Remote area communication products provider, Codan Limited (ASX:CDA), will deploy the mySAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to run its international operations using system infrastructure managed by web hosting services provider Hostworks Limited (ASX:HWG).

Air traffic systems software provider, Adacel (ASX:ADA), has been awarded a contract extension valued at nearly $3 million for the United States Air Force air traffic control Tower Simulation System (TSS) program for which Adacel was selected in April 2002.

Thursday, 17 February 2005 18:30

News Roundup 17 Feb 2005

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Gates: Microsoft effort to fight viruses

Bill Gates has announced that Microsoft is to introduce a new version of its Internet Explorer Web browser with stronger features to protect against viruses and other vexing security flaws that have plagued Windows users.

The New York Times reports (16 Feb.) that in a speech at the RSA computer security conference, Mr. Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said the company was making progress in its fight against spam, adding that "phishing" software scams were the fastest-growing security problem the company faced. He said the company was currently spending about US$2 billion a year on computer security development and research.

The paper said that Mr. Gates did not mention the Firefox browser, which is freely available and has rapidly gained users since it was introduced by the open-source Mozilla Foundation late last year. But Firefox is apparently enough of a threat that Microsoft felt compelled to rush Internet Explorer 7.0 into the market, ahead of the Longhorn version of Windows, which is not due out until 2006.

The computer security industry has generally been skeptical of Microsoft's security efforts because the company has struggled against viruses and is often blamed for the problems that plague many personal computers, says the paper.

However, the paper reports that Mr. Gates received support from one security expert who has been a frequent critic of Microsoft - Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer who is founder and chief technology officer of Counterpane Internet Security, a security company based in California, who said: "in the past he has made ridiculous promises. Today he was realistic, and he didn't make grandiose claims. I think he realises it's a hard problem."

In addition to announcing Internet Explorer 7.0, the NYT says Mr. Gates demonstrated the company's new anti-spyware technology that it obtained with the acquisition of Giant Software in December.

At the conference Mr. Gates also showed a system called Spynet, which makes it possible for Microsoft to collect data needed to counter attacks. About 6.8 million computer users have downloaded a test version of the anti-spyware program, according to Microsoft, and of that number, about three million are now routinely sending monitoring data to Microsoft.


Microsoft plans free anti - spyware program

Stepping up its fight against computer threats at the risk of alienating security businesses, Microsoft has just announced it will give away a program to combat privacy-stealing and PC-clogging spyware and other virtual pests.

The New York Times reports (16 Feb.) that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates also unveiled plans to release antivirus tools for consumers and make a major security upgrade to its Internet Explorer web browser. At the same time, he showed off new software for businesses to combat security threats.

The paper says the moves are part of a wide-ranging effort by the world's largest software maker to improve the security and reliability of its Windows operating system and other programs, which have become favorite targets of hackers, virus writers and other malware creators.

Speaking at the annual RSA Conference, a major gathering of computer security experts, Gates outlined successes over the past year but did not suggest total victory was imminent or even possible. Microsoft has distributed more than 170 million copies of a major security enhancement to Windows XP since its release last year, but Gates said more work was needed, the paper reported.

The NYT report quoted Gates as warning that spyware and adware threats are growing more quickly than worms and viruses. The programs that track web surfing, generate pop-up ads and slow systems are often installed when users try to run free software without reading the license agreement. Later versions also have taken advantage of known Windows flaws to sneak onto machines.

The NYT says the tools for consumers and businesses will compete directly with existing products from the likes of Symantec, McAfee and others, all of which have been profiting for years from Microsoft vulnerabilities and the hackers who target them.

But security companies have been expecting this to come for a while and they're prepared for it,according to a spokesman for Counterpane Internet Security.

The NYT reports a spokesman for McAfee's Antivirus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team as saying his company currently has a partnership with Microsoft and had all intentions to maintain it. Symantec also plans to continue partnering with Microsoft, but noted the software giant hasn't released details on how it's going to jump into the market, Symantec said in a statement.

Spruced up, Qwest looks at options

When Qwest's takeover offer was rejected by MCI last weekend, the setback was much more than a missed merger opportunity, says the New York Times (16 Feb.), adding that by losing to Verizon despite being the high bidder, Qwest Communications sent an unintended advertisement to investors about how financially shaky the company still is.

And by trying so desperately to buy MCI, Qwest, the smallest of the four regional Bell companies, signaled that it would need a partner if it hoped to be competitive in the consolidating telecommunications industry.

The NYT says analysts say that without a clear path for acquiring another company, Qwest now has to gauge whether it can grow on its own or whether it must fix itself up to be sold. Given the industry consolidation that has already occurred, only a few companies, including BellSouth and perhaps Sprint, would make potentially viable partners for Qwest. So far, though, neither company has publicly signaled any interest in a Qwest deal, reports the paper.

However, from Qwest's perspective, the fact that it mounted a credible takeover battle - even if MCI did not find its US$7.3 billion in cash and stock more credible than Verizon's US$6.7 billion offer - speaks to the remarkable turnaround at the company, the paper observes, after an accounting scandal that erupted in 2002 led to a management shake-up and drove the company to the brink of bankruptcy.

Yesterday, Qwest reported fourth-quarter results that exceeded analysts' forecasts, losing 8 cents a share instead of the 13 cents that had been widely expected.

Many industry executives and analysts in the US say that the consolidation deal-making is not over and that Qwest could end up being bought, rather than acquiring someone else - particularly if its finances continue to improve enough to make it a viable acquisition candidate.

Accord limits IPO liability of 300 start-ups

The New York Times reports (16 Feb.) that legal storm clouds gathered over Wall Street yesterday when a federal judge granted preliminary approval to a US$1 billion settlement between nearly 300 companies that went public during the 1990's technology boom and investors who say they were defrauded.

The agreement leaves 55 investment banks as the investors' main target, says the paper, and according to the investors, the 55 banks awarded shares in hot initial public offerings to favored clients, made deals with institutional investors to buy the shares after they started trading to drive up their price artificially, and issued bogus research to win the deals in the first place.

The settlement limits the companies' exposure in the case. If the investors recover more than $1 billion from the investment banks, the companies will not have to pay. If the amount is less than $1 billion, they must pay the difference.

The companies, mostly technology start-ups, reached an agreement in principle in June 2003, when they agreed to pay the US$1 billion to investors who had been harmed. The parties hammered out a formal agreement in 2004, reports the paper.

The NYT said that this week, NERA, an economic consulting group, issued a study concluding that 2004 was a record year for class-action settlements, and predicting that the trend would continue in 2005.


US completes airwaves sale

The federal government in the US has raised US$2.25 billion in an auction of wireless airwaves that has just ended, with Verizon Wireless and a partner collectively winning 63 licenses with almost US$697.4 million in bids.

The New York Times/Reuters report (16 Feb.) that carriers have been clamoring for more airwaves to meet demand, improve service and offer new products like video.

After 91 rounds, the Federal Communications Commission eventually sold 217 of 242 licenses covering cities like Los Angeles, Cleveland and Houston.

Some of the licenses were limited to bids from small entrepreneurs, so larger carriers formed partnerships or other arrangements to gain access to those airwaves, according to the paper.

The Los Angeles market received the highest bid, US$374.5 million, offered by Royal Street Communications, a partner of Metro PCS Communications. That company was the single biggest bidder, offering US$387.4 million for six licenses, reports the NYT.

Users bypass Napster copy protection

Users have found a way to skirt copy protection on Napster's portable music subscription service just days after its high-profile launch, potentially letting them make CDs with hundreds of thousands of songs for free.

The New York Times/Reuters report (15 Feb.) that such users are already providing instructions to other would-be song burners through technology web sites like BoingBoing.Napster is currently offering a free trial of its new Napster To Go service, which will enable users for a monthly US$15 fee to download as much music as they want and transfer it to a portable device. They can also pay 99 cents for each track they want to burn to a CD.

That 'rental' model for digital entertainment, backed by Microsoft and others, is getting its most serious mass-market tryout yet with Napster to Go, says the NYT.

However, the paper says that according to various web sites, thwarting the intellectual property protections of the service is as easy as a free software patch.

Engadget.com said by installing the digital music program Winamp and then adding a secondary program to Winamp called Output Stacker, users could convert the digitally protected files from one format to another that can then be burned, unencumbered, onto CDs.

A spokeswoman for Napster said that such endeavors were nothing new and the company was not too concerned.

The paper says the 'new' Napster has positioned itself as the chief competitor to Apple Computer's iTunes service, which dominates the digital download market.

Qualcomm expects US$50 3G handsets

US-based wireless technology company Qualcomm has said it expects US$50 handsets for faster third generation (3G) mobile phone networks to be on the market in two years' time.

Qualcomm told Reuters/New York Times(16 Feb.) that wideband CDMA (the European and Japanese version of 3G) is coming down in price, with the low tier a year or two away consumers will really get to the US$50 phone type,''

Qualcomm told Reuters that the phones would be powered by US$10 to US$15 chipsets Qualcomm has on its production roadmap.

The paper & Reuters report that Qualcomm is the dominant supplier of CDMA chips designed for mobile phone networks used in the Americas and parts of Asia, with around one-third of the world's 1.7 billion mobile phone subscribers subscribe to a CDMA service.

Until recently, Qualcomm did not compete with producers of chips for the GSM networks, but that is changing because the successor of GSM, Wideband CDMA (WCDMA), is a later version of Qualcomm's homegrown CDMA technology, says the report, adding that the number of WCDMA subscribers is expected to grow to 70 million by the end of 2005, according to mobile phone and network vendor Nokia and others, and most of the GSM chip makers hope to sell their first WCDMA chips by then.

Hackers may have stolen Californians' data

A company that collects consumer data has warned thousands of Californians that hackers penetrated the company's computer network and may have stolen credit reports, social Security numbers and other sensitive information.

The New York Times/AP report (16 Feb.) that ChoicePoint Inc., which sells such data to government agencies and a variety of companies, acknowledged Tuesday that several hackers broke into its computer database and purloined data from as many as 35,000 Californians.

In the US last year, hackers apparently used stolen identities to create what appeared to be legitimate businesses seeking ChoicePoint accounts, They opened about 50 accounts and the attack appears to have resulted in at least six cases of identity theft in Los Angeles County. Law enforcement agents, who have arrested one person on six counts of theft, say hundreds of thousands of Americans elsewhere may be at risk.

The NYT/Reuters say that the ChoicePoint attack could galvanise support for a federal law protecting consumers from corporate security breaches. New Hampshire, New York and Texas politicians are considering similar bills, and a Californian Democrat senator introduced legislation last month for a national version of the California law.


Domain dispute - question mark over UK e-commerce

A dispute over ownership of "game.co.uk" could have significant and far-reaching effects on e-commerce in Britain, reports The Regiser (16 Feb.)

The Register reports that the domain, which comes under the control of private company Nominet, was awarded to Game plc in January following a complaint that the owner, Garth Sumpter, was misusing it. Mr Sumpter, a consultant for the games industry, has owned the domain since October 1995 and immediately appealed the decision.

But, The Register says that appeal will soon be heard by three Nominet-chosen experts in a case that raises important questions over UK domain name rights and the basis on which companies can trade online.

The battle for Game.co.uk is unusual and highly significant for two reasons, says The Register - firstly, it concerns a generic and common word in the English dictionary - "game". And secondly, Mr Sumpter was using the domain to run a video-game-selling business.

Nominet, as controller of the .uk registry, has created over 3.8 million .uk domains and yet only heard 2,104 domain disputes since its Dispute Resolution Service was launched in September 2001 - an extremely small number in comparison to other top-level domains such as .com or .org. Of these, only six have ever gone to appeal, reports The Register.

Nominet is justifiably pleased with this record, even boasting of the service in a recent letter to internet overseeing organisation ICANN, says The Register.

Friday, 18 February 2005 06:00

Solid first half growth for Keycorp

By

Electronic transaction solutions provider Keycorp Limited (ASX: KYC) has joined the growing list of local technology companies reporting good results for the first half of financial year 2004-05.

Network Appliance has appointed Mark Heers as director, marketing and alliances, Australia and New Zealand.  He takes responsibility for all NetApp marketing activities and alliance relationships in these markets and is based in Sydney. He was previously EMC's national product manager for the same markets. Prior to his four years with EMC, Heers spent nine years with the Amdahl / Fujitsu succession and two years with IBM.  He was also an in-house  IT professional for six years, with the Australian Federal Police.

Thursday, 17 February 2005 23:00

Capgemini Australia appoints CFO

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Technology consulting and outsourcing firm Capgemini Australia today announced the appointment of Peter Bertrand as chief financial officer (CFO), based in Sydney. He replaces CFO, Frederic Guermann, who recently relocated to Capgemini Canada. Bertrand joins Capgemini Australia from the company's Netherlands office, where he most recently held the position of deputy CFO.  He joined Capgemini in 1994 from publisher Meulenhof en Co B.V. where he was the financial controller, responsible for the internal reorganisation and divestment of subsidiaries in the US, UK and Germany.

The Mambo website open source self-publishing solution has taken two major awards at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, in Boston this week. The free point-and-click website solution won the "Best of Show" award and also 'Best Open Source Solution' category.

Wednesday, 16 February 2005 18:30

News Roundup 16 Feb 2005

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SAP plays down Microsoft threat

Microsoft will take a long time to get a grip on the market for enterprise software, according to SAP boss Henning Kannerman, who also says he believes Chinese and Indian competitors will present a bigger threat.

The Register reports (15 Feb.) that despite Oracle's recent takeover of PeopleSoft, and Microsoft's aborted talks with SAP, Kannermann does not think there will be much consolidation in the market.

"I don't think there will be consolidation among the big players...Microsoft is in our business already, through its small business software, but it will take them a long time to bridge the gap with the big players," says Kannerman, as reported by The Register quoting a story in the Financial Times.

The Register says that according to Kannerman, SAP has benefited from the Oracle-PeopleSoft takeover, gaining six per cent market share and Oracle and PeopleSoft have lost four per cent where they overlapped with SAP.

Talking to analysts in New York, the SAP chief said 2005 will be a year of peak investment for the company, with the hiring of 3,000 new staff and licence revenues expected to grow at 10- 12 per cent this year.

Spyware, hot topic at security conference

Unwanted programs that spy on PC users, deliver pop-up ads and track web surfing habits will be a hot topic at a security conference that's usually more focused on viruses, hackers and the encryption of sensitive information.

The New York Times/AP report (15 Feb.) that more than 11,000 people were expected at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was to deliver the opening speech, and other speakers include Symantec Chief Executive John Thompson and Cisco CEO John Chambers.

The paper says that so-called spyware and adware have been around for years but have largely been viewed as more of an annoyance than a security threat. Such programs are often installed on PCs when users agree to a license for free software without reading it, though later versions take advantage of flaws in Web browsers and operating systems.

According to the paper,recently the problem has developed into a major headache not only for home users whose PCs choke on a flurry of pop-up windows but also corporate computer users who run the risk of lost productivity and pilfered data from such programs.

Gates, who is now Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, was expected to shed light on the company's plans to protect its customers from spyware. Microsoft released its own anti-spyware offering earlier this year.

Microsoft also was expected to announce moves in protecting computers from viruses following its recent acquisition of two antivirus companies, though it's not clear whether such announcements would come at the conference.

The paper says Cisco was to show off the latest phase of its strategy to protect corporate networks from attacks. The network equipment maker is announcing 10 new products, services and software enhancements to give corporate network administrators more protection.

The report in the NYT says security software companies also are increasingly adding spyware and adware to their lists of programs to find and remove. They are integrating features of programs that have been sold separately by companies focusing on spyware and adware removal

US telco mergers raise regulatory issues

The New York Times reports (15 Feb.) that most people in the US expect the huge telecommunications mergers recently announced to be approved in the current political climate, but that the deals could prompt a considerable fine-tuning of existing rules.

The paper says that the consolidations, a natural outgrowth of the deregulatory agenda of the US Federal Communications Commission under will present it with a crucial opportunity to rewrite the rules governing the industry.

The conditions set - or brushed aside - by regulators in deciding whether to approve each of the three big deals announced in the last few weeks will be among the most significant policy decisions for the industry since Congress rewrote telecommunications rules nine years ago, according to the NYT.

Verizon Communications' announcement that it will buy MCI follows the proposed acquisition of AT&T by SBC Communications and Sprint's purchase of Nextel.

According to the NYT., if the regulators respond by attaching important conditions to approval of the mergers, they may relieve significant pressure on Congress to conduct a quick overhaul of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. One thing is certain, says the paper: the proposed deals will remove AT&T and MCI, the two major adversaries of the regional Bell companies, from political lobbying.

The report in the NYT say that over the last four years, the commission has moved away from trying to manage competition among the phone companies by repealing or watering down rules that were intended to encourage - and subsidise - smaller rivals to the Bell companies. Mr. Powell has maintained that the regulations were no longer necessary and that enough new competition to the Bells is coming from cable and wireless businesses.

Perhaps the most important of the deregulatory changes were ones issued last year that eliminated the relatively inexpensive access that long-distance companies had to the networks owned by the regional Bell carriers, says the paper, also observing that the elimination of low access rates led to significant financial pressure on both AT&T and MCI. In AT&T's case, the change ultimately caused it to move toward withdrawal from the residential telephone business. MCI has also reduced its residential business.

Industry analysts, executives and government officials said they expected that the FCC and the Justice Department would approve the deals even though consumer groups have expressed fear that further consolidation in the industry will mean higher prices and reductions in service, rerports the paper.

Hitachi to offer security - enhanced notebook PCs

Japan's Hitachi has just announced that it will launch notebook computers with no hard disk drives, offering corporate clients a way to protect key business information from potential leaks.

A report by the New York Times/Reuters (15 Feb.) says that the new terminal does not store any data, such as client information, in it, and all tasks are carried out by interacting with server computers or PCs at headquarters, protecting vital business information even when the computer is lost or stolen.

The paper says shipments of the new computer, estimated to sell for around 260,000 yen (US$2,476) per unit, will start in April, and Hitachi expects 30 billion yen in sales of the terminals and related services in the two years to March 2007.

Hitachi itself plans to introduce 2,000 units by March for in-house use and another 8,000 in the business year starting in April, according to the NYT.

Nokia deal to use Microsoft's music formats

Nokia and Microsoft, which have a history as rivals, have decided to work together when it comes to mobile music.

The New York Times carries a reporet (14 Feb.) from the International Herald Tribune which says that Nokia, the leading cellphone manufacturer and a longtime Microsoft competitor in mobile phone software, has just said that it had agreed to use Microsoft's music formats on its handsets.

And in another advance for mobile music, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications said it would make Sony Walkman-brand cellphones that would work with customers' digital music collections on their personal computers, as well as connect with music downloading services.

The paper says the companies made their announcements at the 3GSMWorld Congress, currently being staged in Cannes, France. They forecast a huge increase in the number of people using their cellphones to listen to music, especially with the growth of faster, or third-generation, cellphones.

At the moment, digital music is largely carried on portable players that are intended strictly for music, like the iPod made by Apple Computer. But hardware, software, music and phone companies agree that there is a mass market - particularly among young people - for music on demand that is sent over the air to cellphones.

The paper reports that the Windows Media Player, the program Nokia is licensing for its phones, is already a leading software program for listening to music on personal computers.Until now, Nokia has been using an internally developed program or music software made by RealNetworks.

Analysts told the paper that this is a big shift by Nokia,with the company conceding they can't do everything themselves.

Nokia and Microsoft use rival software for the operating systems that run cellphones. They have been on opposite sides in other areas, notably the European Commission antitrust case against Microsoft last year over sales of its operating system.

Also at the congresss on Monday, Microsoft announced that Flextronics International would make low-cost cellphones with Windows Mobile, the software that competes with Nokia's Series 60 operating system made by Symbian.

The NYT reported Nokia as saying that the cooperation had come out of long-term work by both companies on industry forums to widen the use of open standards.

Nokia also said that it had agreed to license Microsoft's e-mail synchronisation system, called ActiveSync, to permit its business customers to use their Windows e-mail software on the road from their phones.

The NYT also reports that for Sony Ericsson, a joint venture based in London, the decision to make Walkman phones was less surprising, accortding to a Gartner analyst.

Sony Ericsson, a leading manufacturer in Europe but a laggard in North America,according to the paper, expects to show the first Walkman phones in March. They will be compatible with the Sony Connect download service, as well as others.


Kodak aiming at health care

Kodak, seeking to expand its health care business, is working with IBM to develop computer systems to manage radiology and related records at smaller hospitals and imaging centers, reports the New York Times/Bloomberg (15 Feb.)

Kodak has said the market for health care information technology is worth US$60 billion a year and growing,and the company goal is to produce cheaper, simpler hardware and software systems for managing radiology records.

The NYT/Bloomberg report says that Kodak is seeking to expand its health care sales by building on its radiology business. The company also said it introduced enhancements to its secure e-mail system for sending medical records, including electronic postmarks by the postal service, and reached agreement with Cisco Systems to include Cisco's antivirus security system in Kodak's medical products.

Email bug made computers phone emergency line

In the US, a Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to sending rigged e-mails that caused some computers to dial the 911 emergency services number, according to prosecutors.

The New York Times/Reuters report (14 Feb.) that David Jeansonne, 44, admitted to sending e-mails to about 20 subscribers of Microsoft's WebTV, a television internet service since renamed MSN TV.

An attachment to the e-mail rewrote the user's access WebTV number to 911 so that the next time the service was used, calls to WebTV in Santa Clara, California were diverted.

At least 10 WebTV users reported that the local police either called or visited their residences in response to the unnecessary 9-1-1 calls, reported the paper.

Jeansonne faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of intentionally damaging computers and causing a public safety threat, reports the NYT.

Mobile phone industry eyes music downloads

Nokia has unveiled a new 3G phone with an integrated music player and high-quality stereo output at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, reports The New York Times/AP (15 Feb.).

The paper reports that mobile phone makers and networks are looking for ways to boost their revenue given difficulties finding new customers in saturated industrialised markets and even in some data services for their future profitability. Such calls could soon be possible with mobiles: Motorola and internet phone (VoIP) company Skype have just teamed up to explore that possibility.

The NYT says that with high-speed 3G networks now widespread, companies like Nokia hope demand for pricier, more sophisticated phones and airtime will be spurred by new features from wireless gaming and instant messaging to pay-TV and remote banking services.

According to the paper, the uptake of 3G phones last year fell short of earlier predictions, but Nokia said this week it still expects usage to reach 70 million people at year's end, up from 16 million in December.

The company unveiled three new models at the congress: two 3G 'smartphones,' the 6680 and 6681, and the 6101 folding camera phone that can be heavily customised to suit operators' needs and branding.

Nokia has partnered with Seattle-based Loudeye, reports the paper, to provide a download service to make songs available and hinted that deals with recording labels could follow.

Smaller rival Sony Ericsson also announced two new 3G phones: the K600 designed for business applications such as video conferencing and seamless e-mailing; and the Z800i, a clamshell design with an MP3 music player and user-friendly playlists.

But, the NYT says the bigger news was the imminent arrival of the new Walkman phones, which the company said will be unveiled in March.


French consumer group sues Apple, Sony

A French consumer group has initiated legal proceedings against Apple and Sony, claiming their online music sites violate European anti-trust legislation.

The Register in the UK reports (14 Feb.)that Paris-based UFC-Que Choisir claims that Apple's iTunes Music Store and Sony's Connect service are anti-competitive because they only work with the companies' own music players.

However, The Register describes the claim as "nonsense", making the point that in Apple's case songs can be downloaded and played on any Windows PC - a kind of machine the company does not itself produce. In addition, The Register says Sony Connect songs can similarly be downloaded and played on any PC - it doesn't have to be a Sony Vaio.

To be fair, says The Register, UFC-Que Choisir's complaint focuses on portable players, but since Apple has allowed Motorola to build an ITMS-compatible phone, its argument looks weak.

Apple can also argue that the French government's anti-trust watchdog has already ruled that it has a right to maintain a proprietary link between its music store and the iPod. Last November, the watchdog dismissed an attempt by Virgin's French retail subsidiary, VirginMega, to force Apple to license the Mac maker's FairPlay DRM technology, which would be essential to allow any third-party device to play ITMS-downloaded songs, reports The Register

The Register says that Sony and Apple will have to answer the claim in the French court later this year.

UFC-Que Choisir wants the two companies to open up their music stores to other device makers and to cough up €30,000 ($38,595) in compensation.

US info-sharing initiative a flop

Nearly a year after its launch, a US federal office created as a conduit for corporate America to provide the government with sensitive information about critical vulnerabilities has been all but rejected by the technology industry that helped conceive it, reports The Register in the UK (15 Feb.).

The Register says that the Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) program allows corporations who run key elements of US infrastructure to submit details about their physical and cyber vulnerabilities to a special office within the Department of Homeland Security, with legally-enforceable assurances that the information will not be used against them or released to the public. The effort is funded at US$5.5m in the White House's 2006 budget request.

The Register reports that the PCII program has gone completely unused, at least by the information technology world and according to the Information Technology Industry Association of America, which hadlobbied hard for the original legislation, but takes issue with DHS'simplementation.

The report says that the IT Information Sharing and Analysis Center, an industry security coalition whose members include Microsoft, Oracle and Intel, has not submitted a single piece of vulnerability data through the PCII program,
The electric power industry has also not availed itself of the program, daunted by the PCII office's requirement that any submissions be made though old fashion paper filings.

Thursday, 10 February 2005 23:00

CAS appoints new APAC VP

By

Consumer products CRM specialist, CAS has appointed Joe Westhuizen as vice president of professional services for the Asia Pacific region.
Before joining CAS, Westhuizen led change management and end user adoption groups within Siebel Systems over a period of four years, working throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and most recently the USA. He sold his change management and training company Edutrain Asia Pacific to Siebel in 2000, and prior to that set up the Asia Pacific offices of US firm DA Consulting, seeing the company through to a NASDAQ listing.

Thin client hardware vendor, Wyse Technology, announced the promotion of Rick Ferguson, who was previously regional director, Oceania, to vice-President, Oceania & South East Asia.  The promotion will see Ferguson take on responsibility for South East Asia in addition to his role as director for Australia and New Zealand. Ferguson's promotion follows the recent announcement of a Wyse buy-out by investor Garnett & Helfrich Capital, and the appointment of a new management team.  It also follows a year in which Wyse saw local revenue grow by more than 80 per cent with customer wins including Harvey World Travel, TNT New Zealand, Middleton's and Elders.

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