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DiploNews – Issue 2 – 2 September 1999

DiploNews – Issue 2 – September 2, 1999

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Caribbean Conference on On-Line Learning for Diplomatic Services

(Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – 23rd – 25th August 1999)

The Caribbean Conference on On-Line Learning for Diplomatic Services, attended by high officials from Caribbean diplomatic services, CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States, addressed the possibility of organizing integrated on-line learning for the Caribbean diplomatic services. Discussion was conducted through the use of practical tools for diplomatic work and negotiation, such as DiploAnalytica. During the on-line phase participants will continue to discuss various regional issues such as sustainable development, and the banana issue. At the conclusion of the conference, participants indicated necessary steps towards the development of regional on-line training for diplomats. In his keynote address, the minister of foreign affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Ralph Maraj, stressed that: "the experience which has already been gained within the framework of the DiploEdu Project …. will no doubt go a long way in helping to consolidate the idea of the need for the establishment of a Regional Virtual Diplomatic Agency." Visit the conference website.

Cyberterrorism – Article from APBNews

In a recent article, James Gordon Meek of APBNews.com describes the growing threat of "cyberterrorism." Experts in the field of computer security agree that intrusions by hostile hackers into government and private computer systems are frequently detected. However, tracing such attackers, their locations and intentions, is very difficult.

According to Jeffrey Hunker, the White House Senior Director for Critical Infrastructure, the US government has recognised that due to its dependence on high technology, the nation is vulnerable to cyberassault from terrorist groups or hostile governments. Accordingly, the Clinton administration's Office of Transnational Threats has drafted a proposal to create a new program: the Federal Intrusion Detection Network (Fidnet), to combat cyberterrorism.

However, Utah computer security consultant Drew William points out that the vast majority of incidents which threaten computer systems are accidental intrusions. Nevertheless, government and private systems are stepping up security levels in order to prepare for the worst, leading to a recent boom in companies providing security systems.

To see the article visit the website of APBNews.

Pocket Scanners (Pocket Reader and C-Pen)

Diplomats must frequently travel by air. As these journeys often provide both a good supply of newspapers and a few quiet hours, diplomats can take some time to ponder the articles in those newspaper. But, then the usual problem. How to save particularly interesting articles? Taking the entire newspaper only creates extra luggage. Another option that may draw unwanted attention is to tear out the particular article – but this results in small scraps of paper, easily lost. Can technology help? Finally, yes. A series of pocket-sized scanners has been developed. They operate in the following way: scan text + recognize text + transfer text to notebook or personal computer. The first small (pen or pocket size) scanners are now available on the market. The leading producers are Siemens with PocketReader and Ericson with C-Pen . Official evaluation: slightly lower reliability than with traditional flatbed scanners. Unofficial evaluation (from shop-assistant at the Frankfurt Airport): "They are not yet reliable. People are interested but I have a lot of complaints. Wait for 3-6 months." Our evaluation would agree with that of the shop assistant. The key problem is how to correct mistakes create by a shaking hand while you are scanning.

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