Child Abduction Prevention Act, Privacy Disappearing, Security Appliances Spread ... and More

Markets may be flat, but Internet fraud is growing... you are being surveilled... RSA financials looking up... and more from around the web


Congress passed legislation Thursday that would give jail time to online pornographers who deliberately mask their sites behind innocuous domain names. The House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the Child Abduction Prevention Act, which strengthens penalties for pedophiles,provides funding for a national child-abduction alert system and bolsters prohibitions against child pornography. The bill also bans the distribution of "virtual" child pornography -- legal pornographic images of adults that have been digitally altered to look like children having sex.

The FBIs Internet fraud unit said the number of complaints it referred to law enforcement authorities tripled last year, as did the cost of fraud to victims. The bureaus Internet Fraud Complaint Center, which launched in May 2000 and is managed in part by the National White Collar Crime Center said it referred 48,252 complaints out of the 75,063 it received last year. Thats nearly three times the 16,775 complaints it referred in 2001. The monetary loss associated with the fraud more than tripled, to $54 million from $17 million, in the same period.


Amid an explosion in the amount of personal information that is being tracked electronically, 150 academics and researchers gathered this week at IBMs Almaden Research Center to explore ways of protecting privacy. The challenge? Data is being gathered from a growing variety of sources. Grocery store shopping patterns are being tracked via "club cards," video surveillance has increased and embedded sensors could eventually track any product or person. "Were being taped right now," IBM Chief Privacy Officer Harriet Pearson told the crowd Wednesday to drive home her point. In the early days of the Internet, privacy concerns were only an afterthought, Pearson said. Only belatedly was work done to try to bolt on standards for privacy, she said.


The security appliance market generated factory revenues of $355 million in the fourth quarter of 2002, up 15 percent on the previous quarter and representing the largest sequential growth for any technology sector in 2002, according to IDC. IDC suggested that much of the growth is being generated by products geared for small businesses and branch offices, and for supporting large data centers. Firewall/virtual private network (VPN) appliances continued to be the leading segment of the market with 90 percent revenue share in the final quarter, according to analyst IDCs Worldwide Security Server Appliance Tracker.

RSA Security returned to profitability for the first time in nearly two years. The company reported revenue for the first quarter, ended March 31, of $61.3 million, up from $55 million for the same period last year. RSA reported net income of $1.7 million, up from a net loss of $13.7million in the year-ago quarter. For the second quarter, RSA expects revenue to range from $58 million to $63 million.