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 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

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

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

For the WSIS Stocktaking Database see here

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

Yesterday the Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced legislation on the lawful interception of communications. The Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act (MITA) will ensure that the law enforcement community and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) maintain their ability to investigate crime and terrorism in the face of rapidly evolving communications technology.

“Currently, under the law, police and CSIS can only intercept communications with authorization. This Act will not change that,” said the Deputy Prime Minister. “However, that authorization may be of no effect if companies do not have the technical ability to intercept new communications technology. This legislation will ensure that criminals can no longer take advantage of new technologies to hide their illegal activities from the law.”

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:13:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The final documents submitted to the second phase of WSIS being held 16-18 November 2005 in Tunis have been posted. They are:

In The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, paragraphs 3-28 related to Financial Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICTs for Development, paragraphs 29-82 relate to Internet Governance, and paragraphs 83-122 relate to Implementation and Follow-up.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005 7:24:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 11, 2005

From the soon to be released ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things comes this fresh survey data showing the breakdown of 3G mobile technologies according to markets. ITU research shows CDMA 2000 1x technology currently has 115 million subscribers while W-CDMA technology has 18.8 million subscribers at the end of 2004. 


Friday, November 11, 2005 4:35:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the soon to be released ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things comes this fresh survey data showing the top 10 3G mobile markets worldwide, by millions of subscribers and type of technology (CDMA 2000 1x and W-CDMA) at the end of 2004. The USA leads in total number of 3G subscribers with 49.5 million (16.7% of the population) but the Republic of Korea has the highest national percentage with 57.4 of the population using 3G services (27.5 million subscribers).

Friday, November 11, 2005 3:55:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An article on BBC News discusses the new UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2005 and says the costs of fast net access and linking up to the internet's global infrastructure hits poorer nations much harder than developed countries. Chapters in the report include:

  1. ICT indicators for development; Trends and measurement issues
  2. International Internet backbone connectivity: Issues for developing countries
  3. E-credit information, trade finance and e-finance: Overcoming information asymmetries
  4. Taking off: E-tourism opportunities for developing countries
  5. Information technology and security: Risk management and policy implications
  6. Protecting the information society: Addressing the phenomenon of cybercrime
Friday, November 11, 2005 2:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 10, 2005

The latest edition of ITU News has a commentary from Yoshio Utsumi, ITU Secretary-General on the expectations beyond the upcoming Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society.

We started on the long journey to Tunis in 1998, when the government of Tunisia proposed to the ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis to hold a World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). We have accomplished much during this journey. At the first phase of WSIS in Geneva in December 2003, we developed a common vision of the information society. In particular, we declared our common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented society where the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) is used to promote sustainable development and improve the quality of life. It is a society where everyone, anywhere should have an opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits the information society offers.

At the second phase of the Summit in Tunis on 16-18 November 2005, we will be closing one chapter, but we will be opening a new and much bigger chapter on the implementation of that vision. In this endeavour, we should really recognize the true value of ICT as a central theme in national development policies. ICT is changing our society in ways which are as fundamental as the changes wrought by steam engines in the 19th century or motor cars in the 20th century. As those machines did, ICTs help us to be more productive and efficient than ever before to fulfil our natural desire for a better life....

Nowhere are the challenges to the conventional sovereign State greater than in the realm of cyberspace. And Internet governance has dominated our discussions since the conclusion of the Geneva phase.

The traditional principles of “national sovereignty” that have been applied to telecommunications —namely that each State regulates its telecommunication sector as it sees fit — are not working for the Internet. The Internet, which started in one country, has rapidly penetrated everywhere. Now that the Internet has become a basic element of infrastructure for every nation, it is natural that nations wish to claim sovereignty over the Internet as they do over traditional telecommunication infrastructure.

However, the value of the Internet lies in the value of information created and consumed by users rather than in the infrastructure itself. So, Internet governance requires a multi-stakeholder approach in which users and consumers of information alike agree, at a global level, to cooperate on a basic set of guidelines on such issues as security, privacy protection and efficient operation.

That is why our discussion of Internet governance has been so difficult: because the existing models do not work well. We need to embrace a new model, which I will call “new communication sovereignty.” In this model, we must fight to defend the “right to communicate” rather than the “right to govern.”

Communication is a basic human need and the foundation of all social organization. What matters is whether you have guaranteed access to information or the means to communicate with others, rather than the ability to control the means of communication. The “right to communicate” is a fundamental human right in the information society.

As the Secretary-General for the World Summit on the Information Society, I feel truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to serve the international community at this key moment of change in its history. As the wheel of change continues to turn, we must work together to create a more just and equitable information society.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 2:50:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Computer Business Review Online is reporting that the US government is said to be planning to open the IANA contract to manage the internet's addressing systems, currently held by ICANN, for competitive bidding. But a US official yesterday denied a report that such a move has been discussed publicly.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 2:31:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Belgian Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy has published a brochure on spam named “Spamming: 24 questions & answers”.

The objective of the brochure is to raise awareness of spam affected persons as to the spamming issue; applicable spamming regulations in Belgium; advice to follow in order to cope with this phenomenon and information on the authorities having competency to receive complaints.

Click below to download the brochure available in four languages: EnglishFrenchGermanDutch

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 5:32:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From Infodev: This document is a guideline for replicating the Village Phone program in a new country. infoDev along with several other partners, supported this publication.

The Study draws on Grameen’s experience in both Bangladesh and Uganda and establishes a template for creating sustainable initiatives that simultaneously bring telecommunications to the rural poor, create viable new businesses for micro-entrepreneurs, and expand the customer base of telecommunications companies. No two implementations of the Village Phone program will be exactly alike. Each country will have unique variables, participants, and environments. However, it is expected that there will be common structures, applications, and processes – all of which are described in detail herein.

The information presented in this replication manual is shared in the spirit of international cooperation. Grameen Foundation USA will continue to act as a clearinghouse for Village Phone Replication information. As people share the lessons from future replication efforts, Grameen Foundation USA will publish updates to reflect additional learning.

Click here to read more (7 Mbyte PDF file).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 5:10:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) today called on EU policy makers to reject the idea of an "NGN moratorium" in favour of a policy to boost investment confidence for the entire communications sector.  Pointing to wealth of evidence that markets with competition enjoy higher levels of innovation, and ECTA’s own broadband scorecards which confirm that competition also boosts broadband adoption, ECTA recommends that policy makers maintain the pro-competitive approach that underpins the EU regulatory framework.

The proposal for a so-called "NGN Moratorium" was floated by [EC] Commissioner Reding in September as an idea for next year’s review of the Telecoms Directives. Since then, the issue has become live with a proposal from German politicians to grant a three-year regulatory moratorium on plans by the incumbent to upgrade its access network, undermining competitors’ current and future investment plans. 

The detailed ECTA position can be found here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 1:53:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet is holding a hearing on 9 November 2005 on the Staff discussion draft of legislation to create a statutory framework for Internet Protocol and Broadband Services (this is a new draft dated 3 November 2005).

The draft legislation includes provisions on broadband internet transmission services, VoIP, video services and general provisions on how the FCC should address public interest issues, including broadening of the FCC's responsibilities in countering spam.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 1:37:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Schneier on Security is reporting that Microsoft has released a document outlining a series of steps it would like to see the US Congress take to preempt a growing number of state laws that impose varying requirements on the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information. According to their press release:

[Microsoft's senior vice president and general counsel Brad] Smith described four core principles that Microsoft believes should be the foundation of any federal legislation on data privacy:

  • Create a baseline standard across all organizations and industries for offline and online data collection and storage. This federal standard should pre-empt state laws and, as much as possible, be consistent with privacy laws around the world.
  • Increase transparency regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. This would include a range of notification and access functions, such as simplified, consumer-friendly privacy notices and features that permit individuals to access and manage their personal information collected online.
  • Provide meaningful levels of control over the use and disclosure of personal information. This approach should balance a requirement for organizations to obtain individuals' consent before using and disclosing information with the need to make the requirements flexible for businesses, while avoiding bombarding consumers with excessive and unnecessary levels of choice.
  • Ensure a minimum level of security for personal information in storage and transit. A federal standard should require organizations to take reasonable steps to secure and protect critical data against unauthorized access, use, disclosure modification and loss of personal information.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 10:47:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Roger Darlington's CommsWatch is reporting that the UK's Ofcom has published an independent report which it commissioned from Indepen, Ovum and fathom on the impact of changes to the Television Without Frontiers (TWF) Directive proposed by the European Commission in July 2005.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 9:37:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The debates on internet governance have highlighted conflicting statements and visions on how the internet's domain name system (DNS) root server system should be managed.

From ICANN's statement on What is ICANN?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for .... root server system management functions.

From the Root Server FAQ by Daniel Karrenberg

ICANN does not control root name server operations?

A: No. Neither the IANA nor ICANN have any executive authority over the operation of root name servers. The establishment of such authority has been on ICANN's agenda from the start. It is mentioned in various guises in the MoU between ICANN and the US DoC. However none of this has ever been implemented. I do not believe ICANN, or anyone, should have control over the operation of all root name servers. So this goal should be removed from ICANN's agenda.

From the Working Group on Internet Governance

WGIG identified and included in the Background Report the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance. The issues of highest priority, including related issues and problems, are set out below for the attention of the WSIS...

Administration of the root zone files and system

Lack of formal relationship with root server operators

  • The root zone operators perform their functions today without a formal relationship with any authority.

From the U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System

As such, the United States is committed to taking no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the DNS and will therefore maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005 10:30:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A book written by members of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) will be launched at WSIS in Tunis and made available on the WGIG website on 16 November 2005. The preface, introduction and conclusions are already available.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005 10:08:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2005

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

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

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

Monday, November 07, 2005 11:23:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, November 06, 2005

The U.N. isn't a threat to the net: an op-ed piece by Kofi A. Annan on internet governance.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 3:36:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by John Palfrey entitled Stemming the International Tide of Spam: a Draft Model Law, which will be presented at the GSR:

This discussion paper primarily takes up the question of what – beyond coordinating with technologists and other countries’ enforcement teams and educating consumers – legislators and regulators might consider by way of legal mechanisms. First, the paper takes up the elements that might be included in an anti-spam law. Second, the paper explores one alternative legal mechanism which might be built into an anti-spam strategy, the establishment of enforceable codes of conduct for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Third, this paper also examines a variant of the legal approach where ISPs are formally encouraged by regulators to develop their own code of conduct. ISPs should be encouraged to establish and enforce narrowly-drawn codes of conduct that prohibit their users from using that ISP as a source for spamming and related bad acts, such as spoofing and phishing, and not to enter into peering arrangements with ISPs that do not uphold similar codes of conduct. Rather than continue to rely upon chasing individual spammers, regulators in the most resource-constrained countries in particular would be more likely to succeed by working with and through the ISPs that are closer to the source of the problem, to their customers, and to the technology in question. The regulator’s job would be to ensure that ISPs within their jurisdiction adopt adequate codes of conduct as a condition of their operating license and then to enforce adherence to those codes of conduct. The regulator can also play a role in sharing best practices among ISPs and making consumers aware of the good works of the best ISPs. While effectively just shifting the burden of some of the anti-spam enforcement to ISPs is not without clear drawbacks, and cannot alone succeed in stemming the tide of spam, such a policy has a far higher likelihood of success in the developing countries context than the anti-spam enforcement tactics employed to date.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 3:19:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 04, 2005

Virus scanners made moot by new exploit.

Recently, researcher Andrey Bayora revealed that it is possible to fool the scanners into thinking that a file under scan is one kind, when it is in actuality something entirely different. Bayora (of, a Russian-born Israeli, has issued an advisory that details how to bypass many popular Windows AV programs.

The London Action Plan of spam enforcement authorities has a new website with news. A spam enforcement workshop is now taking place in London:

The Office of Fair Trading, through the UK presidency of the European Union, has invited members of the London Action Plan (LAP) network and the Contact Network of Spam Authorities (CNSA) to participate in a two-day ‘spam enforcement workshop’. The workshop will be held in London at the Department of Trade and Industry Conference Centre on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th November 2005.

Friday, November 04, 2005 3:37:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Two recent papers from academic institutions have been released on internet governance in preparation for the upcoming negotiations just prior to the World Summit on the Information Society to be held November 16-18 2005:

Friday, November 04, 2005 11:46:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC) has released the Final Working Report of the Spyware Definitions. In addition, ASC has released a number of supporting documents, including a Vendor Dispute Resolution Process, a Glossary and a set of Safety Tips for Users. A summary of the almost 400 comments used to help finalize the Report is also available for review.

Friday, November 04, 2005 11:36:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Botnet Detection and Response: The Network is the Infection by David Dagon at the OARC Workshop, 2005. A botnet scammer has just been arrested in Los Angeles and it is charged that he peddled his "botnets to other black hats, for use in launching denial-of-service attacks or laundering spam".

Friday, November 04, 2005 10:52:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 01, 2005

James Seng's blog points to a recent paper published in the Internet Protocol Journal by Tony Hain regarding IPv4 allocation exhaust and references another recent paper by Geoff Huston on the same topic.

To this can be added a recent presentation by K. Claffy at ARIN entitled apocalypse then: ipv4 address space depletion:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 4:22:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

According to the ITU-T Newslog, a roadmap identifying NGN management specifications has been published on the ITU-T SG 4 website.

Monday, October 31, 2005 2:02:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on work in ITU’s Study Group 17 work on Relayed Multicast Protocol (RMCP), that uses a peer-to-peer type model. RMCP allows the live broadcast of video or audio piggy-backing off other users (or servers). So in a scenario where 100 people are demanding a live broadcast, instead of serving each one of these clients their own video stream, only one stream has to be provided and each user will be served from another in the network. This has significant implications for instance for businesses broadcasting live events, where a previous scenario demanded 100 users be fed individual feeds, RMCP allows the broadcast of just one.

ITU-T has published one Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. X.603) on the topic outlining requirements, framework etc. The next two Recommendations due in 2006 will focus on the technical specifications. One focusing on one broadcaster to many clients, and the other on many broadcasters to many clients.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:47:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a detailed post on the recent home networking workshop and related ITU-T home networking standards. The event, held at ITU 13-14 October 2005 met concurrently was the Home Networking-Joint Coordination Activity (HN-JCA), a group of ITU-T experts aiming to coordinate standardization effort on home networking across ITU-T Study Groups.

The high quality and breadth of the contributions resulted in a wealth of material much of which is not available anywhere else in the world, according to the event’s steering committee chair Charlie Sandbank. Because of time constraints not all this material could be presented at the workshop but it is now available, including the key conclusions, at the workshop website.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:46:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on ITU's standards work on large screen digital imagery (LSDI), a family of digital imagery systems that includes very large screen presentation of programmes similar to the non-digital IMAX and OMNIMAX systems. LSDI is described as an optimal approach to the presentation of high-definition television (HDTV) programmes, to a collective audience on cinema-like screens in a cinema-like environment.

An ITU-T Recommendation defines how "super HDTV" images – up to four times the quality of standard HDTV - can be delivered to cinema-like venues, bypassing traditional distribution methods. It defines transport technologies for LSDI with resolutions 3840 x 2160 and 7680 x 4320 pixels.

Monday, October 31, 2005 9:42:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 28, 2005

NetWizard's Blog points to an Email Battles interview with Meng Wong, creator of SPF and his ideas on using RSS for email presented at the recent MAAWG meeting in Europe.

Friday, October 28, 2005 1:30:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Aux armes, citoyens: Cyber security and regulation in the United States by James Andrew Lewis, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC

Abstract: Government policy for cyber security in the United States relies on voluntary and cooperative action by the private sector and has, until now, explicitly rejected the use of mandate or regulation. This stands in contrast to other defense and homeland security issues, such as those involving border protection or transportation, where government intervention is the norm. The decision to rely on voluntary action for cyber security reflects influential trends in security policies, deregulation, and the government's relation to the Internet that continue to shape US policy even after the attacks of September 11. The result is an ineffectual policy that underestimates the role of government.

Federal initiatives for homeland security have profound implications for how the government will interact with the economy. Efforts to protect security undertaken by the US (and now being considered by many other countries) have become a check on the larger tide of deregulation. The experience of the National Strategy shows that these efforts will need to engage in a more complex interaction with private sector actors than was the case in the past. The mix of security concerns, deregulation and privatization has led to a new kind of public policy, where governments share responsibility for some functions with the private sector and seek to manage this responsibility through public/private partnerships.

Adam Smith wrote that there are some functions that the market will not necessarily provide, or provide well. He used the example of highways and mental institutions as activities where the market would not adequately provide for society's needs. The Internet is one such activity. While governments were initially leery of regulating the Internet, a period has now been entered in which governments actively intervene in Internet governance and in which the Internet is moving to a more regulated environment. The unavoidable problem of determining where and how to regulate for cyber security will grow more complicated as the US moves ahead with a major reorientation of its security policies.

Friday, October 28, 2005 1:22:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This recent presentation What2what (was end2end): the future of the Internet by Scott Bradner discusses the disappearing end-to-end nature of the Internet and the reasons, evolution to NGN, as well as his views on how innovation may slow down.

Friday, October 28, 2005 8:29:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Warren New's Washington Internet Daily is reporting on the recent ITU-T Study Group 17 meeting activities that related to IDN and countering spam: 

Facilitating internationalized domain names and new measures to counter spam via technical means are part of an ITU push to meet member states' demands for more security standardization.

Last Oct.'s World Telecom Standardization Assembly in Brazil added 2 work items to the agenda of the group, called ITU-T SG-17: The first is to study IDNs, which raise a major security issue because "some national characters can make a user think he is going to one place, but really going to another place," said Herbert Bertine of Lucent, chmn. of SG-17: "We are looking to make sure that when you use internationalized domain names, the possibility that users can be confused, misdirected," will be reduced.

"The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not yet represented in ASCII characters," documents said. Andrzej Bartosiewicz, head of the DNS Div. at Poland's NASK has been named the group's reporting member on IDNs. The SG will assess ITU members' needs in light of existing standards, he said.

SG-17 has seen "an enormous increase [of work] in the area of security," said Bertine. SG-17 published 5 security recommendations in the last 4-year study period, which ended late in 2004. Bertine said the SG may produce 15-20 during the next period, but said much of the work is in its infancy.

Countering spam by technical means is a new security area for SG-17. Spam has policy, regulatory, legal and technical aspects, but the SG will address the technical side of spam fighting. "A lot of work has been done by IETF," said Bertine. "There's a lot of [standards] material out there. We don't want to duplicate work. We want to leverage and reference" what's other standards bodies have done and fill gaps, said Bertine, "but we have a lot of countries -- particularly developing countries -- who are really looking for the ITU to provide this information."

How spammers do what they do is under consideration; but more important is that spam is not only unwanted e- mail but now a vehicle for viruses and other malware, said Bertine.

SG 17 is working with the ISO/IEC (the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission) on new to be designated as the 27,000 series and dealing with information security management systems, officials said. Bertine thinks the new series will result in companies finding that "it's in their best interest to be certified, whether it means better insurance rates, less liability because you can claim conformance... plus the most fundamental, if you've got vulnerabilities, you sure want to catch them because it's going to cost you a pile of money if somebody discovers a major weakness."

"The field of information technology and the field of communications continue to overlap and merge more and more every year. That's why collaboration is so important," said Bertine.

At this meeting it was also decide to adopt OASIS' Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) into ITU-T standards.

A list of documents from the last meeting of SG-17 is available here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 8:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 21, 2005

Anti-Spam: les actions menées au plan international (PDF), Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, 18 October 2005, presented to Coalition Anti-Spam Nord–Sud: Atelier de travail (Rabat, Morocco).

Friday, October 21, 2005 2:17:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The ITU runs High-Level Panel on The Information Society 2015: Building the Way Forward. The panel will take place during World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, 15 November 2005 .
The ITU High-Level Panel at WSIS will discuss the implications of the convergence of telecommunication, media and information technology sectors as well as the impact of rapid innovations on the achievement of the 2015 connectivity goals.
The WSIS Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action set ambitious goals for bridging the digital divide by 2015. They will require strong commitments from all stakeholders at national, regional and international levels.
Chair: Mr. Yoshio Utsumi, ITU Secretay General

Moderation: Ms. Aiko Doden, NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corp. presenter, WSIS Goodwill Ambasador of Japan

  • H.E. Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technologies, India
  • H.E. Pedro Cerisola Weber, Minister for Information and Communication Technologies, Mexico
  • H.E. Philippe Mvouo, Minister for Post, Telecommunications and New Information and Communication Technologies, Republic of the Congo
  • Dr. Yeongi Son, President of the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion
  • Dr. Sabiletso Mokoe-Matabane, CEO of Sentech, South Africa
  • Mr. Simon Beresford Wylie, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Networks, Nokia
  • Dr. Stephen Collins, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Skype
  • Mr. Peter Bladin, Vice President,Grameen Foundation, USA and Director of Technology Center

For more information on panel, please click here.

For more information on ITU activities related to WSIS, please click here

Friday, October 21, 2005 7:21:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 20, 2005

NTT Docomo has announced a new 3G handset that can receive S-band satellite broadcasting. Korea has also deployed what it calls Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) to handsets in its native market. The definition of DMB according to a proposal from Korea to the ITU Standardization Sector to include DMB in the reference architecture for NGN Release 2 efforts is:

DMB Service is the next generation digital broadcasting service for indoor and outdoor users. The DMB users can enjoy CD quality stereo audio services and real-time video/data streaming services anywhere while moving at the speed of up to 200 km/h. ...There are two kinds of DMB services, terrestrial DMB and satellite DMB.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:38:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dr. Tim Kelly, from the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit recently spoke on South Africa’s Position in Global Telecoms, at the 2nd Colloquium on Telecom Prices in Johannesburg, South Africa. For the presentation given by Dr. Kelly, click here.

The South African press also quoted Dr. Kelly; "According to Kelly price is an easy variable to measure. The ITU use a formula based on 30G per month with an average of 30 hours per month."

When measuring South Africa against 40 other economies South Africa is ranked 38th. China for example, typically offers this type of package (30G with 30 hours of usage per month) for around $10 (R66). South Africa is ten times more expensive with figure of $100 (R660) per month for the same service.

Kelly said, "South Africa is paying far too much for broadband.” A good way of measuring the cost of broadband is to use the average income of the population (GMI). The percentage quoted by Kelly as an internationally acceptable measure is for broadband to cost 1% of the average income per capita for a 1Mbps service (currently the fastest service available in South Africa). South Africans are currently paying around 100% GMI for their 1Mbps service. When considering the exorbitant prices South Africans are forced to pay for an ADSL service it is no wonder penetrations sits at 0.2%. Another factor inhibiting broadband usage according to Kelly is bit caps.

"Wherever bit caps are applied it deters the use of broadband," said Kelly. He stated clearly that South Africa needs to abandon bit caps and that there is no reason why residential ADSL users should be subject to a bit cap. Kelly highlighted that the price of broadband and the enforcement of bit caps are the two factors that deter South Africans from using the service. With government and the private sector becoming increasingly restless regarding liberalization of the telecoms sector and specifically broadband provisioning it is time to start addressing some of these issues. 

For the full article, click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 7:53:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |