testing ENUM services. However, the different regulatory worlds of strictly controlled telephone numbers and ICANN's looser regulation of domain names will have to mesh in ENUM, a meshing that may create problems. In addition, domain names are highly profitable for VeriSign and others. Currently, IETF has proposed to break the telecom and Internet industry logjam by giving the International Telecommunication Union oversight over international ENUM issues, while national governments would set national ENUM competition levels. France is pushing for .int as an ENUM suffix and perceives .arpa as a dutiful pet of the U.S. Commerce Department, while China is also unhappy with .arpa. Even within the United States, a debate over whether a master ENUM directory company should be created, or whether competing ENUM directories should be created divides the industry.
    http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1080495

  • "The Evolution of the PC"
    Upside Today (04/02) Vol. 14, No. 3, P. 50; Enrado, Patty

    The advent of digital content and its application across all channels is redefining the PC and spurring its evolution, despite gloomy industry forecasts. Some manufacturers are moving away from focusing strictly on the PC as a device for increased computation, productivity, and connectivity, and building in time-saving, cost-effective, and more convenient capabilities. "Our belief is that, in 2002, PC demand will be based on end-of-life issues rather than new technology," contends Gartner Dataquest's Charles Smulders. The seamless integration between the home, office, and public spaces are driving rollouts; there is a push for embedding PCs with home-entertainment features for the consumer sector, while companies are working to satisfy enterprise demands for devices that demonstrate return-on-investment such as more multitasking, stable platforms, and reducing the total cost of ownership. The rapidly growing wireless market is especially lucrative for PC makers as an additional source of revenue, and it is migrating from the office to the home. Web services are also valid revenue sources. Among the offerings being developed or deployed are wireless-notebook integrations from Toshiba, home-networking kits and a new home-entertainment user interface from Hewlett-Packard, and a desktop PC equipped with a DVD burner, a video recorder, a memory stick, and wireless technology from Sony. PC makers have their work cut out for them: In addition to enhancing PCs, they must spread awareness of their capabilities to consumers and enterprises.
    http://www.upside.com/HardwareSoftware/3cb4a2431.html