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 Saturday, October 21, 2006

There is growing interest in the economics of information infrastructure security.

Some of the seminal work in the field has been done by Ross Anderson of Cambridge University, particularly in his original paper Why Information Security is Hard - An Economic Perspective as well as in some of Bruce Schneier's work. Ross Anderson maintains an excellent resource page on the topic with pointers to relevant material.

In June of this year, the Fifth Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS 2006) was held in Cambridge, England and next week the The Workshop on the Economics of Security the Information Infrastructure will take place on 23 October 2006 in the Washington, D.C. area.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 9:51:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be held in Athens, Greece from 30 October - 2 November 2006.

The current programme is available here.

A couple of related websites have been unveiled:

CircleID has a related article asking What Will Be the Outcome of the Internet Governance Forum Meeting in Athens?

Saturday, October 21, 2006 8:28:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 20, 2006

Business Week Online shows in a recent article entitled "Needed: A National Cyber Security Law'" that more and more people have their personal information lost, stolen or compromised. Security breaches are eroding their trust in the capability of the Internet to deal with their private personal information. This growing confidence-deficit represents a serious threat to the economic growth of each country, according to the article. Therefore, it is time for officials to act by passing strong data-security laws. These national laws must aim to both prevent further data breaches and address leaks once they occur.

"To accomplish these goals, lawmakers should establish reasonable security measures, create a consistent and recognizable notification standard, encourage best practices such as encryption, and include effective enforcement capabilities".

See Business Week Online for the full article.

Friday, October 20, 2006 12:36:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Computer World released an article entitled “Ten security trends worth watching”, based on Bruce Schneier’s speech at last month’s Hack in the Box Security Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Mr. Schneier identified 10 trends affecting information security today:

  1. Information is more valuable than ever.
  2. Networks are critical infrastructure. "If the Net goes down, or part of the Net goes down, it really affects the economy".
  3. Users do not necessarily control information about themselves. For example, Internet service providers have control over records the Web sites that users visit and email messages they send and receive.
  4. Hacking is increasingly a criminal profession. More and more, attacks are organized and led by criminals who are driven by a profit motive.
  5. Complexity is your enemy. "As systems get more complex they get less secure". Mr. Schneier mentioned that the Internet is "the most complex machine ever built".
  6. Attacks are faster than patches. New vulnerabilities and exploits are being discovered faster than vendors can patch them.
  7. Worms are more sophisticated than ever. 
  8. The endpoint is the weakest link. "It doesn't matter how good your authentication schemes are if the remote computer isn't trustworthy".
  9. End users are seen as threats.
  10. Regulations will drive security audits.

See Computer World for the full article.

Friday, October 20, 2006 7:41:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 19, 2006

"The existing identity infrastructure of the Internet is no longer sustainable. The level of fraudulent activity online has grown exponentially over the years and is now threatening to cripple e-commerce. Something must be done now before consumer confidence and trust in online activities are so diminished as to lead to its demise." A recently released paper by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada, Ann Cavoukian, tries to address this: 7 Laws of Identity: The Case for Privacy-Embedded Laws of Identity in the Digital Age. 

See more information on the 7 Laws in the related news release and brochure.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 7:39:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The European Commission held its final conference on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on 16 October 2006 in Brussels, to close the series of consultations initiatives announced by Commissioner Viviane Reding at CeBit in March 2006. The conference (RFID: Heading for the Future) was opened by the Commissioner and featured Commission officials, members of the European Parliament, and relevant stakeholders from industry, government and civil society who have been involved in the ongoing European debate about RFID. ITU's Lara Srivastava spoke at the conference on the topic "RFID: from identification to identity" and her presentation is available here.

More information about the EU's RFID consultation is available here.

 

 

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 4:06:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) is a composite index that has been developed by the ITU/Digital Opportunity Platform to measure countries' progress in ICTs and digital opportunity, as part of the endorsed methodology for WSIS evaluation and follow-up. It is a flexible methodology that has been used in many different ways. Every day this week, SPU will demonstrate a different application of the DOI, to show its flexible and versatile applications for policy analysis.

The urban/rural digital divide is one of the most obvious divisions in many countries (depending on their geography, degree of urbanisation and industrial development, among other factors). ITU has traditionally sought to monitor the urban/rural divide in telecoms using the indicators of % of main lines in urban areas and mainlines in the largest city. For example, in China, as recently as 2004, just over two-thirds of all mainlines were to be found in urban areas (World Telecommunication Indicators).

However, the urban/rural divide extends far beyond connectivity. Differences in digital opportunity between urban and rural areas are also evident in the price of access to ICTs (often more expensive in rural areas), speed and quality of access (what the Nigerian blogger Oro calls "plug and pray") and technology in e.g., coverage of population with a mobile signal. The Digital Opportunity Index measures all these different aspects to access to ICTs.

For most countries, detailed data on urban/rural differences for all these aspects are difficult to come by. However, at the recent Digital Opportunity Forum held in Korea, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology presented its expert analysis of the urban/rural divide in Egypt (see figure below). Taking into account differences in price, coverage, Internet availability and usage, the Ministry calculated that the rural population in Egypt has one quarter less opportunity to access and use ICTs as in urban areas. This points to a measurable and significant urban/rural divide in connectivity in a country where the vast majority of the population (95%) live in the fertile Nile valley. The DOI provides a means not only of quantifying the extent of this urban/rural divide, but also of monitoring its future evolution.

The urban/rural divide in Egypt


Source: Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, presented to the Digital Opportunity Forum, 1 September 2006.

For more information about the Digital Opportunity Index, click here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 3:07:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The 2006 ITU ‘Young Minds’ are now in their final week of the SPU-administered programme. Now entering its third year, the programme is designed to give young people valuable exposure to the international telecommunication environment and the work of ITU. Lucy Yu from the United Kingdom and Chin Yung Lu from Hong Kong SAR were selected as the 2006 Young Minds. As part of their work at the SPU, the Young Minds have been researching telecommunications technologies and preparing text for the ITU Internet Report 2006: digital.life. Statistics were collected and prepared by Kenichi Yamada.

The ITU Internet Report is a series of publications prepared on a yearly basis especially for ITU TELECOM events. The 2006 edition is the eighth in the series and will be published to coincide with ITU TELECOM World 2006, to be held in Hong Kong from 4th - 8th December. The report begins by examining the underlying technological enablers of new digital lifestyles, from upgrading network infrastructure to value creation at its edges. In studying how businesses are adapting to fast-paced digital innovation, the report looks at how they can derive value in an environment driven by convergence at multiple levels. The question of extending access to underserved areas of the world is considered as an important priority. In light of media convergence, a fresh approach to policy-making may be required, notably in areas such as content, competition policy, and spectrum management. Concerns over privacy and data protection are not being sufficiently addressed by current methods for managing identities online. As such, the report examines the changing digital individual, and outlines the need for improving the design of identity management mechanisms for a healthy and secure digital world.

As a conclusion to their research, the Young Minds each gave a presentation on selected topics that are each expanded upon in digital.life. Their presentations, entitled ‘A User-Generated Digital World’ and ‘Internet Protocol Television (IPTV): Television is changing…..’ can be seen here. In her presentation, Lucy Yu introduced the phenomenon of user generated content and talked about the effect that this is having on communities and social networking as well as the web’s wider knowledge base. She went on to talk about business models and the potential for growth and the threats that legislation and social acceptance may pose to user-generated content. Finally, she questioned future possible trends and explored how the market might evolve. In his presentation, Chin Yung introduced IPTV and illustrated how it works, and talked of the growing trend of media convergence between television services and the internet. He also listed the main differences between IPTV and Internet Video Streaming, which are often thought to be the same technologies. To conclude, Chin Yung displayed some IPTV deployments in Europe and Asia and suggested that IPTV can be an exciting opportunity for telcos.

Both ‘Young Minds’ have greatly enjoyed their time on the programme and would encourage any young people with a passion for telecoms to take part in the 2007 call. For further details on the Young Minds programme see the Young Minds webpage.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 1:41:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Slashdot has an article that says "Researchers are finding it practically futile to keep up with evolving botnet attacks. 'We've known about [the threat from] botnets for a few years, but we're only now figuring out how they really work, and I'm afraid we might be two to three years behind in terms of response mechanisms,' said Marcus Sachs, a deputy director in the Computer Science Laboratory of SRI International, in Arlington, Va. There is a general feeling of hopelessness as botnet hunters discover that, after years of mitigating command and controls, the effort has largely gone to waste. 'We've managed to hold back the tide, but, for the most part, it's been useless,' said Gadi Evron, a security evangelist at Beyond Security, in Netanya, Israel, and a leader in the botnet-hunting community. 'When we disable a command-and-control server, the botnet is immediately re-created on another host. We're not hurting them anymore.' There is an interesting image gallery of a botnet in action as discovered by security researcher Sunbelt Software."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:50:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Om Malik points to an article in French that discuss how Free.fr, the world's leading multiple play provider based in France is now quickly moving into wireless mesh networks with its new Freebox HD set-top box/wiifi offering. To understand the quantitative advantages of wireless mesh networks, see this presentation from Dave Beyer from 2002 that explains how mesh coverage has the interesting property of increasing coverage and capacity as the more subscribers are added (since the subscribers are part of the routing infrastructure).

Free recently announced the delivery of their 300,000 Freebox HD, which they say creates a wi-fi mesh network that allowing their new wi-fi based phones to roam.

Olivier Gutknecht reported on some of this in English back in April 2006.

Free is also going to do a rollout of FTTH to every home in Paris which they say they will unbundle to competitors.

They also now have a national WiMax license acquired through the acquisition by their parent company, Iliad, of Altitude Telecom.

This recent presentation on Iliad's mid-2006 results provides a good overview of their strategic direction and their financials. What is next?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:20:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Economist has an article entitled Your television is ringing that discusses service providers build-outs of Next Generation Network (NGN) converged platforms.

In fact, although the industry likes to depict convergence as a great boon for customers, it actually involves a technological shift that, in the first instance at least, will primarily benefit network operators. At its heart, convergence is the result of the telecoms industry's embrace of internet technology, which provides a cheaper, more efficient way to move data around on networks. On the internet everything travels in the form of “packets” of data, encoded using internet protocol, or IP. The same system can also be used to encode phone conversations, text and photo messages, video calls and television channels—and indeed anything else.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:09:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 16, 2006

The ITU’s Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU) is delighted to announce over 70,000 downloads of its major new report, the World Information Society Report (WISR) since July.

The World Information Society Report charts progress in building the Information Society and track the dynamics driving digital opportunity worldwide using a new tool—the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI). The Digital Opportunity Index can strengthen policy-making by monitoring the critical areas of the digital divide, universal access, gender and the promotion of broadband and universal service policies. The DOI has been cited by the US Federal Communications Commission to measure the state of broadband in the United States, monitored in Ireland to track the price of broadband and used by the Egyptian Government to measure the urban-rural divide in Egypt.

Every day this week, SPU will profile a different practical application of the Digital Opportunity Index, to demonstrate its genuine use for policy purposes and to show how it can monitor WSIS follow-up. The Digital Opportunity Index is relevant for policy-makers, regulators, academics, public and other stakeholders with an interest in telecommunications and development.

To find out more, please click here.

Monday, October 16, 2006 5:37:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 12, 2006

As a result of a British documentary, India is now under pressure to strengthen its laws combating data theft and other electronic crimes in the country. Amendments to India’s IT Act of 2000 have been proposed and should be enacted by the national parliament in its upcoming winter.

Read the full Information Week article here.

See also Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies for more information.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 8:47:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An Open Event on "Security and Identity Management in a Federated World" was held on 2 October 2006, hosted by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in collaboration with Sun Microsystems. Speakers included Sun Microsystems' John Gage and Liberty Alliance's Hellmuth Broda. ITU's Lara Srivastava participated in the event and spoke on "the problem of identity in networked spaces". Her presentation is available here.

The subject of digital identity will be examined more closely in the forthcoming 2006 ITU Internet Report entitled "digital.life", to be released at ITU Telecom World 2006, 4-8 December 2006 (Hong Kong, China).

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 9:29:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Three of the world's leading Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), AMS-IX, DE-CIX and LINX are hosting the first European Peering Forum on 29-30 November 2006 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Sponsored by Foundry Networks and IXEurope, the event is designed to bring together representatives from the respective IXP member organisations to discuss all aspects of peering from negotiating to operations. (Peering is a cost neutral arrangement between two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to exchange Internet traffic. It is undertaken to reduce costs and provide more direct routing of that traffic.)

For more information on the event see the European Peering Forum website.

This story was accessed through Total Telecom.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:36:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The OECD's Information, Computer and Communications Policy Committee (ICCP) organised a one-day international Forum on "Next Generation Networks: Evolution and Policy Considerations", which was held on Tuesday, 3 October 2006 in Budapest, Hungary.

For more information about the event see the OECD website.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:28:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A recent BBC article shows how vulnerable XP Home really is. "Using a computer acting as a so-called 'honeypot' the BBC has been regularly logging how many potential net-borne attacks hit the average Windows PC every day. With a highly protected XP Pro machine running VMWare, the BBC hosted an unprotected XP Home system to simulate what an 'average' home PC faces when connected to the internet."

The majority of the incidents were merely nuisances. "Many were announcements for fake security products that use vulnerabilities in Windows Messenger to make their messages pop-up. Others were made to look like security warnings to trick people into downloading the bogus file." "However, at least once an hour, on average, the BBC honeypot was hit by an attack that could leave an unprotected machine unusable or turn it into a platform for attacking other PCs. Many of these attacks were by worms such as SQL.Slammer and MS.Blaster both of which first appeared in 2003. The bugs swamp net connections as they search for fresh victims and make host machines unstable. They have not been wiped out because they scan the net so thoroughly that they can always find another vulnerable machine to leap to and use as a host while they search for new places to visit."

Read the full BBC story.

This article was accessed through Slashdot.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 8:35:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 09, 2006

Wired News in an article brings attention to the insecurity of some of the new technologies online. “VOIP and Ajax -- are dangerously insecure, and likely to only get worse as they become more prevalent, according to security researchers presenting their findings at the ToorCon security conference.”

"Voice over internet protocol is going mainstream, available to consumers and increasingly replacing the private phone systems in businesses of all sizes. Like the traditional phone, a VOIP call is broken into two parts, or channels. The first is signaling, which negotiates things like when to start and stop a call, what to do if another call comes in, and what to do if something about the call changes. The second part is media, the bit where we talk. In most VOIP systems neither of these channels is actually encrypted."

"According to Dustin Trammell, VOIP security researcher at Tipping Point, this leaves most VOIP calls vulnerable. Calls can be hijacked without either party's knowledge anywhere along the route over the net that connects the call, and nearly all VOIP systems can fall victim to signal-channel attacks that can fake caller ID, degrade call quality, end calls suddenly, and crash the end device -- either your VOIP phone or computer. Internet telephony can even fall victim to denial-of-service attacks that flood a phone with fake requests to start a call, rendering it useless."

Read the full Wired News article on VOIP and AJAX security issues.

Monday, October 09, 2006 12:01:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006 5:53:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

‘Teledensity‘, or the number of phones per 100 inhabitants, is one of the more useful measures of an economy’s ICT infrastructure. In the early 1990s, ITU carried out research on the progress of Asia-Pacific economies in achieving the ‘teledensity transition‘ in their fixed-line networks (see left chart). The ‘teledensity transition‘ may be defined as passing from a teledensity of 10 lines per 100 inhabitants to 30 per 100. Below a teledensity of 10, access to telecommunications is restricted to a small part of the population and few businesses and therefore the impact of telecommunications on the economy and society is limited. With a teledensity above 30 per 100, access to telecommunications is available to a majority of households and virtually all businesses. Thus, the use of telecommunications can be expected to have a comparatively greater impact on the economy and society.

For the developed economies in the Asia-Pacific region, it took between 8 and 35 years (average 16 years) to make the transition between 1935 and 1995, with a progressive acceleration over time. However, for a sample of developing economies in the same region, it took only between 2 and 6 years (average 3 years) to make the transition between 1995 and 2006 (see right chart).

The main difference between the two charts is that the developed countries made the transition using fixed-line networks, whereas the developing economies have invariably made the transition using mobile networks. Mobile networks can generally be rolled out much more quickly, and more cheaply, and are more convenient for users (e.g., through pre-paid cards). Furthermore, mobile networks are relatively ‘development-neutral‘, in the sense that developed economies made the mobile teledensity transition only marginally more quickly (2.6 years) than developing ones (3.1 years).

For more insights from telecom transition and digital opportunity in the information society, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Friday, October 06, 2006 5:16:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

Europe is the most advanced region with a DOI score of 0.55, considerably higher than the world average (0.37), followed by the Americas (0.4). DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries.

European countries, which are mostly developed economies, provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. Poorer European countries generally have medium DOI scores (e.g. Albania, Belarus, Turkey and Ukraine). Poland and Russia are among the top 15 gainers in the DOI worldwide over the period 2000-2005, making significant progress in ICT infrastructure.

The economies from the region are also leveraging their investments in infrastructure well in order to widely introduce new technologies and yield more advanced forms of usage. One interesting aspect of mobile Internet usage is the wide variation in access among countries of similar economic or geographic circumstances. Almost a third of Slovenian households and one fifth of Finnish households use mobile phones to access the Internet, while in other countries, less than five per pent of households use mobile phones to access the Internet.

Despite the favourable global picture, disparities in connectivity within the region persist and many are concerned about the European digital divide, which is likely to result from the sometimes modest convergence between the economies.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 5:39:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

GigaOM points to an interview with Skype co-founder Janus Friis where he discusses their new P2P television startup: The Venice Project.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 4:28:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Finnish Regulatory Communications Authority Ficora launched .8.5.3.e164.arpa user ENUM into public commercial operation after a successful pilot phase that started in 2003. The database was cleared between the pilot phase and commercial operation and thus there are no delegations at the moment. A Ficora representative says: "Our next aim is to get as much support from telcos and registrars for ENUM as possible. Currently I'm optimistic for their support since we are having good discussions with all major Finnish telcos."

User ENUM is currently in commercial operation in Austria, Poland, Romania, Germany, Netherlands, and Finland. Ireland is still in negotiations.

This article was accessed through Richard's Blog on VOIP and ENUM.

What is ENUM?
ENUM is a protocol that is the result of work of the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF's) Telephone Number Mapping Working Group. The charter of this working group was to define a Domain Name System (DNS)-based architecture and protocols for mapping a telephone number to a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) which can be used to contact a resource associated with that number. The protocol itself is defined in RFC 3761: The E.164 to URI DDDS Application (ENUM), which obsoletes RFC 2916. The protocol provides facilities to resolve E.164 telephone numbers into other resources or services on the internet. ITU-T Recommendation E.164 is the international public telecommunication telephone numbering plan and current ENUM delegations can be found here. More information on ENUM can be found here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 2:32:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The map illustrates the strong lead taken by Asia, together with Europe and North America, in realizing digital opportunity. Two Asian countries top the world rankings – the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the average DOI scores for the region are higher than the world average of 0.37. Central Asian countries are catching up fast with large infrastructural investments and strong gains in mobile and internet subscribers, including 3G mobile technologies (CDMA 2000 1x and W-CDMA). It is worth noting that five out of the top 15 gainers in the DOI come from the Asian region: these are India, China, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The Asian Tigers, together with Scandinavian countries lead in internet subscriptions, with around a third of their population subscribing to the internet, but only half of these subscribed to broadband services. This is in contrast to the Republic of Korea, where virtually all internet users are broadband subscribers, with access to faster, advanced services such as video, teleconferencing, multiplayer gaming and triple play. These different profiles of internet usage could result in the development of more varied skill sets and contrasting rates of innovation and, over the longer term, may shape the Information Society differently, according to the type, speed and capacity of internet access available. However, there are often large differences in the level of development within the region - the Asia-Pacific region contains both high-income and Least Developed Countries. In many economies fixed line telephony has been challenged by the worldwide growth in mobile phones.

However, there remains a strong need for basic connectivity in Asia, where connectivity is the main factor driving the digital divide and limiting access to ICTs.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:31:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"The ICT industry is expected to grow by 6% in 2006 and, looking ahead, highest growth will be driven by Internet-related investments, Linux servers, digital storage, personal digital assistants and new portable consumer products." But any return to the heady days of 20% and 30% growth in many products and market segments in the 1990s are unlikely, according to the 2006 edition of the OECD’s Information Technology Outlook 2006.

For more information, see the OECD Information and Communications Policy website.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 3:49:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission has signed a contract with the consortium Equant/Hewlett Packard for the provision of the infrastructure replacing several data communication infrastructures at EU level. sTESTA (Trans European Services for Telematics between Administrations), is the European Union's classified telecommunication network and responds to the growing need for secure information exchange between European and National administrations.

In order to respond to the need for a telecommunication network serving multiple stakeholders in multiple policy areas, the European Commission, the European Council, Europol and the European Railway Agency have joined forces. The sTESTA framework contract was awarded following a jointly launched tendering procedure. This contract will allow European and National Administrations to exchange data within several policy areas in a secured and reliable way. Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: "This initiative will make the EU’s electronic communication infrastructure considerably more efficient. It will enable us to better respond to the many challenges in the field of eGovernment, making our society more modern and safer."

Read more in the EC Press Release.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 12:19:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU and the EU's Daidalos Project plan a workshop on "Digital Identity for NGN" Dec. 5 in Geneva, officials said Mon. The Daidalos Project and VeriSign are advancing global standardization of digital identity management at the ITU, officials said. Proposals have been floated at ITU on handling the issue, but consensus is still forming. The aim of the workshop is to understand better providers' need to offer digital identity across layers of communication systems, administrative domains and other boundaries, documents said. Key challenges for developing a more consistent approach are to tackle the conflicting requirements of privacy, identification and security, documents said. The NGN-GSI Event will focus on identity management as a key theme during its meeting Oct. 23-Nov. 3, said an official involved in the work. The past year or 2, several research institutes in Japan, S. Korea and Switzerland have been interested in sensor network identifiers, he added. There's supposed to be an identity management piece in the October 23-24 Grid Workshop as well, the official said: "There's a whole burgeoning world of communicating sensor devices, and [they] will need some kind of identity to communicate whatever kind of sensing information they have."

Source: Warren's Washington Internet Daily

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 8:44:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The Americas are the second most advanced region in terms of ICT development, following Europe. DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries. In low income Latin American countries, digital opportunity mostly derives from access to cellular service and affordable telecoms. Meanwhile, high-income North-American countries are successfully realizing digital opportunity through high-performance infrastructure (e.g., broadband) and the use of advanced technologies.

In North America, the economies provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. From the Latin American countries, Chile is the highest-ranking Latin American country at 40th place in the DOI for 2005, followed by Argentina at 51st place.

Four of the Top 15 gainers in the DOI over the period 2001-2005 are from Latin America – Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Peru – the latter two are also among the very rare cases where Utilization exceeds Infrastructure. The strong gains in Utilization in Chile and Venezuela resulted from early policies for privatization and a vibrant private sector has successfully promoted telecommunications and the higher-margin broadband segment in these countries.

Caribbean states also generally do well in the DOI. This may be due to an ‘island effect’, where small islands may specialize in ICT intensive offshore industries reliant on telecommunications. Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda all have high DOI scores.

The DOI registers a steady expansion in the number of mobile Internet subscribers, reflected in the steady increase in Utilization over time. Most notably, the DOI shows that mobile Internet and 3G services are no longer the preserve of high-income countries and are now offered in many developing countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in central and eastern Asia. The 2005 Mobinet study on global mobile usage reports an upward trend in the percentage of multimedia phone users in Latin America browsing the internet or using mobile e-mail at least once a month on their phones, which jumped from 32 per cent in 2004 to 64 per cent in 2005.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 4:56:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The International Telecommunication Union along with the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organization (CTO) organized a three-day Forum 26-28 September on Using ICT for Effective Disaster Management. The meeting at Ochos Rios, Jamaica adopted a road map for better coordination in the use of state-of-the-art information and communication technologies (ICT) aimed at improved disaster preparedness and mitigation.

The roadmap includes: formulation of appropriate policies deployment of appropriate technologies ratification and implementation of the Tampere Convention for free movement of technical equipment in case of disaster capacity building for users of ICT services and applications establishment of national platforms that help countries to be ready to use ICT when disasters strike development of common regional strategies on integrating ICT in all phases of disaster mitigation: early warning, preparedness, response and relief

At the Ochos Rios meeting, comments from Jamaican government officials and several regional Caribbean representatives focused on the ability, or lack of ability, of governments, telecom carriers, IT backup service providers, businesses enterprise customers and other private-sector organizations to cope with their most comment peril: tropical hurricanes. The intense 2005 hurricane season brought a record 27 storms (including Emily, Katrina and Wilma) into the region. "Following the 2004 Ivan hurricane disaster and Emily in 2005, it became evident that the lack of communications was one of the significant weaknesses of the regional disaster management framework," says Philip Paulwell, Jamaica's Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy Commerce. "Intra-agency communications as well as public information have been identified as requiring improvement." "There's an urgent need to establish effective and comprehensive communication links between the affected areas, national disaster response facilities and with the larger international community.

For further details, see the ITU press release on this topic.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 12:56:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The United States National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a consortium of government agencies and private industry sponsors, aims to educate the public about core security protections this October, during the national cyber security awareness month, with its campaign on 'Cyber Security: Make It A Habit'.

U.S. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a national campaign designed to increase the public’s awareness of cyber security and crimes issues, so that users can take precautions to avoid these threats on the Internet. The month will feature public relations activities, educational programs, events and initiatives throughout October that targets Home Users, Small Businesses, Education audiences (K-12 and higher education), and Child Safety online.

See the U.S. National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2006 website for further information on this collective effort aimed at protecting the public from internet threats.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:26:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T is hosting a workshop NGN and Grids in collaboration with the Open Grid Forum (OGF) in Geneva , 23-24 October 2006. Grid computing enables organizations to pool IT resources across departmental and organizational boundaries in a secure, highly efficient manner in order to solve massive computational problems.

Next generation networks (NGN) offer increased quality and service features for users, independent of the underlying transport technology. ITU-T’s Global Standards Initiative on Next Generation Network (NGN-GSI) is well under way and is responding to urgent market needs for global NGN standards.

The workshop will explore how Grids will work in an NGN environment by bringing together experts from both communities.
The telco community is eyeing Grid development with interest. Telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example but new revenue streams can be foreseen in areas such as managed grid services.

One panel discussion and Q&A will pose the question: "What can Grids do for Telcos and what can Telcos do for Grids?" Other panel discussions will examine NGN management and security. From a telecoms perspective there are some challenges such as QoS, how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT). It is expected that all of these topics and more will be addressed. A key result of the event will be a gap analysis of standards in the field and a better understanding of how grids can be catered for in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2. An action plan outlining what work needs to be done, and where can then be developed.

See the ITU-T Newslog for more details on the workshop.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 9:13:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T Study Groups meeting under the auspices of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) in July 2006, finalized a substantial body of work. Sixteen new standards went into the final stages of the ITU approval process in areas including requirements, architecture, QoS and security. Around 650 documents were considered by the lead Study Group on NGN, Study Group 13, alone. Study Group management reported high levels of participation and good progress.

Two rather fundamental documents describing requirements for NGN and describing the functional architecture of the NGN will be published as ITU-T Recommendations after formal approval. Also, QoS, a crucial element as networks move to an environment inherently more susceptible to delay, interference etc. was a key focus. One new Recommendation was consented in this field.

Experts also point to the importance of a Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. Y.2021) describing how the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) as specified by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) can be used in the NGN context. A Recommendation from Study Group 19 on mobility management was also highlighted.

See the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) website for further details.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 9:12:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

PhishTank is a collaborative clearing house for data and information about phishing on the Internet. PhishTank was launched by the people behind OpenDNS and will be used to dynamically block access to phishing sites. For more information, see their FAQ.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 8:23:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 02, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The DOI scores for 2005 are sharply differentiated according to region. Africa, the region with some of the poorest countries in the world, is greatly impacted by the digital divide. Europe, the Americas and Asia all have average DOI scores higher than the world average of 0.37, while Africa has an average DOI score of 0.20, mainly due to limited Utilization and fixed line infrastructure. When compared to other regions, Africa ranks last with an average regional DOI score of barely one-third that of Europe (0.55). The African strong-performers are Mauritius, the Seychelles and North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt).

The DOI map of Africa here below shows a pattern of high scores among the North African economies (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) - Egypt is also the only African country in the Top 15 gainers in the DOI, having realized a gain of 32 per cent in digital opportunity over the period 2000-2005. By contrast, low-ranking economies are mostly inland, in the Sub-Saharan region, and also include economies such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Niger and Sierra Leone.

Nevertheless, despite the overall situation, many African countries are making progress in reducing their internal gaps. As a region, Africa has the highest growth rate in mobile cellular subscribers of any region, with a 66 per cent growth rate in 2005, with Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa accounting for 60 per cent of the new mobile subscribers added in the region. In 2005, Nigeria alone added 9.7 million subscribers, which represents about 7 per cent of its total population. Mobile phones provide more than three-quarters of all the phone connections in 19 countries in Africa. As Africa shows, the tendency of developing countries to promote mobile coverage and utilization over fixed services makes the DOI’s mobile components particularly useful for monitoring advances in regional markets.

From a telecommunication policy perspective, high-ranking countries illustrate the influence of liberalization and competition in promoting opportunity and infrastructure deployment. Most of the North African countries, as well as Senegal and South Africa, have opened their fixed and mobile markets to competition and are rapidly increasing high-speed network deployment. Competition is helping to reduce tariffs and introduce service packages that respond better to the needs of the population. In Algeria, for instance, the entry of a third wireless cellular provider triggered new strategies for prepaid services that had not previously been offered by the incumbents.

For more analysis on these and other issues related to measuring digital opportunity, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Monday, October 02, 2006 5:55:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |