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 Wednesday, March 01, 2006

On Tuesday, the anchors of the coalition – the Electronic Freedom Foundation and Free Press -- hosted a national conference call asking for allies to unite to fight AOL's "e-mail tax."

Under the banner of DearAOL.com, a total of fifty organizations, including MoveOn.org, Civic Action, Gun Owners of America, The Association of Cancer Online Resources and Craig Newmark of Craigslist.com joined in to offer up a number of explanations as to why such a "pay-to-send" policy would harm the Internet forever.

For more information, click here.

See also "The Future of Some Email May Not Use Email".
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 10:04:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Symantec launches a new Internet security barometer that gives consumers clues on which online activities are currently safest. But unlike rival security meters, Symantec's new Internet Threat Meter breaks out current risks by activity: e-mail, Web browsing, instant messaging, and file sharing.

For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 7:57:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Three civil suits were filed under Virginia's new anti-phishing statute, the Federal Lanham Act, marking the first time an ISP has used the new law.

For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 7:50:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone's Face Sensing Engine uses a 3.2-megapixel camera to authenticate a user's facial features and eliminate the need for passwords or fingerprint verification.

A face recognition technology with a one second validation feature from Oki Electric will be offered on a Vodafone Group handset in Japan this April, according to an announcement Tuesday by Oki.

For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 7:44:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A group of security researchers claims to have found the first virus that can jump to a mobile device after infecting a PC.

"Crossover is the first malware to be able to infect both a Windows desktop computer as well as a PDA running Windows Mobile for Pocket PC," the research group said.

For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 7:34:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

IPDR.org hosted an event last week to take a focused look at IPTV accounting and settlement. The event objectives included:

  • Understanding the requirements for IPTV accounting
  • Summarizing challenges associated with all network data related aspects of IPTV such as advertising, content settlement, user behavior, capacity management, multimedia events, and other IPTV service components
  • Developing technical specifications to address the needs of IPTV overall accounting and settlement
  • Creating an industry wide task force comprised of leaders and contributors

IPDR plans to submit protocols to international groups such as the ITU and 3GPP for adoption as industry standards, according to Kelly Anderson, President of IPDR.org. Her group is working especially closely with the IPTV Interoperability Forum of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Solutions (ATIS), represented at the meeting. ATIS and IPDR said last week that the American National Standards Group had approved as an American national standard for trial use a generic IPDR specification for billing applications for packet-based services on which ATIS had collaborated.

The presentations made at the event are available.

The Director of the TSB is holding a consultation meeting on IPTV standardization on April 4-5 2006.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 11:44:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Two interesting discussions of current US communications policy:

  • Is the U.S. Dancing to a Different Drummer?, Communications & Strategies, no. 60, 4th quarter 2005 from former FCC staffer Scott Marcus, provides an analysis of recent US telecom policies and demonstrates how they are at odds with current European policies founded on economic theory.

  • Communications Policy For 2006 And Beyond, former members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Reed E. Hundt and Gregory L. Rosston propose sweeping changes to the current US telecommunications regulatory regime. With impending reform in telecommunications laws, they argue that an important first step is the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission to examine and recommend implementation of more market-oriented communications policy. [via CommsWatch]
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 8:07:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In Japan, the ima doko (where are you now) service allows parents to track the location of their children through a mobile handset or a P-doco?mini device. One can pull up location data using the internet or even with a 3G NTT Docomo handset to see location data on a map (scroll down for sample maps displayed on the i-mode handset.

This flash animation shows a Japanese mother pulling up a map that locates her daughter's mobile handset.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:07:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

APCAUCE's 2006 meeting was organized in Perth, Australia in conjunction with the APRICOT Conference. The Regional Update meeting was on Sunday 26 February 2006, and APCAUCE (Asia Pacific Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email) will also organize an antispam technical conference track as part of APRICOT on 1 March 2006.

For more information, please click here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 2:11:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This publication, with a foreword by Nitin Desai, provides an overview of the key debates on Internet governance. It presents the work of the Open Regional Dialogue on Internet Governance, an Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) initiative that has collected perspectives from regional experts and end users.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:21:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to an article from Interfax China, the Ministry of Information Industry has announced the revamping of the country's Internet domain name system which will be enforced from March 1, 2006.

The new domain names system consists of a total of 4 Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) including the English language domain .CN and 3 Chinese-character top-level domains "中国" (.China), "公司" (.com)- in China .com is used to refer to companies, and "网络"(.net).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:51:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published comments received on its recent consultation paper on Issues pertaining to Next Generation Networks (NGN) released in January 2006. Also see accompanying Press Release.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit is hosting a workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? in March 2006. The ITU also has a website on related national, regional and international policy and regulatory initiatives.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:50:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 27, 2006

The Japan E-mail Anti-Abuse Group (JEAG), a working group founded by Japan's ISPs and mobile operators to counter spam, has drafted a list of recommendations for the reference of companies and mail server system administrators that are considering counter-spam measures. The recommendations include information on introducing effective technological counter-measures and working policies to eliminate spam.

For more information, please click here.

Monday, February 27, 2006 9:13:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |