Lawyers are the latest weapon in the battle against spyware. The state attorney general would be empowered to sue and fine malware propagators...

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Lawyers are the latest weapon in the battle against spyware.



The state attorney general would be empowered to sue and fine malware propagators under a bill introduced by state Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Anacortes. His news release said the concept is supported by Microsoft, eBay and other software companies.


We’re guessing it’s a slam dunk, given the widespread frustration with spyware.



As a side benefit, the bill could make legitimate software vendors tone down hyper-aggressive sales pitches. One section says they wouldn’t be able to “induce an authorized user to install a software component onto the computer by intentionally misrepresenting that installing software is necessary for security or privacy reasons or in order to open, view, or play a particular type of content.”


The bill targets “intentionally deceptive” materials, but it doesn’t say much about stuff that’s simply deceptive.



Could the bill provide wiggle room for companies hawking security software? It makes certain exceptions, but the wording makes it hard to figure out what they can get away with.


Deciphering this passage may become one of those tricky interview questions they ask prospective employees at Microsoft:


Faster sales


About 69 percent of retail sales conducted online in November were done over broadband connections.




Source: Nielsen/NetRatings




“Nothing in this section shall apply to any monitoring of, or interaction with, a subscriber’s Internet or other network connection or service, or a protected computer, by a telecommunications carrier, cable operator, computer hardware or software provider, or provider of information service or interactive computer service for network or computer security purposes, diagnostics, technical support, repair, updates of software or system firmware, remote system management, or detection or prevention of the unauthorized use of or fraudulent or other illegal activities in connection with a network, service, or computer software, including scanning for and removing software under this chapter.”


Dot-com Dawgs

We’d like to nominate four University of Washington business students for this year’s Terry Drayton Award.


MBA candidates Balu Chenicheri, Michael Dietzman, Flavio Kaplan and Michael Nesland delivered the goods and won the 2005 Pac-10/Big Ten MBA Case Competition this month at Arizona State University.



The event is billed as the Rose Bowl for MBA students, but it sounds more like Iron Chef Business. The students get a problem and have 24 hours to develop a solution and make a presentation.


This year’s case involved problems faced by online grocer FreshDirect, a New York company carrying on the vision of Drayton, the online grocery pioneer who sold Kirkland-based HomeGrocer to Webvan in 2000.



Team members won $4,000, covering the cost of Starbucks runs they made to stay awake during the marathon event.


Bad boy Fred

Some high-profile journalists were left grumbling in the hallway at the recent Macworld after Apple Computer limited the number of press seats at Steve Jobs’ keynote speech.


One left fuming was Fredric Allen Maxwell, the former Seattleite who wrote “Bad Boy Ballmer,” an unauthorized biography of the Microsoft chief executive.



Maxwell told the SiliconValleyWatcher blog that his conference badge was taken and he was refused access to the speech.


Maxwell forwarded the blog entry to a number of tech reporters, who were clutching their badges and unable to reply.



Ouch

Microsoft ranked 57th on Fortune magazine’s new list of the 100 best companies to work for, a list that also featured locals such as Starbucks, Perkins Coie, REI and Nordstrom. That must have made it hard for the 62 test engineers laid off this month.




Download can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com.




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