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 Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jefferson Rebuffed - The United States and the Future of Internet Governance by Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger and Malte Ziewitz, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Over the last several years, many have called for an internationalization of Internet governance in general, and Internet naming and numbering in particular. The multi-year WSIS process that culminated in November 2005 was intended to create momentum in such direction. The United States has long resisted such internationalization, fearing in particular the growing influence of China and similar nations.

The proposal put forward by the European Union in September 2005 would have offered a constitutional moment for Internet governance by suggesting internationalization based on fundamental values of the Internet community. The swift rejection of the proposal by the US was surprising, both from a tactical as well as – in light of its own constitutional history – a substantive viewpoint.

In this article we have described the main features of the European proposal and what it might have created. We evaluated four possible arguments explaining US rejection: delegation of power, objective rights, public choice, and de-legitimization of international regimes.

We conclude that a combination of domestic pressures and aversion of international regimes caused the US government delegation to reject the proposal. As a result, WSIS concluded without a constitutional moment for Internet governance. It may turn out, though, to be a Pyrrhic victory for the United States. The calls for internationalization of Internet governance will not subside and the US will have to continue to fend off demands for a transfer of power. The opportunity for Internet governance to be based on the values of the Internet community, however, will likely not return.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:36:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A joint ITU-T/Global Grid Forum (GGF) workshop on NGN and Grids will take place at ITU headquarters, Geneva, from 23 to 24 October 2006 inclusive. The invitation letter contains additional details and a provisional agenda. The objective of the meeting is to:

  • Review the present status of applications, services and business opportunities in Grid networks and NGNs.
  • Discuss future evolution for Grids and NGNs both in terms of business opportunities and related technical requirements.
  • Identify relevant existing international standards as well as gaps in the standardization framework for Grids and NGNs.
  • Understand what additional features required by Grids should be considered in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2.
  • Identify the impact of NGN on Grids.
  • Contribute to the establishment of a roadmap for future standardization activities among major players.
  • Prepare a coordinated action plan on urgent standardization issues between standards developing organizations and fora/consortia working in this area.
Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:26:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 17 Questionnaire on information about experiences on the use of IDN

"The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) in Resolution 48 instructed Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).  The belief is that IDN implementation 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.

To assist this plan, Question 16/17 (Internationalized Domain Names) has been brought into being and tasked with investigating all relevant issues in the field of IDNs.

To recognize national, regional and international issues concerning IDNs, Study Group 17 prepared a questionnaire (see Annex 1) on information about experiences on the use of IDNs.

The objective of this questionnaire is to collect information and experiences on Internationalized Domain Names under ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) around the globe. This will help identify Member States’ needs and practices concerning this subject. This information will serve to prepare a report on the implementation of IDNs and facilitate future work on IDN within Study Group 17.

If there are two or more ccTLDs in the responder's Member State, please complete separate answer sheets for each, unless they have exactly the same answers.

If the Member State is not responsible for the ccTLD, please forward the questionnaire to the concerned body."

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:25:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The graph below shows the 15 countries with the largest number of mobile subscribers. China is by far the overall leader with 393.4 million subscribers, almost twice as many as the United States in second place with 201.7 million.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 5:04:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new research report called Comparison of OECD Broadband Markets - A comparison of cost and performance data for business and residential broadband products in 26 OECD countries was released. The report commissioned by InternetNZ and prepared by Wairua Consulting analyses 2'586 broadband packages from 26 OECD countries, on a range of indicators including download and upload speeds, costs, data caps, variety of offerings, contention ratios and finally an overall ranking table.

Accorting to the report, Sweden offers the best overall ‘value’ for broadband services in terms of cost and performance, followed by the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Germany. A comparison of the price/performance rating from this study with that country’s OECD broadband subscriber ranking and the latest e-readiness assessment from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) suggests that the cost and performance of broadband products is not directly related to uptake in the country, nor is it directly related to that country’s e-readiness, which is defined as the ‘state of play’ of a country’s ICT infrastructure and the ability of its consumers, businesses and governments to use ICT to their benefit. For example, Slovakia appears to offer good value for money and above average performance, though uptake of broadband remains low and e-readiness is low. Conversely, Iceland and Switzerland have high uptake but are comparatively expensive.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11:18:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Australian PC users can now get more proactive about combating SPAM email with the launch of a reporting system by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 3:05:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 28, 2006

The German government is preparing a law that would allow the use of mobile phone jammers during major events and in prisons. The blocking of mobile phone use by criminals is seen as an important measure in the war against crime and terrorism.

By transmitting on the same radio frequencies as the mobile phone, a phone jammer can effortlessly stifle annoying chatter in movie theatres, at funerals or in hospitals. However, in many countries, including Germany, the technology is officially illegal. Phone jammers not only disrupt licensed services operated by the mobile carriers, but might also disrupt other services operating in adjacent bands.

Read the full article from The Register here.

Sunday, May 28, 2006 8:15:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The winners of the third annual Mobile Entertainment Awards (the "Meffys") were announced by the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) this week in London.

The mobile games award went to Digital Chocolate, the mobile music award to Warner Music's WAMO Packs, the mobile content award to Chooz Active Content's Foreplay, and the mobile entertainment handset award to Nokia's N70. Wiinners in other categories included Bango, France Telecom, 3 UK and Yospace.  The special recognition award was given to Jim Brailean, CEO/President and Founder of PacketVideo. The top entries for each category were selected by panels of independent industry media and analyst experts.

The Awards took place alongside Mobile Entertainment Market (MEM) 2006 at Islington's Business Design Centre in London (UK), at which the MEF also revealed its new Board of Directors. Ingrid Silver (Partner, Denton Wilde Sapte) was newly elected to the MEF Board and attended the Meffys reception with ITU's Lara Srivastava. Ingrid Silver and Lara Srivastava (with Rod Kirwan of Denton's) are presently co-authoring a paper on "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" as part of the ITU's New Initiatives Programme. The paper will be presented at an international workshop on the topic to be held in Mainz, Germany from 21-23 June 2006.

 

Sunday, May 28, 2006 7:10:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, May 27, 2006

Philips Semiconductors and South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom join forces to launch a trial in Seoul using Near Field Communication (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies.  The trail will enable selected mobile phone users to use their phones to download content, unlock doors and pay for goods and services.

The trial will include about 400 participants. A wide variety of partners are involved, including operators, service providers, handset manufacturers, credit card companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, and retails. More information can be found in the RFID Journal article here.

 

Saturday, May 27, 2006 7:41:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 26, 2006

Winners of the Prix Ars Electronica 2006, one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media, have been announced. The competition called for entries in 7 categories, including a youth competition and a grant for young creative talent:

  • Digital Communities

  • Computer Animation / Visual Effects

  • Digital Music

  • Interactive Art

  • Net Vision

  • u19 – freestyle computing

  • [the next idea] Art and Technology Grant

The 2006 winner for the Digital Communities category was "canal*ACCESSIBLE". Canal Accessible was chosen because it addresses the accessibility or inaccessibility inherent in the topographical surroundings of people who have difficulty walking. The city of Barcelona was taken as an example:  handicapped individuals document the problems they encounter on their way through the city by using images and, in a few cases, sound recordings. This material is posted to the website, and the places at which each one was created are specified on a city map. These locations can then be accessed using a built-in “find” function. ITU's Lara Srivastava was Jury Member for the Digital Communities category, which explores 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 were: Steven Clift (Chairman, e-democracy.org) and Peter Kuthan (Founder, Tonga Online).

The prizes will be awarded at the annual Ars Electronica Festival (31 August - 5 September 2006). More information about the winners can be found here.

Friday, May 26, 2006 11:41:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet Domain Name and Addressing System

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seeks comment on the continuation of the transition of the technical coordination and management of the Internet domain name and addressing system (Internet DNS) to the private sector. In June 1998, the Department issued a statement of policy on the privatization of the Internet DNS, which among other things articulated four primary functions for global Internet DNS coordination and management, the need to have these functions performed by the private sector and four principles to guide the transition to private sector management of the Internet DNS. On June 30, 2005, NTIA released the U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System further elaborating on these issues. The Department of Commerce seeks comment regarding the progress of this transition and announces a public meeting to be held on July 26, 2006, to discuss issues associated with this transition.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:18:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On 1-2 June 2006 the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU) in collaboration with London Business School (LBS) will hold a joint conference on the measurement of ICTs and the macro-, micro- and meso-impact of ICTs in the Information Society.

The conference will explore the impact of ICTs in industry, firms, growth and productivity. What is the real meaning of the digital divide? Can investment in ICTs help to reduce the productivity gap? Are countries really at a disadvantage through falling behind in take-up of ICTs?

For more details on this event please click here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 6:02:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

This brochure summarizes the results of a workshop on Tomorrow’s Networks Today, held in Saint Vincent (Aosta), Italy from 7 to 8 October 2005. It was prepared by Cristina Bueti and Marco Obiso on the basis of specially prepared case studies, input documents and contributions to the workshop. The enclosed CD-Rom contains the background materials and documents of the workshop as well as a wide range of background resources related to tomorrow’s networks.

More information can be found here.

Click here to buy the brochure.

Monday, May 22, 2006 4:52:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2006. Iceland has taken over as this year's leader from Korea with Netherlands, Denmark and Hong Kong, China rounding out the top five.

Monday, May 22, 2006 1:12:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The US Department of Commerce has announced that it intends to renew the IANA contract for up to 5 years with ICANN. Also see this Washington Post article and the official presolicitation notice.

Monday, May 22, 2006 11:26:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The April MessageLabs Intelligence Report includes analysis of the threat landscape during the first quarter of 2006. Overall, threat levels remained largely stable with previous months, with the U.S. continuing to play the role as the largest source of malware, spam and phishing attacks, hosting 18.1 percent of the world’s compromised (zombie) computers in the first quarter of 2006 (down from a high of 44 percent in Q2 05).

More information can be found here.

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

Take Back the Net is an initiative of The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP). ISIPP is committed to helping to rid the Internet of spam and other illegal activities, and to helping people to secure their computers. Thanks to Suresh Ramasubramanian for the pointer.

Monday, May 22, 2006 11:13:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Use the Internet at home and you have a 1-in-3 chance of suffering computer damage, financial loss, or both because of a computer virus or spyware that sneaks onto your computer. That's one of the unsettling conclusions from the 2005 Consumer Reports State of the Net survey of online consumers.

More information can be found here.

Monday, May 22, 2006 9:29:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 19, 2006

On 17 May, World Information Society Day, ITU together with other partners (including UNCTAD and the KADO) launched a new series of reports entitled World Information Society Report. The summary of the report is available on the website at www.itu.int/wisr. The report itself will be published in June 2006.

The partners involved have created the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) to measure digital opportunity for 180 economies. It is a composite index created from a set of eleven internationally agreed core ICT indicators (established by the Partnership on Measurement of the Information Society). The DOI has a flexible and versatile structure, based on three categories: opportunity, infrastructure and utilization.  This classification is intended to help policy-makers in determining where countries are strong and weak in order to focus attention on priority areas. The top ten economies for Digital Opportunity are shown below on the left with Korea and Japan leading the rankings. The top major gainers in the DOI during the period 2001-2005 is shown on the right with India and China leading with the most gains. The rankings of all measured economies is shown on page 17 of the World Information Society Report summary.

  

Friday, May 19, 2006 2:59:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bruce Schneier's Schneier on Security points to an article explaining the steps that someone has taken to deal with identity theft.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 10:01:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In a press release today, ITU announced a global opinion survey to assess trust of online transactions and awareness of cybersecurity measures. The survey 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. The portal is a global online reference source of national cybersecurity initiatives and websites around the world and provides an integrated platform for sharing cybersecurity related information and resources. Presenting information tailored to four specific audiences: citizens, businesses, governments, and international organizations, the portal also provides information resources on topical cybersecurity concerns such as spam, spyware, phishing, scams and frauds, worms and viruses, denial of service attacks, etc.

With thousands of links to relevant materials, ITU intends to constantly update the portal with information on cybersecurity initiatives and resources gathered from contributors around the globe. For example, a number of countries are now ramping up national critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP) programmes and sharing information on these initiatives through the portal can assist both developed and developing economies in promoting global cybersecurity.

These efforts 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.

Update: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has made the following statement in conjunction with World Telecommunication Day giving his perspectives on promoting global cybersecurity.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:52:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

17 May 2006 On 17 May, World Information Society Day, ITU together with other partners (including UNCTAD and the KADO) launched a new series of reports entitled World Information Society Reports. It is intended to be an annual report, tracking progress in implementing the outcomes from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The reports will include a new benchmarking tool, the Digital Opportunity Index, which is a composite index for measurement of the information society, endorsed by the Tunis Phase of the WSIS. The summary of the report is available on the website at www.itu.int/wisr. The report itself will be published in June 2006.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 11:46:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Filipino telecoms watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), says it will revoke the mobile licence of any operator found guilty of breaking its guidelines on unsolicited broadcast messaging via SMS. The amended rules and regulations also require content providers – alleged to have sent out spam promos to subscribers – to register with the NTC.

This will serve as the basis of an application with the Department of Trade and Industry that grants permits to allow companies to advertise promos. Mobile phone operators and content providers risk being blacklisted if found guilty of violating the agency’s rules.

More information can be found here.

The Draft Amendement to the Rules and Regulations on Broadcast Messaging Service is available here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:20:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |