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 Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Within the framework of the 17th European Regional ITS Conference, session on the Next Generation Infrastructure (see programme)C.B. Blankart, G. Knieps, and P. Zenhäusern presented their new paper on "Regulation of New Markets in Telecommunications? Market Dynamics and Shrinking Monopolistic Bottlenecks".

In the paper the Authors focuse on the debate on the EU telecommunications regulatory framework and analyse whether new markets create new monopolistic bottlenecks or extend the borderlines of existing bottlenecks. Three kinds of transmission qualities on service markets can be dif-ferentiated according to the products provided: narrowband services like PSTN/ISDN or GSM, semi high-speed broadband services like broadband inter-net access up to 6 Mbps download and VDSL services up to 50 Mbps. As long as, due to the absence of alternative network infrastructures, a monopolistic bot-tleneck in local infrastructure networks exists the question arises what the re-maining bottleneck components are for these different markets. In this paper we will demonstrate the shrinking-bottleneck hypothesis.

Download the full version of the paper.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 6:02:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

European Commission published three studies by external consultants on the review of the EU 2003 regulatory framework.The three studies are the following:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:53:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 07, 2006

A recent APDIP e-Note goes into the discussion of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and Internet Governance.

As the number of non-English speakers on the Internet grows exponentially, the limitations of the Domain Name System have become evident to many.

The APDIP e-Note examines "how IDNs relate to cultural diversity and the basic human right to communicate in one's own language on the Internet. While the bulk of the content on the Internet has been in English, this is rapidly changing. In China, for example, over 60 million of the nation's 100 million-plus users browse the web only in Chinese, yet top-level domain names remain in Roman script for all users. The APDIP e-Note further discusses the ongoing debate on how best to allow users to navigate the Internet in their own language. Different systems available for multilingual domain names and future scenarios are also explored.

Download the full APDIP e-Note.
View other APDIP e-Resources here.

The Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) is an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that aims to promote the development and application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for sustainable human development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:53:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A select committee has recommended a major change to New Zealand's anti-spam bill, suggesting anyone should be able to send unsolicited emails that are of an entirely non-commercial nature and need not desist even if asked to do so by the recipient. The original anti-spam bill said that organisations that sent unsolicited emails to promote their aims or ideals - such as school newsletters and messages from political lobbyists - would fall foul of the spam bill. This is if they did not stop sending messages when asked to do so, by letting recipients "opt-out". The select committee dropped this requirement in amendments it proposed early September 2006.

The proposed amendments also drop the legal requirement that spam be reported to a customer's internet service provider before Internal Affairs could take action. Other proposed amendments eliminate the distinction between emails whose prime purpose is commercial and ones that are primarily promotional, but which contain a commercial element, and lift a ban on possessing or supplying email harvesting software, but bans New Zealanders from using such software to send spam.

This news item was retrieved through the APCAUCE Newslog.
The full article is available at stuff.co.nz.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:50:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In a recent press release, Gartner, Inc. says that the number of households around the world subscribing to Internet Protocol television (IPTV) services offered by telecom carriers will reach 48.8 million in 2010. Buoyed by new service launches, IPTV subscribers will more than double in 2007 from an expected 6.4 million in 2006 to 13.3 million according to Gartner.

Despite the eight-fold increase in users between 2006 and 2010, Gartner says that carriers will struggle to turn IPTV into a mainstream Pay TV distribution platform on par with established cable or satellite services. "The difficulty in carving out a distinctive proposition that will clearly differentiate early IPTV services from other established TV options will lead many service providers around the world to drive adoption by competing on price in the next few years", said Elroy Jopling, research director at Gartner. "As a result, the global picture for IPTV revenue is much less impressive than for subscriber numbers."

"Global IPTV revenue during the period will grow from $872 million in 2006 to a still relatively modest $13.2 billion by 2010. IPTV will not be a panacea to replace diminishing voice revenue for carriers, but in the medium term it can be a powerful tool for carriers in helping retain customers on their existing voice and broadband services."

Gartner defines IPTV as the delivery of video programming (either broadcast or on-demand) over a carrier’s managed broadband network to a customer’s TV set. It does not include streaming media over the Internet to a PC.

See the full press release on the Garner website.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:45:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 28, 2006

A presentation entitled "Booming Broadband for a Wireless World" was given by Lara Srivastava of ITU on 22 August 2006 at BroadbandAsia 2006 in Shanghai, China. Other speakers included, inter alia, L. Ladid (President, IPv6 Forum), T. Poulos (Asia-Pacific Head, Global Billing Association), A. Hassan (Executive Director, Wi-Fi Alliance), J. Wang (Secretary-General, TD-SCDMA Forum), S. Ramaswamy (Senior Vice President, Bharti AirTel).

Monday, August 28, 2006 9:24:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), in the context of its work together with the OECD Anti-Spam Task Force has developed an E-mail Metrics Program and agreed on a series of ISPs spam indicators. In June 2006 MAAWG released the second spam metrics report. The report, providing data for the first quarter 2006, is key to evaluating the evolution of spam and the effectiveness of anti-spam solutions and educational efforts.

Download the full MAAWG report here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 4:00:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 5th of May 2006, France and Japan signed a joint statement within the framework of a coordinated international action in order to fight spam. Both countries especially consider to exchange informations and good practices regarding the field of anti-spam policies and strategies.

The French Direction du Developpement des Medias (DDM) has more information on their website.

See other spam-related articles on the OECD Task Force on Spam website

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:45:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 18, 2006

The Vietnamese Ministry of Trade is drafting a circular governing advertising activities by electronic means, including emails, pop-ups and mobile phone messages.

"Local Internet users have been bombarded with spam mails but most of them are from overseas. Now such a circular is necessary as local spamming activities are on the rise.

The circular has basic requirements for users to fight spams such as opt-out options, genuine sender addresses, sender telephone numbers and obvious headings. But it seems that the draft circular is too lenient towards spammers when it provides them five working days before they have to stop their spams in case recipients choose to opt out. It also allows for the collection of personal data including email addresses and telephone numbers. Even though the circular requires collecting parties to ask for permission first and to keep those data confidential, this provision can be abused and can cause disputes later on.

This is all the more possible because the circular provides two scenarios: A complete ban of sales of email addresses and telephone numbers to advertisers; or allowing such an activity. Unsolicited short mobile messages are now possible because some carriers are selling subscribers’ numbers to various advertising companies. Users are especially frustrated when senders use some automatic message generation device so that they might receive an advertising message in the middle of the night.

The fines provided in the draft circular are from VND5 million to VND20 million, which many say are not heavy enough to prevent harmful violations of personal information."

[via APCAUCE and Viet Nam News]

Friday, August 18, 2006 10:03:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An article entitled New regulation to monitor online video spoof craze in Xinhua Online says that new regulations are in the pipeline to regulate video content on the internet in the wake of a surge in short satirical films online, according to the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

"Video spoofs have become so popular that netizens have even coined a slang term, "egao," to describe the act of using real film clips to create mocking send-ups.

From late August or September, only authorized websites such as sina.com, sohu.com and netease.com, will be allowed to show short films under the new regulations, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing an announcement by the administration."

[via Smart Mobs]

Friday, August 18, 2006 8:21:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 17, 2006

At the invitation of the Government of Cameroon and Cameroon's Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART), FTRA-2006, on the theme "IP networks and related services: Challenges for African regulators", was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 7 and 8 June 2006. Eighty-three participants from 23 countries and 11 organizations attended the forum.

Participants emphasized the need to review the telecommunications-ICT political, legal, administrative and regulatory issues with a view to their inclusion of aspects relating to the Internet and related services, and the need for human capacity building for regulators in a rapidly changing telecommunications environment. After the successful establishment of sub-regional African Telecommunication Regulatory Associations, the Forum discussed the creation of a PAN African Regulatory Association building on the achievement of the African Telecommunication Regulators Network (ATRN) with the aim of putting in place an efficient mechanism capable of decision-making at the continental level. They finally agreed in principle on the establishment of such an association and its integration in the African Telecommunications Union (ATU). The recommendations agreed on may be found in the final communiqué.

FTRA-2007 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya with the exact dates announced at a later date.

[via the ITU-D Newslog]

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:42:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Boeing has announced that it is to discontinue its Connexion broadband in the sky service

[via GigaOM]

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:08:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The International Herald Tribune has an article about the growing problem of "cyberviolence" in South Korea, which has one of the world's most developed Internet communities:

'Complaints filed with the government's Korea Internet Safety Commission more than doubled to 42,643 last year from 18,031 in 2003. Women have reported sexual harassment. A 16-year- old schoolgirl accused of informing on an abusive teacher ran away after her photos and insults were splashed on her school Web site. A singer struggled with rumors that she was a man. Twist Kim, a singer and comedian, had a nervous breakdown after pornographic Web sites proliferated under his name, as if he had created them, causing television stations to spurn him.

In most countries, Internet users oppose government attempts to censor the Internet. In South Korea, however, in both government-funded and private surveys, a majority of people support official intervention to check unbridled freedom of speech on the Internet.

A poll taken in November showed that nearly one of 10 South Koreans from 13 to 65 said they had experienced cyberviolence.

The problem in South Korea may presage what will happen in other countries, according to the authorities, who have begun cracking down on the problem.

"In the past few years, the Internet has grown in South Korea explosively," said Kim Sung Ho, secretary general at Kinternet, a lobby of domestic portals. "The Internet community has developed faster and stronger in South Korea than elsewhere. So we are struggling with its side effects earlier than other nations."

Since last year, dozens of people have been indicted on charges of criminal contempt or slander for writing or spreading malicious online insults about victims like Kim Myong Jae. They face fines of as much as 2 million won, or $2,067.

This month, the National Assembly will debate a bill that would require the nation's 30 major Internet portals and newspaper Web sites to confirm the identities of visitors before allowing them to use bulletin boards, the main channel of cyberviolence.

"The idea is to make people feel more responsible for what they are posting on the Net," said Oh Sang Kyoon, a director at the Ministry of Information and Communications. "Victims cannot live a normal life. They quit jobs and run away from society. They even flee the country. It's like lynching victims in a 'people's court on the Web.'"

Some critics question whether such a law would solve the problem. Cyberviolence, they say, has been increasing even though most of the country's major Web sites are already applying the policy.

"This is violating privacy in the name of protecting it," said Oh Byoung Il, director general at jinbo.net, a civic group. "It discourages anonymous whistle- blowers. It impedes the free flow of communication, the soul of the Internet."

Official interference will also discriminate in favor of foreign portals like Google, said Kim of Kinternet. For instance, when users search for "sex" in a South Korean portal, they must first prove they are adults by supplying personal data - a requirement that does not apply to the Korean-language Google, which operates with an overseas server.

But Kim Myong Jae condemned the portals as willing accomplices in online mob attacks. While painfully slow to respond to victims' complaints, Kim said, the portals - the largest of which, naver.com, attracts 15 million users a day - highlight real-time lists of the most- clicked-on news, thus helping spread sensational, and often libelous, items.

Kim said he had filed suit against the nation's top four portals: Naver, Daum, Yahoo! Korea and Nate.

And portals say they are now screening their contents more vigorously. "Rather than being an arena for sound debate, the Web bulletin boards have to some extent become a place for verbal defecation," said Choi Soo Yeon, a naver.com spokeswoman. "We have 300 monitors who work round the clock to delete abusive and defamatory language." But ultimately, the portals say, the users who post on the Web should be responsible for content.

South Korea saw an explosion of Internet users as the country emerged from decades of military rule, and citizens jumped on the new technology as a way of expressing long-suppressed views. About 33 million South Koreans - out of a population of 48 million - use the Internet, most of them with broadband connections. And many of them are not shy about their feelings.

News articles on portals or newspaper Web sites often are accompanied by feedback sections, where readers comments. Some news articles attract thousands of entries, ranging from thoughtful comments to raving obscenities. When suspicions first emerged last year that the cloning expert Hwang Woo Suk had faked his groundbreaking work, few dared to speak in public against the man lionized as a hero. Scientists, who unveiled evidence of fabrication through anonymous postings, brought about Hwang's downfall.

One of the most famous victims of online mob rule was the so-called "dog-poop girl." A cellphone photograph of a girl who failed to clean up after her dog in a subway car was posted on the Internet. For weeks, people pursued her relentlessly; the girl reportedly dropped out of school as a result.

To Kim Myong Jae, it was familiar. "Two months after I became the target, I visited a plaza near my old company. I dressed differently. Still a person reported my appearance on the Web, how I looked and how that person felt sick to see me," Kim said. "It's a handicap I may have to carry for a long time."'

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:07:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
An article in Computer World describes how a researcher has announced at the Black Hat USA security conference that he will release a tool to test for "network neutrality".

The researcher, Dan Kaminsky, calls his technique "TCP-based active probing for faults." He plans to post information on TCP-based active probing for faults at www.doxpara.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 4:27:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 11, 2006

"As cell phones and PDAs become more technologically advanced, attackers are finding new ways to target victims. By using text messaging or email, an attacker could lure you to a malicious site or convince you to install malicious code on your portable device."

The U.S. CERT (Computer Emergence Readiness Team) recently published a list of tips for users on how they can protect themselves against these increasing threats.

What unique risks do cell phones and PDAs present?

Most current cell phones have the ability to send and receive text messages. Some cell phones and PDAs also offer the ability to connect to the internet. Although these are features that you might find useful and convenient, attackers may try to take advantage of them. As a result, an attacker may be able to accomplish the following:

  • Abuse your service;
  • Lure you to a malicious web site;
  • Use your cell phone or PDA in an attack;
  • Gain access to account information.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Follow general guidelines for protecting portable devices;
  • Be careful about posting your cell phone number and email address;
  • Do not follow links sent in email or text messages;
  • Be wary of downloadable software;
  • Evaluate your security settings.

Read the full article on the U.S. CERT website.

Friday, August 11, 2006 11:05:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 04, 2006

A forthcoming ITU-T IPTV Global Technical Workshop will review and examine IPTV standardization, political and regulatory aspects, business models and various case studies as well as technical developments and service provider’s operational aspects.

IPTV represents a convergence between the traditional telecommunication and broadcast industries. And, as with any convergence a lot of work is needed to ensure interoperability. Globally accepted standards are clearly a key enabler for this. With many of the conditions necessary for IPTV rollout in place - global IP connectivity over managed broadband infrastructure with such guarantees as QoS and security, and broadband connectivity with enhanced network capabilities - there is a strong demand for standards to ensure smooth service rollout and interoperability.

The workshop will provide a review of the current status of IPTV work as well as an examination of where to go next.

See the meeting website for further information.

[ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, August 04, 2006 11:35:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 03, 2006

The top three antivirus programs -- from Symantec, McAfee, and Trend Micro -- are less likely to detect new viruses and worms than less popular programs, because virus writers specifically test their work against those programs:

"On Wednesday, the general manager of Australia's Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT), Graham Ingram, described how the threat landscape has changed -- along with the skill of malware authors.

"We are getting code of a quality that is probably worthy of software engineers. Not application developers but software engineers," said Ingram.

However, the actual reason why the top selling antivirus applications don't work is because malware authors are specifically testing their Trojans and viruses to make sure they can bypass these applications before releasing them in the wild.

It's interesting to watch the landscape change, as malware becomes less the province of hackers and more the province of criminals. This is one move in a continuous arms race between attacker and defender."

[via Schneier on Security]

In separate reporting on the Black Hat USA conference, experts say that the spyware problem has "gotten so bad that it is unlikely it can ever be solved on a technical level. Instead, the solution will have to come from regulators and law enforcement agencies" .

"It's not technically feasible to stop spyware. You will not be able to stop this technically "This problem lives at the legal-technical boundary. We can't go around arresting people," said Dan Kaminsky, senior security researcher and founder of Seattle-based Doxpara Research, speaking on a spyware panel at the recent Black Hat USA 2006 event. "We need to create standards that clearly delineate legitimate code from illegitimate code where you throw people in jail."

Thursday, August 03, 2006 10:28:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |