Ashcroft vs. the Scam Artists
Wednesday, August 25, 2004; 8:47 AM
"School's Out" might be the digital download of choice for students showing up for the fall semester. After all, nothing else could make them yearn so much for winter break. But unlike last year, many of them won't have to search for a free, pirated copy on the Internet. More schools than ever are striking deals with Napster and other paid online music services to offer digital songs to students at a steep discount or even for free, according to a new report released by the recording industry and a group of higher learning institutions.
Or "Campuses Nix XP Fix," if you will. After making such a big splash with the Windows XP Service Pack 2 update, Microsoft Corp. is discovering that some of the IT administrators holed up in academia's hallowed halls aren't so hell-bent on getting students to automatically download the big fix. Several colleges and universities have determined that thousands of students returning to school, plugging in XP computers into the school network and automatically downloading the large security upgrade could turn those networks into electronic versions of the La Brea tar pits. Not only that, some colleges and universities will temporarily block their students' computers from automatically downloading SP2 until they are sure that it won't interfere with their own online security platforms.
The Post today profiled Linda Lamone, the embattled chairwoman of Maryland's State Board of Elections and one of the nation's staunchest supporters of electronic voting technology. Lamone has come under fire from activists and computer scientists who claim that touchscreen e-voting machines are subject to fraud, manipulation and error, and that attention has only increased as the November presidential election approaches. While not the only elections official who has been forced to deal with the controversy generated by e-voting machines, she certainly is one of the most well known and has become (almost literally) a lightning rod for critics who argue that e-voting machines should be outfitted so they can yield a voter-verified paper trail.