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Blogging Goes Mainstream

Saved by the Feds?

Never mind its $9 billion in accounting woes or its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, WorldCom is winning big business from Uncle Sam. The telecom provider has nabbed a contract to provide communications services to the U.S. State Department. The contract could be worth $360 million over 10 years. It's the third major federal contract for WorldCom in just two months, a sign that the troubled telecom is not going away. AT&T and Sprint, retract your claws.
The Washington Post: WorldCom Wins Another U.S. Contract
IDG News Service (via Computerworld): WorldCom Wins 10-Year State Department Contract

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports today that former WorldCom head Bernie Ebbers might be in the clear with wrongdoing tied to the telecom giant's accounting problems. Information provided by ex-WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan about discussions he had with Ebbers fall "short of helping prosecutors to directly link Mr. Ebbers to the company's accounting improprieties," the newspaper said, quoting sources familiar with the case.
The Wall Street Journal: WorldCom Ex-CFO Fails To Link Ebbers to Fraud (Subscription required)
Reuters (via Forbes.com): WorldCom Ex-CFO Unlikely To Link Ebbers to Fraud

_____Filter Archive_____
Wired for Security (washingtonpost.com, Jan 20, 2005)
For Techs, Are Happy Days Here Again? (washingtonpost.com, Jan 19, 2005)
Video Game Dream Team (washingtonpost.com, Jan 18, 2005)
A Failing Upgrade for the FBI (washingtonpost.com, Jan 14, 2005)
New Year's Hacks (washingtonpost.com, Jan 13, 2005)
More Past Issues

Beware of 'Secret Admirer'

A Welsh hacker pleaded guilty to charges that he used his home computer to create and send a computer virus that infected more than 20,000 PCs in 42 countries. Word to the wise: Don't open an e-mail with a subject line "You have a secret admirer." It was one of the pick-up lines, masquerading as a virus, that 22-year-old Simon Vallor used in the December 2001 hacker attacks.
BBC News Online: Computer Virus Attack Admitted
icWales: Man Admits Computer Virus Charge

Final Thoughts on the Aussie Libel Ruling The Dec. 10 ruling by Australia's highest court that allowed a businessman to pursue a libel suit against U.S.-based Dow Jones and Co. is still being hotly debated on editorial pages and in the international press. A few more Filter readers have recently sent e-mails weighing in on the ruling:

* "I'm an Australian citizen, male 30. I think that [Joseph] Gutnick has no right to sue in Australia an article that was written overseas. Where will it lead and where will it end? Will all countries have to change their publishing laws to that of the most right wing country in the world? Will journalists end up with a legal death sentence for insulting a right wing dictator? Libel action in western countries has already gone too far and no one accepts responsibility for there own actions anymore anyway," -- Matthew Law, Australia.
* In Monday's Filter, I posted a response to the ruling by reader John Vilnis of Brisbane, Australia. An excerpt: "People will get very scared by [the ruling]. ... Internet needs laws to be written for it to curb the illegal practices that have been allowed to flourish on it." In response, Filter reader Dan Annis had this to say: "Mr. Vilnis may not understand that the 'needed laws' he speaks of may also include religious laws in those countries the Internet touches who decree that any slander against their religious icons brings the death penalty. Then factor in international trade and tax laws, intellectual property laws and recent US think-speak sanctions against free speech, and the Internet as we know it would summarily cease to exist, except as some Dark Ages II Madison Avenue carney show subset of reality."
* The News of Stuart, Fla., had this to say in an editorial: "The Internet does pose special legal challenges there's no real 'there' in cyberspace and there should be some redress for libel, but the robust and unfettered flow of information outweighs an aggrieved Australian's convenience in filing a lawsuit."

If you've got more to say about the ruling, send me an e-mail.

Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindy.webb@washingtonpost.com.

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