The Month: Global snapshots

Mother traps paedophile with keylogging software, Symantec sued in China.

UK An unusually tech-savvy mother has brought a US sex offender to bookby installing keylogging software on her 15-year-old son's PC. The womanused the spyware to discover that Jason Bower, 26, of New York wasgrooming her 15-year-old son for child abuse. She handed the data topolice, enabling them to arrest Bower as he boarded a plane to meet theteenager in England.


An anti-spam project called Signal Spam has united public and privatebodies in a centralised blacklist system. French email users can nowreport spam to the system for evaluation. The system is backed by thepolice, the justice ministry and the postal service. The system willalso provide data to ISPs hosting spamming systems and opt-outinformation for users.


The government has blocked access to online blogs used to organiseanti-immigration demonstrations. The leader of a nationalist group,Alexei Mikhailov of Action Against Illegal Immigrants, told the pressthat posts to the Livejournal website were failing to appear. The movefollows increasing racial tensions and a rise in extremism withinRussia.


A legal professional is suing Symantec for damage to his PC after aproblematic anti-virus update. Liu Shihui, a solicitor from GuangdongProvince, is suing Symantec for 1,644 Yuan (£109), following anautomatic update of Norton Anti-Virus. The update reportedly identifiedtwo critical XP files as malware and deleted them, causing havoc formillions of PC users.


One of the world's top spammers has been indicted. Dubbed the "spamking" by investigators, Robert Alan Soloway, 27, has been indicted on 35counts of fraud, identity theft and money laundering. He is also accusedof constantly moving his websites to make anti-spam measures moredifficult. If convicted, Soloway faces up to 65 years in prison.


The island has become the latest place to adopt anti-spam laws, with thefirst phase of a two-stage process coming into force this month. Thefirst phase bans the mass sending of messages for "unscrupulousactivities" and fraud. The second stage is due later this year and willrequire mailers to include opt-out information and will involve a"do-not-call" register.


Parliament has passed a bill allowing President Robert Mugabe'sgovernment to monitor phones, mail and the web to protect nationalsecurity. Opposition leaders fear the wide-reaching bill will be used tobreach privacy and curtail freedom of speech. Movement for DemocraticChange legislator David Coltart called it a "fascist piece oflegislation".


Fishermen have unwittingly crippled the country's cyber-infrastructureby removing an undersea cable. The cable was one of a pair that providesaround 80 per cent of the country's connectivity, and the missing 98kmwill cost at least £2.4 million to replace. The incident wasprecipitated by a 2006 edict allowing the salvaging of unused underseacables.

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