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 Thursday, November 30, 2006

OFCOM has just released its first research publication, The International Communications Market 2006. Report focuses specifically on the international communications market, reflecting the increasing impact of global issues on the UK commercial and regulatory communications agenda. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 4:29:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A recent CNet News article shares background information and definitions on different topics in the area of security, including on botnets, distributed denial-of-service attacks, hacking, spyware, etc.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 11:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake and only created for spamming purposes. According to Technorati in its State of the Blogosphere the number of blogs created these past months has diminished largely because "splogs" are now easier to detect. Blog search engines detect and delete most of the "splogs", but according to Technorati, 4% of the "splogs" still manage to get through the filters in place.

Despite "splogs", the blogopsphere continues to grow. At the end of October 2006, 57 million blogs existed, 3 million more than in June 2006, and 55% were considered active (updated at least once in the last 3 months.).

To read the full l'Expansion magazine article in French, click here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:56:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the European Commission, EU member states are not doing enough to tackle the problems of spam, spyware and malicious software, despite the existing EU legislation. The implementation by EU members of this legislation is still a problem and Europe continues to suffer from illegal online activities from inside the EU and from third countries.

The Commission is now calling on all regulatory authorities and stakeholders in Europe to step up the fight against spam, spyware and malicious software and urging governments and industry to cooperate fully in this fight by applying proper filtering policies and assuring good online commercial practices. The Commission has also called for prosecution of those involved in illegal online activities. Because of the criminal and fraudulent trend in spam, and its cross border aspects, good cooperation and dialogue between the EU and third countries is essential to succeed in this fight. According to Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for Information Society and Media "it is time to turn the repeated political concern about spam into concrete actions to fight spam."

For more information, see the newly released Commission Communication.

Read also the SiliconRepublic article.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:35:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 27, 2006

OFCOM has just released a new public discussion document on Regulatory Challenges Posed by Next Generation Access Networks. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Monday, November 27, 2006 10:46:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 24, 2006

In response to the needs for health information management, ITU-T Study Group 16 has also developed the ITU-T SG 16 Technical Paper TP.RTM "Roadmap for Telemedicine" which aims to define the areas in which a set of open global international standards for e-health applications is currently needed.

To read more about the ITU-T Study Group 16's work on e-health, visit their E-Health and Standardization section.

Friday, November 24, 2006 4:55:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A major new study prepared for the UMTS Forum by Booz Allen Hamilton quantifies the economic benefits of maintaining a harmonised approach to spectrum management across EU Member States.

To download the study click here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 9:02:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 20, 2006

On 16 November 2006, during the ECTA Conference 2006, Ms Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media spoke on From Service Competition to Infrastructure Competition: the Policy Options Now on the Table.

In her speach Ms Reding focused on recent trends in the European ICT sector. She discussed issues related to the efficient regulation, liberalization process, spectrum, investment, competition as well as "separation" stating:  

"...we have to be clear as to what is meant by terms like “structural separation” and "functional separation". The term "structural separation" has been used to mean several things: full divestiture of companies; legal separation with separate management structures; functional separation of organisational and management structures within vertically integrated undertakings; and simple accounting separation of specified activities within vertically integrated undertakings. I have expressed myself already in June in favour of finding a European way on the separation issue.

I believe that functional separation, which is a specific form of separation in the large sense as just described, could indeed serve to make competition more effective in a service-based competition environment where infrastructure-based competition is not expected to develop in a reasonable period. It may be a useful remedy in specific cases. It is certainly not a panacea. A cost benefit analysis therefore has to be made on a case by case basis, before such a remedy is imposed. And the effects of imposing such a remedy in Europe’s internal market have to be carefully analysed in each individual case. Functional separation is certainly a field where one will not be able to do without the “two pair of eyes” principle. "

For full version of the speach, please see here.

Monday, November 20, 2006 11:01:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 18, 2006

ITU-T Focus Group on Security Baseline for Network Operators has issued a survey which seeks to assess the security preparedness of network operators. The results from the survey will be used in preparation of a new ITU-T Recommendation: "Security Baseline for Network Operators". Participants are asked about their level of preparedness for various security threats.

Once approved the ITU-T Recommendation will show the readiness and ability of operators to collaborate and coordinate counteraction against security threats arising from interconnected networks. The Security Baseline will allow network operators to assess their network and information security posture in terms of what security standards are available, which of these standards should be used to meet particular requirements, when they should be used, and how they should be applied. It will also identify security Recommendations and standards to support evaluation of operators’ network security and information security.

Commencement of the first draft of the Recommendation will begin towards the end of 2006.
See the online survey which is aimed at network and service providers.

A deadline of 24 November 2006 has been set for survey responses.

Saturday, November 18, 2006 9:07:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Researchers and IT managers are confirming that spam levels have been particularly high in the past month and that there are no signs of a decrease. This phenomenon is the result of a new generation of viruses and zombies that infect computers very quickly and are increasingly difficult to get rid of. Image-based spam is also to be blamed. Spammers now know how to represent words in an image that are recognizable only by the human eye tricking anti-spam technologies and further increasing the negative effects of spam.

Read the full PC World article here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 3:36:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ofcom published its second annual Technology Research and Development Report which provides an overview of emerging technologies that have the potential to make more efficient use of the radio spectrum.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:58:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, November 12, 2006

A comprehensive and interactive Body of Knowledge (BoK) on infrastructure regulation is now available online. Funded by the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) and the World Bank, this website includes literature surveys, self-paced quizzes, a hyper-linked 90 page glossary, and 300 studies (in PDF). It should be useful for practitioners, researchers, students, and anyone interested in learning about utilities regulation. The material provides a set of regulatory concepts and readings which regulators and academics should find useful. The site was developed by the Public Utility Research Center (PURC) at the University of Florida, in collaboration with the University of Toulouse, the Pontificia Universidad Catolica (Lima), the World Bank and a panel of international experts. The BoK references publications and decisions by regulatory agencies and other governmental bodies; policy advisories by think tanks, consultants, donor agencies, and others; and research by academics, and other experts. The BoK is broad in scope, covering essential learning in the areas of policy reforms, market structure in network industries, finance, incentive regulation, service to the poor, pricing, service quality, cost analysis, regulatory institutions and instruments, legal frameworks, stakeholder involvement, negotiations, management and leadership, and public relations.

Suggestions for additional readings and topics can be made at the website. http://www.regulationbodyofknowledge.org

 

Sunday, November 12, 2006 4:00:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 11, 2006

A new tool that gives a unique overview of ITU-T’s Next Generation Network (NGN) related activities has been released. The NGN Project Management Tool, was developed with the support of a voluntary contribution for one of the ITU-T Sector Members.

Since the work towards standards for NGN is taking place across a number of different ITU-T study groups and other standards development organizations (SDOs) the ability to coordinate and view all NGN work in one place will be invaluable to the swift and efficient publication of NGN specifications.

Essentially a repository of information from ITU and other SDOs, the system was asked for by members of the various Study Groups working on NGN. Key will be the ability to keep track of the latest versions of Recommendations and provide detailed information for experts and summaries for management.

Access information on the NGN Project Management Tool here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 11:19:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 10, 2006

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the EU Contact Network for Spam enforcement Authorities (CNSA), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the London Action Plan for Spam Enforcement (LAP), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Seoul-Melbourne Anti-Spam group, six leading international anti-spam initiatives/organizations, launched at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Athens, Greece, a new online information resource to assist stakeholders in their fight against spam.

This new website (http://www.stopspamalliance.org/) aims to help coordinate international action against spam more effectively and improve information sharing in this area. It will contain information on anti-spam laws and enforcement activities, consumer and business education, best practices for fighting spam, and international cooperation.

For further information, please visit http://www.stopspamalliance.org/

Read also the OECD news release for the launch of the StopSpamAlliance website.
Friday, November 10, 2006 3:49:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 07, 2006

John MacDonald, a member of the ITU team that created the new VDSL 2 standard, will take part in an upcoming Webinar on this topic, 21 November 2006. The Webinar, the second on the topic that ITU has contributed to, will outline what VDSL2 is, which are its competitive differentiators and benefits, and how it allows service providers to compete with cable and satellite operators - by enabling the delivery of enhanced voice, video and data services over a standard copper telephone cable.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is a product of ITU-T, ITU’s standardization arm, and is the world's most widely deployed broadband access technology. It has enhanced users' experience of the Internet, provided access to digitized content, and fuelled the delivery of streaming video and the development of online gaming by offering downstream data rates of up to 8 Mbit/s. Today, service providers must ensure their DSL offerings can compete against other market options from cable operators. One way to do so, is by offering services over VDSL2 (ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2) - very high-speed DSL - a new version of DSL, which gives service providers the ability to deliver even higher bandwidth and more enhanced services to consumer and business customers.

Delivering up to 100 Mbit/s both up and downstream, a tenfold increase over ADSL (Asymmetric DSL) VDSL2 provides for so-called fiber-extension, bringing fiber-like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fiber optic segment of a telecom company’s network. By deploying VDSL2 operators expect to be able to offer services such as high-definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high-speed Internet access, and advanced voice services. Importantly VDSL 2 offers carriers a solution that is interoperable with the DSL equipment many already have in place. In addition, VDSL 2 will work with both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP-based networks.

Register and read more about the online VDSL2 event here.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006 2:25:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A presentation entitled "Evolution of Digital Media in a Convergent Era" (PDF), was made by Cristina Bueti, Project Officer, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit,at the Festival International du Film et de la Télévision on 4 November in Geneva, Switzerland.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 12:05:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As part of the Shaping Tomorrow’s Networks Programme and in line with the stated objectives of the WSIS Tunis Agenda for the Information Society (November 2005), that “… ITU and other regional organisations should take steps to ensure rational, efficient and economic use of, and equitable access to, the radio-frequency spectrum by all countries ….”, ITU (Strategy and Policy Unit and Radiocommunication Sector) and and the Ugo Bordoni Foundation will jointly host a workshop to identify global trends and good practice in radio spectrum management.

The Workshop on "Market Mechanisms for Spectrum Management" will be held from 22 to 23 January 2007 in Room C at ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.

It will examine, inter alia, the use of market mechanisms for both primary allocation of spectrum (e.g., auctions) and for secondary trading. It will look at recent trends in ITU Member States, the increasing demand for spectrum and will examine future challenges in developing policies for access to radio spectrum.

ITU Member States, meeting participants and other interested parties are encouraged to send in their spectrum related contributions to the meeting. All contributions will be posted on the meeting website. Please send your contributions to spectrum@itu.int

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 12:02:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T will host this year's Broadband Europe Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, 11-14 December 2006. BBEurope is an annual event which was initiated by the European Commission Framework Programme 6 BREAD project which is part of the "BroadBand for All"-strategic objective of the European Commission.

Peter Van Daele, BREAD Project Leader: "The concept of 'Broadband For All' refers to a situation in which broadband is not only available to every citizen, but is actually used by all of them. In that respect it is a more demanding concept than the traditional universal service obligation in telephony, which merely stipulates the availability, at certain conditions, of a given service. The usage of information and communication technologies via broadband infrastructures by all citizens is a policy objective because it is considered to be a key component of transforming Europe into a knowledge-based society, thus enhancing economic growth and increasing employment."

The BREAD project has amongst its objectives to develop a holistic vision encompassing technical, as well as economical and regulatory aspects. Another important aspect is of identifying roadblocks on European, national/regional level and share visions and best practices on national level to EU level.

BBEurope brings together on an international level all the BroadBand players, researchers, service providers, content providers, operators, manufacturers, policy makers, standardisation bodies, professional organisations. The meeting will discuss topics such as NGN, IPTV, wireless access, powerline, security, QoS, and broadband in rural areas. The event will conclude with a panel discussion titled: Future Perspectives in Broadband.

For a draft meeting agenda and more information on the call for papers (deadline: 10 November 2006), see the event website.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 10:27:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 03, 2006

Over seven hundred people voted for the most influential standards work from ITU-T in a recent poll to celebrate 50 years of CCITT/ITU-T. The work area for video coding received the most votes. The task of video coding is to establish efficient formats for storing and transmitting video data. The work of ITU–T in this field was pioneered in joint projects with the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC). 

In addition to the two video standards that were explicitly mentioned in the poll question (H.262/MPEG2-Video and H.264/AVC), there were several others of substantial importance in the standardization of that field. Specifically, that includes H.120, H.261, and H.263. Signalling System Number 7 (SS7) received the second highest number of votes. SS7 is a common channel signalling system that separates network resource control from the resources being controlled. This fundamental shift enabled the implementation of highly efficient centralized databases for call control, especially valuable for services that may be accessed from any subscriber line (Intelligent Networks, 800/Freephone, credit card, VPN, etc.), and an integral capability on which today’s ubiquitous mobile phone systems depend. Among other service supporting capabilities, it enables monitoring the status of a line to see if it is busy or idle, alerts that indicate the arrival of a call, and the addressing system that routes calls.

The full voting results can be seen here.
See more related information in the ITU-T Newslog.

Friday, November 03, 2006 2:11:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Computer World reports of a new kind of spam called "targeted spam or spear phising". This type of spam, currently on the rise, is particularly hard to catch for spam filters because the spammer is able to "spoof" the sending e-mail address to make it look like it's coming from within the organization of the recipient. Unlike traditional spam, spammers send just a few of these messages at the same time, making antispam technology’s job even harder.

These attacks affect essentially large organizations or very well-known brands. Once the company has been alerted, blocking it is pretty easy. But detecting such well-crafted messages is becoming harder as the sophistication level of spam increases.

For more information, read the full Computer World article.

Friday, November 03, 2006 2:04:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 01, 2006

According to a recent Forbes article a new kind of spam is rapidly invading users’ e-mail boxes: image spam.

To the human eye, image spam looks like regular junk email, but for anti-spam software, the image spam is very hard to detect. Usually anti-spam programs scan messages for certain key phrases but do not analyze pictures, so the same word saved as an image file goes undetected. Anti-spam technology is trying to adapt to this new phenomenon. However, for now, image spam is on the growth and is consuming much more bandwidth and storage space in consumers’ e-mail boxes.

To read the full Forbes article, please click here.

For more information, see Secure Computing’s Report on Image Spam.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 10:35:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"In a sweeping set of measures, the German Federal Network Agency has ordered more than 80 network operators and service providers not to bill or collect for any phone numbers used illegally. A large number of consumers had complained to the German Federal Network Agency about so-called ping calls and other forms of telephone spamming."

"A ping call is where a call is made to a telephone number and broken off after just one ring. The subscriber’s display shows a “missed call” with an expensive premium-rate number or an 0137 number. In addition to these ping calls, another form of telephone spamming promises prizes where the person called hears a prerecorded message saying that they have won a large amount of money that can be collected by calling an expensive premium-rate number."

"The Federal Network Agency’s stringent measures are a continuation of the intense battle against telephone spam. Since May 2006 alone, the Federal Network Agency has disconnected 237 call numbers on account of ping calls and prize promises. In addition, a ban has been imposed on billing and collecting for 78 call numbers. These bans protect consumers that have called a spam number back, and prevents them from having to pay any charges. The spammer does not receive any payment for the calls initiated."

See the Federal Network Agency's press release here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 7:50:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |