Chat Network Ban: Lessons in defective communication

By Julian Matthews

Sept 24, 1999, Kuala Lumpur — On August 16, when Malaysians Internet users were conditionally banned from accessing the Undernet, a popular chat network, the news was greeted with little surprise.

Malaysians chatters were notorious for being regularly banned or in chat parlance, k-lined, from other networks including DALnet and EFnet.

The bans were typically imposed for abuses to the acceptable use policies of these networks - usually for attempts to disrupt or eliminate conversation or harass other chatters or for deliberate attacks to bring down chat servers.
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Full speed ahead

By Anita Devasahayam

HOSPITAL Selayang in Selangor became the nation’s first paperless and filmless medical centre when it rolled out portions of IT beginning Aug 2.

According to the head of department of paediatrics Datuk Dr A. Jai Mohan, Selayang Hospital offers arguably the most integrated total hospital information system anywhere in the world.

And Dr Jai Mohan should know as he is the Health Ministry telehealth steering committee advisor.

“We are already seeing a small number of patients by appointment only,” says the well-known telemedicine champion.
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Putting theory to practice

By Anita Devasahayam

TELEMEDICINE is no new buzzword as imagined by many. A quick tour online shows that it has been around and in practice for more than 30 years. However its practice is enhanced as technology improves.

The Malaysian government has essentially studied, reflected and borrowed elements of telemedicine practices from other parts of the world and incorporated its own flavour of medical practice.

What impresses proponents yet daunts sceptics is the inclusion of a lifelong health plan into the blueprint for telemedicine.
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The doctor is now online

By Anita Devasahayam

Elements of telemedicine have been put in place since January this year. Although there is no official word on who is responsible for undertaking the mammoth task at national level, telemedicine will be commonplace by 2010. Would such usage of high technology at public hospitals rob us of basic patient care needs and replace the doctor-patient relationship?

MOHAMMAD (not his real name) is a trifle confused. When the medical officer asked him to talk to the specialist through the television screen, he sniggered. How can a doctor staring at him from the screen diagnose his illness? Mohammad, 70, suffers from high blood pressure and has a poor heart. On top of that, he has rheumatism.

After the tele-consultation session, Mohammad leaves the clinic, unconvinced that the diagnosis was any better than his previous visits. Mohammad has been visiting the government hospital monthly since 1975.

“I am paying more but consuming the same amount of drugs and I do not feel better. That doctor on the television monitor has never laid a hand on me, how does he know what is good for me?” he asked.

He adds that the doctors keep asking the same questions over and over again. He wonders if they ever read his medical records.

Although telemedicine promises a person that his lifetime medical record will be electronically stored and made available to doctors, it does not mean that doctors who have such facilities will read a patient’s medical history before examining him or her.
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University hackers identified as chat abuse culprits

By Julian Matthews

Malaysian Internet service provider Jaring has identified a group of hackers from a local university as being responsible for breaking into and using local and foreign servers as launchpads for attacks and abuse on the Undernet chat network.

Jaring said up to 38 local servers, mostly in universities and government organizations, and an estimated 30 foreign servers were compromised by the hackers.

“We managed to contact the owners of all these (local) servers to secure and stop them from being abused further,” said Dr Mohamed Awang-Lah, vice president Mimos Berhad, the operator of Jaring, in a statement.

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Miko Matsumura: Evangelizing the web-app

By Julian Matthews

Miko Matsumura may have left his position as Java evangelist for Sun Microsystems but he’s still singing the same mantra. The new spin on the “network is the computer” is that the “Net is the application.” Here he speaks about the rent-a-web-app doctrine, the second coming of the network computer, and BizTone.com Inc, which is pioneering the new movement on the Net.

Sept 16, 1999, Kuala Lumpur — Miko Matsumura may not display the flamboyance that had him bungee-jump off a bridge suited up as Java’s mascot Duke last year. These days, he sports three-piece suits, albeit uncomfortably, in his new corporate veneer. The boyish charm and improbable sixties hair-style is still there, but the tone is more, err, business-like.

As BizTone.com Inc’s vice president of strategy, Matsumura believes his new Java-fueled vehicle has got “the right stuff” and is on the brink of stellar growth. A pending IPO, may sweeten the journey.

Simply put, Matsumura wants companies to put their cash registers on the Internet. In fact, if he had his way, he would have you throw in your ledger, accounts and entire financial documentation in there.

You would access it as you would Hotmail - anywhere - minus the security flaws of course.

“It is like putting money in the bank. Wouldn’t you rather have it there than under the mattress?” he said.

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Malaysia’s TMnet delivers ultimatum to abusers

By Julian Matthews

Internet Service Provider TMnet has issued a stern warning to its users for attacking foreign chat networks and for other abuses such as credit card fraud, hacking and virus propagation.

“If you are the perpetrator of any such activities, consider this your first and final warning. There will be no further warnings before action is taken, the least of which is the suspension of your account. If you think you cannot be traced, think again,” said the statement issued yesterday to its 350,000 subscribers by the customer support manager (Internet services) for the ISP.

TMnet said it was forced to take “drastic measures” against perpetrators of the abuse to protect “innocent” users.

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Malaysia’s TMnet users permanently banned

By Julian Matthews

The Undernet.org has permanently banned users of local Internet Service Provider TMnet from accessing the popular global chat network.

The ban came into effect Sunday after 20 administrators unanimously voted for the ban with three abstentions and none against.

“Due to the lack of communication or cooperation from TMnet, the administration of the Undernet regretfully will no longer allow connection to or use of the Undernet from its customers,” said Undernet in a statement posted Sunday.

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Golden Surfers: Older netizens on the info highway

By Julian Matthews

Two years ago, retired school teacher Mohamed Abu Hassan found himself in a classroom full of teenagers - only this time he was a fellow student attending computer training.

“It’s never too late to learn,” says the 64-year-old, on his first exposure to the PC. He was as eager to get online as his young course-mates, some of whom were a quarter his age.

Three months later, he was cruising the information superhighway from his home in Kampung Jana Sambungan, in Kamunting, north of Perak - the sole person in his village plugged into the Internet.

“Sometimes, I would be at it all day and night,” says the spry pensioner. Much to his wife’s dismay. “She didn’t mind that I spent RM3,000 (US$790) on the PC, but when the phone bills went up, she wasn’t happy at all,” he guffaws.
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Malaysian ISP Jaring to scan users following abuse

By Julian Matthews

KUALA LUMPUR–Local Internet service provider Jaring will scan its users while they are online to curb the high volume of abuse of foreign chat networks.

The scanning was announced in a notice sent via email to its 200,000 subscribers Tuesday.

“Connection to any equipment which exposes our network to abuse may be terminated without notice and follow-up action will be taken against the owner of the related account. We will not hesitate to suspend or terminate any account which has been found to be abused,” warned the notice.

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