Recent News Articles from around the web

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.: No cure for online privacy - 19th Nov 2001

"About 65 million Americans have sought health information on the Internet, but many of their online activities are not protected by U.S. medical privacy rules, a report released Monday said.

The Bush administration unveiled the first legal protections for medical information last April. The rules, which take full effect in April 2003, aim to give patients more control over who sees sensitive, personal information.

Consumers should be aware, however, that the rules will not cover most purchases, searches or other actions on thousands of health-related Web sites, the report said..."

.: Microsoft apologizes in security flap - 19th Nov 2001

"Microsoft has acknowledged that it knew about an Internet Explorer security hole--and failed to issue a fix--a full week before it accused a security company of placing IE users at risk by publicly disclosing details of the flaw.

A Microsoft representative retracted an earlier claim that the company first heard of the flaw on Nov. 8--the date of security company Online Solutions' public disclosure--and said Microsoft was actually notified by Online a week earlier, on Nov. 1.

Two weeks were needed to investigate the alert properly, said Neil Laver, Windows product marketing manager for Microsoft, and no security breaches occurred during the delay..."

.: Microsoft offers patch for cookie hole - 15th Nov 2001

"Microsoft has issued a patch almost a week after a vulnerability was revealed in Internet Explorer that would allow hackers to gain access to someone's cookies and expose the sensitive information they contain.

The exploit was discovered last week and reported publicly rather than directly to Microsoft. At the time, the software giant advised customers to disable Active Scripting, to protect them from the Web-hosted and mail-borne variants of the vulnerability.

Microsoft says the patch released Wednesday represents a fast turnaround by its security team..."

.: Europe tackles internet privacy - 13th Nov 2001

"The European Parliament is taking action against cookies, the small text files that many websites use to monitor internet traffic.

Euro-MPs have voted to accept an amendment to a draft privacy bill that would block the placing of cookies on users' computers without their permission.

Critics of the proposal say the motion could make the net more troublesome to use and inconvenience many websites..."

.: Europe: Time to crunch the cookies? - 12th Nov 2001

"In a move that has riled Internet vendors and publishers, the European Commission is backing a plan to prohibit the placement of files on people's computers without their explicit permission.

The European Parliament is expected to debate the proposal Monday and vote on it on Tuesday in the context of a controversial draft law governing privacy in electronic communications such as faxing, e-mail and mobile-phone use. The measure would still require review by individual European governments, but already enjoys the support of the commission, the EU's executive branch.

The commission says the proposal, contained in an amendment to the privacy bill, would enhance consumers' confidence in the use of the Internet, which got off to a slower start in Europe than in the U.S. in part because of privacy concerns..."

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