BUSH RELEASES 'SECURE CYBERSPACE' PLAN
The White House Friday released its 'National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace,' which it says will ensure Internet disruptions are "infrequent, of minimal duration, manageable, and cause the least damage possible." The plan depends on coordinated effort from federal, state and local governments, the private sector, and citizens, the Bush administration said, to "reduce our nation's vulnerability to debilitating attacks against our critical information infrastructures or the physical assets that support them." The new plan is part of President Bush's larger 'National Strategy for Homeland Security,' and sets up five major national priorities: create a national cyberspace security response system; establish a cyberspace security threat and vulnerability reduction program; develop a national cyberspace security awareness and training program; secure the government's cyberspace; and establish national security international cyberspace security cooperation. The newly established Department of Homeland Security will lead many of the initiatives, the administration said.
UK.CO DOMAIN WIPED FROM CYBERSPACE
Some 8,000 Web site owners with uk.co domain names Tuesday found their sites had vanished from the Internet, Britain's Internet Magazine reports. The disappearing act was due to a dispute between Net Registrar, the entity that gives out domain names, and Colombia's University of the Andes, which owns the uk.co domain, that caused the university to switch off the domain without warning. A note at uk.co tells customers simply, "Net Registrar is no longer entitled to operate uk.co sub-domains and therefore Net Registrar is not entitled to permit you to use the uk.co domain names that you had registered with them." There is no word of when the sites should be reinstated, but according to the domain, "If you have any queries concerning the uk.co sub-domain name you had registered with Net Registrar or your contract with Net Registrar, we suggest that you contact Net Registrar immediately." Net Registrar has initiated legal proceedings with Colombia's High Court, Internet Magazine said.
IRS: E-FILING "PROMISING"
More than half a million Americans already have filed their taxes using the Internal Revenue Service's online Free File program, internetnew.com reports. The Free File program is the result of a deal the IRS made last fall with the Free File Alliance -- composed of tax preparers and software publishers -- that allows up to 78 million Americans to file online without charge. The deal states that although e-filing costs on average $12.50, Free File Alliance companies must provide free online filing services to at least 10 percent of their customers. Alliance companies, in return, are promoted on the Free File Web site. The deal was struck under the IRS's 1998 Restructuring Reform Act, which calls on the IRS to shoot for receiving 80 percent of tax returns electronically by 2007. So far, 2.9 million returns have been filed through the Internet, of which the Free Filers constitute about 22 percent, internetnews.com said. Acting IRS Commissioner Robert Wenxel last week told the House Ways and Means Committee interest in the program is "very encouraging," but said it is unlikely the IRS will meet the 20 percent goal by the 2007 deadline.
Villagers in remote areas of rural Laos -- without good roads, electricity, or telephones -- Thursday got online using 'pedal-power.' A program by the Jhai Foundation launched Thursday used pedal-powered, 902.11b wireless-connected computers to get Internet connection for villagers in Phon Kham, in Laos's Vientiane Province, and the four surrounding villages. According to the foundation, the villagers want to go online for a variety of reasons not unlike our own: to contact relatives either overseas or in the capital; to get up-to-date commodity price information, especially for farmers; and to improve their business techniques. The power requirements in different configurations will be less than 20 watts, which means the villagers can power the communications center using a battery hooked up to a stationary bike, the foundation says. The Phon Kham system was hooked up Thursday, and the Jhai Foundation says it expects to have the entire five-village network set up before the rainy season in May.
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