'Did you hear...'

Nine-tenths of the law. The GSA Schedule's got nothing on Jakarta. Indonesia, where an estimated 87 percent of software on the market last year was pirated, reportedly has worked out a deal with Microsoft Corp. that will 'legalize' pirated Windows programs on up to 50,000 government computers for a dollar each. According to Agence France Presse, Indonesia's Information Minister Sofyan Djalil called it a practical move. 'They can't force us to solely use legal software, since we can't afford it,' he said. Think that argument would fly for underfunded U.S. agencies?

Next time, try an aluminum foil hat. An unemployed sysadmin from London, who's facing extradition to the United States on charges of hacking into 53 U.S. military and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002, says he was just looking for proof of UFOs. A lawyer for Gary McKinnon, indicted in 2002, said McKinnon thought the U.S. government was hiding evidence of alien ships. For his research, he's charged with, among other things, stealing 950 passwords, deleting 1,300 user accounts and making the Washington military district network 'inoperable,' and faces up to 70 years in jail. He also wanted to expose'stop the presses'weaknesses in U.S. security. There are easier ways, mate.

Kow-tow.com. Microsoft, so often accused of seeking world domination, has apparently found it better to bow to Beijing. Users of its new Internet portal in China are blocked from using such words or phrases as 'democracy,' 'freedom,' 'human rights' and 'Taiwan independence.' Yahoo and Google also have fallen in line with the restrictions, demanded by China's Web censorship rules. Express yourself freely at [email protected].

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