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 Thursday, January 14, 2010

With communications in Haiti ravaged by an earthquake, tech-savvy residents turned to Twitter to send pictures and news of the destruction while others used the Web service to mobilize appeals for aid.

Harrowing personal accounts, heart-rending pictures and rallying cries for relief for quake-ravaged Haiti spread swiftly on Twitter as the microblogging platform once again became a key communications tool during disaster. Haiti solidarity groups sprang up on social network Facebook, meanwhile, including one that quickly attracted more than 142,000 members, and video of the aftermath of the 7.0-magnitude quake appeared on YouTube.

 

(Source: AFP)

Full story

AFP

Thursday, January 14, 2010 11:41:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 11, 2009

In communist Cuba, where only state media exist locally, a vibrant blogger culture has emerged as a venue for critical commentary, a leading journalists' rights group said Thursday. "Despite vast legal and technical obstacles, a growing number of Cuban bloggers have prevailed over the regime?s tight Internet restrictions to disseminate island news and views online," said a report from the New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"The bloggers, mainly young adults from a variety of professions, have opened a new space for free expression in Cuba, while offering a fresh glimmer of hope for the rebirth of independent ideas in Cuba?s closed system."

 

(Source: AFP)

Full story

AFP

Friday, September 11, 2009 9:26:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Unlike some people have hoped, the Internet hasn't led to big changes in the socio-economic makeup of Americans engaged in civic activities, a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds. As in offline politics, people who participate in online civic life — by contacting government officials, making political or charitable donations or signing petitions, for example — tend to be richer and better educated.

There are signs that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are driving civic engagement among younger people. On social networks, income and education levels seem to be less correlated with whether someone engages in civic activism.

 

(Source: AP)

Full story

AP

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 8:35:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This is a story about love and Twitter, hope and the relative safety of a Walmart parking lot. Six months ago, Brianna Karp found herself living in an old truck and camper she inherited after the suicide of a father she barely knew.

She wrote as a way to stay in touch with the world. Soon, other homeless people were leaving comments on her blog, telling their stories and cheering her on. "I was definitely surprised just how many homeless and former homeless people are online and using social media to seek opportunities," Karp said. She blogged from Starbucks while she continued to search for work, buying $5 cards each month that entitled her to sip coffee and soak up unlimited Wi-Fi.

 

(Source: AP)

Full story

AP

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 10:47:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) issued a press release on the upcoming Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change that aim at reaching a better understanding of the relationship between information and communication technologies (ICTs) and climate change.

The International Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change, featuring high-level experts drawn from industry, government and academia as well as key writers on the topic, will seek to provide guidance to the global ICT sector on how to monitor, mitigate and adapt to climate change. The meetings will take place April 15−16 in Kyoto, Japan, co-organized and hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC); and 17−18 June 2008 in London, UK, supported and hosted by BT. These events will be available as a webinar so that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world. Provision will also be made for remote participants to submit comments and questions.

It is estimated that ICTs contribute around 2-2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. These percentages are likely to grow as ICTs become more widely available. At the same time ICTs can be a major linchpin in the effort to combat climate change. ICTs have the potential to serve as a potent, cross-cutting tool to limit and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions across economic and social sectors, in particular by the introduction and development of more energy efficient devices, applications and networks, as well as their environmentally sound disposal. ICT can therefore be a key enabler to a low carbon economy while also promoting growth.

In December 2007, ITU representatives made a statement at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, illustrating how ICTs are both a cause and a potential cure for climate change. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon previously underlined ITU’s role in meeting one of the most important challenges facing mankind. "ITU is one of the very important stakeholders in the area of climate change," he said. Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General, said, "Unequivocal and authoritative scientific evidence, recent climate events and an increased public awareness have elevated climate change to the highest rungs of the political agenda — globally, regionally and at national levels. Climate change is a concern for all of humanity and requires efforts on the part of all sectors of society, including the ICT sector. ITU is committed to achieving climate neutrality and to working with our membership to promote the use of ICTs as an effective tool to combat climate change."

For more information on all ITU activities related to climate change, including e-environment, click here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008 11:01:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 03, 2008

The UK  industry watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), will undertake an investigation into the use of material taken from personal profiles on social networks by newspapers.

Tim Toulmin, director of the PCC has said that his organisation had received complaints from people about material "that is being re-published when they themselves are the subject of news stories", and suggests that guidelines are necessary in order to guide the press in their use of social network content. Due to the present lack of boundaries, the PCC has commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct research into public attitudes. In addition, Mr Toulmin points out that social networking sites have a responsibility to advise their users about the implications of uploading personal information to public, or semi-private spaces and goes one step further, saying, "..the press do have obligations over and above those that govern the online community".

However, Bob Satchwell, Director of the Society of Editors stated that the press should be subject to the same regulation as the public.

The recent media interest in the large number of suspected suicides among young people in Brigend, UK, has caused concern about the way social network profiles were being used by journalists.

The British Journal of Photography has stated that the publication of images on social networks does not automatically grant rights to republish photographs elseware.

Read full article on BBC website

Monday, March 03, 2008 12:26:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 22, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum ended yesterday following the adoption of the Doha Declaration on Cybersecurity. The ITU Workshop on Frameworks for Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP) was held in Doha, Qatar, 18−21 February 2008 in collaboration with the Qatar Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) and the Qatar Centre for Information Security (Q-CERT). Over 80 representatives from 18 countries in the Arab region as well as key regional organizations including the League of Arab States, Gulf Cooperation Council, and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, participated in the Forum.

"Global interconnectivity creates new interdependencies and risks that need to be managed at national, regional and international levels," said Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. "The formulation and implementation by all nations of a national framework for cybersecurity and critical information infrastructure protection represents a significant first step in addressing the challenges arising from globally interconnected ICT infrastructures."

During the event, the role of governments in leading national cybersecurity efforts was discussed as well as the critical role of the private sector and other groups in developing policy and law aimed at the implementation and operation of a national cybersecurity strategy. The Forum stressed the importance of reviewing national cybercrime legislation to address threats in cyberspace and called for a national focal point for cyber-incident management to strengthen watch, warning, investigation, response and recovery. Discussions were also held on the necessity of promoting a national culture of cybersecurity to ensure that all users, owners and operators of information systems and networks know their responsibilities with regard to security and develop appropriate tools to combat cyber attacks.

Referring to the recent damage to undersea optical cables, said to have been caused by an adrift ship anchor according to the operator FLAG, Mr Al Basheer said that experience is the hardest teacher. "Whatever the cause, whether intentional or not, whether cybercrime or a mundane accident, the lesson we take away is that every nation needs to organize itself to take coordinated action related to the prevention of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from cyber incidents," said Mr Al Basheer.

Read more of the ITU press release here.

Friday, February 22, 2008 9:46:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 21, 2008

According to reports, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) assaults on online gambling sites, particularly on major online poker websites, have surfaced this week. The online poker information portal Poker-king.com advised that many online poker and casino properties have suffered outages, naming  Full Tilt Poker as probably the most visible with an inaccessible website for as long as 48 hours, probably incurring serious losses in business. As of 5 am EST Tuesday, the website is redirecting to www2.fulltiltpoker.com as a consequence of the attacks. According to the ShadowServer.org organisation, the attacks on Internet gambling sites commenced on 10 February 2008 and continued through to 18 February 2008. Among the targets were Full Tilt Poker, Party Casino, Titan Poker, Virgin Games, CD Poker, Europa Casino, and a number of Russian online gambling including Pokerlistings.ru. The extent of the outages for each site varied depending on the ferocity of the attacks and if they had any anti-DDoS attack measures in place. Full Tilt Poker is clearly still having issues while a number of the Russian web properties are still down. There have been reports that Full Tilt's poker room has crashed numerous times over the past few days, including an embarrassing outage during the final table of the FTOPS main event. The motive behind the attacks is still unknown.

Read the full report here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:34:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Technology Review provides a detailed analysis of the recent Internet outage in the Middle East and Asia. The report recounts how the undersea cable damage largely affected the ISPs in the region as well as outsourcing companies who increasingly rely on these connections. It also briefly discusses how undersea cable repairs are done, and further emphasizes the concerns related to these kinds of damage. "In the wake of the fiber breaks, [ISP Association of India secretary R. S.] Perhar says that his organization is encouraging ISPs and companies dependent on fast connections to continue diversifying their bandwidth sources as much as possible, and to lobby for new cable to be laid." Tim Strong, analyst at Telegeography Research adds that "with more cables, it's getting better over time, but there will still be a lack of physical, geographical redundancy."

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 4:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 04, 2008

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) recently commissioned a research study to assess current carbon impacts of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector and to analyse the role of ICTs in catalyzing transformation to a low-carbon economy. With a focus on both developed and emerging economies, the study aims to:

  • Deliver a globally comprehensive picture of direct and indirect carbon emissions of telecommunications, computing, services and software.
  • Define common themes across the lifecycle of ICTs, identifying critical trends, scenarios and impact assessments for the ICT sector to 2020.
  • Create a ‘road map’ to allow the ICT sector to act now on reducing global energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

To know more about the study, click here.

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) is an initiative of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies aimed at improving the sustainability impact of the ICT industry, and is supported by the International Telecommunication Union and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Monday, February 04, 2008 12:42:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 01, 2008

The recent Internet outage has left the experts speculating that there may be greater demand for telecom capacity in the future. Reports indicated difficulty with receiving data sent from the United States to countries affected by the cable damage with an average 50% increase in the time it takes to download Web sites and a 10% decrease in the availability of Web sites overall, Keynote Systems said. Abelardo Gonzalez, a product manager at Keynote, believes the damaged cable incident will spur many global companies to think about new ways of staying connected to the Web in case of emergencies. He adds that companies should look into having backup connectivity through multi-honing their ISPs or even through having a satellite uplink for last-resort connections.

The damage to the cables has raised concerns about future incidents in which a greater number of cables could experience more significant levels of destruction. Paul Polishuk, the president and chairman of the board of the IGI Group of Companies, says one problem with many of the underwater cable systems is that many of the cables join together at shared landing points that could leave large swathes of telecom infrastructure vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks. Andrew Odlyzko, the director of the University of Minnesota's Digital Technology Center, shares Polishuk's concern about the cables' vulnerability and thinks that any significant damage to cables at major landing points would have serious economic consequences as evident on the 2006 earthquakes that severely disrupted Taiwan's Internet access.

Read the full article on Network World.

Friday, February 01, 2008 10:33:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Guardian reports on how tens of millions of internet users across the Middle East and Asia have been left without access to the web due to a fault in a single undersea cable believed to be a major internet pipeline connecting to Europe. The outage was said to have first struck yesterday morning and has severely restricted internet access in India, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

"The line in question runs under the Mediterranean, from Palermo in Italy to Alexandria in Egypt. It is not clear what caused the break. The cable is one of only a handful of connections, and part of the world's longest undersea cable, 24,500 miles long, running from Germany, through the Middle East and India before terminating in Australia and Japan... Egyptian officials said that around 70% of the country's online traffic was being blocked, while officials in Mumbai said that more than half of India's internet capacity had been erased, which could have potentially disastrous consequences for the country's burgeoning hi-tech industry. 'There has been a 50% to 60% cut in bandwidth,' Rajesh Charia, president of the Internet Service Providers' Association of India told Reuters."

According to the report, the outage will take several days to fix, and could have a drastic impact on communications, businesses and the hi-tech industry as well as banks and stock market trading around the region and across the globe.

More details on the digital blackout here.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:43:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Romanian artist Alex Dragulescu, a research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sociable Media Group, puts a face to threats such as Storm and Netsky. "Dragulescu created his so-called 'threat art' in conjunction with live malware intercepted by e-mail security firm MessageLabs. Each is disassembled into a dump of binary code and then run through a program Dragulescu wrote. That program spends a few hours crunching through all the data, looking for patterns in the code that will determine the shape, color and complexity of each piece of threat art."

According to the Washington Post's article, the configuration of these created organisms is driven largely by the botnets' actions. Dragulescu explains that if there is a repeated attempt to write to a system memory address, a particular Windows API call that tries to write to a file or [blast out e-mail], for instance, the program tracks that and looks for the prevalence, number and behavior of those occurrences. 

Dragulescu's other threat art include his "spam architecture," or his "spam plants," the latter of which take its form from rules that look at the ASCII values (computer code that represent the English alphabet) of each spam sample.

For more of Dragulescu's images, check out his Web site and the MessageLabs threat art page.
Read the full article on the Washington Post.

CYB | Cybersecurity | Botnets | Malware | Spam | Media
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 12:14:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A documentary, "The New Face of Cybercrime," created by Academy award nominated director Fredric Golding and presented by Fortify Software, provides a face to the criminals' intent on hacking into systems today. Candid interviews with many industry leaders and executives of large organizations taking steps against these attacks are also included, providing perspective on how they think about these threats and what they are doing about them throughout their companies.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 9:24:11 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, 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)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 06, 2007

Following the devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale that struck Southern Peru on 15 August 2007, killing more than 500 people and injuring as well as displacing thousands more, ITU deployed 50 satellite terminals to help restore vital communication links in remote and underserved areas. These links are critical in coordinating rescue and relief operations.

According to Ms Cayetana Aljovin, Vice-Minister for Communications of Peru, the equipment is being deployed in areas where telecommunications are not available. But these are most needed to facilitate emergency teams as well as government organizations in establishing communications to coordinate their work. "We take very seriously the role of telecommunications in mitigating disasters," said Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. "Whenever a country is affected by a disaster, we quickly mobilize and dispatch transportable telecommunications resources that can be used for general communications by government authorities and to provide e-services such as telemedicine that are crucial for saving human lives. We hope that this contribution will go a long way towards helping Peru cope with this massive earthquake".

Emergency telecommunication is the key for government and humanitarian aid agencies involved in rescue operations, medical assistance and rehabilitation. Mountainous terrain in Peru has severely hampered access and the coordination of rescue operations. The restoration of telecommunication resources have helped bridge these gaps and provided the much needed link for the transmission and reception of high speed data for e-applications and for voice communications. This has provided succour to both government authorities and relief agencies as well as to the affected population.

ITU has been responsible for transporting and deploying all the terminals as well as paying for the air time for using them.

Twelve of the terminals are Global Area Network (GAN) terminals and 38 are regional broadband global network satellite terminals (RBGAN). The 12 GAN terminals are capable of providing voice, data and video services, and the 38 RBGAN terminals provide high-speed data communications.

For further information, please visit Emergency Telecommunications or contact Sanjay Acharya, Chief of Media Relations and Public Information, | ITU | Tel: +41 22 730 6135 | e-mail: pressinfo (ad)itu.int | Cosmas Zavazava, Head of Division Emergency Telecommunications,| ITU | Tel: + 41 22 730 5447 | e-mail: cosmas.zavazava (ad)itu.int | Roberto Bastidas-Buch, ITU Area Office Tegucigalpa | Tel: +504 220 1074 | e-mail: roberto.bastidas (ad)itu.int.

For ITU press releases, please click here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007 2:12:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of the Intenet's pioneers, Dr. Larry Roberts, gave a presentation yesterday at ITU World Telecom Forum 2006 in Hong Kong entitled Optimizing the Internet Quality of Service and Economics for the Digital Generation. Dr. Roberts discussed standardization work in the ITU on end-to-end QoS signalling to better deliver video over the Internet. In particular, he discussed the work on a new flow based, in-band signaling standard called Y.flowreq.

 

 

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:04:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 01, 2006

The UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) has launched its new book "Communications - The Next Decade". It consists of a series of essays by academics, politicians and regulators that examine the effect of convergence on the communications sector and the authors come to some provocative conclusions.

The book is available for download as a pdf either in sections or in its entirety from the Ofcom website.

Friday, December 01, 2006 3:05:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     | 

Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake and only created for spamming purposes. According to Technorati in its State of the Blogosphere the number of blogs created these past months has diminished largely because "splogs" are now easier to detect. Blog search engines detect and delete most of the "splogs", but according to Technorati, 4% of the "splogs" still manage to get through the filters in place.

Despite "splogs", the blogopsphere continues to grow. At the end of October 2006, 57 million blogs existed, 3 million more than in June 2006, and 55% were considered active (updated at least once in the last 3 months.).

To read the full l'Expansion magazine article in French, click here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:56:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A presentation entitled "Evolution of Digital Media in a Convergent Era" (PDF), was made by Cristina Bueti, Project Officer, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit,at the Festival International du Film et de la Télévision on 4 November in Geneva, Switzerland.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 12:05:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 27, 2006

United Kingdom's telecommunications regulator Ofcom criticized a proposed European Union law regulating the internet, warning that "it could devastate the continent's internet-TV, mobile-multimedia and online-games industries". Under the EU proposal, many internet broadcasts would face the same requirements on advertising content and production quotas as traditional television.

The U.K. regulator hired Rand Corp. to conduct an impact-assessment study, which outlined the possible negative effects. There are major uncertainties about the future "trajectory" of Internet TV, the regulator said in a note accompanying the study. "Creators will simply distribute their own material via the open Internet, bypassing the need for any form of commercial relationship with other distributors," the regulator said, adding that internet broadcasters would move offshore to escape the regulation. The U.K. position is crucial.

When the EU proposal was first floated last year, London opposed all extension of broadcasting rules to new media. Ofcom spokesman Simon Bates said the U.K. has realized that some new services will fall under the regulation. The key is to gain exemptions for particularly vulnerable services. "We understand that some TV-like services that look like TV and feel like TV warrant some protection," he said, adding that fledgling services should remain exempt. "Our worst fear would be if blogs are required to be regulated like mass-media television services, with rules for example about offensive content." If infant industries are regulated, Ofcom says they risk being pushed offshore. Even though mobile-phone operators could restrict their services available on the open Internet, the EU regulation would give them "incentives to artificially structure businesses so that the regulatable activity of making and creating content takes place outside the EU." The regulation could devastate Europe's online-games industry, the report added. "Rand Europe finds that this industry is global, and that the added value activity of creating and developing games is highly 'portable,'" the regulator writes. "This industry is therefore highly susceptible to increases in regulation in one territory, however small, especially when that regulation does not have parallels in other territories." The regulator recommends "excluding online games altogether from the scope" of the EU regulation.

The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on the proposal by year end. EU governments meeting in the Brussels-based Council of Ministers also must approve it. Intellect, a U.K. trade association, recently said the regulation threatens to stifle services such as on-demand and interactive-video content.

Please see William Echikson's article in Wall Street Journal Europe for more details.

Friday, October 27, 2006 11:55:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Economist has an article entitled Your television is ringing that discusses service providers build-outs of Next Generation Network (NGN) converged platforms.

In fact, although the industry likes to depict convergence as a great boon for customers, it actually involves a technological shift that, in the first instance at least, will primarily benefit network operators. At its heart, convergence is the result of the telecoms industry's embrace of internet technology, which provides a cheaper, more efficient way to move data around on networks. On the internet everything travels in the form of “packets” of data, encoded using internet protocol, or IP. The same system can also be used to encode phone conversations, text and photo messages, video calls and television channels—and indeed anything else.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:09:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 12, 2006

As a result of a British documentary, India is now under pressure to strengthen its laws combating data theft and other electronic crimes in the country. Amendments to India’s IT Act of 2000 have been proposed and should be enacted by the national parliament in its upcoming winter.

Read the full Information Week article here.

See also Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies for more information.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 8:47:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 05, 2006

GigaOM points to an interview with Skype co-founder Janus Friis where he discusses their new P2P television startup: The Venice Project.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 4:28:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Yahoo has announced it will give away the browser-based authentication used in its email service, considered to be the company's 'crown jewel', in a bid to encourage software developers to build new applications based on e-mail". 

"Yahoo is a very large company but we can't build every applications that a user might want," a Yahoo representative said in an interview. "You can imagine tens of thousands of niche applications (springing) from Yahoo Mail." "Software developers have traditionally kept careful control of the underlying programming code of their products and allowed outsiders to make only incremental improvements. In recent years, Web developers have opened up that process to encourage outsiders far deeper access to the underlying code. Open applications like Google Maps and Yahoo's own Flickr have inspired a new wave of programming in which developers can combine software features from different companies to create what are known as 'mashups' -- hybrid Web products"

"Yahoo made the announcement ahead of a 24-hour Yahoo Hack Day, where it had invited more than 500 mostly youthful outside programmers to build new applications using Yahoo services. Considering the different needs of its huge user base (257 million people use Yahoo Mail), Yahoo has decided it can't build or buy enough innovation, so they are enlisting the worldwide developer community. The code will be released late in 2006. Yahoo notes that there are 'no security risks' since they keep absolute control of usernames and passwords."

Read the full article in Yahoo News.
This story was accessed through Slashdot.

Sunday, October 01, 2006 2:46:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 25, 2006

In a Wall Street Journal article we can read about Second Life, and fashion. "Like offline fashion designers, Second Lifers can spend hours or days sketching and developing the textures and patterns of a single garment, then refining its measurements through fittings on an online model."

"Second Life is a simulated world with more than 700,000 "residents," or players, who sometimes refer to their offline existence as their 'first life.' As in earlier computer simulation games like the Sims series, the point isn't to fulfill a quest, and there are no dragons or wizards to slay. Instead, San Francisco-based Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, has provided a platform for players -- median age 32 and 57% male, with 40% living outside the U.S. -- to do whatever they want, whether it is building a business, tending bar or launching a space shuttle. Residents chat, shop, build homes, travel and hold down jobs, and they are encouraged to create items in Second Life that they can sell to others or use themselves."

"The items and services are virtual, but real money is involved. Second Life's in-game currency, Linden dollars, is based on U.S. dollars ($1 U.S. buys about 280 Linden dollars). Many virtual items are bought and sold in Second Life, but clothing has emerged as one of the hottest categories."

Read the full WSJ article here.

This story was accessed through Slashdot.

Monday, September 25, 2006 8:31:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 07, 2006

In a recent press release, Gartner, Inc. says that the number of households around the world subscribing to Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services offered by telecom carriers will reach 48.8 million in 2010. Buoyed by new service launches, IPTV subscribers will more than double in 2007 from an expected 6.4 million in 2006 to 13.3 million according to Gartner.

Despite the eight-fold increase in users between 2006 and 2010, Gartner says that carriers will struggle to turn IPTV into a mainstream Pay TV distribution platform on par with established cable or satellite services. "The difficulty in carving out a distinctive proposition that will clearly differentiate early IPTV services from other established TV options will lead many service providers around the world to drive adoption by competing on price in the next few years", said Elroy Jopling, research director at Gartner. "As a result, the global picture for IPTV revenue is much less impressive than for subscriber numbers."

"Global IPTV revenue during the period will grow from $872 million in 2006 to a still relatively modest $13.2 billion by 2010. IPTV will not be a panacea to replace diminishing voice revenue for carriers, but in the medium term it can be a powerful tool for carriers in helping retain customers on their existing voice and broadband services."

Gartner defines IPTV as the delivery of video programming (either broadcast or on-demand) over a carrier’s managed broadband network to a customer’s TV set. It does not include streaming media over the Internet to a PC.

See the full press release on the Garner website.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:45:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 18, 2006

An article entitled New regulation to monitor online video spoof craze in Xinhua Online says that new regulations are in the pipeline to regulate video content on the internet in the wake of a surge in short satirical films online, according to the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

"Video spoofs have become so popular that netizens have even coined a slang term, "egao," to describe the act of using real film clips to create mocking send-ups.

From late August or September, only authorized websites such as sina.com, sohu.com and netease.com, will be allowed to show short films under the new regulations, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing an announcement by the administration."

[via Smart Mobs]

Friday, August 18, 2006 8:21:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 04, 2006

A forthcoming ITU-T IPTV Global Technical Workshop will review and examine IPTV standardization, political and regulatory aspects, business models and various case studies as well as technical developments and service provider’s operational aspects.

IPTV represents a convergence between the traditional telecommunication and broadcast industries. And, as with any convergence a lot of work is needed to ensure interoperability. Globally accepted standards are clearly a key enabler for this. With many of the conditions necessary for IPTV rollout in place - global IP connectivity over managed broadband infrastructure with such guarantees as QoS and security, and broadband connectivity with enhanced network capabilities - there is a strong demand for standards to ensure smooth service rollout and interoperability.

The workshop will provide a review of the current status of IPTV work as well as an examination of where to go next.

See the meeting website for further information.

[ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, August 04, 2006 11:35:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 20, 2006

ITU-T’s work on IPTV took a significant step forward following a meeting held at ITU Headquarters in in Geneva, Switzerland, 10-14 July 2006.

IPTV is being explored by media companies and service providers around the world as a way to add value to their existing offerings, and globally accepted standards are seen as essential in order that – for example – a broadcaster in one part of the world can easily distribute content in another. The meeting of the IPTV Focus Group (FG IPTV) attracted over 150 delegates from the world’s key ICT companies, over 100 input documents were considered, and the first drafts of various output documents agreed. All documents can be viewed on the group’s webpage.

A key output document drafted at the meeting shows the requirements for standardization in IPTV. Establishing this list is an essential part of the standards making process. Also dealt with by the group, and equally as important is outlining what standards already exist. The meeting among other things approved the establishment of six working groups.

The next FG IPTV meeting will take place in Busan, Korea, 16-20 October 2006.

Read more about the IPTV Focus Group (FG IPTV) meeting output documents through the ITU-T blog channel for IPTV

IPTV | Media | NGN | Standards | VoIP
Thursday, July 20, 2006 3:45:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 07, 2006

A presentation entitled Networks in Transition: Emerging Policy and Regulatory Challenges of Next Generation Networks (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the Masters of Communication Management (MCM) Annual Conference, Goodenough College on 6 July 2006 in London, England.

Friday, July 07, 2006 12:05:43 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)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Changing Nature of Intellectual Authority by Peter Nicholson, President, Council of Canadian Academics, argues that what qualifies as intellectual authority in contemporary societies – who and what to believe – is changing fundamentally. [via Bill St. Arnaud's Canarie mailing list]

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 10:29:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Will Content Be King?, presentation by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the 7 June 2006 conference Digital Content: a Modern Fairy Tale or the Old King in the New Clothes in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event was organized by the law offices of Norcous & Partners, in association with the Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius University Faculty of Law.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 1:21:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 28, 2006

The winners of the third annual Mobile Entertainment Awards (the "Meffys") were announced by the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) this week in London.

The mobile games award went to Digital Chocolate, the mobile music award to Warner Music's WAMO Packs, the mobile content award to Chooz Active Content's Foreplay, and the mobile entertainment handset award to Nokia's N70. Wiinners in other categories included Bango, France Telecom, 3 UK and Yospace.  The special recognition award was given to Jim Brailean, CEO/President and Founder of PacketVideo. The top entries for each category were selected by panels of independent industry media and analyst experts.

The Awards took place alongside Mobile Entertainment Market (MEM) 2006 at Islington's Business Design Centre in London (UK), at which the MEF also revealed its new Board of Directors. Ingrid Silver (Partner, Denton Wilde Sapte) was newly elected to the MEF Board and attended the Meffys reception with ITU's Lara Srivastava. Ingrid Silver and Lara Srivastava (with Rod Kirwan of Denton's) are presently co-authoring a paper on "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" as part of the ITU's New Initiatives Programme. The paper will be presented at an international workshop on the topic to be held in Mainz, Germany from 21-23 June 2006.

 

Sunday, May 28, 2006 7:10:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mobile Industry Outlook 2006, a new 180-page report from Informa Telecoms & Media answers the most significant questions facing today's mobile operators, equipment vendors and handset vendors as they seek to plan their strategy in 2006.

The report is available here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:20:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ITWeek has an article What makes IPTV such a big deal? that focuses on the recent establishment of the ITU-T IPTV Focus Group.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:19:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 28, 2006

Juries began deliberating at the International Competition for CyberArts 2006 (Prix Ars Electronica) in Linz, Austria this morning. Over 4'300 projects from around the world are being considered.

Since 1987, the Prix Ars Electronica has served as an interdisciplinary platform for everyone who uses ICTs as a universal medium for implementing and designing their creative projects at the interface of art, technology and society. The Prix Ars Electronica is one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media.

The event calls for entries in 7 categories, including a youth competition and a grant for young creative talent:

  • Computer Animation / Visual Effects

  • Digital Music

  • Interactive Art

  • Net Vision

  • Digital Communities

  • u19 – freestyle computing

  • [the next idea] Art and Technology Grant

ITU's Lara Srivastava is Jury Member for the "Digital Communities" category, which focuses on the promotion of the social use of ICTs and the creation of common public goods, the sharing of knowledge, and the narrowing of the digital divide. This category was introduced to the Prix in 2004 by Jury Member Andreas Hirsch and Howard Rheingold. The other Jury members are: Steven Clift (Chairman, e-democracy.org) and Peter Kuthan (Founder, Tonga Online).

The Net Vision Jury includes Marko Ahtisaari (Director of Design Strategy at Nokia) and the Digital Music Jury includes Rob Young (Editor-at-large, The Wire Magazine).

The Computer Animation Jury includes such names as Mark Dippé (Director of Spawn and Visual Effects Supervisor for Jurassic Park, The Abyss, and Terminator 2), Rick Sayre (Visual Effects Supervisor for Pixar's Toy Story, A Bug's Life and The Incredibles), and Shuzo Shiota (President and CEO of Polygon Pictures).

Results from all categories will be released during the third week in May. Awards will be handed out at the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2006. Check this blog for further news!

 

Friday, April 28, 2006 12:24:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From today's Wall Street Journal Europe: How France Became A Leader in Offering Faster Broadband

"For years, France's telecommunications industry was a state-owned monopoly with one of the world's most backward broadband markets. But thanks to deregulation six years ago, French consumers have access to high-speed Internet service that is much faster and cheaper than in the U.S.

One telecom company in particular has exploited the changes and created competition in France -- a start-up called Iliad. Over 1.1 million French subscribers pay as low as €29.99 ($36) monthly for a "triple play" package called Free that includes 81 TV channels, unlimited phone calls within France and to 14 countries, and high-speed Internet. The least expensive comparable package from most cable and phone operators in the U.S. is more than $90, although more TV channels are generally included.

"We are coming into people's living rooms and changing the way they consume telecom services," says Michael Boukobza, Iliad's 28-year-old chief executive."

Key to France's success has been the active intervention of ARCEP, the French communications regulator. At last week's ITU workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, François Varloot of ARCEP presented an overview of the French marketplace and their views on emerging symmetric and asymmetric IP regulatory issues.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:32:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The OECD hosted a workshop entitled The Future of the Internet in Paris on 8 March 2006. Presentations given at the event will serve at "food for thought" for future OECD work.


The Economist has a related article entitled Reinventing the Internet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:09:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 02, 2006

The European Commissions’ plan to promote digital access to Europe’s heritage is rapidly taking shape. At least six million books, documents and other cultural works will be made available to anyone with a Web connection through the European Digital Library over the next five years.

In order to boost European digitisation efforts, the Commission will co-fund the creation of a Europe-wide network of digitisation centres. The Commission will also address, in a series of policy documents, the issue of the appropriate framework for intellectual property rights protection in the context of digital libraries.

For more information, please click here.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 9:50:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 01, 2006

IPDR.org hosted an event last week to take a focused look at IPTV accounting and settlement. The event objectives included:

  • Understanding the requirements for IPTV accounting
  • Summarizing challenges associated with all network data related aspects of IPTV such as advertising, content settlement, user behavior, capacity management, multimedia events, and other IPTV service components
  • Developing technical specifications to address the needs of IPTV overall accounting and settlement
  • Creating an industry wide task force comprised of leaders and contributors

IPDR plans to submit protocols to international groups such as the ITU and 3GPP for adoption as industry standards, according to Kelly Anderson, President of IPDR.org. Her group is working especially closely with the IPTV Interoperability Forum of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Solutions (ATIS), represented at the meeting. ATIS and IPDR said last week that the American National Standards Group had approved as an American national standard for trial use a generic IPDR specification for billing applications for packet-based services on which ATIS had collaborated.

The presentations made at the event are available.

The Director of the TSB is holding a consultation meeting on IPTV standardization on April 4-5 2006.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 11:44:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This publication, with a foreword by Nitin Desai, provides an overview of the key debates on Internet governance. It presents the work of the Open Regional Dialogue on Internet Governance, an Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) initiative that has collected perspectives from regional experts and end users.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:21:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 10, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006 9:13:54 AM (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 30, 2006

The French telecommunications regulator, ARCEP has published a study (in French) by OVUM on the impact of the deployment of NGNs, migration scenarios as well as the possible impact on regulation.

Monday, January 30, 2006 6:25:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 23, 2006

The report Co-Regulation Measures in the Media Sector from the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Hamburg, Germany, and the Institute of European Media Law, Saarbrücken, Germany is a study commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate General Information Society and Media.

The study aims at providing a complete picture of co-regulatory measures taken to date in the media sector in all 25 EU Member States and in three non-EU-countries, as well as of the research already done in this field. The study indicates areas in which these measures mainly apply, their effects and their consistency with public interest objectives. The study also examines how best to ensure that the development of national co- and self-regulatory models does not disturb the functioning of the single market by re-fragmenting the markets.

The Hans-Bredow-Institute and the Institute of European Media Law presented the Draft Final Report on 19 January 2006 in Brussels. The authors will consider all comments which have been submitted by the 5th of February 2006.

More details about the study are available in German and English.

Monday, January 23, 2006 8:09:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |