Winter 2009 Issue 28
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  Conference and Training

Contact Us:  unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
  EU Agrees on New Internet User Rights
Russia Sets Ambitious Technological Development Goals
UK: Empowering Citizens & Government Through Digital Innovation
US: 2009 Best of the Web Winners Announced
Green Network Improvements to Yield 42% Drop in Carbon Emissions by 2013
International Cooperation to Shape Common Policies for Cybersecurity and Data Protection
CHINA: Beijing Publishes Emergency Plan for Network and Information Security
SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Technology '1 Year Behind U.S.'
MALAYSIA: Mobile Market Reaching the Maturity Stage
PHILIPPINES: Corruption Increases RP Gov't IT Spending: Study
BANGLADESH: National Board of Revenue Starts E-Registration of Businesses
INDIA: Amended IT Act Comes into Effect to Prevent Cyber Crime
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Gulf's Highest Female Internet User Base
TURKEY: Launch Social Information Systems Enabling Efficient Public Service Delivery
AUSTRALIA: Regulator Consults on Boosting Rural Mobile Coverage
NEW ZEALAND: e-Day Aims to Clean Up Taranaki's E-Waste
 
  AFRICA: Rwanda New Minister Vows to Bridge ICT Gap
ASIA: UN Meeting Recommends Help in Accessing ICT for 400 Million Persons with Disabilities in Asia-Pacific Region
EUROPE: EU Releases Report on Green Knowledge Society
EU Agrees on New Internet User Rights
France OKs Legislation to Cut Internet to Illegal Downloaders
Russia Sets Ambitious Technological Development Goals
New Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations Published
NORTH AMERICA: U. S. Disputed E-Verify Rules Go into Effect
SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina's Congress Passes Controversial 'Tech Tax'
ITU Encourages National School-Based Community Broadband Plans
ITU Introduces Standards Conformity and Interoperability Programme
 
  CHINA: Ministry of Culture Named Overseer of Animation and Online Games Industry in China
China Bans Foreign Investment in Online Games Industry
Beijing Publishes Emergency Plan for Network and Information Security
China Bans 'Pornographic' Literature on Internet
China Spends 96b Yuan on 3G
China Police Chief Urges Harsher Internet Controls
Premier Highlights Role of Sci-tech amid Financial Crisis
China to Enhance Copyright Management for Online Video Content
JAPAN: Urged by MPAA to Lead Internet Piracy Legislation
SOUTH KOREA: 189 Tln Won to Strengthen IT Sector Will Be Spent
Jeju to Begin Smart Grid Project
Regulator to Allow Foreign Investment in IPTV Content
Korea Must Use 'IT Niche' to Bolster Space Program: IAF head
Korea Gears Up to Lead Global Green IT Trends
MONGOLIA: Telecoms, Mobile & Internet
 
  MYANMAR: Mobile Phones to Be Used in Capital City Allowed
MALAYSIA: Innovation Is the Way Forward - PM
Personal Data Protection Bill Tabled in Parliament
SINGAPORE: SGNIC to Launch Chinese Domain Names
THAILAND: 3G Future Depends on Clarity
Amended Intellectual Property Law to Cover Computer Violations
Sipa, Private Sector to Collaborate
 
  INDIA: Jammu and Kashmir Government Initiate IT Growth in the State
Secretariat Records Digitisation to Be Launched in Kerala
UP's Online Tax Initiative for Trucks
Indian Government Plans to Boost Mobile Banking
Karnataka, the Best in RTI Act Implementation
UP Set to Launch E-District Scheme
NEPAL: Electronic National ID Cards Planned
Nepal Launches Digital Record System to Check Driving License
PAKISTAN: Government Urged to Provide Incentives for IT Boost
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Bloggers Tried; Rights Groups Concerned
GEORGIA: Radio Spectrum Auction Cancelled
KAZAKHSTAN: New Law Alarms Press Freedom Group
Kazakh PM Calls on Businessmen to Invest in Kazakhstan's IT Sector
Premier Urged to Bring Down Wholesale Rates for Lateral Internet Service Providers
 
  AUSTRALIA: Regulator Consults on Boosting Rural Mobile Coverage
$43 Billion National FttH Broadband Network Has Been Launched in Australia
NEW ZEALAND: Govt Announces Targets for Rural Broadband
Telecom Signs Up to Community Engagement Guidelines
 
  AFRICA: Ghana - Management of MTN Launches Emergency Telephone Numbers to Fight Crime
ASIA: Mobile Regulators Lag Behind West
EUROPE: Start of the Project REACH112 - Responding to All Citizens Needing Help
Belgium: OpenOffice Boom in Belgium
Germany to Introduce Digital Income Tax Card From 2011
Irish National Broadband Scheme Creating Knowledge Based Jobs
Kosovo: 'Ownership of e-Government Code a Step Towards Open Source'
Norway Launches New Public Sector Procurement Portal 'Anskaffelser.no'
Sweden Releases New Report on eGovernment
UK: Empowering Citizens & Government Through Digital Innovation
NORTH AMERICA: Government of Canada Enhances Public Infrastructure with Innovative Technologies
Canada Announces Mandatory Corporate Tax Reporting via Internet
US: 2009 Best of the Web Winners Announced
White House Opens Web Site Programming to Public
SOUTH AMERICA: Brazilian Govt Looks at Mixed Solution for Broadband Plan
Mexico Has the Most Advanced E-services Development in Latin America
IBM Unveils New e-Government Solutions
 
  CHINA: Public Gets Online Press Invitation
China's Anti-graft Chief Hails Online Efforts in Rectifying Misconduct
Gov't Budget Website Overloaded amid Surge of Visitors
China Sets Up Website to Recover Trafficked Children: Report
Guangzhou to Establish Emergency Communication Command System
Police Chief Urges Full Use of IT to Prevent Crimes
China's Health Ministry to Launch Web Spokesman
JAPAN: Paperless Systems Costly, Underutilized
SOUTH KOREA: IT-Core Element in Four Rivers Restoration
Gov't to Set Up Smart Electricity Meter Network by 2020
New Integrated Logo to Be Introduced for Gov't Offices
Republic of Korea Supports E-Government in Pacific
 
  Malaysia: Choose Local IT Solutions, Govt Agencies Told
Ministries Must Be Pro-Active in Maximising Use of ICT
Najib Joins Facebook
PHILIPPINES: Department of Education, UNESCO Push for ICT in Education
Comelec Needs 50,000 IT Workers
Department of Education Renews Partnership with Knowledge Channel
THAILAND: JFCCT Calls for Better IT Skills
VIETNAM: Government Web Portal Officially Announced
 
  BANGLADESH: E-governance Networking
INDIA: All Gram Panchayats in Punjab to Be Connected Through Epri Scheme
INDIA: Tamil Nadu State Information Commission to Be Put on E-Governance Map
Karnataka to Take E-Way for Government Procurement
SMS Gateway Launches M-Governance in Himachal
NREGS Gets E-Transparent
Madhya Pradesh Wins Best E-Governed State Award
Himachal to Take Rapid Strides in E-Governance
Evolving a Citizen-Centric Rural E-Governance Framework
Civic Body to Upgrade E-Governance System in Delhi
E-Governance Solution for Improving MCD Functioning
Adopt ICT to Achieve Better Governance
NEPAL: MoLD Launches E-Governance
 
  AFGHANISTAN: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Has the Responsibility of Telecommunications Development All over Afghanistan
Ministry of Communication and IT (MCIT) Inaugurated Afghanistan's First Ever National Data Center - ANDC
IRAN: Probe into Telecom Privatisation Ordered
KAZAKHSTAN: Internet Association of Kazakhstan Opened in Almaty
Kazakh Team Wins ONA (Online News Association) Award
UZBEKISTAN: Development of Telecommmunications Sector Considered
 
  AUSTRALIA: Telecommunication Reform a Necessary Component of Digital Initiatives
R&D Tax Concessions on the Agenda
Australian Regulator Consults on Blocking Unwanted Premium-Rate SMS
Government 2.0 - Setting the Data Free
Improving Tax Collection Efficiency in Asia
Cyber Laws Must Punish Individuals Not Society
FIJI: Looks to Chinese Bank for E-gov't Project
NEW ZEALAND: ECan Will Not Get Hide Intervention
New Visitor Information Centre to Be Chosen
Transition Authority Sheds Light on Future Supercity ICT
Internet Funding Cut Threat a Concern
 
  AFRICA: Nigeria's Telecom Revenue to surpass US$12bn in 2013
ASIA: Mobile Business Customer Growth Fastest
More Asia-Pacific Consumers Shopping Online: Visa Survey
EUROPE: Consumers: 60% of Cross Border Internet Shopping Orders Are Refused, Says New EU Study
SOUTH AMERICA: Mobile, Broadband Main Drivers of Brazilian Telecom Market to 2014
Free Web Accounting Suite Expands to Colombia
Over Half a Billion People to Use Mobile Money Transfer Services by 2014
Global Mobile-Phone Growth Remains Strong Despite Crisis
Green Network Improvements to Yield 42% Drop in Carbon Emissions by 2013
 
  CHINA: China Mobile Launches 3G Operating System
Obvious Solutions for Scammed Internet Buyers of Chinese Technology Products
Job Seekers Switch to Online Business
China's Internet Economy Upbeat
JAPAN: Online Brokers Consolidate
SOUTH KOREA: Online Game Exports Reach $1 Billion
S. Korea's Weak IT Service Sector Denting IT Competitiveness
Korea's Export Growth Rate for ICT Products Ranked Third in the World
Korea's Internet Is Mired in a Microsoft Monoculture
Korea's Robot Industry to Grow 10 Pct in 2009
SK Telecom, KT, Among World's 50 Most Valuable Telecom Brands
 
  INDONESIA: Evolving Landscape of Telecoms Market
MALAYSIA: Mobile Market Reaching the Maturity Stage
Malaysians Still Big on Online Shopping
PHILIPPINES: DOST Challenges Caraga Inventors to Find Niche for Science and Technology
E-Payment Firm Targets OFWs
RP Firm Creates M-Commerce App for Mastercard
THAILAND: $100-$200 Million Reserve for 3G Licenses Proposed
GSMA Supports Thai Government's Move to Open 3G Auction
Vinaphone Joins Asian Mobile Alliance
VIETNAM: Half of Official Subscribers May Be Inactive
 
  BANGLADESH: National Board of Revenue Starts E-Registration of Businesses
INDIA: Delhi Firm in Talks with Government to Digitise NREGA Payments
IT Companies in India Still Waiting for Promised Domestic Boost
IT Firms Set Their Eyes on E-District Project
E-Payment of Commercial Taxes
Reliance Communications and Atom Technologies Sign m-Commerce Agreement
SRI LANKA: IT Firm to Be Bought by London Stock Exchange
PAKISTAN: All Marriott Blast-Hit IT Firms Resume Operations
 
  IRAQ: Investor Looking to Sell Stake in Iraqi Mobile Network
Cellcos Criticise Plans to License Fourth Mobile Operator
IRAN: State Telecom to Sell 51 Percent of Stock in Privatization Bid
Iran to Make New Attempt to Issue 3rd Mobile Phone License
KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh Telecom Debt Affirmed with a Negative Outlook
TURKEY: Megafon and Turkcell to Be Merged into Single Holding Company
 
  AUSTRALIA: Queensland Government Gets Smart with the ICT Economy
Public and Private Sector Join Hands to Address Skill Shortages in Small and Medium Businesses in Australia
New Report Studies Recent Trends in E-Commerce and Mobile Commerce
E-Business Thrives in Economic Downturn
NEW ZEALAND: Move to Super City Could Hit IT Snags
Green IT Goes on Hold for Now
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Building a Mobile Money Network in Papua New Guinea
 
  AFRICA: World Bank to Help Develop High-Speed Internet
East Africa: Health Sector Goes Digital, With Next Epidemic Alert a Click Away
Egypt's Mobile Subscribers Up 40% on Year
Rwanda: Gov't Unveils e-Health Programmers
ASIA: Network to Connect 4000 Education Institutes
Google Top Search Engine in the Asia-Pacific Region
EUROPE: Saving More Lives on Europe's Roads - Mobile Phone Operators Sign Up for eCall Roll-Out
Europe's Growing Army of Bloggers and Social Networkers Can Generate New Services and Growth, Says Study
NORTH AMERICA: US Top Digital Cities Announced for 2009
Women in Asia Pacific Should Embrace ICT
Tecamac: A City of Hope for Mexico's Future
Internet Boosts Economic Growth and Social Welfare
Identify Opportunities to Develop New Policies, Visions & Strategies During Financial Crisis
Mobile User Base to Reach 5.9 Billion by 2013
 
  CHINA: IP Address Will Be Used Up in 2 Years
Chinese Cities to Complete Digital Mapping by 2015
Chinese Mobile Phone Users Total 703 Mln
China Mobile to Run E-book Service Like Amazon
Internet Surfing Becomes Major Leisure Activity for Chinese Adolescents: Survey
50 Million Go Mobile on Chinese Social Network
Internet Encourages a New Era of Individual Voices
Hong Kong Proposes E-Learning Pilot Scheme
Information Tech Boosts Popular Science Education
China Claims Supercomputer Among World's Fastest
Internet to Speak Chinese in 2010
JAPAN: Point to Wireless Health's Future?
New Networks Help Japan Regain Its Wireless Data Edge
Most Readers in Japan Don't Support Google's Online E-book Library: Poll
Japanese Internet Book Search System to Be Developed
NORTH KOREA: Mobile Subscribers Growing at Faster Clip
SOUTH KOREA: Number of High-speed Internet Users Tops 16 Mln
E-Book Consumers want Longer Battery Life, Internet Connectivity and Email
Majority of Preschoolers Use Internet in S. Korea
Korea to Build Super-Speed Internet by 2012
Korea's Mobile Technology '1 Year Behind U.S.'
Mobile Navigation Through Mobile Phone Gaining Momentum
IPTV Subscribers Top 1 Mln in Korea
MONGOLIA: Mobile Phone Market Set to Boom
 
  CAMBODIA: Operators Argue over Low Call Costs
MALAYSIA: Sixth in CSR Asia Survey
Call for a Nation of Telecommuters
PHILIPPINES: Corruption Increases RP Gov't IT Spending - Study
Convergence 2009 to Stimulate E-Services Growth in Iloilo City
Deal Eyed to Impact ICT in SMEs
SINGAPORE: Firms Urged to Tap into Opportunities Offered by ICT Contracts
THAILAND: Regulator Approves Draft Plans for 3G License Auction
Delays to Thailand's 3G License Auction Could Damage Investor Confidence
VIETNAM: 'Lacks IT Human Resources'
VIETNAM: All-Digital Broadcasts 'Unlikely' by 2020
Vietnam Among Top Ten Software Outsourcing Countries
E-Learning Catches On
 
  INDIA: 70 Ports in India to Be Connected Electronically
Concept of E-City Gets a Boost in India
E-Payment Facility Launched for VAT Dealers in Kerala
Compulsory E-stamping in India
Indian Passports to Go Digital
India to Develop Fire Incidence Database
Postal Department Launches SMS Service in Chennai
Efforts for Delivery of E-Services to Be Intensified
Mobile Governance for Public Utility Services in TN
India to Use Mobile to Get Pension
 
  UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Gulf's Highest Female Internet User Base
IRAN: Desperately Unwired
KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh Internet Marks 15th Anniversary
TURKMENISTAN: Ecology Through the Internet
TURKEY: Social Information Systems Enabling Efficient Public Service Delivery Launched
UZBEKISTAN: New Dictionaries for Professionals
Electronic Plastic Cards Will Be Available to Everyone
IMR Sound Recording Studio Presents Unique Online Services in Tashkent
 
  AUSTRALIA: Regulator Consults on Boosting Rural Mobile Coverage
Australia's Supercomputer Ranking Slipping
FIJI: Mindpearl Boosts ICT Sector
NEW ZEALAND: National Network to Help Start-Ups
EDay Aims to Clean Up Taranaki's E-Waste
Rural Broadband to Break Through Backhaul Roadblock
Free Digital Downloads From 'Library without Walls'
Social Sites Catch 90pc of Kiwi Web Users
New Website Makes Settling a Piece of Cake
Speed Networkers Ready to Talk Entrepreneurship
 
  ASIA-PACIFIC Nations Must Fight Cyber-Crime
NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Making Cyber-Security a National Priority
US on Hunt for 1,000 Cybersecurity Experts
US: Small Firms Losing Millions in Massive Cyber Attacks
Cybersecurity in Action at ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009
New Report Warns Of Dangers of Trashy Avatars
Online ID Theft and Fraud Impacting Consumer Confidence
International Cooperation to Shape Common Policies for Cybersecurity and Data Protection
 
  CHINA: Sales of Illegal Cyber Games Banned
China Information Security Technology Wins Innovation Award
China Launches Crackdown on Online Gaming
China Punishes 6330 Phishing Websites
Court Gives Heaviest Sentence for Selling Fake Drug Online
China's Online Video Piracy Jumps to Internet TVs
China Closes 20 Illegal Literary Websites
SOUTH KOREA: 3,000 Sheriffs Trained to Enhance Cyber Security
Gov't to Hike Spending on Network Security
Gov't to Build System to Protect Against Cyber Attacks
U.S., Korea Should Toughen Combined Cyber Security
Digital Pirates of Korean Blockbuster Face Imprisonment
 
  INDONESIA: Govt to Upbeat About ICT Security Laboratory
MALAYSIA: Spike in Cyberstalking Cases
THAILAND: Biggest Threat from Web
VIETNAM: Operators Warned Over Legality of PrePay Promotions
Vietnam Internet Users Fear Facebook Blackout
 
  INDIA: Government Cautions Twitter & Facebook Users Against Virus
IT Firms Eye Criminal Tracking Network Project
Cyber Crime Generates More Money Than Drug Trafficking
Amended IT Act in India Comes into Effect to Prevent Cyber Crime
Life Term for Cyber-Terror Crimes
SRI LANKA: Regulator Buys Surveillance System to Monitor Growing Market
PAKISTAN: Netsol Powers CSO Perspectives Event on Information Security
PTA to Monitor All Telecom, Cyber Traffic
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Online Conflict Engulfs Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Process
IRAN: Cyber Police Created
SAUDI ARABIA: Face Tough Time with Cybercrimes
 
  AUSTRALIA: Police IT Managers 'Wasted Millions'
NEW ZEALAND: Government Eyes Private Geo-Data
 
  AFRICA: NEPAD ICT Africa Summit 2010
South Africa: Conference to Help Bridge Africa's Digital Divide
ASIA-PACIFIC: UN Training Promotes E-Governments in the Pacific: Two-Week Course on E-Government Latest In Expanding Programme
UN-led Talks Focus on ICTs as Stimulus to Economic Growth in Asia-Pacific Region
EUROPE: eChallenges e-2009
10th European Conference on eGovernment
G2010 Conference: Government IT Successes and Disappointments
The Kingdom Wins the Government Technology Awards 2009
5th International Conference on e-Learning
Intelligent Community Forum Announces the Smart21 Communities of 2010
ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 Reflects New Industry Needs and Realities
 
  CHINA: 3G Platforms All the Rage at Industry Fair
JAPAN: Researchers Downplay Super CPU Effort
New Gadgets, Prototypes to Debut Next Week in Japan
SOUTH KOREA: Global Semiconductor Industry Meeting
 
  MALAYSIA: National Innovation Centre to Be Launched Early 2010
PHILIPPINES: Lanao Norte Undergoes I-Tax Training
CICT Features Tanauan LGE in 5th Knowledge Exchange Conference
Davao Oriental Vice-Gov, Congressman Lead IT Seminar
Telof, TESDA to Conduct Free Basic Computer Literacy Training
 
  BANGLADESH: IT Companies Participating in Global Sourcing Forum New York
INDIA: International Conference on Spin-Offs of Unique And National ID to Smartcards, RFID, Biometrics And E-Security Stakeholders
Siliconindia Mobile Application Conference on Oct 31
Kerala Scores with Open Source Training
Indian ICT Ministers Meet for Speeding-Up Delivery of E-Services
South Asia Mobile Summit Starts in City
 
  AZERBAIJAN: First National Internet Forum
KAZAKHSTAN: Akim of Pavlodar Region Held Online Conference
Exhibition of New Innovative Technologies Kicks Off in Almaty
UZBEKISTAN: ICT Week Starts
ICT Summit 2009 - One More Step Towards the Formation of Information Society
Internet Festival Winners Awarded
Seminar for Journalists
 
  AUSTRALIA: Asia Pacific Digital Innovation Summit - Melbourne
NEW ZEALAND: Dispose of Electronic Waste
Broadband Conference Opens in Auckland

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EU Agrees on New Internet User Rights

EU lawmakers and governments agreed on new rights for Internet users Thursday, aiming to protect them from arbitrary crackdowns on those who illegally download music and movies on the Internet. EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said a deal was reached after EU governments agreed to EU parliament demands to balance measures against illegal downloaders with a broader set of rights for telecom users. The reforms were two years in the making. They also include new privacy controls, consumer rights and increased competition for Internet and phone services - key improvements that have been overshadowed by the fight over digital user rights. Thursday's proposal also includes other reforms to overhaul Europe's telecoms market. They include setting up a new EU-wide telecoms authority charged with ensuring fair competition, bolstering consumers' rights to switch mobile or landline telephone operators within one working day, and expanding digital networks to provide faster broadband Internet service for users in rural areas. EU lawmakers had been at odds with governments, notably France, over how to tackle the increase in illegal downloading.

Film and record labels had heavily lobbied the 27-nation bloc, demanding better enforcement of copyright rules to protect profits that are shrinking in the face of online file-sharing, in which people swap music files without paying. However, in a victory for the EU assembly, governments relented and agreed to include guarantees in the bill protecting users from arbitrary cutoffs of their Internet services. "This Internet freedom provision is unprecedented ... and (gives) a strong signal that the EU takes fundamental rights very seriously," Reding told reporters. "(It will) substantially enhance consumer rights and consumer choice in Europe's telecoms markets." The bill still needs the final approval of the European Parliament and EU governments, which is expected later this month. Under the guarantee, national authorities will only be able to cut off Internet services if they have proof that a user was downloading illegal copies of movies or music files, ensuring that users are presumed innocent. "Full due process rights will have to apply in any administrative case, except in cases of duly justified urgency, like serious crime, terrorism, child pornography," said Spanish lawmaker Alejo Vidal-Quadras. "This is really a step forward."

European consumers' organization BEUC, warned however that the draft EU bill was too vague on "due process" rights given to users, complaining it does not specifically provide suspected illegal downloaders the right to a judicial hearing. Christian Engstrom, a lawmaker from Sweden's Pirate Party, said the revised bill was somewhat of a victory for file-sharers, but warned that the EU assembly would have to keep a close eye on member states that want to cut off Internet users for online pirating. Under pressure from the music and film industries, France had pushed hard for tough measures against illegal downloaders. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had advocated a "three strikes and you're out" rule, under which Internet use would be tracked and users caught downloading would be warned twice before their Internet access would be cut off for a year. Britain is also considering such a move, lawmakers said. However, the French parliament passed a law in September watering down that plan and efforts to cut off Internet access will be left to a judge.


From AP News 11/05/2009

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Russia Sets Ambitious Technological Development Goals

RBC, Moscow. Digital TV, broadband Internet access and fourth-generation (4G) mobile telecommunications will emerge throughout the entire territory of Russia in 5-7 years, the Echo of Moscow radio station cited Presidential Aid Arkady Dvorkovich's forecast yesterday. Dvorkovich stressed that the federal budget earmarked considerable funds - literally, hundreds of thousands of rubles - for upgrades and technological development. As such, some RUB 76bn (approx. USD 2.59bn) has been reserved for digital TV expansion for the next five years to come. In the next few weeks, the government plans to launch an Internet portal for the commission on modernization and technological development as an innovation-focused supplement to the president's blog.


From http://www.rbcnews.com/ 10/30/2009

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UK: Empowering Citizens & Government Through Digital Innovation

At the forthcoming 'Digital Engagement' conference, Nick Kingsbury of Objective Corporation will argue that: "Government has been actively exploring the key issues around the use of digital technologies in the public sector and determining how it can engage more effectively with citizens to increase social inclusion and efficiency whilst delivering better public services." Nick will comment that: "Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been quoted as saying that 'The digital age presents huge opportunities for individually-tailored public services, mainly delivered electronically and always with greater efficiency. Government must be at the forefront of this modernisation.' This clear message is already being translated into positive action and that is where the IT industry itself can add real and lasting value." He will continue: "The internet continues to have a huge impact on our lives. We are now in the midst of a digital revolution - the worldwide internet population currently stands at 1.56 billion people. Whilst 65% of UK households have access to the Internet, and 7 out of 10 of us go online every month, over 17 million people in the UK are still excluded from this digital revolution.

"According to the latest research findings from the Citizenship Survey, 79% of people consider it important to have a real say over local decisions and yet 61% believed that they had no influence at a local level with a further 78% stating they had no say at all at a national level. This disconnect is being heeded be Government in the recent Digital Britain Report." "At that local level, government is playing a crucial role in delivering better outcomes for their citizens and in shaping the local area. It is responsible for a broad range of services - either directly or through commissioning and for monitoring how services are delivered. Underpinning this is the statutory requirement for consultation, which enables government to make informed decisions" he will state. "The issue recognised by government is how to empower the citizen in the digital age in the consultation process. It is very interesting working with organisations, such as the Environment Agency, who are leading the way in taking advantage of the new tools and technologies available to public sector organisations. By providing the ability for people to be involved with public consultations online, the Environment Agency are able to reach more people, significantly increase staff efficiency and maintain consistency throughout all public consultations." Cath Beaver, Stakeholder Relations Manager at the Environment Agency, will be presenting the real-life opportunities presented by digital consultation, and the results achieved by the Environment Agency, at the same event.

Limehouse Software, an Objective Corporation company, has been active within the public sector with its uEngage solution. uEngage is a robust, simple to use hosted platform allowing consultation through a variety of on and offline response mechanisms - from electronic documents, meetings and surveys to polls, message boards and forums. The company recently hit a milestone, having received over 1 million comments through the online consultation system. To date, it has enabled many local authorities and other public sector bodies to deliver a broad range of consultations - on subjects ranging from building a casino or planning new transport routes, to restructuring health services. "The purpose and outcome of these consultations has been varied but in all cases the uEngage system has enabled organisations to take a more co-ordinated, strategic approach to community involvement and to make informed decisions based on the easily-analysed results. In the digital age consultation will be about community empowerment and forward thinking public sector bodies are already adapting to change enabling citizens to make a real impact in their communities," Nick will conclude.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 10/02/2009

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US: 2009 Best of the Web Winners Announced

Utah; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Fairfax County, Va., took top honors in the 2009 Best of the Web awards competition, the Center for Digital Government announced Tuesday, Sept. 1. The annual Best of the Web awards rank state, county and city portals and are judged by a panel of experts on a wide range of categories, including site accessibility, innovation, cost-savings, ease of use and exceptional service to public. Finalists will collect their awards on Sept. 18 in Hollywood, Calif. The award winners were grouped into state, city and county categories. They finished as follows: State Portal Category: 1st Place: Utah; 2nd Place: California; 3rd Place: Arkansas; 4th Place: Maine; 5th Place: Colorado. City Portal Category: 1st Place: Virginia Beach, Va. 2nd Place: Riverside, Calif. 3rd Place: Louisville, Ky. 4th Place: Rocklin, Calif. 5th Place: Corpus Christi, Texas and Tampa, Fla. County Portal Category: 1st Place: Fairfax County, Va. 2nd Place: Miami-Dade County, Fla. 3rd Place: King County, Wash. 4th Place: Monroe County, N.Y. 5th Place: Collin County, Texas

Given that the year's economic downswing forced some state and local governments to shorten workweeks and reduce staff, a repackaging of online government services was especially important to governments that competed in 2009. A common thread among the finalists was prominent links on the home page to e-government services and their high placement in search engines. Enabling citizens to pay a department of motor vehicles bill or water bill without the trouble of sleuthing for the individual agency's Web page also was a key this year. Including links on the home page to social networking platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, appeared to be a common goal of the finalists. Culture-savvy Web design teams also showcased podcasts, YouTube videos and RSS feeds. Nearly all portals based their changes on citizen preferences derived from systematically collected data. Here's a look at the 2009 winners and what propelled them to honors on the red carpet.

State Winners: While numerous portals aimed to make it easier for citizens to find relevant information, Utah gave the strategy a twist. Utah.gov uses GeoIP technology, which identifies a user's physical location by his or her IP address. This information triggers a display of services located nearby. GIS supplies the data for each IP address that accesses the portal. Usable online services are particularly important in Utah because the state switched to a four-day workweek in the summer of 2008. Citizens indicated approval of this schedule, but only with strong online services, said state CIO Steve Fletcher. "It was all trying to get as many services online as we could because we were not accessible so much on Friday anymore," Fletcher explained. He said the portal now facilitates approximately 900 agency applications. It's difficult to miss the icon links for these various services as they rotate across the top of the page. Fletcher's team reprioritized the ranking of the various forms that citizens can access on the Web. Fletcher also considered the portal's multimedia section a major achievement.

City Winners: Crowd-pleasing applications, like webcams showing marine life at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, helped Virginia Beach stand out among the competition. Technically the aquarium has its own URL for marketing purposes, but the Virginia Beach Communications and Information Technology Department develops and maintains the site in conjunction with the overall city portal. They share the same content management system, as does another "partner site" called Yesvirginiabeach.com, which provides relevant information to businesses that are considering a move to the area. In all, seven partner sites are connected in this manner with the city's portal, which links to all of them. "That helps users find information without having to navigate seven partner sites," said Kevin Fairley, multimedia services coordinator for Virginia Beach. He partially credits the municipality's win to the site's statistically prioritized home page links. By glancing at the site's upper left corner, users can quickly find links for reporting potholes, applying for building permits and paying for dog and cat licenses. Fairley's team used popular search analytics and citizen feedback to rank placement of items in the search engine.

County Winners: One might assume Fairfax County didn't spend much time on its site's appearance because it's a minimalist design with a lot of white space. But the county actually put considerable resources on redesigning its appearance, said Gregory Scott, director of e-government for the Fairfax County Department of Information Technology. "The new look and feel of our site was based on public input. It's not like developers and engineers sat up here and said, 'This is the way the site should look,'" Scott said. His agency demonstrated various prototypes by posting PDF documents on the portal. Users were able to click on links to different pages, which created a true user experience within the PDF. The county used moderated discussion software to glean feedback from citizens, and the strategy also involved focus groups with various interest groups, like local businesses. "We didn't want to go out with the new site and have it be a total shock to our constituents. That could create a lot of chaos," Scott said.

Prominent access to the county's social networking activity also was a priority. Gregory said time spent on Twitter yielded far more interest from citizens than MySpace. For example, an employee tweeted an Amber Alert that went to 300 Twitter followers. Within an hour, the tweet spread to roughly 3,000 Twitter users and the girl was found shortly after. "We don't know if it was due to what we were doing on Twitter, but it was amazing to see how that tweet grew from 300 to over 3,000," Scott said. Fairfax County also used moderated discussion software to solicit citizen feedback on what to cut and what to keep in the budget. County staff read the responses each day and posted responses every few days; they incorporated several of the suggestions into the budget.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 09/01/2009

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Green Network Improvements to Yield 42% Drop in Carbon Emissions by 2013

Mobile network operators worldwide have embarked on bold initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of their wireless networks and reduce the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with network operations. According to a recent report from Pike Research, these efforts will be driven by the desire for lower energy operating expenses, corporate social responsibility initiatives, and some cases by government mandates. The report forecasts that "green" network upgrades will result in the reduction of network carbon emissions by 42% by 2013, compared to business-as-usual trends. "The incentives for mobile operators to deploy greener networks are strong," says managing director Clint Wheelock. "These upgrades include the integration of clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and fuel cells, together with more energy-efficient network equipment including base stations and RF power amplifiers, and more efficient network architectures and topologies." Wheelock adds that carriers are making a transition from a business planning process focused on capital expenditures to one that accounts for total cost of ownership (TCO) including ongoing operating expenses. Asia Pacific, enjoying strong growth in cell site deployments, will be the leading region for carbon emissions reduction versus business-as-usual, followed by Europe and North America. Pike Research forecasts that the global market for green mobile capital expenditures will reach $80.8 billion by 2013.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/04/2009

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International Cooperation to Shape Common Policies for Cybersecurity and Data Protection

The United States and the European Union have agreed to treat cybersecurity , cyber crime and data protection as international issues, cooperatively developing polices based on shared values. Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Homeland Security Department, called the recent joint statement on these principles by U.S. and E.U. officials a major milestone in data protection and data sharing. "The next step is negotiating a binding international E.U.-U.S. agreement based on these common principles to facilitate further cooperation while ensuring the availability of full protection for our citizens," she said. The pledge is intended to extend ongoing efforts to align U.S. and E.U. policies on transatlantic issues, as Europe updates its human rights policies in the Stockholm Programme, expected to be completed this year. "We would like to take this opportunity to renew our partnership for the next five years," the statement said.

The statement is short on specifics, setting a goal of deepening transatlantic cooperation "in the pursuit of greater justice, freedom and security." It cites achievements made by the two communities in areas ranging from the exchange of airline passenger information to efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and lays out areas where there is need for continued "balanced, agile, creative and forward-thinking" cooperation, including technology issues. "Scientific and technological cooperation is indispensable to enhance the security of our societies," the statement says. "We will therefore further deepen our cooperation in the area of civil security research, in particular via our newly extended and amended Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation." Although both the United States and the European Community acknowledge shared values for justice and privacy, aligning policies on the use of personal information has been a stumbling block in the past. Information on transatlantic airline passengers is exchanged between countries, but European privacy requirements put tighter restrictions on that information than does the United States. The statement calls for building a permanent agreement built on shared values.

"We recognise the critical importance of providing a high level of effective protection of personal data," it said. "The negotiation of a binding international EU-U.S. agreement should serve as a solid basis for our law enforcement authorities for even further enhanced cooperation, while ensuring the availability of full protection for our citizens." The two sides pledged continued cooperation in fighting cyber crime, which often crosses borders. This will include annual meetings of U.S. and E.U. prosecutors, and promotion of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. Protection of critical infrastructure, including cyber resources, also will be a subject of continued cooperation. "Recent cyber attacks are a reminder of the urgent need for action," the statement said. "We are resolved to prevent attacks against our information systems and develop means to swiftly respond to threats of an increasingly global nature. We will work cooperatively to recover from major critical information and communication system failures." However, the Internet can be used as a tool for terrorism as well as being a target, which creates a new set of problems for national and international policy. "The misuse of the Internet for disseminating violent and radicalizing messages is a worrisome phenomenon that we need to consider within the context of legal restraints and operational needs," the parties said. How far nations should go in regulating Internet content is sure to create controversy both between countries and in them.


From http://fcw.com/ 11/04/2009

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CHINA: Beijing Publishes Emergency Plan for Network and Information Security

To further improve the handling of Internet and information security emergencies, Beijing Emergency Management Office and Beijing Economic and Information Technology Committee have jointly formulated and published an emergency technology plan. This emergency plan, which has been approved by the municipal government of Beijing, aims to make emergency response efficient and orderly when Internet and information security problems occur. These problems include hacking incidents, broken undersea cables, and issues arising from earthquakes. Based on the successful experiences from the network and information safeguard work during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the emergency plan follows the principal of "unified command, close coordination, rapid response, and scientific handling". According to the plan, a network and information security emergency organization will be set up in Beijing to clarify the duties and responsibilities of its member units. The plan discusses two aspects, including prevention of emergencies and dealing with emergencies, and it introduces effective measures of monitoring and warning, emergency response, information management, and post-disposal arrangement. While further defining the levels of precaution and the emergency response system, it optimizes the basic working procedures and the information security plan system for handling Internet and information security emergencies. The launch of the emergency plan is expected to raise Beijing's responsiveness to network and information security issues while also preventing and reducing damages caused by network and information security problems.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 10/26/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Technology '1 Year Behind U.S.'

The level of Korea's fourth-generation mobile technology is one year behind that of the U.S., according to data released by the Korea Communications Commission. Japan is ahead of Korea by more than six months, the data shows. The areas of weakness in Korea's technology are in the system sector and the service platform sector, each shown to be behind U.S. technology by over a year. However, Korea's 4G mobile technology was found to be ahead of China's by almost two and a half years.


From Arirang News 10/07/2009

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MALAYSIA: Mobile Market Reaching the Maturity Stage

A research note from IDC notes that with Malaysia's mobile services market reaching a maturity stage, mobile phone vendors will have a challenging time increasing the mobile unit shipments in the country and will need to be flexible while executing their business strategies. The impact of the global economic slowdown in year 2009 will also impact the mobile phone vendor bottom line in year 2009 but is expected to recover quickly once the Malaysia economic improves. "The market outlook for the mobile phone industry in year 2009 may not be as strong as a year ago but the market is anticipated to improve over time and reach 6.4 million units by year 2013. Strong competition by incumbent mobile phone vendors (Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, Motorola) and late-entrant vendors (Apple, RIM, Google, and Microsoft) in the future will continue to keep the industry fresh and vibrant, creating a strong demand for mobile phones in the market. The migration of 2G subscribers to the 3G network will also increase the number of 3G mobile phones being shipped in Malaysia over the next few years," says Chua Fong Yang, associate analyst, Telecommunications Services, IDC Malaysia.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/12/2009

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PHILIPPINES: Corruption Increases RP Gov't IT Spending: Study

Corruption and lack of transparency in the Philippine government's procurement process has led to unnecessary increases in public spending on information technology, IT market research firm Springboard Research revealed Thursday. Springboard Research vice-president Michael Barnes said the lack of transparency discourages major IT vendors from bidding for government projects, which could lead to higher IT spending for government. "The key challenge in the Philippine market is the lack of transparency and visibility. Lack of transparency enables corruption. That means not fully leveraging the spending because it is not going where it is supposed to go. That's stating it in the most euphemistic way possible. It's corruption, which happens in most growth markets not just the Philippines," Barnes said in a press briefing in Manila. He also noted that for some foreign-funded projects, only IT vendors from the lending nation would be considered. "What happens is there is an issue of market access. If a foreign government or NGO is funding the project, the project bids may skew towards the companies or technology providers from that country. That is an area where transparency needs to improve so that access will improve," he said.

Barnes said implementing policies that encourage transparency in the government procurement process would mean fiercer competition among providers and more savings for government. "The benefit of having more IT suppliers getting access to the Philippine market means improved efficiency in terms of the actual transactions. Better competition leads to lower prices. If the vendors don't have to pad their prices for these inefficiencies, that means that they get the same margins but charge less," he said. Gerry Lim, Hewlett Packard public sector sales director for Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), said clearer rules on government procurement would help IT vendors know which projects to focus on and prioritize. "We would be more efficient. We don't need to bid for a project that takes five years to bid... [if] you can bid for it in six months. It costs less for us compared to a project that takes three years to bid," he said. Research conducted by Springboard on public sector IT opportunities in the Philippines said IT vendors who want to deal with the Philippine government face three major challenges, which are:
- continuing complexity and ambiguity in the procurement process;
- poor record in implementing scheduled projects; and,
- difficulty in winning large foreign-funded or NGO-funded projects

It also identified at least two Philippine government IT projects that were tainted by allegations of corruption. These are the $330 million broadband network contract between the Philippines and China's ZTE Corp, and the $28.8 million poll automation contract between the Commission on Elections and Mega Pacific Consortium. The $330 million National Broadband Network project between the Philippine government and China's ZTE Corp. was financed through an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from the Chinese government. The project was initially awarded to ZTE Corp., which is China's largest listed telecommunications vendor. President Arroyo later scrapped the contract amid allegations that Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo received kickbacks from ZTE. On the other hand, the 2004 poll automation contract was nullified by the Supreme Court due to irregularities discovered in the bidding process. The Office of the Ombudsman, however, overturned the recommendations of its field investigators and cleared Abalos, the Comelec commissioners and Mega Pacific of criminal charges for lack of probable cause.

Public IT spending to hit $580-M
Research conducted by Springboard on public sector IT opportunities in the Philippines showed that the government spent about $349.2 million on IT initiatives in 2007, which is 21 percent of the estimated $1.6 billion Philippine IT market size for that year. More than half (52%) of the Philippine government's IT spending was on hardware, 27 percent was for IT services, and 21 percent was for software. The study said IT spending by the Philippine government is estimated to have reached $390 million in 2008 and is further expected to reach $580 million by 2011. It said government IT spending is heavily centralized at the national government level, with local governments controlling only an estimated 7 percent of spending. Barnes said the Philippine government spent most of its IT budget in the past years on the education sector, followed by defense, healthcare, utilities, taxation, social services and transportation. He also noted that the Philippines has a history of decentralized IT spending, usually initiated by government agencies and local government units. "There's a history of agency-led IT initiatives that tend to be isolated or even not well-coordinated across agencies. Part of that is actually geographic. The Philippines is an archipelago with a lot of islands, so this disjointed IT spending is not cultural but geographical," he said.

He added, however, that there has been some improvement in centralizing IT initiatives and procurement in government. Lim said some technology trends "actually need more centralization" so that the Philippines could spend less on IT. "Because of the economies of scale, the government can actually leverage its size and share its infrastructure. One advantage of government is that it can centralize acquisition and then standardize the platforms, environment and strategies [among agencies]," he said. Poh Chuan Tan, HP-APJ director of the Public Sector division, said discussions among Philippine government officials showed "a greater drive towards improved efficiency." "What we are doing is taking our experience from other countries to the Philippines, how we manage our infrastructure, how we deal with green IT initiatives, we share these with government. HP is in a good position to do that," he said.

Foreign IT investments in RP to increase
Barnes said the Philippines is in a unique position to benefit from increased IT spending in the region due to the economic downturn in the United States. He added that the emergence of technology trends such as cloud computing allows local IT talent to service other markets. "The beauty of cloud computing is that it effectively lowers the barriers to entering other geographic markets. There are loads of IT talent and software development talent here and one of the challenges in a growth market constrained by limited resources is how to actually sell or deliver those solutions. How do you get them out and expose them to the market where the demand is there?" he said. Barnes said there is increasing recognition that government should deliver IT-related investments in key areas such as broadband access. "Broadband, in particular, is an area where investments will continue and will have to continue. It's a fundamental infrastructure layer that's needed not just in Metro Manila but in rural areas. Without that access to broadband, which should be consistent, reliable and affordable, the benefits of e-government or healthcare information or cloud computing will not be available," he said.


From http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/ 11/12/2009

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BANGLADESH: National Board of Revenue Starts E-Registration of Businesses

The National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh, is going to introduce online registration service for business firms by January, 2010. NBR's latest efforts include establishing e-Governance to bring better service facilities to tax payers by increasing use of technology to that end. It will also put in use of an effective online system to help tax payers in presenting tax returns and resolve various complexities and weakness impeding collecting tax at source. The introduction of the online system all in three areas will contribute to improving transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the country's apex revenue collecting body.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/13/2009

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INDIA: Amended IT Act Comes into Effect to Prevent Cyber Crime

The Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008, which aims at tightening procedures and safeguards for monitoring and interception of data to prevent cyber crimes, came into force from October 27, 2009. Besides monitoring and interception, the amended Act also deals with the appointment of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT), which deals with computer security and situations arising from cyber attacks. The IT (Amendment) Act 2008 was passed by both the houses of Parliament on December 23, 2008. The Act was notified after the assent of President on February 5, 2009. The amendment rules pertaining to various sections such as Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information, Blocking Access of Information by Public and Monitoring and Collecting Traffic Data have also been notified today. The Information Technology Act was enacted in 2000 with a view to provide legal recognition to e-commerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance and prevent computer-based crimes. However, the rapid increase in the use of internet has led to a spate in crime like child pornography, cyber terrorism, publishing sexually explicit content in electronic form and video voyeurism. So, penal provisions were required to be included in the Information Technology Act, 2000.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/28/2009

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Gulf's Highest Female Internet User Base

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to the highest number of female Internet users in the Gulf region, making the Arab state a potentially lucrative market for online companies, a study suggests. Conducted by online research firm Effective Measure, the study revealed that over 40 percent of the UAE's online community are women, above the region's average of 28 percent, according to a report Saturday in UAE-based newspaper The National. The UAE also has the second highest female Internet user population in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, second only to Morocco's 46.6 percent. This offers good tidings for online companies, particularly those offering consumer goods, looking to target female users in the region. Brendon Ogilvy, MENA regional director for Effective Measure, said in The National report that women are "a highly sought-after community online because there are fewer of them, and sites that attract more of them have more value".

The study, which polled over 68,000 Internet users across the region, found that female Internet users mostly surfed online from their homes, with 67.3 percent accessing the Internet via home broadband connections. Meanwhile, a separate report noted that while the UAE has one of the highest Internet penetrations in the Gulf region, it trails other Arab nations with regard to the quality of broadband services. A study conducted by Oxford University revealed the UAE is in the bottom 25 percent of 42 Arab states with regard to the delivery of broadband services, behind Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among others. The study defined broadband quality of service as the "speed and responsiveness of connections" and whether connection lines were congested or unreliable. "The UAE reportedly scored poorly based on these parameters," the study stated. (by Joel D. Pinaroc)


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 10/15/2009

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TURKEY: Launch Social Information Systems Enabling Efficient Public Service Delivery

The "Social Assistance Information System" (SAIS, known as SOYBİS in Turkish) was presented to the public on 27 October 2009 by State Minister Hayati Yazıcı in the General Directorate of the Social Assistance and Solidarity. This system is a replacement of the "One Step Offices" and it has as its slogan "From one step service to one click service". Before SAIS, the government used to demand that the applicants prove that they are in need of social assistance. But now, the applicants only need to bring their ID cards. Thanks to SAIS, the government can access the applicant's personal information from central databases that are stored in several government institutions. The system receives information from 10 different institutions. The system has already been used by over 2 600 registered users. Before the presentation, the State Minister provided information about the Social Assistance and Solidarity General Directorate and its activities.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/10/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Regulator Consults on Boosting Rural Mobile Coverage

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking feedback from industry and interested parties to a proposal to make further spectrum in the 2 GHz band available for mobile telecommunications services in regional and remote areas of Australia. "The proposed arrangements were developed in response to requests from telecommunications providers for increased capacity in these areas, as well as to provide increased capacity for dual-band international roaming," said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. "The ACMA believes that the economic and efficient uses of the spectrum, as well as the objects of the Radiocommunications Act, are likely to be best promoted by making vacant spectrum available on application to provide additional capacity for mobile telecommunications services, where that is consistent with existing uses." The ACMA has released a discussion paper detailing the proposed public telecommunications service (PTS) apparatus licensing arrangement to support the coordinated deployment of mobile telecommunications infrastructure in regional and remote areas. Complete details on the licensing arrangements and the draft amendments to the regulatory framework to support the proposal can be viewed on the ACMA website.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/06/2009

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NEW ZEALAND: e-Day Aims to Clean Up Taranaki's E-Waste

Do you have electronic waste destined for the scrap-heap? eDay 2009 is coming - and you can instead have your outdated computers, faxes, printers, mobile phones and digital cameras recycled as part of a free nationwide e-waste collection. "We expect to collect 27 tonnes of e-waste in New Plymouth District alone through eDay - and up to 1,000 tonnes nationally that would otherwise have gone to waste in landfills," says NPDC Manager Environmental Strategy and Policy Colin Comber. "Recycling old PCs, computer peripherals, mobile phones and digital cameras through eDay will enable the recovery of valuable materials such as gold, copper and aluminium so they can be reused." eDay will again be held at NPDC's Parks Depot at 65 Hobson Street (next to the AA vehicle testing station) in New Plymouth, the transfer station on Cordelia St, Stratford, and the car park on the corner of Albion and High streets, Hawera.

This year the event runs from 9am to 3pm on Saturday 12 September. "We received fantastic support from Taranaki residents at last year's event and we are delighted to again give the community the chance to dispose of their old computer equipment in an environmentally friendly way," says Mr Comber. eDay 2009 is a drive-through community event aimed at households and schools and is open to cars only. Businesses or organisations with large quantities of e-waste are advised to visit www.eday.org.nz for alternate disposal options and more information about recycling options. More than 40 centres across the country will be taking part in eDay. National Organiser and Chairperson of Computer Access New Zealand (CANZ), Laurence Zwimpfer, said e-waste is the fastest growing and one of the most challenging waste problems in the world, with New Zealand is no exception. More than 87,000 computer-related items were diverted from local landfills at last year's eDay.

"Computers contain many valuable resources which can be recovered and put to good use," says Mr Zwimpfer. "Our aim with eDay is to educate New Zealanders about the benefits of recycling computers while providing convenient drop-off points for them to dispose of unwanted computer items in a safe way." CANZ advises people to wipe all data from computer hard drives, as well as removable media such as floppy disks and PC cards, before handing them over for recycling. Only computer equipment, mobile phones and digital cameras can be recycled in the eDay collection. Other electronic equipment including televisions and stereos will not be accepted. "We know that TVs and other electronic equipment pose similar threats to our environment, but because of the huge variety in size and weight of this equipment we don't think it is fair to ask volunteers to handle TVs," said Mr Zwimpfer. "The best advice we can give is for the public to hold onto their old TVs until sustainable solutions are available."

The event is supported nationally by The Ministry for the Environment, the 2020 Communications Trust and the Ministry of Education which funds the Computer Access NZ Trust. National transport operator KiwiRail and international e-waste recyclers CRTNZ are national partners again in 2009. Corporate sponsors include Meridian Energy, More FM, Dell, Canon, Printlink, The Laptop Company, Invo, Trade Me and NZICT. The New Plymouth event is being supported locally by New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council, Lamberts Business Systems, Timpak Industries Limited, Transfield Worley and Computer Sense. The Hawera event is sponsored by South Taranaki District Council, Egmont Refuse and Recycling, and Hawera McDonald's. All equipment collected as part of eDay will be recycled by accredited international recyclers. Items in good condition can be donated to genuine charities through www.donatenz.com or sold on www.trademe.co.nz. Mr Zwimpfer said the very successful charity auction for antique and collectable computers organised in 2008 with the generous support of Trade Me means the auction will be held again this year. "There was a lot of nostalgia last year as many old-time computer users were able to get their hands on equipment that for many was their first computer," said Mr Zwimpfer.


From http://www.newplymouthnz.com/ 09/04/2009

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AFRICA: Rwanda New Minister Vows to Bridge ICT Gap

Kigali - The newly appointed Minister in charge of ICT in the President's Office, Dr Ignace Gahangara Gatare, has said that he will add his efforts to ongoing initiatives aimed at making ICT accessible to the country's rural communities. "We will encourage all efforts and initiatives aiming at narrowing the digital divide or gap in such a way that ICT becomes a reality for urban as well as rural communities," Gatare, said in an interview with The New Times yesterday. President Paul Kagame on Saturday appointed the PhD graduate and Doctor in Engineering Sciences to the portfolio, replacing Prof Romain Murenzi who was granted a sabbatical leave last July. Gatare said he would use his vast experience to contribute to the ICT sector by consolidating the infrastructure deployment plan the country has put in place. "First of all we have to learn from the efforts that have been undertaken, especially under the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) policy and Plan," he added.

Describing his appointment as a unique opportunity to contribute to ICT development in Rwanda, the new minister said he will work closely in consultation with all public and private stakeholders, to ensure that ICT becomes an empowering tool for the achievement of the country's development vision. Gatare said one of the challenges will be raising the necessary critical mass in terms of skills and resources needed for the implementation of the NICI policy and plan, which he said constitutes an important step in terms of goal-setting in order to transform Rwanda into a regional ICT hub. According to his resumé, his PhD research work concerned experimental and theoretical investigations of polarization switching, nonlinear dynamics, optical injection-locking and chaos synchronization in vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs).


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/02/2009

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ASIA: UN Meeting Recommends Help in Accessing ICT for 400 Million Persons with Disabilities in Asia-Pacific Region

A United Nations meeting has recommended new guidelines for easing access to information and communication technology (ICT) by the 400 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the Asia-Pacific region. "ICTs, when used effectively, have the potential to empower PWDs to lead active, independent and productive lives," said Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT), a regional institution of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and co-organizer of the three-day workshop which concluded today. The APCICT teamed with ESCAP's Social Development Division and the National Information Society Agency of the Republic of Korea to support its members in making ICT accessible to PWDs by offering training to policymakers from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam. The government representatives were joined at the "Second Regional Workshop on the Enhancement of ICT Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)" by ICT accessibility experts from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Australia, European Union, Italy, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom and United States.

The goal of the workshop was to train policymakers and stakeholders in enhancing ICT accessibility for PWDs and enrich the policy guidelines that members can use when they develop implementation strategies in the countries. "Nowadays it is taken for granted that ICT such as the Internet and mobile phone is a fundamental environment for all people even in managing daily lives as well as in employment and education. However it could be a huge challenge for PWDs," Aiko Akiyama of ESCAP told the workshop. For inclusive development, ICT needs to be accessible to vulnerable people including PWDs. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which entered into force in May 2008, clearly stipulates, among other things, the right of PWDs to access ICT. The workshop reviewed international mandates such as the CRPD, examined the various tools and guidelines available for policymakers, such as the ITU policy toolkit, and was an opportunity to share good examples from Australia, the EU and the Republic of Korea. Participants also looked at good practices in various policy sectors including education, employment, procurement, increasing affordability and availability of ICT products and services, and awareness-raising and advocacy.


From http://www.thaipr.net/ 10/14/2009

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EUROPE: EU Releases Report on Green Knowledge Society

A Green Knowledge Society - An ICT Policy Agenda to 2015 for Europe's Future Knowledge Society was delivered today by a study team at SCF Associates Ltd, to the Swedish Minister for Communications Åsa Torstensson. The report will be a foundation for discussions at a conference 9-10 November, "Visby Agenda - creating impact for an eUnion 2015." "The ICT sector can lift Europe out of the present economic crisis," said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for information society and media "if we can agree on an ambitious agenda for a pro-competitive and green European knowledge society and for a single market for digital goods and services. The Commission is working closely with the Swedish Presidency to achieve such an agenda."


From http://www.govtech.com/ 09/16/2009

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EU Agrees on New Internet User Rights

EU lawmakers and governments agreed on new rights for Internet users Thursday, aiming to protect them from arbitrary crackdowns on those who illegally download music and movies on the Internet. EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said a deal was reached after EU governments agreed to EU parliament demands to balance measures against illegal downloaders with a broader set of rights for telecom users. The reforms were two years in the making. They also include new privacy controls, consumer rights and increased competition for Internet and phone services - key improvements that have been overshadowed by the fight over digital user rights. Thursday's proposal also includes other reforms to overhaul Europe's telecoms market. They include setting up a new EU-wide telecoms authority charged with ensuring fair competition, bolstering consumers' rights to switch mobile or landline telephone operators within one working day, and expanding digital networks to provide faster broadband Internet service for users in rural areas. EU lawmakers had been at odds with governments, notably France, over how to tackle the increase in illegal downloading.

Film and record labels had heavily lobbied the 27-nation bloc, demanding better enforcement of copyright rules to protect profits that are shrinking in the face of online file-sharing, in which people swap music files without paying. However, in a victory for the EU assembly, governments relented and agreed to include guarantees in the bill protecting users from arbitrary cutoffs of their Internet services. "This Internet freedom provision is unprecedented ... and (gives) a strong signal that the EU takes fundamental rights very seriously," Reding told reporters. "(It will) substantially enhance consumer rights and consumer choice in Europe's telecoms markets." The bill still needs the final approval of the European Parliament and EU governments, which is expected later this month. Under the guarantee, national authorities will only be able to cut off Internet services if they have proof that a user was downloading illegal copies of movies or music files, ensuring that users are presumed innocent. "Full due process rights will have to apply in any administrative case, except in cases of duly justified urgency, like serious crime, terrorism, child pornography," said Spanish lawmaker Alejo Vidal-Quadras. "This is really a step forward."

European consumers' organization BEUC, warned however that the draft EU bill was too vague on "due process" rights given to users, complaining it does not specifically provide suspected illegal downloaders the right to a judicial hearing. Christian Engstrom, a lawmaker from Sweden's Pirate Party, said the revised bill was somewhat of a victory for file-sharers, but warned that the EU assembly would have to keep a close eye on member states that want to cut off Internet users for online pirating. Under pressure from the music and film industries, France had pushed hard for tough measures against illegal downloaders. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had advocated a "three strikes and you're out" rule, under which Internet use would be tracked and users caught downloading would be warned twice before their Internet access would be cut off for a year. Britain is also considering such a move, lawmakers said. However, the French parliament passed a law in September watering down that plan and efforts to cut off Internet access will be left to a judge.


From AP News 11/05/2009

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France OKs Legislation to Cut Internet to Illegal Downloaders

France will send out the first warnings to digital pirates early next year after passing tough legislation allowing for Internet access to be cut for those who illegally download movies and music, a minister said. The Constitutional Court passed the law Thursday to the joy of President Nicolas Sarkozy and anger of Internet libertarians in France and other countries which are considering copying the French example. Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said the members of a watchdog to oversee application of the digital clampdown would be named in November and the first warnings would go out "from the start of 2010." The law sets up an agency that will send out an e-mail warning to people found to be illegally downloading films or music. A written warning is sent if a second offense is registered in six months and after a third, a judge will be able to order a one-year Internet rights suspension or a fine. Mitterrand called the law an "innovative and educational mechanism to prevent piracy." Sarkozy said:"France now has a very innovative system to protect the rights of authors, artists and their partners in the Internet universe."

But in a reference to complaints about the restrictions, the French president said all sides had to work to make sure "there is a civilized Internet." France's Society of Drama Authors and Composers welcomed the new digital protection and said the government should now consider making search engines pay towards "the financing of creation." But opponents say it won't prevent illegal file-sharing and that cutting Internet access is unfair because of the commercial and now political importance of having the Worldwide Web. Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog, said the law was "a serious blow to freedom of expression on the Internet." It said access to the Internet was a "fundamental right at the basis of our democracy: the right of access to information. They will have to be extremely vigilant in the way this law is applied," the group said in a statement. La Quadrature Du Net, a group that had campaigned against the law, called it "legally and technically absurd."

The Socialist Party had referred the law to the Constitutional Court but the left was also divided with many artists traditionally following the party but also supporting the right wing government's move. The court had blocked the law once but this time only rejected an article which allowed for damages to be claimed from digital pirates. The U.K. is considering a similar law to France and the European Commission said Thursday it was now looking at Europe-wide regulation for trans-national Internet trade. In a study released Thursday, it raised the possibility of copyright legislation to work alongside national laws and also talks of "alternative forms of remuneration" for authors such as a tax on Internet access. It estimates the cultural and creative market has an annual turnover of more than EUR650 billion and employs about 3% of the EU's working population. Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for the information society and media, said it would be a "priority" to put in place a legal framework to boost digital trade within the internal frontiers while "guaranteeing" the protection of authors rights and offering a "just remuneration" for creators.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 10/23/2009

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Russia Sets Ambitious Technological Development Goals

RBC, Moscow. Digital TV, broadband Internet access and fourth-generation (4G) mobile telecommunications will emerge throughout the entire territory of Russia in 5-7 years, the Echo of Moscow radio station cited Presidential Aid Arkady Dvorkovich's forecast yesterday. Dvorkovich stressed that the federal budget earmarked considerable funds - literally, hundreds of thousands of rubles - for upgrades and technological development. As such, some RUB 76bn (approx. USD 2.59bn) has been reserved for digital TV expansion for the next five years to come. In the next few weeks, the government plans to launch an Internet portal for the commission on modernization and technological development as an innovation-focused supplement to the president's blog.


From http://www.rbcnews.com/ 10/30/2009

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New Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations Published

The Department for Business today published updated regulations designed to improve the effectiveness of the UK's system for collection and treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). They are effective from 1 January 2010. Ian Lucas MP, Minister for Business said: "These amending Regulations will help streamline the WEEE system and ensure producer compliance schemes continue to take an active role in the environmentally sound disposal of unwanted equipment. The amending regulations also aim to reduce the administrative burdens placed on the treatment sector. "I am confident these changes will bring benefits and encourage increased cooperation between stakeholders, to raise collection levels in the future. "I am also pleased to announce today the continuation of the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) for a further 3 compliance periods." Under DTS Phase 2 distributors can still discharge their obligations by paying into the scheme which contributes finance towards WEEE collection facilities at civic amenity sites. The amended Regulations, accompanying non-statutory guidance and the extension to the Distributor Take back Scheme follow a consultation launched last December.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/09/2009

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NORTH AMERICA: U. S. Disputed E-Verify Rules Go into Effect

A coalition of business groups continued to wage a legal battle Tuesday as a government mandate took effect requiring federal contractors to verify the immigration status of employees working on government projects. After months of delay, the Homeland Security Department implemented a rule requiring most federal contractors and subcontractors to use its E-Verify system to prove employees working on government projects are legally in the country. The path to implementing the mandate cleared Friday when the U.S. District Court for the Southern Division of Maryland refused to grant a business coalition led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce an emergency injunction that would prevent the rule from taking effect.

"Any contractor that lets a contract on or after today requires the E-Verify clause in that contract," said Bill Wright, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, which operates E-Verify, a system that compares employee information to department and Social Security databases. Nonetheless, the business coalition is challenging the court ruling at the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, said Angelo Amador, the Chamber's executive director for immigration policy. "The rule going into effect today will cost millions of dollars for some employers to implement, as they reverify every single employee - costs that will ultimately be borne by the American people, which pay the taxes used for federal contracts," Amador said. But Wright noted several nuances in the rule. For example, it does not apply to businesses with contracts worth less than $100,000; contracts that involve the procurement of commercially available equipment; and to subcontractors working on projects valued under $3,000.

And it only applies to contracts within the United States. Additionally, contractors will have 30 days to sign up for E-Verify and then 90 days to verify the employment status of their workers. There are about 170,000 federal contractors employing about 3.8 million workers, Wright said. "Obviously there won't be 169,000 federal contractors signing a contract today," he said. "There's plenty of ample time to learn the system [and] get your questions answered." As of Saturday, about 150,000 employers nationwide had signed up to participate in E-Verify, according to Wright's agency. On a related front, congressional authorization for the E-Verify program expires at the end of September. But lawmakers already have taken action through the pending fiscal 2010 Homeland Security appropriations bills to reauthorization the program. The House version of the appropriations bill would extend it for two years, while the Senate version would reauthorize it permanently. (by Chris Strohm)


From http://www.govexec.com/ 09/08/2009

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SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina's Congress Passes Controversial 'Tech Tax'

BUENOS AIRES -(Dow Jones)- Argentina's Congress on Wednesday passed a law to double the value-added tax on cellphones, televisions, cameras and other items. President Cristina Kirchner had proposed the law earlier this year to boost flagging government revenue and stimulate local manufacturing and job growth. It will double to 21% the value-added tax on most electronics goods not produced in the Tierra del Fuego special economic zone. Critics said the law will decrease imports and increase the cost of electronic items, which are already more expensive here than almost anywhere else in the hemisphere. "This will increase the digital divide for millions of Argentines," said opposition leader Francisco de Narvaez of the Union Pro party. "It will strongly benefit the assembly industry in Tierra del Fuego to the detriment of industries in provinces like Cordoba, Buenos Aires, San Luis and Santa Fe."

Fernandez has actively sought to curb imports in a bid to spur investment in production in Tierra del Fuego. The president recently said the law will lead to "fewer dollars that leave the country to pay for imports and more jobs for all Argentines." However, the Chamber of Information Technology and Communication, which represents multinational firms here, said the higher taxes could boost prices for products like computer monitors and cellphones by as much as 34%. That, in turn, could lead to fewer sales and a broader decline in value-added tax revenue. It could also make Argentina's economy less competitive by limiting access to technology, the chamber said.

In the 1970s, Argentina began offering tax incentives to electronics companies establishing operations in Tierra del Fuego to spur development in the isolated southern archipelago. Today, operations there remain modest and are mainly limited to assembling imported parts. Afarte, an association representing manufacturers in the province, celebrated the news. "This a step forward that will be remembered as a historic day because the new law will spur national production of certain consumer electronics items that are only produced in Tierra del Fuego," Afarte President Alejandro Mayoral said in a statement. Argentine-based manufacturers as a whole account for only about $300 million of Argentina's approximately $4 billion market in telecommunications and computer goods, according to a study by academics from Columbia University and Argentina's San Andres University.


From http://www.djnewswires.com/ 11/04/2009

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ITU Encourages National School-Based Community Broadband Plans

Geneva - ITU is encouraging its Member States to adopt school-based community broadband plans to bring ICT access to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. The ITU effort was endorsed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the ITU TELECOM WORLD Youth Forum, in the presence of ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré and the Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), Sami Al Basheer. The initiative aims to facilitate public-private partnerships that will help Member States establish school-based ICT centres. While ICTs provide unprecedented opportunities to accelerate social and economic development, communities that currently lack access and know-how are being further marginalized. Many of these communities also face additional barriers to development beyond mere connectivity, which prevent them from participating fully in the Information Society.

Capacity building through training in the use of information and communication technologies and application development is critical. At the same time, persons with disabilities require assistive technologies and accessible websites in order to gain access to the many benefits ICTs offer. But providing connectivity, special training, services and equipment for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups on an individual basis is often too expensive for many developing countries. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Connected schools can become connected community ICT centres. They can provide a vital link to marginalized and vulnerable groups. They can become an information lifeline for women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and those living in rural, remote and underserved areas." Mr Ban stressed the need for teamwork in turning this goal into reality, and emphasized the importance of political will. "I urge world leaders to support this effort and take the needed steps to meet the agreed targets of connecting all schools by 2015," he said.

Through the Connect a School, Connect a Community initiative, ITU will work with a range of partners to identify and compile best practices on policies, regulation, applications, services and practical experiences. These best practices will be shared with Member States through the development of an online toolkit and related capacity-building activities. ITU Secretary-General Dr Touré welcomed the initiative as an important milestone in driving broadband access globally: "Designed not only for students but also for the communities in which they live, smart policies and innovative public-private partnerships promoting school-based community ICT centres represent an attractive, affordable and scalable step forward in addressing the digital divide."

Promoting connectivity to enable schools to serve as community broadband ICT centres involves a series of critical issues which must be addressed holistically. These include understanding and implementing technology; related policy and regulation; cost analysis; access to end-user equipment such as low cost computing devices; basic ICT training for teachers and, in turn, members of the local community; providing a safe online and physical environment for children; providing assistive technologies and an accessible environment for persons with disabilities; and developing and accessing content for education. Sami Al Basheer, Director, BDT, said: "Young people adapt easily to ICTs, and schools have always been the natural hub of a community, so where better to invest in connectivity? A connected school can provide access for a whole community: for youth, for vulnerable and marginalized groups, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and people in underserved areas. I believe the Connect a School initiative will make a significant contribution to achieving our connectivity goals."


From http://www.itu.int/ 10/05/2009

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ITU Introduces Standards Conformity and Interoperability Programme

Geneva - ITU will implement measures that will give purchasers of ICT equipment a much clearer picture of that equipment's ability to interoperate with other ICT devices. A key component of this new conformity and interoperability programme will be a global database that will log products declaring conformity to ITU standards (ITU-T Recommendations). The programme will support much more informed purchasing decisions for end users - be they companies or consumers - and has the potential to widen markets, increase competition and decrease costs. It will allow purchasers to freely consult a comprehensive global database to check whether a product conforms to ITU standards, or will work with other network elements. Lack of conformity and interoperability of ICT equipment is a major concern, especially in developing countries. Addressing interoperability is one of the founding principles of the ITU, and the new programme seeks to significantly reduce the problems that have faced service providers and others and bring renewed confidence to the market.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU: "A dizzying array of similar products can sometimes make purchasing decisions difficult. Interoperability is at the heart of what ITU does, so we have put in place procedures that will greatly assist those faced with often complex buying decisions. This new programme will significantly reduce the problems telcos, ICT service providers, businesses and consumers face, including unwittingly being locked into proprietary solutions. I believe this initiative is of great significance in our efforts to bridge the digital divide, but will be equally beneficial to those in the developed world." The new ITU programme will also focus on skills training and the development of regional testing centres for developing countries. It will be voluntary and open to ITU members and non-members alike. Conformity to ITU-T Recommendations will be declared only via accredited laboratories or certifiers; testing will not carried out by ITU itself. Once accepted and entered into the new database, products will be given a unique identifier which can be referenced by the manufacturing company.

ITU-T Study Groups are actively developing standards for conformity and interoperability testing - for example, test suites for IPTV - which can be used by external certifiers. As part of the new programme ITU will also organize a series of interoperability events that will allow two or more vendors to get together to verify that their equipment interoperates satisfactorily. An interoperability declaration can then be added to the database. ITU will also hold regional workshops and tutorials on conformity assessment and interoperability. Research on how to implement a standards conformity and interoperability programme was initiated with the adoption of Resolution 76 at ITU's World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08). The recent session of ITU's governing council (20-30 October, 2009) has now given the formal go-ahead.


From http://www.itu.int/ 11/03/2009

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CHINA: Ministry of Culture Named Overseer of Animation and Online Games Industry in China

China's State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform (SCOPSR) has issued a notice clarifying the responsibilities of various state organizations in the regulation processes concerning animation, online gaming, and the cultural market in China. According to this notice, the Ministry of Culture (MOC) is now responsible for the management of industry bases, project development, conferences and trade fairs, and market oversight for the animation and online gaming industries. The MOC is the official government supporter of GDC China presented by Think Services, a division of United Business Media, taking place at the Shanghai International Convention Center, October 11-13 of this year. The notice also clarifies that, under the unified oversight of the MOC, the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) is responsible for pre-approval of online game publication, but once a game is released online, it enters the full jurisdiction of the MOC. GAPP's department of technology and digital publishing is responsible for approving publication of licensed online games from overseas rights holders, while the MOC is responsible for approval of all other imported online games. "The announcement of this new reform is a major stride for the Ministry of Culture and China," said Meggan Scavio, GDC China event director. "The GDC is proud to be the officially endorsed professional game event by the MOC in China 2009. We fully support the MOC and know that under their direction, China will see a more rapid growth in the adoption of international games which ultimately leads to more opportunities, exchange of technologies, and overall growth for the Chinese game industry."


From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 09/21/2009

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China Bans Foreign Investment in Online Games Industry

China has banned foreign investment into its lucrative online games industry in an effort to tighten control over its virtual worlds. China's video game industry regulator the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and copyright watchdog issued a circular on Saturday prohibiting foreign investment in domestic online gaming operations through joint ventures, wholly owned enterprises and cooperatives. The new directive also disallows foreign firms from indirectly influencing Chinese gaming firms through agreements or technology support. China's online gaming market is one of the world's fastest growing, with sales expected to rise 30 to 50 percent this year to 24 billion yuan to 27 billion yuan ($3.5-4 billion) according to GAPP. Chinese game developer NetEase.com won earlier this year the license to operate within China Activision Blizzard's blockbuster game, World of Warcraft. Their tie-up ran into problems with regulators who were concerned about their joint venture for Blizzard to provide technical support to NetEase.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 10/12/2009

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Beijing Publishes Emergency Plan for Network and Information Security

To further improve the handling of Internet and information security emergencies, Beijing Emergency Management Office and Beijing Economic and Information Technology Committee have jointly formulated and published an emergency technology plan. This emergency plan, which has been approved by the municipal government of Beijing, aims to make emergency response efficient and orderly when Internet and information security problems occur. These problems include hacking incidents, broken undersea cables, and issues arising from earthquakes. Based on the successful experiences from the network and information safeguard work during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the emergency plan follows the principal of "unified command, close coordination, rapid response, and scientific handling". According to the plan, a network and information security emergency organization will be set up in Beijing to clarify the duties and responsibilities of its member units. The plan discusses two aspects, including prevention of emergencies and dealing with emergencies, and it introduces effective measures of monitoring and warning, emergency response, information management, and post-disposal arrangement. While further defining the levels of precaution and the emergency response system, it optimizes the basic working procedures and the information security plan system for handling Internet and information security emergencies. The launch of the emergency plan is expected to raise Beijing's responsiveness to network and information security issues while also preventing and reducing damages caused by network and information security problems.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 10/26/2009

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China Bans 'Pornographic' Literature on Internet

Chinese authorities have banned 1,414 works of on-line literature on the grounds that it was pornographic in a nationwide campaign to eradicate "lewd" contents from the Internet, the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) said in a statement Tuesday. About 30,000 web links to the banned works and 20 on-line literature websites were closed after scrutiny of about 4,000 literature websites by more than 50 experts organized by the GAPP since January, the statement said. The banned works either "included pornographic content," "used provocative or privacy-violating titles to draw attention," or "blatantly talked about one-night stands, wife swapping, sex abuses, and violence that disregarded common decency," the GAPP said. The administration would also establish laws and regulations on the publishing of literature online, the statement said. The move is the latest in a string of drives to crack down on pornographic and lewd content on the Internet. In June, the government ordered all new personal computers produced or sold in China after July 1 to carry "Green Dam-Youth Escort," a filtering software designed to block pornographic content. The software was declared "not compulsory" by the government in August after it aroused huge controversy, as Internet users accused it of privacy invasion and blocking information.


From Xihua News Agency 10/26/2009

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China Spends 96b Yuan on 3G

China has invested 96.1 billion yuan (US$14.13 billion) on 3G technology so far this year, which has fueled the revenue of the telecommunications and personal computer sectors in the tough economic environment, the industry regulator said today. In the third quarter, Chinese telecommunications carriers invested 19.1 billion yuan on the next-generation mobile networks. By the end of this year, each of them will have 3G signals in more than 300 major cities nationwide, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its Website. "The 3G investment has boosted the development of the whole industry, especially laptop and chip sectors, and fueled the country's economy during the global financial crisis," said the ministry in a statement. In January, China issued 3G licenses to three carriers. China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom have invested heavily to construct 3G base stations nationwide. In the first eight months, mobile communications base station turnover jumped 147.4 percent year-on-year. The laptop turnover grew 32.4 percent year-on-year, compared with the total PC growth of 17.7 percent, according to the ministry. Through 3G networks, laptop users can access to mobile broadband services.


From Shanghai Daily 10/28/2009

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China Police Chief Urges Harsher Internet Controls

China's police chief has called for a reinforced nationwide Internet security system, in the nation's latest effort to oversee the activities of the world's largest online population. "The Internet is developing quickly, there are many loopholes in social management, and maintaining social stability faces unprecedented new challenges," public security minister Meng Jianzhu said in rare public remarks. "One must... actively establish... a comprehensive prevention and control social security system that covers the Internet and the real world," he said in a speech published on the ministry website Monday. Internet use has expanded at a dizzying pace in China, which now has the world's largest online population of at least 338 million users. In a bid to maintain control, authorities regularly censor Internet content they deem unhealthy including pornography and violence, but also information critical of the government - a system dubbed the "Great Firewall of China." But many online users get around the system by using proxy servers that allow them to access blocked sites.

The Internet has also become a platform for ordinary people who want to vent their frustrations at perceived injustices. In one well-known example, a 21-year-old waitress in central China walked free from a trial in June despite stabbing to death an official who demanded sex after the case sparked nationwide Internet outrage about government sleaze. Such a crime would normally have incurred a serious penalty, such as life in jail or even the death sentence, but apparent official concern over the elevated online outcry is thought to have prompted her release. The state China Daily newspaper said the government was increasingly concerned about "fake information and new crimes based on the web." Residents in restive far-western Xinjiang are still experiencing Internet and phone service outages nearly four months after deadly ethnic riots erupted in the regional capital Urumqi. The government says separatists used the Internet, telephones and text messages to spread rumours and foment hatred as the violence erupted on July 5, leaving 197 people dead, according to an official toll.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 11/03/2009

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Premier Highlights Role of Sci-tech amid Financial Crisis

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao addresses the science and technology community in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 3, 2009. Wen Jiabao Tuesday underscored the role of science and technology in promoting the country's sustainable development and weathering the global downturn. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Tuesday underscored the role of science and technology in promoting the country's sustainable development and weathering the global downturn. Addressing the science and technology community in Beijing, Wen said China should be built into an innovation-oriented country and neo-strategic industries should become the leading force in promoting the social and economic development. He called on scientists to boost research in such neo-strategic industries as the new energy industry, information networking industry, micro-electronics and nanotechnology, life science as well space and ocean exploration. He said those emerging strategic industries would play a key role in building up an innovation-driven economy and promote a comprehensive sustainable development. Wen said the world was experiencing a once-in-a-century financial crisis and human history has proved that technological revolution often occurred during economic crisis. Any country that could take the initiative in making technological breakthroughs would take the lead in economic recovery, he said. Wen also urged scientists to pay more attention to fundamental researches and high-tech researches and be innovative.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/04/2009

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China to Enhance Copyright Management for Online Video Content

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) is planning to set up a special department to deal with copyright disputes emerging in online video content, a source told the National Business Daily. The source added that this move is very like to generate a standardized trade platform for online video content in China. SARFT will enhance its role in the realm of copyright management. According to earlier media reports, SARFT sent a special team to survey CCTV.com, Shanghai Media Group Broad Band, pplive.com and ppstream.com, among many other online video content companies last year. A source revealed that the team inclines to make a once-for-all plan to solve the copyright problems associated with online video companies. Based on the plan, SARFT will establish a special department and develop copyright software aimed for content providers. Currently, online video providers have to take copyright disputes to court. Many have complained about unfair standards and complicated procedures. They have called for real actions to solve these problems. However, as SARFT is materializing its step, practitioners are skeptical. Some think it is absurd for SARFT to set up a special department to intervene with normal market behaviors. A senior manager of an online video Web site questioned whether SARFT is capable of setting up a standardized copyright trade platform. Copyright holders are widely scattered and large in number. It will be difficult to put them all in one frame. Zhang Hong, senior vice president of Letv.com said that with the current legal standards and copyright assessment standards showing so many gaps in China, the government should set up an arbitration body and standardize the copyright assessment systems for online video providers. Zhang Hongbo, deputy executive director of the Creative Industry Assessment Center under China Industrial Design Association, said that the copyright value assessment has proved a big difficulty in China. He said efforts should be made together by both enterprises and the government to achieve progress in this matter.


From China.org.cn 11/13/2009

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JAPAN: Urged by MPAA to Lead Internet Piracy Legislation

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) president and COO Bob Pisano addressed delegates attending the Asian Intellectual Property Symposium in Tokyo about the serious consequences of illegal file sharing on the internet. The symposium was hosted by the Anti Counterfeiting Association (ACA) and Nikkei Inc. with support from the National Police Agency, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Ministry of Finance Japan, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry. Speaking to a local audience of government officials, policy makers, distributors and industry representatives at Nikkei Hall, Pisano commended Japan for its first-mover advantage in technology and urged the Japanese authorities to take the lead in the area of legislation on Internet piracy as well. In his speech, Pisano urged Japanese internet service providers to consider the graduated response scheme adopted by some countries that give illegal downloaders an educational notice before sanctions are imposed on repeat infringers. "Graduated response is a common sense approach to online piracy that in the long term protects creative ideas and supports the economic growth of a number of industries. It takes into account the responsibilities of ISPs and Internet users. It's fair. It's reasonable," said Pisano. He called on Japanese ISPs to acknowledge their part in overseeing the legality of content that passed through their networks. "Why should ISPs take part in this program? The answer is that it makes good sense for them. This is not about requiring ISPs to police the internet at all. It's about their responding to a high standard of evidence of infringement and illegal activity on their networks supplied by rights holders," said Pisano. In Japan, lawmakers have amended Article 30 of the Copyright Law to make it illegal to download music or movies distributed on the Internet without the authorization of right holders earlier this year.


From http://www.businessofcinema.com/ 10/27/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: 189 Tln Won to Strengthen IT Sector Will Be Spent

South Korea will spend 189.3 trillion won (US$151.5 billion) over the next five years to strengthen its competitiveness in the information technology (IT) sector, the government said Wednesday. The Presidential Council for Future and Vision said funds will be injected into five core areas, covering IT conversion, software, leading IT industries, broadcasting and communication, and Internet infrastructure. Of the total, to be spent by 2013, 14.1 trillion won will come from government coffers with the remaining 175.2 trillion won to be invested by the private sector, the council said in a meeting chaired by President Lee Myung-bak. State funds are to be spent to help small- and medium-size enterprises conduct research and development, with 109.7 trillion won worth of private investments to be allocated for production and industrial infrastructure. "South Korea is a global IT leader although more can be done to upgrade its capabilities so as to bolster the country's overall growth potential," Cho Seok, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. The official said that if investments are carried out according to plan, the country's growth potential may go up by 0.5 percentage point as a result of the increased spending. In the IT-industrial conversion field, efforts will be made to merge traditional manufacturing businesses such as ships, automobiles and energy production with cutting-edge advances in IT to enhance competitiveness. South Korea is the largest global producer of ships but its dominance is being challenged by Chinese yards. Korea is also trying to expand its market share in autos and power generation - especially in atomic energy and "smart grid" systems. Other industries that can benefit are healthcare, textiles, machinery, aerospace, construction, national defense and robotics. "The use of devices like radio frequency identification tags and ubiquitous sensor networks could enhance competitiveness of local companies vis-a-vis foreign rivals," Cho said.

The new program is also designed to help South Korea hold onto and expand its share of the semiconductor, display panel and mobile phone markets, the council said. The country is the world's No. 1 manufacturer of memory chips and displays and ranks second in the production of handsets, yet relies heavily on foreign made manufacturing machinery in the production process, something Seoul hopes to change with the fresh initiative. The five-year strategy calls for the creation of a nationwide, super-high speed Internet infrastructure able to transmit data at 1 gigabit per second - 10 times the speed of current broadband lines. The proposed Internet infrastructure will also be more safe to use with built-in security and firewalls. The plan also seeks to introduce a fully digital television broadcast system by 2012, aiming to foster the widespread use of wireless broadband (WiBro), Internet protocol television (IPTV) and three-dimensional TVs. The council said WiBro and IPTV technology could help create new audio-visual markets and spur consumption and investment vital for economic growth. The government will also concentrate resources on developing the local software industry, which has struggled to keep pace with new developments in hardware. The goal is to push eight of the best-performing local software firms into the global top 100, and help 27 South Korean companies pull in individual annual sales of over 100 billion won.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 09/02/2009

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Jeju to Begin Smart Grid Project

The following is a press release dated Sep. 3. Minster of Knowledge Economy Lee Youn Ho joined some 200 business representatives and local residents on August 31 to celebrate the establishment of a test bed for "smart grids" on Jeju Island. Smart grids are intelligent electric power systems that use information technology to help consumers use electricity more efficiently. The Korean government is committed to the development of smart grid technology as part of its efforts to go green. Under the government-led project, 6,000 households in the northeastern region of Jeju Island will have the opportunity to test smart grid technology. The purpose of this pilot project is to address energy and environmental issues, promote new growth engines, and encourage low-carbon and green growth. The smart grid technologies being tested in this project fall into five categories. Commercial and Residential Areas: "Smart meters" will be installed in homes and businesses. These high-tech meters will show how much electricity is being used and how much it costs; consumers will be able to adjust their usage accordingly for maximum cost efficiency. Transportation Networks: Infrastructure for electric cars - for example, recharging stations - will be established so that drivers can recharge their vehicles and replace their batteries.

Renewable Energy: Electricity generated from wind turbines and solar energy will be connected to the power grid for transmission to households. Smart Power Grid: A "smart power grid" will have a two-way electricity transmission system that will automatically detect and correct any interruption of service. The advanced intelligent power grid will be also able to communicate with appliances so that more electricity is used at off-peak times. Electricity Service: Diverse rate plans will be available so that consumers can choose those that fit their own patterns of electricity consumption. Since a smart grid project requires the integration of different industries, the government will form a consortium with private partners and is considering the possibility of opening the consortium to foreign companies. A steering committee will take control of the project to ensure safety and prevent any inconvenience to residents of the test bed area. "The pilot project will serve as a stepping stone for Korea to emerge as one of the leading countries in smart grid technology," said Minister Lee. "It will also make enormous contributions to green growth."


From http://www.korea.net/ 09/03/2009

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Regulator to Allow Foreign Investment in IPTV Content

South Korea's communications regulatory body said Thursday that it will allow foreign companies or local companies with a foreign stake of 49 percent or more to provide content for Internet television services. Internet-protocol TV (IPTV) is fast emerging as a significant alternative to traditional ways of watching television, allowing viewers to choose and view content interactively via a broadband Internet connection. IPTV content includes video-on-demand (VODs) and live telecasts. The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said it has decided to rescind a provision limiting foreign investments in the IPTV content business before the end of the year. The decision will allow foreign media companies and foreign Internet portal operators to provide content to local IPTV services. NHN, the operator of South Korea's largest Internet portal Naver, will be one of the beneficiaries of the decision. It had been banned from the IPTV content sector as a 48.5 percent stake of the company is foreign owned. KCC said it expects the ordinance to take effect by the end of 2009, following administrative processes and approval from the Cabinet.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 09/03/2009

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Korea Must Use 'IT Niche' to Bolster Space Program: IAF head

South Korea must exploit its competitiveness in the information technology (IT) sector to create a niche for its space development program, the head of a global astronautical body said Monday. International Astronautical Federation (IAF) President Berndt Feuerbacher made the remark at a news conference, saying the country's strong IT sector is a valuable asset for growth and can be used to expand cooperation with leaders in the space exploration field. The German national said at the five-day International Astronautical Congress in Daejon, 164km south of Seoul, that the merging of lightweight IT and space technology is a key combination for the future, and Seoul has the capability to create such a "niche" for itself. "Such a combination is critical due to the low mass and high reliability required for (equipment used in) space exploration," he stressed, pointing out that every kilogram added to a payload translates into extra costs."Much of the success for South Korea's young and lively space program (so far) is due to this combination," he said. The expert pointed out that if the country can prove it can make products meeting such requirements, it can use them as collateral to seek cooperative tie-ups with established leaders in space exploration. "If this happens, the country can succeed," Feuerbacher said, adding that while the worldwide financial crisis has been a shock, it can also open new opportunities. "I think in the near future, interaction and cooperation will increase due to (the) complexity of space activities," the IAF head said. Even countries like the United States have released the Augustine Report outlining the future of the space program and potential funding problems, and such developments can lead to international cooperation to spread costs, Feuerbacher said.

In the past, Washington and other leaders in the field have been reluctant to work with others because most of the technology used to send rockets and satellites into space is highly sensitive and can be used for military purposes. Feuerbacher also said that despite a relatively late entry into space development, South Korea has maintained a highly coherent and continuous program. He praised the country's strategy of starting with small-sized satellites and moving up to the manufacturing of larger communications and multipurpose units that can maintain geosynchronous orbits. The scientist, who headed the German Aerospace Center until 2008, also said South Korea's construction of a launch facility and rocket with Russian help can be viewed as a step-by-step approach to make headway in the space development field. He argued that despite the lack of complete success, South Korea has joined the handful of countries that have launched a satellite-carrying rocket to an orbital altitude and built a domestic launch facility. Seoul launched the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) in late August from the Naro Space Center on the country's southern coast. Although it successfully lifted off, problems with the nose fairing assembly caused the 100kg satellite to fail to reach sufficient orbital velocity, and it probably crashed back to earth. The country plans to launch a second KSLV-1 with a scientific satellite in the first half of 2010 after determining the exact cause of the fairing assembly malfunction.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/12/2009

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Korea Gears Up to Lead Global Green IT Trends

Information technology facilitates international movements aimed at creating a low-carbon environment by raising energy efficiency, digitizing transportation and logistics systems, and monitoring/forecasting climate change. The Korean government, along with those of other advanced nations, is heavily into devising "green IT" strategies for that purpose. Looking at where Korea is and what the government is doing in terms of this newer technology will be helpful for the country to advance from being simply an IT powerhouse to the status of a leading nation of green IT. Amid international movements to tackle climate change and energy resource depletion, products and services associated with green information technology are emerging as new industrial engines. Despite the global economic downturn, the green IT market grew to a huge US$500 million, and is forecast to hit $4.8 billion by 2013.

As has been widely noted, green IT is newer technology pursuing eco-friendly industrial development through renovating existing characteristics of information technology. Eco-phones developed by Samsung ElectronicsKorea is ready and qualified to lead the global green IT trend with its skilled human resources and strong commitment to the movement on the part of the government and the public as well. In particular, Korea has top-notch technology in producing quality TV panels, digital TVs and mobile phones. If those products can be equipped with eco-friendly traits, it will be just a matter of time until Korea dominates the green IT product market. To realize this, the Korean government is pursuing strategies to transform the country's IT industry to an environmentally-oriented one. With the injection of $4.2 trillion of budgetary funds up until 2012, the government plans to increase industrial production by $7.5 trillion, create 52,000 new jobs, and decrease carbon gas emissions by 18 million tons.

Smart meter developed by LS Industrial SystemsSpecifically, the government will focus its energy on developing eco-friendly PCs, displays and network servers, which will have high energy efficiency and marketability. It also plans to build the world's fastest gigabyte Internet network by 2012, and to develop key technologies to raise the efficiency of Internet data centers (IDC). Also, the government plans to increase public sector telecommuting work from the current 2.4 percent to 20 percent by 2013, and further to 30 percent by 2020. It will also markedly decrease carbon emissions, especially during morning peak hours, by highly encouraging the use of bicycles. The use of e-documents at work and that of digital textbooks and electronic boards at school will also be largely promoted, said the government.


From http://www.korea.net/ 10/13/2009

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MONGOLIA: Telecoms, Mobile & Internet

The Mongolia - Telecoms, Mobile and Internet report includes all research data and analysis on this country, covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation. Since the Mongolian Government's telecommunications reform program in the mid-1990s, there has been effective liberalization of all market segments, partial privatization of the fixed-line incumbent operator, Mongolia Telecom, and establishment of an independent regulator. Mongolia acceded to the WTO in 1996. Competition is in place for both fixed and mobile telephony, including local, long-distance, and international, Internet, VoIP, and VSATs. The Internet market is a small but growing sector. Government initiatives such as the e-Mongolia National Program are helping to spread Internet awareness and usage throughout the country. While the fixed-line network has been expanding slowly, the mobile phone market has undergone a remarkable boom, with the number of subscribers growing at an average rate of over 100 percent year-on-year for a number of years. The national policy has been to have a competitive telecommunications segment with two CDMA and two GSM mobile telephone service operators. Accordingly, two additional mobile licenses were awarded in 2005-06 to Unitel (GSM) and rural mobile operator G-Mobile (CDMA). As part of the transition to a market-based economy, Mongolia committed itself to modernizing its telecommunications network and steadily introducing advanced communications services. The government considers national infrastructure development as a high priority and, in particular, it has focused on the development of the telecoms sector, seeing it as central to the overall development of the country, the improvement of living standards, increasing foreign investment, boosting tourism and private sector development, and implementation of innovative changes.

Key highlights: Not all areas of Mongolia are connected to the Internet. However, good progress has been made, with most universities and research institutes, government organizations, agencies, banks, and companies in Ulaanbaatar being online. Market penetration continues to remain strong in the urban centers. Although, the rural sector is catching up with over 50 percent of provincial centers having high speed Internet access. Although approximately 80 percent of Internet users still use narrowband connections, the number of e-commerce services such as e-banking, online shopping, and e-services are slowly being established in Mongolia. This is partly attributed to a government initiative established in 2005 called the One Home One PC program providing low-cost computers for around US$250. As a result, nationwide PC penetration increased by 60 percent and continues to rise steadily. In what is promising to be Mongolia's first real broadband network, MCS Electronics started implementing a two-year Fiber to the Building (FttB) project covering all Ulaanbaatar districts, major buildings, hotels, schools, and government houses. Poor infrastructure for fixed-line phones has contributed to the explosive growth of Mongolia's mobile industry, with the number of subscribers growing at an average rate of over 100 percent year-on-year. Subscribers are primarily in urban areas - 85 percent of all subscribers are in Ulaanbaatar. In April 2009 MobiCom launched the first high-speed mobile broadband network in the country, making use of HSPA technology. The company plans to introduce mobile broadband services to its subscribers across Mongolia, starting in the capital Ulaanbaatar where about 40 percent of the country's 3 million inhabitants live. MobiCom plans to offer a range of new services, such as high-speed mobile internet access, video telephony, MMS and other innovative multimedia services related to e-health and e-commerce.

Mongolia - key telecom parameters - 2006; 2008 Sector : 2006 : 2008 Internet users : 310,000 : 400,000 Broadband subscribers : 3,500 : 12,000 Fixed-line subscribers : 160,900 : 148,200 Mobile phone subscribers : 742,500 : 1,737,300 Mobile penetration rate : 24.7 percent : 57.9 percent WLL lines in service : 38,200 : 45,000 For those needing high level strategic analysis and objective analysis on Mongolia, this report is essential reading and gives further information on: The jointly implemented project by the World Bank and the Mongolian Government called 'Improvement of Information Telecommunication Infrastructure'. The fund was set up for the purpose of bringing telecommunications to rural and remote areas, at the same time expanding services and improving service quality. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2011. Renewed efforts in early 2009 to complete the privatization of Mongolia Telecom. The operator continued to provide services throughout the country by leasing network assets from the Posts and Telecommunications Authority, which owned the infrastructure. Although Mongolia Telecom had been a very profitable company throughout most of the 1990s, the advent of mobile competition, international IP telephony providers and later on the substitution of international SMS for voice, all had a negative impact on its profit margins. By 2008 the major portion of its revenue was being gained through international telephone calls where the regulations meant it faced no competition.


From http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/ 10/06/2009

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MYANMAR: Mobile Phones to Be Used in Capital City Allowed

Myanmar's government is reported to have permitted mobile phones to be used in its secretive capital city, Naypyidaw. Phones, which are already highly restricted were banned in the new capital city for security reasons. On 6 November 2005, the administrative capital of Burma was officially moved to a greenfield site 2 miles west of Pyinmana, and approximately 200 miles north of Yangon. Much of the city is still under construction, which is set to be completed by around 2012. Private telephone lines to employees living in government apartments are not allowed, so public telephones must be used. Naypyidaw is the only place in Burma where electricity is available 24 hours a day. "Mobile phones have been allowed since October 9 around Naypyidaw. We have better communication now," a hotel staff member in Naypyidaw told AFP on condition of anonymity. "It's the first time the authorities have allowed a mobile service in Naypyidaw," she said, adding that many hotels had already applied for permission to use the network.

Where mobile phone coverage is available in other city, phones are usually only offered to military officers or business people with close ties to the military rulers. The country has both GSM and CDMA networks. A WCDMA network was launched last year, with very limited availability. The Mobile World analysts estimates that the country had nearly 540,000 subscribers, representing a population penetration level of just 1.2%. The 3G phones were selling for 2.8 million Kyat (US$ 2150), while a GSM costs about 2.3 million Kyat (US$ 1800). A CDMA costs about 2.1 million Kyat (US$ 1615). The prices put the phones out of reach of ordinary citizens and limits them to the government or favoured business contacts. Government and military contacts tend to find it easier to get the paperwork to own a mobile phone - but often then rent out those phones to business users.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/26/2009

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MALAYSIA: Innovation Is the Way Forward - PM

Technological advancement is an important tool in developing a nation and countries with such capabilities will triumph while those that fail to make innovation the centrepiece of their economy will fall behind, said the Prime Minister. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it is no accident that technologically advanced countries like the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada and Australia are noted as the world's wealthiest nations. Malaysia, he said, has done well in the past by growing an industrial base while expanding its agricultural sector, and at the same time, nurturing a strong oil and gas industry. "But our prior focus on attracting foreign investment as a low-cost producer has now created a dilemma by not keeping pace with the global leaders and we remain somewhat underdeveloped in this respect," he said. He said a new paradigm is needed to not only catch up but to take the country on a quantum leap into the ranks of the developed nations. According to the Prime Minister, this is why the MSC Malaysia initiative, which will enter its third phase of development and evolution from 2011-2020, will build on the country's success so far and boost its economic growth and societal well-being.

Najib said the MSC Malaysia has proven to be an enormous success and Malaysia now wants to create its own software, games, creative content and social networking icons. "We want our own solutions to be used in solving medical, environmental, business and scientific challenges. We want to close the lingering 'digital divide,' not just here in Malaysia but also contribute to erasing the gap elsewhere," he said. The divide refers to the gap between the technology haves and have-nots. Malaysia will be rolling out an advanced national communications infrastructure soon by wiring up 1.2 million households and business premises with fibreoptics that will help boost Internet connection speeds to between 10Mbps (megabits per second) and 1Gbps (gigabit per second). Current speeds are up to 4Mbps. Najib said the high-speed broadband network will provide a platform to develop ICT (information and communications technology) applications for the future, as well as provide citizens, businesses and government agencies with a competitive boost via cutting-edge communications capabilities.

He said this is one of the measures being taken by the Government to put in place a system to drive high performance at all levels of society and it is also in line with the new economic model that will take a new approach based on innovation, creativity and high-value activities. Stressing the advantages of ICT, Najib said he is pioneering a new style of intimate, people-centric approach through the use of ICT with his 1Malaysiawebsite that allows Malaysians to interact directly with him via the Internet. "It is not a passive site but a fully interactive one where visitors can not only find out about my thoughts but can submit their suggestions direct to me online," he said. A recent open solicitation for suggestions on the Government's 2010 budget drew more than 400 responses from the public while post budget feedback from the public drew over 500 responses, which Najib said he will take into consideration for the following budget. "Malaysians who are interested in my workday can also follow me in real time on Twitter," he said in his opening remarks at the launch of the 12th International Advisory Panel (IAP) meeting at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre today.

Najib also said Malaysia realises that the current complexities of the world demand new ways of thinking and problem solving, and that the country is fortunate to have come so far as a nation consisting of multiple cultures and faiths. He said, however, there is a need now for a new paradigm to unite and prepare Malaysia for the challenges ahead, and that it can no longer rely on what had worked in the past. "This is the reason I introduced the 1Malaysia concept soon after I took office in April. I see that the way forward for Malaysia and the world at large is a more imaginative and inclusive form of collaboration," he said. "I would like to formalise Malaysia's inherent diversity into 1dream, 1people, 1nation and I believe it will be the catalyst for greatness for Malaysia and a guide to enhancing regional and global co-operation." The MSC Malaysia, conceptualised in 1996, is a government initiative to leapfrog the country's knowledge-based economy and move the people into the Information Age. Foreign and home grown companies, numbering more than 900, are part of the initiative and are operating in high-tech areas nationwide. These businesses are involved in R&D work, multimedia products and services, as well as ICT. This year's IAP meeting is themed Innovation Economy: Paving the Path to Prosperity. The panel includes government representatives, international captains of industry, IT experts and academicians who help guide the MSC Malaysia initiative.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 11/10/2009

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Personal Data Protection Bill Tabled in Parliament

The Personal Data Protection Bill 2009 aimed at protecting public interests with regard to processing personal data was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday. In tabling the bill for the first reading, Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said the bill consisted of 146 clauses and 11 sections. The bill, among others, is aimed at regulating personal data processing in commercial transactions by users to protect the owners, and as such, protect their interest, he said. According to the bill, as new technology and changes in market trend contributed to the growing importance of knowledge in the global economy, personal data in commercial transaction was becoming a valuable commodity. This adds pressure in regulating data processing in efforts to enhance consumers' confidence in the global economy. The bill provides for the appointment of a personal data protection commissioner and the setting up of an advisory committee to advise the commissioner on the enforcement of the Act. A tribunal will also be set up under the bill to enable offenders to appeal against decisions made by the commissioner. The second section of the bill spells out provisions on personal data protection. Among them, Section 5(1) states that personal data processing must adhere to the personal data protection principles, namely the general, notice, choice, due diligence, security, storage, integrity and access principles. A personal data user faces imprisonment up to two years jail or a fine up to RM300,000 or both, if convicted under the Act.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 11/19/2009

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SINGAPORE: SGNIC to Launch Chinese Domain Names

Businesses and consumers can look forward to using Chinese characters in their website address to better reach their customers or friends who prefer Chinese web addresses. The Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), the national registry for domain names, will be accepting initial registrations for Chinese Domain Names from 23 November 2009. This opens up new options for domain names, as anyone can soon register for Web addresses such as 开心.sg so that their target market or audience can better identify with them. SGNIC will offer these Chinese domain names at both 2nd and 3rd levels in all categories (namely, .sg, .com.sg, .gov.sg, .org.sg, .edu.sg, .net.sg, .per.sg). For instance, a 2nd level domain name would be开心.sg, while a 3rd level domain name would read as开心.com.sg.

SGNIC General Manager Lim Choon Sai said "SGNIC hopes to give users greater choices and also add to the range of domain names available here. We believe this is timely given the growing interest, especially among businesses here, to reach the Chinese markets, which may feel more comfortable using their own language." The launch of Chinese domain names follows a slew of new domain name choices offered here in the past two years, including the release of single-character and pure numeric domain names. Other countries, especially where English is not the primary language such as China, Japan and South Korea, have started using domain names in their primary languages. SGNIC will continue to monitor market demand and developments and consider offering domain names in other languages. Registration of Chinese domain names will be phased according to the schedule below, with single-character Chinese domain names, such as 开.sg and numeric domain names in Chinese such as 一二三.sg to be available for a premium during the first three phases of registration:
Phase 1: Government Agencies (23 Nov 2009 - 31 Dec 2009)
Phase 2: For Trademark holders (7 Jan 2010 - 18 Feb 2010)
Multiple applications will be subject to bidding.
TM holders need to be registered with the Intellectual Property of Singapore (IPOS). Service marks will not be eligible.
Phase 3: For All (25 Mar 2010 - 6 May 2010)
Multiple applications will be subject to bidding.
All entities may apply but will be subject to a priority fee.
General Launch (10 Jun 2010 onwards)
All entities may apply.


From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 11/03/2009

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THAILAND: 3G Future Depends on Clarity

Thailand's telecommunications sector needs greater regulatory fairness as well as clarity in policy from the government on the future of former state enterprises CAT and ToT if Thailand is to secure the huge investment needed for 3G and data services moving into the future. LIRNE Asia, the new Siam Intelligence Unit think-tank, conducted a study of the perceptions towards the regulators in eight emerging Asian economies in the second half of 2008 and representatives from the regulator NTC, ToT, the GSM Association and think-tank TDRI were invited to the report's presentation. The event was co-hosted by LIRNE Asia, and was hosted by Chulalongkorn University's Dr Pirongrong Ramasoota, an activist who set the tone of the event by noting that today Thailand is in competition with India to be the last of the eight Asian countries to attain 3G. Dr Duenden Nikomborirak, research director for economic governance at the Thailand Development Research Institute, which conducted the Thailand study, said that back in 2002, the duopoly of operators meant a lack of competition and it took the introduction of a third player into the market as well as the de-coupling of the sim from the handset, to allow mobile penetration to soar.
As of 2008, mobile penetration stood at 62.5 million in a country of 65 million. In 2010 the number is expected to go beyond 100 percent, with many people carrying more than one handset. Currently, penetration is already more than 100 percent in Bangkok, but only 65 percent outside of Bangkok, thus there is still room for growth. The fixed line regime is inefficient and opaque, with no clear rules on right of way and no clear distinction between type 2 and type 3 licenses, with certain operators that provide public services being granted a type 2 license, which has less fees and universal service obligations attached. The biggest problem with mobiles is the lack of number portability and discriminatory regulation. Portability should be mandatory by law in three months from now, but it is still unclear if the companies can implement it overnight. Dr Duenden cited AIS's permission to upgrade its 2G network to 3G HSPA, while competitors were initially not allowed to, as an example of discrimination. Dr Duenden said that while most people think of frequency when speaking of scarce resources, another that is more problematic is right of way. While the NTC has given out fixed line licenses, it took until this month to issue rules on right of way where cables could be laid.

Thailand scored lowest in terms of interconnection, as these are part of the concession contracts rather than the NTC rules. When the concessions were handed out in 1990 there was no interconnection and instead they had an access charge, which is inconsistent with the NTC's interconnection rules. The question is whether operators have the right to stop paying access charges and pay interconnection instead. In other words, whether they should play by the concession contract or the NTC's rules. Furthermore, interconnection should by law be cost-based, yet the figure of 1 baht a minute is arbitrary. Similarly, Thailand scored low for tariff regulation. The NTC simply took the highest market prices and set them as a limit without any calculations or questions about those price ceilings which are ineffective anyway as they are now higher than the actual prices charged. Universal Service Obligation fund management is also a concern without clear rules. The current contribution rate of 4 percent is one of the highest in the world, though the NTC has indicated it wants it revised down to 1.75 percent, but with private operators paying as well as implementing USO projects.

Dr Duenden said that many people had thought that having the NTC as an independent regulator would be a panacea but in reality, independence does not solve all our problems. It is clear that competition goes a long way to lifting the responsibility of regulators. Thailand enjoys low mobile prices but this has nothing to do with the NTC's performance. Later, Dr Somkiat Tangkitvanich, vice-president and research director of the information economy at the Thailand Development Research Institute, spoke of how broadcast spectrum demand has been on the increase since the 1997 constitution promised citizens access to express their views while at the same time large swathes of spectrum were held by government agencies such as the Mass Communications Organisation of Thailand and the Public Relations Department, as well as the military. This has led to alternatives such as satellite TV or the use of non-spectrum constrained models such as cable or IPTV. In telecommunications, the main concern is 3G is simply going to be used not to provide 3G services but to avoid paying high concession revenue share fees.

Kittipong Tameyapradit, Senior Executive Vice President for enterprise efficiency at ToT, said that his company is now focused on data, rather than the declining voice market and is rolling out a series of upgrades to exchanges with fibre to the exchange so they can support higher speeds with VDSL 2+. "[We provide] 12 MB in Pattaya already, but lack content; when we sell 12 MB ADSL, [users] don't need it and the price is too high [at] 1,700 Baht a month," he said, a gasp of disagreement clearly rising from the audience. He said that the government has instructed ToT to become a network provider and roll out networks for others to sell through an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) model. He also complained that 4 percent USO contribution was too high in light of the fact that competitors DTac and TrueMove did not have to pay it. However, the biggest commotion from the audience came with regard to ToT's current stance against the 3G auction. Kittipong said that the company does not understand why it has been excluded from the 3G auction, not that it matters for 3G as TOT has spectrum anyway, but he is afraid that the NTC will also use the same reason for the upcoming WiMAX auctions that TOT does want. "We are not against 3G, but we are protecting the interests of the country," he said, bluntly. ToT argues that 3G will mean that its current concessionaire, AIS, will move its customers away from the revenue share agreement on its current network to the 3G network where the fees will be much less, around six percent. Currently, AIS pays ToT 12 billion baht a year, so with six years left on the concession, the state will lose 72 billion baht from ToT alone if the 3G auction is allowed to continue, he argued. "We support competition; what the media is saying of us is not true. But we are government officials, we have to do by the contract. If the government gives us a clear structure, we are happy to follow it," he said.

Supot Tirawut, director of the Telecommunications Research Industrial Development Institution, Office of the National Telecommunications Commission, spent his time defending the NTC from the barrage of criticism levelled at it from the other panellists. He said it was not the duty of the regulator to be loved, rather the regulator has to be working against the operators to ensure a good deal for the consumer. He attributed the growth of the mobile phone market to the NTC's numbering regime change that allowed many more numbers and the move to prepaid and to interconnection rather than access charges. The legal question mark over the NTC's jurisdiction in 3G and WiMAX is about to be clarified as the NTC will ask the Council of State again if it has jurisdiction to carry out the auctions under the 2007 constitution. He also said the courts recently dismissed ToT's legal challenge (regarding interconnection versus access charges) and said the 2 billion baht collected in USO contributions may sound like a lot, but is not enough to roll out any major project. Supot also said that the NTC was to be thanked for Thailand's faster Internet now that the international gateway has been deregulated under a military-installed government.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 10/28/2009

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Amended Intellectual Property Law to Cover Computer Violations

After achieving success in a crackdown on intellectual property violations since the beginning of this year, Thailand now plans to amend its law governing similar violations regarding computers, said a senior commerce ministry official. Acting Intellectual Property Department director-general Pajchima Thanasanti said that a recent meeting chaired by Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot voted to amend the law pertaining to computers to include information on violations of intellectual property. The planned amendment is designed to enable concerned officials to request a court to suspend the use of such information appearing on computers, said Mrs Pajchima. Also, the meeting agreed to prepare a syllabus on intellectual property rights for students from primary to university levels, she said. Educational institutions are expected to start teaching the subject from the 2010 academic year. Official statistics show that during the first eight months this year, concerned officials were able to crack down 5,948 cases of intellectual property violations and seized about 4.41 million fake articles compared to 4,121 cases and approximately 3.78 million articles seized during the same period of 2008. (TNA)


From http://enews.mcot.net/ 11/11/2009

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Sipa, Private Sector to Collaborate

The Association of Thai ICT Industry (Atci), in conjunction with six software industry associations, last week announced a collaboration between the private sector and the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa). The associations are the Thai Software Export Promotion Association (Tsep), the Thai e-Learning Association and the Thai Embedded System Association (Tesa), the Association of Thai Software Industry (Atsi), the Thailand Animation and Computer Graphics Association (Tacga) and the Thai Game Association (TGA). According to Atci president Bunrak Saraggananda, associations on behalf of the ICT industry are ready to work with Sipa to help Thailand's software industry move forward and be competitive at the international level. "We don't want to have any conflict within the industry," Bunrak said, adding that the Atci is not a nominee of foreign firms as alleged by Sipa's president.

The associations support the decision of the board of directors of Sipa in suspending the job of Sipa president, Dr Rungruang Limchoopatipa, and have examined his work. "We are worried about the activities held by Sipa and the behaviour of Sipa's president that lead to disunity," said Chalermpol Punnotok, Tsep president. The flagship projects of Sipa give nothing to the industry he said, citing the global outsourcing and Phuket ICT Innovation projects that offer no benefits to the country. "Global outsourcing has a negative impact on Thai entrepreneurs because it draws foreign companies to the country without any plan of human resource development to support," Chalermpol said. Chalermpol added that two key matters of the software industry are "how much to substitute the import software and services, and how much to export" of which both have been never proved by Sipa yet.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 11/18/2009

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INDIA: Jammu and Kashmir Government Initiate IT Growth in the State

The Jammu and Kashmir government is roping in big companies and business houses to launch new mega projects to spur Information Technology (IT) growth in the state. The projects, which are being implemented include setting up of 1,100 IT kiosks named 'e-Khidmat centers' for the delivery of services at remote villages. Approximately Rs 150 crore worth projects are being implemented to provide core infrastructure for growth of IT industry and e-governance initiatives in the state. A task force in the IT sector will be constituted where experts from the companies functioning in the state will make suggestions to draft a new policy to shape up e-governance and integrated IT sector in the state.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/10/2009

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Secretariat Records Digitisation to Be Launched in Kerala

Digitisation of records of the Secretariat is one of the important projects of the e-Governance programme of the Government of Kerala. Being implemented by the Kerala State IT Mission and the Information Technology Department, it will be launched on October 13, 2009. Digitisation will help the officials to have easy access to files on which processing has been completed. The files can be located by key word search. Another facility is that it will enable more than one official to examine a file at a time.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/12/2009

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UP's Online Tax Initiative for Trucks

An initiative by the Commercial Tax Department of Uttar Pradesh Government to issue transit passes to transporters on the Web for commercial goods vehicles passing through the State has resulted in considerable time saving of about eight-ten hours. All the vehicles moving through UP carrying goods from one State to another required these passes as they "transit" through UP and thus do not have pay any tax in UP. Till July 31, 2009, these transit passes were issued in paper format to the truck drivers entering the State at one of the 37 check-posts of Commercial Tax department located across UP. Since August 1, 2009, under the new system, UP has abolished all these check-posts.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/20/2009

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Indian Government Plans to Boost Mobile Banking

The Indian Government has planned to expand mobile banking services to benefit the common man. Various issues impacting the use of mobile phones as a tool for improving the people's access to the financial services are proposed to be sorted out by a small sub-committee. Aimed at those who are not covered by the banking channels, mobile banking would help them carry out banking transactions like deposits, withdrawals and payments, without a conventional bank account or a credit/debit card as mobile transactions are ought to be cheaper than conventional banking.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/23/2009

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Karnataka, the Best in RTI Act Implementation

Karnataka has topped India as the best example of implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act scoring 55 per cent in Overall Public Satisfaction (OPS). This, however, has also exposed that the country has a long way from becoming a perfect example of giving people access to information. Though the state tops the list, the fact that only 55 of every 100 people approaching the Karnataka Information Commission will finally get the information sought means that Karnataka, and more so the whole country, has a long way to go in making the RTI Act really successful.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/27/2009

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UP Set to Launch E-District Scheme

The Uttar Pradesh state government is all set to launch e-District scheme in all over the state to promote e-Governance in every sphere of life and activity of the people. Promoted by the department of IT and Electronics, the scheme is at present operational in the districts of Sitapur, Sultanpur, Rae Bareli, Gorakhpur, Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad. It will soon encompass all the districts of the state. Out of 885 centres for the State Wide Area Network (SWAN), 830 have been constructed and remaining will be ready by the November end. The government has set a target of establishing 17,909 public utility centres in the state by March, 2010 out of which already 4,500 public utility centres have already been established and are working.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/02/2009

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NEPAL: Electronic National ID Cards Planned

The Nepal government is planning to introduce an electronic national identity card system under which all the citizens of the country would be provided a smart card as their national identity card. The government had stated in the budget announcement that it would distribute smart cards to each citizen containing a picture as a national identity card which can also be used for election purposes. The establishment of the GIDC was a foundation for moving the nation into e-governance and helping to further revolutionize the country's information technology sector. The data centre, which is considered to be the backbone of e-governance and the brain of information and communication technology, has a capacity of storing up to 26 terabytes of data for about 15 years and will compile data from all the ministries, departments and government offices.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/04/2009

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Nepal Launches Digital Record System to Check Driving License

Nepali Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has launched digital record system which will enable driving licence holders to check the legal status of their license online in its website. The department launched this facility under the e-governance initiative for the public after the number of people holding fake driving licenses went up. The department will issue and renew driving licenses and register vehicles through digital technology. License holders will be able to check the validity of their driving licenses simply by entering the license number, citizenship number and the district from where they obtained their citizenship certificate. If the licence is fake, no details will be displayed.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/07/2009

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PAKISTAN: Government Urged to Provide Incentives for IT Boost

RAWALPINDI: The government should provide incentives and extend support to promote information technology to help improve the economy and foreign exchange reserves of the country," Syed Asad Mashhadi, President, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said here on Friday. In a statement, he emphasised that the field of information technology remained neglected during last few years due to that youth having professional degrees were anxiously seeking jobs. "If the government focuses on information technology it would not only provide job opportunities but also put the economy on the path of progress and prosperity," he added. Syed Mashhadi said it was regrettable that the pubic sector institutions were still hesitant to use information technology and continue to carry out their routine work on manual basis. He said: "If we prepare computer software and export them to foreign countries, we would not have to pay shipment charges thus opening up a new window to earn foreign exchange." He underlined the need to promote software industry so that the youth pursuing career in the field of information technology could make waves, as they lack nothing except proper and consistent support of the government. Mashhadi demanded of the government to take effective measures for promotion of information technology in every sphere of life as there is no other way to walk with the developed countries that have done a lot in this field.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 09/19/2009

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AZERBAIJAN: Bloggers Tried; Rights Groups Concerned

Two opposition bloggers have gone on trial in Azerbaijan in what rights groups say is part of an attempt to silence dissent and serve warning to emerging online media in the oil-producing state. Adnan Hajizada, 26, and and Emin Milli, 30, were arrested in July after an incident in a cafe in Baku. They say they were victims of an unprovoked attack, while police have charged them with hooliganism and inflicting minor bodily harm. They face up to five years in prison if convicted. Their arrest came shortly after Hajizada posted his latest tongue-in-cheek swipe at authorities under President Ilham Aliyev in which he held a news conference dressed as a donkey. Milli is a member of the youth opposition group Alumni Network. The European Union has expressed concern over the case, and international rights watchdogs have warned of a crackdown on online media in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic.

"It's really giving out a signal - don't try to organise yourselves, don't try to come up with means of public debate and particularly don't try new media," Nathalie Losekoot, senior Europe program officer at freedom-of-expression watchdog Article 19, told Reuters. Freedom House executive director Jennifer Windsor said in a statement, "This case fits a disturbing pattern under which independent journalists and others seeking to express themselves end up in the criminal justice system." Azerbaijani authorities deny it is politically motivated, saying it's "an ordinary hooliganism case." But opposition politicians and rights groups say Aliyev's government is growing increasingly intolerant of dissent from civil society and the media. They accuse the West of muting its criticism out of fear of losing out on Azerbaijani energy reserves in the Caspian Sea.

In July, the United Nations Rights Committee, an independent watchdog, expressed concern at the blogger case, as well as reports of attacks on journalists, the closure of independent newspapers, and removal of licences for foreign radio stations to broadcast locally. The Aliyev family has dominated Azerbaijan for decades, first under long-serving leader Heydar Aliyev and since 2003 under his son Ilham. Rights groups say a personality cult built around Heydar has made dissent dangerous. The government denies curbing freedoms, and points to an economic boom - fuelled by oil - that it says makes Aliyev genuinely popular. Economic growth has slowed considerably this year and last due to a fall in oil prices.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 09/04/2009

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GEORGIA: Radio Spectrum Auction Cancelled

The Georgian telecoms regulator, the National Communications Commission has cancelled a planned auction of additional radio spectrum in the GSM1800 and UMTS bands. The regulator said that no bidders had submitted applications by the deadline of 5th October. The Auction was declared failed at the Session held today by the Georgian National Communications Commission. In related news, the license for radio-relay links was sold for GEL7,008 (US$4,182) at an auction. Only one company "Real TV-Georgia" is willing to acquire the license. The Georgian National Communications Commission announced the Auction for acquisition of the right to use the radiofrequency spectrum license in Tbilisi on the basis of the Commission's Decision of September 11, 2009.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/26/2009

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KAZAKHSTAN: New Law Alarms Press Freedom Group

Kazakhstan has recently passed legislation that "drastically curbs online freedom," according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and threatens to silence bloggers. A law signed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev on 13 July gives blogs, chat rooms and other websites such as online retail outlets the same legal status as the Kazakh news media, making them similarly vulnerable to criminal prosecution. The new law will also permit authorities to block websites that cover elections, strikes, demonstrations and ethnic issues. In a July 15 statement, RSF says that the law, which "gives the government a legal mechanism to punish its opponents, bodes ill for Kazakhstan's presidency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010," adding, "We call for the revision of this law, which violates the constitution and could lead to bloggers being jailed and online media being closed."


From http://www.rferl.org/ 08/25/2009

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Kazakh PM Calls on Businessmen to Invest in Kazakhstan's IT Sector

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov has called on businessmen to invest in Kazakhstan's IT sector. "There is no alternative to the development of IT industry in any country of the world. Each state in one form or another continues development of this sector. We also decided to continue development of "e-government" and IT industry", K. Massimov said at a roundtable with the representatives of Kazakhstan business circles on Thursday. "Recently we have launched a competition for the formation of electronic finance ministry", the Premier said. He said he welcomes investments in Kazakhstan's IT sector, particularly development of Information Technology Park. "The IT-Institute has recently started work on the basis of the park. It was established with support of the private sector. This direction is very important and perspective", K. Massimov added.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 09/24/2009

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Premier Urged to Bring Down Wholesale Rates for Lateral Internet Service Providers

Prime Minister Karim Massimov charged Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund to advance forward a proposal to the Government on decrease of wholesale rates of dominating operators for lateral Internet service providers till December, 1. As earlier reported, the Governmental session is taking place in Ukimet Uyi (the House of Government) today.


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 11/10/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Regulator Consults on Boosting Rural Mobile Coverage

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking feedback from industry and interested parties to a proposal to make further spectrum in the 2 GHz band available for mobile telecommunications services in regional and remote areas of Australia. "The proposed arrangements were developed in response to requests from telecommunications providers for increased capacity in these areas, as well as to provide increased capacity for dual-band international roaming," said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. "The ACMA believes that the economic and efficient uses of the spectrum, as well as the objects of the Radiocommunications Act, are likely to be best promoted by making vacant spectrum available on application to provide additional capacity for mobile telecommunications services, where that is consistent with existing uses." The ACMA has released a discussion paper detailing the proposed public telecommunications service (PTS) apparatus licensing arrangement to support the coordinated deployment of mobile telecommunications infrastructure in regional and remote areas. Complete details on the licensing arrangements and the draft amendments to the regulatory framework to support the proposal can be viewed on the ACMA website.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/06/2009

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$43 Billion National FttH Broadband Network Has Been Launched in Australia

The decision to launch a $43 billion national FttH broadband network is a clear indication of the Australian government's belief that an open broadband infrastructure is essential to the digital economy - that it will fulfil a national purpose as its trans-sector multiplier effect delivers massive social and economic benefits in healthcare, education, energy and the environment, and that it can only be built by a utility (NBN Co). While questions certainly arise around the business model and investment strategies, widespread support exists for the visionary plan. During 2010 the business model needs to be developed, taking into account the socio-economic benefits the infrastructure can deliver to the country.

Economic and trans-sector innovations are now key items on the political agenda in other countries around the world but, thanks to government leadership, Australia was the first to get the vision right in terms of a national purpose. After the vision comes the actual design and rollout of the national broadband network. There is no silver bullet for this and each situation generates its own unique alternative, which in turn informs others involved in similar national projects. Social and economic strategies need to be formulated and taken into account in the design and architecture of the infrastructure. Pragmatic solutions should be developed to maximise the use of existing infrastructure and other resources. Un(der)served areas need to receive priority and local communities and councils can play a key role in this. Wireless broadband can play a major role as well.

These early projects could also be an ideal testing ground for trans-sector applications. This is where NBN Co comes in. This open wholesale-only company will make the critical architectural and design decisions that will form the basis of this new infrastructure for at least the next 25 years. The network must facilitate the vision laid down by the government, which includes multiple use of the network by other sectors such as healthcare, education, energy, etc. At the same time the company must ensure that it remains an infrastructure company and doesn't become another telco. The NBN is going to change the nature of competition. The government has published a far-reaching regulatory regime change that leaves no room for doubt that there is no way back to the old days, when the incumbent was able to game the regime by creating endless delays and stifling competition. There will be a transitional period. During this time some of the old activities will continue but they will increasingly shift to the new environment. This will see the players realigning their operations and many will change their business plans well before that time in preparation for the new regime.

Negotiations and discussions are already taking place, aimed at shaping this new environment, and the new framework will be aligned with the goals of the NBN. Soon after the government announced the NBN in April 2009 it became evident that Telstra had finally accepted that changes were inevitable and it reacted swiftly. A new management team was appointed, led by the new CEO, David Thodey. They immediately announced their support for the NBN and their willingness to work with the government. The company also put its weight behind the trans-sector concept as that would obviously be the avenue down which it could start generating new revenues. Negotiations were launched with the government exploring how Telstra could best participate. One of the options was for it to take a shareholding in NBN Co.

The NBN being a political project there will obviously be political activity involved in the process. Overall a very businesslike approach is being taken but elections, pork-barrelling, new ministers and governments will no doubt exert an influence on the NBN. Some of this will be positive, since a trans-sector approach will require the government to commit other government sectors to participate. While a full national launch will require thorough preparation, two large-scale projects were singled out to form a tangible start to the rollout. Tasmania became the first state to initiate the rollout and backbone projects will be launched before the end of 2009 in regional mainland areas. The financial crisis has focused global attention on new infrastructure developments. Australia had already begun the national broadband network process before the crisis and it now also finds itself at the forefront of investigations into ways in which the new infrastructure can help to stimulate the economy.

Open access infrastructure offers the best way forward as it creates a multiplier effect that will assist developments in healthcare, education, energy and the environment, as well as in Internet and digital media. The Australian industry has embarked on a trans-sectoral campaign, convincing other sectors that an open network will give them the tools to save money and improve their service. At the same time this multiplier effect will create new jobs, perhaps as many as 25,000. This cross-sector approach also applies to infrastructure projects - potential synergies exist between the building of roads, sewerage systems, water and gas pipe networks, as well as telecoms and electricity networks. As the financing of the public health systems in Australia becomes increasingly costly the NBN opens up opportunities to lower costs through more effective use of web services for healthcare consumers. With widely available and cost-effective high-speed broadband infrastructure e-health may become an area where important killer applications emerge - applications that utilise truly high-speed broadband networks, enabling customers to benefit from advances in medical technology and medical services.

Early diagnosis and after-treatment patient monitoring are two areas where significant synergies may be found, using applications accessed by users in their homes. While broader economic conditions in Australia may be subdued until 2011 spending on e-health solutions is likely to be boosted as part of the larger economic stimulus packages the government is currently enacting. The use of IT and telecommunications technology within educational environments is set to increase dramatically between 2010 and 2015 as the high-speed fibre-based broadband becomes widely available. Simultaneously the capability of Internet services for educational purposes is set to increase enormously over the next decade. Given its large landmass and relatively small population Australia is an ideal market for remote education services. Australia is already home to many successful e-education service providers, as well as being a fairly important market for e-education services.

The government provides citizens with relatively e-government services and, as with education, the establishment of a fibre-based broadband network may see the government improve and broaden the range of web services for which it is responsible. As such Australia is a fascinating and relatively advanced market for both e-education and e-government services.


From http://www.officialwire.com/ 11/09/2009

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NEW ZEALAND: Govt Announces Targets for Rural Broadband

Communications and IT Minister Steven Joyce has today announced coverage targets for the roll out of broadband to rural communities. He says getting fast broadband to the 25% of New Zealanders living outside the footprint of the government's urban initiative is a priority. "Around half of rural households are coping with dial up speeds currently and that's not good enough in the 21st century." Mr Joyce says he expects the following to happen within six years: * 93% of rural schools will receive fibre, enabling speeds of at least 100Mbps, with the remaining 7% to achieve speeds of at least 10Mbps. * Over 80% of rural households will have access to broadband with speeds of at least 5Mbps, with the remainder to achieve speeds of at least 1Mbps. "Providing fibre to the vast majority of rural schools will effectively deliver the capacity to provide faster broadband to the communities they serve. Fibre backhaul is currently the primary limiting factor in the delivery of rural broadband and getting fibre to schools will address that."

Getting fibre backhaul into rural communities will also allow other technologies such as wireless and cellular to play a larger role in rural New Zealand. Enabling rural cell phone towers to be connected to fibre will also improve mobile phone services in rural areas. Taken together with the government's $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband investment initiative, the achievement of these rural targets will mean that 97% of New Zealand schools and 99.7% of New Zealand students will have access to broadband speeds of 100Mbps or greater. Similarly, 97% of New Zealanders will be able to achieve broadband speeds from their homes and businesses of at least 5Mbps, with 91% having speeds greater than 10Mbps. Mr Joyce said that the initial focus will be on those areas that will not benefit from Telecom's fibre-to-the-node upgrade programme. "Telecom's current programme will get us from 75% to 84%. The new challenge will be delivering fast broadband beyond the 84% and delivering fibre to the majority of rural schools."

Mr Joyce says he expects the rural policy to cost around $300 million. "It is my expectation that this policy will be delivered through a mix of public and private funding."We are working with urgency to deliver higher speeds to rural areas. The last thing we want is to see a rural / urban digital divide develop in this country. "Rural communities are an integral part of our economy and we cannot afford to let them fall behind. By putting a target of six years on this part of the roll out, we will in fact achieve fast broadband in rural areas ahead of achieving ultra fast broadband for most homes in urban areas, and that's appropriate." Further announcements on details of the broadband investment programme in both rural and urban areas will be made shortly.


From http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ 09/10/2009

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Telecom Signs Up to Community Engagement Guidelines

Telecom has today pledged its commitment to community engagement guidelines developed by the Telecommunications Carriers' Forum (TCF), on the location of new wireless telecommunications facilities. Paul Leslie, Head of Community Relations, says Telecom fully supports the intention of the guidelines, to standardise the industry approach to engaging with communities when upgrading existing, or building new, mobile phone sites in residential areas. "The guidelines will ensure that communities hear about our plans for new sites when we begin the approvals process with councils rather than a few weeks prior to building the site, as has sometimes been the case to-date. "This gives us more time to engage in a constructive way with communities that may require more information from us." Telecom has been a core member of the working group that developed the guidelines, along with Vodafone, Woosh and Kordia. The guidelines were developed in consultation with central and local government, and with members of the public.


From http://www.telecom-media.co.nz/ 11/16/2009

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AFRICA: Ghana - Management of MTN Launches Emergency Telephone Numbers to Fight Crime

Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, Inspector General of Police on Wednesday warned Ghanaians against raising false alarm and the abuse of emergency telephone numbers because such acts were criminal and that offenders would be prosecuted. He noted that some people out of mischief used the emergency telephone numbers to raise false alarm leading to waste of resources, frustration of the rapid response team thus defeat the concept of the service. Mr Quaye gave the warning at the launch of emergency telephone numbers to fight crime. The special crime fighter's telephone short code is "18555". It was an initiative by the management of Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN), Ghana Police Service (GPS), British High Commission and the German Embassy to support government's quest to make the nation peaceful and stable to attract foreign investment and promote socio-economic development.

The 24-hour, seven-day service (24/7), would enable the public to use the number to report any criminal offence and lodge complaints from anywhere in the country for prompt response. Users cannot be identified but cash rewards would be given to those who provide useful information to arrest criminals. Mr. Quaye noted that the police relied on informants for information to fight crime but most of them did not have enough money to buy credits to communicate with the police. "Research has also shown that the 10 digits telephone numbers are not easily recollected by victims because they would have been traumatised but the new numbers would be a relief to the public and the police,' he said. He appealed to the media to educate the public especially children to avoid the abuse of the emergency telephone numbers. Mr. Quaye said the police was constrained by inadequate logistics to discharge its responsibilities of maintaining peace and order in the country and called on corporate bodies to assist them. He expressed appreciation to the partners for their assistance towards crime prevention.

Mr. Matthew Johnson, Acting British High Commissioner, said the emergency telephone numbers had helped to reduce crime related case like murder, kidnapping, physical violence and rape drastically in the United Kingdom (UK). He noted that the responsibility of maintaining peace and stability in the country should not be left to the government alone but should be a shared responsibility between the government and private sector. Mr. Brett Goschen, Chief Executive Officer of MTN, said the company's contribution was part of its social responsibility towards crime prevention and the nation's development. He said the company would cater for the training of personnel to operate the service and provide marketing support to ensure its success. "Bringing the crime fighter's initiative to Ghana is certainly an innovation and MTN is proud to support the police in such a worthy cause," he added.


From http://allafrica.com/ 10/23/2009

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ASIA: Mobile Regulators Lag Behind West

SINGAPORE - Asia's regulators lag behind those of the West, in terms of regulating and pushing the mobile entertainment industry in the region, said a global trade group policy advisor. Suhail Bhat, the Mobile Entertainment Forum's (MEF) policy and initiatives director, told ZDNet Asia in an interview Monday, Asia's mobile adoption has exploded ahead of what regulators can keep up with. The pace of innovation as well as the rapidly-growing population in Asia have made the region fertile for mobile entertainment to take off, but it has, to an extent, been hampered by the slow pace at which regulations are made, he said. The mobile entertainment industry, being made up of so many parts including handset manufacturers to content makers to network operators, requires a regulator to lay down rules specific to it, so that mobile entertainment can take off steadily, he explained. On the other hand, Western regulators such as the European Union (EU) were drafting policies for mobile services five years in advance, "pre-empting the industry on services that didn't even exist yet". This has allowed for some hits and misses, where the industry was ready with frameworks as services came out - but also has rules around services no one uses, he said. And like the technology leapfrogging that has occurred in some of Asia's emerging regions, these markets can also leapfrog framework-setting and apply what has been proven to work, he added.

Mobile app stores driving convergence: An example of a framework the mobile entertainment industry needs is a way to track the mobile app purchases made, said Bhat. This has been difficult because of the number of vendors involved. An app store has to coordinate purchases across telcos and devices, as well as attempt to segment the data by demographics, in order to make sense of it, he explained. The MEF has released a guide, the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, aimed at addressing this with regulators and industry players, by recommending them a template. Work is far from being done, however, Bhat noted. "It's an ongoing project." But mobile app stores have been useful in tying the industry's myriad players together to get a common conversation going, he said. Because buyer information will alert each service company to market trends, and give them data to target specific segments, the industry is seeing the benefits of working together to make convergence a reality, he added. "The industry still hasn't got it right, but we are the tipping point," said Bhat, of "true" convergence.

China market expected to double: According to a June global survey of MEF's members, the China market was estimated to grow 98 percent between March this year and next. Other areas such as India and the Asia-Pacific region were only estimated to grow 6 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively. Bhat said the expectations for China are most likely pegged to its mobile adoption rates, as well as the release of 3G in the country. While India too has a fast-growing population, its lack of 3G means the mobile entertainment industry, which relies heavily on mobile data traffic, has little means to take off like it has in China. Mobile data cost is also comparably prohibitive in the country, he said. The report also highlighted areas such as social networking and games as fast-growing segments in the mobile market globally, with ringtones and wallpapers on the decline.


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 09/07/2009

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EUROPE: Start of the Project REACH112 - Responding to All Citizens Needing Help

REACH112 (Responding to all citizens needing help) is a three-year project partially funded by the European Commission under the ICT PSP CIP programme gathering 22 partners from all over Europe, including user organisations and major global telecommunications companies. In five countries, it will deploy a new text/voice/video communication solution to allow thousands of people to communicate in video, voice and text simultaneously, with special focus on disabled people. The project will offer access to relay services to help connect users with different abilities to others and will also provide access to the emergency services. The European emergency number 112, which is used to contact emergency services free of charge all over the EU, is currently not accessible to the majority of disabled people. However this is set to change with the start of REACH112, a new five-country initiative in France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and the UK, which will introduce improved communication solutions for disabled people, allowing them direct access to emergency services, a potentially life saving feature.

"REACH112 will test innovative solutions to ensure that 112 can be reached by every citizen all over the European Union and set the guidelines for the take-up of new communication technologies by EU emergency services", commented Olivier Paul-Morandini, president and founder of the European Emergency Number Association. Users will also be able to call each other in video, voice and text via the Internet, across national boundaries. It will also allow sign language users to communicate through remote interpreting services, and via other relay services, using text to talk to voice users. "The REACH 112 project initiative will provide modes of communication to find a way to communicate in each situation, may it be with a live real-time text conversation, with sign language, with lip reading, with voice or with any simultaneous combination of these modes. This will also be a major step ahead for persons with disabilities in the equality to access emergency services in a society designed for all", concluded Carlotta Besozzi, Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and adviser to the project.


From http://www.reach112.eu/ 09/01/2009

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Belgium: OpenOffice Boom in Belgium

The number of public administrations in Belgium that use the open source office productivity suite OpenOffice is rising steadily. And with it the use of the open document format ODF. OVAM, Flanders' Public Waste Agency, already adapted its back office to support ODF a couple of years ago. They are now awaiting the decision of the Flemish Minister of Environment to move the four hundred desktops to OpenOffice. Ben van den Brande, a representative of the agency spoke in February last year at the ODF Workshop organised by NOiV, the Dutch resource centre on open source and open standards. Talking about the backend integration, Van den Brande said: "We immediately recognised the advantages of ODF." A second recent example is the administration of the city of Schoten. The city council is a well-known early-adopter of free software, and migrated to OpenOffice this summer. They did postpone the adoption of ODF, however, because of internal pressure, according to sources close to the administration. The IT department donated to the OpenOffice community their collection of more than fifty videos on how to use the OpenOffice's text editor 'Writer'.

Furthermore, the city has created its own community consisting of IT-professionals from cities, schools, companies in the social economy sector and volunteer organisations and organises workshops to promote the usage of free software and open standards. The Port of Antwerp started preparing the migration of 1300 desktops to OpenOffice earlier this year. The completion of the migration is expected around September 2010. The IT-department decided not only to move to ODF, but also to use ODF as their primary file format for communication with third parties. In order to facilitate this policy, employees will have references to the ODF plugin for the proprietary Microsoft Office and to the OpenOffice website in their e-mail signatures. Ludo Nauws, IT-manager: "It's a good time for us to move to OpenOffice. The alternative would be migration to Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft's operating system Vista. That would require two days of training for our employees, just to start finding their way in the new software package. OpenOffice is very similar to our current office suite, Microsoft Office 2003."

Structural: Most users are lifted from an average user level to an above-average level in just half a day, he says. "The standard migration training focuses on the differences between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice and explains trainees how to change their habits away from ad-hoc working towards a more structural approach, which speeds up their work no matter which office suite they are using." The fourth example, the Province of Limburg, found that correctly converting macros to OpenOffice was absolutely essential to move away from Microsoft Office. After several false starts, they recently found an IT service provider who could help them out with this problem. The Province's next step will be the actual migration of the desktops and the choice of a free document management system. According to local service provider representative Koen Goor: "More cities and local governments are expected to follow this example soon, as service providers have been preparing the integration of OpenOffice for the last two years. Roll-outs of new applications have started recently."


From http://www.osor.eu/ 10/12/2009

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Germany to Introduce Digital Income Tax Card From 2011

The introduction of an electronic data transfer mechanism in 2011 will bring about the abolition of the German paper income tax card, which will be issued for the last time in 2009. At the core of the new procedure are electronic tax calculation parameters (called "ELStAM") which employers will retrieve electronically from the Federal Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamtes für Steuern, BZSt) via the existing tax declaration system "ELSTER". The parameters will contain information on marital status, religion, exemptions due to physical disabilities etc. In 2010, this data, that until now has been held by local population registration authorities, will be transferred to the Federal Central Tax Office in preparation of the new system's rollout. An extension of the well-established data standard for eGovernment in population registration, OSCI-XMeld, defines messages and data structures for this transfer. XMeld is available in the SEMIC.EU repository.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/10/2009

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Irish National Broadband Scheme Creating Knowledge Based Jobs

Communications Minister Eamon Ryan today announced that thirty new jobs have been created in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, under the Government's National Broadband Scheme. 3, the company which is delivering the Scheme, has awarded a contract to Satellite Broadband Ireland to provide broadband services to homes and businesses in rural Ireland. As a result, an additional thirty new jobs will be created by Satellite Broadband at its headquarters in Mullingar. The €223 million National Broadband Scheme is providing broadband services to areas in Ireland that are currently unserved. As part of this Scheme, some 5% of the more remote areas will be provided with a satellite product. Minister Ryan said, "Today's announcement is great news for Mullingar and the surrounding midlands. Not only is the National Broadband Scheme a crucial element in realising our broadband ambitions, but it's creating sustainable, domestic employment as it progresses." Kevin Ryan, Co-Founder of Satellite Broadband Ireland said, "Satellite Broadband Ireland is delighted to partner with Ireland's leading mobile broadband provider, '3', to support the roll-out of the National Broadband Scheme. The extension of broadband will encourage the entrepreneurial spirit which is a unique asset of the knowledge economy in Ireland and will help secure a sustainable future for firms and entrepreneurs outside urban areas".

Commenting at the announcement Damien Gallagher, NBS Project Director, 3 said: "This strategic agreement with Satellite Broadband Ireland is an important part of our National Broadband Scheme roll-out. Satellite broadband is the only viable option in a small percentage of buildings without which certain parts of rural Ireland would remain unconnected. 3 chose Satellite Broadband Ireland's cutting-edge, innovative technology and their highly-skilled and experienced Irish workforce". Satellite Broadband Ireland Co-Founder Sean Óg Brennan concluded: "Through the National Broadband Scheme, our satellite broadband service will connect people in un-served areas to an efficient broadband service delivered via the latest satellite technology. Satellite Broadband Ireland chose to use Eulestat's world-leading satellite broadband technology as they are the largest broadband provider through satellite in Europe. Eutelsat's experience in this sector was also a major factor in the selection of a satellite broadband provider".


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 10/30/2009

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Kosovo: 'Ownership of e-Government Code a Step Towards Open Source'

The ministry of Public Administration now owns the source code to many of the country's applications that offer electronic government services. This is progress towards open source, said the deputy minister of Energy and Mining, Blerim Rexha, speaking at the Software Freedom Kosova Conference that took place last week in Prishtina. "Previously, the government only had the executables, not the source code." The government of Kosovo earlier this year began a project to implement all public administration services in electronic form. This plan is to be carried out over the next six years. Most of these e-government services are based on proprietary software, minister Rexha said. "The government lacks knowledge on free and open source software, and there are many international IT companies increasing their presence in emerging markets." The Software Freedom Kosova Conference was organised by the University of Pristina and the Free Libre Open Source Software Kosovo (Flossk).

Minister Rexha, who is also a professor at the university, called the conference the first step on a long journey. "This shows Kosovo has the human capacity for a modern approach." He said he expects the conference will help show the country's public administrators that there are alternative ways to offer e-government services, which could help to save public resources. In an recorded interview available on the conference website, Rexha points out that the main sponsor of the conference is the Prime Minister's office. "There is a lack of technology know-how in the government, therefore the government supports such initiatives." He announced the government will soon propose to parliament a law regarding intellectual property rights. According to one of the organisers, the conference had more than 500 attendees. They plan to hold a second Software Freedom Kosova Conference next year.


From http://www.osor.eu/ 09/03/2009

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Norway Launches New Public Sector Procurement Portal 'Anskaffelser.no'

The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) has now launched a new portal, Anskaffelser.no, for all actors involved in public procurement. This new portal is filled with tools and information, and its expertise favours efficient procurement transactions with the public sector. Deputy Director, Dag Strømsnes' ambition is to establish this portal as the preferred online purchasing meeting place for managers, buyers, network hubs and providers. Nowadays, there is a wide range of offers for purchasers of public enterprises. Difi's objective is to offer a unified, quality-assured and experience-based knowledge website. This procurement portal will contribute to the most efficient use of resources, based on businesslike and equal treatment. 'Anskaffelser.no' is a guide to the entire procurement process, providing guidance on the regulations as well as the overview of laws, disciplinary policies, news and tools. Thanks to a description of the procurement process with templates, checklists and standard documents, clients and suppliers are guided on activities, assessments and decisions to be made in the various phases of the procurement process.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/04/2009

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Sweden Releases New Report on eGovernment

On 19 October 2009, the Swedish E-Government Delegation ('E-Delegationen' in Swedish) released the report entitled 'Strategy on the work of the Public Agencies in the field of eGovernment'. The submission of such a strategy to the Government was the first mission assigned to the E-Government Delegation ('the Delegation') after its establishment in March 2009. It will thereafter manage the implementation of the strategy until the end of 2014. The strategy proposes ways of increasing the efficiency of the Swedish Public Agencies and the innovation potential of society in general through eGovernment. It thus outlines the actions that the E-Delegation intends to carry out - as the central actor of eGovernment development - by the end of 2014. Several of the proposals require the adoption of a Government decision to become applicable. The strategy document will now be referred for consideration by agencies and other organisations. The starting point for the Delegation's work has been based on the principle of developing and managing eServices that are driven by the very needs of citizens and businesses, so as to simplify people's daily life, cut red tape and contribute to the growth of Sweden.

The e-Delegation's suggestions cover the following aspects: * eIdentification: the creation of a single and unified eID solution to access government services; this solution could be used in the framework of private sector services eventually. The Tax Board (Skatteverket), through a newly established committee, would coordinate the management of eIdentification and issue regulations on eID cards and the electronic data exchange between the public authorities. * Launch of an Internet forum where citizens and businesses would be given the opportunity to take part in the shaping of future eGovernment. * Several of the existing Public Agencies would be mandated to quickly and effectively develop specific eGovernment services. The public authorities should interact among them and with the private stakeholders in the aim to jointly develop common eServices. * Better technical/legal rules and regulations to promote the use of eIdentification and eServices. * The Public Agencies should select open standards first and always consider open source software. * Some Public Agencies would be in charge of systematically monitoring the development and the testing of IT, so as to create the conditions for informed technological choices across the public administration. * Clearer management and funding mechanisms for eGovernment projects. Specific funding should be earmarked for those strategic projects which could prove beneficial to third parties. * Effective support service and shared service centres: the Tax Board and the National Police are currently participating in a pilot scheme aimed at developing the so-called "administrative support activities" applied to financial and human resources. Once the expected costs savings are confirmed, further support will be established and more authorities will join. Each Public Agency will develop its own IT services strategy.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/04/2009

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UK: Empowering Citizens & Government Through Digital Innovation

At the forthcoming 'Digital Engagement' conference, Nick Kingsbury of Objective Corporation will argue that: "Government has been actively exploring the key issues around the use of digital technologies in the public sector and determining how it can engage more effectively with citizens to increase social inclusion and efficiency whilst delivering better public services." Nick will comment that: "Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been quoted as saying that 'The digital age presents huge opportunities for individually-tailored public services, mainly delivered electronically and always with greater efficiency. Government must be at the forefront of this modernisation.' This clear message is already being translated into positive action and that is where the IT industry itself can add real and lasting value." He will continue: "The internet continues to have a huge impact on our lives. We are now in the midst of a digital revolution - the worldwide internet population currently stands at 1.56 billion people. Whilst 65% of UK households have access to the Internet, and 7 out of 10 of us go online every month, over 17 million people in the UK are still excluded from this digital revolution.

"According to the latest research findings from the Citizenship Survey, 79% of people consider it important to have a real say over local decisions and yet 61% believed that they had no influence at a local level with a further 78% stating they had no say at all at a national level. This disconnect is being heeded be Government in the recent Digital Britain Report." "At that local level, government is playing a crucial role in delivering better outcomes for their citizens and in shaping the local area. It is responsible for a broad range of services - either directly or through commissioning and for monitoring how services are delivered. Underpinning this is the statutory requirement for consultation, which enables government to make informed decisions" he will state. "The issue recognised by government is how to empower the citizen in the digital age in the consultation process. It is very interesting working with organisations, such as the Environment Agency, who are leading the way in taking advantage of the new tools and technologies available to public sector organisations. By providing the ability for people to be involved with public consultations online, the Environment Agency are able to reach more people, significantly increase staff efficiency and maintain consistency throughout all public consultations." Cath Beaver, Stakeholder Relations Manager at the Environment Agency, will be presenting the real-life opportunities presented by digital consultation, and the results achieved by the Environment Agency, at the same event.

Limehouse Software, an Objective Corporation company, has been active within the public sector with its uEngage solution. uEngage is a robust, simple to use hosted platform allowing consultation through a variety of on and offline response mechanisms - from electronic documents, meetings and surveys to polls, message boards and forums. The company recently hit a milestone, having received over 1 million comments through the online consultation system. To date, it has enabled many local authorities and other public sector bodies to deliver a broad range of consultations - on subjects ranging from building a casino or planning new transport routes, to restructuring health services. "The purpose and outcome of these consultations has been varied but in all cases the uEngage system has enabled organisations to take a more co-ordinated, strategic approach to community involvement and to make informed decisions based on the easily-analysed results. In the digital age consultation will be about community empowerment and forward thinking public sector bodies are already adapting to change enabling citizens to make a real impact in their communities," Nick will conclude.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 10/02/2009

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NORTH AMERICA: Government of Canada Enhances Public Infrastructure with Innovative Technologies

Richmond, British Columbia Alice Wong, Member of Parliament for Richmond, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification today announced a $1 million federal investment, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, to 'green' Metro Vancouver's Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond. "Our Government is committed to strengthening our economy in these tough times by investing in science and technology," said MP Wong. "This project will make the plant more efficient and sustainable, while showcasing state-of the-art wastewater treatment technology developed right here in British Columbia." Funding will allow the Metro Vancouver's Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District to purchase, install and bring into operation leading-edge technology at the Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. Coined the "B.C. Bioenergy to Biogas Project," innovative, locally-developed technology will allow the plant to more efficiently convert its wastewater by-product into biogas, which will then be converted into electricity and heat for use by the plant. In addition to reducing the plant's operating costs, emissions and waste disposal by up to a third or more, this project is expected to model increased productivity of wastewater plants and enhance public infrastructure in British Columbia and Canada. Metro Vancouver is also contributing $3 million in funding to the project.

"We see this as a big step toward meeting our goals of sustainable energy, reduced emissions and improved air quality as expressed in our Sustainability Framework," said Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Jackson. "We're hoping to make this a sustainability showcase for wastewater treatment plants worldwide." Metro Vancouver is a federation of 22 communities, one electoral area and one treaty First Nation that make up metropolitan Vancouver. Metro Vancouver provides regional services to its member communities in the areas of drinking water, sewage treatment, solid waste disposal, recycling, housing and parks. Other responsibilities include management and planning for the region's growth, development and sustainability through a series of community-approved plans and initiatives. Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and represents the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.


From http://news.gc.ca/ 11/05/2009

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Canada Announces Mandatory Corporate Tax Reporting via Internet

It was announced by the Canada Revenue Agency that any corporation with gross revenues exceeding $1 million will have to file their T-2 statements electronically via the internet. This will apply to tax years ending in 2010 or be subject to fines. The tax filing changes come into effect by the end of 2009. This is a significant milestone investment and adoption in methodology by the Canadian Government. The amount of paper it will save is something of an unknown because there's bound to be more than a few printed review copies prior to submission, yet this is clearly one of the goals of the government. The cost reductions (listed below) subsidize the capital investments required such as security and data storage. File transfers are done with 3DES 256 bit encryption, better than many financial online banking transactions. In an interview, Peter Delis of Canada Revenue Agency said the the goal is saving taxpayers the process steps that the CRA has to do with all tax returns. Opening up envelopes, reviewing documents and inputting figures by them which is duplicating the same steps already taken by the corporate customer. Canada has had electronic (E-Filing) options since the 1999 / 2000 with significant adoption of the technology, and service. There were approximately 24 million personal tax returns filed 2008. In 2008, there were 14, 413,547 paper tax returns submitted and 400,000 less in 2009 as of October. Internet, including tele-filing, E-Filing (those who submit tax returns through a licenced E-Tax service provider) was up 1.1M compared to 2008, at 15,313,262.


From http://government.zdnet.com/ 11/10/2009

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US: 2009 Best of the Web Winners Announced

Utah; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Fairfax County, Va., took top honors in the 2009 Best of the Web awards competition, the Center for Digital Government announced Tuesday, Sept. 1. The annual Best of the Web awards rank state, county and city portals and are judged by a panel of experts on a wide range of categories, including site accessibility, innovation, cost-savings, ease of use and exceptional service to public. Finalists will collect their awards on Sept. 18 in Hollywood, Calif. The award winners were grouped into state, city and county categories. They finished as follows: State Portal Category: 1st Place: Utah; 2nd Place: California; 3rd Place: Arkansas; 4th Place: Maine; 5th Place: Colorado. City Portal Category: 1st Place: Virginia Beach, Va. 2nd Place: Riverside, Calif. 3rd Place: Louisville, Ky. 4th Place: Rocklin, Calif. 5th Place: Corpus Christi, Texas and Tampa, Fla. County Portal Category: 1st Place: Fairfax County, Va. 2nd Place: Miami-Dade County, Fla. 3rd Place: King County, Wash. 4th Place: Monroe County, N.Y. 5th Place: Collin County, Texas

Given that the year's economic downswing forced some state and local governments to shorten workweeks and reduce staff, a repackaging of online government services was especially important to governments that competed in 2009. A common thread among the finalists was prominent links on the home page to e-government services and their high placement in search engines. Enabling citizens to pay a department of motor vehicles bill or water bill without the trouble of sleuthing for the individual agency's Web page also was a key this year. Including links on the home page to social networking platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, appeared to be a common goal of the finalists. Culture-savvy Web design teams also showcased podcasts, YouTube videos and RSS feeds. Nearly all portals based their changes on citizen preferences derived from systematically collected data. Here's a look at the 2009 winners and what propelled them to honors on the red carpet.

State Winners: While numerous portals aimed to make it easier for citizens to find relevant information, Utah gave the strategy a twist. Utah.gov uses GeoIP technology, which identifies a user's physical location by his or her IP address. This information triggers a display of services located nearby. GIS supplies the data for each IP address that accesses the portal. Usable online services are particularly important in Utah because the state switched to a four-day workweek in the summer of 2008. Citizens indicated approval of this schedule, but only with strong online services, said state CIO Steve Fletcher. "It was all trying to get as many services online as we could because we were not accessible so much on Friday anymore," Fletcher explained. He said the portal now facilitates approximately 900 agency applications. It's difficult to miss the icon links for these various services as they rotate across the top of the page. Fletcher's team reprioritized the ranking of the various forms that citizens can access on the Web. Fletcher also considered the portal's multimedia section a major achievement.

City Winners: Crowd-pleasing applications, like webcams showing marine life at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, helped Virginia Beach stand out among the competition. Technically the aquarium has its own URL for marketing purposes, but the Virginia Beach Communications and Information Technology Department develops and maintains the site in conjunction with the overall city portal. They share the same content management system, as does another "partner site" called Yesvirginiabeach.com, which provides relevant information to businesses that are considering a move to the area. In all, seven partner sites are connected in this manner with the city's portal, which links to all of them. "That helps users find information without having to navigate seven partner sites," said Kevin Fairley, multimedia services coordinator for Virginia Beach. He partially credits the municipality's win to the site's statistically prioritized home page links. By glancing at the site's upper left corner, users can quickly find links for reporting potholes, applying for building permits and paying for dog and cat licenses. Fairley's team used popular search analytics and citizen feedback to rank placement of items in the search engine.

County Winners: One might assume Fairfax County didn't spend much time on its site's appearance because it's a minimalist design with a lot of white space. But the county actually put considerable resources on redesigning its appearance, said Gregory Scott, director of e-government for the Fairfax County Department of Information Technology. "The new look and feel of our site was based on public input. It's not like developers and engineers sat up here and said, 'This is the way the site should look,'" Scott said. His agency demonstrated various prototypes by posting PDF documents on the portal. Users were able to click on links to different pages, which created a true user experience within the PDF. The county used moderated discussion software to glean feedback from citizens, and the strategy also involved focus groups with various interest groups, like local businesses. "We didn't want to go out with the new site and have it be a total shock to our constituents. That could create a lot of chaos," Scott said.

Prominent access to the county's social networking activity also was a priority. Gregory said time spent on Twitter yielded far more interest from citizens than MySpace. For example, an employee tweeted an Amber Alert that went to 300 Twitter followers. Within an hour, the tweet spread to roughly 3,000 Twitter users and the girl was found shortly after. "We don't know if it was due to what we were doing on Twitter, but it was amazing to see how that tweet grew from 300 to over 3,000," Scott said. Fairfax County also used moderated discussion software to solicit citizen feedback on what to cut and what to keep in the budget. County staff read the responses each day and posted responses every few days; they incorporated several of the suggestions into the budget.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 09/01/2009

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White House Opens Web Site Programming to Public

Associated Press Writer (AP) - A programming overhaul of the White House's Web site has set the tech world abuzz. For low-techies, it's a snooze - you won't notice a thing. The online-savvy administration on Saturday switched to open-source code for http://www.whitehouse.gov - meaning the programming language is written in public view, available for public use and able for people to edit. "We now have a technology platform to get more and more voices on the site," White House new media director Macon Phillips told The Associated Press hours before the new site went live on Saturday. "This is state-of-the-art technology and the government is a participant in it." White House officials described the change as similar to rebuilding the foundation of a building without changing the street-level appearance of the facade. It was expected to make the White House site more secure - and the same could be true for other administration sites in the future. "Security is fundamentally built into the development process because the community is made up of people from all across the world, and they look at the source code from the very start of the process until it's deployed and after," said Terri Molini of Open Source for America, an interest group that has pushed for more such programs.

Having the public write code may seem like a security risk, but it's just the opposite, experts inside and outside the government argued. Because programmers collaborate to find errors or opportunities to exploit Web code, the final product is therefore more secure. For instance, instead of a dozen administration programmers trying to find errors, thousands of programmers online constantly are refining the programs and finding potential pitfalls. It will be a much faster way to change the programming behind the Web site. When the model was owned solely by the government, federal contractors would have to work through the reams of code to troubleshoot it or upgrade it. Now, it can be done in the matter of days and free to taxpayers. Obama's team, which harnessed the Web to win an electoral landslide in 2008 and raise millions, has been working toward the shift since it took office Jan. 20 with a White House site based on technology purchased at the end of President George W. Bush's administration.


From http://www.physorg.com/ 10/25/2009

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SOUTH AMERICA: Brazilian Govt Looks at Mixed Solution for Broadband Plan

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones) - Brazil's government has adapted a plan to spread broadband Internet access across the continent-sized country to make it a joint public- and private-sector affair, according to unnamed government sources, reported local daily O Estado de S. Paulo Wednesday. In the latest project to expand broadband access from the current 18 million level to 90 million by 2014, gone are plans to set up a wholly public-sector network based on the infrastructure of government-owned companies such as Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (EBR), or Eletrobras, and Eletronet. Instead, the networks of these companies will be used as a backbone and distribution in the regions will be the responsibility of existing privately owned broadband operators, said the report. Communications Ministry officials are due to present proposals to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by Nov. 10. Local broadband operators, including Spain's Telefonica S.A. (TEF) and Net Servicos de Comunicacao SA (NETC), were swift to mount a lobby after the government initially proposed the creation of a mirror broadband network to their existing operations. While the proposal currently being considered does include some duplication of networks, the question of integration with private networks appears to have been better addressed.


From http://online.wsj.com/ 10/28/2009

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Mexico Has the Most Advanced E-services Development in Latin America

This report projects that Mexican IT spending will dip by 6% in 2009 to around US$12.0bn, due to current economic uncertainties and a decline in private sector credit growth. In a challenging economic climate in H109, consumer sentiment reached an all-time low, and business IT spending fell further, with hardware updates particularly vulnerable to cuts. Government spending was a relatively strong area in H109, but could be hit in H209 and 2010 by a new austerity drive. Despite the difficult environment, there should still be opportunities in H209 in key IT verticals such as financial services, telecoms and government. The government has responded with stimulus measures, assisted by a US$47bn bailout package from the IMF. Spending on government IT projects was budgeted to increase by as much as one-third in 2009, although a new wave of austerity drives launched in Q309 is now likely to have an impact. Going forward, the consumer fundamentals of low household penetration of many digital devices such as notebooks computers, and greater affordability should return the IT market to an upwards parity. Meanwhile, growing broadband penetration, including 3G mobile, will drive the PC market. Netbooks will be the main growth area here, with their main attraction for price-sensitive consumers and small businesses being their low cost. Industry Developments In August 2009, the government launched budget cuts that seemed certain to have an impact on current and future IT projects.

Total government IT spending had been budgeted to increase this year by around one-third in local currency terms, but this must now be in question. Areas of spending at the federal level included integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and back office systems and e-services platforms and interfaces In the short term, most 2009 budgets had already been confirmed. However, it was unclear whether continuing tight credit conditions and fiscal pressures would ultimately impact on government IT spending should the economic downturn be prolonged. Meanwhile, fiscal pressures were behind a federal government proposal to end financial assistance for companies that end in technology. The proposal, heavily criticised by Mexican IT association Canieti, threatened to eliminate the provision of federal funds to cover 30% of companies' investments in innovation and technology development. Competitive Landscape

In H109, the main domestic PC market driver was laptop sales, an area where foreign vendors retained a competitive advantage. The popularity of netbooks has reinforced the preference for mobility in the Mexican market, with a wave of rival product roll-outs from vendors such as Asus, Acer, HP, Dell and Toshiba. Local companies competing in the netbook segment in 2009 included Lanix, Blue Light and Dextra. In February 2009, Chinese PC giant Lenovo launched a new plant at Apodaca (Nuevo Leon) with 1,500 employees. The company plans to spend US$40mn to manufacture laptops in Mexico. The plant is reportedly the biggest investment made by Lenovo outside China and indicates the strategic significance of the Mexican market for PC vendors. Lenovo has also expanded its Mexican retail sector presence by recruiting new channel partners through its principal wholesalers in Mexico: Ingram Micro, CompuSolociones, Avnet and Exel. In early 2009, many software vendors in the Mexican market responded to the global economic crisis by adjusting their strategies and client focus. SAP announced plans to target its existing installed base of large customers in Mexico with the May launch of its Business Suite 7. Meanwhile, local software vendor Softtek identified the economic crisis as an opportunity to enhance its position as nearshore services provider for US firms.

Mexican computer hardware sales are projected to contract in 2009, with lower sales of desktops the main driver. Mexico's computer hardware sales are projected at US$5.7bn in 2009, down from US$6.1bn in 2008. Sales are projected to reach around US$8.3bn in 2013. In H109 there were reports of some companies deferring replacement purchases as hardware was generally the first target for Mexican businesses looking to make savings from IT budgets. Despite the challenging environment for PC vendors in 2009, there are still some opportunities. In particular, the popularity of netbooks will continue to boost sales in the notebook segment. Growing fixed and mobile broadband penetration has driven PC sales, as mobile network operators have emerged as a significant distribution channel for portable computers. The small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) segment is expected to be a significant opportunity for netbook vendors in H209. Most netbooks currently retail in Mexico in the US300-US$500 price range, however, adding to pressure on average PC prices.

The software market in 2009 is projected to dip to US$2.2bn, from US$2.4bn last year, with imported software accounting for at least 80% of the total. Software compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2009-2013 is put at around 12%, outpacing general IT market growth, as the government turns its attention to overcoming Mexico's long-standing under-investment in this area. There were reports in early 2009 of some companies scaling back non-essential investments in software, with most spending coming from existing clients. However, other companies view software investments as strategic, rather than operational, reducing their vulnerability to cutbacks. In 2009 the most popular applications remain basic ERP, and supply chain management solutions, while business intelligence and security software should provide growth opportunities, including more spending on networked security solutions.

The Mexican IT services market is projected at around US$4.2bn in 2009, with spending slightly down from last year. The economic situation is expected to be the main reason for negative growth in 2009. In H109 there were reports of IT managers in various sectors reviewing IT spending plans. Early signs were that only around 30% of companies were cutting budgets. However, government spending in H209 is now likely to be less than previously expected. Despite near-term economic exigencies, the market should ultimately grow at a CAGR of 12% through 2013. The increasing number of multinational companies operating in the market is an important driver for spending. Opportunities also reside within the SME sector, where companies are trying to use computing resources more effectively. Meanwhile, Mexico is becoming an increasingly important hub for provision of business process outsourcing (BPO) and other outsourcing services.

The World Economic Forum's latest annual survey found Mexico continuing to make steady progress on network indicators. The survey had Mexico climbing six positions in the rankings from 55th. The report attributed the improvement to the adoption of more efficient electronic strategies for digital networks and infrastructure connection nationally and regionally. The potential for new broadband technologies to take hold in Mexico is high, with the energy utility owning fibre-optic infrastructure and WiMAX licences expected to be auctioned in 2009. With Cofetel taking a more combative stance to Telmex, BMI believes that there is a good chance that new operators will enter the market and be responsible for strong growth.

The 2008 UN e-government survey found that Mexico had the most advanced e-services development in Latin America, due to a 'strong national government portal', which encouraged online consultations between government and citizens. Recent state and municipal statistics have highlighted gradual progress in the implementation of egovernment in Mexico at a federal and state level. In 2001 the government launched an e-government initiative that prioritised providing health, education and other government services online, as well as the development of e-commerce. Since then, however, funding has rarely been sufficient for much progress to be made given the substantial task involved, and state and municipal governments are increasingly seeking to launch their own initiatives. Many states are seeking funding from the private sector to make good gaps in public funding.


From http://www.officialwire.com/ 11/06/2009

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IBM Unveils New e-Government Solutions

IBM unveiled a new software platform designed to fundamentally change the way that local, state and national governments manage and deliver services to the public. The new IBM Government Industry Framework will help agencies of all sizes use new technologies to transform their existing support and delivery processes, allowing them to more efficiently deploy limited resources and respond more quickly to everything from public emergencies to the delivery of social services. The Framework is a base software platform that is enriched by the contributions of independent software developers who use it as a foundation to build unique applications that address particular issues across government. Globally, challenges such as changing demographics, security concerns and lower tax revenues are placing unprecedented demands on the government infrastructures that deliver vital services such as social services, healthcare, education and public safety. Demographics show that cities and municipalities in particular are experiencing a population explosion of new residents, placing additional strain on governments to meet the needs of its constituencies.

At the heart of IBM's business transformation strategy is the recognition that the increasingly instrumented world and the boundless possibilities offered by technology can help all organizations, including government, reach new levels of efficiency. In all of this, the traditional definition of "workstation" has been expanded to include hand-held devices that enable workers to connect remotely with their colleagues and interact with sensors, video and other information gathering technology embedded in everything from buildings and machines to vehicles, traffic signals and utilities. Just as businesses have strengthened their focus on customers, governments are now finding success in reorienting their structures, information technology and processes around the citizens they serve. For example, Alameda County Social Services Agency (Alameda SSA) is using the new framework as the basis for a first-of-its-kind system for real-time client overviews and activities. The Alameda Social Services Integrated Reporting System (SSIRS) will also help identify fraud within the system by redirecting funding from individuals taking advantage of the process, to families in need of the government safety net of benefits. Using this system, which combines software, hardware and services, Alameda SSA expects to realize $11 million in benefits by improving eligibility determination, managing non-compliance sanctions, and detecting and deterring fraud.

"For the first time we can see into our client activities to help them meet our (federal, state and county) rules for receiving benefits, or redirect funds to families that need our help much more rapidly," said Don Edwards, Deputy Agency Director of Alameda Social Services Agency. "This milestone demonstrates that states and counties can securely verify that their records reflecting client cases are correct and can be shared. The ability to connect and exchange appropriate common client information will enhance the stability and well-being of our children, adults or elderly, and their families." Governments can expect similar benefits in other parts of their operations. For example, the framework can be deployed to better manage traffic congestion. By improving the flow of information and the processes that trigger the deployment of resources, vehicles can be re-routed as problems arise. Similarly, the advanced technology contained in the framework can improve communications and resource allocation among first-responders in emergency situations.

The strain on government resources is broad and growing; IBM's new Government Industry Framework offers the technologies to meet these demands centered around five key areas faced by every government 1) Tax and Revenue Management: Using business intelligence to improve insight and elevate performance with visibility and control; 2) Safety and Security: Improving border security, public safety, and emergency response through intelligence and collaboration; 3) Social Services and Social Security: Optimizing citizen-centered experiences by simplifying access to health and human services programs with a focus on improving outcomes; 4) Integrated Urban Infrastructures: Creating smarter cities that are operationally efficient, safer, more comfortable and sustainable with effective management of resources; and 5) Metropolitan Transportation and Roads: Helping build smarter, multi-modal transportation systems to collectively optimize capacity, reduce congestion, and improve operational efficiency, security and safety.

The IBM Government Industry Framework is the software technology backbone that makes a wide range of government solutions possible by helping clients to build an integrated platform for all of their operations based on industry standards. This new framework utilizes elements of IBM's entire software portfolio including WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus and Information Management products while leveraging the full range of IBM server and storage products. The IBM Government Industry Framework helps smarter governments to improve services to their citizens at a lower cost with reduced risk while laying the foundation to build future sustainable dynamic Infrastructure. This latest offering from IBM is backed by the new Industry Framework Business Partner Validation Program for Government, which will oversee and support partner activity in generating government software solutions. Third-party software application developers will have open access to the base platform contained in the Framework, allowing them to customize their own software to work with this technology. In all, IBM has more than 42,000 registered independent software vendors, many of whom develop applications that fit government needs.

One way in which IBM identifies these companies is through its Venture Capital Group, which works with more than 120 leading venture capital firms to make it easier for startups, which typically have limited resources, to gain marketplace exposure and focus their attention on their core talents. As a result, many of these startups have been able to enter partnerships with IBM business units and industries that they would not have otherwise been capable of achieving. IBM is already working with a number of key ISVs in the industry for validated solutions for the Government Industry Framework. For example, Curam Software, a leading provider of social enterprise management solutions, providing case management and eligibility to Social Services Agencies, has been one of the first partners to be validated on this framework. "The Government Industry Framework brings together IBM's broad software repertoire under one integrated platform," said Ernie Connon, president, Curam Software. "By coupling our citizen-centric solution for social services with IBM's flexible technology backbone, agencies will finally have access to a solution that is easy to start, easy to manage & secure, and easy to grow so that they can provide positive outcomes for those they serve."


From http://www.ebizq.net/ 10/30/2009

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CHINA: Public Gets Online Press Invitation

Internet surfers will be able to join government press conferences like reporters, thanks to a virtual press conference hall on the Sichuan provincial government website (www.sc.gov.cn). The hall, opened on Tuesday, has seats for the moderator, the panel and reporters. Behind the panel is a huge screen with the Chinese characters "Press Conference Hall", making it exactly like the press conference hall of the Sichuan provincial government, said Yang Jie, a reporter with the Sichuan branch of China News Service. The screen of the online press conference hall shows detailed information and videos of recent press conferences held by the provincial government, the city and prefecture governments, as well as by provincial government departments. The information includes the full text of each member of the panel. "It is a positive action from the government, and I am sure people will have another channel to make suggestions about issues concerning their lives and even complain to the government," said Xie Xiaoli, a primary school teacher of Chinese in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan. Through the online hall, reporters can even join press conferences at home. Invited reporters will be given a username and a password, and they can raise questions online just as in the real world, said Xu Yun, chief of the information technology section of the general office of the Sichuan provincial government. Internet users will be able to see the questions and answers. "In the future, the public will also be able to raise questions online," Xu said. To achieve that, however, software should be designed to identify netizens participating in the online press conference, he said. Xu said departments and bureaus under the provincial government will actively solicit topics of public concern and hold timely press conferences online for those who are interested. Sichuan is believed to be the first Chinese province to set up such a hall on its website. Earlier, Guizhou, Yunnan and Guangdong provinces set up press conference halls on local media websites, said Li Jiang, an information officer with the information office of the Sichuan provincial government. After the Guiyang municipal government in Guizhou became the first government to launch an online press spokesman on Sept 1, the Beijing-based China Youth League conducted a survey showing more than 80 percent of respondents hope their home provinces follow suit.


From China Daily 09/30/2009

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China's Anti-graft Chief Hails Online Efforts in Rectifying Misconduct

China's anti-graft chief He Guoqiang Thursday hailed an online interview program on rectifying officials and government agencies' misconduct. He, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, said the program by the People's Daily Online has made full use of the Internet media to answer people's questions and help solve their problems. The program will undoubtedly help promote the government's efforts in rectifying misconduct of officials and government agencies. The program started on July 16 to encourage people's participation in the government's rectifying campaign. Officials in charge of the rectification work are invited to answer netizens' questions, which cover a wide range of hot topics including farmers' benefits, education, medical treatment, transportation, food and drug safety among others. Netizens can also disclose misconduct of government agency staff during the online interview, and authorities will start investigations, according to the State Council's rectification office. Currently rectification offices in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have set up their official Web sites.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 10/22/2009

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Gov't Budget Website Overloaded amid Surge of Visitors

A website providing downloadable government budget came to an intermittent halt due to a surge of visitors on Friday, the second day the service was launched in south China's Guangdong Province. Through the official website of the Guangzhou Municipal Finance Bureau, visitors could download the budgets of 114 departments of the government of Guangzhou, Guangdong's capital. It was the first time a city on the Chinese mainland to expose its budget in the cyber space. "The website overloading highlighted the citizen's curiosity and enthusiasm in the government budgets," said Chen Xue, a deputy to the People's Congress of Guangzhou and a law school professor with Guangzhou-based South China Normal University. "The move is a giant leap forward towards government financial transparency," she added. Zhang Jieming, head of the bureau, said, "This is just a beginning. We will continue to upload the budgets as soon as they were approved by the city's People's Congress next year." Visitors could have access to the budget items and revenue and expenditure of all Guangzhou government departments.

All the downloadable files, a total of 2.08 gigabit, are as thick as two bricks laid together if printed out. Li Detao, a Guangdong citizen who has been advocating government financial transparency, said he was heartened by the move. "For years, I and other pro-activists have been devoted to improving public access to the government budget," he told Xinhua. Li was a member of the non-governmental organization "Team of Public Budget Observation Volunteers", which has been committed to making more people understand how the governments spend their tax money. "We decided to upload the budget onto Internet at their request," said Zhang Jieming. "The tax payers are entitled to know where money goes." "As long as the figures are not confidential, every citizen has rights to read them," he said. The city's latest move was an extension of Guangdong's efforts to enhance government transparency. Since 2003, the province has been pushing forward its budget audit and supervision. "The launch of such a service was an important step," said Professor Ma Jun with Zhongshan University in Guangzhou. "It showed the Chinese government's resolution to improve the budget transparency. It's very meaningful for the society's development and stability."


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 10/23/2009

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China Sets Up Website to Recover Trafficked Children: Report

Police in China have set up a website aimed at locating the families of up to 60 children recovered during a six-month crackdown on human trafficking, state press reported Tuesday. Police have recovered 2,008 children in the crackdown, but parents and relatives for a handful of the youngsters have not yet been located, the China News Service reported. To help find the families, the public security organs have set up a webpage with pictures of 60 youths and information on when they were believed to have been kidnapped and where they were recovered, the report said. The DNA and blood type of the children have also been registered, it said. The recovery of the children was linked to over 1,700 cases of child trafficking uncovered by police since April this year, the report said. The trafficking of women and children remains common in China, a phenomenon often linked to China's one-child family planning rule which has forced women to give up their second and third babies. Women are also trafficked to be sold to men in remote areas who are unable to find brides due to a growing gender imbalance stemming from sex-selective abortions of baby girls, which also stems to the family planning policy, experts have said. Last week, police in north China said they recently busted a ring of baby traffickers suspected of pocketing up to 400,000 yuan (58,000 dollars) through the sale of 52 children, state media reported. Police arrested 42 suspected ring members who allegedly trafficked 19 boys and 33 girls in northern Hebei and Shanxi provinces as well as eastern Shandong and the capital Beijing, Xinhua news agency said.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 10/27/2009

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Guangzhou to Establish Emergency Communication Command System

The municipal government of Guangzhou and China Telecom Guangdong have signed an agreement to jointly establish the 800M Digital Trunking Network, an emergency communication command and dispatch system in Guangzhou. Under the agreement, this project will be invested by China Telecom and will be rented by the government. China Telecom Guangdong will be responsible for the construction and operation of the system. On the completion of this project, it will be included in the related departments and units of Guangzhou's citywide emergency command system. According to China Telecom Guangdong, this project is expected to be completed before May 2010, serving the 16th Asian Games held in Guangzhou from November 12 to 27, 2010. In addition, with the completion of the 800M Digital Trunking Network, Guangzhou will be the second Chinese city that owns a large-scale digital trunk network, following Beijing. China Telecom Guangdong said, with the approach of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, a digital trunk network that can cover the entire Greater Guangzhou area becomes a necessity. This new system will not only meet the emergency communication command and dispatch needs in sectors such as public security, firefighting, municipal administration, first aid, and civil aviation, but also can provide help in city video surveillance and disaster monitoring and warnings.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 10/29/2009

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Police Chief Urges Full Use of IT to Prevent Crimes

China's Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu has called for full application of the information technology in improving the police force's crime prevention and control system. Meng made the remarks during an inspection tour to east China's Anhui Province from Oct. 30 to 31. To safeguard national security and maintain public stability, information technology was indispensable, he said. Greater efforts should be made in sharing information to establish an integrated mechanism of combating, preventing and controlling crimes, Meng said. He also urged close cooperation between the public security departments and technological enterprises.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/02/2009

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China's Health Ministry to Launch Web Spokesman

China's Ministry of Health is preparing for the launch of a web spokesman to better inform the public, explain policies and respond timely to questions, according to a ministry official. Deng Haihua, spokesman and deputy director of the general office of the ministry, made the remarks when attending a conference on health information communication held from Saturday to Sunday. The web spokesman will be a major part of the spokesman system, and it has been launched as a pilot program in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangdong and Guizhou, Deng said. The ministry will set up a special platform for the web spokesman on its official website, according to Deng. "It will serve as an online information releasing platform. More importantly, it will become a major channel for the ministry to give feedbacks to questions that the public are concerned," Deng said. The ministry has already started to build the channel and will put it into use as soon as possible, he said.


From http://english.people.com.cn/ 11/08/2009

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JAPAN: Paperless Systems Costly, Underutilized

Once hailed as a paperless path to increased convenience for citizens, electronic forms for government applications are underutilized and a massive drain on taxpayers, an Asahi Shimbun investigation has found. Huge amounts of public money have been spent developing and maintaining systems that allow official forms to be submitted via the Internet, rather than in person at a government office. For the last fiscal year, 21.9 billion yen was set aside for operating expenses for such systems. If all electronic systems that handled less than 10 percent of submissions were eliminated, about 5 billion yen could be saved from the budget. The Administrative Reform Council that has been set up by the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will examine information technology-related expenses in meetings from Wednesday to eliminate wasteful spending. The electronic application systems are expected to be a target of possible cuts in next year's budget. There are now 14,327 different applications that citizens and companies have to submit for everything from filing tax returns to applying for pension benefits and registering new automobiles. Of those, 13,129, or 92 percent, can be submitted via the Internet. There are 64 separate computer systems that handle those electronic applications. The Asahi study involved asking all central government ministries for the number of submissions received electronically and the usage rate in terms of the percentage of all submissions that were handled. The ministries were also asked how much was spent developing each computer system, as well as annual operating expenses. Personnel expenses of employees at ministries who oversee the computer systems were not included. The study found that on average, 34 percent of all submissions were made electronically.

However, of the 64 computer systems, 20 handled less than 10 percent of total submissions for the particular application. Of those 20 systems, 10 handled less than 1 percent of submissions. Of all the applications, the central government has focused on 171 that are considered closely related to the daily lives of citizens and for which many submissions are made. The ministries overseeing those applications were encouraged to increase the rate at which electronic forms were used, but for 74 of those 171, or about 40 percent, less than 1 percent of all submissions were received electronically. Of those, 64 were handled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The Defense Ministry had 55 applications which did not fall under the 171 designated by the central government. Of them, the system for information disclosure by the Defense Ministry only received four submissions electronically. That meant each submission effectively cost 8.42 million yen to handle, since total operating expenses were 33.66 million yen. Realizing the system was not cost-effective, the Defense Ministry decided last March to stop accepting electronic submissions. Even computer systems that have a high rate of usage are not necessarily cost-effective. In a bid-related application system handled by the Finance Ministry, 7,640 out of a total of 7,645 submissions were conducted electronically. However, because operating expenses for that system were about 90 million yen, each electronic application effectively cost about 11,800 yen. The electronic application system was started in fiscal 2001, after the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori pushed for an electronic government strategy. Since the start of paperless systems, The Asahi Shimbun estimates at least 230 billion yen has been spent developing and maintaining software used in those systems. (IHT/Asahi)


From http://www.asahi.com/ 11/10/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: IT-Core Element in Four Rivers Restoration

Korea's project to renovate four rivers (Han, Geum, Nakdong and Yeongsan) is aimed at preventing natural disasters, such as flood and drought, and to manage water resources efficiently. What's involved in the project though is not just construction of dams or improving riverbanks. It requires high-tech IT skills. The restoration work is best represented as ridding river beds of accumulated waste, bolstering embankments and the creation of ecological swampy lands. But what is hidden behind that work is information and communication technology (ICT). They are needed to monitor underwater ecosystems, inventory and manage submarine natural resources, maintain water quality up to a certain level, and prevent water-related disasters on a real-time basis. A so-called "Clean and Green IT Sensor" that monitor rivers and their risk factors, a comprehensive watercourse database system, a Four-river virtual voyage service, and submarine eco-protection robots are being developed by the Korean government and private enterprise. This could be called innovation rather than restoration. The aforementioned systems are critical for dealing with drought and flood, water level maintenance and water purity control. The systems can also be used for developing new renewable energy resources, experts say. Han River Flood Control OfficeICT-assisted monitoring systems will not only constantly check water volume, pollution sources, water quality and sediment accumulation, but will also gauge water temperature, hydrogen ion concentration, dissolved oxygen levels and water turbidity. Until now, Korea's water resource management has been supervised by separate regional authorities, and there have existed many similar online water resource control systems, such as the Water Management Information System, the Water Management Information Networking System, and the River Management Geographic Information System.

However, the Clean and Green IT Sensor, which is being developed by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, is expected to unify all these channels. The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) has recently joined international efforts to develop a robot fish, which will be on submarine duty locating pollution sources, measuring water temperatures and oxygen levels, and supervising the underwater ecosystem. Such robot fish are being developed for environmental, military and entertainment purposes worldwide. KIMM is also developing an eco-friendly water purification device, which enlarges the number of aerobic microbes in the water by providing sufficient oxygen. Specially bred microbes will detoxify the watercourse, according to the institute. There are other efforts too. The Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology is developing a product that separates pollutants from waste water, which can then be reused as industrial water, while the Korea Institute of Energy Research is devoted to developing ethanol, electric power or heat from agricultural waste and sewage around the four rivers. On the flip side of the four rivers restoration project, there is great potential for the development of IT convergence industries. Green growth, the motto of the times, should leap forward, supported by the country's already advanced information technology. It would be ideal if the country's IT prowess could help revive the miracle of Cheonggyecheon (Cheonggye Stream) restoration in these major four watercourses.


From http://www.korea.net/ 09/18/2009

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Gov't to Set Up Smart Electricity Meter Network by 2020

South Korea will set up a nationwide smart electricity meter network by 2020 to help businesses and homes cut back on power use, the government said Monday. The 1.47 trillion won (US$1.25 billion) effort is part of the country's effort to establish the world's first nationwide smart grid system, which aims to reduce electricity use by 5 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spur the development of new eco-friendly industries, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. Demand for smart meters is estimated to reach 24 million units by the target year, and about 344.4 billion won worth of power could potentially be saved once the system is in place, according to the ministry. At present, only about 160,000 houses and large businesses use rudimentary smart meters, which allow power companies to automatically check energy use and inform users of fluctuating electricity prices depending on time of day. "Only large apartment complexes and manufacturing plants that directly receive 22,900 volts of electricity or higher employ electronic smart meters, while homes and shops that get 220 volts use conventional meters," said a ministry official. The national smart grid system that Seoul hopes to establish by 2030 would use an emerging technology which allows real-time monitoring of electricity output and demand. The system may facilitate the incorporation of solar and wind power into the main power grid, and lets consumers store energy and sell it back to the power company. Such a grid is expected to fuel development of a whole new line of consumer and industrial products that can benefit the economy and create jobs. No country currently has a working smart grid network, although Italy has built a nationwide smart electricity meter system.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/05/2009

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New Integrated Logo to Be Introduced for Gov't Offices

The government will introduce a new logo to be shared by all government offices before the end of the year, a presidential council said Sunday, a move largely aimed at promoting the country's national image in the international community. The move comes as state ministries and agencies currently use their own logos.


From http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/ 10/18/2009

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Republic of Korea Supports E-Government in Pacific

Delegates from 15 Pacific Islands Countries have returned from an intensive two- week study tour of Korea directed at facilitating the development of e-Government in the Pacific. Coordinator of the group from the Pacific Islands Countries and Forum Secretariat Economic Infrastructure Adviser, John Budden said Korea is ranked number one globally in e-Government and the Korean Government is funding the study tours under a three-year agreement with the Forum Secretariat. The course consisted of knowledge sharing by experts from Government, academia and the private sector on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in many facets of public enterprise. Discussions focused on better government citizen relations and improved transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of governance by use of ICT. Formal lectures were supplemented by visits to major commercial and industrial plants as well as centers using and developing ICTs for government management. "Participants were given a clear understanding of the contribution e-government has made to Korea's dramatic economic and social recovery over the last half century and the role of ICT in the current unique democratic culture," said Mr Budden. He added that with ICT connectivity rapidly improving in the region through the telecommunications sector reforms, opportunities to apply e-Government for information dissemination and citizen relations with government was becoming a reality. The workshop discussed the use of simple e-Government techniques such as call centers and media as well as more sophisticated approaches applied to government purchasing and customs. "The imminent introduction of m-banking facilities (the use of mobile phones to conduct financial transactions), for example, would allow seamless payments for services provided by the government to the general public," Mr Budden said.


From http://www.scoop.co.nz/ 10/30/2009

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Malaysia: Choose Local IT Solutions, Govt Agencies Told

All government agencies will soon be required to use local software and solutions whenever possible. The move is to give Malaysian ICT (information and communications technology) companies a chance to flourish in the local market and strengthen their products before pushing into global markets. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said a circular would be sent out, informing all government institutions to give preference to local software and solutions. He was speaking after officiating at the 21st MSC Malaysia Implementation Council Meeting (ICM) on Monday at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). "At the meeting, I made an emphasis for ministries and government agencies to adopt local ICT solutions, provided these products are cost competitive and of high quality," Najib said. The Prime Minister also called on the agencies to more extensively use electronic media to maintain contact with the public, such as e-mail, short message service, and even social networks like Twitter and Facebook. "For example, SMSes could be sent to warn the people of floods and potential landslides," he said. Najib also said that Malaysia needs to work faster in creating an abundant supply of well-trained and multi-skilled ICT workers who are on par with their overseas counterparts.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 11/09/2009

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Ministries Must Be Pro-Active in Maximising Use of ICT

The ministries must take pro-active action to maximise the use of information communication technology (ICT) in the delivery of public services because it can improve the quality of life of the people and the image of the government, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today. However, the e-Government initiative should move one step further and go beyond automation of government transactions, the prime minister said. It had to build the types of services that the public needed and expected, including making full use of available multimedia tools, mobile access devices and social network on the Internet. "Only when the citizens utilise the services and derive benefit from it, can we consider that a successful delivery of public service," he said before chairing the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia Implementation Council meeting here. This is the first time that Najib is chairing the meeting since taking over as prime minister in April this year. Najib said it was important to bring the national ICT initiative to the backyards of as many Malaysians as possible to help close the digital divide and stimulate economic activity in the more rural areas of the country, citing the example of MSC Malaysia Pahang. ICT should be seen as not just an industry to be developed but also as an enabler for major economic sectors to increase productivity and efficiency.

There should also be more initiatives to benefit the citizen and to improve the quality of life, he said. "The e-Government initiative, which features MSC Malaysia e-Government application, was ranked 11th in the world in 2008 according to the US-based Brookings Institute, a commendable 14-place jump from its 25th position in 2007," he said. Najib said the e-Government project made it possible for the public to conduct business with the government over the Internet any time of the day or week and was one of the ways that had made great strides in improving the public service delivery. He said a pilot project to allow Public Works Department draughtsman to work from home was one such example. "I would like to now give you an update on what MSC Malaysia has achieved in the year 2008. Despite the deteriorating global economic condition towards the fourth quarter of that year, I'm encouraged to learn that MSC Malaysia revenue grew steadily from RM17 billion to RM21.8 billion which was a year-on-year growth of more than 23 per cent. "Up to 2008, there were over 90,000 high skill jobs in MSC Malaysia and this accounts for more than a quarter of the ICT workforce in Malaysia. "In addition, MSC Malaysia value added contribution to Malaysia's GDP was over 1.2 per cent in 2007. I would certainly like to see this figure more than triple by the year 2020," he said.

Najib said MSC was the foundation from which could build a world class technology sector that could be one of the engines of growth in the New Economic Model which is to be unveiled by the end of this year. He said the New Economic Model would be powered by innovation, creativity and high value activity which were a natural fit with MSC Malaysia's aspirations to built the vibrant Malaysian ICT industry. "When discussing matters during the council meeting, I would encourage everyone to bear in mind that we aim to be a develop nation by the year 2020 and that we are looking to more than double our per capita gross national income from USD7,000 to at least USD17,000 by then in order to qualify as a high income nation according to World Bank classification. "This would also mean that Malaysia has to grow its GDP by over 9 per cent annually until the year 2020," he said. Najib said MSC had already put certain emphasis to various ICT taxes which it had put in place the framework for a regional creative multimedia hub with some 200 companies generating RM677 million in annual revenue in the areas of post production, animation, game development, e-learning, mobile and interactive content. "We need to take advantage of this strong start to win a bigger share of the global content market-estimated to be worth RM2.2 trillion in 2009. "We need a plan to increase adoption of local ICT solution and services in the domestic market and give them a stable home base from which they can branch out to international markets," he said.

Najib said Malaysia also benefit from the strong presence of the world's top multinationals such as HSBC, BMW, HP and BHL, which were a testament to the quality of Malaysia workforce and the attractiveness of MSC Malaysia incentive. "In the context, we have infact become a victim of our own success and companies are now facing difficulties finding quality knowledge workers due to the imbalance of supply and demand. "We, therefore need to ensure our education system and social environment has the capacity to produce, attract and retain talent for the industries of today as well as tomorrow. "But, while the development for the ICT industry is encouraging, we will need to reassess our implementation strategies in like of the more complex and challenging global environment as well as where Malaysia needs to be in the next 10 years," he said.


From http://www.nst.com.my/ 11/09/2009

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Najib Joins Facebook

Kuala Lumpur: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has now joined Facebook, the social networking site, which enjoys increasing popularity in Malaysia - as another channel to reach out to the people. The Prime Minister's Facebook page can be viewed at www.facebook.com/najibrazak. "As is the case with this blog and my Twitter page, I will be using Facebook to communicate my thoughts and activities to you."In addition to posting status updates, I will be sharing links, Flickr photos, video from YouTube and information on my personal interests such as my favourite dish and pastimes," he said in his latest posting in his blog. Najib also urged the people to visit his Facebook and to share their thoughts on how to make the page better. "Please do visit my Facebook page when you have a moment, and let me have your thoughts on how I can make it better. "I look forward to receiving your feedback, and to seeing you there as a fan!" he added.

The Prime Minister said that encouraged by the amount of followers on his Twitter, he would continuously update his thoughts and whereabouts via Twitter. Meanwhile a check on his Facebook page showed that he had joined the network in the middle of October and to date has had 804 supporters. His postings which mainly related to current issues in the country also invited tremendous comments from viewers. On the information section of Facebook, Najib also put up his personal information and interests including favourite songs and music, movies and favourite quotes. In describing himself, he said: "My life is very hectic, but I love it. In my spare time I focus on Sunday family lunches, watching TV with my kids and going on holidays". He also listed out his late father and second prime minister of Malaysia Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak as having the greatest influence on him. "But I admire Sir Winston Churchill's oratory skills and never-say-die attitude, Nelson Mandela for the sacrifices he made and for never flinching in the face of adversity and JFK," he added.


From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/ 11/18/2009

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PHILIPPINES: Department of Education, UNESCO Push for ICT in Education

The Department of Education continues to push for the use of information communication technology in the public school system to meet the needs of the 21st century education. Education Secretary Jesli Lapus also called on teachers, school administrators and schools division superintendents to participate in the UNESCO Next Generation of Teachers: First Philippine Conference on Information Communications Technology (ICT) in Teacher Education. "Investing in ICT will innovate teaching-learning practices and ease school management," Lapus said. The University of the Philippines-College of Education will host the event on October 26-30, 2009 at UP Diliman, Quezon City. The ICT conference will be held in different venues within the UP Diliman Campus with the following planned parallel workshops: Peer Coaching, Intel Teach: Web 2.0 Tools, ICT Integration, and Curriculum Development. The event aims to enhance participants' skills in ICT integration in teaching and learning; develop action plans in implementing and sharing acquired ICT skills; and plan collaborative research on integrating technology in instruction. "This conference is a response to the challenges of the future. We have to continue to press for greater access to ICT so we can provide quality education for all," Lapus added. DepEd aims to provide all 6,650 public high schools with computer laboratories as well as Internet connection in partnership with the private sector. Lapus continues to enlist private sector support to public education through the Adopt-A-School Program (ASP). In this program, private sector can work closely with the department by providing financial assistance, technical support, supplementary learning materials, and physical facilities among others.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 10/28/2009

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Comelec Needs 50,000 IT Workers

At least 50,000 information technology personnel are needed for next year's automated national elections, a Commission on Elections official said Wednesday. Election Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said in a news briefing that Smartmatic TIM Corp., the automated elections contractor, was hiring about 40,000 IT workers to help in the country's biggest IT project. The Smartmatic TIM personnel will do mainly technical support work. They will help in the maintenance and operations of the ballot scanners, officially called Precinct Count Optical Scan machines, on May 10. Some will be deployed to the field, while some will work in the company's call center to respond to technical questions. At the same time, the Comelec and the Department of Science and Technology are currently training a total of 500 IT experts to train and accredit the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI), Larrazabal said. The Comelec will use 82,000 scanners in next year's elections. To ensure that the operations will be smooth on election day, the poll body has ordered that at least one member of the BEI should have IT knowledge and training on how to handle the scanners.

The poll body has coordinated with the local IT industry for its personnel requirements, he said. The Comelec said it will field 100 IT-knowledgeable organic personnel to various municipalities and cities to supervise the poll proceedings. Volunteers from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the Comelec's citizens' arm, will also train for the project. All the IT workers will be accredited by the DOST. Bonifacio Belen, Smartmatic TIM manager, said the company last week held a workshop to develop methods on hiring and training of personnel. The company will start training the employees in January next year. He said the company was optimistic there would be enough workers for the project. "There is no shortage of patriotic and IT-savvy Filipinos who want to be part of history," he said. Smartmatic TIM has tapped manpower firms Placewell, Manred, and Ventureslink to hire the support personnel. Applicants are advised to send their resumes to the said agencies. Meanwhile, Larrazabal said the Comelec has directed the election contractor to ensure that its workers do not have partisan streaks. Applicants for key positions will undergo background checks, Larrazabal said. Under the Comelec's rules, only BEI members can handle the election and voting machines. Smartmatic TIM employees will only advise the BEI members should the machines malfunction. Larrazabal said the Smartmatic TIM will carefully screen applicants and make them sign an affidavit stating that they do not have political connections. The employees will not be assigned to areas where they are from, he added.


From http://inquirer.net/ 11/10/2009

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Department of Education Renews Partnership with Knowledge Channel

The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. recently sealed an agreement which will benefit more public high school teachers and students by making educational TV programs available through cable, satellite, and the internet. DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus said, "Continuing this partnership with Knowledge Channel will allow more public schools to experience non-traditional yet effective mode of instruction." Since 1999, the Knowledge Channel has provided and installed satellite infrastructure and cable TV facilities to 2,000 public high schools nationwide to deliver educational TV materials to help improve the academic performance of public school students in English, Math and Science. Under the new partnership, another 4,000 public high schools stand to benefit which includes a teacher training program on TV-assisted instruction. The agreement is spearheaded by the Adopt-A-School Program, DepEd's link to the private sector. Both public elementary and secondary schools will be provided with curriculum-based video programs on Science, Mathematics, English, and web-based learning materials that support the department's thrust to enrich the teaching and learning processes using Information Communication Technology (ICT). Aside from interactive lesson plans, online games and quizzes will be developed under this initiative to help perk up learning. Lapus noted, "We thank the Knowledge Channel for making classroom instruction fun through its interactive materials and we are also grateful to them for investing in capability-building educational programs that are relevant to our times." More than 400 private sector individuals and companies have helped the department in the delivery of quality educational services to public school children since Adopt-A-School was relaunched by Lapus in 2006. The massive support from the private sector has made Adopt-A-School the department's second biggest resource-generating mechanism next to the approved DepEd budget. "I continue to call on other community stakeholders to follow suit and invest in education," said Lapus.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 11/19/2009

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THAILAND: JFCCT Calls for Better IT Skills

The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) suggests having a better broadband infrastructure and IT competency framework to draw foreign capital and talent. ICT is an important strategic industry in the economy and has a multiplying effect on economic development in terms of skills, knowledge economy and creative economy. If it is strong, it will attract talent and capital, according to JFCCT chairman, ICT Group, Robert C Fox. He noted that there is an opportunity to play in the telecom sector by setting fair rules, with free and fair competition. The investors want to see regulations which provide for fair competition, but so far it's not yet fair. Fox said that many countries are facing inadequate broadband. However, organisations can't collaborate if the broadband service and infrastructure are not there. One key thing is to restructure the telecom industry to allow for broadband development. The next one is the that the world relies on skills, which are local and foreign. "To be a centre of excellence, you have to get skills from anywhere in the world and attract them, the made in Thailand brand, it's going be one made with the best skills," he said, noting that it shouldn't matter whether they are Thais or not, but that they do software development and innovation.

With issues like work permits and immigration regulations, Fox said he worried that Thailand would lag behind other countries. The key strength of Thailand is creativity, he said, but some areas where he believes that the country can be better are in relaxing the rules about collaborating with foreigners. "The kind of collaboration we talk about in the regional software park forum can appear. But if the skills cannot move easily across borders, it's very hard to do collaboration," he said. Fox said software development collaboration or training collaboration needs to have service infrastructure. "If you are in Malaysia, or Vietnam, which are members of the regional software park alliance, when you want to send a file that may do it online simultaneously here from Thailand, you need to have broadband and this is much more a national policy issue". In the software industry, there are many companies involved in collaborations of different kinds. The alliance forum recently made a statement about attracting innovation and doing more to achieve innovation. This requires good intellectual property protection and available venture capital funding. The chairman stated that 3G and Wimax technology should be available in the market under fair conditions.

The telecom industry is international and global in nature and necessarily there will be skills transfer, and there will be foreign investment and they can make a significant contribution to the technology and skills, he said. The telecom industry is one which is evolving, it has to move ahead. Twenty years ago almost every country had telecom services operated by the government, then they were corporatised, privatised or liberalised. Thailand should move along that evolution path towards an environment where there are services in the market, Fox said, adding that there should be the same rules applied to every player. "We would like to see 3G come up and all players subject to the same conditions, the same rules," he said. Education is another problem faced by many countries where IT skills are not up to standard. There are a number of ways to deal with this. And though some universities come up with very good innovative solutions, Fox said there is a big problem. IT and computing are taught in English. If English skills are not good enough, when they get into the university they might miss half the classes because they don't understand. Therefore whey they graduate, they may not have the right English skills and IT knowledge. Software skills embrace project management and problem-solving which requires the ability to work in groups and they would not able to work in a group very well because they are not strong in language. "We would like to see IT language make it interesting for young people to learn," Fox said. In addition, a national or regional IT competency framework should be created. He explained that it's a framework that recognises a whole range of IT skills. "Like a pyramid that starts with basic skills, moves up to specific technical skills and then project management and problem-solving skills. In order to carry out a project effectively, they need all these types of skills," he said.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 10/28/2009

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VIETNAM: Government Web Portal Officially Announced

According to a story yesterday in Saigon - the news outlet of the Vietnam Communist Party in Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Saturday spoke at the official launch of a government Web portal, stating that "The party and state consider information technology and communication one of the important means of science and technology and a key economic sector to implement Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), build an information society and speed up the national industrialization and modernization." The portal - in both English and Vietnamese - has been four years in development and in 2008, received 10,000 news and articles, more than 2,000 photos, 3,000 legal documents and over 2,000 government documents, according to the article.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/12/2009

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BANGLADESH: E-governance Networking

The government has initiated a move to bring under a computer networking system in all offices of divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers. With the implementation of the new system, electronic mails will replace the post in administrative offices down to upazila to expedite dispatch of official orders and get quick response from field level. The government, as part of the move, has decided to provide all deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers across the country with laptops to enable local administrators to accelerate their official communications with the ministries and all other tiers directly through the Internet.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/01/2009

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INDIA: All Gram Panchayats in Punjab to Be Connected Through Epri Scheme

Aiming at strengthening three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the state, the functioning of Gram Panchayats in Punjab will be strengthened through computerization under ePRI scheme of National e-Gram Panchayats. The ambitious scheme to connect all Gram Panchayats (GPs) with national e-Governance would be launched in all the districts and 90% cost would be borne by the Center and balance by the state. The Punjab Government is committed to adopting ePRI scheme on priority basis with a view to putting this plan into practice. The proposed scheme would bring about improved governance and service delivery through GPs and enable greater accountability of PRIs to the community and other authorities.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/01/2009

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INDIA: Tamil Nadu State Information Commission to Be Put on E-Governance Map

The State Information Commission will soon be put on the e-Governance map where the day-to-day functioning of the commission's administration will be possible at the click of the mouse at Chennai. Even the Commissioner can deal with petitions pending for long, from the headquarters through videoconferencing and save thousands of rupees over transport and other expenses. This e-governance project is being fully sponsored by the Government of India.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/02/2009

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Karnataka to Take E-Way for Government Procurement

After the success of online tendering platform launched in 2008, Karnataka government will soon bring all government procurement and tendering to online platform by end of March 2010. The e-procurement programme was launched by the e-governance department on a PPP model with Hewlett-Packard (HP). Besides ensuring transparency in bidding and procuring process, e-version also reduces transaction time. The objective is to create an end-to-end platform for handling all stages of procurement. This has created maximum participation of bidders. The e-procurement solution is hosted on the state central servers and solution is purely developed on an open source.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/16/2009

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SMS Gateway Launches M-Governance in Himachal

Taking advantage of the high tele-density in Himachal Pradesh, the information technology department here opened a gateway of mobile phones for delivery of citizen services through SMS, enabling savings in paper, postage and time by providing instant information. With the launch of the SMS gateway both e-governance and m-governance would reduced delays in informing citizens about the status of the service sought.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/05/2009

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NREGS Gets E-Transparent

Unique software solution adopted by Andhra Pradesh has brought transparency and accountability in implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the flagship programme of the UPA government. Developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the web-based software package has helped check corruption, fix loopholes in identification of beneficiaries and the works and resulted in effective implementation of the scheme, covering nearly 11 million people in the state. The progress of the NREGS works could be monitored through an automated system and the workers have been paid based on the amount of work they complete, independent of the number of hours they put in.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/06/2009

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Madhya Pradesh Wins Best E-Governed State Award

The State of Madhya Pradesh has been conferred the 'Best e-Governed State Award' at the prestigious Computer Society of India (CSI) and Nihilent e-Governance Awards for 2008-09. The aim of these awards is to recognize and replicate the successful initiatives in achieving good governance using ICT. The district of Jalgaon in Maharashtra won the award of excellence in the District category while Education Department, Madhya Pradesh and Finance Department, Gujarat received the award of excellence in the Department category.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/12/2009

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Himachal to Take Rapid Strides in E-Governance

On the lines of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh is planning to adopt the e-Governance model- successfully implemented in Gujarat- with the objective to cut down the paper work and check corruption. Tata Consultancy Services, which developed the e-budget software among others for Gujarat government, gave a detailed presentation to senior officials in the state capital last week. Asha Swaroop, Chief Secretary, Government of Himachal Pradesh said that the officials are studying merits of e-governance model prepared by the Tata Consultancy which is implemented by Gujarat. She also said the state has already taken several initiatives to popularise Information Technology (IT) in the government functioning to improve the delivery system.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/19/2009

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Evolving a Citizen-Centric Rural E-Governance Framework

Gunter Grass was not incorrect when he made the remark, "The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open" but unfortunately the voice of rural masses have more often than not been heard especially in crucial decisions related to technology design and implementation in rural areas. An unique and innovative effort in this direction, titled 'Evolving a Citizen-Centric Rural e-Governance Framework' with its flagship event 'Citizen Consultation Round (CCR)' alias 'Nagarik Paramarsh Dhaur' was jointly organized by Center of ICT and e-Governance, Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi and Center of Rural Development and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-D), on 5 October 2009, Monday at IIPA. Director IIPA, B.S. Baswan upheld the underlying philosophy of Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, "The democracy cannot be worked by twenty men sitting at the center. It has to be worked from below by the people of every village." He shared that the goal of the CCR is to involve masses and to elicit from them various issues confronting rural governance and ICT implementation at the grassroots. The event was graced by eminent experts such as AIWC President (Ms. Gomathi Nair), Joint Secretary, DIT (Mr. Shankar Aggarwal), Director e-Governance (Mr. Sanjeev Kumar) and experienced e-Government practitioners like Mr. Puneet Kumar (IAS) and other experts including illustrious names such as Prof. L.K.Das, Dr. V.M. Chariar from IIT-D, Dr. Ravi Gupta (editor, CSDMS), Dr. Geeta Malhotra (Country Director, Rural Education Development (READ), Mrs Aruna Chaba and Sh. D.C. Misra from NIC and several more from from IIPA and IIT-D.

The panel members were rural citizens, their representatives, policy makers, gram sabha members, panchayat samiti, and representatives of other grassroots organizations including presidents/ Secretaries of Farmers' unions, Youth Unions, Self Help Groups of women and representatives of field level NGOs, etc, who have been categorized into 5 groups namely Naari, Yuva, Kaarigar, Kisaan and Adivasi. This was first of its kind national event in which the invited members vocalized the issues and challenges of local governance and e-government in their respective region/ village and also high lightening indigenous mechanisms available with villagers for resolving such issues and challenges. This was a unique platform for vocalizing the concerns of people at the grassroots. This event was an interactive learning experience for all and the e-Governance framework, so it could serve as a valuable input for policy making and project designing. As per Charru Malhotra, Project Coordinator and Asst Professor-IIPA, the outcome of CCR event was to provide valuable inputs for design of a citizen centric, Government to Citizen to Government (G2C2G) rural e-governance framework to achieve more meaningful and effective rural governance". The project team completely endorsed with Jonathan Schwartz, "The big wave in the marketplace to me is citizens getting involved in technology, individuals getting involved in technology decisions."


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/27/2009

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Civic Body to Upgrade E-Governance System in Delhi

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has decided to upgrade its existing e-Governance system supporting the civic agency's website that was launched in 2003. To assist in the up-gradation, the civic body has zeroed in on a private firm. Once the plan is approved by the MCD Standing Committee, the company will provide the design, development implementation and operational support for the e-governance project. The IT firm will also help the civic body integrate its existing application with the new, more developed system. After implementation of the project, the system will ensure that services like booking of parks and community halls, mother and child welfare information, vigilance information and registration of birth and death are all uploaded online effectively.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/02/2009

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E-Governance Solution for Improving MCD Functioning

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will soon be able to provide effective single-window services to Delhiites and integrate the information system across all its departments and offices through an ambitious e-Governance project. The project will be able to help streamline the system, increase efficiency of citizen services, bring in transparency and ensure proper monitoring of works. The contract for the Rs 180 crore project has been given to Tech Mahindra which will build the ICT-based platform, operate it, provide maintenance and train the MCD staff before transferring it to the civic body after five years.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/06/2009

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Adopt ICT to Achieve Better Governance

Bangalore: Wipro Chairman Azim Premji has asked the government to adopt information and communication technologies (ICT) in a better way to garner huge dividends for the people, besides improving the governance. Speaking at Bangalore IT.biz event, organized by Karnataka Government, Premji said that ICT can play the lead role in terms of felicitating knowledge across society, government and other various forms of initiative which are available, and at the end of the day, it can significantly transform the society to be more prosperous and hopefully to be more informed and better educated. "IT sector is keen to co-ordinate with governments, research institutions and the society in general to helping them adopt the best of ICT practices. We are ready to facilitate adoption of technologies that helps greater access to information and knowledge to promote inclusiveness and quality of life. ICT demands transparency and accountability and this can go a long way in good governance," said Premji. He also expressed the view that such deliveries are 'too fragmented' in the country today and best practices 'don't come to the surface,' while there is a lot of duplication between different organisations in the government resulting in higher costs. "All the states should share their expertise in ICT. States lagging behind need not reinvent the wheel; they can learn from leading ICT states, do some minimum customization and implement in their states," added Premji. Strengthening the importance of ICT for country, Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Cisco Systems said that Cisco is committed to empower India and Karnataka state with greater access with the next generation ICT technology that can help in the fields of education, healthcare and lifestyle improvement. On the growth of IT sector in 2010, Premji said that there is hope of 1-2 percent growth in western world and 4-8 percent in emerging world, but it's not time to be too optimistic and make any assessment.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 11/11/2009

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NEPAL: MoLD Launches E-Governance

With a view to manage the information system and maintain transparency in local bodies, Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) has launched websites, emails and internal memo system in all its departments and sections. The SMS Gateway of the Nepal Telecom will be installed in the MoLD and its branches to facilitate easy access of the new technology to the people. The e-Governance policy conceptualised in July 2009, aims to allow the information to circulate quickly, receive online complaints promptly, circulate internal memos in a time-bound manner.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/09/2009

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AFGHANISTAN: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Has the Responsibility of Telecommunications Development All over Afghanistan

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has the responsibility of telecommunications development all over Afghanistan; had predicted that telecommunications development will start from large cities and will be gradually extended to rural areas while the remote areas will be last in the list of telecommunications companies. In order that rural telecommunications development is speeded up and access to telecommunications services is facilitated earlier, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology established the Telecommunications Development Fund (TDF). TDF collects 2.5% from the gross revenues of telecom companies since 2003 each quarter and has reached to about 1,450,000,000 Afghani.

Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) in consultation with the involved parties has completed the Universal Access Policy and Manual of Operating Procedures of TDF in late 2008 and the authority is now ready to embark on the implementation of the 2nd Rural Telecommunications Development project. Following the analysis of telecommunications status in various parts of the country, MCIT/ATRA selected 20 districts in those six provinces which are in the bottom of the telecommunications development index. These 20 districts do not have access to telecommunications services and are not included to in the development plans of telecom companies for the year 2009. This project will be implemented by one of the existing telecom companies. The winning company will be provided with subsidy which will be determined by a competitive bidding process. The provision of subsidy will encourage the telecom companies to expand their networks to the remotely located areas which are last in the list of telecom companies. This project will provide access to telecommunications services for about 400,000 people in the selected 20 districts.


From http://www.mcit.gov.af/ 09/02/2009

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Ministry of Communication and IT (MCIT) Inaugurated Afghanistan's First Ever National Data Center - ANDC

Ministry of Communication and IT (MCIT), the lead organization in the country in the deployment and implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within the government and promotion of its use in the Afghan society, has now achieved yet another historical and mission critical project - the establishment of the Afghanistan National Data Center (ANDC). The ANDC will be providing a backbone for the Electronic Government (e-Gov) program. The ANDC will host country's electronic data in a state-of-art infrastructure and secure environment for better management, reliable storage & backup, and deployment of advanced disaster recovery mechanisms for the highly crucial and confidential electronic information of various government organizations. As we enter a new era of High Density Computing, the increased state of complexity surrounding business operations has caused organizations to realize the critical need to run the data center at higher levels of effectiveness and efficiency.

Data center is an important cornerstone in the evolution of various technological advancements in the country and will contribute to its economic and social development, as well as the transformation into a competitive, innovative knowledge society. Thus, the Ministry of Communication and IT (MCIT) has invested a total of USD 4.7 million - core development fund from the Ministry of Finance, Afghanistan - to establish a highly competitive and efficient Data Center in alignment with the country's needs in adaptation of new trends of development and latest technological standards and solutions for efficient operation of businesses and delivery of services to the citizens and public/private sector. The Data Center resources and services will be accessible across and outside the country through Internet, Government Communication Network (GCN) and Fiber Optic ring laid around the country. The main data center located at Kabul, MCIT building is a world class with state of art infrastructure including; Sun based Storage Area Network (SAN), Rack based Infrastructure, Automated Backup & Restore, State of art Security and Environmental Management System, Fiber Channel and WiMax Network, and redundant Power supply.

The ANDC is equipped with Sun Servers with storage capacity more than 40 terabytes and highly advanced and sophisticated CISCO Routers and Switches which are rarely used within the region. The Data Center will provide highly secure data and communication network environment to the hosted government electronic data. The Data Center will provide secure data access channels to different government organizations as well as Afghan citizens and International Community inside and outside the country. The Data Center is carefully designed to implement efficient protection against environmental incidents. The Data Center is secured with Fire and Smoke Detectors, Water Leakage Sensors, Temperature Controls, and Advanced Fire Extinguisher systems. The ANDC will be providing a 24/7 monitoring of data center and customer servers/services. The main services to be delivered by the ANDC are: Web hosting, Email Services, E-application hosting, Co-Location Services - Providing space for installing customer Servers/Racks, SAN Storage & Back-Up Services, and Integrated E-Government Services - For instance; National ID Card project, Electronic Land Titling, Electronic Driving License, etc.

The ceremony was started by a few verses of the holy Quran on Wednesday October 14, 2009. Later on, H.E. Eng Amirzai Sangin the Minister for Ministry of Communications and IT addressed the audience in regard to the National Data Center and its importance for the benefit of the country. Afterward, H.E Dr. Omer Zakhil-wal the Minister of Finance addressed the importance of National Data Center specially in regard to the obliterating of bureaucracy within the country. Speaking to the audience Eng.Mohammad Khan Head of Communications and Transport Commission of the Afghanistan parliament said "Today we are pleased to be present at this inauguration ceremony." He further expressed his sincere gratitude to the MCIT and added that today MCIT took another major step in improving the IT services in the country. At the end H.E. Eng. Amirzai Sangin the Minister MCIT and H.E Dr. Omer Zakhil-wal the Minister of Finance officially inaugurated the project in ribbon cutting session. In the ceremony other high ranking officials; H.E. Gholam Nabi Farhi Deputy Minister of Ministry of Information and culture and other officials from MCIT including the Deputy Minister technical, Eng.Baryalai Hassam and other high ranking officials, members of parliament and media reporters were present.


From http://www.mcit.gov.af/ 10/15/2009

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IRAN: Probe into Telecom Privatisation Ordered

­The controversial privatisation of Iran Telecom is reportedly being investigated following repeated claims that the military Revolutionary Guards are backing one of the investors. Last month, consortium of three Iranian firms, Etemad Mobin Development paid US$7.8 billion for a 50% plus one share stake in the company. The business consortium has denied the reports, which if proven would effectively mean an arm of the government brought a stake in a government owned company. "The 50 per cent plus one share was bought from the public," Mozafar Pour Ranjbar, managing director of Mobin Electronic Development, a member of the consortium, was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. "This consortium doesn't have to do with the Guards and has made its purchase from other financial sources," said Mohammad-Reza Modarres Khiabani, head of another member of the consortium.

The Revolutionary Guards first expanded into commercial activity through informal social networking of veterans and former officials. It is now a vast conglomerate, controlling Iran's missile batteries and nuclear program but also a multibillion-dollar business empire reaching almost all economic sectors. It is thought to control around a third of Iran's economy through a series of subsidiaries and trusts. The Revolutionary Guards' involvement in the political clamp-down following the recent election has raised concerns that they are seeking to take control of one of the main avenues of spreading messages by dissidents - namely the telecommunications network.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/11/2009

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KAZAKHSTAN: Internet Association of Kazakhstan Opened in Almaty

A presentation of Internet Association of Kazakhstan has taken place today in Almaty. This year several companies have become founders of new noncommercial organization - "Internet Association of Kazakhstan" (IAK) which mission is to make our country a competent member of the world internet-community. "We welcome the new professional association aimed at joining of all participants of the Internet services to turn it into the most important sector of the Kazakhstani economy", - General Director of "Kazakhtelekom" Direction of Information System Andrey Adamenko. The association intends to interact with similar organizations of other countries, promote introduction of advanced Internet technology as well as represent the interests of participants of the Kazakhstani market of Internet services at the international level. The association will also raise rating of confidence for population towards Internet technology including studying and systematization of the Kazakhstani and world experience in development of market of Internet services.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 09/23/2009

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Kazakh Team Wins ONA (Online News Association) Award

Kazakh website has won a prestigious award for excellence in online journalism. The Online News Association (ONA) singled out RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, known locally as Radio Azattyq, for "standing in defense of citizens' rights to seek and receive information." The judges noted Radio Azattyq's rebuff of government attempts to censor a book critical of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. They commended the station for "good original journalism and tenacity of purpose." "This is a well-deserved honor for our journalists, who, every day, face challenges in bringing uncensored news and information to the Kazakh people," said Radio Azattyq Director Yedige Maguin. "The media is tightly controlled in Kazakhstan. Last summer, our website was blocked for seven weeks. We routinely come under pressure for our reporting, but our journalists persevere - this award validates their efforts."

According to the ONA, this year's Online Journalism Award winners "will get a unique kind of immortality" - they will be enshrined in a new exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Radio Azattyq won the award in the category of "General Excellence in Online Journalism, Non-English, Small Site." Launched in May 2000, the Online Journalism Awards are presented annually by the ONA in partnership with the University of Miami's School of Communications. The final winners in each category were announced at a banquet in San Francisco, CA.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 10/05/2009

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UZBEKISTAN: Development of Telecommmunications Sector Considered

The Cabinet of Ministers' Complex for Information Systems and Telecommunications held a session to discuss the results of the sector's development in the first nine months of 2009. In the reporting period, the sector manufactured goods and rendered services in the amount of over UZS 1.3 trillion, or 26.85% more than in the same period of last year. The population received paid services in the amount of UZS 820.49 billion (41.6% growth). UZS 332.8 billion soums (USD 234.17 million) were spent in the sector in the framework of various investment programs. Exports of goods and services made up 16.8% more than forecasted.


From http://uza.uz/ 10/07/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Telecommunication Reform a Necessary Component of Digital Initiatives

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) supports government steps towards clarifying the telecommunications regulatory environment in preparation for the nationwide rollout of the National Broadband Network. Telecommunications regulatory reforms were announced today by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy. "Moves toward regulatory reform complement government initiatives across the technology sector that aim to drive efficiencies and create a competitive business environment as part of the foundation of a genuine digital economy in Australia," AIIA CEO Ian Birks said. An open, competitive environment will be essential to delivering return on investment in National Broadband and creating an environment that will support a thriving digital economy.

Regulatory reform has been identified by AIIA and a number of independent parties as an important factor in the establishment of National Broadband infrastructure that is competitively priced and widely accessible to all Australians. In one analysis, the Centre for International Economics estimated that up to 25 percent of the benefits expected to be gained from National Broadband infrastructure could be lost without reform of the telecommunications market and regulatory structure. These reforms begin a process of ensuring the commercial viability of the National Broadband Network. This will be essential for the health of Australia's digital economy in the future. Today's announcement provides an avenue for Telstra to remain engaged and competitive in both areas and will lead to improved outcomes across the board. AIIA anticipates that all areas of the digital marketplace will benefit significantly from Telstra's experience, influence and active involvement under the revised regulations.


From http://www.aiia.com.au/ 09/14/2009

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R&D Tax Concessions on the Agenda

Proposed changes to the Research and Development Tax concession scheme are now firmly on the agenda, with Treasury releasing a Consultation Paper to industry. Tax concessions are a complex issue, and no doubt it will take some time for businesses across the ICT industry to digest the issues and how these changes will ultimately affect them. The issues raised in the Consultation Paper, however, do have some real implications for industry development, and at face value they seem to stand in contrast to the development of a smart economy, something actively pursued by other parts of Government At the heart of the proposed changes, new eligibility criteria stipulate that R&D activities must be both 'innovative and contain high levels of technical risk.' These terms are not defined in the Paper, although at points they do seem to be associated with novelty. This is certainly not an optimal way to view and fund innovation, and these terms will need to be carefully defined in order to ensure appropriate R&D funding is delivered and investment recouped.

Supporting activities - currently allowed - are limited under the proposed changes. The differences and weightings of supporting activities have certainly been problematic under the current system. However, if quality control and assessment were to be denied as a supporting R&D activity, for example, larger institutions such as banks will be discouraged to invest in software that prevents online fraud due to the absence of assurance. This is just one example of the possible implications. The Paper is also concerned that there are no beneficial flow-on effects to the wider economy arising from much software development. This is in contrast to the principles that underpin the development of a genuine digital economy in Australia. While local and international data is lacking, there are an increasing number of studies emerging (for example, from Access Economics and the ITIF) that demonstrate the clear network value of technology development and software innovation.

Software claims to R&D funding will be subject to much tighter eligibility criteria; the design of new eligibility requirements - not yet available - will need to be analysed before the implications for industry can be ascertained. Foreign-owned companies incorporated in Australia will be able to access the 45% tax credit, and the location of the resulting IP is no longer relevant. IP can reside anywhere, so long as the R&D is done here (with some minor exceptions). The concern being addressed by the Paper seems to be that revenue has been threatened by rorting claims, and that with better guidelines and better trained assessors, revenue will be protected and invested with a stronger return on investment.

Time will tell what the final outcomes will be. MNCs incorporated locally may well be in no worse a position - depending on the improved compliance and assessment methodology, when it is developed. SMEs will need more detail around the proposed changes. The changes to IP and supporting R&D, along with new requirements to demonstrate 'high technical risk and innovation,' will cause concern. As an industry, however, the biggest issue will be the fact that a restricted approach to R&D is at odds with facilitating and encouraging new applications in the new digital world that the Government is actively seeking through Digital Economy initiatives and the rollout of the NBN. An application-rich environment is at the heart of a thriving digital economy, which not only improves productivity and efficiency across the spectrum of industry, it also generates new jobs, new businesses and new industries. AIIA will continue to work with Government, and to gauge members' views about how the changes will impact them.


From http://www.aiia.com.au/ 10/13/2009

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Australian Regulator Consults on Blocking Unwanted Premium-Rate SMS

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking feedback on its proposed new rules for blocking unwanted high-cost services delivered to mobile phones. The ACMA released a consultation paper last month, which sets out the proposed rules. "The ACMA considers that mobile phone users would benefit from additional control over their mobile bills," said Chris Cheah, Acting Chair of the ACMA. "Under the proposal, mobile phone companies will be required to provide blocking of mobile premium services for their pre-paid and post-paid customers by no later than 1 July 2010." The ACMA's proposal could be implemented either: * By default, where the use of mobile premium services on all new mobile accounts would automatically be blocked until the account holder formally requested otherwise. * As an option, where mobile account holders could request their mobile phone company to activate blocking of mobile premium services. These rules complement action taken by the ACMA earlier this year. In May 2009, the ACMA registered a new industry-developed code of practice for mobile premium services which came into effect on 1 July. The code provides a range of new protections for consumers. Compliance with key code provisions is under audit and the ACMA is formally investigating 14 providers of mobile premium services of suspected breaches of the code's advertising obligations. The consultation paper setting out the ACMA's proposal for blocking of mobile premium services, and further information on submissions, are available on the ACMA website.


From ACMA website 10/15/2009

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Government 2.0 - Setting the Data Free

Setting data free and catalysing the co-production of public value should be the focus for governments. Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 beget Government 2.0 - right? Many are of the view that it is only a matter of time before the serendipity of mash-ups, wikis, blogs and social computing nibble away at the perimeter of government. Politicians have been fast off the mark applying the power of the new platforms to electioneering. It's not hard to understand why. In electioneering the 'buzz', suitably directed, is a virtue in its own right in terms of harnessing passion to a cause. However, operational government does not necessarily welcome the unpredictability of devolution fuelled by social computing. Neither politicians nor agency heads are keen on serendipity when it comes to the business of government - especially when it leads to uncomfortable (and brilliant) innovations such as www.fixmystreet.com. Governments can see the value of the Government 2.0 genie, having benefited from its magic in recent elections, but are perhaps in no great hurry to let it out of the bottle at the bureaucratic level. One way to move forward cautiously is to create a taskforce.

Australia mobilises Government 2.0 Taskforce
Australia's Government 2.0 Taskforce (www.gov2.net.au) has been running for a few months now. It is starting to surface some interesting illustrations of the potential benefits of Enterprise 2.0 via exemplars from federal, state and local government agencies along with many suggestions from passionate people from inside and outside the public sector. The force's task is wide ranging, covering publication and access to government information sources, citizen participation in government innovation and improved collaboration between agencies. Its aim is to consult widely and then to make recommendations before the end of the year. Many of the issues already raised are reminiscent of earlier e-government discussions, so it will be interesting to see if progress can be made on some of the fundamental barriers this time around. The taskforce's website is worth a look to sense the pulse of Government 2.0 in Australia.

Governments should focus on setting data free
One challenge that is already apparent is that Government 2.0 is a much more subtle agenda of work than its e-government precursor. Government 2.0 seeks to enrol citizens and businesses in the co-production of public value, and this is much more vexing than the relatively straightforward application of technology to service delivery processes. Proverbially, Government 2.0 is about enabling citizens to fish (as an activity) rather than just handing out more fish (as a food). This highlights an emerging Government 2.0 conundrum: which comes first, the platform or the data? Fixmystreet.com is a platform imposed on government by the people because government was asleep at the wheel. Should governments focus on avoiding a repeat experience by creating their own Government 2.0 platforms?

Most Web 2.0 and social computing success stories - such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - are platform plays. The platform comes first, creating the social computing interactions that create and evolve the content. However, Government 2.0 ought to be the opposite way around if governments were awake to the opportunities - and threats. Much of the content for Government 2.0 already exists. The problem is that it is locked up in fragmented and inscrutable forms within government agencies. The most useful thing government can do to accelerate Government 2.0 is to set the data free - as opposed to attempting to create new government-owned platforms that citizens must access. The market will produce platforms to reveal, unleash and combine data sources and mash up a storm of innovation. Government's role should be to provide the authoritative and trusted data sources. This is one way that government can stay useful and relevant in a Government 2.0 world. The longer that governments drag their feet on this, the greater the likelihood that independent platforms like Fixmystreet will emerge - creating new socially generated data and marginalising government agencies to the back benches of the Government 2.0 debate.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 10/28/2009

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Improving Tax Collection Efficiency in Asia

The pressure on government to efficiently deliver services has probably never been greater. Such is life for governments during downturns. Systems are under stress. And yet extracting tax revenue from citizens and businesses to fund huge economic stimulus packages has probably never been more difficult. But there are triumphs despite the challenges. Take Indonesia. Policy loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are helping Southeast Asia's largest economy rejuvenate a tired and abused tax collection system into one that generated 40 per cent more revenue in 2008 than it did before a new system was implemented. Tax revenue is now 20 per cent of GDP. The old system, remembers Jörn Brömmelhörster, Senior Country Economist, Indonesia Resident Mission at the Asian Development Bank, was characterised by pervasive corruption, collusion and nepotism. It wasn't close to being transparent. Accounting was unreliable, enforcement was poor, and the mandates of auditing bodies was often unclear.

The new system's crowning achievement is, says Brömmelhörster, the introduction of the Treasury Single Account, which manages public finances on a single, centralised platform - there used to be some 18,000 separate commercial bank accounts to deal with. Reform is still underway, and there plans to implement a modernisation strategy to re-engineer the tax department completely. Even a revenue collection system that has got 24 per cent more effective since 2004 still has holes to fill. So what about elsewhere in the region? Robin Hicks asked government officials in China, South Korea, Australia and Hong Kong: are you happy with the efficiency of your tax collection system?

"Yes" - David Butler, Second Commissioner, Technology and Operations, Taxation Office, Australia We recorded a A$20.9 billion increase in revenue collections in 2007/8 over the previous year, which is the highest ever annual increase. This positive outcomes took place in a difficult year, given the need to implement a range of new legislative measures following the transition to a new government, higher workloads and budget constraints including an increased efficiency dividend. We handled two million registrations, over 12 million telephone calls, over three million items of correspondence, 14.5 million tax returns, and 18 million activity statements. The tenth anniversary of e-tax saw more than 1.9 million self preparers lodge their 2007 return electronically, exceeding paper returns for the second year running. While our service standard index was lower last year, partly as a result of major system changes, we were still able to maintain the positive trend in our surveys of tax agent, business and community perceptions.

"Maybe" - Vincent Chiu, Chief Assessor, Inland Revenue Department, Hong Kong The revenue collected by the IRD during 2007/8 was close to 65.5 per cent of the Government General Revenue, an increase of US$5.8 million - 29.4 per cent - on the previous year. With material productivity savings and an increase in revenue collections during the year, the cost of collection of revenue decreased from 0.69 per cent to 0.58 per cent. We make extensive use of IT to boost efficiency and provide comprehensive e-services to help taxpayers. A one-stop eTAX portal was launched in January 2008 to provide personalised e-services for taxpayers, enabling them to e-pay tax and receive e-alert messages on return filing and when the time limits for discharging these obligations and approaching. The take up rate of eTAX services is rising. Now, over 280,00 taxpayers have opened eTAX accounts, and over 10 per cent of taxpayers e-filed. We will further expand our e-services and further promote e-filing. We will also continue to employ new information technology to improve our operations and efficiency.

"No" - Sun Yalin, Deputy Director of Tax Services, Local Taxation Bureau, Dalian, China From a historical perspective, we have achieved much progress. But there is a lot of work to do to improve the efficiency of our services, get more citizens using them online, and integrate internal and external government networks. At the moment, many agencies in and outside of our e-government framework are virtually isolated, which creates the need for large amounts of information to be replicated. This seriously lowers efficiency, raises costs and impacts the effectiveness of the tax collection system. Not only that, but technical issues have meant that tax forms cannot be managed and shared on a central e-government platform. We need to build a unified information network that connects internal and external network resources so that information can be shared and tax collection made more efficient.

"Yes" - Lim Soo Kyung, Assistant Commissioner for IT, National Tax Service, South Korea IT is playing an important role in improving the performance of our tax service. We installed the Tax Integrated System in 1997, which allows all NTS staff to access all tax resource information online from wherever they work. So we can manage all tax resource information in real time. We also set up the Hometax system in 2002, and now most taxpayers pay taxes and handle tax work online without having to visit the tax office. These aside, 26 systems are up and running, including a data warehouse system for efficiently using massive amounts of tax data and the world's first Cash Receipt System for tracing cash transactions. We are now working on implementing the e-Tax Invoice project and using RFID technology to track the distribution of hard liquor. We hope that these new services will improve efficiency and secure more tax revenue. We want to get better by integrating existing systems into a single, low-cost, high-efficiency system. (by Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 11/02/2009

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Cyber Laws Must Punish Individuals Not Society

LAWS regulating cybercrimes must target individuals and not society as a whole, an IT specialist told an internet governance forum at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday. Gisele Da Silva Craveiro from the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil said the broad nature of cyber-legislation leaves it open to abuse by authorities. "Definitions for cybercrimes can be so broad as to fit everything... leaving the laws open to inappropriate use by authorities such as monitoring citizens," Ms Craveiro told AFP on the sidelines of the Fourth Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum in Egypt. "Technicians need to communicate with lawyers to come up with more efficient legislation so that society doesn't end up paying the price for too broad a legislation," she said. Craveiro was speaking at a session entitled Developing Comprehensive Cybercrime Legislation organised by the Council of Europe at the Red Sea meeting.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar. End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar. "Legal frameworks should take into acount the rights of users and the role of the private sector on the one hand, and security concerns on the other," the Council of Europe said in a statement. While broad legislation can mean the potential for misuse, targeting specific offences means having to regularly update laws to catch up with the meteoric evolution of cybercrimes, some said. "You need to have a mix and match addressing specific offences but also taking into account new technologies and cybercrimes," said Pavan Duggal, chairman of Cyber Law and IT Act. Committee in India, where data theft and unauthorised data use is posing the biggest challenge in cyberspace. The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime is currently the only binding legal document designed to criminalise computer-related offences, content-related offences and offences relating to infringement of copyright and associated rights. The IGF forum in Egypt has grouped more than 1,500 representatives of government, civil society, advocacy groups and the private sector from more than 100 countries to discuss the future of the Internet.


From AFP 11/18/2009

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FIJI: Looks to Chinese Bank for E-gov't Project

Fiji's interim government said on Tuesday it was again looking to China for financial assistance for the e-Government project after a submission was made to the cabinet by interim Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. The prime minister said that about 90 percent of the first phase of e-Government project has been physically completed as of end of October but they needed finances for the second phase. The cabinet approved that the Ministry of Finance seek a soft loan from the Export and Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank of China)to finance phase 2 of the e-Government project. China had provided 20 million U.S. dollars to the Fiji government to fund phase 1 of the e-Government Project. Bainimarama said that Phase 2 of e-Government project will be a continuation of the recommendations contained in the e-Government Master Plan. "Phase 2 will focus on more deliveries, such as the creation of National Identity System, strengthening of border control solutions, and improvement of national info-communications infrastructure," he said. "A major component of Phase 2 of e-Government will focus on there-engineering of government processes that will assist in nation-wide exercises such as the right-sizing activities of the civil-service," he added.

He said that it is anticipated that Phase 2 of the e-Government Project begins in January 2010 and be completed by December 2012. Bainimarama explained that as part of ensuring the successful implementation of the e-Government Project, a separate Fiji e-Government Project Team was formed. "The Fiji e-government Project Team has been responsible for the provision of the required engineering work, provision the required quality assurance work, establishment of the Project Management Office, development the required Project Management standards, coordination of the various e-Government initiatives, and capacity building programs; "Of the total of 84 projects to be completed under the e-Government Project, 68 of these projects were completed from January 2008 to October 2009." The remaining 16 is to be completed within the next few months." He said that to continue to achieve the required success rate for the future e-Government Projects, the e-Government Project team will continue its operation up to at least 2012 once the EXIM bank loan is approved.


From Xinhua 11/10/2009

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NEW ZEALAND: ECan Will Not Get Hide Intervention

Local government minister Rodney Hide will not intervene in Environment Canterbury, despite its recent problems. ECan's September 24 council meeting will decide the fate of chairman Sir Kerry Burke, after he failed to get a motion of no-confidence off the table at a council meeting in Timaru. The motion, which Sir Kerry lost by six votes to eight, prompted Jo Kane to stand down as deputy chairwoman, although she has indicated she would run for chairmanship if she has her fellow councillors' support. However, a spokesman for Mr Hide told the Herald that ECan's current state had not been flagged as one that needed intervention from central government. He said although he was aware of ECan's predicament, he felt it did not warrant their involvement at this stage. Environment Minister Nick Smith had threatened intervention in ECan, but explained the Herald his grievances were over their slow processing of resource consents. Dr Smith would not comment on the regional council's political situation. Internal affairs spokesman Tony Wallace said the local government minister may appoint a commissioner to perform local authorities' duties or call a council general election if there had been significant and identifiable mismanagement of the resources of the local authority, or if it was unable to perform and exercise its duties. "It takes a pretty serious trigger to qualify for central government intervention and it hasn't been reached yet," Mr Wallace said. "As of the moment, a motion of no-confidence (in the chairman) is not sufficient for intervention." He said the last time the government intervened in a local authority was in 2000 after the Rodney District Council proved unable to function.


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 09/09/2009

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New Visitor Information Centre to Be Chosen

A special and open council meeting will be held on Monday afternoon, 5 October, to choose the winning design for the new Wanganui Visitor Information Centre to be located in the Old Town/riverfront area. " Wanganui has needed a new, better sited and more user-friendly visitor centre for decades," says Mayor Laws. "Finally we are going to get one. Our aim is to have the design chosen, the contract placed and the new centre in operation by spring/summer 2010." Mayor Laws says that the Old Town/riverfront area had been chosen as the ideal location because it was fast becoming "the heart of Wanganui with its historic buildings, riverfront walkway, PS Waimarie and river market attractions, and the Ucol development. A review of street design in the area, and the creation of new parking will likely follow Monday's decision." " If we are serious about being a family-friendly city - and attracting new residents and visitors - then we need a new visitor centre that is not just centrally located but an experience all of its own." There are three competing designs from the following architects/design companies - Craig Dalgleish (Dalgleish Architects), Bruce Dickson (DLA Architects) and Mark Southcombe (Void Architecture).


From http://www.wanganui.govt.nz/ 09/29/2009

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Transition Authority Sheds Light on Future Supercity ICT

The Auckland Transition Authority (ATA) has outlined its assumptions, draft structures and change processes in a discussion docuiment released to local body staff in the region this afternoon. The planning is based on a number of key assumptions, including that call centres and ICT will be centralised from November 2010. ICT will be led by an executive described in the document as the "Manager IS", reporting to the CFO of the new Auckland Council. The CFO has six other direct reports on the draft structure diagram released today and in turn reports to the CEO. The ATA aims to finalise its proposed structure and transition approach by January 2010 to enable change process and executive recruitment to commence. "The timeframe to gain the advantages of consolidation of some functions (e.g. Finance, IT and HR) will be determined by the constraints of establishing common systems," the discussion document says.

"While preliminary planning is underway, it is likely that upon establishment, the Auckland Council will rely mainly on current individual council systems and processes. This will limit the extent of consolidation of functions or the need to change staff locations prior to November 2010 ..." The ATA says key assumptions include: there will be no degradation of service levels at 1 November 2010; existing service centres and offices continue to provide frontline services; and service delivery will change following the development and adoption of consistent and integrated service strategy and progressive integration of systems. "The Auckland Transition Agency (ATA) wants to give as much clarity as possible to employees of existing local government organisations about the changes they will face," the document says.

"However it is too early to give all employees a definite view as to whether the work that they carry out will be subject to change as a result of the establishment of new structures before 1 November 2010 or in the transition period after that. "First, there is still a lot of information to analyse and a detailed strategy and design process to go through to reach a view as to how each part of the new structures should operate. "Second, the integration of the IT and other systems and processes which support local government activities will take time." Change to staffing in HR, call centres, ICT and other areas will be dependent on the timeframe for consolidating systems, ATA says. "We are committed to a fair, transparent change process and we continue to seek the knowledge and expertise of you and your staff to get this right," says ATA's executive chairman, Mark Ford. "As much information as practicable will continue to be communicated in a clear and timely way so that those affected by change can make informed decisions."


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 11/02/2009

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Internet Funding Cut Threat a Concern

Tasman district councillors are shocked to hear the plug may be pulled on funding for free internet in the district's libraries. The Government-funded Aotearoa People's Network paid for 19 computers to be installed in the libraries last year, but is now likely to ask local authorities to fork out. The APN initiative attracted controversy after libraries became overcrowded and internet cafe owners complained they were losing business. These issues surfaced again at the council's community services committee meeting on Thursday after libraries manager Catherine Bryham told councillors that APN had agreed to only one more year of funding. The scheme, which has also made the libraries a wireless hotspot for laptop users, has attracted a steady stream of users. Councillor Judene Edgar said it was the first time she had heard the council might have to start paying for the service. The library already had broadband for staff and it might be able to negotiate a good deal with the council's internet provider, she said.

"It's finding a way to provide it as a service, but being able to cap it and not offer limitless downloads. I acknowledge the internet is a vital research and communication tool and it is part of the service that libraries need to provide," Mrs Edgar said. The free internet service was not aimed at teenagers who wanted to download songs for their iPods, which was currently the case, she said. Ms Bryham, who said it was hard to quantify the ongoing cost of the service, will write a report on its future funding. The free service had been good value and was now an entrenched service, contributing to a 22 per cent increase in visitors in September, she said. "We are a tourist town, so what are we saying to them [tourists] if they can get it free everywhere else in the world?" she asked councillors.

Ms Bryham said it was not the council's job to worry about putting internet cafes out of business. Councillor Glenys Glover said councillors needed to remember that the APN initiative had invigorated libraries. "The hardware is there, we already have staff and it's a matter of waiting to see what the costs are - it may just be nominal." Councillor Barry Dowler was against tourists using the free internet service, which he said was what internet cafes were for. "People should have a library card to get access. I am not knocking it [free internet], but as a council we should not compete with local private enterprise." APN manager Margaret Garland told The Nelson Mail that future funding of the initiative was under discussion, but it was likely councils would be asked for a "possible contribution".


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 11/09/2009

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AFRICA: Nigeria's Telecom Revenue to surpass US$12bn in 2013

Montreal - According to the information released by HOT TELECOM (www.hottelecom.com) in its latest report "Nigeria telecom country profile 2009", Nigeria's telecom revenue increased by 29.9% to US$8.4 billion at the end of 2008, and 'if the current growth trend continues, the country's telecom revenue should have surpassed US$12.0 billion in 2013' HOT TELECOM's president Isabelle Paradis said. With a population close to 150 million people, Nigeria is one of Africa's largest telecom markets, surpassing South Africa in terms of mobile subscribers in 2008. Considering its low fixed, mobile and Internet penetration it still boasts significant growth potential. Nigeria's fixed sector suffered greatly from the lack of competition as well as fixed to mobile substitution over the last 2 years. The number of fixed lines decreased by 17.3% in 2008 to reach 1.3 million and a penetration of 0.9%. In the first six months of 2009 however the situation improved considerably, with the number of fixed lines increasing by 9.8% to 1.4 million. The sector's development is almost solely generated by the 15 PTOs which offer the service mostly over their fixed-wireless networks. With the increase of competition, it is expected that the number of fixed lines will increase by and average of 17.4% over the next 5 years, to reach 2.9 million and a penetration rate of 1.7% at the end of 2013.

Nigeria has now outpaced South Africa to emerge as the largest mobile telecom market in Africa in 2008. It had 66.4 million mobile subscribers at the end of June 2009, representing a penetration rate of 44.3%. Mobile connections have soared at an average growth rate of 89.4% over the past 5 years and now represent 97.9% of all telephone lines in the country. The average growth in terms of subscribers is expected to slow to an average rate of 8.8% over the next 5 years, brining the number of mobile customers to 95.8 million at the end of 2013. This trend should, as a result, trigger more intense competition among the growing array of network operators. The mobile sector is currently covered by 5 GSM operators and 4 CDMA providers.

At the end of 2008, there were 11.0 million Internet users and an estimated 1.8 million Internet subscribers. The advent of competition in the form of PTOs as well as the introduction of wireless Internet has significantly stimulated the sector over the last 5 years. Nevertheless, with a penetration as low as 1.3%, there is ample space for growth in this sector. The number of Internet subscribers is forecasted to grow by an average of 10.6% over the next 5 years to reach 3.0 million and a penetration of 1.8% at the end of 2013. The number of Internet users is also expected to have reached 18.2 million at that time. Very little data is available when it comes to Nigeria's broadband market, however we estimate the number of broadband customers to have surpassed 250,000 at the end of 2008, representing 13.6% of the country's Internet connections. With the increased popularity of mobile broadband however, this ratio should have increase to 100.0% by the end of 2013, with all dial-up accounts having been completely replaced by broadband.


From Hot Telecom 09/24/2009

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ASIA: Mobile Business Customer Growth Fastest

Driven by economic growth in India and China, the number of mobile business customers in the Asia-Pacific region will grow at a CAGR of 4.2% reaching nearly 300 million by 2014, according to new ABI Research forecasts. Says practice director Dan Shey, "Demand and supply drivers are coming together to grow the mobile business customer base. Mobile networks are expanding and are being upgraded to 3G and 4G. There is a growing services economy with a highly mobile, educated, and low-cost labor pool. Finally, the Asia-Pacific region is in the best position to accelerate out of the world financial crisis and grow economically." The new market data set shows: The number of self-employed customers will grow slightly faster than public/private sector customers; however ARPU growth from the self-employed will lag due to lower adoption of data services. While ARPUs will decline as lower-income workers adopt mobile services to serve business needs, certain segments will experience income growth. Average customer revenues will rise in the finance, insurance, and the scientific and technical services sectors due to greater adoption of mobile broadband services. Revenue growth will be 13% higher in the medium and large businesses segment compared to the SOHO and small business segment. Shey concludes, "The Asia-Pacific region is on the cusp of a new stage of economic growth. Mobile telecommunications will be a key growth enabler for the business segment and a pivotal contributor to this region's competitiveness in the world market."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/27/2009

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More Asia-Pacific Consumers Shopping Online: Visa Survey

SINGAPORE: More Asia-Pacific shoppers have taken to shopping online, according to results released by the Visa eCommerce Consumer Monitor. When asked how much they had spent shopping online in the past 12 months, respondents in the March 2009 Monitor reported an average spend of US$3,743, an increase over the past three Monitor periods, reported China's Xinhua news agency Friday. The Visa eCommerce Consumer Monitor tracks quarterly online spending trends of internet consumers in six key countries and regions in AsiaPacific. In addition, more internet users (87 percent) made online purchases in the March 2009 quarter than in the preceding quarter (72 percent). South Korea, Japan, Australia and China are the top online spenders with respondents from South Korea (96 percent) being the most likely to have bought products and services from the internet in the past 12 months, followed by Japan (94 percent), Australia and China (89 percent respectively). From January to March 2009, 2,380 online interviews were conducted on behalf of Visa with internet users, namely those who access the internet at least once a week. These respondents were aged 18 to 49 years from six countries and territories including China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia and India. - Bernama


From http://thestar.com.my/ 10/30/2009

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EUROPE: Consumers: 60% of Cross Border Internet Shopping Orders Are Refused, Says New EU Study

There are widespread problems with refusals of orders for EU consumers trying to purchase goods online in another Member state, according to a new European Commission report on cross border consumer e-commerce published today. An extensive independent mystery shopping exercise was carried out for the Commission where shoppers across the EU tried to purchase a list of 100 popular products - for example cameras, CDs, books, clothes - from a cross border provider. Over 11,000 test orders were carried out. The research found that 60% of cross border transactions could not be completed by consumers because the trader did not ship the product to their country or did not offer adequate means for cross border payment. Latvia, Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria are the countries where consumers are least able to buy cross border (for full list of EU-27 countries ranked see MEMO/09/475 ). But in all but two countries the odds of succeeding in a cross border purchase are lower than 50%. The foregone benefits to citizens are also very clear. In more than half of Member States, 50% or more or the products could be found 10% cheaper (transport costs included) from a website in another country. And 50% of products searched could not be found in national sites and were only offered by another Member State trader. The Communication presents a series of measures to be taken to reduce the complex regulatory environment which is acting as a disincentive for businesses to serve consumers in other Member States. In addition and to boost confidence in online trading, the problems regarding the collection of commercial data and its use to profile and target consumers will be analyzed in a stakeholders forum.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 10/22/2009

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SOUTH AMERICA: Mobile, Broadband Main Drivers of Brazilian Telecom Market to 2014

Telecom spending in Brazil amounted to €31.2bn in 2008, equivalent to about 3% of the country's GDP, and it is expected to rise to €35.6bn in 2014 at a CAAGR (compounded annual average growth rate) of 2.2%. Revenues from fixed telephony will continue to decrease despite fixed telephony carriers' efforts to attract customers by decreasing service pricing and increasing geographical coverage. Mobile telephony will remain the main driver of the telecom sector. The growth in subscription will offset the decline in prices. Indeed, if ARPU (average revenue per user) is expected to decrease from currently €9.00 to €8.40 in 2014, the total subscriptions will increase to 185.9 millions by 2014, representing a penetration rate per inhabitant of nearly 90%. Growth opportunities will likely come from the prepaid market, particularly the low-income users and SME segment, and from Region I, where mobile penetration is still relatively low. Non-voice services should gain some momentum as soon as 3G based mobile broadband services become more geographically available. Furthermore, the launch of 4G (LTE) technologies in the first part of the next decade should further boost mobile broadband by allowing faster and enhanced mobile data services.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 10/01/2009

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Free Web Accounting Suite Expands to Colombia

Noguska LLC, developer of NolaPro.com, the web's largest free accounting software, announced that it had recently procured a partnership with Coltecom Enterprises to bring the NolaPro suite to Colombia. CEO Donovon Lee advises that NolaPro's capability for concurrent use in both Spanish and English is a valuable asset for promoting the application to multilingual businesses in Colombia. He adds that a multi-currency version of the software is presently in development. The request for partnership was initiated by Gerardo Sierra of Coltecom Enterprises (coltecom.com), whose firm is well-positioned to capture substantial market share from their headquarters in Bogotá. Coltecom will also provide local NolaPro consulting, installation and support services. NolaPro is an accounting, business management and inventory suite which was released worldwide in 2004. NolaPro comes in both a cloud solution and free self-hosted web version for Windows and Linux. It offers customizations for many diverse industries along with optional enhancements for specialized business operations.


From http://www.officialwire.com/ 10/21/2009

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Over Half a Billion People to Use Mobile Money Transfer Services by 2014

According to new analysis from Juniper Research, consumer demand for mobile money transfer services will see users exceed 500 million globally by 2014, principally in developing countries. Juniper Research's new report also suggests, however, that the many new mobile money services being announced will face political, regulatory or commercial challenges as they bring their services to market. Howard Wilcox, Senior Analyst at Juniper Research and lead author, explained: "Every country has different regulatory structures, and its own set of local market conditions that service operators need to plan around. Nonetheless, we see this as a growth market because of t he ubiquity and convenience of mobiles which offer realistic prospects of financial service access for those without traditional banking services." In developing world economies often only a small percentage of the population has a bank account or a credit card. Larger percentages, however, have a mobile phone or access to one. The reality is that far more people in countries that are underbanked will have used a mobile phone than will have used an ATM or visited a bank branch. The report also forecast that Africa & Middle East, Far East & China and the Indian Sub Continent will be the leading regions for national mobile money transfer services in 2014.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/21/2009

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Global Mobile-Phone Growth Remains Strong Despite Crisis

The global recession has taken a toll on many sectors of the economy, but one in particular is proving resilient - information technology. More and more of us are getting mobile phones or going online - and one of the fastest growing areas is Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. A new report by the UN's trade body, UNCTAD, says there were 4 billion mobile-phone subscriptions at the end of 2008. Growth that year slowed a little compared with 2007, but remained close to 20 percent. And penetration is rising most in developing and transition economies. "Between the years 2003 and 2008 many of the top 20 performers in terms of increasing the level of mobile penetration are found in transition economies, as we call them, the former Soviet republics, and also many of the new EU members figure among the biggest or most dynamic economies in this context," says Torbjorn Fredriksson of UNCTAD, who coordinated the report. "This very much reflects the fact that a mobile telephone today is seen no longer as a luxury item but really as a necessity, people don't want to give up their subscriptions once they have them," he adds.

Pent-Up Demand

The region's star performer was Montenegro. Last year it had more than 230 mobile-phone subscriptions for every 100 inhabitants - a rise of 160 percent in just five years. In Russia and Ukraine, mobile penetration more than doubled in the same period (132 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants for Russia; 120 for Ukraine). Armenia outperformed its Caucasus neighbors with growth of 83 percent, compared with 70 percent for Georgia and 55 percent for Azerbaijan. And at the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan was the regional laggard with 21 percent growth. Fredriksson says some of the growth in the former Yugoslavia reflects the freeing of pent-up demand, when a lot of money went into developing the telecom sector after the wars of the 1990s. That also explains the rapid increase in the number of Internet users in those countries.

Among the world's top 20 performers were Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Internet penetration rose 21 percent from 2003-08, as well as Macedonia, Moldova, and Iran, where it rose by around one quarter. The report says there were 1.4 billion Internet users around the world by the end of last year, up around 15 percent on the previous year. Most of them are now in the developing world. China has the largest share, at nearly 300 million, followed by the United States (with some 190 million). But the report warns of a widening divide in access to broadband Internet.

Rich countries are forging ahead, with one in three people having access to broadband in places like Scandinavia. But others are lagging behind, meaning they can't take full advantage of Internet applications such as e-commerce or distance learning. "If you look at the transition economies, the highest level is seen in Croatia with 11 percent, in Macedonia with 8 percent, and Russia with 5 percent, so you can see there is still big potential for expanding these penetration levels," Fredriksson says. Fredriksson says transition economies are in a relatively good position to do that, thanks to a largely well-educated population and the proximity of major developed markets, leading him to expect "rapid growth" in broadband access in the next few years.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 10/23/2009

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Green Network Improvements to Yield 42% Drop in Carbon Emissions by 2013

Mobile network operators worldwide have embarked on bold initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of their wireless networks and reduce the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with network operations. According to a recent report from Pike Research, these efforts will be driven by the desire for lower energy operating expenses, corporate social responsibility initiatives, and some cases by government mandates. The report forecasts that "green" network upgrades will result in the reduction of network carbon emissions by 42% by 2013, compared to business-as-usual trends. "The incentives for mobile operators to deploy greener networks are strong," says managing director Clint Wheelock. "These upgrades include the integration of clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and fuel cells, together with more energy-efficient network equipment including base stations and RF power amplifiers, and more efficient network architectures and topologies." Wheelock adds that carriers are making a transition from a business planning process focused on capital expenditures to one that accounts for total cost of ownership (TCO) including ongoing operating expenses. Asia Pacific, enjoying strong growth in cell site deployments, will be the leading region for carbon emissions reduction versus business-as-usual, followed by Europe and North America. Pike Research forecasts that the global market for green mobile capital expenditures will reach $80.8 billion by 2013.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/04/2009

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CHINA: China Mobile Launches 3G Operating System

China Mobile, the world's biggest wireless carrier, launched Monday its own mobile phone operating system that can support its homegrown 3G standard, reported Tuesday's China Daily. The release of the long-anticipated Ophone platform, the world's first mobile phone operating system developed by a telecom carrier, and the Ophone handsets is seen by analysts as a move that could help China Mobile stabilize its slowing profit growth, the newspaper said. The move comes less than one week after the country's second biggest wireless carrier China Unicom clinched a deal with Apple to sell iPhones in China. It was expected to intensify competition in the country's 3G market. The Ophone platform also fills the blanks in China's smart phone operating system, the newspaper said, citing Lou Qinjian, vice-minister of industry and information technology. The Ophone handsets that can support China Mobile's TD-SCDMA 3Gstandard will come out within this year, the company said, without specifying when. The release of Ophone may give a boost to China Mobile, analysts said. According to a survey on www.sina.com.cn, the largest Internet portal in China, 51 percent of the 2,161 respondents said they might buy an Ophone, attracted by its "powerful" mobile Internet connection and application functions, said the newspaper.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 09/01/2009

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Obvious Solutions for Scammed Internet Buyers of Chinese Technology Products

One of the most common types of user-generated comments left on ChinaTechNews.com comes from angry buyers of electronics sold via the Internet by companies in China. In August 2007, ChinaTechNews.com ran a story titled "Chinese Mobile Phone Manufacturers Fighting Counterfeits", and it has since gathered dozens of comments from global buyers of fake phones made in China. A common refrain is that the buyers purchased what they thought were real phones, only to receive junk in the mail. Many other commenters paid for their phones via a bank transfer, but they claim they never received their phones. And on a news brief originally published in 2004 titled "China's Consumers Can Now Complain Online", one user succinctly stated a common gripe: "i was robbed". He, along with others on the comment thread, left details of their predicaments. They provide names of the alleged thieving companies, bank details of the culprits, and some have left concise address and phone information of the Chinese companies who apparently have wronged buyers around the world. Hundreds of comments freckle ChinaTechNews.com with information about online sourcing scams in China. Buyers are almost as frustrated with their experiences as the editors at ChinaTechNews.com are bewildered by the naivete of these people buying products on the Internet. People have shared stories of buying laptops for their companies in the United States from sellers in China, only to never receive those laptops after they wired full payment to a bank account in China. With so many people complaining, an injection of reality is necessary to help solve some of these problems. One solution is to use a respected middleman to buy products in China. Services like Alibaba.com or Dhgate.com provide payment escrow and qualified seller options.

The rationale behind using these types of websites is that they are thought to be a buffer to filter out any illegitimate sellers. But sometimes Alibaba and Dhgate have their own problems. On September 14, 2007, tokziebee leaves a comment on ChinaTechNews.com: "i transfered money $1000 to dhgate.com and uptill now i have not gotten my goods, how come china cant do something about his scam people?" Exactly two years later, on September 14, 2009, Uri comments: "I have complaint about DHGATE.COM in such they fails to give feedbacks on BAD sellers! Suggests you contact they see already when they can not give back detail for BUYER!!" And on May 7, 2008, a ChinaTechNews.com commenter ridicules Alibaba.com: "Alibaba don't doing anything to help customers because China suppliers paying a good money to Alibaba. Hundreds and hundreds complain about that Gold Alibaba members stolid money from customers. Allibaba site don't have any feedback policy." Alibaba.com and Dhgate.com both have feedback loops and online forums where they collect data on bad seller experiences. Building a credible marketplace is key for these types of online services to continue operating and to retain the trust of buyers around the world. But buyers must still be wary whenever conducting any transaction with a company located overseas. Another solution then is to use a credit card, rather than a bank transfer, when paying for products purchased online from Chinese merchants. Credit card companies can sometimes help to recover lost goods, insure damaged products, or reimburse money to buyers for products never received. But when making online payments with a credit card, buyers must still be careful to not provide their personal details to fraudulent websites or to websites that lack secure payment options such as Extended Validation SSL Certificates. Finally, the best solution is for buyers to trust their own research. Buyers must always conduct their own due diligence. Do other buyers also complain about this seller in China? Does the deal seem too good to be true? Is the Chinese seller soliciting business through the use of spam email? If the product breaks, can the buyer easily get the product fixed?


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 10/08/2009

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Job Seekers Switch to Online Business

Wang Dengfeng works as an interior decorator, but he is never splattered with paint at the end of the day and he has not once hurt his back moving furniture. Instead of decorating stores and homes in the three-dimensional world, the 31-year-old designs and beautifies shops in the virtual world, making them appealing to online shoppers. The career earns him between 5,000 yuan ($735) and 10,000 yuan each month, an income considered handsome, even for white-collar workers in big cities. Wang is among an increasing number of Chinese young people earning their living online. According to a recent popular online post, there are at least 36 kinds of online jobs, including online hourly workers and online shop assistants. It is not known how many people make their living in the online world. Many work online part-time. One of the most successful online workers is Kuang Baoqiang, from Yangjiang, Guangdong province, who earned more than 100,000 yuan last year as a professional blogger. Kuang started to write blogs about basketball on sina.com.cn in 2006. He has posted some 1,200 blogs, and attracted more than 38 million visits so far. His popularity earned him a contract last year from a domestic firm that makes sports products that wanted to advertise on his blog. Vivian Lin, from Jiangsu province, failed to secure a satisfying job after she graduated from college in 2005. Last month, after being unemployed for six months, she opened an online shop "Lin club" in the hopes of following in the footsteps of such online success stories as Kuang and Wang. "A satisfying job is not easy to find nowadays," she said. "But shopping and web surfing happen to be my two hobbies, so I decided to give it a shot." The shop has not got off the ground yet, but she has high hopes. "I have much more to learn before I can make real money through this job," she said. Experts believe online employment will become increasingly important for unemployed young people. Chen Xinming, a professor with South China Normal University, said young people should be encouraged to explore the option. But Chen said more study of the growing sector is needed to make sure young online workers are not exploited.


From China Daily 10/10/2009

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China's Internet Economy Upbeat

China's Internet industry has seen robust development despite the global financial crisis. At this year's China Internet Conference in Beijing, the industry's largest annual gathering, participants are quite optimistic about future development. Many Chinese Internet companies experienced the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. Skeptics began to ask whether the Internet economy was as rosy as it had earlier seemed. Now a decade later, as the world reels from the global financial crisis, China's Internet economy is showing not only enough confidence to withstand risks, but also substantial profits. The industry no longer relies on advertising as its major revenue source. Instead, it has seen various new business models emerge. Yu Yongfu, CEO of UCWEB, said, "China's Internet industry saw a substantial increase in user demand in all sectors. Online searches, e-commerce, news portals all delivered outstanding financial reports. In addition, the industry also saw a more mature market chain. " E-commerce for example, accounted for 10 percent of China's overall retail sales in 2008. And it keeps expanding and evolving. The country's largest telecom operator, China Mobile, is launching a cell-phone payment system based on mobile Internet technology. Staff of China Mobile said, "The service allows users to use their mobile phone to buy items and pay bills.. just like a bank card. All ordinary purchases can be done with your phone. You don't have to take your wallet with you any more." Such creative services are based on the wide acceptance of the Internet and maturing consumer habits. In this regard, China is one of the fastest-developing countries. Hu Qiheng, chairman of China Internet Association, said, "China's Internet penetration rate exceeded the world's average level for the first time this year. Many online services and business models are well accepted by consumers. " The industry recorded 150-billion-yuan in sales in 2008.

And it has created an additional 200-billion-yuan in related sectors, such as IT, manufacturing, software, and digital content. And with the 3G era upon us, the industry has an even greater potential to nurture new growth points. Hu Qiheng said, "Mobile Internet is the future trend. It is expected to help with the creation of new business models, and new services. Innovation is highly required. There is a huge amount of opportunities. " But the industry is a highly-competitive one, because of its comparatively low entrance barrier. Dot-com companies are emerging and dying nearly every day. Industry insiders say with the launch of the GEM board in China, the industry will get more momentum in its development. Yu Yongfu said, "Start-up companies in the Internet sector used to rely on private equity investment, especially venture capital. The GEM board provides favorable conditions for China's fast developing IT industry. It offers a public fund channel to help them get finance, and stimulate more innovation in the industry." Such a fast developing industry surely has certain problems. China's Minister of Industry and Information Technology highlighted the importance of Internet information security at this year's China Internet Conference. Li Yizhong, minister of Ministry of Indus. And Info. Technology, said, "Companies should strengthen the management of Internet information security. They should actively take part in constructing and safeguarding a healthy and well-mannered Internet environment." This is one of the world's largest, and fastest-changing markets. Companies are racing ahead in new frontiers for leading positions in the next phase of development.


From CCTV 11/03/2009

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JAPAN: Online Brokers Consolidate

As one indicator of the health of Japan's equity market, the top five online brokers (SBI Securities, Rakuten Securities, Matsui Securities, Kabu.com Securities and Monex Securities) have seen their combined trading values implode from nearly JPY200 trillion in the March '06 fiscal year back to JPY50 trillion or so in the first half of FY09. In FY03 (to March 2004), the five online majors had combined trading values of a "modest" JPY50 trillion-plus. As Japan emerged from the Heisei Malaise with the Nikkei 225 bottoming in Q2 2003 and the reformist cabinets led by Junichiro Koizumi had evidently ended the financial crisis and was on its way toward re-invigorating Japan, individual investors returned to the Japanese equity market in droves, and migrated to the online brokers. As trading values for the major five were hitting nearly JPY200 trillion in FY05, a trading commission war broke out, with the online majors scrambling to provide the lowest trading commissions. At the same time, the FSA (financial services agency) moved to force these brokers to greatly increase their investment in systems to accomodate the surge in trading volumes, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange upped their membership fees because online trading was beginning to effect the TSE's capacity to handle trades as well. Things however went downhill from there. In January 2006, the Livedoor scandal hit the JASDAQ and emerging markets hard as investors began to question just how good the accounting was at these firms. On closer inspection, other emerging companies also had loose accounting, and a succession of bankruptcies scared individual investors away from wheeling and dealing in newly listed venture companies.

The combination of falling volumes and falling commissions per trade, increased fixed costs with mandated system investments was deadly. Online brokers have coped by offering forex trading as well as foreign securities, but the financial crisis post the Lehman Brothers failure has sent individual Japanese investors scurrying for safety. Monex Group (8698:J) saw its revenues drop 37% between the March 2006 and March 2009 fiscal years, while ordinary profit imploded 79% and net income slipped into the red by JPY2.1 billion. The Company, a start-up began by an ex-Goldman Sachs partner, first tried to find solace in merging with Nikko's retail broker arm, Nikko Beans, but the Company has recently announced a merger with Orix Securities to get even larger scale merits. After the merger next May, the combined new entity will be second only to SBI Securities. SBI Securities is not impressed, claiming that the merger of two online brokers with very different commission schedules will only lead to a loss of customers. At the very least, the merger of the two will mean more restructuring in Japan's broker industry, the headcount of which has continued to shrink. Retail giant Nomura Securities tried to hold back the tide of the online brokers by establishing its own online subsidiary Joinvest Securities, but the venture has been an absolute flop, so Nomura is merging the operation. Industry veterans such as Matsui Securities' president see more consolidation, including the possibility that Monex will eventually merge with Rakuten Securities.


From http://www.istockanalyst.com/ 11/04/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: Online Game Exports Reach $1 Billion

Korean exports of online games exceeded US$1 billion last year, accounting for half of the exports of cultural content. According to a white paper released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Tuesday, game developers exported $1.07 billion worth of online games last year, up 43 percent on-year and taking up 55 percent of the total exports of cultural content, which includes movies, TV programs and music. NCsoft recorded exports of $120 million thanks to hit products including "Lineage" and "Guild Wars," while NHN racked up $170 million from the Japanese and Chinese markets. Small or medium-sized game developers also contributed to the brisk exports, with Yedang Online exporting $35 million worth of games including "Audition."


From http://english.chosun.com/ 09/23/2009

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S. Korea's Weak IT Service Sector Denting IT Competitiveness

The sluggish development of South Korea's information technology (IT) service industry could hurt the country's overall IT competitiveness as it widens the gap between the service and manufacturing sectors, a local economic think tank said in a report Monday. According to a report by Hyundai Research Institute, South Korea's IT service industry expanded by an annual average of 7.1 percent during the 2001-2008 period, while its IT manufacturing industry grew 9.5 percent per year in the same period. The IT service sector encompasses consulting, systems integration and management, and IT education. South Korea's leading IT manufacturing firms include makers of mobile phones, memory chips and liquid crystal displays (LCD). In 2007, South Korea's global market share in the memory chip, mobile handset, and LCD markets amounted to 45.1 percent, 23 percent, and 46.5 percent, respectively, while the country's contribution to the global IT service sector came in at a mere 1 percent. "Such disproportionate growth between the service and manufacturing sectors dragged down South Korea's IT competitiveness," said Lim Sang-soo, a researcher at Hyundai and author of the report. South Korea was considered the third strongest IT country in 2007 according to Economist Intelligence Unit, a research firm under the Economist magazine, but the country slid to the eighth spot and then to the 16th in the following years. South Korea also moved down two spots from ninth to 11th place in an IT competitiveness ranking compiled by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. Lim attributed the imbalance to the sluggish overseas business performance of most IT service providers and a lack of local guides for global IT service standards. Most local IT service developers are small firms with scanty resources that face challenges when entering global markets, he said.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/05/2009

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Korea's Export Growth Rate for ICT Products Ranked Third in the World

The export growth rate for information and communication technology or ICT products in Korea ranked third in the world as of the end of 2007. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development released a report ranking nations on Friday with China coming in with first place followed by Hong Kong. China also held the largest market share for exported ICT products at about 20 percent while Korea was seventh on the list with its market share standing at roughly six percent. Global trade of ICT products has fallen by about 4.5 percent over the past seven years. The countries noting the largest declines include the United States, Japan and Britain. In related news Korea ranked 10th on the international telecommunications patent table. The International Organization for Standardization says that Korea registered 48 patents as of August last year. In terms of individual companies Samsung Electronics led Korea with 14 patents closely followed by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute with 13. The top three countries on the list were the US, Japan and France with the US topping the list with 911 telecommunications patents.


From http://www.arirang.co.kr/ 10/23/2009

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Korea's Internet Is Mired in a Microsoft Monoculture

Korea is at the cutting edge in technology, the state of the art in e-commerce, an early adopter of third-generation wired and wireless communication, broadband and personal media. Yet 99.9 percent of computer users are on Microsoft Windows. Mac users cannot bank or shop online, nor do these users have access to government websites. The same goes for users of Linux, the free user-generated OS, and those using Mozilla Firefox or Opera to browse the web. The observation comes from an early 2007 entry on a Japanese blog, written shortly after the blogger's disappointing visit to Korea. It is not an unfair assessment nor is it borne of jealousy. Korea's Internet monoculture has been a subject of concern here for some time and remains an issue. In a recently published book, Kim Ki-chang, a professor at Koryo University, says that Korea's Internet environment is so unsound that nothing like it can be found in any other country in the world. What is the problem? For one thing, accessing many Korean websites requires jumping through hoops not found anywhere else in the world. This may mean installing unfamiliar software programs, one to ensure secure access, another to protect against keystroke tracking, another for personal firewall protection, and on top of that, an antivirus program, all to be able to do some banking online. Nowhere else are websites so complicated and inconvenient. It is also a uniquely Korean peculiarity that the programs needed for access to secure websites are compatible only with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Many are based on the ActiveX framework from Microsoft. And while there exist other technologies that perform the same function, none are in use in Korea. As a result, web browsers such as Firefox used by over 20 percent of users worldwide have no presence here. The average computer user may not care whether it is ActiveX or something else that allows convenient and secure access. But that is misguided. In the event of worldwide Internet chaos, as was the case in January 2003 or during the DDoS attacks in July, Korea gets hit the hardest. Its online environment has become one where users habitually hit "yes" for every dialog box that pops up and install programs without a second thought. Koreans are the easiest prey in the world for hackers intent on spreading computer viruses and using zombies. Whenever Microsoft releases a new operating system, such as Windows Vista, or a new version of Explorer, only in Korea is there a fuss about previous versions not working. The country's closed and outdated computing environment is overly dependent on ActiveX. The following is from a post earlier this month on a blog maintained by British freelance IT experts: "Korea's excellent Internet infrastructure may be useless as long as its software programs are adopting outdated technologies." Korea is like an oxcart going along a highway. A few experts and industry players cannot change the situation. A determined effort on a national scale is needed.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 10/27/2009

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Korea's Robot Industry to Grow 10 Pct in 2009

South Korea's robot industry is expected to grow around 10 percent on-year this year, fueled by gains in the production of service robots, the government said Wednesday. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the industry's annual production could surpass 910 billion won (US$770 million) this year, compared with 826.8 billion won tallied for 2008. It said that predicted gains are to be mostly generated by the 87 percent increase in service robots like those used for cleaning, recreation, education and surveillance. Production of manufacturing robots that make up the bulk of the country's production capability may gain 2.6 percent on-year."Total production of these types of machines may reach 90.5 billion won this year, with private service robots accounting for more than 71.3 billion won," the report said. Specialized robots that cover surveillance and rescue are to make up the remainder. The ministry in charge of the country's industrial policies said that of all companies in the robotics-field, 58.8 percent or 120 companies started operations after 2000. It said of all companies in this field, 87.8 percent reported annual sales of less than 5 billion won.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 11/04/2009

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SK Telecom, KT, Among World's 50 Most Valuable Telecom Brands

Two South Korean telecom companies have been named among the 50 most expensive telecom brands in the world, according to an industry report made available here Friday. The brand value of SK Telecom, South Korea's leading mobile carrier, ranked 24th in the world with US$2.14 billion this year, up from $1.77 billion a year ago, according to Brand Finance, a global consulting firm. KT, South Korea's dominant fixed-line operator and No. 2 mobile carrier, came at 34th with $1.55 billion, the London-based consultancy said. Britain's Vodafone ranked first with $24.65 billion, trailed by AT&T and Verizon of the United States with $19.85 billion and $18.85 billion, respectively, Hong Kong's China Mobile with $17.2 billion and France's Orange with $16.8 billion.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 11/06/2009

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INDONESIA: Evolving Landscape of Telecoms Market

Indonesia's wireless communications market has made significant progress over the last five years. By the end of 2008 there were over 150 million mobile devices active in the market and industry revenues grew to nearly US$80 billion. Indonesia is also one of the most competitive markets in the region with 11 mobile operators, which is rivaled only by India. With abundance of growth opportunities spread across Indonesia's telecom landscape, robust subscriber and revenue growth is bound to continue in Indonesia. Marc Einstein, Industry Manager for ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan elaborates on the pressing issues that Indonesian operators are currently grappling with. "Despite the significant growth potential in mobile subscribers and revenues growth, the Indonesian market has far too many mobile operators at the moment and consolidation will happen within the next year. The Indonesian market price-war seems to have subsided, and the operators will have to move on from 2G business models to 3G ones." Einstein notes that operators in Indonesia have seen phenomenal growth in mobile data usage driven by smartphones and USB dongles, but will have to manage pricing and marketing strategies appropriately to manage costs and ensure profitable growth. On the other end, Einstein is positive that fixed-to-mobile substitution will continue to grow. "The fixed line base is likely to continue to decrease as prepaid wireless tariffs are considerably lower than fixed line rates." In a bid to explore this potential and dissect the growth pie, Frost & Sullivan returns to Indonesia with the 2nd annual Indonesia Telecoms International Summit, which will be held from November 11-12, 2009 in Jakarta.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/22/2009

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MALAYSIA: Mobile Market Reaching the Maturity Stage

A research note from IDC notes that with Malaysia's mobile services market reaching a maturity stage, mobile phone vendors will have a challenging time increasing the mobile unit shipments in the country and will need to be flexible while executing their business strategies. The impact of the global economic slowdown in year 2009 will also impact the mobile phone vendor bottom line in year 2009 but is expected to recover quickly once the Malaysia economic improves. "The market outlook for the mobile phone industry in year 2009 may not be as strong as a year ago but the market is anticipated to improve over time and reach 6.4 million units by year 2013. Strong competition by incumbent mobile phone vendors (Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, Motorola) and late-entrant vendors (Apple, RIM, Google, and Microsoft) in the future will continue to keep the industry fresh and vibrant, creating a strong demand for mobile phones in the market. The migration of 2G subscribers to the 3G network will also increase the number of 3G mobile phones being shipped in Malaysia over the next few years," says Chua Fong Yang, associate analyst, Telecommunications Services, IDC Malaysia.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/12/2009

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Malaysians Still Big on Online Shopping

Despite the weakened economy, Malaysians are entering into the festive spirit, with 6 in 10 shoppers expected to spend more or the same amount during the upcoming holiday season, as compared to last year. According to the latest PayPal survey, the average festive spend amongst Malaysians this year is expected to be RM730, with Chinese New Year topping the spending charts and averaging RM954 per person. PayPal is an online payment service owned by Internet auction giant eBay. Malaysians also proved to be savvy online shoppers, with more than half intending to shop online and 44% of overall holiday expenditure expected to be spent online. They cited time (75%), crowds (64%) and access to a wider range of products (51%) as the main reasons for avoiding the brick-and-mortar shops. Two in five Malaysians prefer buying from online overseas merchants, citing product availability and choice, the offer of well-known brands and a more appealing website experience as the top reasons for shopping overseas.

Yet, overseas sellers should take note of buyer dislikes - high delivery fees, lengthy delivery times and lack of contact during a dispute were cited as the major disadvantages to shopping on overseas websites. When it comes to online shopping, Malaysians are looking for a wider product range, assurance in payment security and product quality for the optimum online shopping experience. "Many online merchants will be gearing up for the festive period and encouragingly it looks like spending is due to remain stable, if not rise in Malaysia," said Mario Shiliashki, general manager of PayPal South-East Asia and India. "Out of the four countries surveyed, Malaysia showed the strongest preference for overseas merchants online." The PayPal survey was conducted by BlackBox from Aug 17 to 30. There were a total of 1,203 participants - 300 respondents per country in India, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as 303 in Thailand. Respondents were made up of online and non-online shoppers, and the major festive seasons polled were Christmas, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. To allow Asian merchants to connect with international online buyers and drive cross-border trade, PayPal recently launched an online Asia Mall at www.paypal-apac.com/apac-mall.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 11/03/2009

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PHILIPPINES: DOST Challenges Caraga Inventors to Find Niche for Science and Technology

"It is a challenge for our inventors and for all of us to find a niche for science and technology to work on towards the development of the country." Thus said Undersecretary Fortunato Dela Peña of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) during the opening of the DOST Mindanao Cluster Science and Technology Fair in one of the convention centers here September 14. Usec. Dela Peña in his speech said that science and technology could well address issues on food, alternative energy, environment, biotechnology, information and communication technology and health. "There is so much that is facing us today and we know that science and technology could help solve or ease some of these burdens. We know that through science we can overcome these challenges and spur development in the country," said Usec. Dela Peña.

Usec. Dela Peña calls on inventors and other stakeholders to continue their innovations and to always think about the ordinary people who should benefit from their innovations. "I call on our inventors to continue their innovations and to always think about the ordinary people who ought to benefit from their innovations," said Usec. Dela Peña. This year's theme, "Responding to Global Challenges through Science and Technology", stresses the importance of science and technology in improving the lives of every Filipino. The fair is a one-week event participated by students from the different schools in Caraga, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) assisted by DOST, regional councils and local inventors among others. Several activities were lined up for the one-week event. Among these is the DOST-LGU Convergence Forum, SMEs Technology Business Forum, DOST-Academe Innovation Forum and Gender Friendly Food Technologies Forum. DOST Caraga also achieve another milestone when it's Regional Science and Technology Laboratory (RSTL) was awarded with ISO 17025 Accreditation by the Philippine Accreditation Office during the opening ceremony today.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 09/16/2009

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E-Payment Firm Targets OFWs

Even with the presence of several electronic payment systems, the Philippines is still far from getting into a cashless society. Nevertheless, the idea persists and is not stopping even local firms from getting into this business. There are a few payment gateways in the Philippines and most of these follow the concept of PayPal. These include Mozcom's PayEasy and AsiaPay. Mobile telecommunications firms, such as Globe and Smart, are also going into this through Smart Money and G-Gash. The concept of an electronic payment gateway is that a user would only carry a card to pay for certain products and services, like a debit card. Even without an e-card, a consumer can still pay for these services by inputting username and password. Essentially, a payment gateway uses the Internet to communicate with merchants and banks to allow for smooth transactions. Another company that is hoping to convince more people to go electronic cash is ECPay, a local firm that started in 2001. The company services mostly local merchants but it is now targeting other markets, particularly overseas Filipinos.

ECPay General Manager Jason Briones aid the company is still largely focusing on expanding their local merchant partners, currently numbered at almost 30, with a total of 3,500 branches nationwide. Briones said they have around 50,000 transactions valued at P10 million per day. In a month, they transact around P4 billion per month, most of which are for utility bills payment. The company is focusing to expand their network of local merchants, as well as introducing some new electronic products for consumers. Some of these include improved services for prepaid credit and electronic ticketing payments. ECPay President Jude Aguilar said that additional targets would be schools and medical facilities. Aguilar said that by linking up with schools, parents will be able to pay for matriculation or hospital bills. "This is also a nifty service especially for OFWs since they will know where their hard-earned money is going," Aguilar said. In addition, Aguilar said the company is also looking to open their first office abroad to address the OFW market. One country they are looking at is Hong Kong. "This is for our international bills payment to compliment other remittance services," Aguilar said.


From http://inquirer.net/ 11/09/2009

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RP Firm Creates M-Commerce App for Mastercard

Credit card giant MasterCard has tapped a Philippine-based firm in developing a mobile phone payment system to be deployed initially in Brazil. The mobile payment service, called MasterCard Mobile Payments Gateway, was developed by Smart Hub, a subsidiary of mobile telecommunications firm Smart Communications. The said services will be deployed through two local banks, Itau Unibanco and Redecard, and will be delivered via Brazilian telecommunications firm Vivo. The service allows issuers, acquirers, merchants, and mobile network operators to provide customized mobile payment services. End-users of this service will be able to pay for a wide variety of services and products using their mobile phones. These include bills payment, fund transfer, remittances, person-to-person transfers, payroll, ATM transactions, and mobile phone credit reloading, among others. After the pilot stage, MasterCard plans to introduce the service to selected countries. "Successful growth of mobile payments around the world requires participation, communication and collaboration among all members of the mobile payments value chain," according to Napoleon Nazareno, president and CEO of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and Smart Communications.


From http://inquirer.net/ 11/17/2009

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THAILAND: $100-$200 Million Reserve for 3G Licenses Proposed

Thailand's telecoms regulator has proposed a minimum reserve price of between US$100-200 million for the upcoming 3G license auction. The proposals for the auction will be put to the board of the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) later this week for approval. If approved, the the actions are expected to take place by the end of this year, with the winning networks anticipated to formally launch services in the second half of 2010. Gen Choochart Promprasit, the chairman of the industry regulator told the Bangkok Post that the prices were considered thoroughly based on several criteria. These included industry data, auction prices in other countries, prices of spectrum that TOT had returned to the NTC, and prices of the 1900 MHz spectrum that TOT bought from CAT Telecom for the Thai Mobile service. In total four licenses will be offered, with three of 10 Mhz and a fourth with 15Mhz of radio spectrum.

The incumbent operators are already running small trials of 3G networks over their existing GSM radio spectrum, while CDMA operator, CAT Telecom is seeking an overseas investor to assist in 3G rollout plans. The regulator is also planning to auction of a series of WiMAX licenses. A recent report suggested that the licenses should be offered on a regional basis. The auction of the licenses is not expected to happen until after the 3G license auctions, which should also give the regulator time to refarm the WiMAX spectrum from its current users. Debt ratings agency, Fitch recently said that despite the high capex - the key benefit of the 3G licence is lower regulatory costs - which should boost the operators' profit margin over the medium-to-long-term.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/12/2009

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GSMA Supports Thai Government's Move to Open 3G Auction

The GSM Association has welcomed and supported the Thai Government initiative to license the 2100MHz spectrum band for 3G Mobile Broadband. The GSMA urged the government to proceed with the license auction without delay. At a seminar endorsed by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the GSMA highlighted that Thailand will gain significant economic and social benefits through this new wave of investment in mobile infrastructure. Based on calculations by LECG, a global economic consultancy, annual industry investment of US$1 billion per year could mean annual GDP gains of US$2.3 billion and nearly 80,000 jobs per year over the period of 2010-2014. The LECG report also highlights that the upcoming 2100MHz spectrum license offers Thailand a significant opportunity to encourage further investment and competition in the mobile telecommunications sector. A well-designed and transparent spectrum auction process is likely to generate the most efficient use of scarce spectrum. "The GSMA believes that any further delays and changes in the licensing programme would affect the country's credibility, increase uncertainty and the risk perception associated to it. This would in turn reduce the chance of receiving the investments that are vital to the Thai economy to recover from global recession," said Sebastian Cabello, Regulatory Manager, GSMA. "The impact of Mobile Broadband technologies in emerging markets is transformative and will play a crucial role in narrowing the "digital divide" in broadband between developed nations and nations like Thailand."

A recent World Bank econometrics analysis of 120 countries estimated that for every 10-percentage-point increase in the penetration of broadband services, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points (Qiang 2009). This growth effect of broadband is even stronger in developing countries than in developed economies. In Thailand, in particular, investing in advanced mobile networks would boost its incipient software applications and local content industries, increasing enterprise connectivity and enabling greater mobility across its territory. "Although 65.3 million Thai citizens have access to mobiles today, only 1.8 million enjoy broadband services, which highlights that the population is desperately in need of broadband access, a need that may be addressed through investment in 3G networks if they have any hope catching up with neighboring countries," said Cabello. LECG estimates the annual consumer benefit from the introduction of 3G services in Thailand will exceed US$1 billion per year by 2014, contingent on a clear policy framework that promotes open and fair competition for all players.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/01/2009

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Vinaphone Joins Asian Mobile Alliance

Vinaphone has become the first Vietnamese operators participating in Conexus, one of the biggest mobile alliances in Asia. Conexus has 11 members, which are the top mobile operators in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. It has up to 240 million of subscribers in total. As a member of the alliance, VinaPhone's customers will enjoy low roaming charges and various services when they visit countries covered by Conexus members' networks. As of November 17, subscribers of Conexus alliance will enjoy SMS charge of $0.2/message when they roam to any member network of the alliance. The ceremony announcing VinaPhone's membership took place in Hong Kong on November 17.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/18/2009

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VIETNAM: Half of Official Subscribers May Be Inactive

Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) has said that around half of the SIM cards recorded as customers by the operators are actually in use. According to the MoIC, by early October 2009, Vietnam had 113.5 million fixed and mobile subscribers meaning 132.5 phones per 100 residents. Mobile users account for 86.95 percent of the population. Previous reports had suggested that the country had 111 million mobile phone accounts. By comparison, according to estimates from the Mobile World analysts, the country has 73 million active accounts. The local Viet Nam Net newspaper reported that these inactive numbers were simcards delivered by mobile operators during their promotion campaigns. People only used these numbers to make calls until the accounts were empty. The country's operators have been engaged in a fierce price war that has often resulted in SIM cards being sold at less than half their face value causing a sharp surge in churn rates. A shortage of phone numbers recently lead Vietnam to impose a limit on the number of phones that each customer can own. The limit is hardly onerous though, with each person limited to just three SIM cards each.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/09/2009

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BANGLADESH: National Board of Revenue Starts E-Registration of Businesses

The National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh, is going to introduce online registration service for business firms by January, 2010. NBR's latest efforts include establishing e-Governance to bring better service facilities to tax payers by increasing use of technology to that end. It will also put in use of an effective online system to help tax payers in presenting tax returns and resolve various complexities and weakness impeding collecting tax at source. The introduction of the online system all in three areas will contribute to improving transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the country's apex revenue collecting body.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/13/2009

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INDIA: Delhi Firm in Talks with Government to Digitise NREGA Payments

After launching its mobile payment system Beam, Delhi-based Suvidha Starnet is in talks with the central government for facilitating payments towards National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in three states. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are likely to be the three states where the project will be flagged off. The payment service, which allows subscribers to transact using their mobiles or landline phones, has recently extended its operations in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The aim of the payment service is the financial inclusion of those who do not have any bank account.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/09/2009

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IT Companies in India Still Waiting for Promised Domestic Boost

For India's IT companies that relied heavily on the US and Europe - NeGP widened the domestic market and provided an opportunity to work with the government. Its projects needed core infrastructure, support and technical assistance in various areas, including agriculture, income tax, land records, pensions and passports. Similarly, when the government introduced an offset clause on defence purchases Indian IT companies again sensed opportunity. Government projects, defence and homeland security seemed to be the next wave to power the growth of IT companies. But three years after the announcements were made, only a few of the projects have been awarded. With the US and European economies yet to recover and international clients still cautious about their IT spending, companies have been forced to devote more attention to the promising domestic market.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/09/2009

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IT Firms Set Their Eyes on E-District Project

Bangalore: After vying for e-governance projects like e-passport and e-biz to boost their revenues, Indian IT firms can now look forward to another initiative by the government called e-district. The project is part of the state mission mode projects under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). IT firms could receive around Rs. 2,000 crore worth of contracts from the e-district project. The project is aimed at e-enabling the delivery of high-volume citizen-centric services such as issue of certificates, pension and ration card related services, at the district level. It is being piloted in 37 districts, and the national rollout for the project is likely to start by March-April 2010. It is scheduled to be completed by December 2011, reports Business Line. According to a source close to the development, the pilot stage in 14 states entails an expenditure of about Rs. 4 crore each in 37 districts. "The national rollout would involve 600 districts," the source said. The modalities of the national implementation are yet to be finalized but broadly it would involve the entire IT hardware infrastructure, besides application development and middleware, system software, consultancy, programme management and support. National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been nominated for the pilot phase of the project in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala while Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is the frontrunner for Jharkhand and West Bengal. The bidding for Maharashtra is currently on. "Overall the program aims to take IT in Governance to another level, the impact of which will be felt on the delivery of citizen services," said Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Vice-President and Head - Government Industry Solutions Unit, TCS.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 09/15/2009

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E-Payment of Commercial Taxes

The facility to pay value added tax (VAT) online by those involved in commercial activities is available for use by Theni traders. Commercial taxes can be paid online through the State Bank of India's website by those involved in trade and business in Theni district. The traders remitted the taxes at the offices of the Department of Commercial Taxes or bank branches after filing e-returns. Efforts are under way to extend the facility to Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of Baroda in due course.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/21/2009

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Reliance Communications and Atom Technologies Sign m-Commerce Agreement

Reliance Communications (RCOM) has entered into a strategic tie-up with atom technologies, the leading m-commerce solutions provider from the Financial Technologies India Limited group. With this partnership RCOM will now be able to offer a fast, secure, inter-operable and the most convenient platform to conclude payment transactions using Reliance Mobile. Atom will offer through RCOM, multiple banks (Indian and Foreign) as well as merchants on a common platform, thereby allowing its subscribers to make payments across the entire merchant base. Reliance subscribers will now be able to purchase insurance services, DTH recharges, movie tickets, books & periodicals, consumer goods, holiday packages as well as bus & train tickets using their Reliance Mobile connection, these services will also be available on R-world for all GSM customers. Currently atom technologies have over 100 merchants registered for mobile commerce transactions.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/10/2009

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SRI LANKA: IT Firm to Be Bought by London Stock Exchange

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's Millennium IT will be acquired by London Stock Exchange and its faster trading software would replace the British bourse's existing platform, a media report said. The report said LSE could pay around 50 million sterling pounds (about 9.4 billion rupees) to buy the technology firm. Britain's Financial Times newspaper said MillenniumIT's system was claimed to the fastest in the world, handling a trade in 130 microseconds, compared with 250 microseconds for the Nasdaq's OMX system. The MillenniumIT system can handle up to one million messages per second, compared with 20,000 on the London Stock Exchange's TradElect system and Chi-X Europe's system which processes 225,000 messages per second, the report said. Mr Rolet told the Financial Times this month that lack of capacity was holding the LSE back. "We have to [upgrade] because the technology specifications are no longer competitive and that's impacting our ability to support volume growth," Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange as saying. MilleniumIT, founded by Sri Lankan Tony Weerasinghe developed the Colombo Stock Exchange trading software, making it the most advanced trading platform in the region at the time. The firm was financed by venture capital funds. There were expectations at one time of an exit through a public listing.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 09/15/2009

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PAKISTAN: All Marriott Blast-Hit IT Firms Resume Operations

ISLAMABAD: Almost all IT companies, housed in Evacuee Trust Complex (ETC) and relocated after the suicide blast at the Hotel on September 20, 2008, have completely resumed their operations by fulfilling contractual obligations to their local and international clients. Talking to Business Recorder, an official of the Ministry of Information Technology said that there were around 23 IT companies, housed at ETC building, adjacent to the Marriott Hotel, and after the suicide attack these were relocated at various locations in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The bomb blast also affected the ETC building, claiming at least 40 lives. "The building was the hub of IT industry in Islamabad with around 23 prominent ICT companies and various other multinationals", the official said. "Most of the companies in the building were allied offices of international firms which have proper business continuity plans in place as a part of their strategic business plans," he added. The official said that although the soft structure of building was smashed with interrupted power but the equipment, data, record and furniture other than glass structure of all companies was reported safe and intact. This temporarily paralysed the operations of the tenant companies in the building. The building was initially sealed but after the intervention of Federal Secretary of Information Technology and MD of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), physical access was allowed to the tenant companies on emergency basis to remove their critical assets. Companies collected their critical equipment, furniture and records to restore their operations from alternate locations / facilities on war footing. Many companies such as iKonami, Ovex Technologies, Cogilent Solutions, Jin Technologies, LMKR, PiSigma etc restarted their operations from alternative sites in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. To facilitate those affected, vigorous efforts were made by the Government to identify and arrange alternative facilities in the twin cities for both IT Companies and Call Centres on urgent basis to ensure continuation of business. Both public and private sectors actively worked together to compensate the temporary losses suffered by the industry.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 09/02/2009

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IRAQ: Investor Looking to Sell Stake in Iraqi Mobile Network

Kuwait based logistics company, Agility has corroborated media reports that it is considering selling its minority stake in Iraq's Korek Telecom. A report in the Al-Watan newspaper, citing sources close to the company board of directors said that talks to sell the stake were nearing completion. In a statement to the Dubai stock exchange, Agility said "The company will always look to exit its investments if that was to the benefit of its shareholders and stakeholders," but noted that there is nothing material to disclose at the moment. There were reports last year that the UAE's Etisalat was in talks to take a stake in an unnamed Iraqi operator - the only realistic option being Korek Telecom. The future of Korek Telecom has been in question for some time after a partnership with Orascom Telecom broke down, leaving Korek with a national license, but coverage that is limited to mainly the Northern region of the country. An expansion to national coverage would need the financial muscle of an outside partner. Agility's private equity unit paid US$250 million for its stake in Korek Telecom in 2007.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 08/24/2009

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Cellcos Criticise Plans to License Fourth Mobile Operator

The Iraqi Ministry of Communications' (MoC's) plans to launch a fourth government-backed national mobile operator have met with criticism from the country's cellcos, despite assurances that it would be subject to the same constraints as existing telecoms providers, ITP.net reports. The country's former minister of communications, Mohammed Tawfik Allawi, announced at the Iraq Telecoms conference in London that as stipulated by the draft communications law, licence fees and revenue sharing with the regulator, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), must be the same as with existing mobile operators in order to avoid one company gaining an unfair advantage. Nevertheless, mobile operators reportedly expressed concerns that the MoC already owns incumbent telco Iraq Telecommunications and Post Company (ITPC), and would rather a bidding process take place. Allawi also spoke about the country's draft communications law, stating that the new legislation has not yet been passed due to delays from both the parliament and the ministry of justice. He added: 'We are now left with one final chance to pass the law in December this year, otherwise we will have to wait until after the coming general election.'


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 11/12/2009

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IRAN: State Telecom to Sell 51 Percent of Stock in Privatization Bid

The state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran will offer 51 percent of its stock for sale in Tehran's stock market next week. The value of the stock is estimated at 7 billion dollars. Radio Farda reports that one of the parties most interested in acquiring a controlling stake in the company is the Revolutionary Guards, already a major economic force in Iran. The Guards are owners or investors in the ship building sector, oil and gas extraction, petrochemicals, agriculture, and air cargo transport, among other sectors. The stock sell-off by the Telecommunication Company of Iran is in line with long-standing government goals of privatizing state businesses. However, the acquisition of the stock by the Revolutionary Guards, if realized, would simply transfer control of the telecommunications company from the state to one of the country's biggest quasi-state entities.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 09/04/2009

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Iran to Make New Attempt to Issue 3rd Mobile Phone License

Iran's newly appointed minister of Communications and Information Technology has announced that the country will make yet another attempt to award its 3rd mobile operator license. Reza Taqipour told the Tehran Times that, "we predict foreign investors are interested in the Third Operator project." Taqipour was speaking at the minister's introduction ceremony in Tehran on Sunday in which he expressed his plans for his period as minister. The tender for the license, which also included a two-year monopoly on 3G services was initially contested with an Etisalat backed consortium winning. This was later cancelled and allegedly awarded to Zain who denied submitting a formal tender. A third claimed award to Russia's Megafon was also then denied to have occurred. That Megafon cited "factors related to conducting business in Iran" as part of its reason for not wanting the license ties in with a recent decision by Indonesia's state-owned telco, PT Telekomunikasi, which recently decided not to pursue an option to buy a stake in Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) after deciding that the risks outweighed the potential rewards. Despite the Minister's confidence that the tender can be reissued, it is now not clear if there are any other companies interested in picking up the license.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/07/2009

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KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh Telecom Debt Affirmed with a Negative Outlook

Fitch Ratings has today affirmed Kazakhtelecom's (Kaztel) Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default ratings (IDRs) at 'BB', Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'B' and National Long-term rating at 'A(kaz)'. The Outlooks on the Long-term IDRs and the National Long-term rating are Negative. The Negative Outlook reflects a substantial refinancing risk attributed to the US$350 million syndicated loan maturity in July 2010. Fitch expects this loan to be repaid in part with the company's accumulated cash, whilst the remainder of the outstanding loan is likely to be refinanced with new external debt to be received by Kaztel in the near future. However, Kaztel has yet to secure new external debt. If the company does not successfully secure new debt in the next few months, Kaztel's ratings are likely to be reviewed for a downgrade. In addition, the Negative Outlook reflects Fitch's concern that part of Kaztel's cash, which is mainly kept in local banks, may be effectively restricted for some period due to the banks' possible tight liquidity. This could in turn impact Kaztel's liquidity which was lower than the company's short-term debt plus the syndicated loan at end-June 2009.

On a negative note, Fitch also underlines that nearly all of Kaztel's debt is, and will remain denominated in or linked to, foreign currency, whilst the company's cash flow is denominated predominantly in tenge. This mismatch results in a substantial currency risk. In case of a further tenge devaluation comparable to that in early 2009, Kaztel's leverage is likely to exceed 2x which could impact the company's rating.On a positive note, the ratings factor in Fitch's expectations of a decline in Kaztel's leverage and an improvement to generated free cash flow (FCF), following reduced capex, as well as the expected divestment of Kaztel's 51% stake in its highly-leveraged mobile subsidiary, Mobile Telecom-Service (MTS), which Fitch views as likely at end-2009. At end-2008, Kaztel's leverage (net debt/EBITDA including associate dividends) was 1.7x, which left the company limited headroom for raising leverage without affecting its rating. Although the 25% tenge devaluation in early 2009 puts substantial pressure on the company's leverage, Fitch expects leverage will not increase materially or will even decrease by end-2009, due to reduced capex and the planned MTS disposal. For the same reasons, Kaztel's FCF, which has been negative in 2005-2008, is expected to improve, although remain negative in 2009, and turn positive from 2010.

Kaztel's ratings continue to be supported by the company's dominant market position in the fixed-line voice and internet services segments (89% and 67% of the market at end-2008, respectively) in Kazakhstan ('BBB-'/'F3'/Negative Outlook) which is unlikely to be challenged in the short- to medium-term. The ratings are also underpinned by Kaztel's sustainable EBITDA generation, with an EBITDA margin after associate dividends of 37.4% and an organic EBITDA margin of 30.5% at end-2008. Fitch forecasts that these margins will increase following the MTS disposal. Kaztel is a fixed-line incumbent operating in Kazakhstan. The state holds an indirect 51% controlling interest in Kaztel through National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/14/2009

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TURKEY: Megafon and Turkcell to Be Merged into Single Holding Company

­There is to be further tidying up of the often complex Russian-Nordic telecoms investments, after TeliaSonera and Altimo agreed to merge their respective direct and indirect interests in Turkcell and Megafon, into a new company. The new company will be established in a western jurisdiction and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The decision also settles the long running legal dispute between the two companies over Çukurova Group's sale of its shares in Turkcell. The aim is to create an international operator, with over 90 million subscribers in Russia, Turkey and the CIS countries, and with well functioning corporate governance. The new company will focus on developing Turkcell and MegaFon as well as expanding into new emerging markets. Once established, the new company will own a majority of the shares in both Turkcell and Megafon. AF Telecom, the third major shareholder in Megafon, is also invited to join the partnership. Provided AF Telecom joins, TeliaSonera and the Russian investors will have substantially similar ownership and equal influence over the new company.

None of the major shareholders will have the possibility to acquire control over the new company other than by consent of the other major shareholders. The board will include independent board members, who will be able to resolve any deadlocks, if board members nominated by one of the major shareholders have a different opinion from the board members nominated by the other major shareholders. The chairman of the new company will be elected among the independent board members. Both Turkcell and Megafon will continue to operate as separate companies, retaining their own brands and marketing strategies. TeliaSonera and Altimo have agreed to collaborate and align their efforts to resolve all ongoing legal disputes between each of them and Çukurova Group to make the establishment of the new company possible. Such collaboration is expected to result in a speedy resolution of the disputes. Subject to their satisfactory resolution, the parties have agreed that Altimo acquires Çukurova Group's indirect shareholding in Turkcell and contributes those shares to the new company without any premium.

Lars Nyberg, President and CEO of TeliaSonera, said "I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement with Altimo to combine our efforts in resolving the legal disputes, which have been going on far too long. But the real value of the agreement is in the execution of it. The shareholder structure and control of Turkcell and Megafon will improve, as well as the liquidity of these assets. We have focused on creating a governance structure where all major parties will have good possibilities to influence, without single-handedly controlling, the management of the new telecommunications group. There is also very little risk of disruptive deadlock situations. It may take some time before we reach the end result, but the new listed company will have exciting future prospects and add value to our shareholders". The ownership of Turkcell has been subject to several legal disputes since the former controlling shareholder, Çukurova, effectively sold the same shareholding interest twice, first to TeliaSonera and then to Altimo.

TeliaSonera has received a ruling from an arbitration tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva, stating that the share purchase agreement is valid and that Çukurova shall deliver its indirect controlling shareholding interest in Turkcell to TeliaSonera. Subsequent to agreeing to sell such shareholding interest to TeliaSonera, Çukurova sold a portion of its indirect controlling interest in Turkcell to Altimo and pledged a further indirect controlling interest in Turkcell in exchange of a loan, which Altimo claims Çukurova later defaulted on. As a result, Altimo has claimed in legal proceedings in the British Virgin Islands that they have validly appropriated such indirect controlling shareholding interest in Turkcell, due to the default by Çukurova. Fintur Holdings is a joint venture between TeliaSonera and Turkcell, in which TeliaSonera owns 58.55 percent and Turkcell 41.45 percent. Fintur is the major shareholder of leading mobile operations in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldava.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/12/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Queensland Government Gets Smart with the ICT Economy

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) welcomed the Queensland Government's announcement of two new ICT strategies under the banner Towards Q2 that will drive greater economic competitiveness and social improvements in the future for Queensland. Speaking to over 1,000 attendees at an AIIA event in Brisbane, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced a three part approach to build a better Queensland through the intelligent management, application and development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The plan comprises a strategy for a 'One Government' approach for the delivery of ICT services to Queenslanders along with a clearly articulated five-year implementation plan. A third component, Information and Communication Technology for Tomorrow's Queensland, sets out an approach to ensure ICT industry development in the state. AIIA National Chairman John Grant praised Queensland's recognition of the contribution that ICT will make to the economic and social future of the State.

Mr Grant said, "The development of Queensland's ICT strategy has involved broad and deep engagement with the technology industry, through AIIA for many years and more recently through Queensland's ICT Industry Workgroup, of which AIIA is a member." "The development of this productive relationship between industry and government will contribute greatly to the outcomes that the government is seeking to deliver. It will shape the success of the government's goals in areas from the delivery of savings across business as usual activities to unified procurement activities. By doing so, it provides the opportunity for the industry to develop and deliver solutions that more effectively meet the needs of government and the Queensland community." "The AIIA would welcome similar visionary approaches to achieving the value of transformational ICT from other major states and territories." AIIA Queensland Chair, Kirsty Garrett said that the Queensland Government's strategy represented a very effective approach to ICT with the potential to deliver many positive outcomes for the State. This ranged from an increase in community engagement and connectivity to a more cost-efficient government and the development of capacity to create innovative solutions for many of State's most pressing issues.

Ms Garrett said, "It is clear that the Premier 'gets IT'. From the vision statement to implementation strategy and industry development plan, Queensland is positioning itself for the development of a smart economy that will make the most of the rollout of the National Broadband Network." MobileIP, a Queensland based company and a winner of the 2009 iAwards for the Communications and e-Government categories for its Free2move system, welcomed the Government's announcement. Maree Adshead, CEO of MobileIP said, "As a small IT business with government customers, this announcement is really encouraging as it will assist other small innovative IT businesses like us in the procurement process. Any assistance the Queensland Government can provide in helping to promote Queensland developed IT products and solutions overseas will certainly help Mobile IP in our international expansion plans." According to the 2006-07 Annual Survey of the Queensland ICT Industry, the Queensland ICT industry comprises of an estimated 5,700 businesses employing a direct workforce of 70,000 and generates revenues of approximately $29 billion and exports of $1.15 billion.


From http://www.aiia.com.au/ 09/10/2009

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Public and Private Sector Join Hands to Address Skill Shortages in Small and Medium Businesses in Australia

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today announced that the Rudd Government will co-fund up to 11,000 additional training places for small and medium business in a $25 million program designed to address skills shortages as the economy improves. The Enterprise Based Productivity Places Program (EBPPP) will provide up to 90 per cent of the cost of training from Certificate III to Advanced Diploma level. It is designed to increase the skills of existing workers especially in occupations on the priority occupations list. The Government's contribution will depend on the size of the business, with organisations with less than 100 employees receiving 90 per cent of their training costs, those with between 100 and 199 receiving 75 percent, and those with 200 or more employees receiving 50 per cent of their training costs.

The program which is part of the larger Productivity Places Program will deliver training and skills needs, create training pathways, recognise existing skills of workers and provide training places. It follows a successful trial due to finish in December where more than 1200 workers have received training. Under the EBPPP the National Industry Skills Council network will collaborate with a number of small, medium and large enterprises, national professional associations and industry bodies. Industry Skills Councils have specialised knowledge that positions them well to work with enterprises and support them in developing proposals for funding. The EBPPP will start immediately and is continuing the Government's commitment to strengthen productivity and protect the Australian economy. Partnership between industry and the government will be essential to the success of this new program and the final number of employees trained will depend on the takeup of the program by businesses.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/06/2009

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New Report Studies Recent Trends in E-Commerce and Mobile Commerce

MarketResearch.com has announced the addition of Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd's new report "Global Digital Economy - E-Commerce & M-Commerce Trends & Statistics," to their collection of E-Commerce market reports. For more information, visit http://www.marketresearch.com/redirect.asp?progid=67618&productid=2492824

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of digital economy in terms of e-commerce and m-commerce. It offers analyses, statistics, forecasts and key trends for the e-payment, e-banking, m-payment and m-banking services. It provides insight into the most popular online and mobile content and services. An overview of advertising and marketing using digital media is also provided. Regional information on developments in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific are also provided.

Subjects covered include: Key elements of the digital economy; Global e-commerce, e-payment and e-banking market overview and statistics; Key online services and statistics; Global m-commerce, m-payment and m-banking market overview and statistics; Key mobile content and services; Digital media marketing and advertising; and Brief regional overviews.

Additional Information
The billions of mobile and online Internet users worldwide are creating huge opportunities for the development of e-commerce and m-commerce. The financial crisis has focused global attention on new infrastructure developments and facilitated a unique opportunity to shift the broadband emphasis from a high-speed Internet service to a national infrastructure for the digital economy that will underpin a range of positive social and economic developments. E-commerce is just one sector that will benefit from improvements in infrastructure and a trans-sector approach to governance. E-government, e-health, e-education, social media and e-science are also important elements of a digital economy. While the economic slowdown is curbing e-commerce growth somewhat in most markets, there is evidence so far that the online retail market has remained steady due mostly to the lower prices and convenience offered via online shopping. Spending on online advertising also continues to grow in the face of economic uncertainty and in 2010 online advertising should account for around 13% of overall ad spending worldwide.

Alternative payment systems are gaining much attention in 2009 as consumer demand grows for different payment methods other than credit cards. As online retailers expand globally they are also beginning to discover that cultural differences may impact upon payment method preferences. For example, in the developing markets where credit cards and bank accounts are scarcer, consumers may prefer to pay in person at a bank or by postal order. Electronic bank transfers and billing goods to phone accounts are other examples of alternative payment methods. As the complexities and security issues surrounding e-payments increase, some online retailers are turning to outsourced payment processing companies to manage their e-payment solutions.

There is a massive change underway in the mobile media market as it becomes unshackled from the operators' portals that have dominated it for a decade, all without having made any significant inroads into the content use of mobile users. The new capped data packages, fuelled by further competition, will see a total revamp of the mobile media market. It will no longer be based on portals but on direct services by content and services providers via open source phones and mobile-friendly Internet-based services. The next step is the continued emergence of m-commerce and in particular m-payment services.

There is keen interest in m-payment and m-banking among mobile operators in developing countries such as Kenya, the Philippines and India. The revenues are indeed growing, but can this new business also be profitable? The often quoted pioneer success story is M-Pesa in Kenya. While M-Pesa by itself is not yet profitable, it is growing very fast and already makes up around 4% of the operator's total revenues (up from only 0.6% in 2008). These developments will create a new e-payment system for the mobile market, away from the hefty charges the carriers put on Premium Rate SMS payment facilities. However, there is a limit to the mobile networks' spectrum capacity, and we will have to wait for true IP-based wireless broadband to become available before the operators can fully deliver on the promise of mass market mobile broadband. In 2009 the interest surrounding Near Field Communications for m-commerce and m-payments continues unabated, with further trials being conducted around the world. Financial transactions via mobile phones are set to rise substantially in the coming years as banks and mobile operators continue to work together.

Social media is becoming a key focus in the digital economy as the leading players in this sector look to expand their services and incorporate e-payment and m-payment services. This seems a logical move for companies such as Facebook, as they have built up large and loyal customer bases from social networking services. Around 20% of Facebook's online users now access the service via mobile each month. Its online customer base sits at around 300 million and Facebook is expanding into e-payments/m-payments via partnerships with Zong and Boku. This report provides a valuable insight into the developments taking place in the digital economy in terms of e-commerce and m-commerce. It includes information and broad global market statistics for the e-commerce, e-payment, e-banking sectors as well as the m-commerce, m-payment and m-banking sectors. The report also includes brief case studies on some of the key markets identified for future growth such as the USA, China and Africa. Regional information on developments in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific are also included.


From http://www.marketwire.com/ 11/10/2009

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E-Business Thrives in Economic Downturn

Government stimulus packages implemented to combat the global economic downturn have benefited e-businesses by giving them better broadband infrastructure, according to a report by global telecommunications website BuddeComm, Global Digital Economy - E-Government, E-Health and E-Education Trends. "E-government, e-health and e-education are some of the most important industries to benefit from advancements in broadband infrastructure ... countries have begun to understand that broadband transmission infrastructure is not merely important for the direct social and economic use of citizens, but that it is equally important for the digital economy and includes critical sectors such as healthcare, education and smart grids," the report noted.

It pointed out that a number of governments, including Australia's, have taken the lead on an e-government level, and have also recognised how going digital can assist in areas such as healthcare. BuddeCom highlighted: "The financial crisis has focused global attention on new infrastructure developments and facilitated a unique opportunity to shift the broadband emphasis from a high-speed internet service to a national infrastructure for the digital economy that will underpin a range of positive social and economic developments." (by Adeline Teoh)


From http://www.dynamicexport.com.au/ 11/18/2009

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NEW ZEALAND: Move to Super City Could Hit IT Snags

A stocktake of Auckland's information technology systems has highlighted the huge challenge of abolishing Auckland's eight councils and moving to a Super City. The complex wire diagram shows the challenge of merging different software products across a multitude of services into a single system to drive the Super City. Mike Foley, overseeing the information technology changeover for the Auckland Transition Agency, said although councils often used the same software they operated it differently. "It's like owning a Ford or a Holden. They may look the same but one runs on diesel and one runs on petrol." The timeframe and cost of integrating the information technology system is unknown. Councils spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on information technology and have contracts that run for years. Executive chairman Mark Ford said the agency would not have an optimal system in place when the Super City comes into effect on November 1 next year. There was simply not enough time to hand over things like a new information technology system, he said. Mr Ford said the goal was to maintain service levels for ratepayers from November 1 and, in some cases, improve service levels.

The agency, he said, aimed to have a blueprint ready for the new council to achieve efficiencies in the future. The council is also expected to phase in a single rating system and user pays for water and wastewater. When the Auckland Regional Council tried to introduce a single rating system in 2003 with rises of up to 467 per cent, it resulted in a rates revolt and regional council chairwoman Gwen Bull being tipped out of office. Meanwhile, Rodney District Council chief executive Rodger Kerr-Newell has left the transition agency and returned to the council. Rodney mayor Penny Webster said she had requested that Mr Kerr-Newell come back to focus on things such as a potential carve-up of Rodney. Last week, it was revealed that the Government was looking to split Rodney District in two, leaving urban Whangaparoa and Orewa in the Super City and the area north of Waiwera to be merged with Kaipara District Council. Mr Kerr-Newell was seconded to the agency to be chief executive, but was given the title of "senior adviser" when Mr Ford decided on a day-to-day executive role.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/01/2009

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Green IT Goes on Hold for Now

The recession has shifted power for IT spending away from IT managers and chief information officers to the chief executive or finance officer. That cyclical shift was identified in a survey of 1355 New Zealand and Australian IT decision makers by market research company Connection Research on behalf of CBS Interactive subsidiary ZDNet Australia. Saving money and operating in constrained budgets were the main priorities, with IT budgets slashed and many short-term projects deferred. There was still investment in some areas, such as moving staff onto laptop computers, and people said they were willing to spend on making their applications better fit their business processes. It's not a complete lock-down. Money will be spent over the next six to 12 months on data centre and end-user hardware, web applications, network security, enterprise-wide information access, mobile computing and unified communications. Virtualisation, the process of abstracting computer resources, is also a priority as the technology to do it becomes more available and affordable. That could mean consolidation of servers or other ways to ensure organisations aren't tied to their existing machines.

Despite some hype around the idea, organisations aren't giving much thought to Green IT and carbon footprint reduction just yet. Reducing power consumption is seen as part of a long-term strategy, and will probably be built into the technology refresh cycle rather than being something people will go out and spend money on immediately. The lead there will come from larger organisations, which typically have the resources to focus on such matters. They're now looking at internal cost savings and IT logistics, and taking a more formalised approach to getting efficiency in their IT infrastructure. The survey found small firms are focusing their IT priorities on customer and partner expectations, service responsiveness and increased productivity. Issues like ease of management have dropped down the scale, perhaps because the technology is improving on that front with time, and gaining a competitive edge has also dropped down the scale, with only 55 per cent saying that was a priority for their IT spend. With the decrease in budgets comes the need for a more thorough business case or justification for new projects. Small organisations have tended to defer projects, whereas larger organisations responded to the slow down by moving decision-making and approval to higher levels.

Survey respondents said the most likely projects they would be doing over the next few months would be laptop notebooks, new back-up and recovery systems and archiving projects, refreshing desktops, and increasing data storage capacity and virtualisation. Server, storage and data centre hardware would also get a look in. That could reflect the inevitability of hardware decline - there's only so much extra life you can get from a desktop before the lags start adding up and affecting productivity, not to mention worker morale. There wasn't much appetite for new software and applications technologies. Middleware, logistics and supply chain projects which seem important when there is lots of activity in the supply chain don't seem as important when volumes are down. If people are evaluating applications, it's more likely to be around what they need long term. It's in the long-term planning that Green IT got ticked, with people saying they would evaluate it in 12 to 24 months.

Automobile Association chief information officer Doug Wilson says virtualisation is getting a lot of attention, and it will be a big thing this year as people see the benefits. "We virtualised our stuff when it was invented. It means you don't have huge computer rooms any more. They can be very small. We save a lot on power," he says. Wilson says as an information vendor as well as an IT user, the emphasis on mobility identified in the survey is good news. "There are some exciting things on the close horizon, mostly around mobility and mapping. That side of the business is growing. "We're looking at investing in software for iPhones so members can log calls easier. We're also looking at investment in further automation of our calling systems." He says through investment and acquisition the AA has become what it considers the best source of geospatial data in New Zealand. "Location-based services are the hot item, especially with modern mobile phones, so there is demand being generated for our services."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 10/14/2009

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Building a Mobile Money Network in Papua New Guinea

How can a coffee grower in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea get payment for his produce without having to cross great distances to go to the bank? Can women travel more safely if they don't have to carry cash? Could parents save for school fees using their mobile phones? How can the government and large companies pay their workers in the provinces without moving cash? These questions and many others are answered in a report, "Building a Mobile Money Distribution Network in Papua New Guinea," launched this week in Papua New Guinea. The report is a joint publication by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and the International Finance Corporation. PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is funded by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), European Union, AusAID and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre.

"This report clearly demonstrates that Papua New Guinea has the appropriate technology and infrastructure to support the development of a mobile money system that can serve the people of this country, the vast majority of whom are based in rural areas," UNDP's Freddy Austli who launched the report on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. David McLachlan-Karr, said. "UNDP, through the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme is helping households better manage their money. We see tremendous potential for mobile money systems to have a positive impact on peoples' lives, making them more financially secure and giving them tools to build more sustainable livelihoods, he said. The report outlines how a mobile money system might develop in PNG, what existing networks it might use for "cash in" and "cash out" services, and how mobile money might help individuals, companies and government alike to lower cost and increase security linked to the movement of money.


From http://www.scoop.co.nz/ 11/19/2009

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AFRICA: World Bank to Help Develop High-Speed Internet

"The World Bank said Tuesday it would invest $215 million to help develop high-speed internet infrastructure in central Africa and make the service more accessible to people in the region. 'This program will support the countries of the Central African region in developing their high-speed telecommunications backbone infrastructure to increase the availability of high-speed internet and reduce end-user prices,' it said in a statement..." [Agence France Presse/Factiva] Xinhua adds that "...the Central African Backbone Program (CAB Program) will also help countries harmonize the laws and regulations that govern the ICT sector to increase private sector investment and improve competition, the Bank added. Three countries, Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic - are participating in the initial $26.2 million phase of the Program..." [Xinhua/Factiva] Reuters reports that "...Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sudan can also participate...The 10-year program is being supported through a partnership between the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank..." [Reuters/Factiva]


From http://web.worldbank.org/ 10/07/2009

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East Africa: Health Sector Goes Digital, With Next Epidemic Alert a Click Away

Nairobi - East African Community member states are closer to having an integrated e-health regional information network to identify, confirm and respond rapidly to outbreaks of international ramifications. Following the Bujumbura Ministerial discussion in September to discuss the establishment of the network, the use of ICT in the health sector has been intensified to disseminate information on the outbreak of communicable diseases such as cholera, Rift Valley Fever and H1N1. Donald Charwe, acting Commissioner for Social Welfare in Tanzania's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, said the country was now talking with other partner states of the Community about integrating of their respective national disease-information communications networks to ease the exchange of knowledge on deadly diseases with far reaching life and business implications. Mr Charwe said that an electronic network, the "EAC Regional Integrated eHealth Management System" is being formulated as an outcome of the Bujumbura Ministerial discussion. "Partner states have been urged to develop and harmonise electronic early warning and rapid response systems for communicable disease outbreaks and fast-track the regional e-health system," he said. E-health is a relatively recent term for healthcare best practices, that are supported by electronic processes and communication.

Dr Grace Saguti, a World Health Organisation official in Tanzania, said it is possible to interconnect the available national e-health networks in the region. Dr Saguti said the ministry responsible for health and livestock in the country already have operational e-health informatics networks that can be modified to become regional. According to Dr Saguti, the country's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare uses the Zain network to communicate locally available information on infant mortality and pregnancy-related deaths and disorders from far flung areas to head offices in Dar es Salaam. "Receivers and senders of the information include district health officials, regional health officials and the head offices at Dar es Salaam.The network will use e-health experts to keep governments and the public in the region constantly alert to the threat of outbreaks and ready to respond. It will contribute towards regional health security by combating the cross-border spread of outbreaks, ensuring that appropriate technical assistance reaches affected areas rapidly, and contributing to long-term epidemic preparedness and capacity building.


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/09/2009

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Egypt's Mobile Subscribers Up 40% on Year

Egyptian regulator says country was home to over 53 million mobile customers at end-September. Egypt's national telecommunications regulator said Thursday that the total number of mobile subscribers in Egypt reached 53.43 million at the end of September 2009, a jump of around 40% from the previous year. The total mobile penetration in the most populous Arab country reached around 69.8%, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, or NTRA, said. Mobile subscribers were 38.1 million at the end of September, 2008. Subscribers of Mobinil, the country's largest operator, reached 24.64 million by September 2009, giving it a 46.1% market share. Subscribers of Etisalat Egypt, a subsidiary of United Arab Emirates based Etisalat, were 6.30 million in September 2009, with an 11.8% market share. Subscribers of Vodafone Egypt reached 22.49 million by September 2009, a 42.1% market share.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 11/06/2009

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Rwanda: Gov't Unveils e-Health Programmers

Kigali - The government, through the Ministry of Health, Thursday, unveiled the first batch of software programmers who will be in charge of developing and implementing the Open Medical Record System (OpenMRS). The OpenMRS system that rolled out in Rwanda in August 2006, seeks to nationally track patient-level medical information for improved healthcare delivery. The programmers underwent 11-month training in software development which was conducted by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Rwanda Development Board/IT (RITA), Partners in Health and TRAC Plus. Speaking during the programmers' graduation ceremony held in Serena Hotel, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Agnes Binagwaho said; "This targeted training is part of a bigger health sector puzzle. We have the vision of developing an integrated e-Health system and trained programmers will help us achieve that." Binagwaho noted that the ministry has plans to electronically connect over 500 health facilities in the country hence more expertise in programming needs to be mobilized and developed.

The event saw the programmers receive certificates of completion in Electronic Health Software Development and Implementation. Speaking at the event, the Deputy CEO in charge ICT/RITA in Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Patrick Nyirishema, congratulated the programmers and called upon them to use their skills to develop the health sector. "We envision Rwanda as a model for other countries in ICT usage; building a team of software developers is a first step to developing our e-health system as planned," he said. "The training we have received will help us to develop software that will centralize medical record-keeping, and make decision making easier and faster," said Jean Kahigiso, one of the programmers. "OpenMRS system is free software and with this training, we can be able to localize it and make it more applicable to Rwanda's health structure." To date, OpenMRS has been implemented in several African countries including South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Uganda, and Tanzania.


From http://allafrica.com/ 10/23/2009

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ASIA: Network to Connect 4000 Education Institutes

A third generation information highway known as the Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN3) has been launched to connect more than 4000 research and education organisations in Asia Pacific, enabling large volumes of data to be shared. The project, which has a budget of US$35 million over four years, is expected to see more universities and research institutes benefit from higher speed internet access, next-generation multi-party teleconferencing, virtual classrooms and remote consulting. TEIN3 connected 11 countries in Southeast Asia in 2006, including Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The latest extension will see countries in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, come on board.

The project is being run by Dante, a UK-based not-for-profit networking organisation, while Juniper Networks is supplying the network's routers and switches. Dante's TEIN3 project manager David West told FutureGov: "There are already 30 million users of our network in Southeast Asia, and now that is set to increase dramatically. The network will greatly benefit those with high computational demands and enable universities in Asia to better collaborate internationally." West added that the network could also be used to aid the development of telehealth in Asia. "Medical students will be able to watch consultants perform keyhole surgery," he said. West revealed that TEIN4 will most likely be underway by 2011 to connect other parts of Asia, such as Central Asia.


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 10/05/2009

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Google Top Search Engine in the Asia-Pacific Region

Internet users in the Asia-Pacific region conducted a record 38.6 billion searches in September, with searchers averaging nearly 88 queries per person, according to a new report from comScore. Google sites ranked as the top search destination with nearly 17 billion searches on its sites during the month, representing a 44.1 percent share of all searches in the region. Baidu landed in the second spot with 8.2 billion searches (21.3% share), while Yahoo sites ranked third with 5.3 billion searches (13.8% share). South Korea's NHN Corporation, which owns search engine Naver, saw the most search usage among the top 10 destinations with an average of 81 searches per user. Searchers on Google sites averaged 59 searches per person, while searchers on Lycos sites averaged 51 queries. An analysis of the top search destinations across 10 individual markets in the Asia Pacific region found various search brand preferences across markets. Google sites were the most popular in six markets including Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. Yahoo sites grabbed the majority share of searches in Hong Kong (58.9%) and Taiwan (65.4%).

Multinational search brands led many of the markets in the region, but the popularity of local brands was seen in both China and South Korea. Baidu.com Inc. led as China's top search destination with 63 percent share of searches performed, while NHN Corporation captured 49.3 percent of queries in Korea, leading the market as the top destination. "The competition between local and global brands to capture search market share around the world continues to be an ongoing battle," said Will Hodgman, comScore executive vice president for the Asia-Pacific region. "As multinational brands continue to expand across borders, understanding the online behaviors and preferences of local audiences will be a central component to implementing successful digital marketing strategies that capitalize on this lucrative and growing market."


From http://www.webpronews.com/ 11/04/2009

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EUROPE: Saving More Lives on Europe's Roads - Mobile Phone Operators Sign Up for eCall Roll-Out

Today, eCall, Europe's in-car automatic emergency call system, received the full backing of Europe's mobile phone industry. Representatives of the industry's GSM Association underlined their commitment to this life-saving technology by signing the EU's Memorandum of Understanding to implement eCall across Europe. eCall automatically dials 112, Europe's single emergency number , when a car has a serious accident and sends its location to the nearest emergency service - even when passengers do not know or cannot say where they are. Rolling out eCall requires close cooperation between public authorities, car companies and mobile phone operators and could save up to 2,500 lives each year in the EU when fully deployed and reduce the severity of injuries by 10 to 15%.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 09/09/2009

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Europe's Growing Army of Bloggers and Social Networkers Can Generate New Services and Growth, Says Study

A study published today says that European interactive websites like video sharing sites and blogs are growing, generating revenue for both owners and contributors. Compared with the US, which hosts the most commonly used websites for content created by users (blogs, texts, videos, music, games and virtual objects), Europe has more contributors. For example, almost 4 in 5 Italian internet users read blogs compared to 60% in the US, 41% of Spanish users write blogs but only 26% in the US, almost 60% of Czech internet users upload photos and 48% of Polish internet users subscribe to RSS feeds, all ahead of the US (see annex). To help the emergence of European Flickrs and youtubes that turn this large European creativity into growth and jobs, the Commission's report highlights the need for new and updated EU rules building a Single Market for content that can be made and shared online by anyone.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 10/22/2009

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NORTH AMERICA: US Top Digital Cities Announced for 2009

"We're getting about 99.9 percent accuracy on the readings and it's helped us quite a bit." Corpus Christi CIO Michael Armstrong (pictured) regarding the city's electronic gas- and water-meter reading system. Each year the Center for Digital Government takes a survey of U.S. cities to evaluate how municipalities are integrating information technology into operations to better serve their citizens. This year marks the ninth annual Digital Cities Survey and also a year full of challenges for city governments. From pit bulls to tighter budgets, local governments have had many obstacles to overcome this year. Cities have had to become more innovative and creative with the way funds are used and how technology is incorporated to improve government services. The survey was open to all U.S. cities with a population of 30,000 or more.

Trends and Statistics: Local governments are doing more to increase their Web presence and are reaching out to a wider range of citizens. They are also becoming aware of the need to reduce their carbon footprints. These statistics represent growth in self-service, transparency and sustainability over the past year: Online Self-service: •82 percent of respondents have webcasts - streamed audio and video, live and archived; •74 percent have RSS feeds (up 21 percent over last year). Citizen Participation and Transparency: •87 percent have city government body meeting minutes available online, archived and searchable; •73 percent conduct online surveys or polls; •57 percent have podcasts (a 26 percent increase over last year); •67 percent have blogs (a 37 percent increase over last year); •62 percent have microblogs (such as Twitter); •64 percent use social networks (such as Facebook and MySpace). Environment Sustainability: •85 percent have done data center consolidation and virtualization; •45 percent have established metrics and installed instruments to measure energy efficiencies; •66 percent use e-waste recycling efforts and earth-friendly disposal. Corpus Christi, Texas (First place in the 250,000 or more population category)

In an interview with Government Technology, Michael Armstrong, CIO of Corpus Christi, Texas, said he and his municipal information systems (MIS) team had a very busy and exciting year. Along with completing 156 projects (an activity that requires at least 40 hours of MIS staff time), answering over 440,000 calls to the call center with a wait time of approximately 15 seconds and responding to 18,000 service requests, the MIS department also monitored the Corpus Christi Web site which received more than 1.2 million visits. A notable service is the automated water and gas meter-reader. According to Armstrong, the system was "pit-bull-driven," after a meter-reader was mauled by a pit-bull in the back yard of a home while trying to read a utility meter. The new system electronically reads approximately 115,000 water and gas meters twice daily and the billing agency then generates an online billing statement. "That project is going really well. We're getting about 99.9 percent accuracy on the readings and it's helped us quite a bit," Armstrong said.

Looking to the future, Armstrong says a big project they will be working on is installing video surveillance in all police patrol cars. "We've been involved with our Police Department for about a year now planning this project and it will be very helpful to us, but it comes with some very large infrastructure implications. A ton of video takes a ton of storage," Armstrong said. "We're also looking at bringing in much more rational data and document management. We have tremendous applications in place and collect tremendous amount of data. But all the reporting comes out of those individual silos so we can't do anything horizontally across those systems." They are now working with an open source program using an application called "Alfresco" that will help with basic document and content management. Armstrong says they are also looking at software as a service. In just a couple weeks, they will be moving many critical applications over to a hosted environment in Atlanta. This will help save over $100,000 a year as well as free up space in the data center. Santa Monica, California (First place in the 75,000 - 124,999 population category)

Jory Wolf, CIO of Santa Monica, Calif., said one of the biggest initiatives the city has implemented in recent years is a traffic signal synchronization system to help with the city's crippling traffic problem through the build-out of a fiber-optic network. "This provides for our ability to control the timing of the signals," Wolf said. "What this does is allows the Big Blue Buses and other L.A. rapid transit vehicles to move through those rapid corridors by our holding the lights green. This means the headway from one point to the next is much faster and also that the buses aren't stopping and idling, therefore creating a much smaller carbon footprint." In addition to the synchronization of the traffic lights, the city of Santa Monica is working on a wireless parking project that will help alleviate some of the congestion down by the Santa Monica pier. "Citizens are able to use mobile devices to check if there is parking available using an application which updates information in real-time," Wolf said. "We partnered with Google to make little maplette on our Web site which updates parking information in all of our parking structures and beach lots every five seconds." People are also able to check how much time is left on their parking meter and make payments wirelessly using their mobile devices.

Santa Monica has long been at the forefront of using the Web for implementing access to online information and self-service applications, but it is now extending its use of the latest social networking technologies to Twitter, Facebook and multiple blogs. Flower Mound, Texas (First place in the 30,000 - 74,999 population category) Dustin Malcom, Director of Information Technology for Flower Mound, Texas, said that the town - like Santa Monica - has recently undertaken the implementation of a fiber-optic network. "Ordinarily, constructing a fiber network is a long, expensive process that is typically out of reach for most small IT budgets," Malcom said in an e-mail exchange. "But the town of Flower Mound was able to leverage existing franchise agreements and construct a robust fiber optic network to all town-owned facilities. Not only did this greatly improve network performance, but it also reduced operating costs by nearly $150,000 a year by replacing leased, copper services."

Flower Mound is also working to expand its Web presence by reaching out to citizens who may not use typical public relations avenues. "The town operates numerous Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FlowerMound) pages, several Twitter blogs, a YouTube channel, a Flickr page and a Nixle site," Malcom said. Over the next year, the town of Flower Mound plans to focus IT efforts on energy-saving initiatives such as virtualization and cooling optimization. "These changes should help reduce our energy consumption as well as improve control of heat generation in our primary server room," Malcom said. "While controlling energy waste is a never-ending project, we will be making major headway into that arena by implementing multiple virtualization servers and applying common-sense approaches to keeping our server room cool, such as limiting access to the server room by expanding remote access, channeling airflow and dividing servers into different areas based upon heat generation," continued Malcom.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 11/03/2009

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SOUTH AMERICA: Broadband Penetration About 27% Below the World Average

Internet user penetration in Latin America and the Caribbean was about 30% in early 2009. The American continent displays a characteristic North-South divide in terms of Internet users. The northern band, comprising the USA and Canada, enjoys 73% Internet user penetration, but in Central America and the Caribbean, penetration is only 20%, while in South America, it stands at about 34%. Almost one third of the region's Internet users are in Brazil, but apart from a few first-world Caribbean islands, the highest user penetration rates are found in Jamaica, Argentina, and Chile. Argentina's 50% Internet penetration rate is even higher than Europe (including both Eastern and Western Europe), but it is well below Australia, the USA, Japan, South Korea, and northern European countries, where penetration ranges between 70% and 90%.

Broadband: Broadband penetration in Latin America is about 27% below the world average. This slow uptake has been largely due to the high prices charged by providers, which often have a virtual monopoly in their areas of operation. Competition, however, is increasing and prices are dropping. Indeed, Latin America was the world's fastest-growing broadband market in the fourth quarter of 2008. ADSL is the prevalent technology, followed by cable modem. Mobile broadband, only two years after launch, has managed to attract about 5 million subscribers. WiMAX, on the other hand, after suffering serious setbacks due to licensing delays, has been further knocked back by the global financial crisis. However, Latin America is becoming one of the world's most promising broadband markets, growing at a CAGR of 48% from 2003 to 2008. Competition has been increasing and prices have been dropping in most countries. Given the region's general economic indicators, there remains ample space for expansion. The region's broadband leaders are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile, and in early 2009, these five countries accounted for around 85% of all broadband subscribers in the region.

ConvergenceConvergence offers promising prospects in Latin America, a continent with about 577 million people, a soaring broadband sector, low teledensity, relatively high TV penetration, and a growing VoIP market. Latin America, like other regions throughout the world, has shown a keen interest in developing triple play models. A growing number of pay TV companies throughout the region are seeking to expand their operations by offering voice services, most often using VoIP technology together with broadband access. Not to be left behind in the technological race, in a few countries, such as Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, the incumbent fixed-line operators have also entered the triple play arena. Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:
 • This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band.
 • The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data.
 • All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.


From http://www.officialwire.com/ 07/31/2009

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Tecamac: A City of Hope for Mexico's Future

A dream of bridging the digital divide is coming true in the countryside outside Mexico City. A municipality called Tecamac in the state of Mexico witnessed birth of Real del Sol, a development of 1,800 small but attractive homes surrounded by palm trees, quiet streets and a connection to the world. Surprisingly it is a pilot project in Mexican low-income housing. Even more surprising, perhaps, is that each home comes equipped with a computer and a high-speed connection to the Internet. A Mexican Texa PC connected to the Internet is included in the house price, and the connectivity is merely $18 per month, including a neighborhood portal, a security system, e-mail account and more. All that for about half the cost of DSL connection service in the region. The homes are available to families earning less than U.S. $700 per month, and according to Adriana Labardini, a telecommunications expert, demand has exceeded all expectations, as about 600 homes are now finished and sold.

"With visionary and socially responsible entrepreneurs, like Real Paraiso, inexpensive houses are not condemned to be ugly, poor quality, environmentally unfriendly and technology divorced," said Labardini. In addition to connecting to the Internet, the housing development has its own Web site for local interaction with neighbors and allows online purchasing from local shops, internal communication among neighbors and its homeowners association, and an impressive security system you can access online. "So you have the potential to order all the supplies you need and you can order your meat online, or a taxi," she said. "The businesses in the neighborhood are advertised on this Web site, offering special prices for the neighborhood. So this is the kind of grass roots, creative and consumer-oriented project we want to see in Mexico." Security cameras are located throughout the neighborhood's common areas. "From your job, for instance," said Labardini, "you just access that Web site, enter your password, and you can watch the neighborhood and your door entrance on the Web site. Or when you are at home, working or cooking, parents can watch their children play on the playground nearby."

A public elementary school has been built in Real del Sol and is also connected. The federal government through INEA provides digital educational contents both for youth and adults who had no formal education, and a multimedia program called the Encyclomedia, for fifth and sixth graders. "So this state of the art elementary school," said Labardini "was possible because of the vision and commitment of Mexican entrepreneurs who believe in doing well while doing good and the use of disruptive technology." The project has caught the attention of many people from President Fox to Microsoft and Intel. The latter offered promotional support and low prices in partnership with Texa for both hardware and software. Infonavit, the federal government financial entity for low-income housing, has also endorsed the project as a role model that should be followed by other developers. It is a win-win investment. Real Paraiso, the developer named it G-7 Habitat (Seventh generation homes). Two weeks ago, Conectha, the ISP, was awarded by President Vicente Fox, the "Housing Best Practices" Annual Award, a recognition within the "Premio Nacional de Vivienda." "That's an example of what creativity, goodwill and ethics can do. It is a beautiful place," said Labardini.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/24/2009

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Internet Boosts Economic Growth and Social Welfare

A new study demonstrates that increased adoption of Internet can accelerate business productivity, thereby generating income, jobs and government revenues in emerging economies. A 10 percentage point increase in Internet penetration could increase GDP by 1 to 2.5 percent, increase new business activities by approximately 1 percent, and boost total government revenues in some countries by as much as 8 to 9 percent. These are some of the key findings of a new study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Telenor Group, which analyses the social and economic impact of Internet in emerging economies. The analysis was conducted in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Serbia, covering three different stages of market maturity in the Telenor Group markets.

Internet an engine for growth
"This clearly shows that emerging economies have a lot to gain from the Internet, both economically and socially," says Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President & CEO, Telenor Group. We are expecting strong Internet growth in our markets in the years to come, and hope that this information will help emphasise the important ways in which the net can improve the social and economic conditions of a country," says Baksaas. The majority of the economic contribution from the Internet will come from the increased productivity that users enjoy across business sectors. The productivity benefits of Internet usage by businesses in emerging economies are expected to increase over time, driven by network externalities as a broader part of society becomes connected. Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President & CEO, Telenor Group launched the study at ITU Telecom World 2009 in Geneva this week. The event attracts top executives and all stakeholders from the global telecommunication and information communication sector.

Important role in rural development
The study also found that the Internet will generate widespread social benefits, for instance in critical areas like healthcare and education. By serving as an alternative to traditional infrastructure as e.g roads, the Internet will play a particularly important role in rural development. This can increase and diversify income, increase access to information and essential services, such as banking and government, and enhance lifestyle and entertainment options for people regardless of whether they are in urban or rural areas.

Growth driven by wireless access
In most emerging economies, the limitations of the fixed line infrastructure pose a challenge to continued Internet growth. Bangladesh, Thailand and Serbia are no exception. "In view of the fixed line constraints in these countries, the next wave of Internet growth is likely to be driven by wireless access technologies," says Knut Haanaes, Managing Partner of BCG in Oslo, who led the analysis. "Although the download speeds are limited relative to fixed line technologies, wireless compensates for this with its lower construction costs and shorter timeline for rollout," Haanaes adds.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/11/2009

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Identify Opportunities to Develop New Policies, Visions & Strategies During Financial Crisis

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Digital Economy - E-Government, E-Health and E-Education Trends" report to their offering. This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of digital economy in terms of e-government, e-health and e-education. It offers analyses, statistics, forecasts and key trends. It provides insight into National Broadband Network (NBN) infrastructure developments and strategy. Regional information on developments in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific are also provided, where applicable.

Subjects covered include: Key elements of the digital economy; Global e-government overview and statistics; Global e-health overview and statistics; Global e-education overview; Vision of the digital economy after the crisis; Insight into National Broadband Network (NBN) developments; Brief regional overviews on e-government, e-health and e-education developments where applicable.

E-government, e-health and e-education are some of the most important industries to benefit from advancements in broadband infrastructure. Assisted by the reality of the financial crisis, countries have begun to understand that broadband transmission infrastructure is not merely important for the direct social and economic use of citizens, but that it is equally important for the digital economy and includes critical sectors such as healthcare, education and smart grids. The crisis is a unique opportunity to develop new policies, vision and strategies that allow us to move in a better direction, where investments are also judged within the context of social, environmental and economic benefits. Many governments around the world have shown leadership in developing online services and recent attention has shifted away from these traditional online services to new initiatives. These include incorporating social media tools into e-government services, particularly those aimed at communicating directly with citizens and implementing cloud computing services in order to cut costs and improve upon ICT system infrastructure. Governments in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Finland, Korea, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, USA and Canada are considered to be just some of the leaders in e-government. The US government was one of the first countries to take to the step towards cloud computing with the launch of Apps. Gov and other countries such as the United Kingdom are formulating cloud computing plans as well. This report provides valuable insights into the digital economy developments taking place in terms of e-government, e-health and e-education. It includes information on key worldwide trends and developments, with supporting examples and statistics. Infrastructure is an essential element for the future of the digital economy and the report provides analyses on infrastructure strategy in terms of National Broadband Networks and a vision for the future. Regional information on the progress of e-government, e-health and e-education is included where applicable for North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Key Highlights:

The financial crisis has focused global attention on new infrastructure developments and facilitated a unique opportunity to shift the broadband emphasis from a high-speed Internet service to a national infrastructure for the digital economy that will underpin a range of positive social and economic developments. Australia and New Zealand are leading the world with preparing its telecoms infrastructure for the digital economy. Australia is also the leader in the trans-sector approach towards the use of this infrastructure. Around the world over 50 government agencies have also established SMS facilities that allow citizens the ability to contact emergency services, make general enquiries, reports or provide feedback. Although small compared with the world as a whole, tele-education is a fast growing market in Latin America, and practically all countries have adopted some form of distance education as an essential tool to overcome schooling shortages and improve the quality of education. The Internet holds the potential to bring vast improvements in key areas where Africa lags behind most of the rest of the world: government, health and education. Ongoing improvements in broadband access and fibre backbone infrastructure are now enabling many initiatives across the continent.

Among the Eastern European nations, the EU countries have progressed the most in Information society development due to adoption of EU policies such as i2010. This includes e-government and e-health initiatives. Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year. Key Topics Covered: 1. Key Elements of the Digital Economy; 2. E-Government Overview and Statistics; 3. E-Health Market Overview and Statistics; 4. Tele-Education Overview and Statistics; 5. Vision of Digital Economy after the crisis; 6. Regional Overviews; and 7. Glossary of Abbreviations


From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 11/18/2009

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Mobile User Base to Reach 5.9 Billion by 2013

The number of mobile phone users around the world is set to reach 5.9 billion by 2013, according to figures from market research company Infonetics. The US-based research company said that the rapidly increasing numbers of mobile phone subscribers in China and India are pushing the Asia Pacific region into the number one spot in the regional league table of mobile users. Whilst the downturn in the global economy does not seem to have hampered mobile growth enormously, Infonetics argues that the economic situation has accelerated a switch from fixed line to mobile only services. The company points to the example of China where it says fixed connections are disappearing rapidly as customers opt for mobile communications to cut costs. Infonetics argued that there were nearly four times as many mobile users as there were fixed line customers across the world by the end of 2008. The company put the number of mobile users at 3.9 billion at that date compared to only one billion fixed connections. In 2008 the number of mobile connections grew by 17.4% compared to the year before while at the same time the number of fixed line users dropped by 5.5%. However, in contrast the number of fibre to the home customers is expected to soar at a compound annual growth rate of 32% between 2008 and 2013, the research company said.


From http://www.bwcs.com/ 11/06/2009

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CHINA: IP Address Will Be Used Up in 2 Years

As the number of internet users keeps soaring, China's IP address will be used up in two or three years, according to Wu Hequan, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering. China now has 380 million internet users. Every two of them use one IP address. People seldom feel inconvenienced right now, because not everyone surfs the net at the same time. However, China's IP resources can only sustain two or three years at current distribution rate, and new internet users could have difficulty visiting the internet. According to Wu, IPv6 network address, which was developed by the United States, may solve the problem. IPv6 features unlimited resources so that even a rock can get an IP address form it. Using IPv6 means internet operators have to invest large mount of money to buy new equipment and discard the old ones. Currently, only edu.cn in China use this kind of IP.


From China Daily 08/24/2009

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Chinese Cities to Complete Digital Mapping by 2015

Cities in China will complete digital surveying and mapping to facilitate planning and management by the end of 2015, the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping said Friday. Information gathered will form an information database of urban geography covering objects ranging from utility manholes and street lamps to skyscrapers and rivers in each city. The digital database will serve as the sole authoritative geographical information source for each city, said the bureau's director Xu Deming. All the databases will be nationally networked so governments at national, provincial and municipal levels can share information, Xu said. China launched pilot projects for digital surveying and mapping in 30 cities in 2006, which was extended to a further 60 cities this year. By 2015, 286 cities will have geographical information databases, said Xu.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/28/2009

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Chinese Mobile Phone Users Total 703 Mln

The number of mobile phone users in China surpassed 700 million by the end of July, double the total population in the United States, as more people switched from fixed-line phones, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday. The telecommunications revenue reached 477.49 billion yuan (US$69.9 billion) in the first seven months, a growth of 2.6 percent year on year, as broadband, mobile and related services income increased, the ministry said. China added 61.40 million new handset users in the first seven months to total 703 million to rank as No. 1 in the world, the ministry said. "The mobile phone user base will continue growing in China" because mobile phones are seen as substitutes for fixed-line phones and on demand for 3G, said Wu Wenzhao, a telecom analyst at Analysys International, a Beijing-based IT consulting firm. The fixed-line phone user base, dropped by 12.41 million to 328 million in the period. In January, China issued 3G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. At present, the 3G handset user base only accounts for about 1 percent of the total mobile phone users, which means a great potential for further development, analysts said. About 40 percent of China Netizens, or more than 300 million, use mobile phones to surf online. The 3G-related investment in China will hit 400 billion yuan within two or three years, the ministry said.


From Shanghai Daily 09/04/2009

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China Mobile to Run E-book Service Like Amazon

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, will offer over 100,000 e-books for download on upcoming wireless e-readers, a maker of the devices said. The carrier has reached deals with publishers to offer e-books in a range of genres, a Datang Telecom representative said at a Beijing trade show. The move would make China Mobile a major provider of e-books just as more Chinese companies look to copy the success of Amazon and the Kindle. Datang, a telecom equipment vendor, will start selling an e-reader that supports China Mobile's 3G standard late this month, the representative said. The device has a 6-inch screen and can play music and receive news feeds in addition to displaying e-books. It will cost around 3,000 yuan (US$440), well above the $300 price tag on the Kindle. But e-books from China Mobile will cost as little as a few yuan each, or around $0.50, the Datang representative said. E-books in China face competition from free, often pirated content that can be downloaded from many Web sites. Pirated paper books, like DVDs, are also widely sold on Chinese streets for around $1.

Local companies Hanwang Technology and Founder Technology also plan to sell e-readers for China Mobile's 3G standard, which was developed in the country and has strong government backing. When asked how users will download e-books for the Hanwang device, a company spokeswoman said China Mobile was taking the lead in providing content. China Mobile did not reply to questions about its e-book service or how it will split revenue with publishers. E-readers will add to a list of other products including mobile phones and laptops embedded with 3G chips that the carrier has promoted to try to expand its small 3G subscriber base. Many commuters in Chinese subways read e-books on their mobile phones, but e-readers remain a rare sight. Most sold in China so far have only supported downloads through a PC link. The designs and functions of the devices have been insufficient to attract many users, Chinese technology consultancy Analysys International said in a recent research note. "No terminal as influential as the Kindle has yet come out," it said. Datang plans to release a color e-reader in 2011 and may make other models targeted at groups such as students, a strategy used by rival Hanwang.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 09/18/2009

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Internet Surfing Becomes Major Leisure Activity for Chinese Adolescents: Survey

Accessing the Internet for entertainment has become one of the major leisure activities for Chinese adolescents, according to a survey by the Ministry of Health. The survey, done among 12,671 students from grade seven to seniors in schools and universities in nine provinces and municipalities including Beijing, northern Shanxi Province and southwestern Sichuan Province, found Internet surfing was only after doing homework and socializing with friends among their after-school activities, followed by reading, watching TV and sports. The survey jointly launched by the China Association for Science and Technology in May also showed teenagers were not so enthusiastic about activities about culture and technology. The survey was released on the World Mental Health Day which fell on Saturday. The MOH's theme for this year was to urge the reasonable and appropriate use of the Internet. World Mental Health Day was initiated by World Psychiatric Association in 1992.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 10/11/2009

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50 Million Go Mobile on Chinese Social Network

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Kaixin001, the largest and fastest-growing social networking site in China, are joining forces with a three-year partnership to develop innovative mobile applications that will help millions of users access the site wherever and whenever they want. Launched in March 2008, Kaixin001 already has more than 50 million subscribers in China and among Chinese speakers across the world, and is attracting about 200,000 new registrations a day. With subscribers now mainly accessing the website via their PCs, the cooperation between Ericsson and Kaixin001 will bring new applications that will allow users to manage their virtual space, interact with friends and stay updated on their online communities, all via their mobile devices - anytime, anywhere. Future services could include real-time uploading of photos and videos from mobile phones, SMS alerts on a favorite celebrity's activities, and location-based services, such as checking if friends are nearby.

This builds on Ericsson's portfolio partnership agreements with social networking service providers. Under the agreement, Ericsson will not only work with Kaixin001 to develop innovative mobile applications, but will also create opportunities for Kaixin001 to cooperate with other social networking services, telecom operators and advertising agencies at home and abroad. Cheng Binghao, President of Kaixin001, says: "We are very excited to be partnering with Ericsson to bring our users fun, innovative and easy-to-use mobile applications that will let them take the Kaixin001 experience wherever they are, whenever they want it. This partnership will open new revenue streams and allow us to take our leading social networking site to the next level." Mats H Olsson, President of Ericsson Greater China, says: "We are proud to be partnering with Kaixin001 to explore the unlimited business opportunities within the multimedia and internet segments. Ericsson has a superior multimedia offering in a world where telecom, internet and media industries are converging."


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 10/19/2009

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Internet Encourages a New Era of Individual Voices

Internet blogger Shao Yibei describes herself as "a tiny drop of water in the ocean of Chinese netizens longing to shine". She never expected to attract an instant spotlight on her work. The 26-year-old music lover had a five-minute video clip uploaded to the Internet in February. In the video, she was playing guitar and singing a song she wrote about an urban single woman's attitude toward marriage. "My friend uploaded the clip just for fun," Shao said. "None of us expected what would happen the next day." Response from the virtual world was overwhelming, with Shao's online video clip receiving more than 300,000 visits, or hits, during the first few days. Shao also received thousands of requests to "become her friend" on her blog. Movie producers invited Shao to compose songs, and work on her first album is under way, she said. "I find it difficult to communicate with others in real life, so music is my way of expression," Shao said. "But it's the Internet that makes me heard." Shao is now known as a folk music singer and blogger Shao Xiaomao. "It's such a happy surprise to see my ideas being shared by so many people. I'm not alone," Shao said. With the praise has come some criticism about openly expressing ideas on the Internet. Shao's mother, a high school teacher, is among the critics. "My mom first felt shameful that I was talking about marriage in the song in a straightforward way, which she thought should be private," Shao said. "Then she blamed me for standing out on the Internet, even though she knew it wasn't me who started it," she said. But Shao disagrees with her mother. "If I'm able to express my ideas freely, why shouldn't others?" she asked.

The different opinions from a mother and daughter reflect the profound changes in China since the country adopted reform and opening up policies in the late 1970s, said Hu Qiheng, chair of the Internet Society of China. Hu said the Internet is playing an important role in raising public awareness about individuality and citizenship in China, by "providing a platform for the Chinese, who tend to be silent in real life, to express themselves and exchange ideas". In April 1994, as the vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hu applied to the US National Science Foundation to be connected with the Internet, and thus ushered in a new cyber world for the most populous country in the world. The first Internet surfers in China were more than 1,000 scientists. Fifteen years later, the country's netizen population surged to 338 million, according to a report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in July. "Everyone is someone on the Internet, which has been shaping a new generation in China," Hu said. "Between their own interests and mainstream social values, they are more freely pursuing the former than their parents," Hu said. The Internet has broadened information sources for the general public, said Chen Jiangong, a CNNIC senior analyst. "More importantly, the distribution of information is interactive and real-time," Chen said. Zhang Jie, a 26-year-old magazine editor in Chongqing, has found surfing online indispensable in her daily life since she began accessing the Internet 10 years ago.

Like most of her friends and colleagues, Zhang relies heavily on the Internet for work, entertainment and shopping. "The Internet does not only bring convenience to my life; more importantly, it reforms my mindset," Zhang said. Zhang said diverse voices and a wider array of information were not available before the arrival of the Internet. Tianya Forum, a virtual social community based in southern Hainan province, is Zhang's favorite. Her daily visit to the forum includes reading entries from Tianya By-talk, which focuses on social issues. The forum receives more than 100 million visits each month, according to Tianya By-talk administrators. "Different opinions stir skepticism and push me to look into the issues more carefully before coming to a conclusion," Zhang said. "It transforms me into a person with independent thought and an open mind," she said. Researchers said the Internet has proven valuable in increasing access to issues of public concern and the meaning of citizenship. "Expression of individuality needs to be encouraged in a country which values creativity. The Internet is speeding up the maturity of Chinese people's individuality," Hu said.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/19/2009

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Hong Kong Proposes E-Learning Pilot Scheme

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government is committed to developing e-learning which will enhance student learning and development, Secretary for Education Michael Suen said on Thursday. Suen said the recommendations of the Working Group on Textbooks and e-Learning Resources Development on how the local government can encourage and support schools to make good use of e-learning resources will be carefully considered. The working group has submitted a report proposing a three-year "promoting e-learning" pilot scheme be launched in up to 30 primary and secondary schools in the 2010-2011 school year. It also suggests the development of the depository of curriculum-based learning and teaching resources be expedited and strengthened at the primary and junior secondary levels with additional resources from the 2009-10 school year. The report proposed a one-off grant to be disbursed to all primary and secondary schools this school year for buying e- learning resources in the next three years, and an e-commerce platform for e-learning resources and an online community for teachers at the Education City website be established.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 10/22/2009

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Information Tech Boosts Popular Science Education

A click of mouse and one could listen to the story of rare Przewalski antelopes in northwest China and review the total solar eclipse in July. With the spread of internet and multi-media technology, Chinese scientists and educators have applied digital technology into popular science teaching in poverty-stricken areas. The Computer Network Information Center (CNIC) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed a strategic cooperation framework on Friday with the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) to boost information technology application in classrooms of Project Hope. Xiao Yun, director of the CNIC's internet-based science communication center, called it an "important opportunity" for the CNIC to "take part in the public welfare cause by directly sending multi-media devices to students and teachers in poor areas." Project Hope is the most influential non-governmental undertaking sponsored by the CYDF, aiming at supporting young dropouts in impoverished areas that face a shortage of education funds. It was launched in 1989. Till now, as many as 15,940 primary schools were established thanks to social donations, according to the CYDF release. Kepu.net.cn, the popular science teaching portal of CNIC, is exemplary. A piece of video showing giant panda nursing drew over 5,000 clicks. It is also supplemented with textual introduction. In addition to mini-plays that instruct ways of escape from earthquake, scenes of space flight and relics salvage, the website offers scores of professional lectures given by CAS scientists. Since its inauguration in 1999, Kepu.net.cn has become a well-known pop-science website with 100,000 pictures and more than 70 bilingual visual museums.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 10/24/2009

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China Claims Supercomputer Among World's Fastest

China announced its fastest supercomputer yet on Thursday in the country's latest show of its goal to become a world leader in technology. China's National University of Defense Technology, a military academy, unveiled the machine that would have ranked fourth in the most recent Top500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers, state media said. The supercomputer, named Milky Way, can theoretically perform more than one million billion calculations per second, Xinhua news agency said. That figure, measured in "flops," or floating operation points per second, would make it China's first petaflop-class machine. The machine's data has been submitted for ranking in the Top500 list, which is next due out in November, Xinhua said, citing faculty at the university in China's inland Hunan province. The computer will be used for bio-medical computing, seismic data processing during oil exploration and for the design of "aerospace vehicles," it said. The computer has over 11,000 microprocessors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices and cost at least 600 million yuan (US$88 million) to build, the agency said. It will be moved to a supercomputing center in the northeastern city of Tianjin later this year, Xinhua said. Dawning, a Chinese government-backed hardware maker, is separately designing a petaflop supercomputer it hopes to deploy next year. That system is planned to use Godson CPUs, also known by the name Loongson, a domestic chip line designed with government funding to expand China's pool of domestically owned technology. China-made CPUs will also be added to the Milky Way supercomputer in the future to further boost its speed, Xinhua said.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 10/30/2009

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Internet to Speak Chinese in 2010

If a special fast track process works well, the Chinese-speaking people could type in their mother tongue and get connected by 2010, said Rod Beckstrom, head of the governing body of Internet addresses. "If they (the Chinese) have submitted the application now... then we would estimate, roughly at sometime in mid 2010," Beckstrom, president and CEO of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 4th Internet Governance Forum (IGF). "There is extensive application, legal and technical review process," Beckstrom added. The ICANN, a nonprofit body that oversees Internet addresses, agreed to allow the use of non-Latin characters in registering top- level domain names. The decision came at the conclusion of a week- long meeting in late October in Seoul. Earlier in the day, Beckstrom confirmed that ICANN has indeed received serious applications since it accepted non-Latin domain names registration at the end of October. "ICANN has received six applications for three languages, including Egypt and Russia," Beckstrom said at joint press conference with Tarek Kamal, Egypt's Minister of Information and Communications Technology. Kamal, who is also chair of the forum, had announced at Sunday's opening ceremony the launch of the first Arabic domain name. But the ICANN chief declined to reveal the nuts and bolts of the applicants. "I can't comment because we don't disclose the names of the applicants. We don't disclose it because it is the countries' applicants' choice," Beckstrom said. Launched in 2006, the IGF is a multi-stakeholder dialogue on public policy related to Internet governance issues. This year, the UN-sponsored annual forum was attended by some 1,500 delegates from 100 countries, who are divided into 80 workshops. Internet security, cloud computing, IPv6, social networks, openness and privacy are among the hottest topics of the four-day event, whose overall title is "Internet governance - Creating opportunities for all."


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 11/17/2009

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JAPAN: Point to Wireless Health's Future?

The largest mobile operator by subscribers, NTT DoCoMo, might bring its brand to the U.S. and offer DoCoMo wireless service over T-Mobile USA's or AT&T's network, according to reports in Japan Today and Japan Times. The reports claim that the carrier is interested in launching its advanced mobile Internet services for the U.S. market. The news broke just a few days after NTT DoCoMo announced its ongoing research with the University of Tokyo Hospital into wireless healthcare. The poorly translated press release indicated that the two entities have entered into a four year agreement to investigate wireless opportunities for health informatics. At last year's Wireless Japan Expo, Fujitsu and NTT DoCoMo unveiled new "RakuRaku" phones, which means "easy easy," phones that are intended for use by aging users who are most concerned with keeping connected to their health records and healthcare practitioners. The phone's camera reportedly could determine the user's heart rate just by scanning minute movements of the user's finger when held up to it. The phones also included built-in pedometers and a personal health diary. At least one of the phones is also able to synch up to medical devices made by Omron, including weight scales, to input other health-related information.

NTT DoCoMo already has phone service available for Japanese expatriates currently living in the U.S. Expanding its agreements with U.S. carriers to create advanced wireless Internet services, like wireless healthcare ones, may not be too far of a stretch. DoCoMo's plans aside - there is an opportunity coming up to learn about Japan's wireless healthcare market and how U.S. companies can get involved: The upcoming CTIA Wireless IT & E event in San Diego next month recently added a one hour seminar hosted by the Japan External Trade Organization:"Already known as the most advanced wireless market in the world, Japan is rapidly evolving as the leader in wireless healthcare. The integration of the mobile phone with healthcare services and medical devices is already a market reality. Capitalizing on the ubiquitous mobile communications society, the Japanese Government, national health insurance, leading medical universities, device companies, and operators are all actively involved in the burgeoning mobile healthcare scene," the event description reads. Japan may be a glimpse into wireless healthcare's future, but what if rumors of NTT DoCoMo's U.S. plans are true? Will the carrier catalyze wireless healthcare innovation here, too? Time will tell.


From http://mobihealthnews.com/ 09/09/2009

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New Networks Help Japan Regain Its Wireless Data Edge

Despite an early lead with handset-centric services like I-mode, Japan fell behind in the wireless data race a few years ago as interest shifted to Apple and the iPhone. But now, thanks to super-fast data networks and low prices, consumers are embracing always-on connectivity for laptops and giving the country's wireless industry back its edge. Japan now boasts the fastest commercial WiMax network in the world, cellular carriers are pushing faster 3G technology, Wi-Fi is beginning to appear on express trains, and next-generation LTE (Long-Term Evolution) services are planned from next year. These services are being offered amid increasingly aggressive competition between carries that has seen consumers offered free netbook computers in return for signing a two-year data contract. This heightened competition among Japanese carriers can be traced back to March 2007 when E-mobile launched a 3G network and flat-rate data service. Until then, the only real competition in flat-rate mobile PC access was from Willcom, which offered a PHS (Personal Handyphone System)-based service running at several hundreds of kilobits per second. E-mobile launched with a 3.6Mbps downstream and 384Kbps upstream connection in the Tokyo area for a flat-rate fee of 5,980 (US$65) with a 2-year contract. E-mobile has steadily upgraded its network and today offers an HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access) service with download speeds as fast as 21Mbps and uploads at 5.8Mbps. Prices range from 580 per month and depend on the amount of data transmitted but the meter stops once it hits 5,980. NTT DoCoMo, Japan's biggest cellular carrier, offers an HSPA service with downloads at 7.2Mbps and uploads at 5.8Mbps. While it's a slower service than E-mobile, the network covers close to the entire Japanese population so it can be used anywhere. Prices are roughly equivalent with E-mobile. In the middle of this year, competition was turned up a notch with the debut of a WiMax service by UQ Communications, which includes Intel as an investor. The service boasts download speeds as fast as 40Mbps and uploads at around 10Mbps and charges subscribers 4,480 per month.

It's already available in major cities and the network is fast expanding. UQ is heavily promoting the technology and offering users to chance to try the service free for 15 days - an offer that no other carrier has matched so far. Willcom has been struggling to keep up and was pushed to begin reselling NTT DoCoMo's 3G service while it readied a new service based on a next-generation version of PHS. The Willcom Core XGP service started at the beginning of October with speeds of 20Mbps in each direction but it's only available in the very center of Tokyo. The carrier had planned a much wider roll-out of the technology but was forced to pull back its plans when it had trouble raising money to build the network. To reassure users who worry about the limited service area for some of these wireless services, mobile access is also available via a network of Wi-Fi hotspots, including on the bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka and a new express train that began running between Tokyo and Narita Airport from the beginning of this month. Faster wireless services aren't far off. Waiting in the wings is LTE, a next-generation IP-based technology seen as a replacement for current 3G systems. NTT DoCoMo plans to launch a service for PC users in December 2010 and at this month's Ceatec exhibition showed off a sample chip that supported download speeds of 100Mbps and upload speeds of 50Mbps. LTE is expected to lower the per-packet cost of data communications so its debut will likely inject even more competition into the market.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 10/19/2009

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Most Readers in Japan Don't Support Google's Online E-book Library: Poll

An opinion poll the Mainichi Shimbun conducted regarding book-reading habits has revealed that the majority of respondents do not support Google's online e-book library program. According to the results, about 60 percent of those surveyed were negative toward the U.S. Internet search leader's new business plan of providing digitalized books online, while 31 percent supported the move. The young generation was more positive toward Google's initiative, with nearly half of those in their 10s and 20s supporting the e-book library, slightly less than those who don't. Thirty-seven percent of respondents believe reading books online or on cell phones could strain the eyes, showing a general negative stance on Internet reading rather than toward the company's business itself. Others expressed their concerns over the online e-book library's adverse effect on the publishing industry, as well as any possible copyright infringements against Japanese writers. Meanwhile, 41 percent of those supporting the Internet library said that it would save them the trouble of visiting bookstores or libraries, followed by 24 percent who pointed out that Google's new operation makes books easily accessible during their spare time. As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of two literary giants, Osamu Dazai and Seicho Matsumoto, 44 percent of respondents showed their interest in reading the works of those writers. The survey was conducted over three days from Sept. 11, on 4,800 men and women aged 16 or older. Answers were collected from 2,771 people, with a collection rate of 58 percent.


From http://mdn.mainichi.jp/ 10/26/2009

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Japanese Internet Book Search System to Be Developed

Japan's writers guild and the national library teamed up Wednesday to create an Internet book search system to counter U.S. search engine Google Inc's similar service. The council they formed aims to take advantage of the National Diet Library's ongoing project to digitalize its gigantic collection, and will make specific proposals in April next year, participants said. The Japan Writers' Association and lawyers versed in copyright issues are among its members, they said. The national library, to which copies of all publications in Japan are sent under law, has been engaged this fiscal year since April in digitalizing the full texts of its roughly 300,000 to 400,000 books published before World War II with a view to establishing an electronic library. The new council will consider ways to make these digital files available in local areas via the Internet, they said. Referring to a lawsuit filed against Google Books by U.S. authors, publishers and their groups, Hiroshi Sakagami of the Japan Writers' Association said the envisaged Japanese system would aim to prevent a similar dispute in Japan by involving all stakeholders.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 11/05/2009

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NORTH KOREA: Mobile Subscribers Growing at Faster Clip

The number of mobile subscribers in North Korea is growing at a faster clip, reaching an estimated 100,000 as of the end of September, the Voice of America reported Saturday. The figures were taken from data released by EFG-Hermes, an Egyptian investment bank, the report said. According to the data, the number of North Korean mobile subscribers more than doubled from 48,000 at the end of June, it said. Naeem Holding, another Egyptian investment bank, predicted that the number of mobile subscribers will increase to 123,000 at the end of this year, followed by 310,000 at the end of 2010 and 568,000 in late 2011, the report said. Egypt-based mobile operator Orascom Telecom launched mobile services in North Korea in December of last year and has since reported brisk sales.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/31/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: Number of High-speed Internet Users Tops 16 Mln

The number of high-speed Internet service users in South Korea surpassed the 16 million-mark for the first time in August, industry reports said Monday. The number of broadband Internet service subscribers in the country was estimated to be over 16 million as of the end of August, accounting for 96 percent of total households in the country, according to the data collected from Internet service providers. The figure is up about 3.4 percent from December's tally of 15.48 million. Top fixed line operator KT held some 42 percent of all subscriptions, followed by SK Broadband and LG Powercomm, with 24 percent and 15.3 percent, respectively.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 09/07/2009

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E-Book Consumers want Longer Battery Life, Internet Connectivity and Email

The electronic book (e-book) segment, having firmly established itself in the US market, has plenty of room for growth that will be bolstered by new features such as e-mail and Web connectivity, reports In-Stat. An e-book is a handheld consumer electronics (CE) device capable of accessing and storing a wide array of digitized books for portable use. Examples are the Amazon Kindle DX and the recently introduced Sony E-Reader Daily Edition."According to In-Stat's most recent consumer survey, current e-book owners desire email capability in the next e-book they purchase", says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst. "Longer battery life and Internet connectivity are the top two desired features among respondents who don't currently own an e-book but plan to buy one in the next year." Amazon is the leading brand of e-book owned. The largest percentage of e-book owners (45.5%) is spending between $9 and $20 a month on e-book content. Eleven percent of total survey respondents said they planned to purchase an e-book over the next 12 months.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 09/09/2009

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Majority of Preschoolers Use Internet in S. Korea

More than six out of 10 preschoolers in South Korea use the Internet on a daily basis as its accessibility has grown to encompass younger children, a government poll showed Thursday. According to the survey by the country's telecom regulator Korea Communications Commission, 61.8 percent of children aged between three and five logged onto the Internet at least once a day during the past 30 days. The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 30,000 households nationwide from May 1 to July 15 this year to gain insight into the nation's Internet use, the commission said. It has an error margin of plus or minus 0.12 percentage points. Internet use among those aged 50 and older, meanwhile, came in at 52.3 percent. South Korea is known to be one of the most wired nations in the world. The number of broadband Internet service subscribers was estimated to be over 16 million as of the end of August, accounting for 96 percent of total households in the country, according to recent market data.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 09/17/2009

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Korea to Build Super-Speed Internet by 2012

Korea is determined to acquire the world's fastest wired and wireless Internet service at 10 times the speed of the current service by 2012. The government and the communications industry plan to invest some W34 trillion (US$1=W1,379) over the next five years in the project. The Korea Communications Commission on Sunday said it finalized plans for Internet services at an average speed of 1 Gbps through fixed lines and 10 Mbps through wireless. One Gbps allows users to download a 120-minute film in just 12 seconds. The aim is to give users seamless access to large-capacity, high-quality convergence services such as IPTV. Although the super-speed internet will be available mainly in large cities, fixed-line subscribers in smaller towns nationwide will also then have access to 50 to 100 Mbps Internet service allowing them to watch IPTV programs without a hitch. According to OECD statistics in 2008, Korea was in the lead internationally in terms of the ratio of households subscribing to the high-speed Internet at 94.1 percent. It ranked third in terms of the actual download speed.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 10/02/2009

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Korea's Mobile Technology '1 Year Behind U.S.'

The level of Korea's fourth-generation mobile technology is one year behind that of the U.S., according to data released by the Korea Communications Commission. Japan is ahead of Korea by more than six months, the data shows. The areas of weakness in Korea's technology are in the system sector and the service platform sector, each shown to be behind U.S. technology by over a year. However, Korea's 4G mobile technology was found to be ahead of China's by almost two and a half years.


From Arirang News 10/07/2009

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Mobile Navigation Through Mobile Phone Gaining Momentum

The number of mobile subscribers downloading navigation routes and turn-by-turn navigation instructions using their mobile phones reached 28 million as of the first half of this year. According to a report by the analyst firm Berg Insight, the subscriber base is forecasted to grow until 2015 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.7%, eventually reaching 160 million users worldwide. The growing adoption will be driven primarily by the broader availability of GPS-enabled handsets and the bundling of navigation applications with mobile devices and service plans, the report said. In countries such as the USA and Japan, where mass-market GPS handsets are already available, adoption of mobile navigation services has already surpassed 3 and 4 percent of the total mobile subscriber base, respectively, Berg said. Increasing volumes of GPS handsets have also started to pave the way for the adoption of mobile navigation services in Europe, while in other regions of the world, better availability of low-cost GPS handsets and improving map coverage will enable rapid uptake of navigation services in the coming years. "Mobile operators and handset vendors are now starting to experience the business opportunity of a growing installed base of GPS handsets and customers trying navigation services," said Andre Malm, a senior analyst at Berg Insight.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/08/2009

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IPTV Subscribers Top 1 Mln in Korea

The number of South Korean subscribers to real-time Internet-protocol television (IPTV) has topped the 1 million mark, helped by the expansion of infrastructure and improved service quality, a trade association said Friday. According to the Korea Digital Media Industry Association, the country's three IPTV service providers - KT, SK Broadband and LG Dacom - achieved the landmark on Tuesday, about nine months after the commercial service of IPTV started. IPTV delivers television and movie content real-time through broadband Internet networks instead of using radio frequency or satellite signals as traditional TV does, and also offers video-on-demand (VOD) services. Including VOD subscribers, the number of IPTV viewers totaled 2.01 million as of Tuesday, the association said. VOD service took off before the start of real-time IPTV service in January, when the assembly passed the law to ease laws on providing real-time broadcasting through Internet connections. IPTV services are spreading faster than other new media services. Cable television channel took more than four years to recruit 1 million subscribers while satellite television service took one year and nine months.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/09/2009

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MONGOLIA: Mobile Phone Market Set to Boom

Mongolia's mobile phone market has undergone a remarkable boom, with the number of subscribers growing at an average rate of over 100 percent year-on-year for a number of years, according to "Mongolia - Telecoms, Mobile & Internet" research paper released last month by Paul Budde Communication, a telecommunications and information highway consultancy company specializing in market analysis. "Since the Mongolian Government's telecommunications reform program in the mid-1990s, there has been effective liberalization of all market segments, partial privatization of the fixed-line incumbent operator, Mongolia Telecom, and establishment of an independent regulator." "Competition is in place for both fixed and mobile telephony, including local, long-distance, and international, Internet, VoIP, and VSATs. The Internet market is a small but growing sector. Government initiatives such as the e-Mongolia National Program are helping to spread Internet awareness and usage throughout the country." Mongolia has two GSM and two CDMA operators as well as state-owning Mongolia Telecom, who has its own mobile telecommunication service package, to ensure competitive market. "As part of the transition to a market-based economy, Mongolia committed itself to modernizing its telecommunications network and steadily introducing advanced communications services. The government considers national infrastructure development as a high priority and, in particular, it has focused on the development of the telecoms sector, seeing it as central to the overall development of the country, the improvement of living standards, increasing foreign investment, boosting tourism and private sector development, and implementation of innovative changes." The research said that not all areas of Mongolia are connected to the Internet. "However, good progress has been made, with most universities and research institutes, government organizations, agencies, banks, and companies in Ulaanbaatar being online. Market penetration continues to remain strong in the urban centers.

Although, the rural sector is catching up with over 50 percent of provincial centers having high speed Internet access." The paper found that approximately 80 percent of Internet users still use narrowband connections, the number of e-commerce services such as e-banking, online shopping, and e-services are slowly being established in Mongolia. "This is partly attributed to a government initiative established in 2005 called the "One Home One PC" program providing low-cost computers for around US$250. As a result, nationwide PC penetration increased by 60 percent and continues to rise steadily.""Poor infrastructure for fixed-line phones has contributed to the explosive growth of Mongolia's mobile industry. Subscribers are primarily in urban areas - 85 percent of all subscribers are in Ulaanbaatar, where about 40 percent of the country's three million inhabitants live." A number of Internet users have been increased up to 400,000 last year compared the 310,000 users in 2006. Currently, Mongolia has more than 1.5 million mobile phone subscribers as of last year."Renewed efforts in early 2009 to complete the privatization of Mongolia Telecom. The operator continued to provide services throughout the country by leasing network assets from the Posts and Telecommunications Authority, which owned the infrastructure. Although Mongolia Telecom had been a very profitable company throughout most of the 1990s, the advent of mobile competition, international IP telephony providers and later on the substitution of international SMS for voice, all had a negative impact on its profit margins. By 2008 the major portion of its revenue was being gained through international telephone calls where the regulations meant it faced no competition."


From http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/ 09/04/2009

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CAMBODIA: Operators Argue over Low Call Costs

Cambodia's newest network operator, Beeline - backed by Russia's Vimplecom - has been accused of reneging on a deal to stop offering tariffs that its competitors claimed were loss-leading for the operator. While accepting that Beeline is no longer signing up new customers to its "boom" tariff, rival operator, Mobitel said that an agreement to raise call costs for existing customers before the end of August had been breached. Beeline Cambodia General Director Gael Campan confirmed to the local Phnom Penh Post newspaper that it stopped adding new users on the tariff Tuesday, and that all advertising - including billboards - had been withdrawn. However, Mobitel says that at a meeting with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Beeline also agreed to raise its tariffs from US$0.05 per minute to $0.06 per minute for existing customers. A text message sent out last week to subscribers said that the older tariff would remain in place for existing customers. Beeline has also denied that it is selling at a loss, citing additional services that are sold to customers. For its part, Beeline has accused Mobitel of blocking interconnection between the two networks while the dispute has dragged on. Statistics from the Mobile World database shows the Cambodia ended last year with just under 4.4 million mobile phone subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 30%. The country has seven active network operators, along with two seemingly dormant license holders.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/03/2009

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MALAYSIA: Sixth in CSR Asia Survey

Malaysia emerged in sixth place among the top 10 Asian countries that are increasingly giving heed to corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure, according to an annual survey conducted by CSR Asia. In the top ten list, Australia led the pack, followed by China (second), Hong Kong (third), India (fourth), Japan (fifth), Pakistan (seventh), Philippines (eight), Singapore (ninth) and Thailand (tenth). The Asian Sustainability Rating (ASR) is CSR Asia's proprietary research, which ranked the 200 largest listed companies in ten markets operating in Asia Pacific on their sustainability disclosure. In a news release Monday, CSR said leading companies in the Asia Pacific region had shown an increased level of CSR disclosure, especially in the area of corporate governance. While the top 20 companies, including the sole Malaysia's British American Tobacco (BAT), scored 75 per cent and above, only 60 out of 200 companies scored above 50 per cent, CSR said. In particular, companies in South-East Asia lagged behind with Thailand (29.5 per cent) and Singapore (25.5 per cent) ranked low in the ratings and Pakistan (18 per cent) was bottom, it added. CSR said Australian companies were leading the way in reporting of CSR activities, followed by India and Japan.

In the survey, the companies were rated against 51 indicators covering six sections namely, governance and policy, strategy and communication, marketplace and supply chain, workplace and people, environment, and community and development. Overall, Malaysia scored 59.6 per cent for governance, codes, policies, 23.4 per cent (CSR strategy and communication), 34 per cent (marketplace and supply chain), 27.3 per cent (workplace and people), 28.4 per cent (environment) and 39 per cent (community and development). CSR said disclosure performance by Malaysian companies had in most cases improved over the past year and this was partly due to encouragement from both government and the stock exchange. In most cases disclosure scores had risen between 2008 and 2009, it said, adding that there was still more to do however, and the large number of laggard companies tended to drag down Malaysia's score overall. CSR also said the breakdown of disclosure into the constituent parts of the ASR demonstrated that although companies often had policies, codes of conduct and relevant governance structures, they were generally poor at communicating their CSR strategies. It said only around one third of companies in Malaysia were disclosing more detailed information. CSR said the challenge for the future was for Malaysian companies to move beyond broad policies and demonstrate real activity through more detailed reporting.


From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/ 10/27/2009

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Call for a Nation of Telecommuters

More companies in the country should encourage telecommuting - a work arrangement where employees have the flexibility to work from home, said two major players in the local ICT industry. Pikom - the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia - and WiMAX wireless broadband provider Packet One Networks (P1) believe the daily commute by Malaysians to their workplace can be avoided through the use of telecommunications links. This move would certainly be well accepted because our country has many knowledge workers, especially graduate females, whom are home bound due to family concerns or well being, said Pikom chairman Wei Chuan Beng. "Such initiatives can be successfully carried out and achieved with the advent of globalisation and the use of the Internet in a connected world," he said. "This would be beneficial to the economy and country in the long-run, especially in addressing the concerns of knowledge worker shortages." According to him, ICT (information and communications technology) has always been at the forefront and a key enabler of economic growth. He said the work-from-home initiative will create a new source of income and wealth for society and economy. It would also stimulate further growth and penetration in the broadband take-up rate in Malaysia. which wants to achieve a 50% target by the end of next year. "This would also certainly be inline with the Prime Minister's Budget 2010 announcements on embracing innovative and knowledge environments that would enable workers to be more efficient and productive in the years to come, thus creating a higher income society," said Wei.

In support
P1 said the benefits of telecommuting have been discussed by numerous parties and studies. The working-from-home option, it said, is certainly more inclusive because the employability of marginalised groups such as parents, caregivers, the disabled, retirees and people living in remote areas, will increase. According to P1, companies and organisations will gain from cost reduction, increased productivity, reduction in carbon footprint and energy usage, as well as improvements in company morale. Individual employees will improve their work-life balance, free up additional work days (since they would save time that would otherwise be spent commuting), and save on travel costs, said P1. As the country's leading WiMAX broadband service provider, P1 said it believes that it already has the infrastructure in place to support telecommuting. "We have always maintained that telecommuting is one of the key applications for broadband," it said in a press release. Pikom and P1 were commenting on a recent press report that Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor has given the greenlight to a pilot project that allows 35 Public Works Department draughtsmen to work from home for three months. The effectiveness of the project in terms of productivity and efficiency will be looked into after that period to determine whether or not the initiative is a success.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 11/06/2009

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PHILIPPINES: Corruption Increases RP Gov't IT Spending - Study

Corruption and lack of transparency in the Philippine government's procurement process has led to unnecessary increases in public spending on information technology, IT market research firm Springboard Research revealed Thursday. Springboard Research vice-president Michael Barnes said the lack of transparency discourages major IT vendors from bidding for government projects, which could lead to higher IT spending for government. "The key challenge in the Philippine market is the lack of transparency and visibility. Lack of transparency enables corruption. That means not fully leveraging the spending because it is not going where it is supposed to go. That's stating it in the most euphemistic way possible. It's corruption, which happens in most growth markets not just the Philippines," Barnes said in a press briefing in Manila. He also noted that for some foreign-funded projects, only IT vendors from the lending nation would be considered. "What happens is there is an issue of market access. If a foreign government or NGO is funding the project, the project bids may skew towards the companies or technology providers from that country. That is an area where transparency needs to improve so that access will improve," he said.

Barnes said implementing policies that encourage transparency in the government procurement process would mean fiercer competition among providers and more savings for government. "The benefit of having more IT suppliers getting access to the Philippine market means improved efficiency in terms of the actual transactions. Better competition leads to lower prices. If the vendors don't have to pad their prices for these inefficiencies, that means that they get the same margins but charge less," he said. Gerry Lim, Hewlett Packard public sector sales director for Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), said clearer rules on government procurement would help IT vendors know which projects to focus on and prioritize. "We would be more efficient. We don't need to bid for a project that takes five years to bid... [if] you can bid for it in six months. It costs less for us compared to a project that takes three years to bid," he said. Research conducted by Springboard on public sector IT opportunities in the Philippines said IT vendors who want to deal with the Philippine government face three major challenges, which are:
- continuing complexity and ambiguity in the procurement process;
- poor record in implementing scheduled projects; and,
- difficulty in winning large foreign-funded or NGO-funded projects

It also identified at least two Philippine government IT projects that were tainted by allegations of corruption. These are the $330 million broadband network contract between the Philippines and China's ZTE Corp, and the $28.8 million poll automation contract between the Commission on Elections and Mega Pacific Consortium. The $330 million National Broadband Network project between the Philippine government and China's ZTE Corp. was financed through an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from the Chinese government. The project was initially awarded to ZTE Corp., which is China's largest listed telecommunications vendor. President Arroyo later scrapped the contract amid allegations that Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo received kickbacks from ZTE. On the other hand, the 2004 poll automation contract was nullified by the Supreme Court due to irregularities discovered in the bidding process. The Office of the Ombudsman, however, overturned the recommendations of its field investigators and cleared Abalos, the Comelec commissioners and Mega Pacific of criminal charges for lack of probable cause.

Public IT spending to hit $580-M
Research conducted by Springboard on public sector IT opportunities in the Philippines showed that the government spent about $349.2 million on IT initiatives in 2007, which is 21 percent of the estimated $1.6 billion Philippine IT market size for that year. More than half (52%) of the Philippine government's IT spending was on hardware, 27 percent was for IT services, and 21 percent was for software. The study said IT spending by the Philippine government is estimated to have reached $390 million in 2008 and is further expected to reach $580 million by 2011. It said government IT spending is heavily centralized at the national government level, with local governments controlling only an estimated 7 percent of spending. Barnes said the Philippine government spent most of its IT budget in the past years on the education sector, followed by defense, healthcare, utilities, taxation, social services and transportation. He also noted that the Philippines has a history of decentralized IT spending, usually initiated by government agencies and local government units. "There's a history of agency-led IT initiatives that tend to be isolated or even not well-coordinated across agencies. Part of that is actually geographic. The Philippines is an archipelago with a lot of islands, so this disjointed IT spending is not cultural but geographical," he said.

He added, however, that there has been some improvement in centralizing IT initiatives and procurement in government. Lim said some technology trends "actually need more centralization" so that the Philippines could spend less on IT. "Because of the economies of scale, the government can actually leverage its size and share its infrastructure. One advantage of government is that it can centralize acquisition and then standardize the platforms, environment and strategies [among agencies]," he said. Poh Chuan Tan, HP-APJ director of the Public Sector division, said discussions among Philippine government officials showed "a greater drive towards improved efficiency." "What we are doing is taking our experience from other countries to the Philippines, how we manage our infrastructure, how we deal with green IT initiatives, we share these with government. HP is in a good position to do that," he said.

Foreign IT investments in RP to increase
Barnes said the Philippines is in a unique position to benefit from increased IT spending in the region due to the economic downturn in the United States. He added that the emergence of technology trends such as cloud computing allows local IT talent to service other markets. "The beauty of cloud computing is that it effectively lowers the barriers to entering other geographic markets. There are loads of IT talent and software development talent here and one of the challenges in a growth market constrained by limited resources is how to actually sell or deliver those solutions. How do you get them out and expose them to the market where the demand is there?" he said. Barnes said there is increasing recognition that government should deliver IT-related investments in key areas such as broadband access. "Broadband, in particular, is an area where investments will continue and will have to continue. It's a fundamental infrastructure layer that's needed not just in Metro Manila but in rural areas. Without that access to broadband, which should be consistent, reliable and affordable, the benefits of e-government or healthcare information or cloud computing will not be available," he said.


From http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/ 11/12/2009

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Convergence 2009 to Stimulate E-Services Growth in Iloilo City

Iloilo City being identified as one of the new wave cities in the country will be the next venue of the Convergence 2009 set to be held November 25 to 26, 2009. Convergence 2009, a road show that will travel to the Next Wave Cities, aims to give the cities' governance, general community and nature workforce, particularly the 2,500 members of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations awareness in enhancing the Next Wave Cities' use of Information and Communication Technology and the numerous talent opportunities in the industry. According to Secretary Ray Anthony Roxas Chua III of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology, the event will be held at the Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center. "Our participants include private sector practitioners, entrepreneurs, graduates, teaching professionals, government employees and other stakeholders," said Secretary Chua as he emphasized that the event will feature track sessions featuring various ICT initiatives and related IT-BPO talent caravan throughout the event which can strengthen the link between local talents with ICT industries. On November 25 opening, Secretary Chua will give update on the Position of the Philippines in ICT and Global trends of the BPO-IT industry; while Mr. Jessra S. Palmares, acting chairman of the Iloilo Federation for Information Technology will give local ICT update. The featured track sessions are: CICT Cyberservice; CICT eGovernment development; Kapihang BPO-IT: An Industry-Academe orum; CICT Human Capital Development; and CICT Information Infrastructure Development; and BPO-IT Job Fair and Career Talks. The identified New Wave Cities are Iloilo, Metro Cebu, Metro Laguna, Metro Cavite, Davao, Bacolod, Metro Pampanga, Bulacan East and West, Cagayan de Oro and Lipa City.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 11/18/2009

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Deal Eyed to Impact ICT in SMEs

Information and Communications Technology Davao (ICT-Davao) President Andrei Fournier admitted the slow movement of ICT's expected impact in Davao's small and medium enterprises (SME). "We hope to see SMEs become ICT-enabled so we would then see that ICT is relevant to the growth of SMEs," Fournier said. Through the partnership of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) with IBM Philippines, Fournier believes that hopes for a stronger ICT in the business sector will all be realized. The partnership is aimed to address the needs of SMEs through innovation and technology. It enables IBM to bring its knowledge in SME solutions in Mindanao through the SME Center. This center will become the innovation hub where IBM partners and local developers could innovate and advocate technology to develop business solutions needed for growth. IBM has committed to take part in making a substantial contribution to SMEs especially in cities where IBM's geo-expansion initiatives are concentrated. The DCCCII, on its part, offered a space for the donated blade server unit which included peripherals and enablement kit worth P1.4 million to be placed in the SME center. Interested developers are welcome to make use of these facilities for free while businessmen could test the solutions and applications and how they work through the use of the center. Fournier also encouraged students to maximize the availability of the SME center by developing solutions helpful to a particular enterprise. The partnership ceremony between IBM, DCCCII and ICT Davao will be formalized on November 26 at Marco Polo Davao.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 11/19/2009

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SINGAPORE: Firms Urged to Tap into Opportunities Offered by ICT Contracts

More than S$1 billion worth of infocomm technology contracts are up for bidding both regionally and globally. And according to some industry-watchers, Singapore firms are more than equipped to bid for these contracts. They comprise some 100 projects under international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank. The funding could ease the process of entering into new markets. Singapore is among the most advanced in the world when it comes to accessing and providing government services on the Internet. This puts local infocomm technology firms in good stead when they bid for ICT projects from international organisations such as the World Bank. Besides the monetary incentive, working with these international agencies could open up access for future work. Tan Sian Lip, vice president, CrimsonLogic, said: "Funds from international organisations obviously makes it easier for them to pursue these priorities. We have found out from our interactions with the World Bank that availability of financing in creative ways is possible. "That will enable us to create packages of services and projects which could be more creatively-tailored to the needs of the countries and align their interest with ours so that it comes up with better outcomes for them and also for us as well." Industry players said working on such government projects provides great opportunities for local players to make stepping stones into overseas markets. But they added that such public private partnerships are not a straight forward money and goods exchange. Mr Tan added: "You have to have a much clearer idea of the outcomes that you want to achieve with the project and then focus on the outcomes rather then the outputs of the project. So after doing the project, did people get healthier? Is trade moving faster?" 98 per cent of the projects open for bidding are e-government related. Yew Sung Pei, assistant chief executive officer, IE Singapore, said: "Singapore as a nation, we have built up the e-government competency, Singpass, public private partnerships over the years. "All these are real competencies we have built up that we can share with developing countries, and international organisations would like to help developing countries build these up." Singapore's expertise in e-government is a key edge for local firms when they compete with bigger rivals for the same projects.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 10/22/2009

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THAILAND: Regulator Approves Draft Plans for 3G License Auction

Thailand's telecoms regulator, the NTC has approved a draft procedure for the long-planned 3G license auctions. If approved, the actions are expected to take place by the end of this year, with the winning networks anticipated to formally launch services in the second half of 2010. The regulator plans to hold a public consultation on the proposals at the end of this month. The proposals should switch the regulatory regime from a percentage of revenues to a fixed fee with lower spectrum costs. The incumbent operators are already running small trials of 3G networks over their existing GSM radio spectrum, while CDMA operator, CAT Telecom is seeking an overseas investor to assist in 3G rollout plans. The regulator is also planning to auction of a series of WiMAX licenses. A recent report suggested that the licenses should be offered on a regional basis. The auction of the licenses is not expected to happen until after the 3G license auctions, which should also give the regulator time to refarm the WiMAX spectrum from its current users.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/11/2009

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Delays to Thailand's 3G License Auction Could Damage Investor Confidence

Thailand's DTAC has warned that any further delays to the country's 3G license auction could deter foreign investment and undermine the credibility of government policy. DTAC's CEO, Tore Johnsen, added though that he expects any delays to be just a few weeks. Mr Johnsen also argued that the reserve price for a 3G licence should be between 2 billion and 4 billion baht, not the 10 billion set by the NTC. "The price is unreasonably high and tarnishes free and fair competition rules,'' he told the Bangkok Post. In total four licenses will be offered, with three of 10 Mhz and a fourth with 15Mhz of radio spectrum, and a reserve price of between US$100-US$200 million. The auction is expected to take place in December, although several unions are opposing the auction on technical grounds relating to the make-up of the regulatory bodies. Mr Johnsen also suggested the NTC change the payment terms for 3G licences from a lump-sum to only half of the fee first and then installments over 10 years or over the whole life of the concession. "This will give TOT and CAT Telcom a revenue stream on a yearly basis, while easing private operators' financial burden,'' he added, referring to state telecom enterprises that rely heavily on concession revenues from private operators. In related news, True Corporation, the parent company of the mobile operator True Move says that it is ready for the auction and has shareholder support for a US$200 million investment in its 3G network over a three-year period. "We will fight until the end, until the last breath, to win a 3G licence no matter how high the bid prices will go and with an unlimited budget," said CEO Supachai Chearavanont. The incumbent operators are already running small trials of 3G networks over their existing GSM radio spectrum, while CDMA operator, CAT Telecom is seeking an overseas investor to assist in 3G rollout plans. Debt ratings agency, Fitch recently said that despite the high capex - the key benefit of the 3G licence is lower regulatory costs - which should boost the operators' profit margin over the medium-to-long-term.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/18/2009

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VIETNAM: 'Lacks IT Human Resources'

Viet Nam remains a favoured software outsourcing partner of Japan, but the country still lacks adequate information technology (IT) human resources. Nguyen Doan Hung, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam-Japan Information Technology Co-operation Club (VJC), said Viet Nam was the third largest buyer of Japanese software with a market share of 0.5 per cent, following China and India with a share of 80 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively. Hung said 0.5 per cent was an encouraging number because Vietnamese software firms had not been invested in by Japanese firms five years ago, but now had become a favoured software-outsourcing partner. The FPT Corporation, the largest software firm of Viet Nam, gained 56 per cent of its revenue from Japan, while many other Vietnamese software firms had all of their respective revenues from that market. Japanese software firms, including Hitachi, NEC and Fujitsu, also opened subsidiaries in Viet Nam in order to develop IT workers to meet current demand. He expected that number to increase by 5 per cent in the next five years. However, to reach such expectations, the software outsourcing industry should improve the quality and quantity of IT resources, he said.

He said the number of software engineers doing outsourced work for Japan was small, especially programmers who were experienced and able to speak Japanese. Bui Tran Luong, deputy director of Luvina Software Company, said the number of IT workers that China provided for the Japanese market was a hundred times higher than Viet Nam. The Chinese IT workers were fluent in Japanese. Viet Nam rarely had skilled IT workers who were fluent in Japanese, said Luong. Hung said Viet Nam could provide 35,000 software engineers to Japan, while China provided 200,000 software engineers a year for the market. IT experts expected that the situation would improve by 2010 because Japanese language had become part of training courses for software engineers. FPT University would have the first class of software engineers with good Japanese language skills, who are set to graduate in mid-2010. The Ha Noi Technology University trained 10 per cent of its total students studying information technology in Japanese. The State plans to invest VND900 billion (US$50.3 million) from the budget to develop Viet Nam's IT human resources by 2015. The plan would improve the quality of IT workers with a mandate that 30 per cent of total graduating students possess good foreign language skills.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 09/28/2009

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VIETNAM: All-Digital Broadcasts 'Unlikely' by 2020

The conversion of analog radio and TV broadcasts to a digital format throughout the country by 2020 is not feasible, according to the deputy general director of the Viet Nam Post and Telematics Ministry. Le Van Khuong, who heads the ministry's digital technology broadcasting group VTC, said residents of remote areas and the poor would be unable to afford the equipment needed to convert to digital TV. The average price of a digital-to-analog converter is VND3 million ($US170). Many of them are illegally imported, leading to a loss of revenue for the Government. "This really is a thorny problem for authorities," Khuong said. "They must build a clearer roadmap to implement digital TV in Viet Nam." In February, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a radio and TV broadcasting plan, which aims to offer a greater variety of TV and radio services to all residents of the country. Under the plan, 95 per cent of Vietnamese residents would have access to land-based TV services, and AM and FM broadcasting would be transmitted to all corners of the country by 2010. By 2015, all residents would have access to land-based TV services and all provinces and city centres would have access to cable-TV services. Under the plan, by 2020 all cable TV networks would be using digital technology. Most of the households in remote and isolated areas would be provided with equipment to receive radio and television services at reasonable prices. Le Nam Thang, vice minister of Information and Communications, said the ministry was working on portions of the telecommunications law that focuses on training of human resources for the digital content industry. He said the law would also address the development of a modern information and communication infrastructure, and creation of a favorable environment for the development of companies producing and trading in digital information content.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 10/16/2009

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Vietnam Among Top Ten Software Outsourcing Countries

Vietnam ranks ninth among the top 10 nations for outsourcing in the world, according to a recent survey by the Tholons - Global Services Group. HCM City continues to be selected by Tholons - Global Services as one of the world's six leading cities in application development and management as well as game and cartoon development. This is also the second consecutive year HCM City has entered the top 50 emerging outsourcing cities. In 2006, the city was named in the list for low labour costs and high standards in the IT sector. Tholons/Global Services rankings are based on six criteria, including the proportion and quality of human resources, labour costs, trade promotion activities, infrastructure, risk levels and living standards. The Vietnam Software Association has announced that the local software industry is developing with an annual growth rate of 30-40 percent. The country is home to more than 720 outsourcing companies and nearly 9,000 IT engineers who have been trained at universities and colleges.


From http://vietnamnet.vn/ 11/12/2009

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E-Learning Catches On

"On a business trip or at a cafe, or anywhere the Internet and computers are available, I can listen to my lectures and discuss them with teachers and friends," Tran Thi Viet Ha said. The 24-year-old software verification employee of South Korean-invested Kraze Vina is taking a business administration course through the TOPICA electronic learning (E-learning) program at Hanoi Open University. What makes the two-year course so interesting is that Ha's teachers, several of whom are businesspeople, often use real-life situations to get their point across. "Real examples help us understand the lessons quicker, and we can watch the same lectures as many times as we want," she told Thanh Nien Weekly. Like Ha, many students and employees are taking the course to learn things that universities don't teach. Some 1,900 students and 105 entrepreneurs have registered for the "1,000 Businesspeople Share Their Experience with Youth via E-learning" study program co-organized by TOPICA, the Vietnam Youth Association and the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association. Over the next two years, the program is expected to train 30,000 students and 1,000 businesspeople.

Multilateral benefits
Tran Thi Phuong Thao, a student at Hanoi Open University, took the program's "Skills for a Successful Interview" course. With their practical bent, she found that the lectures and learner forums honed her thinking and her ability to solve situational problems. Nguyen Manh Cuong, vice president and general secretary of the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association, said the program gave learners the chance for direct contact with managers and thereby improved their employment prospects. E-learning gives more training options for busy people who cannot attend traditional classes, said TOPICA's director, Pham Minh Tuan. The businesspeople who teach in the E-learning programs have helped learners improve their working skills and given them practical experience, Tuan said. In this way, they "contribute to increasing the quality of human resources, instead of waiting for universities to reform their teaching programs, to create products suitable to the demand," he said. "Participating in the program is the implementation of firm's social responsibility," said Dao Trong Khang, chairman and director of personnel management consulting firm DTK, and one of the TOPICA program's teachers. "I have shared all my experience from 13 years as an employer in the hope that the learners will be more methodical in their job interviews, and more successful," he said. Khang said the program gave him more opportunities to share his experience with colleagues in the program while also improve his presentation, listening and summing up skills and expanding his firm's operational network. He said the communication with youth had renewed his zest for his work.


From http://vietnamnet.vn/ 11/14/2009

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INDIA: 70 Ports in India to Be Connected Electronically

The Indian government has decided to connect 70 ports across the country electronically by the end of next year. This move will help ports reduce the cost per transaction. The Commerce Ministry is promoting the use of electronic systems such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) which helps in exchanging electronic messages between Customs and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). Initially, the project will be implemented in five states including Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The project aims to create a customer-centric environment and providing the business community speedy access to information and services.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/01/2009

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Concept of E-City Gets a Boost in India

The partnership between Lavasa and Wipro to build India's first e-city, would bring enhanced IT operations within the City for 'best-in-class' governance. Wipro would provide support in e-Governance, ICT infrastructure, city management systems and services, and other value added services. The intent of forging the partnership is to enhance IT operations within the Lavasa's Hill City and also to deliver infrastructure support such as technology selection, supply, installation, and management of platforms. A key focus area for Wipro would be to provide telecom-based services to both the residents and visitors of the Lavasa city. Such services are expected to facilitate smart homes and buildings. The aim of Wipro is to set new benchmarks in ICT and create the first completely e-governed city in India.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/03/2009

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E-Payment Facility Launched for VAT Dealers in Kerala

Having achieved 100 per cent e-filing of returns, the State Government of Kerala has taken the next step of introducing 'e-payment' to all its registered VAT dealers. Kerala will be the first state to roll out e-payment facility to all its VAT dealers. e-payment is easy and transparent, simplifying the reconciliation procedure It uses modern techniques of computerisation to transfer the monthly tax amount due directly from the dealer's account or a dealer authorised account to the Government account. The Commercial Taxes Department has tied with State Bank of India (SBI) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) for the e-payment facility.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/09/2009

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Compulsory E-stamping in India

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has introduced e-stamping in lieu of the current stamp papers. The on-line payment facility currently launched on a pilot basis in about 22 States enables the corporates to buy e-stamps by clicking on a computer instead of buying, pasting and submitting physical stamps with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). e-Stamping would be extended to the whole country by end of December this year and this will become compulsory from January 1, 2010. The pilot projects are on in States like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kar nataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi. The collection of stamp duty falls under the exclusive domain of State governments.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/17/2009

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Indian Passports to Go Digital

The Indian government next year will launch its e-passport initiative, as well as the Passport Seva Project, with pilots expected to commence this year. The government aims to issue some 800,000 e-passports next year and begin piloting its new backend system touted to enable faster delivery of passport services, baring no further delays. Implemented by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, the Passport Seva Project, part of the government's National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), entails digitization of the entire passport services. It seeks to deliver all passport-related services to citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner, through streamlined processes and trained workforce.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/22/2009

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India to Develop Fire Incidence Database

The Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar (IIT-G) will develop a national fire accident registry to provide better data and develop protection solutions for firefighters across the country. Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leading US firm on product safety testing and certification, has agreed to a tie-up with the new IIT for this work. The national fire incident database will document fire events in India. Such a data base will help develop the right engineering practices for fire prevention, detection, and suppression. As part of this programme, a student team of IIT-G will visit UL facilities in the US. The team will also get to work with the Delhi Fire Service to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/08/2009

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Postal Department Launches SMS Service in Chennai

The Department of Posts of Chennai has launched a new service that would enable customers to trace their mails through Short Messaging Service (SMS). This new service will enable public to locate their mails, especially speed post, by sending an SMS and they will receive the location of their mail. One has to type the 13 digit number, printed in the receipt that was given during booking, and sms it to '55352'.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/15/2009

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Efforts for Delivery of E-Services to Be Intensified

The first conference of ICT Ministers to discuss the topical issues related to Speeding-up Delivery of e-Services, Institutional Framework for e-Governance Projects, & speeding up of e-Infrastructure required for the delivery of e-Services concluded in Delhi on October 27, 2009. After Day long deliberations and discussions all participants agreed to intensify the efforts to implement NeGP and following points of consensus emerged. The Conference provided a unified platform to discuss all issues pertaining to speeding up delivery of e-services. The ownership of e-Governance projects must remain with respective States and Line Departments with requisite support from Department of I.T. Five to six frequently accessed/required services to be identified and rolled out in all States. Digital service delivery infrastructure to be leveraged to deliver e-Governance services in States. Appropriate capacity building to be carried out to monitor and manage e-Governance projects. Two hundred and thirty stake holders in e-Governance including DIT officials took part in the day long deliberations. Representatives from all the state governments except Mizoram were present. The participants included Chief Minister of Goa and ministers from Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Orissa and Pudducherry. The day of the conference also coincided with the announcement of enforcement of The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. The Information Technology Act was enacted in the year 2000 with a view to give a fillip to the growth of electronic based transactions, to provide legal recognition for e-commerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance, to prevent computer based crimes and ensure security practices and procedures in the context of widest possible use of information technology worldwide.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/28/2009

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Mobile Governance for Public Utility Services in TN

The Tamil Nadu Government is planning to launch mobile governance (m-Governance) facility for public utility services. Mobile governance had been introduced in the public distribution sector to enable the public to know through a text message data on the food stocks available at the local ration shop. Taluk supply officers had been given handsets to facilitate easy access for the public. Mobile governance on various utility platforms, such as telephone bill payment or property tax remittance, would seek to leverage the revolution in mobile telephony.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/30/2009

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India to Use Mobile to Get Pension

A mobile can now also be used as a bank branch. Led by the government's focus on financial inclusion and taking banking to remote rural areas, Zero Mass Foundation (ZMF), has used mobiles to create bank accounts for making NREGA and pension payments in villages. The m-Governance initiative uses mobile phones with near-field communication, a strip printer and a biometric fingerprint scanner to create bank accounts for rural people and enable them to receive payments. The technology was created by A Little World (ALW), sister company of ZMF. The government is spending a lot on e-Governance by putting up kiosks in villages. These kiosks cost a lot and need electricity, which is not always available in rural areas. An internet kiosk costs the government about Rs 1.5 lakh, while this would cost Rs 22,000.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/10/2009

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Gulf's Highest Female Internet User Base

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to the highest number of female Internet users in the Gulf region, making the Arab state a potentially lucrative market for online companies, a study suggests. Conducted by online research firm Effective Measure, the study revealed that over 40 percent of the UAE's online community are women, above the region's average of 28 percent, according to a report Saturday in UAE-based newspaper The National. The UAE also has the second highest female Internet user population in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, second only to Morocco's 46.6 percent. This offers good tidings for online companies, particularly those offering consumer goods, looking to target female users in the region. Brendon Ogilvy, MENA regional director for Effective Measure, said in The National report that women are "a highly sought-after community online because there are fewer of them, and sites that attract more of them have more value".

The study, which polled over 68,000 Internet users across the region, found that female Internet users mostly surfed online from their homes, with 67.3 percent accessing the Internet via home broadband connections. Meanwhile, a separate report noted that while the UAE has one of the highest Internet penetrations in the Gulf region, it trails other Arab nations with regard to the quality of broadband services. A study conducted by Oxford University revealed the UAE is in the bottom 25 percent of 42 Arab states with regard to the delivery of broadband services, behind Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among others. The study defined broadband quality of service as the "speed and responsiveness of connections" and whether connection lines were congested or unreliable. "The UAE reportedly scored poorly based on these parameters," the study stated. (by Joel D. Pinaroc)


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 10/15/2009

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IRAN: Desperately Unwired

For such a notoriously wired country (as least among urban youth), Iran certainly has slow download speeds. According to an international Internet speed test website, Iran ranks number 189 among countries in terms of download speed. That places Iran behind Iraq and Afghanistan, nations whose infrastructure was either never really there or destroyed by war. South Korea's Internet speeds are about 500 times faster than Iran's. The amazing thing in Iran is that the slow speeds hasn't prevented people, especially the younger generation, from accessing information. The eternally long download times are just accepted as a part of life. As one Internet user described on the Tabnak website: "I start downloading a small-sized program then I go to eat my dinner and come back and it's still downloading."

The slow speed, of course, suits the regime. Rights activists and web experts have accused the government of deliberately keeping the network slow, especially after the disputed presidential election. And instead of a blanket Internet shutdown the government has instead been more selective about the sites it targets, focusing on opposition sites and social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Evgeny Morozov, blogging over at Foreign Policy's net.effect, has some interesting thoughts on why Iran didn't just pull the plug on the Internet in the midst of the crisis. The idea being that Internet activism is actually a useful diversion for engaged oppositionists and can dilute, rather than enhance, real-world activism.

In the meantime, while Internet speeds remain sluggish, it hasn't stopped the authorities from investing in a grandiose space program. A few months ago, Iranian state TV announced the successful launch of a rocket carrying a satellite, and it continues to be big news. The government sees such scientific efforts not so much as an investment in future technology but rather as a demonstration of Iran's might and ideological virility. Too bad the satellite won't help boost Internet speeds.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 08/27/2009

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KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh Internet Marks 15th Anniversary

Kazakhstani Internet marks its 15th anniversary. VII contest "National Internet Award AWARD.KZ" scheduled till November, 19 this year is held within the event. "Kaznet is the place where a lot of people work, live and have a rest. Our Internet is actively developing. This year the number of applications for the contest has not been reduced - their number is reaching one thousand", - Director of Public Fund "National Internet Award AWARD.KZ" Konstantin Gorozhankin said. The first record in the database of the IANA International Agency regarding national domain "KZ" appeared on September, 19 in 1994. This day is considered as the birthday of the Kazakhstani Internet.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 09/23/2009

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TURKMENISTAN: Ecology Through the Internet

The internet access platform to the environmental sites was created in the Hazar State Reserve. Henceforth, the experts of the nature preservation organisations, students, schoolchildren - all those, who need environmental information, can use the services of 'an e-consultant' free of charge. These services, computer and office equipment are provided under the project Conservation and sustainable use of globally significant biological diversity in Hazar State Reserve on the Caspian Sea Coast implemented by the Ministry of Nature Protection of Turkmenistan in collaboration with the Global Ecological Fund and the United Nations Development Programme. As is known, wide-scale introduction of advanced information technologies in all the spheres of the life of the Turkmen society is a priority task of the Turkmen state. It can be said that the modern telecommunication infrastructure has been created in Turkmenistan laying the foundation for dynamic adoption of the future technologies. The Order "For the Contribution to Development of Information Society" awarded by the International Informatization Academy to the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is a bright sign of the international recognition of the progress achieved in this important area that accumulates scientific and technological advances.

Turkmenistan's integration in the global information space will be promoted by launching a satellite on the orbit around the earth. Focusing on a critical role that telecommunication systems played in the modern world the President of Turkmenistan said that this project would offer a powerful incentive to dynamically develop communications systems, television, provide high-speed internet access in the country, expand the ways of using the latest methods for exploring hydrocarbon and other mineral resources and contribute to implementing environmental programmes. The websites of the Ministry of Nature Protection (www.natureprotection.gov.tm), the Caspian Environment Programme (www.caspianenvironment.org) and other environmental programmes and projects provide the comprehensive information about the large-scale environmental activities carried on in our country. This information is available in the Turkmen, Russian and English languages.

One can make a virtual excursion around the protected areas of the Caspian Sea and coastal territory - the natural pearl with the unique plant and animal life if he uses the internet resources (www.hazarwetlands.com) of the project Conservation and sustainable use of globally significant biological diversity in Hazar State Reserve on the Caspian Sea Coast. It tells about the history of the Reserve and the recent scientific research carried on in the territory of the Reserve and the international projects, the relevant publications in the local and foreign media, etc. There are a plenty of the photographs and clips made by the Turkmen television journalists and broadcast on the national television. Over 90,000 internet users in Europe, America, Africa and Australia have visited the web-page of the environmental project aimed at enhancing the scientific and technical capacity of the Hazar Reserve. All this vividly illustrates keen interest aroused worldwide by the world-known ornithological reserve.


From State News Agency of Turkmenistan 09/20/2009

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TURKEY: Social Information Systems Enabling Efficient Public Service Delivery Launched

The "Social Assistance Information System" (SAIS, known as SOYBİS in Turkish) was presented to the public on 27 October 2009 by State Minister Hayati Yazıcı in the General Directorate of the Social Assistance and Solidarity. This system is a replacement of the "One Step Offices" and it has as its slogan "From one step service to one click service". Before SAIS, the government used to demand that the applicants prove that they are in need of social assistance. But now, the applicants only need to bring their ID cards. Thanks to SAIS, the government can access the applicant's personal information from central databases that are stored in several government institutions. The system receives information from 10 different institutions. The system has already been used by over 2 600 registered users. Before the presentation, the State Minister provided information about the Social Assistance and Solidarity General Directorate and its activities.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/10/2009

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UZBEKISTAN: New Dictionaries for Professionals

Terminology and dictionaries service team of the State Unitary Enterprise «Unicon.uz» at Uzbek Agency for Communications and Informatization has completed work on three specialized dictionaries, printed by the publishing house «Fan» Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Anglo-Russian-Uzbek Dictionary of terms of operating information technology systems was released. The dictionary contains approximately 2000 terms from different fields of information technology and is designed for a wide range of users. The terminology includes such sections as operating systems and environments, as well as a graphical user interface, hardware, standard software and the Internet, networks, databases, and the subject of database management, languages and programming environments, multimedia technologies.

According to experts of the Center «Unicon.uz», the goal of the terminological dictionary is use the state language on computers with different operating systems. Today there is an urgent need not only to correct and precise choice of the Uzbek equivalent terms, but a single interpretation. Dictionary aims to increase the number of users in Uzbekistan, as well as promote the development of ICT in the country. This valuable guide will be useful to all users of systems, teachers, translators, and novice programmers, system administrators. In modern conditions the problem of protecting information from unauthorized access, dissemination of false information, disruption of the normal functioning of information systems due to the introduction of «Computer Viruses» becomes particularly acute.

This scientific study is the first attempt to generalize the existing terminology in the field of information security. Dictionary is the result of professional work at Terminology and dictionaries service team of the State Unitary Enterprise «Unicon.uz». It includes about 1400 terms, arranged in alphabetical order. Dictionary reflects the terms and definitions in Russian and Uzbek languages, as well as the equivalents of these terms in English. Dictionary may be useful to experts in the field of information, business managers when developing information security policy, students and graduates of relevant disciplines, as well as a wide range of people interested in the problems of information security. The third book was the Russian-Uzbek Dictionary of terms for electrical supply. It is designed for a specific audience - the authors of future textbooks and teaching aids, as well as experts on energy supply of telecommunication systems in order to define and identify terms in the Uzbek language.


From http://uza.uz/ 09/10/2009

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Electronic Plastic Cards Will Be Available to Everyone

The system of cashless payments by plastic cards has been being improved and developed each year. Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated April 6, 2009 "On additional measures to further stimulate the attraction of free funds of population and economic entities on deposits in commercial banks" significantly expanded the range of "electronic wallets". The capital, provincial and district centers has increased significantly the number of retail trade and paid services, equipped with terminals to receive payments by plastic cards. UzA correspondent interviewed Ahmad Mamatov, the director of the department of licensing and regulation of credit institutions the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan, on the development of cashless payments in Uzbekistan with the use of plastic cards:

"Nearly 42 thousand payment terminals in the trade facilities and service centers across the country are established to create favorable conditions for the owners of plastic cards. Commercial banks are taking the necessary steps to fully equip outlets with terminal equipment, based on their needs. According to the forecast until the end of the year the number of terminals will increase by another third, which will provide additional comfort to owners of plastic cards. As a result of measures by October 1, 2009 commercial banks issued more than 5.5 million pieces of plastic cards. In other words, almost every fifth inhabitant of the country now has its own "electronic wallet". A plastic card is considered the most important innovation in the banking business over the past half century, is not it? "More than fifty years have passed since a New York businessman Frank McNamara, who had forgotten wallet at home and discovered it after dinner in a restaurant, was struck with a great idea to invent a tool that allows people to make purchases or pay for services, not limited to the available amount of cash in your pocket. Surprisingly, this forgetfulness became the starting point in the history of the global card industry.

Since that time, the powerful infrastructure into circulation and service of plastic cards - acquiring organizations, processing centers, terminal and ATM networks were built. In the process of forming a system of electronic cash payments ISO (International Standarts Organisation) has developed and implemented the basic standards for plastic cards. They consist of certain requirements for the appearance of cards, order of numbering of bank card accounts, the format of the message sent by the cardholder on its operations, etc. Currently, there are more than 1 billion chips (microprocessors), plastic cards, and this figure continues to grow in arithmetical progression. All precipitously, bank plastic cards are replacing cash in our lives. The market of plastic cards in Uzbekistan is still young. Its foundation was laid on May 26, 1994 when the Cabinet of Ministers accepted a resolution "On measures to accelerate the release of the issuance of debit and plastic cards" First issuer of plastic cards of international payment associations VISA International in the country was the National Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs.

The introduction of financial innovations requires some time to be adapted by society. And in this respect Uzbekistan is no exception. For example, in the United States active move to a system of cashless payments on bank plastic cards took nearly 20 years. In our country this process is carried out in stages. Especially would like to note that the transition to non-cash transaction of money through plastic cards is not a tribute to fashion or imitation of the West. The introduction of practical and reliable payment tool is an urgent demand of modern life. Millions of people in Uzbekistan have experienced the practice of usability of electronic wallets. Their main advantage is that they eliminate the need to carry cash. It is not only inconvenient but also unsafe. Such risks as loss of money, theft or erroneous calculations are excluded in operations with plastic cards. The owner of "electronic wallet" gets an additional interest income. To date, among domestic commercial banks, the rate of not less than 14 per cent per annum.

Plastic cards also store all the information on the ongoing payments. And that means the user does not need to memorize all the numbers on the paid media for the purchased goods or services rendered. With special equipment it can be a few seconds to obtain the necessary data on the movement of funds. And another advantage: a plastic card, regardless of region or the issuer bank, operates in all regions and banks of Uzbekistan. And the citizen, who receives wages on a plastic card, while on vacation or business trip, has an opportunity to receive money via any terminal. In other words, the plastic card payment system facilitates not only to citizens who acquire goods or services, but also to all economic entities, payments for wages, and ultimately strengthens the billing system of the country." Hundreds of thousands of Uzbek citizens are now actively involved in salary projects. And many owners are interested in plastic cards order cash payments in non-cash form. How they behave, if in the outlet there is not terminal or the sellers overstate the cost of purchase for plastic cards?

"The development of cashless payment system under the provisions of the President and Cabinet of Ministers is responsible to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Tashkent city and areas, the State Tax Committee, Uzbekistan Banking Association, commercial banks and the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Central Bank, together with the STC developed the Regulation "On order of equipment and use of payment terminals in the implementation of monetary settlements with the population" and is registered in the Ministry of Justice. It entered into force on August 6. Under this regulation the payment terminals must be installed on a mandatory basis at the sales office of air and rail tickets, payment centers of population, in payments for utilities. Payment office for telephone services must be equipped with the terminals, including cellular telephones, car fueling, stationary points of sale to the trade area of over 150 square meters, the restaurants, hotels, etc.

Control over the presence of payment terminals accepting payments by bank cards in the trade facilities and services, as well as their mandatory use is implemented by the state tax service. In accordance with the requirements of this instrument, it is not allowed baseless price increase while payments for goods (works and services) made through bank plastic cards.

When not taking plastic cards for payment or artificially increasing the prices it should contacted to the State Tax Committee and the local department of the State committee on de-monopolization, support of competition and entrepreneurship or the authorities of consumer protection. Currently, financial institutions are taking all measures for the development of cashless payments system. All banks and mini-banks have payment terminals, through which you can pay all types of utilities (electricity, water, gas, etc.)"


From http://uza.uz/ 10/29/2009

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IMR Sound Recording Studio Presents Unique Online Services in Tashkent

Tashkent-based sound recording studio IMR presented its new online services "Voiceover" and "Online Mastering" that allow to choose optimal sources for recording any sound tracks and create maximum comfort for potential customers with minimum spending of time. The presentation was held in the company's office, where guests and journalists could ask all interested questions about this unique service - the next step to expand local online commerce. "The advantage of the studio's offer is an opportunity to place an order without leaving office. The service "Voiceover" is distant record of voices for video reels and sound tracks, presentations, films, IVR platforms and others," said Director of IMR Akmal Salikhov. To place an order a customer has to choose suitable position from the studio's voice bank, fill in a form on the company's website and send a letter to the mailbox voiceover@imr.uz, attaching scenario of sound track. Demo versions of all positions are available online. "We have already tested this service with our constant clients and they appreciated the notable saving of time and resources at its true value. Taking into account the scale of the Internet usage in all spheres, our service will be claimed by the widest audience in sight, from small companies to the operation staff of mobile communication and call-centers.

The attribute of the choice will be requirement of high quality and effective organized work in the contacts with the world," he added. The studio created exclusive bank of voices, which will help to realize creative ideas of the most capricious customer. Today the IMR bank of voices contains tens of voices and systematically renewed by the new ones. IMR has been working in the Uzbek market since 2006. The quality of the company's services meets the highest requirements and was approved by the Uzbek Culture Ministry. IMR gathered the most professional sound producers, arrangers, announcers and creators from all over the country. The studio asset is rich in bank of voices to different taste, original ideas, wonderful music, high quality studio equipment and the best professionals. During the years of work, IMR accumulated priceless experience and today tens of customers all over the country can prove its business and professional reputation. Kayumovfilm, Creative Cinema, content provider Mazza, Nikita Mobile, Intech, advertising agencies Interbrand Media, Syimo, party agencies Ilona Studio and telecom operator TshTT and others - they all are among IMR's customers.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 11/13/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Regulator Consults on Boosting Rural Mobile Coverage

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking feedback from industry and interested parties to a proposal to make further spectrum in the 2 GHz band available for mobile telecommunications services in regional and remote areas of Australia. "The proposed arrangements were developed in response to requests from telecommunications providers for increased capacity in these areas, as well as to provide increased capacity for dual-band international roaming," said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. "The ACMA believes that the economic and efficient use of the spectrum, as well as the objects of the Radiocommunications Act, are likely to be best promoted by making vacant spectrum available on application to provide additional capacity for mobile telecommunications services, where that is consistent with existing uses." The ACMA has released a discussion paper detailing the proposed public telecommunications service (PTS) apparatus licensing arrangement to support the coordinated deployment of mobile telecommunications infrastructure in regional and remote areas. Complete details on the licensing arrangements and the draft amendments to the regulatory framework to support the proposal can be viewed on the ACMA website.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/06/2009

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Australia's Supercomputer Ranking Slipping

New Zealand gets 8 entries on the Top 500 while Australia's lone Animal Logic system comes in at 447. Only one Australian supercomputer has made it onto a list of the Top 500 announced at the SC09 forum in US this week. The US dominates the list with 277 entries while the UK came in second with 45 ahead of Germany (27), France (25) and China (21). While Australia has had an entry on the Top 500 list every year since 1993 it was easily surpassed in the most recent update by New Zealand's eight entries. Coming in at 447 was Animal Logic's HP-based supercomputer, which slipped from 227 in the June rankings and continues to slide further down the list after debuting at 87 in 2005. The Animal Logic set up is base on HP's Cluster Platform 3000BL System Model running Linux with Intel EM64T Xeon L54xx (Harpertown) 2500 MHz (10 GFlops) processing.

The most Australia has ever had on the list is 11 entries in 2005. The highest rank was in the same year with an Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC) SGI Altix system coming at number 26. While IBM systems dominated the top 10 with four entries in the most recent list, a Cray supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US regained the top spot from the IBM Roadrunner system at the US Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The Oak Ridge Jaguar supercomputer boasts a speed of 1.759 petaflops per second from 224,162 cores. The IBM Roadrunner, meanwhile hit 1.042 petaflops per second. A petaflop is one thousand trillion calculations per second.

For the first time China entered the Top 10 at number five with a hybrid Intel-AMD system. Hewlett-Packard led in the number of systems on the list, with 210 supercomputers or 42 percent, compared with 185 for IBM. Australia's newest and most powerful supercomputer, launched in Canberra this week has not yet made the list. The $15 million, 140 Teraflops Sun Constellation, housed at the Australian National University (ANU), is set to boost Australia's computational research capability into world rankings. The list of the Top 500 supercomputers is compiled twice a year and is now in its 34th installment. To make the Top500 list, compiled by academic researchers in the US and Europe entries must have computing power of 17.1 TFLOPS, up from 12.64 TFLOPS earlier this year, which represents increases in performance - and price. Just two years ago, the entry point on the list was 4 TFLOPS. And you can buy a system of similar power for as little as $US10,000.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 11/17/2009

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FIJI: Mindpearl Boosts ICT Sector

A global call centre which is projected to provide jobs for about 3000 locals over the next few years has commenced operations at the Kalabu Tax Free Zone. Mindpearl Ltd, the latest addition to Fiji's budding Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector, answered its first call on November 1, 2009. The company has signed on Air Pacific and has hired 30 call-centre attendants to handle all of the national airline's reservations, ticket purchases, travel queries and booking functions. Mindpearl was established in 1999 and became independently owned in 2006. Its business background reveals its goals to provide "full contact centre facilities and services to a consortium of 11 airlines, flying globally to over 400 destinations across all time zones". Mindpearl CEO William Pattison has told Fijilive that majority of its business will come from overseas.

The Mindpearl facility in Kalabu, administered by the Fiji Trade and Investment Board, has been refurbished from a warehouse into a multi-million dollar, fully-functional call-centre, which can accommodate more than 700 employees at any one time. FTIB chief executive officer Annie Rogers is excited about the job prospects that will become available as Mindpearl charts its course in Fiji over the next few years. The FTIB plans to use the Mindpearl Call-Centre as a beacon for prospective investors who are looking to explore opportunities in Fiji's growing ICT sector. The ICT sector is one of the key sectors that FTIB is aggressively promoting given its potential to create significant employment opportunities in the short-term, while also generating valuable foreign-exchange earnings from the export of services.


From http://www.fijilive.com/ 11/02/2009

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NEW ZEALAND: National Network to Help Start-Ups

Homegrown technology start-ups are to get a boost from a new $8 million angel investment network. AngelLink brings together early-stage investors from around the country with particular expertise in life sciences, engineering and information technology. Its members include leading tech investors such as Movac, an early investor in Trade Me, and Stephen Tindall's K1W1 fund. It has partnered with the Government-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF), which will contribute half of the initial $8 million pool. AngelLink was the idea of WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato. WaikatoLink chief executive Mark Stuart said the sector required a certain type of investor who understood the challenges of getting a research-driven start-up to market. He said until now such investors had been scattered around the country among regional angel networks, which tended to look for local projects to invest in.

"Putting together a start-up company that's come out of 10 years of publicly funded research that might have occurred across several institutions, that's quite different from just helping an entrepreneur put together a small opportunity," he said. The timing of a national network such as AngelLink was "spot on", with WaikatoLink and other research institutions having deals waiting to come through. One of the first ventures WaikatoLink will put into the new network is OBodies, a company using proteins engineered to have advantages over the antibodies available on the market. OBodies can be used where antibodies would perform poorly, such as when non-refrigerated storage is important. They can also be used in the detection of infectious diseases in rapid diagnostics test kits. NZVIF is involved in AngelLink through its $40 million Seed Co-Investment Fund, its direct investment vehicle aimed at early-stage businesses with potential for high growth.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 08/25/2009

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EDay Aims to Clean Up Taranaki's E-Waste

Do you have electronic waste destined for the scrap-heap? eDay 2009 is coming - and you can instead have your outdated computers, faxes, printers, mobile phones and digital cameras recycled as part of a free nationwide e-waste collection. "We expect to collect 27 tonnes of e-waste in New Plymouth District alone through eDay - and up to 1,000 tonnes nationally that would otherwise have gone to waste in landfills," says NPDC Manager Environmental Strategy and Policy Colin Comber. "Recycling old PCs, computer peripherals, mobile phones and digital cameras through eDay will enable the recovery of valuable materials such as gold, copper and aluminium so they can be reused." eDay will again be held at NPDC's Parks Depot at 65 Hobson Street (next to the AA vehicle testing station) in New Plymouth, the transfer station on Cordelia St, Stratford, and the car park on the corner of Albion and High streets, Hawera.

This year the event runs from 9am to 3pm on Saturday 12 September. "We received fantastic support from Taranaki residents at last year's event and we are delighted to again give the community the chance to dispose of their old computer equipment in an environmentally friendly way," says Mr Comber. eDay 2009 is a drive-through community event aimed at households and schools and is open to cars only. Businesses or organisations with large quantities of e-waste are advised to visit www.eday.org.nz for alternate disposal options and more information about recycling options. More than 40 centres across the country will be taking part in eDay. National Organiser and Chairperson of Computer Access New Zealand (CANZ), Laurence Zwimpfer, said e-waste is the fastest growing and one of the most challenging waste problems in the world, with New Zealand is no exception. More than 87,000 computer-related items were diverted from local landfills at last year's eDay.

"Computers contain many valuable resources which can be recovered and put to good use," says Mr Zwimpfer. "Our aim with eDay is to educate New Zealanders about the benefits of recycling computers while providing convenient drop-off points for them to dispose of unwanted computer items in a safe way." CANZ advises people to wipe all data from computer hard drives, as well as removable media such as floppy disks and PC cards, before handing them over for recycling. Only computer equipment, mobile phones and digital cameras can be recycled in the eDay collection. Other electronic equipment including televisions and stereos will not be accepted. "We know that TVs and other electronic equipment pose similar threats to our environment, but because of the huge variety in size and weight of this equipment we don't think it is fair to ask volunteers to handle TVs," said Mr Zwimpfer. "The best advice we can give is for the public to hold onto their old TVs until sustainable solutions are available."

The event is supported nationally by The Ministry for the Environment, the 2020 Communications Trust and the Ministry of Education which funds the Computer Access NZ Trust. National transport operator KiwiRail and international e-waste recyclers CRTNZ are national partners again in 2009. Corporate sponsors include Meridian Energy, More FM, Dell, Canon, Printlink, The Laptop Company, Invo, Trade Me and NZICT. The New Plymouth event is being supported locally by New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council, Lamberts Business Systems, Timpak Industries Limited, Transfield Worley and Computer Sense. The Hawera event is sponsored by South Taranaki District Council, Egmont Refuse and Recycling, and Hawera McDonald's. All equipment collected as part of eDay will be recycled by accredited international recyclers. Items in good condition can be donated to genuine charities through www.donatenz.com or sold on www.trademe.co.nz. Mr Zwimpfer said the very successful charity auction for antique and collectable computers organised in 2008 with the generous support of Trade Me means the auction will be held again this year. "There was a lot of nostalgia last year as many old-time computer users were able to get their hands on equipment that for many was their first computer," said Mr Zwimpfer.


From http://www.newplymouthnz.com/ 09/04/2009

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Rural Broadband to Break Through Backhaul Roadblock

Communications and IT Minister Steven Joyce has announced coverage targets for the roll out of broadband to rural communities. Within six years he expects over 80 percent of rural households to have access to broadband with speeds of at least 5Mbit/s, with the remainder to achieve speeds of at least 1Mbit/s. Meanwhile, 93 percent of rural schools will receive fibre delivering speeds of at least 100Mbit/s, with the remaining seven percent to achieve speeds of at least 10Mbit/s. "Around half of rural households are coping with dial up speeds currently and that's not good enough in the 21st century," Joyce says in a statement released today. "Providing fibre to the vast majority of rural schools will effectively deliver the capacity to provide faster broadband to the communities they serve. Fibre backhaul is currently the primary limiting factor in the delivery of rural broadband and getting fibre to schools will address that." Getting fibre backhaul into rural area will also allow other technologies, such as wireless and cellular, to play a larger role in rural New Zealand. Joyce said the initial focus will be on areas that will not benefit from Telecom's fibre-to-the-node upgrades.

"Telecom's current programme will get us from 75 percent to 84 percent. The new challenge will be delivering fast broadband beyond the 84% and delivering fibre to the majority of rural schools," he says. Joyce expects the rural policy to cost around $300 million to be delivered through a mix of public and private funding. More announcements about the government's broadband investment programme can be expected shortly, the minister days. InternetNZ welcomed the announcement today. Spokesperson Jordan Carter says the tighter roll-out timetable for rural areas is reasonable given the importance of the rural community to the New Zealand economy. "Speeds of 100Mbit/s will provide for opportunities such as virtual education, greater sharing of educational resources and enhanced multimedia usage. Given that it is fibre, it is upgradable to faster speeds and we can imagine significant change in how education may be delivered." However, he said the annoucement also raised some questions, including the balance of public and private funding for the estimated $300 million cost, which InternetNZ understands is in addition to the government's existing $1.5 billion commitment to fast broadband.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 09/10/2009

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Free Digital Downloads From 'Library without Walls'

Books on your iPod or MP3 player any time of day or night - that's the promise to library customers as Christchurch City Libraries launches Overdrive - a new digital media service from October 5. Manager Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says the new service gives customers the option to use the library in a traditional way without having to physically visit a branch. "It's a library without walls," Ms Robertson says. "Apart from that there is little difference in the way you use the service - the audiobooks are checked out on your library account and will 'expire' after the designated borrowing time". Built-in software means customers don't have to worry about returning items or incurring fines. The software to download the items to personal audio players is free, and has Mac and PC versions. Many titles can be copied to disc for personal use. The service is entirely free to library members. "The audio books are great for joggers, athletes, people on the go, travellers and those with little time to sit down and go through a book," Ms Robertson says. "People learning a language will also find these titles invaluable." Video and other digital content downloads are being considered as future offerings, Ms Robertson says.

More than 350 best-selling and classic titles will form the initial collection, which customers access through free software on the library website and their library card. More titles will become available as the service becomes more popular, catering for adults, young adults and children. Items can be borrowed for seven or 14 days, Ms Robertson says. About Overdrive: Overdrive is a subscription-based audio book download service that the Christchurch City Libraries will offer for free to its members. Library membership allows for download (once download software has been installed from the Libraries website) and burning or saving to devices for use 'on the go'. The service has support for Mac and PC and downloading for most of the brands of MP3 players, including iPod, Zune and Sony Reader. Overdrive's most downloaded audio book in August, Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife will be on offer from October 5, as will be other popular fiction like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Death and the Dancing Footman by Ngaio Marsh and titles by authors such as Meg Cabot, Ann Brashares, John Grisham, Austen and Shakespeare. Initial non-fiction offerings include Dr Blair's Chinese in No Time and Japanese in No Time, social commentary like Stupid White Men by Michael Moore and access to a belly laugh with Fawlty Towers or Little Britain.


From http://www.ccc.govt.nz/ 09/17/2009

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Social Sites Catch 90pc of Kiwi Web Users

New research into New Zealanders' internet habits has confirmed our obsession with online social networks and our growing trust of what we read on the web. A Research International-TNS poll of local internet users found nine out of 10 participate in social networks and more than a quarter have made a major purchase based solely on online product reviews. The findings show the internet has changed consumer behaviour over the past three years and marketers and retailers need to catch up, says Research International marketing director Jonathan Sinton. Sinton presented the firm's findings to an online marketing conference, Digital Now New Zealand 2009, in Auckland this week. He said 97 per cent of internet users now researched online before making a significant purchase. Twenty-eight per cent bought goods as a result of reviews they read on the web and 34 per cent said they changed their mind about a product after reading a review online.

"Clearly the role of the salesman is evolving into one of facilitation rather than influence," he said. "[For example, shoppers] are reading about a new camera in a blog and going and buying it without using any other source of information. In Japan we're hearing stories about retailers taking this to the extreme, to the point where they only stock products that score highly in online news or reviews." The popularity of Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter had encouraged businesses and brands to look at how they could benefit by tapping into social networking, but they needed to tread carefully, Sinton said. Consumers were put off by social site pages that appeared to be run with a corporate agenda and only 9 per cent of Facebook users, for example, said they were connected to brand-based identities on the network. Vodafone UK had been successful at attracting users to its Facebook page by using a team of customer service staff who could respond immediately to queries on the site, meaning the telco company could have an "authentic and transparent conversation" with visitors, Sinton said.

He said local phone company 2degrees had also had success on Facebook, emulating the Vodafone UK approach. Other speakers at the Digital Now conference echoed Sinton's message that marketers needed to change their traditional approach if they wanted their brands to win favour with consumers online. Julien Leys, founder of Auckland public relations company JML Communications, said enabling staff to make a "personal connection" with customers over the web added credibility to a company's online presence. David Rose, a digital media specialist for advertising agency G2, said "branded" video content would become an increasingly important outlet for businesses wanting to market online. It needed to be material that entertained and educated viewers, rather than being focused on pushing a brand - a concept dubbed "dark marketing".

Justin Baird, a specialist in product innovation at Google, said he expected dark marketing to become a force in the music industry as it wrestled with declining revenue from sales following the rise of the internet. "You can imagine that big brands will become record labels. Coca-Cola may discover some artist ... you'll love their music and you'll know that it was Coke that found them, so there will be that brand association." Research International-TNS's poll also highlighted a growing local trend among internet users: simultaneous television viewing and web surfing. Forty-three per cent said they watched TV at the same times as browsing the internet on a laptop. Asked which device they were focusing on at the time, 58 per cent said the computer. Sinton said while that showed TV advertisers needed to work harder to get their message across, the research also showed there was an opportunity for advertisers to use the two mediums together.

Almost three-quarters of internet users said the contents of a TV programme had prompted them to do an immediate online search to find more information, while more than half said they had done the same as a result of seeing a TV advertisement. SURF'S UP: Research International-TNS says as a result of going online, New Zealand consumers are: Better informed - 97 per cent of internet users go online to research products before buying and 28 per cent buy based solely on web reviews. More connected - 90 per cent of those who access the internet use social networks, meaning it is now much easier to make connections. Multi-tasking - 43 per cent of users say they surf the internet at the same time as watching TV. Voyeuristic - we are avid readers of online material contributed by others but post less material on blogs and in other web forums than web users in other countries. Mobile - 33 per cent of internet users access the web from mobile devices.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/24/2009

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New Website Makes Settling a Piece of Cake

New migrants to Nelson are now able to get the help they need with a one-stop shop website guiding them on the ins-and-outs of living in Nelson. Nelson Tasman Settlement Support's new home at www.nelsontasmansettlementsupport.co.nz contains useful information and lots of local organisation contacts to help newcomers find schools for their children, locate housing, get around town, and start making sense of the health system. Councillor Pete Rainey says, "It's obvious the Settlement Support programme is of great use to new migrants to Nelson. They like the personalised service that connects them with a variety of local organisations. The new website is a natural extension of that service - now folks can access the information 24/7." Nelson Tasman Settlement Support (NTSS) is the local arm of Settlement Support New Zealand, a national programme that works to link migrants and refugees to local agencies and services that can support their settlement. NTSS follows on the New Zealand Settlement Strategy, which aims to ensure that newcomers to New Zealand feel welcomed and well settled. Recent migrant Lori Parker, who moved to Nelson within the last year, says "I love the new website - it's easy to use with lots of information. I can't wait to share it with everyone I know. I'm sure it will also be helpful to even non-newcomers in Nelson who may not be aware of all of the incredible and varied services being offered by NCC." Nelson City Council is the Nelson Tasman contractor for the Settlement Support programme. For more information or to contact NTSS directly, phone Sonny Alesana, Community Liaison Adviser, Settlement Support on 3 546 0305 or 0800 776 948 toll free in New Zealand.


From http://www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz/ 09/30/2009

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Speed Networkers Ready to Talk Entrepreneurship

Heard of speed dating? This morning Taranaki is having its first taste of the business version - speed networking. To mark the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the New Plymouth District Council has invited 30 young local people to the new-age breakfast. After they have eaten, at the blow of a whistle they will then participate in quick-fire one-on-one discussions on the question: "What difference can entrepreneurship make to Taranaki?" Each discussion will last no longer than three minutes, at which stage the organisers will blow the whistle and participants will have to find a new partner and start the talking all over again. "It's a fun, high-energy way to connect people. It's the easiest way to get connected - fast," says an international website set up to promote the week. "There are only three rules: participants must speed network with people they don't know well or have never met before; it should be fun and all about sharing ideas and meeting with people; and no double dating - participants must change partners."

Organiser Kate Macnaught, the council's manager corporate strategy and policy, said speed networking was not unlike speed dating, but instead the young entrepreneurs would be discussing ideas. "We'll have people ranging from school age to those already in business. It'll be interesting see what happens. Speed networking has worked very effectively in other places - ideas get crystallised very quickly." The speed networking event is being filmed, and it will then be edited into a five-minute video package that will be televised in Washington and London as part of the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The participants' notes and the video will also be part of Puke Ariki's new exhibition, Taranaki Fortunes: Lost and Won.


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 11/16/2009

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ASIA-PACIFIC Nations Must Fight Cyber-Crime

New York: The importance of bolstering international cooperation to combat the rising tide of cyber-crime across Asia and the Pacific was underlined by participants of a regional United Nations information and communications technology (ICT) gathering that kicked off in India today. Bringing together 120 participants from 19 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) forum in Hyderabad aims to reinforce collaboration and development of a harmonized approach to protecting people against the growth of criminal activity on the Internet. Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, an ITU Director, noted the progress already made in global collaboration through the signing of an agreement between the agency and the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) last year. The agreement with IMPACT makes state-of-the-art cyber-security measures and early warning systems available to 30 ITU member States. "These services allow countries to prepare themselves against cyber threats, while at the same time ensuring coordination and cooperation at the national and international levels," said Mr. Al Basheer.


From http://www.scoop.co.nz/ 09/24/2009

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NORTH AMERICA: U. S. - Making Cyber-Security a National Priority

As the Pentagon continued its development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program - the costliest weapons project in U.S. history - news surfaced in April that for more than a year, hackers downloaded several terabytes of sensitive data from contractors' computers. The breach was a startling realization that even the most secretive projects are vulnerable. Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted to CBS News that the United States is "under cyber-attack virtually all the time, every day" and that the Pentagon is changing its strategy to combat and use cyber-warfare in the U.S. defense policy. Gates ordered the creation of a new military cyber-command that will defend the Pentagon's networks and conduct cyber-warfare. The Pentagon also will more than quadruple the number of security experts it employs to combat cyber-attacks. Yet as hackers and botnets - groups of "zombie" computers that autonomously spam the Internet - continue to attack organizations worldwide, a prevailing cyber-security question is how to unite the public and private sectors, as well as individual computers, to fight cyber-crime.

Partnering With Citizens: President Barack Obama announced that cyber-security is a national priority and that he'll appoint a cyber-security coordinator. He also stated that the U.S. government would collaborate with the private sector to create a comprehensive national cyber-security policy. But he did not outline citizen involvement, which some security experts say is crucial. "I think civilian participation in cyber-security is absolutely essential because the systems that are used in attacks and most of the systems that are attacked are owned and operated by civilians," said Susan Brenner, professor of law and technology at the University of Dayton School of Law. Brenner believes the current system for cyber-space enforcement is outdated and based on modern criminal law that's oriented around territorial domains, which limits law enforcement. Because cyber-attacks occur from anywhere around the world, law enforcement deterrence and prevention has become very difficult.

Brenner said cyber-crime can be prevented by information sharing and coordinating response from the public and private sectors, and especially individual citizens. Since citizens are usually the ones attacked, Brenner said they should be included in cyber-security response by reporting attacks and making their systems more resistant. Since civilians often don't report attacks to authorities, cyber-security enforcement is losing valuable information about cyber-attacks. If law enforcement and the military create a rapid flow of threat data across the public, private and individual sectors, the nation's cyber-security would be strengthened, Brenner said. Brenner suggested a "distributed" approach to cyber-crime, where governments would require anyone accessing cyber-space to employ security measures, without infringing on civil liberties. New cyber-crime prevention laws could potentially require citizens and private- and public-sector organizations to implement tools necessary to prevent threats like identity theft, anonymous e-mail relaying and the expansion of botnets. "People are currently the biggest flaws in cyber-security," said Joseph J. Schwerha, associate professor of business law at California University of Pennsylvania, who co-wrote an article with Brenner on cyber-crime. "Because information has to be available for people to use it, people are frankly the weak link in the chain."

Educating the Population: Education has been the primary cyber-crime prevention strategy, with numerous organizations - including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, InfraGard and the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team - gathering and relaying information about cyber-threats. Education is essential on the individual level, Schwerha said since cyber-criminals are increasingly targeting and hijacking individuals' computers to conduct cyber-warfare and perform other malicious activities. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is a public-private organization that specializes in cyber-security awareness to build a national understanding about appropriate online tools and behavior. The NCSA believes education is the key to protecting individual computers and networks. "The biggest threat I see, in general, is that users don't understand the connection between what they do on a computer and how that affects the networks they use," said Michael Kaiser, the alliance's executive director. "We really believe the answer to cyber- security issues is sharing information. We don't believe one organization, nonprofit, school or parent can do it individually. It has to be done collectively."

However, only five states have mandated Internet security training for individuals, and fewer than one-third of all classrooms teach anything related to cyber-security, according to the NCSA. In addition, an estimated 60 percent of teachers admitted they don't feel prepared to teach cyber-security. To help remedy this education gap, the NCSA created a volunteer program that brings IT security professionals into classrooms to teach about cyber-security, ethics and safety. A partnership between the FBI and private sector called InfraGard disseminates information and reporting among its members on cyber-crime and other major crime programs. Many private-sector members of InfraGard have improved internal education programs for their employees because individuals working for organizations are often the cause of security threats. The increasing use of portable technologies - such as laptop computers, PDAs, BlackBerrys, phones and flash media - containing sensitive information has made many organizations vulnerable to cyber-security threats. "As industries become more global with outsourcing and you have computer files with product designs, such as CAD files, that are available electronically, it's very easy for those files to go where they shouldn't," said John Landwehr, a member of the San Francisco Bay Area InfraGard local board of directors.

Challenges and Requirements: Though educating employees is important, the idea of incorporating private citizens into cyber-security protocol is a challenging proposition, said Ronald Dick, president of the InfraGard national members alliance, because privacy issues must be addressed, enforcement would be difficult - especially in other countries - and service providers would also need to be included. Dick, who is the former director of the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center, said there should be more stringent requirements on software developers and hardware manufacturers to increase Internet security. He's encouraged by Obama's recent attention to securing the country's critical Internet infrastructure, but said more work must be done to form effective collaboration between the public and private sectors. "There is the realization that for our national security and the security of our information - both from the public- and private-sector standpoints - there has to be a partnership between the two sectors," Dick said. "It will not work without the two of them working together to better secure networks. There is this realization, but the question is: How do you execute it? There's a real searching on both sides on how do we make it work to protect the rights of citizens and the nation."


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/06/2009

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US on Hunt for 1,000 Cybersecurity Experts

The U.S. government is looking to recruit up to 1,000 information security experts, in a bid to strengthen its public sector systems. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that it had been given the authority to hire the staff on Thursday, at the start of U.S. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. "This new hiring authority will enable DHS to recruit the best cyber-analysts, -developers and -engineers in the world to serve their country by leading the nation's defenses against cyberthreats," said DHS secretary of state Janet Napolitano in a statement. "Effective cybersecurity requires all partners - individuals, communities, government entities and the private sector - to work together to protect our networks and strengthen our cyber-resiliency." The government agency is looking for security experts in the fields of cyber-risk and strategic analysis; cyber-incident response; vulnerability detection and assessment; intelligence and investigation; and network and systems engineering. The new employees will be hired over the next three years.

In June, President Barack Obama introduced the results of a 60-day review that looked at how the U.S. government deals with cybersecurity, and said at the time that the U.S. government was "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruption from computer and internet attacks. As part of its efforts to improve its response, the U.S. government set up the 16-strong U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council, which reports to Napolitano. The move has come under criticism from the Robert X. Cringely blog and others, who suggest that the DHS will have difficulty in recruiting that number of experts."There aren't one thousand civilian cybersecurity experts in the entire friggin' world," according to the Cringely blog. However, the DHS said that it did not anticipate hiring the full quota of experts. Cambridge University cybersecurity expert Richard Clayton said that the difficulty of recruitment would depend on what the DHS mean by "cybersecurity" and what it meant by "expert". "Security is an extremely broad field, and you need a blend of skills," Clayton said, noting that the skills needed for penetration testing are different from those needed to find flaws in websites.


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 10/06/2009

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US: Small Firms Losing Millions in Massive Cyber Attacks

Small and mid-sized outfits in the U.S. have collectively lost around $100 million as a result of "automated clearinghouse" fraud, an ongoing scam that moves funds out of their online bank accounts very quickly. Cyberthieves are hacking into small- and medium-sized organizations every week and stealing millions of dollars in an ongoing scam that has moved about US$100 million out of U.S. bank accounts, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Tuesday. It's now one of the top problems being addressed by the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), which works with the FBI and industry to share information about cyber attacks, according to NCFTA Executive Director Ron Plesco. "Every year there seems to be a trend and this has been the trend this year," he said.


From http://www.itbusiness.ca/ 11/05/2009

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Cybersecurity in Action at ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009

Geneva - Journalists attending ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 today had a sneak preview into the dark world of cyberthreats with the showcasing of the world's most advanced system against global cyberattacks at the ITU/IMPACT stand at Geneva Palexpo. IMPACT (the International Multilateral Partnership against Cyber Threats) set up its Global Response Centre (GRC) in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, earlier this year as the international community's foremost cyberthreat resource, to proactively track and defend against cyberthreats. Mr Anuj Singh, Director of the GRC, demonstrated the centre's alert and response capabilities including an Early Warning System that enables IMPACT members to identify and head-off potential and imminent attacks before they can inflict damage on national networks. The GRC also offers a framework for countries to collaborate and effectively respond to cyberthreats.

Speaking at the presentation, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré stressed the importance of cyberpeace, where nations collaborate in a global cybersecurity framework based on enlightened self-interest. "Every country is now critically dependent on technology for commerce, finance, healthcare, emergency services, food distribution and more. Loss of vital networks would quickly cripple any nation - and none is immune to cyberattack." "We are changing the rules of the game," said Sami Al-Basheer, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), in charge of deployment of such capabilities. "In facilitating the access by ITU Member States to a global platform, we are realizing effective international cooperation. This is the very first time that so many nations are agreeing to work together to achieve a global culture of cybersecurity, and we hope that all 191 ITU Member States will benefit from this unique initiative."

Mohamed Shihab, Technical Advisor, Chairman's Office, IMPACT, shared his views on the relevance and need for IMPACT. "We welcome ITU's support in the efforts to counter cyberthreats. While governments remain responsible for the security of a nation's critical infrastructure, the expertise to counter these threats is dispersed across the globe, and in many cases, found within the private sector and academia. IMPACT creates a unique platform for these groups to collaborate in preventing and responding to cyberattacks. The GRC is an excellent example of this, with intelligence from leading industry players consolidated to serve as a virtual situation room for governments." IMPACT and ITU are working together with partners from across the industry, including Arbor Networks, F-Secure, Kaspersky Lab, Microsoft, SANS Institute, Secunia, Symantec, Sophos, SRI-MTC and Trend Micro, which provide the GRC with live data inputs to enable real-time analysis, aggregation, and dissemination of global cyberthreat information.

Last year, ITU signed an MoU with IMPACT at the ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008 event in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of its Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA). Launched in 2007, the GCA is a broad multi-stakeholder initiative designed to tackle the growing scourge of cyberthreats at a global level. The agreement enables ITU's 191 Member States to take advantage of IMPACT's advanced cybersecurity capabilities by becoming IMPACT partners. The demonstration in Geneva was followed by the signing of an MoU between IMPACT and Poste Italiane on behalf of the Cyber Security Centre of Excellence (CSCOE). "Cybersecurity is now a priority on the institutional agenda," declared the Italian Minister for Economic Development, Claudio Scajola. That is why the Italian government intends to lend its full support to the plan organized by Poste Italiane and to international cooperation in the sector, in order to encourage the development of policies aimed at guaranteeing security in digital communications."

Signing the agreement, Poste Italiane CEO Massimo Sarmi said: "The agreement signed today with IMPACT gives international recognition to Poste Italiane's project to tackle cyberthreats. The Cyber Security Centre of Excellence will be launched in 2009 in Italy, and will rely on a strong network of partners from government, private sector and academia. We are proud that ITU and IMPACT will share and support our work to develop the Cyber Security Centre of Excellence." "I am delighted to see another ITU Member take advantage of the very latest cybersecurity protection facilities in a world where everyone - from individuals to companies to nation states - is a potential target," said Dr Touré. The signing of the agreement brings the total number of ITU member countries that have joined IMPACT to 37. Advanced discussions are underway with an additional 15 nations. Cybersecurity is a key theme at this year's ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 event, both at the Forum and on the show floor. The presentation can be viewed all week on Stand 5016 in Hall 5 at Palexpo, Geneva.


From http://www.itu.int/ 10/06/2009

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New Report Warns Of Dangers of Trashy Avatars

If you're running a business that has a presence in a virtual world, market research firm Gartner thinks you might want to make sure your employees' avatars aren't dressed like Lady Gaga at the VMAs. "Companies with codes of conduct for other Web activities, such as blogging, should be able to extend those policies into virtual environments," a release Wednesday from Gartner announcing its new report "Avatars in the Enterprise: Six Guidelines to Enable Success" explained. "However, because 3-D environments add the visual dimension, they will need to make sure that their policies also cover dress codes." That means your avatar might want to lose the sparkly pink torpedo bra, metallic leggings and giant bat wings. When it's representing your company, that is. The presence of businesses in virtual worlds like Second Life is nothing new - and has been much derided in recent years. But according to Gartner, it's still on the rise, particularly when it comes to training and virtual meetings.

"Avatars are creeping into business environments and will have far reaching implications for enterprises, from policy to dress code, behavior, and computing platform requirements," the release explained. Gartner estimates that 70 percent of enterprises will be regulating the avatars of employees who use virtual worlds for business. Two years ago, Gartner put out a study detailing the risks and pratfalls of doing business in virtual worlds, among them the difficulty of brand and reputation management. Now it's getting more specific: Gartner now says that employees ought to know how to operate their avatars properly, use the same degrees of discretion and professionalism that they do on social-networking sites, and even keep separate avatars for personal and professional use.


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 10/08/2009

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Online ID Theft and Fraud Impacting Consumer Confidence

If the wife of FBI boss Robert Mueller has warned him not to use internet banking because of the threat of online fraud, then what hope is there for the average Jo? The results of research published in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics suggests that more of us are no longer entrusting our finances to virtual accounts. According to Susan Sproule and Norm Archer of McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, identity theft and fraud are an increasing concern to consumers who interact with online businesses routinely. Phishing for logins is not the only problem. Credit card skimming, insider theft, and counterfeiting of digital information, and ID "trafficking" are also on the increase. All of these types of fraud are costly for the individuals involved both financially and often in terms of the time needed to clear their name when illegal use has been made of their personal details.

The Canadian team has now created a model of how consumer identity theft and fraud occur and in parallel report on a recent survey of Canadian consumers. In assessing fraud concerning credit cards, existing bank accounts, new accounts, and other frauds, they find that one in five people have stopped or reduced the amount of shopping that they do online while almost one in ten are no longer carrying out banking online, or have reduced the amount of online banking that they do because of fraud worries. "These findings are of concern to business and government," Sproule says, "since, if consumers stop doing business online, the productivity benefits of e-business will not be realized." Until recently there was little information on the problem of identity theft in Canada, in particular, and there were no coordinated efforts within the academic community to examine the problem. She adds. "It was believed that, if unchecked, the problems around identity theft and fraud could have a significant effect on e-commerce."

Fortunately, since 2005, Sproule and her colleagues have been involved in a multidisciplinary program that has brought together researchers from four universities and subject matter experts from the financial and telecommunications sector. Their research is allowing them to define the processes involved in identity theft and to measure its reach. The team's model of cyber crimes has now defined ID theft and fraud as two distinct but related problems, which could not only help legislators to develop new laws and law enforcers in the pursuit of criminals, but also help educate an unwary public as to how their personal data might be misappropriated and used fraudulently.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/24/2009

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International Cooperation to Shape Common Policies for Cybersecurity and Data Protection

The United States and the European Union have agreed to treat cybersecurity , cyber crime and data protection as international issues, cooperatively developing polices based on shared values. Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Homeland Security Department, called the recent joint statement on these principles by U.S. and E.U. officials a major milestone in data protection and data sharing. "The next step is negotiating a binding international E.U.-U.S. agreement based on these common principles to facilitate further cooperation while ensuring the availability of full protection for our citizens," she said. The pledge is intended to extend ongoing efforts to align U.S. and E.U. policies on transatlantic issues, as Europe updates its human rights policies in the Stockholm Programme, expected to be completed this year. "We would like to take this opportunity to renew our partnership for the next five years," the statement said.

The statement is short on specifics, setting a goal of deepening transatlantic cooperation "in the pursuit of greater justice, freedom and security." It cites achievements made by the two communities in areas ranging from the exchange of airline passenger information to efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and lays out areas where there is need for continued "balanced, agile, creative and forward-thinking" cooperation, including technology issues. "Scientific and technological cooperation is indispensable to enhance the security of our societies," the statement says. "We will therefore further deepen our cooperation in the area of civil security research, in particular via our newly extended and amended Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation." Although both the United States and the European Community acknowledge shared values for justice and privacy, aligning policies on the use of personal information has been a stumbling block in the past. Information on transatlantic airline passengers is exchanged between countries, but European privacy requirements put tighter restrictions on that information than does the United States. The statement calls for building a permanent agreement built on shared values.

"We recognise the critical importance of providing a high level of effective protection of personal data," it said. "The negotiation of a binding international EU-U.S. agreement should serve as a solid basis for our law enforcement authorities for even further enhanced cooperation, while ensuring the availability of full protection for our citizens." The two sides pledged continued cooperation in fighting cyber crime, which often crosses borders. This will include annual meetings of U.S. and E.U. prosecutors, and promotion of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. Protection of critical infrastructure, including cyber resources, also will be a subject of continued cooperation. "Recent cyber attacks are a reminder of the urgent need for action," the statement said. "We are resolved to prevent attacks against our information systems and develop means to swiftly respond to threats of an increasingly global nature. We will work cooperatively to recover from major critical information and communication system failures." However, the Internet can be used as a tool for terrorism as well as being a target, which creates a new set of problems for national and international policy. "The misuse of the Internet for disseminating violent and radicalizing messages is a worrisome phenomenon that we need to consider within the context of legal restraints and operational needs," the parties said. How far nations should go in regulating Internet content is sure to create controversy both between countries and in them.


From http://fcw.com/ 11/04/2009

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CHINA: Sales of Illegal Cyber Games Banned

China's press watchdog on Monday halted software sales of 45 unapproved overseas cyber games and 26 domestic online games containing pornography, violence and gambling. The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) said the imported cyber games had not won authority's approval and the domestic games had added illegal content or gambling functionality after passing examination and obtaining approval for release. The overseas games include Omerta, a text-based multiplayer roleplaying online game related to Mafia stories of the 1930s. The GAPP also ordered 27 Internet companies to stop providing online platforms for illegal games, urging online game designers to install anti-addiction systems in their products. The GAPP is to further tighten supervision over licenced operators of cyber games and eliminate all unapproved games.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/01/2009

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China Information Security Technology Wins Innovation Award

China Information Security Technology, Inc., (Nasdaq: CPBY) ("China Information Security," "CIST" or the "Company"), a leading total solutions provider of digital security, geographic and hospital information systems in China, today announced that the Company's Geographic Information Systems ("GIS") software, GeoStar V5.2 ("GeoStar"), was accredited as a "National Independent Innovation Product" by the Ministry of Science and Technology ("MST") of China. The National Independent Innovation Products accreditation (the "Award") was created by the MST in order to help implement the State Council's National Outlines for Medium and Long-term Planning for Scientific and Technological Development and create an incentive environment with treasury funding for independent innovations. The Award is granted to creative companies that pilot innovative projects in China, to products of companies in state-level high-technology zones, as well as to products that apply recent technological breakthroughs and have won National Science and Technology Awards. GeoStar was among the first batch of products to ever receive this Award. The awarded product is not only given purchase priority by the government for use in important national projects, but the developer, creator or manufacturer of the product also receives priority in public funding and strong support in becoming accredited as a High Technology Enterprise with the favorable policies and research and development support associated with such accreditation. The Company's GeoStar system is one of the leading and largest-scale GIS software series with independent intellectual property ownership in China. It covers the whole GIS product family, from data acquisition and processing to large database management, GIS customization and the online publication of geographic data. GeoStar has been successfully applied in many industries, including land resourcing, surveying & mapping, urban planning and water conservation. Mr. Jiang Huai Lin, Chairman and CEO of CIST, commented, "We are greatly honored to have our GeoStar system win a National Independent Innovation Product award.

We believe that this award not only demonstrates the state-of-the-art quality of GeoStar, but it also highlights our research and development strengths and technical capabilities, and validates our position as a pioneer, innovator and leader in the domestic GIS industry. We are encouraged by this Award, which we believe will serve to further solidify our position in the industry and competitively position us to expand our share of the market for GIS products and services, as well as benefit from the adoption by the PRC government of more favorable policies in support of domestically developed GIS software products, Through its wholly-owned Chinese subsidiary, China Information Security Technology, Inc. ("CIST" or the "Company") headquartered in Shenzhen, China ("PRC"), is a leading application software developer, systems integrator and full-service Geographic Information Systems ("GIS") solutions provider to the public security and civil-use markets in China, dedicated to the use of information technology to improve public safety and information management. Its main business lines range from digital information security, to GIS, and digital hospital information systems. The Company provides a broad portfolio of fully integrated solutions and services, including its First Responder Coordination Platform, Intelligent Border Control System, Residence Card Information Management System, Police- and Civil-use GIS products, and Digital Hospital Information System, to serve the growing demand for digital geographic information, hospital and electronic medical record systems in China. Its commitment to leading-edge technology and quality assurance has won the Company numerous government and enterprise contracts throughout China. To learn more about the Company, please visit its corporate website at http://www.chinacpby.com .

This press release may contain certain "forward-looking statements" relating to the business of China Information Security Technology, Inc., and its subsidiary companies. All statements, other than statements of historical fact included herein are "forward-looking statements" including the significance of the National Independent Innovation Products accreditation awarded to the Company's GeoStar v5.2 product and its impact on the Company's business and operations, including the likelihood that the win will further solidify the Company's position in the industry and lead to an expansion of market share; the business strategy, plans and objectives of the Company and its subsidiaries, including the probability that the Company will benefit from the adoption by the PRC government of more favorable policies in support of domestically developed GIS software products;; and any other statements of non-historical information. These forward-looking statements are often identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects" or similar expressions, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, they do involve assumptions, risks and uncertainties, and these expectations may prove to be incorrect. Investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including those discussed in the Company's periodic reports that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on its website (http://www.sec.gov). All forward-looking statements attributable to the Company or persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these factors. Other than as required under the securities laws, the Company does not assume a duty to update these forward-looking statements.


From http://www.redorbit.com/ 09/23/2009

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China Launches Crackdown on Online Gaming

China has launched a campaign to crack down on online games operating illegally and featuring content deemed to be unhealthy, state media reported Friday, in the nation's latest Internet clean-up effort. The crackdown has so far led to the shutdown of 45 online games, which authorities said encouraged players to engage in illegal activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, the Beijing News said. "The General Administration of Press and Publication is to undergo a thorough clear-up relating to the approval and operating situation of online games by the end of the year," the report said. A statement posted on the administration's website said the 45 online games that were shut down were run from abroad and had not received prior approval to operate in China. So far, more than 200 online games had been investigated as part of the campaign, launched to coincide with communist China's 60th birthday on October 1, and some were given deadlines to change their ways, the notice said. China regularly cracks down on online content it deems unhealthy, which includes pornography and violence but also information critical of the government. Last month, authorities announced that all songs posted on music websites must receive prior approval and foreign lyrics must be translated into Chinese. In June, the government was forced to backtrack on an order to install Internet filtering software on all computers sold in China after it triggered a huge outcry at home and abroad. China has at least 338 million Internet users, more than any other country in the world, according to state media.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 10/09/2009

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China Punishes 6330 Phishing Websites

According to Anti-Phishing Alliance of China, as of August 31, 2009, APAC had dealt with up to 6330 online phishing websites in recent months. APAC mainly focused on two types of phishing websites: fake lucky-draw websites that imitate such famous companies as CCTV and Tencent, and websites that mock webpages of online payment service providers like Taobao.com to lure consumers to do online shopping and offer their bank information. Chinese online phishing websites often cheat consumers with big prizes. APAC worked with local law enforcement agencies to help find the owners of these websites and to shut them down. Various penalties ranging from administrative fines to jail sentences are pending for many of the owners of these websites, but the alliance has not officially made public those key statistics.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 10/09/2009

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Court Gives Heaviest Sentence for Selling Fake Drug Online

A Chinese man was sentenced for 11 years of imprisonment for selling fake drug on the Internet on Friday, which has been the heaviest sentence for such crime given by a Chinese court. The public trial was held by the People's Court in Hanjiang District in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province. The court said Lu Chong, a 27-year-old farmer from Tianmen City, Hubei, was sentenced for producing and selling fake and substandard drug via the Internet since 2007. He was also fined by 800,000 yuan (117,000 U.S. dollars) at the trial. Lu was arrested by police in Wuhan in January this year. Police raided his rental house and seized 5,509 bottles of half-made drug that do not have approvals from the State Administration of Food and Drug for sales. Police found Lu did not have drug production business license. He used Internet to issue advertisement and sell 99 varieties of drug. His sales amounted to 1.4 million yuan over the past two years. Wang Dongdong, deputy director of the Wuhan Drug Administration, said that the city has uncovered a series of cases of Internet selling of fake drug. The suspects used the Internet to spread the drug advertisement on treating illness, mostly gout, diabetes and depressive illness. "The Internet crimes are usually complex and difficult to investigate. The sales are mainly delivered by post, which is difficult to be seized," he said. He said in Lu's case, investigators took three months to travel to 20 cities and towns to visit more than 400 victims of fake drug in order to collect crime evidences. Li Haiyan, an official in the district government of Hanjiang, said the public trial on Lu showcased the government's determination to give severe punishment to Internet sales of fake drug, and improved the public awareness on the drug safety.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/10/2009

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China's Online Video Piracy Jumps to Internet TVs

Internet-linked televisions, many containing peer-to-peer download tools, are winning buyers in China despite piracy concerns and a battle between government factions over how to regulate the industry, according to analysts. China's wealthy elite have taken well to Internet-connected TVs in the months since major vendors started selling them in the country. The devices allow downloads of movies and TV series, often through tools such as Xunlei, offered by a Chinese peer-to-peer download network operator that was sued last year for copyright infringement by members of the Motion Picture Association. But one government regulatory body sees the TVs as a threat to profits at China's state-owned cable operators. And as authorities have taken steps toward regulating the Internet TV industry, at least two film distributors have unveiled plans to file copyright lawsuits against the TV makers themselves in recent weeks. "Various content providers are sensing the attitude of the authorities and jumping on the related opportunities to advance or protect their own interests," said Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting in Beijing. Xunlei is one of several peer-to-peer download tools that Internet TVs are using in China, said Natkin. Others include PPLive, PPS.tv and a service from Sohu, which also runs a major Internet portal. Haier, a major Chinese vendor of household appliances and electronics, has content deals with Xunlei and Sohu for its Internet TVs, said a Haier employee reached by phone who asked not to be named.

Sales of Internet-connected TVs in China will reach 500,000 this year and grow to about 14 million by 2013, technology consultancy iSuppli forecasts. A 42-inch Internet TV costs around 7,000 yuan (US$1,030) in China. Chinese online video content provider NetMovie.com recently said it plans to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against Haier and three other major Chinese vendors selling Internet TVs, Changhong, TCL and Hisense. Online film distributor Union Voole Technology has filed a separate suit against TCL. When asked about the suits, the Haier employee said the availability of pirated videos on Xunlei or other download networks was "a problem in their own operation." Haier chose Xunlei as a content partner because the service is convenient and has a large range of content, he said. Xunlei, widely popular among Chinese PC users, says it oversees tens of millions of downloads each day. The removal of pirated content from Internet TVs in China will be a slow process, said Michael Qiang Zhang, an analyst at In-Stat. "It's turning to the legal market, but on the way of course you have some pirated content," he said. "You can't actually avoid it. No one turns black to white in one night." Pirated DVDs, software and CDs are often sold openly on street corners and in small shops across China. Copyright owners have also complained about pirated content appearing on Chinese streaming video Web sites such as Youku.com and Tudou.com. On top of the lawsuits, China's Internet TV makers face a wave of regulation that could slow their industry's growth. One Chinese regulator, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), has seen Internet TVs as an unwelcome source of competition for state-owned cable operators.

The peer-to-peer download networks used by the Internet TVs can support streaming, but some TV makers have balked at adding the feature for fear of speeding government regulation of the industry, said Natkin. "The strongest competitive concern about this was from the cable operators," he said. "The cable operators are all part of SARFT's family." SARFT issued an order in August banning companies from channeling Internet content onto TVs without a permit. But it is unclear whether any companies have applied for such a permit, and Internet TVs are being sold just as they were before the order. "I think nobody actually cares," said Zhang. Internet TV makers have the backing of China's IT ministry, which wants to regulate the industry but "not to kill it," Zhang said. That backing may have protected them from the permit order. Internet-linked TVs are being promoted globally by top manufacturers, said Randy Lawson, a senior analyst at iSuppli. Japan, where many TV makers are based, may lead adoption of the devices, but Europe and North America will also see fast growth, he said. Global sales of Internet-linked TVs will reach 15 million this year, about as much as will be sold in China in five years, according to iSuppli.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 10/16/2009

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China Closes 20 Illegal Literary Websites

China's National Working Group of Eliminating Pornography and Illegal Publications has announced achievements that it has made since campaigns were launched earlier this year against illegal online and mobile phone publications. NWGEPIP stated on October 20 that since the special campaigns were launched to crack down on vulgar online and mobile phone content, China had seized 1414 illegal online literary works, closed 20 websites that were found spreading pornographic information, and deleted a total of more than 30,000 links to illegal web pages. Meanwhile, NWGEPIP has also issued a special circular which asks each region around China to make efforts to stop the spread of vulgar novels online and remove unhealthy content from websites. In addition, NWGEPIP also states operators of websites publishing pornographic publications will be severely punished. A representative from General Administration of Press and Publication stated that in the first nine months of this year, various measures were taken to monitor online publications and up to 50,000 literary works of more than 4000 websites were monitored. GAPP will continue to focus on four areas: making relevant regulations, speeding up the construction of online publication monitoring system, establishing a GAPP online publication monitoring center, and promoting the construction of Chinese online literary publication platform. News about these closures comes days after Chinese authors rallied online against Google's plans to start a digital Chinese library service. Chinawriter.com.cn has posted a message allegedly from Google which states that the American search engine will compensate Chinese writers USD60 for each book of each writer who agrees to allow Google to use the book online. The search engine stated in the announcement that it would pay at least USD60 to each writer for each book if the writer agrees to reconcile with Google, and the writer can receive 63% of the revenue from readers' online downloading of the book in the future. Many writers have refused to accept the reconciliation agreement and have spurned Google's take-it-or-leave-it attitude. The authors state they plan to continue to fight Google's plans.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 10/22/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: 3,000 Sheriffs Trained to Enhance Cyber Security

South Korea said Sunday it will train 3,000 "cyber sheriffs" by next year to fight cyberterrorism, about two months after the nation's major government agencies, banks and Internet sites were hit by massive cyber attacks of unknown origin. The plan was made public after a government-wide meeting Friday to bolster the nation's cyber defenses, government officials said. In early July, as many as 26 major government and private-sector Web sites, including the presidential office, the Ministry of National Defense, the National Assembly and Shinhan Bank, went down or had access problems due to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. No significant damage was reported because the attacks weren't aimed at destroying programs or data, but investigators failed to determine who was behind the attacks. Besides training sheriffs to combat cyber attacks, the plan calls for the National Intelligence Service to coordinate with other government agencies and the private sector in case a cyber attack is launched, officials said. "The July 7 DDoS attacks offered a chance for the government to check again pan-government countermeasures," said a government official. Tech-savvy South Korea is one of the world's most concentrated markets for high-speed Internet. There are about 16 million broadband Internet subscribers, accounting for more than a third of the population.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 09/13/2009

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Gov't to Hike Spending on Network Security

The government will increase the budget to fight hacker attacks from next year and boost investment in projects linked to the transition to all-digital broadcasting. The Korea Communications Commission on Monday said it finalized its budget for next year. The plan includes an increase from W10.8 billion to W38.4 billion to create an effective system to fight off massive virus attacks, like the one that paralyzed Korean websites for a week in July. The KCC's total budget for next year will be W775.2 billion, up W61 billion or 8.5 percent from W714.2 billion this year.


From http://chosun.com/ 09/29/2009

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Gov't to Build System to Protect Against Cyber Attacks

The government is looking to construct a new system to thwart distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyber-attacks. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security says W20 trillion (US41=W1,163) will be poured into the project. The money will be distributed to over 132 public agencies such as science institutions, police organizations and local governments so that each may set up its own protection system. Meanwhile, Public Administration and Security Minister Lee Dal-gon will also seek an anti-cyber terrorism body at the Interpol-UN global security forum in Singapore on Monday.


From Arirang News 10/12/2009

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U.S., Korea Should Toughen Combined Cyber Security

The top U.S. Air Force commander in South Korea called Monday for "aggressive steps" to deal with the increasing threat of attacks on the defense computer networks of the two allies. "Both our nations have to take aggressive steps to defend both our separate and combined networks," Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Remington said at a forum, according to a transcript of his speech provided by the 7th U.S. Air Force. "When it comes to it, it's all about the flow of information." Remington cited July attacks on the Web sites of major South Korean and U.S. government branches. Intelligence officials of the two countries suspected North Korea to be behind the incident. "The attacks Korea experienced in July illustrated the susceptibility of our computer systems," Remington said, expressing concern over a possible breach of digital security in wartime. "We just can't afford to have our systems turned off, even for a little while or have concerns about data," he said. "We have to have guaranteed secure digital connectivity to fight." The U.S. set up the 24th Air Force Cyber Command in August to counter the threat of digital attacks, Remington said, adding the allies are "really just getting started and have a long way to go." Since the attacks, South Korea has moved to set up a military security command dedicated to defending against cyber attacks at least by early next year. South Korean defense officials believe North Korea operates a unit that specializes in hacking into the computer networks of its rivals to extract information that can be critical in the event of war. North Korea remains technically at war with South Korea and the United States, which has 28,500 troops stationed here as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty. "We must always be able to defend our systems and have the skills and tools in place to fight through any cyber attack," Remington said.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/19/2009

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Digital Pirates of Korean Blockbuster Face Imprisonment

The Seoul District Court on Wednesday sentenced three people to up to two years in prison for circulating pirated copies of the domestic summer blockbuster "Haeundae", in one of the harshest-yet punishments for the crime. An illegal copy of the big-budget disaster flick was uploaded onto two file-sharing site on Aug29 and was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times in Korea and China, causing massive losses for the film's creators and distributors ahead of its overseas release. "Haeundae," about a tsunami that hits a popular beach in the Korean port city of Busan, has drawn more than 10 million viewers at home, becoming the fifth South Korean movie to reach the milestone. Released locally in August, the movie has been sold to 24 countries including China and the United States. An audio technician, who received the movie file from its producer CJ Entertainment to make an adaptation for the visually impaired, had passed the file on to a friend who took it to China and showed it to some of his acquaintances. A Korean student studying in China later uploaded the file on the Internet.

The technician and his friend were sentenced to a year and a half in prison with a two-year suspension, while the student was sentenced to two years on a three-year suspension, the Seoul Central District Court said. "The court saw the necessity to sentence the defendants with imprisonment considering the damage their action caused to the local movie industry and to prevent similar incidents in the future," the court said. Local filmmakers and investors have been fearing the case may tarnish the reputation of the cinema industry in South Korea, the world's most wired country where digital theft is blamed for an annual loss of more than 2 trillion won (US$ 1.6 billion). With a majority of households connected to broadband Internet, technology has made it easy for anyone to duplicate and distribute copyrighted creative works including movies, books, music and broadcast programs. The size of the legal downloading market shrank by nearly 60 percent last year from 2005 in Korea, with nearly 20,000 files of copyrighted content circulating illegally last year alone, according to government data.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 10/28/2009

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INDONESIA: Govt to Upbeat About ICT Security Laboratory

The government is upbeat about developing an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) security laboratory to protect its confidential data and information. Engkos Koswara, expert advisor for ICT at the Office of the State Minister for Research and Technology told The Jakarta Post on Friday the government expected to have an ICT security laboratory within five years. The laboratory would be useful for the development of an internalized ICT security system for protecting confidential information, as although security protection systems had been locally developed by private institutions since 2005, the government needed its own protection system, Engkos said. "The country's security protection mostly focuses on anti-viruses and network protection, without taking application and server databases into consideration. "Indonesia also needs a forensic and cyber crime research center including incident management response and analysis," he said, adding most institutions and individuals used ICT security systems like anti-virus software, both foreign, such as Kaspersky, and local ones such as PCMAV. The government will provide academic and financial incentives for those involved in developing technology for their ICT security protection. "The incentives are for lecturers, researchers and even talented students," he said, adding that Rp 100 billion (US$10.57 million) was allocated yearly from the state budget for technology development.

In line with the government's strategic planning, Russian giant security firm Kaspersky Lab has been in talks with the government on internalized ICT development, proposing cooperation for the provision of a research laboratory for security protection, as well as internships and scholarships for Indonesians. "University students can submit their research papers as part of the selection process for scholarships," firm founder Eugene Kaspersky told reporters Friday. "The world is prone to malicious software *or malware* attacks as hackers break confidential codes to make money through the computerized systems in the business sector," he said. "China, Latin America and Russia are the most prone to such attacks." He said Indonesia was not a main target of malware, which had damaged computer systems in countries around the globe, however he expected it to become a target within the next few years. Engkos acknowledged the danger, saying ICT security would be the government's priority in the coming years.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 10/12/2009

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MALAYSIA: Spike in Cyberstalking Cases

Cyberstalking or online harassment cases are on the rise in Malaysia, according to CyberSecurity Malaysia. "The number of cyberstalking cases reported until October this year was 151 incidents compared to 72 for the whole of last year," said CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Lt Col (retired) Husin Jazri. "This figure could also be higher because not all harassment cases are reported by the victims," he added. Cyberstalking is when an individual or a group of individuals use the Internet or other electronic channels to stalk someone with malicious intentions. The behaviour of a stalker includes making false accusations, slander, threats and sexual exploitation. Compromising and abusing a victim's e-mail accounts, identity theft, and gathering information about victims for the purpose of harassing are also typical behaviours of a stalker, Husin said. In most cases the stalkers are people known to the victims and these may include the victim's former partners, ex-spouse, colleagues, friends and competitors. Husin said although a big chunk of cybercrimes reported until October were related to system intrusion (1,482 incidents) followed by fraud and forgery (812 incidents), the rise of cyberstalking cases is worrying. "Looking at the current trends, computer security is not just a cyber or technical issue but has become a social issue," he said. "Therefore online citizens should take ownership of their safety and security when they are on the Internet," he added. Other cybercrime statistics reported include malicious code (225 incidents), vulnerability probing i.e. exposing the systems weakness (158 incidents), drones i.e. computers that act like zombies (67 incidents), denial of service (27 incidents) and indecent content (15 incidents).

World Computer Security Day
In view of the current trends that are taking place here, CyberSecurity Malaysia is organising the World Computer Security Day (WCSD) event on November 30. The WCSD is an annual event that is observed worldwide. It was started in 1988 to help raise awareness of computer related security issues. For this year, the theme is "Computer Security is Everyone's Responsibility." The main aim of the event is to remind people to protect their computers and information. To raise awareness on computer security issues, several events will be held this month and in December. These include Infosecurity.my and First-Technical Colloquium seminars, which are knowledge sharing sessions involving information security professionals. Other events include the launch of CyberSecurity Malaysia's malware centre and the commencement of the first Asean Youth Cyber Volunteers course. The latter is aimed at creating a pool of ICT skilled volunteers via cyber innovation for communities, and bridging the digital divide among young people in lesser-developed nations. CyberSecurity Malaysia is a one-stop reference and specialist centre for cybersecurity and comes under the purview of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 11/16/2009

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THAILAND: Biggest Threat from Web

Companies are risking data leakage since so many devices are connected to the Internet, according to an information security expert, who noted that the Internet is becoming the biggest threat today and the years to come. In an interview with Database, Trend Micro Inc. APAC director Lionel Phang noted that the threat landscape is characterised by profit-driven cybercriminals who have taken advantage of the evolution of the Internet to create a powerful underworld economy. "This year, many enterprise customers' budgets are constrained because of budget cuts and when the economy went down, their responsibilities became more difficult because manpower and budgets had been reduced. However, external threats keep increasing and they are getting more sophisticated and dangerous. The hacking, spyware, and all hacking websites' objective is mainly for money," he said. Phang noted that a lot of cybercriminals today try to attack consumers or businesses to make money, either stealing their information or their passwords, stealing their customers' database or threatening the users to review information so that they can be used somewhere else.

In the US, he said, a lot of companies' websites whose information has been blocked, the hackers just use a different password, block it or hide it and then when the companies want to get the information back, they have to pay money to get the key to unlock it. And a lot of these new threats are coming up. The biggest worry is the web as it continues to be the most dangerous entity because everybody is connected to the Internet. People have good software to block spyware, malware, spam, etc. However, as Phang pointed out, the new threat from hackers is just sending email. The email itself poses no danger, but the link to some websites is dangerous. The website might be not activated yet, but the website will send the spyware down and then start monitoring. "We see more and more of these types of websites being created," he said. In addition, companies who have official websites that not properly designed and not secured are also vulnerable to attacks. In Asia, all big companies' websites have been hit, even police websites, and airlines sites. Trend Micro has proposed the Threat Monitoring solution as the director noted that they want to show customers in Thailand the new dangers they have to be prepared for.

He cited NSS labs, an independent security testing agency, that recently released a report about all the security products and came to the conclusion that the biggest threats now and over the next few years are coming from the Internet. Phang said the challenge nowadays is that so many devices are connected to the Internet. "Last time we just worried about laptops, wired and wireless. But today people subscribe to the Internet," he said, pointing out iPhone with a charge for 99 baht a month that people use iPhones for both office email and personal email, so everything is combined on one device. If that device is not protected, it's very easy for company information to leak out. The company feedbacks to customers that they should really worry about information leakage from their companies and Phang said most of the time people worry about data leakage protection. He noted that most customers' infrastructure basic security is not properly installed and configured. "If you add more products on top, still it's not that useful because the foundation is not strong," he said. Trend Micro has come up with the threat management solution that detects and analyses suspicious network activities, so that it is able to cope with unknown threats that conventional pattern files cannot handle. It is able to identify the basic causes and break up attacks at an early stage.

"When we look at this type of attack happening today, the most important thing is to be able to identify where the threat is coming from, then we can brake the infected chain in that area. When we brake it, it slows down the whole defection in customer premises. When we look at the new type of hacker, they are getting smarter and smarter, they can send one virus and if this virus infects your machine, the virus links to a computer that has a program which automatically generates more and more viruses to attack you. It keeps increasing and the network will very badly infected." The Threat Management Solution uses hybrid cloud computing through a combination of sensors installed in a network, specialised analysis systems and the Smart Protection Network to accurately analyse and detect suspicious behaviour. Social engineering malware is the most dangerous, he said, explaining that they steal confidential information such as login credentials and credit card numbers. Social networking websites have become channels to be attacked, nationally or globally. The next one, Phang said, is news reports. For Thai people, the topics they are interested now is the King's health, politics and lucky draws. "Everybody worries about security, and thus it needs to improve security quality," he said.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 11/04/2009

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VIETNAM: Operators Warned Over Legality of PrePay Promotions

Vietnam's mobile network operators have been reminded that they are not permitted to offer their prepay subscribers bonuses worth more than 50 percent of a prepaid card's value. Do Thang Hai, head of Trade Promotion Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, warned that Vietnam's Trade Law stipulates that a bonus offered by businesses cannot exceed 50 percent of the value of the product they are selling, which means local telecom companies have violated the law in the huge promotions they have offered so far. The agency has warned telecom firms against violating the regulation and asked them to stop all illegitimate sales promotions in October, Thanhnien News said, citing an interview Hai had with local newswire VnExpress last week. The intense competition between seven telecom firms offering mobile phone services in the country has threatened to get out of hand with some companies even offering a complementary 200 percent of the value of a prepaid card to attract subscribers. Between 5,000-8,000 new mobile phone subscribers are signed up every day, according to the VnExpress newswire. The subscriber boom is however transient as a large number of customers are taking out multiple SIM cards in order to benefit from the free calling credits that are available. The Ministry of Information and Communications estimates that the country has 110 million registered SIM cards, but based on active subscribers - those who are actually using their SIM card - the Mobile World subscriber database reports the country ended June '09 with just 76 million active accounts.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/28/2009

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Vietnam Internet Users Fear Facebook Blackout

Vietnam's growing legions of Facebook users fear that the country's communist government might be blocking the popular social networking Web site, which has become difficult to access over the past few weeks. Facebook has more than one million users in Vietnam, and the number has been growing quickly since the company recently added a Vietnamese language version of the site. Over the last week, access to Facebook has been intermittent in the country, whose government tightly controls the flow of information. The severity of the problem appears to depend on which Internet service provider a customer uses. Access to other popular Web sites appears to be uninterrupted in Vietnam, a nation of 86 million with 22 million Internet users. Government officials and managers at several of Vietnam's state-controlled Internet service providers did not respond to a request for comment. But technicians at two of Vietnam's largest Internet service providers said they had been swamped with calls from customers complaining they could not access Facebook during the last week.

A technician at Vietnam Data Corp. said government officials had ordered his firm to block access to Facebook and that VDC instituted a block on the site November 11. He declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media. However, Vu Hoang Lien, the firm's top executive, said he was unaware of any such order. "I don't know anything about that," he said. Word of the access problems has not yet filtered back to Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, said Debbie Frost, a company spokeswoman. "We would be very disappointed if users in any country were to have difficulties accessing Facebook," she said. Most Facebook users in Vietnam utilize the site to communicate with friends and family, and to expand their social network, sharing photos, Internet links and blogs. Earlier this year, Vietnam's government tightened restrictions on blogging, banning political discussion and restricting postings to personal matters. Police have arrested several bloggers for writing about politically sensitive subjects.

One Western diplomat said he was aware of the Facebook access problems but did not know what had caused them. "If the government did block it, it's very troubling," said the diplomat, who declined to be identified, citing embassy protocol. The diplomat said Vietnam's government might be concerned about Facebook blogs and that the site facilitates communication between Vietnamese citizens and overseas Vietnamese who fled after the war, whom the government often views with suspicion. But he said few people in Vietnam actually use Facebook for political purposes, and that the site poses no real political threat. "Shutting it down would be like poisoning the whole pond to kill one or two fish they don't like," he said. An unauthenticated document circulating on the Internet - which says it was issued by Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security - has fueled fears of a shutdown. The document, dated Aug. 27, instructs Internet service providers to block Facebook and a handful of other lesser-known Web sites.

The document does not appear to bear the official security ministry seal, however, and was issued weeks before Facebook users began reporting problems. Vietnamese Facebook users have been chatting about their access problems online, and some who have managed to get onto the site have voiced their frustrations. "Why do you block Facebook, Vietnam? Why? What's next?" wrote a despondent Vietnamese Facebook user who managed to get onto the site. Users also vented their frustrations in a Yahoo chat room. "I spent all afternoon trying to log on to Facebook but couldn't get in," one user wrote. "What's going on?" Some tech-savvy Facebook fans have found ways around access problems by readjusting their Web browsers to a different configuration. They have been sharing instructions for doing so online. The Facebook problems have also frustrated tourists and expatriates living in Vietnam. "Having the site blocked with no official warning is a huge personal inconvenience to me," an expatriate living in the capital, Hanoi, told The Associated Press. He declined to give his name for fear of government reprisal. "I use Facebook as a means of keeping in contact with my extended family back home and I am now effectively cut off from them," he said.


From http://www.inquirer.net/ 11/18/2009

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INDIA: Government Cautions Twitter & Facebook Users Against Virus

The Union Government of India has issued an alert to the users of social networking websites such as MySpace, Twitter and Facebook to look out for a computer virus, which is attacking visitors to spread itself. CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) working under the Department of Information Technology (the central organization tracking cyber threats in India) stated that a fresh virus called 'Koobface' was proliferating via social networks like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and hi5. CERT states that the worm is spreading through spam mails containing a web-link that takes people to a supposedly interesting video site. However, if the link is clicked, users are diverted to a site that impersonates YouTube although misspelled as 'YuoTube' where users are directed to download an executable file in order to view the video. CERT explains that the worm is especially hazardous because it utilizes an infected computer to attack other computers, deliver more malware, generate revenue through "pay-per-click" ads as well as steal confidential and sensitive data. Additionally, the worm spreads by bringing social-networking websites under its control and then spamming to all contacts, e-mails that have web-links leading to malware-hosting sites, CERT adds. Trend Micro, an online security company, said that Twitter and Facebook had become cyber criminals' key targets for harvesting valuable personal information from users of the social-networking sites. With increasing number of people communicating via social networks, many are now becoming more and more vulnerable to cyber thieves who seek to commit deceptions, the CERT stated. With over 3 Million Facebook members in India alone, the Koobface has an immense potential to wreak havoc on computer systems in the country. It is for this reason that the Indian government has raised nationwide alert. Hence, CERT advises that in case anyone becomes infected with the worm, he must delete all registry keys and files that the worm has already created. The government body also advises Internet users to use up-to-date antivirus along with a firewall at the desktop and to block all idle ports.


From SPAMfighter News 09/01/2009

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IT Firms Eye Criminal Tracking Network Project

Bangalore: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved a Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS) project worth Rs.2000 crore in June this year. Now, around 27 Indian IT firms, including majors like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys Technologies and Wipro have submitted their expressions of interest (EoIs) to develop the technology platform for CCTNS. The winner of the bid will get to develop the core technology platform and software that will work as a standard for all Indian states to implement the project at the state level. CCTNS is expected to streamline investigation and prosecution processes; strengthen the intelligence-gathering machinery and improve the public delivery system. It will also create a platform for sharing crime and criminal information across the country which will simplify investigation and prosecution processes. This platform will also make the process of collection, storage, retrieval, analysis, transfer and sharing of data and information among police stations, district and state headquarters and the controlling agencies at the central level easier. "The selected parties can pursue multiple opportunities at the state level. The prime aim of the project is to create an architecture using an application programming interface (API), so that the systems to be launched by each state would speak to each other," explained the Indian head of a software firm that has submitted an EoI for the project to Business Standard. Many state governments have tried to use technology to fight crime. In 2008, Gujrat government had signed an agreement with TCS to develop a technology platform that was aimed at enabling every police officer to have access to police records and background information at any given point of time. While Wipro has developed an integrated police information system and is now trying to get contracts in Karnataka. "Wipro sees a huge role for information technology to combat high crime rates more effectively. Our technology will bring in a lot of efficiency and agility in the functioning between various units of the police department through real-time information sharing," said Ranbir Singh, General Manager, Government and Defence, Wipro Infotech. The states that have already developed technology to fight crime will have to integrate the police records with CCTNS. States will have to comply with the standards set by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) at the central level.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 09/01/2009

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Cyber Crime Generates More Money Than Drug Trafficking

Bangalore: With more and more people going online and social networking becoming pervasive, cyber crime now generates more money than drug trafficking, says global cyber security solutions provider Symantec. "Cyber crime has surpassed drug trafficking as a criminal money-maker. Every three seconds, an identity is stolen worldwide," Symantec Consumer Business Unit Vice-President for Asia-Pacific David Freer told IANS. Cyber crime is perpetrated by hackers through a spate of attacks in the form of malware, spam, virus and bots when computers are connected to the Internet. Hackers use spyware, fake anti-virus applications, e-mail and phishing to trick netizens into parting with their personal data and even money. "Phony e-mails, fake websites and online advertisements trick netizens into divulging personal data such as social security and credit card numbers," Freer said at a demo of Symantec's Norton anti-virus 2010 product here. The company's latest Internet security product equips computers to fight cyber crime with new detection technology. Symantec's data showed cyber criminals not only steal personal information such as identity, profile and credit card numbers but also sell it to the highest bidder on the online black market. During the beta testing of Norton 2010, Symantec detected and blocked a whopping 245 million attempted malicious code attacks every month the world over in 2008. "The increasing use of Internet and web for a plethora of services and applications has made computers vulnerable to malicious attacks," Freer said.

Convergence of information and communication technologies (ICT), globalisation and exponential growth of information have enabled transacting goods and services in the form of e-commerce and mobile commerce. "The phenomenal growth of Internet traffic for mailing, surfing, browsing, social networking, buying or selling expose netizens to online thieves who will stop at nothing to steal anything, be it money, identity, signature and even names," Symantec Marketing Head in Asia-Pacific David Hall said. Though the $6.2-billion Symantec has been arming its customers and end-users with security solutions over the years, cyber criminals have been outsmarting them by hacking into computers to wreak havoc. Norton 2010 leverages a new model of security, code-named Quorum, to detect new malware and go beyond traditional signature and behaviour-based detection. Cyber criminals are furiously re-writing malware to stay undetected. But Quorum has been developed to track files, applications and attributes such as age, download source, digital signature and prevalence. "These attributes are combined using complex algorithms to determine a reputation. As a file is distributed across the Internet and these attributes change, Quorum updates the reputation of the file, which is significant when a file is new and likely to be a threat," Hall said. As the third largest cyber country in Asia after China and Japan, India may become a soft target for cyber crime unless the government, industry, enterprises and netizens jointly wage the war against the underworld economy. "Since cyber criminals destroy lives more than computers, we have raised the bar for Internet security and set a new standard for the industry. The new version empowers netizens to deny digital dangers for a safe online experience," Hall claimed. The Internet security version is priced at Rs.1,450 for a single licence and the anti-virus version is Rs.1,125 for a single user.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 10/04/2009

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Amended IT Act in India Comes into Effect to Prevent Cyber Crime

The Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008, which aims at tightening procedures and safeguards for monitoring and interception of data to prevent cyber crimes, came into force from October 27, 2009. Besides monitoring and interception, the amended Act also deals with the appointment of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT), which deals with computer security and situations arising from cyber attacks. The IT (Amendment) Act 2008 was passed by both the houses of Parliament on December 23, 2008. The Act was notified after the assent of President on February 5, 2009. The amendment rules pertaining to various sections such as Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information, Blocking Access of Information by Public and Monitoring and Collecting Traffic Data have also been notified today. The Information Technology Act was enacted in 2000 with a view to provide legal recognition to e-commerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance and prevent computer-based crimes. However, the rapid increase in the use of internet has led to a spate in crime like child pornography, cyber terrorism, publishing sexually explicit content in electronic form and video voyeurism. So, penal provisions were required to be included in the Information Technology Act, 2000.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/28/2009

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Life Term for Cyber-Terror Crimes

Cyber-terrorism has become punishable with life imprisonment. The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 that came into force on October 27, 2009 recognises new-age cyber offences such as identity theft, cyber-stalking, cyber harassment, among others. The IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 was passed by both Houses of Parliament on December 23, 2008. It was notified after the assent of the President on February 5, 2009. The information technology legislation was enacted in 2000 to provide legal recognition to e-commerce and e-transactions, to facilitate e-governance, and to prevent computer-based crimes. The rapid increase in the use of computers and the Internet has led to newer forms of crime such as child pornography and cyber terrorism. So, new provisions were required to be included in the Information Technology Act, 2000.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/02/2009

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SRI LANKA: Regulator Buys Surveillance System to Monitor Growing Market

(LBO) - Sri Lankan markets watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), inked a 20 million dollar deal with Millennium Information Technologies (MIT) to buy an automated surveillance system. "Presently we have a manual system. The new system will be implemented in the first quarter of 2010," Udayasri Kariyawasam, chairman of the SEC said. Hardware and software costs are included in the 20 million rupee price tag. The hardware would be sourced from Sun Micro Systems, he said. "The systems maintenance contract is two million rupees annually," Anush Amarasinghe, chief operating office, MIT, said. "There is a warranty period for the product." Kariyawasam said the online surveillance system has the ability to detect suspicious trades and keep tabs on brokers. The new system can check trading histories and to track previous transactions and identify patterns, Kariyawasam said. "This is a tailor-made system for the SEC and has been in the pipeline for the last two to three years," Kariyawasam said "When we handle a big volume it's difficult to monitor the market." He said the system would automatically generate information needed to track the market. Presently SEC investigation unit officials have to manually search the data. "In future the system will generate the information for us to analyze," Kariyawasam said. MIT was selected in an international tendering process opened by the SEC last year. "MIT was not the only bidder. There were international bids and a couple of bids from India," said Channa De Silva, director general of the SEC. The Colombo Stock Exchange electronic trading platform was also designed and built by MIT. Amarasinghe said 17 to 18 stock exchanges, that include the London Stock Exchange and India are presently running similar systems, of which 2-3 platforms are using MIT surveillance systems.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/21/2009

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PAKISTAN: Netsol Powers CSO Perspectives Event on Information Security

KARACHI: CIO Pakistan produced CSO perspective conference powered by Netsol at a local hotel in Karachi. The need for the event arises because banks need a strong, resilient technology backbone more than ever before. From daily operations to large scale implementations to better service their customers, information security has become a top priority for financial service providers as well as its users. In today's world where physical geographical boundaries are losing their importance and where large financial transactions are possible with the click of a mouse, banks and financial institutions have their entire reputation at risk. NetSol Technologies Limited is a world-wide provider of global business services and enterprise application solutions with its resource base exceeding 1,000 professionals worldwide. It focuses on information security services providing end to end security protection for modern organisations, providing answers to issues of data security, network security, security compliance, business continuity and disaster recovery.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 09/02/2009

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PTA to Monitor All Telecom, Cyber Traffic

LAHORE: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has drafted a plan to monitor all telecommunication traffic, including landlines, mobile services and emails, a private TV channel reported on Monday. According to the channel, a code of conduct has been finalised and a draft had also been displayed on the PTA website. The PTA has also urged stakeholders to give recommendations by September 16. Ports and Shipping State Minister Nabeel Gabol said the step was being taken to keep an eye on anti-state elements. He said the civil liberties of the people granted by the constitution of the country would not be affected. Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said his party would not support the proposed plan in parliament. President Asif Ali Zardari on September 29, 2008 had passed the Prevention of electronic Crimes Ordinance (PECO). According to this law, all powers have been given to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the one who will involve in such crime will be punished with death or imprisonment with heavy fines. The fine can be Rs 10 million and the period of imprisonment can be 3 month to 10 years whereas one could appeal in the high court or the Supreme Court. In May, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had directed the FIA to crack down on unscrupulous elements involved in cyber crime, particularly the misuse of short message service (SMS).


From http://www.pakistanlink.com/ 09/08/2009

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AZERBAIJAN: Online Conflict Engulfs Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Process

The information war surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process appears to be intensifying. Electronic sniping between Armenians and Azerbaijanis is spreading into new areas, including social networks, wikis and blogs. Some commentators believe that Azerbaijan is gaining the upper hand. For years, Armenia arguably dominated the electronic fight, relying on a host of multilingual websites featuring Armenia-angled news about the disputed territory. In addition, members of the country's active Diaspora recently launched an Armenian-language global search engine, Hanguyc. Meanwhile, Russian online news services often supported Armenian arguments - a reflection of the long-term special relationship between Russia and Armenia.

But Azerbaijan has made major advances of late on the online battlefield. This has prompted calls for a counter-attack by Armenian Internet users. "Many nationalist activists here seem to think that Azerbaijan has gotten an upper hand in the online information war," commented Onnik Krikorian, a prominent Yerevan-based blogger and the Caucasus editor for Global Voices Online, an international network of bloggers and citizen journalists. Based on Internet access statistics, Azerbaijan would indeed seem to be doing well in the battle over Karabakh spin. The country has experienced a 12,400 percent increase in Internet access since 2000, according to data portal Internet World Stats. Roughly 18.2 percent of the country's 8.2 million residents can now go online, compared with a mere 5.8 percent of Armenia's population of 2.98 million. Given those numbers, there are signs that web warfare has become an important instrument in the Azerbaijani government's foreign policy toolkit.

Baku recently has scored several significant web-based victories. In its weather listings, for example, Microsoft's MSN.com indicated Karabakh as an entity independent of Azerbaijan, with the word "disputed" added in parentheses to define its status. Google, in turn, listed Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan exclave, which is surrounded by Armenia, separately from Azerbaijan in its map service. After Azerbaijan's embassy in Washington demanded an explanation, both Google and Microsoft made changes to show that both territories belonged to Baku, adding the qualification "Azerbaijan" after both Karabakh and Nakhichevan. Those virtual victories followed another gain over Armenia on Wikipedia, the user-generated online reference site. On August 24, the Azerbaijani online news site Day.az, an outlet reportedly close to President Ilham Aliyev's administration, issued a call to readers to help detect "errors" on Wikipedia. As an example of such errors, the outlet pointed to a Wikipedia statement that Armenia "borders with Artsakh to the southeast."

Armenians widely use "Artsakh" as the name for Karabakh. The Wikipedia entry in question now contains more neutral language, saying that Armenia borders Iran, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Emin Huseynzade, the Baku-based Caucasus project manager for Transitions Online, a media development organization and online journal, states that Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also used crowd-sourcing to respond to YouTube videos that are seen as having an anti-Azerbaijan message. Users either report the videos as abusing YouTube's terms of usage to trigger their removal, or post clips in response. "Azerbaijan is catching up, thanks to the accessibility of information on the Internet and to its growing Diaspora, whose members are increasingly conscious of what they perceive as distortions and try their best to correct them," said independent media analyst Nikki Kazimova, who has long followed the two countries' online labors.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, which has recently encouraged attempts to organize Diaspora communities in order to counter Armenia's own well-financed Diaspora groups, could well have a role in promoting Azeri Diaspora responses, Kazimova believes. The Foreign Ministry was not available for comment to EurasiaNet for this article. Any such official support for Web-based initiatives focused on foreign policy aims would be ironic, given the ongoing high-profile trial of two bloggers in Baku. The defendants insist, however, they are being punished for using the Internet to criticize domestic government policies. Armenian officials are now looking for ways to use the Internet to bolster their diplomatic position. Armenian media outlets have reported that President Serzh Sargsyan's office has set up an email hotline to report online "anti-Armenian activity," according to Krikorian. Sargsyan's office did not respond to an emailed request seeking to substantiate the reports.

Meanwhile, with Facebook and Twitter's membership mushrooming, the Internet's role in both countries' information campaigns is likely to increase. "[The] [o]nline world ha[s] much more channels, than [the] traditional media [for information campaigns]," Huseynzade noted in an email exchange. "Especially for diplomatic issues it is vital? Printing some article in [The] New York Times is not [as] effective as forming greater, [more] effective communities in Twitter." Both Huseynzade and Krikorian say that Armenian and Azerbaijani officials have largely overlooked public diplomacy opportunities available online. Among the few exceptions is DOTCOM, a US State Department-sponsored program that selects 90 students from Armenia, Azerbaijan and the United States to provide coverage of issues of mutual interest, including the Nagorno-Karabakh situation, and to distribute it through international online networks.

But this appears to be a drop in the sea of blogs and online campaigns that seem to perpetuate the divisions between the two countries. Initiatives to collect signatures for both sides' opposing views on the Karabakh question are proliferating on Facebook, for instance. Meanwhile both Armenian and Azerbaijani bloggers admit they are using their blogs to offer opinionated analysis to Western audiences who, in their view, receive sanitized and inaccurate information about the countries of the South Caucasus. Some observers see hidden benefits to all the online jousting. Before the advent of blogs and social networks, Armenians and Azerbaijanis rarely had opportunities to exchange views. Krikorian expressed hope that the changing means of communication might ultimately alter opinions. "The Internet keeps lines of communication open, even if there are those in both directly countries who would rather they didn't exist at all," he wrote in an April 2009 blog entry.


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 09/18/2009

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IRAN: Cyber Police Created

A senior Iranian police officer in charge of cyber crimes has announced that a special police unit to fight "crimes" committed on the Internet has been created. General Omidi told the ILNA News Agency that the 12-member unit will act against "attempted fraud, illegal advertising, insults, and false statements." The move could lead to the targeting of websites that have become a platform for the opposition Green movement and its leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi. On November 12, Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moqadam was quoted as saying that cyberspace needs "security." Iranians opposing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad have utilized the web to share images, videos, and news about the protest movement. Another Iranian police official, Hassan Karami, the chief in the West Azerbaijan Province, is quoted by ILNA news agency as saying that "the tensions" following the disputed June 12 election developed because law-enforcement forces did not have enough of a presence in cyberspace. According to the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, Iran is second only to China in the extent and sophistication of its efforts to stifle dissent online. Iran has banned thousands of news and political websites and also sites containing content that is deemed immoral.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 11/13/2009

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SAUDI ARABIA: Face Tough Time with Cybercrimes

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is finding it harder to combat cybercrimes due to the continuous rise of highly-sophisticated techniques used by cyber criminals, a local official says. Khamis Al-Qahtani, chief of the administration development at the Commission of Investigation and Prosecution (CIP), said in a report by local newspaper Saudi Gazette this week, that it was "close to impossible to completely eliminate fast-developing techniques of cybercrime". Al-Qahtani added that these techniques made it difficult to gather evidence against cybercriminals that operate "the most sophisticated stealth malware and botnets". The Saudi official said authorities are having a tough time, particularly, in the definition and identification of cybercrime methods. Cybercriminals in the Kingdom current use a small number of network and hosting service providers "that supply the infrastructure needed to host drive-by download exploits, command-and-control servers, stolen data drop sites, and other more functional network needs".

The official added that cybercrime laws in Saudi Arabi only offers basic legal measures and lack details of technical and procedural measures, making it difficult to prosecute cybercriminals. The Kingdom recently conducted a study on local cybercrime activities and found that cybercriminals were typically 13 years old to 38 years old, and were educated, non-violent and sociable. The study further said local cybercriminals were "mainly motivated by curiosity", though there were cases of online criminal activities that include data theft and e-mail hacking. According to Al-Qahtani, government efforts are underway to address the growing threat of cybercrime in the country. The major focus of these efforts will include information dissemination not only in the government sector, but also in schools across the Kingdom, he said. (by Joel D. Pinaroc)


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 10/14/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Police IT Managers 'Wasted Millions'

A SCATHING report on Victoria Police's information technology services has found the program was badly mismanaged, $39 million over budget and ethically compromised. The report says senior managers in the police IT division accepted gifts from IT companies, including tickets to the AFL grand final and the Australian Open, and that correct financial management procedures were rarely followed. Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said the report was an embarrassment to the force. Ombudsman George Brouwer's investigation found that since 2004 a lack of oversight, shoddy record-keeping and conflicts of interest had led to bungled contract decisions and the waste of millions of dollars. Among the items of waste was the leasing of a rural communications tower with nothing inside but an empty cupboard, costing $81,000 over four years. Mr Brouwer also identified repeated breaches of rules that govern the awarding of contracts, and a $39 million budget shortfall due to dodgy deals.

Mr Overland said Victoria Police had accepted the findings. ''Essentially we weren't paying enough attention,'' he said. ''We trusted some people, they got about doing what we asked them to do, but they did it in ways they shouldn't have. We trusted them and we got caught out.'' He said the force was implementing Mr Brouwer's recommendations, which include strengthening some policies and procedures and instituting new management structures. ''We need to do a lot better,'' Mr Overland said. But he said no criminal charges would be laid, despite police having investigated the actions of at least two former managers. ''There's no criminal conduct here ... they were people who were trying to achieve an outcome but who just cut corners,'' he said. The two managers singled out in the report as being responsible for the breaches are former chief information officer Valda Berzins and group manager of business and planning John Brown. Ms Berzins left last November, after then chief commissioner Christine Nixon indicated her contract would be terminated.

Mr Brown resigned in January 2008 during an internal inquiry. The report says Victoria Police conducted five internal reviews and three external reviews before the launch of the Ombudsman's probe in March. But Police Minister Bob Cameron said he did not learn of the problems until just before Christmas. ''They were internal matters with Victoria Police,'' he said. Opposition police spokesman Peter Ryan said that was not good enough. ''If that is his response he should resign,'' he said. ''The minister ultimately is the one who does bear the responsibility because all this has happened on his watch,'' Mr Ryan said. Premier John Brumby said the report showed the failure of the system to catch problems early. "You can put the best guidelines in place, you can put the most stringent processes in place, and sometimes these processes get breached,'' he said. ''On this occasion the system did not work."


From SARAH-JANE COLLINS 11/13/2009

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NEW ZEALAND: Government Eyes Private Geo-Data

Land information minister Maurice Williamson is backing what he calls a "high impact" intervention to deliver improved spatial data for New Zealand users. Williamson and Land Information NZ (LINZ) chief executive Colin MacDonald promoted openness in geographical data at a recent Wellington conference for the users of ESRI geographical information systems software. "There is a role for government to invest in national spatial data infrastructure," Williamson said, describing it as a "high impact, cross-cutting intervention" with potential to improve national productivity. "Everyone in the geospatial community has a role to play," he said, triggering energetic discussion. One local government representative said there is significant land data in the hands of private companies such as Fonterra, but the price is too high for the council to obtain it. He suggested central government might have a mediating and possibly a funding role to play. MacDonald said a good base of geospatial data cannot be built without public and private-sector cooperation. The panel chairman asked the several hundred people in the room to stand and then invited anyone who didn't want to co-operate with LINZ to sit. Only one person was observed to do so.

Steve Critchlow, director of spatial information company Critchlow Ltd, takes a positive view on availability of privately created data. "We need more collaboration between public and private sectors to build a geospatial information infrastructure for the country," he says. "There's a lot of information around; an academic might do a study and gather important data, but it just sits on a shelf." There is a need for "an organised repository" of such data, he says, but government needs to take a lead. The repository should be a long-term exercise of national significance, like the National Library, Critchlow says. "If it's on the right terms" Critchlow Ltd would be prepared to transfer some of its intellectual property to government, says Steve Critchlow. "That would be better than government collecting the same data again." Critchelow chairs the Spatial Industries Business Association of NZ and participated in a panel at the ESRI conference. ESRI and Critchlow Ltd are competitors so no Critchlow staff attended the bulk of the conference. Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy says he understand LINZ and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology are working with the Department of Internal Affairs to make web-based geographical and scientific data available through data.govt.nz in the near future.


From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 11/11/2009

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AFRICA: NEPAD ICT Africa Summit 2010

Building on the successes of the last three NEPAD ICT Africa Summits, NEPAD Council together with the NEPAD Secretariat and African Events Company iKapa Media and partners, will again raise flags to organize the NEPAD ICT Africa Summit, indeed making it possible for suppliers to meet ICT decision makers of the continent at one location and, furthermore to show competence by making a professional presentation in accordance with international standards. Over 2000 high level delegates and 350 exhibitors will take part in a well placed agenda which will include plenary sessions, thematic breakaway sessions and one-to-one business meetings between participants and NEPAD ICT Africa Summit 2010 exhibitors. Key Objectives: NEPAD ICT Africa Summit aims to mobilize the key stakeholders and actors in the ICT sector including: Stakeholders in Information Systems: Health, Community, Government and Business Informatics; Communication and Technology systems: Broadcasters, Telecommunications, Internet, Software and Hardware. NEPAD ICT Africa Summit 2010 aims at promoting and supporting business opportunities in the sector of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in order to encourage further growth and development in African countries.


From http://www.unpan.org/ 11/06/2009

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South Africa: Conference to Help Bridge Africa's Digital Divide

Johannesburg - Bridging the digital divide within the African continent and the entire world has come under the spotlight at the African Union (AU) Communication Ministerial Conference. The four-day conference, which kicked-off today, will provide an opportunity as well as a platform to explore ways of harnessing Information Communication and Technologies (ICT) for the socio-economic development in the continent. Department of Communications Director Brenda Ngosi said the extra-ordinary session of the conference was organised to enable member states and stakeholders to deliberate on the challenges and prospects for ICT development. Ngosi said the objectives of the conference will lay the groundwork for the AU January 2010 Summit to convince Heads of State and Government on the crucial role of ICTs in enhancing the socio-economic development.

"Our agenda sets the tone for our deliberations as it focuses on key challenges and prospects on the need to create an enabling environment for ICT growth, development of an ICT infrastructure." All this, Ngosi said, should guide the ministerial session so that they can be able to make concrete recommendations to be submitted to the Heads of State and Governments during the 2010 summit. "These recommendations should facilitate and contribute towards addressing the challenges and prospects for ICT development in Africa. "I wish to underscore that next year's summit will give impetus to the socio-economic development and integration of Africa through ICT. "I urge you to make the best out of this opportunity and let's join hands together and build an African knowledge society," she said. The conference of ministers responsible for Communications and Information Technologies was established by the decision of the Executive Council of the AU in 2006. The conference meets every two years in an ordinary session.


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/03/2009

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ASIA-PACIFIC: UN Training Promotes E-Governments in the Pacific: Two-Week Course on E-Government Latest In Expanding Programme

On 12-23 October 2009, government officials from Pacific Island states took part in an intensive e-government training in the Republic of Korea, organized by the Pacific Islands Forum and the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with support from APCICT. APCICT delivered Academy sessions on e-government and ICT project management. UN Training Promotes e-Governments in the Pacific: Two-week course on e-government latest in expanding programme Sixteen government officials from eight Pacific Island States have completed an intensive two-week training programme on e-government, as part of the continuing efforts of the regional arm of the United Nations to provide Pacific governments with the tools they need to embrace information and communication technology (ICT) as a development tool. The course - running from 10 to 23 October 2009 - was co-organized by the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT), which is a regional institute of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), together with the Pacific Islands Forum, the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Global e-Policy and e-Government Institute of Sungkyunkwan University.

The participants learned ways to transform government operations and improve public service delivery through the use of digital technologies. APCICT delivered a module on e-Government from its flagship region-wide training curriculum, known as the "Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders." "The module examines e-government concepts, principles and types of applications. It also discusses how an e-government system is built, and identifies key success and risk factors in e-government implementation," explained Nag Yeon Lee, author of the module. "E-Government has been used as a strategic tool to modernize structures, processes and the overall culture of public administration," said Ms. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of APCICT. "Many governments around the world are putting critical information online, automating once cumbersome processes, and interacting electronically with their citizens. A well-planned e-government strategy can make governments more efficient, accountable and transparent." APCICT has been actively helping Pacific Island States to embrace ICT for development. It has been collaborating with the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) over the past year and has rolled out the Academy in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.

The European Union recently committed funds for SOPAC's Project on 'ICT Access for the Poor'. This project aims to enhance the ICT capacity of legislators and policymakers in 14 Pacific Island States using APCICT's Academy programme. To keep up with rapid technological advancements and shifting development priorities, APCICT is committed to further expanding existing modules and developing new ones, including on ICT for disaster risk reduction and climate change. "In light of recent catastrophes in the Pacific, it is my vision that the Academy will help Pacific Island States narrow ICT human resource gaps, and promote the effective application of ICT for sustainable development and safer communities," added Ms Rhee.


From http://www.unapcict.org/ 10/23/2009

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UN-led Talks Focus on ICTs as Stimulus to Economic Growth in Asia-Pacific Region

APCICT will be organizing a breakout session on 11 November at the Asia Economic Community Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea. Entitled "ICTs as a Transformative Enabler of Economic Growth," discussions will revolve around three key pillars: investment in ICTs as a component of a stimulus package; inclusive economic growth through ICTs; and ICT-enabled green growth. A pre-conference training workshop on Funding Options for ICT for Development will be held from 9 to 10 November.


From http://www.unapcict.org/ 11/10/2009

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EUROPE: eChallenges e-2009

This is the nineteenth in a series of annual conferences supported by the European Commission, which bring together over 650 delegates from leading commercial, government and research organisations around the world to bridge the Digital Divide, by sharing knowledge, experience, lessons learnt and good practice. Thematic areas addressed in the Conference Programme include ICT for Networked Enterprises, eGovernment and eDemocracy, eHealth, Technology Enhanced Learning, Intelligent Content, Collaborative Working Environments, Living Labs, eInfrastructures, High Performance Computing Applications, Smart and Virtual Organisations, Mobility & Security and Identity Management. The goal of e-2009 is to stimulate rapid take-up of Research and Technology Development (RTD) results by industry and in particular SMEs, and help open up the European Research Area (ERA) to the rest of the world.


From http://www.echallenges.org/ 09/01/2009

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10th European Conference on eGovernment

We are delighted to host the 10th European Conference on eGovernment (ECEG2010) at the National Centre for Taxation Studies, University of Limerick, June 17-18. The National Centre for Taxation Studies at the University of Limerick (UL) was established in 2004 with the aim of furthering tax education and research both nationally and internationally. With the largest tax faculty of any university in Ireland and a collaborative educational partnership with the Irish Revenue Commissioners, we are uniquely positioned to foster research and education that is both ground-breaking and relevant to Revenue Authorities, Tax Practitioners and Academics. In partnership with the Irish Revenue Commissioners we deliver and accredit both the BA (Hons) in Applied Taxation and the Diploma in Applied Taxation. The Centre facilitates collaborative research between university faculty and Revenue's taxation specialists in a range of taxation and related areas. Located on the River Shannon, Limerick can trace its origins back to Viking times. It is one of Ireland's premier tourist destinations. We look forward to welcoming participants from all over the world and I hope that you will be able to join us.


From http://academic-conferences.org/ 09/30/2009

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G2010 Conference: Government IT Successes and Disappointments

Government IT is a "serious disappointment" despite the billions spent on technology and services every year, says an expert commentator on the public sector. William Heath spoke at the recent Government 2010 conference in London of the "gap between the rhetoric and the results". Heath founded Kable, a public-sector IT research business. He also chairs the Open Rights Group and is on the advisory council of the Foundation for Information Policy Research. More than £12bn is spent each year on public sector IT. Heath gave examples of some successes, such as Martha Lane Fox's work on getting millions of disadvantaged people online. But he added, "Government IT up to 2009 contains serious disappointments. One is the cost of IT and the manner in which the money is spent but much bigger than that is the cost of public services and the extent to which IT has or has not been able to modernise.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 11/09/2009

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The Kingdom Wins the Government Technology Awards 2009

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia won the top position award in information security for the Government Service Bus, which is one of the Infrastructure projects, at Asia's 3rd annual Government Technology Awards 2009 held in Bali in October 2009. Known as the "Oscars" of the Asia public sector IT, the Government Technology Awards award outstanding government projects across Asia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia together with Australia, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam, each won an award out of the twelve awards for different categories, while Malaysia and India won two awards each. Singapore won three awards. Open to public sector organizations in Asia Pacific, there were 622 individual nominations from 16 countries spanning central and local government, healthcare and education organizations. From the gulf region, United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain were also shortlisted in the final list together with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Eng. Ali Al Soma - Director General of the Saudi e-Government Program (Yesser) received the award in the Information Security category for the GSB (Government Service Bus) as part of the Saudi e-Government Program for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom was also shortlisted for a second award on Asia level in second position in the Information Management category. Information Security comprises of confidentiality, integrity and availability of information, while Information Management refers to the organization of the structure, processing and delivery of information. The Judging Committee of the Awards consisted of number of experts and specialists from private and public sectors; such as Laurence Millar, the former Government Chief Information Officer of New Zealand, James Smith, Managing Editor of FutureGov magazine, Professor Yang - Dean of the Academy of e-Government, Peking University, Dr Vandama Sharma - Deputy Director-General, National Informatics Centre, India, and Chan Meng Khoong - Government Chief Information Officer, Qatar, to name a few.


From http://www.ameinfo.com/ 11/15/2009

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5th International Conference on e-Learning

The International Conference on e-Learning (ICEL-2010) invites researchers, practitioners and academics to present their research findings, work in progress, case studies and conceptual advances in areas of work where education and technology intersect. The conference brings together varied groups of people with different perspectives, experiences and knowledge in one location. It aims to help practitioners find ways of putting research into practice and researchers to gain an understanding of real-world problems, needs and aspirations. The 5th Edition of the conference brings us to the shores of the island of Penang, also known as Pearl of the Orient. A fascinating fusion of the East and West, Penang embraces modernity while retaining its traditions and old world charm. These are reflected in its harmonious multiracial populace and well-preserved heritage buildings which led to George Town being accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site recently. Long regarded as the food capital of Malaysia, Penang also entices visitors with its beautiful coasts and scrumptious cuisines. The conference will be held at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), also known as the University in a garden.


From http://academic-conferences.org/ 09/30/2009

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Intelligent Community Forum Announces the Smart21 Communities of 2010

The Intelligent Community Forum (IFC) announced on Friday its list of the Smart21 Communities of 2010. The announcement was made by Co-Founder Louis Zacharilla at an event hosted by the Swedish Consulate General in New York. Stockholm, Sweden was the ICF's 2009 Intelligent Community of the Year. The Smart21 announcement is the first stage of ICF's annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle. It is followed by the naming of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year, selected from among the 21. The Top Seven announcement will be made on January 20, 2010 at the annual Pacific Telecommunications Council annual conference (www.ptc.org) in Honolulu, Hawaii during an awards luncheon. The cycle concludes in New York City on May 21, 2010, during ICF's annual Building the Broadband Economy Summit (www.icfsummit.com), where one of the Top Seven will succeed Stockholm as Intelligent Community of the Year 2010.

The new list represents 13 nations and includes 10 communities that appeared on last year's list. One community, Dundee, Scotland, returned to the list after a one-year absence. Dundee was named to the ICF's Top Seven list in both 2007 and 2008. One American state, Virginia, contributed three communities to the list. There were one Chinese and two Australian communities on the list, as well as three from Canada, which has had more communities named by ICF than any other nation. ICF noted that several communities on the 2010 list reported serious challenges caused by the global Great Recession but that, as a whole, the commitment made to broadband, innovation and a knowledge-based economy was serving as a hedge. Most continue to invest in research and development facilities, the creation and aggressive support of small business and "clusters" of industries that continued to produce new jobs. Despite the slowdown in the financial and private sector, ICF noted that the 21 reported continuous reinvestment in schools, educational programs linked to knowledge work and broadband-related networks and applications.

"We certainly saw the impact of the recession in the data and reports from these communities. The downturn is taking a toll, with a few exceptions. However these communities remain confidently on course, knowing that the work they are doing is an investment in the long-term and to the shaping of a community of the 21st Century," said ICF Co-Founder Louis Zacharilla. "Becoming an intelligent community is not an overnight activity," said ICF Co-Founder and Chairman John G. Jung. "It really does take an enormous amount of commitment, human capital, political leadership, collaboration and an embrace of ideas and approaches that are new and I would say still a little scary to many communities. We are all proud of these communities and wish them well in our awards program." The Smart21 of 2010: The Smart21 of 2010 includes communities from 13 nations from every continent except Africa this year, with a mix of different size communities, in terms of population. No community in this year's rankings has over 2.5 million inhabitants.

Arlington County, Virginia USA; population: 210,000
Ballarat, Australia; population: 88,000
Besancon, France; population: 122,000
Bristol, Virginia, USA; population: 17,590
Dakota County, Minnesota, USA; population: 398,500
Danville, Virginia, USA; population: 42,000
Dublin, Ohio, USA; population: 40,000
Dundee, Scotland; population: 142,000
Eindhoven, The Netherlands; population: 733,000
Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia; population: 500,000
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada; population: 65,000
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; population: 1,148,000
Porto Alegre, Brazil; population: 1,416,000
Riverside, California, USA; population: 296,800
Suwon, Korea; population: 52,000
Tallinn, Estonia; population: 404,000
Taoyuan County, Taiwan; population: 1,970,000
Tel Aviv, Israel; population: 391,300
Tianjin Binhai, China; population: 2,020,000
Trikala, Greece; population 51,900
Windsor, Ontario, Canada; population: 393,400

The ceremony was streamed live via Internet and is available for viewing at the ICF website (www.intelligentcommunity.org). In a taped message, Stockholm Mayor Sten Nordin, referring to Stockholm's success in 2009 and offering counsel to the new Smart21, told the audience, "For us, this (the ICF program) is all about the possibilities of urban living. We want to facilitate everyday life for our citizens. A city like ours knows that it functions best when it serves its inhabitants. In Stockholm we make great efforts each day to meet their demands." ICF also took the occasion to announce the publication of a new book, "Future Cities," which focuses on the future of urban centers and how they will ultimately shape the future of the planet. More information on each community is available at ICF's Web site: http://intelligentcommunity.org


From http://www.govtech.com/ 10/19/2009

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ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 Reflects New Industry Needs and Realities

Geneva - Forging top-level strategies aimed at harnessing the power of technology to enhance our global wellbeing was the focus of this year's ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009, which concluded today. Over 2,250 VIPs, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, Ambassadors, heads of regulatory agencies, and CEOs from around the world, came together for the week-long event, which featured a series of top-level roundtables, meetings and lively debate on the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in addressing many of the most pressing issues of our time, such as climate change, global economic recovery and cybersecurity. "During this past week, I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting with participants from all walks of the industry; from young entrepreneurs heading start-ups to CEOs of major ICT companies and prominent political leaders," said Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General.

A quick walk through the exhibition halls was enough to confirm that the ICT industry continues to be driven by rapid innovation, despite the economic downturn. But while visitors were often dazzled by the many exciting technologies on display, Touré stressed the importance of working together to make global networks accessible to all, and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. "ITU believes that meeting connectivity goals in ICT will help other sectors like health and education meet their targets by 2015. The concrete connections and partnerships forged this week, and the discussions I've been privileged to share, inspire me with confidence that nations and industry are committed to transforming lives by harnessing the power of modern digital technologies." Participants and delegates attended from 186 countries - almost the entire gamut of ITU's 191 Member States. The show floor played host to 456 exhibitors from 49 countries, spanning just about every ICT domain, from the very latest wireless innovations to low-cost broadband solutions to satellite systems.

"ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 is an outstanding forum that provides businesses, governments and NGOs the opportunity to collaborate on today's leading issues," said John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems. "Under the visionary leadership of ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré, this year's ITU TELECOM WORLD has unveiled new ways that ICTs can improve the global standard of living through healthcare, education and sustainability." VVIP summits brought Heads of State and Government, ICT ministers and heads of regulatory agencies from around the world, together with top C-level decision makers for discussion on critical areas such as cybersecurity, climate change and the role of ICTs in economic development. Heads of State and Heads of Government were unanimous in recognizing the role of technology as a key tool in helping combat climate change, acknowledging the need to have ICTs recognized in the upcoming Copenhagen agreement. They also joined forces to offer condolences for victims of the recent natural disasters in Indonesia, the Philippines and the Pacific Islands.

The criticality of information-sharing in disaster response was reinforced by a key announcement at the event that will see 18 countries around the Indian Ocean rim participate in a United Nations-backed tsunami exercise. The exercise will stress the fact that, through good climate science and information sharing, ICTs can help reduce the risk and impact of natural disasters. Forum sessions brought together players from across the ICT sector, from Ministers to CEOs, CTOs and technical and policy experts to discuss areas such as the new technologies shaping the future of ICT, the challenges of regulation in a fast-changing environment, and cybersecurity. Sessions featured roundtables and interactive panel discussions, with participants encouraged to put forward their questions via a range of different formats. For the first time, Forum sessions were webcast live to a global audience, allowing many more to share in the debate. Companies, countries and regions from across the globe demonstrated the latest technologies on the show floor. Alongside major names and household brands were 35 pavilions from around the world, including a range of thematic pavilions which focused on key areas such as Green@ICT, e-Health, and empowering people with disabilities through ICTs.

"UNESCO, together with its partners, came to TELECOM WORLD 2009 to display assistive technologies and raise awareness of our mission - which is to mobilize new, action orientated partnerships and further cooperation among stakeholders", said Abdul Waheed Khan, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO. "As the role of ICTs in enhancing our global wellbeing was in the spotlight this week, we feel real progress has been made in achieving that goal. This event brought together the whole world of ICTs and underlined a vital message - that ICTs must be accessible to all." Some 283 young people from 148 countries took part in this year's Youth Forum, following an action-packed programme of discussion and debate focusing on areas including Innovative technologies and services; New Visions, Policy & Regulation; and Connecting Schools to Connect Communities. During the course of their week in Geneva, Youth Fellows had opportunities to interact and develop mentor relationships with senior members of the ICT sector, such as government officials, industry executives, technology leaders and more.


From http://www.itu.int/ 10/19/2009

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CHINA: 3G Platforms All the Rage at Industry Fair

A mobile phone for pregnant women, a World Expo 2010 platform and a car with a 3G phone were displayed at the China International Industry Fair 2009, which opened yesterday in Shanghai. Industry officials said telecommunications carriers were trying to cash in on data applications as income gradually declines from traditional voice services. China Telecom showcased its "Maternity Consultant" handset system. Its features include fetal heart monitoring, a radiation detector, an emergency button to call an ambulance and music suitable for a fetus. "We have to take advantage of CDMA technology with its low electromagnetic radiation and high data transmission speed," a China Telecom staff member said at the company's booth. China Telecom has also teamed with General Motors China to adopt its 3G technology for Cadillacs. Such vehicles will feature a 3G phone and a SIM card, which can be used to locate the vehicle if it breaks down or other emergency occurs. The system will account for about 25 percent of a car's total cost, according to Jeremy Wang, an analyst at Global Semiconductor Alliance. Meanwhile, China Mobile displayed its "Mobile World Expo" platform for the first time. After downloading a free program on a handset, people can access the World Expo 2010's mobile 3D Website to browse pictures. "Based on the virtual visit to the World Expo through handsets, people can plan their itinerary before they really come to the Expo site," a Shanghai Mobile staffer said.


From Shanghai Daily 11/04/2009

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JAPAN: Researchers Downplay Super CPU Effort

A group of Japanese researchers are collaborating on a software standard for multicore processors to be used in a range of technology products, including mobile phones and in-vehicle navigation systems. The effort could lead to the development of a super CPU, according to the researchers. First reported in Japanese publication Nikkei Business News early this month, the initiative involves local chipmakers and IT companies including Canon, Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, Panasonic and Renasas, a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi. It is supported by the Japanese government, which will be providing an initial capital of between 3 billion and 4 billion yen (US$33.3 million to US$44.4 million). Hironori Kasahara, professor at Waseda University's department of computer science and lead designer for the project, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview that the project has been approved, by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (Nedo), to begin a one-year basic planning phase. Nedo is a funding agency under Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The grant also includes a three-year detailed research proposal, which involves research in multicore processor architectures, the development of a "parallelizing compiler with power reduction capabilities" and work on the API (application programming interface), Kasahara said. "We are developing software de facto standard or API for multicore processors for consumer electronics and real-time embedded systems, [such as those used in] automobiles," he explained. "Our targets are for consumer electronics and real-time embedded systems like cell phones, digital television sets, car navigation systems, robotics and automobiles."

Contrary to earlier reports that suggest the super CPU project would challenge Intel, Kasahara noted that the targeted application areas were different from the American chipmaker's processors. In addition, there are no hardware standards involved, he pointed out. When contacted, a Japan-based NEC spokesperson confirmed the company is participating in an API standardization project "using energy-saving software invented by Waseda University's professor Kasahara". "NEC is simply aiming to advance unified standards among software technologies," the spokesperson added. "NEC is not, however, planning to develop a new CPU, as described in recent reports, which handles these latest technologies." Kasahara added, however, that if the follow-up three-year proposal is accepted by the authorities, he would be looking to "develop a test chip by 2012 with one or two companies" tapping the parallelizing compiler and API. In an e-mail interview, Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli, said the initiative appears to point toward a primary focus on consumer embedded applications, with compute as potential applications at a later date. However, Wilkins said gaining entry to the mainstream server business would be "extremely difficult" if the CPU is not x86-compatible as the de facto operating systems, Linux and Windows, run on x86 architecture. Nick Jacobs, group PR manager at Intel Asia-Pacific, said the chipmaker does not have details to announce in its processor roadmap that pertain specifically to solar technology. "[However, Intel] has been making significant inroads into power reduction for processors over the years", he said. As of August 2009, the company has invested over US$100 million in clean-tech startups globally.


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 09/29/2009

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New Gadgets, Prototypes to Debut Next Week in Japan

Japan's biggest electronics and gadgets show, Ceatec, runs all of next week and many new technologies and prototype gadgets are expected to be on show. The first big news is expected on Monday afternoon when Toshiba unveils its first commercial LCD TV that includes the Cell multimedia processor, after showing a prototype of the television last year. Originally developed by Toshiba, IBM and Sony for use in the PlayStation 3 games console, the Cell is expected to bring functions like real-time upscaling and processing of recorded videos. Panasonic will also focus on TV technology and showing a 50-inch plasma TV that can display images 3D. At the IFA electronics show in September the company said it planned to launch such a set next year, so Ceatec will provide more insight into what consumers can expect. Sony is also pushing 3D and will use Ceatec to show a new video camera that can record 3D images through a single lens. The camera is aimed at content producers, not consumers, but the technology could eventually scale down into more compact cameras. In the cell phone arena, NTT DoCoMo is planning to show a cell phone with a wooden rather than plastic case. The prototype phone was made in conjunction with Olympus, which has developed a method for wooden casing, and Sharp. The phone uses surplus cypress wood from trees culled during thinning operations to maintain healthy forests. DoCoMo and its partners are also expected to show their progress in developing a cell-phone platform for future LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless services.

The company is working with Panasonic, NEC and Fujitsu on development of a phone that can download data at up to 100M bps and upload at half that speed. Meanwhile Fujitsu will show a new cell phone with a built-in golf-swing analyzer. The phone's sensors feed motion data to a 3D sensing program that analyzes the swing and then provides advice. Each swing can also be compared against past swings. One of the hits from last year's Ceatec, Murata's unicycling robot, is due to make an appearance and show off a new trick. The latest version of the robot is capable of cycling at about 3 times the speed of last year's model. Nissan will also be at Ceatec showing off some of its latest research into advanced automotive IT systems. Specifically, the company plans to show off a technology that allows several cars to automatically follow a lead car. The futuristic system, which will be demonstrated in robot cars, could one day be used to allow cars to automatically move along roads in "trains" of vehicles with little input from the driver. Ceatec runs at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, just outside of Tokyo, from Tuesday until Saturday. The exhibition, which is now in its tenth year, attracted just under 200,000 visitors last year.


From http://www.pcworld.com/ 10/02/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: Global Semiconductor Industry Meeting

The follwoing is a press release dated Sep. 30. Six major players in the global semiconductor industry gathered on Jeju Island last week for the 10th annual Governments/Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS). Korea, the United States, the European Union, Japan, China and Taiwan - which account for almost 80 percent of global semiconductor production - held active discussions to address potential trade conflicts, growing environmental concerns, and troubling issues concerning intellectual property rights. The focus was on five issues: counterfeiting; the abuse of patent lawsuits; the need for transparency in government bail-outs; greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets; collaboration for commercial encryption technologies; and the possibility of China joining a multilateral agreement to eliminate tariffs on multi-chip package integrated circuits. With a nascent economic recovery under way, the global semiconductor industry also faces the return of the highly competitive environment that resulted in overproduction for many years. Along with the annual meeting of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC), which involves the six countries' respective industry associations, the GAMS is an important venue for international cooperation in the semiconductor industry. Korea, the United States, the European Union and Japan organized the first GAMS in 1999 to address major challenges facing the industry, and the 2009 meeting was the third to take place in Korea.


From http://www.korea.net/ 09/30/2009

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MALAYSIA: National Innovation Centre to Be Launched Early 2010

The National Innovation Centre, also known as the MyNIC, will be launched by the end of the first quarter next year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He said that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) is currently undertaking a comprehensive study on the implementation of the MyNIC and this will be presented to the Cabinet soon. "The focus of the MyNIC is innovation across the board, not only in biotechnology but also in the information, communication and technology (ICT) industry, animation as well as agriculture and other industries," he said at a press conference after the official launch of the BioMalaysia Conference and Exhibition 2009 here Tuesday. Najib said that emphasis should also be given to intellectual capital and content. "This, I am sure, will continue to enhance an ecosystem that will be conducive for the development of this thriving industry," he highlighted. The proposed setting up of the MyNIC was mooted during the 4th meeting of the National Innovation Council recently.

Najib said that Malaysia had the means to be a regional biotechnology hub based on the positive growth of the industry. He explained that there was a lot of research and development being undertaken by the private sector and universities with the potential to be commercialised. "This involves a field which is connected to the lives of farmers including the area of seaweed cultivation, fishermen, products which can kill the aedes mosquito, healthcare and domestics. "So, there is no reason why we cannot develop this industry until Malaysia becomes a regional hub for it," he said. Earlier in his speech, Najib said the government continued to provide support within the funding value chain from research and development to commercialisation. He said the government has also provided a mechanism to mitigate risk related to investments via agencies such as the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation and Malaysia Debt Ventures. "Further fine tuning within the public funding mechanism towards addressing the needs of the industry will also be addressed and implemented under the 10th Malaysia Plan," he explained. In addition, Najib said that Mosti and related ministries together with the Malaysian Biotech Corporation would also intensify efforts towards completing initiatives under the capacity building phase of the National Biotechnology Policy. He added that the Lab to Market Second Phase initiatives would be rolled out concurrently and fine tuned under the 10th Malaysia Plan.


From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/ 11/18/2009

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PHILIPPINES: Lanao Norte Undergoes I-Tax Training

Staff from the Assessor's and Treasurer's offices of the municipalities of Kapatagan, Lala, Salvador, Baroy, Tubod, Kolambugan, Maigo, Bacolod, Linamon and Balo-i underwent a 3-day hands-on training and workshop on the Assessment Module of the I-Tax Project with consultants Rose Marie R. Gomez and Manthy Boyd L. Talavera of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ). Staff assigned as data encoders were trained how to use or supply information on Real Property Tax (RPT) transaction forms. These forms in turn shall be used by the assessors to record the taxpayer's data and property information gathered during ocular inspection through the Field Appraisal and Assessment Sheet (FAAS). Proper encoding will start on September 16, and encoders will be detailed temporarily at the GTZ-I-Tax Project Office until the completion. The next training will be on Collection Module after all the encoding of FAAS is done. The training is necessary for the continuation of the I-Tax project linking with the treasury.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 09/16/2009

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CICT Features Tanauan LGE in 5th Knowledge Exchange Conference

Mayor Roque A. Tiu of Tanauan, Leyte has been invited as a speaker in the panel interview entitled Face to Face with the Champions portion of the 5th Knowledge Exchange Conference on September 24, 2009. In his letter, Dr. Angelo Ramos, the Conference Convenor, requested Mayor Tiu to talk about how Local Government Units can support the activities of the Philippine Community e-Centers Network (PhilCeCNet). After the speech, the session moderator will ask select questions to the panel. The panel includes Secretary Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua of CICT and Mr. Ricky Banaag of Intel. Tanauan has the distinction of being the first municipality in Eastern Visayas to set up a Community e-Center. Tanauan is also the first municipality of the Philippines to implement the eSkuwela, a flagship project of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), that is envision to provide ICT-enhanced educational opportunities for Filipino out-of-school youth and adults. In fact the 20-seater Tanauan eSkuwela which is based at the Community e-Center, is the first LGU initiated eSkuwela in the country. The 5th Knowledge Exchange Conference for Community e-Centers scheduled on September 23-24, 2009 at the Seameo Innotech, Innotech Building, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, has for its theme "Celebrating Learning, Moving Forward Together." Dr. Ramos said that this year is a milestone for the Philippine Community e-Centers as they celebrate the past five years' accomplishments which can largely be attributed to the enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and diligence of the local government officials, CeC managers, and the community. The Conference Convenor added that the Conference is also an opportune time for the stakeholders to look back at the feats of the Philippine CeC Network (PhilCeCNet) since it was established in 2007.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 09/23/2009

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Davao Oriental Vice-Gov, Congressman Lead IT Seminar

The Offices of the Vice Governor and the 2nd District Representative will initiate a Computer Literacy and Blogging seminar this October. This was disclosed by Mr. Leodel Ajos from the Office of the Vice-Governor. Ajos explained that there will be two sets of the said seminar. The first set will be for the Information Technology teachers and for the out of school youth, while the second set will be for the Sangguniang Kabataan Chairmen in the second district of the province. Ajos explained that the seminar hopes to get a strong support from the out of school youth, because expectedly, they use the computer and the internet most often, particularly in their search for job. Personnel from the Department of Education will facilitate the computer literacy session, while Mr. Ajos will facilitate and share his expertise on blogging, which accordingly, has been proven to be not just for plain pastime, but can be an income augmentation well. Congresswoman Thelma Almario and Vice-Governor Mayo Almario sees the necessity of the seminar, as knowledge on information technology in today's computer age. Internet is also seen today as the fastest medium of communication. However, both Offices are constantly reminding all concerned that blogging and attending to the computer especially for personal purposes must be done after office hours.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 09/25/2009

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Telof, TESDA to Conduct Free Basic Computer Literacy Training

Citing the relevance of computer literacy skills, two key government agencies here agreed to conduct a 5-day Basic Computer Literacy Training on November 9 - 13 to be held at the Mountain Province Multi-Purpose Building. Jointly sponsored by the Telecommunication Office, Commission on Information and Communication Technology (Telof - CICT) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the computer literacy program aims to promote the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the use ICT in the fast evolving digital age. As stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement, Telof-CICT will provide the honorarium of trainors and speakers as well as the personal computers and it peripherals needed in the training. TESDA, on the other hand, will take charge of the board and lodging of trainors, reproduction of handouts, prepare the training venue and make the certificates of completion for the trainees. Participants to the training are anybody ages 18 years old and above for as long as they finished second year high school.

Interested trainees are requested to register at the TESDA office, 2nd Floor Mountain Province Multi-Purpose Building.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 10/31/2009

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BANGLADESH: IT Companies Participating in Global Sourcing Forum New York

23 top executives from 12 leading Software and IT services companies from Bangladesh are participating in Global Sourcing Forum & Expo, New York, the premier IT Outsourcing event of USA which will be held at Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, USA on November 11-12, 2009 with a Country Pavilion supported by Export Promotion Bureau and BASIS, the national association for Software and IT enabled services of Bangladesh. This is going to be a grand participation of BASIS member companies in USA for the 2nd time. Global Sourcing Forum draws a large number of senior business executives in USA who are responsible for the overall IT procurement of their companies. Mr. Zainal Abedin, M.P., Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce will lead the government delegation while BASIS Vice President Mr. Shameem Ahsan will lead the BASIS contingent as Team Leader. Mr. Monoj Kumar Roy, Joint Secretary (Export), Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Shafquat Haider, Director, FBCCI and BASIS and Mr. Kawser Jamal, Coordinator, BASIS team at GFSE New York will be in the delegation. BITS Solutions Ltd., Databiz Inc, Devnet Limited, Global Web Outsourcing, Infinity Technology International Ltd., Inspiring Through Information Web (ITIW), Mazumder IT Limited, SW Multimedia Ltd. , US Software Ltd. are participating as Exhibitors and Daffodil Computers Ltd., DataSoft Systems Bangladesh Ltd. and Ethics Advance Technology Ltd. will participate as visitors. Mr. Abu Bakar Sddique Mollah, Deputy Secretary (Export-2), Ministry of Commerce and Mr. Md. Moniruzzaman, Deputy Director (Deputy Secretary), Export Promotion Bureau will also be accompanying the fair participants as the Pavilion Director and Assistant Pavilion Director respectively.

There has been a rising global confidence in Bangladesh and its IT Industry in the recent years. Goldman Sachs recognized Bangladesh as one of the Next Eleven (N-11) - a list of eleven countries having strong potential for becoming the world's largest economies along with BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), with highly promising outlooks for investment and future growth. European Commission has recently included Bangladesh as one of the top IT Outsourcing destinations in the world. BASIS contingent is bearing the slogan of Bangladesh: Asia Emerging IT Services Destination during this exhibition. EPB and BASIS will also organize a seminar on Bangladesh IT Industry on November 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm at the fair venue where top executives from US IT Companies, IT Associations, Chamber of Commerce and media will attend. This seminar is aimed at promoting the IT industry of Bangladesh as well as paving a bridge between IT entrepreneurs from Bangladesh and potential US counterparts. Moreover, this program is expected to facilitate the branding of our Bangladesh as a leading destination for IT outsourcing services. For registation and more info look the link below.If you have any question contact Kawser Jamal at kawserjamal@gmail.com or call 501-255-2814 for media contact call the same number.


From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 11/07/2009

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INDIA: International Conference on Spin-Offs of Unique And National ID to Smartcards, RFID, Biometrics And E-Security Stakeholders

In view of the importance of the significant development and its bearing on the Smartcards, RFID, Biometrics, e-Security sectors in India, Electronics Today, India's FIRST Techno-Economic Electronics Monthly Journal decided to organize a two-day International Conference on Spin-offs of Unique and National ID to Smartcards, RFID, Biometrics and eSecurity stakeholders on September 11-12, 2009, during Smartcards Expo2009 and its co-located events: eSecurityIndiaExpo2009, RFidIndia Expo2009, BiometricsIndia Expo2009 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. This conference was fully devoted to the subject of UID. While it is important to achieve uniqueness in identification of persons, it is equally or more important to be able to establish secure identification. This means the identification of a person has to protected against misuse. To make the identification secure, various methods are being explored. Biometrics involving fingerprints and other biometrics feature such as face recognition, DNA shape identification, etc. are all being extensively discussed.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/14/2009

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Siliconindia Mobile Application Conference on Oct 31

Bangalore: siliconindia is organizing a Mobile Application Conference (MAC) on October 31, 2009 in Bangalore. The Conference will explore the new opportunities that are emerging and ask the larger questions of the industry leaders within mobile, shedding some light on where the industry is headed and how entrepreneurs and developers can take advantage. The mobile app market is thriving. Hundreds of handsets are capable of installing and running apps, and a slew of big-name app stores are striving to compete. It is expected that the market for mobile applications will be "as big as the internet", peaking at 10 million apps in 2020. The excitement around mobile applications is going to have a major impact on our economy, and our way of life. In the backdrop of this, siliconindia is organizing this full-day event, where some of the brightest minds in mobile technology will discuss the future of mobile technology. There is a line up of interesting panels like Mobile applications explode; Who wins and who loses?; Beyond Ringtones; Paid vs Free Apps - How to grow your app into a real business; Mobile Marketing. Over 800 of the most interesting mobile developers, investors, executives, entrepreneurs, marketers, carriers, content developers and aggregators, and advertisers are expected to attend this conference-cum-expo. Attendees can look forward to in-depth discussion, debate and power networking. Several companies developing mobile applications like Wirkle, ObjectSol Technologies mobikwik, iPath Technologies, Symbioum Technologies and many more will showcase some of the coolest apps they have developed for various platforms. Navteq is one of the sponsoring companies. There are limited seats. One can register for FREE at http://www.siliconindia.com/mobileconference/register.php

WHEN: October 31, 2009 (Saturday)
TIME: 9 AM to 6 PM
WHERE: NIMHANS Convention Center, Near Diary Circle, Bangalore


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 09/29/2009

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Kerala Scores with Open Source Training

IT Kerala has claimed success in its initiative to promote use of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in the state, with the first batch of its FOSS-skilled personnel trained by the Centre for Advanced Training in Free Open Source Software, being fully placed in government and private organisations. This was the first time in the country that a state government had taken the initiative to promote use of FOSS in e-Governance and introduced a course to develop FOSS-skilled personnel. Kerala State IT Mission (KSITM) had formulated a time-bound policy in transforming the state into an inclusive knowledge society, and a conscious step to institutionalize a platform based on FOSS was a major component of this policy.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/22/2009

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Indian ICT Ministers Meet for Speeding-Up Delivery of E-Services

Given the critical role the States play in the implementation of the delivery of government services and the collaborative vision & efforts required to achieve the above objectives a Conference of ICT Ministers for Speeding-up Delivery of e-Services is being organized at Vigyan Bhavan , on 27th October, 2009. The Conference is being organised under the chairmanship of the Hon'ble Minister of Communications & IT, Govt. of India, Thiru A Raja. The participants include Hon'ble Chief Ministers & IT Ministers of States, Nodal Officers of Mission Mode Projects of Line Ministries, IT Secretaries of States, and Industry Partners. The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) approved by the Union Cabinet in May 2006 is a significant initiative with few parallels anywhere in the world in terms of its size, complexity and breadth of coverage. Recognising the importance of NeGP and its vision of making all Public services accessible through Common Services Centres to the common man in his locality, the Hon'ble President of India, in her address to the Joint Session of the Parliament on 4th June 2009 declared that the Scheme for Common Service Centres (CSCs) or e-Kiosks will be suitably re-positioned to be a network of panchayat level Bharat Nirman CSCs. The President also pledged to initiate steps within the next 100 days on measures to provide e-Governance through Bharat Nirman CSCs in all Panchayats in next three years. For this purpose, an additional 150,000 CSCs will be planned to cover all Panchayats bringing the total number of CSCs up to 250,000. These CSCs will not only deliver services under Bharat Nirman, but also provide support to other flagship programmes such as NREGA, SSA, NRHM etc. The Conference will dwell on the topical issues related to Speeding-up Delivery of e-Services, Institutional Framework for e-Governance Projects, & speeding up of e-Infrastructure required for the delivery of e-Services. Information Technology holds tremendous promise to extend delivery of public services to all levels of society far more efficiently and effectively electronically than through traditional channels. e-Governance can change the way people interact with the government in a definite though substantial manner. Implementation of e-Governance in India has already transformed the way public services are now being sought and delivered e.g. Railway ticketing & reservation, issuance of certificates, driving licences, land records etc. However, those who use the government services most heavily, have the lowest levels of access to electronic service delivery channels at present. The vision of effective delivery of Public Services is to develop strategies and applications that will enable benefits to percolate down to the common man in India. This will further help in bringing in inclusive growth for millions of citizens who live in the rural and difficult remote areas of this country.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/27/2009

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South Asia Mobile Summit Starts in City

The two-day South Asia Mobile Summit 2009 has started at Radisson Water Garden Hotel in the city yesterday. South Asia Mobile Forum (SAMF) organised the conference to be concluded today. Mehboob Chowdhury, Chairman of South Asia Mobile Forum inaugurated the summit. Brig. Gen. (Rtd.) Zia Ahmed, PSC, Chairman of BTRC, Hasanul Haq Enu, Chairman of the standing Committee of Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and top officials of the telecom industry of Bangladesh was present in the opening ceremony of the summit. The top officials of telecommunication companies, vendors, regulators and delegates of Bangladesh and other countries of South Asia attended this summit. South Asia Mobile Forum (SAMF) took up the charge of bringing all the telecom industry across South Asia under one roof under the leadership of Mehboob Chowdhury as Chairman. Since its inception back in 2002, South Asia Mobile Forum (SAMF), has been organising special conferences, research work, and round table discussion as a mean to identify the forthcoming key needs of this region. South Asia Mobile Forum (SAMF) organizes a yearly conference named 'South Asia Mobile Summit' which addresses the current needs of the region and the needs the operators. In order to provide feedback and take the steps ahead, solutions providers and vendors takes the stage and discusses the latest technological solution they process. Over the past years, the conference has gained huge popularity and demand. Most strategic head of the companies look forward to come together in the symposium. While the conference becomes a hub for the prominent figure, the delegates get the experience of knowing where and how the business trends are approaching future. The conference not only had specialist from the South Asia region, but also specialists from other part of the world. To provide bigger arena of solutions, South Asia mobile operators needed to look towards the rest of the world. That is what the conference brought in and thus it had presence of GSM association, Broadband Forum, LIRNEasia, Huawie, International telecommunication Union (ITU), Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Nepal telecommunication Authority, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and representative from Mobile operators. This two day conference met the desired result of current analysis and brought all the ideas of the strategic heads on the unit expressed towards the consumers and stake holders to notify them the fact how the industry is helping this region to prosper.


From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 10/23/2009

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AZERBAIJAN: First National Internet Forum

Azerbaijan will host the first National Internet Forum 2009 on Dec. 3-4, organizers of the forum said at a press conference; Kazinform refers to Today.Az. The forum is planned to identify the problems impeding the development of the Internet in the country, and to develop a strategy and recommendations for its development. The first day of the forum will be devoted to discussing a number of issues, such as the development prospects of the Internet sector in Azerbaijan, Internet TV and Internet radio, mobile internet, social networking, the feasibility of technoparks, local solutions to search technology, advertising networks, internet business: Rules of "New Economy" Game, e-commerce etc. The second day of the event will focus on the awarding ceremony for the best internet-projects; Kazinform cites Today.Az. See www.today.az for full version.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 10/28/2009

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KAZAKHSTAN: Akim of Pavlodar Region Held Online Conference

During the online conference Akim of Pavlodar region Bakytzhan Sagintayev answered questions of the citizens on realization of the President's Address "Through Crisis to Renovation and Development" in the region. According to him, the region expects 620-650 thousand tons of grain harvest, while it needs only 112 thousand tons. Owing to the timely antirecessionary measures and program on increase of Kazakhstan's content no enterprise was suspended, all investment projects are being implemented. More than 2 thousand contracts of intents were signed between commodity producers and companies. "Realization of the Road Map will be continued next year. The main priorities will be the organization of public services and amenities, repair of roads, schools, hospitals and social facilities", the Governor said. This year 256 education facilities were reconstructed within the Road Map. Material and technical base of the healthcare facilities is being improved. KZT 703 million was spent for new medical equipment. The local authorities control over food costs, check stores. 9 social markets were opened in the region.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 09/09/2009

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Exhibition of New Innovative Technologies Kicks Off in Almaty

An exhibition of innovative technologies of "BASF" concern has been opened in Almaty Thursday. New technologies in the field of construction, pulp and paper industry, innovative systems and technologies for oil related service and oil refining, admixtures, plants protection, gas purification technologies, energy-saving technologies, etc. are exhibited. "Innovations development is a part of the strategy of our company aimed at successful development of the Kazakh industry and the industries of the CIS member states. Over EUR 400 mln was invested by our company to the processes of energy saving, resources conservation and new technologies development, over 1 300 licenses for new chemical inventions were registered in 2008", Director of "BASF" business center in Russia and the CIS member states Sergey Andreyev said.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 11/12/2009

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UZBEKISTAN: ICT Week Starts

The traditional Week of information and communication technologies InfoCom 2009 started in Uzbekistan on Tuesday. The program includes a number of events aimed at showcasing the latest achievements in the ICT sector. The week was organized by the parliamentary Committee for information and communication technologies, the Cabinet's coordination council for ICT development, Uzbek agency for communication and information, the IT companies association and the UNDP. The ICT week opened with the National ICT summit, which attracted 500 participants from various states, including Russia, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, South Korea, India, Kazakhstan and the US. The traditional annual summit provides conditions to analyze the state of the ICT sector, familiarize with the latest developments, exchange experience and strengthen relations. The participants considered issues of increasing the ICT potential, attraction of investments, expansion of international and regional cooperation, as well as information security. Other events within the ICT week include the annual exhibition ICTExpo 2009, international conference "IT Promotion in Asia 2009", as well as various seminars and contests.


From http://uza.uz/ 09/22/2009

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ICT Summit 2009 - One More Step Towards the Formation of Information Society

National Summit on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) - ICT Summit 2009 - one of the most striking events of ICT Week - InfoCom 2009 was held on 22 September at the International Business Center in Tashkent. From year to year, ICT Summit, being one of the most important events in ICT sphere in Uzbekistan, attracts more and more attention of national ICT specialists, as well as international experts from around the world. Annually nearly 400 delegates - leading experts of ICT market, representatives of governmental authorities, public and international organizations, managers and specialists of domestic and foreign IT companies - are participating in the National Summit on ICT. This year's ICT Summit is not an exception: around 500 delegates from such countries as Germany, Belgium, India, Kazakhstan, Korea, Russia, USA, Tajikistan and the Czech Republic participated in the event. The organization of ICT Summit attracted attention of government agencies, business entities of Uzbekistan, and specialized organizations.

It is well known that a necessary element required for wide-scale transformation towards information society is an active introduction of ICTs into operation of government agencies, which can substantially improve effectiveness of administrative work, ensure management transparency, increase interaction between government and citizens, government and business. This task is especially important as it contributes to strengthening the fundamentals of civil society and democracy. The successful implementation of this strategic task, however, requires reinforcement and consolidation of efforts of all government and non-government organizations. National ICT Summit serves exactly for this purpose, creating an original platform for specialists, government agencies and international organizations to analyze the state of ICT market and familiarize themselves with the new achievements made in this field. According to participants' opinions, ICT Summit has turned into an annual professional meeting and it gives colleagues a chance to discuss the recent developments, exchange with practical knowledge and obtain information about latest experience. More than 50 speakers made presentations on the current state of ICT market in Uzbekistan and around the world, and shared with new achievements in this sphere.

This year the format of ICT Summit differs from previous years. Unlike previous years, this year ICT Summit was held as one-day event. However, continuing a tradition, it opens the ICT Week with its work in the plenary and working sessions. It concludes its work with the recommendations in the form of a Resolution. This year National ICT Summit celebrates its seventh anniversary and creates favorable conditions for demonstration of new tendencies, achievements and benefits of ICT implementation in different spheres of life, as well as discussion of prospects and familiarization with professional views on the issues of ICT development, expansion of partners' range and joint determination of solutions of tasks emerging during extensive realization of ICT potential and rapid development of ICT as a sector itself. The following are some of the issues and tasks discussed during the ICT Summit: directions of further improvement of legislation in the ICT field, trends in development of national telecommunication network of Uzbektelecom company, standards of information security in NGN, development prospects of National .UZ domain, state information policy and information and library institutions, information security in biometric passport system, challenges in automation of library operations, digital television broadcasting as means for providing wide scale public access to ICT, prospects of mobile network and broadband development.

Some of the topics presented by international experts include: "E-government and eGON on the example of the Czech Republic, "Using e-governance to reach marginalized and remote populations and bring them public information and services" and other topics. ICT Summit 2009 was supported by MICROSOFT Corporation and Inline Telecom Solutions as Gold Sponsors, by NOKIA SIEMENS NETWORK and E-PAY Payment Systems as Silver Sponsors, by Softline International as Premium Sponsor, and by SARKOR-TELECOM as Technical Sponsor.


From http://www.aci.uz/ 23.09.2009

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Internet Festival Winners Awarded

On 25 September, the last day of the Week of Information and Communication Technologies, the awarding ceremony of the winners of the Internet Festival of UZ national domain was held in Tashkent. The festival was organized by InfoCOM.UZ magazine, UZINFOCOM, Center for Development and Introduction of Computer and Information Technologies, and Mirada Software company. The official support for the festival was provided by the Communication and Information Agency of Uzbekistan (UzACI). The national second-level domain UZ was established on 29 April 1995. As of the end of September 2009, the number of active domains in the UZ zone is about 9000. The main objectives of the festival were the development of resources and services in the national Internet segment and encouraging the introduction of modern technologies in various areas of the country's life.

According to the UzACI press service, over 750 sites participated in the festival. Following the selection of the jury and public voting, the winners were determined in 13 thematic and 3 special categories. The site of the National Information Agency of Uzbekistan - UzA (www.uza.uz) took the third place in the category of "Best Media Website".

The first place in this nomination took the site Gazeta.uz (www.gazeta.uz), second - the site about advertising PR.uz (www.pr.uz). The site of the Uzbek Agency for Communications and Information (www.aci.uz) and the website of Beeline (www.beeline.uz) won the first places in the nomination of "Best Website of State Authorities" and "Best Corporate Website", respectively. Below is the list of the winners in thematic categories:
"Best website in science and education" - Interschool Resource Center (www.edunet.uz);
"Best website in culture and art" - Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan (www.artmuseum.uz);
"Best website for young people" - Afisha.uz (www.afisha.uz);
"Best sports website" - Uzbek football fans website (www.uff.uz);
"Best website in medicine and health" - Portal of Medicine and Pharmacy (www.edoctor.uz);
"Best website in travel and tourism "- BCD Travel agency (www.ticket.uz);
"Best regional history site" - "Letters about Tashkent" (www.mytashkent.uz);
"Best electronic commerce website" - e-shop Yarmarka.uz (www.yarmarka.uz);
"Best network services website" - Torg.uz (www.torg.uz),
"Best personal site" - Aquatropic.uz (www.aquatropic.uz);
"The discovery of the festival" - Onatili.uz (www.onatili.uz);
"Best website in the state language" - Islom.uz (www.islom.uz);
"Best site according to the public voting" - site of the Ministry of Justice (www.minjust.uz).

The Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov spoke at the awards ceremony.


From http://uza.uz/ 09/27/2009

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Seminar for Journalists

The project "Improving the computer literacy of journalists of regional offices" was implemented by the Public Fund for support and development of independent print media and news agencies of Uzbekistan jointly with the representative office of German Society for Technical Cooperation in Uzbekistan. In the training workshop of the project, held in Urgench, employees of newspapers from towns and districts had the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and experience of working with a computer and Internet and application of effective and modern methods of information transmission based on information and communication technologies.


From http://uza.uz/ 11/05/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Asia Pacific Digital Innovation Summit - Melbourne

In December 2009, Australia will welcome hundreds of delegates from 25 economies from across the Asia Pacific region for the Asia Pacific Digital Innovation Summit. APDIS will focus on pivotal issues for Asia Pacific's Digital Economy and technology marketplace over three days. Join us for the international launch of the ASOCIO/KPMG 2020 Report, examining the essential opportunities and trends in the regional IT Services market over the coming decade. The Summit also combines two of Asia Pacific's largest annual ICT events - the APICTA Awards and the ASOCIO General Assembly - with an International ICT Business-matching expo and the Asia Pacific ICT Conference. Don't miss this unique chance to network with the leaders of the Asia Pacific marketplace and position your company and clients to excel in the region's emerging digital economy powerhouse. But get in quick! Delegate registrations are now open - early bird discounts end soon! Visit www.apdis.com.au to secure your place.


From http://www.aiia.com.au/ 10/12/2009

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NEW ZEALAND: Dispose of Electronic Waste

Doing a bit of spring cleaning? Get rid of your old PCs, computer bits and bobs, mobile phones and digital cameras at eDay this Saturday 12 September. eDay, a free computer recycling event, is on again in Wellington at Westpac Stadium on Waterloo Quay from 9.00am - 3.00pm. Council Waste Awareness Officer Donna Sherlock says more than 2000 cars came to last year's drive-through - bringing 122 tonnes of e-waste. She says organisers are expecting to handle the same amount this year. People are advised to wipe all data from computer hard drives as well as removable media such as floppy disks and PC cards before handing them over for recycling. eDay is open to cars only. Other electronic equipment, including TVs and stereos will not be accepted. Donna says people who are having a general tidy-up are welcome to drop things off at the Second Treasure shop at the Wellington Landfill. As well, there is a free drop-off for domestic hazardous waste at the landfill - up to 20 litres or 20kg of such things as waste oil, leftover paint and other chemicals, all year round, during normal landfill hours.


From http://www.wellington.govt.nz/ 09/08/2009

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Broadband Conference Opens in Auckland

New Zealand, Australia and Korean officials will meet in Auckland today to discuss broadband infrastructure. The Korea, Australia and New Zealand (KANZ) Broadband Summit includes business leaders and government officials from the three countries. They will discuss research and commercial developments in digital applications and content and broadband infrastructure, Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce said. "The summit provides an opportunity to discuss shared goals, hear from companies that are leading the way in digital content, technology and services, and to learn from policy agencies about the development of broadband infrastructure, telecommunications and the digital economy." In a speech to the summit Mr Joyce said broadband investment was critical to achieving economic growth. The Government believed broadband was key to innovation, efficiency and quality in New Zealand's important agricultural industries. "Because of the importance of our agriculture sector and our rural economies, getting fast broadband to the 25 per cent of New Zealanders living outside of urban areas is a high priority." It was expected to cost $300 million, he said. To gain full advantage fibre networks alone were not enough, Mr Joyce said. The Government must "ensure that we are equipped to make effective use of it" through education and integrated services.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 11/04/2009

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