Cyber Ramblings - Aug 29, 2000

29 August 2000
Speeding Up the Net
As the Internet grows larger and more people hop on, there's even more need for speed. Web cruisers complain about long download times, a problem that has been addressed by Akamai, a content distribution company. Akamai has boosted download times by spreading its clients' Web site information across numerous ISP networks worldwide. As a result, the end-user receives information from a nearby ISP, instead of a site farther away. Content Bridge, a new consortium of companies, including America Online, Adero and Inktomi, are taking a different tact on speeding up the Internet, reports CNET News. Members will link their resources with Exodus Communications, Genuity, Digital Island, Mirror Image, Madge.web and Netrail enabling Content Bridge to pass customers' content throughout the various members' networks and provide speedy content delivery.

Digital IDs Proposed for Credit Cards
Proposing digital IDs to protect against credit card fraud, MasterCard has formed a group to develop the necessary technology. So far SecureNet, ACI Worldwide and Gemplus have signed on, CNET reports, and other companies are expected to join. According to a MasterCard representative, "By issuing a multi-application smart card that includes a digital ID, as well as financial service applications, banks will be able to position themselves at the forefront of technological innovation."

Free Porn Visit Costs Big Bucks
A group of 64 affiliated corporations operating adult websites has been targeted by the Federal Trade Commission for defrauding numerous customers. Newsbytes reports that operators of sites like, and similar sites have been named in a complaint filed before the U.S. District Court that accuses them of generating $188 million through fraudulently billing customers' credit cards for services not received. The sites allegedly offered customers a free visit to porn sites, but required customers to enter their credit card numbers for age verification purposes. The commonly accepted requirement was abused, so that customers were then billed anywhere from $20 to $90 a month, charges that they found nearly impossible to fight. Even Visa USA could not block the charges, mainly because the porn site operators moved their billing services offshore, changed names and never answered phone calls.

Universal Broadband Access for the UK
Universal broadband access may be a reality for U.K. residents by 2005, according to a Financial Times report. Government officials have asked the telecoms regulator to determine the necessary steps to make universal broadband services, including video-on-demand and interactive television, a reality in that timeframe. Such a move could prove both difficult and costly, as many parts of the U.K. don't have any broadband services yet. So far, broadband providers have sought customers among the more affluent consumers. No decision has been made whether supplying broadband access to schools and libraries across the nation would fulfill the universal access plan.