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Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

Spywarethe latest Internet intruder to soar from mere annoyance to sheer menace at record speedhas (over)taken Netizens worldwide. The unprecedented escalation of stealth programs installed on a PC without the user's consentindeed, usually without their knowledgein order to track every digital move carries far more ramifications than the aggravation of slowing PC performance and sparking an onslaught of pop-ups. Yet, because this abusive behavior erupted so quickly, it has become an unwieldy and intensifying challenge to users, legislators, ISPs, and even legitimate marketers to figure out how to handle it, control it, purge it, and prevent it.

This month's special section explores all these obstacles, and much more. Guest Editor Thomas Stafford has orchestrated a dozen stories detailing spyware's proliferation and the great challenge enlisting users to recognize and rise up against this invasion. Indeed, much of the onus in this battle currently falls on users, the vast majority of whom still do not appreciate the urgency to protect their computers and their privacy from unwelcome scrutiny. As one author speculates: How do you solve a problem if you do not recognize its existence?

Also in this issue, Bose and Pal examine the advantages of Auto-ID (aka RFID) technology that creates an "Internet of things" that can be tracked and managed at every point in the supply chain. Cegielski et al. offer a model designed for CIOs to filter through the plethora of emerging technologies to find those best suited to their own organizations.

Gregory Bond praises the beauty of software code as others might appreciate works of fine art. Sheng et al. argue that e-marketers, to be successful, must build defensive strategies that include trustworthy information about the goals and plans of a firm's competitors and their ability to achieve them. Jeanette Morgan discusses the benefits of certification based on observations and lessons learned from 30 years devoted to business and software engineering. And Donald Hardaway proposes an open source research approach designed to enhance the creation and dissemination of information.

In "Practical Programmer," Robert Glass continues retracing the milestones in software history. Hal Berghel and Jacob Uecker examine precisely why WiFi is so vulnerable to hacking in "Digital Village." David Patterson expounds on the professional value of ACM-sponsored conferences and journals in "President's Letter." In "Viewpoint," Arora and Chazelle insist the computer science field rewrite its perception in the outside world by championing the excitement and bountiful opportunities it provides. And Reif and Mitri argue the most effective methods for including project management courses in the IS curriculum in "Technical Opinion."

Diane Crawford

©2005 ACM  0001-0782/05/0800  $5.00

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