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Monday, March 25, 2002

Bio-IT surges ahead
Tribune News Service

While other IT sectors are struggling to keep their heads above water, the bio-IT sector is gaining rapid momentum. According to analysis from International Data Corporation's (IDC's) research and advisory service, bio-IT infrastructure, the bio-IT market will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 per cent to nearly $ 38 billion by 2006.

Pharmaceutical, biotechnology and basic research are the top target markets for IT suppliers, based on infrastructure spending. These sectors are experiencing the most significant build-out of infrastructure.

Factors driving this growth include rapid acceptance of new biology methods and informatics-based drug design, according to IDC. The study says by 2006, storage will represent the single largest element of bio-IT spending, accounting for $11.8 billion. Driving this demand for storage systems is the exponential growth in data and complex data elements emerging in the post-genomics era. Servers will represent the second-largest element of spending across all sectors. This growth will occur as increasingly complex computational workloads emerge, as the industry moves beyond genomics into proteomics, systems biology and docking applications.

All major hardware, software, and services persons who buy computers in bulk and customise them for a particular application will target the bioscience market with products and services, according to IDC.



Priests, police officer in FBI net
James Vicini

CATHOLIC priests, a police officer, a nurse, a teacher's aide and a school bus driver were among those charged in a 14-month nationwide crackdown known as "Operation Candyman" that targeted child pornography on the Internet, the FBI said last week. FBI officials said about 90 persons in more than 20 states have been charged in an undercover investigation of three electronic message groups maintained by Yahoo! Inc that involved the posting, exchanging and transmitting of child pornography via e-mail, bulletin boards and file transfers.

One official said about 40 persons are in custody while 50 are expected to be in custody by the end of the week as part of the first phase of the crackdown on "an international ring of paedophiles and predators devoted to trading and propagating pornographic images of children over the Internet." Of the three or four clergy members who have been charged, two were Catholic priests, including one in Baltimore, the officials said. The Catholic Church has recently been hit with a number of scandals in which priests have sexually molested young boys.

They said one group, www.egroups.com/groups/thecandyman, had an estimated 7,000 members, with 2,400 of them overseas. Such groups create cyberspace communities of like-minded individuals who seek to communicate privately on a single subject matter using e-mail and dedicated Web sites.

The Candyman Web site has been shut down, the officials said.

"There will be no free riders on the Internet for the traffickers in child pornography," Attorney General John Ashcroft told a news conference at FBI headquarters.

The officials said a number of those caught up in the investigation involved positions of trust, including a guidance counselor, a foster care parent and professionals in the medical and military fields. A respiration therapist in Little Rock committed suicide, they said.

FBI Executive Assistant Director Bruce Gebhardt said Yahoo! cooperated with the FBI's investigation. He said all three message groups have been shut down.

The FBI has conducted more than 230 searches as part of the investigation, which began after an undercover FBI agent in Houston discovered the three groups, the officials said.