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TBTF for 1995-05-18: Motorola holds the key; SurfWatch's up

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Thu, 18 May 1995 07:17:53 -0400

[Sorry, got a bit behind on TBTF dealing with a housebreak in which my
*entire* computer setup was stolen, right down to the power strips. Happy
ending, comparitively speaking, as you can see: I had most of the equipment
back 18 hours after the crime.]

>>From Edupage:

The online scales are tipping, according to research firm Matrix Information
and Directory Services. A study released last Thursday says that the gender
imbalance on the Internet, long believed to be nine men to every woman, is
now down to slightly less than two men to every woman. (Tampa Tribune
1995-05-12 B&F8)

Motorola has a new business aimed at protecting corporate databases from
snoopers and crooks. Its key escrow system will allow companies to keep a
copy of the mathematical key needed to decode messages by their employees,
with the reasoning that such a step is necessary in the event that employees
die or are otherwise unavailable to unlock their files. The system would
also enable companies to respond to subpoenas, in the event an employee were
involved in a crime. "The government's rights are protected. But the
government won't own the key -- the corporation will own the key," says a
Motorola manager. In addition to the message encryption software, Motorola
will market firewall software to keep intruders out of corporate networks.
(Wall Street Journal 1995-05-15 B2)

[Clipper is dead by general concensus (but not in law). This proposal doesn't
do anything for the NSA/FBI constituency that wants to preserve the ability
to intercept communications.]

Prime Minister Jean Chretien became Canada's first "virtual" prime
minister when he went online today with CompuServe to field questions from
Canadians. (Ottawa Citizen 1995-05-16 A5)

[On the Internet no-one knows you're a Canadian, eh?]

A new information-retrieval service, called NlightN Universal Index, allows
users to access documents through the company's WWW site, and pay only for
what they use. The cost of the service ranges from about 10 cents for a
simple abstract to hundreds of dollars for proprietary financial
information. Fees are charged to a user's credit card. The system was
developed by the Library Corporation, and is based on Carnegie Mellon's
Lycos database of documents available on the Web. <http://www.nlightn.com>
(Chronicle of Higher Education 1995-05-19 A27)

[I looked at this site. They've got a long ways to go before they're a
threat to InfoSeek (<URL:http://www.infoseek.com/>. Among the "value-adds"
InfoSeek offers its subscribers is speedy response -- subscribers are
accommodated on a private, scalable server "farm," not on the public server.
NlightN's server is clearlly overburdened already.]

A software program developed by SurfWatch Software Inc. allows Internet
users to block sexually explicit material and other objectionable content,
such as bomb-making manuals and neo-Nazi propaganda. SurfWatch is one of a
number of firms developing tools to filter electronic files, hoping to bring
their products to market before the government beats them to the punch by
banning all such material from the Internet. "We don't have to rely on the
government to attempt to censor everything on the Internet," says a
spokesman for a civil-liberties group. (Wall Street Journal 1995-05-15 B2)

[And Tim gets the final word today.]

Legendary psychodelic Timothy Leary, now 74, loves the possibilities of
the information age: "No reason why your great-grandchildren shouldn't be
able to boot up your program and play a game of chess and interact with you
even though you've been dead for a hundred years. If you want to immortalize,
digitize." (Computerworld 1995-05-01 p.117)

TBTF alerts you 3 times a week to bellwethers in computer and communications
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email me at either address below.
Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.