Continuing coverage of recent WT stories
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DirecTV, a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp., is set to launch its third satellite on June 9 (WT, May 19, 1994). The 6,000-pound satellite will serve as an in-orbit spare and will expand the channel capacity for the 150-channel direct broadcast satellite service.
An Arianespace rocket will carry the Hughes-built communications satellite from its launch facility in French Guiana, South America. The company plans to use this third satellite, DBS-3, to expand its entertainment programming lineup and introduce new data and interactive services. DBS-1 was launched in December 1993 and DBS-2 flew August 1994.
Wiretap Bill Under Scrutiny
The FBI-sponsored program to make the phone network wiretap-friendly will be funded by a 40 percent surcharge of civil penalties, if Congress gives the go-ahead to a proposal by the White House.
The funding proposal is included in President Bill Clinton's proposed anti-terrorism law, now being considered by Congress. The proposal has run into some opposition from Senate Republicans, who struck out a measure that would have expanded the FBI's wiretap powers. The measure would have let the FBI install court-approved wiretaps on individuals. Under current law, courts give approval for wiretaps only on individual phone lines, but FBI officials say criminals elude these wiretaps by hopping between different phone lines.
Report Says U.S. Is a Good Target
The Pentagon's much-heralded roles and missions report urges greater interagency cooperation to promote information security throughout the government and society. (WT, continuing coverage). The U.S. is "a particularly rich target for an opponent [who] could cripple major civil and military support functions -- financial, transportation and communications -- without even entering the country," according to the "Report of the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces," released May 24.
As Intuit Could Have Been to Microsoft, So Is Lotus to IBM?
Trying to go toe-to-toe with software giant Microsoft Corp., Big Blue IBM has offered to buy Lotus Development Corp. for $3.3 billion in cash, using the $10 billion IBM had left over last year. IBM would purchase about 55 million Lotus shares at $60 per share, 50 cents more than the 52-week high on the NASDAQ. Before IBM announced its plans June 5, Lotus' stock closed at $32.50 and IBM's at just under $94.
IBM Chairman and CEO Louis Gerstner Jr., called the proposal to his Lotus counterpart Jim Manzi "a truly unique opportunity." IBM said it planned to compel Lotus' board of directors not to apply its anti-takeover provisions to IBM's offer. If Lotus accepts or is forced to accept IBM's proposal, the mainframe king will have a new domain to oversee -- the growing groupware market dominated by Lotus' Notes product. "Our goal is to accelerate the creation of a truly open, scalable collaborative computing environment so people can work and communicate across enterprises and across corporate and national borders," Gerstner said. The IBM Global Network, a high-speed voice and data communications network, already serves 2 million users at government agencies and 25,000 businesses worldwide.
The Latest on Internet Porn
Staff members working for Sen. James Exon, D-Neb., are developing a new draft of his bill intended to bar porn from the Internet. The new draft, which is to be inserted in the Senate telecommunications reform bill, will outlaw the distribution of obscene materials on the Internet, whether it is done for profit or fun. The law exempts online providers from prosecution if they show reasonable efforts to keep porn off their servers. Unsurprisingly, the bill is opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other electronic-liberties groups.