DID YOU HEAR?

IS departments may be overworked, but 20 percent of them still found time to read their employees’ e-mails last year, according to the American Management Association. That’s up from 15 percent in 1997. As the Starr Report showed, e-mail can be a powerful prosecution weapon and it’s stored so many ways in most networks that it’s hard to delete. About 60 million Americans use e-mail, twice as many as two years ago, according to Boston-based Forrester Research.

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The days of surfing the Web with a mouse and keyboard could soon be numbered. A trio of telecommunications heavyweights – AT&T Corp., Lucent Technologies Inc. and Motorola Inc. – announced plans earlier this month to work together on a new technology that will allow people to access the Internet by voice over the phone. Users would call Web sites that support VXML – voice recognition markup language – for sports scores, weather and traffic information, etc. Likewise, the Web sites could call users with such information, adding a whole new dimension to “push” technology.

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It hasn’t been a good first quarter for Intel. While the company’s federal antitrust hearing got underway earlier this month, an Internet civil liberties group, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy and Technology, assailed the tracking technology behind the company’s new Pentium III chips as an invasion of privacy. And the research firm PC Data reported that in January, customers bought more PCs with Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] chips than with Intel chips, the first time Intel wasn’t No. 1.