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 Wednesday, May 17, 2006

UN Press Release: The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today established an Advisory Group to assist him in convening the Internet Governance Forum, a new forum for a multi-stakeholder dialogue on Internet governance.  The Group includes 46 members from Government, the private sector and civil society, including the academic and technical communities, who represent all regions of the world (see list below).  It is chaired by Nitin Desai, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), who may also select special advisers to assist him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9:56:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on RFID, with a view to developing a coherent RFID Policy for Europe. In order to prepare for the consultation, the Commission is organizing a series of workshops (5) between March and June 2006, in which experts and stakeholders from all over Europe and the world come together to debate the key issues.

ITU's Lara Srivastava spoke at the first workshop (6-7 March 2006), and also at the third workshop in the series held 16-17 May 2006 on "RFID Security, Data Protection & Privacy, Health and Safety Issues" (see the presentation here). The Policy Framework Paper written by the Commission in advance of the meeting highlighted the vision of the ITU's 2006 Internet Report on "The Internet of Things" released in November 2005.

Two more workshops are planned in early June, after which the Commission will open up the debate for a wider on-line public consultation, resulting in a Communication on RFID to be issued later this year.

For more information, including webcasts, see the European Commission RFID Consultation Website.

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 4:53:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bill St. Arnaud on the Canarie mailing list points to an interesting paper entitled The Ongoing Evolution from Packet Based Networks to Hybrid Networks in Research & Education Networks (Word). The paper references a number of the standardization activities on optical transport networks taking place in the ITU-T's Study Group 15.

Abstract:

The ongoing evolution from packet based networks to hybrid networks in Research & Education (R&E) networks, or what are the fundamental reasons behind this fundamental paradygm shift and the resulting growing gap between commercial and R&E Internet networks?

As exemplified by the Internet2 HOPI initiative, the new GEANT2 backbone, the GLIF  initiative and projects such as Dragon and Ultralight, National Research and Education Network (NREN) infrastructures are undergoing several very fundamental evolutions moving from conventional Packet based Internet networks to Hybrid networks while also moving from commercial Telecom Operator networks to Customer Empowered, dark fiber based, networks.

By hybrid networks, we mean the combination of conventional packet based Internet networks coupled with the capability to dynamically establish high speed End-to-end circuits, i.e. Bandwidth on Demand (BoD), also referred to sometimes as "lambda Grids",

This paper is attempting to explain the fundamental reasons behind this very significant paradygm shift and to assess its likely impact on National R&E, while also giving a very brief overview on what next generation Optical Transport Networks (OTN) may look like in a few years time with the advent of Ethernet over SONET/SDH (EoS), Generic Framing Procedures (GFP), Virtual Concatenation (VCAT) and Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:22:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The World Information Society Day ceremony is being webcast live (audio and video) in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish by ITU's internet broadcasting service. The related press release is available here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 10:10:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

17 May 2006 A global opinion survey to assess trust of online transactions and awareness of cybersecurity measures was conducted by ITU in conjunction with World Telecommunication Day, celebrated on 17 May to commemorate the founding of ITU in 1865. The theme chosen this year - Promoting Global Cybersecurity - aims to highlight the serious challenges of ensuring the safety and security of networked information and communication systems.

The announcement of the results of the survey coincides with the launch of an ITU Cybersecurity Gateway portal. These efforts also highlight work being carried out as follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action line C5 dealing with "Building confidence and security in the use of ICT", for which ITU is the facilitator/moderator.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 9:59:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) authored by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) have been consented as internationally recognised ITU-T Recommendations. The announcement is the first result of the formal relationship between the standardization sector of ITU and OASIS.

The standards (ITU-T Recommendations X.1141 (SAML) and X.1142 (XACML)) address the concern of how to allow safe single sign-on, a system that enables a user to authenticate once and gain access to the resources of multiple software systems. While solutions existed in this space, all were proprietary, and therefore not addressing the problem on a global level.

SAML and XACML are designed to control access to devices and applications on a network. The need for standards in this area has become more of an issue as business networks increasingly use the public Internet.

SAML addresses authentication and provides a mechanism for transferring authentication and authorization decisions between cooperating entities, XACML leverages this information to determine access to resources by focusing on the mechanism for arriving at those authorization decisions.

An additional feature of SAML is that it allows organizations to communicate information without any change to their own internal security architectures.

[via ITU-T Newslog]
Thursday, May 11, 2006 11:07:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Cooperative Domain Service (CoDoNS) by Venugopalan Ramasubramanian and Emin Gün Sirer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:53:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

ITU Press Release: First World Information Society Day focuses on WSIS implementation & ITU World Information Society Award presented to President Wade of Senegal and Professor Yunus of Bangladesh

Geneva, 9 May 2006 — The first World Information Society Day will be commemorated on 17 May 2006 to mark the inception of the International Telecommunication Union in 1865, over 140 years ago.

On this important occasion, the first ITU World Information Society Award will be presented to two distinguished and eminent personalities whose outstanding personal contributions have furthered the cause of building a more inclusive and equitable Information Society and helped close the digital divide. The inaugural ITU Award will be given to President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of Grameen Bank, Bangladesh.

The award ceremony will begin at 11h00 on 17 May 2006 at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG). There will be an opportunity after the ceremony for the laureates to meet the press.

For more information, see here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 11:58:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Workshop: Optimization Technologies for Low-Bandwidth Networks, ICTP Workshop, Trieste, Italy, 9 - 20 October 2006:

Bandwidth in developing countries can be so expensive that some universities cannot afford speeds equivalent to the average Western household with ADSL connection. The reasons for this situation include: Internet access available only via satellite connections and lack of communications infrastructure in many remote areas. Bandwidth and computing equipment are expensive as a result of weak currencies, high transport costs, small budgets and high tariffs. Universities cannot afford a decent link, or in some cases still do not see its value or are unaware of existing alternatives. By applying optimization techniques based on Open Source technologies, effectiveness of available connections can be highly improved.

The Workshop will provide information and practical training on how to gain the maximum benefit from existing connections to the Internet, exposing participants to the latest techniques to optimise the use of low-bandwidth network connections.

The Workshop will consist of theoretical lectures, laboratory hands-on sessions and demos. Linux will be used as primary O.S. Case Studies by Participants are also welcome, describing their computing and networking environment and connectivity related problems, issues on content delivery, etc.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:21:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile Industry Outlook 2006, a new 180-page report from Informa Telecoms & Media answers the most significant questions facing today's mobile operators, equipment vendors and handset vendors as they seek to plan their strategy in 2006.

The report is available here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:20:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Now underway is the ITU/UNESCO Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet which is a follow-up to Phase 2 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The event is being audiocast live in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The programme is available here and contains links to all the presentations and speaker biographies.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:59:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 05, 2006

3 Italia has launched Walk TV, the first digital TV mobile broadcast using DVB-H technology in Europe. Programming will initially consist of channels from state broadcaster RAI, Mediaset and News Corp unit Sky Italia. And in June, the TV services will expand to include 3 Italia's own La3-branded channels, and World Cup soccer action, for which 3 Italia has bought the DVB-H Italian territory rights.

The 3 Italia DVB-H service reaches 65% of Italy's population and customers will need specific handsets to access the content.

More information can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006 8:58:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Singapore’s mobile users – 99.8% of Singapore’s population, according to the Infocomm Development Authority’s (IDA) February 2006 stats – will have more protection against mobile spam in the future. IDA has put its foot down on this issue, warning of “swift enforcement” of penalties should mobile operators continue to fail to resolve mobile spam issues satisfactorily.

A strong warning letter was sent to SingTel, StarHub and M1, the three mobile operators in Singapore. In addition, IDA decided to make an example of errant content operator mTouche in the highly publicized mTouche spam case. Between 30th January to 5th February this year, 300,000 mobile end users were billed S$1 for unsolicited SMSes sent by mTouche through the three telcos.

More information can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006 11:26:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China has introduced regulations that make it illegal to run an email server without a licence. The new rules, which came into force two weeks ago, mean that most companies running their own email servers in China are now breaking the law. The new email licensing clause is just a small part of a new anti-spam law formulated by China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII).

The impact on corporate email servers, which are commonly used by companies with more than a handful of employees, appears to have gone unnoticed until now. However, Singapore-based technology consultant, James Seng, who first drew attention to the new email licence requirement, believes the inclusion of the prohibition on mail servers is no accident.

More information can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006 11:21:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

NetWizard's Blog points to the publishing of RFCs for authentication proposals Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Sender-ID:

Friday, May 05, 2006 9:09:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new mobile phone payment system has been launched in has been launched in the U.K. and Germany. LUUP (called LUUPAY in Germany) allows consumers to use their mobile phone like a wallet to shop with retailers or send and receive money on a person-to-person basis - with cash, debit/credit card and bank account functions built-in. 

Friday, May 05, 2006 9:00:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 04, 2006

The "Survey on Industry Measures taken to comply with National Measures implementing Provisions of the Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications relating to the Security of Services" conducted by the Technical Department of ENISA, Section Security Policies is available here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 1:33:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The US Federal Communications Commission today adopted a Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order (Order) that addresses several issues regarding implementation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), enacted in 1994. Among other things, the Order affirms that the CALEA compliance deadline for facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP services will be May 14, 2007, as established by the First Report and Order in this proceeding. The Order concludes that this deadline gives providers of these services sufficient time to develop compliance solutions, and notes that standards developments for these services are already well underway. Further details and background are available in the FCC news release and statement by individual FCC commissioners:

Thursday, May 04, 2006 12:05:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At a recent Study Group 17 (SG17) meeting in Korea, SG17 gave final approval to a Question on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) that provides direction and focus to ongoing work.

The news comes as ITU makes final preparations for the Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet, it is convening together with UNESCO, 9-11 May 2006.

ITU-T was mandated to work on IDN at the 2004 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Brazil. IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

Andrzej Bartosiewicz, representing Poland and acting as Rapporteur for IDNs said: “We have received a number of contributions in this area and have been impressed with the level of interest and the productive nature of discussions. There are a number of organizations working in the field and I believe coordination will be an important focus of any work. The upcoming workshop will be a particularly useful tool for facilitating networking between experts in the field and furthering the study in general.”

Bartosiewicz said that a webpage will be published shortly with news on ITU-T study in the area, as well as related events and technical documents. An official 'circular letter' will be sent sent to Member States he said, requesting information about their experiences on the use of IDN. Given the response to this communication SG 17 will be able to better assess the current situation and needs.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:49:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ITWeek has an article What makes IPTV such a big deal? that focuses on the recent establishment of the ITU-T IPTV Focus Group.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:19:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"As the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) prepares to celebrate this year's World Telecommunication Day, Nigerian experts on information communications technology, mobile telecommunication firms and industry regulators will converge in Abuja to brainstorm on the strides the nation had taken in the sector over the last couple of years and take stock on the level at which the government and the citizenry have embraced the new technologies as a tool for economic and social development."

"In keeping with the theme of this year's celebration - 'Promoting Global Cybersecurity'- an international symposium has been scheduled to held (in Abuja) where issues such as internet governance, financing of ICT development and universal access to the information superhighway will be discussed."

"Experts and technocrats will also compare notes on the theories and realities of Information Communication Technology in terms of achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria. The symposium is also expected to explore avenues of strengthening bilateral and multilateral development and economic cooperation for ICT expansion in Nigeria."

For the full story featured in This Day Online  and shared through All Africa.com, click here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 7:27:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom by Yochai Benkler, Yale University Press.

Information, knowledge, and culture are central to human freedom and human development. How they are produced and exchanged in our society critically affects the way we see the state of the world as it is and might be; who decides these questions; and how we, as societies and polities, come to understand what can and ought to be done. For more than 150 years, modern complex democracies have depended in large measure on an industrial information economy for these basic functions. In the past decade and a half, we have begun to see a radical change in the organization of information production. Enabled by technological change, we are beginning to see a series of economic, social, and cultural adaptations that make possible a radical transformation of how we make the information environment we occupy as autonomous individuals, citizens, and members of cultural and social groups. It seems passé today to speak of "the Internet revolution." In some academic circles, it is positively naïve. But it should not be. The change brought about by the networked information environment is deep. It is structural. It goes to the very foundations of how liberal markets and liberal democracies have coevolved for almost two centuries.

A series of changes in the technologies, economic organization, and social practices of production in this environment has created new opportunities for how we make and exchange information, knowledge, and culture. These changes have increased the role of nonmarket and nonproprietary production, both by individuals alone and by cooperative efforts in a wide range of loosely or tightly woven collaborations. These newly emerging practices have seen remarkable success in areas as diverse as software development and investigative reporting, avant-garde video and multiplayer online games. Together, they hint at the emergence of a new information environment, one in which individuals are free to take a more active role than was possible in the industrial information economy of the twentieth century. This new freedom holds great practical promise: as a dimension of individual freedom; as a platform for better democratic participation; as a medium to foster a more critical and self-reflective culture; and, in an increasingly information dependent global economy, as a mechanism to achieve improvements in human development everywhere.

The rise of greater scope for individual and cooperative nonmarket production of information and culture, however, threatens the incumbents of the industrial information economy. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we find ourselves in the midst of a battle over the institutional ecology of the digital environment. A wide range of laws and institutions—from broad areas like telecommunications, copyright, or international trade regulation, to minutiae like the rules for registering domain names or whether digital television receivers will be required by law to recognize a particular code—are being tugged and warped in efforts to tilt the playing field toward one way of doing things or the other. How these battles turn out over the next decade or so will likely have a significant effect on how we come to know what is going on in the world we occupy, and to what extent and in what forms we will be able—as autonomous individuals, as citizens, and as participants in cultures and communities—to affect how we and others see the world as it is and as it might be.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 11:55:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 01, 2006

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has published on March 10 the results of an estimate of the amount of internet traffic in Japan. According to the study, based on the total volume of traffic calculated from broadband subscribers in Japan, average traffic reached 468 Gigabit per second (Gbps) as of November 2005.

For comparison, Telegeography estimates that as of mid-2005, the combined average traffic on all cross-border internet backbone routes stood at just under 1 Terabit per second (Tbps).

This means that MIC is estimating that Japan's domestic average traffic represents almost half of all average international internet traffic.

Monday, May 01, 2006 10:50:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new wave of spam could be on the way that tricks recipients by looking like it’s a message sent from their friends' e-mail address. This sort of spam would bypass even those filters that currently weed out 99% of the bad stuff, says John Aycock, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Calgary.

Aycock and student Nathan Friess conducted research and wrote a paper dubbed "Spam Zombies from Outer Space" to show that generating such customized spam -- such as in the form of e-mail replies -- would not be too difficult, as has been assumed in the past. Spammers have leaned toward bulk e-mail generation that is less customized.

More information can be found here.

Monday, May 01, 2006 10:08:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 28, 2006

Juries began deliberating at the International Competition for CyberArts 2006 (Prix Ars Electronica) in Linz, Austria this morning. Over 4'300 projects from around the world are being considered.

Since 1987, the Prix Ars Electronica has served as an interdisciplinary platform for everyone who uses ICTs as a universal medium for implementing and designing their creative projects at the interface of art, technology and society. The Prix Ars Electronica is one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media.

The event calls for entries in 7 categories, including a youth competition and a grant for young creative talent:

  • Computer Animation / Visual Effects

  • Digital Music

  • Interactive Art

  • Net Vision

  • Digital Communities

  • u19 – freestyle computing

  • [the next idea] Art and Technology Grant

ITU's Lara Srivastava is Jury Member for the "Digital Communities" category, which focuses on the promotion of the social use of ICTs and the creation of common public goods, the sharing of knowledge, and the narrowing of the digital divide. This category was introduced to the Prix in 2004 by Jury Member Andreas Hirsch and Howard Rheingold. The other Jury members are: Steven Clift (Chairman, e-democracy.org) and Peter Kuthan (Founder, Tonga Online).

The Net Vision Jury includes Marko Ahtisaari (Director of Design Strategy at Nokia) and the Digital Music Jury includes Rob Young (Editor-at-large, The Wire Magazine).

The Computer Animation Jury includes such names as Mark Dippé (Director of Spawn and Visual Effects Supervisor for Jurassic Park, The Abyss, and Terminator 2), Rick Sayre (Visual Effects Supervisor for Pixar's Toy Story, A Bug's Life and The Incredibles), and Shuzo Shiota (President and CEO of Polygon Pictures).

Results from all categories will be released during the third week in May. Awards will be handed out at the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2006. Check this blog for further news!

 

Friday, April 28, 2006 12:24:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In a press release, the European Commission has indicated its views on follow-up to the international policy commitments made at WSIS:

To keep up the momentum of the successful World Summit on Information Society (Tunis, 16-18 November 2005), the European Commission has set out today its priorities for implementing the international policy commitments made at the Summit. These priorities include safeguarding and strengthening human rights, in particular the freedom to receive and access information. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) should be used to contribute to open democratic societies and to economic and social progress worldwide. The Commission calls for continuing international talks to improve Internet governance through the two new processes created by the Summit: the multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum and the mechanism of enhanced cooperation that will involve all governments on an equal footing.

The EC has also issued a FAQ on Internet Governance.

Friday, April 28, 2006 11:01:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 27, 2006

Via Schneier on Security comes news of a Kaspersky Labs report on extortion scams using malware:

We've reported more than once on cases where remote malicious users have moved away from the stealth use of infected computers (stealing data from them, using them as part of zombie networks etc) to direct blackmail, demanding payment from victims. At the moment, this method is used in two main ways: encrypting user data and corrupting system information.

Users quickly understand that something has happened to their data. They are then told that they should send a specific sum to an e-payment account maintained by the remote malicious user, whether it be EGold, Webmoney or whatever. The ransom demanded varies significantly depending on the amount of money available to the victim. We know of cases where the malicious users have demanded $50, and of cases where they have demanded more than $2,000. The first such blackmail case was in 1989, and now this method is again gaining in popularity.

In 2005, the most striking examples of this type of cybercrime were carried out using the Trojans GpCode and Krotten. The first of these encrypts user data; the second restricts itself to making a number of modifications to the victim machine's system registry, causing it to cease functioning.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:04:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 24, 2006

The OECD has released its end-2005 broadband statistics for 30 OECD member countries. According to the OECD, main highlights from the second half of 2005 are:

  • In December 2005, four countries (Iceland, Korea, the Netherlands and Denmark) led the OECD in broadband penetration, each with more than 25 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
  • Iceland now leads the OECD with a broadband penetration rate of 26.7 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
  • Korea’s broadband market is advancing to the next stage of development where existing subscribers switch platforms for increased bandwidth. In Korea, fibre-based broadband connections grew 52.4% during 2005. This switchover effect is evident by the net loss of DSL (-3.3%) and cable (-1.7%) subscribers during the year.
  • The strongest per-capita subscriber growth came from Iceland, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia. Each country added more than 6 subscribers per 100 inhabitants during 2005.
  • Japan leads the OECD in fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) with 4.6 million fibre subscribers at the end of 2005. Fibre subscribers alone in Japan outnumber total broadband subscribers in 21 of the 30 OECD countries.
  • DSL is still the leading platform in 28 OECD countries. Cable subscribers outnumber DSL in Canada and the United States.
  • The United States has the largest total number of broadband subscribers in the OECD at 49 million. US broadband subscribers represent 31% of all broadband connections in the OECD.
  • Canada leads the G7 group of industrialized countries in broadband penetration
  • The breakdown of broadband technologies in December 2005 is as follows:
         o DSL: 62%
         o Cable modem: 31%
         o Other technologies (e.g. satellite, fibre and fixed wireless) : 7%
Monday, April 24, 2006 10:31:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Looking back, 2005 saw a rise in profit-driven attacks. These were reflected by phishing, which now represents as much as one percent of the global e-mail traffic and is far more effective than spamming.

Viruses, worms, and malicious software are becoming part and parcel of information and communications technology. According to Trend Micro's report, called Virus and Spam Roundup 2005 and Predictions for 2006, this year will see more spy phishing and spear phishing on the Internet.

More information can be found here.

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:08:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Though the United States is making progress in the war on unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam, it still generates more than any other nation in the world, according to recent statistics from Sophos, a provider of anti-malware solutions.

Sophos ranked spam outputs of the top 12 countries and top six continents based on messages it received in its “global network of spam traps” between January and March, according to the group’s release.

More information can be found here.

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:01:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brough's Communications points to Yale's Yochai Benkler's Coase’s Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm whichs suggests that the open source development phenomenon has much deeper significance.

For decades our understanding of economic production has been that individuals order their productive activities in one of two ways: either as employees in firms, following the directions of managers, or as individuals in markets, following price signals. This dichotomy was first identified in the early work of Nobel laureate Ronald Coase, and was developed most explicitly in the work of neo-institutional economist Oliver Williamson. In the past three or four years, public attention has focused on a fifteen-year-old social-economic phenomenon in the software development world. This phenomenon, called free software or open source software, involves thousands or even tens of thousands of programmers contributing to large and small scale project, where the central organizing principle is that the software remains free of most constraints on copying and use common to proprietary materials. No one "owns" the software in the traditional sense of being able to command how it is used or developed, or to control its disposition. The result is the emergence of a vibrant, innovative and productive collaboration, whose participants are not organized in firms and do not choose their projects in response to price signals.

In this paper I explain that while free software is highly visible, it is in fact only one example of a much broader social-economic phenomenon. I suggest that we are seeing is the broad and deep emergence of a new, third mode of production in the digitally networked environment. I call this mode "commons-based peer-production," to distinguish it from the property- and contract-based models of firms and markets. Its central characteristic is that groups of individuals successfully collaborate on large-scale projects following a diverse cluster of motivational drives and social signals, rather than either market prices or managerial commands.

The paper also explains why this mode has systematic advantages over markets and managerial hierarchies when the object of production is information or culture, and where the capital investment necessary for production-computers and communications capabilities-is widely distributed instead of concentrated. In particular, this mode of production is better than firms and markets for two reasons. First, it is better at identifying and assigning human capital to information and cultural production processes. In this regard, peer-production has an advantage in what I call "information opportunity cost." That is, it loses less information about who the best person for a given job might be than do either of the other two organizational modes. Second, there are substantial increasing returns to allow very larger clusters of potential contributors to interact with very large clusters of information resources in search of new projects and collaboration enterprises. Removing property and contract as the organizing principles of collaboration substantially reduces transaction costs involved in allowing these large clusters of potential contributors to review and select which resources to work on, for which projects, and with which collaborators. This results in allocation gains, that increase more than proportionately with the increase in the number of individuals and resources that are part of the system. The article concludes with an overview of how these models use a variety of technological and social strategies to overcome the collective action problems usually solved in managerial and market-based systems by property and contract.

Monday, April 24, 2006 12:13:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 21, 2006

The National Communications Authority of Hungary (NCAH) started last summer the elaboration of a regulatory strategy for the period 2006 to 2010. In this process a detailed breakdown is given of the means by which NCAH intends to promote the development of electronic communications markets which play an increasingly important role in the Hungarian economy contributing to the creation of the information society and consequent improvement of the country’s competitiveness.

The concept is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:50:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel was established by the Minister of Industry on April 11, 2005, to conduct a review of Canada's telecommunications framework. The Panel was asked in particular to recommend on:

1. how to implement an efficient, fair, functional and forward-looking regulatory framework that serves Canadian consumers and businesses, and that can adapt to a changing technological landscape,
2. mechanisms to ensure that all Canadians continue to have an appropriate level of access to modern telecommunications services,
3. measures to promote the development, adoption and expanded use of advanced telecommunications services across the economy.

The Panel's reviewed Canada's telecommunications policy and regulatory framework and made recommendations on how to make it a model of 21st century regulation.

The Final Report of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel 2006 is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:33:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 6 April 2006 Quallo Center held 2006 Quello Communication Law and Policy Symposium.

For programme of the event and presentations please click here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:13:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |