Cyber Ramblings - July 3, 2001

3 July 2001
Compiled by Kevin Smith Buys out Competitor

The parent company of, a leading online job-hunting and recruitment portal, is buying rival for about $460 million in stock. "Monster and HotJobs will be a formidable combination in the online recruitment industry, with a total of more than 14 million resumes and more than 650,000 jobs," the company said in a statement. TMP, a New York-based recruitment firm, said it intends to maintain as a stand-alone site and brand. David Rosa, a spokesman for TMP Worldwide, declined to comment about whether any jobs would be cut as a result of the merger. TMP, which also is a provider of direct marketing services, has 9,500 employees in 32 countries. HotJobs has about 665 workers. is based in Maynard, Mass.

Lilly Taking Problems to the Web

Eli Lilly and Co. needs help solving mysteries standing in the way of developing new drugs, and it's prepared to pay handsomely for it. The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant opened a website for a new business that will post scientific problems on the Internet and offer rewards of up to $100,000 for viable solutions. Lilly also announced that its joint venture with Icos Corp. had sought government approval to sell a new impotency drug that would compete with Viagra. The new Web venture, InnoCentive LLC, will complement the nearly 7,000 scientists that Lilly already has on its staff worldwide. Posting scientific challenges on its website,, lets the company tap researchers worldwide. InnoCentive will reach out to them at conferences, through trade journals and chemistry-based websites, and by word of mouth. Each of the 20 queries posted on the website last week were chemical problems posed by Lilly. However, the new venture is in talks with companies in other fields, including chemicals and agrisciences, about using InnoCentive to further their own research.

eBay Halts Auction of URL

With already registered, someone though it would be smart to register the domain name Yates is the woman accused of drowning her five children. The decision initially appeared to be a wise one once the new owner decided to offer his now holding up for auction on eBay. Within hours of posting the site the high bid was at $752,011 but eBay halted the auction saying it was in violation of house rules. Bids for started Tuesday at $500,000 and solicited six offers before eBay closed the bidding. eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove told the Houston Chronicle in Wednesday's editions the auction violated eBay's policy prohibiting sales of "murderabilia," or things associated with killers and notorious crimes. eBay has banned such auctions since May 17. Andrea Yates, 36, is charged with one count of capital murder in the June 20 drownings of her five children, who ranged in age from 6 months to 7 years. Police say she confessed to the killings and prosecutors say additional charges could be filed.

EC Reconsidering Cross-border E-commerce Laws

Officials in the European Commission have said they are reconsidering their plans for new rules that would affect whose laws apply in certain cross-border e-commerce disputes between businesses and consumers. Previously, the Commission's stance was that the laws in the country where a consumer is situated govern any transaction. However, according to the New York Times, the Commission has said it will now consult with those who argue that this approach places an unnecessary burden on e-commerce businesses. Drafters of the new EU Regulation on jurisdiction, known as Rome II, will speak to industry and consumer groups. Two months ago they said that doing so would be a waste of taxpayers' money.

If implemented, the Rome II Regulation would cover cross-border liability in non-contractual situations, such as defamation and product liability. A consultation exercise for the Regulation was previously withdrawn and, at the last EU update, a Draft Regulation was pending, due in October or November of this year.

Final Version of Cybercrime Convention Passed

The 27th and final version of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime has been formally passed by the Council's European Committee on Crime Problems. The approval comes four years after the draft Convention was originally tabled. The Convention, which aims to harmonize laws on hacking, piracy, on-line fraud and child pornography, will now go before the Council of Ministers which is expected to adopt it by September. It will then be ready for signature by the Council of Europe’s 43 members at the Council’s November meeting in Budapest.

The Convention has also been supported by the US, Japan and other non-member states, all of which will be invited to sign it. Following signature, states will be expected to ratify the Convention by implementing its provisions into their domestic laws.

'.info' First of New TLDs to Go Live

The generic top level domain (TLD) ".info" is expected to go live September 19 according to Afilias, the domain name registry chosen by ICANN. The ".info" name will therefore be the first of the seven new ICANN approved TLD's to go live, ahead of ".biz," although the launch dates of both ".info" and ".biz" are later than anticipated and the registries for both domains are still refusing to guarantee the roll-out dates. Registration of ".info" names begins July 25 for trademark holders, the start of the so-called "sunrise period." During this period, those with a reputation in their trading name can stake their claims to ".info" names to protect their trademark rights. The "sunrise period" will close August 28.

Teenager Accused of Hacking NASA Computers

Federal authorities have accused an Albuquerque teenager of hacking into a NASA computer at the Ames Research Center in Northern California. Jason Schwab, 18, has been charged with computer abuse and conspiracy to commit computer abuse, according to documents filed in Children's Court in Bernalillo County. NASA officials said the computer system was compromised during the alleged attack in April 2000. They said files were modified and illegal accounts were added. According to a petition filed in court, Schwab "knowingly, willfully and without authorization, or having obtained authorization, directly or indirectly altered, changed, damaged, disrupted or destroyed any computer, computer network, computer property, computer service or computer system. . ."

EarthLink Raises Access Fee

As many expected, it didn't take long for AOL competitors to follow suit and raise Internet access fees. AOL announced last month it was raising its unlimited dialup rate by 9 percent and now EarthLink, the second-largest Internet service provider in the U.S., announced Tuesday that it is raising its access fee. EarthLink said it is raising the monthly rate for its unlimited dialup service from US$19.95 to $21.95. The hike will go into effect July 2 for new subscribers and on August 1 for existing customers, the company said.