Cyber Ramblings - June 5, 2001

5 June 2001
Canadian Tire Loses Bid for URL

Canadian Tire Corp. has lost its bid to wrest control of the "" Web site from a London, Ont. man. A Canadian arbitrator appointed by the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ruled that the retailer cannot claim the right to the expression. Mick McFadden has said he intended to use the site as a means of voicing complaints about pricing and quality. He took the site down over a year ago, after Canadian Tire threatened court action, but kept ownership of the domain name. Canadian Tire tried to buy the site from McFadden but he declined to sell it. In his decision, WIPO arbitrator Ross Carson noted that Canadian Tire said "" was listed for sale for US$85,000 at the Website

EU Lobbying for TDL

As the Internet's global standard-setting body met Friday to push for the creation of seven new Web domain tags, Europe appeared to go against the flow with plans for a pan-EU geographic domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), meeting in Stockholm this weekend, is taking steps to launch new domains that should help relieve the pressure for more Web address space as the Internet continues to grow. To supplement the heavily used ".com," ".org" and ".edu" domains and those that indicate country of origin such as ".uk" and ".fr," ICANN is focusing on domain names that indicate categories of activity such as ".biz" and ".pro." The European Union appeared to take another tack with its plans to create the ".eu" domain, whose main feature is its strong geographical connotation.

eBay Sued Over Fake Rolex Watches

eBay said Friday that its European subsidiaries have been sued by Rolex watch maker Montres Rolex, which contends that the Rolex trademark was infringed when counterfeit Rolexes were sold on eBay's German website. In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, eBay, an online auctioneer, said the suit was filed April 25 in Cologne, Germany, against eBay GmbH and eBay International. The suit also claims unfair competition.

FCC Chair Warns of Digital Confusion Among Consumers

As dramatic as the Industrial Revolution, the migration to new, lightning-fast digital technologies will leave some consumers confused and overwhelmed by a dizzying array of choices, the government's top communications official says. As they navigate this rocky road, Americans will have to figure out which of the multitude of new services being offered really make life better, said Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. And companies that have raced to introduce such products to the market--sometimes without a firm business plan in place--need to determine how much consumers want to pay.

"I think the wildcard is always people. Are people ready for it all? Are they going to change their lives enough to absorb all the technology or will they reject it?" Powell said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press. "We are pushing a whole lot of stuff at people."

Hackers Target University Computers

As the computer age continues to grow and universities all around the world remain on the cutting edge of technology, schools are being targeted more and more by hackers, both from outside and inside the university. Recently the a software pirate hacked into computers at the University of Washington and installed a file-sharing program on one machine. It's becoming more prevalent, where novice hackers hone their skills amid a higher education culture known for lax security and free exchange of ideas.

"They're good practice grounds because their vulnerabilities are usually pervasive and their monitoring is usually woefully inaccurate,'' Richard Power, editorial director at the Computer Security Institute, told the AP. "It's kind of like hacking with training wheels."

University computer systems also attract experienced hackers. Huge hard drives make it easy to store illicit software and fast Internet access affords the perfect staging ground for devastating attacks on corporate websites. Rolling Out Internet Service

After a much delayed start, will finally roll out its own Internet service this fall with America Online, offering unlimited access for less than $10 a month. The details, along with Wal-Mart's plans to prosper in an economic downturn, were revealed at the retailer's annual shareholder meeting here Friday. Wal-Mart's service, called Wal-Mart Connect, will be based on AOL's CompuServe platform. had announced the alliance with AOL back in December 1999 and originally planned to roll it out in the first part of 2000.'s moves come at a time of uncertainty in the online world as experiments to offer free or low-cost Internet service have been largely unsuccessful.

FBI Dropping Investigation Into Internet Hoax

The FBI said Thursday it will not further investigate an Internet hoax in which a 40-year-old woman invented a young woman, began an online diary of her battle with leukemia and then killed her off. Hundreds of people sent cards and gifts as they followed the fictitious Kaycee Nicole's nearly two-year-long fight with cancer through an online diary dubbed "Living Colours." The saga of the optimistic high school basketball star ended May 15 when Debbie Swenson of Peabody, Kan., announced Kaycee's death on the website: "Thank you for the love, the joy, the laughter and the tears. We shall love you always and forever."

FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said the bureau would not probe the case further because it doesn't meet the agency's threshold for financial crimes. For fraud cases, the loss has to be in the thousands of dollars. In this case only a few hundred dollars, at most, were sent to the fictitious woman by people who believed the story, he said.

Palm Cutting Jobs

Handheld device maker Palm Inc. said Friday it will cut additional jobs in the current quarter. The company didn't specify how many positions would be eliminated but said it would release more details when it reports its fourth-quarter and year-end results during the week of June 25. Struggling with the slowing economy and inventory problems due in part to its recent introduction of new product models, Palm had already cut 300 regular and contract workers last month, bringing its work force down to 1,700.