Banner-ad hijacker threatens media sites

A controversial start-up is attempting to revolutionize the on-line advertising market by sending advertisements to surfers’ screens which have no connection to the Web sites they are looking at. But the technology – called Fotino – faces a tough political battle with the Web site owners it threatens to bypass.

Fotino, created by Leeds, U.K.-based Meltingpoint Technologies, effectively acts like a squatter on a surfer’s Internet connection. It places its ads over existing ad banners on Web pages without the knowledge of that site’s owner. The technology has the potential to deprive content providers of revenue and give it to Internet service providers that offer Fotino to their subscribers. Fotino exploits the marketing information provided by customers who sign up to an ISP. This data is used to target advertising served up by the software. Internet access providers then license the product to businesses to garner new advertising inventory to sell, without having to create any additional content.

Europe takes action on cross-border credit-card fraud

Fraud with non-cash payment methods, such as credit cards, grew 50 per cent last year in the European Union member states, according to a European Commission report.

A large proportion of the increase concerns payments by phone and on the Internet. Fraud with non-cash payment methods currently amounts to an estimated 600 million euros (US$552 million), the report said. In response to the figures, the Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced an action plan to combat fraud. However, the Commission said, taking on the problem is primarily the responsibility of the payment systems industry. The Commission said it will do its part by providing a platform for information exchange and “clear and binding rules with adequate sanctions for those who break them.”

CA forges biometrics alliance

Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) has signed on with New York-based DataTreasury Corp. to provide CA customers with biometric security systems for on-line transactions.

The two companies have agreed to integrate DataTreasury’s biometric authentication repository technology, which is designed to be compatible with any biometric technology, into CA’s eTrust security products, the companies announced.