A number of organizations this year invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—written to stave off Internet piracy—in an attempt to limit their competition. Whether theyll succeed remains to be seen.
In 2003, many software vendors introduced product activation schemes that inconvenienced and annoyed customers by working only some of the time and almost always failing to stop piracy.
Microsoft Patching the Patches
In Microsofts zeal to fix new vulnerabilities, initial patches often provided, er, less-than-optimal results. End result? Another patch.
Thrashing about like a bull in a china shop of intellectual property practice and precedent, The SCO Groups unsupported threats against Linux developers and users did all of IT a grave disservice.
Rise of Spyware
Spyware rounded the corner from mild annoyance to major grievance in 2003. As a result, Ad-aware, Hijack This and Spycop became part of the IT toolbox as techs wrestled the beast.
Social Security Number Blunders
The casual use of the Social Security number as an ID is permitted by law but should be resisted by customers of any private enterprise, as it paves the way for identity theft.
Viruses and Worms
As Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” would say, “Worst. Year. Ever.” Viruses and worms spread like never before in 2003—and not through clever new tricks but simply by taking advantage of unpatched systems and users failure to learn from past mistakes.
Microsofts newest products are more feature-filled than ever, but fully exploiting these features often requires an upgrade to Microsofts latest and greatest everything.
General Patent Insanity
First SCO Group decides to tussle with IBM over the companys “misuse” of Unix and ends up going after the GPL (General Public License). Then Eolas took on Microsoft, claiming Internet Explorer infringed on a patent that describes how a Web browser can use external applications.
Software quality and source code security became mainstream topics when Diebold fell short in delivering reliable e-voting.