- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

"DVD JON" BEATS ENTERTAINMENT GIANTS

An Oslo court Tuesday ruled young Jon Lech Johansen, dubbed "DVD Jon" in the Norwegian media, did nothing wrong when at age 16 he helped crack and distribute on the Internet the encryption coding on a DVD that was his own personal property, the Norwegian daily Aftenposten reported. The ruling represents a major upset to the entertainment giants, including the Motion Picture Association of America, who had pressured Norwegian prosecutors to take action against Johansen, citing privacy and intellectual property rights. "DVD Jon" won on all counts, with the court ruling because there was no evidence he or others had used the decryption code, or DeCSS, for illegal purposes, Johansen could not be charged with pirating the information.

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REPUBLICANS SKEW ONLINE POLLS

Increased Republican participation is skewing online opinion polls, according to a new poll by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The poll found when online members from both parties go online for election news they look for the same kinds of information, donate money and engage in online discussions at the same rates — although more Republicans than Democrats go online for election news — 18 percent vs. 11 percent. However, among those who said they like to take opinion polls, half were Republicans while only one-in-five identified themselves as Democrats. The Internet now rivals newspapers as a source for election news, but it continues to lag far behind television, the study found.

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BRITISH SITE TO PROTECT KIDS

Britain's Home Office rolled out a new Web site Monday designed to thwart would-be pedophiles by increasing awareness among youths about appropriate Internet behavior — especially in chat rooms. The new site, thinkuknow.co.uk, features stylized graphics with male and female characters, a game and a questionnaire. The five pieces of advice on the site's home page "chat guide" include online friends might not be who you think they are; don't give out personal information; respect your friends' privacy; be careful when posting a profile in a chat room; and be cautious about meeting face to face. After last year's awareness campaign, 80 percent of children and 90 percent who used chat rooms said the ads accompanying last year's campaign made them aware not to give out personal details.

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MAKING HACKERS' JOBS THAT MUCH EASIER …

Public relations firm Carmichael Lynch had major egg on its face when it discovered it left an accidentally published administrator's password on its Web site for more than six months, giving unauthorized visitors access to files including the customer databases of two of its biggest clients, Porsche and American Standard. WiredNews.com reports the company's human resource department accidentally published the password when updating the site's job listings using Microsoft's FrontPage Web publishing software. The company removed the listing containing the password from its Web site last week. WiredNews.com reported an unidentified Internet user decided to go public with the slipup after Carmichael Lynch failed to plug the hole, even though he had warned them in June.

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TALES OF THE OBVIOUS: CONSUMERS HATE SPAM

Nearly 75 percent of Internet users are calling for the abolition of spam, or unsolicited e-mail messages, a new Harris Interactive poll reports. Tolerance for spam has dropped precipitously in the past two years, with 80 percent rating it very annoying vs. 49 percent two years ago. The Harris poll revealed anti-spam sentiment crosses all demographic boundaries, with between 70 percent and 80 percent of all age groups and income levels, both sexes and both political parties, and blacks, whites and Hispanics favoring such a ban. Among the types of spam declared most annoying were messages selling pornography, with 91 percent of the vote, mortgage and loan offers at 79 percent, and investments and real estate at 68 percent and 61 percent respectively.

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(Got a tip for UPI's On the Net? Send it to [email protected])


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