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IT News

Jack Schofield and Eric Doyle
Thursday November 4, 2004
The Guardian

That's VAT

The European Union wants a centralised European portal to be used for VAT declarations, with traders assigned a single VAT number, to simplify and harmonise VAT handling across the member states. The plans published by the European Commission say the current situation (where VAT is levied in the country where the goods are delivered) is unsatisfactory if the vendor has no office in that location. With a single identity, VAT returns can be submitted online and any refunds sent directly to the seller. The portal will also clarify which goods and services are exempt and how much VAT is levied on others.

PIC of the net

AMD aims to benefit poorer countries with the release of its Personal Internet Communicator (PIC), right. The compact internet access device combines the Microsoft XC operating system and AMD Geode GX500 processor with 128MB of memory, a 10GB hard drive, a modem, and four USB ports. AMD is aiming to help equip half the world's population with internet connectivity by 2015. Other companies involved in producing the PIC include Macromedia, Samsung, Seagate and Solectron.

No York

E-government collaboration is crumbling in Yorkshire as a key member of the North Yorkshire ICT Partnership bows out. The City of York Council is the seventh authority to pull out of the initiative, which originally had nine members. York was charged with operational leadership of the strategy. The council blames the withdrawal of 650,000 of government funding and the belief that hoped-for savings would not be delivered. In an executive report, the council states that the estimated costs - between 8.8m and 10.3m over 10 years - are more than expected. North Yorkshire and Hambleton are now the last members of the partnership. Procurement will still be handled by Agilisys.

Laptop leaks

Laptop users are a threat to corporate network security and could open the door to viruses, keyloggers and other spyware, or even leave employers liable to prosecution. In a survey of 500 European users, Dynamics Markets found that 86% download non-work software, music and videos, with 72% ignoring the terms and conditions attached to their downloads. Almost half admit visiting peer-to-peer file-sharing, adult or hacking sites, and half allow friends and family to use their company laptops. Websense, which commissioned the report, concludes that company policies must be enforced and that European businesses must wake up to the legal liabilities and security threats that laptops pose.

Extended service

VMware is extending the capabilities of its ESX Server software to create virtual machines running on four processors. ESX Server partitions a single server to act as two or more virtual machines. The current version can use single or dual AMD or Intel servers, and a Four-Way VMware Virtual SMP module will be added later next year. This will give administrators the ability to use spare capacity on large servers to run other tasks. It will also be used to migrate operations from one physical server to another, to allow maintenance without stopping services.

NFC nearer

The first trial of NFC (Near Field Communication) for ticketing will be launched in Frankfurt next year with the Rhein-Main Verkehrsverbund (RMV) public transport authority. Bus passengers with Nokia 3220 phones equipped with special NFC shell covers will be able to register their journeys by holding their phones next to the buses' contactless smart card readers as they get on and off. The RMV ticketing application will be stored on a smart card controller in the phone. The technology was demonstrated at this week's Cartes IT & Security trade show in Paris.

Yahoo scam

Yahoo! users should ignore fraudulent emails that ask them to verify their Yahoo! ID, according to MessageLabs. The emails claim to be helping Yahoo! prevent automated registrations, but dupe users into creating email accounts that can be used for spamming. MessageLabs says: "The emails contain a fake URL that leads to a completely different site, but redirects through a Google URL three times to obfuscate the link. It then redirects to another fake Yahoo! web address that loads a real Yahoo! help page with legitimate information explaining the code verification process, followed by a fake pop-up window which shows the user a Yahoo! picture ID and asks them to enter the code."

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