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 Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Skype CEO and co-founder Niklas Zenström's keynote presentation from VON Europe 2005 is now available for download. [via Pulverblog]

His two solutions for emergency services calling are interesting, particularly the second:

  • Provide open interface to emergency centrals which can receive text, voice and video over IP
  • Build up national IP geo mapping databases managed by national authorities

Update: The Register has their take on the speech.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 5:13:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A very comprehensive survey site on Computer Forensics from Dave Dittich.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 4:08:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"Anti-spam enforcement authorities in 13 European countries recently agreed to share information and pursue complaints across borders in a joint drive to combat electronic junk mail. The nations will cooperate in investigating complaints about crossborder spam from anywhere within the European Union to make it easier to identify and prosecute spammers anywhere in Europe.The voluntary agreement establishes a common procedure for handling cross-border spam complaints". The participating European countries, including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Spain, will through these initiatives try their best to address complaints from each other.

Spain's data protection authority, Agencia Española de Proteccion de Datos, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission also recently signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding to promote enhanced cooperation and information sharing on spam enforcement activities. In July 2004, the FTC signed a similar agreement with the United Kingdom and Australia.

"Germany is taking spam control into its own hands. People who send junk e-mail in Germany will face fines of as much as 50,000 euros according to a draft law agreed upon by Germany's ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. The law will also prevent spammers from disguising their name and the nature of the e-mail. German lawmakers hope that the steep fine will make people think twice about sending spam. It has been illegal to send spam in Germany since July 2004, but the ruling coalition hopes the new legislation will help stop the practice."

Click here to view the full article.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 2:33:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The 2005 ASEM Cyber Security Workshop, Seoul will be held in Republic of Korea, hosted by the Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea. The ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity will follow shortly afterwards, June 29-July 1 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:42:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

2005 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the report of the Independent Commission ("Maitland Commission") on Worldwide Telecommunication Development, entitled "The Missing Link". To mark the anniversary, ITU has published the original report on its website, in English, French and Spanish.

The "missing link" of the title's report refers to the gap in telecommunications development, within and between nations. Although the term "digital divide" is now more common, the original arguments presented in the report are still quite valid. In particular, the report calls for "decisions at the highest political level" to bring "all of mankind within easy reach of a telephone by early part of the next century". Research by ITU (see the 2003 World Telecommunication Development Report) indicates that, by the start of this century, just over 80 per cent of the world's population were within reach of phones (increasingly mobile phones rather than fixed line telephones). Although this falls short of the original target, the "decisions at the highest political level" that the report calls for is now closer to fruition with the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which is the first time this issue has been discussed at the Heads of State and Heads of Government level. The WSIS Declaration of Principles, adopted by the first phase of the WSIS in December 2003 contains the following commitment (para 10):

"We are also fully aware that the benefits of the information technology revolution are today unevenly distributed between the developed and the developing countries and within societies. We are fully committed to turning this digital divide into a digital opportunity for all, particularly for those who risk being left behind and being further marginalized". 

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:21:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

H.E. Ambassador Janis Karklins (Latvia) has invited WSIS stakeholders to take part in an informal consultation on implementation and follow-up of the Plan of Action for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to take place in Room 26 of the United Nations in Geneva, on 13 June, from 10-13 and 15-18 (see invitation letter). The consultations will take place just ahead of the meeting of the UN Working Group on Internet Governance.

These consultations will concern, in particular, paras 10-11 of the draft Operational document for the Tunis phase of the Summit, and the compilation of comments on that draft. The deadline for further comments is 31 May 2005.

The consultations follow-on from those hosted by ITU's Working Group on WSIS (WG-WSIS) that were held on 2 May

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:51:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Warren's Washington Internet Daily on 24 May 2005:

Stuck in an "embryonic" stage of sharing cybersecurity information, many European countries look to govt. for encouragement, the head of the European Network & Information Security Agency (ENISA) said in an interview. Despite claims of willingness to work together, a lack of actual cooperation is the chief roadblock to better infrastructure protection, said ENISA Exec. Dir. Andrea Pirotti, adding that many stakeholders want national or European Union authorities to nudge them. ENISA will be the "director of the orchestra" beginning later this year, Pirotti said.

The new agency has created working groups on security awareness-raising, risk analysis and assessment, and computer emergency response teams (CERTs), Pirotti said. The CERT panel will devise an effective way to stimulate cooperation among European nations and to establish as many CERTs as possible, he said. In smaller communities, ENISA may also push for warning, advice and reporting points (WARPs), sometimes called "mini-CERTs." Often set up and run by volunteers, WARPs field network threat information from and report problems to the larger CERTs, Pirotti said. But unlike CERTs they don't provide technical fixes.

ENISA working groups will set best practices with detailed procedures for establishing CERTs and WARPs, Pirotti said. ENISA officials then will take the ideas to national officials and push for their creation. "We shall do our best, but this is just the beginning," he said. Local authorities are keen on the idea but want ENISA to give them a framework and suggestions. Most know the risks of not having CERTS, he said, and are willing to invest in them.

ENISA is beginning to develop a presence, joining the ITU at a June forum on network security in central and east Europe, the former Soviet bloc and the Baltic states (WID May 23 p6). The group also plans a late Sept. information security conference in Budapest.

A permanent ENISA stakeholder group has 30 members from industry, academia and the consumer community, Pirotti said. The group, which first met in March, convenes June 2 to discuss mobile phone security, among other issues.

ENISA's workforce is far from complete -- of 40 workers authorized, 4 have been hired -- but a massive recruiting effort for agency administrative and technical personnel now underway will end in late July, Pirotti said. ENISA will occupy its permanent hq in Heraklion, Greece, in Sept. and start work in earnest in Oct. or Nov. -- Dugie Standeford

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 9:33:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the FTC's Operation Spam Zombies page:

Spammers use home computers to send bulk emails by the millions. They take advantage of security weaknesses to install hidden software that turns consumer computers into mail or proxy servers. They route bulk email through these "spam zombies," obscuring its true origin.

As part of a worldwide effort to prevent these abuses, the FTC announces "Operation Spam Zombies." In partnership with 20 members of the London Action Plan and 16 additional government agencies from around the world, the Commission is sending letters to more than 3000 Internet service providers (ISPs) internationally, encouraging them to take the following zombie-prevention measures:

  • block port 25 except for the outbound SMTP requirements of authenticated users of mail servers designed for client traffic. Explore implementing Authenticated SMTP on port 587 for clients who must operate outgoing mail servers.
  • apply rate-limiting controls for email relays.
  • identify computers that are sending atypical amounts of email, and take steps to determine if the computer is acting as a spam zombie. When necessary, quarantine the affected computer until the source of the problem is removed.
  • give your customers plain-language advice on how to prevent their computers from being infected by worms, trojans, or other malware that turn PCs into spam zombies, and provide the appropriate tools and assistance.
  • provide, or point your customers to, easy-to-use tools to remove zombie code if their computers have been infected, and provide the appropriate assistance.

In a later phase, the Operation plans to notify Internet providers worldwide that apparent spam zombies were identified on their systems, and urge them to implement measures to prevent that problem.

Business Guidance

Letter text translations (provided by participating agencies):

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 8:32:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 24, 2005

At the WSIS Thematic Meeting "Towards the realisation of the ubiquitous network society", held 16-17 May in Tokyo, co-organised by MIC Japan, ITU and United Nations University (UNU), a new project to develop and mass-manufacture a US$100 laptop, primarily for use in schools, was launched by MIT Media Lab together with an Open Computer Initiative from UNU. The partnership aims to have working prototypes available for demonstration by the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), November 16-18 2005. The initial specifications for the laptops are 500 MHz processor, 1 GB hard drive and wi-fi enabled, running LINUX. Over time, it is planned that the laptops would become more powerful, but not more expensive.

For more information, see: http://www.unu.edu/hq/rector_office/press2005/mre12-05.doc.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 8:22:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 23, 2005

CNN/Money is reporting that US Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp. are among the big banks notifying more than 670,000 customers that account information was stolen in what may the biggest security breach to hit the banking industry.

Account information on the customers was illegally sold by bank employees to a man identified as Orazio Lembo, whom police said was doing business by illegally posing as a collection agency.

[via Slashdot]

Monday, May 23, 2005 9:13:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Gregg Keizer writes on TechWeb: Spammers and phishers are using new kinds of attacks to build wide-ranging profiles of online users -- everything from their political views to their sexual preference -- a security firm said Monday.

[via Fergie's Tech Blog]

Monday, May 23, 2005 9:13:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:

Remote-controlled "zombie" networks operated by bottom-feeding spammers have become a serious problem that requires more industry action, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce on Tuesday.

The FTC and more than 30 of its counterparts abroad are planning to contact Internet service providers and urge them to pay more attention to what their customers are doing online. Among the requests: identifying customers with suspicious e-mailing patterns, quarantining those computers and offering help in cleaning the zombie code off the hapless PCs.

To be sure, computers infected by zombie programs and used to churn out spam are a real threat to the future of e-mail. One report by security firm Sophos found that compromised PCs are responsible for 40 percent of the world's spam--and that number seems to be heading up, not down.

But government pressure--even well-intentioned--on Internet providers to monitor their users raises some important questions.

[via Fergie's Tech Blog]

Monday, May 23, 2005 1:35:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 22, 2005

Mobile Phones Change Ways Africans Live and Do Business

The rapid growth in mobile phone use throughout the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is helping to transform national economies, producing a thriving entrepreneurial class and marked growth in private capital, according to Leonard Waverman, an economist with the London Business School.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington May 5 on a panel of fellow economists and representatives of one of Europe’s largest wireless telephone providers, Vodafone UK, Waverman pointed to the extensive use of mobile phone accounts in the developing countries as a new source of economic development in Africa.

Although mobile phone penetration is only about 9 percent in Africa generally, mobile phones account for approximately 75 percent of all telephone connections in 19 of the poorest African countries, Waverman said, adding, "If you look at it globally, the growth in the number of mobile telephone subscribers in developing countries is twice that in the developed world"

In most instances, he explained, mobile phone infrastructure is easier to set up and cheaper to maintain than the standard fixed-line telecommunications systems that were technological holdovers from the colonial past and often controlled by the government. The new systems sidestep the control issue, have fewer technical problems and are having a noticeable effect on the future of telecommunications in Africa, as antiquated analog networks are being replaced with newer digital ones.

Scott Wallsten, formerly an economist at the World Bank and now a fellow at AEI, added that "mobile telephony often succeeds in developing countries because state monopolies rarely view [the companies] as a threat -- until they are established. By then, the investment has been made, and the customer base has already been set up."

Waverman stressed that a good communications network is important in producing economic growth in developing nations by transforming the enterprise sector and spreading wealth as far as the voice can be carried through the ether.

"Information is power. Providing information to everyone takes the power away from the few. And we are seeing this [dynamic] occurring across much of Africa today. We are seeing the emergence of a new middle class," he said, as new businesses and businessmen emerge with new capital for growth.

[US Dept of State via my weblog]

Sunday, May 22, 2005 9:13:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Internet Telephony Providers Can Seek Exemption from Obligations: On April 15 2005 the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority published a policy paper entitled Regulation of VoIP Services. The paper presents the authority's views on how Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are regulated under Norwegian law.

The policy paper indicates that VoIP service offerings that are designed for any-to-any communication and are publicly available are considered to be publicly available telephony services. Therefore, these VoIP services are subject to all obligations to which providers of electronic communication services and publicly available telephony services are subject under the Electronic Communications Act and the Regulations on Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

The policy paper also indicates that the authority would consider granting temporary exemptions from some of the obligations imposed on internet telephony providers offering VoIP services that are designed for any-to-any communication and are publicly available.

On May 2 2005 the authority sent a letter to service providers offering VoIP services in Norway, requesting them to send applications for temporary exemptions by June 1 2005.

From International Law Office [via my weblog]

Sunday, May 22, 2005 6:32:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spectrum policy in transition by Philippa MARKS and Kiyotaka YUGUCHI, Keio Communication Review No. 26 (2004). A comparison of spectrum policy in the UK, France and Japan. Also see ITU's related work in the Strategy and Policy Unit's Radio Spectrum Management for a Converging World.

[Keio University - Mediacom via my weblog]

Sunday, May 22, 2005 6:32:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lucent Bets on Wireless and IMS

In a tail-wags-dog story, Lucent Technologies, long associated with telecom big iron, is literally throwing its weight and its product development into the air. “We see the wireline business eroding. Mobility has higher growth, and it appears mobility is the best target for the new services architecture—IMS (IP multimedia subsystem),” said Rand Edwards, Lucent’s director of strategy and marketing-network operations software group.

Lucent will make its migration policy very clear at next week’s Telemanagement World conference in Nice, France, where it will showcase its IMS-driven VitalSuite software, demonstrating how service providers can migrate it into their systems to expand offerings into more complex architectures that start first with next-gen services and applications on wireless networks.

Canadian wireless operator Telus has bought into the VitalSuite for its trouble-patterning capabilities to do detailed network surveillance through analysis and network problem identification.

IMS “is a pretty complex service delivery platform and being able to isolate where a problem might be occurring gets more difficult (and) might not be observable from a traditional fault or performance type of view,” Edwards said. “This type of diagnosis or analysis is going to become increasingly important.”

From [Telecom Flash via my weblog]

Mobile | NGN | Standards
Sunday, May 22, 2005 3:23:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

OPTA, the Independent Dutch Post and Telecommunications Authority, has released their annual Vision of the Market report. 

"The vision of the markets reflect the commission’s view on important trends and competition developments in the markets, as well as on the position of the end-user. In the annual report, OPTA accounts for its activities and results in the year 2004. The annual accounts give insight into OPTA’s financial house-keeping."

Each year OPTA publishes its Vision of the Market. The publication contains OPTA’s ideas regarding developments on the markets for post and electronic communication. The report furthermore recognizes that:

"The landscape in the communications sector is changing. Convergence is now reality: technological developments have made it possible to offer the same services using the same technology (the internet) via multiple types of networks. This is evident in the introduction of voice and television services via the internet. The communications sector is also broadening through integration with the IT, media and entertainment sectors. Convergence has as consequence that companies that did not compete in certain services in the past now do so. The competition potential is increasing, but the problem areas will not immediately disappear because network owners are still able to create entry barriers for competing parties. OPTA will intervene if and when providers abuse their dominant position."

For the full report, please click here.

[Via my weblog]

Sunday, May 22, 2005 3:18:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Security experts warm it would not be hard for a cyberpunk or terrorist to turn off the lights in a large portion of the U.S.

The article states that "The U.S. power grid, with its billions of dollars worth of electrical lines, switching stations, and electrical generators, is like a big shiny toy for computer hackers."

The article goes further on to say that "Power companies rely on a complex relay of information between delivery stations to regulate electrical flows. They send commands back to these stations to control the voltage and amperage allowed to flow to consumers. It is a network, just like the internet. And just like the internet, it is subject to attack."  

For the full article featured in RedHerring, click here.

Via Fergie's Tech Blog]

Sunday, May 22, 2005 9:28:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, May 21, 2005

Latin American nations are finding unique uses for WiFi including building a Wi-Fi-linked e-payments network in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Quite clever actually since it cuts down merchants’ long-distance phone charges, and speeds up transactions. In Chilean pueblo of Cora Cora, 7000 residents can now connect to the Internet, via a WiFi network that is fed by a satellite pipe. This has been made possible through joint efforts by the local government authorities, business and community members.

"Project team members and the community now are moving forward with the project's next phase by developing Web sites and e-commerce services for government administration, business, academic and educational use. Plans to build wireless links, networks and similar services in the neighboring town of Chavi, some eight kilometers away, are also in the works".

For the full article, please see here.

[Via feed24]

Saturday, May 21, 2005 5:20:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From NetWizard's Blog

While email authentication is no longer such hot topic as it was last year, nevertheless the two main proposals (SPF and Sender-ID) are moving slowly through the IETF process to become experimental protocols. Both just published new drafts (spf and sender-id [1], [2] and [3]). At the same time it is interesting to note that Sender-ID has been placed on the next telechat agenda for the IESG. While SPF has not been put on the IESG telechat, it will probably follow shortly.

What does this mean in simple non-IETF-speak terms? These two proposals may finally be approved by the IETF for experimental use - a long path that started way back in the ASRG two years ago. It still remains to be seen whether either one will be deployed and widely used, especially considering the pending patent applications that Microsoft has on Sender-ID and their GPL-incompatible license.

Saturday, May 21, 2005 8:08:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 20, 2005

The internet edition of the "E-Commerce and Development Report 2004" published by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has been released. The E-commerce and Development Report is intended to provide policy-makers and practitioners with information and analysis to better assess the implications of the growing role of ICTs in economic development.

From the report foreword by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:
"Information and communications technologies have considerable potential to promote development and economic growth. They can foster innovation and improve productivity. They can reduce transaction costs and make available, in mere seconds, the rich store of global knowledge. In the hands of developing countries, and especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, the use of ICTs can bring impressive gains in employment, gender equality and standards of living".

To view the full report and highlights from the report, click here.

 

 

Friday, May 20, 2005 11:41:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 19, 2005

News Release: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Martin Statement: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Abernathy Statement: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Copps Statement: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Adelstein Statement: Word | Acrobat

Thursday, May 19, 2005 5:02:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Om Malik's Broadband Blog has a piece on ITU-T's upcoming VDSL2 standard and a comparison of speeds of various xDSL flavours. ITU-T Study Group 15 meetings are now underway (16-27 May 2005) in Geneva working on this as well as a number of other standards. The list of 281 delayed contributions into the meeting shows the intensive activity in this Study Group by service providers and equipment manufacturers.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 4:33:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission will hold an Open Workshop on Identifying Policy and Regulatory Issues of Next Generation Networks (PDF) on 22 June 2005. The workshop is directed towards policy makers and regulators, but is open to anyone who may have an interest. A provisional programme can be found here (PDF). Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.

The ITU is also hosting a workshop on NGN policy and regulatory issues in February 2006. More details will be announced later here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 3:29:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This new Strategy and Policy Unit website gathers ITU resources related to Next Generation Networks.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 12:49:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

South Africa's ITweb in an article says: "There is an opportunity for SA to lead the open source explosion, as we are a combination of first and third world, with various cultures, so we can understand and reach various markets. [via Information Policy]

Thursday, May 19, 2005 12:26:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Japan's Vodafone K.K. announced today (PDF) new anti-spam measures to make its Vodafone live! mobile internet service more dependable for customers. As a measure to prevent nuisance mails, the number of SMS that can be sent to from a Vodafone K.K. 3G handset within one day will be limited to 500 starting 31 May 2005. Handsets that exceed this limit will not be able to send additional SMS for the following 20 days.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 11:04:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From Slashdot: Canada's National Task Force on Spam released its final report today. Despite prior spam actions on privacy grounds in Canada, the task force is calling for a tough new anti-spam law including penalties for failure to obtain appropriate opt-in consents before sending commercial email as well as private right of action to encourage Canadian lawsuits against spammers. Professor Michael Geist, who headed up the legal aspects of the task force, provides a good summary of the recommendations.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 7:57:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fergie's Tech Blog points to a new paper published by the Honeynet Project and Research Alliance entitled Know Your Enemy: Phishing; Behind the Scenes of Phishing Attacks.

  • "What makes this paper new/different is that it focuses on behind the scenes of how attackers build, use and maintain their infrastructure of hacked systems. Its based on data collected in the UK and Germany, and is similar in technical detail to our previous Botnet paper."
Wednesday, May 18, 2005 2:24:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brough Turner in Communications has an interesting post on defacto Internet QoS. In a follow-up, he says he was only partly right.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:29:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A recent meeting of Study Group 12 saw progress in the development of QoS-related standards for IP-based networks and services.

QoS is seen as a key area to address in IP-based networks, especially as more carriers announce plans to carry voice traffic using the protocol.

Progress was made on the revision of Recommendation G.1020 which gives performance parameter definitions for quality of speech and other voiceband applications utilising IP networks. The updates will specify voice quality measurements associated with the use of the VoIP management protocol, RTP Control Protocol Extended Reports (RTCP XR). RTCP XR defines a set of metrics that contain information for assessing VoIP call quality and diagnosing problems.

And Y.1541 which gives network performance objectives for IP-based services, is also actively under revision to include new QoS classes with more stringent packet loss performance, needed for example for commercial video applications and certain TCP formats.

Also during its meeting - the first of the new study period - SG12 consented a revision of Recommendation G.107 (the E-model, see previous e-Flash story, to include an improved treatment of bursty packet loss.

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:37:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host an interoperability demonstration at June's Supercomm event in Chicago, USA showing how a suite of ITU-T standards will enable data stream services like Ethernet to be effectively transported over existing SONET/SDH and ASON enabled carrier networks.

Additionally the demo will show how Ethernet can be used to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply as a service delivery mechanism (see press release).

The event will include testing of data plane interoperability of next generation transport network functions such as generic framing procedure (GFP), virtual concatenation (VCAT) and link capacity adjustment scheme (LCAS), all supporting technologies to SONET/SDH (and all defined in ITU-T G-series Recommendations).

The seven global telecommunication carriers taking part will provide test facilities, engineering staff and network connectivity. More...

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:36:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:24:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 17th May, World Telecommunication Day, the ITU-T has launched a new communications centre, The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will provide a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T, shedding light on activities, past, present and future by offering non-technical explanations of work areas, news, features and FAQs. Included is an ITU-T newslog with an RSS news feed, with the opportunity to subscribed to news on specific standards topic areas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:05:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

VoIP and ENUM gives news on the first ENUM-based operational number range in Austria: "As already announced here one month ago, the ENUM-based number range +43 780 went into operation today. A short decription of the number range is available here. Anybody may register such a number, for available registrars see enum.at."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 8:06:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Paul F. Roberts writes over on eWeek: The U.S. Department of Defense is soliciting bids for a massive anti-spyware software contract that will protect systems across the military. The deal could be a major opportunity for anti-spyware startups to score a victory against established anti-virus vendors. [via Fergie's Tech Blog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 8:04:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The US Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on certain definitions and substantive provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM).

In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FTC proposes rule provisions on five topics: (1) defining the term “person,” a term used repeatedly throughout the Act but not defined there; (2) modifying the definition of “sender” to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message will be responsible for complying with the Act’s “opt-out” requirements; (3) clarifying that Post Office boxes and private mailboxes established pursuant to United States Postal Service regulations constitute "valid physical postal addresses" within the meaning of the Act; (4) shortening from ten days to three the time a sender may take before honoring a recipient's opt-out request; and (5) clarifying that to submit a valid opt-out request, a recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 4:37:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A review of market trends impacting the development of the applications architecture of the Internet in general is presented, followed by an historical review of the subject and an analysis of regulatory aspects. It concludes with a review of the state of backbone interconnection in Latin America. Carlos Silva Ponce de León, Telecommunications Policy, Volume 29, Issues 5-6 , June-July 2005, Pages 367-386

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:30:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Although currently mired in a standards war between different camps in the IEEE, UWB is likely to form the basis of an important short-range wireless standard for consumer equipment such as set-top boxes, high definition TVs and portable music systems. The ITU’s Radicommunication Sector is planning to draft ITU recommendations on the UWB standard at its upcoming meeting currently be held in San Diego from 18 to 27 May 2005. The group is due to hand its final recommendations to the ITU and disband after another meeting in October 2005.

However, nailing down the standard is just one of the challenges, some wish to keep UWB restricted to very low power levels at national regulatory levels which impact its potential uses and possible competition with other wireless technologies. An article in TechWorld (pointer via Fergie's Tech Blog)

discusses the doubts held by Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

If Europe and Asia apply more restrictions to the technology than the FCC in the US, the technology may not perform well enough to displace Wi-Fi, which is constantly improving, said Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

"I believe we will see regulations in Europe that are substantially more restrictive than those applied by the FCC," said Heile, in France for a conference on the ZigBee sensor protocol. "Japan is likely to be even more conservative. If that happens, how good is the performance going to be?

Watkins is hopeful that next week's meeting of the UWB group of the international telecoms standards body, the ITU, may help."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 8:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 16, 2005

The following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on World Telecommunications Day, 17 May 2005:

"We live in an age in which communication between people is essential to achieving our shared goals of development and peaceful coexistence. Innovations in information and communication technologies have increased exponentially our capacity to connect with each other. It is up to us to use to harness the potential of these technologies in our work to extend the benefits of education, health care, trade and environmental protection to all.

The theme of this year’s World Telecommunication Day, "Creating an Equitable Information Society: Time for Action", calls on us to give shape to the vision adopted at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003. I urge Member States and all other stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to that process, and to participate at the highest levels when the Summit reconvenes in Tunis in November of this year.

Efforts to build an equitable and accessible information society depend on the strength of partnerships between Governments, civil society and businesses, underpinned by the support of international organizations such as the United Nations. On this World Telecommunication Day, which marks the 140th anniversary of the founding of the International Telecommunication Union, let us pledge to bridge technological differences and promote interconnectivity for all. Together, we can create a truly global information society that will benefit all the world’s people."

Monday, May 16, 2005 5:03:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mindjack: Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica killed Broadcast TV:

"October 18th, 2004 is the day TV died. That evening, British satellite broadcaster SkyOne — part of NEWS Corp's BSkyB satellite broadcasting service — ran the premiere episode of the re-visioned 70s camp classic Battlestar Galactica. (That episode, "33," is one of the best hours of drama ever written for television.) The production costs for Battlestar Galactica were underwritten by two broadcast partners: SkyOne in the UK, and the SciFi Channel in the USA. SciFi Channel programers had decided to wait until January 2005 (a slow month for American television) to begin airing the series, so three months would elapse between the airing of "33" in the UK, and its airing in the US. Or so it was thought.

The average viewer of the SciFi network is young and decidedly geeky. They are masters of media; they can find ways to get things they shouldn't have. Thus, a few hours after airing on SkyOne, "33" was available for Internet download."

Monday, May 16, 2005 4:47:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Security researchers are reporting a new brand of phishing attack that attempts to use stolen consumer data to rip off individual account holders at specific banks.

"Phishing is a form of online fraud that has exploded in frequency over the last several years. Typically using large-volume e-mail campaigns, phishers try to trick people into sharing personal information that the thieves then sell or use to commit identity theft. The new breed of attack, however, could have a higher success rate because the e-mails present unsuspecting recipients with accurate information in a document that looks like legitimate bank correspondence."

The news article brings forward that "The attacks take advantage of poor technological defenses and continued consumer vulnerability, and evidence the work of an organized group with real research-and-development resources,"  Furthermore, it states that "So far, the success rates that we've seen are amazing. People are expecting to see a crude attack that tries to steal their information; they're not expecting to see this much real information as part of the attack."

The article also highlights another report on phising trends released by the Anti-Phishing Working Group stating that "attacks are increasingly relying on so-called keystroke loggers, a form of malicious program, to garner consumer information. Rather than trying to direct people to fake Web sites that ask for personal information, keystroke phishers capture login names and passwords for online bank accounts when customers access the accounts via computer. The keystroke logger programs then forward that information to the attackers."

For the full ZDNet news article, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2005 9:28:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, released its newest data on Internet usage in EU25, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Norway and Iceland. The ICT household and enterprise surveys run by Eurostat measure, among other things, the rate of take up of the Internet and the use made of ICTs. This current edition highlights some of the first results from the 2004 survey round.

A comparison of Internet usage by individuals and by enterprises in several European countries, and for the first time EU25, shows that in 2004 just under half (47 per cent) of the EU25 population aged between 16-74 used the Internet. The average percentage of enterprises using the Internet in the same year was 89 per cent.

The Nordic countries, Sweden, Denmark and Finland had the highest density of Internet usage both by individuals and enterprises. Estonia was the highest user in both ranges from the new EU Member States, with the same degree of usage as the EU15 average with 50 per cent of individuals and 90 per cent of enterprises using the Internet.

Some of the main points raised in the report are:
  • SMEs are lagging behind large enterprises in Internet use.
  • There is a gender gap in Internet use overall, but this narrows in the 16-24 age group.
  • The broadband roll-out is gathering speed, overtaking ISDN as a means to access the Internet in enterprises.
  • Enterprises interact via Internet with public authorities more than individuals.
  • Almost half of the enterprises with more than 250 employees purchase via the Internet.

For the full report, see:
Statistics in Focus: Internet usage by individuals and enterprises 2004

For the related press release, see:
Internet usage in the EU25: Half of individuals and nine out of ten enterprises used the internet in 2004

Monday, May 16, 2005 8:34:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The high reliance on ICTs as an enabler for social and economic development and the speed with which critical information systems and data can be accessed, manipulated and destroyed has put cyber security on the top of the agenda as one of the main challenges to the emerging Information Society and the knowledge-based economy.

Within the framework of its mandate in the Istanbul Action Plan Programme 3, ITU and the Government of Latvia are organizing a regional seminar on Cyber Security for CIS, CEE and Baltic States. The seminar will provide a forum for Member States and Sector members from the region to discuss and exchange views on the main cyber security threats and challenges faced by countries in the region. Countries will have the opportunity to present national initiatives related to cybersecurity policies, strategies and legislation.

More information on the event can be found here.

Monday, May 16, 2005 7:30:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 15, 2005

Singapore's IDA has announced Intelligent Nation 2015 or iN2015 — a 10-year master plan to grow the infocomm sector, and chart the use of technology for work, life and leisure. [via James Seng's Blog]

Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:48:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Roger Darlington's CommsWatch notes some of the issues facing Ofcom concering regulation of next generation access networks. Ofcom's Phase Two consultation document (PDF), which is  part of its strategic review of telcommunications devoted six pages (paras. 8.49 - 8.74) to the subject of regulating next generation access networks. From the Phase Two consultation document (8.60-8.61):

  • "We believe that the deployment of next generation access represents an opportunity for a new competitive structure to emerge which would avoid the regulatory battles of the last twenty years. Next generation access networks also have a slightly different regulatory imperative to today’s infrastructure. Because they are not yet in place to any significant degree, there is a strong imperative that regulation does not disincentivise their timely and efficient deployment. As we noted in Chapter 4, there is widespread acceptance among our stakeholders that widely-available broadband is critical to economic competitiveness, and many consider that this effect will become more pronounced with the advent of the more powerful broadband applications which can only be supplied over next generation broadband access networks. This suggests that there is a strong citizen interest in seeing these networks deployed as soon as possible. But this needs to be carefully balanced against our duty to safeguard the interests of consumers, where appropriate by promoting effective competition.
  • These are clearly conflicting factors..."
Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:48:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Register: The problem with grid computing has traditionally been tying it down into a real-world context. The theory is great – getting lots of individual technical components working together as if they were one big resource - but it’s the wackier or conversation stimulating applications that have received all of the attention. More details in a free Quocirca report entitled Grid Computing Update.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:41:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 13, 2005

A policy paper funded by Vodafone provides insights into the economic and social impacts of mobile telecommunication. Recognizing that mobile telephony has a positive and significant impact on economic growth, and this impact may be twice as large in developing countries as in developed countries.

Through the study, researchers found that "people in Africa use mobile phones very differently. Most strikingly is the accessibility of mobile as the overall impact of mobile extends well beyond what might be suggested by the number of subscriptions alone."

For more information, see the report summary and key facts or click here to download the report in full.
Friday, May 13, 2005 10:32:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |