Global Dispatches

An International News Digest

Panel Calls on SWIFT to Stop Giving Data to U.S.

LONDON -- An advisory panel set up by the European Commission has found that SWIFT, a Belgium-based organization that runs a messaging service supporting financial transactions between banks, is violating European and Belgian data privacy laws by turning over information to U.S. authorities for use in terrorism investigations.

The panel, known as the Article 29 Working Group, said in a Nov. 23 report to the EC that the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication SCRL should face sanctions if it doesn’t stop the alleged violations.

SWIFT, a cooperative owned by about 8,000 financial institutions worldwide, keeps identical copies of its data at facilities in the U.S. and the Netherlands. The two facilities are each subject to local laws, SWIFT said in a statement denying that it is violating European laws.

A spokesman said SWIFT turns over specific subsets of data to the U.S. Department of the Treasury based on court-ordered requests and doesn’t allow indiscriminate access. The organization negotiated with the U.S. government to monitor and audit the requests, he added.

-- Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service

EMC Seeks Fix for Slow Sales Growth in Asia

SINGAPORE -- After several quarters of lackluster financial performance in Asia, EMC Corp. is looking to get its regional operations back on track.

Steve Leonard, who took over as president of EMC’s Asia-Pacific unit in April with a mandate to revive its business, said in an interview last week that the storage vendor needs “to do a better job of execution” in Asian countries.

In the third quarter, EMC’s revenue in Asia grew by 6.9%, far lower than the rate of growth in other regions. Improving growth levels will take time, Leonard said, noting that EMC is taking a measured approach to resolving its operational issues. For example, EMC plans to work more closely with channel partners on sales and give users a single support contact for all its products.

-- Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

Microsoft Submits More Documents in Europe

BRUSSELS -- Microsoft Corp. submitted a new batch of technical information about Windows to the European Commission’s antitrust department last Thursday, meeting a deadline set by EC regulators one week earlier.

Microsoft, which faced daily fines of ¬3 million ($3.9 million U.S.) if it didn’t produce the overdue documentation, called the submission “an important milestone” in its efforts to comply with the requirements of the EC’s March 2004 ruling that the company had violated competition laws.

“Now the submission from Microsoft is worth testing,” EC spokesman Jonathan Todd said. But if rivals looking to develop server software that can interoperate with Windows find that the documentation still isn’t adequate, Microsoft could be hit with the ¬3 million daily fines backdated to the previous submission deadline in July, Todd said.

-- Paul Meller, IDG News Service

Briefly Noted

BT Group PLC last week said it has begun connecting customers in the U.K. to its new IP-based telecommunications network. The 21st Century Network will offer a mix of voice, data and video services over a single broadband connection at speeds of up to 24Mbit/sec. BT said it plans to switch more than 350,000 lines to the network by mid-2007.

-- John Blau, IDG News Service

Microsoft said it has signed an agreement to invest an undisclosed amount of money in a Beijing-based IT outsourcing operation set up by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., finalizing a deal announced in June 2005. Microsoft will hold a 10% stake in the TCS China joint venture. Mumbai, India-based TCS owns 65%, and three China-based partners hold a combined 25%.

-- Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

Alcatel SA completed its acquisition of Lucent Technologies Inc. last Thursday and began operating under the name Alcatel-Lucent. The combined company will be based in Paris. But the networking vendor will be run by Lucent executive Patricia Russo, who was named CEO.

-- Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service

Compiled by Craig Stedman.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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