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 Friday, December 23, 2005

The European Regional Seminar on Regulatory and Economic Aspects of VoIP and Broadband Promotion for Central Eastern European countries (CEE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic States took place from the 29 to 30 November 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey. The agenda and presentations made at the meeting are available.

Friday, December 23, 2005 1:45:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tides in Communication Politics? About Shifting Involvements and Technologies of Freedom and the Relevance of Albert Hirschman and Ithiel de Sola Pool for Today’s Communication Studies, by Willem Hulsink, former editor of Trends in Communications.

So like the tides, we can see swings of involvement in shaping the information and communication technologies of the past and the future: initially these technologies are mechanisms of freedom, questioning existing roles and practices, and keeping the hope alive for a better world, but at a later stage, when we realize both their possibilities and complications in real life, these technologies may end in the regulatory domain, provided that they generate perverse effects (e.g. one of Internet’s byproducts, unsolicited mail – spam – is now being addressed by the regulators).

Friday, December 23, 2005 12:43:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ITU-T Study Group 2 has approved at its December 2005 meeting, ITU-T Recommendation E.910: Procedures for Registration with the Domain ".int". This Recommendation clarifies the principles and procedures for the registration of names under the Internet top-level domain ".int" and the process by which qualified international organizations can register for domain names under ".int".

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 4:20:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Net's basic flaws cost firms billions, impede innovation, and threaten national security. It's time for a clean-slate approach, says MIT's Dave Clark. This article, the cover story in Technology Review’s December 2005/January 2006 print issue, is divided into three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. [via James Seng]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 9:34:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 16, 2005

James Seng points to an article recapping 30 years of personal computer (PC) history.

Friday, December 16, 2005 9:53:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The European Commission has released a new draft proposal to update the EU's "TV without Frontiers" Directive. In a press release, the Commission notes the proposal is intended to keep pace with rapid technological and market developments in Europe’s audiovisual sector. Highlights from the press release:

  • The proposal will create a level playing field for all companies that offer TV-like services, irrespective of the technology used to deliver them (e.g. broadcast, high-speed broadband, third generation mobiles).
  • The Commission proposes replacing disparate national rules on protection of minors, against incitement to racial hatred and against surreptitious advertising with a basic, EU-wide minimum standard of protection for audiovisual on demand services.
  • Under the Commission proposal, the modernised TV without Frontiers Directive would govern TV and TV-like services. To open up the present EU rules to technological developments, the proposal distinguishes between “linear” services (e.g. scheduled broadcasting via traditional TV, the internet, or mobile phones, which “pushes” content to viewers), and “non-linear” ones, such as on-demand films or news, which the viewer “pulls” from a network. Today’s TV broadcasting rules would apply to linear services in a modernised, more flexible form, whereas non-linear ones would be subject only to a basic set of minimum principles, e.g. to protect minors, prevent incitement to racial hatred and outlaw surreptitious advertising.
  • More flexible advertising rules: For scheduled broadcasting, the Commission proposes to remove red tape, make existing rules more flexible for new forms of advertising, and encourage self- and co-regulation. Instead of detailed prescriptions on how often and under which conditions programmes may be interrupted by advertising, the modernised Directive would simplify the existing EU rules. In the future, broadcasters would be able to choose the best moment to insert advertising in programmes, rather than being obliged, as they are now, to allow at least 20 minutes between advertising breaks. However, the quantity of advertising would not be allowed to increase as the Commission proposes to maintain the existing 12 minutes per hour ceiling.
  • The new Directive would also support new forms of advertising, such as split-screen, virtual and interactive advertising. Product placement would, for the first time, be explicitly defined and provided with a clear legal framework. Except in news, current affairs and children’s programmes, clearly identified product placement would be permitted in Europe, both in linear and non-linear audiovisual services. To prevent surreptitious advertising, consumers would be informed at the start of a programme that product placement is in use. These new rules should remove legal uncertainty, provide additional funding for European productions and thus enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s audiovisual sector.

[Via Roger Darlington's blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:23:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The internet as we know it is set to transform radically, according to a new ITU Internet Report entitled The Internet of Things, specially prepared to coincide with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in November 2005. From an academic network for the chosen few created in the late 1960s, the internet is now a mass-market, consumer-oriented network being accessed by over 900 million people worldwide, through personal computers, mobile phones and other wireless devices. But this is only the beginning. According to ITU’s report, we are standing on the brink of a new ubiquitous computing and communication era, one that will radically transform the Internet, and with it, our corporate, community, and personal spheres. The new ITU report looks at key enabling technologies for ubiquity (e.g. RFID, sensors and sensor networks, telematics, robotics, nanotechnology) and how they might impact the future human and technological landscape.

At WSIS, the report was launched at a Press Conference and Panel Debate moderated by Kenn Cukier of The Economist. The lively debate included the following speakers and panelists: Nicholas Negroponte - MIT Media Lab, Olivier Baujard - CTO of Alcatel, Hitomi Murakami - VP General Manager of KDDI (Japan), Jonathan Murray - VP and CTO, Microsoft EMEA, Walid Moneimne, Senior VP and Head of EMEA Networks - Nokia, John Gage, Chief Researcher and Director of the Science Office - Sun Microsystems, and from the ITU, Lara Srivastava, lead author of the report.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 4:59:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dr. Roger Marks, the Chair of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access has announced that a mobile version of IEEE 802.16 has been approved (now officially called IEEE Std 802.16-2004). The amended standard specifies a system for combined fixed and mobile BWA supporting subscriber stations moving at vehicular speeds in licensed bands under 6 GHz. The official press release announcement can be found here. The WiMAX Forum will now expand their certification process to include mobile as well as fixed systems.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 2:22:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 12, 2005

"Computer security isn't a technological problem -- it's an economic one." That is the message Bruce Schneier, Counterpane Internet Security, emphasized in his presentation at an infoSecurity Conference according to an article in InternetNews.com.

"The future of security is getting harder to predict". Industry professionals "must start paying attention to the economics of security if they hoped for technology to keep pace." "To understand the difference it's necessary to understand the basic economic incentives of companies and how businesses are affected by liabilities" Mr. Schneier pointed out in his presentation. "The problem is that most of the costs of insecure software fall on the users." In economics, this is known as an externality: an effect of a decision not borne by the decision maker", according to Schneier. "When a company leaks data they are not the victim -- you as a user are."

"Depending on where you put liability, security improves or it doesn't," Mr. Schneier added. "Put the liability on the responsible party than we can do something," he said. That liability usually comes through legislation or lawsuits, according to Schneier. Mr. Schneier also pointed out that "Security is a process, it is not a product," he said.

Access the full article here.

Monday, December 12, 2005 2:06:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Call for input on the forthcoming review of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications and services, including review of the Recommendation on relevant markets! Deadline 31 January 2006

The Commission Services invite interested parties to give their views on possible changes to the five EP and Council directives that constitute the current EU framework for electronic communications, and to the Recommendation on relevant markets.

The consultation document can be found here.

A public workshop is provisionally planned for Tuesday 24 January 2006 in Brussels. The workshop will be open to all interested parties, but prior registration is required. A registration form can be found here.

For more information, please click here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 5:15:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 25, 2005

Internet governance: A tale of community structure and individual initiative by David Allen.

On one side, the Internet community argues for the informality and flexibility necessary for innovation – that is, for individual initiative – to flourish. On the other side, some governments call for more formality and the stable base – that is, for community structure – upon which ongoing operations and change can both occur.

Friday, November 25, 2005 3:26:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 24, 2005

The European Commission's Information Society and Media Directorate General has commissioned a series of four monitoring reports at nine-monthly intervals on the market for electronic communications networks and services in 8 EU candidate and potential candidate countries. The first Country Comparative Report is now available.

For the Report, please click here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005 11:41:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The University of Masschusetts Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution's Cyberweek 2005-2006 Conference on ODR, eLawyering and ethics in the internet law age, was held 23-28 October 2005.  

Cyberweek is the Center's free online conference. Each year individuals and organizations from all over the world come together online for a week of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) simulations, demonstrations, presentations, discussions, experiments, and resource sharing.

Presentations, and material from this year's event can be viewed here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 4:47:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity: Outcome and Next Steps (PDF) presented at the Global Symposium for Regulators, Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia on 23 November 2005, Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 3:32:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Development Gateway is launching a new special report - Information Society: The Next Steps.

The Information Society has produced a tantalizing array of new information and communication technologies (ICT) that have transformed today's approach to development. Access to these technologies is spreading rapidly. This year, the number of Internet users in developing countries is crossing the 500 million mark, surpassing industrial nations for the first time. By some estimates, more than 75% of the world's population now lives within range of a mobile network. Yet the long-heralded promise of ICT remains far out of reach for most of the developing world. For the information poor, economic and social gaps are in fact widening - both within and between countries. Following on the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) of December 2003, WSIS Phase II in November 2005 will assess progress and prompt further global action to capture the promise of ICT for all. This Special Report "Information Society: Next Steps" looks at how the ICT landscape is changing in the developing world and what lies ahead. Experts from governments, donors, NGOs and the private sector speak out about effective policies, promising applications and innovative business models.

The online report includes:
- Interviews with experts on how to create an effective enabling environment for ICT for development and how to finance it;
- collections of documents, research and statistics on tools and applications that can benefit developing countries, found on the Development Gateway portal and other websites; and
- a unique section devoted to the "voices" of those developing and using ICT from both the North and South, relating stories contributed through a recent Development Gateway survey of our members.

Interviews with the following people, among others, will be featured:
- Charles Geiger, Executive Director, WSIS Executive Secretariat
- Pierre Guislain, World Bank Group
- Aimal Marjan, Afghan Ministry of Communication
- Sam Pitroda, Indian Knowledge Commission
- Danilo Piaggesi,  Inter-American Development Bank

Read this Special Report.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 3:29:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 21, 2005

LightReading has an article on the recent NGN Industry Event in London on 18 November 2005, where ITU unveiled Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T's Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN). The event also outlined the next phase of NGN work to be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). In the presentation (Zipped PowerPoint) by BT Group Technology Officer Mick Reeve:

"...the world's telecom standards groups are, at last, all singing from the same song sheet with their work on next-generation network (NGN) standards.

"Addressing an International Telecommunication Union meeting in London today, Reeve, a key figure in the development of BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), praised the ITU for its role in bringing together the work of many different groups around the world and delivering a unified vision of what an NGN should look like and deliver. (See BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers, Bross: More to Come on 21CN, and Wales to Get 21CN First.)

"The ITU has done a great job in finding a global agreement on NGNs. There's a high level of agreement globally about NGN principles" that has helped deliver an "overall architecture for next generation networks and systems, something that has been unheard of before now," says the BT man. He cited the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), TeleManagement Forum, and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) as organizations that have helped in the ITU's work."  

Other presentations made at the event can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2005 10:44:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 18, 2005

Today the French Goverment has organized a workshop on Spam at the World Summit on Information Society with the support of the European Presidency and the European Commission. At this occasion, France, Marrocco and the Francofone Institute of New Information and Formation Technologies (INTIF - OIF) have annonced the organisation of the first francofone anti-spam workshop in Rabat to be held at the begining of 2006.

Presentations will be available soon at the ITU/SPU website on Spam.

 

Friday, November 18, 2005 2:22:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 17, 2005

Eli Noam has written a piece for the Financial Times entitled A First Amendment for the internet.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:35:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |