The era ofcould end this fall, if recent proposals in the U.S. Congress prove successful. State and local governments this week resumed a push to lobby Congress for far-reaching changes on two different fronts: gaining the ability to impose sales taxes on Net shopping, and being able to levy new monthly taxes on DSL and other Internet-service connections. One senator is even predicting taxes on e-mail.
Pro-tax advocates this week advanced a flurry of proposals pushing in that direction. A bill was introduced that would usher in mandatory sales tax collection for Internet purchases. Then, during a House of Representatives hearing the same day,when it expires on November 1. A House backer of another pro-sales tax bill said to expect a final version by July.
The response to the moves in CNET News.com's TalkBack forum was overwhelmingly negative, mostly along antitax convictions. However, some readers took a bigger-picture approach to the situation.
"Half the reason the Internet has become so successful is because the government has had little involvement," .
The U.S. Congress is also poised tothat all employers must use to investigate the immigration status of current and future employees or face stiff penalties. The so-called Employment Eligibility Verification System would be established as part of a bill that senators began debating on Monday. The procedure that is likely to continue through June and would represent the most extensive rewrite of immigration and visa laws in a generation.
Because anyone who fails a database check would be out of a job, the proposed database already has drawn comparisons with the "no-fly list" and is being criticized by civil libertarians and business groups.
All employers--at least 7 million, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce--would be required to verify identity documents provided by both existing employees and potential hires, the legislation says. The data, including Social Security numbers, would be provided to Homeland Security, on penalty of perjury, and the government databases would provide a work authorization confirmation within three business days.
Crime and punishment
In their third effort to enact a federal law targeting spyware, members of the U.S. House of Representatives . The bill, called the Internet Spyware Prevention Act, or I-Spy for short, punishes anyone who intentionally causes software "to be copied onto" a computer--and damages it or steals personal information--with fines and up to five years in prison.
Among other things, the I-Spy Act attempts to make it unlawful to engage in various means of "taking control" of a user's computer, to collect personally identifiable information through keystroke loggers, and to modify a user's Internet settings, such as the browser's home page. It also includes a broad prohibition on collecting information about users or their behavior without notice and explicit consent.
In a reversal, MySpace.com unveiled a plan for. MySpace initially asserted it was legally unable to comply with the requests set forth in a letter sent earlier this month from the attorneys general of eight states. It appears, however, that an accord was struck late last week.
According to a statement from the company, MySpace will provide the Multi-State Attorney General Executive Committee with data from Sentinel Safe, the database of information on registered sex offenders that the company has compiled through its partnership with identity verification firm Sentinel Tech Holding.
Sentinel Safe, which contains data aggregated from state registries, has been in the works since late last year and was officially deployed May 2. So far, the software has flagged and deleted about 7,000 registered sex offenders from MySpace's user base of around 180 million profiles,
Meanwhile, a Michigan man who used a coffee shop's unsecured Wi-Fi to check his e-mail from his car
His ritual raised the suspicions of the village police, who approached him and asked what he was doing. Peterson, probably not realizing that his actions constituted a crime, freely admitted what he was doing.
However, Peterson won't be going to prison for piggybacking. Because he has no prior record, Peterson will have to pay a $400 fine and do 40 hours of community service.
Dell is , but it's not yet clear if this move will get the company back on track. Since its beginning, Dell has prided itself on its direct-to-consumers sales model, but the company now plans to
Dell also began
Do operating systems sell PCs? Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates trumpeted the fact that the company has sold 40 million copies of Vista since the operating system hit the market, but does that figure mean the?
When Microsoft releases a new operating system, it becomes the default on nearly all machines sold at retail stores. So if consumers want a new PC, they basically get Vista. That makes it tough to gauge whether Microsoft's latest creation is actually spurring people to buy new PCs.
Market researcher In-Stat issued a report saying Vista is not having a major impact on the PC market. The firm said some people delayed purchases last year to wait for the new operating system, a move that added some sales to this year, but that the software is not leading others to speed up their purchases of new machines.
Also of note
Facebook is finally --a move that comes three years after rival MySpace jumped to a staggering lead in social networking largely by throwing the doors open to outside services...A group of Carnegie Mellon University programmers launched a service called ReCaptcha that can ...Google has of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.