Global Dispatches

An International IT News Digest

India Seeks Stiffer Data-Theft Penalties

BANGALORE, India -- A committee set up by India's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology last week recommended that the government adopt tighter provisions and stiffer penalties for data theft. The committee was formed by ministry officials in January to suggest amendments to the country's Information Technology Act.

The ministry posted the recommendations on its Web site and is seeking comments and suggestions on the proposals through Sept. 19. The committee is calling for data theft to be listed as an offense under the 5-year-old IT Act, which currently requires punishment only for illegal hacking activities. The panel is also recommending the addition of penalties for companies that have been negligent in "implementing and maintaining reasonable security practices and procedures."

Business process outsourcing and call center companies in India that handle large volumes of sensitive data from the U.S. and Europe have been putting pressure on the Indian government to pass data-protection laws for the past two years.

John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

EDS Australia Workers Reject Deal, Get Raises

SYDNEY, Australia -- Australian employees of outsourcing vendor Electronic Data Systems Corp. firmly rejected the company's latest salary offer, voting down a proposed deal that would have frozen wage levels but improved some worker entitlements.

After the vote, EDS Australia immediately implemented a wage increase of 3% to 5% and substantially improved its parental leave offerings.

The company also said it has contracted with a consulting firm to conduct a review of payment levels for standby and overtime work.

EDS said the so-called People Agreement was defeated by a vote of 1,573 to 1,064. The rejection puts the outsourcer in an awkward position with workers, who are known to be largely unhappy about its current pay rates.

"We are disappointed with the results because we believed we had offered substantial improvements to the People Agreement," said Chris Mitchell, EDS Australia's managing director. "We understand that our employees have sent us a very clear message, and we are responding."

Julian Bajkowski, Computerworld Today (Australia)

Nokia Opens Sixth R&D Center in China

Nokia Corp. last week opened a research and development center in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu to build applications based on third-generation mobile technology. The facility is the company's sixth R&D center in China and the second to focus on 3G projects.

Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said it expects the new center to help boost its sales in China, although the company also noted that it will develop mobile applications there for markets around the world.

According to Nokia, 3G services currently aren't available in China. The Chinese government hasn't set a date for issuing 3G licenses, but observers generally expect them to be issued within the next year or so.

Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

Briefly Noted

Tele2 AB, a pan-European telecommunications service provider based in Stockholm, has started shifting all billing operations for its 30 million customers to a facility in the Latvian capital of Riga. It is also moving some related IT support functions there from its Uni2 outsourcing subsidiary.

Juris Kaza, IDG News Service

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. said Lucas Chow, its executive vice president of corporate business, will leave SingTel by year's end to take over as CEO of Media Corp., a Singapore-based publisher and broadcaster.

Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service

Infineon Technologies AG, a Munich-based maker of semiconductors, has been awarded a contract to supply components for Microsoft Corp.'s new Xbox 360 video game console. Infineon said that it will supply an advanced security chip, a removable solid-state memory unit and a single-chip ASIC wireless pad controller.

John Blau, IDG News Service

Global Fact

64%

Percentage of telephone calls made in Finland last year that came from cell phones.

Source: Statistics Finland, Helsinki

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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