Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 2, Number 3 / March 1, 1995 / Page 37

The Cutting Edge

by Chris Lapham (

Interpol Seizes Finnish Postnews Server

Following the trail of a user who allegedly posted material stolen from the Church of Scientology in the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, the Finnish police searched and seized the server to get the real mail address of that one user. The Finnish police were acting on a request from Interpol, the European intelligence agency.

"There is going to be a very high-level public debate on how it is possible that a country that prides itself on honoring human rights and privacy very strongly has allowed this to happen," says Julf, the manager of the newserver, writing in Computer-Underground Digest.

The Finnish manager has advised users of the server that they can remove their names, but he hopes they will use this opportunity to protest the action of the Finnish government. "I find it understandable that some of you might want all traces of your ID removed. But I am hoping that you do outline why you have needed the server, and what you think about the actions of the Finnish authorities," says Julf. ¤

Web Ants Make Searching The Web Easier

Funding from Texas Instruments has brought new life to the WebAnts project. Unlike other Web searching tools, WebAnts are cooperative explorers. So if one ant finds a document, it can tell other ants if they are not busy working. As the ants search for information, they are able to share their data so other ants don't have to explore the same file. The ant databases are expected to be deployed on distributed servers, which should help reduce the bottleneck effect of current Web searching tools, particularly with the highly-popular spiders such as Lycos.

WebAnts developer John Leavitt says, "Prototype Web explorers should be ready in April, and the first searchable indices should be available in the fall." But hold your hotlist--even though WebAnts are an improvement over current methods, Leavitt points out that the system still does not completely address scalability problems. As the Web grows, the database of all the ants' results grows proportionately. What kind of crawler will survive in the burgeoning Web remains unknown at this time--but WebAnts may be the next step in the evolutionary chain. ¤

The First Joint Look At International Communications Policy

World leaders gathered in Brussels, Belgium for the G7 Conference, an international debate about the legal, technical, and social implications of electronic communication. The G7 countries are expected to agree on eight core principles to help guide the development of global computers and telecommunications networks. Those principles include encouraging private investment, promoting fair competition, defining an adaptable regulatory framework, ensuring access, and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity.

Conference participants worked to promote technical standards that allow networks to communicate with each other and to collaborate on reshaping competitive policies for new global alliances, according to a Reuters' report. "As we work across our common boundaries and oceans to build a Global Information Infrastructure, (GII) we cannot think only of today's debates about wireless or satellites; we must perform our work in the service of a global vision that can be realized in every community and village in the world," says U.S. Vice President Al Gore. ¤

Chris Lapham, Chief Correspondent for CMC Magazine, is a freelance writer and reporter who lives in the Capital Region of New York. She is currently completing a Master's degree in Communication and Rhetoric at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Copyright © 1995 by Chris Lapham. All Rights Reserved.

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