This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Love's Labor's Lost
Aug 22 2000 12:00 AM PDT

On Monday, Philippine prosecutors dropped all charges against Onel de Guzman, the former student accused of unleashing the ILOVEYOU virus in May. The Associated Press seems to have broken the story of this final act in the Philippines' long-running play - its posting time predates that of the British outlet The Register by eight minutes. The AP led the pack on breaking news during and after the Love Bug's rampage.

As reported months ago, the Philippines had no law against hacking when the Love Bug was set loose. The country has since passed a law under which Mr. de Guzman might have been prosecuted, but the law can't be applied retroactively.

At least six outlets ran the AP's copy. Those who rolled their own chose various hooks from which to hang the story. Wired led with a call for global standardization in the laws governing cyberspace but didn't exactly choose a major player to voice this need. The president of India's National Association of Software and Service Companies is not exactly a household name. The Wall Street Journal achieved more authority with this historical summary: "The United Nations adopted a universal law on e-commerce in 1996 and urged its members to accept the law in 1997. While most developed countries accepted the laws, or cited adequate legislation of their own, dozens of developing countries have yet to pass the bills, according to legal experts."

The New York Times closed with the Philippines' attempts to ride the Love Bug's notoriety to economic advantage, noting that officials have tried to advertise their country's "inexpensive computing talent" to foreign high-tech companies. Both the Times and the Journal mentioned that de Guzman has received several job offers but has declined them all until his infamy recedes. - Keith Dawson

'Love Bug' Charges Dismissed (AP)
Washington Post

Love Bug Suspect Released
The Register

Love Bug Case Dead in Manila
Wired News

Charges Dropped in Virus Case
New York Times
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Philippine Prosecutors Drop Charges in 'Love Bug' Case
Wall Street Journal
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