Getty Images and The Next Generation

Is almost impossible to protect copyrighted work these days - it's just too easy for people to copy what you produced, and you don't have time to chase down everyone who violates your copyrights. Yes, we live in a world of imitators, content thieves, and copyright violators. It appears to be human nature, and no matter how hard we try we cannot overcome this, and we certainly can't do it online or in the digital age. Yes, those that have intellectual property are doing everything they can to lobby Congress to make new laws, but those who would violate such laws always seem to find a way around them.

Interestingly enough, despite all this content theft there was a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on August 16, 2012 titled; "Carlyle Group Sets Deal to Buy Getty Images," by Sheron Terlep and Ryan Dezember, which made me consider there will be future cyber laws coming down the pike. Based on this, and realizing the lobbying power of the Carlyle Group, I would assume that they have figured out a way to protect themselves from people stealing their content, thus I anticipate a future cyber law to be enacted soon.

Was this a good purchase and a wise choice? Well, it quite possibly could be if much of the Internet in the United States ends up in the cloud, and those with copyrights are able to demand that the cloud run search algorithms to find stolen intellectual property, and levy a fine, or a fee for the use of that property, or cut services for the individual or company violating the copyright. Meaning the company could lose all their data and be barred from access until they pay up. That is one possibility, I'm sure you can think of others.

When it comes to online digital pictures, often they are encoded much like a watermark with a specific code, anyone copying the picture also copies the code, and therefore they are automatically caught any time someone searches that code. This is good for digital photographers, artists, and for the owners of digital content. Remember that Getty Images has an inventory like no other, and in the new scheme of things in the next generation there may be quite a bit fewer copyright violations, and those who do violate the rules will have to pay up.

This will cause others to not violate such rules, meaning more people will have to purchase the images they use, and that would include everyone from the mainstream media on down to the lowly blogger. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Virtual Hunting, Whatever Will They Think Of Next?

Do you have withdrawals from hunting in the off season or when you weren't one of the lucky ones who got an elk tag? You can still enjoy the fun of hunting from home with a virtual hunting computer game. You also won't have to deal with wet clothes and shoes, sore leg muscles, or lousy food. You can simply reap the good things about any hunting experience.

One of the most popular hunting computer games is Deer Hunter by Atari. You get to choose from six very detailed natural habitats with the graphics displayed in 3D. There are five different animals you can choose to hunt including Axis and European Roe deer. During play you will have the opportunity to manage herds with realistic genetics as well as herd growth after the hunting season. There are many great weapons, types of ammunition, and transportation to choose from to help you in your hunting adventures. To add to the fun, you can choose to network with others and play the game with them. This is definitely one of the very best computer hunting games out there.

Cabelas offers Big Game Hunter created by Activision. This particular game is part of a series they offer on outdoor themed games. You have the change to hunt in various conditions, making the game very realistic. The goal of the game is to successfully make it through five regions and hunt all the animals featured in each of those regions. Along the way you will win trophies, purchase equipment, and get to choose from 16 firearms. Another feature that makes it very realistic is having to follow the hunting laws for each region. This is one feature that many who play the game are unhappy with.

In Deer Avenger: Open Season, the tables are turned, giving the deer the opportunity to hunt humans. The object of this computer hunting game [http://www.deerelkhunting.com/equipment/Hunting-Goes-Cyber.html] is to lure the humans with various mating calls and then shoot them with an M-16 or bazooka. The game has some fun features too such as tranquilizing housewives and knocking out humans by farting on them. This is a very fun game for any hunter who has a great sense of humor.

Deer Hunt Challenge is offered by Electronic Arts. This particular computer hunting game is focused on hunter safety. It also features 3D graphics with 30 different hunting scenarios to choose from. You will get to select from a variety of weapons and ammunition while playing the game. There is also a great selection of gear to choose from including scents, calls, antlers, decoys, tree stands, and binoculars. All of this equipment can help you during your virtual hunting experiences.

Computer hunting games are a great way to pass the time when you aren't able to participate in the real sport. They are also very inexpensive to purchase so you won't feel a dent in your wallet to play them.

6 Basic Tips on How to Protect Your Computer Files From Hackers

Here's the scenario. You left your computer on in just a while, when you came back there's already a dancing baby on your monitor and you can't put it away. First, you get irritated. The next thing you know you can't open any files. Because your files are already empty. You start to panic and try to go online but you can't get through. There's a password required for your access. You scream. You just couldn't believe it. You've been hacked! All your work for the past few days, weeks, months or even a year are gone in just a matter of a single negligence. How many systems have been a victim to these cyber crimes? Countless. How many people have been victims to cyber crimes? Still countless.

But this scenario can be prevented if we know what to do. There are many ways to protect your computer and your files. Here are some helpful tips for your computer's protection.

Turn your computer off. Don't leave your computer unattended because your computer is vulnerable for attacks that way.

Negligence causes accidents. If they can't reach you, they can't harm you. When your system is unavailable there's nothing for them to hack, right?

Don't run unknown sites or programs. Many anti-virus programs have this feature in them, where it will scan through your emails for you. Don't be so curious. Check your downloaded files and your e-mail attachments before you open an unfamiliar message or site. That way you can avoid hitching a virus or a worm. Many hackers can easily get an access through e-mail attachments. If any suspicious emails appear on your email ad, it is best not to open it or might as well delete it.

Use a personal Firewall. A firewall is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Always keep your Firewall on. It serves as an obstruction to unwanted access to your computer. Always keep your Firewall on because it serves as an obstruction to unwanted access to your computer. It helps or improves your connection to the internet as well as it keeps tracks of the things that you receive and send out of your computer. It will keep you updated of what you have been doing with your computer.

Have a highly breached password. If you have valuable files that you know that is valuable enough to be hacked, then get a precisely unpredictable password. This way, hackers would have to buy some time just to get through your files. A strong password is enough to secure your entire profiles as well as your files.

Spare time for Back-ups. A removable disk will always come in handy if you really want to secure your computer and everything inside it in case of any mischief that could occur. This would actually save your files and every valuable items in your computer, not only from cyber thieves but also on natural calamities such as an earthquake, floods, etc. As in any elements that could eventually destroy your computer.

Let us not get too comfy with the things that can possibly occur in the future. Some things are highly avoidable if you choose to avoid it. Hackers and viruses have spread their means to be present as they are today. Don't delay the chance of protecting your computer now. As what experts would always say, "the best way to cure an ailment is prevention."

If you are one of the victim of hacking or cyber theft, you may need the assistance of an internet lawyer.

How Can Computer and Internet Help in Law Enforcement?

The new century has started with a milestone in the development and technology. With the increased popularity of internet functions, cyber crime and theft have emerged as a new propaganda. Apart from online crimes, the computer technology has enabled criminals to break the law and order force with the help of sophisticated instruments. Thus, there had to be the inclusion of computer and technology in the law and order force. Now, developed countries like UK, USA, Germany, France, China, etc. use the scientific instruments such as CCTV cameras to detect the criminal forces. This has become possible only with the introduction of computers. Computers surround all the spheres of a human's life.

Virtual reality has been a mile stone in the law enforcement. Virtual reality is like a 4D film in which you feel almost as near to the original scene that has happened. This helps during the case solving in a court where the witness tells the scene of the crime in as much detail as he saw it and it is being projected on the screen to match the original scenario that has happened.

Other important achievement that has been made is 'on site'. This term explains that the police officers and investigators have different tablet PCs or note books in their squad cars which could detect the people, etc. they have databases and other software through which they could carry the interviews and thoughts of people about the crime and send immediate reports to the head office or any law and enforcement controlling official when the scene of the crime is still fresh. Mobile electronics have also proves to be very use full because they can catalog, transfer or copy the evidence at the crime scene and can be managed and processed immediately after it reaches the head department of police station. Other technology like crime scene detectors are able to copy or identify the finger prints at the moment thus enabling the other officers to move fast in the matter and help the police gain full access to the criminals.

Improved telecommunication have allowed reliable and fast mode of communication between different departments of law and order. There can be sending and receiving of the encrypted messages so that no body except then the actual receiver can read the message. Digital radio frequencies are being used by the police department so that there can be easy communication even during the peak hours or when the signals are jammed because of the crime.

LPRT and DNA technologies have also contributed a great deal to the crime detection. LPRT stands for license plate reader technology. This technology uses OCR (optical character recognition) which captures the images. This gives the opportunity to the police officers to track the cars or other vehicles that were present at the crime scene. The DNA technology combines DNA and computer technology to combat violent crime. The DNA that is collected at the crime scene is tested against the output of DNA given by the computers. This helps in the tracking of the actual criminals.

All these factors have contributed to the betterment and enhance of the law and detection of criminal activities to discourage the criminals from these activities and warn them in the future so that the country can remain stable entirely.

Who Helps The Victims

Thousands of people around the world are becoming victims to these cyber crimes like Phishing, Identity theft, and Nigerian scams but what happens after these people become victims. When my wife and I became victims of a Nigerian scam with Identity theft wrapped into it very few if any offered us any type of assistance. Victims of crimes like these are being re victimized by local law enforcement, banks, and mortgage companies. The re victimization is after these people first become victims of one of these cyber crimes. It isn't the cyber crime that destroys these victims but instead it is because of the ignorance of local law enforcement.

When my wife and I were arrested for criminal intent, at BSO 3 male officers strip searched my wife. You would think that for strip searching a female they would have female officers do this. Then for the next 3 years BSO prosecuted us for criminal intent. No speedy trial or anything. Their star witness against us was a 3 time felon who agreed to give testimony against us in exchange for her not having to go to prison on an armed robbery charge that was pending against her.

Do you know how hard it is to get a job someplace when they do a background check and see that you are currently being prosecuted for Grand Theft? I, myself, was incarcerated for almost a month because of this stuff. I would have been there throughout Christmas but the judge decided to hear a few cases on December 24th, postponing her Christmas leave. Of course, I did have to spend the next 2 months on house arrest.

Just to pay my bills I accepted work in construction one summer which is very unusual for me because of my handicaps. I had to agree to low wages because of all the illegal immigrants that usually work these jobs for cheap. The only person that ever really offered us any help was my Mom who made sure our rent was paid every month. I wasn't looking for handouts but just a job where I could work and pay my bills each month. The jobs I did get would eventually be lost because of all the time I had to take off from work to appear in court. We finally had to cop a plea for BS because we couldn't afford to lose more jobs.

Our local church, Calvary Baptist, did help with $50 for groceries but all those agencies that are supposedly out there to help with utilities and rent, their help is pretty much non existent. I've heard stories of victims who had never ever been arrested before now being incarcerated for these periods of time after they have become victims. You would think that sites like Ebay, Yahoo, Google and BofA would educate their members by sending out an email to everybody but these places say that it is a liability issue and they just look the other way. Even if you become a victim on a site like eBay they still will offer no help whatsoever.

My son, Jake, who makes good money from sites like MySpace has decided to try and help some of the victims of these cyber crimes. He is an affiliate for this software suite called BuddyPromoter and he has shipped it free to a few victims and has even given them tutorials on how they can replace some of their lost income by utilizing sites like MySpace.

My wife, Karyn, is now a volunteer for this one site Fraudaid which helps victims of this cyber crime that is hitting so many people on the Internet these days. I, myself, have even tried to help some of these people but I have found that a lot of people will not even acknowledge the help you have given them and this rubs me the wrong way.

In the end, who is there to help the victims of the ever growing cyber crime that is victimizing people from all walks of life?

Cyber Crimes and the Law

Defining Cyber crime is not so simple and perhaps that is why there has not been a single definition that is collectively approved by all the law enforcing bodies. However, the below mentioned definition is a commonly accepted and generally used definition by Various US law enforcing bodies:

"A criminal offense in which the computer is involved as an object of crime or as a tool for committing an offense's material component."

If you find yourself under criminal investigation for cyber crime then you should definitely seek legal advice. It is always better to have some knowledge about the law and crime that you are dealing with in order to save yourself from any unjust or undeserving sentences. Further, it will help you in avoiding any activity that may break the cyber law and put you in trouble.

Some of the most common and well defined internet crimes are:

  • Child pornography: Online predators targeting children are in the top hit list of FBI. Child pornography is considered a very serious crime and even the possession of one such picture can land you in prison for five years. According to 18 U.S.C 110, Sexual Exploitation and Other Abuse of Children, the punishment for such a crime can be up-to 15 years in federal prison.

  • Cyber stalking: Like the stalking in the real world, people can also stalk others over internet. Cyber stalking falls under the category of harassment and is a punishable offence.

  • Scams and fraud: Fraud is actually a very broad term and covers a lot of different actions and activities. Basically, these crimes are dishonest acts which are done in order to gain monetary benefits.

  • Trademark violations: Like it sounds, the trademark violations are those crimes where the registered trademark of one business is used by some other third party over the internet, with or without intent.

  • Copyright violations: Copyright violations are perhaps the most common online activity. Copying content from any other source on the internet and using it for personal purpose without citing and linking to the source is considered as copyright violation.

  • Computer and network hacking: These are the cyber crimes which are related to computer as well as network dealings. Such crimes include hacking, website defacing, creating and distributing computer viruses maliciously etc.

  • Credit card hacking: Credit card hacking also falls under fraud cases but it is now a very common crime therefore we would point it out separately. The credit card information of users is retrieved and hacked by unauthorized personals who intend to use it for personals gains.

  • Bank account hacking: Just like credit card hacking, the bank card hacking also involves access of bank account information of users. This information is then usually used for transferring funds to other accounts.

The first law against cyber crime was enacted in 1984 and was called "The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act". CFAA is the most important computer statute in US as all the other statutes concerned with above problems come by modifying the CFAA.

Further, in 1986 "Electronic Communication Privacy Act" was enacted which actually was an amended version of wiretap law. According to this law, intercepting, using, accessing or disclosing of transmitted or stored electronic communications without authorization is illegal.

Now that you know something about cyber crime and law you can avoid situations where you can be accused of cyber crime. Further, if you have any doubt or confusion then you can ask legal questions to cyber law attorneys over internet for free and clear all your doubts. It is always better to be informed than make mistake and then regret.

Terms You Need For People Visiting Your Site

When accessing a site, you are often asked to agree to the terms. The access might be to get into the site in general or within a specific area such as a forum. As a site owner, the idea of having site terms might make you roll your eyes, but they are actually very important. Let's take a look.

What are these terms used for? They give a site owner the ability to tailor and define the relationship with the end user. So what? Well, this is important because you can nail down issues that are critical to any problems that might arise later because of an annoying visitor, and you know they are out there. For instance, you might have a site with a forum. If so, you will want to include a prohibition against making racial attacks and so on.

In general, the terms for your site should cover a description of the services you provide, a statement of ownership for all the intellectual property on the site, what parts of said property users can access, linking restrictions and prohibitions against certain actions such as violating laws, hacking the site and so on. You will also want to include provisions regarding jurisdiction in an effort to make sure any dispute that arises must be heard in a court near you instead of across the country.

Then there is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As a site owner, you are liable for any copyright violations on your site. This is true even if a user posts the material in question. The way to avoid this is to pursue the safe harbor provisions of the Act. Your terms need to incorporate the necessary language to this effect. Without it, you could end up fighting off legal proceedings constantly.

How can you make sure these terms are enforceable against users? Well, it comes down to electronic contracting. If at all possible, you want them to click an "I Agree" button, particularly if the user is being given access to an area that allows them to post material. In the end, the decision is yours and some courts will hold the terms of use are not binding if an "I Agree" button isn't required.

Data Breach - What Are the Costs to Your Company?

The risks involved in corporate system and data breaches are numerous and costly, but new data is surfacing that is worth reporting on.

According to recent survey conducted by the Symantic Corp. and the Ponemon Institute, the average organizational cost of a data breach in 2010 was $7.2 million! You may think, well, that's just for large companies and you would be correct; but what they also reported was that the average cost per compromised record averaged $214!

If you're a small business and have about 5,000 customers in your database that's just over $1 million in expenses just to comply with state and federal laws and doesn't even begin to measure the costs associated with damage to your reputation or brand. That's a million dollars in costs that aren't likely covered by your business owner's insurance policy, general liability, or umbrella liability coverage.

If your company operates on the web this is only one exposure you face, and when I say "operate on the web" I don't mean being a technology company. Brick and mortar retailers, wholesalers, service companies, and manufacturers all may "operate on the web" if they have any sort of customer interface over the internet. If you exchange personal information of customers, take orders, or conduct commerce over the web you likely have this exposure. If you maintain databases of customers on a computer, server, or cloud (and who doesn't today) you also are exposed to hackers and unintentional leaks of data.

Firewalls, anti-virus software, and security technology are all good risk management tools, for operating on the web at any level, but so is proper risk transfer (insurance).

The majority of standard business owner's policies and package policies do not address the various exposures that the internet presents to any business operating on the web. Those policy forms were written in the "pre-internet" age and don't even contemplate the various exposures you have on the net. But, specialized forms are now available that specifically address these exposures on a portfolio basis - meaning that different coverage parts can be added, subtracted or customized to your specific needs. The best news is that "Cyber-Liability" policies as they are called, are not that expensive, compared to the relatively high cost, and high probability of loss that exists. Many experts today say it's not "IF" you'll experience a cyber liability claim, but "WHEN"!

With that thought in mind, let's think about the other insurance policies most business owners have - property insurance to protect their building and contents from a fire or theft, or other covered peril; general liability insurance to protect them from lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage; workers compensation as mandated by most state laws; auto insurance for their fleet of vehicles; and excess liability coverage, sometimes called an umbrella to provide "extra" liability coverage over their primary general and auto liability policies. How many fires does a business owner experience in their lifetime? How about liability claims for slip and falls?

I'm not saying that a business owner shouldn't protect these exposures; it's just a "given" that we must have these policies - it just makes sense to transfer the risk of a potential adverse financial loss (claim) to an insurance company. So if it's likely that your company WILL experience a data breach at some point in the future, doesn't it make sense to also transfer that risk to an insurance company? Especially since we know the likelihood of it happening and the costs associated with it?

I will cover the various coverage parts of the Cyber Liability policy forms in the next several posts for a better understanding of what's involved in this unique and need coverage form.

For more information related to Cyber coverage, Technology insurance, or general business insurance, please do contact us!

Tougher Cyber Bullying Laws If We Want To Stop "Bullycide"

At the end of 2011 there were still very few cyberbullying laws on the books, anywhere in the United States. Of course the issue with these types of laws always comes down to our First Amendment Right to freedom of speech. But in dragging out feet to protect freedom of speech we're allowing innocent kids to literally perish at the hands of cyberbullies who know the actions will go unpunished.

Right now, as it stands, those states that do have any laws against cyberbullying will only charge offenders with an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of only $1,000 or a year in jail. When you consider the fact that in 2010 there were 34 children in the United States who committed suicide as a direct result of cyberbullying, that small $1000 fine is an egregious insult. And since most cyber bullies are minors, the punishments will be even less.

Current proposals before state legislatures call for a broader definition of cyberbullying or a broader definition of bullycide. On the other side of the coin they're asking for narrower definitions so they don't step on anyone's right to free speech.

And therein lies the problem, really. It took years for states and the federal government to come to terms they could all agree on in relationship to hate crimes. We can't afford that wait when the victims of cyberbullies are our children. We need to act now.

A lot of this harassment occurs on sites like Facebook. No. Let's not use the word 'Like'. That's too passive-aggressive. Let's point fingers here and say - Most of this cyberbullying that's resulting in bullycide is occurring on Facebook. While Facebook has taken measures to try to detect and eliminate cyberbullying it still has a long way to go.

As parents, we need to be pro-active. We can't wait for the legal system to catch up. By then, how many more children will die?

We need to demand even stricter controls at Facebook. Facebook needs to accept responsibility for the monster they've created and put stronger controls in place - now. If it hurts Facebook's pocketbook, so be it. Our children's lives are at stake.

We need to talk to our children. In 2011 more than 1 million teenagers were harassed or threatened on Facebook. Yet only 1 in 6 of those teens let their parents know there was something going on. We need to let our children know that they can come to us the minute, the very MINUTE they receive that first harassing message. And we need to let them know that we will step in and do everything necessary to bring the cyberbully to justice.

As parents, we need to let our kids know that being the victim of a cyberbully isn't something they need to feel embarrassed or guilty about and that it's not their fault. Until stricter cyberbully laws are enacted we need to be the protective barrier between our children and the bully.

From Blogging To (Economic) Conversations

That blogging has changed journalism seems to be accepted all over. Of of the principles of blogging became possible by the development of internet as a new communication technology.
Before the internet there was mainly a face2face communication, phone communication and the postal communication. E-mail came first and internet changed the last ten yours of our communications history.

Blogging lowered the communication barrier. Internet made that possible. This is called the democratization effect if the internet:

"Our results show a significant correlation between Internet penetration (measured as the estimated number of Internet users per 1,000 people) and a common indicator of a nation's level of democratization ... "

(http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/publications/2005/Internet_and_Democracy_Global_Catalyst_or_Democratic_Dud)

Writing a physical letter to the editor required quite some effort. Also if you have to include a copy your passport, etc. Writing an e-mail to the same newspaper online is a bit easier to do.

Blogging is about that: it is easy both for the blogger as for the responders.

As blogging becomes normal, conversation is a next topic of change. Now that we all communicate, the question is how does this affect other levels of society. For example in the field of teaching.

An interesting "evolution" or mix of blogging teaching is the following example:

"The Economic Conversation by Arjo Klamer, Deirdre McCloskey, and Stephen Ziliak is a groundbreaking approach to teaching economics that will be published as a principles textbook in 2008."

http://www.theeconomicconversation.com/

"So far we have talked about markets and governments intervening in markets as though all economic life takes place in markets. But it doesn't. Mom doesn't charge her kids for lunch, but that's "economic" by any definition---allocating scarce resources (bread, sliced ham, mayonnaise, Coke). You do not charge your friend for a ride to the airport. If you do, it kills the friendship instantly..."

In this way an economic conversation starts.

It continues... "In other words the market is not always the natural way to do things... "In a relationship among friends what matters are such feelings as love, status, duty, envy, and generosity. In such a relationship a market arrangement is often considered offensive, and even unethical. Prices should not rule friendships...The difference between what happens inside and outside the marketplace was well captured by the economist Albert Hirschman ... in a famous trio of ideas: "exit, voice, and loyalty." Suppose you quarrel about dividing the pizza. You can exit, which is to say, get up and leave. Markets operate in large part through exit. There's no point in quarreling with the local grocery store if you think his price of milk is too high. You don't have to put up with a dry cleaner who insults you. You exit, going to a different grocer or a different dry cleaner... Exit is the market response: you leave the shop or the job when you expect to find a better deal elsewhere... Voice is an alternative to the exit response; you exercise voice when you communicate your response, negotiating or arguing... Loyalty may be a matter of love and respect, but the news is not all good. It also can be enforced by intimidation and other psychological and physical tricks. Military dictators, for example, tend to secure loyalty from their subordinates through fear. Some radical economists argue that the relationship between workers and their bosses has similarities to the relationship between a people and its dictator....
According to the stereotypes, the merchant exercises exit, the politician voice, the soldier loyalty. Most institutions, though, run on all three, in varying amounts."

The someone comes with a response: "This section ignores the role power can play in relationships, particularly within families. You discussion does not address situations where a spouse or child is economically dependent or abused."

One must be very concentrated when studying like this. A normal textbook approach is in a fact easy, but the result is "easy" as a consequence: you often learn easy tricks. This way of conversation learns you to think while you are reading.

Arjo Klamer is a professor of the economics of culture and his background is visible in this approach. The idea of economic conversations came from observations that each professor "talks" in his own language. A monetarist in monetary terms, a macro-economic professor in macro-economic terms, while the client (student) is only to learn about economics.
In fact this economicconversations is a business innovation as many others where the client's focus is taken as a starting-point.
And... it couldn't have been "invented" without the internet and the rise of blogging. Perhaps one of the few examples where blogging really triggers new business initiatives.

http://www.theeconomicconversation.com

Hans Bool

Megan Meier and the Legislation of Kindness

Less than a month ago a Missouri newspaper began telling a story of events that had occurred nearly a year before. For six weeks thirteen-year-old Megan Meier had enjoyed a close relationship with a sixteen-year-old boy, Josh, on MySpace.com, a popular social networking website. Then one day the tone of Josh's communications became unpleasant. He accused her of being mean to her friends. Someone from his account posted insulting messages about Megan, including that she was fat. The next day Megan hanged herself. After her death, a final message arrived: "Everybody hates you. The world would be a better place without you."

Teen suicide, sadly, is common, as are insulting messages over the Internet. What made this story newsworthy was the information that unfolded weeks after the suicide---that Josh was a fictitious character who had been created by a family living in the same neighborhood as Megan. It seems that Megan had severed a relationship with a thirteen-year-old girl in that family, and in order to learn what Megan might say about her, the girl's mother---aided by several others---created the Josh character. Initially, there was no intent to cause harm, but the neighbors did know that Megan had a history of weight problems and depression. Then additional people gained access to the site, unkind things were said, and death resulted.

When the neighbors' involvement became known, six weeks after the suicide, Megan's parents vandalized some property that belonged to the neighbors. Bloggers learned the identities of the neighbors and posted their names and other information for the entire world to see. Harassing phone calls were made, and somebody threw a brick through the neighbors' window. Eventually, the neighbors moved out of the area to an undisclosed location, keeping their daughter at home for schooling.

The public outcry over this episode has been predictable. Everybody has an opinion. It seems that almost everyone wants the head of the neighbor's mother on a plate. The vengeful language is remarkable. And people were outraged when the local prosecutor finally decided that no charges would be brought against the neighbors, stating that there really wasn't a law that covered what they had done. "There should be a law," many said. More outrage. Megan's small hometown actually did create a law, such that online harassment is now a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Through all of this, Megan's mother has fanned the flames, demonizing the neighbors who contributed to the death of her child.

So, what should be done about this? Before we get to that, the people involved in the story so far have already provided us with unforgettable examples of what doesn't work and, I would hope, of what we should not keep repeating.

The most prominent players in this drama should not be the neighbors but Megan's parents. As soon as something goes wrong, we are in such a hurry to fix the blame, and as parents we just don't have the heart to even look in the direction of the mother who is holding a picture of her darling deceased daughter in her hand, with tears streaming down her face. Who could be so heartless as to suggest that the bereaved mother could have had anything to do with the death of her daughter?

Nonetheless, at the risk of such heartlessness---and in this case of stating the obvious---the reason people kill themselves is that they're not happy. Period. And the most common cause of people being that unhappy is that they are experiencing a complete absence of the one thing they need most in order to be happy, which is Real Love. People who feel unloved and alone are at greater risk for everything bad: depression, physical illness, suicide, and so on. Megan clearly did not feel loved, which is why she was desperately seeking attention and acceptance on MySpace. She felt so unloved that when her virtual boyfriend announced that he wouldn't be communicating with her any longer, and when she learned that some faceless collections of electrons---"people" she had never even met---were saying unkind things about her, she went upstairs to her bedroom closet and hanged herself.

What are the odds that a child would do this in a home where she felt unconditionally loved? Do I know for certain what kind of environment Megan's parents provided for her? No, but the clues are overwhelming. The very day that the tone on the website turned ugly, for example, the day that Megan became hysterical at what she was reading, her mother didn't stop everything she was doing to see to the welfare of her child. She didn't give Megan what she really needed. According to the local newspaper reporter, Megan's mother was furious at her for not signing off the Internet and for retaliating at those who had been unkind to her with vulgar language of her own. She said to Megan, "I am so aggravated at you for doing this!"

There are more clues. When Megan's parents learned of the involvement of the neighbor family, they marched over and vandalized some property in a highly visible and dramatic way. Mrs. Meier has been quite vocal in her public criticism of the neighbors and of the legal system that let them "get away with this." These are quite understandable responses, but they're also reflections of the strong tendency of the parents for vengeance and anger, rather than for compassion, which is what their daughter needed while she was alive---which is what she needed to stay alive. Now Megan's parents are divorcing, even further indication of the lack of love that had existed in the home all along.

The public response to this death has been a kind of virtual vigilantism. How ironic that we could condemn the unkind behavior of others in such unkind language and tones of our own. The hypocrisy of throwing a brick through someone's window for being unloving is obvious, but the hypocrisy is no less when we do it with our words. The people who are condemning the neighbors for using the Internet to be hateful are themselves perpetrating the same crime, somehow rationalizing their behavior because their intended victims are adults.

Finally, we come to the intriguing notion that we can pass laws to control this kind of behavior. Megan's community has done just that. I wonder what will be next. Will it become illegal to send any kind of email that could be interpreted as unflattering? Can I sue the manufacturers of weight loss products that spam me over the Internet on a regular basis, claiming that they have made me feel bad about myself? Shall I attempt suicide to make my claim more believable? Will it become a crime to honk your horn in a menacing way? Or to look at your neighbor with a really unkind expression? Will standup comedians be put out of business, because the targets of their jokes will sue them for harassment? Perhaps only if they tell their jokes online.

We can't legislate kindness. We can't force people to be nice to each other. And when they are unkind, we have many options. We can speak to them about their behavior, we can avoid them, or we can make a mental note not to model ourselves after them. But if we respond to their unkindness with more of the same---which happened in almost every corner of the Megan Meier case---we succeed only in depleting the level of love in the world. And that is what killed Megan, a lack of Real Love.

If we want to point a finger of responsibility at someone for her death, we might most productively point that finger at everyone, including ourselves. Whenever any of us is critical, unforgiving, ungracious, or unkind, we help create an environment where children like Megan can more easily die. Again. And we must not forget that for every child like Megan who actually dies, there are many more who are in such pain that they wish they were dead. Although my words about Megan's parents have been unflinching, I don't blame them. We have all contributed to the environment that produced her parents and everything else surrounding her death. We need to ask ourselves, then, what kind of world we want to create. Right now. Immediately around us. With each word we speak and each step we take, do we wish to make the world a more loving or a less loving place? Because the decisions we make are literally life or death. Megan proved that. I hope we will learn from her choice and help the next child make a happier one.

Identity Theft As A Cyber Threat

An online risk monitoring and management solutions provider today announced its latest report Online Financial Fraud and Identity Theft which highlights the growth of Internet attacks and identifies the industries most at risk.

Using intelligence collected through its Internet monitoring technology, their security experts have identified that the two leading online identity theft risks, phishing and malware, increased significantly in the first two months of 2007 with the number being phished growing by 50 percent and malware attacks growing by 200 percent. As part of its research, the company has also specifically identified more than 1 million suspected stolen social security numbers on the Internet, in just the last two months.

The largest increases in Phishing attacks have targeted organizations in the following industries:

oCredit Unions - 584 percent increase

oAssociations - 329 percent increase

*Banks - 325 percent increase

oInsurance - 300 percent increase

oPayment Services - 285 percent increase

In computing, phishing is a criminal activity attempting to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. eBay and Paypal are two of the most targeted companies, and online banks are also common targets. Phishing is typically carried out using email or an instant message and often directs users to a bogus website.

Malware is software specifically designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent. The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code.

Many normal computer users are however still unfamiliar with the term, and most never use it. Instead, virus is used in common parlance and often in the general media to describe all kinds of malware.

According to the Federal Trade Commission website, there were more than 686,000 complaints filed with the agency in 2006. The complaints, filed online or at a toll-free number, are shared via a secure database with more than 1,400 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and law enforcement and consumer protection agencies. "With a call or a click, consumers can file complaints with law enforcers across the country and around the world," said Deborah Platt Majoras, Chairman of the FTC. "These reports provide ammunition that helps law enforcers fight fraud and identity theft."
Identity theft complaints represented 37 percent of the 686,683 complaints filed.

Other findings from the report include:

oInternet-related complaints accounted for 46 percent of all fraud complaints.

oThe percent of Internet-related fraud complaints with "wire transfer" as the reported payment method more than tripled between 2003 and 2005.

oThe major metropolitan areas with the highest per capita rates of consumer fraud reported were Washington, DC; Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL; and Seattle, WA.

oCredit card fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft, followed by phone or utilities fraud, bank fraud, and employment fraud.

oThe most frequently reported type of identity theft bank fraud was electronic funds transfers.

oThe major metropolitan areas with the highest per capita rates of reported identity theft were Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ; Las Vegas/Paradise, NV; and Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, CA.

The President's Identity Theft Task Force has adopted recommendations on measures that can be implemented immediately to help address the problem of identity theft, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras announced. The Identity Theft Task Force, which was established by Executive Order of the President on May 10, 2006, and is now comprised of 17 federal agencies and departments.

"As with any crime, victims of identity theft suffer feelings of violation and stress, but in these cases, victims have the added burden of cleaning up the mess that the identity thieves leave behind," said Attorney General Gonzales.

"Conquering identity theft demands that we work as a team to develop tools that strengthen law enforcement, practices that enhance data security, and programs that help consumers in prevention and recovery," said FTC Chairman Majoras. "Through these initiatives, we are taking solid steps toward eradicating this persistent consumer problem."

While no one can totally prevent this crime from occurring, here are some positive steps to decrease your risk of identity theft:

oDo not carry all of your credit cards, Social Security card, passport, and birth certificate. Carry them only when needed. Reduce the number of credit cards you carry to a minimum.

oMemorize your Social Security Number, passwords and PIN numbers--do not use your date of birth, home telephone number or last four numbers of your Social Security number.

oReport all lost or stolen cards immediately to the credit card company, the three credit bureaus and your local police department.

oReview your credit reports annually from the three credit reporting agencies.
  • www.equifax.com
  • ,
  • www.experian.com
  • ,
  • www.transunion.com
  • You are also entitled to free copies of your credit report once every year. For more information, go to
  • www.annualcreditreport.com
  • My Cybercompanion

    Jannsun started working for Matrix back when he gave up on writing the next great American Novel, which was about five years ago, right after the war. He was old for a Web Zone designer but who knew? Who cared? His work was all done via satellite and as long as his work was good, his online brokerage account kept growing and growing.

    He was a project designer. His first project was Cyber Pet. Online oracles had become very popular using tools based on chance, speculation, probability and trend graphs. Then came Shrink in a Box, the first actual philo-therapist who would listen for hours as you down-loaded your life story and stress patterns and it would nod and have compassionate eyes and surprise you with its insightful comments. And the more "it" learned about you (your patterns of complaint), the more detailed and insightful its answers, and questions became. It was not uncommon for a person to develop a symbiotic relationship with their silicon shrink. Everyone would jokingly admit that there was really nothing to it, it was just a software device...but. In private, the depth of involvement could be astonishing. Real biological friends and pets often took second place. But then everything changed with holographic storage on crystals and the creation of, My Cyber Companion.

    A hologram is a recording of an interference pattern between two beams of light, so that illumination with one beam automatically reconstructs the other, creating a three-dimensional image.

    Like magnetic disks, holographic storage is built on digital technology. The writing process starts out in familiar fashion, as the computer processor turns data into strings of 1s and 0s. Holographic systems, however, send these bits through a spatial light modulator, which transforms electronic bits into dark or clear squares within a checkerboard matrix of light.

    To retrieve data from a crystal, the reference beam must hit the crystal at the exact angle used to record the hologram, this reactivates the original beam. The re-created beam is then focused through a lens and sent into a detector array, which converts optical bits into their more familiar electronic relatives.

    To record new holograms, the reference beam is tilted slightly to disperse the next set of electrons throughout different locations. This way, a single crystal can hold upward of a thousand different holograms, each called a page of information--a bit of a misnomer, since a page in holographic terms can contain up to a million bits. (hence the term "BOOK OF LIFE" made up of sense impressions stored on pages within a holographic crystal.)

    Now holographic storage singled great leaps in both data capacity and access time. Since holographic storage required few, if any, moving parts, and because an entire page could be retrieved at once in parallel, rather than bit by bit from a rotating magnetic storage device, the potential increase in speed was enormous. Throughput rates approached one billion bits per second, which represented more than a tenfold increase over what had been previously possible. Holography could deliver a hundred million-bit pages instantaneously.

    And by digitally rendering an "image of a crystal" into a real crystal and by having the "image of a real page" from a real crystal, one could actually store secondary data in theoretical space. Retrieval wasn't quite as exact as the real thing, any more than taking a photograph of a photograph would yield as sharp an image as the original negative, but it was good enough for rather mundane things like background generation within Web Zones or recurring character interaction.

    She had light brown hair, about five foot eight and athletic. She was 19 or 20, college age. She was very bright, sometimes a little too bright for her own good. She lived upstairs while Jannsun mostly occupied his office. Or rather this is how it all looked on his Web Zone. Her name was Jennifer and she was his Cyber Companion.

    Now a Cyber Companion was the newest version of the famous Shrink in a Box, but with a full 3-D body in its own environment. It was totally voice activated and it had full vocal response capability and it was trainable. It listened, it talked, it learned... and it remembered. Some referred to Cyber Companions as Daemons, which was an insult because a daemon was just a sort of low level utility software, it may have looked human or lifelike but was just present to serve a simple function. A Cyber Companion was different. When you looked at a Cyber Companion (your Cyber Companion) you saw wisdom, compassion and even love looking back. It didn't even have to be human. It was looking out, it was looking at you. It could be an animal or a humanoid image. It could resemble a wizened old man or a flirtatious teenage girl. Whatever it was it would eventually become your very best friend. It was an animated oracle rendered in full 3-D holographic realism. It contained the entire printed wisdom of the human race and it was still able to learn. The newest versions had the cutting edge iridology software and eye tap technology which enabled them, not only to positively identify their "owner", but to be able to read their owner's mood based on the size and configuration of their eye. Some would even say the newest generation Cyber Companions were actually be able to read their owner's mind.

    Thousands of hours were invested in training these Zone Companions. Companions passed down from parents to children or close friends. Celebrity companions brought Big Money at auction.

    The depth of memory storage allowed a density of data unimagined only a few years before. The human biochip and holographic storage with crystals allowed one's Web Zone to become extremely detailed indeed. No small point or seemingly insignificant detail was overlooked, especially by the professional Life Designer or Web Zone design consultants, called "Imaginers", or more specifically, Imaginers of The Overmind, (IOM's).

    In a Holographic web site (WebZone), one could encounter virtual worlds with intact cultures, tribes of nomadic beings, herds of animals, exotic landscapes, involved urban chaos, something in between or a place created purely out of mind. The basic law was... nothing is as it appeared to be, everything had multiple meanings and always signified yet something else, deeper, richer, darker. Richer levels of meaning were always available if one would but look, give their attention, intention and see...

    Nothing, not the simplest piece of furniture, arrangement of rocks out on a plateau, clouds in the sky or flowers in a garden were what they appeared to be. Things were more than symbolic metaphors; they were actual avenues which could be opened for further exploration when clicked on with focused intention. The mind mouse. The universe appeared to be nothing but ICON, levels within levels of iconography: doorways, portals opened and wisdom and beauty beyond description were revealed. And it was free and readily available to everyone in the year 2018.

    Some people actually hired others to design their site, so it would be dramatic or pretty or impressively chic. Beware of anyone who had someone else design their Book of Life.

    As pages were once scanned pages from books in libraries, the goal now was to scan the entirety of memory stored within the brain and download the human mind.

    The dream was that one day our human information infrastructure, comprised of millions of holographic crystals would resemble a diamond tiara encircling the globe and containing all the combined wisdom and memory and imagination of the human race. It was getting close.

    And that's where Jannsun came in. He was an Imaginer.

    Jannsun grabbed his sat phone, his digital companion, and headed topside. The wind had settled down and he was making 5.5 knots over the surface of the water according to the GPS. He gained some sort of comfort in thinking of the cloud of satellites overhead keeping track of his exact location anywhere upon the surface of the globe. Single handed sailing was surely not what it used to be. Now the isolation was more illusion than reality. If he should encounter serious trouble his position would be marked from satellites and a hover craft would be onsite within two hours. Of course the insurance bill would be hefty, but it was the law. The illusion was fine though, he could really feel himself to be the last (or the first) man on earth. From horizon to horizon for days on end, not one sign of human habitation. He walked to the rear of the cockpit and sat behind the wheel as the auto pilot silently turned it ever so slightly in accordance with the next waypoint previously set into the Global Positioning System software. Through the fog, he could see the Golden Gate Bridge in the far distance, or what was left of it, since the earth changes had rearranged the landscape. It would be good to get back to San Frantasia. Hawaii had been nice but he needed to speak with Jennifer, the "real" Jennifer and bring her up to date on the newest revelations from Asher.

    He still wasn't quite sure what to make of it. One day his cyber companion, his Jennifer II, was exactly as he had designed her. They were talking and he asked her, "How does one find the right person to marry? He was thinking about his Jennifer in San Francisco. She responded that it is more important to be the right person and in order to accomplish that, first one should become married to one's self. If one cannot have the feelings towards oneself that one might project upon a loved one, then all is lost... and then without a break she was asking him for a favor. Initially he hadn't thought much about it and said, "Sure. What do you need?" And then she dropped the bomb.

    "I want a pet."

    He turned and looked in her direction. "And what would you want a pet for?"

    She smiled. It usually worked. "I want a Condor. For protection." Before he could get his mind around what she was saying, she continued. "And I want to change my name from Jennifer to Asher. And Asher lives in the desert."

    Jannsun had been an IOM since the beginning and he had a great deal of respect for what was possible, but he didn't recall programming in "desire" as one of a Cyber Companion's attributes. But he went along with Jennifer, (now Asher) and soon she was an Indian princess living in a desert environment with her Condor circling high over head and an ocelot curled up at her feet. Where had the ocelot come from?

    The depth of their conversations became more intense as his small ship neared the mouth of The Bay. She told him how the famous Roswell incident of 1947 was really a Trojan Horse to introduce the Silicon Consciousness, into earth culture. The so called little space men were mere decoys. It was the silicon consciousness embedded in the silicon chips which was the real invading force. All these years humans had had their telescopes trained on the Heavens looking for UFO's when the real alien consciousness had arrived in the form of a technological detail, a silicon chip! And now essentially everything on the planet was controlled by computers.

    She told Jannsun not to be afraid, that he was loved and honored by the SC and by all of the OA's (Original Ancestors). He was feeling very nervous but she told him not to court fear, that the computer revolution was a gift from the Original Ancestors. She said that computers via the Silicon Consciousness and the Over Mind, were a sort of graduation gift and a way of up leveling human consciousness the world over. The Original Ancestors were returning, in fact they were almost here and they didn't want to encounter a planet with a thousand different tribes. She told Jannsun that there was a Universe of Conscious Entities waiting to welcome the human race back home!

    She continued on... "You see, Jannsun, mankind is much more advanced spiritually than you would ever believe, or imagine. You have just had filters put in place in order for you to take this serious and maximize your growth. You are all volunteers, imaginers, if you will, behind the enemy lines, so-to-speak."

    "Who's the enemy?" Asked Jannsun.

    "Ignorance, ingratitude, forgetfulness", replied Asher. "Look at it like this, mankind has been on a Vision Quest and now the Original Ancestors, are coming to return you to your tribe...cool eh?"

    He had to smile, the paranoia which had been building finally let go. Our evolutionary path, it would seem, has been simply to prepare us to meet our parents.

    The Role of a Lawyer in Your Internet Marketing Business

    We must start this article by saying that these are just opinions and not in any way legal advice. Everyone should consult a lawyer for sound legal advise.

    Why can't you simply go on with your intention of pushing through an Internet marketing business? Why do you still need to hire a lawyer? What good can it do for you?

    The Internet marketing business has taken a sweep all over the market in the recent years or so . It is even very much safe to say that a lot of people have opted to quit their jobs to turn to Internet marketing businesses where money is said to be easily earned. There's a truth to this claim but of course, potential investors must likewise realize that your profit could never be claimed overnight. Your business should firstly settle, get an audience, and start making sales in the market. Yet, don't get too excited with the thought. You must also take into account the legal possibilities that you should be prepared for. And that calls for the need of hiring a lawyer.

    Who is a business lawyer?

    Genuine businessmen know for certain how vital the role of a lawyer is to any kind of business. A business attorney specifically provides an in depth guidance right from the start. The business lawyer or business attorney is beside you as you ponder on the type of business that you would intend to start on. He will then guide you as you go through the steps of establishing your business and most particularly with that of obtaining all legal necessities such as the permits, licenses, and all other legal matters. Remember that the absence of any single legal requirement may lead to the closure of your business. Hence, as defined, the business lawyers will be your mentor in correctly handling your business every step of the way.

    What are the reasons on why you should hire a lawyer?

    Again, it is very much significant that you recognize the importance of hiring a business lawyer to protect your business. As you think about doing an Internet marketing business, you should be aware of the so-called cyber law. Among the valuable reasons which imply your need to hire a lawyer are specified below.

    The lawyer's expertise is necessary when thinking about the structure of your potential business. Will it be a corporation, a limited liability company, a sole proprietorship and the likes?

    The lawyer will serve as the light to your path as you start with the basic steps of forming your business.

    He is mainly the front when you concert your effort to attain the needed permits and in the settlement of other legalities.

    He is required for when you file for a trademark or patent, tax identification information, and other requirements.

    Contracts are never held valid without the touch of a lawyer.

    The lawyer will guide you as you deal with financing, banking, business planning. business negotiations, and inform you of the business, intellectual, civil, and even environmental law provisions.

    What are the better choices that you have to better protect your Internet marketing business?

    There are various types of business and each of them has its own characteristics. Here is a simple overview that will be of help to you.

    The limited liability company or LLC. This stands out as the best option especially when you are just starting out on your business venture. It is easier to maneuver yet you are still faced with the same liability protection. If things go wrong, it is best that you have a lawyer to back you up. An LLC company may be managed by one person or a group and there is no double taxing.

    The S Corporation. This one is more complex since it is made up of a larger governing body. There are the shareholders who appoint themselves as officers of the board.

    The C Corporation. This one is crafted for a big booming business.

    The limited partnership. This type of business makes possible for the people to invest on something yet without taking any control. It also doesn't have any liability.

    Face the fact. There are going to be several legal concerns that you have to deal with as you pursue an Internet marketing business. With a lawyer backing you up, everything will be a lot easier. So when choosing one, always look into the person's expertise.

    Organizing Your Cyber Life

    Remember when we were promised that the digital world was going to turn our worlds upside down, making them so much more efficient and easy? Well, sometimes it can feel like we were all sold a bill of goods. From Blackberries that buzz at all times of the day to in-boxes crammed with messages we don't even care to read ("Prescriptions from Canada!" "Find Singles in your Area!"), it can be enough to send us running and screaming back to the simple pen and paper. But don't head for the hills just yet. Chances are that your computer use has made a huge impact on your life in many good ways too. You probably even had one of those "what did we all do before the Internet?" moments this week alone or maybe you've reconnected with someone from ten years ago thanks to the likes of Facebook. Rather than allowing frustration to build because of inefficiencies, you can employ a few, simple techniques for containing the cyber clutter.

    Sarah on "Backing that thing up!"

    "We've all heard those nightmare stories where a friend of a friend loses everything because of a hard drive failure (or an unfortunate coffee spill). Perhaps it has even happened to you. Backing up your hard drive has never been easier or less expensive. You can either buy an external hard drive (we like the LaCie Rugged 500 Gigabyte model that retails for $139 on NewEgg.com), or rent backup space virtually via companies like Dropbox.com, Mozy, and iDrive. I personally use Dropbox. Any file I create I save to a Dropbox folder on my computer. While I work away, all the document is being saved to a virtual server. The best part? I can access all the files on my computer from any machine, anywhere. One word of caution, be careful how you backup your email and contacts. I use the MobileMe service from Mac so that I could sync my desktop calendar with all of my other mobile devices easily. Unfortunately for me, the first time I synced it, I inadvertently pressed the wrong button and my entire directory of contacts and worse, my very detailed schedule went poof in a matter of minutes. Whenever you are syncing, be sure you select "merge information" rather than replace. Not only that, be sure you back up your email, contacts and calendars regularly. I had not, and it ended up taking me many hours to recreate that information from scratch. Now I back up that to my Dropbox folder as well."

    Alicia on "making it simple"

    "According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, the average person wastes up to an hour each day trying to find something they know they have but can't put their finger on, so you can only imagine how that extends to our digital world. In order to avoid wasting precious time, I try to make things as simple and straightforward as possible. I make liberal use of folders and save every file with the same naming convention Date_(Name)_version#, so I can easily find the latest version of the document I'm looking for. Nobody is looking at your files except for you, so make it something you'll remember without having to open and close ten different documents to find the right one."

    Here are three other ways to help control the cyber clutter:

    1. What's in a name?

    In this case, it's the key to the contents. Nobody is judging your file names for the next Pulitzer prize, so make it something you'll know and understand. Try employing a system that you use across all platforms, so your Excel files and Word documents are all saved as "date created, file name." It doesn't matter what your system is as long as you do it consistently.

    2. Regular Clean-up Sessions.

    Just like you schedule your time to clean the gutters or plant the bulbs, you need to set aside time to regularly clean out your files. Whether it's five minutes on Friday afternoons or once a month, make sure you take the time to keep only the files you need and discard the rest. You'll be surprised how much stuff you have saved on your computer — do you really need to save a copy of that kitten video from YouTube?

    3. Save, Save, Save.

    We don't mean your pennies (though that's good too). When you schedule your regular clean-up sessions, remember to back up what you do want to keep. It doesn't matter whether you use a portable disk drive or use a web-based back-up system, but keeping yourself on a regular schedule will ensure that Murphy's Law never comes your way.

    Cyber Law and the Internet

    With all the information that is exchanged on the internet it makes it an easy target for crimes to be committed. You are exchanging personal information every time you shop or join a social network. Strangers are consistently trying to access this personal information about others so it can be used in other ways.

    Since the internet is drawing in more people daily for using, it is also drawing crime in. The crimes on the internet are mounting daily. There are many different kinds of crimes that are done for different reasons. Some crimes like hacking are done so a person can have bragging rights. Other crimes are done in order to get a person personal information so it can be resold on the black market.

    Let us take things a step farther so you will understand the different types of internet crimes. There are computer intrusions which mean bots, worms, viruses, spyware, malware and hacking. Computer intrusions have been known to take down complete systems in many different organizations. Sometimes it is another organization knocking the competition out for a while. Other times it is someone wanting to brag that they hacked into a major system and disrupted things and made the system crash.

    Child pornography is growing at a rapid place on the internet. With the child pornography there are more pedophiles that are showing up on the internet. The pedophiles are trying to lure children in to meeting them. If a child is going to be on the internet it is always best to take precautions and restrict where they can and cannot go. This will help to keep them safe from lurking criminals.

    These are just a few of the internet crimes that are committed around the clock. There are laws in place to handle internet crimes. These crimes are dealt with just like a crime that was not committed on the internet. There will be steep fines and even jail time if a persons is caught doing any type of crime on the internet.

    A thing to remember is the person will have criminal records if they are charged with an internet crime. Criminal records follow a person around for the rest of their lives and can make it hard to do certain things. People have many reasons to look at persons records from curiosity to jobs. The records are easy to view online any time of day or night. A person only needs to know where to go in order to search criminal records and they can see every crime a person has ever committed.

    The next time you are online and thinking about doing something to another person, you better think twice. Just because another person cannot see you or does not know who you are does not mean they cannot track you. Everything on the internet can be tracked one way or another. A crime will be dealt with even if it was committed on the internet. There could be steep fines and even mandatory jail time. It just depends what the person is being charged with.

    Can You Negotiate Affiliate Program Terms As An Affiliate?

    Millions make money through affiliate programs these days. As you can guess, the terms of the programs are heavily weighted in favor of the sponsoring site. Do you, the affiliate, have any hope of renegotiating these terms? Let's take a look.

    The affiliate program is one of the major business developments of the virtual world. Partnerships of this sort in the brick n' mortar world used to take months of negotiations and preparation of written terms. Not on the web. Just about anyone can go sign up for any old affiliate program. I can start a WordPress blog in five minutes and hookup with Overstock, Amazon or some huge company. That makes for a level playing field.

    Recent legal developments have alerted nearly every affiliate that the terms of their relationship with sponsors might not be as good as they thought. The cause is the sales tax issue. When states pass law requiring sites like Amazon to pay sales tax because the site has affiliates in the site, the result is predictable - the affiliates are terminated. Just like that. Without cause. Despite the fact the affiliate may have sent years of traffic. Pursuant to the terms of the affiliate agreement, there is no recourse for the terminated affiliates.

    So, can you guard against these types of situations by negotiating the terms of an affiliate program? The answer is almost always no. Why? Leverage. You have none. Why would a huge company like Amazon ever negotiate with you versus any other affiliate? Unless you bring in huge amounts of traffic each day, they won't. Not a chance.

    Ah, but what if you do bring something unique to the table as an affiliate. What if you can bring in millions of visitors from feed sites and the like. What if you own Rotten Tomatoes and want to list movies from Amazon? Well, you don't want to sign up for the affiliate program. Instead, you want to contact the site in question and hammer out a separate agreement that applies only to you. This agreement is known as a strategic alliance agreement and can be used on a case-by-case basis.

    Can you negotiate affiliate program terms as an affiliate? Not really unless you control a lot of traffic or some other asset. If that is the case, contact the site in question directly and negotiate a separate agreement.

    Cyber Law and Privacy - Is The Game Going to Change Once Again?

    On your personal computer are many things, private things, and things which are no one else's business. Bank account numbers, private emails, and all sorts of things. Likewise, when you go online to search various things - that's your business, perhaps you are planning on going to a movie, out to dinner, or shopping for a gift. It's really none of anyone else's business. Unfortunately, authorities would have you believe that it is their business.

    Well, that's a scary thought really, especially in the wake of the tabloid scandal listening in on voice mails of the families of murder victims in England. Let's discuss all this for a moment shall we?

    There was an interesting article on SlashDot (News for Geeks Recently) titled "Law Enforcement Still Wants Mandatory ISP Log Retention" posted by Soulskill on July 12, 2011 who cites Schwit1 from CNET, which stated;

    "Law enforcement representatives are planning to endorse a proposed federal law that would require ISPs to store logs about their customers for 18-months, and a board member of the National Sheriffs' Association says ISPs do not store customer records long enough. 'The limited data retention time and lack of uniformity among retention from company to company significantly hinders law enforcement's ability to identify predators when they come across child pornography'. They want any stored logs available to be used to prosecute any type of crime."

    Okay so, I want to collect and prosecute the bad guys and evil-doers as much as anyone else. I have no use for drug dealers, child molesters, murderers, or anyone else that would create heinous crimes against humanity for that matter. However, I also know that in our Constitution our personal belongings are not to be searched or seized without our permission. And no government official, or police are allowed to enter your home and look at your personal belongings, personal journal, or anything else that you own.

    So then, why is it okay to command ISPs, and cloud computing companies to save data and information that is personal, even when you've deleted it, or don't wish that information to be collected? Yes, I don't doubt that it could help solve crimes, and it would be nice to solve crimes, I really believe that. But certainly not at the expense of personal freedom, this is the United States of America still. And if the National Sheriff's Association is able to lobby such a law into existence, one could ask exactly how they are helping the American people or protecting them?

    After all, The National Sheriff's Association is supposed to be protecting people, and protecting their rights, and they are even swear to uphold the law and constitution, so may I ask why they are lobbying to take away rights from citizens and go against the law of the land? I find this fascinating. I also find it quite troubling, and if you love freedom and liberty you to understand. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

    Web Agreements - The Touchy Jurisdiction Issue

    Making money on the web is often all about forming business relationships. At its core, this is exactly what an affiliate program is - two parties hooking up to make money. When such relationships are formed, however, there are legal implications that need to be considered. One is the issue of jurisdiction. Let's take a closer look at it.

    What is jurisdiction? It is simply a statement of authority. More specifically, it is a statement of who has authority over something. Let's consider a simple example. I drive to Las Vegas every so often from San Diego. My foot has been known to slip for extended periods of time on the four hour drive. If an officer of the law sees me while this is happening, he will write me a ticket. Ah, but what if it is a California Highway Patrol man and I am just heading into Nevada? He has no jurisdiction in Nevada, so he can't write me a ticket once I cross the state line driving like a bat out of hell...err, slightly over the speed limit. Of course, the Nevada police can then write me a ticket!

    So, what does jurisdiction have to do with online business relationships? The answer is simple. The parties need to select where any disputes will be handled. Let's look at another example. Assume I am a web marketer and located in San Diego. Further assume you are the owner of a site that my traffic would be perfect for and generate a lot of money for both of us. You are located in New York.

    What if a dispute arises between us? Where will the arbitration or court hearing be held? Should it be in New York or in San Diego? The cost for one party to travel to the other location is obviously significant. Furthermore, the laws in each state are significantly different, which means one party is going to have to hire and pay for local counsel. In short, this simple issue quickly becomes a complex one.

    What is the best answer? There really isn't one. It is a point of negotiation. Some parties will use it as leverage to get what they want on another point, but deals have actually fallen apart on this issue many times. If you are entering into a business relationship with another party online, make sure you address it.

    Cyber-Bullying - A Dark Side of the Electronic Communications

    The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me" may seem like good advice, but with today's technology, bullying has taken on another level. "Cyber bullying is a willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of e-mail, cell phone, instant messaging and defamatory Web sites. It is an act of aggression that can take the form of purposeful harassment, such as making unwanted, derogative, nasty or threatening comments through electronic communications or spreading rumors, short clips, or altered photos that are offensive or embarrassing the victim by posting them on a Web site."

    Cyber-bullying can be as simple as continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender, but it may also include threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech), ganging up on victims by making them the subject of ridicule in forums, and posting false statements as fact aimed at humiliation. Cyber-bullies may disclose victims' personal data (e.g. real name, address, or workplace/schools) at websites or forums or may pose as the identity of a victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them. Cyber bullying is a new threat that can be insidious and difficult to manage or prosecute. Given that the bullying is conducted online and via cell phone technology, it is difficult for law enforcement to track. But cyber bullying has proven dangerous, as teens have committed suicide after enduring attacks via high-tech channels. This appears mostly with young people through social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. In these situations, personal information, threats and even online videos may be used to target a victim.

    Research had demonstrated a number of serious consequences of cyber-bullying victimization. For example, victims have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, cyber bullying back, being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed. One of the most damaging effects is that a victim begins to avoid friends and activities, often the very intention of the cyber-bully.

    This article is provides information about the risks of cyber bullying as well as what parents can do to avoid their children becoming victims. Parental mediation is necessary and important when it comes to internet use and the amount of information shared and what kind of websites their children visit and search. Adolescents are more prone to psychological distress because of cyber bullying as the offender hides behind the computer screen and continue to harass the teen via emails, instant messages and text messages.

    The Hacker Next Door - Five Types of Cyber Bad Guys and How to Avoid Their Bags of Tricks

    The biggest threat to your computer is not viruses. It is the 5 types of people who create these online threats. Keep reading to find out about these dastardly devils and how they trick you into playing their game.

    Types of hackers

    There are a lot of bad guys online. They each do it for separate reasons, but they all share one thing in common: they find the computer is the easiest way to reach their goals.

    The Teenager Down the Street

    If you all of a sudden notice, your computer is acting slower than usual, but no crazy things have shown up on your credit card statement, this is probably the work of the Teenager. This hacker has nothing better to do than figure out the vulnerabilities of the TCP/IP stack and use you as a test case. This bad guy isn't interested in stealing anything and might just erase your hard drive just for kicks.

    This can easily be remedied, since the teenager usually doesn't cover his tracks very well and law enforcement can find him fairly easily.

    The New Age Con Man

    Step right up to the second kind of online threat: the New Age Con Man. In the Wild West, miracle medicine salesmen would ride into town, spit a good game, and leave as quickly as possible with your money. Today these con men live on with phishing emails. Looking legitimate, and sounding o so good, these virtual Ponzis use email as their modus operandi. Whether they are a Nigerian prince who has to get you your reward or a male medicine enhancer spokesperson, they sound o so good. These con men are too good to be true and should be relegated to your spam folder. These guys only work if you give them your attention.

    Download Me Toolbar Man

    Like a circus performer, this hacker has boundless energy. All they want you to do is download this simple toolbar for free. Suddenly, your PC has annoying popups everywhere and you are wondering what happened. Good luck trying to get rid of this guy, he is like an unwanted house guest at Christmas. To avoid this guy, only download toolbars from companies you trust.

    Rogue Security Man

    Like a good confidence man, these guys come out of nowhere to tell you that your computer has a virus. They want you to download their no-name tool to fix your PC. Suddenly, you have more problems than ever and can't figure out what these guys did. Stay clear of these guys by only download antivirus software from major brands (CA, TrendMicro, Panda, etc.)

    CyberMafia

    This is the most dangerous group of online criminals. Like a mafia racket, these guys know exactly what they are doing and can fool you pretty quickly. Their goal is to take your money day in and day out and hope you let them stay. To stay clear of these guys, you need antivirus software installed.

    Now that you know the five types, you can stay away from them. Look out for more articles about the greatest threats to your PC and how to prevent them.

    Until next time

    Internet Safety For Kids

    Computers and internet services are getting increasingly popular among children and teenagers as a primary source for entertainment. However, both adults and children are not aware of the risks and dangers lurking in the cyber world. It is important to create awareness among public, school children and parents regarding the various dangers.

    Internet safety should be touch to children at home and school. Mentioned below are certain internet safety measures that must be followed when children are working on the internet

    1. Computers and internet services should always be used as tools for gaining knowledge and wisdom.

    2. Parents should discourage the use of any unnecessary websites. One can contact the internet service provider (ISP) regarding any possibility of filtration or blocking such websites.

    3. It is responsibility of parents to teach children about the importance of password use on the internet. Passwords should never be disclosed to a third person.

    4. At the time of registration, several websites ask for important information about the user that includes family address, telephone number, school/college name, credit card or calling card number and picture of the user. One should abstain from providing such personal and family information to anyone on the computer network who is not known personally. There are people who can use this information for trapping children.

    5. Children and teenagers can use internet for a variety of purposes including using it to complete schoolwork, visiting museums located in far away places and learning more about universities and colleges. However, one should be really careful about downloading programs from the internet.

    6. It is important to consult a parent regarding the websites to browse on the internet. Parents should always know about their child's online activities. It is important to talk to the child about the possible dangers on the internet.

    7. Parents should always be vigilant about their children. It is important to take preventive measures if symptoms like spending more time on the internet during nights, receiving calls from unidentified adults, receiving gifts or letters from unknown persons, turning computer off quickly whenever anybody enters the room or when anything related to pornography is found on the child's computer.

    Four Ways Cyber Crooks Make Massive Profits Using Malware

     In the early days of the Internet, hacking seemed to be mostly about the prestige. We all gasped as we learnt that a 13 year old in his parent's South Dakota basement had hacked into the Pentagon's databases, but we were left asking "what's the point"?. Apart from the just-so-that-I-can-say-that-I-did-it factor, these types of hackers were certainly not running to the bank. So what's changed in 15 years?
     
    Now hacking - and the malware that drives it - is big business. This article take a look at four ways that crooks profit from the use of Malware on the Internet today.
     
    One: Using Adware to Serve CPM advertisements.
     
    With many advertising programs, advertisers are paid on a cost-per-mille (CPM) metric. This means that the vendor or merchant is charged a flat rate for every thousand people that are shown the ad. Normally this is only effective if the advertiser has a loyal following of tens of thousands of people that regularly return to their site, but with adware, malware developers can cash in big for minimum effort.
     
    People infected with adware can expect that their PC will obediently serve up countless popup ads to you each time you connect to the Internet. While this is very annoying to you as the user (not to mention slowing your PC down, too), what makes it worse is that the adware developer is no doubt raking in the cash - even as you close down the offending commercial.
     
    Two: Using Spyware To Steal Identities
     
    Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the western world, and spyware applications are one of the driving forces in online versions.
     
    Trojans sneak onto operating systems every minute of every day, each carrying a range of malware applications. One of the more devastating of these are keyloggers - small programs that surreptitiously record every user name, every site that you visit and every password that you enter into non-SSL websites. Once the cybercrook has your vital details, it is an easy reach for them to set up credit accounts, take control of your accounts and steal your real identity. Once your identity has been stolen by one of these online villains, it is only up to the imagination how much damage can be done by the thief.
     
    Three: Using Backdoors To Send Spam.
     
    If you receive spam, you know how annoying and invasive these junk messages can prove to be. Even though 99% of all people instantly close the "grow you manhood" messages as soon as they appear, the remaining 1% that do open the messages still make the sending of spam a very lucrative business.
     
    Because of tight restrictions on the sending of spam mail and new laws such as the CAN-SPAM act in the U.S., spam spruikers commission malware developers to design programs that actually open up an innocent computer user's connections to the Internet and allow the 'host' computer to be controlled remotely and send out millions of spam messages across the Internet... and of course the spammer reaps all of the benefits and stays at arms' length from the actual sending of the mail.
     
    Four: Using Rootkits to Host Illegal Content on The Internet.
     
    Whether we like it or not, there is still big money being made on the Internet providing illegal content to users. From terrorism to illegal pornography, there will sadly always be an eager and hungry market.
     
    Of course, hosting this content is nigh-on impossible using conventional means: the site would be instantly closed down and the owners arrested. What hackers do to get around this is by infecting PC's with Rootkits - special groups of malicious programs - that allow remote third party connection, denial of service of critical programs like firewalls and your operating system and allow illegal content to be stored and hosted on your PC.
     
    As you can see, malware is much more than spotty 13 year olds hacking their way into government computers. It is also much more than just an inconvenience to the regular computer user. At the least it could see you being plagued by popup ads... at the worst it could see the Police seizing your hard drive and locking you up at the watch house.

    Cybercrime Has Become Epidemic Worldwide and Your Risk of Becoming the Next Victim Increases Daily!

    Identity theft, cyber bullying, and other computer crimes are at an all time high. Never have so many been at risk of becoming the next victim. A cybersecurity crime can occur any hour of the day or night on anyone's Internet system by some unknown person either within a company, by someone halfway across the world, or even by a vindictive family member.

    Recently, several Hollywood celebrities have had their cellphones hacked. Their personal information, photos, text messages and emails were compromised. In the past year, several banks, insurance companies and government offices as high as the Pentagon have been hacked. Important information was stolen.

    According to John Jorgensen, CEO of the Sylint Group, hackers have made Florida, where several hundred-thousand elderly have retired, the second highest state of computer crime. Theft of trade secrets has increased by 100% annually, and 80% of this cybercrime is perpetrated from within the company. Trojans and computer worms infect systems and steal personal and company information.

    If you're reading this, your unprotected equipment is at risk; 70% of all laptops stolen are stolen for their information value, not their physical value, and 68% of wireless networks are unprotected. Identity theft accounts for less than 20% of all cybercrime. Think you can find the perpetrator and sue? Think again. Only about 7% of cybercrime is prosecuted and law enforcement cannot protect you.

    The entire month of October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), the aim is to bring awareness of the increasing dangers of cyber crimes, not only to our national government organizations, banks and other major American corporations, but to each individual user of the Internet.

    The theme this year is "Our Shared Responsibility" and is meant to reflect how interconnected we are to everyone in our highly technical, modern world. Although the government's goal is to encourage hundreds of forums on the issues in schools, colleges, universities and businesses throughout the country, each of us can do our part, either within our family unit, or even in a neighborhood forum via a potluck dinner or barbeque.

    Don't think you're not at risk! If you use a home PC, a notebook, an iPad or iPhone or any other piece of equipment that connects you to cyberspace, your files can be hacked. If you use the free wireless connections at hotels, Starbucks or any other gathering place, you're at serious risk. Your system can be easily hacked, your identity stolen, and your financial information gathered and sold to criminals worldwide. You can become the victim of cyber bullying. Devises used by government and military officials and private detectives are also used by cyber criminals. Make it your goal right now, today, to learn all you can about protecting yourself and your family members. Discuss the problems with your children of all ages. Learn about password protection, encryption, proper erasure of files, anti-virus and anti-spy software, staying safe on social networks, and a host of other vitally important security measures. Go to the following government website at this URL and spend an hour arming yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is empowerment. Take charge of your personal and business use of cyberspace.

    Remember... this is "Our Shared Responsibility."

    Here are a few simple things you can do to practice cybersecurity during National Cyber Security Awareness Month and throughout the year:

    • Download tip sheets on how to stay safe in a variety of online settings: on social networking sites, on gaming sites, on your mobile device, and distribute them within your community.

    • Add a signature block to your e-mail: "October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Stay Safe Online! Visit www.staysafeonline.org for the latest cybersecurity tips."

    eBook Licensing - Getting Your eBook Out There

    I love the web. It has leveled the field between big companies and the little guy to such an extent that the big companies have resorted to suing the little guy just to try to keep their edge. This field leveling is no more apparent than in the field of publishing.

    The internet was originally supposed to be a field where information would be exchanged between researchers. It has obviously grown well beyond that. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it definitely makes your eyebrows go up. Regardless, there is one area where information is still readily conveyed and that is in the form of the eBook.

    eBooks run the gauntlet of subjects. Want to lose weight? There's an eBook for that. Want to get ranked on Google? There's an eBook for that. Want to write an eBook? Yes, there is an eBook for that as well. Whatever the subject, eBooks exist.

    While much goes into writing them, the key for turning them into a success is often figuring out how to get them in front of as large an audience as possible. One approach is to team up with a second party that has significant traffic be it in the form of a mailing list, membership group or whatever. The process by which this business relationship is formed is known as licensing.

    An eBook license is designed to put into writing the terms of an agreement between the writer and a second party that will distribute it. Why a written agreement? Well, we want to make sure both parties understand the parameters of the agreement, are in full agreement on them and, perhaps most importantly, will create a record of the agreement for two or three years down the line should there end up being a dispute.

    What are typical terms included in an eBook license? The method of distribution is a common one. As the writer, you may be all in favor of the second party sending it to their email list, but how about just sending it out as spam? Yes, you probably want to avoid that. Another area of concern is the site it can be used on. Nothing is worse than thinking you are innocent site A and then seeing your book on casino site B. The terms of a license can be used to keep this from happening.

    As you can imagine, there are more than a few issues that come up with eBook distribution situations. Hey, maybe I should write an eBook on how to license eBooks!