4 June 1989: Tiananmen Square Massacres
"Tank man" blocking a column of tanks heading east on Beijing's Chang'an Boulevard (Avenue of Eternal Peace) near Tiananmen Square during the student uprising. This photo was taken from the sixth floor of the Beijing Hotel, about half a mile away through a 400mm lens.Via Wikipedia
Image source: Wikipedia
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, June 4th Incident, or the Political Turmoil between Spring and Summer of 1989 by the Chinese government, were a series of demonstrations led by students, intellectuals and labour activists in the People's Republic of China between April 15, 1989 and June 4, 1989, leaving (according to Chinese authorities) between 400 and 800 civilians dead, and between 7,000 and 10,000 injured.
An initial report from local hospitals put the number at around 2,000 dead.
User Friendly: The Woes of a GDrive Admin
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In Montana, Casting A Web for Terrorists
Blaine Harden writes in The Washington Post:
Like a hunter using a duck call, Shannen Rossmiller invites the online attentions of would-be terrorists by adorning her e-mail with video clips of Westerners getting their heads cut off.
"They get pumped up when they see beheadings. For them, it's like rock videos," Rossmiller said. "I always give the appearance that I am one of them."
Appearances deceive. At her Montana high school, Rossmiller was a cheerleader -- a farm girl whose slight frame meant she was the one hoisted to the top of the human pyramid. Now 35, she is a mother of three, a part-time paralegal and a $23,000-a-year municipal court judge in a town north of here.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, she has found herself an unpaid night job. She uses the Internet to find terrorism suspects, she said, hunting for them while her family sleeps, spending the hours between 3 a.m. and dawn at her home computer. Her husband, Randy, a wireless network technician, keeps eight computers and two broadband systems working in their house.
Austin Police Become RIAA Puppets
And this, after I warned you of the impending RIAA retardedness.
Austin police seized thousands of counterfeit items after receiving a tip from the Recording Industry Association of America.
The department obtained a search warrant of the Tu Disco Latino store in East Austin on Tuesday. Officers found more than 4,500 counterfeit CDs, DVDs and Nike tennis shoes.
APD is working with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to file charges against the business owner. Reproducing or selling counterfeit products is a third degree felony that is punishable with a fine of up to $250,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
Gapingvoid: Quick! Let's Start a Blog!
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
HP Cuts Back on Telecommuting
Nicole C. Wong writes in The Mercury News:
Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley company known for pioneering flexible work arrangements four decades ago, is canceling telecommuting for a key division of the company.
While other companies nationwide are pushing more employees to work from home to cut office costs, HP believes bringing its information-technology employees together in the office will make them swifter and smarter.
The decision shocked HP employees and surprised human resource management experts, who believe telecommuting is still a growing trend.
California: Local Officials Support U.S. Plan for Data Retention
Elise Ackerman writes in The Mercury News:
Some local law enforcement officials said Friday they support a U.S. Justice Department proposal that would require Internet companies to save records of people's Web activity for up to two years, however none could recall a case that was stymied from a lack of online data.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller began discussing a proposal May 26 with companies such as Google, Microsoft, Verizon and Comcast that would force them to save data relating to Web searches and e-mail exchanges -- but not the content of e-mails. Discussions between Justice Department officials, company representatives and privacy experts continued Friday.
Alan Kotok, 64, a Pioneer in Computer Video Games, Is Dead
John Markoff writes in The New York Times:
Alan Kotok, a computer designer who helped create the first video game program as a member of a small group of M.I.T. students in the early 1960's, died at his home in Cambridge, Mass., on May 26. He was 64.
The cause was a heart attack, his daughter, Leah Kotok, said.
As a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Kotok developed an interest in computers after joining the M.I.T. Model Railroad Club in the late 1950's. Its membership included several other young men who shared his interest, and the organization became a kind of incubator for the computer design field.
Why Mobile Carriers Avoid VoIP
Via Red Herring.
Klaus Czerwinski, a spokesperson for T-Mobile International, struggled to understand what a RedHerring.com reporter wanted to know. “I can hardly hear you because the connection is so bad,” he said. “I hear it is about Skype but no more.”
The question was not only about Skype, but the call was placed through Skype, the VoIP service now owned by eBay that helped pioneer the field of cheap, online telephony. To Skype’s defense, we could hear Mr. Czerwinski just fine—although, like many VoIP users, we’ve sometimes experienced fuzzy connections on other calls.
Still, Mr. Czerwinski made a good point, albeit inadvertently. The bad connection demonstrated one reason why T-Mobile has become the latest mobile carrier to ban Skype and other VoIP services from its professional data accounts: unreliable calling quality.
Another less-publicized reason is that VoIP could grow into a serious threat to both cellular revenue and network capacity.
Saudi Firms to Award $267M Deal to Cisco, Thales
A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Three Saudi firms led by mobile telecommunications operator Mobily will award a deal worth 1 billion riyals ($266.7 million) to Cisco Systems and France's Thales, a Mobily spokesman said on Saturday.
"We will sign on Tuesday the contract in Riyadh. The deal provides for the setting up of a fiber optic backbone structure for data," Hamoud al-Ghobaini, Mobily's corporate communications manager, told Reuters.
The two other Saudi firms are data services providers Bayanat al-Oula for Network Services and Integrated Telecom Company Ltd.
3 June 1969: Final Episode of Star Trek Airs
Leonard Nimoy as Spock.Via Wikipedia
Image source: Wikipedia
Star Trek debuted on NBC on September 8, 1966, having aired in Canada some days earlier. Created by Gene Roddenberry, starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley, and co-starring James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, and (later) Walter Koenig, it told the tale of the crew of the starship Enterprise of the United Federation of Planets, and their adventures "to boldly go where no man has gone before."
The first episode aired, "The Man Trap," was actually the fifth produced. Originally, Roddenberry had created a pilot entitled "The Cage," with a very different cast, led by veteran actor Jeffrey Hunter, which was rejected by NBC, the network that ordered the pilot through Desilu. However, an unprecedented second pilot was commissioned, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which featured an almost entirely new cast led by Shatner. Only the character of Spock remained, at Roddenberry's insistence. "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was the third episode aired, while "The Cage" was reworked into a two-part episode, "The Menagerie."
The last original episode, "Turnabout Intruder," aired on June 3, 1969. The series subsequently became phenomenally popular in syndication, ultimately spawning the film and television sequels that followed.
Personal Info of Supermarket Chains' Former Workers Lost
An AP newswire article, via USA Today, reports that:
A laptop computer containing the pension data of former employees of supermarket chains Stop & Shop, Giant and Tops, including their Social Security numbers, was lost during a commercial flight, according to the supermarkets' parent company.
The U.S. subsidiary of Dutch parent company Royal Ahold and a contractor whose employee lost the computer early last month declined to say how many former supermarket employees were affected.
The former employees were notified by letter last week. The letter said the missing information is used to determine benefit eligibility. It included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, benefit amounts and related administrative information, the letter said.
A spokesman for Ahold USA said Friday that there were no indications that any of the missing data had been misused, although the case remained under investigation.
Toon: Hurricane Preparedness
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Dotster Named in Massive Cybersquatting Suit
Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:
A new federal lawsuit charges that Dotster, one of the largest domain name registrars, has unlawfully participated in a massive cybersquatting campaign targeting companies such as Cingular, Disney, Ikea, Google, Neiman Marcus, Playboy and Verizon.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday by high-end retailers Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, alleges that Dotster abused its status as a registrar by "checking out" hundreds of domain names that closely resemble the correct ones--and then keeping only the ones that were visited by Web users who couldn't spell very well.
The misspelled domain name NeimuMarcus.com, when visited by CNET News.com on Thursday evening, included code in its Web page that references Dotster and its subsidiary RevenueDirect.com--and featured advertisements for Neiman Marcus rivals such as Bloomingdales and JCrew. By early Friday, however, that Web site and dozens more had been taken offline.
Groups to Give Free Access to Online Books
An AP newswire article by Dave Carpenter, via ABC News, reports that:
Electronic book devotees may want to set aside some extra screen time this summer, as two nonprofits are preparing to provide free access to 300,000 texts online.
Project Gutenberg and World eBook Library plan to make "a third of a million" e-books available free for a month at the first World eBook Fair. Downloads will be available at the fair's Web site from July 4, the 35th anniversary of Project Gutenberg's founding, through Aug. 4.
The majority of the books will be contributed by the World eBook Library. It otherwise charges $8.95 a year for access to its database of more than 250,000 e-books, documents and articles.
PaineWebber Systems Admin Faces Trial For Computer Sabotage
Sharon Gaudin writes on InformationWeek:
A former systems administrator for financial giant UBS PaineWebber goes on trial Tuesday for allegedly sabotaging two-thirds of the company's computer network in what prosecutors say was a vengeful attempt to profit from a crashing stock price.
Roger Duronio, 63, of Bogota, N.J., is facing federal charges in front of a U.S. District Court in Newark, in connection to the creation and planting of malicious code on more than 1,000 computers in the company's central office, as well as in approximately 370 branch offices. When the malicious code, or "logic bomb," was triggered on March 4, 2002, it began deleting files and data, taking down many PaineWebber computers across the United States and hindering trading for days in some branch offices and for several weeks in others, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mauro Wolfe, lead prosecutor on the case.
The attack, according to the indictment, cost UBS PaineWebber, which was renamed UBS Wealth Management USA in 2003, $3 million just to assess and repair the damage. The company didn't submit a list of losses to the government based on business downtime or lost trading opportunities.
Chris Adams, Duronio's defense attorney and a partner at Walder Hayden & Brogan in Roseland, N.J., says the government has the wrong man. Duronio has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He has been free on bail awaiting trial for the past four years. Adams says he's not working in an IT position at this time.
Net2Phone Accuses Skype of Patent Infringement
An AP newswire article, via The Washington Post, reports that:
Net2Phone Inc., which enables cable companies to provide residential phone service, has charged that Internet phone service provider Skype Technologies SA has infringed on its patent on point-to-point Internet calling.
Net2Phone sued Skype and its parent company, eBay Inc., charging that Net2Phone has lost an unspecified amount of money as a result. Net2Phone, a unit of Newark-based IDT Corp., sued Thursday in U.S. District Court in Newark.
Study Finds Companies Snoop on Employee e-Mail
A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Big Brother is not only watching but he is also reading your e-mail.
According to a new study, about a third of big companies in the United States and Britain hire employees to read and analyze outbound e-mail as they seek to guard against legal, financial or regulatory risk.
More than a third of U.S. companies surveyed also said their business was hurt by the exposure of sensitive or embarrassing information in the past 12 months, according to the annual study from a company specializing in protecting corporate e-mail at large businesses.
UK Journalists' Union Calls for Yahoo! Boycott
Jeffrey Goldfarb writes for Reuters:
The union representing journalists in the UK and Ireland called on its 40,000 members to boycott all Yahoo Inc. products and services to protest the Internet company's reported actions in China.
The National Union of Journalists said it sent a letter on Friday to Dominique Vidal, Yahoo Europe's vice president, denouncing the company for allegedly providing information to Chinese authorities about journalists. The union also said it would stop using all Yahoo-operated services.
DHS: NYC Has Itself to Blame for Terror Funding Cuts
Al Baker and Diane Cardwell write in The New York Times:
The federal agency distributing $711 million in antiterrorism money to cities around the nation found numerous flaws in New York City's application and gave poor grades to many of its proposals.
Its criticism extended to some of the city's most highly publicized counterterrorism measures.
In a report that outlines why it cut back New York City's share of antiterrorism funds by roughly 40 percent, the Department of Homeland Security was so critical of some highly viewed local measures — like Operation Atlas, in which hundreds of extra police officers carry out counterterrorism duties around the city each day — that the Police Department and other city agencies must now seek further federal approval before drawing on the money they were given to pay for those programs.
JetBlue Wins Air-Ground Wireless License
A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
JetBlue Airways Corp. won a wireless license to offer high-speed Internet and other communications services on commercial aircraft in a U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction that ended on Friday.
The company's subsidiary LiveTV LLC bid $7 million for a 1 megahertz wireless license, while a company with ties to AirCell Inc., which designs and sells airborne communications systems, won the 3 megahertz license with a bid of $31.3 million.
HP Distributes 'Funlove' Virus -- Again
A PC World article by Robert McMillan, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Hewlett-Packard yesterday pulled a printer driver from its Web site after security vendor BitDefender reported that the software was infected with the same computer virus that infected HP's drivers more than five years ago.
A BitDefender partner notified the security vendor of the infected driver software earlier this week, and the company's security researchers soon determined that it had the same Funlove virus that had plagued HP in December 2000.
BitDefender notified HP of the problem on Wednesday and the infected printer driver was removed from HP's Web site early Thursday, said BitDefender spokesman Vitor Souza.
H-1B Visa Limit Already Reached for Next Year
Anne Broache writes on C|Net News:
The federal government has already received enough applications to reach the next fiscal year's cap for the H-1B worker visas so beloved by technology companies.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Thursday that it determined on May 26--scarcely two months after this year's application window began on April 1--that the number of petitions streaming in will exceed the congressional limit of 65,000 visas. The people approved in that round of applications are eligible to start work on Oct. 1, 2006--which is when the federal government's 2007 fiscal year begins.
Another 5,830 petitions had arrived as of May 26 for the separate 20,000 visas reserved for the 2007 fiscal year for foreigners with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions.
Regardless, employers seeking skilled foreign workers without such degrees cannot file petitions until the next application window opens on April 1, 2007.
Toon: Protecting You From The Bad Guys
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Cogeco to Buy Portuguese Cable Company
Catherine McLean writes in The Globe and Mail:
Cogeco Cable Inc. shares slipped as much as 11 per cent on Friday after the Quebec-based cable company announced the acquisition of Portugal's Cabovisao - Televisao por Cabo S.A. for 464.9-million euros, or $660-million Canadian.
Cabovisao is Portugal's second-biggest cable company, with revenue of $129.3-million euros in 2005. It has 264,000 cable TV customers, 130,000 high-speed Internet subscribers, and 217,000 phone clients.
Note to Spam King: You Got Nailed
Howard Witt writes in The Chicago Tribune:
AUSTIN, Texas -- For every weary Internet user who has ever slogged through an e-mail inbox infested with junk spam, payback time has finally arrived.
The State of Texas and Microsoft Corp. have just throttled a 24-year-old University of Texas graduate once ranked among the world's worst purveyors of spam, fining him at least $1 million, stripping him of most of his ill-gotten assets and forcing him to stop sending nuisance e-mails forever.
The punishments are contained in settlements of two civil lawsuits filed by the Texas attorney general and Microsoft against the spammer, Ryan Pitylak, who admitted to sending out a mind-boggling 25 million e-mails every day at the height of his spamming operation in 2004.
What's more, Pitylak now says he has been reborn as an anti-spammer, and he is offering his skills to Internet companies to help them fight the same computer-clogging spam he used to transmit.
The lawsuit settlements were reached quietly last month in U.S. District Court although neither state officials nor Microsoft representatives have spoken publicly about them.
Vonage Customers May Have Recourse From IPO
A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Some customers of Internet telephone service provider Vonage Holdings Corp. who bought shares in the initial public offering last week may have grounds to seek damages or require the company to buy back shares at their IPO price, a newspaper said on Friday.
The grounds would be based on technical errors in a highly unusual offer called a "directed-share program" that allowed about 9,000 to 10,000 Vonage customers take part in the May 24 IPO, The Wall Street Journal said.
User Friendly: The Cravings Come and Take Over Your Brain
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Swedish Police Site Attacked After PirateBay Raids
Eric Bangeman writes on ARS Technica:
It looks like the raid on The Pirate Bay and confiscation of its servers upset somebody. That's one conclusion to be drawn from the sudden unavailability of the web site of Sweden's national police. Beginning last night, the the site came under a widespread and intense denial of service attack, according to National Police Administration Director Lars Lindahl.
"Our homepage had to handle 500,000 visits per second and it's obviously not going to handle that. It's sort of like 10,000 people calling the same phone switch at once."
According to Lindahl, the attack began at 9:30pm local time. Judging by the time it's taking to load polisen.se, the attack seems to be still going on in full force, despite assurances that the site would be back up by now. The Swedish police are investigating the origin of the attack.
Connecticut Librarians Defy the FBI
Larisa Alexandrovna writes on AlterNet:
Four Connecticut librarians, members of Library Connection, a not-for profit cooperative organization for resource sharing across 26 Connecticut library branches sharing a centralized computer, were served with a National Security Letter (NSL) in August of last year as part of the FBI's attempt to attain access to patron's records.
The NSL is a little known statute in the Patriot Act that permits law enforcement to obtain records of people not suspected of any wrongdoing and without a court order. As part of the NSL, those served with the document are gagged and prohibited from disclosing that they have even been served.
The foursome of Barbara Bailey, Peter Chase, George Christian, and Jan Nocek were automatically gagged from disclosing that they had received the letter, the contents of the letter, and even from discussions surrounding the Patriot Act.
The librarians, via the national and Connecticut branches of the ACLU, filed suit challenging the Patriot Act on first amendment grounds.
Gapingvoid: Living the American Dream
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
Galileo Spacecraft Picks up GPS Satellite Signals
Will Knight writes on NewScientistTech:
Europe's experimental navigation spacecraft GIOVE-A has picked up signals from several Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, a novel achievement that completes its primary mission objectives.
GIOVE-A was launched in December 2005 and has now tested several crucial technologies that will be used by Galileo, the European Union's fleet of navigation satellites. The rest of the constellation should be launched by 2010 giving Europe an alternative to the GPS satellite positioning system, which is operated by the US military.
By flying GIOVE-A, which is about the size of a microwave oven, the European Space Agency also secured its use of the radio frequencies allocated for Galileo by the International Telecommunications Union. The allocation would otherwise have lapsed later in 2006.
PirateBay Operators Hope to Win Compensation
The Swedish web operators behind raided site Piratebay.org will seek damages from the Swedish authorities if they can prove their innocence, according to a statement on the site earlier today.
The statement, which promised that the site would be functional again within a day or two, said that those behind the site "can receive compensation from the Swedish state [if] the upcoming legal processes show that [Piratebay] is indeed legal."
However, a Swedish legal expert has denounced their intended defence as "silly".
Swedish police staged a spectacular simultaneous raid on a series of premises holding the servers hosting Piratebay.org, confiscating the servers holding the site and bringing the site down.
New Firefox 18.104.22.168 Fixes 13 Security Holes
Brian Krebs writes on Security Fix:
Mozilla on Thursday released a new version of its Firefox Web browser to correct 13 security holes, including at least five that Mozilla said could let attackers install software without any action on the part of the user.
The update brings Firefox to version 22.214.171.124, and marks the end of the support cycle for an older line of Firefox browser, including any version of Firefox that begins with 1.0 (the last and final version of that series is 1.0.8).
AOL Looking to Sell UK Operations
A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Time Warner Inc.'s AOL has put its British Internet unit up for sale, The Guardian said on Friday.Link
The company had already hired investment bank Citigroup to find buyers for its internet access operations in Germany and France but now the British business is also being offered for sale, the paper said.
2 June 1966: Surveyor 1 Lands in Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon
The Surveyor 1 (model) on Earth.Via Wikipedia
Image source: Wikipedia
The Surveyor spacecraft was designed to attain the engineering objectives of the Surveyor program, which included the first lunar soft landing. No instrumentation was carried specifically for scientific experiments, but considerable scientific information was obtained.
The spacecraft carried two television cameras - one for approach, which was not used, and one for operations on the lunar surface. Over 100 engineering sensors were on board. The television system transmitted pictures of the spacecraft footpad and surrounding lunar terrain and surface materials.
The spacecraft also acquired data on the radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, bearing strength of the lunar surface, and spacecraft temperatures for use in the analysis of the lunar surface temperatures.
The spacecraft was launched May 30, 1966, directly into a lunar impact trajectory. Engines were turned off at a height of 3.4 m above the lunar surface. The spacecraft fell freely from this height, landing on the lunar surface on June 2, 1966, in Oceanus Procellarum - 2.45 deg s latitude, 43.22 deg w longitude (selenographic coordinates). The spacecraft transmitted data from shortly after touchdown until July 14, 1966, with an interval of no operation during lunar night (June 14 to July 7, 1966).
Engineering interrogations continued until January 7, 1967.
War Accounts Under Attack as DoD Scrambles for Funds
Josh Rogin writes on FCW.com:
Severe account shortages across the Defense Department are now having an impact on operations in the global war on terror. Due to a lack of emergency supplemental funding, the Army and other services are shifting funds from critical missions to bolster operations and maintenance accounts departmentwide.
Funding new initiatives for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device threat will be delayed, a payment to Pakistan for its coalition support cannot be made, and ongoing training and equipping of Iraqi Security Forces will be curtailed due to a lack of sufficient funding by late June, according to a DOD official who spoke on background.
DOD blames the funding shortages on Congress’ failure to pass the Emergency Supplemental bill. The bill is awaiting a meeting of a joint conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions.
Ernst & Young Laptop Loss Exposes 243,000 Hotels.com Customers
This is not the first (or the second, or the third, or.... etc.) time Ernst & Young has been in the news of sloppy process and disregard for privacy data protection.
Ashlee Vance writes on The Register:
Ernst & Young's laptop loss unit continues to be one of the company's more productive divisions. We learn this week that the accounting firm lost a system containing data on 243,000 Hotels.com customers. Hotels.com joins the likes of Sun Microsystems, IBM, Cisco, BP and Nokia, which have all had their employees' data exposed by Ernst & Young, as revealed here in a series of exclusive stories.
The Register can again exclusively confirm the loss of the Hotels.com customer information after having received a copy of a letter mailed out jointly by the web site and Ernst & Young. A Hotels.com spokesman also confirmed the data breach, saying Ernst & Young notified the company of the laptop loss on May 3. The laptop in question was stolen from an Ernst & Young worker's car in Texas and did have some basic data protection mechanisms.
AOL e-Mail Hit by Software Glitch
An AP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Millions of AOL users encountered delays sending and receiving e-mail Thursday as the company worked to identify and fix a software glitch.
AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said the company was investigating the cause of the problems, which began late in the morning.
He said millions of messages were stuck in a queue and all would eventually get delivered. But as technicians tried to fix the problem, he said, users faced difficulties accessing their accounts, particularly through AOL's Web interfaces.
The glitch affected both AOL.com e-mail for paid subscribers and its free AIM.com offering, which the Time Warner Inc. Internet unit began offering a year ago to lure nonsubscribers to its ad-supported sites.
says they've corrected the problem:
Internet service AOL said on Thursday it had resolved a software problem that delayed the transmission of millions of e-mails since the late morning. Link
Many AOL members had been unable to send or receive new e-mails since 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time.
In the interim, AOL was queuing messages that already were sent to relay them quickly once the problem was solved.
AOL said later on Thursday that the ability to transmit had been restored. The company was in the process of sending e-mails that it had stored in its queue during the day at the rate of 500,000 messages per minute, company spokesman Nicholas Graham said.
Circuit City Warns of Online Forum Attack
Joris Evers writes on C|Net News:
Part of the Circuit City Web site was hacked and used in an attempt to install malicious code on PCs of unknowing visitors, the electronics retailer said Thursday.
Cybercrooks were able to break in and modify a home theater message board on Circuit City's Web site, said Bill Cimino, a spokesman for Circuit City of Richmond, Va. Over an approximately two-week period, visitors to the board were subsequently sent to a site in Russia that attempted to install a "backdoor" on their PCs that gives the attackers remote access, he said
Circuit City was made aware of the attack on Thursday by the SANS Internet Storm Center, Cimino said. The company took down the message board, operated by a third party, and is in the process of notifying the 1,000 or so registered users of the online forum, he said.
DHS Report: New York Has No National Icons, Monuments Worth Protecting
Richard Esposito reports on ABC News' "The Blotter":
New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent--from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006.
The formula did not consider as landmarks or icons: The Empire State Building, The United Nations, The Statue of Liberty and others found on several terror target hit lists. It also left off notable landmarks, such as the New York Public Library, Times Square, City Hall and at least three of the nation's most renowned museums: The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan and The Museum of Natural History.
The form ignored that New York City is the capital of the world financial markets and merely stated the city had four significant bank assets.
The Department of Homeland Security open their mouths even further, and stuff their collective feet in there even deeper.
Again, Richard Esposito and Dennis Powell write
on ABC News' "The Blotter"
The Department of Homeland Security issued a press release to "set the record straight" on its funding allocations. In it, DHS explained that the Empire State Building was included as a "tall office building" and the Brooklyn Bridge as "a bridge." It said that the Statue of Liberty is not considered in New York City as it is on federal land. Link
The press release stated that a peer review committee was used to evaluate whether the assessments were fair. What it did not state was why their own access to intelligence analysis would be overridden by a peer review, which is what senior law enforcement officials in New York say occurred.
FBI Charges Pennsylvannia Senate Staff Members in Data Wipe Case
Brian Robinson writes on FCW.com:
The FBI arrested two Pennsylvania Senate staff members May 31 and charged them with obstruction of justice because they wiped e-mail messages and other data from the computers and personal digital assistants of a state senator under investigation for corruption.
Leonard Luchko and Mark Eister were employees of Senate Democratic Computer Services (SDCS), a Pennsylvania State Senate organization that provides computer assistance to Democratic members of the Senate.
The FBI complaint and affidavit state that when Luchko and Eister learned the senator to whom they were assigned was the subject of a federal investigation, they intentionally destroyed all e-mail messages concerning the senator and another organization so that investigators could not recover them.
U.S. Defense Security Service Lifts Planned Ban on .EDU Access
David Hubler writes on FCW.com:
The Defense Security Service has reversed its decision to cut off .edu domain users’ access to applications on the Defense Information System for Security Web site.
DSS announced the restriction earlier this week.
In an e-mail to Federal Computer Week, DSS spokesperson Cindy McGovern said the organization's Information Assurance division had reviewed the planned restriction and determined that it would cause a significant disruption and would not provide greater security.
She said the decision was strictly an internal one and not a result of any protests or queries from .edu domain users.
The ban, originally set to begin May 31, had been pushed back to June 30, according to a posting earlier this week on the DSS Web site.
EFF Victory: New Decision Protects Privacy of Password-Protected Websites
Via The EFF.
Today, the Eleventh Circuit's issued a decision in Snow v. DirecTV and preserved the legal protections for actually private websites while protecting your right to read public websites. EFF had filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting this ruling.
The case involved a lawsuit against DirecTV for accessing the public website of anti-DirecTV activists run by plaintiff Michael Snow. The website had a banner and purported Terms of Service forbidding DirecTV representatives from entering the site or using its message board, but it was configured such that anyone in the public could enter the site, create a profile, and use the board.
The lower court had rightly dismissed the case, but for the wrong reasons. It held that the "Stored Communications Act" portion of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 did not protect websites at all, even if they were configured to be private. It reached this privacy-destroying decision because DirecTV's lawyers had failed to make the better argument: that web sites *are* protected by the Stored Communications Act (or "SCA"), *except* when they are configured to be readily accessible to the general public.
USPS Considering Delivery of Snail-Mail Based on e-Mail Address?
Bem Charny writes on eWeek:
The U.S. Postal Service was recently asked to start delivering packages and letters based on someone's e-mail rather than street address.
The request is from Los Angeles-based Inventerprise LLC, which wants to conduct a trial run of its so-called Shelmail e-mail-to-snail addressing system sometime in 2008.
The Shelmail proposal is noteworthy because it suggests that e-mail addresses are a better means of delivering physical mail than what the postal service uses now.
Yahoo! Boss: 'Not Sure If He'd Collaborate With Nazis'
Via e-Mail Battles.
Yahoo! chief Terry Semel told a room jammed with witnesses at the Wall Street Journal's D: conference that he doesn't know if he would collaborate with the Nazis, in the same way Yahoo's partner in China collaborates with its Chinese masters. (The method used by Yahoo's partner has resulted in non-violent political dissidents serving long jail sentences.)
At least now all the cards are on the table where we can see them.
Defense Tech: 'Parasitic' Space Weapons Systems?
Via Defense Tech.
[An ...] offensive counterspace has proved tricky, with the specter of shards of broken satellites strewn in space, or crashing down to Earth.
[ICBM combat crew commander Capt. Joseph T. Page II] Page's suggestion: hijack an enemy orbiter's attitude control system -- which runs everything from propulsion to communications – and replace it with a "parasitic attitude control system," or PACS.
Return of Porn-Fetching 'YapBrowser' Raises Eyebrows
Ryan Naraine writes on eWeek:
A rogue Web browser that was removed from the Internet after security researchers found it was serving up child porn advertising has suddenly reappeared, with a peculiar twist.
The YapBrowser, also known as YapSearch or YapCash, now comes with an odd claim that users can expect protection from harmful exploits and viruses.
The site hosting the browser download originates from Russia and includes an "adult version" that lets users search for and browse pornography-themed content for free.
The site even offers a "100% guarantee" that no malicious system infection will occur when using the software, but security researchers tracking the seedier side of the Internet have flagged YapBrowser as a serious threat to computer users.
The Anti-iPod Coalition
Image source: Gizmodo
I love it.
Travis Hudson writes
Several companies have banded together to take down Apple’s iPod. Microsoft will be allying with Toshiba, Victor, NTT DoCoMo and five other companies to release music playing services and players that will challenge the iPod. Microsoft will be developing the software while Toshiba and Victor develop the players, and DoCoMo will add mobile phone functionality to this system.Link
This kind of reminds me of elementary school when all of the geeks would band together to fight the one bully. Unfortunately this isn’t elementary school, so Apple is likely going to kick the asses of all nine companies and take their milk money, to boot.
ITU Launches IDN Survey and ccTLD Outreach
Ram Mohan writes on CircleID:
Today, the ITU launched a new survey asking member states, ccTLDs and other ITU member organizations to provide answers to a specialized questionnaire asking for their experiences on the use of IDNs.
The ITU states that it is reaching out to ccTLDs to “collect information and experiences on Internationalized Domain Names under ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) around the globe.”
One of the goals of this survey is to collate information on the “needs and practices” of each ccTLD that is surveyed—so as to compile a report from the ITU that speaks to the implementation of IDNs around the world.
Linksys Launches IP Video Security Camera
Jennifer Hagendorf Follett writes on CRN.com:
Cisco Systems’ Linksys division Wednesday took its first step toward entering the small business physical security market with the launch of a new IP video camera.
The new Linksys Wireless-G Pan/Tilt/Zoom Video Camera (WVC200) is the first of several planned physical security products for the small business space to be launched over the next few months, said Allen Powell, director of channel sales at Linksys, Irvine, Calif.
While Linksys has been selling video cameras fo the consumer market, the new PTZ Internet camera is part of the vendor’s Business Series of products and marks its first small-business focused IP video offering, Powell said.
Morgan Stanley Wins Domain Name Arbitration Against a Cat -- Really
A cat has lost its bid to retain a controversial domain name after a multinational investment bank took it to the National Arbitration Forum.
Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB, who is listed as the owner of mymorganstanleyplatinum.com and was given some assistance in the case by Michael Woods, lost control of the domain to Morgan Stanley.
A key part of the case rested on whether or not Baroness Penelope was truly the owner of the domain. The first indication that the decision was unlikely to veer cat-wards came in the written decision of Arbitration Forum Panellist Richard Hill.
"Respondent maintains that it is a cat, that is, a well-known carnivorous quadruped which has long been domesticated," summarised Hill. "However, it is equally well-known that the common cat, whose scientific name is Felis domesticus, cannot speak or read or write."
Baroness Penelope argued in its submission that "the registration information is not false; there are an immense number of Domain Names registered by non human beings".
U.S. Hurricane Outlook Draws Betting Surge
A Reuters newswire article by Michael Christie, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
If he believed the smart money, online gambling commentator Christopher Costigan would move out of his oceanfront pad on Miami Beach right now.
According to the odds given by the multibillion-dollar Internet betting industry, it's almost a dead certainty that Florida will be struck by a big hurricane during the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially opened on Thursday.
But Costigan says he is staying put. "I will be betting on the reverse ... I'm looking right at the ocean," he said.
'Destroyed' Hard Drives at Best Buy Find Way to Flea Markets
Ryan Singel writes over on 27 BStroke 6:
Couple goes to Best Buy to get new hard drive, told old drive will be physically destroyed and one year later, Ed from Chicago calls up and says he bought their hard drive for $25 at a flea market.Link
Couple freaks out since Chicago Ed has their social security numbers, account numbers and more-than-slightly-embarrassing-Yacht-Rock-heavy Napster collection, so they put fraud notification on their credit reports and get the drive back from Ed.
Best Buy says it's looking into whether the idea of having outlet stores in flea markets is a good idea.
Moral of the story for citizens: Always destroy your own hard drive yourself (I personally prefer the 20-pound sledgehammer method to the overwrite 20 times method).
Moral of the story for Best Buy: Never admit anything wrong, instead you should market this is your Web 2.0 backup service.
Political Toon: The Linguistics Police
Click for larger image.
Airlines See 'Fines or Jail' Dilemma in EU Data Impasse
A Reuters newswire article by Tim Hepher and Benoit Van Oversraeten, via eWeek, reports that:
Global airlines accused the United States and Europe of failing to coordinate security and trade policies on Thursday, saying a European court decision to halt a data-sharing deal had left them in legal no-man's-land.
Under a 2004 anti-terrorism pact, European airlines have been obliged to give U.S. authorities up to 34 pieces of information on passengers flying to the United States but on Tuesday a European court ruled the agreement illegal.
Under existing rules, airlines face fines of $6,000 per passenger if they do not share the information.
Twenty-First Century Wiretapping: Recognition
Ed Felten writes over on Freedom to Tinker:
For the past several weeks I’ve been writing, on and off, about how technology enables new types of wiretapping, and how public policy should cope with those changes. Having laid the groundwork we’re now ready for to bite into the most interesting question.
Suppose the government is running, on every communication, some algorithm that classifies messages as suspicious or not, and that every conversation labeled suspicious is played for a government agent. When, if ever, is government justified in using such a scheme?
Many readers will say the answer is obviously “never”. Today I want to argue that that is wrong — that there are situations where automated flagging of messages for human analysis can be justified.
California Assembly Votes Bill Easing Cable Rules
California's Democratic-dominated Assembly passed a bill on Wednesday that could increase competition among cable television providers and make it easier for telephone companies to enter the market.
The bill by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez would eliminate city-by-city franchises, which he said made it nearly impossible for rivals with new technologies to enter California's market for television entertainment services.
It passed by a rare unanimous vote of 70-0 in the often-divided Legislature, with 10 members not present during the Wednesday night vote. "We need to set a framework that is technology neutral, and we don't have that currently," said bill co-sponsor Lloyd Levine.
EU: MEP Pitches e-Mail and Text Message Tax
Email users might soon have to pay for the privilege of sending messages in Europe, according to a proposal from a committee of the European Parliament. A tax of €0.0000001 per email has been proposed by a member of the Parliament's Budgets Committee.
French MEP Alain Lamassoure has proposed the tax alongside a more substantial levy on text messages of €0.015 per message.
UK Police Abandon 'Monumental Task' of Tracing Hacker
Manchester Police will not pursue the hacker who held a UK woman to ransom after moving her computer files into a locked folder.
Filenappers used a virus, called Arhiveus, to infect Helen Barrow's computer and lock all her files. The attackers then instructed Barrow, a student nurse, to buy drugs from an online outlet. Only then, said the hackers, would she be sent a password which would release her files.
Barrow managed to get hold of a working password and rescue her data, but Manchester Police say that the case is closed. "In terms of trying to find who did this it would be a monument task to have to do," said a spokeswoman for Manchester Police. "This is not an investigation that is continuing."
SETI Thursday: Of Faith and Facts -- Is SETI a Religion?
A rather fascinating article by David Darling of The SETI Institute, via Space.com, reports that:
Is SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—a religion? This is one of the topics that Jill Tarter, Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute, and I discussed on "Are We Alone?", the SETI Institute's weekly radio program on Wednesday May 17.
The discussion by Jill and I was in response to a claim made by George Basalla (professor emeritus of history at the University of Delaware) in his book Civilized Life in the Universe (Oxford University Press: 2006) that SETI is more of a faith-based enterprise than a genuine science. He points to SETI's failure to make "contact" after more than forty years of trying and its continuing efforts in the absence of any positive evidence as a sign that it relies more on a kind of religious zeal than anything else. (Incidentally, Basalla was invited to appear on the show but declined.)
Needless to say, Jill Tarter is less than impressed by this argument, as indeed am I.
Nominet Warns of WHOIS Data Mining
Kieren McCarthy writes on The Register:
Nominet has issued a warning about commercial companies that are swiping copyrighted information on domain name owners from its Whois database.
Several weeks ago, the UK internet registry owner noticed a sharp increase in the number of people accessing its Whois service, an online searchable database that provides ownership details for individual .uk internet addresses, including the name of the individual and sometimes their home address.
Nominet director of IT Jay Daley said in one 24-hour period there were an additional 50,000 look-ups appearing to come from 5,000 different internet addresses. Thanks to careful monitoring and analysis, however, Nominet was able to trace the source of the requests to a single company - US security company Intrusion.com.
Nominet blocked Intrusion.com and sent an email to the company requesting an explanation, but heard nothing back. A week later, it phoned the US firm and sent another email before finally speaking to its co-founder, vice-president and vice-chairman T Joe Head, who confirmed the company had been building a database of .uk domain ownership in order to help its products perform better.
CERN Seeks to Tighten Security for Data Grid
Lara Williams writes on Computing:
CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and birthplace of the web, is starting a two-year project to improve security for its worldwide data grid.
The European organisation for nuclear research identified that partner sites on the grid are a security concern; many are open access public institutions supporting the lab’s projects.
CERN tests innovative technologies in partnership with industry, and has asked security specialists Stonesoft and F-Secure to test security for the launch of the large hadron collider (LHC) project next year.
The 27km underground particle accelerator will distribute large amounts of information onto the worldwide LHC computing grid. More than 1GB per second of data will be generated and either stored at CERN or sent to 12 major computing sites and a further 100 institutes around the world for analysis.
UK: Criminal Background Checks to Go Online
Sarah Arnott writes in Computing:
Criminal records checks will be available online from next year and a web-based scheme to confirm job applicants’ suitability for work with vulnerable groups will be in place by 2008.
The plans are part of a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) five-year strategy, published last week.
The agency also aims to link to more public sector data sources and incorporate the government’s planned biometric ID card scheme in authentication and application processes.
"The five years covered by this strategy will be a period of major change," says the report.
German Court OKs T-Online Takeover by Deutsche Telekom
An AP newswire article, via ABC News, reports that:
Internet service provider T-Online International AG said Thursday that a German federal court has cleared the way for its absorption by majority owner Deutsche Telekom AG, dismissing appeals against the deal.
The Federal Court of Justice rejected as "inadmissible" complaints against a Frankfurt court's ruling that pending lawsuits by shareholders should not block any registration of the deal, T-Online said in a statement.
Following the decision, "the merger will take effect once it has been entered in the commercial registers of both companies," it added.
T-Online is Europe's largest ISP and has more than 13.5 million subscribers.
Vonage Not Giving Customers a Break
A Reuters newswire article, via CNN/Money, reports that:
Internet telephone service provider Vonage said on Wednesday it was not buying back shares allocated to its customers to buy in its initial public offering last week, amid speculation it would allow some investors to back out.
Vonage, which has seen its share price slide nearly 30 percent since its May 24 debut, had taken the unusual step of reserving some IPO shares for its customers.
It said late on Wednesday that customers allocated shares in the public offering are "obligated to purchase their share allocation from the underwriters."
"To be clear, we have not offered and are not offering to repurchase any of the shares of common stock from our customers," Vonage said in a statement.
India Reaps $23.6B in Outsourcing Revenue
John Ribeiro writes on InfoWorld:
India's exports of software and services such as callcenters and back office operations totalled $23.6 billion in the year to March 31, up by 33 percent from a year earlier, the National Association of Software Companies (Nasscom) in Delhi announced Thursday.
Preliminary estimates released by Nasscom in February had indicated that the growth in export revenue was 32 percent.
Telecoms Call for Legal Fixes After Katrina
Anne Broache writes on C|Net News:
Days after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast last August, repair crews hoping to breathe life into a damaged telephone network were temporarily blocked by government officials who refused to give phone company workers permission to enter a disaster-stricken area.
And when looting and gunfire erupted in New Orleans, bureaucratic mix-ups and problems in communication delayed efforts by BellSouth to revive a rapidly growing number of dead telephone lines that could have saved lives had they been working.
With the formal start of hurricane season on Thursday, some of the nation's largest wireless and wireline providers are vowing to prevent that from happening again. Through private correspondence and in public statements, telecommunications companies are calling on President Bush and the Department of Homeland Security to change the way the government responds to a natural disaster, and a federal panel is expected to release a report in two weeks.
Make Vendors Liable for Bugs?
Bruce Schneier writes on Wired News:
For years I have argued in favor of software liabilities. Software vendors are in the best position to improve software security; they have the capability. But, unfortunately, they don't have much interest.
Features, schedule and profitability are far more important. Software liabilities will change that. They'll align interest with capability, and they'll improve software security.
Gapingvoid: The Problem With People...
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
ISS World: Crashing the Wiretapper's Ball
Thomas Greene writes on Wired News:
They were government officials, telephone company honchos, military officers, three-letter-agency spooks and cops, all brought together by salesmen dealing in the modern equipment of surveillance. It was my job to learn what they were up to.
They'd gathered for the ISS World Conference, a trade show featuring the latest in mass communications intercept gear, held in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Crystal City, Virginia. Situated conveniently between Reagan National Airport and the Pentagon, Crystal City is an artificial place dominated by conference centers and hotels, set up to accommodate the endless, and often secret, intercourse between the U.S. military and its myriad itinerant contractors, lobbyists, consultants and trainers. They rotate in and out, civilians using the airport, military personnel taking the subway from the Pentagon, with Crystal City as the intersection in a figure-eight circuit of constant activity.
Telekom Malaysia Leads Undersea Cable Consortium to Link with U.S.
An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Telekom Malaysia has said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with seven Asian partners to build an undersea broadband cable system linking Southeast Asia with the United States.
Malaysia's largest telecom company said the cable system will route between Malaysia and the US through Hong Kong, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii, with branches into Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam.
Angry Grlfriends Expose U.S. Marshal Imposter
An AP newswire article, via CNN, reports that:
To some people, Richard Kudlik possessed the macho allure of movie star Tommy Lee Jones' portrayals of a deputy U.S. marshal on a manhunt.
They say he had the badge, raid jacket, flashing lights on his Dodge pickup truck, even a gun. It all felt real, right down to his earnestness, recalled one ex-girlfriend, Pamela Brown.
"Honesty and loyalty is what he always tried to project," Brown said.
But the real U.S. marshals -- and a chorus of angry women -- say Kudlik was only acting.
Kudlik, 43, was arrested at his home on Wednesday after Brown and other women outed him earlier this month on a Web site featuring a wanted poster. The site calls him a "lying, cheating U.S. Marshal impersonator" and reveals his true identity as a long-married maintenance man.
1 June 1980: CNN Begins Broadcasting
00:01 Via Wikipedia
The Cable News Network, usually referred to as CNN, is a cable television network founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. It is a division of the Turner Broadcasting System, owned by Time Warner. CNN introduced the concept of 24-hour television news coverage, and celebrated its 25th anniversary on June 1, 2005.
In terms of cumulative (Cume) Nielsen ratings, CNN rates as America's #1 cable news network, however, it is superseded by Fox News in long-term viewers (Nielsen's Points ratings). CNN broadcasts primarily from its headquarters at the CNN Center in Atlanta, and from studios in New York City and Washington, DC. As of December 2004, it is available in 88.2 million U.S. households and more than 890,000 U.S. hotel rooms. Globally, the network has combined branded networks and services that are available to more than 1.5 billion people in over 212 countries and territories.
Oracle in Talks to Acquire Demantra?
Via Red Herring.
As if 19 acquisitions in 18 months were not enough, Oracle is now likely to buy the Israeli company Demantra, a developer of demand-driven supply chain software, for $41 million cash, according to a report Wednesday.
Globes Online, the English version of Israel’s business daily Globes, reported on the possible acquisition. Demantra, which has Israeli roots, is now based in Waltham, Massachusetts. Neither company returned calls seeking comment on the possible deal.
Oracle has been on an acquisition spree since late 2004 when it announced the hostile takeover of business applications software provider PeopleSoft.
Stolen VA Data Had Phone Numbers, Addresses, Health Diagnostic Codes
An AP newswire article, via CNN, reports that:
Personal information on 26.5 million veterans stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee this month not only included Social Security numbers and birthdates but also in many cases phone numbers and addresses, internal documents show.
Meanwhile, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson said Wednesday that he had named a former Arizona prosecutor as a special adviser for information security.
The new three-month post will pinpoint security problems at the VA and develop recommendations for improvements, Nicholsons said.
The three pages of memos by the VA offer new details on the scope of one of the nation's largest security breaches.
ISPs, Telcos Object to Data Retention
Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:
Internet providers and telecommunications companies expressed concern on Wednesday about the feasibility of recording Americans' online activities, a proposal that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has recently endorsed.
In a meeting Friday first reported by CNET News.com, Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller said the war on terror would be aided by two years' worth of data retention, a requirement industry representatives say would be accompanied by technical, security and privacy challenges.
"We have real reservations about data retention requirements because of the security and privacy risks attached to it," said Mark Uncapher, senior vice president of the Information Technology Association of America. ITAA's board members include representatives of AT&T, Sybase, Fujitsu and Unisys.
Sun Microsystems to Cut Up to 5,000 Jobs
An AP newswire article, via MSNBC, reports that:
Computer server maker Sun Microsystems Inc., whose revenue has declined four years in a row, said Wednesday it planned to cut 4,000 to 5,000 jobs in an effort to return to consistent profitability.
The cuts, which will reduce Sun’s 37,500-person work force by 11 percent to 13 percent over the next six months, will cost Santa Clara-based Sun from $340 million to $500 million over the next several quarters, the company said.
Sun executives expect the plan, which also includes selling real estate and exiting leases, to save the company from $480 million to $590 million, once it is fully implemented sometime around June of next year.
U.S. Army Pulls Plug on IT Conference
Dawn S. Onley writes on GCN.com:
The Army has abruptly canceled its Information Technology Conference, sponsored by the Army Small Computer Program and planned for June 5-8 in Orlando, Fla.
Due to “severe” Operations and Maintenance Army (OMA) funding restrictions, the decision to cancel the conference was made this afternoon.
People registered to attend are being asked to immediately cancel hotel reservations to ensure that the Army does not incur any additional costs.
Au Revoir, Equant!
Denise Pappalardo writes on NetworkWorld:
France Telecom announced Wednesday that it is changing the name of its multinational service provider Equant to Orange Business Services.
While the change is primarily a marketing move, Mack Treece, head of Orange Business Services in the Americas, says there are benefits for multinational customers in the U.S.
Orange Business Services is now reselling Cingular Wireless services domestically to its multinational data customers. Overseas, Orange Business Services sales representatives will also be the single point of contact for all Orange wireless services and France Telecom data and voice offerings.