IN ORBIT: Vatican, ASP, Ascential, Sun, CIA, IBM

IN ORBIT: Vatican, ASP, Ascential, Sun, CIA, IBM

Pope wants net to play evangelising roleThe Vatican has announced it intends to use the Internet as a contemporary instrument for evangelisation and communication for the Catholic Church. The Vatican considers the Internet to be a "marvellous technological instrument" to which, it believes, it can bring "moral wisdom".

In a document titled Ethics in Internet, the Vatican says that the Internet has the potential to bring much good to the world, but that "harm also can be done by its improper use". And in another paper, it said humanity as a whole should be the winner with this new communication technology, not just "a wealthy elite that controls science, technology and the planet's resources".

Source: Europemedia.

Partnership brings ASP voice comms to OZUS speech recognition specialist SpeechWorks International and Australia's voice communications provider News Connection have teamed up in a bid to deliver ASP-based speech recognition solutions to the Australian market.

The partnership announcement came in the wake of a market study commissioned by SpeechWorks and conducted by ACA Research, which has found that 37 per cent of organisations surveyed intend to adopt or are considering using speech technology within the next 12 months.

News Connect, a subsidiary

of News Limited, already offers Interactive Voice Response (IVR) touch-tone applications, payment processing and automated business solutions handling more than 15 million calls per year.

The company's first speech recognition service will provide share-price information to telephone customers.

Ascential to acquire Vality Technology

Ascential Software Corporation has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held, Boston-based Vality Technology in a cash transaction valued at approximately $US92 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of April, subject to approval by Vality shareholders.

Ascential and Vality will combine their Australian operations, with Vality staff moving to the Ascential office in North Sydney in the next few months. Vality's local customer base includes the Commonwealth Bank, NRMA, NAB, Telstra and SGIO.

Sun details identity management strategyStriking back at Microsoft's directory and authentication services with a hardware and software combination, Sun Microsystems has released its Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Platform for Network Identity.

Laying the groundwork for its adoption of technology being developed by the Liberty Alliance Project, the Sun ONE Platform for Network Identity comprises of software, hardware and services for managing the identity of users on the Internet or in a corporate network.

The system can manage and set access privileges for applications, services and other resources for users on a corporate network. In addition to corporations, Sun plans to offer the Sun ONE Platform to telecommunication service providers as a system for managing the identities of subscribers.

Web exposes data on CIA networks

A London-based Internet security and risk consulting firm last week published the results of a two-day study that highlights in surprising detail the CIA's primary points of presence on the public Internet.

Using open, legal sources of information and without conducting any illegal port scanning or intrusive network probes, Matta Security produced a detailed map of non-classified CIA networks, including several that aren't readily available to the public. Matta's study also uncovered the names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of more than three dozen CIA network administrators and other officials. A CIA spokeswoman cast doubt on the significance of the report, stating that there are many IT professionals within the agency who are "overt" employees and need to have Internet access.

However, some security experts, although vague about the specific nature of potential vulnerabilities such information could be used to exploit, noted the possible threat from determined adversaries who might be able to use the information to obtain more sensitive or secret information, or for other forms of attack planning.

Compuware points finger at Big Blue

IBM mainframe software vendor Compuware has announced it is suing IBM for unauthorised use of Compuware source code and for antitrust violations.

IBM has illegally used its monopoly power in mainframe hardware and software products to quash competitors in the software tools market, Compuware alleged in a summary of a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit also charges IBM with violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by tying customer purchases of certain mainframe software tools to the purchase of other key IBM software products.

Compuware's lawsuit is an attempt to stop IBM's illegal practices and promote open competition in the ISV (independent software vendor) marketplace, Compuware president Joseph Nathan said in a statement.

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