IT should keep pace with anti-terrorism measures

weekly roundup The past two weeks must have been a time of utter confusion for air travelers in and out of the United States and the United Kingdom. Last week, the U.

weekly roundup The past two weeks must have been a time of utter confusion for air travelers in and out of the United States and the United Kingdom. Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and British air travel authorities implemented a number of travel restrictions, following an alleged terrorist plot to blow up at least eight to 10 airlines in mid-air en route from Britain to the United States.

While the British police foiled the attempt, air travel security has been put on high alert in both countries. As I write this note, I just found out to my relief, that travel restrictions on hand-carry luggage onboard the aircraft has just been eased by the United States' Transportation and Security Administration (TSA).

Just a day before that, business travelers, including me, would have had to check in laptops, hand-carry luggage, boredom-busting electronic devices like music/video players, and books.

While I can do without working during the long-haul flight, I certainly don't think that any laptop, with all its moving parts and spinning drives, can withstand the knocks as it moves across the cargo belt. Not many travelers would want to risk putting their notebooks through such an ordeal either, at the risk of losing all their data.

This is the age where electronic devices have become part and parcel of business travel. Unfortunately, it is also a time where spies and terrorists hide bombs in books and phones.

Perhaps it's time IT departments rethink the way business travel is conducted, just in case laptops do become restricted items on board an aircraft. I'm seriously contemplating lobbying for the IT department here to invest in some ruggedized notebooks. It might also be prudent for companies to start looking at better collaboration tools and more sophisticated videoconferencing system for the office, so that the amount of business travel can be reduced.

Fortunately, the travel restrictions did not deter Dell Computer's chairman, Michael Dell, from making a stop in Singapore this week. Find out why he remains optimistic in the face of his company's exploding notebook batteries.

On the security front, read what Singapore authorities say about the security of biometrics passports, and what Intel is doing to counter zero-day flaws.

After last year's successful launch of the ZDNet Asia TopTech Awards, we are now reopening the call for nominations to once again recognize Asia's top IT companies. This year, we are also launching the Top Asian TechnoVisionaries 2006/07 Award, so do join in our bid to celebrate Asia's most promising homegrown tech startups and technopreneurs. In addition, we'll be handing out two special awards: Breakthrough Award and Asian Technopreneur of the Year.

Those interested will have to fill up a nomination form. All completed forms must be submitted by the new extended deadline: Sept. 22, 2006. Download the nomination form, or drop us an e-mail if you've any questions.

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