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 Friday, April 29, 2005

Business Inaction Could Lead to Cybersecurity Law

U.S. businesses for years have urged the government to let them set computer-security standards of their own, but their inability to do so could now prompt Congress to step in, experts say.

Those who worry that regulation may stifle innovation say the business community may have already missed an opportunity to prove the government's help is not needed. "The market is in a much better position to respond to this challenge ... but corporate America has not provided evidence across the board that they've taken this issue seriously enough to protect consumers," said Bob Dix, a lobbyist for Citadel Security Software Inc., who until last year handled cybersecurity for a congressional subcommittee. The private sector is under scrutiny after a string of incidents at data brokers, retailers and other businesses exposed at least half a million U.S. citizens to identity theft.

The business community for years has argued that any government regulations would quickly become outdated in a rapidly changing field, and a 2003 Bush administration plan called on the private sector to set its own standards.

Working with the the Homeland Security Department, an industry-led task force issued a set of guidelines in April 2004 that called for company chief executives to take direct responsibility for their computer systems. One year later, only two companies have adopted the guidelines: Entrust Inc. and RSA Security Inc., whose chief executives co-chaired the task force.

Corporate lawyers warned that any public security promises could open the door for lawsuits in the wake of a security breach, said Entrust CEO Bill Connor.

From Reuters [via my weblog]

Friday, April 29, 2005 10:50:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The latest EU Competition Policy newsletter has an article on pages 8 - 15 entitled State aid rules and public funding of broadband:

  • In the recent months, the Commission had the opportunity to assess several projects involving public support to broadband  development. The considerations developed in this article reflect the Commission's conclusions in the ensuing decisions and aim at providing guidance on how to design forms of intervention that do not raise competition concerns. A word of caution is, however, necessary. These are the first decisions on State aid relating to broadband projects: the present views might evolve in the light of further experience and in view of the quick pace of economic development and technological evolution in the sector.

[via EuroTelcoblog]

Friday, April 29, 2005 3:47:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Netcraft has announced it is making available a phishing feed: "Netcraft is now making available the list of phishing sites reported by the Toolbar community and validated by Netcraft as a continuously updated feed suitable for ISPs, hosting companies, enterprises, and other companies that operate mail servers and web proxies, or network monitoring systems." [via Fergie's Tech Blog]

Friday, April 29, 2005 2:35:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The ITU-T has prepared a brochure giving an overview of ITU-T's H.264 advanced video coding standard. The increased compression efficiency of the new ITU-T H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) standard will lead to new application areas and business opportunities. Broadcasting over cable, satellite, cable modem, terrestrial, etc., will benefit from the new standard. It is now possible to transmit video signals at about 1 Mbit/s with TV (PAL) quality, which enables streaming over xDSL connections. Another interesting business area is TV transmission over satellite. By choosing H.264, the number of programmes per satellite can be doubled in comparison to current systems using H.262 (MPEG-2). Also, in the field of mobile communication, H.264 will play an important role because the compression efficiency will be doubled in comparison to the coding schemes previously specified by Third-Generation Mobile (3GPP and 3GPP2) for streaming.

The new Recommendation is destined to influence further application areas including but not limited to the following:

  • Interactive or serial storage multimedia (ISM or SSM) on optical and magnetic devices, DVD, etc.
  • Real-time conversational services (RTC), such as videoconferencing and videophone, over ISDN, Ethernet, LAN, DSL, wireless and mobile networks, modems or mixtures of these.
  • Video-on-demand or multimedia streaming services, such as remote video surveillance (RVS), over ISDN, cable modem, DSL, LAN, wireless networks, etc.
  • Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) over ISDN, DSL, Ethernet, LAN, wireless and mobile networks, etc.
  • Multimedia services over packet networks (MSPN), such as multimedia mailing (MMM), etc.
Friday, April 29, 2005 11:59:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The presentations from last month's ITU-T Cybersecurity II Symposium, hosted by RANS in Moscow, are now available, including presentations from:

  • Mr Herbert Bertine, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 17, presentation
  • Mr Igor Faynberg, Technical Manager, NGN Standards, and Technologies and ITU-T FGNGN WG 5 Leader, presentation
  • Mr Magnus Nyström, RSA Security, presentation
  • Mr Charles Brookson, Head of Technology and Standards, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), UK, presentation
  • Mr Igor Furgel, Common Criteria, T-Systems GEI GmbH, presentation
  • Mr Bill McCrum, Deputy Director General, Telecom Engineering, Industry Canada, presentation
  • Mr Hyun-Cheol Jeong, Senior Research Staff, Korea Information Security Center of KISA, presentation
  • Mr Gary Kondakov, Managing Director, Kaspersky Labs in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries, presentation
  • Mr Eliot Lear, Consulting Engineer, Network Security, CISCO, pesentation
  • Mr Alexander Pogudin, CEO of Center of Financial Technologies, presentation
  • Ms Amal Abdallah, Federal Communications Commission, USA, presentation
  • Mr Andrey Chapchaev, Director General, Infotecs, presentation


Friday, April 29, 2005 11:45:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The May/June 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine has an article entitled Down to the Wire by Thomas Bleha with the summary:

  • Once a leader in Internet innovation, the United States has fallen far behind Japan and other Asian states in deploying broadband and the latest mobile-phone technology. This lag will cost it dearly. By outdoing the United States, Japan and its neighbors are positioning themselves to be the first states to reap the benefits of the broadband era: economic growth, increased productivity, and a better quality of life.
Friday, April 29, 2005 7:40:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Russian security authorities should be given broader powers to control telecommunications and the Internet, argues Dmitri Frolov, of the Federal Security Service's Information Security Center.

Frolov spoke Thursday in the Federation Council, or Russia's upper house of parliament, at a panel discussion devoted to telecommunications and Internet regulations.

The Federal Security Service proposes setting new rules for Internet providers so that it could prevent the spread of extremist ideas, track down illegal online operations, and get access to databases with mobile telephone subscribers' details, such as e-mail addresses, Frolov said. There should be compulsory registration of mobile phone users with Internet connectivity.

The Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications is opposed to the idea of adopting a separate law on Internet operations. Speaking at today's panel discussion in the Federation Council, Deputy Minister Boris Antonyuk said the use of the Internet could be regulated by more general laws already in effect, including those dealing with advertising, the protection of consumer rights, and administrative offenses.

[via Fergie's Tech Blog and RIA Novosti]

Friday, April 29, 2005 7:32:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 28, 2005

The information society: Measurements biased by capitalism and its intent to control-dependent societies—a critical perspective, Sara Hyder

  • The brief communication examines the definition of the information society from economic, political, technological, and social conceptions, which reflect a single model of world development. International organizations use development rankings that naturally position developed nation-states at the top of world development models. The criteria used in current rankings to measure information's effect on societies are inadequate.
Thursday, April 28, 2005 3:56:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) has published its statistics on the number of Internet Users in FY2004. Over 75 million Japanese access the Internet through mobile phones. [via my weblog]

Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:52:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ZDNET Australia is reporting that Australian regulators have signed an agreement with Asia-Pacific nations to step up the war against spam.

Twelve Asia-Pacific communications and Internet agencies have joined the Australian Communications Authority in signing a memorandum of understanding -- the Seoul-Melbourne Anti-Spam Agreement --on cooperation in countering spam.

ACA acting chairman Bob Horton said the memorandum was "focused on sharing knowledge, information and intelligence about known sources of spam, network vulnerabilities, methods of spam propagation, and technical, educational and policy solutions to the spam problem".

Other agencies involved include:

  • the Internet Society of China;
  • Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau, Hong Kong (CITB);
  • Philippines Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT);
  • Philippines Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT);
  • the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC);
  • the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan (METI);
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan (MIC);
  • New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development (MED);
  • Taiwan Computer Emergency Response Team / Coordination Centre (TWCERT/CC) and;
  • the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Kingdom of Thailand (MICT).

The new document is based on an agreement signed in late 2003 between the ACA, the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) -- since renamed the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) -- and the Korea Information Security Agency.

Furthering cooperation among international initiatives in countering spam will also be discussed at the ITU's upcoming WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity which will begin with a countering spam day as a following up to ITU's meeting in July 2004 on countering spam.

Thursday, April 28, 2005 9:44:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Intel Corporation has announced the availability of its first WiMAX product, providing equipment manufacturers and carriers the ability to deliver next-generation wireless broadband networks around the world. In addition, several service providers worldwide announced plans to begin commercial WiMAX trials based on Intel silicon products later this year, giving consumers and businesses a glimpse at this emerging wireless high-speed broadband technology. Key equipment providers also announced WiMAX solutions based on Intel's product..

The Register (via Wireless Watch) had a recent review of the WiMAX Summit in Paris, France and the related standards debate.

  • It quickly emerged that the issue preoccupying both vendors and potential operators is the road to mobility and exactly how the transition to the forthcoming 802.l6e mobile standard will be achieved. With a key WiMAX Forum meeting to be held in the coming week in Spain, and 802.16e set to be ratified this year, it is essential to the uptake of the platform that the route to mobility is clarified as soon as possible.
  • All agree that 802.16 will be the platform with which WiMAX hits the big time. Most of the equipment majors are merely licensing fixed 802.16d (now renamed 802.16-2004) gear, while focusing their own development efforts on 'e'. That means that the chances for chipmakers to net the big OEM deals - with Alcatel, Nortel and the others - rely on the mobile standard. But there are two basic schools of thought among the chipmakers and their licensees as to their strategy in the interim.
  • One is that there is a period of at least two years before 802.16e achieves volume, and that the upgrade path will be complex. That means the priority is to make 802.16-2004 as impressive as possible in order to drive short term sales and increase confidence in WiMAX. This will mean creating a so-called 'd+' technology that goes beyond the basic stipulations of the fixed standard, with a focus on aspects such as quality of service for voice and video, and portability with consumer grade subscriber equipment.
  • The other view is that the market needs to move to mobility more rapidly, by offering pre-standard networks that provide most of the functionality promised for 'e'. This strategy rests on the belief - or hope - that the mobile standard will come to market rapidly and that the leap from its predecessor will be a simple one.

In related news, only days before a deadline for its first licensing fee payment, South Korea’s Hanaro Telecom announced Tuesday it will forego a license to roll out a WiBro mobile broadband network (based on 802.16e technology). Hanaro was one of three Korean operators granted licenses by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in January. "We still believe WiBro is commercially viable. We plan to grant the remaining licensee withdrawn from Hanaro to an eligible hopeful,’’ MIC director general Kim Dong-soo said.

[via my weblog, The Register, MIC]

Thursday, April 28, 2005 8:43:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 27, 2005

CAPTEF (Conférence des administrations des postes et des télécommunications d’expression française ) Member States adopted a declaration recognizing the importance of the fight against spam at a meeting held in Paris between the 29th and 30th of April 2005. The main purpose of this meeting on "CAPTEF Internet" was to present the various methodologies adopted by the Member States for securing information systems, fighting spam and managing Internet domain names.

The final declaration emphasizes the collection of national contacts responsible for different areas in the fight against spam, which is to be disseminated to international organizations (OECD, ITU, etc.), and the reinforcement of cooperation and international coordination for sharing information on legislation, specific country needs, and anti-spam technologies.

Nineteen countries are currently members of CAPTEF: Benign, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Central Africa, Congo, Côte.d'ivoire, Djibouti, France, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Maurice, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Chad, and Togo. Six other countries: Algeria, the Comoros, Guinea, Morocco, Tunisia, and Democratic Republic of Congo take part as observers.

For further details, see Direction du développement des médias.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 3:32:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

FCC Chief Wants 911 Service for Internet Phones: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said on Tuesday he would soon propose requiring Internet-based telephone providers to offer their customers emergency 911 dialing services.

After hearing reports of consumers having trouble getting through to the police when dialing from an Internet telephone, known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), Martin said he wanted to address the problem quickly.

Calls to 911 with traditional telephones provide emergency service dispatchers with the caller's number and address. VOIP providers have limited access to the systems connecting those calls to primary emergency lines and location information is not always available.

"I immediately asked our staff to develop a plan to address this issue," Martin said during a House subcommittee hearing. The proposal would "hopefully require they (VOIP providers) have 911 services being provided," he said.

After the hearing, Martin told reporters he planned to offer a proposal to the other three FCC commissioners so they could vote on it in May, possibly at the May 19 FCC open meeting.

He declined to offer more details about his plan. Martin said since the FCC insulated the Internet phone carriers from many state regulations, the agency had an obligation to act.

In related news, Verizon announced on Tuesday that it would start making its 911 network in New York City available to all voice over Internet Protocol providers this summer.

From Reuters and News.com [via my weblog]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 3:25:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cybercrime Costs Billions But How to Report It?

Cybercrime costs societies billions of dollars every year, but it is not easy for European citizens to report that their digital identity has been stolen, according to anti-virus software companies and police.

Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) three weeks ago estimated the nation's cost of computer crime at $4.7 billion a year. Yet common computer break-ins such as hacking, phishing and identity theft must be reported to the local police.

Britain's police offer online forms for citizens to report "non-emergency minor crimes" including theft, criminal vandalism and damage to motor vehicles, but there is no special category for computer crime.

Elsewhere in Europe, citizens are also mostly referred to local police forces to report these crimes.

"It really is a problem. These crimes are global, but citizens work with local police. Most of the police are trained to catch bank robbers rather than Internet robbers," said Mikko Hypponen at anti-virus company F-Secure in Finland, where citizens have to report to local police.

Dutch police have admitted that most are ill equipped to deal with cybercrime.

"Victims of high-tech crime experience this every day," wrote Pascal Hetzscholdt, policy adviser of the Dutch police's digital investigation unit, in a recent article for a police detectives magazine.

"When reporting a crime, they find that the police have big problems with taking and processing the technical aspects of the incident. Police and the public prosecution also have trouble estimating the importance," Hetzscholdt said.

Weak police skills lead to low interest, others say. From Reuters [via my weblog]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 8:43:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 26, 2005

UK laws are failing to deter spam: UK spam laws are failing to stop spammers, say campaigners. According to anti-spam organisation Spamhaus, loopholes in UK law render legislation useless in the fight against spammers. The majority of spam originates from the US but there are a handful of hardcore UK-based spammers. Since the law came into force over a year ago no UK spammers have been fined or prosecuted.

Internet service provider AOL is becoming frustrated by the lack of effective anti-spam laws in the UK. "While the volume of spam originating in the UK may be lower than many countries, strong anti-spam legislation sends the right signal," said a spokesman for AOL. "We would like more legal avenues in the UK to hit spammers where it really hurts - in the pocket," he said.

The problem lies in loopholes which effectively give spammers the right to spam any address in the UK, said Steve Linford, who heads up Spamhaus. "British law allows spammers to spam business addresses and it is up to spammers to determine whether an address is a private one or a business one," he told the BBC News website. "Apparently the Department of Trade and Industry was told that British businesses wanted spam, although we have never heard of any," he said.

The job of enforcing the spam law falls to the Office of the Information Commissioner, which admits that it finds it hard to deal with the problem. "It is hard to prove anything because it is difficult to track spammers down. The power of the Information Commissioner is sadly limited although he is calling for greater powers," said a spokesperson.

Even if the Information Commissioner manages to track a UK-based spammer down, the penalty of fines up to £5,000 is not harsh enough thinks Mr Linford. "Some spammers make that amount in a day," he said. UK spammers account for less than 2% of all junk e-mails with the lion's share of spam coming from the US.

From BBC via [my weblog]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 1:51:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ENISA’s Seat Agreement signed in Heraklion: ENISA Seat Agreement was signed today in Heraklion, Crete, by ENISA’s Executive Director, Mr Andrea Pirotti, and Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Anastasios Nerantzis, in the presence of the Greek Prime Minister Mr Kostas Karamanlis. High level representatives of the Greek Government and Parliament attended the event as well as representatives from the Foundation for Research and Technology, FORTH, and from the ENISA Management Board. From ENISA [via my weblog]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 12:55:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A Refutation of Metcalfe's Law (PDF) and a better estimate for the value of networks and network interconnections by Andrew Odlyzko and Benjamin Tilly.

  • There have been and continue to be controversies about interconnection policies of ISPs. A particularly sensitive issue is the frequent refusal of large ISPs to peer (roughly speaking, exchange traffic freely without payment) with smaller carriers. (The refusal of AOL to interconnect instant messenger systems is very similar.) This behavior has often been attributed to abusive exploitation of market power. But there may be a more innocent explanation, based on the economic value that interconnection generates. As we show in Section 2, if Metcalfe's Law held, then interconnection would produce equal value for any two network, irrespective of their relative sizes. Hence refusal to interconnect without payment would have to be due to either obtuseness on the part of management or strategic gaming. However, if network value scales like n log(n), as we argue (or by most other rules of this type, the quadratic growth of Metcalfe's Law is very unusual in this regard) then relative gains from interconnection depend on the sizes of the networks. In this case the smaller network gains considerably more than the larger one. This produces an incentive for larger networks to refuse to interconnect without payment, a very common phenomenon in the real economy.

  • Metcalfe's Law and Reed's Law both significantly overstate the value of a communication network. In their place we propose another rough rule, that the value of a network of size n grows like n log(n). This rule, while not meant to be exact, does appear to be consistent with historical behavior of networks with regard to interconnection, and it captures the advantage that general connectivity offers over broadcast networks that deliver content. It also helps explain the failure of the dot-com and telecom ventures, since it implies network effects are not as strong as had been hoped for.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 8:17:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 22, 2005

ITU-T is hosting a workshop on IPv6 organized in cooperation with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (IPv6 EU TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum. Here is the advanced programme.

Taking place in Geneva, between 22 to 23 June 2005, the event will examine the current status of IPv6, with regards to rollout, policy, technology and applications. An additional aim will be to promote awareness of IPv6 to countries where Internet use is relatively low. The workshop will also follow-up on recent comments sent to the Director of ITU-T’s secretariat, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on the management and distribution of IP addresses. .

Friday, April 22, 2005 4:59:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The March 2005 issue of Business Communications Review, pp. 20–21 has an interesting article entitled Which NGN? that debates different visions of the future of the Internet:

  • But this all could change. Major moves are afoot to radically alter the way the Internet operates. If certain organizations and people have their way, the Internet will evolve to look considerably more like the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or today’s mobile/cellular networks. And this could happen much sooner than you might think.
  • To facilitate this migration, many carriers started participating in a major international standards development effort. Working through an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Study Group, the carriers (with vendor and government assistance) are developing their own blueprint that they call the “Next Generation Network” (NGN). Intense standards work is under way at the ITU and other groups such as the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) to further the integration and interoperability of IP networks with the PSTN and mobile networks.
  • Architecturally, the ITU’s NGN relies heavily on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) framework, developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)/3GPP2 for 3G/UMTS and CDMA mobile networks. The IMS has been extended to cover wireline facilities, to create a converged, seamless mobile user experience. The ITU NGN also mandates IPv6, and uses traffic prioritization end-to-end to deliver service quality. It requires reservation and commitment of network resources before connections are established.

Although the article suggest a conflict of vision on NGN standards, this post also notes that the ITU and IETF are exploring ways of cooperating on NGN standardization. Both ITU's FGNGN (Focus Group on Next Generation Networks) and Study Group 13 (Next Generation Networks) are meeting in the coming weeks at ITU to advance NGN standardization.

Friday, April 22, 2005 4:55:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The latest issue of the WDR e-Brief, an electronic newsletter with pointers to the latest news from the World Dialogue on Regulation is available:

  • "The World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies is concerned with regulation and governance for network economies. We conduct research, facilitate online dialogue and discussion among experts, and publish and distribute papers, reports and other relevant information. The dialogue theme for the current research cycle is diversifying participation in network development."
Friday, April 22, 2005 2:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecommunications Magazine has an article on ITU's recent Ubiquitous Network Societies workshop.

  • So what does ubiquitous really mean? One take has a future where everything is connected to everything else by some type of wireless network. Alongside this is a future that sees superconvergence of everything from fixed to mobile networks spanning multi-platforms, multi-functions and multi-applications.
  • In short, it sounds like the long-held dream of all telecom professionals everywhere, providing services and applications to everyone regardless of their location. “Technology and network access will become an afterthought to daily activities,” predicts [ITU Secretary-General Yoshio] Utsumi.
Friday, April 22, 2005 11:04:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bleepblog has news of the Skype VoIP Cyberphone.

Friday, April 22, 2005 8:55:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The World Summit in Reflection: a Deliberative Dialogue on WSIS brought to you by the journal Information Technologies and International Development and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School.

Friday, April 22, 2005 8:16:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to an article in The Australian, the Australian Communications Authority will launch a year-long trial starting May 5, 2005 of ENUM, in conjunction with Australia's internet administration authority, AusRegistry.

Friday, April 22, 2005 7:59:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 21, 2005

Research paper: On selecting a technology evolution path for broadband access networks, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 72, Issue 4, May 2005, Pages 449-470, Soo-Hyeon Yoon, Moon-Gil Yoon and Jinjoo Lee

Thursday, April 21, 2005 3:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From The Arizona Republic:

"It's the next Internet scam, and it could be the most menacing.

The reason: Even experienced Internet users can become victims and not know it.

The ploy is called pharming - a play off "phishing," the previous Internet fraud - and it involves highly skilled hackers who secretly redirect users' computers from financial sites to the scammers' fake ones, where they steal passwords and other personal information. Even the Web address looks the same."

More...

Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:47:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to new ITU research, here are the top 10 mobile operators by proportionate subscribers in the world, as of December 2004. China Mobile is in first place with over 204 million subscribers.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:25:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

WorldSummit2005.org in an article entitled Internet Governance Debate Moving to Next Stage reports that the Working Group on Internet Governance just completed its third meeting in Geneva at the United Nations.

"The discussion is now moving from mapping the internet governance landscape of institutions and stakeholders towards assessments and recommendations. Monday’s session was conducted as an open consultation, yesterday and today the group was meeting in private. Expectedly, a few conflicts surfaced again, which mainly circled around the role of different stakeholders, the question of a new organisational framework, and the multilateralization of the core Internet resources. But progress can be observed."

More...

Thursday, April 21, 2005 10:34:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Niklas Zennström's keynote presentation (PowerPoint) entitled A Vision For Global Telephony from the Voice on the Net Canada 2005 conference. [via Jeff Pulver Blog]

Mobile | VoIP | Wireless
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 2:57:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Australian Communications Authority Vision 20/20 project's final report is available on the project website. The Vision 20/20 project was a foresight project, designed to develop a greater understanding about the future of communications and the consequences for regulation. Following the preliminary report released in August 2004, the final report:

  • provides a holistic framework to examine the future strategic landscape
  • identifies the best possible outcomes and pre-conditions
  • covers the emerging IP-based architecture, digital content and convergent business models in more depth
  • provides a more substantive assessment of the issues related to digital participation
  • places current regulatory assumptions under more scrutiny and
  • provides possible direction on strategic action.

The project has been a collaborative project, with approximately 200 people in Australia and internationally having participated through interviews, workshops and discussion.  The Australian Communications Authority hopes the report will contribute to strategic thinking and discussion about future regulatory approaches within government, industry and the wider community. The project and presentation page now includes notes from a Telecommunications & Disability Consumer Representation (TEDICORE) workshop held in November 2004.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 11:41:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Houlin Zhao, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector presented ITU and IPv6 (PowerPoint) at the Global IPv6 Summit in Beijing on 5 April 2005. In a related article in China Daily entitled IP Address Supply Facing Crunch.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 10:04:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

VoIP and ENUM, Om Malik and Stuart note that Lenn Pryor, Channel 9 founder, is leaving Microsoft and joining Skype. VoIP and ENUM also points to news of SkypeMobile in MobileMag:

At the Voice On the Net (VON) conference in Toronto, Skype Technologies co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom reported that a mobile version of Skype will be available this year.

“We will encourage hardware manufacturers to deploy Skype on their devices.” said Zennstrom. SkypeMobile for mobile devices (our unofficial name for the new Skype) will be targeted to hardware manufacturers for integration into new dual-mode (GPRS + WiFi) mobile devices once made available to carriers. Our guess is that whichever manufacturer will adopt Skype first is the platform SkypeMobile will be released for.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 6:25:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |