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 Saturday, January 10, 2009

A number of children at a London girls school were suspended from school as a result of posting "deeply insulting comments" about a staff member who is reported to be receiving counselling as a result.

The group of girls, aged between 11 and 18 signed up as members of The Hate Society on Facebook. The headteacher of Grey Coat Hospital School, Rachel  Allard stated, "We can confirm that a number of pupils have been given fixed term exclusions for between 2 and 15 days after the school became aware of their involvement in a hate campaign about a member of staff using an open Facebook group.."

 

(Source: Telegraph)

Full story

Telegraph website

Saturday, January 10, 2009 3:06:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 06, 2009

In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, John Carr, from the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety argues that cohesion within the Internet industry can do much to address child online safety "without the need for direct government intervention".

(Source: Guardian)

Read letter here

Guardian website

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:41:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A recent ITU study dedicated to the "Financial Aspects of Network Security: Malware and Spam" (July 2008) reviews some of the current leading thinking and research on the economics of cybersecurity. The full study can be found here.

Security flaws are often due to perverse incentives rather than the lack of suitable technical protection mechanisms. As individuals and companies do not bear the entire costs of cyber incidents, they do not tend to protect their system in the most efficient way. If they did support all the financial consequences, they would have stronger incentives to make their network more secure for the good of all interconnected networks. Measures to improve information security enhance trust in online activities and contribute directly and indirectly to the welfare gains associated with the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

However, some expenditure on security is only necessary because of relentless attacks by fraudsters and cyber-criminals that undermine and threaten trust in online transactions. Such costs are not welfare-enhancing but instead a burden on society. Two vectors through which such attacks are carried out are malware and spam. During the past two decades, the production and dissemination of malware has grown into a multibillion dollar business. Damages created by fraudulent and criminal activities using malware and the costs of preventative measures are likely to exceed that number significantly. Malware puts the private and the public sector at risk because both increasingly rely on the value net of information services. Spam and malware have multifaceted financial implications on the costs and the revenues of participants in the ICT value chain. The costs carried by all stakeholders across the value network of information services are affected directly and indirectly by this. But most of the financial flows between the legal and illegal players in the underground cybercrime economy are only partially known. The ITU study is a survey of existing resources and data available when it comes to the economics and financial aspects of cybersecurity.

Access the ITU study on the "Financial Aspects of Network Security: Malware and Spam" (July 2008) here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 8:45:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The 2008 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is being held 3-6 December 2008 in Hyderabad, India. The third meeting of the Internet Governance Forum will be focusing on the overall theme of ‘Internet For All’. The main sessions are organized as three thematic days under the following headings: ‘Reaching the Next Billion’, ‘Promoting Cyber-Security and Trust’, ‘Managing Critical Internet Resources’ with the last day covering ‘Emerging Issues - the Internet of Tomorrow’ and ‘Taking Stock and the Way Forward’.

Transcripts of the main session, webcasts, and contributions to the dicussions can be found on the IGF website.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008 9:13:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 13, 2008

ITU launched a new initiative today to safeguard children, the most vulnerable users of the Internet. Addressing ITU’s high-level meeting on cybersecurity by video message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "We have to protect against cyberthreats, especially when they target children. I welcome the ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative and urge all States to support it."

The Child Online Protection initiative brings together partners from all sectors of the international community with the aim of creating a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere. While the virtual world offers unlimited opportunities in many respects, it is also the hunting ground for cybercriminals and paedophiles. Recognizing that a concerted global effort would be required to ensure that the cyberworld becomes a safe place for young people to work, learn and play, ITU is working with other UN agencies, including UNICEF, UNICRI and UNIDIR.

Building confidence and security At the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, ITU was entrusted by leaders of the international community with Action Point C5: "building confidence and security in the use of ICTs". As an intergovernmental organization with a network of 191 Member States and more than 700 Sector Members and Associates, ITU was a logical choice. In 2007, in answer to this responsibility, Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), an international framework that addresses 5 main aspects: legal measures technical and procedural measures organizational structure capacity building international cooperation The WSIS outcomes also specifically recognized the needs of children and young people and their protection in cyberspace.

The Tunis Commitment recognized "the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the protection of children and in enhancing the development of children" and the need to "strengthen action to protect children from abuse and defend their rights in the context of ICT". The COP initiative is in line with ITU’s mandate to establish the foundation for a safe and secure cyberworld for future generations. The need for COP is clear. A decade ago, there were just 182 million people using the Internet globally — and almost all of them lived in the developed world. By the end of 2008, however, there will be over 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide, and more than 400 million of them will have broadband access — vastly increasing the dangers online, especially for children. With over 600 million users in Asia, 130 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 50 million in Africa, the Internet is a growing common resource. 

"ITU is the lead UN agency on ICT for Development," said Mr Sami Al-Basheer, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "In working towards an all-inclusive information society we must ensure that children everywhere can enjoy the benefits of ICTs while being protected from the risks posed by inappropriate use."

Read the full press release for the COP initiative here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:00:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 01, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was held in Sofia, Bulgaria from 7 to 9 October 2008.

The forum, which was hosted by the State Agency for Information Technology and Communications (SAITC) of the Republic of Bulgaria, aimed to identify some of the main challenges faced by countries in Europe and CIS in developing frameworks for cybersecurity and CIIP, to consider best practices, share information on cybersecurity development activities being undertaken by ITU as well as other entities, and review the role of various actors in promoting a culture of cybersecurity. The forum also considered initiatives on the regional and international level to increase cooperation and coordination amongst the different stakeholders.

Approximately 130 people from 25 countries participated in the event from Europe and CIS, as well as from other parts of the world. Simultaneous interpretation in Russian and English was provided for the participants throughout the forum. Full documentation of the forum, including the final agenda and all presentations made, is available on the event website. The meeting report available on the event website summarizes the discussions throughout the three days of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Europe and CIS, provides a high-level overview of the sessions and speaker presentations, and presents some of the common understandings reached at the event.

See the website for further information.

 

Saturday, November 01, 2008 9:23:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau launched the study report "ICTs for e-Environment - Guidelines for Developing Countries, with a Focus on Climate Change", which is intended to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to mitigate and adapt to environmental change, including climate change, through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Although ICTs require energy resources, they also offer a number of opportunities to advance global environmental research, planning and action. This includes monitoring and protecting the environment as well as mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. The report also looks extensively at the use of ICTs in many different aspects of work on the environment, including environmental observation, analysis, planning, management and protection, mitigation and capacity building.

In order to assess the adoptability of selected ICT applications for environmental management in developing countries in general, the report proposes a ranking system with parameters such as (a) environmental scope, (b) technology, (c) transferability, and (d) impact.

Furthermore, the ICTs for e-Environment report considers over 150 ICT applications in one of its annexes, including the name of the ICT applications, description, area of work, sponsor, region, active dates, and relevant web references.  

Not all countries have the capacity to take advantage of these technologies in order to use the full potential of ICTs for environmental action. The report states that there is a clear need for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to global environmental action through access to ICTs and the use of information technologies and management practices to eliminate duplication of efforts. This can be done by consolidating action at national levels on the many and varied environmental conventions and initiatives that developing countries have already agreed to in principle. ICTs provide a unique opportunity to do so while assisting in building local capacity to use these tools and practices.

There is also a need to assign the environment a more important profile in ICT strategic planning initiatives at the national level and, in particular, in e‑Governance and e-Goverment initiatives so that the use of ICTs for the environment is integrated into planning processes from the beginning, along with other national priorities and initiatives.

The report proposes a methodology to undertake rapid national e‑Environment assessments as well as to develop and implement national e‑Environment strategies. Among other proposals, the report recommends the preparation of an e‑Environment toolkit comprised of best practices as one practical method to assist developing countries to take advantage of ICTs for environmental research, planning and action. Strengthening ongoing research activities is another proposal as well as placing more focus on the environment sector in e‑Government initiatives. Working on a regional basis may be the best approach for smaller, landlocked or island jurisdictions, such as small island developing states.

Whatever approach is taken to support the use of ICTs for environmental action in sustainable development, it must be undertaken in close collaboration with key development partners at the national and international level and in consultation with actors in the public and private sectors as well as civil society.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 3:42:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 01, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa was held in Lusaka, Zambia from 25 to 28 August 2008.

The forum, which was hosted by the Communications Authority of Zambia and the Government of Zambia, and jointly organized by ITU and COMESA, aimed to identify the main challenges faced by countries in the region in developing frameworks for cybersecurity and CIIP, to consider best practices, share information on development activities being undertaken by ITU as well as other entities, and review the role of various actors in promoting a culture of cybersecurity. The forum also considered initiatives on the regional and international level to increase cooperation and coordination amongst the different stakeholders.

Approximately 60 people from 21 countries and 4 regional organizations participated in the event. Among the participants were professionals from governments, regulatory authorities, private sector, and civil society. Full documentation of the event, including the final agenda and all presentations made, is available on the event website. The meeting report available on the event website summarizes the discussions throughout the four days of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa, provides a high-level overview of the sessions and speaker presentations, and presents some of the common understandings and positions reached at the event. 

The third day of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum, 27 August 2008, was dedicated to specific working sessions on developing national and regional cybersecurity/CIIP capacity through three working groups. The working groups focused on 1) developing a national cybersecurity strategy, 2) legislation and enforcement and, 3) watch, warning, and incident response. In addition to the overall forum recommendations, specific recommendations and suggestions were developed by the three ad hoc working groups: Working Group 1: Regional Approach for the Development of a National Cybersecurity Strategy; Working Group 2: Legal Foundation and Enforcement; and Working Group 3: Watch, Warning, and Incident Response.

See the event website for more information.

Monday, September 01, 2008 8:33:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The ITU-D recruited an expert to produce a study report concerning "Electronic Government for Developing Countries", which is intended to help address challenges in formulating e-Government policies. The draft version as of August 2008 is now available online on the ITU-D ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division (CYB) website.

The purpose of this report is to examine the adoption of e-Government services in countries with developing economies. As the day-to-day business of a public administration is to build on data and information, using the latter is critical to help ensuring its accountability, managing its operations, and to allow its citizens to participate in the country's governance. With the revolutionary changes that ICTs are bringing to our global society, public administrations worldwide continue to develop more sophisticated ways to digitize their operations and practices so that they can offer the public access to government services in more effective and efficient ways.

The seven key recommendations outlined in this report are:

  • Developing a strategic plan to guide e-Government services;
  • Understanding the needs of citizens and of all public administration segments;
  • Using well established system development practices for e-Government services;
  • Creating a learning organization;
  • Developing effective ICT governance mechanisms;
  • Developing ICT capabilities, including human resources capacity building and suitable ICT infrastructure; and
  • Developing an e-Government security and disaster recovery plan.

To continue reading the report and its case studies, click here. More information on ITU-D activities related to ICT applications, click here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 2:52:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 01, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Asia-Pacific, and related Seminar on the Economics of Cybersecurity was held in Brisbane, Australia, 15-18 July 2008.

The regional cybersecurity forum, which was hosted by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), Government of Australia, aimed to identify the main challenges faced by countries in the region in developing frameworks for cybersecurity and CIIP, to consider best practices, share information on development activities being undertaken by ITU as well as other entities, and review the role of various actors in promoting a culture of cybersecurity. The forum also considered initiatives on the regional and international level to increase cooperation and coordination amongst the different stakeholders. The forum, one in a series of regional cybersecurity events organized by the ITU Development Sector (ITU-D), was held in response to ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 130: Strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies (Antalya, 2006) and the 2006 World Telecommunication Development Conference Doha Action Plan establishing ITU-D Study Group Question 22/1: Securing information and communication networks: Best practices for developing a culture of cybersecurity. 

Approximately 90 people from 27 countries participated in the event, from the Asia-Pacific region, the Pacific Islands, as well as from other parts of the world. Full documentation of the forum, including the final agenda and all presentations made, is available on the event website. The meeting report available on the event website summarizes the discussions throughout the three days of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Asia-Pacific, provides a high-level overview of the sessions and speaker presentations, and presents some of the common understandings and positions reached at the event.

The day prior to the start of the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum for Asia-Pacific, 15 July 2008, was dedicated to an ITU Tariff Group for Asia and Oceania (TAS) Seminar on the Economics of Cybersecurity. Throughout the seminar the participants learned about the pervasive incentives and the new revenue streams that are created from malware and spam, how they enable legitimate business models (e.g., anti-virus and anti-spam products, infrastructure, and bandwidth) as well as fraudulent and criminal ones (e.g., renting out of botnets, bullet proof hosting, commissions on spam-induced sales, pump and dump stock schemes). Distinguished experts in this area explained how malware and spam create mixed and sometimes conflicting incentives for stakeholders, which complicate coherent responses to the problem. An ITU Study on the Financial Aspects of Network Security: Malware and Spam was presented and discussed at the event.

See the event website for more information.

Friday, August 01, 2008 8:43:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The International Telecommunication Union organised two Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change. The first was held in Kyoto, Japan 15-16 April 2008, hosted by MIC Japan, and the second was held in London, UK, on 17-18 June, hosted by BT.

These symposia brought together key specialists in the field, from top decision-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others. Among others, the ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau presented a summary of the study report on "ICTs for e-Environment - Guidelines for Developing Countries, with a Focus on Climate Change".

For more information on presentations, meeting summarie and the outcomes of the symposia, click here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 3:54:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 12, 2008

As part of its effort to combat climate change, the European Commission announced on 13 May 2008 that it would promote the use of ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) to improve energy efficiency throughout the economy, starting with buildings, lighting and the power grid. The Commission will encourage the ICT industry to demonstrate leadership in reducing its own CO2 emissions and by identifying and creating solutions that will benefit the whole economy. "To meet Europe's energy efficiency goals by 2020, we need a high growth, low carbon economy. Research and rapid take-up of innovative energy efficient ICT solutions will be crucial to lowering emissions across the whole economy," said Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "There is a win-win situation in which ICT will promote the competitiveness of EU industry while leading the fight against climate change."

For more information, click here or read the European Commission document on Addressing the challenge of energy efficiency through Information and Communication Technologies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 1:01:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 19, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission has approved four new rule provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM), which aim to clarify the Act’s requirements.

The new rule provisions address four topics: (1) an e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender; (2) the definition of “sender” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements; (3) a “sender” of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act’s requirement that a commercial e-mail display a “valid physical postal address”; and (4) a definition of the term “person” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

Continue reading the news release here.

Monday, May 19, 2008 3:11:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BBC News recently reported the arrest of five hackers described as being among the most active on the internet. The hackers, who include two 16-year-olds, are accused of disrupting government websites in the United States, Asia and Latin America. Spanish police say the hackers co-ordinated attacks over the internet and hacked into 21,000 web pages over two years.

Read the full report here.

Monday, May 19, 2008 2:30:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On an article published Wednesday, 14 May 2008, on the Guardian, Will Ashley-Cantello writes about how the youth are both fully aware of the need to reduce environmental impacts and equipped to making this change happen. Ashley-Cantello points out that the second generation internet has fast become the most powerful tool the environment movement has. "Around 96% of Americans between 11 and 18 are members of an online social network. So when you consider that protecting the environment is a passion of many young people, the potential power of influence of Web 2.0 for the green movement is phenomenal." According to the Forum for the Future, 78% of university applicants in 2007 believed that "lifestyles need to change across the board, or in many areas, for human civilisation to survive the next 100 years". It is, therefore, imperative that our young citizens are given a fair hearing on the decisions that current leaders are making - and online social networking can help achieve this.

A new social networking site, Footprintfriends.com, was set up exclusively to join together young people who share a passion for protecting our natural environment. As a moderated site, it aims to be an enabler for young people aged 11 to 18 to act on their environmental concerns. The site has already attracted hundreds of young people since launching last August. It is set to expand rapidly after establishing a new partnership with the British Standards Institute, which is using the site to promote a Sustainable Students competition, involving about 20,000 schools.

Read the full article here.

Monday, May 19, 2008 9:46:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Guardian recently reports on a survey into ways in which colleges and universities can make computing greener and more sustainable. Preliminary findings of the study is about to be published soon. "Higher Education Environment Performance Improvement (Heepi) and SustainIT, an NGO set up to focus on the environmental and social impact of IT, are researching how sustainable further and higher education IT is, and how education best practice compares with the private sector. The report being written for the Joint Information System Committee (Jisc) says green IT is best achieved through the collaboration of IT and estates management." Among the findings is that increased energy and computing costs can be offset by technologies such as grid computing and virtualisation. According to Peter James, author of the report and is also part-time professor of environmental management at Bradford University and associate director of SustainIT, "Eighty to 90% of a computer's capacity is wasted. By linking PCs together we can run complex computing tasks broken down into manageable chunks when the computers are not in normal classroom use."

The publication of Heepi and SustainIT's interim report in June marks the start of a series of up to seven campus IT open days to be held throughout the UK until October and designed to allow IT managers a chance to see the latest sustainable initiatives for themselves. At least one event will be focused on the further education sector and based around the virtualisation programme at Stockport college.

Read the full article here.

Monday, May 19, 2008 8:50:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2008

As part of the ITU Cybersecurity Internship Programme, ITU launches the 2008 Cybersecurity Essay Competition. The purpose of the ITU Cybersecurity Internship Programme, and related 2008 ITU Cybersecurity Essay Competition, is to increase cybersecurity awareness and give young people, especially from developing countries, exposure to the main issues related to cybersecurity and to the ongoing work of ITU in this area. It is hoped that the fellowships granted to promising students and recent graduates from ITU Member States through the cybersecurity essay competition will help build cybersecurity capacity in developing countries as these interns will be exposed to ITU cybersecurity activities, learn about the main international and regional actors in this field, and constructively contribute with their country-specific insights into ITU cybersecurity-related work. The competition is open to current students and recent graduates in economics, political science, law, literature, computer science, information systems and related fields, between the ages of 20 and 30 years old.

For more information about the programme and competition, visit the programme website.

Friday, May 16, 2008 9:26:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

OECD, together with the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the National IT and Telecom Agency, will hold a Workshop on ICTs and Environmental Challenges at Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen, Denmark on 22-23 May 2008. 

The aim of this workshop is to:

  • Take stock of the impacts of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the environment.
  • Identify areas for further analysis of the application and use of ICTs to further environmental goals.
  • Identify opportunities and best practices in the use of ICTs, the Internet and sensor networks in environmental management, energy efficiency, cleaner technologies and improved resource management.
  • Consider policy implications and the development of goals and priorities in efficient buildings, transport and distribution systems that harness the potential of ICT-based systems and sensor networks.
  • Contribute to preparation of the OECD Seoul Ministerial on the Internet Economy, the Hokkaido G8 meeting, and the planned OECD conference in 2009 and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2009.

For more information about this workshop, click here or visit the The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the National IT and Telecom Agency's website.

Friday, May 16, 2008 8:05:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |