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 Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Students and Teachers in Andhra Pradesh will now have access to an online learning platform that enables teachers to integrate learning projects into their classroom curriculum and students to develop critical 21st century skills, including creativity, communication, teamwork, and technology skills. This is made possible by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Oracle Education Foundation (OEF) and Institute for Electronic Governance (IEG), a non-profit organization under the government of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Through this link-up, 500 government schools and over 25,000 students and teachers will gain access to the ThinkQuest online learning platform over the next two years. In the first phase of the rollout, IEG and OEF will train 120 teachers from 60 schools on the ThinkQuest platform and instruct them how to best integrate 21st century skills instruction and project learning into their curricula.

First launched in India in 2004, ThinkQuest currently supports over 146,000 students and teachers in 1,100 schools across the country, including Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, DPS, DAV, and other schools.

Read the full text here.


Tuesday, 03 March 2009 11:52:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Anti]Phishing Working Group (APWG) and IPC has released a new idustry advisory document titled: "What to do if your site has been hacked by phishers". The purpose of the document is to provide website owners with specific actions they can take when they have been notified that their website or webserver has been infiltrated and used for phishing.

The document notes that "Some phishers use compromised computers to host malicious or illegal activities, including identity theft, fraudulent financial activities, as well as collecting personal information and business identities from their victims for future use. Others attack or 'hack' into and gain administrative control over the legitimate web sites of businesses and organizations of all sizes. Such hacked web sites disguise the bad acts the phishers perform. More importantly, web site hackers are fully aware that the web sites they hack and 'own' are reputably legitimate."

"Law enforcement and anti]phishing responders respect and operate under established business, technical, and legal constraints when they seek to remedy or take down hacked web sites. These measures protect legitimate web site operators but unfortunately serve the attacker as well by extending the duration of the attack. The Anti]Phishing Working Group (APWG) offers this document as a reference guide for any web site owner or operator who suspects, discovers, or receives notification that its web site is being used to host a phishing site. The document explains important incident response measures to take in the areas of identification, notification, containment, recovery, restoration, and follow]up when an attack is suspected or confirmed. This document serves a guideline for web site owners."

See the full APWG "What to do if your site has been hacked by phishers" Industry Advisory here.

Thursday, 26 February 2009 08:06:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 23 February 2009

The ITU has launched new partnerships to help 13 Pacific Island countries develop information and communications technology (ICT) in the region.

In a joint communiqué issued at the end of the Pacific ICT Ministerial Forum, held in Tonga, senior officials from the 13 countries called for greater coordination to minimize overlap in ICT initiatives and maximize the impact of investments in development projects. The ministers, including two Prime Ministers, called for rapid implementation of regional connectivity projects and for reinforced efforts to create more ICT professionals and a workforce with technical skills.

“The Pacific Island countries have clearly stated their objectives and priorities,” said Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid. “ITU is fully committed to work with our partners in delivering results for the Pacific Island States,” added Mr. Al Basheer, who announced several new partnerships to assist the countries. “We are building on the expertise and resources of all interested partners to reinforce our collective impact on ICT development in the Pacific.” The Pacific Island ministers also directed officials to work towards establishing a shared regulatory resource centre and encouraged regional States to make full use of ICT for early warning and response systems to improve disaster preparedness.

See the full ITU press release here.

Monday, 23 February 2009 08:09:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 February 2009

A new report from ITU, highlights some harsh realities for the global ICT industry. The report, Confronting the Crisis: Its Impact on the ICT Industry, considers how the industry can position itself for recovery in the future.

Confronting the Crisis: Its Impact on the ICT Industry draws on analysis from leading industry experts and international institutions. As the established order is overturned, it says, convergence in the ICT industry will accelerate, with the emergence of new players with new business models. Firms’ ability to weather the economic storm will depend on their ability to invest for the future and explore new opportunities to benefit from the eventual upturn. For an industry founded on innovation, the current turmoil will create openings for nascent ICT companies.

Confronting the Crisis finds that although credit is now less abundant and more expensive, with financing costs for operators on average 3 − 4 per cent higher year-on-year, savvy operators can take advantage of the economic turmoil to reposition their services for the upturn. Funding is still available for players with sound business models, established demand and early projected cash flows. Alternative sources of financing are now needed, with a growing role for government financing and economic stimulus packages.

Many analysts contributing to Confronting the Crisis underlined the need for ICT as vital services and suggested that fixed-mobile substitution and consumers’ decision to switch to mobile telephony may gain momentum in developed markets during a prolonged recession. The report also notes that long project lead times for the satellite industry mean that it has been less affected in the short term, with strong recent growth in demand from developing countries. The financial difficulties facing the private sector could add to pressure for government intervention in the financing of national backbone infrastructure. Governments are already stepping in to diminish the impact on the transition to next-generation networks (NGN), which can carry voice, data and media services simultaneously. Several administrations have announced commitments to invest in their national backbone infrastructure, while others, such as the European Union, have included the roll-out of broadband networks in their economic stimulus packages. Although the financial crisis may delay investment in NGN, it has also led to a widespread reaffirmation of the importance of building advanced telecommunication infrastructure as part of an economic stimulus package.

See the full press release from 16 February 2009.
The report is available for download here.

Monday, 16 February 2009 13:49:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 11 February 2009

According to a article in the Indian Hindustan Times, "Indian diplomats now cannot open a Facebook account, use external e-mail services, or write blogs, thanks to new rules and much stricter firewalls aimed at preventing cyber attacks and leakage of classified information. Over the past eight months, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has been overhauling its computer network security, putting up layers of barriers against intrusions into the network, officials associated with cyber security said. There are almost 600 computers at its headquarters at South Block, about half of which are connected to the Internet. Classified work is typically done on stand-alone computers, usually with the external drives removed. "We have set up a unified threat management system for the ministry. This simultaneously uses eight levels of protection like firewalls and spam mail filtering," said a senior official.

"We are also requesting and encouraging more responsible behaviour from our staff when working online," the official told IANS, requesting anonymity. A circular issued last week asked officials not to log on to social networking sites, specifically citing Facebook, Orkut and Ibibo as examples. The other prohibited practices include download of peer-to-peer music using sites like Kazaa and sharing of photos through Flickr and Picasa. The circular also discourages using services like G-mail, Yahoo! or Hotmail for official communication. A similar circular, officials said, had been issued in the Prime Minister's Office in December. But the matter is even more critical for the foreign office as officials posted in Indian missions abroad or on foreign tours tend to use web-based mail rather than the ministry's own mail system. "We have had cases of senior officers using G-mail or other similar accounts abroad for official work, only to find some form of tampering when they return," the official said, adding people have been told to change their web-mail passwords if they had opened the account during foreign tours. The missions have been told to use their official mail ID issued by the National Informatics Centre for communication. But several missions have complained that the mail home page was inaccessible due to port blocks by local Internet service providers. They have been asked to contact their service providers to unblock the site. "We want to secure communications with Indian missions through private networks. This may be implemented in the next few months," said an official working with the technical team in the ministry.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009 15:29:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Press release issued simultaneously by ITU and European Commission.

Geneva, 10 February 2009 — ITU and the European Commission have joined forces to mark Safer Internet Day. This year, the focus is on protecting children online.

Children are among the most active — and most vulnerable — participants online. According to recent surveys, over 60 per cent of children and teenagers talk in chat rooms on a daily basis. Three in four children online are willing to share personal information about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services. One in five children will be targeted by a predator or paedophile each year. Protecting children in cyberspace is, therefore, clearly our duty.

"Children are very resourceful in making the most of online services such as social networking sites and mobile phones," said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "But many still underestimate the hidden risks of using these, from cyber-bullying to sexual grooming online. Today, I call upon all decision-makers, from both the public and the private sector, to listen and learn from children and to improve awareness strategies and tools to protect minors." Ms Reding added: "The Internet binds the whole world together. The safety of children who use it is a concern for everyone. I am therefore very happy that ITU is associated with us in doing this, today on Safer Internet Day, and all year round."

"Child online safety must be on the global agenda," said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré. "We must ensure that everyone is aware of the dangers for children online. And we want to promote and strengthen the many outstanding efforts that are being made around the world, such as the Safer Internet Programme, to limit these dangers." This year, the 6th edition of Safer Internet Day includes more than 500 events in 50 countries worldwide. ITU and the European Commission will collaborate on this and future events, such as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, 17 May 2009, which is dedicated to "Protecting Children in Cyberspace". The European Commission’s Directorate General for Information Society and Media has declared its full support for ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) Initiative. The EC’s Ins@fe Network will launch a Safer Internet Day virtual exhibition which will host pavilions where visitors can learn more about initiatives undertaken by the 50 participating countries. ITU will host an online pavilion in support of EC’s efforts to raise awareness among youngsters aged 12 to 17 regarding the risks they may face online.

ITU and Child Online Protection (COP)

ITU’s motto is "committed to connecting the world", but we are also committed to connecting the world responsibly. That means working together to ensure cybersecurity, enable cyberpeace, and — more importantly — protect children online. While child online protection programmes exist in many developed countries, there are very few in the developing world today — and very little coordination between them. ITU established the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) and launched the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative. COP aims to bring together partners from all sectors of the global community to ensure a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere.

See the press release here.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009 15:38:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecommunication company, 02 has launched  a new book, 'Who Wants 2 No?', aimed at 8-12 year olds in an effort to promote greater Internet safety among children.

Available to schools and libraries, this book also aims to encourage children's literacy skills by providing an enjoyable story as well as an important safety message.

Ronan Dunne, CEO, Telefónica 02 UK Limited added, "....Technology is available to help keep children safe, but is only part of the solution. It's also important that children learn how to be smart and stay safe as part of their online experiences...."


Read full article


Tuesday, 10 February 2009 09:27:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 26 January 2009

Despite the number of data breaches which have occured in the UK over the past year, the UK Government has now authorised 390,000 professionals (including local authorities, police, health service and children's charities) direct access to contact details on all under 18-year-olds in England.

This  224 million pounds ContactPoint database was developed following the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000, when Social Services were highly criticised for lack of coordination and adequate follow-up of children at risk.

It is hoped that this database will go some way to preventing children from slipping through the net.

The Conservatives voiced their concern by stating that this database was "another expensive data disaster waiting to happen". The Liberals were equally opposed, calling it an "intrusive and expensive project".

(Source: BBC NEWS)

Full Story

BBC website




Monday, 26 January 2009 14:45:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 23 January 2009

NYTimes writes that "A new digital plague has hit the Internet, infecting millions of personal and business computers in what seems to be the first step of a multistage attack. The world’s leading computer security experts do not yet know who programmed the infection, or what the next stage will be. In recent weeks a worm, a malicious software program, has swept through corporate, educational and public computer networks around the world."

"Known as Conficker or Downadup, it is spread by a recently discovered Microsoft Windows vulnerability, by guessing network passwords and by hand-carried consumer gadgets like USB keys. Experts say it is the worst infection since the Slammer worm exploded through the Internet in January 2003, and it may have infected as many as nine million personal computers around the world."

This article was accessed through Dave Farber's list.
See the full article in NYTimes here.

Friday, 23 January 2009 15:49:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 18 January 2009

Well-known British Child Psychologist, Tanya Byron compares the dangers of letting children use the Internet without supervision to allowing them to cross dangerous roads without assistance.

"Government must be co-ordinated in its approach, we must have a national strategy" Byron states, adding,

"Now Obama has laid out his ambitious strategy and France has just published its own, too, there's a bit of a race on to lead the way in protecting children online...."

She encourages parents to take an interest in their children's online activity as well as providing commonsense advice such as putting the family computer in the living room as opposed to the child's bedroom.


Full story

Sunday, 18 January 2009 16:23:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 15 January 2009

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Emily Steel looks at who should bear the responsibility for protecting children online following the release of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force report on child esafety.

Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina is reported as saying, "Clearly the main responsibility is on parents."  adding, "..because technology companies are providing the gathering space and encouraging children to come, they have a duty to put in place technologies that can help protect kids".

Acknowledging efforts by social networking sites such as MySpace to respond to reports of abuse within 24 hours, as well as blocking child predators from their network.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

Read article here

Wall Street Journal

Thursday, 15 January 2009 00:14:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, 10 January 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, 10 January 2009 15:06:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |