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 Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The Working Group on Internet Governance opened its third meeting yesterday at the United Nations in Geneva. Output of the real-time captioning for the Open Consultations held on April 18 2005 are available [morning session] and [afternoon session] on the WGIG website.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:09:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2005

Skype is proudly announcing its 100 millionth download. Recently, Richard Stastny pointed to some new stats giving a breakdown of the top Skype economies (April 2005), which looks like this if we graph it.

Another interesting look is to combine this number with the number of registered users (35 million according to this in April 2005) which offers the possibility to look at Skype users as a function of population. This shows that the largest relative percentage of Skype users are from Israel then Taiwan, China followed by Denmark.

Monday, April 18, 2005 9:39:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Wired Magazine, the U.S. military has assembled the world's most formidable hacker posse: a super-secret, multimillion-dollar weapons program that may be ready to launch bloodless cyberwar against enemy networks -- from electric grids to telephone nets. The group's existence was revealed during a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month (PDF). Military leaders from U.S. Strategic Command, or Stratcom, disclosed the existence of a unit called the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare, or JFCCNW.

Monday, April 18, 2005 9:05:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Identifying key regulatory and policy issues to ensure open access to regional backbone infrastructure initiatives in Africa by Paul Hamilton and TeleGeography. This report was commissioned by the Global Information Communication and Technologies Policy Division (CITPO) of the World Bank in June 2004. It provided inputs into a conference convened by the NEPAD e-Africa Commission in Johannesburg (South Africa) from 28–30 July 2004 to review the status of all current telecommunications infrastructure initiatives within the Southern and East African subregions, as well as the interrelated regulatory, policy and funding issues and to plot the way forward with stakeholders. From World Bank via my weblog

Monday, April 18, 2005 4:14:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Via CommsWatch comes the news that The Creative Archive, a BBC led initiative, is to provide access to public service audio and video archives in a way that allows the British public to find, share, watch, listen and re-use the archive as a fuel for their own creative endeavours. "In other words, you can rip, mix and share the BBC. It's a great idea and you can read all about it on the official web site and in a "Guardian" article".

Monday, April 18, 2005 3:21:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T Workshop on NGN in collaboration with IETF will be held in Geneva at ITU Headquarters on 1 - 2 May 2005. The workshop will also serve as an important meeting point for ITU-T and IETF management.

The overall objectives of the workshop are to explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and IETF to further coordinate their work. Six sessions will each be co-chaired by an ITU representative and a representative from IETF. Topics will include requirements and functional architecture; nomadicity and mobility; QoS, control and signalling capabilities; network management; security capabilities and evolution.

The workshop, the second on NGN in 2005, is an example of the way in which ITU-T is seeking to engage all interested parties in work towards the development of worldwide standards for NGN. Objectives of the workshop include:

  • To explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations; and
  • To identify those areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and the IETF to further should coordinate their NGN-related work., and to seek to reach agreement on any actions to be taken to coordinate the work of the two organizations and perhaps establish joint activities.

Also see the ITU press release:

The objectives of the workshop are to report the progress of ITU’s work on NGN and explore specific issues that impact both the ITU and the IETF in order to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where action can be taken to make further progress.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau notes that, "We have made tremendous progress, thanks to the support of ITU members and members of other standards developing organizations such as IETF, ETSI and ATIS. The momentum that this work has achieved will allow the ICT industry to develop a raft of new products and services on a much more powerful and dynamic infrastructure based on globally accepted standards."

Monday, April 18, 2005 1:28:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 14, 2005

From VoIP and ENUM comes the news that Switzerland has started an ENUM trial. For more information see Swiss ENUM (German only at this time).

Thursday, April 14, 2005 4:00:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

CNET has an interview with Paul Kurtz, the executive director of the US-based Cyber Security Industry Alliance.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 3:04:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 

ITU Session on Internet Governance (PDF) was presented by Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, on 17 February 2005 in a session before the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG's) open consultations held at the United Nations. The subject of the talk was Internet Governance in context of evolution of telecommunications technologies and policies.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 11:50:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the Advanced Video Coding (AVC) Alliance: AVC is the new generation compression algorithm for consumer digital video. Compared to the current industry standard MPEG-2, AVC is at least twice as efficient at all bit rates. This means that AVC will open up channels to the end user that were previously closed for digital video services at the right quality. AVC offers significantly higher video resolution at the same bit rate, or the same video quality with half the bit rate that is required for MPEG-2. This will enable attractive new products and services to be introduced by all players in the value chain.

AVC is the result of work started in the ITU and in MPEG, completed in the Joint Video Team (JVT) made up from experts of the two organizations. The algorithm is published as H.264 by the ITU, while ISO/IEC published it as MPEG-4 Part 10.

The primary application of AVC is in new video services where MPEG-2 is less suitable, especially where limited bandwidth is available. Examples are mobile applications, IPTV over ADSL and HDTV in Europe, where spectrum is particularly scarce. Recently, the DVB Steering Board approved the AVC implementation guideline specification, which was prepared by the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) Technical Module. The specification has been sent to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) pending formal
standardization.

For more information, see Wikipedia's H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 9:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 13, 2005

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2005. Korea and Hong Kong, China have kept the top rankings they received in 2004. The Netherlands makes an impressive move from 9th in ranking in 2004 to 3rd this year. Denmark also moves up two slots to 4th. Canada drops to 5th from 3rd in 2004. Switzerland moves from 10th in 2004 to 6th this year. Israel moves to 12th this year. The USA drops from 13th in 2004 to 16th in 2005. France has moved up fast in the rankings and is now just behind the USA followed by the UK at 15th.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:47:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 08, 2005

In a press release, Internet provider XS4ALL today launched a court case against Dutch State, seeking compensation for the cost of making its network ready for wiretaps. In the press release, it states: “Since the end of 2001 XS4ALL has invested about half a million euro to comply with the requirements for lawful interception, a significant percentage of the net profit. Because of the rapidly increasing customer-base and the even stronger increase in the volume of Internet usage, XS4ALL will have to make many new high investments in the near future to comply with wiretapping legislation. XS4ALL considers it unreasonable that these costs are not reimbursed, since these investments are made purely in the general interest of law enforcement and do not benefit the providers in any way.“

Tuesday, March 08, 2005 1:44:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 04, 2005

In the latest Phishing Activity Trends Report (January 2005) from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, it's reported:

“In January, there were 12,845 new, unique phishing email messages reported to the APWG. This is a substantial increase of 42% over the unique reports for December, and represents an average monthly growth rate of 30% since July (2,625). The number of phishing web sites supporting these attacks rose even more dramatically. In January, there were 2,560 unique sites reported, a jump of 47% over December (1740) and more than double the number reported just three months ago in October (1186).”

Friday, March 04, 2005 4:32:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 03, 2005

In this article, Joanne VanAuken says the recent formation of the Voice over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) may help increase VoIP security by increasing security awareness and providing free testing tools. While VoIP technology is advancing toward becoming a viable and potentially critical infrastructure for businesses and governments, it also carries the threat of hacking and eavesdropping. Application-level attacks are inevitable and voice spam is also a legitimate worry. If not implemented and secured, VoIP technology will open networks and organizations to increased risk. Ms. VanAuken hopes the VOIPSA will gain acceptance in the security community through vendor collaboration.

Thursday, March 03, 2005 12:49:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 02, 2005

This keynote talk (PDF) by Duane Northcott dating from 2003, describes some of the shifts underway in the forces that shape computing including:

  • Computing defined by Moore’s Law giving way to new model driven by bandwidth
  • Storage can make up for the lack of unlimited, ubiquitous bandwidth

This enables a new computing architectural model which provides for consolidation of clients through remote display technology and mobility through virtualized computing environments (VCEs).

This paradigm shift (which will be driven separately by security issues) will provide major new opportunities for service providers to provide virtualized computing environments and not just connectivity. This suggest that a more centralized computing model with dumb virtual computing environment terminals on the edges may win out yet over today's Internet end-to-end model. There are others who suggest this is where Google's strategy is heading.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 12:32:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Recently ITU-T Study Group 2 (SG2) determined a a new draft Recommendation to clarify the management of the top level domain “.int”. The draft Recommendation (Word), named E.int (Word) is now considered stable and will be sent to the ITU membership. Unless comments are received, it would be expected to be approved at the December 2005 meeting of SG2. The draft Recommendation (Word) also contains a liaison from SG2 which has been transmitted to ICANN.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 11:39:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The ITU Council Working Group on WSIS held a meeting on 13-14 December 2004 discussing ITU activities relevant to the World Summit on the Information Society. The Working Group is to prepare, based on inputs of ITU Member States and Sector Members, as well as those of the Secretary?General and the Directors of the Bureaux and submit to ITU Council proposals on  necessary ITU actions to help accomplish the goals and objectives articulated in the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.

Some of the input documents to that meeting relate to Internet governance including:

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:51:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 28, 2005
Monday, February 28, 2005 5:29:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 24, 2004
A recent report by KPMG Australia (press release) illustrates the powerful impact that broadband is having and will continue to have on national economies. The report gives one of the clearest pictures to date as to why broadband should be a national priority for all countries and not just Australia. KPMG has gathered information from recent research and empirical evidence and produced a report entitled Leaders or Laggards? Australia's Broadband Future (PDF). [via CommsWatch]
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 10:36:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 18, 2004
Attacks using massive botnets of compromised PCs are becoming more and more sophisticated and organised gangs are more likely than ever to be behind online attacks, according to a new VeriSign report. The trend appears to be towards more sophisticated attacks by more organised groups, VeriSign said in its twice-yearly Internet Security Intelligence Briefing, released on Tuesday. The criminal groups increasingly rely on massive numbers of compromised home PCs to launch their attacks, said Mark Griffiths, vice-president for VeriSign.
Thursday, November 18, 2004 10:45:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ZDNet has an interview with Richard Clarke where he discusses cybersecurity issues in Straight Talking on Terror. [via Slashdot]

Thursday, November 18, 2004 10:22:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 01, 2004

The Economist asks: "Will charging based on content come to the internet? The history of transportation offers clues."

In a recently published paper, Andrew Odlyzko, a professor at the University of Minnesota, divines lessons from the history of transportation to explain the telecoms industry's attraction to price discrimination, and what it may mean in future. Of course, in general telecoms, companies already exploit variations in what customers are willing to pay for digital bits, depending on whether they take the form of a cable television programme or an SMS text message. On the internet, however, charging according to content would mark a big change.

On the net, discrimination might mean one price for web and e-mail traffic, another for instant messaging and still others for telephone calls, music and films. Is it likely? Mr Odlyzko hopes not, although history strongly suggests that the temptation exists. He thinks that price discrimination might not be in telecoms companies' interests after all. Unlike on canals, toll roads and so forth, internet capacity is abundant. Internet service is therefore a commodity. Simpler, flat-rate pricing, he argues, is likely to increase usage: discrimination would turn some users away.

Indeed, he says, distinguishing between different types of traffic would mean so much technical rejigging that the openness of the internet would be destroyed. Because the internet is decentralised and simply priced, it is cheap for many other networks - run by big companies, universities and telecoms firms - to connect to it. This in turn gives the internet a great capacity for innovation. Price discrimination could jeopardise all this. While content delivery does lend itself to a closed network, connectivity does not. Open networks are likely to win because they can attract more revenues from users,Mr Odlyzko says. Is this wishful thinking? History, as he shows, is full of examples of successful price discrimination. The telecoms companies may yet think it worth a try.

[via E M E R G I C . o r g]

Monday, November 01, 2004 1:17:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) conference, a gathering of Internet Service Provider (ISP) engineers and vendors convenes three times a year for mostly technical conversation along with social networking. The recent NANOG conference in Reston Virginia saw some unusually direct talk about Spam and the ISPs that tolerate it from America Online's Postmaster, Charles Stiles. [via CircleID]
Monday, November 01, 2004 1:04:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The UK mobile phone operators, O2, Orange, TMobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and 3, have today appointed a body to oversee the self-classification of new forms of adult commercial content on mobiles. The new body, which is named the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB), is a subsidiary of premium rate regulator ICSTIS, and has been formed for this purpose. It has now launched a classification framework (press release (Word)) against which providers of commercial content to mobile subscribers will be able to self-classify new forms of content such as still images and video clips. [Via Ewan Sutherland's blog]

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 2:22:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |