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Monday, March 12, 2001
Latest in IT world

Pornography on Hamas Web site

Hackers invaded the Internet site of the Muslim militant group, Hamas, to make it show pornography on Tuesday, after the fundamentalist organisation claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed three Israelis. Web surfers trying to access www.hamas.org were re-routed automatically to a pay-for-view pornographic site offering a fare ranging from "kinky co-eds" to "Latina fetish". Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of the political wing of Hamas, accused Israeli intelligence of being behind what appeared to be the latest attack in an Israeli-Arab cyberwar on the sidelines of a five-month-old Palestinian uprising. "I’m telling them to die of their own fury," Yassin said. No one claimed responsibility for hacking into Hamas’s Web site, which usually carries information about the group opposed to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Yassin said Hamas would seek advice from Internet specialists to block any hacking in the future.


Clash on cyber crime treaty

The Internet industry and governments clashed head-on last week over efforts to come up with the world’s first treaty against cyber crime. From the Internet purveyors and providers came calls for minimal restrictions. From governments came pressure for sufficient powers and rules to fight crime online. Industry representatives at a hearing held by the Council of Europe, which is drafting the pioneer convention, said passages requiring Internet service providers to store user data for long periods would be unacceptably costly. Echoing a growing trend in Europe, the European Union said it wanted the convention to help fight hate crimes and racism, an issue highlighted by a recent French court decision ordering the U.S.-based site Yahoo! to remove Nazi memorabilia from its auction pages.

Japan eBank’s plan

A Japanese online bank, eBank Corp, to be set up by a consortium led by trading house Itochu Corp said last week it had applied to financial regulators for a banking licence to start operations in June. "We will aim to develop an Internet-based specialist bank for the settlement of small payments," Taiichi Matsuo, president of the online venture, told reporters. The new online venture, which hopes to achieve a profit in three years, will conduct operations exclusively on the Web, specialising settling payments for low-priced goods and services and charging fees on these settlements. More than 20 firms — including Itochu, Sumitomo Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Nippon Shinpan Co and Mitsui Marine and Fire Insurance Co Ltd — own stakes in eBank. None has a more than five per cent share. eBank had said it would strive to become a leader in Japan’s fledgling e-commerce market without a traditional branch network.

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