Fast Breaks Newsfront: January 22, 2001

Checking Names

Free-speech organizations called on the Department of Commerce to hold a hearing before approving seven new groups of Internet domain names. In a Jan. 16 letter signed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, among others, activists said the process the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers used to choose the new generic top-level domain names was flawed.


Wal-Mart Stores scooped up some of the assets of defunct, which sold gardening products online. acquired Garden.coms editorial, interactive and film content. Products will be offered for sale in Wal-Marts garden centers nationwide. Some items will be introduced online this year, with more products added next year.

Break From Pack

In an unexpected move, the AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, released a set of principles to guide federal policymaking on privacy. The association said it fears conflicting state privacy rules, and appears to have broken with the majority of high-tech companies that want to self-regulate rather than face federal oversight.

Fed Up

Tired of waiting for the phone guy, a group of Verizon Communications customers filed a class-action suit against the company. The beef: They allege the company knows it cannot provide Digital Subscriber Line service expeditiously, yet it is still signing up customers.

Meet the Press

Lernout & Hauspies new chief executive, Philipe Bodson, is scheduled to update the media this week on recent events at the troubled speech recognition vendor. Bodson will undoubtedly be asked about the ouster last week of his predecessor, John Duerden, and the unexpected resignation of Chairman Roel Pieper.

Like, Almost Totally Guilty

The Canadian teen-ager charged with launching a massive denial-of-service attack last February pleaded guilty to 57 of the 67 charges against him. Both Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officials have touted Mafiaboys arrest as evidence that they are making headway catching and prosecuting computer criminals. Security experts said the teen was just one of many hooligans involved in the attack.