Summer 2007, Issue18
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  Conference and Training
Chief Editor:  Zhang Zhun
Contact Us:  unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
  Networked Readiness Index2006: Denmark the Most Technologically Innovative Country
EU: Third European EGovernment Awards
EU: Commissioner Outlines Challenges of EGovernment
AFRICA: 'Digital Villages' to Be Set Up All Over Kenya to Speed Up Access to Data
CHINA: World's Biggest ID Database Complete
JAPAN: Nation's First Net-Based University Opens
INDONESIA: Eying Digital Early Warning System
PHILIPPINES: DEPED to Train Senior Officials on IT
INDIA: Pay Property Tax Return at One Click of Mouse
Planning Commission: Unique Identification Cards (E-Tags) for Indians
TURKMENISTAN: The Environmental Management Information System Established
AUSTRALIA: Media Laws Proclaimed
 
  AFRICA: InfoDev and COL Release First Set of Draft Country Reports on ICT Use in Education in Africa
Botswana: Govt Invest in Technology for Efficiency
EUROPE: EU Data Retention Law Could Impact Asia
EU Wants Better Public Access to Documents of the EU Institutions
UK: More Time to Comment on Draft Freedom of Information Fees Regulations
NORTH AMERAICA: Canadian Local Telephony Deregulation Policy Takes Effect on 18 April
US: 2007: Year of the Antispyware Law?
States Pushing Through IT Consolidation
SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil Internet Law - E-commerce and the Telecommunication Sector
 
  CHINA: Pledge Greater Efforts to Crack Text Message Fraud
Worried China Bans New Internet Cafes for a Year
China to Increase Censorship of Bloggers
Rules to Regulate Chinese Blogging Activities
China Bans Unlicensed Online TV Station
China Cracks Down on Sales of Internet Bar Licenses
China Plans to Cut Domestic Mobile Phone Roaming Fees
Beijing Prosecutors Withdraw Charges Against Online Nude Chatroom User
China Official Blames Internet for Youth Crime
China to Help Clean up the Internet
China Needs to Update Information Technology Strategy - World Bank
China's News Websites Vow to Clean Up the Internet
SOUTH KOREA: Bill to Check Abusive Power of Internet Portals
 
  INDONESIA: RI Prepares Laws to Battle Cybercrime
MALAYSIA: Shaziman Denies Censorship Goal
Digital Gap Between Rural and Urban
Malaysian Minister Hatches Blog Control Plan
Pahang Gets RM76m to Promote Hi-Tech Activities
TPHILIPPINES: Two Multi-Billion ICT Projects Approved
SINGAPORE: Net Over E-news Sites
 
  BANGLADESH: State Committee Proposes &VoIP Licences for All* to Ease ILD Congestion
Broadband Policy Likely to Be Approved by June
INDIA: More Allocations on National E-Governance Programmes in Annual Budget
India Targets for 20 Million Broadband Connections by 2010
Indian Railways Plans to Set Up GSM Network in Trains
Minister for IT in India Unveils 26 Projects Under NeGP
Karnataka (India) Govt. Plans to Digitally Connect 4000 Villages
NEPAL: Govt. to Implement E-Government Master Plan
Nepal Govt. to Implement Rural ICT Scheme
PAKISTAN: IT Parks Planned in Major Cities
'Software Business Accelerator' Programme Launched
Programme on 'IT Drive' Inaugurated
3G Licenses May Be Issued This Year
 
  AFGHANISTAN: MCIT Issues Sixth Postal License
IRAN: Gov*t to Cut Internet Rates
KAZAKHSTAN: State Holding Seeks Cooperation with Tajikistan in Telecommunications Sphere
 
  AUSTRALIA: $162.5 Million for Australian Broadband Guarantee
Rudd Proposes $4.7bn National Broadband Network
DVD, Game Ads Get the All-Clear
Nats Plug Own Broadband Plan
Media Reform每Moving into the Digital Age
Labor Broadband Blowout
Access Card Heads Back to Senate
Minister Calls for Improved Broadband Statistics
FIJI: Military Closes Blogs Critical of Government and Army
NEW ZEALAND: Government Sticks to Telecom Plan
Views Sought on Telecom Operational Separation - Minister of Communications Media Statement
 
  AFRICA: Nigeria - Yar' Adua's IT Imperatives for Digital Presidency
EUROPE: EU EGovRTD2020 Project 每 Have Your Say on EGovernment
EU: Towards a European EID System
German Government Plans to Use Open Document Formats in Its Administration
Hungary Launches E-Customs Project
Ireland Scores Well for M-government
ITALY: New &EGovernment* Directive to Speed Up Innovation
Norwegian Government Goes Live with Major Online Information Management Solution
Britain's Public Sector Bosses Learnt to Lead at an Early Age
UK: It's Time for Inclusive E-Government
NORTH AMERICA: Bahamas Government Pushes E-Government Campaign
US: E-Procurement Pays Its Own Way - Strategic Sourcing and E-Procurement Transform Purchasing in DeKalb County, Ga.
US: Oklahoma Web Portal Receives Third Statewide Award for Innovation
SOUTH AMERICA: Jamaican Government Gets High Marks for Telecoms Framework
 
  CHINA: Jury Still Out on Court's Sentence-making Computer Software
Online Platform to Be Built for Poverty Reduction
HK Launches Legal Information Website for General Public
Over 85% of China's Gov't Organs Online
JAPAN: Officials' Briefings on Net Rubbing Press Clubs the Wrong Way
The Japanese Government Looks to Go Open Source
Few Lawmakers Found Using 50 Bil. Yen Online Tax Return Filing
Kyoto Travel Guide Hits Web
SOUTH KOREA: Inspection of Polling Agencies Underway
 
  MALAYSIA: Taiping ADTEC to Be Used as Benchmark
View Status of Your Case Online
Tailor Finds E-filing Tax Returns Convenient
RM5m to Speed Up Services
PHILIPPINES: Bohol Retirees to Sue GSIS Execs over E-card System
Comelec to Put Up Online Chatroom
BIR Aims to Improve Tax Collection with New IT System
National Canvassing Goes Wireless
SINGAPORE: New Online Portal to Help Govt Pensioners Manage Healthcare Bills
VIET NAM: Hung Yen Becomes E-friendly
 
  INDIA: CDMA to Implement E-Governance System by Month-end
CPM Asks Indian Govt. to Implement Open Source Software in E-Government Applications
Govt. Launches E-Payment System for Excise and Service Tax
E-Governance Through Mobile Phones in India
Dataquest Study: Goa, the Best E-Governed State in India
Indians Can Check Spending via NDMC*s E-finance System
Indian President, Kalam Asks CAG to Implement E-Audit System
KMC Implements E-Integrated Tax Collection System
Govt. Launches E-Governance for Tax Collection in India
DDA, India Launches Integrated Management System for Online Computerisation
Indian Government Switch to E-Procurement in All Departments
Indian Government Calls States to Implement E-Governance in Transport Sector
Chattisgarh, India Aims to Digitalise Government
Punjab (India) Govt. Opens Seva Centres for E-Filing
Indian Govt. to Fund for E-Courts in Districts
SRI LANKA: ICTA Launches 16 More E-Governance Website
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Baku Holds Forum to Discuss Use of Latvia*s Lesson in E-Government Establishment Program
TAJIKISTAN: BEI Project Launches Its Own Site
 
  AUSTRALIA: Nairn Announces Move Towards Edemocracy
Health Preps for Outsource Bonanza
NHMRC Nutritional Needs Website Now Live
Paperless Plan for Customs
 
  EUROPE: EU Regulation to Reduce Mobile Phone Roaming Charges by 70 Per Cent
TransTelecom to Launch NGN Across Russia
NORTH AMERICA: Firms 'Can't Find' Qualified IT Talent - 55 Per Cent of the CEOs Surveyed Plan to Offshore over Next Five Years
US: New Rules Aim to Centralize Government Sales
 
  CHINA: China Mobile 3G Plan Draws Big Telecom Firms
Top Banks to Establish Joint Online Platform
China Mobile Invites Bids to Build First 3G Network
China's Online Sales to Top 51 Bln Yuan in 2007
China is Top Global Performer in E-ticketing: IATA chief
E-traders Team Up in Fraud Fight
China's Online Game Industry on a Roll
JAPAN: Kimono Retailers Go Digital
SOUTH KOREA: Special Deals Offered for Telecommunication
Korean E-Commerce Center Opens in Baku
 
  MALAYSIA: ICT Transforms Economy
Malaysia Telecoms Regulator Names Wimax Winners
Govt to Set Up Animation Centres Nationwide
Concern Raised Over Plan to Cancel Broadband Licences
VoIP Service Provider Targets 100,000 Users
Malaysia Goes High-Tech in Bid to Become Islamic Halal Hub
 
  INDIA: LIC, India Plans to E-enable Their to Micro Insurance Agents
Kochi, (India) Port Implements Software Tool for E-Services
Telecom Companies Come Together to Set Up IT Kiosks in Rural India
MTNL Procures 500 E-Tokens for MCA 21 E-Governance Projects in India
NIRCTC Launches Mobile Ticketing Service for Indians
 
  AFGHANISTAN: First Local Fixed Service Provider (LFSP) Launches in Afghanistan
AZERBAIJAN: Private Sector Takes 74.1% of Communications Income
IRAN: Private Telecom Companies More Successful
Industries Focus on Global Cellphone Market
Internet Penetration Up
Pros and Cons of Telecom Shares
Techno-Engineering Services Earn $1.6b
UZBEKISTAN: MTS to Build 3G Network in Uzbekistan
 
  AUSTRALIA: Audit of Telstra CDMA Coverage Complete
New Online Consultation Site for Small Business
Fairfax in Digital TV Pitch
Sensis Shores-Up with Ninemsn
Tech Allies Lay out Big Vision
NEW ZEALAND: Broadband Wireless Spectrum Auction Process Starts
 
  EUROPE: Digital Revolution Speeds Up, Says New EU Survey
Denmark Sets the Pace in Hospital IT
Poland ESwietokrzyskie Project Puts Rural Areas On-Line
UK: Sunderland City Council wins Digital Challenge competition
'Email Britain' Campaign to Create 21st Century Domesday Book
IT Salaries in the UK Rise by 5.5 Per Cent in Last 12 Months
NORTH AMERICA: Firm Predicts Tripling of Public Health Network by 2012
Chicago Named as Top City of the Future
SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina 'on Course' for 2010 Broadband Target
BRAZIL: More Communities to Get Broadband Via Satellite
 
  CHINA: Netizen Invites Premier Wen for Online Chatting
China Expected to Have 600M Cellphone users by 2010
New ID System to Screen Out Internet Dating Cheats
E-channels for Tourists to Go on Trial in HK
China Launches 6th On-line Public Memorial for Martyrs
Chinese Official Calls for More Digital Cities
JAPAN: Group to Accept Online Organ Donor Registration
IP Mobile Ditches Plan to Provide 3G Service
Online Help Set Up for Female Disaster Victims
E-Learning Making Inroads Into Nation's Colleges
'Ubiquitous' Internet Zone to Test IT Lifestyle
Japan Test-Drives the Future with 'IT Lifestyle'
SOUTH KOREA: LG.Philips LCD Develops World's First Color 'E-paper'
The Internet Nationalism of the Younger Generation
S. Korea Leads World in Digital Opportunity Survey
Samsung Develops 8-Gigabyte Memory Card for Mobile Phones
MONGOLIA: New IT Program Introduced
 
  INDONESIA: More Telephone Services for Remote Areas, Minister Says
Awards for Software Programmers
MALAYSIA: Internet Centre Among the Best
Ministry Banking on ICT to Achieve Objective
KL City Hall Pledges to Improve E-delivery
ICT Boost for Schools
Broadband Services Come Under Fire
Double Digit IT Growth to Continue
IASA Malaysia Launches First State Chapter
Star Rating for School ICT Usage
PHILIPPINES: Tourism Department Builds Data Center
SINGAPORE: MUIS to Launch New Website to Steer Youths Away from Radical Ideas
New Web Portal Launched to Promote Community Engagement Efforts
S'pore Sees More Public Sector Participation in 2nd Clipper Race
3D Digital Navigation Maps for Cars by 2009
THAILAND: Government Servants E-network Less
VIET NAM: PM Urges IT Sector Growth, Automation of State Services
 
  INDIA: PMC Asks Builders to Present E-plans for Building
Punjab, India Moves for E-Agriculture Services
E-Choupal Connects Farmers of India
SRI LANKA: Mahavilachchiya, the First E-village in Sri-Lanka
 
  IAFGHANISTAN: Digging and Implementation of Optical Fibers Starts
IRAN: 2nd Mobile Phone Production Line Kicks Off
TURKEY: Natural Disaster Information & Research Center to Be Established
TURKMENISTAN: New Issue of Science and Technology Journal Published
UZBEKISTAN: 3.4m People Use Services of Mobile Companies
 
  AUSTRALIA: ICT Secrets Unearthed
AUSTRALIA: Reports Released on Key Disability Issues
$70 000 Sponsorship to Support Women in ICT
Clever Networks - Smart Broadband Solutions for Rural and Regional Australia
Clever Networks Smart Solutions for Regional Health Care*
Launch of Telephone Registrations in New South Wales for the New &Do Not Call Register*
Green Too Early for Tech Market
Bell Rings for $61m Net
NEW ZEALAND: New Online Tool to Calculate Leave Entitlements
 
  EUROPE: Wi-Fi Networks Still Insecure in London's City
NORTH AMERICA: OMB - Agencies Make Headway with IT Security
US: NIST Issues RFID Guidelines on Security
US: Convergence of Physical and IT Security Becoming a Necessity
 
  CHINA: Fake PhD Certificates Offered in Online Fraud
Forex Watchdog Warns Online Fund Fraud
China Begins Crackdown on Internet Porn
Chinese Police Crack Down on Internet Crimes
Security Concerns Abound About Online Banking
China Looks to Tackle Software Piracy
JAPAN: Boost Cooperation to Enhance Internet Safety with EU
SOUTH KOREA: IT Security Market to Grow to 815 Bln Won by 2011
Foreign-Based Korean Gambling Web Sites Sprout
Korea to Inspect All Portals Internet Ads in Advance
Internet Portals to Pay Damages for Revealing User IDs
 
  MALAYSIA: SMS Spam Bugging Phone Users
Survey: Most Malaysian PCs Are 'Zombies'
SMEs Among Main Pirated Software Users
New Security Features to Beat Mykad Fraudsters
PHILIPPINES: RP Sets Up Cybercrime Body
SINGAPORE: To Share E-Medical Data
S'pore to Focus on More International Collaborations to Fight Cyber Threats
VIET NAM: Ministry Protects Copyright
 
  INDIA: C-DAC Develops Software to Fight with Cyber Crimes
State Govt. Establishes India*s First Security Research Centre in Chandigarh
CIITE Ensures E-Safety for Indian IT Students
 
  IRAN: Iran to Filter Phone Messages
UZBEKISTAN: Softline, Kaspersky to Organize Seminar on Network Security
 
  AUSTRALIA: Scams Target You〞Protect Yourself
Protect Your Computer from Internet Scams
Telecommunications Safeguards: Pointing You in the Right Direction
Cutting Losses on Identity Theft
Improving E-Security for Home Users and Small Business
Banks Sympathetic to Online Fraud Victims
Protecting Our Children Online 每 a Responsibility for Every Australian
Cyber Filters Give 'False Confidence'
 
  Nigeria: NEGST to Host IT Summit for Banks
E-Governance - Digital Local Agenda Awareness Raising Workshop
Web Censorship Spreading Around World, Report Finds
World Information Society Day Focuses on the Younger Generation: ITU Announces Awards to Three Laureates
E-Democracy: Opportunities and Challenges
Copyright Must Be Respected as Culture Goes Online
Microsoft Guidelines Give the Bottom Line on Security Settings
Government Technology World New Zealand 2007
Global Mobile Web Conference
E-Governance Training for Senior Managers From Developing Countries
 
  CHINA: Companies Prep for China Mobile TV Standard
Intel Expected to Announce Big Plans for China
Intel to Help Set Up Dalian Training Base
SOUTH KOREA: Two Koreas to Hold IT Forum in October
 
  ISACA, MNCC Hosting Conference
MALAYSIA: 2,500 to Attend World IT Congress in May
SINGAPORE: IT Show Rakes in Record Sales of $48 Million
Launch First Global Convention on Technology for Disabled with Thailand
 
  BANGLADESH: ICT and Education Conference in Dhaka
E-governance to Help Curb Corruption: BASIS SoftExpo Roundtable Told
BANGLADESH: Training Programme for ISP, Telecoms Engineers
PAKISTAN: NASCOM '07 Exhibition from March 24
KalSoft Launches Training Programme
Over 500 Professionals Trained to Help Reduce Software Piracy
 
  AFGHANISTAN: Parliament Begins Debate on Media Law
TURKEY: Caspian Telecoms 2007
UZBEKISTAN: National Software Exhibition to Be Held in Capital
National Association of Electronic Media Conducts Media Forum
Importance of Insurance for Stability of ICT Companies Discussed
Exhibition Best Soft Uzbekistan - 2007
 
   
     
 
 
 

Networked Readiness Index2006: Denmark the Most Technologically Innovative Country

According to the Global Information Technology Report, Denmark tops the rankings on the "Networked Readiness Index," which measures technology innovation. This comes about as a result of the country's admirable regulatory environment, coupled with transparent government leadership and vision in inducing information and communicative technology or ICT.The World Economic Forum report is conducted in collaboration with INSEAD, a leading international business school, and sponsored by Cisco. Irene Mia, Senior Economist of the Global Competitiveness Network at the World Economic Forum and co-editor of the Report said in a statement on the forum's website, "Leveraging ICT is increasingly becoming an essential instrument for countries and national stakeholders to ensure continued prosperity for their people. Nordic countries have shown how an early focus on education, innovation and promotion of ICT penetration and diffusion is a winning strategy for increased networked readiness and competitiveness." "Denmark, in particular, has benefited from very effective government e-leadership, reflected in early liberalization of the telecommunications sector, a first-rate regulatory framework and large availability of e-government services."

The report hosts the theme, "Connecting to the Networked Economy," and comes at time when ICT plays a pivotal role in the global economy. In fact, accessing the global network is often viewed as a foundation for economic development. "It's no longer debatable as to whether or not the global economy will become networked - the vast majority of industries are increasingly adopting networked business processes - and the discussion now focuses not on if but how we get connected to maximize the benefits to business and society," said John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco, the leading network hardware provider in the world. According to the report, the top ten countries on the networked readiness index rankings for 2006-2007 are 1: Denmark 2: Sweden 3: Singapore 4: Finland 5: Switzerland 6: Netherlands 7: U.S. 8: Iceland 9: UK 10: Norway. Incidentally, the U.S., which took the top spot last year drops six places to seventh this year. Singapore was an emerging technological innovator that ranked higher than the U.S.

Countries on the list were rated on technological advancements in general business, infrastructure and the capacity of government policies to stimulate economic development and maintain competitiveness. Although the U.S. dropped a few spots on the scale, it was noted for its efficient market environment, favorable to accessibility of venture capital, and the intricacy of the financial markets. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region fared well on the rankings but the powerhouse economies of China and India did poorly. India dropped four notches to 44th on weak infrastructure and because very few Indians actually use personal computers or the Internet - a stark observation that highlights the increasing gap in the digital divide. China fell to 59th on the list, sliding nine spots, as the world's most populous nation was cited for lagging information technology uptake in Chinese firms. (by Jacob Cherian)


From Bizreport, March 30,2007

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EU: Third European EGovernment Awards

The European eGovernment Awards 2007 will soon be open for submissions. The prizes for this third European eGovernment challenge will be presented at the Ministerial eGovernment Conference to be held later this year in Lisbon.The particular theme of this year's awards is the promotion of good practice in eGovernment in EU Member States. The call for submissions will be open from 1 April to 1 June 2007 and, in order to help interested parties to prepare entries for submission, the European Commission is inviting all eGovernment stakeholders to an Information Day in Brussels on 11 April 2007. Registration for the Information Day is open until 30 March.This year, there are five award categories. The first is &Better public services for growth and jobs*, which will go to the on-line public services best reflecting the Lisbon Agenda 每 that is, contributing most to the EU's economic growth and jobs creation strategy. The next category is for innovations or reorganisations in services and processes which lead to more &Effective and efficient administration*.

The interactive initiative with most influence on open government, policy-making and the operation and delivery of public administration will win the &Participation and transparency* category, while the &Social impact and cohesion* award will go to public service initiatives improving the social environment and social cohesion. Finally, initiatives that provide creative solutions to common challenges inspiring others will be eligible for the &Most inspiring good practice award*. This last category will be decided after a public vote, at the Good Practice Portal.Submissions will be evaluated by independent experts and a jury, using a range of criteria including: impact; evidence of or potential for sharing good practice; understanding of multi-channel aspects; innovation and management efficiency; overall impression and communications capacity. The winners in each category will be announced at the eGovernment Ministerial Conference in Lisbon on 20 September 2007.


From IDABC, March 26,2007

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EU: Commissioner Outlines Challenges of EGovernment

eGovernment News 每 12 March 2007 每 EU Institutions 每 Policy and Strategy Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, outlined the political challenges of simplifying and opening up eGovernment at the &Advancing eGovernment* conference held in Berlin on 1 March 2007.※People expect the same ease and efficiency from the public sector&s on-line services that they get from commercial concerns,§ said Reding, noting that the prosperity of Europe's 20 million firms is currently blighted by unnecessary bureaucracy, which bloats public services, causes errors and delays, and duplicates information. The burden could be as high as 7% of GDP in Greece, Hungary and the Baltic States, but could be reduced to the UK*s and Sweden*s level of 1.5%. The new Commission Action Plan for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the European Union aims for cuts of 25% by 2012, and the eGovernment Action Plan, approved last June, provides a concrete basis for joint activities at EU level.As part of the drive towards simplification, Reding announced that the 2007 European eGovernment Awards will open on 1 April 2007. Categories are &Better public services*, &Participation and transparency*, &Social impact and cohesion*, &Effective administration* and &Good practice*. The awards will be presented during the eGovernment Ministerial Conference in Lisbon this September.

The ICT Policy Support Programme, part of the new Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, starts in May, dedicating 25 million to the eGovernment Action Plan. Large-scale pilots will implement interoperable and innovative services, while thematic networks will explore using ICT to implement policies. The programme is vital for the implementation of i2020 goals. Public authorities make purchases worth almost 20% of GDP, or 2 000 billion a year 每 the savings made by ePublic procurement could be huge. Large-scale pilots would demonstrate interoperability of borderless electronic public procurement systems, using an agreed format for on-line authentication, signature and transfer of paperwork, contracts and invoices. Reding said interoperable electronic identity systems could be used across Europe, for short eID based on mutual recognition. Meanwhile, ICT and application tools such as Web2.0 are opening up new opportunities for social interaction and new forms of on-line consultation, dialogue and debate.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 03/12/2007

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AFRICA: 'Digital Villages' to Be Set Up All Over Kenya to Speed Up Access to Data

The Government plans to set up 'digital villages' throughout the country, to ease access to information for its citizens. Information assistant minister Mr Koigi Wamwere said during the weekend that the villages to be set up in all the 210 constituencies, will facilitate easy access to information that would trigger economic development in those areas. Commissioning The minister was speaking in Kisumu during the commissioning of the Od Mikayi satellite information centre, where the project by the Government also received a major boost with the approval of a Sh8 billion grant by the World Bank.


From http://topics.developmentgateway.org/ 05/03/2007

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CHINA: World's Biggest ID Database Complete

In a modest 200-square meters enclosure, the National Citizen Identity Information Center (NCIIC) in Beijing hosts the world's biggest ID database, with over 1.3 billion entries. "By collecting the identity information of China's 1.3 billion population in five years, through an investment amounting to tens of millions yuan, we have succeeded in collating the world's biggest ID database in full compliance with international standards," said Lu Subing, vice director of NCIIC. In recent times, China has been at significant risk from fraudulent ID cards, which allow swindlers to make illicit gains from social security, banking and telecommunication industries. Police figures have placed at 90 percent the amount of premeditated crimes involving false ID cards, a bane which has cost hundreds of millions of yuan in economic losses annually. Back in 2001, the Ministry of Public Security conducted a feasibility study of an ID database scheme, jointly carried out across 30 departments and units tackling civil affairs, social security, industry and commerce.

At the end of May 2003, NCIIC's four departments reported in, having completed initial work on software research and development, equipment distribution and hardware purchase as well as having begun trial operation. By the end of 2003, the database had garnered information on 210 million people across 42 cities. The pride in Lu's voice was audible as he revealed that "by the end of last year, the identity information of nearly 1.3 billion people was stored in the database, thus marking the completion of the whole system. Since then, the database has been on the front-lines of identity theft and economic crime prevention." According to Lu, NCIIC has helped to investigate over 1,100 individuals from all walks of life including banking, communication, auto industry, financial inspection, e-commerce, personal investigation and logistics. Explaining the services available to the public, Lu explained that "sending the name and ID number of the person you wish to inquire about in a message to 5110 (for China Mobile users) or 9951 (for China Unicom users), you will receive an answer as to whether your information was a match or not. If the result matched the database, you may ask for a further photo comparison.§"

Many examples on the center's website testify to satisfied users of the initiative. One customer cancelled the purchase of a house, worth 500,000 yuan, after he used the center to discover his client had provided him with false ID. "In the past, I always worried some clients might steal my cars by leaving a false ID number. I feel much safe now I can confirm their information at the center," wrote the manager of a car leasing company. According to Lu, the coverage provided by the inquiry service covers 0.97 billion mobile phones, telecom and Internet clients and its services range beyond text messages to the Internet, MMS, WAP and IVR. However, due to privacy and security concerns, a user cannot obtain a name using just an ID number or vice versa. The next step is already being worked on by NCIIC and the Bank of Communication who are teaming up to create an anti-fraud ID information system, aiming to reduce credit card application scams.

NCIIC's influence has also extended to telecom, education and social security sectors, aiming to provide comprehensive anti-fraud services. "Under the coordination of the State Council Information Office, we will gradually expand our service and share more data with other departments," said Lu.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 04/11/2007

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JAPAN: Nation's First Net-Based University Opens

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Cyber University, the nation's first university that provides courses via the Internet, opened Sunday with an entrance ceremony in Fukuoka -- transmitted in real time to students' computers. Sakuji Yoshimura, a popular Egyptologist who heads the school, and Ken Miyauchi, head of Japan Cyber Educational Institute, which operates the school, attended the ceremony together with some students. The four-year university has two departments -- information technology and world heritage -- each taking about 600 students. Students can receive classes any time and any place via personal computers connected to a broadband network. The school offers four-year bachelor's degrees. Japan Cyber Educational Institute is a nonlisted stock company with capital of 500 million yen. Internet and telecommunications conglomerate Softbank Corp. owns 71 percent of the institute while the remainder is held by Kyushu Electric Power Co., RKB Mainichi Broadcasting Corp. and other businesses. The school was approved last November as part of deregulation in designated areas aimed at revitalizing economic and business activities. According to the institute, most of the students are in their late 20s and early 30s, with many holding jobs.


From www.japantimes.co.jp 04/02/2007

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INDONESIA: Eying Digital Early Warning System

Indonesia may decide to utilize Japanese digital broadcasting technology to deliver warnings to wireless devices when natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis hit. The Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) system would send the disaster warnings through designated organizations, even when the receiving devices were switched off. If an earthquake or tsunami occurred, TV sets and portable TV receivers would be activated automatically and receive emergency news. Communication and Information Minister Sofyan Djalil said Wednesday that it could be some time before Indonesia adopted all aspects of the digital technology. "Maybe two to three years after the central government approves the use of a digital broadcast system," Sofyan told reporters at a roadshow introducing the Japanese system. The digital system allowed high-resolution TV sets to receive sharper images and better sound. Regular TV sets can also receive better resolution through a set-top box. Deputy director general of the Information and Communication Policy Bureau from Japan's Internal Affairs and Communication Ministry, Mutsumi Nakata, said local users in Japan were able to receive steady early disaster warning transmissions.

"However, Japan is a bit behind in developing the whole digital broadcasting technology compared to the U.S. or Europe. But we are catching up," he said during a press conference. Other than in Japan, ISDB-T has also been adopted in Brazil. Japan expected other Latin American countries to use its version over Europe's Digital Video Broadcasting for Terrestrial Television (DVB-T). Indonesia already used the European version due to its cheaper price tag and worldwide use. "We cannot recommend the use of ISDB-T here for local digital broadcasting because it's not widely used. The European version is already used globally, so the central government might choose that," said Widiadnyana Merati, a member of the National Team for the Switch from Analog to Digital Broadcasting. "In choosing the right system, we must consider all the technical and economic aspects and the system's compatibility with ASEAN country members." The team was tasked with recommending the more appropriate system for Indonesia. Indonesia may need up to eight years to completely phase out analog technology, as analog television systems need a special device to receive digital broadcasts. Meanwhile, Sofyan said the challenge for Indonesia was to build a similar system locally. "It's a matter of copyright. Actually, experts at the Bandung Institute of Technology can already build such a system," Widiadnyana said.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 03/01/2007

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PHILIPPINES: DEPED to Train Senior Officials on IT

While students are taking their summer vacation, the Department of Education (DEPED) might start training its senior officials on information and communications technology (ICT). In a statement, DEPED Secretary Jesli Lapus said all department heads in the central DEPED office will be undergoing ICT training to prepare them for handling policy creation related to ICT. The DEPED plans to conduct a seminar-workshop on ICT governance, which would be aimed at addressing specifying decision rights and accountability frameworks on ICT development. The DEPED had worked with the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) for the supplementary materials that will be used for the training. The topics that will be discussed include governance decisions on ICT principles; enterprise architecture or the organizing logic for business processes; ICT infrastructure; specific ICT applications needed by the department; and ICT investment and prioritization. "This seminar will also provide inputs for the effective planning and implementation of current and future ICT programs of the department," Lapus added. Lapus supports the creation of an ICT-capable student population and has declared that one of his priorities is to put more computers in schools.


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 04/11/2007

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INDIA: Pay Property Tax Return at One Click of Mouse

Now, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is ready with the software that will allow people to make payment to property tax through online. Users can log onto the new portal www.mcdpropertytax.in and file their tax returns via online. Under this new system, the tax-payer would simply go the web link, where an introductory note on the MCD property tax information system lists the procedure. Even the software does the tax calculations for you. The software will generate a unique identity number, which is receipt of the tax return. The software also automatically calculates the 15% rebate that is given as an incentive to all those who file their PTRs in the first quarter that ends on June 30. Tax payers would be able to make payment by cheque. MCD has tied up with UTI Bank to allow customers to pay cash at any UTI Bank branch. The MCD is also planning to tie up with State Bank of India for online payments through credit card.


From Economic Times 04/02/2007

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Planning Commission: Unique Identification Cards (E-Tags) for Indians

Soon India will have a unique identification number (UIN) or similar mechanism. The Planning Commission of India has approached the IT & Communications Ministry to coordinate a nationwide initiative and establish such a mechanism in the country. The Planning Commission is using IT to improve the welfare programmes in the country. The department of IT (DIT) is making its report for complete framework. DIT is expected to work out the modalities for assigning such an identification mechanism, which could be in the form of a number, a photocard or a biometric card. In the first phase of the programme, UIN would be assigned to below-poverty-line (BPL) under the government's welfare schemes. Later on, the e-Governance programmes could also dovetail into the new initiative. The department of telecommunications (DoT) is insisting that every telephone subscriber should be verified to identify country's population.


From Economic Times 03/20/2007

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TURKMENISTAN: The Environmental Management Information System Established

Two-day national seminar on establishment of the environmental management information system under ※Institutional and Human Capacity Building for Better Environmental Management§ UNDP Project was opened in Ashgabat. The seminar was organized by Turkmenistan*s Ministry of Nature Protection and UNDP Office in Turkmenistan. The leading Turkmen scientists, biologists and ecologists, specialists from national ministries and agencies, representatives of the non-governmental ecological organizations took part in the seminar. UNDP-supported ※Institutional and Human Capacity Building for Better Environmental Management§ Project focuses on establishment of information framework for environmental protection, on strengthening interaction between the national institutions and organizations. Turkmenistan has one of most developed in Central Asia protected areas network. Since environmental security has been identified as a priority of national policy our country consistently implements the strategy, which addresses the major environmental challenges.

The environmental management information system to be established is aimed both at preserving the diversity of Turkmenistan*s natural resources and achieving ecological stability in the region. Exchanging their views the participants discussed the future trends and ways of establishing information system and reliable environmental database and also the issues of drafting and enforcing the national laws on environment protection. Group discussions covered a wide range of subjects on strengthening the national environmental policy and supporting Turkmenistan in meeting its engagements under international conventions, developing frameworks for environmental protection and sustainable development. The well-coordinated information system, monitoring and assessment of situation in protected areas will promote development of ecotourism, giving to Turkmenistan*s people an opportunity to better know their homeland and to numerous foreign guests - to discover one of wonderful places on our planet, the seminar participants noted in their presentations.


From http://www.turkmenistan.gov.tm/ 05/17/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Media Laws Proclaimed

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan today announced Wednesday 4 April 2007 as the day on which the Government*s media reform package will commence. The date was fixed by proclamation this morning as the commencement date for Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Act 2006. ※Schedule 2 implements the Government*s longstanding commitment to reforming Australia*s restrictive media ownership laws while protecting the public interest and therefore ensuring a diverse and vibrant media sector,§ Senator Coonan said. ※The Government*s media reforms will encourage greater competition and allow media companies to achieve economies of scale and scope, while maintaining the diversity of Australia*s media landscape. ※The current foreign ownership and control restrictions relating to free-to-air and subscription television, and cross-media ownership restrictions on commercial radio and television licences and associated newspapers have for too long limited competition in the media sector. They have restricted access to foreign capital and expertise and stifled opportunities for growth. ※The new laws create a framework that will deliver greater consumer choice and a competitive industry in a rapidly growing digital media age. Australia needs a flexible system to allow media organisations - national, commercial or community based - to adapt and prosper in the new digital environment,§ Senator Coonan said.

Schedule 2 to the Act amends the BSA to: remove the foreign ownership restrictions for commercial and subscription television interests; remove the cross-media ownership restrictions relating to commercial radio licences, commercial television licences or associated newspapers (subject to certain safeguards); impose disclosure obligations on commercial radio and television licensees and newspaper publishers with cross-media interests; require the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to impose licence conditions from 1 January 2008 on commercial television licensees in regional aggregated Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania markets to broadcast a minimum level of &material of local significance*; require ACMA to impose licence conditions from the date of commencement of Schedule 2 on regional commercial radio licensees that require licensees to maintain existing levels of local presence if the licence is subject to a &trigger event* (that is, a change in ownership or if it becomes part of a cross-media group); require ACMA to impose licence conditions from 1 January 2008 on regional commercial radio licensees to broadcast a minimum level of &material of local significance* between 6am and 6pm on business days (the default level is presently 4.5 hours but this is the subject of a review by ACMA which is due to report by 30 June 2007); and subject regional commercial radio licensees to further local content obligations if a &trigger event* occurs.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 03/29/2007

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AFRICA: InfoDev and COL Release First Set of Draft Country Reports on ICT Use in Education in Africa

As announced earlier on our dgCommunities, infoDev and COL are working together to produce country reports on ICT use in education in Africa. Reports are distributed under Creative Commons License. Info Dev and COL have begun to release draft country reports now available on Wikieducator Web site. According to a recent highlight published by InfoDev, the project is "Working with teams of country and regional researchers and in collaboration with numerous partner organizations, infoDev and COL are attempting to gather together in a single omnibus resource the most relevant and useful information on ICT in education activities in Africa. The first draft country profiles to be posted are from Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. A working bibliography of resources related to ICT use in education in Africa is also available. Over the coming eight weeks, draft country reports will be posted on the WikiEducator web site"


From http://topics.developmentgateway.org/ 03/31/2007

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Botswana: Govt Invest in Technology for Efficiency

Government will continue to invest in the most suitable technologies to increase efficiency and accountability in the public sector. We must encourage and support the growth of the ICT industry within Botswana, the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, said the launch of an RPC Data Citizen Empowerment Deal launch on Friday. Mrs Venson-Moitoi said during the past few years, the government took steps to provide appropriate infrastructure, starting with the National ICT policy that sets out national goals and strategies for implementation. The liberalised telecommunications industry would facilitate the entry of new players, increase competition and quality of service, and ultimately reduce the cost of service. We expect that further liberalisation will act as a catalyst to the introduction of broadband and other exciting new technologies like voice over IP (Internet Protocol), the minister said. Mrs Venson-Moitoi said the government has embarked on a number of e-government initiatives that go both inward and outward.

Inward e-government involves the use of ICT technologies correctly and sensibly in the back offices of the public sector while outward e-government represents a radically new way for the government to interact with its constituents, clients, and partners over the Internet. About RPC Data, the minister said since its launch in 1989, it has developed a fine relationship with the government from the early days of writing small software programmmes used in automating various processes in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to the current partnership of trust where the company has been engaged to develop various systems. These projects have been developed within the environment of the Oracle technology which both RPC and Department of Information Technology have adopted as a preferred database platform, she said. The Managing Director of RPC Data, Mr Rob Pool, said the company was initially incorporated as Rob Pool Computing and operated as a one man consultancy from a modest house in Broadhurst. He said in 1994 the company needed sound financial and technical backing to enable it to bid for larger projects particularly those initiated by government. Fifty per cent of the business was then sold to Qdata, an international IT business based in South Africa.

The business continued to grow and in 1999 RPC Data was listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange to raise more capital. Mr Pool said in 2005, in line with governments citizen empowerment, two groups of citizen investors were invited to participate and purchase 26 per cent of company shares. One group of women investors was led by a former cabinet minister, Mrs Tebelelo Seretse, who was subsequently appointed board chairperson. Another was a group of men led by Mompati Nwako ,who is the executive director. Botswana citizens and the nation at large stand to benefit from the fruits of our future success through dividends, taxes and last but not least employment and skills development, he said. Mr Pool said his company has over the years developed some major systems for elections, taxes and Value Added Tax (VAT). We have also successfully implemented the Botswana governments core financial systems comprising GABS and Payroll valued at P35 million and P8 million respectively in the period from 2003 to 2006, he said. Both projects were completed successfully on time and within budget. BOPA


From DailyNews@gov.bw, March 13, 2007

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EUROPE: EU Data Retention Law Could Impact Asia

The data retention legislation passed by the European Union (EU) could spill over to Asia and force communications service providers and operators in this region to comply, say market experts. Approved early last year amid much controversy, the EU data retention directive requires Internet service providers (ISPs), fixed-line and mobile operators to preserve details of their customers' communications for up to two years. Information such as the date, destination and duration of the mobile call, for example, must be stored and made available to law enforcement authorities for between six and 24 months. The EU Data Retention Directive covers all EU members which currently include France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Fernando Elizalde, a London-based senior industry analyst for ICT Europe, Frost & Sullivan, told ZDNet Asia that each EU member will now have to pass the directive in its own country before the Sep. 16, 2007, deadline--though ISPs can ask for a deferment until March 2009. The provisions of the EU directive apply not just to mobile and fixed telephony, but also to Internet telephony, e-mail services and messaging services, Elizalde said. Service providers will also have to bear the costs of acquiring additional storage themselves.

And while the data retention law will impact directly EU members, some Asian communications service providers may be required to observe the legislation as well. Bryan Tan, an IT lawyer who runs his own practice at Singapore-based Keystone Law Corp, said: "Organizations [in the Asia-Pacific region] would also be concerned, especially if the EU starts to try to impose these standards on non-EU telecoms. A similar move was done with the EU Data Protection Directive." According to Tan, Singapore has its data retention law, but service providers are only required to retain the customer's registration data, for example, when he applies for a new mobile line. Information related to the phone call is not required, he added. Elizalde explained: "In principle, anyone who offers services in the EU will have to comply, even f they're foreign companies. "Many Asia-Pacific companies have operations here [in London]...for example, I know that SingTel has operations in the United Kingdom." He added that operators that provide Internet services or fixed and mobile voice services will be affected by the directive. "So, there's no way out of it [except to] look into what the requirements are and what they need to do to their systems to comply."

When contacted, a SingTel spokesperson said in an e-mail: "We are not affected... For data, we only provide links and we have no sight over the data." The EU directive, however, requires service providers to retain information related to the communication, and not the content or data of the communication. Greg Eden, head of corporate and international PR at storage vendor EMC, explained that telecommunications providers will have to keep data such as the time of each fixed and cell phone call made in Europe--whether the call is made to an EU state or an Asian country, and whether the call is answered or not. Other data include the duration of the call and details that can help trace the caller. Internet service providers will be required to retain information on the times users connect to the Internet, the users' IP address and details pertaining to e-mail messages and VoIP calls, Eden told ZDNet Asia. "The content of such communications will not be recorded," he added.

Some customer interest, but minimal Tan noted that "several" of Keystone's local telco clients have already contacted the law firm for advice on how their global operations will be affected by the EU law. He added that organizations in the region should start putting in place hardware systems and processes to capture the required data. According to Eden, EMC has not seen any direct customer feedback on the EU data retention directive "as the impact to Asia is minimal". However, he said, the vendor's customers "recognize that we now live in an age of information, and information compliance is growing". Mathew Lodge, director of product marketing at Symantec Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the security company has seen "a significant increase" in customer interest in the EU directive. For example, some customers have asked for advice and support regarding e-mail and messaging services. "There is still a lot of uncertainty on how to deal with these challenges," Lodge told ZDNet Asia. "We're getting a large number of participants in events and roadshows addressing. (by Eileen Yu)


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 03/02/2007

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EU Wants Better Public Access to Documents of the EU Institutions

With the adoption of its Green Paper yesterday, the European Commission is launching an open public consultation on the Regulation regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. This consultation marks a further step in the drive towards more openness, triggered by the European Transparency Initiative, which was launched by the Commission in November 2005. Ms Margot Wallstr?m, Vice-President of the Commission in charge of Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy said about the decision:" We are committed to high standards of transparency of EU decision-making process. Access to documents is an important citizens' right. With this consultation, we start the discussion how it can be best exercised."In the Green Paper, the Commission takes stock of the current rules on public access to documents and outlines some options for improving the system with a view to grant citizens better and easier access to documents of the three institutions and of the Community Agencies.Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 has been in operation for just over five years. The three institutions have gathered experience in implementing the Regulation and the European Courts have interpreted it in a series of rulings. Therefore, the time seems right to review the Regulation and the European Parliament has asked the Commission to come forward with proposals for amending it.

However, before proposing any changes to the current rules, the Commission wishes to consult the public at large. Therefore, it has published this Green Paper and opened a dedicated website, through which members of the public, citizens, civil society organisations, economic operators, public authorities and any organisation with an interest in European affairs may submit comments and suggestions.The Green Paper consists of two main parts. The first part contains an analysis of the implementation of the Regulation and a summary of the relevant case law of the European Courts. The second part, the Commission submits suggestions for improving the current system. The main issues submitted to the consultation are: Should more emphasis be put on promoting active dissemination of information? The rules on public access to documents could be harmonised with the rules on access to environmental information, to which the institutions are bound by an international Convention (the Convention of ?rhus on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters). Would a single set of rules for access to documents, including environmental information provide more clarity for citizens? How to ensure the proper balance between transparency and the protection of personal data, of economic and commercial interests and of the principle of good administration.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 04/19/2007

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UK: More Time to Comment on Draft Freedom of Information Fees Regulations

There is to be a further opportunity to comment on the proposals to amend the Freedom of Information (FoI) fee regulations, the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) announced yesterday.Following a consultation on 14 December 2006, the Government is issuing a supplementary paper to consult on the principle of amending the 2004 regulations, specifically on whether they should be amended to deal with requests that impose a disproportionate burden on public authority resources. Further comments on the draft regulations contained in the consultation paper of 14 December 2006 have also been welcomed.The Freedom of Information Act was passed on 30 November 2000 and covers over 100,000 public authorities. The supplementary paper is aimed at members of the public, public authorities, the media and campaign groups with an interest in the proposed changes.

Information Rights Minister Baroness Catherine Ashton said:"The Freedom of Information Act has benefited the public enormously. We must continue to build on its success."It is entirely right a reasonable amount of money and time is spent dealing with requests for information. But public money is limited and it is the Government's responsibility to ensure it is not unduly diverted from supporting the delivery of frontline services."We would like to hear all views and ensure people have the opportunity to comment fully, so we have today published a supplementary paper on the consultation, inviting further comments."An independent review of the impact of the FOI Act, commissioned by the DCA and published on 16 October last year found a small percentage of requests and requestors were placing disproportionately large burdens on public authority resources.The supplementary paper is published today. Responses are invited by 21 June 2007.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 03/30/2007

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NORTH AMERAICA: Canadian Local Telephony Deregulation Policy Takes Effect on 18 April

Canada*s Industry Minister Maxime Bernier announced yesterday that the federal government has approved his December 2006 proposal to accelerate deregulation of local telephony services, the last market in the country where prices are still restricted. The move paves the way for large incumbent telcos, including Bell Canada and TELUS, to lower prices of bundled services and better compete with triple-play cable operators, which enjoy price flexibility. &We think we [already] have competition in the big urban centres and it's time for deregulation,* said Bernier. The policy change will go into effect on 18 April, replacing an April 2006 decision by regulatory authority the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) which stated that deregulation would only apply to areas in which new entrants had captured 25% of the market. Under the new rules, former regional monopolies such as Bell and TELUS will no longer need regulatory approval to change tariffs. The rules will apply in regional markets that already have three competing phone service providers covering 75% of the population in a given area, including wireless operators. The CRTC will have 120 days to review a telco*s application for deregulation in a given market, Bernier said, and in the case of small new entrants, the government says it will delay deregulation for 18 months from their launch. The incumbent wireline providers will also be allowed to contact lost customers immediately, replacing the current three-month ban. Bernier said the changes, which go against the guidance of a parliamentary committee, will impact roughly 60% of Canadians, resulting in more choice of telephone services and lower prices in major centres across the country. TELUS welcomed the decision, saying that it would swiftly move towards offering deregulated local services in key markets across British Columbia, Alberta and eastern Quebec. Bell also praised the new rules and said it will seek deregulation &very quickly* in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto, London and Hamilton.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/05/2007

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US: 2007: Year of the Antispyware Law?

Spring is once again here, and with it hope springs eternal. A pair of anti-spyware bills have been introduced in the House, and there is a chance this year that at least one of them might actually make it into law. The House Judiciary Committee last week approved H.R. 1525, the Internet Spyware (I-SPY) Act, a short bill that would outlaw spyware and add prison time for any hacking done in the course of a federal crime. ※This bill is similar to one introduced in the last two Congresses,§ said Kevin Richards, federal government relations manager for Symantec Corp. It passed both times but died in the Senate. The problem does not appear to be resistance to the bill, but lack of time as legislation gets backed up at the end of the session. ※The clock ran out on them,§ Richards said. By addressing the bill early in the session, it might just make it through this time. It is a good bill, said Art Wong, Symantec*s senior vice president for security response and managed security services. It defines the illegal behavior being proscribed rather than the technology being used. ※It*s the behavior that we want to legislate against, not the technology.§

There is another bill, H.R. 964, the Spy Act, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that is more comprehensive. While I-SPY criminalizes the software being used to surreptitiously gather data and otherwise exploit a computer, the Spy Act lays out and outlaws a broad range of fraudulent activities involving computers. It makes it a crime to use unfair or deceptive acts to deliver unwanted programs or to exploit a computer. It outlaws the use of botnets, bans adware and makes it illegal to tinker with the settings or configuration of a computer. It prohibits phishing and pharming and requires consent of the computer owner before any software gathering personal information can be loaded. Several concessions to the IT industry have been included in the Spy Act. Consent to allow data gathering only has to be given once. This prevents the harassment of computer users by pop-up permission boxes every time data is gathered and sent by a legitimate program. It also specifically allows tracking of a user through a particular Web site for delivery of ads while within that site. And carriers and service providers are exempted from liability for hosting or transmitting prohibited sites or programs.

Perhaps most significantly, the bill includes a clear definition of spyware and a Good Samaritan provision to protect antispyware vendors. The vendors cannot be held liable for attacking software they have identified as spyware. This is an important point, because purveyors of spyware have in the past attacked antispyware vendors in court for targeting their software. If spyware is in the eye of the beholder, who is to say who is the good guy and who is the bad? This bill would help make that distinction. The bill also would require the Federal Trade Commission to report on and make recommendations for dealing with cookies and with spyware installed before the law would take effect. Overall, the Spy Act is a more complete bill, with one exception. It does not include any appropriations for enforcement. FTC is given the authority but not the budget to enforce the laws. I-SPY authorizes the appropriation of $10 million each year from fiscal 2008 through 2011 to the attorney general for enforcement. There appears to be no conflict between the two bills and there is no reason why both should not be passed. Neither one would by itself stop the problem of spyware or eliminate the need for constant vigilance and improved IT security. But they help efine the problems and would provide tools for fighting them. Passage of either one would be an improvement over the present situation, and passage of both would be even better. Let*s hope that the House and Senate can get around to them before the inevitable distractions of the budget and a new election cycle get in the way. ( by William Jackson)


From http://www.gcn.com/ 05/07/2007

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States Pushing Through IT Consolidationn

Successful information technology consolidation in state government usually means culture change, and that can require the deft use of carrots and sticks to overcome resistance. And in the face of serious resistance, ※a little shock and awe§ sometimes becomes necessary, said Northrop Grumman*s Jorman Granger. ※If you*re not taking folks by the neck and saying, &We*re gonna do this, damn it,* it ain*t gonna get done,§ said Granger, the company*s vice president for client accounts, during a panel discussion last week at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers* 2007 midyear conference in Chantilly, Va. Granger and the other panelists agreed that organizationwide IT consolidation and its accompanying uncertainties may be particularly daunting to the change-resistant culture of state government. &*Unless you know that you still have a job, where you*re going to work, what you*re going to do, it*s very difficult to be enthusiastic about dramatic change,§ said Donna Morea, president of CGI. Granger offered the example of former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder*s unsuccessful initiative to privatize benefits. Granger, who worked for Wilder at the time, said agency support for the effort flagged and the program ultimately failed.

But roughly a decade later, an ambitious IT consolidation effort under Gov. Mark Warner succeeded, said Virginia CIO Lem Stewart, who moderated the panel. Getting all veteran employees to buy into a consolidation effort is ※almost an impossibility,§ Stewart said. But through the use of several strategic tools 〞 including legislative mandates that require agencies to comply or face being in violation of state code 〞 a consolidation project can succeed. ※I*m one of those [who] say, &Move as fast as you can, hit hard, do it with mandates, completely tear it down. And then rebuild the relationships in the new culture,* § Stewart said. At the federal level, Tim Young, the Office of Management and Budget*s associate administrator for e-government and IT, said the Bush administration has emphasized transparency to spur progress in consolidation-related initiatives. Young used the example of the President*s Management Agenda score card, which evaluates agencies in various performance categories. Agenda briefings with President Bush are held at a large conference table with assigned seating; the deputy secretaries of agencies with the best scores sit closest to the president, while the lowest performers sit farthest away.

※We call that &management through humiliation,*§ Young said. ※It*s very effective, and it doesn*t cost a dime.§ But stressing the benefits of IT consolidation also is crucial, panelists said. Dan Ross, Missouri CIO, said that for the political leader of a state, leading a successful cost-saving consolidation could be a feather in one*s cap. ※Every governor looks in the mirror in the morning and sees a future president,§ Ross said. ※And so, they need a success story.§ And the panelists agreed that engaging all stakeholders, including those resistant to change, is always vital. ※Convince them 〞 even if it takes a brainwashing 〞 that this is in the best interest of the citizens, of the taxpayers. By and large, it works,§ Young said. Finally, panelists said, don*t let a bumpy ride distract from the project*s long-term vision. ※Just get ready to listen to a lot§ of complaining, Stewart said. (by Mark Tarallo)


From http://www.fcw.com/ 05/07/2007

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SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil Internet Law - E-commerce and the Telecommunication Sector

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Brazil boasts the most advanced Internet and e-commerce industry in Latin America and the fifth largest telecom infrastructure worldwide.This is due to privatization of Brazilian telecom services and associated advancements. between 1998 when the Brazilian telecom system was privatized, and the year 2000, telecom investments advanced an average of 1.36% GNP per year, a rate well above both Brazilian and Latin American historical levels. Thus, in record time the privatization of the Brazilian telecom system succeeded in revolutionizing the national communications industry, which in turn promoted national development of e-commerce.Approved by the National Congress on July 16, 1997, General Telecommunications Law ("LGT") No. 9.472 authorized the privatization of state-controlled telecom companies and created a regulatory agency ("the National Telecommunications Agency", or "ANATEL"). The law resulted in restructuring and modernization of Brazil's telecom system, which had until then been controlled by the federally owned company "Telebras". LGT 9.472 went into effect in January 1998, coinciding with the global "dot com" boom. In response to technological innovations and high market demand, telecom investments in Brazil quickly surpassed the Latin American average. Both basic and sophisticated services became available, including corporate high-speed networks and wide band Internet services.

While provided with some financial incentives, private networks were essentially required by law to extend their services to geographic and socio-demographic areas deemed marginally profitable and unprofitable. Today, Brazilian users dominate the Latin American Internet, and Brazilian internet commerce is ranked third in the region (behind Uruguay and Chile and slightly ahead of Argentina). Since 2002, Brazil has steadily converted from dial-up to broadband connection. Together with the widespread development of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, Brazilian companies are increasingly looking to incorporate Internet telephony with their broadband offerings. There has long existed a state legislated tax known as "ICMS" which applies to Brazilian commercial transactions including communications services. With the privatization of the nation's telecom service, Brazilian states quickly adopted the position that Internet Service Providers ("ISPs") provide communications services and hence, owe ICMS to the state. The statutory basis for this position was found in article 60 of the Brazilian Telecommunications Law of 1997.43, which defines activities that provide telecommunication services.ISPs contested the states" position by arguing that rather than 'offering' telecom services; they were merely enhancing existing services provided by telecom service providers. This argument was premised upon article 61 of the Brazilian Telecommunications Law of 1997 which defines the &service of added value', as distinguished from telecom service provider defined in article 60.

One case on point held that cable ISPs constitute telecom service providers and therefore owe ICMS tax. (Tribunal de Justi?a de Minas Gerais-TJMG, Mandado de Seguran?a - MS n. 267919-9/000-1, 09 Apr. 2003). In another case, the Brazilian state of Paran芍 held that ISPs provide telecom services under the terms of article 60 and, therefore, they owe ICMS (RESP 323.358, 03 Sep. 2001). Notably, the regulatory agency ANATEL does not classify ISPs as telecom service providers. As such, there exists a discrepancy on this issue which has yet to be resolved.Brazil's financial sector is the regional leader in adopting information technologies. Brazil is widely considered the regional leader of Internet marketing, online sales, service and support. It appears that the Brazilian financial sector has capitalized on its IT experience to adopt e-commerce technologies and integrate them with existing information systems. Brazil is currently viewed as the largest networked economy in Latin America. In 2006 Brazil was ranked fifth highest in world market cellular phone users and seventh in world market software (estimated to be 9 billion USD per annum with an average consistent annual growth of 10%). In addition, Brazil is among global leaders in the development of e-government applications, such as e-learning, e-procurement, online tax applications and the national election system. Some suggest that in Brazil, telecommunication limitations are no longer due to an infrastructure supply shortage; rather, they are due to market demand limits.


From IBLS INTERNET LAW - NEWS PORTAL,March 19,2007

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CHINA: Pledge Greater Efforts to Crack Text Message Fraud

China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) has vowed to tighten measures to shield Chinese mobile phone users from text message fraud. "Fraudsters usually register a mobile phone number with a fake name and then send false messages to a mass of mobile phone users, telling them they have won lottery prizes or offering dirt cheap smuggled goods," read a ministry statement. The ministry did not unveil a concrete plan on how it would achieve its goal, but promised "to keep a closer eye on these services and provide adequate tips to keep subscribers alert to fraud attempts". Text message service providers found violating regulations will be named and shamed, and severely punished, the ministry said. Up to 680 information service enterprises engaged in illegal services were given heavy fines and were ordered to suspend business last year. China had 467 million mobile phone users by the end of January, with one out of three Chinese owning one, MII statistics show.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/02/2007

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Worried China Bans New Internet Cafes for a Year

Fearful of soaring Internet addiction and juvenile crime, China has banned the opening of new Internet cafes this year, state media reported on Tuesday. "In 2007, local governments must not sanction the opening of new Internet bars," Xinhua news agency on Tuesday quoted a directive jointly released by 14 government departments, including the Ministry of Culture, as saying. The notice said Internet cafes that had received planning approval would need to be completed by June 30, 2007. There are currently about 113,000 Internet cafes and bars in China, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of Information Industry. The notice comes as lawmakers at China's annual session of parliament, the National People's Congress, called for stricter regulations to keep teenagers away from Internet cafes, which are often seen in China as hotbeds of juvenile crime. "It is common to see students from primary and middle schools lingering in Internet bars overnight, puffing on cigarettes and engrossed in online games,"

Xinhua quoted NPC deputy Yu Wen as saying in a separate report. China has banned minors from cybercafes and levies heavy fines on operators who defy regulations in a bid to curb soaring rates of addiction that have accompanied the rapid spread of the Internet in recent years. Last year, a report from the China National Children's Center, a government think-tank, said that 13 percent of China's 18 million Internet users under 18 were Internet addicts.


From http://news.yahoo.com 03/07/2007

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China to Increase Censorship of Bloggers

China will intensify controls of the growing numbers of bloggers using the Internet to lay bare their thoughts, politics and even bodies, the country's chief censor has announced. The director of China's General Administration of Press and Publication, Long Xinmin, said the administration was forming rules to further regulate Internet publishing, including the country's legions of bloggers, The Beijing Morning Post reported Tuesday. "We must recognize that in an era when the Internet is developing at a breakneck pace, government oversight and control measures and means are facing new tests," Long told members of China's national Parliament on Monday, the report said. Long singled out bloggers as one challenge. Long said "citizens' freedom of expression would be fully protected." But China's restless blogging population has been a headache for the ruling Communist Party, which has sought to extend longstanding censorship to the country's fast-growing Internet use. By last September, the number of blog sites in China reached 34 million, a thirtyfold increase from four years before.

Chinese bloggers have detailed their political views, hobbies and grudges online. One pioneer, Mu Zimei, a young journalist, attracted a storm of publicity in 2003 by chronicling 〞 names and all 〞 her complicated love life. Another blogger, calling herself Liu Mangyan, published nude photos of herself. More sober-minded bloggers publish combative investigative journalism and punditry on current affairs. A number of government authorities would be casting new rules to cover Internet "publishing activities," Long said. "The publishing administration authorities have been paying attention to this new mode of Internet dissemination," Long said. China does not lack rules controlling the Internet; an army of competing agencies often issue regulations. Last year, for example, the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry issued rules on Internet news content that analysts said were aimed at extending regulations governing licensed news outlets to blogs and Internet-only news sites.


From http://www.iht.com 03/13/2007

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Rules to Regulate Chinese Blogging Activities

With thriving blogging and podcasting activities in the Chinese cyber world in recent years, the authorities are considering regulatory rules to ensure their healthy and fast growth. Long Xinmin, director of China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), revealed in Beijing March 12 that his administration, together with several other departments, is working on the new rules on Internet publishing activities, but gave no timeframe as to when the rules would be announced and enforced. A wedding photo of two Chinese bloggers. Blogging has thrived in China in the past two years, while legislation on blog administration has lagged behind. Long, speaking as a Beijing deputy on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the National People's Congress, said the rules will help guarantee the freedom of speech for all netizens while regulating and standardizing the publishing activities. Blogging has been a new growth area in China's information technology industry in the past two years, driven by a fast-increasing population of netizens and the so-called grass-roots society wake-up. However, legislation lagged behind in maintaining the order of the cyber world.

Two infamous lawsuits in 2006, in which bloggers accused service providers for failing in removing abusive words of other bloggers towards them, raised speculations of how to protect web users' interests in the meantime ensuring their rights of free speech. "We aim to maintain the healthy and easiest environment of web publishing on the premise of netizen's freedom of expression being fully fulfilled," Long said, adding that the rapid expansion of Internet use, especially the blogging and podcasting differing from traditional media, poses great pressure on the administrators. Providing China's 137 million web users with a free and easy way of publishing text and multi-media messages, blogging and podcasting, which don't require cutting-edge technologies, are also used by those with commercial purposes as a platform to publicize false and pornography information.

The prevalence of blogs also helped with the popularization of online spoofs. Sister Furong, as she named herself on the Internet, was well known for posing like the letter 'S' in photos and dancing while shaking her portly body. Mu Zimei showed off her thin figure and recorded her numerous romances with men on her weblog, with audio clips recorded while making love.


From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn 03/13/2007

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China Bans Unlicensed Online TV Station

China's television watchdog has banned an online television station for operating without a licence in a further bid to regulate online television programs. In a circular issued on Sunday, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) accused "China International Chinese Television Station" (www.ccztv.com) of "illegally recruiting reporters and engaging in unauthorized journalistic activities". The station's website has been replaced by a web page with the words: "Website Under Repair". The SARFT regulation stipulates that unlicensed online TV programs are prohibited from appearing on the Internet and violators could be fined up to 30,000 yuan (US$3,750). In a similar case, SARFT blacklisted seven illegal online television stations in December, 2006. However, five of them are still accessible.


From http://www.china.org.cn 03/20/2007

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China Cracks Down on Sales of Internet Bar Licenses

The Chinese government has pledged to eradicate the sale of new Internet bar licenses, which has continued despite a ban earlier this month. Tuo Zuhai, vice director of the Ministry of Culture cultural market department, said at a meeting on Internet bars that licenses were still sold in some areas for high profits after 14 government departments, including the Ministry of Culture, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Information Industry, banned the practise. The sales were illegal and would be stopped according to laws and regulations, Tuo said. "There are currently almost 120,000 Internet bars in China, which meets the demand of the market," said Tuo, adding an increase in the number would lead to "negative competition". The government notice also required that school-owned Internet bars must be directly managed by the school, operated on a not-for-profit basis and must not be leased to individuals.

In recent years, Chinese government officials and commentators has voiced concerns over an alleged rise in the number of teenagers addicted to Internet cafes and gaming. The number of Internet users in China reached 123 million in mid-2006. About 15 percent of the total -- or 18 million -- are under the age of 18. A report by the Beijing Reformatory for Juvenile Delinquents claimed 33.5 percent of its detainees were influenced by violent on-line games or erotic websites when they committed crimes such as robbery and rape. Many experts and lawmakers have suggested the government tighten the management of Internet bars.


From http://www.china.org.cn 03/21/2007

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China Plans to Cut Domestic Mobile Phone Roaming Fees

China plans to set price caps and cut domestic mobile roaming fees this year, said an official of the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) on Tuesday. Zhu Jun, an official in charge of regulating the cost of telecommunications services, said this at a development plan and policy briefing session in Beijing. The high roaming fees, two-way charging mechanism and high monthly rental charges have all drawn complaints from Chinese consumers. "Since cross-province calls have to be transferred from one local operator to another, roaming fees are reasonable," Zeng Jianqiu, a professor with Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said. "As technology improvement has lowered operational costs, cutting domestic roaming prices has become a worldwide trend," he said, "and developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia have already started the process."

Some technology experts argue that roaming calls actually incur almost no extra cost for operators. "China cannot eliminate roaming fees immediately," Zeng said, "as it will put fixed-line companies in a tight corner since mobile calls cost even less than fixed-lines." Data from the MII show that while the domestic revenue share of major fixed-line players China Telecom and China Netcom has fallen, China Mobile's share shot up to hit 42.4 percent last April. To ensure a steady development of the telecommunications market, China can only cut the roaming price step by step, Zeng said, adding that the country should allow fixed-line companies to join the mobile market and vice versa. MII data shows China had 461 million mobile users at the end oflast year, 17 percent up on the 2005 total.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/21/2007

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Beijing Prosecutors Withdraw Charges Against Online Nude Chatroom User

Beijing law enforcement officers have been forced to drop charges against a housewife who organized online chats in the nude as there is no basis in law to prosecute her. Judicial authorities in Shijinshan, a district in west Beijing, announced that they recently withdrew charges against the 36-year-old woman surnamed Li who was charged almost three years ago with "organizing pornographic activities". Prosecutors said in July 2004 Li took off all her clothes and chatted with people using her webcam. She later organized online chats for nudists. Beijing's Internet police discovered the chatrooms and LI was arrested by local police. Asked why she chatted with no clothes on, Li said she was "seeking excitement". Law officers soon discovered they were facing a legal "blind spot" as nude chat rooms were not defined in China's pornography laws.

In September 2004, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate issued a judicial interpretation on pornographic activities on the Internet but it didn't include live webcam chats. Prosecutor Li Kai in Shijinshan admitted his office couldn't prove that Li had committed the criminal act of disseminating pornographic materials. "Under the existing laws, it is inappropriate to treat this as a criminal offence," he said. The Shijinshan district court found there was little legal basis for the charge and threw the case out of court. Wang Xinhuan, a law PhD and official with the Beijing municipal procuratorate said, "The judicial interpretation on Internet pornographic activities is incomplete due to the insufficient knowledge of the legislators. An amendment is needed to remove the loophole."


From http://www.chinaview.cn 04/18/2007

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China Official Blames Internet for Youth Crime

Most youth crime in China can be blamed on negative influences from violent or pornographic Web sites, a police spokesman said on Thursday, justifying the country's latest crackdown on the Internet. "In recent years from the cases we have discovered, the proportion of young people guilty of cheating, rape or robbery who are given to using the Internet or have been corrupted by online filth, is very high," spokesman Wu Heping said. "Our preliminary figures for arrested youth criminals is that almost 80 percent of them have been seduced by the Internet," he told a news conference. "It makes people very pained to know that crimes are committed by people corrupted by obscene pictures and images," Wu said.

Last week China announced a new campaign against Internet pornography that would also take aim at fraud, illegal lotteries and "rumor-spreading" to protect the country's mainly young Internet users from "negative online influences," state media said. "The public security system will uphold the law during this campaign and also take tips from the public to clean up the pure space of the Internet," Wu added. Last November a Chinese court sentenced the founder of the country's largest pornography Web site to life imprisonment. Pornography was among the vices almost wiped out in China under the strict, puritanical rule of Mao Zedong. But since economic reforms began and social controls were loosened, it has become more readily available. China has an army of cyber police who patrol the Internet for unfavorable content, but their targets are more often politically sensitive subjects than pornography or online scams.


From http://news.yahoo.com 04/19/2007

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China to Help Clean up the Internet

China is calling on its officials to help make the Internet more civilized and less decadent, state media reported Monday, the latest push in a campaign to sanitize behavior on and off the Web. At a meeting of top Communist Party leaders chaired by President Hu Jintao, officials were told to build "an Internet culture with Chinese characteristics," and to "curb the spread of decadent and backward ideological and cultural material online," the official Xinhua News Agency said. The report didn't quote Hu directly or specify the types of offensive material that would be targeted. Hu has made improving moral education a signature theme of his administration, an effort that appears to be intensifying ahead of a once-in-every-five-years party meeting scheduled for later this year. Hu and others in the leadership will seek a renewed mandate during the meeting. In January, the government ordered prime time television programming this year to be "ethically inspiring" and Internet regulators were told to promote a "healthy online culture" to protect the government's stability.

The Chinese government promotes Internet use for education and business, but tries to block the public from seeing material online that is deemed subversive or pornographic. Nudity, profanity, illegal gambling and pirated music, books and film have proliferated on Chinese servers despite the controls. Xinhua said Communist Party committees, government officials at all levels and cultural institutions would all be expected to step up management of the Internet and make it more civilized. China's online population grew by 23.4% last year to 137 million people, about 10% of its 1.3 billion population. The figure puts China on track to surpass the U.S. in the next two years as the nation with the most Internet users, the government has said.


From http://www.usatoday.com 04/24/2007

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China Needs to Update Information Technology Strategy - World Bank

※China needs to urgently implement reforms in information and communication technologies (ICT), a sector which plays a vital role in managing the country's growth challenges, the World Bank said. China has the world's largest telecommunications market #but a new strategy is required to reflect current economic and social challenges, the World Bank said in [its] China*s Information Revolution: Managing the Economic and Social Transformation report. ... &This report reinforces how important to that effort is a well thought-out ICT strategy that brings the benefits of the online world closer to everyone's daily lives,* [World Bank's Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific, Jim Adams] Adams said. #§ Industry Updates writes that ※# the report is the first to map out China's ICT landscape and assess the key factors for the sector's growth, such as legal framework, telecom infrastructure and human resources. #

In 2006, ICT industries accounted for 7.4 percent of the GDP. # China now has the world's largest telecom market and second-largest Internet user population. By the end of 2006, it had more than 144 million Internet users and 480 mobile phone subscribers#Christine Qiang, author of the report and Senior Economist at the Bank, added that development of ICT could fundamentally restructure an economy. # The report said China needs to further reform the laws and regulations in areas such as telecommunications, access to government information, data protection and privacy. It also needs to invest more to provide rural residents access to telecom infrastructure. More than 20 percent of urban residents have access to the Internet, compared with only 3 percent in the countryside# The country is now drafting its first telecom law and will soon set up its first universal service fund, which subsidizes telecom operators for providing services in rural areas.§


From http://web.worldbank.org 04/27/2007

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China's News Websites Vow to Clean Up the Internet

More than 100 news websites in China publicized a self-discipline regulation on Friday, pledging to purify the Internet environment. The websites vowed to standardize the news collection, editing and releasing process, and eliminate false news and illegal information. They also promise to exclude pornographic and violent content from their websites. Supervision will be strengthened to guarantee that website content is legal and clean. They pledge not to publish information that would undermine citizens' reputations or infringe their right to privacy. China had 144 million netizens at the end of March this year, and the figure is growing by eight percent per year. China launched a six-month campaign to restrict the spread of online pornography in April. The campaign by the Ministry of Public Security and nine other government departments will crack down on illegal online activities such as distributing pornographic materials and organizing cyber strip shows, and purge the web of sexually-explicit images, stories, and audio and video clips. The campaign also targets illegal online lotteries and contraband trade, fraud, and "content that spreads rumors and is of a slanderous nature".


From http://www.chinaview.cn 05/18/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: Bill to Check Abusive Power of Internet Portals

A lawmaker is to submit a bill to impose more restrictions on Internet search engines, especially giant local Web portals, to the National Assembly in the near future.The envisioned bill calls for portal sites to protect privacy and rights of Internet users as well as to maintain ethics in journalism and advertising on the web. But major portal sites argued that the regulation would hinder the growth of the domestic search engine industry.Rep. Chin Soo-hee, former vice spokeswoman of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), said at a National Assembly hearing Tuesday that she and her aides have already prepared a draft bill to regulate portal sites.Chin said, "Portal sites such as Naver and Daum have almost monopolized the local market, but they have neglected their duty to protect the privacy and human rights of Internet users."According to a survey by AceCounter, a local market research firm, Naver maintains more than 70 percent of the local market with its user-friendly services, far higher than the 2 percent of Google Korea.Lim Duk-gi, main architect of the draft bill, said portals' keyword advertisements, the main resource of search engines, have failed to guarantee quality search results by focusing too much on providing sponsored links under the name of South Korea's unique "integrated search engine services."Lim, a researcher at the Korea Intellectual Property Right Legislation Institute in Seoul, asserted that local portals should allow users to choose either the integrated search services, which contain information compiled by each portal site, or an open research service similar to the one provided by the world's largest search engine Google.

He, however, refrained from naming a company during the debate.Officials from Naver and Daum rebuffed such claims, arguing that the bill could hinder the development of local Internet portals, which have accomplished fast-paced growth in one of the world's most wired countries."Due to the limited number of contents available in the Korean language, we have developed our unique user-friendly search services, which enjoyed much higher popularity than foreign Web portals such as Google on the local market," said an official of NHN which runs Naver.A Daum Communications spokesman claimed coercing local portals into adopting certain types of search engine services would discourage each company's creative services and cement the current dominant positions of leading portal service providers.Portals' increasing role as news service providers also faced much criticism."Major portal sites have become much more influential than traditional news media including newspapers and television stations," Chin said. "But there's no legislation to prevent possible defamation and online witch hunts on those Web sites that more than 10 million users visit per day."Lee Ji-ho, a lawyer who has cooperated with the lawmaker in preparing the bill, said the major portals should not be allowed to change the headlines of articles provided by news media under any conditions."Besides, news services by such Web sites must be supervised by those with noteworthy experience in journalism, with a strong code of ethics," Lee said.Chin also claimed the portals should be required to help Internet users report inappropriate contents on the Web immediately to them.

"Those portal sites should make it easier for Internet users to report problematic postings on their sites," the lawyer said. "We need new legislation to make sure portal sites take appropriate steps within 72 hours."Participants also called on major portals to find ways to encourage start-up Internet contents providers."I wonder how many small contents providers have benefited from their business partnership with such giant portal sites," said Yoo Jung-won, vice president of Allblog, a Web site specializing in blog services, which recently cancelled its contract with Naver. "I've seen too many cases where giant portals list information at the bottom of their pages because they wanted to promote their own contents."With its increasing market share and profits, local portals have faced a series of anti-trust and tax audit measures.The National Tax Service (NTS) began a three-month audit of NHN late last month.In the first quarter of this year alone, NHN's net income amounted to 62.38 billion won ($67.65 million), up 77.6 percent from 35.11 billion won a year earlier.Revenue from its successful search-related online advertisements and games surged 63.9 percent year-on-year to 199.62 billion won and operating profit jumped from 83.8 percent to 85.63 billion won, it reported last week.


From http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu 05/16/2007

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INDONESIA: RI Prepares Laws to Battle Cybercrime

The government and the House of Representatives are deliberating a cyberlaw bill and revising a number of related laws in an effort to win the battle against cybercrime. Information and Communications Minister Sofyan Djalil admitted Indonesia still lacked the legal infrastructure necessary to protect Indonesians from cybercrime. "The government is working hard with the House to speed up the deliberation of the bill on information and electronic transactions to help minimize computer-related offenses in all sectors. "For the time being, the bill will be the first cyberlaw to mandate preventive and repressive measures for handling cybercrime. With the law, the government will issue relevant regulations on crimes committed in cyberspace," he told a seminar on cybercrime Thursday. Sofyan said the government was deeply concerned over the increasing prevalence of cybercrime and the extensive negative impact it has on the country.

He was pessimistic, however, of the likelihood of the formation of comprehensive cybercrime legislation that would be in line with current political conditions inside the legislative body. Sofyan said many cybercrimes -- ranging from pornography, child and women trafficking, illegal drug trading and defamation to hacking, fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing -- are not covered by the current laws. Organized by the Golkar Party, the seminar was opened by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is also the political party's chairman. "The Indonesian cyberlaw must refer to, and be in harmony with, international conventions and similar (laws) in other countries to allow a joint war on cybercrime," Kalla said. Theo Sambuaga, chairman of the foreign affairs, defense and information commission at the House, said Indonesia was in dire need of a specialized cyberlaw, and that it should ratify international conventions and enhance its ties with foreign governments to battle borderless cybercrime.

Theo said the government and the House should also immediately revise laws on intellectual and property rights, state secrets and patent rights, as well as the Criminal Code and the free-flow of information bill, to provide a legal basis for law enforcers to impose harsh penalties on computer-related offenders. He called on the government and the House to ratify the UN Convention on Combating Criminal Misuse of Information Technology, the 2001 Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrimes and the EU Council's Decision on Attacks on Information Systems as the first step to back up the information and electronic transaction bill. This would create an unprecedented legal basis to enhance cooperation with foreign governments in the battle against cybercrime. Meanwhile, the National Police and Bank Indonesia said they were central stakeholders in the matter and required a cyberlaw to help eliminate major cybercrimes. Comr. Gen. Bambang Hendarto Danuri, National Police chief detective, said that beside increasing levels of cybercrime at home, they have received reports of 20 computer-related fraud cases from other countries, but could settle only a single hacking case because of the absence of a cyberlaw.

Bank Indonesia's senior deputy governor, Miranda S. Goeltom, said the central bank was unable to detect banking fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing because of increases in the electronic transfer of funds. "With the integration of international economic development into the global financial market, Indonesia needs a law on fund transfers to regulate the crowded traffic of capital to protect its national interests," she said. "We have frequently received complaints in international fiscal and monetary meetings over the absence of a strict regulation on funds transfers."


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 04/13/2007

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MALAYSIA: Shaziman Denies Censorship Goal

PUTRAJAYA: The Government's plan to register all bloggers using locally hosted websites is merely to collect data rather than to censor them, Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said. He said the Government's move should not be misconstrued as hindering bloggers from continuing with their activities. "The plan to register bloggers is merely to assess the situation and keep track on how many bloggers there are in the country and on the information provided by them. It has nothing to do with censoring the contents in the blogs," he said, adding that the plan has yet to be finalised by the Government. Shaziman also said Singapore had started registering its bloggers while Thailand, China and Middle Eastern countries practised censorship of their blogs. He was clarifying his statement made in Parliament earlier this week that the plan to register bloggers was a move by the Government to prevent the spread of negative or malicious articles on the Internet. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said it was up to bloggers to start an association, but that "rights come with responsibility." "They have the rights and it's up to them, but are the bloggers practising responsibility? Who is disturbing their rights? If they are responsible, the rights are always theirs. But if they are not, then we will take away those rights," he said yesterday.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/07/2007

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Digital Gap Between Rural and Urban

Five years have passed and only 40,000 individual phone lines and 2,500 payphones have been installed in under-served areas in Malaysia funded by the Universal Service Provision (USP) Fund. The latest fund size is not known but as at end-September 2006, it was a whopping RM2bil. So much money and yet so few lines. Many people in the under-served areas are still without basic telephony access. This is despite the fact that Malaysia is marching towards becoming a developed nation in just over a decade. Now even broadband connectivity in rural areas is going to be funded via the USP Fund. The regulations are being fine-tuned. Earlier, the fund was supposed to finance just basic telephony services and Internet connectivity. The USP Fund was set up in 2002 after incumbent Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) felt it should not be the only operator bearing the responsibility of providing access to the under-served areas. Other operators were then seen to be cherry picking, operating only in areas that guaranteed good returns. To ensure TM did not carry the burden alone, all telcos were made to contribute 6% of their weighted net revenue towards the fund from 2002. Almost all the telcos are good corporate citizens as they make yearly contributions. The monies are there; corporate Malaysia is contributing but the pace at which connectivity to under-served areas is being provided is far too slow to address the digital gap between the rural/under-served areas and urban centres.

Without doubt, it is a challenge to connect rural Malaysia. As the terrain is different from urban centres, the bidding process has to be transparent. Therefore, it is one long and winding process, and the services cannot be too costly. But the question is since 2003 why are so many of the designated areas yet to be connected? Telcos that made submissions to roll out telephony in some areas have not been awarded contracts, and some of those awarded the contracts have not delivered. Where are the checks and balances? Agreed, there are a multitude of issues and problems in rolling out services in rural areas but, undeniably, the progress is at a snail's pace when the funds are available. Given the slow pace of development and with the Government's vision to have even the rural areas connected with broadband, the question is will those in the rural areas have to wait a decade for broadband connectivity? There is really no time to waste as the technology evolution can be used to connect even the most remote of places. Yet a country like Malaysia that has all the resources still has pockets of people out there without basic facilities. The time has come to redefine the USP Fund and set a new agenda on how it should be used, who should have access to it, which companies have the credentials to deploy broadband, and making companies accountable or penalise them for making empty promises. The telcos should not be made to fork out funds if they are not going to be used; the telcos should not be given contracts if they cannot deliver on time; they should choose the technology that is not proprietary and, most importantly, do away with duplication of resources and work towards a connected Malaysia.


From http://star-techcentral.com 04/07/2007

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Malaysian Minister Hatches Blog Control Plan

A top Malaysian minister has proposed a controversial plan to classify bloggers in a bid to contain the information they send on the Internet, a report said Sunday. Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said bloggers would be labeled professional or non-professional to prevent the misuse of blog sites, since professional bloggers would ensure their web content was based on truth. Zainuddin did not elaborate how his plan would be implemented. The proposal follows an unprecedented defamation suit launched against two bloggers who were critical of the government. Prominent bloggers Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan are being sued by the New Straits Times Press newspaper group for posts criticizing the daily and the government. Zainuddin, who has previously accused bloggers of using lies to overthrow the government, said "the classification will also facilitate any action to be taken against those found to have violated the country's laws." "It is feared that these (blog sites) will be misused by those who have an agenda to spread slander," he was quoted as saying in the Sunday Star newspaper. "By right, there should be a mechanism to control the phenomenon, including classifying bloggers as professionals and non-professionals," he added. Opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang, with the Democratic Action Party, said it would be impossible to implement such a plan, which he described as "definitely an attempt to obstruct and impede free blogging." "How are we going certify who is professional and non-professional? It is a ridiculous idea," he told Agence France-Presse. Lim, a blogger himself, said the government should instead fund bloggers to generate responsible blogging. Another popular blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin, who runs the blog site "Malaysia Today," said Zainuddin made many statements without "thinking them through properly." "How do you evaluate what is truth? It is impossible to register bloggers. What if I refuse to register? How are you going to find out where the blogger is residing?" he said. Rights groups have condemned government attempts to crackdown on bloggers, arguing that they offer a crucial alternative to the tightly-controlled mainstream media.


From http://archive.inquirer.net 05/06/2007

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Pahang Gets RM76m to Promote Hi-Tech Activities

KUANTAN: The state government has received RM76mil under the 9th Malaysian Plan to promote activities related to information, technology and communication (ICT), biotechnology and biodiversity. This includes the development of Gambang Technology Park that involves the construction of the ICT buildings and biotechnology laboratories, buying equipment and providing basic infrastructure. State Science, Innovation, Information and Information Technology Committee Chairman Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said the sum also included RM30mil which was a special allocation set aside by the Finance Ministry to ensure Gambang Technology Park moved in the right direction. "An action plan is required to see to it that the development of ICT, biodiversity and biotechnology is made in line with aspirations of the Government. "As such, the state government has agreed to appoint Universiti Malaysia Pahang as the consultant to draft the master plan," he said here recently. He added that the state government had also identified several areas in biotechnology that had the potential to help fill up the state's coffers and the focus would be on agro-biotechnology, healthcare biotechnology and industrial biotechnology. The herbal industry was an area with such potential and there were a few major projects which had been approved, Mohd Sharkar said. "Among them are herbal bio-technology centre owned by Technology Park Malaysia and the formation of Felda Herba Cor-poration that specialises in re-search and development work.

"The Pahang government also hopes to get the cooperation from Malaysian Industry Government Group (MIGHT) to develop a herbal valley project in the state that aims to produce entrepreneurs who can grow and manufacture herbs commercially," he said. Mohd Sharkar also said in order to further strengthen its hold on biotechnology, a government-linked company - Pahang Tech-nology Resources Sdn Bhd (PTR), had been established with the objective to see the expansion of biotechnology-related ventures. In the offing was a Pahang Technology Park that would act as a catalyst to spur high-tech related industries and if this were to take off, it would be the first of such parks in the east coast region, he added. On efforts to ensure ICT was moving accordingly, a Cyber Centre was already taking shape in Kuantan, Mohd Sharkar said. "The Cyber Centre will serve as an ICT hub for the eastern region and its launch will be held soon. "Investors will be invited to set up operations in Cyber Centre that covers three areas - Kuantan, Gambang and Tanjung Lumpur," he added. He also said the state government estimated investments worth RM170mil to be based in Cyber Centre between 2007 and 2012.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 05/07/2007

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PHILIPPINES: Two Multi-Billion ICT Projects Approved

MANILA, Philippines --Two multi-billion-peso information and communication projects were approved by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, government officials said Tuesday. These projects, amounting to about $800 million, will be financed by the Chinese government through loans that will be payable in about15 years, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology chairman Ramon Sales said in an interview. This was confirmed by the office of the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority, which added that the agency is still negotiating better terms for the "concessional loans" provided for the two projects. The loans will be negotiated with the Export and Import Bank of China, which handles foreign loans, the NEDA office said. The loans also require that all equipment and materials for the projects will come from the Chinese suppliers. "The loan is tied to the sale of the products of that country," Sales said. About P26 billion will be borrowed from the Chinese government for the Department of Education's Cybereducation project, the office of the NEDA Director General said. Another P15 to16 billion will also be borrowed for the Department of Transportation and Communications' National Broadband Network project, the agency added. Sales confirmed the existence of both projects. But he added that the NBN was started by the CICT until it was turned over to the DoTC. This was also the same time when the Telecommunications Office was re-absorbed by the DoTC, Sales said.

The DoTC project involves connecting over 28,000 national government sites nationwide in a wireless network using microwave technology, Sales said. The CICT official disclosed that the NBN project of DoTC will use WiMAX technology. Meanwhile, the DepEd project involves the deployment of VSATs (very small aperture terminals) in at least 25,000 high schools nationwide, Sales added. Proponents of the two ICT projects went through a series of meetings with the multi-agency Investment Coordination Council, and on March 29, the NEDA Board, headed by Arroyo, approved the projects, government sources at NEDA said. The NEDA source added that government is still negotiating for better interest terms of 2 to 3 percent per year, and a five-year grace period, which means government will only pay the loan on the 6th year. The NEDA source said government is looking at a15-year loan payment deal with the Chinese government. The office of the Director General of NEDA stressed that these projects went through the evaluation of the ICC to determine their "economic viability." Government sources, however, claimed that these projects did not go through feasibility studies.


From http://archive.inquirer.net 04/03/2007

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SINGAPORE: Net Over E-news Sites

The city-state is moving to regulate Internet newspapers and broadcasters to ensure fair market competition between the traditional print and broadcast industry and the emergent new media. WITH online newspapers and broadcasting becoming a regular global feature, Singapore may soon have laws that could require anyone operating an Internet newspaper to have a licence. It will, however, not be done under censorship laws, but to ensure fair market competition between the traditional print and broadcast industry and the new media. The state regulator has proposed changes to the Media Market Conduct Code to ensure that market competition be fair. The rationale is that it is unequal business for the print industry, which is tightly regulated, to compete against an unlicensed online newspaper that can operate with little control. It will also cover state-controlled television, which is facing competition from Internet channels offered by telecom companies, including Singtel. Regulating the media market has become more complex since the emergence of Internet broadband services and the convergence of telecoms and TV services. The move would, in effect, extend state jurisdiction from the "old" established industry to the digital media. It could deal a blow to any ambition to launch a web newspaper in Singapore without a licence, a slim possibility for any independent operator. (In a parallel move, the government will set up a panel to define the new media's long-term impact on Singaporeans, who are among the most Net-savvy in the world). The traditional media has long felt disadvantaged against the Internet, which operates freely, anonymously, and with a much less accountability.

"If an online newspaper is allowed to operate without licence, while our licence is renewable every year, fair market competition is not possible," explained a print journalist. "It's like fighting with one hand tied behind you".His argument, not without basis, is that newspapers are expensive investments involving high operating expenses while an online website costs very little to operate. This unequal contest would result in declining newspaper sales 每 as is happening in the West 每 or its eventual demise over the long term, which is to nobody's interests, he said. The new rules will not cover weblogs or chat sites. For years now, independent online newspapers have been a regular business feature in the West and parts of Asia (not many are profitable), complete with a full-time staff and advertising or sponsorship revenue. With its present political environment, Singapore is obviously not ready for this. Neither will it likely free up its current controls on newspapers, print or online. This despite the city's cosmopolitan mix and the people's high educational levels and knowledge. By year-end, it is expected that three out of four Singaporeans will have cable Internet access. Some 50% of youths between 15-24 operate their own weblogs. The Internet is not the only market threat to the print media. The bigger one is changed reading habits of Singaporean youths who are turning away from newspapers. Some see the Singapore press as too pro-government.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/07/2007

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BANGLADESH: State Committee Proposes &VoIP Licences for All* to Ease ILD Congestion

A Bangladeshi government committee on legalising voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has recommended allowing VoIP licences to be issued to all operators, including providers of mobile, fixed line and internet services. The committee proposed the establishment of four government-owned common platforms for international telephony gateway services, and recommended allowing private operators, especially local companies, to develop more common platforms. It also recommended augmenting state telco BTTB*s international capacity with 3,000 more circuits in addition to the existing 11,000 circuits &within the shortest possible time* and another 24,000 within the next three months to ease current levels of ILD call congestion. The committee also suggested identifying and punishing operators involved in illegal VoIP businesses over the last few years, and recommended seeking an alternative submarine network link to the existing SEA-ME-WE-4 cable to reduce dependency on the lone international gateway. The committee was formed last month to consult on how to open up the legal VoIP market, with a view to improving international call services following the recent shutting down of several illegal VoIP operators in a government crack-down. BTTB claimed last year that the grey VoIP market was costing it nearly BDT10 billion (USD145 million) in annual revenues.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/05/2007

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Broadband Policy Likely to Be Approved by June

The draft broadband policy is likely to be finalized by June this year. The posts and telecommunications ministry is expected to send the draft policy, aims at facilitating the growth of high-speed internet services at affordable prices, to the council of advisers for its approval next month, ministry sources said. The final policy draft, which defines broadband as an &always on*data/internet connection with a minimum bandwidth of 128kbps, hastargeted to connect every village with broadband internet by 2015. Private sector involvement in broadband services and public-private partnership will be encouraged, it said suggesting fiscal incentives for broadband deployment which include provision of tax holidays, explicit and targeted subsidies, grants, pilot-project funding, low-interest loans or development funds for the manufacturers of equipment related to broadband services. Regarding the tariff for broadband services, a ministry official said:※Liberalised tariff policies in the field of telecommunications would be extended to encourage broadband services at a minimum cost.§ The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will issue licences for providing broadband services to any entity meeting the regulatory terms and conditions set by the commission. The existing licensed internet service providers, however, need not to be given newlicences for broadband connections until the expiry of the existing licence. The draft policy has set short, mid and long-term broadband penetration targets. It stipulates that by 2007, 50 per cent of the present dial-up internet connections should be shifted to broadband link. By 2010, all colleges situated in upazila headquarters, 50 per cent ofhigh schools in district towns and 35 per cent of high schools inupazila towns should be connected to broadband internet, and 10 percent of villages and all local government institutions up to upazilalevel should be brought under the network. All government offices and local institutions, colleges, schools, postoffices and archives will be connected to the broadband network by the2015 as part of the long-term target. At present, about 10 lakh people have access to the internet, provided by more than 50 service providers, with more than 90 per cent through dial-up connections with low bandwidth.


From http://bangladeshictpolicy.bytesforall.net/ 05/17/2007

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INDIA: More Allocations on National E-Governance Programmes in Annual Budget

The Union Government of India has increased the allocation for e-Governance programmes by 82 per cent to INR 719 million to fund the ambitious programmes of e-Governance. While presenting the annual budget of this year, Indian Finance Minister, P Chidambaram told that the Government has also increased the allocation for e-Governance at the state level by INR 500 million. The Government has launched an ambitious e-Governance project with an objective of efficiency, convenience, accessibility and transparency in its functions. The Government has also provided INR 33 million for a new scheme of manpower development for the software industry. Last year, Government had launched the INR 23, 000 million National e-Governance Programme. The Government has also unveiled 26 new projects under the programme as private public partnerships.


From Indian Television 03/01/2007

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India Targets for 20 Million Broadband Connections by 2010

India is aiming to provide 20 million broadband connections by the end of year 2010. Indian Communications & Information Technology Minister has set a target to provide nine million broadband connections in India. While speaking on the agenda item "Initiatives on Broadband", he told that new disruptive wireless broadband technology like WiMax would add more than a million broadband connections by this year-end. Wire line and wireless broadband to co-exist and expand together, New applications like tele-aid medicines, IPTV, video conferencing, e-Governance, e-Commerce, etc., will be available to the citizens with broadband availability. Government would emphasis on North-Eastern States and Jammu & Kashmir. Government will also cover secondary and higher secondary school, public health care centers and Village Panchayats in year 2008. Additionally, BSNL will aggressively roll out high speed broadband like Wi-MAX services and allow integration of multiple access technology like ADSL 2 +, VDSL 2, fibre-home, Wi-Fi, Wi-MAX, 3G, CorDECT, etc.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/05/2007

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Indian Railways Plans to Set Up GSM Network in Trains

Indian Railways is talking with telecom service providers BSNL and Bharti to set up a GSM network along its main routes of railways in India. The device would be pocket sized computer with a small visual display and miniature keyboard, will transmit information through the GSM network. Central Government will set up the system for Centre Railways Information System (CRIS). According to the plan, travelling ticket examiners (TTEs) in reserved coaches will get devices to enter the details of the current reservation position, coach-wise and berthwise. The device will link to the central passenger reservation system (PRS), which in-turn allots vacant berths to passengers on the waiting list, at the next station. The network will enable functioning of a real-time system of rail reservations announced in the Budget. Initially Indian Railways will implement the system on Shatabdis between New Delhi and Amritsar, New Delhi and Dehradun and New Delhi and Ajmer next year.


From Business Standard 03/08/2007

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Minister for IT in India Unveils 26 Projects Under NeGP

Minister for Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran has unveiled 26 projects under the National e-Governance Plan, which would cost the Government of India around INR 23,000 crore in the coming five years. The Central and State Governments in India are currently spending INR 3,000 crore every year on various e-governance initiatives. Apart from 26 mission mode projects, the plan has eight support components. The major projects to be taken up by the plan include common service centres, land records, commercial taxes, agriculture, police, education, pensions, income tax and banking. Maran has said that a body serviced by the Department of IT and Chaired by Prime Minister would be constituted to provide impetus to the implementation of the plan.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/20/2007

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Karnataka (India) Govt. Plans to Digitally Connect 4000 Villages

The State Government of Karnataka, India will soon digitally connect 4000 rural and semi-urban taluks of the state. The project is part of its satellite based Village Resource Centre (VRC) Project, which aims to provide services like telemedicine and tele-education. The 200 VRCs projects are already operational in 14 states, which are based on satellite aided initiatives. While speaking at the workshop, organised by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), S.V. Ranganath, Additional Secretary, Department of Space said that communication strategies and delivery systems will promote science and technology among rural people.


From The Hindu 05/11/2007

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NEPAL: Govt. to Implement E-Government Master Plan

Nepal Government is coming with five-year master plan on e-Governance. The High Level Commission for Information Technology (HLCIT) has prepared the final draft of the master plan. HLCIT has prepared the master plan in collaboration with Korean IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA), which would be implemented between 2007 and 2011. e-Kantipur will help create citizen-centric and transparent bureaucratic system, improve productivity of civil servants, enhance national competitiveness and strengthen linkage between government and people and various state organs. The plan considers a roadmap for domestic information and communication sector, which is the first comprehensive document. It is expected that the master plan will bridge the digital divide, create knowledge-based society, boost national income and improve quality of life. In the first phase of the project, all the internal processes of the government would be computerized. In second phase, online systems would be devised to handle request of citizens and in the last phase all processes of the government will be integrated to form a knowledge-based government.


From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 04/06/2007

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Nepal Govt. to Implement Rural ICT Scheme

The Nepal Government is planning to launch a rural information and communications scheme in the country, so that people in the rural and remote areas would be benefited from the latest developments in the field of ICT. The Ministry of Information and Communications is holding a national workshop to collect suggestions from the stakeholders and experts. The government has realised that ICT is playing an important role in socio-economic development. The government has already adopted a national strategy and policy for the development of ICT. Since Nepal is largely a rural country, there is a need for rural ICT schemes. The government is planning to build the necessary infrastructure, so that the rural ICT scheme would be soon launched in all villages of the country.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/11/2007

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PAKISTAN: IT Parks Planned in Major Cities

SIALKOT (March 12 2007): Federal government has prepared a strategy to set up Information Technology (IT) parks in major cities of the country, including Sialkot which is contributing to the national kitty through exports. This was told by Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Information Technology and Telecommunications Riffat Javaid Kahlon, while talking to newsmen here on March 6 at the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). She said work on the IT Park in Lahore is in full swing, and will be completed within a year. The e-government project will also facilitate the general public as well as to improve the functioning of government departments, she said. Initial work on the programme is underway, and on completion people will be able to get all necessary information, as well as several services online. Riffat Javaid said that effective government policies are helping to provide telecommunication facility to the masses in both urban and rural parts of the country. "This is the fastest growing sector in the country, which is not only facilitating the common man, it is also generating employment opportunities for the educated and skilled persons," she said. The government is also focused on providing quality telecommunication services to customers on reduced rates in the country, aimed at making it affordable for the masses, she added.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/12/2007

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'Software Business Accelerator' Programme Launched

ISLAMABAD (March 16 2007): In order to promote Information Technology industry in Pakistan, MS (Microsoft) in coordination with Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) announced to launch 'Software Business Accelerator' programme here on Thursday. In this respect, a memorandum of understanding was also signed between MS and PSEB. According to the MoU, Microsoft will consider the availability of world-class manpower in Pakistan and Conducive environment for Research and Development in IT. The programme will provide a good opportunity to participating companies to grow and evolve by leveraging MS and its partners' expertise in quality software development, business management, business planning and financing, marketing collateral development, global alliances and international sales. PSEB Managing Director Yusuf Hussain and Microsoft General Manager Charles Nahas signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations. According to Yusuf Hussain, the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) and PSEB had launched a Global 2000 partnership initiative, which seeks to bring more Global 2000 development and support centers to Pakistan, expand current operations and provide exposure to domestic IT companies. "This initiative will help in job creation, human capital development and access by Pakistani IT companies to international markets", he said, adding this would increase the capacity building of IT industry of Pakistan. MS will develop the Developer Support Center in Pakistan provided that PSEB and Microsoft jointly develop to a self-sustaining model for such a center to operate in a commercially viable manner".Charles Nahas said that Pakistan offers competitive global market for IT investment. Moreover, Microsoft will also offer Royalty Agreement Programme for participating companies to gain more leverage and advantage on selling Microsoft based technologies. He confirmed, "Microsoft will make the facility of international and local telesales services available for enrolled IT companies to avail this value added service and receive leads for their products in markets that they consider are important for their applications". Similarly, MS will also make the online marketing tool available that helps in providing content and facilitates designing of marketing collateral.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/16/2007

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Programme on 'IT Drive' Inaugurated

LAHORE (May 11 2007): Punjab is the hub of industries like textile and manufacturing technology tools, these industries can compete better at international level. Punjab Minister for Information Technology, Abdul Aleem Khan, stated this while inaugurating a three-day programme on 'Information Technology drive' aimed at making technology more accessible and affordable for Small and Medium Businesses (SMB). Intel Pakistan Corporation in collaboration with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is organising the programme. Aleem Khan maintained that IT has now become an essential ingredient for growth of any business of any size in the global economy. He averred that SMB is the backbone of our economy, which would boost their productivity and efficiency but also impact the economy on macro level. LCCI President Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Shahzad Aslam Khan and others also spoke on the occasion.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 05/11/2007

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3G Licenses May Be Issued This Year

ISLAMABAD (May 10 2007): Pakistan plans to issue its first three licenses for third generation (3G) mobile telecoms service by the end of this year, a government official said on Wednesday. "We are working on the plan, and 3G spectrum would be allocated to three companies for launching the services," said a PTA official, who declined to be identified. "The licenses will be offered only to existing mobile phone operators for a period of 15 years."


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 05/10/2007

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AFGHANISTAN: MCIT Issues Sixth Postal License

On Sunday May 13, 2007 Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan issued a postal license to a postal corporation names Express Courier Services. In a ceremony organized for this purpose in Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, H. E. Eng. Amirzai Sangin Minister of Communications and Information Technology, H. E. Deputy Minister Technical, and other top officials of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology were present. At the beginning, H. E. Eng. Amirzai Sangin Minister of Communications and Information Technology, while addressing a press conference made for this purpose in the Conference room of the Ministry said that the investment for this corporation has been provided by an Afghan Businessman and through this license they would be able to implement exchanging of in/out bound of all Postal Items including Postal Parcels and to offer their best services to our countryman from this point of view.

Later on, Mr. Omarzai the president of the Express Courier Services answered the questions asked by the journalists, and meanwhile praised and thanked the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for providing better facilities concerning issuing the postal license to them. It is notable to mention that so far the Private Sectors e.g. Fed-Ex, Bakhtar Speedy Post, TNT, DHL and Global Express Services have already been provided with the Temporary Postal Licenses and have extended their services accordingly. Also, any other private companies interested to provide Postal Services can apply for the license that its provision could be facilitated through the Office of the Commissioners of Afghan Postal Commission of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. It is worth mentioning that the stated Licenses would be valid just until the new Afghan Postal Law for private sectors that it's processing is continued by the Commissioners of Afghan Postal Commission and other concerned authorities of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.


From http://www.moc.gov.af/ 05/14/2007

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IRAN: Gov*t to Cut Internet Rates

Deputy communications and information technology minister said on Friday that the ministry is trying to reduce Internet tariff rates for increasing Internet usage in Iran. Vafa Ghafarian told ISNA that this tariff reduction aims at encouraging the public and industries to make more use of the Internet. ※The telecommunication programs are based on several pivots such as updating the status of fixed telephone, reducing prices of mobile phones, development of Internet and paving the ground for privatization of telecommunication companies that have been materialized at a satisfactory level,※ he added. Ghafarian pointed out that all SIM cards, including permanent and prepaid, will be delivered to the people by June. ※We anticipate that more people will enroll for mobile phone SIM cards in the next Iranian year (starts March 21),※ he added. Ghafarian further noted that the first mobile operator will provide GPRS services for customers in the next Iranian year. ※GPRS system provides the clients with Internet access and MMS services,※ he added.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 03/17/2007

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KAZAKHSTAN: State Holding Seeks Cooperation with Tajikistan in Telecommunications Sphere

The possibility of participation of Kazakhstan*s state holding Samruk in enhancement of the telecommunications sector in Tajikistan was one of the major topics of the meeting of President Emomali Rahmon with the Samruk top manager Sauat Minbayev. In the course of the talks the two considered issues related to bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in the fields of telecommunications and energy.


From http://www.caginternet.org/ 03/29/2007

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AUSTRALIA: $162.5 Million for Australian Broadband Guarantee

Australians will now be able to access broadband services regardless of where they live thanks to the Australian Government's $162.5 million Australian Broadband Guarantee, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, announced today. The Australian Broadband Guarantee will fill in any remaining broadband blackspots across Australia and will build on the success of the Government's $878 million Broadband Connect program and the $50 million Metro Broadband Connect program. It will provide a smooth transition to the $600 million Broadband Connect infrastructure program which will rollout sustainable and scalable next generation infrastructure in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia. ※Broadband is an essential service for both individuals and business and is vital for Australia's future economic prosperity,§ Senator Coonan said. ※The Australian Government has already provided substantial funding that has seen over 205,000 homes and businesses get a subsidised high quality broadband service and an additional one million premises gain access to broadband services. ※The Australian Broadband Guarantee will provide universal broadband for all Australians. Anyone unable to gain a reasonable level of broadband service at their principal place of residence or small business will receive a subsidised broadband service. It's as simple as that.§

For consumers, the Guarantee will be very similar to the popular and highly successful Broadband Connect program. The Guarantee will continue to give eligible consumers subsidised, price capped broadband with a guaranteed minimum level of service, but with the benefit of simpler eligibility requirements. The first phase of the Guarantee will run until June 2008 when the funds from the Government's $2 billion Communications Fund will come on stream. This will enable the Government to continue the Australian Broadband Guarantee for as long as in necessary to ensure all Australians have access to broadband regardless of where they live. The Guarantee is part of the transition to the $600 million Broadband Connect Infrastructure Program. The infrastructure program will establish an efficient, sustainable broadband infrastructure base across regional Australia to enable the roll-out of higher speed broadband.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 03/07/2007

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Rudd Proposes $4.7bn National Broadband Network

KEVIN Rudd has unveiled plans to dip into the Future Fund to finance the construction of a $4.7 billion national high-speed broadband network, overturning its historical opposition to the Telstra privatisation. In a move which will upset sections of the Left - and the key communications union - the federal Opposition leader announced plans to invest use proceeds from the sale of Telstra, which are currently held in the Government's Future Fund, to connect 98 per cent of Australians to broadband services with a speed more than 40 times faster than most current speeds. The historical shift recognises that Telstra has already been effectively privatised, although a large slab of the Commonwealth's shares remain locked away in the Future Fund. Under the plan, Labor will sell up to $2.7 billion worth of Telstra shares held in the Future Fund to help pay for the project. Mr Rudd said it was a historic decision to build a world-class national broadband network. ※We believe this is a critical step when it comes to Australia's long-term economic future,§ he told reporters in Canberra. The plan would see a Labor Government forge a partnership with the private sector to build the network over the next five years. Mr Rudd said Australia was lagging behind the rest of the developed world on broadband take-up rates and available bandwidth. ※Nation-building in the 19th century was about building a new national railway network for Australia,§ Mr Rudd said. ※Nation-building for the 21st century lies in building a new national broadband network. It's part of our pathway to the future.§

Home-based small businesses could not operate properly without a high-speed network and Australia needed the investment to remain globally competitive, he said. ※There has been inaction - inaction big-time - when it comes to the development of an effective national broadband network to meet the future demands of the Australian economy,§ he said. ※This is a gaping hole in the government's economic performance to date. ※It is retarding the development of Australian business, in particular small business into the future, and we look forward to taking this proposal forward to the Australian community.§ Federal caucus signed off on the plan after a robust debate this morning and it will now go to next month's Labor national conference for approval. Opposition finance spokesman Lindsay Tanner defended the plan to dip into the Future Fund, saying Labor had to accept that it had lost the battle to keep Telstra in public hands. He said there were no guarantees that the government would not sell off some of its 17 per cent Telstra shareholding - currently parked in the fund - before this year's election. ※We have fought a long hard battle, myself more than most, to keep Telstra in public ownership,§ Mr Tanner said. ※We accept we've lost that battle. ※We think, that rather than a passive investment which will ultimately be transferred into investments in other shares ... (in which) Telstra shares will be traded for Coles-Myer shares or BHP shares, we intend to invest some of those proceeds in building the future broadband network that will set Australia up for the 21st century.§ He said the broadband network would be a revenue earner for the government as people would have to pay to connect to it. There was a clause in the Future Fund legislation which allowed the government to sell Telstra shares, he said.


From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/ 03/21/2007

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DVD, Game Ads Get the All-Clear

THE federal Government is changing its classification system for films and computer games so that new entertainment can be advertised before it is classified. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told parliament the change would streamline the classification process and reduce the regulatory burden on industry. Mr Ruddock said allowing DVD or video films and computer games to be advertised - including on the internet - would meet industry concerns that the old system, which allowed only cinema release films to be advertised pre-classification, was cumbersome and outdated. It was more equitable to remove the prohibition. To manage the change, an industry self-assessment scheme will be set up to decide the likely classification of an entertainment before it's advertised. However the regulator will be able to ban a company from the scheme if its assessments are lax or inadequate. Mr Ruddock said another change would cut the time and cost of dealing with boxed sets of television series already seen in Australia. The change would allow an assessor to recommend to the Classification Board how each compilation is classified. Debate was adjourned.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/22/2007

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Nats Plug Own Broadband Plan

THE federal Government will soon counter Labor's high-speed broadband plan with the spending of nearly $1 billion on regional communications, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile says. Mr Vaile said the government would announce within months the funding of projects to improve broadband services in the bush under the Broadband Connect program. The program to invite tenders for $878 million in federal funds was announced last year. "We are going to see a massive investment in new technology starting very soon as we announce the results of the tender for Broadband Connect," Nationals leader Mr Vaile told Macquarie Regional Radio today. "That's within the coming months. People don't have to wait until the next election." Labor yesterday announced it would spend $4.7 billion on a network 40 times faster than current services which reaches 98 per cent of the population. Mr Vaile said such a network would soon become outdated. "What about in 10 years' time where there's a totally different set of technology?" he said. Updating communications infrastructure in regional Australia as technology changed is a better strategy, he said. The Nationals leader said Labor's plan was unrealistic. "To achieve what they say they're going to achieve and the 98 per cent would take more like $40 billion, not just the money that they're allocating. "This money will be taken away from the bush, it will be spent in the city and we won't see any improvement in the bush."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/22/2007

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Media Reform每Moving into the Digital Age

The commencement of media ownership laws today marks an historic day for Australia*s media industry the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan said today. ※Consumers will be the big winners from the reforms. For twenty years Australia has had a set of media control rules which amount to a major restriction on how media markets and companies operate. Now, with the lifting of those restrictions, existing companies will be able to invest, and new players will be free to enter the media marketplace,§ Senator Coonan said. ※However, the Government is mindful of the need to protect diversity in media, and for the sector to operate competitively, and in the national interest. Accordingly, numerous safeguards are built into these reforms. ※A &5/4* floor will be placed under the number of mergers that could take place and this will be policed by ACMA. This means six voices for Sydney and Melbourne, five for other capitals and four for regional markets. And no more than two of the three regulated platforms (that is, commercial radio, commercial television and Associated Newspapers) can be controlled by the same person or organisation in any one licence area. ※Localism and diversity will also be maintained, particularly in respect of rural and regional Australia. Just last week, ACMA imposed a licence condition requiring regional radio broadcasters to maintain their staffing levels and studio numbers in licence areas following a trigger event. This condition will ensure that regional radio stations will continue to have a presence in their local communities following any changes in ownership.§ Senator Coonan said the ACCC would play a critical role in assessing competition issues associated with mergers, including in regional areas where media markets operate on lower revenue and higher costs.

※Importantly this new regulatory framework also recognises the significance of new digital media. The old regulatory framework based around radio, television and newspapers had become outdated and ineffective.§ ※The media reform package also underpins Australia*s conversion to digital broadcasting. Last year, I launched an action plan for Australia*s conversion to digital television. ※A key step in this plan is the establishment of Digital Australia, a dedicated switchover body within my Department to coordinate and oversee Australia*s transition to digital television. It will be located in Sydney and its establishment is well underway. ※Today I am also announcing membership of the Industry Advisory Group which is being established to work with Digital Australia. ※I have received nominations from industry for this group and membership details are attached. I also intend to appoint an appropriate person or organisation to the group to represent the interests of consumers,§ Senator Coonan said. The Industry Advisory Group will meet regularly to consider matters referred to it by Digital Australia, or issues which its members may identify as requiring consideration. The group is expected to provide advice on issues of concern to industry and strategies for meeting the switchover timetable, including ways to coordinate information campaigns for consumers. ※As part of the media reform proposals, I also announced in 2006 that two currently unassigned channels of television broadcasting spectrum would be allocated to provide new digital services for Australian consumers,§ Senator Coonan said. ※The allocation of the channels will be conducted ACMA later this year, and I hope that new services will be available by 2008.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 04/04/2007

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Labor Broadband Blowout

A LABOR government is likely to face a huge cost blowout if it goes ahead with plans to partner the private sector in a broadband fibre network delivering a 12Mbps internet service to 98 per cent of Australians, networking companies and analysts say. Network infrastructure specialist Pipe Networks has released a conservative estimate of the cost of building the net that values the work required for access components at upwards of $15-$16 billion - nearly double Labor's current estimate of $9 billion. Pipe Networks chief executive Bevan Slattery said he would be very surprised if the network could be constructed for $9 billion. "I think nine billion dollars would be very optimistic," Mr Slattery said. Opposition communications spokesman Stephen Conroy announced that the Labor's proposal late last month. Under the proposal, Labor said it would invest $4.7 billion in a public-private partnership to build a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network, if it won the coming federal election. Labor's proposal was based on cost estimates carried by Telstra and released in August 2005. At the time, Telstra said it would need a $4.7 billion capital injection from government to lift broadband speeds to 12Mbps for about 94 per cent of the population. Shara Evans, chief executive of telecommunications industry research group Market Clarity, said Telstra's cost estimates lacked detail required to build "any sort of realistic network cost model".

"There is insufficient detail to determine how these budgetary figures were calculated or what is included and excluded," she said. A spokesman for Senator Conroy defended the Labor plan late yesterday. He said that Telstra was the only company that had done due diligence required to estimate the cost of the network. "The only (company) that has done the modelling for a national network is Telstra and if the other guys have done the modelling we'll look at that but they haven't," the spokesman said. At least three FTTN proposals have been put into public arena for consideration in the last 18 months. All of them seek to remove broadband speed bottlenecks in Telstra's copper network by running lengths of fibre from the carrier's exchanges to cabinets or nodes closer to homes and businesses. Telstra was the first to announce plans for an FTTN, unveiling a $4.2 billion proposal to build on FTTN in November 2005. It shelved the plans after the federal Government refused to relax regulations to ensure it could recoup what the carrier considered an adequate return on its investment. Fearing Telstra was trying to reinstate a monopoly on its network of telephone exchanges, a consortium led by Optus, known as the G9 announced its own proposal to build an FTTN under a funding model that would allow it to be run a separate infrastructure company. Mr Slattery said that a basic "back of the serviette" costing of the network would reveal the problem with the costing model adopted by Telstra.

He said Pipe Networks initial estimates indicated that a carrier would require a minimum of about 350,000 fibre nodes to cover the land mass required to reach 98 per cent of homes and businesses, at a cost of at least around $50,000 each - or around $17.5 billion dollars. Mr Slattery said that Labor's proposal was an indication that debate over FTTN had become irrational. "As an industry I think we've probably failed to articulate the issues that surround FTTN," he said. Market Clarity also questioned whether Labor's proposal had included the cost of providing backhaul - the high-speed links connecting broadband services in regional and rural areas back to the cities. "If we look at a proposal that's on the table to devote $9 billion to building an access network, that money isn't sufficient because none of that money is addressing the problem of backhaul," a spokesman for Market Clarity said. Ms Evans said that at best Labor's proposal was likely to based on a scenario in which Telstra calculated the cost of bringing its own backhaul to the partnership. She said it wasn't clear how an alternative provider would be able to fulfil Labor's proposal.

"My best professional judgment is that Telstra would not have included extra backhaul costs because they would have included their own backhaul. If someone else were to build a similar network not using Telstra's backhaul the cost would be quite high," Ms Evans said. Telstra owns nearly 80 per cent of all the major long-haul fibre and microwave points of presence across Australia, Market Clarity said. Senator Conroy's spokesman said it was "ridiculous" to suggest that Senator Conroy had not considered the cost of providing backhaul. He said that there was nothing preventing alternative providers piggy-backing Telstra's backhaul network to provide the access service. Market Clarity said that the scenario was likely to lead to a high price for broadband services in rural areas under Labor's plan. "If you're build only a new access network and you're not doing anything to enhance on provide competitive pricing in the backhaul then you end up with an expensive service," Ms Evans said. "A service that existing access providers are saying uniformly is very expensive in the areas where there's no competition in backhaul."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 04/17/2007

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Access Card Heads Back to Senate

DRAFT laws establishing a controversial billion-dollar health and welfare access card will be reintroduced to federal parliament next month. A photograph, signature and personal number will be retained as key components of the smart card, despite concerns raised by privacy advocates, Opposition politicians and coalition backbenchers about such a move. In March, a government-dominated Senate Committee forced the Howard Government to put plans for the card on hold. The Finance and Public Administration Committee warned it could become a de facto identity card and raised concerns about the haste with which the bill had been drafted. The first tranche of the draft laws was jettisoned and work began on a new version, with the two planned tranches of the bill combined. A spokesman for Human Services Minister Chris Ellison said the committee had only had the opportunity to look at one half of the proposal when it reported in March. "When people have the opportunity to view the legislation as a whole, their concerns are likely to be addressed," he said. The Senate will consider the access card bill during June sittings.

If agreed in parliament, the access card will replace the Medicare card and other benefits cards, streamlining access to government health and welfare services and, it is hoped, cutting back on fraud. Senator Ellison's spokesman said European countries that had health cards, such as France and Germany, were bringing out new versions that included photos because without them the cards could not properly counter fraud and misuse. Australian Democrats senator Natasha Stott Despoja warned people concerned about the card to move quickly as the legislation was to be introduced next month. "There really is little time for alternative models to the Government's access card plan to be considered," she said. Labor supports the concept of a card, but is opposed to the mandatory inclusion of digital signatures and biometric photos on privacy grounds. Labor wants the legislation to allow people to opt out of having their photo and signature on the card and the party is likely to move amendments to the legislation when it comes before the Senate.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/17/2007

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Minister Calls for Improved Broadband Statistics

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan today committed to work with the OECD to improve its reporting on broadband. ※People refer to the OECD reports as if they are handed down on tablets of stone, and then use them to represent a distorted picture of Australia*s broadband performance§ Senator Coonan said. ※I have concerns about the methodology adopted by the OECD and question the weight given to any one single indicator of broadband performance. Senator Coonan said that other countries also share some of these concerns. For example, in April this year the US Department of State had raised their concerns with the OECD*s study on broadband use, stating : ※The United States supports the OECD*s efforts to reflect new technological, economic and policy developments in order to promote and encourage of effective broadband uses. However, we are concerned about the methodology on which the new statistics were based, and their failure to capture important factors, particularly their reliance on user subscriptions as the measure of broadband use.§ (source: letter from Ambassador David Gross, US Coordinator International Communications and Information Policy, 24/04/07)

※I echo these sentiments and I will shortly write to the Secretary General of the OECD raising similar concerns such as the omission of data on wireless access. I will also be offering to continue to work with the OECD to broaden and improve the depth and the rigour of their reports to ensure that their representation of Australia*s performance is measured more accurately against those of other OECD countries. ※A prime example of the distorting use of statistics is Labor*s Communications spokesman Stephen Conroy who continues to get it wrong when he claims that Australia is ranked 25th in the world for broadband speeds,§ Senator Coonan said. ※He is still referring to information that comes from a five year old survey on international undersea communications cables, which has nothing to do with broadband speeds available to Australian consumers,§ Senator Coonan said. ※Labor is seeking to justify a flawed proposal to spend nearly $5 billion of taxpayer*s money on a network that the industry is prepared to fund itself, proving they are incapable of running a trillion dollar economy.§


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 05/18/2007

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FIJI: Military Closes Blogs Critical of Government and Army

Fiji's military has blocked access to several Web sites that contained damaging allegations against the army and members of the interim government, a senior officer said Friday. Fiji Land Force Commander Col. Pita Driti said access was cut Thursday to the Web journals, or blogs, which he said were full of lies and a threat to national security. The military-led government imposed a state of emergency on the South Pacific nation on Dec. 6 _ the day after armed forces Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power in a bloodless coup, sacking the democratic government. It was Fiji's fourth coup in 20 years. Since then, foreign governments including the United States, Australia and New Zealand, have expressed concern about media censorship and the loss of free speech in the country. Driti said three blogs, "resistfrankscoup," "intelligensiya" and "fijishamelist" all contained "lies and agitation." "They are all fighting for one cause and saying the same thing," said Driti. "All we are trying to say is the blog sites are full of lies and deception." The three sites advocated passive resistance against the military-backed government, including urging Fijians not to go to work. They also regularly posted critical comments of the government and military, including Bainimarama, and slammed the administration's ongoing crackdown on corruption as a "farce" as it failed to result in any arrests.

FINTEL, the company that governs Fiji's Internet access, confirmed the Home Affairs Ministry had approached it to shut off access to the blogs, said Chief Executive Sakaraia Tuilakepa. "FINTEL had advised the ministry of alternative options they could explore to address their concerns without compromising the national access to the entire Internet network and without breaching the conditions of FINTEL's license as the international gateway service provider," Tuilakepa said in a statement. Two men had been detained briefly by the military for questioning in connection with the sites, Driti said. He denied reports the suspects were assaulted by soldiers. Driti said the military would continue to hunt down bloggers critical of the government, noting emergency regulations remain in place in the wake of the coup, and "people should realize that certain freedoms are restricted, including freedom of speech." "When we get to these bloggers we will take them up to the barracks and warn them of the dangers of what they are doing. They will just be warned and advised," he said. Since the coup there have been hundreds of reported cases of people being detained, threatened, intimidated and in some cases beaten. Most such reports have been denied by military chiefs.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 05/18/2007

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NEW ZEALAND: Government Sticks to Telecom Plan

The New Zealand government has reiterated plans to force Telecom New Zealand to split into three separate units to boost competition and hasten the availability of cheaper internet services. The idea to split the telco into three units - to house its networks, wholesales services and retail operations - was first announced last December. &The reforms are expected to deliver a more effective telecommunications sector with increased competition and efficient investment in infrastructure and services for the long-term benefit of end-users,* Communications Minister David Cunliffe said in a statement. After consultation and responses by the telco and other industry participants, Cunliffe must set the final rules covering the structure and behaviour of the new companies. For its part, last June Telecom New Zealand proposed reorganising into separate retail and wholesale units, but that was not seen as going far enough to satisfy the government, which has ordered the company to open up its local networks to competitors.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/05/2007

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Views Sought on Telecom Operational Separation - Minister of Communications Media Statement

Communications Minister David Cunliffe has released the government's consultation document on the operational separation of Telecom New Zealand. "The operational separation of Telecom is one of a number of reforms this Labour-led government is implementing following last year's Stocktake review and the passage of the enabling legislation," Mr Cunliffe said. "The reforms are expected to deliver a more effective telecommunications sector with increased competition and efficient investment in infrastructure and services for the long-term benefit of end-users. "For too long, we have languished near the bottom of the OECD tables for broadband and telecommunications sector performance, and it became clear that without significant change to the competitive environment, our poor performance was destined to continue." Part 2A of the act sets out the legislative process for the minister to approve binding and enforceable operational separation undertakings (which form part of a "separation plan") made by Telecom. The process provides for the minister to issue a detailed determination of further requirements, over and above those already set out in the act, with which Telecom's operational separation plan must comply. "Since the passing of the legislation last December, the government has been doing the detailed work on how best to separate Telecom New Zealand into at least three separate business units," Mr Cunliffe said. "I welcome public and industry views on whether the draft proposals strike the right balance given New Zealand's unique circumstances. Those views will help guide me as I decide on the requirements that will be built into my determination. "Following the issuing of the final determination, Telecom will have 20 working days to prepare a draft separation plan. Industry stakeholders and the public will be invited to provide their views and comments on the draft separation plan." Consultation on the initial model for separation will be conducted over the next three weeks, with submissions to be provided to the Ministry of Economic Development no later than 5:00pm on Friday 27 April 2007.


From http://www.med.govt.nz/ 04/05/2007

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AFRICA: Nigeria - Yar' Adua's IT Imperatives for Digital Presidency

Is Yar'Adua Nigeria's President-elect? Yes of course. Can the functions and activities of his Presidency be automated and enable him govern the nation electronically - to a large extent? Yes of Course. Can Nigerian IT Professionals automate the functions of the Presidency, Legislature and the Judiciary? The answer is a confident yes - based on existing e-Government Application (Software) Proof of Concept. Can any 21st Century nation function and implement her national and millennium development (Goals) plans effectively without active intervention and application of Information Technology? Is the President and his emerging cabinet e-ready to timely serve 160 million Nigerians?However, what is not currently clear is: will Yar' Adua's government automate the functions and activities at the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and Civil Service levels? Going by his pro-transparency and accountability campaign agenda, coupled with his post-election assurances on zero-tolerance for corruption, one should assume that Information Technology will be enthrone as the topmost priority instrument for our national development. The above assumption is based on a well researched fact that no serious government can function effectively and be productive without the intensive application of IT.

Indeed, a president capable of applying a cell-phone to accomplish government and/or personal duties, should not have any problem in applying a personal computer (PC) or Laptop for the same purpose. Therefore, IT professionals expect government processes under Yar' Adua to be automated at least at the e-task, e=messages, e-workflow, e-appointment, e-alert and e-document levels.For Yar' Adua's government to be efficient, productive, succeed and be sustained within the context of global competitiveness, it is critically imperative to appoint a professional IT Special Adviser to the President and indeed establish a Ministry of Information Technology.As the Information Technology Revolution and convergence of knowledge proceeds at almost the speed of light, government woill have to derive new means and strategies for productive govenrnance,Knowledge (K) is not only the fundamental raw material, industry, product, institution and service (all-in-one) attributes for national development and creation of wealth; it is indeed the prime factor for effective, organised, productive and sustainable human existence.

There has been much talk about the emerging new world built around the concept of globalization and technology. What we have not started talking about as a nation is how to prepare to fully engage the emerging new knowledge society. It is pertinent to emphasize that knowledge will remain perhaps the (most critical factor) "social continuum" that will define the course of work and productivity in our lives.Today, a national reconstruction is desirable, using education, science and technology conduit as a basis for incubating a knowledge-based society, where fairness, accountability, transparent justice and equity are enthroned and merit abundantly rewarded.There is need to evolve a society where machines and simple but logic systems are domesticated and efficiently put to work. We would require abundant courage and foresight to pull this off and get Nigeria where it rightly belongs - the comity of first-class knowledge nations! This profile can no longer be wished in today's world, it must be earned and seen to be earned!

I am sure that the President-elect is aware of the fact that relevant studies show that each of the emerging leading industries of the future will be built on the foundation of brain capacity - and any one of them can be replicated and operationalized anywhere in the universe! In other words, the comparative advantage of nations this century, will be entirely based on human knowledge creation. A classical example of this experience is Microsoft Corporations - who has earned more money (through Software knowledge production) in 25 years that what General Motors earned in 100 years! Nigeria can harness the potentials of her human capital to earn and save much more foreign exchange (and create wealth) than what she currently earn from crude oil.The way forward: First, apart from appointing a Special IT Adviser to the President, the President-elect and all his emerging cabinet and indeed all members of the National Executive Council will require a one day, well structured hand-on IT Retreat - the Computer Professional Council of Nigeria (CPN) and the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) should be consulted and will be willing and ready to support. Deploy more resources into IT development at all levels. The information system of the energy sector must be fully automated, if we must attain the target of uninterruptible power supply With the advent of Internet 2, we are gradually leaving the ICTs world behind (where "communication" will be a 'given' and 'connectivity' a permanent feature of life) and entering the era of IKTs - Information and Knowledge Technologies! (by Chris Uwaje Lagos)


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/10/2007

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EUROPE: EU EGovRTD2020 Project 每 Have Your Say on EGovernment

eGovernment News 每 08 March 2007 每 EU Institutions 每 Policy and Strategy The European Commission*s eGovRTD2020 scheme aims to create a vision of eGovernment for the year 2020, identifying future strategic research fields for the development of eGovernment and the public sector. Now the eGovRTD2020 consortium has decided to open up the process and carry out an on-line consultation of all those concerned to discover where the greatest research challenges lie for the future. The eGovRTD2020 project has already identified the four main research themes it would like participants to comment on, through one year*s joint research effort via regional workshops involving experts from the ICT industry and consulting, government officials and academics.

The themes are:an overview of current eGovernment research themes, research programmes and policies, as well as the existing eGovernment projects on foresight studies and trend analysis;the development of visions of government in 2020;an investigation into the gaps in current research and quantification of future research needs using the vision of eGovernment in 2020;workshops to identify key themes for future eGovernment research. In order to participate, interested parties must register for the eGovRTD2020 on-line forum by e-mailing the administrator (xiaofeng.ma@cetim.org), or registering at www.ve-forum.org. Within the on-line forum, there are two separate areas of debate, a discussion commenting on or proposing new research themes, and a survey to vote for the most attractive themes. Through this consultation, the eGovRTD2020 scheme intends to develop a real picture of the future pitfalls to avoid and the strategies to adopt in eGovernment. As the organisers put it: ※research is needed to nurture developments we want to enable and to avoid futures that are not desirable§.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 03/08/2007

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EU: Towards a European EID System

eGovernment News 每 19 March 2007 每 EU Institutions - eIdentity and eSecurity The European Commission is examining ways of introducing an interoperable eID system across Europe, stated Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information, Society and Media, at the International Conference on Advancing eGovernment, held in Berlin on 1 March 2007. Reding said the EC was not proposing a new European eID system, but was eager to work towards "mutual recognition" in existing systems. ※Proving one's identity, securing rights for allowances and filling in unfamiliar documentation can be a real struggle," she said, confirming that the aim of the eID system would be to ease the burden on mobile workers and travellers in the EU. It will also simplify cross-border business transactions, company registrations, or payment of tax obligations for small businesses. In addition, the eID could be used to access frequently-used services across multiple departments, including medical reimbursement, unemployment benefit, pensions and other allowances.

"It does not matter that there are different eID systems across Europe. Let's just agree that these systems can talk to each other, recognise and authenticate bona fide identities and open doors to universal access to on-line public services," she said, inviting countries to work together to put forward proposals for a large-scale pilot on eID interoperability later this year.Reding also told delegates that citizens and businesses now expect "once-only data provision". She said simplifying services for citizens will solve the "interoperability puzzle", and would have the additional benefit of reducing administration for Europe's 20 million firms. This would boost economic prosperity and reduce errors and delays within the public sector. "The administrative burden can be as high as 7 % of GDP in Greece and Hungary and the Baltic States but could be reduced down to the 1.5 % recorded in the UK and Sweden," she said. The Commission's action plan for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the European Union has set a reduction target of 25 % by 2012.The EC is to launch the next phase of its five year eGovernment action plan later this month, extending its best practice examples to eHealth and eInclusion, while thematic networks will explore using ICT to implement policies.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 03/19/2007

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German Government Plans to Use Open Document Formats in Its Administration

The Alliance 90 / Green Party MPs in the Bundestag demanded to know how far the German government had come in its efforts to promote open standards in information technology, a target specified as part of the IT Summit in Potsdam. Now, the German government has provided an answer (PDF file) and reiterated its commitment to these goals. For example, standardization was chosen as one of "five priority projects" as a part of the "Deutschland Online" initiative, which is a joint effort of the federal, state, and local levels of government. "The goal of this project is to support the development and provision of professional standards for the sharing of data in administrative processes and to coordinate their use." The paper lists a few examples of such standards, such as "XMeld" for reporting ("Meldungen"), "XBau" for construction ("Bau"), and "XJustiz" for legal matters. In addition, the German government says that its "Advancing eGovernment" conference held at the end of February in Berlin also provided impetus for greater use of open standards in information technology both in industry and in public administration. As a result of this conference, the German government plans to implement open document formats in its administration. (by Craig Morris)


From http://www.heise.de/ 05/02/2007

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Hungary Launches E-Customs Project

The Hungarian customs and excise department has launched the first, experimental phase of its eCustoms project, designed to accelerate the movement of goods and increase the international standing and competitiveness of Hungarian enterprises. National customs chief, J芍nos Nagy, introduced the initiative at a meeting in Budapest and explained that, in the second phase of the project, all customs offices will allow export goods declarations to be submitted electronically. From this summer, imports, too, will be declared electronically. In the third phase, to be in place by 1 July 2009, it will be possible to transfer goods declaration data on-line between Member States.

eData on goods will be available at all stages of the processing procedure, and clients may request print-outs to present to other authorities. There will, therefore, be less paperwork and declarations will be available to fill in on-line. The advantage will be that forms will be monitored as they are completed, with the same systems used to accept goods declarations, so any potential problems can be spotted early.On 1 January 2008, &authorised operator* status will come into force in the EU. This status is available to those companies that have a clean customs history, certified liquidity and appropriate security standards. Such enterprises will be subject to fewer physical and document-based inspections than others. The status will be recognised by the customs authorities of all Member States.


From IDABC, March 26, 2007

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Ireland Scores Well for M-government

The Irish public sector is above the EU average in terms of using online and mobile communications, according to a new report. The study, conducted by iReach for mobile operator O2, ranked Irish public sector communications seventh amongst the EU15, narrowly ahead of Germany and just behind Britain. Nordic countries dominated the top end of the rankings with Sweden in first place, Denmark in third and Finland fourth. The survey analysed the performance of revenue, social welfare, health and education organisations across the public sector in implementing m-government services, and their overall use of mobile communications technology. It found that Ireland was above the EU average in all categories bar health.


From enn.ie, March 14,2007

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ITALY: New &EGovernment* Directive to Speed Up Innovation

eGovernment News 每 05 March 2007 每 Italy 每 Legal aspects The Italian Minister for Reform and Innovation in the Public Administration, Luigi Nicolais, has signed a Directive on the exchange of data between administrations and the transparency of negotiation activities in relation to the national eGovernment system.The Directive is based on the premise that an integrated approach to innovation cannot consist simply of the introduction of new technologies, but must also include the simplification of processes and the interaction of the different services within the public administration departments.The aim of the Directive is to provide a strong new impetus to the digitalisation of public administration offices, which is currently behind schedule with regard to technological performance. This is limiting the ability of the public sector to interact efficiently with citizens and enterprises.

In order to reduce paperwork, administrations will no longer be able to ask for further supporting documentation but will have to access central databases to cross-check information. This will require full co-operation between administrations for the sharing of data. Citizens will also have to make an effort to provide documentation in electronic format and to use eServices where possible. School applications, fro example, could be made via email.Until the distribution of the electronic identity card, Italians will have to use a combination of passwords and PIN codes to access certain public services on-line. The Directive underlines the need to further develop on-line services throughout the country.The new Directive also provides for the on-line publication of all calls for tender and public procurement contracts worth over 20.000. This is intended to help increase the transparency of public spending.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 03/05/2007

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Norwegian Government Goes Live with Major Online Information Management Solution

The Norwegian Government has gone live with a major new information management solution to power its national website - www.government.no. The solution uses NetworkedPlanet's TMCore topic maps technology to link together over 30,000 'documents', consisting of more than 300,000 web pages from 17 ministries, providing an intelligent navigation tool for the entire site. The implementation will make it significantly easier for visitors to the website - including the media and professionals, as well as the general public - to locate key documents, such as reports, policy and reform papers, background information, or news releases.The new solution will also allow staff from the Norwegian Government's 17 ministries - such as education, environment or immigration, as well as the Prime Minister's Office - to classify documents when they are created, according to themes such as "health", "law", or "welfare". The system then attaches topic, theme and relationship metadata to the document, enabling it to be categorised as part of a larger grid of files - all connected semantically. For the first time, users will be able to intelligently search for specific documents according to semantic concepts, or browse through chains of related documents across the various Governmental Ministries and departments.

"We have implemented NetworkedPlanet's solution in order to enhance the publishing system we chose to use," commented Petter Thorsrud, Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Government Administration Services. "Most content management systems are lacking the metadata capabilities we need for a large system like ours, and using a topic maps tool seemed a good solution. TMCore allows us to create navigation and associations across the system, and so far has proved to be capable of handling the amount of files we have. "On a daily basis, the public needs to access a huge amount of content as quickly as possible," Petter Thorsrud continued. "By adding metadata properties to all content elements, documents become intricately connected according to themes and relationships, enabling content to be accessed rapidly - whether for editing or viewing purposes. The system will provide us with a navigation solution for the existing 300,000 web pages, as well as a long-term information infrastructure for the Norwegian Government as more and more people use the website to access information."

"Implementing a solution into an organisation as large as the Norwegian Government is a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of topic maps technology," added Graham Moore, Director and Founder of NetworkedPlanet. "Navigation can become a huge problem for bigger organisations, especially where data and documents are stored on disparate systems. By adding metadata properties to each file, the process of recognising and locating documents becomes significantly easier. In an organisation with over 300,000 web pages, the result is a detailed 'map' of information - containing themes, relationships, keywords, as well as over half a million topics themselves."TMCore is NetworkedPlanet's server platform for developing enterprise knowledge and information management applications. The TMCore server stores and manages 'topic maps' of an organisation's content repositories. Topics hold information about themselves, links to related documents and links to other topics, creating a map of knowledge. This map can be browsed or searched by end-users to find information resources via key concepts. The result is a detailed index of the organisation's information resources across a number of systems via a single unified information portal.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 04/26/2007

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Britain's Public Sector Bosses Learnt to Lead at an Early Age

Today*s business leaders got their first taste of leadership long before they reached the workplace 每 on the school sports field, in the music room and even in the great outdoors. So says new research by the Institute of Leadership & Management.A survey of 500 UK business owners and managers by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) revealed that many were marked out as future leaders from an early age with 44 per cent having been school prefects, nine per cent head boys or girls and 22 per cent captains of a school sports team. Public Sector bosses were above the national average in several areas including the most likely to have been prefects (55 per cent) and most likely to have had a musical role with almost a quarter (24 per cent) of them having played in an orchestra.The sports field also proved a valuable learning ground for today*s leaders with 69 per cent having competed as part of a school team.The survey also suggests that extra-curricular activities played a role in the development of future leaders. One third of male leaders (34 per cent) were once members of the Scouts while 42 per cent of their female counterparts were Girl Guides. Sixteen per cent were once members of a choir and one in ten (11 per cent) played in an orchestra.Kim Parish, chief executive of ILM comments, &This study shows that many young people learn about leadership at a very early age. Activities often seen as childhood hobbies 每 such as being a member of the Scouts or Guides, or playing on a school team 每 actually furnish young people with skills such as team ethos, ambition, goal setting and many of the other qualities that we associate with good leadership.*

Thirty per cent of business leaders felt that holding a position of responsibility at school was the most important indicator of a good future leader. And despite the social bias towards higher education, today*s business leaders believe that academic qualifications aren*t a prerequisite for success. One third (32 per cent) said that academic performance at school was the most overrated indicator of a good leader and only one third (32 per cent) left education with a university degree. In fact, a significant proportion of today*s leaders must owe their current role to experiences outside the classroom, as 12 per cent left school under the age of 16 and seven per cent had no qualifications at all when they left full time education.Kim Parish adds, &This study shows that successful leaders draw on expertise and experience from all areas of their lives 每 from the exam hall to the cricket pitch. The leadership lessons learned in childhood can help sow the first seeds of leadership ambition.*Peter Duncan, Chief Scout welcomed the findings, &It is great to see from the ILM research that Scouting has played a role in developing so many of today's leaders. Scouting is all about the development of young people to achieve their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential through a mixture of fun, challenge and adventure. Skills learnt through being a Scout obviously pay dividends for those looking to take positions of leadership.*


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 04/26/2007

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UK: It's Time for Inclusive E-Government

Bike stolen again? Don't try to report it through the web. The national police portal, police.uk, greeted visitors this week with the sad message: "services have been temporarily suspended". This is a big comedown for a site which, three years ago, was supposed to put us at the forefront of e-government. Britain was one of only two countries in Europe letting citizens report non-urgent crimes on the web, should we so wish.We didn't, of course. User figures were derisory. As it wasn't in government's interest to make reporting crimes easier, the police portal had almost no promotion. The fact that it represented a nonexistent organisation, the UK police force, didn't help either.No doubt the government will have another try at e-enabling contact between the public and the police. In the meantime, it should take the opportunity to reflect on one reason why Britons may be reluctant to go online to officialdom. This is that the members of society most likely to need public services - as victims of crime, for example - are the least likely to be confident internet users.Three years after the government claimed it had eradicated the "digital divide", the gulf between the e-enabled and the rest of us looks more and more like a permanent fixture. True, internet use is soaring - but most of the new traffic comes from existing users getting into more ambitious pastimes such as MySpace. The proportion of the population that doesn't use the internet at all remains stuck at about 30%. This includes the 19% classed as "digitally dismissive" - people who can't use the internet and don't want to learn.

The figures appear in a strategy published last week by UK online centres, which represents a national network of 6,000 public IT training and access centres based in public libraries and other community buildings. The centres are an important part of the national infrastructure: they offer personal support, usually from within an excluded community, to people who wouldn't usually look at the internet. According to the strategy, 71% of users fall into a "disadvantaged" group; 44% are in two or more such groups.As usual, there's a snag. The centres were originally seen as a temporary resource, conceived in 1999 as part of the national programme to put government online and offer everyone (dial-up) access to the net. Since 2003, the network has been under the umbrella of the University for Industry, but most centres rely on ad hoc funding from year to year.Even this is now in jeopardy, apparently. The network is asking for solid funding over the next three years so that UK online centres can play their part in the programme to "transform" public services through IT. Although nearly everyone agrees that digital inclusion should be tackled - Britain last year signed up to a European ministerial declaration to halve the rates of exclusion by 2010 and Gordon Brown appears to be personally enthusiastic - it is unclear where the money will come from. With a tight public spending round looming, the Cabinet Office thinks the Department for Education and Skills should fund the centres. The DfES reckons the money should come from the Cabinet Office, which is supposed to run the transformation plan.

The possible orphaning of UK online is not the only example of unjoined-up thinking on digital inclusion. Chairing a conference on the issue last week, Derek Wyatt MP, a redoubtable parliamentary campaigner on digital issues, observed that the money being spent to help the elderly through the digital TV switchover is to be spent on set-top boxes without return buttons which could be used for communicating with government. Wyatt described the state of affairs as "barking". Not for the first time, he is right. (by Michael Cross)


From http://society.guardian.co.uk/ 05/03/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: Bahamas Government Pushes E-Government Campaign

The government is making steady progress toward rolling out additional services as part of its Bahamas Government Online (BGOL) initiative, according to a senior official intimately involved with the project.Speaking in an interview with the Bahama Journal, Deputy National Co-ordinator for Information Technology Wayde Watson explained that an inter-ministerial team is continuing work on several fast track and longer range sub-projects which all form a part of the e-government campaign.Following the launch of the laws online component last summer one of the projects officials hope to launch this June is an online service that will enable students to access their GLAT, BJC and BGCSE examination results online from a secure website."According to our survey that was in high demand and we got good feedback from the officers in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology," Mr. Watson said."What we want to do is eliminate a step in the process so that as soon as the Ministry of Education has the results ready they can go online and see their results."Another new fast track project is an online application service that will enable individuals to request police references or certificates.A fast track project, Mr. Watson explained, is one that planners expect to have completed within three to six months and at a cost of less than $50,000.

"The process right now is that you have to go in and apply for the character reference or firearms certificate, they will take the application and then tell you to come back on a certain day," he said."We want to eliminate one step in that process, which is to enable persons to apply online and then they will be told by e-mail when they need to come back. Because the police have a number of locations where you can pick up character references and certificates we want to send it to your nearest location according to where you live." That service is also expected to be available to the public by June 2007.According to Mr. Watson, there were initially six fast track projects, including the introduction of an online labour skills bank, public access terminals, online postal tracking, access via the Internet to various government forms and the posting of Cabinet conclusions online 每 to be accessible only by the appropriate officials.The first two of those projects have been completed and launched, the third has been completed but not yet launched, and the fourth mentioned project should be launched by the end of this month, he said.

Work is continuing on the cabinet conclusions project."The scope of the labour skills bank is to be able to provide citizens, residents and Bahamian businesses or employers with the opportunity to be able to seek employment opportunities and register for employment opportunities online in a secure environment," he explained.He further pointed out that the labour skills bank is expected to be especially useful to Bahamians who are abroad and wish to apply for positions listed in the system, as their applications can be forwarded to the prospective employer all from the same secure system which can be accessed at www.bahamas.gov.bs.Only Bahamian citizens and residents will be allowed to use the system, he said.The object of the public access terminals project, he said, is for members of the public to be able to obtain information about government information and services from remote locations throughout New Providence and the Family Islands.Those terminals are currently available at the Carmichael Road, Eastern Public, G K Symonette, Southern Public, South Beach and Yellow Elder public libraries.Noting that the application procedure for every government service is initiated with a specific request form Mr. Watson said efforts are advancing to add to the 100 or so commonly requested government forms that are currently available online.

"Before we basically had some Adobe PDF forms online, but they weren*t serving the purpose because they weren*t clean, they weren*t easily accessible and they were difficult to find," he said."We want to be able to provide clean, easily accessible and downloadable forms in the first phase."According to Mr. Watson, phase two will enable individuals to submit forms online while phase three will allow persons to access, complete and submit the application form and pay the required fee all via the Internet.He said the BGOL team is presently at phase one and moving toward phase two of this project.Reporting on efforts to improve the education and training of personnel Mr. Watson said the Microsoft and Cisco I.T. academy established by the government in conjunction with BTVI last fall is expected to produce major benefits for both the public and private sectors.Officials said in order for the BGOL project, envisioned to be a five-year-long initiative, to be a success key personnel will have to be hired.In addition to two project managers, four business analysts, and a communications specialist, the BGOL team is also looking to engage persons skilled in website / portal management and office administration.


From http://www.jonesbahamas.com March 19, 2007

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US: E-Procurement Pays Its Own Way - Strategic Sourcing and E-Procurement Transform Purchasing in DeKalb County, Ga.

Employees in DeKalb County, Ga., switched from paper-based purchasing to e-procurement two years ago, enabling the county to reduce its back-office expenses while shrinking the time between ordering and receiving paper clips and computers from weeks to less than a day for some items.The county, part of metropolitan Atlanta, managed for many years with antiquated purchasing procedures. Requisition employees filled out paper forms. Officials issued purchase orders to vendors via fax. Filled orders arrived at a county warehouse, and employees typically waited for days to receive items from the warehouse. At that time, the county depended on a 22-yearold mainframe accounting system.Poor contracting coordination further strained the county*s procurement efforts. County departments often struck deals independently of one another, hampering the government*s ability to save money through economies of scale.※We were a manual purchasing system,§ said Richard Stogner, the county*s administrator.But the county broke with its purchasing past in 2004 when it began to install Oracle*s E-Business Suite of financial and procurement applications. Oracle*s procurement module replaced pen-and-paper requisitions.

The county was finally able to integrate its purchasing operations with back-office financial systems that handled accounts payable. Hubspan, a company that offers business-to-business integration as a software service, linked DeKalb*s new procurement application to the electronic catalogs and order entry systems of the county*s major suppliers.DeKalb expects the $8 million system to pay for itself by June, in keeping with the county*s three-year return-on-investment benchmark. Eliminating overlapping contracts and closing its warehouse operations are among the factors enabling DeKalb to achieve that ROI. In addition to avoiding costs that it incurred in the past, the county is receiving its orders faster.Andrew Bartolini, research director of global supply management research at the Aberdeen Group, said organizations such as DeKalb are the beneficiaries of vastly improved e-procurement applications. He said the technology, overhyped in the late 1990s, has since come into its own.※These days, the applications that are generally available from providers actually do what they say they will do and deliver compelling results,§ Bartolini said.

How e-procurement works

The purchasing process begins when a DeKalb employee asks a requisition preparer to place an order. About 240 requisition preparers are distributed throughout the county*s departments, said Mike Ajhar, senior consultant in the county. The people who prepare requisitions use Oracle*s procurement module to begin the ordering process.The procurement module has a secure punch-out application 〞 the application punches through firewalls 〞 which lets requisition preparers view electronic catalogs of the county*s main suppliers. The catalogs are tailored to reflect the contract terms that county officials negotiated with the suppliers. A requisition preparer clicks on a Web link to view a particular catalog.DeKalb*s main suppliers include Office Depot, CDW and Dell. CDW is the county*s software and printer supplier. Dell supplies its hardware. The county*s Office Depot catalog omits hardware and software supplies to prevent employees from buying those items from Office Depot.※That gives integrity to the contracts we negotiate on behalf of the county,§ Ajhar said.The county can also order from the electronic catalogs of these suppliers:Command Uniforms for law enforcement uniforms.Fisher Scientific for laboratory measuring and testing equipment.Grainger for power tools.Johnson Industries for automotive repair parts.North American Fire Equipment for firefighting gear.In April, DeKalb plans to add catalogs from E.R. Partridge, which supplies work uniforms, and Lashley Tractor Sales, which sells heavy equipment parts.

After they punch out to a catalog, requisition preparers encounter the familiar sights of e-commerce: items available for purchase and a shopping cart in which to place them. However, the checkout process is different from the typical consumer checkout on Amazon.com, for example. The software extracts order information from the catalog 〞 line item number, product description, quantity and price 〞 and transfers it to the Oracle procurement system, Ajhar said.The requisition preparer uses that information to complete the order before it moves through the approval process. Smaller purchases might require a single signoff, whereas big-ticket items might be routed through an approval chain to the director of a department. Oracle*s punch-out application rounds up approved requisitions every 30 minutes and converts them to purchase orders, which it sends to Hubspan.※They take our purchase order information#and map it directly to the order entry system of the punch-out trading partner,§ Ajhar said.Tim Ratliff, senior director of marketing at Hubspan, said the company*s hosted integration software periodically receives files from DeKalb containing multiple purchase orders. The files arrive in an Extensible Markup Language format proprietary to the county. Hubspan creates individual purchase orders, translates the orders into an appropriate format for the receiver, and sends the orders using the receiver*s preferred transport protocol, Ratliff said. Office Depot, for example, receives purchase orders in commerce XML format via HTTPS.

※We are brokering the way in which messages are sent and received,§ Ratliff said. After the order hits a supplier*s order entry system, the electronic purchasing application generates a pick ticket and an invoice. The pick ticket tells the supplier*s warehouse what to pack and ship.The order entry integration reduces errors because a data entry clerk no longer has to type in data from a faxed order, Ajhar said. Similarly, the county can avoid re-entering invoice data into its financial management system. DeKalb, working with Hubspan, recently completed an automated link that transfers invoices from suppliers, such as Office Depot, directly into the county*s accounts payable system.When a supplier ships an order, a receiving transaction is triggered through the Oracle procurement application. Oracle*s account payable application then matches the receiving transaction to the purchase order and the invoice. If a match is made, the application cuts a check for the supplier.

Business impact

DeKalb*s automated procurement processing produces savings besides those it obtained from closing its warehouse operations. For example, the system provides purchasing information that helped the county establish a strategic sourcing strategy and negotiate lower prices with suppliers.※We are able to use our size and volume and leverage to our advantage,§ Ajhar said. ※In the past, we really didn*t have that capability.§ County departments ※were doing their own thing§ in procurement, Ajhar said, a practice that led to duplicative contracting. The county at one point dealt with 17 different copier suppliers and copier models. DeKalb now uses Xerox as its single copier supplier.Using strategic sourcing and its automated requisition process, the county has been able to save about $750,000 on copiers in several years as old leases expired, Ajhar said.

Sources of savings

Most organizations expect to save money when they automate their purchasing operations. E-procurement systems, such as DeKalb*s, help them gain better control of their spending by aggregating the spending of different groups in the organization, Bartolini said.Other savings come from being able to use suppliers* warehousing capabilities rather than maintaining a local warehouse. Stogner said e-procurement let the county close its warehouse and save about $240,000 〞 mostly in annualized labor costs 〞 in the process.Some e-procurement benefits can be measured in terms of time saved on routine tasks. Procurement employees spend that extra time soliciting competitive bids and negotiating for items that they don*t buy from online catalogs, Ajhar said.The compressed purchasing cycle, meanwhile, is a boon for employees who need to replenish office supplies and other items. Under the old system, deliveries could take a week or longer. Office Depot catalog orders submitted by 3 p.m. arrive the next morning, Ajhar said.The e-procurement approach has dramatically improved purchasing efficiency, ※especially as it relates to high-volume products,§ Ajhar said.

Success factors

Organizations seeking a return on their investment in e-procurement often need some help getting there. Bartolini said organizations must have a strong executive champion of e-procurement, and they must be willing to spend money on employee training.※Having clear executive sponsorship is the one factor that has the highest correlation to overall success,§ Bartolini said. ※Training becomes a very important part of this process when you look at deploying this solution across your entire organization.§DeKalb*s executive champion was Vernon Jones, the county*s chief executive officer. Jones made technology adoption a priority, Stogner said.Jones* leadership was critical in securing the necessary funding for implementing the financial management system and automated procurement system, he said.Ajhar said training is also an important part of e-procurement. Most of DeKalb*s requisition preparers lacked computer experience because they had worked in an office that used a pen-and-paper procurement system.※We really had to start from scratch with them in terms of training,§ he said. But that*s hardly surprising, given DeKalb*s leap from paper to e-procurement.(by John Moore)


From http://www.fcw.com/ 04/02/2007

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US: Oklahoma Web Portal Receives Third Statewide Award for Innovation

OKLAHOMA CITY-(Business Wire)-May 11, 2007 - Oklahoma's official state Web site (www.OK.gov) was recently awarded the 2007 Journal Record's Innovator of the Year Award for its Content Management System that allows state agencies to build and manage their own Web sites. This is the third time OK.gov has received the Innovator of the Year Award from Oklahoma City's The Journal Record newspaper. "We are honored to be selected for this award," said Joe Fleckinger, Deputy Director of Information Technology for Oklahoma Office of State Finance. "OK.gov's Content Management System is an outstanding example of a thoughtful and well-designed solution that more than 50 state agencies are currently using."

With the Content Management System, agencies can create and maintain Web sites without technical knowledge or experience. The system's popularity stems from its straightforward user interface and compliance with state and national accessibility requirements. The Content Management System also uses a common template, which was created to produce a consistent design and navigation structure for all state agencies. By using similar layouts, users will always know they are visiting an official Oklahoma government Web site. Agency representatives have the ability to customize their Web sites using the text editor within the system, which is similar to using Microsoft Word. This significantly reduces the time it takes to set up a site. OK.gov also offers design customization and training support for agencies that use the Content Management System.


From http://digital50.com/ 05/11/2007

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SOUTH AMERICA: Jamaican Government Gets High Marks for Telecoms Framework

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS): Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr Hamadoun Toure, has given the Jamaican government high marks for the progress made in bringing the country*s telecommunication system to the standard set by the ITU for developing countries. Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell (right) greets Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Dr Toure, who was speaking at an ICT Forum hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce (MITEC) on Tuesday, said he was impressed and encouraged by the level of commitment by the government in harmonising the telecoms sector. ※All the strategies have been put in place in terms of the national telecommunication laws, in terms of competition and electronic transaction rules, and a good structure has been put in place to secure the transactions; that is very encouraging. I think we are witnessing here the fact that all the elements, ingredients are in place for a good chemical reaction. A mushroom effect can be seen in a few years to come in this country and the credit should go to the leadership of the country,§ he stated.

So impressed is the ITU with the progress made by Jamaica that the country has been chosen as the first e-learning centre of the Caribbean, thus establishing the country*s telecoms strategy as a model for the rest of the region. This is in keeping with an initiative by the organization to use the best practices of countries with successful frameworks to bridge the gap found in other areas. ※We chose Jamaica as the first e-learning centre in the Caribbean region just because we know that we can succeed here, and when we succeed here, we can move on into other countries and share our experiences and be sure we can replicate it,§ Dr Toure pointed out. ※It is very pleasant to see the level of commitment here. Jamaica is on the right track, and the future is bright for this country,§ he added. Turning to the future plans of the ITU, Dr Toure said that the organisation has set a 2015 deadline to connect all schools, villages, and businesses across the globe, while imperatives over the next four years are: addressing cyber security; establishing a global coalition to assist in disaster mitigation; and bridging the digital divide.

Pledging to work with the Caribbean and other developing countries to achieve the latter goal, the ITU head said that, ※this means ensuring that everyone in every country has the right policy regulatory framework in place to ensure that there is a level playing field, room for competition, potential for growth and infrastructure build-up, to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place.§ In terms of cyber security, he said that a global anti-criminal framework must be put in place, as a key element for national and international development. ※You need to have common cyber strategies that will enable you to implement e-governance, e-health, e-commerce, e-education and e-agriculture. National or regional frameworks are no longer sufficient,§ Dr Toure stated, noting that the ITU hoped to put such a framework in place by the end of 2008. He said that the ITU will be working with developing countries to create national cyberspace agencies and to put them into the global network. Minister Phillip Paulwell, in his address, noted that the ITU has been instrumental in the development of Jamaica*s electronic transaction policy framework, which highlights key challenges in various domains and proposes strategies for transforming this vision into reality for many sectors of the society.§ ※We appreciate the ITU*s role in providing neutral and objective advice in technology strategies and policies for e-government and e-commerce and look forward to closer collaboration with ITU,§ he said. Dr Toure is in Jamaica for a four-day visit on the invitation of the Ministry.


From http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/ , April 23, 2007

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CHINA: Jury Still Out on Court's Sentence-making Computer Software

A computer software system, which helps judges determine sentences in criminal cases in east China's Shandong Province continues to stir debate. "Each criminal sentence has its own peculiarities and requires human judgment. If computer systems are used to pass sentences, judges might become mere craftsman using tools", said Wei Zhensheng, lawyer with Beijing Zhongtong lawyer office. "Judges should always be the decision-maker in court, and computer programs should only be used to assist a judge's work," the Beijing News quoted Shao Wenhong, an official with China's Supreme Court, as saying. The computer system, jointly written by two software companies and the Zichuan District Court in Shandong Province, contains a database of laws, legal precedents and judicial interpretations based on more than 7,000 cases that were heard between 2001 and 2005. Two thousand of the cases were heard in local district courts. Judges type in the details of a case and within a minute the computer system will provide a suggestion on the length of a sentence.

Judges still have the discretion to adjust the sentence based on their own understanding of the particular case. The software system has been used in 1,500 criminal cases and none of those who were sentenced has sought an appeal. Zheng Feng, one of the judges in Zichuan District Court, showed how the program worked using the example of a case in which four people were assaulted. When Zheng inputs "provoke a fight" and the computer provides the advice: "basic sentence should be six months if two people are injured... when more than two people are injured, the accused should receive an additional three months for each victim." This provides a recommended sentence of 12 months. Then Zheng types in "the accused has no previous crime record and paid compensation to the victims", the computer advises, "commute one to two months". Finally the panel of judges decides to impose a jail term of 11-months.

Man Zhiqiang, vice president of Zichuan District Court, defended the computer program, saying it only serves as a reference for judges and "the judge is the most important person in court." "The judge does more than pass sentences in court, he or she has other important duties including authenticating facts and evidence," said Man, adding that the workload of judges has not been significantly reduced by the computer program. Local judges say the software is "helpful", saving time and preventing manipulation or interference in cases. "We see the system as progress. However, we also realize that it is very difficult to pass sentences by relying solely on digital programs," said Wang Hongmei, a presiding judge with Zichuan District Court.


From http://www.china.org.cn 03/10/2007

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Online Platform to Be Built for Poverty Reduction

An online platform should be built for making good statistics of and monitoring poverty situation in east Asian nations so as to provide effective support in working out poverty eradication measures. The proposal was put forward by participants attending the East Asian Poverty Analysis and Data Initiative (PADI) Consultative Meeting and Regional Workshop on Poverty Monitoring and Evaluation which opened on Thursday in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province. Shahid Khandker, chief economist with World Bank, believed an online mechanism might effectively facilitate poverty data and information gathering and statistics making within members of PADI. With reliable statistics obtained from the online platform, experts and government officials of East Asian nations will be able to work with and put forward more efficient measures for poverty eradication after having had the conditions to make a thorough study of poverty features and the reasons causing the poverty in their respective nations.

At present, the poverty monitoring data collected in many regions of the world are full of problems such as incomplete, unreliable and out-of-date, and there is a dire shortage of latest, reliable statistics, plus a lack of capability for analysis, according to the World Bank economist. PADI came into being in May 2000 at the call of the World Bank Institute. The secretarial office of the organization is based inside International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC), China's professional organization for carrying out exchange and cooperation with the international community in the field of poverty relief work. In addition to China, Thailand, Vietnam, the Laos, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mongolia have signed to be included in PADI. IPRCC chief Zhang Lei also suggested that more training courses on poverty analysis and data gathering, alongside activities of exchange, should be organized.

The World Bank standard for poverty has it that anyone who lives on less than one US dollars daily should be classified as poor. According to the World Bank statistics, about 552 million out of the world's 1.1 billion poor people were in East Asia by last year. The East Asian Poverty Analysis and Data Initiative (PADI) Consultative Meeting and Regional Workshop on Poverty Monitoring and Evaluation were attended by more than 70 government officials, specialists from the above mentioned nine east Asian countries, as well as experts from international organizations.


From http://www.china.org.cn 05/11/2007

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HK Launches Legal Information Website for General Public

Community Legal Information Center (CLIC), a community legal information website, was launched on Monday by the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Host of CLIC, the China Information Technology and Law Center of HKU Monday organized a completion ceremony for the website, which is also one of the activities celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The CLIC project is commissioned by the Hong Kong government and funded by the Department of Justice of the government under which the law center is to develop, host and maintain the website. The bilingual website is a quick internet guide for the general public to find relevant legal information in Hong Kong. It helps citizens to acquire a basic understanding of the relevant law before seeking advice from lawyers, and it serves the purpose of informing the general public about where to seek free or subsidized legal assistance. Since its first launch in 2005, the content of the website has substantially expanded to 21 categories including Bankruptcy and Winding Up, Consumer Complaints, Hong Kong Legal System, Employment Disputes, Insurance, Landlord and Tenant, Legal Aid, Matrimonial Matters, Personal Injuries, Police and Crime, Sale and Purchase of Property, Taxation and many others.


From http://www.china.org.cn 05/15/2007

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Over 85% of China's Gov't Organs Online

More than 85 percent of central and local government organs in China have set up websites to provide online information and services, according to a report from the State Information Center. The report said by the end of 2006, more than 90 percent of China's ministries and governments at provincial and prefecture levels had their own websites, while the figure for county level governments reached 80 percent. Government websites release timely and accurate information on public affairs, and have expanded online services rapidly, said the report. The websites of 10 government departments -- relating to customs, foreign exchange, commerce, and taxation -- have been linked to make it easier for companies to make customs declarations. China's central government launched its website in 2006 aiming to promote transparent governance, improve public service, and safeguard citizens' rights to know, take part in, and supervise governmental affairs.

In 2006, it released more than 500 State Council documents and 250 gazettes, broadcast live more than 60 important meetings and activities of departments under the State Council, and invited 22 senior officials in the central or provincial governments to talk with netizens. People can access some 1,100 services provided by 71 departments through the websites, including tourism information during the "golden week", civil service examinations and consumer protection services. According to the US-based Alexa web information company, China's government website is currently the world's second most visited government website, outranked only by the Canadian government's website.


From http://www.china.org.cn 05/16/2007

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JAPAN: Officials' Briefings on Net Rubbing Press Clubs the Wrong Way

Governors and mayors are increasingly using the Internet for news conferences, but news organizations remain cautious for fear of losing their privilege of getting firsthand information from authorities through press clubs. Tokyo, Akita and 10 other prefectures are broadcasting live their governors' news conferences on the Internet, and Kyoto and 14 other prefectures are putting videotaped briefings on the Web. Because such broadcasts are new, however, it appears there is still a long way to go before local governments and press clubs ensure their openness. One major problem is that, unlike live broadcasts, videotaped news conferences can be edited, posing the chance that the public will only get information with a positive spin or that casts authorities in a positive light. Fukui and four other prefectures, and three of 17 designated cities given a status similar to that of prefectural governments, are allowing only videotaped Internet news conferences, but without questions from reporters or answers by administrators. A Kyoto prefectural official tried to fend off criticism by saying it was the media that asked for such a step. "We have been told by the press club that there are reporters who do not want to be identified" during question-and-answer sessions. Indeed, press clubs' member organizations still shy away from identifying themselves -- which was unnecessary back in the days when everyone knew who was who. "There is a fear of pressure from outside, such as 'why was such a question posed?' " a Kagoshima prefectural official said in explaining the sentiment of its press club. Currently, only Nagano, Tottori and Kochi prefectures make public the names of both the reporters who ask questions and the media firms they represent.


From www.japantimes.co.jp 05/01/2007

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The Japanese Government Looks to Go Open Source

The Japanese government wants to go open source, as a way to rely less on a single vendor IT software infrastructure. And plenty of vendors are lining up to help make this happen. Oracle, NEC, IBM, HP, Hitachi and Dell are among 10 IT equipment and software vendors that are forming a consortium to develop and sell Linux-based servers and computers for the Japanese market. The move by the vendors to collaborate on Linux in Japan comes from a edict from the country's government to make Linux and open source a priority for all IT procurements, starting this July. The central government of Japan says it plans to spend around $1.25 trillion yen, or $10.4 billion, on IT over the next year. The government has said explicitly it wants to decrease its reliance on Microsoft as a server operating system platform. The details are light in terms of what types of Linux systems Oracle, IBM, HP, et al will produce for the Japanese government. What is interesting about the initial news is the absence of any major Linux operating system distributor as part of the announcement. It will be interesting to see if the Linux "player to be named later" in the multivendor effort is a commercial Linux distribution - such as Novell or Red Hat - or system such as Ubuntu, Debian, or CentOS. Or could the lineup of IT companies be cooking up their own Linux version for the market in Japan?


From http://www.linuxworld.com 05/07/2007

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Few Lawmakers Found Using 50 Bil. Yen Online Tax Return Filing

Only a small number of lawmakers, excluding Finance Minister Koji Omi, who oversees the National Tax Agency, used the e-Tax online tax return filing that cost the government some 50 billion yen, a Kyodo News survey found Wednesday. Only 15 of the 144 Diet members who had responded to the Kyodo questionnaire as of Wednesday said they used e-Tax, which began running in 2004 and requires a dedicated device for reading an electronic certificate, issued by a local government, into a computer. E-Tax was billed as the centerpiece of the government's policy of promoting information technology for administrative services. Omi did not reply to the questionnaire but said in a parliamentary hearing that he has not used the service. Sanae Takaichi, innovation minister in charge of promoting information technology, said in the questionnaire she has not used it. The percentage of lawmakers who used the service comes to around 10 percent, higher than e-Tax users of around 3 percent among the general public. Of 129 lawmakers who did not use the service, 51 said they did not instruct their accountants handling their tax returns to use the service, while 28 said they filed their taxes themselves but did not use the service, saying it was too much of hassle. Others included 22 who did not think about using e-Tax and a group of lawmakers who said they failed to register to use the service in time. The government is building computer systems for various services it offers but some services have drawn fewer users than expected. The electronic filing system for passports, which cost 4 billion yen, had logged only 310 users since 2004. The government stopped running this service in late September.


From http://asia.news.yahoo.com 05/09/2007

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Kyoto Travel Guide Hits Web

The Kyoto municipal government recently established an official English-language homepage providing sightseeing information to tourists, in an effort to attract more foreign visitors to the city. The "Kyoto Official Travel Guide" Web site offers a wide range of information about local events, Kyoto delicacies, dining locations and places tourists can experience traditional Japanese culture. The Travel Guide also enables users to reserve accommodations and book airplane tickets online. According to the municipal government, the site's online booking capabilities make it the first official tourism homepage of its kind in the nation. The Web site is managed by the Kyoto Tourism Council, comprising the municipal government, the Kyoto City Tourist Association, the Kyoto Convention Bureau, the Kyoto Restaurant Association, local hotels and others. The number of foreign visitors to the city reached about 730,000 in 2005, up 34 percent from the previous year and marking a record high for the second consecutive year. The municipal government hopes the site will help foreign tourists prepare their travel itineraries more easily. To satisfy the diverse interests of tourists, the site includes 100 of the most popular things to see and do in the city, including Kinkakuji temple, machiya (traditional town houses), the Gion Festival and kimono dyeing. The Web site also recommends ideal tour courses by schedule, theme and area. Visit the Kyoto Official Travel Guide Web site at www.Kyoto.Travel for details.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp 05/17/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: Inspection of Polling Agencies Underway

The National Election Commission (NEC) has requested 16 polling agencies and media corporations that have conducted surveys on presidential hopefuls to submit all poll-related data, NEC officials said Tuesday. The data include survey questions and research methods, they said.The commission plans to probe if those institutions have ever designed and conducted polls in favor of a particular candidate, an NEC official said on condition of anonymity.He said the Internet Election News Deliberation Commission affiliated with the NEC has already issued a warning to some polling agencies that had irregularities in their poll conducting methods.The commission expanded the inspection to all media and polling agencies that have undertaken polls on presidential contenders, he added. This is the first time for the NEC to inspect all poll-related bodies.


From http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu 05/15/2007

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MALAYSIA: Taiping ADTEC to Be Used as Benchmark

THE construction of Taiping Advance Technology Training Centre (ADTEC), costing more than RM400mil, will become the Human Resources Ministry's benchmark for new centres in future. Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said the new project, dubbed as the biggest in Taiping, was the first of the eight new ADTECs approved by the Government under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. To be built over a 24ha site at the Kamunting Raya industrial area in Kamunting, Taiping, the project was scheduled for completion in 24 months, he said. "But I have requested the main contractor of the project to get it completed within 18 months," Dr Fong told reporters after conducting the groundbreaking ceremony. Dr Fong said the new building cost RM160mil and the equipment between RM100mil and RM260mil. Many factories in the northern region used micro electronics technology and the centre would help train workers in the field, he said. "The Taiping ADTEC will have at least 200 micro electronics students to cater for the needs," he said. The availability of such trained workers in Taiping would also help woo investors, he said. He said the project would also become a catalyst to the economic growth of the town. Also present were state exco member Datuk Ho Cheng Wang, who represented Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali, Taiping MP Datuk M. Kayveas and Kamalbina Sdn Bhd (Taiping ADTEC main contractor) managing director Datuk Kamarulbahrain Zainuddin. Dr Fong said the Taiping ADTEC would accommodate 800 students for certificate and diploma courses in micro electronics, quality control technology, composite technology, ceramic technology, polimer technology and information technology. Kamarulbahrain said 1,000 workers, in-cluding 50 professionals, would be recruited for the construction of the centre. Earlier, Dr Fong said there were 17,462 stu-dents at all 35 skill training centres nationwide under the purview of his ministry.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/30/2007

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View Status of Your Case Online

KUALA LUMPUR: Complainants can now check the status of their Industrial Court cases through the Internet. The e-Industrial Court (EIC) launched yesterday is a computerised management and control system to handle cases from the point of registration to final disposal in the civil courts. "With the EIC, hopefully it would make the process of managing cases easier and more efficient," Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said at its launch at the Straits Trading Building here yesterday. For the Industrial Court, the EIC can be used to assign cases, schedule mentions and hearings, monitor and transfer cases. For the public, it gives information regarding the Industrial Court, its monthly hearing schedules, and also provides downloadable awards in portable document file (PDF) format. "However, be mindful that the system is not a solution for settling court cases but only a tool to assist the public in managing cases," Dr Fong said. There have been 160 industrial court cases since last year, 40% of which have been settled. Complainants can check the status of their cases at EIC via www.mp.gov.my/mp_baru/biver/indexbi.htm. Meanwhile, when asked about local workers seeking greener pastures overseas, Dr Fong said foreign companies would always be on the lookout for productive workers. "We can't stop them (Malaysians) from earning a living overseas," he said. On the issue of Malaysians cheated by unscrupulous or illegal recruitment agents with the promise of well-paid jobs in Singapore, Dr Fong said the Government would do its best to help them.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/28/2007

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Tailor Finds E-filing Tax Returns Convenient

She may be computer illiterate but when it comes to filing her income tax returns, she goes e-Filing. Tailor Hong Poh Chin, 34, was at the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) office here to collect the forms. The staff persuaded her to file the returns online. "I was scared as I did not know how to use a computer. But the staff said they would sit with me and go through the steps one-by-one," she said. Hong gave it a go and found it more convenient than the manual process. "It is a lot faster and easier," she added. Technician Mohd Nordin Omar, 48, found the process faster this year. "The queue is short, so there is not much waiting time," he said. Hong and Mohd Nordin were among those who did e-Filing at the 30 computers set up for the public at the IRB office. IRB Johor Baru public relations assistant director Nor'azam Sulaiman said that about 300 people came to use the computers daily since last month. "But the line moves very fast. Everyone spends about 10 minutes at the computer and they are done," he said. Counters at the IRB offices in Bangunan Hasil (Johor Baru) and Wisma Bunga (Kluang) will be open everyday from 8am to 10pm from April 16 to April 30. At the IRB office in Wisma Tiam Lock, Muar, the counters will be open from 8am to 6pm on weekdays, and 8am to 5pm on weekends.


From http://star-techcentral.com 04/12/2007

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RM5m to Speed Up Services

The Education Services Commission will be able to offer faster and more efficient services to the public with the setting up of three IT systems. The e-mobile system, file search system and support staff information system costing the Government RM5mil will expedite processes such as interviews, retrieving past records and new job applications. Under the e-mobile system, the Personal Digital Assistant will be used as the medium to update information. The systems were launched by Minister in the Prime Minister*s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok in conjunction with the commission*s 33rd anniversary here yesterday. ※The IT systems are meant to save time and cost, and to satisfy the public*s expectation of Government services such as efficient counter services, friendly customer service and usage of effective information technology,§ he said. Speaking to reporters later, Dompok said no names had been shortlisted to fill the post of commission chairman, made vacant by the death of Tan Sri Abdul Rafie Mahat on March 8 this year. The Prime Minister and the Conference of Rulers, he said, would decide on the candidate. On application for teacher training, he said the Government received more than 100,000 online applications and 80 sacks full of postal applications. It was a challenge to fill up the vacancies within six months, he said.


From http://thestar.com.my 04/18/2007

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PHILIPPINES: Bohol Retirees to Sue GSIS Execs over E-card System

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines -- Retired government employees here plan to file criminal charges against officials of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) led by president and general manager Winston Garcia for forcing them to enroll in the e-card system and suspending their monthly pension checks since January this year. The retirees opposed the implementation of the e-card system because those living in outlying towns would have difficulty withdrawing their pensions through automated teller machines, most of which are located in Tagbilaran City, according to one of retirees* lawyers, Danilo Bantugan. Bantugan said he and two other lawyers -- Victor dela Serna, Oscar Glovasa -- have gathered close to 50 affidavits from the retirees who signed the complaint against the GSIS officials. Instead of a class suit, which the retirees had originally considered, Bantugan said a criminal case would be filed. During an initial conference, the three lawyers agreed that a criminal case would be faster to prosecute than a class suit, which is civil in nature, he said. However, he said they had yet to decide what criminal charges they would file although they were looking at unjust vexation, estafa or illegal extortion. The three lawyers took on the case of the retirees for free after the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bohol chapter took notice of the complaints aired by the pensioners over local radio stations since last year.

IBP Bohol, through its president lawyer Isabelo Sales, assured the estimated 5,000 retirees in Bohol that it would support the filing of criminal or civil charges against the GSIS executives. The retirees* group, led by spokesman Francisco Reyes Jr., also gained the support of local officials, including Governor Erico Aumentado and second district Representative Eladio Jala, the chair of the House committee on government enterprises. In a letter to the government officials, the pensioners said the e-card system is "inhuman and has caused [them] serious irreparable damage." The retirees alleged that the GSIS compelled them to enroll in the e-card without proper consultations and stopped sending their monthly checks in January. They also noted that the bank's ATMs did not have cash available most of the time. The GSIS had failed to fulfill its promise to release their monthly pension checks "to the detriment of old pensioners," they added. The pensioners said the e-card system has affected 30 percent of some 5,000 retirees in the province.


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 03/09/2007

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Comelec to Put Up Online Chatroom

MANILA, Philippines -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will conduct online press conferences starting April through a web-based chatroom, its spokesman said Monday. The virtual conferences will be open to both the media and the public, James Jimenez said. Inspired by an online chat conducted by Yehey.com, Jimenez said the Comelec*s chatroom aims to reach out to voters and allow them to vent their concerns to the poll body. Jimenez said the Comelec chatroom will be available on its Bagong Botante (New Voter), a voter's education website. The chatroom will use open source-based Internet chat software, Jimenez added, adding that the Comelec will not spend anything to develop this service. Jimenez hopes the chatroom will also serve as a good feedback mechanism for the Comelec.


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 03/19/2007

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BIR Aims to Improve Tax Collection with New IT System

MANILA, Philippines -- To help improve tax collection in provinces, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is enhancing the core infrastructure that powers several tax-related applications used by citizens. BIR will begin deploying the Integrated Tax System or eITS this year, according to Lilia Guillermo, deputy commissioner for BIR's information systems group. The eITS forms the backbone that links different systems including registration, tax declaration, audit and payment. BIR's objective is to make it available over the Internet to allow district offices access to the agency's data warehouse housed in its main office in Quezon City. In a recent forum, Guillermo pointed out that the lack of personnel in her agency is hampering tax collection. Nonetheless, the BIR has increased its tax collection by an average of more than P360 million in the last five years, also adding nearly 3 million taxpayers every year. The BIR is shooting for a P765 million overall target for this year. On the other hand, BIR has a nationwide workforce of about 11,000, which has remained constant in the last five years. Thus, efficiency is credited to improvements in automation. BIR has had one of the largest IT projects in government. The biggest challenge for BIR, according to Guillermo, is "cleaning" the agency's taxpayer database, a process that also involves the cross-checking with records of related agencies such as the Security Exchange Commission. "There are cases when databases (of BIR and SEC) don't match. There are some businesses that deliberately alter their records to confuse the BIR," Guillermo said. Out of 115 BIR district offices, less than half (around 45 by Guillermo's estimate) are computerized. "Revenues are increasing but personnel strength remains stagnant," she said. "Even if the system generates discrepancies, we don't have enough people to audit and go after suspected tax evaders."


From http://archive.inquirer.net 05/01/2007

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National Canvassing Goes Wireless

MANILA, Philippines -- For the first time, the Commission on Elections has provided the media with access to a wireless fidelity (wifi) network here at the Philippine International Convention Center where the national canvassing of senatorial and partylist elections are being done. Using laptops for their stories, reporters here are relieved that they don't have to rush to a nearby Internet cafe or suffer from slow dial-up connections. Roy Pelovello, Senate reporter for the Manila Standard Today, said the wireless Internet connection was "slow" but it was better than not having one. Wi-fi is also available inside the media center. The advances in wireless technology have made various wireless technologies available to media covering the elections. INQUIRER.net has, for instance, been using the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) WeRoam wireless Internet technology to access the Internet. PLDT WeRoam uses the mobile phone networks available, including the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or the newly-minted 3G network. Mobile Internet, as wireless Internet is also called, is being used by bloggers to update their entries from anywhere, or at least in places where there are either wi-fi or wireless Internet technology such as PLDT WeRoam. Rival Globe Telecom also provides similar wireless technology using the High-Speed Packet Data Access.


From http://archive.inquirer.net 05/16/2007

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SINGAPORE: New Online Portal to Help Govt Pensioners Manage Healthcare Bills

Tracking pensions payments and healthcare bills is now more convenient for government pensioners. From Monday, they can access information on monthly bills at restructured hospitals and medical reimbursements, through a new online portal pac.gov.sg. They can also update personal details online, as well as receive free email alerts on pensions-related information. The portal will benefit over 30,000 Singapore government pensioners. Also from Monday, pensioners have been included under the civil service medical billing system (MBS@Gov), making it easier for them to claim reimbursements for visits to private clinics. All they need is to show their Public Service card at participating clinics, and pay for their portion of the bill upfront. This means they no longer have to submit receipts to the Pensions Branch, and wait for the reimbursements to be credited into their account in the next month.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 04/16/2007

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VIET NAM: Hung Yen Becomes E-friendly

The northern province of Hung Yen officially launched its Business and Investment Information Portal yesterday, said Director of the Provincial Department of Planning and Investment Doan Anh Quan. The project is part of the province*s plan to modernise public services for local businesses, the director said, adding that the portal would simplify business and tax code registration. Quan said the province is taking steps to improve information transparency and reduce business costs. The portal can be reached at www.hungyen.gov.vn/doanhnghiep and www.hungyen.gov.vn/business. Enterprises can now register their businesses online, which should help to cut at least 30 per cent off the time it used to take to register, he said. There are nearly 1,700 enterprises in Hung Yen, and that number is expected to rise to 3,000 by 2010, said Quan. According to a recent study by the Central Institute for Economic Management and the German Technical Co-operation, 41 per cent of enterprises said it took too long and was too costly to start up their businesses.

The study also found that most official procedures were conducted manually. Furthermore, the absence of a shared business database has made it difficult for local authorities to exchange information, Quan said. "Through the portal, investors can quickly obtain information on business and investment registration and appraisal in the province," said Provincial People*s Committee Chairman Nguyen Van Cuong. "This will create a convenient, cost saving one-stop-shop model. It will also form an on-line forum to enable exchanges between authorities and enterprises and allow real-time solutions," said Cuong. Investment registration and appraisal will shortly be possible online, said Quan, adding that a B2B Platform would be developed, enabling enterprises to advertise products and carry out business transactions. From the portal, users can easily access national programmes, such as the National Business Information Network, he said. Hung Yen was the leading Red River Delta province in terms of transparency and access to information last year, according to the USAID-funded Viet Nam Competitiveness Initiative.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 04/05/2007

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INDIA: CDMA to Implement E-Governance System by Month-end

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) of India has promised to put an e-Governance plan to enable applicants to track the status of building plans. CDMA is expecting that the system would be introduced by the end of this month. CDMA uses tools like e-Governance, GIS and digital mapping. According to the Minister in-Charge of CDMA, Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, e-Governance would be in place by the end of the month. Builders and developers wanted the authority to issue completion certificates for building without any delay.


From The Hindu 03/07/2007

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CPM Asks Indian Govt. to Implement Open Source Software in E-Government Applications

The Communist Party (CPM) of India has asked the Central Government to switch to free and open source software in all its e-Governance applications. It would be a major step towards e-Governance and open source. Party is also expecting that Government will introduce free and open source software in the curriculum from the school level. According to CPM Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury, the monopoly of knowledge has become the avenue of earning profits and there is a need to liberate the stranglehold. The free software movement can bridge the digital divide. Certain bodies like Nasscom acting as `agents' between the Government and the industry.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/07/2007

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Govt. Launches E-Payment System for Excise and Service Tax

Now, it would be mandatory to make the payment through e-Mode from April 1, 2007. The Finance Minister of India, P. Chidambaram has launched the Electronic Accounting System in Excise and Service Tax (EASIEST). While launching the electronic accounting system he told that e-Payment is the most convenient method for payment of excise & service tax. The Central Board of Excise and Customs in association with Principal Chief Controller of Accounts, Reserve Bank of India and 28 Scheduled Banks has introduced a simplified electronic accounting system for central excise and service tax payments called EASIEST. EASIEST would require only a single challan for payment of Central Excise and Service Tax. It would capture all the essential information required from the assessee in relation to his tax payments. EASIEST uses the electronic environment for expeditious transmission of tax information to ensure greater accuracy and reliability of tax payment data. The Government has also proposed to reconcile the data so captured from the single challan with the tax returns filed by central excise and service tax assesses.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/07/2007

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E-Governance Through Mobile Phones in India

Indian Government is working on technology, which will allow Indian citizens to fill forms and payments of utility bills among others through mobile technology. The technology will also enable a citizen in a remote area without internet access to use mobile phones to access services like land records and employment exchanges. In India there are approximately 200 million mobile phone users in contrast about 36 million Internet users. The Government is also working out the details of setting up call centres or help desks for facilitating e-Governance projects. These types of help desks within the government domain are meant to assist citizens like villagers in remote areas for better understanding of e-Services. e-Government project, which are carried out on a PPP model includes, Central government projects such as national ID, central excise, income-tax, DCA-21, passports/visa and immigration, pensions, banking, and insurance and the state-level includes projects such as land records, property registration, transport, agriculture, municipalities, gram panchayats, commercial taxes, treasuries, police and employment exchange.


From Economic Times 03/08/2007

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Dataquest Study: Goa, the Best E-Governed State in India

According to recent study conducted by technology consultant IDC and Dataquest magazine, Goa is the best e-Governed state in India. Other states, which follows the study as e-Governed states are Karnataka, Delhi, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The survey has covered 20 states and around 3033 citizens and business users equally divided between urban and rural areas of the country. The survey was based on perception as well as actual state of readiness for e-Governance. Assam has scored high for its passport services and Gujarat for power initiatives. It highlights initiatives for improved tax collection, speedy tax assessments, increasing employment in the IT sector and export earnings from IT-related products and services. While Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh are still following in e-Governance programmes.


From The Hindu 03/19/2007

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Indians Can Check Spending via NDMC*s E-finance System

Now citizens of India can figure out how local civil body are spending their money and making more transparent the finance system. New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is launching e-Finance system in India. NDMC's e-Finance system is going online by July 1, 2007. The civic body is developing the system in collaboration with Infosys sponsored 'e-Government' group. Under the system, all data on money spent and earned by all departments of the NDMC would be put online. The system will allow citizen to find out all projects and activities, including water and electric bills. The system will also help NDMC to create more balance budgets, reduce paper work and monitor expenses made by all departments. Versions of the software will be sent to all NDMC departments for comments and then a committee of senior officials will examine these comments and approve the project.


From Express India 03/20/2007

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Indian President, Kalam Asks CAG to Implement E-Audit System

Indian President, A.P.J Abdul Kalam, asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), to implement e-Audit to improve performance and transparency, and assure the accountability of the government for the benefit of the people. While addressing to the members of CAG audit advisory board, he expressed his concerned over the non-utilization utilization of the allocated budget. He told that e-Governance could be supported through e-Audit to enhance the performance of Governance. He told that e-Audit would enable CAG to put it into operation an alert mechanism based on the performance and deviation analyses even when the programme is in operation. He emphasised to built an e-Audit system, which would be based on e-Governance web service system to all concerned ministries and departments through the smart and secured e-Governance GRID. e-Audit system will also include e-Commerce and procurement programme. The President also asked the CAG to consider creation and maintenance of a centralised national asset register.


From Daily India 04/03/2007

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KMC Implements E-Integrated Tax Collection System

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) of India has inaugurated the e-Integrated tax collection system on April 3, 2007. The state minister for commerce and industries, Nirupam Sen has launched the system. The new tax collection is another step towards the introduction of a full-fledged e-governance system in the KMC. Eminent professors from IIT Kharagpur, Jadavpur University, Indian Statistical Institute are guiding KMC through the installation of the server. The central server would be installed within next six months. Once the process is completed, citizens will be able to pay taxes online from any office and procure information related to pending taxes.


From Express India 04/03/2007

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Govt. Launches E-Governance for Tax Collection in India

The civic bodies of Kolkata, India have launched an integrated, centralised and e-enabled property tax collection procedure with aid from Britain's Department for International Development. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has offered the system, which will provide the speedy collection of property tax through treasury counters at KMC headquarters. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has developed the software under KMC's capacity-building programme assisted by DFID. The system will substitute the former stand-alone Fox Pro-based operations. DFID has provided INR 200 million as aid for the system. The e-Governance system is already in operation with civic bodies in Delhi, Hyderabad and Kochi.


From The Hindu 04/04/2007

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DDA, India Launches Integrated Management System for Online Computerisation

The capital of India, New Delhi is moving towards in the direction of e-Governance by launching Integrated Management System for a complete online computerisation of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). While launching the Integrated Management System, Jaipal Reddy, Urban Development Minister said the computerisation enables government and governance as a transparent system. The Integrated Management System will streamline the information in the Authority. DDA is aiming to provide efficient services to the citizens of Delhi. Under this system all the operations and functions of the DDA will be computerized and automated. The Integrated Management System will improve the citizen interface and improve public image, increase transparency in DDA operations, increase efficiency in processing of papers and will help access information by citizens.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/11/2007

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Indian Government Switch to E-Procurement in All Departments

Indian Government has finally made the e-Procurement system mandatory in all government departments of the country. All government departments have started procuring electronically for transactions above INR 2.5 million. The Union Government has decided to manually accept tenders until June 30, 2007 to allow suppliers a grace period to shift to an electronic platform in all departments. This initiative is part of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), which will reduce transaction costs and maintain transparency between the government and citizens. Larger ministries like defence, railways, petroleum, telecom and food are developing their own e-Procurement programmes.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/18/2007

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Indian Government Calls States to Implement E-Governance in Transport Sector

The Union Minister of shipping, road transport and highways, Government of India has stressed the states to implement e-Governance in transport sector to solve the problems being faced by people as well as enforcement agencies. Speaking at the 10th meeting of the National Road Safety Council in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, he told that the centre would assist in the form of software development and its transfer to the states. He expressed his dissatisfaction over the slow implementation of smart card based driving licenses, registration certificates for motor vehicles. He urged the ministers-in-charge of transport and also the state officials to implement the new initiatives of the government in thier respective states.


From Press Information Bureau 04/23/2007

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Chattisgarh, India Aims to Digitalise Government

In India, Chattisgarh is enabling a 'digital government' by empowering private citizens as agents for delivering government services to citizens (G2C) through the Chattisgarh Online Informatics for Citizen Empowerment (CHOICE) program. Chattisgarh Infotech and Biotech Promotion Society (CHIPS), the e-Governance implementing agency stated that the state will expand these offerings to make the government services available anywhere and anytime. CHOICE is built on open source, which provides a one stop solution to 130 service, including G2G, G2B and G2C services. It also provides e-Payment facility for CSEB electricity bills and covers various government departments like the collectorate, municipality, police, Raipur Development Authority, PWD, and Education. Recently, CHOICE has been implemented at 50 centres in Raipur and soon it would be extended to five more districts. The government is aiming to cover all districts by the end of year 2009.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/24/2007

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Punjab (India) Govt. Opens Seva Centres for E-Filing

The government of Punjab, India is moving towards e-Governance. The government will open Bikri Kar Seva Centres to enable e-Filing of returns by dealers. These centres will also file VAT 35 and VAT 36 forms on the web, so that dealers/transporters would be able to file data at the information collection centres before actual arrival of goods. The state government has already connected all its excise and taxation offices for online working. The state has approved e-Procurement policy and framework and soon it would be implemented. The government is also implementing the computerisation of land records on BOOT basis, while the computerisation of driving licenses and registration of vehicles has already been rolled out in the state.


From Financial express 05/01/2007

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Indian Govt. to Fund for E-Courts in Districts

The Government of Orissa, India, is planning to computerise courts of all districts with full support from the central government as a part of its e-Governance programme. The central government has earmarked INR 385 million for comprehensive computerisation of district and sub-ordinate courts. According to the 2004-05 estimate, the state has 482 district and sub-ordinate courts. Once the Finance Department approves the proposal, the State government will assess the actual financial requirement. The computerisation programme of the courts would be completed within three years. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) will be the executing agency. The State Government is planning to extend the e-Governance programme to gram panchayats.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/07/2007

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SRI LANKA: ICTA Launches 16 More E-Governance Website

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) is continuously moving towards e-Governance. Recently ICTA has launched 16 more websites under the Government Web Portal. In the first phase of the Government Web Development project, information regarding government services is easily accessible online. The next phase of the project incorporates online government as well as receive government services online. The new government website include Department f Motor Traffic, Ministry of Road Development, Ministry of Science and Technology, Water Resources Board and the Government Information Centre.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/10/2007

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AZERBAIJAN: Baku Holds Forum to Discuss Use of Latvia*s Lesson in E-Government Establishment Program

Azerbaijan*s Communications and Information Technologies Ministry has held a forum discussing use of Latvia*s experience in implementation of E-Government State Program. Azerbaijan*s Minister for Communications and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov and Latvian*s Minister for Special Assignments for Electronic Government Affairs Ina Gudele had discussions over cooperation in establishment of E-Government in Azerbaijan and joint ICT projects. He noted that Azerbaijan*s fast economic growth is largely driven by a thriving energy sector and the government plans to increase ICT revenues to the level of petrodollars, adding that e-government will also remove the obsolete remains of soviet period in governance. Ms. Ina Gudele said Latvia has great experience in building e-government, adding that her country have made all documentation and registration process electronic. Latvian Minister also added that not also state agencies of Latvia but also business circles intend to cooperate with Azerbaijan in the e-government project.


From http://www.today.az/ 03/29/2007

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TAJIKISTAN: BEI Project Launches Its Own Site

The Business Environment Improvement Project (BEI) has launched its own website 每 www.bei-ca.net. Aziza Mavlonova, consultant for public relations, BEI Tajikistan, told Asia-Plus that the presentation of the BEI site was held in Dushanbe on April 30. According to her, the site makes available information about the project activity in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan both in English and Russian. The Business Environment Improvement Project (BEI) is a four-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The BEI Project supports USAID's strategic objectives in these countries by providing direct consultation and support to build capacity within government and the private sector to promote effective dialogue, strengthen the free market-supporting commercial law framework, improve implementation of business-related legal reforms, streamline administrative processes and promote operational improvements for the benefit of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region.ㄗby Manizha Ahmadovaㄘ


From http://www.asiaplus.tj/ 05/02/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Nairn Announces Move Towards Edemocracy

At the Australian Computer Science conference in Canberra, Special Minister of State Gary Nairn announced a move towards the use of online eDemocracy techniques for the Australian Government. Mr Nairn has flagged his intent to use the Web 2.0 style of interactions between citizens and stakeholder organisations in the consultation phase of policy formation. The plan is to publish the comments from those that provide feedback on proposals and publications with their agreement in a discussion forum space from the main Australian government portal - www.australia.gov.au. To support such initiatives the Minister launched the Principles for ICT-Enabled citizen engagement at the conference. Mr Nairn noted that in March 2006 the government made a commitment in its 2006 e-Government Strategy, Responsive Government: A New Service Agenda to ※establish principles for online engagement§ to support a consistent experience for everyone engaging with the government electronically. The launch of these Principles supports this deliverable, and is a good practical example of the consultation advocated in the e-Government Strategy. ※By examining existing national and international approaches to citizen engagement using ICT, we have ensured our Principles will operate as a best practice guide,§ Mr Nairn said. The eight Principles are: commitment; community focus; community capability and inclusiveness; mutual respect, confidence and trust; interactivity and flexibility; responsibility and accountability; security and privacy; and evaluation and efficiency. When applied to government and citizen consultative processes using ICT, the Principles will guide, facilitate and encourage a consistent approach for agency and citizen engagement using ICT. The Principles were developed in collaboration with a cross-jurisdictional public sector community of practice group, the e-Democracy Community of Practice (e-DCoP). The eDCoP has representation from the three tiers of government.


From http://www.smos.gov.au/ 03/16/2007

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Health Preps for Outsource Bonanza

THE Department of Health and Ageing is preparing to re-tender more than $200 million worth of outsourced computer and communications services as its big bang contract with IBM draws to a close. It is the second major federal department in two weeks to initiate moves to dismantle outsourcing agreements inked under the Howard government's defunct $5 billion mandatory outsourcing program. The Department of Health is now recruiting independent contractors to carry out a market testing program that will determine how the organisation carves up its computer services and re-tenders them. The department has outsourced its technology infrastructure to IBM since the late 1990s when a $350 million health agencies outsourcing contract was signed as part of the Department of Finance-led mandatory outsourcing program. Other members of the health agencies contract were Medicare Australia (then known as the Health Insurance Commission) and Medibank Private. The Department of Health extended its contract with IBM in early 2004 under a five year agreement worth $126 million. Services covered including mainframe, midrange, network, storage and desktop support.

At the same time Medicare Australia extended its IBM outsourcing agreement until mid 2009 in a deal that it only stated would be worth $50 million in its first year. Based on that figure the five-year extension could have been worth as much as $250 million. The initial tendering of Health's and Medicare's IT services as part of the health agencies cluster makes it difficult to ascertain the exact value of the agreements over their nine-year lives. The move by the Department of Health and Agency to commence the break up of its outsourcing contract with IBM comes a week after the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry commenced a similar program. The Department of Agriculture is part of the so-called Group 8 outsourcing contract, with also includes the Department of Environment and Heritage, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Australian Public Service Commission and Australian Communications and Media Authority. The contract, which was first awarded to Ipex in the late 1990s has a value of about $360 million over nine years and is due to expire in mid 2009. The contract is now held by Commander Communications following a series of acquisitions that included the takeover of Ipex by Volante Group in 2004 and the takeover of Volante by Commander last year. The federal government's $5 billion mandatory outsourcing program was scuttled in 2001 after it failed to deliver $1 billion in savings that the initiative was supposed to achieve.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/16/2007

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NHMRC Nutritional Needs Website Now Live

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released a new interactive user-friendly website that allows health professionals to quickly and easily determine nutritional needs without having to consult complex tables for every nutrient. Users will also have access to recommendations, based on scientific evidence, about how to optimise what to eat in order to reduce the risk of chronic disease. The site, available at www.nrv.gov.au, is based on the nation*s most authoritative nutritional needs publication, Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand, published by the NHMRC last year. NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said today that the site was an important step in bringing the latest scientific information on nutritional needs direct to dietitians, nutritionists and other health professionals. &The new website will be invaluable to health professionals for developing eating plans or diets for their clients〞taking into account their age, activity levels and stage of life.* &There is no question that the amount and types of nutrients we provide to our bodies through the food we eat has a profound effect on our health. &It follows that this website, which is the only one of its kind, has the potential to make a real difference to the health of all Australians*, Professor Anderson said.


From http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/ 05/18/2007

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Paperless Plan for Customs

THE Australian Customs Service will start phasing out paper records this year, having signed a $4.1 million, three-year contract to install an electronic document management and records system. The award of the contract to LogicaCMG follows a lengthy tender process that started in 2005 and was prolonged by Customs' $70 million a year IT services market testing program and the acquisition of the agency's preferred document management software supplier. Customs chief information officer Murray Harrison said the agency had opted to go slow with its move to electronic record-keeping in an effort to avoid problems other federal government bodies had experienced doing away with paper. "It is a significant cultural change and you're applying a discipline in management of electronic documents that people have not grown up with," Mr Harrison said. LogicaCMG will roll out Open Text electronic document and records management (EDRM) software to Customs. Open Text last year acquired Hummingbird, which was Customs' preferred EDRM software maker.

The signing of the LogicaCMG contract comes as Customs negotiates with a number of prospective outsourced services providers as part of its long-running IT market testing program. The agency is negotiating with IBM for mainframe services, Telstra for voice services and Cybertrust for internet and secure gateway services. If Customs reaches an agreement with the companies, the contracts will replace the agency's long-running outsourcing deal with EDS, which is due to expire this year.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/22/2007

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EUROPE: EU Regulation to Reduce Mobile Phone Roaming Charges by 70 Per Cent

On Thursday 12 April, at around 10:30 a.m., the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee of the European Parliament will take an important vote on the European Commission's proposal to reduce international mobile roaming charges by 70% as from this summer. Even though the final view of the European Parliament will only be known once the plenary has voted on the Commission proposal 每 which is expected to take place by mid-May 每 the vote in ITRE (the European Parliament's lead Committee as regards the EU Roaming Regulation, with the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee IMCO being associated to it) will be important to shape the final text to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council this summer. The Committee's Rapporteur on Roaming is Paul R邦big (EPP-ED, Austria).

EU Telecom Commissioner Reding commented before the vote in the ITRE Committee as follows: "A political agreement on lower roaming tariffs is now within reach. In this important phase of the legislative procedure, it is of crucial importance to ensure that all consumers in the EU will be able to benefit from lower roaming charges, and that no one is left behind. I warn against a regulation that would only lead to lower roaming charges for new customers. With mobile phone penetration in the EU now at 103%, practically all EU citizens already have a mobile phone contract. Therefore, such an opt-in clause would deprive most consumers of the beneficial effects of the new EU Regulation. In addition, an opt-in clause would put the burden of advertising for lower roaming charges on national regulators and on the EU institutions, and thus on European taxpayers. I am convinced that it would be a much better incentive for more effective competition among mobile operators if they had to convince customers that they offer packages which offer an even better deal than the new EU Regulation."

On the EU Roaming Regulation, the European Council, which includes the 27 Heads of State or Government and the President of the European Commission, concluded on 9 March in Brussels: "Every effort should be made to successfully conclude the legislative process on the reduction of roaming tariffs by the end of the first half of 2007." Following the vote in the European Parliament's plenary expected for May, the EU Council of Telecom Ministers, which made substantial progress on the EU Regulation at its informal meeting in Hannover on 15 March, could arrive at a final position on the EU Roaming Regulation at its formal meeting in Luxembourg on 7 June. The new EU Regulation would be directly applicable in all EU Member States from the moment of its publication in the EU's Official Journal (Article 249(2) of the EC Treaty).


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 04/12/2007

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TransTelecom to Launch NGN Across Russia

Huawei Technologies has announced that it is to build Russia*s first &national* next-generation network (NGN) for long-distance and international service provider TransTelecom. According to a statement from the Chinese technology firm, the IP network is to carry both international and domestic users* international and long-distance voice traffic and will span nine time zones from Europe to Asia. Covering 170 million square kilometres, the VoIP network is aimed at reducing transmission costs as well as further evolution towards an all-IP network. Oleg Mamontov, vice president of TransTelecom and chairman of the toll network, commented: &With the joint effort of TransTelecom and Huawei, we have brought in the NGN technology and deployed a large-scale network, as well as accumulating experience in constructing and operating a country-level NGN communication network. Based on this network, we will be able to provide network services of higher quality and greater diversity.*


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/20/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: Firms 'Can't Find' Qualified IT Talent - 55 Per Cent of the CEOs Surveyed Plan to Offshore over Next Five Years

Inability to find adequate and appropriate IT talent in their own country is causing many North American CEOs to turn their gaze to distant shores, according to a recent survey. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of top-tier executives polled by consulting firm Deloitte and Touche LLP "felt it was important to look overseas" for high-calibre technology professionals. This, it appears, is not because they are unhappy with the quality of tech educational programs here. In fact, 67 per cent of the CEOs polled believe the North American education system is "successful in producing qualified talent." The survey indicates that it's a "skills shortage" 每 or at least a perception of one 每 that's leading companies to scout for overseas talent. "The quality of training and professionalism of Canadian and American graduates are appreciated by companies, but the schools are not producing enough [graduates] to meet the demand," said John Ruffolo, national leader, technology, media, and telecommunications group, Deloitte Canada. Deloitte surveyed a group of 125 CEOs from U.S. and Canadian technology firms in March this year. A majority of the executives said they were encountering hardships in locating ideal IT professionals, said Ruffolo. Almost half (48 per cent) the executives polled say attracting and retaining qualified employees are their biggest operational challenges.

To fill vacancies, Ruffolo said, companies have resorted to courting foreigners enrolled in engineering and IT courses in the U.S. and Canada. Deloitte, for instance, has approached foreign students at Stanford University and offered them positions in the company, said Ruffolo. "We have no choice but to do this if we want to maintain growth." Government restrictions on foreign workers are also compounding the problem produced by a tight labour maket, said Ruffolo. He said most CEOs polled "are concerned that government restrictions on employment visas will prevent them from obtaining the overseas talent they need." For instance, he said, despite an IT labour shortage in Canada , the immigration department continues to make it difficult for foreign trained professionals work obtain working or immigration visas. Since immigration rules make it hard to actively recruit foreign-trained professionals from overseas, companies resort to establishing offshore branch offices or "centres of excellence" in foreign lands, Ruffolo said. While, currently, less than half of the companies offshore some operations, 55 per cent of the CEOs plan to offshore in the next five years to achieve growth. Cheaper labour and material cost in countries such as India make it easier to build remote offices there. The offshore locations are staffed by local IT professionals who are paid at a lower rate than their North American counterparts. Another trend recently catching on is the use of foreign contract workers, said Ruffolo. "This has been building up in the U.S. for the past five years and has caught on in Canada about 12 months ago." Using this method, corporations hire an overseas staffing firm, such as Tata Consultancy Services of Mumbai, India, to provide them with foreign IT personnel. (by Nestor E. Arellano)


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 05/03/2007

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US: New Rules Aim to Centralize Government Sales

The government is selling its assets on the Internet, but it*s now backing the sales avenue with regulations. The General Services Administration is adding provisions to the Federal Management Regulation to get better visibility for its personal property sales by bringing all of the sales to designated sales centers. Under the amended rules, only an agency designated as a sales center can sell federal property. The centers are expected to manage sales online with value-added services, according to a notice in the Federal Register today. The regulations work in tandem with the Federal Asset Sales e-government initiative. The government has already launched the Web site GovSales.gov as means of centralizing sales.

In the past, agencies have used various methods to sell their assets. They spread their sales information across 163 federal Web sites, according to the Office of Management and Budget. However, that decentralization was confusing and inefficient.Meanwhile, online transactions accounted for $115 million in federal surplus asset sales in 2006, according to OMB. Forming sales centers is the third phase of installing the e-government initiative. The initial phases include USA.gov*s Government Sales and Auctions Web page and the launch of GovSales. OMB wants to maximize economies of scale to increase returns on assets and take advantage of market-driven best practices. That agency also wants to make buying and selling easier, according to its Web site.(by Matthew Weigelt)


From http://www.fcw.com/ 04/03/2007

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CHINA: China Mobile 3G Plan Draws Big Telecom Firms

China Mobile has added another four major telecommunications makers, including two foreign ones, to its list of possible equipment contractors and suppliers for its third generation network worth 20 billion yuan (US$2.56 billion), sources said yesterday. The four telecom firms are Ericsson, Alcatel Shanghai Bell, FiberHome Technologies and Guangzhou New Postcom Equipment Co, according to media reports. They joined Datang Mobile, Potevio, ZTE and TD Tech. The eight hope to be heavily involved in China Mobile's TD-SCDMA (time division synchronous code division multiple access) network construction. China Mobile plans to set up TD-SCDMA networks in several major cities nationwide soon to ensure 3G services are available in time for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. China Mobile's final investment figure hasn't been decided because the carrier submitted three different investment budgets to government regulators, Wang Jianping, a research director of the China Center of Information Industry Development, told Shanghai Daily.

The center is authorized by the Ministry of Information Industry. The investment budgets range from 16 billion yuan to 28 billion yuan, industry officials said. ASB, a joint venture controlled by France-based Alcatel, confirmed it is one of the telcos on the list, the firm said yesterday. Ericsson China and China Mobile declined to comment yesterday. "The equipment makers are key players in the 3G industry chain and they will be the first to benefit from 3G," Wang said, adding that investment in 3G-related equipment will reach 50 to 60 billion yuan annually in the next five years in China. China, the world's No. 1 mobile phone market, is expected to issue the first 3G license for its own-developed TD-SCDMA to support the home-grown industry, analysts said. Licenses will be issued later for two western-developed 3G technologies, they said. Foreign firms have deepened cooperation with Chinese firms on the TD-SCDMA technology. ASB partnered Datang Mobile and Nokia joined Potevio.


From http://www.china.org.cn 03/09/2007

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Top Banks to Establish Joint Online Platform

Three of China's "Big Four" commercial banks plan to establish a joint online platform in an effort to expand their businesses from the financial sector to other fields. The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and the China Construction Bank (CCB) are stepping up preparations and discussing details for the establishment of the platform, bank sources said. They revealed that the banks would first explore business opportunities in the education sector but refused to elaborate. As a single bank has limited resources, the ABC, ICBC and CCB have decided to team up to establish an online exchange platform in order to compete with other online companies, sources said. The platform will be open to all commercial banks, Yu Jin, general manager of the e-bank of the ABC, was quoted as saying by China Securities Journal. Three of the "big four" state-owned commercial banks, namely the Bank of China, the ICBC, and the CCB, have all been transformed into joint-stock banks with the first two listed on both the mainland and Hong Kong bourses and the CCB on the Hong Kong stock market. ABC, the last of China's "big four" state-owned lenders to go public, is expected to finish financial restructuring this year in preparation for public listing.


From http://www.china.org.cn 03/14/2007

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China Mobile Invites Bids to Build First 3G Network

China Mobile Communications Corp, which controls the world's largest wireless operator by users, invited bids for contracts worth as much as 24 billion yuan (3.1 billion U.S. dollars) to build China's first high-speed phone network. The company asked equipment makers such as Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB to submit bids for the network, estimated to be worth 20 billion yuan, based on a homegrown standard, Chen Haofei, industry group TD-SCDMA Forum's secretary general, said in a phone interview. Beijing-based China Mobile will spend four billion yuan on subsidies for third-generation, or 3G, handsets, he said. The orders provide some guidance on the issuance of 3G licenses in China, whose government has yet to say when it will award the permits, according to Bloomberg News. The winner will build the network based on the locally developed time division synchronous code division multiple access, or TD-SCDMA, standard that needs to be completed by October for a commercial trial of the technology, Chen said. "Given that the license will only be awarded after the trials, it looks like the issuance may be pushed to early 2008," said Francis Cheung, an analyst at CLSA Ltd in Hong Kong. "The government likely wants to ensure success of a homegrown technology, and this would require the support of a strong operator like China Mobile."

Shares of China Mobile rose 3.4 percent to close at 72.15 HK dollars in Hong Kong. The network will cover eight cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, TD-SCDMA's Chen said. Li Jun, a spokesman for China Mobile, and Rainie Lei, a spokeswoman at Hong Kong-listed unit China Mobile Ltd, declined to comment. In January last year, the government selected TD-SCDMA as a 3G standard and said it is considering the other two technologies, the European-developed Wideband CDMA and and the US-developed CDMA-2000. The TD-SCDMA Forum was formed in December 2000 by eight companies to promote and develop the use of the technology. They are China Mobile, China United Telecommunications Corp, China Telecommunications Corp, Datang Telecom Technology Co, Huawei Technologies Co, Motorola Inc, Nortel Networks Corp and Siemens AG.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/20/2007

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China's Online Sales to Top 51 Bln Yuan in 2007

China's online sales are estimated to hit 51 billion yuan (6.38 billion U.S. dollars) in 2007, up 63 percent on the previous year, according to a report by iResearch, an Internet research company. The report shows the registered number of online shoppers was 43.1 million in 2006 and the number is expected to surge to 55 million this year. The country's online sales reached 31.2 billion yuan - 8.2 billion yuan B2C (business-to-consumer) trading and 23 billion yuan C2C (consumer-to-consumer) trading - last year, 60 percent higher than the previous year. C2C was up 85 percent. Commodities sold through B2C trading were mainly audio and visual products and computer software. With the establishment of a third party payment service and the credit rating system, online shopping has attracted an increasing number of consumers, because they are less worried about the safety issues of paying for something online, said Hou Tao, iResearch market executive. China has 123 million Internet users, 26 percent of whom have shopped online, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/21/2007

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China is Top Global Performer in E-ticketing: IATA chief

China is one of the world's top users of electronic plane tickets, but the rest of Asia Pacific is on the same uptake level as Africa, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief said Wednesday. "China is the top performer on e-ticketing. At 95 percent, it is well ahead of the global average of 78 percent," IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani said. "The rest of the Asia Pacific is a disappointment. At 68 percent, it is (on) the same level as Africa. This is largely because of a slow uptake in Japan, the region's biggest market, and a slow start in Malaysia," he said at an industry event here. Bisignani said Asia needs to use technology, including "biometric" passports, to ease movement because by 2010, airports in the region will have to handle 250 million more passengers that it currently deals with. "Building infrastructure is a costly part of the solution. We need effective systems to get passengers through the system, and technology can help," he said.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 04/04/2007

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E-traders Team Up in Fraud Fight

E-commerce giants eBay Inc and Taobao.com are working on a joint plan to crack down on user-account fraud in what would be the first cooperation between the two rivals.The cyber sites have reached an agreement in principal to remove improper listings and warn offenders to refrain from such practices, eBay said in a statement. "Trading in e-commerce user accounts disrupts the online trading order and could facilitate fraud," said Liu Yan, a spokeswoman for eBay Inc's China division. The auction sites' user accounts have become a commodity offered for sale to netizens who want to avoid registration procedures. Without a proper paper trail, authorities have a hard time tracking down the sellers of shoddy goods. Liu said eBay has noticed "a considerable number" of online postings regarding sales of its accounts. EBay has been losing ground in China since it took over market leader Eachnet.com and merged it into its global trading system in 2003. It held a 29 percent share in the fourth quarter last year, compared with Taobao's 60 percent, according to Analysys International consultants.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 04/05/2007

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China's Online Game Industry on a Roll

Revenue from China's online gaming industry reached 8 billion yuan (about 1.04 billion U.S. dollars) in 2006 and could quadruple by 2010 as Internet access becomes more widespread. Online gaming revenue in China will grow 30 percent annually to reach 30 billion yuan (3.9 billion U.S. dollars) by 2010, said Wu Shulin, the deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, on Friday. The rapid growth in online gaming has created opportunities for telecom, internet, computer, software and consumer electronics firms, which earned 33 billion yuan (4.3 billion U.S. dollars) from online gaming in 2006, according to the official, who attended the 2007 China International Audio-Video and Electronic Publishing Expo in Shanghai on Friday. Statistics from the China National Network Information Center showed that the number of computers hooked up to the worldwide web had reached 59.4 million by January 2007 and there were 137 million Internet surfers.

Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 account for the majority of the estimated 31 million people playing games online in China, according to U.S.-based information technology market research house International Data Corporation (IDC). Internet cafes across the country are often packed with people playing online games till the early hours. Previously, American and Japanese games dominated the market, but China-made online games held 65 percent of the domestic market in 2006 and had export revenues of 20 million U.S. dollars last year. "Navigation World," a game produced by Suzhou Snail Network Game Technology Co., has been successfully exported to Europe and the United States, the first time a Chinese company has entered the "kingdom of games". Following "Legend of Knights Online", the first online game developed by Beijing-based Kingsoft Company in 2003, Chinese game makers have developed over 40 online games. The Information Industry Ministry has included online gaming in the 2006-2010 plan for software and information service development and will support the healthy development of the industry, according to Wu.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 04/13/2007

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JAPAN: Kimono Retailers Go Digital

Japanese are getting reacquainted with the kimono, helped by a host of Web sites that are succeeding where pushy sales people and kimono schools have failed.Today's Web sites are credited with helping bring the traditional costume back into special or every-day occasions, and even offer tips to guys whose date is wearing a kimono."Don't touch," is the general rule. "Putting your arm around her shoulder or waist could loosen the fabric and ruin her outfit.""Remember that her sandals may be hurting her feet," is another thing to remember, the sites say. "Sit down as often as possible."Online tips on kimono wear and care are helping to reintroduce Japanese to the garment, much to the joy of retailers, who in 20 years have watched the kimono market shrink to less than half its size.Second-hand kimono stores are posting easy-to-understand instructions on everything from how they are fitted, to tips on stain removal and proper storage (http://www.kyoushouan.com/).A Web site run by small Kyoto kimono goods store Ando Co. has practical advice on finding sandals that don't hurt your feet as well as animated illustrations on wearing a yukata -- a lighter, summer version of the kimono (http://yukatalism.com)."People say the kimono is dying out," said Yukatalism chief editor Kimihiro Yamaguchi. "But that's not the picture I get."

The site saw 1.95 million hits since 2000 and has lifted Ando's sandal orders to about 100 a day, up from just a handful before, he said.Changing fashions have negatively impacted demand for Japan's traditional garb, which is worn mainly at formal occasions, weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies.But for the first time in more than two decades, the $5 billion industry is in for a slight expansion in the business year to March 2008, according to Yano Research Institute Ltd.Internet support groups and online sales of less-expensive and vintage kimono are keeping sales from falling, according to Yano Research spokeswoman Rimi Nakamura.Online sales of kimono, also described as one of Japan's oldest works of art, are still relatively slow, as buyers prefer to feel the fabric and hold it against the light. But growth has continued steadily since 2000, according to Yano Research.One shopper who spent about 300,000 yen ($2,475) on kimono last year, is Chiaki Hara, an athletic trainer. Some of her favourite sites, Kururi and Yukataya, run by small kimono makers, are loaded with blog commentary and tips on selecting the right pattern of kimono (http://www.kururi.net/index.html)(http://www.rakuten.co.jp/gold /yukataya/).She likes to shop online, despite a disappointing purchase of a striped emerald-green vintage kimono for $100, which she was unable to return."The colors were wrong. I can live with that in a shirt or dress, but color is what makes kimono either cheap or elegant," said Hara, 31. "I might be able to wear it in poor lighting."

The kimono industry has not done a good job of reaching out to kimono-lovers like Hara with better graphics and more complete information on Internet sites, according to Naoto Obama, a managing director at private equity firm Olympus Capital Holdings Asia.Last year, one of Japan's largest kimono store chains, Takeuchi Group, filed for bankruptcy due to sluggish sales and tough competition. But Olympus is betting it would be able to find untapped demand for the kimono. The fund said earlier this month that it will buy a third of kimono retailer Kyoto Kimono Yuzen Co. Ltd., the No. 1 seller of long-sleeved kimono worn by unmarried women. Women are spending more per kimono for coming-of-age ceremonies and weddings, and older women are now wearing kimono more often, Obama said. "Kimono makers and retailers have simply not done enough to promote kimono for daily wear," he said. "We need to be more creative at marketing kimono. There is so much potential."


From http://news.yahoo.com 05/19/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: Special Deals Offered for Telecommunication

Costs for using wireless Internet for third generation phones or mobile devices like laptops may seem low, but users should consider what they will pay a few months from now. Telecommunication companies, in order to attract customers for their new data communications services, are offering special deals now, but most of the deals expire at the end of June. SK Telecom Co.*s T-login regular service has a basic fee of 29,900 won ($31.67), whereby users can download up to 1 gigabyte of data for no extra cost. Additional downloads are 184 won per megabyte. A movie file is about 700 megabytes, which would cost the user 128,800 won to download. As a promotion, however, SK Telecom is extending storage to three gigabytes until the end of June, but if users are not careful in watching the date, they may end up with a huge phone bill.KTF*s iPlug plan is similar. The basic fee is 29,500 won for a gigabyte of data.Those that subscribe by June 30 get two months for free and four gigabytes of free storage until September, but beyond the basic storage, extra fees are 160 won per megabyte.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com 03/13/2007

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Korean E-Commerce Center Opens in Baku

The opening ceremony of Azerbaijan-Korea Electronic Trade Center was today held in Baku. The event was attended by S. Korean ambassador to Azerbaijan, Lyu Kwang-Chul, representatives from 21 companies and Azerbaijani Economic Development Ministry Officer Samir Valiyev and some 50 businesspeople.Tofig Babayev, director of the Azerbaijan-Korea Electronic Trade Center, said this center will pave the way for further expansion of business relations between the two countries. The ambassador said President Ilham Aliyev*s visit to South Korea last month gave impetus to the bilateral cooperation and aroused businessmen*s interest in Azerbaijan and establishment of an IT center. Samir Valiyev added that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the development of mutual relations, and establishment of the Azerbaijan-Korea Electronic Trade Center is very significant. He noted that Azerbaijan exported goods worth $ about 68 million and imported goods worth $46 million to S. Korea. ※Through this center, trade between the two countries will expand in IT sector, non-oil sector and spheres of the economy. This will enable Azeri companies to deliver information about their products to their counterparts in Korea electronically. We will use this precedent with other countries too,§ he added. After the opening ceremony, a bilateral meeting of the businessmen from the both countries took place.


From http://en.apa.az 05/14/2007

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MALAYSIA: ICT Transforms Economy

KUALA LUMPUR: Information and Communications Technology (ICT) change has been the hallmark of economic development in Malaysia, especially in the last three decades, said Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha. ※By making it possible to manage vast quantities of information, ICT is transforming every sector of the Malaysian economy from manufacturing to services, transportation, healthcare, education and even the government sector,§ he said in his speech at the launch of the Sun Microsystems* Sun Tech Days 2006-2007: A Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday. It was the first time such an event was held in Malaysia. About 1,500 local and regional delegates attended the two-day conference. Also present was Sun Microsystems Inc vice-president James Gosling, better known as ※The Father of Java,§ who delivered the keynote address.


From http://thestar.com.my 03/08/2007

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Malaysia Telecoms Regulator Names Wimax Winners

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia's telecoms industry regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, on Friday named four winners of licenses to operate wireless broadband services. The firms are Bizsurf, which is 50-percent-owned by YTL E-Solutions; MIB Comm, a unit of Green Packet Bhd; Redtone International and Asiaspace Dotcom, the regulator said on its web site. WiMax, short for wireless interoperability for microwave access, allows super high-speed Internet access and file downloads from laptops, phones or other mobile devices over greater distances than previous technologies. WiMax can blanket entire cities with high-speed wireless connections and is a longer-range version of the popular WiFi technology used to connect to the Internet in public spaces like coffee shops. It is cheaper to set up and run than the high-speed 3G connection for mobile phones.


From http://archive.inquirer.net 03/16/2007

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Govt to Set Up Animation Centres Nationwide

The Government is setting up animation centres around the country to help local content developers bring their ideas to life. The first centre, scheduled to be ready by year end, will be in Cyberjaya, announced the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) on Monday. This will be followed by more centres in other states. Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), which is working with the ministry on the project, said each centre would house a studio and dormitories so that animators can start work as soon as a idea hits them. "All these creative people seem to like to work well into the night," quipped Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. He was speaking at the launch of the Malaysian Indian Technology and Innovation Bureau at the Putra World Trade Centre here. The building of the animation centres comes under the country's MSC Creative Multimedia Content Initiative, launched last year in conjunction with MDeC's and the Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia initiative's 10th anniversary. Cyberjaya's centre will be funded by a RM7.5mil allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. Jamaluddin said any state that wants a centre would need to show interest and if there was enough demand, one would be built. "The first to show interest is Malacca," he said. In addition to this, the Government will also provide grants to those interested in developing animated content. He declined to specify how much the grants would amount to. "Animators can rent the studio for their work," he said, adding that rental would be affordable. "They would then only need to pay what they owe MDeC and MOSTI if they make it big in the animation field." This way, said Jamaluddin, more would be encouraged to venture into the creative content industry which is worth about US$600bil (RM2.1 trillion) worldwide. According to Jamaluddin, the animation centre initiative is modelled after the South Korean Creative Content Initiative.

He said South Korea's creative content environment has encouraged many animators there to create new characters based on their folklore and culture. "We can do the same," Jamaluddin said, adding that he would be seeking the help of the Ministry of Arts and Culture to give the Malaysian touch to any potential animated characters. He said this is one way of exporting Malaysian culture to the rest of the world. "A cartoon about a Straits-born Chinese family, for example, would be well accepted by the Chinese in China," he added. MDeC's role in the initiative would also include helping with the marketing of the product. Several animators here and former students who majored in animation told In.Tech that they are impressed with the Government's move. Khor Yuyin, 26, said the centres would encourage more students to take up animation as a career. However, she is wondering how much of a grant the Government would provide for each team of animators at the centres. "There are a lot of costs with such projects," said the assistant producer who works with a broadcasting company. Another animator hopes the Government will not just provide grants and facilities to boost the industry. Tan Lee Chia, head of 3D department at animation studio MFX Sdn Bhd, said he hopes to see the Government working with established animation studios in the country to take the industry to higher levels. "People who are new to the business need to know how it works and this is where existing studios can lend their experience," said Tan, 30


From http://star-techcentral.com 03/28/2007

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Concern Raised Over Plan to Cancel Broadband Licences

PETALING JAYA: NasionCom Sdn Bhd is concerned over a Government announcement that it may revoke licences given out to broadband service providers to operate on the 3.5-Gigahertz (GHz) frequency. Peter Tham, its group managing director, said that if the licence were to be withdrawn it would affect the hundreds of customers who rely on NasionCom's wireless broadband service. "How will we address this?" he asked, adding that the move would also affect the 9,000 shareholders of the company. He hoped the Government would allocate an alternative frequency if it were to go ahead with its plan. "That way, we can migrate our customers over," he said in an e-mail interview. On Thursday, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said use of the 3.5GHz frequency by the wireless broadband service providers was interfering with the operations of the Measat-3 communications satellite. He blamed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), which had given out the licences, for the predicament. Measat-3 also uses the frequency, which is employed by the broadband service providers to offer fast wireless Internet access to the corporate sector, as well as other related services. The other 3.5GHz frequency licence holders are Airzed Broadband Sdn Bhd, TM Bhd, Maxis Communications Bhd, EB Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, TTDotCom Sdn Bhd and Atlas One, according to the MCMC website. "We hope to resolve the issue in a win-win situation," said MCMC corporate communications head Adelina Iskandar.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/15/2007

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VoIP Service Provider Targets 100,000 Users

KUALA LUMPUR: Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider Frizzhub Voice Services Sdn Bhd is expecting close to 100,000 subscribers by year-end. Managing director S. Saravanan said the company was optimistic of increasing subscribers from the current 1,000 as the product allowed users to make unlimited calls to over 40 countries for RM249 a month. "Other than corporate and individual users, we are targeting Government agencies, which have shown interest in this service," he told StarBiz recently. Saravanan said although the service was not officially launched yet, the company had received good response from these target markets as well as small and medium enterprises. The service allows subscribers to make unlimited phone calls to countries such as China, Hungary, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Austria through the use of an analogue telephone adaptor (ATA). Saravanan said that in March, Frizzhub had launched another service which enabled subscribers to use the portable ATA when they travel and work abroad. "The service is ideal for students or people working abroad to make calls to their loved ones or contacts.

"This is possible with the two users using the same ATA under the service," he added. He said the service was offered for selective countries, allowing people to make unlimited phone calls for RM88 per month. Saravanan said he was confident of signing up more subscribers as he claimed that this VOIP service was the only one in the local market offering unlimited calls. He also said the company was working on packages for low call rates for markets such as India and Indonesia to tap into the high demand from the populous nations. Frizzhub was set up with an initial investment of RM1mil eight months ago. The company currently has about 20 distributors with a 350-strong sales team operating from major towns in Malaysia. It is also learnt that Frizzhub was in the midst of venturing into mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services as soon as early 2008. MVNOs typically lease network capacity from telecommunications companies and offer their own branded mobile service.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 05/02/2007

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Malaysia Goes High-Tech in Bid to Become Islamic Halal Hub

Malaysia, hoping to become a global hub for food and other products that are halal, or prepared by Islamic rules, plans to create an Internet portal for worldwide halal trading and certification, the prime minister said Monday. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told the two-day World Halal Forum that the plan envisages an Internet site for trading, certification assistance, and an online library for halal research and market intelligence. Malaysia's state-run Halal Industry Development Corp., or HDC, signed an agreement at the forum with Microsoft Malaysia to develop technology for dealing with the international halal market. A halal designation means a product complies with Islamic principles of hygiene and humane treatment of animals, and other rules involving the production processes. "We must broaden the horizon of halal to go beyond just food-related products and services," Abdullah said. "The vast business and commercial potential of the halal sector is beyond doubt, with a captive market of 1.6 billion Muslims and an estimated market size of more than US$600 billion (442 billion euro)," he said. "The halal sector not only offers lucrative and tangible returns, but it is also a duty for Muslims." Abdullah said Microsoft and the HDC would create a pilot program in Malaysia before expa"Malaysia remains committed to becoming a significant player in the global halal market and ultimately, to become a world halal hub," he said. Malaysia has said it would use its edge over other Muslim nations in trading, logistics, banking and halal certification to position itself as a global center for the manufacture and export of halal products by 2010. HDC chief executive Jamal Bidin said increasing demand for halal certification worldwide has spurred Malaysia, which imposes strict halal rules, to export such services. "Our halal certification is sought after by many countries. Malaysia is the only country in the world where certification is done by the government," Jamal told reporters. Details of the planned Internet portal are still being completed, but Jamal said it would boost trade among the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, one of the world's most influential Muslim groups, by helping them find raw materials and sell finished halal products. Thai Deputy Foreign Minister Sawanit Kongsiri, who attended the forum, hailed Malaysia's efforts and said it would boost Thailand's own halal livestock and food industry. "One country cannot compete with the world anymore," he told reporters. "The way down the road is for community and working together, not nations competing against each other, especially neighboring countries."


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 05/07/2007

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INDIA: LIC, India Plans to E-enable Their to Micro Insurance Agents

The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has pioneered micro-insurance to increase its penetration into semi-urban and rural India. 3i infotech will develop and provide online/offline micro-insurance agent software to the insurance company. The application would be accessible to 10,000 agents, self- help groups and micro finance institutes across India. This is LIC's effort to issue one crore policies over the next two to three years in these regions. The policy would be available for a minimum of Rs 5,000. The goal is to empower the masses to financially protect themselves. The software will enable the micro insurance agents to completely manage their insurance portfolio and provide them with reporting capabilities. It will facilitate information exchange with LIC's systems and be a desktop-based full -fledged application with local repositories of information pertaining to the agents. The system will provide LIC with greater control over its Micro Insurance practice, by enabling a closer interaction with its agents in online and offline modes.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/06/2007

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Kochi, (India) Port Implements Software Tool for E-Services

Kochi Cochin Port Trust is in the process of designing, developing, integrating and implementing an `integrated Port Information System' (`iPINS') together with associated support systems to improve the port's business processes and work practices. The implementation of iPINS will help to monitor the performance in all areas of operations and management and provide improved levels of operations and efficient service delivery to its internal and external customers. The first phase will be development/supply, integration and implementation of application software and establishing IT infrastructure including data centre and data communication network, while the second phase includes hardware and system software in data centre including servers, storage and client side systems and peripherals. The integrated Port Information System intends to provide one gateway for all access to port e-services and information to port users. There will be links between the Port Trust and the private Container Terminal operator, for the exchange of data with the iPINS on a regular basis.


From The Business Line 04/10/2007

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Telecom Companies Come Together to Set Up IT Kiosks in Rural India

The Government sector as well as the private sector will participate in an ambitious one lakh computer kiosks project for rural India. The project named ''Common Service Centre' or the CSC initiative aims to set up computer kiosks, which offer a range of government, civic, education, health, telemedicine, financial and entertainment services to rural citizens of India. State governments like West Bengal, Jharkhand and Haryana have selected partners from major mobile service companies like Airtel, Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular, and tech vendors like Wipro Ltd and 3i Infotech Ltd, Hughes Network Systems Ltd, United Telecom Services Ltd and Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd to work on this project. The cost of the project is estimated around INR 574 billion and it is expected to be rolled out by March 2008.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/18/2007

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MTNL Procures 500 E-Tokens for MCA 21 E-Governance Projects in India

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), India has procured 500 USB tokens, which would be attached with digital certificates. MTNL, one of the certifying authorities (CA), in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has driven MCA 21 e-Governance initiatives. MTNL has procured 500 crypto USB tokens to be attached with digital certificates, which will sell these tokens in open market. These tokens will be used to issue digital certificates to people, who want to participate in MCA 21 e-Governance projects. Capricorn Infotech has clinched the deal, and will supply these tokens to MTNL. The company will provide Alladin e-Token pro to MTNL. The MCA 21 projects includes e-Tendering, e-Ticketing, online taxes and many more.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/01/2007

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IRCTC Launches Mobile Ticketing Service for Indians

Sam Pitroda, who introduced computerisation of railway ticketing, has now introduced mobile ticketing solution for Indian Railways. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), a division of Indian Railways is now planning to offer IRCTCmobile services for Indians.IRCTC is serving around 15 million passengers daily. IRCTCmobile service will allow passengers to perform various services like book tickets using credit and cash cards, view train schedules, check availability, get fares, perform inquiries and access many other associated information services through mobile phones. The railway ticketing application is part of web based platform, which includes other services like mobile banking, bill payments, P2P, advertising, NFC and coupons offered by C-SAM. C-SAM and IRCTC are planning to introduce a wide range of other new services on mobile phones, including issuance of loyalty coupons, advertising, pre-paid cards, m-commerce and travel portals.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/02/2007

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AFGHANISTAN: First Local Fixed Service Provider (LFSP) Launches in Afghanistan

On Saturday April 21, 2007 Wasal Telecom, First Local Fixed Service Provider (LFSP) facilitated their services in 21 districts of Balkh, Juzjan and Kunduz Provinces. For this purpose, H. E. Eng. A. Sangin Minister of Communications and Information Technology, officials of the MCIT, officials of the Wasal Telecom and existing GSM operators and a few members of the Parliament flew to Mazar city Capital of Balkh Province. As the delegation arrived, General Ata Muhammad Noor Governor of Balkh Province, Chairman of the Provincial Council and other officials of the Balkh Province welcomed and took them to the governor house. General Ata Muhammad Noor Governor of the Balkh province during his visit with the Minister of Communications and Information Technology said that MCIT has developed communications services remarkably in all over Afghanistan especially in Balkh Province and we heartily appreciate your tireless efforts in regard to the digital and internet services. H. E. Eng. A. Sangin Minister of Communications and Information Technology, members of the Parliament and officials of the Wasal Telecom joined the inaugural ceremony and by cutting the ribbon formally inaugurated the services of Wasal Telecom.

After inauguration, the delegation left for a huge gathering attended by a large amount of residents of Mazar Province. H. E. Eng. A. Sangin Minister of Communications and Information Technology briefed the audience and participants and said that the purpose of launching and facilitating of the CDMA and digital services in these province is that to cover remote and under covered areas of the country. Mr. Hatim Al Saeedi President of Al Ghareed Co. Ltd and its main share holder during delivering his speech to the gathering said that this is his pleasure to invest in the telecommunications sector in Afghanistan and considered the country a safe and secure place for the national and international businessmen and investors. Mr. Muhammad Gul Kholmi one it*s another share holder addressed the gathering and briefed the participants of the services of his company here in Balkh Province. Wasal Telecom is the first Local Fixed Service Provider (LFSP) who launched their services in the Northern provinces (Balkh, Kunduz, and Juzjan) of the country and has covered 21 districts. In addition, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has awarded the LFSP*s license to two more companies in Hirat, Paktya, Paktika and Khost Provinces to facilitate their services in these remote and under covered areas.


From http://www.moc.gov.af/ 04/30/2007

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AZERBAIJAN: Private Sector Takes 74.1% of Communications Income

For the first quarter of 2007, the amount of telecommunications services reached AZN 140.2 million in Azerbaijan, up 16.6% from the same period last year, Ali Abbasov, the country's Communications and Information Technologies Minister, told at the press conference. "The privately-owned telecoms units took 74.1% of earnings. Average annual growth in ICT sector reached 35%-40% during the past three years. The Financial Services Development Project, between the World Bank and the Government, aimed at improving payment systems for the utility bills collection, and access to financial services and basic business infrastructure in smaller urban and rural areas through the postal system, will be completed this year. The main components of E-Government Project will be implemented by 2008. We have agreed with all neighbors except Iran on distribution of broadcasting channels. We will solve this issue with Iran too," he noted.


From http://www.today.az/ 05/19/2007

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IRAN: Private Telecom Companies More Successful

Iran is lagging behind many countries in terms of information technology and communication, observed the head of Private Fixed Phone Operator Syndicate, Mohammad Khajavi. In an interview with ILNA he said that handing over the management to private entities is the only way of overcoming the problems hindering the progress of the sector. He said that State Radio Frequency Regulations Organization has in recent months been cooperating with private fixed telephone sector, adding presently infrastructure and international communication are the main challenges facing the sector. He said that Telecommunication Infrastructure Company (TIC) does not have any clear idea about private operators, adding private fixed phone sector can meet its commitments in the year to March 2008 if it can solve its problems with provincial telecommunication offices and Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI).

He stated that the notification of Note C of Article 44 of the Constitution by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the move toward privatization are positive measures to overcome the difficulties. ※Ground is prepared for the privatization of the telecommunication sector,※ he stated. Khajavi added that the company has installed and is operating 50,000 fixed phone lines. He noted that the private sector has moved very slowly in installing and operating fixed telephone lines as well as in attracting customers. ※The perception of people*s and provincial telecommunication managers about private sector involvement in economic activities should be changed,※ Khajavi stated. He noted that the government support for the private sector is the sole strategy for solving the dilemma, adding with the support of Information Technology and Communication Ministry, IranCell has become one of the most successful model of privatization in the country. Khajavi said earlier this year that Iran can turn into the regional telecommunications hub given its strategic geopolitical location, stressing that the priority has to be given to developing infrastructures rather than increasing the number of fixed and mobile phone lines.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 03/05/2007

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Industries Focus on Global Cellphone Market

Cellphone handset production in the country is aimed at meeting domestic demands and gaining a foothold in the global markets, head of the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization Mehdi Mofidi said. He told Mehr that negotiations are underway with large mobile phone handset manufacturers to set up production line in Iran. Referring to high capacity of world cellphone handset markets, he said that Iran should gain a share of the market. Mofidi said that mobile phone manufacturers would not forsake their shares in the global markets, adding a good company should first promote assembled products overseas. The first cellphone handset production line in Iran was launched in Madiran Industrial Factory in Hashtgerd Industrial City near Tehran The cellphone handset production line was inaugurated following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between South Korean firm LG Electronics and Madiran Company, IRNA said. The company will eventually have the capacity to manufacture a total of 1.5 million cellphone handsets. In the initial phase, the handsets will be produced from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits and in less than four months after installing advanced machinery, production will switch to completely knocked down (CKD) format.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 03/13/2007

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Internet Penetration Up

Rate of internet penetration grew by 60 percent in the year to March 2007 compared to figures for the year earlier, reaching 16 percent, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Soleimani said Friday. Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate 258 telecommunications projects in Hamedan province, the minister quoted figures at hand and stated that Iran*s Internet penetration has surpassed that of Malaysia. The latest internetworldstats.com statistics show that worldwide Internet penetration has increased to 16 percent, mostly in Asia. Apart from seven cities which have certain regional problems, dwellers of all urban districts are provided with fixed lines on a daily basis, he noted. Soleimani promised that rural areas will have access to telecommunications facilities by March 2008, ILNA reported.

Recalling that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad*s administration is pursuing policies to increase productivity, the minister said that Khorasan Razavi Telecommunications Company slashed its expenses by 31 percent last year. He added that this was achieved despite high inflation and the annual wage rises. Meanwhile, chairman of the Board of Directors of Telecommunications Company of Iran unveiled a plan to cut Internet fees. Vafa Ghaffarian told ISNA that the next assembly of the company will decide on this. He hoped that the plan will be implemented in June once it is approved by the assembly and endorsed by Radio Telecommunications and Regulations Organization. The official elaborated that an average 30-percent cut in the Internet rate is envisaged. Ghaffarian noted that expert studies on the initiative are complete. The official, who is also deputy minister, said earlier that the ministry is trying to reduce Internet rates to increase its use. This reduction aims at encouraging the public and industries to make more use of the Internet, he stated.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 05/12/2007

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Pros and Cons of Telecom Shares

There are a lot of discussions underway about the implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution which stresses on privatization. What attracts public attention is the way in which Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) has announced changing the deposits of its clients in the Stock Exchange. Some clients who have paid a lot of money to buy phone lines would like to know whether they are included in this plan. Discussions continue while the head of Iran*s Privatization Organization announced recently that the issue of transforming public deposits in the telecommunications sector to shares is still under study. According to ISNA, Gholam Reza Heidari Kord-Zangeneh, head of Iran*s Privatization Organization has said that a committee has been charged with deciding the procedure for converting public deposits into shares. ※The issue has been discussed by the committee only as an option,§ he noted. In another comment Saber Feyzi, TCI managing director said that a joint committee of the Privatization Company and Stock Exchange will study the issue while *the deposits can be converted to shares*.

He added, ※We cannot say for certain that the deposits will be changed to shares so we will continue to collect more information. The joint committee will decide on what will happen.§ Meanwhile, secretary general of Iran*s Stock Exchange told ISNA that a good opportunity is provided for clients to change their deposits of both land-based and mobile phones into shares. Ali Rahmani said, ※The TCI will convert deposits into the shares based on the request of clients.§ The clients* deposits will be registered as funds that should be returned to the clients at anytime, he stated. Since the deposits differ based on the year they were transferred to the company*s account it might be to the disadvantage of some clients. Rahmani said that the process is the same as in other countries. ※People will take shares according to the amount of deposit which affects TCI*s success and development.§ People did not have any profit from deposits remaining in TCI account and that*s why in new plan the deposits will be considered as funds assisting the company*s development and expansion. ※These deposits will become shares of the company and even if the company*s managers are changed, people can ask for profits.※ said Rahmani.

Following the implementation of Article 44, state companies will be privatized so people can become shareholders in those companies. The head of TCI had recently announced that details of clients have been gathered and the plan is not mandatory. Clients can decide whether to become shareholders or not. ※They can decide to change their deposit to shares in the Stock Exchange or keep it only as deposits.※ Feyzi said. Official TCI figures show that 130,000 billion rials remains in the company*s account, of which some 40,000 billion rials is deposits of clients. Feyzi said that the amount will be distributed as shares to 38 million clients irrespective of whether their deposit was for fixed or mobile lines. Some clients left the amount of 10,000,000 rials as deposit in previous years but the sum has decreased to 3,500,000 rials in recent year. This has raised some objections among clients. Feyzi responded to this ambiguity and said, ※Basically people with higher amount of deposit will pay lower tariffs than those with lower deposits.

If we calculate the conversation charges without taking deposits into account, all clients had to pay 50 percent more for their phone conversations while they are paying less just because of their deposits.§ According to Feyzi clients can call at TCI offices and fill out a form for securing their deposits. Other clients* deposits will be changed into shares and they will be entitled to the benefits. Development of telecommunications in remote areas is funded by the profits from the clients* deposits. So the more deposit they left, the more they helped in the expansion of the company. This makes some clients ask for an update of shares* value. Earlier the TCI had announced that it will consider only one-third of the value for shares of clients. Still there are a lot of ambiguities about the process of changing deposits into shares. In the meantime the Mobile Communications Company is asking its clients to express their agreement or disagreement with the plan. Clients have lots of unanswered questions about the plan and still they do not know whether the plan is to their benefit or not.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 05/19/2007

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Techno-Engineering Services Earn $1.6b

A total of $1.6 billion was earned from the export of technical and engineering services in the year to March 2007, showing a 6-percent growth compared to $1.5 billion registered in the year before. Announcing this, director general of Export Promotion Department of Goods and Services at Iran*s Trade Development Organization told ISNA that industry, development and energy sectors recorded the largest share in technical and engineering services export in the year to March. Mehrdad Jalalipour listed the share of technical and engineering services exports as follows: industry sector at $701 million, development sector at $501 million and electricity sector at $152 million. Comparing the exports of technical and engineering services in 2005 and 2006, he pointed out that the figures of the two years shows a satisfactory growth. It is predicted that the figure will increase to $1.9 billion in the year to March 2008. Referring to the share of export of technical and engineering services in the total global export, Jalalipour noted that the figures show that the total world export stood at $14,472 billion of which export of goods accounted for $11,062 billion and services sector for $2,710 billion, including $360 billion in technical and engineering services. ※Iran*s Trade Development Organization plans to increase export in this sector to $3 billion,※ he added.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 05/19/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: MTS to Build 3G Network in Uzbekistan

Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS), the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS, announces that the Company received a 3G (UMTS) license in Uzbekistan. The Communications and Information Agency of Uzbekistan issued a 3G license to MTS Uzbekistan. The license is valid for the entire territory of the country and is valid until the end of 2016. MTS is planning to begin developing its 3G network in Uzbekistan this year after completing a tender to choose an equipment supplier.


From http://www.caginternet.org/ 04/25/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Audit of Telstra CDMA Coverage Complete

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan today announced that the first of two national coverage audits has now been completed as part of Telstra*s transition from CDMA to its new third generation (Next G?) mobile network. ※The Australian Government welcomes Telstra*s early upgrade to its &Next G?* mobile network, which the carrier announced will see the world*s first 200km cell range and significantly higher speeds to extend the capacity of the network,§ Senator Coonan said. ※However, the Government is also mindful of Telstra ensuring there is a smooth transition to the new network for its customers, particularly those living in rural, regional and remote areas.§ The Minister established a working group which is currently considering other issues relating to the transition, such as the information Telstra provides to customers, handset availability, coverage, and contractual matters. Telstra now has six handset choices for the Next G? mobile network and has been providing its current CDMA customers with information on their options. ※An independent audit comparing Next G? coverage with CDMA coverage is a key part of verifying Telstra*s public assurance that it will not shut down the CDMA network until Next G? provides the same or better coverage and services,§ Senator Coonan said.

※Even if this assurance is met, Telstra has stated that the CDMA network will not be switched off before 28 January 2008§. The process for the independent coverage audit was developed in 2006 and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has now completed its audit of CDMA at a representative selection of nearly 100 sites across the country. They include flat, mountainous and average terrain, wet rice-growing country and river flats. Sites include city and regional centres, but particularly focus on rural, regional and remote areas. The field tests and analysis of CDMA coverage was the first of two national audits to be completed this year. The second national audit will test coverage of the Next G? network and this will occur once Telstra advises that the new network is fully deployed. The timing of this phase is flexible and will begin once the new network is ready for testing.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 02/27/2007

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New Online Consultation Site for Small Business

A new website to improve consultation with small business - www.consultation.business.gov.au - was launched today at the National Small Business Forum in Canberra. The site allows businesses to be consulted about new or existing regulations. The aim is to reduce the burden of red tape through early consultation. "www.consultation.business.gov.au will allow small business to be consulted early on about proposed regulations. If there's a problem with a regulation, or there's a better way to do it, I want to know about it straight away," Fran Bailey, Minister for Small Business and Tourism, said today. "I would encourage small businesses and their industry associations to log on to www.consultation.business.gov.au. The more consultation and feedback we receive, the better the end product will be." This site is part of the Howard Government's strong commitment to listening to small business and acting on their concerns. "The Howard Government has listened to the concerns of small business on unfair dismissals and delivered an exemption. We listened to concerns about unfettered union access to the worksite and we protected small business. It*s a disgrace the Opposition cannot say the same," Fran Bailey said. "Any political party aspiring to government must listen to small business and act on those concerns. If a political party fails the consultation test, they do so at their own peril. With 1.88 million small businesses providing employment to 3 million Australians, the sector must be listened to and their concerns acted on. If any political party won't do it, it's sayonara to government." Fran Bailey said the new site was part of the Government's E-business strategy, with the $29 million VANguard program set to kick off pilot projects shortly following strong support from small business. "VANguard will save small business time and money. It's as simple as that. As Small Business Minister, I am focussed on this aim. In contrast, the Opposition wants to de-rail VANguard and its aims by abolishing the program - very short-sighted in my books," Fran Bailey concluded.


From http://minister.industry.gov.au/ 03/30/2007

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Fairfax in Digital TV Pitch

FAIRFAX Media CEO David Kirk has laid out an ambitious strategy for the group to gain access to key new media infrastructure, including the new Channel B digital TV licence, calling on regulators to favour new access seekers over established TV players. Mr Kirk said yesterday Fairfax Media was "advocating that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission adopt a specific bias towards access seekers to prevent the exploitation of excessive power by incumbents". Mr Kirk has also joined PBL executive chairman James Packer and others in slamming government policy on broadband, saying "the status quo is holding us back". He lobbied for the cost of accessing any new broadband network to be determined solely by the cost of new investment - without reference to Telstra's existing copper-line network. "Prices should be appropriate, which to me means marginally above the cost of return on investment of the new capital required to deliver the ubiquitous broadband the country needs." Mr Kirk's comments come as Communications Minister Helen Coonan yesterday told an ABN AMRO media industry gathering that an ACCC decision was imminent on the provision of access to Channel B, the new TV platform earmarked for mobile television.

The Channel B licence will potentially feature up to 30 TV channels and will be available on small portable devices such as phones and mini-screens. The ACCC has been seeking industry opinion on how it should design an access regime for Channel B, to be auctioned this year. Channel B channels will likely cover such areas as news, sport and general entertainment. Mr Kirk said pay-TV operator Foxtel and the free-to-air networks could bid for Channel B, but given their possible involvement, Fairfax was lobbying for two-thirds of the spectrum for the B licence to be held open for access by other providers. But Foxtel boss Kim Williams yesterday revealed the organisation is continuing to progress its own mobile TV plans ahead of an auction later this year for Channel B. Mr Williams said Foxtel was planning to launch its electronic program guide on to mobile phones in May, in a move that will allow users to remote control the company's IQ personal video recorder from their phones. The company is also moving on plans to offer its own mobile TV iQ2GO device, independent of the outcome of the mobile TV auction.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 04/18/2007

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Sensis Shores-Up with Ninemsn

TELSTRA and Microsoft will pave the way for closer co-operation in online services for the first time in more than a decade when Sensis today unveils a distribution deal with Ninemsn for local search. The move will bring together two of Australia's five main online search players in a deal designed to bulk up Sensis' struggling online operations and block out rivals. The new alliance is also something of an admission of failure by Ninemsn of its low-budget attempt at local search, MyLocal. com.au, which is languishing below the competition in directories and search rankings. Media has learned that Sensis has been talking to prospective partners as it moves to shore up an online business being eaten up by international rivals led by Google. "Sensis is interested in distribution-type deals where people use Telstra's local search," one person familiar with discussions said. Sol Trujillo recently appointed global directories industry veteran Carol Johnson to head the group's Yellow and White Pages business in an effort to breathe life into the group's online efforts. Both Microsoft's MSN business and rival Yahoo are keen to improve their nascent local search businesses but have not yet made a big investment in the Australian market. Ninemsn is a joint venture between PBL Media (itself 50 per cent owned by private equity group CVC Asia Pacific) and Microsoft.

It was formed in 1997 after an early online bulletin board site project called On Australia, a venture between Telstra and Microsoft, collapsed. Since then, Telstra has been an occasional suitor to Ninemsn but to date no significant deals have been struck. But a move closer towards Microsoft has been given impetus at the telco since the arrival of Mr Trujillo at Telstra in 2005. The imported chief executive has made it clear he is keen to partner closely with global technology leaders such as the Seattle-based software giant. The new alliance comes as Google admits it is having to search the US for information technology workers to staff its growing operations in Australia. The Silicon Valley-based company will host an Australian-themed open day next Tuesday at its global headquarters in Mountain View, California. The session, branded G'day Google, will urge American engineers and some of the 100,000 Australian expats in California to help address the chronic shortage of IT workers in Australia. Google has increased its presence in Australia, which serves as a regional research and development hub for the company.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/03/2007

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Tech Allies Lay out Big Vision

AUSTRALIAN IT industry groups have begun a drive to reshape government information and communications technology policy, launching a 10-year vision for the sector. 'Brochure-ware': Bruce McCabe The document, issued by the National ICT Industry Alliance, lays out 12 targets that the organisation believes are essential for Australia's economic prosperity, including the development of a national, high-speed broadband network. The paper, known simply as the 10-year ICT strategic vision has, however, been dismissed as "brochure-ware" and has been criticised, along with previous industry statements, as not offering concrete plans for encouraging innovation in Australia. NICTIA president Tony Hill acknowledged that previous ICT industry vision statements had failed to spur change, but said the outcome would be different this time, thanks to the number of technology industry organisations that had backed the paper. "Twenty organisations in the ICT sector in Australia have come together for the first time to launch a strategic vision, and we think that's a very powerful message to the Australian community and governments," Mr Hill said. Organisations that have backed the statement include the Australian Computer Society, Internet Industry Association, and the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association.

Notably, the Australian Information Industry Association has not endorsed the vision despite sharing many of the views contained in the document. NICTIA lays out 12 goals it considers critical to ensuring that Australia's technology industries remain competitive in years to come. These include: Development of a national ICT brand supported by the state and federal governments. Regulatory policies that do not impede innovation and investment in high technology. Collaboration between the industry, governments and the education sector to produce a world leading ICT skills base. The emergence of small and medium enterprises capable of competing successfully in global markets. Construction of national broadband infrastructure. NICTIA does not provide any strategies for achieving its vision. Mr Hill and ACS president Philip Argy instead said that they wanted the document to become a "touchstone" that governments referred to when developing policies. S2 Intelligence managing director Bruce McCabe applauded the industry groups for delivering a unified vision, but labelled the statement "brochure-ware" and argued that the industry needed to use its newly combined voice to make compelling arguments.

"We love our vision statements and positioning frameworks and we're long on them because they're easy to write," Mr McCabe said. "But the big question is, what's the plan?" Mr McCabe suggested specific strategies could include shifting the focus of research in university computer science departments to developing commercially relevant technologies, and encouraging investment in growth areas such as sustainability. He said ICT industry groups needed to demonstrate the importance of technology to the broader community and be more effective as a voting block. "Don't talk about the ICT industry," Mr McCabe said. "No one cares. Talk about healthcare. Talk about the future of the economy and how broken it's going to be if we don't get it right. Get it relevant to the wider community, get specific about what you want to see in hard policy before the election. Challenge both parties to come up with it, and challenge everyone to vote with those that do." Software engineer and vocal ACS critic Tony Healy delivered a more scathing review of the vision statement. "This is a useless document promoting concepts dear to the hearts of bureaucrats. They want central planning, red tape and government funding," Mr Healy said. "None of those moves will improve Australian innovation. The fact is that world-class innovation, like Google, stands on its own feet. It doesn't succeed through marketing."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/22/2007

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NEW ZEALAND: Broadband Wireless Spectrum Auction Process Starts

Broadband wireless access (BWA) services will be boosted by the new allocation of 2.3 GHz spectrum, Communications Minister David Cunliffe says. "Management rights bands in the 2.3 GHz spectrum band will be allocated as soon as practicable, enabling emerging wireless broadband technologies such as WiMAX," the minister said. "BWA technology for this band is only just starting to become available. It is critical that we create the right conditions for its future deployment by giving a range of players the opportunity and the certainty they need to make a long-term investment." Details of the proposed auction are now available for comment prior to final government decisions being taken on the auction arrangements. The overall process of increasing spectrum availability for BWA services was announced in December 2006 with the publication of a series of Cabinet decisions. "This announcement gives more details on the specific auction arrangements and timing for the 2.3 GHz band. "While some of the spectrum rights to be allocated may not commence until 2010, the early auction will allow purchasers to plan their implementation with certainty. "We need advanced broadband services and wireless technologies are a part of the overall mix that can help us achieve this. This allocation of spectrum is an important step in allowing industry to plan and build the necessary infrastructure." The minister encouraged people with an interest in the area or companies that might provide such services to read the Auction Proposal and to submit comments.


From http://www.rsm.govt.nz/ 04/10/2007

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EUROPE: Digital Revolution Speeds Up, Says New EU Survey

Nearly 20% of European households buy bundled telecom packages, according to an EU-wide survey of 27,000 representative households published by the European Commission. Almost 30% are now connected to the internet via high-speed 'broadband' links and households increasingly use mobile phones as fixed lines become less popular. 17% of Europeans having a home Internet connection use it for Internet telephony."Europe's digital economy is growing strongly as more and more households embrace convergence between fixed, mobile and Internet services," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. "The challenge of this year's reform of the EU's telecom rules will be to respond to this rapidly changing technological environment while enhancing at the same time effective competition."

The key findings of the EU-wide survey published by the Commission today are the following: Nearly 20% of Europeans buy two or more telecom products from a single service provider, the combination of fixed telephony and Internet access being the most common. Increasingly, users are switching from fixed to mobile telephony: although the percentage of households with at least one mobile phone remains fairly stable at 81%, the share of &mobile-only* households is rising in the EU (22%, up 4%) while the proportion of households with at least one fixed line decreases (72%, down 5%). Broadband is rapidly becoming more popular in the EU (28%, up 6%) while narrowband is less so (12%, down 3%). Most households access the Internet via an ADSL line (53%, up 4%) and 34% of broadband connections are wireless. 17% of Europeans who have a home Internet connection say that it is used for making phone calls. This proportion is twice as large in new Member States.

As more households connect to the Internet (42%, up 4%), the reason for not connecting is increasingly non-financial with 45% saying that it is simply because they are not interested. 28% of Europeans have suffered significantly from problems with spam, viruses and spyware, underlining the need for the EU and Member States to be more proactive in fighting illegal activities . Overall, most have installed antivirus software (81%) and antispam software (60%). 40% (up 5%) know that the single European emergency number 112 enables them to reach emergency services everywhere in the EU, but many Member States need to improve the practical implementation of 112. 63% of Europeans are free-to-air TV, and not pay-TV subscribers. Fewer households subscribe to pay-TV in countries where they receive television through an aerial or a satellite, than in predominately cable TV countries.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 04/30/2007

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Denmark Sets the Pace in Hospital IT

Denmark*s hospitals are making great strides in using electronic patient records. Indeed, its progress in this area may soon make paper records a thing of the past. This has made it an ideal place to try out a new standardised electronic record-keeping system being developed by ACURE, a subsidiary of the international IT company IBM.Denmark, with 5,3 million citizens, is a leader in national healthcare information exchange. It has successfully developed a healthcare data network, a national eHealth Portal and a clinical data repository. Although only financial benefits have been documented thus far, anecdotal evidence suggests that Denmark has also achieved clinical benefits from factors such as improved adherence to care guidelines, faster exchange of test results, fewer duplicate procedures and more time for clinicians to spend with patients.New technology has seen a rapid growth in Danish hospitals over the past few years. In 2003, only 13% of all hospital beds were covered by electronic journals. By 2006, well over half were, with many health regions having achieved full coverage. The push towards electronic record-keeping is being spearheaded by the National Board of Health. Denmark*s reputation as a world leader in this area has led ACURE to chose it as a testing ground for a standardised eHealth records system which could be adapted for use in other countries. The UK, New Zealand and Canada are among those interested in adopting the new system.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 03/05/2007

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Poland ESwietokrzyskie Project Puts Rural Areas On-Line

A pilot project, which will bring the internet to eastern Poland, has already put 75% of the Swietokrzyskie region on-line using radio transmission. The project is being led by the Research and Academic Network (NASK), Swietokrzyskie Province local government and Swietokrzyskie University of Technology. As a part of the project, NASK has installed six base stations, each of them covering a radius of about 30 kilometres. Local government institutions, businesses and private individuals will have access to the network, which will be inexpensive as the project has been financed by European Union funds. According to NASK, the pilot programme will be adopted by other eastern provinces to boost their own poor infrastructure. Radio technology and &WiMAX* frequencies are proving extremely useful in levelling disparities in internet infrastructure in different regions of Poland and, through this, inequalities in their economic development.The funds available (2.4 million) were not sufficient to cover the whole Swietokrzyskie region with base stations. Future plans, however, include the addition of new base stations that will provide radio internet connection across the entire area and, by 2013, 300 million will have been spent on providing internet access to all eastern regions of Poland.


From IDABC, March 26,2007

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UK: Sunderland City Council wins Digital Challenge competition

Sunderland City Council has won ㏒3.5 million in the UK government's Digital Challenge contest to come up with the best ways of using technology to benefit the socially excluded. In the contest, 79 councils outlined their visions for a digitally enabled society, meeting the needs of local communities and citizens more effectively. Winner Sunderland will be able to put into practice a number of initiatives which particularly impressed the judges, such as Community e-Champions, helping the vulnerable to access computer and internet services, supporting children at risk of underachieving at Key Stage 3, and an eMentoring scheme working for children and young people. They will also aid carers and dependent children with walkie-talkies and panic buttons. Minister for Local eGovernment, Angela Smith, said: ※Digital inclusion is about more than new technologies. It is an opportunity to solve problems and improve the lives of people in our communities. As the winner of the Digital Challenge, Sunderland should be seen as an example of how the social and digital divide can be bridged and serve as a blueprint for local partnerships for the future."The ten finalists, including Sunderland, have formed a group called DC-10 which, it is hoped, will provide inspiring examples of using digital technology to tackle social exclusion. While Sunderland receives the top grant, the other councils picked as finalists will each receive ㏒2 million to finance their own schemes, many of which highlighted the important role of mentors to support groups that might not usually engage with technology.


From IDABC, March 26,2007

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'Email Britain' Campaign to Create 21st Century Domesday Book

A first attempt to log British life by email is launching this week. Microsoft's Windows Live Hotmail joins forces with The British Library to collect a million email entries for &Email Britain* -the first permanent record of British life by email.Dubbed &The 21st Century Domesday Book*, the archive is expected to attract millions of emails which will be stored digitally at the British Library for future generations to enjoy.Email is the number one communication in the UK, and now this huge electronic conversation is to be archived for posterity. The &Email Britain* campaign aims to record the UK*s first archive of email communications 每 the good, the bad and the bizarre.

How to take part Windows Live Hotmail and the British Library want everyone in Britain to forward an email to email@emailbritain.co.uk from their inbox or sent mail that represents life as they see it today. Alternatively emailers can compose a special note to submit for the archive. Every eligible email received will be recorded in the British Library archive and the top 100 emails will be published in a unique Email Britain book, celebrating the best of Britain*s most popular communication method for staying in touch with friends, family and work colleagues.John Tuck, Head of British Collections at the British Library, said: ※Email has in many respects replaced traditional forms of communications such as letters or memoranda, thousands of examples of which we have at the British Library. In the digital age email has become prevalent in our day-to-day lives. ※Email Britain will allow us to archive a vast snapshot of our present-day email communications and will be of great value for future researchers. Digital archiving of email has never been attempted before on this scale and we*re very excited to be capturing such a rich slice of contemporary life.§Jo Wickremasinghe, Campaign Manager at Windows Live Hotmail said: ※We*re trying to illustrate how integral email has become to our everyday lives. Mini soap operas are played out in inboxes across the country every day, from job offers to wedding proposals, big breaks to break ups. We want this unique archive to make absorbing reading for years to come.§

Categories To capture the diversity of our emails, the Email Britain team has created ten subject categories which should be typed into the subject box before submitting an email, as follows: ? Blunders ? Life Changing Emails ? Complaints ? Spam ? Love and Romance ? Humour ? Everyday Emails ? News ? Tales from Abroad ? The world around you

The British Libraryis the national library of the United Kingdom. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world*s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The British Library*s collections include 150 million items from every era of written human history beginning with Chinese oracle bones dating from 300 BC, right up to the latest e-journals. Full information and help on submitting an email to the Email Britain archive is available online at www.newhotmail.co.uk/emailbritain. Terms and conditions, detailing treatment of the email once sent are also available at this website.


Fromhttp://www.publictechnology.net/ 05/09/2007

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IT Salaries in the UK Rise by 5.5 Per Cent in Last 12 Months

A comprehensive study by IT recruitment specialist CV Screen has found that permanent IT Salaries in the UK have risen by 5.5% in the last 12 months.The in depth analysis of the IT jobs market which monitored over 30,000 advertised positions in the UK during Q1 2007 has concluded that the average advertised salary for an IT professional in the UK is now ㏒32,965.※With the IT sector experiencing a period of continual growth, we have been experiencing especially high demand for IT professionals over the last year.§ commented Matthew Iveson, Managing Director of CV Screen. ※During the same period there has also been a shortage of candidates seeking new roles and the net result is upward pressure on salaries§ continues Iveson.The survey which excludes salaries within the Banking sector, finds that there has been considerable demand for candidates with Java, .Net, SAP and Network Support experience. This has caused large increases in the salaries offered for candidates with these skills.The increased uptake of online recruitment methods is also contributing to the heightened activity in the industry. ※The continued increase in candidates applying for vacancies through online job boards and uploading their CV to databases is quickening the recruitment process. Employers who are able to react quickly to applications are those who are benefiting most from the current candidate driven marketplace.§ Iveson added.

Iveson concluded ※The outlook for 2007 is equally buoyant and employers need to ensure they are accurately benchmarking their IT salaries or risk losing their IT staff.§


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 05/11/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: Firm Predicts Tripling of Public Health Network by 2012

The number of states capable of sharing information related to pandemics and other health threats on a national scale will triple in the next five years, according to a forecast to be released today by Government Futures, a government market research firm.Only about 13 states currently have public health systems capable of sharing such information via the Public Health Information Network and other systems that collect national disease information, according to the study, which focuses on disease prevention, surveillance and response.But by 2012, about 40 states -每 encompassing 80 percent of the U.S. population -每 will have interconnected systems, the firm predicts.A high demand for facility coordination, the threat of an impending public crisis such as a pandemic or bioterrorism incident, and calls for more state funding to expand the network will drive the transformation, the report*s authors say.※Public health does not stay confined to jurisdictional boundaries,§ said Bruce McConnell, co-founder and president of the firm, which uses existing data, surveys and predictive tools to develop its forecasts.※The need for collaboration in the multiplayer environment of hospitals and physicians and laboratories is probably the leading force for this kind of transformation,§ he said.

Margaret Anderson, the firm*s co-founder, said that although ※barriers to collaboration still remain -- including interagency rivalries and privacy concerns -- funding and the threat of crisis will drive progress.§The firm*s leaders believe the buildup of resources for sharing public health information in the next five years signals the coming of Public Health 2.0, which they describe as a public health infrastructure that is collaborative, results-driven and agile.McConnell said the best example of an existing Public Health 2.0 system is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention*s Public Health Information Network. In addition to its traditional network elements, it incorporates newer information-sharing tools such as wikis and blogs.McConnell and Anderson say such tools are useful, but barriers to their widespread adoption remain, including the need for improved ease of use and an ingrained concern about the privacy of health information.※The tools are still a little bit primitive, and so you still have to be too much of a technician to be able to make them work,§ McConnell said.

Furthermore, even though information shared via the network tends to be statistical and therefore stripped of personal identifiers, ※there*s always the threat [to privacy], and that adds a layer of complexity,§ he said.Users must also heed the best practices for coordinating action. ※It*s one thing to share information, and it*s another thing to really get down and collaborate and respond, and that takes time,§ McConnell said.To overcome those hurdles, the authors say users -- particularly older ones -- must develop a certain level of trust in one another. ※In the public health arena, there is a spirit of collaboration that has always existed, so that*s helpful,§ McConnell said.Firms otherwise interested in government and health care tend to overlook the public health market, he added.※This is an example of government moving in the right direction,§ he said. ※Perhaps this has an inspiration for not only [those] who are doing this today but people in adjacent mission areas who might think, &Maybe we could do something more collaborative.*§ (by Paul McCloskey)


From http://govhealthit.com/ 04/24/2007

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Chicago Named as Top City of the Future

Chicago, 29 April 2007: Chicago has been named as North America*s &major city of the future*. Toronto came second in the survey, while Guadalajara was the highest-ranking major Mexican city. Windsor, Ontario, ranked highest among &small cities of the future*. The top ten &major cities of the future* are: Chicago, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Guadalajara, Baltimore, Montreal, Mexico City, Boston and Miami.The research was carried out by FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), a magazine owned by the London-based Financial Times. The judges looked at 108 cities, which they divided into four categories: major (population over 2 million), large (500,000 to 2 million), small (100,000 to 500,000) and micro (under 100,000) Chicago ranked as the US &city of the future* in 2005 and the city has developed a massive lead ahead of its nearest competitors in the past two years thanks to high levels of public and private investment and consistently strong economic indicators.

Meanwhile, Toronto, Ontario*s good affordable housing, low crime levels, strong health and education sectors and falling unemployment helped push Canada*s largest city into the runner*s up position. Toronto has a strong and innovative environmental programme and the city topped the shortlist with the best quality of life of any major city.Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco was the highest-ranking major Mexican city. Guadalajara had the second strongest economic potential of any major North American city and only Chicago scored more highly for sheer economic potential. Guadalajara*s youthful population, low unemployment and large number of recent foreign investment deals are good indicators that Mexico*s second largest city has a bright future.Windsor, Ontario, ranks as North America*s leading ※small city of the future, scoring well for business-friendly policies and a strong development programme that includes several large-scale projects involving public and private investment.


From http://www.citymayors.com/ 04/29/2007

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SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina 'on Course' for 2010 Broadband Target

Cisco director of operations for South America South, Sebast赤an Ballerini, has told BNamericas that he believes Argentina could end 2007 with over two million broadband connections compared with 1.59 million at the end of 2006, and is on track to meet the government*s goal of four million by 2010. &I think the figure of four million broadband connections is a very challenging goal. However, I believe that looking at the way broadband is growing, we are in a good position to achieve this,* Ballerini added.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/10/2007

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BRAZIL: More Communities to Get Broadband Via Satellite

According to BNamericas, Brazil*s communications and environment ministries have signed a cooperation agreement to provide broadband internet via satellite to 150 indigenous communities located in 13 Brazilian states, including Amazonas and Mato Grosso in the north and the southern coastal state of Santa Catarina. The scheme is part of the government*s universal internet access program &Gesac*. The communications ministry recently earmarked BRL250 million (USD121 million) to help set up internet access points in areas with little coverage. BNamericas goes on to say that newspapers have recently reported that Gesac already has 3,300 public access points and aims to reach at least 10,000 in four years.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/03/2007

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CHINA: Netizen Invites Premier Wen for Online Chatting

A netizen in the southern coastal province of Guangdong has invited Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to conduct online chatting with netizens worldwide during the upcoming parliamentary session in Beijing, citing the successful Internet communication experience of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. "With this year's 'two sessions' around the corner, I have a bold request, that is, I want to invite Premier Wen to log on the Internet during the session period and conduct online chatting with Chinese and foreign netizens across the world -- about state issues, family affairs and other big or small topics," the netizen, who identified himself as "an ordinary Chinese", wrote in an online letter posted at the BBS forum of baoliao.oeeee.com on March 1. The "two sessions" refer to the once-a-year full meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top advisory body. This year's NPC and CPPCC sessions are slated to open in Beijing on Saturday and Monday respectively.

According to Southern Metropolis News, which sponsored the special BBS forum column titled "I have a question for the premier", the netizen is a college lecturer in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, who only revealed his real-life identity as a Mr. Luo. Luo wrote in his letter that he believes online communication is a good way to increase "emotional exchange and intimacy" between national leaders and ordinary people. "In Russia, President Putin has chatted online with Russian and foreign netizens for several times, sometimes even discussing his first love...German Chancellor also opened a video blog on the Internet," said Luo, who used to be a visiting scholar in the United States. "You have eaten dumplings with miners at the bottom of a mine shaft on the eve of the Chinese lunar new year, and have also helped rural migrant workers seek the timely payment of their wage arrears. All these things have made us feel very close to you emotionally," Luo added. "Even if you can take several minutes out of your tight schedule and just answer a couple of questions from the netizens, it would be a great encouragement to the country's 130 million netizens and the 1.3 billion population of China," he wrote.

According to Southern Metropolis News, Luo's invitation letter was actually inspired by Premier Wen's remarks at last year's two sessions, when he met Chinese and foreign journalists at a routine press conference immediately after the closing of the parliamentary session. Wen had told the journalists that he gained "confidence and strength" from the fact that Chinese netizens had raised hundreds of thousands of questions to him concerning his work and the performance of his cabinet through the country's leading news websites. The newspaper said that Xu Yuanyuan, an NPC deputy from Guangdong, had agreed to carry Luo's invitation to Beijing and may convey it to the premier during the two sessions. Internet has enjoyed a rapid development in China since the late 1990s, and the number of Chinese Internet users reached 132 million at the end of 2006, second largest in the world only after the United States. In recent years, Internet is playing an increasingly important role in the political life of Chinese. More and more people tend to put forward suggestions, voice their opinions or join policy debates through BBS forums, online polls or personal blogs.

Ahead of this year's two sessions, a dozen Chinese websites and news organizations launched BBS forum columns or online surveys similar to the one run by Southern Metropolis News. Lu Jian, a China Central Television (CCTV) anchorman in charge of one of such columns, said that by late Thursday some 120,000 netizens had left messages in his column designed to "ask the premier a question."


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/02/2007

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China Expected to Have 600M Cellphone users by 2010

China is expected to have more than 600 million cellphone users by 2010, state media said Wednesday. The Xinhua News Agency, citing the Ministry of Information Industry, said the number of users this year should reach 520 million, up from 460 million in 2006. It also said the number of Chinese using the Internet will top 200 million, accounting for 15% of the country's population of 1.3 billion. China now has the world's second-largest population of Internet users after the United States, with 137 million people online, according to the government. The Chinese government promotes Internet use for education and business, but tries to block the public from seeing material online that is deemed subversive or pornographic.


From http://www.usatoday.com 03/07/2007

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New ID System to Screen Out Internet Dating Cheats

A leading Chinese matchmaking website is to check the age, marital status and other personal details of prospective cyber daters against an official database to prevent deception. From Monday, Baihe.com will screen its eight million online daters against an "ID authentication system" jointly developed by itself and the Ministry of Public Security, said Jason Tian, CEO of the online service that uses extensive personality profiles to match couples. "In the long run, we'll arrange dates only for those who are proven to be telling the truth," he said. Tian said the move would enhance trust among online daters, improve credibility and prevent deception, and employees of the website would keep the daters' personal information strictly confidential. Most young Chinese rely on friends and relatives to find a partner, and lack of trust is often cited as a major reason for spurning Internet services. "People tend to misrepresent themselves online and you never know if you are being told the truth," said Beijing schoolteacher Sun Wei.

A survey by China Computer World Research showed 53 percent of online daters said they had been cheated and another 32 percent felt it was risky because prospective partners misrepresented themselves online. Though more than 10 million Internet users in China have logged on to matchmaking websites, the survey found 75 percent of them had turned down requests for further contact out of mistrust and 80 percent felt stricter ID authentication would be the only way to remove such mistrust. Most dating websites in China demand fax copies of the daters' ID card and qualifications, which are "easy to fabricate, but hard to authenticate", said Tian. Industry insiders say Chinese online dating should have everything going for it, with vast numbers of single people, an ever-expanding Internet population which hit 137 million last year, and an ancient tradition of matchmaking.


From http://www.china.org.cn 03/11/2007

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E-channels for Tourists to Go on Trial in HK

Hong Kong Acting Director of Immigration Peh Yun-lu said on Saturday that an automated passenger-clearance system for tourists who frequently visit Hong Kong will be put on trial in the second half of this year. Speaking on a radio talk show Saturday morning, Peh said tourists who wish to use the system should register with the Immigration Department, providing their travel document data and personal particulars. The department will also store their fingerprints and photos. When the tourists enter or leave Hong Kong, they can insert their travel documents into a newly designed e-channel machine which will verify their information. Under the trial scheme, the new e-channel machines will be installed in some busy check points, such as Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau that border Shenzhen city in south China's Guangdong province. If the initial response is positive, the department may consider expanding the scheme. On the identity-card-replacement scheme, Peh said the scheme will come to an end on Saturday. About 500,000 eligible people still have not replaced their old ID cards, he said, adding some of them are senior citizens and residents who have emigrated to other countries.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/31/2007

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China Launches 6th On-line Public Memorial for Martyrs

China launched its sixth on-line public memorial for national martyrs here Sunday four days ahead of China's traditional day to honor ancestors, Qingming Festival. The on-line memorial allows Chinese to show their respect for China's national martyrs through the website, www.china5000.org.cn, from April 1 to 6. Visitors to the website could make comments and tributes, said the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL), one of the website's initiators. The website had received 135 million visits from Internet users in the past five years, sources with the CCYL said. Qingming Festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day is the time for Chinese people to honor their ancestors and it falls on April 5 this year.

Traditionally, tens of millions of Chinese visit the tombs of their forbears and students gather to honor martyrs around Qingming Day. In recent years, the government has advised people to avoid lighting funerary money at grave sites and to pay their respects via the Internet as more on-line funerary sites have opened. The on-line memorial, jointly initiated by the CCYL and the office on building an advanced culture and ideology of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, is co-organized by more than 1,000 websites including xinhuanet.com, people.com.cn and sina.com.cn.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 04/01/2007

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Chinese Official Calls for More Digital Cities

A key science and technology official vowed yesterday to accelerate the construction of so-called digital cities across the country. Lai Ming, director of the science and technology department of the Ministry of Construction, said at a press conference in Beijing that informatization is a strategically important part of the effort to build the country into a modern, well-off, harmonious and innovative nation. "Building digital cities means introducing information technologies to city planning, administration, infrastructure construction and other public service facilities," Lai said. "The rapid development of telecommunications, the Internet and other digital technologies has provided very effective solutions to problems in these fields." Digital cities are those that use information technology to deliver municipal services to citizens. During the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05), more than 120 cities set up information systems for city planning and management, and over 400 created information systems for real estate management, according to the ministry. Lai said the government is strongly committed to building digital cities and had given such projects a primary place in the development of the information technology industry and the construction of city infrastructure during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10).

With support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Construction will launch a series of projects expected to lead to technological breakthroughs in the building of digital cities, Lai said. Lai added that the lack of an overall plan and any sort of national standards had hampered the construction of digital cities. For example, it is common for the various government sectors within a single city to develop their own information technology systems, which often end up being incompatible with each other, causing many inconveniences for citizens and wasting public resources. Cui Junzhi, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the ideal digital city would successfully blend physical space with cyberspace. "It would result in an expansion of a city's space and improve services," Cui said. Yan Xiaopei, vice-mayor of Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province, said at the meeting that the third China international Conference on Digital City, which is to be held between Sept. 21 and 23 in the city, would promote the construction of digital cities. The conference, which is to be jointly organized by the ministry and the municipal government, will include a forum and an exhibition of construction technology and equipment.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 05/10/2007

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JAPAN: Group to Accept Online Organ Donor Registration

The Japan Organ Transplant Network, a Tokyo-based transplant-coordinating entity, will start accepting online registrations Monday from people who are willing to donate their organs in the event of brain death. The online registrations via personal computers and mobile phones will be accepted from 9 a.m. and are aimed at increasing the number of donors, particularly young ones, the network said. Currently, would-be donors are requested to fill out cards, available at post offices and convenience stores, which state that they have consented to the donation of their organs. Under the new system, would-be donors are supposed to access the network's website and to list which organs they would be willing to donate. They will also be asked to enter personal data such as names, addresses, sex and birthdates as well as passwords. After this preliminary registration procedure, each donor will receive a card listing personal details and an ID number assigned by the network. The registration procedure will be completed once donors log on using the information. Under the Organ Transplant Law, donors are required to have signed cards stating that they have consented to the donation of their organs. Countries such as Britain and Australia have already introduced online registration systems for organ donors.


From http://asia.news.yahoo.com 03/05/2007

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IP Mobile Ditches Plan to Provide 3G Service

IP Mobile Inc., a Tokyo venture authorized by the government to enter the mobile phone service market, has called off the plan due to financial difficulties, industry sources said Sunday. The company, established in November 2002, will return its business license to provide third-generation wireless communications services, the sources said.IP Mobile was awarded a license to operate at the 2.0-gigahertz frequency in November 2005, the same month Softbank Corp. and eAccess Ltd. were granted licenses to operate at the 1.7-GHz bandwidth.IP Mobile initially aimed to begin high-speed operations last October but later postponed it to this spring.Unable to collect the funds necessary for the business launch, the company decided to ditch the plan and return the license to the government, the sources said. The three providers currently dominating the market -- NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and Softbank -- will no doubt demand that the government reallocate the frequency to them, industry observers said.The domestic cell phone market has long been dominated by NTT DoCoMo with a market share of more than 50 percent, followed aggressively by KDDI, which operates the au service.Softbank entered the market last year by acquiring the Japanese unit of Britain's Vodafone Group PLC.After acquiring the unit, Internet conglomerate Softbank returned its license to the government.Telecom venture Emobile Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of eAccess, inaugurated its business March 31, providing high-speed services via mobile phone in Tokyo's 23 wards and central parts of Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto.


From www.japantimes.co.jp 04/09/2007

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Online Help Set Up for Female Disaster Victims

A women's group with experience of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake has set up a Web site for women facing difficulties in major disasters that includes emergency information for victims of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake. "Don't hesitate to deal with problems even though it's a time of disaster," the group said. The Women's Net Kobe, a group supporting female victims of domestic violence in Hyogo Prefecture, created the Web site, Disaster and Women Information Network in Japan (http://homepage2.nifty.com/bousai), in March. The Web site gives examples of dangers women and children are likely to face after their areas have been struck by major disasters, such as violence, and offers suggestion of how to deal with such problems. The Web site includes 14 categories connected with problems that occurred after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, such as "Elderly women living alone," "Fatherless families," "Pregnant women or mothers with young children," "Work" and "Family." Not only does it provide information, but it also suggests ways of dealing with problems. Women's Net Kobe hopes the contents of the Web site will be taken on board by local governments when they make disaster prevention plans. For example, if you click on "Violence against women." the Web site notes that many women are scared to go home from work or school because streets are unlit. There are suggestions for tackling the problem, such as fixing streetlights as soon as possible. It also points out that domestic violence increases after disasters, and the site has information on shelters for women who are suffering from domestic violence.

"Violence against the vulnerable is likely to occur because the quality of life deteriorates after disasters, and both men and women suffer the double stress of restoring and maintaining their daily life," said Reiko Masai, representative of the Women's Net Kobe. The Web site also has details about women in their 60s and older who were victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. The site advises local governments to support women living alone by reinforcing their houses. The group also recommends local governments to set up inquiry counters for nurses and and maternity care as women face the stress of focusing on child care and household duties on their own. Another recommendation concerns work. The group points out that a part-time worker is more likely to be laid off after a disaster, so it advises women who are given notice of redundancy to say: "I won't quit. Give me time to think," before consulting a lawyer. For the victims of the Noto earthquake, the group has information on the Web site of 11 agencies in Ishikawa Prefecture, dealing with problems such as domestic violence, sex crimes and labor problems. The group established a telephone counseling service after the Great Hanshin Earthquake and received many calls concerning domestic violence. However, it was difficult for the women at that time to talk about the violence, as there seemed to be a perception that the "perpetrator was also a victim of the disaster," according to the group. However, after the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake in October 2004 and the massive Indian Ocean Tsunami two months later, the problem of women in disaster areas began to receive attention. "We have to foresee the problems women would face after a disaster and include women's views on reconstruction plans. I hope people will understand more about the problems after looking at this Web site," Masai said.


From www.yomiuri.co.jp 04/17/2007

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E-Learning Making Inroads Into Nation's Colleges

About 40 percent of Japan's public and private universities and colleges had introduced e-learning systems by the end of the 2006 academic year, underlining a rapid increase in the number of institutions that are tapping into electronic education, the National Institute of Multimedia Education said in a recent report. Proponents say e-learning enables schools to attract working people, who have less free time than full-time students. However, the schools themselves are responsible for shouldering the costs of developing the necessary infrastructure and teaching materials.By the end of the 2006 academic year in March, 298 universities and colleges, both public and private, had introduced e-learning, providing education via personal computers, hand-held devices and the Internet 〞 more than double the 129 institutions that provided e-learning in academic 2002, according to the survey.Universities and colleges use a variety of methods to offer e-learning courses.Cyber University, a school based in Fukuoka that opened in April, offers lectures on demand via the Internet. Students can ask teachers questions by posting them on electronic bulletin boards.Hokkaido Information University in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, offers 21 courses, including English, via the Internet through a correspondence program dubbed Infinite Campus. About 2,500 students take the courses every year.In Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa Institute of Technology has made about 15,000 volumes of video material available for students via its local area network. Supplementary materials can also be downloaded from the network.

Tokyo Medical & Dental University has developed a simulation detailing the medical data of patients, including blood pressure and pulse. Students studying the data are asked which drugs should be administered and in what dosages.Doshisha University in Kyoto is providing some of its computer-related lectures on the Net. Last year, students who took the Internet version of the course fared better than those who attended the lectures, the school said."One factor to explain the difference is that students taking the course via the Internet can hear the parts they don't understand over and over," a Doshisha official said.Despite the purported benefits of e-learning, schools have to shoulder a heavy burden in areas such as investment in infrastructure and development of teaching materials.The polled schools that have not introduced e-learning cited "a lack of budget," "a lack of personnel to provide technical support" and "a lack of infrastructure" as reasons for not providing e-learning. "To make e-learning more common, we need a more organizational approach," said an official of the multimedia education institute.


From www.japantimes.co.jp 05/05/2007

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'Ubiquitous' Internet Zone to Test IT Lifestyle

The government will set up a special zone next fiscal year to test "ubiquitous" Internet technology in situations as varied as providing medical services for the elderly, preventing car accidents and buying vegetables, officials said Saturday.The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry hopes the experiment will lead in a couple of years to groundbreaking telecommunications technologies and nationwide consumer-friendly services, the officials said.The special deregulation zone for achieving the ubiquitous network 〞 a system allowing everyone and everything to be connected anytime and anywhere by Internet technology 〞 is expected to be set up in an area where there is less radio wave interference.The most likely candidates are Hokkaido and Okinawa.According to the ministry officials, the test will involve a number of private businesses, such as telecommunications carriers, broadcasters, electric machinery makers, automakers, venture firms and other companies.In the zone, people will be able to buy vegetables after checking the names of producers and how the produce has been grown by simply holding their mobile phones over products carrying IC tags. Efforts to prevent traffic accidents will include setting up sensors along streets to monitor pedestrian movements, sending the data to onboard terminals in cars to control their speed.Senior citizens living alone will receive medical assistance via sensors and wireless networks. Blood pressure and pulse data will be continuously sent to hospitals, where doctors will take prompt countermeasures when abnormalities are detected.


From www.japantimes.co.jp 05/13/2007

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Japan Test-Drives the Future with 'IT Lifestyle'

Japan has already begun laying groundwork for just such a world as demonstrated by the Tokyo Ubiquitous Technology Project. Just last week the Japanese government announced plans to set up a testing zone for the "IT lifestyle," in which citizens and objects are connected wirelessly.Ultimately, the Japanese government hopes to incorporate wireless technology into the very threads of everyday life: from providing medical services, to preventing car accidents and buying veggies.A mix of mobile, web and RFID technology will make this possible. Seniors will have vital signs sent to the hospital as they're headed there, cars will automatically slow down if pedestrians unexpectedly cross the road and people can buy vegetables with their mobile phones if need be.These technologies will be tried in the IT Lifestyle testing zone.


From http://www.marketingvox.com 05/15/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: LG.Philips LCD Develops World's First Color 'E-paper'

LG. Philips LCD Co., the world's No. 2 liquid crystal display manufacturer, said Sunday it has developed the world's first color "e-paper," a display with paper-like qualities.The 14.1-inch-wide color display, which has a paper-like thickness and is bendable, can display up to 4,096 colors and uses thin film transistor on circuit boards made of metal instead of the traditionally used glass, to allow flexibility, the company said.


From http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr 05/13/2007

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The Internet Nationalism of the Younger Generation

Dong-A Ilbo of Korea and the Asahi Daily News of Japan co-hosted an annual symposium between Korean, Chinese and Japanese think tanks, titled ※Korean, Chinese and Japanese new generations and the future of Northeast Asia.§ The symposium took place on May 12 at Lotte Hotel in Seoul and included testimony from experts from the three Asian nations. Participates identified characteristics of each nation* younger generation and discussed ways to develop a tripartite relationship. Experts from academia and journalism have warned that emerging Internet nationalism may undermine the relationship between the three countries. They argue that measures need to be taken for a better future. A commentator of Asahi said, ※Compared to the past, people-to-people exchanges have dramatically increased. But Internet nationalism has notably arisen as a counter product.§ As a solution to this newly emerging phenomenon, participants, including Yoo Seok-jin, a professor at Sogang University, proposed something similar to Europe*s ※Erasmus Project§ and exchange expansion among the three nations. The Erasmus Project is a European educational program exchanging undergraduates and graduates between one hundred or so schools in Europe funded by governments since 1987.


From http://www.donga.com 05/16/2007

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S. Korea Leads World in Digital Opportunity Survey

South Korea maintained its top status in the level of information technology (IT) development for a third consecutive year in 2007, government officials said Wednesday. Citing a report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Ministry of Information and Communication said that South Korea topped the world in the union's Digital Opportunity Index (DOI). The DOI was first unveiled in November 2005 by the ITU and other business associations, which jointly conduct an annual survey of countries on how much they have advanced in IT infrastructure, their digital divide and applications of existing technologies. South Korea, which boasts one of the world's highest mobile phone and broadband Internet penetration rates, has kept the top position for a third year. "The ranking report proves once again that South Korea leads the world when it comes to IT development," the ministry said in a press release. Japan kept the second spot for two years in a row, with Denmark and Iceland both ranking third. On the top 10 list Taiwan ranked eighth and Hong Kong came in ninth, it added.


From Yonhap News 05/17/2007

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Samsung Develops 8-Gigabyte Memory Card for Mobile Phones

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday it has developed a memory card with the world's largest storage space for mobile phones.The 8-gigabyte micro SD card can store around 2,000 MP3 music files, 4,000 photographs or five DVD-quality movie files, the company said in a press release.The fingernail-sized memory card also boasts faster download and upload speeds of 16 megabyte per second and 6 megabyte per second, respectively, it added.The memory card market for mobile phones is rapidly growing as demand for high-end handset devices are increasing. According to market researcher Gartner Dataquest, the market for memory cards is expected to expand at an annual average of 10 percent by 2010.


From http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr 05/17/2007

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MONGOLIA: New IT Program Introduced

The Aptech World Mongolia" Training Center has introduced a brand information technology training of India in Mongolia. The center officially launched its activity in Ulaanbaatar on January 24 to conduct a two-year training course with the intention of preparing qualified computer specialists. At present, over 100 students are successfully studying in the training. The students, who have completed the course with high study marks, will be employed in banks and financial organizations. The center has made a decision to involve 4-10 grades` pupils of the secondary school No 23 in Ulaanbaatar, in an IT training starting from the next academic year in connection with IT sector has intensively been developed in Mongolia in recent years. The center will also introduce to Mongolia the graphic design and multimedia Arena training, which is leading the world educational market.


From http://www.montsame.mn 05/21/2007

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INDONESIA: More Telephone Services for Remote Areas, Minister Says

The government is forging ahead with its policy of developing telephone and information technology services in all rural areas in Indonesia by 2015, despite many regions still lacking basic infrastructure such as electricity and water services. State Minister for the Development of Disadvantaged Regions Saifullah Yusuf said the program was part of the government's mission to provide low-income consumers with better access to telecommunication services. "In addition to improving quality of life, wider access can have a significant positive impact on health, productivity, education and entrepreneurship," Saifullah said during a round table discussion at Yarsi University to celebrate its 40th anniversary on Monday. "There will be a positive effect if the program meets the specific needs of the poor population. In theory, three percent of telecommunications development will contribute to one percent of economic growth. At the same time, with telecommunications infrastructure, people will have more choices in building their lives," said Saifullah.

The policy is based on an international program known as Universal Service Obligation (USO) concerning the provision of telecommunication networks by operators so that the telecommunication needs of remote communities can be fulfilled. In response to the minister's comments, Marsudi Wahyu Kisworo, a telecommunications expert form the University of Indonesia, warned that inappropriate technology has the potential to exacerbate existing social and economic problems due to the diversity of the nation's population and their needs. "Information and telecommunications are not everything when we talk about Indonesia. The important thing is we must meet the basic needs of the people, which are different in every region," said Kisworo. He also said that the USO program, which initially aimed to be non-commercial, would eventually become commercial as the government would offer tenders to get new service providers for the program.

When the program commenced in 2004, its funding came from the state budget, but under a 2005 regulation, every telecommunications service provider is obliged to hand over 0.75 percent of their gross income for the development of the program. Under a 1999 telecommunications law, every telecommunications network operator and service operator is obliged to contribute to the universal service. Until now, the government has received Rp 80 billion (approximately US$8.7 million) of an expected Rp 500 billion. "The main problem is the continuity of operations and maintenance of infrastructure because programs are put under the supervision of local leaders. But we hope service providers will take full responsibility of infrastructure to ensure the continuity of the service," said PT Indosat Regulatory Group Head Dayu P. Rengganis. About 43,000 out of 73,000 villages in Indonesia currently have no access to telecommunication services.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 04/10/2007

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Awards for Software Programmers

JAKARTA: The Research and Technology Ministry and PT Telkom will present awards to programmers capable of developing 'open source' software to commemorate the 12th National Technology Day. The awards will only be presented to individuals or organizations whose products could be proven to be useful, original and unique. The last date to submit products to be judged is June 25. Open Source software has enabled people to make their own application software, such as writing programs or operating systems, from copyright-free tools available on the Internet. Those interested can visit the research ministry's website at www.ristek.go.id or Telkom's website at www.telkom.co.id. The awards will be presented on Aug. 10.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 04/24/2007

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MALAYSIA: Internet Centre Among the Best

The Desa Balik Pulau Internet Centre was among four organisations in Penang named as winners of the Chief Minister*s K-ICT Award. The other winners were Pentamaster In-formation Technology Bhd (e-Business), Pe-nang Port Commission (e-Service) and Motorola Technology Sdn Bhd (Knowledge Worker Development). Representatives of the organisations received their awards from the Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon at City Bayview Hotel in Penang on Wednesday. They received RM10,000 and a trophy each. The award, organised by the state government under the Penang K-ICT Council, is one of the programmes to highlight the critical role that ICT will play as a driver to the Penang's economic growth. The council also launched its logo that night. Dr Koh said K-ICT plan was aimed at transforming the is-land into an &Intelli-gent Land (i-Land)* by 2010. ※For the next five years, we will em- phasise bridging the knowledge and digital divides by promoting local content development and reliable, fast and affordable broadband network infrastructures and ICT products,§ he said.


From http://thestar.com.my 03/31/2007

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Ministry Banking on ICT to Achieve Objective

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry is looking to information and communication technology (ICT) to strengthen national schools. Minster Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the ministry would focus on its "Making Schools Smart" programme this month as well as on efforts to rebrand existing smart schools. This is in line with the third thrust of the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 每 strengthening national schools. The programme, Hishammuddin added, represented a continuous process in enhancing the use of ICT in education to upgrade the quality of teaching and learning, the administration and management of schools and the competence of teachers. "It involves efforts to provide all the ministry's schools with infrastructure, equipment, software and applications, training of teachers and change management programmes that are suitable and adequate," he said in a statement yesterday. Under the programme, all ICT initiatives 每 computer labs and the computerisation of schools, smart schools, the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English, Internet access through School-Net, software development courses, access centres and TV Pendidikan 每 will be streamlined. Hishammuddin also said the 88 smart schools introduced between 1999 and 2002 with the cooperation of the Multimedia Development Corporation would be upgraded and rebranded to make them models and a benchmark for the country's 10,000 schools. Meanwhile, Malaysia's achievements in education are now on display at an exhibition launched by the minister yesterday at the Unesco headquarter in Paris. Themed Celebrating 50 Years of Malaysia's Accomplishments, the five-day show would not only highlight Malaysian education system but also promote the country as a model of peace and unity through education, Hishammuddin said in a separate statement. The minister, leading a 12-member delegation to France and Swit- zerland up to Friday, said the six-day working trip would enable Malaysia to learn the best education-related practices of the French and Swiss governments. "These will include effective methods of learning and teaching, strategies in marketing educational products overseas, approaches in dealing with disabled students, the implementation of arts curricula at the school level and the creation of a network of international schools in the two countries," he said.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/03/20007

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KL City Hall Pledges to Improve E-delivery

MORE improvements will be done to make Kuala Lumpur City Hall's e-delivery system more effective and efficient. City Hall Information and Communications Technology Department director Mohammad Em-bong said the local authority would keep on introducing the latest digital services to benefit the public. "E-governance is a big word and people expect a more convenient way of doing things via the Internet and other online processes," he said in Shanghai, China, on March 29. "We launched the e-submission system in January and contractors and developers can now submit applications using CDs containing information on building plans and keep track of the progress of their applications through the Internet." Mohammad and another colleague represented City Hall at a workshop on e-Governance: Di-gital Local Agenda Awareness Raising organised by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (Unitar) from March 28 to 30, in collaboration with the Regional Network of Local Au-thorities for Management of Hu-man Settlements (CITYNET). It was hosted by CIFAL Shanghai, one of the 12 international training centres for local authorities under Unitar. City Hall has another centre at the Kuala Lum-pur Regional Training Centre. Mohammad said many digital services were already available via City Hall's website 每 www. dbkl.gov.my 每 such as e-perumahan which allowed qualified citizens to apply for public housing schemes, e-cukai pintu for the public to pay their assessment and e-summons for payment of summonses online.

However, he said more needed to be done to encourage the public to fully utilise the e-summons feature. "There have been a lot of hits and enquiries but when it comes to payment, people prefer going to the counter to see the compound officer and ask for discounts," he said. He added that perhaps it was necessary for City Hall to review its policy to offer discounts as well as to encourage online payments. To a question on whether City Hall would give the public the opportunity to highlight their opinions and interact with department heads through online chat sessions like what the Singaporean and Shanghai governments are doing, he said the local authority used to have an online forum but it was abused. "We have that option in our website and we can easily use it again," he said, adding that City Hall would continue to upgrade and add new features. At the workshop, City Hall presented a case study on its Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) application on enforcement for advertisement billboards while other countries' local authorities shared their experiences on e-procurement and digital management of health records. Unitar programme officer Akiko Miyahara said the workshop was for participants to share their experiences of using IT to make their governments more transparent, efficient and effective.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/04/2007

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ICT Boost for Schools

In a move to take schools in Malaysia fully into the information and communication technology era, the Education Ministry's target is to reduce the present computer to student ratio from 1:40 to at least 1:20. Education Minister Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the ministry planned to achieve this under its "Making Schools Smart" programme by building more computer laboratories and access centres in schools. "And it is also our target to have a computer to teacher ratio of at least 1:2," he said. The existing computer to teacher ratio is 1:3. According to Hishammuddin, the ministry has built 5,266 computer laboratories and 1,584 access centres 每 essentially cybercafes 每 in schools nationwide and 97% of schools have broadband access. The ministry, he said, had originally planned to have another 2,000 access centres. "But to ensure that students in rural areas are not left out, an additional RM72mil has been allocated to build a further 1,600," he said in a statement yesterday . Other additional allocations made include: ?RM72.1mil to equip preschool classes with five desktop computers for every 25 pupils in one class; ?RM113mil for courseware for teachers and students; and ?RM82mil to provide schools with teleconferencing facilities, satellite telephones and wireless faxes. "Under the programme, I hope we can transform the way teachers teach and students learn. This also includes the way teachers evaluate and assess their students and the way schools are managed," Hishammuddin said.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/16/2007

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Broadband Services Come Under Fire

PETALING JAYA: CEOs in the country are generally unhappy with the state of Malaysian broadband services, according to a recent survey. The majority (70% of those polled) find broadband Internet access slow. They said broadband service providers seem unable to deliver on the promised access speeds. Service providers TM Net and Jaring promise surfing speeds of between 512Kbps and 4Mbps. Many chief executives (64%) who took the survey, by Executives Working Together (TEC) Asia and the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), also said the service providers are generally inefficient. Others (56%) also complained that there is inadequate broadband coverage. They said coverage is spotty in areas that are about 1.5km away from service centres. A small number (35%) believe that there is a need for a better-defined government policy on broadband services. Such a policy, said the CEOs, would allow for more service providers to compete in the broadband space 每 a good thing because competition inevitably improves service quality. In.Tech contacted a few CEOs on its own and received a mixed bag of comments. Datuk Joseph Lourdes Solomon at NGT Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd, a networking solutions company, agrees with the survey's findings. "Services are not up to standard," he said. "People are with their PC more than their TV nowadays. Web content should be delivered a lot more smoothly." Datuk Praba Thiagarajah, of managed services and solutions provider Basis Bay Sdn Bhd, also believes the results are accurate. He said there should be more broadband service providers competing for subscribers. "This would mean better services," he explained. However, budget airline AirAsia Bhd's Datuk Tony Fernandes doesn't think that the broadband services are all that bad. "There's been a vast improvement in services over the years, and we haven't experienced many service interruptions," he said. TM Net and Jaring did not respond to calls for comment by press time. More than 170 CEOs were polled during the exercise, which is officially known as the TEC-MIER confidence index survey. TEC Asia members comprise of businesses with annual sales that range from RM5mil to RM1bil. The organisation has more than 240 members in more than 65 different businesses.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/17/2007

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Double Digit IT Growth to Continue

Market research company IDC tells In.Tech what's currently hot and what's not in Malaysia as well as the region with regards to the ICT industry. The overall IT growth in Malaysia this year, which includes hardware, software and other IT services, is expected to be between 12% and 15%, international market research company IDC said. IDC Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines research director Linus Lai believes that this growth is due to events like the strengthening of the ringgit and the funding allocated in the Ninth Malaysia Plan for business and IT expenditure. He also said that the main driver of this growth, which is similar to last year's performance, would be more consumer-driven especially as PC-to-notebook migration increases.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 05/01/2007

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IASA Malaysia Launches First State Chapter

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Association of Software Architects (IASA) Malaysia has launched its first state chapter, that of Penang. The founding of a Penang chapter reflects the fact that the state has the second largest concentration of software experts in the country after the Klang Valley. The soft launch of the state chapter, held at the Legend Hotel here, coincided with the opening of the IASA IT Symposium 2007, a two-day gathering of IT architects based in and around South-East Asia. Deputy Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Datuk Kong Cho Ha, who officiated at the event, said his minstry needs a lot of support from the ICT (information and communications technology) industry and organisations like IASA. He said the government's agenda is to create an environment in which the software development industry, in particular software architects, can flourish. "We need NGOs (non-government organisations) like IASA to help create that environment," Kong said. The symposium, the first event of its kind in this region, featured 30 seminars and tracks on the fundamentals of software architecture, as well as software architecture, infrastructure architecture and enterprise architecture.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 05/03/2007

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Star Rating for School ICT Usage

KOTA BARU: The Information Communication Technology (ICT) division of the Education Ministry will grade government schools on their usage of ICT with a star rating system similar to hotels. Division director Yusoff Harun announced that five-star rating would be accorded to schools where students used 80% of the computers and equipment installed during curriculum and extra-curricular activities. "This is one approach to measure the effectiveness of ICT in schools," he said after visiting the state education department here. The development of ICT in Malaysia can be realised only if the young started to comprehend and use the technology, Yusoff said. "We cannot wait for teachers and parents to be ready, as technology nowadays evolves fast. "The time to learn begins now," he said. Yusoff said the teachers must take full advantage of ICT in schools to make their work more accessible and presentable to students. On the smart schools concept, Yusoff said 88 out of the 10,000 earmarked for elevation had started operations. The remaining schools would be upgraded in stages, as the ministry needed to train and select the teachers and students. Yusoff said ICT usage would also be measured in such schools. In a related development, the state education department's ICT department head Zamri Zakaria has personally sponsored an Internet broadband access link for SK Tanjung Indera Petra, in the hope of encouraging more teachers to equip themselves with knowledge on online usage. Zamri said that teachers could pool their resources to make available the access.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 05/14/2007

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PHILIPPINES: Tourism Department Builds Data Center

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is putting up its own data center to enhance online tourism-related services. The DOT has tapped DBP Data Center Inc. (DCI) as consultant in constructing the data center and likewise upgrading the department's local area network. According to DCI, the data center will enhance DOT's tourism portal. The portal provides information on local tourist spots and also online accreditation, virtual locator maps, hotel inquiries and booking and reservation. The project is part of DOT's three-year Information Systems and Strategic Plan. DCI is a government-owned and -controlled corporation that provides IT services to government agencies.


From http://archive.inquirer.net 05/19/2007

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SINGAPORE: MUIS to Launch New Website to Steer Youths Away from Radical Ideas

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) will soon launch an interactive website dedicated to young people. This is to engage them and steer them away from websites that preach radical ideas about Islam. This was revealed by MUIS President Muhammad Alami Musa at a seminar attended by 250 students from various junior colleges, pre-U centres and madrasahs. At the same event, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim cautioned that those who are naive, disillusioned or angry can become targets for terrorist recruiters. There are reportedly more than 6,000 radical websites pushing radical ideas, even though they may look innocent. This is why the new MUIS website called 'INVOKE' hopes to guide Muslim youths and act as a tool for them to reject radical ideologies. The seminar - 'Building Resilient Youth' - is a joint effort between MUIS and Taman Bacaan. The seminar also marks the beginning of a three-year plan by MUIS to engage young people by deploying more resources and introducing more outreach programmes.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 03/12/2007

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New Web Portal Launched to Promote Community Engagement Efforts

Community engagement in Singapore is going into cyberspace, with the launch of a web portal called Singapore United. It was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng at the National Seminar on the Community Engagement Programme (CEP) on Saturday. Recent surveys have shown that Singaporeans respect each other's faiths, beliefs and practices. But Mr Wong said this was not static or permanent. Addressing religious leaders and representatives from the media, businesses, schools and grassroots organisations, Mr Wong reiterated the need to guard against terrorist threats. One way was to keep everyone informed and connected. Hence, the launch of Singapore United, a platform to share ideas and check out a host of community engagement activities. Mr Wong said that the name Singapore United was inspired by comments and suggestions from members of the media. The website may also serve as an avenue to disseminate information in times of crisis or to educate the young. Abdul Mutalif Hashim, Chairman, Inter-Racial Confidence Circle, Choa Chua Kang RC, said, "The young, they like to surf. A lot of these websites, there's no limitation, there's a lot of negative element in these websites. So if you have this portal, we try to portray the positive side, balance their thinking." Mr Wong noted that many people have volunteered to help since the CEP was launched a year ago. Although he was heartened by what has been achieved, he stressed that maintaining good communal relations was always a work in progress.

Mr Wong said that on the whole, Singaporeans of all races and religions behaved responsibly and acted with restraint, ensuring that conflicts outside of Singapore do not trigger insensitive actions here. While it is not possible to isolate the community from such conflicts, Mr Wong emphasised that there is a line that must not be crossed. He added, "And the line is simple - our priority is to our own society and the safety and security of Singaporeans, regardless of their race and religion. We may offer aid or comfort to the victims of violence. We could do so openly and through responsible channels so that our efforts will not be subverted. We must not cross the line to support radical organisations preaching religious hatred of others or participate in terrorist acts of violence against others." The priority, Mr Wong said, must be the safety and security of Singaporeans But the people must recognise that the city-state could be hit by terrorists - and this was why they must be prepared to prevent reckless behaviour on the ground. Sebastian Chua, Chairman, Inter-Racial Confidence Circle, Punggol South RC, said, "We could have more community-bonding activities. At the same time, we are planning to fulfil our role basically as an ambassador or counsellor in the event of any tension. Of course this inter-faith platform will also go a long way to diffuse any crisis." At a closed door dialogue later, participants agreed that grassroots leaders needed to be more pro-active, and work with schools to reach out to the young.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 03/24/2007

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S'pore Sees More Public Sector Participation in 2nd Clipper Race

There is greater public sector participation in the second Clipper Round The World Yacht Race. Staff from two ministries are taking part in the international competition for the first time. Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who launched the Uniquely Singapore yacht at St Katharine's Dock in London on Sunday, said the Manpower and Foreign Affairs Ministries are sponsoring a few employees for the race. He said greater private and public sector collaboration in the race highlights the quality of Singapore's global enterprises as well as raises Singapore's profile as a choice destination to live, work and play. Singapore' participation in the race is sponsored by Keppel Corporation, with the Singapore Tourism Board as race partner. Keppel is also sponsoring seven of its employees for the race. Ten countries, including Australia, China and the US, are taking part in the race, navigating the high seas over a period of ten months. The race will be officially launched in Liverpool in September. In January next year, the fleet will make a 10-day stopover in Singapore where they will be berthed at the new Marina@Keppel Bay. Singapore came in fifth in last year's race, winning two legs of the competition. Mr Tharman said: "It (the race) is one of the many ways in which Singapore's getting well known across the world, a small island but big aspirations. It's not just about business but familiarity with Singapore, what the Singapore brand is about. It's a brand that is not just about being reliable and trustworthy, but increasingly, being adventurous." While in London, Mr Tharman, who is accompanied by a group of principals, will also visit top UK schools. This is to learn more about their leadership and talent development programmes. These may be incorporated into Singapore's schools offering the integrated programme and subsequently to other schools. Mr Tharman said: "This time, we are looking carefully at the top British schools to see how they go about developing strong individuals and bonds and loyalties among students."


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 05/13/2007

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3D Digital Navigation Maps for Cars by 2009

Getting lost will soon be a thing of the past for drivers, with a software that looks set to take them closer to the future. They will no longer need to ask for directions when they are behind the wheel, thanks to the introduction of 3D digital maps. Tele Atlas is the company responsible for the software. It has hooked up with BMW to install the 3D software in its next generation cars in Singapore and Malaysia in two years' time. And it is not just drivers who will be able to use the software. The company is also aiming to install it in hand-held devices like the Blackberry, the Mio, as well as Nokia mobile phones. Tele Atlas has yet to disclose the cost of using the 3D digital maps.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 04/16/2007

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THAILAND: Government Servants E-network Less

STAFF in the Government sector use online communications less than the general workforce in Malaysia, according to a recent workplace survey by recruitment agency Kelly Services Inc. The survey found that although the use of online tools at the workplace is becoming pervasive, with 78 per cent of workers regularly using e-mail, the Internet or both, only 53 per cent of Government (central and local) workers believe such tools will improve the quality of their output, the lowest percentage of any sector. To a question on whether the Internet increases productivity, Government workers are the most doubtful at 59 per cent against the average 78 per cent. On the whole, the survey found that the use of online communications has extended across most of the workforce in the country, with 64 per cent using both e-mail and the Internet, 10 per cent using e-mail only and four per cent using the Internet only. Just nine per cent used neither. According to Kelly Services, Malaysia's use of online communications at the workplace is relatively high by international standards, ranking 13th of the 28 countries in the survey. The highest users are Hong Kong, Mexico, India, Thailand and Indonesia. France, Puerto Rico and Switzerland have the lowest usage. The usage figures in themselves are interesting in that they appear unrelated to infrastructure capability.

For example, infrastructure in France and Switzerland is all pervasive, whereas in Thailand and Indonesia it is problematic. Yet workplace usage is high in both Thailand and Indonesia. Strict procedures on the availability and usage of the Internet might explain the lower level of enthusiasm of the Government employees polled. The Kelly Services Global Workforce Index sought the views of approximately 70,000 people in 28 countries, including almost 1,800 in Malaysia. There was overwhelming acceptance that technology has a positive impact on quality of work. Some 75 per cent said the use of e-mail increases productivity while 74 per cent said Internet access increases productivity. Besides that, men are slightly more enthusiastic users of e-mail and the Internet than women. And those with university qualifications are significantly heavier users. The survey also aimed at identifying incidences of e-mail identified as spam and those that are simply time-wasting and unnecessary. The experience in Malaysia shows a worrying trend of e- mail that are unsolicited or have no clear purpose. Some 45 per cent of workers reported a high volume of e-mail that are either time- wasting or unnecessary, and 43 per cent complained of high volumes of spam. The Malaysian figure is similar to the global figure, and it is little wonder that both public e-mail providers and corporate intranet managers are investing significantly in anti-spam filters.


From http://www.redorbit.com 05/14/2007

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VIET NAM: PM Urges IT Sector Growth, Automation of State Services

HA NOI 〞 Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved an ambitious plan last week designed to make the Vietnamese information technology sector into a major employer. The Programme on Digital Industry Development Through 2010 sets an ambitious 35-to-40 per cent annual growth target for the sector. It also aims to foster 10-20 large, domestic IT firms 每 each with more than 500 workers 每 by the beginning of the next decade. The plans also aims to have revenues touch US$400 million. Under the programme, the country*s library system and some health records would be digitised during the next four years. The plan contains eight major components: completing the legal and regulatory framework; developing market policies and solutions; developing products and services; mobilising labour forces and attracting investment; improving the internet and telecommunications infrastructure; human resource training; stepping up research; and strengthening intellectual property rights enforcement. The programme would be divided into three stages. In the first stage, starting this year, the Government would focus on building a legal framework. The programme proper would be carried out during 2008-10. The Prime Minister ordered the Ministry of Post and Telematics to co-operate with other ministries and Government departments to conduct the programme. The costs for the programme were expected to hit VND1.28 trillion (US$80 million). Forty per cent was expected to come from the State budget, 30 per cent from local budgets and the rest from domestic and foreign organisations.

Dung has also ordered increased use of information technology in State offices, although he recently halted a project to computerise State administration during 2001-05. The project, known as Project 112, was launched six years to modernise and streamline State administrative systems with common software to be used at all State offices. The software was to unify Government computer processes and help the State reform its administrative procedures. Alongside the implementation of common software, the project aimed to provide IT training courses for all State staff in an effort to catch Viet Nam up to international standards and development in the new global context. The project*s common software programme would have included software for analysing socio-economic data, database management software, and software needed to create a shared electronic information page providing guidance and operational assistance to 27 provinces and 15 ministries. Dung acknowledged some gains from the project, such as new equipment for ministries, sectors and localities, and training courses held for State employees, but it failed to meet its overall goal to computerise State administration. He asked the project*s project management board, made up mostly of officials from the Government Office, to review their work and solve related problems.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 05/07/2007

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INDIA: PMC Asks Builders to Present E-plans for Building

In India, Pune is taking one more step towards e-Governance programmes. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has asked builders to present their building plans in an electronic format. Now, architect will present their building plans in electronic formats as PMC has ceased to accept it in drawing paper. PMC is planning to start this service from April 1, 2007. Nitin Kareer, PMC commissioner announced this at the annual meet of the Promoters and Builders' Association of Poona (PBAP). He announced that all the development control (DC) rules have been converted into AutoCAD files, which will screen and compare the plans with the DC rules and point out deviations.


From Financial Express 03/30/2007

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Punjab, India Moves for E-Agriculture Services

The State Government of Punjab (India) is moving towards the direction of e-Agriculture by setting up 'Kisan Soochna Kendras', a network of agricultural information kiosks with broadband connectivity across the state. Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd. (HFCL), famous for operations in the field of tele-communications will set up more than 2000 e-Kiosks in the state under its brand name, 'Connect'. The company will invest around INR 100 million in this project. The project would be implemented in phases . The project will hope to bridge the gap between the rural populace and the various departments of the government, as well as agricultural universities, and medical and veterinary institutions. Each kiosk would be be equipped with PCs for Internet connectivity with printing facilities. Under the project, a touch screen kiosk would be set up for every 5-village cluster, which will provide information on Agriculture and hHorticulture. This joint venture will help state government and HFCL Infotel Ltd. (HITL) to work towards information infrastructure and enhance the rural telephony and Broadband endeavor in the state.


From Punjab News Online 05/10/2007

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E-Choupal Connects Farmers of India

Indian retail sector has introduced e-Choupal to empower farmers of India. e-Choupal, where farmers can access Internet for agricultural information. The e-Choupals serve as both a social gathering place for exchange of information and an e-commerce hub. e-choupal has also established a low-cost fulfillment system focused on the needs of rural India, which helps in mitigating rural isolation, create more transparency for farmers, and improve their productivity and incomes. A local farmer works as a sanchalak (coordinator) runs the village e-Choupal, and the computer usually is located in the sanchalak's home. ITC has also incorporated a local commission agent, known as the samyojak (collaborator), into the system as the provider of logistical support. The company is expecting that each e-Choupal will serve around 10 villages within a five-kilometer radius. The first goal of the e-Choupal is to deliver real-time information and secondly, farmers can directly sell their crops without any help of an agent.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/17/2007

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SRI LANKA: Mahavilachchiya, the First E-village in Sri-Lanka

Soon children of Mahavilachchiya, village of Sri-Lanka can check their e-mail, do research for their homework assignments and read local news on their computers. Mahavilachchiya has become the Sri-Lanka's first e-Village and boasts the highest computer density of any other village in the country. The Horizon Lanka Foundation, a local NGO has made the Mahavilachchiya project possible. The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) through a partnership with Enterprise Technology (Pvt) Ltd (ETPL) and a grant from the Pan Asia R&D Grants Program was responsible for the implementation of the project. In Mahavilachchiya the Horizon Lanka Academy has provided numerous students with access to ICT. The Foundation also features laptops, internet connectivity and an extensive computer lab; resources found in less than 10% of Sri Lankan schools and previously only available in affluent areas. The e-Village project aims to increase opportunities for growth and provide a better quality of life for people in rural communities. The e-Village project is setting new standards for the nation as well as bridge the digital divide for other countries.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/20/2007

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AFGHANISTAN: Digging and Implementation of Optical Fibers Starts

Today on Sunday, April 15, 2007 the digging of Optical Fiber (backbone project) of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was started by ZTE. In a gathering made for this purpose in Kotal Khair Khana on Kabul-Charikar highway H. E. Ahmadzia Massoud first vice president, H. E. Eng. A. Sangin Minister of Communications and information Technology (MCIT), Deputy Minister Administration of Finance and H. E. Ambassador of China for Afghanistan and other senior official of the Ministry of Communications and IT and Afghan Telecom were present. First, H. E. Ahmad Zia Massoud first vice president of Afghanistan delivered a speech to the session and said that by implementing and completing of this essential project the quality of the broadcasting system of the radio, TV, Phone and internet will get better and on the other hand the cost of calls and internet will also be reduced dramatically. Secondly, H. E. Eng. Amirzai Sangin Minister of Communications and IT addressed the gathering and said that this optical fiber cable crosses 16 provinces of Afghanistan and runs a long the national highway of the country and will also covers most districts.

H. E. Eng. A. Sangin Ministry of Communications and IT also explained that through implementing and completing of this project Afghanistan will be connected to its neighboring countries like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan, and in addition through these countries Afghanistan will also be connected to Asian and European countries by high speed earth link. H. E. Eng. A. Sangin Ministry of Communications and IT also said that through this project people of Afghanistan will get jobs from 3-5 months because this optical fiber cable runs a long the national highway of the country and will get benefits from it. At last, the digging work of this large and basic project was started by H. E. first vice president Ahmad Zia Masoud who cut a ribbon and by made the first dig in the Kotal Khairkhana in front of a large gathering. The project was awarded to a Chinese company called ZTE through an international bidding process in the Ministry of Communications and IT a year ago and finally the project was awarded to ZTE the Chinese company by the cost of 64.5 M USD. This important project will be accomplished within 26 months.


From http://www.moc.gov.af/ 04/16/2007

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IRAN: 2nd Mobile Phone Production Line Kicks Off

All tests on the mobile telephone handset will be conducted under the supervision of the Industries and Mines Ministry. A top official at the Industries and Mines Ministry said on Wednesday that mass production in the second production line of mobile telephone handsets has begun in Shiraz, Fars province. Director general of Electric and Metal Industries noted that production of mobile telephone handset, named GTX, was officially launched last week. According to a press release faxed to Iran Daily, Alireza Nourpour asserted that all tests on the mobile telephone handset will be conducted under the supervision of the Industries and Mines Ministry. ※Iranian companies will have full access to technology transfer in software section,※ he added. Commenting on most important advantages of domestic production of mobile phone handsets, Nourpour listed them as job creation, transfer of technical knowledge in advanced telecommunications industries, particularly software, and very suitable after sales service for customers. ※Since the main issue in production of cellular phones is tests by specialists conducted after production, such tests are not completely conducted for many brands of imported mobile phones,※ he added. Nourpour contended that radiations tests are of prime importance for the safety of users and domestically-produced mobile handsets will not face such problem. The first factory to manufacture mobile phone handsets opened in Hashtgerd, Tehran province, in March. It has more than 200 after sales service centers throughout the country.


From http://www.iran-daily.com/ 05/19/2007

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TURKEY: Natural Disaster Information & Research Center to Be Established

Natural Disaster Information & Research Center will be established in Turkey. Sub-centers will be erected in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. A protocol was signed in Ankara on Wednesday for the project to be carried under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Turkish, Tajik, Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Ukrainian officials were in attendance at the signing ceremony. Meanwhile, Ministry of Public Works & Housing Ministry Undersecretary Sabri Erbakan said that Turkey had suffered serious damage and lost many of citizens in natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, floods and avalanches in the last decade. "The center aims at reducing damage caused by such natural disasters. We will exchange our information and experiences, and develop technical cooperation among the relevant countries," Erbakan added.


From http://www.turkishpress.com/ 03/22/2007

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TURKMENISTAN: New Issue of Science and Technology Journal Published

The second issue of the scientific-and-theoretical journal of the Supreme Council for Science and Technology under the President of Turkmenistan is opened with a Letter of Gratitude addressed the head of state Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov from the participants of the conference ※Introduction of Scientific Achievements into Production 每 Guarantee of Rich Harvests in Agriculture§ held in Ashgabat on 12 April 2007 on working out efficient measurwes for practical realisation of the historical decisions of the XX People*s Council. An article written by G.M. Berdymuhammedov himself covers the issues of the national health care. Having head the national health care for several years and been an elaborator and direct executor of the Programme ※Health§ initiated by the first President Saparmurat Niyazov, the author describes the stages of one of the first state programmes of independent Turkmenistan which laid the foundation of the new national model of health care combining the wise experience of the ancestors and modern trends in medicine.

The article gives statistical data on fall in the level of morbidity due to measures taken in 1995 每 2006 for prophylaxis and early diagnostics of different diseases and analyses the contribution in these achievements of the large medical centres whose work from the period of their establishment to the formed system of functioning was directly controlled by the head of the national health care. The main block of the journal is scientific articles in the sphere of medical and biological research, economy and practice of agriculture, natural sciences, technologies in oil refining, philology and history. In particular, specialists of the Turkmen State medical Institute A. Durdieva, G. Charieva, G. Ataeva and H. Kurbanov write about the results of their research during which causes of changes in human organism and the ways of prophylaxis of pathologies were determined. The papers presented at the conference ※Introduction of Scientific Achievements into Production 每 Guarantee of Rich Harvests in Agriculture§ and also such articles on realising the reforms in agricultural production as that of N. Halov ※

On Issues of Improvement of the Activities of Farmers* Associations, of A. Esen ※Stages of Development and Prospect of the Water industry in Turkmenistan§, of K. Mamedov ※Influence of Selection and Seed-Growing on Cotton Yield§ and of O.Soyunov and N. Taylakov ※Ways of Optimisation of Use of Pesticides and Nitrate Fertilisers§ are published in a separate section. The specialists of the Oil and Gas Institute M.S. Tashliev, D.S. Ragimov, V.S. Sibirev and A.O. Charieva published a collective work ※Lithologic Characteristic Features and Thickness of Jurassic Strata in the East of the Bokurdak Trap and Sub-Kopetdag Flexure§. H.G. Bekmammedov and S.U. Kadyrov from the Turkmen Polytechnic Institute present their elaboration of the system of a V-Lever Mechanism for Delayed Carbonisation of Naphtha Residues. The application of this method in a coke reactor allows full mechanisation of production and exclusion of manual labour. A. Nurmuhammedov (Magtymguly Institute of Language and Literature) touches upon some linguistic issues regarding the Turkmen language. At the final pages the readers can find translations into Turkmen of V.V. Bartold*s essays about the Turkmen rulers: Bugrakhan, Atsiz and Bayramali Khan and also a collection of materials from the global information net on nanotechnologies.


From http://www.turkmenistan.gov.tm/ 05/07/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: 3.4m People Use Services of Mobile Companies

Number of mobile users in Uzbekistan reached 3.4 million users as of 1 April 2007, a session of Cabinet Ministers' complex on information-communication technologies said. The session, which summed up results of January-March 2007, the number of internet users made up 1.745 million people in the reporting period. It was said that industries of the complex produced services and products for 172.14 billion soums in the first quarter 2007 or up 50.2% year-on-year.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 04/17/2007

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AUSTRALIA: ICT Secrets Unearthed

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Senator Helen Coonan, today announced that judging for the 2006 Secrets of Australian ICT Innovation competition was complete. ※The competition, now in its fifth year, has once again unearthed a wealth of innovative products and services being created in the Australian ICT industry,§ Senator Coonan said. The competition attracted 121 applications from all states and territories except Tasmania, across seven categories〞business industrial software solutions, communication applications, security, commerce, health, learning and entertainment. Following the two-stage judging process, 21 companies will now share in $105,000 worth of prizes that will help them showcase their products and ideas to customers, partners and investors in Australia and overseas. ※The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the development of the Australian ICT industry,§ Senator Coonan said. ※We understand that innovation〞developing skills, generating new ideas and turning them into commercial success〞is the key to the nation*s future prosperity, with economic and social benefits for all Australians.§ Senator Coonan will announce the winners of the 2006 competition at a cocktail function in Melbourne on 13 March 2007. ※The winning companies will now gain valuable exposure for not only for their products and services but for the entire Australian ICT industry.§ The Secrets of Australian ICT Innovation competition is an initiative of the Committee Marketing ICT of Australia and has received support from state and territory governments, industry associations and research bodies. The competition is an industry/government partnership with significant sponsorship provided by major multinational ICT companies, Cisco Systems Australia and Dell Australia. Website support has been provided by CentricMinds.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 03/01/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Reports Released on Key Disability Issues

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan today welcomed the release of two independent consultancy reports on communications disability equipment and services. ※The two reports address different aspects of the disability equipment issue,§ Senator Coonan said. ※This issue has been of concern to many in the disability community with the rapid development and deployment of digital technologies. ※The reports reflect the independent findings and assessment of consultants contracted by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts to undertake the studies.§ The first report, Review of the provision of telecommunications equipment to consumers with disabilities, looked at the current arrangements in place for providing equipment to people with disabilities. It examined the adequacy of the current legislative, regulatory and self-regulatory framework for the provision of telecommunications equipment and of disability equipment programs provided by the Universal Service Provider〞Telstra〞and other carriers. It also examined information on international arrangements for the provision of specialised telecommunications equipment. The second report, Assessment of text any-to-any connectivity options〞future directions for text communications, assessed the technical feasibility and financial viability of the text server proposed by the Communications Alliance, formerly the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF). The proposed text server provides any-to-any text connectivity for people who are deaf or who have a hearing or speech impairment. The report also identified and assessed alternative Australian and international solutions that had arisen since the release of the ACIF report. This is the first time that an independent report has been conducted on arrangements for the provision of disability equipment since 1998. ※The findings of these independent reports are an important part of the Australian Government*s future policy development process,§ Senator Coonan said.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 03/01/2007

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$70 000 Sponsorship to Support Women in ICT

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today announced $70 000 in Australian Government funding to support women in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. ※Women account for less than 18 per cent of all ICT employees in the Australian ICT sector. The Australian Government is committed to increasing the productivity of Australia*s ICT sector through the improved retention and progression of female ICT professionals,§ Senator Coonan said. ※In an environment where the demand for ICT skills is increasing, retaining ICT professionals is crucial for individual businesses and the wider economy.§ Coinciding with International Women*s Day, the Australian Government is providing sponsorship of $70 000 to a training initiative aimed at encouraging the development of an ICT workplace that is attractive and flexible for women. The training initiative will be led and part funded by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Australian Computer Society (ACS). ※This training initiative will provide female ICT professionals and their employers with the confidence, knowledge and skills to address the cultural and workplace barriers that limit their ability to maintain and progress careers in the ICT sector,§ Senator Coonan said.

This initiative follows the Australian Government*s partICipaTion Summit, held in Sydney in September 2005. The summit sought to identify the barriers facing women in the ICT sector and discussed ways to encourage more women to study and work in ICT. The summit found that the ICT sector needs to focus on its strengths as a flexible and dynamic work environment for women. In addition, the sector needs to change the outdated perceptions of a career in technology and foster the careers of talented individuals when they enter the profession. The AIIA and ACS training initiative will build on and complement the current resources and training opportunities available to women, such as the Australian Government*s Women*s Leadership and Development Program, administered by the Office for Women. ※This program builds on the work the AIIA and ACS are doing together with the Industry Leaders Group. The Group is identifying solutions and developing long-term strategies to ensure our industry has the skills for the future,§ AIIA CEO Sheryle Moon said. ※The SET Up for Success program is about ensuring that the growing ICT sector is able to provide talented women with attractive and flexible career opportunities,§ Ms Moon added.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 03/08/2007

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Clever Networks - Smart Broadband Solutions for Rural and Regional Australia

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, today announced that sixteen projects have been successful under the first round of funding for the $113 million Clever Networks program. ※Along with the Government*s Australian Broadband Guarantee, Clever Networks continues the rollout of broadband access to all Australians wherever they live,§ Senator Coonan said. ※And a number of these projects are only possible as a result of previous Australian Government funding that has promoted the development and adoption of advanced tele-health and online-education services§. Senator Coonan said the following projects funded under the Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund (CCIF) provide a great example of what might be achieved under the Clever Networks Program. Charles Darwin University*s CCIF project - enabled a 17 km broadband fibre optic backbone between the University and a series of research and educational institutions, in the Desert Knowledge Precinct, to help improve educational services in the region and in the Northern Territory. The Loddon Connect CCIF project - provided 33 Victorian communities with access to a business grade DSL service providing clinical and administrative benefits to health service providers. The District Council of the Yorke Peninsula CCIF project - provided enhanced community access to data, voice and video capabilities within a 10 km wireless local loop around the towns of Maitland, Minlaton, Yorketown and Warooka in South Australia.

※The 16 successful Clever Networks projects will use the latest in broadband technology to improve service delivery in the areas of health, education, government and emergency services for communities throughout rural and regional Australia,§ Senator Coonan said. ※As a result of the coordinated approach promoted by the Australian Government, $49 million from the Australian Government*s Clever Networks program has been boosted to a total of $145 million over the next three years, delivering broadband to communities across Australia far and wide§. Included in the range of successful applications are projects that will provide: improved technology in public hospitals and health care facilities a llowing doctors and health care providers to share patient records and x-rays across secure networks〞delivering better patient services for communities in regional and remote Australia remote diagnostic services to local communities and rural homesteads; improved care and services to clients of health and disability services with encouraged flexible learning for therapists; improved communications to better deliver local business and community-wide benefits in regional centres; supporting integrated emergency services management to improve coordination of police, fire and emergency services; and enhanced broadband connections to many regional and remote schools, including those in Indigenous communities. ※I will be announcing the successful projects individually over coming weeks,§ Senator Coonan said. ※Clever Networks is part of the Australian Government*s broadband services that will ensure all Australians can benefit from fast broadband regardless of where they live.§


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 04/17/2007

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Clever Networks Smart Solutions for Regional Health Care

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today announced the second funding recipient under the first round of the Clever Networks program. The Greater Western Area Health Service will use broadband connectivity, together with three advanced clinical systems, to improve patient care in rural and regional areas of New South Wales. This project has been developed in partnership with NSW Health. It is proposed that $2 139 884 in funding will be provided by the Australian Government to the Greater Western Area Health Service, with matching funding from the NSW Government. The Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) is the largest Area Health Service in New South Wales, covering more than 55 per cent of the state. ※The GWAHS Clinical Outreach Program project will upgrade broadband infrastructure in 31 public hospital and health sites to support the roll-out of innovative clinical applications,§ Senator Coonan said. ※I am particularly pleased to see the innovative use of technology to bring doctors, other medical personnel and patients together in a way which will see benefits not only to individuals, but to regional Australia as a whole.§

Using broadband connectivity, the three systems will enable every clinician involved in a patient*s care (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists etc) to have a full understanding of the patient*s complete care needs and medical history. This will help medical teams work effectively across all parts of the system and across geographic boundaries. The new Mediview system will use broadband connections to allow remote assessment of patients across the Greater Western Region. This will allow an emergency patient in Broken Hill or Balranald to be assessed by an expert in Bathurst using remotely controlled cameras and two-way audio connections. The Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS) will support scheduling of procedures for patients, and work in conjunction with the Radiology Information Systems (RIS). The RIS will allow immediate access to a patient*s radiology images from any health facility connected to the network or from any location via the Internet. Remote reporting of medical images allows the radiologist to report on images without being physically at the hospital in which the image was generated. For example, a child in Bourke with a broken arm will be able to have an X-ray taken in their home town, and the diagnosis will be made by specialists in Orange, avoiding the need for extensive, time-consuming and potentially distressing travel.

The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system supports applications including electronic ordering of tests, reporting of results, management of theatre schedules as well as discharge and referral systems. This system will provide a common backbone across a total of 188 hospitals throughout NSW by June 2009. Clever Networks is a $113 million Australian Government program that will see smart solutions to improve delivery of services in regional, rural and remote Australia through innovative broadband projects. Other successful projects to receive Clever Networks first round funding will include virtual healthcare, remotely accessible interactive education services, and delivery of integrated state-wide emergency services.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 04/30/2007

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Launch of Telephone Registrations in New South Wales for the New &Do Not Call Register*

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, announced that people in New South Wales will be able to register for the national Do Not Call Register by telephone from today. ※People in New South Wales can register their personal home and mobile numbers by calling 1300 792 958 from the number they wish to register, for the cost of a local call. It will generally be unlawful for telemarketers to call these numbers after 31 May,§ Senator Coonan said. Australians have been able to register their telephone numbers online at www.donotcall.gov.au since 3 May. Postal application forms are also now available from Australia Post outlets. ※There has been a very high level of demand for the Register with over 500,000registrations received in the first week,§ Senator Coonan said. The Do Not Call Register allows families to re-claim their evenings as their own, to once again enjoy uninterrupted dinner times. ※Even if the call is being made from a foreign country, if the call is made on behalf of an Australian company, it will be illegal. ※While a very limited amount of calls will be allowed, including those from charities and market research companies, evidence shows the Register will greatly reduce the number of unsolicited calls.

※Registrations are valid for three years, and people can withdraw their registration at any time.§ The scheme becomes fully operational on 31 May. If consumers receive telemarketing calls more than a month after registering on the Do Not Call Register, they can lodge a complaint online at www.donotcall.gov.au or through the Do Not Call contact line, on 1300 792 958. Telemarketers will be required to &wash* their telephone contact lists via the Do Not Call Register from 25 May 2007 and from 31 May 2007 will be bound by the legislation and new rules for telemarketing calls. The Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Do Not Call Register (Consequential Amendments) Act 2006 were passed by Parliament on 22 June 2006 and gave the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) the task of establishing the Register.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 05/15/2007

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Green Too Early for Tech Market

CUSTOMERS are not yet ready to pay extra for green products in spite of growing concern for the environment, technology, media and telecoms executives told an industry summit this week. Ideas are multiplying for ways to save energy, increase recycling and use more environmentally friendly materials, but such measures could not be implemented fully unless consumers accepted at least some of the cost, the executives said. "If the individual is not willing to pay a little more for the environment, don't expect the industry to do it," Russell Ellwanger, chief executive of Israeli chip maker Tower Semiconductor said. "Industry has a responsibility but the one who needs to be responsible is the individual," Mr Ellwanger said at Reuters Global Technology, Telecoms and Media Summit in Paris. The impact of such companies on the environment is less visible than that of heavier industries, such as oil and gas producers or car manufacturers, but they are big consumers of energy and harmful materials as well.

Environmental issues have come under the spotlight as a growing number of scientists defend the idea that humans are responsible for climate change. "People start realising that this not just something to do to be hip but that it is absolutely necessary," Barbara Schaedler, chief marketing officer of Fujitsu-Siemens Computers said. Some executives noted how quickly the environment had emerged as a top concern and they were being asked increasingly what they planned to do about it. "I had never been asked that question until three months ago. This is the second time in the last week," Miles Flint, President of phone maker Sony Ericsson said. "It is clearly becoming more of an issue on people's agendas."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/21/2007

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Bell Rings for $61m Net

VICTORIA will soon announce a renewed IT services supplier panel as it revs up its $61 million Ultranet schools network project. Speaking in Sydney last week after meeting with representatives of the NSW IT industry, Victorian IT Minister Tim Holding said the four-year Ultranet project, designed to deliver a suite of online collaboration systems for students, teachers and parents, had been opened to expressions of interest. Industry responses are due by July 11, with a request for tender expected later in the year. The state would shortly announce the make-up of its new preferred supplier panel for IT services for government agencies, Mr Holding said. "We're in the process of refreshing the panel," and about 300 submissions had been made to join a panel that would include a number of new categories, he said. Successful bidders are expected to be named by the end of the month. Victoria recently launched a new market report designed to become the prime tendering reference for companies seeking to do IT business with the government. The Victorian Government Technology Market Report, compiled in conjunction with Dandolo Partners, includes information on the total technology budgets of government agencies, details of projects under way or planned, the cost of those projects and their funding status, as well as key project contacts. Mr Holding said the idea for the report had been "unashamedly stolen" from the Canadian government. "These reports are regarded as key collateral for any company serious about doing business with government," he said. The report, also available in electronic form, is expected to be refreshed every 18 months. Last month, Mr Holding visited India for talks with IT heavyweights including Satyam, Infosys, Wipro and TCS. A similar visit to China is planned later in the year. Mr Holding rounded on the federal Government over broadband, saying Prime Minister John Howard was out of touch with the online economy. "People don't think the Prime Minister goes home and worries about his broadband speed," Mr Holding said. "I don't think he's the most connected Prime Minister, and because of that, it's very hard for an issue like broadband to get the visibility in government that it should have. "This is the biggest national infrastructure issue we face. It's as big as any debate about the reform of ports."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/22/2007

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NEW ZEALAND: New Online Tool to Calculate Leave Entitlements

A new online tool designed to assist employers and employees calculate leave entitlements has been launched, says Labour Minister Ruth Dyson. "This tool will help will help employers organising work and leave arrangements for staff around the two statutory holidays coming up at Easter, and Anzac Day, which follows a few weeks later. "The Department of Labour's holidays online tool, launched today, provides a step-by-step process for calculating whether an employee is entitled to a paid public holiday, and if so, what their entitlement should be. It can be used to calculate payments for working on a public holiday. "It can also be used to work out sickness and bereavement leave entitlements. "The tool is designed to be used by employees as well as employers and recognises that not every worker has straightforward working conditions 每 people have different arrangements depending on the nature of their work. "It will be of particular use to people employed in more complex work arrangements, such as shift work or intermittent work, and by people who get paid by piece rates or commission. "This will be useful for industries which don*t have traditional 'nine to five' working hours 每 such as the horticulture, manufacturing, and hospitality industries."


From http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ 03/22/2007

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EUROPE: Wi-Fi Networks Still Insecure in London's City

LONDON (05/01/2007) - After years of stark warnings, many Wi-Fi networks located in London's City financial district still lack basic levels of security, a security vendor claims to have found. According to security testing company NTA Monitor, which recently assessed security using passive monitoring, internal resources such as printer queues could be found quite easily, while other networks used only weak WEP security to keep network traffic from prying eyes. Astonishingly, others used no encryption at all. "If a stranger walks into an office and connects to your network, it's quite likely that they'd be challenged by someone working there. But by sitting in a caf谷 with a laptop they're pretty inconspicuous and probably out of sight of the office whose network they're connecting to," said NTA's technical director Roy Hills. "For a malicious user wishing to connect to a corporate network, the City seems to be an ideal location," he said. A further problem the company noticed was that access points could be named in ways that might make users susceptible to hacking. For instance, where more than one Wi-Fi node was in use by one enterprise, names could often be very similar, as well as generic. Using distinctive names, and keeping access points separate in the minds of users would make it harder for hackers to impersonate access points using similar-sounding 'evil twins.' The company gave no details of which size of companies were found to have problems, nor any percentages on specific security problems. The issue is timely. At last week's Infosecurity Europe Show, the issue of 'evil twin' access points reared its head once again. According to ISS, these are still one of the commonest ways to mine credit card and other password data from the general public, despite having been a high-profile problem for several years. (by John E. Dunn)


From Techworld.com 05/03/2007

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NORTH AMERICA: OMB - Agencies Make Headway with IT Security

The state of the government*s cybersecurity position has improved over the past year, but significant holes remain, especially in the areas of categorizing the risk level of systems and training, according to the Office of Management and Budget.OMB found that more than 700 systems, including 397 managed by agencies, had not been categorized as high, medium or low risk. Also, the administration said more agency employees have received information technology security training 〞 up 10 percent since last year 〞 but more needs to be done. In its fourth annual Federal Information Security Management Act report sent to Congress March 1, OMB said it will rely on the Security Line of Business effort to better train employees by using a standard program. OMB named three shared-service centers for security training in February: the Office of Personnel Management, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Defense Department.Overall, OMB found that agencies have certified and accredited 89 percent of the 10,595 federal systems. This is a 1 percent increase since last year on more than 300 systems that departments identified. State and the Homeland Security Department made the most progress, while four agencies 〞 which the report does not name 〞 did not characterize the risk of a significant number of systems, OMB said.

※This suggests these agencies are not prioritizing their systems and working to secure the systems presenting the highest-risk impact level, nor do they know at what level to secure those systems not categorized,§ the report states. ※OMB intends to follow up individually with these agencies.§The report also said agencies also made progress in testing their security controls and contingency plans. OMB found that 88 percent of all systems had their security controls tested, while 77 percent of them had their contingency plans tested. This is up from 61 percent and 72 percent, respectively, last year.DOD increased its system testing by more than 30 percent last year, OMB noted.Agencies also are paying more attention to systems managed by contractors. OMB said 18 of 24 agencies said they either frequently, mostly, or almost always have sustained oversight of contractor-run systems.Beyond securing their systems, agencies also recorded a large increase in the number of security incidents reported to the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).Agencies reported 706 unauthorized accesses, up from 304 in 2005. OMB credits most of the increase to the focus on reporting lost or stolen computers and other hardware containing personal identifiable information.※Privileged or root system access accounted for 25 percent of unauthorized access incidents, more than double that of non-privileged access,§ the report states.

Meanwhile, denial-of-service attacks increased by six in 2006 to 37, while incidents involving malicious code dropped to 1,465 from 1,806 in 2005.※The reason for this is probably two-fold 〞 no major virus outbreaks of note in fiscal year 2006, and improvements in patching systems in a timely manner prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited,§ the report states.OMB did say that the number of incidents being investigated increased by 11 times. Officials credit the increased use of intensive analysis of suspicious traffic under the Einstein program, run by CERT.※Over the next year, OMB will work with federal agencies to increase the exchange of packet level information regarding incidents, which have penetrated an agency*s perimeter,§ the report states. ※Sharing this data will enable more effective analysis of attacks targeting multiple federal agencies, and may enable more timely responses to new threats.§(by Jason Miller)


From http://www.fcw.com/ 03/02/2007

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US: NIST Issues RFID Guidelines on Security

Agencies deploying radio frequency identification systems now have a set of security and privacy best practices to follow. In a recent report, ※Guidelines for Securing Radio Frequency Identification Systems,§ the National Institute of Standards and Technology recommended steps for mitigating security or privacy risks when deploying RFID. The guidelines focus specifically on the use of RFID technologies for asset management, tracking, matching, and process and supply chain control. Although RFID has the potential to improve logistics, reduce expenses and increase safety, it carries a risk of eavesdropping and unauthorized use, the NIST report states. NIST prepared the report to meet requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 that it assist federal agencies in adequately securing their information technology systems. Although intended primarily for a federal audience, the recommendations apply equally to the private sector, NIST said. NIST*s list of best practices includes installing firewalls between RFID databases and an organization*s other IT systems, encrypting RFID signals, authenticating systems to identify approved users, shielding RFID tags to prevent eavesdropping, auditing procedures such as logging and time stamping to detect breaches, and disabling or destroying used tags to protect sensitive data.(by John Rendleman, GCN Staff)


From http://www.gcn.com/ 05/07/2007

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US: Convergence of Physical and IT Security Becoming a Necessity

Physical attacks increasingly will be accompanied by cyber attacks that will magnify the impact of the assault or hamper response, according to analysts with the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit. "In the future, we will see that cyber vulnerabilities will determine where physical attacks will take place," Scott Borg, director and chief economist of the US-CCU said Wednesday at the GovSec conference being held in Washington. Combining physical and IT security will be necessary to provide adequate protection to the nation's critical infrastructure, he said. "Physical security is becoming utterly dependent on cyber security," Borg said. ※And cyber security is becoming utterly dependent on physical security. Handling these things separately is not going to be possible for very much longer and do a good job.§ The Cyber Consequences Unit is a government-funded independent research organization that looks at real world vulnerabilities and consequences of security breaches. Much of the research is done with on-site examinations of facilities. "We keep finding huge security holes in companies that said they were compliant with the ISO standards," Borg said. Many of the holes are in areas that fall between the IT and physical security organizations, or where the areas overlap and security on one side can be circumvented on the other.

Areas of overlap that creat vulnerabilities include IP-enabled surveillance systems. Many systems have inadequate IT security and can be accessed through the Internet or through wireless networks, letting an outsider manipulate the system, said John Bumgarner, US-CCU research director for security technology. IP-enabled control systems offer another avenue of attack or manipulation of physical systems, he said. Physical authentication and access control systems, which often include wireless chip readers, are vulnerable to interception so that cards and biometric templates can be copied or spoofed. On the other side of the equation, access to physical facilities can make IT infrastructure vulnerable. "If you get physical access, you can circumvent all kinds of cyber security," to launch an attack from the inside, Bork said. How much of this activity is actually happening is difficult to say, because reports typically lag and this is a relatively new area of study, the researchers said. But there is a lot of chatter on hacker Web sites and discussion groups about these techniques. "We've seen a huge amount of intrusions," Borg said. "SCADA systems are getting a lot more attention than they used to." Data is mostly anecdotal, but the attacks seem to be in a reconnaissance stage, he said. The emphasis of many hackers, criminals or hostile organizations is not to take IT systems down, but to subvert or manipulate them, Borg said. "It has been a long time since shutting something down has been a hot topic" in hacking communities, he said.( by William Jackson)


From http://www.gcn.com/ 05/09/2007

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CHINA: Fake PhD Certificates Offered in Online Fraud

Imagining getting a PhD certificate which looks just like one issued by a top university in the United States without putting in the hard work or paying the high tuition fee, but only a small sum of 3,600 yuan (461.54 U.S. dollars). Sounds too good to be true? It certainly is. The Shenzhen Evening News reported yesterday that a Web site based in Shenzhen recently swindled a number of local residents out of money by offering counterfeit educational certificates which were indistinguishable from the real ones. The report said a woman surnamed Xu had accidentally found the Southeast Asia Certificate Group, a "professional Web site" that claimed to sell such certificates. The Web site, which claimed to have been set up in Shenzhen in 2001, claimed to possess printing equipment that could make different kinds of counterfeit certificates, with an authenticity level of 99.8 percent, according to a posting on the Web site.

The unemployed Xu, who was having no luck finding a job, called the number on the Web site, and asked for a university graduation certificate. A representative of the Web site demanded half the fee, or 1,100 yuan in advance and said she would have to pay the remainder after delivery. After Xu deposited the money, the Web site representative said she would not get the certificate until she paid the entire fee. It was then that Xu realized that she was being cheated. When she asked for her money back, she got no response at all. Reporters with the Shenzhen Evening News found that the Web site also offers certificates resembling those issued by U.S. Internet universities. Dozens of sample certificates can be seen on the Web site. In a phone conversation, the Web site representative told a reporter disguised as a customer that copies of certificates from overseas universities cost 3,600 yuan each and copies of certificates from domestic universities cost 2,200 yuan per piece.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/20/2007

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Forex Watchdog Warns Online Fund Fraud

China's forex watchdog has alerted investors to the growing number of online scams involving foreign funds. Illegal funds purporting to offer investments in foreign assets and guaranteeing high returns have succeeded in tricking some investors, said the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) on Monday. The illegal funds used pyramid selling techniques, said SAFE. The pyramids would quickly collapse once money stopped flowing in, spelling disaster for investors, SAFE warned. The administration asked investors to be alert to the risks. China Central Television (CCTV) reported last month that an illegal fund named Switzerland Mutual Fund had promised internet investors a hefty 300 percent yield within 450 days. Claiming to have been founded in 1948, the fund has raised over 100 million yuan on the mainland since it entered the market last year. But, according to CCTV, the fund has never been approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. Currently, Chinese individuals who want to invest abroad can only buy investment products provided by banks and fund management companies under a Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) scheme.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 03/28/2007

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China Begins Crackdown on Internet Porn

The Chinese government is launching a new crackdown on online pornography which it says has "perverted China's young minds," a state news agency said Friday. The Ministry of Public Security says the six-month campaign will target cyber strip shows and sexually explicit images, stories and audio and video clips, according to the Xinhua News Agency. "The boom of pornographic content on the Internet has contaminated cyberspace and perverted China's young minds," Zhang Xinfeng, a deputy public security minister, was quoted as saying Thursday. The campaign also will target illegal online lotteries and contraband trade, fraud and "content that spreads rumors and is of a slanderous nature," Zhang said at a news conference.

In China's biggest online porn case to date, a Web site operator, Chen Hui, was sentenced in November to life in prison. The government said Chen's Web site had more than 9 million pornographic images and more than 600,000 registered users. China has the world's second-biggest population of Internet users after the United States, with 137 million people online. The communist government encourages Internet use for education and business but tries to block access to material considered obscene or subversive. "The inflow of pornographic materials from abroad and lax domestic control are to blame for the existing problems in China's cyberspace," Zhang said. According to Xinhua, the Beijing Reformatory for Juvenile Delinquents said 33.5 percent of its detainees were influenced by violent online games or erotic Web sites when they committed crimes such as robbery and rape.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 04/13/2007

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Chinese Police Crack Down on Internet Crimes

China's Ministry of Public Security Friday gave details of 10 major criminal cases involving the internet, pornography, gambling and fraud. Zhang Xuhui from Xuchang City, in central China's Henan Province, set up a "blue" website with more than 120 pornographic movies in October 2006. More than 5,600 netizens visited the website shortly after it was opened. Zhang was arrested by local police in October 2006, and sentenced to one year in prison with a year reprieve by the local court. Zhang Yuancheng from Jingzhou City in central China's Hubei Province opened two pornographic websites in 2006, offering cyber strip shows. When local police shut down the websites and arrested Zhang, the two websites had more than 4,000 members and 400 performers. The daily profit of each website exceeded 10,000 yuan (about 1,300 U.S. dollars). Zhang Yuancheng was sentenced to four years in prison by the local court.

A man named Wang in Yichang City of Hubei Province had a no-clothes chat with a woman on the internet during which he took photos of his naked companion, and afterwards sent her the photos in order to extort money from her. Local police arrested Wang on Sept. 21 last year. The case, the first of its kind in the province, is still under investigation. Police in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, captured 12 members of a prostitution gang in January 2007 and confiscated five computers. The gang was using the web to provide prostitution services. A criminal surnamed Li opened a pornographic website in north China's Tianjin Municipality to distribute pornographic materials. When police shut down the website and arrested Li in May 2006, the website had more than 260,000 members. Li was sentenced to four years in prison by a local court.

Police in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, arrested four suspects accused of sending a large number of pornographic emails, and confiscated more than 400 computers used by the suspects. The case is undergoing further investigation. In January 2007, Beijing police swooped on a gang that used the internet to organize prostitution activities on a wide scale. A total of 151 people including organizers, prostitutes and their clients were arrested, and 42 mobile phones and 195 computers confiscated. Police in Yangzhou City, in east China's Jiangsu Province, cracked a web gambling case in October 2006, arresting 37 suspects. The suspects ran the on-line gambling site for nearly two years, with more than 4 billion yuan involved. Two other cases involving web fraud and theft were cracked in Mudanjiang City, in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, and Xuzhou City, in east China's Jiangsu Province. Several hundred people were cheated in the two cases.


From http://www.chinaview.cn 04/13/2007

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Security Concerns Abound About Online Banking

Online banking is often equated with instant, convenient and personalized service. At least, that is the impression adverts try to create. For many members of the public, it seems it is a double-edged sword as a survey recently showed 89.7 percent of respondents concerned about financial security when using online banking. According to Zhu Ying, deputy director for Shanghai's Bureau of Public Security, 925 cases involving online banking fraud were registered in 2006, involving around 13.65 million yuan (about US$1.707 million). A joint survey by China Youth Daily and www.qq.com polled 6,212 people, with 89.7 percent showing severe security concerns about online banking. Huang Donghui, a senior IT engineer in Beijing told China.org.cn, "My major is Internet Technology. From this, I think the process is too risky since hackers can very easily get hold of your number and password. I'd much rather just use a bank." Lu Yang, a student from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, seemed to disagree in part, citing the public nature of the Internet.

"Online banking is still my second choice. As long as a bank provides reliable Internet services, I would consider using it. But I am still concerned about security." However, 61.2 percent of those polled said their fears would not stop them using the Internet. The scope of online banking in China has been growing rapidly of late with China Construction Bank reporting 43 million online customers in 2006, involving 30 trillion yuan (US$3.75 trillion) in funds. Financial experts have highlighted the cost-effectiveness of online banking, since it costs far less in human resources than the physical presence of a bank clerk. For customers, the rapidity of online banking explains why 42.7 percent of people chose online banking since over 70 percent complained of the waiting periods seen in banks. According to an investigation from People's Daily, most customers wait 85 minutes on average before being served in Beijing branches of the big four state-owned banks, namely the China Construction Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

The shortest registered time was 56 minutes and some poor souls had to wait 167 minutes. "I usually cannot afford to wait such a long time," Internet editor Chen Weisong in Beijing told China.org.cn. "Compared with such a long wait, I choose the online service. I think its security is OK and I have used it for several years. Banks often provide professional service systems to help minimize related crimes. Security is an issue but it doesn't really worry me." Addressing the responsibility that banks bear in ensuring financial security, during the Parliament session in March this year, Deputy Zhao Pengcheng, president of the ICBC branch bank in Anhui said that if the customer had not committed any fault, then any losses due to technical problems should be fully compensated by the bank itself. In the survey, participants asked the government to ensure that, in case of accidents, the banks should firstly have to prove whether they are at fault or not. 2006 stats emanating from the China Financial Certification Authority showed that due to security fears, around 61 percent of bank customers deserted the online service.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 04/14/2007

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China Looks to Tackle Software Piracy

China's booming demand for personal computers caused losses from pirated software to surge 40 percent to $5.4 billion last year -- but things are getting better, a trade group said on Tuesday. Counterfeit PC software in use in China fell four percentage points -- more than any other country in Asia -- to 82 percent from 86 percent, underscoring progress in the world's second largest computer market, said Jeffrey Hardee, vice president and Asia director of the Business Software Alliance. "It's difficult to bring down piracy levels when the market is growing so rapidly," Hardee told Reuters in an interview. Widespread intellectual property rights violations across a range of industries, including software, music, movies and fashion, have been a major source of friction between China and major trade partners the United States and Europe. China's rate of software piracy dropped in part because of a new regulation mandating that government offices use legitimate software, and last year's regulation requiring all computers made or sold in China be shipped with genuine operating systems, Hardee said. In 2006, 23 million PCs were sold in China, second only to the United States, an annual increase of 17.5 percent, according to statistics quoted by China's Xinhua news agency.

The market for legitimate software was $1.2 billion last year, up 88 percent on the previous year, BSA said. Last month, the Bush administration, under pressure from Congress, announced it would take legal action against China in the World Trade Organisation for failing to stop widespread piracy and counterfeiting of American goods. Hardee said China has made progress on the policy front and in educating people about pirated software, but a critical link -- enforcement -- remained limited. "The National Copyright Administration is not a particularly well resourced organisation, and so we would hope that China will devote more resources to the enforcement authorities that have administrative responsibility, or extend the authority to other enforcement agencies that have bigger resources," he said. Until last month, users of pirated software could not be tried as criminals, but after the U.S. launched the case in the WTO China's top court issued an interpretation that Hardee said appeared encouraging. "It looks like they have made a change that will enable us to take criminal action" against users, he said. The Washington-based group was still trying to understand the interpretation and was not yet working on a case. From 2004 to 2006, the software piracy rate fell a total of 10 percentage points in China, and 2007 could see another fall. "We haven't seen any let up in China's actions this year compared to last year so there's not reason to believe that we can't have another drop," Hardee said.

The latest Hollywood blockbusters, TV hits, albums and software programmes are widely available for about $1 to $1.50 per disc on the streets of most Chinese cities. The ubiquity of pirated goods in China will continue to fuel the use of the counterfeit software products, which cost a fraction of legitimate versions, Hardee said. "If it's easily available, it's going to probably encourage piracy," he said. Online file sharing will pose a growing challenge in China where Internet use is blossoming. "With file sharing, the availability of software files and the increased bandwidth, you would expect that's going to be a way that people will access illegal software," he said.


From http://www.informationweek.com 05/15/2007

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JAPAN: Boost Cooperation to Enhance Internet Safety with EU

Japan and the European Union agreed Wednesday to boost cooperation to enhance Internet safety and to further promote the development of communications technologies, Japanese officials said. Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga and European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding confirmed the need for such cooperation in their talks as the increasing number of illicit and inappropriate websites has become a major social issue in Japan and Europe. "It is important to promote global cooperation by both the public and private sectors to enhance Internet safety," Suga was quoted as telling Reding. Reding, meanwhile, called for Japanese companies' participation in research and development activities in the communications sector in Europe, the officials said.


From http://asia.news.yahoo.com 04/04/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: IT Security Market to Grow to 815 Bln Won by 2011

South Korea's IT security market is expected to grow at an annual average of 11.1 percent over the next five years amid increased demand for firewalls to defend against attacks by viruses and malicious codes, a market researcher said Tuesday.According to IDC, the software and hardware industries related to the development of security solutions for computers and other networks are forecast to become a market of 815 billion won (US$883 million) by 2011.


From http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr 05/08/2007

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Foreign-Based Korean Gambling Web Sites Sprout

The number of Internet gambling sites, which target Koreans but operate their servers overseas in order to avoid the grip of domestic laws, is on the increase at a breakneck pace. The Korea Internet Safety Commission said Thursday that it had asked the country's Internet service providers to block access to 549 foreign-based Korean-language gambling sites in March.The figure stood at merely 96 in December 2004 but doubled every year to 170 in December 2005 and 342 last December. This year, the number was 395 in January and 493 in February."Illegal gambling sites based on foreign havens began to sprout up en masse late last year when an offline gambling scandal erupted,"an official at the state-backed commission said."We will continue to make efforts to block illegal gambling sites, which lure Korean people, in collaboration with local Internet firms,"he said.The gambling scandal caught the country by surprise last December when prosecutors indicted two businessmen who produced and distributed "Bada Iyagi"(Sea Story) video slot machines.Most of the machines were illegally reprogrammed to give voucher payouts that were higher than the legal limit, thus creating a flurry of casinos tucked into every spare sliver of real estates.When the prosecution began to probe the scandal, many Koreans had already fallen victim to the machines, which sold more than 45,000 units by then, and this prompted a broad crackdown on unlawful gambling including online sites.Some online site operators attempted to sidestep the clampdown by transferring servers to foreign countries such as the United States or Canada, where the arm of Korean laws cannot reach.By contrast, the number of pornographic Internet sites serviced in Korean backpedaled over the past few years.The Korea Internet Safety Commission required Internet firms to cut access to 440 foreign Web sites that provide obscene content in Korean in December 2003.However, the figure has headed south ever since, reaching 310 in December 2004, 237 in December 2005 and 209 last December.


From http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu 05/10/2007

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Korea to Inspect All Portals Internet Ads in Advance

The Korean government is seeking to introduce a system of checking all Internet advertisements that are featured in search results in advance.The Ministry of Information and Communication said Wednesday that it is in talks with the country*s major Web portal sites to phase in the screening."We are thinking of previewing all Internet ads to protect users from advertisements containing obscene, violent or misleading content," said a ministry official who declined to be named."Large-sized Internet portals will take charge of such works based on guidelines, which the government will come up with. Plus, the state-run Korea Internet Safety Commission will be involved in the process," he said."The specific formula of how to check the ads, especially keyword ads, has yet to be decided. We are studying the viability of various methods," the official said."But all players involved in Web ads agree measures should be taken to confirm the reliability of keyword ads, which become the mainstream way of promoting goods or services," he said.Keyword ads refer to the online ads related to query keywords -- advertisers who buy search keywords will be put in a higher position in query results.The market for keyword ads has rocketed over the past few years but the ads have come under fire when they contain problematic content or their authenticity has been questioned.This has prompted the government to take actions but some experts point out that screening is out of the question because there are so many advertisements posted in cyberspace.The number of monthly keyword ads stand at 18,500 at a month, compared to just 4,800 TV ads a month, which are previewed by the Korea Broadcast Advertising Corp.In response, the anonymous official at the Information Ministry said large-sized Internet portals can afford the costs to check their advertisers themselves.


From The Korea Times 05/16/2007

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Internet Portals to Pay Damages for Revealing User IDs

Portal sites will be held responsible if the names and personal data of individuals are revealed in viewer comments. The Seoul Central District Court on Friday ordered Web portal sites Naver and Yahoo! Korea to pay damages to two people whose identities were exposed on their sites. Naver must pay US$5,400 and Yahoo! Korea $4,300. The ruling said that considering the enormous influence the Internet has the two sites should have protected users and stopped the spread of negative information.


From http://www.chosun.com 05/21/2007

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MALAYSIA: SMS Spam Bugging Phone Users

PETALING JAYA: SMS "spam" offering ringtones, horoscopes, games, quizzes, contests, chat services and even professional advice by content providers is fast becoming a source of discontent and expense for mobile phone users. Not only are these SMSes unwelcome but users are automatically charged up to RM4 if they fail to reply to decline the "service." Legal executive C.T. Wong, 48, said it was ridiculous that one had to spend money to reply to the SMS to decline the service offered. She said the real shock came when she contacted her mobile telecommunications provider and was told that consumers had to bear with it because the Government approved it. IT consultant Marvin Lee, 26, a victim of this tactic, said mobile prepaid users could fall prey to such a scheme and not even know it. "There could be millions using prepaid services being blindly charged for such services and the sad thing is that they are unable to check their balance or charges to be aware of this," he added. Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission corporate communications head Adelina Iskandar said the commission was aware of this problem, and that investigations were under way. A spokesperson with a leading telecommunications company said they provided a code to external content providers as part of "normal business" to enable them to offer their services to phone users. "The code, however, does not allow content providers access to the telcos' customer database," he said. A Maxis spokesman urged the public to report their grouses to the customer service centre. A Celcom spokesman said they had mechanisms that interacted with their content providers to ensure they did not send spam.


From http://star-techcentral.com 04/10/2007

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Survey: Most Malaysian PCs Are 'Zombies'

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is one of the most prolific distributors of spam and propagators of "spam zombies" in the Asia-Pacific region, revealed a recent survey. It ranks No 5 as a spam distributor, among 29 countries. Topping this list is the Philippines, followed by Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Laos, according to the survey by security solutions vendor Symantec Corp. As a propagator of zombie machines, Malaysia is No 7 on the list. Topping it is China, followed by South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. These are PCs that have been compromised by hackers and used to launch spam e-mail, or phishing messages that lure computer users to mistakenly reveal personal information such as credit card details or bank account passwords. Kannan Velayutham, a consultant for enterprise security at Symantec Malaysia, said the survey showed that 96% of computers in the country are zombie machines. He said a large chunk of these machines are concentrated in the capital, where many PC users have broadband Internet access. "These infected PCs are also linked into bot-nets 每 networks of multiple zombie machines 每 that help cybercriminals search for and accumulate confidential personal information more efficiently," said Kannan. According to the survey, stolen personal information can also be sold on the black market; prices vary according to the type of information.

An online banking account with a US$10,000 (RM35,000) balance is worth US$300 (RM1,100), for example. A verified PayPal account, meanwhile, would fetch between US$50 and US$500 (RM175 and RM1,750). Symantec also found that 84% of all e-mail messages originating from Malaysia is spam. In comparison, 86% of electronic messages coming from the Philippines are those annoying, unsolicited missives. This and the high number of zombie machines in Malaysia is tarnishing the country's image. One reason for the problem, the survey showed, is because new broadband Internet users in the country are generally unaware of the security precautions they need to take to safeguard their personal information and online identities. Another reason is the widespread use of pirated software by local PC users, said the Symantec survey. It said copies of pirated software sometimes contained trojans and other hidden malicious programs, and these are surrepticiously planted into computer systems when users installed the software. After installation, the machines become part of a bot-net without the user's knowledge, said Symantec. In this age of PCs permanently connected to the Web via high-speed connections, users need to be more cautious. An antivirus program is not enough, said Symantec. Users need a security solution that combines antivirus, firewall and intrusion detection capabilities. PC users are also advised not to view, open or execute any e-mail attachment unless it is expected or its purpose known to the recipient. "Some spam messages come with pictures attached to fool spam filters; be careful of these," said Kannan. Computer users should also be careful about disclosing confidential, personal or financial information online unless they know that the request for such is legitimate, cautioned Symantec. The survey, conducted between July and December last year, involved Symantec setting up two million decoy e-mail accounts worldwide.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/10/2007

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SMEs Among Main Pirated Software Users

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are among the main culprits in using pirated or unlicensed software. Of the 11 raids on companies suspected of using illegal computer software this year, five were SMEs. More than 50% of the 23 companies that committed the offence last year were also SMEs. Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry deputy director-general (development) Iskandar Halim Sulaiman said the trend was probably because SME operators felt that because of their small set-up, the use of unlicensed software would go undetected. "Companies must always be ethical in all aspects of their practices, including the use of legal and original software, in conducting business," he said at a recent media conference in Putrajaya. He said between January and April 11 this year, 11 companies were raided and RM1.1mil worth of pirated and unlicensed software and computer equipment seized. He reiterated that Ops Tulen remained as the ministry's enforcement campaign against corporate software piracy and noted that the statistics of companies using pirated software had decreased "slowly yet surely".According to statistics, the usage of unlicensed computer software in Malaysia was at 63% in 2003 but had declined to 60% in 2005. Meanwhile, Business Software Alliance (BSA), the body that represents the interest of software developers worldwide, said the increased raids and checks by the authorities reflected the Government's seriousness in helping to fight the use of unlicensed software. "We are pleased that more enforcement is taking place in Malaysia and this shows the authorities' seriousness in fighting the offence," BSA director for anti-piracy (Asia) Tarun Sawney said, adding that raids increased from 15 in 2004 to 23 last year. He said around 60% of the software installed in a computer was mostly unlicensed and the onus was on computer owners to ensure only genuine and licensed software was used.


From http://star-techcentral.com 04/17/2007

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New Security Features to Beat Mykad Fraudsters

A MyKad with advanced security features will soon be introduced for all new applicants. Although the current MyKad has a tamper-proof 64KB embedded chip, the new one, which uses laser-printing technology, will make it even more difficult for anyone trying to replace the photograph or details on it. Over the years, police have found that fraudsters could successfully tamper with details and the photograph on the IC. However, they could not duplicate or change the sophisticated chip. Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho told The Star that the National Registration Department (NRD) was now in the final stages of evaluating special laser-printing equipment from Germany to produce the card. ※The laser technology will enable the details and photograph of the IC holder to be printed and embedded directly onto the high-quality plastic card. Any attempt to tamper with the details or photograph will deface the IC. The damage will be permanent and visible, and the document can be singled out immediately.§ He said the NRD had studied and tested the new technology and ※found it useful to stay ahead of the fraudsters.§ ※If all goes well, the new printing method will be introduced before the end of the year.§ Tan said the changes would be part of the NRD's continuous efforts to enhance MyKad's security features, to make it harder to tamper with as technology advances. However, he said, the MyKad with the new security printing features would only be issued to new applicants and those seeking replacement of lost identity documents. ※The new MyKad will subsequently be extended in stages to existing holders but we have not decided on how this would be implemented.§ MyKad, a multi-purpose smart card that integrates multiple applications and stores several sets of personal data such as personal identification, driver*s licence, immigration and medical information on a single technology platform, was rolled out nationwide at the end of 2002. It replaced the older plastic identity card and initially utilised a 32KB chip with information readable on a smart card reader. However, the chip was upgraded to 64KB to enable more data to be stored.


From http://thestar.com.my 05/14/2007

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PHILIPPINES: RP Sets Up Cybercrime Body

MANILA, Philippines -- Driven by a sense of urgency and lack of coordination, the Philippine government is setting up an office tasked to work better with the private sector in the area of IT security. The coordinating body plans to create a National Computer Emergency Response Team or N-CERT, envisioned as an umbrella organization for similar CERTs in the government, military and private sector. The goal is to come up with uniform policies and enforce coordination among these various sectors. On the part of the government, the goal is to tap into private sector expertise to help agencies safeguard against hacking and other security threats. The entire initiative is headed by Virtus Gil, a retired police officer recently appointed by the Office of the President as the National Cybersecurity Coordinator. "They recognize the problem but there is no coordination," Gil said in an interview during an industry forum, when asked to describe the current IT security scenario among government agencies. The Office of the President has forged a memorandum of agreement with various private sector groups in the IT sector, including the Information Systems Security Society of the Philippines (ISSSP), comprised of IT security professionals and member companies. Among others, the agreement stated the need to develop standards for companies that perform third-party vulnerabilty assessment that check on an organization's readiness to protect itself against hackers and other threats.

Private sector groups also pledged to help in the implementation of the National Cybersecurity Plan drawn up and signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005. The said plan calls for a wider adoption of IT security in government, following the private sector's lead. Gil, however, said the plan needs to be updated. Recent workshops conducted with the private sector -- joined by representatives from the banking and telecommunications segment -- raised the need for sectoral CERTs under the planned N-CERT. The entire initiative is reportedly one of the projects that will get funding from an additional P1 billion e-government fund coursed through the Commission on ICT. Gil, however, did not mention how much budget will be allotted to this program. A government CERT was started years ago and currently operated by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG). Under the planned N-CERT, Gil said will primarily play the role of investigating incidents of cybercrime in government. "This will relieve them of functions such as monitoring the entire government and coordinating with the private sector," he added.


From http://archive.inquirer.net/ 05/10/2007

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SINGAPORE: To Share E-Medical Data

Privacy concerns surface after government announces plans to consolidate all patient medical information in one secure IT system In response to privacy concerns voiced by MPs during a parliament session on Wednesday〞a day after the government unveiled plans to introduce the electronic medical record (EMR) system in Singapore〞Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "We have to decide what are the critical data, and some data are so sensitive that they would never be shared. So it doesn't mean 'one Singaporean, one EMR' means everything, all the gory details, are out in outer space." Khaw added: "Issues like HIV and sexual diseases〞those data, we will keep highly confidential." Tagged with the slogan "One Singaporean, One EMR", the centralized database is an important infrastructure in transforming healthcare in the country, said the health minister during his speech Tuesday. "Right now, it is one Singaporean, multiple medical records [which are] stored away in different clinics and hospitals in different formats, and not connected or consolidated," he said. "As a result, when patients visit different doctors, they have to have tests repeated and scans redone. This adds to unnecessary cost." Khaw said that Singapore's migration to the EMR system will be done gradually. "Because of legacy systems, we cannot achieve it in one step, but we have made progress," he added. He noted that only a few countries have successfully put in place an e-medical record system that connects the public, private and charity sectors. This is because several issues, such as data protection, regulation and audit, need to be considered first. "We need to take a measured approach, to pilot and put together a comprehensive framework that takes care of these issues," Khaw said. "This will begin with common data standards. We will do this within the public sector, and extend this to the step-down institutions." "We have started to build the linkages to the private sector GP (general practitioner) clinics, by helping them to set up their IT systems under the Chronic Disease management effort," he added. "I am confident that we will get there."


From http://www.businessweek.com 03/09/2007

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S'pore to Focus on More International Collaborations to Fight Cyber Threats

Singapore will focus on more international collaborations to improve its ability to combat cyber threats. This was revealed by Vivian Balakrishnan, Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts. He was speaking at an annual Infocomm Security Seminar in Singapore on Tuesday. Dr Balakrishnan also said the government is looking at a new 5-year Infocomm Security Masterplan that is expected to be launched next year. With more people going online, it has become increasingly urgent to make cyberspace more secure. Dr Balakrishnan said: "We cannot afford to be complacent, especially with new and dangerous threats that continue to evolve and grow, and grow at such an alarming rate." But to fight various kinds of cyber threats, the government believes it needs to join hands with other countries. "Moving forward, we hope to engage our international counterparts even more actively so that we can improve our collective abilities to combat cyber threats," said Dr Balakrishnan.

"And I'm glad to announce that Singapore has been chosen to host the Meridian 2008 Conference, an international community for governments to discuss the protection of critical infocomm infrastructures," he added. Singapore has been actively collaborating with international teams. Just last year, Singapore signed an agreement with the French government to share information and assessments on cyber threats. More such international agreements may be in the offing. The new masterplan also aims to ensure a more secure environment for new innovative services that ride on Singapore's national infocomm infrastructure. That initiative, called iN2015, was launched last year and aims to transform Singapore into an intelligent nation by 2015.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 04/17/2007

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VIET NAM: Ministry Protects Copyright

As of March 1, a convention protecting copyright for performers and broadcasters officially effect in Viet Nam, Ministry of Culture and Information officials told the press at a briefing that same day. The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations seeks to shield entertainers from unauthorised broadcasting of their performances. Producers of phonograms have the right to permit or prohibit the direct or indirect reproduction of their phonograms. Similarly, broadcasting organisations will now have authority over their material in regards to re-broadcasting.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 03/03/2007

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INDIA: C-DAC Develops Software to Fight with Cyber Crimes

Department of Information Technology (DIT) has set up the Resource Centre for Cyber Forensics at C-DAC, Thiruvananthapuram, India. C-DAC has developed "CyberCheck Suite Version 3.0" tools for cyber forensics. IT Minister of India, Dayanidhi Maran released the system developed by C-DAC. Leading Law Enforcement Agencies in India like Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Police Academy and Intelligence Bureau are evaluating the C-DAC's tools. They have all certified that the indigenously developed tools of C-DAC are most appropriate for carrying out cyber forensics by all Law Enforcement Agencies in India. The Government is committed to get rid of cyber crimes. Government has also proposed training programme for he law enforcement agencies, forensic labs and judiciary on the procedures and methodologies of collecting, analyzing and presenting the digital devices.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/07/2007

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State Govt. Establishes India*s First Security Research Centre in Chandigarh

Chandigarh State Government has established India's first Regional Cyber Security and Research Centre (RCSRC) in collaboration with NASSCOM and Punjab Engineering College (PEC). This service centre will develop sophisticated technology to safeguard IT data and also help curb cyber crime across the country. The Department of Information Technology and Chandigarh Administration will jointly fund the project. NASSCOM will serve as a technical consultant for this initiative. It will be done through the Society for Promotion of Information Technology (SPIC), Chandigarh. RCSRC is the first cyber security research centre in the country, which will engage a ulti-disciplinary team of researchers and faculty to conduct specialist research in areas of information and cyber security and performance optimization in networking.


From Express India 03/22/2007

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CIITE Ensures E-Safety for Indian IT Students

The Consortium for Indian Information Technology Education (CIITE) has launched an education portal for Indian IT students and ensured e-Safety through two factor authentication keys. The Consortium will use e-Tokens to secure its vast network of e-Learning resources throughout India. These e-Tokens would be issued students, which will access the portal for research and studies. Aladdin Knowledge Systems has supplied 3.8 million keys for two factor authentication e-Tokens to IT students, who are affiliated with CIITE. The company will provide high capacity, gateway based e-Safe content security solution to nearly 6,800 CIITE member institutions for content security. The e-Tokens will provide strong user authentication and cost-effective password management solutions to allow organisations to easily and effectively expand business opportunities with secure network access and improve data through enhanced encryption and digital signing. The company has also developed course content and provided to CIITE.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/20/2007

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IRAN: Iran to Filter Phone Messages

Iran's Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution has instructed Iran's Telecommunications Ministry to buy equipment to control and block, if necessary, multimedia messages -- such as photos -- sent by Iranian mobile-phone users, Radio Farda reported on April 29, citing the Fars news agency. The council, whose members include Iranian Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Suleimani, state television and radio chief Ezzatollah Zarghami, and Culture Minister Hussein Saffar-Herandi, ordered the measure to prevent "possible abuse and immoral acts," Radio Farda reported. This is, presumably, a reference to such uses as people sending photos of their faces or perhaps even more revealing pictures -- or private e-mails, for example for dating purposes -- which would contravene Iran's religious laws. The Iranian mobile-phone service provider is Irancell. Radio Farda stated that Irancell will begin multimedia messaging service (MMS) in a few months. Radio Farda reported that Iran blocked Internet-to-phone messages for several days in the run-up to last December's local council elections, apparently to prevent political/campaign-related messages from being simultaneously sent out to many users. The Internet is also filtered and controlled in Iran, and pornographic sites or websites deemed hostile to Iran's government are blocked domestically, including the Radio Farda website. VS


From http://www.rferl.org/ 04/30/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: Softline, Kaspersky to Organize Seminar on Network Security

Softline International in cooperation with Kaspersky Laboratory will hold seminar entitled "Kaspersky Open Space Security. New concept of corporate network protection" in Tashkent on 30 April. The event designed for technical directors, heads of IT departments of companies and departments on information protection, as well as those interested to protect their enterprises from viruses.


From http://www.caginternet.org/ 04/30/2007

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AUSTRALIA: Scams Target You〞Protect Yourself

Australians continue to fall prey to the criminal activities of fraudsters and scammers as unprecedented numbers of sophisticated swindlers bombard us with electronic, phone and postal scams. Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today jointly launched the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce*s four-week campaign today, with the strong message &SCAMS TARGET YOU! Protect Yourself.* "There seems to be a scam created to trap just about everyone〞from hoax emails and text messages, to lottery scams, fake investment schemes, bogus medical cons, the Nigerian letters, fake employment and money laundering schemes, to identity theft,§ Senator Coonan said. ※Consumers should be aware that all sorts of people fall for these kinds of slick swindles and that they need to be alert in order to protect themselves. ※The problem isn*t going away. The scammers are out there, and they*re active with new tricks.§ Because of the seriousness of these crimes, agencies across Australia and New Zealand joined forces in 2005 to heighten consumer awareness. The success of the campaign has led over 40 private sector partners from the finance, IT, telecommunications, and other industries to join the Taskforce this year〞as well as a large number of community groups 〞all concerned to fight these insidious and growing crimes. ※Consumer protection regulators, businesses, and community groups all see the harmful effects which scams have on people,§ Senator Coonan said. ※One of the best ways to combat this kind of fraud is to help people take the steps to prevent being caught out in the first place. ※Throughout the month, consumers will be given crucial and simple precautions, to help arm themselves and protect their hard-earned money.§


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 03/05/2007

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Protect Your Computer from Internet Scams

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today welcomed the 2007 Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce initiative encouraging Australian Internet users to protect their computers. ※Australians are increasingly using the Internet and enjoying the many benefits it offers,§ said Senator Coonan. ※However, it*s important that people also think about security when they go online. ※Online scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the hope of catching people out. While the same old scams are still being used, a growing number of scams employ malicious software designed to steal your personal details, without your knowledge. ※It*s important that you install and continue to update your security software. This is the best way to help ensure you are protected every time you go online. ※The Australian Government is committed to protecting consumers from scams of all kinds through effective legislation, regulation and education. As such, the Australian Government has introduced a broad package of practical initiatives to target Internet, email, phone and mobile scams.§ The Australian Government*s online security website, www.staysmartonline.gov.au provides simple advice on how to secure your computer, transact and interact safely online.

※I encourage Australian Internet users to visit Stay Smart Online to keep up to date with the latest online security threats,§ said Senator Coonan. ※I welcome the strong representation by the telecommunications and Internet industries in support of the campaign. The Internet Industry Association has helped galvanise a strong industry participation and commitment to this co-ordinated government-business-community campaign. We are much more effectively reaching consumers and the public with our joint efforts.§ ※Protecting Your Computer is the theme for the third week of a four week campaign by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce. The Taskforce recommends a number of simple steps that Australians can take to protect themselves online from Internet scams: Keep your security software up-to-date; Don*t respond in any way to unsolicited emails; and If in doubt, delete.


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 03/19/2007

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Telecommunications Safeguards: Pointing You in the Right Direction

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today launched the regional telecommunications campaign: Your telecommunications safeguards: pointing you in the right direction. "Telecommunication services are essential for all individuals and businesses so it is important that they understand their rights and how to exercise them," Senator Helen Coonan said. The campaign will consist of targeted television and radio advertisements, alerting people living in rural and regional Australia to the publication and distribution of a guide which provides details of how the Australian Government protects everyone*s right to essential telecommunications services. "More than 3 million residents across regional Australia will receive the guide over the following months. The guide explains what to do if you have a problem and also the safeguards for consumers which include: A guarantee that all Australians are entitled to reasonable access to basic fixed phone services and to payphones. fixed timeframes for fixing phones and meeting appointment times. If these are not met, you may be entitled to compensation. faster phone connections for consumers certain medical conditions. untimed local calls in most circumstances and capped local call prices for fixed phones. A dedicated Ombudsman to handle complaints about telecommunications. "The Australian Government is committed to consumer safeguards which deliver basic, vital telecommunications services to Australians, regardless of where they live," Senator Helen Coonan said. "We are also committed to investing in infrastructure so that all Australians have access to world class telecommunications services at a price point they can afford. "The Government, through the $1.1 billion Connect Australia package and the $162.5 million Australian Broadband Guarantee will improve existing infrastructure to enhance all telecommunication services to regional, rural and remote Australia. "This investment will deliver more affordable and available broadband services, improved access to mobile phone services, the connection of schools, hospitals and universities to high speed networks, and the extension of vital telecommunications services to remote Indigenous communities."


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 04/15/2007

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Cutting Losses on Identity Theft

VICTIMS of identity theft may be forced to dump their old identities and create new ones to put an end to financial losses and the ensuing havoc, business consultant Peter Ager warns. "Five minutes online can lead to five years of living hell," said Mr Ager, an adviser to a anti-money laundering financial working group, who has himself become a victim. If the identity theft has led to your property being used as security for a mortgage, you'll have a heck of a job convincing the bank it wasn't you. "You won't even know anything about it until six months later, when someone knocks on your door with a mortgagee notice and says they're taking your house'." Mr Ager said about one in 30 Australians had been affected by fraud involving identity theft or online transactions. He was shocked to learn someone in Victoria had obtained a duplicate of his credit card and had racked up debt on it. Mr Ager only discovered the fraud when he didn't receive his account statement because the criminal had asked the bank to redirect the statements. "I'm in the process of sorting things out with my bank now, but I have no idea how my identity information was stolen," he said. "I just know that someone has a duplicate card and is using my name." Mr Ager said people often had difficulty proving their innocence, being reimbursed, and restoring blemished credit ratings.

"Where your whole identity has been compromised - it's not just a loan, it's credit cards, a driver's licence in your name, they've bought cars, taken holidays - there's more or less a clone of you out there," he said. "It may be extreme, but how many years and dollars are you going to spend trying to clear things up? "You might be best off to break with that clone, and assume a new identity with the full knowledge of the authorities." Mr Ager said consumers should be more careful about providing personal information over the internet, especially where there is the risk of a man-in-the-middle attack. Last week TrustDefender and Dragonfly Technologies, announced a partnership to deliver Active Trust Protection, a next-generation system for securing online banking sessions. TrustDefender chief technology officer Andreas Baumhof said ATP provided a "true one-to-one connection between the host and the client, eliminating the threat in the middle".


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/08/2007

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Improving E-Security for Home Users and Small Business

The Australian Government will provide $13.6 million over four years to help protect Australians from sophisticated online attacks targeting their home computers and small businesses, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan said today. ※This package is part of a $73.6 million whole of Government initiative to strengthen the electronic operating environment for business, home users and government agencies,§ Senator Coonan said. ※The Australian Government has identified the protection of home users and SMEs from electronic attacks and fraud as an important priority. The e-security environment has changed significantly with an increase in more sophisticated and targeted attacks on home users and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).§ Initiatives under the $13.6 million package include: National awareness activities, including an annual National E-security Awareness Week to be held in collaboration with industry and community organisations to raise the level of awareness of e-security threats and to encourage smart online practices; The expansion of the Stay Smart Online website (www.staysmartonline.gov.au) to include a National Alert Service to provide home users and small businesses with up-to-date information on e-security threats; An education module for schools on e-security; and Expansion of the Australian Internet Security Initiative which identifies compromised home and SME computers and supports internet service providers to help their customers restore their computer security. ※This package of measures will provide Australians with the information and skills to improve their computer defences and ensure they stay smart online,§ Senator Coonan said. ※I look forward to working with industry to raise the level of e-security awareness in the community. Consultations found that there was wide support for the Government and industry to work together on this issue.§


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 05/08/2007

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Banks Sympathetic to Online Fraud Victims

ONLINE banking customers should not be held responsible for money lost to frauds and hackers, Australia's peak body for bankers is expected to argue in a submission expected within days. The Australian Bankers Association's submission to a review of the responsibilities of banks and their online customers is making the rounds of ABA member banks. A final draft is to be submitted by early next week. ABA president David Bell told BusinessDay the submission would argue for "no change" to the policy under which banks reimburse customers for money lost to internet fraud or hacking attacks. When the Australian Securities and Investments Commission announced a review into the electronic funds transfer (EFT) code in January, it was widely expected banks would argue that consumers who did not protect their computers with anti-virus software and other measures should bear some of the responsibility for lost money. A Bendigo Bank spokesman said a bank's liability should be limited when users were negligent, but the Bendigo submission is in the minority among banks.

Suncorp's submission says "the EFT code should allow subscribers to take appropriate action to mitigate against further risk and losses associated with such customers who find themselves in the situation on a recurrent basis". A spokesman for Suncorp said it did not want to force customers to repay money lost online, but argued that banks should have the right to withdraw online banking services from customers who were repeat victims of fraud until they improved their computer's protective software. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission argued in its submission that customers who used electronic banking, such as internet banking, faced severe threats from tech-savvy criminals. "The ACCC considers that widespread use of electronic facilities for banking and financial transactions will see continued growth in the number and complexity of related fraud which will target such transactions," it said. Centre for Credit and Consumer Law director Nicola Howell welcomed the ABA's position but reserved her endorsement until she received the submission. She said: "If the ABA is not looking for a change in that area, that is likely to be welcomed by consumer organisations."


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 05/15/2007

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Protecting Our Children Online 每 a Responsibility for Every Australian

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan opened the Cybersafety Symposium in Melbourne today to help raise awareness about the challenges faced when it comes to protecting children online in the world of cyberspace. ※The Internet has transformed the way we communicate and although it can make a positive contribution to the way our children learn, develop and are supported, it can also pose a genuine risk to children and young people,§ Senator Coonan said. ※The Australian Government is working strongly towards curbing these risks to help young people stay safe online. ※Australia is a world leader in many areas of internet policy,§ Senator Coonan said. ※We are leading the world in the development of a robust anti-spam regime with the SPAM Act, and over seven years ago Australia became one of the first countries to regulate Internet content through the development of the Online Content Scheme in 1992. ※Last week, the Government introduced the Content Services Bill to protect consumers, particularly children from accessing offensive content on convergent devices such as 3G mobile phones and through subscription Internet portals.

※The introduction of new services like 3G and video services through mobile phones, means that our platform specific regulations are becoming increasingly strained as they are applied to new media forms,§ Senator Coonan said. ※The Content Services Bill aligns, as far as is practical, the principles for regulation of content over online and convergent devices with those for traditional media.§ Senator Coonan said that the Government*s commitment to the protection of our children would be taken to a new level with the launch of the Government*s new Protecting Australian Families Online program in the next few months. ※This initiative is a world first and represents the single largest commitment made by an Australian Government to protect children online,§ Senator Coonan said. The Protecting Australian Families Online initiative is a $116 million package that includes: $93.3 million to establish the new National Filter Scheme to provide every Australian household and public library with a free PC filter $18.3 million for a national awareness campaign to educate parents about online dangers, and the provision of telephone helpline support as well as online and printed information. ※I am disappointed however at the seeming reticence by some state and local governments to take on board the free filtering products for libraries under their control. ※Not every family can afford a PC at home and many rely on those available at public libraries 每 it is important that children using these public computers receive the same protection available to children in private homes. ※Protecting our children is a responsibility for every Australian 每 it must occur across all levels of government and importantly, it must remain above politics.§


From http://www.minister.dcita.gov.au/ 05/17/2007

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Cyber Filters Give 'False Confidence'

FEDERAL Government plans to issue free computer filters to families and libraries as part of a battle to stem instances of cyber-bullying have received a lukewarm response from education and cyber-safety experts. Opening the Cyberia symposium at Camberwell Grammar School yesterday, federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan said Canberra would release details of a $116 million scheme to provide software, "so parents can tailor-make their own child's computer experience", in coming months. She said the scheme's launch would also include an education campaign to help parents and children understand cyber-safety issues. The software would allow parents to nominate safe sites for their children to visit and could alert parents when personal information such as a home address or mobile phone number was entered on to internet sites. "We know now from research we have done on filters that the old ones that were once pretty ineffective are now very effective and we've tested filters that will be made available," Senator Coonan told the conference. However, the minister conceded that advances in technology often made it hard for parents to keep up with what their children were doing online. Martin Cocker, executive director of New Zealand's cyber-safety organisation NetSafe, said filters were not the solution. "Even the best technology will be defeated and that technology will soon appear on the internet where children will find it," Mr Cocker said. "The technology is not going to do what parents think it's going to do, so it gives them a false confidence." He said filters were part of the response but governments and authorities should not consider them the solution. Focus groups conducted by NetSafe indicated that children as young as 12 were capable of getting around filters. Mr Cocker said educating parents, students, schools and teachers on how to stay safe in cyberspace was the answer. Director of CyberSafeKids and education consultant Robyn Treyvaud agreed. She said that for children, getting around filters was "as simple as typing 'unblocking MySpace' into a search engine".


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 05/18/2007

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Nigeria: NEGST to Host IT Summit for Banks

The National eGovernment Strategies Limited (NeGst) will assist banks on information technology integration programme. The executive vice chairman of the NeGst, Dr. Olu Agunloye, said the summit would acquaint the banks on the simple procedures for integration and harmonization, especially now that the banks are bigger.He said the summit was scheduled for May, 15 and 16, 2006. He added that the idea was to integrate and harmonize bank services to their customers, stressing that the country is moving towards creating a national data house where all government data will be stored.Speaking at a science forum organized by the Nigerian Association of Science Journalists (NASJ) in Abuja, Agunloye assured that the peculiar problems arising from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were being addressed with the use of standards and best practice developed from other countries, various capacity building seminars to key officers and an innovative application of eRegistration to provide interoperable databases and restore the integrities of the databases of the MDA.

Agunloye said the use of content and knowledge management platform on new public service network at the federal level was planned, but yet to be implemented for providing eLearning schemes for civil servants on the PSNet to build capacity."In particular, the use of eRegistration to create databases for 10.6 million electricity consumers and 1.0 million professional teachers has already been finalized," he said.The board of National eGovernment Strategies was inaugurated on 4 May 2004 with a mandate which allowed the company to systematically move from designs and roadmaps to implementation of the eGovernment project.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/07/2007

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E-Governance - Digital Local Agenda Awareness Raising Workshop

CIFAL Shanghai and UNITAR co-organized a workshop on "e-Governance - Digital Local Agenda Awareness Raising Workshop" 28-30 March, in cooperation with CITYNET and CIFAL Bilbao, with kind support of the Basque Public Institutions. Sixteen participants from ten cities of five countries (China, Nepal, the Philippines, Malaysia and Sri Lanka), and the national associations of municipalities (Nepal and Indonesia) attended the workshop. The representative from the EU-China project, who presented the case of Chengdu in China, and representatives from CITYNET and CIFAL Bilbao also participated. The workshop was opened by Ms. Chen Ping, director of the International Cooperation Section of Shanghai Municipal Informatization Commission. Through an ice-breaking session led by UNITAR, participants got to know each other better and a friendly atmosphere prevailed. At the end of the workshop, all participants were able to develop their own action plan and presented to the plenary. At the closing ceremony, Mr. Shi Xingde, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Informatization Commission made a speech, and an official certificate was handed out to all participants.


From http://unpan1.un.org/ 05/01/2007

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Web Censorship Spreading Around World, Report Finds

Internet censorship is spreading rapidly, being practiced by about two dozen countries and applied to a far wider range of online information and applications, according to research by a transatlantic group of academics. The warning comes a week after a Turkish court ordered the blocking of You Tube to silence offensive comments about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, marking the most visible attack yet on a website that has been widely adopted around the world. A recent six-month investigation into whether 40 countries use censorship shows that the practice is spreading, with new countries learning from experienced practitioners such as China and benefiting from technological improvements. The Open Net Initiative, a project by Harvard Law School and the universities of Toronto, Cambridge and Oxford, repeatedly tried to call up specific websites from 1,000 international news and other sites in the countries concerned, and a selection of local-language sites. The research found a trend towards censorship or, as John Palfrey, executive director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said, "a big trend in the reverse direction", with many countries recently starting to adopt forms of online censorship.

Ronald Deibert, associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said that 10 countries had become "pervasive blockers", regularly preventing their citizens from seeing a range of material. These included China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Burma and Uzbekistan. New censorship techniques include the periodic barring of complete applications, such as China's block on Wikipedia or Pakistan's ban on Google*s logging service, and the use of more advanced technologies such as "keyword filtering", which is used to track down material by identifying sensitive words. Methods such as these are being copied as countries new to censorship learn from those with more experience.§ There*s a growing awareness of best practice - or rather, worst practice," Mr. Deibert said. Ken Berman, head of technology for the US state department arm that broadcasts Voice of America, said that some countries were learning from China, which has the most experience in internet censorship, with Zimbabwe appearing to use the same technology. While internet censors are learning to apply new tech-neologies to expand their efforts, activists wanting to circumvent the controls are using the latest internet methods to advantage.


From Financial Times, March 7, 2007

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World Information Society Day Focuses on the Younger Generation: ITU Announces Awards to Three Laureates

Geneva, 16 May 2007 〞 World Information Society Day, 17 May 2007 is dedicated this year to making available the benefits of the digital revolution to young people everywhere. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) recognized the young as the future workforce and the earliest adopters of ICT, and called for their empowerment as key contributors to building an inclusive Information Society. World leaders stated their commitment at the Summit in Tunis to actively engage youth in innovative ICT-based development programmes and widen opportunities for them. 17 May marks the establishment of ITU in 1865 and has been celebrated as World Telecommunication Day.In his message on World Information Society Day, focusing this year on the theme &Connecting the Young*, UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon said, "Young people are among the most prolific and knowledgeable users of ICT. I urge policy-makers and industry leaders to put their minds together and to work cooperatively with children and youth to produce suitable technologies, applications and services to facilitate access to information and communication technologies." He added that young people with access to ICT often surge ahead in their quest for knowledge, and find it possible to "leapfrog" communication barriers with considerable ease."In an increasingly networked world, the young are not only the beneficiaries but often the driving force behind the latest innovations and practices," Dr Hamadoun Tour谷, ITU Secretary-General, said in his message. "The key to achieving the development aspirations of the world*s inhabitants lies in investing in the future generation, especially by improving access to communication among today*s children and enhancing their capacities."

This year, ITU focuses on integrating youth issues into the development of information and communication technologies and services as a means of offering the young more opportunities and better choice of options for the future. ITU*s youth programme active since 2003 lays strong emphasis on capacity building, education and work experience in ICT. The Youth Education Scheme "YES" extends scholarships to future leaders in telecommunication and related fields, mainly from least developed and developing countries.Princess of Qatar launches campaign to support ITU youth initiativeHRH Sheikha Al-Mayassa Bint Hamad Al-Thani, Princess of Qatar and Chair of the Reach out to Asia initiative will launch a campaign along with ITU to secure CHF 2 Million to support 250 new scholarships in addition to creating 1000 new internship opportunities within the next three years, by 2010. "I am very pleased to launch this campaign together with ITU and to promote access to ICT education and work opportunities for young people," Sheikha Al-Mayassa said. "It is essential that governments, industry, international organizations and civil society come together to help youth around the world participate in the social and economic development of their communities by leveraging the potential of education and information and communication technologies."ITU*s youth programmes are supported by Member States as well as the private sector, including ALCATEL-Lucent and Thales Communications (France), ANACOM (Portugal), National Telecommunication Institute (Egypt), NOKIA Corporation (Finland) and Vodafone (U.K).

ITU World Information Society Award announced

The highlight of the global event marking the World Day will be the presentation of the ITU World Information Society Award. H.E. Dr Margarita Cede?o de Fern芍ndez, First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Ms Mitchell Baker, on behalf of Mozilla Corporation of the United States, and Professor Mark Krivocheev of the Russian Federation are the 2007 laureates.Last year*s laureates were H.E. President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of Grameen bank, who subsequently won the Nobel Peace Prize. The ITU World Information Society Award honours those who have made a significant personal contribution towards building the information society. Personal achievement may take the form of social accomplishment, mobilization of public opinion, or a key technical innovation.Dr Cede?o de Fern芍ndez has contributed to making technological services available to inhabitants of the most impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic, empowering them to become a part of the development process and contribute towards the social, cultural and economic advancement of the country. 135 Community Technology Centres provide telecommunication and ICT services, focusing on programmes that include women and young girls.

The Mozilla Corporation is a global community and public benefit organization dedicated to improving the Internet experience for people everywhere. Its mission is to develop world-class, open source, fully standards-compliant Internet technologies and applications. Its software is available for download free of charge and anyone can have access to the source code and may modify it and redistribute it subject to the Mozilla public license. Ms Mitchell Baker, described as the Chief Lizard Wrangler at Mozilla, seeks to integrate open source development techniques with the world of commercial software development.Professor Mark Krivocheev receives a lifetime award for his work in developing subjective assessments of the quality of television pictures, in particular high每definition television (HDTV). Following the adoption of the Recommendations on HDTV by the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) at ITU, Prof Krivocheev received worldwide acclaim and was accorded the Chevalier de l*Ordre National de M谷rite of France.


From http://www.itu.int/newsroom/ 05/16/2007

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E-Democracy: Opportunities and Challenges

With the dawn of the 21st century, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is playing a key role in opinion building. And in a democratic set up, where citizen is supreme, the role of the digital medium becomes pivotal. The integration of information technology in facilitating the process of democracy is termed as E-democracy. As more and more people are logging onto the net to seek information and share opinion, the importance of the digital medium has greatly increased. The continuous advancement of technology has facilitated the access of citizens to Internet and the low cost of transmitting information is making it more viable and an easy option to form platforms for opinion building. The World Wide Web is not only changing the way use technology today, it is slowly revolutionising the very process of choosing our political leaders. The incorporation of ICT into the process of democracy has made it more participatory.

Bringing transparency The penetration of technology has been so deep that we can*t do away with the temptation of using it. As the Internet is an interactive medium, giving space to the users to vent their voice, the usability of the cyberspace holds the key to make the process of democracy more participatory, transparent and accountable. The significance of this digital medium can be gauged from the fact the presidential candidates in the US are using the Internet to reach out to voters and to generate funds. In the ongoing election battle, Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama used their sites to launch their poll campaigns. The social websites are also turning out to be crucial for the leaders to paste their profiles, which are accessible to people. Today as the technology advances, in the years to come Internet is all set to play a crucial role in promoting democracy. However, its use cannot be restricted to electioneering only. Strengthening the institution of democracy in a country requires a bigger role from its citizens.

Policy formulation Active participation of the citizens in decision-making, law making and legislative process are the signs of an upwardly mobile democracy. As the ICT provides unparalleled amount of communication, the interactivity between those who hold huge stake in the system and those who formulate policies play a crucial role in affecting the whole process of democracy. At the same time, ICT has the potential to broaden the scope of government consultation with citizens. The Internet provides the elected representative to go back to the electorates to communicate with them. In an e-democratic set up, the citizens have the liberty to register their protest or agreement to the policies of the government, thereby providing vital inputs on policy matters. This active involvement of the people toward the state of the affairs makes e-democracy a must at the contemporary times.

Digital divide However, the big issue relating to e-democracy is the digital divide. There is a huge gap between those who have access to Internet and those who don*t. The real challenge for the governments now is to bridge the divide. Though most of the governments are putting efforts to make the Internet available to all, the fruits of IT revolution are yet to reach many countries. Though the role of ICT in affecting public opinion may not be as visible but it can have a huge implication. Internet is largely an unchecked and unregulated channel, where people make groups, write blogs. These activities have the potential to influence policy-making targeted at serving a particular interest group. Here lies the reponsibility of the nations opting for e-democracy. A well formulated policy to moniter and adopt these feedbacks are prerequisites to make this process a success. Communities in rural areas need easy ways of accessing and sharing information. Though technological advancement has begun in the third world countries, implementation of ICT in promoting electronic democracy is a real task for these countries. There has to be more focus from the leaders on infrastructure for promoting e-democracy. At the same time they have to recognise the challenges posed by this ever expanding media. (by Wali Ahmad)


From http://www.ndtv.com/ 05/10/2007

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Copyright Must Be Respected as Culture Goes Online

Imagine a world in which every book, song, television programme and movie ever created is instantly available online with just the click of a mouse. Such a world would offer enormous promise not only to consumers but to artists and creators as well, who would finally be able to reach audiences that have long been too distant or expensive to reach before.This amazing new world is almost upon us, thanks to the internet and new digital technologies for scanning and distributing vast libraries of books, video and music. But sharp debate has broken out over how best to realise the goal of such broad online access to the world's culture without undermining the financial incentives for creativity that are so essential to the development of these works.Google, for example, says its book search technology will one day make available a copy of every book ever published in a vast online database of indexed content. A worthy goal, to be sure. But in pursuit of that goal, Google has taken a unilateralist approach by contending that it is entitled to grab books off library shelves and copy them wholesale without obtaining the permission of the publishers and authors who own the copyrights in those works.

Google defends this approach on two grounds. First, it contends that its actions qualify as "fair use" under US copyright law - never mind that books are being copied by the truckload and will be accessible in countries that do not even recognise that concept in their own copyright laws. Moreover, most authors and publishers, along with legal experts, disagree with Google's rather novel assertion of "fair use". In fact, they (including a subsidiary of Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times) have sued Google over its copying of the millions of books that its library partners - in the US and elsewhere - are making available.Second, Google makes the claim that it should be allowed to copy and -monetise the copyrighted works of others without their permission because of the public benefit in creating a vast global online repository. This project may well bring significant commercial advantage to Google. By contrast, those who own the copyrights in these works could gain little or nothing from Google's plan.Microsoft and others in the industry believe there is a better approach to achieving that goal and broadening online access to books. It is an approach that seeks to collaborate with copyright holders in developing technologies and business models that not only build a competitive and varied marketplace of online book content, but at the same time nurture the incentives for creativity reflected in copyright law without which no artist or writer - and no society that aspires to a living culture - can thrive.

Microsoft's approach to book search, for example, is based wholly upon the notion of collaboration with publishers, authors and other copyright holders. With publishers' voluntary and express permission, we are building a vast repository of books for people to access online. At the same time we are working to create a seamless interface to those digital book repositories that publishers wish to build for themselves. That is their choice and Microsoft respects it.The dichotomy between these two approaches - collaboration versus unilateralism - is reflected in other areas of online services available today. Nearly every major movie and television company, for example, has expressed deep concern over the large number of infringing videos available on Google's YouTube website. Google simply denies liability and appears to be trying wherever possible to skirt copyright law's boundaries. At Microsoft we believe that a better approach to developing online video-sharing sites is to work in an open and transparent manner with content owners to minimise infringement, while at the same time licensing and offering a wide range of high-quality content that consumers can reliably locate and enjoy.In no way do I want to minimise the challenges ahead, nor the flexibility and willingness to experiment that will be needed if we are to build a truly sustainable ecosystem of broad online access to the world's cultural works. But we cannot succeed in meeting these challenges by cutting legal corners and ignoring the rights of copyright holders. Rather, the technology and content industries should continue to work together to create consumer-friendly solutions that nurture rather than undermine the incentives for creativity so vital to sustaining our culture.The writer is associate general counsel for intellectual property at Microsoft Corporation


From Financial Times, MARCH 6,2007

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Microsoft Guidelines Give the Bottom Line on Security Settings

Microsoft Corp. has produced a set of security guidelines for Windows Vista, providing a checklist of security settings and configurations for two levels of enhanced security in the new operating system. Although published by Microsoft, the guidelines are the product of a collaboration between the software vendor and the National Security Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Defense Information Systems Agency. The guidelines are the latest in a series of recommendations for hardening Microsoft software. Kurt Dillard, security evangelist for Microsoft*s federal team, said the Vista guidelines represent a closer collaboration with government. ※We first approached the NSA a little over four years ago to see if they were interested in getting security recommendations for XP and 2000 aligned§ with government needs, Dillard said. ※The original versions didn*t include input from the government.§ Subsequent guidelines for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 were in close agreement with government recommendations, and Microsoft began working with NIST, NSA and DISA last summer on the Vista guidelines. The teams now are working on documents for Office 2007 and Longhorn Server.

NIST recommends that agencies considering a move to the new operating system begin interoperability testing with deployed applications and systems because of the substantial changes in the security architecture. Vista is the first operating system developed under Microsoft*s Secure Development Lifecycle process and includes a number of advanced security features in the default configuration. NSA and the Air Force both made suggestions on security configurations in the late stages of Vista*s development, Dillard said. ※A lot of their suggestions were incorporated,§ he said. ※The default settings are much more secure than in previous systems.§ Although the default configuration is more locked down than in earlier operating systems, the security guidelines set out a higher level of security for enterprises, which would probably be more advanced than most home users would require. A higher level, Specialized Security-Limited Functionality, is intended for some government users. The higher-level security settings sacrifice some user convenience and interoperability with applications.ㄗby William Jacksonㄘ


From http://www.gcn.com/ 03/19/2007

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Government Technology World New Zealand 2007

Government Technology World New Zealand focuses on assisting government ICT departments to maximise ICT*s contribution to service delivery and information management. It brings together an outstanding cross section of innovators, leaders and managers 每 to advance best practice across the New Zealand public sector. Venue: Duxton Hotel, Wellington; Date: 20 - 22 August 2007.New Zealand*s Public Sector ICT Congress will: Identify the top priorities of leading government ICT decision-makers; Understand how to innovate and improve your processes in a rapidly changing environment; Discover how to reach citizens and provide access to government employees in an E-world; Learn how to achieve successful collaborations across and within government departments; and, Strengthen your authentication and security processes and protect your valuable IT assets


From http://www.terrapinn.com/ 05/01/2007

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Global Mobile Web Conference

MobileAware, a major provider of mobile Web service infrastructure products, is hosting an international World Wide Web Consortium workshop in Dublin, Ireland, June 5-6. Co-sponsored by Ireland*s government, the event seeks to guide future work on the standards and best practices for extending Web access from desktop PCs to a multitude of fixed and mobile devices in homes, offices and other environments. More information on the workshop is available at www.w3.org/2007/02/dmdwa-ws. (by Patrick Marshall, GCN Staff)


From http://www.gcn.com/ 05/07/2007

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E-Governance Training for Senior Managers From Developing Countries

At the invitation of the Ecole Polytechnique F谷d谷rale de Lausanne (EPFL), DPADM will offer a training session on E-governance for Senior Managers from Developing Countries, to be held at UN Headquarters in New York on 14 May. The focus of the training will include the "do's and don'ts" of e-governance strategy development, the improvement of government online service delivery, and knowledge management and networking. For further information on EPFL, please see: http://www.epfl.ch/index.en.html.


From http://unpan1.un.org/ 05/14/2007

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CHINA: Companies Prep for China Mobile TV Standard

Although the China mobile TV standard remains undecided and mobile TV commercial application faces various challenges, the 12th Annual International IC-China Conference & Exhibition (IIC-China) had several chip products targeting mobile TV applications. South Korean mobile TV chip vendors seem to have their eyes on China's huge market since its homegrown terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting's (T-DMB) revenues have not been very satisfactory. In the South Korea show zone, NeXilion Inc. and Pnpnetwork Technologies displayed their mobile TV baseband SoCs and demodulator products. NeXilion showcased its NX3K family of integrated demodulator and decoder SoCs that supports DMB/DAB/ISDB-T/DVB-H and Stimi, the coming China Broadcasting and Television standard. However, NX3K supports H.264 decoding standard rather than China AVS standard.

Pnpnetwork, on the other hand, has a different strategy. Zhao Zheng-Wen, an engineer from Pnpnetwork, said that since China still has not decided on its national mobile TV standard, they will focus on the T-DMB and DVB-H standards instead. Pnpnetwork's PNM3030 is suitable for T-DMB and DAB receiver, while the PNM3031E is designed for ISDB-T receiver. For companies targeting the China market, supporting a local standard is important. With the coming of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it is believed that China's mobile TV standard will soon be launched.


From http://www.eetasia.com 03/08/2007

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Intel Expected to Announce Big Plans for China

Intel will hold a briefing Monday in Beijing, the US chip giant said Thursday, amid expectations that it is set to announce plans to build a huge semiconductor plant in China. "Our CEO (Paul Otellini) will be there," said a Beijing-based Intel executive on Thursday. Intel declined to provide details about the press conference, to be held in the Great Hall of the People, the parliamentary building in the middle of Beijing. However, speculation was heating up following an announcement by the Chinese government earlier this month that it had given approval for an Intel plan to build a 2.5-billion-dollar semiconductor plant. The 12-inch (300-millimetre) integrated wafer plant in Dalian city in northeast China's Liaoning province would have a monthly capacity of 52,000 chips, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a brief release. Intel, which has invested about one billion dollars in China so far, already has major assembly and test operations in Shanghai and Chengdu, in the country's southwest. At 90 nanometers, the chips made in Dalian would be some of the most advanced semiconductors manufactured in China


From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn 03/23/2007

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Intel to Help Set Up Dalian Training Base

Chip giant Intel Corp yesterday announced its cooperation to establish a training base to support its US$2.5-billion investment in a 12-inch wafer fab plant in the port city of northeast China's Liaoning Province. With a total investment of 348 million yuan from Intel, the municipal government and Dalian University of Technology (DUT), work on a semiconductor technology institute will start late this year and is expected to start enrolling in August 2008, Mayor Xia Deren said at the signing ceremony for the establishment of the institute. The institute will be managed by DUT, and Intel will donate an 8-inch chip production line to it. A day earlier, Intel announced its largest-ever investment to build a wafer fab plant in the city, a milestone in China's bid to attract foreign investment in high-tech sector. "With the Intel investment, Dalian will not only become the largest manufacturing base for semiconductor chips but also the most advanced training base in the country," Xia said.

The mayor also said the city will provide sufficient talent, besides the best infrastructure and services, for the success of Intel's project in China. "The development of a strong education base and an excellent training environment will provide an important platform to the city and the Northeast to enhance their base of innovation," said Intel China President Wee Theng Tan. Besides training local talent, Intel will help in faculty training and curriculum development, Tan said.


From http://www.china.org.cn 03/28/2007

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SOUTH KOREA: Two Koreas to Hold IT Forum in October

South and North Korea have agreed to hold a joint information technology seminar in the North's capital Pyongyang in October to discuss closer cooperation in informatization of the communist state, the South Korean organizer of the seminar, Unification IT Forum, said Sunday.The agreement was reached at a recent meeting between Seok Ho-ik, chief of the Seoul-based forum, and Kim Jin-kyong, president of the Pyongyang Science and Technology College, it said.The chiefs also discussed ways to support the North Korean college, which is scheduled to formally open in Pyongyang in September with 150 graduate students. The college will have a five-story building for lectures, a four-story library as well as dining, research and dormitory facilities.


From http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr 04/22/2007

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ISACA, MNCC Hosting Conference

SUBANG JAYA: The 2007 IT Governance Conference, will be held at the Subang Sheraton Hotel here from May 22 to 23. The theme for the conference is Risk, Control and IT Governance 〞 Case Studies for Implementation. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Sri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis will officiate at the event. ISACA Malaysia (formerly known as Information Systems Audit and Control Association) and the Malaysian National Computer Confederation are hosting the conference. Other topics to be discussed include IT Governance and The Public Sector; Protection of Personal Data 每 A Corporate Responsibility; and Auditing IT Governance: What You Need To Know.


From http://star-techcentral.com 05/14/2007

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MALAYSIA: 2,500 to Attend World IT Congress in May

PENANG: About 2,500 participants, including academics and researchers from more than 80 countries, are expected to turn up for the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2008 to be held in Kuala Lumpur from May 18-22. Among the global personalities to be invited are former US president Bill Clinton, Microsoft's Bill Gates, and Infosys Technologies founder Narayana Murthy. The WCIT is a premier gathering for the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry. It offers participants numerous opportunities for business networking and the exchange of policies, ideas and technology. Being a regional ICT hub, Penang should have a significant presence at the event, WCIT 2008 Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Wendy Liew said. "WCIT is not a discussion on IT technology but on what IT can do," she added. World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) secretary-general Dr James H. Poisant said the congress would focus on the role of ICT in the eradication of poverty, its role in doing business in Asia, globalisation of Asia's ICT companies, future vision of the World Wide Web and computer science education in the 21st century. Poisant said Malaysia secured the right to host WCIT 2008 from WITSA in May 2006, winning over Singapore and India. "Malaysia was also given the right because of the valuable contribution that the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia has made to WITSA," he added.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/20/2007

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SINGAPORE: IT Show Rakes in Record Sales of $48 Million

Gadget-crazy Singaporeans kept the cash registers at the IT Show ringing over the weekend, as vendors raked in combined sales of $48 million 〞 a record in the show's 16-year history. The top three items on most buyers' shopping list: High Definition Television (HDTV) sets, Sony Playstation 3 game consoles and laptop computers. Over four days, 718,000 people thronged the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre 〞 also a record. Last year, 630,000 people visited the show, and spent $34 million. While the desire to beat the GST hike may have prompted some purchases, general manager of organiser Eastern Directories Melvin Koh said sales of the top three items reflect the high IT penetration in Singapore society. He said some buyers were stocking up HDTV sets in anticipation of the wave of HDTV programmes set to hit the screens, while others were quick on the draw for the Sony Playstation 3 game consoles, released here last Wednesday. "Singapore society is technology driven and is fast becoming the launching base in Asia for technology. There is high IT penetration and absorption of technology," said Mr Koh. "The sales also reflect the healthy economy with people more willing to spend on big-ticket items." Student Daniel Sim was one buyer who left the fair with a game console and an MP3 player, paying almost $1,000 for the gadgets.

"There are discounts here, so I might as well take advantage of them," Mr Sim told TODAY. "If not, I'd have to pay much more when the GST increase kicks in." According to the organiser, the just-concluded fair is the biggest one so far, with 300,000 sq ft of floor space used in this year's IT show, a 15-per cent increase over the previous one. But the aim is for the next fair, in September, to get even bigger. According to Mr Koh, the plan is to occupy all of Suntec Singapore, a 35-per cent increase in terms of floor area. Not all the offerings at the IT show were electronic products, though. Most of the major banks took the opportunity to promote their credit card products, sometimes tied to tech-related gifts and offers. Prudential Insurance had booths outside the exhibition halls as well. The extras did not go down well with some shoppers. "They shouldn't do this. It (distracts) shoppers who come here looking to buy gadgets and computers," said quality assurance supervisor William Seenee, who was at the fair to buy a computer for his children. However, not all shoppers were miffed by the presence of such companies. Sales and marketing manager Lee Kai Seng said: "They're here to take advantage of the human traffic. They just want to catch the crowds."


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 03/12/2007

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Launch First Global Convention on Technology for Disabled with Thailand

Singapore and Thailand will launch the first International Convention for Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology (i-Create). The three-day exhibition and conference is the first joint effort by both countries to promote technology for people with disabilities and the elderly in Southeast Asia. It will showcase the latest state-of-the-art equipment in the field of Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology. 10 workshops will also be held by well-known experts on the technology. i-Create will be held at the National Library from April 24-26. Guests of honour include Singapore's Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Thailand's Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 04/11/2007

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BANGLADESH: ICT and Education Conference in Dhaka

ICT and Education Conference in Dhaka - ICT and Education Conference in Dhaka In March, Relief International organized a ICT and Education Conference in Dhaka for the teachers working with school


From http://bangladeshictpolicy.bytesforall.net/ 03/21/2007

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E-governance to Help Curb Corruption: BASIS SoftExpo Roundtable Told

Establishing e-governance in the country can help curb widespread corruption, speakers observed at a roundtable in Dhaka on March 29. At the roundtable styled 'Fight Against Corruption-Role of Information Technology' the speakers also said making available the details of all the activities of the ministries on internet can minimise ill practices. They also stressed floating tenders through internet to avoid any unscrupulous activities. Chairman of Transparency International Bangladesh Muzaffer Ahmad presided over the discussion while Asian Development Bank Country Director Hua Du, former finance minister MA Muhit, former commerce minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, among others, spoke. The roundtable was organised on the sidelines of a five-day IT and IT-enabled services fair styled 'SoftExpo2007' organised by Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS). Adopting information and communication technology (ICT) in different organisations can reduce corruption, said Amir Khosru adding that installation of ICT facilities has produced positive results in curbing price manipulation on Chittagong Stock Exchange. Currently around five million people of the county use computers while the number of internet users is only two to three million, Muhit said suggesting that internet and IT should be used as tools for fighting corruption. Meanwhile, a large number of visitors came to the fair on the second day of the show at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in the capital on the day. A total of 125 local ICT companies are showcasing software, IT solutions and services, multimedia and animation, e-commerce and job portals, internet and data communication services, telecoms services, and high-end hardware at the fair. Cellphone operator AKTEL is the main sponsor of the event while Microsoft Bangladesh and Business Promotion Council of commerce ministry are the co-sponsors. The Daily Star, Channel i and Radio Today are the media partners. The show is open to all between 10am and 8pm everyday with an entry fee of Tk20.


From The Daily Star 03/30/2007

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BANGLADESH: Training Programme for ISP, Telecoms Engineers

In a bid to provide training facilities for the engineers working in the ISP (internet service provider) and telecommunication sectors in IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), ISP Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) organised a five-day training programme that ended in Dhaka on Thursday. Commissioner of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Md Abdus Salam presided over the opening ceremony of the programme, which was participated by around 50 engineers from home and abroad, says a press release. MA Salam, president of the ISPAB, and Ashish Shah of South Asia UTStar Com, which was the platinum sponsor of the programme, were present among others.


From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 04/17/2007

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PAKISTAN: NASCOM '07 Exhibition from March 24

ISLAMABAD (March 19 2007): National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences-FAST Islamabad Campus is holding here a two-day mega IT exhibition "NASCON `07" from March 24. Federal Minister for Information Technology, Owais Ahmed Khan Leghari will inaugurate this big computer exhibition on March 24 while the Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Nauraiz Shakoor will grace the closing ceremony on March 25 at the University's premises located here at H-11 sector, official sources said. During the two-day NASCON event, ten major competitions will be held between participants from all over the country. Competitions include Software Project Competition, Engineering Project Competition, Dynamic Programming Competition, Engineering Problem Solving Competition, Gaming Competition, Quiz Competition (both university and college level), Business Plan Competition, Harvard Case Simulation, Movie/Song Video Competition and Poster Competition, they added. About the Vision of NASCON, they said is to offer the industry an opportunity to interact with the academia so as to come up with innovative ideas in science, engineering and business. Its vision is also to provide a platform to the students to wrestle their mental prowess in a competitive environment, to offer the students a chance to evaluate themselves by the industry and acquire awareness with regard to the latest trends and developments in their respective fields and specialisation and to promote R&D culture in Pakistan. Students and professionals of Information Technology, computer sciences, engineering, business administration and other allied fields from all major universities and organisations will participate in the exhibition and put on display their talents. Multinational firm, Enterprise DB has the honour to be the major sponsor of the event. Other major national and multinational firms will also participate in NASCON '07 and set up their stall to display their products.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/19/2007

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KalSoft Launches Training Programme

KARACHI (March 20 2007): Currently, IT occupations are experiencing a serious shortage as demand for skilled workers has been rising faster than the supply and this problem is developed into a major issue. Khurram H. Kalia, CEO & president KalSoft (Private) Ltd expressed this while speaking to the mews men. Moreover he said: "In order to overcome this issue, KalSoft has come up with a much required move. The 'Professional Competence Programme'. This social programme is specially designed to provide a complete understanding to the students on how to utilise their education in practical perspective, by using Microsoft technologies.-


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/20/2007

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Over 500 Professionals Trained to Help Reduce Software Piracy

ISLAMABAD (March 20 2007): The government has provided training to more than 500 professionals under a programme launched to reduce the software piracy rate in the country. The programme which is expected to be completed by 2009, around 30 workshops regarding major open source applications in all major cities of Pakistan have also been conducted. Talking to APP here Monday, an official at Ministry of Information Technology said in the first phase of the programme, 10 awareness-raising seminars on open source, piracy and copyright have also been arranged in public sector universities and colleges in different cities. He said the high cost of licensed software has prompted the need of this project in order to assist the software industry to migrate from licensed software platforms to open source solutions. Through this project titled Open Source Resource Centre (OSRC), a resource centre has been developed to cater to the queries and issues related to Open Source Software. The resource centre provides assistance to companies who want to save the cost of buying licensed software and shift to open source software solutions. The project team also assists the organisations interested in migrating to open source solutions. The objectives of the programme are to further enhance the network of open source developers and compile, develop and edit content for a course on open source for the Higher Education Commission, to be adopted by universities as part of their curriculum.

The other aims include conducting a survey regarding the rate of software piracy within federal ministries and departments, co-ordinate with the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) and to participate in conferences, seminars and workshops organised by the IPO and to migrate IT set-ups of eight organisations from proprietary to open source. The official said as a result of the projects activities in the first phase, the government and the private industry has saved a total of more than Rs 35 million by deploying open source solutions. He said according to the World Bank and Business Software Alliance (BSA), Pakistan's piracy rate has decreased in the last two years and added the project's achievements have been appreciated by the local industry, as well as by international agencies such as UNDP-APDIP, CICC, Japan, among others. The project team has been invited to participate in various international conferences, exhibitions and open source seminars, he added. Talking about the scope of the project, the official said there is a lack of intellectual property protection in Pakistan. It is very easy to obtain pirated low-end software packages in the market. Those who do manage to develop their own software package find it extremely difficult to compete, in price, with the pirated versions of the foreign software packages. The low purchasing power of a general computer user encourages this trend. Low per capita income also does not allow the majority of the population to opt for expensive proprietary software. The grooming of an open source software culture within Pakistan is an effective solution to this problem which will help to reduce the software piracy rate and also help provide Information and Communication technologies (ICT) to those who cannot otherwise afford to use them.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/20/2007

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AFGHANISTAN: Parliament Begins Debate on Media Law

The Wolesi Jirga (People's Council) of the Afghan National Assembly began debating the country's media law on April 25, the state-run Radio Afghanistan reported. The Wolesi Jirga's 18-member Religious, Cultural, and Education Affairs Commission, which is headed by Mohammad Mohaqeq, decided to debate the media law in the upcoming general session of the lower house on April 26. Current media guidelines were decreed by President Hamid Karzai just days before the National Assembly was inaugurated in December 2005. Reports of new proposals to the media law by the Wolesi Jirga suggest a tightening of restrictions on the media (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," February 6, 2007). AT


From http://www.rferl.org/ 04/26/2007

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TURKEY: Caspian Telecoms 2007

6th Regional Turkey, Caspian, Central Asia, Russia and Black Sea Telecoms and IT Conference &Exhibition to take place in Istanbul, Turkey. The Caspian Telecoms Conference and Exhibition is an ideal forum in which to discover what is happening within the Caspian, Central Asia and Black Sea telecoms market. Topics for 2006 included the regulatory framework of the telecoms market in the region, privatisation and liberalisation of the market, investment opportunities and future developments in the region. Over 600 delegates attended the Caspian Telecoms Conference and Showcase in 2006, representing 45 countries worldwide. Today the Caspian Telecoms Conference and Exhibition has become firmly established as an important Annual Summit in the sphere of Telecommunications for Ministers of Communications and private business of the Caspian region, Central Asia, Caucasus, CIS and Black Sea region.


From http://www.caginternet.org/ 04/12/2007

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UZBEKISTAN: National Software Exhibition to Be Held in Capital

First National Software Exhibition "Best Soft Uzbekistan" will be held at the exhibition hall of Art Academy of Uzbekistan on 17-18 May, Uzbek Agency for Communication and Information (UzACI) said in its release on 13 March. The exhibition is organized by Uzbekistan IT Companies Association at support of the UzACI. The release said Uzbek and foreign companies, specializing in development of software, were invited to participate in the event. The organizers also invited content providers to exhibition. The exhibition will pay special attention to present national internet projects, creation of advertisement products with use of information technologies and others.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 03/14/2007

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National Association of Electronic Media Conducts Media Forum

Pursuant to the Programme on Development of Non-State Owned Television and Radio Stations for 2006-2007, National Association of Electronic Media (NAEM) conducted a media forum entitled "Civil position of journalists 每 an active component of democratization of the society". On 2 May, in the framework of the projects being conducted by the NAEM to create the conditions for the activity of creative works of non-state television and radio studios, and improve their financial-technical base, a field workshop was conducted for the members of the association in Surkhandarya region. Workshop participants attended a ceremony of opening of the new office building of Ishonch television studio in Termez. The event was timed to the 10th anniversary of the studio. In addition, the members of the association familiarized themselves with the activity of non-state electronic media of the region. Participants of the seminars also discussed the progress on the projects being implemented by the NAEM. On 3 May, on the International Freedom of Speech Day, a conference was conducted at the Intercontinental Tashkent Hotel.

As a part of the conference, a roundtable discussion was conducted among the representatives of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of Oliy Majlis (parliament) of Uzbekistan, management and journalists of regional television and radio studios. Roundtable participants shared opinions on the course of the liberalization and democratization of media in Uzbekistan, as well as consolidation of efforts and development of partnership as one of the important components of the process and success of reforms in the country. Media-forum participants also attended the award ceremony of the winners of traditional Oltin Kalam (Golden Pen) National Journalism Contest. In conclusion of the forum, on 4 May, five seminars and master classes were conducted at Poytaht Hotel and Bunyodkor Tele-club. Directors, editors, and journalists of independent electronic media attended the event. Also, among other participants of the seminars were the members of the committee for information and communication technologies of the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan, the representatives of the press services of different organizations and agencies, specialists of the Uzbek Agency of Communication and Information (UzACI), Uzbek Agency for Press and Information (UzAPI), Committee for Demonopolisation, Support of Competition and Entrepreneurship.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 05/07/2007

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Importance of Insurance for Stability of ICT Companies Discussed

Alskom Insurance Company in cooperation with the Association of Radio-Technology, Electronics and Scientific-Technical Communication of Uzbekistan organised a seminar entitled "Insurance as an alternative method for maintaining stability in the ICT sphere". The event was initiated and supported by the Uzbek Agency of Communication and Informatization (UzACI). The aim of the event was to determine the tasks and specific measures to be taken to develop and improve the use of insurance in the activity of ICT companies of Uzbekistna in accordance with the priority directions formulated in the Presidential Resolution "On measures to further reform and develop the insurance services market" dated 10 April 2007. The representatives of the territorial branches of the UzACI, shareholding companies, enterprises and organizations of the ICT sphere, as well as mobile network operators participated in the event. Deputy Director General of the UzACI Asadjon Hojaev opened the seminar. In his speech, he noted that the abovementioned resolution gave birth to a new stage in the development of the insurance services market of Uzbekistan.

"This fact also confirms that the state acts as the main initiator and organizer of the socio-economic reforms taking place in the country and thereby clearly performs its regulatory functions," Hojaev said. "Supported by the government, within a short period the Uzbek insurance market has turned from a secondary sector into an important area setting the direction for the strategic development of national economy. In view of this, the management of the UzACI is implementing measures to further develop and expand the use of insurance in the sphere, which ensure the uninterrupted operation of the enterprises, and support their financial stability." Hojaev said the seminars and trainings as the one being conducted created the real preconditios for the implementation of the tasks outlined in the resolution. Director-General of Alskom Insurance Company, Doctor of Economic Science, Professor Tohirjon Iminov delivered a report "On the status and development prospects of insurance relations in the sphere of communication and informatisation."

The report provided a detailed appraisal of the status and measures being taken to develop the use of insurance in the sphere. In his report, Professor Iminov specifically outlined the key problems hampering the development of insurance, and the ways to solve them. Seminar participants said the measures outlined in the Programme of Reforms and Development of the Insurance Market, approved by the Presidential Resolution, serve as a fundamental base for the development of specific plans of actions for further expansion of the use of insurance in the sphere. The reports of the specialists of the insurance company and the scientific-technical institution of the ICT sphere also touched upon the issues of integration of risk-management systems in the enterprises of the sphere, organizational and legal aspects of development and integration of information risk insurance, characteristics of the main types of insurance products, whose integration should ensure the stability of the ICT companies. Before closing the event, participants worked out several recommendations and suggestions regarding the issues discussed in the course of the seminar.


From http://insurance.uzreport.com/ 05/15/2007

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Exhibition Best Soft Uzbekistan - 2007

Best Soft Uzbekistan - 2007 每 the First National Exhibition for software products opened in Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan on May 17, 2007. The event was organized by IT Association of Uzbekistan and supported by the Communication and Information Agency of Uzbekistan. 300 national and foreign companies are participating in the exhibition. Various interesting activities such as online chess game with the world champion Rustam Kasimdjanov, fair of vacancies for programmers, seminars and other different trainings will also be organized in the framework of the exhibition. Several contests with nominations; ※Software product of the year§, ※Best project of 2006§, ※Best Company in IT education§ is expected to take place and find the winners. The first day of the exhibition is for IT specialists only, while the second day is open to the general public.


From http://www.gov.uz/en/ 05/17/2007

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