Machine agents such as robots or crawlers (called bots) visit millions of Web sites daily. Sometimes the use is benign, as when search agents use them to update their information. But these programs can also be harmful. They can be used to hunt for Web site vulnerabilities or harvest e-mail addresses for future spamming. They can also reduce a Web site’s bandwidth.
A new site keeps an updated list of bad bots and crawlers. Web site host managers and business owners can download data for free from Botslist.com that can then be configured to block bad robots. It’s this month’s A Site to See.
About 15 million Americans fell victim to some form of identity theft in the 12 months ending in mid-2006, an increase of more than 50 percent since 2003. For the rest of the Garner survey, click here.
Aid workers, who render assistance to the most vulnerable populations in the least hospitable regions of the world, have long operated with protected status under international humanitarian law. Combatants, nevertheless, increasingly ignore this protection. From Iraq to Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, aid workers have faced savage attacks when working within conflict zones.
The California Court of Appeal has ruled that an employee who was fired after making a workplace violence complaint against a coworker may sue his employer for a violation of public policy. The court ruled that the employer’ s actions violated public policy when it failed to take steps to address credible workplace violence threats. (Franklin v. The Monadnock Company, California Court of Appeal, No. B191267, 2007)
A bill (H.R. 1717) introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) that would establish a national agricultural and biodefense facility has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology. The bill will now move to a vote before the full committee. H.R. 1717 has also been referred to the House Agriculture Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
A bill (H.R. 948) introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) that would protect the privacy of Social Security numbers has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is now pending before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist has signed a law (formerly H.B. 55) that requires employers to allow workers to take up to three days off a year to deal with domestic violence issues. However, it is up to employers to determine whether these days are paid or unpaid.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a female employee missed the chance to sue her employer for paying her less than her male counterparts over a nine-year period because she did not file her case within 180 days of the offense. The court said the clock started ticking from the day she got the job, rather than being reset with each new paycheck. This is a departure from years of discrimination case law. The only way to have a current claim against years of discriminatory pay would be for the plaintiff to show that recent decisions, such as raises or promotions, were discriminatory. (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Inc., U.S. Supreme Court, No. 05-1074, 2007)
The three biggest data security concerns for businesses: outside data harvesting attacks, exposing sensitive information to unauthorized users, and accidental loss of employee data. Read more about the report here.