BuzzBlog: Best Buy Gone Bad; Crime Fighting Pen

A judge orders electronics retailer Best Buy to stop using Windows maintenance software from Winternals. Also, Uniball touts high-security ink to help prevent ID fraud.

April 21, 2006

2 Min Read
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Best buy behaving badly? Usually when you hear the term "restraining order" you think "creepy ex-boyfriend must stay at least 500 feet away from former girlfriend." But restraining orders can also compel people to stay away from software. A federal judge in Texas has ordered Best Buy and Geek Squad to stop using software from Winternals, a maker of popular tools for maintaining Windows systems.

Winternals alleges that Geek Squad, Best Buy's PC support subsidiary, violated copyright law, claiming that Best Buy terminated negotiations for a multimillion dollar licensing agreement with Winternals but let employees continue to use Winternals software for PC repair beyond the trial period. That's a major no-no. Guess it's time for Best Buy to call the Lawyer Squad. --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]

The Crime-Fighting PenYou know ID theft has gone mainstream when pen maker Uniball launches an ad campaign touting high-security ink to help prevent ID fraud. Uniball has hired Frank Abagnale, the con artist turned FBI consultant portrayed in the Hollywood film Catch Me If You Can, as a pitchman. He's hawking the Uniball 207, which uses "specifically formulated ink" that bonds to paper fibers.

The goal is to prevent check washing, a scheme in which a con artist steals a check from the mail and washes off the ink, then rewrites the check to himself. Says Mr. Abagnale in a video clip: "Something as simple as paying attention to the pen you use gives you a head start in fighting the crime of identity theft." Perhaps the Uniball 207 will spur a security arms race in office supplies. Hey, Bic, how about two-factor-authentication ballpoints? --Andrew Conry-Murray, [email protected]

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