|Volume 7: No. 46|
Sweden's Infinit Information AB has opened its second
Crack-A-Mac contest, exposing a real-world web server system
using Mac OS 8, WebSTAR, SiteEdit Pro, the ClearlyHome multiple
domain service, and database access via Lasso and FileMaker Pro.
$13K if you can change their website.
Playboy magazine will use Digimark's "Markspider" digital watermarks and web searcher to watch for pirating of its online images. [NYT, 30Jun97. EduP.]
Two IBM Almaden scientists are proposing a public-key cryptographic system based on the difficulty of finding the shortest vector connecting any two points in a lattice of more than 100 dimensions. Certain hidden hyperplanes constitute the private key, and a method of generating points near one of those hyperplanes is the public key. [Science News, 05Jul97. EduP.]
As wonderful as digitally signed and publicly encrypted contracts may be, there are few court cases or state laws to support them. The US Uniform Commercial Code probably won't cover electronic agreements for another year yet, and acceptance would still be up to the individual states. CA, MN, TX, UT, and WA are among the states already accepting digital signatures, and some may accept other "active consent" such as clicking on a checkbox. In other states, the Statute of Frauds may require signed documents for prosecution -- and prosecution across state lines is going to be difficult in any case. If a contract is deemed unenforceable, a software seller may be unable to limit liability for any harm to the purchaser caused by bugs or viruses -- obviously a substantial risk. [NYT. SJM, 09Jul97, 1C.]