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 Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Internet Addiction Disorder." According to Wikipedia, "IAD was originally proposed as a disorder in a satirical hoax by Ivan Goldberg, M.D., in 1995. He took pathological gambling as diagnosed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as his model for the description of IAD. However, IAD receives coverage in the press, and its classification as a psychological disorder is being debated and researched."

In China, it is considered to be an epidemic. Last year China estimated that of the country's 40 million underage Internet users, some 10% were "addicted" to the Web. Surveys discovered that about 42% of these kids said they felt "addicted" while only 18% of US children felt similarly.

 

(Source: ComputerWorld)

Full story

ComputerWorld

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 1:45:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"In a document that outlines a Digital Japan Creation Project, dubbed the ICT Hatoyama Plan, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications revealed plans to build a massive cloud computing infrastructure to support all of the government’s IT systems. Called tentatively the Kasumigaseki Cloud, the new infrastructure will be built in stages from now until 2015."

"The goal of the project consolidate all government IT systems into a single cloud infrastructure to improve operation efficiency and reduce cost. 'The Kasumigaseki Cloud will enable various ministries to collaborate to integrate and consolidate hardware and create platforms for shared functions,' according to MIC. 'Efforts will be made to efficiently develop and operate information systems with the aim of greatly reducing electronic government–related development and operating costs while increasing the pace of processing by integrating shared functions, increasing collaboration among systems, and providing secure and advanced governmental services.'

According to the MIC, the Kasumigaseki Cloud will eliminate the need for individual ministries to maintain their own IT systems by consolidating current data centres, and allow each ministries to use only the computer resources necessary through the cloud platform. Additional proposals were put forth to develop and implement ubiquitous Green ICT solutions, including initiatives like the Kasumigaseki Cloud, boost ICT human resources, and the creation of 'safe and secure networks' for the public.

Read the full story on Green Telecom here.

This blog entry was shared through Bill St Arnaud's blog spot

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 6:37:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 03, 2009

1 April 2009 was the start of a new anti-piracy law in Sweden where, according to traffic data, an immediate and significant drop (over 30 per cent) occurred in the nation's overall Internet traffic.

"The combined traffic passing through Sweden's Internet Exchange Points usually peaks around 160 Gbit/s, but on Wednesday it peaked at around 110 Gbit/s. That's a huge drop in traffic, and is presumably a direct result of less file sharing taking place. ... Another interesting observation is that there was more traffic than usual during the last days before the law took effect. Were people hoarding films and music? On Tuesday (the day before the law went live) traffic peaked at nearly 200 GBit/s, roughly 25% above normal levels."

Read the full story and view the related statistics at CircleID

Friday, April 03, 2009 6:27:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 11, 2009

According to a article in the Indian Hindustan Times, "Indian diplomats now cannot open a Facebook account, use external e-mail services, or write blogs, thanks to new rules and much stricter firewalls aimed at preventing cyber attacks and leakage of classified information. Over the past eight months, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has been overhauling its computer network security, putting up layers of barriers against intrusions into the network, officials associated with cyber security said. There are almost 600 computers at its headquarters at South Block, about half of which are connected to the Internet. Classified work is typically done on stand-alone computers, usually with the external drives removed. "We have set up a unified threat management system for the ministry. This simultaneously uses eight levels of protection like firewalls and spam mail filtering," said a senior official.

"We are also requesting and encouraging more responsible behaviour from our staff when working online," the official told IANS, requesting anonymity. A circular issued last week asked officials not to log on to social networking sites, specifically citing Facebook, Orkut and Ibibo as examples. The other prohibited practices include download of peer-to-peer music using sites like Kazaa and sharing of photos through Flickr and Picasa. The circular also discourages using services like G-mail, Yahoo! or Hotmail for official communication. A similar circular, officials said, had been issued in the Prime Minister's Office in December. But the matter is even more critical for the foreign office as officials posted in Indian missions abroad or on foreign tours tend to use web-based mail rather than the ministry's own mail system. "We have had cases of senior officers using G-mail or other similar accounts abroad for official work, only to find some form of tampering when they return," the official said, adding people have been told to change their web-mail passwords if they had opened the account during foreign tours. The missions have been told to use their official mail ID issued by the National Informatics Centre for communication. But several missions have complained that the mail home page was inaccessible due to port blocks by local Internet service providers. They have been asked to contact their service providers to unblock the site. "We want to secure communications with Indian missions through private networks. This may be implemented in the next few months," said an official working with the technical team in the ministry.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 3:29:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The ITU-D recruited an expert to produce a study report concerning "Electronic Government for Developing Countries", which is intended to help address challenges in formulating e-Government policies. The draft version as of August 2008 is now available online on the ITU-D ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division (CYB) website.

The purpose of this report is to examine the adoption of e-Government services in countries with developing economies. As the day-to-day business of a public administration is to build on data and information, using the latter is critical to help ensuring its accountability, managing its operations, and to allow its citizens to participate in the country's governance. With the revolutionary changes that ICTs are bringing to our global society, public administrations worldwide continue to develop more sophisticated ways to digitize their operations and practices so that they can offer the public access to government services in more effective and efficient ways.

The seven key recommendations outlined in this report are:

  • Developing a strategic plan to guide e-Government services;
  • Understanding the needs of citizens and of all public administration segments;
  • Using well established system development practices for e-Government services;
  • Creating a learning organization;
  • Developing effective ICT governance mechanisms;
  • Developing ICT capabilities, including human resources capacity building and suitable ICT infrastructure; and
  • Developing an e-Government security and disaster recovery plan.

To continue reading the report and its case studies, click here. More information on ITU-D activities related to ICT applications, click here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 2:52:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 19, 2008

BBC News recently reported the arrest of five hackers described as being among the most active on the internet. The hackers, who include two 16-year-olds, are accused of disrupting government websites in the United States, Asia and Latin America. Spanish police say the hackers co-ordinated attacks over the internet and hacked into 21,000 web pages over two years.

Read the full report here.

Monday, May 19, 2008 2:30:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Guardian recently reports on a survey into ways in which colleges and universities can make computing greener and more sustainable. Preliminary findings of the study is about to be published soon. "Higher Education Environment Performance Improvement (Heepi) and SustainIT, an NGO set up to focus on the environmental and social impact of IT, are researching how sustainable further and higher education IT is, and how education best practice compares with the private sector. The report being written for the Joint Information System Committee (Jisc) says green IT is best achieved through the collaboration of IT and estates management." Among the findings is that increased energy and computing costs can be offset by technologies such as grid computing and virtualisation. According to Peter James, author of the report and is also part-time professor of environmental management at Bradford University and associate director of SustainIT, "Eighty to 90% of a computer's capacity is wasted. By linking PCs together we can run complex computing tasks broken down into manageable chunks when the computers are not in normal classroom use."

The publication of Heepi and SustainIT's interim report in June marks the start of a series of up to seven campus IT open days to be held throughout the UK until October and designed to allow IT managers a chance to see the latest sustainable initiatives for themselves. At least one event will be focused on the further education sector and based around the virtualisation programme at Stockport college.

Read the full article here.

Monday, May 19, 2008 8:50:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 14, 2008

According to an article on The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) on 10 May 2008, toll-free mobile services are on its way to selected remote areas in Africa aiming to save lives by connecting people with emergency medical cases to health personnel. Under the initiative launched in Nairobi on Wednesday, health workers will also be trained through mobile phone sessions on day to day skills like collecting and sharing basic household health information.

Telecommunication equipment provider Ericsson and mobile phone service provider Zain have entered into a partnership that will ensure they provide network access, mobile phone handsets, sim cards and toll-free emergency numbers in remote areas in order to stimulate demand for cellular phone solutions in those areas. The initiative is being rolled out in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. In Kenya, Ericsson and Zain subsidiary, Celtel, are rolling out a pilot programme in North Garissa in Dertu village targeting some 5,200 inhabitants.

According to the President of Ericsson, Mr Carl-Henri Svanberge, the partnership also includes the Earth Institute and will benefit 400,000 people in Africa. "The partnership will provide the development of a comprehensive voice to data coverage and a telecommunication strategy in the villages to drive up mobile connectivity," said Mr Svanberge. The phones will use solar charges which according to Ericsson are capable of charging 30 mobile phones a day.


Read the full article here.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:04:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 28, 2008

Information Security experts recently revealed that government networks in Blighty and UN computers have been hacked and ensnared in a botnet. According to Websense, the attacks happened in March using some sort of SQL injection. It was said that the number of computers compromised is impossible to know but an estimate could be around 100,000 URLs. "A victim reaching a hacked site will be redirected a different page, hosted on a Chinese server. The IP address keeps changing within the JavaScript making it hard to locate."

Read the full article here.

Monday, April 28, 2008 8:34:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 22, 2008

According to China's Computer Emergency Response Team (CN-CERT)'s 2007 annual report released last week, the greatest threat to the nation's portion of the internet are Trojan horse programs and bot software. Based on CN-CERT's findings, "the number of Chinese Internet addresses with one or more infected systems increased by a factor of 22 in 2007... [and] of 6.23 million bot-infected computers on the Internet, about 3.62 million are in China's address space." The report alse reveals that "domain name registration in the nation had almost tripled in the past year, attacks that tampered with legitimate Web sites grew 1.5 times, and malicious drive-by attacks jumped 2.6 times."

The report is currently only available in Chinese.
Read the full article here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 2:48:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 14, 2008

A presentation by Martin J. Levy of Tier1 Research and Josh Snowhorn of Terremark on Datacenter Power Trends - NANOG 42 Power Panel at the NANOG 42 meeting discusses colocation centre problems, how these came about, what is expected to happen, and how colo is considered the bottleneck of the Internet. As cited from the Gartner Research in 2006, "some organizations are in the unenviable position of paying more to power and cool a rack a servers than they paid for the rack and the servers themselves. Clearly things are moving out of balance." Case studies and possible solutions to these datacenter problems are also included in the presentation.

Read the full presentation here.
More on the NANOG 42 meeting here.

Monday, April 14, 2008 1:16:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Australian federal Government's plan to have internet service providers filter pornography and other internet content deemed inappropriate for children is going full-steam ahead. The Government wants to evaluate content filters in a controlled environment. Trials are to be conducted soon in a closed environment in Tasmania. Enex TestLab was selected more than six months ago after the Australian Communications and Media Authority closed a tender for an organisation to test ISP-based content filters. ISP-based filters will block inappropriate web pages at service provider level and automatically relay a clean feed to households. To be exempted, users will have to individually contact their ISPs. The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children, Enex said. "We invite vendors of all types (hardware appliances, software - proprietary or open-source) of ISP-based internet content filters to participate." The testing is slated for completion by July and will be followed by live field trials.

The internet sector has consistently voiced concern about the Government's ISP filters. Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos has said any clean feed policy would have to be balanced against the likely financial and performance costs, and ACMA's first annual report to Senator Conroy confirmed his fears. On the performance impact of filters, ACMA said: "In the case of personal computers the cost of upgrading processing power may be modest (although significant in terms of household income). "However, for ISPs the cost of upgrading or augmenting the expensive hardware that they typically deploy may be substantial, particularly for small providers."

Read the full article on the Australian IT.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:40:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 18, 2008

FCW.com reports that "foreign hackers, primarily from Russia and China, are increasingly seeking to steal Americans’ health care records, according to a Department of Homeland Security analyst." Two cases of intrusions to the health care systems' servers have been recorded in the past year which alarmed security officials. In early 2007, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site was infected with a virus, and in April, a Military Health System server holding Tricare records was hacked. Mark Walker, who works in DHS’ Critical Infrastructure Protection Division, said the hackers are seeking to exfiltrate health care data probably for espionage. DHS is increasing its analysis staff to monitor threats in several industries, including health care, and will be issuing more alerts about cyberthreats to health care data, he said. He added further that DHS wants to build a database of health information system intrusions so it can better analyze the threats and develop countermeasures.

More on this report here.

Friday, January 18, 2008 11:49:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 13, 2007

John Kenneth Schiefer, a 26-year-old computer security consultant from Los Angeles has admitted to hacking into computers entrusted to him to create a botnet of as many as 250,000 PCs, which he used to steal money from and identities of unsuspecting consumers and corporations. "Schiefer agreed to plead guilty to four felony charges in connection with the case and faces up to 60 years in prison and a $1.75-million fine, according to court documents filed Friday in federal court in Los Angeles." According to Assistant U.S. Atty. Mark Krause in Los Angeles, Schiefer is the first person to be accused under federal wiretapping law of operating a botnet.

Schiefer stole user names and passwords for EBay Inc.'s PayPal online payment service to make unauthorized purchases and passed the stolen account information on to others. According to the plea agreement, a conspirator named "Adam" who is allegedly a minor was involved in Scheifer's scam. Scheifer and his accomplices were reported to have used illicit software which they planted on people's PCs to spirit account information from a storage area in Windows-based computers. A Dutch Internet advertising company also hired his services to install its programs on people's computers when they consented, but he installed it on more than 150,000 PCs without permission, earning more than $19,000 in commissions.

The federal investigation began in 2005, and the indictment includes "four counts of accessing protected computers to commit fraud, disclosing illegally intercepted electronic communications, wire fraud and bank fraud." Schiefer's initial appearance in Los Angeles will on Nov. 28 and his arraignment on Dec. 3. There is a similar case in May 2006 involving a Downey man, Jeanson James Ancheta who was sentenced to almost five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to four felony charges for using botnets to spread spyware and send spam.

To read the full article, visit the Los Angeles Times.
Related article also availabe here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 2:22:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 12, 2007

Microsoft releases the Asia Pacific Legislative Analysis: Current and Pending Online Safety and Cybercrime Laws, a study providing a high-level snapshot of the status of computer security, privacy, spam and online child safety legislation in the Asia Pacific region. Detailed analyses of these laws specific to Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are also provided in this paper. For more information regarding this document, contact Julie Inman Grant, Regional Director, Corporate Affairs of Internet Safety and Security at Microsoft Asia Pacific. More Cybersecurity Legislation and Enforcement related resources are available at the CYB website.

Monday, November 12, 2007 9:57:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 08, 2007

Baltimoresun.com reports on Bush's announcement of a plan to prevent cyberspace attacks on U.S. interests. A $154 million budget was requested as preliminary funding for the initiative, which current and former government officials say is expected to become a seven-year, multibillion-dollar program to track threats in cyberspace on both government and private networks. Lawmakers who recently received briefings on the initiative, however, continue to have many questions, and some remain concerned about the legality of the program and whether it provides sufficient privacy protections. According to a former government official familiar with the proposal, the total start-up costs of the program are about $400 million. "The proposal 'will enhance the security of the Government's civilian cyber networks and will further address emerging threats,' Bush wrote to Congress as part of his request for additional money for cyber security and other counterterrorism measures. The initiative would first develop a comprehensive cyber security program for the government and then do the same for private networks, the former government official said."

Read the full article here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007 11:29:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 06, 2007

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the government's infrastructure sectors' plans lack protection against cyberattacks and disaster, pointing out that none of the sectors included all 30 cybersecurity criteria, such as key vulnerabilities and measures to reduce them. Among the 17 sectors of the government, information technology and communications had the strongest cybersecurity plans, and the agriculture, food and commercial sectors were the least comprehensive, according to David Powner, director of GAO's information technology management issues.

The Homeland Security Department provided a national plan last year for the sectors as a guide for their individual plans. Greg Garcia, DHS’ assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, said that DHS acknowledged the shortcomings based on GAO's findings, but he explained that these sector plans, released in May, represent only early efforts. Garcia further added that "sectors are not meant to be uniformly comprehensive in their cybersecurity efforts, and they must balance cybersecurity risk against other risk management efforts and unique aspects of their infrastructure 'based on its dependence on cyber elements.'" GAO recommended that DHS fully address the cybersecurity criteria by September 2008.

Read full article here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 4:32:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 05, 2007

After the infamous Estonian cyberattack early this year, CyTRAP Labs proposes the 7 lessons learnt from the attacks, and points out how Estonia responded accordingly to these issues. Among the lessons and issues pointed out were:

  1. Critical incidence response matters, which suggests the need to have a systematic and clearly understood procedure in place that allows a quick identification of what a critical incident response is and what kind of responses must be invoked rapidly (i.e. automatisms) to have a chance to defend against an emerging threat. Estonian responders first focused on the targets rather than sources. Filtering technology was used to throttle back on traffic aimed at target systems, which, at its peak, reached between 100 to 1,000 times the normal amount of traffic.
  2. The need for the team to make critical decisions fast. In Estonia, it was decided to protect certain systems. Once those were identified, all connections to those systems from outside the country were blocked. In addition, efforts were undertaken to lure away attackers from critical systems those that were less critical ones.
  3. Critical infrastructure can mean something different. For Estonia, where much business is being done on the net, critical infrastructure meant financial and communication services by private business were under attack and these are critical to the country’s well-functioning economy. Soon after 27 April 2007, people were unable to buy such essentials as gas and groceries using their payment cards.This is in contrast to what we usually accept as being critical infrastructure, namely electricity and transportation networks.
  4. No new attack techniques emerged. The level of traffic was not surprising and the mitigation tactics used were tried and true. But what will happen if the attackers are using fast-flux networks or DNS amplification attacks?
  5. Coordination is vital. All the above can be further complicated if the defense has to be coordinated in real time with several hundred or thousands of ISPs. As Estonia’s experience illustrates, coordination and cooperation with a centralized incident response is critical to achieve success. This was the case with CERT-EE working closely with private ISPs and banks, etc. Unfortunately, in many countries such centralized approach will be difficult to achieve unless the right things are put in place now.
  6. Trusted social networks as the key to coordinate a successful response. Even CERT-EE needed help and support from others, and social networks came in handy. How else can one convince an ISP in another country to take off a server that is part of a fast-flux network? Developing trust takes time and effort while both parties have to give. A certain degree of sharing or disclosure may result in further growth of trust needed to defend better next time.
  7. Post mortem analysis - learning to improve. Without analyzing past events learning cannot occur. The challenge with the Estonian example is that other countries must learn from the Estonian experience. This type of international collaboration must be improved beyond government CERTs. Hence, without getting the major ISPs and financial institutions involved in other countries, post mortem analysis might not help us much in preparing for the next attack of this kind or worse.

This list was made in reference to the presentation of Hillar Aarelaid, eSStonia - the case of the Estonian DDoS attacks, given at the GovCERT.NL IT Security Symposium, Response & Responsibility, in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

Read the full article here.

Monday, November 05, 2007 11:27:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recently states that the UK government has failed to understand the threat to the continued growth of the internet posed by cybercrime as evident in their response to the committee's report on personal internet security, published on 10 August. The Lords' report had warned of the danger that public confidence in the internet would be lost, due to "perception that the internet is a lawless 'Wild West'." In the government's reply, presented to Parliament on 24 October, the government rejected this as well as the recommendation that there should be a data-breach notification law to provide businesses with incentives to take better care of customer data. According to the government, this kind of law that forced companies to admit when they had been the victims of cybercrime does not prove to be effective, but reassures businesses that they will consider finding "more formal ways" of reporting security breaches to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) "when problems arise". The government also rejected calls for software and hardware vendors to be liable for the security of their products, and for banks to guarantee e-fraud refunds.

Read the full article at ZDNet.co.uk.

Monday, November 05, 2007 10:22:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 29, 2007

World War 2.0, a news video on Wired Science, presents the realities of internet warfare and how a botnet attack against Estonia might have been a manifestation of this new war technique. Botnets are so powerful, and hackers are very skilled and experienced that they can "destroy servers of a whole state." Josh Davis traced back when the attack against Estonia started and how security officials in Estonia fought back. Bill Woodcock, founder of Packet Clearing House, provides a brief explanation on how a botnet operates and how the attack against Estonia happened. Jaak Aaviksoo, Estonian Defense Minister, Ago Väärsi, technical manager at Postimees.ee, and Hillar Aareland, head of the Estonian CERT, were also interviewed as well as Russian internet security expert Emin Azizov and IT director of the United Civilian Front Eugeni Grigorian. Learn more about the attack by watching the video report here.

Monday, October 29, 2007 10:24:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 26, 2007

John E. Dunn of Techworld reports on the Austrian Police's intention to use specially-crafted Trojans to remotely monitor criminal suspects.

"According to reports in Austrian media, the minister of justice Maria Berger, and Interior Minister Gunther Plater, have drafted a proposal that will be amended by legal experts and the cabinet with the intention of allowing police to carry out such surveillance legally with a judge’s warrant... According to Berger, Trojans would only be used in cases of serious crime, such as terrorism and organised racketeering. The Swiss authorities have declared the intention of using the same controversial technique, but only in cases of the most extreme nature, such as terrorism... The Austrian, German and Swiss governments have yet to explain how they would circumvent security programs that might be used by criminals to protect themselves, whether this would involve collusion with security software companies, and what would happen if such software-busting Trojans were subsequently reverse engineered and deployed by criminals themselves."

Read the full article on Techworld.

Friday, October 26, 2007 9:21:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 22, 2007

The International Herald Tribune reports on Russian hackers being one of the biggest threats to internet security.

"Internet security experts say that only the United States and China rival Russia in hacker activity. But Russia has only 28 million Internet users, according to rough estimates, compared with 210 million in the United States and 150 million in China, meaning that Russia has a higher percentage of scammers. VeriSign, the Internet services company, considers Russian hackers to be the worst, in part because they tend to have ties to organized crime outfits that embezzle money with stolen bank and credit card information... While the West has complained about Russian laws and enforcement, some Russian officials take issue with the criticism. Aleksei Likhachev, a member of Parliament, acknowledged that there had been fewer criminal cases in Russia than elsewhere, but said officials were still learning how to conduct such inquiries. 'It is just that this work is much younger and much less developed in Russia,' he said."

Read the full article, Russian hackers: On the right side of soft laws.

Monday, October 22, 2007 1:49:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

After Japan's Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry signed a joint statement with the German Federal Economics and Technology Ministry in July, Japan continues to exert concerted effort to tackle the issue of spam. "The ministry has regularly exchanged opinions on the issue at multilateral meetings, such as those of the International Telecommunication Union and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference... France and other countries, with which Japan has established a close partnership on the issue, have gone a step ahead of Japan by introducing an "opt-in" system, under which people are not permitted to send ad e-mails without the prior consent of the people to whom they intend to send them." Opinions concerning fines and punishment for spammers appear to be quite divided among countries though with some countries charging heavier fines than others.

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 22, 2007 1:02:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 05, 2007

The Information for Development Program (infoDev) of The World Bank identified trends in 53 African countries related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education.

The report indicates a shift from small-scale pilot projects supported by donors and NGOs to a systematic policy and multi-stakeholder approach. While the degree of e-readiness varies from country to country, there is a growing commitment to using ICTs in education throughout administrations on the continent.

The survey finds some notable trends in the areas as follows:

  • Public-private partnerships
  • Digital content
  • Open source software and operating systems
  • Regional initiatives
  • National research and education networks
  • Internet connectivity
  • Wireless networks

To read the summary report, click here.

To read the full article, click here.

Friday, October 05, 2007 2:58:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 04, 2007

Heise Online recently reported "on a ruling, dated March 27, 2007, which has only now been published and is likely to have legal ramifications, the local court of the Berlin district of Mitte has barred the Federal Ministry of Justice from retaining personal data acquired via its website beyond the periods associated with the specific instances of use of the site... The local court also opposed the view espoused by operators and some data privacy watchdogs that security reasons justify a recording regime that over short periods of time maps the behavior of all Net users and allows individual users to be picked out." Slashdot adds that "German privacy activists have started a campaign Wir speichern nicht, ("we don't log your data!") which provides manuals how to turn off the IP logging on your server."

In response to this ruling, Patrick Breyer of the German Working Group on Data Retention, who was the plaintiff in the relevant case, has called on all public authorities, departments and agencies of the German Federal State and of the federal states comprising the Federal Republic to abandon their "illegal data retention policies" by the end of this year at the very latest or have additional lawsuits filed. Breyer has made a model complaint available on his website.

Read the complete news report here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 11:33:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 03, 2007

HKDNR, together with the Office of Telecommunications Authority (OFTA), HK Police Force, Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (HKCERT) and other agencies, dedicates much effort in implementing all possible measures to strike .hk domain names that are related to phishing or spamming sites.

"HKDNR is kept updated daily on a spamvertised domain list so that more comprehensive monitoring can be maintained and immediate action can be carried out against these domains. Any domains that are verified as phishing / spamming will be suspended immediately. According to the information published in mid June in AbuseButler on the top 800 spamvertised domains worldwide over the previous 4 weeks, the number of reports on .hk spamvertised domains accounted for 2.3 % of the total reports received. In early August, the number of reports on .hk spamvertised domains dropped to 0.3 % of the total reports received."

Read the full article at the HKIRC Newsletter (September 2007).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 8:23:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 27, 2007

CNN, on their article "Sources: Staged cyber attack reveals vulnerability in power grid," reports on how an experimental cyber attack conducted by researchers caused a generator to self-destruct. CNN captured a video of the generator shaking and smoking, and then shutting down. This new revelation has consequently alarmed the federal government and the electrical industry on the possibilities if such an attack were carried out on a larger scale. "Sources familiar with the experiment said the same attack scenario could be used against huge generators that produce the country's electric power. Some experts fear bigger, coordinated attacks could cause widespread damage to electric infrastructure that could take months to fix." The staged cyber attack, dubbed "Aurora," was conducted in March at the Department of Energy's Idaho lab.

Learn more about the staged cyber attack and continue reading the article here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007 9:50:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 07, 2007

On early May this year following the controversial uprooting of the 6-foot-tall bronze statue in downtown Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the nation faced a series of massive botnet attacks. Estonian government, banking, media, and police sites were flooded by overwhelming internet traffic from all over the world which led to DDoS attacks forcing the sites to shut down and remain inaccessible outside the country for extended periods of time. In mid-May, the major botnet attacks suddenly stopped, and the bots appeared to have been set to run for exactly two weeks after which the infected computers abandoned the attacks and reverted to more traditional botnet activities, like spamming and extortion.

This recent attack on Estonia has proven the power of botnets and it DDoS capabilities. Using rented botnets, hundreds of thousands or even millions of infobombs may be launched at a target, all while maintaining total deniability to bring down a country's information infrastructure.

For more details on the botnet attack against Estonia, read full article here.
An article on how bots attack may also be accessed here.

Friday, September 07, 2007 10:25:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 03, 2007

The United States District Court of Washington ruled in favor of Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content management solutions, granting immunity from liability in the case brought by online media company Zango. According to Zango's lawsuit, Kaspersky Lab should reclassify Zango’s programs as nonthreatening and Kaspersky Labs’s security software should stop blocking Zango’s potentially undesirable programs. "Judge Coughenour of the Western District of Washington threw out Zango’s lawsuit on the grounds that Kaspersky was immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act. The ruling protects consumer choice to determine what information and software is allowed on each computing system, and enables anti-malware vendors with the right to identify and label software programs that may be potentially unwanted and harmful to a user’s computer as they see fit."

Read full article here.

Monday, September 03, 2007 9:46:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pakistan's Minister for Information Technology Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari said on Thursday that the adoption of cyber crime bill by the federal cabinet was a major step towards ensuring a secure business environment and promotion of e-commerce. He said the e-crime bill which will be tabled in the parliament very soon, would help draw more business and improve Pakistan's e-readiness ranking as reflected in indices maintained by various agencies and business journals of the world.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been given the mandate to probe cases falling under the preview of the e-crime law. He said the e-crime law would require the internet companies maintain their traffic data for at least six months to enable the agencies to investigate cases involving data stored by them. He also added that the government would create special IT tribunals in Islamabad as well as provincial headquarters to investigate and check growing incidents of crimes which remained unpunished for a lack of specific law.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2007 poses penalties ranging from six months to 10 years of punishment for 17 types of cyber crimes, including cyber terrorism, hacking of websites and criminal access to secure data. Thirteen of the crimes listed under the law are bailable.

Read full article here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 10:47:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The FBI has chosen the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to host a new law enforcement cybersecurity research center. The bureau said it would provide $3 million to support the first two years' operation of the National Center for Digital Intrusion Response.

The bureau said the state university's IT security scholars would work with FBI cybersecurity specialists to understand what new capabilities are required to better detect and investigate cyberattacks, develop new tools and ensure that FBI agents in the field can use them effectively. The bureau's expansion of its work with the university team reflects changes in the patterns of crime and national security threats, the FBI said. "While cyberattacks were once considered a specialized niche in law enforcement, today there are digital aspects to many crimes and national security threats; all investigators must be able to pursue criminals operating in cyberspace," the FBI said. "NCDIR will provide training, including intensive summer workshops, so all FBI agents have the opportunity to use these new tools in the field."

Some of the projects and IT security tools developed by NCSA through the funding of the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies include MyProxy, a tool for grid credential management; Framework for Log Anonymization and Information Management, an app that facilitates sharing of log data among secure systems; GridShib, at tool that supports identity federation for grids; Trustworthy Cyberinfrastructure for the Power Grid; and Illinois Terrorism Task Force's First Responder's Credentialing.

Read the full article at Government Computer News (GCN).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 5:01:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 22 July 2007, the New York Times reported on Rwanda's current Internet connectivity situation. According to the article, in 2003, Greg Wyler, an American businessman, promised the Rwandan government fiber optic cables and connectivity among schools, government institutions and homes through low-cost, high-speed Internet service. His company, Terracom,was granted a contract to connect 300 schools to the Internet, and later, the company bought 99 percent of the shares in Rwandatel, the country’s national telecommunications company, for $20 million. However, after nearly four years, the government criticizes Terracom for not having delivered and materialized most of the benefits they have hailed.

The technical, political and business realities of Africa are said to have caused this slow progress of the venture. Apart from the failed and delayed attempts to bring affordable high-speed Internet service to the masses in the continent, the lack of infrastructure is also being blamed to be the biggest drawback. Some other difficulties mentioned were insufficient bandwidth capacity on satellites, poor management and intermittent power failures. Rwandan officials also say that the company seems more interested in tapping the more lucrative cellphone market than in being an Internet service provider.

With Terracom’s new chief executive, Christopher Lundh, a former executive of Gateway Communications in London, government officials say Terracom’s performance has improved. The government, meanwhile, is moving forward with its own plans to build a fiber optic network. It also has granted Internet service licenses to South African companies and plans to issue several more. A reduced price of Internet service to about $10 a month is also aimed for according to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, director general of the Rwanda Information Technology Authority.

To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 1:28:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 15, 2007

InfoWorld reports that security experts warn Germany's new antihacker law could result to more cybercrime and not less. The law, which aims to mitigate the rise of computer attacks in the public and private sectors, was approved in May by the German government and implemented on Saturday. Although Germany already has approved numerous laws to curb attacks on IT systems, the most recent one aims to close any remaining loopholes. Punishable cybercrimes include DOS (denial-of-service) attacks and computer sabotage attacks on individuals, which would extend the existing law that limited sabotage to businesses and public authorities.

The new law defines hacking as penetrating a computer security system and gaining access to secure data, without necessarily stealing data. Offenders are defined as any individual or group that intentionally creates, spreads or purchases hacker tools designed for illegal purposes. They could face up to 10 years in prison for major offenses.

Security experts from different clubs and vendors such as Chaos Computer Club, F-Secure and Kaspersky Lab, all share the same concern on the legal uncertainty the new law creates. According to them with the new law, their development of hacker tools to test and ensure network system security, which is essential to their business, could get them in trouble and bring them to court in the future.

Other groups of computer experts that develop hacking tools to test the security of computers and network systems have already pulled the out their operations in Germany. KisMAC and Phenoelit, hacker groups that offer a tool to detect security holes in networks, stopped its work in Germany and plans to resume in neighboring Netherlands.

To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:11:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On an article by InformationWeek, researchers are blaming the virulent Storm worm for a widespread denial-of-service attack that hit Canadian Web sites over the weekend, saying the attack could have been a test of the might of a botnet more than 1.7 million zombies strong.

Johannes Ullrich of the SANS Institute and the Internet Storm Center, said in an interview that "the DoS part was basically an unintentional side effect. It was a whole lot of spam -- enough to make the servers slow down. Once [that much spam] is set loose, it's hard to tell what's going to happen."

The Storm worm has been bombarding the Internet with massive amount of spam e-mails in the form of phony electronic greeting cards for the past several months. This emails lure unsuspecting users to malicious Web sites where their machines are infected with malware that turns them into bots, which adds them up to the massive botnet that the Storm worm authors have been putting together. However, the latest attack used e-mails with limited amount of text instead of the e-card ruse though, which confirms the attack was a test-run, according to Ullrich.

In the first half of this year, it has been reported that the Storm authors had a botnet about 2,815 strong according to the researchers at SecureWorks. That number had skyrocketed to 1.7 million by the end of July. Researchers at both SecureWorks and Postini said they think the Storm worm authors are cultivating such an enormous botnet to do more than send out increasing amounts of spam. All of the bots are set up to launch DoS attacks and that's exactly what they're anticipating.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 8:59:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The first Global Information Society Watch 2007 report was released at the United Nations' Palais des Nations in Geneva on 22 May 2007 and during the The Third Annual SANGONeT "ICTs for Civil Society" Conference and Exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa on 18 July 2007. The report discusses the state of the field of information and communication technology (ICT) policy at local and global levels and particularly how policy impacts on the lives of people living in developing countries.

Studies of the ICT policy situation in twenty-two countries from four regions are featured: Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda); Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Philippines); Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru); and Eastern Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania), with one report from a Western European country (Spain).

The report concludes that when it comes to ICTs for development, there are some conspicuous similarities between the countries. Excluding Spain, the other twenty-one countries each show obvious evidence of the "digital divide" which impacts on the majority of people negatively. The report also includes provocative, analytical essays on five international institutions (including ICANN and the World Intellectual Property Organisation) questioning the extent to which they allow all stake-holders to participate in their processes. There is a special section on how to measure progress as well.

Read more on the Global Information Society Watch.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 11:04:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On Sydney Morning Herald's Veto for Parents on Web Content, it was announced that ISPs in Australia will be obligated to filter web content at the request of parents. This is part of the $189 million Federal Government crackdown on online bad language, pornography and child sex predators. According to the Prime Minister, John Howard, the Government would increase funding for the federal police online child sex exploitation team by $40 million to aid investigators to track those who prey on children through chat rooms and sites such as MySpace and Facebook. The Government is also expected to pay $90 million to provide every concerned household with software to filter internet content.

According to the article, the more efficient compulsory filtering of internet service providers (ISPs) was proposed in March last year by the then Labor leader, Kim Beazley, which the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, and ISPs criticised as expensive then. Three months later Senator Coonan announced the Government's Net Alert policy, promising free filtering software for every home that was interested. She also announced an ISP filtering trial to be conducted in Tasmania, but that trial was scrapped.

The ISP filtering measure, according to Mr. Howard is a world first by any Government, and is expected to offer funding to help cover the cost. An ISP filter option will be made available to parents when they sign up with an ISP. This service will be compulsory to all ISPs. The measures are expected to be implemented by the end of this month.

US authorities have reported last month that more than 29,000 convicted sex offenders had profiles on MySpace. In Australia, about 26 per cent of Australia's 3.8 million MySpace users are under 18. To protect the users, MySpace has written to all state and territory governments, and the Commonwealth, asking them to create a national child-sex offender database that requires email addresses to enable them to track sex offenders and remove their profiles on the system.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 10:34:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A Report entitled Personal Internet Security from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has been made available on Friday discussing primarily the issues pertaining to individual experiences of the Internet. In the report, the U.K., ISPs and others, has been said to unfairly hold Internet users responsible for online safety. According to the panel, this "laissez-faire" attitude toward personal security is what weakens user confidence. The report proposes that ISPs should be held responsible and avoid them from ignoring spam and malware notices, and that information technology vendors be held liable for not making products secure.

Network security, appliances and applications, how businesses and individuals use the Internet and policing of the online world were studied and dealt with in the Lords inquiry. It also noted that the U.K. government is at fault for not showing leadership in assembling available information and interpreting it for the public. "The Government are not themselves in a position directly to gather the necessary data, but they do have a responsibility to show leadership in pulling together the data that are available, interpreting them for the public and setting them in context, balancing risks and benefits. Instead of doing this, the Government have not even agreed definitions of key concepts such as 'e-crime'." The report recommends the establishment of a cross-departmental group in the Government, "bringing in experts from industry and academia, to develop a more co-ordinated approach to data collection in future. This should include a classification scheme for recording the incidence of all forms of e-crime. Such a scheme should cover not just Internetspecific crimes, such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks, but also e-enabled crimes - that is to say, traditional crimes committed by electronic means or where there is a significant electronic aspect to their commission."

The committee points out the need for more support for research from the industry as well. "The development of one or more major multidisciplinary research centres, following the model of CITRIS, is necessary to attract private funding and bring together experts from different academic departments and industry in a more integrated, multi-disciplinary research effort."

End-users are still predominantly viewed as unable to protect their own security according to the report. And private companies are driven by strong incentives to either promote security for profit or to oppose it as imposing costs on them according to lawmakers. The committee, thus, proposes that ISPs, being the link between the users and the network, could take more control over the network traffic by blocking or filtering traffic containing malicious code. "We do not advocate immediate legislation or heavy- handed intervention by the regulator," says the lawmakers, adding that the market must be nudged to provide better security.

Further recommendations of the committee include criminalizing trade in botnet services, no matter what their use, creating a unified, Web-based reporting scheme for e-crime, more action on creating a central e-crime police unit, fast ratification of the Council of Europe CyberCrime Convention, and educating courts on Internet crime.

Read the full article on Factiva Content Watch.
To access the report, click here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:56:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 09, 2007

On 30 July 2007 in Berlin and 27 June 2007 in Tokyo, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology of Germany, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan signed a Joint Statement expressing the following:

"Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including the Internet, are key enablers in the development of the economies in both Germany and Japan. Spam poses a potential threat to this economic development. It must be made clear that spam has no legitimate role in the German or Japanese e-economy.

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology of Germany, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan see mutual benefit in strengthening friendship and cooperation between their two countries through cooperation concerning anti-spam policies and strategies. The aim is to support international cooperation in and among a variety of organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network, and the Asia-Europe Meeting.

Under this Joint Statement, cooperation in matters of mutual interest will be able to take place through the exchange of ideas, information, personnel, skills and experience and collaborative activities that will be of benefit to both sides. Because spam has implications for many groups of stakeholders, every effort will be made to ensure that all interested parties, both public and private, are consulted as appropriate. Particular areas of cooperation will include:

a) Exchanging information about anti-spam activities such as anti-spam policies and strategies, as well as technical and educational solutions to spam;

b) Encouraging the adoption of effective anti-spam technologies and network management practices by German and Japanese Internet Service Providers and major business network managers, and further cooperation between government and private sectors;

c) Supporting German and Japanese marketers or bulk email senders in adopting spam-free marketing techniques;

d) Identifying and promoting user practices and behaviours which can effectively control and limit spam and supporting the development of multi-stakeholder public information and awareness campaigns to foster increased adoption of anti-spam practices and behaviours by end users in Germany and Japan;

e) Cooperating to strengthen anti-spam initiatives being considered in international fora."

To access the Joint Statement in different languages, click here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007 11:29:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 27, 2007

A report released Monday by Government Accountability Office (GAO), a congressional research and investigation agency, reveals that cybercrime (computer crime, identity theft and phishing) costs the U.S. economy US$117.5 billion a year.

"These projected losses are based on direct and indirect costs that may include actual money stolen, estimated cost of intellectual property stolen, and recovery cost of repairing or replacing damaged networks and equipment," says the report, released through the offices of Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee on Homeland Security, and James R. Langevin (D-R.I.), chairman of the subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology. However, according to the lead author of the report, GAO Director of IT Management Issues David A. Powner, the staggering losses pegged to cybercrime may even be worse than estimated. "Whatever is reported by organizations, most of that will likely be underreported because of disincentives to report losses," he says.

The GAO report also acknowledges that certain personnel policies at federal law enforcement agencies may be hurting the fight against cybercrime. "[S]taff rotation policies at key law enforcement agencies may hinder the agencies' abilities to retain analytical and technical capabilities supporting law enforcement," the report observes. "In order to address the challenge of ensuring adequate law enforcement analytical and technical capabilities," it continues, "we are recommending that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security reassess and modify, as appropriate, current rotation policies to retain key expertise necessary to investigate and prosecute cybercrime."

Read the full article at E-Commerce Times.

Friday, July 27, 2007 2:17:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sophos recently released its global statistics naming the top 12 spam-relaying countries for the period between April to June 2007. The US and China tops the list, while Europe, on the other hand, houses six of the top 12 countries mentioned in the statistics, which when combined, account for even more spam-relaying than the U.S. The statistics reveal as well that the overall global volume of spam rose by 9% during the second quarter, when compared to the same period in 2006.

"'While the US remains top spam dog, the latest chart emphasises the urgent need for joined-up global action to combat this growing problem,' said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. 'For every spam campaign, the spammers, the compromised computers used, and the people being deluged by the unsolicited mail are often located in totally different parts of the world. A consolidated effort is needed not only to pursue and prosecute spammers, but also to convince computer users everywhere of the importance of blocking rather than responding to spam messages. Everyone has a part to play if we are to win the global battle against spam.'"

Statistics on spam relayed by continent, however, show Asia as the top spam-relaying continent with the number of Asian nations relaying smaller amounts of spam. Europe, which topped the chart in the first quarter of 2007, has reduced its percentage by 6.6 percent and fallen to second place. Asia, North America, South America and Africa have all seen rises in spam-relaying activity.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 9:08:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 20, 2007
 Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Internet Society of New Zealand (InternetNZ) released the ISP Spam Code of Practice in May 2007 for public consultation, and it had been open to comments until 18 June 2007. The Code was developed by the InternetNZ / Telecommunication Carriers' Forum (TCF) / The Marketing Association (MA) Working Party which has representation from a cross section of service providers and other interested parties.

The ISP Spam Code of Practice was created in keeping with the requirements of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 of the New Zealand government. It had also been developed with regard to the MA’s Code of Practice for Direct Marketing and the TCF’s SMS Anti-Spam Code, which both deal with Spam related issues, as well as to the TCF’s Customer Complaints Code.

Both consumers and service providers are expected to benefit from the adoption of this Code. The Code aims to establish practices that will lead to the minimization of Spam in New Zealand. It also aims to provide information to end users about both preventative and curative steps against Spam. Anticipated benefits to the service providers include the generation of higher levels of customer satisfaction and improved operational efficiency due to the reduced volumes of spam.

Public submissions on the Code can be found here.

Visit the Internet Society of New Zealand website for further details.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 10:43:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 21, 2007

The ITU will be hosting a workshop on 17th Sepember 2007 entitled ITU Workshop on Frameworks for National Action: Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection:

At the start of the 21st century, modern societies have a growing dependency on information and communication technologies (ICTs) which are globally interconnected. However, with these growing dependencies, new threats to network and information security have emerged. There is a growing misuse of electronic networks for criminal purposes or for objectives that can adversely affect the integrity of critical infrastructures within States. To address these threats and to protect these infrastructures, a coordinated national framework is required - combined with regional and international cooperation. This workshop will review several related ITU initiatives and present two case studies by expert speakers from the United States of America and the European Union on their respective approaches. Attendance at the workshop is open to all interested participants within available space. Further information is available from cybmail@itu.int.

Monday, May 21, 2007 12:02:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Chairman’s Report (Version for Comments) from the ITU New Initiatives Programme workshop on The Future of Voice, held January 15-16, 2007 in the ITU Headquarter, has been made available for comments on the event's web-page.

To download the document, please click here

All comments and remarks, to be reflected in the final version of the Chairman’s Report should be sent via email to SPUmail@itu.int no later than the 19th February 2007.

 

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 5:27:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 18, 2007
 Thursday, November 30, 2006

OFCOM has just released its first research publication, The International Communications Market 2006. Report focuses specifically on the international communications market, reflecting the increasing impact of global issues on the UK commercial and regulatory communications agenda. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 4:29:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) is a composite index that has been developed by the ITU/Digital Opportunity Platform to measure countries' progress in ICTs and digital opportunity, as part of the endorsed methodology for WSIS evaluation and follow-up. It is a flexible methodology that has been used in many different ways. Every day this week, SPU will demonstrate a different application of the DOI, to show its flexible and versatile applications for policy analysis.

The urban/rural digital divide is one of the most obvious divisions in many countries (depending on their geography, degree of urbanisation and industrial development, among other factors). ITU has traditionally sought to monitor the urban/rural divide in telecoms using the indicators of % of main lines in urban areas and mainlines in the largest city. For example, in China, as recently as 2004, just over two-thirds of all mainlines were to be found in urban areas (World Telecommunication Indicators).

However, the urban/rural divide extends far beyond connectivity. Differences in digital opportunity between urban and rural areas are also evident in the price of access to ICTs (often more expensive in rural areas), speed and quality of access (what the Nigerian blogger Oro calls "plug and pray") and technology in e.g., coverage of population with a mobile signal. The Digital Opportunity Index measures all these different aspects to access to ICTs.

For most countries, detailed data on urban/rural differences for all these aspects are difficult to come by. However, at the recent Digital Opportunity Forum held in Korea, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology presented its expert analysis of the urban/rural divide in Egypt (see figure below). Taking into account differences in price, coverage, Internet availability and usage, the Ministry calculated that the rural population in Egypt has one quarter less opportunity to access and use ICTs as in urban areas. This points to a measurable and significant urban/rural divide in connectivity in a country where the vast majority of the population (95%) live in the fertile Nile valley. The DOI provides a means not only of quantifying the extent of this urban/rural divide, but also of monitoring its future evolution.

The urban/rural divide in Egypt


Source: Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, presented to the Digital Opportunity Forum, 1 September 2006.

For more information about the Digital Opportunity Index, click here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 3:07:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 16, 2006

The ITU’s Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU) is delighted to announce over 70,000 downloads of its major new report, the World Information Society Report (WISR) since July.

The World Information Society Report charts progress in building the Information Society and track the dynamics driving digital opportunity worldwide using a new tool—the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI). The Digital Opportunity Index can strengthen policy-making by monitoring the critical areas of the digital divide, universal access, gender and the promotion of broadband and universal service policies. The DOI has been cited by the US Federal Communications Commission to measure the state of broadband in the United States, monitored in Ireland to track the price of broadband and used by the Egyptian Government to measure the urban-rural divide in Egypt.

Every day this week, SPU will profile a different practical application of the Digital Opportunity Index, to demonstrate its genuine use for policy purposes and to show how it can monitor WSIS follow-up. The Digital Opportunity Index is relevant for policy-makers, regulators, academics, public and other stakeholders with an interest in telecommunications and development.

To find out more, please click here.

Monday, October 16, 2006 5:37:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

Europe is the most advanced region with a DOI score of 0.55, considerably higher than the world average (0.37), followed by the Americas (0.4). DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries.

European countries, which are mostly developed economies, provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. Poorer European countries generally have medium DOI scores (e.g. Albania, Belarus, Turkey and Ukraine). Poland and Russia are among the top 15 gainers in the DOI worldwide over the period 2000-2005, making significant progress in ICT infrastructure.

The economies from the region are also leveraging their investments in infrastructure well in order to widely introduce new technologies and yield more advanced forms of usage. One interesting aspect of mobile Internet usage is the wide variation in access among countries of similar economic or geographic circumstances. Almost a third of Slovenian households and one fifth of Finnish households use mobile phones to access the Internet, while in other countries, less than five per pent of households use mobile phones to access the Internet.

Despite the favourable global picture, disparities in connectivity within the region persist and many are concerned about the European digital divide, which is likely to result from the sometimes modest convergence between the economies.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 5:39:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The map illustrates the strong lead taken by Asia, together with Europe and North America, in realizing digital opportunity. Two Asian countries top the world rankings – the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the average DOI scores for the region are higher than the world average of 0.37. Central Asian countries are catching up fast with large infrastructural investments and strong gains in mobile and internet subscribers, including 3G mobile technologies (CDMA 2000 1x and W-CDMA). It is worth noting that five out of the top 15 gainers in the DOI come from the Asian region: these are India, China, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The Asian Tigers, together with Scandinavian countries lead in internet subscriptions, with around a third of their population subscribing to the internet, but only half of these subscribed to broadband services. This is in contrast to the Republic of Korea, where virtually all internet users are broadband subscribers, with access to faster, advanced services such as video, teleconferencing, multiplayer gaming and triple play. These different profiles of internet usage could result in the development of more varied skill sets and contrasting rates of innovation and, over the longer term, may shape the Information Society differently, according to the type, speed and capacity of internet access available. However, there are often large differences in the level of development within the region - the Asia-Pacific region contains both high-income and Least Developed Countries. In many economies fixed line telephony has been challenged by the worldwide growth in mobile phones.

However, there remains a strong need for basic connectivity in Asia, where connectivity is the main factor driving the digital divide and limiting access to ICTs.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:31:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 02, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The DOI scores for 2005 are sharply differentiated according to region. Africa, the region with some of the poorest countries in the world, is greatly impacted by the digital divide. Europe, the Americas and Asia all have average DOI scores higher than the world average of 0.37, while Africa has an average DOI score of 0.20, mainly due to limited Utilization and fixed line infrastructure. When compared to other regions, Africa ranks last with an average regional DOI score of barely one-third that of Europe (0.55). The African strong-performers are Mauritius, the Seychelles and North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt).

The DOI map of Africa here below shows a pattern of high scores among the North African economies (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) - Egypt is also the only African country in the Top 15 gainers in the DOI, having realized a gain of 32 per cent in digital opportunity over the period 2000-2005. By contrast, low-ranking economies are mostly inland, in the Sub-Saharan region, and also include economies such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Niger and Sierra Leone.

Nevertheless, despite the overall situation, many African countries are making progress in reducing their internal gaps. As a region, Africa has the highest growth rate in mobile cellular subscribers of any region, with a 66 per cent growth rate in 2005, with Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa accounting for 60 per cent of the new mobile subscribers added in the region. In 2005, Nigeria alone added 9.7 million subscribers, which represents about 7 per cent of its total population. Mobile phones provide more than three-quarters of all the phone connections in 19 countries in Africa. As Africa shows, the tendency of developing countries to promote mobile coverage and utilization over fixed services makes the DOI’s mobile components particularly useful for monitoring advances in regional markets.

From a telecommunication policy perspective, high-ranking countries illustrate the influence of liberalization and competition in promoting opportunity and infrastructure deployment. Most of the North African countries, as well as Senegal and South Africa, have opened their fixed and mobile markets to competition and are rapidly increasing high-speed network deployment. Competition is helping to reduce tariffs and introduce service packages that respond better to the needs of the population. In Algeria, for instance, the entry of a third wireless cellular provider triggered new strategies for prepaid services that had not previously been offered by the incumbents.

For more analysis on these and other issues related to measuring digital opportunity, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Monday, October 02, 2006 5:55:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Chapter Four: From Measurement to Policy-Making" considers the changing telecommunications policy landscape, in areas of universal access/service, affordability, digital inclusion, broadband and wireless, amongst others. It shows how policy-makers can use the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) to inform policy-making and policy design to achieve the WSIS goals. The DOI is not an abstract mathematical construction, but has real ‘hands-on’ applications for policy-makers, particularly in the context of the commitments made by governments at the World Summit on the Information Society.

Chapter Four uses the DOI for analysing digital gaps between regions at the national and international levels, for assessing gender gaps and for monitoring digital inclusion. The DOI is a useful policy tool that can be adapted to assess all of these data requirements. Chapter four of the World Information Society Report uses the DOI to analyse digital opportunity throughout the continent of Africa; perform a benchmark comparison of India’s performance relative to its neighbouring countries (see Figure below); examine regional disparities in digital opportunity in Brazil; and examine the gender gap in the Czech Republic. The chapter also outlines the next steps in ICT measurement for policy-making that the Digital Opportunity Platform plans to undertake.

Using the DOI for Policy Purposes

To find out more about the World Information Society Report, please click here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 2:22:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 27, 2006

Colombian Comission for Telecommunication Regulation has just released new report on "Developments in the Telecommunication Sector".

This report has been prepared as a contribution to the New Initiatives Programme project on the Future of Voice. Further information on the project can be found here. The analysis is available here or on the website with background materials of the project the Future of Voice.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 1:00:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The ITU held an international workshop under its New Initiatives Programme on the topic "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006. The final report [PDF]  of the chairman has now been published.

Workshop presentations can be found here. Background documents, including country case studies and thematic papers are also available on the workshop homepage.

 

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:08:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cullen-International has just released it's 2nd Country Comparative Report:

Supply of Services in Monitoring of South East Europe: Telecommunications Services Sector and Related Aspects.

The report provides comprehensice overview of telecommunication sector in the region, including regulatory profiles. In order to download the 1st and the 2nd report, please click here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006 5:38:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The ITU has just published an Issues Paper on the Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, available for download here (.pdf format).

The paper was prepared by Lara Srivastava, of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU), and Ingrid Silver & Rod Kirwan of the law practice of Denton Wilde Sapte.

Together with case studies (on Germany, China, Hong Kong SAR) and a thematic paper on spectrum flexibility, these background papers will form part of the input material for an international ITU New Initiatives Workshop on The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, to be held in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006, and jointly hosted by Germany's Federal Network Agency.

The Advance Programme for the workshop is now on-line, and will be regularly updated.

More information about the ITU New Initiatives Programme can be found here.
More information about the international workshop on the topic can be found here.  

 

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 11:03:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, May 27, 2006

Philips Semiconductors and South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom join forces to launch a trial in Seoul using Near Field Communication (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies.  The trail will enable selected mobile phone users to use their phones to download content, unlock doors and pay for goods and services.

The trial will include about 400 participants. A wide variety of partners are involved, including operators, service providers, handset manufacturers, credit card companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, and retails. More information can be found in the RFID Journal article here.

 

Saturday, May 27, 2006 7:41:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

This brochure summarizes the results of a workshop on Tomorrow’s Networks Today, held in Saint Vincent (Aosta), Italy from 7 to 8 October 2005. It was prepared by Cristina Bueti and Marco Obiso on the basis of specially prepared case studies, input documents and contributions to the workshop. The enclosed CD-Rom contains the background materials and documents of the workshop as well as a wide range of background resources related to tomorrow’s networks.

More information can be found here.

Click here to buy the brochure.

Monday, May 22, 2006 4:52:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2006. Iceland has taken over as this year's leader from Korea with Netherlands, Denmark and Hong Kong, China rounding out the top five.

Monday, May 22, 2006 1:12:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 19, 2006

On 17 May, World Information Society Day, ITU together with other partners (including UNCTAD and the KADO) launched a new series of reports entitled World Information Society Report. The summary of the report is available on the website at www.itu.int/wisr. The report itself will be published in June 2006.

The partners involved have created the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) to measure digital opportunity for 180 economies. It is a composite index created from a set of eleven internationally agreed core ICT indicators (established by the Partnership on Measurement of the Information Society). The DOI has a flexible and versatile structure, based on three categories: opportunity, infrastructure and utilization.  This classification is intended to help policy-makers in determining where countries are strong and weak in order to focus attention on priority areas. The top ten economies for Digital Opportunity are shown below on the left with Korea and Japan leading the rankings. The top major gainers in the DOI during the period 2001-2005 is shown on the right with India and China leading with the most gains. The rankings of all measured economies is shown on page 17 of the World Information Society Report summary.

  

Friday, May 19, 2006 2:59:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 18, 2006

17 May 2006 On 17 May, World Information Society Day, ITU together with other partners (including UNCTAD and the KADO) launched a new series of reports entitled World Information Society Reports. It is intended to be an annual report, tracking progress in implementing the outcomes from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The reports will include a new benchmarking tool, the Digital Opportunity Index, which is a composite index for measurement of the information society, endorsed by the Tunis Phase of the WSIS. The summary of the report is available on the website at www.itu.int/wisr. The report itself will be published in June 2006.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 11:46:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Now underway is the ITU/UNESCO Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet which is a follow-up to Phase 2 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The event is being audiocast live in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The programme is available here and contains links to all the presentations and speaker biographies.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:59:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 04, 2006

At a recent Study Group 17 (SG17) meeting in Korea, SG17 gave final approval to a Question on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) that provides direction and focus to ongoing work.

The news comes as ITU makes final preparations for the Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet, it is convening together with UNESCO, 9-11 May 2006.

ITU-T was mandated to work on IDN at the 2004 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Brazil. IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

Andrzej Bartosiewicz, representing Poland and acting as Rapporteur for IDNs said: “We have received a number of contributions in this area and have been impressed with the level of interest and the productive nature of discussions. There are a number of organizations working in the field and I believe coordination will be an important focus of any work. The upcoming workshop will be a particularly useful tool for facilitating networking between experts in the field and furthering the study in general.”

Bartosiewicz said that a webpage will be published shortly with news on ITU-T study in the area, as well as related events and technical documents. An official 'circular letter' will be sent sent to Member States he said, requesting information about their experiences on the use of IDN. Given the response to this communication SG 17 will be able to better assess the current situation and needs.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:49:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 21, 2006

The National Communications Authority of Hungary (NCAH) started last summer the elaboration of a regulatory strategy for the period 2006 to 2010. In this process a detailed breakdown is given of the means by which NCAH intends to promote the development of electronic communications markets which play an increasingly important role in the Hungarian economy contributing to the creation of the information society and consequent improvement of the country’s competitiveness.

The concept is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:50:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel was established by the Minister of Industry on April 11, 2005, to conduct a review of Canada's telecommunications framework. The Panel was asked in particular to recommend on:

1. how to implement an efficient, fair, functional and forward-looking regulatory framework that serves Canadian consumers and businesses, and that can adapt to a changing technological landscape,
2. mechanisms to ensure that all Canadians continue to have an appropriate level of access to modern telecommunications services,
3. measures to promote the development, adoption and expanded use of advanced telecommunications services across the economy.

The Panel's reviewed Canada's telecommunications policy and regulatory framework and made recommendations on how to make it a model of 21st century regulation.

The Final Report of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel 2006 is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:33:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The ITU has released the Results of its 2006-2007 Questionnaire on Future Topics  for workshops under the ITU New Initiatives Programme.

The top three winners are as follows:

1. Pushing the Boundaries - Wireless Networking

2. The Future of Voice

3. Privacy and Data Protection in Telecommunications

More information about the ITU New Initiatives Programme can be found here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:03:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 02, 2006

Italian mobile operator 3 Italia has launched a VoIP service, allowing calls to 23 countries for EUR 0.05 an hour, up to 10 hours a day. The 'International No Limit' service costs EUR 15 to activate.

The service is valid for calls to the fixed network in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, and to fixed and mobile numbers in the US, China, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.

3 Italia's parent company Hutchison announced last month an agreement with VoIP provider Skype to offer the services across all its mobile networks in Europe. [Via TelecomPaper]

Thursday, March 02, 2006 12:32:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2006

  The Golden Book — a record of work undertaken to implement the goas of the World Summit on the Information Society and build the future Information Society — was launched on 24 February 2006 during the Consultation Meeting of WSIS Action Lines Facilitators/Moderators, convened by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP in Geneva.

This Golden Book highlights some of the valuable work being done around the world to promote ICTs in projects, large and small, by governments, individuals or team effort, for the benefit of all. It provides illustrative examples of new and innovative projects to build infrastructure, promote ICTs in education, health and governance, ensure fair access and enhance online security.

The Golden Book has been published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a permanent record of the new commitments and resources pledged by stakeholders during the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). All WSIS stakeholders at the Summit were invited to submit an online questionnaire with details of their activities announced during the Tunis Phase. These activities have been planned or are already being undertaken to implement the WSIS Plan of Action. The Golden Book also serves as a tool helping to coordinate the action taken to implement the 11 Action lines and avoid duplication.

More than 375 submissions were made to the Golden Book by governments, international organizations, NGOs, companies and individuals, describing their work towards promoting ICT activities. ITU estimates that the activities announced during the Tunis Phase to promote WSIS goals represented a total value of at least € 3.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion). Governments committed to implement projects for some € 1.9 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of estimated total value of all commitments, while international organizations pledged to carry out activities for around half that amount, i.e. 0.83 billion Euros. Business entities announced plans to realize projects for around 0.35 billion Euros and civil society projects amount to least 0.13 billion Euros.

Amount of financial commitments by stakeholder

Breakdown by anticipated expenditure

For more information on the Golden Book, please see here.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:22:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 06, 2006

The World Dialogue on Regulation (WDR), a LIRNE administered project, has made eight research reports available online. Produced by WDR partners and associates, the reports fall within the WDR Third Cycle research theme Diversifying Participation in Network Development

The following reports were made available between 30 November and 20 December 2005. For more information and downloads, follow the links to the World Dialogue on Regulation website.

Replicability of a Microfinance Approach to Extending Telecommunications Access
by Malathy Knight-John, Ayesha Zainudeen & Abu-Saeed Khan (LIRNEasia)

Diversifying Network Participation: A Study of India's Universal Service Instruments 
by Payal Malik & Harsha de Silva (LIRNEasia)

Variations on the Expenditure in Communications in Developing Countries
by Sebastian Ureta (LIRNE)

More reprts are available on the World Dialogue on Regulation website.

Monday, February 06, 2006 7:43:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 03, 2006

The Act of 29 December 2005 on transformations and modifications to the division of tasks and powers of state bodies competent for communications and broadcasting (Official Journal of 30 December 2005, No 267, 2258), hereinafter referred to as the Act, defines the principles for the transfer of tasks and powers between Polish state bodies responsible for communications and broadcasting and the principles, scope and mode of transformations within the communications administration.

Under the Act, a new central-level government administration body - the President of the Office of Electronic Communications (President of UKE, Prezes Urzêdu Komunikacji Elektronicznej,) was established as of 14 January 2005 in place of the central-level government administration body - the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (President of URTiP) which was liquidated as of 13 January 2005.

The President of UKE shall assume the tasks and powers that have so far fallen within the competence of the President of URTiP as well as certain powers of the President of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT).

This in particular refers to the following issues:
- reservation of frequencies for the purposes of radio or TV programme transmission or retransmission (in communication with the President of KRRiT),

- competition for a reservation of frequencies for the purposes of digital transmission or retransmission of radio or TV programmes,

- keeping registers of telecommunications undertakings with respect to the provision of conditional access systems, electronic programme guides and multiplexing of digital signals,

- relevant market analysis and the imposition, maintenance, amendment or withdrawal of regulatory obligations with respect to telecommunications undertakings concerning conditional access systems, electronic programme guides and multiplexing of digital signals.

The Prime Minister, having considered three candidatures proposed by the National Broadcasting Council, shall appoint the President of UKE.

The President of UKE shall be supervised by the minister competent for communications (currently the Minister of Transport and Construction who is also competent for communications).

Continuity of cases and rights and obligations

Cases initiated by the National Broadcasting Council, the President of the National Broadcasting Council or by the President of URTiP with respect to tasks assumed by the President of UKE and not completed by the date of entry into force of the Act (i.e. before 14 January 2006) shall be handled by the President of UKE according to the provisions of the Act.

With respect to cases completed within the framework of administrative proceedings, but not completed in the course of court proceedings, the provisions in force to date shall continue to apply.

The rights and obligations of the President of URTiP as a party to cases in which a complaint to an administrative court or an appeal to the District Court in Warsaw - the competition and consumer court - may be lodged or has already been lodged, shall be assumed by the President of UKE.

Frequency reservations made by the President of the Broadcasting Council or by the President of URTiP shall remain valid, unless they are modified or expire under separate provisions.

Entries in the register of telecommunications undertakings as well as decisions and other settlements with respect to tasks assumed by the President of UKE made before the date of entry into force of the Act shall remain valid.

All rights and obligations of URTiP shall become the rights and obligations of UKE.

For more information, please click here.

Friday, February 03, 2006 6:20:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 23, 2006

This UN study on the construction of knowledge societies puts forward "the idea that if societies desire to follow the path of knowledge-based growth and development, a very thorough reconstruction of their institutions must occur. It suggests to political leaders, public administrations and the public at large that a broad, well-informed debate about this institutional shift should be undertaken. The magnitude of such a shift would require the cooperation of all segments of society and their sharing not only of the risk and cost of change, but first and foremost, of common goals and values. It is hoped that this study will inform this debate or at least sketch its parameters."

In an experimental Index of Knowledge Societies, it rates the following countries the highest:

Country Name IKS Index

1  Sweden 0.776
2  Denmark 0.763
3  Norway 0.719
4  Switzerland 0.706
5  Finland 0.704
6  Japan 0.696
7  Germany 0.696
8  Austria 0.692
9  New Zealand 0.692
10 United Kingdom 0.688

Monday, January 23, 2006 1:01:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 24, 2005

The European Commission's Information Society and Media Directorate General has commissioned a series of four monitoring reports at nine-monthly intervals on the market for electronic communications networks and services in 8 EU candidate and potential candidate countries. The first Country Comparative Report is now available.

For the Report, please click here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005 11:41:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The WSIS Stocktaking Report has been officially launched during the World Summit on the Infrmation Society in Tunis. The report has been prepared on the basis of activities entered to the WSIS Stocktaking Database that by November 2005 contained more then 2500 entries. 

For the launch presentation see Stocktaking.pdf (1.47 MB).

For the WSIS Stocktaking Database see here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2005

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by Tracy Cohen, Olli Mattila and Russel Southwood, entitled VoIP and Regulation, which will be presented at the GSR:

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is generally viewed as a “disruptive technology”. All the current market indications show that IP networks and services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace traditional PSTN networks and services. ITU estimates that by 2008, at least 50 percent of international minutes will be carried on IP networks and that many carriers will have all-IP networks. Recent trends are certainly headed in this direction. For example, in the United States, residential VoIP subscriber numbers have increased from 150,000 at the end of 2003 to over 2 million in March 2005. It is predicted that subscribers in the US will exceed 4.1 million by 2006, generating over USD 1 billion in gross revenues for the year. In March 2005, the Chilean broadband operator VTR launched the first telecommunication network for residential services based on IP technology. The operator expects to expand its platform and reach 2 million customers in five years. There are approximately 35,000 residential telephones that use IP technology in Chile, either through Chilean operators or through Vonage...

This paper examines how VoIP services will affect future regulation. Due to the starkly contrasting global perceptions of VoIP however, it is difficult to present a unified approach to regulatory treatment of VoIP and this paper aims to reflect regulatory experiences from a wide range of countries that are grappling with the transition to VoIP. The three sections of this paper are structured to answer both the broad and specific questions raised by VoIP services, including the overall approach to regulating VoIP as a mainstream service; how VoIP has changed voice business models and the various ways of classifying the services it has created; and finally, other related issues frequently raised in connection with VoIP, such as quality of service; network integrity; emergency calling, numbering, communication security and lawful interception.

Monday, November 07, 2005 11:23:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 01, 2005

These comparative pie charts demonstrate an ongoing shift in Internet demographics from the Americas to the Asia-Pacific region. In 2001, the Americas had 38% of the world's Internet users and Asia-Pacific had 32%. In 2004, this is essentially reversed with Asia-Pacific having 37% and the Americas with 31%. Europe has kept a relative 29% share but Africa has seen a slight gain from 1% to 3%. Because of their much larger populations and potential for growth, the Asia-Pacific region will continue to take a larger and larger percentage of the world's Internet users.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 2:31:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 13, 2005

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley regional authority, organized a Workshop on “Tomorrow’s Network Today” on 7-8 October 2005.

The workshop considered five broad themes:

• International Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• National Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• Creating an Enabling Environment
• The Italian Path Towards Ubiquitous Networks
• An example of Italian best practice: "Being Digital in the Aosta Valley"

Now available on the workshop website  are the agenda, with links to presentations as they were delivered and the two Case Studies on Italy – “Bridging the Gap: Taking Tomorrow’s Network Today” presented by Marco Obiso and “Ubiquitous Networks Societies: The Case of Italy” presented by Cristina Bueti - as well as background papers and voluntary contributions produced for the workshop.

During the event, Tim Kelly, Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU) presented “Tomorrow’s Network and the Internet of Things”, showing some of the outcomes of the forthcoming ITU Internet Reports publication that this year will be dedicated to the theme of the “Internet of Things “.

A final report of the workshop will be available in the next few weeks at the workshop website.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:46:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 26, 2005

To further encourage the development of a ubiquitous network society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley are hosting a Workshop on "Tomorrow's Network Today" that will be held in Saint-Vincent (Aosta), Italy on 7-8 October 2005.

This Workshop will discuss specific measures to help overcome potential challenges and determine possible future actions.

One session will be dedicated to Next Generation Networks (NGN) as a framework to harmonize the worldwide technical and functional basis needed to extend the use of integrated ICTs to as many users as possible.

During the workshop there will be an Exhibition which will bring together a wide range of leading industry participants as well as high-level representatives from government and regulators.

Click here for more information about the event.

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:46:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 08, 2005

Lessons from broadband development in Canada, Japan, Korea and the United States by Rob FRIEDEN, Telecommunications Policy Volume 29, Issue 8, September 2005, Pages 595-613:

Broadband network development does not always track closely a nations overall wealth and economic strength. The International Telecommunication Union reported that in 2005 the five top nations for broadband network market penetration were: Korea, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada. The ITU ranked the United States sixteenth in broadband penetration.

Aside from the obvious geographical and demographic advantages accruing to small nations with large urban populations, broadband development thrives when it becomes a national priority. Both developed and developing nations have stimulated capital expenditures for infrastructure in ways United States public and private sector stakeholders have yet to embrace. Such investments have accrued ample dividends including the lowest broadband access costs in the world. For example, the ITU reports that in 2002 Japanese consumers paid $0.09 per 100 kilobits per second of broadband access compared to $3.53 in the United States.

Economic policies do not completely explain why some nations offer faster, better cheaper and more convenient broadband services while other nations do not. This paper will examine best practices in broadband network development with an eye toward determining the optimal mix of legislative, regulatory and investment initiatives. The paper will track development in Canada, Japan and Korea as these nations have achieved success despite significantly different geographical, political and marketplace conditions. The paper also notes the institutional and regulatory policies that have hampered broadband development in the United States.

The paper also will examine why incumbent local exchange and cable television operators recently have begun aggressively to pursue broadband market opportunities. The paper will analyze incumbents's rationales for limited capital investment in broadband with an eye toward determining the credibility of excuses based on regulatory risk and uncertainty. The paper concludes with suggestions how national governments might expedite broadband infrastructure development.

From ScienceDirect via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

Monday, August 08, 2005 10:11:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 05, 2005

At the recent ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, Maria Cristina Bueti, Policy Analyst, Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU, presented a background paper entitled ITU Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities Worldwide. The survey was conducted in April 2005 and sent to ITU’s 189 Member States. The survey results, based on 58 responses received, showed that there are a number of countries that have already implemented anti-spam legislation. In some cases, countries use data protection laws or consumer protection laws to cope with spam issues. A number of countries do not have anti-spam legislation or any laws applicable to spam. A slide from her presentation is shown below.

Friday, August 05, 2005 10:58:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Via Africa: Creating local and regional IXPs to save money and bandwidth has been released by The ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) Regulatory Reform Unit.

This booklet has three sections that seek to look at how national and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) might be created, particularly in the African context but it also draws on lessons from elsewhere:

  • Section One looks at the African policy context out of which IXPs came and outlines the practical reasons for implementing them on the continent.
  • Section Two describes how national IXPs have been set up and deals with both the people and technology issues that have to be addressed. It also identifies ways in which the regulatory framework can be made more favourable to encourage their successful operation.
  • Section Three looks at the next logical step: how it might be possible to connect national IXPs so that data can flow between countries without needing to leave the continent. It summarizes: the discussions to date about the best approach to this task; the option chosen by AfrISPA; and what needs to happen to make it a reality.

There is also a discussion of the regulatory issues that may need to be considered and the appendices of the booklet contain a list of useful documents and references.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 3:16:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Yesterday, at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, during the day focused on spam, a session was dedicated to discussing national policies and legislative approaches to spam. As part of this session, a Background Paper commissioned by ITU, entitled A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: the Quest for Model Law, was presented (presentation) by Derek BAMBAUER, Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The authors of hte paper are Derek BAMBAUER, John PALFREY, Executive Director, and David ABRAMS, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, United States. From the introduction to the report: 

The goal of this paper is to help policymakers understand the potential benefits and challenges of model spam legislation as a tool to improve the security of and user confidence in information and communications technology (ICT), as well as the potential that model spam legislation holds for Internet users worldwide. First, it sets forth a framework for understanding spam and identifies key issues confronting regulators. Next, the paper examines the set of options for spam laws based on existing and proposed legislation gathered by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU). It analyzes the level of consensus among these extant laws and the degree to which a particular component is included in most legislation and in the degree to which provisions addressing this component are similar or harmonized. The paper points towards zones where there is considerable consensus while simultaneously illuminating the most fundamental differences, so that policymakers can tackle the hard issues and choices involved in spam laws. Finally, the paper makes preliminary recommendations for spam law efforts and considers both the potential for and the likely efficacy of a model spam law.

During the same sessions, there were presentations from:

  • Panellist: Jonathan KRADEN (biography), Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), United States
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Miguel MONTERO (biography), Spam Ruling Administrator, Radiografica Costarricense (RACSA), Costa Rica
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Liang LIU (biography), Assistant Director, Anti-Spam Coordination Team, Internet Society of China, People’s Republic of China
      o  Presentation
  • Presentation: Maria Cristina BUETI (biography), Policy Analyst, Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU
    ”ITU Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities Worldwide”
      o  Presentation
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:10:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 14, 2005

An experts workshop on Ubiquitous Network Societies was held from 6 to 8 April 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland at ITU Headquarters. The Chair's Report from the meeting is available here. Workshop presentations can be downloaded here. The background and thematic papers presented at the workshop include:

Thematic/Background Papers

Country Case Studies

Thursday, April 14, 2005 12:02:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The government of India's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Department of Telecommunications, has released its broadband policy. During their public consulations, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit provided its broadband background research and case studies on promoting broadband to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). [via Om Malik on Broadband]

Tuesday, October 19, 2004 4:24:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |