The Buzz: January 15, 2001

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-01-15

Disney to aid

The Buena Vista Internet Group, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co., has offered to pay bankrupt e-tailer $50,000 to destroy its customer database, which contains personal information about shoppers. The offer, negotiated with the help of the Federal Trade Commission, must be accepted by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge overseeing the case. The Buena Vista group owns a majority share of Toysmart.

Toysmart declared bankruptcy last May and included the customer database as part of its assets to be sold. Thirty-nine states objected to the selling of the customer information, and Texas has sued to stop the sale.

Included in Toysmarts privacy policy was a promise to customers never to sell information to a third party.

Nader pushes for panel

Former green party presidential candidate Ralph Nader is pushing for the creation of an international panel that would protect consumers.

Of particular concern to consumer activists is a push by the World Trade Organization for governments to override national privacy protections that the WTO deems too restrictive and an obstacle to international trade.

Nader spoke about his proposal last week, saying support for the idea would increase as countries grow wary of the WTO. He also said the United States should pass stringent legislation limiting what e-tailers can do in collecting and disseminating personal information of customers.

Ex-Compaq execs refocus

Some of the compaq Computer Corp. old guard are reuniting to form a company that will sell—what else?—servers.

The new company, whose name has not yet been announced, will unveil itself as well as its new server family, code-named ICE, in an online press conference on Tuesday.

Founding members of the venture include CEO Gary Stimac and President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Swavely. Stimac formerly headed Compaqs highly successful server business, while Swavely served as president of North America Operations at Compaq before resigning in 1991.

The two joined, in June 1999, to form Office Domain Inc., which develops and sells the unified messaging package MessageASAP.

Rocket Fuel