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 Sunday, February 26, 2006

A group of technology chief executives are calling on the U.S. Congress and President George Bush's administration to create a "21st century" radio spectrum policy that would transfer poorly used government spectrum to private companies.

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 1:16:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Since Yahoo first proposed its DomainKeys authentication standard for email (DKIM), AOL has played coy. That strategy has apparently served the uber-ISP well, as it has been extended indefinitely.

In a standing-room-only webinar courting direct marketers, AOL speaker Nicholas Graham was asked when the firm will get around to adopting DKIM's cryptographic-based technology. Christine Blank of DMNews reports Graham responded, "We will have to wait and see. The facts are still out."

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 1:09:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Commtouch has announced spam and computer virus statistics for the month of January 2006. The data is based on information continuously gathered by the Commtouch Detection Center, which analyzed more than 2 billion messages from over 130 countries during the month of January.

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 1:00:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Liberal political action group MoveOn.org is organizing a petition drive against America Online's certified email service, whereby advertisers could pay a per-message fee to guarantee their messages will bypass AOL's spam filtering technologies and be delivered directly to AOL users.

Claiming the service amounts to an "email tax" by granting large email senders preferential access to AOL users mailboxes, while leaving other email users (like small businesses, friends, family members, charities, and co-workers) in the dark, wondering if their mail will get through.

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 12:55:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ahmed Bin Ali, Manager Corporate Communications, Etisalat, said: 'We are happy to make this option available to all our valued customers, and we are empowering them to be able to decide what content they receive and from whom. Our customers have shown interest in a service like this, and we have taken all the steps to make this option available at the earliest.'

For more information, please click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 12:50:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Programs that fight viruses have become a necessary evil on Windows PCs. Now the antivirus industry is turning its attention to mobile phones, but it's running into reluctance from cell service providers, who aren't so sure that the handset is the best place to handle security.

For more information, click here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 12:46:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2006

  The Golden Book — a record of work undertaken to implement the goas of the World Summit on the Information Society and build the future Information Society — was launched on 24 February 2006 during the Consultation Meeting of WSIS Action Lines Facilitators/Moderators, convened by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP in Geneva.

This Golden Book highlights some of the valuable work being done around the world to promote ICTs in projects, large and small, by governments, individuals or team effort, for the benefit of all. It provides illustrative examples of new and innovative projects to build infrastructure, promote ICTs in education, health and governance, ensure fair access and enhance online security.

The Golden Book has been published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a permanent record of the new commitments and resources pledged by stakeholders during the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). All WSIS stakeholders at the Summit were invited to submit an online questionnaire with details of their activities announced during the Tunis Phase. These activities have been planned or are already being undertaken to implement the WSIS Plan of Action. The Golden Book also serves as a tool helping to coordinate the action taken to implement the 11 Action lines and avoid duplication.

More than 375 submissions were made to the Golden Book by governments, international organizations, NGOs, companies and individuals, describing their work towards promoting ICT activities. ITU estimates that the activities announced during the Tunis Phase to promote WSIS goals represented a total value of at least € 3.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion). Governments committed to implement projects for some € 1.9 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of estimated total value of all commitments, while international organizations pledged to carry out activities for around half that amount, i.e. 0.83 billion Euros. Business entities announced plans to realize projects for around 0.35 billion Euros and civil society projects amount to least 0.13 billion Euros.

Amount of financial commitments by stakeholder

Breakdown by anticipated expenditure

For more information on the Golden Book, please see here.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:22:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The proliferation of mobile communications in developing countries has the potential to bring a wide range of financial services to an entirely new customer base. This report explores the use of mobile phones to expand financial services in the Philippines.

The proliferation of mobile communications in developing countries has the potential to bring a wide range of financial services to an entirely new customer base, according to a new report commissioned by the Information for Development Program (infoDev) in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the GSM Association.

For more information on the Report, please click here.

Click here to read the Report.

Friday, February 24, 2006 5:38:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 23, 2006

In line with paragraph 108 and the Annex of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, a consultation is being held on 15-16 May 2006, at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, on WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the WSIS multi-stakeholder implementation process for Action Line C5.

The meeting is open to all WSIS stakeholders that are interested and involved in the implementation process in the field of building confidence and security in the use of ICTs.

A draft agenda for the consultation on WSIS Action Line C5 Facilitation and the invitation letter to the meeting from ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi can be viewed on the WSIS C5 Implementation website.

More information on the activities related to WSIS implementation and follow-up can be viewed here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 10:59:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 22, 2006

China's Ministry of Information Industry launched its anti-spam center, www.anti-spam.cn, today as part of their net safety efforts. There are ongoing efforts to also enhance its email management sometime between March and April 2006.

Additionally, the Chinese government issued a regulation on the management of emails, which will take effect on 30 March 2006. Sending advertisement emails without the receiver's permission is banned, according to this new regulation.

For more information, click here

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 9:42:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU hosted a workshop on “Networked RFID: Systems and Services” in Geneva, 14-15 February 2006.

The event focused on the use of RFID technology in networked environments, and review international standardization. Particular emphasis was given to the impact that networked RFID applications will have on telecommunication networks, especially on network and service capability requirements and interworking aspects.

Links to the meeting presentations and the audio webcast archive from the event are now available on the website.

Please see “Networked RFID: Systems and Services”, for further information.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 9:01:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 21, 2006

European Commission has just released 11th Report on the Implementation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Package.

The report draws attention to many regulatory and market developments in the European telecommunication market. Telecom operators in Europe are investing in new technologies to cut costs and seize new opportunities opened up by the convergence of communication networks, media content and devices. Growing competition, especially in retail markets, is bringing increased consumer benefits and the outlook for innovation and investment within Member States and across borders is positive. Member States have made good progress in implementing the EU telecom rules of 2002, which is opening up markets to new entrants. The report highlights rapid take-up of high-speed “broadband” internet connections. In the mobile phone sector, while take-up of services is still growing, particularly in the new Member States, there are signs that the voice market is maturing. Meanwhile, revenues from traditional voice services remain the largest source of revenue in the fixed line market, despite a gradual decline.

For full version of the Report, please click here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 11:49:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 17, 2006

ITU Study Group 15 (Study Group focusing on access network transport and optical technology) has consented a Recommendation that will address a key concern in the evolution to next generation networks (NGN).

With the proposed move to packet switched networks, carriers, mobile operators and system integrators all have a need to support time-division multiplexing (TDM) over packet networks. TDM, experts say, today forms all of the transmission network and a good part of the access network.

The role of this Rec - G.8261 - is to outline the requirements for the support of a crucial part of TDM's operation in packet networks. The Recommendation's authors say that without proper synchronization, applications such as mobile telephony simply will not work.

G.8261 analyses synchronization aspects in packet networks, with particular focus on the Ethernet, and outlines the minimum requirements for the synchronization function of network elements. In particular it focuses on the transport of synchronization information required for the transport of TDM signals over packet networks. The transport of SDH signals is for further study.

Read more about Study Group 15 activities.

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:30:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the behest of the GSM Association (GSMA), fifteen network operators have founded a joint initiative against the spread of spam via mobile communications networks and published a "Code of Practice" (PDF file).

The initiative is focusing on spam sent as a text message or MMS, which has been divided into three categories: first, advertising that the cell phone user did not request; second, messages that directly or indirectly lead to calls of expensive premium services; and third, fraudulent content, such as the spoofs familiar to users of fixed Internet.

For more information, click here.

Friday, February 17, 2006 11:52:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 16, 2006

OECD Scoping Study for the Measurement of Trust in the Online Environment:

Creating an online environment which builds on trust among users of ICT networks is an increasing priority for business, industry and governments and has been on the OECD agenda since the late 1990s. The aim of this report is to undertake a review of the data available from official, semi-official and private sources which can assist in informing developments and progress in this area. There is a need to be able to use relevant data to assess the effectiveness of public and private initiatives aimed at building trust among users.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 12:08:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Circle ID has an interesting piece entitled Internet Governance: An Antispam Perspective by Meng Wong, who is known for his work on the email authentication mechanism SPF*:

I believe that we must move to a default-deny model for email to solve phishing; at the same time we must preserve the openness that made email the killer app in the first place. The tension between these poles creates a tremendous opportunity for innovation and social good if we get things right, and for shattering failure if we get things wrong.

* SPF is derived from original concept work by Paul Vixie which is now also the core of Microsoft's Sender ID.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 5:44:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Eli Noam: Moore’s Law at risk from industry of delay:

"So, in technology, Moore’s Law is alive and well. But technology does not operate in a vacuum. No business or government institution can change at 50 per cent a year. While stability and tradition are important, if a fundamental technology progresses far beyond society’s ability to absorb its impacts, a growing disconnection occurs. When, in the 19th century, technology proceeded at a rapid pace while social institutions did not, the results were upheavals and revolutions. Today, again, the key elements of the information economy are progressing at a scorching rate, while private and public institutions are lagging behind.

Examples include the way the US lost leadership in mobile wireless and broadband internet because of interminable governmental processes in spectrum allocation. Around the world, it has taken more than a decade to set the rules on interconnection among telecommunciation carriers, and they are still far from settled. This has slowed the entry of new-style carriers.

The question of whether new broadband services should be treated in the same time-consuming way as traditional telecommunication has tied regulators in knots and recently created a confrontation between Brussels and Germany. In South Korea, video over the internet requires a broadcasting licence, which has slowed how much the network is used. Patent offices every­where are falling behind their workload. It may soon take more than five years to get a patent in the US."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 12:49:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Via Brough's Communications blog comes news that the GSM Association has announced a new instant messaging initiative.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:19:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In line with para 108 and Annex of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, a consultation on WSIS Action Line Facilitation for WSIS action line C2, i.e. information and communication infrastructure will take place in conjunction with WTDC-06 in Doha, Qatar, on 9 March 2006, in the Convention Center, Room Al Majlis, to benefit from the presence of many WSIS stakeholders present at WTDC-06. The meeting will run from 14.00 – 17.00 hours. The meeting is open to all WSIS stakeholders that are interested and involved in implementation process in the field of information and communication infrastructure. The meeting will be held in English.

The purpose of the meeting is for information exchange and to discuss the WSIS multi-stakeholder implementation process in field of information and communication infrastructure.  ITU, UNESCO and UNDP are holding a consultation meeting to establish the nature of the coordination process, its outputs, modalities and logistics, of the work to be undertaken on WSIS implementation on 24 February 2006, in Geneva, and the outcome of this meeting will be reported. A draft annotated agenda is attached, together with a registration/badge request form for those not registered for WTDC-06. Further information is available from the implementation website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:08:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

FCC Examines Need For Tougher Privacy Rules.

"In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted today, the Commission seeks comment on a variety of issues related to customer privacy, including what security measures carriers currently have in place, what inadequacies exist in those measures, and what kind of security measures may be warranted to better protect consumers’ privacy. The Notice grants a petition for rulemaking filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) expressing concerns about whether carriers are adequately protecting customer call records and other customer proprietary network information, or CPNI. EPIC claims that some data brokers have taken advantage of inadequate security standards to gain access to the information under false pretenses, such as by posing as the customer, and then offering the records for sale on the Internet. The practice is known as "pretexting.""
    Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:05:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, February 13, 2006

    The NY Times has an article about cooperation between the telecommunications industry and the US government for legal intercept, including through NSTAC.

    Monday, February 13, 2006 1:47:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The ITU is hosting a workshop on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) from 14-15 February 2006, bringing the spotlight on the emergence of a so-called "Internet of Things", enabling ubiquitous network connectivity, anytime and anywhere. The agenda and an accompanying press release are available.

    Update: The workshop is being audiocast live and archived.

    Monday, February 13, 2006 11:23:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, February 10, 2006

    Bruce Schneier's Schneier on Security points to a paper dismissing the myth that worms won't be able to propagate under IPv6.

    Friday, February 10, 2006 5:19:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The Financial Times has an article entitled Privacy Under Pressure in Europe

    A European directive is in preparation that will require the providers of publicly available communications services to retain details of fixed-line, mobile phone and e-mail communications for at least six months, and possibly up to two years. It is a requirement that even the US has not imposed in its war on terror.

    Friday, February 10, 2006 11:34:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Bruce Schneier's Schneier on Security has a post on the new security features of IE7.

    Friday, February 10, 2006 9:15:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
    Friday, February 10, 2006 9:13:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Richard Stastny's VoIP and ENUM has a long post on his views on NGN and regulation.

    Thursday, February 09, 2006 11:15:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Measuring Broadband's Economic Impact, William H. Lehr, Carlos A. Osorio, Sharon E. Gillett, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Marvin A. Sirbu, Carnegie Mellon University (Revised January 17 2006):

    Abstract: Does broadband matter to the economy? Numerous studies have focused on whether there is a digital divide, on regulatory impacts and investment incentives, and on the factors influencing where broadband is available. However, given how recently broadband has been adopted, little empirical research has investigated its economic impact. This paper presents estimates of the effect of broadband on a number of indicators of economic activity, including employment, wages, and industry mix, using a cross-sectional panel data set of communities (by zip code) across the United States. We match data from the FCC (Form 477) on broadband availability with demographic and other economic data from the US Population Censuses and Establishment Surveys. We find support for the conclusion that broadband positively affects economic activity in ways that are consistent with the qualitative stories told by broadband advocates. Even after controlling for community-level factors known to influence broadband availability and economic activity, we find that between 1998 and 2002, communities in which mass-market broadband was available by December 1999 experienced more rapid growth in (1) employment, (2) the number of businesses overall, and (3) businesses in IT-intensive sectors. In addition, the effect of broadband availability by 1999 can be observed in higher market rates for rental housing in 2000. We compare state-level with zip-code level analyses to highlight data aggregation problems, and discuss a number of analytic and data issues that bear on further measurements of broadband’s economic impact. This analysis is perforce preliminary because additional data and experience are needed to more accurately address this important question; however, the early results presented here suggest that the assumed (and oft-touted) economic impacts of broadband are both real and measurable.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006 8:52:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Via Schneier on Security comes a pointer to an interesting paper entitled Introduction to Petname Systems.

    Zooko's Triangle [Zooko] argues that names cannot be global, secure, and memorable, all at the same time. Domain names are an example: they are global, and memorable, but as the rapid rise of phishing demonstrates, they are not secure.

    For background reading, see Zooko: Names: Decentralized, Secure, Human-Meaningful: Choose Two, Waterken YURL: Naming vs. Pointing and the Petnames Markup Language.

    To summarize, you cannot have a namespace which is all three of: 1. decentralized (which is the same as saying that the namespace spans trust boundaries), 2. secure in the sense that an attacker cannot cause name lookups to return incorrect values that violate some universal policy of name ownership, and 3. using human-memorizable keys.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006 8:17:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Via the ITU-T Newslog comes news that a Recommendation consented at the January meeting of Study Group 13 allows enterprises to convert multiple voice streams or VoIP flows to IP packets, enabling them to be trunked to their destination over a packet switched infrastructure, rather than dedicated circuit-switched infrastructure. Rec Y.1452 gives the required functions and procedures necessary for support of multiplexed narrowband voice services by IP networks. It specifies the required protocols and the operation of the interworking function.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006 10:34:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Regular economic analysis by EU Member States and the European Commission of competition in electronic communications markets and Commission scrutiny of draft national rules are paving the way to free markets, regulated solely by competition law, says a progress report published by the Commission today. Regulation in this sector applies only to operators whose significant market power could prevent the full benefits of telecoms liberalisation from getting through to consumers. Wherever a market analysis has found tangible signs of sustainable competition, regulation has been trimmed back or removed altogether. However, much remains to be done. As of 30 September 2005, sixteen EU Member States had found no effective competition on one or more of the 18 electronic communications markets defined by the EU and had taken steps to boost competition on the markets concerned. Five Member States had found only partial competition on one or more of these markets and had imposed remedies where it was lacking. But nine Member States had yet to notify the Commission of their analyses of any of the 18 markets. Of the analysed markets (152 out of 450), 123 were not competitive, 19 fully competitive, and 10 partially competitive.

    For more information, please click here.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006 5:51:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Today (7 February 2006) marks the third edition of Safer Internet Day, held under the patronage of Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

    Safer Internet Day is celebrated by more than 96 organisations in 36 countries across the world: 24 EU countries, and others including Russia, Argentina, New Zealand and the USA. Safer Internet Day's biggest event is a worldwide blogathon on safer use of internet launched by Commissioner Reding in Brussels at a minute past midnight, then taken up by New Zealand who post an entry a few minutes later.

    All day long the blogathon will continue to move across the world, through Australia and Russia to Europe, then across to Argentina, Canada and the USA. Over 300 local, regional and national events include press conferences, and competitions in Finland, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic. There will also be internet safety quizzes and crosswords in Greece, pupil-teach-parent days in Belgium and the Netherlands, conferences in the UK, Hungary and Argentina and a broad palette of activities in schools and libraries.

    For an overview of the days' events, see the main Safer Internet website.

    To view the International Telecommunication Union's entry to the blogathon, click here.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006 2:27:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    To coincide with Safer Internet Day, British Telecom (BT) announced today that, over the last 18 months, the number of attempts to access sites hosting child abuse images has increased from around 10,000 a day to 35,000 a day. All these attempts have been blocked utilising the company's Cleanfeed technology which uses a database of sites supplied by the United Kingdom's Internet Watch Foundation.

    According to Roger Darlington's blog, "BT developed and implemented Project Cleanfeed during my tenure as independent Chair of the IWF and, throughout the process and since, I have been a strong supporter of the initiative and would like to see all British Internet service providers using the same or similar technology."

    For more information and analysis with regards to this steep rise in attempts to access sites hosting child abuse images, see Roger Darlington's blog.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006 1:50:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    ITU's Strategy and Policy Unit has just unveiled a new web site dedicated to NGN Policy and Regulatory Resources. The purpose of the site is to provide links to ITU NGN related activities, a March 2006 workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? and related national, regional and international policy and regulatory initiatives.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006 11:08:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    In accordance to Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Hong Kong SAR, INTUG has submitted to Trade Directorate-General its position on Trade in Telecommunications Services.

    For more information, please click here.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006 10:19:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Geoff Huston in the February 2006 edition of ISP Column asks what Convergence?

    The effort to arm networks with complex quality and service manipulation capabilities in the guise of NGNs and QoS networks appears to be a step in precisely the opposite direction to what customers demonstrably want from networks.

    ...

    There is no next vertical killer application coming, and it certainly isn’t going to be just VOIP.

    ...

    We are seeing a new suite of application components in the form of XML, Ajax, RSS, Torrents, Podcasts and similar, and methods of constructing content in previously undreamt of methods. Many of the more captivating services are now in the form of overlay applications, such as Skype for voice or Google’s Gmail for mail . The common factor here is that these services do not use dedicated network infrastructure, but exist as application level overlays. Its clear in this that user’s perception of where the value lies is shifting to the application rather than remaining with the network’s access infrastructure. This value shift is not coalescing within a single application, however. What is evident is that the application space is now an area of intense innovation, and we are seeing diversification in this space, rather than convergence. The richness of structured data sets and their potential to create innovative services is an obvious outcome of this application level activity.

    ...

    Perhaps its time to forget about convergence, and instead look at what it takes to survive as a carrier ISP in today’s deregulated, competitive, unconverged world. Certainly one of the more important principles is to stop attempting to add value to the network by spending large amounts of effort in providing a panoply of services that customers simply don’t want and don’t value. It would appear that want customers want today is for packet carriers to stick to the basics - keep overheads low and operate a network that is simple, stable, fast and cheap. User value construction is happening at the edge of the network through overlay structures, and the major attribute of networks today is not convergence per se, but the ability to open the network’s edge up for competitive innovation.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006 9:15:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |