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Web Magazine Facing Failure

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


AN FRANCISCO, Feb. 14 (AP) — The Salon Media Group, the online magazine publisher, warned today that it might not survive beyond this month if it cannot raise more money to pay its rent and other bills.

The company, based in San Francisco, painted a grim financial picture in a quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Things are so bad, Salon said, that it stopped paying the rent for its headquarters in December, prompting the landlord to issue a demand last month for a $200,000 payment.

The warning was the latest in a series of dire projections made by Salon. The company warned late last year that it might go out of business but then raised enough money to stay alive temporarily. Salon's troubles caused its stock to be delisted from the Nasdaq market in November.

Although its news coverage and commentary have attracted a loyal audience, Salon has not been able to make money. The company said it lost $1.2 million during the final three months of 2002, bringing its cumulative deficit to $81 million.

Unable to drum up enough advertising to pay the bills, Salon started charging subscriptions to read some of its stories in 2001. The company began charging fees for all its content late last month as part of its last-ditch survival effort. As of Dec. 31, Salon's site had 47,300 subscribers.


So if you've got $200,000... I won't say give it to Salon. They obviously don't know how to effectively handle their money.
Give it to *me*.


White House Scales Back Cyberspace Plan


By JENNIFER 8. LEE


ASHINGTON, Feb 14. — The White House today scaled back plans for a more active government role in protecting cyberspace from attacks from terrorists, criminals and nation states, emphasizing voluntary industry initiatives instead.

The revamped national strategy on cyberspace security was a response to lobbying from industry groups that were worried about an overly heavy-handed approach by government regulators. The latest draft of the document acknowledges a role for government but generally suggests that industry should take the lead in securing the Internet, which has a diffuse infrastructure that is under considerable private control.

Previous drafts of the report suggested that Congress could enact legislation to advance its cybersecurity strategy. This final version, which was released today, suggests mainly that Congress could finance cybersecurity initiative,s giving only a limited role to the federal government.

The federal government essentially has three main methods to influence cybersecurity: procurement, regulation and investment.

The government has previously used its power as the world's largest buyer of information technology, with an annual budget of some $40 billion, to influence the technology sector. In 2001, for example, a regulation that limited federal agencies to buying technologies that can be used easily by people with disabilities, known as Section 508, went into effect and left everyone from Canon to Microsoft scrambling to re-evaluate product lines to accommodate the blind and those in wheelchairs. Although there is a significant portion of this cybersecurity report devoted to government agencies' setting up secure practices, it falls short of using its buying power to nudge businesses to improve their security standards.

Another government strategy is to set up regulations enforced by civil or criminal penalties. But companies have recoiled at any suggestion of government meddling, arguing that technology is too dynamic to be constricted by something as static as federal regulations. "We do not want government to mandate or regulate its way in this area," said Mario Correa, vice president for security at the Business Software Alliance, an industry lobbying group. "Industry has to lead the way."

The majority of the revised White House document focuses on improving cybersecurity by encouraging investment in research and standards. It proposes a large role for the domestic security department on numerous fronts: setting up a national cyberspace monitoring system, pushing more secure Internet protocol standards, creating a reliable system for vulnerability disclosure, and improving the quality of cybersecurity training.

The original version of the report was scheduled for release in September at a Stanford University ceremony with Silicon Valley executives. But shortly before the release, the White House withdrew the document for more "industry input."

Previously, Richard Clarke, who resigned recently as the cybersecurity chief, had traversed the country lecturing the technology industry about its responsibility. He described companies who sell consumer Internet connections without firewalls as akin to "selling cars without seat belts."

Even so, when consumers get cable modems or D.S.L. connections, they see little, if any, information warning them of malicious hackers who try to break into computers.

Instead of requiring Internet service providers to issue firewalls and antivirus protection, the new White House proposal stresses consumer education.

The proposal was applauded by technology companies. "The previous version talked about levels of responsibility," Mr. Correa said. "We think this is a much stronger document. It has shifted the focus to end goals."

Many security experts still voice skepticism about the significance of the "voluntary" security model that advocates "a new paradigm of cooperation and partnership."

"The plan is all about consensus," said Bruce Schneier, the chief technology officer of Counterpane, a security company. "Consensus is the lowest common denominator. Security is not achieved by consensus."



I'm just glad that someone in the Bush administration took a little time to rethink themselves on this one.
Maybe they just figured out the costs, monetary and people-wise, to some of their bigger campaign contributors and decided it wasn't worth it to piss off most of the american common folk *and* the monied interests who'd gotten them there.

Ooh.. and this:"He described companies who sell consumer Internet connections without firewalls as akin to "selling cars without seat belts.""
That just reminded me of me and John at work having a conversation about Pete Townsend, child pornography, firewalls and basic security. I said something about someone looking the type to horde child porn. John said something about Pete Townsend. Rhiannon asked who that was. We explained. She asked what that had to do with child porn. We explained. John said "Pete should have had a better firewall." Which I sort of disagree with, if I understand the nature of firewalls, their purpose, and how Townsend was tracked. I don't think it would have done him any good, really, since they weren't trying to remotely access his computer for information... but I didn't bring that up then because John's one of those guys who's always right and I'd rather shrug than get into one of those conversations with him.
She then asked what a firewall was, and if she should have one, and how can you tell if you do?
John got all paranoid on her and said something to the effect of 'if you don't have a firewall, they can just get ya'.

hehe.. this is the chick who didn't understand that you can open up and clean out a computer case.

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