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 Monday, June 02, 2008

The sixth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports covers the technology and standards behind lawful interception (LI), the lawfully authorized monitoring and interception of telecommunications.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have enabled (lawful) interception since the early days of electronic communications, but it remains a shadowy area due to the necessary secrecy that must be accorded to investigations. National laws, LI methods and standards need to be adapted to new telecommunication technologies, which continue to develop at an ever faster pace.

LI has been subject of recent discussion in different ITU-T Study Groups and there is agreement that the topic cannot be limited to its technical parameters: it involves a range of different aspects including legal, regulatory, social and political considerations, at national and international levels. Some parties view LI as a national rather than an international matter while others fear that ITU efforts might duplicate work already done elsewhere. Any discussion of LI, even from a strictly technical perspective, tends to get very quickly into a parallel discussion on human rights.

The report addresses the importance of developing international standards assuring a transparent process of interception, focusing on the sometimes conflicting goals of privacy and security.

Download Technology Watch report on Lawful Interception

Monday, June 02, 2008 4:23:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Interview with Malcom Johnson, Director, ITU, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. Malcom Johnson talks about the increasing emphasis on green ICT and ICT standards for climate change.

Watch now.

Monday, June 02, 2008 10:24:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Regional Development Forum for the Americas Region closed 20 May 2008, in Brasilia, Brazil. The Forum, was jointly organized by ITU-T and ITU-D,  in cooperation with Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), and hosted by ANATEL, Brazil

More than 200 participants attended, from 17 countries in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean

At the opening ceremony, the chairman,  H.E. Ambassador Ronaldo Sardenberg, President of Anatel, Brazil, confirmed the  Anatel’s interest in increasing its cooperation with  ITU and other regulatory agencies . He stressed the importance of the Forum in terms of preparing for WTSA-08 and discussing the “standardization gap”. He pointed out that the capacity to participate in the standardization process is of fundamental importance to decrease this standardization gap between developed and developing countries.

In his speech Mr. Clovis Baptista, Executive Secretary of  CITEL underlined the great impact that the information society has on society. The information society responds to society’s needs and helps people build on progress, he said. Baptista also reported an increase in the number of available services within the Americas region. A universal and suitable infrastructure is one of the objectives necessary to accelerate the process of American integration he said.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson, thanked the Ambassador for hosting the event and  the cooperation of CITEL. He expressed his appreciation to countries in the Americas for their active support of ITU’s activities, especially its standardization work. He highlighted the importance of standards for international communications and global trade. Globalisation requires global standards, and a global standards body like ITU clearly has an increasing role to play, he said.

In his speech, Johnson also raised the serious problem of cost of participation, especially in meetings in Geneva, as well as the cost of membership, particularly for small start-up companies in developing countries. He said that there had been attempts to overcome these difficulties, and that the issues would be hot topics at the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08). Johnson said that he had long encouraged members to host meetings in the regions, and had recently established a fund to assist hosts with the cost of doing so, as well as for providing fellowships to attend the meetings. He also mentioned the invitation to hold an NGN Global Standards Initiative (GSI) meeting in the Americas region in September 2009. Moreover, he added that ITU-T has also been trialling new collaboration tools which will allow remote participation in ITU-T meetings.

 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 2:01:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T and IEEE Communications Society (Comsoc) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aiming to better collaboration between academia and the standards world.

The document was signed during the first ITU-T Kaleidoscope conference, Innovations in NGN - Future Network and Services by Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, and Alexander D. Gelman, Director of Standards, IEEE ComSoc.

The objective of the MoU is to increase cooperation particularly in the area of events (e.g. workshops, seminars, symposia, forums and academic conferences) and publications.

The conference was the first in a series that aims at increasing the dialogue between academia, research institutes and ITU experts working on the standardization of ICTs. Held in Geneva, 12-13 May, it was attended by more than 220 participants.

Organized by ITU-T with IEEE ComSoc as Technical Co-Sponsor and supported by Cisco, Intel, the International Communications Foundation of Japan) and Sun Microsystems, the conference brought together the best academic minds from around the world to present their future visions for Next-Generation Networks (NGN).

Among over 140 papers submitted. 53 papers were presented and the best three were awarded prizes totaling $10,000 kindly donated by Cisco. These papers will be included in a future special edition of the IEEE Communications Magazine.

The winning papers were:

  • Architecture and business model of open heterogeneous mobile network, Yoshitoshi Murata; Mikio Hasegawa; Homare Murakami; Hiroshi Harada; Shuzo Kato.
  • Differential phase shift quantum key distribution, Hiroki Takesue; Toshimori Honjo; Kiyoshi Tamaki; Yasuhiro Tokura.
  • Open API standardisation for the NGN platform, Catherine Mulligan.

In addition to the prize pool 16 entrants received a Young Author Recognition Certificate, a recognition ITU will continue to give in future.

The conference highlighted technologies, services and applications that will capitalize on the NGN infrastructure as well as looking beyond NGN. It covered multidisciplinary aspects related to the deployment of NGN, including analysis of regulatory and societal challenges.

Attendees agreed on the the importance of strong collaboration between ITU-T, academia, and research institutes, which would be to the benefit all. The many academics in attendance expressed the importance of the role of universities in the standardization process. One issue discussed was the lowering of the ITU membership fee for such organizations, a topic that will likely be discussed at the coming WTSA-08 .

Building on the success of the first Kaleidoscope event, a second conference is planned for 2009.

A live audiocast, and archived audio of the conference can be accessed here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 6:59:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A standardized language-independent way to identify a next-of-kin (or other emergency contact) in a mobile handset's directory, in case of an emergency, has been adopted as a new clause in ITU-T Recommendation E.123.

Emergency rescue workers searching for contact information for the next-of-kin to an injured person have had no globally understood way of identifying that person's details.

The directory of the injured person's mobile handset is typically used, since it usually contains the names and numbers of next-of-kin. However, without a standard way to distinguish these contacts from all other entries in the directory it is difficult for emergency workers to identify who to call.

A system does exist but works only for readers of latin scripts. In 2005, an English ambulance paramedic, Bob Brotchie, proposed a world-wide introduction of an easy-to-find listing of phone numbers to be called "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) in the mobile phones of victims of accidents etc.

ICE spread across Europe from the mid 2000's and started to grow into North America. In a very short time ICE became a standard phrase used by safety advice agencies and emergency services all over the English-speaking world. The United Nations issued a guidance note to its entire staff making them aware of the programme.

Even though very useful, the acronym ICE is specific to the English language, and the letters ICE is of no use to people who can not recognize letters in the Latin script.

ITU believes that international standards must be useable by anyone, regardless of language or script, and has thus taken one step further by approving the standardized language-independent version of ICE using Arabic numerals (the digits 0 through 9) instead, since they are known by all users around the world.

The new clause in Recommendation E.123 proposes to store emergency contact numbers in the form "0nx", where "n" is a digit from 1 through 9 and "x" is any meaningful descriptive character string in any language or script (e.g. "Anna" or "Spouse"). In the handset's directory this would be displayed as "01Anna" or "01Spouse" enabling easy identification by the emergency services.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 8:42:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 19, 2008

Meeting of Working Parties 1, 2, 3 and 4/13

Geneva, 22 May 2008 (afternoon)

Registration Form

See TSB Collective-letter 10/13 for more information.

Study Group 13 Home

Monday, May 19, 2008 11:15:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Meeting of Study Group 12 - Performance and quality of service

Geneva, 22-30 May 2008

Registration Form

See TSB Collective-letter 6/12 for more information.

Study Group 12 Home

Monday, May 19, 2008 11:10:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Nokia Siemens Networks, Microsoft and Cisco have contributed over USD 125,000 between them to  establish  an ITU fund to bridge the standardization gap between developed and developing countries.

ITU recently announced the fund that would be used to support forums , tutorials  and workshops, participation  of delegates from least developed countries in meetings, the hosting of meetings in developing countries, surveys and study programmes.   

Bridging the standardization gap means allowing easier participation in the standards development process which in turn allows developing countries to profit from access to new technology development and ensures that their needs are taken into account in the development of standards.

Rajiv Kapoor, Director Carrier Standards and Architectures, Cisco Systems, Cisco: “As a technology leader, Cisco is a longtime supporter of ITU activities in many fields and especially of projects aimed at bridging the digital divide. Increasing developing country participation in the standards making process is not a short term fix. It will give developing countries a voice in the development of next generation ICTs and sow the seeds of a truly equitable information society.”

Tom Robertson, General Manager for Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft: “Technical standards play a critical role in defining the technical and economic landscape around the world. All communities affected by standards should have a voice in their creation. We are strong supporters of bridging the standardization gap between developed and developing countries. The ITU fund represents important efforts being made to ensure that all countries have the opportunity to contribute to standards development. We look forward to supporting the ITU's efforts to resolve disparities and bring the potential of technology development to all communities. ”

Dirk Weiler, Vice President Standards and Fora at Siemens Information and Communication Mobile, Nokia Siemens Networks: “Technology is a way for the poor of the world to break free from poverty. We have identified participation in the standards making process as an important way to facilitate digital inclusion. The problem is that in the past developing countries have lacked the resources to access, implement and contribute to standards. This new initiative goes a long way to addressing the problem. We look forward to working with ITU on its continuing efforts to bridge the digital divide.”

Companies interested in making a contribution to the fund should contact Thierry Perewostchikow (thierry.perewostchikow[a]itu.int). The relevant Circular Letter can be found here.

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:10:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU is hosting a workshop that will examine the critical issue of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and ICT standards.

The one day workshop will be held at ITU headquarters, 1 July.

The event, aimed at intellectual property specialists and standards makers will discuss the inclusion of patented technology in standards and the patent policy approaches to address this. International experts from both the public and private sectors from around the world will help provide an overview of the issues and share their insights on present and future developments.

The exchange of ideas and experiences facilitated by this workshop will provide valuable insight and input that can help to guide future discussion of the related issues – both at the ITU and in other fora.

Press release on common patent policy.

More information and registration here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:04:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Preparatory meetings for the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08) will take place in Brazil, Ghana, Uzbekistan, Syria and Viet Nam during the months leading up to the event in October. Alongside each event a Regional Development Forum addressing the standardization gap between developed and developing countries will be held.

WTSA is the quadrennial event that defines the future direction for the ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

Regional organizations APT, ATU, Arab Group, CEPT, CITEL, RCC will host the meetings aiming to coordinate regional views on issues considered to be of particular relevance to each area, and develop common regional proposals for submission to WTSA-08.

The Regional Forums are aimed at encouraging greater understanding of, and participation in, the work of ITU-T. They will explain the status of the current hot topics under discussion in ITU-T, and how to become involved in ITU-T activities in order to champion the interests of each region in the development of international ICT standards.

For details see here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:28:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |