Someone To Watch Over Us
Thursday, November 21, 2002; 9:38 AM
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California plans to draft legislation to make sure that the project does not become a threat to Americans' privacy rights, The San Jose Mercury News reports. "This is a panoply, which isn't carefully conscribed and controlled, for a George Orwell America. And I don't think the American people are ready for that by a long shot," Feinstein told the newspaper.
The San Jose Mercury News: Massive Database Dragnet Explored
Newsday: Pentagon Refutes Big Brother Charge
The Associated Press (via The New York Times): Pentagon Defends Anti-Terror Project (Registration required)
The Financial Times: FBI's Increased Powers Under Spotlight
Wired: Feds Open "Total" Tech Spy System
The Washington Post: U.S. Hopes to Check Computers Globally (article is from Nov. 12)
The headline of a San Francisco Chronicle column critical of the project made no bones about its opinion: "Fighting Terror By Terrifying U.S. Citizens." In the piece, columnist Rob Morse writes: "Poindexter doesn't have all our phone calls, Macy's purchases and bridge crossings in a database yet." Washington Post editors wrote: "Privacy concerns need to be built into the technology from the beginning -- if the public decides, after being fully acquainted with the possibilities, that it is to be built at all." Meanwhile, The New York Times doesn't like the project. In a Monday editorial, the newspaper said: "There are enough federal agencies already engaged in the 'mining' of information about all of us. The last thing we need is a vast new system of domestic surveillance engineered by John Poindexter. Congress should shut down the program pending a thorough investigation." That doesn't seem a likely prospect. The project already has a $10 million budget this year alone.
GovExec.com: Tech Insider: Total Information Unawareness
The San Francisco Chronicle: Fighting Terror By Terrifying U.S. Citizens
The New York Times: A Snooper's Dream (Editorial)
The Washington Post: Total Information Awareness (Editorial)
Despite layoffs and a controversial merger -- or maybe partially because of them -- Hewlett-Packard yesterday reported fourth-quarter results that surpassed Wall Street's expectations. "We are starting to deliver on the promises of the merger," said HP chairman and chief executive Carly Fiorina, referring to the tumultuous $19 billion merger with Compaq. The company logged earnings of $390 million (13 cents a share) on revenue of $18 billion for the quarter ended Oct. 31. That compared with a combined loss of $505 million (17 cents) on revenue of $18.2 billion during the same year-ago period.
The San Jose Mercury News: H-P Posts Strong Earnings
The Washington Post: Hewlett-Packard Says Merger Is Already Saving Money
Bankrupt telecom WorldCom plans to cut at least 3,000 workers from its roster next month as it seeks to save money and exit bankruptcy by next year. The Washington Post said company officials said the layoffs are part of previously announced plans to cut 17,000 jobs. Unnamed sources told the newspaper that the layoffs would affect dozens of Washington-area workers. Colorado's Gazette newspaper said that 500 Colorado Springs-area jobs will be affected by the cuts.
The Washington Post: WorldCom To Trim At Least 3,000 Jobs
Colorado's The Gazette: Capellas Announces Local WorldCom Layoffs
Are the days of free Internet content numbered? The Energy Department has shut down PubSCIENCE, a Web site that offered free searches and abstracts of energy and science articles and reports. The Washington Post reports that the popular site was shut down after private sector groups said PubScience competed with similar commercial services, including Scirus and Infotrieve. The Energy Department's rationale seems to be if the private sector is offering a similar service, they no longer need to spend the resources on the same thing. "What we worry about is what's next," Charles A. Hamaker, associate librarian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte told the newspaper.
The Washington Post: Free Web Research Link Closed Under Pressure From Pay Sites
Archived press release about PubSCIENCE's 1999 launch
"Even when people are warned in dialog boxes their lines are being disconnected, they're not really paying attention to the terms and conditions," one telecommunications worker told The Australian IT. The remarks came as more than 600 people have complained about being dumped from their Australian Internet service provider and reconnected unknowingly to expensive, off-shore numbers, the newspaper reports. Don't feel too sorry for those being dumped, however. The unauthorized re-connects happened when the Internet surfers were trying to look at porn, gambling or moneymaking schemes through their Web browsers.
The Australian IT: Your Heard It Here First (First Item)