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Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

The Register Weekly Digest has been put together to make your life easy. It gives you a buffet of all the week's news in one easy-to-swallow email. It also comes as a PDF so you can print it out and take it away with you.

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Data - yours, mine and his

This week, the headlines were all about data. The banks left it out on the streets, the government wants to share it around, and Google promised to ditch it after two years.

Google says the change of policy, which it will roll out at the end of the year, was prompted by concerns raised by privacy watchdogs, and the need to defend itself against government demands for data. It says it will hang on to data for 18 to 24 months before scrubbing some of the bits in IP addresses associated with searches.

Will you share your data with HMGov?

Six months after the government announced it would review whether data protection laws were a "barrier" to its information sharing plans, it is still not ready to share its thoughts on the matter. It wants to compare the data its various agencies hold on us to spot trouble before it occurs.

Meanwhile, eBay had a rather embarrassing spillage of its data when a hacker named Vladuz managed to gain employee level access to the auctioneer's forums. The intrusion, like the others preceding it, is fuelling suspicions that eBay suffers from systemic security problems.

Dangerous littering

The Information Commissioner has told 11 UK banks to stop dumping customers' statements in bins on the pavement outside branches. Consumer advocates complained to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) that identity thieves might be rifling through the rubbish bags for people's personal details.

But for all the worries about identity theft, when the figures for dodgy transactions in the UK were published, they revealed an overall drop in fraudulent payments.

Tracking down the bad guys

A national computer forensics lab for the US has been established in Alabama. The facility, developed by the US Secret Service and partially funded by the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division, will serve as a national cyber crimes training facility for prosecutors and judges as well as law enforcement investigators.

And while you're hunting for traders in malware, McAfee's new atlas might be useful. It's tracked where in the world the most dodgy sites are hosted. The worst haven for malware belonged to the the tiny Pacific island of Tokelau (.tk), where more than 10 per cent of websites contained dodgy content. Eastern European domains were also risky, it found, while Nordic nations were the safest.

So, what to do? Get yourself tooled up with new security stuff from Grisoft?

A decade of partnership

Feel the love, we did. EMC and Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) have expanded and extended their 10 year old strategic alliance. Officially, the two will work together on advanced data centre architectures, while FSC will also provide services for the EMC midrange storage that it sells in Europe. Lovely.

Liked it so much, Cisco bought the company companies

Cisco went of a shopping spree, snapping up NeoPath, a firm it invested in last year for an undisclosed sum. The company also agreed to pony up $3.2bn for online conferencing firm Webex.

Expanding collections

Oracle also bought itself a new database. Just in case it didn't have enough at home. The market thought it was a great idea for Hyperion.

Blades unsheathed in duel

Meanwhile, HP and IBM went head to head over the world of the blade. Two sides of a coin?

Criminal minds at work

US authorities have charged three Indian nationals for an elaborate pump-and-dump scheme that used hijacked brokerage accounts to manipulate the prices of 14 securities including Sun Microsystems and put options for Google.

The men were charged criminally in a 23-count indictment for conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and computer fraud.

This week also saw the SEC throw the book at four former Nortel execs. Frank Dunn, ex-CFO and CEO at the Canadian telecoms equipment maker; Douglas Beatty, ex-controller and CFO; Michael Gollogy, ex-controller; and MaryAnne Pahaphil, ex-assistant controller, are accused of manipulating secret cash reserves and recognising revenues earlier than they should have done to meet Wall Street expectations and to line their own pockets. Tch tch.

Hiring and firing in techland

Work Permits UK (WPUK) has moved to quell industry fears that British IT workers are being undercut by immigrants employed on work permits on lower salaries.

Union? No, never heard of it

Vodafone has trouble recognising a union. We'd like to help it: Vodafone, it's the large group of employees demanding collective bargaining on pay, hours, and holiday. Name of "Collect". Never say we don't help out.

Piracy is bad, m'kay? Except when it grows the market...

A senior Microsoft exec has admitted that some software piracy actually ends up benefiting the technology giant because it leads to purchases of other software packages.

Would you look at the prior art on that?

The campaigner behind attempts to invalidate Amazon.com's '1-Click' patent has gained access to Amazon's filings at the US Patent Office and still believes he has a case.

New Zealander Peter Calveley is pursuing a reexamination of the 1-Click patent granted to Amazon. The US Patent and Trade marks Office (USPTO) last year agreed to conduct a reexamination and the process is ongoing.

While in the UK, the Patent Office has proposed a new set of rules it says will modernise its processes. The rules are open for consultation until June.

Justice, the HP Way

A California state judge has dropped all criminal charges against former Hewlett-Packard chairman Patricia Dunn and paved the way to clearing three others caught up in the spying scandal, which was initiated to discover the source of leaks to the media.

Get orf my copyright

Viacom's patience with Google has finally run out, and the entertainment giant has filed a $1bn copyright infringement suit against Google.

Viacom says the ad giant's YouTube service is hosting 160,000 infringing works, which have been viewed 1.5 billion times. It alleges that YouTube has "built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others' creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google".

And finally, the sillier side of the net did not disappoint this week, with chocolate pilchards on offer, while Indian students were told to go offline and get a life.

Good advice for a Friday, we're sure you'll agree. ®

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