Privacy wars, cont.

Microsoft trotted Bill out to tell a cadre of developers about Microsoft Smart Card for Windows, which promises to make all kinds of information extremely portable—and readers for that information as ubiquitous as the CD-ROM drive. Stating repeatedly that the Redmond Menace was getting into the business strictly at the operating-system level, Gates left others to field most questions on how user privacy and security will be protected. Microsoft's latest bid for ubiquity, though, took a hit when Nokia announced that its phones will be more PDA-like in the future, but they'll have Windows CE rival Palm to thank for that. . . . Engineers working on the next generation of IP (the protocol that makes the Internet work) have suggested that every packet traversing the Net ought to be tagged with the unique serial number of the computer sending it. Such a move would help to distinguish amongst the billions of packets online at any given moment, but you can kiss anonymity goodbye. . . . Solid Oak, which makes an Internet-filtering package widely criticized for apparent right-wing political bias, announced that it has developed a rating system that does an end-run around Web site self-policing, identifying "sites inappropriate for children in real time." No word on how well it operates for all those time-shifted children you hear about. . . . 21 October (Thursday) is Jam Echelon Day worldwide; would-be counterspies are encouraged to include random hot words such as "bombs," "attack," and "Airbus" in their e-mail, in hopes of overwhelming the now-notorious Echelon system. Observers believe that this will do very little to end illegal multinational surveillance, but it's always nice to say you tried. . . .

Previous Privacy Coverage

More dispatches from the privacy front by Seattle Weekly Staff, 9/30/99

Latest developments in the privacy wars by Angela Gunn, 9/16/99

Outing the Amazonians by Mark D. Fefer, 9/2/99

Kiss my ASCII: Clinton in your computer by Angela Gunn, 8/26/99

Kiss my ASCII: Ride-alongs and drive-bys by Angela Gunn, 6/17/99

Media Player and privacy by Mark D. Fefer, 4/8/99

Kiss my ASCII: On-line privates by Angela Gunn, 4/1/99

IPeekaboo by Mark D. Fefer, 3/25/99

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