Global Dispatches

An international news digest

Nasscom Seeks Court for Cybercrime Cases

DELHI, India -- India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) has asked the government to create a special court to try people accused of cybercrimes and other violations of the country's Information Technology Act.

Sunil Mehta, a vice president at Delhi-based Nasscom, said such a court could speed the trials of suspected cybercriminals. Those trials now drag on for an average of about three years, Mehta said, adding that no one charged with data fraud in India has ever been convicted. A special court, Mehta said, would have judges who are familiar with the technical issues involved in cybercrimes and could bring in amicus curiae to advise the judges.

The Indian government is considering Nasscom's request, according to Mehta. The proposed court is part of a Nasscom effort to strengthen data protection and privacy within India's outsourcing industry.

-- John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

Antitrust Probe of Intel Broadens in Europe

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission has expanded an antitrust probe of Intel Corp. to examine claims that the chip maker paid the largest computer retail chain in Europe not to sell systems containing processors made by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

AMD disclosed in July that it planned to file a complaint with Germany's antitrust office after press reports surfaced that Intel had paid retailer Media Markt not to stock PCs based on AMD's chips.

The EC said last week that it decided to examine the claim because Media Markt operates in multiple countries and because if the allegations are true, they would strengthen the commission's antitrust case against Intel. The antitrust investigation began in 2001 and was ratcheted up last year, when the EC raided Intel's offices in Munich and in Swindon, England.

"The commission is concerned that Intel has been putting pressure on Media Markt not to stock computers that include AMD chips as opposed to Intel chips," EC spokesman Jonathan Todd said last week.

Media Markt, a unit of retailer Metro AG in Dusseldorf, Germany, operates more than 360 consumer electronics stores in 11 European Union countries.

-- Paul Meller, IDG News Service

NEC Confirms Talks to Sell Consumer PC Unit

TOKYO -- NEC Corp. confirmed this month that it is negotiating a possible sale of its Packard Bell home PC division, although it wouldn't comment on reports that it is discussing a deal with Lap Shun "John" Hui, the founder and former head of eMachines Inc.

The sale of Packard Bell would continue NEC's shift away from the consumer sector. The Tokyo-based company has recently tried to build up its position in telecommunications, saying that it hopes to grab a 10% share of the global communications market.

"NEC is considering an offer, and the process of the sale is under way, but no deal has been completed," NEC spokeswoman Kazuko Andersen said. She declined to identify the potential buyer.

Hui, who sold eMachines to Gateway Inc. in 2004 for $234 million, has been publicly shopping for a PC company in recent weeks. In August, he offered buy the retail arm of Gateway, but the Irvine, Calif.-based company's board rejected the deal that Hui proposed. Hui has yet to make a public statement about Packard Bell. Calls to his investment banking firm, Averil Capital Markets Group Inc., weren't returned.

-- Ben Ames, IDG News Service

Aussie State to Upgrade Police Dispatch System

PARRAMATTA, Australia -- The Australian state of New South Wales has awarded a contract worth $14 million Australian ($10.5 million U.S.) to Fujitsu Ltd.'s local subsidiary to replace a decade-old computerized dispatch system used by the state's police force.

The contract calls for Fujitsu Australia Ltd to provide and install a dispatch system that will be used to manage and record emergency calls, as well as to create maps using real-time displays.

Dave Johnson, a police superintendent who is director of the IT project, said the New South Wales police force is working with Fujitsu "to ensure [that] the system is fully tested and those using it [are] properly trained before we go live." Johnson noted that large IT projects "can be difficult to implement, both technically and from a change management perspective."

North Sydney-based Fujitsu Australia is using Windows-based emergency services software from Gosport, England-based Fortek Computers Ltd. as part of the new system. The system will be linked to other Australian state and federal emergency systems; it's expected to go live in mid-2007.

-- Rodney Gedda, Computerworld Australia

EU, U.S. Face Deadline On Data-Sharing Deal

BRUSSELS -- European and U.S. security officials last week were locked in talks here to hammer out a replacement for an agreement on sharing data about airline passengers that was outlawed by a European court in May and is scheduled to expire at month's end.

As part of the screening of passengers entering the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the EU agreed in 2003 to let airlines hand over 34 pieces of data about European citizens to U.S. immigration officials without being in violation of Europe's strict privacy laws.

But the deal was invalidated in May by the European Court of Justice, which called on the U.S. and the EU to reach a new agreement by Oct. 1. Senior U.S. security officials have demanded an interim accord more far-reaching than the existing one, while the European Parliament is seeking to limit the scope of the agreement.

If a new deal can't be reached, airlines flying from Europe to the U.S. will face a dilemma. If they don't hand over passenger records, U.S. authorities may impose hefty fines or withdraw landing rights. But if they do, passengers may sue them for breaching European data-protection laws.

-- Paul Meller, IDG News Service

Briefly Noted

  • HCL Technologies Ltd. in Noida, India, has been chosen by General Electric Co. to set up and operate unspecified development centers for GE in India and China. HCL didn't disclose the value of the three-year contract. It also declined to say what kind of work would be done at the centers. Such facilities often are used to develop software for use internally by companies.

    -- John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

  • Perot Systems Inc. will open a services delivery center in the Philippines in January to serve its business process outsourcing clients in the U.S. health care market. Plano, Texas-based Perot Systems plans to first set up an office in Manila and later expand outside of the capital, an official said. He wouldn't disclose the amount of the investment but noted that the standard expenditure is about $8,000 (U.S.) per seat.

    -- Lawrence D. Casiraya, Computerworld Philippines

  • Infineon Technologies AG has opened its first chip plant in Asia, a facility in Kulim, Malaysia, that cost about $1 billion (U.S.) to build. The plant will produce power and logic chips used in automotive and industrial applications, Infineon said last week. The facility will eventually employ 1,700 people, according to the Munich-based company.

    -- Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

  • South Korea has agreed to participate in the European Union's Galileo satellite navigation system. South Korea will work with the EU on scientific research and training, market development, standards, certifications and regulatory measures. The EU-backed system was developed to support commercial applications. The first Galileo satellite, Giove-A, was launched last December.

    -- Martyn Williams, IDG News Service

  • Elpida Memory Inc. said CEO Yukio Sakamoto held talks with Taiwanese officials earlier this month to discuss possible incentives for building a chip factory in Taiwan. Tokyo-based Elpida has been considering an investment in China, Japan, Singapore or Taiwan. A decision on the facility's site has yet to be made, a company spokeswoman said.

    -- Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service

  • Global Fact

    • 6.4%

    The annual rate of growth in spending for IT services in Saudi Arabia last year. The total amount spent was about $700 million.

    Source: IDC, Framingham, Mass.

    Compiled by Mike Bucken.

    Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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