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 Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ITU will take the lead in international standardization for IPTV with the announcement that it is to form a Focus Group on IPTV (IPTV FG).

The announcement, while acknowledging that standards work is ongoing in many different places, including ITU, is a reaction to an industry call for ITU to push forward and coordinate global standardization effort in the field.

IPTV is a system where a digital television service is delivered to consumers using the Internet protocol over a broadband connection. It will help pave the way for players, many of whom are already moving to IP-based NGN infrastructure, to offer a triple-play of video, voice and data.

Standards are necessary in order to give service providers, whether traditional broadcasters, ISPs or telecoms service providers, control over their platforms and their offerings. Standards here will encourage innovation, help mask the complexity of services, guarantee QoS, ensure interoperability and ultimately help players remain competitive.

The mission of IPTV FG is to coordinate and promote the development of global IPTV standards taking into account the existing work of the ITU study groups as well as SDOs, fora and consortia. The group was launched following a decision taken at a public consultation meeting attended by around 120 experts from the world’s ICT companies. Attendees agreed that all players in the IPTV value chain will benefit from worldwide standards, that there is a lot of work to be done and that rapid progress is necessary in order to avoid market fragmentation. The Focus Group mechanism was seen as the most effective way of addressing this. Inputs to the meeting as well as a webcast can be found here.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau of ITU: "We have seen a desire to expedite and accelerate a global focus on standards for IPTV. There has been extraordinary consensus that ITU must lead this work and I am pleased that – again - ITU is seen as the right place to develop and harmonize this international standardization work, as well as identify and help fill gaps where there is still a standardization need." The FG will build upon existing work. Its scope will include architecture and requirements, QoS, security, network and control aspects, end system aspects – terminals etc., interoperability, middleware and application platforms.

Please see the ITU-T IPTV website for more information on the focus group.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:59:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 03, 2006

China’s Ministry of Information Industry has adopted the Measures for the Administration of Internet E-mails. The regulations, which took effect from 30 March 2006, are designed to apply to email service providers and apply to any person operating an email service for Internet users in Mainland China.

The regulations are as follows:

  • A provider is defined as any person in the service supply chain involved in delivering or helping users to receive email;
  • Service providers must register with the government and obtain a license before providing email services;
  • Violators face warnings or penalties of up to 30,000 yuan (approx. $3,700 US) and risk losing their license;
  • Firms are barred from sending unsolicited commercial messages without prior consent from recipients;
  • All commercial email must have a subject header of “AD” or the Chinese character for advertisement;
  • The rules only apply to email containing commercial advertisements;
  • The rules state that providers must stop delivery of any messages containing commercial advertisements even if a recipient first consents, but later changes his or her mind.

A copy of the rules (in Chinese) can be found here.

 

Monday, April 03, 2006 5:45:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The IEEE 802.11 Working Group has passed a major milestone in the development of IEEE 802.11s(TM), "Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications: Extended Service Set Mesh Networking", by voting to confirm a single proposal as the initial basis for the IEEE 802.11s standard. Many additional steps, which will include technical changes, are necessary before this standard becomes final; but this vote sets the baseline from which the group will work. Once completed, IEEE 802.11s will provide an interoperable and secure wireless distribution system between IEEE 802.11(TM) mesh points. This can reduce backhaul and installation costs. It also will extend mobility to access points in IEEE wireless local area networks (WLANs), enabling a new class of IEEE 802.11 applications that require untethered infrastructure.

See the IEEE website for more details with regards to this development related to wireless mesh networks (Wikipedia).

Monday, April 03, 2006 8:12:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 31, 2006

The Federal Trade Commission and members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) are meeting in Jeju, Korea, on March 26-28, to discuss the progress of international efforts to combat cross-border fraud and explore new international initiatives to protect consumers around the world.

The FTC’s participation in ICPEN is one part of the agency’s ongoing effort to combat a rising number of cross-border fraud complaints from American consumers. ICPEN members discussed the results of a recent Internet surf for Web sites that are “hidden traps online.”

Over 30 countries participated in the international surf. In the United States, the focus was on Web sites with fraudulent claims advertising “miracle cures” for diabetes, with the FTC, FDA, and several states Attorneys General offices participating.

The FTC and its partners reviewed over 1,000 Web sites and identified over 150 with potentially misleading diabetes claims. The FTC will follow-up, sending warning letters to Web sites that appear to have deceptive or false claims.

More information can be found here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:29:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 30, 2006

"The European Commission launched a new website which aims to help consumers get a better deal when using their mobile phones abroad. For this purpose, the website makes public roaming tariffs from the operators in all 25 EU Member States. The launch of this site was signalled in July when Commissioner Viviane Reding highlighted the high cost of using mobile phones abroad and the need to ensure greater transparency of these charges. By means of tables of sample tariffs and direct links to EU mobile operators, the website intends to give EU consumers a concrete idea of the level of tariffs they are likely to face when going on holiday as well as guidance and tips on how to manage their international roaming bills. Since the announcement of the website before this summer, there are signs that competition is starting to develop, in particular with some operators offering special holiday and other tariff packages."

More information can be found here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 9:19:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Owing the dangers of cybercrime and the need for common minimum technical and legal standards to fight such crime at a global level, the Convention on cybercrime (ETS N° 185) was prepared by Council of Europe member States and Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States. It entered with force on 1 July 2004. Its Additional Protocol concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems (ETS N° 189) entered into force on 1 March 2006.

The Convention is the only binding international instrument dealing with cybercrime. It has received widespread international support and is open to all States.

The Convention provides for consultations of the Parties (the Convention Committee on Cybercrime (T-CY)). The first meeting of the consultation of the parties took place in Strasbourg, France from 21-22 March 2006. Documents and materials from the meeting are available on the T-CY website.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 4:50:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Activités de l’UIT dans la Lutte contre le SPAM, PDF, Cristina Bueti, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit,21 March 2006, presented at the workshop on "Lutte contre le SPAM"(Rabat, Morocco).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 3:10:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The fight against spam, phishing and e-mail fraud should focus on economic incentives and aiding law enforcement, according to attendees at a conference examining the problem this week. Speakers at MIT's 2006 Spam Conference were notably cognizant of the recent proposals of white lists and AOL's Goodmail, a pay per e-mail service offering preferential treatment in e-mail delivery for marketers.

More information can be found here.

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 2:42:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 28, 2006

World Telecommunication Day (WTD) commemorates the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865. This year, WTD could carry added significance as 17 May has been identified by the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society as “World Information Society Day”.

While World Information Society Day is yet to be proclaimed, ITU, as the leading ICT agency of the UN system, upholds the idea and looks forward to its members to raise awareness of the role of ICT in achieving the development goals of all people.

For WTD 2006, the ITU Council chose the theme of Promoting Global Cybersecurity to highlight the serious challenges we face in ensuring the safety and security of networked information and communication systems.

In today’s interconnected and increasingly networked world, societies are vulnerable to a wide variety of threats, including deliberate attacks on critical information infrastructures with debilitating effects on our economies and on our societies. In order to safeguard our systems and infrastructure and in order to instill confidence in online trade, commerce, banking, telemedicine, e-government and a host of other applications, we need to strengthen the security practices of each and every networked country, business, and citizen, and develop a global culture of cybersecurity.

The urgency of promoting cybersecurity has been called for by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2002, the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-2004) as well as the United Nations General Assembly (resolutions 58/199, 2004, and 57/239, 2002).

Invitations to organize national programmes in the context of promoting the theme Promoting Global Cybersecurity for WTD 2006 were sent to all ITU Member States and ITU Sector Members. Sector Members represent over 647 public and private companies and organizations with an interest in telecommunications. Also in conjunction with WTD 2006, the ITU is conducting a survey of cybersecurity trust and awareness. A list of links to the related materials includes:

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 1:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Internet service providers could face huge fines if they do not provide spam filtering or impose email sending limits under new rules set down by a communications watchdog. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today registered the world's first legislative code of practice for internet and email service providers.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 1:16:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Information Week has an article entitled Microsoft And Eclipse: A Showdown For Ajax Leadership describing the growing battleground for Ajax-friendly tools for building interactive Web applications:

Web users are getting spoiled. Once they experience the Ajax-powered speed and interactivity of apps on Google or Flickr, click-and-wait Web interfaces won't cut it. Spurred by growing business interest, Microsoft and backers of Eclipse, the open source programmer's workbench, last week stepped up efforts to create Ajax-friendly tools for building interactive Web applications.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 12:46:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From today's Wall Street Journal Europe: How France Became A Leader in Offering Faster Broadband

"For years, France's telecommunications industry was a state-owned monopoly with one of the world's most backward broadband markets. But thanks to deregulation six years ago, French consumers have access to high-speed Internet service that is much faster and cheaper than in the U.S.

One telecom company in particular has exploited the changes and created competition in France -- a start-up called Iliad. Over 1.1 million French subscribers pay as low as €29.99 ($36) monthly for a "triple play" package called Free that includes 81 TV channels, unlimited phone calls within France and to 14 countries, and high-speed Internet. The least expensive comparable package from most cable and phone operators in the U.S. is more than $90, although more TV channels are generally included.

"We are coming into people's living rooms and changing the way they consume telecom services," says Michael Boukobza, Iliad's 28-year-old chief executive."

Key to France's success has been the active intervention of ARCEP, the French communications regulator. At last week's ITU workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, François Varloot of ARCEP presented an overview of the French marketplace and their views on emerging symmetric and asymmetric IP regulatory issues.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:32:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Michael Robertson, who founded MP3.com, is launching a series of PC web-based "standard desktop" applications using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) technology which he announces on his blog AjaxLaunch.com.

The first to be released is AjaxWrite (only runs on FireFox browser) which can read and write Microsoft Word documents.

Robertson says "For 90 percent of the people in the world, the need to buy Microsoft Word just vanished."

Also see Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 9:21:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At a technology forum in Brussels hosted by EuroISPA - the European Internet Services Providers Association, and co-sponsored by Interpol, Neil Holloway, president, Microsoft (Europe, Middle East and Africa), inaugurated a global law enforcement campaign targeted at cybercriminals responsible for phishing attacks.

This is part of Microsoft's larger program dubbed - the Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative (GPEI), that aims at co-ordinating and expanding the company's anti-phishing efforts globally.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 8:45:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

The Economist one said: "if the Net does have a God, he is probably Jon Postel."  David Maher, Senior Vice President, Law and Policy at PIR has published his memoirs of the early day attempts to revamp the internet's domain name system, which he has entitled Reporting to God. Ten years later, it appears that decisions surrounding the DNS remain as equally controversial as in the mid-1990's.

Monday, March 27, 2006 12:49:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A public talk was given on 22 March 2006 at Michigan State University's Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law on "The Changing Face of Cyberspace" (Lara Srivastava, ITU). 

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:10:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 21, 2006

John McDonald, a member of the ITU team that created the new VDSL 2 standard, will participate in an upcoming Webinar on this topic, Monday 3 April 2006.

The Webinar hosted by Light Reading will look at this development and explore the significance and implications of the new standard for both operators and the enormous installed base of DSL subscribers. ITU’s new VDSL 2 standard (Very High-Speed DSL 2)(ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2) delivers up to 100 Mbit/s both up and downstream, a tenfold increase over ADSL (Asymmetric DSL). By doing so, it provides for so-called fiber-extension, bringing fiber-like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fiber optic segment of a telecom company’s network.

VDSL 2 will allow operators to compete with cable and satellite providers by offering services such as high-definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high-speed internet access, and advanced voice services, over a standard copper telephone cable. As well as addressing fast-growing consumer demand for high-speed multimedia services, VDSL 2 offers carriers a solution that is interoperable with the DSL equipment many already have in place, expediting migration of customers to new VDSL 2-based products. VDSL 2 works with both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP-based networks.

Register for the online event to learn more about VDSL 2.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 3:40:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 17, 2006

In light of the consultations on the convening of the IGF, the United Nations Secretary-General will set up a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group to assist him in this task. The Group will consist of about forty members, representing governments, private sector and civil society and include members of the academic and technical communities. The members of the group will be chosen in their personal capacity. All stakeholders are invited to submit recommendations for members of the Advisory Group to the IGF secretariat by 18 April (igf@unog.ch). Relevant intergovernmental organizations are welcome to attend the meetings of the Advisory Group. The first meeting of the Advisory Group will be held after another round of consultations open to all stakeholders. A date for these meetings will be communicated as soon as possible. The first meeting of the IGF will be held in Athens from 30 October - 2 November 2006. More details on the venue and the logistics of the meeting will be made available on the host country's website.

Update: A new round of consultations on the convening of the IGF will be held at the United Nations in Geneva on 19 May 2006. They will be open to all stakeholders and will focus on the substantive preparation of the inaugural meeting of the IGF. The consultations will be followed by a meeting of the IGF Advisory Group on 22 - 23 May 2006.

[via IGF news]


Friday, March 17, 2006 10:33:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 16, 2006

The 4th International Conference on Communications Convergence was held in Mumbai (India) and hosted by the Indian Merchants Chamber on the theme "Connecting India: The Global Challenge".  Lara Srivastava (ITU) spoke on the topic of connecting rural communities in India in a talk entitled "Connect! Developing Rural Perspectives".

Thursday, March 16, 2006 4:55:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As part of its work on preparing an ICT Regulatory Toolkit, the Regulatory Reform Unit of ITU hosted, on 15 March 2006, a virtual conference on the impact of new technologies on TELECOM/ICT Regulation.

The conference recording, together with presentations from Tim Kelly (ITU), Anthony Rutkowski (Verisign), Sharil Tarmizi (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), Michael Best (Georgia Tech), Michail Bletsas (One Laptop Per Child) and Russell Southwood (Balancing Act) are available here

Thursday, March 16, 2006 12:05:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Communications points to an interesting presentation on reverse engineering Skype given by Philippe BIONDI & Fabrice DESCLAUX at the Blackhat Europe conference in Amsterdam, March 2nd & 3rd. Warning: 115 highly technical slides including this conclusion:

Thursday, March 16, 2006 12:04:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The « Direction du Développement des Médias (France), l’Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (Morocco), l’Institut Francophone des Nouvelles Technologies de l’Information et de la Formation (Francophonie) et le Service Public Fédéral Economie, PME, Classes moyennes et Energie (Belgium) » are jointly organizing a workshop on the « Fight against Spam ».

The workshop will be held in Rabat (Morocco) from 22 to 23 March 2006.

More information can be found here.

Click here to see the agenda.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:47:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The draft agenda (PDF) for the 23-24 March 2006 ITU Workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs is now available.


A related page of NGN Policy and Regulatory Initiatives around the globe is also available.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:21:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The OECD hosted a workshop entitled The Future of the Internet in Paris on 8 March 2006. Presentations given at the event will serve at "food for thought" for future OECD work.


The Economist has a related article entitled Reinventing the Internet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:09:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The March 2006 edition of ITU News focusing on “ICT for Development: Making it Work for All”, brings attention to ICT penetration in Qatar, the host country for the 2006 ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC).

A peninsula on the western coast of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar is home to about 813 000 people. Despite its small size, it is a high-income economy with a well-developed communications infrastructure.

The ITU News article explains that "The expansion of information and communication technologies (ICT) in Qatar has taken the country to a leading place in this field among its neighbors in the region. It comes fourth in ICT penetration rates among the Arab States, behind Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The incumbent telecommunication operator, Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), was partially privatized in 1998, and the Supreme Council for Communication and Information Technology (also known as ictQATAR) was created in 2004 with the mandate of regulator and enabler of the country’s ICT sector."

Qatar has seen particularly strong growth in the number of mobile phone subscribers, which overtook the number of fixed telephone lines in 2001.


Source: ITU World Telecommunication Indicators Database.

Read the full article featured in the March edition of ITU News.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:22:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU hosted a consultation meeting on WSIS Action Line C2 (Information and Communications Infrastructure) on 9 March 2006, from 2-5 pm, in Doha, Qatar, during the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006 (WTDC-06). The meeting was chaired by ITU Secretary-General, Yoshio Utsumi.

The summary record of the meeting is available here. For more information, see the WSIS implementation page for action line C2 at: http://www.itu.int/wsis/implementation/c2/index.html.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:14:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"The case for promoting a global culture for cybersecurity was strongly emphasized at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) during an information session for participants conducted by ITU on Friday.

ITU pointed out that in an increasingly interconnected and networked world our societies are vulnerable to a wide variety of threats, including deliberate attacks on critical information infrastructures with debilitating effects on our economies and on our societies. In order to safeguard our systems and infrastructure, we need to strengthen our collective cybersecurity.

As this depends on the security practices of each and every networked country, business, and citizen, we need to develop a global culture of cybersecurity. According to ITU, cybersecurity is critical in the use and development of ICT. The lack of adequate security is an obstacle for using ICTs that rely on the protection and confidentiality of sensitive data. Unless these security and trust issues are addressed, the benefits of the Information Society to governments, businesses and citizens cannot be fully realized.

The information session was aimed at raising awareness on this very important subject and to contribute to bridging the information and knowledge divide between and within countries.

At that session, ITU launched a new reference guide on Cybersecurity for Developing Countries and informed delegates of ITU’s initiative in Promoting Global Cybersecurity as the theme for World Telecommunication Day on 17 May this year. ITU will also assist developing and least developed countries in increasing cybersecurity and will conduct workshops and seminars to enable countries to exchange ideas and discuss common issues." [Via WTDC 2006 Highlights]

For more information about the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC), please click here

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 11:27:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At a workshop on ICT Indicators for performance benchmarking, held in Delhi 1-3 March, under the auspices of LIRNEasia and TRAI, representatives from the region's national statistical offices and regulatory agencies committed themselves to developing a set of ICT Indicators for the region based around "core set of ICT Indicators" defined by the Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development. This methodology means that they will be able to apply the composite "Digital Oppoportunity Index", which has been developed by a multi-stakeholder partnership, including ITU, KADO and UNCTAD, for the measurement of the digital divide within the region and within individual countries.

The proceedings of the conference, which included presentations from TRAI, LIRNEasia, ITU, OECD and NRRI, are avaialble on the LIRNEasia website.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 8:49:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |